Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August ends in motion

Day 30: in motion

Siblings jumping.

Sisters spinning.

Summer, whirling to an end.

In motion describes this day. This month. This summer.

It's a perfect way to end the photo challenge (which I've loved and will be doing again!)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

thirty two...

Yesterday, I celebrated thirty-two years. 32. 
I like it written out in lowercase letters best.

thirty two sounds like...

fire alarms going off at 12:53 am for no reason...and getting the first Happy Birthday from my sweet husband...

little voices saying "Happy Birthday Mommy" before I even open my eyes in the morning...

hearing sweet voices sing "Happy Birthday Aunt Kimber" from some of my favorite New Yorkers...

phone calls from South Korea...and talking to my little brother for the first time since he left at the beginning of the month...

birthday wishes (always in song first) from my little sister Katy...

thirty two looks like...

a whole lot of candles (and I got them all on the first try!)

being surrounded by my wonderful parents, my precious children, and my amazing husband...

many many birthday texts...

sweet cards, some that bring happy tears...

special, thoughtful gifts all in blue paper to open...

thirty two tastes like...

apple pastry and coconut pie...

roast duck in fig sauce...

homemade Thai by my sweet husband (and secret chef)...

creme brulee...

chocolate chip scones and Earl Grey tea...

standing rib roast and grilled veggies...

chocolate mousse cake with bittersweet frosting...

cafe au lait...

(we celebrated all weekend!)

thirty two feels like...

thirty one...

lots of hugs...

100 degrees....

it's going to be a good year. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Catch up, birthday edition!

 Day 27: after dark

Favorite pajamas from Ralph Lauren.  I also love mine (similar to these) from Pine Cone Hill.

 Day 28: daily routine

My lesson plan book for our homeschool.

Day 29: purchased

My one little purchase (I made) on my birthday:  Online shopping at Studio Calico!  :)

Birthday follow soon!

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Day 26: something old

 I do not remember a day when I didn't have these three things.

This precious little bear answers to Sweetheart.  Once upon a time, I believe he might have been mistaken for Pooh Bear. (He bears a Disney tag.)  His nose has been loved off for as long as I can remember.  He fits in the palm of my hand now.  And oh, the stories he could tell of slumber parties and vacations...trips to camp...laughter...tears.

The two "little blankets" and the beautiful quilt (made by and given to me by dear, precious friends of my parents) slept with me until I went to college.  And then the little blankets stayed inside my pillow during my four years at Baylor. Sweetheart rested against my pillow. The quilt stayed safely at home, as it became more fragile.

When I got married, the little blankets and my bear found a cozy spot in my dresser.  

When I had children, the quilt came back home with me and found the next generation of (gentle) use.  The little blankets made good "substitutes" for when Nathanael's little blanket was missing or in the wash.  And Sweetheart still loves to be held...though he doesn't quite capture their attention as he once did mine.  

I think you only become Real once.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Treasure in August

Day 25: sunflare

It's hard to tell that this is Hadleigh's silhouette.  

But the picture is quite fitting.

For she has been my sunshine since the day she first looked up at me. 
How often I have sung to her the words "You are my sunshine."

You'll never know, dear, how much I love you.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Catching Up, 2nd edition

I knew blogging every day was too good to be true :) 

Nevertheless, I wanted to share my daily pics...

Day 22: trees

Day 23: sunset

Day 24: a smile

and that smile of Nathanael's just tugs at my heart.  He has the sweetest smiles, the most precious grins...I just adore him.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Catching Up

Day 19: Where I slept

Pictured here are two wonderful Christmas gifts we received this past year...a Sugarboo Designs frame (I've loved their stuff for the longest time!!!) and an amazingly comfortable new mattress...I wake up feeling like I'm in a cocoon...and it is terribly hard to get out of bed in the morning!

 Day 20: What I read

This has been my "slow read" this past spring and this summer.  It was tough for me to get into the first chapter...but once I did,  I have loved it.  It's not a book to rush's a deliberate book.  And so I've taken my time with it.  I'm into the second to last chapter...which excites me...and makes me a little sad.  I never like for books I love to come to an end.  Bittersweet.  

 Day 21: pretty pattern

This is my Burleigh china pattern: Blue Scilla by Lillian Delavorgas.  I love these dishes.  I use them for teas and special occasions. They were a wedding shower gift from my Mom...a special keepsake to remind me of our favorite spot for tea in Asheville...and all the special times we had there before and since.

