Home for the Holidays, by Thomas Kincaid

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Show and Tell Friday

Welcome to Show and Tell Friday!

Today, I am sharing two of my favorite paintings that we have in our house and the stories about how I got them.

This beautiful picture, above, of the bride writing in the church registry has always been one of my favorites, but it especially appealed to me back in early 1993, when I was as soon-to-be bride. One day I was in a gift shop in Disneyland, of all places, and I happened to see a gift bag with this lovely painting on it...So, I bought the bag and had it framed. Yep! This painting is really a framed gift bag. But you can't tell by looking at it!

The next picture that I love is of kissing cheribs.I found this at a thrift store last year for $1! It is in a really nice frame and looks like I spent quite a lot for it, but I didn't!

I especially love their sweet faces...

So, you see that having nice artwork doesn't have to cost a fortune!
Have a great day and be sure to check out the other Show and Tells at Kelli's blog
There Is No Place Like Home.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hello, Friends!

Yesterday, the temperature reached 91 degrees in our house. We are still waiting for our air conditioning to be repaired. The heat has really changed how we live our days. We stay up very late until the house cools down enough for us to be able to sleep. Then, we sleep in late, while the house is still cool. Our days feel topsy-survey right now, but it works for us! Fortunately, the weather is suppose to cool down into the 80's this week. That will make an enormous difference to the way things feel in our house.

This has been an odd year, weather-wise. Winter lasted for a very long time and so did Spring. In fact, while I was on my trip to NC and VA, June 9-23rd, it was very cool and rainy here in Utah. Although it has since warmed up, the really hot weather (meaning days where the temp is around 100), which usually sets in after July 4th, hasn't happened much. I sure hope it stays this way. Anyway, it will be interesting to see what August is like and whether or not the more extreme temperatures set in.

What's the weather like where you are?

Don't have the computer on much while it's really hot in the house, but I will try to get around to visit blogs later on today.

Have a great one and keep cool!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Keeping Cool

After enduring two days without an air conditioner, I have been thinking of ways to keep cool.
Here are some ideas for what to do when your air is off...

Keeping Cool In The Kitchen...
Absolutely do all cooking in the morning or late at night, after the house has cooled down.
Crock pot cooking is the way to go.
If you have to use the stove, keep the heat on for as short a time as possible.
Cook starches, especially pastas and rice, ahead of time, during the coolest part of the day...and refrigerate to use in salads.
Eat lots of fruit and veggie salads.
Keep plenty of ice on hand, as well as frozen treats, such as Popsicles, icees, etc.

Keeping Cool In The Bedroom...
Draw window shades whenever the sun is on the window and/or high in the sky
Keep fans blowing, to circulate air in there.
Wearing PJ's is actually cooler than going el buffo.. pj's soak up sweat.

Keeping Cool In the Bath Area...
Light a candle and keep off the light, or use natural light...
Use a fan to circulate moisture that rests in the air after baths...
Don't fold towels when they are wet.
Take tepid showers to cool down.
Use bath powder to feel fresh.

Keeping Cool In The House...
Keep lights off whenever possible, lights generate heat.
Keep shades pulled, blinds drawn during the heat of the day.
In the evening, when it's cooler, open all doors and windows and blow your fans so that the air circulates and pushes out the hot air.
Put a tray full of ice cubes in front of the fan for colder air.

Drive to the mountains or the beach, if possible.
Go to ... the mall...the movies...the grocery store...an air conditioned friend's house...the pool...

Don't stress. This, too, shall pass!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pioneer Day

Hello, Friends and Visitors!
Did you know that here in Utah we have an extra holiday? That's right! July 24th is Pioneer Day. It's a state holiday, banks and post offices are closed, and many people are off of work. This is the day that we commemorate Brigham Young's arrival in the Salt Lake Valley, after moving the Latter-Day Saints from terrible persecutions in the East. Brigham Young, leader of the people following the murder of Joseph Smith, was in the first party of people to arrive here. He came in through what is now Emmigration Canyon, looked out over the Salt Lake Valley and declared, "This is the right place" (or, "This here, it!", as my Southern mama use to tease!).

So, today is "This here, it!" Day. :)

The nation's oldest parade re-routes downtown traffic in the morning. There are carnivals in various places and, tonight, there will be fireworks!! Hurrah. I missed July 4th fireworks this year, so I will be thrilled to see some tonight.

