Known_Media :: You should follow it on Instagram

I started this blog YEARS ago to share thoughts about being a wife, mom, home-maker, Disney fanatic, and all the things that go with that. I love to write. I just seem to consistently run out of time to write. (That’s probably a downfall of my awesome day job where I write all the day.)

However, I’ve never been the only writer in the House of Hills. And, I’m quickly being surpassed in talent and creative energy by my mini-me. Actually, she’s not so mini anymore, and she’s definitely so much more than me.

Maggie has grown into an amazing young woman who loves God, loves people, and is passionate about knowing that they are loved, beautiful, and not alone.

In fact, she started an Instagram about a year ago that has created an incredible community. If you have a young lady in your life, or if you just want to follow a pretty awesome Instagram account, then check out known_media.

There’s a blog that accompanies the Instagram account as well. Head over and say “hi” to my sweet girl—and awesome writer. You’ll be glad you did.


Choose Joy : A Book Review

Five  years ago (I can hardly believe it’s been that long.), I went to a “little” blogging conference called Blissdom, where I shared a room with three strangers who became friends.

One of those amazing ladies, my very good friend, Mary, has written a book.
And, I was honored to receive an advanced copy. Isn’t it beautiful?!

Choose Joy Book

Before receiving the book and being part of it’s launch team, I knew a bit about it’s co-author Sara. I knew she and Mary had been blogging friends. And, I knew that Sara had passed away in the fall of 2011, just a few months after I had lost my Katie.

I remember reading some of Sara’s posts in that grief-induced fog that surrounded me in 2011.
I remember how inspired I was that she was determined to “Choose Joy” no matter the circumstance.
I remember that I couldn’t really imagine that at the time.

So, when I heard through the grapevine that is social media that Mary was pulling together a collection of Sara’s posts and putting them into book form, I couldn’t wait to read it… until I got the book.

Then, I was afraid. 

I knew that reading this book was going to pick at the scabs that are always tender around the wound losing Katie left.
I knew that with the fifth anniversary of her passing rushing towards me like a freight train, reading about someone else’s struggling with illness was going to be hard.
I knew it was going to hurt. And, I would cry. And, there would be snot. (Just being real here.)

Then, I received this for Christmas from a loving friend and co-worker who knew nothing of my reading the book plight.


And, I laughed. With joy.

And I read.
And I cried.
And there was the need for many tissues.

And, I healed… just a little bit. 

There are SO MANY things I could share from this amazing book that my friend put together to honor an amazing woman and make sure that her message of JOY is never lost. And, I hope to share them all with you over time. (I mean, I think I used half a package of Post-It flags on this thing.) However, this is my favorite.

“When asked how she defined joy, Sara said, ‘Joy is the unwavering trust that God knows what He’s doing and has blessed me with the opportunity to be a part of it—not despite what’s happening in my life, but because of it. When everything earthly feels heavy, He gives me the internal lightness that can’t be touched.'”

Throughout the book, we hear again and again through Sara’s words that JOY=TRUST. When we trust God, we will find the joy. When we choose to let go of our fear and give it to Him, we CHOOSE JOY. 

As I read, I was reminded of how much I hold on to my fear. I plot and plan and prepare. I try to control the future. I try to predict what “might” happen. I don’t always let go. And, I for sure don’t always choose joy.

I’m praying that as I move into 2016, that I can “stop praying for what I want and start praying for Him to change my heart for what He wants. I pray that I can be aware of His opportunities. It requires me to trust Him completely.” It requires me to CHOOSE JOY.

I’m so thankful I was given this book to read, and I’m even more thankful for the two women who poured their souls into making it happen.

As of today, January 5, 2016, you can get your copy of Choose Joy, Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts. Go ahead and grab one for your girlfriend too. You’re going to want to read it together. Oh, and make sure you have some tissues. You’ll need them.


I was given a copy of Choose Joy to read for this book review. All opinions are my own. All links are affiliate links.

Following the #DisneySMMC Hashtag

Disney loving friends!


Are you following the #DisneySMMC hashtag on the Twitters? If you aren’t, you need to go look it up immediately.  There is so much awesomeness on there right now!

The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration (DisneySMMC) is going on this weekend in Disney World, and while the HOH totally wishes we were there, I am learning so much great Disney and blogging goodness just from following the hashtag!

This tweet had me looking up Disney Citizenship. What a wonderful website that inspires us all to make a difference.

