Hiking the Parkway

The weather here in Asheville has been beautiful and since I have been rather sedentary the last week I convinced the men in my life to go hiking on the Mountain to Sea trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway.


PHEW, long sentence.


We had originally wanted to hike the Rattle Snake Lodge trail but the parkway was closed at the higher elevations, I am guessing because of snow. We changed plans and made the hike from the information center to the craft center, 5.4 mile round trip.

Martha had her first ride in the back of the pick up truck….don’t think she really knew exactly what to think of it but she was happy to be going with us.

Spirits are up,look at the smiles.
When I was growing up we lived close to the tracks. We would walk them all the time to see how far we could go without falling.







Looking so sweet and innocent…




I have so many pictures of this child peering over a bridge.





Bob trying to determine just how much farther we need to go. It always seems to take forever when you are going some where you have never been before.



We made it to the craft center, now to hike back.



Carter thinking he is so cool. This is part of the path that goes under the parkway.



We gave Carter the GPS so he could track just how far we had gone. As you can see his is really excited about this. To try and keep the spirits “up” we bribed them with ice cream when we got home.



Someones clothes left in a make shift camp along the way. We are assuming someone homeless made their home there.





Another make shift camp. At this camp we found a camera aimed at it. Carter found a empty bag of corn chips.

This is the part of the camera.

And the little pen lens…

We thought it was funny to find this in the trail. We came up with all kinds of answers. Watching the trail for vandalism, homeless people, geocaching, someones personal website…We were all wrong. I asked the park ranger when we got to the information center. It was to keep track of bears. Guess that is a good thing to know if you have bears on the trail and people walking it.

 

Tobacco Barn, Asheville NC

If you like to roam around antique shops Asheville is the place to go.
 Asheville has the Tobacco Barn. A great big warehouse full of antiques. A really cold warehouse.
 If you go in the winter dress warm and bring a big cup of hot coffee.
A BIG PLACE…

From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn

Kind of cool looking walker I thought.
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn

Ok, so I have been pretty much hitting the Goodwill every day.
I know, I need to get a life.
Anyway I spotted this partial desk at the Goodwill was checking it out and was wondering if there were other parts and if they may be bringing them out to the floor. I turned to ask someone that worked there if there were more sections. Before I knew it this lady snagged it out from under my nose.
The price at the Goodwill was around $6.00.
She slapped a tag on it and is selling it for $65.00 at the Tobacco Barn.
For some reason it kind of pissed me off when I saw it there.

From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn
From tobacco barn


Christmas Aftermath

Christmas has come and gone.
I really hate to sound like a scrooge but THANK GOODNESS.
Since we decided to stay home for Christmas instead of making the trek to Virginia Beach, Richmond or Knife River it was rather quiet with just our family.
Christmas Eve we had originally planned to go snow tubing in the morning but that had to be canceled due to the warm weather and very little snow. I was really looking forward to it, something to burn of the extra energy in the kids and make the evening plans a little easier for them to accept.
Since we had no company for Christmas I set it up that we were going to volunteer at the Western Carolina Rescue Mission to serve dinner. After serving we were going to attend a Christmas service at a church I have been wanting to attend. As you can imagine this went over like a lead balloon with our teenage daughter. Further cementing my opinion that we need to be doing more of this stuff. Self absorbed teenage daughters. Need I say more? Well I could but I am choosing to keep my mouth shut to help maintain some sence of peace in the house. Let me put it this way…there was very little Peace and Harmony in my world Christmas Eve.

Christmas morning came with  a little encouragement from my husband we survived.  Barely.

Sam with his Disc Golf set that he recieved from his grandparents

From December 25, 2011

Carter with his Teck Deck

From December 25, 2011

Carter with his UMD t-shirt from Grandma Polly.

From December 25, 2011

Sam and his computer…which he contributed to the purchase of.

From December 25, 2011

Sophia with her jacket from her grandparents and the phone we got her. I guess this is how we will forever be seeing her, with just the top of her head visible.

From December 25, 2011

I hope your Christmas was peaceful, pleasant and enjoyable!

A Christmas Prayer

A CHRISTMAS PRAYER
by Nancy Burr

It’s Christmas time again for all,
It’s time to celebrate.
I pray you feel God’s peace with you,
As you shop and decorate.
I asked the Lord to stay with you,
And take away your stress.
And through the busy days ahead
That He’d help you find rest.
I pray you feel his love surround you,
Everywhere you go.
For He came down that Christmas night
So His love you’d know.
I asked the Lord to fill your soul,
With joy beyond compare.
And that you’d know without a doubt
How much our Lord does care.
We know God cares an awful lot,
By what He did that night.
He sent His Son to save our soul
And to be our guiding light.
I pray that in the coming weeks
You’ll feel our Saviour near.
That you will draw Him close to you
As you celebrate with cheer.
I knelt and ask our Father God
To lead you through these days.
That you would honour Christ His Son,
By giving Him your praise.
I pray you keep your eyes on Jesus
Throughout the Christmas season.
So this year let’s keep CHRIST in Christmas
Cause Jesus is the reason.
So celebrate this joyous time
With family and dear friends.
For Jesus came and brought us Hope,
And a life that never ends.

