Thursday, November 29, 2012

Look-ee what I made!!!

Three days a week I get the joy of babysitting for my precious granddaughter.  If the rest of my grandchildren were closer I'd love to get my hands on them regularly too!  We have such fun together And I love watching her discover new things and seeing her grow.  However, it's been about 25 years since we've had a baby in our home, on a regualr basis, around Christmas time and we were challenged to figure out how to keep her and our tree safe.  This is what I came up with. 

We made a trip to the local Home Depot and looked around but didnt see anything in the main part of the store that we thought would work.  Then, a very nice gentleman asked us if we needed help and I told him what we were trying to do. He suggested the gardening section and a decorative garden fence.  He remembered that they had had some that might fit the bill.  So, out we go to the unheated outdoor garden section. It was COLD!  We found some wood garden fence in sections that were a little shorter than what I had envisioned but we decided they would work.

After getting them home, my husband and I tried different configurations and plans on how to put them toether. I had origianlly wanted something that I could just fold up accordian style for storage. We quickly discovered that wouldn't work and still give us the semi-circular shape we wanted. So we settled in just hinging them together, end to end.  They'll take a little more room to store but now they make the shape we need.  At first I hinged only the top portion but after getting that done, I realized that it needed more stability, so I got out the handy-dandy drill and screw driver and hinged the bottom section too. Voila!!  Perfection -- sort of. Here's what I did .............
Drum roll please....................................................
I'm pretty proud of myself at this point and thinking, "Now I won't have to worry about her touching warm lights or tipping the tree over!!!
This is the way it's supposed to work..
However, I don't think little Toots got the memo......
She's such a smartie pants!!
So, back to the drawing board, looks like I'll have to add a rail across the bottom section.  Then we should be all set...should be....we'll see. We'll have another 'crawler' here at Christmas time also so I hope the new rail will keep her safe too.  
Merry Christmas to you and yours!  With all the hustle and bustle of the season, don't forget the real reason we celebrate .  God Almighty sent his baby boy to be born in a manger, to live, teach, heal, bless and then die for us so He could then save us. He gave us the most precious gift He could.  For those who recognize and accept His gift and vow to follow and obey Him , He gives the name Christian.  Friends, as good as you try to be, you can't call yourself a Christian and not agree with His teachings.  Think on that this Christmas season.  That's the REAL reason for the season!!! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Love in Disguise by Carol Cox - a book review

This book was a fun book to read. The author creatively combines mystery, suspense, danger,  romance, humor and Biblical truth.  

When we meet the main character, Ellie, she is the personal assistant to a famous actress.  She dreams that one day she will also become a star. Unfortunately, she finds herself stranded and unemployed without any job prospects.  She uses the makeup and wardrobe skills she learned in the theater and ‘tricks’ her way into a job with the Pinkerton Detective Agency.  Her job is to go to the wild west mining town of Pickford, Arizona and try to discover who is behind robberies at the silver mines.  She disguises herself as two people, an elderly woman and her niece.  When one of the miners, Steven Peirce,  falls in love with the ‘niece’, her life becomes very complicated and she questions who she really is.  She wonders if he would love the real Ellie.  She also questions how Steven, an upright man of God, will react when he learns of her subterfuge.

I sort of had the thief figured out but wasn’t really sure until they are finally revealed.  The author keeps us guessing until the very end. 

This is what the publisher says:

Can she solve the crime before they uncover her true identity?

Jobless and down to her last dime, Ellie Moore hears about a position with the Pinkerton Detective Agency and believes it's the perfect chance to put her acting skills and costumes to use. Reluctantly, the agency agrees to give her one assignment, one chance to prove herself. Disguised as Lavinia Stewart, a middle-aged widow, Ellie travels to Arizona to begin her investigation. When the need arises, she also transforms into the dazzling Jessie Monroe, whose vivacious personality encourages people to talk.

