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Things to Do North Alabama

Things to Do Thursday

It is Thursday and the weekend is in sight! Just hang in there. 😉 As you are looking forward to the weekend and the rest of summer, check out the list I have compiled below that includes many things to do across North and Central Alabama! I see day trip plans in our future!!

Things to Do – North Alabama!

AL Constitution Village – Huntsville, AL
Alabama Center of Military History & Veterans Memorial Museum – Huntsville, AL
Alabama Music Hall of Fame – Muscle Shoals, AL
Ave Maria Grotto – Cullman, AL
Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, Birmingham, AL
Birmingham Zoo – Birmingham, AL
Blount County Covered Bridges – Blount County, AL
Carnegie Visual Arts Center – Decatur, AL
Cathedral Caverns – Woodville, AL
Cook’s Natural Science Museum – Decatur, AL (Check out our trip here.)
Coondog Cemetery – Tuscumbia, AL
Desoto Caverns – Childersburg, AL
Dismals Canyon – Phil Campbell, AL
Early Works Museum – Huntsville, AL
Guntersville Museum – Guntersville, AL
Hartselle Depot Days (September) – Hartselle, AL
Helen Keller Birth Place – Tuscumbia, AL
Historic Huntsville Depot – Huntsville, AL
Jesse Owens Museum – Oakville, AL
LaGrange College Site – Leighton, AL
Little River Canyon – Mentone, AL
Lookout Mountain – Fort Payne, AL
McWane Science Center – Birmingham, AL
Mentone Wedding Chapel – Mentone, AL
Mule Day (September) – Winfield, AL
Noccalula Falls Park – Gadsden, AL
North Alabama Agriplex – Cullman, AL
Oakville Indian Mounds – Oakville, AL
Pickwick Belle – Decatur, AL
Pond Spring (Gen. Joe Wheeler Home) – Courtland, AL
Rattle Snake Saloon and 7 Springs Lodge – Tuscumbia, AL
Rickwood Caverns – Warrior, AL
Ruffner Mountain – Birmingham, AL
Sci-Quest – Hunstville, AL
Splash Adventure Water Park – Bessemer, AL
Stevenson RR Depot Museum – Stevenson, AL
Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention (October) – Athens, AL

U.S. Space & Rocket Center – Huntsville, AL (Check out our recent visit with Girls Scouts here.)
Watermelon Festival (August) – Russelville, AL

Have you ever visited any of these?? Have some suggestions that I can add to the list?

Share them below!

I hope you all have a happy and safe holiday weekend!

Southern Mom Life Weekly Graphics

Happy Friday, everyone!!

I am making a few changes to my posts!! I have decided to post Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday of each week. Also, to keep me organized I am going to post about the same topics on each day. Each topic also now has a graphic that will be included at the beginning of each post. Look for them starting next week!!

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Things to Do Thursday

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Look for an upcoming post on the website I used to create these graphics!!

 

My {Latest} Favorite Hobby – Kayaking

Trevor had recently took up kayaking with some friends when he has “guy time” and I was iffy about it. For some reason if you’ve never been kayaking, everyone wants to scare you with how easy it is to flip and alligators, etc. I got tempted and tried it out in his parent’s pond on Memorial Day weekend… it is NOT scary and I do not know why people love to freak others out about such a fun activity! You would think this was paddle boarding an ocean current or something! (I’ve never done that either, so it might actually be fun and easy. Just setting an example here.)

I paddled around for at least 30 minutes that day! When Trevor saw how much I loved it, he ended up getting himself a new blue kayak and giving me his yellow one. We got the chance to go for a couple of hours a few weekends ago, and I am in love! I have many hobbies that I mostly never have time to do often, but this is one that I definitely want us to commit to doing many times throughout the end of summer! (Summer weather doesn’t end here until like the end of October. 😉 )

We’ve only been to “New City Lake” here in out hometown, but I am ready to make a plan to Kayak all across North Alabama!! I think it would be boring to kayak the same location over and over. I want to find all of the little lakes and places that aren’t super popular. Like here, no one visits the city lake except for the locals. I want to find those places. I have already started researching!! 😀

kayaking 4I’m so thankful to be from Alabama the Beautiful!!

