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I love taking pictures and recalling all our amazing memories we create as a family :-) I am posting some of my favorites from Disney World but not all ;-) It is nice to be able to go back and enjoy them for many years to come all in one place :-) Bear with me through several more posts sharing our fun times there.

Breanne loves Alice in Wonderland so we made sure to get as many pictures as we could with the Alice in Wonderland theme.


                  Hayley of course loves Stitch and the Lion King is one of her favorite movies!


  Kathleen was happy to find places she could play games to win prizes and enjoy carnival like rides.


               She also loves the movie Brave and Merida!! Nice to see a red headed princess ;-)






                                     Taking some time to get refreshed from the heat :-)





                                                   We had such a great time with Stitch :-)


                                                                Her smile says it all.....















       I love riding the ferry back and forth, it's my favorite way over to the Magic Kingdom!


         The parades are always great too! Here is just a few of the many pictures I took that day.






                                                A little magic in the air.... Tinkerbell!!!!






                                                                       More to come........

                                                                           Blessings,
                                                                                Jill
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    Visiting some of their favorite characters was a big part of our Disney trip and they had a blast! :-)




Jerry was cracking me up as he had to go around to every princess we saw and get a selfie with her. The magic truly does touch everyone ;-)








Visiting Epcot we were able to see a variety of different shows from different cultures. Very enjoyable!



                                  Breanne was having fun playing with the puppets, lol :-)


We also came across this neat train set up, a lot of work went into it. It made me think of my dad right away as he likes to collect and set up trains too. We enjoy it as well, though or collection is small right now. Mostly set up at the holidays. :-)









                   As night approached we got ready to watch the fireworks over the water......







 The girls found a little booth that was taking digital pictures and had a blast, there were many photos but I'm sharing a couple, lol. Kathleen's faces make me smile!





       The neat thing about Disney World is how they make everything so magical and special. :-)
Each night we came back they would have the beds all made up and have them decorated in different ways for Kathleen. :-)


                                                                   Stay tuned for more!!! :-)
                                                                     
                                                                              Blessings,
                                                                                    Jill
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If you plan a trip to Disney World, be sure to book a couple character meals or at least 1! They are a lot of fun :-)

The first time we took the girls we overbooked and felt like we were running back and forth between the parks to get to each meal! This time we booked a couple and then just planned our days based on what we wanted to do. Chef Mickey's was a brunch for us and it was really good!

We purchased the photo pass so we could have unlimited pictures taken all around the park :-)







                        Good food and lots of characters to visit you while enjoying your meal.


Of course we had to have another birthday celebration :-) Jerry and I were also celebrating our wedding anniversary.








                                                     They also got their autographs too! ;-)





                                Pluto is Jerry's favorite so he had to get a picture with him :-)



I really don't recall any of us counting calories on this trip, lol.... we were just there to have a great time!!




Wouldn't be a trip to Disney without visiting Figment's imagination ride..... This day I remember was particularly hot and even Jerry was having a hard time with the heat. I was still recovering from my surgery so it made it quite interesting at times, but we made it, lol!



Hayley's favorite character is Stitch and she was so happy to find a big stuffed animal of him in the gift shop. She had birthday money and kept debating spending so much.... but she finally caved and bought him and then kept saying how she was so glad she did! :-) I think her smile says it all!


                      Kathleen borrowed him for a quick picture too.... he's just too cute not to!!!


Breanne loves Alice in Wonderland, so she was on the search for all items related to that.... she was quite pleased with all her choices!


                         A great way to cool down and these were free for their birthdays too!!!


                                                          On to our next adventure.......


                                                                          Blessings,
                                                                                Jill
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There's just something that awakens the kid in you when you drive up and see the sign welcoming you to Walt Disney World.... a magical place indeed..... or perhaps it's the sheer joy on your children's faces that make everything right in the world again...

I realized I've once again been behind in posting, so I will return to my vacation posts along with some of my other posts of recent things that have been going on. Including what has been keeping me so busy. :-)



We stayed at the Art of Animation Resort when we visited. We chose the Lion King family suites as it is one of Hayley's favorite Disney movies. This was for her 16th birthday celebration with her best friend Breanne and her little sister Kathleen too. :-)




                                   Breanne made our shirts we are wearing here for the trip :-)


           They had some really awesome artwork and sketches hanging up all around to enjoy.



   This was another set of shirts Breanne made for the 3 of them to wear on the trip :-) So adorable!!



We took turns visiting different parks and having the park hopper pass made it easy to go back and forth between them during the day. This was in Animal Kingdom.





Although I have still not seen the movie, we did visit the Avatar area and rode one of the virtual rides. It was really neat!! Incredible graphics and it felt like you were really there.


