From Garden to Grill, Your Labor Day Grilling Guide



Fire up the grill, and prepare for celebration because Labor Day is right around the corner! As the unofficial grilling holiday heads into town, the experts at Pike Nurseries are offering tasty tips and tricks for garden-to-grill goodness during team tailgates and other grand gatherings. Whether recipes call for homegrown vegetables, juicy fruits or savory herbs, grill masters of all levels can ignite their skills and score big with friends and family during the patriotic weekend.


Growing a Garden
With fall fast approaching, now is the perfect time to plant container gardens with essential herbs like sage, oregano, mint, thyme and rosemary. Keep these on the patio near the grill or close to the kitchen to harvest at peak freshness and incorporate their rich flavors into recipes like citrus-brined pork roast with chipotle mustard peach glaze, grilled cherry balsamic brie andmustard aioli-grilled potatoes with fines herbs.

For grill masters looking to add more green to Labor Day meals or early fall spreads, summer planted vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and squash should be harvested in the next few weeks to maintain freshness. After these are gathered and prepped for plates, green thumb enthusiasts can continue to play in the dirt by planting a fall garden filled with delicious edibles like lettuce, kale, spinach and cabbage for future feasts.


Whether it’s a game day get-together or end-of-summer soiree, utilizing the right tools is the key to mastering culinary success. Pike Nurseries offers premium grills. The versatile Kamado Joe ceramic grill functions as a grill, smoker and oven combined. The compact, portable Kamado Joe Jr. lets grillers rule the tailgate party and other outdoor outings with the same versatility of the classic Joe. The stainless steel Saber Grill with infrared technology locks in flavorful juices. Both Kamado Joe and Saber are perfect for homeowners looking to liven up Labor Day recipes with bold, fiery flavors.


For grill masters wishing to take their chef skills to the next level, bundle fresh herbs to create a natural basting brush to impress guests and incorporate garden-to-grill goodness in any dish. Start with sturdy, flavorful herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano and sage, and cut each stem 5-6 inches long. From there, strip the leaves from the lower ¼ of the branches and bundle them together by tying twine around the end. Once tied, dip the bundle in a sauce of choice and generously coat the meat while it cooks to perfection. When finished, top with grilled vegetables or succulent fruit to add delicious flavors that are perfect for every palate.


Garden Décor
No Labor Day party or game day gathering is complete without festive décor!  Pike Nurseries makes it easy to entertain, offering a variety of inspiration for DIY container gardens, colorful pottery and more outdoor accents that will make any space sparkle. Add pops of red, white and blue into pre-existing containers to easily spruce up plants for patriotic celebrations orincorporate favorite sports team colors for any tailgate. For guests looking for a great hostess gift, pre-planted gardens are the perfect way to give thanks, as they will continue to flourish all year round.


For more information on how to liven up Labor Day with delicious garden-to-grill recipes, tasty tips and beautiful décor, visit or stop by one of the 16 Pike Nurseries store locations to speak with a garden expert.

TailSpin Racer is heading to Dollywood’s Splash Country

tailkpsin logo

With the excitement of what is shaping up to be a record season in 2016, The Dollywood Company today announced the addition of TailSpin Racer to Dollywood’s Splash Country for 2017.

This thrilling new attraction allows up to six guests to race each other on mats through the twists and turns of TailSpin Racer’s unique spiraling tube design. The race begins with riders descending a daring first drop inside intertwined, high-speed AquaTubes. After navigating the wet and wild curves, riders emerge from the translucent tubes on a traditional mat racer-style slide. From there, it’s an all-out race toward the splashdown finish.

“TailSpin Racer is an exciting addition to the park that we know our guests are going to love,” explained Dollywood’s Splash Country General Manager Mike Brown. “We always seek to add slides and attractions which will leave our guests with big smiles and memories to share. I think we’ll see a lot of fun as families and friends challenge each other to races down this great new slide.”

TailSpin Racer’s slides are longer than a football field in length and stand five stories above the park. The $2 million attraction, which uses ergonomically designed starting blocks, will be located alongside Big River Pavilion near the park entrance.


Thanks to strong visitation to Dollywood’s Splash Country in 2016, officials added five new days, Aug. 15-19, to the park’s operating calendar. The award-winning water park now is open daily through Aug. 21 and on weekends through Labor Day.

