Monday, May 31, 2010

Beach Bums

We are having a blast here in beautiful Destin, Fl. If you don't believe me, just see for yourself.

These were all taken with my Canon SD960. If you are in the market for a good digital point and shoot camera, I highly recommend this one. I would never take my Rebel on the beach casually so I love that I can throw this one in the beach bag and go, and still get great pictures.

They aren't perfect...and it probably doesn't help that I blew them up to kingdom come.

I blame that on Darcy and all this pixel power she left me with.

Right now I am stuffed to the gills with freshly steamed crab legs and coconut cream pie.

Ask me if I care. :-)

Aidan Poolside

Destin May Twenty Ten 1_06 02 10_1043

Destin May Twenty Ten 1_06 02 10_1033

Destin May Twenty Ten 1_06 02 10_1035

Destin May Twenty Ten 1_06 02 10_1029

Mag digging

I am linking this post up to:

Sweet Shot Day

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Friday, May 28, 2010

This time tomorrow


I will be here...

and this is where I will drink my Blueberry coffee...

or my German Chocolate Cake coffee...

whichever I fancy....

every single morning.

Freshly pedicured toes in sand...

Hawaiian Tropic glistening on my legs...

hot hubby in the beach chair beside me...

another year of Homeschooling behind me.


And when I'm not sipping fancy flavored coffees...

or people watching with my hot hubby...

I will be here.


Where there is a special booth smack dab next to the pie case with my name on it.

Not really.

But there should be.

And all will be right with the world.

For 7 days at least.

"My every mortal breath is Grace and nothing less"

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Halfway to Seventy

2010 05 29_1008

Yesterday was my sweethearts birthday.

He turned 35.

When I called him to rub in how old he's getting wish him Happy Birthday, I thought I'd let him know...just in case it slipped his mind...that he is now halfway to 40.

His response?

"I'm also halfway to 70"

That's one way to look at it I guess.

Could certainly make 40 look a lot more fabulous.

So would this lovely scarf we used to blindfold him. He should hold onto it.

Our sweet friends were waiting to surprise him at his favorite Mexican restaurant in town.

So were the sombrero and off key accordion.
This look tells me there will be revenge in my near future.

For sure.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I almost missed this

2010 05 19_1000


While walking down the hall, laundry basket perched on my hip, I stumbled upon Maggie and Aidan in a sweet (they are few and far round these parts) brother-sister moment in our schoolroom...knee deep in a bucket of books, bean bags and buffoonery. So of course...I dropped the basket of laundry (not that I was looking for an excuse or anything) and grabbed my camera.

My children extending love, kindness, and affection to one another. Tolerance even. Sharing a tender moment they will one day reminisce over as adults.

A gentle reminder from my Heavenly Father of just why I do what I do here.

A tiny glimpse into their know, waaaaay down deep past "you weenie!" and "mom, she's touching me!"

2010 05 19_0970

I'm linking up with these great blogs today:

Sweet Shot Day

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Giveaway Winners!

mugshot bux

It only took me two whole days, and my little sister bringing it to my attention today (I know it just pained her to show me the error of my ways), to notice that I was advertising a Starbucks gift card for the giveaway, but had a photo of my Dunkin Donuts mug at the top of the post. It's a long story so I will spare you...let's just say there oughta be a law against me operating heavy machinery (or anything with a shift key) after 10pm. Well, that and a law against me being allowed to respond to emails from my Pastor when I'm recovering from surgery and taking enough pain killers to put down a large horse. And while we are putting laws down on the books for me, go ahead and throw in the "thou shalt not insist on driving the little motorized "jazzy" carts through the grocery store hanging the wheels up on every single corner of every single aisle resulting in the reverse beep of death while on above said narcotics after surgery" law. I apologize for any coffee confusion.

I also went for a run this morning and locked myself out of my house. I'm on a roll. I hid the key so I wouldn't have to carry it on my run...I just didn't realize I was hiding it in a place that left me with one more door to walk through and lock behind me. I'm pretty sure my poor husband will be visiting me in an assisted living home by the time I'm 50. And I may not put up a cooked and served, laundry washed, room cleaned, Bingo every Friday. ;-)

Onto the winners...drumroll please.

**The winners were chosen using Random Number Generator**

The winner for the $25 Starbucks Gift Card is... "apartmenthomesteader" Please email me your name and address and I will get your gift card in the mail to you right away. Congrats and enjoy. And try to get some sleep.

And the winner of the Camera Strap is ... "amyinperu" Please email me with your contact info and I will get it to Ruthanne and she will be in contact with you. Go on with your strappy fab self.

