Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bucket List: California Adventure Park

If you haven't been to California Adventure Park in a few years then you're way over due for a visit. Last time I went was roughly over 3 years ago and boy has it changed for the better. This park is by far better maintained and organized than Disneyland park.

Line cutters are quickly confronted and asked to either go to the back of the time or leave. There was also an incident where a grown man tried to steal my son's cars mouse ears hat and security quickly confronted the man completely preventing any kind of altercation.

While I can understand people have bad days but the people at Disneyland park (especially at night) seemed impatient. There was no sign of that at the California Park. Employees were quick to answer questions, pleasant, funny, and did well when talking to my shy kids. 

 One quick tip, however, is to make Car's Land your first stop. The Radiator Springs Racers line will only get worse as the day goes by and will not let up when the fireworks and parade starts. Also if you're looking to get a fast pass, don't. Fast passes get sold out with in the first 1-2 hours of opening. Plus you'll still end up in a long line waiting at least 45 minutes later in the day during your 'scheduled time'. Your best bet is to get to the park as early as you can and head straight to the ride's line. If you make it between 9am - 9:30am you'll get an about a 90 minute wait. Before 9 am it can vary between 30-90 minutes. Anything after 10 am is 2 hour or more wait. But let me tell you it is worth it! Remember to bring your camera since there are plenty of picture opportunities while waiting in line. There are also employees selling drinks and candy all through out the line so make sure you have some cash on hand.

Also, especially if you have teenagers check out the Mad Hatter's T Party. I have younger kids and they loved it but the music was night club music loud and I worried about my toddler's ears. The hubby and I definitely plan to go back with out the kids one day. While it is 'kid friendly' it's obviously more for adults.

One think that disappointed me was the lack of characters. It was way more than Disneyland Park but I guess I got spoiled as child when it was common to see them all over the park un-guarded.

Another thing that upset me was the serving of alcoholic drinks, especially at the Monterey Fisherman's Wharf area. I just thought that was inappropriate and I did actually see a teenage girl sneak a swig of her mother's Margareta. Stuff like that is unavoidable and that's why I just personally think it should not be there at all.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bucket List: Disneyland

This past October we took the kids to Disneyland. It was the first time for my two younger kids. If you haven't been to Disneyland in while, it's changed. It certainly wasn't the Disneyland I remember as a  kid and it's even changed a bit in the 4 years since I last visited.

One mega shocker was the price. Last I went it was about $90 for a 2 park 1 day for each pass. Now it's $170 each. Yikes!

Another disappointment was when I was a kid, all the Disney characters walked around the park. The illusion was that was where they lived.  It was great seeing random characters walking around the park and even the parking lot where I remember was the first time I met Goofy as a child.

Even four years ago there were still many characters all over the park but they had 'guards' and you had to wait in line. It wasn't bad really. The lines were organized and everyone got to say hello and you could still get all the autographs if you really tried. However, that wasn't what was happening when I went. To be honest since it's was the Halloween season with just a week before trick or treat time I was expecting to see more villains roaming around. But that didn't happen. In fact we only saw two at a distance and a sign for Micky and Minni Mouse in Toon Town. This was a huge disappointment and being that I went on a Sunday so it wasn't like it was a midweek slow down either.

Another disappointment: Line cutters. What can I say? I can easily forgive little kids hopped up on sugar who are practically shaking from excitement. But that wasn't what was happening. These were grown ups, many dragging along kids with them to sneak into rides. This happened on nearly all the rides (and no they did not have the fast track passes.)

The employees would wrinkle their noses, people would complain, but the cheaters would jump in a seat all smiles and they would get away with it. It was like a game to them. The rides operators would roll their eyes but let them get away with it. Only once on the tea-cup rides did I see two groups of line jumpers being kicked out and asked to go to the back of the line. Those people were easily in their mid twenties and far past the age of being seen as just a bunch of stupid teenagers.

Over all it was still a great time. Now I know a lot of people put Disney down for being money hungry, blah blah blah. But really, can you put a price on this?

