Disney+ Originals to Watch ASAP

Surprising no one, I've been diving deep into Disney+ and the incredible content available. From classic animation to new live action movies and TV shows, there is just so much to explore. So how do you decide what to watch in this golden age of streaming? Lucky you, I've done the work so you don't [...]

Life Lessons from Frozen 2

Frozen II spoilers ahead, so read at your own risk! As you all know, I'm fully and totally obsessed with Frozen II. I've been listening to the music since November, I've seen it in theaters twice, and I can't stop thinking about it. Oh, and I sing All is Lost at bedtime for my kids's lullaby (at their request [...]

Why I’m Not Watching the Oscars

For as long as I can remember, watching the Oscars has been one of my family's traditions. Oscar Sunday usually fell right before Spring Break, so my mom would take my sister and I swimsuit shopping. We'd stop and get Chinese food on the way home, then settle in and watch Hollywood's big night all [...]

If You Give a Mom a Moment

If you give a mom a moment, She'll have to run and pee, She'll try to go alone, But little footsteps are bound to follow. She'll find the toilet paper roll empty, and go to replace it. Then check all of the other bathrooms too, so no one else runs out. If she finds they're [...]

Smoky Mountain Cabin Rental Guide

Now that we've lived in Tennessee for nearly six years, we finally got around to doing something we've been wanting to do since we first saw those gorgeous Smoky Mountains rising on the horizon: stay in a cabin in the thick of those mountains. For our ten year wedding anniversary, we rented a cabin with [...]

How the Instant Pot Saved Dinner

It was one of those Murphy's Law kind of days, where everything that can go wrong will. I was running behind, and noticed around 5 that I had apparently completely forgotten to throw my dinner ingredients in the slow cooker five hours earlier. So while dinner should have been a cinch, I now found myself [...]

Book Review: The Sweeney Sisters

What if one fact could turn your entire world upside down? The Sweeney sisters, still reeling from their esteemed author-father’s death, find themselves in this very situation upon their discovery that there is a fourth sister out there. Well, half sister. But this family doesn’t do anything by halves. With a big cast of characters, [...]

2019 in Books

Every year, I take part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. It began as a way to keep track of what I was reading, as I'd accidentally, repeatedly picked up library books I'd already read thinking they were new to me. The challenge is less about challenging myself to read- its harder for me not to read at [...]

Puns of Dollywood

Confession: I adore puns. I think they're punny. A good pun can always get a laugh out of me. I also tend to notice all the small details that go into making a theme park great, and Dollywood does not disappoint on either front. Here are some of my favorite puns at Dollywood! These two can [...]

Book Review: The Overdue Life of Amy Tyler

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler enchanted me from page one. This feisty heroine has her flaws, but is also throughly and authentically her own person throughout the book. I loved geeking out with her over books (and my goodness is her e-reader book choice library theory is genius and all schools need it), and [...]

Disney Doppelgängers

When you're a deep set Disney nerd like me, you eventually discover an obscure Disney character that kind of resembles you. For a fun game, I thought I'd do a side by side of characters I want to look like, versus the one I kind of do. Disney Doppelgänger Goals I wish I looked like... [...]

Book Review: Where the Forest Meets the Stars

Where the Forest Meets the Stars is an enchanting novel with a serious undertone. It holds both a mystery to solve and elements of suspense. This heart wrenching story follows ornithologist PhD student Jo as she recovers from her own tragedy, and is thrust into someone else’s. With intricate plotting, exceptionally well crafted characters, and [...]

The Best Christmas Movies on Disney+

Oh my garland, December is here and Christmas is just a few weeks away! I'm all about the Christmas movies, from animated to heart tugging to classic to cheesy. I'm here for it all! Disney+ has loads of great Christmas movies, so here's what I'm watching this sparkly season! For the whole family Mickey's Once [...]

Anakeesta in Every Season

Earlier this year, I had the privilege of visiting Anakeesta for the first time. Thanks to their local appreciation days, I went again in November and was able to take the family with me! We had such a lovely time, and I'd like to share all the wonderful adventures you can experience at Anakeesta in [...]

