Friday, December 28, 2012

Thankful in 2012

Well, it's 3:00 am and I'm wide awake. That's one thing about being on break from school... we (that would be the kids and me) stay up late at night and then sleep late the next day. So, my internal clock is out of whack!

Monday, October 15, 2012

The New Awana Year ~ 2012

Awana is back in full swing in our church. We actually started back in August, and these pictures are from our first night.

First night chaos...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My New Job

I have a new job!

I've begun babysitting my friend's 4 month old grandson. I usually have him 2 to 3 days per week, so it doesn't tie me down too much, and it provides a little extra income to help us make Kate's car payment. :)

He is such a doll and I've become quite attached to the little fella. I do miss him on the days when I don't have him.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Family Getaway

We went to Panama City Beach, Florida recently. We had a couple days off for fall break, so we accompanied my husband's sister and her family on a mini-vacation. I'm not sure what it is about the beach, but we seem drawn to it, for sure.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Our 2012-2013 School Year

I think I can say that after almost two months back in school, we have settled back into our "normal" routine. Normal -- don't you just love that word? What's normal anyway? Just a setting on the washing machine...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Path Toward Healthy

I've been on a quest recently. A quest to live healthier. To live more frugally. To live more simply.

I've been reading several different blogs and websites, and have gleaned numerous ideas about how to achieve these goals. You might want to check these out: Holy-Spirit Led Homeschooling, Hidden Treasures, diy Natural.

I've been making my own laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, fabric softener, all purpose cleaners/disinfectants and window cleaner for many months now, and I have to say I've been quite pleased with the results.

Not only have I seen significant savings in our grocery budget,

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wedding Anniversary

I recently (like in August) celebrated 22 years of marriage to the love of my life. I've been thinking back over these wonderful years that God has given us. Of course it hasn't been just picture perfect. We've had our share of ups and downs, to be sure. But, if I could go back and do it all over again, I'd still choose him. I know, in the deepest recesses of my heart, that God picked him out just for me.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Cars and Hearts, Who Knew?

We finally found a car for Kate. Because we never buy new cars, we shopped around for quite a while, trying to find something that would meet all our requirements and still fit in our budget.
It had to have a high safety rating, have (fairly) low mileage, have a good mpg rating ('cause she has to drive it 40 miles round trip per day to school), and, of course, it had to fit within the budgeted amount we had to spend.
We found a 2006 KIA Optima.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Random Summer Stuff

 I couldn't help but share this picture. It's our little diva after her first trip to the groomer's this summer. :)

Also, this summer a certain someone (who shall remain nameless) celebrated her 43rd birthday.

Busy Summer Days Give You Something to Think About

I have used my last few posts trying to get caught up from our overly busy summer. I've talked about all of our various road trips,  and our comings and goings. We did have a few lazy days at home, with nothing on the agenda.
I tried to focus most of my time over the summer on my kids. They're growing up so fast... changing so much.
Now, more than ever, I can see the importance of spending as much time with them as I can. Even in all of our busyness this summer, we were together. We were busy as a family. This time with them is so fleeting.
I used to think, when they were babies and toddlers (and even preschoolers),

Myrtle Beach, SC

Have I mentioned before how much we like the beach?
Yes, of course I have. We like it so much, we went twice this summer. I mentioned earlier that we have had an extremely busy summer, going more than usual. In fact, we'll be going to Panama City Beach for a fall break with my husband's sister and her family later this month.

Fernandina Beach, FL

We have some friends who rent a beach house for the summer, and they invited us to spend a few days with them in July.
There's nothing our family enjoys more than spending time at the beach. Especially my husband.
That's him, out for a morning stroll, looking for shark's teeth.

Six Flags and a Braves Game

A couple other fun trips this summer ~

We chaperoned our church youth group on two different trips -- one to Six Flags, and the other to an Atlanta Braves baseball game.
I'm not one for riding all the rides at amusement parks, but I'm always game for tagging along and watching everyone else have fun :).

Saturday, September 22, 2012

July 4th

We travelled home to spend a few days with and to celebrate Independence Day with our family. We grilled -- the menu consisted of smoked Boston butt, grilled hamburgers, hotdogs and chicken, layered salad, potato salad, pasta salad, coleslaw, baked beans, deviled eggs, hash brown casserole, macaroni and cheese, and rolls. For dessert there were brownies, cookies, cakes and homemade ice cream... There were alot of us.

