Road Trip Essentials with Kids + Road Trip Check List

12:19 AM
Traveling with kids can be headache.
The girls are at the age that we really enjoy traveling with them.
But one of the reasons its enjoyable is planning ahead & being prepared.

Before you leave for any road trip in the car make sure your car is ready to go. I promise it will make a huge diffrence.

- Clean out your car

Empty it all out & vacuum everything out. I promise it makes a difference.

- Check air pressure & oil

Make sure the outsides are just as taken care of as the inside! Finish off any fluids  & make sure you have a battery pack or jumper cables with you! I hope you have a emergency car kit, if not I highly suggest getting one to have for everyday travel in the car not just for a road trip!

- Update your GPS or GPS apps

Waze is my favorite GPS app. I don't travel without having it on my phone!

This isn't a requirement. But it always helps ;)

- Chargers

 Grab all the chargers you will need. I love this one to plug more than one device in. Make sure you charge up all devices the night before!


I keep this little pop up trash bin in my car in all times, its perfect for road trips! When you don't need it, it collapse for easy storage!

- Portable Potty

if you have little ones you know that they have to go at the most inconvenient times. & sometimes the exit that is closest doesn't have a gas station or the it isn't safe or clean to take them in. This thing has come in handy I don't know how many times with the girls on trips! I always keep it in the trunk!


-Stock up on snacks

I would like to say we pack all healthy snacks, & while most are some what. What makes a road trip, a road trip is the road trip snacks, amirite?! Everyone needs some jerky & pringles! I like to put it all in a basket for easy grabbing & keeping it all contained!

- DVD's

If you have a DVD player bring some along. I highly recommend something that is a multi feature. It so nice to have more than one movie on one disc or a series from a show. I really like stopping by Cracker Barrel & picking up movies there. The girls love Little House on the Prarie, old school Duck Tales & Chip & Dale. This road trip I got the Herbie the Love Bug series. It was a hit! If you are watching anything on iPads make sure everything is downloaded before you hit the road!

- Blankets & Loveys

Make sure you have blankets & their personal comfort item.

- Things to do

Part of things going smoothly is keeping them occupied! I try to get everything without them knowing, so everything is surprise when they get in the car.

Here are our faves:

The cookie tray is for them to use as a tray! Its great for eating & for when they are coloring it catches anything from falling! I also keep wipes, & paper towels in there!

9. Books
11. iPads

What to do in Gatlinburg Tennessee with your Family

9:45 PM
We just got back from Gatlinburg for Kennedy's dance nationals, but while we were there we did a little vacation, trying to do as much as we could as family while there.

We had so much fun, & already planning a trip back so we can do more without breaks for dancing. & get a cabin next time. We needed to be close to the convention center, so we got a hotel in town so it was within walking distance.
I was so pleasantly surprised on how much there was to do with young children. I was little nervous.

My biggest thing I didn't like for kids, & mostly Kennedy as she is allergic, was walking down the main strip was the smoking. I really feel like everyone smokes down there. It was every other person. It made it difficult, but it won't keep us from coming back again. Just will make sure I have her inhaler on me rather than back in the room!

1. The Strip

Besides the smoking, we had so much fun just walking up & down the main drag downtown. There are little alley ways that have such fun shops & places to get snacks! The girls loved looking around the candy store!
We loved this "gem mine" store, where you could sift through buckets of dirt to find gems. The girls couldn't get enough of it & thought it was the coolest!

2. Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

I can't say enough good things about this place. Brandon & I went while I was pregnant with Kensley, I knew I couldn't wait to come back with both the girls. It is SO kid-friendly. & lots of stuff that is hands on. The girls loves the "tube" where the fishes swim all around you. & feeding & touching the stingrays! I really can't recommend this place enough!

