Thursday, May 28, 2015

Our Gatlinburg Trip: Part 1 - Our Favorite Trails

Make sure to check out Part 2: Indoor Activities and our Road Trip Favorites!

Back in April, we headed down to Tennessee to visit John's parents. His dad is currently working right outside Nashville, so we spent Easter weekend there before going to Gatlinburg. I really loved Nashville...and basically all of Tennessee. Such a lovely state! :) We are hoping to head back that way again once the kids are older and can do more of the trails themselves. ;)

I thought I would share the five trails we hiked in Gatlinburg. We loved some, and others just about killed us. Mainly because I'm not in shape. ;) haha  So, here we go...brace yourself for a picture overload ;)

We stayed in 2 different hotels in Gatlinburg, and our favorite was the Bearskin Lodge. We found a deal on Pigeon Forge's website for a percentage off and free adult ticket to the Ripley's Aquarium (which is an incredible deal!) for booking there. The hotel is off the main road thru the city, and close to hiking trails. We loved it, and would definitely go back there. :)

Gatlinburg Trail was one of the trails within walking distance from our hotel. We walked it early in the morning, and it was so peaceful and beautiful. 

John and Abby using their 'binoculars' to explore Gatlinburg Trail. :)

Our favorite trail was the Greenbriar Trail. It was easy and perfect for kids. And, if you go, stop at Shakes and Dawgs along the way - the best hot dogs of your life!! It was also by a fun little Christmas shop where Santa gave each kid a new ornament :) Abby loved it!

One of the days that we were there, it was rainy off and we loaded up the car and did one of the driving loops (Cade's Cove). It had so many lovely areas to stop (like above) to see some waterfalls. The kids loved it!

After driving for almost two hours, we finally made it! I love seeing mountains...they never cease to amaze me. :)

Ah, our least favorite trail. Whoever said the Laurel Falls trail was 'easy' must sit back and laugh at people attempting to hike it. It was several miles uphill, and we went on a really hot day (our mistake). Abby was not amused ;) Not pictured: me crying and asking every passerby if we're almost was killer!

The end was beautiful, but wow. You had to work for it!

On our last morning, we went up to Clingman's Dome at the very top of a mountain. It was so windy and we couldn't see a thing. But on the way down, we got to stop in both Tennessee and NC! ;)

Overall, hiking with kids went a lot better than I thought. Tim enjoyed staying the carrier (which we borrowed from Jess and it was a life saver!), and Abby was a trooper. The trees were just starting to come to life, so I can only imagine how much more beautiful it is now!

We did so much more in Gatlinburg, so I'll post our non-nature activities soon! :) If you would like to see how we kept sane in the car along the way, check out our road trip favorites!

Happy Friday!

I'm linking up with these awesome parties today!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Simple Summer Caesar Salad

Simple Summer Caesar Salad: romaine lettuce, red peppers, cucumber, green onions, Parmesan cheese, and Caesar salad dressing.  Perfect, easy, delicious.  -

When we first brought Baby L home, we had so many wonderful people bringing us some pretty amazing meals.  It was a huge lifesaver as we adjusted to 3 little ones...and I got a ton of new recipes to add to our rotation too! 

Well, one of my friends brought this delicious salad as a part of her meal.  It was so simple, yet so perfect.  It's goes so well with every meal.  And it's even great just as a meal itself.

We love it so much that we've been making this Caesar salad nearly every week since she brought it over!  Obviously, it's our new go-to side dish:

Simple Summer Caesar Salad: romaine lettuce, red peppers, cucumber, green onions, Parmesan cheese, and Caesar salad dressing.  Perfect, easy, delicious.  -

Simple Summer Caesar Salad

3 heads of romaine lettuce
1 medium sized cucumber
1 red pepper
1 bunch (6-8) green onions
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Caesar salad dressing
Croutons or crushed Triscuits (optional)

Clean and dry all vegetables, and then dice or chop.  Serve with remaining ingredients.

When I'm not serving it at a large get-together, I like to keep all of the ingredients separate in the fridge.  (Because there is nothing worse than a soggy salad!)  Then, I just make our salad individually at each meal.

Serves:  This recipe serves our family (2 adults and 2 toddlers) 1 or 2 salads every day for about one week.

Simple Summer Caesar Salad: romaine lettuce, red peppers, cucumber, green onions, Parmesan cheese, and Caesar salad dressing.  Perfect, easy, delicious.  -

I especially love this salad with hot pasta dishes and "summer" dinners, like BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and steak cooked out on the grill.  Yum!

Simple Summer Caesar Salad: romaine lettuce, red peppers, cucumber, green onions, Parmesan cheese, and Caesar salad dressing.  Perfect, easy, delicious.  -

I'm not claiming this is the most innovative salad ever.  It is simple for sure.  But it is a pretty darn good combination that I had never made before.  So as easy and amazing as it is, I just had to share this perfect summer Caesar salad with you!

What's your favorite go-to side dish?

