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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Exploring the NE Georgia mountains!

Happy 2021, y'all! 

I know - it's been forever.  I'm going to be better about posting in 2021!   

It's been a hard 14 months.  But I'm digging my way out and moving forward. 

Today I am going to share a super-fun place to have lunch in the NE Georgia mountains. 

I first heard about Fenders Diner in Cornelia, GA on Facebook.   I checked out the menu online and knew it was a place I wanted to try.    My friend Katherine came to visit in January from Houston, Texas.  I love when she comes to visit because we stay on the go most of her visits! 

Here we are being goofballs on Snapchat - we have such fun times together! 



This particular day started in my little town at one of our antique stores.  So many cool things to see (and buy!) there.   



Next we headed up to the Amish store in Homer, GA.  It's about 45 minutes from me, but SO worth the drive.  They have every spice you can imagine, in bulk. They sell the marshmallows from Lucky Charms in large bags - yum!! They sell Amish popcorn, jellies, preserves, sauces and more.  Plus there is a deli/meat counter where you can get a sub to go, brisket burgers, and other fresh meat and seafood.  Don't get me started on the Amish butter and cheese!! And chilled sodas in glass bottles that you don't usually find everywhere - like Cheerwine, one of our faves!  They have a nice selection of soup and dip mixes too.  And a few personal care items like CBD oil, natural remedies, and Amish soap.   It's a little bit of everything, and one of my favorite places to shop.  The prices can't be beat, either. 



This gem is called David and Katie's Amish Store, and it is located at 969 Historic Homer Highway, in Homer.  Click here for their Facebook page. They post specials, changes in hours, etc. there, so give them a look before you head up to Homer. 


A few of the goodies I got on this trip.  The dehydrated cantaloupe chunks were amazing.

After we left David and Katie's, we headed up to Cornelia.  Despite living in Georgia for all of my adult life,  I haven't ventured up to this corner of the state much.  We loved seeing Cornelia. It's your typical all-American small town.  And Fender's is the cutest retro diner - both inside and out! 





We started with the Hot Southern Mess appetizer - crispy french fries, topped with sausage gravy, cheese, bacon and jalapenos (we got those on the side). YUM! 



I decided to try the Rockin Chicken - it's a Nashville Hot fried chicken breast served on a huge 1/2 lb cheddar cathead biscuit.  I asked for a side of ranch, and I chose their grits for my side.  They were the best grits ever - super creamy and delicious.  The chicken was HOT and perfect! 







Katherine chose the Southern Lovin' - a Southern fried chicken breast served with a mac n cheese waffle and sauteed green beans.  I only got a pic of that waffle! She said it was all wonderful! 


The service was good and we enjoyed our visit to Fenders.  I'll definitely go back!

Fenders is located at  631 Irvin Street, Cornelia GA 30531.  They have a website and a FB page, too. 



Mural near Fenders in Cornelia, GA 


Nice views looking down from Cornelia.


More from downtown Cornelia. 



We ended our day by heading down 985 to Jaemor Farms store in Lula, GA.  We picked up some fried pies and other delicious treats before heading home.  

We had some other fun experiences while Katherine was here, and I'll try to add those here soon! 

What's your favorite Diner, wherever you live? I LOVE Diners! Leave me a comment, maybe I'll get to try it one day!

Y'all take good care, and thanks for stopping by! 




Thursday, August 27, 2020

Take Back Your Life Giveaway! #TakeBackYourLife #FlyBy

Hey y'all!! Can you believe it's practically September now?!  2020 is literally flying by us! 

I'm back with a really wonderful giveaway.  This book is called Take Back Your Life  ~  A 40 Day Interactive Journey to Thinking Right So You Can Live Right, by Levi Lusko. 




I'm only a few days into this book, but it's easily the most important one I've read in 2020.  

