Friday, November 8, 2013


We did it and we survived and we learned a lot and we had an AMAZING TIME!

Here is my first tips and tricks post for all of you thinking about going.

  1. DO IT- Just go - Get a good travel agent (I can recommend one for you) and just do it
  2. Stay ON PROPERTY - seriously they make it so easy when you are on property that you want to come back every single chance you get. 
    1. They will take your bags from the airport for you and deliver them to the hotel, (I screwed this up and we didn't use it and was so pissed when I realized my mistake) 
    2. The bus takes you right to your resort from the airport
    3. They transport you to and from the park every day with a little wait time (during NON PEAK SEASON anyway)
    4.  They have these Magic Band tickets that you wear on your wrist and you use to swipe for everything - it's your hotel key, your credit card, your dining plan, and your link to all the pictures they take of you to the park. It's AMAZING!!!
    5. If you stay at a Monorail Resort - you have tons of easy, really yummy options for food
  3. Suck it up and spend a little more and stay at a Moderate resort - preferably on the monorail (we will do this next time) We stayed at All Start Movies and it felt very cheap - no microwave or fridge and the food court was CRAP and it wasn't very easy to just hop over somewhere else to grab a bite to eat but you could if you were already on the monorail line.
  4. Get some gift cards ahead of time for your kids - you will spend crazy amounts of cash on souveniers (or in our case - new toys - you can't avoid it the stores are EVERYWHERE) but I decided ahead of time to give them $100 each and they could spend however much of it they wanted. Lucky for my kids - they picked a bunch of cheap little toys so they got a ton of new stuff which helped during long line wait times.
  5. Give yourself downtime if you can afford it. We only did 3 days of park tickets so we felt like we had to do as much as humanly possible in those 3 days - and the first day we got there - the weather was too cold for really swimming so we missed out on the pool and the poor kids wanted to go in so badly every day after that. Granted we got to do everything on our list except for 1 show at Hollywood Studios - but our kids were exhausted and it mostly ruined our second day because they were so sick of waiting in line and everyone was frustrated - we should have spent day 2 morning at the hotel pool and headed into the park after lunchtime to give them some downtime. 
  6. DON'T bring a booster seat on the plane - they aren't approved for air travel so you can't use them. We lugged that stupid thing all over to get it on the plan only to have them take it away and then we had to lug it around after that and it was ANNOYING!
  7. Bring stuff to entertain the kids on the plane. Our kids aren't really into electronics and only watch super young kid shows so the TV on the plane wasn't helpful and we had to work to entertain them for the 2 hour flight.
  8. Stay at a hotel where you can have a fridge and a microwave and bring some food with you. Seeing as how we were at the budget resort and spent 2 whole days at Magic Kingdom - we felt like we spend a WHOLE LOT OF MONEY on some REALLY CRAPPY FOOD. At least they give 2 sides with the kids meals - so we could get yogurt and grapes for our kids with whatever junk they were eating - but they certainly didn't eat right and my plan of making oatmeal got foiled when we had no microwave. Also, the lack of decent coffee was a HUGE bummer. Disney makes SO MUCH MONEY OFF OF YOU while you are there - I wish they would at least give you free coffee at your hotel. Jerks
  9. Plan your Fast Pass options ahead of time and make sure you maximize them. Fast pass is a way for you to preselect a time to go on a busy ride - they give you a one hour window and you return during that one hour and get right on. We fast passed Disney Junior show and then got in with little to no wait on our own - so were able to recycle that fast pass that we didn't use to get on something else with no wait. You can book these ahead of time online AND make changes in the park throughout the day. You are allowed 3 per day and they saved our lives and it wasn't even that busy there!
  10. Bring a book for the characters to sign. It can be anything - we just got notebooks from the dollar tree but it was lots of fun to collect all the autographs.

These are just a few of the things that we learned that we will be thinking about for the next time we go - which will be next year. We had such a great  time that we are excited to try to plan a return for one of the marathon weekends. Dave wants to do a half marathon - I'm considering training up for a 10K. Whether we take the kids back with us for that trip or not - we aren't sure yet. It was great to see Ben have such a great time and meet all his favorite characters but his age appropriate behavior certainly put a damper on certain parts of our trip and part of me wished we had left him at home - but this trip was specifically for them so I'm glad he got to come!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Mom, a borrowed sewing machine AND Halloween!

