Brixey Studios

A Girls Night Out! It’s needed and a must. They don’t happen very often for me,  but when they do I cherish those couple of hours and enjoy it.

 

On Saturday, me and two of my girlfriends booked reservations at a local studio, Brixey Studios, to learn how to make pottery. It was a 2 hour class and it was $30 and let me just say. It was amazing!

 

Now, I’m one of those people that hates to mess up. But, the owner will make you feel good about anything you make. He pretty much said he would be like your grandma and tell you anything looked good and he would put it on his mantle...haha! Positivity! It works, right?

 

Now, molding clay into something is a lot, A LOT, harder than it looks on the movies and tv. Remember the movie Ghost?? Yeah that was movie magic. Lol!  And even while watching the instructor and taking notes in my head, I kept thinking I’ve got this. But no! It’s a lot harder once you’re  in the seat putting your hands on the clay. But honestly, it’s like anything we do, with practice and patience you will become better. And the instructor is right there and guides you the entire time.

 

I made 3 bowls. One will be a tiny bowl...not intended haha! But that’s the way it goes sometimes. But overall it was so much fun and I highly recommend you going and experiencing this class first hand.

 

They have a Facebook and Instagram page. Go and like their page and give them a follow. They post their schedule on their Facebook page and you can schedule you and your friends, a date night, or just a You day.

 

I can’t wait to see the finished product and use them. It’s always awesome to say...yeah, I made that.” Haha!

 

So, instead of just always going to the movies and dinner for date night... try Brixey Studios. I promise you it will be fun. You will mess up and get dirty,but you will laugh and create something of your very own with help of course. 

 

Love and Prayers, 

Holly

 

A Quick Trip to Nashville

Vaughn and I took an over night trip to Nashville this past Sunday and it was a very quick trip. We really didn’t get to do anything other than eat and sleep in a hotel, but it was a nice getaway.

 

I wanted to share some places that we went to because it always nice to know in case you go. We are big pizza people. Who doesn’t love a good piece of pizza?? We looked online at different places and after driving around and deciding what we wanted we decided on Desano Pizza Bakery. It is a brick oven pizza place and it did not disappoint. We got a Margarita style pizza but added meatballs and pepperoni. Now, it must have been college night or something. It was packed and all these girls were dressed differently. Maybe a Sororit?? So, who knows I didn’t ask and they didn’t say anything. We had to wait 35-40 min on our pizza but it was worth it. It was so good. Now, I’m still doing low carb but I did try a little bit of the crust and it was good.

 

Afterwards we decided we wanted dessert and I was going to splurge. We have always wanted to try the cookie dough that you can eat that won’t “kill You” ya know? No salmonella! Haha! Well, we found a place called No Baked. It was this cute White House and inside they had all favors of cookie dough you could think of. Vaughn got two scoops, chocolate chip and peanut butter and I decided to big or go home... two scoops also, chocolate chip and s’mores. We were so excited. I took one bite and it was everything I thought it would be. I took another bite and thought whew! This is rich, but was still loving it. And then a third bite and I looked at vaughn and said, I can’t eat anymore and he said I can’t either.

 

Well, I decided I couldn’t let perfectly good chocolate chips got to waste so I literally ate everyone of those sweet little morsels. I was splurging! No judging me unless you saw me digging them out...haha! No one did!

 

We also stayed at a Hampton Inn. We used Hilton points to get our room. It’s a good way to go! And let me just say....I love Hampton Inns. I have never had a bad experience with one. And it could just be that I had a horrible experience at another place and the next place we found was a Hampton Inn... I don’t know! But they are always nice. The beds always sleep well. And the breakfast is always good.

 

Like I said earlier we didn’t get to really see much or do much. Our one purpose for going down was to see my doctor on that Monday. And Vaughn had to be in Knoxville that day to go out of town to Illinois. We were like Flash! Literally!

 

So, even though a quick trip...I highly recommend Nashville. I have been there before and I definitely want to go back and do more touristy things. And if you go definitely check out these places and if you go get cookie dough. A half a scoop or one scoop is plenty... trust me!!!!

 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

Fall Adventures

It’s Fall Y’all and what better way than to celebrate by going to farms, pumpkin patches and haunted things…Well, I used to like to go to haunted houses, forests, etc. But now I just pee on myself when I scream. Thanks to having two kids..lol! That was probably tmi, but it’s the truth and I really don’t like scary things, but will participate sometimes if I’m forced. Thanks to my husband or my friends when we were in middle and high school. But seriously, give me pumpkins, corn mazes, cow trains, hay rides, and watching my kids have fun and I’m good.

 

Yesterday, Vaughn and I got to go on a field trip with our kids. It was so much fun. We went to Cleeks Farm and if you have never been and live in our area I encourage you to go. It’s so much fun and just a great way to celebrate fall and this time of year. This has been a tradition for us since Wade has been born. We have taken him and now MJ each year to Cleeks Farm and it’s a tradition I want to keep.

 

They have a corn maze that I can never get out of. I mean really! You would think one year I would have been able to escape and get out and not leave through the entrance. No! That hasn’t happened yet. But, Wade always thinks that we have done it. So, #momwin! They have a cow train that is these little containers that have been made to look like cows and they are pulled around the property. Now, this little cow train is seriously bumpy and faster than what you would expect. Crazy. But fun! They have a huge blob trampoline. This is my son’s favorite thing. He loves to jump, slide, fall, and run across. MJ was not amused because there were so many kids on it, but she did enjoy sliding down. They also have a playground area and an area for kids to play in the corn and dirt. And I’m sure my kids could have stayed there just for hours. Overall it’s a fun place.

