Friday, July 31, 2015


It's Friday!  It's super duper hot here and the only time the roses look fresh, and don't have a million japanese beetles on them, are first thing in the morning.  Here are a few pictures of the roses and a few things on my mind as well...

I love this dress.  If only my waist were smaller...

Our family was in desperate need of pool/beach towels.  I bought some of these on sale ($20 each!) and they are so much nicer than I thought; beautiful, large and soft.

I made this cake last weekend and it was really good.  Different but good.  I love using herbs out of my garden!

I've just started reading How to Raise a Successful Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims, based on a friends recommendation.  So far it's given me a lot to think about.

I'm thinking of trying Stitch Fix.  Have you tried it and, if so, what do you think?

The amazing Katherine Marie posted this on her instagram account.  Yes to that.

I've been really, really wanting to visit London.  Could the news of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child make it finally happen?

This makes me smile.  I would want the one that actually rings but one would need just the right spot for it wouldn't they?

Here's to a beautiful weekend all around!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Still Blogging...

You guys, last week marked my 8th year blogging!  Keeping up with this blog and documenting our days has been something that I've consistently enjoyed over these 8 years.  When I look back over the blog, I'm astounded by how much has changed and how much has stayed the same.  This blog has changed a lot simply because my children have gotten older.  I've changed too.

I don't read that many blogs anymore and I wonder if others are the same?  I know that several of the blogs I did follow, who became friends, have quit blogging.  So many of the blogs started to look the same and I easily fell into the idea that everything needed to be "blog worthy" or "pinable," but our life isn't like that and I don't want my family to feel that it needs to be constantly put together and photo ready or that they have to craft an image that isn't authentic.  As much as I love beautiful things, pictures and moments I don't want to feel like we are creating them for the blog instead of living them in the here and now.

And while there was a time early on in this blog that I got swept up in who was reading, following, commenting, etc. I definitely have settled into the main purpose of the blog, which is documenting our days as a family.  I can't help but believe that a 40 year old Grace or Harris will enjoy reading about how their Mom worried and obsessed about bikinis, manners, room decor and favorite things!

Of course, a big bonus to this blog are the people I've "met" and the virtual friendships I've made.  So if you are still around after all these years, thank you!

I love the photos of the boys lemonade stand.  I'm sure from a professional bloggers point of view it's totally uninstagramble, unpinnable and not blog worthy, but it's real and I love it.  I restrained from making suggestions and let the boys make their stand completely on their own and how they wanted. I particularly love how they changed the price when they weren't getting enough customers.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


(mud mask!)

I recently read this article and loved it.  I would mostly consider myself a low maintenance Mom.  I do get pedicures every once in a while and I have my hair highlighted a couple of times a year, but in general I would say I'm low maintenance.  However, I've recently learned that I'm more vain than I would have thought of myself.  I have dealt with psoriasis, on a rather mild level, for years but recently have had  flare ups on my face.  I've always been lucky that it comes and goes and is usually not all that obvious.  But I tell ya, having it on my face threw me for a loop!  Because of the nature of psoriasis (flaky) you can't really cover it up with makeup because it actually makes it look worse.  Anyway, I was surprised at how very self conscious it made me.  I'm not sure why I was so bothered by it, but if I'm honest I'm also a bit bothered by the sunspots and the wrinkles that are showing up all over the place.  (In fact, I'm not usually one to go out without makeup.  I like a good solid foundation to smooth and even things out!)  However, I've been very, very careful since we had children to not speak negatively about myself.  I don't talk about how I need or want to lose weight.  Or how I wish I was taller.  Or how great it would be to have more defined eyebrows!  And for the most part I don't focus on any of that anyway because I'm pretty happy with who I am.

So I've been disappointed that lately there has been some talk from Grace about how she wishes her hair wasn't so "pouffy" or that her own eyebrows were "better."  Of course, I want to, and do, tell her how beautiful I think she is, that she doesn't need a stitch of makeup to enhance her features.  Perhaps that is hypocritical since she clearly sees me apply makeup all the time (for the record, she hasn't asked to wear it), or get my hair highlighted but I'm adult and she is not.  What is it about us humans that love to compare ourselves to others and so often feel that we come up short?  And while I feel that there isn't anything wrong with enhancing what we've got through makeup, tweezers, etc., what is the right age to start?

