Monday, January 28, 2019

Disneyland 2018

When I was on my hiatus from blogging, we took Presley to Disneyland and California Adventure. It was also my husband's birthday trip. Usually we head north to Seattle but this year we decided to do something a little different. My husband's birthday is just a few days before Halloween and for years now he always makes a comment about how it would be nice to go to Disneyland at Halloween. Well... we never go because we go to Seattle instead and the cycle repeats of me hearing about how we should go to Disney for the Halloween décor.

Well October 2018, I booked the annual trip to Seattle and then promptly cancelled it. I then rescheduled a trip to Disney and told my husband that this year we were in fact going to Disneyland.

Since I had never been to Disneyland this was going to be my first trip there and clearly Presley's first time as well. Presley was already very familiar with Mickey Mouse because he gets taken to the Disney store several times and gets to pick a new Mickey each trip. His eyes light up and he gets so excited so I knew he'd like meeting the "real" Mickey at the park.

If you've never booked a trip to Disneyland then you are in for a price surprise! Even before the increase in ticket prices, the happiest place on earth will give you the blues once you've spent all your money on the trip. I enlisted some of my husbands family and we rented a large house via AirB&B to stay at. The owners were crazy but that's a whole different story.

We did three days in the park with 1 park each day and 1 magic morning. Maybe we didn't do our Magic Morning right but half the park's rides weren't even running during the magic morning. The restaurants weren't open nor were the gift shops so unless you just wanted to take photographs or ride the ride It's a Small World then I didn't get the point of Magic Morning.

I did appreciate the nursing room located in both parks. It was clean, easy to locate and air conditioned! They also have baby supplies in case you run out and a place to feed and change Presley who of course had many poop explosions while we were there. I also appreciated the rider swap on the maxpass (which cost extra by the way) because that did save us several minutes when we had to switch off. If you were like me, and knew nothing about Pirates of the Caribbean ride, when they offer to let your family sit in the front row- decline as you have a small child who doesn't want to be splashed. Wish I would have known that it was going to have a dip at the beginning....

The price of food, water, mickey ears etc.. well you can go bankrupt without ever leaving the park. BUT they do take your photos!

I was clearly unimpressed by this ride lol! Also I loved the new COCO ears! And Presley even got in on wearing them...
Our It’s A Small World Ride. I’m glad we rode it when we did because it shut down the next day to star the refurbishment.

Clearly my husband wasn’t digging the ride either.....

What’s your favorite part of thing to do in/at Disney? 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

22 Reasons Why I Love Tennessee

I have a deep love for Tennessee. I have been going there since I was two years old for vacations. I grew up wishing and waiting for our trips to the Smokey mountains and to Nashville to go to the once great theme park Opryland, to get a glimpse of the Dolly Parton and to soak in all of their southern charm. I’ve been everyone from East Tennessee all the way to the opposite end of Memphis. I love this state and I love all the things in it. Trust me I count down till the day I either get offered an amazing job there or can retire to there! Follow along as I take you through just 23 reasons why I love Tennessee.

I clearly have a deep love for Elvis considering we named our son Presley. I have visited Graceland several times and always notice something new during each visit. A recent expansion and upgrades to the complex across from his elegant home which features memorabilia, gold records and jumpsuits is sure to push you into the obsessed category. Top off your trip with a stay at the recent build of the new hotel - The Guest house at Graceland.

Fall foliage
If you've been to Tennessee that's one thing but coming there in the height of the fall foliage is a whole different experience. The vast trees show their full glory in all colors of the rainbow. The prime time to come for the best foliage is usually anytime in October but depending on the weather it can fluctuate so keep an eye out on the local temps!

Smokey Mountains
An early morning riser can catch the best view of the Smokey mountains. These mountains earn their name every day by showing off their smoke.

Rock City
You can see seven states from Rock City! Located in the eastern part of Tennessee, Rock City has something for everyone in the family. I can remember crossing the suspended bridge as a child and thinking it was the greatest thing on earth.

Beale Street
If you go to Memphis then Beale Street is a must! The food, the culture, the shops. It's all right there on Beale street. The street performers and the people watching is enough entertainment to last the entire night!

Ober Gatlinburg
No matter what season, this Gatlinburg attraction will keep you coming back for more. Taking the scenic sky tram to the top of the mountain leaves you with endless activities. They have a wildlife exhibit that features live bears that you can watch relaxing and feeding. Depending on the season you can ride a rollercoaster or go snow tubing.

