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!

Mickey Sandiwich Cookie Recipe 756x1024 Mickey Sandwich Cookie Recipe

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.

Screen Shot 2014 03 22 at 10.10.30 PM Mickey Sandwich Cookie Recipe

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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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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Sibling Love: #SiblingLove Twitter Party on 2/25

The topic of love is not a new one for February, but how much thought do you give you sibling love?

 Sibling Love: #SiblingLove Twitter Party on 2/25

I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.

I essentially grew up as an only child; I have three half brothers, but they were all out of the house by the time I was two. So when it comes to mediating the relationship between my own kids, I don’t have a ton of personal experiences to draw from.

Perhaps thats why I felt the need to write The Secret of Sibling Love on Vanderbilt’s Children’s Wishing Well blog this month.

My kids are in a unique stage of life (ages 8 & 9) where they are developing their own way in life, yet still looking to me for guidance & direction. While I can share lessons on love, kindness & compassion with them, I believe there truly are unique lessons that can be taught to them when it comes to loving their sibling.

So my fellow Tommy Nelson mommies and I will be hosting a Twitter Party on exactly this topic on Tuesday, February 25 at 8pmCST/9pm EST!

Screen Shot 2014 02 24 at 9.06.10 PM Sibling Love: #SiblingLove Twitter Party on 2/25

Just RSVP over on FaithGateway.com in the comments section so you can qualify for one of the many gifts we’ll be giving away during our #SiblingLove Twitter Party.

So whether you are a sibling, have siblings, or one day want to give birth to siblings, I guarantee you’re going to get something out of this family event! (And God knows we all need to learn and grow from each other, so the more voices that can contribute to this conversation, the better!)

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Family Life Marriage Events

We have such a special place in our hearts for the Family Life marriage events.

Family Life Marriage Cruise Family Life Marriage Events

We attended our first Family Life Weekend to Remember right after we were married ten years ago and now we’re getting ready to attend our first Family Life “Love Like You Mean It” Marriage Cruise over Valentine’s Day 2014.

Whether you’re looking for a registration discount code or simply want more personal insights into these marriage events, I’ve gathered all our Family Life experiences into one place for exactly that reason!

Of course, as we continue to experience more events for the coming years (as I know we will!), I will continue adding those updated experiences here, as well as pass along any savings tips I can to you.

Family Life Marriage Events

Family Life Weekend to Remember

Family Life Weekend to Remember Registration Discount Code

Family Life Marriage Cruise

Family Life Cruise discount packages

*** Our Family Life Marriage Cruise 2014 Video Journal ***

Family Life “The Art of Marriage”

Learn more about the Art of Marriage

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My St. Jude Experience & Twitter Party on 12/1 with Olivia Holt

Recently, I was invited to experience St. Jude with nine other bloggers. It was a whirlwind day and wanted to capture my St. Jude experience via video before I forgot any moments of that life-changing day:

Today, I have the pleasure of hosting a Twitter Party with Disney Channel Star Olivia Holt to bring attention to the St. Jude #ThanksAndGiving campaign.

Not only will be be talking about some ways that you can make a difference this season in the lives of these precious children and their families, but we’ll also highlight how you can truly maximize your gift-giving this season to not only give some AMAZING gifts that also give back!

Make sure to join us today, 12/1 at 12 Noon CST on Twitter and use the hashtag #ThanksAndGiving to talk along with us!

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Opryland Not So Silent Night 2013 Lineup Interview

If you’re looking for something new at Gaylord Opryland hotel this Christmas, you won’t want to miss their new show “A Not So Silent Night”.

Opryland Not So Silent Night 2013 lineup interview Opryland Not So Silent Night 2013 Lineup Interview

In fact, it’s so new that it features a new star every performance!

On the night the Gaylord Opryland hotel flipped the switch on its Christmas lights here in Nashville, I had the pleasure of grabbing an interview with some of the “A Not So Silent Night” 2013 lineup.

Three of the stars of “A Not So Silent Night” not only performed at the lighting ceremony, but took time afterwards to stop and talk to me about the show, why they’re so excited to be a part of this event and, of course, their favorite thing about Christmastime at the Gaylord Opryland Resort!

Watch my full interview with country stars Ty Herndon, Suzy Bogguss & Jamie O’Neal:

This is the 30th anniversary of a Country Christmas at Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Resort and it’s one you will NOT want to miss! We’ve already been to Opryland twice since the lights went on and our kids are already asking when we can go back again.

No matter how many times we visit Opryland, there’s something new and magical every time (& to be honest, it doesn’t feel like Christmas in Nashville until we’ve been to Opryland to see the lights!).

Opryland “A Not So Silent Night” Details:

Dates: November 22 – December 28, 2013 (Friday & Saturday ONLY)
Time: 7:00pm
Pricing:
FRIDAY
Adults and Children (4 & over)- $24.99*
Children (3 & under) FREE

SATURDAY
Adults and Children (4 & over)- $34.99*
Children (3 & under) FREE

You can visit Opryland’s website to see the full line-up of “A Not So Silent Night” performers.

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