• 15Jul
    Categories: Airstream Comments: 0

    Many of you who know me IRL (in real life) know that the hubs and I have a 2005 19 foot Airstream Bambi travel trailer. We use it mainly for recreation and sleeping accommodations on trips to see our families out-of-state. We’d never been able to take it on a long road trip and we’d always dreamed of hitting the open road.

    Well, we finally got the chance. My husband’s aunt hosted the family out at her home near Bozeman, MT – which gave us the perfect excuse to take the camper for our long awaited road trip. We didn’t plan nearly as much as we should, but we did throw together a budget, started saving and estimated our costs. A few months ago, we sat down and mapped out the route, identifying “goals” of where we’d stop each night. After a few years of towing, my husband is finally convinced that towing the trailer at a lower speed does indeed save us time and money in gasoline expenses. In our years of owning the trailer, we’ve agreed to tow around 60mph on the interstate. Not slow enough to drive us completely insane (we both like to drive fast), but slow enough to allow us better reaction time if something were to go wrong with the trailer (a tire blows out, perhaps?). We could also eek out another 3 miles per gallon towing at 60 vs. the 70-75mph we were towing at (while I sat in the passenger seat, biting my nails and hoping nothing bad happened!)

    Since our tow vehicle (a 2005 Tundra Double Cab) only has a 20 gallon tank and we get about 10 miles per gallon while towing, so that means we must stop every 200 miles. That’s a lot of stopping on a cross country road trip and stops take time! Time is precious when you have limited vacation time (we are both corporate drones), so we decided to drive a max of 10 hours a day, approx 600 miles. We planned on 3.5 days to get out to MT, we’d take our time coming back home. Needless to say, we tried to cram too much into our time away from work, but the trip was a great one. Here’s a summary of our 2+ weeks on the road and the corresponding flickr sets for each day of our road trip:

    Friday, June 19

    We were scheduled to leave after work on Friday and all went according to plan until we hopped on the interstate heading out of Atlanta and one of the tires on our trailer promptly blew out. We spent two hours on the side of the interstate before we were able to get the spare tire on the trailer. The blow out was on the driver’s side of the trailer and there were mere INCHES between my husband, his helper and the semi-trucks barreling up I-75 North of Atlanta on their way to TN. It was a harrowing experience that I don’t care to repeat and one hell of a way to begin a vacation. When all was said & done, we ended up returning home for the night with a plan to go to a local NTB store to get two new trailer tires installed promptly at 7AM, when the store opened. The two hours I spent in the truck consoling our dog while the husband worked on the trailer came in handy as I had time to research and call various tire stores in town to see who had what we needed. Thank goodness for Smartphones – they are wonderful when you need internet access on the go!

    Saturday, June 20 – Flickr Set

    Saturday began early – we left the house around 6:15 in order to get to the NTB store with plenty of time before they opened. While my husband worked out the details of the new tires with the NTB staff, I went to work in the trailer – organizing, putting away groceries and getting all of our gear stashed. We made ourselves at home as you’ll see in the pictures – my husband got out his camp chair and relaxed while we had two new tires installed. We even were able to snag breakfast from a Chick-Fil-A around the corner! We were out of the NTB store – all paid and ready to go – by 7:45 and we were on our way. Our original goal was to get to Kansas City by Saturday night – to see my sister and her family. When we left Atlanta, we weren’t sure if we’d make it, but we did. It was a late night, but the little munchkin (my nephew) was still awake to greet us. We had a quick visit with my sister and hit the sack. It was a 14 hour day of driving and we were tired!

    Sunday, June 21 – Flickr Set

    We woke up early, eager to get back on the road. We had a long road ahead of us and we needed to get going. My brother in law (Ed) – treated us to a wonderful breakfast of pancakes (made with whole wheat flour and oatmeal – sort of healthy!), then a quick visit with an old friend of mine from my high school days (who happens to live a few blocks from my sister) and we were on our way by 9AM. We traveled through Iowa and on to South Dakota – stopping in Badlands National Park for the night.

    A $10 (so inexpensive!) camping fee and we were all set. We were struck not only by the beautiful scenery, but also by the lovely smell permeating the area. I can’t put my finger on it, but it was the most wonderful, fresh smell….maybe wildflowers? I wished I could bottle it up and bring it back to smog-ridden Atlanta.  Sunday was also our first experience in hunting for gas stations in rural South Dakota. We didn’t anticipate or plan on the area being so rural. At one point, we began to panic that we were going to run out of gas before we could find a station that was still open. Someone was watching out for us when we stumbled upon a small town with ONE functioning gas station on a slow Sunday afternoon. We were both very thankful to find that little gas station!

