Last Minute Disney World Trip for Valentine’s Day? What’s a Procrastinator to Do?

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You’ve just realized you have a long weekend over Valentine’s weekend because of the President’s Day holiday, so you’ve decided to take your Sweetheart to Walt Disney World.

What are you, crazy?

No, I didn’t mean that.  You’d be crazy NOT to jump at that last minute trip to the House of Mouse!  But what the heck are you going to do, with no dining reservations, no FastPasses, and no chance to choose the romantic color red for your Magic Bands?  Well, let’s just see what we can do to make this trip not only happen, but happen with many wonderful, romantic memories to boot!

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Let’s start with dining reservations.  I’m going to break this to you gently.  You are not getting into Cinderella’s Royal Table.  And there are probably a few other options not available to you at this late planning stage, but fear not.  You’ll be glad to know that a quick search today, just 9 days in advance, shows dinner reservations available at many Walt Disney World resort restaurants, both inside and outside of the theme parks.  You may not get prime time for V-Day dining, but if you don’t mind eating before six or after 8, options include my favorite Artist Point, the way under talked about Turf Club at Saratoga Springs, Sanaa, Jiko, Paradiso 37, Bongo’s Cuban Cafe, or numerous options at EPCOT.  That romantic dinner can be something intimate and quiet, like Artist Point; or you can opt for fun and rambunctious, like Raglan Road.

And while this may not be the romantic dinner you had in mind, there is all sorts of magical moments dining for lunch at Be Our Guest.  You don’t need reservations to eat there at lunch time, and you can sit in the West Wing with the enchanted rose, or check out the room with the giant music box.  Great memories to be made if you are willing to wait in line a little bit.

FastPass+ encourages you to book your ride times in advance, but you may not have time to do that.  Thankfully, you’ll find locations at each theme park where you can choose your FastPass+ options after you arrive at the park.  I’ve seen pretty good availability last minute so far on rides and attractions, so if you want to steal a smooch with your Sweetie as you kick his butt on Toy Story Midway Mania, you may still find a FastPass+ available.

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How about those plain grey Magic Bands you’ll be stuck with, since you didn’t customize them in advance?  Gotcha covered.  You’ll find virtually every resort and gift shop now stocks a supply of Magic Band covers and Magic Bandits, which are little pins you can stick in the holes on your Magic Bands to make them more personal.  You can choose from solid colors, patterns, favorite characters – any combination of accessories to make the bands ones you love.

There are rooms available, plenty of park passes to hit up the places where you’ll find the most magic, and if you decide to wait until the moment strikes to pick up the perfect gift for your Valentine, you’ll find everything from delicious smelling bath products, watches, jewelry, clothing, accessories, or the gift that keeps on giving – annual passes!

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So pack those bags, book those flights, and get your hiney down there with your honey.  A Valentine’s Day full of love, romance, and magic – what could possibly be better?

Two Days Until The Happy Day

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Eilis has been reminding us for days that “The Happy Day” is almost here!  Of course, to Eilis, that means her 10th birthday, which falls just 2 hours and 36 minutes after Valentine’s Day.

She has no real idea how much it hits me when she says “The Happy Day”.  I don’t believe a woman with an epidural headache, recovering from 36 hours of labor and a c-section, could have been more deliriously happy than I was on February 15th, 2001.

There had been tremendous heartache in my road to being a mom.  Brighid was a surprise pregnancy, after we had been told conceiving would be terribly difficult for me due to an issue known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).  As overjoyed as we were to be having Brighid, the pregnancy was difficult, and ended at 31 weeks, when we were faced with the real possibility of a premature infant that would fail to thrive.  Not an easy baptism into the sisterhood.

For 9 years after Brighid, we struggled with infertility.  It was during this time that we lost three of the five babies I would eventually miscarry, and it seemed that there would be no more children for us.

So after a month long trek across the country, from Florida to New Jersey, and then on to Washington state, when it seemed I wasn’t going to ever be un-tired again, I took a pregnancy test.

Positive.  Not yet a happy day.

After the losses we suffered, a positive sign on a pregnancy test meant nothing more than another $10 down the drain on a home test.  But in working with the doctor who I credit with saving not only Eilis’s life, but my dreams to be a mother – Dr. Mark Denker from the Palm Beach Fertility Center – this time, we’d have our happy day.

The minute Eilis was born, 2:36 AM on Thursday, February 15th, 2001, U2 was playing on the CD player in the operating room.  “It’s a Beautiful Day”.  Forget that they lyrics sing about doom and gloom in some places.  The chorus could not have rung more true.  Not only was it a beautiful day, it was a happy day.

And Eilis, you have given me 10 years of happy days to celebrate.  So when you ask, “How many more days until the Happy Day?”, I’m already there.

Budget Valentine Gifts for that Man oh Man of Yours!

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Alright, I know he leaves the toilet seat up; brushes his hair with the last three fingers on his left hand; wears the ugly Hawaiian shirt he bought on a cruise in 1993 whenever you tell him to “dress up”; and he emits the most noxious odors from various parts of his body at the most inappropriate times.  But you love him, it’s Valentine’s Day, and you want him to know how much every inch of pudge layered over his six pack abs means to you.

But have you seen your budget?  If it costs more than a Happy Meal, chances are, you can’t afford it.  But that’s okay!  I’m here to help you figure out what to do for that wonderful man of yours on Valentine’s Day!

The way to any man’s heart is, well, through his stomach.  Valentine’s Day is no different.  If you want to win your guy over, feed him.

