Friday’s Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

1. The Disney Character I’m most like is Jessie from Toy Story.

There’s a place in the California Adventure park where a computer asks you a bunch of questions to see what character you are most like.  Turns out I’m most like Jessie.

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

I found this info out AFTER we met Jessie.  If I would have known of my special kinship, I would have gotten a photo with her too!  Below Jessie signs my daughter’s autograph book.

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

2. There are special cutting artists on Main Street of Disney Land who can cut your silhouette by hand.

You might not think this is cool, but I do!  The lady who cut my kid’s silhouettes has been working this craft at Disney Land for 40 years!  I could not believe my eyes as I watched her.

3. If you feel something in your hair at Toon Town in Disney Land, don’t pull it out of your hair…it might be a bee!

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney LandYep, this happened to me.  I felt something in my hair.  I pulled it out of my hair to find a bee.  As soon as I figured out what it was I let go of it…too late…it stung me.  I haven’t had a bee sting since I was 4 or 5 years old.  It’s pretty painful.  We found the first aid station and they had some good numbing gel for it with an ice pack.  Thank goodness!  For future reference, if anything like this or any other unfortunate accident occurs while you are visiting Disney Land, tell the nearest cast member (worker) and the nurse will come to you.  We had to walk a little ways to get to the first aid station.  The nurse told us she could have came to us.

4. Spending money on an experience is completely worth it! (I already knew this)  In this case it was the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Disney Land.

This was my daughter’s chance to be prettied up like a Disney princess.   The sweet beautician treated her like royalty doing her hair, nails and makeup.

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

Daughter was able to choose what dress/princess she wanted to be.  At the end of the beautifying process they open the curtains you see behind her.  A special mirror is revealed with animation and music. (I wish now I would have taken video)  Here she is…Snow White.

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

Next included a photo shoot in Cinderella’s carriage!

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

Isn’t it gorgeous?!

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

The photographer let me take a few photos with my camera.

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

That’s not all…time to meet other princesses!  First is Cinderella.

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

Another favorite…Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

I am so glad we did this.  I will forever have this time etched in my memory…and more importantly I think it will be something she will never forget.

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

5. I don’t like roller coasters, crowds and kids who complain about wait times.

I used to like roller coasters when I was young.  As a matter of fact, I would purposefully ride in the very front and put my hands in the air.  Not anymore…it’s another sign of me getting old.  Boo!  I got motion sick riding Space Mountain.  I hate motion sickness.

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney Land

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney LandI thought going in February was a good time to go to Disney Land…meaning less crowded.  Turns out Valentine’s Day/President’s Day is a popular time to go.  I mean honestly, we could hardly walk through the parks.  Thursday was the least crowded of all the days of the weekend.  I’m so glad we took the kids out of school that day.  Disney Land was more crowded than California Adventure, yet I was very disappointed with the amount of people there.

Fridays Five Things I Learned At Disney LandIf I didn’t already know how impatient my kids are already, I do now.  Sigh…it was incessant whining and complaining about waiting in the lines.  Sometimes they wouldn’t want to go on the ride if they saw how long the wait time was.  And let me tell you, most of the wait times were around an hour.  We learned to use fast passes as much as possible.  The last day we were there my daughter and I only rode one ride all day.  Instead, we went to lots of shows, which I love.

This was our first family vacation without our oldest daughter.  If you are a new reader, she’s a college freshman at an out of state university.  It was weird not having her with us.  This is a different stage of life for all of us right now.  K, if you are reading this, know how very much you were missed.  We thought about ya while searching every shop for a plush Flynn Rider.  I’m sure there will be other Disney opportunities for us to vacation together in the future.

As Tigger says, “Ta ta for now!”

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way by Disney to write this post.

Disney Brings Joy,

Flurry Friend Friday

Flurry Friend Friday

This is what our neighborhood has looked like for the past week.  As a matter of fact, we’ve had the most snow here in Oklahoma since we moved here 7 years ago.  We have snow at least once a year here, which is different from living in Texas.  This also means lots of snow days with the kids at home.  I’m pretty sure our kids will be in school until June this year instead of May.

Flurry Friend Friday

On Monday for Family Home Evening we built a snowman.  This was the biggest snowman we have ever built because the snow rolled very well.  You aren’t seeing things if you see some blue on the snowman.  We had our lawn fertilized right before it snowed.  The dye from the fertilizer made an impression on the snow.  The box you see my daughter holding is our snowman kit from Land of Nod (not an ad.)

Flurry Friend Friday

It’s cool seeing the “same” snowman reemerge every time we build one.

Flurry Friend Friday

Flurry Friend Friday

Flurry Friend Friday

Flurry Friend Friday

Flurry Friend Friday

We made him right next to the mailbox so everyone can enjoy him as they drive by.  He always makes me smile when I drive up to the house.  We had more snow yesterday so he looks just like this still…alive and well.

Flurry Friend Friday

Our ski attire and boots have come in real handy for these snowy days.

