Friday, May 25, 2018

Five Loves on Friday // A Royal Marathon, Graduation Goodness, Unexpected Disney Mail, and More!

Happy Friday!  Who's ready for a long Memorial Day weekend?  *Raising both hands!*  But first, Five Loves time!

One  //  A Magical Surprise

If you've been around here for a bit you're likely familiar with my super sweet and incredibly thoughtful friend Chrissy.  This week a huge box arrived on my front porch which took me by complete surprise!  Look at all these goodies!  Bring on summertime!!!

Thanks again, Chrissy! 

Two  //  A Sweet Celebration

I had a lot of fun putting together this graduation gift!  Looking for a cute way to give a graduate some cash?  Check out the tutorial I used here!

Years ago, when Jason and I decided we'd like to start a family of our own I left the job I was at to do something that would allow me to have my future children with me and still earn an income.  My mom has provided in-home daycare since I was in kindergarten.  Joining her in caring for little ones seemed absolutely perfect for that season of life.  After all, having my little ones with me (and forgoing the expense of daycare myself) was the greatest job benefit I could imagine!  I worked there alongside my mom until I gave birth to our second daughter.  At that point I asked my favorite daycare family if they'd mind bringing their two girls to my house, so I could avoid trekking out in the winter weather with my then newborn each day.  Long story short, I cared for both of the girls in that family from the time they were each 8 weeks old until they were both off to school, and some summers afterward.  Throughout those years they became like family.  Last weekend their oldest daughter graduated from high school!  I'm still in shock that's even possible!   

When we arrived at the party the grad threw her arms around my girls and told us that she had been waiting and watching for the first Platt to walk through the door, saying that we were some of the people she was most excited to see that day!  My heart absolutely melted!  Then on a board displaying photos we spotted several with our girls at her side.  I told my friend, the graduate's mom, how much it meant to see that and she told me, "Well, you're family!"  My eyes are too teary to say any more on this subject. ;)  My heart is full for them and I'm in denial that these girls are all growing up (far too quickly for my liking)!

Three  // A Gift Overflowing with Memories

Every year my mom creates an entire photo album of memories starting with photos from the previous Mother's Day up to the current Mother's Day on which she gives me this incredible gift!  We had originally planned to celebrate Mother's Day with a belated BYOP (bring your own pizza) party, but my niece made it to State for track (Go, A!) which took my sister's family out of town when we were planning to celebrate.  So, my mom went ahead and gave me my album this week during a visit.  In a time when most of my photos are stored digitally it is so much fun to receive an old fashioned album to flip through and relive the memories created with my parents!  They are also phenomenal grandparents and do so much with our girls throughout the year, so I love having those adventures captured (as I wasn't there to do so myself)!  

Four  //  Royal Mother/Daughter Marathon!

Honestly, I'm not typically into all things royal (unless of course, we're talking about Disney royalty).  However, I was more interested in the Royal Wedding this time around because I really like Meghan Markle from her Hallmark movies!  What can I say, I'm a Hallmark girl through and through!  I found this dvd movie set with two of the three movies starring the new bride.  I'd seen and enjoyed them before, but they were new to my oldest daughter, Princess (also a Hallmark girl).  We thought a movie marathon followed by watching the sweet star's wedding ceremony would make for a royally enjoyable mother/daughter day!

Thursday my Aunt E invited Little One (who isn't the slightest bit interested in either Hallmark movies or a royal wedding) for some one on one time with her.  This made for the perfect time for Princess and I to enjoy some great girly mother/daughter royal fun!  We marathoned Megan Markle's Dater's Handbook and When Sparks Fly, then watched the Royal Wedding ceremony.  Fun snacks, cute decorations, fascinators, and bad British accents completed our day.  Oh, how I adore memories made with my precious girls!

Five // Seconds, Please!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole - Low Carb Keto THM from

I mean, chicken, bacon, cheese, our favorite veggie, all in a ranch-y sauce, how could it be anything but delicious?!  If you're looking for a (low carb) casserole you'll crave once you've tasted a fork full, I recommend clicking through the link above and adding those ingredients to your grocery list!  This was the first recipe I've sampled from Joy Filled Eats and I'm looking forward to trying more!

Thanks so much for stopping by today! Wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead!  If you're in the States too have a marvelous Memorial Day as well!

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Earlier this Week at Chatting Over Chocolate:
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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Trip Report Tuesday - WDW Day 2

Welcome to day two of my recap of our most recent trip to Walt Disney World!

Day 2 - Friday, November 24, 2017

We woke in our lovely room at Port Orleans French Quarter.  Since we were only at this resort for one evening (and the crowd level on Thanksgiving weekend is incredibly high in the parks) we planned to spend the morning here until check out.  

Hidden Mickey on the curtain

After a nice leisurely morning, Jason and Princess went to Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory and picked up a fresh batch of beignets to bring back to the room.  Meanwhile I tidied our things and prepped for the first resort switch of our trip.  

