The Day I Stopped Looking Forward to My Teenager Getting a Driver’s License

Up until now, I was looking forward to my son learning to drive. I figured he could rely on himself a little more and could drive himself to friend’s houses, activities and even to the store. He could get to his dad’s place an hour away, pick up his sister, or run errands…life should get easier!

We got the car insurance in place (ouch!); we bought my in-laws car, and he aced the test for his learner’s permit. We have the proud photo of him holding it in front of the DMV.



The next step is 40 hours of practice, which is the law in Utah. I was fine when we practiced in the church parking lot. He took corners a little fast. There were some jerks and stops, but he’s a new driver. It’s to be expected. I felt proud of how calm I was. This is no big deal!

And then we ventured into traffic…

Don’t get so close to that parked car!

Brake before a turn!

Stay in your lane!

I tried to speak calmly and not raise my voice. I took deep yoga breaths. All the stress I’d felt that day was amplified, and I couldn’t handle it. I haven’t practiced with him since. I quit! Let his dad do the driving part of driver’s ed. That will be better, right?

This fear took me off guard. My first kid driving is bringing up all sorts of emotions that I wasn’t expecting. I’m not sure how my parents handled it when I was learning to drive.

He’s a careful driver when I’m with him. It’s when I’m not that worries me. Does he speed? Does he text and drive? Would he talk to his friends and neglect to pay attention to driving?

I’m know I’m attached to my smart phone—so is he. He texts constantly, and you’d think there was a competition to see how fast he responds. Can he resist sneaking a peek while driving? Can any teenager? Or any grown-up for that matter?

Then I have guilt. I haven’t always been the best example. I know he’s seen me do it since he was still in a car seat.
We talk about it now and both agree not to do it, but it’s like losing weight or giving up chocolate…it’s hard!

I thought maybe I could find an app to address the problem—to let me know how he’s driving when I’m not there and help him resist texting while driving. I’ll even download it! It’s just too dangerous to chance or to rely on willpower.

More than 300 people died from texting & driving last year, and more than 400,000 were injured. That’s a real crisis, and they say the real numbers are probably much higher. After all, who admits to crashing because he was posting to Facebook?

Every time you look at your phone, your eyes leave the road for an average of 5 seconds. At 55 MPH, that’s the length of a football field. Imagine all the things you could hit on a football field driving through it with your eyes closed…

Next month Bjorn will turn 16. In 3 months he’s eligible to get his driver’s license, which means I’m running out of time. He’ll be leaving home sooner than I can imagine and I need to adjust. I need to be able to trust him, to let him make his own mistakes, but not hurt himself in the process.


It’s just terrifying to me. I know it’s all tied into him becoming a person, an adult someday, independent from me, and I know I’m not the first mom to feel like this. But how do I cope? Tell me more experienced moms—how did you handle the fears, and does it get easier?

Fall Outdoors Activities To Do Near Ogden

Right now the mountains are gorgeous. It’s cooler outside and Ogden has many options for all levels. Explore these ways to get outdoors and really enjoy Fall before snow falls.

Fall is an ideal time to get outdoors. It’s not blistering hot. There aren’t as many people and the trails are clear. While it’s getting cold for all but the most die-hard water rafters, Fall is the time to go hiking, fishing, mountain biking or climbing.

“The season for biking and climbing is even better now that it’s cooled off a bit,” Andrew Arredondo said. Andrew is the Technical Coordinator at 2nd Track Sports on Canyon Road in Ogden. He says ski passes to Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, and Nordic Valley are selling fast. At Nordic Valley, there are special prices for teachers, police officers, fire departments, EMTs/Paramedics, college students and those in the military.

“Right now a lot of people are getting a jump on discounted season ski rentals.  All three of our shops have loads of them going out every day,” he said.

