Friday Funnies

I’m about to be brutally honest. I have writers block and a lot of laundry calling my name. I’m in the beginning stages of preparing my home to be put on the market so I’m cleaning up and throwing things out. In all honesty, getting my house sale ready is consuming my thoughts.  As I’ve sat here in front of the computer thinking of something to share with you I keep coming up empty handed. So, I decided to provide you with a few laughs. Who couldn’t use that, right!?

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And Now:

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I hope you enjoyed! Have a great weekend!

Motherhood: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

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I had a very rough mommy day yesterday. There’s no other way to say it. In fact the past few days have been a little rough in my home. My daughter is going through a phase (oh man, I REALLY hope it’s just a phase) of extreme whining. She’s trying her limits and really wants to be able to get the things she wants from whining. It starts as a low whine and then builds to a full on tantrum. I know all kids do this, she is not abnormal, but I am working diligently to teach her there are better ways to get what her heart desires. This is a struggle for me. My patience is wearing thin. I’ve wanted to snap. And you know what? That’s ok!

I recently received an unexpected Facebook message from a friend I’ve had since I was a teenager. In the message she thanked me for sharing both the good and the bad parts of my parenting journey on Facebook. She said that she is often bothered by how people only ever post about their good times, making it appear as though their lives are perfect. This message came as a result of a picture I posted of my 16 month old daughter with the ring to her toilet around her head. I was so touched by her thoughtfulness, but it also made me think; all too often we are afraid to say that we don’t have it all together. If we admit that our children are driving us crazy then we must not be thankful enough for them. Wrong! Our children drive us mad because we do care so much for them. We wouldn’t even be bothered by their antics if we didn’t love them so. Anyway, as a result of that message I’ve decided to share a short list of the things that aren’t perfect in my house and these are all just within the last week.

  • One day I had to clean poop out of the floor…… twice! Yes we have two dogs, no they weren’t to blame.
  •  I’ve cleaned up at least 10 puddles of pee in the past week. You’re judging me aren’t you? Ok stop! We’re working on learning to use the potty here!
  • Yesterday baby refused to nap. After two failed napping attempts she fell asleep in my arms. While I should have stared at her cherubic little face and breathed in her smell, I sat and cried because holding her through her nap meant I’d missed my only opportunity for a shower until her Daddy came home.
  • Since my patience is wearing thin, I’ve had to stop myself from shouting at baby more than once this week.
  •  Yesterday I strapped baby in her car seat and went for a drive. I needed out of the house as the walls were closing in. I ended up at McDonald’s and ate my emotions instead of dealing with them.
  • There’s barely a spare inch of carpet visible in our play room right now. It’s a wreck. And cleaning it up feels pointless because for every one thing I pick up, another gets pulled out.

Do these things make me a bad mom? I really sincerely hope not. Instead I think these things make me real. My life is not even close to perfect. Parenting is hard work! It’s a learning process. It’s ok to have bad days, it’s ok to go for a drive and eat garbage every now again. Why is it ok? Because we are real people with real limits. Becoming frustrated with our children doesn’t lessen our love for them. Becoming annoyed with our children doesn’t make us less thankful for them. We live in a world with high expectations. I think people need to hear that we are all struggling. We all have “cleaning poop off the floor for the second time” days. In my opinion, I think that’s why God made kids so darn cute. Their sweet little cheeks and giggly sounds soften us even on the hardest of days. So don’t be so hard on yourself. If you love your kids and they know it, then you’re doing a good job already! And lastly, when you catch yourself crying because all you want to do is take a shower, remember you are one of a billion smelly mamas before you who have shed tears over the very same thing.

Smoky Mountain Opry Christmas Show

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This past weekend my husband and I had a little getaway. We left our daughter in the care of her grandparents and spent Saturday and Sunday in Pigeon Forge, TN. We’ve both been there numerous times in our lives and as such we usually end up feeling like we’ve already done it all and seen it all. So as we were wracking our brains for something Christmas themed to do, we passed a billboard advertising the Smoky Mountain Opry Christmas show. We felt pretty confident that the show would already be sold out, but just to be certain I called the ticket office and to our surprise they had two seats available for us.  So we purchased them on a hope and a prayer that it would actually be entertaining and worth the money.

