39 Things Update

Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com

If you have been following me for a while, then you know that back in May I published a blog about 39 things I want do while 39. Well, it is now January and the big birthday is getting closer every day. A lot of times right now I look at my list and start to panic because I am behind on my goals. However, this year I am very pleased with how my goals are going. So far I have…

  1. Rode a roller coaster – rode a super fun adult one at Dollywood and the kids one! I love wooden roller coasters!
  2. Rode a train – did this at Dollywood too! Really cool train ride up the mountain!
  3. Taken a vacation – I’ve been able to go on a few of them! Highly recommend making the trip to the America’s Historic Triangle!
  4. Hosted Sushimas – We hadn’t had this event with friends since 2019, and it was wonderful to get back together!
  5. Gone Kayaking – Nothing like the open water for relaxing, planning, and thinking!
  6. Played Pool – one of the best perks of our cabin in the Gatlinburg area! I hadn’t played pool with my parents in years.
  7. Gone to a Cave – Took our nephew to Mammoth Cave for the lantern tour. Highly recommend! Other recommendation? Don’t give the lantern to a teenager who will walk fast and leave you behind!
  8. Entered a Creative Competition – Entered the city Christmas tree competition! 12th place of 31 is not to shabby in my book!
  9. Made a Scrapbook of LilKsby’s 2021 and 2022 Calendars – put this in the category of things I previously never made time to complete!
  10. Completed LilKsby’s First Year Frame – Same as above!
  11. Saw Dr Strange 2 – Loved this movie! Then again, I was a HUGE fan of Wandavision!
  12. Saw Thor Love & Thunder – I laughed so much that I wanted to cry!
  13. Watched Young Sheldon Seasons 3 and 4 – Not as good as TBBT, but the supporting characters are a lot of fun!
  14. Watched Step By Step – I love seeing all the old TGIF shows again! Fun fact, Staci Keanan who played Dana is now a hot shot lawyer!
  15. Attended GenCon Online – Love gaming! Miss going in person!
  16. Gone to Gatlinburg – We made it to that area twice! The time we drove through Gatlinburg, we totally saw a bear crossing the street.
  17. Completed 5 Paintings – I’m so happy to have gotten back to the canvas!
  18. Saw the BSB DNA Tour (again LOL) – Almost 30 years and they are still amazing!
  19. Completed NANOWRIMO – I love writing, so this is always a fun challenge!
  20. Gone to a Winery – Shoutout to Forest Edge Winery for being fantastic!
  21. Gone to a Pumpkin Activity – We went to the Pumpkin Wagon, painted pumpkins, and carved pumpkins!
  22. Wrote 10 Fan Letters – As a kid, I loved writing fan mail! So I thought why not try it again? I wrote 10 letters and sent them. We will see if I get any responses!
  23. Gone to the State Fair – Worked it and went as a visitor!
  24. Got a Casey’s Taco Pizza – I’ve had two, and they are still the most tasty pizza on the planet!

Something you will notice from my list is that some of the goals were not on the initial list as some of the initial goals have been removed and replaced. I account this to changing circumstances in life and my priorities shifting. Once I switched over to Work from Home Mom life and homeschooling, I started realizing just how much I enjoy goals that can be completed at home. Along the same line, I also realized that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to be able to complete goals. Plus, as we grow as people, the things we want to do change. So even though I haven’t met all of my goals yet, I think I’ve already learned the most important lessons from 39 Things While 39: Your goals in life will change as you change, and this is an acceptable part of personal growth!

Stay tuned to see what all gets completed by my birthday!


The Great Kaysby

Thanksgiving – Open for Business

A couple of days ago, I saw a sponsored ad on Facebook for Big Lots Thanksgiving sales. I don’t have feelings one way or the other about a sale at Big Lots, but I was curious to see the comments. They seemed to be equally balanced between “How dare you be open on a holiday?” and “Great! I might come shopping!” I can be understanding of both perspectives. On one hand, it is wonderful when families get together for the holidays on the holiday. On the other hand, some workers rely on the extra holiday pay, some people don’t celebrate holidays, and some people spend time with family while shopping. Aside from both sides of the Big Lots argument, I started thinking about if people were just applying these arguments to retail stores, or does it bother them that other establishments are open on holidays?

My first thought to this question was that I am glad essential care places are open on holidays. Twice in my life, we have been thankful for emergency health services being open on the holidays. The first was when I was ten. We had family visiting from Kansas for Christmas, and my cousin got really sick. Luckily, the hospital emergency room and a pharmacy were both open for the holiday. The second instance didn’t impact me directly, but the memory is crazy vivid. We were in Oklahoma having Thanksgiving with family, and my uncle’s neighbor accidentally got run over by the car he was repairing. Literally ran over! Guess how glad we all were that medical professionals were working that holiday? Seriously, the neighbor may not have lived otherwise. We were thankful for all of those working that played a part in those instances!!!

