better at the beach

It’s been a rough week around here.

The beach has always been my therapy.

Two weeks after Chris & I started dating he broke his ankle.

A few weeks after that I dragged him (and his busted up leg) two hours to Daytona beach just to watch the sunset.. FYI: sun doesn’t set at Daytona beach, but whatever. We sat on a towel and just enjoyed the peace.

Ever since then, the beach has been OUR place.

This week, we made it Paisley’s place, too.

Thursday we decided to head to the beach for a few minutes. It had been a particularly rough night the night before and we needed a place to clear our heads.

Who cares that it was 50* and the wind was whipping around us.

We bundled Paisley up in a sleeper, and her favorite minky blanket and took her onto the beach just long enough to snap a picture. Then we rushed back to the car, strapped her into her seat, and headed home.

3/52 : Paisley’s first trip to Clearwater Beach


North Carolina, part 2 (picture heavy)




Much to their dismay, we stopped at every state to take pictures with the Welcome to _____ sign. Each States Welcome Center has one, just in case you wanted to torture your kids to!

After a few detours, and lots of rain storms, we finally made it up the mountain to my Grandparent’s cabin.



We had a small break in the rain on Thursday afternoon so we decided to take the kids for a walk down by the creek – not in the creek, although that was something we wanted to do – It just couldn’t be done because of all the rain.
(water boots are required)

walk creek 1

top L : Katie checkin’ out where the trail used to be.
top R: Stacey, Kailyn, & Carly wading through the overflowing creek/trail.
bottom L: Katie deciding whether or not to jump
bottom R: walking back towards the cabin


After our walk, we headed towards Valle Crucis for a visit to The Mast General Store & The Candy Barrel.

(Not my picture)

mast collage1

When we were kids we used to spend Memorial Day Weekend at the cabin – every trip included a visit to The Mast General Store & to The Candy Barrel. I have so many memories of these visits, I hope the kids were able to create a few of their own.

On Friday we had a break in the rain so we decided to head over towards Blowing Rock. We took the Blue Ridge Parkway, but it was so cloudy & rainy along the drive that we couldn’t see much.

We spent a little time walking around Blowing Rock, but the kids don’t love to shop, so We headed back towards the cabin and decided to take the Blue Ridge back since the sun had come out.




After some discussion between me & Stacey, we decided that we would leave NC on Friday afternoon, and head home. It wasn’t ideal, but the weather wasn’t ideal, and the rain killed the remaining plans that we had made.

In addition to that, we were tired; we are both pregnant – combine that we a lot of driving, and trying to entertain two kids… exhaustion. We decided we would head back towards Florida, stop about half way, and then finish the drive on Saturday.
It stunk to have to leave the cabin early, but I think it worked out for the best. Instead of driving home today, we were able to rest and relax before heading back to work tomorrow.

Thanks to all the traveling Chris did we had some hotel points saved up so we were able to get a room near the river in Savannah for our drive home. We got to the hotel around midnight and were a little taken aback by all the people that were still out wandering around.

Neither of us had ever been to Savannah before so I had no idea that being so close to the river would also mean that we were very close to lots of bars and people floating around all night.

Thankfully our room was dark and quiet and we were able to get a little bit of sleep despite being so close to all the action.


sav ga

We left Savannah around 10:30 and headed south. The drive seemed to last forever, but in reality, it was only about 5 hours from Savannah to my Sister’s house, then I had another hour drive home from there.




I have mixed emotions about Sundays; on the one hand, it’s usually the day we stay home and chill out, and who doesn’t love that kind of day? On the other hand, Sunday means the weekend is coming to an end and we have to report back to work on the following day.  <— master of the obvious right there aren’t I?

Chris isn’t home, he’s helping someone hang some shelves in their home – I’m home… doing lots of wifely things, like cleaning & laundry. ick. I suppose Husbands do these things to, Chris does..on occasion. I’ve been trying really hard not to let myself stray to far away from my chores. I even set a timer on my phone earlier while I played Wii. I had already cooked food for the week, washed/dried a load of laundry. I gave myself 30 minutes to sit on the couch & play Mario.. I’m only in the first level and it’s whooping my butt. Chris & I have a separate game and we are on level 8… I don’t see myself getting to level 8 (by myself) any time soon. I’m going to need a lot of 30 minute sessions for that.

<— Wyatt says he wants a bed, and he’s not getting out of Diva’s until he has his own. – I can’t believe he sat still to let me take his picture.. you can see he is thrilled that I have the camera stuck in his face.

