Celebrating 40

So in two days I’ll be 40. 40 seemed so old when I was younger. As they say these days though, 40 is the new 20. And I’ve taken that to heart. Yes, there’s some sagging, and wrinkles, and gray hairs, but so far facing 40 isn’t so bad. I’ve got some dreams I plan to make reality this coming year, and one in partcular that ticks off three items on my bucket list is just about six weeks away. Not only am I going to California for the first time, and Disneyland, but I’m going “Coast to Coast“! I’ll be running in Disneyland’s Star Wars Light Side Half Marathon in January, and in Disney World’s Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon in April. But wait, it gets better: I’m taking two friends with me! Can’t wait for these two girls’ weekends, one of which  is practically around the corner!

I’ll also be starting school for my teaching degree, finally! I went to an interview with the director for the program today, and most of the paperwork has been processed. Everything will be in order within the next week or two, just in time for the new semester in January. It’s going to be a crazy year, with classes on the weekends and reading assignments, service hours, portofolios and all kinds of other requirements, but I need to do this. For me. Because at 20 I didn’t that I’d have the chance to do what I dreamed of as a little girl, and at 40 I can make it a reality.

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Waiting

We’ve spent this entire week waiting.

I’ve been waiting for the official test results of the Subject Area Exam I took early last week. They still won’t be available for at least another two weeks, but I’m happy to report that I passed both subtests I registered for! Once I receive the official results and the Florida Department of Education mails me their Statement of Eligibility, I can finally register for school and start my classes on my journey to become a teacher.

We were all waiting on Tuesday to see who the next president of the United States would be. I have never gotten political on this blog and I will not start now, except to say that the democratic process is a privilege we have. Many countries are unable to vote to elect their leaders, policies, presidents and dictators are forced on the people who have no voice. My grandparents left everything in Cuba to make a new life in the land of the free and home of the brave, and give not only themselves the right to use their voice but those of us who came after them. As the great nation we are, we should respect and honor the position of President of the United States deserves, even if the winning candidate is not an ideal one.

And lastly, we waited to hear back on something we were neither planning for or anticipating, but got excited about nonetheless. Early this week we made an offer on a condo in our neighborhood. We weren’t looking to move, and didn’t even think we’d qualify, but we drove by a place, saw it, and said, “Why not?”, and made an offer. We found out yesterday a different offer was accepted, but I’m happy because now we have an idea what we qualify for and how much we can afford, and can plan to make a move in the next year or two.

What have you been waiting for lately?

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Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Returns to Theaters This Halloween!

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Fans of The Nightmare Before Christmas, or Halloween, or Tim Burton, or any combination of the three,  have I got a treat for you! Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas will be exclusively at Regal Theaters for a very limited engagement this coming weekend, from October 28th until October 31st. For real, this isn’t a trick!

Being the Disney buff that I am, would you believe I’ve never seen this film?! This weekend sounds like the perfect opportunity to do so. I hope you’ll join me and take a break from the Tricking & Treating and celebrate Halloween weekend with Jack Skellington, Sally, Oogie Boogie and the rest of the citizens of Halloweentown! (I may not have seen the movie, but I do know my Disney characters!)

Tickets are now on sale at select Regal theaters. Participating theaters include locations in Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

For tickets and screening locations, visit: http://regmovi.es/tnbc2016.

Let me know if you go check out The Nightmare Before Christmas in theaters this weekend, and if you dress in costume, picture are a must!

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A funny thing happened when I was browsing Facebook today

As I usually do, I was browsing my Facebook timeline during my lunch break. My friend Carol from Girl Gone Travel is visiting Disneyland on behalf of Expedia ViewFinder. (She’s a travel blogger and this is actually her job! I know…so lucky!) She posted a Facebook Live video straight from Main Street and the cast member she was with had a great Disney trivia question: name ten animated feature films that have one-word titles that were all hand-drawn. That’s right, no computer animation used. Can you guess who knew them all? Yup, this girl! I knew nine of them right away, and had to think about the tenth, but I still got them all. I guess you can say I’ve earned my ears!

mickeyearsRachel and I with our long-coveted Mickey Ears!

Goes to show that my love for Disney can come in handy at any time, even when I’m on my lunch break!

I could tell you what they are, but that would be no fun. So I’m wondering, can you name the ten Disney animated feature films with one-word titles that used no computer animation? Leave your answers in the comments, and I’ll let you know if you’re right!

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How to Pack your Backpack for a Magical Day at Walt Disney World

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MagicalFamilyFirsts #CollectiveBias

As a Florida resident, I’ve been going to Walt Disney World for as long as I can remember. As a child I went often, and Walt Disney World holds a special place in my heart because my husband and I met there during a high school trip. We’ve instilled a love of Walt Disney World in our children from an early age: Brandon, who is now 13, went 11 times in his first three years. Matty, now 9, went on his very first vacation when he was just three months old. We are annual passholders and go as often as we can, sometimes as many as 6 times a year! When the boys were younger, we packed their diaper bag with all the baby essentials, including Huggies diapers and wipes. Now that they are older, our vacations are much easier. We’ve perfected our Walt Disney World travels, from travel time to affordable hotel stays. We even bring a backpack filled with a few essentials that make our visits to the parks easy and convenient.

