Words for Wednesday:  Winston Churchill

  

  

Sometimes our best is not enough.  We have to do what is required.  -Winston Churchill

Besides being so loveably charming and endlessly quotable, Winston Churchill was Britian’s stalwart Prime Minister who lead his country and the Allied Forces to victory, defeating Germany in 1945. 

Only two months later; however, Churchill’s Conservative party and his leadership were ousted from Parliment.  So goes political and world achievements!

Considered by many to be the statesman on the 20th century, Churchill, nicknamed the “English Bulldog” rallied the English people and even Roosevelt to push forward through the grueling years of WWII. 

I love this Churchill quote spoken during those WWII days. The British people resolved not to give in, to not be defeated by Hitler when all other European countries did. Churchill’s quote challenges the mindset the mentality of “I gave it my best shot”.  Churchill demanded from the British troops and people to do what is required…stand united, defy the enemy and continue to stand firm even when it doesn’t look like a “win”.

So, in the spirit of Churchill and his words…what will you do today that is required but beyond your ability?  Whether it’s fighting injustice in your community, state or in the world or fighting for your marriage, your kids, or your own personal goals…will you do what is required?

Let me know what’s challenging you today in the comments below.

A Prayer for the Week:  It’s Simply Tuesday

My minivan this Tuesday…hot yoga gear, bikes still in the car from Sunday’s ride and strewn candy wrappers.

 

Every week,  Emily P. Freeman hosts #ItsSimplyTuesday Instagram photo posts where everyone can share their ordinary Tuesday’s. Tuesday is ordinary, but it’s where our life is lived, inbetween Sunday bike rides and weekend car rides where kids eat candy and leave wrappers behind. 

So, even though it isn’t Sunday (beginning of the week) or Monday (beginning of the work week) in honor of #ItsSimplyTuesday, I’m offering a prayer for the rest of the week. 

Lord, 

It’s Tuesday and our week is too full already.  

Over scheduling, fast approaching deadlines and just remembered school projects crowd into our already filled out planners. 

We feel overwhelmed and underprepared. And we admit we feel a bit unloving towards our spouse and children. 

Lord, help us extend mercy  to our spouse and children and help them meet their goals. 

Give us grace to let go of our inked agendas and make room for Your agenda, Your priorities this week.  

Lord, help us to enjoy these busy moments and hectic schedules in this season of our life and to relax our faces and smile.  Give smiles to our loved ones and smiles to strangers. 

Lord, remind us that You speak in the still and quiet moments and lead us to those quiet places to hear Your voice. 

Thank You for Your Kindness, forgiveness and every good gift You give us through Your abundance and the good gifts we enjoy when we show Your love to those we meet daily.

Help us to become whom You have called each of us to be in Christ. 

Amen


Disney with Teens: Disney Quest & Downtown Disney

Good Monday to all!  I hope the sun’s shining today for you!  After a week of almost nonstop rains, the sun sure is a welcome relief!

Today I’m covering Disney Quest and Downtown Disney. Disney Quest is probably our teens’ favorite place because  it’s fun, interactive and the lines aren’t too long.

We usually head over to Disney Quest, located in Downtown Disney, after dinner. That’s because we love to save money and the hotels we stay in offer a free dinner or free heavy snacks! Yes, you read correctly, free breakfast and evening meal/snacks!

So, I’m spilling the beans. Besides offering a great breakfast, Homewood Suites Orlando offers a free dinner Monday-Thursdays with complimentary wine and beer on tap.  What?!! What’s the catch?  The only catch is their dinner service starts at 5 pm and it you don’t eat within the first hour…food sometimes runs out.  Another awesome choice with an amazing cook to order breakfast is Embassy Suites Kissimmee.  While Embassy Suites doesn’t offer a dinner, they do serve snacks (think chips, veggies, cheese, crackers, etc) along with complimentary soft drinks and bar drinks during their specified evening hours.

But, one night, much to the girls’ delight, we “splurged” and ate at Downtown Disney!  Seriously!

