Riverbanks Zoo Pictures  

Posted by: Julie in ,

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We had a really wonderful time at Riverbanks Zoo on Monday.

I wish we had gotten there earlier as we didn't get to do everything we wanted to.

We missed several of the presentations, the 3-D movie and we didn't make it to the Botanical Garden.

We DID get to do the main things the kids wanted to do:

1) See lots of neat animals

2) My 2 youngest went on the pony ride. It is expensive ($5 per child) but it was their money and, even though it was a short ride, they did enjoy it.

3) The 2 older kids wanted to do the rock climb. At $3 per child it wasn't so bad. They thought it was very cool!

4) 3 of the kids rode the carousel. $1 per child and really, who doesn't love a carousel?

5) Feed the lorikeets. We only bought 2 cups of nectar ($1 per cup) and I wish I had bought 1 per child. That was really neat.

6) 3 of the kids rode the train. It was $2 per child but my youngest is crazy about choo-choo trains so that was a must.

We are really looking forward to going back sometime soon :-)

Zoo Bound  

Posted by: Julie in

Saturday we went to the Greenville Zoo and purchased our Zoo membership. It is $49 for a household membership. It is good for one year and you get all kinds of "perks" with it. One "perk" is being able to visit lots of other zoos for no additional charge.

For me and the kids to go for one day to Riverbanks Zoo it would cost $38.75

Saturday's visit to Greenville Zoo would have been have been $15.00

Total for those two outings would have been $53.75. Since our membership was $49 we've already saved $4.75 :-)

Plus, we can visit our zoo as much as we want for the next year at no additional charge AND visit tons of other zoos or aquariums for free or at a reduced rate.

**Important note here: On the Greenville Zoo and Riverbanks Zoo websites it shows that with the membership you get a 50% discount and not free admittance. I called Riverbanks and they said that the price change will begin in January.**

They do not allow drinks or coolers into the Riverbanks Zoo but there is a picnic area along the Saluda River just outside the entrance to the zoo. We plan to arrive around 1:00 PM so I am packing a picnic lunch to enjoy before we go in.

The kids have been planning out the different things they want to do while were there:

Feed the Lorikeets

10:00am-4:30pm M-F
10:00am-5:30pm Sa-Su
1 Safari Buck*/cup of nectar

Ride the Endangered Species Carousel**

9:00am-4:45pm daily
1 Safari Buck*/ride

Ride a Pony**

10:00am-3:00pm daily
5 Safari Bucks*/ride

Spots & Stripes Railroad

(children's train ride)
10:00am-4:00pm daily
2 Safari Bucks* / ride

Wild Adventures at Riverbanks
: 26-ft rock wall and coconut trees (weight restrictions – min. 40 lbs, max. 250 lbs)
1 climb - 3 Safari Bucks*
2 climbs - 5 Safari Bucks*

3-D Adventure Theater**
A Turtle's Adventure - Now Showing

Experience beautiful coral reefs and ocean canyons in the mysterious and unpredictable deep-sea world. Join baby turtles on an adventure that includes giant sharks, huge octopuses and frightening sea eels!

The kids all have birthday money and money they earn when they work with their dad. They will use their money for the "extra" attractions listed above and for any "souvenirs" they may want (with moms guidance, of course).

I'll foot the bill for a mid-afternoon drink and snack at the Zoo and then we'll have dinner out before we head back home.

This is a big trip for me. When we go out of town Dad is usually with us, but with this being the week of the 4th our ice business is super busy and he can't go :-( It's just gonna be me and the 4 kids. Still, I think it's going to be great fun.

I'll be taking TONS of pictures and I'll share them later in the week.

Still Sunday  

Posted by: Julie in


Are you Overwhelmed?  

Posted by: Julie

Thursday's Oprah was about how an "overwhelmed" mother forgot her 2 year old was in her car. The mother left her there for hours on a August day. Of course, sadly the child died and basically the mother's excuse was that she was so busy, out of her routine, overwhelmed that she forgot her child was with her.

Oprah also featured a lot of phone calls from mothers and the key word they all used was "overwhelmed".

I'm not here to judge that mother or any other moms out there.

My big question is,

"Why are moms so overwhelmed?"

Here is the definition of overwhelmed:


rendered powerless especially by an excessive amount or profusion of something;

Have you ever felt this way?

Do you know WHY you felt this way?