I understand that medical facilities are a far stretch from Big Lots, but gas stations aren’t that far of a stretch from Big Lots. I’ve been very thankful that gas stations are open for holidays. We’ve almost always traveled for holidays be it for 20 minutes or 12 hours. Guess what is necessary for travel? Gas! I can also say that never were we the only customers at gas stations on holidays. There were always other people getting gas, using restrooms, and getting travel snacks.

Speaking of travel, on holidays we have also been very appreciative of hotels and restaurants being open for breakfast. Yes, a big part of Thanksgiving is eating, but those meals are usually later in the day. I still remember a delicious diner on Thanksgiving morning in Oklahoma. It was close to the hotel where we were staying, and they had the best waffles with strawberries and whipped cream on top! Seriously, I remember them almost 30 years later! Likewise, we’ve also been appreciative of restaurants open on holidays when we’ve had relatives in the hospital. When a close relative’s life is in the balance, the last thing you want to do on a holiday is cook a big meal at home. Also, and I say this from experience, there are only so many hospital cafeteria meals you can eat. Even if the food is decent, it is unsettling hearing “code blues” announced on speakers when your relative is in ICU/CCU. Sometimes to keep your sanity, you need a non-hospital cafeteria meal on a holiday!

Another essential to keeping sanity is having entertainment. How many people watch football on Thanksgiving and Christmas? I’d almost wager that some of the people acting like Big Lots is the evil incarnate for being open on Thanksgiving are watching the NFL today. In my head, I hear them arguing “Those players get paid millions! They know what they signed up for! Their families can have Thanksgiving another day!” What about the officials, the parking attendants, the concession stand employees, and the stadium maintenance staff? When you’re watching at home, there still has to be people working on site that make the game experience possible. Likewise, how many people have been to the movies on Thanksgiving or Christmas? I have! Growing up, we would go as a family. It was always fun after a meal early in the day. Also fun on a holiday? Watching parades! I’ve never seen a single person complain about all the people who have to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas to make parades happen. I’m sure thousands of people have to work to make these parades happen!

So if we are thankful for medical services, travel services, and entertainment being open on holidays, why do people get so bent out of shape about stores being open? Is it because people like saying “greedy retail establishments”? That doesn’t make complete sense given travel services and entertainment also generate income on holidays. Is the root of it because people like to complain about things they don’t understand? Whatever the argument is, I hope that everyone who reads this has a blessed holiday season!


The Great Kaysby

100,000 Miles

You know those moments where you can always remember where you were and how you felt? Last week, we experienced one of those moments! I would tell you where I was, but some info has to stay classified; however, I will tell you that I was so excited, I couldn’t stop laughing and shrieking with glee! What was so exciting? Princess Zippy crossed 100,000 miles! Princess Zippy is the third car I’ve ever owned, and she’s the second one that I remember excitedly waiting for 100,000 miles! I’m not sure why I feel like this is such a major event. Perhaps because of all of the joy that she’s brought into our lives!

Princess Zippy came into our lives at a time when we were desperate for a new (to us) car. Old Blue had become to expensive to repair, and we needed a car that could take us on a business trip in five days. Luckily, I had started looking and test driving the last time Old Blue gave us fits. Plus, I had a dream of owning a Kia since they first became popular (you know, back when if you looked at them wrong they would dent). We were very lucky to find a Kia with extremely low mileage (she’d been a dealer car) under our budget! So the memories began quickly!

Since we got Princess Zippy, she’s traveled the country! She’s taken us to Dallas, Myrtle Beach, the Poconos, St Louis, Nashville, Gatlinburg, and more! During these road-trips, some of the best conversations have been had! For as long as I can remember, one of mine and Mr Kisby’s favorite things has been the philosophical and passionate discussions on car trips! These trips have also involved more laughter than the law should allow! Some of the best laughs have been had during those slap happy late night hours! These conversations have also seen goals set, affirmations made, and business tips exchanged! Oh, and the music! The music of road-trips has been so much fun! There’s nothing like flying down the interstate jamming out at the top of your lungs! Bonus, Princess Zippy even survived two break in attempts while in overnight parking (in a place not mentioned above). The score? Princess Zippy not getting opened up two and potential robbers zero! I cannot wait to see where else she travels!

Beyond trips, Princess Zippy is part of the greatest event of our lives: she brought LilKsby home from the hospital! Boy, talk about a terrifying drive! Never ever has 35 MPH felt so fast and dangerous. Princess Zippy has safely gotten us from the infant seat stage to the rear facing convertible seat phase to the current forward facing convertible seat saga, or as unlike to call it, “The now I can throw things at you while you drive” saga. Side note: never let anyone tell you a car seat can’t be put in the middle of the backseat of a Kia. It can too! Princess Zippy’s been a school on the road, helped LilKsby learn locations (by the way it would be GREAT if every McDonalds couldn’t be seen from like two miles away), and been a major part of his ever developing since of direction. He’s only three, but he can tell you if you’re taking the wrong (not normal) way somewhere, and he’s also mastered traffic lights, stop signs, and which roads we use the most! I love our family time in Princess Zippy!