You should know that Downtown Disney offers a variety of shopping/food/ways to spend your money opportunities. While there are some talented street performers, besides Disney Quest the main purpose of Downtown Disney is to blow money in a street/lakeside setting as you stroll around!  If that’s your thing, go for it!

There’s a lot within Downtown Disney, and they’re expanding right now, so grab a map!

My husband finding his bearings!

FYI, Ghirardelli Chocolatiers has a shop and they hand out free samples!

Sweet!

We are our late lunch/early dinner at Earl of Sandwich because we had a Restaurant.com certificate for it!  And then, we had desserts at Planet Hollywood!  (Because even with the coupon, that’s all we could afford!) Another insider tip, Planet Hollywood’s average entree is $28-$35ish, so with a family of four, you do the math!!

A Sundae as big as your noggin!  And yes, we did finish it!

Although the Earl of Sandwich and Planet Hollywood gift certificates aren’t on Restaurant.com’s website anymore, there is a Crossroads at House of Blues gift certificate right now.  We use Restaurant.com anytime we travel because there’s always a good selection of restaurants to choose from. For WDW , type in zip code 32830 and that will pick up those restaurants closest to WDW and within Downtown Disney. The certificates do not expire and if the restaurant stops honoring them (it sometimes happens)  you can use the credit to redeem another certificate for another restaurant.

So, to the fun stuff!  I heart Disney Quest!  This inner ’80’s girl spazzed when we got inside Disney Quest!

We used our magic bands, but general admission is $45 for those 10 years old and older. Within this massive 5 story complex are 1980s classics such as Frogger, Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man, Asteroids, as well as current favs such as Guitar Hero and Jewelz!

The best part about the seemingly endless rows and floors of video arcades is one doesn’t need quarters!  When the game’s over, merely restart again!!

There are many virtual immersive games to explore as well; but,  our favorite is CyberSpace Mountain!  You can create your own roller coaster and then save it to a drive. Then, your destined roller coaster is programmed into their roller coaster simulator…think self contained pod. Once you’re strapped in the coaster begins and bam! You’re riding on your very own coaster and it’s such a rush!!  We made ours the most challenging possible and turned upside down at every chance!

This post concludes the end of my Disney with Teens series. If you’re just joining here’s links to the other posts:

We love Walt Disney World and time spent with our girls!  If you have a specific question about Downtown Disney or any of the othe parks or resources I’ve linked, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer your questions!!

Weekend Links:  Mad Men and More

This photo captures it all..Betty, Sally and Glen

image via AMC

1. Mad Men Series: Only 3 episodes left …which I cannot bear as I fear it will push me in a deep depression. The series began in 2007 when I began watching it  and it has been a part of me ever since. Seven seasons, perfect.

You can binge watch here, but I doubt you can get caught up before the series ends…unless you don’t leave your house from now until Sunday, May 17th.

If you watch the show, we need to talk, seriously. None of my friends watch this show and last week’s episode is killing me. Joan!!! Is all I can say!


Joan, making her way…suffering no fools!

image via AMC

Words fail me with this show because there are so many themes, motifs and issues that are interwoven through the decades (50s-70s) the NYC ad agency and it’s characters live through.  Seriously, there should be a “Mad Men” discussion group like one has for books.

Moving on..

2.Homemade Pedialyte:  After suffering some traveler’s revenge, this homemade recipe sure would have helped to retain fluids without extra ingredients. Best news…you  have all the ingredients in your house already!

3. Father/Son Retreat:  Okay, this is really local (Southern Kentucky/Nashville area) but also too cool not to share!  Barefoot Republic is an awesome Christian camp/retreat center located near Scottsville, Kentucky. Their upcoming Big Foot Little Foot Retreat is geared specifically for dads and one of the dad’s son’s (intentional one on one time). Part of my education/background includes a Master of Divinity where in one of my seminary classes we discussed the importance of  Father/Son time and spiritual and  developmental rituals for fathers to bestow upon their sons. This camp fits the bill. Just click on to see what it’s about and if you have a son, grab some ideas for your own!

