Thursday, December 15, 2016

Disney World in December

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, sky and outdoor
Last June, I booked plane tickets and our hotel at Disney's Pop Century in Orlando. We wanted to take our kids to Disney World and I got a great price on Southwest to fly there. The kids had a blast! We decided to go in December since it tends to be less crowded than the summer, the weather is great, and it's beautifully decorated for Christmas. All was true, except it rained one day while we were there. We planned ahead and brought ponchos and braved the rain at Magic Kingdom with our three kids in tow. We were so glad we went in December and hope to go again in the future. 

We bought 3-day park tickets and spent two days at Magic Kingdom and one day at Epcot. Magic Kingdom is really the best park if you have toddlers and preschoolers. There is so much to do there. Epcot has a nice diaper changing area with some couches and plugs to plug in your cell phone. So pack your charger in your bag if you go and need to rest.

My husband and I went to Disney World on our honeymoon almost 13 years ago. It was a different experience with kids but a lot of fun. We ate at some fancy restaurants and had a great time. We did not purchase the dining plan but were still able to make some reservations for nice restaurants while there. One great thing about going when we did was that our younger two are under 3. So they were FREE to go to Disney. Also, at the all you can eat restaurants, they ate free as well. We saved a lot of money going before Princess turns 3, which is next month.

The weather in December in Orlando is great. Blue Rock and I even swam the first night we were there. We took the Disney Express from the airport which made things so easy! We got off our plane and went straight to the bus that took us to our hotel. Disney picked up our luggage and brought it to our hotel later that day. Next time we go, we're going to pack our swimsuits in our carry-on bags. The weather was perfect when we arrived to swim. Our room was already ready but we had to wait until later for our luggage to arrive at our room to get our swimsuits.

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We did one big character meet and greet with Mickey Mouse. Princess LOVED meeting him! He was friendly, asked our names and told us a joke. We were super impressed. Princess wants to go back to Disney World and live there. Blue Rock's favorite ride was Fast Track and Space Mountain. Princess's favorite ride was Aladdin and Peter Pan, even though she was a little scared flying on Peter Pan, but it was really cool. Blue Knight's favorite ride was probably Winnie the Pooh. He fell asleep riding It's A Small world.

Like I mentioned, we stayed at a Disney Hotel, Pop Century. It was a value resort, which was fine. We had a crib and ended up also getting a Pack n Play since the kids played musical beds. It allowed us to put Blue Knight in the crib but if he woke up he could sleep next to me without another kid in the bed. I think it was worth saving the money and staying there. Especially since we were mostly there just to sleep. Although we might stay at a moderate hotel next time if we plan to do more at the hotel. We stayed 4 nights. We also purchased the Magic Moments picture package. Some photographers were better than others. We did get a few nice pictures and used some on our Christmas card. 

Here are some pictures from our time there.

This was Blue Knight's 1st plane ride

Nothing is better than playing in the rain
It started pouring on us when we were on this car ride. Princess was a great driver!

The boys were behind us.

Blue Rock's first time on Space Mountain

Winnie the Pooh ride
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Jungle Cruise ride

Aladdin Ride

There were games to play in line for Space Mountain

Meeting Mickey!

Yummy German Restaurant in Epcot

German Biergarten Restaurant

Our room

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Honey and Maple Syrup Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes in the Instant Pot

This was seriously one of the easiest and tastiest pork chops I have ever made and eaten! I did some research when trying to figure out the right cooking time. For 1 lb of boneless pork chops, I cooked them on high pressure for only 3 minutes and did natural release for 15 minutes. You might wonder if there's enough liquid in this recipe for it to work. I can assure you, there is plenty. In fact, once it was done and I removed the lid, there was excess liquid. These pork chops were moist and delicious! My family loved these sweet pork chops!

Honey and Maple Syrup Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes in the Instant Pot

1-2 lbs boneless pork chops. Salt and pepper both sides of pork chops. Sauté pork chops in some olive oil.

Then add the following on top of the chops.

