Friday, January 19, 2018

Seven Quick Takes - What I'm Loving Lately

It's Friday so let's do some Quick Takes!

And let's do them a little differently this time.  I'm going to talk about seven products I'm loving lately.

Garnier Whole Blends Hair Mask.  Santa (or Santa's little helper Sarah) left this in my stocking and it is awesome!  The ends of my hair have been so dry these last few months.  In fact, part of the reason I chopped my hair off was that the ends, especially the ones that frame my face, were in really bad shape.  I was disappointed that even after I cut a lot of length off the part that frames my face still looked really bad - dry, damaged, frizzed out.  This product is a mask that you put on right after shampooing and leave on for three minutes.  I used it that way for the first week but then I got lazy and started using it as a conditioner.  I basically rub a big blog of it through the ends (the ends only!) of my hair and just finish my normal shower routing.  I've been so happy with this that I have even purchased the shampoo that goes along with it so that the rest of my hair (the top) can benefit as well.

Pampered Chef Scraper Set - I bought my first set of these scrapers at a PC party almost 10 years ago.  These things work wonders at getting stuck-on, baked-on food off of pots and pans.  My husband even loves these and when he's helping was dishes the first thing he grabs is one of these.  (Sad testament to the state of my cooking but it's true.)  Over the years though, we were down to only one and it got caught in the disposal and we have been without one for several weeks.  I just ordered a new set and am very ready for them to get here.  A pack of three is only $3.75 and it is very worth that small price!  It is honestly shocking how easily gunk can be removed from pots, pans, and even your slow cooker!

Black Nikes - 2 years ago I decided I needed a cute pair of sneakers to wear with casual outfits.  So I purchased a pair of white Converse Chucks.  Y'all! What a huge mistake.  Those things were cute BUT they were so uncomfortable.  They were narrow and flat - zero arch support.  And to make matters worse - the white picked up everything.  After uncomfortably wearing them for a couple of months they were no longer a cute white sneaker but more of a dirty gray torture chamber for my feet.  So this past fall, I purchased a pair of black Nikes.  This was the best decision ever. They are black so  I wear them with everything from jeans, to joggers, to leggings and they are very comfortable.  Also since they are black they don't show dirt.  And whenever the white part starts to show dirt I whip out my trusty Magic Eraser and they are clean in seconds. And speaking of Magic Eraser...


Magic Eraser -  I imagine you all share my love of these little beauties but I had to put them on this list in case one of you isn't aware of their magic powers.  From cleaning scummy shower doors, to soles of shoes, to removing Sharpie from counter tops, to removing dirt from painted walls, to removing general grossness from the bathtub, to cleaning your razor, to scrubbing your heals when they get a little funky in the summer - these things really are magic!  And because I'm cheap I always buy the generic ones from Walmart and they work exactly the same. 


Goo Gone Grout and Tile Cleaner - I picked this up on a whim at Marshall's the other day.  It was $4.97 there.   The grout between the ceramic tiles on our bathroom floors were getting really gross and I've been putting off doing anything about it because I am very, very lazy.  But I saw this at Marshall's and grabbed it.  The next day I sprayed some on the grout and let it sit for a few minutes and then grabbed my handy Magic Eraser and gently scrubbed the grout.  All the gunk came off so quickly and easily.  I was shocked.  And it smells so good!  I highly recommend this stuff if you've got some dingy grout and let's be honest - we've all probably got some dingy grout.  (Please tell me it's not just me!)

ChapStick Total Hydration in Merlot - My lips have been very dry this winter and when they are dry and chapped lipstick doesn't look very good on them.  But my lips are very pale and they need color.  Enter - ChapStick Total Hydration.  This stuff feels and works like regular ChapStick but it is tinted so my lips still have some color and don't disappear on my face.  I use the Merlot - there are quite a few other colors to choose from but this color was recommended on another blog and I love it.  I have also tried Hello Bordeaux but it was too dark.


NYX Pore Filler - I have large pores on my nose and cheeks so when I put on my liquid make-up it always settles in my pores.  Very annoying!  So I've been trying to find a good filler for the last couple of years.  I have purchased pricey ones and cheap ones and have finally settled on this one.  It is pretty cheap and works just as well as the more expensive ones.  I have yet to find one that works perfectly and makes my skin totally smooth looking but I like the price of this one and I like how well it works. 