Hikes Near Ogden: Birdsong Trail

Ogden has the Bonneville Shoreline and others like the Birdsong Trail, which is near the Rainbow Gardens restaurant. To get there, take the 12th Street exit in Ogden and take it into Ogden Canyon. Just before the canyon, turn right on Valley Drive. Rainbow Gardens is on your left, and you’ll park right there. Look for the sign that says Rainbow Trail. At just over 1.5 miles, the hike is short enough for little kids. For more advanced hikers who have more time, the Skyline Trail is eight miles each way and starts at North Ogden Pass.

Fishing Spot: Causey

There are many spots to go fishing. One is Causey Reservoir, located 15 miles northeast of Ogden, just off Utah State Route 39. Causey Reservoir is one of the only places in Utah where you can fish for Kokanee Salmon. There is also trout. Fishing from motorized boats is prohibited, so bring a boat or a spear.

Mountain Biking – Including Guided Tours

There are several bike shops in Ogden that rent mountain bikes. Butch Wright, bike mechanic, and wrench monkey at Skyline Cycle on Washington Boulevard said mountain biking is in high gear. “Now’s probably the best season in Utah because it’s not so hot,” he said. The shop has been doing group rides since the 70s (check their Facebook page for details). “Ride the trails, look at the leaves,” Butch recommends. Popular rides for their customers include Monte Crisco and Logan Canyon.  

ATV Trails

ATV riding is big in Utah, especially in October (hunting season). Noel Cherrington at Triple S in West Haven said, “We’re getting into hunting season. People are getting them [ATVs] reserved. They rent pretty fast, so as soon as you know your plans, call to make reservations.” He noted that customers liked going places such as Tony’s Grove by Logan, Monte Cristo, and the West Desert. For guided ATV tours, check out Club Rec in Eden, Utah. While you’re in Eden, consider stopping by to relax and eat at Carlo’s & Harleys.

For those who want to pick up some equipment that’s not too pricey. Watch for the Weber State Outdoor Gear Sale And Swap in October. Another resource is the Ogden Outdoors Facebook Group, where outdoor enthusiasts will offer suggestions to just about any outdoor activity in the state, any time of the year. For rock climbers, check out Weber State’s Outdoor Program, which offers guided tours.

Starting Now: Essential Oil Classes with the Essential Oils Revolution

If you’re like me I have a lot of essential oils at my house. I just don’t know how to use them all. Of course I regularly use lavender, peppermint and lemon oils but there are several that I need to learn more about – I need essential oil classes! The key here is I don’t want a sales pitch or to talk to a distributor. I don’t want to join an MLM. I just want unbiased information.

Essential Oil Classes

Last year over 165,000 people learned about essential oils through the Essential Oils Revolution. It’s a free online conference with essential oil classes from 36 experts. It runs online for one week and this year it’s from Monday, August 22 to Monday, August 29, 2016. If you watch or listen live it’s free. After those dates you can purchase classes.

If you go for the free version then you need to listen while the conference is in session. After that the online access package for all of the expert talks is $99 for all of the classes. That includes everything, along with the videos, transcripts and everything for the entire conference. Click here to check it out.

Here’s how Essential Oils Revolution works: for the next week they have 36 essential experts who teach tips, strategies and secrets for using essential oils safely and effectively. They are in interview style with host Dr. Eric Z (Eric Zielinski). You can listen to the classes that appeal most to you.

For me, so far it’s the class on sleep and the one on blood sugar and diabetes (more on that in a minute). Each day has a theme.

Continue reading Starting Now: Essential Oil Classes with the Essential Oils Revolution

Cafe Rio’s New “Spicy” Burrito and Utah Fresh Mex Restaurant Reviews

It been burrito week for me. I was invited to try 3 restaurants and they are all in the same fresh Mexican category. They’re all in a similar price range too and all have locations in Utah (Weber County, specifically).

Cafe Rio’s New Spicy Green Chili Pork

First I tried Cafe Rio‘s new spicy green chili pork burrito at the Bountiful, Utah location that is just off the freeway on 500 West. Cafe Rio just launched the new Spicy Green Chile Pork and a hot habanero sauce. They have been working on these new products for a few years and this is rare, they usually don’t introduce new products. They are however introducing a new look – all new restaurants will have the new decor and the older ones will be updated.


