Ark Encounter in Kentucky

The ark at the Ark Encounter.

Our family likes to go on many adventures together. One weekend (because we couldn’t go for a week due to our work schedules), we went to the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, KY. From where our family lives, it was about a two hour drive. We have two wonderful kids together, and my husband has three from a prior marriage. At the time my step son lived with us. Driving with three kids, granted one was a teenager and the other two was smaller, was a wonderful experience (my sarcastic tone). Anyone who has kids, understands an hour trip can feel like a lifetime if they don’t go to sleep. So needless to say our trip took a little longer than two hours, but I am grateful through it all for the experience we got to share together.

The Ark Encounter was an awe inspiring experience. To actually see something you read about in the Bible, built in modern time for people of our generation to enjoy was breathing taking. It puts into perspective actually everything the Bible talks about with Noah and building the ark.

If you don’t know much about the Noah in the Bible, the ark, and the flood, I suggest you buying a KJV of the Bible. It goes into detail what took place thousands of years ago. I get dumbstruck thinking about how Noah and his family built an ark by themselves. I know it took years to build, according to the Bible (which has had a tremendous influence through our history and including current day).

The door symboling the only entrance and exit into the ark.

Genesis 6:14-16 gives the exact description of what God told Noah how He wanted the ark to be built. It discusses the only door and window in the ark. This door symbolizes the only door to go into and out of the ark. I suggest anyone who wishes to go and read the Bible to learn more about Noah and the flood.

The twelve stones to represent the twelve tribes of Israel.

The sign behind the stones discusses the meaning behind the twelve stones. “The board of directors decided to lay these twelve stones to when the Ark Encounter was built to remind the world and the upcoming generations of the coming of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ”.

Noah and his family praying.

Noah and his family gave thanks to God. We need to give thanks to God more often for all He has done for us in our lives. When we wake up and the Lord has given us another day to breath, we need to give thanks to Him. He has given us another day to be a light to others who have never been introduced to our wonderful Lord savior Jesus Christ.

The inside with light tunneling down.

The inside of the ark is beautiful and breathtaking. There are so many views that have the sky lights with the big pillars and it’s awe inspiring.

A little zoo to enjoy the family.

There is a zoo with an array of animals to view. The zoo is called Ararat Ridge Zoo, and you can walk with the kangaroos in the “kangaroo walkabout”. We also enjoyed feeding the goats, and a camel ride. Visit https://arkencounter.com/zoo/ to learn more about the zoo at the Ark Encounter.

Buddy Davis and Ken Ham speaking.

There are lots of presentations to enjoy while visiting the life size ark. When my family and I went to visit the Ark Encounter, we got to watch the presentation from Buddy Davis and Ken Ham. My son really liked this presentation, because they talked about creation and dinosaurs. My son is a big dinosaur fan, who one day want to either be a paleontologist or a zoologist. Before your trip, you can visit https://arkencounter.com/events/presentations/ to see what speakers and presentations will be conducted during your visit.

Family picture with my husband, daughter, son, and myself.

I would recommend visiting the Ark Encounter to anyone. Not only is it great for just people to visit by themselves or with family, it’s also great for a Biblical history lesson. You can plan your visit by visiting https://arkencounter.com/.

I am not paid dividends relating to endorsing the Ark Encounter. These are my own personal comments and experiences.

Working From Home! (Too Good to be True?)

With today’s technology, working from home is becoming more realistic every day! Have you ever thought about how you could possibly work, but stay home all at the same time?

There are many ways to earn money while staying home with the little ones.

1. Blogging

First, I want to say you will not be an automatic money maker over night. It will take time and patience.  I have heard many stories of individuals becoming a ‘blogger’, and was able to be a ‘stay-at-home’ worker.  Who wouldn’t want to work from home?  If you have children, family to care for such as a disabled individual or an elderly family member, or maybe you just would like to stay in your pajamas all day, becoming a blogger sounds like a great job for you.

2. YouTube

Unless you own the right equipment and have a hit song such as “baby shark” (my children love this crazy beat song), it will take time as well to get enough subscribers and likes to be able to make money off of your videos.  My son loves to do YouTube videos, but they way he likes to do his videos (must I say he is a child) is not going to receive many views.  Even though he likes to do his YouTube videos different than I would like, we still share that time in making videos together.

3. Selling things you don’t need (eg. clothes)

There are many apps and/ or sites one could use to sell the items you really don’t need anymore. The main thing we don’t need at our house are all those kids clothes our children have outgrown.

