Saturday, March 28, 2015

Smoky Mountains...I May Have Fallen In Love

Ok y'all I have always considered myself a total beach girl, but these mountains, oh my mercy, they got me. Absolutely gorgeous! I could have roamed around for days. I cannot even wait to go back and I even want to go back and camp, like in a tent and hike and see a bear and explore everything. I am not even kidding. I didn't even get to skim the surface. Most of the mountain peaks were still shut down for the winter season, or closed from recent flooding. Plus we were only there for a short time. However, the things we did get to see had me grinning from ear to ear all day! Like the kind of grinning that makes your checks hurt.

Before we went up on the mountains to explore on our own, I talked Marshal into taking the kids on a helicopter ride. I know total tourist thing to do. Marshal was so not near as excited as the kids and I. Of course he had been on a helicopter before and he wasn't getting charged an outrageous amount to do so. It was amazing and I loved it! The kids loved it too and Miss Ashlynn was all to quick to jump on riding in the front seat with the cute helicopter pilot. Oh my mercy, that's my daughter!

We stopped by Kroger (yes Kroger, oh how I love a real grocery store) to get food for a picnic and off we went. We had done a little research at breakfast about a little old community that was highly recommend by several people in the area to go visit. Cade's Cove. We made that our destination point.

Let me stop right here and mention breakfast. Ashlynn ordered Reese peanut butter pancakes. Pancakes with chocolate and crushed up peanut butter bites. Oh my mercy I could have died a happy girl right there in the middle of Flapjacks. I mean seriously!
Ok, I may have had to take a small break to drool over those pancakes again. I didn't order them. I am trying to take this Lent thing seriously. It was Sunday and I did try them. I couldn't pass it up, but I didn't order them. I ate eggs. Exciting- I know.

Ok, ok mountains I've got it.

Awe, beautiful! It really was an easy road trip.....anyone else in? I am ready to go back!

Friday, March 27, 2015

So Much More Than Dollywood

This Spring break trip beat all of my expectations. I really had no idea what an amazing experience I was in for. I think all four of us grinned the entire trip and loved every minute of it.

It started out as me just wanting to go to a Dollywood. I have loved Dolly forever. My mom loved Dolly, so I grew up listening to her. I think she has an amazing voice, I love her songs, I love that she grew up having very little and worked hard for what she has become, and I love that she does what makes her happy.

Arriving at Dollywood truly made me giddy! It was the opening weekend of the season. There were very few people there, so lines were super short. We had a great time riding all of the rides we wanted to, eating expensive tourist food (a funnel cake covered in hot fudge umm yes please!) and just walking around the park enjoying the beauty of it all.

Even though it was a little chilly we decided to go for it and do the water rides. Marshal, Jaxton and Ashlynn loved the river rapids ride. It was their favorite. I enjoyed it as well, but you get completely soaked on it so I didn't pick it as my favorite.
My favorite was the water toboggan ride. One because, well it was just fun. Two because we got up there and we didn't weigh enough to ride it. Yep, nothing makes a girl happier then to be told, " I am so sorry you just don't weigh enough to ride this ride." Another family came up and let us borrow their nine year old so that our family could weigh enough to ride the ride. So we had 5 people, they had 3, with one of their three being a two year old, so how could I not make this my favorite ride. I mean come on something had to make up for my headache doctor telling me I'm fat. (more on that in a later blog)

Oh Dollywood! I can't wait to come back to see you!

I will be completely honest and tell you that I did very little to prepare for this trip. I didn't research the area. I didn't look into what all there was to do there. Quite frankly for my planner personality, I was a real slacker. I booked the hotel based on distance to Dollywood and customer reviews. I bought tickets to Dollywood. Other than that, I did absolutely nothing. Like really nothing. I know it shocks me even a little to say it out loud.