Mine owner Steven Pierce is going to lose his business if he can't figure out who's stealing his silver shipments. In his wildest dreams, he never expected to receive help from a gray-haired widow... or to fall in love with her beautiful niece.

Then the thieves come after Lavinia and Jessie. Ellie isn't safe no matter which character she plays! Should she give up and reveal her true identity? What will Steven do when he realizes the woman he's falling in love with doesn't really exist?

Set in 1880s Arizona, Love in Disguise blends romance, humor, and mystery for a can't-put-down read.”

You can  GO HERE to read an excerpt.
Take a few minutes and visit Carol Cox's website.

I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5. I would have given if 5 stars except I had a pretty good idea of who the culprit was, so it wasn’t a complete surprise when it was revealed.  I enjoyed the authors description of the landscape and the dialog between the characters.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House  through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, October 01, 2012

We have a winner!!!!

The winner of the book bundle giveaway #1 is.....drum roll please.................................................
SUZ and ALLAN !!!!!!
***  CONGRATULATIONS  !!!  ***
Suz and Allan, make sure you get back to me with your mailing address so I can get this bundle out to you.
FYI, the words that didn't belong were, popcorn and quack.   
Make sure you keep checking back for my next book giveaway.  I'll be posting a few book reviews also because I've gotten a little behind on those. As I type this I have 3 books that I need to post about.
I'm also working on writing up the directions for a couple of the crocheted 'character' hats that I designed and sell in my Etsy shop.  The pattern that I use when I make them is covered with scribbles, additions, cross-outs and arrows.  I am also left handed so I need to make sure they will work for right-ees. Since I'm not a professional pattern writer, I'm only writing up the ones that are easiest to explain. 
I plan to offer one of the most poplular  - the puppy.   I'm also working on the chick and the piggy:
I'll still be offering the actual hats for sale for folks who don't crochet.  I'll still accept orders for custom hats as time permits.  I've made these hats in many different 'characters' and cutomized color combos.  I've customized them as a cow, a monkey, a cat and a bunny.  I've even made a couple of them in adult sizes and one teenaged girl ordered an elephant and lion!
I've always thought it would be fun to combine a couple of them, like an elephant with puppy ears or a chick with elephant ears. You get the idea! Any other suggestion???? Leave me your ideas.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Days gone by.....

As I sat here watching my little grandbaby playing on the floor, I wondered what things  would she remember from her childhood?  Would she remember the color of the carpet in my livingroom?  Would she remember the fabric of her Mom and Dad's couch?  Would she remember the smell of the grapes being harvested? It started me thinking of things that I remember from my own childhood.  I think my earliest memory is just an image of gray and red speckled 'something'. My Mom tells me that was the linoleum on the floor of the apartment we lived in when I was learning to crawl. 