So, this Southern gal is happy to have fun today and to honor the hard work of those early pioneers. I often wonder what they thought, coming from the green of the East, to be plopped down here in the high desert. Well, I guess after all that persecution and traveling over the prairies for months, they were happy to be anywhere! What a great job they did, turning this desert area into a lovely, thriving city.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday - White Lake, NC

Hello, and welcome to Outdoor Wednesday, hosted by A Southern Daydreamer .

Today, I would like to take your for a visit to a small little town that has a very big place in my heart..White Lake,North Carolina.

White Lake is located in Southeastern North Carolina, about 45 minutes from Wilmington on the coast. The lake is part of the Singletary Lakes, which are elliptical in shape and were formed from a series of meteor strikes thousands of years ago.

This small area was settled by my ancestors, the Melvins, all descended from a one Daniel Melvin who immigrated from Scotland in the early 1700's. His deed to this land is dated 1734.

My ancestors lived and died in this area for many, many years. White Lake and nearby Elizabethtown are still heavily populated with their descendants.

Below is the old Melvin homestead...It dates from the 1840's and has been through several incarnations. It use to sit right next to the lake, but when much of that property was sold, the old homestead was moved to sit across the main road from the lake. A tragedy occurred in this house in 1920, when my grandfather, Ralph P. Melvin was married to his first wife, James Octavia Page ("Miss Jimmy"). My Aunt Mary, who was five years old at the time, was told by her older brother to go fetch the hunting rifle. She did so and in an effort to be helpful, decided to cock it to see if the gun was loaded. Miss Jimmy came out of the house to tell her to put the gun down and the loaded rifle went off, hitting Miss Jimmy in the upper leg, nearly severing it. Well, none of her many children knew what to do, except to carry her inside the house, where the older boys laid her on the kitchen table. Their daddy made it home to say his good-byes. Miss Jimmy bled to death, far from medical care. Things like that happened in those days.

Granddaddy remarried to Claudie Mae Melvin ("Mimmy"), my maternal grandmother. My mother and her two brothers were born and were raised right here in the "Melvin House".

On our recent trip to NC, the children and I stayed at the beautiful old home..

Here are my two cuties, launching themselves from the porch in anticipation of a dip in the lake... This is Mimmy's old home...It is on the way to the family pier, but is no longer in the family. Here are the beautiful cypress trees, all laden with Spanish moss, which line the shores of the crystal clear lake. Cypress have been growing along the shores for centuries. It is beautiful and romantic...The view from the pier.
The view towards old Melvin's Beach, now Camp Clearwater, where my family ran a hotel, many years ago...
Looking across to the distant shoreline...When the water is peaceful like this, I can sometimes feel in my bones the great love for this place that drew my ancestors to it so many years ago.The lake is very shallow, only 14 feet at it's deepest point, so it is also very warm in the summer months. It feels like a warm bath.
More water fun...
A mother duck...(her babies were too shy for me to take their picture)..
And now, for your listening pleasure...White Lake set to music (found this on YouTube) - enjoy!

Monday, July 20, 2009

40 Years Ago Today

Forty years ago, on this very day, I went horseback riding with my Girl Scout Troop, near our home in Raleigh, Tennessee. I remember that it was very hot and humid.
Also, I got a horse who was "barn sore", meaning that he didn't want me to ride him, he wanted to go back to his barn and relax. So, he kept taking off away from the trail and through the woods, trying to rub me off on the sides of trees. Looking back, it was funny, but not very much fun. My horse wasn't the only one who wanted to go home. All in all, it was a forgettable day.

However, the evening was something I will remember always. From later afternoon on until late evening, all three television networks were tuned into the moon landing and Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon. Being big fans of Walter Cronkite, we watched his hosting of the event. I was both bored, because of technical jargon and fuzzy, black & white pictures, and enthralled by the experience. It was incredible. The only other time I could remember all three networks being monopolized by a news story was after the death of President Kennedy, which was a traumatic event. Now, our country was being drawn together by a collossal space adventure. The whole experience filled me with hope and optimism about the future and what we as a nation could accomplish, despite all the recent social upheaval and the Vietnam war.

It's hard to believe that this momentous day was 40 years ago and that I was just an 11 yo, looking forward to Jr. High. My thoughts linger over the memory of our sitting together as a family (what a treasure just that was!), watching Neil Armstrong taking those first few steps, and our realizing that every other home in our neighborhood, and in fact the nation, was doing the exact same thing.

