Monday, March 27, 2017

Tale As Old As Saturday

Let's begin this Monday morning with a little beauty. That's Beauty with a capital B. I saw the film on Saturday, and I have some thoughts. I don't think I'll spoil anything for those of you who haven't seen it, because how can you spoil a tale as old as time that everybody already knows? The film remains true to the original storyline, which in my book is always a good thing.

My girls and I were so excited when we heard Disney was doing a live action version of one of our favorite stories. This particular 'video' was watched again and again in our house back in the day, and I really wanted to see it with my daughters. Sadly it didn't come out in theatres until the day before Daughter1 had to fly back to WA, so not happening. Thankfully hubs feels all the feels too, about those long ago days of little girls in the house, so he said he'd take me and that's how we spent our Saturday afternoon.

Beauty and the Beast. I absolutely loved it. Everything about this movie...Emma Watson is perfection in the role of Belle...the music, the scenery, the casting, everything...if you loved the original you will love this version too. I do think children under the age of seven or so would probably enjoy the cartoon version more, since the live action is more sophisticated than a cartoon.

I know there was a whole lotta ruckus prior to the film's release, and here's my .02 on that-

Besides all the warm feelings and nostalgia this movie stirs up in me (and there were a lot! A lot-a lot!), I think the basic message of this film is a really good one.

Belle is friendly and kind. The townspeople find her a bit odd, but she has confidence in who she is and doesn't allow their feelings to define her.

Belle treats her father with honor and respect.

Belle lives in a small village, but is curious about the world around her. She reads books to discover what else is out there in the great wide somewhere.

Belle values inward beauty over outward good looks.

Belle is unselfish. She forgoes her own plans (hurrying home to her Father) to help someone who initially wasn't all that nice to her.

Aren't these the sorts of messages we want our daughters to hear??? 

Don't we all encounter a 'beast' from time to time? 

I know Disney isn't perfect, but honestly if I hadn't known about the fuss prior to seeing the film, it would have gone right over my head. It's only a thing if you want to make it a thing, but of course in America we like to make everything a thing.

The movie is so well done, and when the credits rolled I looked at hubs and said if they run it again right now I'll stay and watch. We didn't, but I could have.

If you have grown up girls who once upon a time loved to dress up and sing and act out the movies they watched, then this one will get you right in the heart. Bring a tissue.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Beauty and Adventure In The Great Wide Somewhere

It's a lazy gray Sunday afternoon so I thought I'd spend my time wisely and blog. I've already had a nap and watching the Florida-SC game was making me tense so here I am.

Hubs and I have been in the new house for about four months now, but we really haven't gotten to explore too much in the nearby area. Weekends have been filled with other 'stuff'...unpacking-travel-houseguests-holidays-illness...you get the idea. Also I've blabbed about it at least twenty times, maybe more.


There's an abundance of waterfalls in our little corner of the world, and I'm determined to see them all. A few are better enjoyed by boat, but we can get to those later. We chose something nearby on Saturday and off we went.



Issaqueena Falls.


There's a legend behind the name and it goes something like this-Issaqueena was a Creek Indian maiden, and way back when the Cherokee made an attempt to kidnap her. The Cherokee believed evil spirits lived in waterfalls, so she supposedly saved herself by hiding on the ledge just behind these falls.


Naturally hubs needed to venture across the slippery rock to stand behind the falls while I did my usual helpful thing and shouted, 'Don't fall!' He didn't.


It's a steep rocky scramble down to the bottom of the falls, and why do I always get behind a dad toting a baby on his back? Makes me sweat worse than the hike down.


We knew there was an old tunnel nearby that was worth checking out so we asked a couple of people if we could walk from the falls and they looked at us like we were crazy. We drove, but turns out it was less than half a mile and we could have easily walked. Maybe they noticed I was already sweating (that baby in the backpack y'all!) so they suggested we drive?


Stumphouse Tunnel is cool! It's not often you get to walk inside a mountain, and I was glad I had my jacket with me. The temperature drops quite a bit as you go further in.


It's  DARK!, which makes it just a little bit spooky. Also I was silently freaking out thinking bats might call this place home,  so I stuck close to hubs.


Stumphouse is an unfinished railroad tunnel started before the Civil War and intended to create a train line running from Anderson SC to Knoxville TN. They quit working on the tunnel in 1859 when the legislature refused to fund more construction.

Hmmm...everything old is new again-ha!

Fun fact-Clemson University acquired the tunnel in the early 1950's and cured blue cheese there. They still make blue cheese, but have recreated the tunnel environment in an on campus setting.

You know, if you don't hike you miss a lot of local history and natural beauty.

