Sunday, February 3, 2019

Living with the Magic!

I've been holding onto some FUN news for a few weeks now and I'm so excited to share it with you! 



A few months ago I saw that one of the travel agencies I follow on Facebook was hiring! I applied on a whim and got a call back where I had to submit a video and then another where I had to go through several scenarios on how I'd handle travel planning and finally a phone interview! At the beginning of December, a job offer was extended to me, I accepted, and have been training and working on having everything in place since then! It has been SO MUCH FUN! Work isn't work when it's something you love!


Many of you know that we like to travel. We've traveled a good bit over the years - both domestically and abroad - and one thing I always wanted was to expose our children to travel from an early age. Many of you also know that I LOVE Disney World and, if given the option, I will travel there as much as possible! HA! (Eddie doesn't love it like I do...we'd go even more if he did!) Living with the Magic Vacations specializes in Disney destinations including Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Adventures by Disney, Aulani, and Disney Cruise Line. In addition, I'm also trained in various other destinations like Universal Studios and Sandals and Beaches and I'm working on various cruise lines, Sea World, etc. 


I'd love to help you plan your next magical vacation! Please reach out if you or someone you know is planning one soon. And follow along for all the fun by clicking the links!

      



Thursday, January 31, 2019

What We're Reading.

One of my resolutions this year was to read more. I set a goal for myself to read 52 books this year and I'm bound and determined to come close to it!

The year started off with a bang and then I slowed down a little, but I finished two books in January! I'm a little behind schedule, but I'm also in the middle of two more so hopefully I will pick it back up!


I started the month by reading Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. Let me pause a moment to say OH MY WORD. This story completely captivated me and I couldn't put it down. Set in Tennessee in 1939, the story begins with a young family living on a "shanty boat." The mama is trying to deliver her newest baby with a midwife and has to be taken to the hospital when the delivery goes wrong. While she and her husband are gone, the police come and take the children away and put them in an orphanage. Thus begins their story of abuse, neglect, and trying to find their ways back to their family. Oldest sister, Rill, fights to keep them together and to help them escape. Fast forward to modern day and we follow Avery Stafford, the 20-something daughter of a South Carolina politician. She was born with a silver spoon in her mouth but fights to be given respect in her career. Avery begins to uncover what she thinks must be an old family secret. Wingate weaves the two separate stories in such a beautiful way that I could not put this book down. After I finished, I immediately drove it to my mama's house and began researching everything I could find on this based-on-a-true-story-novel. It was amazing. I'll probably declare it my favorite book at the end of the year.


Next up was Elizabeth Smart's My Story. I had just graduated from high school when Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped and I remember learning about her and knowing some of her story. The book was good - it's a memoir of her kidnapping and time spent in captivity - but it just wasn't great for me. It's very thorough in some aspects - she claims to remember what she did every day during the 9 months she was gone - but she glosses over other parts of the story that, for me, made it seem poorly written. She's a survivor, for sure - I can't imagine having gone through what she did and live a normal life later - but I found the movie to be much better.

As for the boys, Will and Eddie finished Will's first Goosebumps book and he LOVED it. They've started reading the first Hardy Boys book and Will has really enjoyed that as well. James continues to read anything that sits still. Today, he got in the car carrying Wonder by R.J. Palacio. We've also started Dr. DooLittle and The Invention of Hugo Cabret but haven't finished either one. I'll try to get a more thorough list from both of them for February. 

As always, share what you're reading!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Taste of Thomasville

Several months ago, a few friends mentioned doing a food tour in Thomasville, Georgia. We'd never eaten there - we drive THROUGH Thomasville to go to Tallahassee to eat - but we were intrigued and immediately said we were in! We tried to plan the trip before Christmas, but wound up not being able to make it happen, so this was the weekend. We have a great crew of families in our neighborhood who are all about our ages. Their kids are all a little younger than ours, but we get together fairly regularly for meals and we've Trick-or-Treated together for several years. It's a fun crowd! Those couples, plus two more that don't live in our neighborhood, planned to go! Sadly, at the last minute one couple had to be out of town and another has been incredibly sick. That's just an excuse to get to do this again, because it was DELICIOUS.

We met downtown between Jonah's and Liam's to begin the tour. My ONLY complaint would be that they didn't give us a handout telling what we ate and drank at each restaurant, so this is all from memory. I wish there had been a handout or something to write on. I also didn't take the first picture of the food, but it was incredible.


We started the night at Liam's where the owner told us all about the wine and cheese we had. I'd go back to Liam's in a heartbeat just to learn more from the owner! She was so knowledgable! We had duck, two kinds of cheeses, pecans, and an INCREDIBLE honey paired with a glass of wine. The cheese, honey, and pecans make the top of my list of foods we ate. Delicious!!!

