Monday, February 28, 2011

Some Days...

 Don't you think that....



Some days are too beautiful to spend inside. 















The way the water sparkles on a pier just can't be missed.




Some days, you just have to find some monkey bars.


Climbing is a must!




Flying high can't be beat.

Some days, you just have to remember what childhood is all about!
~B Charmer


Saturday, February 26, 2011

So Nice

It is so nice that my husband is home.  He has been out of town a lot recently with work, and we have missed him.  His work hours lately keep him away a lot, so it is so nice to have him all to ourselves today and tomorrow with no interruptions! It is also quite nice that he is bringing us pancakes home for breakfast after a morning errand he is running! Come to think of it...It is so nice to have him for a husband....
With all my heart ~ B Charmer


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dream On


     OK friends, let's start here...the coast of (well this is Mexico, but you pick your coast of choice) somewhere beautiful.  We have just arrived by boat...







I think I will wear this little vintage swimsuit for the fun of it!



Oh, and maybe I will slip on this cute, little cover-up for strolling the shore!






And, for a jaunt into town for some tasty treats, I have to wear these adorable "Lemon Cooler" vintage inspired sandals! 






My excursion wouldn't be complete without this little cutie...

And my shades!  Can't forget the shades!


Finally, the day would end with a return trip to the boat and a dreamy night's sleep in this lovely bed!  This bedding is actually named, "Distant Voyage"!  Could it be any more perfect?
Well..it could, because while strolling on the beach, I got a tan!  That's right...Ms. Natural Redhead-Always Freckles-Never Tans...is golden brown.---umm....Dream on!
Happy Thursday!

~ B Charmer


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Do You Love Me?

     I spend a lot of my time teaching children.  They take a lot of patience, to say the least.  Lately, my patience has not been at its usual higher level.  I have been blaming it on being near the end of my pregnancy. 
     Today, one question keeps resounding in my heart.  One thought keeps resounding in my head.  One truth keeps repeating in my soul.  Love.  Do I love you?  Do I believe that God loves you?  Do I really love others like God loves them?
     I see the little faces and wiggly bodies pile into my room hour after hour.  I know them all by name and I know which ones will test me and which ones will please me.  I sometimes forget to really see them.  For they were each one created by a Loving God.  Each one is made in His image.  Each one is loved uniquely. 
     It is not just the children.  It is the faces of my coworkers, members of my family, and the lady at the coffee shop.  Everybody is silently asking me this question today, "Do you love, even me?"  

     I John 4:20 --The Message
  If anyone boasts, "I love God," and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won't love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can't see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You've got to love both.


~B Charmer




Monday, February 21, 2011

Chocolate Cake and Fence Posts

     Today is lovely day to have off.  It is the last of the fabulous February days that we will get at school, and I am trying to enjoy it entirely.  The weather is PERFECT. It is a Spring-like day to drool over.  The weather man says to expect 78 degrees!  I have the front screen door on duty while we enjoy the loveliness of an early spring day. 

     Today, I am baking a homemade chocolate cake.  I found the recipe through another fun blog, and I have been really wanting to give it a whirl!  I thought today would be the perfect day.  This afternoon, my mother is coming over to help me visualize and plan for the English garden I have been dreaming of creating since we bought the house.  I have picked out some fencing, and we are going to map out the space.  I am so excited!  She is wonderful with all things green, and I am...well...I am learning!  It will be quite the project, I am sure.  But, I am thrilled to begin.  Now...if only I can spark the same excitement in the hubs!  He says that my garden ideas just make mowing a nightmare...but I think I might can spur him on with a new weed eater surprise...or maybe a new edger. 
     So, it is off to the store for cake ingredients and coffee.  Anyone feel like putting in a fence post or two for me? 
~B Charmer


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dreams of my Mountain Home...It is Thursday, Afterall