And if you don't pop back here tomorrow you'll miss my thoughts on another kind of beauty.
The kind named Belle. See you here!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A 30's-80's-Last Week Throwback

I have three things (more or less) to post that I think qualify as throwbacks, all baby related but I believe that's allowed since I'm going to be a grandmother.

First things first...my mother-in-law brought hubs and I a little gift when she was here for the shower. Technically it's for Baby M when he makes his appearance, and grows big enough to sit in a rocking chair, but we're going to keep it at our house.


This was my mother-in-law's rocker when she was a little girl-


Hubs and all his siblings rocked away in it too when they were small, and I'm excited for my grandson to rock there like a boss. Also, is this what you picture when you hear the word great- grandma? Ours are beauties with hearts to match.


Second thing next...this basket y'all!!

 I 'borrowed' this photo from my crafty friend's FB page because it shows all the goodies so well. 

A friend of mine in NJ put this together for my daughter, and I think also a little bit for me. I know I loved it every bit as much as my daughter did, and her thoughtfulness meant so much to me. This basket is filled to the brim with adorable little lamb onesies, booties (those booties!!), a bath towel with a little lamb hood, a super soft stuffed lamb, and more. Now here's the thing-this friend did not know our shower had a little lamb theme. Pure happenstance.


My mom was here when the box arrived on my doorstep and it was all we could do not to take out each and every item and ooh and aah over it. The only thing that stopped us was we did not want my daughter to miss out on the gorgeous presentation.


Our shower was neutral in color since the parents-to-be didn't learn the baby's gender until a couple of days before they got here. My daughter received several adorable onesies, sleep sacks, and teeny tiny little outfits as shower gifts, and as she pulled each one out of the bag I thought to myself, neutrals are for boys. The colors are perfect...the grays, oatmeals, and soft greens...they all say boy to me.


Also I'm glad the big trash bag made it into all the photos. That's very From This Side of the Pond-ha!

Third thing last...I ran across a couple of pictures from my very own baby shower circa-late 80's. Perms were a thing y'all.


Side note-are you ever shocked by how young you look in a photograph? I was pregnant here with the mama-to-be! which, I'm not gonna lie, kind of makes my brain hurt. I'm exactly the same number of months pregnant at my shower as she was at hers.

I remember absolutely loving this dress, which was a hand-me-down from my sister. She had a baby almost exactly one year before my little munchkin was born, so lots of my maternity wear was hand-me-down. Back then we wore great big balloon like tops and dresses as opposed to now when moms-to-be wear clothing that accentuates their baby bump.

Also, we didn't say baby bump.


Baby gear has changed 'just a little' in thirty years. Did you know there's now a port-a-crib where you press a button and it pops open and then you press again and it shrinks closed? Raise your hand if you ever traveled with a port-a-crib and cussed a little at trying to get all the poles in place?

And the strollers! Hoisting a stroller in and out of the car was an integral part of my daily aerobic workout way back when. Remember how they would sometimes threaten to partially open on you while you were lifting it into the trunk of your vehicle? Good times!

Not sure why we're all wearing blue? We didn't know the gender, but were all convinced she was a girl. This picture makes me so happy. That's my baby's great grandma between my sister and my mama.


And that's my friend on the end. We went to the same uni and our husbands were fraternity brothers. Then a few years went by and we ended up living in the same town and she had my baby shower in her home. Hubs and I loved her baby boy back then, and coincidentally that baby boy and his wife made my friend a grandmother just a few weeks ago.

I know the world can feel awfully harsh some days, but there are more often times when the sweetness of life makes my heart want to burst.

...'and the seasons, they go round and round, and the painted ponies go up and down...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Springtime Hodgepodge

Welcome to this springtime edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. It's nice to be back after a week away.  If you've answered the questions today add your link at the end of my post, then go say hi to your neighbor. Let's get started-
1. Setting aside the real March Madness (NCAA Basketball) describe something happening at your house this month that might earn the title 'March Madness'?

Well the weather has been a bit mad this month. March is always a little cranky, but things are looking more springlike the rest of this week. Also I hosted a baby shower which, in my opinion, is the best kind of March Madness. 




2. What's a favorite made up word from your childhood or a favorite from your children's childhood? Does your family still use the word today? If there's a story behind the origin please share.

A single word? We have a whole dictionary of favorites here. I might write about this at a later date, so for now I'll go with 'steffies'. This was my Daughter1's word for barrettes, and we all got on board with it. 

I had a friend with a daughter named Stefanie. She left barrettes at my house one morning, and I guess when Daughter1 asked 'what's that?' I replied with, 'Oh those are Steffie's' and the word stuck. 

