Friday, January 12, 2018

Our Stay At The Music Road Inn- Pigeon Forge, TN #Review #PigeonForge #Gatlinburg #Smokies #Vacay #TravelBlogger

Well, now that we are back from vacation and everyone is done throwing up, (more on that later!), I can finally tell you guys a little bit about how it went! In a word-fabulous! We had such a great time, and can't wait to go back again soon! 

We had the privilege of spending our time at the Music Road Inn in Pigeon Forge. The hotel itself was absolutely beautiful, and the people there, even better! The hotel itself is just beautiful, and the lobby looks like something out of a movie set! The giant fireplace just made the whole place feel so warm and cozy, like coming home! Check in was an absolute breeze, and Michelle at the front desk was super helpful and friendly. I have to say that we felt welcome right away, and that is definitely a nice feeling! 

Our room was a standard double queen room, and it was beautiful! My sister decided to come with us, so it was three adults and two kiddos, and the room was plenty big enough for all of us! I have two favorite parts of the room: the first one is the bathroom! I know, I know, that sounds crazy, but really! The bathroom is split off into two parts. One half has the toilet and shower, and the other half has a huge vanity with double sink, bench seat, and huge mirrored closet. I loved that! It was so nice to have room to spread out and even sit down when getting ready, because I sure don't get to do that here at home in our tiny house LOL! 

My other favorite part? The view! We had a waterpark view room, which would have been fabulous in the Summer, to watch everyone on the water slide and in the pool from our balcony, but alas, it was still Winter.. However, the view of the mountains in the background absolutely made my stay! I spent most of my time out on the balcony looking at the view! What a beautiful sight to be able to wake up to every morning! 

The beds in our room were fabulous! They were too tall for my small guy, however, and we had to end up asking for extra pillows and blankets to make him a bed in the floor.. This was after he fell off of the bed like five times in the first hour we were there.. I guess he will just always be my clumsy one lol! But, for everyone else, the beds were great! Just ask my dear sweet hubs, who wanted to sleep til noon everyday! 

We had a great time at the Music Road Inn, and I am so glad that we did decide to go in the Winter, although I had my doubts before we left home... It was so peaceful and quiet there and I bet we probably only encountered ten other guests the entire time! I know this is a big difference from what it is like during the busier times of the year, so I enjoyed the peace and quiet, and the perks of being the only ones around! 

The boys had a blast in the indoor pool (and me in the hot tub LOL!), even though us adults thought it was freeeeeezing! I swear, my kids would swim outside in the snow if there was a pool out there! They just don't care! We really liked the fact that the indoor pool was open 24 hours. It was a great treat to be able to just take Tater down to the pool and leave Bean upstairs with Nanny at night time, and be able to spend some one on one time with him. He hardly ever gets a chance to not have his little brother shoved in his face, so he really reveled in his "alone time" LOL. 

We, of course, also spent a lot of time in the arcade, winning all sorts of prizes. My boys (and hubby too!) all have weaknesses for video games, and arcade games, especially the ones where you win a prize... Needless to say, $15 later, we won Bean a ball, and that is about it. (Hey, I said they like games, not that they are good at them! ha!) Oh, and I can't believe I forgot to mention FREE HBO! I am so cheap, I refuse to pay for both HBO and Showtime at home (got to have that Showtime for Homeland and Dexter!), so I was thrilled to be able to watch HBO :) Ahh, perks of vacation! 

Oh my goodness, I can't forget breakfast! Part of the reason that drew us to the Music Road Inn in the first place was the complimentary breakfast. No one in my crew (except me of course) is a morning person. Getting my three guys up, dressed, and off to breakfast at a restaurant is a real chore. Plus, once I get them to breakfast, I pay for all of these meals that no one eats. I mean really.. Bean wants like a tiny drop of scrambled egg and a piece of bacon, and Tater will eat one piece of toast and a banana. Is that really worth me driving the car to a restaurant, sitting down, ordering, waiting, and all that? I think not. The breakfast here was AWESOME! I had heard about the homemade cinnamon rolls before we even checked in, and yes, they do live up to the hype! I loved the fact that the breakfast room was big enough for a bunch of people,and you didn't have to feel crowded and claustrophobia didn't set in! I give breakfast a definite approval here, and that is a big deal coming from my crew! 

