September 22, 2014

Fall-ing in Love: My Autumn Bucket List

It's the most wonderful time of the year! If I had to pick one season to live in, I would be hard pressed to pick between autumn and spring. Today, fall is definitely in the lead. Since it is the start of fall, let's break out the bucket list and see what there is to do around here to celebrate cool(er) weather and a little more time to sleep in.

1.) Enjoy the change of the seasons.
Sadly, I live in a part of the country where the only autumn color we experience is purchased at Hobby Lobby.
So we make our own leaves to hang in the windows.

My personal favorite leaf from last year?
This Tinker Leaf  #DisneySide
It's not quite the same, but it's still lovely!

2.) Visit the Texas Renaissance Festival
Located in Todd Mission, Texas, the Texas Renaissance Festival (or RenFest) turns 55 acres into a bustling 16th century village for eight weeks in October and November. Between the hundreds of performers, crafting demonstrations and the authentic shops and cobblestone pathways, it's hard to remember that you haven't stepped into an entirely different time period.

My sister and my daughter at the RenFest
I'm excited to attend the School Days for the first time this year. The don't miss list includes: the always interesting Birds of Prey demonstration, breaking the sound barrier with the Fire Whip Show and of course a turkey leg.

3.) Baking
Sometime in October, the air will be crisp and cool and my mind will turn to all things domestic. Once all of the cleaning and tidying are complete, I will focus almost entirely on baking.

Minnie (Gluten Free, Vegan) Apple Pies
Starting with apple cake, oatmeal raisin cookies and Minnie Apple Pies, I will move on to pumpkin. I'm not really a #PSL fan (sorry!) but pumpkin in general still gets my love! Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin muffins and pumpkin quick breads will be next and finally I will shift gears into gingerbreads. Somehow I will shake myself free at some point to bake a few dozen chocolate chip cookies for gifts.
Hmmmm, maybe this year we'll make praline sauce to give away instead.

4.) Shop for Christmas REALLY Early
On my bucket list is completing all of my Christmas shopping and preparations before Thanksgiving week.
Well we are going on our vacation between Thanksgiving and Christmas rather than our usual over Thanksgiving vacation time.

Pilgrim Mickey listens into Kylee's Christmas list.
I'm not sure why she decided to tell it to Mickey, but he was a very good listener.
Rather than come back and try to get everything settled in a rush after vacation, I'd prefer for all the shopping to be done by mid-November. Now to talk my dear husband into getting me his Christmas list so I can get a move on in the shopping department.
5.) Be There
This is the easy part and also the hard part.
To show up every day, love my husband and kids and not be distracted by all the peripheral busyness and urgency and must do items to check off of my list.
To remember that the perfect Christmas card or picture or outfit is not the point.
I am the mom, so I get to pick how much time we hang out and enjoy time together rather than running to events and being busy, checking off things that make this a "perfect holiday season" rather than one filled with moments that are imperfect but magical.
I get to pick if I create a fall full of peace or a fall ruled by the tyranny of the urgent where I let our family be spread too thin on too many good things.
I choose to be there.

September 21, 2014

Five Minutes to Fairytale Photos ~ Speed of Life

I think that the magic of a Disney vacation exists in three wonderful parts: the dreaming of planning, the pixie dust moments during trip itself and the memories you take with you for years to come.

Since I can't live in the Cinderella Castle Suite or even on property year round, pictures help bring a bit of the fairytale back into my everyday life.

In my enthusiastic pursuit of remembering the Magic, I take hundreds thousands of my own pictures every vacation and hope to share a bit of my experience with you.

 The motion blur never bothered me any way.

The Royal Treatment
Tag! You're it!
Actually it did drive me crazy when I got blurry shots. 

I used to think that shots that included large amounts of blur indicated an immediate need to erase the picture then retake it without even looking at what I had captured. Then I realized that sometimes they provide an otherwise un-capture-able real moment with my kids.

While some are blurry because I'm literally chasing my kids down, others are fascinating because the combination of the still background and the blurred children shows them how I see them in real life. Moving, living, interacting and enjoying their vacation.