There are sites that individuals could use where you don’t need high end clothing to sell. Those websites/apps include Ebay, Mercari, SnobSwap, Swap.com, and Craigslist. Facebook and Instagram are also ways to sell gently used clothing you no longer need or want.

Well Kept Wallet discusses more in detail of each online store and how they work. This site is honestly how I learned about Mercari.  I have sold an abundant amount of my children’s used clothing and shoes.  It is best to put free shipping, and substantiate the shipping amount in the total for your item you are selling.  There are many more items that are for sale on the Mercari site, or other miscellaneous items you would like to sell.

4. Becoming a VIPKid teacher (given you have the correct credentials)

I happen to come across VIPKid when I was looking for jobs.  Needless to say my job hunting was failing, and I just thought I’d give it a try.  The worst they could say would be ‘no’.  It wasn’t like I haven’t heard that before.

I gave VIPKid a chance and it has been a wonderful experience.  No you will not become rich working for VIPKid, but once you get start you will be able to make some extra cash.  First of all, you have to apply and they have to accept your application.  Then you pick a time that best suits you and do two mock classes.  The mock classes have VIPKid teachers pretending to be a typical Chinese student, and you are the teacher.  If you pass the first mock class, you will get to move forward to the second mock class.  Once you’ve passed both of your mock classes, you will be consider and official VIPKid teacher.  Some teachers receive students without any problems, while others are praying to get a trial student (these are students who are trying to site to see if they and their parents like VIPKid) just to be able to gain a little bit of money and experience.  I was one of the many who was praying for a trial student at first.  Over the months I started to get many main class students (these are students who take VIPKid classes regularly). Just remember, you are teaching Chinese children, therefore the hours are on Bejing time.

VIPKid schedule example

If you would like to become a VIPKid teacher just click the link.

If you have any thoughts or ideas regarding working/ earning money from home, please feel free to leave me a comment.

Thank you,

LaTasha H.

Cheap Halloween Crafts!

First, I’d like to say if anyone would like ideas from books, the best place to look would be your local library. As long as you have a library card (which are free to obtain), you can check out books of all sorts for free!

I love free stuff, and honestly I believe free things are something hard to come by. Usually if something is free, there is a catch to it….

Anyway, this is the book my son wanted to get at the library around Halloween time. He insisted on us making Halloween crafts, so we did 🙂

It is called Make Yourself a Monster! A Book of Creepy Crafts by Kathy Ross.

One of the many crafts his little brain wanted to do consisted of bats. My son loves bats and vampires, or vampire bats especially lol. I know I’m going to miss this stage in his life! I wished I could just win the lottery so I was able to stay home with him and his sister and not have to work to pay my bills, but it is what it is…..

We made our bats and ghosts the same, because it was easy and more convenient for us. The pictures below are of the bats and ghosts we had made. My son loved them and had to show them to everyone!

These are the instructions to make the bat(s) on a twig using a piece of yarn or string.

This is the pattern for the ghost on a popsicle stick!


There are many different kinds of easy, cheap crafts to do in this book! It also has the patterns in it to make the bat, ghost, Dracula necklace, etc. If your hunting for a crafty Halloween book I would suggest this one.

Not our Way, but…the Lord’s

Have you ever wondered why things weren’t happening the way you planned? I have way too many times to count.

I started working at a company I’ve worked at before, but now I’m in a different position. For the longest time I was applying to jobs left and right with nothing in sight. I didn’t think I would ever get a job, let alone be able to get a pay check.

 

I have a family, and too many bills. My student loans are ridiculously expensive. That accounts for the majority of my bills. The pay date for them were coming closer every day, and I didn’t think I would be able to pay for them.

I kept asking everyone to keep me in their prayers for a job. Our preacher kept telling me to be patient….. Luckily, the month my loans were due, I finally received a job. God’s plans were obviously bigger than mine. He knew all along what job He wanted me to have, but I didn’t realize the job I needed was in front of me while I was visiting with old friends.

I have thought and thought about what my preacher had said to me to prior of me obtaining my job…be patient. We tell people all the time to be patient: our kids, our friends, and our family. Being patient is a lot easier said than done. I finally understood what my preacher was wanting me to do; He was wanting me to be patient with the Lord. The Lord had better plans for me than what I had for myself.

I pray a lot, and the majority of these prayers are short. I call these mayday prayers. We don’t have to have a lengthy five page sermon for our prayers to the Lord.  All God wants us to do is seek Him, all day, every day. We are told to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). I am beginning to learn to do this more, even if they are my mayday prayers. My #1 prayer is for patience. I am human, and I have kids. That being said, I believe I need to consistently pray for patience or thank God for the patience He has given me.

