Archives for March 2015

Sunday Scriptures + Jacob’s 30th birthday

ABC Scriptures J

The uncertainty of each day can be overwhelming. Nothing in this world stays the same. Nothing. But, the Bible tells us that Jesus does. How amazing is that promise? That no matter what life throws at us, no matter how big we mess up, no matter how much money we make, no matter what is happening in the world around us, Jesus is always the same. Always. Wow!

Today, Jacob finally catches up with me and joins the 30 club! He is spending his birthday hard at work at the annual NFLPA meetings, so we will be celebrating his big day tomorrow. Luckily, this year the meetings are being held in Maui – what a way to celebrate! If you’ve been to Maui and have any “must do’s”, please leave a comment or e-mail me. This is our first trip so we could use any suggestions!

This Is How We Do It: Visiting Walt Disney World

Since our recent trip to Disney World, I’ve had several people contact me with questions about our trip and asking for tips when planning. I’m definitely not a Disney guru, but I do have a few tips that I’ve learned for our Disney travels, that I do find helpful! I’m still learning and below I’ll share a tip that I saw on our last trip (but haven’t used yet) and it is genius!

Tip #1: Use a Disney Travel Agent
I can’t stress how important it is to use a travel agent, especially if it’s your first Disney trip. Our Disney travel agent is Magical Vacations by Holly and she is awesome! You can find her on Facebook if you want to book a trip. She is free to use and is oh so helpful! Jacob isn’t a fan of big crowds and she always helps us pick a week to visit when crowds are at a minimum (well, a minimum for Disney). She also give suggestions on where to stay and what promotions are available. Even after your trip is booked, if a new promotion becomes available, she’ll add it to your reservation. It’s always exciting to book the trip and then pay less than what was expected!

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Want a crowd free castle photo? Read below to find out how!

Tip #2: Enter the Magic Kingdom before it opens
The one question I kept getting over and over after I posted the picture above on instagram was: Were you the only people at Disney World? How did you get a picture in front of the castle without the massive swarm of people? Well, the answer is simple: We went in the park before it opened. There are two ways to enter the Magic Kingdom before it opens: get reservations for breakfast at The Crystal Palace or have an appointment at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Since Luke isn’t exactly in the market for a glittery updo and Lyla is still bald, we opted for breakfast. Make sure you get a reservation that is prior to the park’s opening time. You can make reservations for Disney Dining 180 days in advance so be prepared to plan ahead if possible. Once you arrive at the Magic Kingdom gates, head to the far left entrance and they will let you sneak in. Well, you aren’t technically sneaking in, since your name is on a list, but it sure feels like you’re sneaking in when you get to skirt past the hundreds of people waiting to enter. The only downside to entering the park early are the dirty looks that will be directed toward you as you pass by the long line of people that have been patiently waiting to get inside. It truly is magical to walk to Main Street USA when your family is the ONLY family there. For those few minutes, it feels as if you have Disney all to yourself!

Tip #3: Use Disney’s Photographers
On our first trip to Disney, I was worried that we wouldn’t have any family photos. Either I would be taking the picture of Luke and Jacob or Jacob would be taking one of Luke and I. However, we ended up with LOTS of pictures of all three of use because Disney’s professional photographers will take pictures of your group with YOUR camera. Yes, they will take a picture with their camera first in hopes that you will later purchase them, but if you ask, they will take one with your camera as well. How awesome is that? So, don’t be shy. If you see a cast member with camera, ask them for a group photo, they will take it with a smile.

Tip #4: Get the My Disney Experience App
Be sure to download the app before leaving for your trip because you will be using it constantly while you’re on Disney property. You can log in to your My Disney Experience account and it will sync all of your dining reservations and fast passes on the app. This app will also serve as your park map and allow you to view the current wait times for the rides. The app also allows you to make changes to your Fast Passes throughout the day and has menus available for each restaurant.

After several Disney trips, I learned that there are a few unexpected items that you will need during your stay. Below are my must haves for any Disney vacation:

– Snacks and Water. You can bring snacks and bottled water in to the park. And, if it’s allowed, why wouldn’t you? A bottle of water can cost $3.50 inside the park. That can really add up over the course of a long day. We bring lots of snacks because Luke and Jacob are bottomless pits and it would cost a fortune to buy them snacks every hour.

