Character Dining at the Garden Grove Restaurant

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Experience the magic of Disney by going to a character dining restaurant at the Garden Grove restaurant at the WDW Swan and Dolphin Resort in FL.
I have been a Disney fan for as long as I can remember.  I have so many happy memories of watching Disney movies with my sisters, my first trip to Disneyland as a kid and our first trip as a family to Disneyland with our own kids.  One thing I remember clearly from my first trip to Disneyland was standing in line to get the autographs and pictures of the different characters all over the park.  My sisters and I loved this almost as much as the rides because it made the experience so much more real to us.  So when we were booking our trip to Orlando at the Swan and Dolphin Resort and I found out they had a character dining experience, I knew I wanted to go.
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My Stay at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

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An overview of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Buena Vista, FL
A little less than two months ago, my husband sent me a message that he'd been invited to go to a training event in Orlando.  Jokingly I replied, "Can I come?"  His response: "I can ask."  As it turned out, I could come and the minute I heard 'yes', I was searching online for the best flights, calling family members to ask if they could watch our kids and dreaming of sunny Florida.  (I'm a planner, remember?)  Midway through the day I asked my husband if he knew the name of the hotel they were putting everyone up at: "Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort".  Um, what?!  That's right my friends.  We were going to be staying at a WDW hotel and I was doing a happy dance in my living room.
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Mommy Style Monday: Favorite Things Box (Spring Edition)

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These are a few of my favorite (Spring) things!  See what I received in a surprise Springtime box!
As of last Monday, Spring has officially sprung!  I always look forward to this time of year.  I am definitely not a cold weather person and the minute it's warm enough for me to sit outside without a jacket, I am throwing open windows and letting the fresh air in.  We just got our garden boxes ready to plant some vegetables and I love the smell of dirt and the joy that comes from planting, growing and eating that food.  My kids get so excited when we start seeing "popcorn trees" (ie. white flowering trees) blooming all over the neighborhood and the life springing up all around makes me smile.
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{Free} Printable Packing List

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Print out a copy for each member in your family to help everyone get packed up for your next trip!
A couple of weeks ago, I shared that I would be going to Orlando this month for a much needed vacation with my husband.  This will be the first vacation he and I have taken together that is more than an overnight since our first child was born over 5 years ago.  As you can imagine, we're pretty dang excited!  My goal at the beginning of this week is to get all packed up and ready to go.  I am a list maker and so it should be no surprise that I have made a packing list for myself to make sure that I don't forget anything I need to take with me.  Some people have the attitude that if they forget something, they can just pick it up wherever they are going.  If that is you, then awesome!  But I am totally a planner and that kind of stresses me out.  So, lists.
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Book Review: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows {Plus Book Club Discussion/Questions}

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Book Review: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows (Plus Book Club Discussion/Questions) 
If you've been around my blog for long, you'll notice that most of the books I do reviews on are young adult fiction.  Most recently, I finished The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows (who also happens to be a co-author of one of my favorite books, My Lady Jane--read the review HERE.)  Books have always been one of my favorite ways to escape from the world.  My husband often teases me that when I'm reading a book that I can literally shut everything else out and not be aware of what's going on around me.  I love a book that pulls you into its world and makes you feel like the characters are real people, leaving you wondering what happened to them after the book ends.  I love finding a book that I want to read over and over again, until the book is smudged with fingerprints and can't stay all the way closed because the spine is so broken in.  These are the things I look for in a book.
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Rainbow String Art Tutorial

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Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!
When it comes to crafting, I like to try everything.  I have an entire craft room full of all sorts of supplies for everything from vinyl, embroidery, scrapbooking, acrylic paints, a million brads, felt, adhesives...phew!  And that's not even close to everything.  Something I've been wanting to try my hand at is string art.  I've seen it all over and there are so many shops that sell it.  My friend Sarah over at Making Joy and Pretty Things recently did a cute string art heart for her daughter's nursery.  I commented on her post and told her I'd been wanting to try it out myself and she suggested I do one for St. Patrick's Day.  So I did.  *wink*
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St. Patrick's Day Books for Kids (Ages: 3-10)

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15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
One year when I was about 9 or 10, I decided not to wear any green on St. Patrick's Day.  The truth is, my eyes are green and I wanted to play a trick on my friends so that when they pinched me for not wearing green, I could turn around and pinch them back 10 times.  (That's the rule, isn't it?)  I remember other years trying to be sneaky about where I placed my item of green: underwear, socks, a hair elastic, a bracelet or earrings.  Now that I'm older, I still think it's fun to celebrate this tradition of wearing green on St. Patrick's Day and my kids have loved it the last couple of years as well now that they are old enough to correlate green with the holiday.  And ever since having kids, I try to find a book or two that goes along with the holiday that we're celebrating, including the one about leprechauns and pots of gold.
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Book Review: Bucket of Awesome + A Giveaway

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Bucket of Awesome: this is journaling with a twist!  Tell your life story from a positive and uplifting perspective.
For many years I've used writing as a way to help me work through and remember things.  I have poems written after a challenging break-up.  A stack of diaries and journals from elementary school all the way through today detailing whatever I was/am going through at the time.  Even this blog is a way for me to put my thoughts down and organize them in a way that makes sense.  Writing helps me unlock memories and remember details in a way that nothing else can.  I wonder, how often do we take the time to think back on the experiences in our life that shaped us and made us who we are today?  Are they positive or negative?  Which would you rather focus on?
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February In Numbers

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February in Numbers: a unique way to show a month in review (Link up with Shoes to Shiraz)
Today I'm going to have a little fun and do a month in review using numbers.  Normally, I'm not really a numbers person.  Math is not my strong point.  I took Statistics twice in college and only barely passed both times.  However, I am really good at counting down to things like my birthday or vacations or calculating the discount on a cute shirt from a favorite store. *wink*  So without further adieu, I give you February in Numbers.
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Raspberry Cake Mix Cobbler

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Quick and easy dessert made with only 3 ingredients!  Swap out the raspberry for blueberry or blackberry pie filling.
Last weekend, I had a hankering for a dessert that my mom used to make when I was growing up.  I can't tell you how many years it's been since I even had it, but all of a sudden, it sounded like the best thing in the world.  So I called my mom who immediately knew what I was talking about.  I got ready to write down the ingredients but the list was so short I didn't even have time to grab my pen. "3 ingredients?"  I asked her.  "Are you sure?"  She assured me that was all and with disbelief I finished the call.
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