I've started talking to friends here and there and I've learned that they are taking matters into their own hands with their girls.  Eyebrows are plucked/waxed, hair is straightened and facials are being done.  I hadn't even considered doing any of this for Grace since she is just 13 but now I'm wondering if I'm wrong.  I've always thought I didn't want to send the message that she needed improvement but perhaps I'm looking at it the wrong way.  Perhaps it's just helping them along on an already difficult, awkward and sometimes lonely path?  I don't know and clearly we all have to do what fits our family style but....

I'm curious what your thoughts are and how you've helped your children be confident but not caught up in how they look?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cast Iron Pans and How I Season Mine

I've always had a cast iron pan that I've cooked in a decent amount, but it wasn't necessarily my go-to pan.  Then, a couple of years ago, I read about the benefits of cooking with cast iron (originally this is what I got me thinking) and I started using it more and more.

However, it wasn't until I bought an old Griswold pan that I realized how wonderful these pans could really be.  It was with this pan (and with a subsequent Lodge pan) that I realized there really is a correlation in the manufacturer and the pan performance.  My Griswold, Wagner and Lodge pans have a smoother seasoned finish, cook more evenly and clean up in a breeze compared to my first (it has no manufacturer name on it) pan.

So far my little collection of pans has come from flea markets where I've been able to get great prices (they can go for a lot online and in some antique stores, so when I see them for next to nothing at a flea market I snatch them up).  My favorite ones, for pure cute factor, are these individual skillets that are perfect for an egg in the morning.

I like to season my own cast iron, which is good because most often at flea markets they are either bare metal or have years of baked on gunk (taking that off is a whole other post!).  I thought I'd share my favorite method for seasoning.  There are lots of methods but this is what has worked for me...

before seasoning

1.  Start with a pan that has been cleaned and scrubbed to its bare metal (if you bought the pan in its bare metal state it probably has a light coat of oil to keep it from rusting).  Clean the pan in hot, soapy water.  Dry immediately and stick it in a 200 degree oven to completely dry.  This is important as a bare metal pan will start to rust quickly!

2.  Rub the entire pan with a light coat of flaxseed oil.  I use a paper towel to rub the oil all over the pan so that it is a very thin layer.  Put the pan, upside down, into a preheated 500 degree oven for 30 minutes (turn on your oven fan!).  At the end of the 30 minutes, without opening the oven, turn off the oven and let cool completely.  

3.  Repeat step 2 two more times.

4.  Your pan will continue to build up its seasoning with every use.  I often fry bacon in the pan the first time to help it even further along.  

after seasoning

P.S.  I picked up this Wagner pan on our trip to Kentucky at an antique store that I stopped at on my way in to the grocery store!  I figured if I had to grocery shop on my vacation I might as well throw in my favorite kind of shopping!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Pretty Container for Hairpins

As I've mentioned before, I wear my hair in a bun a lot.  It's just an easy way for me to corale my thick, bushy and, oftentimes, frizzy hair.  Plus, I think it's pretty.  As such, I always take hair pins with me when we travel anywhere.  For years I used a tic tac container and it worked wonderfully.  However, a while back, while wandering a consignment store while Grace was at ballet (she also uses an inordinate amount of pins!) I came upon a beautiful bottle with a silver cap that is the perfect size for bobby pins!  Years ago, men and women used to travel with beautiful jars for all of their personal items.  Often, these would be cut glass with sterling silver tops and were organized in beautiful travel cases.

I love my little glass jar and when it's not traveling it looks lovely sitting amongst my other silver and glass toiletry items.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

Our final stop, before we headed home in earnest, was the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. As Harris is such a baseball fan we couldn't pass it by, and it was well worth the visit (and parking the Airstream in a city!).

(holding a major league players bat)

We took a tour of the factory where we learned the history and process of how they make baseball bats.  Harris was so interested in all of it and was disappointed that the tour was on the short side.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Mammoth Cave National Park

After we said our goodbyes and left the lake, we headed to Mammoth Cave National Park.  There was no way that we were going to be that close to a national park and not go!  Mammoth Cave is the worlds longest known cave system with at least 385 miles explored!

