I am so honored to be participating in “A Blogtastic Extravaganza 2.0″! There are over 100 blogs participating all with the intention to bring YOU, my lovely readers (and new readers) some serious awesomeness. You have the opportunity to win thousands of dollars worth of swag here, and from all of the other blogs involved. [...]
About two weeks ago, I had reached a point in my life as a stay at home mom where I was strongly considering a trip to the Psych ward at the local hospital. That might be a little dramatic but good gracious it’s how I felt. I looked forward to bed each morning as soon as I woke up, and I felt so confined by the walls of my house. Then very last minute, a spot opened up at Blog Cabin : Brandcation in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. I JUMPED at the opportunity to go.
I called The Workaholic at work to find out if he could take Saturday and Sunday off of work because he already had Thursday and Friday off. He said no way because of a new menu roll out. SO, I asked if I could find a baby sitter, if I could go. He said yes. What he really meant was, “You’ll never find someone to watch our insane children so to entertain your crazy idea and to get you to shut up? Yes.”
NEVER underestimate a mom with Cabin Fever.
All I had to do was text two people. One said she would have loved to but was going out of town. The other said that she would. Especially since money was involved. ADDIE, THANK YOU!
I called The Workaholic back and let him know that I had purchased my ticked to Brandcation because a babysitter had been secured. He was like, “WHAT? Seriously, Summer? You can’t just leave me with the kids.”
The rest of the conversation looked something like this:
ME: You told me that if I found a babysitter I could go. I found a babysitter. I’m going.
HIM: I didn’t know we could afford for you to go.
ME: I just made $XXX on the blog in the past 3 weeks. I can afford to go. Most of our food is covered.
HIM: Who’s watching the kids? Are you serious?
ME: Addie. They will be fine.
HIM: It’s her I’m concerned about.
ME: Thank you and I Love you.
HIM: Whatever. Bye.
After an intense lesson in packing for a blogging event, Fast-forward to 36 hours later and I am leaving Raleigh, bound for Pigeon Forge, TN. My heart was racing and this mama couldn’t get out of the house fast enough.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids but I was at my wit’s end. I needed this.
As I drove away from Raleigh, the scenery slowly changed from low, rolling hills to beautiful mountains.
Once I got to Pigeon Forge, I made my way up a mountain to our enormous Cabin Fever Vacations cabin. It was absolutely breathtaking. 3 levels of log cabin hanging off of a mountain top with sweeping views of the Smoky Mountain National Park.
I walked into the cabin and found myself in a beautiful kitchen with an adjoining dining and living room. I could see right through the room and out into the mountains. The view eclipsed the crazy gals doing the Gangnam Style dance in the living room. The living room was flanked by two master suites with enormous full-sized bathrooms with Jacuzzi tubs.
I went upstairs to find a bed and was surprised to walk into a room with three Queen-sized bunk beds. There were also two spacious bedrooms and a total of three full-sized bathrooms.
Each level boasted a full-sized porch with cozy rocking chairs. I spent each morning with my hot coffee, alone on the porch watching the sun come up over the mountains. The cold air and the beautiful scenery were exactly what this exhausted mama needed for her cabin fever.
The bottom floor of the cabin had a game room and a hot tub. I didn’t get to partake in a soak in the hot tub but the gals who did say that it was amazing.
I’ve always wanted to vacation in a cabin in the woods, but this was the first time I had ever vacationed anywhere with mountains other than when I go home to Juneau. It was everything I thought it would be and then some. It was relaxing and absolutely breathtaking, and somewhere that I definitely want to visit again. My family and I are already planning a trip for the spring.
Hotels can be wonderful but once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. These cabins have it ALL and are big enough that each person in your family ,(or large party for that matter) can have their own space. There are even enough bathrooms to accommodate 34 WOMEN. That’s impressive, people.
I am always so excited to give back to the community and nothing makes me feel better than helping someone in need, which is why I was so excited when Collective Bias, Champions for Kids, and Odwalla put together a sports equipment donation drive. I had the fantastic idea of mobilizing Styles’ 5th grade classroom into donating to the cause.
Then I got sick.