My prayers for patience made me think about my job, and how the Lord gave me the work I needed on His own time. I had applied for jobs for over a year to a year and a half without anything to look forward to. Looking back, this helped to give me a new perspective on how to look at my life.  The time I was looking for a job gave me more time with my children. Yes, my family needed the money, but my children needed me more than we needed the money. I believe the Lord wanted me to spend the first year of my daughter’s life home with her until I was able to wean her.

 

All in all, we can make all the plans in the world, but honestly we need to say to the Lord “what are your plans for me?”.

A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.
Proverbs 16:9 KJV
https://bible.com/verse-of-the-day/pro.16.9/27116

Messes and Kids

I’ve been catching myself here lately wondering if mothers become immune to messes? I’m not just talking about the dirty diapers or they had an accident on themselves. I’m also talking about my house being a mess…I try to keep my house clean, but with a total of seven people in our family some days that is nearly impossible to do.

Our living room is hardly ever without toys. The laundry takes me a couple of days to do, and then when I finally finish I’ve got to do it over again. When I sweep and mop, give it a few hours you could hardly even tell I cleaned.

Many people think that a stay-at- home parent is an easy task with our feet up watching television all day. If that’s what anyone thinks, they have been watching waaayyy too much reality TV.

I understand my husband works hard for our family. I know he does, but there have been days where I would trade a day with him to get a break. Don’t get me wrong, some if the things he does at his job I know couldn’t do. It’s just the break I would like to get…

I know one day, hopefully soon because my bills won’t pay themselves, I’ll have a job and miss all the times that all I done was pick up messes. I think every start-at- home parent needs a break. We get breaks from our jobs, and being a stay-at- home parent is no different. It’s a job we do out of love without pay.

I know this sounds like I’m just complaining, but being a mother sometimes feels like I’m on a merry-go-round doing the same thing. I love my family and children and wouldn’t trade them for any of the riches of this world. I love what God has given me and each day I try to be grateful for what He has given me.

I need to do as 1 Chronicles 16 states to seek the Lord first. I know if I put the Lord first my worries and frustrations wouldn’t be that troublesome.

Over educated?

Have you ever been to an interview or received an email saying you was over qualified for a job?…I have been to too many interviews to even count on my hands twice the amount of times I have heard this.

There have been many times that I just would like to give up. All my schooling had got me no where! That’s how I feel…it could really make someone get very depressed and make them feel like they don’t have a sense of being their individual self.

Yes, I am a mother and wife. I have five beautiful children, and a wonderful husband. At the same time, I feel like I went to school for a bachelor and master’s degree for just a big student loan.

I had a great internship with TDOT. It was definitely a change of scenery since I was used to being a certified nursing assistant. After the internship, I was just back to job searching…again…

If someone would just understand that if an individual was given the chance to show who they really are, they might be the individual their company was looking for.

I have to keep telling myself that God has bigger and better plans for me that I haven’t seen yet.

I believe we are all put on this earth for some reason, and I know mine is to help turn people to Jesus. I just wonder where does he want me to go for employment? I hope the Lord answers soon, because this debt won’t pay itself….

Worry…

We all do it….worry! We worry if we’ll have enough money to cover a bill, or worry if our car will make it from destination a to destination b. The bigger worrisome issues are related to our health, family, and finances. We as individuals worry, and sometimes it can impact how we handle and perform from day-to-day.

Honestly, I could call myself a “worry wort”. For myself, personally, I worry over if my family will have enough money from week to week. I worry over my children as well as finances, and I do that a lot! Sometimes when I’m worrying over an issue, it can be hard for me to focus on other tasks at hand. I tend to let the worry take over.

Sometimes I think of the song by Buliding 429 ‘We Wont Be Shaken’. The song has a verse that says “We will trust in you, and we won’t be shaken.” I think of this verse in this song, and it reminds me to trust in the Lord with all the issues that may arise in my life. His will is bigger than my wants!

Matthew 6:25-34

25Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
As humans, we tend to worry a lot. Have you ever thought back about what you was worrying over and realized it was senseless? I honestly have too many times to count. I need to do as Jesus stated and not worry about tomorrow, because as He said in Matthew “It will take care of itself.” I believe if I put my trust in the Lord first, then I will have nothing to worry about. Unfortunately being human this tends to be on big stepping stone I am having a hard time to jump over.