Ellie and the Harpmaker Review

Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior takes us on an interesting journey with two narrators after they bumble into one another’s lives unexpectedly. While this random friendship blossoms, the consequences have a ripple effect on each of their lives. It’s a thoughtful look at the question: What happens when we allow ourselves to chase [...]

Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe

It has been chilly and blustery here! This weather, combined with the grand entrance December makes and all the Christmas shopping/movies/wrapping/decorating essentially demands a delicious hot cocoa/hot chocolate recipe. Since I'd never made or had homemade hot chocolate before (thank you, Swiss Miss and Godiva, your packets have served me well!), I decided it was [...]

Book Review: Holly Banks Full of Angst

Julie Valerie's debut novel, Holly Banks Full of Angst, is a laugh out loud adventure of a relatable woman and how even the most sensible of us can be blindsided by the quest for a Pinterest Perfect life. This novel has an interesting format that combines screenplay and narrative. Protagonist Holly Banks is a film nerd [...]

Frozen 2 Review

This is normally a spoiler free zone, and the first half of the review is indeed spoiler free. However, I will analyze and discuss the plot later on with spoilers, but don't worry- there will be plenty of signs before there are spoilers! It was incredibly hard, but I was a good mom and took [...]

Disney+ Lady and the Tramp 2019 Review

Disney+ has launched, and my social life has plummeted in direct correlation! But seriously, there's just so much great content, from beloved favorites to new material. When Disney+ was first discussed, way before launch dates, I heard rumor of a live action Lady and the Tramp. I was ecstatic about this for so many reasons: dogs! dogs! [...]

What to Watch First on Disney+

Disney+ launched yesterday and oh my garland, was it spectacular. I was initially heartbroken, because so many fellow Disney fans were trying to access it at once that it was having some trouble. Did anyone else get greeted by Ralph and Vanellope saying there was an issue? My first stop was to personalize my profile, [...]

Disney+ Noelle Review

Never fear, there are no spoilers here! Oh my garland. Disney+'s Noelle may just be my new favorite Christmas movie. I'd been looking forward to it since I saw the first preview last month, and it did not disappoint. With classic Anna Kendrick humor and a velvet bag full of great messages, this adorable confection of a [...]

Book Review: The Secrets We Kept

Whoa, this is one unputdownable page turner of a novel. The plot just pulls you in, the characters keep you there, and the setting is so flawlessly described you can practically smell the cigarette smoke and hear the clacking typewriters. I had no clue there was such a history regarding literature and the CIA. I’m [...]

The Dandelion Ripple Effect

We were, of course, running late. Aren't we always? But this day we were running late to church. We had to park far away, because we were so late that all of the late-leavers parking spots from the prior service had already been taken. So I'm speed walking up the sidewalk, pulling my four year [...]

Room to Breathe Book Review

Fellow book addicts, I have such a great thing to share. An author posted about it and now I'm so excited. Have you heard of Amazon First Reads? You can get a Kindle ebook for free before it comes out with your Prime membership! I'm over the moon about this. I love books, clearly, and [...]

Why You Should Watch Netflix’s “No Good Nick”

I'm a member of the OG TGIF generation. Call us Gen X or Millenial or whatever you want, but when it comes down to it we are what we watched, and we watched TGIF. Family Matters, Boy Meets World, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch shaped our weekend plans. Mr. Feeny taught us how to [...]

What I’m Most Excited to Watch on Disney+

Disney+ officially launches less than a month from now! I am so beyond excited. They've been offering little tidbits about what's coming. Thank goodness I signed up for the next 3 years- it'll take me that long to watch all this great content! Here's a sampling of what I'm most excited about. The Disney and [...]

Review: Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights

Dollywood's Great Pumpkin LumiNights is back this year and is somehow even better than last year! With new character meet and greets, plenty of photo opportunities, and clever decorations, this event is sure to be a hit with the whole family. Character Meet and Greets My youngest, at 4, is not super outgoing with characters. [...]

Never Have I Ever Book Review

I discovered Southern lit author Joshilyn Jackson several years ago, and have since read everything she's written (with the exception of a short story on my Amazon wish list, hint hint, family!). I love her writing style and how each character and world is so intricately developed. The plots and characters stay with you long [...]

