Saturday, November 19, 2016

Elf on the Shelf Guide for the Exhausted

Many years ago a sweet co-worker of mine gifted my family with our very own Elf on the Shelf. It was a hard time for us and I was so touched by the gift. Rudy quickly became a loved family tradition and has brought lots of laughter to our holiday seasons during the years.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Disney Wine & Dine 10K - I DID IT!

It finally arrived. The moment you all have been waiting for and the event I have been training for since August. This past weekend I spent an AMAZING time with many of my dearest friends - and I also ran 6.21371 miles through Epcot. Because, why not?

Team Disney Parks Moms Panel!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Couch to 10K Week 10 Review - THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

And so here we go. I will be in sunny Orlando soon and in just 6 days, The Walt Disney World Wine and Dine 10K will be right in front of me. Here are all the thoughts that are currently going on in my head in song version. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Couch to 10K Week 9 Review - Everything Hurts

I know what you are thinking. What happened to weeks 7 and 8?!?! Life. Life keeps happening! I have this lofty goal and as much as I would love to have more time to run it is getting very difficult to do so. I won't run in the dark and I keep running out of daylight! It is already dark by the time I get home from work and even if I WAS a morning person, it isn't light out until just before 7 when I have to start getting ready for work. On top of trying to squeeze in these runs when I can - everything hurts. OK maybe not everything . . . mainly my calves. I keep stretching and doing yoga - which does help. But - the soreness still remains. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Couch to 10K Week 6 Review - The Harvest Moon 5K

This week, I ran my VERY FIRST 'real' 5K. I was thinking I was doing pretty great in my running and thought this should be easy. Nope. Not easy.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Couch to 10K Week 5 Review - Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

BIG THINGS to report on this week. THIS. WEEK. WAS. HUGE.

Report #1 - I almost died. BUT NO for real this time! I ran outside all week this week (more on this below). I was running on the track near my home and was busy concentrating on landing right with my feet, breathing correctly, and not dying. Out of the very corner of my eye, I saw a poor lost pup! Being the dog lover I am (seriously people, dogs are love wrapped in fur) I immediately started heading over to bring the poor pooch back to his family. As I look up - IT WAS NO DOG! It was a doe - a deer - A FEMALE DEER!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Couch to 10K Week 4 Review - Ain't Nobody Got Time For That

This week I am having a terrible time fitting these runs into my schedule. The kids are back in school. Business is picking in the Travel Agency land (YAY!), and my full time job is as it always has been - full time (duh).

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Couch to 10K Week 3 Review - The Time I Went Outside

Mid-way through week 3, I started to feel confident. I was sticking to my 3 runs a week. I wasn't feeling sore or stiff. I wasn't loathing my time in my sneakers. I was running a solid 3 minutes in a row. I realized I do not need medical attention after I run. Sign me up for the next Olympics! Because of my great successes, I decided to take my speedy self outdoors. I wanted to see how fast I actually would run without something telling me what speed I should be running. To recap I will provide you with a list of pros and cons of taking your run outdoors.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Couch to 10K Week 2 Review - Everything is Going to be OK

I made it! Week 2 is behind me. Starting out, this week was ROUGH. But I also tried to increase my pace the first day. Nope. I am staying with my same speed. I am not trying to set any world records with this 10K. I just need to get through it!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Chia Seed Paleo Chocolate Mousse

I have been tying to get back onto track with my Paleo diet, and I have been doing great. Sill, I love to snack at night and carrot sticks or nuts just do not satisfy my sweet tooth.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Couch to 10K Week 1 Review - The Week of WHAAA???

Well I made it. I have my first week of training for the runDisney Wine and Dine 10K finished! Shockingly, I did not die.

My new best friend.

I have noticed a change in my attitude towards this whole running thing. I have gone from 'I really should run' to 'I really NEED to run'! I mean after all - I will have to finish the 10K or be swept up by the famous balloon ladies. I am sure they are very nice, however I do not want to meet them!

Confession: In the past when using my treadmill, I would stand on the sides and 'rest' while my program kept going. I know - cheater! This week I did not do that even ONCE! So, yay me!