In addition to family fun, Princess Zippy has been my main business transportation. She taught us the value of hatchbacks when I was at an outdoor vendor event, and it started raining. We literally threw everything in the hatchback and sat watching the street turn into a creek! She’s my advertisement on wheels, and she’s become a conversation piece when I meet mom’s at toddler/preschool events. How cool is that?

I realize it may be weird to be so excited about a car, but Princess Zippy has been with us through a lot. I can’t wait to see where the next 100,000 miles takes us!


The Great Kaysby

Dream Job Day

Photo Credit – The Great Kaysby

Today was Dress Your Dream Job Day for mental health spirit week at my school. To those that know me this may come as a shock, but being a teacher is not my dream job. Teaching is a job that I enjoy most of the time (let’s be real we all have our negative days), but if I could be absolutely anything in the world it would not be my choice. As a child I would’ve have told you that I wanted to be a country music star like Reba; as a teenager I would’ve told you that I wanted to be a lawyer with a house just like Cher’s in Clueless. Those were all jobs that sounded great because I equated success with a lot of money. Nowadays, I equate success with living comfortably (note, I didn’t say rich) and doing a job you love. So what would be my dream job? I have a few!

1. Travel Critic/Travel Planner – I have always loved traveling! For as long as I can remember, I have loved exploring new places. In fact, part of the reason I started this blog was to write about food and travel. You can go back and checkout those early posts for fun! I still think it would be the best job if someone would pay me to travel!

2. Pro-Gamer – I was 5 when the first Nintendo came out, and I have loved video games ever since! I went through a major WoW phase, and I love The Sims (seriously I’m writing because my game is updating)! I also love board games, card games, and tabletop RPGs. If I could get paid to game, that would be a dream come true! I think it would be amazing to just stream myself playing games and have people watch. We started doing this during the pandemic on our Twitch Channel HouseofKs. TheGreatKaysby is also on Twitch!

3. Awareness Advocate – I would love to get paid to give a voice to those without a voice. I want to stand up for what is morally right for those who cannot speak for themselves. This would bring lots of joy to my heart!

4. Samantha Stephens – I want to be Elizabeth Montgomery on Bewitched. If I could twitch my nose and do all of my chores, my house would be immaculate! Also, I love that she dressed up for dinner every night. That alone would give me an excuse to wear my Breakfast at Tiffany’s inspired pearls every day! Bonus? If I’m Samantha Stephens, I can travel by popping in and out of places. Oh, you want a croissant? Let me pop over to Paris and bring one back!

There are also other jobs that I think would be fun to do just once so you can say you’ve done them. For me these include bar tender, yoga instructor, karaoke host, tour guide on a historical tour, and seamstress (I kind of do this voluntarily). All of these would be fun once, but I think they would get old if done day in and day out.

What’s your dream job?


The Great Kaysby

Unplug to Recharge

Photo Credit: The Great Kaysby

I’m by far not a Transcendentalist. I tend to function better when I have a set routine, and even though I have a unique sense of style there is nothing groundbreaking about how I dress. I’m also too concerned with covering the amount of gray in my hair to say that I march to the beat of my own drummer. Even the unpopular things I’ve been involved with throughout my life such as theatre, medieval reenactment, playing video games, playing tabletop games, and writing have somehow become mainstream. However, there is one part of transcendentalism that I totally get: nature.

For me nature is where I go to unplug and recharge. (Unplug is kind of a loose term, but I’ll explain that in a minute.) There is something about being out in nature whether it is hiking, swimming, or sitting in a cabin looking out at the trees that helps me to feel peaceful and relaxed. This weekend was spent sitting in a cabin in the woods surrounded by family, and I can say that I haven’t felt this relaxed going into a work week since last May when a weekend was spent in a cabin in the woods! It was wonderful to unplug from all of the responsibilities of home! I don’t know about everyone else, but I struggle to truly relax at home. Even when I’m reading, writing, sewing, etc there is always that voice in the back of my head saying “You should be doing x, y, and z!” With that mantra in my head, it’s impossible to be totally serene at home. However, in a cabin, I can unplug that little voice and relax!

Relax and unplug for me is probably different than a lot of people. I still played on my phone while unplugging, and I still used my laptop. The difference is that instead of working, I used my devices to research things I would like for Christmas, order Christmas pajamas, and look at gifts for LilKsby. Not a bit of work was done! I also finished one book, read another book, and started a third one (all Stephanie Plum novels)! My only to do tasks all weekend were eat, hangout with family, and sleep! It was also relaxing to be able to go on a trip without having to go on the interstate. Back roads are way more relaxing! The best part of the weekend? The relaxation has continued even at home tonight. I’m not even stressed about going to work tomorrow!

I’m so thankful that I was able to spend the weekend in nature, unplug from everyday life, and recharge! Are you recharged for the week?


