Friday, July 18, 2014

{This Moment}

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, visit Soule Mama.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Smokies, Part 2

Cameron would have loved this store!

Eventually we headed into Gatlinburg.   It was July 3 and it was hopping!

We just did a quick walk through in the morning because we had a dinner date back in Pigeon Forge.


At the Dixie Stampede.  It was so much fun.  The horses, the stunts, the comedy and the best chicken I've ever eaten!  With our fingers no less.  A bit messy, but oh so good.

Then, that evening it was back to Gatlinburg for the country's first Fourth of July midnight.  Yes, that little munchkin was up until midnight, watched an hour and a half parade and then waited an hour for the trolley to go back down to Pigeon Forge.  And we lived to tell about it!

this was probably around 11:45 or so
 Don't they look sleepy?

Callie's favorite, Captain America

It was a fun parade.  They did something I've never seen before.  Instead of the parade participants throwing candy at the crowd during the parade, people in the crowd throw out pennies and change and beaded necklaces before it starts.  It was great!  All of the sudden there is money flying into the streets and all the little kids start scrambling for it.  No candy and no kids running out in the street in front of fire trucks!  And since it's at night, no hot sun beating down on you.

The next morning we forced ourselves out of bed and headed a little further East, to Johnson City, TN.  This is where both my parents were born and raised and where just about all of my extended family lives.  We had new cousins to meet and "old" ones to visit. 

In order to visit some again, I'll need a tranquilizer if I am going up that mountain driveway again! LOL

 Thanks to Aunt Susan for hosting us and bringing everyone together!!  I can't believe I didn't get any pictures of my uncles!  They are quiet types who like to slip in and out and I didn't even think about it until it was too late.  I have wonderful memories of my uncles and summers spent at my Grandparents houses.  It was fun to remember and show the girls around a bit.  Although always a bit bitter sweet.  I miss those times and those grandparents who made them possible.  I know they weren't perfect people, but they sure were perfect to me!

Thanks again Grandmother and Granddaddy for a great summer trip!!





Saturday, July 12, 2014

Needle &thREAD

Almost every time we have a trip coming up, I suddenly remember or find new things that I need to make "for the trip".  If it's during the school year I may not be able to no matter how badly I want to, but since we don't have full school days right now, I was able to crank out a few projects.

I told you about my purse that I made.  Here it is.  I usually prefer a big bag, but I just thought this time it might be nice to also have a small one for days spent walking around a lot.  It was great to have one go across the shoulder and never slip off and not have to worry about it.

I also made these pillows for the girls.  The pocket and handle make it perfect for traveling.  I saw this on Pintrest several months ago.  I didn't follow their instructions because I'm familiar enough with making pillow covers that I didn't really need too.  I was only using materials and trims that I already had on hand so I didn't use the piping as you can see.

The girls both really liked the idea when I showed them, so they picked out their fabrics from the stash and they came together very easily.  I think they would make great gifts for some nieces and nephews.

As for reading.....I took a book called "Wisp of a Thing" with us to Tennessee.  It started out good, became a little weird, but still very interesting, but also became more and more foul.  I have a very low tolerance for foul language and unfortunately it got worse and worse as the story was reaching the climax!  I did finish it, but honestly, I felt like I shouldn't have.  I should have re-read "Cold Sassy Tree" or "To Kill a Mockingbird"!  Oh well.  Next time I'll take a back up.

Linking up with Elizabeth.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Great Smoky Mountains, Part 1

With Cameron's job change we knew there would be no regular vacation this year.  I realized one day that since we weren't going to Mississippi that maybe the girls and I could go with my parents to Johnson City, TN to see my extended family.  When I asked them if they were going they said yes and immediately my dad wanted to know if we could go to his favorite place on earth...."The Smokies".  For all of you non-Southerners that means Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN.

As much as I tried to get out of that (budgets you know) they wouldn't let me.  :)

I am so glad!!  We had a wonderful time and I'm so thankful to Cameron for not minding that we were living it up in Tennessee while he was home working. 

