Father’s Day Weekend

For Father’s Day Jason just wanted a family day spent at home relaxing and playing with Rylan.  He also specifically asked for pot roast for supper.

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We had season 5 of Castle that we hadn’t watched so we watched it for most of the day with breaks here and there.20150621_084226

I cooked this bad boy with carrots and onion and served it with mashed potatoes and rolls.  It was perfect, if I do say so myself!  I wish I would have gotten pictures but honestly by the time it was ready I did’t have time to before we were diving in!  Yum!  The rest was saved for leftovers this week.

Most of the day though was spent playing with this precious little man!

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You got some wild hair there buddy.

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I’m not sure who enjoyed Rylan’s new car tower more!

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Rylan is blessed with such a good Daddy!
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From the size of that smile, I’d say he knows!signature

Photography Contest

I entered a local photography contest last month (Clinch River Days Festival) and figured I hadn’t won anything and had kind of forgotten about it.  It was the first photography contest I’ve ever entered so I didn’t expect much.

I received an email Wednesday saying that I had won first place with one of my photos!  I won first in the Flora/Fauna category!

20150618_135115I’m surprised and very pleased!  I’ve decided that I will do a couple of entries in our county fair as well.

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33rd Annual Plumb Alley Day

The Abingdon Kiwanis Club organizes Plumb Alley Day every year.

You will find arts, crafts, antiques, food, spices, agricultural products, jewelry, photographs, authors, singers, bands and kids activities.  If you like that sort of thing and are able to go you won’t be disappointed.  It is a great event and it benefits at great cause.

The Abingdon Farmer’s Market was open during the morning and as always had great vendors.  I forgot to get any pictures here because I kept running into people I knew.  Maybe next time!

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Rylan enjoyed people and dog watching.  Everywhere we went he’d find someone to say “hey” to!20150523_112240

There were a lot of people here getting in on the good deals.

I found a local author that had some interesting books.So farm it has my attention!  His name is C.S. “Chuck” Thompson and he writes mystery books that are set locally.   I bought “The Night the Wolves Escaped from Bays Mountain” and I’ve just started it.   I’m anxious to really get into it.  He was a super nice and interesting guy.  If you’re interested in buying any of his books or learning more about him or his books you can visit his website HERE.20150523_110927

I bought some goats milk lotions and body butters from The Bates Family Farm.  They’re located in Jonesville, VA and their lotions are divine!

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Appalachian Highlanders Pipes & Drums Band

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Our traditional “selfie”!20150523_112826

Balkan Bakery
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I looked at these and gained weight!  Yum!
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Revolutionary War Re-Enacters at Yeary Cabin on Plumb Alley20150523_114126

The Re-Enacters are always ready to answer any questions you have and are so passionate about the Revolutionary War.  I love getting to talk to them.

We started getting hungry and we found the Bone Fire Smokehouse tent.bbq sundae

Christina got the BBQ Sundae!  That is cornbread, baked beans, pulled pork, slaw and barbecue sauce.  It looked great!20150523_120540

Apparently it was great!20150523_120544

I stuck with a traditional pulled pork sandwich.  It was delicious!  I put the Memphis Barbecue Sauce on it.  They had a spicy one but I was in the mood for sweet sauce.  Rylan literally ate almost half.

After we saw everything there was to see we decided to head to Babycakes Cupcakery for a sweet snack!
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I wish I could have gotten a better picture of their display case, it was so beautiful.  I wanted to get one of every thing!  They have so many flavors to choose from!

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It is such a cute store!20150523_131156

They even have Pup Cakes for your dog!

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Our Babycakes: Wedding Cake (Christina), Chocolate Birthday Cake (Rylan) & Red Velvet Cake (Me)

When we finished our cupcakes we thought we would take a ride to Mann Farms since we had some time before we had to be back.  They had strawberries for sale by the gallon.  I bought the last three and they’re now waiting in my freezer until I get time to make some strawberry preserves!

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They sell fruits and vegetables at their farm as well as to our regional grocery chain Food City.strawberry fields

Strawberry Fields

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On our way home we saw a lot of people mowing, raking and baling hay.  This weekend was honestly perfect for it.  This is one of my favorite sights.  To me, the first cut of hay signifies that Summer is right around the corner!

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Spending Some Time with My Momaw

Last night Rylan and I went to visit my Momaw.

My Momaw is one of the most influential people in my life.

She has always been supportive.

She has always loving and ready to tell me how much she loves me and how proud of me she is.

There has never been a time when I didn’t feel like she didn’t believe in me.    

No matter how old I get, this is still so good to hear.

She has cooked for me, done my laundry, taken care of me, been my rock and my soft place to fall.

I’ll never be able to thank her for all that she’s done.

I hope I can be half the woman she is.

Family is the most important thing on earth.

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I can’t tell you how much I love this picture!