– Bright Ribbon. Disney has large stroller parking areas throughout the park where you will leave your stroller while you wait for rides. There are literally thousands of strollers in the park and chances are there will be several that look just like yours. Disney cast members often move the strollers around in the parking areas to help the flow of traffic, so your stroller will most likely not be in the exact same place you left it. I always bring brightly colored ribbon, preferably neon yellow, and tie a big bow on the stroller handle. It makes it easy to spot in the sea of strollers and we don’t have to waste time searching for ours.

– Gum. Walt Disney was a bit of a clean freak and one of his main concerns was keeping Disney clean. With that in mind, gum is not sold on Disney property. So, if you like to chew gum, be sure to bring your own.

– Wipes. Spills will happen, so be sure to bring wipes even if your kids aren’t in diapers. They are also great for cleaning off tables at quick service restaurants! Also, the first thing I do when I board a plane is wipe down my seat and tray table. I’m not a germaphobe, but I’ve been on enough planes to know that they are cess pools for germs.

– Disposable ponchos. Although Disney World is in the Sunshine State, chances are you will experience an afternoon rain shower on your trip. You can purchase ponchos at the Dollar Tree for a buck, so be sure to bring at least one per person. After the rain is over, you can toss them and not have to worry about keeping up with an expensive and soaking wet poncho. They are also great to wear on Splash Mountain if you don’t want to get soaked.

– Glow Sticks. When the sun goes down on the Magic Kingdom, the street peddlers come alive with all of their glow in the dark and light up gizmos for kids. Instead of paying $15 for a Buzz Lightyear spinning flashlight, I buy glow sticks at the Dollar Tree before we leave. Luke is always so excited when I pull them out of our bag at night and he’s so happy with his glow sticks that he doesn’t even think to ask about the dozens of items they are selling.

– A Cheap Shower Curtain and Towel Clips. This is the tip that I just saw on our last trip and I will be using in the future. I purchased a large non-disposable poncho to cover our stroller in case of a rain shower. I’ve never really been pleased with it because it doesn’t cover the whole stroller and the arm and neck holes often leak water into stroller seats. Well, some genius mom (or dad) came up with the best solution. They had a cheap shower curtain draped over their stroller and they used beach towel clips to clip it on the stroller. It kind of makes me mad that I didn’t think of it, but I’m sure glad someone did!

I hope these tips are helpful when planning your next Disney vacay and I would love to hear your Disney tips and tricks as well!

 

 

Homemade Granola Bars

Granola Bars

These granola bars became a Tamme Family favorite after searching for a granola bar that wasn’t hard as a rock and didn’t have a ton of what I call “non food” ingredients (chemicals). Now, these little scrumptious bars are not what I call healthy because they do have quite a bit of sugar in them. We usually eat them as a treat or dessert. However, I have been known to eat one for breakfast!

Last week, Jacob went on his annual golf trip that he set up five years ago with his buddies. I often joke that I get about three weeks in between being a football widow and a golf widow. In our family, football pays the bills, but golf is the main focus! I’m hoping that Luke is a golfer, NOT a football player, because I’m all about non-contact sports! I just can’t imagine my baby getting hit! Ugh! It’s hard enough to watch my husband get hit, but my little boy? It ain’t happening! Anyway, back to the granola bars. Each year I make a big batch of these granola bars for Jacob to take on the trip and they are always a hit! Last year, I got complaints from some of the guys that they were not shared evenly. So, this year I made each twosome their own box of granola bars to be fair. This year, there were no complaints… only praise! Trust me when I say – these.are.awesome.

I adapted my recipe from Rachel Ray’s. She added raisins and pretzels to hers. Why in the world would you do that when you could add chocolate and peanut butter chips? Obviously, I need to teach her a thing or two about cooking. Hah! I double her recipe because I think that it fills the 13×9 pan better and doesn’t leave you with wimpy granola bars. I realize that this is the third recipe I’ve blogged about and all three have peanut butter and chocolate in them. I promise I’ll branch out more, but peanut butter is a staple in our household and chocolate, well, I think that just speaks for itself!

