Monday, October 31, 2011

Andrew Jackson's Crib


Every year our Homeschool Tutorial takes part in Junior Docent Day at The Hermitage...home of President Andrew Jackson.


The grounds are gorgeous.

If it weren't for the roaring highway in the distance, a person could walk around and envision what it must have been like to live there.


This was Aidan's first year to be eligible to participate in the program and he was super excited about this opportunity.


He worked hard to memorize his lines and was able to tell guests from all over the world {some from as far as Russia} about Alfred's Cabin.

Alfred was born on the plantation as a slave and died there a free man that chose to stay on as a personal servant to the Jackson family. He requested to be buried in the garden near Mr. and Mrs. Jackson...and so he was.

So interesting.


This was Maggie's second year participating in the program.

The girl is in all her glory here.

She simply loves it.


She was able to talk with people from all over the world as well and tell them about the rows of cedar trees that lined the they were destroyed in the tornado of 1998 and had to be replanted.


We were so proud of our group and received multiple compliments on how well they did as Junior Docents for the day.

Maggie and Aidan are already looking forward to next year.

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The Homeschool Post Field Trippin'

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

Friday, October 28, 2011

InstaFriday {Weight Watchers is Gonna Revoke My Lifetime Status}

I've been confined to my couch with a stomach virus this entire week so no picture taking for me...


Unless you count this picture I took of my blanket.
My grandma made it and I was admiring it this morning.
I love the color and "vintagey" feel it adds to my living room.
And it makes me think of it's a win win.

Since I have no pictures from this week, I'll go back and share last week's events.


This beautiful gal of mine completed Phase I of her Orthodontia plan.
And the dreaded Herbst is gone!
She will have to go back into braces for just a bit longer, once her 12 year molars come in, but the hard part is over for sure.
The results are astonishing.


Tyler and I met up with his World History II class to take in the Egyptian exhibit at The Frist.
To be so talented musically, this kid loathes any art of the drawing/painting/creating sort.

This was his sarcastic {notice the evil grin} attempt to tap into his inner Picasso...said it was abstract.


I think we hit Rita's twice last week.

I can't remember.

I received an email that they will be closing soon for the winter and became a bit it's all a blur now.


Adam and I took the youngest two to Honeysuckle Farms thanks to Groupon.
It's the only way I would go again.
Last year we paid $50 to get a free pumpkin that would have cost $3 in Kroger.
As nice as it is, I was just as annoyed this year with their "extra" cost for things once you have paid admission.

Note to pumpkin farms: If you want a family of five to visit more often, don't charge us a ridiculous amount of money just to enter, and then nickel and dime us for every little thing the kids are gonna want to do once inside.



We had a good time but it was a strange trip for me emotionally. My oldest had no interest in going so we didn't make him.

I pick my battles. Ok, so the Groupon was for 4 people and I wasn't too bummed when he didn't want to go. There, I said it.

Still it was strange to be there without him. And I noticed that my middle was probably on her last year of enjoying it as well. Just made me sad as a mom. The family dynamics are shifting and I'm just not sure how to process this new phase of life I'm headed towards.

That's a whole 'nother post though really.


I love to find my kids engrossed in a good book.
Makes my heart happy.


Love to find my freakishly large poodle making himself at home on my chair too.

Yes, that's his chin resting on the ottoman.

Oh this dog...he has no idea that he is big.

Cracks us up.


Last weekend was our last camping trip of the season.
It was cold but gorgeous.
I took this photo while on a run/walk {trying really hard to be good to my knee} one evening.


I also jammed out to this. Oh how I miss these gals. They made Country music almost bearable.


Since it was so cold, I sat by the fire all day and drank copious amounts of coffee...thanks to this stuff.

Sinful. Don't do it.


Speaking of don't do it, I am convinced these are some sort of gateway drug for food addicts.

You start out with a handful and before you know it you've eaten the whole bag...


and an entire slice of this Pumpkin Cheesecake from Olive Garden.


And you think, "Well, I've already sunk so low, I may as well eat these Zepolis as well. What can it hurt?"

It's a slippery slope people.

Please go check out the hostess of'll just love her.

life rearranged

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

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Woman at the Well {Maybe You Know Her?}

I was asked to write a devotion for my church this month. I thought I'd share it here as well.

“Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!” -John 4:16-18


In this passage we see that Jesus obviously already knew of this woman’s colorful past and her living arrangements at the time. So why ask her to go and get a husband that He knew she did not have? He could have simply made her aware of all that He knew about her — the fact that she had been married 5 times, and was not married to the man she was currently living with. This knowledge of her life alone would have had the same powerful effect on her and probably the same end result of her belief.

But Jesus knew that it wasn’t enough for Him to speak the truth…He knew that she needed speak it herself. He knew that unless she could see the truth about her life, and the shackles of shame and guilt that had her sitting at a well during the hottest part of the day, she would never know her desperate need for Him in her life. He knew the power confession and honesty would have on her life. The change that happens when transparency takes root and we find ourselves knee deep in surrender. When we reach the end of ourselves and realize our need for His power in our lives...chains falling away.

He knew the truth would set her free.


Although I have never found myself midday at a well, avoiding the crowds and their judgments, I have spent the majority of my adult life trying desperately to hide the tarnished reality of the not so pretty me, in an attempt to present the world with the shiny, perfect, I’ve got it all together version. Convinced that if the world really knew the horrid mistakes I've made, the depths from which He saved me, or the mistakes that I make daily in my walk as a believer, surely I would never gain acceptance. This sort of pretending, and people pleasing, only left me dry and thirsty, hunched over a spiritual well with no bucket…only the weight of shame and guilt. Defeated. Just like the Samaritan woman.