And that's it for my Quick Takes What I'm Loving Lately.  Are there any products you guys are loving lately?  Do tell!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Snow day recap and Thankful Thursday - Edition 3

Guess what?  I have remembered that today is Thursday!  And that means Thankful Thursday! 

But first, I wanted to review my day yesterday.  They kids were out of school due to the 0-3 inches of snow which actually turned into a lot more. I would say we got maybe 5.  People around were posting 7 or 8 or more but the snow was blowing all day so I feel like those were drifts.  Regardless, we got a lot more than they were expecting.  It snowed until 3, stopped for an hour and then snowed for another hour and a half.

Here's a picture of my tree around noon:

Like a winter wonderland, eh?  Beautiful but I'm ready for it to be gone!  Bah humbug!

The kids enjoyed their day off.  Sarah worked on her science expo research and made snow cream.  Peter took a long hike through the woods and spent hours practicing his electric guitar.  I cleaned the grout in the tile in the master bathroom and started a new book.  And Dan went to work.

So, now that I've recapped our lovely day, here's my Thankful Thursday list for this past week:

1. Family time - As the kids get older and I can almost see them pulling out of the driveway for the last time (sob), I really appreciate the time we spend together as a family.  Whether it's going to visit the Pisgah Covered Bridge, or lingering around the dinner table, or watching Jeopardy or America's Funniest Home Videos, I'm happy for the time we get to spend together as a unit of 4.  Because as Sarah said to me the other day, "Mom!  Do you realize in 4 1/2 years, I'll be going to college?!?!"  My sad response, "I think about it every day."

2.  Peter's driving is improving - Peter is getting better with each drive we take in the car.  I, however, am still a hot mess.  At first he would go very slow.  Then he started to go too fast.  But now he seems to be able to moderate himself and go a more appropriate speed. He's perfectly fine driving home from school and to church.  These are the routes he's driven the most. We did some driving in Winston this past weekend and his "city" driving is improving but it still freaks me out.

3. My husband - I know everyone is thankful for their husband and I'm no different!  I am thankful that he's willing to work hard for our family.  I am thankful that he doesn't mind helping me with the dishes every  night.  I am thankful that he makes the bed every single morning and that he always puts his clothes in the laundry basket.  And I am thankful that God sent him to me!

4.  Morning quite time - I get up before everyone else and use that time before the chaos of the day to ready the bible and pray. I can't seem to start my day any other way and I am also thankful that I'm a morning person.

5. My "Jesus Music" - That's what the kids call it anyway.  I love to listen to KLOVE and WBFJ (the local Christian radio station) when I'm in the car alone. And as St. Augustine is credited with saying, "He who sings, prays twice."  So this gives me even more reason to crank it up and sing along!  The kids and Dan don't appreciate my Jesus music but I'm in the car a lot without them so I can sing until my heart's content!

6. Time with friends - I was supposed to have lunch with Jennifer yesterday and coffee with my MOMS group this morning but thanks to the lovely snow, both of those got rescheduled.  I love catching up with these ladies and spending time with them and am so very thankful for them. Hopefully there will be no snow next week so I can see them all!

7.  Long, hot showers - Nothing beats a long, hot shower on a cold snowy morning!  

8. Warm weather on the horizon - I've very thankful that it's supposed to be in the upper 50s tomorrow so all of this beautiful snow will melt!  It's pretty to look at for a day or two but then it's nice when it all melts quickly!

9. A clean kitchen in the morning - It always makes me very happy to come downstairs at the crack of dawn and be greeted with a clean kitchen.  I'm thankful for all the evenings when I have the time and energy to clean everything up.  On evenings we don't get the kitchen back in order after dinner, I always regret it the next day!

And that's a wrap for this week! 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Still not sure....

Well, it Tuesday morning.  Scratch that.  It's Wednesday morning.  I guess I'm just going to be confused all week. 

Yesterday, the weather forecasts continued to call for snow and the accumulations were getting bigger - it had increased from 0 - 3 inches to 2 - 4 inches.  So both kid's schools were cancelled by dinner time last night even though the snow wasn't predicted to start until early this morning. 

