Tuesday, July 29, 2014

There's Nothing Like...

....surprises in the mail!

 Erin, one of my fellow AYMers sent me this goodie package---the results of her antiquing. It will all show up in the kits now and then. Thanks, Erin! I love it all!

The postcard project continues. I received two this week.
This one is from Serena in Australia. I've never been there, so this was a nice overview of tourist attractions.
This one came from Ruth in---guess where? London---one of my most favorite places!

I have really enjoyed this postcard project. It is so much fun to get mail from around the world!

It's definitely been a week of happy mail! Keep it coming!

Just Another Competition

I've mentioned before about how competitive this family is. Well, Stephanie and Nicky came up with a good idea and it's "game on."

The Eads Family Fitness Challenge started last Monday. Stephanie outlined the rules and we put our teams together---Stephanie and Nicky; Butch and I; Mindy and Justin; Greg, Sandy, Victoria and Elizabeth. Obviously the Lapps' have the advantage with 4 on their team, but they don't have Butch!! The man WALKS the golf course!! He easily gets 10,000 steps a day. Good for us.

There are many ways to get points---10,000 steps = 1 point; 1/2 hour of non-stop activity = 1 point, 1 lb. weight loss = 2 points.

After week one---it's no surprise---Team Eads (Butch and I) are #1!!! We had a combined total of 38.5 points.

We all have FitBits, so it's easy to see what everyone is doing on a daily basis.

The winner will get $25.00 from each of the other teams. The challenge runs until the end of October. It's not really about the money. It's about being healthy!!

Here's the problem. The Lapps family arrives on Friday---for the next week. It is really hard to cook healthy foods all the time. Pretty much ALL of the family favorites are not all that healthy.

On Saturday, we've rented a pontoon boat. Usually, I would bring fried chicken, potato salad, biscuits, cole slaw and black bottom cupcakes for dessert. Here's how I've modified the menu---oven fried chicken, potato salad with low fat mayo, cole slaw with low fat dressing and watermelon for dessert. That's about the best I can do. Everything that would be easy to make and have on a trip like this were just not the healthiest choices.

Then that brings us to the rest of the week. I can control what we have at home---lots of things on the grill, but we have to forget about the regular things we usually do---we can forget the  Club for their Mexican night. We can forget about the Pfunky Griddle for breakfast or Pancake Pantry. Forget about White Castle. We are having Imo's Pizza on Saturday night and we are going to the Loveless Cafe where you can order good old-fashioned country vegetables---cooked in bacon drippings. We'll do the best we can.

It's hard. That's all there is to it.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

How Does My Garden Grow?

This mild summer has really kept things looking fresh in the gardens. Often, by now, everything is starting to burn up---especially when we are put on water restriction. 
 This is one of my tree hydrangeas. It is so heavy with blooms, you almost cannot see the trunk.
 The tree hydrangea from a distance. There's one on each side of the front porch.
Annuals are always in these front beds. There are pink, white and purple vinca with purple heart against the wall in back.
 The tree hydrangea on the other side is not nearly as full of blooms. I'm having trouble with moles here. You can see that the annuals aren't doing as well here either.
 Besides the single blue bloom of the "endless summer" hydrangea, all I have is lush foliage. At first I thought that perhaps they weren't getting enough sun, but after talking to friends, no has blooms this year. Strange. I'm going to be sure to fertilize them in the fall.
Entrance to my shade garden. I love the ostrich ferns. They are draught tolerant, disease resistant and can take sun or shade. The spread easily, but are also easy to control. The best time to take the "babies" is in the spring. If anyone wants them, I easily have a hundred or more to give away.
 Another view of my ferns. They look good anywhere.
I love to stroll through. I even have a bench to sit at, but I never do. The mosquitoes will attack.
I do enjoy sitting on the porch swing---since Butch bought the best mosquito deterrent yet---a fan! That really works. I've been able to enjoy the porch much longer this year due to the low humidity, but that is coming to an end. I sat out this afternoon for about 20 minutes. It was just too darn hot!

I have a busy week coming up---and then the Lapps family arrives on Friday. Ahhh, summers---crazy busy, but I wouldn't have it any other way!!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Noble's Goat Farm Tour

Most restaurants these days bill themselves as "farm to table." Meaning that they buy meat, cheese, eggs and vegetables locally so you know it's really fresh. Noble's Goat Farm makes goat cheese that is featured at many local restaurants. Karolyn planned an outing for us to tour it.

