Friday, October 16, 2015

Inexpensive Quality Disney Princess Costumes

Back last February/March, my little lady had some birthday money to spend, and I thought she would have fun traipsing around the house with a Disney princess dress. As I started searching (Disney Store first because that seemed like the spot), I couldn't believe the price tag of something made of such seemingly cheap and scratchy materials.

As I kept googling my way into different corners of the internet, I came across the Disney Collection for JCPenney concept. It's basically a pop-up Disney Store, with merchandise designed by the same group that designs for Disney theme parks and stores. And we have one in our local JCPenney! I grabbed the kids after naps one afternoon, and we headed for over for the ladybug to try on a few. After donning the entire Disney princess wardrobe, we both agreed on Cinderella. Most of them are regularly priced $38, but usually they're on sale for around $25. The quality is better than the big box stores, but about $35 less than THE Disney Store.

Disney Collection Princesses for JCPenney

Elsa | Anna | Snow White | Cinderella | Rapunzel

I was inspired to share this little find because I haven't heard anyone mention these. I popped in our newly reopened Disney Store this week, and another mom was looking through dresses for Halloween. I mentioned the JCPenney dresses. She had no idea! Currently, I think the Frozen costumes at JCP are the cutest outside of the actual Magic Kingdom.

As you're searching for Halloween costumes, or even starting your Christmas shopping, check Disney Collection for JCPenney out. I've washed and hung ours to dry a few times with success. It's even made it through a whole day at the Magic Kingdom and is still kicking. We found the dresses true to size.

This is not a paid ad, just a mom find I wanted to pass along. Happy shopping!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Family Goes to Walt Disney World

Last week we took an incredible trip to Walt Disney World with our family. I could not believe the amount of planning that went into a Disney vacation. I've been working on it, along with a travel agent, for around 6 months. We squeezed nearly every bit of fun out of Disney that we could, while being mindful of two preschoolers who both still nap. It took planning, editing, and fantastic logistics, but I couldn't be more pleased with the way it unfolded.

We left out early Sunday morning, which was an adventure of its own. We flew Southwest (seamless as usual) and traveled by Mickey's Magical Express to our resort, Port Orleans Riverside. Recapping our trip would require multiple posts, and that seems like way more details than you probably want, so my quick summary is this: we visited all four parks, stayed in Magic Kingdom the most, and loved Peter Pan (the ride) and Rapunzel (the character) the best. I can't think of a princess or character that we wanted to see but didn't. We saw them all.

We had a Disney dining plan and ate everywhere we wanted, and one of them twice. Be Our Guest was my personal fave, and we ate there both lunch and dinner on different days. While I was checking in for lunch, two separate parties walked up to ask if they could get reservations, and the attendant told him that it was booked out for 6 months. That's bananas. The ambience is incredible - it's like you stepped into the animated movie. We even thought the food was good. Our dinner there was our best meal food-wise. Mr. G would say his favorite meal was Hoop De Do Review, which is a fun dinner theater musical review at Fort Wilderness. At the risk of sounding like I've been Disney-fied, everything truly was magical.

With my little guy on Dumbo
My ladybug on Prince Charming's Carousel

I have over a thousand pics to wade through, and those are just mine--they don't include Mr. G's! It was such a nice break to get away, even with such a busy trip, and I definitely saw God's hand on my little fam during the time we spent together. I came home re-energized and pumped to have had the opportunity to show my kids the magic of Disney.

If you're planning a Disney trip or have any questions about taking preschoolers (what works, what doesn't) then give me a shout!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Meal Plan Monday

I'm dusting off the blog today to post our meal plan for the week. We've been gone on vacation, had sick kids, and overall busy, so I took some time yesterday to be intentional about what we'll put in our mouths this week. I also need to drink some more water after all the diet coke I drank at Disney World!

Monday: Green Beans with Bacon and Potatoes
This is a family favorite I posted a few years ago. It has something in it for everyone!

Tuesday: Domino's Pizza
Pizza is a tradition on soccer practice night, you see.

Wednesday: Supper at Church
I have no clue what's on the menu, but we're eating it. Besides the hot line, there's an awesome salad bar with different lettuces, fresh veggies and fruits, baked potatoes, and soup. My post-vacay self may need to check out the salad bar.

Thursday: Chicken and Rice Skillet
I'll have to post the recipe for this soon. Here's the closest I could find, but mine doesn't use as many ingredients. It's one of my husband's faves that I've been making since I was trying out my new pots and pans during our newlywed days. It's one skillet, delicious, and makes great leftovers.

Friday: Date Night
Fingers crossed this involves Mexican food.

Most of my meal plan Mondays include recipes that we go back to over and over. Familiarity and ease of prep is what I'm looking for always. What's your go-to weeknight meal?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Book Review: The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White

Through the Bethany House Blogger Review program, I recently received a copy of Roseanna M. White's newest book, The Lost Heiress, in exchange for a review. I'm loving this review program, and--spoiler alert--so far I've only received books that I've enjoyed reading.

One thing to note of my Bethany House reviews: so far of their books I've read, they make mention of faith and faith in God, but they have not mentioned a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus. These are works of fiction, not marketed as books to increase knowledge of the Bible or deepen a relationship with the Lord. (If you're looking for one of those, I have a bunch I could recommend.) They are clean and acknowledge God and His Sovereignty, and as such, they are definitely more edifying than other current mainstream fiction. That being said, here are my thoughts on The Lost Heiress!

A quick synopsis: Brook has always wondered who she truly was and where she originally came from. After her mother died in a carriage accident, she found herself raised among the royalty of Monaco. Now grown into a young lady who feels misplaced, she trusts her best friend and future Duke of Stafford, Justin, to find her true identity with the help of a mysterious packet of letters left to her. In the meantime, he's fallen in love with her, but will she ever see him as more than a friend? As Brook goes back to her original family as heiress to Eden and the Baroness of Berkeley with Justin by her side, she finds herself surrounded in web of intrigue and danger.

