Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Disney Dinner Night - Week #6 Enchanted

This week, we hosted Easter at our house twice, and we were dealing with sickness.  Needless to say, we hadn't really planned on having a Disney dinner this week.  We spent Saturday morning preparing for our guest.  Although I was mostly in the kitchen all morning, Patrick and Littlecjc spent the morning cleaning the house while dancing around to music.  After our fun visit with family and our huge lunch, Patrick suggested we just take advantage of the nice weather and grill out some hot dogs for dinner.  This was about the time I realized we were having an impromptu Disney dinner.  My preplanned itinerary for the movie Enchanted was to clean the house while dancing around and our meal plan was hot dogs.  I of course thought I would add to these plans when we had decided on this movie night, but I guess impromptu evenings can be fun as well.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Good Dinosaur

Disney Dinner Night - Week #5 The Good Dinosaur
To be completely honest, an entire week has passed since this night and it has taken me this long to write about it.  Here's why, it wasn't really a Disney dinner night.  I had planned this simple dinner of dinosaur nuggets, peas and mashed potatoes.  Littlecjc ended up going to bed early, not feeling great, but well, dinner doesn't get much easier than this.  So, Patrick and I ended up having our kid themed Good Dinosaur dinner without the kid while watching March Madness instead of The Good Dinosaur.
Since this was such an  easy dinner, maybe we will repeat it some time when the toddler's not asleep and we can do more activities as well.  Either way, we will definitely watch the movie sometime soon.

I Must Confess: Mandy vs. Mommy

This week, I thought I would join myhometruths for her I must confess link up.  I was prompted to confess a word that makes me cringe.  Well, right now that word would be "Mandy".  I know, you're thinking what? Your own name makes you cringe?  No, not usually, but let me explain.  My two year old has taken to calling me by my name instead of Mommy or any form of the word.  So yes, every time I hear my name come from her mouth, I cringe.  At first, it was amusing and only slightly frustrating, but now it has become extremely irritating and I honestly squeeze my hands into a fist and then physically relax as the cringe ripples through my body.  Okay, that sounded really dramatic, but I do find myself going through that motion almost every time she calls me by my name.

I also have a bonus confession this week.  After only 4 weeks of our Disney dinner nights, I have already become lazy with these.  Yes, I have a list of excuses and I can claim that we have still sort of had these nights, but they've been lacking the last two weeks.  I haven't even had the ambition to blog about them, because the haven't been that exciting.  However, to be true to this project, I know that needs to be done.  Who knows, maybe this confession will influence me to get those done today.  I guess time will tell.

Do you have confessions to make today? Feel free to link up.

I Must Confess

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Unforgettable

I decided to join up with Deb from Focused on the Magic for her almost Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop featuring Disney photos.  This week's theme is unforgettable.  There are so many special moments that have happened at Disney that it was extremely difficult to choose just one.  However, this is the winner.

This photo represents one of my most favorite days inside a Disney park, my best friend's bachelorette party.  This day was truly unforgettable since I planned the day's details and was rewarded by all the fun I had with the new friends I met that day.  You can read all about that day here if you're interested in reading more or seeing more pictures.

Click the button below to see more unforgettable photos or to share your own.

Focused on the Magic

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Show and Tell Tuesday: Mixtape

Today I decided to join up with Andrea from Momfessionals for show and tell Tuesday, where I was prompted to provide the soundtrack to my life.  This task seemed really exciting at first, but then I realized that it would actually be very hard.  Music has always played an important role in my life, so how could I possibly narrow down my choices.

Growing up, my mom was always singing.  Most of the time, they were nonsense songs that she learned from who knows where, because no one else seems to have ever heard them.  However, there is a song that will always make me think of my mom.

This song will always make me want to smile and get up and dance.  Thinking back to when I use to actually make mixed tapes or more so CDs, this song made it onto every single one.

Not wanting to leave my dad out, I have to add an artist.