Homemade Laundry Soap

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From December 14, 2011

OK, so I decided to make this  but was completely skeptical about just how well it would actually work. WOW, I am really impressed with just how great it is and how cheap it is to make. Very impressed.
The above picture is everything that I put into mine.

4 lb box of BORAX
4lb box of ARM & HAMMER BAKING SODA
3lb 7 oz. box of ARM & HAMMER WASHING SODA
3 bars of FELS-NAPTHA SOAP
2 containers of OXYGEN
1 container of PUREX fabric softener, the granules/pebbles  NOT LIQUID

From December 14, 2011

The FELS-NAPTHA SOAP needs to be shredded. I had a hand shredder but it seemed to take forever and then remembered that I had this cheese grater for Parmesan cheese. SO much faster and easier.
Grate all three bars.

From December 14, 2011

Dump all of the stuff in to a plastic bag, inside of a bucket (for support). I did this in my kitchen but I highly recommend doing it outside. It kicks up a ton of dust.
Make sure the plastic bag is sturdy, use 2 if needed. Pull it out of the bucket and slowly mix the contents by rolling the bag around. Make sure that it is well mixed.

From December 14, 2011

I recommend double bagging it because I did not and I sprung a hole in the corner of the bag.

From December 14, 2011

So I dumped it all in the bucket, creating more dust that made it’s way up my nose.
 Hey, at least is smelled good.

From December 14, 2011

I then stored it in the largest glass container I could find so it would look pretty. I found this one at AC MOORE. It was $25.95 but I had a 50% off coupon, so I got it for $12.50, thank you very much!
But first I did some glass etching. I have been looking for an excuse to try this this stuff.

From December 14, 2011

From December 14, 2011

$12.50 at AC MOORE  … SCORE!

From December 14, 2011

I dragged out my Cricut…have I ever told you just how much I love this thing!
AWESOME!
I cut the letters out of contact paper.   Much cheaper than the “CRICUT” paper they sell.    Plus it allows you to try different things without feeling like your wasting a bunch of money.

From December 14, 2011

From December 14, 2011

I painted on the etching cream. The BOX says leave it on for 60 seconds….NOT SO, more like 10-15 minutes and you need to put it on thicker than shown below. I found this out after I attempted to read the bottle which, unfortunately, my arms are not long enough to read that small of print…the 40’s are rearing its ugly head.

From December 14, 2011

This is after 2 minutes. I did some touching up to try and get it a little more consistent. What I learned is that I should have done it reverse of what I did. Does that make sense? Doing it this way was easier but doing it the other way would have had more impact.  The etching cream is not real strong and I put the laundry soap in the jar and the soap is white…the end result is you couldn’t really see it. I know it is there. It makes me happy that I did it.

From December 14, 2011
From December 14, 2011

I use the scoop that was in the SUN oxygen container.  I use 1 scoop for each load of laundry. I figure it costs me about $15.00 to make this whole jar, and the big chunk of it was the fabric softener that you don’t even have to use because that was $7.00.

I do a ton of laundry. Smelly laundry. Kids that wrestle bring home very smelly laundry.  I have been very pleased with it and I figure it will last me close to a year. It is about 20lb of laundry soap.

From December 14, 2011

Let me know if you make it and what you think!

Brunswick Stew

I love soup, especially when I am not feeling well. And this one is REALLY easy.

I buy a roaster chicken from the grocery store. I love the already made chickens. They can make life pretty easy and at $4.50 ya can’t beat it.  I pull off most of the meat off the the chicken and set aside.

The chicken carcass goes into the stock pot with water and simmer that little bugger for about 45minutes.

From December 14, 2011

I will also add some chicken bouillon. I use Better Than Bouillon. Just scoop it out with a spoon and add to the broth, easy peasy and tastes really good.

After I let the broth simmer for about 45 minutes I strain all the bones etc. out of the broth. You can pick any meat off if you like but I hate to pick chicken…yuck!   I throw it in the trash.
From December 14, 2011

I then add 3 large potatos. Peeled and sliced, and one largish onion. 

From December 14, 2011

Then I do the really hard part, opening cans.
Open and dump all of it in the pot. Juice and all.

