The Last Week of Summer

Here we are in the last week of summer. The last summer my son will be a seven-year-old as he approaches birthday number eight in September and will be starting school next week.

I am experiencing highs and lows. I would be lying if I said I was not eager to regain my daily freedom and that I do not enjoy structure and routine the school year brings to our home. Early bedtimes, early rising, and knowing my child is in good hands and learning all the things to prepare him for life.

But I see and hear him voicing insecurity and thoughts of the unknown.

Will his teacher be a good match for his wildly curious, easily bored, silly, and vocal personality?

Will he make new friends?

All the “what if’s” and “what nots” we have all experienced as children and in adulthood.

We are preparing to attend the back-to-school bash tomorrow night where he will find out who his second grade teacher will be and meet new classmates— and reconnect with the old friends and teachers from school. An exciting time of nervous butterflies that will couple with realizing it’s not all that scary…. I am reminding myself.

He’s growing up.

He’s got this.

He’s a good kid.

He’s a smart boy.

He’s friendly and outgoing.

He’s imaginative.

He’s funny.

He’s my awesome boy.

So if you are like me and worry over your children and want to watch them succeed and have a place in the world, set your mind at ease.

You’ve got this.

But while other parents are preparing their kids already with routines and early lights out, we will be enjoying the last moments of summer.

Holding onto the fun and whimsy.

Leaving a sparkling trail of memories behind us.

– Alison Paul Klakowicz

Author of Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

Alison Paul Klakowicz is an Eastern North Carolina native, children’s book author, blogger, podcaster and creative writer. She is a military spouse who resides in Fayetteville, NC with her husband, Adam, and son, Mak.

Contentment Found at Gillis Hill Farm

Five years ago, my family found a treasure tucked away on a winding country road on the edges of Cumberland County, North Carolina not far from our home in Fayetteville.

A sacred place where we would find contentment, quiet moments of togetherness and joyful, sugar-filled hikes along green pastures and wooded trails.

Five years ago, we found Gillis Hill Farm.

At the time, I knew it would become a special place in our Sandhills journey. But, I did not realize the void it would fill in our hearts.

Overtime, it became a sanctuary where we could escape the hustle and bustle of daily routines, military family woes, and a busy city life.

And, just be a family wandering the grounds of a simple, beautiful farm.

With the purchase of {a multitude of flavors} homemade, ice cream served in a cup or waffle cone— as well as daily fresh baked goods (we highly recommend the brownies 👍😋), you can peruse the terrain of the eighth generation family owned and operated contentment farm.

Our favorite spot to savor the delectable cold, sweet treat (or other delicious goodies) is along the screened porch of the old farmhouse office and bakery— gliding on white rockers overlooking the grounds bursting with azalea and hydrangea blooms that have welcomed visitors for many years each spring.

I have introduced friends and family to “the farm” over the years— to share this magical place with loved ones in hopes it might serve them a bit of the joy my family has gained from its fertile and safe harbored grounds much like my country roots— and the porches where I rocked with my grandparents during hot North Carolina summers.

Gillis Hill opens to the public each spring and closes in late November— we are always so sad to see it close for the winter.

Alas, I begin to stalk their Facebook pages in March each year to see if there are postings of when our favorite local hideaway will welcome us back.

AND, Lo and behold… LOOK 👀 what I found on their FB page today:

WOOHOO!!!! April 1st cannot come soon enough! 😃

I am like a toddler on a sugar high!👆👆👆

I cannot wait to pack up my family and friends, and haul them out to Gillis Hill Road!

If you are new to the area or are looking for a perfect place to spend a spring day in Central NC, make this a MUST on your destination list. You won’t be disappointed (If you are, then you need to re-evaluate your priorities. 🤔 Just sayin’ 😂)!

Plus, you are supporting a local family farm!

To find out more information about Gillis Hill Farm, visit their Facebook page:

To contact them, look 👀 here:

And, mark April 1st on your calendar!!!

