Thursday, April 30, 2015

Disney Blog Day 2

Can you tell I am taking a class again?  Low and behold it has been nearly two weeks since I last posted!

Disney Vacation Day 2

The next morning we took advantage of the Starbucks in the airport for breakfast.  We didn't want to overdo it at the hotel since we'd be having lunch on the ship!  We boarded the Disney Magical Express at the airport for a comfortable ride to the port.  A video reminded us of what we would need for checking in when we arrived, of all the amenities we would enjoy once on board and all of the things to do.  I was very happy to have chosen one of the earliest times to check-in/board the ship; the terminal was crowded with people trying to get their children registered for the kids clubs or trying to be photographed with Sailor Mickey & Sailor Minnie.  Once they announced our boarding group, probably the 4th or 5th to board, we tried to skip on by the photographer, but the staff use those pictures on the ship to recognize you.  A quick wander about to locate where our room is and the easiest way to reach it, a fast (no line) check-in of Reilly into the Kids Club for future use and off we went to the buffet lunch.  Cracked crab claws, peel and eat shrimp and luscious cream of mushroom soup awaited us; we finished with a chocolate mousse and carrot cake which we shared.  Then we shared another set.  

More to  come...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Disney Blog Day 1

Disney Vacation Day 1

It was wonderful!  I cannot possibly recount our trip in just one blog so I will be posting a series of blogs about it.

Day 1:  We flew to Florida and arrived late in the evening the night before our cruise was to set sail.  After purchasing my plane tickets on Southwest Airlines, an offer to stay at the Hilton located right in the airport came up.  When I considered the prices of other hotels nearby, the cost of getting to and from them (as some of their shuttles don't run 24 hours) and how tired we would be when we arrived, I decided that I would splurge on the Hilton.  Plus the offer was less than 50% of the going rate.  It was WORTH every penny.  I was at the hotel BEFORE getting to the luggage carousel.  The employees were lovely, the food in the restaurant (late night snacks of soup, calamari and caramelized goat cheese) delicious and the server was very accommodating.  The room and bed were comfortable and clean.  I would stay here again in a heartbeat.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Book #23

The Seductive One
by Susan Mallery

This is the next installment in her Marcelli Family series and originally the final story.  It tells the story of the remaining twin who loves the vineyards and has a past with the bad boy next door, so to speak.  The strong sense that we all need family comes into play once again as it does so many times in Susan's books.  I am so glad it wasn't the final story as their are two remaining siblings who need to find love.  Apparently, my desire to know their tales was shared by her readers who pressured her into expanding her trilogy.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Book #22

Barefoot Season
by Susan Mallery

My final Spring Break read was also by Susan Mallery.  Unable to continue in the Marcelli Family series, I began another series Blackberry Island.  What I discovered about the Blackberry Island series is that although the stories take place in the same location, the people are going to be unrelated making it easy to read one now and the rest in June, when I will have more reading time.

I liked this first book in the series very much.  Characters that I felt were authentic dealt with real life problems.  Rather than focusing on the romance, this story focused on the relationship of the two heroines and their efforts to overcome differences and problems.

Updated title 7/14/15

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Book #21

The Blueberry Muffin Murder
by Joanne Fluke

Another enticing mystery from my newest favorite author.  I actually did predict the murderer in this book making it no less entertaining.  Hannah's recipes sound amazing.  I have found a nice cup of cocoa goes a long way to preventing the need to get baking!  I love that she has such a great relationship with her sister and I look forward to reading more of these books to find out which path of love Hannah ventures down.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Books #19 & 20

The Sparkling One
The Sassy One
by Susan Mallery

This is my Spring Break reading.  Another series from one of my favorites, Susan Mallery.  These are the first two books in the Marcelli Family Series and I am just in love with the ladies in this family.  I cannot wait to read the remaining three books, however since they were not available to download onto my Nook prior to my vacation, it may be summer before I have time to complete this series.

Let's be clear, these are romance novels fraught with deception, heartache, love, sex and fun.  In this series, there is also a LARGE, LOUD family that I would love to visit because they are fascinating yet real, and they live at a winery.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Book # 18

Not a Fan
by Kyle Idleman

16/50 2015 Reading Challenge:  A book recommended by a friend

Powerful.  If I had to describe this book in one word, that is the word I would use.  It wasn't an easy book, but it was an easy read.  He puts his ideas into place using examples and scripture.  He isn't out to make you feel bad about your relationship with God, but he is pointing out the differences in relationships with God.  Fan?  Follower?  Which are you?  Read the book and discover for yourself.

