Taryn was part of a Disney Princess show as a fundraiser at school, & I had so much fun watching her & her friends! She was Cinderella, & the girls in the crowd thought she was a real princess. Watching her interact with the kids was so special. Disney is such a big part of our lives, so seeing her get to be a princess for the day was really wonderful!
Taryn had her last Roustabouts show of the year last week, & it was a lot of fun to watch. We sat in the very back of the theatre, so photos aren't great, but I posted what I got!
The show included a few sets I had already seen, but also included a new Whitney Houston set. I loved this one, because Taryn's songs were so cute! I loved seeing her do a genre she hadn't really done before, & she was really good at it! She could definitely bring that style back. She also got to play cello in one song, & I miss seeing her play.
All of the Roustabouts are so talented, & it's a lot of fun going to these shows. I highly recommend attending next year's shows if you have the chance!
Taryn graduated! It's been a week now, & it's still weird to think that she's a high school graduate. A few days before the ceremony, I took some photos of her & her best friends up at the high school. I didn't get very many good photos with my friends at my graduation, so I wanted her to have plenty of fun ones!
Last Thursday was Baccalaureate, where Taryn led a prayer & sang with the choir. Mackenzie got home that night, & it was nice to have most of the family back together! We all missed Kiefer being there, though.
The ceremony was last Friday. Taryn sat up front with the chorale, & they performed a few songs. Since she was up front, she was one of the first to graduate. It was fun to see her & her friends walk the stage!
Sunday morning, we had our graduate service at NewPoint. Taryn went forward with her friends & classmates, & the church prayed over all of them & commissioned them forward into what's ahead!
On Sunday night, we had a little graduation party for Taryn. We went to my parents' house & invited some of Taryn's friends over for walking tacos, s'mores, & a diploma pumpkin roll.
I can't believe my youngest sister is graduating this weekend! I did a similar post for Mackenzie when she graduated (has it already been 2 years since then?), but I wanted to celebrate Taryn & all of her accomplishments.
Taryn is such a beautiful person. She has so many talents - singing, cello, guitar, painting, makeup, hair, there's really nothing she can't do. She's smart, funny, & has an amazing personality. She loves making people laugh, & making people feel good about themselves. Taryn is very creative, & is such a fun person to be around. She is sweet & thoughtful, & is a wonderful friend, sister, & woman of God.
Taryn has earned an awesome scholarship to NOC in Tonkawa to be a part of their Roustabouts performance group, & was also asked to play cello in their band (even though the band doesn't generally have a cello!). I am so proud of her for pursuing her goals, & for achieving so much at such a young age. She is constantly impressing those around her with her talents, yet always stays humble & thankful for her gifts.
I am so excited to see where Taryn goes from here, & am (not-so-secretly) thankful that she will be nearby as she starts her college career so we can continue spending time together. She is one of my favorite people on the planet, & I love her dearly!
Here are some photos of our times together throughout the years!
On our last evening in Orlando, Laker, Taryn, & I went to Disney Springs. Disney Springs is a large shopping area with tons of cool shops & things to do.
I had been researching before the trip & found out one of my favorite Disney artists was going to be meeting in Disney Springs while we were in town, so our first stop of the night was the Wonderground Gallery. Jerrod Maruyama designed the hipster Mickeys & several other cute pieces. His work is so fun, & I was glad to have the chance to meet him!
After leaving the gallery, we explored the shops. We ate at Earl of Sandwich, visited Disney's new TAG travel store (which opened that week), & had Ghirardelli coffees. I'm looking forward to trying the AristoCrepes shop next time we visit!
Disney Springs is always a great area to explore if you're visiting Orlando!
We had a girls' day the day after our Disney World day (notice: we're already pre-sunburned). We toured a couple of the Disney resorts, starting with the Polynesian. We had breakfast at 'Ohana, where we were able to meet several characters. I Disneybounded as Lilo (Lilo & Stitch is one of my favorite Disney movies!). She was the first to come to our table, & was very energetic, dancing & moving around. Mickey was next, dressed in his island attire. Next was Pluto, with his lei. This was my first time to meet Pluto - Donald is the only one of the classic 5 characters I haven't met now! Finally, Stitch came through. I loved getting to meet him!