4. Apparantly Chicken Harnesses are a thing.  Seriously, click on this link to view the award winning chicken harness you can now purchase in stores. For your chicken. When you need to walk it around the neighborhood.

What’s going on this weekend for you? I’m planning a fun weekend with my family although the weather forecast is calling for severe weather.  

Five Minute Friday Link Up:  Hide

I’m joining others today for “Five Minute Friday” word prompt writing.  Just like it sounds, writers are challenged to write for 5 minutes on the word that blogger Kate Motaung hosts each Friday on her blog Heading Home.

Today’s word is:

Hiding is something that comes easily to me. I’m one of those personality types who likes to work behind the scenes, get things done, and not have the spotlight shine on her.

Sometimes that’s a great character trait and other times not so much. I’ve witnessed over the years colleagues take credit for work that I did, even acts of kindness. And, even more painful, colleagues have also misrepresented my actions.  Why?  Who knows.   I guess if I had put myself out there more and tooted my own horn, I would have kept the haters at bay.

It’s not wrong to be in the spotlight and not hide. God gives us each opportunities to shine for Him and be His witness…to not hide our light but to shine forth like a light on a hill.

The important truth I hold dear and close to my heart when at times all I want is to hide away is this:  God knows my heart. My intentions; but, more importantly….He knows the Truth. And I hide in Him.

Disney with Teens: Hollywood Studios

Hello, Thursday!

Well, here we are arriving at Hollywood Studios.  Although the least visited park within WDW, we thoroughly enjoy this park because it’s geared towards teens & adults (read less strollers) and it’s less crowded! While we appreciate those 2 features, Disney will be renaming this park again soon and adding more kid friendly rides (so I’ve been reading on other blogs).

Our teens enjoy this park…whilst waiting for our next Fast Pass, the girls spied hula hoops and took a hula break:

Also, located near the available hula hoops is the Academy of Televisin Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza. Within the plaza are busts of the hall of famers…sadly, most of whom the girls didn’t recognize. But there was one…


That’s our official “Oprah Smile”.  Check out Oprah’s images when your at Starbucks on your next coffee run and you’ll see what we’re talking about!  #OprahSmile

So, without further ado, here’s the list of our best things to see/do/experience at Hollywood Studio!

  • Rock n Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith: Definitely worth grabbing a Fast Pass for this one!  It’s another inside roller coaster, fast and fun with Aerosmith tunes blasting the whole ride!
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: Normally I cannot stand sudden drop rides, it’s literally my worst nightmare. However, without giving any of the fun away, I thoroughly enjoyed this sudden drop ride. Again, grab a Fast Pass!
  • Star Tours-The Adventure Continues: This Star Wars ride is fun and you definitely need a Fast Pass but it’s no Mission ride over in Epcot.
  • The Great Movie Ride: Although we did have a Fast Pass for this one… It’s not necessary. It’s fun but after riding once, that’s about all you want to do.
  • Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream:  Definitely do not need a Fast Pass with this one but super interesting. It’s part museum and part movie and we all really enjoyed learning more about Walt!
  • Disney’s “Cinderella” Sneak Preview: We enjoyed this 15 minute movie scene from the new “Cinderella” movie. This movie’s definitely one we all want to go see. Also from the movie is Cinderella’s carriage, but we haven’t found it yet!  Next trip!
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid:  We enjoyed this live theatre/puppet show based on Little Mermaid!
  • Beauty and the Beast -Live on Stage: We loved this one so much, and I even cried at the end to which the girls unmercifully teased me!  Who knew?!! Also, my big brother lives in Orlando, and we were able to enjoy the show with him!

Shows I haven’t seen but the rest of my family has include A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration and Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!  They all enjoyed those shows (I had to fly back early to go to my job).

We love Hollywood Studios especially the street performers doing 1930s-1940s comedy sketches (think Abbott & Costello)!

This park has a lot to offer and we look forward to new shows/rides coming it’s way!

Happy Earth Day!!


Happy Earth Day everyone!  God has given us the responsibility to be good stewards of His creation!

