Sunday, October 30, 2011

make do {and make lovely} mondays - GreerCamp


This weekend we went to Petit Jean State Park
I can't believe how close it is to us. I had no idea. I know I should know better. I have failed as an Arkansan I am sure. But I wasn't raised here so cut me some slack k? Arkansas State Parks are pretty cool and several of the parks have  new features, like Rent-A-Camp, Rent-A-Tepee and Yurt options.
We chose the Rent-A-Camp and we totally lucked out. The first night, the temps were frostiest, and we found out the next moring from our camping neighbors that the tepee's, while very cool looking have a big gaping hole at the top, so even if you bring a space heater, there is no way to keep all the heat in.
Note to the camping wise: Rent the tepee's in moderate weather only.


 The tepee's also do not have bunks, they have bedrolls, which is awesome if you are 7. Not so awesome if you are 37.  The Rent-A-Camp comes with 4 bunks, 4 bed rolls, a canoe, life jackets, a gas stove, a propane jug, a broom and a cooler. 


I packed two too few blankets. We are used to camping with two beds not four, and so I was a little short. This meant that when the cold nights came I had a bed buddy in Miles, which I didn't really mind as his body heat kept me extra snuggly. When he wasn't elbowing me in the eye and pushing me off the bed that is.


Our tent was right on the water and the view was beautiful. Every morning we were greeted by a flock of Canadian Geese. The rent-a-camp and tepee area is the most secluded of all the Petite Jean camp sites, which we loved, even though it was a little hike to the bathhouse.  I am not easily icked out, so in general I don't mind camp bathrooms, but I have to give big props to the Petit Jean staff because their bathrooms - even the mens from what I hear- are SPARKLING clean and not even a little gross. 


See that bootie? Cute huh? Mmm hmmm.


Wylie did some growing up on this trip. At one point Sweet Man handed him a pocket knife and turned him towards the wooded area and said "Go have fun."  And that is exactly what he did. He always managed to hear us call for dinner or lunch, but it spent most of the trip in the woods exploring.


Bacon and coffee are two camping essentials. I could have eaten this whole pan full of bacon, luckily for my waistline I had to share it with three other hungry boys.


At one point I looked down at my plate and realized that the eggs we were eating were from our chickens and that the jelly was some that I had made. Only the bread and the bacon were store bought.  I couldn't help but be a tiny bit proud, and think that perhaps I will be a good farmers wife after all.


Miles is sporting his new glasses. Yes, he picked them out. They are "nerd" glasses as he calls them and he wears them with pride. Surely I should win some sort of mothering prize for letting him fly his freak flag? 




 Once we did all the hard work of setting up camp I sat down in my chair and pretty much did not get back up except to pee and eat.  I read, I stitched, I stared at the water. I dozed, and I daydreamed. I even got a little writing done.



The trip was amazing and wonderful, exhausting and inspiring. 
And  I am so glad to be home in my nice warm house, with my bathroom just down the hall.

Now if only I can muster up the energy to unpack and do laundry...

xoxoxo
cheers & blessings,
J

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*Don't forget today is the last day to enter my giveaway for a copy of  My {Not So} Storybook Life

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday's Confessions - The Ghost of Halloween Past

Welcome to Thursday's Confessions. A weekly feature where I confess, before you my sisters and brothers, the silly, the ridiculous and even at times the shameful. Why? Because confession is good for the soul. Even in Blogland


Confession: I used to have a shop. Albeit a small shop. Ok, it was a one-room shop with my craft sister Jeanetta. But it was still a shop. And it was cute, and it was ours.



In our little shop we were able to play out all our crafty dreams. Especially around holidays.


We took simple, thrifted and inexpensive finds and turned them into magical creations. Polka-dotted pumpkins and happy haunted houses were just the tip toppy of our crafty dreams.



But eventually the spider came and sat down beside us. The economy turned,   our children all went to school, and we both found ourselves in need of more consistent paychecks and jobs outside our homes. We tried to juggle the shop and our jobs and our families, but it didn't take long to figure out that it was more than even we, super-craft-women that we are could pull off. So we closed the shop.


Confession:
 In general I am happy not to have the shop anymore (something I never imagined I would say. Ever.) But every now and then, especially in the fall, around Halloween, I grow nostalgic for those days. For the time I got to spend with Jeanetta, setting it all up, conferring over what we would be making next, comparing fabrics, papers and glitter types. Laughing about how we couldn't tell the glitter flecks from the pepper flecks on our dining room tables.