The Great Kaysby

It’s Been A While

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged (April, I think), and it’s been a while since I’ve listened to the song of the same name! I had a goal of blogging more regularly, but that goal didn’t really work out. Why? I haven’t had writer’s block if that’s what you’re thinking. There have been plenty of things that I’ve wanted to write about on my blog. However, with the way things have been in the world, I feel like a lot of the things on my mind would have just led to arguments with readers. Confrontation and arguing are not on my list of favorite things to do, so I’ve kept my thoughts to myself.

That said…deep breath…here’s a little glimpse into what has been on my brain…

Thought 1 – The pandemic is still rearing it’s ugly head! After what seemed like some relief and a calm down in the spring, Delta is dominating the end of summer. If you had asked me in May, I would have told you that I really thought things would be close to “normal” by now. Sadly, I’m wrong and it seems like things are once again going to get worse before they start to stabilize and climb back to “normal”.

Thought 2 – Simone Biles is a hero! She is legit the Greatest Of All Time, and I’m so proud of her putting her mental health first and withdrawing from the Olympic competitions. Simone knew that she could physically hurt herself if she competed, and she made a point of preventing that from happening and prioritizing her mental well being. In the course of this decision, other Team USA members have earned medals that may not have done so. Simone has also brought light to an area that needs lots of awareness: mental health awareness! Did I mention that she deals daily with ADHD and the trauma of sexual abuse? Simone Biles is AMAZING!

Thought 3 – Masks…once I was fully vaccinated, I didn’t know how I would feel about wearing a mask in public still. I went in public a few times without one, and it turns out that I still like masking up. One of the reasons I still like it is because LilKsby isn’t eligible for a vaccine yet. Keeping him safe from the pandemic is still a top priority. Another reason I still like masking up is because I don’t want to inadvertently carry the virus to someone else. Also, breakthrough infections are becoming more and more prevalent. Plus, my mask is kind of a security blanket. It’s kept me safe for over a year, so it’s hard to just take off and leave behind. This is my feeling about masks, and I realize that everyone has their own opinions. All I ask is that you not bully me over my mask.

Thought 4 – Travel…I miss travel! We stayed in a cabin at a state park for a weekend back in May, and it was amazing! Since then we haven’t gone anywhere overnight. We did go the aquarium, IKEA, and Jungle Jim’s on a daytrip, but otherwise we’ve stayed in our little area. Part of my missing travel is to keep looking at future vacation options. I’ve got all kinds of travel plans in my head! I just need to hit the lottery and have the pandemic get under control so that I can feel safe to go!

Thought 5 – The best part about summer break is being home with my little family! I love all of the little things we get to do throughout the day. I love snuggles! I love art time! I love library time! I love sleeping later than usual! I love not having to eat fast because of 20 minute lunch breaks! Summer break is amazing!!! Back to school blues are for real because even though my school life is fun, my mama/wife/family life is always my number one! Another reason I need to win the lottery? Every day could be like summer break!

Wow! That’s a lot of thoughts! Getting them out in writing is very therapeutic and freeing for the mind. I hope that none of my words have offended anyone, and I hope that the posts will become more frequent! I’ve missed blogging!


The Great Kaysby

Goodbye Grumpy Grumps

“So no one told you life was going to be this way. Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, you’re love life’s DOA.” – “I’ll Be There For You”, The Rembrandts

Ever wake up in a grumpy mood?  You might be grumpy for no apparent reason other than you want to be grumpy that day; you might be grumpy because you’ve let things pile up and they are stressing you out.  For whatever reason you find yourself channeling Ross Geller from early seasons of Friends when he’d walk in and say, “Hi” with the most depressed tone of voice on the planet. (Seriously, that “Hi” alone should’ve gotten him an Emmy!)   Which I suppose season one Ross is better than season five Ross when he goes all crazy over a sandwich made from Thanksgiving leftovers! Either way, some days you just find yourself in a mood where no one should mess with you!

The question then becomes, how do you shake that grump-o-saurus mood?  If you’re looking for answers, then here are some of my go to things to shake a bad mood!

  1. Daydream about vacations! I love to travel (remember why I started the blog in the first place)!  The beach and the mountains are my two happiest geographical locations on the planet.  So when I’m feeling grumpy, it is fun to pretend I’m planning a vacation for an upcoming break!  The catch with this tactic is to not actually book a vacation because then you spend money you don’t have and get grumpy again when the bill comes!
  2. Write! Many times a blog idea comes when I’m experiencing some sort of emotion that I want to sort out.  Just putting things into words even if you throw them away, rip them up, or burn them is very therapeutic.
  3. Brain dump! When I have a lot on my mind, sometimes I like to do a brain dump. This is especially helpful when I’m feeling overwhelmed because there are a lot of things to be completed.  I will brain dump every task I can think of onto a piece of paper.  Then I put all of the things into one of four categories: Urgent and Necessary, Important but Not Urgent, Delegate, or Do Whenever.  I’m also known to brain dump and put things into categories like home, family, work, and self care.  I find brain dumping very useful!
  4. Turn the music up and dance like nobody is watching!  Dance like Phoebe Buffay runs! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-IVhJLD0sQ 
  5. Allow yourself a break from everything you need to do for a short period and do something mindless like watch TV, play a game, take a hot shower, etc.
  6. Exercise, meditate, or do some deep breathing.
  7. Sing loudly like you’re Alanis bashing an ex-lover back in the day! Sidebar: Is that song really about Dave Coulier?
  8. Talk to a trusted friend who will listen without judgment.
  9. Read my blog! LOL