Ingredients
1 stick of unsalted butter
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. honey
4 C. plain granola
2 C. rice cereal
approx. 1/4 C. mini chocolate chips
approx. 1/4 C. peanut butter chips

Directions
1. Line a 13×9 pan with aluminum foil and grease with butter (or non-stick spray). I’m a fan of real butter, so that’s what I use.

2. In a medium saucepan, bring the butter, brown sugar, and honey to a boil; stirring often. Then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for two minutes or until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat.

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3. In a large bowl, combine the granola and rice cereal. Pour the honey mixture over the cereal mixture and stir with a spatula to evenly coat the dry ingredients.

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4. Pour the the granola mixture in to the lined 13×9 pan and press down evenly with the spatula.

5. After setting for 2-3 minutes, sprinkle as many chocolate chips and peanut butter chips as you would like on top and gently press them into the granola with the spatula.

6. Let cool for 20-30 minutes and remove the bars from the pan and cut into 16 bars.

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Sunday Scriptures

ABC Scriptures I

The actual ABC Scripture verse that we are learning is “I am the way and the truth and the life.” John 14:6 It’s just an abbreviated version of this verse that makes it easier for Luke to learn. I’m finding that he is having trouble learning one verse per week. He quickly forgets them when we move on to the next week. At our church in Denver, he learned one verse per month and he has pretty much committed those to memory. Nevertheless, Jacob and I are still learning and we can always repeat with Luke when he’s older.

UPDATE: So… remember the plank challenge I posted in February? Well, I could NOT do it! It was definitely a challenge. Hah! I would complete the time each day, but I would have to put my knees down and rest before I could finish the allotted time the last 10 days or so. I was SO mad and frustrated that I couldn’t do it! I’m not giving up though. I’m going to keep at it until I plank for 3 minutes straight. Did you take my plank challenge? How did you do?

I’m not trying to make memories…

We’ve had several people make comments about why we shouldn’t take our very young children to Disney World and “waste all that money on something they won’t remember.” One lady even told Jacob on our first night at Disney, that Lyla doesn’t even know where she is. Well, she was right. She doesn’t know where she is and she won’t remember a single thing about our trip last week. But, we didn’t take our kids to Disney in the hopes that they would reminisce about the trip when they are 30 years old. We took them so they would enjoy it and for them to experience the magic. I could care less if they have memories of our trip; I simply wanted them to have fun! We aren’t in the business of making memories we are in the business of creating experiences. If they remember them, great! If not, that’s ok too.

There’s a big debate on the internet about what the best age is to take a child to Disney. I think the best age to take them is whenever the parents want! Hah! In all seriousness, I think that you should at least consider taking your child to Disney before their magic runs out. Right now, Luke thinks that Mickey is really Mickey. And when he met Anna from Frozen, he really thought that she had just travelled from Arendale. That is magic. Because for me, I knew that Anna was just a college chick from Kissimmee that needed a part time job. There’s no magic in that! But, oh, it was magical for me to see Luke’s face when he met her!

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See his little face? So animated! He asked her all about Olaf and Sven!

Some friends of ours asked us this weekend how we knew we were ready to have kids. We responded with, “We weren’t.” Hah! I’m not sure anyone is ever ready to raise a new, little human, but what a joy it is to have that privilege. I feel the same way about Disney World. If you wait until your kids are potty trained or wait until they can walk the whole time or wait until they remember it, they will soon be grown and not want to go at all. And when you, as parents, finally feel like you’re ready to take your kids it will be too late.

So, now that you know how I feel on that subject… on to our trip recap!

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This was our third trip to Disney with Luke, but our first time to take him to EPCOT. I was a little worried that he wouldn’t enjoy it as much as the other parks, but boy was I wrong! There was SO much for him to do. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Spaceship Earth looks like a giant golf ball, which is right up Luke’s (and Jacob’s) alley!

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My parents with Luke at the aquarium

Unbeknownst to me, there is an excellent aquarium in EPCOT. We spent nearly an hour looking at the dolphins, sharks, stingrays and fish. We didn’t see everything the park had to offer because we took our time letting Luke play and just enjoy!