Summer Vacation - Part 3 - Washington D.C.

This is the third and final post in this series of our vacation to the great state of Virginia and Washington, DC. If you missed the first two, and are interested, you can go here for part 1, and here for part 2.

We only allotted ourselves two days for touring DC, knowing full well that we'd never be able to see everything in such a short time. It was two hours, one way, from our resort to DC. So our plan was to leave early and stay late, and try to squeeze in as much as we possibly could. Walking, walking, and more walking. Wow, that makes for a loonnngg, tiring day! It was worth it to me, but to the rest of my family... let's just say that although they thoroughly enjoyed the sight-seeing, each of them is not quite the history enthusiast that I am.

Summer Vacation - Part 2 - Thomas Jefferson's Monticello

This is the second of a three-part series about our vacation to the great state of Virginia, and Washington, DC. If you missed the first post, and are interested in catching up, you can go here.

Since our resort was not too far from Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, we paid a visit there one afternoon. Undoubtedly, not everyone gets such a thrill as I did from visiting this plantation. How can I explain it? To walk in a room where someone from our American heritage walked, to touch the very walls he touched, to see the chair in which he at one time sat.... yes, I know... there's no help for me. Now if we had been able to visit George Washington's Mount Vernon, too... well, that would have sent me right over the edge :).

Summer Vacation- Part 1 - Shenandoah Crossing Wilderness Resort

Wow! Our summer was so busy. We were on the go, much more than usual! I can't believe I haven't taken the time to post much! I guess now that we're back in school and settled back into a routine, it's time to play catch up again :).

We'll start with our trip to Virginia and Washington DC, right after school was out for summer vacation. Let me just start by saying this was my dream vacation! I have wanted to visit DC for quite some time now, considering I am such a history buff!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Wedding

I shot my first wedding recently, for a friend's daughter. I vehemently expressed that I am not a professional photographer, and weddings should definitely be shot by a professional!

I am comfortable shooting sports pictures, natural outside photo shoots and things of that nature. But a wedding... my heart still skips a beat just thinking about it.

Obviously I was very nervous, for you only have one shot to get it right. You don't get a do-over when shooting a wedding, you know.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

For the Birds...

It's that time of year again. All the little birdies have migrated back and I have been delighting in watching them at our feeders, especially the hummingbirds.

I looked out the window one morning to see this.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Some of My Pictures of Late

Some of my pictures...

These are pictures I took of my great-niece

Anna Bailey
March 19, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Birthday and a Story

We celebrated a birthday this month. Our oldest son turned 21.

Ryan, 1 year old

This is my favorite picture of him as a baby! I am flooded with so many memories when I look at this picture. I just want to reach into the photo and pick him up... he's so adorable!

After Kate's ballgame, we celebrated Ryan's birthday with dinner at Chili's. Then we followed up with dessert at La' Berry's Frozen Yogurt Cafe.

Easter 2012

Easter is one of my favorite holidays. I love everything about this day. All the signs of new life, the symbols associated with new life. I love our traditions, but I also like incorporating new ones as well. I know that my kids have outgrown some of our traditions. Will is pretty much the only one who still enjoys the Resurrection Eggs. Unless the Lord brings us a new little one any time soon, we probably won't be using them to tell the Easter story next year. 

One tradition that I keep expecting them to outgrow is the Resurrection Cookies. But this must be one of their favorites because they always ask about them.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hope For the Hurting

Last week we went on a field trip to a place called Refuge Ranch. Refuge Ranch is just what its name implies. It is a ranch, and it is a refuge for the broken, a place where the broken-hearted and the hurting can find healing, a place where they can find the love of Jesus within the love of a family.

Billy and Bonnie Walker are the owners of Refuge Ranch. They raise cattle on their ranch. And they are the parents of 26 children, 23 of whom they have adopted. Their story is amazing!

Bonnie says the Lord gave her a vision when she was a young girl that she would one day be the mother of many. She didn't know that in fulfilling that promise to her, God would use her and her husband to rescue broken and hurting children from foster care. They have an amazing testimony and you can read their story here.

