September 28, 2012

friday favorites and general randomness

Here is another edition of some of my favorite things this week...and some just random things you need to know.
{Fall Nature Walks}
Just one of the many many reasons to love fall...the nature walks. We've been on several this week, just checking out what's going on.  Sometimes nature study can be, what do I do when I get out there?? I have found some of the best nature study resources and you can get them too at Shining Dawn Books. They are sooo good! And there's so many topics to choose from. Our fall favorite is the one on fruits and nuts.

We've been studying cells in science. I am using Apologia's Anatomy book (which is designed for elementary kids, mind you) and there's some...well, tricky parts. I'm pretty sure the whole DNA part went right over their heads, but we did make some pretty fun models with licorice and marshmallows. Now maybe...just maybe they'll see a picture of DNA somewhere and recognize it?? Maybe??
{This Bump}
Ya, so it's there...there's no denying it. Is there anyone else out there that can confirm that 4th babies grow at incredible rates? I feel like I'm the size I usually am 2 months from now! I'm a little afraid....must go shopping asap!

{A Baking Buddy}

She cracked the eggs perfectly.  All three.  We baked this.  Pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.

I'm 30 and I've never used anything more than a bar of soap on my face. This is just not sufficient for old chicks ;)  I got sucked into an infomercial all about skincare with vitamin C. What can I say, they convinced most infomercials do.  So instead of making the 3 easy payments of $19.95, I went to Ulta and found this. I got the night cream, the day cream, aaaand the special eye stuff. I have been using it religiously for a whole 6 days.  That's pretty good!

{Getting Serious}
I'm a Shaklee girl...have been for years. So much better than Target vites, if you ask me.  The girlie I get my stuff from is basically my nutritional guru.  She's awesome.  If you need a guru too, her name is Dara and she's a HUGE help. You can find her website here. The prenatals the doc gave me looked more like a prescription to me, so I asked my guru if I could skip them. She said yes. :)  I ordered some extra stuff I don't usually take and stocked up on my regulars. Now I have a stocked vitamin cupboard and it feels gooood.
Skincare and vitamins make me feel super responsible.
We're off tomorrow to go visit friends in Roanoke, VA...what are you up to this weekend?

September 24, 2012

A Titanic Event

Last weekend, my family and I had an opportunity to visit one of the most fun museums we'd ever been to...The Titanic Museum of Pigeon Forge, TN. 

After a short two-hour drive, the museum finally came into was quite a site!  We were greeted at the entrance by maids and ship mates all in costume and character.  As we entered, each of us got a boarding pass of an actual passenger on the Titanic.  I was a 2nd class passenger with a really sad life; her first two husbands and her child had died...she did survive the Titanic's sinking though, so I guess that was good for her.  Sophie was a 1st class dress designer from London.  She was the inventor of the runway fashion show and she's the woman that made lingerie sexy...betcha didn't know she was on the Titanic!
Each of us read about our character and wondered if they would be on the "survived" or "deceased" part of the memorial wall at the end of the tour.

As I wasn't allowed to take photos inside the museum, I'll have to try to paint a picture for you with words, because it really was amazing. We walked through the "ship" starting in the servant's quarters.  We saw a replica of their bunk room, got to walk down hallways like they would have, down in the belly of the ship.  The kids shoveled coal into the boiler and got to feel how hot and exhausting that job would have been.  Everywhere was artifacts recovered from the ship, photos, and reminders of that last horrible night.
The second part of the tour was the First Class section.  This was really amazing. They had made a complete replica of the grand stair case, complete with a white linoleum tiled floor...considered the utmost exquisite flooring of the funny is that?! It was more expensive than marble flooring.  I couldn't help by think of Jack and Rose when I saw that staircase.  Speaking of those two, there were lots of items from the movie in the of my favorites were the actual costumes that they wore. So cool!  Also in first class were remakes of their grand suites in all their finery, more artifacts from the actual ship, and a remake of the grand...and I mean grand hallway that guests would have walked down every day.