 I grew up in the foothills of East TN.  Little did I realize what a treasure this was as a child.  I took for granted all the jewels of nature dangling all around me.  I suppose I didn't know any better to realize that not everyone was privileged to have the Great Smokies looming out their back door in the near distance.  I use to loathe the comments I heard about the hillbilly and mountain folk.  I did not want to be included as a member in that particular culture of people.  I remembered once in school watching a film strip...(yes a film strip that had to be manually turned at the sound of the tone) for social studies class about our area.  The only photographs that were included were of a bare-footed mountain family standing in their tobacco field.  They had few teeth and the woman was due to give birth at any moment.  Both were clad in their denim overalls, and the man had hay straw sticking out of his mouth.  I felt insulted.  This was not EVERYbody in east TN.  I seriously wanted little to do with that image.  I imagined myself escaping to a large city for college and living in a high-rise apartment.  I had intentions of wearing heels to the grocery store and shiny lipstick in my modern, city kitchen. 
     Well, I escaped to the big city of Nashville (insert smile).  At the time, it was a huge metropolis to me.  It fulfilled parts of my grand idea.  People wore heels to the grocery store some, and there were a few downtown apartments...none of which I could ever afford.  None-the-less, it was the gateway to an up and coming life and an exit from hillbilly film-strip photographs. 
     The longer I stayed gone, the more I longed for some pieces of my past.  I began to relish weekends home that included a slower pace of life.  The cool air of the mountains whispered something to me, but I always left to return to the city.  Eventually, I left the state.  I saw lots of places in the world.  I was fascinated by how big and different each new place seemed to be.  I was hooked...for awhile.  When life began to normalize, I found myself wanting long weekends home.  I have never been back to live...yet, but I do return when I can.  So, today on this day- dreaming- Thursday, I am dreaming of some things from home and childhood.  These are all actual, personal pictures from places near and dear (with the exception of the blackberry photo)...join me in a daydream...or two!

      I am dreaming it is summertime in TN.  The hot sun is tempting me to dare to put my feet in the icy, mountain streams.  It feels like instant frostbite at first, but once you are in, you are in love!  Hunting for craw daddies, picking out skipping stones, and playing with Indian soap is a perfect way to spend an afternoon.
      After cooling off, a walk through the meadow to a friendly barn is in order.  ....Once, we had a live Christmas nativity in a local family barn at our church.  It was complete with the straw, animals, and smells.  It really made so many aspects of the Christmas story come to life for me in ways that I would not have understood otherwise.  Standing in that little barn watching the cows keep warm, I thought what a strange place to welcome a tiny King....most barns I knew were full of hanging tobacco or dairy cows.  Both are scents from my past that I could pick out any day.  I can smell them clearly in this dream of mine....an odor you never forget!

     No good TN dream of home would be complete without a blackberry picking excursion.  These berries are golden to my soul.  Each little berry bubble pops delicious sweetness in your mouth.  They are sweet, yet tart and oh so refreshing.    
    The best berries are always found in unlikely places.  Roadsides, hillsides, and brushy back yards can yield some delicious berry goodness.  It is essential to have stained fingernails and palms as evidence from the treasure hunting!  A tummy full and bucket loaded are the only tickets home.  There must be enough left for a bowl of cool milk and a spoon full of white sugar.  Of course a cobbler and ice cream work wonderfully, too.  Whichever you choose you cannot go wrong when summer berries are involved.  Isn't this dream tasty?

The dream would end with catching lightning bugs in mason jars with hole-laden, metal lids.  The serenade of frogs and crickets at nightfall would be the soundtrack of my return to the mountains.  The sun sets, the air is cool, and the sound of the rushing creek is therapeutic entirely.....what a dream.  It used to be reality.  Today, the dream will have to suffice.
From one hillbilly to the next....~B Charmer 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Home



Our house, right after purchasing.

