Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Plan an Annual Family Vacation

Good Wednesday morning!

More mountain pics below. Surprise, surprise.

RANDOMNESS #1 - I just want to let you know I haven't forgotten about my self-inflicted Paula Deen Recipe-a-Month Challenge.

I know I have to buy roses, and carefully apply sugar to hundreds of petals.

I know I have to bake layer upon layer of cake to put UNDER the hundreds of sugared petals.

I know I'm running out of "month."

Please! Stop nagging me!

RANDOMNESS #2 - It looks like I'm going to be making the Pineapple Angel Food Cake today because if all goes as planned, Mikie, Roxie, Melia and I will be having dinner with The Boy tomorrow... because it is his 21st birthday, you see. (His family party is scheduled for this Saturday, but I would like to see him on the day I actually birthed him as long as I possibly can. I know. I'm a "helicopter" mom. Hover, hover, hover.)

Josh cannot attend because he has a choir concert. The same exact concert will be held Saturday evening, too, and that will be when Mikie and I see him perform. I didn't want you to think we were slacking!

Twenty-one years. Wow! That's pretty unbelievable. If Austin is 21, that would make me... Hmmm. Yep. I did the math. FIFTY!

RANDOMNESS #3 - 15th Annual Mountain Trip - Day Two - After a very restful night, we decided to get ready and head into town. Gatlinburg, Tennessee! Home of the Pancake Pantry... and lots of other stuff.

If you know a shortcut from our cabin, you can forgo all of the Pigeon Forge traffic and head straight to the five-mile Scenic Drive which takes you into Gatlinburg.

We know of such a shortcut. (And it is wonderful!)

Two miles into the five-mile drive, we hit the traffic. We slowly inched our way into Gatlinburg with another million or so people, parked in a deck and started walking.

I would like to point out three more reasons it is fun to travel with older kids.

1. They can tell time... or look at their phone. ("Meet us at the Pancake Pantry in one hour.")

2. They split up into groups and are safe on the "main drag" in Gatlinburg.

3. Even if you are a worrier (I'm talking about Mikie; not me), you continually bump into the groups three, four or five times in a two-hour period.

It's a win-win-win situation.

Our main purpose for taking the kids to Gatlinburg is to let them enjoy something we (the Parental Units) enjoyed as teenagers. The brisk mountain air. The fun shops. Funnel cakes. The ski lift. Watching taffy being made. Watching fudge being made. Buying taffy. Buying fudge. Looking at cute boys and girls from church groups walking up and down the same street. Ahhh. Good times. Good times.

We want them to "experience" Gatlinburg.

If it were up to the Parental Units, we would drive into town, eat at Pancake Pantry and drive back to the cabin. Quickly and efficiently.

It's a two-fer. A life experience for the kids and pancakes for the adults. And just so you know, the kids are Pancake Pantry fanatics, too. Well, except for Katie. She doesn't care for pancakes, but she does like the Pancake Pantry hamburger. (I know. I had no idea they served hamburgers either. It's just so wrong.)

Our day in Gatlinburg was warm by February mountain standards (about 57 degrees).

Our meal at Pancake Pantry was filling and incredibly delicious.

Our ride back to the cabin was quick (no traffic) and painless.

Upon arriving at the cabin around 4:00 in the afternoon, we all rested in our various ways (naps, texting, snacking, etc.), and then Mikie grilled hot dogs and hamburgers (as was our pre-trip plan for Saturday Night Dinner).

Day Two of our mountain trip ended on a very, very good note.

Day Three was going to be fun, too. Bev and I had planned a trip to Wonder Works, AND we were going to celebrate Zac's 14th birthday.

But something happened between 10:00 p.m. Saturday night and 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

And I'll tell you all about that... tomorrow.

Wednesday Wisdom - I'm going to share a couple of "mountain" quotes today.

I think there must be two kinds of people... beach people and mountain people. While I enjoy the beach, I will have to say I'm a mountain person.

When I vacation at the beach, seaweed in the water, a rainy day, red flags waving, etc. feel like a "wasted" day to me. The reasons I go to enjoy the beach can be interrupted or even ruined by things I cannot control.

However, when I vacation in the mountains, a rainy/snowy day is welcome. It means we are cabin-bound and we sit in front of a large fireplace and watch the scenery as it transforms. We sip hot chocolate and talk about going into town tomorrow... or maybe not. We play cards, pool and watch old movies.

There is no feeling of a precious vacation day being wasted.

Instead, it is being well-spent.

And that is why I think I might be a mountain person!

"Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way.” Dr. Seuss

"Only if you have been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.” Richard M. Nixon

Plan an Annual Family Vacation

I know I've mentioned this before, but it doesn't hurt to repeat it every now and again.

If you do not do this already, try to plan an annual trip to the same place each year. It can be a camping trip, a trip to the beach, a trip to a favorite city in another state, etc.

Our annual trip is, of course, going to the mountains with extended family.

Not only does the trip become a tradition everyone looks forward to, but activities, food, etc. can also become traditions.

Below are some examples of activities you can do each and every year:

1. Going to a favorite restaurant.

2. Souvenir shopping.

3. Celebrating some one's birthday.

4. Having a special planned meal.

5. Having a similar family picture taken.

6. Soaking in a hot tub.

The list could go on and on.

It's never too late to start a tradition. Just try to be flexible if traveling with people outside of your own little family, and make sure you have something to appeal to every age group represented.

Will every trip be perfect? Uh, no. I don't think any trip is ever perfect. But you can definitely find memorable and/or fun moments in each and every vacation.

Coming home and hearing one of the kids say, "I can't wait until next year," makes everything worth it. (Well, almost everything!)

Have a whimsical Wednesday. I'll be back tomorrow with more mountain stories and pics, Blog Linkage (a lot) and a Date.

Take care, and I'll talk to you in the morning.


The Enchanting Belinda


  1. Thank you for the information about your cabin. I appreciate. Enjoy your vacation!!
    Andrea in Calif.

  2. Anytime! I hope you get to go there soon!


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