They last section of the museum was all about the ship's last fateful night.  Something about this part was my favorite, but also the most eery.  We walked into the room that the captain would have been steering the ship in.  There were windows facing out into a starry night.  The kids could steer the ship's wheel and peer out the windows.  A tour guide gave us lots of information on running a ship of that size and what the helmsmen would have been doing in that room.  As we walked through the next door, he warned us that the next room would be very cold...around 30*.  As we walked into the dark room, I instantly got goosebumps...but not because of the temperature. 
The room was really dark...all except for some "stars" in the sky.  The room was very cold.  Adding to the cold temperature was a giant iceberg...yes, an iceburg as tall as the ceiling. All around the perimeter of the room was a pool of water chilled to the actual temperature of the Atlantic that night...28*.  Something about this room was so real.  I could almost feel the fear the passengers would have had, felt the icy water, heard the panic. It was a so real.

The rest of the tour was all about the wreck: we sat in a remake of a rowboat they used, pounded out S.O.S, tied sailor knots, tried to climb the ship as the incline changed drastically every 15 minutes as it was sinking...all the while we listened to our audio tour, which included story after story from actual survivors telling about the things they saw and heard.
We ended by listening on our audio of the divers recovering the wreckage and what they found on the bottom of the Atlantic.  We got to see things they were able to pull up from the ship: a lawn chair, instruments, dishes.  Did you know that the Titanic's band never quit playing? Even as the ship was sinking? Now that's job dedication, right there!

Overall, we left this tour feeling like we tasted history. It really was amazing....well worth the day trip.  You can visit the Titanic Museum's website here and see a video of the inside of the museum for yourself.  Also, if you're not in the Pigeon Forge area there is another location in Branson, MO too.  I would highly recommend the Titanic was a great experience.
**I was compensated for this review, but all the opinions are my own**

September 21, 2012

here's what's up

I was so blessed by your comments on Monday I could barely stand it. Thank you, thank you for your sweet words. I've read and reread every one.


Since things like pregnancies and blogs can turn you into a total narcissist at times, let's just sit down and talk about me for a minute, ok?

Q. Are you seriously pregnant with your 4th kid?

A. Ok, so no one asked me that, but just in case you missed the last post...yes. That is a ci, senor.  Really, it's not as crazy as it sounds. There's always the Duggar's. They have more kids than us.

Q. When am I due?

A. In the Spring. April 16th to be exact! That will make February, March, and April babies...daddy, get your checkbook!

Q. Are you finding out what you're having?

A. Oh no. Not a chance. We love the element of surprise. I want a big ol' surprise and fanfare after all that work of labor. We've never found out...this baby's no different.

Q. How am I feeling?

A. Well, not so good...but getting better. I'm not a thrower upper (thankYouJesus!). But I've had enough nausea to make me want to puke and just get it over with! Really tired. Really really nauseous.  My sleep is totally ridiculous. Like yesterday I was wide awake at 3am.  That is just not a normal waking hour.  But I'm 10 weeks along now, so hopefully in the next few weeks we'll be done with that jazz and I can resume normal exercise and eating and sleeping.

Q. Are the kids excited?
Oh yes!! They are and they are hilarious. Imagining Sophia as a big sister is seriously doing me in. She is such a doer. She will do everything. Jack is a little lover and has wanted a baby for months and months. Noah, the heir to the throne, is trying to be calm and cool. Then he'll ask me something out of the blue about babies that shows me he's thinking.  He's my analytical child.

When I told my sister she said, "Oh my gosh, Alicia. This is going to be the easier kid yet! You're not going to have to do anything.  My gosh, Soph will probably even breastfeed it!."
I have laughed over that conversation 100 times!!

We told the kids at the beach while we were on vacation.  We told them while we were sitting around the table after dinner, the Strahles our witnesses.  It was beyond comical and a bit emotional.  I'm going to leave the details of that story for Becky to tell since she took pictures...and notes.  No, I'm not kidding.  She wrote down what each of them said on a paper plate. I loved that. (by the way Becky, can you send me that plate when you're done using it? thanks!)

