Thursday, December 22, 2011

catching up in five words or less

Big Grandma's broken leg
Loving on the Samoyeds
Girls, Grandmas, and Aunt Mel
Four Generations
Cute sisters = me and mine
Fun on warm December days
Ready for Caroling
Elf in various hiding spots
Lost front tooth
Beautiful and meaningful art
Works in progress

From my family to yours...Merry Christmas! xoANG

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Since we moved into our new house we have been enjoying the space we have. A laundry/sewing room, a school room/office, a family room...all wonderful. None of them finished...there is still lots of painting and stuff to do, but we are thoroughly enjoying every square inch of space. We are also enjoying the yard. There is so much space to run and play and garden and work. We didn't get any gardening done this year because we missed the planting season, but we have high hopes for next year. Behind our house at the back of our yard there are woods. Acres and acres of woods. We don't own the acres and acres, but we do own a nice little piece of it. Just enough of it, in fact, to make it mysterious and exciting. During the summer months we did not go back in the woods. There were lots of poison ivy, thorny bushes, and ticks. Oh, so many ticks. But once the weather turned cooler, the vegetation died off, and the ticks were gone we began to explore in the woods. We made paths, cleared out some downed trees, and the girls (with the help of Daddy) built some nice little stick forts. They found so many big branches to make the walls. They also found a couple of old plastic chairs to add to their forts. You never know when you may need to sit and whittle for a while. We also found some old, sun bleached, deer bones deeper in the woods, and believe it or not the girls weren't grossed out. Instead they gathered up as many as they could carry and used them as decorations. The large leg bones and the vertebrae pieces were the most coveted. I know. Bizarre. It's been raining here for a few days now and we haven't seen the sun, but I thought you might enjoy seeing the girls' forts. I whipped up few girly buntings while they were watching cartoons one day and sneaked down to the woods to hang them up. It's always more fun to do outdoorsy type things if they are a little girly!

Friday, November 11, 2011

for the love of art

all of today's pictures are courtesy of Creative Kismet
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be artistically talented? If you're like me you have. Oh sure, I can doodle a stick person here and scratch out a semi-recognizable animal there, but to really have that vision, that finished piece of art already mapped out in my head and then to also have the talent to get from blank canvas to completed work of art...uh, no.

Together - Art Print

I don't have that. Is it something you're born with? Maybe you can be born with incredible talent and it just lies dormant in your brain until by some miracle it's awakened.

I Will Help You Grow - 8.5 x11 ART PRINT

Maybe it's something that can be learned, or trained into your creative brain. I don't know. What I do know is that Regina of Creative Kismet is crazy talented. And super nice, by the way. We've emailed back and forth a few times and she has been nothing but sweet and generous. My girls actually think I'm famous now because she's my blogland friend...and after all she was on TV with Martha Stewart. So by default, that makes me famous...right? Anyway, I have loved her artwork since I found her blog a couple of years ago.

Find Your Sparkle - ART print by Regina Lord

I'd love to have her art all over my house. Her mixed media art, her color palette, her style. I love it all. Here are a few of my favorite pieces that she has for sale in her shop.

Summer Solstice - ART PRINT

Now, if you want to see something that I found completely fascinating and inspiring you've got to check this out.

I am Home from Regina Lord on Vimeo.

It's a video that Regina made called "I Am Home"...starting with a blank canvas and ending up with a wonderful work of art so we can see what she does and how she does it. It's like peeking in the window of her studio and catching a glimpse of how she navigates through the creative process. One of my favorite parts is how you can see that she changes her mind several times throughout the process so that it comes out just right.
A couple of weeks ago I was blessed enough to win a giveaway of one of her prints from Jennifer on the blog JCasa Handmade. I got to choose a print and this is what I chose.

Give Thanks Every Single Day - 8 x 8 ART PRINT

I'm so excited! It should be here any day now. If you love this print, you can enter for a chance to win one too by going on over to Regina's blog Creative Kismet. Just leave her a comment and you'll be entered to win. And if you want...and I know you will...check out her shop and see everything else she has created. You won't regret it. Your wallet might, but not you.Hmmm, makes me want to pick up a canvas and give it a whirl. How about you? xoANG

Thursday, November 10, 2011

you capture::fall

I've only got a couple of minutes today between homeschool and after-school tutoring, but I knew this week's theme was fall and I couldn't not share. Just the other day I took some pictures of the maple tree in our front yard. It's gorgeous. The bright yellows and oranges against the clear, bright, blue sky of autumn was breathtaking.
Then as my girls and I played in the woods behind our house, woods where most of the leaves have fallen and left a crunchy path for us to travel, I looked up to see the most beautiful maple tree. The leaves so red they were screaming to be noticed in the cozy browns and greys of season.
It's amazing what you can notice if you just stop for a moment and look up. xoANG
See more pictures at I Should Be Folding Laundry.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

fall traditions

The weather is changing. The maple trees are fringed with red. The evening sun shines through the window and casts a golden glow throughout the house. That's when we know it's time for some of our fall traditions.
The first one is like stepping back in time. A day where we get to experience and learn about life long ago. It's always a great reminder of how blessed we are to have so many conveniences.

