Beginning the Fall Festival

I am largely the least celebratory person I know. Which is super weird because I love planning parties and what not, but when it comes to me and mine I have been very low-key. While I still plan to keep life simple I also want to begin to bring a flow of the year into my children’s lives.

Part of that flow is recognizing yearly milestones; holidays, birthdays and seasons. We have made a plan to celebrate each season by enjoying it’s unique characteristics.

Autumn time is a wonderful time to help children live the colors, red, yellow and brown.


Children enjoy the scents of Fall through daily outdoor activity, picking fresh apples and pumpkins. Through cooking they come to appreciate the pungent spices of cinnamon, thyme, sage, clove and nutmeg, in conjunction with the wonderful Fall produce.

By spending a large part of each day outside, regardless of the temperature, children will come to appreciate the crisp autumn breeze and the refreshing Fall drizzles.


By bringing the outdoors inside, through pumpkins, gourds, corn cobs and leaves to play with and decorate they will have tactile connection to the signatures of autumn time.

kace pump

Living here in Central Pennsylvania we have a mecca of farms, which means a bounty of affordable seasonal produce. Just around the bend from me is a family-run farm where I buy my pumpkins and squashes. The children and I have spent a couple of mornings here already this year. One to gather small pumpkins for our table center piece (which is also a great play thing while they wait for meals) and some small bales of hay for the their figurines and toys to explore and build with. The other was to choose pumpkins for painting to decorate our door step.


I love this little stand, it is all pay on your honor (actually a few farms I love run on that system), it all feels so quaint and personal.


After we have sufficiently decorated our home in honor of the Fall season we will then plan and cook some wonderful dishes to have on a special evening with all our family to reach a climax of Fall celebration with our own family Fall Festival.


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Welcome to the New Site!

Welcome to the new site I am so excited to be sharing this new project with all of you! I have been working on this new site for a while now, even with that said, I still have a lot of work to do with it; so don’t be weirded out if things are changing for a while until I find the perfect fit.

Even more important than the new site and the new look is the new focus. I have had a life changing year, I have had a change of heart and mind set, all of which have lead me in search of what I call “The Beautiful Life.” I am thrilled to be sharing with all of you as I build my beautiful life and hope you find some inspiration to make your life more beautiful too.

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If you are new to the site visit my About Me page.

Thank you for stopping in, visit often!


The Heart of a Mother

Kacen’s scream was loud and jagged. I put my nail clippers down and slipped into my robe as I headed down the dark hallway. When I got to their room Kacen rolled over apparently deep in sleep. However, Andie was awakened by his cry. I picked her up and began swaying her gently, hushing her whimpers as she rested her head on my shoulder. 
Holding her there, I thought how badly I wanted to protect them. How I never wanted a cry of horror, desperation or resignation escape their lips. I bowed my head and pleaded with God to protect them, to not let anything bad happen to them, though I know I plead in vain. Sobs began to rack my body. Andie sighed and wiggled to adjust herself to be cradled in my arms. 
I thought of the cries of mothers who learn of horrible things done to their children of all ages. I think “how will I ever cope with it, if they come to me as victims of abuse in any form?” How can a mother bare to see the people she loves more than anything, people who are in fact an appendage of herself, an extension of her body and blood, be pummeled by the evil in this world? It seems unbearable. In that moment I stood there wrapping Andie in my arms of protection, holding so tightly trying to cram a lifetime of protection into one embrace. 
I never dreamed of a love so deep that would make my insides hurt; that my life and my thoughts would almost daily be consumed with a desire to protect my children.
This isn’t just something I do, or something that happened to me, being a mother. It is who I am. My heart strings are made from their joys and sorrows, the blood that flows through my veins is an extension of their energy and exuberance. Every day the energy I muster to make it from sunrise to sunset is to serve them, to teach them, to love them. I feel blessed to have my heart changed, to now have the heart of a mother. 