What to Pack for a Fall Day at Dollywood

Last week, we visited Dollywood for the first time this season to take in the Harvest Festival and Great Pumpkin LumiNights. While gathering all of our must haves for a great Dollywood day, my husband joked we should keep a Dollywood bug out bag so we can just grab and go next time. Ha. Little [...]

Top Dog: The Best Disney Dogs

It's no secret that I'm crazy for canines and serious about Disney. So why not combine my two loves in one post?! Disney has given us some amazing dogs, so this is going to be no small task! Top 5 Disney Dogs, Live Action CategoryI know a lot of this category is from live action [...]

Book Review: Shark Club

Shark Club is a delightful and informative read! With an up close look at sharks and a peek into the world of those who care for them, this book reveals a community (and it’s rival) that I knew little about. All of this information is woven into the plot seamlessly. The plot has great flow [...]

Everything I Love About the Frozen 2 Trailer

You know it's 2019 when you excitedly open an email from Disney to watch the new Frozen II trailer as it airs live on TV. Thank you, technology and YouTube, for bringing us this blessing. It is magnificent. I also shared this trailer this morning on the blog's Facebook page. Make sure you're following there [...]

How to Make it Feel Like Fall

Or maybe a better title would be, "How to Make it Feel Like Fall, Even When You Live in the South and it's Still Insanely Hot"...hmm, might be a bit long for a title! But really, when you live in the South in the fall, the month of September is basically torture. It still feels [...]

Best Podcasts for Kids and their Grownups

I've long been a fan of podcasts. From the original Serial craze to harkening back to the days of new episodes of Car Talk (which, from a modern standpoint, should count as a podcast since I accessed it by streaming), a good audio story delivered well is hard to beat for long car rides and boring chores. Recently [...]

Book Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

Abbi Waxman may just be my favorite new-to-me author this year. Each of her novels, including this latest release, has a thoroughly developed cast of likable characters. I love delving into their world, and this one is just as exceptional as the last two. In fact, it’s the same world with new characters. It’s so [...]

Keeping Cool at Dollywood

While we're all in fall mode, Mother Nature has not taken the hint here in the South! My latest Dollywood Insiders post has all my top tips and strategies for keeping cool at Dollywood. What's your favorite way to cool off during the hot season?

Book Review: Dandelion Summer

As an avid reader and lifelong book nerd, I was overjoyed to discover one way to acquire new books prior to their release via the site LibraryThing. You can receive free books to review, and it's basically a bibliophile's best friend (in a lottery system sort of way, at least!). So far I've received two [...]

Ratatouille Themed Family Movie Night

Tis the season for squash and zucchini! When I stumbled upon a multipack at Costco I just couldn't resist, and when the children lacked the palette to enjoy my simple prep method, I began brainstorming a way to trick them into eating it (I know, mom of the year, right?!) Up until a few days [...]

How to Contact Your Representatives to Enact Change

This morning I walked though the shady streets of our beautiful downtown, felt the breeze in my hair, and walked through a beautiful courtyard and into an imposing government building. Today I sat in a senator's office and used my voice to ask for change. I overcame my deep fear of confrontation to stand before [...]

Book Review: The Power

The Power is an insightful journey into an alternate reality, a dystopian adventure full of suspense and intrigue. Each character is carefully and artfully crafted, so throughly developed they feel frighteningly real. Each viewpoint offers a fresh perspective, providing an insight into that character and how they fit against a new world order. The plot [...]

Book Review: The Dream Daughter

Diane Chamberlain’s Dream Daughter is a gripping novel that examines family and sacrifice. I’d seen it recommended by another author I adore, and added it to my list without even reading the summary! The first half of this novel is so fun to read. Witty characters, an intriguing plot, and well written to boot equals [...]

Before I Go Book Review

Before I Go made me ugly cry and a dog didn’t even die. What I adore about this novel is that all of the characters have flaws, and therefore act in imperfect ways. When presented with a grim diagnosis, one does not imminently become angelic and perfect and can do no wrong. Our protagonist reacts [...]