Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Best Spot for a Lunch

There is always one thing we MUST do when we go to Shiloh - lunch at Rhea Springs.  There is NO question about what we will do for lunch when we are there.  The kids run to the springs when we get there and begin to relive all of their experiences at the springs.  This time was so exception.

The water was a tad chilly.  Wasn't it, Madlyn?

We have never seen the water THIS clear before.

I love this creek for many reasons.  One of the main reasons is that it brings all the kids together.  It takes them to a place and time that is not often visited in this day and time.  A place where nothing matters and simple things are what matter most.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Memorial Day Weekend Tradition

It has just become a tradition. 
The kids expect it.  
I expect it.  
We all love it.
What is it?
Our first trip of the summer to Shiloh National Park.

It has become one of the kids' favorite places to go and each time we have gone, we see and learn something new.  This time Damon and Madlyn went with us - both of them are Shiloh rookies. I think they grew to love it as well.  Damon even brought a book home from work about Shiloh once we got back!

The monument for the Confederate soldiers who lost their lives here . . . 

Our fearless leaders . . . They were all about some trails on this trip.
Off we went to see where the surrender took place.

Wallace's Mortuary Monument

The kids at Duncan Field
The Shiloh church - the kids love coming here each time . . . 

We thought our fearless leaders were leading us on the trail to Fraley Field - where the battle began.
Needless to say after a 8 minute walk, our fearless leaders realized they had taken the wrong trail!

Carter with the Minnesota monument at the Hornets' Nest.
I had to take this picture because the first time we came here - almost two years ago, he saw this
monument and asked, "I did not know that the Twins (Minnesota's baseball team) fought
at Shiloh!"  

Carter and Cecily with our favorite monument - the Tennessee monument

The Bloody Pond - another favorite spot of the kids . . . 

LB's favorite spot - the National Cemetery.
We missed the flags this year because we had to go earlier in the week.

LB and Madlyn walking along the path looking for special graves.

We always have to go to certain spots.
We always have to see something new.
We always enjoy our time.
We always remember those who fought.
We always look forward to the next time we come.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Our "Baby" is 6!!!!

I was so blessed to be able to stay home with my babies while keeping other babies over the last nine years.  Each one holds a special place in my heart.  Cecily (the youngest baby I kept and still keep in the summer) celebrated her SIXTH (gasp!) birthday after school ended.  To celebrate, we went to the Family Fun center where we all bowled, played games, ate great food and rode bumper cars!!  This family definitely had fun!
Got to LOVE the photo booth!

Madlyn and LB - Team 1 - took on . . . .

Carter and Cecily - Team 2!

Carter bowling for the first time . . . .

Could have been the favorite - indoor bumper cars!

I can't believe my baby is 6!!!
We love you, Cecily and can't wait to take you to the zoo
for your birthday present from us!

Book Review: Chasing the Sun

Bethany House is wonderful to let me review books that are coming out in exchange for my review of them on the blog and Amazon.  I have LOVED doing this for them and love getting new books in the mail!  The latest book I have read for them was Tracie Peterson's Chasing the Sun.  I have always loved Mrs. Peterson's book so I was very excited to be able to read this one as well.

It is the first in a new series entitles Land of the Lone Star which means it takes place in Texas.  I love to read anything about Texas that I can get my hands on, and this did NOT disappoint me at all.  I will admit that the storyline was nothing like I thought it would be.   Hannah Dandridge has been uprooted by her two-time widowed father from Civil War destroyed Vicksburg, MS, to an area outside of Dallas, TX.  Mr. Lockhart, her father's business partner, is trying to win Hannah's hand in marriage as well as the land her family is living on.  He is having troubles doing both, but his troubles rise when William Barnett comes back home - to the land Hannah and her family are living on.  The town sees William as a traitor.  Hannah sees William as one who can help with the land until it is decided who actually owns the land.
Land is torn. People are torn. Tracie Peterson does a wonderful job holding her readers' attention until the very end.

Thank You, Teachers!

We have been so blessed with wonderful teachers each year.  I always try to do something for them to say "Thanks!"  This year Pinterest was a great help with these ideas!

For Mrs. Judy and Mrs. Holdren, we found these containers. I used my cricut and the Storybook cartridge to cut out their last name initial with some accents.  LB made her famous cake mix cookies to put in each container.  On top, we put a note that said, "I am one smart cookie because of you!"

For Mrs. Stella, I found a smaller container and did the same thing as I did for the teachers.  I knew this was Mrs. Stella's last year to be a grandmother, so one day at recess, I had each student tell me something they loved about Mrs. Stella.  I wrote each sentence on a slip of paper with the child's name at the bottom and put them in the jar along with lifesavers.  Her note at the top said, "You are our lifesaver!"