You know that chunk of your grocery budget dedicated to healthy snacks on Sunday while he watches sports?  Use it to buy some sports fan food – nachos, chicken wings, chips and dip.  It’s only once a year, and he will be tickled to see the snack tray that is usually filled with rabbit food and rice cakes is loaded with his football food favorites!

Do you live with a Mr. Fixit?  Check out your local hardware stores for some great free classes that your tinkering honey might enjoy – and they come with the added bonus that you might actually get some of those items off of your honey-do list!  Ask at customer service at your area Home Depot or Lowes to see what upcoming classes they have, and choose one that might be of interest to your handy man.  Make sure when he comes home, armed with his new found knowledge and a brand new area of expertise, you’ve got a cold drink and a hot kiss waiting for him!

Is your guy the stereotypical bookworm?  Chances are in his busy life, he doesn’t get much quiet time to read and enjoy the latest Stephen King novel.  Your local gourmet store probably has sample sizes of some exotic coffee or tea – many samples being only a dollar or two.  Grab his biggest coffee mug, put in the coffee sample, a couple of cookies stolen out of the kids’ cookie jar, maybe a good cigar if he smokes them, and then stop by the library to pick up a book or two he might enjoy reading.  Don’t forget to give him a night off to enjoy the solitude while he sips his coffee and enjoys his book!

How many times have you said to your cuddly computer geek, “If you don’t get off of that computer now, I’m going to cancel your subscription to World of Warcraft; burn your Asheron’s Call t-shirt; toss your Civilization cheat guide in the trash; and tell all of your friends your 9 year old had to show you where to plug in your iPhone charger!”  Oh, is that just me?

Well just in case it isn’t, just like the avid reader, the avid gamer probably gets a lot of flack for taking time for himself on the computer.  This Valentine’s Day, let him have it.  No, don’t punch his lights out – let him have some computer time, uninterrupted, your gift to him for being the sweetheart that he is!  Let him eat dinner at his desk, bring him a couple of Red Bulls so he can stay up all night if he wants, and let him be.  He will really appreciate the night to himself – so much, that it might reflect well when your anniversary rolls around!

You don’t have to think too far outside the box to come up with an inexpensive Valentine gift for your sweetie.  Give him what you can’t really afford to give him on a daily basis – his own space to do his own thing.  He’ll appreciate that much more than another pair of silk boxers with Valentine hearts on them!

Putting a Price Tag on Love – Inexpensive Ideas for your Valentine Kid

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As if it’s not enough that we’re just recuperating from the pressures of what to buy whom for Christmas, now Valentine’s Day is staring us in the face!  No one wants to look like a cheap sucker when expressing their love on Valentine’s Day, but in this economy, with your good friends Mr. Mastercard and Miss VISA expecting a little something to reward them for how loyal they were to you during Christmas, what can you afford to do?

Let’s run it down by the list of people who might be expecting gifts and see if we can’t help you show them that you care for them with a champagne heart but a beer pocketbook.

Gifts for the Kids


Drugstores all over America make it easy for you to treat your littles to something sweet for Valentine’s Day, and because kids don’t really get the whole gist of putting a price on love, you can get away really inexpensively here.

1 – Walmart has a Valentine aisle – as does Target, Walgreens, and CVS.  You’ll find $5 plush toys, .99 candy filled hearts, $1 Valentine socks, and other inexpensive goodies.  You can fill a gift bag for your kids for under $10 and have it bursting with Valentine treats.

2 – Valentine clothes – We almost always get Valentine PJs for our girls, mostly because they usually need new PJs, but also because we can find for less than $20 (and sometimes for less than $15) a cute Valentine set of Pajamas and a stuffed animal, so we avoid the candy and sweets route.  You can find Valentine PJs, t-shirts, and socks at stores like Target, Walmart, and Old Navy.  I kinda like this little t-shirt for $5!

At Old Navy – http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=64713&vid=1&pid=818880&scid=818880012

3 – A Coupon Booklet – Treat your child to a Frosty at Wendy’s, a hot apple pie at McDonald’s, a trip to the library for story time, or even a pedicure and manicure, courtesy of Mom.  You can fill a book of coupons with free or almost free things that your kids will love!  Promise a picnic at the park on one coupon.  A popular coupon at our house is the Get Out of One Chore coupon, where your child can redeem the coupon to get out of setting the table or walking the dog, without risking allowance!  You might even offer to play that horrendous board game they got for Christmas – you know, the one that you’d rather skip playing in favor of a root canal?  Just keep reminding yourself that it’s all in the name of love.

4 – Special Valentine’s Day Meal – You probably have red plastic table cloths or red napkins left over from Christmas – or you picked them up for 75% at an after Christmas sale, so go ahead and decorate your table!  Dress it up in reds, pinks, and whites for a festive themed setting your kids will love.  Then when they sit down to a meal, it doesn’t have to be fancy, just Valentiney!  Use cookie cutters to cut heart shaped sandwiches with their favorite filling, or put that art school degree to work and shape a meatloaf or a pizza for your special kids.  Use food coloring to put a Valentine hue into mashed potatoes, biscuits, or muffins; and consider a dessert with strawberries!

The thing kids love most is your time.  If all else fails, read them an extra bedtime story, take time to listen to their playground tales, or volunteer to be the guinea pig as they try their hand at being a beautician.  Kids know that you love them when you make time for them, and your time is the one thing that really doesn’t cost you anything.  It is the best – and the cheapest – gift you can give your kids on Valentine’s Day – and every day.