Family Fun in Atlanta

My freshman year of college I lived a couple hours from Atlanta, Georgia and made numerous visits. I fell in love with its beauty and adventure. Since that year in college I have made sure to return when possible. It is a very affordable place to fly in to and is packed with fun things to do. I will barely touch the surface but I hope this inspires you to plan a visit.

City Pass

This is a great investment if you want to explore all of the big attractions. It is priced $76 for adults and $61 for children and gets you into 5 attractions. You will save about $50 dollars a person if you go this route. Click this link to find out more information.

Georgia Aquarium

This is the largest aquarium in the WORLD! The exhibits are fantastic and the animals are amazing. I have been twice and still feel like I haven’t seen it all! This is a part of the city pass or you can find cheaper tickets if you are willing to go in the evening or a military member. My first visit we used the City Pass and our second visit was shorter so we chose a day military members were free along with the evening option. We ended up only paying $25. Their WOW factor is definitely the massive under water tunnel, where you go through the middle of the tank. It really puts all other aquariums to shame.










World of Coca Cola

I don’t even drink soda but I loved learning the history of this iconic drink. You start out watching a brief movie of the history of Coke and then you are set free to explore all the awesome memorabilia. My favorite thing is all of the Olympic torches. Afterwards, you can sample all the different products they make, even the ones from different countries! I can honestly tell you some of those drinks would never fly in the United States, haha! This is a City Pass option or $17 for adults and $13 for children. The second time we went we took advantage of the free military admission and only had to pay for my ticket. Quinn at the time was still considered free.










Atlanta Zoo

The zoo is always fun and my favorite part was……the pandas! From what I researched there are only 4 zoos in U.S. that have pandas. They are a rare sight you do not want to miss unless you’re planning to visit San Diego, D.C., or Memphis soon. This is a City Pass option or $22.99 for adults and $16.99 for children. Military members and children 2 and under are free!


CNN Tour

If you want to see what behind the scenes of a major news network looks like, then this is a must for you. I wouldn’t recommend it for small children, it is geared more towards elementary age and older. The prices vary depending on what kind of tour you are wanting.

College Football Hall of Fame

If you have a football lover in your family this is an absolute must! At the entrance everyone will get a badge that you will use through out the museum. They have a helmet for every college football team in the United States. They even had the helmet for the small college that Victor played for back in his “hay day!” You pick your team and it will guide you through the virtual part of the tour. One part of the museum talks about how tailgating came about! After viewing all of the memorabilia, you go downstairs to their practice field. You can run plays and kick the football just like the college players do every practice. This is a City Pass option or $21.99 for adults and $17.99 for children. Military and children under 3 are free!








Fernbank Museum of Natural History

Dinosaurs! I visited this museum when I was in college so I can only imagine how interesting it is now. My favorite part was of course the giant dinosaur bones. They do a great job drawing the interest of young children and adults alike. They also have a 75 acre Wildwood forest that is open to explore. This is a City Pass option or you can explore their website to see pricing options.






Centennial Olympic Park

The 1996 summer Olympics was held in Atlanta and they have done a great job turning this area into a gorgeous park that commemorates what once took place. You can take a stroll and see all the statues or visit the Olympic ring fountain, where you will find tons of children running through the water. It is more like a splash pad and can be a great way to cool off during the hot summer months.

Image result for centennial park atlanta


If you really want to soak in the beauty of Atlanta, I highly recommend taking a hike. You do not have to go far to get out of the city and enjoy the mountains and waterfalls. Use this link to decide what would be a great hike for you.

If you are willing to put in some driving here is a link to some gorgeous waterfalls in Georgia worth visiting. The photo below is Tallulah Falls which is an hour and half north of Atlanta!


The Varsity

This is an iconic eatery in Atlanta. I can’t say the food was amazing but the atmosphere was pretty fun! It is like walking back in time. All the cashiers are yelling “What’ll ya have, What’ll ya have” and they give out these cute hats for the kids to wear. They are known for their chili dogs, hamburgers, fries and onion rings (which are made fresh daily). It is a great place to visit with kids, because what kid doesn’t love hot dogs and hamburger!?


Atlanta has so so much more to offer than what I’ve listed, but this is a great place to start! Depending where you fly out of you can definitely find flights for under a hundred dollars. Atlanta does have decent public transportation and if you stay downtown you will be close to most of the attractions listed. If you are wanting to explore further out I would recommend renting a car. If you have any questions feel free to contact me!


Every year people set New Year’s resolutions and some people say they will never do that because they don’t “follow the crowd”. I really think people make these decisions because it’s the time of year where just for a moment life slows down and they realize they don’t like where they have ended up. Not necessarily their entire lives but certain parts. Moms feel the mom guilt and decide they will clean more often, workout more, eat healthier, not allow their kids to eat so much junk, not worry as much, or don’t miss the important moments. Adults in general feel like they must do something better, be different, or relive the “good ole days.” Why do we do these things to ourselves? Everybody has different reasons, but I know in the end I do it to strive to be who God intended me to be. Sadly, I tend to get in the way of that person and usually when Christmas rolls around we are reminded of the birth of Jesus and I find myself getting a reality check. I do set goals, but I also know that God gives me grace. Here are some resolutions that help me create memories, meet goals, and love life…..