In Take Back Your Life,  Lusko helps you learn to handle both external and internal circumstances and battles so you can move forward and take back your life.   Every daily devotion includes a prayer, journaling prompts and questions to answer, plus a relevant scripture.  

I'm absolutely loving this book, and it's a great way to begin each day.  Day 6 is my favorite so far - it's called Mask Off.  It's about the mask(s) we wear as a defense to hide our fears that we aren't enough.  Wow.  It's powerful stuff, y'all.   Get yours here!

You can also visit this site to download a four day version of this for your kids! There are also lunchbox notes to print out, a worksheet for kids to help work through their emotions, and more! 

I hope that this book will bless your days like it is blessing mine!  I look forward to each new chapter and I'm excited to see the changes in me after 40 days.   It's really helping me examine my thinking and make positive changes.  This is a particularly challenging time in my life as I navigate single-parenting a teen, training for a new job, going through a divorce, and all the other changes that we have going on.  Levi Lusko's latest book has really been a game-changer for me. 



Author Bio: Levi Lusko is the founder and lead pastor of Fresh Life Church, located in Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, and Utah. He is the bestselling author of Through the Eyes of a Lion, Swipe Right, and I Declare War. Levi also travels the world speaking about Jesus. He and his wife, Jennie, have one son, Lennox, and four daughters: Alivia, Daisy, Clover, and Lenya, who is in heaven.

I am so happy that I get to give away a copy of this book!  All you have to do is enter through my rafflecopter giveaway below.  


a Rafflecopter giveaway 


Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC and HCCP for providing this prize for the giveaway and review.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Travel -My first cruise!

Happy 2020, y'all!! I've got a million things going on, but wanted to share the amazing experience I had in December on Carnival Cruises. 

My Mom offered to pay for a cruise to the Bahamas if I'd go with her. Yes Please!! She LOVES cruising, but didn't have anyone to go with.  Also, this was our first Mother-Daughter trip. Yay! So, we started planning in late September.  I was so excited, because I've always wanted to go on a cruise!  There were lots of resources online to plan a cruise.

After looking at a few different cruise lines, Carnival is the one we decided to go with, as Mom is a member of their VIFP club.  We were given an upgrade from deck 6 to deck 10 because of her points.   We decided to go with a balcony cabin, and to purchase the Faster to the Fun package.  This allows you to board the ship earlier, and leave earlier on your return to the port.  More on that later! We also prepaid our gratuities. 

I watched a ton of videos on youtube, because I am a planner.  I like to know where I'm going and what it will be like.  Our ship was the Liberty, and there were plenty of videos there to help me get a feel for the ship and what to expect.  Our three-day cruise was scheduled for December 20-23, 2019.

Packing for the cruise was pretty easy.  Mom's got a VW bug, so we each had room for one suitcase and one carry-on in her car.  I checked the weather sites for the forecast.  It looked like it would be a bit chilly, so no bathing suit needed, and I only took one pair of shorts.  I took several pairs of leggings, a pair of black pants, two pairs of shoes, five or six shirts (I like options!) and of course, undies, bras, socks and sleepwear.  I also took a duster to throw on over the tops if it got chilly.  (And it did!)

In addition, I took a backpack to carry on deck, a lanyard, my phone and charger, camera (don't forget the batteries like I did - grrrrrr), several books for me and Mom, a hat, jewelry to dress up my outfits if needed, and my light-up Christmas necklace and buffalo check antlers for the day we disembarked.  (Christmas Eve eve! Be festive!)   And of course, toiletries and my purse.

We drove to Cocoa Beach from N. Georgia the day before our cruise.  We stayed at a Hampton Inn that was about 10 minutes from where we planned to park for the cruise.  We got there, ordered pizza and went to bed! Woke up early the next morning, and had breakfast downstairs.  Then a quick stop at Ron Jon Surf Shop for some goodies for my kiddos. 

Next, we drove to the parking lot for Park N Cruise.  Mom paid for a covered spot for her car - she loves that Bug like it's her baby! 

