speak life.

When PinkGirl and I go to Disney, we often pray and look for opportunities to “speak life” to the people God places in our path.

I wish I could say “always” instead of “often” but I can’t.

Sometimes we forget. Sometimes we are obliviously self-involved.

But not today.

1 thessalonians 5 11I posted this on facebook last night:

“I was reminded again tonight.

Everybody is ‪#‎justadifferentkindofbroken‬

Sometimes, it’s all I can do NOT to abandon “appropriate” surface conversation and take someone by the hand, lead them to a quite corner, look them in the eye, and ask, “How are you, REALLY?” and really SEE them and LISTEN to them.

PinkGirl and I are going to Magic Kingdom tomorrow. Already praying we recognize God’s prompting when he nudges us to encourage the person or people He places in our path. yeah. we know we’re weird. but we’ve almost come to terms with that. ‪
#‎seepeople‬ ‪#‎edify‬ ‪#‎loveGodloveothers‬

A friend commented: “Sometimes takes multiple conversations and kind gestures before someone will share. Trust is a big thing when you share your stuff. And you have to make sure that someone will walk through it with love and kindness.”

I responded this morning:

“I’m willing to put in the time. Since I asked God to break my heart for what breaks his, I have been amazed – and blessed – at how many times He’s equipped me to step out of my comfort zone and reach out to people – to see them and listen to them – in love, with no judgement.

In the beginning, I was blown over when someone – friend or stranger – shared something deeply personal, but now, it’s happened so many times that when I pray for God to show me who He wants me to reach out to, I already know He will.

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24

I pray most of all for the Holy Spirit to nudge me, not only for the who, but the when. I also pray that He won’t let me miss the opportunity out of fear or oblivion.

Strangely, He nudges me OFTEN in a Disney waiting line. Strangers to friends in the time it takes to meet a princess.

Today, I find myself thinking I need to offer to pray for someone. Not sure if He’ll prompt me to do it, but if He does, I pray He’ll bless me with the courage and motivation to be immediately obedient.”

You are Now Entering the Mission Field

PinkGirl and I see Disney as one of our many mission fields.

Our mission is not to “save” people, but to serve people.

Our prayer is that, through whatever interaction we’ve had with them, someone might be drawn closer to Christ.

It’s not our job, it’s our prayer.

I know we risk ridicule and rejection, be we don’t hide our faith in these interactions. If the natural flow of conversation leads us to share something about our lives with someone, it’s not uncommon that we acknowledge our dependance on God and His influence on our lives.

So, if someone who wasn’t thinking about God and spiritual things before spending time with us, begins or continues to think about God and spiritual things after spending time with us, then our prayer was answered with a big YES.

Even if we never know it.

This is our Disney theme song:

(I love that the person speaking life in this video is a little blonde girl.)

“inappropriate” music.

PinkGirl: “Mom, Is it okay to like to sing songs from Chicago?” (the musical, not the city)

Me: “yes. why?”

PinkGirl: “Because it has inappropriate things in it. Some of my teachers (from UnnamedChristianSchool) say it’s a sin to watch and listen to things that are inappropriate.”

Me: “hmmm. Does listening to and singing the songs from Chicago make you want to kill someone?”

PinkGirl: “no.”

Me: “Does it make you want to cheat on your husband?”

PinkGirl: “ummm. no.”

Me: “Does it make you want to sing and dance?”

PinkGirl: “yes.”

Me: “uh oh.”

PinkGirl, cracking up: “Mo-om!”


Seriously. The music from Chicago is excellent. And we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Todrick Hall’s Disney Villain version of Cell Block Tango called Spell Block Tango! Check it out below. Cruella Deville from 101 Dalmations, The Snow Queen from Snow White, Ursula from Little Mermaid, The Queen of Hearts from Alice and Wonderland, Scar from the Lion King and Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. Spots. Six. Fish. Uh-uh. Figaro. Wishes.

If you know your Disney movies, really listen to what the Queen of Hearts is actually SAYING. (she’s the fourth one). LOVE it.

Disney World in February. part 1.