Birthday celebrating all around. Even though we went for Hayley's 16th, we celebrated Kathleen's too since we couldn't go at that time of the year.



The castle dinner was one of our favorites. We made it late at night and got all dressed up. We all enjoyed the meal and the atmosphere.




                       You're never too old to get an autograph from your favorite princess :-)




        They didn't want Jerry to feel left out so he got his special sword and was quite happy, lol.


                                   The girls each got their magic wands... including me :-)



                                                               Food was very delicious!!!




                                             Birthdays celebrated again and all week long!




                                                   Delicious desserts too, so very yummy!





                Of course they had to meet Cinderella and complete the magic of the evening. ;-)




                                               The castle is always so beautiful all lit up.




Our niece Neve and my sister and her husband were visiting at the same time so we met up with them as much as our schedules would allow. :-) Wish we had more time together, but it sure flies by fast!!






                                                                    Until next time! :-)
           
                                                                          Blessings, 
                                                                               Jill
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Another movie we love is Forest Gump and we knew we had to check out the Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant at Universal Studios. Not to mention we were pretty hungry with all the walking we were doing and a nice air conditioned spot with good food was just what we needed. ;-) Have you ever seen the movie?

Forrest Gump - Trailer - YouTube


                                   Hayley and Kathleen sat down to fill some big shoes! ;-)



This shrimp was very friendly and was following us around the store for a bit, then Jerry had to talk about how he would be ordering the shrimp and made him a little nervous until he decided to run off ;-)




      Lots of neat gifts in the gift shop to look at. We picked up a few items while we were there.



 The restaurant was very clean and very friendly staff too. We learned a few things about these license plates and when to flip them. Also some fun trivia questions with our waitress.


Kathleen's drink cup lit up on the bottom and she was able to take it home with her after having a few refills.



        Food was really good too! If you ever have a chance to eat there, I highly recommend it!


                                                The kids meals are presented super cute!




        Of course being vacation we had to be sure to try the dessert sampler between Jerry and I :-)


                                       Kathleen ordered ice cream with all the fixins :-)


               For their birthdays Breanne and Hayley were able to get free cupcakes to celebrate!


Then the sillies possessed Hayley and she pushed Breanne's cupcake into her face..... it drew attention to us to say the least....


                                                Look out Hayley says Breanne..... your turn!


We were all laughing so hard... Hayley literally had tears streaming down her face at one point. Lol.




          All in fun.... good times..... if only we could hit the rewind button on life sometimes....


                                                                      More to come!!!

                                                                           Blessings,
                                                                                Jill







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I had started posting about our Disney World and Universal Studios vacation back in July, 2017, right before my mom passed away unexpectedly on the 29th of July. I realized she didn't even get a chance to see all our photos as we were so involved with their move down here to be near us. :-( Disney was the last truly happy place before my mom passed away and I want to pick up with the posts I had planned. If you'd like to go back to read the others you can find them here and here :-)

We spent some time at Universal before heading over to Disney World, and it was neat seeing all the different characters. The girls tried to get their pictures with everyone we could. Betty Boop! :-)


                                                                   Marilyn Monroe!


                                                                       Lucille Ball!


They really enjoyed their time spent at Harry Potter. Sadly Hayley lost her wand somewhere during our vacation and still hasn't been found. They aren't cheap either so she's pretty sad about it all around. That was one of the reasons she wanted to go so bad was to get her wand for her birthday.


                                    Knock on the door and something special will happen! ;-)


                       Breanne, Kathleen and I had to try out the Butter "Beer."..... delicious!!!



                                         Stay off the streets with these 2 driving!!!! :-)


                                                         Kathleen's face says it all! LOL!


     Most of the time at Universal was dreary and cloudy, but we tried to make the best of each day.


Remember Back to the Future? I loved these movies and  Michael J. Fox has always been one of my favorite actors! Was so neat seeing all the memories from the movies!





Jerry as you know always has us laughing and I had to take this picture of him by the donut sign... lol


    He was Kathleen's hero when he did the strength game for her and won her this big monkey :-)


                                                                            Doc!!


                                                                       Popeye!





                                                                Hello Kitty!!


Kathleen loves Scooby-Doo and even though this stuffed animal didn't come home with us, I had her take a picture with him for memories :-)


                                          Surfing right along into our next adventure......



                                                                         Blessings,
                                                                              Jill
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  Happy Friday everyone!!! Any big plans for the weekend? Need a couple inspiring dinner ideas ;-)

I am sharing two more of the recipes I made recently from my Aldi haul earlier in the week and a sneak peek of what dinner will be this rainy Friday evening. This week got busier then I anticipated so didn't get a daily post done, but still planning to catch up :-) In this post I add the prices for the ingredients next to each :-)

This particular meal Hayley said is one of her new favorites. She enjoys soups anyway, but said she loved the flavor of this one. First things first, lets get the Instant pot ready!