I used this book as my preparation for Lent.  I found that I generally tend to be a fan, but long to be a follower.  I found that I am on the journey from fan to follower.  I read much of this book over as I pondered what the author was saying.  I prayed quite a bit about what I was reading and how it would impact my life.  Without saying too much more, I will tell you that it has already helped me and one of my children to love more generously, and through that love, to accept and forgive.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Resolution #9

Resolution #9 Preparing for Lent

This is a resolution that I give myself every year.  I don't want the Lenten season to rush by without being purposeful.  I want to set time aside for preparing myself for my God's greatest gift.  

So the LRHB and I had a discussion on our way to practice.  I said that I thought we needed to do more family prayer.  He said that we have tried that before and it didn't work.  I felt we should try it again, however he thought he should go without during the Lenten season instead.  He didn't want to give up soda, as he knew that we were going on vacation and he would be able to drink all he wanted on our cruise ship.  He didn't want to give up candy, because Valentine's Day had just happened and he had counted out pieces of candy to put in his lunch box for a couple weeks.  He didn't want to give up T.V. because of March Madness.  I proposed that he give up desserts because I don't make them very often.  He agreed until he remembered what his brothers told him about dining on the cruise.  In the end, he decided more prayer time would be an appropriate choice.  

As we were reading before bed that evening, I noticed he had his Rosary out on his nightstand.  I inquired why it was there and my heart swelled to hear his response.  "It is here to help me to remember to pray to God every night."  (No, praying to God is not a part of our normal routine.  I don't know how that slipped through the cracks, but don't beat me up.  I am doing the best I can!)  During the Lenten season, some nights I would come in and find his eyes closed and his lips moving.  When he'd finished, he open his eyes and announce his prayer of choice.  Some nights, he'd ask me if I wanted to join him.

Yesterday was Easter.  I asked him last night if he was going to put it away.  "Not yet," was his response.  

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happiness is...

I may not have discovered it until Friday afternoon around four, however, all of my loves came home for Easter.  Tech Boy (formerly Teen Boy) picked up College Boy and College Girl**  and they rolled in around 11 pm.  I was surprised LRHB didn't come flying out of his room, but his Spring schedule is wearing him out!

Our weekend was filled with spending time together in the kitchen, watching LRHB play baseball, watching basketball, studying, reading, playing video games and participating in Easter Mass.  My heart loves the people, their generosity when it comes to spending time with "the boy" (as LRHB is called), their support of his sport, their willingness to help.  College Boy actually apologized for not helping more.  He had a big test he was preparing to take so the fact he came home was gift enough.  Plus he peeled five pounds of potatoes.  

I was truly blessed this Easter, by my Lord, by my children and by my husband who fried the turkey.  I hope you were able to stop and count your blessings this Easter.

**One day we might have another name for her, but for now this fits.  If I already named her in the past, OOPS!  Anyway, she and College Boy have been together two years now and we love her.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Resolution #8

Resolution #8 Strive for Five

I know that many of my resolutions this winter have been about eating right, that is because at my physical in January I found out that I am pre-diabetic.  A completely preventable disease if I lose weight.  I have a love/hate relationship with my weight as many of us do.  I know that I am an emotional eater.  I tend to be comfortable with myself and I am basically a happy person which negates motivation to change.  Through the years I have gained and lost weight with pregnancies, medications and a poor exercise regiment.  I have worked out, then not.  I have joined Weight Watchers and been successful.  I have made changes on and off again.

However, I do not want to invite disease, which is what my current weight is doing.  I want to be healthier, be more active and weigh less.  I am done with Challenges.  I am just on board with being a healthy eater and helping my family to be healthy eaters.  I have made changes already (portion control, just one plate) and another instrumental change I have made is Strive for Five.  When I eat FIVE servings of fruits and vegetables, I feel better, eat less junk and successfully lose weight.  Down 14 pounds this year already.  It is not cheap to do it, but junk food isn't cheap either (my downfall is chocolate, but good chocolate, no cheap chocolate for me).  And it takes time.  If I put in the time now, I will hopefully have more time later.