Any new product Cafe Rio introduces has to blend with all of the other flavors and not alienate their current customers. I thought that the spicy pork tasted a lot like their other food and that they went too safe on this one. It was way too mild for me, even smothered in habanero sauce. I expected to at least have my eyes water and mouth burn. So if you’re already a fan and don’t want too much spice on your food, it’s something new to try. I like it more than sweet pork – which I find too sweet. One friend calls it candy burritos.

One fun element is their marketing campaign and ads which feature a woman named “Barbara Coa” who is not a fan of the new spicy pork. She wants everyone to “stand up for sweet pork” (or pork barbacoa). This is a really fun campaign and some people think Barbara is a real person who goes around crashing Cafe Rio appearances and ads with her own opinion. Check out more at

  • Cafe Rio doesn’t have freezers or microwaves in any of its restaurants and uses only fresh ingredients in every meal.
  • Each restaurant is up early every morning, hand-squeezing over 1000 limes per day, hand- scooping fresh avocados, and making secret recipes from scratch.
  • Cafe Rio’s signature sauces, salad dressings, and desserts are made by hand every day. Sauces cook for hours.
  • Every tortilla is handmade fresh in the restaurant.


  • Spicy Green Chile pork Launched in Utah June 11th, currently available only in Utah and Nevada
  • Spicy pork slow simmered for 7+ hours every day, in a mixture of peppers and spices
  • Cafe Rio has created a new spicy hot Habanero sauce, to accompany the Spicy Green Chile pork.
  • Spicy Habanero hot sauce can be put on any meal
  • Habanero Hot sauce is made fresh every morning with tomatillos, onions, peppers and habaneros
  • Spicy Pork can be put into any meal

I give Cafe Rio the BEST DRINKS AWARD for their amazing limeade and strawberry lemonade. It’s one of the few restaurants where I order anything besides water. I also LOVE their key lime pie and flan, including that they are not a huge portion, but come in small pie tins. Delicious!

Cafe Rio Giveaway – Enter to Win 2 Free Meals

I have two Cafe Rio tshirts in size Large to give away. Each has a tag that you can cut off and redeem for a free meal! Just wear your tshirt to Cafe Rio. To enter comment below and let me know if you prefer SPICY or SWEET. The contest will end on Monday, August 15, 2016 at midnight. One winner gets both tshirts and coupons. The winner will be announced on August 16 on this blog and I’ll update this post to reflect the winner.


I selected a random number based on the total number of comments and that ended up being comment #1, Windy Olson. I will contact her to give her the prize. Thanks to everyone who entered!


Moe’s Southwest Grill Review

A few days later I went to Moe’s Southwest Grill in Clinton, Utah (their second Utah location- there’s one in Layton too, by Target) with my friends from Yelp. I loved that they have tofu, black olives, grilled onions, green peppers and grilled mushrooms! Plus, they are the only one of the places I reviewed that has a salsa bar. Oh yeah! I thought that the dressings and vegetables were amazing. Note: right now if you download their app you get 50 points and that earns you a free burrito. Not sure how long that lasts, so don’t wait!


The day after I visited Moe’s, I tried to win free burritos for a year by being one of the first 100 people in line when they opened. When I got in line I was on track to get it. After standing in line for a few hours other people cut in line and I missed getting free burritos for a year by 5 people. When I got in line I was about #90 so I stayed. About 20 minutes before they gave out the certificates, more people jumped in and that was it. I didn’t make it.

Moe’s does this with every grand opening. They need to get/enforce some rules to make it fair. Communication was non existent. I drove 20 minutes each way and waited in the hot sun for nothing. Please guys, take a queue from Lagoon and ban people from saving places in line:


If you love their salad dressing like I did you’ll die if you go to their website and see the calories. Go for the vinaigrette or plow the calories into dessert. I had a smothered burrito with rice and black beans. Loved it.