Instant Pot Black Bean Soup  (Found on the instantloss.com website)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (always have on hand but picked up more at Aldi for $3.19)
1 large onion diced     (2 lb bag of sweet onions 75 cents)
1 cup celery diced   (75 cents)
1 cup carrots diced   (65 cents a bag)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (I keep a large container on hand as I use garlic a lot. About $3.00 in regular grocery stores)

2 tablespoons chili powder (Have in my pantry)
1 tablespoon cumin  (Have in my pantry)  Most spices in Aldi are about 99 cents.
1 teaspoon sea salt (Have in my pantry, but also under a $1.00 at Aldi)
Pinch of black pepper
2 cups vegetable broth  ($1.79)
2 cups cooked black beans  (55 cents a can)
2 cups frozen corn  (Organic fresh frozen corn $1.79 a bag)
1 14.5 ounce diced tomatoes (Always have in my pantry about 60 cents a can in Aldi)

About $10.62 total but several items are also enough to use in my other meals planned for the week.


Preheat your Instant Pot using the saute function, when hot, add oil, carrots, onion and celery. Saute for about 5 minutes. The leftover celery you see there is for our goats, they just love it!


       Add all remaining ingredients, place the lid back on top and set in the sealing position on lid.




Press cancel on display screen, then select manual/pressure cook function and set to cook for 10 minutes. When done set it to the venting position to release the steam, carefully remove lid after venting is done and dish out and enjoy!


I had to take Hayley to the ENT doctor for her ears again in the afternoon on Wednesday, so when we got home this was perfect to put together and cook quickly! :-) So good and hearty too!


The next meal is a casserole dish, that when put together has a delicious flavor. I found the recipe in the book Skinny Suppers by Brooke Griffin, but I changed a lot of the ingredients to make it more for our tastes. It really turned out good and makes enough that we had leftovers for lunch today!


Here's how I made it:

2 tablespoons of butter (Have on hand, but can get the sticks of butter under a $1.00 in Aldi)
2 packages of precut butternut squash, I'm guessing about 3-4 cups. ($1.85 per container, I bought 2)
1 small onion diced  (see above recipe)
2 stalks of celery diced  (see above recipe)
Package of chicken stuffing mix  (Aldi's brand)  (69 cents a box, one large packet)
About 1 to 11/2 pound cooked ground turkey    ($2.59 a pack a little over a pound)
1 10.5 ounce can cream of mushroom soup    (45 cents)
1 10.5 ounce can cream of celery soup     (49 cents) Not sure why it's 4 cents more....
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt  ($3.29 a large container)
Salt
Pepper
1 8.8 ounce pouch Uncle Ben's brown and wild rice medley  (This I had to get a tFood Lion and it cost $2.29 for one package)

About $14.50 and lasted for 4 people second helpings and leftovers for next day's lunch :-)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. ( I use olive oil in my misto container)






Cook up the ground turkey in a separate pan, I use our tabletop pan and I love it! Use it for a lot of my meals. I know I've mentioned it before, they are inexpensive and so easy to use and clean!


In a separate skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the squash, onions, and celery and cook until soft; about 12 minutes or so.


Meanwhile prepare the stuffing in a medium saucepan. Combine 1 1/2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of butter and bring to a boil. Add the stuffing mix, stir, and remove from the heat. Fluff with fork and set aside.


Add the turkey, both soups, yogurt, salt and pepper in with the vegetables and stir. Then add the rice packet and continue to stir until well mixed. Pour into the baking dish and then evenly add the stuffing over top.

   Bake 15-20 minutes until heated through and then serve your hungry family :-) So delicious!!!!


This was a big hit for Kathleen too which is tricky at times because she's my picky eater, lol. Great flavor all around and Jerry said this is definitely a make again :-) So happy when my family is happy!


Here's a little sneak peek at what I have for some of the ingredients for dinner tonight ;-) Prepping is always a great idea, especially for busy day!



                                                                            Blessings,
                                                                                 Jill
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Today the girl's schools were on a 3 hour delay due to some icy areas, so it set back my schedule of plans quite a bit. :-) However today was a blessing of slowing down a bit as I was able to spend quality time on the phone with my Aunt Nancy. We were able to talk for awhile and remember the good times with my uncle Steve (whom recently passed away around Christmas) and my mom and how much we missed them and how much they had enriched our lives. My aunt and uncle were married 63 wonderful years!