I could get used to powdered sugar covered delightful mornings like that!  Yum!  After cleaning ourselves off (not such a wise choice to eat these while wearing a black top, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat) we called for the bell services to pick up our luggage and have it transferred to our next resort.  For anyone curious about resort hopping, this process is very simple.  You call the front desk.  They send someone up to collect the bags and later that day they'll be waiting for you at your next resort.  The baggage transfer is a complimentary service.

One last stroll through the loveliness that is French Quarter...

Just like that, we were off to our first park of the trip, Epcot!  We had a bit of time until our first fastpass so we took a stroll around World Showcase, enjoyed the performance of a live Canadian band as we passed by their show, then made our way to our delicious destination in France.

How gorgeous are these pretty pink poinsettias in the France pavilion?  I think I swooned each time I passed them!

Lunch at Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie

If you're ever looking for a delicious and decently priced lunch in World Showcase, I highly recommend this scrumptious spot!  Our order included a couple croissant jambon fromages, quiche Lorraine, a baguette, creme brûlée, and a cookie, each and every bite of which was thoroughly enjoyed!  Check out the video on our YouTube channel to see how much of that baguette Little One ate!  (I will provide a direct link to it at the end of this post.)  That girl was eating like she was on vacation or something! ;)

Our first ride of the trip was Soarin'!  As you can tell from the photo below, it was packed!  Thank goodness for fastpasses!

Second fastpass, Spaceship Earth!

Soon we boarded a bus to check in to our resort for the next four nights.  

One of the Best Birthday Gifts I've Ever Received!
The trip we took ended up looking quite a bit differently than it had when we'd planned it several months prior.  We were set to spend November 28th through December 2nd at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, followed by a stay at the new Copper Creek Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge through December 9th.  Well, my AMAZING husband changed all that when he gave me the gift of an additional four nights at Walt Disney World!  This was the best, most exciting birthday present ever!  He filled me in on the vacation upgrade on my birthday in September and let me choose where we'd spend the extra four nights of this new and improved trip!  At that point, just a few months out from our vacation and being that these extra dates were during a holiday weekend, the vacancy options were down and the prices were up.  So, I opted to spend those 4 bonus birthday gift nights at a resort we spent many vacations at when our girls were little, Disney's All-Star Music Resort.  I have to admit that walking through the resort flooded my mind with Disney memories!  

*Side Note:  Those four extra nights turned into five when we saw that flights on Thanksgiving Day were drastically discounted!  That's when we added a reservation at Port Orleans Riverside in all its beauty as our holiday night resort and took advantage of that complimentary boat ride down the Sassagoula River to Disney Springs for the fantastic Thanksgiving dinner I shared with you all in the last trip report!

How could we resist a photo op with the Ardy Arch in the resort's lobby?!  

The small print on that sign reads: 

"This iconic structure has graced the Radio Disney Music Awards (RDMA) red carpet since 2014.  It represents the Ardy - awarded to artists by fan vote every year.  Today's biggest stars walked through the arch as they made their way into the award ceremony.  Artists include Gwen Stefani, Fifth Harmony, Nick Jonas and many more. 

So go ahead, take a selfie!"

This old familiar shop was fun to re-enter once again!  I get to know the shops throughout Disney and all the resorts we stay at very well. ;)

I love that they always have Disney trivia on a whiteboard in the shop! Do you know the answers to these questions?  Some are a bit tough!

Our Room at Disney's All-Star Music Resort

Intermission Food Court

To be honest, I debated getting that Christmas tree cookie just so I could photograph it.  It's that cute!  I was tickled pink when Little One chose it as her treat!  Princess opted for a chocolate croissant, always a great choice!  I went for a chocolate cupcake with an incredibly high sweet stack of pink frosting then topped with glitter coated chocolate and a cherry on the tippy top!  

While there we also ordered what we actually went to the food court for, a pizza pie to go for in-room pizza party!  Princess was dressed oh so appropriately for the occasion! ;)

So that was day two, friends!  We enjoyed some time at two different resorts, took in the atmosphere of one of our favorite parks, rode a couple of favorites, ate a ton of delicious Disney food, and called it a day!

For anyone who may remember me mentioning in my last trip report that this is a day when we'd enjoy a really exciting first, well, I goofed!  I was thinking it was our first day in the parks, but realized when looking through our photos and video footage that I remembered incorrectly.  Seventeen days at Disney is a lot to keep straight! Ha!  That exciting first I mentioned and so much more Disney goodness is yet to come!  I look forward to sharing with you right here next Trip Report Tuesday!  Hope to see you here then!  

Also, don't forget to check out the video footage my husband put together from this day at our family's YouTube Channel, 
Eat, Sleep, Dis, Repeat!

Direct Link to the Vid of Day 2:  

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Five Loves on Friday // DIY Drive-In Movie Theater, Mother's Day, & More!