 

Oh! I almost forgot….the hayride. Now, usually this is my favorite and the most enjoyable part because you can chill and look at the beautiful scenery. Well, it was that until the end of the hayride when we went across the creek. MJ was trying to get down and there was water coming through the trailer so I went to bend down to get her and when I did my phone decided it wanted to go swimming. And it made its way through a tiny crack in the trailer to land on a rock in the creek. It was like slow motion. And I just thought to myself…only me. I am terrible with phones. I have the worst luck when it comes to them. The workers at the farm were able to get it and it actually was working fine, but it is failing today. The home button doesn’t function and it is not operating as should. Cry!!!

 

So, lesson learned. Put up your phone and just enjoy the time. And that’s a lesson for everyone really. I think sometimes we focus so much of documenting life and we really forget to put the phone down and live the life. I try to not be consumed by my phone, but it is in those times when you lose it or it gets damaged you realized how important or how much you depend on it. And I hate that feeling. So, enjoy time with your family this fall. Get outside! Go and experience different farms. Go to a pumpkin patch. Go to haunted things if that is your thing. Take pictures, but put the phone up and focus on what’s important, your family.

 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

Panama City Beach

Going to the beach is always a nice getaway. It’s the perfect place to just relax and work on your tan. Well, if you’re a parent watch your kids continuously on the beach and around the pool while you try to tan. 

This year we decided to go to Panama City Beach in Florida. I hadn’t been since age 2 and Vaughn, my husband, had never been. We usually go every year to the beach with my parents and usually go to Daytona Beach, but this year my mom wanted to see clear ocean water so we found a place and booked it. 

We stayed at The Broadwalk Resort. It was a very nice 3 bedroom condo. It had a bunk room, a queen bed, and a king sized bed. A nice sized kitchen and living room. The best thing was it was right on the beach. We had a great view of the ocean and was able to be at the beach within minutes of leaving our condo. The condo also had a entry pool which was great for the kids. There is also a kiddie area, which is why we booked it, but it was being serviced this week. Just our luck, but really the pool and the beach were perfect. It also had a small restaurant and a market where you could buy stuff. We booked through VRBO and I would definitely go back. 

The gulf coast is awesome because you can see in the water, but also Wade was freaked out because he could see fish. Shew! It helps me though. I’m not a huge ocean fan so being able to see let’s me know if I need to jump on my boogie board and go. Haha! 

Okay! All those details aside let’s talk about  the actual vacation. The kids were so excited to see the beach and play. They wanted to play in the sand, swim, and Wade wanted to ride the waves. We did this everyday except for two days and we definitely got our feel for the beach. We did a lot of fun stuff and ate a lot of good food. Here are some of my top picks.

Boar’s Head Restaurant was amazing and had a great selection of food. I would highly recommend this restaurant. I got ribs and they were delicious. Vaughn got the chef special which was pork medallions with a blueberry glaze it was beautifully done. The chef really outdid himself and vaughn said it was absolutely delicious. My parents got steaks and said they were very good.

Saltwater Grille was pricey, but was a great meal and has an amazing aquarium. My dad got Tuna and it was legit the best tuna I have ate. My mom got a filet and it was the most tender steak and best tasting one I have had in a long time. 

Pompano’s Joes! The blackened Mahi Mahi was amazing. Spicy! But tasted so good. 

We had ice cream twice! The first night was at a Hershey Ice Cream Shop. I got a brownie sundae and it did not disappoint. The last night we went to a rolled ice cream shop and it was the neatest thing to watch them make the ice cream and roll it. I highly suggest finding one in your area, if you have one, and try it. So good! Makes me want some now! Yum! 

 

Pirates Island Adventure Golf is always good. We always try to find this type of putt putt course just because they are so good and pirate themed. Wade loves them! And vaughn too! 

We rode Go-Karts one night and went bowling and both were highlights for my son. He just loves to do stuff and gets super excited. 

We also went shopping while the boys played 9 holes of golf. There was a golf course directly across from our condo. And the shopping place, Pier Park, was about 5-6 miles away. It reminded me a lot of Pigeon Forge because it has a sky wheel and tons of shopping places. We found some good deals at Nike for the kids some tennis shoes and some sales at JcPennys. Of course Ron Jon Surf Shop is a must even though we don’t surf they have tons of clothes and it always smells so good. 

Now it wouldn’t be real life if something didn’t go wrong. We had signed up for beach pictures and had scheduled them for 6:30 on Thursday. Well, we decided to order pizza and have it delivered and they told us 45 min-1 hour for delivery. Well it was 2 hours! Yes!! We had to cancel the pictures and reschedule after we all were ready and no they didn’t discount or give us free pizza. The pizza was soggy in the middle probably because it had been made for awhile and just sat there and unfortunately I gave them a bad review. We were starving! Missed our pictures and were not very happy this night. But we ended the night in the pool with swimming and the hot tub. 

The second night there we decided to walk on the beach and my parents had gotten the kids flash lights for their heads and just so you know my kids were freaked out by the sand crabs. I had a man come up with one and they were totally like nope! No thanks! They watched them but were not fans. Haha! 

We had a lot of plans that we wanted to do, but with only a week we ran out of time.  We wanted to go to Shell Island, swim with the dolphins and parasail. But it just didn’t work out. But you know what..we still had fun and it was a great week. 

Now, I just hope we can adjust back to our normal time zone. And go to bed at a normal time. Please! Maybe! And for sand to stop magically appearing everywhere. I didn’t know we brought back so much. But it’s everywhere. So, give Panama City Beach a try. I know you will love it and enjoy it as much as we did. 

