*SIGH* The holiday season is upon us, we’re literally a couple of days away from Thanksgiving & less than 4 weeks away from Christmas. In my family this means seeing family we haven’t seen in months or even maybe years, it means good memories, laughter, awesome candid family photos and a little bit of chaos.

I’ve got some helpful and maybe very honest tips on how to be a good house host & an even better house guest this holiday season.

I LOVE having people over at my house, especially during the holidays or when I know that a family member may be going through a rough patch; whether you’re visiting for a few hours or for months at a time, I will welcome you into my home and try my hardest to make you feel comfortable. BUT, yes, there’s a but. Take it from me, my family and I️ had to temporarily (7 months) move in with my parents a couple of years ago while house shopping, there IS such a thing as being a good host AND being a good guest. I learned a lot from those 7 months that we had to live with my parents AND two other family members whom they were also helping out at the time. I apply all these learned lessons every time I visit someone’s home in hopes to be their all time favorite guest, and you should too šŸ˜‰

First things first, lets talk about being a GREAT HOST, here are some tips to achieving this:

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This year we decided to go back to DisnewWorld in Orlando Florida for our summer family vacation. It was super fun, super hot & super memorable!

Deets of our vacay:

Rental home through:

HomeAway I love using HomeAway.com to book our vacation homes because it’s super easy & they have awesome customer service. We used them on our Austin trip as well last 4th of July. I love that your account keeps your TRIPS and the homes selected, making it easy to re-book same properties without the hassle of having to search for them over again.

Disneyworld & Islands of Adv. Tickets:

Purchased through Walmart near our rental home. We felt they offered the quickest and safest experience. Of course you can always purchase online as well.

Favorite restaurants:

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Today this very experienced momma wants to share with you my top 5 tips to avoid car sickness and travel sickness in my kids.

I personally STILL suffer from car sickness during prolonged drives. It’s super annoying and unfortunately for me, I seem to have passed that down to my kids. I have THREE children that get car sickness like ALL. THE. TIME.

Driving for extended periods of time or even short distances is dreading, I mean for the longest time, I was that mom that carried plastic just-in-case bags in my car, wipes, hand sanitizer, one extra set of clothes, large bottle of Febreeze and a couple towels just in case my kids decided a 15 minute or a 45 minute car drive was too much for their stomachs to handle.

I always get especially nervous when roadtripping for vacation, like this past July, View Post

Historic Rock Castle tour in Hendersonville, TennesseeĀ 

Today we toured the historic Rock Castle mansion and I fell completely in love with it and its warm history.Ā I have to say, I am a sucker for old tales and old things…Tennessee, at least these small nearby cities , Gallatin, Hendersonville, Portland and Goodlettsville are full of civil war history and museums, amazing green rolling hills and farms and the friendliest of people. If you have ever considered vacationing here I would highly recommend it, especially with littles. I shared with you all the reasons why we decided to homeschool our boys last week and I’m just so lucky that the husband is working in such a history rich town, as I can use many of these “fun outings” to keep us from going mad from being in a tiny hotel room all day and as field trips to teach them a little history; they have been having such fun answering tour questions and learning fun details about past US presidents. We’ve definitely incorporated more history into our homeschool plan that’s for sure.
You can learn a little about Historic Rock Castle here and you can check out their website here for more information.
I leave up with some pictures from our tour, thanks for reading.

Hendersonville Tennessee, Things to do in Hendersonville, Things to do in Tennessee, Civil War trails, Historic Mansions, Historic Rock Castle, Gallatin Tennessee, tour Tennessee,

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During Spring Break, as a family, we decided that in order to be able to focus on our children’s emotional wellbeing, homeschooling was the way to go for our 2 elementary aged boys. 

Let me briefly explain; October 2016, we lost my Father-In-Law to cancer and the boys especially took it really hard. A few months prior to his passing, we received more devastating news of another family member in my husband’s family being diagnosed with cancer (to respect their privacy I won’t go into specific details).

January 2017, my husband tells us he may have to travel for work in early February, which is something he’s never done. Our family has NEVER been apart longer than a couple of weeks. The boys have an amazing and super close relationship with Daddy so the news were definitely hard to swallow.  Every family has to make sacrifices at times, this was ours. Financially, and I’m not speaking from a place of greed or wanting more, simply what financially made sense for our family, this was the right decision.

February 2, 2017, my hubby left for Tennessee. The project was supposed to last until March however that unexpectedly was extended until June! We weren’t talking about 4-6 weeks here anymore, we’re talking closer to 4-5 months if everything goes as planned.  I know to military families I’ll sound like a cry baby, needy little wife, but for our family this was waaaaay too long. By the way, my respect to all military families and families that have to deal with one or both of the spouses being away for long periods of time. I don’t think I could ever, ever handle it.

The boys would literally cry themselves to sleep every single night, they’d worry about Daddy, they’d ask if we were getting a divorce, again, they aren’t used to us being apart. The anxiety started to show in my 10 year old in the form of him biting his clothes to the point of tearing. Every single one of his shirts had holes he’d chew off during his moments of anxiety, and it was a lot more present at school.  I received an email from my second grader’s teacher expressing some sadness concerns during school time as well. She also mentioned she felt he was getting bored at times because she felt he was far ahead from his peers, but understandably so, she can’t rush everyone else for the sake of 1 or 2 kiddos.  I sat the boys down and talked to them and it broke my heart to hear they were SO worried about everything happening in the family, starting with Daddy being away.

They are super smart boys, very curious and very eager to learn new things. We visited Daddy during Spring Break and decided then that although very close to the end of the year, this semi-long break was a great opportunity to pull the kids out of school and focus on their emotional healing. The boys were super excited to homeschool and to be able to spend more family time together was their favorite part. I don’t think as a family we took our time to properly grief. It was like okay this happened, now we have to focus on this other family member and their health and there was just no time, life doesn’t wait for you to be ready to happen. We didn’t want to bring up the subject to the boys in an effort to not make them sad, but we left a door open for them to come to us anytime they felt sad or they felt they missed Grandpa, but they said they wouldn’t want to bring it up to not upset their Daddy. The point is that we’re all trying to learn how to be good parents as we go, there’s obviously no handbook or instructions on how to parent the right way. But as long as you have good communication as a family, and a strong foundation, then you should be able to learn the needs and read the signs of potential issues that may require you to spend extra time to properly deal with as a family. Sadly, I’m not a perfect mother, parent, and I missed the signs with my second grader due to life being in the way…I’m so grateful for his teacher’s email because it made it very real that not only ONE, but BOTH of my littles were having some emotional trouble.  I honestly think we made the right decision for them during THIS time in our lives. Obviously, their education is very important to us and so again, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to regroup as a family, which includes visiting Daddy in Tennessee for the next 4 -6 weeks, to bring the kids back to a place of comfort and ease their anxiety. Homeschool will give us that freedom as well as allow us to spend more time together and one on one time with my boys every single day so that I can stay on top of their emotional and academic needs.  We plan to take advantage of this opportunity to the fullest and we plan to introduce more subjects that interest the boys in an effort to satisfy their little curiosity bug and see how they respond. I’ve purchased their entire curriculum for them to finish this school year at home, we’re already introducing some new things they are super excited about and that I’ll share with you all in another blog post. I’m nervous, excited, happy, scared sh*&^less all at the same time, but I got to say, it’s been ONE week, and in this ONE little week of homeschooling, I’m already noticing a change in them, a change in ME! Which I wasn’t expecting.  I will be sharing this unexpected but exciting journey with you all in an effort to connect with other Mommas experiencing or who have experienced the same thing. I need all the support I can get to help me get through this, not for me, for my boys.