Category Archives: vacation

Happy summer!


I hope everyone is having a great summer. It sure has been a while since I wrote a post. Apologies as usual. ūüôā

So much is changing here. The biggest change is my son will start a private school in late August. The life of a home schooled middle schooler (and only child-at that) is kinda lonely…

What have I been up to? Well, I spent the past few months working on a grant proposal to request an art grant through my local arts council. Composing four narratives made me never want to write again! But I miss blogging, there just hasn’t been any time for it.

With my son going to school, that means I will soon enter the working world. Yikes! After homeschooling for nearly eight years…and having only two part-time jobs during thirteen years of being a stay-at-home mom…need I say more?

In addition to all of these changes, I am still working on my ceramic art. I’ll update my art website soon with some recent work. Here’s a preview of a line of functional pottery I’m developing–wine plates!



By the way, writing a post from my phone is sooo much easier than from my laptop. Hope it looks decent, too.



Filed under art, blogging, homeschool, life, pottery, thoughts, vacation

A viral visitor

Two weeks! 

It has been two weeks since my last post.¬† I thought I was on a roll with writing a weekly post.¬† Until…

My husband and I went out-of-town¬†for our 16th wedding anniversary¬†two weeks ago.¬† I was looking forward to writing about our trip, but then I came down with a cold virus after returning on Sunday night.¬†¬†¬†And so as viruses go, I have had the classic symptoms nasal congestion, cough, fatigue and a general icky feeling.¬† It isn’t the flu (thank God) because I can still function.¬†Barely.¬†¬†¬†

Right now, my son is sick with the virus and I’m counting the days until it hits my husband.¬† I’m praying the zinc and Vitamin C are doing their job.¬† Everyone with a husband knows they are sometimes worse than children when they are sick.¬†¬†

In the meantime, I am¬†reading The China Study.¬† I must explain that¬†I don’t read for leisure but for information.¬† So far, this book has been one of the most informative books I have ever read.¬† It is also easy to read and understand.¬† I get lost in¬†technical speak, especially when it is about scientific research and statistical data.¬† The China Study¬†has confirmed my own suspicions I have had about our Western diet and diseases, which Dr. Campbell refers to disease of “affluence”.¬†¬† There is so much I want to share like the circumstances behind how this book was suggested to me and my husband and my thoughts about diet¬† health and nutrition.¬† I am just not able to¬†get my thoughts together while we have this visitor here.

Until this viral visitor decides it has over-stayed its welcome, I’ll be forced to play¬†nurse Tammy until it leaves. ¬†

Here I am during our anniversary weekend.  It was the calm before the storm. 

Oh, to be feeling 100% again! 



Filed under blogging, books, life, science, thoughts, vacation

Alive and kicking

Do you remember the group Simple Minds? You know, the 80’s rock band famous for the songs “Alive and Kicking” and “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” from the movie The Breakfast Club.¬†My husband loves the song “Alive and Kicking” and I have that song stuck in my head at this very moment.¬†

Where has the month gone? I’ll tell you where it has gone, flying by and all over the place!¬† As usual, I have been busy with various things, mostly homeschool, but we were able to enjoy¬†a trip out-of-town during our fall break.¬† Fall break,¬†by the way, is non-existent in the¬†public schools in my area, but we took one anyway…just because we can. ūüôā

We ended September by entering some items we made in our local fair. My son entered in his pressed penny collection and a Lego construction. I entered in several photographs in different categories and a couple of paintings, none of which placed.¬†The entries that did place¬†were a hand-built pottery piece that won 2nd place, and a handmade book that won 1st place. My son didn’t win any ribbons, but he didn’t mind. He said he enjoys entering even if he doesn’t win. What a good attitude!

In early October, my son and I participated in a¬†beautification project with picking up trash throughout our neighborhood.¬† We made a visit to the North Carolina Department of Transportation office and told them we want to participate in the Fall Sweep program.¬†¬†¬†They were more than happy to¬†accommodate us and¬†gave us¬†nearly 50 orange trash bags, a dozen gloves, and two poking sticks for picking up trash.¬† I told them it was just going to be my son and myself and they said just to keep it.¬†¬†The whole project took about an hour to pick up trash along three streets, and we only collected¬†a half¬†bag of trash and another half bag of recyclable items.¬† Hmmm…I guess I can say our neighborhood and neighbors are tidy people.¬† Now, I’m stuck with a bunch of¬†bright orange trash bags!¬† Maybe I can fill them up with the leaves from my yard and set them around to¬†look like pumpkins.