    Monday, June 22 – Flickr Set

    After waking up early in Badlands National Park, we took the loop road through the remainder of the park and back to I-90. We gave into the never-ending advertisements for Wall Drug and stopped in Wall, SD before getting back on the interstate. I must say that even though it’s a “tourist-trap” – we were glad we stopped there. We had breakfast, some of their advertised $.05 coffee and each took a homemade donut to go – I must say that Meche’s donuts in Lafayette still take the cake for the best donuts ever, even better than Krispy Kreme. Seriously, you MUST try them if you’re ever in Lafayette, LA.

    We finally hit the highway at around 10:00 AM and decided to forego visiting Mount Rushmore – it was too far off the interstate and we’d frittered away too much time at Wall Drug. We had to get to Montana tonight! We arrived at our final destination just before sunset – and after a quick stop at the Bozeman Wal-Mart for some supplies we needed. We were both struck by the cool air in Montana – it wasn’t nearly that cool in South Dakota – it was much warmer! It was at this point that I learned that my husband didn’t pack a SINGLE pair of long pants for the trip. Not a one! I was stunned. I had a few pairs of capri’s and 1-2 pair of long pants, but nothing really warm. The temp was in the 40’s (I estimate) and that’s cold for a girl born & raised in South Louisiana!

    After arriving at the home of Joel’s aunt, I gave up my navigator post in the passenger seat to his uncle, who was going to direct us on how/where to park. The path took our poor truck and trailer up a neighboring golf course and around the back of their house – backing up the driveway was impossible because of the long, winding path. Thank goodness I was distracted and didn’t have to see the entire episode, but Joel did admit that if he’d stopped to think what he was doing, he probably would have worried much more than he did. Thank goodness everything turned out okay! We visited for a while with the family and said goodnight – returning to our camper parked in the driveway. Our home away from home for the next 4 nights.

    …to be continued….

  • 15Jul
    Categories: baking, cooking Comments: 0

    I love to bake – and my co-workers love it when I bake for them. I was even nominated as the “resident baker” for our division. I quickly dismissed that title – too much pressure and I can’t be baking very often. Especially since I’m working out and trying to REDUCE the size of my ASSets instead of increase the size of them (if ya know what I mean).

    Anyway, an old friend from work is in town from overseas. He doesn’t get back to the U.S. often and every time he does, I promise to bake him cookie crack – his favorite of my baked treats. Since we had leftovers for dinner tonight and I was off the hook in terms of cooking tonight, I rustled through the pantry and whipped up a batch of cookie crack for him to pick up tomorrow when he meets us for lunch.

    cookie crack - post baking

    While I was rummaging around in the pantry, I grabbed a box of brownie mix (every well stocked pantry should contain a least 1 box of brownie mix at all times, a must!) and started improvising. I had some peanut butter that needed to be finished off and about a 1/2 cup of leftover chocolate chips from the cookie crack. I mixed the chips in with the brownie mix, poured it into the baking dish and dolloped the peanut butter on top of the batter, then swirled it in with a knife and voila! Doctored up box brownies – you don’t have to tell – for all they know, they are made from scratch 🙂

    chocolate chip peanut butter brownies

    A few notes on the cookie crack:

    • Also, I usually substitute the butterscotch chips for peanut butter chips. They aren’t as sweet, which means you can eat more of the crack before making yourself sick.  A good deal in my book. All I had in the pantry tonight were butterscotch chips, so that’s what I used. I don’t think many people will complain.

    I’ll let you know how the peanut butter/chocolate chip brownies turn out. They were an interesting experiment and I’m curious to taste them. Just a small nibble though – I’m trying to watch what I eat.
    Speaking of eating – I kept coming up with ways to sabotage myself today in terms of diet. I would dream of places I wanted to go for meals: Ippolito’s for their amazing garlic rolls, lasagna and tiramisu; Five Guys for a burger; Outback for a steak…the list goes on. I suppose I figured since I wanted to sabotage myself, I should take the rest of the office down with me. I still have to talk myself out of making homemade ice cream this weekend though. That will be a tough one 🙂

  • 13Jul

    I am sad to report that my no shampoo experiment ended earlier than expected. I couldn’t take the greasiness anymore and decided to end the experiment about 3 weeks in. I had a wonderful, sudsy reunion with my shampoo and all is right with the world.

