For the Love of the Axe

B has developed a new love for the axe.  Yep, that’s right the sharp thing that cuts down trees.  I’m not 100% sure where this new fascination came from but . . .
buying the axe led to
buying knives led to
building fires with the axe and knives led to
we have to go somewhere (i.e. the woods) to build fires led to
“Let’s Go Camping!” 
Because I love the outdoors (not axes and knives) and because we had to replace our septic tank (talk about expensive) I joined in his excitement. So we bypassed the traditional fly south spring break and went on a true camping adventure.  And let me make one thing clear, this was not Glamping.  This was backpacking, sleep on the ground, cook your meals over a fire, roughing it.  There was great preparation involved but in the end there’s nothing like it!
Trip 1:  Scouting trip to Shawnee National Forest







Trip 2:  Shawnee National Forest Lusk Creek Wilderness







Trip 3:  Land Between the Lakes Canal Loop
He’s getting pretty good at this.  He can even start the fire in the dark.  

As you probably can tell we opted for the larger tent on this trip.  

The view we woke up to, Kentucky Lake

Boiling water for coffee!
There is absolutely nothing like a fresh cup of coffee made over a campfire!
We love our camping utensils!
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The Happiest Place on Earth

Walt Disney World, The Happiest Place on Earth

What more can I say?  No matter how hard I try my words can’t capture the joy, the fun, the excitement, the memories of traveling with family especially when it’s to Disney.  So, I’ll let the pictures speak for me.  

Now Playing:  It’s Tough to be a Bug!
Knox and his “Raffe”.  He was so excited it came so close to the truck.
Brooke and Mom taking a break.  Scotty and Knox getting a little business done.
Kase sums up the Disney excitement!
So, precious!  He waved the entire parade and his hand must have become tired because he had to hold it up with his other hand in order to keep waving.  
I kept trying to tell Kase no sad faces or crying at Disney but I suppose there’s bound to be a few tears shed.
I think Knox would have taken Minnie home.
B was such a good sport wearing his Mickey shirt.
Where else can you get Mickey shaped waffles?  They even taste better!  Honest!
I had to include this picture.  B just happened to capture this moment.  This man ran over my foot with his stroller and it hurt!  I promise I wasn’t yelling at him.  
Priceless!
My favorite Disney character!!!  I think Kase had a crush on her.  
Disney Totem Pole at our hotel, The Wilderness Lodge.
What’s a trip without using the camera timer?
Just a few of the Christmas touches, life size presents!
B and Aunt Wendy bought treats for the boys!  This sign was made entirely out of jelly beans!
Woddy and his best pal, Kase.
Kase and Uncle B on the African drums in Animal Kingdom.
Mom and Dad in front of the monster Christmas tree in the Wilderness Lodge.  

B found this Rice Krispie Turkey Leg for Mom.
What’s a trip without B making a weird face in at least one picture?!

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Country Living Fair

A few weeks ago I shared about my slight obsession with magazines.  (If you didn’t catch that one click here to read.) At the top of my magazines must read list is Country Living.  This may come as a surprise but taking my vintages/antique/hodge podge style mixed with a love for “crafting” this magazine is a perfect fit.  So . . . when I saw the words, “the pages of Country Living Magazine come to life” I was hooked.

I knew I had to go.  However, the dates didn’t work out with my schedule, and they didn’t work the next year, or the next.  Each year I would longingly gaze at the pictures of the fair activities.  Someday . . . I would go.  Someday finally came.  This summer when I first saw the advertisement I went straight to my calendar and wrote down the dates.  Then I went to B and presented my sales pitch on why we should go which included golf.  He couldn’t say no.  
Just the atmosphere of a planned event like this makes me excited.  The fair was held at Stone Mountain Park in Atlanta, Georgia.  The setting was perfect; a beautiful fall day in the mountains with leaves changing to beautiful golds and reds, endless white tents scattered throughout the clusters of pine trees.

Definitely a trip I would make again.  From antiques to handmade items to tasty treats over 150 vendors were set up for the weekend.  Brooke and I did leave with a few treasures but we came home with just as many ideas for new projects.

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Glamping

 We knew fall break was coming and we knew we needed it.  Yes, there is so much to be done at home but sometimes you just have to let the laundry pile up a bit more and the grass grow taller.  Those projects that need some attention can wait a few more days.  We wanted to get away.  But . . . not our typical get away.  Most of our trips are high paced, action packed, don’t want to miss a thing.  But this was different, a needed different.
When we pulled up to The Martyn House (aka Glamping) I knew we weren’t staying long enough.  Driving down the driveway it felt as if the trees were drawing me in and immediately made me feel as cozy as if I was wrapped in my favorite blanket.  A retreat.
We were promptly greeted by the owners, JoAnn, Rick, Essie the cat,

Grace the black lab, Mya the yellow lab. 

Right away they made us feel welcome.  JoAnn, while walking us to our bungalow, gave us the run down/history of the property we were staying on.  (You can watch a tour below.  Don't forget to scroll to the bottom and push pause on the music before watching the video.).

