19 April 2012


It has been hard to blog the last couple of months!

I mean, when you have a new niece to drop by and hold...

Spring baseball practice for an excited little boy...

And all the extra spring events and trips that come with church and school!

Plus, to be honest, every time I get near a computer right now, I don't want to blog. I want to look at houses. Triangle Home Finder, Zillow, and Zip are my new best friends! That's because we're supposed to close on our house at the end of June.

So it's find a house or pitch a tent in someone's backyard. Or maybe a pop-up camper. You know, it IS warm in June....

No, really. I'm not worried. Excited, but not worried! I'm excited to see what God has in store.

But even still....

I hope that in a couple months I won't be blogging about squatter's rights. Or which air mattresses are most comfortable.

No, I hope to be blogging about something nice and boring like.... paint colors.

NOT pop-up campers.

A Day at Legoland

What better place to take two lego-lovin' little boys than... Legoland?!

We weren't sure what to expect since the only reviews we'd gotten were from TripAdvisor. (Love TripAdvisor! And I have to say most of the reviews were right on.)

It was unlike any amusement park I've ever visited. I guess theme park really is the best description. It does not have huge, scary rides and would not appeal to most teenagers (unless they absolutely love legos). As a mom, I LOVED the fact that it does not appeal to teenagers. That meant that the park was full of FAMILIES, not teenagers making out in line. It also means that the music playing on the speakers is kiddie music, not the latest rock song. I am officially (and proudly, I might add) an old fuddy-duddy mom!

My kids absolutely loved the park and were amazed by all the Lego statues and, especially, Miniland - an area that contains lego replicas of several cities AND a pirate harbor. Even I was impressed! They were both very proud of the fact that they rode the roller coasters, too! The shows were really cute for kids, as well. The pirate show includes a water show on the lake, and the kids thought the 4D racing show was a lot of fun.

If you ever consider going, check out the Mousesavers website for ticket deals. And make sure you plan to stop by the Big Shop on the way out. My boys thought they were in Lego Paradise!

Loved this idea at the restaurant! A Lego buffet for the kids to play around while the parents finish eating!

In case you can't tell, Addie is WAVING at Darth Vader. Daniel got very tickled over that one!

We had to drag the boys out of Miniland!

Thomas participating in the Ford Driving School. We got a kick out of watching all those little kids waving each other on at stop signs and almost rear-end each other! After he watched an instructional video and drove the course, he got his driver's license. :)

09 April 2012

So Far in April....

We have had the best month so far!

A trip to Florida...

Stopping in to see good friends...

A nice visit with Travis's Grandpa...

Legoland (which deserves a post of its own)...

And a new little niece!

Here's a picture story of what we've done so far.

the Huff and Moots kids

So glad I got to see Kim! She and Jeff gave us the tour of Hope Children's Home.

We celebrated with cake and ice cream on Grandpa's 82nd birthday. I chose this particular picture of him because it captures his personality so well (sarcastically saying something about my camera and me reminding him of his daughter-in-law!).

This little stinker jumped in the picture at the last second. She is a camera hog!

At Jungle Gardens in Sarasota

Addie meets Aubrey

29 March 2012

A baby and bagel dip

Several weeks ago, my mom and I hosted a baby shower for my sister Kelly.

We are VERY excited about all the pink things that are entering her life.

And we were also excited that her mother-in-law Sharon (who lives very far away) could share in the excitement over all the little pink things.

Kelly and I were also very excited about the Cranberry-Citrus Spread my mom made for the shower. This particular spread holds some sentimental value to Kelly - mom got the recipe after she tasted this DELICIOUS dip at the wedding of Kelly's high school friend, Elizabeth. But it's really good even if it doesn't hold a special memory for you personally. My mother served it with crackers, which was good, but it would be EXTRA good on a bagel. Even my kids loved it! So here's some food for thought....

Cranberry-Citrus Spread
1 block cream cheese
1/2 C chopped pecans
1/2 C dried cranberries
1/4 C frozen concentrate orange juice

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Then add other ingredients. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

This would also make a good snack while waiting on a baby at the hospital. I should probably keep some in the fridge just in case!

04 March 2012


I didn't used to like Sundays.

Things to do at church, dinner to be made, choir practice, and lesson plans and papers to grade.

Sundays involved so much... work. And, the Lord knows, I could have a hard time putting work down. Even at one of my summer jobs in college, one of my higher-ups would tell me after most others had left the office, "Go home! It'll be here tomorrow!" Chuck's words still come back to me at times - especially when I'm so tired and I stand in the dark kitchen staring at the crumbs on the floor! (If I can see them in the dark, then I must need to sweep them NOW!)

