Even Gymnasts Have a Disney Side

One of the great privileges this blog has brought me has been the opportunity to work with great brands that I love. I have been very, very, VERY picky and selective over the years in who I work with, what kinds of posts I write for companies, and how often I write a promotional post. I’m glad that one of my final posts on this website will be for a brand that I know and love.

Disney Side1

Disney. Who doesn’t love Disney, right?!

Living in Florida has a lot of perks, one of them being our proximity to the Disney parks. The truth is, I can only take so much of a theme park in one day. After a few hours, I’m usually done feeling magical, which means living nearby is nice because we can pop in for a quick visit, hit up the attractions we enjoy the most, and leave before major melt downs occur.

That is what we call “Winning.”

Last year I had the honor of being invited to the Disney Social Media Moms event, where I learned so much more than I thought I would. I went to the event with a little bit of trepidation because I thought it would be all MAGIC and FAIRIES and LOOK AT DISNEY FROM EVERY ANGLE!

Even grown ups (especially grown ups?) enjoy showing off their Disney Side.

Even grown ups (especially grown ups?) enjoy showing off their Disney Side.

It was none of that. I left encouraged, inspired, and with the germ of an idea to start a new website. Fast forward ten months, and that germ of an idea is about to take root.

A few months ago, I was selected to take part in Disney’s new at home Disney Side Celebrations. I didn’t really know what this meant until a large box showed up at my door with a beautiful plum-colored American Tourister suitcase filled to the brim with Disney product.

Nobody does magic like Disney, eh?

A friend made Tia this super cute Frozen-inspired leotard with snowflakes all over it and "Let It Go" across the top. It is her new favorite.

A friend made Tia this super cute Frozen-inspired leotard with snowflakes all over it and “Let It Go” across the top. It is her new favorite.

The idea was to have a party in my home in which I, along with my kids and their friends, could show off my Disney Side. This posed a slight problem in that we had already hosted several home parties over the last few months, and I wasn’t really prepared for another one. I did, however, have Tia’s 8th birthday party planned at her gym, so I took my one stone and flung it at both birds.

(Do you love how I used that totally cliche’ figure of speech? Wasn’t that fun?)DisneySide4

I brought the Disney cups, and plates, the tattoos and games and spread them out on the table, and laughed when not only the kids, but also the adults started ooh’ing and aah’ing over the goodies. Disney brings magic in so many ways.

For the kids, the magic is in the now. The songs, the colors, the lights and characters that come to life.

For the adults, it’s in the nostalgia. Everything is new, and yet it is just as it was when we were young, and the early versions of ourselves get to fly again through the power of imagination.

As commercial as Disney may seem to some, for me it holds just the right amount of nostalgia and magic to bring out my own Disney Side. It must be all the fairy dust they sprinkle around the parks.


Disclaimer: I was asked to be a part of the Disney Side at home celebrations, and Disney provided me with all the product necessary to throw a party. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

Teen Beach Movie: Sticky Sweet Innocent Fun

8ECF73CD-5E04-4C2E-A19B-2C9B942CDBF7Somewhere, Annette Funicello is smiling and nodding her head as Disney’s latest TV film makes waves with young ones across the nation. Teen Beach Movie hit the small screen last week and as much as I resisted watching, I have to say…

I kind of enjoyed it. 

At least I did the first time I saw it. By the 5th time, I was kind of over it, but since I’m not really in the demographic they were aiming to please, I’m not sure it matters if I’ve already tired of the sticky sweet tween flick. My kids certainly haven’t tired of it. Well done, Disney. Well done…

Teen Beach Movie is every bit as silly, campy and sugary sweet as you would expect a Disney teeny bopper movie to be, but there was something nostalgic about it that made me smile more than cringe. I almost didn’t let the kids watch it for fear I wouldn’t be able to handle the silliness of it all, but Tia was counting down the days until this movie came on with such fervor that I worried it would send her into a spiral of despair if I said she couldn’t watch it. So I caved, popped a little popcorn and we curled up on the couch for the big event.