  1. Family Time
  • We try to be home at least once a week and intentionally not turn the TV on for an extended period of time. Sometimes it’s a weekday and from the time we get home until we go to bed no TV. Other times, it’s on a weekend and it doesn’t come on until the evening or at all. We’ve had weeks where this happens multiple times and other weeks where we barely make the day but I have realized some of the best memories are during those times.
  • Reading a book to the girls every night. This has been difficult at times but we strive to do it and not quit.
  • Carve time in for grandparents. Our girls spend time with my stepmom during the week while I’m at work and we make sure Victor’s parents see the girls weekly. My mom lives farther away so we video call and make sure that anytime we have an extended time off we hop in the car and make the 7-8 hour drive. It is absolutely worth it every time. When I here Quinn tell me she misses Nana and Peepaw and can’t wait to see them again it makes my heart smile. I spent my summers and holidays with my great grandparents and cherish those times.
  • Vacation, take one! It doesn’t have to be an elaborate over the top expensive thing. We do go to great places but it is on a budget! Your vacation could be to Grandma’s house, a friend who you don’t see enough, the next town over, or another state. All I can tell you is to make those memories because in the end that’s all you and your family will have. Stuff fades away.
  • Do not overbook yourself. I know that when our children get older things will get busier, but for now we don’t allow the girls to be apart of more than one thing at a time. The greatest gift you can give yourself and your family is time. If you choose more activities then show up for those things and let your babies know you’re cheering them on. We are not perfect and some weeks between work, Young Life and activities we realize we’ve over done it but most of the time we also know we did it together.

2. Personal Time

  • You have to have time for yourself, if not you might go crazy…….
  • Workout….this looks different for everyone and you have to find what works for you! I love to run outdoors and hate the gym! My husband loves to go to the gym and lift heavy weights with a workout partner. He works out before work, and I run when I get home. Working out can be taking a walk with your family, going to the gym, turning on a YouTube workout video and following along. ( I do this in my garage!) When you workout your body releases endorphins which is a natural stress reliever and makes you happy! Also, do not be one of those people who tries to do something they did in college and injure yourself which then causes you to quit the next day. TAKE IT SLOW and ENJOY IT!
  • Read a book. If you are like me, listen to an audio book in your car or while you’re running! Once in a while try to read a book that inspires you to be a better person not just the fictional stuff. 😉 my favorite books this year:
  • Love Does
  • Everybody Always
  • Love Lives Here
  • Girl Wash Your Face
  • Find a devotional time that works for you, I always wanted to be that mom that wakes up at 5 a.m. and reads her devotional, while drinking her coffee all before her children wake up….THIS IS NOT ME! I tried so hard that I almost felt like a failure. Then I realized God doesn’t care what it looks like, all He cares about is you and that you are seeking Him. So I read my verse of the day and then read my First Five app.( which usually blows my mind every time) All of this takes me 15 minutes or less and is usually done in between the time I’m getting ready for work. Most audio books I read are Jesus related, which pushes me to seek Him more. A few years ago I had a longer commute to work and I would listen to the audio Bible, and at the time it worked. All I can say is find what works for you. If it doesn’t look like what you expected, change your mindset.
  • Do something that makes you happy. I decided last year I wanted to write a blog and here I am! I can’t crank them out like some people but it makes me happy. I also like to create things so when I have time I take on projects with my kids, husband, or friends. Other times, it’s taking a spontaneous trip or visiting friends.

3. Serve Others

  • When I was younger serving others was almost easy. I had all the time in the world it seemed and for the most part I liked being around other people. Now I have kids and a job….life is busy. So what that looks like now is far from what I thought it would be…..
  • Make dinner for your friends or small group….Once a week we have high school kids over to our house and honestly they bless us more than we probably bless them. It forces me to clean my house and sometimes I get stressed but every time it is worth it.
  • Encourage someone with your words when you get a chance.
  • Even if you’re not the hugging type..hand them out when needed because it is proven we need them everyday to be happy.
  • Be intentional and listen…sometimes we struggle to listen to people who are hurting or going through something we don’t understand. Having been this person this year the best thing I can tell you is to lean in and listen. We aren’t always searching for the right words. We just want to know someone is hanging in there with us.

I know this post is long but I hope it brings you joy and peace and know that God gives a lot of grace. We always picture things one way and they usually end up another. Find what works for you and your family. The best gift God has given us is time and I hope you use it wisely.


Chocolate Mug Cake

We love low carb/keto mug cakes! They allow us to satisfy our sweet tooth without all the unhealthy ingredients! This mug cake can be kept simple or you can toss in some extra goodness. 🙂

  • 1 large egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
  • 2 tablespoons almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder or cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon erythritol
  • 4-6 drops stevia
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder


1. Measure out 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or butter and place in the microwave for 30 seconds. If you are using coconut oil add a pinch of salt. It is not needed if you are using salted butter.

2.  You will now add in your sweetener. You can use the stevia and erythritol or just 1 1/2 tablespoons of erythritol. I prefer the blend. Also, add in your 2 tablespoons of cacao powder. Stir.


3. Add your coconut flour, almond flour, baking powder, and vanilla. Stir


4. Lastly, stir in your egg. Mix the ingredients until as smooth as possible.


5. Add ins….we love to toss in some Lily’s chocolate chips and 3-5 raspberries!


6. Microwave for 75-120 seconds depending on your desired texture and microwave power.

7. Finally, let it cool for a minute and add on whipped cream or coconut whipped cream if you are like me and can’t have dairy!