There were people making candles and butter. There were men and women dressed in period clothing. Layers and layers of clothing. One man showed us a very cool compass-sundial. I'd never seen anything like it. He let me try it out...and it was very accurate. Now I want to make a sun dial. You know, one in the yard made of pretty stones with flowers growing all around it. Hmmm, maybe in the spring.
The next fun thing we always enjoy is a trip to the pumpkin patch. We pass by the pumpkin patch several times before we actually make the trip which inevitably brings about the question...when are we going to the pumpkin patch? Every year we meet our friends there, my mom comes and brings my cousin so he can play with the girls, and we all have a great time. It's always really fun. There's nothing more fun than getting covered in hay, ruining a couple of pairs of socks, playing in the teepee, sliding down slides, jumping in castles, and painting cute little pumpkins while enjoying the company of friends and family.
Before I knew it, it was Halloween. The day before Halloween we went to Grandma and Pop's church for a hay ride and some serious trunk or treat fun which led to more candy then will ever be necessary. Then on Monday we met our friends at the library for the annual costume parade. All of the librarians were dressed up this year and all of the kids were adorable. I saw more of the parents dressed up this year, too. Right after the costume parade we went to the mall to show off the costumes where it was warm.
Some of the mall employees oohed and aahed over our group of kids. There were also a few elderly women who thought the kids were adorable, too. I mean seriously, look at them. How can you not think they're adorable? October was a very busy month and it flew by in a flash. I can hardly believe that it's November already. There are special birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas gift making, and so much more on the horizon for this month. Hold on to your hats this is going to be a fast one, too. xoANG

Friday, October 28, 2011

meeting sara and helping IJM

Last week I had the wonderful privilege to go to a concert.. It was a big day for me. No, not for meeting the singer/songwriter whose music I love, but for actually going. Away. Passed bedtime. In all my years as a mom I have never missed a bedtime. I know, my kids are 8 and 6 years old, it's crazy. But it was time. So here's what happened. My friend Theresa, who has a wonderfully generous husband, purchased 2 tickets for her to not only go see Sara Groves in concert but to also eat dinner with her and her family, as well as the other artists that were going to be performing with her. Now, I don't know anyone who loves Sara Groves' music more than Theresa so I knew it was an awesome gift. Then....she invited me to go with her! Me. The one who has never missed a bedtime. The one who loves Sara Groves music too but lacks the nerve or the want to be out...away. It was something that I could have happily lived without, but I knew that I would really enjoy it and have fun going on a road trip with my friend, sans our total of 7 children. So I went. Tim was with our girls so my mind was at ease. They all survived dinner and bedtime without me and I without them. Of course I called when we arrived at our destination and during the intermission of the concert...which was right at bedtime, so I did get to say goodnight.
But oh, the concert was so great. From her songs, her lyrics, I figured Sara to be normal and down to earth. So many of her lyrics sound as if she spent a week with me, like she was living my life. And you know what? She is normal, and nice, and funny, and relaxed. Her children were funny and polite and adorable. Her husband was wonderful to meet and had a nice dry sense of humor which I have grown to appreciate of the years because of Tim's sense of humor. The other artists were also so laid back and normal. They were gracious with their time and stories. The concert was wonderful. We had front row seats. It was more like a time of praise and worship than a concert. The other artists were Audrey Assad and Jenny&Tyler. Both amazing singers and songwriters. They were all oozing with talent.
The concert itself was a benefit to raise money for the local pregnancy center and IJM, the International Justice Mission. Read more about IJM here.
All in all, I had a great time. Time spent with a friend, time having fun, time enjoying some really, really good music. Oh, I wish I had some talent in that area. Well, maybe my children will some day. Now, go listen to some great music. xoANG

Friday, October 21, 2011

mawwage is what bwings us togwether today

Today is my anniversary.
Seventeen years.
That's almost half of my life.
The time has flown.

God's chosen one for me, wonderful father, best friend, funny, loving, understanding, playful, hard worker, provider, encouraging, skillful, intelligent, thoughtful, leader, loyal, supportive, oh we can't forget handsome.

