31st Jul2011

Getting to Know Cape Girardeau/Jackson

by Daenel

Wow, so I didn’t go without the interwebs as long as I thought I would.  Thank you, Comfort Suites, for the use of your internet service.  We truly appreciate it. The kids and I thought we’d have to go at least a week or so without being connected, I don’t know what decade we think we’re living in now.  Everything is instant.  And many hotels have free access.  And, um, there are libraries and cafes…

So today was our first full day in our new home state and, so far, we are loving it.  The kids are overwhelmed by southern hospitality.  You should see them freak out every time somebody asks “How you doin’, sweetheart?” and then waits around for the answer.  The kids get positively giddy.  In fact, this was Miss 14’s Facebook status earlier today:

Facebook StatusThey seriously start giggling every time someone says something to them.  Either my kids are easily amused or they’re really not used to human kindness.

The River Walk

To see more pictures from our day, click here

As part of our “getting to know the city tour”, we went and saw the kids’ schools, signed the lease for our house and went down to the River Walk.  The Mississippi River is crazy big!  Can you call a river “big”?  The River Walk is absolutely lovely ~ surrounded by old buildings, beautiful murals and, of course, a lot of water.  There are also plenty of little shops and restaurants, it kind of looks like the city is putting forth some sort of revitalization program because there’s a bit of renovation going on in various places.

For lunch, we took the kids to our new favorite restaurant, The Branding Iron.  The last time we visited the area, we ate here with my husband’s co~worker and his family and all I did upon returning to PA was rave about their ribs. Normally, I won’t eat ribs in public ~ dude, you know how it is, they get good and you wanna sit there, suck your fingers, gnaw on the bone, etc.   These ribs are so good, you’ll forget your manners.  Seriously, I couldn’t wait to get back down here so I could eat them again.  The kids loved them.  Even Mr. 15, who isn’t much of a meat eater.  If you’re ever in this neck of the woods, try the 3 Rib Dinner with Baked Beans and Potato Salad.  Yum!

Tomorrow the kids and I will be preparing to move into the house while the hubs starts his first day at his new job. Squee

Have you ever moved?  How did you learn your way around?

29th Jul2011

Steaming Along

by Daenel
Engine

Image By Microsoft Clip Art

I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can.

I feel like the Little Engine that Could.  I’m being pushed, pulled and dragged by steam and faith alone.  Tonight is our last night at my parents’ house and I’m feeling so many mixed emotions.  I’m excited to be beginning our new lives in Missouri and a little nervous to be starting over in an unknown town where we are really out there on our own.  Yes, the hubs and I are adults but we’ve lived near my MIL for the last 15 years, if we needed a babysitter in a pinch, she was available.  If we needed someone to run to the house to make sure the stove was turned off, we had friends.  Now, we’re completely on our own.  By ourselves.  No MIL living exactly 3.1 miles from my front door.  Our nearest relatives are 5½ hours away. Eep.  I know we’ll eventually make friends and settle into a routine but for now, I’m just a wee bit nervous.

I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can.

I’m also worried about my kids, will they fit in, will they be able to adjust quickly?  They’ve lived in Pennsylvania all their lives, in fact, this is their first time out of state.  Well, you know, except when the young one was in utero and the older three moved with us to Pennsylvania when they were 2 years old and 6 months old.  And, ohmygosh, Miss 17 is starting college.  So.  Many.  Changes.  At once.  My head is spinning…

I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can.

We’ll be hitting the road tomorrow and then trying to settle into our new home over the next few days so I don’t know when I’ll have internet access again.  I’ll also be trying to register 3 kids for school and settle one into the dorms, locate doctors, grocery stores, a vet, etc.  If you’d like to keep up with our travels and share words of wisdom or just laugh at me, you can keep in touch with me via Twitter.  Until I’m fully connected remember to do something good for yourself and each other…

Choo Choo

28th Jul2011

My Parents are Spoiling My Kids

by Daenel

Oh my gosh!  We have been crazy busy this week.  As you know, the kids and I left Pennsylvania for good on 23 July and have been chillin’ with my parents in Mississippi for the week and, lemme tell ya, they sure know how to show their grandkids a good time.

