Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Plaid Turkey
Thanksgiving is only a few hours away. I am very excited to be eating dinner with my parents this year. We didn't get to spend the holidays with them last year so I am definitely thankful that we're all in the same state now. I do wish Rob's family was closer so we could see them too.

We plan to stuff ourselves silly with yummy turkey. We will eat all of the traditional Thanksgiving goodness. I think I'm most looking forward to green bean casserole. I know it sounds weird but it really is my favorite. Everyone but me will eat pumpkin pie, I hate pie so I won't be eating it. Rob will put Cool Whip on his pie and my dad will use Ready Whip. Neither one of them can stand the other type of whipped cream. It's kind of funny. Since I hate pie I've decided to move our Christmas tradition of fudge to Thanksgiving. I've already made my grandma's "world famous" fudge.

Last year was probably the best Thanksgiving ever because we had such an amazing time camping outside of Nashville. I loved it so much, I wish we were doing that again this year. Maybe we will eventually start a family tradition of camping during the holiday. It would be much easier this time around since we could prep and cook all our food ahead of time and just re-heat everything in the RV. It was difficult cooking a turkey in a tiny RV oven!! If it weren't for that Thanksgiving we would have never decided to call Tennessee home.

So, this year I am thankful for our home, the good food we're going to eat and having my parents here. I'm thankful for my crazy kids that make me want to pull my hair out sometimes. I'm thankful for my husband that puts up with my crazy, indecisiveness. I'm thankful that we're all healthy. I'm thankful for everything! I am often homesick but I do love it here and I am thankful that it has all worked out for the best for us!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Oh, deer!

In my 31 years of living in California I can count the times I've seen deer in the wild on one hand. Three, that's how many deer I've seen in my home state.

I have seen many deer since leaving the state and traveling around the country. While driving in Oregon, one early morning we saw a family of deer nibbling on leaves. We saw deer in Wyoming and South Dakota everywhere we went. The only state on our trip I remember not seeing deer is Louisiana. We've seen more deer in the last year than I could ever count.

We've also seen more dead deer than I can count. I remember exactly when and where we were when we all saw our first dead deer. We were camping in Tennessee for Thanksgiving 2012. We woke up to take the dogs out for a walk when we noticed a deer on the back of a truck parked at a camping spot a few spaces down from us. Obviously, the person had just returned to the campsite from hunting. It was interesting and sad to see. The girls didn't really know what to think of it. On a drive from Tennessee to Alabama we saw numerous deer dead on the side of the freeway. I've seen two dead deer near our house. One was headless, the other was being eaten by turkey vultures. And recently, while splashing the monster truck around in the mud we stumbled upon what we can only assume was a deer ribcage. Most of the dead deer didn't really bother me. Maybe it's because I didn't have to watch them die. Maybe it's because I notice the dead animal and quickly look away.

That all changed on Friday. I was traumatized by what I witnessed while leaving our house!

We were heading to the Post Office and Rob spotted a deer across the street, behind a bush. The deer looked frightened. We were watching it, wishing it to hop back into the woods and get away from the road. The deer took a few steps into the street then he quickly jumped back on the sidewalk. The look in his eyes showed how confused and terrified he was. I thought he'd go back into the trees but he didn't. Right as two cars were driving by he jumped back into the street. This time he was hit by a car, a cop car. The car only hit the deer's back end, the deer hobbled to the side of the road and for a brief second we thought the deer was going to just "shake it off" and be okay. He wasn't and it was terrible to watch! The deer collapsed in the grass next to the sidewalk and started to die, at least that's what I assume was happening. I had to look away many times because it made me want to cry. The deer's back leg flopped around a few times before he stopped moving. We finally pulled out of the driveway and went to the post office. There was nothing we could do and the cop was handling the situation so we had to finish our errands.

I was thankful that C couldn't figure out what was happening in the backseat. I was also so glad the girls' bus hadn't just dropped them off, it would have been so awful for a bus full of kids to witness that. It was an hour before the bus would drop the kids off.

When we came back home we noticed the deer was gone, the cop car was parked at the nearby veterinary clinic. While I know the deer probably died, I'd like to think the Veterinarian fixed up that deer and released him back into the wild.

chevron deer

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Fall

My Wordless Wednesdays are never wordless. Oh well. I took this picture a few days ago we drove through a local state park. I would like to build a house right in the middle of this road!!!

fall colors

Fall in Tennessee is GORGEOUS!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

One Year

We sold almost all of our belongings and left our home in California for the open road one year ago! I can't believe we did it. I never thought we'd ever move out of California. I was born and raised there and although I always dreamed of moving away I never thought we would. The timing never seemed right and I was worried I'd miss my family too much.

Most days I'm happy about the decision. Our kids got to see so much and learn more than I could ever have hoped while we were traveling. Some day, though, I feel guilty for taking them away from their friends. The girls had such good friends in California I worried they wouldn't find such great people wherever it was we ended up. So far they've made a few good friends so that makes me happy. But, the guilt some days makes me want to load up our car and drive back to California, plop back down on the mountain we lived in and try to go back to "normal" life.

I try to remember that people move. Sometimes you can't stay in the same place forever. I think about my sister-in-law. Her husband is in the Army and they have moved all over the country during his time with the Army. They just moved recently from Georgia to Missouri and before that I think they were in Florida, before that Texas. It makes me thankful that Rob isn't in the Navy anymore, I couldn't image having to move over and over again with really no say in where you go! I am thankful that we chose to move to Tennessee and if we want to, we can choose to leave Tennessee.

