Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Disney through the eyes of Sophia - Part 1

On our relatively recent trip to Disney, Sophia kept a journal of all the things we did on our trip.  When I eventually get around to making a photobook of this trip, I am planning to use her journal to make it.

Here is the tale of trip, through the eyes of Sophia....

Day 1 Thursday March 27 2014 
Today we woke up at 4:25 am! I know what your thinking, how could people do that to Sophia? It wasn't as bad as I thought. Anyway, we drove to Grand Forks and had breakfast at Denny's. I had chocolate chip pancakes and water. We then drove to the airport. Moms suitcase was too heavy so she had to put some stuff in Jacob's suitcase. Then we went through security, which went faster then I thought it would be. It usually takes 20 minutes, but it took 5-10 minutes. We waited a long time before going on the plane. Dad got me and Em a sandwich to share, and a water. We all went to the bathroom, and then got on the plane. When we boarded, it took a long time before we took off. Once we started going onto the runway we went pretty fast. Then we lifted off the ground and were above the clouds! It felt pretty cool. My ears didn't pop as much as I thought they would. I played on my iPad mostly the whole time, the flight was just under 4 hours. When we landed we rented a vehicle that seats 8 (me, mom, Dad, Emma, Olivia, Jacob, Grandma and Grandpa). It was an hour drive from the airport to the house (We rented a house, not hotel). Once we got to the house, we unpacked and went to Buffalo Wild Wings for supper (I got the jungle room).Me and Emma shared two meals of wings off the kids menu. Emma ordered BBQ wings and I ordered honey garlic wings, and Root Beer (which I obviously didn't share). We went back to the house after supper because we were tired from all the traveling. But we decided we could still go into the hot tub before bed. 

Day 2 Friday March 28 2014 
When I woke up this morning I heard everyone (except mom and Emma who were sleeping in, what a surprise!!) in the kitchen making breakfast. By the sound of dad's voice talking to everyone I knew that he knew I was awake and wanted me to get up and help in the kitchen. So I went downstairs (my room was upstairs) and started making breakfast. Once we finished making the breakfast Emma came down as though she knew we just finished the work so she didn't have to do any. While we were eating Dad made a rule that whoever doesn't help make the meal has to clean the dishes. We all agreed except Emma of course. Then mom came down and made her own meal so she didn't have to do the dishes. (Btw, we had scrambled eggs that I made, toast and orange juice which I just love!) to be honest, I don't know who ended up doing the dishes. It wasn't me though. After breakfast we put our swimsuits on and went to the pool. I wanted to get a good tan. It wasn't too warm so we didn't last out there very long. So we went inside to shower off. After I finished showering I played on my iPad a little and had some lunch. We had left over wings from last night with a banana. I played on my iPad some more after lunch and played with Jacob. I then got ready for supper, by then it warmed up a little. Giordano's was on the menu tonight for supper! We all had pizza obviously. The adults shared a deep dish pepperoni, bacon, and mushroom because mom doesn't like anything else, and the kids ordered a split pepperoni and cheese. The kids don't like anything else, I don't know what their problem is! After Giordano's we went to the outlets. I got two packages of loom bands. Pink and white. Then we got Krispy Kreme and went back to the house. Once we got back we ate the donuts and went right to bed. 

Day 3 Saturday March 29 2014 
Mom woke us up early as we went to Epcot today. We had toast for breakfast and left right after. Once we got to Epcot we went straight to Soar'n as that is the busiest ride, and one of our favourites. After Soar'n we went to the Finding Nemo ride and to Turtle Talk with Crush. Jacob and Olivia got called up to speak with crush and Jacob was really funny. After we went on a Norway ride which Olivia complained not to go on. After we went on a Mexican ride that wasn't as good as the others but was still a good ride. We went to our favourite ride next, Test Track! It's where you design your own car and test it! You go on your own car and go SUPER fast! Then we went back to the house. As soon as we got into the vehicle it started raining, as if the rain waited for us to get to a sheltered area. We picked up food from Chick-fil-a for lunch. We all got chicken burgers except Jacob, he got a bun. Once we finished eating we all stayed in our rooms to watch tv and have quiet time because it was raining outside. We all got ready for supper. We went to Carraba's. The wait was very long! They told us 10-15 minute wait. It ended up being a 40 minute wait. We were a party of 8 and they sat 2 other party of 8's. We went and complained and we got our table right away. After that we went to Target. I got Emma a blue eos for her birthday. After that we went home and went to bed. 

