Monday, October 31, 2011

Good Night Halloween

Yet another fun filled Halloween . . .

Seth and April hosted our first sunday school class costume party.  Complete with scary stories huddled around the bonfire compliments of the Halloween Queen herself, April.  I have to say I was impressed with the family costumes.  (Unfortunately, I didn't get pictures of everyone.)
Lord Voldemort, Bellatrix, Luna, Dobby

Danny & Sandy

While waiting for trick or treaters I whipped up some Pumpkin Fluffp.  Alexa gives it two thumbs up.  You  have to try it! (Click "Read More" below for the recipe.)

The highlight to every Halloween, Trick or Treaters.  Even Macon was in the Halloween spirit this year, posing as a clown (thanks to Brooke).

He wouldn't stand still for the picture.

Who you gonna call?
Until we see you again, Good Night Halloween!

A Chicken and Her Farmer

Monday, October 17, 2011


 We knew fall break was coming and we knew we needed it.  Yes, there is so much to be done at home but sometimes you just have to let the laundry pile up a bit more and the grass grow taller.  Those projects that need some attention can wait a few more days.  We wanted to get away.  But . . . not our typical get away.  Most of our trips are high paced, action packed, don’t want to miss a thing.  But this was different, a needed different.

When we pulled up to The Martyn House (aka Glamping) I knew we weren’t staying long enough.  Driving down the driveway it felt as if the trees were drawing me in and immediately made me feel as cozy as if I was wrapped in my favorite blanket.  A retreat.
We were promptly greeted by the owners, JoAnn, Rick, Essie the cat,

Grace the black lab, Mya the yellow lab. 

Right away they made us feel welcome.  JoAnn, while walking us to our bungalow, gave us the run down/history of the property we were staying on.  (You can watch a tour below.  Don't forget to scroll to the bottom and push pause on the music before watching the video.).
When we walked up to the purple and white striped tent (aka Bohemian Bungalow) that would be our home for the next few days, I could hardly contain myself.  Glamorous Camping. 

The bungalow was something out of a movie.  It felt as if we had transported to another place besides the Appalachia Mountains.  The bungalow was surrounded on all sides by forest making it feel as if we were the only ones within miles. 
On the property there are only three other similar structures.  We were in our own little hideaway.  JoAnn and Rick had obviously thought of all the little details to make this an “experience” not to be forgotten.  The bedroom was stocked with a hot water kettle, coffee, tea, handmade coffee mugs, oversized pillows, fresh flowers, propane heater, and extra quilts. 
The bathroom was equipped with a well thought out shower set up, handmade soaps, decomposing toilet, and individual waffle robes.  I was on cloud nine.
Typically when we arrive at a new location I have already done my research, have a plan, and am ready to explore.  But this was different.  I didn’t want to leave.  We did venture out however but not for long.
Each morning started with a mouth water breakfast made by Rick and JoAnn. 

The first morning we took off about 20 minutes away to Amicalola Falls State Park for an 11 mile hike.  This is the location for the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.  The weather was perfect for a hike and nature surrounding us was refreshing. 

On our way we discovered that this part of North Georgia is known for apple orchards.  After our hike we couldn’t resist stopping for a fresh apple fritter and apple cider.  Delicious!
The second morning we rode the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway to McCaysville, Tennessee where we stood in Georgia and Tennessee at one time. 

The train depot is housed in the quaint, little town of Blue Ridge, Georgia.  The streets were lined with local shops and restaurants.  We had lunch at Harvest on Main.  The restaurant boasts of local products and sustainability.  Many of their ingredients come from a garden they maintain just a few blocks away.  The fresh herbs which flavor most dishes can be found in the planters flanking the front of the restaurant.  The mac and cheese was to die for and the creamy vinaigrette salad dressing was definitely worth purchasing.
But I have to say that during both our adventures, while I enjoyed them immensely, I found myself anxious to get back and savor the time at The Martyn House.  My spot of choice was curled up on the oversize pillows in front of the heater wrapped in a quilt with a cup of coffee and my book. 

B would drape the door open so the fresh, cool air floated in.  Once night had fallen we ventured up to the bonfire for our nightly S’mores and conversation with JoAnn, Rick, and the other guests.  Upon JoAnn’s prompting B even entertained the group with his rendition of “Hey Girl”.

As you can probably tell I could go on and on about this experience.  And as most trips we go on we leave saying, “We have to come back!”  I know as adults we have responsibility.  However, never forsake the opportunity to get away with your spouse.  It's an investment of greater worth than the laundry pile.  And for what it's worth we think The Martyn House is the just the place.   

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Must Read, Even for Non Readers

I have been an avid reader even before I could read.  Sounds impossible doesn't it?  I have my mom to thank for this.  She started reading to me at a very early age, which I credit to my love for reading.  Even after I could read I loved to hear my Mom read Superfudge to my sister and I at the end of our driveway while we waited for the bus. 

In 1st grade Mrs Ligon had shelves of books she encouraged us to take home.  I can remember excitedly picking out which ones to pack in my backpack and enjoy at home with my mom.  While the 1st grade reading contest did motivate me (I'm slightly competitive) even after the contest I didn't stop. 

In 7th grade, Mrs. Ballard was my reading teacher.  Each week we were expected to write a letter to Mrs. Ballard about what we were reading.  I loved having the chance to pour my thoughts out on the particular novel I was engrossed in at the time.  What I loved even better was the fact that Mrs. Ballard wrote back to me.  She would even give me suggestions of books to read that I still love today.  

In high school Mrs. Cates made us read a classic for our college English class.  I picked out Jane Eyre and probably would have quit about 50 pages in if she wouldn't have kept pushing me to continue.  Boy am I glad I took her advice.  To this day it's a novel that I've read over and over.   

Even today I can't find enough time to get lost in the lives of others whether fiction or nonfiction.  The problem is now I have responsibilities that get in the way.  Things like a job and vacuuming.   

However, I am aware that there are some folks out there that don't enjoy journeying through pages of adventures.  And while I'll never understand I'm going to try to just accept our differences.  But . . . I have found a book that both readers and nonreaders MUST read. 

 You might remember from what I wrote about not being able to have favorites that I would never be so bold to say this is my favorite.  However, it must be added to my love list

(Click on the book to go to the website)

So even if you are not a reader you must read this.  Even if you aren't typically crazy about non-fiction you must read this.  Even if you don't think you have time you must read this.  But I warn you, if you are emotional at all make sure you have tissue ready.  Don't let that sway you from buying it, borrowing it, downloading it, or whatever you must do.  And do it TODAY! 

This is a beautiful story of two very different men's paths coming together for them to realize they really aren't so different.  My words cannot do it justice, just see for yourself.  And ladies encourage your husbands, boyfriends, brothers, uncles . . . to read it also.  Just because it's emotional doesn't mean it's just for women.  My dad is the one who recommended it to me. 

So, I'm going to stop trying to convince you and let you see for yourself.