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Luke is currently transitioning out of a nap (which makes me sad on so many levels) but apparently EPCOT wore him out! He fell asleep on top of Jacob’s shoulders while waiting to ride Soarin’. I was in the lobby area waiting with Lyla, so I didn’t see this happen in person, but the picture completely cracks me up!

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In our opinion, one of the best upgrades to the Disney Parks in the last few years has been the addition of Starbucks! Can you see the excitement in Jacob’s face? Hah! Only two of those drinks are his… he said he needed an afternoon pick-me-up!

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I got a few looks when I was walking around EPCOT like this. But, hey, when baby girl needs to eat and your son really wants to meet Duffy the Disney bear, you just got to make it work! We were all laughing about the situation and so my dad dared Jacob to see if he could feed her and walk at the same time. Of course, Jake accepted the challenge…

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Right now, our favorite park is the Magic Kingdom, so we spent two of our three park days there. Luke was finally tall enough to ride the “big kid” rides and boy was he excited! He loved the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Splash Mountain. We felt like it was sort of a rite of passage when he rode Splash Mountain… our sweet baby is now a big kid!

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We celebrated Luke’s 4th birthday one month early! I love parties, so we celebrate multiple times!

We celebrated Luke’s 4th birthday Disney style with dinner at Be Our Guest. We had them bring out a small cake and I brought a “4” candle from Walmart to stick in it! Disney’s personalized cakes can get really expensive, but they allow you to bring in anything you like to decorate their plain celebration cakes!

I’m not going to lie, I absolutely love Disney World! Jacob doesn’t share the same sentiment, but he doesn’t hate it and he really loves seeing Luke and Lyla enjoy the magic. We spent four nights at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and I really wish we would’ve spent one more night. Of course, I probably could’ve stayed a week and had the same thought when I left!

Luke was a little sad to leave, but I reminded him as we left the hotel – “It’s not goodbye. It’s see ya later!”

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Well folks, I did it. It didn’t go exactly how I had imagined it, but I finished! And, with that said, I get to cross one more item off my 30 in 30 list.

30 in 30 3:2:15

We had originally planned to fly to Disney out of Nashville. However, the day before we were supposed to fly, flights were getting cancelled like crazy because of snow and ice. Instead of risking our flight getting cancelled and me missing my race, we cancelled our own flights and hopped in the car to drive the 13 hours to Disney. CRAZY, I tell ya! It wouldn’t be a trip with the Tamme fam if it wasn’t crazy!

When we arrived at Walt Disney World, we went straight to get my race packet at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. I had no clue how big this event was until we arrived. I’ve been to several BIG sporting events, but I certainly had never been a participant, so needless to say, I was a little overwhelmed.

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I was giddy with excitement when they handed me my race bib!

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Disney leaves no detail untouched! How cute were the race bibs? They had each lady’s name preceded by “Princess” at the bottom of the bib. I tried to get Jacob to refer to me as Princess Allison all week, but he wasn’t buying it!

My wake-up call on the morning of the race was at 2:25am… ouch! They were not kidding about an early start! Thankfully, I had lots of excitement mixed with anxiousness so I wasn’t tired at all.

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Disney Princess Half Marathon Race Retreat

If you ever run in a runDisney event, I would highly suggest getting access to the Race Retreat. It is an extra fee on top of the entry fee, but it is worth every penny. Being in the Race Retreat tent allowed me to have a place to hang out from the time I arrived at the race area until the race started. Otherwise, I would’ve been outside standing for 1.5 hours. They had bagels, bananas and coffee for the runners and Belle was there for photos ops. I met several nice ladies in the tent while we ate our pre-race breakfast. I’m not even sure you call it breakfast if you eat at 3am… pretty sure that is still just a mid-night snack!

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There were SO many cute costumes at the race! There were 27,000 runners and nearly every runner had on some sort of costume! I walked past this guy on my way to the start line and his outfit was hilarious! You see, this race is supposed to be for women, but men are allowed to run. Well, this very smart bachelor dressed as Prince Charming and put his own want ad on the back of his shirt. He also carried a big red, velvet, tufted pillow with a silver New Balance shoe on top. I’m not sure if he ran the whole race carrying it, but he definitely started off with it. It was so cute and I’m hoping he found a princess!

