Pants Optional

Don’t worry. You won’t see us without pants if you watch this video. What you will see is a bunch of people that are terrible at golf, some Wal Mart shenanigans, and people that are really hot, temperature wise. Our air conditioner was still on the fritz.


We are Miners, Hard Rock Miners

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When we were in North Carolina we had the chance to visit the city of Cherokee and go to a gem store. They had buckets of dirt that came from mines and you could buy a bucket and go out to try your hand at finding gems in the dirt.

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You would put some of your dirt in a wooden box with a screen at the bottom and as the water rushed through a sluice it would clean the dirt and you would look through rocks to find gems. It wasn’t really mining and more touristy but it was still fun because we found some cool gems.

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After finding the gems we took them inside the shop and they told us what we had. Our piles of rocks are visible here from left to right on the red mat you have citrine, amethyst, garnets, calcite, one tiny ruby, and emeralds.

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Our kids really enjoyed finding the gems. I’ve seen a lot of places like this in the South. I don’t remember seeing any in Utah or in the west in general. It was a fun treasure hunt. I hope I don’t get silicosis from the hard rock mining.


Glass Blows……Literally

Nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains, surrounded by rolling green hills that are full of “nature” you will find Asheville, North Carolina. We were planning staying in this area for 5 days before moving on to Nashville but due to some unforseen mechanical issues on our fifth wheel we stayed for 10 days. Although we would prefer not to have mechanical failures on our home, we felt like Asheville was a great place to have to stay longer.

The whole area has a lot to do both indoors and outdoors. The food culture has an amazing farm to table emphasis, and the people are extremely nice. We spent a day touring downtown Asheville. There are a lot of unique shops and restaurants including this double decker bus cafe’.

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We stopped in a local store and sampled a bunch of weird candy and confections that we haven’t ever had before.They had nice rocking chairs for us to rest on.

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It probably won’t surprise you to know that my kids didn’t love the ginger and licorice hard candies. We also determined that we aren’t much of a Moon Pie family.

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The highlight for us was Lexington Glassworks. You can see their awesome glass decor by going to the link. It’s great stuff.

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We really enjoyed it because the studio is open to the public. We were able to walk into the store and watch as they blew glass. It was really cool because they would explain what they were doing throughout the process. I could watch for hours and hours. It’s an amazing talent.

We don’t have room to fit anything really big in our fifth wheel, and glass doesn’t hold up extremely well in a moving house, but we did buy a glass Christmas ornament while we were there. Make sure and look up Lexington Glassworks in Asheville when you visit, they really blow.


Butterfly Garden

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I’m going to let you all in on a little secret. They don’t grow butterflies at a a butterfly garden.They grow plants that attract butterflies. We went to a Butterfly Garden in Greensville, South Carolina at the Roper Mountain Science Center and we saw a lot of plants that attract butterflies, but we didn’t see a lot of butterflies.

The garden was set up really well by the Greater Greenville Master Gardeners Association. Each plant had a sign that told what it was, as well as what butterfly the plant will attract. It was very educational and I definitely want to set up a butterfly garden once I live in a home again. Our favorite plant was the passion flower. I have never seen it before and it seemed like something from a science fiction movie.

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In addition to a couple of butterflies, we did find some eggs and caterpillars which was still fun for Madelyn to see.

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There is a small one mile hike right by the garden that travels around the Science Center with a lot of plaquards that gave information about the flora and fauna of the area.

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If you are planning on going to the Roper Mountain Science Museum check the times as most of it is not open during the week, and don’t expect to see butterflies growing out of the ground.


Tips for Planning Successful Outings

We have found that their are four main things that we can help our family with that make for a more successful outing. Our trips aren’t perfect by any means but if we focus on helping with the 4 things that we talk about we are a lot better off. Check out the video to find out what they are.


Hip To Be Square

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One of my Mom’s favorite cities in the wold is Savannah Georgia, and let me telly you it did not disappoint. Our first day there we stopped at the main visitor center and then hiked to Forsyth Park. From there we walked south through a lot of the different squares that were planned into the city when it was first established by British General James Oglethorpe.

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The city was designed to have the green, garden filled squares throughout the city, and then the squares were surrounded by houses and businesses. As you walk through them you are able to find a plethora of historical markers. I could spend weeks walking around this town and learning the history. I was so proud of our kids as we walked over 4 miles our first day there.

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We took some tour buses later but I was really glad that we walked through the city the first day. You get such a great feel for a city by walking through it and Savannah was amazing.

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Marisa and I were in love with the architecture and the stories. In addition I was able to see where Tom Hanks sat on his bench in Forrest Gump. The bench is gone but I still pretended to sit on it.

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We spent 4 days visiting Savannah and it has been one of our favorite cities. It was so full of history and beauty.



Am I In the Middle of a Movie?

There is a little town east of the Destin area that we stayed at called Seaside. It seems like a movie set. Devoid of any garbage, it is a saccharin sweet version of many other seaside towns that you might find in Florida. As you walk around you see perfection, almost too much perfection. I didn’t see one person without perfectly coifed hair and brand name clothes. There weren’t even any ugly dogs.

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If you are familiar with the movie The Truman Show this town will seem familiar because it was filmed here. There are beautiful homes,

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and sand filled alleys with white picket fences and smiling faces with perfectly straight teeth,

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and the more I think about it it seemed too perfect. I thought it was really beautiful and amazing while I was there, but now it seems fake. I really felt like I was on a movie set.

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Seaside is worth visiting if you are in the area, but don’t stay long because if you do you might never escape.

Five Days in Sticks and Bricks

When we left Louisiana we decided to head to Destin, Florida. In one day we crossed from Louisiana through the bottom tip of Mississippi and Alabama, and then into the Florida Panhandle. It was funny to me that after being in Texas for 6 weeks, we hit 4 states in one day. Our destination was the Destin area where we have friends that we  have known since we were first married, the Haverfields.

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The Haverfield’s own the business Have Travel Memories and they rent vacation homes in Destin and surrounding areas. When we told them we were coming they put us up in one of their condos. We had a really good time staying in a condo instead of our fifth wheel. It was actually pretty overwhelming to have so much space after being accustomed to our fifth wheel. We spread out into the 4 separate bedrooms and 3 baths and just enjoyed having a little more quiet and privacy than normal. I didn’t get pictures of the inside of the condo but check out the lake that was behind it. It was so relaxing.

We had a good time with the Haverfield’s and it was a lot of fun to live life in a stick and brick house for a while. We did start to miss our kids for a while since we didn’t get to see them as much when they hid in their rooms and we realized how hard it is to keep a big house clean instead of a small fifth wheel.

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