On Saturday, my twin sister and her family came in from Tennessee for a visit.  That was the first time all of our families have been under one roof in gosh close to fifteen years.  Kid you not.  We definitely missed the hubs but he’s taking care of the house and making sure it’s all ready for it’s new owners.  If you wanna buy a house, call me

Adventure AlabamaWe’d originally planned to go to the Memphis Zoo and Aquarium on Tuesday but due to a crazy mix up, we didn’t go.  Apparently, my kids are so quiet that my parents didn’t realize that they’d been up since 5:30 AM waiting for them so that we could get an early start.  My kids quickly learned ~ make lots of noise so the grands know that they’re up.  So we ended up going to Adventure Alabama.  It was 95° but it felt closer to the triple digits.  I ended up with a crazy stripy tan on my feet from my sandals but the kids had a blast on the rides.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go to the water park because, well, we didn’t know there was a water park.  Nevertheless, the kids had a great time…

Memphis Zoo and Aquarium

To see more pictures from our trip, click here

Today we went to the zoo.  Yay!  The only animals I was interested in seeing were the monkeys but Miss 14 had her heart set on seeing the penguins.  And seeing them was totally worth being dragged around the zoo in the heat.  Truthfully, the weather was incredible ~ yes, we sweated and yes, it was hot but it was no where near as hot as it has been.  The animals were kinda lazing around but it was kinda cool to be so close up to them.

We ended the day with a stop at a this restaurant called Chow Time, which serves a mix of Chinese and Southern food.  Kid you not.  I only ate the Chinese selections but they had everything on the Southern food side, including pig’s feet.  And the rules!  They were embossed on a golden tablet at the entrance to the restaurant.  The ones that stuck out most were:

  • No weapons
  • No skirts shorter than 6 inches
  • No wife beaters

Um, yeah.  The others were your basic no profanity, no sharing, etc.

I truly believe my kids won’t want to move with me to Missouri by the end of the week.

How do your parents spoil your kids?

    27th Jul2011

    Wordless Wednesday: Pouty Face

    by Daenel

    Boy with Flowers
    I took this picture of my nephew in front of my parents’ church.  I adore this little boy, he’s such a ham.

    For more Wordless Wednesday check out:

    Wordish Wednesday ~ Supermom

    Wordless Wednesday ~ Project Alicia

    25th Jul2011

    Hangin’ in Mississippi with the Parentals

    by Daenel

    ReunitedSoooo this is the longest moving trip ever.  Ever.  But it’s also been a lot of fun.  The kids and I left Pennsylvania Saturday and flew to Alabama where my dad picked us up and drove us to his home in Mississippi.

    The flight itself was relatively uneventful.  Unless you consider the fact that none of our gates were listed on our boarding passes or on the monitors and we had three gate changes in Detroit.  But I’m glad my kids got to see some of the hinks that come with flying.  I like for them to see how even the best laid plans are subject to change, it gives them a chance to see how we ~ their parents ~ adapt and adjust.  Thank you to Carol of “Carol’s Cozy Cabin” for making the safety demonstration soooo entertaining.

    After arriving in Mississippi, my twin sister and her family drove in from Tennessee.  This is the first time that all the grandkids have been under my parents roof at once in over fifteen years.  The kids had a great time hanging out with each other, getting to know my parents, etc.  I took plenty of pictures, so we’ll have visual memories of our day together.

    We’ll spend the rest of the week hangin’ in Mississippi with the parentals and then we’re off to Missouri to begin our new lives.  Can’t wait!

    25th Jul2011

    Bible in 90 Days: Day 16 SOAP

    by Daenel

    SOAP RingSCRIPTURE

    Joshua 1:7 (NIV)

    Be strong and very courageous.  Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the  right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.

    OBSERVATION

    God was installing Joshua as the official leader of the people of Israel and endowing him with the same privileges and honor that had belonged to Moses.  He promised Joshua that he would have the same success and respect among the people as Moses did as long as he observed the laws and let nothing move him to either the left or the right.

    APPLICATION

    God has laid out specific guidelines for us to follow and all He asks is that we remain true to His word and He will remain true to us.  But sometimes, we tend to take matters into our own hands and usurp the will of God and then wonder why we have a big old mess on our hands.  If we keep His commandments and seek His guidance in all things, we will be successful.  That doesn’t mean that we’re going to be the next billionaire or that we won’t have troubles, it means that things will be a lot less hectic and disorganized (if we’ve learned nothing else from our readings, we’ve learned that God is a God of order and stability).

