1/26/16

My Harry Potter Fangirl Partner in Crime

Today I received an official email from Universal Orlando revealing our A Celebration of Harry Potter schedule for this weekend! Kierstyn and I are so excited we can hardly contain ourselves. 

When we first starting planning this trip, friends asked why Universal? Why Harry Potter? They even asked me why we didn't choose to go to the beach or Disney.

To answer the above I should probably first introduce you to Kiery Kierstyn. (She's too old to be called Kiery now that she is 16, just in case you were wondering!) She came into my life when she was just four years old and over the years we have been able to build an awesome mother/daughter relationship.

We both share a love of reading that started when she was in elementary school. She was reading at a middle school level and quickly running out of material from the school library. In order to satisfy her thirst for books I would read young adult books first to make sure they weren't too racy for her age. I'm pretty sure I read every young adult fantasy book the library had to offer by the time Kierstyn was in the 5th grade. Books bonded us. 



This trip is going to allow us to experience the books and movies we bonded over first hand. That is what we are both looking forward to the most. Full immersion in the magic of Harry Potter. She's my fangirl partner in crime. 

We still have our parent/child spats like everyone else but this trip is a chance for us to get away, just the two of us. I will miss my two littlest and my husband and love traveling as a family, but I know Kierstyn and I will make amazing memories we will always cherish. It will be the perfect time to make memories that don't involve talking about colleges, boys, or the correct use of por and para on her latest Spanish assignment. It will be just two girls fangirling over Harry Potter. I can't wait!



What do you bond with your kids over? 

1/25/16

A Magical Milestone, Baby's First Haircut


Lunch hours. I have a love/hate relationship with them. During the warmer months I love them! I can go outside and go for a walk. I even have a work friend I threaten invite to go with me. The winter months are a different story though, I still welcome the break from the daily grind, but during the winter when I don't want to go outside I try to find productive things to do while I eat my lunch. Last Friday it was organizing personal photos. Yes, yes I know, SO EXCITING! It was actually pretty exciting because I came across photos of Kellen's first haircut at Disney. He was so little!

When we planned his first trip to Disney World, I knew I wanted him to have his first haircut to happen at the Harmony Barber Shop. I called and made sure to make the reservation for a time when I knew he would be in the best mood.

Kellen was and still is my early riser. He has the BEST internal clock on the face of the planet. I still to this day have no need for an alarm because I know he will always wake me up. Did I just jinx myself? Lets hope so because then that would mean I got to sleep in for the first time in four years!

I was able to snag the very first appointment of the day. We watched the rope drop ceremony at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom, which Kellen LOVED and then made our way to Main Street USA where the Harmony Barber Shop is located.

We were instantly greeted with the delicious smells emanating from Main Street Confectionery. Kellen’s first reaction to the park was very fitting for a 10 month old. Even though I am sure his senses where being bombarded with all the sights and often loud sounds of the park, he handled it like a champ. He smiled and clapped his hands. (I knew he would be a Disney enthusiast like his mom! I had hoped anyway!)

The shop front is everything you would expect from a vintage barber shop. It even has its very own striped pole in the front.

We entered the shop, and were instantly greeted by the cast members. They checked us in and were instantly sent to a booth, where Michal, our barber was waiting for us. I was so anxious that our magical moment was going to fall prey to stranger danger. When we sat Kellen on the booster, I held my breath and waited for the screams to ensue, but was pleasantly surprised when I didn’t hear a peep!

A photo of a baby receiving his first haircut at Harmony Barber Shop in the Magic Kingdom.A photo of a baby playing with stickers while receiving his first haircut at Harmony Barber Shop in the Magic Kingdom.

Kellen sat thru the whole haircut! Michal was just amazing. He was patient and kind. He tickled his toes and gave him Mickey stickers to play with.

A photo of a baby anticipating being tickled while receiving his first haircut at Harmony Barber Shop in the Magic Kingdom.
The look on Kellen's face is priceless. It is almost like he is saying, "I know what you are up to!"

A photo of a baby being tickled while receiving his first haircut at Harmony Barber Shop in the Magic Kingdom.

At the very end, Michal gave us a super cute certificate commemorating his first haircut and placed his very first set of ears on his head! Ah! I could have just DIED from the cuteness overload. I was even given a small pouch with a tiny bit of his baby hair. 


A photo of a baby receiving his first set of Mickey ears after receiving his first haircut at Harmony Barber Shop in the Magic Kingdom.



That magical morning by far, is one of my favorite Disney memories.

How did your kids take their first haircut? What do you do during your lunch hour besides eat? Are you thinking about traveling to the happiest place on earth soon? Have questions about the Harmony Barber Shop? The parks?  The resorts? Contact me at belleofmyownball@gmail.com!

1/22/16

Crock-Pot Salsa Chicken


My number one time saver in the kitchen is my crock pot. If you are not utilizing this appliance in your kitchen, NOW is the time to start.

If you do not own a crock pot and are thinking about purchasing one, I recommend getting one with a removable crock. What the heck is a crock? It is the part of the crockpot that can be removed and cleaned. It is also the heavy piece that I fear will someday fall on my toe.

A removable crock is awesome because you can assemble your recipe the night before and leave the crock in the fridge overnight. In the morning I pull the crock out of the fridge, throw it in the base, and off I go.

For those who are new to using a crock pot, this is the perfect starter recipe. Not only is the prep quick and easy, but you can use this chicken in so many ways. It is one of our family favorites.