But the weather forecasters got it right this time and when I woke up there was already some snow on the ground and it is still snowing.  If we actually get 2 or more inches of snow then I am predicting we will also be out tomorrow and most likely Friday as well.   Thankfully it's supposed to be in the 50s on Friday afternoon so anything we get should be gone by then! 

Yesterday I did the grocery shopping, helped out at Teacher Lunch Out at Sarah's school, killed some time at Marshall's, and then it was time to get both the kids.  It was a pretty basic day. 

I tried a new recipe last night that I was hoping to share today  but it wasn't that great.  It was Dijon Bacon Chicken and the pictures on Pinterest looked so yummy and I had such high hopes.  But there were a lot of steps and not a lot of flavor and  if I'm going to be "chopping this" and "placing that in the pan" and "removing this from the pan" and then"chopping that" and then "placing this back in the pan" and then "covering this in the sauce" and then you get the idea...If I'm doing all of that that then it better deliver on the flavor.

But Beth, isn't cooking all of what you described above every time? 

No, dear reader, it is not.  I guess I've gotten pretty lazy with my sheet pan cooking so every time I have to actually do some real cooking I am confused and bothered by all the steps. If I'm going to be cooking in multiple steps, the end product better be really, really good. And it wasn't so I was annoyed.

Speaking of annoying - Peter has informed me that he doesn't like balsamic vinegar!  Y'all - I love balsamic vinegar and many of the recipes I make have that in them so I've been on the hunt for some new recipes.  He also informed me that he doesn't like the sausage and potato sheet pan recipe that the rest of us love and several other things to add to the growing list of Things I Cook That Peter Does Not Like. 

Why so picky, Peter? 

With that, I will leave you with this photo I just snapped of my favorite back yard tree.  The picture shows up lighter than it really is outside right now (7:00 am) but you can see the little bit of snow we have right now and it's still falling.  Unfortunately it's of a wet snow so not really good for playing or building a snow man or even making snow cream.  The kids won't care - they are just happy they don't have to go to school.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

What day is it??

It's Tuesday but it feels like Monday.  Not sure yet whether that's a good thing or not.

I've got several things planned this week that might have to be adjusted based on the impending threat of snow.  The powers-that-be are calling from 0 to 3 inches starting tonight.  If we get three inches things will be closed for days.  If we get 0 inches, I bet one or both of the kids will still go in late. 

I don't get it either.  But it's the south and we can't handle the snow.  Although, I was in the grocery store this morning getting my regular groceries and both Aldi and Walmart were empty.  No one was purchasing the normal bread, milk, toilet paper combo prior to the threat of snow.  So either everyone stocked up prior to the last "snow event" that ended up not happening last week or perhaps everyone is blowing it off because of the last "snow event" that ended up not happening last week.But I bet if they are still calling for snow by the end of business today, the stores will be crazy.

We had a nice weekend.  On Friday night, we took Peter to the high school basketball game.  The guys lost but it was an awesome game.  And they were having middle school night (theyinvite all the Catholic middle schools to come) so the place was packed.  There was a lot of energy in that gym!

On Saturday we ran errands and went to lunch and then on Saturday night we stayed in to watch the Patriots game.  We watched all the football games this past weekend because Dan is heading to Dubai this week and will miss all the games this weekend.  It might have been his last chance to watch the Patriots until August.

Yesterday we headed out near Ashboro to see the Pisgah Covered Bridge.  It is one of only two original remaining covered bridges in North Carolina.  It was a beautiful day for a drive (cold but clear) and the scenery was gorgeous.  Lots of farm land and not a lot of people or homes.

And the covered bridge was cute as a button!  In an attempt to keep people from using markers or spray paint, the parks service had chalk inside the covered bridge for people to use to write their names so there was a lot of pastel graffiti inside. 

Here are some pictures of me and my people:

Have a great rest of your week and keep your fingers crossed that it does not snow tonight!!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Jeremiah 1:5

After Mass, we took the long walk to the graveyard like we do every Sunday.  We made it to her grave and stopped.  We bowed our heads and prayed like we always do and then Dan stooped down to remove  some fallen leaves from the stone and Sarah asked, "Why did you chose that verse?'

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,    before you were born I dedicated you. - Jeremiah 1:5

I took a deep breath and said, "Well, it brought us peace knowing that God knew Rebecca even before we did and that...."
And then the tears started to flow.  I couldn't finish my sentence. Sarah gave me a hug and then we all headed to the car.

