Sunday, October 30, 2011


Warning:  there are a lot of pictures in this post.  My mind is not allowing me to narrow them down!

Did you know that at campgrounds nationwide, Halloween is a HUGE holiday?  And I do mean HUGE!  As in if you don't book your site 6 months in advance, you probably will not get one!  For the past six years we have been going to the same local campground on Halloween weekend.  We love it.  There are a ton of activities.  Campers decorate their sites - some are really elaborate.  There is a haunted trail.  And talk about great trick-or-treating...there are hundreds of campers, tents and cabins super close together.  You don't even have to walk that far to fill up your candy bag.  It's every child's dream!

In the past six years we have encountered all sorts of weather - rain, wind, super cold, really warm, thunderstorms.  But this year was a first.  Mother Nature decided not to give us a treat this year.  Instead we all got tricked.
Yes, we had a snowstorm.  All day Saturday it snowed.  The campground was forced to cancel most of the activities (arts & crafts activities still took place, but three 13 year old boys were not interested in that!).  So we just had to bundle up and make the most of it.

There was a lot of texting, movie watching, card games, hot chocolate and snowballs.  But it did stop snowing and we emerged from our campers.

Good-bye Yogi and Boo Boo!  We'll see you again next year!

And then we came home...more on that story later!

Choose to Become

All things are possible to him that believeth ~ Mark 9:23

You can decide today to choose to become a little closer to the person you are meant to be. 

This was the theme of the Time Out for Women conference.  My mom, my sister Kerry and my friend Becky joined me for this fun-filled, inspirational weekend.  There were so many fabulous speakers, I don't even know where to begin.  I laughed. I cried.  I took notes.  I danced.  I spent waaaay too much money in the bookstore.  Most importantly I learned.  I learned that I need to spend more time looking for opportunities to serve.  I learned that I need to recognize the amount of mothering that I do.  I learned that I need to rely on the Lord (I really need to work on this one).  I learned that my tribulations will either make be bitter or better.  I learned that this life is about becoming better.

 As a mother, it is hard to get away for a weekend.  But sometimes you come home better and more prepared for life's challenges.  This was one of those weekends. I am grateful for a husband that supports me and encourages me to get away...I won't tell him that one of the books I bought at the bookstore is titled Strangling Your Husband is NOT an Option

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bushel (or two) of Fun

A is for apple - at least that's what they teach in Preschool.  And it's apple season.  Gala apples are my favorite, but for this particular job, Granny Smith was our gal.  My friend, Sara, makes and cans apple pie filling every year.  This year I decided to give it a try.  And if you remember from my corny post I don't usually do these things alone.  My sister and my parents are forced love helping out! 

We used mostly Granny Smith, but mixed in a few Courtlands, or were they Fuji, or maybe they were Jonagolds.  Heck, I can't remember what they were! 

First we washed and peeled all the apples.
 Look how cute these naked little apples are...

Kerry sliced, diced and chopped.  Doesn't she look a little too happy to have a knife in her hand?  And the one that's she's holding is not even the big one!
Then we shoved as many apples as we could into the quart sized jars.

I didn't get a picture of the "filling" mixture, but here we are (and by we I mean everyone but me) pouring the filling over the apples.

I think we might have overstuffed our jars...but we're learning! We then processed the jars in a water bath canner and voila  -  the APPLE OF MY PIE EYE

Sara also gave my a delicious recipe for "Apple Pie Crumb."  I am feeling generous today and I think I will share it with my readers (all two of you!):

Pour apple pie filling into a 9x13 pan.  Sprinkle a dry yellow cake mix over filling mixture.  Drizzle 1 stick of melted butter over cake mix.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.  Best to eat warm and with vanilla ice cream.  YUM-O!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Help Wanted!

A few years  ago I heard about Hilary Weeks.  Another mom at my church was talking about a particular song that was sung by Hilary Weeks.  I honestly didn't think much about it at the time.  Later that same week I was on itunes purchasing another song and decided to see if this Hilary Weeks lady had any songs on itunes.  I was surprised to find that she had quite a few songs available.  I purchased the one song that the other mom reccommended and my life changed. Seriously. 


I was having an awful year at school.  I had a class that I couldn't control, I didn't feel like I was an effective teacher, I took several "sick" days that year (something I had never done before in 8 years of teaching), and wondered if I was cut out to do the only thing I ever wanted to do. I cried more than once on my way home from school that year.

Enter Hilary Weeks and "He Hears Me." Something about this song spoke to me.  I felt reassured and more confident.  I still struggled.  I was still confused about what I was doing wrong. But I did not feel alone.  I remember feeling grateful for CD players.  I played this song so often I can't imagine a cassette tape would have lasted!