I can make a couple of these in ten minutes and then I end up with happy faces like this one! 🙂



Low Carb Fall Recipes

Autumn is my favorite season. With cooler weather and fun filled holidays, I get giddy inside. As I journey through a new season in life with my health and eating habits, I did not want to loose some of my favorite fall recipes. In my house we follow a low carbohydrate diet. We fall somewhere between the Keto and Paleo diets. When we started at the beginning of the summer it was hard but here we are 5 months later pounds lighter and feeling so much better! With that being said, I just want to spread the low carb love with all who are interested in jumping on the bandwagon! It is, NO DOUBT, a game changer in the way you look and feel!

One Pan Autumn Chicken Dinner

I love this recipe! It does however have around 33 carbs per serving, so to help lighten it up I go heavy on the Brussels sprouts and light on the apples and sweet potatoes. I love to buy the shredded Brussels sprouts instead of cutting down the wholes. The Brussels sprouts cook down and it gives a “bed” of Brussels sprouts to lay your food on or beside. What is so great about this recipe is you cut everything up and toss it all on one pan to cook! Here is a before shot, as you can see I really like to load my pan up! It is mostly Brussels sprouts spread through out with extra bacon on top! I also put more of the seasoning spread through out the pan than what the recipe says to use. 🙂


You preheat your oven to 450 and let this baby cook for about 35 minutes and……

***Disclaimer: I am not a food photographer…I do not know how to make my food pictures look mouth watering haha….


This is not my recipe, I make my own modifications to fit my lifestyle so here is the link that includes a video! One Pan Autumn Chicken Dinner, if you read her nutritional facts you will see the carbs are high with my adjustments you can cut that almost in half.

Low Carb Pumpkin Pie

This pumpkin pie is heavenly! Not only is it low carb, but is almost dairy free! I can not tell the difference, taste wise, from the actual thing and many others have agreed!

You will need to start with the crust. The easiest crust recipe I have found so far is linked here: 3 ingredient pie crust . It does use butter which is where that little bit of dairy comes in, but the crust is tasty and easy to make. I do want to explore other options because once baked for so long the edges do brown pretty badly.

The filling is what makes this pumpkin pie gold in my book!

Here are my ingredients:


  • 1 can of pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 Tbsp Swerve Confection sweetener
  • 2 Tbsp Swerve brown sugar sweetener
  • 1 dropper full of Stevia
  • 1/2 tsp. of pink salt
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 oz of coconut cream (it came out better when I did not shake it, so I wouldn’t use the clear part that settles at the bottom)
  • 1 low carb pie crust

Baking Instructions

  1. Preheat Oven to 425 F
  2. Mix the eggs, pumpkin, sugars, salt, and spices in a large bowl and mix until well blended.
  3. Slowly stir in the coconut cream and mix well.
  4. Pour mixture into the pie shell.
  5. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  6. At the fifteen minute mark, reduce the oven temperature to 350 F and bake another 35-40 minutes. Insert a knife into the center and if it comes out clean then it is ready to come out!
  7. Let cool for at least an hour and enjoy! Refrigerate what is not eaten.

Side Notes:

This does not have preservatives in it so it is only good for about 5 days.

I do not like extremely sweet things so if you do you may want to add in some extra sweetener. I do think the coconut cream helps sweeten it more as well.

It taste even better with a little whip cream or coconut whip cream (for me)


Never Enough Fall Festivities!

Because food is not the only reason I love fall, I decided I needed to make a new wreath for our door to welcome the season so here ya go! 🙂


Holidays in NYC

Do you just love when the first cool front blows in and all things autumn start? It is by far my favorite season! It brings pumpkins, good food, and family. I have to stop myself from dragging out all the decorations before the official day of fall. If you are anything like me then spending the holidays in NYC will blow your mind! We have been blessed to experience Thanksgiving and Christmas time in the Big Apple. Plus when the weather is cool you can’t smell the stinky streets! HAHA Let’s talk about the amazing things to see and how you can get there on a budget! By the way don’t judge my 2011 photos! Cameras and my skills were not the best! 😉

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

We went to one of the first parade streets to watch. When you watch from the streets it is different than what you see on television. The floats and balloons are continuous with no pauses for performances. I was okay with that because really it’s the magnificent floats that I wanted to see up close and boy are they gigantic masterpieces! You will also see lots of well known celebrities on floats. We went in 2011 during the 85th anniversary. We are really hoping to return for the 100th. It was cold for me so I strategically placed some hand warms in pockets and shoes to help me survive the wait. We got to our location about an hour and a half prior to the start of the parade and we were able to stand about three rows back. We had a great view and it wasn’t overly crowded. After viewing the parade, we walked down the street to a diner to grab breakfast. We are able to watch the parade again on TV while we relaxed and ate! By the way, Macy’s is the only thing closed on Thanksgiving Day so do not worry whether you will have things to do after the parade.

Radio City Rockettes

Thanksgiving night we attended the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with some friends. The performance was phenomenal and so festive. I truly feel there is no bad seat in the place. It is a beautiful display of the holiday spirit. It is a story line with awesome dancing numbers and a visit from Santa. The performers are the best of the best and nothing compares!

Rockerfeller Christmas Tree

When we went for Thanksgiving the tree had scaffolding around it and we decided we had to return to see the tree in all its glory! They light the tree the Wednesday after Thanksgiving so we planned a trip in 2015 for the second weekend of December. Be prepared for tons of people! It is gorgeous and breathtaking and worth the mass amounts of people.

Santa Land at Macy’s

The Santaland at Macy’s is a whimsical display of the North Pole. I would highly advise getting there early! The line for Santa gets very long and even though the displays are eye catching, kids only have so much patience. After you visit Santa you must go to their Christmas section to wonder through all the Christmas tree displays and find unique ornaments.