Q. What is my emotional state and why do you feel like a caterpillar?

A. No one asked that either. I'm just asking myself questions and answering them now. But here's the truth. I'm not sure what the connection is, but I feel myself sort of cocooning.  I want it quiet. I want to read and read and read.  The computer is making me nauseous...I must stay away.  I feel like I want it physically quiet, but also I want to be emotionally quiet.  As in, social-media has taken an immediate back burner to make room for a quiet, calm mind.  Am I making a hill o' beans worth of sense?

Basically I feel like "Darling" on the Lady and the Tramp.  I am sitting and reading and waiting. Remember how she's just sitting and knitting the whole time? That's me. (only reading)  I'm doing the very minimum.  That has never...I repeat, never been my style. I got rid of everything baby related when we moved. But I feel no rush whatsoever to shop for maternity clothes or anything.  I'm just chill.  My house is slightly dirty.  My kids are learning to make lunch.  Clutter is collecting a little bit.  But I'm totally fine with that. I'm cocooning. And waiting.  My body's doing a big thing, so I'm letting it.

So that's the low down on me right now.
Happy weekend to you!!


September 17, 2012


The initial shock has been pushed over by excitement and anticipation.

The "4's" bobbing in circles on the imaginary mobile behind my eyelids has ceased.

And a heartbeat has been detected.

It's official.

We are beyond thrilled.

A Spring little chick, we shall have!!

September 13, 2012

thursday things

Has anyone else's life been crazy these first weeks of September? Appointments, classes, activities, field trips...there's been a lot. Today we're doing nothing but school. We're not going anywhere. I love that. Maybe we'll get crazy and bake cookies!

Anyway, here's a few little Thursday things that I thought I should share.

I have a whole buncha beach pics I want to show you, but I just have not been at the computer to post them. Beach pics...coming soon!

The boys are both doing Boy Scouts this year. Cub Scouts to be more accurate. Jack is a Wolf. Noah is a Webelo...I have no idea what a Webelo is.  But seriously, these little boys in their little uni's are just about enough to make me melt into the floor...cute!  I can barely stand it!! Not only the uniforms, but the cute boy-stuff they last week they learned to tie knots. They learned how to fold a flag.  Soon they're going camping.  Then they're going to spend the night on a WWII battle ship!! I'm mean, there's a lot of blogging material here and I won't be there for most of it. Their daddy takes them to Scouts and will be joining them on the trips. I'll have to send my camera....

And one more little temporary townhouse is being featured today at Life Made Lovely blog! It'll be HERE sometime today...go see!
Time for class and I'm still in the teacher's lounge!! EEK!! Better get goin'!

September 10, 2012

ms. hutchinson's classroom tour

Happy Monday! We started school this morning. It was time! Time for routine goodness. It went really well. We're using a lot of new curriculum this year and starting our 5th year of homeschooling, we were due for a change. I wanted to take you on a quick spin of our "classroom" which is also our dining room. Multipurpose is good.
This shelf holds everything. Our supplies, daily work, current books and current papers.  The rest of our school books are downstairs on shelves, but this shelf holds our current books.  

This is my box.  I have 8 folder and they hold all the papers I'm going to need for the first 8 weeks. This system is working really well. I have all my copies made for the first 8 weeks so I don't have to be running to the copy machine during the school day.

On the bottom shelf I have two baskets (World Market) that I hot glued little chalkboards to.  Each basket holds books for our science and history units we're working on. I am really liking this so far.

Last, I put each kids' daily workbooks and things into these magazine files. I covered the outside in graph paper and hot glued the metal letters to. I found them at Micheals and they didn't have a J, so Jack got a 7 ;)

So there you have it...our school room. I love doing school at the table. We're close to the kitchen, the laundry, the rest of the house.