It was! I absolutely recommend that anyone in the Smoky Mountain area visit this theater during the holiday season. From the second you drive up to the building you are greeted with the Christmas spirit all around. The grounds are decorated beautifully! There are giant evergreens covered in beautiful lights and a nativity scene set up in front of the entrance. Upon entering the building you are warmly greeted and they put extra effort into keeping the crowd occupied while waiting to enter the auditorium. The walls of the common area are lined with displays of country music memorabilia. Also, the particular night we were there they were showing off one of the big cats used in their regular shows. People could pet the cat and have a photo taken with it as a souvenir. In this same area is the concession bar where you can purchase various candies, popcorn, nachos, drinks and more. The concession items are rather pricey, but that just goes along with the territory of a show of this nature.

When the gates are open to enter the auditorium, each party is stopped to pose for a picture with either Santa Claus or Raggedy Ann and Andy. These pictures are brought out later in the show for purchase if you wish. Then you are ushered in to your seat. My only complaint of the entire show is that the seats are really small. You will be rubbing arms with the person next to you. In fact, my husband sat with his arm around me throughout the entire production in an effort not to be touching the person next to him. We are pretty average sized people, so this should not have been an issue.

Once the show starts it is fun from the very beginning. It begins with a laser light show and includes a juggling act, figure skating, tons of singing, dancing, comedy skits, and more. There is something for everyone in the show! The songs range from more classical Christmas carols to the fun and modern ones we hear more often now. There are constant costume and set changes. It would be impossible to get bored. I really appreciate that the producers of this show put such an effort into making the show a mix of Santa Claus and Jesus’ birth. There is a fun scene with Santa and his workshop that will bring out the child in any adult. Then, there is also a tear jerking scene of the Christmas story of Jesus’ birth that includes cast members flying out through the audience. It is beautiful!

I absolutely recommend that anyone see this show. It is well worth its price and is good clean fun for the whole family. I will certainly be seeing it again sometime. In fact, the Christmas show is such a treat, I’d like to see the regular show as well. If you’re thinking of seeing it, you can find a link to their site below.  If you’re looking for something fun to do, then check it out for sure. It would be virtually impossible to leave the show without feeling in the Christmas Spirit.

http://www.smokymtnopry.com/

Cherry Fluff Dessert

My husband has a skill for springing surprises on me. He’s most notorious for the, “We have to bring a dish.” surprise. It’s not the kind of surprise I enjoy. It is, however, the kind of surprise that leaves me wracking my brain, emptying my pantry, perusing Pinterest, and calling all my go to bakers for advice.  This happened just yesterday when Brian informed me we needed to bring a dessert to the Christmas party we were attending last night. I went into full panic mode. I didn’t have a lot of time. I needed something quick, cheap, easy and I really preferred something that looked festive. I searched Pinterest for an hour or so, but everything I found seemed much too daunting or just wasn’t Christmasy enough.  After searching to no avail, I asked my Mother-in-Law for suggestions and she reminded me of her Cherry Fluff she makes each year for Christmas dinner.  A light bulb went off and I went to the grocery store in search of ingredients. Cherry Fluff was the perfect idea. So, I thought I’d share this recipe with you. It really is by far the easiest dessert I’ve ever made, but what it lacks in time consumption, it more that makes up for in taste. The following is the recipe for Cherry Fluff Dessert. You ready? Don’t blink.

Ingredients:

  • 21 ounces cherry pie filling
  • 8 ounces of Cool Whip
  • 8 ounces of crushed pineapple
  • 14 ounces of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans
  • a few maraschino cherries for decoration
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All of the necessary ingredients for Cherry Fluff Dessert.

Directions:

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1. Mix all of the listed ingredients together in a bowl. The ingredients can be mixed in the bowl you wish to serve it out of, but for purposes of keeping the sides of the bowl neat and clean, I like to mix them in a mixing bowl and then pour it into the serving bowl and flatten out the surface to create a beautiful dish.