So, 2 weeks ago, I didn't even know how to thread a sewing machine - after MUCH trial and error and thanks to a good friend who let me borrow her machine, I am now a sewing Rockstar.

O.k. Rockstar is a bit premature - but I can use the machine and have figured out quite a few things to do with it including tailoring an old robe to be a Captain hook Jacket, making a circle skirt AND puffy sleeves for my snow white costume and more.

It all started with Katie saying she wanted to be Rapunzel and me seeing a SUPER cool Rapunzel like hat on Ravelry - so I made it.

I actually just added the ribbons and flower tonight cause Katie said the little girl in the store had prettier Rapunzel hair cause it had flowers in it. (The fake barbie hair stuff you can get at the Disney store)- I'm hoping when she wakes up she will approve of my attempts to improve my original design.

Then Ben decided he wanted to be Jake. Easy Peasy!!! 
Googled it - found inspiration and hand sewed a vest out of the felt you can get in 8.5 * 11 inch sheets and some fabric glue - made him some fake boots to put over his pants and sneakers plus the strip of Red Fabric we cut out of one of Daves old 5K shirts for his headband - add a little hair gel plus the sword and spy glass  toys my mom had bought him over the summer and there you go!

A Perfect Jake!

Then Ben decided that Dave should be Captain Hook - so our brainstorming began.

I had this robe that I have had for years now. Random - but I only really used it when I was pregnant and for the first 6 months or so after having both my kids. It was in my closet and I decided to recycle it as Captain Hooks Jacket. 

Then I went to the craft store and bought really cheap frilly ribbon and sewed 2 layers onto the sleeves. (You can totally see the string if you look close but - give me a break - I'm a beginner and only had limited supplies)

 Then I figured out how to tailor the robe a little to take it in so that it fit Dave better. In fact, I just did a little extra tailoring tonight and am kind of impressed! Dave put the Gold Duct Tape all around it and created a sash for himself too. We bought a hook and a hat and were ready to call it a day.

 But then I thought - I could make him a "wig" out of yarn - so I sewed this up tonight...
I know - it looks like a beard - it's not and it looks cool under the hat. Tomorrow I'll send him to the dollar store to get a fake mustache that we will have to trim into Captain Hooks skinny minnie mustache before tomorrow night.

Then there's me.
I decided late one night when I couldn't sleep that I could be Snow White. So, I started pinteresting like crazy and found all kinds of ideas. At first I almost just got a shirt and yellow pants but then I said - hey wait - I can do better than that... so I pinterested and googled some more and found some super helpful pictures and ideas on how to make Snow White Sleeves - so I set out and copied those - added a plain blue shirt - made a sloppy circle skirt which I trimmed with some ribbon and borrowed one of Katie's head bands. I also made a cape. Now - it's all messy and sloppy and completely unfinished looking if you look up close - so please just stay about 3-5 feet away from me tomorrow and then you can be impressed:) 

Tonight I made the mistake of trying to add the bling that is on Snow Whites corset- I had bought some really thin gold ribbon and at this point, to be honest I'm kind of over this project and would like to get my life at night back - so I tried to add it quick and ended up stretching the blue top too much so now the ribbon is kind of bunchy and not straight like I wanted - but there's nothing I can do now - so on it stays... I'll try to make the best of it and not be too disappointed.

Moral of the story - with Pinterest and Google - you can do ANYTHING!!!!!!

This makes the 3rd year I've made costumes for us and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. They aren't fancy and they aren't super GREAT looking - but it's a wonderful creative outlet for me and really helps me wind down at the end of a long day juggling working mom duties. Yes, I get burnt out because I end up doing these things last minute so I overdose on projects for a few weeks at a time after the kids are in bed - but it's totally worth it. I get such a kick out of it and for now at least, the kids do too.

I can't wait to see what next year brings!!!

Happy Halloween!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Back to school lunch organization

Being a Full Time Working Woman and a full time moms means I'm frazzled, stressed, and TIRED. I also look for every possible way to try to make our lives a little bit more organized and efficient.

