How To Have Fun On Vacation



IMG_1465       My family makes a yearly trek to the Smoky Mountains.  I’m not talking about just my family and me.  I’m talking about the entire family – all 14 of us!

My parents, my siblings and their families, my children and me, all descend on the Great Smoky Mountains for a week of togetherness.  We stay in the same cabin for a week and, somehow, still manage to like each other at the end of the week.


(My parents, my daughter Erin, and I)

At some time during the week, we do our separate things.  But, at other times, we do things together.  This year, one of the things we did together, was visit the aquarium in Gatlinburg.  It is one of my favorite places!  There are some strange and wonderful things deep in the ocean.  When the Bible talks about God creating the world and declaring it GOOD! the ocean and it’s creatures were part of that.  I imagine God smiling as He created a jellyfish and a sea horse and an octopus.

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One of our favorite traditions during these trips, is each family picks a night and is responsible for supper.  Nothing elaborate, just good food.  My sister and her family usually do hot sandwiches for all of us one night.  They are really delicious!  My mom did her wonderful taco salad one night.  My brother and sister-in-law made incredible BBQ nachos.  My contribution was steaks, salad and baked potatoes with my dad and brother manning the grill.  YUM!

Before we left for the mountains, I had promised my nieces that we would make cupcakes one night for dessert.  They were so excited and so was I!  Making cupcakes with my nieces was one of the most fun things I did that week.  There was nothing special about the cupcakes or the frosting.  The special thing was laughing, having fun and making memories.  So, here is my recipe for Smoky Mountain Cupcakes:

Smoky Mountain Cupcakes


1 box of cake mix – any flavor, any brand

All the stuff you need:  3 eggs, 1 cup water, 1/3 cup oil

Mix together and divide into muffin tins lined with cupcake wrappers.



(breaking eggs are not all they are “cracked” up to be)


Be sure to mix well.


Fill about 2/3 full.


 Bake for 18 minutes or until done.  (Forgive the pajama pants.  It’s vacation!)


For the frosting:

1 pound confectioner’s sugar

1/3 cup cocoa (Leave this out if you don’t want chocolate)

1/4 cup shortening

water – enough for desired consistency  ( I usually use a little less than 1/4 cup)


Mix together and spread on cooled cupcakes.





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(You can even eat Smoky Mountain Cupcakes with no teeth!)

If you hate cupcakes from a box, by all means, use your favorite recipe.  Smoky Mountain Cupcakes are about having fun and making memories.

You can even make Smoky Mountain Cupcakes when you are not in the Smoky Mountains!  Just don’t forget to add the most important ingredients:

a dash of giggles

a dollop of belly laughs

tons of fun

and a bushel of wonderful memories


Mix together and laugh and bake and act silly together at every opportunity!


Until next time!

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