After Mario, I dumped all the laundry on the bed and got to work folding, hanging & putting away. OMG, I HATE laundry. I hate to admit that at least two of three baskets have been sitting in the bedroom for a week, probably more. No wonder I can never find anything I want to wear.

so here I am, sitting in front of my computer, totally avoiding what I need to do next…… study. 


Okay, a few things, real quick:

new things on the blog screen shot

If you read in google reader, or you’re an e-mail subscriber, you might not have seen  a few new things.
#1. I made up a new header. It’s simple, basic, and I love it. if you don’t, well…sorry

#2. google reader is being eliminated in July – if you didn’t know that, sorry that I had to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s true.
        I use google reader religiously, so I’m totally irked that they are getting rid of it, but whatever.
        If you are a google reader user, I tried to make it somewhat easy to re-subscribe with a few different options.
          – RSS feed button. First blue button under the header
         – Bloglovin button – I moved all my blogs to bloglovin.. it’s okay. I’m not a huge fan, but maybe you’ll like it.
         – and you can still subscribe by e-mail, which is not shown in the picture above, but I believe it’s right beneath the bloglovin button

#3. I created a new page for the build-a-boat project. I highly doubt most of you are interested in that, BUT, I know a few people from my FB that will be interested and maybe a few folks that google bateau boat plans might end up here. So I wanted a central place for pictures/posts to be located.

#4. You can also follow me on FB, twitter, pinterest & instagram. IG is the one that I use the most.. I hardly ever tweet, or FB, and I occasionally pin crap on pinterest – so if you’re worried about me blowing up your feed….don’t be. I don’t have enough time, or the patience to tweet everything I’m doing.. I’d rather take pictures and blow up your IG feed.


Lastly, and then I swear I’m done. I really need to study.

We went to the races last night, and had a blast…except the part where I got my butt ate up by no-seeums. Holy smokes, they were bad. I thought they were only on the coast.. WRONG.


track collage 3 23 2013


1. headed to the track. chris really really loves taking pictures..really
2. middle left: Aidyn stole my chair!
3. middle right: BABE, take my picture!
4. bottom left: he wouldn’t leave me alone. when we first got to the race he wanted nothing to do with me bc “he was sick.” .. hmm
5. bottom right: if you’re not first, your last – Ricky Bobby

whirlwind weekend

Holy smokes, I’m exhausted. Our weekend was JAM packed full of fun and not-so-fun events!

I don’t feel like typing anything out, so I’m going to take the lazy way out and just post a few pictures:

Saturday morning we slept in, ate pancakes, then took the puppies for a not so leisurely  walk down the road. Diva forgets her brains when she gets her halter on and acts like a total goof when we get her on the leash. The walks are usually very short-lived.. but it was nice to get out for a few minutes.

diva wyatt1 collage

Next up on our agenda was the KENNY CHESNEY CONCERT !!! woooooohoooooo !!!!!! YES! I was THAT excited!!

kenny collage1

OH MY GOSH, I can’t even tell you how much I LOVED this concert!!!  Yes, multiple explanation <— LOL WHAT? Let’s try that again, EXCLAMATION points are needed after every sentence, it was THAT good!

Edit: The first post went out with “explanation points” … what the heck. I came back & fixed it, but I don’t know if it re-sends or fixes it in google reader… so yeah. I’m a dope.

Kacey Musgraves opened.. I’ll be honest and say I’m kind of meh about her. We went to meet Shannon & Tom during her set – I wasn’t sad to miss her show. 

Eli Young Band was next; They have a few songs I know, there show was fine. I’m not a huge fan.

ERIC CHURCH: LOVED his show! I was an Eric Church fan before, but now I’m in love! I’ve been listening to his albums non-stop. I already had two of them, and never listened to them.. He & Kenny Chesney are currently on constant repeat.

KENNNNYYY CHESNEYYYYY:::  Kenny could not get on stage fast enough, I was seriously SO excited. I must have told Chris a million times, “BABE, BABE!! IT’S KENNY CHESENY, OMG!!!!!”   Yes, I am THAT big of a fan. I just love his music SO MUCH. I REALLY wanted him to play the song Boston, but knew there was like ZERO chance that would happen. It’s not a hit of his, but I was holding out for it.. No luck, but he did play Old Blue Chair, which is probably my second favorite song of his.

We rolled into the driveway at 12:30…and walked into a house that reeked of dog poop.. I won’t go into great detail, but Wyatt had an upset tummy while we were gone…. soo I was mopping at 1am. fun times.