I also double and sometimes triple this recipe for multiple meals throughout the week. It also freezes well.

Ingredients:

1 pound of boneless, skinless, chicken breast
1 jar (16 ounce) of your favorite salsa or 2 cups if you buy in bulk
1 packet of taco seasoning or 2 tablespoons of homemade (More info on homemade coming soon!)

Directions:

Bust out your crockpot! Trim chicken breast and place them at the bottom. Sprinkle taco seasoning over chicken. Spread salsa on the top.

Ready to start cooking!



Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Use two forks to shred the chicken in the cooking juices.

Our favorite ways to eat salsa chicken are in quesadillas, on fajita pizza, and in burritos bowls!


How are you going to eat yours?


1/20/16

Gearing up for A Celebration of Harry Potter Weekend

Let's start with a little story. This past July, my almost 16 year old requested a birthday party. (I was planning one anyway but of the surprise variety.) I was distraught at first, imagining a really bad episode of "MTV's My Sweet 16," but then was pleasantly surprised when she said, "I want it to be Harry Potter themed." Hot dog! My fangirl heart soared. Harry Potter I could do.

We planned the most epic Harry Potter birthday party. Everyone invited received their very own Hogwart's letter, signed by Professor McGonagall herself!


Guests arrived at our 93/4 platform and were immediately sorted by the infamous sorting hat. Once sorted, they were given crocheted house scarves to show their house pride.



A visit to Ollivander's was a must. The wand of course chose the wizard.


Finally our budding wizards were ushered to Hogwarts to enjoy more d├ęcor, classes, and delicious themed treats.




I mean just look at Kierstyn with her very own mandrake dirt pudding cake. Does it get much better than that? I think not!


My favorite part of the party? The look on Kierstyn's face when I told her we would be going to Universal in Orlando to explore The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If that wasn't enough she completely freaked out (Imagine a teenager jumping up and down while uncontrollably giggling... oh wait that might have been me.) when she found out we were scheduled to attend Universal's yearly A Harry Potter Celebration. For those who aren't familiar with A Harry Potter Celebration, it is a magical 3-day event that includes film talent Can you say Ron, Ginny, Neville, Cho, and Luna?) Q&A sessions, special discussions and demonstrations, and even an Expo where we will be able to spend all our money!


Fast forward 4 months to today and our wait is almost over. We both were sure this trip would never get here but lo and behold we will be departing next week! What part of this weekend is the most exciting for me? I get to spend time with this beautiful witch. It is our very first trip away, just the two of us. Do you think she will teach me how to cast my very own patronus?


I know it is going to be an amazing girls weekend. Harry Potter for us is more than a book series. Since she read her very first book at the age of eight, Harry Potter has always been something we could share and talk about. It still is, and I have a feeling it ALWAYS will be. 

Stay tuned! It is going to be awesome!

1/18/16

New Year, New Me



I don't know about you, but the roll over of a new year always brings about a hankering for change for me. This year was no different. That is what resolutions are for right?

My number one resolution since I can remember has always been to lose weight. I am pretty sure I have lost the same 50-70 pounds about 5 or 6 times, but have NEVER kept it off. It was always a diet. It was all or nothing. If I had a day where I ate something I deemed "bad" I would give up. I always thought, "What was the point anyway?" Of course when you give up you don't move forward or attain your goals. You are stagnate and feel miserable. I want to break the cycle.

This year on New Year's Eve I made one statement, "I want to be healthier in 2016." My goal is not to lose weight, but to be better, feel better, and make better choices. Progress over perfection.

I will treat myself kindly and know that I will not be perfect. It will be a journey and not easy, but I am able bodied, smart, and know my kids deserve better. They need an active mom who can teach them to be healthy.

Next New Year's Eve I want to be able to say, "I am healthier." I want to be proud of myself. Join me!

Are you working towards lifestyle goals in 2016? What do you do to keep yourself motivated and leading a healthy lifestyle? How do you get your kids involved?

1/15/16

I'm here!


Welcome!
This is my very first blog post to Belle of My Own Ball! I am so excited! First allow me to introduce myself. Ahem… My name is Lizeth, pronounced, Liz-eth. (If you aren’t sure think of it like this equation, Liz+(Beth-B)=Liz-eth) It is different so I definitely won’t fault you for saying it wrong!
I live in the Midwest with my husband (Rob) of almost 10 years and our beautiful kiddos, Kierstyn (16), Kellen (4), and Alana (2). As a family we LOVE to travel and our favorite place to travel to is Disney!

Aside from being a loving mom and devoted wife, I am also a professional photographer, dreamer, Disney fanatic, home chef, avid reader, Harry Potter lover, fangirl, planner nerd, and time chaser.

Most recently, I have added fitness seeker to my plate. I have embarked on a journey to become healthier. I have struggled with an unhealthy lifestyle my entire life. I always told myself that there wasn’t enough time or that it was just too hard. This is the year that I threw the excuses out the window and am taking it one day at a time. I know my journey won’t be perfect, (because well… I love Pizza) but I am aiming for progress over perfection.
I want a place to share my thoughts on mommyhood and family life. I want a place where I can hold myself accountable for my lifestyle changes and struggles. I want a place where I can share recipes and processes that save me time. I want to share my love of Disney. Most importantly, I want to build a village; a village of support, creatively and fun.
I hope you will join me, comment, hang out, and share your thoughts. Oh and let’s be honest I might need someone to talk me off the ledge when I want to devour a package of oreos!



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