Category Archives: Life


We met up at Cracker Barrel in Fort Payne for a hearty breakfast to get us to Gatlinburg.


Outside Gatlinburg, we stopped at Sugarlands Visitor Center to stretch our legs and get in some quality “rock climbing.” Inside the Center was a pretty neat exhibit featuring all the natural plantlife and wildlife. We were able to identify several plants and wildflowers later thanks to all the info we gathered.


We unloaded the cars at the motel, then headed out to walk Downtown to see what there was to see. Matthew, Vette, and I all had a sample of Ole Smoky Mountain moonshine while Mom, Shiloh, and the boys listened to some local bluegrass artists.


Of course we had to swing by Old Smoky Candy Kitchen while walking Downtown. Elisha also discovered his favorite tourist trap.


We ate dinner at Bubba Gump’s and took complete advantage of the photo-op afterward.


Once back at the motel, we cooled off at the pool where Elisha made some new friends and I taught Jackson how to cannonball. The other girls lounged poolside once Shiloh decided she was finished swimming.


Saturday, we trekked up through the mountains to Cherokee, North Carolina.


We stopped off at the lookout marking the Tennessee-North Carolina state line to take in the view.


Once in Cherokee, we decided against Santa’s Land after finding out they’ve jacked up their prices ridiculously and instead checked out a few of the local shops. Vette scored a pair of Minnetonka moccasins that I’m plotting to steal from her once the opportunity arises.


On our way out of Cherokee, we stopped by the Oconaluftee Island Park for a picnic and to play in the creek. This was definitely my most favorite part of our trip.


After getting back to the motel and taking another quick swim, we cleaned up and drove out to Pigeon Forge for dinner at The Old Mill Restaurant (the best place for dinner hands-down!).


Sunday, we drove back into the National Park to picnic and play out at Chimney Tops. This was a close second for my favorite time during the trip.


Sadly, rain showers were coming on and off, so we decided to pack up and drive back to the motel. But not before stopping back off by another lookout for another view.


The rain cleared out just in time for us to walk down to Calhoun’s Restaurant for dinner. Featured on Food Network: Checked off our eatery bucket list. Awesome, awesome burgers and barbecue.


We kept walking through Downtown and while scoping out the mall we found several more local artists.


Monday, before coming back to sweet home Alabama, we finished off our trip with breakfast at The Apple Barn and Cider Mill (the best place for breakfast hands-down!).


I cannot wait for us to come back, hopefully next summer! Now onto the countdown to our other big family trip to Panama City Beach with Matthew’s family in 28 days! Thankfully, we have three birthdays including Matthew’s to celebrate in between to keep us occupied until then.


Pinned it/Tried it/Loved it | Applique with Sewing Machine

This attempt was actually a fusion of two pins I found for my Sewing Tips board on sewing an applique with a standard sewing machine (found here and here). The first is a basic how-to on stitching an applique onto a shirt and the second is a how-to on sewing curves on appliques.

For our upcoming trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, I made Jackson, Elisha, and Shiloh “smokey bear” applique t-shirts with their initials. Would it be considered a monogram if the lettering was First, Middle, Last instead of First, Last, Middle?


As you can tell, there were a few kinks when I lost control of my fabric, but overall I’m very pleased with the outcome seeing that it was my first attempt. Here are the finished products:


Oh, and the bears were made with scraps from refashions here and here. Scraps you have been busted.

The monogramming was made with simple stencils and fabric markers. I became a fan of both when I first used them to make Elisha’s “big brother” t-shirt for Shiloh’s gender reveal party.

We’re now on the 24-hour countdown and I’ve made major progress in the packing area now that my sinuses have decided to chill for a while. Here’s to no allergy attacks for the next four days!

#RealMamaLife | Just Taking a Break

What most people think stay-at-home moms do:


What we actually do:




We juggle kids. We juggle them in the midst of everyday life. We juggle kids when we’re busy catching up on a week’s worth of laundry or doing last night’s dishes. When we just need a break to ourselves for a mere 5 minutes… This is what our “break” looks like.


