Thursday, November 15, 2012

Our Disney Trip Through Instagram

Last week we returned from a vacation my favorite place- Walt Disney World! Even better, we again went during my favorite time at Disney, Epcot's Food and Wine Festival. Hopefully I'll do a full recap later, but here are a couple of snapshots of our trip, via Instagram.

After landing in Orlando and catching a ride to our resort, Disney's Coronado Springs, on the Magical Express, we headed over to Epcot to sample a few Food and Wine booths. My favorite from the day was the Pork Slider from the Hawaii booth. And when the Cast Member serving saw my birthday button, he even added a hidden Mickey!

Hawaii's Kahlua Pork Slider with Pineapple Chutney 
The next day, we had a behind the scenes tour booked in the Magic Kingdom, but we managed to hop on this before the tour started. Any guesses? It's Buzz Lightyear's Spaceranger Spin in Tomorrowland.

You can't see the numbers...but I won (at least this time).

Another favorite from the trip was convincing my non-roller coaster or "big rides" riding Mom to go on this. It was awesome.

Tower of Terror...even more terrorizing at night!
Two of my favorite times from our trip actually happened on our last night. To begin the evening, we had dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse, located in Disney's Yacht Club Resort. Even though we had great meals at other Signature restaurants each night, I've got to say, I think this was the best meal on property, and the maybe the best dinner I've ever had. The service was excellent, and each course was better than the last, ending with this beautiful dessert. That would be a Lemon Pudding Cake served with a Blueberry Shake, Fruit Leather (homemade fruit roll-up), and Candied Lemon. Paired with press pot coffee, it was amazing! I'll get around to writing a full review of this dinner as soon as I stop being too lazy to download pictures from my real camera!

The last Instagram shot I'll leave you with is this one....

If you've visited Hollywood Studios in the last year or so, you'll recognize this as the revamped Star Tours ride. We rode it twice with no wait at all thanks to Extra Magic Hours, and the last time Mom and I got to be on the 1st row!

Now, is it too soon to start planning another vacation?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

This Week's Eats: Aug 18 - 24

With the new job (which I'm loving) comes the opportunity to take my lunch to work again! I really see this as a good thing, because back when I was a classroom I did take my lunch everyday...and I found myself eating MUCH healthier when I took my lunch! So if I'm going to be taking my lunch, I need to get back to cooking something to take! (Which also means healthier dinners!)

Monday 8/18- Grilled Balsamic Flank Steak

Tuesday 8/19- Salsa Chicken

Wednesday 8/20- Skinny Coconut Shrimp

Thursday 8/21- Egg Salad

Friday 8/22- Leftovers!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cannot wait to be back here….hurry up November! #blogger...

Cannot wait to be back here….hurry up November! #blogger (Taken with Instagram)

via Tumblr

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Disney Planning Tip Highlights

If you've spent much time at all with me in the past year, then you know that a new obsession has entered my life. Ever since I can remember, my family has loved to roll their eyes lovingly joke about my list-making, plan everything obsession. Well, while sitting at my parents house over Christmas in 2010, we were discussing vacation plans and somehow decided we'd do an adults trip to Disney in the fall of 2011. We decided on this for a couple of reasons:

  1. My mom has mentioned going to Disney off and on for the past several years. Her last trip was when my brother and I were still in strollers. She wanted to experience the Disney magic without kids in tow.
  2. Dad and I thought Disney sounded great. But Orlando in the heat of the summer? When crowds are at their highest? Umm no. Not happening. Enter fall timetable.
  3. After doing a little bit of online research, I discovered that every fall, Disney holds the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. It starts at the end of September and goes through the second week of November. My birthday is November 4. SOLD.
So, we booked a trip for November 3-8 to attend the Food and Wine Festival. We booked it on December 31, 2010, which gave me about 11 months to plan (or obsess, depending on your definition of plan). I say me, because other than deciding on dates, my parents told me to plan and they'd do whatever I booked. I never knew there was so much information about there about planning Disney trips! Like I've already mentioned, I developed a slight Disney-planning obsession, but once we boarded the plane, it was totally worth it. We had the most relaxing, fun, and perfect vacation we've ever had (and this coming from someone whose idea of perfection is laying on the beach doing nothing for a week). Since returning, we've booked another trip for this fall, and I've had several questions about planning. I thought I'd give an overview here for anyone who is interested. Click through to read more!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

#sunshine #photoadayjuly #blogger (Taken with Instagram)