Thank you all so much for your comments...especially for the drink ideas for Starbucks. Who knew I was missing out on so much?!?! I have a little notepad that I keep on my visor (with a mind like mine I know that's shocking to you) and I have already made a list on it of your ideas so I will know how to "shake up" the Drive-Thru next time.

Most of all thank you for your wonderful comments about my blog and for making my blog reveal/first-ever giveaway a success. It was so exciting!

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A New Name, New Look and 2 Giveaways!

mugshot bux

Testing...testing one this thing on? Are we really live now? I am skeered silly to press publish but here goes. No turning back! :-)Italic
Don't worry. No need to head out to get your eyes checked. You are at the right place. Same blog. Same family...

New name. New "do".

My husband was gracious enough to purchase a blog makeover from Darcy for me as a Christmas present. It only seemed fitting to give this blog a new name while going through that process. We are still "McManus Party of Five"... and unless God has other plans, we always will be. But since starting this blog, it has become far more personal to me than the original purpose of capturing my kiddos as they grow and keeping out of town family members in the know. Why "Mosaic of Grace"? Read here.

As you can see, Darcy is fabulous. And just as fabulous to work with. She has the patience of Job. I only had to ask her to stop speaking Greek and speak on my level 83 times. The woman is freakin' Superwoman as far as I'm concerned. Homeschooler, web designer, photographer, Twitter extraordinaire. HTML Master. You better hold onto tight to your cape and those boots Linda Carter.

This blog will be even more fabulous the minute I figure out what the heck I'm doing here. Yep, I'm clueless and learning trial by fire. Bigger picture capacity means I have to somehow make nice with my old flame Photoshop. Right now we are legally separated and need third-party counseling to move forward in this relationship.

If you are already a follower of my blog would you please take the extra step of subscribing again? I have a new feed so you will need to update me on your end...whatever that means for you. I apologize for the inconvenience. And don't worry...moving (without movers and moving trucks) makes me itch so you can rest assured that this is my last one. Oh, and be sure you grab a button down below too. :-)

"Celebrate Good Times, Come On!" that I've got that stuck in your head (you can thank me later) let's get onto the celebration festivities shall we? I'd like to make this post extry fun by having my first ever giveaway!!! TWO to be exact! Read on to see how to enter each giveaway.

UPDATE*** (I'm gonna put it here in case you don't make it to the bottom) ;-)


See that mug up there? How about $25 worth of that hot steamy (or cold frappy) goodness in your mug? Well, not a whole $25 all at once of course. Moderation folks.

To enter:

Just hit that subscribe button up there at the top (if you want to of course) and then leave me a comment here telling me your "go-to" drink of choice at Starbucks. I'm a creature of habit so for me it's always a Tall French Vanilla Skinny Latte. I need to spice it up a bit.

**For an extra shot at winning you can also comment and let me know (separate comment for each) if you mention this Giveaway (Starbucks Gift Card) in your blog or Twitter. Just leave a link so I'll know you did. So that's 3 chances for the Bux!

It's that simple. I will pick a random number sometime on Sunday.


My ever so sweet cyber friend Ruthanne agreed to help make my blog debut even more spectacular by offering to give away one of her snazzy camera straps below! Aren't they precious?!?! I'm so gonna have a Ruthanne original of my own someday. When I do, I may not take it off. Even to sleep. You think I'm kidding don't you? I won't get one this time though...that would be cheating. Tempting though.

I'm just gonna warn you...enter her domain at your own risk...there are loads of drool inducing photos. And I wouldn't read while drinking liquids...unless you want to have to change your shirt. You will laugh. Maybe even snort. You may waste hours of your life. I cannot be held responsible. Let me introduce....

Eclectic Whatnot {} is owned by Ruthanne, a homeschooling mother of five. It gives her the opportunity to combine two of her new-found loves - photography and sewing. Her shop features shabby, chic and just plain fun camera strap covers and aprons {and more to come!}. Her sewing is fueled by good coffee, streaming episodes of 24 and show tunes. You can find her at her blog {}, on Facebook {} or on Twitter {}.

To Enter:

Visit Ruthanne's Etsy shop and come back here to my site and leave a comment sharing which strap is your favorite. I will pick a random number on Sunday and let Ruthanne know who you are.

For an extra shot at winning you can also comment and let me know (seperate comment for each) if you mention this Giveaway (Camera Strap) in your blog or Twitter. Just leave a link so I'll know you did. That's 3 chances for the snazzy strap too!

Look, but please wipe your chin.

