September 30, 2014

September 2014 in Pictures

Don't forget to check out our Monthly Update for September
It's short and sweet! Or maybe just short. 
 Conference Season. Wine required!
 Bumper Cars
 Hanglider Ride
 i heart gardening!
 That time that I worked the entire weekend. From my bed. 
 Last day of Summer. Enjoying milkshakes!
 Field Trip to Traveller's Rest for Festival Days.
Dolphin Tale 2

September 2014 Family Update

To be honest, I don't even want to write this update. I'm plum exhausted. It's Conference Season once again and this year seems to be crazier than ever. I leave in just 3 days and there is still. so. much. to. do. This update is gonna be short and sweet and maybe not even sweet.

Homeschool has been pretty much non-existent for the last week. I'm considering this our fall break and we will get back on track once I'm home from the conference.

Skylar started back to Awana this year. After being a little hesitant at first she is really enjoying it!

We did the fair. Summer is officially over. Boo. Hiss. Bahumbug!

Today I had to explain "sex" to my 7-year-old because she asked what it was. For real this time. So, I resorted to pumpkins. She's seen me hand pollinate enough flowers. It's the same thing, really. Besides, she TOTALLY caught me off guard, people. Honestly, I'm glad the cats out of the bag on this one. I would rather start the conversation now and speak lighthearted about it rather than later on when it's so awkward.

Let's see. What else do I want to document for this month?

Oh - Mom came to visit. She took tLG and got her new shoes, which were desperately needed.

And - MiMi saved the day and introduced us to the Wet Brush and Milkshake Conditioning Cream. Also, tLG can now put her own hair in a ponytail. That's big y'all. Have you seen how long her hair is these days?

Lastly - We went to see Dolphin Tale 2. The kid swears she is going to work at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium when she grows up.

Mike is working. I'm drowning in work. The end.

P.S. I could not survive Conference Season without my village. They keep me encouraged and motivated. They text me and call me even when I don't return their messages. And if I do, it's usually not in a timely manner. Because.I'm.Drowning. They take the brunt of my frustration. For real. And when I climb my way back into the world mid-October, they accept me with open arms and a lot of grace. I will never be able to thank them enough.

P.S.S. No pictures in this post. To tired to upload them twice. Click here for September Photos.

September 16, 2014

[REVIEW] The One & Only (Emily Giffin)

The One & Only
By: Emily Giffin
Preview Here
I've been a fan of Emily Giffin since her first book, Something Borrowed, which later became a movie starring Kate Hudson. It was followed by Something Blue, which was equally as good. The problem started when she released Baby Proof. The cover was in the same style as the first two books but it was not a continuation of the series as I had anticipated. The characters totally new. Bummer! She went on to write 3 additional books that I never read because I was so mad about book #3.
Then, this year, she released a brand new book that had nothing to do with the previous set. It has a brand new story line with a brand new look so I decided to give it a try. 

If you are a girl living in the South who likes football then you are going to LOVE this book! The One & Only takes place in Texas but stats and players from both SEC and NFL teams are woven through the entire storyline. Even if you don't like football, the story is easy to follow. The football bit just gives an added layer of interest to the book.

The main character, Shea, is a sports writer covering her favorite college team. After her best friend's mother dies she begins to re-evaluate her life and her career. She has always been close with the Carr family but, without the matriarch of the family, things start to change. A LOT of things change. This story has everything from friendship and love to heartache, anticipation, and passion.

I'll be honest, the plot is kind of obvious after the first few chapters. You will definitely know where this book is heading and wonder why there are so many chapters left to go. However, Griffin has a writing style that keeps you engaged as you follow along with the lives of these characters. You will enjoy watching the natural progression take place.

Of course, there are a few twists and turns along the way. Several times I caught myself jumping back from the book with my mouth wide open because I didn't see that coming. There were also a few times were I laughed out loud. Southern women can be so funny at times.

Overall, it was a good read. I enjoyed it and would recommend it! If you are a Bama fan, like me, you will have an added interest towards the end of the book but you will have to read it to find out why. ;)

Available in Hardback or Kindle version on Amazon.

Affiliate links included.

September 11, 2014

Today I Cut the Crust Off A Sandwich *GASP!*

Today, I cut the crust off a sandwich. It's one of those things I swore I would never do as a parent. I made it 7-1/2 years which I think is pretty good. Before I became a mom, there were many things I swore I would never do. However, the majority of those had a much shorter shelf life than the bread crust.

Now, for those of you without kids, I KNOW what you are thinking. 'Cause before I had a kid, I thought the exact. same. thing.

"Why, oh, why would you cut off the crust? That's just wasting bread. If you cater to your child's every need and make exceptions for something as simple as bread, then you are gonna raise a spoiled brat. And for goodness sakes, woman! You've made it 7-1/2 YEARS. Why would you start now?"

Yep. I get it. I totally get where you are coming from because, when you don't have kids, bread crust seems stupid and trivial. It seems like it would be a waste of your time and hard earned money. Clearly, this kid has eaten bread crust for 7 years and there is no good reason to start cutting off the crust now. I get it because that's exactly what went through my head right before I busted out the knife and trimmed that little sandwich to perfection.

