Thursday, April 29, 2010

I'm baaaaack! (with a yard sale report and some other big news)

Okay, so I'm back. :) Still not 100% but I'm definitely feeling better. I'm guessing that oak pollen is a huge issue for me since that's what I'm hearing is extremely high right now. All I know for sure is that something knocked me for a loop.

My daughter Brie, cousin Amanda and I started the big yard sale today. I am happy to report that there were many transactions resulting in happy wallets and much more free space.

This is a good thing.

And with much luck, the trend will continue tomorrow and I will once again be able to park in my garage! :) COOL!

There is a really funny side to this whole yard sale story, too. You know I haven't felt well for a few days and I've also been really busy with the kids' sports schedules and our usual springtime activities. I actually put very little effort into preparing for this yard sale and I only did as much as I did because Brie and Amanda had SO much stuff to get rid of and I have a great location for a sale. It ended up that I had only about $20 worth of my own items to offer. Laughable, huh?

So here is your giggle for the day:

Brie's total sales...over $200
Amanda's total sales...nearly $100
Perri's (who at the last minute threw in a few things she decided to let go) total sales...$65
And MY total sales for the day...*drumroll, please*...

Yes, I really AM laughing...on the inside, anyway. ;)

But on to more exciting news. And I am really excited about this!

I signed up with Business 2 Blogger (see the little button in my right sidebar) in the hopes that I would be able to get in on some cool opportunities and things that I could pass on to you, my readers.

If you've been following along since the beginning of my blogging adventure, you know that I have been writing for quite some time. It is only in the last few years that I have begun to submit my work to be considered for publication and I've actually had the honor of seeing a few of my essays in print. I've even received a *small* paycheck from time to time. Pretty cool.

Now, thanks to Business 2 Blogger, I have been asked by a publisher to read a book and then blog my review of it. Luckily for me, this is a book of essays! I was thrilled to be given this opportunity! I mean, how FUN!!! And if I enjoy the book, I fully intend to spread the love by doing a little giveaway.

Well I am happy to say that I am already 1/4 of the way into the book and it is a witty, humorous and entertaining look at.....

Never mind.

I think I'll wait until I've read the entire thing and then I'll tell you a little more about it. Including the title. AND how you can win your own copy.

I'll be getting back to you about this really soon.


*This is not a paying gig. I am not being compensated for reading or reviewing this book. The book was sent to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review on my blog. And believe me, I'll be honest. I'd never lie to YOU!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Guess what...

I'm sick.

That's all.

I'll be back when I no longer feel like this:

P.S. It's just a pollen thing. Nothing serious. But I do feel seriously yucky. :(

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Will I NEVER Learn?

Two words...

Every time I have one I promise myself I will never do it again. And I stick with that...for about five years. (That's the truth. I only do this about once every five years.)

All that sorting and selecting what goes and what stays.

Days and days...even WEEKS...of prepping and pricing.

And then there is, of course, the day of the sale itself.

The bargain hunters.

The hagglers.


I mean really...


Well.........ask me again when I am spending that FUN MONEY!

I have a feeling that by that time, it'll all be good.

Another good thing is that I get lots of repeat customers. If they were around for my last sale, they show up early on opening day. You see, I am pretty GREAT at yard sale pricing, if I do say so myself. I'm not here to get rich. I'm here to get rid. My prices just can't be beat! And typically, in that five year time frame that it takes me to forget what a pain the last sale was and to start planning another one, I have accumulated some pretty cool stuff.

So the work has begun and another yard sale is in the making. One week from today I will set up the folding tables and strategically place at the end of my driveway the sign that will attract the masses of bargain hunting yard sale-hoppers. And hopefully they will be impressed with my offerings and I will, in turn, be pleased with my pocketbook.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Oh How I've Missed You!

You know you've become entirely too dependent upon the internet when you start having withdrawals.

The last few days have been pure insanity. Between the Little League, track, concession stand duty scheduling and basically just life in general, I can barely keep up with myself.

The bad thing is that even as busy as I have been, I've found myself thinking almost constantly in terms of blogging.

"Wow! I need to blog about this!"
"Oh my...I'll have to write about that."
"I can't forget to put that out there on my blog!"

But right now I feel like this:

I have more than two minutes to post and my mind is a perfect blank. Nada. Nothing. Zero. Zip. Zilch.

I'm convinced that if I had a handy-dandy flip-top skull, I'd resemble this dude. Echoes and all.

But I promise to be back soon with something a little more substantial than this mini-morsel of a post. I just barely have time to think nowadays! Trouble is, my schedule looks very much the same for the next couple of months.

I think I need a vacation. Beach anyone? ;)

Friday, April 16, 2010

My Little Slugger

Batting helmet? Check.