In my opinion, the BEST time to go. Living in Central Florida, and premium annual passholders for years, we’ve been to Disney too many times to count. FirstHusband and FavoriteSon aren’t feeling the magic so much anymore, but PinkGirl and I are still Disney Freaks. She and I spent the day at Magic Kingdom on February 12th, last year and we did EVERYTHING we wanted to do in ONE day.

NO crowds.

NO lines.

NO heat.

And, of course, no SNOW.

Here’s PinkGirl lounging in Minnie Mouse’s Living room – ALONE. No other kids in the photo. That’s because there were NO OTHER KIDS IN THE ROOM! She had the place all to herself! This photo was taken at 11:12 a.m.

Here’s PinkGirl taking a load off in Minnie Mouse’s Sunroom, (next door to Mickey’s House) – again, the only kid in the room! This photo was taken at 7:05 p.m.

Check out the rest of the photos from the visit to both Minnie and Mickey’s houses. (What? You didn’t think they lived TOGETHER did you?)

a wooden leg named smith.

PinkGirl watched Mary Poppins tonight. She’s been a fan for years – even BEFORE she met Miss Practically Perfect herself.

mary poppins pose

She’s We’ve watched it enough to have memorized large chunks of dialog. These days, PinkGirl is actually able to watch it without pausing the DVD for multiple costume changes.

Sarah as Mary Poppins1Sarah as Mary Poppins3

One of my favorite parts is the laughing song. LOVE Ed Wynn as Uncle Albert. And Dick Van Dyke is just plain GENIUS. Betcha can’t watch him laugh without smiling.

Need a few more chuckles today? Check out Friday Funnies hosted by Homesteaders Heart!

If you’ve got time to hang out for a few minutes, check out what else makes me laugh: Pragmatic Compendium’s “laugh!” category.

Our “Best Practices” for Disney in the Summer.

Walt Disney World in the summer is HOT. And I mean REALLY Hot. If you can go ANY other time of the year, do it. You will not miss the melting, the heat rash or the dehydration. And I am not exaggerating.

Expect the lines to be long. And I mean REALLY long. 120 minutes for Space Mountain is normal. It is possible to spend 12 hours at a Disney theme park and ride only 5 or 6 attractions. If you see a 45 minute line, be thankful. You will NEVER see this:


That’s Pirates of the Caribbean in February of 2008. Three days ago we waited 12 minutes. (February is a GREAT time to go to WDW.)

The heat and the lines aside, we’ve vacationed there in the summer for years. Even though we live 45 minutes from Walt Disney World, we’ve stayed in the resorts. Due to school schedules, we had to go in the summer just like everyone else. But we learned a few things about going to Disney in the summer:

We try to go when surrounding counties are still in school or back in school. Since we’re in private school, our calendars are sometimes off from public school by a week or two. For instance, the last day of school for Osceola County, where WDW is located, is June 4, 2009. Surrounding counties get out on June 3rd. Our last day of school is May 21st. The public schools begin again on August 24th. We begin on August 13th. So THIS year, if we were to go to Disney for a week, we would try to go at the beginning of the summer so we wouldn’t have to contend with locals so much.

Extra Magic Hours
. Each day, one of the four theme parks at WDW has Extra Magic Hours. Resort guests – DISNEY resort guests – are allowed admittance into one of the parks one hour early and can stay inside that same park an extra three hours after closing. (You can leave and come back. You don’t have to stay the entire time.)

We NEVER take advantage of MORNING Extra Magic Hours. For example. Today, Sunday, February 15th, Magic Kingdom has extra magic hours. If we were staying on property we would NOT go to Magic Kingdom MORNING Extra Magic Hours because Magic Kingdom would be MOBBED with resort guests. We would instead, go to one of the OTHER parks because MOST of the resort guests are at Magic Kingdom.

Exception to the Morning Extra Magic Hours? Animal Kingdom. By far, the hottest of the parks. Not a lot of air conditioning at Animal Kingdom. If you want to see the animals, go EARLY. Leave when it gets hot. Come back in late afternoon or early evening. When you are on the safari and you see the animals lounging in what seems to be the perfect Kodak spot, it’s no accident. There’s an air conditioning vent out there to make that spot more attractive to them. The animals get air conditioning. You don’t. For years, we flat out skipped Animal Kingdom in the summer. It’s better in February.