    PRAYER

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for everything that you’ve done for me.  Thank you for your commandments and your guidance, help me to walk in your ways that I may find success and order in my life.  When I get distracted by shiny things to my left and sparkly things to my right, Lord, help me to refocus my attention on the glory that is before me.  In your name, amen.

    21st Jul2011

    Crazy Days of Summer: Motion

    by Daenel

    Crazy Days of Summer: Motion

    Crazy Days of Summer:  Motion

    These are our last few days in Pennsylvania and the kids are enjoying them by playing in my sister~in~law’s swimming pool.

    Crazy Days of Summer:  Motion

    I took this a few months ago when the girls and I were walking the Back Mountain Trail.  It’s probably one of my faves of my daughters.

    Crazy Days of Summer Photo Challenge is hosted by Alicia of Project Alicia and Kristi of live and love…out loud.  It will run from 3 June to 26 August and is open to everyone. Each Friday (posts will go live at 12:01 AM) participants are encouraged to share their favorite images inspired by the weekly theme.

    Crazy Days of SummerThe themes for June are:

    Week 1:  3  June ~ Flowers
    Week 2:  10  June ~ Refreshing
    Week 3:  17 June ~ Water
    Week 4:  24 June ~ Yellow

    The themes for July are:

    Week 5:  1 July ~ Light
    Week 6: 8 July ~ Patriotism
    Week 7:  11 July Critters
    Week 8:  22 July ~ Motion

    To participate:

    • Please share your photos with others by linking directly to your Crazy Days of Summer blog post or Flickr photo, not your blog’s home page or Flickr Photostream. Feel free to share your photos in the Crazy Days of Summer Flickr Group as well.
    • The linky will remain open from 12:00am Friday – 11:59pm Wednesday.
    • Make a few new friends by visiting and commenting on the previous entry in the linky list.

    Each Thursday, a few of Alicia’s and Kristi’s favorite images from the Crazy Days of Summer Photo Challenge will be selected and featured at Project Alicia and live and love… out loud.

    21st Jul2011

    Saying Goodbye to Pennsylvania

    by Daenel

    Saying Goodbye to Our Home

    Saying “goodbye” to our home of eight years and looking forward to our new life in Missouri.

    Pennsylvania has been our home for the last 15 years.  Sometimes I can’t believe it’s been that long.  Sometimes it feels longer.  When we first arrived, Miss 17 was 2 years old, Mr. and Miss 15 weren’t crawling and Miss 14 was still tucked safely inside my uterus.  I know how much she likes it when I throw that word around.  Now Miss 17 is preparing for her first year of college.  Mr. 15 is thinking about getting his driver’s license and posing with adjusting the mirrors in my car.  Miss 15 is experimenting with all things punk, no more frilly dresses for her, although she still wears bows.  Miss 14 has transformed herself from my adorable little baby running around with angel wings, to a teenager with a slightly off kilter halo.

    The hubs and I have also changed.  He has gone from a no nonsense khaki, gray and navy wearing man with a plan to make the ranks as a technician to a race car driving, no nonsense khaki, gray, navy and red wearing man with a plan to make the ranks as a manager.  And I can’t knock the plan, ’cause that’s what got him promoted and led to our big move.  I have grown from a shy 20~something~year~old to a woman with two Master’s degrees under my belt, several years of college teaching cred and over a decade’s worth of librarian experience.

    We’ve also watched this area transform from a cross between Mayberry and Cheers (seriously, everyone does know your name here) to a cross between Mayberry and Wisteria Lane (I’ll let you do the digging to find out what’s going on but let’s just say the local morning radio shows have become a lot more interesting).  Traffic has gone from almost nothing to the need for the installation of traffic lights at almost every corner.  Small stores and shops have sprung up everywhere.  Some of the mom and pop shops that I used to frequent when I first arrived have long since closed their doors.  And a few new ones have taken their places.

    People have asked me if I’m sad to leave or if I’ll miss the area and I’ve kinda danced around my answer because I wasn’t sure how to respond.  I think the most truthful answer is that I’ll miss the area and the friends that I’ve made over the years, but more than anything else, I will miss what was but I look forward to what is to come…

    19th Jul2011

    Wordless Wednesday: Fly on a Hosta Flower

    by Daenel

    Fly on a Hosta Flower

    I took this picture in my front yard.  I can’t believe I was able to get such a clear shot of the fly without disturbing him.