I'm super excited for this school year. It's gonna be great!!
Happy Monday, loves :)

September 7, 2012

When You Live by the Sea

When you live by the sea, or at the very least travel there, you want to do what the locals do. Things like shelling and crabbing. You read about crabbing adventures and decide it would be great fun and you totally need to try it on your seaside vacation.
Despite taking a little (a lot of) flack from your (male) fellow travelers, you drag them all to the bait shop and gather up crabbing lines, nets, buckets, and raw chicken necks.  Yes, chicken necks.
The kids are of course giddy with excitement the (male) adults are still doubting your inner motherly wisdom for making memories and you snap pictures of clean children with nets and lines ready to catch themselves some crabs.
Because it was your idea and the others are apprehensive about handling raw chicken necks, you grab one of those suckers and hook it on the crab line. Being the adventurous soul that you are pretending to be, you confidently throw that line in the water while the others watch. When you feel that tug on the line you immediately know your inner mothering wisdom was right...this is gonna be fun.

When within ten minutes and your bucket is holding a half a dozen crabs, you smile smugly at your fedora-donning husband and give him the Itoldyaso look.  He is stubborn and says, "I just knew this was going to be fun." Then you accidentally trip him and make him fall into the crab infested sound.
Just kidding on that last sentence...but it did cross my mind, not gonna lie.

You watch with a happy heart as your people catch their fill of crabs (over 30 to be semi-exact). You feel like a local when other tourists (too scared to try crabbing) gather around you and start asking you questions about bait and such.  You answer back in your best North Carolinian accent and nod like you have degree in Blue Crab Catching.

(If Don Draper went crabbing.  In gas station sunglasses.)

You smile to yourself with pride as your daughter, the youngest of the bunch, sits patiently with her line tied to her finger and catches roughly 15 crabs. You ask her how many she's caught and she shrugs like she doesn't know she cares and you know she knows how many, because she's competitive like you.  She makes you smile.

You feel blessed to be traveling with friends that do fun things with catch crabs. You're thankful they're sweet and get along so well with your kids and braid their hair and share their things.  You love these friends like they're stand-in family and you're thankful you have them.

As you watch this process you realize why God said to steer clear of eating things like crabs because they are very gross in fact...crawling around on the bottom of the sound eating other dead fish and fish poop. You look closely at their googly eyes and watch them pull off each others legs in the bucket. You listen to the others talk about boiling them and eating them and you're looking into their sick eyes and wonder if you can stomach it. You hide your contorted face behind your camera and keep snapping or puke and snapping pictures sounds more fun.
As you drive back to your beach house with a bucket of crabs on the floor by your feet you thank God that it worked...we caught crabs.  We made a memory and it was one of the highlights of the trip. You also smile inside that you now have a argument you can use for quite some time..."Hey, Mr. Doubtface, remember crabbing?? Ya, thought so." Thank you.

Epilogue: We did eat those crabs. Jarrod turned out to be quite the crab cleaner. He gutted 30 crabs and we cleaned them out. We made a crab dip that was very good, but made me slightly nervous. I'm not sure what I think about eating something that was alive an hour previous. I think I'm better as a vegetarian.  Anyway, rest in peace, crabs.

September 5, 2012

August 365 & The Endless Summer of 2012

This summer has been the absolute best. Bestest ever.  I look back at these pictures like, "how in creation did we ever do all that??"  We did. We seriously lived it UP this summer. I'm feeling a little hungover from a week at the beach and having to dive head-first into real life.  This week is co-op classes, boy scouts, ballet, Awana, and dipping our toes into school.
Hang on, though...before we light the pumpkin scented candle.  Let's reminisce for a minute or two and relish in what was Summer 2012...
Tree climbing in South Dakota:: Carousels:: Twist Cone:: Jack's first DS:: Robin and I, bartending:: Camping:: Reuniting with Sister:: Jack is 7!

Outer Banks 2012::  Beckster and moi:: Shelling:: Jockey's Ridge:: Pretty shells:: Mama's 30::  Currituck Lighthouse
Besides August's rendezvous, July and June weren't too shabby either.

and Williamsburg

Sullivan's Island

Hair cutting
Ice Cream Man

I'm relishing. I want to wrap up this summer in a box and keep it forever. I've love love loved it.

But that said, I'm ready for what's next. Ready to sharpen pencils and buy pumpkins...make some apple butter and eat it on fresh bread.

I'm lighting that pumpkin candle now.

Farewell, endless summer 2012...we have loved you.

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