A Fall Bucket List

At last! Autumn has arrived, not only is it calendar official, but you can feel it in the air in the south! This is my favorite season and I’ve been rather impatient waiting on it to arrive this year.

Thanks to the coronapocalypse, fall is a little different this year. Audley and I are skipping football games and missing tailgating, there aren’t any county fairs or rodeos, among other things, but there is no reason to not enjoy it! We have a “bucket list” of things we are looking forward to do this season. It got me thinking Maybe I should share it in case you were at a loss of how to enjoy the season in this crazy time. Almost all of these keep social distancing guidelines in mind.

* Go for a sunrise canoe ride

* Light autumn scented candles all through the house

* Pick apples and make apple crisp

* Make all the soups

* Bake a pumpkin pie using fresh pumpkin

* Visit a pumpkin patch

* Take a drive & enjoy a little leaf peeping

* Light a fire and make s’mores

* Celebrate National Coffee day ( September 29)

* Go camping or glamping

*Watch fall & Halloween themed movies

* Carve a pumpkin

* Pull out the patchwork quilts & get cozy

* Enjoy a girl’s day or even road trip

* Take a leisurely bike ride on a scenic trail

* Drink apple cider

* Meet your spouse for a coffee date

* Decorate your porch just a little extra this year

* Star gaze

* Make & eat caramel apples

* Go hiking

* Visit Starbucks for at least one Pumpkin Spiced drink

* Plan an autumn picnic

* Run through the leaves

Being outdoors is very good for boosting your immunity system, so many of our plans involve fresh air and sunshine, even with a few cooler temperatures. Take advantage of this anytime you can in the coming months! It’ll keep your spirits up as well.

What’s on your bucket list this fall? I would love to hear what you’ve been up to!

Wonderful World of Disney — Sweet Treats Edition

In the last five years we’ve been able to visit Disney in several forms from a Cruise, parks, resorts to just stopping and shopping at Disney Springs while passing through. One thing is for certain, the wonderful world of Disney loves its sweet treats and puts so much effort into every confection no matter where you are!

Recently while in Orlando visiting Hollywood Studios I couldn’t help but capture some of these delights to share with you!

“This much I know. If you are what you eat, then I only wanna eat the good stuff.” — Ratatouille

From marshmallows to apples dipped in chocolate the Mickey theme is everywhere you turn!

And Mickey tastes delicious!

Of course many of your other classic characters make an appearance in sweet shops as well. Goofy’s Candy Company in Disney Springs is one of my favorite stops.

I’m a firm believer that calories don’t count at a Disney, so while I did enjoy some of these treats, I brought home the rest for Audley to enjoy!

As Winnie the Pooh says, “I wasn’t going to eat it, I was just gonna taste it.”

Sweet treats in the parks are often themed to match where you are. While in Galaxy’s Edge I stopped by the Milk Stand and shared blue and green milk with ” The Child “.

In case you’ve wondered (and the Instagram poll I conducted proved it), blue milk is the best!

Regardless of your preference for blue or green milk, it’s a very refreshing treat on a humid Florida afternoon.

Fantastic confections were also found at the new Riviera Resort. Made fresh daily you could grab a cupcake to eat while savoring your coffee or a delectable cheesecake to enjoy for dessert after a Tuna Niçoise salad.

 

And while the sugary treats are mouth-watering and hip expanding, you can’t visit Disney without enjoying Mickey Mouse shaped waffles. They are my most favorite treat of all!

A happy way to begin the day indeed!

“You know the thing about good food? It brings folks together from all walks of life. It warms them right up and it puts little smiles on their faces.” — The Princess and the Frog

Hollywood Studios; Coronapocolypse Style

This year has been anything but normal, so when my girlfriend Tami reached out to me for a little road trip to Orlando I had a bag packed in a snap! The idea of doing something “normal” was extremely exciting!

Walt Disney World arranged park entry to Hollywood Studios (I’ve only visited Magic Kingdom and Epcot so this was exciting) and a stay at the new and gorgeous Riviera Resort. We were able to check out the newest rides and spaces, as well as all the health and safety measures they are taking so you can still enjoy the parks!

Disney’s Hollywood Studios was Walt Disney’s third park which opened in 1989. Its undergone several transformations over the years, but continues the premise as an ode to the “Golden Age of Hollywood” with details and architecture that will send your imagination into overdrive as you step back in time.

Hollywood Studios is an opportunity to emerge yourself in the movies you love through interactive rides, shows, parades, and experiences.

