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Hurray for a new, faster, more accurate #TBBloodTest!

by Paula on October 4, 2015


I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for the TB Blood Test. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.


TB Infographic


Many moons ago, when I was about to start kindergarten, my mom dutifully took me to the local health department (there were no pediatricians in rural SC then so that’s where we had routine immunizations and tests performed) to have my necessary boosters and tests.

My little arm was injected with a tiny amount of tuberculin and my mom was told to bring me back within the prescribed 48-72 hours to have the test read.

I’m sure you can guess where this is leading.  Yep, my test was deemed positive.  I then was prescribed a course of medication to eradicate any tuberculosis cooties I might have had.  And now, when I apply for a job within certain fields, I have to present my certified letter and TB card showing that I’ve been successfully treated for TB.  What fun.

All of that to be able to tell you how thrilled and excited I am that there is a new TB test that uses a blood sample.  A definitive test.  A completely objective test.  Not one that relies on someone’s subjective measurement of a whelp/lump.  Because it’s completely possible to have a false positive test result.  To have a lump because the site itches and you had to scratch it!  (and you know a 5 year old is completely able to ignore itches!)

And did I mention that this new blood test is a one-visit deal?  Only one visit to the doctor, not two, and we all know how much time a doctor’s visit can take.  Oh, the hassle and aggravation.  And that’s just you.  What if you’re taking in a child or two? Yep, the blood test sounds like a splendid idea.

TB Blood TestI’m sure my mother would have much preferred the TB blood test when I needed it.  Definitely I know I would have chosen it for Ariel if we had needed it.  Interested in finding out more about the TB Blood Test?  Check out the TB Blood Test website here.


Thoughtful Thursday

by Paula on September 10, 2015


Oprah Winfrey quote


Five Fabulous Friday Finds

by Paula on September 4, 2015


With school just started back, I’m in the mood to get organized and streamlined.  My time is stretched and I need to make sure all of my systems are functioning the best that they can.


Organizing Essentials A Guide to Organizing Everything You Own from Sarah Titus


So, you know I love this post from Sarah Titus on Organizing Everything You Own!  It’s perfect for me!


Crockpot Paleo Minestrone Soup from Confessions of an Over-Worked Mom


I love using my slow cooker when time is tight and we need food FAST.  For a variety of reasons, I’m considering a Paleo diet.  I like this Crockpot Paleo Minestrone Soup recipe from Confessions of an Overworked Mom because it starts out Paleo, but you can easily add rice or pasta for family members that aren’t eating that way.  Win-win!


Extreme Chocolate Ice Cream - No Churn- from Wonky Wonderful


And if I’m going to go Paleo, maybe I need to make this oh-my-goodness-it-looks-amazing Extreme Chocolate Ice Cream from Wonky Wonderful before I start!  WOW!



Turn An Outdated Picture into Updated Art from Hawthorne & Main


With the changing seasons, I’ve been wanting to change things around.  Create some new art, work on a few projects (besides the aforementioned organizing that will take forever and probably never be completely finished), just take advantage of the *new* school year and make some things happen.  So this recycled art project–Turn An Outdated Picture into Updated Art– from Hawthorne & Main looks easy enough to finish quickly and make a big difference in our decor!


Astro Turf Coozies from Uncommon Designs


And I can’t forget my football peeps!  Check out these adorable Astro Turf Coozies from Uncommon Designs.  (I think I love them just a tad more because they have tiger paws on them!  EEP!  GO TIGERS!!)


So that’s what my fall is looking like.  What do you have planned?

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Thoughtful Thursday

by Paula on September 3, 2015


Maya Angelou quote


Five Fabulous Friday Finds–Back to School Edition!

by Paula on August 21, 2015


It’s the most… won – der – ful… tiiiiime… of the year….

Can’t you just hear all the parents singing as the children drag their heels through the school supplies aisle?

{for those of you too young to remember the commercial, enjoy!}



Here are some of our favorite Back to School posts from around the interwebs this year:


10 Tips for Amazing Back to School Photos from Glue Sticks and Gumdrops


First day of school, you gotta take pics!  Check out these great photo ideas from Glue Sticks and Gumdrops.