Batting gloves? Check.

Eye black? Check.

My boy is ready for some baseball.

Took this pic last night in the dugout, just before his first at-bat.

Someday it won't be a McDonald's sponsorship on a Little League jersey.

Someday it will be this:

I just know it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Yesterday was a pretty amazing day. No extraordinary happenings or special visitors or anything like that.

Just a lovely West Virginia spring day.

Since there was no ball practice, no games and no big plans for the evening, this is what we did.

And even though it's only April and far too early for it, this happened...

But only while he was playing here.

Yes, he's pretty much outgrown this toy. But you know what? I'm in no hurry. I want him to enjoy being a little boy for as long as he's willing.

Perri even joined him at one point.

And our friends returned to the pasture behind the house.

No one knows how I miss them when they're gone. There is nothing more peaceful and relaxing than watching cows graze. I've come a long way since this embarrassing moment. :)

Pretty, isn't she? :)

Looks like today will be just as nice, so I'm going to get busy and finish up the housework so I can go outside and enjoy it. Hope you can, too. :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Sincere Thank You

These are for you, my friends.

I am deeply grateful for your outpouring of support in response to yesterday's post. Between the comments here, on my Facebook page and the email in my inbox, I have been overwhelmed by the kind words, prayers and encouragement you have offered.

This little blog means so much to me. It has not only given me a place to share stories and recipes and slices of this little life of mine, but also the opportunity to make new friends from all over the world. Amazing how close you really are, even though many miles may physically separate us.
It really is a small world after all.

I've also had the chance to discover how very much we all have in common. We may have different backgrounds: some from broken homes, others from huge, tight-knit families; some fortunate enough to lead a charmed lives, others struggling to make ends meet. But for every difference there is between us, there is always something that we share in common. We all have room in our hearts for a friendship to grow.

To all of you...for being my friends, for allowing me to come here to pour out my heart, and especially for your prayers...


Monday, April 12, 2010

It's Just Our Way

Sometimes we are ridiculed by national media. On television we are often represented as 'backwoods' and 'redneck'. Unless you happen to have actually visited here and gotten to experience firsthand our gorgeous mountain views and the friendly, caring and often generous-to-a-fault folks who call this place home, it's possible that your perception of us is less than flattering.

But try for a moment to see us the way that I, as a proud West Virginian, see us.

Most of us like to keep it simple. We like to work our land and let it provide for us. We plant vegetable gardens to feed our families and we can and freeze its bounty to help us through the winter months. Not because we can't afford to buy groceries, because in all honesty it is typically less costly to go to the store and purchase canned goods than it is to maintain a garden and put it up yourself. Goodness only knows it's also a lot less work. But we do it to teach our children the value of hard work and how to do what needs to be done if times get tough. We do it for the satisfaction that comes from a job well done, and because it just tastes better when you do it yourself. We do it to preserve a way of life.

We like to look out for each other. When there is an illness or death in the family you can pretty much count on so many cakes, casseroles and hams being brought in by your neighbors that you quickly run out of refrigerator space. But that's okay, because they'll lend you that, too.

Many of us do live in a rural setting. Funny thing is, it's usually by choice! We like to awaken to the sounds of birds singing and to gaze at a night sky so deep with stars that we are humbled to realize what a teeny, tiny speck we are in the grand scheme of things. You just can't do that where there are skyscrapers and streetlights.

But there are cities and city dwellers in WV, too. There are tall office buildings, high rise apartments, luxurious hotels. Charleston, our capital city, is busy and bustling through the work week; a little more laid back and relaxed on weekends. People enjoy walks along the Boulevard and they drink in the beauty of our majestic capitol building overlooking the Kanawha River.

And the very best part of WV is her people. From the suits in downtown office buildings to the uniforms that serve and protect; from blue jeans and hard hats to aprons and work gloves. We have a little of everything here in West Virginia, just like every other state in this great nation. But there is one commonality, one single thread that runs through us all, enabling us to be strong for each other; to come together as one when facing adversity: MOUNTAINEER PRIDE.

I'm not referring to the fans of WVU football and basketball, though they are diligent in their enthusiasm, too. I am looking at the bigger picture. I am talking about that little spot inside us all that burns with a fierce desire to prove to the world that we are more than the toothless, barefoot, hill-dwelling characters the sitcom writers create to depict us.

Last week West Virginians suffered a terrible tragedy when an explosion occurred in an underground coal mine in Raleigh County. There were 29 miners unaccounted for afterward, but rescue and recovery efforts were hampered by unsafe conditions for the mine rescue teams. It was soon discovered that most of the miners were killed instantly in the explosion, but there was some hope that four of the miners had been able to make it to one of the safe chambers. This entire state stood together as one, hoping and praying for a miracle for the four who were unaccounted for and attempting to comfort the families of those who already knew the fate of their loved ones. Sadly, that miracle did not come to pass. In the end, this great state lost 29 dedicated, hardworking sons; brothers; fathers; friends.

