Showing posts with label Tommy Nelson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tommy Nelson. Show all posts

Noah, Noah, What Do You See? (Children's Book Giveaway!)



I have been gathering a lot of classic picture books for the kids over the years, and one of them is "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?"  I find that book to be a little repetitive (I know, I know, that's the point).


(Affiliate link below.)

However, Tommy Nelson just came out with a Christian version of that book called "Noah, Noah, What Do You See?"  And I have to say, I like this one so much!  It's written by the same people act wrote "Brown Bear", but this one is focused on Bible stories!

Each page features a major Bible hero and asks them "what they see".  Then a snippet of each Bible story is given.  At the end, all these people are gathered together with Jesus, and Jesus "sees" all these people seeking after Him.

The illustrations in this book are gorgeous, it's a board book (always a plus for me), and the Bible references are given on each page as well so it is easy to look up the full story in the Bible.  The thing I love best about it is how it keeps the spirit of "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" but is so much more meaningful (and a lot more fun to read, in my opinion).  It's definitely a winner around here!



HINT: This would also be a great space-filler for Easter baskets!

And the great news - Tommy Nelson is giving away a copy to one of YOU! You can enter either by commenting here and telling me your favorite children's book, or by entering on Instagram (or both).  I'll announce the winner next week!

(Giveaway open to US residents only.  Ends 4/2 at 11:59 PM.)


Note: I received a copy of this book for free as part of the Tommy Mommy program.  This is my honest opinion.

How My Parents Made Valentine's Day Special (Even When I Was Single)




I have many great Valentine's memories from when I was growing up...and the thing is, almost none of my memories have to do with actually having a Valentine.  I never had a boyfriend until I met Derek, and I met him when I was eighteen years old, so there are a lot of years in there that could have been lonely or depressing, especially when other girls my age started dating.

My parents are the biggest reason why Valentine's Day was never depressing.  There are three things we did as a family that made it fun:

1) We ate an excessive amount of candy hearts (a tradition I continue today).

2) We all broke out the construction paper and made paper valentines for each other every year.

3) My parents gave each other sweet Valentine's Day cards (it's good for a child's heart to see their parents loving each other).

4) My parents always got us a little gift that would be waiting on the table on Valentine's Day morning.

That was enough, even during those tumultuous teenage years.  I think we underestimate the impact of the love of a parent on Valentine's Day.  It doesn't have to be anything big and flashy, just something small to remind your kids that no matter their relationship status, they are seen and loved by you.

I plan to do these things with my kids, and I also am hoping to spread the valentine joy outside of our immediate family to our cousins and friends as well!  I think I have a subconscious goal to not let any children in my kids' circles to feel forgotten on Valentine's Day.

If you are of a mind to join me...I have a long list of Valentine's Day gift ideas for kids on Tommy Nelson this week! Ideas for classroom valentines, and Valentine's Day gift ideas for your own kids too!  Read all my ideas here, then come back and tell me if I missed anything, por favor!

And Happy (early) Valentine's Day to you!








Five Books To Give As Baby Shower Gifts


When I was registering for my first baby shower, I had one strategy - register for only the things I absolutely need.

No cutesy outfits.  No blankets. No stuffed animals.  No Sophie The Giraffe or womb-sound alarm clocks or knit hats.  Only the necessities.


How Important Is It To Teach Your Kids The Books Of The Bible?




When did you learn the books of the Bible?

I am willing to bet that most adults who have the books of the Bible memorized learned them as a kid.  Kids are such sponges! It's so much easier to memorize lists of information like that as children.

I think I was probably four or five years old when I learned the books of the Old Testament.  I went to VBS at a little mountain church, and there was a teenage girl there with an acoustic guitar and long brown hair who sang the Bible books song every day.  I have no idea who she was, but I can still almost see her in my mind.  I hope wherever she is, the Lord blesses her for her service at that VBS, because it has served me well to have the books of the Bible memorized, and it all started with that song.


