Farm Family Fun Around Laurel Mississippi

I am pleased to introduce my son-in-law, Ken McCarron, who is an enviromental consultant, and the author of this post. He lives in Denver, Colorado with my daughter, Becca. They have two dogs, Konza and Lexi. 

Traveling with kids near Laurel, Mississippi and looking for outdoor activities just a short drive from town? You may want to get out of the car and check out some of these fun attractions for the preteen set. With a dairy farm, a replica homestead and village, pumpkin patches, and corn mazes, you’ll not only find places to stretch your legs, but some family fun and entertainment, too!  Every year, some of the farms in the region open their doors and give eager visitors a chance to connect with local farmers and learn about and experience working farms.  Most of these activities are seasonal so be sure to check with their websites for scheduled events.  Also, please remember these are working farms so wear appropriate clothing, older shoes (not open toe), and maybe a change of clothes/shoes if it is muddy.

Lazy Acres Plantation

(596 Lazy Acres Road, Chunky, MS 39323): Lazy Acres has two main crops, Christmas trees and pumpkins.  Like many farms their big season is fall with the harvest of the pumpkins and then later the cutting of Christmas trees. However, they also have an annual Easter egg hunt and Breakfast with the Bunny at the farm in the spring.  Easter activities for children include field trips to the Bunny Patch, story time, Easter egg scavenger hunt with prizes, the previously mentioned Breakfast with the Bunny, and chances to learn about the farm and farm animals.  During the fall there are wagon rides to the pumpkin patch to pick pumpkins, children’s educational talks about the pumpkin’s life cycle, giant jumping pillow and slide to play on, and a chance to visit with the farm animals. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas there are Christmas lights displays, Santa’s workshop, and a chance to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus.  Please see the Lazy Acres website for details about events and schedules 

Landrum’s Homestead & Village photo from Landrum Homestead & Village website

Landrum’s Homestead & Village

(1356 Highway 15 South, Laurel, MS 39443): The Landrum’s Homestead and Village is only a few miles from downtown and has many great opportunities for family style events.  The village is a replica of a late 1800s settlement with over 60-buildings including a restored cabin, chapel, schoolhouse, general store, smokehouse, trading post, and a small replica Indian village. The site is open year round (Monday through Saturday) and welcomes walk-in visitors, however they do have special events scheduled throughout the year. During the spring they have Spring Heritage field trips (reservations needed) with demonstrations of  some of the everyday tasks for early settlers, wagon rides, nature trails, and tours of the buildings.  One of their largest events is the annual Christmas at the Village with visit with Santa, food vendors (kettle corn, smokehouse, and homemade ice cream), hand-made craft vendors, civil war re-enactments, a chance to meet and pet some of the farm animals, and lots of live entertainment. For a list of events and schedules please see their calendar on their website 

Ard’s Dairy photo sourc

Ard’s Dairy Farm

(3479 Orchard Lane SE, Ruth, MS 39662): Ard’s Dairy Farm is a working family run dairy farm near Ruth, MS, about a 1.5 hour drive west of downtown Laurel.  They offer year round tours of the farm (with reservations) and a chance to learn about dairy farming and “how your milk, butter, cheese, and cream magically appear on your grocery store shelves”.  Fall is their biggest time of the year with their Fall Festival in October.  Every Saturday in October they have tours, wagon rides, a chance to pet and feed baby calves, and their annual corn maze.  At night they have a bonfire, with bring your own marshmallows and hot dog cooking (they do have food available for purchase), and flashlight maze adventures.  Please see their website for updated information and schedules.