When you have kids, you have to pick and choose your battles carefully. If you don't have kids you probably can't even comprehend letting your kids get away with some things and not others. I know, because I was from the same school of thought in my pre-parenting years. My husband says I'm the strongest-willed person that he has ever met. But I seriously met my match when tLG was born. That's the honest truth (and some of God's sense of humor too)!

You can be the strongest-willed person in the world but I promise, Promise, PROMISE that having a kid will make you crack. First, they wear you down physically. The amount of energy required to keep up with a kid is practically unfathomable. There is no way in the world you could match them step for step. For starters, they awaken at dark-thirty and hit the ground running. By lunchtime, we've already used up all of our caffeine and minuscule sleep deposits and are wishing for bedtime or, at the very least, wine o'clock.

In addition to keeping up with this little person, you've also got to manage a household or hold down a job. Plus, you've got this thing called "Mommy Guilt" that's basically a brain disease. Every solid second of every single day, including your dream life, is spend worried about the well-being of said child and whether or not you are doing everything in your power to help this kid be healthy, happy, and thriving. As you can see, the second line of attack is mental exhaustion. Before you know it, you are saying "okay, Okay, OKAY!" to the most ludicrous requests just for a few seconds of peace and quiet.

It's a no-win situation most days. But, as parents, we feel some obligation to raise productive members of society so we pick and choose the battle that might actually matter in 20 years. The rest? As they say... don't sweat the small stuff.

You want to play in the rain and get filthy in the mud? Be my guest. 

You want to sleep in our room? Go for it. 

You want me to buy you everything you see in the store? Not happening. Go ahead, pitch that fit. Make me look like a crazy woman who can't control her kid. I'm gonna need an extra glass of wine tonight, by the way.

You want to skip a bath for the 3rd night in a row? Sounds great. 

You want to wear something out of the dirty laundry because it's your favorite? Knock yourself out. 

You want to hit/kick/spit/sass (___Fill In The Blank___). No way, Jose! You just earned yourself some alone time, kid.

But, food? Yeah, that's not a battle I'm willing to fight. There have been many times that I've asked the question "did she eat enough today to keep herself alive until tomorrow?" And if the answer is "yes" then I move along to more important things. If the answer is "no" we have Summer Dinner. Food fights are not on my priority list.

Side Note: Summer Dinner is essentially popcorn and ice cream with a little fruit on top. Technically, it covers all 5 of the food groups. Don't try to tell this Summer Lover any different. 

So, today when my kiddo asked for no crust, I balked for a second and started spitting out excuses about wasted bread. Then I remembered her sandwich from yesterday where she had only eaten out the middle section. More bread was wasted than just the crust. My mother's instinct kicked in and I decided that maybe, just maybe, if I cut off the crust then technically more of the sandwich would get eaten. Ah ha! So, I did. And, you know what? She ate the whole thing. I ate the crust myself and no bread was wasted.

We didn't get into a power struggle and she thanked me for her accommodating her request. Besides, I don't know a single adult who eats their sandwiches without the crust so I'm thinking this will be one of those things that doesn't matter in 20 years.

What's one thing you swore you would never do as a parent that you ended up doing anyway?

September 8, 2014

[FIELD TRIP] Buritt on the Mountain

We live in Nashville. My family lives in Birmingham. Last week we met half way in Huntsville for a girl's day field trip. Buritt on the Mountain was about a 2-hour drive for each of us but it was totally worth it and easily doable in half a day.

We went on a Wednesday and practically had the place to ourselves. It was awesome! This year, they have a Gold Rush theme, which was a hit with my kiddo. At every stop there is a clue that leads you to a bowl of gold nuggets. You choose one and fill up your pouch throughout the day. They even had a gold mining station where you could find additional gold and gem stones. At the end of your adventure, you weigh your items in the post office and mail off your claim. Cool, right?

Buritt on the Mountain is an ample piece of property full of historical homes and items. In addition, they are a working farm with crops and animals. They even spin their own yarn. All of the staff were dressed in period clothing and were knowledgable about the history of the property and the items in it. I learned quite a bit just in general chit chat. Each location you visit within the venue has an age-old activity that your child can complete to get a feel of how things worked "way back when." I was super impressed with the authenticity.
In addition to the working farm, you can also visit the Mansion of Mr. Buritt who originally owned the property. He was a homeopath with a fascinating life story and a rather unique home that's a story all in itself. You can tour the home and garage. Certain rooms of the house have been transformed into a gem and rock gallery with exhibits that were definitely educational.  

The property is indeed at the top of a mountain in North Alabama with a gorgeous view that overlooks Huntsville. We chose to eat lunch in town but they have some spots that would be perfect to spread out a blanket and have a picnic. There are several walking/hiking trails attached to the property as well but we didn't have time to add those to our itinerary this trip.

Overall, this place was a true gem and I would highly recommend it if you are looking for something to do as a family that's within driving distance.

P.S. I also highly recommend the chocolate peanut butter milkshake at Cheeburger Cheeburger. Hands down, it was the best shake I have ever had. In my life!