Thursday, July 30, 2015


"Lets go to the mountain,
Watch the flashing sea.
Lets eat blueberries,
Walk through the golden trees.
See a raven fly, big pink sky
But for now baby, the world's for you
and I"

~ Pete Francis- Blueberries

Our Tennessee Trip.

Beau had the week of the 4th off this year.  It was nice because the 4th fell on Saturday which gave us time to go on an adventure before heading to the beach.

Because everybody knows that on the 4th, you need to be at the beach.

So, he planned everything.  He came home one day and said, "We are going to Tennessee for vacation."

Tennessee... home of Jack Daniel's whiskey... the "Volunteer State"... home to Dollywood...

I immediately began singing, "You're as smooth as Tennessee whiskey.  You're as sweet as strawberry wine. You're as warm as a glass of brandy, And I stay stoned on your love all the time."

Part of me was weary though, Tennessee... with kids... and DOLLYWOOD?

They don't even know who Dolly is.

Y'all, I underestimated Beau.

It was fabulous!

The weather was perfect.  Being at 1,000 feet, this flatlands girl was in Heaven with little to no humidity.

We stayed at The Resort at Governor's Crossing.

The girls enjoyed having an indoor waterpark and an outdoor pool.  We stayed at the pool every night until it closed.  I also allowed the girls to hop in the hot tub for a few seconds to snap a picture.  Gross but they look so cute.

On the GPS, I happened to see a place called The Roaming Gnome.  When it came time for dinner, I googled and saw that it was a pub (awesome) AND it was right across the street from our hotel (double awesome).

We went over and had a delicious meal.  The atmosphere was pretty cool too.  There were gnomes everywhere.  Even the CEILING tiles.

Day two was spent at Dollywood.

It was super fun.  The girls loved it and Bug rode her first roller coaster.

We will definitely be going back.

We had lunch in the park (the lines were terribly long but the chicken fajitas were awesome).  For dinner we went to Smoky Mountain Brewery.  I had the Thunder Road burger.  It was topped with melty blue cheese, bacon & this sweet and spicy Thunder Road sauce that was amazing.  Given the name of the restaurant is Smoky Mountain Brewery, it is also a microbrewery.  I had the Mountain Light and it was tasty.  Beau enjoyed all the beers he tried too.

After dinner we rode over to The Island.  Have no fear, there are a million things to do here.  There are also a million people here.

Paula Deen just opened her restaurant at The Island.  I was hoping we would get to eat one meal there but it never worked out.

Why we went to The Island?

We needed to sample Tennesse moonshine and grab a few jars.

The next day, we went to Splash Country.  It was so fun!  I think that it was everyone's favorite day.

If you take a trip to Tennessee and plan on visiting Dollywood, do not skip Water Country.

Day four was our day to spend in Gatlinburg.  Our first stop?

I don't know who was more excited... Beau or the girls?  They recently watched Forrest Gump for the first time and loved it.

The food was great!  We ate it so fast, I forgot to take a picture.

The only disappointment was that they did not serve Dr. Pepper.  #1 that is our favorite drink.  #2 Forrest Gump drinks 15 Dr. Peppers in the movie before meeting JFK.  We were shocked they didn't have it.

As we were waiting for our food, this pulled up beside our window.  It was like Jack was calling out my name on a Wednesday at 1pm.  I declined a date with him that early in the day.  Maybe later, Jack.  Maybe later.

After shopping and taking multiple wine, whiskey & moonshine samples, we were exhausted.

It was a great trip but we were tired.

So instead of going out to dinner, we ordered in pizza, watched Big Brother and went to the pool until it closed.

We had a wonderful time and we cannot wait to go back!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Memories that last.

Since I was 5 years old, Atlantic Beach has been my second home.

It is kind of a tradition in our family, to scream at the top of your lungs when you see the bridge.  "I SEE IT FIRST!  I SEE IT FIRST!!!"

As we climb the bridge, we anticipate getting to the top just so we can make a wish.  I have probably made a million wishes over the last 25 years.

With the windows rolled down, something happens when you go over that bridge to the island.

Life is not normal, everyday hustle and bustle.  Life is calm.  Life is relaxing.  Everything about you changes on the island.

I have made so many memories at the beach.  Now, I get to watch my kids make memories of their own.