Managing Baby And Toddler Schedules




A few months ago I went to a party of a friend.  She used one of those e-invite systems (I'm still not sure what I think about them, because I'm old-school and still send party invites through the mail).  With e-invites you can usually see everyone else's comments about their RSVP - and I was in a curious mood, so I read through some of the responses.

One comment in particular caught my eye - someone said they couldn't come to my friend's party because the party was in the evening, and their toddler usually went to bed at 7:00 PM.  

The comment struck me, I think in part because I understand even more than most how miserable things can get when your child is cranky and tired.  I have four kids under five, three of whom still nap and also go to bed at 7:00 PM.  When one of the kids cries, at least a couple more join in.


10 Thanksgiving Bible Verses





Bible Verses For Thanksgiving | Through Clouded Glass


This year we are hosting Thanksgiving at our house.  I am not one of those mini Martha Stewarts that has a grand plan for place settings and gourmet-type Thanksgiving dishes.  But my sister-in-law told me long ago that hosting Thanksgiving can be easy, because you just cook the turkey and have guests bring the sides.  I am taking her sage advice, and we are keeping things simple.  If I get the urge, I may buy some cloth napkins for our Thanksgiving table.  This is the extent of the "fancy" around here.

I want to keep Thanksgiving simple this year, because I want to spend less time stressing about getting a huge meal prepared, and more time enjoying our family and focusing on our gratitude for the blessing God has given us!  So one thing I would love to do over the days leading up to Thanksgiving is teach my kids some Bible verses that have to do with giving thanks.  


Why You Should Know Your Neighbors' Names




Last year, I found myself feeling restless, particularly about my walk with the Lord. Was this all there was?  Was my current pattern in life how things were always going to be?  It didn't seem like enough.  I wanted to do more to serve the Lord, and I had no idea where to start.  It seemed to me I would have to do something radical to break out of my rut.

Then one Sunday, I sat in church and listened to a guest speaker talk about how to be a good neighbor.


Five Uncommon Weekend Family Activity Ideas



Labor Day is coming right up, and we all know what that means - a three-day weekend!  Where I live, it also means lots of traffic as people travel for camping, parades, and other events.

Out of curiosity I looked up the history of Labor Day, because if I'm benefitting from the holiday it seems that I should know a little bit about it.  It turns out that Labor Day originated in the 1800's, when people often worked 12-hour days, seven days a week.  We don't have that some problem anymore, but it's still nice to have an extra day off to spend time with our families.

If you are like me, you are not crazy about the idea of braving the traffic and crowds to do some of the traditional long-weekend activities - so why not do something different instead?  Here are a few ideas of things you can do with your family this weekend!


On Busyness And Bible Time (+ Giveaway!)


Sometimes I get to the end of the day, and I feel like absolutely nothing was accomplished, even though I was literally running myself ragged all day.

I am not sure how it is physically possible to be busy all day and still feel like I didn't do anything.  I think there is a serious lack of rest in many of our lives, and I am no exception.  I just did a Bible study at my church that was all about taking time to rest each day, because often God will work in our lives if we will just take a breather and slow down!  I was definitely convicted, and I'm hoping to share more of my thoughts on rest in future posts.

Another problem with not taking time to slow down is that when I get too caught up in the busy, it is easy to let time with the Lord fall by the wayside - and that is not okay with me.  I want to make sure I am being a good example to my kids, and I also cannot adequately pour into my kids when I am not taking that time to be filled up with His Word.


Off Camping (Plus A Giveaway For You!)

Well, I am off this week on vacation - Derek and the kids and I are going to be camping in South Dakota!  I never really thought of myself as a tent-camping type of girl, but a couple years ago we went camping in Arizona, and I loved it.  I am excited to go again this year, and I'm thinking South Dakota will be such a fun place for the kids.  I think even Gwen, at two years old, will think presidential faces in the side of a mountain are pretty cool.

I spent most of last week packing - on the one hand, camping/road tripping is great, because you can bring snacks or whatever else you want without space (except for the size of your car) or airline rules being an issue.  On the other hand, camping with little kids takes a lot of prep work, and our van is packed pretty tight.  Plus we are still potty training . . . so yes, it will be interesting trying to get the kids out when we make stops!