You really can go to the Smokies without shopping the whole time. LOL  Having been here many times before, this was a first for me to come with that mindset.

The first day we spent the whole day in the Smoky Mountain National Forest.  It's so beautiful!  For the first time in my life, I think I finally understand my parents love for this place.  I've always liked it, but never really saw the beauty.  I was too hypnotized by the Pigeon Forge strip of malls and rides.  And always terrified of the roads in and out and around here.  Guardrails would go a long way towards my enjoyment of those rides!!!


It also helps when one is content to swim at the hotel pool as much as humanly possible.

However, no one can leave The Smokies with all of their money!  There were bumper boats, the Hollywood Wax Museum for Callie and Grandmother and a big treat for all.......The Dixie Stampede!  We had a wonderful time.  I hope the girls remember, for years and years to come, the summer we went to The Smokies with Grandmother and Granddaddy.  {otherwise known as Nai Nai and Ye Ye}

Stay tuned for part 2!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Day of Blessings

Some days are hard.  Some days are wonderful, maybe even perfect.  Most days are a mixture of a little bit of both hard moments and wonderful ones too.

Yesterday morning was somewhat stressful just because I simply had a lot on my mind that couldn't seem to let go of.  Nothing bad happened, the girls were great, it was just in my head.

After lunch Callie brought the mail in and there was a Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  I thought it had been put in the wrong box, but then there was a card that said I had been given a gift subscription.  From Cameron's parents.  That made me smile and I was thankful for their kindness and love towards me.

Later in the day, I received an e-mail telling me I had been given the gift of an e-book that I have been very anxious to read.  Not just the book, but the whole package deal with a journal and some podcasts.  That made me smile and tear up at the same time.

Then the icing on the cake.....sometime last year I had bought two different knitting patterns on line.  They were sent to my computer but I had not made them yet nor had I printed them.  A few months ago the computer sort of crashed and I can not get any of the pdf files to come up or print or anything.  I notified the sellers and both honored my purchases and resent the patterns.

Ultimately, these blessings are from my loving God.  Yes, he sends trials, but he doesn't send trials with out blessings!

Then there's these kinds of blessings.....this picture just makes me so happy.  Pure joy!

{Thank you Kelly for capturing the moment!}

Monday, June 23, 2014

End of June Daybook

{Outside My Window}  It's pretty toasty outside.  This time of year the cornfields are actually "pretty".  Very green and swaying gently in the breeze.

{I'm Listening To}  The sound of air of God's good gifts!  And the sound of two 8 year old girls playing in the bathtub.  Swim suits on and about 10 rubber ducks.  I'm wondering how many towels it will take to clean up the floor. ;)

{I'm Thankful For}  So, so many things.  See above.  A husband who loves, daughters who were prayed for, extended family who we love and who enjoy each other, a home to live in, friends who are encouraging and our children's friends.  On and on it goes, and yet, I'm still totally stressed out and worried about other things and even some of those things that I'm thankful for.  That shouldn't be!!  I just want to be thankful.  Period.  If anyone can tell me the way to actually DO that, please share. 

On another note...these podcasts are awesome!!!  I try not to use that word all the time and for every little thing.  These are so good!  Whether you home school or not these are worth every minute and they are free.  So far, I think the ones with Jim Weiss are my favorite, but the one with Andrew Pudewa is great too.  If you have a struggling reader, or you think reading aloud stops when your child can read, it is a must.  They are all great and have been a highlight for me this summer while washing endless amounts of dishes.

{I'm Thinking About}  High school.  Not the 80's.  Callie's high school.  As hard as I've tried to put it out of my mind and pretend like it wasn't's here anyway.  I am so not ready!  I'm not ready emotionally and I sure don't feel ready academically. 

When teaching her during the elementary years, I will admit, I thought it was great and I was just a bit cocky about how great it was.  Not how smart she was or anything like that, but just about how wonderful the whole homeschooling thing was in general.  I just couldn't imagine why everyone wouldn't want to do this. 

