Flame Tree Barbecue

I have to share our favorite quick service restaurant in Animal Kingdom, and maybe all of Disney. The boys liked it so much the asked to go back there for dinner on our next trip. It is situated near Discovery Island in Animal Kingdom, and it has all outdoor seating. While the outdoor seating may be a bit of deterrent, there is tons of it and several areas with roof tops and shading. We made use of mobile order for this meal and it was a great idea because it was quite busy that day.

B and A split the ribs, chicken, and pork sampler platter:

J got a hot dog

And I had the pulled pork French fries

The food is simple, straightforward, but so delicious! It is really good barbecue, and the switch-up from typical pizza or chicken nuggets for lunch was great. Here’s a breakdown of how we set-up our day at Animal Kingdom:

  • Wilderness Explorer Books
  • Kilimanjaro Safari
  • Rafiki’s Planet Watch
  • Jungle Juice Slush @ Tambu Tambu- Snack
  • Pretzel – Snack
  • Gorilla Falls Trail
  • Lunch: Flame Tree BBQ QS 11:00
  • Kali River Rapids – FP x 4 12:25-1:25
  • Dinosaur 1:50-2:50 FP x 2 B & J
  • Boneyard
  • Snack- Apple cider donut holes
  • Navi River Journey 3:05-4:05 FP x 2 N & A
  • Flight of Passage x 2 3:25-4:25 FP x 2 B & J
  • Expedition Everest x 2 4:40-5:40 N & A
  • Maharajah Jungle Trek
  • Flights of Wonder

We ordered lunch at the Gorilla Falls Trail, And then set it to be picked up about 11:15. As you can tell from our list, A is not big on the faster rides, so we split up our fast passes to reflect that. There are times that B & J used A & I’s magic bands, and A and I would grab a snack or get in a character meeting line. I plan the routes so we spend as little time as possible trekking back and forth across the park. Happy planning and eating!

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Sprinkle Candy Cookies

We are starting on our holiday cookie baking because it’s November, and nothing is better this time of year than cookies, chai tea, and an episode of Holiday Baking Championship. First up on our list is a straightforward m&m cookie with mini m&ms and holiday sprinkles. These are our take on a kitchen sink cookie, and they usually disappear as fast as I can get them out of the oven.

Sprinkle Candy Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbs all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda 
  • 1/2 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tbs pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini m&ms
  • 1/2 cup green and red sprinkles

Directions

  1. Cut butter into tablespoon slices and place in the bottom of the mixer. Set your egg out on the counter. Do this first then prep the rest of your ingredients
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat mat or parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt. Set aside.
  4. Crack egg into a small cup and whisk with vanilla.
  5. On medium speed cream butter for about three minutes.
  6. Add sugars to butter and mix until light and fluffy about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Scrape down the sides and then add in the egg mixture. Mix until it resembles cottage cheese (so slightly lumpy, but well mixed).
  8. Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl. Mix just a little by hand (so it doesn’t puff out when you start the mixer), and then mix on low speed only until barely blended.
  9. Stir in m&ms and sprinkles
  10. Bake for seven minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees and bake for two additional minutes. Let cool on the pan for 2 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  11. Will keep in an air tight container at room temperature for 3-5 days. In our house they rarely last that long.

 

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Camp-out cooking and leaf crafting

At A’s den meeting this week, he learned about first aid, safety, and how to grill a hamburger/hot dog, which are three important things!

 

 

He was very excited to eat the hamburger he made all by himself, and he even tried it with an onion on it!

While he and B were hiking and cooking, J and I worked on a leaf craft project at home. This is a super easy project that requires minimal items, all you need is a hammer, watercolor (or other heavy weight) paper, paper towels, and freshly fallen leaves.

You want leaves that have some pigment left in them because it will transfer color better to the paper. All you do is arrange your leaves on the paper…

And then cover them with paper towels, and hammer (carefully, with adult supervision) all over the leaves…

And the imprint of the leaves will transfer onto the paper!

Super simple, and a great weekend afternoon craft!

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Friday Favorites

It is sitting below 35 degrees here, and I’m living in this fleece. It is fluffy, so warm and may be my new favorite item, especially if warmer weather doesn’t return until spring. I’m also currently obsessed with the newest coffee B picked up at Starbucks:

It is so good, friends! And yes, it also comes in k-cups. Okay enough chit chat, here are the rest of our favorites from the week!

The boys have been watching the ESPN Basketball: A Love Story documentary. We love basketball a lot right now at our house!

I have started encorporating yoga into my routine at least four days a week, and Yoga with Adriene is by far my favorite set of you tube videos.

And when the boys aren’t watching basketball, I’m watching The Great British Bake-Off Masterclass.

Asian roasted brussel sprouts, perfect to make with jasmine rice and salmon.

The most amazing gray polka dot coat.

How to be a more patient person.

A timeless hobo bag.

And finally, creating a memorable camping weekend.

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Best Friends Character Breakfast

The week after we had made our table service reservations (180 days in advance), J asked if we were doing a character meal. When we said no, he started to pout out his lip and said “but then how will I visit with Mickey?” So I went back through the list of character meals and started watching to see if the Ohana Best Friends Breakfast had availablity. Luckily, one day there was a 7:50 a.m. reservation and I grabbed it. We have been to several character meals now, and our favorites are the “family style” rather than the buffet. Family style means there is a set amount of food they bring to the table, so there’s no getting up and down, and you don’t run the risk of missing a character, or feeling like you can’t go get food because you’re afraid to miss a character.

At the Ohana breakfast you get to see Lilo,

Stitch,

Mickey,

And Pluto after the meal,

This was the only aspect of the meal that I didn’t like. Pluto is outside the restaurant with a Disney photographer and while you do get an official photo, anyone in the hotel can get in line to meet Pluto, so we ended up standing in line for fifteen minutes waiting.

The meal itself is delicious with pineapple sweet bread,

A platter of scrambled eggs, Mickey waffles, sausage, biscuits, and ham,

And fresh fruit,

You also get POG juice (pineapple, orange, guava), and coffee. And great views:

 

Overall, it was an excellent meal! Our server was fantastic, the food was delicious, and the boys enjoyed visiting with the characters and the parade through the restaurant. The other thing we did which worked out great was drove and parked at The Polynesian because we also were having dinner at Ohana that night.

We took the monorail into the Magic Kingdom and then when we left after dinner we drove back to our resort, which was a lot easier than taking a bus back. A great idea if you have your vehicle with you!

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Navy + Leopard

The outfit that I was wearing on repeat, when it was actually Fall. It’s now in the 30s, and I had to pull my lined pants down from the attic, but in Alabama it could be back up to 60 degrees by next week, so I’m sure I’ll wear it again. I love my JCrew merino sweaters, and the leopard boots keep it interesting and not all navy and denim.

You can also add a short jacket…

And you can recreate it all with these pieces! Jacket, Sweater, Jeans, Boots, Necklace, Bracelet, Earrings

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Operation Christmas Child

I always feel like this day is the start of holiday season, as crazy of a day as it typically is. For the past several years my Mom, sister, and I load up all five kids and head to Target on Saturday to go shopping for Operation Christmas Child. It is usually slightly chaotic and the kids may have been trying to load almost life-sized stuffed animals into the shopping cart at one point, but it is a great way to teach them about helping others.

Here is an idea of what we typically pick out (go here for a full list of what you can and cannot pack):

 

We typically get:

– A stuffed animal

– Socks

– A bar of soap and holder

– Colored pencils and pencil sharpener

– Toothbrush

– Fun bandaids

– Uno Card Game

– Fidget spinner

– Small plastic animals

– Notepad

National collection week is this week! You can go here to find a collection spot in your area.

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Friday Favorites

While these two play a giant piano….

I’m excited to share a Sephora themed stocking stuffer Friday favorites! The Sephora sale is now open to VIBs and I’ve been working on my cart all week, so I’m excited to share my purchases from the sale that will be going directly to B’s side of the closet until Christmas.

1 & 2. Verb ghost shampoo and conditioner. I got these as a sample and loved them. I’m loyal to my Bumble and Bumble hair products, but they are so expensive. These are lightweight, safe for color treated hair, and smell amazing.

3. Benefit blush bar. These are five full size versions of benefit blush/bronzer/highlighter. The packaging is my favorite (ballet!) and I love having multiple options in one palette.

4. Winter is coming, friends. The time of year where I run a humidifier constantly, and am always reaching for lip balm. I love fresh lip products and this set is three of their classics.

5. Clinique take the day off. Best for removing eye makeup and cleaning beauty blenders.

6. And speaking of beauty blenders, mine needs to be replaced.

7. And finally, I have every NAKED mini palette, except one. This one. So obviously it’s on my list.

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‘Tis the season

While we are not putting up the Christmas tree just yet, I’ve been busy ordering some updates to our holiday decor. Last year I waited and almost didn’t get a few items I had on my list. I went back through my Christmas decor pictures from past years (because what is having a blog if not to keep a virtual scrapbook of things like this), and focused in on a few areas that I wanted to add some additional decorations or update items that have gotten worn looking. I also added several new holiday storybooks because one of our favorite parts of the holiday season is reading our collection of Christmas stories as many times as possible between the day after Thanksgiving and January 1st.

As per usual, Target doesn’t disappoint with their holiday decorations and I found quite a few items from their collections:

Including a tiered stand for our high counter, garland for the mirror over our mantle, and new plates for my plate rack:

A pom pom wreath, and cheery pillows:

A cozy throw, tablecloth, and wooden centerpiece:

And I always search for a few pieces from Anthropologie including little monogram ornaments to go inside the wreaths on the boys’ doors, a silly towel, and a stack of holiday coffee mugs:

And new Christmas plates, red plaid garland, and shams from Pottery Barn kids:

And our new stack of holiday books:

How have we not read The Best Christmas Pagent Ever? It’s been so long since I’ve read it, I’m going to read it first, and then pass it on to A and then to J.

Walk this World is a beautiful pop up book with Christmas celebrations around the world, the illustrations are lovely, and the boys love books that have facts woven in.

Construction Site on Christmas Night because we love Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site and what’s better than construction vehicles setting up Christmas decorations?

And finally, The Nutcracker retold with illustrations from The New York City Ballet. I love The Nutcracker and the whimsy of the drawings.

And now I’ve just got to figure out where to store everything until after Thanksgiving!

 

**This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Thanks for supporting my blog!**

 

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Roasted pumpkin

When we went on our annual pumpkin patch trip all the kiddos got pumpkins to carve and my sister and I picked up two sweet pumpkins to roast! Using a straightforward recipe I roasted the pumpkin slices this weekend and we ate some with dinner and then the rest I puréed in the food processor and froze for pumpkin soup. Here is a breakdown of what I did!

I started by wiping down the pumpkin:

And then I carved the top like you would a normal pumpkin, and then scooped out the seeds and cut the pumpkin in half:

And then cut it into mostly equal slices that I put on a foiled pan (a large foil pan):

And then I drizzled it with olive oil, sprinkled it with the spice mixture from the recipe, drizzled a little more olive oil, and rubbed it all into the pumpkin slices:

 

Then I roasted it at 400 degrees for fifteen minutes until fork tender:

After I served it with dinner, I puréed the rest with just a little bit of chicken stock:

And then put it in a container to freeze:

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