Having the shop was a dream of ours and I am so grateful that we got to do it. This year, when I haven't even been able to get nary a fake pumpkin or a single spider hung I am especially grateful for the pictures and the memories, and the very bold reminder that for everything - even dreams and decorating- there is a season, and sometimes it is a shorter season, and sometimes it is a long season. 
What I wanted, needed, loved then was having a shop. Those are not the things I want, need or love now. And give me another five years and I bet a lot of my wants, needs and loves will change again.  This is something I need to remember now more than ever .

xoxoxo
Cheers and Blessings Friends
J

Monday, October 24, 2011

locally yummy



There is the yummiest, cutest little restaurant a few blocks from where I work.
It is called The Root Cafe and it is PURE yummy.
Look at that hamburger and salad.

This is from their website:
We have delicious burgers, bratwursts, sandwiches, soups, salads, pies,
and pastries that feature fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced from small farms in
the area. 100% of the meat and bread and most of the cheese and vegetables
we use are locally grown or produced. We also offer locally-roasted coffees,
homemade grape and apple sodas and ginger lemonade as well as the best of
Arkansas beer and wine (coming soon). In addition, we host a range of activities
from food preservation workshops and guest speakers to music events and art
openings.

The decor is too cute, very vintage and homespun. There is a garden on site and often when you order something, the farmer that grew it is sitting one table over.

Wouldn't it be cool if someday our produce from our to-be little farm found it's way to The Root tables?

make do {and make lovely} mondays - A Storybook Giveaway

Good morning friends! Welcome to Monday and making lovely here in Blogland.
I don't know about you, but I need some pure happy to get my week started and what is happier than a Book Giveaway?


This is my friend Liz and her baby Jane. 
Liz lives just a hop and a skip away from me, yet we never get to see each other.
Our mutual affection is felt via twitter, gmail , our blogs and the occasional garage sale encounter.
One day I hope we can run away together and flea market mid-century treasures together till we fall down, drunk with great deals. But until that day comes I will settle for reading her new book.


This is Liz's new wonderful and laugh-out-loud funny book.
And I have an autographed copy to giveaway.
I am only a few chapters in but already I am smitten (as if I thought I wouldn't be!)
Here is the official book blurb:

Fresh, funny, and poignant, My (not so) Storybook Life is old-fashioned humor mashed with literary spoofery. Elizabeth thinks of herself and her husband, Matt, as a modern day Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. Together they’ve endured paint-color mishaps, sewage disasters, pest infestations, and a schnauzer that poops at tornado sirens. It was hardly the domestic perfection a young Liz imagined while reading Anne of Green Gables and Pride and Prejudice. Could it be that these literary stalwarts had led her astray?

Liz tells the story of her own path to happiness, along the way seeking revenge on her literary heroes: Jo March has to cope with a soul-sucking job, Elizabeth Bennett shepherds a Duggar-size brood of kids, and Anne Shirley deals with a penny-pinching husband. But every comedy is balanced by tragedy. Angela was one of Liz’s closest friends, a kindred spirit who at age of 33 was diagnosed with cancer. Before Angela, Liz was discontent. But it was the journey she took with this friend that made her realize that her house and its decorations and plumbing and dirty-clothes-covered Man Cave were not burdens to be tweaked and perfected, but blessings to be thankful for.





Jane is VERY excited about this Giveaway and so am I.

To enter all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite Fairytale is and why.

If you want extra entries you can Facebook or Twitter or Blog about this giveaway and then come back and let me know you did!

The giveaway ends a week from today on Halloween 
 One of Liz's favorite holidays to decorate for.


xoxoxo
cheers and blessings,
J






Friday, October 21, 2011

Fly Away Fridays- Camping

I thought it would be fun to start a regular Friday feature that is all about dream  getaways... Kind of a bucket list/inspiration list of places that I want to go, things I want to do... Want to come along?


(click on images for source)


Next weekend, our little family is planning a little road trip.




We are loading up and heading out. Course our SUV is not as cute as this. And we do plan on taking people with us and not just cute vintage thermos', pompoms and a puppy dog.