     I wanted to let you all know that our area was deemed safe after the fire on Monday.  The air and water has been tested, and according to officials we are going to be fine with only trace amounts of Ammonia.  When I returned home from work yesterday, the scene was still billowing smoke profusely.  A person passing through town would have assumed the fire had just begun, even though it had been burning for nearly 24 hours.  As we got closer to home, the smell began to get stronger and my son started holding his nose.  I was very tired and wanted nothing more than to be home and rest a bit.  I was worried we would not be able to do so.  I said a prayer that somehow our home would not be in the path of the wind.  Each block closer to home brought more thick smoke and odor.  Then I made the turn towards home.  It was somewhat like a movie scene.  Just above our home and in our little area, the sky was completely clear.  The sun was shining right through, and the air had no smell.  The winds were pulling everything off to the North.  I was so relieved.  God heard my little prayer for rest and granted it to us.  I hope those around me were able to be in their homes as comfortably as we were in ours.  I enjoyed an evening of rest, working on my craft room, making meatloaf, and a visit from an area pastor. 

Blooming Azaleas.

     So many times I have dreaded going home.  I have wished my house to have poofed away, or something crazy, due to all the work that we have had to put into it.  I have been very guilty of not being thankful for the blessings of a home.  Yesterday, my house was a respite.  Something I am quite sure I have not felt  very much.  After all these years of working and spending to make it livable, we are finally reaping some benefits.  I remember when we bought the house that I felt God had blessed us.  Shortly after, I was sure I was greatly mistaken.  I have often thought that it was one of the worst decisions I have made and influenced my husband to make.  Lately, I have been trying to give those feelings over to my Maker.  I have learned many life lessons in this home that have nothing to do with repair work.  We are about to welcome our second child into this home, and it is the only home our first son has known.  We became a family here and that means something.


Under a heavy snow this winter.

     I am purposed in my heart to believe how I initially felt about our choice.  I have been all over the world, and I have seen how some of the world's poorest live.  I am ashamed at my disgust for the "issues" we have had to deal with.  It has been strong in storms, warm in snow, cool in heat, and a sound shelter for us.  I have been able to add my personality to its history.  God has always provided for us in these trying years.  I do not know how long these walls will belong to us, but I hope to take more time being grateful than I have taken grumbling.   And today, I am looking forward to being home.
~ B Charmer

PS I have added a page at the top of my blog labeled Current Projects.  I have put pictures there of things I am working on at home, right now!  You can see a few pictures of my craft room in progress!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fire in the Night

     Last night was full of sirens, smoke, and explosions.  Our little town was full of fire rescue personnel from all over the surrounding areas as a local fertilizer company burned entirely.  Our home is located very close to the scene of the accident, and we watched as the night sky glowed from the hot flames.  We could feel the explosions in our home very much, and we waited to hear if we should dodge any toxic fumes.  Surrounding homes were evacuated and workers at a company on our street were made to leave.  We were not required to leave as of this morning, but there are officials all over town constantly checking air and water quaility.  As of this morning, there were many unknowns as to the chemicals and possible toxins being emmited in our environment.  Being less than three blocks from the fire, we are understandably concerned.  With a baby on the way and a three-year old in our home, it made for a fitful night of sleep.  We have been told that there were no known injuries which is a miraculous blessing.  Seeing the sun come up this morning was an event.  Our small town was dangling below thick, gray clouds of heavy smoke.  I was thankful to be driving to work about 20 miles away.  I am hoping to hear if it is safe to return home today, but until then, we are watching and waiting hoping we can trust the officals in this matter.  To my knowledge, they were still battling flames this morning.  From my home, I could only see smoke, so I am unusre if this is fact or not.  This factory is located right on one of our beautiful lakes.  So, there are concerns for land, air, and water toxins.  Please pray that there will be no lasting effects, and we can feel safe and confident about our water and air at home.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dreamy Thursdays

     I really enjoyed sharing some favorites last Thursday, so I thought maybe I will make this a regular thing.  I would love to see some of your dreamy Thursday favorites along the way, as well!  So, for today...let the dreaminess take me away...

This makes me smile.  I wish I were baking something wonderfully chocolate in the oven right now while wearing this! Those who know me well know that I love aprons.  I think sometimes I could pretend to make a living sewing designer aprons!  Ahh, that would be fun!