I packed a few movies for the kids to watch on the road, as per usual, but this year I decided to bring some fun new books to read to them too!  I've been having a lot of fun reading Winnie The Pooh to Wyatt over the last month or so.  He is finally to the point where he is getting better at listening to a story without a lot of pictures, so I am going to bring some chapter books to read to the two big ones - I think they'll enjoy it.




I am also excited to bring along our brand-new devotional from Tommy Nelson to read to them as they go to sleep!  We always read a Bible story and/or a devotional with the kids before bed time, and I think it will add another element of fun to change things up on vacation with a new book.

Bedtime Devotions With Jesus starts each devotion with a Bible verse and ends with a short prayer of thanks to God of everything He does for us.  There aren't a ton of pictures, but that is okay with me, because my kids tend to get distracted by really detailed pictures, so the simple illustrations on every other page are a good amount, I think.

This devotion is full of comforting thoughts for little ones that I think would be appropriate and understandable even for young toddlers (like Gwen).  We haven't read through the whole thing, but I have flipped through several of the devotions, and it seems like a lot of them talk about how God loves us and takes care of us.  I feel like the topics in this book are perfect to get kids in a peaceful frame of mind for bedtime!

(I'm also on Tommy Nelson today, talking about more ways to get kids to think about Jesus before going to sleep - check it out!)



Tommy Nelson is offering to give one of my readers a copy of this great devotional book! If you would like a chance to win, just fill out the form below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: I received a copy of this book for free from Tommy Nelson in exchange for an honest review.

I have a couple guest posts lined up for this week, one on blessing new moms, and one on beach trip essentials - keep an eye out for those, and I'll be back next week with a recap of all our vacation fun!


First Bible


I'm on Tommy Nelson and FaithGateway today, talking about how to make your child's first Bible meaningful - and including my own story of how my parents and grandparents made my first Bible meaningful.


"My children are pre-school aged. They can’t even read simple books yet, so it will be a little while before they will be able to read the Bible by themselves. Nevertheless, I have been thinking about the day that they are ready to pick out their first Bibles, and how I want to go about it.

When I think of my first Bible growing up, the one that always comes to mind is a thick, leather-bound book, with my name embossed on the front and childlike letters written inside the front cover. When I was about nine years old, my grandma gave a challenge to all her grandkids – memorize Psalm 91 – and she would buy us our own Bibles with our names on the front, and take us to a fancy Japanese restaurant for dinner…"



Head on over to Tommy Nelson to continue reading!


When did you get your first Bible?  Did your parents (if they gave it to you) do anything to make it special?

My Favorite Verse For Separation Anxiety

Hey guys!  Well, the last couple weeks have been weird to say the least.  Just lots of unexpected things that are totally throwing my blogging schedule.  Normally I would have some nice accompanying post, but today I have nothing, so I'm just going to point you over to my post on Tommy Nelson today! 

 

I wrote about separation anxiety, which I feel is ironic, because I would not consider myself an expert at handling it - however, we have found ways to cope.  And when I say we, I am not just talking about the kids, I am including myself!  I hope I am not the only mom who gets anxious for her kids sometimes.

A verse that my mom taught us in childhood reminds me that I need to point my kids to the One who will always be with them if they put their trust in Him.  And sometimes I need that reminder too!

To read all about my separation anxiety story and verse, head on over to Tommy Nelson's blog!

Gift Ideas For Little Boys

I thought I would share Wyatt's Christmas gift list today.  I don't know about you guys, but I have a terrible time picking out gifts for the kids.  I think part of the struggle is just trying to find boy and girl gifts that are similar (because Wyatt and Gwen always want what the other one has).  Thankfully, I think I have finished all my Christmas shopping, so I don't have to worry about it anymore this month!  Now just to get everything wrapped.  Anyway, these are the things I got Wyatt.

