Tag Archives: memories

Keeping Memories

This past weekend I was helping to sort out some sheds with Mr. Awesome. There were a ton of items with a ton of memories attached. However some things were decided to go for Yard Sale items and a few were given to me like this photo album…

How often do we take photos and print them out anymore? Do you still clip newspaper articles to keep? I know that I many things saved in my Bible but nothing recent. I also have a few photo albums from when my older kids were little but over the past 10 years or so I haven’t had that many photos to keep.

After finding this lost post I decided that this was something I was going to change, today. The world is so digital now that it is many times easier to keep the photos on your phone or computer. What happens if you don’t have them backed up on something and your phone is lost or destroyed? That is something I don’t even want to think about.

This past year I had some photos and other important items get destroyed because they had been improperly stored. It wasn’t intentional as the place they were stored was intended to be temporary but then LIFE happened and they never got relocated. I’ve shed my tears over those precious items but I am determined not to let that happen again.

Continue reading Keeping Memories

Time Out, Please Press Pause

This is another one of those posts that never made it to be Published so please forgive me as this is a little bit late…

Have you ever just wanted to find the remote for LIFE? Maybe just press the PAUSE button for a bit. We could fast forward through some parts and go back to others and replay them again and again. While this would be such a great idea it’s not possible.

The past few weeks and month have felt like some parts have went by in fast forward while others have been going in slow motion. I would love to go back a replay a few parts over and over again. There are definitely others I’d like to skip completely but I can’t.

In August I made a trip to PA to see my Mom-mom (grandmother) and Pop-pop (grandfather). My Mom-mom had been in and out of the hospital and was in the nursing home when I went to visit. She was dying and it was hard to see her knowing that it was probably going to be our last visit together.

She was in good spirits when I last saw her and she was still trying to make sure everyone else was taken care of. She also made it known that she didn’t like it where she was and that she really didn’t like her view out of the window, especially the fence. While there were times she understood why she was there she would still ask to go home. Other times she talked of ‘going home’ in more spiritual sense.

That last visit is one that I have replayed in my head so many times. What more could I have said to her? What more could I have done? I wish I had been able to spend more time with her and I really wish my kids had known her better but there isn’t a thing I can do about that now.

Fast forward to September 27th when I got the call. I already had a feeling and was ready to call my mom but she called me first. Life stood still for a moment and I had a good cry. Then I know it was time to take a DEEP BREATH and make the calls I needed to make. Once the calls were made I had to decide whether I was going up or not. I had already been talking about going back but just hadn’t set a date. That call set the date for me.

I didn’t tell many people of our travel plans. This was partly due to the fact that I didn’t want drama and partly because I wasn’t even certain that we would be able to make it there. Up until the time we actually left I wasn’t sure if I was going alone or taking the whole family.

The 15 hour ride was a blur. Much of the driving was done at night and went fairly well. The morning we arrived I had actually spoken to my mom for over an hour and hadn’t told her we were just a couple of hours from seeing her. When we finally arrived at our destination we suprised everyone.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know if there would be a lot of family there already or if they would even be at home. My aunt was in the driveway and I said a quick ‘Hello’ before going in the house. I met my cousin inside and went in search of my mom and Pop-pop. I looked downstairs, out on the back porch, and listened for their voices at the basement stairs.

With a quick phone call I asked my mom what she was doing. She told me that she and my sister-in-law were changing sheets upstairs. I quietly went up the stairs talking to her on the phone. I was spotted when I reached the top of the stairs but put my finger over my mouth, Shhhhh!!!!

The look on their faces when I walked in the room was priceless. I wish we could have caught it on video but we didn’t. She was so happy to see me but I told her there was a bigger surprise waiting downstairs. Seeing her grandkids was the ultimate surprise for her as she hasn’t seen them in a while.

Then Pop-pop came down to see what the fuss was about and he was totally surprised as well, once he figured out ‘which one’ I was… lol. The kids really helped to cheer him up and made my heart happy.

The next couple of days were a bit of a blur also. The funeral service was beautiful and she looked so beautiful and peaceful. The funeral home had put together a DVD of family photos which was a wonderful reminder of the long blessed life she had and the multitude of lives she has touched. I had been running on autopilot up until we arrived at the funeral home. When the word cemetery came out of the director’s mouth I lost my composure and everything I had been holding in started to seep out. Even now I am tearing up thinking about that day.

The time spent with family will be a memory that we will replay again and again and even though these were some very sad memories and they bring tears to my eyes now I am glad that I have these memories.