We ALWAYS take advantage of the EVENING Extra Magic Hours. Even when PinkGirl was little. She adjusted to the change in schedule very quickly. Sometimes FirstHusband or I would take her off into a nook somewhere so she could nap in the stroller, but for the most part, she was right there with us, having fun.

My FAVORITE Extra Magic Hours are at Typhoon Lagoon on Saturday nights. A water park in the dark is FUN. Blizzard Beach doesn’t do Extra Magic Hours.

Water to Drink, Water to Spray.
Drinking. A bottle of water is $2.50. And it’s Dasani. We either bring our own bottles of spring water or buy ONE bottle of Dasani and fill it up at water fountains. We invested in the Disney bottle straps and either wore them around our neck or hung them on the stroller when PinkGirl was younger.

Spraying. Disney sells bottles of water with battery operated fans attached. For $17.00 each. Because they have Disney characters on them. Walmart sells similar bottles for about $3.99 each. No Disney characters. (A few years ago – the price is probably higher now.) We have both, but I got my Disney “misters” at garage sales. (okay, except for one. I bought ONE for $17.00 one year.) FirstHusband rigged up a fan and mister for PinkGirl that attached to her stroller canopy.

Sunscreens and Hats. Waterproof sunscreen. Nowhere near a baby or toddler’s hands. They WILL rub it in their eyes. That only happened to us once. Once was enough. Hats or visors means sunscreen isn’t needed on the forehead – which means it won’t run into eyes. Sunscreen in the eyes: BAD.

Extra Change of Kids Clothes. There are various places in the parks that kids can get squirted with water. And it is a GREAT way to cool off. But later? Wet socks can lead to blisters. Wet clothing can lead to chaffing. We kept a change of clothes for each kid in a a Ziplock bag. Wet clothes went in there after the kids got soaked. I’ll write another post on our “best practices” with regard to clothing, but let me say here – denim is NOT moisture wicking and when it gets wet, it can take a while to dry, no matter how hot it is.

Take a Break During the Heat of the Day. When PinkGirl was little, we would take a break during the heat of the day. If you’ve read ANYthing on Disney vacations, you’ve seen this before. DON’T IGNORE THIS ADVICE if you have little ones. We stayed at the Yacht and Beach Club resorts, for 3 summers. They are within walking distance to the back gate of EPCOT. From EPCOT, you can take a boat to Hollywood Studios or a monorail to Magic Kingdom. So it was VERY easy for FirstHusband and I to split up during the day. One of us would take PinkGirl back to the room for a nap while the other would take FavoriteSon on some “big kid” rides. It was wonderful. One grown-up got to rest with PinkGirl and the other got one-on-one time with FavoriteSon. (We were able to stay at these resorts because we had friends and family who got us what is called a “Friends and Family” rate, but there are less expensive resorts in that same area, still within walking distance from the back gate of EPCOT.)

But our BEST strategy for going to Disney World in the summer?

We Went Nocturnal. When PinkGirl got older and didn’t need naps, we adapted again. We went nocturnal. Here’s the typical schedule:

Sleep in.
Spend the heat of the day at (1) Typhoon Lagoon, (2) Blizzard Beach or (3) the resort pool.
Take showers and get washed up for an early dinner (between 5 and 6pm)
Go to a REALLY nice dinner on property. (Character dinners are GREAT!)
Right after dinner, go to whichever park has Extra Magic Hours.
Stay for extra Magic Hours after the park closed for regular guests.
Leave that park around 2:00 a.m., getting back to the room and in bed around 3:00 a.m.

This is a GREAT summer schedule. By the evening, most of the resort guests who were at the theme park gate bright and early for Extra Magic Hours have long since left that park because they’re exhausted.

I’ll be writing more on our Walt Disney World “Best Practices” and I’ll list them under the “peace.love.mickey” page above, so check back!

Want to learn cool tips and tricks from lots of different people? Click on over to Works for Me Wednesday hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer!

that’s just wrong.