    However, I will say that I no longer wash my hair every single day – it’s just not necessary now that my hair has “detoxed” from the shampoo a bit. I wash every 2 or 3 days. Despite my failed attempts to find a “natural” liquid shampoo that didn’t have a bunch of chemicals that I couldn’t pronounce, I started to research other alternatives.

    Lucky for me, I found this shampoo bar in Wall Drug on a recent road trip (more to come on that in a later post) and I’ve been happy as a clam. I picked up another shampoo bar at Whole Foods last night that I plan to try out. I also have scouted out some handmade shampoo bars online that I will give a spin and report back to you in terms of my experience.

    I really like the shampoo bars – no funky chemicals and it gets my hair clean, doesn’t leave it feeling greasy and doesn’t require me to use conditioner (which is UNHEARD OF, I tell ya!). I haven’t seen a dramatic increase in the body of my hair, but it does feel very healthy.

    I did notice a huge change after I stopped highlighting my hair a few years ago, accepting that even though I was a blond as a young child, I’d long since grown out of that stage of my youth. Besides, my husband is a natural blond and I can live vicariously through him, right? I am now a happy brunette – my hair looks healthy and vibrant and I get many more compliments on my brown eyes now that I have the hair to match 🙂 My only complaint are a few gray hairs, but I’m learning to live with them for now.

    If you’ve been coloring your hair and dousing it with chemical laden shampoo, I urge you to take the plunge. Go all natural – stop coloring your hair. If you are spending time and money shopping for organic foods, then why are you slathering chemicals so close to one of your body’s most important organs (your brain) and allowing it to permeate through your skin (your body’s largest organ)? I’ve also saved quite a bit of money since simplifying my hair routine and I’ve never been happier. Go ahead, try it!

  • 01Jun

    Just after booting up my computer this morning and getting settled reading my email, I started hearing strange noises. It sounded like snapping and crackling – my boss yelled over to me “What are you up to over there?!?!” and it was then I noticed that there was smoke – yes SMOKE – coming from the surge protector on my desk. So I screamed out “I don’t know, but there’s smoke coming from my surge protector!” My immediate response was to pop my laptop out of its docking station – a true geek at heart – looking to protect the equipment before being concerned with my own safety.

    Then co-workers started gathering around my desk – yelling things like “Unplug it!” and “Give me a wooden bat?!?!” (not many knew what he was referring to here….), but I got it. He was looking for a non-conductive tool to use to unplug the surge protector. Lucky for me, I have a small wooden paddle – shaped like a canoe paddle – that I received as a “trophy” for winning a kayak race a few years ago. I handed it to my brave co-worker and he unplugged the surge protector. When it was all said and done, there was an acrid smell lingering and we noticed plenty of soot on the surface of my desk. There were four workstations affected by this electrical incident – all but one protected by a surge protector. I’m happy to report that all computers and related equpiment plugged into a surge protector survived the incident in tact. The lonely PC that was not lucky enough to be plugged into a surge protector met its demise.

    What an exciting way to start the week! Lesson of the day – surge protectors DO work. Be sure to use one with your important electronic equipment 🙂

    Till next time –

  • 24May

    My journey into the world of “no ‘poo” has been varied. Some days I think it’s going to work and then the next day, I’m feeling defeated again, <sigh>.

    Today is not a good day. I think I fiddled with my hair too much this morning before church – trying to hide the oily mess.  We’ll get to that in a second. First, I wanted to share this article with you: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-394226/Could-survive-shampoo.html

    I found it while googling “No Shampoo” – it’s about five women from the UK who were challenged to go without shampoo for 6 weeks. They gave their feedback and I can identify with many of them. They were embarrassed to leave their house because of their hair. This is something that I struggle with – I don’t want people to think I’m dirty or yucky because my hair looks so bad. I don’t consider myself a vain person or someone who values their appearance terribly. I struggle with acne and I have for years. I’ve had to suck it up and learn to accept my imperfect skin – I thought I could handle oily hair for a few weeks. Frankly, I’m surprised that I don’t want to leave the house for fear of how others may perceive me because of my oily hair. I simply can’t explain it. Why can’t my hair look like this? She doesn’t use shampoo – what’s wrong with my hair? Is it the humid weather we’ve had lately? Is it my wonderful, womanly hormones wreaking havoc on my hair? I wish I could figure this out more quickly.