I also remember my Mom's old electrolux vacuum ckeaner.  It looked alot like this one:
It blew warm air out the end and I used to follow her around while she vacuumed letting the warm air blow on me. I think I fell asleep sometimes, it was so warm and relaxing. I still have a couple of the attachments to that old cleaner.
Another thing I remember is riding our bikes outside, no helmets, in the street. We'd ride for hours, just up and down the street, down the hill through the covered bridge and see how far we could make it back up the hill before we had to get off and walk. This was before the days of gears.  We used leg muscles instead!. I also remember making "motorcycle's" out of our bikes by clipping old playing cards to the frame so they hit against the spokes. We thought we were really cool!
I remember helping my Mom sprinkle the clothes in preperation to ironing.  We used one of these:
You sprinkled them just enough to dampen them, then rolled them up in a certain way and after a few minutes they were ready to get ironed.  I know what you're thinking, and no, she didn't have to heat the iron on a stove. I'm not THAT old. We did have electricity in the 50's!.
Halloween was always a fun, safe time 'back in the day'. We worked for days making our Halloween costumes.  Not many people bought costumes in those days. We painted, cut, glued, sewed, salvaged and scrounged for bits and pieces. In those days it was safe to go trick-or-treating without a grownup along. The worst things we had to look out for were highschoolers throwing eggs or a loose dog or two.  There was one lady on our street that always baked the best cookies and we looked forward to them every year, at least I did.
I remember bundling up so much in the winter that you could barely move!  That scene from that Christmas movie was exactly how it felt!  And it never failed that as soon as we got all bundled, buttoned and booted, we had to use the bathroom!
I remember going to the dump with my Dad and finding all sorts of treasures.  Yep, in those days there was an area set aside for people to take their garbage and they just 'dumped' it. 
It was stinky and dirty but so much fun! We didn't actually get into the stinky stuff, just the stuff at the fringe. That's where everyone left their bigger junk cause it was too heavy to throw over the edge.  I think my sister still has some of the old metal lawn chairs my Dad found and repainted.  Like these:
In the summer, during a warm rain, we'd stand under the eave spout and 'take a shower'.  I think we ended up a little dirtier than we started but it sure was fun.
This time of year always reminds me of Saturday afternoons spent raking and burning leaves.  Oh, the smell of  those leaves burning.  I miss it. Our job was to keep an eye out for runaway flames while my Dad walked up and down the driveway raking and keeping the leaves in a row.
Maybe my memories have helped remind you about yours. What things do you remember from your childhood? Leave me a comment with your memories and we'll reminisce together.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Book giveaway no. 1

I've never done a book giveaway here so I figured it was about time. Of course, the fact that I have a stack of duplicate books helped me decide. How did I get a stack of duplicates?  Well.....There is this store near us called Ollie's.  Maybe you have one near you. If you do and are a reader, you HAVE to go there!  So, whenever I go there I always look through their tons of books and usually find a few that I know I haven't read before.  That doesn't mean they weren't already sitting on my shelves at home though. The same with Dollar General.  Ours doesn't have a large selection but they usually have one of two . That's how I ended up with 3 copies of one title.  I see popcorn a great price and go nuts!  Now you, dear readers, can profit from my nuttiness.  I plan to do a series of giveaways in the next few months.  Each giveaway will include at least two books of the same genre (fancy word).

For this giveaway I'm asking you to go to my Etsy shop then come back here and tell me what item in my shop you like the best.  Also, in the body of this blog post there are two words that obviously don't belong in the text. (My shameless attempt to get you to read this) You need to tell me what  the words are.  I also need some way to contact you so leave me your email (you (at) email (dot) com ) or similar. I'll use that random generator thingy to pick a winner.

So to recap, to win the books, do 2 things:
1- Tell me what item in my Etsy shop you like most
2- Tell me what 2 words don't belong

That's all there is to it!!  I'll bet you're wondering quack what books you'll win, aren't you? Here they are:
drum roll please.................................

The winner will get ALL of these historical Christian romances:
Sophie's Dilemma by Lauraine Snelling (Hardcover)
The Lightkeeper's Daughter by Colleen Coble
Bees in the Butterfly Garden by Maureen Lang
These books are all new. Bees in the Butterfly Garden was provided to me by Tyndale House Publishing.
This giveaway starts Sept. 17, 2012 and ends Sept. 30, 2012.  I'll pick the winner Oct. 1, 2012. Open to US mailing addresses only.
Feel free to tell your friends and their friends and their friends, etc. to enter. Hope you win!!! 
(P,S, I'm hiding all the comments just to keep it honest!)