Esty Store Collage 700 px

It's really a win win....if you win the coffee your camera may be left in the dust looking drab and boring but at least you will have enough energy to clean those toilets you've been putting off till tomorrow.

Should you win the strap, your camera will be the most popular camera in it's class and all the other camera owners will just have to have one...but you won't know cause you'll be sleeping. ;-)

Either way, you can't lose.

Thank you so much for stopping by...your comments make me giddy. Be sure to grab a button below and don't be a stranger ya hear? ;-)

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Schoolhouse in the making

*** I've been up since 5:30am and I'm too lazy to write up a whole 'nother post about our school room with big pretty pictures and all. It pretty much still looks like this...and it is still "in the making".

I posted this a while fact before Darcy got her hands on my blog and filled my world with pixel power.

Be sure to click link below to see more Homeschool Rooms over at Heart of the Matter*

Not Back to School Blog Hop

This room is located over our garage and in most houses would probably be dubbed "bonus room". Having three kids and all, it became a bedroom when our family moved in. We painted it to match the Nashville Predators comforter that my all things hockey teenager wanted from Pottery Barn. After being in this room a couple of years Tyler decided it was too cavernous for his liking and decided he wanted to bunk with his little brother. My husband and I agreed to move him out of the cave and into Aidan's room...we were so dumbfounded by the fact that they actually liked each other enough to share sleeping quarters, we never even stopped to consider the task we were taking on.

Once it was empty, I knew that I wanted this room to be our schoolroom. Ours was officially in the formal dining that we never used..not for dining anyway...unofficially all over our living room. ;-) So other than the fact that I would have to hike up and down the stairs for school, this space was perfect. Actually, it's a win-win now that I think about it...My husband gets a clutter free (most days) living room and I get legs of steel... One could hope right?



I wanted it to have an "old schoolhouse" feel to it...without the boring pasty white walls I endured in school.

Paint: Porter Paint "Golden Ecru" (Bottom pics are more true to color)
Vintage Style clock: Target
Curtains: Pottery Barn
Square Table with Green and Blue Chairs: Target ($30 bucks off!)
Brown desks: Wal-Mart
Red Desk: HomeGoods
Little Silver Pails: $1 each at Target

There is still more to be done...I want these for displaying artwork on the wall...but will have to wait till they are on Ebay or till my hubby takes me on a road trip to Atlanta since they are not sold online. I'm not holding my breath for either. And I want another table for the room that will be our "nature" table. Hoping to find a good table at Goodwill just begging for a paint job.

This room may be the place in which we will read books, diagram sentences, and learn algorithms...but my job and the classroom itself spills over into the hallways and all the other rooms of our home. It's there that school is always in session. When I'm talking to my husband...kind or unkind. When I'm talking to my children...with patience and understanding or without. When I'm cooking a meal for someone in need...or glued to my computer wasting hour upon hour of my time. When I'm reading my Bible...or reading blogs. When I'm on my knees in surrender...or stressed over all details of my life. Yes,we may have a new "classroom", but I'm being reminded more and more everyday that school...learning to love others more than focus on the needs of others live each day in complete surrender to God's will for our lives...that class is ALWAYS in session. After all, example is the the ultimate teacher. It always wins out.

We have been in this room for the last month and we LOVE LOVE LOVE it! And guess what??? No books in the living room....well, not as many. ;-)

I'm linking this post to:
Sweet Shot Tuesdays at Darcy's



tuesdays unwrapped at cats

"And whatever I do, may it always bring glory to you"

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Weeds in a bucket

A lovely lunch at historic "Tully's"

I don't know why, but ever since I can remember, I have wanted nothing more than to be a mother. (Well, there was that brief dream I had of being a singer/dancer at Opryland) I'm quite certain that I was still playing "babies" long after most girls had stopped. When other girls headed outside to hang out after church, I headed to the nursery to hold babies. When my friends were being dropped off at the mall, I was babysitting.

I was blessed to become a mother when I was just days shy of turning 20 years old. Never had I felt such love or such fear all wrapped up into one single moment. All I knew was this...there was nothing I would not do, no train I would not jump in front of, no degree to which I would not go, to protect this precious life that had been placed on my chest.

Since that moment I have had two more beating hearts placed on my chest...Maggie and Aidan. Well, actually Aidan was not placed on my chest. He came a tad early so he was whisked away to be looked over by NICU and I was left romancing a nemesis basin. Don't ask me why I decided to have the kid with the shoulder span of a gorilla "au naturale"...good thing he wasn't the first or you would be reading "McManus Party of Three" folks.

Back to mothering.