    I struggle every time I am in the shower to not grab the shampoo bottle and have a wild, wonderful, sudsy reunion with my long, lost friend. I am trying to give this an honest attempt. That’s the only thing going for me right now.

    In the meantime, I have learned a few things:

    First – I don’t have to do the baking soda & ACV rinse every day. I experimented with waiting a day in between the BS/ ACV rinse and just washed my hair out with plain water. I was encouraged – I usually am – until my hair starts to dry and I realize that there are parts that still appear wet (i.e. oily) even though my hair is dry. It’s like a mini-emotional roller coaster every day. I hope I get smarter about this and stop trying to trick myself everyday – I get so excited only to be let down a few minutes later when my hair is dry, but still looks wet because it’s oily. UGH. So now I try to skip a day in between the BS / ACV “wash” – too much BS and it will trigger my hair to continue overproducing oil, so I am experimenting with cutting back to see how that goes. I’ll keep you posted.

    Second – I learned not to do a straight BS rinse with no follow up on an acid wash. I tried just the BS portion yesterday without the ACV rinse to see if that would do the trick. That little experiment resulted in oily roots with dry tips/ends of my hair. So very frustrating!

    Third – Too much corn starch will result in very gray-looking hair. Like someone who is in a play who is portraying an old person – I look like an AARP member. Lesson learned: You can always add more, it sucks to have to try to comb out or adjust for adding TOO much.

    Fourth – I may not have to put up with the awful smell of ACV – some folks on the “No ‘Poo” forum on Live Journal have shared their no ‘poo wisdom with me. It appears as though tea (any type of tea should work, I shall try experimenting!) will provide enough acid to give me some conditioning power without the yucky smell and since I have such fine/limp and oily hair, this may be a better solution for me instead of ACV. Off to dig in the pantry for some tea. This should be fun!

    And now, for some pictures for your entertainment. I know you’ve been looking forward to these for days now 🙂

    This was my hair post-workout and a greasy, nasty mess. The first is still with the ponytail holder. The second has the rubber band removed, but I am horrified as to how my hair stayed put (relatively) in a ponytail! YUCK!

    These were taken on Thursday after my workout. I was sweaty and just all around yucky. I was about to hop in the shower and I had the hubs take these pictures. I hadn’t washed since Wed morning at this point.

    The ponty tail:

    Post pony removal:

    Yucky, oily mess!

    From the back:

    These pics were taken today (Sunday) – before church. Pardon the facial expressions and yellow cast to the pictures. The pictures were taken for documentation purposes. I know my photography (and Photoshop) skills could use some help. I don’t have time to mess around with the pictures too much other than re-sizing them and cropping them. I haven’t mastered color correction yet. The bathroom is yellow with incandescent light and I’m shooting into a mirror with no flash. It’s a lighting nightmare, so cut me some slack!

    My first attempt at french-braiding my own hair. I felt like one of those women from Warren Jeff’s cult in Texas. Have you seen their funky hair styles? All I needed was one of their early 1900’s style dresses to go along with my hairstyle. I had to take this out before going into public. I just couldn’t stand it.

    I will keep playing around with it. Thoughts on my first attempt at french braiding? I didn’t think it looked like a braid – more like a “creative” interpretation of a french braid. I think my skills need some more work. It’s tough to french braid your own hair!

    I ended up with a ponytail for church. Then I threw it up in a clip for my afternoon jaunt to lunch and then to the coffee shop with the hubs to plan our trip out west in a month.

    Front View:

    From the back:

    I still feel like a dirty, oily, stinky hippie girl. Even though my husband has assured me that my hair doesn’t stink. I still feel dirty and just yucky. This better get better soon because this sucks! I am trying to stick it out – I really am! I don’t even know why I’m still sticking with it – everyone keeps asking me “Why are you doing this?” and I have yet to find a compelling answer except that my older sister is getting a kick out of hearing my stories.

