I will be taking today and tomorrow to enjoy my sweet family and celebrate the “Reason for the Season!” I wish you all a Merry Christmas!!
From our family to yours…….
Double post coming at you today!!
I couldn’t resist joining in on What I Ate Wednesday because I just have to share some of the good stuff I have been eating this week!! You know, those meals and snacks where you just want more and more?! Well, I have been lucky enough to consume lots of those meals this week!!
I finally figured out how to create the perfect protein smoothie. At least for me!!
The secret is cottage cheese!! It really does give the smoothie a true cheesecake taste and it is just so darn delicious!!
How to Make: Blueberry Cheesecake Protein Smoothie
Blend all ingredients in a Ninja type blender(or whatever you have!!) until smooth and enjoy!!!
I have been enjoying these shakes for breakfast, lunch, snack and dessert!!!
Meatloaf. It is one of those foods that come to mind when I think of good ol’ Southern Style home cookin’. It is also one of those foods that have always been hit or miss for me. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t. However, I have recently discovered a recipe that now makes meatloaf one of my favorite meals ever. But ONLY if using this fabulous recipe from Mix and Match Mama.
I kid you not when I tell you I had to force myself to step away from the table after two servings. I also had it reheated for lunch yesterday and I might venture to say that it was even better then. Try this. SOON!!!
* I did alter the recipe just a tad. Her recipe calls for tomato sauce in the loaf and I didn’t have any so I just added a bit of ketchup instead. Also, I cut down on the glaze for the top because it would have been too much for me. I didn’t really measure when making the glaze, just went by taste….by dipping my finger is to see how it tasted. Yep, that’s how I do it around here y’all!! ;-)
Spaghetti squash, smoked turkey and broccoli bowl. Another AMAZING dinner!! Simple, clean and tasty. It really doesn’t get much easier or delicious than this. Especially when you add a Laughing Cow Light Swiss cheese wedge in there to make it all creamy!!!
And finally, this mornings breakfast was just too good not to share.
End of the (peanut butter) jar overnight oats.
It has been a good while since I have made up a batch of my overnight oats and these did not disappoint. Especially because there was a good amount of peanut butter still in the bottom of the jar!!
But what I like best about these is that after a few quick minutes of preparation the night before, you have an incredible breakfast waiting for you as soon as you wake up. And this meal will keep me full for hours today!!
How to Make:
Using an almost empty nut butter jar(or any jar or container) add the following:
Stir all ingredients together and allow to sit overnight or at least a few hours in the refrigerator before eating.
In the morning, top with your favorite fruit, nuts or whatever floats your boat. I added strawberries and banana to mine and it was the perfect combination!!
Come on now, admit it….you must be just tad bit jealous of how well I have been eating this week, right?! :-) I kid…I kid…. but after being away from my own kitchen last week it was SO nice to get back to eating healthy(mostly) home-cooked meals!!
What foods are you loving right now?
Favorite home cooked meal?
Oats. Do you prefer them hot or cold?
Time to wrap up this Disney vacation, y’all!!Does anyone else feel like it takes forever after booking a vacation for the day to arrive but once the day is there, it just goes by SOOOO quickly.
Re-capping my days at Disney has been a great way for me to re-live the fun my family and I had last week.
Disney World Day 3: Hollywood Studios
Remember how I said we had torrential downpours at one point while visiting Magic Kindgom? Well, the rain decided to come back the next day and it did not let up. Still, I had a plan and I was sticking to it. Armed with our ponchos and the knowledge that we were going to be getting wet, we headed out to make the best of the day.
During the 5 or so hours that we were at Hollywood Studios, it rained really hard for about four of them. The other hour…… just a light rain. I have to say, I was really disappointed because I think this park would have been so much fun had the weather cooperated. There were some really neat stunt shows that we wanted to see but due to the weather, they were either cancelled or cut way down in time. Bummer.
We did get to see the Indiana Jones stunt show and even though they had to cut it short, we all enjoyed it so much. My kids were amazed at some of the “stunts” they did and so was I!!
This is one of the moments where the rain decided to let up just a bit.
And this is the only other picture that we took the entire day. Why is my husband the only one with a big smile here?
Day Four: Downtown Disney
We used our last day on vacation to just relax and take our day at a much slower pace. Downtown Disney is a great area to walk around in, shop for souvieners and enjoy some nice scenery. Oh, and they have some great places to eat, too!!