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2. Garnish the fluff with maraschino cherries for decoration and then allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.

See. I told you not to blink. As you can see, there really is nothing to this recipe. It simply requires opening a few cans and mixing, but the end result is a light and smooth holiday treat. Throw in a 98 cent green bowl from WalMart and you’ve got a yummy, easy, and very Christmas appropriate dessert. Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is upon us and we at Three Ladies are excited about it!  We have much to be thankful for! Stephany is gearing up for an international move to England soon.  Ashley and her husband are moving into a home they’ve dreamed of getting that has just the amenities they’ve been looking for.  I am planning an extended stay to spend time with those I love the most.  Life is busy and hectic for all of us, but even in our daily breakdowns (and we have many) there is still so much to be thankful for. Among our many blessings are you, our readers. When we started out with this blog we did so because we had things to say and needed a place to put those words. We never dreamed that we would get such a reaction from all of you and that people would come back week after week to read what we have to say. This blog has been a blessing for the three of us, it’s given us an outlet and also been a self esteem booster when we see you are interested in our words.  So, when we count our many blessings this year, we will be adding this blog and all of our many loyal readers to the list.

We have decided to take the week of Thanksgiving off in celebration of the Holiday. We will be back next week and ready to write! I leave you with these fun Thanksgiving facts.  Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from all of us at Three Ladies and Their Babies!

*Three Ladies and Their Babies does not own this image. It can be found at:

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/11/10-interesting-thanksgiving-facts/

Christmas in April?

My mouth is my worst enemy. It has been since I was a child. But if I have something that I think needs to be said, I have to say it. If I don’t, I feel like the words pile up higher and higher in my head until eventually my head is the size of a beach ball that just keeps getting larger until eventually it bursts.  That, coupled with my passion for the things I believe in most, equals a recipe for a girl who pretty much spends her whole life standing on her soap box. Well, again I find myself standing on this box and I have a lot to say. Here goes nothing…Why do you care if people begin to celebrate Christmas before Thanksgiving or Halloween or the Fourth of July for that matter?!

Social media is abuzz with pictures of freshly decorated trees and mistletoe hung in place. After all, ‘tis the season! However, it never fails that some Scrooge will always come along and comment on said picture or status with a gem like, “It’s too early, gotta have turkey first!” or “It’s not even Thanksgiving yet?”  I’ve even seen people who are so passionate about their dislike for premature decorating that they feel compelled to post their own status about it. They usually say something like, “Why can’t people just celebrate each holiday individually?” Again, to this I say, “Why do you care?” I even saw someone who claimed that Christmas should be celebrated in December because that’s the month Jesus was born. I realize that we celebrate his birth on December 25th, but I clearly must have skipped the verse that said he really was born on December 25th.

Why do people feel like it’s a personal attack against them and the pilgrims if I put my tree up on November 1st? It’s not. It’s just how I choose to do things. That doesn’t mean you should. There’s no agency that monitors our homes to be sure we’re partaking in traditional holiday activities on certain dates. (At least I don’t think there is.) You do your thing, I’ll do mine. I’ll admit that around Halloween, when I start to see Christmas items for sale in stores, I always think it’s a bit early, but I don’t have to buy them! It doesn’t offend me if other people choose to. I just see it as a company knowing how to market to their consumers.

I guess what bugs me most about this is that Thanksgiving through Christmas is the happiest time of the year for me. What’s wrong with wanting that happiness to start a little early? I love that people are making a conscious effort to extend the spirit of Christmas in their homes. It’s a happier time. Personally, I think what we all need a little more of is the Christmas spirit all year long. So, if you want to make s’mores, watch the 4th of July fireworks, and then put up your Christmas tree, then DO IT! There’s no reason not to.  In the words of Charles Dickens, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

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Motherhood has taught me…

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Motherhood is the hardest job on the planet. Period. There is no manual or “how to” book. We’re all just going through this journey of parenthood and doing the best we can, day by day. It’s a learning process and from what I hear from more seasoned mothers you are still learning even when your children are grown. So, we at Three Ladies decided it would be fun to poll our readers on this very thing. We asked 22 Mothers to finish this thought: “Motherhood has taught me…” The following are their and our responses:

1. Motherhood has taught me that you need to listen to your own advice most times rather than others. Sometimes only you know what’s right for your baby! ~Taylor Cornell (mother of a one year old.)