  • 24May
    Categories: Gardening Comments: 1

    I posted earlier about the community garden that I am so happy to be a part of. My plants have been in the ground a little over a week and a half and they are doing so well. Full sun makes so much of a difference! Now seeing the progress, I am convinced that last year’s backyard garden here at home was really too shady to produce a good number of veggies. Since we have rain barrels at home now (I know, I need to write up a post about those…), I take full advantage of those and bring the water to my garden plot from home. Rain water is rumored to be much better for watering veggie gardens than tap water, so I am trying to take advantage of the wonderful resource I have access to. I keep our our collapsible water jug from our tent-camping days in the trunk of my car with my cute little watering can. I stop in each day to water my plot – so far, it’s working really well! Here’s a pic on my watering setup:

    I am experimenting with a make-shift drip irrigation system using plastic water bottles. My brother in law gave me the idea and I currently have one installed on a zuke plant to see how it works. This little plant looks sad because he was “forgotten” when I did my initial planting. I found it a few days ago near the driveway – where the plants were staged before being taken out to the garden. He fell off to the side and was hiding from me. I hope the addition of my “drip irrigation system” perks him up a bit. I still have hope for him. I accidentally performed a root-ectomy on another plant (a squash plant) during my initial planting session. I plan to plant a few seeds and get a late started summer squash out of the area of that plot.  Here’s my “drip irrigation” system in action with my poor little struggling zuke

    Here’s a few pictures of my beans. They are about 2 inches tall and they are taking off! I am so excited. I love green beans, so I can’t wait to harvest some of these yummy veggies!

    And finally – here is a picture of my entire plot. My little slice of paradise 🙂

  • 20May

    I have a secret. I haven’t washed my hair with shampoo and conditioner since last Friday. There – I said it.

    I feel like a stinky hippie, with a secret. I really do. I still shave my armpits though and I wear deodorant, so I guess I’m not the “complete stinky, dirty hippie”.  I think my husband would have a problem if I stopped shaving and wearing deodorant. I think that’s a deal-breaker for him and I’m not complaining. It would be a deal-breaker for me if he stopped brushing his teeth and wearing deodorant. There’s just something about bad personal hygiene that is just so…um, unattractive.

    The no ‘poo experience hasn’t been all fun and wonder – every day, I consider giving in and going back to shampoo. With encouragement from a friend, I am going to stick with it. My sister has been encouraging me to document my experience, I’m sure so she can laugh her butt off while I make a fool of myself. I am very good at that – and she’s good at exploiting my talent at making a fool out of myself 🙂 So, here goes….for your entertainment – complete with pictures too!

    Back to this ‘poo detox – I’ve read that it can take 2 to 8 weeks to “detox” your hair from the shampoo, so I’m giving it more time. My husband has assured me that my hair doesn’t stink. I believe him….for now.

    Detox from shampoo?!?!? Are you kidding? No, this is completely true (from what I’ve read on the internet and we all know that everything you read on the internet is true!) Supposedly, the shampoo strips your hair of the natural oils that should be present in your hair & scalp. Because of this, washing with shampoo will actually cause your hair to produce more oil than it normally would. Okay, makes sense – hopefully the ‘poo detox will be the worst part of this experiment.

    So, the process of “no ‘poo” as it’s called is the following: First, you dissolve 1 TB in a cup of water and massage that into your scalp. Leave that on for a minute, then rinse. Next, you mix 1 TB of apple cider vinegar (ACV) with a cup of water and apply that to the ends of your hair. Leave the ACV mixture on for a minute, then rinse clean. I loathe the smell of vinegar, so this last step is difficult. I detest the idea of smelling like salad dressing (I HATE salad dressing by the way – because of vinegar) even more than I loathe the smell of the vinegar. From my observation, I don’t smell like salad dressing all day, just during the application and rising of the ACV.

    Provided that I find peace with the no ‘poo plan, I hope to add essential oil the ACV mixture to mask the vinegar scent, but in the meantime I have to figure out if this is going to work, so I’m bearing with the vinegar smell for now….ugh 🙁

    Sunday morning was my first experience with this new process. I felt like my hair was clean, but not oily. I was happy and convinced that the no ‘poo life was going to be glorious. I was going to love this – the best thing I ever did, why did I wait so long….you know the story… Monday morning after my workout,  I did the baking soda and ACV vinegar rinse. It was a bit oily, but I chalked it up to still working out the bugs in my method. I threw my hair back in a professional looking barette and skipped off to work.  I work in a professional dress atmosphere – I can’t go to work looking like a stinky, oily hippie girl, so I try to look presentable. Tuesday was a little oilier – this was to be expected I supposed. It will get better. ‘Poo detox, I can take this. It will get better, right?

