The President is Stuck in the Bathtub!

Yes!  You read that right.  There really was a president that got stuck in the bathtub! (But, I’m not going to tell you who.)  Did you also know that George Washington never slept in the White House, John Quincy Adams liked to go skinny dipping in the Potomac, and Jimmy Carter was attacked by a rabbit?  Who remembers the shouts of glee from children all over the nation when President Bush (the first one) banned broccoli from the White House and Air Force One?

We like to read books during our Morning Basket time that are just for fun, but still seem to teach us a little bit along the way.  This book, The President is Stuck in the Bathtub by Susan Katz, just jumped off the shelf at me on one of our visits to our public library.  There is a poem for each president that was just a fun little tidbit that may or may not be common knowledge.

Sarah enjoyed reading this book and, while she won’t remember all of the stories, a few did stick with her and it introduced her to the names of all our US Presidents from George Washington to Barak Obama.  So, if you are looking for a light hearted fun read to share with your kiddos and pass on a little bit of presidential trivia, check this one out.

Presidents stuck in bathtub book

Living thru faith,


A Cooking Lesson

Last week Sarah decided she wanted to cook eggs for her lunch and do it all by herself.  She wanted to do everything from washing the farm fresh eggs to frying them up in the pan.  I haven’t done a great job in the cooking lesson department, so this was huge for her.


They turned out great!  She was so excited and pleased with herself.



Yesterday, while she was home with her daddy, she just had to make some for their lunch, too.

A budding chef in the making!

Living thru faith,




First Days of Sixth Grade

My baby is a middle schooler!  How in the world did that happen?!


This year we started earlier than in previous years and will be doing more of a year-round school schedule.  When I first mentioned those words to Sarah she about freaked out!  You would have thought her world was coming to an end! It took a little convincing to get her to understand that we would not be doing any more school than normal.  It just means we will be taking more frequent breaks throughout the year and a longer break in the middle of the year.  Whew!  I think that was the biggest challenge of this school year already!

Keeping with tradition, we started out the first day with a pancake breakfast (although we were out of chocolate chips, so I may not have been the most popular person for a few moments…).   Yes, her pj’s say “Wake me 04 pancakes!” 🙂


However, this year we did take a step out on the wild side and scrambled quail eggs!  Yep, quail eggs!


They are soooo tiny!! It takes about 2 of the quail eggs to one chicken egg.  But, ya know, Sarah and I do believe we like them better than chicken eggs.  We even managed to fit in a natural history science lesson during breakfast as we looked up and learned all the healthy benefits of eating quail eggs.  There is a lot of nutrition packed in those tiny little speckled eggs!

Throughout these first days, we have slowly been getting into our subjects and even today I was still trying to tweak our schedule to get things to flow well.  It hasn’t helped that we had to work two eye appointments, more shot visits to the vet, and the a/c going out in the car into our schedule.  Hopefully, the days will start to slow into a rhythm soon and we will be able to see how the days will flow.

One of the benefits of homeschooling is being flexible on where to actually do our work, such as on the couch in our pajamas,


hiking in the woods learning about geology with new friends,


or in the car on the way to IKEA.


Yep, had to throw an IKEA trip in the midst of everything!  Brian took some vacation days to work on some home projects, and it was just the best time to go.  (I really do not like IKEA on a Saturday.  I mean, really, where do all those people come from?!)

But you know what is my favorite part of homeschooling?  The ability to switch gears and let them explore something that just pops in their head at the moment.  I’m not talking unschooling.  I personally need structure.  She needs structure.  Really, let’s be real.  Without structure, we would both be sitting on the couch in our pajamas reading a book or watching tv.

On our very first day while working through our Language Arts, she asks if she can stop and write a poem.  Of course!  About ten minutes later, she is reading me a beautiful, artistically written poem about a forest.  As she read it, I thought, THIS is why I homeschool.

So, overall, we have had a good start to our new school year, even if I want to stay in denial that my baby girl is growing up.  We also enjoyed having Daddy with us for the first few days.   It was so nice having him home and sharing in that time together.

I pray that whether your kiddos are homeschooled or school away from home, that this new year will be a year filled with new discoveries, new friendships, and new blessings!

Living thru faith,








Garden Art

Sarah’s favorite part of our Biltmore visit were the gardens.  She really loved the blown glass art that was on display within the gardens as well.  (These glass art creations will be on display until October 7, in case you want to see them in person.)

garden above

The gardens were designed by landscape architect Fredrick Olmstead who also designed New York City’s Central Park.  They are beautiful on their own, but the glass art by Chihuly added a bit of whimsy.

garden boat2garden water sarah

Sarah was also fascinated, of course, by the fish living in the ponds. I think she spent more time watching them, than looking at the glass sculptures.




