Praise for Disney World’s Forgotten Tom Sawyer Island

Disney's Tom Sawyer Island Map

My family and I have been to Disney World in Florida a number of times over the years, but there are still some attractions we never had a chance to experience. They’re on our “list of things to do” and with each trip we check off on or two more items from the list.

On our most recent trip we discovered a little hidden gem of an area right inside The Magic Kingdom itself. It wasn’t the fastest ride or had the most amazing visual effects. It didn’t have a huge line and you can’t use FastPass+ to experience this attraction. You walk past it ten times a day and yet you may not even know it is there.

It was one of the most magical, engaging experiences we’ve had a Disney World… I’m referring, of course, to Tom Sawyer Island.

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How To Make Chicken Bone Broth At Home

Homemade Chicken Bone BrothLast year I stumbled on to a few different articles about the bone broth trend that was cropping up in niche food stands and restaurants all over New York City. In some circles bone broth is advertised as the latest super food, though the truth about bone broth nutrition is in question.

Either way, it sounded like a tasty, hearty drink (meal?) that didn’t seem to be terribly difficult to make. For the next few weeks I saved all my chicken bones and started to experiment with a simple and easy way to make some bone broth at home. I’m not a chef (or even a particularly good cook) but I was able to put together a straightforward and easy recipe outline that anyone can follow.

Here’s how I make my chicken bone broth at home:

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Divi WordPress Theme First Impressions

Divi WordPress Theme logoThe greatest strength WordPress as a blogging platform, other than its affordable price of “free”, is the ability to apply one of literally millions of themes to your blog or site and literally create an entirely new site with unique functionality.  But with great power (and complexity) comes great responsibility. All this power has been misused by some developers in the theme design community.  Theme designers have lately gone in one of two directions: either ultra simple niche themes that are static to the point where they can only work in one specific application, or “gallery” themes that have been over designed with so many sweeping, large photos that you get the impression that everyone is a graphic designer and a world-class photographer with a portfolio to share. read more…

How To Trim Off The Bottom Of A Cabinet (Without Removing It)

Trimming off the bottom of kitchen cabinetsToday’s new refrigerators are modern, energy efficient and filled with gadgets and features that we couldn’t imagine possible just a few years ago.  But a lot of today’s best refrigerators are designed with one fatal flaw that prevents them from being bought and used in more homes: their size.

Allow me to explain: Traditional refrigerators stood at about 67 inches high, 29 to 36 inches wide and about 31 inches deep (distance from wall to front of the door).  But many of today’s newest refrigerators try to squeeze in more storage space by expanding those measurements a few inches in every direction.  That means a lot of homeowners simply can’t upgrade their refrigerator because it will not fit into their current kitchen cabinet configuration.

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Balsam Hill Artificial Christmas Tree Review

balsam250My wife and I are in our forties and have never had an artificial Christmas tree… until now. Last year we finally got tired of picking lousy fresh cut trees, crawling under the tree to check the water, tying branches together to keep the heavier ornaments up and cleaning up pine needles… every single day. But there aren’t a lot of guides or helpful information about how to buy an artificial tree because artificial Christmas trees are cheap enough that you can buy them on a whim and just expensive enough to keep you from buying a new one very often.
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The End of Bedtime Stories

The End of Bedtime StoriesIt was a pretty good run, those eight and a half years.  We explored a lot of lands, made some great friends and shared a lot of laughs along the way.  We jumped from one adventure to the next, rode the seas with pirates, flew in rocket ships to distant planets and fought with superheros in our underwear.  We had fights with best friends, made up silly words, rode on magical creatures and forgot to do our homework.  We revisited familiar places, sounded out words on our own and had long discussions about what was real and what was not and what lay somewhere in the middle. We read a lot of books at bed time, my son and me.

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Black & Decker 20V Lithium Trimmer and Edger Review

Black and Decker LST420 ReviewAfter five years of struggling to get any more than 15 minutes of use out of my old battery-powered Black and Decker Grasshog electric trimmer I was ready to bite the bullet and take my chances with a gas trimmer.  While I was searching for decent trimmers I came across the Black & Decker 20V Max Lithium High Performance 12-Inch Trimmer and Edger. A new model of electric trimmer is not particularly unexpected, but what was surprising was the rave reviews and a price that was under $100. I like the idea of battery-powered yard tools.  They’re generally a little quieter, you don’t have to fight with cords, they’re cleaner to operate, they don’t pollute and they shouldn’t cost as much to use.  But like a lot of people I’ve been burned with electric tools with batteries that don’t last long, don’t offer a lot of power and tend to only last a year or two.

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Hacking Disney’s FastPass

Hacking Disney FastPassWhen you visit any Disney theme park (Disney World, Disneyland, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, etc.) you’ll find that every ride, every attraction and nearly every show includes a reservation system called FastPass+ which allows visitors to book ride times months in advance.

Disney’s FastPass+ attraction reservation system has been rolled out for a couple years now, but a lot of people, theme park veterans included, don’t know how to manipulate the system to get the best times for them. First, let’s quickly cover what what FastPass is and what it isn’t.

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Becoming a Cable Cord Cutter

I Became a Cable CutterYesterday we joined the ever-growing ranks of the cord-cutters, those people who are finally fed up with paying too much for hundreds and hundreds of channels of crappy entertainment.  Over the last few years we watched our Comcast bill go from about $95 per month up to $175 per month with no appreciable change in service.

To add insult to injury we also learned that a number of advertised “Xfinity” features that Comcast offered to most customers were not actually available to customers in our area due to our local branch office using older equipment. The features we did have worked sporadically or failed spectacularly.  Our kids cried more than once when an on-demand video suddenly stopped playing or wouldn’t start.  After our DVR crashed for the third time in three years we learned to watch anything we recorded within 24 hours of it airing or we risked never seeing it.

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A Blog About Life and Death

This is a blog about life and death.

Ahh, the joys of being a parent!

Ahh, the joys of being a parent!

Most blogs are about life. Eating lunch, going to the park, visiting friends, traveling around the world… all those things are part of life.  And many of the things that you’ll find on the internet fall into the same category: things you do in life.  But then you have kids.

Kids force you to go nose-to-nose with your own death.

Becoming a parent is one of the most dramatic life-changing events one can imagine.  Kids mess up your established priority system and become a strange extension of your personal being.  Having a child and becoming a responsible parent forces you to come to terms with what “being human” really means.

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