While Teen Beach Movie was entirely focused on boy/girl dynamics, it was done in a very innocent, funny and underhanded way. As the littles got swept up in the silly lines and over the top characters, I couldn’t resist a few laughs at the obvious spoof Disney made on some of the old Frankie and Annette Classics.

It’s almost as though Disney took the movie Grease, put it in a blender with Beach Party, then dipped it in sprinkles, rolled it in Cotton Candy and served it up on a hot pink stick.

When “Tanner” (Garrett Clayton) first appeared onscreen I had to laugh out loud. That kid could not embody the 1960’s dreamboat any more than if he were computer generated. When Lee saw the movie with us, his first comment was, “He looks just like that guy from all the old Disney beach movies!” Paired with the adorable Grace Phipps who played “Lela,” it seemed as if Disney had found almost exact replicas of Frankie and Annette.

The music in the film is catchy in an I can’t really believe I’m singing along to this, sort of way, and it’s so authentic to the ’60’s that I briefly wondered if they had pulled actual songs out of the archives of the golden oldies. Just try to watch “Cruisin’ for a Bruisin‘” and not tap your toes.

In all, I was plenty pleased with Disney’s latest movie, and my kids have all given it two thumbs up (that’s six thumbs for anyone counting). They will continue to watch it over and over these next few weeks, and while I will likely bow out due to the fact that I’m not entirely sure it won’t give us all cavities, I certainly don’t have a problem with letting them continue to laugh and sing along to this summer gem.

To make this write up even sweeter, the kind folks at Disney have given me one copy of Teen Beach Movie to give to one lucky reader. To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment and let me know if you saw the film and if you know all the lyrics by heart now, too.

For additional entries:

– Share this giveaway on Facebook, then come back and leave me another comment.

– Share this giveaway on Twitter, then comment back and let me know for a third entry.

Comments will remain open until Tuesday, July 30 (the same day Teen Beach Movie releases on DVD) at 8:00 Central Time when I will pick a winner randomly. The winner will be notified via email and will receive the movie shortly thereafter.

So, come on. Fess up. I know you have ONE song from the movie

that’s stuck in your head. Spill it.


Disclaimer: I am working with Disney to promote the July 30th release of Teen Beach Movie on DVD. I received a copy of the DVD to review and a copy to giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own. I am grateful for the opportunity.

When you wish upon a star

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney

We are home from a magical, fantastical, exhaustical weekend. My pile of laundry rivals Mt. Everest and my head is full of ideas and thoughts as I try to process all I saw and heard. It was truly, truly an honor to be invited to this year’s celebration. It wasn’t anything like what I expected.

I don’t really know what I was expecting, honestly. But this exceeded whatever it was I thought I was going to experience. I learned a lot about business, entrepreneurship, blogging and Disney. From beginning to end, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

As a disclaimer, I will tell you that I was invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. As an invitee I received a discounted rate on my hotel room, some lovely swag (that’s a fun word to say, isn’t it? Especially when it’s prefaced with the words, “Here’s Your…”), amazing once in a lifetime experiences and 7 Day Park Hopper Passes for myself and all those who were registered to attend with me. 

There – now that I made the FTC happy, I will show you pictures. And while you browse, I will begin to tackle my laundry. It’s too bad Disney couldn’t have hooked me up with a couple of magic fairies to take care of these menial tasks for me…Where’s Tinkerbell when you need her?!



Front and center to watch as Merida is officially made a Princess.


Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas was there to help with the coronation. Tia (and I) were so excited by this surprise.


How adorable is this? This was right after Merida was crowned the newest Disney Princess. I mean, seriously…Girl heaven.


All the princesses together.


Even “Jessie” was on hand for the coronation. Um…is it just because I’m a mom, or does it seem like she’s wearing too much make up? I sound like an old lady, don’t I…Carry on.