I definitely want to go back and spend time there again, but give me my mountains any day. They are home to me! 

Love and Prayers, 

Holly

 

 

 

NYC Part Two

Everywhere you turn there is something to do, see, eat, and experience..good or bad! It’s like a different world compared to where I live. Like I said New York was amazing and is known for food, culture, and history and when it comes to knowing where to go in a big city you ask people who have went or know people who live there. My friend hooked us up with her cousin who lives there and she gave us a list of recommendations of restaurants and some things to do and they did not disappoint. We didn’t get to eat every where we wanted too, but we did eat a lot of good food. 

Friday night we got tickets to go to the Yankees Game. Now, this was one of Vaughn’s top life goals. He is a Yankees fan and this was a moment for him. I’m sure he didn’t cry or get emotional, but he was excited to be there and watch them play... but oh let me back track. Because I want to tell you about the place we went to eat before the game. Yum! Yum! Burgers and fries! We went to a place called The Burger Joint. Now, if you’re looking for this place it’s hard to find, but overall it’s so neat because it’s literally hidden in this ritzy hotel. It not big and it was so so good. It was a good burger and the fries were good also. It was not what we expected because it was small and a little hole in the wall. There were no signs so if you do get to go you might have to ask... I mean we asked a lot of people questions the whole time. They definitely knew we were tourists. Haha! Highly recommend, The BurgerJoint. 

So, now back to the Yankees game. The stadium is amazing and the Yankees won. Yay!!! It was 9-0 so we ended up leaving in the 7th inning to go look in the shop and get some things and decided to ride the subway back. Yankee game-Subway....ummmm it was packed! It ended up not being too bad, but it was an experience. We walked 26,548 steps that day.  Yeah! That’s equivalent to over 12 miles. Dead! Haha! We slept good. Also, I forgot to mention that we stayed at the Sheraton. It was very nice! A good location... close to Central Park and Times Square not a bad walk to each. 

The next morning we woke up around 8:00 again and got ready to go sightseeing. We ate breakfast at Juniors. I got a bagel and Vaughn got a large breakfast, pancakes, sausage,eggs, bacon, and toast....I’m not much of a breakfast person, but he loves it so this was the best of both worlds for us. We then went to get on the subway only to find out that the one we needed wasn’t  running and was under maintenance. So, we decided to walk. We ran into the wanna be rappers and this time i just kept my hand so in my pocket and kept my eyes straight. And guess what, they basically followed me telling me that I hated black people and didn’t even want to touch them. We had to stop at the crosswalk where they continued to say stuff. It bothered me and I wanted to say something, but I didn’t. I probably would have ended up with another cd. Haha! Anyways we walked and walked, walked, and walked 7-8 miles to get to the World Trade Center Memorial and the One World Trade Center. So emotional and so beautiful. Seeing all the names and the water just flow down. It brought tears to my eyes. Then you can look up and see the new tower. It’s amazing how the city has rebuilt and created a beautiful memorial and an amazing building that stands to represent what was taken from them/us. 

We then walked over to the ferry to go see The Statue of Liberty. We didn’t get the tickets to go up on the pedestal or crown because they were sold out but we did get to see her and take a picture with her. This has always been one of my favorite monuments. Probably because I dressed up like it for 4th grade history lesson. No, really! I just love what she stands for and represents. It was cool to be that close and take pictures of. After walking around we decided to ride over to Ellis Island on the ferry and look at the museum and see where all the immigrants where taken when arriving to New York. We didn’t get to see much because we were tired by this point and hungry. 

Once getting off the ferry we decided to walk to get some food. We weren’t really close to any of the suggestions we were given, but there was one, Eataly. It was on the list and was a really neat place. It was actually in the One World Trade Center Building. It is a shop where you can buy fresh pasta, meats, sauces, etc. But it also has a restaurant. Now, once sitting down and looking at the menu I realized it was mostly in Italian. Yeah! The waiter even asked if we had questions, but I was being myself and said no! I ended up getting Spaghetti with a butter and cheese sauce and pepper. It was actually very good. I thought I had ordered just normal spaghetti.. haha! Vaughn got a Margarita pizza. Which is is cheese, sauce, and basil. It was good also. He also saw someone order a mole cola. So he decided to order one. It is basically like a coke just an Italian one. It was a little sweeter, but good. We also ordered chocolate and pistachio gelato. So creamy and good. We loved it! It was the perfect way to end dinner. 

After leaving the restaurant we decided to ride the subway back or see if we could find one to get us close . We did and were able to go back to the room for a little bit. We were tired but wanted to do one more thing... The Empire State Building. So, we rested for an hour and headed back out. Got on the subway and went to a couple of shops and looked for some souvenirs for the kids and family and ended up making it to the building at 8:00 p.m.  The city at night. Wow! Gorgeous! Everything is lit up. From the cars to  the buildings..amazing! We went up to the 86th floor and got to look over and take pictures. Definitely recommend doing this and going at night. Beautiful! Vaughn’s not one for heights, but he did pretty well and even took a picture with me. 

We ended up leaving and walking to a few more shops. I had wanted to stop by Carlos Bakery. There is now one in New York. I had watched Cake Boss for years and was memorized by the way they make stuff and cakes. I decided to get some things to try: a lobster tail, cannoli, cupcake, and a cookies. Now, no judgement. I didn’t eat all of this. I was sampling. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what I had thought it would be. It was food, but not what I had anticipated. Ya know? When you wait for something for so long and it’s not quite how you pictured it? Okay! That was this. So, we looked a few more shops and finally got an Uber to head back to the hotel. And that day we walked 30,651 step...y’all! I’m dead! Haha! No joke exhausted. 