I did all my runs this week on the treadmill. I was afraid to start outside because I need to be able to make sure I am going at a decent pace and not just strolling along during the walk portion of my walk / jog.

Watching Netflix on the treadmill makes time go MUCH faster. Thank you Grace and Frankie! (If you haven't watched this show - do it. It is like a modern day Golden Girls.)

Do all dogs lie by the treadmill while their humans exercise? Is he mocking me? Is he confused as to why I am dripping sweat and not actually going anywhere? Is he mad that I am not running outside with him?

After much thought and research, I have decided to run every other day. My 'off' days will consist of Yoga. My FAVORITE routine is from Yoga with Adriene. This routine targets exactly where I am sore and when I am done I feel like a stretched out marshmallow. She goes nice and slow so you can actually enjoy each stretch. Most yoga instructors just go way too fast and by the time I am where I should be they are already moving on. Adriene is the bomb dot com you guys.

I got some new running shoes for the occasion also! I know, I spoil myself.

Next week I am going to try and run outside . . .  hopefully not too many people will be outside to see me clop down the road.

Have you ever trained for a race before? How did it go? Let's discuss in the comments below!

(To follow my journey from the start - view all my running posts.)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Mickey, Moms, and Memories - My year on the Disney Parks Moms Panel

The search will start again soon for the next Disney Parks Moms Panel! Wait - the whaaaa? The Disney Parks Moms Panel! It is a group of moms, dads, aunts, uncles, and grandparents who have a passion for Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, and / or Disney Cruise Line. They have vast knowledge of their specialty. After an extensive application process, new panel members are asked to join the panel where they will spend their term answering questions that Guests submit to the panel online. Pretty cool, right?

Monday, August 15, 2016

So - I am Running the Wine & Dine 10K

OK so I seriously must be crazy and right now I am freaking out a little bit. Several of my bestest friends in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD (seriously, they are my heart guys) are signed up for the runDisney Wine and Dine 10K. I had planned on making cute signs and cheering them on. But then . . . I wanted to be part of the action.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Memory Maker, PhotoPass, & Selfies - OH MY!

My favorite Walt Disney World Resort souvenirs are the memories my family and I have created together. What better way to capture these special memories than with the perfect photos? Regardless if your visit is a once in a lifetime family trip or you frequently make weekend visits to Walt Disney World Resort - we can all agree that your family's vacation pictures are a big deal. Let's pull up a sofa, grab a Dole Whip, and dig right into your family's Walt Disney World photo options - shall we?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Paleo Hamburger Salsa - The Fastest and Easisest Dinner you will Ever Make

It's hump day!!  Que the camel. Finally we are on the downward slide of the week. I am tired. I did NOT want to make dinner tonight. Mr. Incredible will usually make something but we both were just - blah. I didn't want to order food because for one thing - I can't eat anything that is driven to my home. For another - the boys eat so much and we all eat dinner leftovers for lunch the next day so it is like ordering for 10 instead of 4. That adds up and momma has Disney trips to pay for. Not happening. Time to call in my emergency back-up dinner - Hamburger Salsa!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Walt Disney World Resort ~ Port Orleans - French Quarter

I have stayed at many Walt Disney World Resort hotels and I always leave each one saying they are my favorite! However, I think I have fallen in love with Disney's Port Orleans - French Quarter.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Signs You May Be a Walt Disney World Addict

Do you think you may be a Walt Disney World Addict?
Here are some signs you should watch out for!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Be Gel-ous of My (Paleo) Gummy Bears & Marshmallows

I have been eating Paleo for two years now - though I really do need to get back to being more strict! I have lost 65 lbs, gained 10 back, and have another 20 I really want to lose. I'm in a rut and I need to branch out into some new foods. Say... gummy bears and marshmallows? Sounds good to me!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Five Ways to Survive Summer Cookouts and Stay Paleo