Today, I’ll be driving to our community recycling center to recycle cardboard, paper, plastics & glass.

Here I shared how I “upcycled” a pretty soda bottle!
And, here I wrote about how I reduce my obsession of paper towels by using cloth napkins.

Hope it’s sunny in your corner of the world today!

 

Disney with Teens: Disney’s Water Parks

  

The two water parks at Disney are typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Each are themed out accordingly and while both have similar features there are unique attractions at each.

 Why two water parks?  Walt Disney World has two water parks because frankly, Orlando is blazing hot & humid most of the year!  Seriously.  We make time to visit each during our week trips because we like them and to take a break from the crowds. 

That being said, there is a strategy for maintaining your sanity at the water parks is to go deep. We usually arrive a couple of hours after the parks open and so all the chairs are taken at the front of the water parks. Do not fear. Go to the back. Trust me. There’s always more chairs. And peace and quite. 

What should you bring into the waterparks?

 Here’s my go to list:

  • Sunscreen:  I’m sure Disney sells it I their stores but just bring your own. Florida sun is no joke!
  • Beach Towels: Towels aren’t provided…you can rent towels, but we don’t. 
  • Food/coolers:  Yes, there are restaurants and food vendors galore in these parks, but you can bring your own food in and I’ve seen many guests wheel their own coolers in as well. Because we fly, we do not bring in a cooler, but believe me we would!
  • Books/insulated cups: Of course, it’s hot and if you choose to lie around, you’re gonna get thirsty. We bring in our own cups. One awesome cup we bring with us is this one:

 
We bought ours at Walmart, in stores only. Ice remains ice for over 12 hours. I tell you the truth. 

  • Swimsuits: Duh. 
  • Cover ups
  • Beach Hats
  • Cheap Sunglasses
  • Flip flops:  A question arises… Do I need swim shoes it I want to go on the water attractions?  I’m a pretty tough footed country gal, but if you are a tenderfoot, then yes. 

There are changing rooms at each water park. We never bring in any valuables although you can rent a locker. We just bring in a library book, our food and chill and enjoy the day. 

Here are the rides for each park we enjoy:

Blizzard Beach:

  • Cross Country Creek: A very long lazy river, the provided inter tubes are a relaxing way to chill and cool off while floating along!
  • Teamboat Springs: A family ride billed as the longest group whitewater raft ride!  This is one ride we don’t mind getting wet!  It’s at the top, you can either climb all the stairs or take the “ski lift/chair ride” up to the top of the “mountain”. I love the top of the mountain because one can see all the other Disney theme parks!!
  • Downhill Double Dipper:  A tube ride that’s so much fun!  
  • Runoff Rapids: Choose an open or tube ride down by yourself or with a friend.  A blast!

The one we avoid…Summit Plummet.  Pretty much a straight down slide, body slide feet first from the top of the mountain.  If you want a super wedgie, free colon cleanse, or embarrassment in losing your swim suit bottoms then by all means, slide on down!!

Typhoon Lagoon:

  • Shark Reef: This is the best water attraction at any water park I’ve been to.  You simply grab a snorkel and mask they provide and you get to swim with sharks, sting rays and fish!!! I know, I was terrified but it was so much fun!  The Sharks and sting rays were well below me but I could see them and the colorful fish as we all swam along together!  If you only can go to one water park, pick this for this experience!
  • Castaway Creek:  Another long and relaxing lazy river!
  • Storm slides: A fun tube ride with 3 different slides. 
  • Crush n Gusher: A ride for up to 3 passengers that’s also a roller coaster! Crop much fun!

The best tip I can give you about either of the water parks is to wait and do the water rides about an hour before the park closes. On the days we visited each water park, the rides were long and busy most of the day until late afternoon. When the crowds began to disperse, we could ride as many times whatever ride we wanted with barely a wait!

Hope y’all get to splash at Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon soon!  

