Our 2014 Disney Memories

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As I shared with you yesterday, our trip to Disney World was not as magical as we had hoped.  We were sicker than dogs for quite a bit of the trip.  (You can read more about our story of choosing to focus on blessings over disappointment here.)

We did have so many fun moments though:  meeting the characters, riding the rides and creating memories.  As my children’s Sunday School teacher pointed out to me, the kids only remember the good of the trip.  They don’t remember the fevers, vomiting, coughing, or the days so many of us spent in bed.  I wonder why that is… but I hope to follow their example.

So here are some of our favorite photos.  And I’ll tell you, I am saving the best for last.

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Sweet Girl was feeling just good enough to enjoy our dinner with the Princesses at Akershus in Norway.


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Unfortunately, this spent several day with us.  I called it the “just in case” bag.  I’m betting all you moms can figure out why I carried it around.


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On our first evening at Epcot, we walked by the wait time info desk and one of the cast members, Danielle, caught a glimpse of Sweet Boy’s jacket.  She immediately started singing the Batman theme song.  He stopped and laughed.  Well, after chatting it up and my son commented on the long wait time for Soarin’.

Danielle disappeared for a minute and then returned with a “no strings attached” priority entrance certificate for the ride.  The kids had not been on it before and they were thrilled.  Soarin’ is such an impressive experience.  Thanks, Danielle, for creating some magic for us!


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One of only the few family photos we got while we actually together and not sick in bed.  Foggy day at the Animal Kingdom.

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One of our favorite restaurants, the Tusker House.  Mickey, Goofy, Donald and Daisy make their way to each table and we love the great buffet.  Our secret:  we schedule the meal for about 10:50am.  This way we enjoy a great assortment of breakfast foods before they switch over to lunch at 11:15am.  My husband loves the best of both worlds!


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This was Sweet Boy’s first ride on Expedition Everest.  He loved it but was ok with not riding it again.  😉


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All of Disney’s 3D (4D!) movies are impressive.  While I love the way the bug eyes look on everyone, “It’s Tough To Be A Bug” does have some scary parts.  We may skip this one on the next trip until the kids are a bit older.


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Even princesses can get good and messy!


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This was the day it was just me and the kids in the parks since my mom and Dan were sick in bed.  We actually did quite well and had a lot of fun.  We hit Hollywood Studios and Epcot!  The pictures above are from our wait time to see Woody and Buzz Lightyear.  Love their faces in these photos!


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Yes, my kids are just like yours!


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This photo is ordinary but so special to me!   The Fast Pass+ system messed up in my favor!  Even though I had changed fast passes for Test Track, they actually gave me three for this ride on one day.  While my son was with us for the first ride, Sweet Girl and I, alone, stayed late to ride Test Track the other two times.  She loved it and after each ride found a red car to sit in . . . and basically push every button she could.


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Sweet Girl is wearing the dress that I wore when I was about 5.  It was the the first Alice dress being sold in the parks way back when.  What a delight to see my daughter in it now!


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This Mad Hatter was a highlight of our breakfast at 1900 Park Fare.  He was quite funny and engaging.


AND NOW, for Dan’s favorite picture.  First, let me tell you that my mom is a riot on roller coasters.  She is terrified of them but has always been compelled to do them because her kids were doing them.  She screams bloody murder and has often gotten a bit panicky.  I have seen her actually willing to pay someone to get off as the “big hill” approached.

For the people riding with her, however, it is hilarious.  I think it is Dan’s favorite part of the roller coasters.  I kid you not, a couple once thanked her for making Space Mountain more entertaining.


So here is the shot Dan captured on Big Thunder Mountain:



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And there you have it!  Our favorite Disney memories.


Are you thinking about a trip to Disney World?  Be sure to check out my Top 10 Disney Vacation Planning Tips.

Are You Just Getting By? Notes from a Blue Bike Review & Giveaway


You would think that after coming back from vacation that I would be feeling peaceful, rested and ready to jump back in to my busy life.  But even if we hadn’t had such a miserably sick week on vacation, I would still not be ready.

Before we left, I read a great book and a little light came on in a corner of a pretty room that I long to visit.  I can picture the room . . . it has two comfy chairs, the softest of blankets, pretty lighting and no technology.  It is the “slow” room.  It is a the spot to connect with others.  It is the place to forget lists, productivity and remember life.

You see, I am tired of not getting to housework because my plate is too full.  I am tired of stretching myself out so that I am always exhausted.  I am tired of seeing my kitchen counter littered with the latest and greatest scraps, bills and paperwork.  I am flying through life and focusing too much on productivity.

I long to slow down and live intentionally.  How about you?

Enter Tsh Oxenreider’s new book, Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World.  Tsh is the founder and main voice of of The Art of Simple (formerly SimpleMom).  I had met Tsh at Allume 2012 and also really enjoyed her other book, Organized Simplicity.  This book did not disappoint.

Notes from a Blue Bike is full of charming stories and convictions on living intentionally.  Rich with details and anecdotes, Tsh pulls from her time living abroad as she compares the traditional rushed life of the west.