I never finished my answer to Sarah because I typically can't talk about Rebecca without crying.  But I wanted to try to put into words why we chose this verse.

It's simple really. These words bring me comfort, peace and hope.

It brings me comfort to know that God knew Rebecca and his plans for her from the beginning of time.  It brings me peace to know that he set her apart as a saint and that she would share eternity with him.  It brings me hope to know that God had a plan for her even if I don't know that plan or purpose.

Knowledge that Rebecca was God's before she was ours helps me when I question Him about her life and death and ask him "why" like I do so often.  Because yes, 3 and a half years later, I am still questioning him, still wondering what it was all for.

Even though he hasn't revealed those answers to me, I know she is His.  He knew her and loved her before me. He continues to know her and love her and that brings me solace.

And that my sweet Sarah, is why we chose that verse.  

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Thankful Thursday - Edition 2

It's Thankful Thursday - week 2!  I will say that I have been much more mindful of things to give thanks for knowing that I will be coming here to list them.  So that's a good thing!

1. The weather - Here I go again talking about the boring weather.  While I do not like cold weather at all, I am thankful that while we have had these abnormally cold temperatures here, there was no snow, sleet, or freezing rain.   And, it has been above average for the last few days so I'm actually able to go outside without a coat on! 

2. No pain - It struck me this morning in the shower that it has been around 4 year that I have been free the horrible MS pain that I suffered with for almost 10 years. I try to remember as I am taking my daily pills to keep this pain away to thank God for the medicine and the lack of pain but lately that has slipped my mind.  So, on the list it goes!

3. Dinners with my family - We are in one of those wonderful periods where there are no evening practices and with the holidays and weird weather, we haven't even had Scouts. It has been so nice to have dinner together as a family every night for several weeks straight with no one missing from the table.  I love to hear about everyone's day and we all enjoy a good story. Sarah has had a couple of good ones lately that have kept us quite entertained.  When the food is good and the laughter is great, it makes me happy.

4. Exams are almost over - By the time you read this Peter will be done with his exams!  Thank you, Jesus!  This has been quite the week.  The schedule has been weird and I think Peter has learned a lot about what it takes to prepare for exams and how he studies best. 

5.Peppermint coffee - I know I posted about this one last week but Aldi had their seasonal peppermint coffee marked down this week.  I got 5 packs of it.  A box of 12 pods was only$1.99!!  Sarah was making fun of me for buying so much but I informed her that if they had any left when I go next week, I will be getting more.  I love a good sale price!

6.  Beth Moore's Portrait of Devotion - I'm only 6 days into this one but I am really enjoying it. She gives a passage of scripture to read and then there's a nice devotional to go along with it. She is focusing on the lives of Jesus, David, John, and Paul.  Beth Moore is always good at breaking things down and this little devotion is no different. I saw it in Wal-Mart, hemmed and hawed about getting it but decided to do it.  I'm glad I did!

7.  Having Dan at home - We've gone through a long stretch with Dan at home. It is so nice!  I know travelling is a part of his job but I don't have to like it!  It's been several months since he's had a trip and it has been heaven. Hes got several long ones coming up in the near future and it's making me really appreciate it when he isn't travelling!

8. Parents who enjoy carpool duty - I am so thankful to have my parents next door.  And one of the benefits is that if I am in a crunch - they can do drop-off or pick-up duty!  I've used their services several times over the last couple of weeks and their love of helping me and spending time with Peter and Sarah is just one of the many things I love about them and about living next door to them!

9.This ridiculous cat - Is it weird to be thankful for this cat?  Probably but this cat brings Dan and the kids (and me to a lesser degree because her care falls to me since I'm the one home all the time) so much joy.  I overheard Dan calling the cat "his butternut squash" last week.  He is smitten.  And the kids love him too. I feel bad for our other less playful and fun cat so I'm trying to give her extra attention but she's over Wally.

10. Social Media - And before you go shaking your head and thinking that this one is crazier than Wally, hear me out.  While I don't like a lot of what goes on there, I do give thanks for all the times that it brings us together in prayer.  There are so many people and issues I would not be aware of that I can pray for because it's posted on social media. And I really do feel like when we storm heaven with prayer for a particular person or cause, he hears us and it moves him to respond. 