Okay, so the last one might not be my greatest suggestion, but it is there if you need it.  Hopefully some of these methods can help you say “Goodbye Grumpy Grumps!” If you’ve got other suggestions, then I’d love to see them in the comments!


The Great Kaysby


KY-ish Staycation

“Staycation all I ever wanted…staycation no time to get away.”

The idea of a staycation – officially a bona fide Merriam-Webster word since 2009 and allegedly used as early as 1944 by the Cincinnati Enquirer – has been a growing trend in the US since the financial crises of the late 00’s.  The idea of a staycation is simple: enjoy a vacation while being able to sleep at home.  Staycations can be as easy as hanging out at home and just doing fun things like vegging on the couch, playing video games, and watching TV.  They can also be a trip to somewhere within a 3 to 4 hour drive from which you can go and come back in one day.  Either way, they are typically cheaper and require less advance planning than a getaway vacation.  With summer fast approaching, I thought I’d talk about some great Kentucky-ish (aka some are in Tennessee or Southern Indiana also called SoIn) staycation spots!

Corvette Museum – Now I don’t know a lot about engines or specs on a transmission, but I know pretty and shiny!  Oh and you can see a cool exhibit of some cars falling in a sinkhole!  You’ll also have a chance to see the only 1983 Corvette in existence which as an ’83 baby I find interesting.  As an added bonus, you take the tour at your own pace which allows you to spend as little or as much time in the museum as your attention span allows.   Adults – $10 – http://www.corvettemuseum.org 


Kentucky’s Stonehenge – So this guy, Chester Fryer, built Stonehenge replicas in his yard.  It is really neat to walk through (which you do at your own leisure) both because it is pretty to look at and the work that went into the development is amazing.  We went and saw it in 2008! FREE – http://www.kystonehenge.com

Image result for kentucky stonehenge

Lincoln Birthplace – good if you either like history (me) or climbing a lot of stairs (not me).  The natural spring on the property is beautiful as is the replica cabin.  Plus, the tree from the property known as the Boundary Oak totally provided the name for a local distillery!  Don’t you think Lincoln would have totally approved?  FREE – nps.gov/abli/index.htm

Image result for lincoln birthplace

Cumberland Falls – home of the epic Moon Bow! Which BTW is not someone mooning you in front of a waterfall!  It has been billed as the Niagara of the South and is very pretty.  Thankfully, there is a lot to do at the State Park because truth be told you can only stand around looking at a waterfall for so long before it becomes boring.  But in the park you can go white water rafting, attempt to take a raft up under the falls, hike, enjoy activities in the lodge, chill in a cabin, etc.  All this makes it a great location! Some free activities, some not so much – parks.ky.gov/parks/resortparks/cumberland-falls 

Image result for cumberland falls

21C Museum Art Gallery – This is the uniquest gallery I’ve ever been to! I love the variety of media represented in their installations.  A favorite of mine is the installation shaped like a tornado made up of items salvaged from a tornado. It is a quick tour, but well worth it with everything else on Museum Row!  Free – 21cmuseumhotels.com/louisville or for those in the Lexington area 21cmuseumhotels.com/lexington.

Image result for 21c louisville

Discovery Park of America – Just across the Tennessee line is this gem of a museum! There is literally something for everyone here and the building is shaped like a dragon!  Plus, for an additional fee you can attempt an escape room.  Oh! And for no additional fee you can climb on an old train and pretend to be a conductor or the dude in the caboose!  General Admission Adult – $14.95 – discoveryparkofamerica.com

Image may contain: text

Mammoth Cave – home of a really cool tour where the only light is a lantern you (aka Mr. Kisby when we went) carry on the journey!  Plus in the cave are cool features like an abandoned TB hospital, old mining equipment, and supposedly a ghost or two! Prices vary by tour – nps.gov/maca/index.htm

Image result for mammoth cave

None of these tickle your fancy? Here are some other popular attractions!

  • Louisville Slugger Museum – Free mini bat with admission!
  • Squire Boone Caverns – Lot of stairs, but you get to see a coffin!
  • Indiana Caverns – Is it a walking tour? Is it a boat ride?  Is it both?
  • Frazier Museum – Lots of old school sharp objects and shiny armor!
  • Speed Art Museum – Good art, good times!
  • Rauch Planetarium – Space fun for the whole family!
  • Newport Aquarium – Fish? Pretty! Sharks? Freaky Fun! Penguins? I LOVE PENGUINS!
  • Forest Edge Winery – Good wine, great people!
  • Castle Post – It’s a castle in Kentucky…enough said!
  • Keeneland – It is beautiful and you can gamble KY style by betting on horses!
  • French Lick and West Baden Inns – cool 1920’s architecture, a freaking amazing dome, gambling, and wine with Italian food.