    For more Wordless Wednesday check out:

    Wordless Wednesday ~ Faith Hope and A Whole Lotta Love

    Wordish Wednesday ~ Supermom

    Wordless Wednesday ~ Project Alicia

    19th Jul2011

    House Tour: Kitchen

    by Daenel
    Welcome to my kitchen

    My Flirty Apron makes me feel all Susie Homemaker

    When we first bought our house, everything in it was white ~ from the walls to the appliances to the floor.  Just.  White.  I’m so not a white room kinda girl, so I painted the cabinets a deep chocolate brown and the walls what I hoped was sage but dried more of an almost moldy lime.  It was different but I was way too exhausted to repaint everything.  And, quite honestly, it started to grow on me until one day in the middle of an argument about who knows what, the hubs looked me square in the eye and said, “By the way, I hate your {bleeping} green kitchen!”  What?  Where did that come from?  It was such a random statement that I just started laughing.  Needless to say that ended the argument and began my quest for a new look for my kitchen.

    I had this poster in my kitchen and I absolutely adored it, so I decided to design my kitchen around the poster:

    Cafe Martin

    I mean, really, what’s not to love ~ coffee mug, a genie holding sugar and cream and it’s in French.  This poster just makes me think French Quarter (one of my old stomping grounds when I lived in New Orleans), Europe, bistro, etc.

    Welcome to My Kitchen

    To see larger pictures, click here

    So I painted the walls a deep yellow that coordinated with the dining room.  Then I painted the upper cabinets olive green and black and the lower cabinets and all trim were painted black also.  I replaced all the hardware and the appliances with stainless steel for a sleek look.  I added red accents (coffee pot, dish towels, etc) for pops of color.

    It felt like an all new kitchen and the hubs loved it.  Even the green.

    Do you have an inspiration piece in your kitchen?  Is there something in there that everyone else hates and you love?

    17th Jul2011

    Bible in 90 Days: Day 7 SOAP

    by Daenel

    SOAP RingSCRIPTURE

    Exodus 36:4~5 (NIV)

    4 So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing

    5 and said to Moses, “These people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the lord commanded to be done.”

    OBSERVATION

    Moses asked the Israelites to bring, according to their ability, whatever materials they had so that Bezalel and Oholiab and the other skilled workers could construct the sanctuary according to the God’s commandment.  Rather than just bringing the minimal amount or enough to say they had given, the people gave so much that the workers actually complained and Moses had to tell them to hold up.

    APPLICATION

    Sometimes in this life, we’re asked to give or to do something and we complete the act just enough to say it was done but not to the point where the giving is overflowing.  Not all acts of giving are directly commanded by God but each act of giving should be done as if it is being done for His glory ~ even something as mundane as ironing a shirt for your husband.  I say that because I absolutely hate to iron and that’s probably the one thing the hubs consistently asks me to do and I need to be better about doing it.

    PRAYER

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for providing me with an example of love and action overflowing.  Thank you for helping me to realize that even the smallest acts should be done for your glory and honor.  Help me to remember the example of the Israelites when I’m working both inside and outside of the home.  In your name, I pray, Amen.

    For more information about SOAP and its use for the Bible in 90 Days Challenge, please read What is SOAP? on Mom’s Toolbox.

    17th Jul2011

    Don’t Wanna Get Banned? Control Your Kids

    by Daenel
    Crying Child

    Image by Fotolia

    When I read this article about Mike Vuick who has decided to ban children under six from his restaurant in Monroeville, PA, I thought Fist bump!  I’m glad someone is finally taking a stand against unruly kids.  In fact, I posted the article on my Facebook page and pretty much everyone who responded had the same reaction ~ they weren’t bothered or offended by Vuick’s actions at all.  Because it seemed to be such a non~issue, I hadn’t even  planned to write a post about the ban until I read a post on GalTime by KyAnn Lewis demanding that people stop discriminating against kids and parents.