Day 4 Sunday March 30 2014 
Today it's Emma's birthday! She is now 13. I'm to tired to write very much so this will be short. We went to Magic Kingdom for Emma's birthday. We had eggs for breakfast, chicken burgers from Mc Donald's for lunch, and went to Long Horns for supper. I had chicken salad there. After we got Emma an ice cream cake for her birthday from Target. Btw, Olivia met a friend from England named Beth, she has the most adorable accent! 

Day 5 Monday March 31 2014 
Today we stayed at home, not doing anything except swimming all day. My hands are all pruned. Like prunes! We went shopping at the outlets. I got cheetah pj shorts, two packs of loom bands (orange and yellow) and Jolly Rancher lipstick that I'm sharing with Emma. 

Day 6 Tuesday APRIL 1 2014 
These days are going by SO fast! Not cool. Happy April fools. Today we went to Hollywood Studios! I went on Rock'n Roller coaster, Tower Of Terror, Toy Story Mania and Indiana jones, which is a show, not a ride. Tower Of Terror is awesome! It was the first time I've ever been on the ride. I was really scared, but excited! I squeezed Emma's hand, and squeezed dad's shorts. Only me, Emma, and Dad went on. Mom went later with Jacob Emma. I wanted to go again but I couldn't. Olivia didn't know what dad's name was until today. She thought it was Nathan but it's Nathaniel. That girl. We went to Cracker Barrel tonight for supper as a joke, but we ended up liking it. I had a burger with fries. 

Day 7 Wednesday April 2 2014 
Today we went to Blizzard Beach! My favourite water park! Its winter themed. It feels strange when I just got away from the cold and back into it. Mom forgot grandma and grandpas passes to get in so Dad went back with them to get them. (My note: Grandma also admits to forgetting the passes, so we've decided to share the blame on this one) While they were gone the kids and mom went to the kid area. There was a zip line, tube water slides, other water slides and icebergs to walk on. When they got back we went on a family raft and went racing on toboggans. After we ate lunch, I had a hot dog. We then went on really big tube rides. There were two different kinds. I went on both. One was in the dark and the other was bright. After that we went on the lazy river with tubes. I pulled everyone along. After we went home. We went to Giordano's for supper. Everyone had the same stuff as last time. We all had left overs as well. 

Day 8 Thursday April 3 2014 
Today mom and Dad went to Universal Studios, or whatever that park is called. It's an adult park so Grandma and Grandpa stayed at the house with the kids. We watched The Aristocats while they were gone. I made a loom bracelet and swam. We had left overs from last night. We swam the rest of the day and went to Outback Steakhouse for supper. I had a burger with fries. Olivia had ceased salad and didn't finish so I finished it for her.matter we got Cold Stone ice cream. I got fudge truffle with Reese's, it was so good! After we went to bed. Btw, Grandma and Grandpa are going on a cruise tomorrow. That was sudden!

Stay tuned for the second half of our trip, through the eyes of Sophia!

Book Review: The Queen's Handmaid by Tracy L Higley

About the book: From the servant halls of Cleopatra's Egyptian palace to the courts of Herod the Great, Lydia will serve two queens to see prophecy fulfilled.

Alexandria, Egypt 39 BC

Orphaned at birth, Lydia was raised as a servant in Cleopatra's palace, working hard to please while keeping everyone at arm's length. She's been rejected and left with a broken heart too many times in her short life.

But then her dying mentor entrusts her with secret writings of the prophet Daniel and charges her to deliver this vital information to those watching for the promised King of Israel. Lydia must leave the nearest thing she's had to a family and flee to Jerusalem. Once in the Holy City, she attaches herself to the newly appointed king, Herod the Great, as handmaid to Queen Mariamme.