When we walked up to the purple and white striped tent (aka Bohemian Bungalow) that would be our home for the next few days, I could hardly contain myself.  Glamorous Camping. 
The bungalow was something out of a movie.  It felt as if we had transported to another place besides the Appalachia Mountains.  The bungalow was surrounded on all sides by forest making it feel as if we were the only ones within miles. 
On the property there are only three other similar structures.  We were in our own little hideaway.  JoAnn and Rick had obviously thought of all the little details to make this an “experience” not to be forgotten.  The bedroom was stocked with a hot water kettle, coffee, tea, handmade coffee mugs, oversized pillows, fresh flowers, propane heater, and extra quilts. 
The bathroom was equipped with a well thought out shower set up, handmade soaps, decomposing toilet, and individual waffle robes.  I was on cloud nine.
Typically when we arrive at a new location I have already done my research, have a plan, and am ready to explore.  But this was different.  I didn’t want to leave.  We did venture out however but not for long.
Each morning started with a mouth water breakfast made by Rick and JoAnn. 

The first morning we took off about 20 minutes away to Amicalola Falls State Park for an 11 mile hike.  This is the location for the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.  The weather was perfect for a hike and nature surrounding us was refreshing. 

On our way we discovered that this part of North Georgia is known for apple orchards.  After our hike we couldn’t resist stopping for a fresh apple fritter and apple cider.  Delicious!

The second morning we rode the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway to McCaysville, Tennessee where we stood in Georgia and Tennessee at one time. 
The train depot is housed in the quaint, little town of Blue Ridge, Georgia.  The streets were lined with local shops and restaurants.  We had lunch at Harvest on Main.  The restaurant boasts of local products and sustainability.  Many of their ingredients come from a garden they maintain just a few blocks away.  The fresh herbs which flavor most dishes can be found in the planters flanking the front of the restaurant.  The mac and cheese was to die for and the creamy vinaigrette salad dressing was definitely worth purchasing.
But I have to say that during both our adventures, while I enjoyed them immensely, I found myself anxious to get back and savor the time at The Martyn House.  My spot of choice was curled up on the oversize pillows in front of the heater wrapped in a quilt with a cup of coffee and my book. 

B would drape the door open so the fresh, cool air floated in.  Once night had fallen we ventured up to the bonfire for our nightly S’mores and conversation with JoAnn, Rick, and the other guests.  Upon JoAnn’s prompting B even entertained the group with his rendition of “Hey Girl”.

As you can probably tell I could go on and on about this experience.  And as most trips we go on we leave saying, “We have to come back!”  I know as adults we have responsibility.  However, never forsake the opportunity to get away with your spouse.  It's an investment of greater worth than the laundry pile.  And for what it's worth we think The Martyn House is the just the place.   

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Our Nation’s Capital

Washington D.C. is one of those cities I do not tire of. 
When I found out I would be attending a conference for my new job I was thankful for a new opportunity to learn more about this new work world I’m in.  However, when I discovered the conference location was D.C. I jumped at the chance.  Ever since my childhood friend, Ashlee, moved to D.C. seven years ago I have fallen in love.  Not only is it rich in history but the beauty never gets old.  It is definitely on the top of my list to visit over and over. 

So even though the majority of my days were spent in meetings the night was left for enjoying and exploring.  A slight disadvantage to the beginning of my visit was my personal tour guide, Ashlee, was spending much needed time at the beach.  Thankfully my sweet new friend from Mississippi was willing to enjoy the city with me.  So off we headed. 

We were able to visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the first official day the memorial was open to the public.  How cool!  Michelle (my new friend) mentioned that when that day is talked about in the future we will realize how old we are because we will be able to say, “We were there for the opening.” 

We jumped back on the metro to ride a few stops to We the Pizza.  Leave it to Ashlee to find all the best pizza joints in any town.  The buffalo chicken and pepperoni are my favorites but the combinations are endless. 

Another added bonus to We the Pizza are their Italian style sodas.  I can’t not order the traditional Shirley Temple.  However, Michelle was more adventurous and ordered the “Jupina Pineapple Soda” and the “Co, Co, Nut Soda”.  She said they were both great but the pineapple was her fav of the two. 

Who knew the next day would bring a 5.8 earthquake? 

It was scary but it didn’t deter us for long.  When Ashlee arrived back in town my meetings were already over so she whipped, by picked me up, and we headed to Georgetown for supper.  We decided on Serendipity. 

Yes, it’s the same Serendipity that’s in NYC.  We had both eaten at the one in NYC.  The main difference we saw was that in NYC you have to make reservations weeks in advance and we walked right in and sat down in D.C. 

I ordered the chicken pot pie, which was delicious!  Ashlee had the double decker grilled cheese and tomato soup, equally delicious! 
And of course we couldn’t pass up the famous frrrrrrozen hot chocolate (but we did share). 
Two different visits prior to this one we have attempted to go to Georgetown Cupcakes (aka DC cupcakes on TLC).  The first time they were closed and the second time there was a two hour wait.  Yes, that’s right two hours for a cupcake.  Since it was only two blocks away from Serendipity we headed over to check out the line which to our surprise was only about 15 minutes.  Third times a charm. 

My three purchases were the lemon blossom , salted caramel, and coconut.  They took a rough ride in my bag but still tasted cupcakelicious!

On my final day Ashlee and I were able to have lunch at the Red Hook Lobster Truck

There are many food trucks to choose from in the D.C. area but Ashlee says this one is one of her favorites. 
The lobster roll is AMAZING! 
Before I headed out of town I was able to make a quick stop at a few tourist spots; trip to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum . . .

I saw the Hope Diamond . . .

and the capsule that rescued 33 miners in Chile . . .
and I strolled through the United States Botanical Gardens.

And then it was time to go home. 
Until we meet again D.C. I will miss you . . .
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