 The hens lay an egg a day in the summer. In the winter they lay 2 or 3 eggs a week. If all of the nests are full, they just wait their turn for a spot.
There were several chickens that "flew the coop" like this one. When we tourists got close, they hustled back inside the coop. And I thought chickens were supposed to be dumb.

It was an interesting tour. Wouldn't you think I'd have gotten a picture of the goats? I guess I forgot. I'll get a picture in two weeks when I take the family. The property was gorgeous. We lucked out with the weather too. It was hot, but not much humidity.

Afterwards, we had lunch at The Country Boy restaurant in Leipers Fork. It was a fun outing. Whoever would have thought about turning their farm in to a sightseeing adventure. Just another good way to make a few extra bucks. I think farmers need it.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Some Things Need to Change

These days, a lot is being said and done about empowering women. Every where you look, you'll find videos, magazine articles, or blog articles about what we need to do to raise our daughters to be strong women. There is all kinds of advice about building self esteem. There are nation wide programs for young girls. I just hope it helps, because some things need to change.

I wish there had been some sort of movement like that for her:
This is my grandmother. I think she's beautiful! She never thought so. In fact, many of the pictures that I have of her, she had written on the back---"ugly Jennie." It breaks my heart that she never thought she was attractive. She was from a large family---eight children. She quit school after the 3rd grade to help on the farm---basically, she raised the younger kids. She was kind, generous, loving and never said a bad word about anybody. She was also bossy and freely gave advice---whether asked for or not. I like to think that I am a lot like her---at least I'm the bossy part for sure!
This is her at 32. People in the old days just looked older to me. She never smiled in pictures. I hope she just wasn't sad all the time. I would hate to think she lived her life unhappily. She found solace in her faith and passed that on to her children. She was very important to me. I still miss her.

I do hope that the changes taking place for girls today really work so that everyone feels good about themselves and realizes that there are much more important things than an outward appearance. Those things need to change!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mystery Trip

Well, it's been a whirlwind, action-packed, fun-filled weekend. I had every intention of blogging along the way, but there simply was no time. Every night it was 11:30 p.m. by the time we got back to our hotel. Here's the run-down:

Thursday
We arrived in Atlanta at 10:30 p.m. We stayed at a Marriott Residence Inn----our first time. Jordan said it was the nicest hotel she's ever been in. It really was so nice---2 bedrooms, living room and full kitchen. I don't know why we haven't discovered this before now.

Friday
I bought early bird tickets for the Georgia Aquarium. We arrived at 9 a.m. and spent several hours browsing around. We ended our tour with the dolphin show.











After the aquarium, we had lunch at Panera Bread. After a brief rest, we left at 5 p.m. to fight Atlanta rush hour traffic. It took us an hour and twenty minutes to go 24 miles. We had dinner at the Harbour Bar and Seafood House before going to the theater.
I got tickets for the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.  The girls love theater, so this was the perfect thing---a musical comedy. Our seats were the best in the house---front row center. Jordan was even singled out during the show as one of the character's sister, Marigold. Another character took a liking to her---much comedy ensued. We were all in stitches.

Saturday
This was our shopping day. We hit some really good sales at Forever 21 and H&M. The girls love those stores. The clothes are so reasonably priced, that you can really get a lot of bang for your buck. I also surprised the girls with a Brighton charm bracelet. I let them choose the charms---each symbolizing parts of our mystery trip.

The final surprise was meeting up with the Lapps family at Cheesecake Factory for lunch. The surprise was on both sides---although Victoria figured it out due to some pictures that Morgan posted on Instagram.

That evening, we went to the Atlanta Braves baseball game at Turner field. We all had such a good time. Morgan almost caught a foul ball. As it was coming towards us, I completely froze. I saw my life flash before my eyes. I was certain the ball was going to "bean" me. Morgan stuck her hand up and took the pain. Unfortunately, she didn't catch the ball---the lady right in front of her grabbed it. We sort of thought that was lousy that she didn't just give it to Morgan---but baseball fans are pretty die hard. All-in-all, there were 3 balls hit right to us---one two rows up and one 3 people to our right---besides the one Morgan almost caught.



 Morgan Instagramed this photo. The things these kids know how to do---amazes me.



These kids are really good with the "selfies." I think their arms have already evolved to be six inches longer than any previous generation.

 When we got back to the hotel---at 11:30, the teens hung out in our room until after 1 a.m..

Sunday
We got an early start and was home by 10:30. We all had a great time and the girls loved every part of the trip---especially the "mystery" part.

One mystery remains.
Why would anyone feel the need to wheel their suitcase through the aquarium? Beats me!