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Disney Pin Trading on the Cheap


A look back at our Disney trip — even though it’s years later, trading pins is still the way to go to keep the kiddos happy!

When learning that a trip was planned to Disney World, an acquaintance suggested pin trading for my six year old grandson Eli. So we decided to give it a try. I already knew that pin collecting is extremely popular, but was amazed at how many actually do participate.
It all starts with the Disney Cast Members (Disney employees not dressed in costume) who participate in pin trading. They wear a lanyard with pins or have a pin pouch attached to their belts. There were lots of Cast Members who trade pins, including quite a few of the staff at the stores, those monitoring the lines at the rides and many just walking around.

Want to trade pins?
Just ask a cast member to trade and as long as they are not busy with someone else, they happily oblige. In five days of pin trading we only had one grouchy person who obviously was not enjoying that part of her job. The pins the Cast Members trade include older pins, current pins found at the stores and recent issues.

Buying Online
The problem is Eli also had to have a stock of pins to trade. I knew that buying at the parks could be expensive, so before we went we checked other options. There are numerous online vendors that sell Disney pins; After checking out the options, we bought 30 pins from a vendor selling authentic Disney pins for $1.35 each. No choice, bulk only, but postage was included.

When the pins came in the mail, there was a great assortment of pins, many Eli wanted to keep for himself. But we suggested he take them in case there was a trade he might want more. Perhaps buying 30 pins was a bit much, but it kept Eli busy and happy with pin trading almost the entire time. And at $1.35 a pin, was much cheaper than the $6.95 – $12.95 for the individual pins available at the Parks.


And if you’re lucky the youngsters will be so busy with trading
they won’t even realize they’re collecting on a budget.

Pins Everywhere!

There were Disney pins everywhere. Kiosks and almost all stores had a selection, with a few stores devoted to pin collecting with literally had walls of pins. Make no mistake about it, Pins are a huge business for Disney and along with thousands of pins, there are also pin accessories. Books to put them in, refills for the books, lanyards of all descriptions, and decorative charms to hang from the bottom of the lanyard.


A Lanyard is a Must
Eli wanted to buy a couple of pins, but after convincing him to wait a day or two, he wound up finding the pins he was interested in during his many trade sessions. We did buy him a Chip n’ Dale lanyard and pendant, along with a small pin book.

Wearing the lanyard signals that one is a pin trader and he was approached by a few other youngsters to see “what he had” for possible trading.

Focus Focus Focus
As with all collecting, it’s best to focus in on a particular theme and character. There are so many categories in Disney pins, that one can easily get carried away. Luckily, the bulk pins we bought had several of Eli’s favorite Disney characters – Chip ‘n Dale. He quickly decided he would look for Chip ‘n Dale pins. There were loads of them, so he wound up with quite an assortment. Two pages worth! He did pick a few other pins, such as the Disney characters with Star Wars costumes.

His favorite pin trade? A Wall-E pin that was selling at the stores for over $12

The first pin trade is the hardest.
Eli was a little hesitant at first, but quickly got into the spirit. After a few trades he said “my friends who went to Disney World didn’t do this, this is fun. Wait till I tell them about it!” It gave him something to do besides continually checking out all the stores and filled time while waiting in line. It still can cost a bit of money, but there is a lot of bang for the buck when buying pins beforehand.

Tips for Pin Trading

  • Focus on particular characters or themes.
  • Get a supply of Disney pins before leaving for the Parks. Look online for bargains, but make sure they are authentic. (check seller feedback)
  • The first pin trade is always the hardest, once you get a smile and a pin you’re looking for, the rest is easy.
  • It might take a bit of time to find the ones you’re looking for, take your time and approach everyone with pins, but don’t feel you have to make a trade.
  • Some folks collect only Hidden Mickey pins. A small Mickey head silhouette is on each pin, these pins cannot be purchased and are only available from Cast Member trading, but appeared to be readily available in trading.
  • The character lanyards are fun to have, but are certainly not necessary. On a budget? Have a small pouch that the pins can be secured to or bring a lanyard from home.
  • There were a few different styles of Disney pin books at the parks, we bought a small one with refillable pages, but it quickly filled up. We’ll probably get a larger book for his pins, but will save money by looking online.
  • Want to get in on the fun, but don’t have enough pins to trade? Another option is to look for the mystery packs at Park stores. There are usually two pins in a pack, you don’t know what you’re getting, but the pins are lower in price. Still costly at $5. each, but excellent trade material.

