Great Smoky Mountain Railroad

My parents bought us tickets to ride on the GSMRR with them.  We knew we’d have to squeeze the trip in between Carter’s last day of school and “too late” to be traveling 3 hours from home before Anna is born!  We chose June 6.  My parents headed out from KY and we headed out from home, taking some scenic drives.  We met up in Bryson City, NC on Sunday and checked into our motel.  After the kids swam in the pool for a while, we went out to eat at Pizza Hut.

On the way to Bryson City, between Highlands and Franklin, NC

Waiting.... and waiting.... for our pizza....

Mom and Dad 🙂













On Monday, we headed over to the train depot.  We had some time to visit a neat bookstore just across from the depot.  I found so many books I would have liked to bring home with me!  We boarded the train around 10am and left around 10:30.

Cass and Daddy

Talking Trains

There weren’t many people on the open air cars.  It had been pretty hot, but the breeze and the shade on the cars kept it absolutely beautiful.  The scenery along the way was unbelievable.

Fontana Lake














We stopped for lunch at the Nantahala Outdoor Center.  We got to see lots of white water rafters on the river.







After lunch, we headed back.  It was getting quite warm by this time and I got fewer pictures on the way back!










When we got back to Bryson City, we parted ways, and set out for home.  Mom and Dad will be down at the end of the month to watch the girls and Garrett when Anna is born.  Thanks for the trip, Mom and Dad!  🙂

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Garden Tour – June 10, 2011

Time to post some pictures of the garden….

Zucchini - it's huge!

I’ve already gotten two zucchini off this enormous plant.  Emma helped me grate it up and freeze it for future zucchini bread.  Yum!


I think these guys are so fascinating….. he looks like he has brushes on his wings.  I couldn’t get close enough to get a really good picture.

Roma tomatoes and bush beans

Hoping to get enough roma tomatoes to make some sauce….


Some rain would really help!

Trellised Melons

The idea was for the cantaloupe to grow up over the lettuce and provide some shade and shelter from the heat.  The lettuce still wants to grow outside of the protection!


Cassandra wanted to plant some pumpkins, even though they try to take over the garden.  I let her plant two.  They’re taking over the garden!

I wasn’t able to get a really good shot of the whole garden as it was getting towards evening and the light wasn’t good.  I’ll try to add one later today!  Thanks for joining me on my tour!  🙂

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Three More Weeks!

Three more weeks until Anna’s arrival….. thank goodness!  Not sure I’d make it much more than that.

And three more weeks until I start my new blog at

Six at Home in Georgia

I’m pretty much sitting around and knitting…. it’s been so hot here, I don’t get out much.  🙂 My fantastic husband has been taking care of just about everything  since school ended the first week of June.  So far he has










…moved Cassandra’s bedroom downstairs






… moved Anna’s furniture into Emma’s room and rearranged it completely (cleaned it too!!)





Anna’s side of the room



…… cleaned Garrett’s room top to bottom












…kept the pool in working condition and watched the kids when they’ve wanted to swim…… and even found a few minutes to join in the fun!






…done all the outdoor work he usually does, including keeping the garden watered in spite of the 1″ of rain all month in May and lack of any rain in June so far.  Because of his hard work, we had our first real “harvest” on Tuesday….





He’s definitely my hero.  Right now, I make meals, do laundry, and knit.  He has graciously taken over everything else. The girls and Garrett have been helpful too, but they’re as tired as I am of my lack of energy and motivation!  🙂  I’m blessed to have a helpful hubby.  Thanks, Honey!  🙂

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Help at Home for Swimmer’s Ear

Seeing LOTS of cries (literally) for help with swimmer’s ear….  Cassandra has had this several times and we’ve come up with some helpful things for her.  Hope they help you and/or your little ones!

Prevention: Rubbing alcohol in the ears after every time they swim (I see recommendations for earplugs, but I don’t like that idea for several reasons… if your kids will wear them, go for it!).

Beginning of swimmer’s ear with minor pain : alcohol to dry it out and vinegar  (equal parts, a drop or two of each) to combat the (typical) fungus/bacteria – usually it’s not bacterial.  But alcohol kills bacteria and vinegar kills the fungus.

Very painful (no time to go to doctor or wanting to avoid a doctor’s visit): all of the above, and a warm (NOT HOT) sock full of salt will soothe and get the last of the water out! Either lay it over the ear or lay with the sock under the ear. And pain reliever (ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory so it’s probably going to be the most helpful for this pain), of course. For the pain, you can also do homeopathic ear drops.

Will the alcohol sting the very sore ear?  I don’t know.  My kids have never complained of it stinging, but it seems like it could potentially sting.  Let me know what you’ve experienced!