Grand Olé Opry
Taking in a show at the Grand Ole Opry is the best experience but learning about the history of the Opry and taking the tour is another fun feature. Thousands of legends have graced the stage and now you can too!


If this was 1995, I would tell you that the theme park was my favorite thing about Opryland. Sadly they closed their doors but I still remember the ride- Screamin Delta Demon! Now it's the Gaylord Opryland Resort.

Dyer's Burgers

Located in Memphis on Beale Street. This is one of the best burgers you will eat in your life. Just thinking about the juiciest meat makes me want to jump on a plane and get to Memphis. The bun was soft, the cheese was perfect. Do not miss out.


The best bbq in Memphis if you ask me! The ribs are amazing and so is the pork. I also can’t go without mentioning the sides as well. Best baked potatoe I have had in the south! You can’t go wrong with going to Marlowe’s. Need a ride? They’ll even pick you up in their giant pink limo!

Dolly’s “Dixie” Stampede
We have been going there for years. I personally don't think the name should have changed from Dixie Stampede to Dolly's Stampede but to each their own. I still love the show and the food. Those to-go bags are no joke. Take it home, there is so much food!

Stages West
How do you know you are in the south? See a Stages West? You are in the south. You can find everything in this store from a giant belt buckle to the perfect pair of cowboy boots. I personally have a pink and white ostrich pair from Stages. The boots last forever and you can even get a free t-shirt with a 50 dollar purchase. Trust me... those boots will get you that free t-shirt.


If you love Dolly Parton or just theme parks in general then this is the place for you. They’ve got rides, they’ve got great food, they have shows and best of all they have things like quilt making, candle dipping and all kinds of other crafts that you can take part in. What other theme park has that? The best part about Dollywood is that you can tour Dolly’s museum and see all of her movie memorabilia and afterwards you may even see her around the park as she goes there frequently. I’ve seen her several times in the park and it’s amazing!

Big Daddy’s Pizzeria

Located in Pigeon Forge, this pizzeria serves up some great slices. We started eating there every visit once my husband started going to PF. It's become our little tradition and we love their pizza!

Ole Smokey Moonshine

Over the last few years, tons of moonshine places have been popping up all over the area but Smokey Mountain Moonshine was the original place! I might say something you never thought of but they make the best JAM! My mom swears by their apple butter jam.


Some of the best vintage finds can be found at Nostalgia. You can find everything there from vintage Christmas ornaments, to clothing, to a three piece sectional couch. Trust me! I've bought a couch and chairs from there and then moved them all the way to California. If you are in the Knoxville area swing by and get your vintage groove on.

Stax Records

I'm sure you've heard of Sun Records located in Memphis but maybe you've never heard of Stax. Located in Memphis, this recording studio was once home to soul music. Some of the artists to record there included- Otis Redding, Booker T & The MGs, Wilson Pickett and Isaac Hayes. The studio is closed today to recording but you can go and take the tour of the once great record company.

The Christmas Place
The largest Christmas store in the south is worth stopping for! I could spend my entire mortgage at this store but I show some restraint. They have everything from ornaments, to nutcrackers, to décor, to personalized stockings. They have an entire room dedicated to Christmas villages and even a little Halloween! If you love the holidays then this store has it all. Can't make it to Tennessee? You can even shop online (trust me... I do).

The Inn at Christmas Place
Did you shop till you drop at the Christmas Place? Well if you did you can walk across the street at sleep in at the Inn at Christmas Place. They celebrate Christmas 365 days of the year here. Each room comes with a Christmas tree and décor. They also serve up an amazing breakfast bar that is included in the price of your stay. They have an omelet station, an entire dessert bar, hot plates and much more! I personally loved their fried bologna.

Country Candy Kitchen

Be still my heart! The Country Candy Kitchen. If I lived in Pigeon Forge, I would weight at least 300 lbs. The best candies can be found here. I can't decide which is best... the double dipped chocolate peanuts, the chocolate covered cashew clusters or the peanut butter peanuts. Oh well, I don't have to decide, I just buy them all.

Sky Lift
I've been going on this sky lift since I was a small child. You ride it to the top of the mountain and get off to take in the views. When the fires occurred it ripped this sky lift to pieces and the top of the mountain was destroyed by the fire. I was so happy when they reopened. They have also expanded to include the longest suspended bridge.

Pigeon Forge Dinner Shows
There are so many dinner shows in town! What's better than watching your show and eating at the same time! My favorites include Hatfield and McCoy, Dolly's Stampede and Comedy Barn.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Live PD

You guys... I’m obsessed with this show.