Mitchell Farms Photo Source

Mitchell Farms

(650 Leaf River Church Road, Collins, MS 39428): Just half an hour drive from Laurel is another great fall opportunity to learn about daily life on a working 1,500 acre farm.  Every fall (2017: September 30 – November 5) Mitchell Farms opens its door to visitors for their annual farm event.  Every weekend (also weekday school tours) they have tours of historic log cabins, antique tractors, wagon rides, pumpkin patch, chance to meet some of their “furry farm friends”, corn maze, and many other family fun activities.  More information can be found on their website 


Feeding Alpacas  Photo Source

A Stroka Gene-Us Alpacas

(383 County Road 155, Stringer, MS 39481): Every year the A Stroka Gene-Us Alpacas open up their farm to the public and host the annual Alpaca Festival on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  For groups of 10 or more they do have tours at other times of the year (with reservations) and they also host birthday parties (petting alpacas on your birthday is a must do!).  During the annual festival, families will have a chance to learn about these wonderful creatures along with the other farm animals (goats, Scottish highland cow, and four Great White Pyrenees) and the daily workings of the farm.  For more information about Alpaca Festival and tours please see their website .

Walk Among Nature Within A Short Drive Of Cape May, New Jersey

I am pleased to introduce my son-in-law, Ken McCarron, who is an enviromental consultant, and the author of this post. He lives in Denver, Colorado with my daughter, Becca. They have two dogs, Konza and Lexi. 
The wind it blew from Sou’sou’east,
It blew a pleasant breeze
And the man upon the lookout cried:
“A Light upon the lee!”
They reported to the Captain and
these words did he say –
“Cheer up my sailor lads,
Its the light on old Cape May.
(Traditional sea shanty from late 1800’s to early 1900’s)

Cape May, New Jersey is well known as one of the country’s oldest vacation resort destinations and claims to be America’s first seaside resort. Known for its rich maritime history, Victorian style architecture, restaurants, and beautiful beaches, Cape May attracts visitors from all over the world. In a county with only about 95,000 permanent residents, but with summer weekends where the population can grow to 800,000, finding places to escape and walk among the wetlands and trees and enjoy solace from the crowds can be difficult. However, Cape May is also a favorite destination for many birdwatchers and there are many natural hideaways just a short drive from downtown that can help soothe the weary vacationer. The locations that are presented here are ones with easy access and well marked hiking trails, with the farthest being only about 25 minutes travel time from the beaches, with most much closer.

Cape May, New Jersey

South Cape May Meadows

A very short drive (1.4 miles/2.25 km) from downtown off of Sunset Blvd, is The Nature Conservancy’s 212 acre (0.86 Km2) South Cape May Meadows. With an estimated 90,000 visitors a year and the close proximity to town, this may not be the least crowded location, but the ease of access and convenience allows for a nice easy side trip from shopping. There are two miles of trails, scenic overlooks, observation platforms, and other places to relax and explore the nature of the Cape May Peninsula. However, this is a preserve for wildlife and not a park, so there are no provisions for picnicking or recreational activities (no swimming, bikes, or pets) other than observing nature. Information about the refuge area and a trail map can be found at the Nature Conservancy website 


Garrett Family Preserve at Cape Island Creek

 Another short drive from downtown is another The Nature Conservancy site, the Garrett Family Preserve at Cape Island Creek. Located about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from downtown, take Seashore Rd north until you come to Wilson St and take a left. There is a parking area just over the railroad tracks on the west side of the property. Unlike South Cape May Meadows, this preserve does have provisions for picnicking and recreational activities such as biking, although trash containers are not provided so please carry out what you carry in. This 180 acre (0.73 km2) area of recovering farm fields (now wildflower meadows), upland forests, and wetlands was originally slated to be developed but was protect in 2013 through the generosity of the Garrett family. There are about 4 miles (6.4 km) of hiking trails that take you through the different ecosystems to picnic tables and shelters, bird blinds, arbors, and wildflowers, to help you escape and relax from a day at the beach or shopping. Information about the refuge area and a trail map can be found at the Nature Conservancy website

Cape May National Wildlife Refuge Office  photo credit Damon Noe and the TNC

Cape May National Wildlife Refuge (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

