Wednesday, June 8

moderate or deluxe?

Last time we talked about Disney, the Man and I had just decided that it was the perfect choice for our honeymoon.

Our next task aside from figuring out the when, and for how long, was the where.  Where were we going to stay at Disney World?

We both have a tendency to really research everything to death, especially when we are excited about something.  Through our research, we had already decided that we wanted to stay on site at a Disney resort.  It made transportation easier, and matched with the "full immersion" goal of the honeymoon.

The next choice then was what level of resort.  Disney World has three main levels of resorts:
  • Value -  most affordable and furthest from the parks
  • Moderate - mid-range and sprawling, closer to the parks than Value
  • Deluxe -  high end, usually has three or more dining options on site, closest to parks with multiple modes of transportation
At first discussion, we were focused on a Moderate resort.  We looked at the different options and thought that Coronado Springs would be our best bet.  The Man liked the theming, I liked the Mexican food at the food court, and it seemed to be a good balance of Disney and not too many kids running around everywhere because it is one of the resorts that caters to business folks.

Granted, we maybe spent 10-15 minutes looking at the Disney World website to make this decision.  We starting running some prices and comparing the different resorts.  Doesn't this look pretty though?

But we weren't 100% sold.  So we clicked around some more.

(Confession time:  The Man and I both like expensive things.  It all started with a seven-dollar spatula and spiraled from there.  Needless to say, luxury on our value budget is a constant test of restraint and mindfulness.  With a dash of indulgence.. see below.)
My favorite spatula ever.  Mine is red. I think I own 5 now?

I ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the fancy photos of the Deluxe resorts... daydreaming about how amazing it would be to stay there one day. I loved the idea of something more than bus transportation.. travel by boat or monorail sounds so much more romantic. The themeing at each one (below is just a sample) is so immersive and they just looked so luxurious. I knew it was a "One Day" thing.. no need to worry about it for now.
The Contemporary, The Boardwalk, and The Grand Floridian
Then the Man says:
"I mean it's our Honeymoon, we should go BIG right?  How about the Polynesian?"

I mean, did you really expect me to resist?

Magic of Disney + Hawaii themed resort = perfect honeymoon combo

We started researching room rates... and boy was there a difference between Deluxe and Moderates.  At this point though, there was no turning back.  Not for the Honeymoon trip, at least.

The rooms looked great, I loved the fact that we could use either bus, boat, or monorail to get around.  Plus the idea of being across the lake from Cinderella's castle just made it that much more impressive.

We researched rates and perks a bit more, weighing the pros and cons, and decided to just dive in headfirst. 

We booked the Polynesian CLUB LEVEL for our honeymoon.

I'll talk more about Club Level details in another post.  For now, just know that it was worth every penny.

(and it cost lots and lots and lots of pennies.)

Looking back at our resort from the boat dock - Poly 2013
We actually visited during a time of construction and right before some BIG changes hit the resort.  I'm glad we went when we did because the very next year the lobby (which had been the same since the resort opened in the 1970's) went through a drastic transformation.

I didn't take many pictures on our honeymoon, I was more focused on being in the moment than behind the camera. I have learned though that pictures from Disney can bring back tons of memories and are completely worth taking.  I treasure the few that I have.  One of my favorites is of the Polynesian Lobby looking down from the 2nd level.

That water and garden feature filled the whole space with the sounds and smells of paradise. I hate that it's since been removed, but I'm so glad I have at least one picture from our trip.

I mentioned construction before.. well.. that led to a room upgrade for us.  We were gifted a waterfront room on the ground level.
Gotta love construction screens.. at least the palms are pretty!
Being ground level meant we had a patio instead of a balcony.  We only went out there once or twice.
Panoramic from our patio
But it had a pretty good view... I must confess.
The lovely Grand Floridian just across the lake. 
Even though in pictures it's hard to see, we actually could see the castle from our room if we looked really closely. I doubt it's visible in the pictures I have. Let's zoom in a bit.

The quality isn't great, but it's there!

I really enjoyed staying at the "Poly" and look forward to sharing more about our trip, including some surprises along the way.

Tuesday, May 24

disnerdom - how it all began

Long ago, I chose the title of nerdy nest for this blog because I felt my beau and I captured many different varieties of nerdom in our home.