We were in our first fishing tournament in July.

We fished the inshore division of the Barta Billfish Tournament.

We used Thursday as our lay-day, as we could only fish 2 of the 3 days.

We also used Thursday to relax on Shackleford Banks.

My girls have spent their whole lives at the beach.  I have never worried about them getting seasick because we have never been further than Shack.

With Bug getting sick on an airplane, I felt like the odds were against her.  Surprisingly, no one got sick!

Keep in mind, we did not get too far from land.  We were in the ocean but we could always see land.

The first day of fishing was a success.  Both girls brought in 3 bluefish each.  Emma held 3rd place in the bluefish category for one day.

First catch of the day.  Emma caught a lizardfish.

Resting.  7am comes way too early.

The girls with Tred Barta

Day 2, Big's goal was to catch a Spanish Mackerel.

Reeling in her 1st Spanish

Big did it!  She caught at .74 lb Spanish and that girl has never been more excited!

Bug brought in another bluefish and was proud of him too!

They were stoked because at the awards ceremony, Big got a medal for weighing in a Spanish.

AND they BOTH got a medal for weighing in Bluefish.  That is Buggy standing beside Tred.

The girls had an awesome time.  They are already planning on fishing again next year with Jay as their captain again.  They may have inherited his love of fishing.

My kids love the coast.  It is their happy place.  It is my happy place.  I just hope they grow up and appreciate it as much as I do.  I hope they know how lucky we are to live so close to one of the happiest places on Earth.

** Here's to making more beach memories that last forever.**

I have reached an ultimate low.

Big had softball practice the other night.

It was excruciatingly hot!


Frantically I began searching for the ice packs.  Then it hit me.  Caroline busted both ice packs at softball camp and got in trouble for it.

What am I going to do?
All the other kids will have ice packs, water, Frogg Togg cooling towels, etc.

My kid is going to have nothing.

We don't have time to run to Walmart.... wait!

I got it!!

"Here Big!  Throw this in your bat bag.  It will have to work for tonight."

"But MOM!  That is your wine bag!"

"It has multiple uses, Big.  Multiple uses."

With a slap on the butt and a "Go get 'em champ!" I sent her on her way.

When she came off of the field, hot and sweating, we tucked the handles in the bag and noone ever knew.

It was our little secret.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Food Spotlight: Red Fish Grill

Located on "The Jib" in Morehead City there is a little place called Red Fish Grill.

We have eaten at a lot of places and Red Fish is on the top of our list of favorites.

The atmosphere is great.  The food is amazing.  The service is awesome.

The place is always packed (with good reason).  They have a great wait time app they use.  If there are no available tables, you leave your name and phone number with the hostess.  You can walk around the waterfront and the hostess will text you when your table is ready.  So nice and so convenient.

And here is a little secret: The bar is first come, first serve.  If there is a table available, grab it.  It is yours.  Just be sure to let the hostess know to take you off of the wait list.

As for the food, prepare your taste buds for the most phenomenal meal you have had in a while.

Be sure to try the seared bacon wrapped scallops with honey chipotle sauce appetizer.  Amazing!

As for entrees, be sure to ask about their specials.  The specials are always wonderful.  One night Beau got grilled mahi with honey chipotle sauce, bacon wrapped scallops, mashed potatoes & grilled asparagus.  They also will occasionally have wahoo.  If this is an option, always go for the wahoo.

The tuna tacos are amazing too.  Seared tuna, assorted cabbage (like slaw), topped with that delicious honey chipotle sauce.  Another secret, if you don't want tuna tacos you can request blackened shrimp tacos which are also super yum!

Beau has also had the shrimp gyro topped with lettuce, tomato, onions, & a super amazing tzatziki sauce.  The side of cucumber salad was also great.

The chicken skewers are similar to the gyro.  All of the pieces come seperately.  The homemade pita wedges are warm bits of heaven on a plate, They are served with cucumber salad, onions, and a bowl of tzatziki sauce that you will want to bathe in.

I have to stop.  I want to lick the screen it all looks and sounds so good.

Do yourself a favor and check out Red Fish Grill the next time you are down at the Crystal Coast.

711 Evans Street
Morehead City, NC

Open Monday-Sunday
Seating begins at 4:30pm