Disney Boardwalk Inn Room Tour

The 2014 #TypeAWDW Bootcamp event allowed me my first opportunity to actually spend the night at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, so I thought it only fitting that I shared my Disney Boardwalk Inn Room Tour with you.

Keep in mind, I stayed in room 1346 which is on the 1st floor overlooking the quiet pool in the back corner of Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. While it was certainly one of the furthest rooms away from the lobby, because it was on a corner, the room itself was actually larger.

This video room tour took place during the weekend of March 28-30, 2014:

Disney Boardwalk Resort Lobby Fireplace:

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Disney’s BoardWalk check in:

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Disney’s Boardwalk Inn rotunda horse chandelier:

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The second floor patio overlooking Disney’s BoardWalk:

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Child size rockers on the patio looking back towards the rotunda:

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Guest bed inside Disney Boardwalk Inn Room 1346:

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Minnie Lamp on the work desk:

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Blogging on our ‘porch’ overlooking the Boardwalk Inn quiet pool:

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What is your favorite part of  Disney’s BoardWalk Inn?

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Wicked the Musical Review from our First Time

Wicked the Musical: A Review from our First Time

wicked the musical review logo Wicked the Musical Review from our First Time

Last night, the kids and I went to TPAC to see Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witched of Oz, for the first time.

And we LOVED it!

No, really. It was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen – both in terms of content & music, as well as the performers themselves.

The show is such a clever take on not only the story that happens before the “Wizard of Oz”, but their story is interwoven through the traditional story we already know and love.

Wicked the musica review bed Wicked the Musical Review from our First Time

Though the roles were originated by Kristin Chenowith & Idina Menzel, last night’s leads were incredible talents in their own right.

Watch our full Wicked the Musical review (video) here:

We’re already planning a return trip to see WICKED while it’s still in Nashville (at TPAC through April 20, 2014).

Wicked the musical review friends Wicked the Musical Review from our First Time

And from the words of my 8 year old son: “It was my favorite show ever.” When I asked why, his reply was simple, “It was the first show I stayed awake for!”

Doesn’t get much more powerful than that icon wink Wicked the Musical Review from our First Time

For more details on the show itself and tickets, visit TPAC online.

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Disney Side Party: Our #DisneySide Celebration Inspiration…

When I first learned I had been selected to host a Disney Side Party, I jumped at the opportunity (much like any opportunity I have to partner with Disney).

disney side celebration art Disney Side Party: Our #DisneySide Celebration Inspiration...

The timing was perfect, the #DisneySide campaign aligned with my son’s upcoming birthday and we thought this would be a piece of cake to organize.

But if I’m being honest, I actually ended up with a lot of angst trying to pinpoint what our family’s Disney Side would be.

After all, the four of us have a very unique backgrounds and personalities.

For starters, my husband grew up in South Florida and his parents were at Disney World’s opening-day back in the 70s.

I on the other hand didn’t get to go until my teenage years and even then, I spent more time at the Disney resorts that I did inside the park.

While our two kids have ‘grown up Disney’, being a boy and a girl 19 months apart, we’ve run the gamut from Little Einstein’s and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse through Sophia the First and Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

And let’s not get me started on trying to pick a favorite Disney movie amongst us. (Other than the fact that our household has been singing “Let It Go” nonstop for the past three months…)

So as my son’s birthday approached and the theme for our Disney Side @ Home Celebration still had yet to be decided upon, I took a step back.

Instead of trying to compete with all the other fabulous Disney Side Celebrations (although you can find a lot of great ideas at DisneySideCelebration.com) or compare our family to other Disney-loving families, I thought about what made us love Disney in the first place.

Ultimately, for us, Disney represents a realization of dreams: both in the Walt Disney’s vision of bringing Disney World to life in the first place and in what the continuation of his vision embodies for everyone that believes in it.

It also represents a literal realization of our dreams as a family.

Back when we were about to give birth to our first child, my mentor gave us some stellar advice. She said,

“The things you buy your children will eventually end up under a bed or in a garage sale, but the memories you make with them will last forever.”

Seeing as we were living in South Florida at the time (and knew that would not be the case forever), we invested in Disney World season passes for our family. And yes, I said invested. We gave up other expendable line items on the budget for the sake of putting any of our extra income into this memory-making fund.

And when relatives asked what we wanted for holidays, we weren’t shy to share our dreams.

Our family lived in South Florida for a total of seven years together and I cannot tell you exactly how many times we went to Disney World during that time, except that it is upwards of dozens upon dozens.