Today, I confess our official disnerdom.  My husband and I are huge Disney nerds.  I would say we specifically fall into the category of Disney World nerds.  We love most things Disney, but most specifically if it has to do with a trip to Disney World -  we're in!
The castle on a cloudy day - our view from brunch at Chef Mickey's 2014
Going back, it all started quite simply.  We were trying to decide where we wanted to honeymoon.  My first thought was a beach somewhere, as we both love the ocean.  I could sun, nap, and sip on pina coladas happily all day.  The Man however, craves a bit more action.

Not hiking, biking, swimming with sharks kind of action, mind you.  But something a bit more exciting than days at the spa and basking in the sunlight.  So we switched gears and I started thinking about possibly honeymooning in Washington DC.   We're not overly patriotic, but we do appreciate history and love museums.  It seemed like it could be a good option. A week to tackle the Smithsonian.. it could be done.

But it was missing a little romance to me.  Granted, we'd been living together for quite a while at this point in our relationship so some of the newlywed syndrome and starry eyes were not as much of a factor.  He still makes me giggle like a schoolgirl and get anime twinkly eyes to this day.  We wanted some degree of romance for the honeymoon, and we kept throwing out ideas.

Let me be honest, so far this is sounding like there was a lot of debating and discussion and research on honeymoon options.  That's not true.  We maybe seriously talked about it for a good 30 minutes after dinner one night.  We weighed some options and out of the blue, the Man said:

"What about Disney World?"

It was all over then.

I had never been.  I had always wanted to go, but never really thought about it or pushed for it.  It was something that was on my radar, but not on my must-do list.  Nothing much happened with the conversation that night, but by the next day -  I was pumped.
My buttons for the Honeymoon - with a backdrop of our bedding.. can you guess where we stayed?
I first remember googling "Disney Honeymoon" on a break at work and found two key websites that influenced me to bring it up again that night when he got home.

The DIS Disney Discussion Forums -

I started to see the potential for magic then and there:
  • Tons of fun things to do (rides, shows, places to explore)
  • World class customer service (I wanted to feel pampered on this trip)
  • Gorgeous resorts (see parenthesis above)
  • Unique and fine dining (food is always good!)
  • The Pixie Dust element (Talk about leaving the real world behind! Serious Disney magic at work on a honeymoon.)

And that's where our nerdy Disney journey began...

Since it brings me so much joy to talk about our disnerdiness, I look forward to sharing many more posts about our Disney trips (yes, plural) and sharing some of the things we love most about being disnerds.

Tuesday, May 10

nostalgic nesters

The other night, the Man and I were trying to calm down for bed and accidentally took a few hours journey down memory lane.  We ended up reflecting on all the crazy experiences we've had together as a couple and ultimately determined, shortly after realizing just how late it was on a work night, that we were banned from talking before bed, and that we loved the life we've built together.

This blog, as the Man reminds me frequently, is not just the story of our home, our construction journey, or my baking and crafty goodness.  It's a place where, in bouts of creative moments and stolen minutes, I can tell the story of our life together.  I am so lucky that he is so supportive, and frequently reminds me how much he enjoys looking back on my accounts of life here on the blog.  Though I post on instagram quite often, I'm much less likely to tell our stories there -  other than the moments captured in a quick shot or two.

With that in mind, here we go on another kick to revive the nerdy nest.  I'll try to write more frequently and share more, even the mundane, here.  If for nothing else, than for the archives.

It's good to be back!

Monday, January 25

gratuitous kitten post..

I take a lot of cat pictures. I can't help it. I'm just trying to keep the internet alive.

That's what runs the internet.. cat pictures.

I'm just doing my civic duty.  Enjoy.


feeling festive.. part three

It's Christmas Eve, and we've been up cooking since 7:30am ET. 

And it's been raining all night.

And there's flooding.. and thunder.. and the weatherman is telling everyone to stay home.

So instead of feeding six over at my mom's house for Christmas Eve, our meal fed just the two of us..

I insisted we sit at the table.  Yay Christmas dishes!

Always save room for dessert!

And maybe have a coke or two on the back porch, while we watch our mini rapids flowing in the back yard, as it continues to rain.  And rain.  And rain!
As the night went on, we got a sweet gift from family and shared some leftovers with them.  It's hard to see, but in the center of this picture is the Swarovski ornament they gave us to commemorate our new home and the year we got married (2013).
The next day was Christmas! And it was time to head over to my in-laws for lunch and exchanging gifts.  I wasn't in charge of much of the cooking this go round, so I just made a quick corn dip for us to munch on while lunch was being prepared and a sweet smore's cake for dessert.