Friday, August 19, 2011

In My Bag

Over the years, I've always loved reading the "In Your Bag" features in magazines...and since my middle school/high school obsession with Lipsmackers, I've always loved "lotions and potions" as Brent calls them.  And so the chance of being introduced to new products has always intrigued me.

I can't say my bag and contents are super interesting or unique right this minute, but here goes!

Day 18: In my bag

I got this purse on Zulily a while back.  I love the size, the shape, and the inside polka-dot pattern reminds me of Boden and makes me happy.

Inside? My wristlet/wallet, hair clip, keys, glasses case with glasses and sunglasses, new gelato schedule, plastic baggie of change for tolls, and my Vera Bradley makeup bag.  I also have (unpictured) a crazy amount of little notebooks, pens, and pencils that I keep on hand for keeping the kiddos occupied.

And inside the makeup bag, MAC pressed powder, concealer, lipliner, lipglass, and lipsticks in two shades ( ), two Sephora lip glosses from a birthday bonus a year or so ago, 2 mirrors (one made by my talented friend Courtney), my favorite Lollia hand lotion, and an unnecessarily large assortment of chapsticks! (original Burts Bees, Rose tinted Burts Bees, Burts Bees Radiance Shimmer, and Savannah Bee Company Earl Grey Lip Balm.)  I think I'm covered, don't you?

So, please share with me your favorite thing that's in your bag right now!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Summer Shelf

I love books.

I love to read.

I can't remember a time not loving it.  (Though my junior year summer reading of Catch 22 and The Grapes of Wrath definitely made it tedious...sorry Mr. Hudson...I did love everything else!  The irony is how much I adored American Lit (of all sorts) in college!)

Day 17: on the shelf

I thought I'd share with  you the books that I have read / am reading / still plan (hope?) to read this summer.

I read Gift From the Sea, Water for Elephants, and Lunch in Paris while at the beach/driving home from the beach at the beginning of June.  Somewhat simultaneously.

Also completed since then (in the last two weeks) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Yep. After finishing watching the movies.  Then I wanted more explanation.  So Brent and I are currently reading through them together.  We're now on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Chapter 3 or 4, I think.

About to start immediately: The Help so that a friend and I can go see the movie.  And because it's been on my list for a long time.

To begin in the near future: The Five Love Languages of Children and Lark Rise to Candleford.  A good friend (and fellow lover of BBC period dramas) introduced me to the television series which I devoured. Loved the first and last seasons best...but really a great show.  And it too, left me wanting more.  So I ordered the memoir that it's loosely based upon.  I'm so looking forward to it...but think it will actually make a perfect autumn read.

I always seem to have at least one fiction and two nonfiction books in process at the same time.  I think it stems from majoring in English and always having three if not four literature courses simultaneously.  Those professors sure don't understand that their colleagues assign just as much reading too. ;)  But don't get me wrong...I loved it.  And still do apparently.

So what books have you been loving lately?  I'm always excited to add new titles to my "To Read" list!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back in the saddle...

We began school on Monday.

It was a very looooooong first day.  I felt the way I did once upon a time when I taught high school. 

And a bit overwhelmed.

Tuesday was much better. Honestly, a great day.

Today...was somewhere in between.  

I have high hopes for tomorrow.

(I had a homeschooling post composed beautifully in my head last you blog in your mind too? I should know by now to leave the dishes and run to the computer...or at least find paper!)

Day 16: what I ate

And because of the first week back, I've been relying on my crock pot this week.  And old standbys. Tried and true (and easy) recipes. 

Last night's dinner of 20 Clove Chicken was easy...though not really knock-your-socks off...maybe because I didn't have the main marinade ingredient on hand???  (But I have to say that whole garlic cloves that have been cooking all day are yummy.)

Tonight is BBQ Sandwiches, quite easy thanks to my trusty crock pot.

Tomorrow...the kid's favorite Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas, which I'm making partly since it's their favorite and mostly because it's my favorite go-to "Meal Delivery" recipe...and our pastor and his wife had a precious baby girl last week!  

Friday...I'm either cooking Orange Beef and Broccoli or ordering Pizza...we shall see.

What have you been cooking this week?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Shoe Rule

Day 15: my shoes


I have never been a fan of thong-style sandals.   Cheap dime store flip-flops? Nope.  Expensive name-brand flip-flops? Nope.  I can't remember ever liking flip-flops. 

I've owned many pairs...because they seem so summery and cute. And easy to wear casual.