Now, I'm shaking in my boots.  I still love this lifestyle and I really don't want to trade it for the alternative, but I'm feeling so incredibly unqualified and quite honestly a bit worn and panicking.  "Will this be enough?  What about_______?  We never really did_______.  How am I going to do__________?"  These are the thoughts almost constantly running through my head right now.

I'm pretty positive this is exactly where God wants me.  Not still thinking "we are doing so great" but admitting that I can't do this without Him and his wisdom and guidance and strength.

{In the Sewing Room}  Last weekend at a consignment store I saw this cute little purse that goes across the chest and one shoulder.  I instantly wanted that purse for an upcoming trip. Even though it was a good deal {it was Vera Bradley} I knew I had no business purchasing it right now.  I obsessed over if for a couple of days and whined to myself about it.  Finally I decided I could try and make one similar.  I have tons of small fabric pieces and I knew exactly which ones I would use. 

It's not perfect, but it will be just fine.  Considering I had no pattern or directions I think it turned out pretty well and I doubt anyone will be inspecting it that closely.


{I was so excited about choosing red white and blue fabric for the 4th of July until I realized it's all a British motif! LOL  I'm sure my dad will give me an earful for that!!}

{In the Kitchen}  Duck eggs!  Last week we visited the home of some new friends.  We had a great time!  My new friend and I have a lot in common.  We love fabric and brownies!!  (come to think of it, I have a couple of friends like that)  They have a couple of chickens and the cutest ducks!  I came home ready to dig a pond behind the barn. 

Duck eggs are pretty much the same in flavor, just a bit different in texture.  The best way I can explain it is that it's almost like there is cheese in your scrambled eggs, except there's not.  They're good.  Just in case the girls were going to give me grief, I just mixed them up with the chicken eggs and then you can hardly tell at all.  Cameron wanted to try them as soon as we got home.  Two eggs took up the whole pan and he could hardly finish them.

{I Am Reading}  I have three non-fiction books going (which I never do) that are really good, but I'm having trouble making myself read them and finish! honor of our upcoming trip to Tennessee, I started looking for my next Southern Literature book.  It was really hard because I have loved the last few so much (The Help, To Kill a Mockingbird and Cold Sassy Tree) that I'm just convinced that whatever I read next is not going to be near as good!  I'm sure that sounds ridiculous.

I ordered two from the library.  I'll let you know if they are worth blogging about.

And I can't wait to read and listen to this!!  I'm hoping for my own private teachers retreat next month. 

{Around the House}  There are a few areas that need a really deep cleaning.  I have no idea when that will happen.

{One of My Favorite Things}

These girls, especially the third one from the left. :) Callie went to her first concert a couple of weeks ago.  A group from church went to see Lindsey Stirling.  Cameron went along and they both said it was fabulous!

{A Few Plans For the Rest of the Week}  It's quite a week!  Callie has ballet camp every day, she's babysitting one afternoon for a baby, then the next night for 3 boys.  We have packing to do for our trip, and then the regular things.  All good things!

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things

1.  Homecomings

2.  All four of us working outside in the yard together.

3.  Enjoying the bribery for #2.

4.  Friends who loan us tools for #2.

5.  Hearing a nice rain at night after all that yard work.

6.  Watching Callie with a book in one hand and a rake in the other! LOL  It didn't last long and I wished I had a camera in my pocket.  This would be the theme of her life.

7.  Planting Kate's garden with her.  She chose sunflowers, cosmos, sweet peas and carrots and pumpkins.  She's very excited and I just pray they all come up and grow well.

I'm posting this without pictures.  If I wait until I get batteries, download the pictures, etc. it will never get posted.  Not one of my favorite things....being super busy.  But that would be a part of one of my most favorite things....

8.  Being part of a family. 

9.  And a family of girls who love ballet and are attending and helping with Princess Camp. 

There will be pictures later. :)