Wishes And Pixie Dust

Follow the journey of a Wisconsin family of 4 who relocated to the Walt Disney World area in July 2011



As you consider a move across several states, the question that is always top-most in your mind <at least it was in ours> is trying to figure out how much stuff to move.  We finished unpacking Ben’s room today, and he was thrilled to have all his belongings back and put in some semblance of order.

We’ve discovered the little things that you don’t think will make a difference once you move really do.  We packed plastic storage containers–we could have easily donated them and purchased new–but it was nice to have that storage available when unpacking, and it really didn’t add that much weight to the truck.  You can never have too many storage containers, as what works in your house now will not necessarily be functional in your new home.  Ditto with toilet paper and kleenex.  It can be used as filler in the box, and it sure is helpful to have in the new place.

Pack as much in terms of everyday kitchen utensils and cookware and make sure it is the last box on the truck, and the first box off.  If you are using movers, remember it can take as long as a week to receive your boxes.  We enjoy eating out but it gets tiring after awhile, hits the budget hard, and is not the healthiest option.  You will need items for making meals, such as cookie sheets, pans, etcetera.  If you can, make up a list of what you will need to buy once you move into your house.  We had gotten rid of a lot of our items, and as we walked into Target our first day, we were really overwhelmed with trying to remember what we needed.

We’ve been saying from the start, pack only what you love.  However, we’d like to make an addendum to that:  also pack what you need.  We’ve had several items that we disposed of in Wisconsin, only to have to buy back in Florida.  It’s hard to spend money on items you know you had two weeks ago, that were in perfectly good condition.   It doesn’t make sense to dispose of everything you own.  We’re grateful for what we did pack, and it helps to make the apartment our home.  It really helps with the adjustment process, whether you have children or not.

Tomorrow the plan is to unpack the kitchen boxes.   We also need to contact maintenance as a lot of our outlets are not working, and Catie had ants crawling on her wall this morning. We believe its due to the fact they sprayed our building yesterday and the ants were coming inside to get away, but we will alert them anyway.  We need to contact Brighthouse as a couple of our cable outlets are not functional.  We’re also supposed to have ceiling fans installed this week in the bedrooms.  We have to say management is totally on top of everything and we are impressed with the way things are handled here.  We are blessed with living here.




The Movers Came And Left Us Boxes

Which was the whole idea, of course!  We weren’t sure if the huge tractor-trailer was going to make it into the complex, but there is a back entrance and it worked out just fine.  They unloaded in less time than it took to load the truck, so it was quite nice for it to be done in under three hours.  Of course now we are surrounded by boxes; but we are able to find what we need by referring to our list.  What a time saver that has been!  The movers commented on how well packed the boxes were, and were a little surprised at how little furniture we brought with us.

Looking back I believe we’re both regretting the decision to not move our bed.  We chose to do this because the mattress was not comfortable anymore, and it made financial sense to buy new mattresses when we arrived.  The airbed was a practical solution.  However, the airbed did not hold up its end of the bargain, and it blew a hole Wednesday night; repeated efforts to fix it with duct tape only made the hole bigger.  So we’ve been sleeping on the floor for right now, as our expected expenses were much larger than we anticipated (details in blog post coming),  and we are unable to return the airbed as it was purchased in a store that exists only in the Midwest.  We were able to unearth Ben and Catie’s body pillows, in the hope that laying on them will prove to be a little more comfier than the floor. We both feel, however, that the temporary discomfort of sleeping on the floor is just a minor blip.  We love living in Florida; we have found most people to be very friendly and nice and willing to help out.

So today we’ve been slowly unpacking boxes and trying to make our apartment our home. Catie has done an awesome job with her room, though we’ve discovered that Brighthouse will need to come back, because the cable outlet in her room is not functional.   The kitchen, although small, has some very roomy cabinets, so we’re confident that everything will fit. We’re thankful there are recyclable dumpsters in the back, which allows us to easily dispose of our cardboard boxes and packing paper.  It seems a little “un-green” to not Freecycle them, but with the gated entrance it’s not a viable option.

We also drove around the city of Clermont to sightsee and locate the public library and the middle school.  It was too late in the afternoon to go to the library, but we will do that during the week to check it out.  We took what we thought were pictures of the area, but they ended up being videos instead, so we will go around again later and take pictures and post to the blog.

We discovered our local Winn-Dixie grocery store, and we were quite impressed by it. Winn-Dixie does have a saver card (the only one of the three main grocery stores to have one), and we probably will frequent this store quite a lot.  We were originally put off by Winn-Dixie because we had visited one in the Kissimmee area two years ago while on vacation and were not impressed.  The store in Clermont, however, is fairly nice and the prices are not unreasonable.

After dinner we took time to swim in the pool, which is so nice to be able to do that.  Ben is turning into a regular little fish, and I”m sure it will not be long before Catie is as well. Tomorrow morning we will visit a church that is one of our top choices, and are really looking forward to getting settled into a church close to home.




A Magical Kingdom Day

As we were sitting by the pool writing up a new blog post, we received a message from our friends wanting to know if we were going to Magic Kingdom today, and if so, could we meet up.   Of course we took them up on their offer, and we had a wonderful visit.   We have been friends with Judy and Stephen Demeritt on Facebook for quite awhile, and it was so awesome to be able to finally meet up with them in person:

They are as wonderful in real life as they are on Facebook, and we hope to be able to see them on a regular basis.  It was hard to believe that we were actually meeting up with them, as we’ve talked about it for so long.  It was sort of a “pinch me I’m dreaming” moment.  🙂

Prior to our meet, we had time to explore the Magic Kingdom, and of course we had to bring Ben to see his buddy, Mickey.  Here he is in a hug:

We came out just as the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade passed by and got some great pictures:

And of course, our favorite:  Prince Naveen and Princess Tiana

As theirs was the last, we followed the parade down Main Street and it was just so awesome to have Prince Naveen waving down at us!

