Monday, July 30, 2018

Hartford Tennessee: After our White Water Rafting Adventure

One of the many highlights of our summer vacay this year is white water rafting.  We booked our  itinerary online so it was scheduled before we went on our road trip.  We did it on the  third day  of our Tennessee adventure.
Our sense of direction is not great even with  GPS, we always get lost lol.  But it is part of the fun  for us.  Both hubby and I don't have the best when it comes to  direction so we rely on  the GPS to  guide us but sometimes the GPS have delayed reaction for some reason and we  missed an exit or something like that and my husband ain't always happy but as long as we get to our destination safely, small bumps along the way  doesn't really matter.  It is part of learning and fun.
When we booked  our trip online, we were advised  not to use  a GPS in getting there  and use the map that they are going to send us via email but we never got their email so yes, we used  our GPS.  I guess a lot of people get lost in going there  so that's why they don't advise the use of the  GPS navigation, in our case, we didn't have a choice.
Anyway, we passed by our destination since our GPS pointed us to a car garage with a bunch of  men working on cars lol.  We continued driving but turned around as we knew we were lost and the signal of the GPS was  going off and on.
We left very  early that day even though our scheduled  time for the rafting was in the afternoon.  We always allot some extra time for situations like getting lost and other  unexpected  stuff so I am so glad we did that because  someone cancelled for an early  schedule so we got to go earlier than scheduled.
It's funny, we  couldn't find the right place so we called someone from that place but  she sounded like she didn't know what she was doing and  what to tell us so we just figured it out ourselves.  It was actually where we were at the first time, we just did not see the  sign.
The check in process is very easy! We were given some  waivers and filled them out then they took our car key after  we secured everything in the car as we are not allowed to bring anything. They will give  your car keys when you came back.
About 15 minutes prior to our trip, all rafters were called over for some basic rules, to get assigned a guide and to be given the  equipment needed. The rafting  equipment includes  helmet, floating jacket,  and paddle.  Our guide, Bill was awesome, he  made our first experience a blast.  We all rode a bus to our drop in location where the guides kept us entertained with funny stories as well as some information about our environment. We were briefed what to do just in case we  fall out from the raft.  The first and most important thing is not to panic, we have life jacket on so we will sure float no matter what.
Once we got off the bus, we headed to our guide's assigned raft before we put into the water. Our guide, once again  explained to us  everything that we need to know before we get into our raft.  He showed us where to put our feet, things that we should avoid  with the paddle, and my kids were given a specific instruction as they weren't paddling.  They have a rope in front of them to hold on to for rough rapids.
One of the biggest advantages of using Rafting in the Smokies is that you complete the adventure where  you checked in. 
We get to  take some photos after we changed to our dry clothes.
See the small sign right there?  We missed that because it wasn't really visible from the road.  They should  make a big sign so that  people  won't miss  where to  go.  But anyway, it was a fun trip and we would love to do it again if we ever go to Tennessee.  We will probably do the upper  part of Pigeon river when the kids are  older.
After we left, we decided to  have a little  short trip to North Carolina since it was near Hartford anyway.  The kids were tired and  overheated so we didn't really do anything there.  We just ate at one of their DQ and we came back to Pigeon Forge.  

Six Ways To Remodel Your Bathroom On A Budget

If you’re ready to redecorate your bathroom, but don’t feel prepared to drop thousands on your renovation project, fret not: there are plenty of budget-friendly ways to get the job done. Of course, one of the first things you’ll want to do is make sure your plumbing and maintenance is in order: after all, you wouldn’t want to remodel your space with broken elements. Blocked drains are one of the most common issues in bathrooms.
According to Fix It Right Plumbing, a team of plumbers in Frankston, “When looking for a plumber to clear your blocked drain, insist they use a high pressure water jet machine and that they are trained in the right drain clearing techniques. Clearing drains is an art as well as a science.”
Once you’ve fixed existing issues (or prevented potential future issues), you can start to focus on your remodeling project. The trick is to start thinking about creative ways to utilize your space, rather than expensive things you can purchase to add to your space. With that in mind, here are six ways you can remodel your bathroom on a budget:
Paint The Walls
Painting the walls is one of the most cost-effective ways to spruce up your bathroom. Choose a color that compliments your countertops, accessories, and overall theme. However, come armed with a lengthy amount of painter’s tape. While painting is certainly a great way to change the entire aesthetic of your bathroom without spending an arm and a leg, it is a tedious process. Although this is the smallest room in the house, you do have to consider that you’re working around plenty of corners and obstructions.

Update Your Fixtures
Updating your bathroom fixtures doesn’t cost as much as you’d think, but can make the world of a difference. To better position you, take a look at some ideas on design blogs and Pinterest. Gather a couple of photos for inspiration—don’t worry about price at this point. Once you’ve curated enough material, you can begin your hunt for a cost-effective alternative. Some bathroom fixtures to pay attention to include light fixtures, towel racks, and drawer pulls.
Fix Caulk & Grout
You’d be surprised at how updated your bathroom can look if you clean up your caulk and grout. Caulk is the material that seals water around your shower, sink, and tub. Although caulk is very strong, most homes are fairly old, and you don’t realize just how much time has passed. After a while, the caulk begins to peel, crack, and discolor. When this happens, it can lead to mildew and water damage. Fixing your caulk is a great way to give your bathroom a clean appearance, at the same time as upkeeping the maintenance.

Grout, on the other hand, is the material that holds your tile together. If this starts to get stained or begins to crumble, it can give your bathroom a nasty appearance, and it might be time to regrout the area. Sometimes, this can happen early if the installer didn’t install the grout properly. Like caulk, a thorough redo won’t set you back with the bank, but will make all the difference once finalized.