Those three sweet babies have grown into beautiful, intelligent, funny, tender, God fearing, respectful, individuals that I adore. And genuinely enjoy spending time with. I love them so much it hurts. Their laughter and their smiles are what I live for.

And then there is Mothers Day...that's another thing I live for. It's not often in the life of a stay at home Homeschooling mom's life that you get to hear from your children just what you mean to them. And I get plum giddy over it.

So often I can second guess myself...worry that I'm doing it all wrong...wonder if one day they will pay some psychologist's retirement fund because of me. This is the one glorious day of the year that I get to see that they don't hate me for making them get back out of bed to brush their teeth when they forget at bedtime.

This year I was treated to a very healthy breakfast. Chocolate Gravy. :-) I can't even type it without smiling. :-) See?!?! Healthy for the soul at least. I was treated along with my mother in law to lunch at a neat little restaurant. There was peach cobbler. Again, I was smiling. :-) The rest of my day was spent just hanging with my favorite people and soaking up their affections.

My kids all made cards for's the highlight of the day really. To see their feelings written out in their own handwriting is just the best feeling ever. I especially love how thin Aidan insists on drawing me. I like that kid.

This year Maggie brought me a little pail full of flowering weeds from outside. I'm so mad at myself for not taking a picture because they were just precious. That girl just melts me. She is one of the most thoughtful people I've ever met in my life. I was just so moved at the thought of her seeing those little weeds...thinking of me and just knowing that I would like them as much as she did. I loved it. More than my Lisa Leonard original...and if you've seen those, you know I mean business.

I have no idea why God chose me to care for and nurture these precious creatures, but I will spend my life trying to show my gratitude.

After all, they were His before they were mine...only on loan to me for a short while.


I'm linking this post to:
tuesdays unwrapped at cats

"And whatever I do, may it always bring glory to you"

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

God of This City...Nashville.

"The rains came down...and the floods came up."

I can remember singing this in Sunday School before I could even read. This week, I lived it. I am not in the mood or mindset to worry about proper wording or even spell check at this point. I'm not in the mood to try to win over a new reader or impress some of my "blog idols", I'm hurting.

The picture above is my precious Nashville today. Drowning in the Cumberland River. An epic 500 year flood. I've barely slept since Friday. I spent the first part of Saturday glued to the TV or in our storm shelter dodging funnel clouds.

As the day wore on, my fear of tornadoes was quickly replaced with waves of nausea as I watched (via TDOT cameras) as people were literally drowning in their stalled cars on the I-24. I watched people sit on the top of their cars crying for help as the flood waters rose around them. One of those people ended up being a 22 year old single father that was an employee of my husbands. So tragic.

And when it seemed like it could not get worse, the rains kept coming. And coming. For almost 2 whole days more. And what I've seen unfold on my television has broken my heart into a million pieces. I've watched a man stranded for hours as so many brave people tried to save him...only to learn later that as they tried to pull him in he was swept away and lost his life. I've spent hours in fear of a dear friend that was missing for 7 hours...she was safe..her house was not.

I've watched as beautiful The Opryland Hotel, where we take our kids every Christmas, was swallowed as the Cumberland came out of it's banks. Not to mention the Historic Grand Ole Opry...seeing this is like salt in the wound. We were just here at Christmas to see the Rockettes...remember?

My sisters boyfriend worked at the restaurant you will see in the Opryland video..he is now facing unemployment and the uncertainty of when he will be able to resume his job there.

I've received an email from a friend and fellow Homeschooler that read, "We just saw our house on the news...the water is up to the eves..please pray that we can keep the mind of Christ through this nightmare." They are facing total loss today. And our cities are still facing the threat of water contamination and water shortage.

I am also now dealing with the emotions that come with watching John Edwards mistress face plastered all over my tv but no mention of the complete devastation and loss so many are facing here...and will be for a long time. I'm praying about those feelings. Surrendering them. Some would even question "why God"...I know I do at times. But everytime I do, I'm met with a resounding "why not?". There is no where in scripture that we are promised to be spared from tragedy...or suffering...or loss. Only that in the midst of it...there He would be too. Oh did you do it?

I will say one thing. Nashvillians will not be a people to sit and bemoan their plight. They will not whine and ask when help will come. No. They are fighters and they themselves are in the trenches today...helping each other in the midst of their own loss. Being the hands and feet of Jesus.

Please pray for this city. And the numerous other towns and cities in our area that were affected....and the families of the 26 lives lost thus far.

I'm linking to Emily's Tuesdays Unwrapped
tuesdays unwrapped at cats

"And whatever I do, may it always bring glory to you"

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