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It’s easy to prepare for a visit to the most Magical Place on Earth, whether your vacation lasts two days or 10!

How to Pack Your Backpack for a Day at the Parks

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Wordless Wednesday: Coolest pregnancy announcement ever!

About two weeks ago, I won a contest where not only would ten contest winners get the highly anticipated latest release by Locos Por Juana, one of our favorite local bands, but the lead singer would personally deliver the CD to our house. The required entry was a message or comment on his Facebook Live video announcing the contest, and I jumped at the chance to win. My sister has followed the band for about eight years, and I for about seven. A couple of years ago we got our mom on the bandwagon as well.

So I was one of the ten winners, and I had the brilliant idea to use my mom’s address so we could all see Itagui. Plus we had a little surprise for him:

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My sister and her fiance are expecting a baby! I’m going to be an aunt again!
Baby is due April 2017, and we are all thrilled!

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As for Locos Por Juana’s new “baby”, the CD drops on October 7th. I’ve already heard it multiple times, and it’s awesome! It can be pre-ordered on iTunes now. Thank you, Locos Por Juana and Itagui, for giving my sister the coolest pregnancy announcement ever!

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We survived the first two weeks of school!

We have now entered the last year of middle school for Brandon, and the second to last year of elementary school for Matty. While there were a few bumps in the road transportation-wise for Brandon, I’m happy to report that all is well in Back to School land at our house. I’m happy that Brandon has some of the same teachers, so he knows what to expect and what they expect from him. I’m also thankful that Matty’s teachers emailed me the supply list during the summer, so I didn’t have to face the retail madness last week.  I am, however, in denial that in just a few short months I’ll have a high schooler…how is that even possible? Just the other day, I wrote this post, and now they look like this:

First Day of School 2016

In a couple of months, we have to choose a high school for Brandon. Long gone are the days of attending the school within your neighborhood boundaries. Now it’s like picking a university! We got a few weeks to really figure out what path he’ll take, something that in my day (here I am, sounding old!) wasn’t really decided until the last year of high school, as one prepared to enter college. I just hope I steer him in the right direction, and that he thinks about long term career goals versus his interests now. And then we have to do it all over again with Matty next year, when we decided on a middle school for him!

But for now, we’ll focus on making sure they complete assignments on time, comprehend what they are learning in school, and that we make time for fun stuff too.

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Life, Animated: A Review

Disclosure: I was provided press materials for Life, Animated, and was invited to screen the documentary. 

I’ll admit, what first attracted me to the opportunity to screen Life, Animated were the words “Disney films”. If you know anything about me and this blog, you know I’m a huge fan, and I really wanted to know about the role they played in Owen Suskind’s life: which films where his favorites? How did he relate to them? And did Disney “magic” really help Owen? I’m glad to report that Director Roger Ross Williams’ documentary answered these questions and more.

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Get Back To School Ready With Campbell’s Savings: Baked Ziti Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CampbellSavings #CollectiveBias

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What was that sound? Was that summer zooming by? Back to School time is just around the corner, and as a busy mom of two, I’m always looking for ways to plan ahead and make our crazy life a little simpler, especially during the school year. If one of those ways saves me time and money, it’s even better! Continue reading

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Life, Animated: A Documentary

Disclosure: I was provided press materials for Life, Animated, and have been invited to screen the documentary. 

Life Animated Art (554x800)

Owen Suskind was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. For years, he couldn’t communicate with his loved ones, until the magic of Disney movies created a means by which he could express his feelings, thoughts and desires. Life, Animated is a documentary inspired by the book Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism, written by Owen’s dad Ron Suskind. The documentary explores Owen’s childhood, from his diagnosis, to his use of Disney films as tools of expression, to his journey into adulthood and independence.

I’ve seen the trailer for Life, Animated several times, and every time it brings tears to my eyes. I know so many children who have been diagnosed with autism, and this film gives hope that they too can communicate in their own way, and grow up to have meaningful lives in unexpected ways. I’m very much looking forward to watching this extraordinary film. Life, Animated is currently screening in New York and California, and will hit theaters across the country during the coming weeks. Click here to find a theater near you.

SYNOPSIS:

From Academy Award® winning director Roger Ross Williams, LIFE, ANIMATED is the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. This emotional coming-of-age story follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence. The subject of his father Ron Suskind’s New York Times bestseller, Owen was a thriving three year old who suddenly and inexplicably went silent – and for years after remained unable to connect with other people or to convey his thoughts, feelings or desires. Over time, through repeated viewings of Disney classics like THE LITTLE MERMAID and THE LION KING, Owen found useful tools to help him to understand complex social cues and to re-connect with the world around him. LIFE, ANIMATED evocatively interweaves classic Disney sequences with verite scenes from Owen’s life in order to explore how his identification and empathy for characters like Simba, Jafar, and Ariel gave him a means to understand his feelings and allowed him to interpret reality. Beautiful, original animations offer rich insights into Owen’s fruitful dialogue with the Disney oeuvre as he imagines himself heroically facing adversity as a member in a tribe of sidekicks. Owen’s story is a moving testament to the many ways in which stories can serve as a means of persevering through the dark times, leading us all toward the light.

Website: http://lifeanimateddoc.com
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/Lifeanimated
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LifeAnimatedDoc

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