I sent in a flyer to go home with all the children but I wasn’t able to go into the classroom and pump everyone up without the huge possibility of passing along the bubonic plague to the entire 5th grade. The flyers went home and I went in several days later to pick up the donated sports equipment.
But there was none.
I was so sad. I bought tennis balls, a tennis racket, and a t-ball bat that came with a ball for Styles and I to donate, but I was so excited to be able to drive up to the boys and girls club with a van full of sports equipment from the Godley Station 5th grade, but there was nothing else to donate.
As disappointed as I am, I understand that times are hard right now. We live in a very depressed part of the country and things are tough for many people. I also know how 5th grade kids are about showing their parents what is in their backpack at the end of the day.
But it doesn’t stop me from being disappointed.
I chose to donate to The Boys and Girls Club because when I was a little girl, my sister and I spent summers at the Girls Club of Alachua County, Florida. Our counselor’s name was Wayne and he was one of the funniest guys I’d ever met. We used to go roller skating, to the public pool which was HUGE and had an amazing slide, and on other fun excursions. I met some great friends there and have some wonderful memories. While I’m in a different city now, I wanted to honor a club that helped shape who I am today.
So I went alone today to the Boys and Girls Club to donate what little I had and guess what? They were so humble and so excited to receive ANYTHING.
When I got home to write this post, I realized that my camera didn’t have a memory card in it that entire time. I called the representative at the B&G Club and she laughed with me then agreed to meet up so that we could take some mock photos this week so PLEASE stay tuned for pictures of some very happy and humble individuals receiving some serious tennis equipment.
SO since nobody here wanted to get involved, I’m calling you, my wonderful readers to GET INVOLVED in your community! Give time, give sports equipment, give whatever you can – large or small! And please join Champions for Kids on Facebook and Twitter to mobilize yourself and your family.
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias All opinions and camera misfortunes are my own.
- A Tribute to Papa – a SIMPLE Service Project (bananahammocksandtutus.com)
I was recently approached by Clear American and Collective Bias to come up with an original recipe using #ClearAmerican flavored water from Walmart. I love to cook and even more, I love to bake, and even more than that, I love to look at a recipe for guidelines and then throw my own flavah into it.
But this time, I completely came up with a recipe on my own, and then modified an old family recipe for dessert.
The chicken marinade was phenomenal. Honestly. It is extremely healthy and was SO SO delicious. Our grilled chicken was moist and flavorful. BOTH kids (who have teeth) loved it which is saying a lot when it comes to Styles. He doesn’t like ANYTHING.
The cake was good but I expected it to be a little more moist. I think next time I make it (and there WILL be a next time, with different Clear American and toppings), I will use some sour cream in the batter to make it super moist.
Without further ado:
1 cup Clear American Pineapple Coconut Flavored Water
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
2T soy sauce (low sodium)
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup diced red onion
Just throw all of the above ingredients into a food processor or blender
Then Blend for 30 seconds – 1 minute until everything is mixed and well ground.
See how beautiful that is? Now poke holes in your chicken using a fork,
Then if you would like to negate the healthiness of this meal, make this:
3/4 lb butter (3 sticks)
3 cups sugar
3 cups flour
2T extract of your choice (I used 1T vanilla and 1T almond)
3/4 cup Clear American beverage (we used the Pom Blue Acai)
- Preheat oven to 325*
- Cream butter and sugar for 10 minutes (this is not a typo).
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition
- Add flour and extract(s), stir until just combined
- Fold in Clear American Beverage
- Bake at 325* for one hour
Who knew cooking with Clear American could be so FUN!? To see just how “fun” the entire day was, check out my mURPHY’S lAW mONDAY where I tell you how fun oven campfires are. Or are not. Whatever.
To see my shopping trip, check my ThisMoment story out!
I hope you’ve been inspired to hit the kitchen with Clear American to create your own deliciousness. If you do, please come back here and leave a link to your post! I’ll share your recipes with my readers!
A BIG thank you to #cbias for trusting me in the kitchen!
And HAPPY LABOR DAY WEEKEND to you ALL!
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias, which is a vendor for Cott Beverages Inc., the manufacturer of Clear American ® brand beverages. All thoughts, opinions, and recipes are my own. Please feel free to use my recipes because they really are deliciousness.
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