Most important have fun with the collecting. It’s not only for kids, lots of adults were also happily involved in the trading.

A Perfectly Normal Day


Today was one of the best days ever. We were celebrating my birthday and daughter Susan planned the day for me.

She picked me up and we hit a few craft shows in area, the first one was pretty small and not very promising. But we wound up buying some goodies at a bake sale and found a great Christmas present for a friend.

One of the vendors had painted signs/sayings for sale. One sign was perfect for Susan, but it was pretty big, so reluctantly we passed on it. We continued visiting with other vendors and a few minutes later the painting lady came up to Susan with the sign and said she wanted her to have it. She insisted upon her taking the sign. We both cried.

After two more small craft shows we wound up at a nearby cajun restaurant that we don’t get to eat at very often, especially since the guys in the family are not fans. Sorry guys, but it was as delicious as always.

Next it was time to head home for a short rest and nap.

A few hours later all five of us went out for a great dinner, I got to open birthday presents from my family that knows me all too well and an early bedtime soon beckoned.

Like I said, a perfectly normal day.

When a member of your family has a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis, those days are what we all long for and are so rare, but absolutely perfect when it happens.

The Curtains That Ate the Christmas Tree.


A look back . . .

Yes, I really do know better. But the day after Thanksgiving sales had me pumped up and I wasn’t thinking. At least not about turning off the rotating Christmas tree stand as I normally do when leaving the house.

A rotating Christmas tree stand is a wonderful way to show off your ornaments. We’ve used the EZ Rotating Christmas Tree stand for several years with a six foot white metal tree filled with gold glass ornaments. We finished decorating the tree and it looked spectacular.
The golden glittered ornaments sparkled as the tree rotated, each piece getting the spotlight as it came into view. Satisfied, we left the house to do a little more shopping.

An hour or so later we drove up to the front of the house and noticed the tree in the window. It looked very close to the glass. Like touching it. I don’t normally panic, but I did!

When we get inside to investigate, the six foot metal tree, with over 100 Patricia Breen (very fragile and expensive) glass ornaments, is at a 45 degree angle touching the window. It’s held up ONLY by sheer curtains that are completely twisted around the top twelve inches of the tree. The sheer curtains are actually holding the tree very securely, but at the 45 degree angle.

It took us over fifteen minutes just to untangle the curtain and we could only do that by taking the curtain rod off the window and the top portion of the tree off. Remember, we still have over 100 glass ornaments dangling from the tree. Two of us are holding the tree and the third person is trying to get the curtains and tree separated from each other. The curtains were very tightly wound around the tree.

We finally untangle everything and gently set the tree upright, but the tree is very wobbly in the base. I tighten the screws, but it still tilts at least ten degrees.The next day all the ornaments are taken off and the tree is put back in the original stand that came with the tree in an effort to make the tree stand straight.

It doesn’t.

The metal trunk appears to be straight, but the whole tree tilts in the holder. The next step is to get 3/4″ dowels and white duct tape, and tape the dowels to the metal trunk very tightly. The tree is finally stable, straight and doesn’t tilt. Next I wrapped gold garland around the dowels and tree trunk to hide the dowels.

And to answer the questions I know you are thinking:

  • We love the EZ Rotating Stand and will continue to use it, but not with that tree!
  • The closest tree branch was at least 15″ away from the curtains when the tree was set up.
  • Not one single ornament fell of the tree during the whole ordeal and none were broken.
  • Ornaments were not wired on, just were hung with long decorative hooks.
  • I always turned off the rotating stand when leaving the house, but apparently the sales were too big a draw that year.
  • The tree was never able to be repaired and was thrown away after the holiday season.

King of the Prairie


Tonight will probably decide if the Thunder will be finished for this season by Sunday or whether we will live to fight another week.

In the scheme of things it’s just a small blip in all things OKC and NBA. The Thunder has had an amazing run since coming to OKC. It’s been exciting, fun, frustrating and downright disappointing at one point or another. We’ve been season ticket holders since day one and have been to at least at 90% of the games each year. The golden days of Serge, Durant, Thabo, Nick and Westbrook are long gone and are remembered fondly. But I can say without equivocation that this year, the Durantless era, the Ibakaless era and Waitersless era has been the most exciting to me. We’ve gone from a vagabond team at the beginning to quickly becoming an elite team and now to what the pundits call a non-playoff team. Judging from the last two games, they are apparently right in theory. But according to Russell Westbrook, that’s just not so.