So much has happened since then to all of us who were alive to remember it. Pausing to reflect on the incredible optimism of that day is mighty potent.

So, that is why I remember my lousy horseback riding experience...because it was followed by a gift from the Stars.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Honoring Cathy's 50th

Hello, Sweet Friends!
Tonight, friends and family gathered to honor my sweet sister-in-law, Cathy (Cathy is the x-wife of my husband's younger brother) and to celebrate her 50th birthday. The celebration was to be a surprise...
My sweet niece, Emily, had us all gather 30 minutes before Cathy was to arrive.
Below is my dear niece, Kelly, and the wonderful grand-niece (Cathy's first grandchild), Willow Kate, who is extremely kissable!
Cathy's sister, brother-in-law and their grandbaby...
Cathy's sweet niece and grand-niece...
Two of my precious nieces, two of Cathy's children...
Cathy's brother and his wife (lovely people!)
Cathy was blind-folded and driven to what she thought was a restaurant. When she took off her blindfold, there we all were, saying "Surprise!"
Cathy was so excited and surprised...
I love this photo, dispite its being blurry (I lost many of my pictures to blurriness), because Cathy looks so happy!
We ate a wonderful, catered supper and then formed groupings for pictures.
Above are Emily (the master-mind behind the party and Willow Kate's mother), Jared, Cathy, Becca and Kelly.
There was a wonderful slide show tribute to Cathy, put together by Emily's husband, Isaac.
What a lovely picture of her...
The room was full of so much love!

Cathy's sister and daughters sang a song from "Wicked" to honor the birthday girl. (all of Cathy's children have gorgeous voices)
Cathy opened presents...She is laughing here because she was given a book, entitled, "Sex After 50" and ...
...the pages are empty! :)
She also received a basket of 50 $1 bills, a picture frame from my husband and me, athletic equipment, etc.
Then, the music was began and everyone danced. Here are Jared and the wonderful grand-niece.
More dancing...
All my nieces and nephew, as well as my nephew-in-law are terrific dancers. I wish more of my photos had turned out. The whole family is not well represented.

Dancing to Michael Jackson songs...

I am missing so many pictures, but they are all inside my heart, because tonight was so very special. I am so fortunate to know Cathy and her children, as well as her extended family. They are so very wonderful, every single one.
Being with family is like being in Heaven!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday - Historic Wilmington

Come on a tour with me through wonderful, historic, downtown Wilmington, North Carolina, one of our day trips from our recent vacation...
These horse-drawn carriage tours of wonderful, but we opted for a less expensive bus tour...

Wilmington, North Carolina is settled on the banks of the Cape Fear River, not far from the coast.
The Cape Fear River Bridge, view from the River Walk...
The Historic downtown is quaint and picturesque. The history of this town dates to before the Revolutionary War (One of the old homes served as headquarters for the british General Cornwallis who was in charge of England's army that fought in the South).

Here is a downtown cafe, seen from the River Walk.
Quaint brick streets run throughout the District...When one of these needs repairing local leadership, in attempt to cut costs by paving over the old bricks...But devotees to the old bricks come out in the middle of the night and chip away the tar until the brick is exposed again - ha, what a hoot!
Don't you love it?
I wasn't able to take many pictures during the bus tour, because the dang thing didn't slow down long enough for me to get off many shots (again, I recommend the horse-drawn carriage).- However, here is the front of St. Mary's Catholic Church, built in 1832. I use to go hear to pray when I was 14-15 years of age. I went with a Catholic girlfriend and I would pray to know God's truths...I was very religious-minded in my youth.
Most of the homes in the Historic District have plaques outside, as you see in the above picture. These plaques tell the date of the buildings and any colorful history associated with the site.

More scenes from the River Walk... The Battleship North Carolina which served our country during WWII. It is open for touring...
My family resided in Wilmington when I was 14-15 years old. My father, a Coast Guard officer, was Captain of the Port of Wilmington during those years..
There is still a Coast Guard station in Wilmington...
Smaller Coast Guard cutters of docked there now.

I have a soft spot in my heart for tugboats, because my father was once a tugboat captain.

I loved living in Wilmington. We were very near our relatives and it is where my parents first lived when they were married. It is where my older brother, David, is buried (he died as an infant).

Well, I have to conclude my tour here. I wish I had more pictures of the buildings. So, you will just have to go there yourselves and see it up close and personal!

Have a great day and check out other posts at A Southern Daydreamer.