2.  Motherhood has taught me to question everything. There is no greater earthly love than that of a mother for her children. I’ve also gained a greater patience and a respect for taking everything one moment at a time (and cherishing each moment for what it is). ~ Cristin Stanley Potter (mother of three kids under the age of 5.)

3. Motherhood has taught me to be patient while they are trying to learn new things. That my house is a home where children live so it will be messy! That your marriage will struggle if you let it. It takes two people to make a baby and two to raise it! ~ Amanda Cooper (Mother of three kids under the age of 5.)

4. Motherhood has taught me to be patient – we’re all so happy when we have time to enjoy each other! It’s taught me flexibility – plans change constantly, especially with a toddler and a newborn! Most importantly, I’ve learned what it truly means to love someone unconditionally. ~Nicole Fravel (Mother of a 3 year old and newborn.)

5. Motherhood has taught me that there isn’t always a right answer. Sometimes you have to go with your gut and hope for the best! ~ Whitney Tackett (Mother of a one year old.)

6. Motherhood has taught me not to ever think that just because you’re a mother, that you don’t make mistakes, and to acknowledge that to your children and ask for forgiveness. They learn what they see and hear. Live your example! ~ Mary Rasnake (Mother of two adult children.)

7. Motherhood has taught me the meaning of unconditional love. With a new baby, I have learned that the unconditional love of a mother multiplies once a second child is born. I assume the more children you have, the more that love multiplies! ~ Brittany Ratliff (Mother of two kids under 4.)

8. Motherhood has taught me that being a good mom is a learn as you go job. And the job doesn’t stop when the kids are grown. ~ Sherry Jacobs (Mother of three adult children, including Three Ladies author, Ashley.)

9. Motherhood has taught me to always trust my inner voice, no matter what. It has taught me that the love of a mother to her child is deeper, stronger, and more unconditional than any other love in this world, and is a glimpse of how God must love us . Most of all, it has taught me the depths of my own strength, courage, and resiliency. ~ Erin Widner (Mother of three children under 5.)

10. Motherhood has taught me devotion, selflessness, unconditional love, a disgust of being puked on, the pain of stepping on a lego/barbie shoe, and a new appreciation of my own mom. ~ Heather Kelly Vanhoose (Mother of two kids under 5.)

11. Motherhood taught me that your children are not you. They are each individual people with their own likes & dislikes, their own ideas. You give them guidance, but in the end you have to allow them to be who they are and accept them no matter what; just love them. One of the best compliments I ever received came from one of my children, it was, “Mom, you have four totally different kids…that’s because you let us!” I loved hearing that. ~ Sherry Hallock (Mother of four adult children.)

12. Motherhood has taught me that it is possible to love someone you’ve never met with every fiber of your being. That from the moment you see that positive test result, your world revolves around someone else entirely and they are all you think about every waking moment, and sometimes even in your dreams. ~Lori Hilton (Mother of one baby boy, who is due to arrive in March.)

13. Motherhood has taught me about unconditional love and selflessness. It has taught me to think…about my every decision. It has taught me my purpose in life. ~Michele Varney (Mother of a two year old and one baby in Heaven.)

14. Motherhood has taught me how to have more patience than I could have ever thought possible and to have unconditional love towards another person. ~ Marietta Daniels (Mother of one adult child.)

15. Motherhood has taught me what unconditional love is all about. Regardless of the trials we face raising our children, and sometimes, the heartaches of worrying about problems they face as adults. They are always my children and I will always worry, sometimes just a little and sometimes a whole lot, and I always want to be there for them. I am thankful for my three children and love each of them unconditionally! ~Nanette Thacker (Mother of three adult children, including Three Ladies authors, Stephany and Lisa.)