No matter how many times I may visit Cheeseburger in Paradise or Margaritaville as an adult, hearing anything from Jimmy Buffett will always take me back to summers on our boat as a kid.  It doesn't matter what song it is, I can probably still sing every word and I have my dad to thank for this. 

I'm not sure I can pinpoint just one song that could sum up my childhood Christmases, but....

This album!  This album plus a few other select songs describe our Christmas celebrations.  I know, my family is crazy.  For several years while growing up, my family decided that instead of buying gifts for everyone, we should present anything to the family as a whole.  This included many skits, poems, and dances many of which came from this album.

Songs that take me back to grade school include:

I know you're thinking, "How old are you?" but again, music was always dominant in my life.  This song makes me think of my brother, because we sang it together for a talent show, complete with costumes and wigs.  As weird as that sounds, it was a huge hit, and kind of became a thing in our group of friends so we reenacted this performance many times.  I think the last time we sang this was while in high school.  It might just be time to bring this song back again. Karaoke anyone?

I know, another old song, but in all seriousness this song was there for my family when we really needed it.  After the unfortunate death of my 13 year old cousin, this song became an anthem for my family.  We sang this song everywhere, school talent shows, dance recitals, and nursing homes.

Image result for spice girls spice world

Let's just be honest, any song by spice girls will take me back to singing at the top of my lungs into a hairbrush while jumping around many of my friend's bedrooms.

Moving on to middle school:

This song is the first to come to mind, because it was selected as our 8th grade song.  

Middle school is when I was introduced to Christian music, and more importantly dc Talk.  I loved this album and the song "What if I stumble" carried me into those scary halls of high school.

We've made it to high school:


I've seemed to have switched to albums, instead of songs.  Again, it's this entire album.  Every song here holds memories, because I loved this album.

This album will forever remind me of my very first car, my Pontiac Grand Prix, where I totally rocked out to this album on cassette.  I know I was cool, singing at the top of my lungs with the windows rolled down, playing my cassette.  I guess I am older than I realize!

This time, it actually is the song and not the album.  I danced to this song with some amazing friends my junior year of high school.  I'm not sure if it was just that it was a more popular song than what we might usually dance to or what, but this dance stuck with us.  Even at my wedding, seven years later, my friends joined me on the dance floor and we repeated this dance to the best of our abilities.  So, maybe this song would be more accurately placed in the next category.

College and life thereafter:

Yes, I know this is a movie, but there is a song from this soundtrack that I didn't even remember the artist without looking it up so I figured this picture was a better option.  "It Feels Like Home" by Chantal Kreviazuk.  I loved this song in the movie, but in College it gained an important role in my mix tape as this song was a part of my sorority recruitment skit.  There were of course many songs in our skit that make me change the words when I now here them, but this song sums up all my time as a collegiate Zeta Tau Alpha.

Although this song came into my life after college, it was sung at the funeral of a college friend that died way too early.  Therefore, any time I hear this song, I break down in tears and reminisce about my college years spent in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house.

This was our first dance at our wedding, so of course it needed to be included.  Although this reminds me of our wedding, we had actually already danced to it a year or two earlier as part of the teacher's dance in the recital of the dance studio that I worked at all through college. 

The last five years seem to be tough to come up with any songs, and maybe that's because not enough time has passed, I don't know.  I love going to concerts and maybe in a few years, I would answer with something from Kenny Chesney or Clayton Anderson since we've seen them multiple times lately, but in general I feel like I don't listen to music as much right now in my life.  

It also seems weird to me that this list doesn't include any musicals since I'm pretty sure I could come up with a soundtrack of my life using only soundtracks.  Hmm....maybe another post for another day?  
Anyway, I'll leave you with one last song that is a classic for me.

This song has become a bit of a motto for me lately.  And how can you possibly go wrong with a Disney classic that can always take you to the happiest place on Earth.