The jam packed fun continued on into Sunday – We (well, I) got up around 8:30, made breakfast and lounged around for a little while before I had to get ready for a trip over to Orlando. Chris rolled out of bed around 10, ate breakfast, then headed down to my boss’ house to do a few things around their new house.

My Uncle Jack turned 60 so I went over to Orlando with my Dad & Sister to celebrate his birthday…

Uncle Jack Bday

Now we are both finally home, wishing there was another day of the weekend ~    Hope you had a great weekend, I’m off to bed.

Life is meant to be full of days like this {a day in pictures}

….. Sunday afternoon I headed over to my Mom’s to spend a couple of hours with the family.

We are so blessed to be able to get together fairly often – My Mom lives out in the country on 12 acres – 3 of which are swampland, but 9 acres is plenty enough room to stretch our legs on.

see, plenty of room.

OCT 21 ride collage

girls collage

OCT 21 collage 2

jena jump1

……..that is me……in case you couldn’t tell.

boys collage

jena down 1

chris jump 1

……that’s Chris

chris jump 2

Days like Sunday making being 1.5hrs away from family a little more difficult – I can’t wait until we can be in the same zip code.

sweet potato pie ‘n I shut my mouth

On Sunday we headed to Clermont to celebrate my Mom & Step Dad’s birthdays!
{weird coincidence: My Dad & Step Mom’s birthdays are August 1st & August 3rd, and my Mom & Step Dad’s are August 19th & August 21st …all within a day of each other. weird).. Plus it’s my Grandma’s Birthday today, the 21st! Happy Birthday to my Mom & Grandma!


My Mom wanted to have a little get together at her house w/ all the kids: She told us to bring a side dish, so I did some google searching and found a yummy looking sweet potato salad.

I found this recipe for sweet potato salad on PaleoEffect.com

Paleo (but not really bc I used greek yogurt) Potato Salad

23 Sweet Potatoes

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

¼ cup Paleo Mayo one container greek yogurt

½ Red Chili (chopped)  pepperocini, chopped

1 ½ Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar (or Coconut Vinegarif you don’t do Vinegar)

1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp Chipotle Sauce

1 ½ tsp Dijon Mustard

½ tsp Sugar (raw) or Coconut Crystals(if you don’t do sugar)

¼ cup Parsley (fresh and chopped)

3 Scallions (chopped)

3 strips of Bacon

Sea Salt and Pepper (to taste)


Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into cubes (about ½ – 1”). Toss with the 2 tbsp of olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet and cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes (or until soft).

While the sweet potatoes are cooking, mix together the mayo, chili, vinegar, oil, chipotle sauce, Dijon mustard and sugar. Set aside.

Cook the bacon (crispiness to your liking). And break into pieces (or cut if you like it soft). And chop the parsley and green onion (scallion).

When the potatoes are done, mix all ingredients together. If you like potato salad warm, like Angel, then serve it immediately. If you like it cold, then put it in the refrigerator and let it chill. The great thing about this recipe? You can make it a day in advance!

Verdict: I really liked the sweet potato salad; A few other people in the family liked it as well, but some were not fans.. I’ve never had pepperocini before, so I think that gave it a taste that we weren’t used to.. kind of a smoky/sultry taste? I don’t know. I’m not good with descriptive words, but it gave it a different taste, and I think that was what turned some of my siblings away from it.
I will make it again, but I won’t use the pepperocini (it’s just what I had on hand).

I also wanted to make some cupcakes, not just any cupcakes, paleo cupcakes. I just got a box of coconut flour (which I love) so I wanted to test it out in some cupcakes. After some more google searching I found this recipe on one of my new favorite blogs, PetiteAthleat. 

Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes  makes 6-7 cupcakes   (I doubled the recipe. There were more than 7 of us)

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 whole egg

6 tablespoons egg whites

Dash of vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup Almond Breeze, Coconut Milk, water, etc.


In a medium bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.

In a large bowl, whip together eggs, oil and honey until frothy. This will help keep the muffins light and allow them to rise.

Fold in the dry ingredients.

Line a cupcake pan with tin cupcake liners and fill a little less than half full.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Cool and serve with “Buttercream” frosting.


Buttercream frosting

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1/2 cup coconut oil

pinch of sea salt

dash of vanilla extract


In a small bowl, place everything together and microwave for 30 second increments, stirring often. It should take about 1:30-2 minutes. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden, then whip frosting with a hand blender until thick and fluffy. Or, leave it all messy and melty if you like it more like a ganache.