When you first enter the park you’ll stroll down the main street of the park; Hollywood Blvd. it is homage to the beautiful Art Deco style of the 30’s and 40’s. Neon, chrome, architecture with personality surround you as you meander towards the park’s iconic Chinese Theater.

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While waiting in line for Micky & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, check out all the handprints in front of the Chinese Theater & see who you recognize!

Once you reach the Chinese Theater you can experience the fun of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway adventure! This brand new ride actually opened just a few days before the coronapocalypse shut the world down. It is the first ride to actually feature the iconic Mickey Mouse! It’s a super cute ride no matter your age.

Hollywood Studios is so much fun to walk through as you check out each themed area.

One of my favorite rides was the famous Tower of Terror that has been a hit in the park since 1994! I could’ve ridden it several times!

Galaxy’s Edge opened in 2019 to delight of Star War’s fans of all ages. It is by far the most popular attraction in the park! In Galaxy’s Edge I enjoyed blue and green milk with baby Yoda aka “The Child” and guided the Millennium Falcon on a Smuggler’s Run. Tami & I also took a 3-D Star Tour with C3PO. It was so much fun!

Toy Story Land is so colorful and enticing we had to check out a few rides there as well! The Slinky Dog Roller Coaster through Andy’s Backyard is so cute and if you’re not a fan of coasters you can twirl with the Aliens!

As you can imagine, with this virus going around there are changes to the parks and how things are done. Here are a few things you should be aware of if you are planning a trip in the next few months.

*Masks are required on all Disney properties, at all times, unless you are sitting and actively eating and drinking. This includes parks, resorts and Disney Springs. Take extra masks… it’s hotter than the devils kitchen in Florida this time of year and a mask soaked with sweat is highly uncomfortable.

*When you purchase your tickets to the parks, you must make a reservation for the days will will use the ticket. They’re limiting park attendance, so you must have a reservation to enter.

*Before entering the park your temperature will be taken. If you have a fever, don’t go.

*Each ride is set up so that you are socially distanced as you wait. There are limits on how many can ride and only every other car/row is used.

*There are hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer stations everywhere in the park. I do mean everywhere.

*As for experiences in the park, they are different. There are a limited number of character experiences, generally found in the form of parades, and very few shows. You can feel a difference in the level of “magic”. The Disney Parks app is essential as you order and pay for your food and sign-up for times for certain rides. The Advantage of park policies right now are short lines for most of the rides.

Overall visiting a Disney Park has definite pros and cons right now. I am not a fan of masks so it was a policy that dampened some of my enthusiasm (and my mood once the sweaty thing rubbed a blister on my jaw). I did love limiting guest attendance to the park; shorter lines, not stepping on heels of people in front of you and not feeling like the whole world is crammed in around you.  Smaller crowds is a definite plus and it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if they kept that policy! Ordering food through the app is super convenient, but I am not a fan of my payment info being saved on the app.  Overall it was a fun trip and i would go back if given the opportunity.  If you decide to make the trip, just remember to make a reservation and plan out all the details of your trip before venturing down to Orlando!

The 25th Year

Last week we officially closed the door on the last 3 years of our life in Loganville as we dug up the hydrangea & locked the door.

Now as full empty-nesters Audley & I are finally under one roof (he’s been living in an apartment for 2 years instead of driving 150 miles round trip everyday for work) living on the west-side of Atlanta. This was the 15th move we’ve made in our 25 years of marriage, which we also celebrated last week.

This move was probably the most difficult and for sure the most stressful in the fact he & I did 90% of it alone between Audley’s work schedule, wedding planning for our youngest daughter, lots of uncertainty and a of course this pandemic.

2020 has been an interesting year to say the least.

While 2020 has been memorable in its own way, the beauty and nuttiness of the last 25 years mixed with the excitement of the next 25, definitely overshadow any craziness that this one year has thrown our way.

Audley and I have four amazing kids, & now three sons-in-law (so much has happened in the last 10 years while writing this blog) who are contributing so many beautiful and positive things to this world of ours. Police officers, medical personnel, minister, exercise specialist, preschool teacher, Marines (we have 2 now!); we have much to be proud of when looking at our kids.

Having an empty nest at the quarter century milestone is a whole new world for Audley and me.

We have never been “just the two of us”. I became a full-time mom the day we said “I do”. Being parents together for the entirety of our marriage has been a large part of our identity.

Now, with Madeline saying her “I do” last month the full-time parenting chapter of our story has closed! Now we get to write the next chapter as we discover new adventures together. I have no clue as to what the next 25+ years will look like for Audley and I, but can guarantee it will be filled with love, growth, discovery, new adventures and as always God-centered.

So cheers to the next 25 years and whatever adventures come our way!