So that's my mixed tape.  I can't wait to read what everyone else has included on their tape.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Disney Dinner Night - Week #4  Darby O'Gill and the Little People

With St. Patrick's Day coming up, we had to choose this movie for this week.  The true theme this week was green.  My goal was all green food!  The first sign of movie night that littleCJC saw was the cake, surrounded by shamrocks, a green loaf of bread, leprechaun glasses, and stickers. We had originally planned on going on a hunt for leprechauns with the glasses, but this evening ended up getting a late start, so we really only enjoyed dinner and started the movie.  In all honesty, littlecjc was not that interested and maybe halfway through she stated that she was ready for bed so we didn't even finish it.  Therefore, this is all about the food.

Can I just talk a moment about the cake, oh my gosh.  Probably the best cake I've ever made.  It was a homemade green velvet cake with a cheesecake layer in the middle, and the icing was made of cream cheese and marshmallow cream.  I got the recipe from Recipe Girl.  Amazing.  I haven't really looked at this blog yet other than this recipe, but I really do need to spend some time there because this cake was so good.

Backing up from desert, the actual meal was a little harder to come up with.  We had green Parmesan pasta with broccoli, a green egg frittata adapted from a recipe posted by scattered thoughts of a crafty mom, and the above mentioned bread from better than burgers.  Everything was tasty, but here's some thoughts in case I were to repeat this evening.  The frittatas tasted good, but I'm not sure they ended up how they were suppose to in terms of the actual baking.  The bread was also extremely tasty, but I was a little freaked out by the green color.  The recipe called for 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of green dye.  Well, If you remember the pink and blue cupcakes from our Sleeping Beauty evening found here, they were also supposed to be pink and blue in the cake part.  However, the colors ended up so faint that I didn't even mention it in the blog post.  So, with this fresh in my mind, I added the entire teaspoon to the bread when it obviously wasn't needed.  

For our drink this evening, I had made some lemon lime kool-aid sans sugar that I used to make green ice cubes.  My plan was to just pour some lemon lime soda over the ice, which is what I offered littlecjc, but Patrick and I decided to add some whiskey as well.

If you noticed on my picture of the cake, I tried to be fancy and add some chocolate shamrocks to our desert plates with moderate success.  Since I had extra chocolate, I used it up by dipping some pretzels in it and then using the chocolate to fix three together for another shamrock.  Yum!

Overall, a fun and very tasty evening, even though the movie was a flop for my 2 year old.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Make it Pink, Make it Blue

Disney Dinner Night - Week # 3 Sleeping Beauty

This week was all about the color, make it pink, make it blue.  It was another simple week, but that turned out to be great because we planned a last minute road trip for the following morning.  So, we had breakfast again but this time it was actually dinner.  We fixed some sausage and funfetti pancakes and then chose our pink (or red strawberries) or blue toppings.  We also had pink milk, which little CJC declared was yuck.

For our snacking pleasure during the movie, we had pink and blue cupcakes.

We didn't really have a lot of extra activities planned, but we all slept in the basement instead of our beds.  We recently bought a new to us house from some very close friends, and they left us a couch in the basement that has a hide-a-bed.  Little CJC did not know that there was a bed in the couch, and she thought it was awesome.  We also all wore our pajamas to watch the movie, even if she was the only one in princess pjs.

As we got ready to start the movie, I guess CJC decided that she needed extra padding.  She put her own "pull out" couch on top of ours.

In all honesty, we must have been pretty tired this week, because even though we didn't do that much, we all struggled to stay awake for the movie.  I guess it was fitting for the theme!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Planning a Bachelorette Party in Epcot

Last summer, my best friend had a fairytale wedding at Disney World.  As the matron of honor, I had the pleasure of planning her bachelorette party.  I mean this honestly, I had so much fun planning this party.  However, that's not to say that I didn't have my moments when I was flipping out.  We decided early on that we wanted to have the party at Epcot, but that of course was the easy part.  The hard part was the plan, but let me first back up and describe the guest list.  The bride worked for WDW for several years, so nothing in the park itself was going to be new for her.  Some of her guests were also still employed there.  On the other end of the spectrum though, many guests had never been to the parks, or even the States for that matter.  Her husband to be was from the Netherlands, so several guests from there were invited, and just to add a little more fun to the party, there was even someone from Canada.  Not that this really came into play in my planning, but the party was also a boy and girl mix, but not the bachelor.  This was a day for the bride to spend some time with all her friends from every aspect of her adventurous life.  I spent a lot of time trying to research out of the ordinary activities that we could do while in the park, but it doesn't matter how much you research, unless you are in the area and able to do some recon, you're never going to be able to plan something like this without there being bumps in the road.  So, here's how our day looked.  