Sweeto Burrito Review

Sweeto Burrito just opened their Riverdale, Utah location, and I got invited to try it out with my blogging friends. It was the most fun of all of the events. I loved it and didn’t want to leave. We had some Utah foodies there and we enjoyed chatting about the food and hearing the story of how Sweeto Burrito got started, directly from the owner. I may have shed some tears. Short summary: he had a family to feed, his advertising agency went bust, so he turned his long time hobby of making burritos into a food truck and lived on the road on/off for a year. In the end he expanded and used his graphic design skills to create Sweeto Burrito into a franchise with locations all over the country. I could tell this was either really expensive design (check out the menu, the writing and naming of the entrees is killer) or this guy really knew what he was doing. I mean check out the menu board that has a video embedded in it!


This was definitely my favorite Mexican quick serve restaurant this week in terms of atmosphere and style. I also loved that they have brown rice! I forgot to get it but I wasn’t too sad because the white rice was so good. Their rice isn’t heavy but super fluffy and light. In fact, I want to learn how to do that at home. Unlike the other two restaurants I reviewed here, you do not see the ingredients in an assembly line in front of you. Instead, you put in your order and they bring it to your table.


A lot of the menu seemed really high calorie and I’m not just talking about the deep fried cheesecake burrito with cinnamon sugar and raspberry sauce! The inside was melty and warm, pure yumminess. However, I just can’t bring myself to eat that many calories, so I only had a few bites.They don’t have calories listed yet but as they get bigger they will. I’m a little bit afraid to know but by creating a rice bowl light on rice and heavy on beans and other low carb ingredients, I’ll happily be back.

Sweeto Burrito plans to put in a drive through in and get habanero salsa that actually has some heat in it (can’t wait). This location is close to my house so I’ll be back. I got a rice bowl and onion rings, plus tried the cheesecake burrito. I’d skip the onion rings next time (even though they came with fry sauce I just wasn’t a huge fan, they were not bad but not something I’d crave), and I’ll try a higher calorie burrito when there’s a day I can spare the extra calories. They look truly delicious, I’m just a little bit afraid.


Now if I could just get the
– Mint limeade from Cafe Rio (a long time favorite, strawberry limeade too and the key lime pie)
– Veggies, salsa, steak, and tofu from Moe’s
– Smoked chicken, brown rice and hotter habanero salsa from Sweeto
I’d have the perfect burrito (for me).

Note (though it doesn’t change my opinion) that these meals were comped. This was an unusual week. I put on events like this and attend them sometimes, but somehow the burrito planet aligned and I got to try 3. I’ll have do a radical redirect and eat Thai or something next week. I’ll be back I just need to take a breather.

Dutch Baby Recipes and Ideas Your Family Will Love

affiliate-linksWhen I was growing up my family loved to make dutch babies (also called pannekoeken or german pancakes). I also love aebleskivers and crepes but they are so time intensive that I don’t make them very often. I found a place that has mixes that makes them so much faster.

Overall, I prefer making dutch babies because they’re easy. You make them in the oven and they puff up so magnificently. The inside is almost like a custard type bread and you can sprinkle powdered sugar on them and eat them with maple syrup. Delicious! What I never considered is how many dutch baby recipes and ways to serve them there are!

Pannekoeken is another name for dutch babies. They are fun and different.  They’re impressive; they rise eight inches above the edge of the pan like magic. You’ll love showing them off to their family and friends. Plus it’s not hard to make enough for a large family or crowd.

How do you serve dutch babies?
You can serve dutch babies/pannekoeken with syrup. There are garden pannekoeken, which are steamed veggies topped with a white sauce or light cheese sauce. There are fruit versions with whipped cream. Even cinnamon sugar would be scrumptious. There hundreds of ways to serve them!
Why I Love Dutch Babies / Pannekoeken / German Pancakes
  • They’re scrumptious.  Most folks are eating them for breakfast drizzled with syrup.  They’re really good.
  • They’re foolproof.  As long as you get the oven hot enough (they’re driven by steam), they’re foolproof.
  • They’re quick and easy.  Mix milk and eggs with mix (or use a recipe below).  Bake for 12 minutes.
  • They’re affordable and can feed a crowd.  Each mix makes nine 12-inch pannekoeken.  Each pannekoeken can be cut into 12 pie-sized wedges.

