Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Solitude (almost)


So this is our first time to hang out in Maine, just me and the kids.  In the past the house was full, and there was never a dull moment!

island view

This year we are tickled to be able to enjoy some time in Maine, just us.  While the house is not brimming with people, there is still never a dull moment.  That being said, we are enjoying many slow days, lots of playing here at the house and not the run-around pace we usually keep when in Maine!

sunrise view

It has been such a blessing for me to watch my kids play with each other.  There is still some squabbling, but with all there is to do here there is really little reason to squabble.  If you want to run around in the woods, there is about 13-16 acres to do that, and no fences,  and maybe a few acres from the neighbors too.  If you want to play in the rocks, there are endless rocks to climb, explore and enjoy.  And if the water is more your thing, the ocean abounds on the edge of the property.  Really, it does not get much better than this.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Day 6 {Maine Life}

We decided to stick around the house on Friday and it was such a glorious day.

rocky coast

It is amazing having time to be still and think, and the thoughts that you can think – wow!

coast line 1

The kids played in the woods for hours – clearing the path a bit and building a lean to. 

lean to with Ptrees on my walk with P

Once the tide went out enough the kids hit the mud.  I did not take any pics of that today, but they came back muddy and happy.

The afternoon was spent cooling off in the water.  The boys are loving swimming in the ocean around high tide – but after today they will be staying a bit closer to the coast.  swimming boys


Days 1-5 {Maine}

Oh my, I am not sure where to start!    We had a very uneventful drive up from Baltimore – too many bridges if you ask me – but oh well, we made it!

But we certainly hit the ground running once we arrived, literally.  The kids were covered in mud within minutes of our arrival.  Then, they were off in the woods exploring their trails from 2010.

The next day we all split up : J went golfing with his Papa, P & A went off with their Grammie to Beth’s (a local farmer’s market), and E joined me as we headed to town.  It was lots of fun for everyone and we all got a brief break from each other!!

Once we all got back to the house, the kids headed for the “frigid’ water for a swim.  Grammie encouraged them to go under and the boys all took her up on it and went under!  (but it did not last too long)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Book Review : The Choice

Have you read anything by Robert Whitlow yet?  If not, you really have to check him out, he is one of my favorite authors!  I have never been disappointed by any book of his!

Robert Whitlow is not only a great author, but a lawyer too, and always brings in elements of the law into his stories!  He has written some great books like The List, The Trial, and many more!


The latest book by Robert Whitlow I thoroughly enjoyed was The Choice.  When I jumped at the chance to read this book, I had no idea the subject, I just knew I wanted to read it since Mr. Whitlow wrote it.  When it arrived and I realize which “choice” he was writing about I was not sure how this book would go.  Silly me, to doubt.  It was delightful.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Day 5 {Maryland}

This was by far, our best day in Maryland!!  The kids were so excited to visit Ft McHenry!


My kids are huge history fans in general, but being able to walk around Ft McHenry and see so many great things!  We were even blessed to be able to see some re-enactors!  It was great to hear about the history of the fort, why this war (the War of 1812)  was started and how it was fought.  We loved watching them fire the cannon – and then we enjoyed walking around!!

the gang

Book Review : Dying to Read

Next book up, which I get to review is Dying to Read by Lorena McCourtney.  While Ms. McCourtney has written many other books, this is the first book by her that I have read. 

Dying To Read - Lorena McCourtney

This is the first book in a series called the Cate Kincaid Files, and it tells the story of Cate Kincaid.  She is a young adult who has not been able to hold down a steady job that keeps her interest.  So, she is living with her Uncle Joe and his wife Rebecca; while living with them she agrees to help Joe out with a bit of low profile Private Investigator (PI) work.

I found this book very entertaining.  I have to confess though, I am a recovering Janet Evanovich & Stephanie Plum addict.  While I loved those stories years ago, I seem to be in a place that I cannot get too into them now.  The language has gotten worse and so have the relationships.  So, I was thrilled to find this new series.  While Cate is no Stephanie Plum, I think I like her just as much, and would be proud to read all her stories!!  I love that for once our heroine is a Christian and is not the one to have the coming to faith encounter. (I really enjoyed that in this book)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Day 4 {Maryland}

We had a fun day, once again!  We spent the morning hiking at a different park.

8 kids about to hike

  The kids loved this hike as there was a stream just off the path that was spring fed!  They found all kinds of fun stuff, mushrooms, frogs, cool rocks and lots of other great stuff!

8 silly kids on a log

Friday, August 17, 2012

Day 3

I am hoping that not too many people see us as traitors after the day we had!! 

at annapolis

While West Point is the only REAL college (well in our small minds) I still jumped at the chance to expose my kids to another military academy.  I will admit I am not encouraging their attending Navy, but honestly I would be proud no matter where they go and how they serve!

So we did head to Annapolis today to see the Academy, to enjoy learning some history and to stop and crab while out there. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Day 2 {Maryland}

We had such a great day 2!!  We started out going on a hike at the state park nearby. 

raring to go

(excited and full of energy!!)

We trekked about a mile and a half through some hills, some water, across a bridge, and ending at a water fall!  It was great weather and lots of fun!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Day 1 {Maryland}

We laid low today, did not want to get back in the car quite yet, so we played at the house and walked to a park/garden in the neighborhood and enjoyed being together.  The favorite part of the day was climbing this amazing tree at the park!!  There were so many kids in this one tree!  So much fun!!

ag in a treeE in treekids in a treelots of kids in a cool tree

How many kids can you find?

p up in a tree with j highersweet girl in a cool treeWhere's J

Can you spot the child in this tree?

Bedtime was a bit earlier, and so was wake up the next day, but it was a good day to be outside and just play, like kids are supposed to!!