16. Motherhood has taught me that things cannot always be perfect. That sometimes you can’t dictate your day as you wish and that the here and now is what matters. It has taught me that this craziness is ok and that the world will not stop spinning because of it! It has also taught me that every day is a new adventure and new learning experience. I mess up more as a parent than I would wish, but I know at the end of the day my kids love me and I love them and no crazy day or new situation that we have to face will ever change that! ~Jennifer Gard (Mother of three children under 6.)

17. Motherhood has taught me what it means to love another person with no reservation, no matter what, no matter the circumstance and what it means to be willing to lay down my life for another without having to take a second thought. It has taught me that I am valuable, needed, and shown me my purpose in life. It has also taught me that it is possible to be totally frustrated and at your breaking point with a person one minute and in the very next moment gushing with love for them. ~ Lisa Daniels (Mother of a one year old.)

18. Motherhood has taught me how to love without selfishness. And how to view the world with fresh eyes, seeing the fun and beauty in things that I otherwise wouldn’t.  ~ Ashley Rayford (Mother of a one year old and a 3 year old.)

19. Motherhood has taught me that as long as my family is together, healthy, and happy, I can handle anything that comes my way. It has taught me that kids have their own minds and not to judge others so harshly for how they are handling their own children. And it has also taught me that education comes from many different sources and that sometimes we are taught life’s most important lessons from the owners of peanut butter and jelly smeared faces. ~Stephany Wier (Mother of a one year old and a 3 year old.

20. Motherhood has taught me patience and unconditional love. It’s also taught me to view the world with a fresh perspective, as seen through the eyes of my daughters. But most of all…motherhood has taught me to really appreciate that all my kids are finally old enough to not follow me into the bathroom everytime I go in there! ~ Kathleen Palmer  (Mother of three daughters ages 11, 12,  and 13)

21. Motherhood has taught me so much love that I never knew I was capable of. It has taught me to be selfless. There were times when I needed things, but I didn’t get them because my children’s needs have always come first, because I’ve always wanted them to have better than I have. Most of all thankfulness to god for my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren….If I’ve done anything right, it’s because the Lord has blessed me to do it. ~Marie Jacobs (Mother of 5 adult children, and a host of grandchildren, great grandchildren, and even great great grandchildren! Grandmother to all Three Ladies.)

22. Motherhood has taught me that it doesn’t matter what your kids do, you’ll always love them and support them. You’ll always have their best interest at heart, even when they make you angrier than you ever thought you’d be. ~ Randa Cornell (Step-Mother of two adult daughters.)

23. Motherhood has taught me the importance of instilling moral values, respect for others, and discipline in my child. These were lessons that have served him well. I am very proud to see this being used by my son with his children. This is very rewarding as a mother and a grandmother of two. ~ Barbara Ratliff (Mother of one adult son.)

24. Motherhood has taught me that being a good mother is a choice you make every day to put some else’s needs above your own.  And try to do the right thing daily only to find out you’re doing it all wrong. You must forgive yourself daily. ~ Casey Thacker (Mother of one child, step-mother of three children.)

25. Motherhood has taught me that it’s a true gift and to not take it for granted. ~Samantha Rickard (Mother of one two year old son.)

From 25 mothers we’ve gotten 25 completely different responses, but the overall theme of all of them is that a Mother’s love knows no end, regardless of if her baby is 5 months old, 5 years old, 15 years old, or 50 years old. They say, “A woman’s work is never done.” I think all of these statements prove that a mother’s isn’t either.

10 Trick or Treat Safety Tips

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Ok, no it’s not. It’s actually the second most wonderful time of the year, especially if you’re a kid. It’s almost time for Halloween! Which for parents can mean even more stress, work, and worry than usual. But, in the name of fun for our kids we suck it up and deal with it. Unfortunately, we live in a time where there are many worries to consider when allowing our children to roam around and visit random people’s homes at night. The following is a list to help you keep your kids safe while having a great time on trick or treat night:

  1. When selecting a costume, look for one that is brightly colored and isn’t a fall hazard. The costume should fit snuggly and not hang in such a way that tripping could be an issue. Purchase costumes that are flame resistant as well when possible as there’s always the risk of getting too close to a jack o’ lantern. Also, be sure that shoes fit well. As a side note, many parents like to put reflective tape on their kids’ shoes to make it easier for them to be spotted in the dark.
  2. Trick or treat within your neighborhood or a neighborhood where you know some of the people who live there.
  3. Always stay on well lit streets but also carry a flash light just in case and use sidewalks when possible. Remind  children of the rules for crossing a street.
  4. Always accompany young children along the trick or treat route. Even if you are friendly and comfortable with your neighbors, you can never be certain that someone with bad intentions who doesn’t live in the neighborhood isn’t lurking about.
  5. If you feel comfortable with allowing your older child to trick or treat without you, ensure that they go with a buddy and be aware of the route they plan to take and instruct them not to deviate from it.
  6. Review “stranger danger” rules with your kids. Remind them never to follow a stranger to a car or other location for candy or any other reason without first asking your permission.
  7. Remind children of the rules for what to do if they are separated from you or the group. A good plan is to tell them to look for a mother with children to ask for help.
  8. When possible, carry a cell phone or other device as a means of quick communication if necessary.
  9. Only go to homes that look “inviting.” These are homes with porch lights on and usually a friendly face in the doorway.
  10. Establish the rules for candy eating. It’s safest to implement a “no candy till we’re home” rule.  This gives you the opportunity to look through the stash to ensure that all candy is wrapped and hasn’t been tampered with in any way.

Clearly there are dangers to consider when taking the kids trick or treating, but if these simple safety tips are followed, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have a delightfully fun outing with your little one. So long as we are prepared and taking preventative measures, then your little ghosts and goblins should have a terrifyingly great time!

Perfect Pumpkin Roll

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There are some foods that are just staples of a season. This time of year pumpkin flavored foods are everywhere! There are pumpkin flavored coffees, cakes, roasted pumpkin seeds and much more. However, none say “fall” to me quite like a pumpkin roll made just right. I’ve had some pumpkin rolls in the past that are too filled with spice and others that the cream filling just wasn’t quite right, but this recipe I am sharing is the perfect balance of sweet and pumpkin.

For the cake you will need:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour

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For the filling you will need:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

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Directions for preparing:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Combine all ingredients for the cake mixture into a large bowl.

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3. Whisk the ingredients together.

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4. Line a jelly roll pan with wax paper. (I was out of wax paper and instead used aluminum foil. I sprayed the foil with Pam.)

5. Pour the cake mixture into the lined jelly roll pan.

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6. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

7. While the cake is baking, sprinkle an unfolded dish towel with powdered sugar.

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8. After the cake has baked, invert it on top of the powdered towel and detach it from the the wax/foil lining.

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9. Slowly and gently roll the cake up into the powdered towel and place in the refrigerator to cool.

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10. While the cake is cooling, begin making the filling. Combine the filling in a bowl and mix until it becomes a frosting consistency.

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11. After the cake has cooled, gently unroll it, and spread the filling mixture evenly across it.

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12. Gently roll the cake back up.

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13. Enjoy! (Note: The pumpkin roll must be refrigerated.)

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With a little time and by following these step by step instructions, you can make a pumpkin roll that is sure to get rave reviews from any crowd. It’s both a beautiful dessert and has the perfect fall taste. I hope you enjoy this recipe. I can guarantee that the finished product will be a pumpkin roll that’s gone almost as soon as it’s served.

Briarwood Safari Park

We are not very spontaneous people.  Well actually I am, but my husband is not. I love to just think of an idea and go with it, especially when it comes to traveling and exploring new places. On the other hand, the very thought of doing such stresses my husband out. So generally our outings are pretty planned. We don’t have to have an itinerary, but we at least have to have already decided we are going to said place before it’s actually the day to go. This past Sunday just so happened to be the day before my birthday, so I knew that I pretty much had him wrapped around my finger in terms of how I wanted to spend the day.  It was a perfect warm sunny breezy October day, so I wanted to be outside! When wracking my brain for ideas of things to do, I remembered the Briarwood Safari Park. We had discussed checking this place out for a while but hadn’t had the opportunity to do so yet. I told Brian my idea and he agreed…if I would drive. Ok, so I’d kind of have to pay for this outing by driving but whatever I’ll take what I can get.