But I have a problem with the fabric/plastic/leather part between my toes. 


But a few summers ago, I found a thong-style sandal (a bit dressier than a flip flop...and from a label I'd not heard of before and can't remember now) that had the same strap design as pictured above.  A traditional flip-flop strap PLUS a strap along the base of the toes. And that second strap makes all the difference because it takes some of the pressure and weight off of that annoying strap between my toes. (After wearing them out, I searched for another similar style and found the ones above last summer at Dillards. The blue and green pattern makes me happy!)

This summer, I discovered these Reef sandals...and realized that a wedge heel does the same thing as that extra takes away a lot of the weight from the toes.  So I've pretty much worn out my Reefs and need to order another pair. 

Or ten.

Am I alone in my flip-flop issues?  Let me know!

Monday, August 15, 2011


 Day 14: flowers

Hydrangeas are my favorite flower... and this summer, I've been amazed at how my hydrangea bushes (which normally wilt every afternoon in normal summer heat) have thrived despite 110 degree heat since the end of June.

Maybe it's all the extra watering Brent has done to compensate for the heat, but my hydrangeas don't even wilt in the afternoon.

It's a little bit bizarre.

Granted, they don't look as full and fresh as they do in May...but there are a couple new blooms and plenty of new growth.

Did I mention they aren't wilting?

What are your favorite summer blooms?

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Day 13: from a distance

Saturday, August 13, 2011

After a bowl of tomato basil soup...

Yesterday, to celebrate our last day before school starts, we went to one of our favorite lunch spots, a small locally-owned European bistro.  They have an interesting mix of foods...everything's delicious...homemade croissants...delicious pastries...and every plate gets a chocolate-covered strawberry. Yum. 

There's not much room inside (and it's not the most child-friendly dining set-up...although the owners and staff LOVE's just a bit precarious indoors) so we usually only eat there when it's nice enough to sit outside, under a rainbow-colored umbrella.

My favorite thing though is the Tomato-Basil Soup.  It's unlike any I've ever had before. And I've sampled lots. It's served with spiced, toasted slices of their croissants, which gives it a spicy kick that is amazing.   My girls love the soup too...although they usually always pass their croissants to me.

When we move, I will ask beg them for the recipe. Beg.

And to our table's delight, an empty bowl of tomato basil soup revealed a rainbow in my soup spoon.

Day 12: close up

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sponge Balls

Day 11: Something Fun

There is nothing better on a hot day than getting wet...whether it's via a pool, sprinkler, or water balloons.

This project is even better than water balloons (at least from a parent filling and tying those little balloons over and over again) and is easy enough for even the youngest to create and enjoy!  Thanks to Pinterest, for yet another great idea!

To Make:

Buy several packages of different colored sponges.  I found pink, blue, green, purple, orange, and yellow.

Cut each sponge in half lengthwise. Cut each half lengthwise again, giving you four equal parts.  Repeat with all sponges. (If you cut the sponge in the other direction, your sponge balls will be mini-sized.)

Choose 12 pieces of sponge and twist them all together tightly in your hand, as if you are wringing them out.  With a helper, tightly tie a length of dental floss in the center and knot it.  Trim the ends of the floss and fluff the sponges.

Place sponge balls in a bucket full of water (or a kiddie pool) and watch the fun begin!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A train with a whistle

When I first saw the "something I made" photo prompt, I was excited...thinking I would show off something crafty and beautiful or even something complicated and tasty.

 Day 11: something I made

But the reality of yesterday was focused mainly on those three pictured above.  Playing, running errands, lesson planning and organizing for homeschool, and a fun evening out.

Every summer (Memorial Day through Labor Day) since we moved to our Oklahoma town, we enjoy train rides at an old-fashioned (and very small) amusement park operated by the local Kiwanis Club.  This year, we've been waiting...and waiting.  The train doesn't operate when it's over 100 degrees for safety reasons concerning the tracks...and so yesterday was our first evening to enjoy it this year.

Children were happy.  Parents enjoyed the cool breezes.  Grandparents smiled at grandchildren.  The carousel music floated on the air.

And I watched my three.

Madeleine and Hadleigh sat mesmerized by the carousel, discussing which horse they would ride the next time we came.  All three jumped up and down at the gate, watching in the distance for who could first spot the coming train.  They were so excited to hold onto their own tickets (though a bit reluctant to hand them to the conductor.)  I especially kept my eye on Madeleine, who I think didn't really remember riding the train in previous years...and who got to ride on the last row (facing backwards) alone with her sister.  She was elated and all smiles the whole ride around the park.  I think she felt "big".  Nathanael asked questions about the train and the pond and why there was no steam coming from the engine.  Hadleigh kept a watchful eye on her cautious eldest and my not-so-concerned baby girl...and pointed out all the ducks and birds.