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And this one…

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Seeing my Momaw holding my baby just warms my heart.  I’m so glad she’s been able to meet him and spend time with him.  I wish I could get them together more often but I will take any time I can get with her.signature

Comfort Zone

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Y’all, I have a confession to make: I’ve been living in my comfort zone for too long.  I’ve been doing just fine but I’ve not been growing.  I’ve not been exploring.  I’ve not been pushing myself.

This year I’m working on getting out of my comfort zone more and more.  I’ve traveled by myself, began taking Zumba classes, starting a Youtube channel and now I’ve taken an acrylic painting class (I’ll post about it later).  I know that probably doesn’t sound like much to other people but for me it is huge!  I also want to take a cooking class, a knitting and crochet class and maybe a writing class if I can find one close by.

I know I’ve touched on this before but after my knee injury I became a little lost.  I was in pain all the time so that was terrible.  I couldn’t really ride horses anymore, I began to gain so much weight and my self esteem really suffered.  I just wasn’t “me”.  It is taking a long time to get back to where I was physically but I want to be an even better “me”.  I just don’t believe in going backward when it comes to being the real you.  I know I was brought through all of that for a reason and I don’t want to ignore it.

I don’t want to be old one day and have a long list of “I wish I had”, or “why didn’t I’s”.

Now, you probably won’t see my skydiving (I’m not hating on it though…I just don’t think I could do it right now) but I plan on pushing myself harder.  I want to really see what I’m made of.  I want to push myself as far as I can.  I want to try a lot of things.  Things that I don’t necessarily think would be “me”.  Anything different.

Why, you may ask?  Well, why not?

I want to be the best me I can be for my family.  I want to show my son that he can do anything that he sets his mind to.  I don’t want him to be afraid of challenges (whether real or in his own head).

I’ll leave you with a quote I absolutely love:

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

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10 Tips for Traveling by Yourself

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  1. Research where you are going.  You can usually find out the neighborhoods to avoid and which ones you don’t want to miss.  There is so much information out there.  Google and Tripadvisor are both good places to start your research.
  2. The Google Maps app is invaluable.  It helps to make you look like less of a tourist.  If you start pulling out a map every time you turn a corner or go a few blocks anyone watching could see that you don’t know where you are but if you are just looking at your phone for all they know you could have just gotten a text or were checking the weather.
  3. If you have a condition that requires medication make sure to have a couple of copies of your medication list along with your doctors information and other emergency contact information.  Put one in your wallet/purse and another in your luggage at your hotel.
  4. Leave a copy of your documentation (itinerary, reservations, tickets, confirmation numbers, passport, driver’s license, etc.) at home with someone you trust.
  5. Make sure to have a hard copy of phone numbers.  What if your phone goes dead and you have to buy a new one?  What if you lose it?  Anything can happen and it is nice to have those numbers handy.
  6. Have a plan for each day but don’t get upset if you can’t do it all.  Also, make sure to have some alternatives in case something doesn’t pan out.  Weather can change, tours can be canceled, there could be unscheduled construction in a building you might want to see.  You never know what will happen so it is nice to have a back up plan just in case.
  7. Skype or Face Time with loved ones.  This helps keep any homesickness at bay.
  8. Take an umbrella and (at least) a light jacket with you.  Weather can be unpredictable…why be miserable?
  9. Keep everything organized in a folder.  I use a 5 Star pocket and prong folder that is water resistant and very sturdy.  I put everything (reservation confirmations, booking numbers, tickets, etc.) in sheet protectors with extra sheet protectors in the back.  I keep it organized by putting everything in order as I come to it on my vacation.  I keep extra sheet protectors in the back to keep up with receipts, brochures, used tickets and small mementoes.
  10. Always be aware of your surroundings.  This is pretty much common sense but on occasion anyone can get distracted and not focus on what is going on around them.

 

I hope these tips help you if you’re traveling by yourself or even with someone!

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Every weekend should be like this one

We had such a good weekend!  I wish every one could be like this…it was just so nice.

Saturday the weather was great.  Beautiful and sunny.  We had breakfast at Cracker Barrel and then took our Little Man to the park.

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This is the first flower I’ve gotten from my sweet boy!  Of course I kept it…  He’s such a good hearted kid.  He really makes me proud.

Jason had to do some work at the church Saturday evening so it was just me and Rylan for a few hours.

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After I mowed and picked up around the yard I took him outside to play.  We hit the sandbox first off and played in it.  Our dog Izzy was making him laugh while she was trying to catch bumble bees in the air.  When he finished with the sandbox we wrestled all the dogs in the back yard and then we had to wrestle them in the front yard too.  He had to look at the chickens and then “ride” the tractor, the lawnmower and the boat.  Since he was in a riding mood I got his 4-Wheeler out and let him ride it all over the yard.  Considering his age he does really good on it.  Then….we did it all again!  By 7:30pm, Mama was worn out and Little Man was getting there.  I brought him back in for a bath, something to eat and finally bed.

Sunday was a rainy day so we stayed inside pretty much all day.  We played, watched cartoons and cuddled.  I didn’t think to get any pictures but it was so relaxing and much needed quality time with the two men in my life.

