Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm So Proud of My Smart Daughter!

 I am so proud of and for Ashley!  I mentioned her college term paper in my last entry.  It is for her philosophy class through Liberty University. She had to pick a religion they had studied, include that religion's beliefs and present the gospel to a person of that religion.  She chose Islam.  She got her grade today.  A 96!!!  Yay, Ashley!  This is a really hard course, but she loves it.  She put a lot of time and emotion into this paper, and I know a great grade was important to her.  And, just for the bragging mom record~~ she made an A on her midterm, too!
As long as I'm bragging, if you didn't happen to see Briana's pictures in the previous entry, be sure to check them out.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Nutcracker Sweet

We had a nice Thanksgiving  with my parents.  They came over on Wednesday evening.  Marissa was disappointed that it rained, because it meant we didn't get to spend the afternoon leaf sledding.  That's a super fun family event.  If it dries out soon, we owe her one.  She had been excited and looking forward to it for 2 weeks--counting down the days. 
On Friday and Saturday, Briana performed in the Nutcracker Sweet.  This is her 4th year.  In the past she has always been in the Corp de Ballet, so this year she was ecstatic to be chosen for the Dew Drop Fairy solo on Friday night, as well as the Spanish trio on Saturday night.    She also danced in the party scene with her Dad again. 
In the party scene with her dad
Waltz of the flowers finale
Waltz of the Snowflakes
Spanish Trio
Dew Drop Fairy Solo
Signing Autographs!!
With the Sugar Plum Fairy
As you can see, we had a great time.  The rest of us are plugging away.  Ashley finished a term paper this week for her philosophy class.  Her paper was to include the beliefs of another religion (she chose Islam) and to present the gospel to someone of that religion.  Brain power stuff.    Five out of six of us (not me!!) are in a Christmas musical, so they are practicing for it 2 days a week.  While they're at practice I am having some wonderful, long times with the house to myself! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Our Thanksgiving Centerpiece

This creatively challenged Mom was able to "steal" and combine a couple of ideas from others for a fun centerpiece.  Fun, because my girls had a blast creating it.  Unfortunately, I don't do big crafty things like this with them very much.  I hope this has gotten me out of my rut. 
While searching online last week, I found the idea to carve out the inside of mini pumpkins and put in a tea light.  Then yesterday, I saw that Angela and her children had waxed leaves.  They put theirs with pinecones (which I don't have here at my mountain home), and they were so pretty.  I did a google search to find out how to wax leaves.  So, yesterday afternoon we took a walk up our little road and collected leaves.  Most of them are past peak, but we still found some pretty ones.  We put them under some heavy books, then carved out our pumpkins and let them dry overnight.  Today we had a ball waxing the leaves, and here is our Thanksgiving centerpiece. 

The dark table makes it look a little dark, so the reds don't show up as well, but it's really pretty, especially when the candles are lit.  We put the leaves on a tray to keep them from  scattering and so it can be moved easily if needed. 
Here are a few photos of the process. 
Walking down our quiet little road.

Collecting leaves

Cleaning out pumpkins

Waxing the leaves (Marissa had just gotten out of the bath.  That's why her hair is wet!) 

Making the arrangement

The finished product

     Happy Thanksgiving
"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting."  Psalm 107:1

Monday, November 12, 2007

Life in Pictures

Ta-Da!  45 quarts total.  The darker ones are cinnamon; the light-plain.  And if you really feel the need to count, 2 are missing from the picture!

Ashley is going to be a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding in January.  Marissa is going to be the flower girl.  We just got her dress today.  I couldn't resist adding these pictures.  It will have to be hemmed when we get her shoes and it gets closer to time.  (I measured her today, and she has grown almost 1 1/4 inches in the last 6 months!...but not tall enough for the dress.)

Here are a couple of pictures from my trip to the lake with Ashley, Briana, and their friend.
View from the dock.

The girls out on the paddleboat

Ummmm.....I'll let you decide!     Any guesses?

Cooking lunch--they cooked for us and insisted I relax.  They didn't have to insist too hard.

Back at home, Daddy took the little girls on a hike in the National Park.

Marissa ready to head for home at one of the relaxed baseball games our homeschool group had.