Dollywood’s Splash Country’s other family-favorite attractions underscore why the park was named America’s Must-See Waterpark in 2009 by the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions. The park also was named a Top-10 water park by TripAdvisor in 2016. With RiverRush, Tennessee’s first and only water coaster, the daredevil drops of Fire Tower Falls and Mountain Scream and the white water rafting journey on Big Bear Plunge, Dollywood’s Splash Country has thrill rides for the adventurous members of every family.

For those who want a slower pace, The Cascades leisure pool, Mountain Waves wave pool, Downbound Float Trip lazy river and children’s water play areas are a relaxing way to cool down. Voted one of America’s best waterparks by The Travel Channel, Dollywood’s Splash Country features more than 35 water adventure slides in its breathtaking natural surroundings, the Smokies.

With the upcoming addition of TailSpin Racer, an impressive lineup of water-based attractions, and fun at every splash, Dollywood’s Splash Country is the best place to beat the heat in the Smoky Mountains.

For more information, please visit or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.


Luvs Diapers LOVES to Share the Luv


There is nothing quite like the feeling of being a new parent.  The excitement of a bundle of joy is beyond explanation.  My family recently welcomed into the world this precious bundle of joy. As parents, we want to bring our baby the very best.  From finding the very best doctor to using the best products, we want to be assured that what we invest in is perfect for our families.  One of those products that you know you can trust is Luvs.


One thing we learned is that parenting is expensive!  Between formula and diapers and all the other little things that go along with having a baby, your money can get used up quickly.  Being the cost cutting savers we are, we learned that coupons are a necessity.  If we are going to have money to to go out to eat, watch the latest movies on the big screen, or just buy things for our home, we are going to have to look for ways to cut back without sacrificing the needs of our precious bundle of joy.

Luvs $2 Print-at-Home Coupon Image

Luvs, known as the official diaper of experienced moms, is offering opportunities to save on diapers this month (August 2016) with a $2 print-at-home coupon offer.  Visit to access a Luvs coupon of $2 off any one diaper pack. Print the coupon at home and use it at any mass, discount or grocery stores where Luvs Diapers are sold.

All Luvs Diapers are included in this particular offer, except trial/travel sized diaper packs.  The print-at-home coupon can be used at mass, discount or grocery stores where Luvs diapers are sold. 


Additionally, in partnership with Ibotta, Luvs is also offering a limited-time $5 rebate on any boxed variety of Luvs Diapers, 54ct. box or larger.   Download the free Ibotta app, available on iOS and Android, and search “Luvs” to unlock an exclusive $3 rebate:   Click hereto download it on iTunes or here for Android.

Then go shopping for your Luvs Diapers at any participating store.  Next, verify your purchases by scanning product barcodes and submitting a photo of your receipt.   Within 48 hours your $5 cash back rebate will be deposited into your Ibotta account!  Now that is a sweet way to save money and earn cash back!   With over 193 supporting stores at over 500,000 locations, you are bound to find a participating retailer.   Visit for a list of supported retailers.

Luvs $2 Print-at-Home Coupon Image

This rebate only includes Luvs Boxes, 54 ct. or larger. The rebate excludes Luvs Bags, 48 ct. or smaller.  If you have trouble with the Ibotta app, please visit the Help Center found in the app or visit for further assistance with the application. For any general Luvs Diaper questions, consumers can call 888-NO-LEAKS or visit  This is a limited-time offer. Once you unlock the rebate, you can see the exact date of the rebate expiration. In order to qualify for the rebate, you must submit your receipt before the rebate expiration.

As a mom, this makes me so happy!  I want more money in my pocket to create memories with my kids.  It is hard enough being a parent and worrying over we are doing  this parenting thing right!  Not having to worry about the rising prices of diapers makes it easier.  Diapers are a necessity no matter what kind you use, and changing them regularly is too.  Thankfully, Luvs wants to help you!  

Do you need reasons to love Luvs?  Check out what all they offer, and I am sure you will see why this is one of our go tos!