We left the Magic Kingdom early as the movers are coming at 8am tomorrow so it couldn’t be a late night for us.  We’re hoping to get caught up on some blog posts in the morning while the boxes are being moved in.

We hope all our readers have a blessed and magical weekend!




Food Shopping

In this blog post we’d like to take a look at two different supermarkets in the Clermont area, which one we’ll probably be using most often, and why.  We’re also going to compare and contrast the prices here versus what we were paying in Wisconsin.  To begin with, you must know that up to now we are loyal food shoppers.  We usually only frequent one grocery store on a regular basis.  We will on occasion pick a few items up from Wal-Mart, but they typically are items that are the Wal-Mart brand and not available anywhere else.

Prior to moving to Clermont, we researched grocery stores in the area and knew there were two stores we wanted to check out:  Publix and Sweet Bay Supermarkets.  We’ll start with Publix.

Publix has five different locations in the Clermont area:

  • Citrus Tower Village  (250 Citrus Tower Blvd)
  • Publix at Kings Ridge  (4351 S Highway 27)
  • East Towne Center  (13900 County Road 455)
  • Golden Eagle Village  (2430 US Highway 27)
  • Publix at Summer Bay  (17445 US Highway 192 Ste 11)

Publix’s ads run from Thursday to Wednesday, and offer some pretty decent savings.  For example, this week Tombstone Pizza is 2.99 each, red seedless grapes $1.69/lb, sweet cherries $1.99/lb, and several buy one get one free deals.   We felt Publix was very similar to our Festival Foods:  there is no loyalty customer card, the employees are super friendly, and it seems to place the customer as its main priority.  The non-sale prices, however, are quite high.   The average price on cold cereal is $4.99/box ($3.39 in Wis), and a small can of mushrooms was $1.75 ($.65 in Wis).  A couple of observations:  the price of jam seems to be cheaper, eggs are about the same, the store brand of hot dog buns are the freshest we’ve ever purchased, and the oranges were the best we’ve ever had.    Overall, Publix is a great place to shop to get the weekly deals, but too expensive to make it the only store to shop at.

Sweet Bay Supermarket has two locations in Clermont:  1718 E Hwy 50 and 1714 US Hwy 27.  The sale prices do not seem as eye-grabbing as Publix’s, but the prices overall are lower and fairly comparable to Wisconsin.  For example, a 6-pk of Coke products for $2.99, Kraft Mac & Cheese $.79 and Taco Bell dinner kit for $2.59.  This supermarket will mostly likely end up being our store of choice for most groceries that we need to purchase on a weekly basis.

There are some items that are higher irregardless of where we shop.  Milk is one example.  In Wisconsin the price of a gallon of 2% milk was $2.95.  In Clermont it averages about $3.49  per gallon. We bought a half gallon of Sweet Bay milk and a half gallon of Publix milk to judge taste, as being from Wisconsin, a dairy state; we are kind of picky on the taste of milk.  My kids are happy to report that Sweet Bay milk has passed their taste test; no verdict yet on the Publix milk.  One thing we will need to get used to is the small dairy section in the stores.  🙂  It’s about a fourth of the size of what we are used to.

Thanks for following along!  We have quite a few blog posts planned, so keep checking in and hopefully we’ll get them out to you soon!

Have a magical day!





Home Sweet Home

We’re not even sure how to begin the blog tonight because this day was simply the best day ever.  The 2 1/2 hour drive from the Florida Welcome Center to Clermont was so awesome, because we put Princess and The Frog music on, and we all just sang along to the tunes.  The music literally spoke to us, because as Tiana sings “there’s been trials and tribulations, you know I’ve had my share; but I’ve climbed the mountain, I’ve crossed the river and I’m almost there”.  Well, we’ve had our share of roadblocks, we’ve climbed the mountains in Tennessee and crossed many rivers, and now here we are, and it is just truly amazing.

The Gardens at Citrus Tower is a gated community: just look at the pure joy on Ben’s face as we enter!

When we first started looking for an apartment we were able to find out a lot of information on the internet, but you never know for sure what you are getting.  Honestly, the pictures do not do it justice.  It is way better than we originally expected, and we almost feel like we have “checked in” to a resort.  The main lobby is plush, with a few different areas branching off:  one is the office, one is like a recreation room for the kids to watch TV, hang out or play Wii; one area is the fitness center, one is the business center, where computers and printers are available, and then there are doors that lead out to the pool area, which features Wi-Fi, all new lounge chairs and a large pool with jets spraying out from each side. Grills are also available for resident’s use.

The apartment itself is wonderful.  It’s a three bedroom, two bath apartment, with gourmet kitchen and enclosed laundry room off the kitchen.  It features tiled floors in the front hallway, bathrooms and kitchen; all appliances (including washer and dryer, microwave, dishwasher and garbage disposal); and valet garbage.  Seriously, someone comes and collects the garbage Monday through Friday.  There are these cute little bench-like containers outside each apartment, and we suspect you place your garbage in there.   There is also a screened-in patio area off the living room:  we definitely plan on using that area once we are able to buy a table and chairs to set out there.

Front hallway and off to the right you can see the patio door:


Master bathroom decorated Mickey-style (you can’t see it but it has a garden-style tub):

Kitchen with laundry room door in the back:

We couldn’t be happier:  palm trees out the window, and a new home to live in.  From what we’ve seen of Clermont, it has everything within close driving distance.

Thank you all for following us to this point; watch for future posts regarding what relocation looks like.  Tomorrow we have our car insurance and DMV appointments, and will blog about that later in the day.