So FirstHusband and FavoriteSon are in Washington DC for FavoriteSon’s 8th Grade Washington trip. Some of you already know I don’t post about travel until it’s over, but in this case, it’s almost over. They are traveling home tomorrow. Anyway.

I took PinkGirl to Disney’s Magic Kingdom today because her dad was on a field trip with her brother . . . on the day the 2nd graders were hosting a Father’s Breakfast, complete with poems and songs and Valentines. After discovering the conflict, she said,

“But . . . I can’t sing songs and say poems to everybody ELSE’S dad!”

So I said, “Well, how about we go to Magic Kingdom that day? Just you and me?”


That was the situation today. FirstHusband and FavoriteSon, in Washington DC and PinkGirl and I at Magic Kingdom. Here’s the text message string:

FirstHusband: “Standing in front of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”

Me: “Standing in line for Small World, waiting on a Big Thunder Fastpass.”

Now that is just wrong. FirstHusband told FavoriteSon. “We are standing in front of what are, after the Bible, the three most important documents in the United States. Your mom is standing in line for Small World.”

a few minutes later.

Me: “Boat is stuck. Sing with us.”

FirstHusband: “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts . . . ”

Who knows why that is EXACTLY the right response? And funny. He truly is my density.

Stephanie at Scraps. You’re a movie person. Got it? Any moms? dads? PinkGirl got it immediately.

Give up? Here you go.

And a little more trivia? Who sings the coconut song?

Give up? Here you go.

Would You Like Chocolate With That? Disney Chocolate Carousel

We haven’t gone to see any of the Disney resorts this year, I’m not sure if we will, but this is always amazing. Supposedly, this ENTIRE thing is edible.

The video doesn’t even come CLOSE to showing the detail. It truly is an amazing work of art.

If you have anything chocolaty to share, post and link to Would You Like Chocolate With That? hosted by Lisa at Stop and Smell the Chocolate!

Osborne Family Light Show

We went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to see the Osborne Family Light show Saturday night. These 2007 videos are good, and they give you some idea of the number of lights and the work that goes into the light “choreography” alone, but there’s just NOTHING like standing in the middle of all those lights, surrounded by the music. It always gives me goose bumps.

Some find it too loud, but to them I say, plug your ears and complain somewhere else.

This is a video from this year, but the camera man tends to move around a little too much, so if you get motion sickness, be forewarned.

my kind of watermelon

If you’ve stopped by before, you may already know that I HATE round containers because they waste space.

I’ve got to say – I LOVE these! Where do I get one?


Although these are pretty cool too.

mickey pumpkin

We took this photo in August of 2006 when we went on the “Behind the Seeds” tour of Living with the Land at Epcot. Magical!

DisneyQuest. pros and cons.

June 2008. PinkGirl is 50.

INCHES, that is.

And that is a GOOD thing. It is a VERY good thing. We’ve been WAITING for this for a VERY long time. Thank. You. GOD!!!!!

We went to DisneyQuest this weekend and for the first time EVER, PinkGirl didn’t go home angry or in tears. DisneyQuest is a 5 story arcade. For a VERY long time, for our family, it has been a 5 story source of sadness. Weepiness. A 5 story source of frustration and . . . temper tantrums. Because the COOLest things to do at DisneyQuest (according to PinkGirl) require the cool “enjoyer” of such cool things – to be a minimum of 51 inches tall.

Today, PinkGirl is . . . .

50 and 1/2 inch tall. But she wore the right shoes. (Well, they were her regular shoes. But still.)

So, Friday, June 6th, 2008 was a MOMENTOUS day in our family! PinkGirl got to ride BOTH the Cyberspace Mountain virtual roller coaster AND the Buzz Lightyear bumper cars! FINALLY!

We’ve been going to Disney Quest for years, and FavoriteSon has always had fun there. But he was taller than 51 inches the first time we ever set foot in the cybrolator (elevator) and watched Genie on the “magic mirror.” When you are more than 51 inches tall, the only things between you and every single ride/game at Disney Quest are the que lines and your own level of courage and adventure. When you are under 51 inches tall, the ride attendants stop you.