You really can't go wrong going anywhere in the park! We really wanted to make our way up to Cades Cove, but ran out of time! On a suggestion for a friend, we went to the Chimneys Trail Head
I wish I got more photos here, but I slipped on a rock & busted my knee pretty bad. The girls swam in the water & had a absolute blast! This is great with little ones, because there really isn't much of a hike at all, you walk over a bridge & you see all the beauty! If you go during the summer months, pack swimsuits for the kids! Just watch out for slippery rocks ;)

4. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

This trail is amazing. It is a one way motor trail, meaning you drive the trail. It has stop offs, what seems like every few feet to stop & walk around. Nature seriously closes in around you & the beauty of this trail is beyond words. There is two falls you can hike to. Rainbow & Grotto. We choose Grotto Falls, because it was the shortest & most easy for the girls. Turns out I needed to be more worried about myself. The trail to the falls 1.4 miles, & very much at a incline about the whole way. We were going against the clock so it didn't get dark on us. I think we would have had a much more pleasant experience if had taken time. So I suggest that. The waterfall makes it so worth it. It is the only waterfall that you can you go behind. It is so beautiful. The girls haven't stopped talking about it. We also saw 1 possibly 2 bears! We are unsure if the second was the same bear we saw the first time or a different one!

Grotto Falls

5. The Dixie Stampede

This is such a fun dinner show! My girls loves the horses & the show in general!
Just a FYI if you find it maybe a issue for you little ones, or you. This dinner show does not use any silverware. The soup you drink from a bowl & the rest with your fingers. My girls loved it. The food wasn't exactly their favorite but Brandon & I enjoyed it! We all couldn't get enough of the creamy vegetable soup! It was mouthwatering! The show is very entertaining! The girls might have enjoyed the food more if they had paid attention to eating more ha! They couldn't keep their eyes off the show! If you buy your tickets ahead, which I suggest. Make sure you stop by the ticket box to pick up your physical tickets before getting in line! We didn't know this & stood in line forever only to be told to go get our actual tickets & get back in line! What a pain! 

& there you have it!
I cant wait to add more to list! What is your favorite thing to do Gatlinburg? Let me know so I can add it to our list for our next visit!

Watch our trip video below!

Strawberry Freezer Jam

9:39 PM
Our summer has been pretty laid back this year. Its been wonderful. But until nationals is over, dance is still a almost every day thing. & since it is, somehow strawberry season came & went without me even realizing it. I went to go to our usual place; & everyone was done for the season. 

I asked my friends on facebook, & we found a place. It was a little bit more of a drive than I was hoping but it was SO worth it. The grounds were amazing, the family was nice I wanted to take them home & it was the perfect weather.

We ended up with around, 9 lbs of strawberries!
The girls will easily eat all 9 lbs of them. ha!
But they can go bad rather quickly, so I love making strawberry jam!
I don't really have the time to jar things, but freezer jam I can do!
Its super simple, & quick! & I love the idea of this jam being made by us with no outside dyes ect.
& holy heck is it delicious!!

freezer jam

Strawberry Freezer Jam

yields 4 half pints

2 quarts fresh strawberries {about 3 1/3 cups when mashed{
1 1/3 cup sugar
4 tbsp Ball RealFruit Instant Pectin

First, wash your berries. Then, you want to mash up your Strawberries. You can either do this with something like a potato masher for a chunkier jam or in the blender for a smoother jam.

Second, you mix the sugar & pectin in a seperate bowl. Then, add to the strawberry mixture.
Then, you mix them all together for about 3 minutes. I have the girls take turns because I have a small attention span & get bored! LOL

Third, You ladle them into your jars! Make sure you leave some room at the top!

I let mine stand for about 15-30 minutes with out the lids on before I get settled before I freeze!
& there you have it!
I told you so simple!!

freezer jam

Here are some questions I got on my Instagram today!

How long does freezer jam keep?

In the freezer jam can be kept up to a year! When its in the fridge, it keeps about 4-6 weeks!

What do you store them in?

I use just a glass ball jar, but you can use any freezer safe container!

Do you have to use strawberries freshly picked?

No! I like picking them mostly because of the experience, & it is cheaper {in my experience} to pick & pay per pound at a farm rather than the store. But, you can use store bought & get the same result! Just make sure they are ripe!

About Me

Welcome Friends!
I am Tara. I am a wanna be southern momma, stuck in the Midwest. Huge Disney lover. I love a huge bow & all things Farmhouse style. Frequent user of "Ya'll" Grab a cup off coffee & stay awhile!