I have to say, we really enjoyed our stay at the Music Road Inn, and I especially enjoyed the great job that the maid service did on our rooms while we were there. Super clean, all the time!  Our initial plan was to check out Music Road this time, and then try out a different hotel when we come back during the Summer months, but I really think after our experience there this time, that this will be our new home away from home when we come to The Smokies. I don't even think we need to try to search for another hotel. The staff at Music Road Inn was so nice and really made us feel welcome, I don't ever want to go anywhere else! I can't wait to come back in the Summer when we can swim in the outdoor pool and check out the water slide! (I don't know what I'm talking about, I will be in lazy river for the duration of the next trip, watch and see!) 

I do wish I would have gotten a few more pictures of our room, though. I had big plans to do a bunch of photos of the whole hotel on Saturday morning before we were heading out, but... we had an issue that involved my oldest son catching the flu and throwing up on every tourist attraction in the state of Tennessee (Okay, I am exaggerating, but only a little!) Needless to say, when coupled with the impending Snowstorm Of Doom that was hitting later in the day on Saturday,we decided it would be best to just head on home before things got worse. So, I am going to post a few pictures of Music Road Inn from their website too, just so you can see the things I missed! 

If you are looking for a real family friendly hotel in the Smokies, Music Road Inn should be the one that you pick! I know how happy I am with our stay, and my family really had a great time! If you are interested in checking out their website for yourself, you can click here to go there directly. Or, you can be sure to follow Music Road Inn on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news, discounts, and promotions! Thanks again, Music Road Inn staff, and we will be seeing you again real soon! 

We received a complimentary stay in exchange for this post. However, all views, thoughts and opinions are 100% our own. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

How To Have An Awesome Baby Shower. For Cheap. #Baby #BabyShower #Games #Party #Shower #CheapFun

Today I'm going to tell you how to have an awesome baby shower. *Your results may vary.*

My first advice would be, do not wear THIS shirt. 

Now that you have that down, let's go on. 

1. LOCATION. Location is important. We kind of ran out of time and opportunity when planning my baby shower, so by the time we got serious about planning it, all our locations were already full. So, we had my baby shower at my sister's townhouse. It was very cramped and crowded, but we had a great time! And it was free to have it there. Definite Plus. 

So, start early if you want a certain location! For free or cheap locations, try your local parks, a friend's backyard, a church, or check with your local Chamber of Commerce. Rule of thumb, though: Start early! 

2. DECORATIONS.  There are SO many cute baby shower decorations, you could spend your entire budget on that in no time! But, you don't have to... We went online and found a few really cute things to order, to make a certain "theme." These are some of the things we found online below. I would recommend checking out the images below:

After we ordered a few things, we bought everything else from the dollar store in the same solid colors. It was much cheaper that way, and we still had a "theme". 

Here's another one of my favorite baby shower decorations: hang baby clothes and socks on a clothesline, and use it for a decoration! This is super cheap and cute. We just used clothes that I had already bought for the baby, so it didn't cost anything! Everybody really loved this idea! You can totally browse Pinterest for more baby shower DIY decorating ideas!

Another thing we did, but forgot to take pictures of: we put water in old baby bottles and used them as balloon weights. It was really cute, and also FREE! Bonus points if you tint the water pink or blue :) 

3. FOOD. Perhaps, for this fat girl, the most important part! We just made a lot of little "snacky" type things, so everybody could just eat whatever. We're talking sub sandwiches, dips, veggie trays, fruit kabobs.. Nothing hard to put together, and nothing expensive. There are literally thousands of Pinterest ideas out there, so I am sure you will come up with something exciting! If you would like to check out my other post on a Complete Baby Shower/ Party Menu for Under $100, click that link! 

Okay, Dammit, now you know Bean's real name. But don't EVER tell, k?

Here is our blue ducky punch, also a big hit!  

It's so easy and cheap, you won't believe it!
Here's how to make it:

Baby Shower Duck Punch: 

1 bottle (container/jar, IDK what to call it) Blue Hawaiian Punch
1 Two Liter of Sprite or Seven Up
Vanilla Ice Cream Scoops
Ducks, of course! 