  • With large refastenable stretch tabs, fastening Luvs Diapers is super easy for Mom, plus she can rest assured knowing that she’s giving baby a secure, snug fit again and again.
  • With Leak Barrier Leg Gathers and a Leakguard Core, plus our largest absorbency area ever, Luvs makes life easier for busy Moms by helping to keep leaks in the diaper where they belong, so baby stays dry and comfortable.
  • A contoured shape hugs baby for a great fit, and a cottony material feels soft and gentle on baby’s skin.
  • The Luvs Money Back Guarantee: We feel so strongly that our diapers will keep your baby leak-free that we’ve guaranteed them! If you aren’t satisfied with the leakage protection of Luvs, we’ll refund your money.  See our website,, for details.
  • Luvs Diapers are available in sizes newborn through 6, and can be found at mass, discount and grocery stores where baby care products are sold.
  • Luvs is the official diaper of experienced parents. When parents choose Luvs over Huggies Snug & Dry, they get outstanding superior overnight protection that locks away wetness 2X better*, and they turn diapers into dollars by saving up to $150 per year**.

*Based on Size 4.  Average of 0.13 grams less after 3 typical wettings over 15 minutes.  Huggies Snug & Dry is a trademark of Kimberly-Clark Worldwide

**Luvs Diapers versus Huggies Diapers based on average consumption and Nielsen average non-promoted retail price 3 months ending 05/02/2015

Social Media Connections

Luvs Diapers Website

Luvs Diapers Facebook

Luvs Diapers Twitter

Luvs Diapers You Tube

Disclosure: This review was made possible by iConnect and Luvs.  I was provided compensation to facilitate this post, but all opinions stated are 100% mine.

Autotrader’s #ParkandBark Celebration August 26

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Autotrader; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.


My family loves getting outdoors with our furbabies, and if the truth be told, the furbabies enjoy it even more than we do.  All we have to do is say the word “bye bye,” and they are off to the door.  They seriously can’t contain their excitement.  They know exactly where to go too—the car.  We open the door, and in they go–making themselves at home as you can tell from the pictures.

What you can’t tell from these pictures is how Zoey, pictured in the top photo, used to not be able to ride in a car.  Every time we would take her, she ended up getting sick.  First the drooling would set in and within a matter of time the throwing up would start.  You would not know that from her picture though.  Nowadays she does perfectly fine!  So how did we get her over the sickness?  Patience and not giving up.  We began by taking her out in drives through our neighborhood.  We would talk to her and pet her the whole time.  This seemed to help ease her anxiety.  Then we would increase the length of time by driving to further stopping points.  The more we took her out and eased her anxiety, the better she got.  Now she LOVES to go!

Traveling in a car can be difficult, and you will want to be prepared.  There are many products available that make pet traveling easier.  From time to time my family will use a crate to transport our dogs if we are going long distances.


Got a big dog, or a dog that can’t jump into the car?  Look at purchasing a pet ramp.  Pet ramps are the perfect way to allow animals to enter a vehicle.  You can even invest in a pet carseat!

Taking our pets along in our vehicles is not something that we should take lightly. In order to help our dog transition to car rides, we had to do alot of research!  Simple things like having a pet friendly car is important, but it does not stop there.   Pet-safety is something all pet owners should think about prior to setting out on the road.  So where should you go to seek that advice?  Autotrader!  Autotrader knows cars, and they want to help you keep your beloved pet safe in a vehicle.  Check out these articles Autotrader has written especially for pet owners.

8 Pet-Friendly Accessories for your Car or Truck

Safety Tips for Traveling with your Pet 

5 Great Cars for Dog Lovers 


I am fortunate that I live just outside of Atlanta, Georgia.  We have so many Georgia State Parks within driving distance. Not only are there plenty of state parks, but also we also have a wide variety of county parks including dog parks.  One of our favorite places to visit is Line Creek.  It is such a great place for a walk for both humans and dogs.  Whenever we go we make sure that are we are prepared by packing the following items:

Poo Bags– As gross as that might be, they are a necessity.  No one wants to see or step in a pile of  yucky mess.

Treats & Water-Dogs are curious animals.  If you have ever gone out walking with them, you know they want to stop and sniff the territories that have already been marked.  Sometimes they get too excited and dart off.  Having some treats they enjoy to keep on hand allows you to continue to reward good behavior while being out.  Do not forget the H2O either.  Both you and your pet will need to jeep hydrated!

Toys– It is also a great idea to bring along a tennis ball or frisbee.  If the chance arises, take it.  Enjoy some fun time with your pet and play fetch/catch.