Yep, that's 17 things. The list goes on and on but I don't want to gag you with all the lovey-dovey mushy stuff that makes him so great. I am blessed beyond measure to be married to Tim. And seriously, the 24 year old Tim in that picture is pretty darn cute if I do say so myself.

Friday, October 7, 2011

natural, just the way we like it

Another day trip we ventured to take while on our staycation carried us down many a winding road, up and over mountains, and across a couple of beautiful rivers. We visited Natural Bridge, Virginia. We have taken the kids to the Natural Bridge Zoo a few times over the past 5 years, but since we just went to the mother of all zoos (on the east coast, at least) we opted out of that one. We did, however, enjoy all of the other attractions at Natural Bridge. We got a crazy-good deal on the tickets because they were collecting food for a local food bank. So if we donated a can of food per person, we could get the combo ticket for a whopping $2.00!!! Two dollars, people, two dollars...instead of $28 for adults and $16 for children. Our total could have been $88 for the four of us, but instead we paid only $8! woot!woot! Now that's a great deal and totally worth every last cent. We started off in the Natural Bridge Cavern. The girls had never been in a cavern before so they were super excited. It's a small cavern but fascinating and amazing and slippery and cold. It was great! Our guide was funny and very sweet. She shared a lot of interesting facts and pointed out some very cool formations. She even found a couple of sleeping bats for us to see...from a distance. We then headed to the actual bridge. Can I just say that the bridge is so grand and beautiful. It's stunning to see it up close and to see George Washington's initials carved in the stone when he surveyed the area. Oh yeah, the homeschool juices were flowing, baby.
The weather, once again, was slightly overcast and in the low 70's...perfect for some trail hiking and outdoor fun. Once we soaked up the awesomeness of the bridge we headed down the Cedar Creek Trail to the Monacan Indian Village where the girls got to try their hand at grinding corn.
We also got to see inside a tepee, really more of a thatched hut, feel different animal skins, see someone making rope, and of course, more grinding of the corn. All of this was beside a beautiful creek that beckoned us to it's edge on more than one occasion as we made our way down the trail further into the woods. While at Natural Bridge we also enjoyed the indoor butterfly garden. I have never seen so many butterflies before in all my life. The girls really enjoyed being able to hold the butterflies and see some hatch right out of their cocoons. We also made our way through the toy museum. I must add here that a toy museum with lots and lots of toys out in the open with one grumpy woman reminding everyone not to touch anything was a little less than great. The toys were neat and my girls don't have a problem keeping their hands to themselves, but I suppose that normally isn't the case. We then went over to the wax museum. I had never been to the wax museum and neither had the girls. It was interesting to see so many different people made of wax. I probably wouldn't go back to the wax museum...there's just something a little creepy about the whole thing, but it was worth going. Overall, we had a great time.
Our favorite parts were probably the actual Natural Bridge and the Cedar Creek Trail. We had perfect weather and enjoyed our time together as a family. And after a nice long day of having fun together and having their picture taken a hundred times this is what you end up with. xo ANG

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

it's a zoo

Wow! Where has the time gone? Once we started our school year the days have been filled. Filled to the brim with books and learning and writing and memorizing and loving every minute. You know things are going well when there are squeals of excitement when it's time for history. Then to top it off when the school day is done and there is time to play they quickly build a city and citadel of blocks and reenact what they so eagerly learned. But where does the zoo part come in? you ask. Well, we just finished a nice rainy staycation. A week of cloudy, cool, overcast days that beckoned us to relax and enjoy just being home. together. We did manage to squeeze in two very excellent day trips. Days where the clouds kept us shaded from the sun and very kindly held on to their droplets until we had packed in every ounce of fun we could manage. So yes, our first trip was to the zoo. Not any old zoo, mind you, but the North Carolina Zoo. My personal fav. If you've never been there and live within 3 hours of is well worth it. It's a natural habitat zoo so there is a lot of walking. Five miles...give or take. But I tell you, with the beautiful grounds and abundance of animals the miles go by with hardly a second thought.

So, you wanna see some pictures? You know I took like a million, right? Okay, maybe it was closer to 300, but who's counting?Well, hello gorgeous! Lions, always my favorite.
Yes dear, you look fine in stripes.
Such a showoff!
A trio of amazing creations.
She turned to face the sun while it shone for few minutes.
Busy bees, those girls of mine. Also, I learned a lot from the apiarist volunteer.
This grizzly was such a poser.
A stunning with a bad hair cut, it seems.
Soaking up the warmth on the rocks.
This is just the tip of the ice berg, so to speak. We had such a wonderful day at the zoo. xoANG