Friday, June 29, 2012

Bookmarks for June 2012

*Bookmarks is an online book club hosted at Creative2xmom. Here we discuss the books we've read in the past month as well as the suggested reading. Our suggested reading for June was The Table Experience by Devi Titus.

These are the books I read this month:

20 Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed by Sherrie Eldridge--I was torn by this one. Having found it while glancing through the parenting section of the library, I was looking for something a bit meatier. But instead, it almost read like a gift style book. There were good ideas, but they weren't as thoroughly explored as I had hoped. The biggest take away for me was that the family will look different, but different is to be celebrated. Different can be good. Overall though, there was a pessimistic attitude about attaching with the adopted child. While I don't want to go into adoption blissfully ignorant, I also have to believe that we can jell and bond as a functional family unit. The author's perspective was very negative and ended up being a turn off.

Mindset for Moms: From Mundane to Marvelous Thinking in Just 30 Days by Jamie C. Martin--Made of 30 short sections, this is a good book for remembering your priorities.  While the material and ideas are nothing new, they are presented in a fresh manner which caused me to pause nearly every time. This is a great book for new moms or even those seasoned moms who are looking encouragement.  Each day only took a few minutes making it perfect for every busy mom.  It's a book that I would love to reread in July.

The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis-- See my review here.

Our suggested reading for this month was The Table Experience by Devi Titus--I have to be honest in saying I didn't read this one. I was really looking forward to it and for months I've been watching for a used copy or one on But nothing. I haven't been able to find it anywhere. So the more I looked at it, I wondered if I wanted to read it that bad. And while I still really want to read this one, I wasn't willing to fork over $15. I'll keep a look out for it still, but for now, I'm passing. Did anyone else read it?

So what are your bookmarks this month?

Tell us in the comments about the books you're chewing on. Or link up a review from your own blog. Let's share the books we're finding, good and bad. And give us your thoughts on The Table Experience by Devi Titus.

And come back Friday July 27th as we discuss Crazy Love by Francis Chan and other books you're reading.  Where you able to get the ebook for free a few months ago?

*Linked to these Parties

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Muddle

Hey Everyone,
How was your weekend?

I'm posting late 'cause we were at my mom's for the weekend.  It was my cousin's 40th birthday so we went home for a family BBQ.  The kids and I packed up on Friday morning and away we went.  I'm used to traveling with the kids on my own, but the baby sure gave me a run for my money this time.  It seemed like every time we got started, we had to stop.  It was ... a test of Mama's patience.

But we had a fun weekend.  The cousins were all around and Noah was riding the quads with them.  It's not something he gets to do very often so he had a great time.  And I loved the cousin/family time as well.  Most of my family lives near each other so we really miss them being several hours away.  Plus this is the cousin that we've been doing more and more vacations with so the kids have a great time together.
We came home today.  I have my laundry going and dishwasher is running.  Dinner was a trial as I didn't want to cook after being in the car earlier.  But for some reason the kids insisted on being fed.  :-)  So it's nice to be home and settling back into the routine.  Back to a regular bed time and reading with Mama.  Back to swimming at the Y pool.  Back to snuggles and leisurely mornings.  And back to planning our meals and grocery list.  Here's what we're planning for the week:

Cereal and bananas
Oatmeal and fruit
Healthy Baked Oatmeal
Skinny Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones

Easy Healthy Lunch Ideas

Monday: Find it and Fix it???
Tuesday: Sack Dinner (T-Ball Practice)
Wednesday: Greek Orzo Stuffed Peppers
Thursday: Skinny Alfredo, pea salad
Friday: Homemade Veggie Pizza, marinated tomato and cucumber salad
Saturday: Jerk Shrimp Kebabs, jerk salsa and chips
Sunday: Grilled Veggie Sammies, salad

Homemade Granola Bars
Kids' Choice cookies
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

What's going on in your world?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Jolly Holiday Cafe Review

During our May trip to Disneyland, I really wanted to find some great eats.  I had determined that I was going to be adventurous and try new things.  So when we rounded the bend from Adventureland onto Main Street, I knew I had to try this place.