It was so worth the high-way robbery price tag.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

How To Get Rid of Root Aphids & the Ants that Farm Them

Ok, here are my results for getting rid of root aphids and ants.

Let me first explain that I had a severe infestation on my vegetable plants. So some of there may work for a mild case.

Ladybugs: They work well but they require a lot of prep. If you don't have plenty of ladybug attracting flowers in your yard already don't bother buying them. However, a research study found that mixing melted sugar with water will attract ladybugs and lacewings ans saw an average population increase of 300% -500%. If you already have a bad infestation in the soil it can prevent seeds from germinating and growing properly to already planted seeds it may not help. They will only eat what is on the surface and are likely to fly away.

Dish soap/water mixture: I have used this method on regular aphids with great results with in a 3 week period based on a once per week application. On root aphids this mixture didn't do too well. There was a noticeable reduction in the population with in the first few days after the first application but the population boomed again with in a week. The white 'eggs' that look like weird feathery roots remained unaffected and once hatched the cycle starts all over again. Application would need should be done 2x a week for as long as needed.

Dish soap/vegetable oil/water mixture: This has so far given me the fastest and most notable results. After two days I barely say any crawling (or flying) aphids and when I turned over the soil I didn't see any larva that was previously very obvious a day before application. However, I had a huge ant population boom followed by an increase in the aphid population (about 1/3 of the population before the first application.). This over all gave the best and fastest results and I highly recommend it.

Ortho Diaznon Ultra Insect Spray Multi- Purpose Insect Killer: Since the aphids were all over the yard I ended up giving in to a commercial product. This did an amazing job. All of my flower plants started a late bloom and had a nice growth spurt.

Other products that people swear by: diatomaceous earth, nematodes, and pyrethrum based insecticide.

Another very important part of eliminating aphids is to get rid of the ants that are probably farming them. Here are some methods that I have tried. The ants I am trying to get rid of are large black ants and small biting red fire ants. Both are extremely stubborn. All methods bellow, however, worked on small black ants.

Boiling Water: This seemed to extremely upset the ants and made them go into a panic mode but all it did was have the move the entrance of the ant hill one to three feet across for both type of ants.Warning: This method can harm plants so be careful where you pour.

Raid Spot Treatments: I tried just spraying the entrance with common Raid ant spray in a can but this didn't work well. Many large black ants died but they didn't even bother moving the ant hill. It worked better on the fire ants but didn't eliminate all the ants hills which only moved about a foot away.

Coffee Grounds: Both types of ants didn't even bat an eyelash at this method and didn't even bother moving their hill. They didn't even get upset over it. The red ants, however, avoided garden area where coffee grounds were on surface.

Boiling Water/Vegetable Oil: They were clearly upset but not enough to even move.

Create a Turf War: Shovel ants from one ant hill to another and vise versa. This actually worked! Since ants are territorial they are likely to start fighting each other. Two days after I did this all the red ant's hills were abandoned! A week later there were no sign of them. The large black ants, however, are still around but at least they don't bite me every chance they get.

Dig a hole & fill it up: (Used only on the large black ants) I did this purely out of frustration but it seemed to work at first but then they all showed up again in their same spot. Ant holes are essentially water proof because their tunnel system so I dug a hole right where their ant hill was. After that I filled it up with water at night (so there is less evaporation) for 3 days. WARNING: If you try this wear long pants and tuck them into your boots because the ants will attack. Also try stomping occasionally to shake them off. DOUBLE WARNING: Make sure that you're not digging over any pipes. In the U.S. you can call 811 and they will send over someone for free to mark where the utility lines are at.

Gasoline: (DO NOT TRY THIS) I really wanted to try to avoid this method for obvious reasons but my husband was getting tired of these ants (they even survived store=bought undiluted concentrated sprays last year) they were starting to become aggressive and the bites were extremely painful. He poured some gasoline into the hole (it wasn't near my vegetable garden or any other plants). And well, it works ... for 3 days until the ants that survived underground dug themselves out and formed a new any hill about a foot and half away. 

Results: Ants win. The large unnamed black ants have had a huge reduction in population but nothing seems to get rid of them so I surrendered.