Tag Archives: family


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.


#RealMamaLife | 4th of July



Hope you all had a great holiday weekend! I ate way more than should be legal and should really be taking care of the piles of laundry and dishes that have been hanging around for the past few days…

{Refashion} Floral 4th of July Shirt


This shirt was another thrift store purchase made with the sole intention of refashioning. I really like the dark navy and red floral-print combo, and thought it would be perfect to wear for our upcoming 4th of July festivities.

As you can tell, the shirt is far too big and with Alabama 70+% humidity now those sleeves are NOT going to fly. So off they went:


Then I took the sides in. I only pinned one side on my dress form so I was able to take it off the form to sew. I laid the shirt flat and measured and pinned the un-pinned side the same as the pinned side:


After both sides were pinned, I stitched them up and tried it on to make sure it fit well before cutting off the excess material. It fit perfectly (after 3 attempts) so off came those sides:


Not finished just yet! Since the shirt was too big to start with I still needed to take in the arm holes a bit since the edges hung over my shoulders. I swiped some of Elisha’s sidewalk chalk to sketch the line seeing that yellow marker wouldn’t show up too well on dark navy fabric. Once I measured, drew, and cut my first arm hole, I used the leftover scrap to measure the other arm hole to match:


Using more leftover scraps from the sides, I cut two strips of fabric to use as double-sided bias tape to hem the arm holes:


To make: 1) fold and press a strip in half length-wise. 2) unfold, then fold and press the two pressed sides in toward the center length-wise. 3) fold the two new folds in together length-wise and press. Here’s a better tutorial here (I only follow steps 9-11, so you can skip all the before mess unless you just want to see how difficult you can make creating your own tape can be).

I pinned the bias tape on my arm holes and stitched them down. When I tried the shirt back on to see how they fit, the arm holes were still too wide, so I folded them under once and stitched them down. This made them fit perfectly!

How do you like my new 4th shirt?


It came out just as I had imagined it in the thrift store. Now all that’s left is to lounge poolside and eat Matthew’s famous pulled-pork barbeque with our babies, my mom, and sister.

What do you all have planned for the 4th? Hopefully lots of good food and lots of good company.

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.


Sunny Day (I am behind…)







I promise I haven’t been neglecting my refashioning, thrifting, or DIYing. I have plenty in store and a brand new refashion complete and ready for Monday, so stay tuned. The fam and I spent most of the day outside yesterday, which gave me a reason to break out my camera instead of staying cooped up in the house behind my sewing machine or watching Nick Jr.

To help all of you still trapped in your homes due to the never-ending winter feel somewhat better about your situation, Elisha pummelled me in the head with a rock while we were playing outside. My kid has a good arm and even better aim.

Happy weekend, friends! Hoping for some warm, sunny days your way soon.

Such a Happy, Happy Easter!

This Easter weekend was beyond successful! Minus the temper-tantrums Elisha had while decorating eggs… But nothing a little Bubble Guppies and stickers couldn’t tame. Both babies were beautiful in their Easter outfits and Matthew and I looked quite nice ourselves (which is rare seeing that we have two kids under the age of three and sadly there are no pictures for proof other than our sweet babies).  We were even able to hunt eggs OUTSIDE! It wasn’t too cold and the rain held off for most of the day. Jackson’s birthday party was great as well! He got tons of birthday goodies and played hard with some good friends. He even got an Easter surprise from the KidzTime staff!

Happy, happy birthday again to the coolest five-year-old around!

Another use for Scrapbooking kits: Homemade gift tags







Mommy even had to get in on the fun!



Easter Sunday festivities!



Their Easter shirts YaYa (Aunt Holly) made them! Definitely going to get her money’s worth out of her new machine…

Jackson changed before I could get a shot of him in his Easter outfit. Quite the stud muffin regardless. :)


Poor baby’s pants kept unbuttoning when he bent over…

He thought the “snake eggs” were pretty cool. :)



Our Easter Sunday church service was also very good. A challenge to increase our love for Christ and one another beyond a “phileo” love (a brotherly love) to an “agape” love (unconditional, God-like love). Such a huge challenge if you think about the love that Christ has for us. To love like He loves? Just the thought can overwhelm you a bit…

Hope you all had a great Easter weekend! I’m thoroughly enjoying all the Easter-related posts out in blogland.

{refashioned} Refashioned Button-Up Skirt

If you have read the earlier post about my refashioned button-up dress skirt made from one of Matthew’s old button-up shirts, you probably found yourself more confused than inspired. Sorry about that, friends…

But not only is it confusing, it’s not the best way to make this skirt. When I tried actually wearing it out in public I couldn’t muster up the courage to do it because I was worried that one of the buttons would come open and expose, well, you know… So it’s just been stuck in my closet. Which is really sad because I LOVE that refashion. So yesterday morning I ripped out all the seams and started over. This tutorial is oh so much simpler than the one before and a whole lot safer.

After I ripped out all those seams I grabbed another old t-shirt, one that was close to the same width as my skirt.


Then, made a big chop at the top of the skirt.


I pinned the right sides of the skirt and t-shirt together and sewed them down.


After the skirt and t-shirt lining were sewn together, I flipped the right side of the skirt outside and the t-shirt lining inside, and sewed another stitch below top seam to make my drawstring casing.


Once the casing was made, I cut two small slits in the front of the casing to insert my drawstring (made from the seams under the arms of the original shirt).


Like I said, much easier to make, much safer to wear. This refashion literally took about 15-20 minutes to make. I’m pretty sure the original post should be titled “How NOT to refashion a button-up dress skirt.”

Here’s a little sneak peek from our Easter weekend festivities so far!


Happy Easter, friends!!

For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows,and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.