Then the day enhanced even more when my dad called to see if he could stop by for awhile as he had just dropped his dogs off to be groomed near where I live. I said of course and we spend several hours of quality time together. Going over Ancestry and working on our geneology together. I let him know I was making the beef stew for dinner and invited him to stay; so when the girls got home from school Hayley went with him to pick up the dogs and then he came back for awhile and had dinner with us. :-) So I wasn't able to get a video today, but still want to share the dinner we had. Girls should be back on a normal schedule tomorrow and I have lots more planned.

This was a hearty beef stew I made for Jerry, the girls and my dad and they really enjoyed it. I don't eat red meat so I had some leftover food I made from the other night. All ingredients are from Aldi and the spices and garlic I already had on hand. I found this recipe on the website Instantloss.com that I recently found after hearing how she had lost weight just by cooking healthy, clean recipes in her Instant Pot. :-)

Beef Stew:

1-2 pounds beef stew meat
1 large onion diced
1 large sweet potato or 2 cups red potatoes. (I used the red potatoes, they are one of Jerry's favorites)
2 cups carrots
2 cups celery
2 cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon parsley
2 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your Instant Pot using the saute button until it says hot.

Season your meat with the pepper and salt as you wait for the pot to warm up.

When the panel lights say hot, add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pot and saute the meat till brown on all sides.

Add the rest of the ingredients, put the lid on and lock into place and be sure the vent valve is in the sealing position.

On the display panel press cancel to stop the saute function. Next press MEAT/STEW button (should automatically come up set at 35 minutes) Step back and let it heat up to cook.

When the time is up, open the quick release tab to release the pressure and add some salt to taste.

Enjoy!!! :-)



Well they were all enjoying the aroma so much, that they were quick to scoop up their bowls and eat so I forgot to get a picture of how full their full bowls were, lol. However I did manage to scoop up some of the remainder of what was left to share with you all. ;-)


It was a big hit and they all said how much they enjoyed it. Super easy clean up too with only the pot to scrub and the bowls and cups went into the dishwasher.


Over the weekend we joined the YMCA again. It's been a few years since we were members due to all our moves. The girls were really happy and after we worked out Kathleen and Jerry enjoyed some swimming while Hayley and I hung out. The YMCA always has a lot to offer families and it's a nice facility. Getting back on track feels good! I think the smiles on their face say it all.



                                       If you missed my last post and recipe here's the link


                                                                          Blessings,
                                                                               Jill
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One of my favorite places to get groceries and save a good bit of money is going to Aldi. If you've never been there yet, you just have to give it a try at least once :-) For those of you not familiar with Aldi, it's a grocery store with great prices on food and also other discounted items. These can be seasonal, household and more. The way it helps keep your costs down is by using one of your quarters to get and return the carts. This way they don't have to staff extra people to round up the carts from the parking lot. Everyone returns them so they get their quarter back.

Also you bring your own reusable grocery bags and the cashier scans your items from one cart and places them in another. Then you take your cart over to the counter away from the register and pack up your groceries in your bags. This also helps cut the cost on staffing so they can offer lower in store prices. A little extra work getting groceries, but for the savings I feel it's worth it. They also have a lot of healthy options and have added a lot of organic items at an affordable price. In my personal experience I love our local Aldi and I find their produce to be better then my local grocery store most of the time, it's definitely fresher.

In this first video I show you what I bought for this week at Aldi and I only paid $128.00. I will be sharing my meal planning and recipes throughout this week so I may be posting more frequently :-)

A Quick Video of My Aldi Haul - YouTube

In my next video I demonstrate how I make three cheese tortellini and mushroom soup in my Instant Pot. One of my new favorite kitchen appliances that I bought on Black Friday. I'll be sharing more recipes soon for this week and also for using the Instant Pot!

Cooking Three Cheese Tortellini & Mushroom Soup in my Instant Pot - YouTube

I found this recipe on one of my favorite sites for getting recipes and that is Skinnytaste. If you haven't heard of her yet, I highly recommend her page. She has delicious recipes and she also lists the points for Weight Watchers if you are a part of that program. I also have both of her cookbooks and use them often in my meal planning. Here is the link to this recipe.

We really enjoyed this light, tasty, healthy meal and there was plenty leftover for lunches the next day.

* I am not in any way sponsored by Aldi or Skinnytaste. Just sharing my experiences and helping you save some money and find delicious recipes :-) *

For those of you who enjoy seeing our goats Annabelle and Ruby, I just wanted to share this video of them enjoying some pine tree branches we recently had trimmed up. We added the branches to their pen today to enjoy. :-) They always make me smile, I'm so happy we brought them into our family.

Our Goats Annabelle and Ruby Enjoying Some Pine Tree Branches - YouTube

I share things on my other social media channels too that may or may not make it here on my blog. If you'd like to follow me there here are my links:

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                  I'd love to interact with you there as well. Thanks so much for visiting my blog!


                                                                     Blessings,
                                                                          Jill
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