Breakfast was served family style & was all-you-can-eat. We had eggs, bacon, potatoes, biscuits, Mickey & Stitch waffles, & sausages. There was also a tropical bread with pineapple & raisins.
You can see Cinderella's Castle from the beach outside. We took the monorail to the Grand Floridian, & on the way back, Mackenzie & I grabbed Dole Whips for the ride home.
The Grand Floridian is the prettiest hotel I have ever seen. We stopped to get bath products at Basin White, one of my favorite bath stores, then explored the hotel.
I was so excited to see that they already had their Easter eggs on display! Disney makes incredible Easter eggs, & I have wanted to see them for some time now. There is so much detail put into each egg, & they're made with edible products. I was so impressed!
Our third stop during our fully-packed Disney day was Hollywood Studios. Laker & I had never been to Hollywood Studios before, & I don't think Ben had either. We were so excited to see all of the Star Wars stuff! I made Kylo Ren / Darth Vader ears, & Taryn did my nails for the occasion.
I had heard of Character Palooza, an unlisted meet & greet that changes daily. There are different characters every day, & the cast members aren't allowed to tell when or where the meet & greet will take place each day. I desperately wanted to go, though! We were lucky enough to walk right into Character Palooza as we entered Hollywood Studios. I did a quick scan of the characters & noticed Robin Hood was out, & since he doesn't meet anywhere in the parks other than Character Palooza, I made a beeline for him. We were also able to meet Mulan & Tiana! There were other characters out too, but I had met most of them before.
We split up at this point, & Laker & I explored a bit, went to see the Muppets 3-D show, then decided to go meet Mike & Sully. Monsters Inc. is a favorite of ours!
Next was the Launch Bay! We rode Star Tours (which nearly killed me - do not ride if you have a heart condition!), then hung out with some jawas & went to meet Kylo Ren & Chewie. Kylo Ren singled me out & questioned my faith in the resistance. Chewie didn't like me much - My Dark Side ears were a turn-off for him, & he actually moved Ben so he wouldn't have to stand by me in the photo!
As we were walking around, we saw two storm troopers. They snuck up behind this lady & stole her park map!
We had a quick dinner, then Mackenzie shared the magic of Fantasmic with me. I won't share too many photos, because the show was a surprise to me, & I want it to be a surprise to anyone who might go!
No one does fireworks better than Disney. I had seen the fireworks at Magic Kingdom & Epcot, but this was my first time seeing them at Hollywood Studios. They were set to Star Wars music, & Disney somehow made the fireworks look like outer space, galactic battles, & even planets. It's amazing!
Our last stop of the night was Magic Kingdom. I only got one photo here, since this was pretty much the only time we stopped to pause while we were there. In Magic Kingdom, we walked through to see where Mackenzie works, then went to her favorite attraction - Disney's Philharmagic, which is another 3-D show. After that, we came back for a castle photo & headed back to the house! It was exhausting, but a great day!
We actually crossed a Bucket List item off my list & went to all four Disney World parks in one day over Spring Break. It was exhausting & I will probably never do it again, but we still had a good time! We only had one day to spend inside the parks, & we had things we wanted to see in each one, so we just hit the highlights, buzzed our way through, & made it to every one!
Our day started in Animal Kingdom. Most of us had never been to this park before, so it was a new experience! Half of our group was experiencing ticket issues, so those of us who got in without issues went to the Bug's Life attraction, It's Tough to Be a Bug. This is my mother-in-law's favorite, so I knew I wanted to give it a try for her! We had a lot of fun - we went in through the ant hill, wore bug-eye glasses, & saw an interactive 3-D show (there were a lot of those on this trip!). Afterwards, we met up with everyone at Dug & Russell's meet & greet. Up is one of Mackenzie's favorites, so I loved seeing her enjoy it so much!
We ventured on towards Dinoland, with a stop to meet Pocahontas! She was one of my favorites as a little girl, so I was excited for the chance to meet her! She asked us about our village, complimented my "tribal tattoos," & said the mice in her village didn't have ears like ours. Next, we split up while everyone rode rides. Laker & I attempted to explore Rafiki's Planet Watch, but it took longer than expected, so we basically rode the train to the island & then rode it back so we could make it to the Lion King show on time! The Festival of the Lion King was fun. It's one of Mackenzie's favorites. Laker & I barely made it on time, so we had to stand in the back, but we still enjoyed it!
