It’s a Disneyland After All!

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So my Sissy and I did it. We went to Disneyland without our husbands or our children.

We only feel a leetle guilty.

We had a TON of fun!

We brought the kiddos home T-shirts.

Our cousin Kathy came too! She’s pretty darn cool!

We heard Sir Paul McCartney and Justin Timberlake perform. We saw Jay Leno filming live. We rode Radio Springs Racers in Carsland, Hollywood Tower of Terror, and Screaming.

Disney just won’t be the same without us.

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Coming Up Flowery

I’m not exactly sure if “flowery” is actually a word to anyone except Baby, but that is the word she is currently using to describe our yard.

Spring Time has hit Middle-of-Nowhere, Tennessee early this year and we have been watching our flowers bud, blossom and bloom all in a matter of days (okay, maybe weeks, but it felt like days!)…

I would like to take credit for the beautiful flowers in our flower beds, but I can’t…except for the one sitting here on the bench…

Baby & Tulips

We like tulips, and I would like to thank the former owner of this house for planting the bulbs for me!

March 2012 - 1

March 2012 - 7

The whole yard is in bloom!

March 2012 - 5

March 2012 - 3

Including the trees…

March 2012 - 6

March 2012 - 4

So excuse me while I go outside to enjoy the fresh air, the flowers and allergy season!

Making Smoky Mountain Memories

This holiday season one of my biggest hopes was to spend more time creating memories and traditions with my family than disconnecting and going in opposite directions. I would like to think we succeeded.

Last Wednesday (hard to believe it was just a week ago!) the Ranger called and asked if I might want to go to the Smoky Mountains for New Years.

I have spent New Years Eve in a bar (once), in Vancouver, B.C. (once, shout out to Brandon and Kaaren!) and pulling a Dick Clark All-Nighter (more often than I care to admit). I am paranoid about the possibility of getting hit by a drunk driver. I’m crazy, I know this.

So, much to my husband’s suprise I said, “SURE!”

So last Friday night found the Accidental family creeping down the highway between Knoxville, TN and Pigeon Forge (you know, Dollywood Land!). I was stunned. I don’t know what I expected, but the bumper to bumper traffic that took over and hour to go a mere 10 miles through an electrician’s worst nightmare was NOT it! There were lights EVERYWHERE! There were cars EVERYWHERE! There were amusements and tourist traps EVERYWHERE! There were hotels and people EVERYWHERE! It was CRAZY!

We finally found our hotel (slightly off the main highway to my great joy!) and settled in for the night. Pigeon Forge was not our final destination for this trip.

In the morning we got up and set off for the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, leaving behind the portable DVD players, DS’s, and the cell phones (okay, so it was in my purse, but I wasn’t using it!).

On our way we drove through Gatlinburg (CUTEST TOWN EVER!) making note of places we thought we might stop on our way back through after our sojourn through the wilderness and continued on into the park. Gatlingburg was not our destination this trip.

Smoky Mountains 2011

We thought we would hike to a waterfall, but there were too many cars and not enough parking spaces so we kept driving.

The scenery was STUNNING!

Smoky Mountains 2011 3

We, and about a million other families, drove the loop around Cades Cove where there were deer and elk aplenty. At one point there was a park ranger who was there to be sure cars kept moving and no one would attempt to get close to the family of deer sitting by the side of the road.

We stopped at the old Cable Mill and walked around for a bit. It was beautiful!

Smoky Mountains

Christmas Break 2 017

Christmas Break 2 018

The drive through the park was lazy, with kids looking out windows and arguing over whose river it was depending on which side of the car it was flowing by. For those beautiful couple of hours we enjoyed the forest, the environment, discussed the need for the park to have buses to cut down on traffic and emissions, and realized that we should have brought snacks.

It was a memory. It will be a tradition.

How to Build a Snowman in TN

In parts of Tennessee there is a huge possibility of snow, however, not in Middle-of-Nowhere, TN, where I live.

Last year they saw more snow days that they had for quite awhile…

…they blamed us for having brought the snow with them from Pennsylvania.

This year we have been looking at a strong possibility of a green and brown Christmas and I wanted to make it a bit more festive!

I made a green snowman!

It is green in color and in the whole Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Good all around!

So, how did I do this?

First, I went to my current obssession (Pintrest) and got some ideas, then I got to work.

Snowman wreath 1

I used an inside door to build my snowman, ‘cuz frankly it’s cold outside, even if it is TN!

Snowman wreath 2

I got three artificial wreaths (12″, 20″, and 24″) and put them together using a spool of green twist ties.

