Check it Off: Niagara Falls Fun

There aren’t many long weekends that I can say we have traveled through four states, with four generations of women in our family chasing a grand adventure. We landed in Cleveland, Ohio, hit the ground running, and never stopped until the plane ride back home.

Day 1: We drove into Michigan and stuck our feet in Lake Erie. Now I am down to 12 more states to go until I can officially say that I have set foot in all 50!! Next we headed down to Lake Erie Shores to do some window shopping, light house spotting, famous chili-dog eating, and thrill-seeking at the World’s Largest Theme Park/Rollercoaster Capital of the World, Cedar Point.

Day 2: We drove in the opposite direction, through Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and into Canada to view the magnificent Niagara Falls. We rode the Hornblower to get up close and personal with the raging waters that flow at over 84,000 cubic feet per second! We ended the day with some local fare, a stroll through a festival in Lewiston, a swim in the hotel pool with Addie, and back to the Falls to view the illuminated waters at night.

Day 3: We packed up, drove the three hours back to the airport and were back home by 5pm.

Whew! To say it was a whirl-wind would be an understatement….but it was also a lot of fun. We have trained Addie to be such a good little traveler. Would you believe that she has now been to 19 states at three years old! Having my mother and grandmother along for the adventure made the trip even more memorable. They have and continue to make such a positive impact on my life and the life of my daughter. I am just so glad that they (and Waring) are always up for my hair-brained, half-crazy schemes.

This was so much fun….I am already plan our next adventure!



Two Bucket List-Bucket Events in One Week: Cooking Class and Dragon Con

Making a bucket list is pretty much an annual thing. Some adventures are added on a whim and fulfilled quickly, while other items seem to linger on the list for quite a while.

Adventure #1: Chef Darin’s Kitchen Table Cooking Class in Savannah, Ga


My friends Meri has seen this bucket list item go unfulfilled year after year and gave me one of my favorite birthday gifts ever—-the gift of adventure! I am not much of a cook, but I love to pretend and I love anything novel and new. The class was called, “Flavor Dynamics.” We learned about how different flavors hit our tastebuds and how to create balanced flavor profiles. At the end of our lesson we got to try out our new skills with an Indian or Mexican-inspired dish. The the best part of the night was taste testing.

Thank you Mer and Justin for an awesome experience!


Adventure #2: DragonCon in Atlanta, Ga

Mariah and I both had a milestone birthday this year (gulp…). She is into (almost) all things nerdy, and I wanted to do something memorable to celebrate her….so nine long months after we birthday we were able to celebrate by attending our first ever DragonCon. We only went for Saturday to get our feet wet and get a taste of the experience. I am so glad we went! Mariah, AJ, and took a whirl wind trip to Atlanta and back in 24 hours. We saw amazing Cosplay, got confused WAAAAY more than once about the intricacies of D-con, and were just generally in awe at the massiveness of it all. It was awesome to see so much nerdy-ness and inclusiveness in one place!

Pictures of this coming soon….

Summer Bucket List: Addie’s First Tea Party

We have played “tea party” in the bath tub, playroom, at Mimi’s house, and just about everywhere. Addie has made raspberry, peach, blueberry, chocolate, and even the occasional broccoli and carrot tea. This week Addie, Mimi, and I had a chance to have our very own real tea party. Look at the pictures below. I think it is safe to say that it was a great experience, and I am sure will become at the very least an annual tradition!

Addie’s First Tea
Yum, raspberry tea!
Three lumps is better than two!
Gotta have the pinky out!

Summer 2017 Bucket List


Another glorious summer is here! As an educator, Summer is the season of life in which we can stay up late, pretend for a little while that we are stay at home moms, finally get to that overdue spring cleaning, READ, be the fun mom that you wanted to be all year, cook actual meals that aren’t from a box, can, or freezer, and reconnect with family and friends. Yes, summer sabbaticals are amazing. They recharge our batteries and allow us to hit the ground running at 110% come August!

Summer is great, but it doesn’t last! In order to make the most of each summer day with Addie I find it helpful to create a bucket list (of course….). In years to come I think it will be even more fun as she will get to come up with unique and crazy adventures to add to our list each year as well.

Here is the list for this year:

  1. Make a stepping stone (We did this last year, so I would like to make it a yearly tradition).
  2. Collect and paint rocks
  3. Visit the Trampoline Park
  4. Paint Pottery
  5. Create a spa night at home
  6. Go to a summer matinee
  7. Have a Random Acts of Kindness Day
  8. Tie dye
  9. Have a picnic/tea party
  10. Go sea shelling in St. Augustine
  11. Make homemade pizza
  12. Make jewelry
  13. Go to the beach with friends
  14. Have a lazy day around the house
  15. Go to a U-pick farm
  16. Go to the open studio hours at a local kids art studio (Henny Penny or Scribble Art Studio)

We still have a little bit  more time before I go back to school. I will be sure to post our accomplishments then! What’s on your list this summer?


Who You Are Today



Who you are today….that’s who you are.

Be brave.

Be amazing.

Be worthy.

And every single time you get the chance, stand up in front of people.

let them see you. Speak. Be heard.

Go ahead and have the dry mouth.