This pretending also robbed my Redeemer of the glory He is so worthy of. Only when I embrace the tarnished vessel that I am, completely surrender the whole mess, and allow His love, grace, and mercy to “polish me up” can the world see my desperate need for Him, and His story of Redemption unfolding in my life.


"My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9


**As women, mothers, and wives in today's culture {especially the Christian culture}, it can be so easy to get caught up in this spiritually draining practice of trying to appear flawless...have it all together. There is an unspoken expectation placed on us to be perfect and we oblige. Inside we are battling flesh, and a lot of times, feel like we are falling apart.

We wrestle with afflictions such as the shame of past mistakes, pride, anger, the curse of family dysfunction, bitterness, the despair of loss, the power of addictions, and unforgiveness. Not to mention the pressures to be a Godly wife and mom, and the guilt of feeling like a failure at both.

Where there is perfection, there cannot be redemption.

Maybe you have abuse in your past, maybe your marriage is in shambles, maybe you are battling a chemical addiction, maybe an eating disorder, or maybe you find your validation and worth in people and relationships. Maybe you have fallen away from your faith. Maybe you are just treading water. Maybe you feel that you have made mistakes that are abortion? There is no such mistake in His eyes.

Take comfort in knowing that you are actually in a beautiful place. Brokenness. It is where healing begins. Where the enemy looses his grip. Where we leave our empty buckets at the well, and chase after living waters. Where His power works best!

You are also not alone. We are all broken in some capacity. No one is perfect. He knows it, and loves us in spite of ourselves. He KNOWS YOUR STORY INSIDE AND OUT and will NEVER fail you. Never hurt you. Never keep a scorecard. Nothing is hidden from Him. No mistake is too big to fit under the covering of His grace.

He says, "Come...are you tired? Sit with me a while...Are you thirsty? I have the best water. Tell me your heart...hide nothing...hold nothing back. I've made all the time in the world just for you. I am all knowing...nothing shocks me...nothing makes me love you less. I won't give up until I have all of you...the whole ugly thing...I love it all."

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

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"10" Fabulous Fall Finds {Pinterest}


Fall is my favorite season hands down.

What's not to love?


Hot Cocoa.

I could go on and on.

Thanks to Pinterest, that black abyss of lovelies a person could get lost in for days, forgetting they have a husband and children to care for, I've been able to enjoy my favorite season even more.


The ideas I've seen are fabulous and inspiring.

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things I've come across lately.

10 to be exact.



round pillow

This Sprocket Pillow has stolen my heart.

I want 187 of them.

I've told my mom that she needs to get right on this.


Myra managed to take something most of us consider a nuisance {sweet gum balls} and make the cutest decorative balls out of them.



Jen at Tatertots and Jello freed me up from the "I must follow all the decorating rules" bondage I was under and helped me to see that if I love turquoise, then by golly I don't have to put it away just because summer has come to an end.

Mine weren't quite as fancy as hers but I was happy with them just the same.


My Absolute Favorite Fall Mantle Thus Far:


This mantle took my breath away.

There is something so simple about it.
So elegant.
So timeless.


Fall Food:

Candy Corn Cake2

This cake.
How fun is this?!


Tidy Mom posted this yummy recipe for Pumpkin Butter.

There are mounds of carbs just begging to be smothered in this stuff.


Layla's Pumpkin Coffee Cake nearly made me brew a whole pot of coffee, just to sip on while staring at the picture.

apple crisp

And what would fall be without apples?
Apple crisp to be exact.
Myra strikes again.


And for those of us watching our figures, there is Gina's Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Yogurt Cupcakes.

Say that three times fast.


Lastly, I thought this post by Myra {She's a triple threat} contained really cute ideas for Fall crafting with young children.

**Here's where you can find me on Pinterest.
Follow Me on Pinterest

**If you are on Pinterest as well, please be sure and leave your info in the comments so I can find you and follow your fabulous finds as well!

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

Monday, October 10, 2011

One Hot Momma

I had a photo session this morning.
With one hot momma.



My momma.

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

Saturday, October 8, 2011

InstaFriday {Fall Edition}


This week I loaded up the trunk of my van with pumpkins and mums.
This is my way of declaring an official end to the summer and ushering in my favorite season of all...fall.


These pesky guys obviously didn't get the memo cause they are still hanging out around here.
Is it just me or is this not a ginormous mosquito?!


I bought a bag of cheap pumpkins and gourds at the Dollar Tree and spray painted them turquoise.
It's my favorite color so I decided to break all the decorating rules and keep it out with my fall decor.


Heck, I love it so much, I may just find a way to incorporate it year round.


I bought a yard of burlap at Hobby Lobby for a fall pennant.
I was going to do strictly burlap, but I found an owl print bandanna that I loved.


With the scraps I had leftover I used hot glue to cover some of my plastic pumpkins with burlap.


I also added a little of the owl print to pull the mantel and the pennant together.


Of course nothing says fall like comfort food.
Carrot Pumpkin bread says it best.
Both loaves were gone in under an hour.
Click here for the recipe.


In other non-fall related news, our family has taken up a new hobby thanks to a clearance sale at Dicks.
We've been spending the afternoons kayaking on the lake.
Homeschool P.E.


I've been reading this book by Todd Wilson.
Every homeschool mom should be required to read this book.
And if you are a homeschooler and your husband isn't getting Todd's emails, click here and sign him up.
He'll thank you for it.


Quite possibly my new favorite store.
Whole Foods meets Aldi.


This was my laundry room on Tuesday.
Tell me how it is that it looks like this again today?

life rearranged

I'm also linking up to:

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

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