Camping in TN, when we fell in love with the state (Nov 2012)
I love Tennessee and I'm so glad this is where we ended up. I love waking up each morning and looking out the windows. I love that it's Fall right now and the leaves are the most beautiful colors I've ever seen. I love that it's cold outside, so cold I have to wear a sweater. I love that we go outside as much as we can here. We live by so many parks, lakes and rivers that we never have a hard time finding something to do. Back in California we lived in the mountains so the weather back home isn't too different than here. Only back home we got tons of snow, here not so much. I will miss the snow!

Nashville, TN
Nashville TN, our home 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sweet Halloween Fun #JELLOHalloween #sponsored

The girls have been begging me to decorate for Halloween. I'll admit, when it comes to decorating for holidays I'm pretty lazy. I finally gave in and helped the girls decorate a little bit around the house. 

I surprised the girls with a fun snack to eat while decorating. While they were at school I made JELL-O's Halloween JIGGLERS Hands. The girls love theme snacks so I knew they'd get a kick out of these hands! 


I modified the recipe just slightly. I used Raspberry and Strawberry flavors since those two flavors are the  favorite flavors around here. I've never mixed flavors before so I was nervous but I will say it was probably the best tasting JELL-O I've ever had! I will forever mix these two flavors.


I was worried that cutting the JIGGLERS without a cookie cutter would be hard but it was fairly easy. The hardest part though, was getting the JIGGLERS out of the pan. I used a glass pan, it would have been much easier to get the hand out had I greased the bottom of the pan. I thought about doing that but since the directions didn't say to, I didn't. I also had a hard time seeing where I had cut.  I was able to get all those little hands out of the pan and on to plates for the kids.

I cut up the scraps and called them worms. C really loved the worms, she had fun putting sprinkles in them to give the worms eyes. G chopped up her scraps and called the mess a brain.

JELL-O Worms

The brain got me thinking! I'm going to make green, slimy zombie brains for Halloween. I'll use Lime JELL-O and I will make it in the glass pan, once the JELL-O is set, I'll chop it up, or let the kids do it, and make little brain piles. We can stick some bug candies in the brains to make them look extra creepy.

All of the JELL-O JIGGLERS recipes are quick, simple and fun. Which makes them perfect for me, I love fast and easy!

If you're interested in the rest of the JELL-O JIGGLERS Halloween recipes you can find them here:

Creepy Crawly JIGGLERS
Halloween Cat Eyes JIGGLERS
Halloween JIGGLERS Hands

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Big 0-3!

My last baby ever turned three last weekend. We had such a fun time celebrating her birthday but it really made me want to freeze time to keep her little longer. She thinks I'm the best thing in the world right now and I'd like to keep it that way for as long as possible. She loves to hold my hand and be with me ALL THE TIME! I can't even go downstairs without her knowing, she'll come screaming to the staircase and say "Mommy, why you leave me??" Sometimes it drives me nuts but I know eventually she won't think I'm so awesome anymore and my little buddy will have better things to do than bang on the door constantly while I try to shower.
C is 3
C is an amazing little kook and I'm so glad we had one more kiddo. I couldn't imagine life without her!!!

We celebrated C's birthday just like we did L's birthday, with cake, presents and dinner. Right before C was born L worried about having to share a birthday with someone. I told her even if the baby was born on the same day we'd make sure they each had their own special days. So far we've stuck to that. L celebrated her day the day after her actual birthday and C celebrated hers the day before her birthday.
birthday cupcakes
"Strawberry Shortcake" cupcake toppers I made for C
Happy Birthday banner
Birthday banner I made
my kiddos
being silly
Grandpa picked wildflowers for C
riding a bike
Daddy trying to teach C how to use her new birthday present
new bike
She wanted a bike to be like her sisters. She's still learning, she hasn't gotten the hang of it yet.
blowing out the candles
happy birthday
We took the whole family to Dollywood on C's actual birthday. So, we kind of combined the two birthdays but they had their own little parties before our trip! L didn't mind at all and C is too young to object or understand. C was actually super excited and kept saying "I get two birfdays!!"

Dollywood was fun! None of us were sure what to expect since we'd never been there. We woke up super early and made the 3 hour drive. We were making great time and thought we'd get there early when we remembered that we'd changed time zones!! I really hate that! I don't understand why the time zone lines couldn't have been drawn to go around Tennessee instead of through it! So, we ended up getting there an hour later than we planned but we had plenty of time to do everything so it wasn't a big deal. Everyone had a blast and I don't think any of the kids complained too much.

While at Dollywood we had lunch at a fried chicken buffet place. The food was good enough, nothing special, typical  theme park food. The dinning area decor was cute, it was done up like a chicken coop. There was a woman there performing, she was older and crazy which made it fun. She chased a few guys around the coop and danced a chicken on my dad's head a couple of times. When we were leaving she chased my dad outside the restaurant singing to him, it was hilarious!! I wish I would have recorded it. I didn't take any pictures at Dollywood because I didn't want to lug my camera around and worry about it all day.

Dollywood reminded me of Knott's Berry Farm (in California), in size and theme. Where Knott's is Old West, Dollywood is Old Country. Both parks are about the same size and have probably the same amount of roller coasters, as well. Dollywood, though, employs a high number of older folks where Knott's has a lot of teenagers working there.

Dollywood was definitely fun and we can't wait to go back again soon!!

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