The Jolly Holiday Cafe is based on a Jolly Holiday with Mary Poppins.  Only recently open, their menu focuses on sandwiches, salads, and soups, as well as an extensive variety of baked goods and treats.  Plus there's a Cupcake of the Day. 

Everything on the menu looked incredible.  Pictured below is (clockwise) the Caprese Sandwich, the Tomato Basil soup, and the Deli Turkey Sandwich.  Sandwiches were served with homemade chips as well.  The sandwiches were good size.  In fact, my husband and I split a sandwich and soup, and the kids split the turkey sandwich.  Everything was fresh.  The foccacia bread on the Caprese Sandwich was very soft and the Tomato Basil Soup was rich and velvety.  We devoured every last bite.

Since it was our last night there, I decided to splurge on that Cinnamon Roll I had been talking about for three days.  This was my biggest indulgence at Disneyland and it did not disappoint.  Hot and fresh from the oven, this Cinnamon Roll was the best treat I could have asked for.  And it was as big as my head.  Just kidding, but only a little.

The staff was very friendly and knowledgable, answering our questions about the menu and their favorite items.  And the food was the best thing I put in my mouth while at Disneyland (Dole Whip excluded).  If you're planning a trip to Disney, put this on your list of places to eat.  You won't regret it!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Disneyland's Adventureland & New Orleans Square: Ride by Ride

This is one of my favorite parts of the park.  Adventureland has some great rides and the atmosphere of New Orleans Square is just fun and party-like.  Plus it has some great food.  Here's your breakdown of rides in these two areas:


Enchanted Tiki Room--This is an aniamatronic adventure show featuring flowers, birds, and tikis.  Enter into the courtyard and enjoy a Dole Whip while you wait.  The kiosk serves from both sides, but if you wait to get one outside of the courtyard, your wait will be twice as long.  As you enjoy your Dole Whip, you'll be entertained by talking tikis throughout the garden as well.  There is a wheel chair access, just ask as you enter the courtyard and wait for assistance.  Once inside you'll enjoy a fun, comical music show that's appropriate for all ages.  It crescendos with a bang that can be slightly frighting for smaller children.  However, having Dole Whips, sitting for a spell, and being in the air conditioning, along with a fun show makes this an attraction not to be missed.

Jungle Cruise--Everyone can enjoy this leisurely cruise through the Amazon.  You'll board a boat and check out all the aniamatronic animals.  Your captain tells lots of corny jokes making it especially fun for the adults.  And depending on your captain, the jokes change so it's a fun experience every time.

Indiana Jones Adventure--Riders must be 46 inches and the line can be quite long on this one.  From start to finish the cue is approx. 1/2 mile long.  Since this ride is ALWAYS busy, this is a great one for picking up a Fast Pass.  The ride takes you on an adventure encountering snakes, the forbidden eye, bubbling volcanic action, etc, but can be jerky.  So if you have back problems, skip this one.  Otherwise, this is on our Must Do List.

Tarzan's Treehouse--Originally the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, this walk through feature has been updated for a younger audience.  It tells the story of Tarzan through reading, viewing vignettes, and music playing in the tree.  There's a lot of steps, but this is a great attraction for younger kids to enjoy through while everyone waits in the Indiana Jones line.  At the end of the tree house is a play area of the explorer's camp that includes hands-on music features.

Aladdin's Oasis--Although not a ride, this little oasis area is a great spot to find Aladdin and Jasmine.  I've seen them there often.  In fact, last time we were at Disney, we got off the Jungle Cruise right there as Aladdin and Jasmine walked up.  We were at the front of the line.

New Orleans Square

Disneyland Railroad--The railroad travels all over the park and has wheelchair access at all stops except Main Street.  This is a fun way to get around the park and has a stop between Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion.  This stop is also conveniently located near a bathroom.  Yeah for those of us traveling with little ones.