IT'S ALMOST HERE!!!! My #1 favorite holiday - the 4th of July. I love our traditions, the parade, the weather, the food, the family, and the fireworks! There are also SO many chances in front of you on the 4th and nearly EVERY summer picnic from now until Labor Day to totally derail any healthy eating habits - including anyone trying to follow a Paleo lifestyle. I have been there. Let's get through this together shall we?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Kitchen Sink at Beaches and Cream at Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Almost everyone I know who loves Walt Disney World even a little bit has The Kitchen Sink on their Disney Bucket List - it was on mine!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Disney World Giant Mickey Marshmallow Treat Copycat Recipe

One of my boys' favorite Walt Disney World treats are the Mickey Marshmallow treats! They somehow taste better than the ones you make following the recipe back of the Rice Krispie box. I have tweaked the ingredients and came up with a recipe that tastes just like the giant Mickey treats you would find on Main Street, U.S.A.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Design and Ride Your Own Roller Coaster at Epcot

EDIT: This attraction was permanently closed September 14, 2016. 

Do you have a pre-teen or teen who loves STEM and roller coasters? Well, my friend the Sum of all Thrills located inside the Innovations building at Epcot is where all the cool kids are.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Tom Sawer Island at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

 Have you ever visited Tom Sawyer Island? It is a bit of a hidden gem at Magic Kingdom and it is every little adventurer's dream! My boys LOVE to visit the island and will bug us all day until we let them go. It is a great place to discover. There are rustic paths winding through a thick forest so you never know what is around the next turn. There are caves and a fort and bridges . . . come see!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Surprising the Kids with Disney - and Why We Will Never Do It Again!

Our last Walt Disney World Resort visit was a bit different. The kids had NO IDEA they were going until we were leaving for the airport.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What to Eat on Paleo - Ideas to Jump-Start Your Lifestyle Change

Chicken Shish Kabob
Many of you know when I am NOT visiting Walt Disney World, I eat a Paleo / Primal diet lifestyle. I am shocked when I mention what I had for dinner of breakfast the night before people say, 'Oh wow, that's paleo?'. Paleo eating is real food. Its not processed or garbage or 'diet' food. In fact, if you want to eat this way it will cost you nothing more than the food you are going to eat. And you need to eat anyhow to live - why not choose high quality food with high levels of nutrition?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Harambe Marketplace at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park

During our last Walt Disney World visit, I was super excited to try the new Harambe marketplace at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. It was open during our October 2015 visit, however, we arrived at 12:30 and it was PACKED! This trip I really wanted to try the Beef Gyro Flatbread, so I was sure to be there and waiting at 11:00 a.m. when the marketplace opened.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Our May 2016 Walt Disney World Vacation Video!

Remember 'back in the day' when friends and family would come back from vacation? They would invite you over to their homes and show you album after album full of beautiful pictures from their travels. Fast forward to today and pretty much... we do the same thing. Thanks to the modern day conveniences of social media - you don't even have to put on pants to view the adventures of others. YAY!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Paleo Strawberry Creamsicles

Strawberry season is upon most of the country already and should be in full swing here in Wisconsin in about a month. Nothing says summer like fresh strawberries and popsicles so why not combine them into this delicious and healthy teat?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Primal Thin Crust Pizza

Eating Paleo / Primal is difficult when everyone around you does not. As wonderful as this lifestyle has been for my health, my energy levels, and has made an all around positive impact in my life - I can't ignore the fact that a lot of times I am socially 'left out'. Gone are the days of sitting around the kitchen with friends laughing and eating brownies. I can no longer attend a football party and be able to join in on eating pizza with friends. The social aspect of this lifestyle can be a drag. It isn't all bacon and weight-loss!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Club Villain at Walt Disney World

During our most recent Walt Disney World visit, we were lucky enough to attend a special VIP event - Club Villain. Club Villain is a separately priced dining experience located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (You also need a separate valid Theme Park ticket for entry into Disney’s Hollywood Studios). This unique event features a New Orleans style all you can eat buffet including alcoholic beverages, special one-on-one time with four wickedly evil Disney Villains, and an off the hook dance party hosted by Doctor Facilier (the Shadow Man from Princess and the Frog – super creepy dude).