Tips to Reduce Stress in the Morning from Organized Island


Make your mornings as stress-free as possible with these tips from Organized Island.


5 Easy Ways to Make Healthy School Lunches from The Jenny Evolution


I love these 5 easy healthy lunch ideas from The Jenny Evolution.


Homemade Uncrustables from Shortcut Saver


And how about these delicious Homemade Uncrustables from Shortcut Saver?!?!


Back to School Lunch Box Jokes from Coupons Are Great


These printable lunch box jokes from Coupons Are Great! are adorable!!


Happy Back to School Time!!  😀


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Stylin’ & Profilin’ Saturday–Back to School Edition!

by Paula on August 15, 2015


#ootd 1st day of school


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5 Don’t-Miss Activities for Tweens in Pigeon Forge, TN! #hosted

by Paula on August 12, 2015


We recently visited Pigeon Forge, TN, hosted by the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, and were delighted with the huge magnitude of activities available for (and appealing to) tweens. Since we were only in town for two days, we had to pare down our HUGE wanna-do list to a slightly more manageable itinerary and definitely plan on a return trip to experience the rest! There was way more than we adventurous souls could attempt in a short period of time!!


5 Don't-Miss Activities for Tweens in Pigeon Forge, TN!


So what did we do in Pigeon Forge, TN?


#5…. We Soared at Flyaway Indoor Skydiving!


Warning signs at Flyaway Indoor Skydiving in Pigeon Forge, TN


Oh yes, we did!! We couldn’t get in the building, up the stairs, and in the training room fast enough!!


Equipment Preparation time at Flyaway Indoor Skydiving in Pigeon Forge, TN


After a short 20 minute training session and a brief equipment prep, it was flight time! WOOT!


Soaring at Flyaway Indoor Skydiving in Pigeon Forge, TN


What a blast! This was such a unique and different experience, exactly what we always try to accomplish when on vacation—try something we can’t do in our hometown. It was a bit hot for Ariel, as she doesn’t like wearing layers and layers of clothes, but I think the excitement of the activity overcame being a bit uncomfortable. Indoor skydiving was a huge thrill, one she believes everyone should try at least once. Her tip: If you have long hair, be sure to pull your hair back in a bun, tucked inside your helmet, or you’ll have knots the size of Tennessee!! I agree… her hair was quite the rat’s nest when she finished!!

Timing: we did have a few minutes wait before each stage, but nothing major. We had planned on this taking about an hour and it did.

For more information, visit the Flyaway Indoor Skydiving website here, their Facebook here, and their Twitter here.


#4….We Got Our Plaid On at the Lumberjack Feud!


Get Your Plaid On! at Lumberjack Feud Dinner & Show in Pigeon Forge, TN


(See, I wasn’t making that headline up! It’s a real thing! :) )

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament on a trip to Myrtle Beach and thought we’d like to try another dinner and entertainment evening. What a treat Lumberjack Feud was!!


A Hearty Dinner at Lumberjack Feud in Pigeon Forge, TN!


The dinner, consisting of cream of potato soup, roasted chicken, potatoes, corn on the cob, a biscuit, and an apple turnover, and choice of non-alcoholic beverage, was delicious and filling. And good food is really important when you’re on vacation and need fuel. 😉


It's Time for The Must See Show in the Smokies Lumberjack Feud in Pigeon Forge, TN!!


But the entertainment was even better than the food! A pre-show warm-up tickled our funny bones and had us clapping our hands and stomping our feet. A thoughtful salute to veterans warmed our hearts. And then our hearts started pounding with excitement as we thrilled to the lumber sports competition!


Awesome Lumberjacks and Lumberdogs at Lumberjack Feud in Pigeon Forge, TN


I didn’t know a lot about the arena of lumber sports… but I’m a lot more interested in learning more now! These guys (lumberJACKS) and gals (lumberJILLS) are true athletes…. I love that they post their real names and achievements on the big screens to recognize their athletic prowess. (Even the specially trained lumberDOGS get recognized!! They were amazing too!!)


Loads of Timber Sports Fun at Lumberjack Feud in Pigeon Forge, TN!


