A few weeks ago, I had done my meal planning, and had bought all the ingredients for my Enchilada Casserole recipe. The night that I was supposed to make it, I was completely exhausted, but didn’t really want to order a pizza.
So, as I like to do sometimes, I made up something new. Thankfully, it worked and it was just as good as it is the other way. My favorite part about cooking it this way is that I only get one pan dirty, and I am not doing dishes all night. (Have I mentioned how much I hate doing dishes?)
Spring Break is next week here in Nashville, and I have been planning ideas for how I am going to keep my kids entertained.
First, we are going to college!
This coming weekend, we are traveling to Harding University to visit our oldest daughter for Spring Sing. It is a huge deal at her school, and she is really excited for us to come experience it. This means that we will be spending Easter out of town for the first time since we moved away to Virginia a few years ago. Only this time, the Easter Bunny is coming to a hotel room. This should be fun!
We are coming back Sunday night and I am trying to plan some fun things for the kids for the rest of the week. Since I am already on the hunt for things to do, I thought I could save you the trouble and share what I find here with you!
Now, Spring Break in Nashville can go one of two ways, it is either beautiful weather or Spring has decided it isn’t quite ready to be with us yet, and it’s miserable. So I am looking for back up indoor plans too!
Here are my outdoor picks:
Bicentennial Mall State Park – this is one of my favorite parks here in Nashville. It is quiet, and there is plenty of room to run around. The amphitheatre is great for sitting, playing with toys or a picnic. (Bonus points for the splash pad that is open for the summer)
The park is also right next to the Nashville Farmer’s Market, which is really fun to take the kids too as well. They usually have some vendors there every day and inside there are a bunch of cool places to eat, including crepes and ice cream.
On the other side of the river close to Nissan Stadium is Cumberland Park. This park has a couple of different play areas (including a splash pad), a climbing wall, and a sand area. There is plenty of room to eat a picnic lunch. Also, if you feel comfortable you can walk your kids down to the river and let them throw some rocks.
Our family has a membership to the Nashville Zoo , so that is always a great option. We have a pass that includes my parents and all the grandchildren, so we can also bring some friends along. Walking the entire zoo can be a little bit much for my kids sometimes, but we often go just to play on the giant playground. It is huge, so be prepared to have to go looking for your kids. But, my kids love, love, love this place.
If your kids are into hiking, take them to Radnor Lake and make an adventure of it. Pack a picnic lunch, and go check out the trails and the lake. There is also an aviary with owls and bald eagles you can hike to. There is a trail map on the website, if you want to plan ahead.
Plan ahead for some fun at home and order some sidewalk chalk at Crayola. They have some cool sets including Minions! Through April 2nd there is a deal for National Crayon Day – Free Box of 24 count Crayons with $10+ Order with code AFFRBOX18.
Here are my Indoor picks:
The Frist Center is free for anyone under 18. It is $12 for adults and if you are a mom who happens to be a college student, like myself, it is $9. I have always wanted to check this place out, so I am excited to put it on my list of things to do.
Laser Quest is a fun indoor option and right now Living Social has a discount deal. We took my youngest two a few weeks ago and had a lot of fun. Then, we ate at the Old Spaghetti factory down the street. Afterward, we found a candy/ice cream shop on Broadway and let the kids pick out a couple of things.
Another cool local place is Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum. I have never been, but it looks like it would be fun and that the kids would find it interesting. Living Social has a discount for here as well!
Now, I know it is Spring Break, and you are probably ready for warm temperatures, but I have to mention Centennial Sportsplex’s Ice Rink. The admission is not bad, and my kids love to go. They do have the skating trainer’s that you can rent for your child. If you are more into swimming, they also have an indoor pool on the other side!
I am sure that there are many more ideas, but I really wanted to include ones that were on the more affordable side. What do you love to do in Nashville? I would love to see your comments here or on Facebook! And if you don’t live in Nashville, you might think about a cheap summer trip!
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One of my kids favorite meals is when we have dinner for breakfast.
I love breakfast foods, but I am not a big breakfast eater, so breakfast for dinner is perfect for me! The only problem is that when you make eggs, bacon, hash browns and biscuits, you wind up with a bunch of dirty dishes. So I really wanted to try something a little less messy.
One thing that we all love is French toast, and a few years ago I found some recipes for Baked French Toast. I am really bad about finding recipes and then losing them, so I made up one of my own. It is always a hit at our house! The only complaint I get is that I didn’t make enough.
This is a great meal to have your kids help with.
My daughter helped me make it last night and really enjoyed it. This is also a one pan dinner, which makes it even more of a breeze.
A few weeks ago, Josh and I celebrated 19 years of marriage. It seems like a long time, and honestly it feels like a long time. We have been through so much together.