Happy Friday, friends!  It's been such a lovely week!  I can hardly wait to capture and share some highlights with you here today!  Let's jump right in!  

One  //  Mother's Day Eve DIY Drive-In Movie

We kicked off our celebration of Mother's Day on Saturday night creating our own drive-in movie theater!  We started this tradition last summer when Jason and I were telling our girls how fun old fashioned drive-in movies were.  Since we no longer have one in our area we decided to chose our favorite scenic spot in the city, take a movie on our iPad, and enjoy!  This year we were able to kick it up a notch as our new vehicle allows us to hook up to its excellent speaker system.  We took full advantage of it with the incredible audio in the movie of my choosing!  

We wanted to see The Greatest Showman from the time it was first released.  Throughout its theater run my husband was battling an illness though, so this was our first time seeing it.  The anticipation and enjoyment of it in this fun setting actually made me glad we had to wait!  We started at sundown with delicious takeout from Qdoba Mexican Grill for dinner.  Shortly after we finished our meal the sky turned black making for drive-in movie atmosphere perfection!  

I know we are very late to the party on this fab flick, so you likely all know how wonderful it is already.  If you haven't caught it yet, I recommend it for your next movie night!  I danced in my seat, cheered, and shed a decent amount of tears.  It made for such a fun start to Mother's Day with this family of mine who has my whole heart!

*If you follow along on Instagram you may have seen that burrito bowl on a midweek repeat.  Low cal & low carb + incredibly delicious = too good to resist craving it again and my hubby was happy to oblige.  He's the best!

Two  //  Mother's Day

Cheers to Mother's Day!

We took advantage of the gorgeous weather on Sunday with another trip to the lake, this time with diet cherry limeades and Sonic slushies in hand!  Sunshine and sips with my loves made for a fun afternoon out!

A Delightful Dinner at Home

Love this handsome and sweet hubby who spoils me so!

I don't typically like to dine out on holidays as it's always loud and overcrowded in restaurants and all I really want to do on a holiday is enjoy my family.  This year I requested steak and mashed cauliflower for a celebratory dinner at home.  Jason did an amazing job on it!  First he smoked some beautiful NY Strips and then brought them inside to sear them on the griddle on our stovetop.  The melt-in-your-mouth mashed cauliflower he whipped up was the perfect accompaniment!  This seriously may have been the BEST steak I've ever had!  (And I love steak, ordering it basically whenever it's on a menu, so that's saying a lot!)  

Table Time Q & A

While dining, my family enjoyed a bit of Q & A fun!  I printed off some unique "getting to know you" type of questions, cut them into strips, rolled into little paper scrolls and put them in a decorative bowl that matched our table setting.  This is something I really like doing when we have guests over for meals as it makes for a fun ice breaker and allows you to get to know people better.  Believe it or not you can always learn a thing or two about those you're closest with too!  It even brought out a few stories we'd never shared along with a happy helping of reminiscing about our favorite memories as a family!  If you're looking for a way to liven up table talk time, I recommend googling for some "getting to know you questions" or thinking up some of your own either about specific topics or a variety of things.  Then enjoy all the fun of the free flowing conversation that follows each new question! My girls enjoy it so much we went through every last question before leaving the table!  I love lingering around the table with those dearest to my heart!

Game Night
When I asked these silly sweeties of mine if I could take their picture one began posing ultra-seriously while the other couldn't stop laughing.  This was followed by a gazillion silly faces and one sweet smiley snapshot.  I tell ya, these girls make life fun!

I love Scrabble!  However, my family rarely wants to play it.  So, this was my chance! Ha!  We kicked things off with some wordy wonderfulness and then moved on to a classic favorite, Disney UNO.  I won three out of four games.  I couldn't believe it!  Must've been a Mother's Day gift. ;)

Three  //  Sweet Visitors

Last week our home improvement project brought my husband's side of the family for a dinner following the work.  This week we had some loves from my side come by!  My nephew was spending time at my parents' place so my mom brought him over to visit while my dad was here helping.  My sister lives a bit of a drive from us so any opportunity to see her family makes my heart smile!  They also came bearing snackible gifts, including this chocolate chip cookie pizza he helped her bake before their visit.  So "sweet"!  My mom and I caught up with a nice long chat and flipped through some new cookbooks while the kiddos enjoyed some gaming goodness.  Fun was had by all (of us in the living room anyway, elsewhere hard work was happening).  Thankful for afternoons like this!

Four  //  Beautiful Birdies in my Backyard

A fine finch made a home for her baby birds in our yard recently.  This is the first time we've had a nest with these cuties here so it's been a delight to watch this spring!

Five  //  Loveliness in Full Bloom

Irises don't last long, but they sure are beautiful each and every day that they're in bloom!  This purple beauty is one of the many reasons spring makes my heart sing!

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

In Case You Missed It...
Earlier this Week at Chatting Over Chocolate:

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