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Tricycle - We were in Goodwill a couple months ago, and Wyatt went straight for a little tricycle, climbed on, and started trying to work the peddles.  I was surprised, because we don't have a tricycle yet, and I didn't think he knew how to work one!  Gwen was dying to get down and try it out too.  I ended up getting Wyatt a cute little Roadmaster trike for $3 at the thrift store!  I have no qualms about getting pre-owned gifts this year.


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Remote Control Car - Technically, the car is recommended for kids over 8 years old, but I know Wyatt is going to love it.  We took the kids to Toys-R-Us to scout things out a couple months ago, and he went straight for the cars.  I think he is going to be so surprised to have a car that he can control by himself.

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(We got a car similar to this one.)


Dump Truck Toy - Derek couldn't help himself, and he bought the kids some toys several months ago.  Unfortunately Wyatt caught a glimpse of his "present", and he has been constantly talking about it ever since.  One thing I find so delightful about little boys in general is their obsession with anything mechanical.  Even when Wyatt was a baby, if we gave him something with wheels, he was fascinated, and the trend has held.  At least we know he'll like it, right?  We've been able to keep the other gifts a secret.


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Construction Character Books - I was excited to see that Tommy Nelson has come out with a "Building God's Kingdom" series, with construction vehicle characters, who learn about good character while doing their construction duties.  These books are so cute, and I love books that also teach a lesson.

In "Tipper Tells A Lie", Tipper learns the consequences of not telling the truth - and what I liked about this story was that the lie that Tipper tells is what someone might consider a "small" lie - it wasn't told to hurt anyone or hide a wrong, but it still had consequences.  I want my kids to know that there are no "small" lies, that every lie is wrong and can have consequences, and I thought the book got that point across really well.

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In "Diggit Saves The Day", Diggit starts out with letting his to-do list get in the way of helping others, and he realizes that his attitude was unkind.  I felt convicted reading this book myself - who hasn't been tempted to treat the to-do's as more important than people?  The message of this book was good, and it was probably my favorite because the story was so cute.

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I have been going back and forth on whether to give Wyatt these books now, or wait until Christmas, because these would make a great Christmas gift!  I know he is going to be so excited to read these books, whenever I give them to him - they are just his style.  And bonus - they are board books!  Pages still get ripped around here, so I love board books.  If you have a little boy who also likes mechanical things, check these books out!

And finally, for the stocking . . .

Nativity Rubber Duck Set - I don't know why, but both my kids are obsessed with rubber ducks.  We probably have 6-8 of them already, but some of them are getting . . . slimy?  There is water trapped inside some of them that I can't get out.  I have been sneakily throwing some of the old ducks out when the kids aren't looking, and now I can replace them with this cute little set!

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And I had a couple ideas that we may use for his birthday instead of Christmas.

Clubhouse Jr. Magazine Subscription - I love that Focus On The Family still puts out Clubhouse magazine for kids, and I think Wyatt is getting to the age where he might appreciate Clubhouse Jr.




Craft Supplies/Craft Kit -Wyatt is so into crafts right now - it is so cute.  I know he would love more craft supplies!



All you moms of toddler boys out there, any other gift ideas?

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If you are still needing some Christmas gifts for your kids, you have come to the right place!  Tommy Nelson has offered to give one of my readers copies of "Tipper Tells A Lie" and "Digger Saves The Day"!  These books really were perfect for little boys.




Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter!



This giveaway is only open to U.S. Residents.

Note: I received copies of "Tipper Tells A Lie" and "Diggit Saves The Day" for free in exchange for a review.  This is my honest opinion.  

Black Friday Game Plan

Presents
(Those are all the presents I have already wrapped this year.)

Happy Black Friday!  Yes, I am one of those crazy Black Friday shoppers (except I actually don't get too crazy).  Shopping on Black Friday something I have been doing for several years, and I just like the hustle and bustle.  Plus it's a good way to cut down on my Christmas costs!  Which is helpful this year, because the Christmas budget is not what it usually is.  I usually save up for Christmas throughout the year, but I wasn't able to save anything for the first six months of 2014 between saving for Clyde's birth and maternity leave.

Despite my love of Black Friday shopping, I actually don't have too much to get this year.  Most of our Christmas gifts are already bought!  There are a few things I'll look for today though.


