Who’s the boss?

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in all the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

I’ve been MIA for a little bit. To the handful of you who’ve actually missed me, I apologize for that. Life is happening, and lately, it seems to be happening at an ever-quickening pace. I may discuss that later in the week, but not today.

Coincidentally, the message that is coming through loud and clear in everything I’ve been reading in my Bible, hearing in sermons, seeing in my devotional books is this: God is in control. Not me. Never me. God. I need to let it go. Ha! See what I did there? Referencing popular culture? I’m so cool.

I got another lesson about who is in charge this morning. I thought my day was going pretty well. I got up early, without hitting the snooze button on my alarm. I went for a run. I walked the dog. I packed my boy’s lunch and fed him breakfast. I unloaded the dishwasher, started a load of laundry, and even managed to feed myself before 8:00am. When it was time to drive my little man to school….no keys. I searched in all the usual places before I remembered that I’d set them on John’s bumper after running an errand last night, and I was pretty sure they had still been there when he left for work this morning.

Thankfully, we weren’t running behind, so I switched gears and walked Aidan to school. Also thankfully, we don’t live very far from his school. I checked the street and the first couple of turns John would have made on his way to work on our walk home and didn’t find the keys. My only hope was that they’d somehow managed to safely ride the bumper all the way to work with him, and that I could call and ask him to retrieve them for me.

When I came back inside, there was a message on my phone from an unfamiliar number. Someone found my keys! In the street! And he called the number on my Petco card to track me down! I had my keys back within 30 minutes of noticing they were missing. God is good. I couldn’t have planned that myself.

I’m glad I rolled with the punches and never truly got upset about this today, because like that verse up there says, I’ve got to quit trying so hard and let God be God. 🙂


Magical Monday – Accommodations (Moderate Resorts)

It’s time to step it up to the next level of Disney resort accommodations – the moderate resort. These resorts really are wonderful for families and Disney travelers of all shapes and sizes. The room sizes are slightly larger than those at the value resorts, and in all but one (Caribbean Beach), you will find queen-sized beds instead of the double beds that you’ll sleep in at a value resort.

You will begin to see more amenities at the moderate resorts. The swimming pools have water slides. Instead of only one bus stop at the main building, there are several stops around the resorts where you can catch a bus to the parks. At both Port Orleans resorts, the ferry will be an additional transportation option to Downtown Disney. Moderate resorts have food courts for quick-service dining and table service restaurants as well, with the exception of Port Orleans French Quarter (only has a food court). If you’re using the Disney dining plan, you’ll have more options close to “home” where you can use your meal credits.

Disney’s moderate resorts are: Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter, and The Cabins at Fort Wilderness.

Caribbean Beach resembles a tropical paradise. Here, you’ll find swaying palm trees, lush vegetation, white sand beaches, and colonial architecture. This is the only moderate resort that has double beds in the rooms. If you’re looking for a room that is fun for little boys, consider one of Caribbean Beach’s pirate rooms. Your little swashbucklers will get to lay their heads in a ship-shaped bed!

Coronado Springs feels very Southwestern, with rooms housed in casitas surrounding a 15-acre lake. One of the most memorable features at this resort is the pool area, which is built around a Mayan pyramid replica. Rooms here will have queen beds.

Port Orleans French Quarter evokes the Antebellum era of New Orleans with cobblestone streets and wrought-iron balconies. Mardi Gras characters and jazz music complete the feel. The purple and gold will make Louisiana fans feel right at home. 🙂

Port Orleans Riverside almost feels like two resorts, because there are two distinctly separate themed areas – Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend. The rooms in Alligator Bayou are rustic and handcrafted, as though you are “living off the land.” Even the carpet looks like wood grain. There are rooms in Alligator Bayou with two queen beds and a day bed – perfect for families of five who have trouble finding a room that is the right fit.

The buildings in the Magnolia Bend section of Port Orleans Riverside look like old South plantation homes. There are standard rooms in Magnolia Bend, but this is also where you will find the royal rooms. Princess Tiana has invited all her princess friends to visit, and they have left special touches and gifts all over these rooms. The extra-special touch is the headboards. Turn them on, and you can watch a fiber optic fireworks display as you drift to sleep.

The Cabins at Fort Wilderness are the only way to get a full kitchen without reserving a deluxe villa. They are located in the forest area at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. These cabins are a great option for large families who want to stay together instead of splitting into multiple rooms at another resort. A cabin will sleep 6, plus one child age 2 or younger. There are wonderful trails here, relaxing pools, and an evening campfire where you can roast s’mores. This resort makes it easy to forget that Disney World’s four busy parks are just a short drive away.

There really is an excellent choice for most everyone within Disney’s moderate resort tier. My family has stayed at two out of the five, and I enjoyed both. 🙂

It’s Mother’s Day again!

It’s that time of year again – the time when we all celebrate the wonderful ladies who make this world we live in possible. Because really, where would any of us be without our mothers? Absolutely nowhere, that’s where.