Part of the national wildlife refuge system for the United States, Cape May NWR was set aside to preserve key habitats for wildlife, but they also provide an opportunity for recreational use such as hiking, wildlife viewing, fishing, environmental education, photography, and hunting. The Cape May NWR system is made of up of multiple land tracts broken up into three units and encompassing over 21,200 acres (86 km2): the Delaware Bay Division, the Great Cedar Swamp Division, and the Two Mile Beach Unit. The Two Mile Beach Unit is located just a short drive east (5.4 miles / 8.7 km) from downtown near Diamond Beach. This is a nice place to spend an afternoon, especially on weekends during the summer when the Friends of Cape May National Wildlife Refuge often present Free Family Nature Walks including special walks to observe the ghost crabs and mole crab beach habitats. Information can be found on the Friends of Cape May National Wildlife webpage along with other activities 
The headquarters office and visitor contact station Cape May NWR is a longer drive from Cap May, about 14 miles (22.5 km), however, there are more opportunities for longer hikes and a chance to see more of the county as you drive some of the less traveled roads. The Cape May NWR website provides details about hiking trails  and activities  within the three units. In addition, the Friends of Cape May National Wildlife Refuge also present some activities and walks at Kimbles Beach near the visitor contact station 
Directions to Two Mile Beach Unit: Go north on Lafayette St (109) and turn right at Ocean Dr., then in about 4.7 miles (7.6 km) turn right at USCG Entrance St. and follow this road until you see the Two Mile Beach Visitor Center on the left; the parking lot is on Two Mile Beach Access Rd. Watch your speed as you travel on Ocean Dr. towards Diamond Beach, the police like to park just before the entrance to the preserve.
Directions to Cape May NWR headquarters office and visitor contact station: It’s about a 14 mile (22.5 km) drive from Cape May to the visitor contact station (24 Kimbles Beach Road, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210); take Seashore Rd north for about 7 miles (11.2 km) and turn left at South Delsea Dr., go another 6.6 miles (10.6 km) and turn left at Kimbles Beach Rd. and the headquarters will be on the left in a few 100 feet.

Money Saving Monday: Treat Yourself To Betty Boop!

Are you a fan of Betty Boop? If you are, right now is the time to order all the things that are Betty Boop related. Here are some of my favorite Betty Boop items:


Show off your Betty Boop love every time you write a check. Get these so cute check from Checks Unlimited $5.50/Box, Free Lettering, Free Shipping & Handling 9TNT. These Betty Boop checks are as fun and playful as Betty herself! Coordinating return address labels and checkbook cover are also available. Use the code 9TNT at checkout to get the deal! 

Betty Boop Checks

Checks Unlimited has tons of other check styles so you will be able to find just the right one. Don’t wait and miss this great deal! 

Betty Boop Cotton Nightshirt

Betty Boop Fuchsia Gray Cotton Nightshirt for Juniors – $14.99

from is so cute! It also comes in red or black. 


Target has this Biography of Betty Boop on DVD! 

You can get it for $20.19 at

Southern Charm and Gifts Shop New In Tallapoosa!

Y’all, I am so excited! Last week, I saw this new store in town, Southern Charm and Gifts Shop. I decided to go in and see what it was all about. And guess what? It is a store that sells handmade things. I contacted them on Facebook, and asked if they take crafts on consignment, and they do!

southern charm and gifts

Sharon from Southern Charm and Gifts in Tallapoosa, Georgia.

Today, I went and talked to them, and took the things I had on hand that I have made. They loved all of my stuff, so I signed a contract and put my things in the shop for sale. 

Southern Charm & Gifts

Southern Charm and Gifts is located at 2160 US Hwy 78 in Tallapoosa, Georgia

The shop is owned by Sharon and Jerry. They opened up not too long ago, and have several vendors already signed up. Things for sale are crocheted; metal art; wooden toys; handmade greeting cards; several different types of jewelry; and more. One of the neatest things I saw was art made from shotgun shells! 

southern charm and gifts

American Flag art made from shotgun shells!

Here are some of my things that are for sale in the shop right now:

southern charm and gifts

A handmade pieced tote bag.

Laptop Messenger Bag. 

southern charm and gifts

Laptop Messenger Bag

Some wallets and cosmetic bags.

southern charm and gifts

Wallets and cosmetic bags

I also have some Big Mama Aprons, and a few crocheted baby things. Here are some photos of some of the other things for sale at Southern Charm and Gifts:

southern charm and gifts

Jewelry by Kellie from K&M Coffee.

