Friday, March 15, 2019

Five Loves on Friday // Minnesota Trip Edition: Mall of America, Nickelodeon Universe, & Minnehaha Falls

Happy Friday, friends!  Last week Jason had to travel to Minnesota for business and he got the okay to bring the girls and I along.  He worked Tuesday and Wednesday, then took the rest of the week off so we could enjoy some family fun in the area!  Here's a recap of a wonderful getaway...

*Loves listed in chronological order

One  //  Girls Game Night

Jason had a business outing on Tuesday evening, so the girls and I enjoyed a girls game night in our hotel room.  It just happened to be set up perfectly for it too!  Our room had a pretty large desk on wheels which we put between the beds where we played while munching on Nutella puppy chow.  We had such a great time!  I don't know when I've laughed harder!  Sweet time with my girls always does my heart good!

Two  //  Pool Party!

Once Jason's business in the area wrapped up we checked in to a hotel across the street from Mall of America for the rest of the week.  We got a poolside room which was so nice, allowing the girls to come and go from the pool area directly from our room.  Much of Wednesday afternoon they had the pool and hot tub to themselves.  So fun!  Meanwhile, I enjoyed reading in the warm atmosphere in a t-shirt and sandals (a huge change from being bundled up all winter).  At this point in the trip I was in full out vacation mode!

We thought this pool looked an awful lot like Mickey!  We find Disney magic everywhere we go! :)

The palm tree right outside our room may have been fake, but it still gave me all the tropical feels.  I'll take whatever I can get at the tail end of this cold Midwestern winter! 

Three  //  Mall of America Shopping

Shopping is a big part of the fun when visiting Mall of America, naturally!  Here were some of our favorite shops...

Jason turned into Lindt ahead of me.  Does that man know the way to my heart or what?  It was even has idea to choose an assortment pound of truffles.  He's the sweetest!

It was so much fun to try a variety of new-to-us flavors.  I think hazelnut was my favorite!

The girls' favorite shop was easily Tomodachi!  It was overflowing with so many of their favorite things - BTS merch, Rilakumma, Pusheen, and oh so much kawaii cuteness!  

Last, but certainly not least in the favorites category, the Disney Store!  (If you know me/us at all this is a given. ;))  Since we don't have a Disney Store in our area, just visiting one feels like a taste of the Disney World (aka: our home away from home)!

Four  //  Nickelodeon Universe

Thursday we got the girls day passes for the amusement park, Nickelodeon Universe.  They enjoyed riding all the thrill rides in the morning, we met up for a delicious lunch and a little break back at the hotel that afternoon, then they rode some more in the dark that night.  During their evening thrill riding Jason and I strolled hand in hand throughout the mall.  It was a sweet time together as a couple popping into some nearly empty shops.

Five  //  Minnehaha Falls

One of Jason's bosses that lives in the area recommended we visit Minnehaha Falls.  I'm so glad that he did!  It was about a 15 minute drive from our hotel and it was such a breathtaking sight!

The water was still flowing behind those frozen falls.  We could see it flowing down below and underneath an adorable bridge.  I'll be sharing a video on my Instagram account today.  Pop by to see it in action there!

It was such a great getaway!  Thanks so much for stopping by today to hear about the highlights!  Wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead!

for High Five for Friday
AndreaErika, and Narci 
for Friday Favorites

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Friday, March 1, 2019

Five Loves on Friday // Birthday Bash, Blizzard, and Family Friendly Entertainment

Hello, friends!  I hope you're doing well.  It's been a couple weeks since we "chatted" here.  I planned to prep a Five Loves post last Thursday night, but when my oldest daughter wanted to spend some quality time together then, that took precedence.  While I love capturing life here on the blog, actually living and enjoying it trumps my hobby of blogging every time.  

Care to hear about a handful of highlights from this week?  Great!  Let's get right to the good stuff...

*These loves are listed in chronological order.

One  //  Celebrating my Parents

Friday my parents hosted my sister's family and my own for a pizza and pie party in celebration of their February birthdays.  It's always really special when we all get together.  No matter how much deliciousness we enjoy the laughter is even more plentiful!  If you've been around here for a bit you know that my family loves to celebrate life and it comes straight from these two and my Grandma Pat before them.  They raised a family that enjoys gathering annually to celebrate the gift they truly are to all of us!

Two  //  Date Night + Blizzard = Cozy Couple

What do you do when your parents invite your kids over for a sleepover just before a blizzard?  You have the coziest date night in ever!  Long before the flakes began to fly, Jason and I headed to the store for some favorite snacks.  By the time date night arrived it was getting too bad to head out for dinner or even to grab tasty takeout, so I prepped my hubby's favorite comfort food, quiche.  

Breakfast for dinner is always a good idea and when it's your hubby's favorite it's a great date night idea too!

We snuggled up on the couch and enjoyed the simplicity of a quiet night for two.  Meanwhile, right outside our door the combination of heavy snow and extreme winds made for white out conditions.  Most interstates around us closed and news anchors warned that unless you needed to go to the hospital travel was not advised.  It was the perfect occasion to sing, "And since we've no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow".  

We ended the month under a quarter of an inch away from a February snowfall record set in our area 55 years ago.  It's been a super snowy season and a breathtakingly beautiful one to gaze out at from inside the warmth of my cozy home. 

Three  //  My Dad's Birthday

I know I already mentioned celebrating him at the start of this post, but his Special Day deserves a special spot all its own!  

Happy Birthday Dad! 

I'm a daddy's girl through and through.  My dad is one of my favorite people on the planet and I couldn't adore him any more than I do!  

If you see me with my dad chances are I'll either have my arms around him, will be laughing with him, or he'll be smiling and listening to me as I talk his ear off (he never seems to mind if I share all that's on my mind).  He holds one of the biggest and sweetest spots in my heart. 

He is such a hard worker and so incredibly talented, yet likely the most humble person I've ever met.  He taught me how to ride a bike, drive a car, and that he'd be there for me whenever and whatever I needed, anything big or small.  

He is an amazing grandpa to my girls and they love him every bit as much as I do! 

I talked about my parents love story here.  I'm so very thankful  for it.  Their love has created a family that I'm blessed to be a part of.  He's the head of our family and the beloved husband, dad, and grandpa that my entire family is forever grateful to have as such a significant part of our lives!  

Happy Birthday Week Dad!  
I love you with my whole heart!

Four  //  Series with my Sweeties

I typically have a series I watch individually with each of my daughters.  It's a fun way to unwind and enjoy time together talking over plot lines, characters, and thoughts on what's happening in each episode. 

My oldest and I started watching the Netflix original series Lost & Found Music Studios quite a while back.  We spent a snowy afternoon this week finishing out the episodes and had a great time together doing it!  

Last week my youngest and I finished the current season of the Amazon original series Just Add Magic.  That's been a fun one too.  If you've got Amazon Prime and are looking for a family friendly series to watch, we give this one two thumbs up.  

If you have a show that you enjoy watching either with your kids individually or as a family I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below!  We need something new to add to our queue. 

Five  //  Family Fun Finale Night

We finished this week off with a fun finale!  Has anyone else been watching The Masked Singer?  My family got completely hooked on this show!  If you're unfamiliar with it celebrities perform costumed from head to toe.  Each week they reveal more clues and one by one the "masked singer" with the lowest number of audience votes is eliminated and unmasked.  We told the girls we'd watch the finale on Hulu Friday night.  However, we added our own surprise to the week when Jason returned home from work last night (sadly not masked, that would've been awesome though - ha!) with Qdoba Mexican Grill in hand and exclaimed, "Who wants to watch The Masked Singer finale tonight?!"  The girls were thrilled!

I will keep this 100% spoiler free in case anyone reading this is still working their way through the season.  However, I will say that I was pretty proud that three of the contestants I guessed correctly from their very first performance.  I love a good mystery and that was pretty fun!  

