Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Yes.  I am aware that the whole point of my blog is primarily to tell you about my adventures in arts and crafts, particularly thieving the ideas of others.  I am going to take a few posts and go off course, just a little.  Today, I want to talk about SHARKS!! 

On our recent trip to the Smoky Mountains we decided to take our kids to Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies.  You see, my kids are boys, 6 and 3.  They love the Kratt Brothers shows, particularly Wild Kratts.  Their favorite episode features - you guessed it - SHARKS!  We had been to this aquarium in the past, but the experience wasn't great, do to no fault of the aquarium.  The last time we went the boys were 4 and 10 months.  My then four year old was HORRIFIED.  He nearly ran through the whole thing.  Scared of the dark, scared of the - SHARKS!, scared of the octopus; he was just plain scared! That day was a nightmare for all involved.  

You might ask why we would try it again...  Well it is amazing the difference that a couple of years can make.  My now 6 year old is totally cool with the dark and - SHARKS! My three year old isn't scared of ANYTHING.  Never has been.  He is all about it. So a fishing (as you might say) we did go. My sincere "Thank you!" to the Kratt brothers for helping to educate my boys on - SHARKS!

The aquarium is wonderful.  They have beautiful and mesmerizing tanks and sea life exhibits.  Don't believe me? See for yourself...

Did I mention the SHARKS!?
(No children or parents were scared out of their whits while making these photos.)

While the SHARKS! were exciting and awe inspiring, I have to say, and I think my boys would agree, that the African penguins really made the whole day! Particularly a little tuxedo wearing fellow by the name of Steve, who kept the boys entertained for quite some time.

All this doesn't even take into account the hands on stations where you can actually pet a stingray (no barbs) or horseshoe crab, or the many other interactive exhibits you and your children will love!  We had a wonderful experience at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. If you and your family are ever in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, it is well worth the price of admission to take a tour.  Have fun!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Smoky Mountain Christmas

Who knew Santa traded his reign deer for flying pigs?
(Decorations outside Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show in Pigeon Forge)

My family and I LOVE the Smoky Mountains.  We particularly love Sevier County. Sevier county includes the wonderful towns of Sevierville (Dolly Parton's home town!), Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg Tenessee.  Most places go all out for the Holidays, but these three lovely towns really know how it is done!  This is the second year that we have gone to enjoy the sights and sounds of Winterfest and once again, we were not disappointed!  Lights, lights, lights, and more lights!  There are Christmas themed shows including Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge.  It is just BEAUTIFUL and so much FUN!

This trip we decided to visit the Deer Farm Exotic Petting Zoo in Sevierville and Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg.  When you have kids (or are big kids like my hubby and I) animals are always a good choice. We also had a big breakfast and did some shopping at my personal favorite eatery the Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant, which is surrounded by shops like the Apple Barn and Cider Mill, their own candy shop, Christmas shop, and even ice cream shop!  You could spend all day at this one location. 

This area truly has something for everyone. In Sevierville you can take in a multitude of wonderful musicals and dinner shows or pet exotic animals in one of the petting zoos.  In Pigeon Forge you can take your family to Dollywood, have a fabulous country style dinner at the Old Mill or the Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant, ride go-carts, or go shopping at one of the several outlet shopping centers. In Gatlinburg you can walk the quaint alpine village streets, see the various Ripley's attractions, including Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, enjoy the ski lift and views from Ober Gatlinburg, tour the artisan trail loop, or play a game of putt-putt in your choice of venue. You can zipline, horse back ride, or just enjoy the view!  You shouldn't miss the opportunity to see the wonderful peaceful sites of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Newly weds, or family's of any and every size will find something that they love about this area.

My boys outside the Applewood Farmhouse Grill in Sevierville, Tennessee.

Over this next week I plan to tell you much more about the adventures we had this visit and share some of our favorite photos from our wonderful Smoky Mountain Adventures!  Stay tuned!

You know who, driving his "red-neck sleigh" outside the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tis the Season!

For someone like me, with limited free time, the Holidays can prove to lessen the amount of free time for creating. Well, maybe not all creating. There are trees to put up and decorate.  There are mantels, doors, and table tops to dress in Christmas finery. However, in my case at least, after a long day at work, checking home work, getting kids fed and dressed for bed, checking off items from my Christmas shopping list, wrapping, baking, Christmas parties, etc. I am amazed that I have ANY time left at all. Amazingly enough I do manage to find a few minutes here and there to do what I love. Don't be surprised to open a gift from me and find one of my creations made with love!