    Ummm, this isn’t discrimination, this is a business owner looking out for the best interest of his business by providing a comfortable eating environment for his patrons.  There have been plenty of times when I’ve been out shopping or eating at a restaurant and I’ve left because someone’s kids were running between the clothes racks or climbing over the benches and walking from table to table, etc.  People get offended if you tell them to reign in their child but they sit there and act like they can’t see or hear that their kid is bothering everyone around them.  Just because you have “mom ears” and can ignore your kid, doesn’t mean everyone else can, nor should they have to.  And before anyone assumes that I don’t have kids or that my kids have never shown out in public, I can assure you that I have and they did.  The difference is I didn’t impose their bratty behavior on others, I removed them from the scene.

    But training begins before you take them out in public, it begins at home.  Teach your children not to climb on the furniture.  Let them know that tantrums are unacceptable.  Begin at home and you don’t have to worry about being put off a plane or asked to leave a store or eatery.

    Obviously, I’m talking about older kids.  I think everyone knows that babies cry and there’s really nothing you can do about that, no matter how much you may wish the floor would swallow you whole but over the age of two, they can be controlled.

    And while we’re throwing out the “D” word.  I’d say the only people who are truly being discriminated against are those people who choose to go out for a child~free evening and then have to be subject to the lax parenting skills of others.

    What say you?  Do you think it’s OK to ban children under six from a restaurant?

    16th Jul2011

    Crazy Days of Summer: Critters

    by Daenel

    Chipmunk Eating Beggin' Strip
    My dog left his Beggin’ Strip outside and a chipmunk pilfered it

    Crazy Days of Summer: Critters

    These little guys hatched right outside my front door…

    Crazy Days of Summer:  Critters

    Our dog, Squeekerz, a Chihuahua and Jack Russell Terrier mix

    Crazy Days of Summer Photo Challenge is hosted by Alicia of Project Alicia and Kristi oflive and love…out loud.  It will run from 3 June to 26 August and is open to everyone. Each Friday (posts will go live at 12:01 AM) participants are encouraged to share their favorite images inspired by the weekly theme.

    Crazy Days of SummerThe themes for June are:

    Week 1:  3  June ~ Flowers
    Week 2:  10  June ~ Refreshing
    Week 3:  17 June ~ Water
    Week 4:  24 June ~ Yellow

    The themes for July are:

    Week 5:  1 July ~ Light
    Week 6: 8 July ~ Patriotism
    Week 7: 11 July ~ Critters

    To participate:

    • Please share your photos with others by linking directly to your Crazy Days of Summer blog post or Flickr photo, not your blog’s home page or Flickr Photostream. Feel free to share your photos in the Crazy Days of Summer Flickr Group as well.
    • The linky will remain open from 12:00am Friday – 11:59pm Wednesday.
    • Make a few new friends by visiting and commenting on the previous entry in the linky list.

    Each Thursday, a few of Alicia’s and Kristi’s favorite images from the Crazy Days of Summer Photo Challenge will be selected and featured at Project Alicia and live and love… out loud.

    14th Jul2011

    House Tour: Dining Room

    by Daenel

    Today I’d like to show you the dining room…

    House Tour: Dining Room

    To see a larger picture, click here

    The wall sconces are from the home and garden section; the furniture is from Ashley Furniture ~ love that store; the little table is from Bed, Bath and Beyond ~ there are monkey candle holders on the table but I forgot to get a clear shot; the window treatment is a cornice board covered with a table cloth and hand dyed table napkins

    Because our schedules are so wildly different, once a week, the family gathers for “family dinner” so we can catch up with each other.  At the beginning of the week, I ask the kids what they want for that dinner if they can’t come up with something we go to the hub’s default meal:  meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans.

    How do you reconnect with your family when your schedules are crazy?

    13th Jul2011

    Guest Post: My Daughter Shares Her Feelings on Moving

    by Daenel

    Brya's Guest PostAs you may know by now, my family is in the process of moving to Missouri from Pennsylvania.  This whole event has been a whirlwind ~ everything is just going so quickly.  But this move isn’t just happening to us adults, it’s happening to the our kids too.  And, sometimes as parents, we get so caught up in how we feel about things that it rarely occurs to us to ask our children their opinion about events.  After talking to my daughter, I decided to give her the opportunity to share her feelings with my readers.