When the kids went to daycare full time I started snack drawers for them. They each have their own so that all I have to do is reach into their snack drawer and grab enough snacks to throw in their lunch box (which is located next to said snack drawer) and I'm done.

It started as a joint drawer- but seeing as how I am always looking for ways to save even fractions of a second if I can, I decided individual drawers were more efficient because I didn't have to A) locate a Sharpie and label the snack with their name in a frenzy or B) look for their name on the snack to make sure it went into the right lunch box.

Once a week I get all my supplies and I sit in front of the TV and I pre-package and label away. Fruits and veggies I only cut up and prepare up to 2 days in advance but dry snacks I do a whole week at a time. As I start running low on stuff - I add it to my shopping list and I stock up and then start all over again on a quiet night and re-stock our drawers. It makes lunch packing SOOOO Fast and seemingly painless.

As for actual lunch items - My kids are picky eaters (I'm working on it) So - their options at this stage in our life is pretty limited. Ben will eat various leftovers but Katie sticks to a usual menu of boring, bland items.

I know, I know - your kid only eats like 4 things - how hard is it to pick which one to send for the next day? Well, for some reason I struggle with it and it stresses me out - so this week I instituted a meal plan. Every day is already chosen for me - so I don't have to think at all at the end of the day when I'm fried and frazzled and exhausted.

I knew tonight that after we ate Pasta for dinner - to set aside some noodles with butter for Katie for tomorrow. I also have started pre-packaging some of their lunches and have dedicated part of a shelf for easy retrieval. This makes it so simple so if I want to run out for a run in the morning I don't have to explain to Dave where to find their lunch for the day. Easy Peasey
After way too much deliberation - I have also officially switched over to all glass tupperware for the kids. The school heats their lunch up for them and I'm trying as hard as possible to minimize our exposure to plastic in that way. Now that I've done it - I don't know why I waited so long - no more nasty - cracked, stained, grimy tupperware!!!

Now, if only I could figure out more exciting lunch options for my kids... Check back in next week - maybe that menu will be more exciting. Also, for those of you actually reading this - any suggestions for what to send her on Thursday understanding it's a NO NUT school??? Cheese sandwich just sounds sooooooooooooo unappetizing to me!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sesame Place is still rocking my world

 You all know that Sesame Place is one of my favorite places on earth right now.

My 4.5 year old has been going here since she was 6 months old and her little brother has followed suit. We have had season passes for 3 years now and this year we actually hadn't been at all since our schedules were so busy - but we planned an overnight stay during the week our kids daycare was closed and it was exactly what we all needed.

First off, we used the Sesame Place website to book the overnight - look at my Springhill post to see more info on the hotel we picked but long story short - we decided on a 1 night stay at a hotel that has a walking path that goes straight to the park entrance.
 (it's the same distance as walking to your car in the Sesame Place parking lot)
We added a character breakfast (kids eat free - you CAN'T beat that) and since we picked the first sitting - we got an extra half hour in the park before the gates opened for the general park to go on some rides we wouldn't normally have gone on - and for a very small amount extra - we added season passes for all of us which includes the entire rest of this year (they have AMAZING Halloween and fall programs including free concerts and events and it also includes their new Very Furry Christmas programs) AND we get  all of 2014 as well. 

We arrived at the hotel in time for the park opening and were allowed to park our car there - we unloaded and went into the park. Got our real season passes at guest services and were on our way! Unfortunately we drove through torrential downpours and the weather forecast changed to say it might be rainy during the day.

We played around for awhile in Ernie's pool which is where we actually end up spending a lot of our time at Sesame cause the kids are little and it's kind of just perfect for them.  We then went to ride some rides and eat lunch - that's when the rain came in. I'm talking dark, ominous grey thunderstorm clouds. We parked underneath what we thought was a covering and figured we'd camp out with the rest of the unsuspecting families.

We were wrong - it was a total downpour including loud thunder. Needless to say - the kids started freaking out and all of the stuff in our stroller and on our table (leftover lunch stuff, maps, towels, clothes, etc.) got totally soaked and not - hey that was a fun rain storm soaked - more like a miserable cold, grey soaked.