Monday, September 03, 2012

Bees in the Butterfly Garden by Maureen Lang - a book review

This book review has been a long time coming.  I waited and waited, hoping that if I gave it more time I'd remember something that would make me like it more. I wish I could, but it just wasn't my 'cup of tea'.  For those of you who have read my reviews before, you know I like a book that draws me into the lives of the characters. I like descriptive narratives and engaging dialog.  I like to feel something for the characters.  I never quite got there with this book.  Now, remember, this is only my opinion.  You may really like it.  I hope you do.  I hope you give it a chance and really love it.  At first, I was really drawn to the title.  The main character is a young woman who designs gardens to attract butterflies. You'll have to read the book to find out what the bees reference pertains to.  I had an inkling about that but wasn't comepletely sure until I read the author's notes in the back of the book. I also like books that are obviously Christian in nature.  This one was kind of wishey-washey in that regard,  Usually , it takes me 3-5 days to read a book. This one took me two weeks.  I just couldnt get the hang of the author's writing style.  In my opinion, it was too wordy.  I did like how, toward the end, the author makes a point to emphasize the subtle differences between grace, mercy and justice. 
Here is what the publisher's website says about it:  
"Raised in an exclusive boarding school among Fifth Avenue’s finest, Meg Davenport has all she’s ever needed . . . but none of the things she’s wanted most, like family, or dreams of a future that includes anything other than finding a suitable match. So when her distant father dies, she seizes the chance to throw etiquette aside and do as she pleases. Especially when she learns that John Davenport wasn’t the wealthy businessman she thought, but one of the Gilded Age’s most talented thieves.

Poised to lead those loyal to Meg’s father, Ian Maguire knows the last thing his mentor would have wanted is for his beloved daughter to follow in his footsteps. Yet Meg is determined, and her connections to one of New York’s wealthiest families could help Ian pull off his biggest heist yet. But are they both in over their heads? And in trying to gain everything, will they end up losing it all?"

You can read an exerpt on the publisher's website HERE. I hope you give it a try.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Bride Wore Blue by Mona Hodgson - a book review

The Bride Wore Blue is the third book of Mona Hodgson's The Sister's of Cripple Creek saga.  This book focuses on the baby of the family, Vivian.  Her older sisters have all moved to Cripple Creek, Colorado.  I love historical romance and Hodgson didn't disappoint me with this one.  It starts out with Vivian's trip to join her sisters out west being interrupted by an exciting train robbery.  She is traveling with her Aunt as her chaperone, and a secret.  She hopes to begin a career in fashion design, but discovers that there are no opportunities in that field, In fact, there are no jobs at all, except one.  The local 'sporting house' offers her a job as a daytime hostess. The secret that she hides makes her feel that she isn't worthy enough to deserve that same kind of happiness that her sisters have found, so she takes the job, naively thinking that all she will be expected to do is greet the downstairs customers.  She keeps her job from her sisters knowing they would never approve, one more secret to keep.  She also keeps it from Carter Alwyn, a kind and Godly young man who is sweet on her, who also happens to be the sheriff's deputy.  She gets herself into some stressful and scarey perdicaments.

The publisher says:
"Headed toward a fresh start but tethered by her past, Vivian longs to break free, to find forgiveness and love.At last, the sisters are reunited! The youngest Sinclair, the family“ baby”, is moving from Maine to Cripple Creek, Colorado and joining Kat, Nell, and Ida. But Vivian is a young woman with a will of her own, and made some decisions back in Portland that have begun to haunt her. Will she be able to live up to the expectations of her three perfect and now happily-settled sisters?

The sisters warmly welcome Vivian to the mountain west, but the wild-and-woolly mining town isn’t ripe with opportunities for a respectable young woman. The youngest Sinclair sister is determined to make her own way, so
when she’s off ered a job as a hostess in a sporting house, she takes it, thinking the position is appropriate for a tainted, unlovable woman like herself. Although she’s convinced she’ll never be asked to entertain privately, Vivian
keeps her employment a secret from her sisters, knowing they’d be mortified—as will Carter Alwyn, the kind and godly sheriff ’s deputy who’s sweet on her.

Vivian is descending into a life of secrets, lying to the very people who love her and could help her heal from her mistakes. Will an outpouring of grace remind her that she is still God’s beloved and that her past can be washed as clean as Rocky Mountain snow?"