We had an amazing time. It was perfect weather, amazing food, and such a special time with my husband. And now we are back home. Ready to rest? Haha! We’ll see what the kids say about that. And can anybody guess what our first stop was before getting the kids??? Any guesses? Pal’s! Haha! It’s part of our home and I’m so glad to be HOME! 

We’ll go back to NYC hopefully in a couple of years if not sooner, but until then I will cherish the memories and be thankful to have visited, but get to call this place my home. 

Love and Prayers, 

Holly

NYC Part One

New York, New York! I mean who wouldn’t be excited to go. It’s the city that never sleeps, literally. And it’s absolutely amazing in how crazy busy, intense, and fast paced it is. From the moment we arrived I’m not sure we stopped very much to really just breathe it all in, well...I’m not sure if you really want to breathe New York in. Haha! But really it’s an experience like no other. Here is our adventure of New York in 2 parts... two country kids adventuring out on our first trip without kids since having kids. 

We began our adventure in Knoxville, TN where we flew out of into Newark, New Jersey. We had a car service that took us to our hotel and I could already tell that I would never make it driving in New York. Nope! Never! I was a nervous wreck and I would have panicked if I was the one driving. Truth! We made it to New York on Thursday around 2:00. We got to the hotel and immediately knew what we needed....FOOD! I mean we were in New York....iconic food. Our first stop was Angelos. And all I can say is YUM!!! We ordered a pepperoni and meatball pizza. It was amazing and it was a great atmosphere. And of course we wanted dessert. We’re on vacation so to Juniors we went. Juniors is a full service restaurant, but known for it’s cheesecake. Can we all together just agree that cheesecake makes everything better??? If you don’t like it, then I’m not sure we can be friends. Haha! Just kidding, but it was a really good piece of cheesecake. Check it out if you go. 

We made it back to the hotel to start getting ready to go to Broadway. Now y’all, this has been one of my top goals in life to see a Broadway play. I had always wanted to see Beauty and the Beast. Well, it wasn’t playing so we both decided on The Lion King. And let me start by saying...AMAZING! It was crazy good. The costumes, the songs, the acting!!! I literally cried walking through the doors because I had waited so long to do this. It was something I will cherish and definitely want to go back and see many more..hint hint, Vaughn! 

After the play we walked the streets of New York back to our hotel. It’s so beautiful at night with all the lights. And let me say this. You just never know what you might see..it’s New York! Literally had a girl walk past us with a thong and a little coverage over her chest, well, I wouldn’t even call it coverage. She was painted like a flag. Does that count? Haha! We both were shocked. Country kids remember! Here I was worried that my dress was too revealing. Yeah, I was fine. Haha! 

We went to bed around 12:00-1:00 and woke up around 8:00 and went and got breakfast at a local coffee shop called Macchiato Coffee Shop. We got muffins and coffee and they were delish! After finishing, we walked around and looked at shops, Times Square, got mobbed by some wanna be rappers and somehow ended up with their cd’s in our hands. Yeah! They signed them... To Big Vaughn and V Swag.. oh yes! Laugh at this please. We ended up giving them $10 to basically just stop talking to us and leave us alone. Shew! But we have two cd’s if anyone likes hard core rap. Anyone??? 

We ended up at Macy’s...the world’s largest store! 9 floors! Filled full! I had been there before, but it still was impressive and massive. We walked around some more and went into Central Park. So beautiful and there’s a  lot to do in that area. All I thought about was Home Alone. 90’s kid!! 

We had reservations for the Loeb Boathouse for lunch. This place! I loved it! The food was amazing. Vaughn ordered a pork lion and I got scallops. It was one of the pricier meals of our trip, but in my opinion totally worth it. You sit right on the lake and can watch people row boats and you have the backdrop of New York. It’s gorgeous! After finishing our meal we went to row a boat. You could rent for an hour and go around the lake. It was so much fun and something we actually liked to do. We watched people row backwards. We laughed. Haha! I’m not sure if they made it back in an hour. But, overall just a special time together and something we had never done. We got to see turtles, ducks, and a different view of New York. It was quiet, peaceful, and time seemed to slow down. 

We walked back to the room and rested for a little while before going back out to dinner and to our next adventure.

More to come... 

VT Game!

If you know me you know that I love sports. I enjoy going to sporting events and support local teams and most college teams. Now, my husband on the other hand only supports HIS teams. Yep! He is fan of Virginia Tech and I’m a Tennessee Vol fan. I know! House divided! However, I support his team and cheer them on. Does he ? NO! He won’t  even wear a TN shirt. And I have actually been to more VT games now than I have to Vols games. True love! 

So, today we got to go to the William and Mary vs Virginia Tech game. We had a great time, great weather, good food at Cabo Fish Taco.. yum, and watched Tech win. It can’t get much better than that. 

Being at Lane Stadium or any stadium is crazy. The crowd is pumped and excited! They are ready to watch their team. You dress in the team colors and you cheer loudly. You act like a fan should, eat a turkey leg. Gag me now! Ewww! But that’s what they’re known for. We got a pretzel. AHHHMMAZING! 