I ended up making a mad dash to the 123 smile with me building with a bunch of other parents and we continued to camp out there for awhile to wait out the storm.

It was clear that once the rain stopped, it wasn't going to stop for long - so I made the call to ditch the park for a few hours - get dry in the car - find some food - (Steve's Prince of Steaks to be exact - SO GOOD)- stop at Barnes and Noble and the Pet Store - check into the hotel - and go swimming. 
The pool was an amazing 85 plus degrees which made me the happiest mom on the planet! We swam awhile and I did laundry in the hotel laundry room.  (our stuff was that wet and gross)   Then we got a text from a fellow super mom who was heading back to the park with her kids for the parade and we decided to brave the park again.
I'm so glad we did. We walked over with no stroller - ate, rode some rides and then watched the nighttime parade which is HUGELY less crowded then the daytime one.

We walked home after the parade and headed home and had the most amazing night ever. There was not one tantrum to be had and both kids actually asked to turn the movie off (Disney Channel was playing UP to go to bed) They both slept all night long and we woke up bright and early and refreshed for our character breakfast in the morning. We walked over with no intention of going in the water cause we wanted to take advantage of the hotel pool before we checked out. (rookie mistake - I'm embarrassed that we made it honestly)

Here is a nice man handing out maps to all the kids waiting for the gates to open.
Here is our tour guide deciding where we should go next.
And here begins an amazing Dine with me Experience. The characters take their time with every person. (the other people in the park are not always very courteous - so expect to have to make your child wait in line while someone elses kid just RUNS up to them and interrupts your pictures - people are clueless and this is NOT THE PARKS FAULT.)

They take their time, they interact with each table and they have a nice set up with Elmo that you can take professional pictures in front of or take your own.

The buffet is decent with admittedly yummy french toast sticks, eggs, sausage, bacon,  individual yogurts, oatmeals, cereals, muffins, bagels, etc... They do a decent job and I'm a picky breakfast eater.

Here was the moment that made my year - Grover fed Ben his eggs - not once but two different times. It was amazing and Ben and Katie loved it!!! I was also impressed as plastic forks must be SO hard to grip from the costume:)

Elmo hugs everyone and they let you put your kids in his lap for pictures - even infants. The staff really is amazing and all the characters seem to like what they do - at least it looks that way and that's all that matters right?

Because extra rides were open before the park opened - we took Katie on the roller coaster and then I made the STUPID call to get everyone on the big Rubber Ducky tube ride. I went to the gift shop and bought a towel at 30% off. (since idiots that we were didn't prepare for water just in case) and off we went straight up and on to the rubber ducky float with no wait.

I don't like cold water - and apparently neither does Ben - cause he ended up crying and saying he didn't like the ride cause it was freezing.. (parents of the year)

We wrapped them up in sweatshirts, and towels and trucked it back to the hotel to the super warm and amazing pool and swam until we went back to the park for mostly dry rides because it was kinda crappy out.
Here is the beginning of what turned out to be about an hour long off and on quiet crying session - because "She didn't get to see Abby"

To be clear - Abby was at 123 Smile with me and I told Katie we could go - and she chose to go on the bounce house thing instead - so kid - you had your chance!

Off to dinner we go  - we picked Olive Garden just because I for some reason felt better giving them buttered noodles and spaghetti and meatballs versus chicken fingers. We sat and had an "ok" dinner while Katie kept crying about freaking Abby. Not bratty tantrum crying - but seriously sad and disappointed that she had made the wrong decision in choosing the bounce house with a side of exhaustion.

I get another text from a friend at the park asking where we were and decided to make the call to take the kids back to the park for an hour or so since we didn't get to spend all that much time there anyway and the sun had come out. We made a bee-line 123-smile with me and JACKPOT - 

We went on the cloud chaser a few more times (their favorite new ride)

Took in an Abby Cadabby and friends concert
And then called it a night. Changed them into pj's  packed them in the car - and they blissfully fell asleep on the way home and it wasn't a disaster getting them back into bed once we got home.