Our second restaurant was Moonspin. Here, we tried breadsticks with marinara and pesto dipping sauces, "Florida Georgia Line" - a pizza topped with spicy sausage and caramellized Vidalia onions, a beer or Spodie Odie Sangria. Again, all was incredibly delicious. I think this may be Eddie's favorite stop of the evening. James would've LOVED it. They also have pasta on their menu. It was very good!

Next, we walked over to SoHo. OH my word. Here, they served Pimento Cheese Dumplings that were the HIT of the evening for me. There was also a chicken wing that was good, but I would've taken 10 more dumplings. They served a cocktail here that was great as well. Again, I would've stayed and eaten off this menu!

After SoHo, we walked down the street to The Plaza Restaurant. This was my least favorite stop of the evening, but we still really enjoyed it. We agreed that the vibe was just a little different from the rest of the restaurants. The others were all very modern and this one seemed a little older. Here, they served a delicious Greek salad (this was very good!), chicken and pepper skewers, and baked oysters. Eddie and I don't eat oysters so we passed ours off to someone else and heaped on the salad. The drink here was another cocktail that had a LOT of basil in it. It was a good stop, it just wouldn't be one I'd go out of my way to return to.

Our last stop of the evening was at The Farmer's Daughter, a wine bar. Here, we tasted a wine and had s'mores chocolate. Delicious, but not nearly as good as the first three stops.

We had the most fun! All of us agreed that it was a great date night activity and we'd all enjoy going back for another trip. Our hope is that we can return soon to do the daytime tour and hit the rest of the restaurants for lunch!

If you're local, give it a try! We will be back to Thomasville soon!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Weekend Update

We had such a fun weekend, but it FLEW by. Will told us the other day that his Sundays are always the fastest day of the week. I agree. Let's make every day Saturday!

On Friday night, we went to eat at Buffalo Wild Wing. The boys love that because they give out tablets. They don't have the best service, in my opinion, but they were happy and behaved while we were there! 



We decided to have a family game night when we got home, but someone wouldn't behave and had to go to bed early. We played alone with the other child - Jurassic World Monopoly. We love Monopoly! The child won!

Bright and early Saturday morning we were up and at the gym for Will's basketball game. This kid is LOVING playing basketball this year and we love watching him play!




After basketball, the boys went home with Grandmama and Granddaddy for about an hour. Eddie and I went to Lowe's to look for a rug pad for our new rug. (No luck...we're ordering from Amazon.) We put the new rug down anyway to see how we liked it. It's going to take some getting used to (we've had a red oriental-style in the den and I wanted something to brighten it up!), but so far I really like it.


Saturday afternoon, I took the longest nap ever while the boys played outside. Eddie and James went to the grocery store and decided on grilled pizza for supper. Eddie may never make a frozen pizza in the oven again. (That's a win for me!) It was great!

We also spent part of the evening cleaning out the boys' rooms. Yuck. I've let them go for FAR too long. James' book shelf was broken and his books were all piled up so Eddie got that fixed for him and we got it rearranged and working again.

Sunday morning, we got the luxury of sleeping in and going to the late service at church! We never go to the late service! We had a lunch after church so it didn't make sense to go to the early service and then sit around and wait. The afternoon was definitely shorter because of it!

There was more cleaning and organizing for the week, some iPad time, a little outside playing, a family bike ride, and leftovers for dinner before watching Dr. Pol's season premier and heading to bed.

It was a good weekend, but my sights are set on the long weekend we have coming up! Woohooo!

Friday, January 4, 2019

New Year's Eve!

This year, for the first time in MANY years, we went somewhere! We got together with the Bargerons and headed up to the lake house for the evening. On Monday, the boys' new swingset was being built, so we didn't get to leave early, but it wound up working out fine. We met the Bargerons at Barberitos for supper and drove up to the lake. The boys played outside, came inside, played outside, came inside, and the adults enjoyed hanging out. I thought the boys would crash before midnight, but they were WOUND UP and didn't. They hung in there until about 1AM!







On New Year's Day we slept as late as the boys would let us (hint: not late), had breakfast, let the kiddos play outside (and in the LAKE!) in the unseasonably warm weather! Will, Lori, and I went on a LONG walk around the lake. There was a lot of UNO and Connect 4 played. There was some squabbling amongst the boys (we've decided they aren't invited next year!). We finally headed home around 4:45. Will slept the whole way home and woke up at 9:45 and asked "HOW LONG DID I SLEEP?" The UGA game was terrible, but I didn't watch a minute of it!

Overall, it was a fun way to ring in the New Year! Welcome, 2019! We can't wait to see what's in store!



Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Christmas Favorites

Our Christmas break has FLOWN by! We didn't get out until December 21st this year which meant that we hit the ground running with Christmas to-dos! On top of that, we celebrated Christmas until just this past weekend so it meant we were busy a LOT later in our break and there has been almost no downtime. We have still thoroughly enjoyed our days off of school and all the fun! I thought I'd share what has been the MOST fun for us over the past two weeks!

1. Bikes!



The boys learned to ride bikes over Thanksgiving break (yes...James is 9...he did it in his own sweet time but when they finally learned, they took off!). Grandmama and Granddaddy bought them bikes for Christmas but brought them over early so that they would get the most enjoyment out of them. And boy howdy, they have put some miles on their tires! I've even enjoyed them on longer rides around the neighborhood!

2. Christmas Morning!









The boys were SO EXCITED about Christmas this year. It was a LOT of fun! My only regret is that we sort of rushed through it to get to lunch and I wish we'd been able to savor it a little longer. The boys were up bright and early and ready to see what Santa brought. The iPads were the stars of the show (Santa brought 3 things - iPads, roller blades, and laser tag), followed closely by the racoon skin hat (Will's stocking - he has hardly taken this off!), and baseball cards (from us!).

3. New Swingset!

Our old playset has been officially retired (we were the second owners) and a certain monkey that lives here has been anxiously awaiting a new playset! It is being built in the backyard and is about halfway finished currently. Hopefully the builders will complete it tomorrow! Will is our more timid child, but he hasn't ever met someone he can't make small talk with (he did NOT inherit that trait from me - that's all thanks to Eddie and my mama) and he has stayed right up under the builders asking questions. 

4. Scout is TWELVE!



Our old girl celebrated her 12th birthday over Christmas break! She has been a good, loyal, and sweet companion for all these years. She visited the vet today and weighed in at 76.1 pounds, got a good bill of health, and was put on 3 different arthritis medicines for her declining hips and knees. Overall, she's in great shape. The vet encouraged us to take her swimming since she likes that. Now, to convince Eddie we need a pool for that activity! LOL!

5. Cousin Time!



Our baby cousins are 3, almost 2, and almost 1. We're currently at VERY different stages, but the boys love tending to them. 

6. Outside Time!




It has been UNSEASONABLY warm. It has also been extremely rainy, so we have taken advantage of the non-rainy days!

7. Honorable Mention - Ralphie


Our family LOVES A Christmas Story. This year, we classed up the neighborhood by adding an inflatable, life-like Ralphie in his pink bunny suit. We have laughed and laughed at how much it looks like JAMES. On the hunt for an inflatable Leg Lamp for next year!

Christmas was good to us this year! It always just goes by so quickly!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 Goals and Resolutions...

'Tis the season for setting goals, right? I do it every year! I'm not a person who dislikes resolutions. I love the freshness of the new year and the mindset that we can start over and reset!


I have a few big goals for the year, but I've decided to break them down into smaller monthly goals. We want to be more ACTIVE in our house. I'd love to lose some weight and get healthier this year. I also want to write more here and for myself. I need to dig into my quiet time and get back into the Bible WAY more than I am currently. I want to read and read and read this year. I want to spend more time traveling with my little family. I also have some super exciting things on the horizon this year - things that I've wanted for a LONG while and I cannot wait to share more with you SOON.

Here's what January looks like for me...

Reading...

I have a HUGE goal to read TEN books this month. WHHHAAAAT?! I read and read and read during Hurricane Michael when our power was out. I can do it if I will make the time to do it. 

Watching...

I want to catch up on our DVR this month! Whoa! It is slam full of things we haven't taken the time to catch up on yet. (We are still in April in some of our shows! LOL!)

I am also hoping to watch The Innocent Man on Netflix! I started it this week and it is right up my alley!

Listening to...

I am a Podcast girl through and through. I've told you before that I prefer a book over music. I love to listen to Audible, but I've also discovered Podcasts over the past year. This month I have TWO that I want to get through. I can't wait to share what I think about both Bundyville and Zodiac!

Moving...

10,000 steps a day!
Ride our bikes at least 3 times a week!
Beachbody workouts - 15 times!

Cleaning out...

I want to go Kon Mari Method on my house! LOL! We are going to get our master bedroom, bathroom, and closet COMPLETELY cleaned out, organized, and decorated! I need a new bedspread and curtains so that will be my reward. AND if I can get it done we are getting a designer in here to tell us what it will look like to renovate our dated bathroom. We think we know what we want, but DIY isn't our thing!

Health and Wellness...

More water!
Vitamins!
Lose 5 pounds!

Quiet Time...

I'm going to be using the chronological Bible in a Year plan that can be found at - oneyearbibleonline.com/january-chrono. Join me!


I'm setting some reading, watching, and listening to goals each month this year and I would love to hear your suggestions. I have a HUGE stack of books that I need to get through, but I'd love to know what you recommend on Netflix and podcasts! 

What are your resolutions and goals for the year?