It's become a bit of a tradition with my sister and brother in-law to do interesting gifts.  In my family when I was younger, my Dad would always do "prank" gifts -  wrapping gifts in duct tape, adding a can of beans to the present, or random car parts.  We even used to do scavenger hunts.

I've been nice to my in-laws so far.. maybe a few box within a box within a box, or a pinata with money inside, or a ball of crepe paper with money.. well, this year, my sister-in-law owned it..

I present to you, twenty five individually wrapped dollar bills.  I loved it!  And the paper she used was so pretty!

After an afternoon of festivities, the Man and I packed up and headed home.  It was nice to spend some time just the two of us.  Overall, I would say it's been a pretty good start to celebrating the Holidays in our new home.

Here's to many more years of Christmas Cheer!

Friday, January 15

feeling festive.. part2D2

As any good nerd knows, the latest installment in the Star Wars septology(?) is finally in theaters.  We made specific plans to see it on Wednesday, December 23rd, a date selected carefully in hopes to avoid the crowds of opening weekend and the inevitable spoilers that would start to emerge.

Before we made it to the theater for our late matinee (and stale nachos and overly buttered popcorn) I had some baking to do:
I love my kitchen island.  Chocolate dipped marshmallows, white trash, and popcorn crunch, and there's still room!
Popcorn crunch is a new favorite.. just take popcorn, pretzels, and vanilla almond bark -  toss in some M&M's.. delicious!

Everything getting pretty-fied

A few chocolate dipped rice krispy treats, some pretzels, and lots of popcorn crunch!

We can't forget the fudge and divinity.  I just adored those little polka-dot bags!

My first attempt at using a chocolate mold for making cute pretzels.  In my opinion, it was way too time consuming and messed up the chocolate/pretzel ratio.  I'll stick to just dipping and sprinkles, thanks!

With our gifts all assembled, off to the movies we went!

Ya'll... it was soo good!  I was not a fan of the JarJar versions, but this one.. I can totally get behind.
I'll hop on the bandwagon.. I'm a Star Wars nerd.
or Merry Christmas from these nerdy nesters!

Sunday, January 10

feeling festive...

This Christmas was one for the books.  We had multiple opportunities to celebrate with friends and family, plenty of sweets and treats, and generally just basked in the joy and love of our new home.

Before we get too deep in the red and green, we had to take care of some of the fall decor that was still lingering:
Piled up and ready for transport to our makeshift shooting range..
Some of the damage from our target practice..
I think this is the Man's favorite part of decorating..
 Onto one of my favorite traditions, a sweet way to kick off the Christmas season.. the annual Cookie Walk!
It's a fundraiser for our local Habitat for Humanity, where local folks donate cookies, you take your pick and pay by the pound.  It's usually the first Saturday in December, and for the past few years has been hosted at Grace United Church in Auburn.  I think I've been going to it for at least 7 years now, possibly longer. 
I can always count on having one kitten or another to supervise me.
This year I attempted making divinity for the first time.  It wasn't the best (it was still a little sticky and dense) but I blame the weather instead of my lack of skills..
I was later getting my Christmas cards out than normal.  I plan to remedy that next year! But how could I not send some out with stamps like these? 
I tried getting Loki into the Christmas spirit with a sweater..

He wasn't feeling it.  At. All.
At this point, things kicked into high gear!  It was the last weekend before Christmas and the Man was smoking Boston butts for my (finally returned) annual GNO/Ugly Chrimma Sweater Party:
Mm.. meat!

Adding in the injection.. it only took about 18 hours this time.

I came home to a lovely surprise of some cheery flowers to brighten up a dreary winter day, and just in time to have a pretty decoration for the party!

We laughed, and ate, and talked, and laughed, and ate some more..

Showing off our classy Christmas style!

And of course, Loki had to steal the spotlight.  Thanks to my friend at Birds on a Wire Photography for the awesome kitten picture!  She always makes my home, cooking, and kitties look so fancy!
We always have so much fun, and I'm so glad to keep the tradition going!  After the party died down, the Man and I tidied up the next day, and started counting down to Wednesday.. 12/23. 

Why Wednesday?

(I'll give you a hint.  We're big nerds.)