I am also thankful for the people that share their "God moments" on social media.  To read about ways that God has spoken to them or helped them, strengthens my faith and keeps my always looking for Him as I go about my own day.

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

All over the place....

It is only Wednesday!  How can that be?  When I am out of my routine, I lose all track of time.  Peter going in to school late and getting out early for exams has caused my poor brain all manner of chaos and confusion. 

And I keep feeling like I'm forgetting something or someone. And I guess I am because yesterday my plan was to take my laptop and devotional book with me so that after I dropped Peter off at the carpool, I could go to Dunkin Donuts and write a blog post and catch up on some reading.

Well, I got to Dunkin, got my coffee, set-up my laptop and it immediately died.  The battery wasn't charged and I left my cord at home.  No worries, I thought.  I'll just do some reading.  Guess what else I left at home? 

So I spent the next hour and a half mindlessly scrolling through my phone and eavesdropping on the conversations of a small group of businessmen who sounded like they were preparing for a meeting with a customer.   They kept looking at me nervously as if I was a spy for this company.  Nope.  Just a bored SAHM waiting on time to run the taxi service.

Last Friday, in between getting my hair done and setting up for the winter dance, I had a doctor's appointment.  I was having a physical which is something I've never before.  Shocking, right?  Especially at my age.  In my defense, though, I go to my neurologist twice a year and my gynocologist once a year and my dentisit 2 a year like clockwork so I only see my regular doctor if there's a problem.

My neurologist always does bloodwork and I've never had a problem until my last visit.  They called and said my liver enzymes were elevated and I needed to have my bloodwork redone with my regular doctor.  So I did and while I was there, the PA suggested that I come back for a physical.  So I took her advice and scheduled that.  And luckily, my liver enzymes were back to normal so I didn't have to worry about that. 

Anyway, I had my physical last Friday and while I was there, she had a long health questionnare that we went over.  One of the questions was how many times I had been pregnant.

"Four times," I replied to the PA.  (This PA is new to the practice, very sweet and very young.)

"So you have 4 kids," she replied confidantly.

"No, only two," was my response.

"Oh.  So you had two abortions," she responded matter-of-factly.

"Um, noooooooooooo.  I had a miscarriage and a baby that died when she was 5 days old," I calmly replied while inside I was screaming TWO ABORTIONS?????

"Oh, how sad," she said.

And the whole time I was thinking that what was really sad was that her first assumption when I said I had been pregnant 4 times but only had 2 kids was that I had two abortions. 

Moving on.....

It turns out that all my bloodwork was normal except that my vitamin D is low and I need to start taking a supplement and go back in 3 months for a recheck. I think I can handle that. I'm not going to lie though, I'm still steaming about the abortion comment though.

On a lighter note, last week I saw this meme:

I loved this so much that I was telling the kids and Dan about it at dinner and after I said, "So basically y'all are highfiving when somebody dies," Dan and I exploded in laughter. 

The kids looked at us like we were insane.  Peter said, "That's not funny at all.  And besides, I think I saw that meme like 3 years ago."  Sarah just rolled her eyes and shook her head in embarassment for her poor stupid parents.  And then they both excused themselves from the table while Dan and I were still rolling with laughter. 

And in other news, (this post is really all over the place, isn't it?) I got new glasses

This is the BEFORE:

This is the AFTER:

It's hard to tell in this picture but the frames are a purply/browny/pinky color and they are metal.  Yikes!  What was I thinking?  They are smaller and lighter looking on my face but I'm having a hard time getting used to them.  Add to that the fact that Sarah didn't seem to think too much of them has me wondering if I should have stuck with dark brown.  Oh well.  

I'm sure we will all get used to them as the days go by and then when I put on my old ones everyone will be like "Oh my gosh!  That's old glasses are horrible!"  At least that's what I do whenever Dan pulls out a pair of his old glasses.  He has some from about 10 years ago that are ridculously large and round and, what the heck was he thinking?

I'll check in with you guys tomorrow for another round of Thankful Thursday.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Weird week, weather report, and weekend update.

It's Monday and it's a weird one.  Well, actually, this whole week is going to be weird.

Peter has exams Monday - Thursday and is off on Friday.  There are two exams each day and they start later than the normal school time and end earlier which means my whole schedule is thrown off.