I have previously read and reviewed Hodgson's "Too Rich for a Bride" and loved it.  While this one doesn't have as many humorous story lines, her vivid desriptions and narrative draw the reader deeply into the story.

Throughout the book, Vivian struggles with feelings of shame, unworthiness and low self esteem.  This is a story of grace and redemption. 

 Even though this is the third book of the series, it is a good stand alone story, but I liked the two books by Hodgson so much  I ordered the first book of the series. 

Read an excert below and then check out the author's website HERE.

The Bride Wore Blue by Mona Hodgson (Chapter 1 Excerpt)

If you like historical Christian romance, you'll like this!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Press through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, June 09, 2012

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell - a book review

I haven't read many books set in the time of our Revolutionary War, so when this book came up for review, I was really looking forward to reading it.  I've heard alot about how prisoners were treated in the war prisons during the Civil War but  I never heard much about those in the Revolutionary War.  This book is a real eye opener!  It highlights a group of people know as The Friends or Quakers, and how they tried to remain passive, at all costs. Many were arrested beccause they would not pledge allegiance to a certain side. However, there were a few who decided to support the cause of freedom and suffered greatly for it.  I also had never really considered how the spy network worked in those times.  This book provides some insight into that.

The book is written from two points of views, Hannah, the young Quaker, and Jeremiah, a Colonial spy.  The chapters alternate between the two characters and it took me a little while to get into the rythym of that.

From the publisher's website:
Hannah Sunderland felt content in her embrace of the Quaker faith... until her twin brother joined the Colonial cause and ended up in jail. She longs to bring some measure of comfort to him in the squalid prison, but her faith forbids it. The Friends believe that they are not to take sides, not to take up arms. She is not allowed to visit him, even if she were able to secure a pass.

Jeremiah Jones, a Colonial spy, needs access to the jail to help rescue men important to the cause. Upon meeting Hannah, a plan begins to develop. Who would suspect a pious Quaker visiting a loved one?

But Jeremiah is unprepared for Hannah, for her determination to do right, to not lie. How can one be a spy and not lie? Hannah, in turn, is surprised by Jeremiah... for the way he forces her to confront her own beliefs, for the sensitivity and concern that he shows her despite the wounds he still carries.

In a time of war, can two unlikely heroes find the courage to act?

Hannah struggles with being torn between her faith, love of her brother and her growing attraction to Jeremiah.  She tried very hard to do what she feels she has to do while still obeying her faith's teachings.  Jeremiah, on the other hand has no such scruples.  He does what needs to be done without much concern for anyone else, until he meets Hannah.  Jeremiah has emotional hindrances and a physical handicap that has prevented him from forming attachments to anyone, until Hannah.  There are several other characters and circumstances that the author delves into. The practice of slavery is one of them.  The Quakers were anti-slavery, but in the aftermath of losing their home, Hannah and her family must stay with other family members who own slaves.  This doesn't sit well with Hannah's father and his protestations cause more difficulties for the 'enslaved ones', rather than help their cause.

I found myself not wanting to put this book down.  However, when the end finally came, I was disappointed.  It seem abrupt and a big let down. 

Read an expert HERE.

There ia a very interesting note from the author regarding the history of the Revolutionary War and another one on the Quakers. The author also includes some discussion questions for reading groups.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Road Trip