“Just made my first Pannekoeken in my new pan and it was delicious – very impressive and so easy. Had no idea they were so easy to make.”–Janice P.

Now that you’re feeling hungry…bring on the recipes!

Dutch Baby recipe

Dutch baby Recipe

dutch-baby-panFrom The Prepared Pantry. This dutch baby recipe is designed for an 11 to 12-inch Dutch baby pan or a skillet with rounded sides. This is a five ingredient–five step recipe that really goes together quickly.


1/4 cup butter
3 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour


1. Place the butter in a Dutch Baby pan or an ovenproof skillet with rounded sides.
2. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Put the rack in the center, not the top, shelf. When you turn the oven on, place the pan with the butter in the oven. When the oven reaches 250 degrees the butter should be melted. Remove the pan from the oven.
3. Whisk the eggs and the salt in a medium bowl. Add the milk. Whisk in the flour until nearly smooth. Your batter is now ready.
4. Pour the batter into the pan.
5. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the top starts to turn golden brown. Serve hot with your favorite syrup.

Peach Pannekoeken Recipe

It’s almost peach season in Utah and here’s a fun way to serve peaches for breakfast that’s a lot faster than making a peach pie or crumble!

1/4 cup butter
3 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 or 6 medium peaches, peeled and slices
peach syrup (optional)
whipped cream
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

  1. Place one-half cube of butter in a pannekoeken pan or an eleven-inch ovenproof skillet with rounded sides.
  2. Place the pan with butter in the oven to heat the pan and melt the butter.  Remove the pan when the butter is melted but not scorched.
  3. Whisk the eggs, salt, milk, and flour in a medium bowl until it is nearly smooth.
  4. Once the pan is hot and the butter melted, remove the pan from the oven.  Do not scorch the butter.  Pour the batter into the hot pan and put it back in the oven to bake.
  5. The pannekoeken will rise in the oven.  Bake for 11 to 15 minutes, until the top edges just begin to brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and slip the pannekoeken from the pan onto a large cutting board.
  7. Spread peaches in the pannekoeken, drizzle with the optional syrup, and top with whipped cream.  Cut into slices and serve immediately.

Dutch Baby Pan + Pannekoeken Mix Deal

These images show how dutch babies look from mixing to baking and onto the table. If you want to try making them, check out this offer.
Best Pannekoeken Pan!  
Only $25! Compare at $35!
Plus get the slicer and mixes–over $30 in freebies! 
With this deal, you get over $30 in freebies:
  • 2 large mixes that make 9 pannekoeken each
  • syrup mixes (many flavors to choose from from coconut to lemon and even marshmallow). You could even make a smores version of dutch babies!
  • Strawberry, mushroom, egg slicer valued at $7.49.

There are many more ideas, dutch baby recipes and more over at The Prepared Pantry.

10 Things I Do that Piss off My Husband

In honor of the “Love your spouse challenge” thread that is so popular on Facebook right now, I wanted to talk about my marriage. Here’s how the whole thing works. You are supposed to post pictures of you and your husband no Facebook for a week, then tag two other couples. It’s like a chain letter to keep the celebration of love going. First, it got a little cheesy to me and second, I didn’t want to annoy my Facebook friends.