For many, if not all of us, this was the only day this trip we planned on being at Epcot.  Therefore, I invited everyone to join us at park opening to meet up and attack Soarin' and Test Track before the world showcase opened.  We had a great time, but I was amazed at the amount of people that chose to just meet up with us later.  Prior to the actual day, several guests kept asking me what times we would be where.  At first, I was shocked they asked, just thinking, how could I possibly know how the day was going to go and where the time would take us.  The more I started planning though, I realized I at least needed an idea of when we would be where, just to make sure our schedule seemed logical.  I knew that we would get off schedule, and I really didn't even try to stick to it when we were there, but I knew it would be easier to adjust a plan than to make it up as we went along.  That being said, I made a sailing itinerary that I presented to our bride when we started around the world.  

In most countries, she was given three tasks: something to find, something to do, and of course, something to drink.

12:00 Mexico
            - “Since it all started on a boat, ride one now to start this journey around the world.” Ride Grand Fiesta Tour The bride met her groom when they were both working on a cruise ship

            -  Find the biggest sombrero and try it on

            - Try a margarita (or drink of choice)

12:45 Norway
-“Since  you’re “Going to the Chapel” put on your Mickey veil and take a picture in front of the stave church” My friend had made it clear that she didn't want to wear the the traditional Mickey veil, but I thought it was important that she at least got one picture in it.  I gave it to her here and told her she didn't have to wear it after the picture.  Plus, Norway was under construction for the Frozen updates so there weren't a lot of other choices.  On a side note, she did let me get her a Bride shirt (in Disney font) that she wore all day, and a Bride to Be sash that she wore part of the day.  I also passed out buttons to the other guests that said "Bride's nauti crew."

- Find a hidden troll in the garden I don't think we really even looked for this one, just assumed with the construction that it wasn't there.
- Visit the Kringla Bakeri a Carlsberg Beer (or drink of choice) Many of us got snacks here, and we took advantage of the somewhat secluded seating area to get to know everyone a little better.  Before we started around the world, we had brief introductions, but here we found out more about how everyone knew the bride.

1:30   China
            -“Since you “Danced as a Star” find a dancing water bowl” Unfortunately, my friend had already known about this bowl, but she humored us all by trying again.  Plus, these activities were more about getting us a little more immersed in each country rather than just having a drink on the outskirts before moving on.  The objective was met here since it took us a bit to find it.

            -Tell “yourself” you’re getting married Stand in the middle of the temple so that your voice echoes back to you Although I can say we checked this off, it wasn't really eventful since the castmember was not encouraging of us all entering the temple and not staying for the video.  Or maybe our timing was just bad with the time of the next viewing.  I don't really remember the details (like I said, uneventful) but I do remember my friend entering by herself and saying something so that she could check this off her itenerary
            - Visit Joy of Tea and try a Tipsy Ducks in Love (or drink of choice)

2:15   Germany
-         “Since you’re a Disney fan, see how many hidden mickeys you can find at the train village” Unfortunately, the train village was also covered for refurbishment at the time of our visit.  This was okay, since we had one of those short Florida rain showers while at Germany and we all took shelter while getting more food/drinks. 
-         Find a wishing well and make a wish This was a little awkward since there was a line of people waiting to see Snow White.  No one really seemed to mind once we explained that we weren't cutting in line and that she only needed to make a wish.