  • I know people complain about the park - for me - with a 4.5 and 2.5 year old - it's the perfect size. Anything bigger and I think it would be too overwhelming. If my kids were older - I agree - they might be bored but for this stage in our lives it's exactly what we need it to be
  • Yes, the people that go there can be a little gross and rude and inconsiderate - but that's not the parks fault. Yes it can get crowded. (Friday was way more crowded than Thursday)
  • You can go see 2 different concerts and an Elmo's World Live right there and they play throughout the day. (isn't Elmo's World Live when you go to a theatre like 25 bucks on it's own? And it''s much bigger so you lose out on feeling like you are right there - At Sesame you can touch him you're so close
  • They do an amazing parade  - although again, other people can be assholes  - so don't say I didn't warn you and stalk your spot early and don't be afraid to remind the jerks that you were there first - cause they will step right in front of your kid without a thought
  • The characters walk all throughout the park and you can take pics with them if you wait patiently in line (I was waiting at the Taco Truck and was ALMOST THERE when my 2.5 year old woke up groggy from his nap and kinda sad and asked me if we could find Grover - I look up 2 minutes later and who's walking to a spot for pictures but Super Grover - this Super Mom - ditched her spot in line and pushed his little stroller right over to the line so he could get a picture with Super Grover and it made his day (ok in reality it made his like, 5 minutes - but I gotta pretend it was worth more than that cause I never did get those nachos)
  • The park gets dirty - it's a water park filled with lots of people (some of which are those a**holes I was mentioning before)  We like to go VERY EARLY in the season and then all through the Fall for the hay rides, pumpkin painting and trick or treating. Much less crowded and WAY cleaner!
  • If you have a season pass everything you buy is 30% off. Pair up with someone who has one and use their discount to help save you some money. It's totally worth it. I was talking to my friend who was there the same day and explaining how much I use it and he pointed out that I am exactly the demographic they market to - cause I will buy more crap there because I have the discount:) I'm ok with that and he was too cause I got to share my discount:)
  • If you want to save even more money - bring your lunch in a cooler or go back out to your car (it's not that far) and have a huge picnic lunch (if your cooler is larger than they allow) 
Thanks for continuing to read - it's a fun outlet for me and I'm happy to think that this might be helpful or amusing for anyone in anyway - and seriously people - Grover fed my kid!  :) 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Springhill Suites in Langhorne is my new favorite place!

We haven't been this year- which was a bummer. We had a week of time off due to the daycare being closed - so I decided last minute that we should take them to Sesame for an overnight as a end of summer mini vacation treat.

I started by looking at packages online through their site. First I thought of staying 2 nights - then I decided on 1 since we can get 2 full days by driving there for opening since we are only an hour and 15 away. (3 might have been overkill)

I knew we DIDN'T want to go on the weekend because end of summer + water park + poorly behaved parents and other kids + crowds = NO FUN for any of us.

Let me be clear - I believe this is a problem at ANY Theme park and not a problem specific to Sesame Place so it's not the parks fault - it's a society thing! You have to know what to expect when you are around large crowds of people. I much prefer an outdoor park to an indoor because you can't beat sunshine and fresh air.

So we booked for a Thursday overnight - added a Breakfast with Elmo the second morning (kids eat free so you CAN'T beat that for a deal) AND added Season Passes because we get to go now for the rest of this year through their Christmas events and ALL OF NEXT YEAR through Dec 2014. You also get a free picture at the photo booths which is a nice touch with a package.

BE CAREFUL when booking a hotel and make sure you know which hotel you are staying at. My number one pick is the Springhill Suites which is directly across the street from the park and brand new. It is literally the same amount of time to walk to the hotel as it is to walk to your car in the Sesame parking lot. Some of the hotels SAY they are close but are actually in Philly - which is like 40 minutes away. So if you are going to do it - Splurge on the ones that are close by either with a shuttle service or even better - the Springhill where you don't have to worry about waiting for a shuttle with screaming tired kids - you can just stick them in the stroller and walk on home.