Growing up, my Mom always said to the four of us a "Make a Memory."  Usually it was as we drove up the driveway in the early spring, witnessing the beauty of the red and white and pink azaleas that were in bloom.  Now, when I think of those azaleas, I think of our suburban with my whole family inside...not just the pretty flowers.  The memories that are strongest focus on the people.

Today I made a memory of my children relishing the simple joys of small town pleasures.  
No fancy roller coasters or splashy water rides.  
Just a train with a whistle, bridges and ponds and tunnels. 

And the breeze in our hair.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Most days...

you can find me with a favorite mug in hand.

For instance, this one makes me SO happy.  I bought this one from Starbucks when we were living for a few months in an unfurnished apartment while waiting for our house to be finished.  We didn't have a microwave...and I hadn't thought about bringing my teakettle along, so I boiled water in a small saucepan (borrowed from a friend) every morning and afternoon for my cup of tea.

Day 9: faceless self-portrait

And this mug (my ONE mug) made me smile...despite the "inconveniences" of those couple months.  And looking back on them? They were wonderful months.  When I use this mug, it reminds me of what simple joys I came to know during those months when I realized how very little we actually need.

(couldn't decide which picture I liked better...)

Usually, this cup holds Earl Grey, my most favorite and everyday tea.  This day however, it holds cafe au lait...which I've been making at home lately after reminiscing of my cup in Savannah a few days ago!

Here's how I make very easy.

Cafe Au Lait

8 oz. steamed milk
8 oz. hot coffee (regular or decaf, depending on the time of day. I'm not "allowed" regular after a certain point in the afternoon.  It doesn't help my night-owl tendencies!
1 Tbsp. sugar in the raw

I pour both steamed milk and hot coffee together in a ceramic coffee pot/tea pot, stirring a bit.  After pouring into my mug, I stir about 1/2 Tbsp. sugar into my cup.  This recipe fills that mug above twice! :)

Do you have a favorite teacup or mug? What fills it most often?  I'd love to hear your stories!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


Days like today, I don't like the thermostat in my car (which always seems to be off by about 4 or 5 degrees...which actually means that it was 104-105 when this pic was taken.)

 Day 8: technology

ETA: but on days like today (Wednesday) I don't mind it at all.

Can I just say cool breezes??? (Even if the start of the cooler spell was a massive storm with winds at 80 mph that knocked over our playhouse/swingset AGAIN.)

Monday, August 08, 2011


I'm just dropping in to quickly share yesterday's photo:

Day 7: something new

In the middle there are two of the new curriculums we're using this year for homeschool.  

All about Spelling (for Hadleigh and Nathanael)
All about Reading (for Madeleine)
First Language Lessons/Writing with Ease (for Hadleigh...and maybe a bit with Nathanael)

And the reason for the super short post?  I'm off to work on lessons plans...we start homeschool a week from today!  But I'll be back with more details of school stuff later this week, for those who are interested/asking!

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, August 07, 2011


Day 6: childhood memory

Yesterday, I went to a baby shower and one of the centerpiece decorations was this vintage Babies book.  It brought back so many special memories of reading with my Mom.  (I will have to look for our old copy of that on my next trip home.)

The two books pictured above are so precious to me.  

The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes.  

My first Bible Story book...I have such vivid memory of reading these stories and poring over the pictures for hours.  We received the updated version of this for our children...but the cartoonish drawings just aren't the same as the illustrations from my original.  I quickly asked my Mom to bring my copy a few years ago...and now my memories of this book also include my own children, who love this too.  

Special Times with God

I love the simple set-up of this children's devotional...reading it as an adult, I was surprised at how I anticipated the simple sketches that would come next...and how I remembered the stories and questions.

This has reminded me of how important these early, impressionable years are...and how I want to make the most of them in what I teach our children...what I read to them, sing to them, play with them, show them.

Because one day, I hope the things they will remember will be the important things.  Foundational things.  Things that shaped them.

Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it."

Saturday, August 06, 2011


Day 5: someone I love 
(who was playing golf somewhere MUCH greener and cooler than OK this weekend!)