I did not get a picture of Mrs. Carol's gift from LB.  However, it looks exactly like Mrs. Stella's but instead of lifesavers, LB picked out her favorite mints to fill the jar.  The note on top said, "You MINT a lot to me this year."

Since this was Mrs. Judy's first year in our system (and what a year it was!), I wanted to do something for her to show her what an impact she had made on these kids.  She happened to be out of the classroom for a few days, so I had Mrs. Stella and the sub have the kids write 2-3 sentences telling what they loved about Mrs. Judy.  I took them, typed them (spelling not altered one bit!), printed them, cut each one out, and glued one sentence per card from a deck of cards.  I used by big hole punch to punch a hole in the top corner of each card and held them together with a ring.
I had planned to make it "cuter" but the end of the year for me was CRAZY!  She loved it though and the kids' sayings were absolutely precious! You had NO doubt they love their teacher and know their teacher loves them.

God has blessed us over and over again with such wonderful, God fearing teachers for our children! Thank you, God!

Monday, May 28, 2012

One Proud Momma!

I am one blessed momma!  I was not able to go to Laura Beth's awards day at school because my third graders were having their big awards ceremony at the same time. However, Damon and Gran were able to go and kindly took the camera so I could "be there."  
I will be honest. I was VERY worried about LB going to the middle school this year.  Even with her having one of our good friends as her teacher, I was worried.  However, LB defied ALL odds this year.  She constantly amazed us with how hard she worked and her determination.  Even Gran (who was able to go to field day with LB because I had a field trip) said she amazed at the difference in LB.  Confidence just oozes from her like it NEVER has  . . . God is so good and He does answer prayers!
Enough rambling . . . Here's my baby girl!
Receiving one of 4 awards for her state examination scores!!!!!

Receiving her FIRST PLACE DISTRICT award for her 4H photograph.
She took a landscape picture of the National Cemetery at Memorial Day.  

Receiving some award - she looks thrilled, doesn't she?

What a good lookin' class!

Mrs. Holdren was a HUGE blessing this year - although
she has been LB's whole life!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Movin' On Up to Third Grade

Carter had an AMAZING second grade year this year! We just could not have asked for a better year for him. His teacher, Mrs. Judy, was just fabulous!  His grandmother, Mrs. Stella, was precious as ever!  His classmates were precious!  I was thrilled to be two doors down from his classroom this year, so I could peek in at any time to check on him.  Plus, next year this is going to be MY room!!!  I was glad to be able to join Damon and Gran at his awards day in his class.

He won the Math Whiz and AR awards for the year.

Mrs. Stella has been his grandmother for the past two years.
What a blessing she has been!

Gran got to come!

Proud parents!!!!
 Carter had to have his picture taken with EVERY child in his class - that is until my camera battery died and I did not have my phone with me.  I will save you looking at each child in his class, but here are some of his best buddies!
Carter was THRILLED that Noah was in his class this year.
Oh, these two!

Jacob was a great friend this year! We are so blessed to have
many kids from church in his class.

And sweet Lawson . . . These two have pretty much been together their whole lives,
and well, this picture pretty much sums them up!
I can't believe Carter is going to be in third grade next year.  I have guaranteed him that he will NOT have me as his teacher, and he is somewhat ok with that.  He is just growing up entirely too fast!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I LOVE ALL My Kids!!!!

This semester has been one that has had a lot of lasts.  I am not fond of last things.  I love these two pictures though.  The first one I did not even know had been taken, but I love it so much! These girls really don't know how much we love them and how much they mean to our family!

This picture sums up the last three years.  This is where these two would sit for almost every meal over the last three years.  This is how they would "smile" any time I tried to take a picture of them.  This is them.  Separated by 14 years, but could be each others twin . . . We will miss you, Hunter. More than you will ever know.

All Good Things Must Come to an End

This fabulous string ensemble provided lovely background music for our tea,
stroll through the stables and our playing shuffleboard for the day.
 This was a first for the girls this year, playing Shuffleboard on the lawn.  They loved it!  Madlyn declared that she now knew what she was going to do when she was older - she was going to crochet and play Shuffleboard, so she would not get bored!

Even sweet Clara joined the big girls for a game of Shuffleboard.
It was a fabulous 10th anniversary tea party. I can't wait till next year and I hope that more of our family can come for the day.  Thank you to some of our sponsors, A Little Loveliness and Pretty Sweet!

Friday, May 25, 2012

After our tea, we headed to the newest venue of the tea party . . . .
The Hardeman Stables.

A scavenger hunt of sorts was set up in and around the stables so all ages could explore this newest area.  Madlyn's mom was one of the ones who helped get this together.  It was just lovely!

Blackberry Butter
(makes 1/2 c.)

6 T. butter, softened
2 T. blackberry jam
1 t. lime zest

Beat together with an electric mixer. Refrigerate, covered, until needed.
- Adapted from The Deen Family Cookbook

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