In Pollyanna, the main character (Pollyanna) plays the “glad game”. She is always looking at every scenario with the outlook that there is always something to be glad about. We started playing the game too. We aren’t as good as it as we should be, but we’re working on it. It’s so easy to be discouraged or disappointed in this world. It’s easy to become bitter and for the good to seem rare. It’s not really that rare; we just don’t look for it like we should. So, for this Thanksgiving month, I’d like to challenge everyone out there to play the “Glad Game” with us. Look for the good. Find something to be glad about. Reflect on all that you have to be thankful for.
There is an art gallery in Hilton Head that is absolutely delightful! It’s called Endangered Arts. The owners are Clay and Julie Rogers. She runs the gallery and is a professional photographer. Her love of the ocean and all the creatures that inhabit it is evident when speaking with her. She is kind, warm, and friendly. Her husband, Clay, is a self taught painter. He paints all the things you might see in Hilton Head. They have many works of art from many different artists from all over the world. I was so impressed by every single piece of art there.
We went in looking for a painting that would remind us of our favorite place. Julie helped us figure out exactly what we wanted. We ended up choosing a Clay Rogers painting. He wrote a special personal note to us on the back and included the practice sketch he’d done of the painting. I walk by it every time I go into our bedroom. It makes my heart happy to have something as a visual reminder of the place we love so much. A visit to Hilton Head wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Endangered Arts.
The magical sword in the stone sits right in front of the carousel and very near the back of Cinderella’s castle. On my first trip to the most magical place on earth, I saw a little boy pull the sword up out of the stone one night. He had a crowd around him, and they made a proclamation about something and he was the prince for the moment. The next time I went to WDW, I tried my hand at pulling out that sword. I jokingly went over to it after my children had all given it a good try. I pulled it up and it resisted, but it came out of the stone. There was no one to make a proclamation. I had to yell at my dad to take a picture. We were all in shock. A little while later, my husband came over to see us give it another try. Again, all the children tried and it didn’t budge. I tried once more, knowing that there was no way it would happen again. To my complete and utter shock–I pulled it up again!
Now, the next time you’re in Disney World try to pull that sword out. There are a few things to know:
The sword does resist. It feels heavy as you pull it up.
It doesn’t come out all of the way.
Take a picture quickly because the sword will go back into the stone after a short while.
Try and try again. You just never know when you’ll get lucky!
Here’s the picture my dad took of me. It’s an awful one, but I’m glad I got photo proof because no one ever believes me.
For my little man’s birthday party, he chose the Spider-Man theme. He has loved Spider-Man since I can remember. I ordered adorable invitations from Cindy’s Event Creations Etsy shop. I always try to make the children’s invitations with a picture of them on it; that way the people who we invite have pictures of the children at each age. I think they turned out so cute! We put Spider-Man stickers on the back of the envelopes for a little extra Spider-Man touch.
Since having David, I have bought him a shirt with the theme of his birthday and his name or initial for every birthday. They are sweet reminders of how he has grown. I also ordered this from another Etsy shop called Auntie Donna’s . It is perfect and we all loved it!!
I highly recommend both these shops as great places to get these Spider-Man necessities.
I can’t wait to share more about our Spider-Man fun!
It’s been over 20 years since my grandmother, lovingly called Grandmama, passed away. There are lots of things I remember about her, just like it was yesterday.
She always smelled like Dove soap (the original scent).
She had a wonderful laugh. It was quiet but her whole face lit up when she laughed.
Her house was always spotless. Not just clean; there was never a single speck of dirt anywhere and nothing was ever out of its place.
She fed me bologna on white bread with a slice of American cheese and mayonnaise every time I came over. I craved that sandwich with one of my pregnancies. I just swapped the bologna with turkey.
She loved General Hospital. I was glad I had watched it with her and knew the general storyline and characters because when I went to college, I had to watch it for my roommate and report back what happened (you know, because DVRs weren’t invented back in the olden days).
She was tiny. She was short and probably weighed 85 pounds soaking wet. Her nickname was Midge (I know, not politically correct). I was probably about eight when I finally found out her real name.