There was some good ol’ mountain dancing–clogging– and some great fiddle playin’ along with just enough cheesy humor to delight all ages throughout the show. I was afraid Ariel would think this kind of show was too young for her… or too old for her. So I was super glad when she wanted to add it to our top 5 list….that’s high praise from a 12 year old!!

Timing: you should plan on arriving 30 minutes before the posted show time. We had called ahead for reservations and ended up in a short line to pick up our tickets, but it wasn’t major. The pre-show music was playing as we walked through the small museum on our way to the arena and we were seated and our dinner served shortly. We had thought it would take about 2 hours and counting in our early (suggested) arrival time, we were right.

Visit the Lumberjack Feud website here or find them on Facebook here and Twitter here.


Please Remember Your Servers at Lumberjack Feud in Pigeon Forge, TN!


(And don’t forget to take tip money for your servers, just like at Medieval Times. Those folks are working really hard and deserve every bit of that tip money!! When you pay for your dinner ahead of time, it’s easy to not think about cash for tips until it’s too late! :) )


#3….We Set Sail on the Titanic Museum Attraction!


The Impressive Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, TN is the area's number 1 rated attraction by TripAdvisor

Yes, our hearts will go on… but they won’t be the same after we experienced the impressive and compelling Titanic Museum Attraction. Housed in a building designed to look like the RMS Titanic at the fateful moment as it struck the iceberg, the museum is Pigeon Forge’s #1 attraction (as rated on TripAdvisor) and it’s easy to see why! It’s a well-organized and attractive museum built around precious relics rescued from the world-renowned wreckage of the infamous unsinkable ship.


We Loved the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, TN!!


Photos are strictly forbidden inside the museum, so I have nothing wonderful to show you, but you can see lots of the interior on the Titanic Museum Attraction’s website here. If you have a “Titaniac” in your family, like I do (or maybe you’re one yourself), then you need to make this a definite stop on your trip to Pigeon Forge. And make sure you allow plenty of time for your visit. We allowed two hours and wished we’d had another hour. We did read a lot, because that is what you do when you’re in a museum, and we were lucky to be able to hear some of the roaming tour guides’ spiels, but we would have gladly soaked up more. The artifacts, the stories, the presentation–all first class. They host traveling exhibits and special events here regularly too.

Visit the Titanic Museum Attraction website here, on Facebook here, or Twitter here.

#2….We Splished and Splashed at the Outdoor Gravity Park!!


Roll down a 1000 foot hill in an 11 foot ball at Outdoor Gravity Park in Pigeon Forge, TN!!


Ever roll down a hill in an 11 foot clear plastic ball? Me neither.

If I’m completely honest, the idea of doing it never even crossed my mind!!

But obviously the brains behind Outdoor Gravity Park decided humans could play like hamsters (with water–wet hamsters at that!) and would LOVE IT!! And they were SO RIGHT!! The concept is so brilliant… and the fun is exuberant and contagious!!


Balls of Fun at Outdoor Gravity Park in Pigeon Forge, TN!!


Bring your bathing suit and join in the fun! More than one person can ride in the OGO or you can ride separately and race. There are three different courses for all kinds of fun. None of the folks I saw after their rides were disappointed!! And you can use their Go-Pro camera and video yourself coming down the 1000 foot long hill–perfect for the selfie lover in your life!! 😉


Splish and Splash at Outdoor Gravity Park in Pigeon Forge, TN!


I wasn’t quite sure how to find the Outdoor Gravity Park–it’s not right on the Parkway like everything else and there wasn’t much, if any, signage at traffic light 1 off the Parkway. The area really looked like a residential neighborhood and Siri insisted I wasn’t there yet. But… turn left onto the side road when you see the green gate and the sign. Don’t continue on past it, even though your GPS might insist on it.

Timing: There wasn’t a long line, thank goodness, because rain was threatening, but the entire process took a bit of time. We had planned on this taking about an hour, and with swimsuit changes and waiting times, it took about that long. If the line had been more than a few folks, it would have taken longer.

And have fun!! Want more info? Check out the Outdoor Gravity Park website here, on Facebook here, and on Twitter here.

#1….We Played at WonderWorks!!


