Category Archives: Uncategorized

Camping and Crafts and Fall

img_13641

I put Fall in the title but truth is that “Fall” hasn’t actually started yet.  I know it’s coming though, so I’ll be patient.  I was watching the weather the other day (I can be a complete weather nerd sometimes – I have a weather app FOLDER on my phone that I keep all my weather apps in..cause you can’t have too many, right?) and turns out we are actually predicted to have a WARMER than average winter… boo.  We were originally thinking colder than average with maybe lots of snow.  The top third of the nation is supposed to have a colder than average winter, the middle third a “wetter” than average winter, and the lower third a warmer one.  Oh well.  We still might get snow, it will probably just be in March.

A couple of weeks ago we went camping.  We had a great time.  Gage and LaLa drove up and Cady invited her boyfriend “Little Matt” to go as well.  We rented a cabin and also brought a big tent.  Milo has been wanting to camp in a tent and even though this girl DOES NOT tent camp, I did it for one night.

Processed with Snapseed.

It was actually kinda fun…temporarily.  The next night I was in the cabin on my queen sized blow-up mattress with my fluffy pillow and soft blankets.  That’s how I camp…

Processed with Snapseed.

The weather was perfect.  Warm afternoons and cold nights that were good for burrowing into sleeping bags and sitting around the fire.

img_13621

Milo in our tent with his toy camping equipment – pretend fire, lantern and smores.  

The next day we drove into the small town located about 20 minutes away to visit Efurd Orchard.  They have all sorts of homemade ice cream (made from their produce).  I think we had sweet potato ice cream, apple ice cream, pumpkin ice cream, blackberry ice cream  – we tried a ton of flavors.  We also found some fun gourds and jelly.

img_11581

biggest pickle ever? ha!

They make all of their own jams and jellies and dips and condiments.  We bought one called “Traffic Jam” and it is divine.  Just had some last night.

Gage and Alyssa had to leave a day early to get back for work and school but the rest of us stayed and hiked and fished and roasted marshmallows.  Fun fact – Cady is actually the ONLY person in our family that eats smores.  I will eat all the components separately, but I don’t like burnt marshmallows.  Anyway, she ate them for breakfast lunch and dinner.

camping10-16

After coming home from a long weekend camping I was happy to have the day off.  Milo and I took advantage of it by spending the day together and painting and decorating our pumpkins.

pumpkins

I entered them in my office pumpkin decorating contest and won second place.  So double WIN – hello amazon gift card.  I’m telling you, my company is the best.

We are coming up on Halloween quick and I *think* we are ready.  Milo has decided on his costume and we’ve got a few festivals/events lined up to attend.  That’s about it though.  I’m mostly looking forward to getting the presidential election over so I can REALLY look forward to the holidays and everything on social media will stop being so hateful!  Know what I mean?  Gage and Alyssa won’t be here for Thanksgiving this year so I made the executive decision to make reservations at a nice restaurant nearby.  I’m so thrilled about it!  I always spend way too much time and money on a meal that sometimes turns out to not be that great.  lol  We’ll still bake some fun desserts for snacking but I’m glad to have a plan in place for a RELAXING nice meal cooked and cleaned up by someone else!  That evening we’ll watch movies and then that weekend we have our first Christmas Play downtown.  Also… the Netflix Gilmore Girls premiers Thanksgiving weekend so I’m WAY looking forward to it!

Until next time, thanks for keeping up with us crazies!

img_13251

Merry Christmas Eve…Eve!

adventnativity

The eve of Christmas Eve!  Yes!  Right now I’m feeling the old saying “as slow as Christmas” does not apply.  Even though I have been intentional about stopping and taking time to enjoy the moments/days lately they still seem to zoom by!  I’m subscribing to the saying “time flies when you’re having fun“…

Anyway, here’s what we’ve been up to lately.

Carriage rides on cool nights around our town square…

carriageCollage

Visiting fire stations to donate toys for tots…

IMG_7947[1]

Attending Holiday concerts featuring the amazing and talented cellist, Cady!

concert

Creating salt dough ornaments with glitter…lots of glitter…  What can I say, ’tis the season for sparkling things!

IMG_8178[1]

IMG_7996

Candlelight dinners with our favorite Christmas records…

IMG_8107[1]

Classic Christmas movies and even better family conversations… (I love the look on the big kids’ faces…)

IMG_8068[1]

IMG_8072[1]

Visits with Santa…

IMG_8010[1]

Family movie nights to see THE MOVIE OF THE YEAR!!! (Star Wars…)

IMG_8147[1]

Fresh baked cookies and the games we are all addicted to – Fibbage and Drawful.

