June 30, 2011

Randomness of June

On Life:
1. I did my first baby photo session last week.  Oh my goodness.  The sweetness of a baby fresh from the arms of heaven is intoxicating.  Thanks, M, for giving me the chance to play with your new baby take pictures.

2. My two oldest have been at camp(s) all week.  We've kept little man busy with playdates and such.  Yesterday as I perused the bookstore alone for almost two hours I felt a wee bit guilty for enjoying myself so much.  Then I ordered a frosty mint coffee drink and the guilt magically disappeared.  
When was the last time I was in a bookstore to just browse?  Oh yes, I remember.  Twelve years ago.

3. Speaking of books.  This is the study I am doing this summer with a wonderful hodge-podge of women.  I mean that in the best of ways.  It's amazing how God's beautiful Word can bring hearts together.

 If you are looking for a study to do with a small group of women I highly recommend it.  Life changing.

On Food:
1. Do you have a Papa Murphy's Pizza?  Oh. My. Goodness.  We have a new favorite.  It's take-n-bake  pizza made right in front of you. $7 for a large.  $9 for xlarge.  Wanna know what my favorite is?  S'mores Dessert Pizza.  It's only $3 for a 10" right now.  It's slap-your-momma good.  (I'd never really slap my momma, by the way.)

2. Pretzel Crisps are addictive.  Especially when they are covered with sesame seeds, garlic, onion, caraway and poppy seeds.  Who needs dip when you have all that stuff?

3. I finally made it to our local WholeFoods store.  I think I'm the only person in the tri-state area that hadn't been yet.

4. I was craving pimento cheese spread while I was there, so I got a little crazy and chose the Red Onion Pimento Cheese.  Holy onion breath, batman!  That stuff is powerful.  I won't be getting that again.

On Travel:
1. It is important to wear deodorant, especially when visiting America and riding in small enclosures with other human beings.

2. It is important to stay away from garlic and curry dishes before riding in elevators with multiple people.

3. No, it is not appropriate to clear your nasal passages on said elevators.  Even though they are burning like fiya from the body odor and ode a la garleek.

4. A select few from the Detroit area think Steak and Shake is not a chain restaurant.  It is.

5. A select few from St. Louis think TGIFriday's is not a chain restaurant.  It is.

I warned you this would be random.  :)
Have a great weekend!

June 29, 2011


We all have areas in our lives that we want to improve upon.  My list is lengthy and as varied as the fruits at a summer stand.

One of my weaknesses is nurturing.   I'm comfortable nurturing children.  My own, yours, a stranger's.
Its the nurturing of other adults that I struggle with.  I desire to be a nurturer but it doesn't come naturally.  

When I started praying for a more nurturing soul the Lord immediately brought a friend to mind.  I've observed Ms. Dixie nurture the multitudes from babes to the elderly.  She ministers in physical ways through meals, service, and care but she also has the gift of ministering to the soul.  She nurtures in a manner that makes you feel as though you are the most important person in the world.  Your concerns are hers.  She is a helper in time of need.  Hmm... doesn't that sound like Jesus?
Not only does she nurture in times of need, she has the gift of reaching out.  I know from experience as well as countless mutual friends of her gift of  tending the flock, fostering the heart, cultivating the soil that is around her.

I'm so thankful for a friend who is a living example of Christ.  I want to be like Jesus and if it means looking a little like Ms. Dixie, I'd be just fine with that.

nurture |ˈnər ch ər|
noun: the process of caring for and encouraging the growth of another

June 23, 2011


Even though I often mention my love of cold weather, there is so much to love about summer.

What do you embrace about the season?

June 22, 2011

Trail's End

The last stop on our Great Tour of the Midwest was one of the most fun.  Do you know what sits on Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio?