There’s a lot more staycation kind of things to do around Kentucky, but these are some of the tops I recommend!  Let me know which ones you like best!

#thegreatkaysby #mrkisby #travel #staycation #kentucky #southernindiana #tennessee #museums #stateparks #nationalparks #art #history #culture

“Oh, I want to take you down to Kokomo….”

“Aruba, Jamaica, ooo I wanna take ya; Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama…”

– Kokomo, Beach Boys

Well, I’m not a mama, but last Mr. Kisby did take me to the Bahamas for our 5th Wedding Anniversary!  We opted to go to the Bahamas as part of a cruise giving us two new experiences in one trip!  We began our search for a cruise with my fear of flying in mind.  (Seriously, if they would just let me be in control and fly the dumb plane, then I’d feel a lot better about it…)  This meant choosing a port that was close enough to drive to which for me means a 12 hour drive according to my Maps App or less.  My criteria quickly narrowed our ports to Charleston, SC; Jacksonville, FL; Mobile, AL; and NOLA.  Mr. Kisby began some research and found that with these in mind Carnival was the most budget friendly choice given we decided we were going three weeks before embarkation.  With some browsing – very user friendly browsing I might add – we found that the Carnival Elation leaving from Jacksonville on July 10 for 5 days to the Bahamas best met our needs.


We began our journey on July 9 with the intent to drive to a Days Inn we had found near the port.  On our way to Jacksonville, we stopped at The Varsity Cafe in Atlanta for lunch.  I’m a major sucker for nostalgia, and I had previously been to The Varsity on my 11th Grade choir trip in 2000.  I remembered it being super fun, so I told Mr. Kisby we were stopping there for lunch.  For the first time ever, I tried a slaw dog!  It was really good and that says a lot since I don’t normally eat hot dogs!!!  The rest of the trip down – minus traffic in Atlanta – was very easygoing.  There’s a lot of pretty countryside in Georgia and Florida.  Also, there have bears along I-10 in Florida.  Seriously…I was shocked to make it all the way to Florida and see signs warning us of bear crossing zones!  Like they know to cross at the signs…Anyway we made it to the Days Inn without any issues, and I really enjoyed the proximity of the motel to a Walmart because I forgot to pack a loofah and some other cruise necessities.  Come July 10, we both really liked the proximity of the port to the motel! After driving ALL day on Sunday, it was nice to not rush on Monday morning and only be 15 minutes from port.


My thrill with the cruise began while we were still driving to the port.  Before we even parked, I was thrilled by the size of the ship.  We were about to board the Carnival Elation – one of Carnival’s Fantasy class ships – and I felt like I was boarding a ship of dreams.  I couldn’t believe how big it looked from the parking lot!  You can imagine my excitement increasing with every step!  The closer we got to the boat, the more I felt like a volcano about to explode!  Going through the terminal even made me giddy.  By the time we were on the ship, I felt like royalty!  I couldn’t believe how beautiful everything was, how hyped the atmosphere was, and how nice all of the workers were!  I walked around the ship in awe, remaining in awe as we indulged in an Italian buffet, and staying that way until we got to our room!

Let me tell you about the room!  I was expecting something the size of a good closet from what I had heard over the years.  Much to my surprise, it was about the size of a hotel room!  For our first cruise, we went with a porthole room (a) because it was cheaper and we didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a room just to get sea sick and (b) because it is fun to say porthole.  To celebrate our anniversary, we paid for one of the packages and they had our room fixed up for us with special decor, souvenirs, and a cake!  We had plenty of space for us and all of our stuff to live comfortably for a week.  Plus, we got to look out our porthole like we were spies!


Day 1 was very enjoyable, but Day 2 was even better!  Day 2 we woke up early and got to see the sunrise over the ocean.  There is nothing more breathtaking than watching the sunrise over the ocean and only being able to see the water surrounding you.  This was one of the most serene feelings I’ve ever had in my life!


Serenity (both the views and the private 21 and over deck) aside, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about being “trapped” on a boat all day.  My biggest fear with a cruise was that I would get bored because you couldn’t go anywhere that wasn’t on the boat.  Guess what?!? There was no opportunity for boredom!  Hungry?  You could eat all day! Enjoy gambling?  Go to the casino!  Enjoy competitive activities? There were those all day! Are you into relaxing? Go to the spa! Sit on the deck with a book! Chill in the hot tub! Take a nap in the sun (with sunscreen if you’re like me)!  There was never a dull moment!  One of my favorite discoveries of Day 2 – that would continue to be utilized the remainder of the trip – was the Pizza Pirate restaurant!  Hands down some of the best pizza I’ve ever had!  We were also very pleased with the discovery of the coffee bar!