   
I wish I had a reason to own these shoes.  Better yet, I wish I had the ability to walk in them right now!  Ahhh, won't be long and hopefully I can wear some heels again! I love that the name of this lovely pair is Salutations and Closings.  They are supposed to be friendly coming or going. The edges of the shoes are even trimmed in pink piping...too cute! Note: I do not consider cost when dreaming, for dreams have no price tag.
Finally, I would love to hold my precious baby boy like this once again.  Time has passed so quickly, and he is no longer fitting in my arms quite like he was here.  Three years gone by too quickly.  How well I remember this moment trying to capture some pictures at 3 months.  He cried through so much of the session, then he fell sound asleep in my arms.  Yes, I am dreaming...
~B Charmer


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dinner Do's

     Tonight, we enjoyed a simple but delicious dinner.  I was shopping at a variety store of sorts that carries random gourmet food items at discounted prices.  I have taken the risk multiple times with these products and have found it worthwhile to try different items.  I found this soup awhile back, and hoped it would be as tasty as it was pretty.  I sort of forgot that I had it, but after a pantry clean out yesterday, I was inspired to try it out for dinner tonight.  It did not disappoint.  It was a simple soup, but full of nutritious goodies.  All I had to add was the chicken and one onion.  It simmered on the stove while I visited my parents, and in no time we were all enjoying a steamy bowl. 
     There was a website on the box, and you can find the products here at this site. I was pleased to find that my purchase price was a bargain compared to the listed price, but I would be interested to try their other products. 
     I also tried a recipe for "Grandma's Cornbread" that I baked along with the soup.  It was a simple and somewhat different cornbread than we usually eat, but it was very tasty, too!  A little soft butter on top paired with the hearty soup made for a tasty dinner on a cold, winter night.  Having a kitchen full of the people I love made it even more tasty.  I am just so thrilled that we are finally at a point in our home projects that I can make dinner and feel perfectly fine inviting guests at the spur of the moment.  The house isn't perfect, nor is it 100 percent finished, but I wanted this year to be a year when we finally opened our home again and shared meals without feeling the weight of a construction zone for a home.  It was nice...I even lit candles. 
     Here is the cornbread recipe if you would like to try it out sometime!

1 cup self-rising cornmeal
8 oz canned creamed style corn
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 400
Mix all ingredients and pour into a greased 9 in pan.  ( I used a 11 x 7 pan, and it worked fine)
Bake for 20 to 30 min. until golden brown. 
Serve warm.

It really was that simple, and simplicity is a beautiful thing! It is time for bed, and we are all waiting to see if the snow appears in the morning.  May you all be warm and cozy during these winter nights.
Goodnight friends~ B Charmer




Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tooth Paste and Monkey Sheets

I am tired.  It is quite late, and I finally have a wild man sleeping soundly in his monkey sheets.  I was just saying to my husband moments ago that I cannot decide if my three year old is especially rowdy these days, or if I am especially impatient.  Events from just this evening include a dinner plate completely turned over on the floor, and entire tube of tooth paste in the trash because someone thought it necessary to fill the tube up with water, and soaking wet pajamas after said toothpaste incidence.  He is all boy and all things three year old.  I am trying to treasure the days and not wish for more peace....but sometimes... 
Did I mention tripping over the handcuffs in the kitchen that he calls his hiccups?  I was supposed to be wearing them while being imprisoned by the dragon.  Somewhere between the chicken on the stove and the fire-breathing dragon, the hiccups...or should I say handcuffs.. found themselves right under my feet.
     While tucking him in this evening, we had a few sweet moments to read together.  We always end the evening with a Bible story and prayers.  He said his prayers, and in his own little voice I heard these words, "Dear God, I wish you would help me be good so I won't break so many laws."  My heart melted and I had to fight back tears.  My little redhead bandit...my, how I love him.  May I find more patience tomorrow and remember to buy more toothpaste! 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I'm Dreaming this Afternoon...

Want to join me in my virtual dreamland?  Here are a few things I am dreaming about this afternoon! I am dreaming that I am drinking a delicious cafe con leche in this lovely, little cup!