Ice Skating

You can either visit the Central Park skating rink or The Rink at Rockerfeller Center. They are both beautiful. Of course, be prepared for the crowds and lines but if you attempt to go during off times you may be able to avoid the lines.


Window and Street Displays

You have to wander down 5th Avenue to see all the holiday window displays and then head to Macy’s for their iconic window creations. Near Rockerfeller Center, you can see over-sized Christmas lights and ornaments. At night, Saks Fifth Avenue puts on a mesmerizing light show on the side of a building that you cannot miss!

Christmas Markets and Grand Central Station

During the holiday season Bryant Park and Union Square have street markets where you can get some one of a kind gifts to take home. You can try out some festive eats while you wander around. Grand Central Station has gorgeous displays and some pop ups with great little stocking stuffers as well. We did more shopping than taking photos. 🙂


The Plaza Hotel and Kid Stores

If you want to channel your inner Kevin McCallister, then you have to stop by the infamous Plaza Hotel. They actually offer some kind of package to get the full experience but last I checked it was over priced. The hotel does not exactly look the same but if you know the movie well you can see similarities. It is still beautiful and has holiday displays to get anyone in the spirit. Sadly the Time Square Toys R Us is no longer there but FAO Shwarz reopened at Rockerfellar Center. You can also stop by the American Girl Store, Disney, Dylan’s Candy Bar, Macy’s, the Lego store, M&M World, Hershey’s Chocolate World, and Godiva. The opportunities to bring out your inner child are endless.

NYC Budget Tips

Lodging can be very pricey. The first time we went we were lucky enough to stay with friends but the second time we went we stayed in a Country Inn and Suites in Queens. It was one stop past Manhattan and very close to to the subway. We paid $100/night and it included breakfast. We ended up having an amazing view of Manhattan! This area has several hotels to choose from, with affordable pricing.


Flights and Transportation

We flew into Newark, NJ both times and it ended up saving us tons of money. Once you land you will ride the Amtrack to NYC and exit at Madison Square Garden. Children 6 & under ride the subway for free! The subway is really the only way to get around unless you plan on paying tons of money for taxis. If you have the Google Maps app (tutorial video) it is very easy to navigate your way around on the subway. Also, if any thing is only a few blocks away, WALK! Don’t waste money on riding the subway! Now with Spirit and Frontier airlines, it might be possible to fly right into NYC affordable. Unless you are trying to go to the tree lighting or parade I recommend going the second or third week of December to save money.

Kid Conveniences

We tried the stroller thing for a couple hours and soon realized it is difficult! We used our baby carrier for the rest of the trip. Everything in NYC is cramped and tiny, so strollers do not fit in restaurants and the streets are so crowded it is hard to maneuver. Most things that you do allow children under 5 in free! Dress them comfortable and have snacks on hand for subway rides. Check the weather! When we went in 2011 it was cold and in 2015 it was a pleasantly cool. No jacket necessary! The cute little UGG boots people in Texas like to wear are not a good idea! Wear a duck boot or a boot with a rubber exterior to keep feet dry from water or snow. Also, our little one was able to nap in the baby carrier so we didn’t have to trek back to the hotel mid day.

We, of course, ventured over to all the other regular NYC attractions but that will be another post! I really hope you consider visiting NYC during the holiday season. I only scratched the surface with all the things it has to offer, it really is a one of a kind experience!


Not Feeling Yourself

This isn’t my usual post but I felt like God was tugging at my hear to share. When you become a mother so many people tell you that you will never be the same. You will be tired, stressed, anxious and so on. I bought into this so deeply. I would write off all the things I was feeling physically and emotionally because it was just how it was when you have a kid. Well, DON’T do that!

I was recently diagnosed with hashimoto’s disease which is an autoimmune disorder that affects your thyroid. If you know me then you will know that my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer this past May. It took this life altering event for me to finally go to a doctor and say I’m not sure if something is wrong with me but can we check…

After I had Quinn 4 years ago I felt very tired and couldn’t sleep through the night but I wrote it off as being a side affect of having kids. I had digestive issues, and it became difficult for me to get back into a normal workout routine due to muscle weakness and exhaustion. Again, I wrote it off and kept going. Even at the doctor I couldn’t express the way I was feeling well enough and usually they would say yeah being a parent is hard. When Quinn was a year and a half I was able to start running again but after most runs my muscles would be so exhausted and I sometime ended up with a headache. I ran beach to bay, it took me 2 days to recover, was but outside of my husband people didn’t know because I hid it well.

When Quinn turned 2 we decided we wanted to have another baby. We were blessed with Reese and the pregnancy was harder this go round but she came ,happy and healthy, and I thought all was well. I recovered quicker and she was an easy baby so in my mind things were better. Once I went back to work, when she was around 4 months, it went downhill from there.

I was getting 4 hours or so of sleep due to waking up so frequently (my kids sleep through the night), by the time I got home from work I couldn’t do anything else. I had muscle weakness, joint pain, headaches, digestive issues, my hair never stopped falling out, brain fog and anxiety. I felt deep down this was not me, I would have moments of clarity and think why is it like this? How do women function? How do people have so many kids and still have energy? BUT again I tried to tell my doctor but didnt know how to express myself without sounding crazy. I did not want to be labeled.