Cedar Point Amusement Park

Home of several world record rides, including one that takes you from 0-120mph in 3.8 seconds.  That's me trying an alternative to a facelift in the green jacket:
Once it reaches that speed, it's straight up 420 ft and then straight down 420ft.  It was a wild ride.
My favorite of the day.
Needless to say, I got cool mommy points for riding that beast.
By. my. self.
We mistakenly took 2 of our 3 kiddos on separate level 5 rides (5 being the wildest).  Oops!  That kind of sealed the deal on their dislike of wild rides.  Fortunately, Cedar Point has enough to offer to everyone...

Well, everyone except those who like a clean hotel "resort" room.  Ewww... don't be fooled by the word resort.  Stick with a national chain, unless you don't mind finding hairs of various length (meaning various owners) on the bathroom floor of your hotel room.  Just sayin'

The day proved to be very educational for my kids.  Unbeknownst to us, it was Special Needs day.  Literally thousands of special needs adults filled the park.  It was precious to watch and I only had to use my "don't ask me right now" look a few times.  The kids took it in stride and made me proud.  

Our final stop was the Ohio Amish country.  Talk about a juxtaposition!  One day we were riding roller coasters, the next day we were riding behind a horse drawn buggy.  
I love America!!!

June 17, 2011

Friday Favorites

 1. I know this limits the playing field, but if you ever get a chance to go to an IKEA it's worth the stop just for the food.  I recently discovered their Lingonberry preserves.  Oh. my. goodness.  It is the right mixture of tart and sweet.  Most jellies/jams/preserves are too sweet.  Not so with Sylt Lingon.  Delish.

2. Since you will already be there, you HAVE to buy the IKEA cinnamon rolls.  Six giant rolls for $4.  I can't even make them that cheap!  Oh, and you can even buy one for .99 to munch on whilst you shop.

3. It had been awhile since I perused the dollar section at Target.  My pet-whisperer child found this little notepad.  It provided hours of entertainment for our resident veterinarian.
It would make a cute birthday gift paired with a stuffed animal.

4. I just started a summer bible study.  It is Beth Moore's Loving Well.  I'm only 2 days in and I have already gleamed so much.  It's a much lighter study than most of her others.  Perfect for summer.

5. Speaking of light reading.  I just discovered this little fiction series.  It's a great little read for the beach if you like a mystery.  The main character buys and remodels houses to resell so it gives just enough design detail to get my blood pumping.  I'm weird like that.

Happy Friday, dear friend!!!

June 14, 2011

Dining Room: Before/After

 When we built our house nine years ago, I took a big risk and put wallpaper in our dining room.  It is sort of separate from the rest of the house, so it worked; even though it was a busy pattern.  It lasted longer than I thought it might.  Err, I should say I lasted longer than I thought I would in not getting tired of it.  This past winter, though, I had had enough.  We decided to have it taken down and painted.

One itty bitty little problem.  The biggest wall was covered with mirrors.  I know!!! What  was I thinking when we did that?!  My husband had some guys in the mirror business come and remove the mirrors.  When they took them off the wall this is what remained:

The guys said they had never seen a mirror hung like that.  Someone got a little happy with the black tar glue.  We started scraping and the more we scraped, the more sheetrock came off.  Talk about frustrating.  We quickly realized that we were going to have to replace the sheetrock if we didn't stop.  So we added 3 sheets of thin wallboard on top of the existing polka dots wall.

Calm and serene was what we were going for when we chose Behr Jubilee for the paint color.



The room feels so much bigger and spacious.  With a solid color, I have more freedom to change the mood of the room.  Right now I've summer-ized it:

I shopped the house and found some fun stuff to put together.  Remember my globe?  It went so nicely with the map from our vacation.  Add a few shells and the room has that world traveller feel.

June 13, 2011

Monday Fun, Gettin' Stuff Done

Our first official day of summer started this morning, but since we've been galavanting around the country, the house needed some attention.