See the tents that are not tepees? That is where we are going.
And we are on the water. Camping on the water may be my most favorite thing in the world and I am excited about trying  these "rent-a-camp" tents (the tepees were all taken this time, but we will try them eventually!)


I wish I had a whole stack of vintage Coleman to take, but I do have the little thermos cooler. Let's just say it is the first piece in my collection  instead of the only piece.



I am also plotting my own version of this. I am curious to see if it can be done with store bought dough for the sake of convenience. I will keep you posted.


I am also hoping to get some stitching done as I have been so busy with other projects that my stitching bag has begun to gather dust.


Knock on wood and prayers said, the weather is looking promising. Cold but not too cold. Sunny and clear.
Our little family needs this and I cannot wait to fly away.


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In other news, are you following Shannan's 31 Days of Letting Go Post? 
I am loving this series by my sweet friend. Go check it out if you can!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday's Confessions



Confession: This is how I am handling the following things today

*Laundry
*House improvements
*The book deadline
*Flat tire on car
*Working Out
*Halloween Decorating (this I am just giving up completely. Not happening this year.)

So this is working great. Course, taking life-tips from Scarlett is always perilous.

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PS- keep praying. Things at the bank went well. I will keep you posted!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordy Wednesday - on the nightstand

Welcome to Word Wednesday
Where it is all about what we are reading, singing, and quoting around my casa.


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Today I thought I would share what is on our nightstands these days...

On my side of the bed:
I am reading this because it is a book that our 8th Graders read at school and I like to keep up with them. I am three fourths the way through. I had to stop because it is stressing me out.   I love this book but I can only handle so much at a time. But it is beautifully written.



On Sweet Man's side of the bed

Um, yep. This is what he is reading. We have to get have to get this man to a farm. And soon.


On Wylie's nightstand

I have to say I am glad he is working his way through something other than his Harry Potters.
Wylie reads like my dad. If he loves a book he will read it one hundred times. No lie. His Harry Potters are all threadbare and dog eared. They are his go-to books when he runs out of other reading material and he can read them in a day or two. It is crazy, but I remember those good old days when I could tear through a book in a day, if not an afternoon.





On Miles' nightstand


I love that Miles loves this book as much as he does. I am a little worried about the Halloween costumes it might inspire and the work we will have to put into them. Yikes!
Miles was so excited and anxious for this book to arrive that he created his own Magical Creature Field Guide in the meantime.  Now if I can just keep him for putting salt everywhere to ward off the goblins...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

today I am


(image found HERE)

Today I am filled to the brim with gratefulness for
*The rainy cold weather
*Cheery Red rain boots
*My sister Jemimah coming home this weekend
*Friends who go along with my crazy ideas
*My sweet Sweet Man
*Hope
*Your prayers and encouragement
*Possibilities
*The biggest photo shoots for the book are over
*Martha Stewart


Monday, October 17, 2011

Make Do {and Make Lovely} Monday


This weekend I conquered my fears and made jelly.  And it is DELISH.  Just saying. I will never buy store bought jelly again if I can help it. One of my besties came over and walked me through it, and I could not have done it without her, or my mother who was our Helpline. I made two kinds, both are recipes for the book and you cannot imagine the relief when they turned out so yummy.  Seriously yummy.


The Realtor came last week and brought pretty good news. We have a little work to do but not as much as I feared and the price range for what we she felt like we could list the house for was in line with what we were hoping. So now, we go to the bank. And I so curious as to what they will say.  Our credit is an interesting history, and while I have finally paid off all my business debt (yay!!!)  I am not sure how of  much of the damage I caused to my credit score has been healed yet, but I guess tomorrow we will find out.  


Today I am trying to remember to take all of these things- the book, the house, the farm, my weight (did I mention that I have gained 20lbs since starting the book? ) one day at a time. I cannot control what the bank will say, what my editor will say, if my house will sell, if anyone will buy my book. I cannot lose all 20lbs tomorrow.  But I can go for walks on my lunch break, and I can work hard and write honestly. I can hug my kids, and kiss my Sweet Man and hang my laundry to dry on the line. And  I can wear bright red shoes that make me smile and if I will remember to, I can pray, with every sing red step I take.  And that is a lovely thought.