I have always been one to make mostly healthy choices when it came to food because I had stomach ulcers when I was 20 but after my mom was diagnosed we decided that it was time to get serious. We got on the Keto diet and after a couple months I was feeling better but I knew I needed to go to my doctor because of my family history. My brother and mom had been diagnosed with hashimotos so I knew I should atleast get checked.

GUESS WHAT…..I had it, all of the symptoms I have talked about were from this!I had just been to my OBGYN the week before and when I told her about being checked her response was, we would have seen it when your were pregnant. WRONG…I was not CRAZY and they had only looked at my regular thyroid panel which did not catch it. If you have not felt like yourself tell your doctor. I also had low vitamin D which they checked only because I asked. Low vitamin D has tons of side effects, look it up.

I started my research and now I take magnesium, iodine, vitamin D, tumeric, and a probiotic as well as a thyroid medication. With autoimmune diseases you body is attacking itself based on what your eating. I’ve felt a million times better on keto because I stopped eating food that cause inflammation in the body. I now eat anti inflammatory foods and stay away from grains, processed sugar, and vegetable oils. I am not cured and am still working through everything but I’ve had so many people tell me “Wow, you look great.” I just finished my first week of school and worked out 4 out of the 5 days after school.

I read that thyroid conditions are very under diagnosed. If you do not feel yourself do not write it off! I hope this helps someone and if you need someone to talk to, I am here!

Packing Light

Have you ever gone on a trip and by then end of it you realize you didn’t wear half the things you packed? As you are lugging all the things you brought through the airport, have you wished you didn’t bring all this junk?  Have you sat at the baggage claim and wondered how much longer it is going to take for your luggage to show up? Well I have a solution for you!

Do You Really Need It?

You may think this girl must have to buy stuff all the time, or she must really know how to do with out. That is not the case….When I am packing I probably run through my head what I need to take a million times, especially with my kids! I will pack things and take them out and put them back. LOL The key to your success is when you are preparing for a trip make a list!

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What is the purpose of my trip?
  • What’s the weather like?
  • How many days will I be gone?
  • How many times a day do I change at home?
  • Am I really messy person? Like food on my
  • What can I live without?
  • Do I plan on purchasing things on my trip?

After you make your list then I want you to ask yourself…..What on this list can I live without for ___ amount of days? Then, take things off because I promise you will survive! It is recommended to wash your jeans, shorts, skirts after 4 to 5 wears, tops 1 to 2 wears, jackets 5 to 6 wears, with that being said do you wear the same thing often because you love it? Then why do you pack your suitcase like you are moving away? Be realistic with yourself with what you need rather what you think you want. My husbands packing mentality is what if I might want this when I am there. He packs a giant suitcase and then wears a third of it. After many years we have finally broke this habit and it has saved us tons of money!

How to Pack Small

I recommend finding out what is considered a FREE carry on for your flight. Frontier and Spirit allow backpacks but other airlines allow small suitcases.

  • 2 Gallon Freezer Bags
    • I either fold up or roll up our clothes and place them into the bag. Do not over fill. Once you do this seal it up almost all the way and then sit on it to compress all the air out. After you have compressed it seal it the rest of the way. Anything smaller than the 2 gallon bags do not work as well.


I used 3 of these bags to pack mine and the girls clothes. You can see below the difference between the gallon and 2 gallon size.


Packing List for 5 days:

    • 1 bathing suit              undergarments
    • 1 cover up                    1 pair sandals
    • 1 board shorts             1 pair of tennis shoes
    • 5 shirts                          1 pair of sleep shorts
    • 1 khaki shorts              1 yoga capri pants
    • 1 athletic shorts           2 pairs of socks
  • The Girls
    • 6 outfits each            2 pajamas
    • 2 bathing suits          undergarments/diapers
    • 1 cover up                  1 pair of Crocs

On flight day I wore the yoga pants, a t-shirt, socks, and tennis shoes. If you are taking jeans I would wear those to the airport as well as any bulky shoe you are taking.

This bag has my clothes and my 2 girls clothes.

Bag #2 (Diaper bag backpack)

  • Toiletries
    • Shampoo bar              contact case
    • Conditioner bar          glasses
    • mascara                       travel size contact solution
    • 2 toothbrushs                 travel size toothpaste
    • small compact of blush/eye shawdow
    • face wash bar/ moisturizer bar
    • sunscreen

I bought my face wash, shampoo, conditioner, and moisturizer bar at Lush. I use them at home but they are also a great investment just for travel. If all of your things are liquid then they have to be 3.5 ounces or less (which is enough for 5 days)


  • Other Necessities
    • phone/kindle charger                                    1 bottle
    • kindle                                                                 headphones
    • diaper rash cream                                          2 travel pillows
    • formula (Quart ziplock bag w/ scoop)        lightweight jackets
    • snacks (Gallon bag)                                         brush/hair ties
    • 25 diapers (we made it back without buying more but barely haha)
    • baby carrier ( I put this in the car seat bag haha)

My husband had his own backpack. I only had to make him take out one shirt and 1 of his 2 hats and he still managed not wear one of his shirts. 😉

We also took our 2 car seats and stroller. We take these things all the way to the gate but it isn’t necessary.  We always have because they can get throw around a lot by the baggage crew and we don’t want any damage to them. We also put them in a car seat bag so no straps get caught. I am overly cautious/paranoid and I don’t want to wait at baggage claim for them. If you take them to the gate, they will gate check them for you and when you land they bring them back up to the plane for you. You can purchase one of these on Amazon. They also have fancier ones.