Around the 8th of October, we headed North to visit my husband’s relatives and we stopped in Washington, D.C. on our way back home.¬† It was my son’s first time visiting D.C., and¬†we rode the Metro¬†which was a bonus adventure for him.¬† There was quite a bit of walking as we toured a few of the Smithsonian¬†museums and the monuments along the National Mall.¬† We took in as much as our legs would allow in eight hours, and yes,¬†we were exhausted by the end of the day.¬† The visit to our nation’s capital was a family trip in addition to a homeschool field trip since we are currently¬†studying¬†the presidents and U.S. history.¬† Visiting D.C. will go down as one of our best family/homeschool¬†trips yet.

As soon as we returned home from our 4 day trip up North, my son and I scrambled to get his science fair project completed. We had three days to prepare the display, and we got it done in two. A couple of weeks prior to our trip, we did the experiment he was going to enter in the science fair, and he wrote his notes and I took pictures of him performing the steps. Wasn’t that smart? All we had to do was type up everything, print it, gather materials and make the display. He won 2nd place in his age group. Yay for Ian!

In my spare time (what there is of it), I have been experimenting with some recipes.  First, I made a butternut squash soup.  It thought it was tasty, but the other two people in my family did not. So, I just added some extra spices to the soup with some sugar and eggs and made a butternut squash custard pie in a graham cracker crust. It tasted like pumpkin pie, but with a bit more squash flavor. It was actually better as a pie than as a soup, and yes, the other two people in my family ate it, willingly.  I also roasted the seeds with a little butter and kosher salt in a 250 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until just toasted.  We always roast our pumpkin seeds after we carve our jack-o-lanterns, and  I thought the butternut squash seeds could be roasted, as well.  Speaking of pumpkin, I also made pumpkin scones and added pumpkin puree to my pancake batter. Ah, autumn!

Last Sunday, my son and I went¬†back to Carowinds one last time before they closed for the season. On the way home, we stopped at IKEA *sigh* and had dinner in their cafe.¬† Total bliss! I love that store! It is exactly 80 miles away from me. To diehard “IKEA-ers”, that doesn’t sound very far away, but for a busy mom like me (and¬†on a budget), it is. It’s a good thing it is¬†so far¬†away because if I lived closer, I think I would go broke.

Halloween is approaching and I love Halloween!¬†Sadly, this year my son doesn’t have a costume to wear.¬† My son without a Halloween costume is like hotdogs without mustard, cereal without milk…it just isn’t right.¬† Something is missing.¬† Last Halloween, he had a hard time deciding on a costume, but¬†gathered enough items together to¬†dress as a soldier. ¬†This year he wants to dress as Mario, but the costumes that are available aren’t age appropriate. Truth is, the Mario costumes look too juvenile for him, and¬†he doesn’t want to dress up as anything other than Mario.¬† As a result, he has decided to not dress up this year.¬† It’s a shame¬†because we have always enjoyed buying or making his Halloween¬†costume.¬†¬† All our past Halloween’s were so much fun, and now it seems he is “outgrowing” it against his will.¬† I am hoping there will be a turn of events come Halloween.¬†¬† My son might decide to throw on a gorilla mask with his jeans and t-shirt and go trick-or-treating, who knows. When it’s all said and done, he might resort to give out candy.¬† Regardless, this Halloween is going to be…not the same. ūüė¶

In addition to preparing for¬†Halloween this week, I will also be expecting¬†a visit from¬†my cousin and his family from Florida. They and many others from Florida¬†are arriving for¬†our family reunion on Saturday.¬†I hope to see some other cousins, aunts, and uncles whom I haven’t seen in a very long time.¬† The reunion is in honor of our grandmother, Ruth.¬† Ruth is my mom’s mother and the “matriarch” of our family.¬† My grandfather¬†passed away in 1991, and together with my¬†grandmother, they¬†had 14 children.¬† Four died in infancy, one died in the Vietnam War and there are nine living children of¬†five girls and four boys.¬† There are thirty-six grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren, and even great-great grandchildren.¬† Now, that’s a large family!¬† I’m hoping for a great reunion with some lasting memories of my family, and with¬†my grandmother, whom I love dearly.

Perhaps my next post will have¬†a good report from our Halloween and my family reunion.¬† Maybe I’ll also be able to say that November¬†is¬†slow-paced with¬†less activity, but I doubt it.