     We just returned from a very special road trip.  Our oldest daughter and her soldier husband were just blessed with a new baby girl, from now on to be referred to as "the little peanut" or just "peanut".  We drove because, unless it's absolutely crucial, I don't fly.  Hate it!  It's not the actual flying that I don't like.  It's all the rigamaroll beforehand and the chaos of the airport that freaks me out.  Connecting flights, late flights, missed flights, rescheduled flights..... Bleh ! So, we drive,  or I should say, my husband drives. I ride, and if I must say, I'm good at it!  My husband doesn't like to read road signs, so my 'job' is to keep him informed of speed changes, exits, etc. This trip I had an added responsibility.  I was the official tire kicker. 
     Let me explain.....  Before we head out on one of these trips from the north to the south, through the mountains, we always have the car checked out, particularly, the brakes.  The report from the garage was positive - all systems go!  So, as is our usual tradition, we started out much later than I had planned - HOURS later -already I'm little cranky. We drove about 1.5 hours and then we noticed it.  The front passenger tire - squeak, squeak, squeak, and then a loud hum.  My husband pulled over.  We got out and P.U. It smelled bad!  So my husband did the only thing we could think of,  he kicked it! IT worked!!!  I held my breath, said a prayer and we continued on, after all, this was an important trip and could not be put off.  It was to happen about 6 more times on our trip. Sometimes my husband would just hit the rumble strips and it would stop, other times I got to give it a good kick. It was actually good therapy because I hate it when I think something's been fixed and it's not. I get a little grumpy. I don't like spending money for something and feeling like I wasted it,  Anyway...God was gracious and we made it there and back with no car breakdowns. 
     After driving about 8 hours, we stopped for the night at a place we'e stayed before, America's Best Value by Best Western in Beckly W Va.  ALL the non-smoking rooms were taken.  We were tired, so we took a smoking room.  It wasn't bad after the initial p.u. of smoke smell.  The clerk generously gave me the ---------- discount (I was so tired, I didn't even care what it was called). So, we find our room, open the door (p.u.) and schlep our bags in.  My husband immediately crawls into bed.  I make my way to check out the bathroom. I don't care if there is a hairdryer, microwave, iron, etc.  I do care if the bathroom is clean.  It was, thankfully.  Remember what I said about me not liking to feel like I've wasted money?  Well, I'm going to give you my honest opinion and observations and at times they might seem a little critical.  In the first place...I'm cheap!  I don't like to spend more than $75.00 for a room. and I don't think it's too much to ask that it be clean AND includes a decent continental breakfast.  If I have to pay more to go to a restaurant to buy breakfast, I feel cheated.  Anyway.... the carpet was stained and I wasn't really sure the sheets had been changed.  Now, I spent a couple of summers between college semesters, as a maid at a local motel.  I know what the sheets look like when they come out of the commercial dryers.  They are sreaming hot and if they're not folded right away, the wrinkles become sharp creases.  These sheets looked crumpled.  Maybe thats the way they are supposed to look but it made me a little leary, so I pulled back the covers and checked them out.  There were no obvious signs of previous use, so I gave in to the exhaustion and climbed in.  I like a soft mattress.  This was firm, but I think they all are. My husband, on the other hand likes a firm mattres, so he was completely comfortable. The room was quiet, and the bathroom clean. However, when we woke up the next morning, in the light of day, I noticed something nasty looking on my husband's blanket. I don't know what it was, but it looked like it had been there a while.  I don't even want to think about what it could have been and since we had been given a discount, I didn't feel like I should complain. I just made sure to really rumple the bedding and leave that 'thing' exposed where it couldn't be missed. They did have a decent continental breakfast.  Bagels, toast, cold cereal, oatmeal, boiled eggs, muffins, danish, milk, coffee, tea,  and juice.  (I'm probably forgetting something.).  As we head back out to the open road, I look through the receipts for gas, food, room, etc.  The discount ???  A whopping $3.00 !!!!  I should have complained.  CRANKY.
     We noticed the gas prices got cheaper the closer we got to Charlotte, NC.  We even noticed some advertised for $3.05 a gallon.  I think the cheapest we paid was $3.20 because we didn't pay cash. I hate it when stations do that!  We thought we were getting it for $3.15 a gallon but, not so.  I kept notes for the next trip.