After a short wait, we boarded a shuttle and headed to the terminal! After we got off the bus there, our bags were handed to the porter to be delivered to our room later that day.  We went through the various check-ins and sat in the First to the Fun seating area. We were able to board right after the Platinum and Diamond VIPF members were allowed on the ship.  We ended up boarding at 11:10 am. When they called us, we walked through the terminal and over several gangways to get on the ship.






The Liberty is HUGE!! And beautiful! Everything was decorated for Christmas. We entered through the lobby and were directed to the Lido deck, #9.  That is where most of the food places are, plus a pool, and lots of seating areas. Oh, and bars - Yes!

Mom and I decided to head to Guy's Burger Joint before it got crowded.   Yum, yum, yum, y'all!! Best burger I've had in a while! The topping bar made it easy to customize your burger your way. 






We ate inside the buffet area. (the picture above was taken in the outside but covered area by the pool deck).  We didn't purchase the Cheers package, so we only got free drinks from the buffet.  Those included unsweetened tea, (my fave, so yay!),  lemonade, coffee and water. My tip- take a big insulated mug on your cruise - the cups they provide are literally 8 or 10 oz - so small! I like to carry a drink around, so my Corksicle kept drinks cold and icy.   The little yellow cup below is what is offered at all beverage stations on the Lido deck.  If you purchase the Bottomless Bubbles or Cheers package, they will bring you a can of soda or other drink with a regular glass.




I grabbed a slice of German Chocolate cake for dessert while we waited for our cabin.  The dessert table at the buffet was insane!! So many choices - citrus buttercream cheesecake, elderflower cheesecake, peanut butter cake, cookies, pastries, ice cream and so much more!  No picture, unfortunately!

Around 12:45 or 1, we went to deck 10 and located our stateroom.  Our bags hadn't arrived, so I went back down to deck 9 and ordered a big ol' Tropical Colada.   I relaxed and enjoyed my drink by a window in one of the bars, and shared a Facebook live as we sailed out of the port.  Then I put my phone in airplane mode and got myself into vacation mode!  Yes - I unplugged for 3 full days and it was AWESOME!


Once we got out from the port, I went back to the room and met up with Mom.  After a few minutes, our bags arrived.  We got settled in, and then it was time for the muster drill.  That was my least favorite part of the entire cruise.  I get claustrophobic and there were so many people in our muster area.  It took about 35 minutes, crammed and sweaty in a huge crowd.  I was so happy when that was over, and I could go back to our stateroom!

**If you are new to cruising like me, and don't know what a muster drill is, it's a safety meeting to show you how to use the life jackets.  It shows you where to go if there is an emergency, too.**

I spent some time out on the balcony enjoying the wonderful ocean view. It started raining so I headed in to get ready for our 6:00 pm dinner seating. 



Have you ever cruised?  Which line is your favorite?

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Samplesource.com ~ Great chance to try before you buy!!

Have you signed up for samplesource.com? I got all of these in my October box!

It's awesome to get these every month!! Sign up on their site and you will get a heads up when there are new products to choose from, and you just add them to your box. 

I also got a free coupon for a bag of potatoes (up to $7.99 value!) and one for $2 off of the Persil detergent. Not a bad mail day!!



Saturday, August 17, 2019

Dazzle Dogs restaurant in Lawrenceville, GA #Dazzledogs

David and I found the funnest, most unique place to eat a few months ago!

Dazzle Dogs is tucked next to a gas station on Braselton Highway in Lawrenceville, Ga.  It's a small place, and you'll want to either order ahead by phone, or be ok with waiting.  You will wait for a while! But trust us, the food is worth the wait!

They have some really cool gourmet hot dog options here.  My favorite is the St. Bernard - a hot dog with chili, cheese and fritos!  The Georgia Bulldog is topped with pulled pork, coleslaw and barbeque sauce.  Yum!  The fries are hand cut and absolutely delicious!  They also make hamburgers, hoagies and Philly cheesesteaks, plus wings.