Before arriving at the park we signed up to take two tours, The Gothic Tour and The Historic Tour, during the day.  Our first tour started at 8:30 in the morning and when we arrived at the mouth of the cave the mist looked magical!  Most of the cave stays at a temperature of around 54 degrees (there are colder parts) and at the mouth of the cave you could see the line of where the cool air reached the warm, humid air!

On both tours we had engaging rangers who shared a lot of history, facts and fun stories about the caves.  These caves were absolutely amazing!  The majority of what we toured was bone dry!  In fact, artifacts were incredibly well preserved because of how dry it was in the cave.

The ranger turned out the already dim lights at one point and I was amazed at the absolute darkness that followed.  I couldn't see my hand in front of my face.  I'm in awe of those early explorers who went into the cave with only a candle.  The lack of light made it pointless to try to take pictures so we don't have any of inside the cave to speak of!  We squeezed through some pretty tight spaces, but also saw spaces that looked like cathedrals!

We didn't get much of a chance to explore above ground at Mammoth, though Bryce and Harris got caught in a downpour while biking, but it was well worth the trip to see the cave.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Prizer Point with Family

After we left West Virginia, we headed to Kentucky to meet Bryce's parents and sisters.  We don't normally love staying in commercial campsites since they are pricey and usually have lots of amenities we don't use, but in this case it was really nice as we were there for four nights and full hookups provided us with the ability to run both air conditioners (glamping at its best)!

Our time at Prizer Point was spent playing games, playing in the water, relaxing and spending time with each other.  It was really nice.

Grace and Grandpa have matching airstream t-shirts!

We rented a pontoon boat and spent one day on the water.  

The pull behind was fun for everyone who did it, but Harris could have done it all day.

Molly, James and Jackie's dog, had her own life jacket!

There was a lovely breeze by the lake that made it perfect for sitting and relaxing with a book or a friend.

There was a giant "iceberg" in the lake that took an incredible amount of upper arm strength to climb it but both children managed it!  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Adventures on the Gorge

Our recent trip was planned months ago when it was decided to gather together some of Bryce's family as a surprise for his parents (they learned of it at Christmas time).  We hadn't gotten together everyone from this branch of the family in years and years!  As we were all coming from different parts of the country, we decided to meet "in middle" as much as possible.  This meant a two day trip, for us which translated to 4 days travel out of the week.  It made more sense to us to try to break up those driving days with activities as much as possible.

Therefore, on the way down to Kentucky, we stopped to do some white water rafting on the Gauley and New River and to see the gorge in all of its glory!  We made reservations for our rafting experience only a few days before and Adventures on the Gorge were fantastic about getting us on the river.  Our only problem was getting a campsite, everyone was booked for the weekend, but we found a little campsite, Cooters, that had availability!  We laughed a lot about the campsite but it actually worked out perfectly and was a great place to stay.

We didn't have a day on our trip where it didn't either steadily rain or thunderstorm!  On the day of our rafting trip, down the Lower New River, it rained on and off for most of the morning, but it didn't impede the trip at all nor make it any less fun.  We were going to be wet either way!  Our guide, Jillian, was fantastic and made it a lot of fun as were our boat partners (there are 8 on a boat).  Of course, I didn't take a camera on the boat but we did get some pictures from the professional photographers they employ (I have permission to post photos).  Along the route, we stopped and had lunch, swam some of the rapids and climbed tall rocks to jump off of into the water below.  It was so fun!  I was shocked that Harris didn't fall off of the boat, though he did fall into the boat several times!  Sorry, I tried to show restraint on these pictures but I just couldn't stop adding to the post.  It was so much fun- though from my face I look slightly terrified while everyone else looks like they are having the time of their lives!

After our day on the water, we made an effort to also see the New River Gorge Bridge which is the 3rd highest suspension bridge in the U.S.  We also got a wonderful view of it from the water!

That evening, the 4th of July, we went on a night hike to the top of the Gorge and watched fireworks. We were the only ones there and it was truly magical, except for my complete freak out over Harris getting anywhere close to the edge of the 1,000 foot drop off.  That was more scary than magical.

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