Day 3 brought the first port of call.  This port was at a private island owned by Carnival called Half Moon Cay.  The island was once a fort during some war time or another and is now utilized as a beach day getaway.  Both the beach and the natural foliage of the island were breathtaking!  As part of our anniversary trip, we decided to treat ourselves to a private cabana on the beach.  Hands down…best decision of the trip! Our cabana had AC, a stocked cooler, porch with loungers, misting fans, snorkel gear, float loungers for the ocean, and more!  We got to privately enjoy the beach for six hours! And our cabana was on the end, so it was even more secluded!


While at Half Moon Cay I learned how to snorkel!  Way fun and it made me feel like a champ for our snorkel the next day in Nassau!  It was also a great place to collect shells, see some cool almost clear fish, and just relax in the sun.  I don’t know what was more fun, being in the water or sitting on the shore watching the water!  I’d have to go back and try it all again for further research…


Day 4 brought us to Nassau.  Here we booked a two reef snorkel.  This was also a great trip! We took a boat about an hour from the port and got a great tour of several islands on the way to a reef.  The reef we went to is famous for having Corona commercials filmed on it and a James Bond movie (I’ve never seen one so I can’t tell you which).  In both snorkel locations, I was enamored by the plant life that was visible on the reef as well as the variety of fish.  I tried to take some pictures, but I was so enamored that I just want to swim and swim in order to see everything possible!  I highly recommend snorkeling in the Bahamas!

After snorkeling, we were so exhausted that we didn’t see much of Nassau.  We bought some souvenirs and then headed back to the ship for some lunch and showers!  One of my favorites sights in Nassau was the lighthouse below that was on the outskirts of the port.  I love lighthouses and was enamored of the Nassau skyline in behind this one.


Day 5 was another Fun Day at Sea!  This time we participated in some of the on board activities, but we mostly just relaxed and enjoyed our last day at sea.  I loved just staring at the ocean and enjoying the tranquility associated with doing so.  The ocean has always been one of the places where I feel most connected to the natural world around me, and being able to see nothing but the sea game an indescribable amount of calm!


I know this is a lot of info packed into a little bit, but there are so many possibilities on a cruise, that it can be overwhelming.  If you choose to cruise with Carnival, then here are some highlights you must checkout:

  • Pizza Pirate
  • The French Onion Soup
  • The Chocolate Molten Lava Cake (I liked it and I normally don’t like chocolate)
  • The musical review shows
  • Coffee Bar
  • Serenity Deck (if you’re over 21) and Serenity Whirlpools
  • The shops – you can win prizes without buying a thing!
  • The library – it has board games and books!
  • Pizza Pirate (it is worth multiple mentions!)
  • The different musicians playing at various locations on the ship
  • On this ship: The Gatsby Bar!

I can’t wait to cruise again!

#thegreatkaysby #travel #carnival #cruise #mrkisby #anniversarytrips #bahamas #halfmooncay #nassau #pizzapirate #carnivalelation

Niagara Falls Part 2!

And so the Niagara Falls journey continues…

If being near the water isn’t your thing, then maybe Skylon Tower would be more your speed.  This tower goes way high up in the air and allows visitors to have a birds-eye view of everything in Niagara Falls.  For me it was terrifying; however, if you are a fan of heights then you will probably love the views!  http://www.skylon.com/


While heights are too dangerous for my blood, the danger of white water rapids thrills me!  Thus, the White Water Walk was a fun attraction to me! This walk entails going down to a wooden walkway and walking along some of the most treacherous Class Six white water rapids in the world.  Everyone who has tried to physically enter them has died, but the rapids are thrilling to look at.  The color of the water is incredible!  https://www.niagaraparks.com/visit/attractions/white-water-walk/

If indescribably beautiful colors of nature are your favorite, then the Butterfly Conservatory is a must see!  It is home to over 2,000 butterflies and astounding greenery!  They say that if one of the butterflies lands on you, then you are a lucky person.  One landed on my husband in a very personal way… https://www.niagaraparks.com/visit/attractions/butterfly-conservatory/


Outside the conservatory was a fascinating floral clock.  It was gorgeous! The tour guide told us it was a one of a kind clock.  I burst his bubble by telling him the Kentucky State Capital Building has one too.  Ooops!


The last two Niagara Falls stops were smaller.  One was at Souvenir City where we could shop and eat lunch.  The other was a 4D movie viewing of Niagara’s Fury about the creation of Niagara Falls.  I would definitely recommend the 4D movie if you enjoy multi-sensory experiences!