Flurry Friend Friday

Here’s our backyard.

Flurry Friend Friday

The pool could probably serve as an ice skating rink without the cover.  Not that we would ever do that. Flurry Friend Friday

Flurry Friend Friday

Here’s our sweet outdoor cat, Daisy.  She’s a little cold.  I love how her fur puffs up in the winter time.

Flurry Friend Friday

One of these days I’m going to learn how to do justice to a sunset in a photo…maybe.  Don’t look at the boob on the house.  That’s what we call those covers you put over our outdoor faucets so your pipes don’t freeze. lol…not sure what their actual name is.

Have you had any snow this winter?  Has your family built a snowman?  I’d love to see yours too!

Hope this finds everyone staying safe and warm this winter.  I’m excited to share my Valentine’s Day fireplace mantel with you very soon.  I’ve been creating away!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram: @familybringsjoy and all the other social networking sites.  Buttons are on the side.  Oh and I finally figured out the plugin to use when I reply to a comment on my blog, it will automatically send you an email with that reply.  Before, I would answer questions via email and it wouldn’t show up on the blog.  This is great because before I would have to copy my email reply and paste it on the blog.  It was a tedious process and sometimes I would forget to do it.  I don’t want anyone to think they are ignored.  I also don’t want visitors to NOT leave a comment because they don’t think I will respond.  Comments are little gifts to us bloggers.  I APPRECIATE EACH AND EVERY ONE!  Thank you!

Snowmen bring joy,

Christmas Greetings!

Christmas Greetings!

 

Nut Cups & Servicemen

Nut Cups & ServicemenI want you to think of your most memorable Thanksgiving.

I want you to take a stroll down (good) memory lane.

Close your eyes if you need to.

Who was there?  What made it special?

This morning I was remembering past Thanksgivings.  There is not one Thanksgiving which does not include me spending time with my family.  Isn’t Thanksgiving synonymous with family?  I believe so.

When I held Once Upon A Family “Celebrations” as a consultant I asked each person what their most favorite family memory was.  The majority of people said their most favorite family memories were spent around the table during the holidays.  It wasn’t the food they remember.  It was the TIME spent together talking, laughing and just being together.

One Thanksgiving that sticks out in my mind was when I was elementary school age.  I have fond memories of traveling to my grandparents for Thanksgiving.  My grandma always seemed to be the perfect hostess with a cheery disposition.  {I have a difficult time doing that as I’m always stressed out in the kitchen}  I remember sitting at the bar while grandma & grandpa were busy preparing all the food for our Thanksgiving feast.  My siblings, cousins & I would color in Thanksgiving coloring books while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade in our jammies.

Nut Cups & ServicemenMy grandparent’s kitchen was open to the dining room.  The bar I’m referring to shared the kitchen counter.  Even though many kitchens are designed similar to this way now, they were ahead of their time with this open concept.  Side note: this newly designed kitchen happened because a massive tornado tore through their home.  Looking back, this was a blessing for our family.  I don’t mean the tornado was a blessing.  I mean that because of the tornado, my grandparents were able to create a family conducive space.  Back to my Thanksgiving memory.

After a leisurely morning spent watching my grandparents cook, coloring in coloring books and watching the parade, it was time to get dressed for the day.  Then came one of my favorite traditions my grandma had at Thanksgiving…the nut cups.  Each person at the table had a small paper nut cup by their place setting.  Us kids loved helping grandma fill the cups with different nuts, m&m’s and dinner mints.  I don’t remember if her mom did this as well.  I will have to ask my Dad if he remembers.  It would be interesting to find out if this is a long standing tradition passed down through the generations.  It became increasingly difficult for grandma to find these nut cups as the years went by.  However, it didn’t seem like Thanksgiving without them.  It’s funny because it is such a small thing, yet it obviously meant a great deal to me.  That’s kind of the way it goes with traditions.

Nut Cups & ServicemenAnyway, I remember on this particular Thanksgiving the door bell rang.  In walked two young men dressed in military uniforms.  My grandparents greeted the young men and introduced them to the rest of the family.  My grandparents volunteered to have two Air Force men eat our Thanksgiving meal with us.  Here’s the deal…it was weird for me.  I kept thinking, “why are these 2 strangers interrupting our family Thanksgiving.”  I didn’t know them.  My grandparents didn’t even know them.  They weren’t family.  They were strangers.  I can only imagine what came out of my mouth.  I say that because I’ve witnessed my own kids ask questions that weren’t quite appropriate or might come across as offensive.  It was just different to have these 2 men there.  Grandma explained to us kids that these young men were stationed at the local air force base and weren’t from here.  They weren’t able to go home and spend time with their own families for Thanksgiving.  To be honest, I still didn’t like having them there.  They stole some of my grandparent’s attention and it bugged me.