IMG_8151[1]

Challenges to create Lego nativities… I don’t know why Milo insists on Chewbacca being involved.

IMG_8056[1]

Our Christmastime puzzle… I think we broke a record this year… Matt and I (with a little help from the kids) finished this one in less than 24 hours!

puzzle

IMG_8177[1]

Making holiday gifts for friends & family… (the bigs made homemade granola and it was SO yummy!)

IMG_8171[1]

IMG_8174[1]

We are finishing up all the advent activities today and tomorrow.  For the first time in over a decade we won’t be having our “Asian Dinner” on Christmas Eve this year.  We’ll have it tonight.  Gage will be working late at church tomorrow night so going a day early will work better.

We’ll also spend time reading The Night before Christmas, continuing our streak of family game nights and welcoming more family and friends.  My heart is excited about church services tomorrow night with tiny candles and traditional carols – I always tear up.  Silent Night gets me every.single.time.  I’ve got big plans for a Christmas morning breakfast casserole and an even yummier baked ham dinner.  It will be an awesome time with family.

I hope your Christmas is full of beauty and peace… gratefulness and perspective.  And because I probably won’t check-in before, Happy New Year.  See you in 2016!

Merry Christmas!

A camping trip in the Ozarks!

ozark.quote

Hiking Goggins Mountain Trail

Last week Matt, Milo and myself headed out on a 7 state road trip – Gage and Cady were vacationing at a resort in the Dominican Republic so don’t feel bad that they missed out.  We’ve already decided we’ll be going back next year and they’ll for sure be in tow.  We knew by the end of the week we’d end up in Matt’s home state of Missouri for the 4th of July to visit family, but for the few days before we decided we’d do a little camping.  I’ve never camped in the Ozarks and Matt didn’t want to visit the Arkansas section (he has been there many times…) so after a bit of research I decided on the Mark Twain National Forest in the Missouri Ozarks.  We settled on Johnson’s Shut-in State Park and we were not disappointed.  Our cabin was fantastic.  We spent time rocking on the front porch, exploring the surrounding areas and grilling on the “patio”.

A porch perfect for playing cars and panting dogs.

A porch perfect for playing cars and panting dogs.

ozark6

And also rocking and having coffee.

ozark9

That view!

 

IMG_4535[1]

ozark4

There was a small pond outside our cabin as well.  Milo and Syd and I walked around exploring it and there were even a few people fishing in it on the first day we arrived.  You can barely see the cabins nestled in the woods along the sides.

*****

When we weren’t at the cabin we were out hiking!  Photos cannot capture the beauty of the area.

ozark1

Shut-ins Trail

Shut-ins Trail

 

Can you spot the Milo?

Can you spot the Milo? (Horseshoe Trail)

ozark7

Horseshoe Glade Trail

Goggins Mountain

Goggins Mountain Trail

We took a LOT of selfies...

We took a LOT of selfies…

And because we loved the actual “shut-ins” area, we went back there a couple times.

ozark11

ozark16

ozark13

Matt was obsessed with the perfectly clear chilly water.  I think he’d live in it if he could.

ozark8

All in all it was a beautiful place and perfect to spend a few days.  After leaving Mark Twain National Park we headed to SE Missouri to hang out with Matt’s family for a few days.  I’ll get a post up about that soon.

An Update on the Ghost novel…

After speaking with a few agents and getting similar feedback from a couple of them I’ve decided not to pursue publishing Ghosts that We Knew at this time….  I just can’t bring myself to change some of the things I love most about the story to make it more commercial (and I don’t want to go the self publishing route).  It was the first novel that I finished (note I did not say started… ha!) and I think there is something special about your first completed manuscript.  Most authors agree that the first novel they wrote is rarely published.  Most are dreadfully embarrassed by the writing, etc because let’s face it, we all get better with practice!  So for the sake of prosperity, I have decided to just publish several chapters here…if you’d like to read the rest of the story, I’m happy to send you a copy.  My plan is to put a chapter in once a week or so.  Meanwhile, I am still moving forward with the plan to secure representation and hopefully publish my second novel (The Healing Solution).  I am also well into writing my third novel (Robin’s Imperfect Nest).  I hope you enjoy the story!

Ghosts Cover