I briefly shared a few months ago that we celebrated our tenth anniversary in May...but forgot to blog about our quick trip to Savannah to celebrate.

Originally we had planned on taking a long vacation (just the two of us) to celebrate...but due to a possible move (now further in the future but still on the close horizon) we thought it best to wait until we know more of the big picture.

After driving to Kiawah with my family, we left the kiddos with my parents and left the South Carolina coast for Savannah, Georgia.  Neither of us had ever been...and I was quite excited about the rich history and literary merits of the oh-so-southern city.

We stayed at the AVIA Savannah (which was wonderful) and after checking in, we immediately began to explore.

There was a tall-ship in dock on the river which had free we went on board and took some pictures...wishing just a bit that Nathanael was there with his eye patch and pirate hat.

We grabbed a quick lunch along the river, enjoyed the old cobblestone streets, ate gelato, and watched an old fashioned taffy machine do its magic at Savannah's Candy Kitchen. (I felt like I was in the kitchen with Jeremy and Jemima in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.)  

The buildings along River Street are beautiful...the steep staircases down to the river are so very quaint...the knowledge that the rock wall along the back of restaurant we dined in dated to the Revolution tugs at the imagination.  There's nothing like the eastern US (and the South) to bring US History a bit closer. (And I loved the second story building entrances (facing away from the river) that required their own personal bridges to access the front! My picture of those got deleted!)

Next we did a bit of shopping along Broughton Street.  Savannah Bee Company was so unique...and the honey delicious.  A place I'd love to bring the kids...especially this location (we visited two!) as there's a fun little play space!

I had seen my friend Stephanie (who gave us amazing suggestions for our trip...thanks again Steph!) mention the Paris Market on her blog...and I knew it was a must.  What a beautiful place...I left with lots of creative ideas (and a long wish list!)

While I browsed, Brent spent time in their beautiful patisserie, enjoying an iced latte. (And they were wonderful...I got one to go!) Isn't it perfect? I'd love to spend more carefree afternoons there!

After a bit more sightseeing, we got ready for a wonderful dinner at Elizabeth's on 37th.  It was the perfect setting for a leisurely dinner and place to talk about and celebrate 10 years of marriage.  We had an after-dinner date for coffee and browsing at Barnes & Noble (a favorite pastime prior to children and living in two cities without a B&N) followed by a late movie.

The next morning we ventured back to the cobblestone streets for breakfast at Huey's on the River.  I had an amazing cafe au lait and yummy Eggs Benedict.

But the star of our breakfast???

These amazing beignets, drizzled with praline sauce.  Many times since then, I have craved another one. I am so glad Stephanie recommended them.  I'll go anywhere that serves dessert for breakfast!

Afterwards, we explored the city a bit more by carriage.  Our tour guide was funny and we enjoyed learning more "behind the scenes" history of Savannah.  The architecture and design of the city are truly unique...and as I'm sure every visitor and resident would agree, Savannah's public squares are a true treasure.  I could have spent hours wandering from square to square or with a book on a park bench.  That is on my list for our next visit there!  

Another carriage shot...and our only picture together.  We left our camera at the beach house, so we only had our phones...I feel like I'm missing pictures...and I think it's because we captured a lot of our trip on our then-new Flip camera...which I haven't even looked at yet!

After checking out of our hotel, we drove through a few more squares, explored a bookshop, and then had lunch at the Gryphon Tea Room.  By far, my favorite spot in Savannah.  I would spend way too much time here if I lived nearby!

The ambience was right up my alley.  The tea room occupies an old turn-of-the-century pharmacy with stained glass windows...walls and glass cases full of old books...unique lighting...and an original pharmacy cabinet I'd love to have for craft and homeschool storage!

As we were being seated, Brent noticed that one table was empty on a raised "stage" by the he requested it.  It was perfect and private and an ideal way to end our visit to Savannah.  The only thing that would have made it better was if there had been a pianist (notice the grand piano behind Brent) playing that afternoon.

I, of course, ordered high tea and a pot of Earl Grey...and the three tiered serving tray was quite a feast.  (I left quite full with a container to-go!)  The timing of our visit was ideal...our waitress told us that the next day they would be closing to remodel the kitchen...I'm so glad that I didn't miss getting to have tea here!

Our last stop in Savannah was Forsyth Park.  What a beautiful space in a beautiful city.  It was a hot day...and probably a good thing the iconic fountain has a fence around it...otherwise I might have dipped my feet in!

I do hope to return again to Savannah someday...

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