    Tuesday I resorted to a pontyail – a nice, low ponytail that looked somewhat presentable. I also experimented with the method on Monday and Tuesday, so that was more reason why my hair was oily on those days, just give me a few days to get this method down and I’ll be ‘poo free for life!

    Not so fast, stinky hippie girl – this morning (Wednesday), I went back to the method I used on Sunday, thinking that would curb the oiliness. I also cut down on the ACV mixture – making sure to only apply it to the ends of my hair – all things I read in the “do this if you find your hair is too oily” instructions on the various blogs I’ve read about the no ‘poo method. This morning, my hair was still oily, so I resorted to corn starch – the last resort for those with too oily hair going through ‘poo detox. The corn starch had the lovely effect of giving me a bit of a more gray tint than I liked. While I found this amusing, I didn’t really want to go to work looking 20 years older than I am, so I combed it through my hair to work out most of the corn starch until the gray faded. I also tried not to brush it too much – supposedly using a comb vs. a hair brush helps with the oil production.

    After fiddling with it for a while, I gave up and threw it up in a clip a la french twist method and skipped out the door to work. I actually got a compliment from a co-worker (who has no clue about my little no ‘poo experiment – she would be HORRIFIED if she knew what I was up to, trust me). I responded with “Really – it doesn’t look too oily?” She responded with “No, not at all” – the crappy part is that if my hair is down, then it does look heavy and oily, so I have to keep it up and masked from its oiliness.

    Here are pictures of my hair in a ponytail tonight:

    …and another with my hair down.

    I suppose that it doesn’t look too terrible from the pictures? Comments?

    However, I can feel that it’s heavy and oily. I hate that feeling. It’s nearly driving me back to shampoo.  I suppose in the weeks following, I will probably come up with more creative ways to mask my oily hair while it’s going through ‘poo detox. I’m sure I could use a lesson or two in creative hair styles and I know I need to go exploring the “hair accessory” aisle in my local stores to get some ideas and accessories. I just hope I start to see a positive difference in a week or two. If not, I may go back to ‘poo and never look back.

    I will say that I am surprised that my hair is not tangled at all! I have terrbily fine hair that tangles if you look at it sideways. I thought that this method would be hellish in terms of tangles. My hair is less tangly than it is with shampoo and conditioner. Perhaps it’s the oil?

    I’ll keep you posted on the progess. For now, I’m off to do some more research on this no ‘poo method. I think there’s still more for me to learn.

  • 18May

    There’s so much to post – where to begin? Let’s begin with an exciting new development in my world – a community garden! I’ve been hoping and praying for a community garden in our area and low and behold, one appeared! A few weeks ago as we were driving down the major highway near our home, Joel spotted a sign in front of a nearby church that read “HUGE Community Garden! Inquire within, 9-1 Mon-Thurs” I nearly drove off the road at that point. I made a mental note to inquire the next day to get more details.

    To make a long story short, the church had a large donation of topsoil and decided to open their large community garden up to the rest of the nearby community. After a few weeks of waiting for the soil to dry out (they needed to get large earth-moving equipment in there to move the dirt around), we finally divided the garden into plots and got some plants in the ground!

    In the meantime, I made a new friend. The garden’s organizer, Lyn, gave me these wildflowers the first time we met – at the garden to divide up the area into plots for the rest of the gardeners. The flowers were picked from the field next to the garden and in a plastic water bottle, but I was struck by her thoughtfulness. In the few days we’ve known one another, we’ve discovered many common interests and I hope that this is the beginning to a lasting friendship.

    Joel and I attended service at the church on Sunday for the blessing of the garden. As part of the agreement for the garden, we have agreed to give a portion of our harvest to charity. I have identified a local foodbank where I hope to bring fresh veggies. I hope that our donations go to a family who needs the nutrition and nourishment. Even though my plants have only been in the ground less than a week at this point, this little 10 x 10 square foot area of soil has already brought me much peace and joy. I thank Christ UMC Church for opening their garden to the surrounding community. Lyn and I have started a blog for all of the gardeners to share their stories, tips and challenges. Check out the community garden blog at http://www.christumcgarden.blogspot.com

    More to come on the garden as the plants take root and the veggies start flowing! The garden is in full sun, which is a blessing for us since we have a heavily shaded yard. However, we do have plenty of blackberries on the vines we planted last year. I can’t wait for them to ripen so I can taste a few!