Happy St. Nicholas Day 2018!

**This post may contain affiliate links to products we use.

Well the countdown to Christmas has officially started here. The kids are super excited after St. Nick stopped by sometime late last night. They had left their stockings on the table before bed and woke up to a big surprise!

They had been talking about our previous St. Nicholas Day celebrations and how they forgot to put their stockings out last year… Oops!

Don’t worry… that heater was not on ‘HEAT’ as we only have the flames going this morning  but it has been doing great job at keeping us warm and cozy so far.

St. Nick did not disappoint with a variety of small toys, coloring books, and other holiday items plus a tiny bit of candy. He also left a couple of new books and a holiday music cd for them. They are looking forward to a midday snack of gingerbread cookies and hot cocoa too!

He didn’t forget about the grownups either and even left a small gift for Nanny J and Papa O. He left Momma some much needed kitchen items, some holiday jewelry, and CHOCOLATE!

Santa had even decorated a little bit and put these cute covers on the chairs.

And he must’ve met up with the UPS man at some point to grab our new Advent wreath for us. It had been stuck in delivery status as the driver couldn’t locate our house.

It is so much prettier than it looked on the internet! I had a hard time deciding what color to get but thought this was a good choice even though it isn’t the traditional Christmas colors. Now we are just waiting for the candles to arrive. After all this excitement it was time for breakfast:

This year I added the chocolate chips to the pancakes while on the griddle for our Santa Claus PancakesI forgot to pick up some fresh strawberries and blueberries so we made do with what we had here. I also didn’t realize that Mr. Jacob had added a couple of extra chocolate chips to Santa’s beard… lol!

The kids thought they were cute and very yummy. Later on we will be watching a few videos about St. Nick and taking a little about the history of Santa Claus.

If you want to check out some other activities please see St. Nicholas Day 2016 for some additional links.

Happy St. Nicholas Day everyone!

A Trip Down Memory Lane!

I survived my first plane trip and wanted to share a little bit about my trip down memory lane with all of you! Be prepared because as my Pop-pop would say, ‘This might take a while’.

Last week proved to be one of the most stressful weeks I can remember. I have been trying to refocus my life in so many areas. And on top of the everyday stresses of a large family and back to school worries I got the call that I really needed to head back to my childhood home.

While I call Florida home right now I was born in Pennsylvania. I grew up about an hour from Philadelphia in the mushroom capital of the world, Kennett Square.

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Funny the things you didn’t know, huh? We were also very close to the Amish and Mennonite communities. In fact several of my siblings were delivered by an Amish midwife.

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Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash Continue reading A Trip Down Memory Lane!

Midweek Progress: Vacation Pics, Unplugging, and Movie Night

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Hey everyone! Yesterday I posted about the ‘Summer Slide‘ but I really want to post these vacation pictures. I really hope everyone had a great a Father’s Day weekend as I know we did. While we didn’t see the Altamahaha on this trip we did make some really great memories. (The Altamahaha is a local legend dating back for centuries.)

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Picture from: Deviant Art

It was a little stressful and chaotic getting ready for the trip but we all managed to survive. We went to the Altamaha Regional Park in Brunswick, GA. We stayed the weekend in one of their rental cabins while some of my family stayed in tents. I wasn’t quite brave enough to do this with so many kids in tow. Continue reading Midweek Progress: Vacation Pics, Unplugging, and Movie Night

Best Memories Of The Summer

Oh my goodness… I’ve yet another post that was forgotten about and never published. This one has given me quite a few smiles and I hope we have an even better summer this year. I have added a few things to our routines to try and make sure that we make this year even better than last! This post was from June 2018…

Wow! Can you believe summer is almost over? Where did it go?

I know we didn’t get to do nearly as much as we had planned which was in part due to the extremely wet weather we’ve had. We had several special projects that haven’t made it off of the paper yet either but I know we will eventually accomplish what we have set to do.

This summer has been so busy and so full of fun. Below are some of our favorite memories from this summer in no particular order:

We have all enjoyed reading about Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Everyone also enjoyed getting their library cards at our first visit to the local library.

Then ice cream is always a summer favorite!

They also love this picture they took with Elvis…

Jacob loved that he got to help out in the kitchen more thanks to the Kids Cook Real Foods course we’ve been using.

And he really loved helping to come up with new recipes like Cinnamon Roll Muffins.

Everyone also loved going to the movies several times this summer. We saw several movies including Jurassic World, The Incredibles, Jumanji, and The Ant Man.