I LOVED seeing the Tree of Life! Seeing iconic Disney spots is one of my favorite things on trips. The Tree of Life did not disappoint, & I was so proud of our cameraman (a random guy I asked to take the picture) - he got all of us in the photo, PLUS the tree. That never happens! Usually someone is cut out, or the angle is awful, or it's crazily zoomed in. This guy was practically a pro.
Our second stop of the day was Epcot. I haven't decided if this is my favorite park. I love them all, but something about Epcot is just a little extra great. We knew we needed to stop here because we were in town during the Flower & Garden Festival, when Epcot is covered in gorgeous flowers & character topiaries. I am so glad we stopped by! We did a quick walk-through of the World Showcase, ate some of the festival's special treats (like that awesome violet lemonade pictured below!) & then went on our way.
The topiaries were so wonderful. There are always a few scattered throughout the parks, but during the Flower & Garden Festival, they're everywhere! They're themed with the locations too - Pooh & friends are in the UK, Belle & friends in France, Snow White & the 7 dwarfs were in Germany, etc. All of the flowers were so beautiful, & the food was great!
The first pastry pictured is a troll horn. It's not specific to the festival, but it is my favorite pastry I've had at Disney. You can get it in the Norway pavilion. The duck in the second photo sat & watched me eat the whole thing! They were surrounding the pastry shop, so I'm sure they get fed often! The last small photo in this section is candied strawberries from the China pavilion. Those were not quite so good. They tasted like hard candy-coated strawberries covered in soy sauce.
The festival was so beautiful, & I loved getting to see another special event at Disney!
Over Spring Break, we went to visit Mackenzie in Florida. "We" meaning me, Laker, my parents, Taryn, & Ben. We had a very full week, with lots of fun activities & good time together. Hopefully I'll get all of this stuff on the right day, but here it goes...
We drove to Orlando (20+ hours over 2 days). Taryn & I took turns taking pictures of each other sleeping. We arrived on Saturday. This day, we just relaxed & settled into our rental house. This palm tree was in our front yard. I love all of the trees in Florida - they're so much different than in Oklahoma!
On Sunday, Taryn, Laker, my parents, & I went to the Orlando Farmer's Market at Lake Eola. We ate lots of good food (I had a jerk chicken taco from a Jamaican food booth, a beef empanada, & a lemon Italian ice), & wandered around by the lake. Taryn & I learned that black swans are real (there's one in one of these photos!). We also saw several swan boats & other various birds. It's a really pretty area!
On Monday, we all visited Mackenzie's Disney College Program apartment, then went to the giant outlet mall (which I didn't get photos at). That evening, Laker, Mackenzie, Ben, Taryn, & I went to downtown Orlando. We had dinner at Sugar Factory, which was so great! Our waiter was so fun, & took a picture of all of us, then took a selfie of everyone & posted all of the photos to Taryn's Snapchat. The other waiters were fun too, dancing & joking around. Our drinks were insane (& non-alcoholic!). Mine & Laker's was a tropical drink with two giant lollipops & a candy necklace. My sisters got one filled with gummy sharks. I'm one of those embarrassing people that keeps up with the Kardashians, so I was a little sad that Kylie Jenner had been at that location for the grand opening 3 days before we were there & we missed it, but we did explore the candy shop afterwards & I got to hold the $30 lollipop she & Kendall designed. Close enough, right? The big ferris wheel is the Orlando Eye, which we didn't get to ride this time, unfortunately, but it was so pretty, I had to get a photo!
On Tuesday, we took the day to rest for the most part. Laker & I went to lunch at Tijuana Flats, a taco shop we don't have here in Oklahoma. We were there for Taco Tuesdaze, & got their awesome dessert, cookie dough flautas! I think we also went to Target later that day, which may not seem too special, but Walmart & Target near Orlando have so much neat Disney & Harry Potter stuff, it's always fun to explore!
Wednesday was spent at Disney World, which will get a couple of posts of its own. Thursday was spent touring Disney resorts, which will also get its own post. Friday, we went to Indian Rocks Beach, where I furthered my sunburn & mostly just read my book. We also saw a one-legged seagull, which was a little crazy. & that evening we went to Disney Springs, which will also get its own post!