Take a look at these great photos and don’t miss the video link to see the Cyberspace Mountain “barrel” in action. (Skip the idealistic plea by the site owner to call or email Disney’s guest services to stop them from shutting down. I haven’t heard any “closing” rumors myself, but if Disney wants to close Disney Quest they’re going to do it, no matter what “guests” say. The only way to “save” Disney Quest is to buy tickets. Lots and LOTS of tickets.)

Let me give you my view of the “Pros and Cons” of Disney Quest.

The “Cons”
Some may not agree with me, but Disney Quest is not the best place on Disney property to bring a baby, a toddler or an elderly family member. Preschoolers are a little easier, and there are actually some things they will even enjoy, but the height restrictions will limit their fun.

First of all, strollers are NOT allowed. That makes for either a tired kid or a tired parent (from carrying said tired kid). Usually both.

There’s not a lot of seating near the action. There’s some dining seating near the games, but very, very little. So if a parent plans to sit and watch kids, they’re going to have to wait on a spot – and in some areas of the arcade – there is no “spot” to sit. There is a room full of dining tables, but it is surrounded by walls so you can’t see anyone in the game/ride areas. Lack of seating and the “no stroller” rule make for a LOT of standing for everyone.

It it is LOUD. The kind of loud that causes you to yell, “WHAT?” when someone talks to you. After a few hours of this, any little one can become overstimulated and, thus – cranky. I USUALLY have the ability to tune out background noise, so I don’t notice it so much. If you or a family member can’t take extended, loud noise, this isn’t the place to go. Consider splitting up and letting the “noise sensitive” members of your group explore Downtown Disney. There’s lots to do.

You can lose sight of a little one in the BLINK of an eye! This place is not set up like Chuck E. Cheese, where you get your arm stamped and your arm stamp has to match the stamp on the kid’s arm before you can leave with the kid. People are moving and kids are moving faster. The kids pop from game to game as a spot opens up. If they aren’t fast, they stand and wait. and wait. and wait. Lighting is not bright and it’s difficult to keep up with kids if you get distracted for even a second or two. Those parents who make their kids walk with them from game to game are serious “fun suckers” and (at $37 for ages 10 and up) they are throwing away some very expensive fun time. I usually either park myself (standing, of course) in a central location and follow the kids with my eyes or I kick it into gear and keep up.

Some of the rides can be scary for little ones. PinkGirl HATED the Pirates of the Caribbean ride/game last summer. Wearing 3D goggles, four people go into a small room, surrounded by a screen. Standing on a platform that looks like the deck of a pirate ship, the platform tips and sways, while everyone shoots cannons at attacking pirate ships and at some point, the Krakken comes out of the water and you have to shoot it too. This year, PinkGirl (age 7) LOVED Invasion, which is similar, except you are sitting down. You have to rescue people and shoot aliens. What a difference a year made. You just have to know your own kid and make a judgment call.

The food service changed the first weekend of June 2008. One week later – not a good change so far. No more Cheesecake Factory and in the FoodQuest counter service restaurant, the portion size of the BEST chicken Caesar salad I’ve ever had is now less than half. No more pizza by the slice, rather individual pizzas, which are smaller than the slices were. If you bought the plastic cup for refills, they will still honor it and allow you to purchase a large drink at refill price.

The SongMakers are frequently broken, but when the work, they are pretty fun. Up to four people can fit inside an isolated sound booth with a touch screen computer, which is used to create an original song. You pick the style of music, the song title, lyrics and either a male or female singer. Then you pick from over 1,000 rhyming lyric “snippets” to create a song. It comes out to 2,000,000,000 (two BILLION) possible lyric combinations per song. When the song is finished, you pick the artwork for the CD cover. Of course, the CD is available to purchase. Last year, I think it was $12.95.

The “Pros”

It is FUN. Do NOT touch my right arm when I’m busy shooting the Centipede. And, under NO circumstances are you to touch my Superzapper. Seriously. Back away.