Pirates of the Caribbean--This is a classic Disney style boat ride filled with drops, gun fire and aniamatronic pirates pillaging the town.  The entire ride is underground with three drops making it a nice ride to enjoy on a hot day.  The line can be unpredictable.  So if you see it 20 minutes or under, get in line.  Some features can be a little frightening for younger guests.

The Haunted Mansion--Again this line can be quite long.  Guests are ushered into a chamber that appears to expand as they are told about the mansion and the ghosts who haunt it.  Once you exit the chamber, you'll board a car-style ride that takes you through various scenes: a ballroom, an attic, a graveyard, as the spooks go about their business.  Although there's no height requirement on this one, I didn't allow my child to ride till he was 6 years old and then he was still nervous.  However, my 4 year old loved it so just be aware of your child's temperament.


Bengal BBQ--This is one of my favorites.  A small spot directly across from the Indiana Jones ride, you could miss it if you didn't know it was there.  They feature skewers in several varieties from sweet to sour to spicy.  There's even a bacon wrapped asparagus skewers.  My favorite is the spicy skewer.

Royal Street Veranda--This walk up counter serves soups and gumbo in a bread bowl.  The portions are easily big enough to share and the quality is always fantastic.  Plus the price is considerably lower to many of the other sit down restaurants in this area of the park.

Fantasmic!--Prime seating for Fantasmic! can be found across from French Market Restaurant on the Rivers of America.  However, you will need to arrive early as this area can fill quickly.  One tip is to leave those that want a rest while everyone else can ride some of the bigger rides while the lines are short.

That's the breakdown for Adventureland and New Orleans Square.  There's always lots of music in New Orleans Square and this is where Princess Tiana hangs out as well.  So keep your eyes open.  My favorites in this area of the park: The Enchanted Tiki Room and Pirates of the Caribbean.  The Tiki Room is unique and Pirates is just classic Disney.  

Stay tuned for more Disney updates.  And leave me a comment if you have any questions, tips, or ideas.  I'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

While You're Waiting: Blessing Parents

(Image Credit: Jomphong)

*Recently I was thinking about all I would want my daughters to know before they get married.  Instead of wishing the days away until they walk down the aisle, how would I encourage them to live?  Living in the joy of who God created.  The practicalities and the dreaming.  What would I want to encourage... While they're waiting?  These are some of those thoughts.

While you're waiting for marriage, I would encourage you to bless young parents in your community.  When you have young children, every day is full of blessings, but also exhausting challenges.  We love our children.  We want what's best for our children.  But it's a very intensive time of work.  It's such a breath of fresh air to have someone love our children while we need some refreshment.

Blessing parents doesn't have to mean showing up at their house with a 5 day V.B.S. in a box plan.  Blessing parents can be as simple as offering to come over before dinner and keep the kids entertained while mom prepares the evening meal.  Trust me.  Even something as simple as making dinner without interruptions can seem like a vacation.

And there are so many other ways you can be a blessing to young parents:

*Take the kids to the park once a week.

*Volunteer as a MOPS childcare worker.

*Volunteer in the church nursery or Sunday School.

*Offer to watch siblings while one child goes to the dentist.

*Take the kids home for PB&J while Mom & Dad go out to lunch after church.

*Watch the little ones while Mom runs some errands solo.

Don't be afraid to offer your help.  Young parents are so grateful for the help and encouragement that we receive.  You can be a huge blessing to families and learn so much about children.  The relationships you grow in this time will be so fruitful and your ministry will be greatly cherished.  From all young parents, thank you!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Monday Muddle

Hey everyone, 
How was your weekend?  Was it filled with craziness?  :-)

Ours flew by as usual.  The kids keep us moving so it feels like we sometimes don't even remember the weekend.  I feel a little that way this time.  Trying to think back to Friday, I don't even remember Friday.  What were we doing?  Hmmm???

We took the wading pool out this week.  Once it hit 100 degrees, we knew there was no turning back.  They've practically been living on the back patio in the water.  Truth be known, I don't blame them.  It's HOT.

Sunday we celebrated our Daddy.  My husband preached and then we came home to an easy Sunday lunch.  My husband took the kids out to the store.  Noah's been doing chore and saving his money for a new BeyBlade stadium and he's been checking out the store every couple of days to see if it's in stock. I love seeing that kid learn about money.