Friday, April 29, 2016

My Walt Disney World Bucket List

Just riding with some friends.
Ah, the bucket list. Everyone has that list of things you just have to experience within your lifetime.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Dark Chocolate Paleo Cookies

I have been in the mood for a chewy, chocolate cookie for a while. So... I experimented a bit in the kitchen this past weekend and came up with deliciousness! These guys are soft and oh so chocolatey. You are going to want to bookmark this recipe.  Even Mr. Incredible and my boys enjoyed them! This recipe made 16 cookies.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Wait – You Are Going To Disney Again?

Yes my friends we are headed to Walt Disney World - AGAIN! The countdown is getting smaller and smaller and very soon we will officially be ‘home’. I have now lost count of how many times I have visited Walt Disney World Resort since my first arrival in 2008. So why do we keep going back? Let me share a few reasons with you.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Best Paleo Shish Kabobs Ever

Spring has finally sprung in Southeast Wisconsin. While it is still a bit chilly, it's time to fire up the grill and add one of my favorite dinners into the rotation - Shish Kabobs!

Friday, April 22, 2016

My Paleo Weight-loss Story

Once upon a time I was large. Some may say I was fat. According to those pesky BMI charts, I could even be called obese. In May of 2014 I saw a picture that changed my life forever.

I'm the one on the far right!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

How to Add Luxury to your Value Disney Vacation

Staying at a Walt Disney World deluxe resort is a Disney bucket list item for many. The spacious rooms, breathtaking lobbies, adventurous pools, luxury toiletries, and fine dining at your doorstep adds extra magic to any Disney World vacation. Even the mattresses and pillows seem so much more comfortable to me than the ones at the value or moderate resorts. Many deluxe resorts are also in close proximity to various Disney World Theme Parks, saving you precious vacation time. The price tag of staying at a deluxe resort, however, may blow your family vacation budget right out of the water.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Rachel's Delicious Paleo Pancakes

You have probably seen around the internet the 'miracle' recipe of a banana and some eggs that somehow turns out to be this amazing paleo pancake. I tried such recipe and all I ended up with was a banana omelet.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Budgeting for Walt Disney World Resort Souvenirs

As you can imagine, I am asked a LOT of questions about Walt Disney World Resort – and I love it. I can talk Disney all day! One of the popular questions I receive is – “How much should we bring for Souvenirs?” This is a fantastic question! I also am sorry to tell you - I have no answer.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Walt Disney World Resort Character Dining

While visiting Walt Disney World Resort there is a LOT to do. As many times as my family has visited, we haven’t even come close to ‘doing it all’ - and more new things are happening all the time! Unless you live on Main Street, U.S.A. (wait, is that an option?) you may never see and do all Walt Disney World Resort has to offer. This may overwhelm some who may be on a once-in-a-lifetime trip with their family. There are many character meet and greet experiences throughout the four Theme Parks. For a family wanting to ‘do it all’, they may skip meeting their favorite characters due to long lines. I completely understand because during our first visit – that WAS us! However we still met Chip, Dale, Pluto, Mickey, AND Minnie during that trip without waiting even for a second in line. Wait – HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?! No they did not come to our hotel room, no I did not ‘sneak behind the scenes’, nor did we pay for any exorbitant VIP package. I am going to share with you my secret – Character Dining.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

There are many announcements I anxiously wait for every year: Did the groundhog see his shadow? Who is playing this July at Summerfest? What will be on sale during Black Friday? A few weeks ago came one of my favorite announcements – the dates for Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival!!!!!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Tips and Tricks from a Disney Pro


As both a travel agent specializing in Walt Disney World Resort family vacations and as a former Disney Parks Moms Panelist, I am often asked to share my ‘tips and trips’ for visiting. I could go on for hours and hours and often sound like I have diarrhea of the mouth when trying to think of every single bit of advice I keep in my magical brain. The truth is – there is SO MUCH advice to give and the advice varies from family to family.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Walt Disney World on a Budget

Let’s start off this cold February Friday morning with a little quiz.
How much do you think you would pay for a 6-night Walt Disney World Resort vacation for a family of four; including a personal Walt Disney World planning specialist, meals, tickets to all four Theme Parks, transportation to and from Orlando International Airport, and daily transportation to and from the Theme Parks?