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The first several miles felt really great! There were fireworks, marching bands, and Disney characters all along the course. I was so torn as to whether I should stop for great photo ops or keep running. I decided to keep running and only stop for a photo in front of the castle. It really was magical to run through the Magic Kingdom and to top it off, my family was on Main Street cheering for me! Bless their hearts, they had a super early wake-up call too, but I was so thankful they were there cheering me on!

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I was dying to stop for a photo with Snow White since I was dressed like her, but the line was ridiculously long, so I just took a selfie as I ran past her. I must say, I’ve made fun of people using the selfie stick in the past, but after this race, I’ve decided that it’s going on my wish list.

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I really could’ve used that selfie stick when I stopped to take a photo with the Fairy Godmother, which I’m pretty sure was just Paula Deen in a big costume. Don’t they look just alike?!? The Fairy Godmother was the announcer for the race and she was so funny! She was located at mile 12 and was encouraging the runners as they passed by. You can see her mic in the photo. At this point in the race, I was walking a tenth of a mile (or more) at each mile marker, so it was the perfect opportunity to stop for a picture. She wasn’t an “official” photo op on the course, but I ran past the orange cones and asked her if we could take a photo. She obliged and thankfully I didn’t get in trouble for going off the course.

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Finisher! Can you see the pixie dust they sprinkled on my hair after the finish? I loved all the little Disney touches on the race!

Finisher! Thank goodness! As I approached the finish line,  I heard the announcer say, “And here comes Allison Tam.” Hah! I started laughing as I was running because no one can ever pronounce my last name correctly. When I crossed the finish line, I felt such a sense of accomplishment. Six months ago when I signed up for this race, I was 32 weeks pregnant and on bed rest. At the time this race felt like a dream, but it finally became a reality!

I could feel my ankle and arch hurting during the run, but it wasn’t until I stopped running that the pain really set it. I couldn’t put weight on my left foot without a sharp pain, so I shuffled my way through the crowd to find Jacob, who then led me to the tent where the rest of my family was waiting.

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My little fam after the race! Can you tell they had to wake up before the sun? They all have sleepy faces!

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What would I do without my parents? This trip was supposed to be a “thank you” to them for spending two weeks at the hospital with Lyla and I last summer. But, they ended up having to drive all the way to Orlando, waking up at the crack of dawn and helping us with the kiddos all day! I’m not sure it was much of a vacation for them, but we sure enjoyed getting to spend time with them!

I REALLY wanted to run the entire 13.1 miles; however, finishing was my ultimate goal. My other goal was to finish under 2:30:00, I didn’t achieve that goal either. I probably would have if I didn’t stop for pictures at the castle, but I wanted to enjoy the experience while I was there. I have never really pushed my body physically until the point of exhaustion… and you know what? It felt pretty awesome! The entire race was extremely humbling. There were women of all ages and sizes participating and let me tell you, there is nothing quite like the feeling of getting passed by a 70 year old during a race. Hah! I hope to be like those older women one day still out there exercising and having fun! It was also inspiring to hear about all of the weight loss stories. I met two ladies that lost over 100 pounds in the past year. Wow! I thought I was doing great just to have lost my baby weight… again, so humbling.

My cousin texted me after the race, “don’t wait too long before you sign up for your next race.” I’m not sure I’m signing up anytime soon. I’m going to give my leg a rest and see if it will heal, but I’m definitely planning on running a half marathon again.

Sunday Scriptures

ABC Scriptures H

 

…He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

I love the verse this week because it’s such an amazing promise. The God of the universe, the creator of all things, the giver of life cares about me? Wow! At first I found this so hard to believe. How could God care about little ole me? But as I’ve grown older, I do wholeheartedly believe that God cares about me… and you, and all of his creation.

I often found myself not praying about things that were important to me, trivial things that I didn’t think were “big” enough for God to deal with. Well, you know what? If I care about it, then He cares about it, because He loves me. So, no matter how small, no matter how trivial or silly, take your cares to God because He cares for YOU!

As you can tell, the blog has been a little slow lately. We’ve been in Disney and are settling back into normal life before we leave on our next trip. I promise to have several Disney re-cap posts about my race, our trip and Disney tips and tricks this week!

Happy Sunday!