We decided to take a little family vacation and spend the weekend in the Smokies! Ty had Friday off so we loaded up the car first thing and headed out. Gatlinburg is just 4 hours from Nashville, but we still made one stop for lunch and to let the kids run wild for a bit.
I had packed a picnic for us. We had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with cookies for dessert. Zackary was very happy in his special seat while he ate lunch.
Mia ran around this one about 90 times before we left.
When everyone was full and done running we reloaded the back seat with these people.
And these people :) We drove on! We finally made it to Seiverville, the town just ahead of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.
I made Ty stop. We needed a break and.... I needed a dutch oven from The Cast Iron outlet store! I am very excited to be the proud owner of a dutch oven. I will be frying chicken, making cobbler, and cheesy potatoes like crazy in the near future.
The "strip" in Pigeon Forge is like a family style Vegas. It is full of museums and attractions and no fewer than 10 pancake restaurants other than IHOP. Pancakes and the Smoky Mountains go hand in hand. Who knew!? This building is supposed to look like it is upside down.
We drove by the Titanic, iceburg and all.
We saw castles, dragons, and all sorts of crazy things!
We made it to Gatlinburg and to our little smoky mountain cabin. This cabin was awesome! We loved it! It was adorable and cozy.
Here is our little kitchen table where we ate our meals.
Our view from the back porch...It felt so secluded.
I sat back here and felt so relaxed. It was so good to be away from the laundry and the dishes for a while! We grilled up some hot dogs, made s'mores, watched movies and went to bed! The kids shared a queen downstairs and Ty and I had a king upstairs. Zac was supposed to be on a little bed on the floor, but he ended up sharing with Ty and I :)
Saturday morning, after breakfast, we set out for downtown Gatlinburg and the Ripley's Aquarium! This was our big event for the weekend and we were very much looking forward to it. Just after walking through the entrance we saw this set of enormous bones! The kids were really excited, and if you have seen Ice Age 2 you know why.
The aquarium was really awesome! We saw jellyfish, frogs, octopus, huge crabs the size of wheelbarrows, sharks, and some seriously big catfish!
This is a stingray passing just over our heads as we walked through a glass tunnel.
All Max wanted to see was a seahorse. I was so relieved when we found one!
This giant sea turtle was my favorite. It was HUGE...almost as big as Ty!There was a little discovery zone where the kids could play.
Dads got to play some too!
Max and Mia balancing on a flounder.
Exploring a bit of coral reef.
Next we came to Mia's favorite...The Penguins! It was feeding time and there was quite the frenzy toward the bucket of fishes.
My own set of little penguins!
After the aquarium we headed downtown. Gatlinburg is the cutest little mountain town. It is full of little shops and restaurants. There were tons of candy stores and they were all giving away samples...There was much sampling done on my part.
Max and Mia found this bear just outside of the beef jerky store that sold alligator jerky.
The kids were getting hot, hungry, and tired so we found a place for lunch. It was called, Legends Grille by Max...perfect! The kids got free spaghetti and breadsticks and Ty and I had some hot pastrami sandwiches. A little food makes little moods much better!
This was Mia during lunch. I don't understand. She was just feeling goofy :)
After lunch we took everyone back to the cabin so that Zac could have a nap. Ty, Max, Mia, and I spent the afternoon in the hot tub. I could have stayed there forever. It is a good thing we don't have one here. I would use it far too often.
When Zac woke up we went to Old Mill Square. It is another little area full of fun shops and restaurants. I found the greatest little kitchen store and fell in love with a set of measuring spoons that Ty said were too expensive :(
We walked by this little bear fountain that Mia loved. We were getting hot and tired.
There was a little shady corner where some musicians were performing. The kids were happy to sit and listen.
Such a cute little family!
Ty had a little daddy-daughter dance with Mia. She loved it!
That night we spent some more time in the hot tub. Max was loving it. He asked if we could take it home with us. We let the kids stay out on the porch and in the hot tub until 9. We came inside and finished off the night watching Harry Potter and eating cookies.
Sunday morning we packed up and drove home. It was a wonderful weekend. We loved the smokies and we want to go back one day, but for now we are glad to be home!
We leave tomorrow for a little weekend trip to the smoky mountains. Of course we will need cookies for the drive. I toasted some coconut, stirred in oatmeal and lots of brown sugar and came up with these!
Coconut Oatmeal Scotchies
1 stick butter (softened) 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1 egg 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 3/4 cup all purpose flour 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats 1 cup butterscotch morsels 3/4 cup toasted coconut
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Cream the butter with the sugars. Add the egg, and the vanilla. Combine the salt, baking soda, and the flour. Add to the butter mixture. Stir in the oats. Mix in the morsels and coconut. Roll dough into balls and bake on greased cookie sheets for about 8 minutes. :)
Our pool was opened for the season on Monday. We finally made it for a swim this morning. Max was so happy to be back in the water. I think this picture is almost identical to one that I took last summer.
Mia was fearless last summer, but she was really hesitant today. I think she will warm up to the water eventually. This morning she just enjoyed the sun and the drinks that I brought. Zac loved the water. He splashed and played and then decided he was done. When Zac is done we all are! We headed home for leftover bbq meatballs. Thank you, Pioneer Woman, for feeding my family!