 

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kayaking 2He fished, but I wasn’t up for that yet. I wanted to enjoy just kayaking for my first time.

 

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Have Kayaking ideas that are in North/Central Alabama, northern Mississippi or southern Tennessee???

PLEASE SEND THEM TO US!!

What Apps I’m Using on a Daily Basis

 

 

Today I am letting y’all in on the secrets of the Southern Mom Life iPhone. Secrets… Ha! I’m not much of a gamer and don’t really edit my photos a million ways. I don’t even make collages, but these things helps me survive and more or less pass the time unproductively… depending on the moment. Here’s what I currently love and use every day on my phone:

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1. Mail – Although I am on the computer at work, this enables me to check my personal emails on lunch, etc. And send a quick response when needed. Having access to email also makes it easy when I am out and about and have a moment to check it. I know I hate when it has been a week since someone responded to me 😉

2. Fitbit – This is an App I have been using since the end of May. I LOVE it! And I really want a Fitbit device to wear as well to keep up with my sleeping patterns too. That’s on my wishlist at the moment. (Along with 100 other things.) I use this to keep me on track for being more active and drinking water!! fitbit1

fitbit2It also lets you enter a weight goal and it gives you a daily “Calories Burned” Goal in order to help you achieve your weight loss goal. You can also enter what you eat and it will monitor the calories for you! Looking for a fitness app that will really help hold you accountable? Download Fitbit from the App store for FREE!

3. Instagram – Well, this is a little self explanatory. Who doesn’t already have Instagram? 😉 I am also on it a little extra lately as I try to build the Alabama Women Bloggers Instagram page as well. Follow us both at @cindy_britton and @alwomenbloggers !!

4. NOAA Weather – This is also a FREE app that is awesome when keeping up with the radar, satellite, etc. It pinpoints to your location, so make sure you enable location access for this app in your settings. Click on your location’s pinpoint and you can also access temperatures, 3 day forecasts, humidity, and all of that.

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You live in a town severely affected by the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak like I do, and you will appreciate and love this FREE interactive app with an continuously updating radar!

 

5. Life at Cornerstone – This is my church’s app! It is awesome. Even if you don’t attend my church or even live remotely close enough to, you can access an entire album recorded by the praise and worship team to help keep you motivated and uplifted. You can access previous messages from the pastor and a series from his wonderful wife. There is also a Daily Confessions and Study Center to help you grow in your every day Christian walk when you need a little guide help with your individual bible study. There is also a place to submit a prayer request! This is an app I definitely need in my every day life!! 🙂

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What apps are you using on a daily basis? Are you weird like me and refuse to pay for apps? What apps help you survive today’s crazy world??

We Love Youth Rodeos

We love the youth rodeo events at one of the local Cowboy Churches in our area. We are not members of the church, but the public is welcome. This is our second year to participate in the Youth Rodeo Series at the Cowboy Church of Colbert County, Inc.  She loved the events she could participate in last year so when this year’s series rolled around, we took her back! She can only participate in a few events because of her age. She technically qualifies to participate in stick horse racing, ribbon pulling, dummy roping, barrel racing, and pole bending. She is not old enough to control her pony by herself, so we only let her do the stick horse race and the ribbon pulling. We’re looking to start dummy roping next year. 🙂

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She had taken her hat off and said, “yeehaw.” We were getting ready for the May Youth Rodeo.

 

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After we get signed up and settled in our chairs, she has to climb the gate. It is the coolest and must-have thing to do every time we go. 😉 We also go see the goats and cows, but I did not get a picture of that.

 

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Once the rodeo is actually starting, they always ride the American Flag through the arena as the National Anthem is being played.

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Waiting on her turn to stick horse race. They each individually run down and around a barrel, then back across the finish line while being timed. It is way too cute.

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Ribbon Pulling

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The whole idea is that each child runs down, pulls the ribbon off of the goat, and runs back across the finish line while being timed. It’s hilarious and adorable to watch all of them.