She inspires her readers to live counter-culture and to elevate what it is that is most important to each person.

Here are two of my favorite quotes:

“They, too, craved a more meaningful life, a life that made margin for doing nothing, for not bowing down to calendars, for saying yes to long walks with their kids and cooking seasonally from scratch because there was time. . . . As though we were somehow made for a slower life.”

“Here stood a tangible symbol of the very meaning of working with intention – knowing both my gifts and my limits, my calling and my opportunities that need a “no,” and being at peace with understanding the difference.  To give myself the time and freedom to create my best art, and to confidently turn down those roles and opportunities that aren’t the best fit.”

Living intentionally may very well mean living counter-culture.  My kids won’t be in every sport possible.  I won’t be saying yes to everything that sounds like a fun idea.  I will be more selective, more deliberate and more intentional.  Filtering the vast choices of our society through the goals and dreams I have for my family.

 Notes from a Blue Bike GIVEAWAY

Would you like to win a copy of this book?  Leave a comment telling me why you need to slow down and live more intentionally.  I’ll pick a winner at random on Monday, February 24, 2014.

UPDATE:  Congratulations Denise H, winner of the giveaway!

This post is part of the Blue Bike Blog Tour, which I’m thrilled to be part of. To learn more and join us, head here.

It’s Going to be a Little Quiet

Hi Friends,

It will be a little quiet on the blog this week.  My family got home on Saturday from vacation, but along with my souvenirs, I brought home bronchitis, a sinus infection and double ear infections…crazy, right?

I probably won’t be getting to everything I had hoped to share with you this week.  But when I’m better, I am very excited to share about Tsh Oxenreider’s new book, Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World and I’ll put some photos together of our trip to Disney World.  But I promise no photos of hotel ceilings or toilet bowls, both of which I spent too much time looking at.  (Oh, the fun of everyone being sick on vacation.)

Until then,


See You in 2014!

Hello Friends,

The end of the year is coming and I am going to be taking the rest of the month off from blogging.  I am looking forward to more time focusing on Jesus, family and the opportunity for renewal and rest.

I won’t be around the social media sites as much either, but I will pop in here and there.  If you’d like to email me, please feel free to do so.  Thank you so much for a wonderful 2013!

Warm Wishes and May the Love of Christ Fill Your Hearts,



Winner of 3D Fiber Lash Mascara from Younique Products

Congratulations to Georgia B, winner of the 3D Fiber Lash Mascara (& more!) from Lindsay & Younique Products.  You will have 48 hours to reply and claim your prize.

Didn’t win??  You can still earn free product by hosting a Facebook virtual party.  It is super easy and Lindsay will take care of all the details.  Contact her via Facebook for more information.

And don’t forget about the Special Offer for Blog Readers:  Lindsay is graciously offering a free eye pigment (value of $10 ) for any purchases over $75.  Please Note:  use the “Celebrate Every Day” event under the ‘My Parties’ link to place your order but do not put the free eye pigment choice in your cart.  Lindsay will contact you after your order is placed about choosing your free eye pigment.  This offer is good through December 25, 2013.  Also, any orders over $100 automatically receive free shipping.



We’re Migrating to WordPress

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to let you know that I will be offline for a couple days this week while we move from Blogger to WordPress.  I’m praying that everything will go smoothly and that I can adapt quickly to the new way of doing things.  You’ll still be able to find me on Facebook and Twitter . . . and maybe I’ll even use this time to join G+ . . . maybe.  🙂
See you soon,

Path to a Simply Organized Life (A 12 Month Journey)

Simply Organized Life 12 Month Journey

I long for simplicity and organization.  I dream of it.  I love the thought of it.  But in light of the past six months, I realize I have less of it than hoped for.  So I am on a journey.  Over the next twelve months, I will be tackling areas of life that need to be set in order.  And I’m talking everything from a cleaning routine to estate planning.  (Ouch.  Yes, I said estate planning.)

At the end of this year, I am looking for my ducks to be in a row . . . at least the ones I have control of. I am seeking a plan that not only makes sense, but is goal-oriented.  I am looking for the simply organized life.  Will you join me?

Here is what we’ll be tackling:

January:  Our Multiple Account World
February:  Where’s the Will?
March:  Budget Smudget
April:  Do I Have Goals?
May:  Estate Planning is a Gift
June:  Home Clutter Makes Captives
July:  Retirement & College Planning
August:  A Cleaning Routine That Works
September:  Taming the Family Schedule
October:  The Digital Life
November:  The Paper Life
December:  Tasks for Simplicity

Sure, all these things should be done now.  But for most of us, let’s face it.  If we had to do all of this now, we would do none of it.  The tasks are too overwhelming.  By breaking our big goal (the simply organized life) into little goals and spreading them out over the course of the year, we will find ourselves with achievable goals.  We can do this!

Get Started Here.

photo credit

Linked up with:  Cheerios & Lattes, Tutus & Tea Parties, Somewhat Simple