Friday, October 14, 2011

Fly Away Fridays- Africa & A Giveaway


I thought it would be fun to start a regular Friday feature that is all about dream  getaways... Kind of a bucket list/inspiration list of places that I want to go, things I want to do... Want to come along?



I have always wanted to go to Africa.  Well that is not true. I used to be afraid to go to Africa. I was afriad if I went to Africa I would have to wear bad clothes. The church tradition I grew up in was a great supporter of foreign missionaries, always handing out prayer cards and book parks with the pictures of missionary families on them. And in every single picture the families clothes were at least a decade out of date. To me. at that age, I almost couldn't imagine a worse fate, and I lived with this knawing fear that God was going to call me to be a missionary and that I would have to wear ugly clothes. Thank God I grew up. And met some missionary kids who had perfectly nice and modern clothes.   

In High School I feel in love with the movie Out of Africa, and a few years ago I fell in love with The Number 1 Detective Ladies books and series on HBO. But I know that neither tell the whole story. That Africa is so vast, and so varied, that it would take a lifetime to know it all intimately. But still I hope to know a small part of it one day. I hope to take my shots like a big girl and get on a plane and go. I want to see for myself, I want to know for myself, at least a small part of Africa.

For now I connect through support. We help support missionaries in Swaziland who work with with the C.H.I.P.S, Program - Children HIV Intervention Program in Swaziland, to help the orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS pandemic in Swaziland, Africa. These are some of Ian and Jenny's kids. I want to hop on a plane and go adopt them all. We also support a Rwandan child through Compassion International. but still. I want to do more. I want to know more.


I see pictures like this and first I think it is beautiful and majestic and then I think that it probably doesn't feel beautiful and majestic to that mother. Then I make a promise to myself that  I will never complain about having "just" one INDOOR bathroom with RUNNING WATER ever again.  I will never complain about taking my child to the store that has a CART and FOOD falling off the shelf again. If I do, please slap me silly. Please.

Africa is beautiful.



and complicated.


Africa is wild.


and all too familiar.

Africa is big


and small.

And I want to see it all.

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Until I can get there, myself  I will have to rely on the stories of those that have been there to help understand better the joys and challenges, the beauty and the pain of this large continent. I will watch movies like Praying the Devil Back to Hell and I will listen to the stories of those who helped make the film and maybe gleam a little more understanding of how I can be a better neighbor, even thousands of miles apart.

If you are reading this, then you have access to the internet, which means that you can watch the Women, War and Peace special on PBS, and specifically Praying the Devil Back to Hell , a film about  the astonishing story of the Liberian women who took on the warlords and regime of dictator Charles Taylor in the midst of a brutal civil war, and won a once unimaginable peace for their shattered country in 2003. (You can also read more about this series and episode HERE)

If you live in Central Arkansas you have the chance to join me at a special preview screening of this film followed by  a Q&A with the producer Abigail Disney. The Women's Foundation of Arkansas, who is putting this event on, has graciously given me two tickets that I would love to giveaway. 

The film will be shown at 6:30pm, on Friday October 21 in downtown Little Rock.
If you are able to make this event and would like two tickets please enter this giveaway by leaving a comment here on this post. And if you have been to Africa, please tell me - what did you see?

**THIS GIVEAWAY WILL BE CLOSED TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18 AT NOON**



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday's Confessions- a day



Confession: Capturing my life in one day was so hard it took three to do it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wordy Wednesday - Farm Anatomy

Welcome to Word Wednesday
Where it is all about what we are reading, singing, and quoting around my casa.

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Look what Sweet Man gave me for my birthday:


The most delightful Jerusalem Greer friendly version of a farming book ever.


Last night I sat up in bed pouring over the beautiful pictures and straight to the point text. This book is so beautiful it actually makes me want to read about tractors and feed bins.


I want to have this on my wall by the breakfast table so that the boys can work on memorizing. Somehow I think these sorts of formulas may come in handier than algebra down the road.


Aren't the barns fantastic? I can't pick a favorite. I would take one of each.


Julia Rothman is the author and illustrator and this is the farm that her husband grew up on. Isn't it dreamy? Le sigh.

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Today we are having a realtor come look at our house to give us an idea what we could list it for if we so wanted too...  Say a little prayer if you would. And if you know anyone in Central Arkansas that is desperate to buy a 1940's ranch cottage with a pink porch send them my way will ya? 



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