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 5.33.43 PM

They have these fun photo contests going on during the conference. Gave me great ideas to use for work and our conferences.
Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 5.34.33 PM

They announced the awesomeness that is the new Disney Infinity 3.0. We’re going to need to invest in that I’m thinking.

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 5.34.43 PM

Disney Infinity Playsets


I had never heard of the Imagicademy, but am VERY EXCITED to share the information with my nieces and nephews. There are some awesome apps that educate while they entertain. Those are the best kind, right?

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 5.35.17 PM

Then, Donald Driver came on the stage and Twitter blew up! What an amazing talk he must have given. I can’t wait to go read more about him. His story is apparently very powerful.

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 5.35.50 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 5.35.34 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 5.35.40 PM

I pretty much can thank the above tweets for writing this post right now. I’m a writer. I need to write. I need to share. I’ve not been fulfilling that need.

And this tweet sealed the deal in my head that I needed to get out there more. If you don’t take risks, there is no reward.

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 5.36.02 PM


I’ve had such a great day learning along with the ladies (and gentlemen) attending #DisneySMMC. I can’t thank them enough for sharing all the learning and fun with the Twitterverse. They’ve inspired me in a major way!

Tomorrow, they’re getting to see a sneak peek of the new Disney film Inside Out. I can’t wait to hear how much they love it. And, the HOH can’t wait to see it!!

Are you following the hashtag? What’s the best thing you’ve learned?

31 Days of Disney: So, I’ve got a broken pinky

Broken Pinky


This happened yesterday.

One minute I was stepping up on the curb at Maggie’s Drama Studio. The next, I was falling ever so quickly towards the ground. I braced my fall with my left hand and felt and heard something nasty as I landed.

I knew immediately it was NOT GOOD!

I was whisked to the ER by the Drama Mamas where hubby joined me. He of course started taking pictures.

Broken Pinky

Major fracture of the left pinky. I wish I had a picture of the x-ray. Not the pinky itself because it was GROSS! My poor little pinky had totally moved over. Like A LOT!!

And OH. MY. WORD. did it hurt. My poor husband. He’d never seen me in that much pain.

Then, they gave me these massive shots to numb it so they could set it, wrapped it up and sent me home. With some prescriptions of course. Did I mention the pain? The insane pain.

So, I’m sitting here icing and elevating. And typing with one hand.

Making an appointment with the hand specialist tomorrow. Praying I won’t have to have surgery, but not real optimistic about that. Like I said, the finger practically moved over.

This definitely will slow down my 31 Days of Disney posts. I had big plans to write several posts during rehearsal yesterday. Sigh.

I still have lots to share with you. And, I REALLY want to share it!!

Type A Parent Conference: It’s in the ATL!

So, this weekend I’m staying at the Buckhead Westin with my bloggy girlfriends! I’m so excited!! We’re gonna talk, and laugh, and eat chocolate!

And, more importantly, we’re going to learn. I’m so VERY EXCITED about some of the content being delivered here. Can’t wait to hear what these experts have to share!

If we’ve just met at the conference and you’re hopping over to know more, I’m so glad you’re here. I’m sure we’ve already become fast friends and there was hugging involved.

Some need to knows about me:

  • I love my family more than anything except my God.
  • I love my kitchen, and you will find me in it more often than not.
  • I love Disney and vacationing there with my family.
  • I love serving others and helping when and where I can. Thus, my other blog,

That’s me in four simple sentences. Leave me a comment so I can get to know you better!

No Moms Panel For Me! Good For You!

So, I didn’t make the WDW Mom’s Panel. I mean, I didn’t even make it into the second round.

Am I disappointed? A little bit. I didn’t really expect to, but a girl can dream! Right!


However, I’ve realized how much Disney knowledge I (and my family) have. So, I wanted to ask you, my readers, what do you want to know about Disney?

Where to find the best character meal?
Where to go for fun with a 3 year old?
Should you get a park hopper?

What do you want to know?

I want to tell you!


WDW Moms Panel : I Applied!

Well, I did it. I applied for the Walt Disney World Moms Panel.

Many of you that know me well are saying, “Well, duh!” However, it’s not that easy. Well, the first step isn’t hard, but the thought of putting yourself out there for rejection – that part is NOT EASY. And, I applied back in 2009 and didn’t make it past the first round. (However, my friend Amanda did! Whoop!!)

Here’s the thing. I may not make it past the first round again. And, that’s okay. Because ever since this crazy guy

took me to Walt Disney World on my honeymoon it’s been a special place for our family.

And now that this crazy girl is in the mix,

our evenings and weekends can often revolve around our love of Disney.