Of course our camping trip to GA ranks up there in our favorite summer memories.

Spending time with family is always special.

We cant forget square dances and surprise text messages either.

The kids love playing games with their square dance friends.

I love it when I get to dance with Mr. Awesome….

Joey is still loving his new specs.

And all of the kids are loving the new games which have come handy as boredom busters during all this rainy weather.

I’m sure there are a ton of things we’ve forgotten about but these were the top few things we thought of. What are your favorite summer memories?

Last Minute Craft: A Thankful Book

My kids have done an amazing job at sorting out their toys and straightening up around the house this morning. They even cleaned under the couch and the kitchen cart…. AMAZING!

DS5 is into so many things and his brain is always coming up with creative ideas. For the past week they have been going around the table at dinner time giving each person a chance to say what they are thankful for. DS5 wanted to take it one step further. He wanted a book, A Thankful Book to be exact, for everyone to write what they are thankful for.

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Continue reading Last Minute Craft: A Thankful Book

Family Outing: Jacksonville Zoo 6/10/2017

Well a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that we had a special outing planned. Unfortunately we did not get to go the weekend we planned to go because of the weather. We did go this past weekend and it was so much fun!

As you can imagine trying to take a many kids as we did (we took 7 kids, ages 4-14) can be a bit daunting but we managed. One of my sisters was also able to join us which helped out alot. Continue reading Family Outing: Jacksonville Zoo 6/10/2017

May 28, 2017

I pray you are all having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. This past month has been extremely busy around here with this past week being the busiest of all. It has been a blast though and many memories have been made.

Our homeschool will be wrapping up this coming week with a special surprise outing planned as a treat. We are all looking forward to just having a little fun and maybe getting to relax a bit.

My youngest child just turned 4 this month! I can hardly believe how fast time has flown and how much has changed since the day we brought him home. My kids amaze me everyday and I am so blessed to be able to stay at home and watch them as they learn and grow.

My oldest son came to visit this past week! Yay! We had not seen him in almost 4 years because of his employment. He also brought along his beautiful wife, my first daughter in law, who I had not met before. We had such a great time. It was hard to say goodbye but I know that they will be back soon. All we can do is trust that God will watch over them and keep them safe along life’s journey.

Amongst all of the visiting, homeschooling, and other normal routines of the house I also had my square dancing. Ahhh… if anyone had told me a few months ago how involved I would become in square dancing I wouldn’t have believed them. I probably would’ve laughed a little but it is amazing how things can sometimes just fall into place.

Our club in Starke, the Silver Fox Squares, has been very busy and we dance every Friday night. We have also had some special dances, visitations, and other activities that we attended throughout the month including a Luau and a banner raid. I have earned two new dangles this month. As the publicity chairman for the club I am constantly busy with updating the sites, planning new events, and looking for new ideas.

In addition to the Friday nights, we also have dances and classes on Tuesday nights in Fort White. We have been trying to recruit new dancers and had a covered dish dinner on the first night of class. So far we have a couple of couples who have come to join us and we are looking forward to seeing some new faces this coming week.

And then we have the Clay Allemanders in Middleburg on Mondays. Our caller and co-caller from the Silver Fox Squares are the callers there as well. This club has also been extremely busy with the transition to the new callers and the fact that we moved to a new dance location this month.

I am also the caller’s assistant to one of the callers so I have been busy with a few other details as well. We went to visit the Grand Squares, in Gainesville, earlier in the month and I got to meet a lot of new people. He was also able to reconnect with some people he had not seen in awhile. Square dancing has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, in a good way, and allowed me to expand my horizons and meet a lot of new people.

My youngest son, and my oldest son and his wife, attended the dance this past Tuesday. It was a lot of fun to have some of my children there. My little one didn’t make it through the night before he curled up and fell asleep. My oldest however did seem to enjoy himself and caught on quite quickly. I hope to be able to expose my children to it a little bit at a time and eventually get them involved more with square dancing.

I have been trying to squeeze in some blogging between all of the different activities that are going on. I have so many drafts started that it would make you go cross eyed if you could see them. The topics are quite varied as well because I get so many ideas and just try to write them down as I think of them. I hope you all have enjoyed the ones I have managed to publish and I pray that you do find something that helps you or inspires you in some way.

As i write this and think about it I am completely amazed at the awesomeness of God! He has a plan for each of us and He knows what He is doing. He has been working in my life in so many ways and He has been preparing me for where I am now for quite some time. All I had to do was let go and trust Him to guide me to where I needed to be.