For lunch that day, we opted for Wolfgang Puck’s Express restaurant. It was flippin’ GOOD!!! So good in fact that we devoured our food before I remembered to take a picture.
Just trust me that the Margherita pizza and Roasted Turkey Cobb salad are must try’s if you are ever near a Wolfgang Puck Express!!
There is a huge Lego store in Downtown Disney that my kids loved. I suck at putting Legos together but obviously someone was pretty good at it because just look at these creations!!
After Downtown Disney, we headed back to our hotel for some time at the pool. That was nice and interesting. There was a lady next to us with her kids and husband and she totally sported a thong bikini!! My husband just thought he was getting entertained at the parks!!! I wanted to take a picture for y’all SO badly but I though better of it….ha!!
Instead I snapped one of the pool while no one was in it!!
Well, that is a wrap!!!
As much fun as I had, what they say is true. There is NO PLACE LIKE HOME!!! I am SO enjoying sleeping in my own bed again!!
Since school is out and vacation is over, I need to get busy finding some activities to keep the kids busy this Summer. The first place we are heading is to Michaels Craft Store. I got an email yesterday informing me of a Summer program they have called, Passport to Imagination, Summer Crafting Adventures. It runs from June 17th to August 2, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week and only costs $2 for 2 hours of fun!! If you have kiddos, you should check your local store to see if they are participating in the program. I hope it isn’t too late to sign my kids up!!
And now, moving on to part 2 of my Disney World Vacation. This recap will be all about Magical Kingdom, my very favorite Disney park!!
Disney World Day 2- Magic Kingdom
I have to admit, I think I was almost more excited than my kids to get to Magic Kingdom. While we greatly enjoyed Animal Kingdom, it lacked a bit of the magical quality that we were all anticipating. However, as soon as we got to Magic Kingdom, I think we were all a bit giddy and in awe. Even Lance was pretty thrilled with it, and he is a guys guy!!
The first thing we did once we got to Magic Kingdom was rent a double stroller for my kids. Yep, you heard that right! My kids are 5 and 7 and I believe the stroller was essential!!
Magic Kingdom is pretty enormous and we planned on being at the park until night time so we were going to be doing a whole lot of walking!! While I would never use a stroller in our day to day life, I highly suggest it at Magic Kingdom if you have kids under 8 or so. Trust me, it will save you from non-stop complaining and meltdowns!! Heck, I wish there had been one big enough for me to fit in. ;-)
Once we were inside the gates, we were greeted by the beautiful and famous castle. And like every other tourist there, we had to stop and take a million pictures in front of it!!
The family picture.
The kids. So sweet, they are!!
Another piece of advice I was given(and thank goodness listened to) is to dress for comfort and not cuteness. Seriously, no one cares how stylish you look at Disney World but you will totally regret it if you go in with wedge heels and a skirt!!
There were so many fun rides and things to see and do at Magic Kingdom and there is no way I can name them all. And trust me, you wouldn’t want me to. That would make for a verrrry long blog post!
I can however, share with you my least favorite ride.
The teacups. Why I even got on them is beyond me. Constant spinning and Suzanne do NOT go well together. I was so close to hurling but thank goodness, the ride ended before I did!!
Minnie and Donald were highlights!!
Sorry about that photo quality!!
My most favorite part of our trip was hands down,the night time show at Magic Kingdom. The Disney Electrical Parade and the Fireworks were just A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!
At one point, I was afraid we were going to miss them because around 4pm in the afternoon, it started raining. Like torrential downpours!! Thanks, Hurricane Andrea!!
We got lucky though and the rain stopped about an hour before we had to head back out to the festivities. I am SO glad we got to experience it because when I think about Disney World, this is what comes to mind!! Again, sorry for the picture quality but most of these were taken with my IPhone and do no justice to how esquisite the show really was.
And ONE last thing before I wrap this up.
We didn’teat at any of the fancier Disney restaurants that require reservations just because I wasn’t sure how they would fit into our schedule. However, I did manage to eat some pretty decent food while there. I tried my first ever lobster roll at the Columbia Harbor House.
It was delicious!!!
And the one food item I was looking forward to the MOST!!! A Dole whip!!!
Cool, creamy and refreshing. It did not disappoint!! If ever given the opportunity, this is a must try!!!