There is also a conservatory on site filled with plants thriving throughout all the seasons.

garden3Sarah and Dad

We are so glad we had the opportunity to share this time and this place with Sarah.  It was a wonderful educational experience for her in seeing a glimpse to a long ago era, but it was also a time of just enjoying being together.  Our little girl is growing up and won’t be staying so little much longer.

Sarah tree

We also had few friendly friends come to say goodbye on our way out of the estate.


We are now in the midst of our next adventure out West that has been filled with new experiences and lots of fun with old friends.  Until next time…

If you would like to see more about Chihuly and how they set up the displays at Biltmore, check out this video here.

Living thru faith,


One Great Big House

There is a great big house nestled in the hills of North Carolina and we spent a day walking all around it.  And walking.  And walking…


The Biltmore was completed in 1895 and was an amazing display of architecture, innovation, and forestry.  With over 4 acres of floor space,  I was afraid we would get all the way to the top floor and then she would start giving out, but she just kept going and going.  Brian and I were actually done in before she was.

mom and sarah

We rented the kids audio player for her and let her tell us the information she found interesting along the way.  The kids audio is narrated by Cedric, the family St. Bernard, so it makes it entertaining and educational for the young explorers.  Sarah loved it, so I definitely recommend renting it if you take your kiddos.

Cedric let us in on the trap door in the floor of the Winter Garden that leads down to the basement and informed us the banquet table was longer than a school bus.  He also said that you would have to stack four 17′ giraffes on top of each of other to reach the ceiling in the main dining hall. There is an organ in the main dining hall and at one point during our tour someone began playing it.  It sounded amazing!


We discovered later that the music room actually wasn’t finished until the 1970’s and was used to store art from the National Gallery of Art during WWII.  The art was sent by train at night during a snow storm in an effort to protect it in the event of an attack on Washington.  The house was already open to the public at the time and people walked past the curtains never knowing a priceless amount of art was hiding right in their midst.


Brian’s favorite room, of course, was the library.  There are about 10,000 books in the library and over 22,000 total in George Vanderbilt’s entire collection!  Brian told me I now can’t complain about the number of books he has.  Oh, but I can!  🙂  The ceiling is made up of 13 different canvases sent over from Italy.  I just can’t imagine spending all that money on a ceiling!

tapestry room

Cedric also shared that each of the tapestries in the Tapestry room took 10 years to complete! I really don’t have that much patience for work like that.  Each tapestry told different Bible stories such as Daniel & the Lions Den and David & Goliath.

George and Edith Vanderbilt had his and her bedrooms, which Sarah found very odd.  I tried to explain that this was actually normal for this time period, but it was just too different of a concept for her.

stairs top

As gorgeous as the spiral staircase was, Sarah was not a fan of walking down them.  She really didn’t like the spacing and size of the stairs.  Eventually, we made it to the bottom and headed on down to the basement where we found a Halloween Room, a bowling alley, swimming pool, servants rooms, kitchens, walk in refrigerator rooms, and laundry room.  The Halloween Room was simply a large room with walls painted with scenes from a popular play during the time their daughter Cornelia was a teenager.  We are not sure what the room was used for, but Cedric said that Cornelia and about 100 other teens painted the murals.

Not only was there an indoor swimming pool, but it was also heated!  The black hose laying along the side of the pool bottom was not for water, but for steam!



That there is Sarah listening to Cedric telling all the secrets of the main kitchen.  Bet you didn’t know those big black cabinets in the main kitchen are actually mouse proof!

A special exhibit of blown glass art was integrated throughout the large surrounding gardens, so I will share all of those pictures with you next time.  I wish there was an option to just visit the gardens, because I would love to go back to spend more time there.  By the time we toured the house, I was pretty much exhausted and not able to enjoy the beauty of them as much as I could have.

garden above


I asked Sarah what was her favorite part and was surprised when she said the gardens.  When I asked about her favorite part of the house she said the Winter Garden and the Main Kitchen.  Of all the sites we saw, I was not expecting that.  With all the beautiful, ornate, and expensive things within the house, I found it encouraging that she was not overly impressed with the grandeur.

As I thought about her response, I was reminded of this verse.  So many times we get caught up in material things and how they may sparkle or shine, but true beauty comes from within.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

I Peter 3:3-4

Living thru faith,