He has willed, fought, pushed and shot the team into the playoffs. Not the team, but Westbrook. Our team has shown such promise at times, that we’ve would become giddy with anticipation of what was in the future. And others times, we can look at them on the court and ask….who are these guys?

Westbrook gets criticized for taking too many shots, for not taking enough shots, for rebounding under the basket and for not rebounding under the basket. No matter what he does, according to some, it’s not enough. I just shake my head when I read the comments. But I guarantee that any real NBA fan, would love to have him on their team. He can “play team ball” but he has to have the team behind him in basketball ability, not in cute videos (although I admit I love them).

At times I’ve wanted to play general manager, but not this year. I don’t have a clue what Presti is going to do, actually we never do. But I don’t even have a clue what I think he should do. Blow up the fringes of the team and try to replace with better players? In that case who do you get rid of? Because I guarantee that most of the ones on the fringe will develop into strong players in the next few years and I for one, don’t want to sit and watch a Sabonis and Abrines killing it on another team, after we traded them away for yet another draft pick or B team player.

I don’t envy his job at all this year, but since everyone says he is brilliant, I’ll wait to see what magic he can cook up.

The above design can be ordered on a shirt:

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HelloFresh Meal Delivery


We’ve all seen these advertised — easy meal options delivered right to your door. I’ve toyed with the idea of ordering, but often there have been drawbacks. Many are only in metropolitan areas or several ingredients still have to be purchased locally or the cost is prohibitive when shipping is added.

I stumbled upon a review for HelloFresh and was intrigued, mostly because of the idea of getting some new ideas for meals. As a senior citizen, I just don’t enjoy cooking as much as I used to, part of that is we are neither gourmets or gourmands. I also liked the idea of everything being delivered with no last minute shopping. (Scroll down for a link for a $40. discount!)

So I bit the bullet, placed my order and waited for the result.

Hello Fresh Ingredients

Yesterday a very heavy box arrived, shipped via UPS. It contained three rectangular boxes with sealed ingredients for each meal, two huge frozen cold packs and three packages of meat for the meals. At the very top of the box were three colorful 8 x 11 heavy-paper recipes with lots of illustrations.

Last night was our first meal, Thai Spiced Pork and Rice Noodle Stir-Fry. When I looked at the ingredient box, I kept thinking this is not going to be enough to satisfy us — I was so wrong. It was filling and neither one of us finished our entire dinner. It took about 10-15 minutes to cut up the veggies and another 10-15 minutes until the time it was ready to eat.


Stir Fry Pork

Verdict — Good to Very Good.

What I liked:

  • everything was included
  • delivered right on schedule
  • food was fresh tasting
  • meals I probably would not have prepared on my own
  • ability to choose between several meals offered
  • price seems reasonable
  • appears to be easy to cancel or stop for a week

What I didn’t like:

  • not all ingredients were clearly marked
  • concerned that foods will not stay cold during Oklahoma summer deliveries
Fish container

And what I thought was fun — the adorable little containers for some of the ingredients!

Price is about $10. per meal per person, but drops down a bit for family size plans. Yes, I could probably make it cheaper, but I would have to do a lot of shopping! If you’re intrigued or interested in trying this out, check out this referral link to save $40. on your first order.

Don’t lie to me. Ever.


I was just reading a personality assessment, not about me, just something in general. When this particular part hit me and hit me hard. I was talking to myself about this earlier in the day, thinking I should “forgive” someone who lied to me several years ago. Not only lied to me one time, but carried on the deception for months. I cannot even talk to them anymore, they are basically dead to me. And still are years later. I can take unpleasant news, I can take it if you don’t like me, but don’t lie to me. Ever.

All it takes is a simple glance in your direction to know you are lying to us. A lot of people don’t realize this, but being lied to really sucks for an empath. We feel it ooze into every aspect of the relationship…and it usually ends them.

As I said above, this hit me particularly hard today because an old friend’s name surfaced earlier, someone who I hadn’t talked to in years — because they lied to me. At the time the truth would have bothered me, but I would have gotten over it and all would have been good.