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This isn’t my child, but once she turns 6 she can participate in Goat Tying. Either mounted or unmounted. As you can tell in the picture, this child was mounted. She rode down on her horse, jumped off, laid the goat down and tied his feet together in order to receive her time. (The goat is tied to a rope on a stake so that children aren’t chasing it all across the arena.) I’m so pumped. I get Khloe excited telling her that when she turns 6 she can do that too! We also saw a boy pull his own tooth because he forgot to unhook his rope from his saddle horn. No worries, they found it for him!

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After her two events, we hung around for a while to watch the barrel racing for her age group. She loves wearing her daddy’s hat. I want to find her a small one 😀

 

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She was daddy and he was Khloe. Ha!! Do you like her clover bracelet I made her? Talk about taking me back to my childhood!

 

I love that they set a time in between the younger children’s events and the older (up to 18) children’s events for a Devotion. A leader from the church enters the arena and spends about 10-15 minutes giving a bible study/ devotional to the entire crowd. What a great ministry!

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My little country baby. ❤

 I hope she continues to love the youth rodeo events, especially as she gets older and can get more involved in the different categories.

A Self Interview for ALWB #2.

1. Name & Birthday
My name is Cindy Britton and I was born October 11.
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2. How long have you been blogging?
I have only been blogging since November 2013. So, about 6 months give or take. You can follow me here at Southern Mom Life.
3. What is your favorite part of being a blogger and why?
My favorite part about blogging would have to be the “meeting” new people that are from all over the country and world. Also, the discovering new activities and others’ opinions on things is another of my favorites.
4. Why did you start blogging?
I’m not real sure why I started blogging. I love to talk and also loved to blog hop and read others’ blogs and ideas. One day I just thought, “hey, I can do that too.”
5. Tell us a little about your Family.
We have a 3 year old daughter who never stops moving unless she is asleep. 😉 She is a very busy little girl from dress up, picnics and tea parties, Barbies, fishing, drawing/painting/coloring, baby dolls, youth rodeos, singing, and playing outside she definitely keeps us B-U-S-Y! We also have a 7.5 month old Miniature Long-haired Dachshund named Sofia the First and a Welsh Pony named Sugar. 
We are getting married October 2014 in a private ceremony in Asheville, North Carolina and having a reception for family and friends at home that next Saturday.
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6. Where are you from?
I am from Lawrence County, a rural area in North Alabama. I lived in Troy, AL for a while during my undergrad years and have since then moved back.
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A photo I took last summer while riding around one afternoon with the fam!

7. What is your greatest achievement?
Teaching my daughter about Jesus and influencing her love for church, her Bible, and “learning about Jesus.”
8. If you could live anywhere where would it be and why?
I think as long as I had my daughter and fiance/husband, I wouldn’t mind living anywhere! I want to travel and as long as I had the opportunity to move again.. I would consider living anywhere for a while. (Excluding places like Antarctica, Iceland, etc. other than that I’d be good!)
9. Favorite Movie?
All time favorite would have to be…. Pearl Harbor.
10. Favorite Music/Song?
Every great song I hear is my favorite. Ha!! I honestly don’t think I could choose just one. I do listen to Country music (very old and new) and also contemporary Christian.
 
11. What are your hobbies?
Blogging (obviously 😉 ); outdoor activities like hiking, canoeing, a new found love for kayaking, etc.; arts and crafts ideas with my daughter; DIY stuff for my home; reading.
THESE ARE A FEW OF OUR/MY OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES AND ADVENTURES:
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12. What inspires you?
Mainly my daughter. Because of her I want to be a better person and better mother. She constantly wants her nails or hair done like mine. Just this morning she wanted to wear a  sweater over her dress because I had one on. She inspires me to be the role model I should be. As a result, I want to live life to the fullest so that she learns to do the same. I want to try new things and never limit myself in hopes that she lives a wonderful and adventure-filled life.
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13. Favorite Color?
Orange. I think. Can I just like the rainbow? 🙂
14. What is your dream job?
Working with underprivileged and troubled children. Hopefully in an elementary school setting (preferably.) Changing the lives of children who otherwise would think they didn’t have a chance to reach their goals/dreams.
15. What are you looking forward to most in 2014
Getting married! 😀 Also, getting to spend more time dedicated to my daughter! I also can’t wait to grow my blog and see where all of its adventures take me!
If you would like to join me and follow along on my rambling life adventures, please follow my blog and you can also find me on Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Hope you have a great week and start to Summer!