Then I saw this on Facebook – a single woman mocking the whole thing with photos of her with Jesus! He’s her man! You have to click to see them all because they’re so funny. They are going viral. Here’s one:



Now I’m laughing and I think how can I honor my spouse and be funny too?? Well, I came up with a way. Here you go…

10 Things I Do that Piss off My Husband, Stephen

10+ Ways I Piss Off My Husband

  1. Leave a spoon or a knife out on the counter. It drives him crazy!
  2. Splatter food on the stovetop. Miss any of it when cleaning up.
  3. Run the dishwasher without putting up the signal (a paper towel that is placed beneath the dish drainer that hangs down over the top of the dishwasher).
  4. Drop food in the car crack (the space between the seats). Having food in the car at all is already risky, depending on his mood!
  5. Have mud or think about having dirt on your shoes. Example: Bjorn cannot get a job mowing lawns because then his feet will get dirty and he’ll track grass onto the carpet.
  6. Forget to wipe off the kitchen counter – which is about as bad as running out of Clorox wipes!
  7. Give him stuff or buy too much stuff. He hates stuff, trinkets especially. He says the word stuff like it’s a swear word.
  8. Overcrowding the freezer or our (small) pantry. Things need room to breathe! I once stored fruit in my car because I was afraid he’d get mad if I brought it inside.
  9. I’m late – although I’m significantly better than I used to be, I’m still late to church by a few minutes almost every Sunday he goes with me and it drives him crazy. He leaves without me!
  10. Letting terrorists into the house (little kids with a lot of extra energy who can make a mess).

Continue reading 10 Things I Do that Piss off My Husband

How to Treat Eczema – Severe Case of Eczema

If you want to know how to treat eczema, this is an incredible example from Dr. Cheryl Lee. I was introduced to dermatologist Cheryl Lee and her all-natural eczema cream after a friend of mine used to to help her baby who was suffering from an extreme case of eczema. All of her products contain apple cider vinegar, no fragrance and are formulated to be gentle on the skin.

I’ve since fallen in love with Cheryl Lee’s line of skincare products as well – especially the moisturizer and ointment. I put extra on after getting a nasty sunburn and the next day my face that was bright red was hardly red at all. Then later that week I burned my arm on a pan while cooking. I put a thick layer of bum cream (TrueLipids Double Action Boo-Boo & Bum Balm) on the burn and the next day it was significantly better. I’m impressed with how supple my skin is (I’m 44). People often think I’m in my 30s.

However, by far, the most dramatic results I’ve seen are from Dr. Lee’s eczema treatment. The Eczema kit works faster and lasts longer than anything else I’ve ever seen. As a mom herself, Dr. Lee just hurt seeing babies itch and bleed from eczema. It’s painful and just awful. If you have a baby or child suffering from eczema, instead of people saying or thinking how cute your baby is, they notice the awful redness and sores.

Cheryl Lee MD Eczema Kit is an all natural product that is,

  • 100% hypoallergenic which is also important because allergies can worsen eczema.
  • Free of over 80 harmful toxins and allergens.
  • Vegan and gluten free.
  • Fragrance free.
  • Very effective.

Here’s a preview of the photos that were sent in to Dr. Lee last week:

Eczema treatment

How to Treat Eczema

Continue reading How to Treat Eczema – Severe Case of Eczema

Do You Have Chronic Dry Mouth? What I Learned about Dry Mouth

I hardly ever write about health topics but I’ve recently been educated on a condition that a lot of people have (and many haven’t considered): chronic dry mouth. First, what is dry mouth? It’s a medical condition that is caused by a lot of different things, but specifically people on a lot of medications or with certain health conditions like diabetes or cancer are likely to have it. Many older adults get it (not because they’re older but because they are more likely to take more medications) or those with autoimmune issues. 25% of the population has dry mouth and it happens more often to women (70%) and usually they are postmenopausal. It can also be a condition that happens during pregnancy.

What is Chronic Dry Mouth?

Basically, dry mouth is when you do not make enough or any saliva on your own. It doesn’t matter how much water you drink, your mouth is still dry. It can be a painful condition at its extreme. Not only that it can cause very serious dental issues like excessive cavities, mouth sores, and more. If you don’t have this level of dry mouth but have sensitive teeth, this product line is still amazing – in this case, use the toothpaste.

If you want to see if you have dry mouth, take the survey. You’ll get a chance to get a free sample to try it out. The sample (the same one I got) has a toothpaste, gel, and mouthwash. 