As I mentioned before, Mackenzie was accepted to the Disney College Program this past fall. For those who don't know about the DCP, Mackenzie had to go through an application process, followed by a series of interviews. After passing through each round, she was notified of her acceptance to the Spring 2016 program!
As a DCP cast member, she will be working at Disney World in Orlando (although some go to Disneyland in California, too!). DCP cast members can be assigned to work in the theme parks themselves, in Disney businesses at Disney Springs, or at Disney resorts. These can include a variety of jobs - anything from being a character performer to cleaning staff to restaurant service. Mackenzie knows she was assigned to work in restaurant service in part of Magic Kingdom, but will find out exactly where later on. She will also be living in Disney apartments with 5 roommates who are also in the program during her time there.
We are so excited for Mackenzie! She worked so hard to get into the DCP, & it is a dream come true for her. Our family has a huge love for the Disney company, & we are looking forward to visiting her for Spring Break!
However, before she left, Taryn & I wanted to make sure Mackenzie had a good send-off. We planned a surprise going away party for her with just the family (& Ben & Levi, of course), & tried to make it worthy of her new Disney lifestyle!
Taryn & I made all of the decorations, most of which were based on things we found on Pinterest. For the most part, we didn't follow exact instructions, but just based our ideas on the photos we looked at. We did however, use the exact recipe for the Oreo Fluff Dessert as our "Grey Stuff." I'll post links below - Just click on the titles.
Toy Story Alien Balloon
Pooh & Piglet Balloons
Wreck-It Ralph Sugar Racer Kabobs
Oreo Fluff Dessert ("Grey Stuff")
Mickey Party Hats
For the balloons, I either drew the designs on with Sharpie, or drew the designs on paper & taped them onto the balloons. Taryn had the difficult task of hanging them!
The Sugar Racer kabob candy holders were things I already had. I purchased them at $1 Tree, not knowing what I'd use them for, but they were so cute! I bought wooden skewers for the candy, & purchased several kinds of gummies & some marshmallows to put on them.
The cupcakes are red velvet. Taryn decorated them with whipped cream icing & Oreos.
As mentioned above, the Oreo Fluff Dessert is exactly from the Pinterest recipe. We dipped graham crackers in it, but you could also dip Oreos or other cookies.
Taryn & I covered regular paper party hats with colored scrapbook paper using hot glue to make the Mickey party hats. We didn't have a pattern - We just eyeballed everything & they turned out really well!
Laker made all of the signs to go with the food on the computer, & I made the "We'll miss you," banner with chalkboard wrapping paper. Laker also helped me make some super cute photo props, which we totally forgot to use. Oops.
& Ben kept Mackenzie away while we were decorating!
For Mackenzie's gifts, I made her three things:
The first had nothing to do with Disney. Mackenzie & I share a love of dramatic, sometimes ridiculous TV shows, which means we both loved Gossip Girl - especially Blair Waldorf. I made her a mug based on this design. I don't have a picture of the finished product, unfortunately!
The second was a dinglehopper hair clip. If you don't know what I'm talking about & are confused as to why I'd want my sister to wear a fork in her hair, you need to watch more Disney movies, but I posted a couple of clips below, just in case! I got the idea from this post.
Next up is a pin holder, designed to look like Mickey. I based it off of this painting design, but since it was being made to hold pins, I used felt, added the word "pins", & added a rod & string at the top so Mackenzie could hang it in her apartment. You may be wondering why she would need something specifically to hold pins. At the Disney parks, many workers collect pins. They wear them on their lanyards & trade them with park guests. So I figured Mackenzie might like a place to keep her collection! As you can see, she already has a couple added - her birthday button from check-in week (She turned 20 the week she left home!) & the Ravenclaw Head Girl badge I got her as part of her birthday gift.
Her last gift was a Scrump doll, based on Lilo's doll in Lilo & Stitch. This is a bit more of an obscure reference, so I posted a video of that scene too. I used the instructions for this sock doll, & then I sewed on buttons, hair, & a face. I made it in colors to match her room in her apartment.
Mackenzie is all settled into her apartment now & had her first training today. We're so excited to see what's next for her!
Christ. Laker. Lily. Padfoot. Puns. Polar Bears. Travel. Tea. Tattoos. Tigers. Books. Belle. Buffaloes. Wonderland. Creativity.