I rarely have a chance to craft anymore, but finally did…

As the subject line states, I never really have the chance to dedicate time to crafting or DIYing anymore. Between work, running a household, playing with and raising our daughter… I’m happy to sleep. Ha! This weekend when I knew I had one extra day to get things done, I made time to finish a door wreath that was supposed to go up for spring through summer. Oops.

First, I started with a straw wreath from Hobby Lobby. I picked a medium size.

Then, I bought a roll of burlap ribbon and hot glued it down around some edges as I wrapped it around the wreath.

After that, I took a wooden letter “H” that I also bought from Hobby Lobby and glued it to the side that I preferred for it to appear on.

I made my fabric flowers next. Here is a tutorial to show you how. I promise I am the worst example to follow. So watch this video or find someone else on YouTube to learn from!

I arranged and rearranged the flowers until I was happy with the outcome.

(I bought fabric sample packs from Wal-Mart for around $3 each.)

I hot glued the flowers down and cut a strip for the hanger at the top.

Here was the outcome:

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In this picture I actually had one more flower to add, but I didn’t think it turned out too shabby! The floral prints are blues and greens. Then I picked a green pattern and white ribbon for the other flowers.

What kind of summer wreaths have you seen that you love?? Have you made a new spring/summer wreath? I’d love to see it!!

Does my child have to play sports…?

As my daughter gets older, she is creeping up on the age where all of these extra curricular activities enter the scene. T-ball being the number one example in my neck of the woods. I cannot tell you how many times over the last two months I have been asked if Khloe is going to play t-ball. What? I don’t know. Ha! She cannot play until she is 4 years old. Which will mean even if she is going to play, it will be Summer 2015. All of these questions did get me thinking, though. Do I even care to sign her up for t-ball? Probably not. Now, before I get a million parents (more often moms) freaking out on me, let me explain.

Where I live, almost every child plays little league t-ball, football, and cheerleading. If your child doesn’t play, what kind of horrible lazy parent are you?! Well, here is the thing: It is not that I don’t want my child playing sports or participating in extra curricular activities. I want her to do anything and everything available. And then everything she finds that I didn’t even know about. Here’s the catch.. I would rather her do things outside of the normal box. Art. Karate. Martial Arts of any kind. Dance. Gymnastics. Rodeo. Guitar lessons. Singing lessons. Theater. Golf. Who knew they offer golf lessons starting at age 5?? Well, I just recently found out that they do! I’m weird, I know. What southern, small town mom doesn’t want their sweet daughter being cheer captain?! **Here I am with my hand raised jumping up and down.** I honestly don’t. I mean, if she starts Kindergarten and begs to play t-ball or cheer with her friends, sure we’ll sign up and attend every practice and game. I just don’t see the big deal of preparing for this a year in advance? (And all of this is coming from the person who played t-ball and softball and was a cheerleader from mascot to JV.) That’s all I was able to do. I wish I could have had broader activities as a child. I had to wait until I was old enough to make my own choices to start branching out. Why would I continue the cycle and limit my own child??

I want a child who I enable to see the world and view the world from a bigger perspective than most kids are able to. Shouldn’t that be on every mom’s priority list? I just don’t believe sports should be the heart and soul of my daughter’s childhood. How many people from my graduating class took their athletic careers past high school? Hm.. I’d say maybe 10 out of 118. From those 10 not a single one has carried that sport beyond their undergraduate careers. So exactly WHAT is the big deal of pushing the issue?

I agree about wanting my daughter to be active and healthy. Who says she can’t be those things with out t-ball? (I want to make it clear that I do not hate t-ball. It is the cutest and sometimes most hilarious thing I have ever witnessed.) My concern here is how stressed out parents seem to be about these things. The people asking me if our daughter was going to play t-ball have a child the same age. They have to wait another year too! Why are they already getting excited about this a year before their child is even eligible to play?? Am I being too negative?