Today being Monday was back to the grind of work.  It has been a good day though.  Work was busy but not overwhelming and then I had Zumba afterward.  It was great as usual.  I feel so good when we’re finished!  It is always nice to see Anna Ruth and our instructor is just great!  I’m getting to know a lot of other women in the class too and they are really nice ladies.  I’m so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and did it.

When I got back home I gave Rylan a bath.  He absolutely loves bath time!  We have these little color tablets by Crayola that turn the water different colors and he loves them!  He also just loves splashing and playing until I drain the water and force him to get out!  Haha!

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After his bath he didn’t seem nearly tired enough to go to sleep so we put on music and danced around the house (one of his favorite things to do, the kid’s got rhythm!) for about an hour.  By the end of the hour he stuck his thumb in his mouth and came up to me and hugged my leg.  I picked him up and he laid his head on my shoulder.  I knew it was bed time.

I stayed up long enough to pin a few things on Pinterest and then I was out too.

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What’s in my carry on bag?

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As I’ve said before I try my best to only carry on when I fly.  This is what I put in my carry on/personal item which was a tote bag when I went to NYC.  These are pretty much my essentials for any flight.  I carried my luggage on as well but this post/video doesn’t cover what I packed in it.

I always make a list of everything I need to take with me.  I break it down into these categories: Toiletries, Comfort & Convenience, Documentation/Money(ID’s, Confirmation, Tickets, Reservation Info, Credit Cards I will take, etc.), Electronics & Entertainment, Makeup, Accessories, Clothes and finally Shoes.

For my carry on/personal item the only categories I look at are: Toiletries, Comfort & Convenience, Documentation/Money and Electronics & Entertainment.

Here’s my list:

Toiletries

  • 3-1-1 Bag
  • Wet Ones Wipes

 

Comfort & Convenience

  • Sunglasses
  • Lip Balm
  • Tissues
  • Glasses & Case
  • Contact Case (I can actually fit this in my glasses case)
  • Gum
  • Emergency Bag (First Aid Kit, Zyrtec, Ibuprofen, Benadryl, Toothpicks, Tums)

 

Documentation/Money

  • Travel Folder
  • Wallet
  • Passport

 

Electronics & Entertainment

  • Phone (Samsung Galaxy Note 4)
  • Laptop (I took my Samsung Chomebook, 11 inch)
  • Tablet (Nexus 7 with books, movies & television series loaded on it)
  • 2 Chargers, 1 for my Chromebook and 1 for my phone and it also charges my tablet
  • Ear Buds
  • Small Notebook
  • Journal
  • Pens
  • NYC Travel Book

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Tips for Packing a 3-1-1 Bag

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I almost always carry on everything when I fly.  I don’t like waiting at the carousel for my luggage, I don’t like my luggage out of sight, the fees can be ridiculous and I really hate having my luggage delayed for a few days.  Okay, well I guess delayed is better than completely lost but I still hate it.  Anyway, not matter what your reason is to not check a bag, if you carry on, chances are you have to have a 3-1-1 bag.

My 3-1-1 Bag Contents:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Lotion
  • Toothpaste
  • Contact Solution
  • Deodorant
  • Face Soap
  • Toner
  • Moisturizer
  • Face Primer
  • Foundation

Use contact lens cases for foundation, primer, moisturizer, face wash, etc.  This has saved a bunch of space for me.  After you’re finished with the product you can wash out the case and then store it somewhere else in your luggage.  I’ve found that I don’t use nearly as much product per day as I thought I did.  Even if you have to use both sides of one case for a particular product that case takes up a lot less room than a traditional travel sized bottle.

If it comes in a wipe then consider using it.  Wipes do not have to go in your 3-1-1 bag.  For example, in the past I would normally bring hand sanitizer.  It isn’t something I use at home a lot but it can be really handy when you are away from home.  Now to save space I pick up a couple of packs of Wet Ones Antibacterial wipes.  They’re more versatile than just the sanitizer because not only can you wipe your hands but you can clean surfaces with them.  I also bring makeup removing wipes instead of eye makeup remover.  I usually buy these in a large pack but when I travel I use zip top snack sized bags and put what I need in there.  I’ve also seen where insect repellent wipes are made and they’re actually good.  They also make sunblock wipes but I have heard that they don’t work very well.

Look for travel or sample/trial sizes of things.  Most products have a travel size of each and a lot of the makeup counters have samples of things that are great for travel.  When I bought my Clinique 3 Step System I received travel size bottle of each.  Also, when I bought my Naked Eye Shadow Pallet it came with sample sizes of their eye primer.

If you can, invest in a TSA approved bag.  Usually they have better shape to them than a zip top bag so it is easier to fit and arrange things in them.  If you do use a zip top bag make sure it is good quality and I personally opt for the freezer type.  They are much more sturdy.

Remember that if you forget something chances are you will be able to pick it up wherever you are going.

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