2 cans of Sweet Corn
2 cans of Lima Beans
2 cans of Tomato Soup.

From December 14, 2011

Shred the chicken and add it to the pot. Add a little salt and pepper AND a Table spoon of sugar. Yup sugar.

From December 14, 2011

Kitty is waiting for his share.
Go away kitty, your not getting any.

From December 14, 2011

Let it cook until the potatos are tender.

From December 14, 2011

Good stuff! Serve it with biscuits and slices of cheddar cheese.

From December 14, 2011

What makes it even better is have Gertrude Armstrong Chocolate Cake for dessert.
Sophia took her first stab a the famous cake this weekend for my husbands 50th birthday.

From December 14, 2011

It was a struggle but we have eaten all of it.

Goodwill Dresser Redo

I am so proud of this project. It is my first attempt and refinishing furniture and I think it went pretty darn well if I do say so myself.

Asheville is loaded with second hand shops, Goodwill stores and antique shop. In fact the Goodwill store was so busy I had to wait for a parking spot.

This dresser was for sale and it had a price of $15.00, marked down from $30.00…woohoo, what a deal. It was in rough shape. Really rough shape. What it was though is solid wood, no veneer. The drawers were dovetailed and sturdy. The finish was trashed.

I just happened to have the “Man Van” with me and it was stuffed full of items that I was donating, so I could get it home.

I decided what the heck, fifteen bucks.
If I started to refinish it and it didn’t work I was not out a lot of money.

All the way home I kept thinking “Bob is going to kill me” for bringing this piece of crap home. I didn’t even want to tell him about it.

From November 12, 2011

The drawers had nasty faux brass hardware.

Mice had chewed on the inside of the drawers.

From November 12, 2011

There were burn marks all over the top of it. Ink stains. Water stains. The visions I had in my mind of the condition of the house that this came out of were running rampant.

From November 12, 2011

I wasn’t sure what kind of wood it was but it was stained/varnished a orangish, yellowish icky color.

From November 12, 2011
From November 12, 2011
From November 12, 2011

I had purchased earlier in the week a can of spray can of paint/varnish stripper for another project. I removed the hardware and sprayed the drawer to see what would happen. I liked the way it worked but it was going to take quite a few cans to finish the project. I decided to use the same product but in the brush on version. This was much for affordable at $10.00 a can.

From November 12, 2011

I used brushed it on, let it sit for about 15 minutes and used a plastic scraper to remove the top layer of finish. Brushed on a second coat and then used steel wool and a bucket of water to remove the remaining layers.

From November 12, 2011

This actually went pretty quick, about 6 hours max. I was envisioning days of this and was really motivated to get the finish off and sanded. It was helpful that the weather outside was in the 60’s and breezy. I would not like to do this inside, especially with the sanding.

From November 12, 2011

After the finish was removed I determined that the wood was maple. and it was really very pretty. The top still had burn marks and the drawers had marks on the front from where the hardware was. I wanted to make sure I sanded that well because I knew I did not want to use the same hardware.

From November 12, 2011

From November 12, 2011
From November 12, 2011

From November 12, 2011

From November 12, 2011

I was not able to get all the marks out. I guess I could have kept sanding but I was worried it would damage the finish.

From November 12, 2011

The same applies to the top and decided the the remaining burn marks will add “character”, translate that into I was tired of sanding.

From November 12, 2011

From November 12, 2011
From November 12, 2011

Staining well very fast….I used Min wax and an old t-shirt to rub on the stain. I put on a two coats of stain, 3 in some areas.  When I was done staining I waited a few days for the stain to completely dry plus it was Thanksgiving and didn’t want to start in polycrylic finish until I had time to really focus on it.

From November 12, 2011
From November 12, 2011

From November 12, 2011

From November 12, 2011

I did 2 layers of Polycrylic from Minwax outside. This was a mistake. I could not figure out why I was getting bubbles? Well it was drying too quickly.

From November 12, 2011

I was lightly sanding between each layer which was removing the bubbles.
For the final coat I brought it inside, turned off the heat to minimize the circulation of dust and give it an opportunity to even out before it dried.

From November 12, 2011

It is now placed in my son’s bedroom and I think it looks awesome! I never thought that the finish would end up looking like this considering what it looked like when I started.

From November 12, 2011

You can still see a couple of burn marks on the top but it is very subtle.

From November 12, 2011

From November 12, 2011
From November 12, 2011
From November 12, 2011
From November 12, 2011

I am so excited about it and pretty darn proud.
I am currently scouting the Goodwill for my next project!

Turkey Casserole

From November 12, 2011

First off…excuse the really bad photo.