Phone or Dog Identification– You always want to be prepared with your dog’s information and current picture. When you go out, snap a picture of your pet.  It would also be a great idea to know the details of your dog too such as when they had their last tetanus shot or vaccinations. In the event he or she gets lost, you have a picture that can help find your animal.  Additionally, if for some reason the unthinkable happens and your dog is attacked or attacks someone, you have a current listing of their needs.   I recommend setting notes in your phone so they are always handy.


Did you know that August 26th marks the 12th annual National Dog Day !  This day  was created to honor the pups we love and raise awareness about the volume of dogs that need homes. Knowing that dogs are some of the best travel companions around, Autotrader is celebrating the bond between humans, dogs, and cars and hosting a National Dog Day event in its headquarter city of Atlanta on Aug. 26 from 5-8 pm.

My family is so excited to join Autotrader and fellow dog owners  at Autotrader’s National Dog Day #ParkandBark event taking place on August 26th from 5-8 pm at Historic Fourth Ward Park in Atlanta adjacent to North Ave. and N. Angier Ave. (right next to the Masquerade!). The event will have free dog treats (and puppy ice cream), dog accessory giveaways, a dog adoption corner, and will feature a series of  “pet experts” to offer CPR demos, wellness advice, and more! Autotrader’s resident expert and longtime automotive editor Brian Moody will be in attendance to offer insights on the latest in dog-approved cars – and we’ll have a couple of vehicles on display for your viewing pleasure.

We really hope to see you there!  Get ALL the details on their Facebook event page here.


Beat the summer heat with cool houseplant options from Pike Nurseries!


While grueling temperatures and summer showers make gardening outdoors less fun, Pike Nurseries offers expert tips for creating a cool indoor oasis using low-maintenance houseplants to keep green thumbs thriving throughout the sizzling season. Houseplants not only provide a pop of color to spruce up home décor, but they also help reduce stress and rid the air of toxins, keeping homes clean and healthy. From orchids and succulents to peace lilies and bromeliads, indoor plants are the perfect way for gardeners to continue to play in the dirt while beating the scorching summer heat!

No-Fail Houseplants



High Light
Homes with plenty of windows are great for houseplants that need lots of light. A popular container garden choice, succulents provide a variety of texture, color and in some cases, offer bright blooms. With their need for little water, succulents are easy to maintain and go well with an assortment of other houseplants like the light and airy Asparagus Fern. Bromeliads offer a unique, exotic look and can thrive in high to medium light. Glossy, strappy foliage of the bromeliad forms a bird’s nest of highly colorful, long-lasting bracts.


Kaleidoscope Orchid

Medium Light
There are a variety of houseplants that are easy to maintain due to limited light and watering needs. Orchids are popular for their beautiful blooms and are surprisingly low maintenance (suggested watering is every seven to 10 days). To learn more about orchids, attend the free class this Saturday, August 12, at all Pike Nurseries locations. The striking sword-like leaves of dracaena’s many varieties and sizes add character to any home. Pothos is a low-maintenance vine that can be grown to trail from a hanging basket or trained to grow up a stake. The peace lily is perhaps the most popular houseplant because it blooms nearly all year round and can withstand almost any light condition, though it will bloom more when there’s additional light. Peace lilies are easy to maintain as well – they like consistent moisture and give visual cues when they need more (the leaves droop when it needs water).






Low Light
Beginning or forgetful gardeners can have great success with houseplants that have low light requirements. Commonly referred to as “plants of steel,” these plants need little watering and attention in order to prosper. One of the most popular low light plants is sansevieria, commonly known as Mother in Law’s Tongue. Not only does it help clean the air, but its vertical leaves allow it to fit in almost any location in the home. Similar in sturdy structure is the nearly indestructible ZZ plant, which sprouts tall, succulent stems with glossy leaves. The ZZ plant is perfect for the bathroom or a window-less office, although it can also thrive in medium to bright indirect light.

Decorating Tips
Whether bright blooms or lush foliage, plants are great additions to any home and can fit with any décor style. They can be shown in glazed pottery, hanging baskets and other indoor containers. Smaller houseplants can be grouped together under a window or in the center of a table, whereas large specimen can make a statement in the corner of a room.