It will be here tomorrow.

Well, not that any Sunday is perfect. It doesn't have to be. But during my last year or two of teaching, God convicted me of saving my schoolwork until Sundays. Bringing home schoolwork and purposely putting it off until Sunday afternoon had become the norm. And because of that, I had begun to resent Sundays.

Wouldn't you?

So I had to do things differently. It required planning a little better. But in doing so, the Lord gave me freedom to enjoy my Sunday afternoon with my family.

He also has given me freedom to worship Him with other believers. Freedom doesn't mean that I do whatever I feel like doing. It means realizing that true joy and freedom stem from obeying God. And that means devoting time on His Day to worship Him with other believers.

He has also given me freedom to lay aside my fleshly cares and worries. This is probably the area that is most difficult, because it involves such mental discipline - at least for me! If I will choose to think on the words I'm singing, and think on WHO I'm singing about, how can I do anything but worship? If I will choose to stop and listen to the sermon, and to be sensitive to listen to His Spirit, rather than thinking about my list of to-do's - it is then that I can experience the freedom to worship Him in spirit and in truth. It's an inward focus that praises Him for WHO HE IS and, as a result, longs for the "mind of Christ." Because ALL is focused on Him.

I, like so many other women, and like that woman long ago, tend to be "cumbered about with much serving" - all those things I need to do. But I have to choose that one thing that is "needful." Worshiping Jesus. He offers me such freedom if I will choose to take it!

Take the freedom of the Lord's Day. Trust Him to take care of the details.

All those other things will be there tomorrow.

02 February 2012


If you read my last post, then you know what visited our house last weekend.

And if' you've seen me this week, then you know that I got it.

And if you're a make-up wearing woman who's ever had it, you know what tragedy ensues.

The Great Makeup Dump.


But then a friend reminded me this is a great excuse to go buy BRAND NEW makeup. It's all in your perspective, right? So I made my trip to Walgreens today, and was very pleased to find this:

I LOVE this mascara! I thought I was buying this the last time I bought mascara, but I was sorely disappointed to find that what I bought was VERY waterproof mascara. I hate VERY waterproof mascara. THIS, my friends, is "washable waterproof mascara." Love it! And I love the wand. It's all in the wand.

Even though Estee Lauder is probably my very favorite mascara, I love this one almost as much. Enough that I was VERY excited when I found it again today! Estee Lauder is definitely not $20 better than this one.

So, needless to say, I came home from Walgreens a happy girl!

29 January 2012

It's Here

Whenever Bear and the Pillow Pet end up in a pile to be washed on the same day, that can only mean one thing...

GERMS! And lots of them.

Both boys have pink eyes and sore throats.

Fresh air, please!

Glad you two are getting along, but let's not get too chummy. Share crayons, not germs!

26 January 2012

Our Favorite Scones

If cereal bars and toast just aren't cutting it anymore at your house, give these scones a try. My family loves them! This is a good, basic recipe from AllRecipes (I think), and is a great base for different variations.

Stir together:
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sour cream

In a large bowl, mix:
4 C all-purpose flour
1 C white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt

With a pastry cutter,
Cut in 1 Cup butter (unsalted is best; if you use salted, cut salt back to 1/2 tsp.)

Dig out a hole in the middle of the flour, and add:
1 egg
Sour cream mixture

Fold mixture into flour until just moistened. Do not overmix.

Fold 1 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips. Again, do not overmix. (Like biscuits, the more you handle them, the harder they are!)

Turn out dough ball onto floured surface and pat into a circle, about 1/2 in. thick. Cut into 8-12 triangles. Bake at 350 for 13 - 16 minutes.

Variations: I usually divide my dough in half and do choc. chips for the guys, and blueberry Craisins for Addie and me. Other good variations are cinnamon raisin and choc. chip / cherry Craisins. Be sure to use dried fruit so they're not soggy!

23 January 2012


When my parents applied for their passports a couple years ago, my dad happened to show me his original birth certificate. The old Virginia birth certificates asked the mother and father to list their occupations. It caught my attention that my grandmother had written homemaker. It would have made just as much sense to write housewife, mother (after all, this was her 8th child!) or even none. But she chose to write homemaker.

In the last several years, when filling in that question on forms, I've written things like none, stay-at-home wife and mother, and PT school librarian. I'm never quite sure what to write! To be completely truthful, when I used to be able to write "HS English teacher," I took pleasure in the fact that people often acted interested in that description. But, it seems, "stay-at-home wife and mother" sounds a little... typical... boring... unambitious. So, while I strive to tell the truth, I always hesitate what to write. It also doesn't help that "occupation" sounds like something you get paid to do.

