October 2017

Weekend Fun at Hollywood Studies

This past weekend, we hopped over to Hollywood Studies for a few hours. I’m not gonna lie….I was super stoked that it wasn’t raining when we got there this time (it had been on our last trip for Liam’s birthday). So, we were able to finally check out Cruz Ramirez from the Cars 3 movie. She was revving her motor & talking….so cute!

One of our other favorite parts of having the annual passes is meeting up with family/friends. My cousin, Melissa & her daughter, Giana were at the parks for the day, so we were able to say hello. So much fun!

While the boys were waiting for me on a potty break πŸ™‚ …Liam was randomly selected to be a Launch Bay Guard!!! — How cool was that?!?!

While the Star Wars characters came marching toward the Launch Bay, Liam stood there all by himself BUT was armed with a light saber πŸ˜‰ …he was the best guard!

Darth Maul & a Storm Trooper each pointed at him & let him know they were watching him. It was awesome!

He was jumping up & down after this ….so exciting for him!

His certificate from guarding could be used as a Fast Pass to meet Kylo Ren. We had seen him back in February, when Liam still had his cast on from his broken arm. So, he wanted to meet him again. The Dark Side characters are so intense & serious ….I love it!

Our last stop of the night was Halloween-themed character dining at Hollywood & VineMinnie’s Halloween Dine!

It was buffet style dining and the menu was seasonal Halloween themed dishes & treats. It did not disappoint!

Each of the characters were dressed up in their Halloween attire. It was so cute!

Donald was hilarious! He was bouncing his springy thing on this helmet back & forth with Liam πŸ™‚

This was THE tallest Goofy I have ever seen.

Liam was most excited for Mickey again ….he loved his vampire costume!

Family pic with the hostess, Miss Minnie Mouse, herself.

We had a really fun evening! It was a real treat being able to get in a little Disney Halloween magic as we kick off this spooky month!

Until next time, friends!

September 2017

Liam’s 6th Birthday Weekend ~ Part 4 ~ Wrapping It Up!

For Liam’s 6th birthday weekend, we had packed our bags & enjoyed a staycation at Walt Disney World.Β This is the last post in our series. It’s really been a blast sharing our memories & photos. My main purpose of this blog is turning it into a keepsake book for Liam, so capturing all of these special moments & memories is a privilege for him.

You can catch up with the 1st post about our stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge – HEREΒ ; the 2nd post about our magical time at Cinderella’s Royal Table – HEREΒ ; and, the 3rd post about our fun time with character dining – HERE.

I’ve mentioned before how much we LOVE the magic shots throughout the parks. This was a cute one with our friend, Olof, that we found while wandering through the Magic Kingdom.Β  Showing a little personal flurry & of course, all good things!! — I’ve finally started to remember to ask some of the photographers if they have any they can use πŸ™‚

Ever since our annual passes started in January, we’ve been dying to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at the Magic Kingdom. However, each time I attempted to secure a Fast Pass for this ride, I was not able to & the lines were always ridiculously long. Since we had a resort reservation, though, I finally was able to get one & Stephen and I were stoked. Liam ….not so much at 1st. In fact, he down right almost refused to get on the ride. He’s not a fan of roller coaster rides, and thought this was one. You can see from his face below that he wasn’t thrilled as the ride started….lol.

Got to love the Photopass shots — this one was snagged from the ride & sent directly to our magic bands! So awesome. — Liam was still not loving the ride at this point ….but by the time we pulled back into the cottage area, he was all smiles. Thanks to Hurricane Irma & low crowds at the park lately, we’ve been able to ride it again since his birthday weekend.

Another family favorite ride for us is Pirates of the Caribbean. Love this new fun snap shot that’s yet another Photopass feature. — Murphy family holding it down in the back of the boat!

Family Picture in front of Cinderella Castle….

Believe it or not, one of Liam’s most favorite parts of the weekend was riding the resort buses. He talked about it a lot in the weeks leading up to this weekend. We see the resort buses all the time while we are driving around on property, but we never have (or need) the opportunity to ride in them. I think it has just been the curiosity to be in them and see what they are all about.

