Love It {ClickList}

During our vacation to Hilton Head, we used ClickList at Kroger for the first time. We almost always shop at Kroger at home, but I prefer to wander through each aisle looking for inspiration. During vacation, I just want to get back to the beach or pool. We signed up for ClickList and started a list before we left. The day before we left, I finalized and paid for the order. When we arrived in Hilton Head, we just drove to the store, parked in the designated area, called the number to let them know we were there and VOILA, the groceries were loaded in the car! It was truly awesome! One of the neatest things is that if an item isn’t available then they will give you the larger size or a better brand at the same price. They will ask if you’re okay with the changes. We always were. The employees were really awesome and super friendly.  I would highly recommend this service, especially on vacation!

IMG_8044

Dauphin Island

We had already planned our annual Hilton Head trip and a trip to Disney World for 2017 when we decided that we needed to have one trip that included our eldest daughter. We didn’t want to spend a bunch of money and we had a very specific timeframe. I read that Dauphin Island, Alabama was voted one of the “must visit” islands by Southern Living. We looked at VRBO for a few days and then decided upon a newly constructed home right on the Gulf. The home was called “The Sea Turtle” and we loved it.

IMG_0945

A few things make this island very unique. There are no major stores on the island. There is a small grocery store that is more than sufficient for almost everything you need. Wal-Mart is over the bridge and is quite far. One big trip to stock up on major supplies should be enough. There are very few restaurants on the island as well. We ate all but one meal at home. The kitchen in the house was very well equipped and provided everything we needed to make meals at home.

IMG_0821

We rented a jet ski one day and had a wonderful time riding around the island. Some of the family enjoyed fishing. We all had a great time playing in the sand.

IMG_1012IMG_0987

Everyone we met while we were there was so nice! Our neighbors even brought us extra fish they caught. This was yet another special thing about the island.

By far, the neatest thing that happened was that a sea turtle laid her eggs under the house.  The volunteers with Share the Beach Dauphin Island came to the house and were amazing! The mama turtle had gotten confused due to the lights under the house being on. (On a side note: we thought we had turned them all off, but someone must have flipped a switch upstairs and accidentally turned them on again.) She was found in the ditch in front of the house. A huge group of people moved her, and she was put back into the water. Her eggs hatched on September 3. If you visit the Share the Beach: Dauphin Island Facebook page you can get a glimpse of her babies. We can all say that this was such an exciting thing to witness.

IMG_0792IMG_0794IMG_0816

This vacation was one of the most relaxing ones we had in a long time.

 

Merry Christmas

I hope that you and yours are having a wonderful Christmas. We hosted Christmas Eve dinner last night after our Christmas Eve church service. Today, we went to both sides of our families. We’ve been so busy but I’m hoping that in the next few days we have some time to reflect and get ready for the new year. Merry Christmas to you!!

Making Christmas Easier

I am one of those crazy people who loves to wrap gifts. I like everything about it: the tape, scissors, paper, folding, etc. I know I’m a little strange.

One reason people don’t like wrapping is because it can get overwhelming. I asked around and found that most people wrap all at one time. I do not. I wrap as I buy. I also pick one paper design for each family. My husband’s side and my side have completely different wrapping papers. Our family of seven has several different papers but all in a specific color scheme which changes year to year.

IMG_3087IMG_3088IMG_3086

These little things help me easily see which present goes to which house and which ones stay right here. I also keep them in two different sections. As I wrap as it comes in, this makes it easier to tell where it goes.

I’d love to hear any other tricks or tips how you make this season a little easier!

 

Pirates and Pals Voyage {Disney World}

IMG_2491IMG_2962IMG_2966We wanted to try something new on our last trip to Disney World. David just loves all things pirate, so we thought the Pirates and Pals Voyage would be a great thing to try. We were not disappointed.

It started out with an optional scavenger hunt with a prize out of the treasure chest for those who completed it. Then we moved into a room where we got to meet and get pictures with Captain Hook and Smee.

The room was loaded with desserts. We were able to eat them there and take them on the boat as well. Everything was yummy and was certainly like party food.

Later, we were separated into two groups and then we boarded the boats. Our guides were pirates as well. We sang songs and played trivia. We were then able to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the lake. We also were able to catch part of the Electric Parade on the water. When we returned to the hotel, a very special guest was waiting for us. Peter Pan was there to see how we liked our trip and to take pictures. David had the best time. The rest of us did too. I would highly recommend this excursion to anyone but especially those with little ones who love pirates.

Cheese Dip {Recipe}

Punctuality is a trait that many people lack, especially in my family. I have major issues with time. It drives me to near insanity to be late and almost equally crazy when people are more than just fashionably late. One thing that exacerbates the situation is hunger. For Thanksgiving this year, I decided to try to alleviate at least part of the irritation by making a cheese dip for those who were on time and were hanging around for everyone else show up. Everyone in my family loves cheese and almost everyone likes a dip of some kind. This was easy to throw together. My family has already requested it again.

Cheese Dip (Keto, Low Carb)

1 block of cream cheese (I used the jalapeno kind)

1 small can of diced jalapenos (juice and all)

2 small blocks of hot pepper cheese (shredded)

1 small block of cheddar cheese (shredded)

Mix all the ingredients together. Put into a baking dish and sprinkle about 1 cup of shredded cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and hot in the center (it took about 20-25 minutes).

I served this with Stacy’s Jalapeno Pita Chips. It can be eaten with veggies and any meat as well to keep it low carb or keto.