Reline or Refinish Your Tub & Shower
Instead of replacing your tub and shower entirely, a safe, and cost-effective bet is to reline or refinish it. When you line your bathtub, a professional comes in and measures the area, and will fit a new liner on top of it. This way, you don’t have to get rid of the existing tub, but can benefit from a finished product that looks just as brand new.

With refinishing, a professional company will come in and clean, sand, spray paint, and patch the area. Think of this as more of a restoration service. This is a better choose if you have a unique or older tub and want to retain some of its original elements.

Add Some Accessories & Decoration
Accessories and decoration add ambiance to the bathroom, and help create a scene. For example, a statement mirror creates a focal point and draws attention towards it. It can also add dimension, making the room appear bigger. Additionally, you can add shelving and decorate it with plants, artwork, and candles. Even a chair or leaning towel rack can make a difference.
Renovate Your Floor

Adding new wooden floors will completely alter the aesthetic of your new bathroom. You can find inexpensive flooring in plenty of hardware store or online, and because the bathroom occupies such a small space, you won’t be spending too much. There’s so much you can do with your bathroom floors to jazz it up. Porcelain, ceramic, vinyl, stone, wood, and laminate flooring all some of the versatile options to choose from. Check out these bathroom floor ideas for inspiration. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Ohio River

When we were in Cincinnati Ohio, the river beside the  International Friendship  Park  reminded me of these wintery photos that I took last winter but never got to post so here it goes.  Since it is so hot outside, this would make me cool down a bit somehow, just by looking at it.
Did you know that the Ohio River  streams westward from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  to Cairo, Illinois?   It is the largest affluent body of freshwater, by volume, of the Mississippi River in the United States. It said that the  Ohio river is considerably bigger than the Mississippi so it is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system.  
Time flies so before we knew it, it is going to be  freezing cold again.  Just like when I took these photos, I was thinking, I can't wait for the summer and now the summer is starting to pull away.
The photo below is downtown Weirton with a little bit  part of Marland Heights.
Crossing the  bridge  that connects Weirton, WV and Steubenville Ohio.
I have never seen the  Ohio river frozen.  Wouldn't it  be so nice if it froze and we can  ice skate in there?  I know it can be part dangerous too but it's  a thought that crosses my mind once in a while  when passing the bridge.
The River is what  dividing West Virginia and Ohio and  it's the same river that also  separates Kentucky and Ohio.
I would really love to own a boat so I could travel by  the river in visiting other places.  It would be a fun adventure.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


This year’s summer vacation with the kids just seems to be flying by.  I guess it’s because we like exploring new places with the kids on the weekend, exploring the different locations and cultures around us.  Many of these new travel experiences can be just a few miles away from your own home.  It’s like we all live in a series of small towns hooked together by a common city or area name, but these little neighborhoods have distinct identities all to themselves.
It certainly gets your imagination going when you think about what it would be like to just pick up and move to a whole new city or even a small town somewhere out in the boondocks.  How could we do it?  Where would we work?  What about the kids’ schools?  What’s there to do in a small town?


These days we all do plenty of our work right on our phones.  If you are working on, say, a distributed team, it really doesn’t matter where you live.  You do the assignment and phone it in.  There are so many new opportunities in remote sales and the Internet, finding a job in a new environment isn’t nearly as tough as it used to be.  Prospects in distribution and fulfillment are growing in rural locations because companies are locating more and more of their distribution warehouses where property costs are low.

You can have a great school with absolutely flawless credentials but if your kids don’t have the desire to learn, it won’t matter where they actually attend school.  It’s the home environment that makes the good student and that up to you and your family, no matter where you live.  Cultural diversity in a school can have a good effect on the learning environment, or it can lead to division and fragmentation of students into ethnic cliques.
It’s up to the parents and faculty working together to break down barriers and create an environment where the all students accept any and all others for who they individually are, rather than rejecting them because of some outward cultural stereotype.  Small town America has become as ethnically diverse as many cities relatively recently.  So country folks are, perhaps, more likely to be tolerant of differences than their big city counterparts, these days.  Who knows?


Well, first of all, you’re only about 5 or 10 minutes away from wilderness in a small town.  That usually means camping opportunities and nature preserves where you and your kids can enjoy wildlife encounters and natural wonders like waterfalls and rushing river rapids – without the 5-hour traffic wait.  Many towns have rebuilt their old main streets and turned them into antique and dining opportunities with usually a couple of charming bed & breakfast inns thrown into the mix.  Lots of weekend activities and annual festivals are just waiting to be explored.  And don’t forget the county fair.  There’s plenty to do any neighborhood, no matter how small, if you have the will and desire to find it.


It’s usually best when you’re moving to a new town to rent before you buy.  That way you can take a year or so to get the lay of the land and find the exact, right neighborhood for your family’s eventual home buy.  Everything counts: schools, shopping areas, healthcare facilities, parks and recreation.  You name it.  When it comes time to actually pull up stakes and go, do not try to do it yourself.  Moving a family is a complicated process that involves logistics and a lot of heavy lifting.  You need to hire a professional to help you do this.  Someone who has done it a lot, who knows, for instance, how to pre-scout and find the right parking spaces, in both the old and new location, to park a huge truck.  Someone who cares about protecting your furniture and valuables over a long haul.  And don’t forget about insurance coverage when moving.  Anything can happen over the many miles between your previous residence and your new home.  Especially if the weather is severe, like in the dead of winter or during the summer thunderstorm/tornado seasons.  Remember, your family’s entire life and history is in that one moving van.  Make sure that you protect it.  And when the moving is over?  Take a personal moment to kick back, relax and enjoy that first day in the rest of your life.

Sugarcreek Roadtrips

It's been a while since we last visited Sugarcreek.  We used to go there almost every weekend just so we can drive around and see other ...

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