Roadkill Diaries: Groundhog

Just a little family project we plan to work on over the years. Our first specimen:

The Groundhog

The groundhog (Marmota monax), also known as a woodchuck, whistle-pig, or land-beaver in some areas, is a rodent of the family Sciuridae, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots. Other marmots, such as the yellow-bellied and hoary marmots, live in rocky and mountainous areas, but the woodchuck is a lowland creature. It is widely distributed in North America and common in the northeastern and central United States as well as Canada. Groundhogs are found as far north as Alaska, with their habitat extending southeast to Georgia.
(source: wikipedia.com)

The groundhog seemed to died peacefully and in one piece. His little arms were tucked up safely folded on his chest. Kacen was rather afraid of this specimen; however, Andie loved the little guy. She kept telling him “hi” and inching nearer and nearer seemingly ready to stroke him, which is something we discourage in our expeditions.


Photo Club Week 15: Favorites

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”
-John Muir

This past week was so rejuvenating, so revitalizing. It seems that the winter has finally gave way to Spring and warm weather days are on their way. We spent one warm Sunday doing one of my FAVORITE things. Hiking in the great outdoors. 

Thank You and Giveaway Winner!

I just really want to say thank you all for reading my little blog. It sure is fun to share my journey and stories with you. I love hearing from all of you and about your stories, and your view points.

So, the giveaway wasn’t a huge hit. I totally get it. I offered a book you haven’t even heard much about, no one really wanted, who really wants another parenting book to read anyway, yada yada yada. But I still think this winner is super lucky.

The randomly selected winner, using Rafflecopter.com, of my really sorry giveaway, haha, the lucky person who will be getting a copy of a really great book and a gift card to their favorite ice cream shop (cold stone, maggie moo’s, basken robins, DQ) is…….

Christie Egbert!

Congrats Christie and thanks for entering!

Hope you had a great weekend, we sure did, and I will share more about that later. 


Fashion Friday

Part of coming to know myself has been trying to better define my “style.” What do I really like to wear? What do I really think looks best on me? As I set out find the clothes I really love, I would love to share my finds with you. Get ready to read too much that you never wanted to know about how I shop.

When it comes to buying clothes I am cheap. I know what you are probably thinking, Target, Walmart sort of cheap. No. Think,paying no more than $4 for a shirt and $8 for pants cheap. Think,  if my friends were giving out hand-me-downs I was first in line cheap. Not saying that I no longer want your hand-me-downs, but I have decided it is time to amp up my style, just a bit. And probably not every day, heaven knows I will still spend most days in old jeans and tees. 

But the biggest problem was that I was sick of spending a buck here or two there and at the end of the year having plenty of sub-par to moderate looking clothes in my closet, but nothing that I felt AMAZING wearing.

Too often a cheap shirt or pair pants have made their way into my closet just because they were a couple of bucks to only be worn once or twice before they sat in a box in my attic for two years before I finally gave them away.

After reading a great blog post by a woman who had decided to simplify her life and her wardrobe I began to determine what items I need in my wardrobe:

 Denim Skinnys (have)                                Black Skinnys (have)                          Colored Skinnys (have)
Black ankle book heels (need)                 Gladiator Sandals (need)                   Laced boots (need)

 White slouchy tee (need)                       Black Dress (need)                                  ONE PIECE! (need)
Black and beige blouses (have)

And a couple other items like a simple black pencil skirt and some flare comfy denims. Now I don’t think my wardrobe would succeed with only these items but I think they are great staples and what I have been trying to build my wardrobe into.

When I go shopping now, I don’t just hunt the sale racks for any old deal; I got with one or two things from my want list in mind and only look for those things. Even if I end up paying $12-$20 for one article I feel happy knowing that:

A. I am not just heaping more “stuff” into my life because Wal-Mart tells me it is on sale
B. My wardrobe will have nicer, longer lasting items that I will look terrific in every time I slip it on.

For someone who doesn’t think of themselves as particularly fashion savvy I find myself needing to cut this conversation short. Somehow I have more I want to tell you about my remarkably boring fashion beliefs. Don’t worry though, we have every Friday to look forward to these mind-numbing escapades. 

So without further ado, here are my latest fashion finds
Black blouse Sears ($5), denim skinnys Sears (prob $8 last year) Ankle boots KMart ($8)

Check out the beautiful lace detail on the button trim and shoulders.