Houseplant Care
Houseplants need consistent water – usually about once a week – and a good fertilizer like Bonide Liquid Plant Food in order to thrive. When away on vacation, be sure to use a water globe or absorbent soil amendment granules, like Soil Moist, to keep indoor plants hydrated. Mixed with the right amount of light, houseplants can grow beautiful and strong for years to come.

Whether it’s a colorful flower or an interesting fern, gardeners of all experience levels can beat the heat by playing in the dirt indoors with Pike Nurseries’ wide variety of no-fail houseplant options. For more information on how to pick the perfect plant, visit or stop by any of the 16 Pike Nurseries locations and speak to the garden experts.



Dollywood plans auditions for young male and female performers to join shows during the park’s award-winning Smoky Mountain Christmas festival. Auditions take place Aug. 27, from 9 a.m.-noon in the Connor-Short Center on the Sevierville campus of Walters State Community College.

Performers who are able to play roles between the ages of eight and 12 are encouraged to attend the auditions. Performers should be prepared to sing three songs in the style of their choice. Song selections must include both ballads and up-tempo songs. Each performer is allowed to bring sheet music or CD accompaniment. An accompanist and CD player are provided at the auditions.

“We are looking for children with the special ability to truly connect with an audience,” said Dollywood Entertainment Director Paige Bales. “It’s that connection we feel sets our performers apart from others.”

Performers should be prepared to commit to at least three hours to accommodate the audition process. Performers are encouraged to dress comfortably enough to move to music. Parents are welcome to attend with their children. Personality is a plus. For more information, please

“We are casting specifically for O’ Holy Night, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and Christmas in the Smokies,” Bales explained. “Most of our parts for children are double-cast so they can have a more flexible schedule. We understand they need time for school work and time to just be a kid at the holidays.”

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival, an eight-time Golden Ticket Award winner for Best Christmas event, features several crowd favorites.

One of Dollywood’s greatest entertainment offerings is remastered in 2016, as Christmas in the Smokies returns to its traditional home at D.P.’s Celebrity Theater. Guests can celebrate the joy of the season while a cast of singers and dancers performs hometown holiday favorites while accompanied by a band of live musicians!

In ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, a little girl and her family find their own Christmas miracle  in a delightful musical featuring a 12-member cast and a four-piece band. In O’ Holy Night, a young girl looks for an angel, while three shepherds follow a star. In the end, they all find their way to the heart of the Christmas Story.

Dollywood’s excellence in entertainment is not limited to the holiday season, however. The theme park’s live shows have received the Golden Ticket Award for Best Shows for seven consecutive years (2009-15).

Creating Memories with the Help of Groupon

Disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post.   The opinions expressed in this post  are entirely my own and are not in any way influenced by Groupon.



Have a child that is college bound?  Have you gotten everything you need?  Perhaps you want to send him or her a care package?

When my oldest graduated from high school and was getting ready to go off to college, I quickly realized just how much money I was going to be forking out on setting up his college dorm.  Little did I know, he was going to need a lot of things!  Now I do not know about you but I am all for saving some money when I can.  Now a days you can find all kinds of saving websites to help you maximize your dollars!  In an effort to save as much money as I could and not leave the house, we started checking Groupon for items to decorate his dorm. I was really surprised to find that they offer a TON of goods that are perfect for the college student!

Magnetic Door and Window Screens

Dyson Fans

Canon All In One Printer

Comforter Sets and Sheets

Contigo Travel Mugs

Apple iPads

One of the best things I saw recently (that we just had to get) was an Apple watch.  This made my heart happy, and my son–not so much!  Now he has no excuse.  He can’t deny seeing my texts if they are showing up on his watch:) From pillowtop mattress sets to Apple products, Groupon has you covered.

Saving money is important to me and with a son going off to college, creating memories is equally important.  Groupon has you covered in that are too!  For instance, one of the local bowling alleys has a special there right now that allows you to save more than 50% off regular prices!   Groupon saves you money!  Whether you take advantage of the deals they have or the coupons, you are going to save money.   What are you waiting for?  Go snag some deals before they are gone!


Seriously, it is the first place I look to save money on goods and services .  I hope you will consider visiting Groupon to see what they have available in your area or what goods are waiting for you.  You might be surprised to learn that your next memory creating experience is right in your neighborhood and is more affordable than you imagined!  Or better yet, that good you are looking for