But, in actuality, Merriam-Webster defines "occupation" as "1. an activity in which one engages, 2. the principal business of one's life." And as any wife and/or mother who is at home most of the day will tell you, the "principal business," the thing that makes us most busy, is caring for the family's needs.

Those needs include everything from making sure everyone is fed, everyone has clothes to wear (ones that fit and ones that are clean), to being the main supervisor and caretaker of the children, to being my husband's personal home secretary - that means dealing with insurance or other business issues, making appointments, acting as the official "purchasing agent," and running errands that he asks me to do - and several other things in between. For the record, I list these without any resentment! I'm truly happy that I can help him and care for the kids!

So back to the "homemaker" label. Despite the fact that "homemaker" sounds right out of the 1940's, I think my grandmother had it right. More than that, though, doing the work of a "homemaker" is biblical.

"That they [the older women] may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home [homemakers], good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." (Titus 2:4-5). So, whether or not employment enters the picture, "homemaker" must be part of my description. God gives me the responsibility (which may or may not include some delegation) of making and keeping a home for my family. But, ultimately, the responsibility for seeing there is a home made lies with me.

Because of the stage of life we're in, we've chosen to make homemaking my primary "occupation" for now. Now, I do hope there will be a day when I can again write "teacher" in the occupation box. But at this "season" in my life, I think the next time I'm asked, I'll write, like my grandmother, "homemaker." And I'll do it with thankfulness and satisfaction.

06 January 2012

Lessons from my Papaw

My papaw turns 91 this month. So I guess it just seemed right to write out a few lessons that I've learned from him. Especially since I plan on sending several months-worth of this blog to my Grandma for some winter-reading. I think he'd enjoy hearing some of his stories retold by his granddaughter.

Do what's right, even when it's hard. Many times I've heard my papaw tell of working as an electrician in the coal mines during the 1950's and 60's. Conditions were bad, and many men seemed to have lost hope that they would ever improve. Cave-ins were not uncommon - one happened at the mine while papaw was home on lunch break. He was used to seeing men working with rocks falling onto their shoulders - and they simply trudged on - hopeless that it would get better. It was no way to live. In his early forties, Papaw decided to move his family from the mountains to the D.C. area. He left a close-knit family and a home that was paid for, and moved his family to a one-bedroom apartment while he worked as a janitor. It wasn't easy, but God blessed his desire to do right for his family. He eventually found a job as an electrician and God enabled him to make a good living.

God has allowed everyone to have strengths and weaknesses. Use your strengths and work on your weaknesses. Papaw has chuckled when he talks about the spelling bees and math games back in his Kentucky grade school days. He says he was one of the first ones out in the spelling bee, but usually the last one standing in the math game.

I'll never forget my sister and me finding a "Hooked on Phonics" book on my Grandma's bookshelf. Remember those commercials? Well, being the ten and eleven-year-olds that we were, we giggled and had some fun with that! Grandma overheard us and appeared from the kitchen. She told us very matter-of-factly, "That's your papaw's. He wants to read better so he can read the Bible better when he reads it in church." Talk about feeling only an inch high!

Reading was not his best subject, but numbers, on the other hand, he could do! I guess it was for that reason that the Army gave Papaw the job of setting the coordinates on the long-range guns they used during WWII. He tells of being woken out of dead sleep by the sirens, and hearing the coordinates being called out as he ran to the gun. And the stakes were high - if you got the coordinates wrong, you might be firing on your own men. But God gave him an ability to work with numbers and work with his hands. He used those abilities and did well.

Be duty-minded, but have compassion for others. When Papaw was stationed in Bora Bora in the Pacific during WWII, a boy in his company went AWOL. He apparently was found, or decided to return, and they met on the road as Papaw was getting ready to return to the States. This boy had enlisted the same time that Papaw did and should have been going home. But instead, he was being shipped to another island - an island, where we know now, there was an awful battle with many, many Americans killed. Papaw said when he turned to look at the boy once more, that boy was holding on to a tree crying his eyes out; he knew he had messed up and was probably terribly afraid. Papaw had fulfilled his duty and was given leave. But rather than talk about what a coward that boy was, he has always spoken of him compassionately - wondering into his old age if that boy ever made it back alive.

I'm so glad my papaw has shared these stories with me and the other grandchildren over the years. I have such good memories as a little girl of sitting on the bluegrass in his backyard while he told these stories from the picnic table; or in more recent years, sitting on the glider on the front porch while he reminisced of the war years.

If anything, it was worth writing this out so maybe my own children, especially my boys, will know their heritage. If they will grow up to possess these qualities, they will reap rewards in life, just as my Papaw has.