Busy, Busy, Busy

Oy!  I've really been avoiding my computer lately!  I place part of the blame on my iPad and Blogger.  I might just blog more if they had a decent Blogger app for the iPad.  Hint, hint Blogger peoples.  I've even neglected showing off a "Home of the Week"!  *sigh*  Life has just been flying by!

We wanted to do something special for my oldest daughter's birthday (which was yesterday).  We debated, fussed, argued over what to do, where to go.  Last year we drove down to Chattanooga to visit the aquarium.  The year before that we drove to Louisville to visit the zoo and a cousin.  We tossed around the idea of going back to Chattanooga.  There is still so much we haven't seen there.  Ultimately though... the call of sand and sea won us all over.  We're headed to the beach!!

If I'm being honest here, I've been NEEDING some sand in my toes for a while now.  Am I masquerading it as a trip for my daughter's birthday?  Maybe.  Does she care?  Nope.  She's just as excited as I am.  Do I feel a little guilty?  Yes, but give me a couple of drinks with little umbrellas in them and that guilt will float away!

We are a camping family.  I'm sure you already knew that though!  Camping can be fun and it saves so much money.  I'd definitely rather being staying in some 5 star resort, but who can really afford that?  I found a FREE camping spot directly on the beach, but the hubs was not feeling it.  We'd have to walk at least a 1/2 mile from where the car was parked and there would be no access to fresh water or electric.  I don't blame him for his quick decision, but it was ON THE BEACH!  And FREE!  Don't tell him that I kind of agree that I didn't want to have to walk a 1/2 a mile in sand packing a baby, cooler, tent, mattresses, etc., etc., etc.

Photo from National Park Service website

Gulf Islands National Seashore!  Problem solved!

For only $20 a night, we'll be staying at Fort Pickens campground.  It's on a barrier island on the Pensacola Bay.  We can drive the half mile to the beach and only walk a short distance.

Soooooo  excited!!!!  At least this time I'll have a reason to not be blogging!  You can check for updates on Twitter and/or Instagram (@christinebewley)!

Natural + Organic = HOT DOG!

I know what you are thinking.  The same thing I was thinking when I was contacted about giving Applegate Farms hot dogs a try.  I was skeptical.

Like most people, we enjoy grilling.  Burgers and  brats are staple items on our grill.  We don't often purchase hot dogs.  Admittedly, I try not to think about what's actually in them.  'Cause we all know what's really going on inside that hot dog package.

We've been making a real effort to eat better meat.  I've been purchasing locally and humanely raised meats from our local farmer's market.  When I read up on Applegate I was looking forward to trying their product.

Their animals are raised on an all vegetarian diets with no animal by-products, never given antibiotics or growth hormones.  They are humanely raised and allowed to roam the fields of over three hundred small family farms.  Applegate uses minimal processing and use celery and sea salts to preserve their products, never nitrates or nitrites.  The Natural Uncured Beef Hot Dogs are gluten, casein, and dairy free plus are low in carbohydrates.  One dog only has 2 grams of saturated fat!

You have to try these hot dogs!  Their flavor is something I can almost not describe.  No processed greasy feeling while eating these dogs.  The texture was great.  The ingredients list is small and has completely pronounceable words in it.  No added junk.

  • Beef
  • Water
  • Sea Salt
  • Paprika
  • Dehydrated Onion
  • Spices (Black pepper, Coriander, Mace, and Nutmeg)
  • Nutmeg Oil
  • Celery Powder
That's it and wow... can you really taste it!  I'm so excited to have found a hot dog that tastes excellent and I can feel confident in feeding my children.  

Aren't sure if Applegate products are sold in your area?  Click here for their store locator.  In addition to hot dogs, Applegate also has bacon, sausage, cold cuts, and cheeses!

*I was given a sample of this product for review.  All opinions are my own.

Photo A Day - July 17th

Day 17.  Your addiction.

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Photo A Day - July 16th

Day 16.  Sign.  Or in this case sign(s).

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Home of the Week

Oops!  Wrote up this post last week and forgot to hit "Publish"!

This week's house is coming to you from the great state of Tennessee.  Nashville to be exact.

Located at 3715 West End Avenue, this 5,889 square foot house built in 1920, has three bedrooms, three  and a half bathrooms, and a pool house.  Listed at $2,699,000.

The entryway seems pretty traditional and I love the banister on those stairs.  The doorways seems so large! The molding around those doorways and the ceiling are quite nice too.

The kitchen is... meh.  It seems large enough (26 x 17), but that's about all I like in it.  Oh and the shutters.  I like the shutters on the windows.

Dining room?  Meh...  I find it too dark.  Again love the shutters and the large wide doorway though.

This bedroom is large enough (17 x 14) for two full sized beds.

I think the master bath seems a little dated.  That tile and walls of mirrors kind of freak me out a little.

Col. Mustard in the study with a candlestick!!  Sorry, I had to do it!  Even though the walls are dark wood, I kind of like this room.  The ceiling and arched windows are what probably sold me on it.

I'm not sure what this room is... sun room maybe?  I don't like the color scheme, but the room as a whole has lots of potential.

What... the...?!?  Ewwww.  Game room... fine.  Red chairs... fine.  Yellow walls... fine.  Put all these things in the same room... NO.  Some things are seen that can't be unseen.

I would live in this pool house.  First off, pool in the front yard!  Second, did you see that size of that fireplace?!  It has a loft, open floor plan.  Love it, love it.

You can see more photos here.

*Images from house listing.

Photo A Day - July 15th

Day 15.  Finger.

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Photo A Day - July 14th

Day 14.  Building.