Currently in it’s third season (I’ve been watching since the first season) and airing 2-3 times a week but always on Friday and Saturdays, this show brings a real faces to the police officers working around the country night after night. It also brings a face to the real problems that American cities are facing. 

Moderated by Dan Abrams in his lovable sweaters and corny jokes, he’s joined by veteran police officer Sean “Sticks” Larkin from Tulsa, Oklahoma and DC crime specialist Tom Morris Jr (who’s seriously passionate about his missing segments) each week. These three men discuss and comment on what we see go down on Live PD. Let’s get into what the show is all about Incase you’ve never seen an episode. 

Camera crews follow around several police departments around the country all at the same time and live. When I say live, I’ve heard there is a 5-15 minute delay in the footage due to bleeping out people’s last names and socials as they give them to officers. I believe the delay is also Incase of a serious crime occurring (however we have seen people stabbed, shot and tased on the show). Some of the police departments that are currently featured weekly include-
Richland, South Carolina
El Paso, Texas
Warwick, Rhode Island
Green County, Missouri
Salinas, California
Franklin County, Ohio
Pasco County, Florida

Many departments participate in the show and up to 16 departments can be featured. The show goes to which ever department is having the most interesting crime or incident occurring. Dan, Tom and Sean are often seen catching us up on what’s occurred while they go to break or in between finding out what is going on with another department. As the show happens live, people are released from traffic stops, drugs are found on commercial break etc and they let us know after by giving the updates. 

While the show might seem very much like COPS. It is indeed not and it’s very much it’s own show. Departments are often shown in the good and the bad situations. We see real towns, with real people and real problems. We see the serious drug epidemic that is sweeping the nation. We see gangs, we see people nightly with suspended licenses, drunk drivers etc. However, we also see the good. We see people trying to help one another. We see people taking an active part in their community to rid it of the bad apples. We see Officers trying to explain the law to citizens. We see Officers trying to bridge that gap in areas where the police may not be that trusted. We see Officers showing kindness to others, giving respect and just asking for it back in return. 

This isn’t a show that just shows cities and towns at it’s worst. It’s a show that’s trying to bridge a divide that’s been deep and forefront recently in the news. These cities are trying to clean up their towns, get people help and trying to educate the public that we are all working together to keep people safe and that everyone needs to take part in it. 

Did I mention there’s dogs? That’s just an added bonus to the show. K-9 units are featured in several departments and these dogs work just as hard as their handlers when it comes to sniffing out crime. UIKEYINPUTUPARROW

Monday, January 14, 2019

Early Start to Reading

When Presley turned about two and a half months old, I decided to start reading to him. I knew he wouldn’t understand any of the words that I was saying but he would be hearing them. He would be spending quality time with me and it would be building his future vocabulary. We first started with the Richard Scarry’s Best Little Board Book Ever. My mom had bought the book for Presley as part of his Easter basket. 
When we started reading the book he surprised me by being so excited to look at the pages. He would intently stare at them and sometimes reach out to touch them. From then on out we would read every single day. We still do to this day! In the beginning we would be reading 3-4 times a day and 2-3 books each reading time. Now we are down to reading 1-2 times a day but we read about 3-4 books each day. When Presley was about 8-9 months old he started holding the books and flipping the pages himself. Every time he does this he starts babbling and trying to talk. He really loves his books and I credit starting him so early with reading. 

What other books does he like to read? Well there’s many. Ones that I read to him on a daily basis...

Why Does My Cat Purr
Katie the Kitten
Farmer Patrick Pig
Coco- Disney Golden Book

He loves those stories but unfortunately they aren’t board books. To be able to let him interact with the books, I sit him on my lap and hold the pages but he will reach up and touch them. The Coco book I let him play with the pages more but the other three were actually my books from childhood and their out of print (those versions) so I try to make sure he can’t get ahold of a single page and rip them. 

Now when it comes to board books and trust me when I say he loves to sit there and flip the pages over and over (literally if you let him he would do it for hours) he reads these... 

Richard Scarry’s Best Little Board Book Ever
Richard Scarry Busy Town
Dr. Seuss’s ABC 
First 100 Words
Raiders 101
Sesame Street Peek A Boo- Bath Book

I’ve read all of those books to him. When I see him looking at a certain one for a few minutes, let’s say for example the 100 word book, I’ll start following him along as he flips the pages and reading and pronouncing the words for him. He’ll look up at me and smile which of course will make you smile in turn. We know he loves his books!  

What books do you recommend? His birthday is next month and we might be adding to his reading list