Trapped among the scheming women of Herod's political family---his sister, his wife, and their mothers---and forced to serve in the palace to protect her treasure, Lydia must deliver the scrolls before dark forces warring against the truth destroy all hope of the coming Messiah.

My Thoughts: I love historical fiction, and I particular love historical fiction that takes place around the time of Christ or other biblical characters, or even revolving around famous kings and queens.  So, I was really looking forward to reading this book, certain that I would love it.

Though I did like it, I didn't love it.  I liked the story line but I found the historical details were rather hard to keep straight and I found myself getting bogged down in the details instead of caught up in the story.  I'm not entirely sure if that was due to the writing, or to my frame of mind while reading (I was tired and perhaps not as ready as I needed to be to have my brain heavily engaged in processing the information).  From a quick glance at some of the other reviews, I seem to be in the minority here, so take that with a grain of salt.

That being said, the storyline was still engaging, the characters were realistic and well developed, and I really enjoyed watching all the different plot points come together.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Book Review: Dancing with Fireflies

About the book: A Chapel Springs Romance.  Jade returns home to Chapel Springs after years of protecting her fragile heart. Then along comes Daniel, making her long to dance again.

Creative and complicated, Jade McKinley felt like a weed in a rose garden growing up in Chapel Springs. When she left, she thought she'd never look back. But now, pregnant, alone, and broke, she has no other choice but to return.

The mayor of Chapel Springs, Daniel Dawson, has been an honorary member of the McKinley family for years. While his own home life was almost non-existent, Daniel fit right into the boisterous McKinley family. He's loved Jade for years, but she always saw him as a big brother. Now that she's back, his feelings are stronger than ever.

As Jade attempts to settle in, nothing feels right. God seems far away, she's hiding secrets from her family, and she's strangely attracted to the man who's always called her "squirt." Finding her way home may prove more difficult than she imagined.

My Thoughts:  I loved this book and had a really hard time putting it down.  Hunter has done a superb job of crafting a story that gets you personally invested in the main character's lives, rooting for the two to come together as a couple, hurting with them as they deal with different issues. The characters feel real, and to me that's always the mark of a well-written story.

Though this book is one of a series, you didn't feel like you were necessarily missing out on anything - except that it'll make you want to read all the others!

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Book Review: The Devil Walks in Mattingly

About the Book: For the three people tortured by their secret complicity in a young man's untimely death, redemption is what they most long for . . . and the last thing they expect to receive.

It has been twenty years since Philip McBride's body was found along the riverbank in the dark woods known as Happy Hollow. His death was ruled a suicide. But three people have carried the truth ever since---Philip didn't kill himself that day. He was murdered.

Each of the three have wilted in the shadow of their sins. Jake Barnett is Mattingly's sheriff, where he spends his days polishing the fragile shell of the man he pretends to be. His wife, Kate, has convinced herself the good she does for the poor will someday wash the blood from her hands. And high in the mountains, Taylor Hathcock lives in seclusion and fear, fueled by madness and hatred.

Yet what cannot be laid to rest is bound to rise again. Philip McBride has haunted Jake's dreams for weeks, warning that he is coming back for them all. When Taylor finds mysterious footprints leading from the Hollow, he believes his redemption has come. His actions will plunge the quiet town of Mattingly into darkness. These three will be drawn together for a final confrontation between life and death . . . Between truth and lies.

My Thoughts:  To be honest, this was not my favourite book, and I only finished it because I had committed to reading it and writing this review.  However, this is not because the book itself is "bad", but more that the style of the writing is not my personal preference - the wording has an artsy feel and the subject has some supernatural/borderline weird aspects to it.  

That being said, the author deals with the question of how we deal with sin and guilt in our lives.  Some of us bury it deep inside, unwilling to deal with it.  Some of us try to atone for our sin by doing enough good deeds to somehow make up for what we've done.  Some of us try to rationalize it away but have to twist reality in order to do so.  But what we need to do with it is deal with it head on.  To acknowledge our responsibility (but not take on responsibility for the actions of others), and to repent, throwing ourselves upon the mercy of the only One who can forgive and wash away our guilt.

I liked the actual storyline, but would've enjoyed it more had it been stylistically different.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.


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