Friday night we were treated to dinner on the set of Lights, Motors, Action! We got a little up close glimpse of a stunt man doing his thang…


We met the ever charming Minnie Mouse (as well as her husband, Mickey. *wink*)

We met the ever charming Minnie Mouse (as well as her husband, Mickey. *wink*)

One of the joys of the conference was seeing Tia's face light up when we'd return to our room at night and find surprises left by the Disney elves. The night before Merida's coronation we received a huge bag full of Merida goodies including this doll and wig. The hair kills me. It's as though Little Orphan Annie and Cher had a love child...

One of the joys of the conference was seeing Tia’s face light up when we’d return to our room at night and find surprises left by the Disney elves. The night before Merida’s coronation we received a huge bag full of Merida goodies including this doll and wig. The hair kills me. It’s as though Little Orphan Annie and Cher had a love child…


I'm gonna wreck it!

I’m gonna wreck it!


The boys, unfortunately, could not come over until Saturday night due to baseball, so my mom joined us for the first couple of days. It was so sweet to have this time with her on Mother's Day weekend.

The boys, unfortunately, could not come over until Saturday night due to baseball, so my mom joined us for the first couple of days. It was so sweet to have this time with her on Mother’s Day weekend.


It wouldn't be a Disney weekend without a little Star Wars involved. R2D2 also made an appearance.

It wouldn’t be a Disney weekend without a little Star Wars involved. R2D2 also made an appearance.


Me with the adorable (and super savvy) Shannon Miller. I can neither confirm, nor deny, chasing her down to get this picture…

A little Disney Magic fell in my favor when we were assigned a hotel room with a view of the castle. We sat on our balcony at night and enjoyed the fireworks without the crowds.
A little Disney Magic fell in my favor when we were assigned a hotel room with a view of the castle. We sat on our balcony at night and enjoyed the fireworks without the crowds.

Honestly, I never thought I would be one to enjoy Disney World so much. The crowds, the heat, the insane overstimulation…

But if you do it right, Disey really can be a magical place to build memories. And let’s face it, unless you’re a robot (or perhaps a male), you’re bound to get a little nostalgic and goose-bumpy when you look up at the Castle and hear Jimmeny Cricket urging you to wish upon a star.

That doesn’t move you? How about the song Baby Mine as images of Dumbo being rocked by his Mama float by?

No? What about Cinderella singing A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes as she gazes out the window at the castle?

Surely one of those things brings just a small sigh of sweet nostalgia to your heart.

Walt Disney may have been one of the greatest visionaries and imaginators (let’s say that’s a word for now, okay?) of all time. He believed in dreams and magic and his legacy still lives on in the form of both of those. Let us never stop dreaming.

Happy Monday, everyone. I hope your day is magical, blessed and filled with imagination and dreams. 


(I also hope it includes less laundry than my day.)

Disney-Pixar’s BRAVE – Review and Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed and a winner will be chosen and notified shortly. Thank you to everyone who entered.

Disney-Pixar’s newest animated film, BRAVE, packs a dramatic and thrilling punch. I really enjoyed it the first time I saw it, but after reading the concerns of others about the film’s content, I wondered if maybe I had missed something. So when Disney contacted me and asked if I would like to receive the soon-to-be-released 5-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition, I jumped at the chance.

Since receving the movie last weekend, I have watched it twice with my youngest child. (Remember when you were a kid and could watch movies over and over…and over again?) I have to say, I don’t share the concerns voiced, though I do respect them.

BRAVE is ambitious in a lot of ways. We’re faced with a bold and brash Princess who doesn’t want to get married. This, of course, isn’t the first time Disney has explored that storyline (Aladdin’s Jasmine didn’t want to be forced into marriage, either. I know my Disney movies…) But for the first time, a Disney Princess movie doesn’t involve any sort of love story whatsoever.

Honestly, I found that refreshing.

Merida is not pining for a fella. She wants to grow up more. She isn’t opposed to marriage – she’s just not ready for it. I think this is a good message for little girls…if they even pick up on that theme at all. Chances are, most young ones won’t get the underlying messages of this movie, and that’s okay. Because it’s a fun movie to watch.