    My dad told me things were going to start moving really fast. I didn’t think he meant lightning speed! I thought waiting for everything to be signed and official would be the hardest part. It was more…annoying, than it was hard. I mean, maybe it was fine for everyone else, but for me, waiting isn’t my forte. But then when everything was all official, my dad started throwing dates at us. My calendar was stuffed to capacity! Ok, so that was a major exaggeration. But that’s how it felt to me.

    When we attempted to move almost two years ago it seemed like a lot more saying and a lot less doing. This time it’s the complete opposite. This time, we actually have the “For Sale” sign in the yard. We have people looking at the house. We have packers coming to pack up the house. We have ID’s (which was all I really cared about). We have  plane tickets. We’re ready this time.

    The last time we attempted to move, nothing was ready. I don’t think anyone was ready. My dad told us that year that there would be a possibility of us moving. I never thought anything of it. When he told us that he was offered a promotion, I was in tears. Happy for him, sad for us. I wasn’t quite ready for us to move. I was afraid to leave my friends. I was afraid of change. I was relieved when he told us we couldn’t move due to timing problems. Relieved and then a little upset. I had already gotten a tiny bit used to the thought of us leaving. I had already told people.

    This time, I’m ready. We’re ready. The timing is right (for the most part). I’m okay with change and I’m ready for an adventure. It’s kind of like reading a book. With every page, you never know what will happen next (that is, unless you’ve read the book before). There’s no turning back now. At this point, we can only move forward. That’s what life is about right?

    I wrote a poem about the move:

    There’s a place out there
    That I just can’t seem to find
    There’s a place out there
    it’s just not mine.

    I’m stuck in a rut
    Can’t wait to see
    The plan that God has for me
    I yearn to go but I’m scared to leave
    This place I call home
    The only one I’ve ever known

    There’s more to it
    I can’t explain
    but the thought of me leaving
    brings on all the pain

    It’s bitter sweet the thought of it
    to think I’ll soon be on my way
    but I know it’ll hurt to say goodbye
    on that sweet and sour day

    But it’s  time to move on
    Try something new,
    People to meet and
    Things to do

    Spread your wings
    Fly like the birds
    Know that your actions
    Speak louder than words

    Miss 14 is the youngest of five children and an aunt to 2.5 little people.  When she’s not texting her friends, she can be found writing short stories or entertaining her family with her snarky wit and charm.  A member of the National Junior Honor Society, Miss 14 plans to become an oncologist with the goal of curing cancer.

    12th Jul2011

    Book Tour: Before Versailles: A Novel of Louis XIV by Karleen Koen

    by Daenel

    Before Versaille: A Novel of Louis XIV by Karleen KoenBOOK DESCRIPTION (FROM THE BACK OF THE BOOK)

    Louis XIV is one of the best~known monarchs ever to grace the French throne.  But what was he like as a young man ~ the man before Versailles?

    After the death of his prime minister, Cardinal Mazarin, twenty-two-year-old Louis steps into governing France. He’s still a young man, but one who, as king, willfully takes everything he can get—including his brother’s wife. As the love affair between Louis and Princess Henriette burns, it sets the kingdom on the road toward unmistakable scandal and conflict with the Vatican. Every woman wants him. He must face what he is willing to sacrifice for love.

    But there are other problems lurking outside the chateau of Fontainebleau: a boy in an iron mask has been seen in the woods, and the king’s finance minister, Nicolas Fouquet, has proven to be more powerful than Louis ever thought—a man who could make a great ally or become a dangerous foe…

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Karleen Koen is the author of Now Face to Face and Through a Glass Darkly, which was a New York Times bestseller and featured a much older Alice Verney (known in that novel as the Duchess of Tamworth).  The author lives in Houston, Texas.

    You can connect with Karleen Koen at Facebook and at her website.

    MY OPINION

    I remember taking French History when I was in college and being totally smitten with the story of Louis XIV, there was just so much decadence.  Have you seen pictures of Versailles?  The pompadours and powders, oui!  And, dude, what was up with the man in the iron mask?  That’s probably one of the most enduring legends from the reign of Louis XIV and still there are no definitive answers about the who or why

    Meticulously researched, this book has everything ~ mystery, intrigue, romance, lust, politics ~ too bad I couldn’t keep it all straight.  The cast of characters is way too large and, even with the guide at the front of the book, it was hard to keep track of who did what with whom and how they were related to the king.  But I don’t necessarily fault Koen, I think the confusion is probably reminiscent of the confusion of the court itself.  Seriously, during a time when even your own brother may have been plotting against you, how can there not be a bit of discombobulation?  That being said, there’s just too much going on in this book.