Simple Summer Caesar Salad: romaine lettuce, red peppers, cucumber, green onions, Parmesan cheese, and Caesar salad dressing.  Perfect, easy, delicious.  -


I'm linking up with these awesome parties!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tuesday Talk #21 - Features

How is it already the end of May?! This month has flown by...we decided to put our house on the market last week, and after four days and a bidding war - our house is sold!! :) I'm excited, but definitely nervous as we haven't found our new place yet. Here's hoping we find it soon!!

Last week, we had a ton of fun posts linked up to Tuesday Talk and I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you! I'm ready for summer to start, and these posts had great ideas:

Holly at While I'm Waiting... shared her Summer Bucket List last week. I made a spring list last year, and Jess shared some fun activities for this year ... between all these lists, you will definitely have a fun filled summer! :)

These craft tips from Wonderbaby are great! Abby is really getting into arts and crafts, and these tips gave me some ideas on how to help her...especially when it comes to glueing things by herself!

We love cooking out and spend a ton of time in the summer doing so...I can't wait to try this amazing rib recipe that Kristy from Seven Graces shared last week. Looks delicious! :) 

Thanks so much for linking up with us every week! I look forward to reading through your posts and finding new ideas to pin :) Make sure to check out our Outdoor Fun board on Pinterest for some more Summer Fun Ideas!! :)

I'm linking up with these awesome parties today!

Ok, on to the Link Up!

One thing before you link up - if you want the opportunity to be featured, please make sure there is a link back to at least one of the hosts in your post, sidebar, or party page.  Your lovely blog is being presented on our 12 blogs - we would love it if you would return the favor and link back to us! Thank you, friends!!!

We would love it if you would follow us in some way
because we'd love to connect with you!

Becky - BYBMG  ~  Beth - Our Pretty Little Girls
Whitney - Polka Dotty Place  ~  Elizabeth - All Kinds Of Things
Keri - Living In This Season  ~  Lauren - Simply Free
Teressa - Teressa Jane  ~  Mandy - Almond Place
Jess and Katie (Us!) - Sweet Little Ones  ~  Andrea - Mitchael Journey
Sarah - Abiding In Grace - Sarah Frazer  ~  Tara - Mrs. Coach Sims

Friday, May 22, 2015

Summer Fun Blog Hop + Giveaway

I can't believe this is Memorial Day weekend!  I'm so glad it is, but wow!  Bring on the summer: swimsuits, flip flops, sidewalk chalk, ice cream shops...we are so ready!

Here are the highlights of the summer plans I've been working on lately:

1.  Summer Bucket List 

I created a list of all the fun things we want to do together as a family this summer.  All of them are low or no cost, which is perfect.  We're going to have a blast this summer!

2.  Fun Sidewalk Chalk Games 

My kids love playing with sidewalk chalk!  It is one of their favorite things about summer.

So to go along with our Summer Fun List, I put together a huge list of over 40 games and activities you can do with sidewalk chalk.  Several are favorites of ours, and others are new ones that I can't wait to try out with the kids.  This list is going to keep us entertained all summer long!

3.  DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint

My kids had so much fun "painting" the driveway with this chalk paint.

My favorite parts are that it's super easy to make (it only has 3 ingredients!) and clean up, it's ok if it's eaten (because I know my 2 year old will put everything in his mouth!), and it my kids love it.

4.  Minute to Win It Party Games

I think our family is a pretty fun bunch.  When we get together, we love to play games.  So recently, Katie has been putting together Minute to Win It games for us.  (Here are Games 1-5 and Games 6-9 if you'd like to play them too!)  They are so much fun!  I'm looking forward to seeing what Katie comes up with for us this summer.

5.  Summer Fun Blog Hop:

This week, several of my friends and I came up with 11 fun activities, tips, and bucket lists to help you thrive this summer with your family!

Water Play from BYBMG 

Listed below are some affiliate links so we will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on any of these links.  Please see the disclosures and policies page for more information.

6.  Why Just Survive When You Can Thrive

I have loved reading Keri's new ebook Why Just Survive When You Can Thrive*.  It encourages you as a mom to have a great summer with your family - no matter what season of life you're in.  Keri gives awesome tips and wonderful reflections at the end of each chapter to guide you to not stress, relax, have fun - to THRIVE.  I highly recommend it!  

You can order Keri's ebook here* for $9.99 - now $2.99!  

7.  Summer Fun Target Gift Card + EBook Giveaway

To celebrate Keri's new ebook*, we've come up with a fun giveaway for a $30 Target Gift Card so you can get the supplies you need for a super fun summer!  Plus, the winner will receive a copy of her ebook Why Just Survive When You Can Thrive!

Enter below...and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am so beyond excited for this summer - I just know it's going to be great!  So what are you going to be up to?  I'd love to hear your plans for this summer - please share!  (If you have a post - please comment with your link!)

Have a beautiful holiday weekend celebrating the men and women who protected our gift of freedom in this country!


I'm linking up with these awesome parties!

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