Well, my little one just climbed up on the stool beside me and is sneaking sips of my cold coffee. Another one has mentioned that he was ready for snack a minute ago so I will get off of here and set out some snacks for them to hopefully hold them over until lunch time. I pray you all have a blessed day and week to come!

Yellow Rocks (hugs) to all!

Links to club updates will be posted soon:

Silver Fox Squares: June 2017 Updates

Clay Allemanders: June 2017 Updates

March 16, 2017

I had planned on putting together a study unit for Easter, similar to what we had done for Advent, but it didn’t happen. It is still in the works and I will continue to work on it a little at a time. I’ll also be sure to share it with you all as well.

This Easter was a little crazy as I’ve had two children who have been consistently trying my patience on a daily basis. I know this is just a phase and it will pass soon but it had been utterly exhausting.

Luckily I have family and friends to support me and offer advice. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just take a step back and look at things through someone else’s eyes.

We have truly been blessed with the friends we have and there is one person in particular who has went above and beyond to help me lately. He may never know what a blessing he has been to me and my family over the past couple of months. He is so awesome with my kids that it is truly a blessing.

He is a constant source of encouragement and he motivates me to be a better person. The crazy thing is that we probably never would’ve met had I stuck to my idea of what I thought I needed. God knew all along and has so far exceeded my ideas and expectations, just as he always does. It is so amazing to see what God does when you let go and hand your life over to him.

So getting back to Easter, we didn’t do a big get to together or go visiting like we normally do. We stayed at home and had a small cookout with family. It was nice and it was simple.

My older kids did hide some eggs for the younger ones yesterday. The younger kids were too smart and found them all in a minute or two. This prompted the older ones to ‘up their game’ and rehide them so they could have more of a challenge. The challenge was accepted and they found them again super quickly.

It was time to eat after the second go round and everyone was starving. My youngest two surprised everyone with the amount of food they ate yesterday and the lack of complaining about what they didn’t want to eat.

Of course, the kids were all super excited and didn’t want to go to bed. They were hoping to see the Easter Bunny… and get lots of candy.

Well this morning they awoke to a big Easter basket on the kitchen island. It had a small toy for each child and some candy and games as well. I decided several years ago that doing one basket was much easier than individual baskets. I also want to try to keep the focus on the real reason for Easter which does not involve a bunny or candy.

After breakfast we had a mini lesson using our Resurrection Eggs that I found at the thrift store last year. I will post a few pics at the end of the post. We went over the meaning of each item and talked about the real meaning of Easter before letting them inspect the basket.

We didn’t buy new Easter outfits, I had thought about it though, as we could all still wear the outfits we bought for big sisters wedding last year. My dress hadn’t even been worn, or tried on until yesterday, as I had decided on a different dress.  I did find a couple of cute hats for the girls that match with their dresses too.

Later this afternoon, probably after nap time, we will make the Empty Tomb Rolls. I usually try to make them the day before but it just didn’t happen this time around. I will go over the Easter story again while we assemble the rolls.

Then hopefully we will get to color some eggs later on this afternoon as ‘Mr. Awesome’ has said he will come by later today to help with that. I will try to add some of those pics to this post as well.

Life is never going to be perfect and things are going to happen beyond our control. So we need to stop waiting for that ‘perfect moment’ and just live in this moment. Stop procrastinating and looking for excuses as to why you can’t do things. Instead focus on ways to make things possible in some way, shape, or form. Make those special memories and be sure to let each and every person around you know how much they mean to you.

We are living in uncertain times right now and we have never been promised a tomorrow. So take a moment to appreciate all that you have been blessed with and cherish this moment and time in your life.

I pray that you have all had a very blessed Easter!

It took forever to get a decent picture where almost everyone was smiling and (almost) looking in the same direction. Big sister didn’t want to wear her matching dress which was OK. The little girls had snuck into some chocolate while I was getting ready. They smeared their chocolate hands on the fronts of their dresses too. We got them spot cleaned and off to church we went. It was really nice to have 6 of my 9 kids in church with me today too.  While at church the same two girls tore holes in their dresses…. I will have my work cut out for me trying to repair them… but that’s life!

We did make some Empty Tomb Rolls after nap time. This was a fun experience and the kids helped assembling the roles while discussing the meaning of each ingredient. Then they had them for a snack.

We also managed to squeeze in some egg coloring! Oh what a fun day we had!