It isn't perfect, but it is wonderful and magical enough for me.

“Let It Go.”
~Seriously. If you like Disney or know any girl under the age of twenty, I shouldn't even have to tell you who said it at this point.
So get out there, make mistakes, let it go, don't delete all of the blurry ones, and see what fairytale photos follow you home.

September 17, 2014

Food & Wine Festival ~ Out to Sea


Welcome to those of you joining me from Rolling with the Magic and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 4th stop on our Magical Blogorail."

If your Disney vacation plans bypass Walt Disney World this year (sniff!) or you want to continue the Food and Wine Festival goodness as you take to the high seas, you are certainly in luck! Disney Cruise Lines offers several different cooking demonstrations, wine pairings and tastings during each cruise.

On the classic ships (aka the Disney Magic and her sister ship the Disney Wonder), "Anyone Can Cook" is offered several times throughout the cruise. During a fun informative presentation, adults can learn how to prepare a new appetizer, entrée or dessert. Recipe cards are provided, as are samples of both the dish and a wine pairing.

If you have youngsters who are budding chefs, they offer a similar program in the clubs. Their project often results in chocolate chip cookies ready to eat rather than sea bass. No complaints from my children!

My favorite demonstration, by far, is exclusive to the longer cruises. Chef v. Chef provides an Iron Chef-esque throwdown. Complete with mystery ingredients, volunteers from the audience acting as sous chef and a panel of esteemed judges (again volunteers.)

Iron Chef Style Throwdown, complete with a mystery ingredient!
My husband experienced judging this competition with an extremely unusual mystery ingredient, which nevertheless resulted in two ridiculously delicious three course meals. It's fun and already included in your cruise, so check it out!

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Sparks of Magic.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ Disney Babies Blog - F&W Perfect Meal
2nd Stop ~ Home is Where the Mouse Is - Duffy's International Food Festival
3rd Stop ~ Rolling with the Magic - Food & Wine Fun Outside of Epcot
4th Stop ~ Adventure in the Great Wide Somewhere - Art of Entertaining
Final Stop ~ Sparks of Magic - Gluten-Free Goodness at Disneyland Resort

September 4, 2014

Three Things Thursday ~ Forests of Books!

It's time for one of my new favorite blog hops: Three Things Thursday!

(Be sure to link up on her blog!)
Since I already have a blog (and three blogs preceding this one) what haven't I already shared?

Once Upon a Time There Was a Princess With Her Nose Stuck in a Book.

Actually I'm reading three different books right now. For a change, all three are new (to me) books rather than old favorites. (I think I'm reading a few of those as well.

1.) A Candle for Saint Jude
by Rumer Godden
This book is the prequel to one of my childhood favorites, Listen to the Nightingale. A few chapters in, I remember why this author won my love. The intricate world of the ballet boarding school unfolds like a flower in ever widening sketches. Like interpretive dance, this story skips and shades and doesn't fill in all the details but is delightful and lovely all the same. I finally found a copy on Amazon about a month ago and ordered it. I'm about halfway through and enjoy it immensely.

2.) The Brainy Bunch: The Harding Family's Method to College Ready by Age Twelve
by Kip Harding and Mona Lisa Harding
I love researching anything, especially new things! A large part of the joy of my new adventure of homeschooling is reading everything I can find about different theories of homeschool, be it pins on pinterest, blogs, or books. I think this is an easy, yet interesting read. Equal parts autobiography and homeschooling hint book, I enjoy their unique perspective. How many people routinely enroll their tweens in college? So far, seven out of their ten children have entered college before age twelve. I enjoy the affable and entertaining presentation but I'm not sure how applicable it is. I'm about eighty percent of the way through the book.

3.) The Princess Bride
by William Goldman
I hadn't read the book that inspired my favorite movie? Inconceivable! I'm only a half chapter into this but I suspect it will leapfrog ahead of the other two. I borrowed this from the library this morning after watching the classic film with my kids the other day.

Which one would you want to read first? Do you have anything I should add to my reading list?

Just realized that I am also in the midst of The Iron Trial on my Kindle as well.
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