I want my daughter to enjoy childhood. If playing sports does make her happy, then by all means I’ll sign her up for every one. However, I have watched as children cry because they do not want to attend practice, let along play or participate an entire season, and be forced to straighten up and get out there and play. Who benefits from that??! If you don’t like every activity out there, then your child isn’t going to either! I think this is the problem I have with the sudden obsession acquaintances have about my child signing up for a sport that is a year away. Who are you really signing them up for? For your child so that they can learn work ethic and team work or for you because you want to be a member of the cool parent club?

The final thing that shut me down on the whole t-ball subject was about a month ago, a friend of mine was telling me about her two children who are on a team together this year. She said that another mom stands and shakes the fence yelling at her child. If it is somehow a double hit, etc. the mom will scream and shake the fence telling her daughter to get on second base. SHE YELLS THIS AT A CHILD WHO IS YOUNG ENOUGH TO PLAY T-BALL. T-BALL. Her child has to be no older then 7 years old. I was speechless. And quite honestly I was a little mortified at what that same situation would teach my child. I am sad at what it is teaching the lady’s child and I do not even know either of them. I could not do it. I know that I cannot shelter my child from all negative things in the world, but jeez, that seems a little extreme. Sadly enough, its not uncommon.

So when I say that I question the necessity of my child playing sports, it is not because I insist she be an outcast or because I want to force her into an activity of my choice. It is actually quite the opposite. I want my daughter to have the freedom to develop into who she wants to be and who she is meant to be. Not a clone of what I loved as a child or who I want her to be. She is not me and I do not want to force her to be. Lord knows that is the last thing she would need. She is beautifully and wonderfully unique. I think I prefer to encourage her to stay that way.

Even if it means she loves playing t-ball and ends up pitching for Team USA.

One thing is for sure, it’ll be her choice. (;

 

EZ Girl Scout Troop Camp – Summer 2014

This past weekend, I took my girls to a one night “EZ Girl Scout Troop Camp” in Anniston, Alabama at Camp Cottaquilla.

The girls chose to use their Girl Scout Cookie Sales money to attend a one night camp. We left on Friday afternoon around 3:30 p.m. and headed home Saturday afternoon around 4. To them it was the greatest trip EVER, and that is what mattered!

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Entrance to the Camp

Out of my 4 girls, none of them had ever stayed away from home on a trip like this. So when we pulled in to the gate they were jumping up and down.

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This is the lodge at the front of camp. It houses dining and offices.

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This was our first view. The lake/pond, boat house, flag pole and pool.

After check in we dropped our bags off and headed to the lodge for dinner. They served pizza and drinks. The girls learned some songs and were given an assignment to create a skit that had to do with camp. Hilarious. After that we were given about 30 minutes to get our cabins settled and then we went to the campfire area where the girls sang songs and roasted marshmallows and made s’mores.

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This is where all of the troops come together for the campfire, girl scout songs, and s’mores.

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This is pretty much what all of the cabins looked like.

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Inside of the cabins. We literally FROZE. Who knew it was going to get into the 40’s in May in Alabama!? They held about 6 cots and some walking space.

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This was the bath house for “Four Winds” set of cabins and “Deep Woods” cabins.

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Cabins

Saturday morning it rained. My girls went fishing, canoeing, and pedal boating. In the rain and never cared. Before lunch they also got to do archery. By then it had stopped raining and that was a lot of the girls’ favorite part.

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My young cousin and a camp counselor at the archery range.

After lunch our troop went on a Fairy Hike and a Nature Hike. The fairy hike took them throughout the entire camp and they learned about the 3 fairies that live at Camp Cottaquilla. It is a really cute story and if you have the opportunity to take your girls, I definitely suggest taking them!! The EZ Camp was one night and was just enough for the age of the girls in my troop. Our Junior troop consists of ages 9-11. The other troops there were Daisies and Brownies (K-3rd grade.) I think it was perfect for the maturity levels and ages. They offer week long camps but I think that most appropriate for the older end of Juniors and above.

Have you ever been to a Girl Scout Camp with your troop? What was your experience like?