I decided that it was time to plan something fun for us to do. I thought I was thinking small by wanting to get a hotel for one night here in Nashville. Well…. the downside to being the it city is that hotel costs are outrageous. I’m talking $400 per night outrageous. So that was a big fat no!
I called my mom to see if she would brainstorm a fun cheap idea with me, and she mentioned that she had plenty of airline points to spare. So, we started looking up the cheapest places to fly. Vegas? Too many points. New York? Still too many points.
I began to get a little discouraged, and then a lightbulb went off! Orlando! We had leftover tickets to Universal from the hurricane two years ago, so we could do that basically for free. (Well, prepaid.) The flights were just the right amount of points and I found a hotel for really cheap. (Side note: Maybe spend a little more on the hotel next time.)
So in a matter of an hour, I went from one night in Nashville to two nights in Orlando. I was ecstatic, because I knew that Josh and I needed a little time away together. We have both been really exhausted and burnt out, and we needed to be able to connect. So this was really a huge blessing for us.
Other than the tiny hotel room, we had so much fun. We were just amazed for the first couple of hours that we actually were going to have two days with no kids. I can’t remember the last time that happened. We rode a huge roller coaster together, which was terrifying, but fun. We walked around holding hands and reveled in the fact that it wasn’t our kids that were crying or complaining!
My only complaint is that our vacation was way too short! But even though that was all that we had time for(Could afford!), I am so grateful that we were able to get away. It was refreshing for both of us, and some much needed alone time.
Now that we finally got away for a few days, I can’t wait until we are able to do something again. I am thinking next time it needs to be a beach trip!
Back in the fall, Josh and I finally decided that we were going to join a small group at our church.
We really don’t love to give up our relaxation time in the evenings, so this was kind of a big deal for us. We were also both really apprehensive about joining a group where we knew absolutely no one. The first night we walked in we were both pretty nervous. But, we ended up really liking everyone in our group, and feeling like we had done something positive for our marriage.
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We started to notice a theme as we discussed our lives and how we were creating spiritual intimacy in our marriage.
One word that kept coming up was Intentional. Josh and I really had to take a hard look and realize that we weren’t being very intentional anymore about worshiping and praying together outside of church. Josh and I are really close, but there is something about a couple praying together that creates a closeness that you will only find in those moments together.
It is really easy to go through the day and kiss each other goodnight and go to bed, but you have to be intentional about saying “Let’s pray together.” This is not always easy to do, especially when you are exhausted after work and kids activities all day long.
We decided that we would start reading a couples devotional together. The readings are short and we try to dscuss them in the mornings. We do not always succeed at this, and that is okay. But, what we are doing is creating an intentional practice in our marriage that we hope to become a habit in our marriage.
You can learn so much from other couples.
Josh and I just celebrated 19 years of marriage, and we have been married longer than anyone in our group. So we naturally thought that we might have more insight than some of the other couples. In many areas we do, but we have discovered that we can learn so much from other couples. Even couples who have been married for half the time that we have.
So I would encourage you to find other couples or a small group to be in. It has been really good for us as a couple and gotten us out of our comfort zone and brought some new ideas and aspects into our marriage. It has reminded us to be Intentional with each other in our marriage.
If you are in a point of your marriage where you don’t think your spouse would even go to church or a group with you, here is a book that I read a few years ago. This book worked on my heart in a way that really began to change my marriage: The Power of a Praying® Wife
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Every year, I make a big St. Patrick’s Day meal. No, I am not Irish, I am also not Jewish, but that does not stop me from making a Hanukkah meal every year either. I really don’t know why,but maybe I just like themed meals. What I do know is that I love corned beef, but it is a bit pricey, so I don’t buy it very often! But right around St. Patrick’s Day, it is always on sale, so a while back I decided I was going to try cooking my own.
I went to the store and found the corned beef, cabbage and potatoes. As an added bonus, Publix carries Kerrygold Garlic and Herb butter.(which is Irish butter, if you didn’t know) I grabbed some of that and some Pepperidge Farm Pumpernickel bread. I wasn’t entirely sure how to cook corned beef, but from my experience those larger cuts of meat are ALWAYS better cooked slowly. So, I started searching the internet for Crock Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage recipes.
For the bread, toast it in a toaster and spread the butter on. Oh my goodness, it is so, so good! Don’t skip this part, you will love it!
So as you can see from above this is not a last minute kind of meal, you need to plan ahead and get this going in the morning. But lucky for you, St. Patrick’s Day is on Saturday this year! Have you ever made a St. Patrick’s Day meal before? If you decide to try it out this year, leave a comment and let me know how it goes!