And the flowy silky material is one of my favorites lately.

When I decided to start doing fashion posts I thought, “I am not just gonna do boring old I’m-trying-to-look-cute photos.” But I am not sure if everyone can handle my America’s Next Top Model wannabe’s.

So tell me what do ya like best? Crazy or cutie? And do you have any items you feel are wardrobe staples? Check out my fashion Pinterest board if you feel inclined.

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway, I know no one really wants the book, so tomorrow I am adding an additional prize! 


Spare the Rod Spoil the Child

A hospital waiting room is sure to conjure up the most interesting of conversations. The other day as I waited for Kyle to have his throat dilated, (did you know that was even a thing?), I listened as an old man began talking loudly about why our kids are the way they are today. Why kids are violent, disrespectful and vulgar. He was sitting next to a middle-aged couple who politely nodded while he went off about lack of responsibility and parents being too easy on their kids.

The woman listening was a teacher and had adolescent children and began to chime in agreeing with the man and his rant. He went on with a story about, “back in my day, if a child disrespected an adult their parents didn’t let it stand. It only took one or two times of misbehaving and my daddy put me straight. He sure did. Use a belt or a hand whatever it may be but I was put straight. And I did the same for my children. You know what the bible says “Spare the rod, spoil the child?” And I believe in God and what the good book says.”


Setting down my magazine, clearing my throat and leaning in I said, “Excuse me Sir? I am Christian too, and I feel that if we are trying to be Christ-like, we must be like Christ, and I can never imagine Christ striking a child because they have misbehaved. And I can tell you the couple of times I have hit my children I felt far from Christ.” I think I sort of rudely ended their conversation.

Now let me be clear, spank your kids or don’t, I don’t really care. I hope we are all trying to do the best we can.  But please do not use the words of Solomon, a self-proclaimed  lyricists (Proverbs 13:24, 29:15), to claim religious justification for hitting a child. If you want to use the words of the “good book” in parenting then let’s look at the words of Christ himself as quoted by Mark in chapter 9 vs 42, “And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believes in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.”  

And folks, let’s be real, I do not in any way claim to be the authority or supremely good at either child rearing or religion.

*Also don’t forget to enter my giveaway, entry ends Saturday! Click here to enter. And I get it, no one really wants my book haha, but enter anyway, because…. Saturday I am sweetening the pot :)


A Day in Philly

Friday we took my sister-in-law into Philly to catch a flight, and since we were down that way we decided to see some sights. As many sights as you can see after 2:00 p.m. with two kids in tow.

 Independence Hall
 Awkward family photo. Still working on the photographic eye and body placement. Got a lot to learn if I don’t want any more of these awkward gems hidden in our photo files.
 Independence Hall bell tower.
 The assembly room. The only original piece in Benjamin Franklin’s chair in the center at the raised table.
 Andie thought we were in a church and is folding her arms, haha.
 My fave photo of the day. Lighting!
“Kace hold Andie’s hand.”
 Obviously she did not want to do that and Kace took it as a personal hit. Poor guy. Stubborn girl.
 Our “yummy” stumbled upon find for “dunch.” I wish we would have gotten a picture of the old man pulling noodles by hand, the kids were fascinated with him. We all stuffed ourselves, Kacen and I ate peanut noodles and Andie downed most of the potstickers, Ky had a delicious bowl of soup with noodles, two meats and shrimp. The total was only $20 with a generous tip! Good find. The funniest part was a nice couple sitting next to us got up to leave and said, “You have a cute family, and your kids have such great appetites. We wish our children at like that.” Starvation is the key. Keep your kids hungry enough and they will eat the most eccentric of foods placed in front of them.
 The Liberty Bell
 And of course a creepy picture of me trying to look like George Washington, apparently my brief debut in Rumpelstiltskin when I was eight did nothing to hone my acting skills.
 I love visiting big cities. It is such a different pace of life than my rural living. And this city is rich with  history and diversity. We especially love the numerous people walking around the streets mumbling to themselves. We definitely did not see all there is to see in the great city of Philadelphia but it was a great time with our family.