Snowman wreath 3

Then, I went out to the yard and found two twigs for arms.

Snowman wreath 5

I added an old scarf…

Snowman wreath 6

and a hat the kids had outgrown…

Snowman wreath 7

and, VOILA! A snowman as green as most of the trees around us!

Snowman wreath 8

Now, what else can I do to get A.) into trouble and B.) get more Christmassy!

Oh, Christmas Tree!

Happy Fall, Y’ALL!

I had the best of intentions of writing earlier, but things have been kinda crazy around here…
I was going to post about Veteran’s Day…
I was going to post about the gorgeous fall leaves…
I was going to post an open letter to the lovely family who bought our house in Pennsylvania…
I was going to post about our trip to see the Radio City Rockettes in Nashville…
I was going to post about Thanksgiving and how thankful I am for Cracker Barrel…

But, I didn’t.

So, now, we are heading into December and my Christmas tree died last weekend…a full month before Christmas.

Now, don’t feel too bad for my tree, it was never alive.

When I was growing up I have memories of traipsing around freezing Christmas tree farms searching hither and yon for the perfect tree! My Daddy or Bubba would either chop it down or dig it up, we would take it home and then have to cut half of it off so it would fit.

You know that scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation?

It looked a lot like that!

Our tree always looked beautiful! It was decorated by theme – usually gingham and red velvet bows, teddy bears and red glass balls.

Today, I am rather obsessive about my our Christmas tree! I try to put it up on the day after Thanksgiving. We don’t haul the kids to the tree farm (asthma and evergreens do not mix well), I haul the tree out of the basement and methodically stretch the wire branches into shape.

A few years ago, the Ranger surprised me with a pre-lit tree! I was sooo STINKIN’ excited! I am that person who will sit, year after year, taking my lights off the tree and putting them back onto the original packaging before storing it away for the year…that takes FOREVER, but sometimes my OCD over rules logic!

I have spent the past couple of years trying to loosen up when it comes to decorating my our tree. I have trouble sharing the decorating with my kids. The Ranger learned long ago it is best to back up and let me work. These days I have to share. I have to let the girls put their ornaments on the tree. I get to do the lights, the beads, the angel and some of the more delicate ornaments and the candy canes. I also get to “suggest” locations for placing ornaments.

So, this year I pulled up the tree, plugged it in, and this is what it looked like.

Tree 10 - retouched

Not quite what I had pictured. This is the type of scene I had pictured.

Rockettes 2011 - retouched

So, luckily we have a big box store in Middle-of-Nowhere, TN! We went out and found a new tree in the “Holiday Department” (without lights) and brought it home. I opened the box and realized that there I needed a map to construct this tree. This worked out well, ‘cuz I’m a directions reader! I managed to get the tree set up (with Baby’s help).

Tree 7- retouched

We added the lights, ornaments, etc.

Tree 3 - retouched

And I have to admit, it does look pretty good (if I do say so myself!)…

Tree 1 - retouched

Now, because they’re cute and they were the only pictures I was able to take at the Rockettes, here are my girls:

Big Rockettes 2011 - retouched

Baby Rockettes 2011 - retouched

Orange – Shades of Autumn Photo Challenge

We moved into our house exactly 1 year ago today (not that I’m counting).

One of the things that drew us to this house was the gorgeous flowerbeds!

The mums were crazy HUGE!

Orange 4

They still are…

Orange 3 - framed

They are still gorgeous!

Orange 2 - framed

Today I am participating in
Shades of Autumn Photo Challenge

And loving it!

Horsing Around

What is it about girls and horses?

They just seem to go together!

My girls aren’t immune.

They don’t exactly have “Horse Fever,” they don’t focus on books and movies about horses, they don’t have collections of horses they play with…

Horses 12 framed

But this past weekend we saw what happens when you put my children in close proximity to a real, LIVE horse!

Horses 17 retouched

Pure, unadulterated JOY!

They’ve been on little ponies before…you know the kind that just go in circles.

This was their first time on horses.

Big was invited to learn how to ride as part of her church youth group. Baby got to go ‘cuz we were driving.

We weren’t sure if Baby would get to even sit on a horse ‘cuz she’s not technically part of the youth group, but…

Someone took pity of a little girl who was looking at those horses like this…

Horses 11 cropped

And put her here…

Horses 13 - framed

Big won’t be barrel racing any time soon. She enjoyed it but wasn’t ready for more than one turn on a horse.