JL Childress Gate Check Bag for Car Seats, Red

With every plane ticket you purchase you get some kind of a carry on. Whether its a backpack or a small suitcase, you can fit your stuff! If I know I need more space then I use the same techniques and only pay for one bag and fit my family’s items into the one checked bag. I hope you can save some money and time on baggage!

4 Days in SoCal

Southern California is a beautiful sight. We spent most of our time beach hopping down the coast. I loved the cooler weather and the mixture of the ocean and mountains. We flew into San Diego and then headed up the coast to Dana Point. We visited San Clemente, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, and San Diego.

Day 1 – Dana Point/Laguna Beach

I heard about a little tower built back in the 1800’s that was right on the beach and knew my girls would love it. It resembled Rapunzel’s tower and that was Quinn’s favorite movie. It is located on Victoria Beach and with a little trial and error we figured out how to get to that small portion of the beach. Because the beaches are next to cliffs and mountains, you cannot stroll along a really long stretch of beach. Rocks and cliffs separate the sand parts so you have to go up and around.


This is a then a now photo and you can check out the link to read the history about this cute tower.




We then headed over to dinner in Dana Point called Wind & Sea. We sat on the deck and enjoyed looking out at the boats on the harbor. We were very pleased with the food! The Ahi tuna was sooooo good!

Day 2 – San Clemente/Carlsbad/Encinitas

We stayed the night in San Clemente at Roadway Inn in the middle of town. All the buildings had this old Spanish town feel. We headed down to the San Clemente pier that morning. The weather was cool and the breeze was refreshing. Along the coast ran the train tracks. One of the things on my bucket list is to ride the Amtrack up the California coast. The train hugs the coast for some beautiful views. You can even ride it all the way up to Seattle for breath taking sites! Click here to check it out.


Across from the pier are some cute shops and fun little restaurants. We stopped in one and Victor got some Nitro brew coffee and the girls suckered us into some sweets.


On to Carlsbad, we spent a few hours at the beach and then had lunch downtown. This was Quinn’s favorite beach because of the rocks! WHO KNEW! 😉 While at the beach we got to watch all the military helicopters fly over the ocean.


We ate lunch at a restaurant called Campfire. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was very kid friendly! The girls loved the tepee and we loved the fact that they could run around without bothering others! After that, we walked around the historic downtown and found this cute courtyard where Quinn pretended to be a princess.


We continued down the coast towards Torrey Pines, which allowed our kids to take a nap. Torrey Pines is a state park along the coast where you can hike along the cliffs and see some amazing views. It is 20 dollars to park for the entire day and I recommend parking at the top of the cliffs. We saw some people parking at the entrance and then walking up the road which had to have been a mile…no thanks. If I’m hiking, it’s on a trail not a road.



We headed back to the hotel after this to shower and rest before we explored Encinitas for dinner. Encinitas is a popular little town with one of the best family beaches. Just a couple blocks up from the beach is a stretch of great restaurants and shops. After seeing the ridiculously long line at the famous Taco Shop, we opted for the Fish House. We were very pleased! We ordered five different types of fish tacos: yellow fin, halibut, swordfish, salmon, and mahi mahi. They were all so yummy! Then we headed down to the beach where they had a playground, fire pits, and volleyball courts. It was packed but no overwhelming. The girls loved the park so much we stayed until sundown.


Day 3-San Diego

ZOO DAY! We loved the zoo but we were worn out after that! Our favorite animals were the pandas, koalas, tigers, Galapagos turtles and polar bear.


I kept reading that you can’t see everything in a day, so I was very worried,  but if you take advantage of the bus and make smart choices you will see it all! I recommended heading for the pandas 20 minutes before their exhibit opens. We were there 15 minutes early and they actually let us in after 5 minutes because they came out. We didn’t wait in line and they were out and about, well as out and about as pandas get…they are natural loners!

We then walked one side of the park towards the entrance and ran into where you could feed giraffes..for a fee of course. ($15)


Next, we headed to the bus….ride the BUS! You will see so many animals and get a walking break! Then we rode the skyfari aerial tram twice. This was Quinn’s favorite! We were at the park from 8:45-2:30.


After a nap break we headed to the Gaslamp Quarter. This is an area downtown with lots of restaurants and nightlife. The only thing we ended up liking was the Ghirardelli’s. The food is way over priced and as it started to get dark it was not kid friendly. As we were leaving though we walked by where the Padres play and got to see the field all lit up. Victor was excited about that 😉


Day 4 – Coronado Island/ La Jolla/ Mission Beach

We started out our day driving over the bridge to Coronado Island. We stopped for some coffee, juice, and donuts at Clayton’s Coffee Shop. They have a to go window and sit down seating. We opted for the to go window because so many people were waiting! It was convenient and we sat on the benches outside and enjoyed our breakfast. Then we headed to a park by the water where the girls could play. They view was amazing and the girls were entertained so win for us!


We then walked along the water to the ferry and rode it over to the San Diego bay area. They have the USS Midway Museum and a beautiful memorial to the military.


We rode the ferry back to the island and played on the beach for while. Around the ferry area they have cute shops and restaurants as well as a small beach. On the other side of the island is a much bigger beach to enjoy as well.

La Jolla


We went to La Jolla to see the seals and stayed to play on the gorgeous beach as well! The seals were so cute and we even saw one swimming near the beach just a few feet from people.


Mission Beach/ Belmont Park

This was by far the girls favorite part of the trip. We met up with some college friends for ice cream and then we rode rides at the cutest beach side amusement park until we couldn’t keep our eyes open. We bought the girls unlimited ride bands for $20 each and Victor and I took turns riding with them. It was totally worth the cost and we got to ride for free! Of course it was all kiddie rides but it was still fun! They have adult rides and hope one day we can return and ride them.


Day 5- Balboa Park

We had about an hour before we needed to get to the airport so we went to investigate Balboa Park. My only regret from the trip was not spending more time here. We had planned to check it out after the zoo but we were so exhausted that day we didn’t make it. The park is gorgeous and we loved exploring it so early in the morning because not many people were out. This area reminds of DC’s row of Smithsonian Museums. They have 17 museums to check out including an air and space museum. We went to DC not long ago so I didn’t feel like we needed to explore this but I would highly recommend it if you go! The girls loved the squirrels running around so close to us and the cool art they could climb on. The Japanese Tea Garden was beautiful and the outdoor organ theater was phenomenal. Someone was actually playing the organ while were walking by.


Final thoughts and tips

  • Parking is terrible at most beaches
  • Most tourist areas have extremely overpriced food
  • Most hotels we stayed at had a very lame idea of breakfast
  • The water was to cold for my taste but my husband and daughter loved it
  • We saw tons of very well kept old school cars
  • I would spend more time in the small beach towns
  • We could have easily spent another day in San Diego in order to see everything
  • They have Legoland and Sea World but we just wanted a beach/sightseeing trip
  • Let your kids nap in the car allows you to drive around and see more beautiful sights (through the window of your car)

Price Breakdown

$293.80 Plane tickets (97 each and baby is free)

$0 Baggage fees (we took 3 backpacks/stroller/2 car seats)

$292.00 Hotel (508.77 total but we used our free night and credit card points) From my understanding the hotels were a little more pricey that normal because of big events going on that week

$0 Car Rental (189.00 total but again we used credit card points)

$585.80 Total trip cost for a family of 4

I didn’t track our daily spending but that honestly is going to be at your discretion. You can spend as much or little as you want. All of the beaches were free. The zoo is pricey but worth it.





10 Waco Hot Spots

Looking for a place that has something to offer for all types of trips? Whether it’s a girl’s only, a family affair, college retreat, or a man’s weekend, Waco has it all! Waco is known for Baylor and all things Chip and Joanna Gaines, but it has so much more than that! Spring break was my first girl’s trip, since having my second baby, and Waco was the perfect place to go! Lets talk about the top 10 things to do in this beautiful Texas town!

Be sure to click on the links in my post if you want further details about a place! Just move your cursor over the name of a place and click.

Downtown Waco

  1. Magnolia Market

You can’t go to Waco and not spend some time hanging out here. Not only can you find all things farmhouse but there is a bakery, coffee shop, green space to sit and hangout, gardening area, and food trucks! You do not have to love Fixer Upper to enjoy spending some time here. It can definitely get crowded and in the summer it gets pretty hot. Don’t worry, they have a juice bar and sweet tea food truck that can cool you down or you can stroll down to the coffee shop and enjoy the air conditioning. I went into the coffee shop on a week day around 7:30 and was able to enjoy the space crowd free.

2. Austin Avenue & The Farmer’s Market

This is a street downtown loaded with cute shops and places to eat. We spent several hours just walking this street and hanging out at this cute candy shop. One place that I highly recommend checking out is the Hippodrome. You can see a movie, live performance or dine with them. If you want to reminisce about childhood or create some fun memories with your own child go to Hey Sugar! It is filled with all kinds of candy and a huge selection of specialty sodas. We even tried some very interesting ice cream mixtures. If you are in town on a Saturday, I highly recommend visiting the farmer’s market. We ate some tasty food and found some great take home items!

3. Suspension Bridge & Spice Village

The suspension bridge goes over the river and next to this beautiful park. You can rent kayaks or paddle boards or just take a stroll along the river’s edge. After spending some time at the park, head over to Spice Village for some great eats and fun shopping.

Things to Do

4. Dr. Pepper Museum

This is a great place to see Dr. Pepper memorabilia and have some fun soda themed treats! Check out GroupOn to get the best deal!

5. Mayborn Museum & Baylor University

They have exhibits for all ages! The locals say it is a definite must for families with children. After you wander around the museum take the time to explore the beautiful Baylor campus.

6. BSR Cable Park

This isn’t your average water park! They have the world’s longest lazy river, man-made beach, volleyball, and the Royal Flush slide. The slide is probably not what you are picturing in your head but more of an extreme sports, feel the wind beneath your wings kind of experience. You can bring your own food and GRILL to save money on food!

7. Waco Mammoth National Monument

We cannot wait to take our girls to check this place out. This a part of the National Parks System and you can see the actual dig site where a mammoth has been discovered. They did not remove what they found but instead they lead down into the dig shelter.

8. Cameron Park & The Zoo

The Park is beautiful, it is a great place to take a stroll or hike. They have trails for beginners or veterans hikers. Choose your level of difficulty and get back to nature! The zoo has a great variety of animals. You can get through the zoo in a few hours and they even have a time to feed the giraffes! This is a must if you are visiting with the family.

Great Eats

9. Magnolia Table

This was at the top of our to-do list and the very first thing we did when we got into town! Chip and Jo’s restaurant is great, so of course it was filled with people but we were going to wait! My friends and I were kid free so we felt like we had all the time in the world! This is a breakfast and lunch joint that is closed on Sundays. We waited about an hour to be seated but they have a great outdoor waiting area that has refreshments and games to play. You can also check out the take-away area for gifts. You have to get the homemade biscuits and strawberry butter! It was so good that we purchased some strawberry butter to take home! I returned on a week day at 7 a.m. and was able to be immediately seated for breakfast. My absolute favorite item is their housemade tater tots!