Toys For Clyde.  He's only seven months old, so I know he won't know the difference, but I feel like it's a matter of principle - I still have to give him some presents!  I'm trying to think of little toys that we might not have received for the other two.  One I was thinking of is one of those little switch/pop-up toys, that has like four or five different switches to pull - that sounds really confusing.  Like this:


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I'm open to any other suggestions.  Babies are so hard to shop for.

Movies.  It just doesn't feel like Christmas if we don't have a few new movies to watch.  Growing up, we always got movies, and we'd enjoy them during the week between Christmas and New Year's.  It felt like an extension of the Christmas fun.  You can get a lot of great movies on Amazon for cheap anyway, and I'm hoping for even better Amazon deals on Black Friday.  "Here Comes The Boom" and "Draft Day" are on my list of possibilities…

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A Game.  We kind of have a tradition of getting a new game for Christmas, but this year I might get two - one we can play with the kids, and one for Derek and me.  I'm thinking "Chutes and Ladders" for the kids, but I'm not sure what else.  Favorite family games, anyone?
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That is pretty much it.  It's a short list this year.  I will probably do mostly online shopping, but I'll also head to Target on Black Friday for Clyde's toys, because going out on Black Friday is just fun to me.  Plus I think they are having a 50% off deal on Baby Einstein toys.  I'll keep you posted on Instagram and Twitter.

Do you shop on Black Friday?  Are you hardcore, or do you just shop for fun?  What is your game plan?

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I am also over on TommyNelson.com today, talking about ways to make Black Friday a blessing (because it is notorious for the opposite).  Head on over there to check it out (and leave me a comment, if you are so inclined)!

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Popcorn

In the late fall of 2008 I was a newlywed, and as the holidays approached I was determined to find some new recipes to try for Christmas - recipes that could be "mine" and would become a tradition for our then family of two.   That was when I found a caramel fudge recipe that has become the bane of my fudge-making existence.

The first time I made it, it was a success.  It was the perfect texture, the perfect taste, and we loved it!  I was excited that I found such  cool recipe.

Every time I have attempted to make it since then, it has been a colossal failure.  It usually ends up being a plate of sticky goo that never sets.  I have made it so many times, and I cannot for the life of me figure out what I am doing wrong!  I don't even want to know how much sugar, milk, and corn syrup I have wasted trying to replicate that first plate of caramel-y goodness.


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However, I think I have finally figured out a way to use my plates of sticky goo!  The other day I was in the mood for some caramel popcorn, the kind that is a little more chewy, less crunchy.  After a little experiment, I stumbled upon a yummy concoction!

This recipe for Pumpkin Pie Spice Popcorn uses that caramel fudge recipe with some adjustments.  And despite my caramel fudge always turning out spectacularly wrong, this popcorn turned out great!





Pumpkin Pie Spice Popcorn

1 bag of popcorn, popped (either plain or buttered is fine)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 whole milk
1/8 cup (ie. 1/2 stick) margarine, melted
1 tbsp. light corn syrup

For the pumpkin spice mixture:

1/4 cup sugar 
1/4 brown sugar
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1.  Pop the bag of popcorn in a microwave, then pour into a greased bowl or dish.  Set aside.

2. Mix together the ingredients for the pumpkin spice mixture.  Set aside.

2. Brown 1/2 cup of the sugar in a saucepan.  (If you don't know how to brown sugar - just let it sit on the heat until it melts.  Make sure it doesn't burn.)

3. Slowly add in the milk.  The sugar will sizzle and harden into a lump ( I haven't figured out a way to avoid this). Don't freak out.  Just keep stirring while the caramel cooks to encourage it to dissolve.

4.  Add the margarine, 1 cup of the sugar, and corn syrup.  Heat over medium high heat until mixture gets to soft ball stage.  (The soft ball stage is when you put a little of the mixture into cold water, and it solidifies to the point where you could form a soft ball with it if you wanted to.)

5.  Remove from heat and beat mixture until cool.  Add three tablespoons of the pumpkin spice mixture to the caramel mixture and mix well.