Pour the Sprite and Hawaiian Punch together. Float several (8-10) scoops of ice cream on top. The ice cream will melt and have this bubbly, cloudy effect. Don't forget to add your ducks to the top! You can use Pink or Red Hawaiian punch instead if you are looking for a pink duck punch for a girl baby shower. :) 

4. GAMES. Well, you probably already know that almost everyone hates baby shower games. But, you still have to have SOMETHING. We tried really hard to come up with shower games that were not overdone, and not embarrassing for anyone, like the chocolate diaper poop game, or drinking from a baby bottle game. Those are not fun for everyone! Here's what we did at my shower;

*Candy Game* this one was a little cheesy, but overall pretty cute. You print out a list of clues, and then everyone has to write down the candy that is associated with the clue. Here are some of them:

Time Alone After Baby= Zero

Mom's Tummy After Baby= Jelly Belly

You hope the OB doesn't have= Butterfingers

Hospital Bills=100 Grand

Breastfeeding=Milky Way

Contractions= Now & Later

Some of these were easy, some were super hard! Click here to find the complete list.

*PlayDough Babies* 
This one was probably my favorite! At the beginning of opening presents time, everyone gets a little ball of Play Dough and a toothpick. Everyone has to make a baby out of Play Dough and nothing else.  This is good because it keeps everyone from getting bored. The mommy to be gets to judge the best baby at the end of the shower. Here are some pics from our Play Dough babies:

This was so funny! Some really looked like babies, some like frogs, and some like, well.. balls of play dough! Don't forget, with this game, the mom to be is supposed to judge all the babies and pick the one she likes best for the winner! :)

*Paper Sack Game*
Also a very cheap one. Take a certain number of  brown paper lunch sacks and put one baby item inside each. Some of the things we did were diaper, sock, bottle, pacifier, hairbrush, rubber duck, etc.. Staple the bags closed. Now have everyone pass the bags around without looking inside, feeling to see what they think it inside the bag, and writing down their guess. This one was pretty cute too. Bonus that the mom to be gets to keep all of the props that were inside the bag :)

Another thing we did at my shower, which was REALLY helpful was to include on the invitation for everyone to bring a package of diaper to be included in a prize drawing. We put everyone's name in a hat, and drew a name out. That person got a $25.00 restaurant gift card. Everyone really liked this. The person who won got their money back for buying  the diapers, and we got enough diapers to last 2+ months! 

I've never done favors at a baby shower, just the prizes for the games, but there are so many cute things you could do.

My main advice for your baby shower is to just have fun. Try not to stress about details. The people who are at your baby shower are there because they love you and care about you, not because they want to see how much money you spent. Take lots of pictures and enjoy your day! (Also, if any of you are wondering about great supplements and vitamins to help increase your chances of getting pregnant, or just staying healthy in general, you can read more about that by clicking here!)

Monday, January 8, 2018

Back In the Game! $10 PayPal Cash Giveaway! Ends 1/31/18 #Giveaway #PayPal #Cash #Win

Hey yall! If you read my previous post,  you know that I recently quit my real job to stay at home with my babies and focus on my blog full time, as well as take on more freelance and work from home gigs. I am so excited about this chance to change my life and also life for my kiddos, but I am also so very nervous! 

But today, we are throwing those nerves out the window, and we are celebrating the exciting opportunities that are coming our way! 

We are going to celebrate with a giveaway! We will be giving away $10 PayPal Cash this month to celebrate getting back into the blogging game! I'd love to have all of you enter, and I'd love to have all of you come back here to help me on my journey and let me share my life with you! 

Want to win the cash? Follow the instructions below for how to enter! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 1, 2018

#TBT ThrowBack Post: The Best Day Ever: Dollywood- Pigeon Forge, TN! #Smokies #Dollywood #DollyParton #SmokyMountains #Vacay #TravelBlogger

*With this never ending winter we've been having, our thoughts have been drifting to vacation, and our most favorite place on earth- The Smoky Mountains of Tennessee! I thought this would be a perfect time to revisit one of our favorite old posts- our review of Dollywood! Enjoy!*

One of our favorite things that we have gotten to do on this trip, has been our visit to Dollywood, hands down! We are a theme park family by nature, and would spend just about every summer weekend at a different theme or water park if we had the choice, but we don't get to theme park it up nearly as often as we would like! So, when our chance came to visit Dollywood, we were thrilled! It turned out to be, hands down, our favorite theme park we've ever visited, and that says a lot! 