We will see you at “the farm!”

Alison Paul Klakowicz, BA, MS

Author of Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

Alison Paul Klakowicz is a North Carolina native, children’s book author, blogger, podcaster and creative writer. She is a military spouse who resides in Fayetteville, NC with her husband, Adam, and son, Mak.

I Love Fall

I love Fall.

Like, really LOVE it.

I’m not one of those pumpkin spice addicts or anything (although I enjoy a pumpkin latte from time to time). But there is just something special about the Fall season.

Partly, because coming off a North Carolina summer the first day you encounter with a high temp below 80 degrees and a night in the low 60s is like a blessing sent from above.

A reminder we can carry on without feeling boiled alive— and sweating our heads off just from walking out the front door into a cauldron of irrational summer heat and humidity, and don’t get me started about those darned mosquitoes that feed upon our Southern blood like raptors.

Yes, autumn is a time of blissful renewal. I find myself much happier and perkier… the image of Julie Andrews playing the role of Maria in the Sound of Music spinning around and around on the hilltop comes to mind.

Finally! I can breathe! I can walk outside without being attacked by pesky insects, my head is not wet from perspiration and my hair is better. Not a hot, humid mane of frizz.

Plus, it’s the beginning of so much fun and festivity. Perhaps you’ve heard of Halloween? Today is Halloween, by the way. I hope you had a great one! What a spooktacular event! It makes me giddy with joy.

Carving pumpkins, hayrides, ghost stories, playing dress up with your kiddos and embracing your inner witch.

Muuuuaaah- velous!

My late 1970s, 80s upbringing was filled with whimsy and fun. So many images of Halloween pop into my mind.

My childhood neighbor, Mrs. Layla who dressed up as the Wicked Witch of the West and stirred her black pot bubbling with liquid smoke on her front porch was one of the first times I recall being frightfully scared, yet intrigued and wanton of more eerie fun. Thank you, Mrs. Layla for that thrill and lasting impression.

A good reminder to us all to just put on the dang costume.

Be silly.

Play the part.

Have fun.

Be “that” person.

Do it for the children. Who will they remember? The guy in the tee-shirt handing out candy out of Tupperware or the guy dressed up as Freddy Kruger handing them candy from a hollow skull?

You decide.

But let me digress.

The Fall is the window to all kinds of fun and celebration: Octoberfest’s, Harvest Festivals, my birthday… you get the drift.

AND, it paves the way to none other than the most wonderful time of the year… THE HOLIDAYS!

Thanksgiving! Let us count our many blessings on God’s great Earth!

Christmas! The birthday of JESUS! Can I get an AMEN!?


Did I mention the changing of leaves? How gorgeous and magical! And scientifically cool that it happens each year.


Every year!

That is AMAZING. A miracle. Truly.

Leaves of every color… red, brown, purple, gold. A sensory overload.

If you are a diehard summer lover and look at this time of year as the time of year that leads to all the stress the holidays bring AND it’s just the start of a long, cold winter… well, you might not want to read anymore because you just don’t get me.

That’s okay. Not everyone does. I’m okay with that.

But, if you DO get me and are as overjoyed as I am by the autumn season’s arrival, then let us rejoice together! We made it! It’s here. Hallelujah!

I also want to talk about this season’s fashion. Not the kind where the ladies start showing off their new tall riding boots with the frilly boot socks peeking out of the top.

No, no.

My kind of fashion which involves long sleeve tee-shirts and well-worn jeans during the day with perhaps a quilted vest thrown on top to make a statement or rather serve as a disguise for protruding love handles. And the nightly fashion statement of cozy athletic pants (to be worn on the sofa while sipping hot tea), sweatshirts and fuzzy socks. What more could you ask for, right?


Fabulous Fall, I love you.

So with that I will leave you and bid you farewell.

It’s Fall, Y’all!


Alison Klakowicz