10. Sub Zero

You can see ice cream go from liquid to frozen in a matter of minutes! This place had a line out the door and once we got our ice cream I could see why. The Women’s March Madness was going on when we were visiting and while we were waiting, the entire Michigan team walked out of the shop!

More Yummy Eats

Waco is a hidden gem in Texas that is over-shadowed by some of the larger cities. I highly recommend this visit and we are definitely planning on going back with the kids! If this isn’t a place in driving distance then you will want to fly into Dallas (DFW) and rent a car. It is about an hour and a half drive. This can be it’s own trip or a stop along th way kind of place. Whatever you decide I highly recommend you check it out!

Beauty in Brevard

Do you ever wonder if those cute little towns in movies exist? For all you Lifetime movie, nature junkies, I have the perfect town for you!!! Brevard, North Carolina has more charm than one of those bachelors vying for a rose every week. 🙂 We were blessed a couple years ago to receive a Young Life camp assignment at Carolina Point, which is right outside of this gorgeous little town. We got to spend three and a half weeks soaking up the breath taking scenery and good eats Brevard had to offer.

Outdoor Junkies

Brevard is nestled in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This town is surrounded by beautiful waterfalls. This place is a hikers dream! If you’re thinking “I am NOT a hiker!”, don’t fear! There are waterfalls that require little to no hiking! My favorite waterfall was Triple Falls. One part of the Hunger Games was filmed here.


We also visited Sliding Rock. This is a rock that has naturally made a slide that flows right into some very cold water! I hope that we can return here. The day we went it was overcast and began to rain, so the water was freezing. All I remember is sliding, thinking this is fun, and BAM! I got the wind knocked out of me. I hit the water and it was so cold that I questioned whether they trucked this water in from Antarctica. Thank the Lord above that the exit was only a couple feet from where I landed because I was gasping for air telling myself “just keep swimming”. As I get out, I see people running back to the line to go again….CRAZY…

We were able to hike to several other waterfalls and mountain tops. Every waterfall and mountain was gorgeous and a reminder of how amazing our Earth is. Here are more pictures!

  • Slick Rock Falls
  • Twin Falls
  • Looking Glass Falls
  • Hooker Falls
  • Sassafrass Mountain
  • Pisgah National Forest
  • Dupont State Forest
  • Gorges State Park


After you enjoy the great outdoors, you must head in town and wander around the downtown! It has the cutest boutique stores and restaurants all located in walking distance of each other. We ventured into the cutest toy store, O.P. Taylor’s, that had a great selection of toys new and old. We even saw some amazing Ghostbuster collectibles! Victor had the great American barber experience at West Main Barbershop. It looked like it came straight from the 50’s. My favorite shop was Theophilus. It had the cutest things which included household items and clothes. I must have had so much fun downtown that I honestly didn’t snap that many pictures. Aren’t these the cutest little girls around. 😉

Amazing Eats

We had a variety of great foods during our stay! While downtown, Rocky’s Soda Shop is a must! When entering you feel like you have traveled back in time to the 50’s. They serve awesome shakes, burgers, specialty hot dogs and much more! We also enjoyed The HobNob, Marco Trattoria, and The Square Root. I loved that most downtown eateries had outdoor seating. The majority of our stay, we had gorgeous weather so we opted for outdoor eating most of the time. Being from Texas we are pretty picky about our BBQ but you can’t visit North Carolina and not eat their version. They had great pulled pork. Their BBQ sauce is vinegar based which is different that what I’m usually accustomed to, a tomato base. They have a tomato based BBQ sauce but I’ll tell ya to stick with what they are experts at. 😉 Our most frequent stop was Dolly’s Dairy Bar! They had the most amazing ice cream options. I tried something different every time and was never disappointed!

Places to Stay

Brevard has a variety of places to stay. They have chain hotels, local inns, houses, camping, or cabins. Prices range from super affordable to luxury. It just depends on what needs you have. Questions you may want to ask yourself, “What do I want to be near?” “Do I want the option of cooking for myself?” “Do I want to get the entire outdoor experience?” “How large is my group?” “Continental breakfast?” The biggest thing I would suggest is do not wait to book. We had friends come visit us last minute and the prices became outrageous. I would recommend doing your research and checking a variety of booking websites like AirB&B, Vibro,, and Home Away. Check this website for your camping options.

Surrounding Towns and Adventures

Here is a list of more adventures in Brevard

  • Crystal Mountain Gem Mine
  • Silvermont Mansion
  • Sherwood Forest Golf Club
  • Headwaters Outfitters, river rentals
  • Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education (feed the fish!)

If you want to venture outside of Brevard you have great options! Hendersonville is about 30 minutes away and has it’s own amazing tourist options such as Flat Rock Play House, Hands on Children’s Museum, and many hiking options. If you continue another 17 miles past Hendersonville, you can visit Chimney Rock. This is one of the most iconic travel sites in the state and has been featured in movies! We weren’t able to make it over there but I am anxious to go back and hike to the top of this rock!

Another option is to head north and spend some time in Asheville. This is a larger city and is home to the famous Biltmore Estates. They offer tours but in my opinion, they are a little pricey. For an adult it is 40 dollars. No matter what you decide you will have an amazing trip!

Visit Brevard’s tourist website for more information! Here are more pictures in case you are questioning whether this place is amazing! 😉