After Lilly’s nap time we set out for our adventure. The safari park is an hour and 20 minute drive from our home. It is located in Bybee, TN, just outside of Morristown. So it was just enough of a little drive to be a short trip. I’ll warn you, when driving the last 5 miles or so of the trip; it’s easy to feel like you must be lost. You’re not. Keep going. It’s located out in the country, on a back road and then up a little lane that looks like it’s definitely going to dead end in someone’s driveway. It does. It’s the driveway of the Safari Park.

The admission was $30 dollars for us. It’s $15 for each adult. Admission for kids 2-11 is $10, while seniors pay $14.00, and kids under 2 are free. The only inconvenience we found at Briarwood Safari Park is that they do not accept credit or debit cards. We were unprepared for this, but thankfully they do accept cash and checks so I was able to write a check for the admission. As you enter the park you’ll be greeted by very friendly faces. There’s a small shelter to stop at to pay the admission and also purchase feed for the animals. The feed is $3.00 per bucket. We ended up with 2 buckets and felt that that was plenty to have with us. For all that this place has to offer it is certainly worth the price they charge in my opinion, especially considering that you can drive through as many times as you wish and stay as long as you want.

After paying for admission, you drive into an open area where there is a petting zoo. A nice lady greeted us to brief us on some things we needed to know, like how to hold the food bowls when feeding the animals, which animals were safe to pet, and she also warned us that the animals are very friendly and will put their heads in the car with you if you are still long enough. You can get out at this point and see the animals first or do that after you drive through the park. We opted to drive through first and then stop at the petting area afterwards. They also do guided buggy tours, so that’s something to ask about if you’re interested.

There is a clearly marked area that guides you into the drive through portion of the park. The drive is through a wooded area and you barely cruise through it the entire time, so it is safe for children to be out of their car seats to get a better look. I held our 13 month old on my lap so she could see while Brian drove through and fed the animals. From the second we entered the driving portion we were met with deer of all kinds. The lady at the entrance was right! They will climb into the car with you if you let them. They’re so friendly. We were then greeted by emu, elk, water buffalo, llamas, rams, pigs, alpacas and more! The park is home to animals from six continents and as we drove the 4 mile stretch of road way through the hills and pasture land, we saw so many animals that I can’t even remember them all. This is an adventure that’s way cooler than a normal zoo though, this is interactive! The animals literally walk right up to you and eat out of your hand. When an animal got too close for comfort for my liking I simply rolled the window up and they were out of my face. One of the most impressive things about the four mile drive to me though, is that there was no point on the drive where we went more than a minute without encountering another animal.  Lilly was very interested in all of the animals. She sat very quietly and watched each one. I think she was a little shocked to be so up close and personal with these animals and even more shocked to be out of her car seat in the car. Ha!

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A friendly deer we met almost as soon as we started our drive through.

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Feeding a deer.

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This is an alpaca walking towards us. He knew we had food. He wasn’t willing to wait for us to get to him.

After the four mile stretch, we ended back at the petting zoo and got out to explore. In this area there was again a great variety in the kinds of animals we saw. There were animals ranging from donkeys, to goats, to wallabies, to lemurs, to a zorse and many more.  Again some of these animals are safe to pet and feed while others are not, but the park officials do a good job of keeping you informed on that.  Within this walk through area, there’s also a nice shaded picnic area to enjoy.  We stopped here to relax and take some photos of Lilly.

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The beautiful zebras were in the petting area.

Briarwood Safari Park is the perfect afternoon outing. It’s a great place to kill a few hours, learn a few things, tire out the kids, and enjoy all that nature has to offer. Even my “have to plan everything” husband was super pleased and impressed by this little hidden gem. We will be going back there sometime soon. My only regret is that we didn’t go sooner. If you’re in our neck of the woods in East Tennessee be sure to check out Briarwood Safari Park, I guarantee you won’t be sorry you did.

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Lilly was very interested in all of the animals.