3. Will you be doing any spring cleaning now that the season is upon us? I read here a list of 15 quick ( under one hour) spring cleaning tasks. They were-

clean out a drawer, vacuum furniture, whiten tile grout, dust the nooks and crannies you don't get to year round, degrease kitchen cabinets, wipe down walls, go behind furniture, wipe down ceiling fans, vacuum the mattress, clean the range hood, wash baseboards, shine the stainless steel, clean out vents, tackle the windows, and wipe down gadgets

Of the fifteen 'quick' tasks listed which two most need doing at your house? Will you do them?

I liked this list and especially the idea of doing unpleasant tasks in chunks. We're in a new house so vents get cleaned regularly (construction fallout), drawers are not yet out of control, and hubs loves to clean that range hood so it is degreased on a regular basis. Of the tasks listed the two that most need doing are tackling the windows and washing baseboards. Both jobs will be done, probably by hubs and I together. 

4. A favorite movie set in Paris or New York?

I'm not a big Woody Allen fan, but I did love Midnight in Paris. New York is a little harder to pin down, but two favorites would be An Affair to Remember and Saturday Night Fever. 

I also really liked The Devil Wears Prada which has a bit of both, plus Anne Hathaway's amazing wardrobe! 

5. What's put a spring in your step this month?


Having both my girls in the same geography at the same time. 

6. Did you ever want to be a teacher? Why or why not?

I did and I was. Why? I always loved school and I've always loved working with children. I'm good with children and I think it's nice to work in a field that meshes with your natural God-given bent. I know teaching quite often gets a bad rap, but there are not many professions where you can truly make a difference in someones life the way a teacher can. 

7.  What's your favorite floral scent? Do you have this somewhere in your home or maybe in a perfume? How do you feel about florals in food? How about wines with floral notes-yay or nay?

I'm kind of funny about floral scents outside of nature. I tend to go for more of the cinnamon, vanilla, and earthy fragrances in my home. Too much floral anything makes me feel a little sick to my stomach and I definitely don't care for it in perfume. I like dry wines, so typically not a fan of too much floral in my food or my drink. 

Now if we're talking actual florals, as in the kind that grow in the ground, then my favorite floral is the lilac, with lavender a close second. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Have you seen this? Some people are so talented-





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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 301

Happy Spring y'all! Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then run back here tomorrow and add your link to the party. See you there!

1. Setting aside the real March Madness (NCAA Basketball) describe something happening at your house this month that might earn the title 'March Madness'?

2. What's a favorite made up word from your childhood or a favorite from your children's childhood? Does your family still use the word today? If there's a story behind the origin please share.

3. Will you be doing any spring cleaning now that the season is upon us? I read here a list of 15 quick (under one hour) spring cleaning tasks. They were-

clean out a drawer, vacuum furniture, whiten tile grout, dust the nooks and crannies you don't get to year round, degrease kitchen cabinets, wipe down walls, go behind furniture, wipe down ceiling fans, vacuum the mattress, clean the range hood, wash baseboards, shine the stainless steel, clean out vents, tackle the windows, and wipe down gadgets

Of the fifteen 'quick' tasks listed which two most need doing at your house? Will you do them?

4. A favorite movie set in Paris or New York?

5. What's put a spring in your step this month?

6. Did you ever want to be a teacher? Why or why not?

7.  What's your favorite floral scent? Do you have this somewhere in your home or maybe in a perfume? How do you feel about florals in food? How about wines with floral notes-yay or nay?

8. Insert your own random thought here.
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Monday, March 20, 2017

Long Distance Learning

It always takes me a few days to get over the funk I feel when my girls leave. Distance is hard y'all. I've had plenty of it in the last ten years, but I tell myself there are still things God must need me to learn or remember because here I am thousands of miles from my Daughter1 trying to get my groove back after a wonderful week of nearly 24/7 togetherness. Even my youngest who is only an hour away can make me cry when she pulls out of the driveway and heads for home.


I'm so happy to have independent, faithful, optimistic grown up girls. That's the goal in parenting, right? Just checking. If someone wants to tell me otherwise I'd be okay with that. I fight against the deep down desire I have to keep them in my back pocket because I want my girls to live big and bold.

Sometimes living miles from your mama is the way God makes you who He has called you to be.


And sometimes my children living out of arms reach is what God uses to make me who He wants me to be.

I've been thinking a little bit about our years overseas, and how I put my babies on airplanes to attend university stateside while we lived on the other side of the pond. About how I had a front row seat to beauty in the making as my daughters grew into their adult selves via the distance. How when I was tempted to wallow in the missing or go for a swim in the worry waters I'd review my list of simple truths that are ours for the taking and the knowing and the remembering.

How I wrote those truths in a journal so I could throw them as a life preserver to myself when I swam out a little too far...

God loves my children.
And He loves me.

God is everywhere. 
His eye is on my little chicks and I know He watches me.

God has a plan for my children.
And a plan for me.

God keeps His promises.
This earth is not our home.