She worked at the famous Loveless Cafe as a waitress for my entire childhood. (I’ve never even eaten there.)
She had 5 sons and 2 daughters. I can only imagine how hard life must have been sometimes. She was kind but tough and you could tell that that’s how she had to be.
She once caught a tree frog for me just because I wanted it, but was too scared to catch it myself. The funniest part of all is that she was scared too. When she caught it, she screamed like a 5-year-old.
My favorite story she told me about her childhood in rural Kentucky was one in which she was being bullied by another girl. The girl was chasing her and my grandmother spotted a line that was half down (I’m guessing a fallen clothes line) and she stopped , got out of sight, and picked it up and held in such a way that the girl didn’t notice. The girl tried to keep running after my grandmother, but she got caught by the line and thrown to the ground.
Her eyes always watered and she always had a handkerchief in her pocket. I carried one of hers in my bouquet at my wedding.
She held on to this side of life until every single one of her children got to the hospital to say good-bye. I had the privilege of getting to say good-bye as well.
When we were driving from the funeral home to the cemetery, we had to ride part of the way on the interstate. There was roadwork going on (is there ever NOT roadwork going on). As the funeral procession passed, all of the workers stopped their work and took off their hard hats as we went by. It was so touching and sweet and I hope to never forget it!
I wish she had been able to see me get married. I think she would have just loved my husband.
I wish she could have seen me graduate from college. I was the first of her grandchildren to accomplish that.
I wish she could have met my children. I’m awfully proud of them and I know she would have enjoyed them so much.
I wish I had known her in adulthood so I could have been able to get her advice and hear her stories about raising her children.
I was blessed to have had such a sweet woman as my Grandmama. Even all these years later, I still miss her.
I have to admit and I am sure that you can already tell, I am a terrible photographer. My oldest child, makes fun of me all the time because I take such awful photos. Two years ago, I bought a course on how to take better pictures. It is taught by National Geographic photographers. I still haven’t even watched one lecture. I also signed up to be reminded when See University registration opens again so I could do that. It is a series of lessons from world-class photographer, Jeremy Cowart. (If you have 25 minutes, he has an amazing video about his life. I have literally told everyone I know in “real life” to watch it!)
So, I have the ability to begin learning how to take better pictures. Why I haven’t I started? Sure, I’m busy, but that’s a really awful excuse because honestly, who’s not?!
Here are some of my terrible excuses for picture-taking and not picture taking.
I’m hardly in pictures because I always think I should look better, prettier, thinner, cuter, more polished, fill in the blank with an excuse.
I take pictures with my iphone because I don’t want to haul around a big camera and I truly don’t really know how to use it.
I don’t take pictures because I want to be “in the moment”. Let me tell you right now, that with five children, if I don’t take a picture, I’m likely to forget that moment.
I’ve already written about The Freckled Fox. She has her blog and thousands of pictures that she has taken or that others have taken of her, her husband, and her children. Now, that her husband is gone, these pictures are even more of a gift than she probably ever could have imagined. I’m so glad for her and their children that they have these moments captured. But, it got me to thinking about our family. I’ve been making excuses for not doing something that I will regret NOT doing later. Capturing these moments is a gift and I have got to step up to the plate to do it for the people I love so much!!
I don’t want my children to be looking through pictures when I’m gone and only be able to find a few. I don’t want them to miss out on remembering those special moments because I either didn’t take the picture or I took such a bad one that they can barely tell what’s going on.
So, I’m going to watch a lecture and pick up my “big girl” camera and see what I can do. Wish me luck!
Last year, bubbles were the baby’s favorite thing.
I ordered a birthday shirt from Etsy shop, boutiquesewunique.
We had bubbles as the theme for his second birthday party. We had lots of bubble gum, actual soap bubbles, bubbles made from gelatin, and bubbles made from slime, bubbles made from food. We had bubbles made of everything.
