Dec 13, 2012

Disney World

Oh friends.

I know it has been far too long.

What can I say?




Again :)

Main Street at Magic Kingdom

I love it so much there.

Maybe even more than my children.

Faith (being silly) and I 

Lots of folks have been asking lots of questions about any tips I might have and things I like/don't like.

So here are a few thoughts:

-We booked directly through the Disney World website this time.  It worked out fine and we got a great deal (free Disney Dining Plan!).  I *never* go to Disney without getting a great deal.  Right now they have a few deals for winter that are decent.  You can check them out here

My girls and Minnie

-As usual, I used All Ears to help plan most of our vacation.  They always have up-to-date info. and the amount of knowledge all things Disney is beyond amazing!

Princess elf ears 

 -We stayed at Caribbean Beach Resort this time.  If I'm honest, it wasn't my fave.  It is HUGE and sprawled out.  If we had gone in summer, I think we would have enjoyed it more because the pool looked fun.  But it seems a little older than the others and just not as nice.  I must say that the staff was wonderful, though, and since you don't spend a lot of time in the room, it was fine.

Addy learning some archery

  • We have stayed at Port Orleans (Riverside), and All Star Movies and liked those as well.  We have also stayed off property and enjoyed that (but staying on property is ALWAYS better!)

Pocahantas and the girls at Animal Kingdom

  • Next time, I want to stay at The Wilderness Lodge.  It's my new favorite location.  Unless it's summer.  Then my favorite would be The Yacht and Beach Club.  And The Boardwalk is fun, too!

The BEAUTIFUL tree at the Wilderness Lodge, (sorry it's a little out of phone...)

-This time, we had groceries delivered to our room which helps in eating better and saving money!  We had bananas, water bottles, Gatorade, juice boxes, and crackers in the room and to take to the parks with us.  MUCH cheaper than buying those items at Disney World and we didn't have to pack them, (which is great because the airlines are strict on the 50 lbs. and it is very expensive to pay the overage fee!).  The grocery service we used was Garden Grocer and while it does have a delivery fee and a $40 minimum purchase, it was still worth it when you consider a single bottle of water is about $3 at Disney.  (And I drink A LOT of water these days!).

My hubby and girls at Hollywood Studios

-We also had one of our girls get sick while on the trip.  (Unfortunately, this isn't our first Disney trip that involved an illness).  But this time she had a fever, and I forgot to bring a thermometer :(  Bad Mommy!!

The fireworks at Magic Kingdom

  • Plus she had a sore throat.  Since we weren't sure if it was strep or just a viral thing, I started researching our options.  Here's what I found out:  

Addy at The Spectacle of Lights at Hollywood Studios

  • Disney will arrange a ride for you to a near by Urgent Care, if you don't have a car (which we didn't).  BUT, chances are, the wait at that Urgent Care is about 3 hours long.  

Snow White and her prince

  • I don't know about you, but I had no interest in spending my Disney vacation waiting in an Urgent Care while we picked up some other little illness to take back to the fam.  Our other option was to pay for a doctor to come to the room.  

  • You read that right.

The girls and Belle at The Story Book Princess lunch in Norway at Epcot

  • At Disney, a doctor will make house calls!!!  (or hotel calls if you will...)

  • But just like every other thing at Disney, it will cost you.

  • About $300 to be exact.

The girls and Merida from Brave.  I think this is who they were most excited to see this time!

  • But if you've saved your money, spent a gazillion hours planning your perfect vacation, and don't want to see that all slip away, sometimes you're willing to just pony up the cash and get on with it.

The Castle at night during the show.  SO COOL!!

  • Which is what we did.

Minnie and Mickey during the Once Upon a Christmas Parade

  • And I'm glad we did because the doctor came right away, dispensed an antibiotic right in the room, and we were out at the parks within 2 hours!

the girls and Donald in Mexico at Epcot

  • The Magic of Disney!!

Ahhh yes....Let the Memories Begin

-As usual, we did the Disney Dining plan.  I am a BIG fan of this plan if you have a family and know that you'll want to do sit-down or character meals etc.  BUT, if you don't care about any of that, then the dining plan probably won't save you much, if any, money.

The Fairy Godmother and Faith

  • And if you ARE doing sit-down or character meals, make your reservations early!!!  Pretty much everything books up fast, but especially Cinderella's Royal Table, Be Our Guest, Princess Story Book, and Chef Mickey's.

Faith and I at the 50's Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios.  Such a great restaurant!  Just like home!  (Well, if you grew up in the 50's I guess...)

  • Quick Note: Be Our Guest (the restaurant in the new Fantasyland area), is quick service dining for lunch.  Which means, no reservation required!  We did this option and it's what we will do again!  No wasting a table service credit and still get great food and the experience of eating in the Beast's Castle!

The enchanted rose in The Beast's Castle

  • Oh!  And another thing we discovered at Magic Kingdom: the Dole Whip!!  How in THE WORLD had I never tried this before???  I have no idea.  But this time, we did try it, and it will be the first thing I get when I go again!!  You can grab one in MK at Aloha Isle in Adventureland!

-I used a great app this time on our trip and it really did work out well!  It's called WDW Touring and you can subscribe at

Cinderella and her prince in their carriage

  • It cost $11.95 for a one year subscription and you can download park plans, or create your own.  Just choose which attractions you want to see, breaks, meals etc. and then it will optimize it for you, based on wait times etc., and tell you which order you should ride/get fast passes etc.  It also has menu's for all the restaurants, wait times, park hours, which parks are most crowded, and where characters are located in the park!  It was a lifesaver for us and I will definitely use it again when we go.

the girls and Tinker Bell

-As it was right after Thanksgiving, we were able to enjoy all the Disney Christmas decorations that were up.  It was BEAUTIFUL!!!  We did the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (which, by the way, is not included in admission and requires an extra ticket!).  It was totally worth it and our family loved it.