Baby on the other hand could possibly catch that “Horse Fever” if we encouraged it at all.

She may not look like it, but there’s a cowgirl in there just waiting to get out!

Baby meets bull - matted

Green – Shades of Autumn Photo Challenge

You may have been wondering where I have disappeared to?
I’ve been around…just crazy busy!

I’ve been Tweeting a whole lot more! and I’ve been adding to my Pintrest too!
Someday I’ll learn how to link them…

Let me tell ya ’bout a recent adventure I had with my family…

We went to the ZOO! (and I’m not talking about my Mama’s place!)

I may have mentioned that the Accidental family has this Thang (Southern for Thing) about zoo’s.

We LOVE’EM!

So far we’ve been to the Pittsburgh Zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo, the Memphis Zoo, the New Orleans Zoo and the Atlanta Zoo…last weekend we added the Nashville Zoo to our repetoire.

It has become one of our favorites after only one visit.

The setting was not just green, it was GREEN!

This is who greeted us as we walked into the place… green foliage and blue birdies!

Nashville Zoo 1

The one bird had a bit of an attitude…
He went this way…

Nashville Zoo 2

And then he went that way…

Nashville Zoo 3

And then…
He stopped and looked right at me and asked,

Nashville Zoo 4

“What’chu Looking At?!”

I’ll (hopefully) be posting more about the zoo soon!

Today I’m participating in the Shades of Autumn Photo Challenge with Live and Love Out Loud, Project Alicia, and Bumbles and Light.
Shades of Autumn Photo Challenge

I Put My Kindle on Overdrive and Loved It!

Okay, let’s go over what we know about this Mama.

  1. I am a librarian with a degree and everything
  2. I read…a lot.
  3. Refer to # 2.
  4. Wash, Rinse and Repeat.

When I first heard about the idea of eBooks, I was a bit leery.

I love books!

I love the feel of paper and how it shapes to my hands as I read the same book over and over again. It’s kind of like a pair of jeans that are stiff when you first buy them, but as you wear them they become a part of your body. Books are like that to me.

However, I also have this thing about technology. I really like it too!

Do you see my quandary?

For awhile I was indifferent, then I was leery, then I was in denial, then I was into full blown eReader envy, then I got one!

The Ranger surprised me with one last year with a Kindle for a birthday / graduation gift!

I was stuck in another quandary…my husband had listened and gone out of his way to purchase me this AMAZING gift and I was disappointed because, you see, I had been thinking about getting a Nook. However, please don’t think that I wasn’t anything less than thrilled with my Kindle!

My KindleMy KindleMy Kindle

The Kindle and the Nook are probably the two most competitive brands of eReaders, I’m not counting an iPad in this conversation because that’s a whole other she-bang!

I was thinking about getting a Nook mostly because it was more versatile – I could share my books and more importantly, I could borrow books from my local library! (The key phrase here being LIBRARY).

The Kindle had a vast number of titles available on their free collection shelves, but Amazon.com seemed to be a bit stingy about what it would allow the Kindle owners to download for free. I realize that it’s all about the money, they are a business who needs money to exist and if we can gets books for free then why would we want to pay them for their titles?

My KindleMy KindleMy Kindle

Amazon is my new best friend.

They have gotten over this whole money issue…

…sort of.

They worked out a deal with Overdrive (the main distributor of eBooks to public libraries in the United States) to allow Kindle owners to borrow eBooks from their local libraries!

FREE!

When I was working at the Cresson Public Library we had just begun a contract with Overdrive to give our patrons 24 / 7 access to library materials. I played with the program so that I would be able to teach patrons how to access these titles from their home computers. It wasn’t that difficult, but you had to download a specific application onto your computer and download the book from the internet to your computer and then from your computer hard drive to your reader. And, every so often you need to go back onto the computer application and delete the title from your hard drive.

With my Kindle it literally took me 2 minutes to check out my title, click “download to Kindle,” which takes you to the Amazon.com website where you click “Download” and BAM! It shows up on your Kindle!

I’ve never downloaded anything easier except from Amazon.com itself!

I will definitely be using that particular application a whole lot more!

I have now recently spent time with both a Kindle (mine) and a Nook (another story), and I have to say I LOVE my Kindle so much better!

Now, I just need to get my itchy, honkin fingers on a Kindle Fire!

I have not recieved any money in return for my love and adoration of my Kindle. I just like it and like to talk about it! However, I would not be adverse if Kindle would like to gift me with a Kindle Fire to review for them! *hint*hint*hint*

 

 

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