– Isaiah 53:2-5

{Refashion} Baby Mint Cardigan + Birthday Visit

I should have done this refashion for Saint Patty’s Day. But alas, it has passed and Easter now approaches. Either way, this little cardigan I refashed for Shiloh is the perfect color for Spring. It’s also long-sleeved making it even more perfect for Spring seeing that it is never really coming and we’re all stuck in this perpetual winter.

The before onesie that Shiloh has now outgrown (lengthwise):


A family friend of ours gave this to Shiloh and I fell in love with it the moment I laid eyes on it. I’m thinking it was those ruffles and that little embroidered flower. Sometimes I wonder if I’m too Southern for my own good…

I just couldn’t get myself to pass it on to the countless other new baby girls in my family, church family, or friend families. One big chop…


…and a quick hem to sew down that raw edge.



A simple new refashioned cardi that Shiloh can continue to wear!

Notice the slightly stretched bottom hem? I consulted my personal professional seamstress (that would be my Mom) who explained that happened not from my tension setting but that I needed to sew a “non-stretchy” material (like bias tape) along the inside of my hem to keep the bottom edge from stretching like the above. If I haven’t mentioned it or you haven’t figured out yet, I’m still very much a beginner. All my sewing knowledge comes from my 8th grade Home Economics class. That would be a good 10+ years ago. Other times, I just wing it with how I think it might work out okay…

This little refashion is not the best part of this post. This is the best part of this post: this little man’s birthday!










More birthday shots to come from his birthday party this Saturday. Hoping Elisha isn’t scared of the bouncy houses this year… But if so, at least there will be swings and tons of other things to climb on and slide down.

We’re also celebrating Easter at my Mom’s house this weekend with my sister and Jackson! Photos to come of the kids sporting their spiffy new Easter outfits and of the indoor egg hunt (since it will not only be cold but raining in NE Alabama).

So the remainder of this week for me will consist of finding the perfect birthday gift for JL, putting Easter baskets together, assisting Matthew with making pulled-pork barbeque and mac-and-cheese, dying eggs, and whatever else birthday party and Easter-related things pop up before the weekend. There will most likely be photos of all that too. I tend to get a little excited over holidays now that I have kids.

30-Day Blog Challenge: Day Two


Where you’d like to be in 10 years?

So… ten years. I’ll be 34 years old. Holy mess. Where would I like to be when I’m 34 years old?…

I’d like to be more advanced in my career. Hopefully by age 34 I’ll have my MSW (Master’s degree in Social Work) completed and (most) of my licensure completed to be an LCSW (Licensed Clincial Social Worker). If not completed, then at least in the process of completion.

At age 34, my sweet baby boy will be 10 years old?!

At least Matthew will be 35. Heh heh.

I’d like to still be home, in Albertville, still in the same house I grew up in. I’d like to have additions finished on our house, such as a basement (which Matthew plans to turn into a studio… ONCE he’s sound-proofed the ceiling) and an additional room made on top of the basement. I’d like to have the screened-in porch redone and the deck replaced as well as expanded. I’d like to have new furniture. Like really NICE furniture… granted I do love my current flimsy vintage furniture.

I’d like to have a garden. And a 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442.

(Hey, a girl can dream, right?)

Who knows where the WORLD will be in 10 years?! What technology has advanced. Even if the world will be in EXISTENCE any longer (Jesus may decide to come back for his Bride before 10 years come to pass).

The list could go on and on about where I would be in 10 years. The most important, though, is that I’m still with Matthew, raising our sweet Elisha (maybe a few more…), still working together for the advancement of the Kingdom. All happy and healthy. Still a family.

And maybe a few more tattoos.

Happy Fourth!

This past weekend Matthew and I went to Boaz and Albertville to spend the 4th with my dad and step mom, mom and step dad. Such a crazy, but awesomely fun weekend. Chandler went with us. :) And surprisingly he did really well!! No getting car sick this time. He also was a big boy and rode in the backseat all by himself instead of trying to squeeze in the same seat with me.

We got to my dad’s around noon to help prep the food and start grilling before the rest of the family arrived, which was my sister Kae-Cee and her husband Jim, their two kids Brianna and Devin, and my other sister Tami and her husband Kevin, and their two kids Jayla and Kiera. Tami’s also 3 months pregnant, so we’ll have a neeeew baby soon!! Just in time for my and Matthew’s wedding. Their planning on naming him/her Carston. So cute!
Matthew was the head chef, or griller, of the day, definitely impressing everyone with the outcome of his culinary skills on the grill. Dad told him at least five times how good everything was when we finished eating. Everyone also loved Chandler, of course. :) And as typical grandparents, Dad and Debby spoiled him rotten, constantly sneaking him pieces of meat from the grill and about half a pack of bologna. Pretty sure he won’t be eating dog food for about a week.
After hanging out with everyone at Dad and Debby’s place, we headed to my Aunt Cindy and David’s house to hang out with my Mom, step dad Gary, Nanny, Uncle Wayne, cousins Jessica and Malynn, and nephews Jackson and Maddox for the rest of the day/evening. We grilled more, swam, and just hung out. Chandler did not like the idea of Matthew and I leaving him to swim. He literally climbed up the pool ladder to get back to us. Luckily, he’s still too young to still be leery of water, so he just stood there for a few seconds before Malynn ran over to get him down. After that, he just sat next to the pool and barked until we finally decided to get out. Such a spoiled puppy… We all got a good laugh out of him, though.
By the end of the day, we all were exhausted. It was fun taking Chandler to meet the entire family, and overall he did very well and seemed to like meeting everyone as long as Matthew and/or I was near. Papa Ricky was definitely his favorite person out of everyone, though. :) Which he would be mine too if he fed me half a pack of sandwich meat within the first hour of meeting him.
Oh, and on a random note, I FOUND THE BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES!!