Where we embrace the glory and humour in the chaos. Un-staged and imperfectly beautiful.’

ELC’s school program

Last night, Elisha had his end-of-the-school-year program at Kid’s Kingdom.


His class was to dress as baseball players for the program. I “refashioned” his pants from a too-short pair of jersey pants into baseball pants by taking in the inseams and cropping the leg length to mid-leg. Easy peasey. He and the other “ball players” were beyond adorable and stole the show in my biased opinion. How can a horde of two-year-old boys running around freely on stage with plastic baseball bats and baseballs not be adorable?

For your enjoyment, you can watch their segment of the program here.

Hope you’re all having a great weekend! This post has been scheduled, so at this time I’m probably chowing down on some waffles with the fam. Or still in bed if I’m lucky enough.

P.S. Check out Jackson’s rockin’ boots. That kid has major style.

Joining “OHP! Wednesday”… because I love Pinterest.

{Children Inspire Design via Pinterest}

{How Does She Do It – Navy Stripe Tote via Pinterest}

{Girl’s Bedroom/Playroom via Pinterest}

{Cilantro-Lime Jalapeno Chicken Salad via Pinterest}

{Iron-On Transfer Shirt via Pinterest}

{Drop Zone instead of Mud Room via Pinterest}

Just a few of my favorite pins found this week. Stay tuned on Wednesdays for more OHP!, and to join and play along yourself:





“Life as a parent (or really just life in general!) can seem a bit monotonous sometimes, but if we really stop to take a look around, we will begin noticing the beauty in these little things.”

See the full post and challenge on the little things we do: magic in the mundane instagram challenge.

#RealMamaLife {4.22.13}

Okay, best link up project ever, right here:

Real Mama Life over on Le Petit Reve.

I hate the idea of making our lives seems so perfect and uneventful because, let’s face it, the stressful, crazy, messy times are what make our lives as beautiful and memorable as they are. And we might as well embrace it because it’s life. It’s going to happen and it’s going to be messy more often than not…

This project “embrace[s] the glory and humour in the chaos. Un-staged and imperfectly beautiful.” The chaos of our lives, that is, especially as parents. I have thought to myself countless times (after having kids) how the impact of making our lives seem perfect has on other parents who are in the same boat. Think about it… I’m a mom literally struggling with two kids under the age of three, I’m catching up on FB/Twitter/Instagram and see another mom with two young kids of her own and she’s gloriously flaunting her perfectly poised kids in perfect spotless clothes with perfect cheeky smiles, talking about how she simply adores them and how perfectly perfect they are and how she “got lucky” with having the best kids ever, I’m probably going to think to myself either (or both), “What is wrong with my kids?!” or, worse, “What is wrong with me as a mom? Why can’t I make my kids behave/look like that or feel that way about them?” Especially when I know in my heart her kids are holy terrors just as much as mine and she has her moments of parenting doubt herself. Why do we want to make each other feel that way? We should be supporting one another, not trying to make ourselves seem better than other parents. News flash: we as parents all mess up and make mistakes we want to take back, but we all learn from them and how to do better by our children for the future. The cliché of parenting clichés: Kids don’t come with instruction manuals.

Okay, stepping off the mini soap box now… Rants tend to happen from time to time.

So, for my first #realmamalife link up post, I give you my stubborn, terribly two-year-old son on his first day of preschool.


He’s not crying because he didn’t want to go. He’s crying because he was ready to go. No time for capturing memories… Time to get away from Mommy and Sister to play with tiny people who are much cooler than we are. Here’s the best one I managed to get, post-tantrum.


I am so looking forward to checking out other #realmamalife posts. Sometimes we all need an ego boost. Or to at least feel like we’re not the only one sinking in the sand.

Weekend of Goodness Recap


Saturday, my sister, nephew, and mom came down for a picnic and playdate at HB Park.


Sunday, they came back down for Shiloh and Lyla’s dedication.

On a side note: I am SUCH a fan of the natural waves going on in my hair. Completely au natural. And that orange dress, my favorite. The polka dots are shaped from flowers. I’m on a roll with this whole winning business.