As if all of this in the two blog posts wasn’t enough to checkout, here are a few other things I recommend:

  • Niagara Falls IMAX – The dare devil (not be confused with that hottie Daredevil on Netflix) exhibit is cool!
  • Hard Rock Cafe – Have a hurricane and get a souvenir glass!
  • Marineland – Checkout the Dragon Mountain roller coaster!  Hands down one of the best roller coasters I’ve ever ridden!
  • Niagara Scow – See it before it disappears! Seriously, scientists have predicted it will be gone by 2030!
  • Falls At Night – Pretty colors light up the falls!
  • The Hershey Store – Just because it is Hershey and Reese’s candy!  Do you need another reason to go there?  I think not!


Whew! That is a lot of info about Niagara Falls!  But can you tell how much I love it there? The good news is that it is only a 10 hour drive if you never stop (so plan for 12).  If you’ve got a passport, then get in the car and go next time you have a long weekend!

Until next time!


The Great Kaysby

#travel #thegreatkaysby #mauhoneymoon #niagarafalls  #butterflyconservatory #whitewaterwalk #floralclock #skylontower


Niagara Falls Part 1


“We can’t afford Niagara Falls, but there’s a fountain by the old town hall.”

— Hometown Honeymoon, Alabama

As newlyweds did we have the money? Thanks to simplifying the wedding, yes we did have the ability to make Niagara Falls part of our honeymoon road trip.  In July 2012, we spent Friday the 13th to Sunday the 15th in the self proclaimed Honeymoon Capital of the World.  We even got the Honeymoon/Romance package at the Marriott overlooking the falls! It came with a suite with a falls view (a frightening 27 stories up), a bottle of wine, and chocolate covered strawberries! Besides the goodies, we chose the suite because it had a fireplace (obviously a necessity in July) and a whirlpool tub!  But it wasn’t just honeymoon cliches that brought us to Niagara Falls even though they helped us feel like royalty.  The sheer beauty of the area drew us there.

Before our honeymoon, I had been to Niagara Falls twice.  However, I hadn’t seen it in nearly ten years and I wanted to share the beauty and wonder of Niagara Falls with my husband.  After all, seeing something through the eyes of someone you love can make it even more magical!  Which even thought it was a brief trip it was more astounding than I could have dreamed!  Well except for the fire alarm being pulled in the middle of the night and having to run down 27 flights of stairs in my pajamas.  FYI…not the best idea to take off down the stairs and leave your new husband behind, but I digress.

With little time and so much to see, we opted to do a travel tour with Magnificent Tours (www.magnificentniagarafallstours.com) at the recommendation of the hotel.  Aside from seeing many sites, the tour gave us the convenience of not having to fret over driving directions, not stressing about parking, getting extra information that only someone local to the area can provide, and getting to line jump with express group passes!  Plus, in six hours time we were able to see seven places!  I can’t remember the order we saw them, but I distinctly remember the places!

One of the places was Journey Behind the Falls.  This stop was exactly what it sounds like.  You get to go through a tunnel (dig a tunnel, dig dig a tunnel) and checkout the falls from behind.  😉  It is a really cool view as you lookout through the falls, and the rush of the water appeals to your sense of sound as well.  And as a bonus the sound totally makes you have to go to the bathroom!  https://www.niagaraparks.com/visit/attractions/journey-behind-the-falls/

We also got to get up close and personal with the falls from the front on the Maid of the Mist boat tour (now Hornblower Niagara Cruises is part of the tour).  Luckily, the tour comes with a free raincoat because YOU WILL GET WET! This tour got us as close to the falls as you can get without getting injured (or worse) by actually going over the falls!  This boat ride is definitely one of my must do activities in Niagara Falls!  https://www.niagaracruises.com/

Whew!  That is a lot to soak up for Part 1!  I’ll be back with Niagara Falls Part 2 (and more pictures) soon!


The Great Kaysby

#niagarafalls #thegreatkaysby #mauhoneymoon #journeybehindthefalls #maidofthemist #travel

The Adventures of the Great Kaysby


The Island – Pigeon Forge – October 2017

For as long as I can remember I have had an interest in writing.  No matter the format – journals, short stories, poems, academic papers, etc – I’ve always taken joy from creating the written word.  Since the digital age began, I’ve desired to add blog writing to the list. However, I could never think of what kind of blog would be fun to write for me and fun for others to read.  Then, while on a cruise during Spring Break 2018, it dawned on me that I should write a blog about travel and food!  What qualifies me to blog about travel and food?  Well, that’s for you to decide!

But, before I begin talking about traveling and food, let me tell you about me.  When I’m not traveling or indulging in my self diagnosed “foodie addiction”, I wear a lot of different hats. Some of my hats include wife, daughter, cat mom, friend, Independent Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay, special education teacher, philanthropist, gamer, and arts/crafts creator (I’m a glue gun guru!).  All of these hats in one way or another influence my travel and foodie decisions.  For example, my role of wife is directly related to my trips to Niagara Falls, the Poconos, and the Bahamas.  Additionally, somehow I find a way to tie all of my hats to my favorite social activity: going out to eat!

So am I qualified to blog about travel and food?  I think so!

Tune in soon for my first travel blog about Niagara Falls!


The Great Kaysby

#thegreatkaysby #travel #foodie