Nut Cups & ServicemenAs an adult, I now look back and see how my grandparents were fully participating in Thanksgiving.  I don’t mean the holiday.  I mean they were giving thanks…really in so many ways.  They were giving thanks by inviting the service men into their home.  They were giving thanks by serving them a meal.  They were giving thanks to God by sharing what He had blessed them with to others.  As I have mentioned before, my grandpa served in the military.  I believe he was showing thanks to these men for serving our country as he did.  My grandparents taught me a lesson that day.  We are to give thanks by sharing with others.  Almost every Thanksgiving after this one, my grandparents welcomed the air force men into their home.  It was easier to accept this new tradition each year.  I enjoyed learning about where the servicemen came from and what they did in the Air Force.  I am so grateful for my grandparents’ example.  I think of all of our men and women who are serving in the military on our behalf all over the world.  I pray someone will give thanks to them on Thanksgiving this year.

Writing this post reminds me…the people who shared the “First Thanksgiving” were not all members of the same family.  The Pilgrims and Indians were strangers, yet they celebrated a bountiful harvest together too.

Now it’s your turn.  I would love to hear about your most memorable Thanksgiving.

Who was there?  What made it special?

Thanks for SHARING,

Wall of Stars

Happy Veteran’s Day!

First off, I want to give kudos to the school my 5th grader attends.  They sent home the following letter:

Wall of Stars

Yesterday I had fun dressing up her star of family veterans.  I’ve been crafting a lot with strips of paper lately.  I love the look.  Grabbed some red, white & blue scrap paper and cut them into strips.  Glued them down to the star and then cut around. Of course I had to add a layer of Mod Podge on top to finish it off.

Wall of Stars

I am insanely grateful and proud of the many family members who have served for our country.  Working on family history and genealogy has opened my eyes to the great legacy of sacrifice and service my family has endured for our country.  I am honored to have family members on both sides of my family for generations who have served to keep America free.

My Dad served in the army for several years.  As a matter of fact, I was born in Frankfurt, Germany because he was based there.  My Dad endured MUCH serving for our country.  It is a huge BLESSING he survived.  He is definitely a survivor.  About 2 weeks ago he suffered a heart attack.  I am pleased to say through the use of modern medicine, his fighting will, and the power of prayer he is working to overcome this health trial.  I’m so thankful he has instilled his persevering spirit within me.  Keep on eating right and exercising Dad.  All your kids & grand kids still need and want you around.  Love You Dad!

I am thinking and praying for all the people who are currently serving to keep America the land of the brave and free.  Thank you SO MUCH!  You DO MATTER!

Very Sincerely,

Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

Chicken & Dumplings are yummy and perfect for a cold fall evening.  This meal is the closest I’ve come to making something from scratch.  The best thing about this recipe is my whole family loves it!  I posted on Instagram and many friends asked for the recipe.  So here goes…

Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

To begin you will need:

  • A stick of butter
  • Half an onion chopped up
  • 1 clove of Garlic (I normally use fresh but didn’t have any on hand)

Put the above in a big pot and heat over medium heat until the onions are cooked to the consistency you like.

Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

Now add your water.  Uh oh…I don’t have an exact measurement to give you because I just add water until the pot is almost full. Turn that heat up to medium high to high (depending on your stove.)

Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

  • Cut up chicken & add to pot.  I usually cut up about 2 to 3 chicken breasts.

Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

While the chicken is boiling.  It’s time to get the dumplings ready.

Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

Even though the recipe says drop spoonfuls, if I have time, I let the kids roll the dough into balls.  Otherwise, it totally works to just spoon up some dough and drop in.

Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

When you are mixing the dough, at first you will think you don’t have enough milk…keep stirring and it will form into a dough.

Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

The kids love to mix the dough and roll it.

Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

By the time you are done with making the dumplings, your chicken will most likely be cooked.  If not, let it boil until the chicken is cooked through.

Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

After the chicken is cooked, if the water is not boiling, turn up the heat to high and wait for the stock to boil.  Once it is boiling, add your dumpling dough.

Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

If a child is helping you with this, make sure you remind them the pot is hot and to carefully drop the dumplings into the soup.  Otherwise, the mixture might pop up onto their and burn them. (I know this by experience)

Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

  • add some salt and pepper to soup

After you have carefully dropped your dumplings into the pot, turn down the heat to low.  Cook uncovered for 10 minutes then cover with lid and cook for another 10 minutes.  It is completely normal for the liquid to have a white creamy consistency.

ENJOY!  Sometimes I double the dumpling recipe because that is everyone’s favorite part!

Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

Feel free to pin the following collage to your recipe or food boards on Pinterest so you can find it when you want to make it. Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

Simple Chicken & Dumplings Ingredients:

  • Salt & Pepper
  • Stick of Butter
  • Half of Onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of Garlic
  • Chicken (around 2 to 3 chicken breasts)
  • 2 Cups of Bisquick
  • 2/3 Cup of Milk
  • Water (depends on the size of your pot…about 3/4 full)

Always LOVE to hear your feedback. Please let me know if you tried this and you & your family liked it.

From our family’s kitchen to yours,