Let  your heart beat so, so fast.

Watch everything in slow motion.

So what. You what?

You pass out, you die, you poop?


(And this is really the only lesson you’ll ever need to know.)

You take it in.

You breathe this rare air.

You feel alive.

You are yourself.

You are truly finally always yourself.

-Dartmouth Commencement Speech, Shonda Rimes, 2014


Bucket List: 2017 Edition

Happy 2017, everyone! This past year will certainly be hard to top. In 2017 I want to make the most of time this year by spending it with family and friends and soaking up each moment together. In addition to selecting a list of fun, must-do items, I have also chosen a word to serve as a focal point and core value.

After mulling over several choices one just seemed to stick. Embrace. Yes, I want to embrace all aspects of life this year, the happy, the sad, the routine, the mundane. I would normally learn towards stronger, more intense, more direct and forward terms, (i.e. strive, intention, drive) which is why I purposefully chose a softer, more compassionate gentle term to balance out my type-A, driven, obsessive bent. I want to embrace life, embrace others, embrace gritty, raw, real life. Only God knows what is in store for us, and only He can can prepare us for 2017. Here we go!

Here’s the List:

  1. Write my own manifesto (from Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project)
  2. Write a letter to my future self
  3. Celebrate my last day of my 20’s
  4. Plan (and have) a spa day
  5. Do Adult Disney
  6. See the Rocky Mountains
  7. Fly fish
  8. Sand surf
  9. Stay in a Deluxe Disney Resort
  10. Hang Glide
  11. Sleep in a tree house
  12. Learn about floral arts
  13. Take a cooking class
  14. Master the art of the sugar cookie
  15. Plant bougainvillea
  16. Reach goal weight (finally)
  17. Pay off student loans
  18. Develop a “big girl” skin care routine
  19. Visit a new state
  20. Visit a new country
  21. Explore Universal’s Harry Potter World
  22. Complete a Reading Challenge
  23. Learn Spanish (again…)
  24. Prepare for an emergency (so we won’t get totally caught off guard by something like Hurricane Matthew again.)
  25. Attend Dragon Con
  26. Plan and implement seasonal bucket lists/monthly challenges


What’s on your list? Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!


2016 Bucket List: Year End Review

2016 was am amazing year, and we are excited for more adventures in 2017. Thank you, Jesus for your provision, sacrifice, and blessing!


  1. Get a Henna Tattoo Got this one crossed off at DISNEY WORLD. Yes folks, it will happen this Summer. –Check: Summer Family Vacation 6/2016
  2. Have Mermaid Hair (Dye it a crazy color) I was able to get mermaid hair (purple and blue just in time for DISNEY)! 
  3. Plant Hydrangeas and Bougainvillea Partially complete. Some beautiful pink and blue hydrangeas have been planted outside the bedroom door. Now we just need to find the perfect spot for the bougainvillea. 
  4. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride Dad and I completed this bucket list adventure. It was so peaceful floating in they sky…. but we almost landed in an orange grove!
  5. Make a Will Ok….this was on the bucket list last year. Now that the house has been built we have no excuse. DONE!!! 8/25
  6. Attend a Stargazing Event (maybe next year…)
  7. Visit 1 New Country (sigh…maybe next year…)
  8. Visit 2 New States Done and Done! For Spring Break we visited several states. The two news ones for me that we were able to explore were Vermont and Rhode Island. I absolutely love all things New England! Current state count: 36.
  9. Visit Disney for 25 Days We ended up spending a grand total of 22 days at Disney…and we renewed for next year. Whoo-hoo, I call this bucket list task a win!
  10. Start A Habit: Consistent Daily Devotionals Currently I am doing a short one each morning, but I would like to incorporate a few more in-depth studies. 
  11. Reach Goal Weight I am trying…..ok I could probably be trying a bit harder. I guess that there is always next year.
  12. SCUBA New Place (maybe next year…)
  13. Start Composting I acquired a composter, but unfortunately that is as far as I got. 
  14. Emergency Preparedness Kit: We have a sawyer water filter, some backpacks, flashlights, fire starters, and non-perishables, but that is just a start. Now that we have a true outage experience from Hurricane Matthew we have a real-life experience to draw upon as we think about future preparedness. 
  15. Grow a Garden We have paired down the garden plans this year because we need to focus on several other projects around the yard. We do have some tomatoes and peppers growing currently. 
  16. Read Entire Bible (still reading, still growing, the bucket list task is never complete). 
  17. Attend the Highland Games Check! We went to the local games in Savannah. It was fun to try some Scottish cuisine. 
  18. Attend a Renaissance Festival (maybe next year…)
  19. Go to the Trampoline Park Done!
  20. Quit Coke….hahaha this wasn’t even closer. I am trying to stay away from the fully-leaded ones, but I am just not sure that I actually want to quit bad enough. 
  21. Take a Declutter Challenge! Done and done! Just had a yard sale this past weekend. It feels great to be a little bit lighter…now onward to buy more stuff (just kidding…).
  22. Swim with Dolphins (I just can’t get over the price tag for this experience…)
  23. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (nope). 
  24. Sleep in a Tree House (maybe next year…)

Stay tuned for more adventures and bucket list ramblings in 2017.