We cheered the whole game, well vaughn doesn’t really cheer. Haha! The crowd was pumped for the first home game. H-O-K-I -E-S—HOKIES!! And Go Tech Go! Let’s Go- Hokies! And you can’t forget to “start jumping”. The Hokie pokie,  get your keys out for key plays.  It’s traditions and is exciting to be apart of. The only bad part of the day was being squished. The row we sat on was full. So, I was very up close and personal with the guy beside me and Vaughn. Vaughn’s leg hair  kept tickling my leg and it was hot so the whole being squished was not helping. Oh well it got better by the 3rd Quarter. And then the rain started and we left. It was a good squished game. Haha! 

My aunt and uncle have had season tickets for years. They are usually so sweet to give us tickets to a game they can’t go to. I’m thankful so Vaughn can see his Hokies, but I’m also thankful for the time together. We rarely get to eat a meal together, we rarely get to talk in the car, and we sleep with our kids. The joys of parenting. So, anytime we get the opportunity to go together, we take it!!! 

We will be heading back in November for the Miami game, Vaughn’s Birthday Present. I’m sure Blacksburg will be freezing cold by then. If you haven’t been there in winter prepare yourself. Cold is saying it nicely. However, it will be another trip with my hubby, a meal, a car ride, and a game to watch together. #cantwait

So, back to me and my team...Tennessee won today! Haha! It was actually against our Alma Mater, ETSU. But, a wins a win. We’ll take it! Go Vols! Go Tech! Go Tigers! I’ll just say this...Go anybody, but the Gators! Haha! Spend some time with your hubby, friends, or by yourself. We all need a little time for ourselves. 

Love and Prayers, 

Holly

 

Student Life Camp

Shew!!!! I’m back at home and trying to get back to a normal routine...aka rest and do life with two kids. Haha! Can I go back to my teenage days when I could sleep, sleep, and sleep? I forgot how camp just drains you and how your body feels...31 is approaching any day now and boy do I feel it at this moment. 

Let me give you a peek into my week....

I work as the youth assistant director at my church. I love it! Enjoy it and wouldn’t trade it for the world...well sometimes haha! This week we went to Student Life Camp at Ridgecrest. I took 15 of my youth and my intern. The week was full of God’s word, amazing music, and lots and lots of walking and late nights. Overall, an amazing week. Our camp theme was I AM. So powerful and such a great topic for youth. I think they all came back with a better understanding of who God is. 

When we first got there we jumped right into the camp routine. We had life group, dinner, worship, and then church group time to end the day. Well, the day never ends there. We jumped right into catchphrase and talking and went to bed around 1:30?? Knowing good and well we had to be up at 6:30. So, Day 2 begins with breakfast, quiet time or a meeting for the leaders, Rise (which is worship), and then Rec. Here’s the funny thing....the leaders have to participate. Haha! No getting out of it, but I saw some leaders not. Well, I was all about it.  Leap Frog, push up and walk, wheel barrow, pyramid, dizzy bat, and I’m sure there are some I’m forgetting but you get points if you wont 1st, 2nd or 3rd....well we got a big fat 0. Those games were hard and we were competing against 10 other groups. But overall it was fun. Just seeing the kids fall over after doing the dizzy bat made my day. Haha! It was hilarious. Anyways, after this we played laser tag. No joke, best group activity ever. It wasn’t inside, it was outside and you had to wear these hats that had a sensor. It was hilarious and we were competitive. I even had one of my youth say...I really didn’t think you would be good at this...but you are. Haha! And what was crazy was right before we started the game we saw a bear come down the mountain. I kept saying there’s a bear...there’s a bear...then screamed there’s a bear!!!! He went away but boy was it scary for a minute. And the good thing was no one got badly injured... only one fat lip and it was because of the student’s gun. lol! So, after laser tag you can only imagine how stinky we were...gross! Showers and dinner then to worship. One of our youth became broken after worship and spoke during our church group time and shared her story. Beautiful! God is good! And of course we went to bed around 1:30-2:00 again except this night was the night of a very very bad storm. I hate Storms and couldn’t sleep, but oh well..it’s camp.

The next day was messy water day. Same routine except you need to prepare yourself to get really really wet and really really messy. This year was all geared to the swamp. If you mess up or lose you had to go to the swamp. It symbolized our life and the consequences we have with our sin. I’m thankful we don’t have to go sliding down a tarp covered in flour, chocolate fudge, soap, water, koolaide, and whatever else they added when we sin. It was interesting and guess what....we messed up a lot. So to the swamp we went. Now, the boys in my group wanted to go. They wanted to get messy and were enjoying themselves a lot. I mean what teenage boy wouldn’t. I was having fun too until I went sliding downand stood up and then went right back down onto my hip...bruise you will have, Holly. And oh goodness do I. Haha! We had to end a little early why??? Well, it came a down pour of rain. Now let me explain. We are at the top the mountain. We must get down the mountain to shower before lunch. 175 people making their way down the mountain to showers....who are already dirty, soaking wet, and running in the rain. I saw more kids falling then and getting hurt then up at the swamp. However, our group made it down and all were clean for lunch.

We then had life group and free time... for free time they always give you options and me and some of the girls went to scripture lettering where you paint a scripture it was relaxing and honeslty a great time to spend with 3 of them.

So after free time it’s dinner and worship and let me just tell you our camp pastor..Curtis Zackery or CZ was amazing. He laid things out so beautifully and explained things to the group in ways I hadn’t heard and I’m definitley thankful for the words God gave him and spoke into the camp. Also, the band Rush of Fools was so so so so good. They introduced a new song that hasn’t been released yet called only you. Y’all!! Prepare yourselves for it. It hits you in your heart and soul. Such a great group of guys. So go check them both out and follow them...@whoiscz and @rushoffools.