(Never before has an animated film left me with such a desire to travel. The scenery is so gorgeous that I’ve got half a mind to pack my bags and move to Scotland.)

BRAVE is a little scary in places. The evil bear, Mor’du, makes several gnarly, growly appearances and the much of the movie takes place at night, which adds an air of tension. This has not affected my children in the slightest, but if you have kiddos sensitive to those sorts of things, you should be aware. It is not, in my opinion, any scarier than other Disney movies (a gigantic octopus witch getting stabbed in the stomach with the mast of a ship anyone? It’s a wonder any of us ever slept again after that one…)

I also enjoyed the complexity that BRAVE explores in the relationship between mother and daughter. Merida and her mom, Elinor, fight almost non-stop the first half of the movie. A few years ago, when my own daughter was younger, this may have bothered me. But considering I wanted to bash my head against the wall this morning due to a battle over shoes (SHOES! JUST PUT THEM ON PUT THEM ON PUT THEM ON!), I get it a little more. This mother daughter thing is give and take and I loved the resolve at the end of the movie on the part of both characters.

BRAVE is a little…um…braver than other Disney films. In one scene, a bunch of the men walk by having shimmied down the palace walls using their kilts as ropes, and we are greeted to our first ever Disney butts. I found this hilarious – you may not. But at least you know. I also enjoyed the relationship between Elinor and Fergus, Merida’s wily, burly father. Yes, the Queen comes off looking more polished than her husband, but he is also a very strong character who fights bears and protects his family without fear. And I love the sweet bond that is shown between father and daughter.

In all, I found BRAVE to be delightful and fun and I’m thrilled with the bonus features on this five disc combo pack (which includes 1 Blu-ray 3D disc, 2 Blu-ray Discs, 1 DVD and 1 Digital Copy). The bonus features further solidify my longing to visit Scotland.

Today, thanks to Disney, I have the privilege of offering one lucky winner their own 5-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition of BRAVE. Simply leave a comment to enter. You can leave a comment about anything at all. But if you have been to Scotland before, would you please tell me in the comments section – is it as beautiful as it seems in animation?!

There are four ways to earn additional entries:


– Share this giveaway on Facebook, then come back and let me know you shared it.

– Share this giveaway on Twitter then, you guess it, come back and let me know about it.

– Post this giveaway to Pinterest, then come back and leave yet another comment.

– Post about this giveaway on your blog for a final entry.

This giveaway will be open until Tuesday, November 13. I will draw a winner at 12:00 PM EST. I am working with Disney-Pixar in promotion of the release of BRAVE on DVD. I was provided a copy of the 5-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition for review. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

Born of the same laugh

Picture by Luluphotog.com

On Saturday, Tia and I took two friends with us to Orlando to revel in the magic of the new Tinkerbell movie – Secret of the Wings. We nestled into the plush seats of the Downtown Disney theater and for a little over an hour, we danced with fairies.

The movie was sweet and the laughter of the little girls around me was miraculous – it almost made me believe. But it was the message of the movie that stirred my heart in such a unique way that I came home emotional and full of sweetness and hope and joy and…wonder.

Clearly I am a bit emotional these days, yes?

The premise of the new Tinkerbell movie is that Tink, a warm weather fairy, longs to cross the border into the winter woods to see how the cold weather fairies live, but it is strictly forbidden. Of course, she decides to cross anyway and through a series of events, she discovers that she has a sister living in the winter woods. A sister she never knew about. A sister, born of the same laugh.

I watched the story unfold and I looked down the aisle at my girl, my own little fairy, and a new surge of hope birthed. The laugh and delight of God Himself gave birth to her, my warm weather fairy, but is there another? Does a sister, born of the Same Laugh, wait for us in Russia?

I will confess that sometimes I feel an immense amount of fear when I think of this adoption. It is so daunting, the process, and I fight against closing my fists around it because I know that I can’t. When we began this process, Lee and I stepped very delicately forward with an extremely bold prayer.