I tried to make the foods as circular as I could to resemble bubbles. I made a fruit tray and balled all the fruit. I made cake balls. I got cream puffs. I made cheddar balls covered in bacon. I made rice krispy treat-like balls out of Trix cereal.
We made a slimy bubble solution out of glue and liquid starch. We then raced to see who could make bubbles out of it with a straw. This was hilarious because it was very challenging. Most of the children quit and then adults just kept going and going.
I can’t remember where I got the recipe originally, but this site has one.
Nana was the first to get a bubble.
Lillian got one too!
We then made bubble art. I placed bubble solution and washable paint in several different cups. The children had to blow into the solution to make bubbles and then place their paper on top of the bubbles. Several of them looked amazing. It was very messy and definitely requires an adult nearby.
We also had a bubble blowing contest. We went two at a time. Then we got to a small group of winners and had a contest between them.
Blowing a bubble under pressure is hard!
We had a huge bubble pool in the back. I got a kiddy pool. Placed lots of dish soap, glycerin, and a little water into the pool. I used about a cup of Dawn, 4 tablespoons of glycerin and turned on the hose until it looked like enough water. A child would carefully step inside (it’s VERY slippery) and then two children would stand on opposite sides of a hula hoop and gently life up the hula hoop up the top of the child. If it worked out, the child was enveloped in the bubble. It was my favorite activity. When everyone had done it that wanted to, we then just made huge bubbles. I bought a huge pack of different shaped wands. There were bubbles everywhere!
We had a bubble trivia game (of course)
All kinds of BUBBLES Trivia
- How many sticks of gum does the average American chew each year?
(A) 200 (B) 300 (C) 400
- If all 5 piece packs of Bubble Yum ever chewed in the U.S. since its introduction in 1975 were laid out end to end, how many times would it circle Earth at the Equator? (A) 2 (B) 5 (C) 7
- What is the official bubble gum of Major League Baseball?
(A) Bubble Yum (B) Bazooka (C) Topps
- When was the first successful bubble gum invented? (A) 1891 (B) 1906 (C) 1928
- True or False: Soap Bubbles are always elliptical.
- Soap bubbles are “minimal surface structures”. This means that they always hold the gas or liquid inside them with the least possible surface area. The geometric form with the least surface area is ____________.
- True or False: If three soap bubbles get stuck together, they will have one common wall at 120 degrees.
- True or False: A soap bubble gets its color from the light waves reflecting between the soap film’s inner and outer surfaces.
- Susan Mont”gum”ery Williams is the Guiness Record Holder of the World’s Largest Gum Bubble. How big was it? (A) 19 in. (B) 23 in. (C) 27 in.
- True or False: Bubble Wrap was originally designed to be a wallpaper.
- About (A) 200 (B) 300 (C)400 Million dollars worth of bubble wrap is sold each year.
- A painting by Hanneman showing children playing with bubbles is from the year (A) 1730 (B) 1630 (C) 1530
13 True or False: Youngsters who blow bubbles are most likely to find learning language easy.
We had bubble cake. We made bubbles to place all over the vanilla cake. This was done by mixing gelatin, water, and food coloring together. The ratio is 2 parts cold water to 1 part gelatin. Mix until dissolved. We then took balloons that we’d blown up. We dipped them into the solution holding onto the part you blow. We then placed them into muffin tins mouth part down. We let them dry for about two hours, then dipped them again. Any part that was too thin, we used a paintbrush to put on more gelatin solution. We let them dry for 48 hours. Then we popped the balloon and handled them very gently and placed them on the cake. I thought they turned out so cute!
We had a great time at LBD’s second birthday party!
A few days before we were leaving for our Disney World trip, I heard that a company had been selling Disney dining reservations illegally and that Disney had stopped them. Because of this, there was now a chance that there were reservations available where there hadn’t been any before. I checked for dining reservations again and lo and behold, there was Cinderella’s Royal Table with several dinner slots open. We chose late reservations. We had arrived in Magic Kingdom later in the afternoon; but it was Extra Magic Hours night and the park was open until 1 a.m. We didn’t tell the children. We told them we were eating somewhere we had never eaten before. They guessed everywhere, but no one guessed inside the Castle! When we walked into the entrance of the Castle and went up to the desk for our reservation, all of the children were shocked and so excited!