**Disclaimer: I have to add….. any time your kiddo has pain that’s unrelieved by trying these suggestions, has “icky” drainage from the ear, a fever, swollen glands, or just doesn’t seem “right”, consult a doctor.  These are just suggestions for mild to moderate swimmer’s ear and not more serious problems like an inner ear infection, etc.  🙂

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Busy, Hot, and Tired

….. and that pretty much describes May!  What a wild month around here.  Carter’s life gets so very busy the last month or so of school, which means I’M busy keeping KIDS busy! But Daddy still has time to do some special things with his boy…. like show him how to safely use a BB gun…. and to stage a picture for the sole purpose of getting his grandma riled up!







May has been very hot and dry here in NE Georgia.  We didn’t get any measurable rain here in May until a storm on Thursday night brought us about an inch.  No tornadoes around, but the straight-line winds were strong enough to convince me to move down stairs with the kids for a while.  The next morning, our yard was covered in small branches, and many trees were down in the area.  Again, we’re thankful for safety this stormy spring!












We picked strawberries at the beginning of may and enjoyed turning most of them into jam.








Emma and Cassandra had their standardized testing the second week in May, and that seemed to go well.  So far, they don’t get too stressed out by testing and see it as a welcome break to “normal school”.


I’ve been babysitting off and on for a little 2 year old boy, swapping babysitting with some friends.




In between all of that, I’ve been spinning an order of yarn in exchange for some cloth diapers.  That has taken longer than I anticipated, and quite possibly she’s getting the better end of the deal!  🙂






I’ve been playing around with dyeing yarn and wool, too.









Speaking of cloth diapers, I’ve been building up my supply of diapers, and washing and washing and washing new diapers to get them ready for Anna’s arrival.  I didn’t realize it took so much washing to get unbleached cotton “ready”!  Most of what I have are second-hand diapers and don’t need much “prepping”.




I knitted a wool cover “for fun”, since I don’t really know if I’m going to use wool covers, but it turned out cute.  I had dyed some white wool, and wasn’t sure I liked it, but once it was knitted up, I thought it was ok.



Last week was Carter’s finals week which means tons of grading, and late nights at school for baccalaureate and graduation.  Friday, he watched the kids for the morning while I went to a used book sale.  That was fun!  I rarely get to do much shopping all by myself and I knew for a curriculum sale, I’d need a chance to think and wander at my own pace.  It was wonderful…. found a lot of really good deals and fun stuff to try.

In the midst of all of this, I am feeling pretty good.  Tired and huge and tired of being pregnant, but otherwise, my back is doing pretty well and Anna seems happy and lively in her little cozy room.  We’re all getting very excited to meet her.  One month and 2 days and she’ll be here!



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New Blog Coming in July!

I plan to start a new blog in July after Anna is born….. my address for this (current) blog is homeschoolmommy3 and I’m just going to HAVE to change to homeschoolmommy4 after she’s born.  It will give me a chance to start over with the amount of pictures I can upload, since I assume there will be many.  🙂

So be watching for the change.  I’ll give lots of links so that no one gets left behind who wants to come along with us as our family starts a new adventure together.

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Praying for Tornado Survivors

I know many people are praying for families who have lost loved ones or homes in this outbreak of severe weather last week.  My heart goes out to everyone affected by all of this.  The pictures are so heartbreaking…. they seem like they couldn’t be HERE, in the United States.  That kind of widespread devastation and loss of life just doesn’t happen here….. usually.  It’s definitely a reminder that we are NOT immune to disaster and heartache.

One family’s story that has really touched my heart, is the Lee Family.  I had heard that this sweet family of 15 (yes!  13 children!) had lost their husband/father in the tornado that destroyed their home and trapped several of the children for several hours.  My friend found their blog and I was looking at the post from Easter Sunday, just 3 days before the tornado changed their lives forever.  If I’d looked through their blog on Monday or Tuesday, I’d have thought what a wonderful home and family and how neat it would be to be “them”.  Do you ever do that as you read other people’s blogs?  I do occasionally.  But this time, all I could do was cry as I realized that when that post was written, they had no idea what was around the corner for them.  The picture of Sherry and her husband and the note underneath that their family picture didn’t ever happen even though they’d planned to get one especially struck me as so sad.  How many times do we not get around to taking those pictures?  For them, it was their last chance to get the whole family together for a picture.  And yet, one of the children did snap that picture of the two of them, and how precious to have that last picture together! I’m so thankful that this family knows the Lord and will be trusting and leaning on Him to help them through this time.  How could anyone survive such devastation without the Lord’s help?

You can read their blog here and see and hear an update from the Lee’s oldest son here.

And that’s just ONE family…… how many hundreds of other families have stories just as heartbreaking?

Please remember to pray, and if you can donate to help these families, World Vision and the Red Cross are good places to which you can donate money and find out other ways you can help!

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