“Lord, bless this. But if it is not what You have for our family, close the door and make it obvious.”

The door has remained open and so we continue to step forward with a little more confidence each day, but I know that I cannot grasp it as a sure thing. I must hold it loosely realizing that this process, this hope for our future is His and it’s all to His Glory. It cannot be mine and I will not take any glory for it.

There is freedom in relinquishing control. I feel like my heart is a little more protected and less prone to devastation, and yet there is also a deep, deep hope that the end result is the one I desire it to be. The hope that allows us to bring home a little fairy, the one from the winter woods.


A sister for my girl.


Right now I have no reason to believe that we won’t see the frutition of this dream for our family, but I also want to learn from the journey. I want to trust wholly and fully on the One who delights in these young ones. I want to hold firm to His Plan and the understanding that He knows what is best for our family, not me.

And so I hope, and I hold loosely to the dream and the vision and Lee and I continue to take the steps forward to cross the border to the winter woods and bring her home.

Day 15: I hold my hands out confidently, palms held wide to the vision placed before us. I believe we are exactly where we should be.

How are you today? How can I pray for you?

I was not compensated for this post. I previewed Tinkerbell: Secret of the Wings at an advanced media screening and I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Disney. The new Tinkerbell movie releases on DVD on Tuesday, October 23.

This week

I have one girl sandwiched between two boys. This means that most days, she is more tomboy than princess, more frogs and snails than sugar and spice. I love that about her, but I must confess that every once in awhile, when she starts acting like…well, a girl, it kind of takes me by surprise and I find it to be breathtakingly adorable.

This week, two of my cousin’s daughters are staying with us while their parents take a much needed vacation. These are two girls that know exactly what it means to be girly and Tia? Well…she’s kind of eating it all up.

These two are pretty much joined at the hip. If I can’t find them they are either outside roller blading/roller skating, or they are in the bathroom fixing each other’s hair, which you would find hilarious, too, if you lived with Tia and had to suffer the angst of daily just getting her to brush her hair.

We spent some time Father’s Day morning at the beach where the sun shined beautifully, the breeze drifted lazily, the water glistened perfectly and the children all thought they were going to die of starvation. We left after an hour because it seemed we would have had to perform a burial at sea if we didn’t feed them rightthen!

How much do you love that face?!


We’ve made full use of the pool this week, both at my parent’s condo and at our house. So far they have swum multiple hours every day. This works in my favor because it means they’re worn out at the end of the day and go to sleep quickly.


During the morning hours we are doing VBS, which also works out in my favor because it allows me to gather my remaining bits of sanity and ball it all back together for a few hours. When we were preparing for the girls I thought, I’m already outnumbered with the three kids – what’s two more?

Turns out two more is five.

Thankfully, these are two of the sweetest girls on planet Earth, which makes this whole experience a lot more fun and hilarious…and noisy. Three excited girls sounds like fifteen girls when they are gathered in one room.

Last night I took the three girls to an early VIP screening of Brave in 3D. Friends, you haven’t lived until you’ve sat behind three little girls watching a hilarious movie and hearing them roar with laughter. It was seriously the best, particularly listening to Tia because she has a super deep laugh and when she gets going, she cannot stop.

Loved the movie. Love these girls. I also, after seeing Brave, love Scotland. I’m trying to figure out how we could possibly work it out to move there…

We popped the lenses out of our 3D glasses and kept them because, as one of the girls informed me, "These are all the rage right now. They're super trendy." Well, I sure don't want to miss the newest rage...

My advice to you this week is two-fold – First, go see the movie Brave. It’s awesome and so, so funny. (Save yourself some money, though, and skip the 3D).

Second, spend some time with some little girls and see if you don’t find life to be a little more hilarious and a lot more pink. I dare you to spend ten minutes in the same room as three elementary age school girls and not crack up.

What are you up to this first official week of summer?