Disney World {Just a Couple}

My husband and I visited Disney World a few weeks ago. We went without the children and only for a long weekend. We stayed off property because we had Hilton points. We stayed at the Disney Springs Hilton. It was decorated in a very contemporary way and I loved the streamlined look. Everyone at the hotel was very friendly. I would certainly recommend this hotel if you are looking for a place off property.

We arrived in the afternoon on a Friday and after checking in to the hotel and dropping our luggage in the room, we headed to Magic Kingdom. We stopped by the place next to City Hall to get our Sorcerer cards first. We played that for a while and then headed for the rides. We rode Big Thunder Mountain and It’s a Small World. We got great seats for Wishes. The fireworks are my husband’s favorite part; so he was so excited to watch them in a good spot.

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After the fireworks, we went to find some other things to do. We love Laugh Factory and the Toy Story laser ride. It was very packed in the park every day we were there.

We visited Animal Kingdom and Epcot. Animal Kingdom was especially packed. We only went on the Kilimanjaro Safari; everything else was more than an hour wait. We went on to Epcot. We enjoyed the Art Festival. We are both BIG art fans; so we really enjoyed perusing the different pieces of art. We even purchased one. Noah was one of the featured artists and was there to meet with the people and sign his work. He was so engaging and incredibly talented! His story is amazing as well.

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Both of us enjoy trying new foods and Epcot is a perfect place for this. We rode Living on the Land, which is one of my favorites. We also wore Soarin’. It’s the first time I’ve been on it since they changed it to the world version. It was nice, but I missed the orange grove so much!

We ate dinner at Rose and Crown one night and at the Captain’s Grille another night. My husband loved the steak so much at Rose and Crown. It is one of the older girl’s favorite foods of all time. The food is always good in Disney and both places were no exception.

One of the things we enjoy about going alone to Disney World is that we usually explore places that the children aren’t interested in visiting. If you ever wonder if this is a good trip for adults without children, the answer is YES!

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Baltimore

Since my oldest is heading to college in the fall, it’s time for college visits. Her number one pick is in Baltimore, Maryland so we are headed there in a few weeks. We will only be there for about 30 hours, so I’m looking to anyone out there for advice. Where should we go? What should be avoid? Are there any places that are “must dos”? What are good places to eat?

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photo credit: Baltimore.org

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!!

Hilton Head Island: Fall Break

Our fall break was rudely interrupted by Hurricane Matthew, but we still had a good time. We let our senior in high school decide where to spend her last fall break and HH was her choice. She didn’t make it to the ocean once before we had to leave. She did, however, get lots of relaxation time. We spent one day on a boating and private island excursion with Outside Hilton Head. It was nice to do something none of us had ever done before. I fished for the first time in my whole life. I caught two sticks and a crab. We also kayaked. My dad, at 71 years old, did it for the first time in his life. He loved it and said he wanted to buy a kayak when he got home. We enjoyed the shell island that our captain stopped and let us explore. I could have spent hours there. I have a few DIY shell projects floating around in my brain as a result.

Here’s a little peek at that fun we had on fall break.

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Hilton Head, I miss you already.

Endangered Arts {Art Gallery in Hilton Head}

There is an art gallery in Hilton Head that is absolutely delightful! It’s called Endangered Arts. The owners are Clay and Julie Rogers. She runs the gallery and is a professional photographer. Her love of the ocean and all the creatures that inhabit it is evident when speaking with her. She is kind, warm, and friendly. Her husband, Clay, is a self taught painter. He paints all the things you might see in Hilton Head. They have many works of art from many different artists from all over the world. I was so impressed by every single piece of art there.

We went in looking for a painting that would remind us of our favorite place. Julie helped us figure out exactly what we wanted. We ended up choosing a Clay Rogers painting. He wrote a special personal note to us on the back and included the practice sketch he’d done of the painting. I walk by it every time I go into our bedroom. It makes my heart happy to have something as a visual reminder of the place we love so much. A visit to Hilton Head wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Endangered Arts.

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Change of Plans {Hurricane Matthew}

I am so incredibly sad for all those affected by Hurricane Matthew. I pray that the cleanup will be quick and that those affected will be able to recover from their losses. I’ve heard that there has been loss of life. I pray for healing and comfort for the families of those people.

While our fall break was interrupted, we really can’t complain. We tried to make the best of the change of plans. The drive out of Hilton Head took about twice the time it should have, but the state officials did a GREAT job moving people out!

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We had to break the trip into two days due to the fact that we are traveling with a small child, children who get extremely carsick, and two sets of grandparents. When we finally arrived at our hotel, it was mid-afternoon. We ate an early dinner at a restaurant called Farm to Fork in Ringgold, GA. I’ll have a full review of that place soon (hopefully). Later, once the grandparents arrived, we met up at Gateway Antique Mall. They had lots of Civil War items. None of us bought anything because the prices seemed a little inflated. The next day, we headed out early to Chattanooga, TN. The first thing we did was head to the Tennessee Valley Railroad. We took the Missionary Ridge ride. It was extremely short, but I think everyone enjoyed riding a train and seeing the way it worked. imageimageimage

Later, we traveled on to the Chattanooga Aquarium. They were so nice to offer people who’d had to evacuate due to the hurricane, 50% off admission. We enjoyed the aquarium. We were a little disappointed that there weren’t any dolphins, manatees, or any kind of whale. There were several touching stations, which we thoroughly enjoyed. I could have stayed in the jellyfish exhibit forever! I actually think we will be getting an aquarium with some of those amazing creatures come Christmas time. Chattanooga is a cute city and I could probably visit again over a long weekend and really find lots to enjoy!

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Before the Storm {Hurricane Matthew: Hilton Head}

The storm is on its way in; so we are on our way out. It’s a sad way to end what was supposed to be a week of a relaxing fall break before the madness of school activities and the holidays started. The evacuations started yesterday, but we are heading out today. Here’s what it looked like yesterday…

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We had the whole beach to ourselves yesterday. It looks like we have the whole city to ourselves as we drive out.

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We are hopeful that all those in the storm’s path stay safe and that Matthew will be downgraded before it does any more harm. We are on to the next place for now and will see if we can find some fun adventures along the way.

Custom Cups

When we went on our trip to Hilton Head earlier in the summer, I wanted to get each person a customized cup for the trip. I thought it would be a cute and functional gift for each person. I also liked the idea that it would be something to keep and maybe remember the trip the next time it was used.

I found 4 Lilly Pulitzer cups at TJ Maxx. I stored them away for months with the idea to get monogram decals to put on each one. I then got my girls Sigg-like bottles with the idea to do the same to them.

I didn’t want to leave the boys or men out, so I ordered reusable red Solo cups for each of the men with their names on them. The boys got reusable blue Solo cups with their names on them.

I ordered the cups from Etsy shop, Down South Monogram.  The decals were purchased from Etsy shop, Vinylosity.

I think they all turned out really cute. They were definitely handy at the house and by the pool.

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Disney: Animal Kingdom

Taking a little detour from our Spider-Man party, I thought I’d share about one of my favorite parks: Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom is a must-do when visiting Disney World in my opinion. From the animals, to the rides, to the food, it is all incredible. We love the “towns” that you pass through as you walk the park. They offer that authenticity that Disney is always able to provide. We especially enjoy the music provided by people who are actually from the regions of the world represented.

We love Expedition Everest. While I’ll admit I do not like huge and scary rides, I even thoroughly enjoy this ride, as it is just right for me on the scary scale.

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The show, Flights of Wonder (a bird show), is completely worth the time to see. You learn so much about these amazing creatures and get to see them fly and swoop. My parents are true bird lovers and this is a special stop for them to see these more exotic birds in action.

By far, the best part of all is the Kilimanjaro Safari. I could ride it over and over again. I absolutely look forward to it so much for each visit. The tour guide gives all kinds of facts about the animals that you are seeing. The animals are so close sometimes that you could reach out and touch them (but don’t).

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David called these dragons.

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I always love to see how excited my children are to see the animals. They never get tired of it either!

 

Meet the Disney Junior Characters

Of all the Disney World parks, Hollywood Studios is ranked lowest on my favorites list. I feel like there are not enough rides and that for our family, there isn’t quite enough to keep our attention for very long. On our last visit, I took the littles with me while my husband took the bigs to ride Tower of Terror ( I’ve done it once and I’m good). We decided to meet the Disney Junior characters. The lines were long, but not horribly long. I loved seeing all the little kids just eager with the anticipation of meeting these characters. It was adorable. My parents were with me, helping me wrangle the children. It was incredibly hot that day and they needed water and cold treats and cold napkins the whole time we were in line so I was so thankful they were there! 465 When it was finally our turn it was magical and memorable and they loved it.

 

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David was a little shy with Jake. He really liked Minnie Mouse. But he LOVED Sofia.

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There was so much laughter at that kiss. He had obviously been thinking it out since he saw her. It was priceless and I’m SO GLAD we got pictures of it.

Meeting these characters is completely worth the trip to the park. You don’t get the opportunity to meet them (with the exception of Minnie, of course) anywhere else. If your little ones are Disney Junior fans, then they will definitely enjoy this experience!!

 

 

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This site has an auction with a lot of different and really awesome stuff up for auction all to benefit the Meyers family (The Freckled Fox), if you want to check it out.

 

Disney: Cinderella’s Royal Table

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A few days before we were leaving for our Disney World trip, I heard that a company had been selling Disney dining reservations illegally and that Disney had stopped them. Because of this, there was now a chance that there were reservations available where there hadn’t been any before. I checked for dining reservations again and lo and behold, there was Cinderella’s Royal Table with several dinner slots open. We chose late reservations. We had arrived in Magic Kingdom later in the afternoon; but it was Extra Magic Hours night and the park was open until 1 a.m. We didn’t tell the children. We told them we were eating somewhere we had never eaten before. They guessed everywhere, but no one guessed inside the Castle! When we walked into the entrance of the Castle and went up to the desk for our reservation, all of the children were shocked and so excited!278

In the foyer, they got to meet Cinderella.

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No detail is overlooked, as is usual for all things Disney.

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photo credit: disneyworld.go.com/dining/magic-kingdom/cinderella-royal-table

 

 

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It really is special eating inside the Castle.The food was good. The service was better. The experience was the BEST!

The children all get a wishing star. The girls get a wand and the boys get a special sword.

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All of the princesses come to your table. They are all so very sweet. They actually came by more than once.

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We really had a special time and loved being able to surprise the children with something they had never thought of doing.

If you get the chance to eat at Cinderella’s Royal Table, I would highly recommend it!