In the foyer, they got to meet Cinderella.
No detail is overlooked, as is usual for all things Disney.
It really is special eating inside the Castle.The food was good. The service was better. The experience was the BEST!
The children all get a wishing star. The girls get a wand and the boys get a special sword.
All of the princesses come to your table. They are all so very sweet. They actually came by more than once.
We really had a special time and loved being able to surprise the children with something they had never thought of doing.
If you get the chance to eat at Cinderella’s Royal Table, I would highly recommend it!
When we booked our trip to Disney World, we were first planning on using points and staying at the Hilton. For weeks, I worried about fitting that many people into the room. I looked up ways to keep things organized in small spaces with so many people. My husband wasn’t too worried. That was until he looked at the room again and began to realize that there wouldn’t be any privacy for anyone. He realized that we would be listening to our girls at all hours of the night talking and facetiming friends. He called Disney to see if they had any availability the week before our trip. (I had checked online for weeks and hadn’t found any rooms available for our size party). They had two adjoining rooms available at Animal Kingdom Lodge. We kept it all a secret from the children. We kept telling them to get ready to be cramped for the next week. We told them that they needed to stay organized. When we drove up into the parking lot, they realized we were staying there. They were beyond excited.
Animal Kingdom Lodge is truly remarkable. We loved all the African touches throughout. It was neat to see artifacts from the continent and to learn a little about some of the countries. Disney does the most fabulous job at fully immersing its guests into the theme.
We ate at Boma one day for a late lunch. I loved the food there. The sweet potatoes were amazing.
I have to say that it is truly amazing to wake up to giraffes and zebras outside your window! Seeing the animals night and day was definitely the best part! The rooms were great as well. We had a room with bunk beds and a full bed and then a room with two queens. It was plenty of room for the seven of us.
The only drawback to staying at this location is the transportation. We waited more than 30 minutes sometimes for a bus. The buses were also almost always full. I don’t feel safe riding on a bus while standing and holding my 2 year old or having my children pressed up against a stranger’s body. This is the only complaint I have at all about the experience.
Overall, I really enjoyed staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I’m glad we got to experience this hotel.
When I was in the hospital with my first baby it was Shark Week. For years, we knew the start of school was right around the corner when Shark Week was upon us. For the past couple of years though, Shark Week on Discovery Channel has been in June. I wish they would’ve kept it the same time as always. Last year, I was planning all kinds of festivities to go along with the week. Then I realized I had already missed it. I was so disappointed! Since I know it starts this Sunday, I can use the plans I had last year.
Some cute ideas can be found at Community Table.
There are free printables at Pretty Providence
Teachers Pay Teachers has a great little bundle all about sharks.
I bought a few things from Amazon. I got some shark plates, cups, and toys.
I know they sell shark fruit snacks at Kroger so I’ll be getting some of them.
On Monday, we will have a seafood dinner in honor of Shark week. I got the recipe from The Fresh Market. We’ve had it once before, and it is so good!
Baked Blue Cheese and Lime Shrimp
2 lbs. 21-25 ct peeled & deveined shrimp
juice of 2 limes
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 c. heavy cream
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 tbsp. hot sauce
1 (14 oz.) box brown rice
– paprika, to taste
fresh parsley, to taste
Preheat oven to 350º. Place shrimp in a single layer in a 9×13-inch baking dish; drizzle lime juice evenly over shrimp and set aside.
In a 4-quart pot over high heat, melt butter; add cream and bring to a boil. Add cream cheese, blue cheese and hot sauce, whisking until smooth. Pour cheese mixture over shrimp and bake for 20 minutes in preheated oven.
Meanwhile, cook rice according to directions on package; set aside and keep warm.
Serve shrimp and cheese sauce over cooked rice; garnish with paprika and parsley.
I’d love to hear if anybody out there plans on doing anything fun for Shark Week.