A few years ago I was "overwhelmed".


We were trying to do too much!

I had children in school and a new baby at home.

1 child played baseball and 2 danced.

Ball practice was twice per week, usually during dinner time, and games every Saturday.

Dance practice was twice per week, one of those nights was the same night as baseball practice, and of course, it was around dinner time.

That doesn't sound like much does it?

Add church into the mix. Now you are gone 2 more days of the week.

What about homework?
(You've got to get that done sometime.

The grocery store?

Cleaning the house?


What if someone needs shoes?

When do you fit it all in?

So here was our week:
  • Sunday is church.
  • Monday night you're home.
  • Tuesday is baseball practice and dance practice.
  • Wednesday night is church and dance practice if you can fit in both.
  • Thursday night is baseball practice again.
  • Friday you're home...maybe.
  • Saturday is baseball games.
Where did the week go?

When did your kids have some REAL down time?

What about a family dinner?

Home cooked meals?

How can you do that if you are gone every night?

Feeling overwhelmed yet?

I am just thinking about how things were for us that year. It was too much. Too much for me and too much for the kids. I was doing all this running around "for them" but they were miserable!

Take a look at Ephesians 5: 15 - 16:

"Therefore be careful how you walk,
not as unwise men but as wise,

making the most of your time,

because the days are evil."

(The literal meaning is "redeem the time.")

Now, I'm not trying to tell you that after school activities are "evil".

I'm suggesting that MAYBE we aren't making the most of our time.

Is it in our family's best interest to be running
here, there and yonder?

Are we making the most of our time?

The answer for my family was...


We just couldn't keep it up. I was tired and worn out
and so were the kids.

So, we quit!

We quit all the "extras".

If it wasn't beneficial to our family or bringing us closer to God we
just didn't do it.

We redeemed our time.

Now our week looks like this:
  • Sunday- church AM and PM
  • Monday - school / home
  • Tuesday - school / home
  • Wednesday -school / church
  • Thursday -school / home
  • Friday - school / home
  • Saturday - home

Sound boring? No way! It's freeing!

We are free to:

rest ~ enjoy one another as a family~ play~ do fun activities together~ just be ~have time to spend with our Savior

Oh, there are LOTS of reasons to feel overwhelmed. It's not just after school activities. Many things in our lives can overwhelm us, but the question is ...

What can you do about it?

What can you change?

How are YOU
"making the most of your time"?

Grab your Calendars!  

Posted by: Julie in

July 10, 2009

Participating Chick Fil A Restaurants will award a
free combo meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner)
to any customer who comes to a Chick Fil A Restaurant
fully dressed as a cow.

Each kid fully dressed like a cow can request a free kids meal.
For more information click HERE.


21st Annual Hot Dog Day

Saturday, July 11

10 am to 4 pm

Join us for this annual summer event at the Zoo!
Enjoy hot dogs and other treats at special prices.

Adults $6
Children (ages 3-15) only a $1.
(Limit: 4 children per adult)

Hot Dogs $0.25
Pepsi $0.25
Chips $0.25
Ice Cream Sandwiches $0.25
Nutty Buddys $0.25
Cracker Jacks $0.25

Sorry, but no credit cards for admission on this day.
What a fun weekend this is going to be!!! We had a BLAST dressing up like cows for free Chick Fil A last year. The kids have been talking about it since school let out for the summer.

Follow that with Hot Dog Day at the Zoo....
lots of frugal fun to be had by all!

Will you be dressing up like a cow?

How about going to the zoo?

If you do, take lots of pics and blog about it
then come back here and leave me a link in the comments section.
I'd love to see your pictures and read all about the fun you had!

Happy Father's Day!  

Posted by: Julie in

Psalm 127: 3-5

3) Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him.

4) Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one's youth.

5) Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.

Kenton and Andrew

February 25,1998


Kenton and Jessica

March 30, 2000


Kenton and Kimberly

June 26, 2003


Kenton and Daniel

May 22, 2006

Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him Father!
- Lydia M. Child

Something old, Something new  

Posted by: Julie in ,

Something old...
(don't I wish my boys room looked like this!)

I'm de-cluttering the boys room again.
It amazes me how one small room can get so very cluttered.
It's not like we buy stuff for them very often.
I clean out old toys, trash, old clothes and yet
in a few short weeks it looks like I was never in there!