Last day of camp is always so special. It’s amazing what God can do when we give him our attention, time, and prepare our hearts. I told our group...I wish everyday could be like camp. Each day you get the word preached over you, you get to worship with others, you’re in the word multiple times a day...and honeslty, we can!!! But we have to be dedicated and have to make time.And it’s hard.

The last day we started off like the rest and ended up having to play rec inside. We had different games and competed against the other group. It was fun, competitive, and we won! Well, shock won! But we were apart of shock sooooo we won! Haha! The day went by fast and I went to my meeting like normal and got blessed by CZ. He spoke to us. To my servant heart.....it was amazing. He said, leaders always make sure someone is feeding you. Pouring into you! Have someone who you can go to and allow God’s word to be put in you. We are constantly giving of ourselves... God has something to be put in you. Don’t forget about you! So important and I’m so thankful I have that. But, of course I need time just for me for and God. We all need that!!!

So, that night at worship. Remember, I said the last night is special...well powerful! So powerful! I had two of my youth become broken before God and they allowed him to mend their hearts and restore them. God is good! And HE is still working. 

During church group time my intern and I had the privilege to pray over all 15 students. Prayer is so important! These kids need faithful people going to God on their behalf and praying for God’s protection, love, and will to be revealed to them. I was honored to pray over them and for them. I prayed these scriptures over them. 

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 

6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Pslams 51:10 ESV

I want them to go back and lean not on their own understanding, but God!! I want them to trust in him and pray to him and believe that he is with them. I pray for their hearts. This world is full of challenges, but I pray for them to be bold and stand up for God. I pray that they left camp feeling renewed, restored and know that they carry the Holy Spirit with them.

We didn’t make it to bed that night until around 1:00, but I don’t think we went to sleep till 2:00? I know I was in and out. I was tired!! 

The next day we woke up to pack and get ready. Did our thing and headed to Rise. Had a great time and loaded up to come home, not before we had some chickfila and duck donuts...yum yum! We’re baptists...chicken and donuts. Oh yeah! The ride back was a blast and now all we have is camp memories. Priceless memories. 

God is still working! Get in the word, pray, and be used by him. And if you have the chance to go to camp...go! No matter how old you are. 

Love and Prayers, 

Holly

Steele Creek Park

Today we got to visit a new place, Steele Creek Park. We had never been there and we were invited to go with some friends to the splash pad. It didn’t look like it was going to be a pretty day, but it turned out to be perfect. 

Have you been? If you haven’t it’s defintely a must for kids and it also offers a lot for the whole family. There are picnic shelters, the splash pad, trails, playgrounds, a train, a nature center, and you can also do paddle boats. It’s beautiful up there and also has a golf course... it’s a win win! 

Today we started with the Splash Pad and the kids loved it. It has little buckets that dump, animals that squirt water, and water squirting out from the concrete. It was fun to just sit back and relax until Wade tried to carry MJ and they both fell and Wade got stung by a sweat bee twice. After that the fun came to halt, for a little bit, and they were ready for snacks and to venture to the train. 

Wade had been excited since last night when I told him we were going to get to ride a little train. He asked all morning about the train and what it would be like and MJ just kept saying, chop-choo! They were excited!

The train is at the top and is close to the playground. It was a $1 per person and MJ was still free... after Saturday nope! Haha! But today she was free. But for a $1 you get to ride around and look at the Lake. On the train ride you hear the bell and get to go through a tunnel. You are on an actual track and go for about 5 minutes. We got to see turtles, well one of us did. We did see ducks!! Lots of them. It was so neat and definitely worth it. The kids all loved it. 

Next we ventured to the playground. The kids love to climb, slide, and swing. Wade has now figured out the fireman pole and is not scared. And MJ, well she really isn’t scared of anything. She went down the biggest slide first thing. And was trying to climb like her Bubba. Overall, it was a great day to be outside and the rain started right after we left. Shew! Thank you Lord for the beautiful day. 

So, if you are wanting to spend some time outside stop by Steele Creek Park! There is a fee to get in but it’s only $2. But it’s definitley worth it. There is so much to do and I promise you’ll have fun and your kids won’t want to leave. Enjoy! 

Love and Prayers, 

Holly

 

www.bristoltn.org/166/Steele-Creek-Park

 

 

A Week of FUN!

I have always wanted to give my kids experiences  no matter how stressed out it makes me or how hard it might be to keep up with them. I believe you live each day to the fullest and you do as much as you can while you can. We never know what tomorrow holds. So, do stuff with those babies.

This week we went with our church to a local indoor play center. The kids had a blast and enjoyed going down the slide and in the ball pit. They played for over 2 hours and believe me fun was had by all. The place is called Kidz Kingdom and it is super clean and the cost isn't bad for all day play. There is a trampoline, ball pit, slide, climbing obstacles that even my 2 year can easily do. There are riding toys, balls, a dinosaur that roars and you can sit on. And of course I can't forget the spinning sphere. Basically Wade rode this so much he turned green and I had to not allow him to get back on. haha! Overall this place is amazing because it is one big room of fun and there is something for ages 6 months-10 years old or above. I highly recommend you give a try with some friends one day. 

Now, let's flash forward to Bays Mountain. This week in our area we have, Fun Fest. It's a fun week for all ages and there are always activities going on. We don't do a lot of them, but we usually take advantage of Bays Mountain being free, the Crazy 8's Race, and the Balloons. Today, we visited the park and got to see the snakes (ewww), the otters( I think I squealed because I have never seen them before there) haha, and the wolves and the deer. But most of all Wade just wanted to see the play area. A tiny bear cave that he can crawl in and out of. Of course! The kids enjoyed walking around and being loud and howling at the wolves. You can imagine!