We broke our sugar fast with Father's Day dinner.  It was a great experience and well-worthwhile.  I'll post more about that soon.  But let's just say those Nutella Cupcakes were heavenly.  And here are a couple of photos of the kids from the weekend.

Here's our menu for the week:

Cereal and bananas
Oatmeal and fruit
Healthy Baked Oatmeal
Skinny Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones

Easy Healthy Lunch Ideas

Monday: Haystacks
Tuesday: Potato Soup
Wednesday: Greek Orzo Stuffed Peppers
Thursday: Skinny Alfredo
Friday: With Family
Saturday: With Family
Sunday: Find it and Fix it??? Hum???

Kids' Choice cookies
Loaded Baked Potato dip
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Projects I'm working on this week:
Work on patio lights
Finish Door Hanger
Work on Wreath
Read book

What's going on in your world?

Lee's To Do List

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Fiddler {Review}

Amelia Devries has a promising violin career traveling the world under her father and manager's direction.  Amy Lee plays the fiddle with an unmatched passion, wild and free.  The twist?  Amelia and Amy are one in the same.  

Living a double life between pleasing her father and following her passion, Amelia finds herself lost returning home from a fiddling job.  Driving down a lonely road, she runs into car trouble and lands at the mercy of a young stranger searching out his own future.

Michael is caught in his struggle to choose between two worlds.  Raised Amish and expected to join the church, Michael is drawn to the world, knowing that doesn't mean leaving Christ.  But will his family understand?

Amish and Englisher... Plain and Fancy... the connection between these two sparks a chain of events that will force each to find THEIR way, not what is expected of them.  Can Amelia confront her manager and choose what the Lord desires for her?  Can Michael be real with his family and pursue his own path?

Beverly Lewis is a renowned Amish fiction writer and expertly crafts another wonderful book.  The characters are deep and their struggles are real.  I found myself pulling for both Amelia and Michael numerous times throughout this novel.  As they think throughout their futures, both characters must search out what they truly believe about family, faith, and glorifying the Lord.  Lewis has a wonderful way of expressing a deep heartfelt faith without preaching to her audience.  I never felt like I was being hit over the head with her message.  Rather, I connected with the characters and related to their lives.

My only problem with the book was the last couple of chapters.  The book moved so smoothly and the characters and action was so well developed... until the end.  It was as if the author was rushing to tie up loose ends.  Everything felt rushed... incomplete... stretching to finish the story.

All in all it was a good book.  Lewis writes wonderful fiction that allows the reader to enjoy the story, enjoy the process of discovering these characters and how they grow.  Well worth the read.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for review from Bethany House Publishers for review.  All opinions are mine.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Disneyland's Fantasyland: Ride by Ride

We love Disneyland.  So while we were there this last April, I tried to take some extra notes for you guys.  I wanted to come back with some of Our Top Do's and Don'ts  for all things Disney.  You've already seen my review on Aladdin at the Hyperion and why you can't miss it.   Seriously!  Go see it!

Anyways... on to Fantasyland!  Love Fantasyland!  But if you think it's all children's play, keep reading...

* Mr. Toad's Wild Ride--This is a fun ride... for adults.  Mr. Toad crashes his car and goes to hell.  Really, it's so ironic and funny, but would absolutely scare my children to death.  This one's for the older kids.

* Peter Pan's Flight-- This is a fun ride.  Short, but enjoyable.  However, the line for this one gets really long.  Go first thing in the morning or you could be waiting for up to a hour.

* Sleeping Beauty's Castle--Walk through the castle and turn to the left.  Tucked in the corner, you'll find the entrance to the walk through.  As you go through the castle, you'll find vignettes that tell the story of Sleeping Beauty and her happily ever after.

* Snow White Scary Adventures--This one usually has a shorter line.  We made the mistake of taking our three year old on this one and he couldn't get on another indoor ride for two days.  Older kids are ok.  Below 6 years, take a pass on Snow White.