Book Review : Mindful of Him


The book Mindful of Him, by Hollis Hughes, tells a tale of a young man who has had a series of terrible things happen to him. This story takes place in the 1950’s and it tell of how Rob Mclain takes a journey to the mouth of the river by his childhood home. He is searching for the source of the river, after growing up watching it and wondering where it came from.

My favorite part of this story was the scenes that Mr. Hughes wrote about, the images he paints in my mind of the river and its surrounding land are beautiful, and reflect an amazing creator. I enjoyed getting to know the characters in this book as well, primarily Rob and Beth, his wife.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day 3 {Maine Bound}

Amazing what a good night of sleep can do for 5 people trekking across the US.

wva senic stop

day 3 was so much better.  However, it was not without some excitement!!

travelling kids

So, anyway, we were up early – as you can imagine with 5 people in a little hotel room.  Showered, packed, loaded and then off to breakfast.

Breakfast in the hotel is always a treat for my gang, because they (hotel) offer sugar-y items on their buffet that are never in our breakfast repertoire at home!

ED breakfast

pancakes JBPJ and breakfast

So after that, we jumped in the car, I programed the GPS to head to Kristen’s house.  And off we went.

I should note, I have been to Kristen’s in Baltimore before, but I flew in.  (keep this in mind)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Book review : The Haven

My least favorite thing about reading a great book is finishing the last page and closing it.  I always feel like I am leaving a piece of myself behind.  I miss the characters a little bit, as I was so immersed in their lives for a period of time.

So, when an author writes more than one book about the same characters I always enjoy getting back into their lives! That was the case with The Haven.  It feels like I finished The Keeper  just a few months ago, although it was a bit longer.  I loved picking up the story of the Lapp family and getting right back into their simple, Amish, farm life in The Haven by Suzanne Woods Fisher.

This story picks up after Julia has married and moved away, and her younger sister, Sadie,  has gone to stay with her for a while.  After her stay, Sadie returns to Windmill Farm to her family unannounced.  While they are surprised by her unexpected return, they are more surprised by the baby she brings home. 

{Maine Bound} Day 2

What a day.  I expected Day 1 to be hard, we were driving 11 hours, so I knew it would be a long day.  But the day I drove  4 hours  was by far worse.  Still not sure why.

But we did have some fun despite grumpy kids.  We stopped at Ft Campbell to drive around and see some sites. 

101st gatesmuseum display 1The kids were thrilled about the Motor Pools- the yards of vehicles parked.  We did get to stop at the (closed) museum and walk around some planes and other fun displays though.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Day 1 of our trek

Well, we are off.  We left about 05:50am – .yes I was up at 4am packing the cooler and getting everything ready.

We trekked through 5 states : Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky!  First time back to the birthplace of our first born!!

We drove about 11 hours, 2 bathroom stops, eating on the road and 1 movie!  I mark that up to a very successful day.

Here are some pics J snapped as we travelled.

missouri state linetennesee line 2tennessee state line


Thursday, August 9, 2012

School or Vacation? Both!!

So what do you do when you head to Maine as the summer is closing and everyone else is heading back to school?  I mean, we are not running out there for a few days, in fact is will be a pretty good amount of time.  I had hoped to school most of the days this summer, so we would be ahead, but oh well, life happened and we did not.  Instead we had cousin camp, we made many trips to DFW to play and see doctors, and we just played.  So now, instead of leaving all the school behind, we are taking it with us!

I love homeschooling for more reasons than I can count.  But I love that you can take it with you when you travel the country for 9 months during unemployment, and I love it when you can take it with you and enjoy 60-70 temps while Texas is cooking at about 110 degrees!!

So we are taking math – we all need to do math as much as possible.  We are taking brand new nature/art journals and I am most excited about these! 

We are also taking an old favorite – Pagoo by Holling C. Holling.  We are also doing a lovely notebook with Pagoo that I found online here – I cannot wait.  AG will be coloring her Ocean Notebook while the boys write and fill lots of great stuff in.

Book Review : Tidewater Inn

If you have not figured it out yet, I love to read.  The summer is my favorite time to log in many hours reading a great book and I am so thankful I get to sign-up to review lots of books in the summer!!

A recent book that arrived in my real “in-box” was Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble.  While I have not read anything by Colleen, I have read a few books co-authored by her editor and I knew this was going to be a great read to see Erin Healy paired up with Colleen, as her editor!!

Initially, I planned to sit by the water in Maine and read this book, it just screamed of feet up by the ocean, but instead I finished it off in about 3 days before taking off for Maine, bummer, but at the same time a great read!!

Okay, first you may ask why I felt I needed ocean water to accompany this book.  Well, the story takes place in the Outer Banks (a place I have been several times) and specifically on a small island there.  The main character, Libby, restores old homes, whether she buys them to fix up and sell or whether she is contracted.  While her partner is out checking a deal, she is kidnapped. 


It seems I am more motivated when we travel than when we are home, when it comes to fun school/educational stuff.

We have so much fun stuff planned for this trip!  But what I am most excited about right now is our nature/art journals.  Yes, I am merging the two.  I hope that we make entries each day on the nature side, whether sketching something we see, or journaling what we want to remember.  Also, I plan for us to do an art page each day.  I am using tons of suggestions from Art Projects for Kids – a favorite blog of mine!!

So, I invested in some new journals – the kind with blank pages.  I found our sat Hobby Lobby for a fair price, and no shipping!! 

So, I unhinged the spirally part on the back, took off the covers so we could decorate them and then cover them with contact paper to protect them.  Then I dug out some nature-ish paper, some stickers (from my scrapbook days) and we got busy!!

journal 2


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