The upside down facade for WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge, TN


Science is playful? Huh?!?

Indeed! Science is a blast!! How could it be otherwise in an upside-down building, right?!?!


Extreme Fun at Astronaut Training Challenge at WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge, TN!


And I have to tell you, I would have bet my next to my last dollar that Ariel would have thought WonderWorks was too young for her… too babyish. I was so wrong.


Rock climbing wall at WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge, TN


World's Largest Indoor Ropes Challenge Course at WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge, TN


And I’m so glad I was. I just wish we had budgeted more time for our visit. It didn’t help that WonderWorks is an incredibly popular place–there were a lot of people there having a great time–there were at least short waits for almost every exhibit. And some lines, like the one for the World’s Largest Indoor Ropes Challenge Course, were quite lengthy. It wasn’t possible for us to leave and come back at a later time in the same day to try to avoid the crowds, but I so appreciate that they allow that option if you need it. Perfect for families with children of varying ages and their multi-level scheduling needs!

There are over 100 interactive exhibits, each one offering something different, educational, and FUN.


Science Fun at WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge, TN!!


One of our favorites was the Xtreme 360° Bikes, where the movement of your bike depends on your pedaling speed and intensity! You can make a 360° revolution if you work at it!! Another favorite was the puck-less Air Hockey. So cool! And the child-size Wonder Brite—adorable!


Entering the exhibits area through the dizzying Inversion Tunnel at WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge, TN!


WonderWorks is one of those places that is sensory overload! And for that reason alone, it was perfect for my tween! Lights, action, music, adrenaline, color, energy–every box was checked! In spades!! Even entering the exhibit area through the inversion tunnel was exhilarating! I wasn’t sure if the room was turning…. or just my stomach!!

When planning your visit, remember that some activities, like the Xtreme 360° Bikes, have physical restrictions. You may have to meet certain height or weight restrictions to be safe on the exhibit. Check the restrictions on the WonderWorks website–I found the best listing in their FAQ section. And make sure everyone that’s planning to participate is wearing closed toe shoes–no flip flops or sandals on some of the exhibits.

Want to find out more about WonderWorks? Check out the WonderWorks website here, their Facebook here, and their Twitter here.


So now you know what kind of fun we had in Pigeon Forge, TN! We can’t wait to go back!!

Looking to make a trip to Pigeon Forge, TN? Then be sure to check out the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism website for all kinds of great tips about what to see, where to stay, where to dine… jam-packed full of everything you’ll need to plan your visit!! You can also connect with them on Facebook here, Twitter here, and YouTube here.


Have you ever been to Pigeon Forge? What were your favorite activities? What should we plan on next time?



Disclaimer: We received a complimentary VIP Pass from the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, which granted us free admission to a number of attractions in Pigeon Forge. However, ALL views and opinions expressed here are our own.



The Inn On The River: Pigeon Forge’s Perfectly Located Hotel #hosted

by Paula on August 5, 2015


The Inn On The River is Pigeon Forge's Perfectly Located Hotel


Are you among the 11 million folks that will visit Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, this year? If so, you NEED to know about The Inn On The River!! We visited Pigeon Forge last week and were graciously hosted at The Inn On The River by General Manager Karl Thomas. He even gave us a sneak peek into what’s upcoming as far as their continuing renovations and improvements!


Exciting Renovations Plans for The Inn On The River presented by General Manager Karl Thomas


First off, The Inn On The River is an older property that is being redone from the ground up. It was a chain and now is privately owned. Can I just tell you how perfectly located this hotel is? It’s right on the banks of the Little Pigeon River at traffic light #2 (all of the directions given throughout Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg use directions from the closest main traffic light on US Highway 441 (known around town as “Parkway”)–much easier than learning street names in an unfamiliar area!). The Inn On The River is one of the very few hotels located on the banks of the river, giving it a peaceful and beautiful aspect that is unrivaled in the area.


Scenic View of the Little Pigeon River from The Inn On The River, Pigeon Forge, TN


Beautiful View of the Little Pigeon River from The Inn On The River, Pigeon Forge, TN


And convenient! We were mere minutes away from all of the attractions on our agenda. If we had wanted to, we could have even left our car parked at the hotel and taken the multi-route trolley. It departs just a few steps from the Inn’s front door. (We didn’t this time, but will definitely do it next time! It looks so convenient and easy.)