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Photo A Day - July 12th

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Photo A Day - July 11th

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Words for Wednesday

Photo A Day - July 10th

Day 10. Favorite color.

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Photo A Day - July 9th

Day 9. Big.

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The Big ONE

I have no idea how 365 days have traveled past me so quickly.  I feel like it was just yesterday that I was announcing my pregnancy.  Even though that was way, way back in November of 2010.  Can it possibly have been that long ago?

My sweet little Ro baby is now one year old!  She amazes me every day with the new things she has learned and does.  She's really started to babble and is more vocal about what she wants.  She's officially a toddler now as she's walking everywhere!  She rarely crawls anymore.  She's.... she's.... getting so big!
Rowan's birthday invitation minus our address.
I decided on a rainbow birthday party.  Pinterest was extremely helpful in getting me prepared for this.  Pinterest is the new Google.  Instead of Googling for stuff, I Pinterest for stuff.  I only used a couple of the ideas I found on there.  Only because the husband wouldn't let me go "overboard".  

The majority of the decorations I found here at Printabelle.  The best part?  They were free!  I was able to open the PDF files with PSE and really personalize them!  If you don't have a program that will let you edit them, she can edit them for you for only $3!  There are many different styles available as well.

All the pretty stuff!

A rainbow of fruit, complete with a "pot" of gold and a "cloud".

A rainbow of Jello.

Hershey's Mini chocolate with personalized label.

Time to open presents!
She wasn't really interested in opening anything.  She just wanted to play with what was inside!  Clothes, toys, books... it didn't matter to her!

Then it was time for cake.  I had spent the majority of Friday baking cakes and mixing Jello.  Her cake had six layers (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple) so I was baking for a few hours.  I'm no professional baker and certainly not a profession cake decorator either.

And something horrible happened!!

The top three layers of the cake FELL INTO MY SINK!!  I was so pissed off at the cake!  I was grateful though that it slide to the left instead of sliding to the front because then it would have been all over my kitchen floor.  I grabbed a plate and my Mom grabbed the top three layers of cake out of the sink and guess what?  We ate it anyway!!

Want some cake??
I still can't believe my baby girl is a year old.  I feel like I didn't take enough pictures or snuggle her enough or take little naps with her enough.  I think she had a great first birthday spent with caring family and close friends.  

Happy birthday Rowan!!

Invitations - Printabelle
Happy Birthday mini-banner - Printabelle
Happy Birthday large banner - Printabelle
Water Bottle labels - Printabelle
Mini Candy bar labels - Printabelle
Rainbow Subway Art - eighteen25
Rainbow Fruit - Pinterest
Rainbow Cake - Pinterest
Plates, Forks, Napkins, Cups, Tablecloth - Hobby Lobby

My Time with Abraham Lincoln

Last week was a blur.  The husband was on vacation from work all week and we were busily doing things around the house.  I had a "Honey-Do" list a mile long.  With it being the week of July 4th and the holiday falling right smack in the middle of the week, we decided to kind of just hang around the house.  Of course the price of gas and the oppressive heat played a large role in that decision as well.  (It finally rained here last night and as I'm typing this... it's overcast without even the hint of a ray of sunshine!)

We woke up on Thursday and decided we'd had enough housework.  A mini road trip was planned.  A picnic lunch was packed.  A gas tank was filled.  Off we went!

There are a few things people from Kentucky are really proud of:

  • University of Kentucky basketball (EIGHT National Championships y'all!!),
  • bourbon,
  • horses,
  • and Abraham Lincoln.
Since it's not basketball season, we don't have any horses (or even know how to ride one), and this was a family road trip so no drinking, we opted for a trip to learn more about our 16th President in Hodgenville, Kentucky.

Did you know that Lincoln was born in Kentucky?  He lived at Sinking Spring Farm until he was two when his family moved about 10 miles East to Knob Creek where he lived until he was seven.  

Our first stop was at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace.

Not really thrilled to have to sit in the hot Sun for a photo op.

The actual Lincoln family bible.  It was huge.

An old cabin typical of the area serves as a symbolic cabin of the Lincoln's in the spot where their cabin stood.  Did you know... Thomas Lincoln, Abraham's father, purchased 300 acres that was known as Sinking Spring Farm for $200 in 1808?

The marble and granite memorial building surrounds the old cabin.  The cornerstone was laid in 1909 by President Theodore Roosevelt.  It was dedicated in 1911 by President William Howard Taft.

The Sinking Spring.  It was at least 20 degrees cooler near the spring.  Abraham Lincoln drank from this spring y'all!

We traveled about 10 miles down the road to his boyhood home at Knob Creek

This cabin looks just like the first.  This cabin was constructed by the Howard family in 1931 using logs from a cabin that once belonged to the Gollaher family, friends and fellow farmers of the Lincoln's.

It's hard to imagine a family of four living in this small cabin.

There are hiking trails located at both places, but the temperature alone was over 100F.  The oldest daughter and I did venture just down one path to see Knob Creek (above).  We've gone so long with so little rain and too hot temperatures that the creek is dry.  I asked the Park Ranger how long the creek had been that way.  He told me that until two weeks ago there were a few places further down the hiking trail that still contained small pools of water, but that those too were now dry.

Next and last stop was back in Hodgenville at the Lincoln Museum.

For the most part it was a great way to spend time with the kids and just get out of the house.  We had a picnic lunch and a scenic drive.  I look forward to returning, possibly in the Fall, when the temps are cooler and we can check out the hiking trails.

Tomorrow will be a post about... it's almost to hard to even say...  ROWAN'S FIRST BIRTHDAY!!