2021: Our Year In Review

It’s been too long since I published regular blog posts, although the intentions were there. I have all kinds of Christmas craft posts in my drafts that I do want to share. Maybe if I work on them now, you’ll see them by the time the holidays roll around this year! It’s definitely part of my yearly goals, to get the blog more organized and regular!

2021 was not an awesome year for our family but I had a feeling that it wouldn’t be and you know what, that happens sometimes. 2020 was so incredible and every year can’t be perfect, after all. I think it’s important to remember that, actually. Every time something was subpar in 2021, I reminded myself that 2020 was as near to perfect as it could have been!


Loss & Illness

Obviously, nothing was worse than losing my best friend. She passed in 2022, but her ability to communicate ceased at the end of November and every day not being able to talk to her was difficult. I think it was actually a little harder when she was there but not there. It made the holidays nothing but a sad blur. Christmas is my favorite time of year but nothing felt right. Definitely not “merry”.

We had the c19 for Thanksgiving and it wasn’t bad but we were stuck inside, of course, so we did miss out on a lot of the holiday activities that might have otherwise helped to cheer me up. We did manage to get the kids out for the Dancing Lights of Christmas drive-through light show though, a family favorite tradition. That light show is worth it every year and we think the price is pretty reasonable!

In the middle of November, we went to a Friendsgiving with our Girl Scout troop and my youngest fell while playing with the other girls. She vomited and seemed very out of it so we were glad we took her to the hospital. It turned out to be a mild concussion but her brain looked good. She slept right through the CT scan!


Fall and Winter Memories

Right before my birthday in October, I went to visit my best friend in New Jersey (marking my second visit there in 2021!) because I was worried about her health and wanted to make sure I spent quality time with her in person. We had a bonfire party at my mom’s and a special karaoke night together. It will forever be a treasured memory!

I also made some wonderful memories with my mama! We went to a place called Creamy Acres that had quite a spectacular Halloween setup. I’ve been to a lot of haunted houses and they had several, but what really blew me away was their paintball hayride! How original!

For my actual birthday, Hubs took me to Chattanooga, our favorite place to do busy-city things! We saw comedy at The Bode. The Bode has so many great comedians testing out their jokes and it’s practically free to attend. We’ve been there several times and always really enjoy ourselves. We went to Bridgeman’s Chophouse for dinner which I thought was absolutely delicious!

We also visited Ruby Falls the next week. Ruby Falls is an underground waterfall and it’s AMAZING to look at. The tour is decent and you learn a lot of things, though I must say that it’s definitely too “touristy” whereas going to natural spots on your own is nice and mellow. This is a lot of lines and a bit of chaos.

For Halloween, we FINALLY dressed up as Alice in Wonderland characters like we’ve talked about for years. People loved it and all of the kids did such a great job portraying their characters! Though I am not pictured, I was The Caterpillar one day and The March Hare the next. I think The March Hare suited me better!


In September, I went on a moms retreat to Sevierville and it was pretty awesome. A friend of mine set it all up on her own! I met a bunch of new, really nice gals and enjoyed bonding with fellow moms without kids in tow. We stayed on a gorgeous property in the mountains and went to eat at one of my favorite places, the Old Mill Restaurant! The food there is outrageously good and tastes so homemade!



A new development in our lives for 2021 is our love for whiskey tasting. We made a friend who is a whiskey connoisseur and it just happened! Hubs and I made it to the Townsend Grains and Grits Festival too. I LOVED it but because we’ve been doing the Tennessee Whiskey Trail, I’ve already tried most of the whiskeys that were present. What I actually loved about the Grains and Grits Festival was the FOOD! So many fantastic culinary delights! I think we tried absolutely everything they had, from rabbit paella to braised beef over tasty grits!

2021 grains and grits festival

The Tennessee Whiskey Trail has been a help for us to get around, actually! We go around to different distilleries and stamp that we were there. It’s got us doing a bit of light, local traveling! So far, Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary has been the coolest destination because we got a whole historical tour and the property this old prison is on is BEAUTIFUL! A prison with a view!


The Kids

For years, people have said, “Wow, five kids is a lot!” and I must say that it never felt like a lot until this year. This year, the kids all joined activities and we have been pulled in a million different directions. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change it for the world…but it’s been chaos!

All of the kids are in Scouts. The girls are in a multi-level Girl Scout troop and on that same night, my little dude goes to Cub Scouts with my husband. Our troops are very active and do so many fantastic things in the community. We are all loving it!

Two of the girls are playing instruments now. My middle daughter plays violin and takes classes and private lessons! My second daughter is playing alto saxophone at school with the band. She has actually been a very busy girl! She played soccer all through the summer, then she made the archery team too. I don’t know a lot about archery but they tell me she’s pretty good! Both girls are doing great with their music, though!


Our Spring and Summer

We certainly didn’t do nearly enough hiking and chasing waterfalls in 2021 so that’s already something I’m planning for this year! It feels good for the SOUL to be out there in nature, soaking it all in!

In June, I did take my hubby away for his birthday. We went to Cloudland Canyon State Park in Georgia and that was WOW! I think I’d like to get the kids out for that one at some point. We stayed overnight at a teeny cabin on Lookout Mountain and it was very romantic! I think he will remember that one forever!

We did complete most of the kids’ bucket list for 2021, which included things like Dollywood, the drive-in, and riding horses! We didn’t do nearly enough of the board games we did last year though so that’s another one we’re planning on! We kept up with a decent amount of geocaching, I think. My husband started placing his own geocaches too!

Another new discovery for us was a stand-up paddle board! We have kayaks and they’re great but I had no idea how much easier it would be too lug around a SUP! Thanks to Swonder, I think we got on the lakes a little more than we could’ve with just the two ‘yaks we have!


There is so much more to talk about on the homesteading front so that is going to have to be an entire post in itself! Overall, 2021 was definitely a year of growth and learning. We are still learning how to clone ourselves for all of the wonderful activities the kids are in (haha!) but we are loving all of their success! The kids are finding their footing with all of their hobbies and boy, are they growing fast! The absolute most important thing that I took away from the year is that bucket lists are to-do lists, not left meant to be unfinished. We are going to work hard to do everything we desire and cherish our time with our loved ones.

2021 family

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