*Sigh* I guess it's the life of a mother ....
and one I wouldn't change for anything
(well, a maid WOULD be nice)

Something new ...

Yesterday the children had their 6 month
cleaning and check up at the dentist.
It was a great visit. They've done a great job cleaning those beautiful teeth and not a cavity in sight!

However, the time has come for my oldest to get braces.
I'll be calling our orthodontist in just a bit
to get the process started.

There is the consultation visit, then baby teeth will
need to be pulled, then onto the braces.

I'm glad it's summer time. It will give us an opportunity to get this all taken care of and give him a chance to get used to the braces before he starts school in August.

So now I'm off to get the boys room nice and clean :-)

Have a wonderful and productive day!

You Said Popcorn is HOW MUCH?  

Posted by: Julie in

The children and I went to see the FREE summer movie today. It's the first time we have been this summer. We really have a good time when we go. It's the only time we all go to the theater to see a movie because, let's face it, $35.50 to see a movie is NUTS!!! ( (1) $9.50 per adult ticket and (4) $6.50 per child ticket -- $32.50 if we go in the afternoon)

So, back to the FREE movies! They were awesome last year! We were able to buy $1 boxes of popcorn and $1 sodas, too. $8.00 to have a nice snack and see a movie...THAT I can do :-)

HOWEVER....they have now changed the deal. The movie is still FREE. Super! Thanks REGAL!
BUT.... they no longer have the $1 popcorn and $1 drinks. :-(

Have you seen what they charge for popcorn at the movies?

One SMALL popcorn is $5.75! Are you kidding me? I can get a sandwich, fries and a drink for that at Chick Fil A!

A small soda? $4.50! Right! I mean, soda is SOOOO very expensive. It's not like I could go to the grocery store and buy a 2 lt. "name brand" soda for $1.39...oh, wait... I CAN!!!

To be fair, they did offer a "deal". I could get 1 large pop corn and 2 drinks for .... are you ready for this???? $17.00!!!!!

Let's whip out that calculator and do the math (really...these numbers are TOO big for me to crunch in my head).

4 small pop corns = $23.00
4 small sodas = $18.00
(at these prices, mom doesn't get one)

Total = $41.00

Do you know how many groceries I can get for $41.00?

Now, I understand that these people are in business to make money. HOWEVER, this is ROBBERY!!!

I have no problem plunking down my $8 for pop corn and drinks. They are still making money. You can't convince me that they lost money on that deal. No way!

But now? They are going to loose my money...about $72 over 9 weeks. Oh, we'll still enjoy the FREE movie, but we won't be buying snacks there. We'll have a hearty breakfast before we go and I'll be glad to feed the kids their fill of pop corn and soda at home!

I realize that I'm not entitled to a FREE movie every week for 9 weeks. I realize they offer this deal and still expect to make money. I totally get it. I'm willing to buy REASONABLY priced snacks...I just don't appreciate being taken advantage of! So, let's forget the FREE movie part and just look at the cost of a regular movie night out.

My kids want to see the movie "Up". That is a full price film. (Better grab that calculator everyone:)

1 adult matinee ticket = $6.50
4 kids tickets = $26.00
4 small pop corns = $23.00
4 small sodas = $18.00

Total = $73.50

WOW! How do folks do it? I mean, the theaters are very busy on weekend nights. How to people spend that kind of cash on pop corn and a movie????

OR, even just a movie? $32.50 just to watch a film?

Uh...Netfilx is HOW much per month?
$8.99 for 1 movie per month.


I'll let YOU do the math on that one!

Still Sunday  

Posted by: Julie in


Absolute Truth  

Posted by: Julie in

Have you ever heard of One Time Blind? They do these amazing skits that REALLY make you think! Here is their description of themselves:


It makes you question, provokes your thought, and moves you to a deeper place. It’s hard to describe what we do, but we consider it an art form.

We communicate the reality of Christ in a modern-day language, using onstage conversation and dramatic elements to convey our message.

onetimeblind will make you think.


Watch this video below. It's about Absolute Truth. You know, how the Bible, God's Word, is Absolute Truth and how so many people, even Christians, think the Bible is "open to interpretation". It will really open your eyes and make you think.