Not wanting to dampen the kids' excitement of getting a full day off, I decided to tackle the house myself.  When my daughter saw what I was doing she said she wanted to "play-clean."  Rather than giving her a long list of things to do, I told her she could clean whatever she wanted.  What's that phrase about beggars can't be choosers??

When I looked down the hall, I found my laundry cart had turned into a hotel maid's housekeeping cart.  Ah, the things kids learn while on vacation...

She cleaned/straightened all of the upstairs bathrooms, put out clean towels, and emptied the trash.  I stripped the beds and did laundry.   I love teamwork!!!

It reminded me that as a mom, nagging and complaining might get some results, but when I allow their creativity to shine, the results are amazing... and fun!

Happy Monday!!!

June 9, 2011

All of our Favorite Things

Can you guess from the picture that we are foodies?  Can you guess where we are?
Yes, we're in Chicago!  The Windy City.

  It happens to be my favorite stop on our Great Tour of the Midwest.  I used to live there... when I was a little tyke...
Maybe that's why I thinks it's so great.  In keeping with our no-chain-restaurants theme, we decided to visit a few that we had seen highlighted on the Food Network channel.  Ginos East was delish.  Their pizza is very different.  Crust, cheese, then sauce.  We actually liked the kids' thin crust pizza the best.  Try it if you are ever there!

When I was growing up, the most famous and tallest building in Chicago was the Sears Tower.  It's still the tallest, but now it is called the Willis Tower.  We visited the 103rd floor with all the other tourists.
The views are fantastic:
Lake Michigan is gorgeous.

Willis Tower now has a section of the 103rd floor cantilevered out over the street with nothing but glass beneath.  Yikes.  I'm not usually scared of heights, but it kinda skeered me.  
Notice the death grip we have on each other. :)

While in downtown we also visited the American Girl Doll store.  Even though my girls have pretty much outgrown the dolls (sniff, sniff), it was still a fun stop for them to enjoy.  Another highlight for them was seeing a mall that goes up, not out.

The rest of our time in the Chicago area was spent in the suburbs.  Legoland Chicago was a huge highlight for our son the boys.
Life size animals and characters made out of Legos.  Crazy.
We also made a few stops for the grown-ups:
Weber Grill Restaurant (Schaumburg is the home of the original Weber grill)
Cabelas for my outdoorsman.
IKEA for mom.
We also visited the 3rd largest mall in America.  I know it would be amazing to some, but to me, if you've seen one mall, you've seen them all.
We finished off Chicago here.  I know it is sort of a chain, but we don't have one in NC, so it still counted.   The kids LOVED it.  I thought the food was okay, but not great.  

Do you have any favorites from the Windy City?

June 7, 2011

The Portal of Doomsday?

The next stop on our Great Tour of the Midwest was St. Louis.  God gave us the most perfect weather that day.  Seemed much too pretty for the predicted Doomsday.  :)

Since it was the end of the world day, security was beefed up.  The line for the ride to the top was, we were told, a two hour wait.  And by golly, we came this far, we were going up in that thing!
My adorable small town man didn't think twice about sticking his pocket knife in his pocket that morning, but as we approached the security checkpoint, he got a funny look on his face.  No weapons are allowed on the arch.  We stepped out of line to ask a park ranger about the pocket knives.  She was so kind.  Maybe she was just happy to see a good ol' American family.
The kids and I went ahead through the security line as he hightailed back to the car.  Kind-park-ranger-lady then escorted my husband to the front of the line.  Our wait ended up only being about 10 minutes once we made it through security.
I had seen pictures of the Arch many times before, but I had no idea of the magnitude.  See those tiny windows at the top?  They were each about 3 feet long.  Here's the view from the top looking down on the Mississippi River:
See the little tiny people?  Yikes!  Underneath all that grass is an underground museum.  Or a good place to observe the human race. :)
If you ever get the chance, GO VISIT the St. Louis Gateway Arch!
It makes for some really great memories!

June 6, 2011

Food and Music...

What More Could We Ask For?