* Pinocchio's Daring Journey--Very similar to Snow White.  All the scary parts of the story and none of the light-hearted parts.  Skip it with the little ones.

* King Aurthur's Carousel--Fast line and everyone loves a carousel. The horses are all colorful and unique.  And the experience is magical.  You have to ride the carousel.

* Casey Jr's Circus Train--This is a fun ride to relax on when your feet get tired.  But there's only one train so be prepared for a wait.  Last time we rode in the monkey cage. Hilarious!

* Storybook Land Canal Boats--Board a boat and travel through storybook land.  My kids love it with all the miniature houses and castles, seeing where their favorite characters live.  The line can be long on this one so go after the parade when it re-opens.

* Dumbo the Flying Elephant--Long lines, but it goes quickly because so many can get on at once.  This is always on our Must Do List.  Your child even gets to control how high Dumbo flies.

* Alice in Wonderland--Fun and not scary.  The queen is more comical than frightening.  Line moves average and it's a lot of fun.

* The Mad Hatter's Tea Party--Fast line and so much fun.  The whole place is light up with lanterns at night and colors just pop.  We ride this one again and again.  It's been my son's favorite since he was three and still loves it at 6 years old.

* It's a Small World--Back on a boat and travel through Small World for approx 15 minutes in air conditioning.  This is a great one for when you need to rest your feet and cool off.  Kids love this one and with the update, classic Disney characters have been added to the decor.  I hear this one is especially nice at Christmas.

* Matterhorn Bobsleds--This one's my favorite.  It's a classic roller coaster ride.  Kids under 7 years must be accompanied by an adult and the ride is jerky.  But it's a roller coaster without being too high or too fast.  And you get to see the Abominable snowman at the top.  Tons of fun!


*Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique--This is every little's girls fantasy.  Choosing between 3 styles, little girls will be transformed with hair, makeup and nails.  And for an additional cost, princess dresses are available as well.  Pricey.  Make this a once in lifetime event.  And make an appointment.

* Meet Rapunzel--This line was the longest one I stood in.  But Rapunzel is my daughter's dream.  Be prepared for a long wait.  We picked up lunch and ate while we waited.

* Snow White's Wishing Well--On the right side of the castle, you'll find Snow White's Wishing Well.  It's a peaceful spot and leaning over the well, you can even hear Snow White singing.  This is a great spot to catch Snow White herself as well.

That's the breakdown of Fantasyland.  Some great spots for kids, and some really fun rides for adults as well.  My favorites: Mad Hatter's Tea Party and Matterhorn Bobsleds.  The whole family can ride both of these and they're fun for everyone.

Stay tuned for more Disney updates.  And leave me a comment if you have any questions.  I'll get back to you as soon as I can.  :-)

*Linked to these Parties

Monday, June 11, 2012


With summer here, I'm always on the lookout for easy dinner ideas that won't heat up my kitchen.  My husband is the complete opposite of me and says he could eat chili on a 110 degree day.  Not me.  With the change of weather, I want quick meals and lots of salads.  But serving the same ole' thing can get boring after awhile.  I often find myself sitting down on a Sunday evening wondering what in the world I'm going to make for the week.  

It was on one such evening that I remembered this variation of taco salad from my childhood.  Quick, cool, and with a little twist, it absolutely delighted our family.  We hope you like it too.


Corn Chips
Rice cooked in chicken broth
Any kind of taco meat
Salad mix
Green onion
Sour cream or Ranch (we used Jalapeno Ranch)
Shredded coconut (optional)
Whatever else you'd like

The secret to these Haystacks is in the layering.  Start with a nice even bed of corn chips and add a layer of rice.  Make sure you cook the rice in chicken broth to give it that added flavor.  If you want to make these Hawaiian Haystacks, you can also add a sprinkling of shredded coconut.

Then finish by layering on the rest of your toppings.  You can use whatever meat you'd like, from ground burger to carne asada.  If you want to make these vegetarian, add black beans instead.  We used some turkey meat that had been in the slow cooker all day with salsa.  For my Haystacks, I sat our salad mix, olives, tomato, green onion, cheese, salsa, sour cream and my favorite, Jalapeno Ranch.  You could also add jalapeno rounds, corn, or cilantro.