Shooting off the rocket Marissa put together

A few shots from our trip to the aquarium.  We're going back this Wednesday.
Looking at the Poison Dart Frogs

Hugerific Catfish

Holding a horseshoe crab

In the shark tunnel



touching a sting ray

Praise the Lord from the earth, Sea monsters and all deeps; fire and hail, snow and clouds; stormy wind, fulfilling His word; mountains and all hills; fruit trees and all cedars;.....Both young men and virgins; old men and children.  Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His glory is above earth and heaven.   Psalm 148:7-9; 12-13

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Snowflake Contest

Hi Everyone!  Ruth is having a giveaway of 12 pretty snowflakes that she crocheted.  These would look great hanging in a window this winter.  Go by and enter.
My grandmother is in a nursing home, and is having a hard time right now.  She has dementia, but otherwise has been in pretty good health.  Last week she had to be put in the hospital because she is so weak, and they don't know why.  Today they got x-rays that showed a "nodule" on her lung.  She will go back to have more tests this Friday to try to find out what this is.  They still have not found out what is causing her weakness.  This week she can barely get from her bed to a wheelchair.  This is the first time she has ever had to use one.  They also have taken her off of her meds for her dementia and some other things.  This will likely cause real problems, real fast. 
Our main computer crashed this weekend!  Ugh!  The girls have their laptops, but none of our programs, including email accounts are set up on them.  We have another computer up and going, but still don't have pictures or anything loaded.  Our other computer is being worked on, and I am praying they can save all of our info.  Thankfully, all (I think all) of our pictures are saved to disks, also.  Anyway, I hope to have some new pictures loaded and ready to post in the next day or two. 

Thursday, November 1, 2007


If you walk in my front door, you will be greeted by the smell of apples cooking.  Yummy.  We are canning applesauce.  In the past it has been a family project, except for the younger girls.  But, with Ashley and Briana swamped with classes and exams, they haven't been able to help out this year.  College isn't like homeschooling.  You don't get to skip a day or two and say it's life experience!  Actually, so far, I haven't been a lot of help either.  Since James is off of work this week, he has come to my rescue.  He usually does just as much slicing, coring, and cooking as me, but so far he has had almost all of it this time.  He's good, and I'm thankful.  This year Marissa is old enough to use the knife a little.  She has helped him out the last 2 mornings, slicing the apples into quarters.  We used to make the applesauce with the old fashioned hand mill.  Oh, me.  That takes FOREVER and is literally a the arm, elbow, and even back after a while.  Last time we invested in an electric mill that hooks to my Kitchen Aid mixer.  Wow!  Not only is it fast and easy, but you also get SO much more applesauce from the apples.  It squeezes every little drop.  It is amazing how much less waste there is now.   I will be doing the actual canning, even if this crazy week doesn't let me pick up a knife.  It's not an easy thing to can, but my family likes the taste of homemade better, and I make it with cinnamon, but without any added sugar, so it's healthier. 
We've had a fun week around here.  It started last Tuesday with the college tour I talked about last entry; Thursday Briana, Marissa, Daniella, and I went to the Aquarium with our homeschool group; Friday James, Marissa, Daniella, and I went to Dollywood (oh, my goodness, it was packed!); Sunday the whole family went to our church's fall festival; Monday I went to watch Marissa and Daniella play baseball with our homeschool group---James is their pitcher; and, yesterday the whole family went back to Dollywood.   Dollywood was great yesterday.  The weather was perfect and it was so empty it was unreal.  We got there about 1:30, and there was no waiting in line anywhere.  By 5:00, I bet there were only 25 people in the whole Country Fair area.  We rode several rides that we were the only ones on.  You felt like you had a private party at the amusement park.  There was another family there enjoying the relaxed pace of the afternoon. 
I just found out yesterday that I'm going away for the weekend.  This should be something I'm looking forward to, but actually it has me quite stressed.  I hope when I get there it will be relaxing.   Ashley and Briana were supposed to go with one of their friends to spend a relaxing weekend with my parents on the lake.  My parents got called out of town, so I am taking them over and spending the weekend with them.  There's a long, complicated reason, but if they don't go this weekend, they don't get to go.  There's also a story behind why going is so important to them, but that's also too long for now.   You'll just have to be in suspense! 
We are leaving tomorrow afternoon, it's a 2 hour drive, and I hope once I get there it will be a restful day on Sat.  I'm taking my scrapbook stuff with me, and hope to spend the day on it.  I'm sure I'll go out on the paddle boat with them once, and, if it's not too cool, sit out on the dock.  They are all great young women, and it will be a joy to spend quiet time with them.  Just pray I won't be so stressed between now and then.  There are a lot of "urgent" things I need to be taking care of around here. 
Okay, I hate to end on a stressed note.  I'm going to go smell some applesauce, then read to my little girls!