No More Trampoline  

Posted by: Julie in

Yesterday afternoon we had a really bad storm blow through our area. When it was over, my Uncle drove over to make sure the kids and I were okay. I walked outside with him and as we were talking he mentioned that the big toys in the back yard had been tossed about. I took a look and that's when I realized...
Our trampoline was GONE!
I mean, not in our yard anymore.
I got in the car and drove down the road and didn't see it anywhere.
Where on earth did it go?


The winds were so strong, they picked up the trampoline and dumped it into the pasture behind our house.

Thankfully, no one was hurt and no property was damaged other than the trampoline.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for your protection.

Good Bye Wall Paper ~ Hello Paint  

Posted by: Julie in

As promised, here are some BEFORE and AFTERS of my kitchen. I really liked my wall papered kitchen. Loved it in fact, but the seams were starting to pull apart, there were tears here and there and it was getting dingy. As much as I loved it, it was time for a change.


(The above view is from the door that goes into our living room area.)

(This view is from the door that comes in from our laundry room)

There is still much that needs to be done in here as well:

*I still need to paint all the trim work in here.

*New window treatments for sure.

*I need some art work in here as well.

*Right behind the table is a big, empty wall that is just
crying out for something.

*I also think I am going to paint my door knobs to a brushed pewter.
(The brass and white knobs are very dated and should be changed.
I have 52 knobs in my kitchen and laundry room.
The budget does not allow me to go out and buy new ones
so I'll be making a trip to Lowe's pretty soon for some spray paint ;-)

Yes, I loved my wall papered kitchen and it served me well for over 10 years, however, I'm really enjoying my new painted kitchen and I'm looking forward to spending lots of time in it cooking for my family :-)

Good Bye wall papered kitchen. Thanks for the memories.

Hello painted kitchen. Welcome home!

Laundry Room Re-Do  

Posted by: Julie in

The way out house it set up, my laundry room is basically the main entrance to our house. I try really hard to make it inviting , but really, how inviting can a laundry room be? I decided a few weeks ago that painting that room would certainly help.

Here is the BEFORE view as you walk
in from the back door.

The washer and dryer are to the left as you enter.
When you get to the end of the room,
this is the view to the le
ft. (that door leads to the kids rooms and to the right is my kitchen)

That light green paint left much to be desired.
So dirty and outdated.
Time for a change.

Here is the AFTER shot as you enter through the door.

Here is the washer and dryer to t
he left.(the unfinished area to the right is our furnace area. We had some work done there around the time I painted. The door that belongs there has also been painted the color of the room and has been replaced)

And this is the end of the room.

Much better, don't you think? I still have lots to do. I need to paint the door and all the trim. I may work on that next week. A new rug is in order, for sure! I may even hang some kind so welcoming art work. Wouldn't some words stenciled on the wall above the counter be an interesting touch? I want to keep the counter areas clear, so I won't be adding any do-dads.

So tell me what you think?

I also took down the wall paper in my kitchen and painted it the same color as the laundry room. I'll show those before and afters tomorrow. I'm considering painting the entire house this same color. We'll see. ;-)

PS: I've not forgotten my giveaway. It's coming soon. Promise!

We're Goin' to the Lodge...  

Posted by: Julie in

...the Great Wolf Lodge!!!
Tomorrow afternoon we're on our way for an overnight mini-vacation.

Fort Mackenzie is a four-story interactive treehouse water fort offering 12 levels of super-soaking fun for the family. Younger kids can climb with their parents to reach the slides at the top. The older ones will love making their way over suspension bridges and cargo nets to spray stations and soaker buckets. (Watch out below!) The grand daddy of soaker buckets is the 1,000-gallon tipper that sits atop Fort Mackenzie. Every few minutes, the warning bell clangs, and the bucket begins to tip its contents over the roof and onto the giggling group below.

And that is just the beginning! There is SO much to do at the Great Wolf Lodge and we'll only be there one night and one day. I hope we can fit it all in!

I'll be sure to take lots and lots of pictures while we're there!

Mom, I'm Bored!  

Posted by: Julie in ,

We Are THAT Family is hosting a special edition of
It's the "Mom, I'm Bored" edition!!!
Here is my list my "boredom busting" ideas that we plan on doing this summer.
Maybe it will give you some ideas.

  • Every Tuesday we plan to take advantage of the Free Summer Movies. Our local theater plays a FREE kids movie at 10 am. Lots of movie theaters across the country participate. Click HERE to see if there in one in your area.