     We finally reached our daughter's home in Georgia in the early evening.  I couldn't wait to get my hands on the 'peanut'.  So precious!! All arms and legs! Tiny little feet and hands and squirmy new-borness.  And such a content baby. 
     While we were there I was able to help my daughter get the nursery set up. Little peanut came 9 days early so things weren't as done as my daughter had hoped. We also did a little reorganzing in her office.  I did some laundry, kept the dishes done up and got to hold the peanut after she ate so Mommy could get some rest. My husband got to ride the John Deer mower and get their lawn mowed so Daddy could spend more time with his little girl before he headed back to work. We had a wonderful 5 days with them and leaving was hard.  Now that the peanut is here, traveling for them will be more difficult.  And, with our son-in-law's army schedule, it may be a while before they are able to come north, so we'll probably have to go south an extra time or two. 
     So, we head out on the road again.  We make a few wrong turns, take a wrong exit or two (obviously I wasn't doing my job very well) but get back on track, get out and kick the tire a couple of times.  We drive for 8 or 9 hours and finally stop for the night, this time in Wytheville, Va.  We've stayed  here before also. The Red Roof Inn.  I make the mistake of beginning my conversation with the desk clerk with "We saw your billborad advertising rooms for $49.99. We'd like one of those"  The clerk asks if we want smoking or non and I tell her "non".  Her response  "Oh, I'm sorry, all the non-smoking rooms at the billboard price are taken."  The only non-smoking rooms left are kings or suites.  Really?  Are you kidding me?  They must have a ton of smoking rooms because there weren't that many cars there.  (Next time, I'll begin with "We'd like the cheapest non-smoking room you've got" and after finding us one, I'll throw in the billboard thing). I asked for the AAA discount which the clerk cheerfully informed me saved me $20.00 off the room price.  In total, it was $77.00 for the night.  I already knew from our last trip that this hotel had the WORST continental breakfast (so we knew we were going to have to pay for breakfast somewhere - cranky).  Coffee, juice and muffins.  Not your normal sized muffins -  micro-muffins. The tiny snack size, about 1.5 inches.  However, the room was clean, quiet, neat and updated.  It had a microwave and mini-fridge.  No hair dryer or iron and the complimentary shampoo was a one-use foil packet, not your usual little bottle.  The bed, while firm, was comfortable for my husband but most of all it was obviously clean.
     We used the hot tire as an excuse to stop and take a gander at the New River Gorge.  My husband has wanted to do that for a while.  There is a scenic overlook that is just a short walk from the parking area.  There is also a wood stairway down to the bottom of the gorge.  The sign says that the walk down to the bottom is easy but the climb back up is 'strenuous' and that there are landings with benches for resting.  We opt out of the whole bottom of the gorge thing. We do, however walk to the overlook.  There is an impressive view of the frighteningly high bridge we just drove over and not so impressive view of tree tops.  The gorge is hidden amongt the trees. It was a beautiful day and a pleasant walk so not a complete waste of time.
     So, we're home. Thankful to the Lord for traveling mercies and a wonderful visit. We are greeted by an excited dog, hungry cat and very overgrown lawn.  Back to reality....and laundry.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I'm obsessed.....


Lately I've been really obsessed with finding free sewing patterns for babies and kids. So, I've decided to share some of what I've found . 

baby clothes pattern peasant top
This little peasant bouse is so easy and can be make in one fabric or coordinating fabrics.  You can add ruffles, lace, rick rack...whatever your heart desires. You can find the directions and the pattern HERE

I've made two of these so far, one a simple white one to pair with jumpers or pinafores.  For the second one, I added to the length, added a ruffle down the front and used two coordinating fabrics.  I used a pink mini checked fabric for the sleeves and ruffle and band around the hem while the main dress portion is a yellow and pink floral. 

Here are some other interpretations I found.
Hopefully they will inspire you to try it!  To go to the websites, just click on the photos. Spend some time looking around, they each have lots to see!

Here are a few more ideas. I haven't made these yet, but I AM going to try some of them.