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Showing posts from 2011

Thursday Mini-Post: Educate & Donate With FreeRice

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Quiz yourself and fight world hunger




Free Rice is a non-profit website run by the United Nations World Food Programme.  They have two goals:

1.  To educate people for free

2.  To help end world hunger by providing free rice to hungry people

They've come up with a pretty simple and fun way to donate rice by playing an online game.  For each correct answer, they will donate 10 grains of rice through the WFP.  All you have to do is answer the questions correctly.  There is no cost to players.  The cost is picked up by sponsors who advertise on the website.

The game will keep track of your score, even if you don't sign up.  Try different subjects and bump yourself up to the higher levels.  The 2 math levels are easy, and they're more fun if you test yourself against speed.  I liked the foreign language quizzes, too.  Good luck!

Wednesday: Good for You, Good for the Home—Critter Christmas

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Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse...

That's because they were all snuggled up together in their cute little TVhouses!  Meeses & hammies need interesting habitats just like any other animal, and these critter-sized living rooms are a whole lot more fun than a fake log.      
To clean, I would wash everything once a week in hot, non-toxic dish soap (like Dawn) and rinse it all under hot water.  Drip dry, and voilà, the whole living room is clean.  I wish my own weekly housecleaning were that easy!
And, the price is right!  $14.99 for the Super Pet Sit-N-Snooze sofa, the Hide-N-See TV, the Sip-N-Snack lamp (a human-sized version would be a good idea), and the Snack-N-Sit rocker (another good one for humans).  $5.99 for just the TV.  The mousies at Petco in Walnut Creek (on California Blvd) seemed to enjoy the TV.  Both are on sale at the Petco website ($4.79 for the TV and $11.99 for the living room).  I love it that each little furniture piece has a different name.
Throw…

Tuesday's Cupboard—Coconut Macadamia Macaroons

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A mildly-flavored, light, sweet cookie made with coconut and macadamia nuts 


Every year, I try a new cookie recipe to go with my old favorite gingerbread cookie recipe from Fanny Farmer.  This recipe for coconut macadamia cookies popped up on Cooking.com this year, so I thought I'd give it a try.

First of all, this is an easy recipe without a lot of complicated ingredients, refrigeration, or steps.  The mild flavor reminds me of a cross between an English shortbread cookie and an Italian biscotti.  It is not a dense cookie, like most American coconut macaroons tend to be.  It is crunchy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside, like a good drop biscuit.  In fact, this might be a tasty accompaniment to a savory main dish like shoyu pork roast or some other kind of island cuisine.

You can substitute chopped almonds or pecans for the macadamias, but I like the buttery richness of the macadamias with the coconut.

These are a little bland if you eat them all by themselves.  …

Wednesday: Good for You, Good for the Home—Indulge Yourself, Disney Style

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Finding downtime at Disney World


Going commando at Disney World means charging into a pre-planned itinerary with a firm and fixed determination and military precision when it comes to scheduling, i.e. to hit all of the best rides, to make it to the shows on time, to see all of the animals when they're awake, and to dine at your favorite restaurants.

For families with kids, add pix and autographs with the Dis characters, as well as character meals.  Come to think of it, add character meals to the grown-up list, too, because it really is fun when the Dis characters show up appropriately attired in themed costumes.  What's not to love about a children's conga line led by Safari Mickey & Minnie, Safari Goofy, and Pluto in a pith helmet? Or, storybook dining with the beautiful Disney princesses at the Akerhaus Royal Banquet Hall in the Norway pavilion at Epcot?

Forget commando!  Disney World is comprised of four distinct parks—the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and …

Tuesday's Cupboard—Good Things to Eat at Disney World

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Outstanding service + upscale menu choices + memorable dining experiences


According to one of the servers at the Flying Fish restaurant on the Boardwalk, a typical park visitor in Walt Disney World walks an average of 11 miles a day.

That's about right for us.  We've been wearing our fitbit pedometers, and although our strides differ somewhat because of our 5-inch height difference, we've averaged around 11 miles a day.  Dodging motorized scooters and overwrought parents pushing double-wide strollers is a little like Mister Toad's Wild Ride meets a jump into hyperspace on the Mellennium Falcon.  It's even more fun in the dark.

It takes stamina to navigate around Disney World.  During one park hopping day between Epcot and the Hollywood Studios, I took 23,262 steps and walked up 10 flights of stairs.  Fitbit tracked 9.4 miles that day.  It really is impressive that Disney accommodates and makes it possible for everyone, including those with limited mobility, to sha…

Monday—The Reading Corner: Walt Disney World

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An empty nester's week at Walt Disney World in Orlando


Things to read in Disney World


1.  Down & Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow

2.  The Imagineering Field Guide to...the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot by the Disney Imagineers

3.  Menus from great restaurants around WDW (interesting back stories about the restaurants)



4.  Proprietor signs named after Disney employees in the shop windows on Main Street at the Magic Kingdom
5.  Special Event Schedules


6.  Daily newspapers delivered to our hotel room at the Polynesian

7.  Bird finding guides at the Animal Kingdom

8.  History of Disney film & animation at the Hollywood Studios


9.  Warnings & height requirements for roller coasters & rides (e.g. Everest, Star Tours, etc.)


10.  The teleprompter for contestants on stage at the American Idol Experience in the Hollywood Studios

11.  Exhibit signs

12. Signs for the countries in the World Showcase at Epcot

13. Museum exhibits