**NOTE** This year (2009) they DO NOT offer the $1 pop corn or the $1 sodas. They encourage you to sign up for a Regal Crown Card. On Tuesdays you can buy $1 pop corn BUT ONLY WITH A TICKET PURCHASE. It is not valid on the FREE movies. When you go to the snack counter with your card to get $1 popcorn, they will ask you for your ticket stub. You could say "I don't have it" and they may or may not allow you to get the $1 pop corn BUT, in my opinion, that is lying and going against the rules of the card.

  • We also participate in the Summer Reading Program at The Greenville Library. As you read books or long chapters you can earn prizes. So each week we will make a trip to the library to check out more books and get our reading list stamped. Babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers can participate, too. They also have great activities you can attend if you are a Summer Reader. Just click to see JUNE or JULY activities.
  • One of the prizes for the Summer Reading is a free pass to The Pavilion for ice skating. That should be a fun and cool outing.
  • Vacation Bible School. Our church has a FANTASTIC Bible school for all ages every year and this is an activity we never miss!
  • This year I've decided not to put up our above ground pool. Instead, I think we'll be visiting our local pool and let them do all the work and pay the water bill... LOL! They have an indoor pool and the cost is $4 for adults and $3 per child. They also have 10 visit passes at a reduced rate.
  • A "new-to-us" activity this year is the Greenville Zoo. Now, going to the zoo isn't new, but buying a season pass is. Why is that a frugal choice? Click HERE to see how we'll be saving $49.50 +!!
  • We have one of those free splash fountains in our downtown area near the Reedy River Falls. This is a great outing! We get to walk around in a beautiful park, cross over a gorgeous bridge and cool off in the fountain! If we want to splurge, there is a Spill the Beans right across the street where we can have ice cream!
  • Here's an idea for a frugal, fun outing: Table Rock State Park. Diana Watson from Fox 21 just wrote a post about an outing her family had there. For $4 she, her husband and two children were able to go on a 2 mile hike. They took a picnic lunch to enjoy and for just a few dollars more were able to take a swim in the lake. Sounds like a plan to me :-)
  • Roller skating is on the "to do" list this summer. We have a rink just a few miles down the road that my grandmother used to take me and my brother to. I'm gonna give them a call and find out the rates and best times to skate with younger kids.
  • One of the bowling places in our area has a special $1.00 per game on Sundays. The shoe rentals are $1.00, too. Two games is plenty, so for three kids that would be an outing for under $10 (3 year old won't be bowling with us because...well, he's 3 and that's a lot of work for mom LOL!)
  • Oh, and don't forget Chick Fil A Cow Appreciation Day!!! For one day only - the second Friday of July - participating Chick Fil A Restaurants will award a free combo meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) to any customer who comes to a Chick Fil A Restaurant fully dressed as a cow. Each kid fully dressed like a cow can request a free kids meal. For more information click HERE.
  • We are going to give Letterboxing a try this summer. In fact, on our next trip to the Travelers Rest library, we are going to try and find the letterbox that is hidden there.
  • Another "treasure hunt" we'll be going on is finding the "Mice on Main". There are 7 bronze mice hidden down main street. You find the clues HERE and follow them to find all the mice.
  • One more fun outing is getting FREE Krispy Kreme donuts! How? Well, when you get your child's report card, check it carefully for any "A's". For every "A" your child has earned, they will receive a free donut up to 6 donuts per child! Last year 2 of my children were in grade school and were straight A students. 4 times per year we enjoyed 1 dozen free donuts. I'm already looking forward to those last report cards to come in the mail :-)
I can't wait to see all the great boredom busting ideas out there!
This is going to be a GREAT summer!!!

True Love  

Posted by: Julie in

Today, 19 years ago, I met the man I was going to marry.
On a blind date!
Can you believe it?
I think I fell for him right away.
I knew he was the one.

This picture was taken October 31, 1990.
That was 4 months after we met.
We were so young back then.
How does a 17 year old really know what love is???

This was made in November 1991. I was a senior in high school!
All of 18 years old and Kenton was 20.
But I KNEW this was FOREVER!!!

Here we are in February 1994, just before we married in August.
I was 21 and he was 23. So very young to begin a life together.

I am so grateful to have found my love so early in our lives.
It hasn't always been perfect, but it has been oh so sweet!

This is us today. Together 19 years, married almost 15.

It is still sweet. It is still wonderful. It is still amazing.
And I still know He is the one....