Verdict: Once again, I really liked them; They are different than regular cupcakes. Not as moist, but still really good in my opinion. One problem I ran into: The icing was melting so I stuck them in the fridge. When I took them out at dessert time they were hard as rocks… They tasted even more dry when they were that cold & hard. Chris confessed that he wasn’t a fan….. until I got home from work on Monday and he told me that he had eaten two and that they were “MUCH BETTER” when they weren’t “frozen.” So, lesson learned. Take them out of the fridge in time for them to de-thaw. oops.

side note: the batter is really thick, and not like cupcake batter at all. I used a spoon to scoop out the batter and plop it down in the tin cupcake liners. Mine also didn’t rise as much as I would have liked… maybe I didn’t whip the eggs long enough..



mom bday collage

Just a few pictures from Sunday:
1. My Mom just got a new John Deer, she took my oldest niece for a ride around the year.
2. My youngest niece, Cali, was not amused by the 4-wheeler. She wanted off.
3. My nephew, Aidyn, LOVES the 4 wheeler. He’s ready to ride. It’s actually a kids 4 wheeler so he rides it by himself all around the pasture.
4. Safety first, got to have ear protection when we are out shooting.

Team Git cha’ some

Happy Tuesday, Y’all.

4 more days until a 3 day weekend (I hope). I’m not 100% sure I’ll be off on Memorial Day. More than likely, but I haven’t talked to the DR. about it yet.


After the Tri-Relay on Sunday morning I said goodbye to Carolyn and headed over to the marina where my Dad keeps his boat. When I got to the marina I met up with Chris, my Dad, my baby sister Alli, my sister Stacey, and her boyfriend Jeremy. We headed to SweetBay to grab some lunch, and then out for a fun day of fishing!


The weather was beautiful! It was a little windy in Tampa Bay, but the water wasn’t to choppy so we weren’t getting slammed around to hard.


The Skyway Bridge

Chris fishin’ for bait fish with a sabiki rig

We headed out about 25 miles off shore. We went out of Tampa Bay, under the Skyway and then headed out. I have no idea where we were, but that really doesn’t matter any how. What matters is that we had a great time and caught a lot of fish.

The wind died down once we got off shore, and the ocean was calm and flat. This is good and bad. When it’s a little windy it’s cooler, when there is no wind it’s hot as heck and it feels like you are melting. I love swimming in the ocean, but swimming in 80ft of water is a little scary. It’s dark, and you can’t see the toothy critters that are swimming around you.


If you are offended by fish being caught, or dead fish. You should stop reading now. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


See Chris’ hand holding the rod in the back. Ha Ha

We weren’t fishing for any specific. Just fishing for anything that would bite. We also can’t keep everything that we catch. There are size limits, and also limits on how many of each fish species you can keep. Not on all fish, but most fish. Right now there is a lot of talk about grouper limitations. I won’t go into detail. I know I’d lose most of you at the words “Gag Grouper”.

We were catching mostly red groupers, and grunt. We caught one gag grouper, and he was definitely released. Most of the red grouper were released, but we kept the grunt(s).



No Chris holding the rod this time. I reeled in that mac daddy all by myself.

jena grouper 12

Oh yah! 26 inch red grouper!

jena grouper

It was a long day of fishing but I loved every second of it. It’s nice to spend quality time with the family. When you are stuck on a 28 ft boat together you will find some way to entertain each other, trust me, it get’s interesting.


The Sunday events did not end with the fishing trip; Chris drove his motorcycle to the marina since I was already in Tampa w/ Carolyn. Since he was on the bike, and I was in my car I followed him home. I’m a gigantic worry-wart and the idea of him driving at night on his bike freaks me out.. (even though it’s dark when he leaves for work in the morning..I pretend it’s light out when he leaves for work.)

We were not even out of Tampa yet when Chris pulled over on the side of the Suncoast Pkwy and shut his bike off. I thought he was just pulling over to get cash out of his pocket, because the Suncoast is a toll road. He had stopped right in front of the toll booth.

He got off his bike, walked over to my car and said, “We have a problem.” Yah, that’s just what I want to hear @ 9:15pm on a Sunday night an hour away from home… Something happened to his throttle cable and his bike would start back up. awesomesauce.

2.5hrs later one of his friends was able to come get his back and trailer it to their work. It was 1:30am when we rolled into the house.. Remember how I got up at 4am. Longest.day.of.my.life!!!!!


i live for the weekends


everybody dies, but not everybody lives

Live your life, it was made for living, not for sitting on the sidelines watching it pass you by.