Last year, I talked all about my mom and her mom. If it crosses your mind today, please pray for my mama and her brother and sisters. This is their first Mother’s Day without their mother. I’m not dwelling here. I’m trying not to make myself sad today.

This year, I want to take a different approach and celebrate the little people who turned me into a mother. 🙂

Aidan Soccer-2

This guy. He came first, bursting onto the scene almost a month early. Who does that? First babies are supposed to be late! That’s what everybody says, anyway. I was NOT READY. I mean, I thought I was. I knew I wanted the little alien invader out of my body, but I didn’t realize that I was absolutely clueless when it came to actually caring for a real, live baby.

I am so thankful for the friends who helped me survive my first day as a mother – the friend who helped me find my husband that day, the friend who sat with me in my hospital room until aforementioned husband’s airplane returned and he could be there with me, the friend who rifled through my belongings and finished packing my hospital bag for me, and all the friends who visited us, brought gifts and meals, and encouraged us as we began this crazy adventure called parenting.

And of course, I’m thankful for my own mother, who helped me even though I’m fairly certain she thought I was doing everything wrong. Actually, she may still think this.

Silly Faces 2

A couple years later, this girl made me a mom of two. She also arrived almost a month early. This is when I learned that the babies aren’t the problem. Apparently, I am. I haven’t had a boring day since.

Silly Faces

See? I told you. 😉

Even on the days that I’ve impaled my foot on a Lego, found half a tube of toothpaste squirted into the sink, picked up 10 dozen dirty socks from around the house, listened to “You’re weird,” “No, you’re weird,” “No, you’re weird,” for 20 minutes straight, felt like both a bus driver and a short-order cook, and been told that I smell funny because, hey, who has time to shower? I still love these guys. I’m proud of them and of the people they’re becoming, and I wouldn’t change a minute of our adventure…except for maybe those 4 years where I never slept.

Eat – Roast Chicken & Potatoes

Once a week for the last few months, I have been buying a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. We’ll reheat it for dinner the first night, then I save the leftover meat to use on salads, sandwiches, homemade pizzas, etc. for the rest of the week. Sometimes, I just eat it as a snack, straight out of the container. I’m aware that it’s a little weird. It’s possible that I have a roast chicken addiction. If you enjoy roast chicken and have a long afternoon free, I suggest you try this recipe.

Until now, I haven’t had a good recipe that I can rely upon to make my own roast chicken. I stumbled upon this gem in the March issue of Bon Appetit. They call it “Herbed Faux-tisserie Chicken and Potatoes.” It is almost, almost as good as real rotisserie.


Here’s what you need:

2 tsp. fennel seeds (I didn’t have any, so I used caraway seeds)

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh marjoram; plus 4 sprigs, divided

2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme; plus 4 sprigs, divided

1 tbsp. kosher salt, plus a little extra

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more

6 tbsp. olive oil, divided

1 chicken (3 1/2 to 4 lbs.)

1 lemon, quartered

1 head of garlic, halved crosswise

2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, halved, or quartered if large

Here’s what you do:

Heat the oven to 300 degrees F. Coarsely grind fennel (or caraway) seeds and red pepper flakes in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle. Combine spice mixture, chopped marjoram, chopped thyme, 1 tbsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and 3 tbsp. olive oil in a small bowl. Rub the mixture on the chicken – inside and out. Stuff chicken with lemon (the whole thing didn’t fit in mine), garlic, 2 marjoram sprigs, and 2 thyme sprigs. Tie legs together with kitchen twine.

Toss potatoes with remaining oil an a rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt & pepper. Push potatoes to the edges of the baking sheet and scatter remaining marjoram and thyme sprigs in the center. Place chicken on the herbs. Roast, turning potatoes and basting chicken every hour, until skin is browned, meat is tender, and potatoes are golden brown and soft. This takes about 3 hours. Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.

Magical Monday – How would you like FREE Disney Dining?

2014 Free Dining Pic

It’s the most wonderful time of the year ~ Disney World’s free dining promotion for fall 2014 is about to begin!

When you buy a non-discounted room and ticket package at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels (at least 3 nights with a 2-day ticket), you’ll get a dining plan for free! Quick-service dining is included at value resorts, and regular dining is included at moderate, deluxe, and deluxe villa resorts.

This special offer is for arrivals most nights: 8/31-10/3/2014, 10/26-11/1/2014, 11/9-11/20/2014 and 12/12-12/23/2014.

Resorts included in this offer are: All-Star Music Resort, All-Star Sports Resort, Pop Century Resort, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach Resort, Coronado Springs Resort, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, Boardwalk Inn, Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Polynesian Resort, Wilderness Lodge, Bay Lake Tower, Animal Kingdom Villas, Beach Club Villas, Boardwalk Villas, Old Key West Resort, Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, The Villas at Wilderness Lodge, and Fort Wilderness Cabins.

The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited, so please contact me ASAP if you’re interested in taking advantage of it. I can begin booking rooms under this promotion on Wednesday, May 7th.