    I’d recommend this book for someone who has a decent grasp of French history or is at least more than casually familiar with the story of the Sun King.  As for me, I simply couldn’t get in to this book.

    RATING
    ★★

    Disclaimer: This book was provided to me courtesy of TLC Book Tours and Crown Publisher free of charge in exchange for a review.

    11th Jul2011

    House Tour: The Living Room

    by Daenel

    Welcome to my home…

    Welcome to My Home

    I’ve always wanted a red door, that was one of the first changes we made to the house when we bought it…

    The front door

    We searched for this house for 6½ years before we found the perfect house for our family.  When we finally found it, it was everything we didn’t want:

    • a foreclosure
    • a bi~level
    • over 20 years old

    But when we walked through the front door, we knew this was the place for us.  It was everything we needed:

    • five bedrooms
    • 1 full bath, 1 half bath, 2 three~quarter baths
    • 3 living areas
    • and plenty of outdoor space

    Even before we bought the house, I’d started purchasing decorative items and placing them in a storage shed until we found the house.  I had my paint colors picked out ~ based on my mica lamps (something I’d seen as a kid and absolutely loved).

    Living Room Accessories

    The center wrought iron piece is from the garden section; the candle sconces were originally black and I painted them brown and gold to “age” them to match the center piece; the fruit bowl painting and the crosses are from Dollar General; the painting of the mother with the children is from a local antique shop; the boxes were handmade by my son in wood tech; all of the other accessories were purchased at tag sales and yard sales

    I grew up in Italy and lived in New Orleans for a time, so I think those places have definitely influenced my design style.  I have lots of wrought iron, worn pieces, crosses and ethnic pieces in my house.  I’m very proud of the home that I’ve created for my family.

    Living Room Collage

    The wall color is called Burnt Amber, when I first put it on the wall my husband freaked out…  After all of the furniture and accessories were put in place, he fell in love.

    What influenced your design style?

    11th Jul2011

    Makeup Free Monday Mingle: Driven to Distraction

    by Daenel

    So much is going on with our family right now!  We’re in the process of moving from Pennsylvania to Missouri due to my husband’s promotion.  To commemorate/celebrate the occasion, I will be giving a tour of the house for the next week, please come back and visit…

    Makeup Free Monday 11 July 2011Makeup Free Monday is hosted by The Beauty Bean as an initiative for women to celebrate real beauty.  I love makeup almost as much as I love shoes but I also like encouraging women to embrace their natural beauty.  Confidence is beautiful, makeup is the enhancer.

    If you decide to participate in Makeup Free Monday let me know in the comments.

    Monday MingleMonday Mingle is hosted by Jenn at Eighty MPH Mom. If you’d like to participate, simply create a short vlog in which you answer the questions and then hit up the linky. Don’t forget to grab the badge and leave some comment love for your fellow participants. After all, isn’t that what mingling is all about?

    This week’s questions are:

    1.  What is your biggest distraction when you drive?

    My kids!  I think they sit around and think of things to say to me to make me laugh.  It’s during our drives that they like to ask me questions about, um, everything from the color of their eggs to the realization that some day music by Justin Bieber will be played on a classic radio station.

    2.  Where do you go when you want some peace and quiet to hear yourself think?

    I used to go into the bathroom until my kids learned to read and write and started sliding notes under the bathroom door.  Now I send them to my mother~in~law’s house.

    3.  What did you do for the 4th of July?

    Mostly I vegged in front of the TV and watched “The Twilight Zone” marathon but I also went to my sister~in~law’s for a barbecue and fireworks viewing.

    10th Jul2011

    Gidget Gets Dressed

    by Daenel

    Gidget, my dear sweet GE X500 camera, was embarrassed by her immodesty the other day, so she and I went on a little shopping trip to get her some new clothes.

    First we hit up The Blue Hydrangea Gift Shoppe in Dallas to get her the most adorable little coat…

    Gidget's Coat
    I’m using a bag from the Vera Bradley Frill Collection as a camera case, it fits everything perfectly and it slides right into my regular purse with room for all of my other belongings.