As we age and we have to go through many up’s and down’s, we learn to put the Lord first. Sometimes we have to go through the rough patches in our lives to get a closer relationship with our heavenly father.
The one thing I would like for anyone who reads this to understand would be to seek the Lord first for all your problems!

-LaTasha H.

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Top Jump in Pigeon Forge, TN (Personal Review)

Finding reasonable places for kids to have an enjoyable time or a great birthday can be a little difficult. For our family, kids either don’t have as much fun as you’d expect them too or the place they want to have a party at is way too expensive.

We attended a birthday party at Top Jump one weekend, and these are the pictures and thoughts from when we attended the event.

Top Jump does have an arcade area…., but it is $1 per game at the least. We have five kids. For us, just giving our kids $1 a piece is already $5.

Top Jump has a candy store, and if you can tell by the pictures, they have a lot of candy! Of course, our children want to go and look around 🙂

There are many different climbing obstacles. I’ve seen many different ages of individuals climbing. My kids participated in the activities. I didn’t get too, because at the time I had an eight month old baby.

The tower along with the trampolines, allow people to flip into a covered foam pit.

There are MANY trampolines given the name is Top Jump.

Top Jump also has a dodge ball, basketball, and ninja course area.

Along with many things for old kids and adults to do, Top Jump also has an area for smaller kids. Even though this area is for smaller kids, there should be adult supervision just in case you have a child like mine who seems to get hurt or gets into something all the time. (Typical boys..).

 

If you look online at the website for Top Jump, it will give prices for 1 hour, 2 hours, and birthday parties. I had to look myself because my kids were asking about having their birthday party there. In 2018, the website states for a party it will cost $250, 1 hour for $15.99, and 2 hours for $23.99.

 

My family enjoyed themselves while we were at Top Jump, and suggest if your a family in Pigeon Forge you should stop and jump around and have fun while you’re visiting the great state of Tennessee.

The only suggestion, and truthfully they couldn’t change this only put a request in with the city, would be to make a better way to get to the facility on the opposite side of the roadway. Given Pigeon Forge/ Gatlinburg traffic, it can be a headache to get to the facility when there is a lot of traffic.

Lakewood Resort (Camping at Myrtle Beach, SC)

It isn’t always easy to determine the best place to take a vacation with kids and on a budget. Kids have a tendency to want to do everything they see, whether they’d like it or not.

My husband and I bought a travel trailer not long ago. We have decided that it is the best way to travel with kids. All the things we need are in our camper. When we do travel we don’t have to worry about anyone besides us entering our place where staying at. We also know who has slept in our beds (e.g. no bed bugs to worry about).

(We have took our travel trailer to Cherokee, NC on a min vacation, but that description is in another post.)

Our children have been wanting to go to the beach. We thought about it, and decided we haven’t been in a couple of years we might as well go. I looked up campgrounds in Myrtle Beach, SC. There were three close to one another. I couldn’t decide which one to book, so I let my husband decide. He chose Lakewood Campground Resort. From our experience, I can honestly say I really liked it. We didnt have to worry about all the noise and traffic that they have on the strip at Myrtle Beach.

We wasn’t that far from the beach within walking distance. If you do happen to get a spot farther from the beach, there is an option to rent golf carts. (Honestly if for on a budget, renting golf carts are too expensive. They were for us. The prices were between $40-60/ day depending on what type of golf cart you rented.)

There were a couple of different places to eat within the campground. These places included Snappy Zappy’s, Sandcastle Creamery, The Coffee House, Stage Door Subs, and The Trading Post. If you didn’t pack or buy enough food for your stay, you could choose to eat at one of these places. We ate at Snappy Zappy’s, and the food was really good. If you don’t want to wait in line, they have the option for you to call ahead and your order will be ready after the allotated time given for them to prepare the food.

There is something here for all ages. I included a couple of pictures, but not everything this resort has. The list includes: the water park (who wouldn’t love that), volleyball, basketball, an arcade, horseshoe pit, bag toss area, and High Steppin’ Country performance.

I really liked that this resort was Christian based. We didn’t get to any of the things they had listed, because we didn’t realize what they were doing until afterwards. I have come to the realization in my 30 years God has given me that if we put the Lord above all else, everything will fall into place how He see’s fit. This Christian campground is seeing the benefits of putting the Lord first.

If you are not a Christian, which don’t have to be to stay at this campground they don’t force anyone to take place in their activities, I would still recommend you to look into Lakewood Campground Resort!

Best wishes,

L.H.