Those magical moments are ones we will forever cherish as a family.

So ultimately, when it came time to decide upon a theme for our Disney Side party, what better representation of Disney dreams is there then the mouse himself? That’s right, Mickey Mouse.

Disney Side Celebration Plates Disney Side Party: Our #DisneySide Celebration Inspiration...

We celebrated with Mickey plates, Mickey cups, Mickey artwork, Mickey games and more. But we had to make Mickey a little sweeter and even larger than life.

We did exactly that with a Mickey sandwich cookie.

Get your own Disney Mickey Mouse & Friends Party Kit

Ultimately, I don’t believe Disney came up with the Disney Side campaign to make us compare ourselves to one another, but rather, to share what makes each of us individuals. After all, isn’t that the true magic of Disney? Even though everyone in the world is so different, we can all share one, simple love…a love that all started with a mouse icon smile Disney Side Party: Our #DisneySide Celebration Inspiration...

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Mickey Sandwich Cookie Recipe

For our recent Disney Side @ Home Celebration, I made something really special that my kids were still talking about for weeks afterward: a Mickey Sandwich Cookie!

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This Mickey Sandwich Cookie recipe is not unique in the ingredients, but I thought the concept was quite clever…consider it a homemade Mickey Oreo icon wink Mickey Sandwich Cookie Recipe

Making these Mickey Mouse cookies was actually much simpler than I could have imagined.

As part of being a Disney Side @ Home hostess, I received the Wilton Mickey Mouse Cookie Cutters Set. I adapted sugar cookie dough from Wilton and used a store-bought white frosting.

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Mickey Sandwich Cookie Recipe

For the cookie dough, first preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Then cream 1 cup softened butter with 1 1/2 cups of sugar (in a stand mixer for about a minute). Then add in 1 egg and 1 1/2 tsp real vanilla extract (our is from Mexico) until combined.

In a separate bowl, sift 2 1/2 cups AP flour with 2 tsp baking powder & 1 tsp salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the stand mixer. DO NOT OVERMIX or the dough will become tough.

Mickey Mouse Cookie Cutter Dough Mickey Sandwich Cookie Recipe

Form into ball on floured surface and divide dough in half. Roll out dough to make it about 1/8 inch and then cut out Mickey heads with your Mickey cookie cutter. Bake cookies on a cookie sheet lined with a silicon baking mat for about 6 minutes…do not over-bake! Once out of the oven, allow the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Once cookies are cooled, put a generous amount of white frosting on the flat side (bottom) of one Mickey head cookie. After frosting one cookie, take the flat side of a second cookie and match it up to the frosting.

Voila! You have your Mickey Sandwich cookie.

It really amazed me that something so simple as putting two cookies together with a schmear of frosting could be such a big hit. It just goes to show that you don’t always have to reinvent a recipe, but just smush it together with itself every once in awhile icon wink Mickey Sandwich Cookie Recipe

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Dollywood FireChaser Express Family Roller Coaster Debut!

Dollywood FireChaser Express Family Roller Coaster debuts at Dollywood’s 2014 Season opening on March 22, 2014…but we got a special preview today!

Dollywood FireChaser Express Family Roller Coaster Dollywood FireChaser Express Family Roller Coaster Debut!

If you missed the live stream of the event, you can watch Dolly Parton herself sing “Great Balls of Fire” LIVE at the FireChaser Express opening ceremony:

FireChaser Express is the nation’s first dual-launch family coaster, meaning it leaves the station one way and comes flying back into the station in the opposite direction. The minimum height requirement for the ride is only 39-inches, so kids as young as four or five will have the opportunity to ride their first rollercoaster at Dollywood.

 Dollywood FireChaser Express Family Roller Coaster Debut!

As a mom (especially one who is at the park by myself with the kids on this trip), I cannot tell you how much I appreciate a thrill ride that all of us can actually go on together!

 Dollywood FireChaser Express Family Roller Coaster Debut!

Here’s just a glimpse of our FireChaser Express experience:

The kids wanted to ride it again and again, but as you can imagine, it had quite a long line throughout the day. The only downside to the 2 minute and 19 second ride is that only one car is on the track at a time, making the wait time a little longer than average.

 Dollywood FireChaser Express Family Roller Coaster Debut!

The FireChaser Express is a great addition to the Dollywood family of rides and we can’t wait to get back on it.

 Dollywood FireChaser Express Family Roller Coaster Debut!

And stay tuned for more information on the Dollywood Dream More Hotel opening Summer 2015…

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Muppets Most Wanted Movie Kids Review

Our Muppets Most Wanted Movie Kids Review
muppets most wanted movie kids review Muppets Most Wanted Movie Kids Review

I LOVED this movie.

No, really.

I really thought this was just going to be another addition to the franchise with an undeveloped plot line, but boy was I WRONG!

Was it the accents? The globe-trotting? The celebrity cameos? Maybe. But when you start this film with the muppets themselves addressing the absurdity of doing yet another sequel (7, to be exact) via a huge singing production number, I knew we were in for a treat.

Like The Muppets on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Muppets

Follow The Muppets on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheMuppets

Follow Miss Piggy on Twitter: @RealMissPiggy

Follow The Muppets on Tumblr: http://themuppets.tumblr.com

Follow The Muppets on Instagram: @TheMuppets

Visit the Official Site: http://disney.com/muppets

MUPPETS MOST WANTED opens in theaters everywhere on March 21st!

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Family Life Marriage Cruise Day 3 Video Journal

We’re back with our Family Life Marriage Cruise Day 3 video journal!

Family Life Marriage Cruise Day 3 Video Journal Family Life Marriage Cruise Day 3 Video Journal

 

In case you missed it, you’ll want to watch our Family Life Marriage Cruise Day 1 & Day 2 video journals here first.

The 2014 Family Life “Love Like You Mean It” Marriage Cruise took place February 10-14, 2014. I had the privilege of being the official blogger for this year’s cruise, which basically meant that I had the pleasure of not only experiencing all the cruise had to offer and then coming back and sharing our first hand experiences with you.

Day 3 was REMARKABLE!!! Not only did we finally make it into the sun, this girl with a broken foot actually made it into the beautiful ocean waters of Grand Turk! Booyah!

Though we planned on just staying on board and lounging by the pool while everyone else went off on excursions, the lure of the turquoise sea was too much for me. You’ll have to watch the video for proof, but it was glorious.

Oh, and did I mention I made it down the water slide too? Yes, I know, saying it was a monumental day is probably a bit of an understatement…

We were LITERALLY the last people to get back on the ship (you never want to be THOSE people, and yet it was so hard to drag me out of the water (literally & figuratively icon wink Family Life Marriage Cruise Day 3 Video Journal . Luckily, everyone around and on board was so gracious and helpful. We made it just in time for another PACKED night of sessions and activities. Here’s a glimpse into our Day 3 video journal:

Come back each day this week to see a new Family Life #LoveLikeYouMeanIt Marriage Cruise video journal.

If you already know you want to be a part of the 2015 cruise, you won’t want to wait long…

Family Life Marriage Cruise Family Life Marriage Cruise Day 3 Video Journal

Through March 14, you’ll find the BEST discount offered ALL YEAR on the 2015 Family Life marriage cruise. That’s right, they’re offering a Buy One Get One Half Off promo when you use the discount code MARCH. You can even save up to $1000 off their luxurious suite packages!

Head over to the Love Like You Mean It Cruise site and book now!

Get more information (& deals) on all the Family Life Marriage Events & watch ALL our daily cruise video journals.

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Family Life Marriage Cruise Day 2 Video Journal

It’s time for our Family Life Marriage Cruise Day 2 video journal!

family life marriage cruise day 2 video journal Family Life Marriage Cruise Day 2 Video Journal

 

In case you missed it, you’ll want to watch our Family Life Marriage Cruise Day 1 video journal here first.

The 2014 Family Life “Love Like You Mean It” Marriage Cruise took place February 10-14, 2014. I had the privilege of being the official blogger for this year’s cruise, which basically meant that I had the pleasure of not only experiencing all the cruise had to offer and then coming back and sharing our first hand experiences with you.

Day 2 was a whirlwind at sea. No, not a weather whirlwind, but an experience whirlwind! My Type A personality kicked in and I wanted to take advantage of EVERYTHING!

I think the point of Family Life providing so many options for its guests is to make sure to have something for every personality. However I obviously took that to mean I can’t possibly miss one session icon wink Family Life Marriage Cruise Day 2 Video Journal

My husband was a trooper for keeping up with me and even making me go to a session I didn’t think I ‘needed’. Watch our Day 2 journal to find out exactly which session that was:

Come back each day this week to see a new Family Life #LoveLikeYouMeanIt Marriage Cruise video journal.

If you already know you want to be a part of the 2015 cruise, you won’t want to wait long…

Family Life Marriage Cruise Family Life Marriage Cruise Day 2 Video Journal

Through March 14, you’ll find the BEST discount offered ALL YEAR on the 2015 Family Life marriage cruise. That’s right, they’re offering a Buy One Get One Half Off promo when you use the discount code MARCH. You can even save up to $1000 off their luxurious suite packages!

Head over to the Love Like You Mean It Cruise site and book now!

Get more information (& deals) on all the Family Life Marriage Events

March 75558 FL LLYMI Digital Assets 468x90 Family Life Marriage Cruise Day 2 Video Journal

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Family Life Marriage Cruise Day 1 Video Journal

Going on our first Family Life “Love Like You Mean It” Cruise this year, we honestly had no idea what to expect. That’s why my husband, Rick, and I will be bring you day by day video journals from their 2014 marriage cruise!

family life marriage cruise day 1 video journal Family Life Marriage Cruise Day 1 Video Journal

The 2014 Family Life “Love Like You Mean It” Marriage Cruise took place February 10-14, 2014. I had the privilege of being the official blogger for this year’s cruise, which basically meant that I had the pleasure of not only experiencing all the cruise had to offer and then coming back and sharing our first hand experiences with you.

To be honest, we weren’t sure if this was going to be a vacation or a marriage seminar…but it was truly the best of both worlds. Not only did we capture all the seminars, performances & cruise activities, but Rick & I also recorded a nightly video journal. Here’s a glimpse into Day 1:

Come back each day this week to live out our Family Life #LoveLikeYouMeanIt Marriage Cruise experience right along with us!

But if you’re already convinced that you’ll want to be a part of the 2015 cruise, you won’t want to wait long…

Family Life Marriage Cruise Family Life Marriage Cruise Day 1 Video Journal

Starting today and running through March 14 you’ll find the BEST discount offered ALL YEAR on the 2015 Family Life marriage cruise. That’s right, they’re offering a Buy One Get One Half Off promo when you use the discount code MARCH. You can even save up to $1000 off their luxurious suite packages!

Just head over to the Love Like You Mean It Cruise site and book now!

Get more information (& deals) on all the Family Life Marriage Events

March 75558 FL LLYMI Digital Assets 468x90 Family Life Marriage Cruise Day 1 Video Journal

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Britton’s Mr Peabody Movie Birthday Party

We celebrated my son Britton’s 8th birthday on March 1 with a Mr Peabody Movie Birthday Party.

The new Dreamworks Animation film Mr. Peabody & Sherman doesn’t come out until March 7, 2014, but when I was offered the chance to give away 100 #MrPeabody tickets to my readers for a preview of the film on March 1, I saw a unique opportunity.
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A movie preview is to gauge interested amongst the movie’s target demographic, so what better way than to have a bunch of 2nd graders give their honest opinion? And thus, our Mr Peabody Movie birthday party was born!

Regal Green Hills Cinema offers kids’ birthday party set-ups, so before the preview we all gathered for cake and presents.

Since we couldn’t find any Mr Peabody themed cakes, we got creative with his iconic bow tie to come up with this clever cupcake cake. Don’t you just love it?!

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Even the parents enjoyed the sweet treats!

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We had plenty of time (and room) to celebrate Britton’s birthday and open presents before heading in to the theater.

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We invited all the boys from Britton’s class at school as well as some family friends, all of whom we’re so excited to get to see Mr Peabody & Sherman a week before the rest of the world.

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The reaction was unanimous – not only did the movie far exceed my expectations, but EVERYONE loved it! You’d expect that from the kiddos, but all of the parents who stayed for the movie (most of whom were dads) thought it was one of the best kids’ movies they’d seen in a long time.

I especially liked how there were equal amounts of humor directed towards both the younger and older audience members, without pandering to either demographic.

There were so many laugh-out-loud, quotable moments and the story-line never had a lull. Honestly, I can’t wait to see it again.

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The only thing missing was daddy, who’s busy on the Winter Jam Tour!

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Bottom line is that I can’t believe my baby is already 8. This sweet, funny, and loving little boy is growing up so fast. He still possesses the power to change the world with his compassion and generosity…that is, if he doesn’t get distracted by that short-term memory he inherited from his mom…

Squirrel!

Happy Birthday Britton. It’s a daily joy to be your mom and I learn so much from looking into your eyes each morning.

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