I enjoyed it so much that I even came home and tried to re-create one myself!! While I got somewhat close, I am still playing around to see if I can make it even better!
I’ll be back tomorrow with one last re-cap of our time at Disney World. Next up: Hollywood Studios and Downtown Disney
Have you ever tried a Dole Whip?
What is your favorite theme park food?
Vacation was fun.
However, I have never been happier to sleep in my own bed and to cook my own food. Next time I travel, remind me to pack my own pillow, will ya?
But really, we had such a blast at Disney World and I am ready to share the fun with you!! Since it was a pretty jam packed 5 days, I will do this in a couple of re-caps, just to keep it from being uber- long.
Disney Day 1: Arrival
Our plane arrived in Orlando at 8:55pm on Monday night so obviously, we didn’t do much but go check into our hotel, unpack and sleep. Still, my wonderful impression with Disney World started here. We were picked up by a Disney Shuttle(very nice and comfy!!) and taken to the Pop Century Resort where we were staying.
Pop Century is a “value” resort but it provided us with everything we needed. A bathroom and a couple beds. ;-) The room was far from fancy and it was quite small but it was adequate for a family of four. It was also very clean which is a huge necessity for me because I am a bit of a germ-a-phobe.
The room had a mini fridge which was great because it allowed us to order some grocery/snack items from Garden Grocer (basically an online grocery store that will deliver to your hotel) and keep items like yogurt, water and juice boxes cold. It was nice to be able to pack some snacks for the day or even eat a quick breakfast before leaving our room on some early mornings.
Again, our hotel room was very basic but the resort itself was nice. There was an arcade, food court, laundry facilities and 3 pools on site. If you are looking for luxury, this is probably NOT the place for you. If you are looking for a reasonably priced room where you can relax after a long day at a Disney park, you will not be disappointed.
Disney Day 2: ANIMAL KINGDOM
Since we all got to bed pretty late the night before, I was happy with our decision to visit Animal Kingdom Park first. I had heard this was a park you could get through in half a day and I knew we needed to start small.
Prior to leaving for Disney World, I had researched which days were going to have the largest and smallest crowds on the days we were going to be there. This day happened to be a green day(light crowds) so we were able to arrive about 30 minutes after the park opened and still see plenty of attractions without long wait lines.
The first ride/attraction we headed to was the Kilimanjaro Safari. We got an amazing and funny guide which made an already incredible attraction even better. We saw all kinds of exotic animals and beautiful scenery. My only complaint is that it ended too soon!!!
Some of our other favorites included:
The Tree of Life
There was a 3D movie called, “It’s Tough to be a Bug” that went along with this and it was pretty neat, too!!
Kali River Rapids. This one was a BLAST, especially for my kids!! They loved getting wet and while the ride was fairly mild for adults, it had just enough thrills to make it exciting for the little ones. We left this ride nice and WET!!! Not that we were complaining though. While the weather was actually quite nice while we were there, it can still get a bit warm and sticky when walking through a crowded park for hours on end.
Goofy and Pluto Character Meeting
If you look closely, you can see that we are nice and wet in this picture. This would have been right after we rode the rapids!!
Another one that I didn’t snap a picture of but this was most definitely one of my favorites from the day. I had heard it could be a bit scary for little ones but my 5 and 7 year old handled it just fine and loved it as much as I did. Maybe we are a crazy family that finds almost being eaten by dinosaurs fun!!
We did plenty more but I wasn’t able to capture pictures of it all. I snapped as many pictures as I could but I wanted to be in the moment at times too, so the camera stayed in our bag a good portion of the time.
We called it quits at Animal Kingdom by about 3pm in the afternoon and I feel like that was more than enough time to do and see what we wanted.
After a quick rest in our room, we headed out to explore more of our hotel.
Our hotel was set up by decades. It started with the 50′s and goes through the 90′s. We ended up smack in the middle……the 70′s!!
Anyone remember these toys or were you too young?
Big Wheel, baby!!!
And a GIANT Mickey!!!
After wearing the kids out, we called it an early night and we all hit the sack by 8:30 pm. Oh, yes we did. And I enjoyed every minute of our 10 hour snooze!!!!
I will be back tomorrow with a re-cap of my favorite park, Magic Kingdom!! That one deserves an entire post all to itself!!!
It seems someone(me!!) seems to have forgotten they have a blog. Oopsy daisy!!!