  • 19Aug

    It’s been a while since I posted last. Since then, Joel has celebrated his 37th birthday and as tradition goes in our house, we bake a homemade birthday cake for every birthday. He’s been bugging me to make a jello cake. Here he is licking the frosting bowl after I was done frosting the cakes 🙂

    And the “finished” jello cake (he picked orange and strawberry jello flavors). I made two cakes because we were going to a church picnic and I wanted to be sure we had plenty. We ended up taking almost all of it home – as usual, there was an abundance of desserts….

    Late last week, my mom came to visit. It’s been almost a year since she’s come to GA to see us. It’s been a great visit so far. On Saturday, we took her to Fry’s Electronics – a HUGE electronics store that sells anything you can plug in – from home appliances to circuit boards. It’s amazing. We bought her a GPS, which is what she’d requested for her birthday gift. This was my first experience with buying a GPS and I must say that after playing with hers, I want one now 🙂 We bought her a Garmin StreetPilot c580 and it’s a wonderful little toy! Imay have to ask for one for my birthday…

    On Sunday, we took her out on the Chattahoochee River for a few hours of kayaking. We rented a sit on top kayak for a little extra security – they are much more stable than the “sit-in” kayaks and beginners are usually less nervous about getting trapped if they happen to turn over (which really isn’t an issue on the “sit-in” kayaks, but I was all about making her feel comfortable…) I was really proud of my mom -she was a real trooper! As we approached the first obstacle on the river, which was a small ledge, about a 1-2 foot drop, her eyes got really big and she asked “What is THAT”? I advised her that even though it sounded like a waterfall, I promised that it wasn’t – it sounded much worse than it actually was – she came through with no issues and even exclaimed “That was fun!” once she was clear of the rocks.

    My mom will be here for a few more days. We plan to turn one of the extra rooms in the house into a “man cave” for Joel where he can go to read, watch TV or just to get away from everyone else. I hope to post pictures of the completed room next week after we’ve had the weekend to work on the room. We’re finally done picking a paint color, so now the REAL work begins!

    Until next ime…


  • 07Aug

    Last weekend, I was honored to be invited by my friend (Colleen) to her mother’s house in Blue Ridge, GA for a weekend of sewing. I love to sew – I discovered this about 7 years ago. I found that after work, watching TV just wasn’t fulfilling enough for me, so I researched and found some sewing lessons in my area. Soon after starting classes, I bought a machine and the rest is history!

    I don’t get to sew nearly as much as I would like, mainly because my craft room is always in some state of disaray. Crafting is a messy process and since I’m not the best at cleaning up after myself (my mom spoiled me when I was a kid) combined with the fact that I’m usually so happy that I finished something that I run off to show my husband, the craft room rarely gets organized.

    However when I go to someone else’s house, I can’t leave a mess when I’m done and they will have plenty of space to trace off patterns, cut out fabric and sew. Ironically, I get some of my best sewing done outside of my own craft room. I’d planned to drive up early on Saturday morning or even late Friday night, but after hearing that the cabin is at the top of a mountain with no streetlights, I opted for a morning departure. Saturday morning, I slept in (which is unusual for me) and left a little after lunch. But not before my husband and I enjoyed a wonderful breakfast together at J. Christopher’s – our favorite breakfast place! Even though the Waffle House is headquartered here in Atlanta, J. Christopher’s still takes the prize for best breakfast in my book – plus they are much healthier than WH.

    The house in Blue Ridge was much nicer than I’d anticipated – complete with mountain views from the sewing area and my bedroom had french doors that opened up to a wide porch with a HUGE rocking chair – the porch also had a fantastic view of the mountains. It was truly wonderful.

    I was also delighted to meet Colleen’s brother, Brent – who just discovered sewing and was working on a stuffed monkey named “Magoo”.

    I got started on this Jalie top – a pattern I’d seen my friend, Rena wear and just fell in love with. It didn’t take me long to whip this little version up on my serger.

    I made it to wear under my business suits at the office – it’s the perfect top! I also whipped it up in a beautiful blue/green/grey color with long sleeves and currently have the long sleeve version cut out in black knit. I can’t wait to sew that one up too!

    I also traced off some other patterns for t-shirts that I hope to whip up when my mom comes to visit next week. We share a love of sewing, so I can’t wait for her to get here and get me motivated to sew some more!

    For now, enjoy the beautiful views of North Georgia and stay tuned, I have LOTS more to post!

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