Thanks so much for stopping by today!  Wishing you a marvelous start to March!

for High Five for Friday
AndreaErika, and Narci 
for Friday Favorites

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Friday, February 15, 2019

Five Loves on Friday // A Snowy and Sweet Valentine's Week

Happy Friday, friends!  I hope you enjoyed a wonderful Valentine's Day week!  I'm looking forward to sharing a handful of loves from my own!  Let's get right to the good stuff...

*These loves is listed chronologically.  I have a tough time picking favorites among favorites. ;)

One  //  Snowy Sweetness

We had such a beautiful snowfall this week!  Jason shouted to me, "Look, Brenda!  It's your favorite kind of snowflakes!"  I rushed to the window to enjoy the sweet sight of big beautiful flakes gently falling to the frozen ground below.  It was breathtaking!

I know that my joy over snow is unpopular in the Midwest this time of year.  I totally get it.  While I've always loved a white Christmas, by the time February rolls around I'm usually completely over it too.  However, this year I've had a change of heart.  I've come to realize that winter is a long season and we have two choices - complain about it or embrace it.  The latter is much more enjoyable in my opinion. ;)  

Shoveling has become my new favorite workout.  I find it refreshing to enjoy the cool fresh air and satisfying to see that sparkly snow cleared and a path made for the vehicles and foot traffic of those dearest to my heart.  We do have a decent sized driveway though, so even when I've got a snow shoveling partner by my side at the end of it all I return indoors thankful for the warmth of my home and amply tuckered out from the task completed.

Looking for something to listen to during your next shoveling session?  I've been really enjoying finding sermon series on the Grace to You app to take in while moving the snow out.  

Two  //  Everyday Encouragement
I have found such great encouragement in everyday conversations with friends this week over text, email, and DMs on instagram.  All of these friendships were formed through blogging.  Whether you're a blogger or reader that I've chatted with this week please know how appreciated and valued your friendship truly is!  What a wonderful blogging community we have here.  My heart is full thinking on the blessings that have stemmed from blogging.  Whether this is the first post you've read here or you've been visiting for the past six years, thank you for being here!  Your readership and support is enormously appreciated and I pray that you'll find encouragement through the posts I share here.

Three  //  Hand Delivered Valentines

Long time friends turned chosen family stopped by for a visit this week and brought us a beautiful valentine along with some very thoughtful gifts.  Best of all we spent nearly an hour catching up on all that's new and reminiscing about days of old when our daughters were all small.  It was an absolute delight to have them back in our home after far too much time apart, and definitely a highlight of this week!

Another delivery was made yesterday by my holiday loving, incredibly thoughtful parents.  They came bearing gifts of the edible variety - cookies baked with care and freshly stovetop popped popcorn, the perfect additions to our night!

Four  //  Reading of the Greatest Love

I've been thoroughly enjoying following the "read through the Bible in a year" plan in my MacArthur Study Bible this year.  Yesterday's New Testament reading covered Matthew 27, the crucifixion of Jesus.  I don't know what could've been more fitting for a day when all things love are being celebrated than to fix my focus on the greatest love that's ever been extended to me (and you).  It's astounding that although I broke His Laws, God humbled Himself to pay the penalty on my behalf.  He is a just God, and the Justifier of all who place their trust in Him.  No greater love exists!  Learn more here.

Five  //  Our 21st Valentine's Day

Yesterday Jason and I celebrated our 21st Valentine's Day together.  My hubby who's very keen on the phrase, "whatever makes you happy" (the sweetness of which never gets old), was happy to oblige my wishes for a snuggly Valentine's evening in.  

If you've been around here for a while you may remember my fondness for a certain Thai pizza we used to enjoy pretty regularly years ago.  The pizzeria near us that prepared it so perfectly closed a while back.  The only location left in our area is quite a drive from our home.  However, my sweet Valentine went out of his way last night after work to pick up this much missed perfection in pizza form!  It was such a treat for the tastebuds and completely hit the spot!  While we enjoyed cozy couple time on the couch our girls had a fun "sister night" chowing, chatting, giggling, and gaming.  It was a great holiday for all of us, and I hope it was for you as well!

Thanks so much for visiting today!  Wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead!

for High Five for Friday
AndreaErika, and Narci 
for Friday Favorites

Join me in the adventures to come!
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