It's so beautiful there and usually not over crowded but with it being a free entry day...it was crowded. But it didn't stop their fun. One of my favorite parts was looking back and seeing Wade and his friend holding hands and also holding their noses. Haha! They said they didn't want the smoke to get in their nose. Unfortunately, people were smoking and the boys walked through. They held their noses for a while until we told them they were safe and it was okay to breathe. Haha! It was so much fun though and a beautiful day to be outside. 

So, tonight was supposed to be filled with beautiful huge hot air balloons that would glow and light up the night. Unfortunately FunFest had to cancel that Balloon Glow this year. We went just for this, but actually ended up having a great time. We went to The Taste. It’s where local businesses and food trucks gather in one spot and you can experience all kinds of different food. We got the kids pizza and breadsticks from Fazoli’s. Vaughn and I ate from the food truck, Feeding Frenzy. Vaughn got the pork nachos and I got the Mac Attack sandwich. Very Good! Highly recommend! MJ got a sno-cone that was blue, her favorite, that was too hard to eat and she ended up spilling it everywhere and not eating it. Fun! Right? Haha! And Wade got some doughnuts...And of course we can’t forget the face paint and tattoos that occurred at the end of the night. A full face pirate and a hello kitty on the arm. Rebels! MJ just kept saying, “I tattoo”and “Bubba Pirate, me kitty cat.” Haha! 

This week has been all about getting out and living. Even though taking two kids under 5 is hard it is definitely worth it to hear them talk about what they did and the memories....it’s worth it! So, go try out Kidz Kingdom, go to Bays Mountain, and tomorrow is the last day of Fun Fest so if you’re local go enjoy. 

Peace out! I’m tired and ready for bed! It’s been a busy week. 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

 

https://m.facebook.com/Kids-Kingdom-924267597727171/

https://www.baysmountain.com/

http://www.funfest.net/

https://m.facebook.com/FeedingFrenzyMobile/

https://m.facebook.com/thetattoolady1/

 

 

 

Family Reunion

Summer time! It’s full of tons of fun, outside time, and usually vacations...also family reunions. As a couple, Vaughn and I have not went to a lot of family reunions. We are usually busy or not available to go because of the time. And since we have had kids...well kids just cause you to think before you do anything...haha! However this weekend we were able to attend Vaughn’s moms family reunion in North Carolina and we had a great time. 

We left on Friday around lunch time. Now, it was only 5 hours away, but with kids. Just add another 2-3 hours because of bathroom breaks, eating, and of course just wanting OUT. I think Wade needed to go pee, no joke, 5-6 times. And MJ didn’t nap but 20-30 min. So, you can already see the trip down was eventful. For those that really know Wade...you know how much LOVE he has for Cracker Barrel. So, of course for dinner that night we stopped at Cracker Barrel. We finally made it to the hotel...my favorite, Hampton Inn. It was around 9:00 and we started to get ready for bed. We were exhausted and ready. Howver, MJ was so tired that she wasn’t tired. Do you understand?? She was crazy. She would cry or pout and then laugh. Then cry some more and finally she just gave up and went to sleep. 

The next morning Vaughn was supposed to play golf with his dad and a relative. Well, he got 5 holes in and the rain came down...I mean it rained. And rained!! So, he came back to the hotel which ended up working out better anyways and we all went to the reunion together. We got to the house around 10:30 and immediately the kids began to play with the other kids. They were making lunch on the grill and everyone was talking, playing, and just sitting around. Lunch was ready and as I went to get the kids something I realized, what is Wade going to eat and what I am I going to eat... I don't eat sausage or hot dogs and that’s what was on the grill. Now, remember I have been trying to eat better...ha! I was doing so well until the 4th..I gave myself a cheat day and that cheat ran all week long..oh well! It happens! But anyways, Wade ate hot dog buns and chips and I actually ate a hot dog..I know! If you know me you understand that’s a big deal. I was hungry and didn’t eat a lot for breakfast. So desperate times...you eat the hot dog! Vaughn was in Heaven with the sausage and MJ loves hot dogs. They were happy! 

It finally stopped raining and the kids were able to swim. Wade is actually swimming!!! He is doing so well. We are so proud Of him. He still has to use his puddle jumper in the deep end, but we’re getting there. We swam for about 45 min and it was dinner time...I swear these people knew how to cook.. they had smoked a chicken and a pig... I of course couldn’t look at it... y’all I’m so picky but I did eat some bbq with a homemade bbq sauce and it was yummy. Everything was delicious and I even splurged on some pasta and a couple of desserts. Shew! I was full. And I believe everyone else was too. The kids got back in the pool and this time Vaughn got in with them. They brought out corn hole and some music. We ended the night just sitting around the pool and then with pictures. It was fun! 

We left around 8:30 and went back to the hotel. Of course the night wasn’t over until daddy played throw the kids on the bed...pictures below. Haha! But we do this at home and it was continued at the hotel. Soon after, Wade feel asleep watching tv... and MJ nope! She ate cheese sticks at 10:00 at night. Shew! She’s a mess. She ate 3! She’s my eater. We left that morning around 9:30 because we had bible school that night. We made it back just in time. We had to stop 2 times during the first two hours..or maybe it was 3...wade! But we made good time and got back in plenty of time. Yes we were tired and yes today has been a rest day, but it was worth it. 