Handmade wooden toys

southern charm and gifts

Wooden Toys

University of Alabama Wall Art

Southern charm and gifts

Alabama Wall Art

Cutie cute crocheted baby sneakers:

southern charm and gifts

Crocheted Baby Sneaker Booties

Handmade Greeting Cards:

southern charm and gifts

Handmade Greeting Cards

There are a lot more things in the shop right now, too many to show all the photos I took. You’ll just have to make a trip over there to see for yourself.

I am sure Jerry and Sharon would love to see you there. 

southern charm and gifts

Jerry was a good sport trying on this pink crocheted scarf.

Southern Charm and Gifts is located at 2160 US Hwy 78 in Tallapoosa, Georgia. The phone number is (678) 573-8086. You can contact them through their Facebook page .  There is also a website for them, where you can order items online. Follow them on Instagram and Pinterest too. 

What handmade items do you like?


Dreaming About My First Car

Whenever I think about my first car, a 1964 Chevrolet Impala, it takes me back to 1970, when I was 18 years old. I loved that car so much. It gave me more freedom than anything else I have ever owned. It was red, two doors, automatic, and had a 357 engine that made it fly down the road. There was no tape player in it, though. I had a portable 8 track tape player that sat on the seat next to me. My friends and I played Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Beatles, The Who, the Birds, and other bands as we flew down the road. 

1964 Chevrolet Impala

My best friends, Elaine and Carol, and I would drive all over the place in that car, with that player blaring at top volume. We got into some trouble sometimes, like going the wrong way on one way streets in downtown Atlanta; or getting lost late at night in some seedy parts of town.

I had the car for only one month before I wrecked it—I was going a little too fast, as usual, and slammed into the rear of the car in front of me at a traffic light in my home town. I was devastated—but I got it back from the body shop good as new, and with a new respect for speed. I drove that car for about three years.  When I got married, that is the car my new husband and I left town in.

My husband didn’t love that car as much as I did, and never took proper care of it. When my son was a baby, I was driving home from my mother’s house one day. When I was stopped at a traffic light waiting to turn left,  the motor caught on fire.  A passing trucker stopped and put out the fire with a fire extinguisher, but that car never ran again.

I miss still that Impala, even though it has been more than forty years since I owned it. I used to dream about it, and in the dream, the car would be parked in my yard. Those dreams were so vivid that for years, I would get up and run to the window, expecting to see it parked out there. And always, I was disappointed that it wasn’t there.

What was your first car? Did you love it? Do you still own it? If not, what happened to it?

What Type Of Traveler Are You?

Everyone loves to go on vacation. However, we have different ideas about how to spend our time away. So, what type of traveler are you?

The Annual Trekker Traveler

This type of traveler has been going to the same location every year since they graduated from high school. If they can get the same room in the same hotel, they are double happy. They go to the same restaurants, order the same menu items, and then go to the same entertainment after dinner. The Annual Trekker just loves the routine.

The See A New Place  Traveler

Just as the Annual Trekker loves the routine of their getaway, the See A New Place Traveler loves to spend hours planning where they will go, the route they are going to take, the amusements and sites they will see, and where they are going to stay. The time spent planning is as much a part of their vacation as the actual travel. 

The Get In The Van Without A Plan Traveler

This type of traveler just decided to go on a road trip, with no destination in mind. They take a frying pan, a sleeping bag, and a map with them. The open road, camping in the woods, fishing for dinner way of traveling is what gets them going. Their vacation is the drive , not the destination. A billboard on the side of the road dictates their next stop. 

The See 17 States In 12 Days Traveler

This traveler keeps a potty chair in the back floorboard for the kids so he doesn’t have to stop unless the car needs gas. He is intent on seeing as many state “welcome” signs as he can in the little time he has. His family remembers traveling, but they can’t remember seeing any points of interest along the way. The point of this guys trip is to just drive, drive, drive. 

Which one of these travelers is most like you? Do you have a different style of traveling than any of the ones described above? Whichever type of vacationer you are, be sure to have your car tuned up, have the oil changed, and check the tires before you go at your local auto dealership. Stop in to see the service team at Century 3 Chevrolet in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania.