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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

National Quartet Convention 2014 Pigeon Forge TN

Hi neighbors!

We are going to be spending the next several days telling you all about the National Quartet Convention 2014 that was held in Pigeon Forge TN.  Let me tell you up front we had a GREAT time.  The weather was good all week long.

Before I get started about the week I want to take a moment to address an issue.  Throughout the week we heard some griping and complaining about the new venue.  Prior to this year the convention had been held in Louisville KY.  The complaints were:
1. The seats were all on level not slanted or with steps.
2. It was too hot.
3. There were a few complaints about the food.
Now, let me add that in previous years in Louisville, there were complaints of the steps to the seats, it was too cold and of course some complaints about the food.  There were a few issues the first few days due to so many people converging on the Leconte Center all at once.  The issues were handled quickly and efficiently.  They stepped in and I have a feeling next year will be even better.  I am looking forward to 2015.

What were a few of the conveniences?  I personally loved the setting.   This is of course my opinion, but the Smoky Mountains looked beautiful in the background.  The trolley service to and from the Leconte Center was great for my daughters because they were able to come and go as they had need.  There was so much in the area to do in our free time.  Pigeon Forge plug here...The restaurants right nearby were varied and served some of the best southern food.  We will have a couple reviews later of a couple we went to.

Another thing you will be seeing over the next several days are some interviews my daughter did  while at the convention.  She managed to ask several unique questions and had fun recording her interviews.  We are going to call these Moments with Mercy!  Start making your plans to attend the National Quartet Convention 2015.  My daughters are already making plans.

We still have one more day traveling and we will be back to our regular posting schedule.  Thank you for your patience while we were on this trip. Be sure to stop in soon!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Ripley's Aquarium Gatlinburg TN!

2 of my daughters! 


Hey neighbors!

As you well know, we are presently in Pigeon Forge for the National Quartet Convention.  While here we are visiting a few of the attractions.  So, after breakfast this morning we headed out to Gatlinburg to visit the Ripley's Aquarium.

We loved it!  There is a parking area directly behind the Aquarium.  I like the setup where you can set your own pace as you work your way through the building.  The whole group of us, my husband, 4 daughters and myself, wandered through the displays watching fish, reading the information plaques, and discussing what we were seeing.  I kept hearing cries of, "Look at these!"




We started in the Amazon RainForest.   The waterfall they have is gorgeous!  I was very interested in the piranhas.  It was amazing to watch the video where they devoured a carcass in seconds.  Looking at the swimming in the tank it was hard to believe that they could be so frenzied.  We also saw some Poison Dart Frogs.  I think my daughters would like to have a display of these in our home.  They loved the brilliantly colored frogs.




In the Ocean Realm we watched the Schooling Fish that seemed to swarm all in the same direction.  Of course after stating this, there was one rebel that swam back in the opposite direction of all the others.  The Flounder were so difficult to find.  At first all you could see were their eyes moving.  Watch the video clip below and see how long it takes you to find one!



video


Here are just a couple of fun facts, regarding the Ripley's Aquarium:
  • The Aquarium has 1.4 million gallons of water in its exhibits. Water travels throughout the building in over 40 miles of pipe – more than the distance from Gatlinburg to Knoxville.
  • Shark Lagoon is 750,000 gallons of water. The state of the art filtration system for Shark Lagoon circulates 11,664,000 gallons of water every 24 hours.
The Coral Reef was ablaze in colors.  Fish of brilliant yellows and blues were seen here.  Just about every color of the rainbow can be found as you explore this section of the Aquarium.



I think most everyone enjoyed walking through the Shark Lagoon.  Here you are completely surrounded by aquarium.  You can watch sharks, stingrays and saw fish swim above you.  You feel like you are actually close to these fish.  While we were there a few employees were inside cleaning the rocks and such in the tank. Two cleaned while two others used poles to keep the sharks away.  They did not need to keep them away because they were hungry, or trying to attack, but because they were curious.  I can see how having a shark bumping into you could slow you down!



Discovery Center is an area where children, and adults can explore.  We were able to touch a horseshoe crab.  There are some other hands-on displays in this section of the Aquarium.  My daughter had her picture taken as a deep sea diver.




Gallery of the Seas is another very colorful display of unique, beautiful and sometimes deadly sea creatures.  Loved the Sea Nettles, more commonly called Jellyfish.  Watching them flow as they moved is actually quite soothing.  I enjoyed watching as they seem to just flow from place to place.  A neat little fact about them is, they are 99% water!




video


Stingray Bay was very interesting.  We learned from one of the employees that a stingray's tail has barbs that are slanted backwards, and that they do more damage being pulled out than going in.  The next area is designed to allow you to touch a Stingray.  They are sort of rubbery and almost slimy to the touch.  Only one or two swam close enough to the edge for us to touch.



One of the last areas we explored was the Penguin Playhouse.  I think penguins are adorable.  Watching them is so much fun.  They have an area where children can crawl through a tunnel and pop up and appear to be in with the penguins.  Extremely flexible adults can do this too!  Two penguins stood right next to my daughter and appeared to be posing.





We all enjoyed our time at the Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg.  Be sure to visit when you are in the area.  When you purchase your tickets you can also add some of the other Ripley Attractions.  We will be posting about some of them later next week.  So be sure to stop back in!

video

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

#NQC2014 Pigeon Forge Update

Hey neighbors!

Well, we left Sunday morning and arrived here in Pigeon Forge yesterday afternoon.  We had just enough time to grab a bite to eat at Tony Gore's BBQ.  It was super!  After checking in we headed to the National Quartet Convention.  We arrived in time for the ribbon cutting ceremony.  See the picture below, provided by the National Quartet Convention.  The singing was super last night.  My four daughters went to the devotional time this morning, that was lead by Greater Vision.


Here are a couple of pictures from last night, courtesy of the National Quartet Convention.

Triumphant Quartet!  One of our favorite groups, not to mention we consider them friends.

The Perrys! Great to see both Tracy and Libby!
While they were there, my husband and I had a few errands to run.  While out and about I managed to snap a few pictures of the Smoky Mountain foothills.  Look at these pictures.







We all met for lunch at Western Sizzlin' Wood Grill Buffet.  This has to be the largest buffet I have ever seen.  They have two small separate rooms for the salad bar and desserts.  The hot bar runs the entire length of the main building.  The price is $10.99 for adults, but we had a coupon for $1 off each person.  You would not believe the amount of food they had.

Salad Bar in a separate room.


The hot bar seems to go forever.

Ham, Roast Beef....

Just a portion of the hot bar.

Dessert Room!


Look at the length of the hot bar!


NQC again tonight.  Tomorrow we will be visiting the Aquarium and a few other sites in Gatlinburg. I will try to keep you posted this week as to what we are doing.  We are of course taking a break from our regular posting.  Also if you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you will see some extra photos and information.

Thanks for stopping in!  See you soon!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Tiny Prints Free Mug Offer!

Hey Neighbors!



Tiny Prints Free Mug

Offer expires 9/21/14 at 11:59 pm (PT). Get one (1) free mug using the code MUGSEP14 at checkout. There is no minimum purchase required for this promotion. Offer is not applicable to previously placed orders, shipping, taxes, rush processing charges, or greeting cards. This promotion code cannot be combined with other offers. Offer is only valid on Tiny Prints and is not applicable to third party or partner websites. To prevent fraud or abuse, we reserve the right to discontinue or modify this offer or cancel any order.

Enjoy!  Thanks for stopping by!



Friday, September 19, 2014

We're Serving Breakfast For Dinner!! #FoodieFriday #Recipe

Welcome to another installment of Foodie Friday! I must admit, I'm having fun with this; food is one of my favorite things to write about, because I love making it. Oh yes, and I also enjoy eating it. :)

Today I thought I'd share a recipe for Overnight French Toast with Caramel-Pecan Topping. Think pecan pie filling served on top of french toast!
Earlier this week I made "breakfast for dinner" and it was a huge hit. Even a certain family member - who shall remain unnamed - said that he wasn't excited about the meal when I mentioned it was breakfast foods, but he really enjoyed it! In fact, he had 3 helpings of the meal! So, let's get started...



Overnight French Toast With Caramel-Pecan Topping
Topping Ingredients:
1 cup Brown Sugar
6 T Butter
1/3 cup Whipping Cream
1-1/1 T Lite Corn Syrup
1/2 cup Chopped Pecans

French Toast Ingredients:
3 Eggs
1/2 cup Milk
1-1/2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 loaf French Bread, cut into 1/2 - 1 inch slices (you will need 8-10 slices).

Grease a 10x15 pan. Mix all topping ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat. Cook until butter is melted and mixture is smooth-do NOT let it boil! Pour into baking pan.

In a shallow dish, mix eggs, milk and vanilla. Dip bread into egg mixture; coat both sides. Place bread over topping in pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (Or, if you're doing this for dinner, prepare in the morning and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.)
Bake at 400ยบ for 15-20 minutes, until toast is golden brown. Let stand 3-5 minutes. Place a large platter over the top of pan, and invert platter and baking dish, so the topping is on top of french toast. Pour any extra topping over the toast. Serve immediately.



Yes, this is delicious! Like, I-know-I-should-only-eat-one-piece-but-it's-so-good-I'm-eating-two! If-and that's a big if-you have any leftovers, simply cover and refrigerate, then reheat in the microwave. For dinner, I also served an egg souffle, but you could pair the french toast with any number of egg dishes. 



If you try the overnight french toast, leave a comment and tell me how you liked it!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

K'NEX 52 Model Building Set



Hey neighbors!

This is so neat!  I received a K'NEX 52 Model set (618 pieces) for review.  If you are a homeschooler, please keep reading.  If you have children, please keep reading!  This set is so much fun!



The 52 Model set is designed for children ages 7 and up.  It comes in one of their red plastic containers.  The thing I like most though is that it comes with 52 different models shown for your child to build, one a week!  Now of course most children I know will be able to build the smaller models much quicker than that.




My daughter and I built the Hummingbird, pretty easy, and then the dinosaur, a bit more difficult.  The model is divided into sections and you work on one section at a time.  Just look at the pictures and follow along.  It was pretty easy.


K'NEX have always been a favorite in our home.  It really comes in handy on a rainy or cold day when you need the children to settle down to some quiet play.  Although this set has 52 models to build, obviously imagination can take over and they can design their own models.




Be sure to follow K'NEX on their social media sites as they often have contests going on and it will allow you to stay on top of new products.  Facebook - HERE  Twitter - HERE  Pinterest - HERE 



For homeschoolers, be sure to check out their K'NEX Education page.  They have science projects and Sample Lesson Plans.  They have lessons from first grade through twelfth grade.



One neighbors will receive a K'NEX 52 Model Set, just like mine!  Hurry up and enter!  Thank you for stopping by today.  See you soon!




Disclosure: I received no monetary compensation for this post.  I did receive product for review purposes.  All quotes in red are taken from the sponsor's email or website.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.