What can I say?  I believe everything happens for a reason.  I believe He did hear me...whining, crying, pleading.  And doors began to open.  I was accepted for an interview at the school where I always wanted to teach.  It was for a middle school language arts position.  During the process of interviews and hiring, the school board approved another position...middle school reading.  I was offered this position and accepted with tears in my eyes and a HUGE smile on my heart (and face).  Things DO happen for a reason.  We just can't always see the big picture.

Last year I had the opportunity to attend Time Out For Women, a christian women's conference.  There I listened to and personally met Hilary Weeks.  I have since purchased many of her CDs and have not been disappointed with any of them.  Why am I sharing this with you?  Just in case you want to help her out.  Here she is explaining how...

Hilary Weeks

If you would like to preoder her CD you can go here.  Mine is already ordered!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Five Minute Friday


I guess I am playing "catch" up, since it's not Friday anymore!  When I think of "catch" the first thing that comes to mind is baseball (are you surprised?).  But there are quite a few things you can catch...

catch a cold
catch a ride
catch a raindrop on your tongue
catch a deer (as my mom would say)
catch someone off guard
catch a firefly (or lightning bug)
catch some rays
catch your breath
catch a mouse

I guess we are always trying to catch something - and not be caught!  If you want to see what others have to say about the word "catch"  hop on over to The Gypsy Mama.

catch ya later!

By the way...this picture was taken by Holly over at Seriously, Though

It's Fall Y'all

I love a good party.  Family. Friends. Food.  I don't think there is anything better.  Which is why we host several parties throughout the year.  Birthday parties, Superbowl parties, Thanksgiving breakfast, Christmas parties and pool parties.  The list goes on and on.  Five years ago we started a pumpkin carving party.  We thought it would be fun to get together and carve pumpkins, make one big mess and oooh and ahhhh over each others' jack-o-lanterns. This is slowly becoming one of my favorite parties.  If you would have asked me a year or two ago, I would not have said that.  But this year I realized that no one cares about the decorations.  No one cares about the weather.  No one cares how the tables are set up.  These are some of the things I used to stress and worry about.  We used to start setting things up the week before the party.  This year we waited until the day of the party.  I dropped Rodney, Shawn and Colin (Shawn's friend) off at Rodney's mom and dad's house.  I went to the store to pick up the groceries.  When I came back the tables and chairs were set up and the hay bales were on the wagon.  Table clothes were on the tables and lemonade was made.  It was not exactly the way I would have done it, but it was done.  And it was fine.  This year we didn't put out my electric wooden pumpkins or the moving ghost.  We didn't hang my hand-made lanterns.  And you know what?  Not one person told me they missed them.  Nope.  Not one.

Don't get me wrong...I still ran around like crazy, but it was a different crazy.  I took pictures, went on all three hay rides, sang "Old McDonald" at the top of my lungs,  and sampled every sweet treat that was there.  I.had.FUN!  I think everyone else did too...

Shawn, Cory and Colin have been at all five pumpkin parties.  It's fun to watch the three of them.  Here they are at the first pumpkin party...

This year they didn't carve pumpkins - I guess they're too cool for that now.  But they did have a good time playing football, kickball and soccer in the dark.
They took a short break to eat.
Everyone else (The Bigs and the Littles) hung out in the barn eating, talking and carving pumpkins.  It was lovely!
Here's my sister and her two buddies Desi and Barbie.  Barbie is my #1 blog reader - she often tells Kerry what's going on in my life before Kerry even knows!  Thanks for reading Barbie! I am glad you could come.

The Littles played outside some too.  I am grateful that we had wonderful Fall weather.

Steve and Wayne - they are the life of any party.  They talk to anyone and everyone...they make their own jokes, and fit in with the Bigs, the Littles and the Middles (and that's not easy!)  Notice Wayne holding a bowl of chicken corn soup?  I think he had 6 bowls of it!  It must have been good!

Holly and Blake wait patiently in line for some yummy food!  Hopefully there will be some chicken corn soup left!

Jason and Erin - is that a smile I see? And is that a ring????'s just a spider!  Maybe next year...

Time to carve pumpkins... look how intense and serious people get about carving pumpkins!

Go Yankees!

We took three different hay rides.  We normally only do two, but with almost 70 people at the party this year, two just wasn't enough!

I love getting together with family and friends.  Look at these would be crazy not to want to be a part of it.  It's contagious, wholesome, family fun.  I love these memories.  

Happy Fall Y'all!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Expect the Unexpected

You know my friend Holly over at Seriously, Though...  She is a great photographer.  She practices and plays and worries.  And then practices some more!  Then she calls me to take her family pictures.  Now I've dappled in the photography area, but not nearly as much as Holly.  But I took the challenge and met her at a local apple orchard.  Let's just say that everyone was not happy about it...

They were ready to walk away...

I had to talk them into staying around and stepping out of their box...

They sure are suckers for a camera...

Holly, every time we are together we create memories.  I am glad that I captured these memories!