If you stay at Springhill - it's an all suites hotel with an AMAZING indoor pool that was seriously about 90 degrees warm (heaven for me - the picky pool goer) and EMPTY - both times we were all alone. They also have a little play room dedicated for the kids which I thought was a nice touch with toys and Sesame stuff and Sprout on the Big Screen.  The pool and playroom are open from 6 am until 11 pm. They have an amazing spread for Free breakfast - fruit, cereal, waffle machine, yogurt and other hot stuff. If that wasn't enough - on Monday, Wednesday and Friday - they have a balloon artist that comes around the tables at breakfast and gives out AMAZING sesame creations.
They have a little computer area for printing things and searching the web. The staff was very friendly albeit young. And the free valet was PROMPT. I thought it would be annoying but I understand why they do it. You have to pay to park at Sesame and people will park just about anywhere close by to avoid paying the parking fee and I wouldn't put it past people to try to park in their lot and use it for the park. You text them your ticket number and the sweet young kids bring them right up and are super super friendly which I wasn't really expecting.  They even talk to your kids - which is an added bonus because how many highschoolers do you know that want to talk to a 2 year old about Elmo?

 My only complaint for the hotel were the Pool Towels - I don't know about you but when I think of Pool Towels I think of really big towels that wrap all around you - you can see from the picture above that's not what they had. They were like hair towels and I had to use like 3 to get dry.

To say that we had a good time at this hotel is an understatement - It's very swanky for a Sesame hotel and perhaps they could have designed the bathrooms a little better for wee ones (the sink was too high for both my kids to reach) but at the end of the day the King Size bed and awesome pull out couch was perfect for us to split up with our 4 year old and the Toddler.  They were so tired that by 9 pm they were asking to go to bed - which is VERY unlike my kids. See the little chaise section of the pull out - made for a PERFECT toddler bed when we stuffed some pillows next to the edge. The mini fridge is a nice touch as well. For a place full of kids - it was super quiet which was an added bonus as I was nervous all the toddler meltdowns would be heard from room to room. We slept totally peacefully and were ready for the next day!

 Here's my boys on the path the goes from the hotel to the park.

Seriously - I can't say enough good things about this place. Since we are season pass holders - I hope to go back during the Fall and Winter and I plan to book this hotel for one night during the winter so we can go to the park and enjoy the pool and play room and have a nice place to warm up. It will be a much needed respite from the winter and I'm super excited already!

Monday, August 19, 2013

I painted my countertops!

Yes - you read that right. I painted my counter tops and they look AWESOME! I had been eyeing the Giani Countertop paint for awhile and fell in love with the idea of their product and the amazing transformations they show on their site.  So I contacted them and they were SUPER AMAZING enough to send me a kit of my choice to test out and review for you all.
After a lot of thought - we chose the Sicilian Sands colorway. (that was our mistake - but more on that later)

We had to wait to try it out because our kitchen sink is VERY close to the back of the counter - so we had to take the sink out to make sure it would look as good as possible - this is by no means necessary and most people probably won't have this problem but it's an old kitchen and the sink was VERY poorly designed - so we figured to be safe we should take it out and do under where the sink would sit and then replace it and I am SO glad we did!

You can see in the picture below that there is a TEENY TINY SKINNY Little bit of counter behind the opening for the sink.  

So - I got the kit - read all the directions - watched the video (DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP AS IT'S SUPER HELPFUL and explains EXACTLY how you have to apply this stuff for the desired results)
I went to the store and bought the extra supplies needed to complete the project. (FROG tape, caulk, sandpaper, Brillo pads) 
My only complaint about this product is that I wish they would charge more but include all the extra things you need so that if you wanted to start the project as soon as you received it in the mail - you could - without having to go to the hardware store. If you have a hardware store nearby - it's no big deal - but it can be a bit of a downer if you don't know ahead of time that you need more stuff and then get upset that you have to go out to get more things to get ready.

I prepped the surface exactly as they said - with Brillo and cleaning it with water and a cloth. 
Then I started taping - and here is where I made my first mistake. We have these god awful silver edge thingies on our counters that don't all come off - and I didn't tape well enough to ensure that the paint didn't get on them at all - so around the edge it looks a little messy if you look close - but that was my fault and the fault of the person who chose the hideous silver edge thingies in the first place. 