St. Bernard Dog 


But the real claim to fame at Dazzle Dogs are the Dazzle shakes.  They are massive, completely overflowing with the most amazing treats.  David got the Oreo Dazzle Shake and oh. my. goodness! It's $11.99 and you will agree it's worth every penny.  They come in plastic cups so you can take it to go if you need to.  (You will!)


This oreo shake also has mini oreos embedded in frosting covered with oreo crumbs on the rim of the cup, oreos, marshmallows, a big slice of oreo cheesecake AND behind that, a giant Oreo ice cream sandwich.  Plus an oreo milkshake under it all!! 

We took a few pics - but you've GOT to check them out for yourself!! Like I said, be prepared to wait.  We waited over 30 minutes for our fries and hot dog, and almost an hour for the milkshake.  But we knew from reviews that there would be a wait, so we were prepared for it! I said it before, but it really is worth waiting for - delish, unique food will be your reward!

Go here to see the menu and ways you can customize the Dazzle shakes!

Dazzle Dogs is located at 1925 Braselton Highway in Lawrenceville, Ga.  They are open every day except Sunday.  You can find them on Facebook (@Dazzle Dogs restaurant)  and Instagram (@DogDazzle)

If you have been, share your experience in the comments below!!




Sunday, July 28, 2019

Canvas Factory Giveaway!! *ended*

I love taking pictures.  I have so many prints that are waiting to go into scrapbooks.  But some of my favorites get put into frames so I can enjoy them daily.  I also love to have my favorite shots turned into canvas prints.  There is something special about turning your 4x6 photo into a beautiful canvas for your wall.

So....I'm excited to be working with Canvas Factory for another giveaway!

Their website makes it so easy to order your canvas.  Just pick the size you want, upload your photo (from your laptop, phone, Insta, FB, Dropbox or Flickr) and voila - you'll have your beautiful, high-quality canvas in days! The process couldn't get any easier.

The canvas on the bottom normally hangs in my son's room, but I moved it here to show both canvases. 

Close up of the latest canvas on the bottom! 
The two canvases in my pictures are both from Canvas Factory.  The top one is my kids on my daughter's graduation day.  The one resting on the mantle is the latest one I've ordered.  It is of my son and two great friends he met at the Duke TIP summer program last year.  I had to cover the girls' faces since I don't have permission to share them with the world, but you can still see the fantastic quality of the print.  The photo that was used for the canvas was taken on my iPhone, no fancy camera or anything!

I love the quality of my Canvas Factory canvases, and the care they take in shipping them.  It was packaged so carefully and I received it in perfect condition.

Canvas Factory is giving one of my readers their own canvas, too! Just enter through Rafflecopter below and stay tuned to see who wins!!
(I have a new IG so be sure to follow the new one as one of your entries, too!)

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Medieval Times Atlanta Castle Giveaway and Back to School Drive! #MTFAN *ended*

Medieval Times Atlanta Castle ~ Family 4 pack GIVEAWAY! 

photo credit ~ Medieval Times Atlanta

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament’s Atlanta Castle is dedicated to “Chivalry in Action” and in honor of this philanthropic mission, they need our help for their largest-ever back to school drive.

For the first time ever, they will be providing 750 book bags to 15 pre-selected Atlanta-Area Schools!

So how can you help?  If you are local you can drop off new school supplies at their Sugarloaf Mills location - 5900 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville GA 30043


Now through July 28th, guests who donate at least one unused school supply per ticket when visiting the Atlanta castle will receive up to $22.00 off their adult-priced tickets. Guest must show proof of donated items upon arrival at the Box Office.  Such a great way to help local kids be prepared for back to school! #ChivalryinAction

Want to win a family 4 pack of your own to visit Medieval Times Atlanta?  

Enter via rafflecopter below!! 