Life in 2016

Reflections of 2016

December 30, 2016

December 27, 2016

December 21,2016

December 6, 2016

December 5, 2016

December 3, 2016

December 1, 2016

November 28, 2016

November 27, 2016

November 26, 2016

November 20, 2016

November 18, 2016

November 8, 2016

Reflections of 2016

Can you believe that this year is almost gone? I can’t but I am ready to start 2017 with a fresh, positive, and energized outlook. I know in my heart that this new year will be better than last year. I also know that God has some truly amazing things in store for me and my family. I can’t wait to see what He has planned for us in the upcoming months!

We have been through alot this past year. The year started off really rocky. There had been some nasty rumors and gossip that caused us to leave our church and lose contact with some people. It was also filled with some nasty messages, hateful comments, and posts from people who chose to believe the rumors.

I’ve learned to forgive even if you don’t feel that they deserve forgiveness. Forgiveness lets you move on and heal from the pain.

My oldest daughter finished up boot camp and then DD17 and DS21 took a road trip to Missouri to bring her back home. Then we had a lot planning to do for DD19’s wedding. It was really hard to stay strong for my kids and my family but I refused to let the chaos and nastiness get me down.

I filed for divorce after being separated for nearly 2 years. It was a painful and difficult decision that I prayed a lot over. It was not the outcome I wanted but it was what needed to be done at the time to protect my family and myself from his behaviors and actions. We have come a long way since then and are working to be the best parents we can be to our children.

I am learning to be content in whatever situation I am in and wherever I may be. I will change the things I can change, focus my attention on God, and let Him handle the things I have no control over.

Our family got larger with the additions of a niece and a nephew, both of which I absolutely adore. There was a camping trip where I got to go salt water fishing for the first time and I loved every minute of it. This was a welcome relief prior to the stresses of the wedding where we had last minute changes that threatened to ruin the whole thing. I am pleased to say that it was a success and it is now a beautiful memory for us to cherish.

During those stressful times I found out who my true friends were and became closer to my best friend. She really came through for me when I needed her. I had another friend who also came through and was a lifesaver, quite literally, and he was the calm in my storm on a few occasions.

There was a brief romance where my already tender heart was shredded and ripped apart. This was harder on me than my divorce as it came at me unexpectedly and then it was over without any warning or explanation. I lost someone who I considered to be one of my best friends with the end of that relationship. I know that my questions will continue to go unanswered and I know that there would never be anyway to get back what it was that we had. It still brings tears to my eyes but I do treasure the moments we had.

I am learning that it is much easier not to question God when something happens but rather to embrace it and trust that He knows best. 

Then I attempted online dating which I quickly learned wasn’t for me. I did meet a couple of really nice people and I went on a couple of dates but we didn’t really click. I quickly found that dating by text is not for me either. I need to be able to see the person and hear their voice. I want to know that they are not a figment of my imagination. I did make a friend through the dating site and we still text on a semi-regular basis.

We had another camping trip where I took the five kids and myself. It was an adventure that we all enjoyed and thankfully survived. There was moment that I wasn’t sure if I would make it as I had fallen in the river. Luckily I had a life vest on and I was able to stay calm until someone was able to reach me. The crazy thing was that he was able to walk out to me but I was just a little bit too short to reach the bottom.I think I swallowed my yearly quota of river water that day.

I’ve had many more episodes of the gossip mill. There were days and weeks that I felt I should just write a soap opera about my life. I finally realized that the problem wasn’t really with me but with the ones who were starting and spreading the rumors. This was a big turning point for me and the way I handled the stress and drama from those situations. I also had some painful revelations about family and friends.

Then there was the flu bug that hit us around Thanksgiving. I was upset that we were not able to visit with family but fortunately God did give me the strength and supplies to make our own impromptu dinner. I wasn’t able to eat but I made up for that at Christmas dinner with my daughter and son-in-law. That was definitely a dinner to remember as the police showed up twice!

I have learned to be ready to receive a blessing at any moment and any time.

These are just some of the ups and downs of my past year. There have been a lot of firsts like the salt water fishing, a low country boil (I actually had twice this year), and online dating. I can say that I have lived, loved, been loved, and have been truly blessed. Life has taught me a lot about myself, relationships, and God’s will for my life. There have been many surprises, good and bad, but all in all it was a wonderful year.

I hope you can also look back on the past year and see what has happened. Take a moment to reflect on what you’ve experienced and then think about what you want to experience in the 2017. I pray that each and every one of you will be blessed abundantly in the upcoming year. I pray that God will touch your lives and supply your needs, whatever they may be.