1/4 to 1/2 cup honey
2-3 Tbs maple syrup
1/4 cup raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
I topped the chops with two peeled sweet potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil (or spray them with olive oil spray) and salt on top.

Cook on high pressure for 3 minutes and slow release for 15 minutes. It's very important you let it slow release and don't over cook them. These came out perfectly! I added sliced apples as another side and the whole meal turned out fantastic! 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Happy 1st Birthday Little Man!

Dear Blue Knight,

Happy 1st birthday!! You are now 1 year old! This past year seems to have flown by. We love watching you learn, grow, and explore. You are such a happy and sweet baby and very active! You love to crawl, climb, sing, babble, and want to try to fit in the smallest places. We had a wonderful birthday party at our house for you last weekend. We kept it pretty small and invited family and a few friends from church who have kids in your cradle roll class. In all we had 13 adults and 12 kids. 8 kids were 2 and under. We decided to have a brunch. We served fruit, yogurt, lots of breads, muffins, veggies, sandwiches, coffees, juices, dips, and chips. We bought an indoor Jumping Gym as his big present from us that the kids 2 and under enjoyed. We set-up Caden's big water slide for him and the older kids who came. It was a fun party. We really like home parties the best and loved having some of our friends and family over to celebrate our cute and sweet boy!  
One of your best friends being held by his dad
On your actual birthday, we met Daddy and Opa at Chick-fil-a. You even climbed to the top of the playground! You also took a little fall, which sometimes happens when you're learning about gravity. Thankfully you were okay!

Your 12 month well baby appointment was yesterday. You're an active and healthy baby/toddler. Here are your stats: 

31.5 inches long (90% height)
23 lbs, 7 oz (80% weight)
47 cm head (75%)

They now do a new eye screening test and it showed up that you could have a potential eye problem. They recommended we see a pediatric ophthalmologist. Your vision seems fine and I'm not sure what they could detect at this point but we'll check it out. We're praying your vision is okay.

You typically take one nap per day, in the afternoon from around 1-3. You wear size 18-24 month clothing. You're in size 4 diapers, still. You sleep from around 7:30pm-7am. You like a wide variety of foods but love fruit the best. You still prefer crawling over walking. One cute thing you've done for months is that you like crawling with a ball or car in your hand. You still nurse 5-6 times per day and we'll eventual introduce you to whole cow's milk, although the World Health Organization recommends breastmilk until 2 years. So we'll mostly stick with that unless you decide to wean on your own before then. 

We love you so much, son! It's been a great 1st year! Happy birthday! 


Some of the older kids
Attempt at getting all of the little kids in the bounce house for a picture

Eating pancakes and blueberries for breakfast

My helper!

Such a cutie!

Eating lunch. You ate grilled chicken and fruit.

Opa loves you!

Daddy loves you!

Mommy loves you!

You climbed into your sisters chair and started eating your brother's watermelon and carrots

Playground fun

You and your sister had so much fun!

Salisbury Steak in the Instant Pot

This recipe is so easy and very delicious! Enjoy!

Salisbury Steak in the Instant Pot 


4-6 hamburger patties (I used organic grass-fed patties)
1 onion, sliced
12 ounces of sliced mushrooms
1.5 cups beef broth
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Tbs butter
olive oil
steak seasoning
2 Tbs flour
1 Tbs minced garlic, optional


- Brown the onions and mushrooms in olive oil in the Instant Pot for a few minutes, add garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, and continue browning until the mushrooms have shrunk in size and the onions are caramelized. Remove from IP.

- Season both sizes of the hamburger patties with steak seasoning. Brown the hamburger patties in batches. 

- Add the hamburger patties back to the Instant Pot, cover with the onions and mushrooms, add the beef broth.

- Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes.

- You can do slow or quick release, doesn't matter too much. Remove the steaks, onions, and mushrooms. Turn the IP to sautee.  Add 2 Tbs of flour, a little at a time while you whisk it. Add 1 Tbs butter and continue whisking until the sauce thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste in your gravy. 

- Pour sauce over steaks and enjoy!

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