The corn chips are a nice twist on tortilla chips, and the rice adds an extra layer of flavor.  Perfect for a summer dinner on the patio.  Pair it with a Lime Raspberry Cooler and you've got one of my favorite summer treats.

*Linked to these Parties

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Monday Muddle

Hey Everyone,
How was your week?  Did you do anything fun?  Anything crazy?

This weekend sent sooo fast.  I'm amazed how quickly the last couple of days were and wishing I had it back.  We had a fun weekend.  Nothing spectacular, but just fun.  Sweet.  Memory-filled.

I loaded up the kids on Friday afternoon and we went to the local elementary school.  My kids love taking their bikes and rollerskates there and I love that they have a place to ride other than the street.  We spent about a hour and a half, just riding and skating and playing.  And laughing.  No dishes to wash.  No floors to sweep.  Nothing to distract Mommy just from being with the kids.  Bonus: I had some wore out kids for nap time.

Daddy put up the big tent in the backyard for camping out.  We had to keep it up through Saturday 'cause they were just loving it.  My husband had some errands to run that morning, so I took the kids out there to do some reading.  We had a lot of fun.  Just to lounge around in the tent and read.  I think we're gonna have to find a way to put up a tent for reading this summer.

The rest of the weekend was just fun family time.  Reading and playing and church and just being together.  Some days are just good and you hate to see them go.  I know it's only been a week, but I'm really enjoying having the kids at home.  Now if we can just get this wrist healed and Noah's cast off before it gets too crazy hot around here.

How are you all doing?

Cereal and bananas
Healthy Baked Oatmeal
Cinnamon Rolls

Easy Healthy Lunch Ideas

Monday: Potato Bar
Tuesday: Honey Sesame Chicken, brown rice, salad
Wednesday: Taco Bar
Thursday: Italian Pita Pockets, Pea Salad
Friday: Homemade Veggie Pizza
Saturday: Chicken Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce, salad
Sunday: Daddy's Choice

Homemade Granola Bars
Raspberry Lemonades
Something Yummy for Father's Day

Projects I have planned this week:
Finish Review Book
Scrap Feb photos
Pick one pinterest project to work on

What do you have planned this week?

Lee's To Do List

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Disney's Aladdin in Theater

One of my favorite things at Disney's California Adventure is to see Aladdin at the Hyperion Theater.  Honestly the Hollywood Backlot area of the park isn't a huge hit with our family, but tucked back in the corner is this theater.  And the show is INCREDIBLE!

We all loved it, from the grandparents to the little ones.  We do our loop around Bug's Land and when everyone hits their crashing point, we go see Aladdin.  It's a great time to sit down, get out of the heat, and regroup.  The costumes and props are so much fun.  I love it when Aladdin parades in on this huge elephant.  Or when Aladdin and Jasmine ride on their magic carpet.

The Genie makes the show.  He has the best jokes of the whole production.  My husband and I were laughing the whole time.  Kardashians, political candidates, even Disneyland itself,... no one is safe from his humor.  Love it!

So if you're thinking about skipping this one, DON'T!  You won't find anything else like it at Disneyland and it's a show not to be missed.

*Linked to these Parties

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

June's Upcoming Plans

One of this week's Writer's Workshop topics was "10 To Do's for the Month of June."  And since you all know that I constantly have a running "To Do List" in my head, I had to write on that one.  Some fun, some serious, ... somethings that just have to be done... here are 10 ideas on our "To Do List" this month:

Work on Lights for the Back Patio

Get Noah's Cast Taken Off

Read 4 books

Get the Kids in Swim Lessons

Make Something Fantastic for Father's Day

Go Cherry Picking

Do Some Disney Reviews

Make A Farmer's Market Salad with the Kids

Make Homemade Ice Cream

Memorize One Scripture with the Kids

What's on your June To Do List?

*Linked to these Parties

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