Continue reading Do You Have Chronic Dry Mouth? What I Learned about Dry Mouth

Kids Summer Activities – Ways To Keep The Kids Entertained


Oh No! School’s out and you don’t know what to do with your kids! Where are you going to go? You need kids summer activities!

Every summer I stress out about how I will keep the kids busy and productive. I’d like to avoid video games and too much screen time. Ideally they will play outside in the nice weather.

no video games

To help me and you, we pulled together a list of several different

Kids Summer Activities 

Fun Summer Activities for Kids

Fireworks Craft

Continue reading Kids Summer Activities – Ways To Keep The Kids Entertained

BIG List of Disneyland Tips for Family Trips

Disneyland Tips

Our family recently returned from Disneyland this past February. As you know there’s a ton of planning that goes into a trip like this! I wanted to share what we learned that might help you and invite you to leave your best Disneyland tips in the comments!

Where to Stay Near Disneyland

We didn’t have it in the budget to stay on resort but we were literally across the street at the Fairfield Marriot. They have a pool and free wifi, but overall the rooms are spacious and pretty basic. The main attraction is how close it is from the Main Street exit of Disneyland.

We have been to Disneyworld and stayed further away and it took FOREVER to take the bus and find our car and drive back. You’re already tired from walking all day. So having your hotel so close is worth the extra expense. Plus, when our teen wanted to take a break he could walk back to the hotel without us.

disneyland tips

What to Eat at Disneyland: Food

We ate breakfast at the McDonald’s that is right by the hotel. There’s a Pizza Press restaurant right there too that we loved. Those were the most fast, easy and affordable options right outside Disneyland where we were staying. I also stopped at a small store on our way to the park entrance and bought some California oranges and they were so delicious!

As far as in the park, bring snacks and water. You usually have to wait so long to get food or find a drinking fountain that it’s a lot more comfortable if you pack your own in a stroller or bag.

Food at the park is expensive. Like a turkey leg and a piece of corn is $20. We had a character breakfast, which cost us $257 for 5 of us. Note: If you are doing a character dining experience, you can purchase your tickets ahead of time through Get Away Today and your taxes and tips will be included saving you up to 10% (which is a lot when it comes to Disney Dining)!

Tips for Buying Food (Inside the Parks) 

Oh the food….. it’s all AMAZING!

Something to know is that pretty much any food that you can find in Disneyland, can also be found in California Adventure. Yes, the food can be expensive, but keep my first statement above in mind and many of the meals are large enough to feed a couple of people (kids usually). Also, make sure to drink while in the parks and drink a lot. I try to always have a water bottle in my hand.

You don’t realize how much of a work out spending the day in the parks can be until you check your fitness tracker at the end of the day. So drink, drink, drink (I recommend water). Janet notes: we walked 12 miles.

Ok, back to park food. Some of the “must” do are Dole Whips (Sorry, these are only at Disneyland), Turkey Legs and Corndogs.

First up, Dole Whip.  It’s at the Tiki Room, but there’s always a really long line for them outside of the attraction, BUT if you go into the Tiki Room attraction waiting area, there’s a much shorter line and a Cast Member dedicated to serving those people waiting for the attraction.  Great thing is, you are allowed to take your Dole Whip in to the Tiki Room.  When I was there in July 2015 the outside line was LONG. So we walked into the queue for the attraction with 7 minutes before the next show.  We were able to get Dole Whip Floats in time to see the next show.

Turkey Legs. They sell roasted Turkey Legs in both parks.  They are HUGE and are really good. They also sell a Chile Lime Corn on the cob that’s good. You can find where they sell them in the Mobile App that I mentioned above, or the map you picked up.

