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,





The Trip That Did Not Want to Start

Yesterday began almost a month of traveling, south, east, and west.

Might be good  better adjusted further

But it was almost like pulling teeth to get it started.  Literally.  Almost.

Sunday afternoon we were enjoying lunch with friends who will soon be moving to Texas and with our son & daughter-in-law celebrating their 1st anniversary.  Great time with great people and enjoying great food.  And then…

About half-way through the meal I felt something really bad happening in my mouth and discovered half of one of my molars was now in my hand rather than in my mouth wher it belonged.

“Well…we won’t be leaving tomorrow morning,” I announced and all heads swiveled my way.

We still had hopes of leaving after I went to the dentist, so we continued to press forward as planned.  Of course, we couldn’t pack till the laundry got finished and well, come 11:00pm, I was pretty much done and not staying up to pack a suitcase.

Monday morning arose a glorious day outside with cool temps, sun shining, and birds singing (probably the ones still in our attic).  However, inside…

Sarah wakes me up crying in pain from a bad crick in her neck, I wake up with a massive headache, I am still missing half a tooth (I’m firing the tooth fairy), and Brian is having his own issues.

But come about 8:20am things start looking up!

I can get straight into the dentist, Sarah is no longer crying in pain (just walking around slightly cock-eyed), my headache has eased by a slight fraction, and Brian seems to have resolved his issues.

Good news is announced!  My tooth does not have to be pulled!  I will need a crown, which can wait until we are back from all our traveling since the tooth is not bothering me and the old silver filling (which caused the crack in my tooth to begin with) is firmly in place.

So we head home to finish packing and loading up the car….

My headache is coming back in full force (3 ibuprofen and various essential oils are not even slightly touching this baby), Sarah is whining about stopping her show on her iPad – which she is bringing with her anyway! {insert eye roll from mom}, the dog has decided the front the door is the best place to lay down as we are trying to walk through it multiple times, and Brian tweaks his ankle while getting in the car (who knows!).

At this point, I am just laughing (which is not helping the head).  But what else do you do?!

We finally get on the road, I fall asleep, Sarah is coloring and watching her show, Brian is surfing radio channels and all is well with the world, our little world anyway.

I can say that the massive headache finally went away about mid afternoon, Sarah settled in for the 13 hour drive in true we-forget-she-is-in-the-car form, Brian ankle is back to normal, and we made it to our destination!

It took a little coaxing, but this crazy trip finally is on it’s way!

Praying for fun, safety, new experiences, and a refreshing of our souls while we are away.  (And that the kiddos left behind will remember to feed the dog…)

Living thru faith,




It’s Time for a Sign

We have lived in the house just over a year and our doorbell has rung more since spring weather arrived than it ever did last spring…and it is all people trying to sell me something.

No, I do not need a newspaper.  Do you see my son’s collection of the Wall Street Journal piling up in the yard?

No, my lawn will be mowed by the boys I birthed just for that purpose.  It may look like a jungle right now, but winter can’t make up it’s mind and spring is not scheduling it’s days around our schedule of available time.

Really, my home is as smart as it needs to be.  Any smarter and I will no longer be a relevant member of this household.

No, whatever information is in that folder you are carrying is not anything I would be interested in. At. All.

We do not need a new roof, new windows, or our grass sprayed (I’m beginning to like the weeds, thank you.)

And, please, go home and eat supper with your family instead of interrupting ours.

It appears for the first time ever we need a sign.

Enter Pinterest….

So, here are some options.  Hubby says we have to be nice.  Since I just sent the last salesperson packing, I’m not exactly in the mood for nice, so probably should not make a decision in this moment.

I’m thinking there is a lot of truth in this one…

No soliciting sign diy, go sell crazy somewhere else we're all stocked up here "As Good As It Gets" movie

Really, no one likes awkward…

Why I'm NOT building an email list. If you like our blog, you'll get updates. Not 10 emails a week, a newsletter, or sales pitches for things you don't need

Might be a little harsher than we are going for. Although, one more ding dong today and I might change my mind…

Funny Rustic No Soliciting Wood Primitive Porch Sign

One of my favorites…

No soliciting Sign No Solicitation Sign no by WoodWorxDesigns

And this would be my hubby’s option…

No Soliciting Sign No Soliciting Door Sign Do Not Disturb

Boring, but cute and probably more appropriate.  I hate it when he’s right…

Living thru faith,


The Shoe Invasion of Summer 2016

There is an invisible force in my house that draws all boys’ shoes to the end of my dining table.


These vortexes seem to invade my house mainly during the summer.

Matt comes home in the summer…

Could there be a connection?


This summer’s pull was especially strong!

My dining room table was invaded everyday, multiple times a day, whether they were home or not.

Just when I when I got rid of them…they appeared again…and again.

But, did it stop at the dining table?

Oh, no! There appear to be small vortexes that pull their shoes to other places, too.



Those last three pictures I took in a span of less than 30 seconds!

Somehow, the vortexes never pull them into their bedroom, much less into their closet or, heaven forbid, onto the shoe rack I only bought because one son in particular assured me he would use it.

But we all know a mom does not go down without a fight.

Next summer, I will have a battle plan!

Next summer Mom will win!

Living thru faith,