Family reunions need to happen. It’s a great thing. Yes it’s hard to get everyone together and find a time that works for everyone but they need to happen. It’s important to get together and allow everyone to see and hear about each other. It’s so easy to stay in our little bubbles with our close family. But our families are more than just our immediate family. We are branches on a tree. Each branch has limbs and leaves but the trunk of the tree is where we are rooted. The starting of the family. We need more traditions! We need more get togethers! And yes it’s hard to plan, yes it’s a lot of work, and yes it’s sometimes awkward because you don’t know everyone. And yes you might not “like”everyone..haha! But you’re connected! It’s your family. 

So, if you have a family reunion, go! If you want to get together with family..do it! Don’t worry about the cooking, ask everyone to bring something and enjoy yourself. If you want to plan something...go ahead! I promise you it will be worth it. We aren’t promised tomorrow. Enjoy each day and spend time with the ones you love. And go to a family reunion if you have one this summer! 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

Wade flying through the air to the bed..haha!

Creation Kingdom Zoo

The Zoo! What kid doesn’t like the zoo? Well, I’m sure there are kids out there that aren’t fond of the smells and some of the animals, but overall it is so cool being able to look at animals we would only get to see online or in books and actually see them in person. Be close to them! Right in the action! Yesterday  we visited a local zoo, Creation Kingdom. It was such a good day and the kids and adults all enjoyed it. 

We went with our church preschool group. And believe it or not it wasn’t like hurding cats or a circus. The kids were all so good. I mean, usually you can expect atleast one or more breakdowns, someone to get hurt, or something crazy to happen...I mean their ages are 2-4 so you never know. They even fed animals and no one cried or got bit. Overall, it was a perfect day! 

If you have never been to Creation Kingdom I highly recommend you go. It’s a small zoo, but it is well worth it. They have a vast variety of animals. You can get really close to some and the other animals are still able to be seen even though they can’t be touched. Our favorite, the monkeys. They were so funny. The kids were able to feed some of the animals and the monkeys were by far the best. They would catch the food or jump after it. They were show offs. Haha! It was amazing to watch them. The sheep!!!! Oh my goodness. They were very aggressive and I have never thought as sheep as aggressive, but oh boy did they want to eat and for you to feed them. The donkeys were sweet. The zebras and giraffe were beautiful and the tigers...oh goodness! So beautiful. 

God’s creation is so amazing! To be able to see how different God made things, but also how alike we are.  I saw a mommy monkey with her baby hanging on her and the baby didn’t want to be put down. (Sounds just like parenthood) And a lemur with a baby on her back just hanging.

God created everything and everything with a purpose. These animals have families just like us. They need food and water just like us. And they rely on the earth to supply what they need. This zoo allowed me to think about the creation story in Genesis 1. God’s Creation.. the creation I have had the privilege of seeing..the mountains, the ocean, the animals, the people, the sky, the atomphere (on the computer), the plants, rocks, etc. I am amazed and humbled by his beautiful creation. His fingerprint is everywhere and he shines through to show who he is. I was reminded of this at the zoo that God has a plan for everything. Even a tiny ant or a large tiger. There is beauty in everything. I don’t like snakes, but God created them with a purpose and they are pretty important for some reason.. I’m sure! I just can’t come up with one because I dont like them..lol! But really! There’s a reason for everything. That’s the beauty of it.  Next time you are outside..STOP and Praise him for what he has given us. Marvel in it. Enjoy it and thank him for it.  The beauty of his creation is everywhere (inside your house and outside). The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.  Psalms 19:1

So, if you’re looking for a sweet adventure this summer and you want to see God’s beautiful creation I highly recommend Creation Kingdom Zoo in Scott County. 

You can find them at http://www.creationkingdomzoo.com/ and on facebook at The Creation Kingdom Zoo.

 

Love and Prayers,

Holly 

 

The Creek

Copper Creek! Oh, the memories that I have, the beauty, the calmness! It’s relaxing and peaceful. 

When I was little My grandparents helped my parents out by keeping me. It was blessing to all. I loved going to their house. I mean, I was an only child, but I was spoiled even more over there...haha! I once told my mom that my mamaw had my supper ready as soon as I got off bus or when papaw brought me home.... and I wondered why she couldn’t achieve this. Mom!!! I understand now! Lol! Papaw would get Disney Channel just for me and Mamaw would put a pallet “blanket” in the floor with my apple, cheese, and crackers. I rememeber papaw blow drying my hair at night and him helping me with my homework. His garden and the beauty of it...I just didn’t get it when I was little. I wasn’t very fond of being outside, but now I see how important that garden is. It’s precious!! Hardee’s was mine and my papaw’s Place and me and grandmother had the swinging bridge and her flower bed. 

You know, when you’re little you never think about your kids doing the same things you did as a child. I’m so blessed that both my grandparents are here with us and are still so involved in my life. I’m so thankful my kids can experience the swinging bridge and the flower bed, fishing, playing in the yard, and being with my grandparents. 

The creek will always have a special place in my heart. But, it’s not just the creek.. it’s the people. My grandmother doesn’t live there anymore but every time she is over there it feels like “home”. Because we’re all together....How I remember feeling as a child with both my grandparents. 

Today, we went over and spent some time on the Creek. We went to the swinging bridge and the kids played and didn’t take naps... oh goodness! Grouchy is nicely putting it.. haha! And to see their happiness at a place I was so happy makes my heart so full. 

This is an adventure I want my kids to always rememeber and continue. A place where the cell phones don’t get signal, where you get to talk to people and be together. That’s whats it’s all about. Spend some time with your family. Put the phone down. I mean, you can take pictures, but don’t miss the big picture. 

Love and Prayers,

Holly