Filed under blogging, cooking, eating, family, food, home, homeschool, life, moms, photography, random, science, thoughts, vacation, walking


The photo above is what I got when I asked the hubby to take a picture of me while I built a¬†sandcastle with our son.¬† It seems I am the one usually behind the lens; therefore, I am not in many photos.¬† My husband, on the other hand, is a “point and shoot” type, and so¬†a picture he takes of me¬†is either hit or miss.¬† This is obviously a miss,¬†nonetheless, a photo of me preserved in a photograph for a memory of my vacation with my family.

I regret that I don’t have many photos of myself.¬† I feel¬†selfish when I¬†hand the camera to my husband and say, “Here, now you take some pictures of me.”¬† From that point on,¬†the moment seems spoiled.¬† No surprise candid shots of me looking¬†away in thought with a gentle breeze blowing against me.¬† Nope, just me bent over dumping out a¬†bucket of sand.¬†¬†

I also regret to say that my summer is coming to an end, another summer¬†come and gone. My¬†summer was a busy one and,¬†of course, I didn’t get to do all that I wanted.¬† The most unfortunate thing that happened to me was that I had my first case of poison ivy.¬† My summer got off to a¬†rocky start due to that, but it (the rash) is gone now, thank goodness!¬† We will start¬†another year of homeschooling,¬†my son¬†will be in¬†6th grade this year.¬† The last few weeks have been spent¬†(literally)¬†buying school¬†materials and getting my ducks in a row.¬† This will be my seventh year homeschooling.

My posts for the summer have¬†averaged about one a month.¬† I do regret that I haven’t posted more, but I have had a serious case of writer’s block.¬† I checked out a site called Plinky, to help me with some inspiring prompts.¬† The only problem was that I spent two hours on my first challenge.¬† Something about writing a poem with every word beginning with the letter “S”.¬† Talk about being stupidly stumped!

So, I am still around…here in the blogoshpere.¬† I’ll be posting something, sometime.¬† Just keep checking back.

Note: Speaking of blogosphere, it reminds me of troposphere and that leads me to a song by¬†musician, Steve Burns.¬† He is the “Steve” from the popular children’s TV show Blue’s Clues.¬† After the character “Steve” left for college in 2002, the real “Steve” left the show to pursue a music career.¬†¬†His style is unique and strangely different, but¬†his music is¬†genuine.¬† I can appreciate any artist who¬†steps out of the norm to be¬†creative.

Click here to listen to Steve Burns’ song “Troposphere.”


Filed under blogging, family, homeschool, life, marriage, moms, music, nature, parenting, photography, thoughts, vacation

My awesome vacation!

To begin with, I think I¬†am the world’s worst blogger.¬† Along with never having any time (or making time)¬†to devote to blogging, I also¬†have writer’s block.¬†¬†I regularly sit at the PC just staring at the keyboard, never knowing what to say.¬†I spend most of my time¬†uploading¬†photos,¬†trying to take the first step to get inspired, hoping¬†the words will¬†pour out¬†and I’ll pound¬†away at the keyboard.¬† Mostly, I¬†just want to take the easy way out and do a photo essay.¬† Pictures say a thousands words, right?¬†¬† Don’t be surprised if this post has more photos than words.

We are blessed to live in a state where we have two regions that are great vacation destinations, the coast and the mountains.   Like many people, we love to go to the beach during the summer.  We prefer a calm and less populated beach, unlike some large cities along the East Coast with high-rise hotels that hug the shore line with swarms of beach goers.  This year, our destination was The Outer Banks (aka OBX) of North Carolina. 

We chose to stay in¬†Kill Devil Hills (KDH), which was actually more populated than we liked.¬† Overall, we enjoyed staying there and learned the ins and outs of KDH and the nearby¬†towns. Our hotel¬†accommodations were fabulous!¬† An enjoyable and relaxing¬†vacation for me is leaving the cleaning up to someone else.¬† The beach in front of¬†our hotel was often¬†crowded, but we figured out how to work around the crowds.¬† Sometimes, we just endured them.¬† My thoughts were, “it could always be worse”, such as being at¬†Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.¬†¬†UGH!

Below are the attractions we visited with a photo from each place.  Most places are historical landmarks, which was our main purpose for visiting the OBX.   Links are also provided if you would like to read more.


My husband and son climbed to the top.





And now, the photo essay…

Here are some random scenes from our vacation.  Scroll over each photo for a description.

Enjoy and thanks for reading about my AWESOME vacation!



Filed under animals, blogging, family, life, moms, nature, photography, thoughts, vacation, wildlife