Faith at a dance party with Pluto and friends during the Christmas Party

  • BUT, if you don't want to pay the extra fee, just hop over to Hollywood Studios and see the Osbourne Family Spectacle of Lights!  It IS included in admission and it really is magical.

Spectacle of Lights at Hollywood Studios

-One of the fun things we did this time is visit some of the resorts we hadn't been to yet, and eat at their on-site restaurants!

Little girl in a Big chair at the Wilderness Lodge

  • At The Wilderness Lodge, I would *highly* recommend Whispering Canyons Cafe!  Servers are lots of fun, they have all-you-can-drink milkshakes (included with your meal!), and the food is yummy!  After you're done, walk around the beautiful resort and then take a boat ride back to Magic Kingdom!

he swore never to wear a Mickey shirt...until I made him :)

  • We also ate at Beaches and Cream at the Yacht and Beach club.  It's like a true 50's style Diner...jukebox and all!  We sat at the counter, which the girls thought was fab!  And while dinner was good, the stars at this restaurant are the desserts!!  My hubby and I shared the Milky Way sundae and it was worth every single calorie.  

The Milky Way Sundae at Beaches and Cream

  • (And while I have no idea how many calories there were, I'm sure it was about 3 days worth.  And it was still worth it!)
Expedition Everest at Epcot!  I even got Addy to ride with me this time!

Hmmm, that's about all I can think of for now.  But if you have specific questions, fire them off!  I LOVE to talk about Disney and would be happy to share :)

Nov 14, 2012

The Thing That Carries Me

"I can't imagine what you've been through."

"I'm so sorry for all that you've had to endure."

"How are you dealing with all of this?"

These are some of the statements/questions I deal with on a daily basis.

Our community is large, but still small enough that lots of people know about the year I've had.

(Or maybe I just know A LOT of people...)

Sometimes, I think I don't know how to answer that question.

How do you deal with losing both parents, unexpectedly, within three months of each other?

But I know it's not a question of "how".

It's a "who".


Now before you think I'm getting all spiritual on you, and you click away, I want to encourage you to keep reading.

This post may look different than you think.

You see, I know a lot of people don't want to hear people talking about Jesus.

It makes them uncomfortable.

Because maybe they've had a bad experience with 'Christians' before.

Or maybe they assume we think we're perfect or better than everyone else.

(Which, let me clarify, isn't true!)

There could be lots of reasons.

But let me tell you about the Jesus I know.

The Jesus I know is solid as a rock.

When everything else was crazy, He was constant.

He was the One that never left.

His love never failed me.  Not even once.

It's like an ocean that never goes dry.  I could swim in it the rest of my life and I'll never run out of His love.

That's what True Love looks like.

Because at some time, everyone and everything will disappoint me.  My husband, my kids, my

But not Him.

His love is the *only* thing that I can count on forever.

And that's what has carried me, (literally), through this past year.

Another thing about Jesus,

The Jesus I know loves you.

He loves you just the way you are.  Right now.  Without changing one thing about yourself.

He is wide open.

He is ready to catch anything you can throw at Him.

Doubt?  He's got it.

Insecurity?  No sweat!

Anything else?  Already covered.

You see, the things that keep us from Jesus is our stuff.  It has nothing to do with Him.  

He doesn't ask you for anything.

The only thing you need to do, is fall into Him.

He'll take care of the rest.

If there's something in you that needs to change, He'll do that.  

No need to wait until you're perfect or until you've got it together.  

Because you never will.

That's what He is for.

But I can promise you that once you do Fall into Him, you will fall in love with Him.

You will be so carried away that you can't imagine life without Him.

You will know a joy that you never imagined.

Even in the most horrific of times.

Because His love trumps all of that.

If you don't know His love in this way, then you don't know the real Jesus.

And if you don't know the real Jesus, then why not?

What are you waiting for?

Don't let another day go by without experiencing True Love.

Talk to Him.

Tell Him you want to know that kind of love.

His love.

He'll take care of the rest.

Nov 13, 2012

I'm Still Here

I's been a while.

But seriously, life has been hectic.

I feel like cheer and football rule my world right now.

Well, that and sick kids, doctors appointments, and teacher conferences.

And by the way, my girls are ROCK STARS!

(In school anyway...)

They both had great reports and I couldn't be more proud.

But things at home are a little less....well...easy.

We are going through some discipline issues and it's hard.

For all of us.

I am glad my girls are so polite at school and respect their teachers etc.

But at home, it's another story.

Fighting, yelling, throwing things on the's like I live with 2 teenage girls.

But they're only 8 and 6.

I'm not ready for this.

And sometimes I feel like I'm doing a horrible job at raising them to be self sufficient, respectful, appreciative adults.

I think if there were report cards for moms, I'd be getting a D... (okay, maybe a C.  But definitely not above a C).

Anyone else have this issue?

I'm at a loss.

Grounding them is what gets to them most.  But even that is wearing off.

And I feel like I'm the one who is punished, too, because I have to miss all of my fun.

Any advice?

Oct 25, 2012

Annual Leaf Jump

Every year, my in-laws have the girls over to do a leaf jump in their yard.

The girls LOVE it!

{Aren't they the BEST grandparents??}

Quote of the day: When I said that it sounded like their lucky day (because they had gotten the girls ice cream earlier in the day), Addy's reply was, "Every day is a lucky day when we're with Granny!"

It melted my heart to hear, in her own words, just how much she loves being with her....and I'm pretty sure she guaranteed herself ice cream for life with granny after that comment :)

This year, we also combined it with celebrating my (Wonderful) husband's birthday with dinner and an ice cream cake.

Here are some pics from the fun afternoon: