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!

 

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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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Lunch at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Before our Disney trip I blogged about our decision to spend our nonpark day at Animal Kingdom Lodge. We were hoping to see some animals and after some waiting, we did! At the time we were there they were renovating the pool, so quite a few of their scheduled outdoor activities didn’t seem to be taking place, so we wandered a bit, played on the playground, and had lunch at The Mara. Here is a bit more about our visit and our lunch!

We started by checking out the savannah and caught sight of some sunning birds…

We searched for giraffes, but they weren’t out, so we headed to The Mara for lunch. The boys had standard kids’ menu food (chicken nuggets, salad, French fries). B had a turkey sandwich on ciabatta:

As you’ve read before, B has quite a few food allergies, so this isn’t specifically a sandwich they have on the menu (they have something similar). The kitchen staff was awesome and made the sandwich to order. I had the flatbread pizza, which was fresh, straightforward, and enough to split with a friend (or your kids who like tomatoes)….

Overall, our lunch was simple, but delicious, and I love quick service that has a variety of choices, and The Mara definitely does. After having lunch we played some games at the arcade:

Good to note that if you get an arcade card at one resort it works at others (at least ours worked at both Animal Kingdom Lodge and The Beach Club). After we got done at the arcade we headed back out to see if any other animals had showed up and they had!

 

 

While Animal Kingdom Lodge is farther out than a lot of the resorts the animals and amazing theming of the hotel makes it worth it to visit. One of my favorite parts was the boys sitting with a cast member creating imprint shadings:

 

And the boys’ favorite part was playing on the playground:

And relaxing:

It was a great start to our vacation and the boys definitely have caught the resort hopping bug, they were already asking which resort we are visiting next time!

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Friday Favorites

We’re rolling into the weekend and November! I’m literally holding back all the boys in my family from trying to put up the Christmas tree. I’m not quite ready to put up our fall decorations just yet, but I have got my eye on some holiday decor and my Christmas gift list is taking shape on my notes app on my phone. This weekend we are headed to a birthday party, basketball tryouts, disguising a turkey, and piano lessons. And maybe a little holiday shopping. Here are some of my favorites of the week!

Candy pork sounds like the perfect way to use the pork tenderloin in my freezer.

Sometimes you’ve just gotta read a book.

Reading about the origin of paper because Spaceship Earth is that inspiring.

My favorite new podcast about make-up and more.

The cooking show I’m planning to binge watch on Netflix.

Wedge sneakers to wear with jeans and slipper like flats to wear with work pants. Or jeans.

Marbled maple cornbread is on my Thanksgiving recipe list.

Finally, the holiday cups on my list for my little holiday coffee station.

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Feeling Fall

It’s finally fall weather! Which means that temps swing from 50s to 80s depending on the day. It could be why people in the South are so obsessed with the weather. Me included, as I’ll leave to take the boys to school and realize it’s only 39 degrees out, even if the afternoon high is 75. So layers are key, and light sweaters, swingy skirts, and boots for potential rain storms are always welcome.

Recreate it with:

Sweater + Belt + Skirt + Boots + Necklace

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Via Napoli

Is this our favorite pizza location in Disney World? Yes, yes it is. Why is it our favorite? Two words: no onions. Well, that and it’s delicious. But also no onions! Via Napoli makes their wood fire pizzas Neapolitan style, which means no onions in the sauce. It was delicious! I had the margharita pizza:

It had a perfect chew and spread of mozzarella, the basil was a bit lacking in placement, but other than that it was great.

B had pepperoni pizza:

Perfect little cups of spicy pepperoni spread out over fresh mozzarella with juicy tomato sauce and a perfectly fired crust with they chew you expect from a Neapolitan pizza.

And the boys had spaghetti:

Overall our food was delicious, our server was fantastic, and we left completely stuffed!

There are a few things that we noted for our next trip (because we will definitely go again), that I wanted to share. First, ask for a table near the wood fire grill. This isn’t a guarantee, of course, but I thought all the tables were in the room with the wood fire grill, and they are not. This was just a personal preference on my part, that I thought the boys (alright, me) would enjoy watching them make the pizzas. That’s not to say the other rooms aren’t fine, they are, but the wood fire grill area is especially neat. Second, get the red sangria. This is just good advice all around. Ha! But seriously, it was fruity,refreshing, and delicious. Third, make an advanced dining reservation. They were turning people away when we checked in for our reservation, so this is definitely a place that fills up. This is a place to put on your list for Epcot!

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