And, we love to share it with our friends and family.

And, I love to share it with you.

Have you noticed the Disney tab at the top of the House of Hills page. I put that there so you could see all our Disney related posts to help you plan your vacation. And, I have lots more posts in my head. In fact, all I really need to do is go through my emails. I answer questions weekly about Disney, and my plan is to start being more intentional about sharing those answers with you.

If I make it to the next round of the Disney Moms Panel, I’ll be ecstatic. If I don’t, I’ll just share my knowledge here – with you.

If you’ve got a question about traveling to Walt Disney World or going on a Disney Cruise, I’d love to answer it for you. Let me know what you want to know!

How to Dye Pasta

Yesterday, the girl and I did a video tutorial for my “other blog” – the work blog.

I narrate, and she shows everyone how to dye pasta for craft activities.

  • You can dye rigatoni and then thread them on string to make necklaces.
  • You can dye different shapes and then do mosaics with them.
  • You can dye big pasta shapes and do patterning.
  • You can dye rice and put it in a plastic tub for a sensory tub.

There is SO MUCH you can do with kids and dyed pasta!!!

I wanted you guys (especially those with younger kids) to know how to dye pasta too.

So click on over and check it out!

Ultimate Blog Party 2011

I am participating in the Ultimate Blog Party for the first time, and I’m kinda nervous about it! What do I tell those who are coming to visit me for the first time? How do I let you know ALL about me in just one post? Oh the pressure!

Then, it came to me…my tagline…I’ll explain my tagline.

Live, Love, Serve

It’s what we do at the House of Hills! And just an FYI – the house – it’s in the process of moving, so things have been a bit spotty around here. I’m getting back to it though. Truly I am!!

So let’s get to it…


The House of Hills is a GREAT place to live. We are a family that likes to plan. We menu plan. We try to be prepared no matter where we go. The Princess and I enjoy cooking together. We LOVE to go to Disney. We enjoy living each day to the fullest, and enjoy sharing it with you!


Here at the House of Hills, we love each other VERY MUCH. My Princess and My Sweetie and I have an amazing life and are so very blessed to have each other. I love to watch My Princess love others in her life. I love spending one on one time with her. I love watching her grow and change. I love being her mom and My Sweetie’s wife. Truly my biggest joy.


We love to serve others here at the House of Hills. I always have a freezer full of meals to give away to those who need one. Last November we participated in the 30 Day Give, and the entire family got into making sure we gave something every day. We are already planning for my next Birthday Party where we will pack boxes for Operation Christmas Child. We are always looking for new and fun ways to serve those around us.

I love sharing the happenings at the House of Hills with my readers and learning new things from them. Be sure to come back and visit again!

Oh, and my regular readers… did I leave something out? You know me best.

Disney Social Media Moms: Quick Pics Day 3

Day three of the conference started REALLY early for this Mama! We had been up late the night before and I was the ONLY one of the House of Hills up for breakfast. However, it was a great breakfast where I was able to hear the Head Chef from the California Grill and the Chief Sommelier from Animal Kingdom Lodge discuss Disney Dining.

I walked around the Grand Floridian and took some pictures. Believe me, it deserves its own post, but here’s one pic.

After waking my child up at 10:45!!!! and grabbing some lunch, we headed over to Epcot as a family. The Princess spent a great deal of time in Innoventions. She LOVES all the science techy stuff.

She also did one round of the Kim Possible game. That too deserves its own post. It is SO MUCH FUN for the entire family. We’ve played it before, but she wanted to do one round this trip.

I left the family and went to a press conference for Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living. This is an awesome program that I will be talking about more in the weeks to come. I was able to attend a press conference with some Disney Channel stars (with whom the Princess was later able to dance)!

After a very yummy (and healthy) dinner, we went to a dessert buffet (also healthier) and to watch Illuminations from the BEST SPOT EVER!

We then said good-bye to many of the Disney Mommy Friends and headed back to the Grand Floridian for our final night in paradise.

And just like that, the conference was over. So sad……

Oh, we did stay two more days. Monday we hit Typhoon Lagoon. It was actually our FIRST WATERPARK as a family. OH. MY. WORD. We had the best time. Except for the fact that I bruised my tailbone. Gotta lift your booty on the water coaster folks. Gotta lift that booty.

Tuesday, we went to Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom for breakfast with Pooh and Friends…more about tomorrow…

Disclosure: My family and I were given accommodations and park tickets at a reduced rate as part of the conference. In addition, Disney has treated us as wonderful guests complete with special surprises. All opinions are my very own.