    Next we scoured Etsy for the perfect dress aka camera strap…

    Gidget's Dress
    We found the floral camera strap at Smitten by a Promise a sweet little shop owned by Kelsey.  Her store’s name is based on 1 John 2:25 which says

    And this is what he promised us~eternal life (NIV)

    Honestly, if you’re looking for cute items, check Smitten by a Promise out.  The measurements were accurate and the shipping was super quick.  Kelsey even wrote a little handwritten “Thank you” on the back of the envelope (it really is the small things, y’all).

    Once everything arrived, it looked so coordinated without being too matchy matchy, which a true fashionista would never do…

    Gigdet's Coat and Dress

    What do you think, doesn’t it look like the coat and dress were meant to go together?

    Finally, I was able to dress Gidget in her finery and we were both incredibly happy with the makeover…

    Gidget Fully Dressed

    I absolutely love Gidget’s summer outfit, don’t you?  I cannot wait to shop for winter!

    Do you name your tech toys?  Have you purchased any fancy accessories for them?  Or are you the creative make your own type?

    07th Jul2011

    And the “For Sale” Sign is Up

    by Daenel

    The Kids and the For Sale SignEven as I announced the hubs promotion at work and the family’s relocation to Missouri, things still felt a bit surreal, kinda like I was talking about events that were happening to someone else.  Today, it happened to me.  I signed the contracts and watched as the realtors put a “For Sale” sign in my front yard.

    For years, the hubs and I have watched “House Hunters” on HGTV and snickered as the wives shed tears as they talked about leaving their homes.  Today I became that wife and my husband snickered.  So did my kids.  And the realtors.  I couldn’t help it.  You don’t know how long I waited and prayed for this house…

    The hubs and I got out of the military in 1996 with nothing but the clothes on our backs, 3 little people in car seats, 1 in utero and 1 with her mother in Texas.  We made our way to Pennsylvania from Louisiana believing that God would provide.  And He did…  He provided us with a home with my mother~in~law for 6 and a half years.  Yes, I lived with my mother~in~law for 6 and a half years.  Every day I would pray that some meteor would strike the Earth and end my imprisonment.  Yes, that meant the whole world would be destroyed but at that point, I didn’t care, I just wanted it all to end.  Our intent was not to live with my mother~in~law that long but life just kept kicking our butts ~ cancer, kids, car troubles, etc.  And we were paying my mother~in~law’s bills to compensate her for letting us live with her (I know I sound bitter but I’m truly grateful for the roof that was over our heads).  Anyway, for years the hubs and I would spend our Sundays going to open houses, checking things out, trying to find a house that could comfortably fit our growing brood.

    Then we found a house in Wilkes~Barre.  I wanted this house.  I had already mentally decorated it.  We put in an offer and after going back and forth for a week, negotiations fell through and the house was gone.  I cried and threw an epic tantrum.  I really didn’t think I could do one more day under my mother~in~law’s roof.  During the middle of my screaming fit, I decided to look online for another house and that’s when I found the house that we’re living in now.

    It was everything that we didn’t want:

    • a bi~level
    • a foreclosure
    • close to my mother~in~law

    But the moment we walked in the door, we knew this house was ours.  There were obstacles ~ the listing agent wouldn’t submit our offer to the bank because she wanted to purchase the property herself so my husband contacted the bank directly and told them what was going on and the lien officer guaranteed us the house was ours (even if another bidder offered more than we did).  We closed on the house about 4 weeks later, give or take.

    The house was a wreck when we bought it.  There were 6 to 8 lawn bags of beer cans in one bedroom alone, food was still in the kitchen cabinets, clothes were still on the floor, dishes were in the dishwasher and the house had been vacant for almost 2 years.  But this was our house and we planned to make it a home.  It took us about 6 weeks to get the house to the point where we could safely occupy it without having to get tetanus shots.

    Over the last 8 years, this house has undergone a lot of changes.  Rooms have been renovated, walls have been painted, pictures have been hung and now it’s time to move on and let another family create a life in this house.  Our house.  My house.  Not mine any longer.

    I’ll probably shed more tears as I spend the next few days “depersonalizing” the house but I know I’ll never snicker at another seller on HGTV again.

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