Corndogs.  They sell a really good handmade/dipper corndog (and I don’t like corndogs). They are sold at the Little Red Wagon on the “hub” (end of Main Street USA near the Castle). You can’t miss it at lunch time, because there is a huge line.  I prefer to get them in California Adventure at Corndog Castle, because their lines are much shorter.  Corndog Castle is in the North West corner of the park, near Goofy’s Sky School. The reason that I like to get them at Corn Dog Castle in California Adventure is they make a great late night snack, while waiting to see World of Color and Corn Dog Castle is not far from the World of Color viewing area.

Other good places eat are Carnation Café (Main Street USA), Rancho Del Zocalo (Frontierland) and a personal favorite, Big Thunder Ranch BBQ (sadly it is now closed, but the food lives on at other table service restaurants in Frontierland and New Orleans Square).

Carnation Café is a sit down restaurant on Main Street USA.  It’s where my family and I had Christmas Dinner in 2013 and it was great.  It’s mostly comfort foods.  It’s not horribly expensive, but I recommend making reservations. If they have it, try the Baked Potato soup and/or the Coconut cake.  The Pomegrante Lemonade is a must for our family.<

Rancho Del Zocalo is cafeteria style Mexican food and is really good.  There’s plenty of seating and reservations are not needed (or offered).

Big Thunder Ranch BBQ is AWESOME! It’s all you care to eat (Disney’s version of “All you can eat”) BBQ and is oh so good. Their lunch menu has fewer items on it than the Dinner menu, but both are fantastic.  This place is closing permanently after the first of the year, so I recommend eating there while you still can.  Reservations are highly recommended. NOTE: Big Thunder Ranch BBQ is now permanently closed but some of the menu items are now available at other table service restaurants in and around Frontierland and New Orleans Square.

There are tons of places to eat in the parks.  Another option is Blue Bayou.  Ask most anyone who goes to Disneyland on a somewhat regular basis and they will tell you to go to Blue Bayou (reservations necessary) and get the Monte Cristo Sandwich.  I’ve had it before and it wasn’t one of my favorites. They have Mint Julep’s that are really good and refreshing on a hot day. The Monte Cristo is an example of a dish that will feed more than one person. You get two huge sandwiches.

They have what is called the World of Color Dining Package at three different restaurants in California Adventure also. This is one of my favorite things to do for a couple of reasons.  The first is that by purchasing the dining package you get really good Fast Passes to one of the World of Color shows later that evening. The second is that the food is really good.  Also if you time dinner about right, when you’re done, you’re in the perfect spot to watch the Pixar Play Parade. IF you get the Dining Package at Wine Country Trattoria that is.

It’s a Prix Fix menu, so you only get to choose from a few things, but all are really good. Though I recommend the Filet Mignon. The Pomegranate Lemonade is available here too.  Last time I was there, I drank about 8 glasses of it (what can I say it was a hot day). When it’s time for dessert, ask them to substitute the Tiramisu for an extra Macaroon, specifically the Pistachio flavored one. Then think of me while you eat it 😉

The trick is, it’s not cheap to do this, but in my mind the good “seats” to view World of Color is well worth it.

Food Outside the Park In Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney has some great food options. One thing to remember is that these are not Disney food options. Meaning that I don’t personally think it’s as good as the food in the park. My kids really like Rainforest Café (reservations strongly recommended). I’m not a huge fan of the food there, but it’s ok.

House of Blues is also there along with Ralph Brenan’s Jazz Kitchen (New Orleans food). They have a quick service window where you can get fresh hot beignets 😉

There’s a Earl of Sandwich on the far side (near the Disneyland Hotel) that is really good too.

Make Reservations Ahead for Full Service Restaurants

The quick service restaurants won’t require it, but I highly recommend that you make reservations for the table service ones.  You can try walking into the table service restaurants, but most are booked solid and you may not get a table, especially with large groups.

I will typically keep the Disney Dining phone number with me and call to check on reservations. Often, they do their best to accommodate, but if the park is busy, there’s a good chance you won’t get any.  The Disneyland Dining phone number is 714.781.DINE That is for the Table Service restaurants.  There are many that are Quick Service (much like fast food) throughout the parks.

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Thank you to David Muncey for his Disneyland tips included here:

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