The person who will be donating the most supplies to this awesome back to school drive wins the family 4 pack of tickets!! Woohoo! (Minimum of 1 supply per person/ticket)




To be eligible you must be local to Atlanta, and be able to visit Medieval Times by July 28, 2019.  I will notify the winner on the 24th and you have 24 hours to confirm that you can attend.  Of course, you will need to take your school supply donation when you visit MT, too! You'll get a fun night out, and local kids will get much-needed school supplies! 

I'll be attending Medieval Times with my friend Dana and our daughters next week.  Follow me on IG, FB and Twitter to watch all the fun!! I've got some awesome school supplies to donate, too! 

Comments are not working for some reason, so please enter via Rafflecopter and I will pick a winner from there - so sorry for the issues blogger is having! 


Monday, July 1, 2019

Red Oak Lavender Farm ~ Dahlonega, GA

I love using herbs, botanicals and essential oils.  Especially lavender! I have a sleep mist, linen spray, bath salts, bath bombs and more that use this flower's calming fragrance.  It's definitely a favorite scent!

Three years ago, we first heard of Red Oak Lavender Farm.  I took my son to visit in the summer of 2016 and it was all I could have hoped for!  Beautiful gardens with rows of lavender, and the most amazing gift shop with homemade goodies and more!  Spending time out with the lavender is so peaceful and calming! Butterflies are everywhere and there are so many photo opportunities!

We took lots of pictures, and I knew wanted to come back soon.  However, an allergy to bees and other stinging insects made my son nervous to come back - bees are all over the farm, doing their thing!  So I didn't get to visit for a while.

Last summer my friend Katherine visited Atlanta from Houston.  She, like me, loves lavender and other essential oils.  So I knew she would appreciate a visit there.  She traveled with her one year old, and I think he enjoyed it too - lots of room to walk and explore!

This farm is not like the huge ones you see pictured in France or the Pacific Northwest with row after row of lavender.  Georgia does not have the ideal climate for lavender, but these folks have made it possible with a lot of hard work!  They have approximately 2.5 acres of lavender - about 60 rows that are 100 feet long.  They grow over 20 varieties of lavender on the farm.  It's really amazing, considering this plant should not grow here due to our humidity, clay, and other factors.

The family that owns the farm lives in the house attached to the gift shop. Not only do they harvest the lavender to sell, they distill the oil from plants to make pampering treats for you.  There are also culinary treats like Lavender Sugar, Lavender and Pink Himalayan Salt, and Herbs de Provence.  Those busy bees out by the lavender make the most delicious lavender honey.  You can get it fresh from the farm here!

I've purchased linen sprays, lavender-filled bookmarks, bunches of dried lavender, lavender soap, lavender honey, and a few other wonderful gifts there for myself or family/friends. The prices are great and the products are lovely.  Please check it out when you go!

Here it is, summertime again.  I'm ready for another relaxing trip to Red Oak.  I hope you will give them a visit, too!  There is a $5 fee for adults to visit during June, but now that it is July, entry is free!  From my home in NE Gwinnett, it was less than an hour drive to get there.

Check out this video I made on our visit last year!

And here are some of my favorite pictures from both visits...
D back in 2016.  He's grown up since then - now he is tall and skinny! 

Baby Lennox got his picture taken in this adorable butterfly chair last summer.



Sign from 2016 - they grow double that, now! 

Bee Hives!



Parking is in the front yard or along the driveway.  For special events, they offer parking at a neighbor's farm across the street.

Don't forget to visit the gift shop!





It smells so lovely, too - the scent of lavender is everywhere.



Here's what you need to know to plan your visit!

Red Oak Lavender Farm
2882 Red Oak Flats Road
Dahlonega, GA 30533
Phone: 706-974-8230 during business hours
March 1 - December 15 ~ Wednesday - Friday 11 - 3  Saturday 10 - 4
Closed on July 3 & 4, 2019
Email: RedOakLavender@gmail.com