We arrived at Dollywood as soon as they opened for the day, and when it was time for them to close up, we still weren't done for the day! We could definitely have spent two days there! The entire place has a "country fair" type theme, and I love that the whole place sort of just "goes together"! It is very homey, and has a very welcoming atmosphere! What more could you ask for than a HUGE theme park that feels like a down home country fair? It's perfect! 

Okay, one thing you're going to have to know... When you're at Dollywood, you're not just there for the rides! You're there for the shopping and you're there for the food too! It's like a package deal! Aunt Granny's All You Care To Eat Buffet is a MUST STOP, but be warned, you'll be stuffed to the brim when you leave! We also ate a bite at the Red's Drive In, which is an adorable 50's style diner, and the boys loved it there! Make sure to stop by Miss Lillian's Chicken House, even if you don't eat there, for a chance to meet Miss Lillian, one of Dollywood's most famous faces! 

The rides are great, we had so much fun! My oldest son and my hubby are the "thrill seekers" in the group, and they like to ride the big coasters and the scary thrill rides. My little Bean and me, however, we are a little more laid back, and we like small, easy going rides, walking around, and snacking! Well, this was no problem, because Dollywood had something for everyone, and plenty of things that we could all ride together and have a great time! We really made some amazing family memories here, and I can't wait to come back every year from now on to build on those wonderful memories that we made! 

My boys didn't get a chance to ride Wild Eagle, and they were very disappointed, but there was some sort of issue with bees (!?!?), so I don't think they would have wanted to ride it like that anyway! They did however, get the first seat on the wooden roller coaster, Thunderhead, and my big guy was absolutely petrified! After he got out of there though, he said it was the most awesome thing ever! He was also thrilled that he got to ride the Mystery Mine.. He had been watching YouTube videos of that coaster for MONTHS before our trip, and it was his one "MUST DO" on our visit! 

I have to say that I think the Dollywood Express was the highlight of our trip! My boys had never been on a real train before, so a steam locomotive was a real treat! They were completely in awe, and I was too! We really had a great time on our trip, everything was so homey there and we felt so comfortable, never rushed, and never bothered. Every staff member that we came into contact with were so professional and so genuinely kind, it was so nice to see! We will, without a doubt, be heading back to Dollywood next year, so that we can check out the things that we missed and make some more family memories! 

Things To Know Before You Go: 
  • If you have any food allergies, just let the staff know, and they will accommodate you, no problems at all! Don't forget to pack plenty of hiking snacks
  • Near the Market Square area on Showstreet, there is a Centralized Measuring Area where your kiddos can get measured and receive a wristband, so they will know what they are tall enough to ride without standing in line- this is great and saves LOTS of tears! 
  • Parent Swap is awesome! If you have a big kid, and smaller kids (or kid!), one parent can ride, and the other can wait with the little ones. Then the other parent can ride with the bigger kid again, without waiting in line! A GREAT option to make sure that both parents get quality time with their kids on the rides! This saved us SO much time, and everyone was SO helpful! 
  • If you think you'll be heading to Dollywood in the afternoon, here's a GREAT deal for you!! If you enter Dollywood after 3pm, you get in the next day for FREE!!! That's right, FREE!!! Nothing better than that, and a great way to get extra fun hours without paying big money!! 
  • If you buy something at the shops, you don't have to lug it around all day! The Package Pickup service allows you to buy whatever you want throughout the park, and then have all of your packages delivered to the Dollywood Emporium for pickup at the end of the day. A great way to keep from carrying a bunch of stuff around all day! 
Bottom line, if you are heading to the Smokies, you need to take an extra day and hang out at Dollywood! Don't miss it for anything, or you will be very sorry! If you want to find out more info about Dollywood and plan your trip, check out their website HERE


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