There are ALL kinds of video games. LOTS of “retro” games and LOTS of newer games. Pinball out the wahzoo – even human pinball, where you stand on a platform and rock to move your ball around on a big screen with 12(?) other players. (GREAT workout!) LOTS of virtual “ride” type games.

A big favorite is the Cyberspace Mountain virtual roller coaster. With Bill Nye the Science Guy as your guide, you design your coaster, incorporating a sequence of maneuvers varying in thrill levels. You can select barrel rolls, loops, jumps . . . whatever you want. In the end, the computer “rates” your coaster for a fear factor or thrill level, from 1 (nice and easy) to 5 (i’m gonna ralph). PinkGirl’s first coaster measured a “1” and didn’t go upside down at all. FavoriteSon’s measured a 5 and went upside down as many times as was possible. FavoriteDad rode with both kiddos. When the attendant asks you if you have anything in your pockets, trust them when they encourage you to empty them into the little bowl and lock them in the cabinet outside the door to your coaster. (you keep the key.) Ladies? You might want to tuck in the front of your shirt. Leave hats in the cabinet too or you will end up holding it and it will cover your face for the recording. Because you may want to buy the video of yourself riding your coaster. cha ching. Family members are allowed to stand outside your coaster and watch you inside the barrel too.

Another hit for those over 51 inches is the Buzz Lightyear bumper cars. You need a driver and a shooter. The driver tries to roll over the “asteroids” (black rubber balls) because the car picks them up and deposits them inside the car. The shooter retrieves the asteroid, loads it in the shooter, closes the “hatch” on the shooter, points and shoots at one of three possible targets on another car. Since your car has three targets also, the driver’s second task is to avoid incoming asteroids. If you get hit, your car spins out of control for 10 to 15 seconds. If you’re not careful, you could spend the entire ride simulating the Teacups at Magic Kingdom. Oh, and don’t try to shoot before the cars start up. If your shooter jams, you’re going to be annoyed. And sick from spinning because you were defenseless for the entire ride. Good times. Good times.

For us, the fact that many of the virtual rides are suited for groups of 2 or 4 is a good thing. For some families, that won’t work out so well. Before PinkGirl was old/tall enough, we used the Rider Switch Pass, also known as the “baby swap” to allow both FirstHusband and myself to have fun with FavoriteSon while the other stayed with PinkGirl.

If you go in “good” weather, it’s usually not horribly crowded. In bad weather it is very often PACKED. (Think it’s a good place to hang out to avoid the rainy Florida summer afternoons? So does everyone else on Disney property.) Summer during the day is often PACKED with summer camp field trips. Last summer, we would often go to a water park (Typhoon Lagoon is pretty much across the street) and then hop on over to Downtown Disney and Disney Quest for dinner and evening fun just as the summer campers were loading on their buses. Perfect timing.

Disney Quest is also a GREAT place to hang out if it is too early to check in at a resort. If you arrive in town and don’t want to waste a day of your ticket package on a theme park for only a few hours of time, Downtown Disney and Disney Quest are a great option. When we stay at one of the resorts, we often spend the evening there after dinner, sometimes leaving just in time for Extra Magic Hours. It was really great when PinkGirl was little. One of the grownups could stay in the room and get PinkGirl to bed, while the other could take FavoriteSon to Disney Quest for some big kid/one on one time. This was really helpful when we stayed in a one room resort suite. The little kid could sleep, but the big kids (us included) didn’t have to be quiet in the dark. It’s also a GREAT place to have fun in the heat of the day.

The annual pass is GREAT for us. For the last few years, we’ve been premium annual passholders. that means we could get into Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon and Disney Quest ALL year – no block out dates. Our tickets expire June 8th and this year, since we bought the boat, we are going to spend most of our summer vacation time on the ocean. I think we’ve decided to buy Disney Quest/water parks annual passes for $129 and, later in the fall, buy seasonal passes (with blockout dates). With a single admission fee of $37, we only have to go to Disney Quest 3 times before we (almost) break even. That doesn’t even include any water park visits.

Now that PinkGirl is tall enough to do EVERYthing at Disney Quest, we are going to be having a LOT more fun there.

Check out the Frequently Asked Questions at www.allears.com for more insider tips.