And perhaps wearing this flirty sweater....of course minus the big baby bump I am currently debuting.
And this would be in the oven making my home smell delicious for the husband's arrival...
 
Oh, and this was our dining room for the evening...
Ahh...it would all be very nice.  Now, onward to the real world...and deciding what is for dinner.  Soup and sammies anyone?
~ B Charmer



Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Regimens

     Regimens are very attractive to me for some strange reason.  I like knowing ahead of time what needs accomplished and seeing the progress as it occurs.  I think having something tangible to see and work on gives me more chances of succeeding.  There is something oh-so-sweet about marking off an accomplishment or a to-do. 
     Lately, I have been trying out some new daily regimens.  Some are going well, and others are just going...sort of.  I can quickly tell what things rank high in importance based on how strictly I am keeping my lists.  It is eye-opening to see sometimes what I prioritize.  It helps me to reign in my expectations and really see what matters most. 
     I am really trying to get a handle on our home.  As I mentioned in this post, I am on a mission to do some radical changing in our family.  I started out with 365 days, no restaurants.  Well...it lasted for a very long time for us.  We went over a month!  Then, I got extremely sick with the baby.  I had to rely on the husband A LOT for dinner decisions.  I was discouraged because I was too sick to do much cooking at all.  But, when things started looking up, I returned to the kitchen!  It hasn't been perfect, but we are much better than in past years.  I am trying to be very regimented with this task and with keeping the kitchen put together well enough to want to be in there! 
     I am also very committed to reading my Bible through in a year or less.  I have done this before, but not in a very organized way.  I am really enjoying the time I am dedicating to this regimen.  It is easy to say that one should have a devotional time everyday, but it is another thing doing it, and doing it well.  I make time every evening with my son, and I squeeze time in- a bit here and there- daily for me. However, since setting this goal to be very systematic, I find that I am spending much more time in the Word and getting much more joy in doing so.  I am finally putting this at the top of my priority list again...exactly where it should always be!
     I have some more frivolous goals that I am working on as well.  I am really trying to take better care of my skin and my overall health.  It makes me feel better, and I think it shows sometimes as well.  I am also trying to invest my spare time into something creative...hence the knitting.  I needed a personal outlet to "lose" myself a bit in now and then.  It is really easy staying busy with house, family, pregnancy, work, etc. and then realize that I have done nothing creative to stimulate me.  Everybody needs an outlet.  So, I am knitting...or rather attempting to...and writing daily.  It has been most enjoyable. 
    So there are my regimens in the works.  I have lists on my desk at school, lists in my notebooks at home, a chalkboard in my kitchen...all reminders to keep going.  I am not sure when one feels they have arrived.  I am thinking that there will always be lists and things to learn.
What are you working on?...do share !
~ B Charmer

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ode to the Egg

Today's post is quite silly,
 But for me its so true
Do you like chicken eggs
As much as I do?


The egg, what can I say....I love you, let me count the ways!  What one ingredient has so much potential in an array of recipes?  It is found in both savory and sweet, and is quite delicious flying solo as a meal in itself.  Last night I was tired, hungry, running behind...and quite large with babe inside.  I wanted dinner!  My doctor suggested I add more protein to my diet, so last night...I whipped together a quiche in a matter of moments.  Ah....the smell, the taste, and the fulfillment...of the lovely egg.  So, my head started swirling and a poem came to mind...indulge me if you will!

Oh egg so round and sweet and white
what shall I make with thee tonight
I could bake you in a lovely treat
or boil you quick for something to eat

I could dip you in dye and use you for looks
I could whip you in circles and force you to cook
I could fry you in butter and warm my whole soul
or I could hide you in a sandwich...hot or cold

Oh chicken, I thank you for this most precious sphere
what would I do if eggs were not here
I suppose for tonight I will do something yum
and bake you with cheese in a shell till your done

My dinner will be a treat for us all
and carry us through breakfast...you're an egg after all
So whipping and swirling and pouring I'll be
spending time in the kitchen with the eggs of my dreams

~B Charmer~





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