In the midst of all this, a small but annoying group of extremists (who choose to call themselves Christians but exhibit nothing Christian in their actions) decided to come to our great state to display their ignorance. I refuse to give them the attention they crave by putting their name in print here, or by repeating the nasty, hateful messages they carried with them for all to see, but trust me when I tell you that they know nothing of Christianity. They claim to serve God but contradict themselves by spouting hate and causing pain wherever they go.

Well, my fellow West Virginians decided that this group would not succeed in making more difficult the situation in which these miners' families already found themselves. They would not be subjected to the hate and ignorance while already dealing with the loss of their loved ones, many of whose bodies had not yet even been removed from the mine. Once again, West Virginia pride kicked into high gear and this little group of hate mongers was surrounded by a larger group of picketers bearing signs with messages of hope. Everywhere they went, this typically welcoming state saw to it that the welcome mat was pulled right out from under them. As it should have been.

And now we can go back to the business at hand: showing our love and support for one another during a difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are now with the rescue teams who must carry on with their grim duties in order for these families to have some sense of closure.

Yes, I am proud to be a Mountaineer, a hillbilly, whatever you want to call me. I am proud to belong to a place where people don't look the other way when trouble comes along, but instead band together to stare it down and send it packin'.

I am proud to be a West Virginian.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Five Question Friday!

I haven't done 5QF for a little while but decided to join in the fun this week. Hope you'll join in, too! Just click here to visit MamaM!

1. Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?
Well now, in an ideal world, it would be her:

(Diane Lane. I'd LOVE to look like Diane Lane. We're about the same age... so why don't I look like that?)

Since that's just dreamin', I decided to ask the Hubster who it should be. His answer?

You are hereby cordially invited to my 'I'm Getting a Divorce!' party.

2. Did you ever go to summer camp?

Sure did. Church camp. Nearly STARVED to death.

Homesickness + Bad Camp Cooking = 5 pound weight loss for a 12 year old who didn't have 5 pounds to lose at the time.

But perhaps I should look into summer camp for myself this year. A 5 (or 15) pound loss wouldn't hurt my feelings any, that's for sure!

3. What sends you running and screaming in the other direction?

Bob. Every single time.

And every single time he appears on my television screen, my kids just happen to be in the room! Isn't THAT special?

4. What is something you do that drives your spouse nuts?

Well, decided to just ask the Hubster this one, too.

Silly, silly me.

Then I did this:

And I was soon reassured that there is absolutely NOTHING I do that is even remotely annoying.

5. What is currently your favorite song?
This very second, it is Smile by Uncle Kracker.

Ask me again in an hour and I'll give you a different answer. I'm very fickle when it comes to my music.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sweet Reads

I love it when someone says "Have you ever read..." and they mention a name that is new to me, someone whose work I haven't yet discovered, and I end up completely captivated and begging for more! I adore a great read and I'm always looking for new authors to try.

My cousins (thanks Amanda and MaryAnne!) suggested the works of Dorothea Benton Frank and I am SO very glad they did! Amanda was even kind enough to lend a few of her copies to Brie and me.

I started with this one:

I tend to get carried away when I talk about books, so I'm going to do my very best to KISS. (Keep It Simple, Stupid!) ;)

: Likable, even LOVABLE, characters. There were people in this book that I wanted to have as my neighbors. A couple who were great 'best friend' material. Some I wanted to hug. All of them I wanted to know. I love it when an author can make me care about her characters!

THE SETTING: What you have is an island of beautiful scenery and Frank's real gift for being descriptive without dragging it out to the point of boredom. Some authors do that, you know. She's so good that this I-prefer-temps-in-the-70s girl would be willing to tolerate the South Carolina heat if I could witness the glorious sunsets and bury my feet in the sand like a true Carolina girl. I love it when an author can make me SEE and FEEL the places in her stories!

: This woman can flat out tell a story, and she does it beautifully. Meals needed to be prepared, jeans needed laundered, dust bunnies needed taming, but I found myself constantly wanting more and hardly able to resist the temptation. Yet I hated to come to that last page, knowing that was it...there would be no more time spent with these incredible people. I love it when an author makes me want more and dread the end all at the same time!

My advice? (Yeah, humor me. Pretend you asked.) Go to Books a Million, click on or visit your local library and pick up this book. Or one of her other titles, because I have a feeling they're just as good. :)

Now I'm outta here. Susan's story is unfolding on Sullivan's Island and I don't want to miss a minute of it! ;)