Fun Time Trolley Stop in Pigeon Forge, TN


As Mr. Thomas showed us around The Inn On The River, his pride in the all of the improvements being implemented was obvious. He told us of the new pool upgrades happening later in August/early September (properly timed after the summer rush is over). Note: The Inn On The River is one of the few hotels in the area to have both indoor and outdoor pools. The new color combinations are beautiful and attention has been paid to choose function too: the new flooring tiles have non-slip properties. And since the current pools are already so attractive, I can’t wait to see the new look! They’re going to be amazing!!


Lovely indoor and outdoor pools at The Inn On The River


The guest rooms are all being remodeled and we enjoyed a newly-done spacious and lovely first floor room that faced onto the river. It was fun waking up to a family of ducks (and a few geese) in the morning!!


We loved the ducks and geese at The Inn On The River


The guest rooms feature Serta pillow top mattresses–ours had two queen sized beds, but king sized beds are also available. We loved the in-room Keurig and thought the bathroom was gorgeous. The Bath & Body Works Stress Relief toiletries were a nice touch too.


Beautiful Newly Remodeled Guest Rooms at The Inn On The River in Pigeon Forge, TN


From the moment we walked into The Inn On The River, we knew it was a special place. A popcorn machine is not normal hotel lobby decor!! But here, it makes evenings fun. Toss in some family board games (tucked away–but within little ones’ reach–in special bins in the lobby) and 24 hour complimentary coffee, hot tea, and hot chocolate and you have some of the unique touches that make The Inn On The River so delightful. Oh, and there is a special “Vacation Starter Kit” for kids 10 and under. It includes such fun items as an arcade gift card, a deck of playing cards, stickers, and some other assorted toys. Such a sweet idea!


Kids' Vacation Starter Kit at The Inn On The River in Pigeon Forge, TN


There’s a free breakfast buffet in the morning with all the expected standards and plenty of seating inside and out. I was impressed that an awning was being installed on the patio to turn it into more of a multi-season space. It’s a beautiful area next to the river, but full of sunlight… and in the summer, it gets hot quickly. So an awning makes perfect sense. In the fall, they’re going to add patio heaters and the space will become a warm, welcoming retreat. Perfect!


Rest, Relax, and Recharge in the spacious and comfortable newly renovated lobby of The Inn On The River


So, as you can tell, we thought The Inn On The River was perfectly located, quiet spot on the river but within reach of so many favorite spots…. but we also thought it was just perfect. We loved all the little extras that added up to one fantastic hotel. It’s #3 on TripAdvisor for a reason!!


The Inn On The River is #3 out of 94 hotels in Pigeon Forge on Trip Advisor!


Disclosure: We were invited by the folks at The Inn On The River to stay with them while we were in Pigeon Forge so we did receive a complimentary night’s stay in exchange for an honest review on our blog. ALL of the opinions in this post are completely our own.




FREE Summer Movie Fun!

by Paula on June 1, 2015


Looking for some free entertainment this summer?  We highly recommend watching some of the many wonderful FREE movies and television shows available on Amazon Prime.  We’ve long been members of Amazon Prime and love the free two-day shipping.  Recently, though, we’ve started streaming videos and have thoroughly enjoyed seeing some new flicks as well as some oldies but goodies.  And now with a FREE 30 day trial of Amazon Prime, you can join in the fun this summer!


Here are a few of the wonderful flicks we’ve been watching… or have plans to!


Anastasia movie featuring the voices of Meg Ryan and John Cusack


Ella Enchanted featuring Anne Hathaway and Hugh Dancy


Chitty Chitty Bang Bang featuring Dick Van Dyke


So what about you?  Planning on taking some time to share some oldies but goodies with your tween?  Looking for a FREE entertainment for this summer?  Sign up for your free 30 day trial of Amazon Prime here and ENJOY!

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Thoughtful Thursday

by Paula on May 21, 2015


Dr. Seuss quote

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