And add to the mix that they are calling for sleet this afternoon and Sarah's school (as well as alllllllll the others) are dismissing early.  It is sunny outside right now and around 34 degrees.  The school systems are expecting that IF we get the afternoon precipitation they are expecting it will immediately freeze on the roads because it has been in the teens for the last two weeks.  The teens!!  That is abnormally cold for around here.

But, have no fear, if we can make it past today, it's supposed to be into the 50s tomorrow and a blessed 63 on Friday?!?!

Now that I've got the weather report out of the way, let's move on to the weekend update.

Sarah's school had their 7th and 8th-grade dance on Friday night!  As the 8th-grade room parent, I was in charge of decorating.  We had a bunch of large snowflakes (thankfully purchased from Amazon) hanging from the ceiling and 5 of those lights that project on the side of your house (thankfully purchased from Walmart after Christmas and marked way down).  These lights projected snowflakes and it looked really cool. 

And of course, my girl looked beautiful:

She couldn't find any dress she liked, so we compromised.  I would get her these little booties and she would borrow a dress from Cheyanne.  The dress was perfect and Sarah's excited that she has these booties that she's been wanting for a long time.  

And she wanted a picture with Wally.

On Saturday, Dan helped my brother fix the door handle on his truck and we went to lunch.  When we got home, I made this delicious dessert for Sunday lunch:

It was Lemon Blueberry Cream Pie and everyone gave it two thumbs up!  Here's the link to the recipe I used.

On Sunday we went to Mass and had lunch at my parent's house.  We watched the Panther's game and then before I knew it, it was Monday.  

Have a great week!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Thankful Thursday - Edition 1

One of my goals for 2018 is to be more thankful.

I know it's not a revolutionary goal but at the beginning of December, I read Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado.  It was an excellent book and I feel like I underlined every other sentence.  One of the  main takeaways for me was in order not to be anxious about all the things that aren't the way you want them to be, focus on what God has done for you and thank Him for those things.

So, in order to do this, I am planning on keeping a list each week of all the things I am thankful for (big and small) and then I'm going to post them here every Thursday.   My goal is to have 52 lists by the end of the year.

Here we go:

1. Health - we have been relatively healthy so far this winter and when Sarah did have the flu, she only felt bad for 24 hours.

2.  Heat, blankets, the fireplace, coats, hats, gloves - it is  unseasonably cold here right now but we have everything we need to keep us warm.

3. Peppermint coffee from Aldi - I discovered this last week and it is really yummy.  There's just a light hint of peppermint in regular coffee but it's just enough to make it extra tasty.  I bought a couple of extra boxes of it this week because it's a special item that will be gone once they sell out.

4. Rainbow colored notecards - I bought a big box of notecards and envelopes at Target a couple of years ago and we use them when we are writing thank you notes. They are solid colors but the box included red, yellow, orange, blue, green, purple and pink.  I just mailed all of our Christmas thank you notes this morning and had to smile at how pretty they all looked.

5. Online banking - I just finished paying some bills and depositing checks right from this computer.  I gripe every time I have to do it but it's so nice not to have to write a check, address an envelope, use a stamp etc.  or even go to the bank!

6. The high school carpool - I'm very thankful to have friends to share this duty with.  It's nice not to have to make this long drive every morning (once a week is plenty!)

7. Finding recipes my whole family enjoys - these are few and far between but I came across a winner last night.  I made these low carb enchiladas last night and they were great.  I served mine on lettuce cups but the rest of the family put the filling in tortillas and gobbled them up.  This one is a keeper!

8.Chip and Joanna are pregnant! - I know this is a weird thing to put on a thankful list but for some reason this news made me very happy so it's going on this list.

9. A beautiful sunrise - I love snapping pictures of the sunrise when it is especially beautiful.  Taking the time to enjoy one is also a good time to remember Lamentations 3:23: Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.

That's my list for this week!  Feel free to join me in creating and sharing your own thankful list. 

"I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Ps. 9:1

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Hikes, weird woods, Buche de Noel, fear of heights. Just the usual.

I loved having the kids home for Christmas for two weeks and I loved having Dan home for a week and a half.  However, I also enjoy routine so I'm happy that everyone is back at work and school today.