Sometimes I still need that life preserver...


So grateful for one that never fails.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Love Is In The Details

Strap in. I've got pictures and shower details of which there are toomany.

family in the house

Daughter1's baby shower was on Sunday, and I might have had a little too much fun with the planning and the Pinteresting. In my defense she's a detail girl and relishes all the small touches. Since she didn't find out the baby's gender until three days before the shower we kept it neutral.

If you saw pics from her wedding you'll know she loves that natural woodland palette of creams, tans, and greens so keeping it neutral wasn't hard. The theme was Welcome Little Lamb and there was an abundance of sheep in the decor.  I will link to all the Etsy vendors at the bottom of this post because Etsy is pure awesomeness.


My mom got to town a week ago Tuesday and stayed with me for a few days, helping with the shower cooking and listening to me talk endlessly about how in the world I was going to arrange the tables and chairs. We were serving a brunchy kind of lunch, and since I always like a table for my glass and plate when I attend these types of events I decided to rent tables and chairs, and move some furniture.


I didn't break that last bit to hubs until late in the game, and he took some convincing, but once he's on board with a plan he is all in and was an enormous help. We had three tables of eight, plus a table for dessert and drinks.


I put all the food on my kitchen island and served buffet style. A local florist made gorgeous arrangements for the tables in shades of green and white using these precious hobnail vases, and then a larger arrangement for a side table where I set the guest book.



Daughter1 loved Are You My Mother from the time she could talk so I knew I wanted to use that for her guest book. She has some sweet messages written by her guests inside the front and back covers.


I also asked the florist to make my girl a flower crown for her head because every mother needs one. She might be having a baby but she's still my baby, and I knew she would love this.


We moved a sofa table upstairs beside the front door to hold name tags and instructions for the reveal, plus our take home favors. I'd purchased a fun tassel banner from one Etsy shop, a small colorful Oh Baby banner from another Etsy shop, and a burlap flag banner adorned with sheep from a third Etsy shop.


I was pleased with all three, and hung the tassel in my entry hall from a big cabinet I have there.


The small colorful banner went across the dessert and drinks table-


And hubs hung the burlap banner across the barn doors in my great room so it would show in some of our photographs.



We did the gender reveal first thing, because some of us knew and were worried we'd spill the beans. I wrapped a big box and tied two blue balloons to a cute little lamb wearing a blue bow, then stuffed them under the big box and Daughter1 just lifted it to set the balloons free.


There were tiny baby bottles filled with blue jelly beans as a little prize for everyone who guessed correctly. Course I also had pink balloons and pink jelly beans stashed in my closet since I needed to do it all ahead and didn't know myself until the night before. It was a lot of fun to see everyone's reactions.


We served lunch after the reveal, with little lamb placecards (Etsy!) beside each dish. There were four kinds of quiche (shoutout to my college friend Maryellen for sharing her fabulous quiche recipes!), pickled shrimp...


...deviled eggs, chicken salad sliders, pasta salad, a broccoli salad made by my sister, and a fruit salad made by my daughter's mother-in-law.


For dessert we had the most fabulous sweet potato cake known to mankind and that's not an exaggeration. My daughter's mother-in-law brought the cake from a place in downtown Greenville, famous for this particular sweet treat (Brick Street Cafe).  It honestly is one of the best desserts I've ever eaten, and that's saying something!


That sparkly gold cake topper is from where else? Etsy! and looked so cute atop this gorgeous cake. My Daughter2 has a friend whose sister makes beautifully decorated cookies, so we ordered three dozen in our shower colors and they were absolutely gorgeous. Delicious too!



She did little lambs with tiny sweet faces, baby bottles in yellow and green, and little onesies, some with a lamb on front, and some saying BABY. They were individually wrapped so anyone who didn't eat theirs at the shower could take one home.

We played one game after lunch, a simplified version of The Price is Right, then moved on to the gifts. So many lovely thoughtful things purchased for this little boy, but I have another post in mind, and will save gift talk for later. This post is already longer than anybody wants to read.


As a take home favor for our guests I'd ordered wildflower seeds from Bentley Seed Company. They are a regular seed company, but package these specifically for baby showers and across the front there's a little poem -'Plant these seeds, and watch them bloom, just like our baby who will be here soon'. My mom and I packaged them in cello bags with a little green crinkle cut filler, tied with a green ribbon.

It was such a lovely afternoon and I know the mama-to-be felt spoiled and well loved.


Because she is!


Etsy links-

Lamb burlap banner-Quaint Confections
Tassel banner-Tassel and Twine
Oh Baby cake topper-Cuts of Confetti
Oh Baby -cocktail napkins by Gracious Bridal
Little lamb placecards-Vintage Hill Creations
Bentley Seed Packet favors
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