#sunshine #photoadayjuly #blogger (Taken with Instagram)

via Tumblr

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Memory Lane: Horses

I miss having horses. Growing up, I was obsessed with horses. My parents spent many afternoons and weekends shuttling me back and forth from riding lessons- some nearly an hour away when there wasn't an opportunity to take them close to home. After years of taking lessons and lots of begging on my part, my parents did it. They bought me a horse. A horse of my very own. Her name was Ginger, and she was beatiful. She wasn't very nice, but she was beautiful and she was all mine. But she didn't live in my backyard like I thought she should. Before long however, we had moved out to the country, my dad and mom and grandfather had spent hours and hours and hours putting up fence and building a barn, and suddenly I didn't only have my very own horse, but I had my very own horse who did live in my backyard. Well of course as I got older I became more interested in boys and being cool than in spending time with my horse and eventually we sold her back to her original owner. But then I somehow caught the bug again, and I bought another horse. But this one was definitely mine, because I spent my very own money on him. And not only was Peso, a leopard Appaloosa, beautiful, but he was gentle and well-mannered and perfect for me and anyone else who wanted to ride him. And eventually my Mom got her very own horse as well, and we bought a third horse and it was all great. (And it was expensive for my parents, and I wasn't always the best at being responsible and spending as much at the barn as I should have, and the brunt of the work fell to my parents because I was at college.) BUT. Here's the thing. Some of the best memories I have were made in that little barn. When we bought Peso, my parents decided to do some work on the barn to make it better. I'll never ever forget the time I spent just hanging with my parents while my dad was working on the tack room. Sawdust was always flying, Peso stayed in his stall even though he had 10 acres (and eventually 20) to roam on just because he wanted to be close to us, and even in my angst-ridden teen years, I felt close to my parents in those moments. Another memory that I can still see in my head as if it happened yesterday instead of nearly a decade ago is being out in the pasture, sitting on the back of my dad's truck while he was putting up fence posts (I was obviously very helpful. We had a bag of peanuts and Mountain Dews (I'm sure my parents had Diet Pepsis at that time) and I remember throwing the peanut shells out as we ate and watching Lance, our golden retriever find them and chew on them. So not only do I miss the horses, but I miss knowing that we won't be making more memories like that. Of course, maybe it's just me realizing that you really don't get time back and that never stays the same forever. So when I think about what I miss about horses, it's a lot about the memories made. But it's also the things that you never think about missing- the smell of your horse on a warm spring day when you've just finished a long ride, the smell of our saddle when open up the tack room door, the companionship you feel with your horse when you're grooming after a ride, or when your horse sticks around after the feed is gone just because you're still standing there. I miss the feeling of losing myself in my throughts and the beauty that was just outside my door when I saddled up and rode around our property, up the dirt road leading to a beautful field full of wildflowers in the summer. The excitement of being on new trail. And that no matter what- you didnn't have the excuse to be bored because you always had something to do if you had a horse (as my parents often reminded me). So I don't have a horse now and it has been years since I've ridden, but you know what? If I ever have kids, I will do everything possible to introduce them to riding. Because I don't think you can beat the life skills and lessons you learn from riding and taking care of a horse.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Last weekend

It was perfection. And thinking about it is getting me through the week.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weekends are for family

My house still isn't clean, but I think that the time I spent on Friday night in church, on Saturday with family, and today hiking with the dogs was well worth it. If there is one thing that I do know for sure, it's that time isn't something we get back, and family may not always be around. Yesterday was a wonderful, gorgeous day spent outside on my parent's back patio watching our dogs play and catching up with my grandparents. My favorite conversation of the day? Explaining to my grandmother that she couldn't finish her drink in the car, since that would be illegal here in NC. I announced that I wanted to bottle up the feeling of happiness I felt about us all being together, just being, and I still feel that way! Mom ran to the store to buy fresh steaks and veggies and we took full advantage of the beautiful and warm weather by grilling. Today we took the dogs to hike around the lake at Crowder's Mountain, and it was great to be outside again! I'm trying hard not to think about being cooped up in class next weekend!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Week's Eats in Review

Sunday: The Deen Bros. Lighter Crab Cakes (subbing Greek yogurt for light mayo) & Penne Pasta with Sun-dried Tomato Cream Sauce

The crab cakes were okay...they didn't stick together well. I've subbed the yogurt for Mayo in other crab cake recipes, so not sure why this one wasn't great. The pasta was okay. Nothing wrong with it...just not something I'm dying to have again.

Monday: Cilantro Lime Shrimp

Oh my goodness this shrimp! It is delicious and so simple! The lime juice and cilantro give it just the right kick. Love, and is in the regular rotation.

Tuesday: Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin with Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

Fail, didn't make.

Wednesday: Roasted Tomatoes with Shrimp and Feta

Fail, didn't make.

Thursday: Paleo Pepper Steak

This is also so good and simple! I love this!

Friday: leftovers or (homemade) pizza!