Spoiler Alert: We just got back from a 2500 mile road trip of the midwest.  The next few days I'm going to bore inspire you with photos and such.  If you came here for deep spiritual inspiration or decorating ideas, come back next week.  Otherwise, grab a icy mocha and get comfy!

When we decided to make a stop in Nashville, Tennessee I asked around for suggestions of good eats.  
Several friends suggested the Pancake Pantry.  I'm so thankful for knowledgeable friends!

You know you can't go wrong with something called "Chocolate Sin."  Crepes, ganache, raspberries and whipped cream.  Yes, it was sinfully delicious.  Nothing like starting the vacation out right!

Even though Nashville has a wild nightlife, it was super family friendly during the day.  We started the day with a visit to the Visitor's Center because we're nerdy like that.  Sometimes nerdy-ness pays off.  They had this retro stage ready for photos.  The guy even encouraged the kids to pick up the guitars and act like stars.
Doncha just love that microphone?

Since my kids aren't huge country music fans, we decided to pocket the $75 and not take the Country Music Hall of Fame tour.  I know some of you are shaking your head in shame... :)
But we thought the sidewalk of stars was pretty neat and the FREE Dairy Queen Dilly Bars they were passing out put stars in the kid's eyes.

We (and I mean mostly my husband, but I liked the idea) decided that we would not eat in any national chain restaurants.  The kids were on board with the idea, so it made it kind of fun.  A couple of friends had recommended Jack's BBQ.  Come to Momma.  It was finger lickin' good.
I highly recommend it for a taste of real Tennessee bar-b-que.

We enjoyed seeing the home of the Tennessee Titans (football) and cooling off with Sunkist.  Why do drinks taste better in a glass bottle?  I'm not a soda drinker, but my family swears by it.  Thoughts?

I also recommend the Tennessee State (state of, not college team)Museum in downtown Nashville.  Besides being a great place to cool off in the heat of the day, it has a great collection of historical stuff that kids like.  Nothing like driving to another state for an end-of-year field trip!

Little man spent his own money on the straw cowboy hat.  I could eat him up!!!

Have you ever seen the Opryland Hotel?  I had no idea how amazing it truly is.  If you go to Nashville, you need to go see the hotel.  It is beautiful.  We should have spent the extra $75 and stayed there.  Wowsa!

One last little funny:
As we were leaving downtown Nashville headed out toward our hotel, our car started making a terrible noise.  Then we noticed it only made the noise when we drove past a wooded area.  I rolled down my window and realized it was the cicadas in the trees... not our car!   I've never been so glad to hear those annoying little bugs!  

June 1, 2011

Tornados, Fires, and BBQ

I had to be a little sneaky last week, lest the prowlers-of-traveling-blogger-houses were to come along.

We've been on a road trip of epic proportions... err, maybe that would better describe the amount of BBQ we've consumed.  Anyhoo, we are back in good ole NC and I can't wait to bore you show you the pictures of our travels and share some tidbits we learned along the way.  Don't worry, I won't take the time to tell you the history of the midwest, even though we learned some.

Like any good planner (bwahaha) we decided to tour the midwest smack dab in the middle of tornado season.  The whirling devils followed us all along the way, but we were protected.  I only called out "Auntie Emm, Auntie Emm" once.

On Monday night my husband just happened to look out the window before heading to bed and noticed our side woods were on fire.
F-I-R-E!  All around our bunny's cage!
Because of his quick thinking we were able to put out the fire and rescue Luna without having to call the FD.  When all was said and done, we decided to give her some fresh water.  That's when we realized just how hot her cage had been.  Her water bottle was almost too hot to touch.  Poor little thang!

We're not sure how it started.  We grilled out, so possibly a stray ember that took its time smoldering.  We're so grateful the kids slept through the whole ordeal.

Today I am giving thanks for:
1. Protection from tornados
2. Protection from fire
3. Air conditioning

Happy June!!!