Sunday, May 15, 2011

Epcot Greetings

Hey Ya'll. Mickey says "Hi!" Yes, I spoke with him this morning. AND yesterday. Wooo Hooo. I have talked to him twice. (and hugged him and got my picture taken with him.)So...are you ready?

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Yes, we are!!!

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Day 2 of Disney World 2011 Ness Style commenced at 9:00 am with the Epcot Center. Okay...so our hotel door wouldn't lock and we ended up having to wait a half hour for the maintenance lady to come fix it so our Epcot Center day actually began closer to 9:43, but that's beside the point.

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Little did I know when I planned our Epcot day that today was the very last day of the Epcot Flower and Garden show. If you haven't seen it then you are certainly missing out. Think Disney...but in flowers!

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And if those flower arrangements in the shape of Mickey's head fail to impress you, then surely the giant character topiaries will. Check out some of my favorites.

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So, enough pictures of topiaries, eh? Yeah. James said the same thing. I missed the entire Winnie the Pooh gang, Mickey and gang and quite a few others. Oh well. When Daddy's had enough...he has had enough. Moving on to the character greetings. Wow! Mickey Mouse is shorter than I thought he would be...but then he is a mouse, after all. What was I expecting?

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I think everyone's favorite today was Lotso. For some reason, our family has an extreme love for this evil bear. He certainly is huggable, that's for sure. Chloe was fascinated by how soft he was too. Lotso was the only character who she literally ran to and gave a full-fledged hug to.

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And he's the only character Daddy wanted a solo shot with.

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At this point in the day, James was tiring drastically of my photographing nature and as I said, "okay...say goodbye to Lotso," he shoved the camera at me and said, "No. Wait. I need a picture with Lotso too."

We chanced upon a cute little train village somewhere in Germany, I believe.

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Complete with Rapunzel's tower. Wow! We loved watching the trains go through the tunnels and around the mountains.

So, we ate lunch in Norway. Chloe was quite impressed by this garden on top of the roof. I was too, for that matter. Not your typical roof garden. (James called it an authentic thatch roof.) Unless you live in Norway, I suppose. I don't know since I have never actually been to Norway. But it looked pretty good in Disney's version.

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Gingerbread cookies in the shape of viking hats are pretty cool too.

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Disney pays such good attention to details. I suppose that's why they make so much money. But all these little details are what make this place so magical. I love it here.

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The only thing that saddens me is the entire lack of anything eternal here. Sure, there is a certain element of "magic" and we are to "believe" and know that "miracles happen", but boy...Disney got one thing wrong. It doesn't happen without Jesus Christ. I am so glad my castle is in heaven, with my Lord and Savior. And it will be a thousand times better than anything I see here in Disneyworld. And I will get to live there FOREVER!!!

Okay. I had better hop off this here laptop. Naptime is over. It's almost dinner time with some princesses and then an extremely late night for us at Magic Kingdom. Have a fantastic week everyone.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Greetings from the Minivan

Happy Saturday morning to you all. I got about 5 and a half hours of sleep last night. That's pretty good for car sleeping, if you ask me. So, do you want to know something crazy cool? I am sitting in the front seat of my minivan, cruising past the Florida State line. I just have to say that I am married the one smart man. He is so tech savvy, it boggles my mind. Who knew that I could connect my laptop to my cell phone and get internet access in my minivan (while driving down the interstate, no less)? Crazy cool, right? I thought so.

We have made good time. I woke up, ready for another shift of driving, only to be told that we are 3 hours out. 3 hours out from Mickey's House!

So, I don't really have anything else to say at the moment. I haven't had coffee yet. I just wanted to let you all know I am thinking about you. (Yes, I do think about the blogging world multiple times a day...) Now I am off to see what my minivan can do about the coffee situation.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Happy Friday

Guess where I will be in 24 hours! Yup. That's right. The house that Mickey built! (Or Walt Disney, depending on who you talk to.) I am so excited. I even packed my underwear. And Chloe's.... and James... None of us will be underwear-less in Disney World. (I know you are all silently relieved.)

I thought about posting the You Tube video called "Friday" by Rebecca Black but I figured I would rather not lose any readers over something as silly as that so I just linked to it for you. You can pop over and view it yourself, if you dare. (I am, of course, playing it in the background since Chloe is sitting here watching me type and saw the video pop up when I copied the link. She loves the song.) Okay. You gotta admit, it's catchy. And who doesn't love Friday? Especially when you get to drive to DISNEYWORLD on Friday!

So, needless to say...I couldn't sleep last night. Go figure, right? When I was a girl, my parents could never tell me about family vacations until the day of the trip because I get so sick from excitement. Yea...I never outgrew that. Thank goodness Chloe did NOT inherit that trait from me. We can bounce on the bed for hours the day before a big trip with absolutely no side affects. For her that is. I, on the other hand, get motion sickness and end up awake half the night trying to calm myself back down.

But I digress. I couldn't sleep last night. Even though I already packed the underwear, I was still worried. Did I pack enough? And what about socks? Should I go check again? So, to keep my mind from racing circles around my brain I did a little late night photo editing.

Woah! Where did that come from? Left field, right? It makes absolutely no sense to me either. But that is what I did at midnight last night. I played with some pictures in photoshop.

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So, I have an hour left until "go time". We are headed to Awanas and then, at long last, the arduous drive begins. I have stocked up on Frappuccinos, M&M's and Disney dvd's. Every camera, ipod, nintendo, etc is fully charged and ready to roll. I have FOUR books on cd packed within arms reach and James' 5-hour Energy's are stacked in the glove compartment ready to go. Ack! I feel butterflies in my tummy! I better go check the hermit crabs food supply or something useful.

I have a surprise for you tomorrow. I can't tell you what it is just in case the stars don't align and my plan malfunctions. But if all goes well, I may just do something crazy cool. (At least, crazy cool for me...boring for others of you.) Have a Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Disney World Hair Bobbles

A girl just cannot survive Disney World without the proper hair treatment, can she? I highly doubt it. Seriously though. A girl simply NEEDS her hair bows.

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Unfortunately, search though I may, I could not locate any Mickey or Minnie Mouse bobbles to decorate my hair bows with. I tried three craft/sewing stores. Before I completely frustrated my child to the point where she would then refuse to wear the hair bows I worked so feverishly on, I opted to purchase some Minnie Mouse ribbon with which to create the hair bows. Compromise. It keeps everyone happy...most of the time.

I find it mildly humorous to watch my progression of projects. I start with something quite elaborate like that funky boutique bow above. Each bow then grows smaller and less complicated. I created a double layered bow next. A tails down for the bottom layer and a diamond cut for the top.

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I then ran out of the gorgeous pink ribbon which I found half off at Hobby Lobby (Oh? Did I fail to mention we have a Hobby Lobby now? Oh my goodness. How could I do that? Yes....hooray! My most favorite store on the planet is now in my area! But I digress.) and so I decided to finish off the Minnie Mouse ribbon with these cutsie little bows. Again with the double layer but this time I used the tails down bow on both layers, just turning one bow upside down when I wired them together.

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I taught myself something new yesterday. How to line an alligator clip.

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This was my first time attaching bows to alligator clips. (It wasn't complicated. Trust me.)

So, now Chloe is all set for Disney World, if only her mother would get off the computer and start packing. We leave tomorrow! Do you want to know something funny? I am walking around in a complete daze. Weird, huh? It's like I don't even know where to begin. Thus, the hair bobbles yesterday. Could I walk out to the shed and dig out the suitcase? That would be a good place to start. No, I couldn't even do that. I had to run all over creation searching for hair bow supplies. Sigh. And now here I am blogging. More than likely, I will put off packing until tomorrow afternoon and then find myself running around like a chicken with its head cut off and invariably forget to pack something important like underwear. (Do you think they sell underwear in Orlando?) Okay. So, before I panic I think I better run along and dig out that suitcase. I wonder if I could make fairy wings today? No, Anna! Focus! Suitcase. Underwear.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chloe's Shark Cake

Better late than never, right? (at least that's what I am trying to convince myself of so I will feel better about my lack of updates recently...kindergarten is harder than one would think...) Anyways, without further ado, I present to you (drum roll please) Chloe's 6th Birthday Cake. (She stuck with her shark theme and I must say it was a fantastic party. You all might try convincing your 6 year old girls to have a shark party as well.)

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So, let me tell you about this cake. Chloe asked for a vanilla cake when I inquired as to the flavor she desired this year. Vanilla? Vanilla cake? Okay. Out came the baking cookbook and the search for a vanilla cake. This is the first year I have attempted to bake a cake from scratch AND decorate it too.

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I found the perfect Vanilla Chiffon cake and although it required a few extra steps in the process, it turned out to be scrumptious. Very much worth the effort.

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Now the ocean waves you see are buttercream frosting. Can you get any yummier than that? I think not. I took two different colors of blue and gingerly mixed them seperately so that some marbling took place with the bright white icing. Then I used both blues to cover the square sheet cake. Easy peasy! This has got to be the easiest cake I have ever made. (At least for Chloe's birthdays, that is.)

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Now for my little shark. I opted to cover a loaf cake in fondant. I am beginning to see the value in fondant. I made sure I spread an extra thick layer of buttercream on the loaf before I smoothed the fondant over my shark. Oh, but wait. I am jumping ahead of myself here. How did I get the shark shape? So, I baked a chocolate cake in a bread pan. I froze the sucker overnight. The next day I wielded my carving knife and produced my very own shark.

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I actually made the fins and tail with fondant the day before and laid them out to dry overnight so they would hold their shape. After the cake was finished, I used a tad bit of buttercream to add the eyes and gills.

Chloe simply said, "Yup. That's right!" when I showed her the cake. My little drama queen. Imagine if you will a grin plastered across her face as she made this seemingly benign statement. The poor girl begged and pleaded for her shark party. This was her way of proving her point, I guess. The cake turned out absolutely delightful. (I would not, however, take the advice of multiple friends who suggested I add red blood from the shark's mouth...)

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Lesson learned. When your 5 turning 6 year old daughter asks for a party theme which you think is uncharacteristic, just go with it. You never know how much fun you could have. Now we are discussing a tea party option or a chef party for next year. The big 7! Wow! I don't want to talk about it anymore. I am off to enjoy our third to last day of kindergarten with my SIX year old. (She IS 6...no matter how many times she tells you she is almost 7. She is still just six...barely.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Moments in the Sun

"Children have neither past nor future; they enjoy the present, which very few of us do."
Jean de la Bruyere


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As I attempt to enjoy more moments with my family, I am struck with how fleeting my life really is. We are only given so many moments on this earth. Only so many moments for vigorous hugs and exuberant kisses. Only so many moments for effervescent giggles and contagious laughter. Only so many moments to leave a legacy for our children. What kind of legacy do I want to leave for Chloe? How do I want her to remember me?

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30 years from now, will Chloe care if every crumb was immediately swept from the kitchen floor? Will she ponder on my dust free bookshelves or the sparkling windows and mirrors?

Please no.

I pray she remembers the moments in which I blew bubbles for her to dash away with her pom-poms, dancing to and fro and giggling as she toppled to the ground. I pray she recalls the flowers drawn on the sidewalk in chalk. The moments we sat observing a robin feathering her nest or a butterfly alighting on a flower. The laughter as we watched the cat pouncing on a dandelion fluff floating by.

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I do not want to find myself so caught up in preparing to live my life that I fail to actually live it.

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Winter and half of spring speed by me in a blur. I lost myself in the coming and going of various events. Mostly good, but not altogether necessary. I found myself crying one day because my dear daughter was in tears, begging me to sit and play with her. "You never play with me anymore, Mama," she informed me through her tears. My heart broke as I realized the truth in that statement. At that moment I realized how much I miss just sitting down and immersing myself in fairyland with my precious daughter.

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I am trying to do better. After spending a good portion of our afternoon playing dolls together today, we ventured outside where we enjoyed a romp around our sun-drenched garden. We found a few roly-poly bugs to examine and watched as a Mama house sparrow took a worm to her babies somewhere in the neighbor's rain gutter.

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Every day, I am attempting to learn this valuable lesson regarding time. Time is precious. Time is fleeting. Use time wisely, but don't forget to enjoy the moments that come along. Stop to gaze into your child's laughing eyes. Watch a spider spin her web. Count the stars. Catch a firefly. Give a bear hug. Dance.

Enjoy your moment right now.