Just Some Things

Just some things I wanted to share... in no particular order
I found this gemstone mining kit and thought it would go along great with our geography unit right now. We are using Ann Voskamp's A Child's Geography Vol. 1, and we are loving it!

Will enjoyed digging for stones and he found 10. We haven't finished cleaning them up and determining what type of stone each one is just yet. In the picture below he is pointing out a stone he has found.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Basketball Season and a State Championship

We finished basketball season last month, and I have to admit... I am always glad when this sport's season comes to an end :). It's not that I don't like basketball, and of course I love watching my children play whatever sport they are currently into. It's just that basketball season is extremely time-consuming. Two and sometimes three games a week, and practice on every weekday that we don't have a game (except Wednesdays) makes for a mighty long and busy week. Add to that the fact that I was in charge of the concession stand this season, and you can easily see why I can now breathe a sigh of relief.

I came up with a catchy little slogan to sum up this year's basketball season...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sweet Sixteen

We recently celebrated a birthday around here. I can't believe my Kate is 16.

her flowers that her daddy hand-delivered to her at school

 Why, it seems like just yesterday...

Savannah, GA

Kate's 10th grade American history class went on a field trip to Savannah recently. Since I was asked to be a chaperon, Will had to tag along too. We toured the Roundhouse Railroad Museum, learning the history of this major repair facility of the Central of Georgia Railway, and why it was built in the port city of Savannah.

I don't think the kids appreciated the efforts of our tour guide as much as I did. But then again, I am quite the history buff.  My boys are somewhat interested in learning history, as it applies to certain things they are interested in at the time. My daughter, however, is one of those people who stores historical information in her short term memory bank just long enough to pass the test and then promptly forgets what she has learned. Sometimes I feel sad that my children don't appreciate history as much as I do, but I realize that God gives us all different interests.

Friday, March 9, 2012

March Happenings

Wow! Here it is March and the last time I posted anything was in January! We have had a taste of spring here in the deep south, and it has left me wanting more! Of course we do experience early spring weather here.

My oldest son is home on Spring Break and I'm looking forward to having him here for a whole week (9 days really). He called me on the phone as he was leaving his apartment, headed home. Our conversation went a little something like this:

Ryan: "Mom, I'm leaving now. I should be home around 3:15 or 3:30."

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas 2011

Christmas at our house...

my little Country Christmas tree

What's On My Mind, In My Heart...

I shared recently about how I felt as if I'd somehow missed Christmas...

I did miss celebrating Christmas for what it really is. But I think the issue goes deeper. What I really missed is Christ.

The last several months of my life have been marked by this feeling of loss, this feeling of missing Jesus. My daily bible reading has slacked off tremendously and my quiet times with the Lord... well, they have become virtually non-existent. I anger easily, I lose patience with my family, I'm snappy and on edge a great deal of the time. I haven't really enjoyed caring for my family as I once did. I don't laugh much anymore... I feel out of place somehow.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Winter Vacation~2011

We've gotten into the routine of taking a winter vacation, in addition to a summer one. My husband says it is his stress reliever (lol). He plans for them, saves for them and ensures that they happen!

This year we went back to Gatlinburg, Tennessee (we went there last December). Only this time we went with his sister and her husband. We had hoped that her whole family would be able to go, but unfortunately both her daughters (and her son-in-law) had to work during the time frame we were gone.

We had so much fun! I love Gatlinburg, and would really like to visit there during the summer sometime (but we usually do a beach vacation in the summer). We enjoyed strolling the streets of downtown and visiting all the little shops. We visited Dollywood, country music singer, Dolly Parton's theme park. It was really something to see this time of the year ~ over 4 million lights ~ every thing was so beautiful!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

This is the time of year when I get the blues...

I took down all my Christmas decorations this afternoon. All the Christmas gifts have been played with/used/put away. Everything is all back in its place in my house.

And this is when I get that sad feeling. Christmas is over. It went by in a blur. Time to get on with the new year.

I am saddened even more than usual this year because somehow I feel like I missed Christmas. I missed the coming of the Christ-child. The season went by in a blur and a whirlwind without me even slowing down. Unlike Mary, I didn't spend time pondering the meaning of it all in my heart.