The other issue we have is that our backsplash is ALSO formica and goes all the way up to the cabinets - so for now - they are still boring beige - until we find thin tiles to put over it as I'm afraid to take it all off for now. 

If we didn't have those design flaws I think the process would have been SEEMLESS - makes me wish I had a BIG island to test it on because it REALLY was super simple to do from A- D.

Here is a small section before and after all taped off and primed. Now in all the pics I've seen online the primer looks SUPER shiny back - so I don't know if I got an off batch or something - but it ended up looking flat black/greyish. I was tempted to put a second coat - but it didn't say to so I didn't do it just in case.

Here is a section that I had to  put some wood filler in to cover some small chips. (the brownish spots)

O.k. so I primed and it was already looking better with the black. I was very intimidated but once I started priming it was no big deal and I finished it all in like a half hour. I let that dry ALL DAY LONG and then got ready for step 2 which was the Minerals after the kids went to bed.

My husband and I worked together to sponge the minerals on and tried to be as consistent as possible. This part can be a bit scary as you are literally just sponge painting - so it would be nice if there was a part of the video that gave some visuals on how to achieve the different variations of color because we are not as crafty as we'd like to be and I think we kinda screwed up the sponging. In my head we should have covered all the blacky grey primer - which is what we tried to do at first - I also was afraid to add too much white cause I didn't really see how it fit in with the other 2 colors. (My artistic inability really came through here)

I will say that while you are sponging you need to take a step back every once in awhile because it looks different up close than from a few steps back. It looked better every time I stepped away a little bit. 

Now here is where WE made the mistake. Our counters were not a hideous seafoam green or pepto pink - they were just boring beige - and we ended up picking Sicilain Sands which is a beige granite look.
See the mistake? We didn't choose a color that was drastic enough to really have a WOW factor with the before and afters. Especially since our gross backsplash is still totally visible and you can see that the colors match up pretty well - I just feel like we jipped ourselves on a TOTAL WOW makeover and instead just updated the counters and made them look better.

Now, don't get me wrong - they look AMAZINGLY shiny and the colors look nice. I think we could have left a little more black like in all the videos they show and it would have looked a bit more drastic.

The edges are messy but that's my fault for not taping well and they are very specific that you take your time prepping and I suggest you do because you WON'T regret taping too much but you WILL regret not taping enough.

The counters came out amazing. The top coat was scary and I have a few streak marks but that's cause I am not the best painter in the world so my backroll needs some practice. We let the product dry overnight just to be sure and then installed the sink this morning.

The sink looks amazing with the counters (it's beige) and I can't get over how shiny they look. 
The product did everything it said it would. I found it to be easier than anticipated and just felt my artistic inability got in the way of making them even better. I'm sure if I had to do it again - I would be a much better artiste. ;)

I am nervous about them peeling - so we will try to be very careful to make sure we don't let water pool for extended periods of time but they look and feel amazing.

 With stuff back on them - see how shiny they are
 Here you can see the ugly backsplash against the counters - I bet when we fix that the counters will pop even more - we are thinking glass tile or something like that! Look at how shiny!

Close up of the edge.

Overall I think this is a no brainer for anyone who doesn't have the money to upgrade their counters and don't really NEED to. We didn't have to - our counters were fine - just boring and now they are NOT boring.  The test will be if it lasts as I've seen a FEW (not many) reviews that said it started to chip or peel but I get the sense those people didn't take care of the counters well. As we were doing the counters my husband asked when we were going to end up painting the cabinets (he knows me so well)
I am sure I will buy one of the Giani kits for painting cabinets but right now I am all DIY'd out and the idea of painting SO MANY CABINETS is just too daunting to me. Give me a month or so and I'm sure I will be telling you all about how we went out and got the kit and completed the kitchen transformation:)

I will try to find some better pictures of the before/after and post them later. 

Overall I would say - GO GET THIS AND TRY IT -  it's fun - but only if you are a little crafty as the painting takes some planning and precision. 
But I would definitely suggest that you go for a drastic change so that you feel like you're walking into a totally different kitchen. If  I had to pick again, I'd either go black/white or chocolate brown.
They have so many choices - it's hard to go wrong.