Enjoy!

 

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope that this Thanksgiving leaves you thinking of all the things for which there are to be thankful. I am so grateful for my family and friends and for all the blessings which God has so generously given.

As we enter into the Christmas season tomorrow, I pray that we can continue to be grateful for the blessings in our lives and look for ways to be a blessing to others.

bless

Countdown to Disney World

Not that we really need a reason to psych ourselves up for a trip to the happiest place on Earth, but I love a fun countdown to create an even greater sense of anticipation. I started 30 days from our vacation date. Each day one of the children opened an envelope with the number of days left written on the front. There was a gift or activity written inside. The treats were all something that could be used on the trip. They included: Disney socks, pajamas, Disney trading pins, Disney movies to watch in the car, personalized coin holder full of quarters and pennies for the pressed penny machines, and a Disney themed gift. There were also Disney themed breakfast, dinner, and cupcakes on the countdown.

IMG_2210IMG_2211IMG_2212

This is just a fun little way of celebrating a vacation before actually going on it.

Mrs. Kennedy and Me {Book Review}

Recently, I have a new fascination with Jackie Kennedy Onassis. I knew very little about the Kennedy administration and that time period in general. Someone I know said that they would love to sit down and have a conversation with Jackie Kennedy. As I thought about what she lived through, my fascination grew.

I bought a book written by her Secret Service agent, Clint Hill. The book is entitled Mrs. Kennedy and Me. I began reading the book not knowing much about the Kennedy family in general and finished the book even more intrigued by their lives. She was the epitome of class and strength in the face of so much. Clint Hill obviously saw Mrs. Kennedy in the best and worst situations, and he was also constantly impressed with the way she handled things.

There were so many stories in the book that I absolutely loved.  One of my favorites was the story of how she so charmed the French writer, Andre Malraux, that he would offer to bring the Mona Lisa to the United States. This exhibition would be the first time that the painting left France.  She was so excited for people who were not in the position to travel all the way to France to have the opportunity to view this incredible work of art.  The History Channel tells the historical story of the Mona Lisa’s trip to the United States.

There are so many great stories in the book. If anyone has even the slightest interest in Jackie Kennedy this is a great book to find out more about the former First Lady. Not only am I completely intrigued by Jackie Kennedy now, I am also fascinated with Clint Hill and the other Secret Service agents of the time. Since finishing Mrs. Kennedy and Me, I have finished a book about all the Kennedy wives and am currently reading one about the agents who were present that fateful day in November when the whole world was turned upside down.

Goodreads says:

The #1 New York Times bestselling memoir by Clint Hill that Kirkus Reviews called “clear and honest prose free from salaciousness and gossip,” Jackie Kennedy’s personal Secret Service agent details his very close relationship with the First Lady during the four years leading up to and following President John F. Kennedy’s tragic assassination.

In those four years, Hill was by Mrs. Kennedy’s side for some of the happiest moments as well as the darkest. He was there for the birth of John, Jr. on November 25, 1960, as well as for the birth and sudden death of Patrick Bouvier Kennedy on August 8, 1963. Three and a half months later, the unthinkable happened.

Forty-seven years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the one vivid image that never leaves Clint Hill’s mind is that of President Kennedy’s head lying on Mrs. Kennedy’s lap in the back seat of the limousine, his eyes fixed, blood splattered all over the back of the car, Mrs. Kennedy, and Hill as well. Sprawled on the trunk of the car as it sped away from Dealey Plaza, Hill clung to the sides of the car, his feet wedged in so his body was as high as possible.

Clint Hill jumped on the car too late to save the president, but all he knew after that first shot was that if more shots were coming, the bullets had to hit him instead of the First Lady.

Mrs. Kennedy’s strength, class, and dignity over those tragic four days in November 1963 held the country together.

This is the story, told for the first time, of the man who perhaps held her together.

I highly recommend Mrs. Kennedy and Me.

My Dad: The Biggest Feminist I Know

My father was raised for a large part of his life by his mother and aunt because his father passed away when he was a child. He then went on to marry and have my sister and me. My sister and I have EIGHT girls (and my little boy) between us. I’ve often thought that these are the reasons that he is such a big feminist. My father never tolerates sexist comments from anyone. He never puts limitations on any of us due to our gender. He has high expectations for us. He believes in our strengths and abilities. He also sees the beauty of our femininity. He expects that we are treated with respect and equality.

He becomes furious when he reads or hears about attacks on women. His heart breaks for women in other countries who are treated as second-class citizens and denied education and basic human rights due only to the fact they are women.  He often shares inspiring stories of women who have overcome tragedy, hardship, or sexism.  I have always appreciated the fact that he sees and treats women with such respect.

When my college-age daughter begins to talk about feminism as her peers see it, I hear her speak of a version of feminism that I do not recognize. The feminism she describes tends to look at men as the enemy.  It seems to suggest that the worst of men is what is typical. It also seems to strip women of their feminine qualities, as if they are the reason men cannot treat us equally.  This version of feminism is a twisted form that vaguely resembles true feminism.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines feminism as: “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes”

What my father shows us through his words and actions is true feminism. I hope that my husband and son will follow his lead as some of the biggest feminists I know.

 

stock-photo-manhattan-new-york-city-usa-april-a-bronze-statue-entitled-fearless-girl-by-sculptor-675613276(1)

photo credit: Joseph M. Arseneau