Just like any other Monday (although it's really Tuesday, looks like I'll spend another week not knowing exactly what day it is), I went grocery shopping and I've got some laundry going and I will be paying bills and all the other fun stuff that comes along with my job.

But first, I thought I would share some highlights of the last few days of 2017 with you lovely people.

Last Thursday, we had planned to go on a hike.  But the weather that day was really cold and Friday looked to be a little warmer so we switched gears and did the hike Friday.  But my husband isn't one to just sit around so we did some googling to find something else to do and I came up with a visit to The Devil's Tramping Ground. 

One of the gifts Peter got for Christmas was the Atlas Obscura and when I was googling things in NC I came across the Atlas Obscura website.  The Devil's Tramping Ground popped up and Dan was very intrigued.

He said he can remember as a small boy in Massachusetts reading a book of weird places/ghost stories.  This book mentioned an odd place in North Carolina where the grass wouldn't grow and legend claimed it was because the devil had been dancing around on it.

Totally obscure but something that would definitely stick with a little kid.  So off we went to find it.

It was about an hour and a half from our house and the ride was pretty.  We were basically in the middle of nowhere but our GPS took us right to it.  It wasn't marked but it looks just like it looks in the pictures here - so not very impressive!

We walked a little further into the woods and it felt creepy to me.  Dan kept commenting on the fact that the ground felt weird and the woods looked weird.  And when we got further into the woods, a giant owl that swooped in front of us and rested in a tree above our heads 

It was really creepy and totally not worth the hour and a half drive but it was nice spending the afternoon with the family.

So the next day we went on our hike.  It was still chilly but there was no getting out of this hike.  When Dan decides he wants to do something, we are doing it.  And did I mention that Dan does not like to sit around the house?  Did I also mention that one of my favorite things to do is sit around the house?  I guess it's a good thing I'm a stay-at-home mom!

Anyway, we headed to Hanging Rock State Park which is only an hour from us.  We had decided that we were going to hike the loop trail to Moore's Wall.  It was a 5-mile hike and it was steep.  The trail was marked strenuous and it really was - for me anyway.  I have gained a lot of weight over the last 6 months and I could definitely tell it during this hike. 

But we persevered to the top and the views were gorgeous.  At the top, there was Moore's Tower which we climbed as well.  Because it has been so cold here, there were very few people at the park.  It was nice to be able to take pictures without a bunch of random strangers in our way! 

The total loop took us 3 hours.  I think if I hadn't been there, Dan and the kids could have finished it probably 20 or 30 minutes sooner but my girth slowed us down!

And after the hike, we were all starving so we had Mexican for lunch.  So much for my girth!

Dan was restless on Saturday as well and would have been very happy doing another 5 mile hike.  I had to put my foot down on that one.  We compromised and went to Quarry Park which is less than 20 minutes from our house.  Basically it's a huge quarry that the city bought and turned into a park. 

There's an observation plank that's been built over the quarry.  There are great views of Winston-Salem on the horizon.

We headed out onto the observation plank until I realized that it was made of metal grates.  My fear of heights took over and I froze.  I made it about halfway out before I panicked and had to turn back.  I think I might have been able to make it to the end of the deck but people were coming and I didn't want to look like an idiot.  I think if the deck had been solid and I couldn't have seen through it, I might have been okay. Although, I will admit that when I was climbing Moore's Tower the day before (it was about 2 stories) I got panicky. 

Here are a few pictures from the quarry of me and my sweetie because the kids wanted to stay home.

This picture was NOT taken at the end of the observation deck.

See the grate?  I could not bring myself to walk across this thing.  Scared much?  Yes!
On New Year's Eve, we went to dinner with friends and watched the ball drop but not before I helped Peter with an extra credit project for his French class.

His teacher had given the class a recipe for Buche De Noel in French and the class had to translate it and make one. 

I had to send the teacher a picture of Peter with the finished product and verify that he did at least 50% of the baking.  He basically did it all with me barking orders at him (I'm such a fun mom).  But I think either something was lost in translation or he possibly left the baking powder out because the cake was so flat and thin.  It was more like a crepe. 

Yesterday we took the tree down and had a traditional New Year's lunch at my parent's house - it included collards, black-eyed peas and pork. But I didn't eat the black-eyed peas or the collards because gross!  I guess I won't have good luck or big fortunes this year. 

Happy New Year!!