So what I had in my mind and what actual reality of Pigeon Forge was, were polar opposites, but totally in a good way. I truly thought there was going to be nothing to do there. Umm hello there was tons to do. It was such a fun city with absolutely gorgeous mountains surrounding it. We had a great time eating at the old mill, visiting the brand new island shopping district, and riding the fastest go- carts we have ever ridden. (Even according to a Marshal so I am not just blowing this out of proportion.)
You know it's good when your whole plate comes out covered in gravy. 
I am going to have to stop right here for a minute to expand on these go-carts. So most places I have gone the workers you know sit there and watch you and blow their whistle if you are being dangerous. Well these folks don't do that. It seems anything goes on these go-carts. I haven't even mentioned the speed of these things. I got in it and thought I might could die, and that was before I went over the huge humps in the course that sent the go-cart air born, followed by the sharp left hand turn that made you feel like you were going to flip the darn thing. Needless to say I survived, but after that I remembered Marshal talked me into buying the combination deal and we had just ridden the slow go-carts. I couldn't even bring myself to push the gas peddle all the way down on the fast go-carts. Thank all the stars above the guy decided to end our time when Jaxton and I were rounding into the pit so we ended up first and he thought we "won". I get to keep my cool mom status and he never has to know. Don't worry I still managed to wreck the thing and send everyone spinning. Oh mercy sometimes I am not sure I am cut out for this boy mom thing. The three of them are still talking about how "awesome" it was. Hmmm..ok whatever they say.
I am smiling because i have obviously no clue whats about to happen yet. 

We also ventured over to Gatlinburg. Wow, it's hard to determine which city was my favorite. Gatlinburg was amazing! Like so so cute! We spent a lot of time just walking around. Adorable cuteness everywhere!
Ok, yes if you are observant you may have noticed that we went to the moonshine distillery in Pigeon Forge and then again in Galtinburg. And yes they did give out free samples at both. And yes I did accept the free samples. And yes for the really observant people there are two different distilleries in Galtinburg. Hey, don't judge, moonshine is actually super delicious and I will be happy to share the butterscotch moonshine I came home with. Just don't expect to borrow the free t-shirt I got for buying so much. I never said the free samples were a good idea on the bank account...
Some guy Marshal knows from watching Moonshiners on t.v.??? I don't know, you people know I don't watch t.v. unless it's The Bachelor.
This isn't all of our Spring Break trip, but I feel like the Smoky Mountains deserve a post all by themselves. So stay tuned...

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Monday, March 16, 2015

It is Wild That She is Ten!

I have been a mom for ten years today! That is crazy to me. I still feel like a new mom. I will be honest and say, most days I still have no clue what I am doing.None the less, my baby girl is TEN! Double digits! Hold up both hands! Next year we'll have to start adding in toes!

I started planning her party last November. No joke. I seriously messaged the cake pop lady last November, to ask her if she would be willing to teach Miss Ashlynn's friends how to make cake pops. I know...

This past Saturday was the big day. Ashlynn decided she wanted a jungle theme party. It ended up being a lot of fun to decorate for and I loved learning how to make cake pops! It is a good thing I am a busy person, because I see myself just sitting around and making a big ol slopping mess in my kitchen making a million cake pops and then eating the darn things. Oh my mercy, can you imagine? It was just so fun!

Welcoming the first few guest.

Photo Backdrop Pictures

I have to point out that Ashlynn designed and made Ashley's ( her American Girl doll) dress all by herself. I was pretty impressed!

Then for the real fun, the cake pop making!

Didn't they do great!

I wanted to make sure and document this one well. It looks to me like Marshal is looking at the carpet as though he made a mess. Hmmm... Just saying if I find blue icing in the carpet...

After all of that hard work making these fabulous cake pops, we didn't want to eat our hard work. Rick's cake it is!

She had a great party with some great friends!

Today, for her actual birthday, she had to take the PARCC assessment. Ugh! She was pretty bummed about it. Nonnie and Jaxton did bring her lunch and all of her dance friends sang to her tonight at dance. She was also beyond thrilled to score some fun new American Girl things. Hopefully that made up for the yuckiness of the school day just a bit.

Happy 10th birthday Ashlynn! Thank you for making me a momma!