-         Drink a beer (or drink of choice)

3:00   Italy
-         “Since your wedding colors are mint and navy, see if there are any Venetian masks meant for you
-         Find a red buttoned water surprise At this point, I was starting to feel a little disappointed that so many tasks weren't quite working out as I had planned.  Although I had found this from more than one source online, they must have been outdated.  We looked for a long time to find this red button that must no longer exist.  Amazing friends to the rescue.  One of the party guest downloaded a red easy button app and displayed it on his phone.  When my friend went to push the button, someone splashed her from the fountain.  Yes, it may have been cheesy, but we all found it funny, and it seemed to put us back on track.

-         Try some wine (or drink of choice)

3:45   America
-         “Since you’re halfway through, let’s grab a red stag lemonade (or drink of choice) and take a break and watch the American Music Machine performing at 3:45 As I said, some of the people in our party work at Disney so they knew one of the performers in the show (the guy in the red pants, he was awesome by the way)

4:30   Japan
-         Pick a pearl experience This had a huge line, so my friend decided she'd rather not do it
-         Visit the Sake bar for a pineapple sake, plum wine, or drink of choice

5:30   Morocco
-         “Since everyone seeks true love, visit Alladin and Jasmine @ 5:35 and ask for marriage advice Our timing didn't work for this, so awesome friends to the rescue yet again

-         Eat dinner at Tangierine CafĂ© with a slushi
-         Take some time to explore the marketplace

6:30   France
-         “Since Jordi proposed in France, take a picture in front of the Eiffel Tower showing off your ring

-         Search for Disney references in the library I had read online about all these cute Disney references in the library, but the library is now a perfume store.  However, we did find a sign

-         Try a Grey Goose Citron Lemonade Slush (or drink of choice)

7:15   United Kingdom
-         “Since Disney will always be a part of your past, find one of your old close friends.” The idea here was to get a picture with Winnie the Pooh, but again, we decided not to spend so much time in line. 
-         You never know where a turn in life might take you. Can you make the right turns to get through the maze? 

-         Try a drink of your choice

8:00   Canada
-         “Since marriage takes teamwork, make a human totem pole to match the real totem pole”

-         Find an abandoned mine and waterfall or two (if late enough, look for the rock that opens
-         Try a Frozen Bacardi Mojito or beer of choice

9:00   Illuminations
Are you ready for your future?

I know it seems like so many things didn't work out, but we all had so much fun just spending time together, that I don't think it really even mattered what we were doing.  I wanted to give my friend a small scrapbook to keep track of this adventure, but I knew I wouldn't have time to make one while in Florida and I didn't really want to mail a scrapbook to the Netherlands after the wedding.  So, I actually used the plan as a guide to what pictures I should get, and made a book, minus pictures, before leaving home.  This worked out so great, allowing me to quickly print the pictures straight from my phone to a local pharmacy, and I was able to give the book to her at her wedding rehearsal.  I had also secretly collected a press penny from each country that I added to the book.  Our bride has so many great friends that made this day so much fun!

Have you ever planned an event inside a park without hiring an outside company? How did your day turn out?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

101 Dalmatians

Disney Dinner  Night - Week #2 101 Dalmatians

This week was easy and a little different from what I hope to be our normal dinner nights, but when your sister gets a new puppy, of course you need to watch 101 Dalmatians.  Since meeting a new dog is about the best activity possible for this theme, meet Schmitt!  Little CJC loved him, especially from a distance.  At first, she was really interested, but every time he got close, she ran away.  By the end of the visit, he was the poor one running away.

After our visit, we went to the mall, and even though it was totally unplanned, CJC found a Build-a-Bear store and walked this dog and cat around the store for probably about 15-20 minutes.  I have to admit that the staff were super friendly, because I made it pretty clear that I was not buying anything and they just said the dog needed some exercise and let her go to town.

Since we ended up being out for dinner, we themed our breakfast the next morning.  I made spotted waffles and chocolate spotted our glasses before pouring in the milk.

I have to admit, I feel like I took this week off.  Even though the our activities were completely different than I had planned, they were too good to pass up on and we all had a great weekend.