    Disney with Teens:  Animal Kingdom


    So, Animal Kingdom is one of our family’s favorite parks within Disney World!  I love the reality (hello, live animals!) and the shade (yes, lots of shade!) and the up close learning (but don’t tell the 13 year old you learn!). And, surprisingly, it’s not as crowded as Epcot! #winning

    Animal Kingdom is divided into lands: Oasis, Discovery Island, DinoLand USA, Asia, Africa, and Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

    So, here’s a list of our must see Attractions/Entertainment within Animal Kingdom:

    • Expedition Everest-Legend of the Forbidden Mountain:  Our teens love this fast roller coaster and it’s definitely one to grab a Fast Pass. That being said, I will not be riding this one again. The ride goes backwards and for whatever reason in my old age, that part of the ride triggers dizziness & motion sickness. Every. Time.   It’s a fun ride but not for me. Located in Asia.
    • Kilimanjaro Safaris:  Thank you Toto for teaching me how to pronounce Kilimanjaro!  But seriously, this is where you ride in an open air bus and go on safari!  Grab a Fast Pass for this one because the wait is always long!  I’ve been on this twice safari twice and each time I’ve seen different animals. Unless you’ve been on a real African Safari like my sister, this one fits the bill! Located in Africa.
    • It’s Tough to be a Bug!: A must Fast Pass located in the Tree of Life!  I won’t spoil the fun but this show was a winner for everyone in our family!
    •  The Festival of the Lion King:  Another must Fast Pass!  Songs from the movie/Broadway musical plus acrobats and a lot of Disney imagination, this live show is so much fun!
    • Flights of Wonder: We caught this show without a Fast Pass and were thoroughly fascinated and entertained by the birds in the show.  Insider’s tip…try to find seats in the middle section to the left about 6 rows back. We sat in those seats and birds flew directly over us 5 or 6 times. Or, if you’re morbidly afraid of birds since Hitchcock’s Classic, avoid that area!  Located next to Expedition Everest in Asia.
    • Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost:  Y’all, this wasn’t marked as a Disney Character meet and greet!  We just got in line because the wait was short (less than 20 minutes) and I was woozy from that roller coaster ride!  None of knew we would be meeting Minnie & Mickey dressed up in their safari gear!  And if you’re really nice, the Disney photo takers will take photos with your phone too!  So much fun!!
    • Affection Section: Located in Rafiki’s Planet Watch, this one does not require a Fast Pass and it’s so much fun!  Pet goats, donkeys, pigs, sheep and cows!  This too was fun and relaxing…no lines!
    • Gorillas:  Our favorite live animal exhibit!  Right now a couple of 5-6 month old baby gorillas hang out with their Mamas and it’s sooo entertaining!!

    Seriously, I could blog all day long about Animal Kingdom; but, instead I’ll post some photos!


    No negatives here about this park!  If you’re catching up, here’s my  first post, WDW 101; my post on Magic Kingdom ; and my post on  Epcot .

    My next post will be about both of Disney’s water parks…Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach!

    Until then, Hakuna Matata from Animal Kingdom!

    Five Minute Friday Link Up: Tomorrow

    Hey y’all!  I’m joining “Five Minute Friday” to sharpen my writing skillz.

    Here’s today’s word prompt:  Tomorrow

    “Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday”.

    That quote is in our family room.  It’s cross stitched and simply framed and once hung in my mother-in-law’s kitchen.

    I never met my mother-in-law as she was killed in a DUI accident several years before I even met my now husband.  But, the quote is one that I’ve adopted for life.  So many years I worried about tomorrow and all it did was rob me of energy, time and did nothing to solve it.  Right?

    In the last several years there have been major areas of worry or concern…MAJOR.  At first, every worry totally consumed me.  Exhausting.  Stressful. Many sleepless nights.

    And then I focused on that quote and the mother-in-law I never met who lived a life with worries but gave them to Jesus.  I then chose to give them to Him as well..Jesus tells us to cast our anxieties on Him, because He cares for us, right?  Did I really believe His promise?

    I will say yes…timidly at first and now more boldy the longer (and more trials) He brings me through.  Tomorrow is now a day that He holds and I trust Him.