Turkey leftovers. I think if I were to have fed my family another turkey dinner tonight they may have hog tied me and beat me with the drum stick. I found this recipe on line and “modified” it. It is really easy and pretty darn good if I do say so myself.

1 package of frozen veggies (10 ounces) thawed under running water
4 cups of cooked turkey diced up
1 package of egg noodles cooked
butter
1 medium onion chopped
8 ounces mushrooms chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup (10 1/2 ounce)
1/2 cup milk
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 cup shredded cheese..Monterrey jack or cheddar

Saute onions and mushrooms in butter until tender.

Blend soup, milk, curry powder and poultry seasoning and add to mushrooms and onions.

Add thawed veggies and turkey to pan and mix.

Add cooked noodles and stir. Pour mixture into a 9×13 buttered/greased pan and sprinkle shredded cheese on top.

Bake for 25 minutes @ 350 degrees.

Repurposing the Potato Bin

My mom is always passing on items from her home to mine.   Whenever I go home I usually come home with twice the amount of stuff that I arrived with.   She will ask me if I want a certain item, and of course I say “sure” and then I get home and think, “what am I going to do with this”?   My husband is a good sport, he just shakes his head and rolls his eyes. Such is the item today.   She gave this to me 3 years ago and it has been in my garage collecting dust and getting in the way.

Now that I am in a new home I have a place for it, not what it was originally intended for but I think it will work.

It is a potato/onion bin. Potatoes are to go in the top and onions in the bottom.

I took it apart.  Yes, honey I took the hinges off but had to leave one of the knobs on because it was glued in. I also sanded it to rough up the surface so it would accept the paint.   My husband is forever giving me grief for taking short cuts on my painting projects.

From November 17, 2011
From November 17, 2011

From November 17, 2011
From November 17, 2011

Then I dragged out my Cricut.   LOVE THIS THING.   So much fun.   I do need to invest in more cartridges though.  I am using this to cut words out for a stencil on the doors. Instead of using paper I used contact paper.  It is cheap and if you make a mistake it is no big deal.   I cut out a couple of options of fonts and sizes to get an idea of how I wanted it to look.

I decided on the tall skinny font for my project.

From November 17, 2011
From November 17, 2011

Pealed of the back an stuck them on the door/lid.   I am the queen of “eye balling” it.   My husband on the other hand would have had the tape measure and ruler out, positioning and repositioning making sure it is perfectly placed.

Sidebar: Don’t know if you have ever listened to Jeanne Roberts. She is absolutely hysterical when if comes to talking about her husband “Left Brain”. You have got to watch this video of her sending her husband to the grocery store. I have seen it more than a dozen times and still laugh every single time.

From November 17, 2011

I then used black paint with primer and rolled the top the lids and box completely covering it.   This is with just one coat of paint.   It took two coats with drying time in between each coat of paint.

From November 17, 2011

Painting done, now it is drying.   Did not take to long to dry.    Notice that I did not do the inside of the box.

From November 17, 2011

From November 17, 2011

With the paint dry I carefully removed the contact paper stencil.

From November 17, 2011

Next step is I used a fine grit sanding block to take the paint off the corners to give it the aged look.

From November 17, 2011

This picture shows the words before I applied stain to the raw wood. I used Minwax cherry stain. Applied it with a rag and rubbed it off with another. The one mistake I made was because I was worried that it would have a inconsistent finish on the corners I rubbed the stain over the whole box. It stained the raw wood where I sanded but it made the black portion a little tacky. I ended up wiping the whole thing with a wet rag to get off the excess.

From November 17, 2011

I put it all back together and it is now in my powder room holding toilet paper and reading material. The lighting of my photos make it the finish look uneven and shiny in areas.  It looks much better in person.

From November 17, 2011

From November 17, 2011

From November 17, 2011

From November 17, 2011
From November 17, 2011

A Saturday morning in Asheville, NC

We have been in Asheville now for 2 weeks and are about 3/4 of the way moved in. That may be a little generous but that is what I am going with. It makes me feel a little better.

The kids have been going a little bonkers and to expel a little excess energy we took them to Fletcher Park to play disc golf, ride bikes and let Martha wander.

Bob and Sam play golf while Carter rides around the park on his bike.

Sam is loving disc golf. He is pretty good.

From November 12, 2011

From November 12, 2011

From November 12, 2011

Martha thinks the discs are for her. They look just like a Frisbee.  They are throwing them. They MUST need me to go get them right?

From November 12, 2011

Sam thought he could out run Carter on his bike. Good luck kid!

From November 12, 2011

At this park you must wear your helmet or you will get a $10.00 ticket.

From November 12, 2011

From November 12, 2011

From November 12, 2011

A beautiful day. A relaxing day. But I have hit the wall and it is time to go to bed….

From November 12, 2011