The end of the school year is always a really busy time for me so it leaves me little time to focus on other stuff. Well, actually that might be an excuse. ;-) Don’t get me wrong it is busy but I just haven’t had much to write about lately.
Unless of course, you want to read endless blogs about my preparing to go to Disney World!!!!
We leave tomorrow and will arrive in Orlando in the evening. I am so excited I can hardly stand it. I have never been a big Disney fan and have never really dreamed about visiting Disney World. Until I had kids, that is!! While I am sure I will have fun, Disney World has never been on my top 10 list of “fun vacation adventures”. However, seeing my kids take in all the sights, experiencing the magical aspect of it all…..that is enough to make it #1 in my book!!!
I cannot wait to come back and share with y’all how great of a time we had. Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely expecting meltdowns but I deal with those on a daily basis anyway. ;-)
Because I am not a real spontaneous type of person, I have lined out a very “loose” agenda. Originally, I had planned on going to Magic Kingdom on our first day but after reading some blogs, I realized that might not be the best idea. Apparently, it can cause sensory overload. That, and it seems to be the most “magical” park so the chances are the others will pale in comparison. For that reason, we are going to do the parks like this:
Tuesday: Animal Kindgom(Who doesn’t love a good safari ride?!)
Wednesday: Magic Kingdom(I am putting the “best park” in the middle, just to break it up a bit. We will stay up late this night because seeing the fireworks at Cinderella’s castle is a MUST!!!
Thursday: Hollywood Studios
Friday: Downtown Disney and pool time at our resort
Now for a really great packing tip!! Instead of folding your clothes in the suitcase, roll them instead!!
It saves SO much room and surprisingly, keeps them from wrinkling as badly as folding does. I learned this trick a couple years back when I went on a cruise (no formal wear required) and only carried a carry on. And yes, I am just like every other girl out there…an over packer. But this time, I am trying to simplify a bit. We will officially need 5 outfits each(the number of days gone) but because accidents happen I am packing everyone 8 outfits each. We will also have three pairs of shoes each and 3 sets of pajamas, Oh yes, and two bathing suits.
That is A LOT of clothes but with rolling them, I am able to fit everything in just two suitcases. One full size and one carry on!!! Lance will also bring a back pack for snacks and electronics and I will bring a tote bag for extra stuff as well. I must say, I am pretty impressed with myself!! :-)
See y’all after June 8th with a Disney World vacation re-cap or two!!
Have you ever been to Disney World? What is your favorite park?
What is your number one vacation destination and why?
I realize that Summer doesn’t officially start for almost another month, but around these parts I am going to go ahead and say it is here!!!
School is out for one kid and in another week, Camryn will be finished as well.
My frozen yogurt cravings are in full swing!!
And apparently, so are hers!! A girl after my own heart!!!
I am so excited because the frozen yogurt place up the street from me is now offering a rewards program. I am excited to see how many free yogurts I can get this Summer!! Any bets?!
Salads are being served for dinner because produce is fresh and ripe!! Besides, why heat up the house when you can throw a delicious meal together without turning on the oven OR the grill.
This salad was super random but it was incredibly good. Boiled eggs, black olives, kidney beans, cucumber, avocado, feta cheese and strawberries all over a bed of greens.
Of course, there will be LOTS of grilling this Summer because fresh, grilled corn on the cob is my favorite!!
This particular time we served the corn with Buffalo Feta Meatballs(original recipe at Iowa Girl Eats) but I could make a meal out of a couple cobs of corn if given the chance!!
And last but not least, it is officially Pool time!!!
For the first time this year, I have donned a bikini and gotten my tan on!! I say tan but honestly, I slather myself in sunscreen and always wear a hat and big glasses. Sun damage is not pretty, girls and boys!
It is still not quite hot enough for me to actually get in the pool but I am happy to lay on the lounge chair and watch my kids frolick about!! I don’t get in the pool until it is miserably hot(at least mid 90′s for days on end) but I still enjoy the relaxation of it. Plus, the view isn’t too bad!!
This post wouldn’t be complete without me adding a couple pictures of my brand new
nuisance puppy that is just too cute!! This guy is such a BIG pain in my rear but I hardly care because he has already won a place in my heart. And my couch and side table, also!!
Is it starting to feel like Summer to you yet?
What is your favorite Summer time meal?