This is another piece of historical fiction that, similar to Downton Abbey, details the shifting social times and peels back the layer between the above stairs/below stairs relationships of the period.

I loved this storyline. However, what I thought was the primary conflict (the relationship between Brook and Justin) was not as developed as I would have liked. Justin's and Brook's insecurities around their relationship confused me. Based on how their characters and their relationship was portrayed early on, their miscommunications seemed out of place and immature. Regardless, you can't help but cheer for these two.

The big mystery surrounding Brook's disappearance and family conflict kept me guessing the entire time. This is part of the Ladies of the Manor series, so we were introduced to some characters that will make another appearance in the next novel, which I look forward to reading. I must know what happens next!

I really cheered for Brook the entire time. To find her family, to find her real identity, and to find true love, all while keeping her faith--what's not to love?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday Meal Plan

I'm back this week with another Monday meal plan! Last week was the first week back at school. The week before that was one of the first with soccer practice. Tonight we start dance up again, so my great summer routine has been swept aside for convenience and just getting them fed something.

As much as I would love to braise meat all day or slow roast vegetables, I don't always have time for that because I'm running my kiddos to school, church, and extra-curriculars. That is absolutely not a complaint because I love that I have this time for this season. But it's a preface to the fact that we're having a freezer convenience meal tonight, because we had a great, fun, but tiring weekend, and I'm reclaiming the house today.

Monday: Birds Eye Garlic Chicken
My son told me last week that I am the best cook ever, and that this is his favorite meal I make. Maybe one day a daughter-in-law will appreciate how low I have set the bar for her in the kitchen. You can read a review I wrote on the freezer meal back in 2012 here. My little guy still loves it, although I have to buy a bigger family size bag than I did before. Relatively healthy with noodles that kiddos love.

Tuesday: Domino's Pizza
Batting a thousand so far this week. This is a soccer night, and we all go to practice together. Last season it became a tradition to pick up Domino's on the way home each Tuesday. I order on their app from the sideline while I'm (shocker) talking to other moms, and it's ready when we're done. Our standard order is a thin crust cheese, so it isn't quite as unhealthy as a regular pan pizza. Paired with fruit for kids, salad for adults.

Wednesday: Supper at Church
My oldest is big enough to have his own set of Wednesday night activities rather than just playing in the nursery. We have a relatively new dining/multi-purpose facility, with soaring ceilings and open space. I love the sound of our church family sharing a meal together. We'll eat whatever the kitchen is dishing up, and we'll be thankful.

Thursday: Chicken Tacos
I'm cooking up a big batch of chicken on Tuesday to take supper to a family that just had a baby. So, on our one night at home, this supper will be easy to reheat and serve. The chicken is cooked in the crockpot with a jar of salsa.

Friday: Date Night
We're meeting our Sunday school class for Mexican Food, my fave!

As you can see, my meal planning isn't quite so taxing these days, which is why I haven't posted the past couple of weeks. Mondays and Thursdays are all I mostly have going on since my family will riot if I don't order pizza on Tuesday. It's tradition, they say! Who am I to mess with tradition?!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday Meal Plan

That's two weeks in a row I've planned our meals. This is definitely a homemaking record for me. I even managed to take our reusable grocery bags to the store two weeks in a row. Monday, I'm coming for you!

Monday: BLTs
I have all the ingredients on hand, and it's time to use them up. I'll toast the bread in the toaster and cook the bacon in the oven following these directions from the Kitchn. I can't stand to get my cooktop greasy. Add lettuce, tomato, and a little swipe of Duke's Mayonnaise, plated with chips and fruit.

Tuesday: Roasted Chicken
I'm using my fave Fort Worth Moms Blog recipe found here, but changing it up by putting it in the crockpot by following the cooking instructions found here. If all goes as hoped, I'll have leftover chicken for chicken salad sandwiches the rest of the week. One of my faves!

Wednesday: Veggie Frittata
I love taking the leftover veggies from yesterday's roasted chicken and baking them into a frittata. Here are instructions on how to take almost any vegetable and turn it into a frittata.

Thursday: Tacos in a Bag
We had chicken tacos last week, but this changes it up just a bit especially since I'm using beef this time. These are a hit with whoever I serve them: kids, adults, college students. You use single serve (like lunchbox size) bags of tortilla chips and make them into tacos. Super easy, and the kids think it's awesome because...chips!

Friday: Mama's OOO (out of office)
It's my birthday weekend, and we may eat our way through Cowtown. Kitchen's closed, family!

What's cooking at your house?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Red-Orange Lipstick: You Should Try It

I'm fairly conservative on fashion trends, so I tend to stick to neutral tones for makeup. However, a few years ago I came across this online article from Glamour regarding a shade of red lipstick that supposedly "looks good on everyone."

"A likely story," I thought. But go ahead and click out on that article! There's a picture with a bunch of interns, all looking different and wearing the lipstick. The blonde convinced me I should try it.

The color is Nars Heatwave. It's a semi-matte, but I find it creamy and not drying.

A very close drugstore match is Revlon Super Lustrous Fire and Ice. It's got more moisture to it, and it's a great, less expensive option.

I have both and like them equally. When I'm wearing an all black outfit, I tend to add this lip color to give it a little something extra, otherwise I feel a little dull. Who wants to feel like that? No one! I especially love it contrasted with a navy outfit.

Even though it'll continue to be summer for the next 3 months here in Texas, everyone's shifting into fall, so it's a great time to change it up a bit. Have some fun with red-orange lipstick!
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