6.  Pour caramel mixture over the popcorn and mix to coat the popcorn.  Sprinkle the remaining pumpkin spice mixture over the popcorn.


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And that is it!  This popcorn has a great, fall-ish taste to it.  It would be perfect to much on while reading a book to your kiddos.  Or you could bring the popcorn along as a snack for some of your favorite fall activities (corn maze, anyone?).

What are some of your favorite fall snacks?


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Speaking of fall activities, I am also on the Tommy Nelson blog today talking about some ways to use fall fun to talk to your kiddos about the Lord.  I'd love for you to stop over there and say "hi"!  I'm also happy to say that Tommy Nelson is giving one of you a copy of "It Will Be Okay" by Lysa Terkeurst, which I reviewed earlier this month - it's an adorable kids' book, and perfect for fall.  Enter below!


Music City



As you all know, I started writing for the Tommy Nelson blog earlier this year - and last week Tommy Nelson flew all of the ladies who write for their blog out for a meet up!  I have never done anything like this before, and it was so exciting!  Here are some of the things we did.

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On Thursday they flew us in, and we got to meet Tommy Nelson's amazing marketing team - the ladies we work with regularly, and who planned this wonderful trip!  

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(They had these goodie bags waiting for us in our rooms - I felt like a VIP!)

We settled in the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Resort - and I just have to say, it was beautiful.  The rooms were spacious, and out room had a balcony that overlooked one of their three gardens!

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Before dinner, we took a boat ride through the river system that runs through the gardens - it was so cool.  Then we went out to eat and it was so neat to meet the other bloggers in person!

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On Friday we went to the Thomas Nelson offices and had meetings, and we got to meet so many people from the Tommy Nelson team.  I was just so impressed and encouraged to hear everyone's heart for reaching kids for Jesus through the books they publish, and it left me even more honored to be able to work with this company.

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(All of us with the Tommy Nelson team!)

We went out to Puckett's Grocery for dinner that night.

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(Me with my roommate, Whitney from Rambles Of A SAHM.)

Then we walked around Broadway - we did not go into any of the honky tonks, but as we were walking past I could hear the live music in each one.  It was quite the experience!  Then we went to a boot place that had an amazing deal on cowboy boots.  Derek has been wanting a new pair for a long time, so I got him a pair, and I couldn't resist getting myself some too.

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(See, the turquoise on my boots?  I couldn't pass that up.)

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(Gorgeous night in Nashville.)

On Saturday we went out to breakfast at the Loveless Cafe!  The biscuits were so good.  I don't think I've ever tasted a biscuit like that.  I'm serious.

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(They had these custom Tommy Mommy Meetup t-shirts made for us!  That is my Twitter and Instagram handle on the back!)

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(All of us at breakfast.)

We went shopping at the Opryland Mills that afternoon, and then Johnny Rocket's for dinner!

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(Sporting my new boots.)


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After dinner we went to the Grand Ole Opry to see a show!  I am definitely a country music fan, so I really enjoyed the artists!

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At intermission a lady came up to our rows and had us follow her, and we found out that we were getting a backstage tour!  We got to see the back entrance where the stars enter, the dressing rooms, and the green room.  

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(That guy on the left in this picture is Jonathan Jackson, one of the stars of the show "Nashville".)

We watched a song from the side of the stage - it was so cool!

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Then we got back to our seats, and Vince Gill came on!  It was so cool to see him perform!

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The whole Grand Ole Opry experience was so cool, a once in a lifetime thing!  

We went back to the hotel and I had to get a picture with my roomy, Whitney.  She was so fun to hang out with on this trip, and we actually have a lot in common!  We stayed up way too late on Saturday night talking - I was so glad I got to room with her!

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The next day we flew back home.  I was excited about getting to see my kiddos again, but sorry to see the trip end - everyone at Tommy Nelson made us feel so special and planned everything so well!  I am proud to be a part of this group!

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Check out the Tommy Nelson blog to read more from all these ladies!

To see more pics, follow me on Instagram!
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