He was all about it each time. He even noticed when there was a different type of bus picking us up. In the gift shop of our hotel, he chose the matchbox car gift set of the resort buses as one of his birthday presents.

On Sunday afternoon, as we were heading over to Epcot, we stepped onto the bus and Liam was holding his matchbox version of the same bus. The bus driver noticed he had it, and the two sparked conversation. She told him all about the bus and gave him little cards that looked like trading cards. They have photographs of the bus on one side and info/stats on the other. He loved them.

When we got to the park, she asked if we could wait to leave until everyone else stepped off. We obliged. She then asked if it was okay if Liam sat in her seat & wore her captain’s hat. O M G — yes!! He was over the moon excited! She raised the seat up for him to reach the steering wheel & pointed out some buttons. He was beaming! — It was so kind of her & we will forever be grateful πŸ™‚

Sunday evening, we hopped over to Animal Kingdom. Doesn’t the Tree of Life look amazing at night?

We also were excited to check out Pandora — The World of Avatar. I had previously taken Liam back in May for the annual passholders preview event, but Stephen had to work. Thus, this was his 1st time checking it out. The first night time experience for all of us. The lighting effects throughout were very cool….

Last sleep as a five year old …..the next morning, our sweet boy woke up SIX!! πŸ™‚

We have love all things Disney & this Build Your Disney Family image & decal was super fun to create. Check it out HERE while it’s still available! The best part of all is that it’s FREE!

Liam’s entire 6th birthday weekend was filled with so many wonderful memories and special experiences. We are blessed to have been able to share that together as a family, and it’s a time we won’t soon forget. He’s growing in to an amazing little man! Watching his personality flourish and seeing him mature before our eyes is the greatest blessing as a parent.

Until next time, friends,

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September 2017

Liam’s 6th Birthday Weekend ~ Part 3 ~ Character Dining Fun

For Liam’s 6th birthday weekend, we had packed our bags & enjoyed a staycation at Walt Disney World. If you’ve been following along on my last few posts, this is the 3rd in a series from Liam’s birthday. We had so many adventures this year that I wanted to break it up, as there were a ton of photos to share. You can catch up with the 1st post about our stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge – HERE – and the 2nd post about our magical time at Cinderella’s Royal Table – HERE. Β As part of our celebration, we splurged on a few super fun character dining experiences.

On the morning of Liam’s actual birthDAY, we had breakfast at the Crystal Palace on the corner of Main Street at the Magic Kingdom. It’s a buffet-style service, and the food was good. We enjoyed the charming atmosphere, which is inspired by the Victorian greenhouses of the late 1800s.

All of our favorite friends from the Hundred-Acre Woods were there, so that made little man’s day! He even got to particpate in a celebatory parade that marched them all around the restaurant with the characters. So cute!

Winne the Pooh….

I couldn’t decide between sharing the hug picture above or this regular ‘cheese’ pic ….had to do both. Loved the hugs from Pooh Bear.

Seriously, how cute is Piglet? πŸ™‚

Not even sure how Eeyore signed the book, but kudos to him! That was one area, too, that Liam was completely on top of. He made sure that no one forgot about his book. That was top of his list before any hugs, pics, or small talk with these guys. It was too funny!

Can’t say enough about how good all of these character meet & greets are at the dining experiences. They take so much time with the kids & are so patient. Love it!

Tigger…..

Our final character dining experience took us over to Epcot to the Garden Grill in the Land. We had dinner at Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Harvest Feast. This is a family-style dining meal with food that’s grown from the Living with the Land area there. OH.MY.GOODNESS — it was SO delicious!

It is also neat because the restaurant slowly turns in a circle while you eat, and you get to see different part of the Living with the Land attraction. While you’re dining the characters come around to your table.

We had told our server it was Liam’s birthday, so they presented him with this signed birthday card & stickers. So sweet & he was thrilled!!

Hanging with Chip….

Sharing a laugh with Dale …..

His best pal, Pluto…

So in love with the one & only — Mickey Mouse …& loved his farmer Mickey outfit, too!….Β 

We had THE best time at all of our character dining experiences over Liam’s 6th birthday weekend. I’m sure we’ll be looking for more unique visits in the future. The food at all the venues was so yummy, and all 3 of us LOVED the convenience of the meeting the characters right at the table.

Until next time, friends,

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September 2017

Liam’s 6th Birthday Weekend ~ Part 2 ~ Cinderella’s Royal Table

For Liam’s 6th birthday weekend, we had packed our bags & enjoyed a staycation at the Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge. As part of our celebration, we had a special birthday dinner in Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom at Cinderella’s Royal Table.

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This restaurant is described by Disney as a ‘one-of-a-kind fairytale dining experience’, and it 100% was. We all LOVED the entire night! I literally had to book our reservation months in advance, so this was one dinner we had been anticipating for a while. The restaurant, itself, is quite small & quaint but I think that made for a more personable experience. It’s situated in the back half of the 2nd floor of the castle. You can see it from the carousel area.

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When we 1st went into the castle, we were greeted by the lovely, Cinderella. Liam was smitten ❀ — She chatted it up with him & danced with him. It was seriously the cutest moment ever! We snagged a nice family pic with her, as well. πŸ™‚

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While we waited to be seated, we hung out in the downstairs area where Cinderella was. Both floors are decorated in a medieval-style & you totally feel like you are in a page from the storybook.

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A winding staircase takes you up to this view, which is where the actual restaurant is ….

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So many pretty details everywhere you looked to make the experience feel complete. Our server was so sweet, too! She referred to Liam, as ‘my Prince’. I was ‘my Queen’ and Stephen was ‘my King’. Loved it!

Each of the boys got their own sword and I was given a wand πŸ™‚ ….We also were given a ‘Wishing Star‘ that Fairy Godmother helped us to make a wish with toward the end of the meal ❀

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While dinner got underway, MORE PRINCESSES came out & around to everyone’s table. How cool is that?!?! — They took their time & chatted with Liam for a minute & then posed for a picture. This mama appreciated that they didn’t leave until you acknowledged that you got a pic you were happy with πŸ˜‰

Ariel from the Little Mermaid….

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Snow White …..

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Aurora from Sleeping Beauty…

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Jasmine from Aladdin….Β 

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Now, let’s talk about the food for a sec because it was fabulous! Both Stephen & I had the beef & shrimp dinner. So yummy! I didn’t take a pic of his, but Liam had the kids mac n’ cheese. Holy cow, it was probably the best mac n’ cheese ever. SO good! For dessert, we had a dark chocolate mousse dish, “The Clock Strikes Twelves“. — heaven!

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Liam got to make/decorate his own cupcake for his dessert. Our server also brought out an extra birthday cupcake with a candle & we sung to him ❀

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It was such a magical evening & such a memorable way to celebrate this special boy’s 6th birthday. We even timed the reservation pretty perfect, as we were able to see & listen to the Happily Ever After fireworks show as we finished up dessert. So fun!

Love our sweet boy & loved everything about this night! Until next time, friends,

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August 2017

Liam’s 6th Birthday Weekend ~ Part 1 ~ Animal Kingdom Lodge

For Liam’s 6th Birthday weekend, we packed our bags & had a staycation at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

This was honestly our 1st real vacation away from home as a family since Liam was born, so we were extra excited for this experience. We stayed in Jambo house, and our room was off of the Kudo Trail on the 2nd floor. This is the view of the massive lobby area when you 1st walk into the resort. It is gorgeous!!

The details that you see throughout the resort are incredible. The entire resort is themed after the Animal Kingdom theme park. You can tell, at every glance, that great care was taken to showcase the culture, wildlife & artwork of Africa.

As soon as we started exploring the grounds, we found the fire pit that is surrounded by rocking chairs. If it wasn’t 100 degrees outside, it would have been perfect….LOL!

I usually am not one to talk about food, but I would be a fool to not rave about all of the deliciousness we enjoyed throughout the entire weekend. We ate at some pretty cool dining experiences, and there’s definitely more to share in my next few posts.

First up –> Boma ….This is a buffet style restaurant with African-themed dishes, and all of the food was amazing. We ate there for breakfast on Sunday.

Their signature drink at breakfast is Jungle Juice. It’s a tasty mixture of orange, pineapple & mango juices. Liam didn’t quite care for it, but Stephen & I thought it was pretty yummy!

Mickey Waffles πŸ™‚

Now onto the grounds outside the resort …..there is a cute, shaded playground for the kiddos & it’s close by the pool.

Once we found the Uzima Pool area, we didn’t want to leave. This pool is amazing! It is SO big — 11,000 square feet & it has an awesome water slide.

Liam was thrilled for this slide! He went down it over & over again πŸ™‚

Cheese!

Our room was nothing short of incredible. It felt like we stepped into our own safari get away the moment we walked in & I’m sure that was the plan. We were fortunate to be able to have the savanna view room, and it did not disappoint.

When you stepped out onto the balcony, it was immediately overlooking one of the savanna’s. There were beautiful animals freely roaming around so close to you. It was awesome!

In total, there are over 30 species of wildlife out on the savanna here. We loved the Wildlife Field Guide that was in our room for helping to track & discover some friends we spotted.

This Giraffe guy, here, was one of our favs. He stayed close by our balcony a lot. ❀

Zebra friends….

Ankole Cattle….

White-Bearded Wildebeest….

Addax….

At one point, on Sunday afternoon, we looked out & saw a little heard of friends πŸ™‚ ….

We saw so may other amazing creatures during our stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. So many birds, cranes, Ostriches, & Gazelles just to name a few. Even by walking through the resort, there are so many spots you can stop & observe the savanna’s or even catch little spots, like the Flamingo area that’s over by the pool. It was truly an experience we will never forget and one that we all LOVED!!

The Animal Kingdom Lodge was, hands-down, a magical Disney experience. It was a perfect way to ring in little man’s 6th birthday! We hope to someday return ❀

Until next time friends,

 

 

 

 

August 2017

Disney Fun ~ Character Meet & Greets!

For Christmas, we were beyond excited to get annual passes to Disney!! Santa brought Liam the news & we shared that HERE. While we have made one-day trips here & there to the parks over the years, this is honestly the 1st time we have ever held annual passes. It’s made both Stephen & I feel like little kids, ourselves πŸ™‚

Those who are familiar with the annual passholder program know that there are several different tiers for the passes with various different blackout dates, benefits, etc. — We opted for the Gold passes, which have just two different weeks of blackout dates throughout the year and no water park admission (which is okay for us). So exciting that parking is included (that, alone, saves $20 a visit) and the Photopass Memory Memory Maker. Oh my goodness — We LOVE this Photopass feature and use it SO SO much! First, it is fantastic to be able to snag a quick family picture and the convenience of having the Photopass photographers just immediately scan it to download to your magicband is awesome! I can then save it right to the pictures on my phone. LOVE! Second, the Character Meet & Greets! We are obsessed! We have gotten some of the cutest pictures …and again, FREE downloads to your magicband! Liam also loves to get their autographs filled up in his book.

When our passes were 1st activated, we had to wait until the 1st week in January, as we were in one of those small blackout windows due to Christmas. However, once we had the greenlight, we were like kids in a candy shop! I think we went every weekend for that 1st month πŸ™‚ ….Mickey Mouse was our 1st Character Meet & Greet. This one is from Main Street at the Magic Kingdom. We were blown away when we saw that he spoke and interacted!! So cool!!

In January, we also visited Animal Kingdom & got our 1st taste of magic shots. This is Pascal from Tangled on little man’s head ….LOL! I haven’t been too good with asking for many of these yet, so definitely have these on my list for future pictures…

Russell from Up …..

Safari Donald also at Animal Kingdom ……

In Epcot, we met Baymax!

We also met Mickey (in a different outfit this time….more classic looking), Minnie & Goofy πŸ™‚

We found Daisy near Spaceship Earth. She kissed Liam & made him blush …loved it! ❀

In February, we made our 1st trip to Hollywood Studios. We skipped the end of night fireworks & instead, went to meet Kylo Ren from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We were just a little bit bummed because they said no one from the First Order signs autographs BUT at least we got a cool pic. It was serious business time with this guy! Haha!

Chewbacca!

In March, we went back for some more Hollywood Studios fun… After some face painting, we ran into Green Army Man from Toy Story πŸ™‚

So excited to find Moana! …she was so nice πŸ™‚

Buzz & Woody from Toy Story ….they said Liam looked like Zurg & they were scared! Too funny!

He was thrilled to meet his pal, Pluto. He still says that this meet & greet is one of his favs! ❀

On Spring Break, we also bounced over to the Magic Kingdom. We found Donald Duck dressed up as the Astounding Donaldo Snake Charmer in the Storybook Circus Fantasyland area.

We also found Goofy here dressed as a stuntman, the Great Goofini πŸ™‚

In Frontierland, we found Chip & Dale ….they were so super cute! These pics are a few of my favs so far ❀

Our trips to Disney have been filled with so many smiles & so much laughter. We are thankful to be creating some really awesome memories together as a family. We have lots more fun to share, so stay tuned ….

Until next time, friends

July 2017

Star Spangled Fun 2017

We love the 4th of July in our house, so I can’t let the holiday sneak away without sharing our long weekend fun!


We started the weekend off with Liam’s belt promotion ceremony with Victory Martial Arts.

He moved up in belt rank to Cheeri recommended from Baeoh in the Tiger program. We continue to be so proud of him for his accomplishments, hard work & dedication. Huge thanks to Mr. Johnson and Mr. Valle, as well! Mr. Valle is off to college now, so we will miss seeing him each week, but we’ll definitely be keeping in touch!

Saturday evening, we intended to go mini golfing but the rain thwarted those plans. Instead, we headed to the bowling alley.

The boys were very competitive with one another. My score was awful….hahaha! A good time was had by all, though!

My little artist creating a work of art with his gnome for the front walkway.

We couldn’t let the holiday go by without a celebratory photo. Trying to get both of these boys to BOTH look at the camera was work, peeps! Β As you can kinda tell, Timber was not amused with my antics. This shot was Liam’s favorite, so it wins for getting posted πŸ™‚

Monday, it was a just me & little man hanging out while Daddy was visiting his Grandma. So, we had a movie date. Despicable Me 3 was super cute!!

On the 4th, we all got up bright & early and headed out to Cocoa Beach. The weather was gorgeous but it was a scorcher out there.

The sand by our chairs was too hot to play in, so we were building castles by the sea shore ❀

Finished masterpiece by Liam & Daddy….

We decided to forgo our usual trip downtown to see the fireworks this year, and instead, we did some at home. It’s always a little more challenging when holidays fall during the week, so we decided to be creative this year. It worked out well since we’ve actually been seeing quite a bit of fireworks lately on our trips to Disney. So none of us felt like we were missing out {I looove my fireworks!}

photo credit of mommy & daddy by Liam πŸ™‚

Our little firecracker!

You can link up to the posts from previous 4th of July celebrations — HERE

It was a great weekend celebrating our nation’s birthday! ❀

Until next time, friends!

December 2016

It’s Christmas Time!

As we wrap up this 1st full week of December, I am definitely feeling the Christmas spirit all around. Maybe part of it is because decorations have been out in the stores since August….#kiddingnotkidding

No, but really, we were completely excited to break out the holiday decor as soon as we wrapped up Thanksgiving. It was a busy weekend after coming home from my dad’s for Turkey Day, so it took us a bit longer than I had planned to get everything up, but the house is looking festive now ❀ …Of course, the kitty is keeping us VERY busy with his mischief & antics with the Christmas tree.

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Last week, we kicked off the season with our annual Gingerbread Decorating Party. This is always a great time with our friends. A few of us girls gathered together a couple nights before the party to put all the houses together & have a few laughs πŸ™‚

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Liam was excited to get to work on his house. It was hard to even snap some of the pics this year because almost every time you asked him to stop and ‘say cheese’…he would reply with “I can’t, I’m busy.” …hilarious!

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I might have bribed him to get this pic ❀

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This was his, ‘can I eat another piece of candy?’ face πŸ™‚

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He wanted to spread the icing himself this year and he picked out all the candies. He’s getting to be so big and he’s very creative. He also knows exactly how he wants things to be & look.

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Finished!

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And, of course, as soon as the kiddos wrapped up, the big kids jumped in. Lisa & Stephen have gotten very serious about their joint decorating adventure over the last few years. It’s quite amusing!

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We joked around this year that this party is going to turn into the kids just playing & only the adults decorating houses. Hahaha!

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I have to say that their house turned out pretty amazing! They were impressed with themselves, too, as you can see from their pic below πŸ™‚

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The Bengel’s neighborhood has a cool Santa that comes by, and the night of our party was actually the night he came! It was SO exciting for everyone.

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We grabbed all the kids really quick and headed out front. Santa came up the driveway, greeted everyone, and gave each kiddo a little box filled with small trinkets & candy. It was so sweet ❀

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Afterwards, we headed inside & had our gift exchange for the kids with a few of our friends.

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Liam was stoked — he got his 1st NERF gun! ….P.S., Daddy was too πŸ˜‰

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We’ve really enjoyed attending our new church home this past year, as I’ve mentioned in past posts. It’s such a blessing to share a deeper learning and understanding Β of the Advent season with Liam.

We had a guest speaker, Brad Gray, last Sunday for the 1st of a two-part series about the meaning of Advent. Let me tell you ….it was so good!! He covered so much education & history about the Bible and what was happening in the world at the time of Jesus’ birth. I honestly had no idea. I can’t wait to hear the rest of his message this weekend!

It’s called the Fullness of Time and I highly recommend you take a listen, as it’s available onlineΒ HERE

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Sunday morning, before church, Liam popped up & immediately declared he had to write his letter to Santa. So, that’s what we did ❀
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Had to grab a pic of these two putting the star on top of the tree πŸ™‚

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It felt good to finally have the house decorated by the end of the week. This pic is kinda dark, but the living room looks so cozy with just the glow of the Christmas lights & the fireplace.

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Some of our other decorations….and Christmas cookies about to bake!

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Can’t forget the outside decor, too!

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And, this gem! If you read my last post, you know we went to see the big guy last month, so I’ve been saving this for awhile now. We LOVE our Santa at our local mall. Liam was a little nervous again this year, but he went up to him without any forcing. He asked him for Hot Wheels. Afterwards, you could see the excitement in his eyes, and he said to me, ‘that wasn’t bad at all‘.

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We have a lot to look forward to this month & much to share! This is truly a magical time. Especially when you share it through the eyes of a child. Hope that your Christmas season is off to a fantastic start, as well!

Β Until next time, friends!

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September 2016, Sponsored Post

Disney On Ice Fun — Follow Your Heart!

We recently had an afternoon of family FUN as we enjoyed Disney On Ice presents Follow Your Heart at the Amway Center downtown.

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We are always pumped to take a trip down to the Amway Center. Being downtown is just fun, in general, as we don’t frequent it often, and we love to check out the venue that the Orlando Magic calls home πŸ™‚

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As soon as we stepped off of the escalator, these yummy sights & smells surrounded us. Liam chose the cotton candy & crown combo πŸ™‚

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The show started off with a skating rendition of a hockey game to incorporate elements of Inside Out and the theme of Following Your Heart and doing your best. Riley made her appearance throughout the game and all the skaters were awesome! Liam LOVED it!

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And, of course, Mickey & the gang were there, too ❀

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It was very cool to see our favorite friends from Inside Out. Liam’s eyes definitely lit up when they came out!

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I’m pretty sure I said it last year, but my personal fav is Beauty & the Beast. I loved this rendition of ‘Be Our Guest’! Super excited for the live action movie next spring!!

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The Sorcerer’sΒ Apprentice…we are big fans of watching this on Fantasia so it was awesome to see this on the ice.

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I was beyond thrilled to see Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs as a part of this year’s show!! Liam hasn’t see this movie yet, so it’s definitely added to our list …LOVE this one ❀

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Finding DoryΒ ….so fun & such a great movie. We can’t wait to add this to our home collection.

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Toy Story is one of our family’s all time favorites and the performance they did for the show was SO good!

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It was fantastic to see our favs Rex & Hamm come skating out….Liam jumped out of his seat for that!

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All the Disney Princesses came out throughout the show and did fantastic performances. Ariel from the Little Mermaid’s performance, though, was one that we couldn’t take our eyes off….

What a way to close out the show….Frozen!

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Let It Go!!! ❀

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FINALE!!

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Smiles All Around!!

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Such a great afternoon with my boys! Always wonderful memories made with Disney, and of course, little man did not take this crown off all day!Β Thank you to Feld Entertainment for this amazing opportunity for my family!

Until next time, friends!

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I am a Feld Entertainment Blogger Ambassador, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and other exclusive opportunities.

August 2016, Latest & Greatest News

BirthDAY Fun at the Jacksonville Zoo!

While we celebrated with Liam’s 5th birthday party the weekend before the BIG day, we still wanted to make his actual birthDAY special. So, we packed the boys up & headed to my dad & stepmom’s in Jacksonville for the weekend. We spent his 5th birthday at the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens, and we all enjoyed it so much! I have to say that we’ve been to the zoos in our immediate area fairly recently, but this one takes the cake {total pun intended}.

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The whole park was absolutely beautiful — the grounds & all the scenery, as well as the animals, of course. I loved that the animals had enormous free areas to be in, and yet, we could still see them so up close. Also, given the extreme Florida temps, there was an abundance of shade to keep us cool, plus fabulous “cool spots” throughout. These were actually air conditioned viewing areas….can we say awesome?!?! There is also a super cute splash pad for the kiddos. We didn’t get a chance to do that on this trip, but we’ll definitely be back!

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They have a train that runs all along the perimeter of the park with a stop at the entrance of the park and another at the back. Once you buy your ticket, you can literally ride around all day. So fun! This was one of Liam’s favorite parts of the day. We rode it 3 times πŸ™‚

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Sitting on the train with his Papa ❀

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Checking out the birds & duckies…

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There was bamboo all over the zoo & the guide on the train told us that it was used for both shade and a sound barrier to the animals from the main road that the zoo sits on. I thought that was pretty neat!

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Peek-a-Boo!

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There were so many interesting sights all throughout the zoo. This was the Tiger Skywalk. Β The tigers can actually walk across those bridges from their enclosures. So cool!

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This waterfall in the tigers area was so majestic to walk into & see, and they were awesome to sit & watch! They are such big cats & so beautiful.

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On our way out, we caught one of them dropping down from the skywalk & grabbing a snack. It was crazy to be so close to him & he totally didn’t care we were there πŸ˜‰

A snapshot of some of the gardens area. It’s hard to see, but some of the trees in the distance are blue!

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Flamingos!

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More of the bamboo, and I loved this bridge…another example of how beautiful this zoo is!

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Hanging out in one of the aviaries & feeding these lovelies some sweet nectar ❀

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Squirrel Monkey….

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Chimpanzees ….the one over by the wall was totally lounging while snacking. There was a sweet baby in the mix, too, but it’s hard to see in this pic.

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Giraffes!! — These are my favorite ❀ …Liam giggled because he saw one of them pee & while we watched them eat, he couldn’t believe how big their tongues were πŸ™‚

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The one on the far right of this pic below is one of the two babes they have there right now ❀

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Just hanging around! πŸ™‚

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Lions! …they were napping.

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I spy a gator…..

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These two otters were hilarious! They wouldn’t stop rolling around & playing. So hard to grab a pic of them.

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Warthogs…

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For those of you who also watch ‘Jessie‘ on the Disney Channel, you will appreciate our excitement over seeing ‘Mrs. Kipling‘. hahaha!

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Family group pic …

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And, of course, what birthday would be complete without cake? He requested an ice cream cake…

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We had the best day with our little man at the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens to ring in his 5th birthday! Definitely made some great memories! ❀ ….and, I still cannot believe our little baby boy is FIVE!! Facebook keeps showing me flashback memories from 5 years ago of all of these pics from his 1st weeks home & it’s totally tugging at my heartstrings. Don’t ya love it?!?!

Until next time, friends,

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