"Many plans are in a man's mind, but it is the Lord's purpose for him that will stand."

Proverbs 19:21

Thursday, December 1, 2016


The Smith Family had a wonderful Thanksgiving season this year. We are fortunate enough to have huge families and also a great set of friends (who we think of as family) and enjoyed 6 get togethers with them. 

Meal Number 1:
A Kidpak Thanksgiving.  Otherwise known as Chris' office thanksgiving.  This group has grown over the years and I love everyone in this picture.  I'm thankful that Chris gets to serve with the folks, and that they are all sowing into the spiritual lives of my kids.  

Meal Number 2:
A Shadburn Thanksgiving.  Otherwise known as Thanksgiving with Chris' grandparents.  The kids had the best time playing with their cousins.  A little football, a little running around the farm, a little playing on the tractor.  Fun times!  And the food was good, too!

Meal Number 3:  
A Wheeler Thanksgiving.  Otherwise known as Thanksgiving with my mom, her sisters, and all of my cousins and their spouses.  This took place a few short hours after a Shadburn Thanksgiving, but we still ate.  It was Thanksgiving, after all. We missed a few that couldn't be there, but I still had a good time eating and talking with my crazy family. I can't even explain this picture.  You just had to be there. 

Meal Number 4:  
A Smeltzer/Smith Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving with Chris' sister and her family.  This took place at lunchtime on Black Friday, so we had time to recover from the two massive meals from the day before.  We went a little untraditional and ate Rob's delicious ribs, my crock pot mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, slaw, and rolls.  Carb overload.  Another good time, another good meal.  It's so nice to visit with family.  We don't get to see each other often enough.  

Meal Number 5:
A Young Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving with my Dad's side of the family.  This meal was for dinner on Black Friday.  My niece Layna cracked me up with this sign she made for her dessert.
It was good... she really did wow me.  Ha!  Here's a picture of me, my sister, and our Granny.  We love her!

And Finally, Meal Number 6:  Friendsgiving.  This was the third year of this tradition, and I'm so glad to be a part of it.  There was quite a crowd in the room and no one thought to get a group picture, so I'll just share this one.  

We have so much to be thankful for!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Halloween 2016

Can you believe it's already the second day of November?  I really can't.  My son Jordan, age 10, said to me the other day, "It seems like the older I get, the faster time goes".  Wise words.  He's right!

Halloween is over and we have a truckload of candy in the house still.  Seriously, so much.  I finally gathered most of it and hid it up in a high cabinet that we never use, just so that I wouldn't have to battle with Violet over eating candy for every meal.  I never remember getting that much when I was a kid.

We kicked Halloween off with a visit to the "Haunted Barn", an annual event that a local restaurant puts on.  As usual, it did not disappoint.  

With my boys, right before our turn. 

We decided not to let Violet go on the ride and I was glad because she would have flipped out.  She was really upset with me and cried herself to sleep that night.  True story.  

Here's the only picture I had time to take at our church's Fall Festival.  Violet the Mermaid and her friend AJ.  

I had to work on Halloween night, so Chris took the kids and met up with some friends.  They had a lot of fun. 

Shaun dressed up, even though he's technically too old.  He mostly walked with the kids up to the houses.  Everyone knew who he was dressed as, and that made his night! Jordan was a Purge Guy.  

Here are some pictures from Trick-or-Treating.

Now, let's bring on Thanksgiving!  We've been having such a warm fall.  The high temperature today is supposed to be 80.  I'm so ready for some cooler weather.  It's November, after all!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Fall Field Trips, 2016

The kids and I have been on several fun field trips lately.  

I took the younger two, along with two of their younger cousins, along on a field trip to Jaemor Farms with our homeschool co-op.  I started thinking back, and I think the last time we went on a Jaemor field trip was during our first year of homeschooling, seven years ago.  Wow!  Shaun was in third grade and Jordan was so little.  Now, Shaun is in 10th grade and opted to skip this field trip.  :(
The rest of us had fun, but I think Jordan was a little bored.  He was one of the older kids on the trip. 

Obligatory Jaemor Photo.

Trailer ride.

This was a worm from the compost pile.  Blech.

Pumpkins in the market.

Jaemor activities.

On the way home, we stopped at this old rocking chair.  I've wanted a picture on it since I can remember.  It used to be a landmark for a pumpkin farm, but the farm was closed down and the whole place was a little weird.  But, we got a picture on the huge chair.  Ha!

A few days later, we went on the best field trip ever.  The Crisson Gold Mine.  I'm not even being sarcastic, it was such fun!  Even Shaun approved.  We panned for gold and gems. Everyone found treasures to keep and we learned about the history of the Dahlonega Gold Rush.  Big thanks to my friend Joanne for setting it up.

This last one is kind of weird, but it happened, so I'll write about it.  Violet is like a lot of kids her age and watches YouTube videos for every occasion.  Lately, she's into Halloween videos.  Kid-friendly, of course.  She's been walking around singing a song about a creepy graveyard.  Every time we would drive by a graveyard, she'd say "This one's not spooky.  I want to see a spooky graveyard".  And,  it just so happens that I knew of a spooky graveyard just a few minutes away from our house.  So we went there.  This graveyard is old and has the "slot and tab" graves.  We found graves from the 1700s.  I grew up visiting this church with my grandmother and it always fascinated me.  The boys had seen it before, but it was Violet's first time and she was fascinated, too.

  As we were walking down, a funeral literally popped up out of nowhere in the newer section of the cemetery, so we walked around the church and down this road to the newest section so we wouldn't disturb them. 

We found my great-grandmother's grave and kind of just hung around for awhile because we couldn't get back to our car without walking right past the funeral.  It was a peaceful place.  Weird, I know.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Reading again!

I love to read.  I used to read all the time, even as an adult.  For the past year or so, though, I've had trouble finding books that hold my interest.  I think it has something to do with my stress level.  At the end of a long day, my brain just has not been able to follow along with the plot of a novel.  This is so sad to me, and strange.  Reading used to be the way I "escaped" after a long day.  Not anymore.  Lately, I've been relying on Netflix and Xfinity Go to take me away.  

I did see some books that sparked my interest in Books-A-Million the other day.  I reserved them at the library and actually finished them instead of renewing them 3 times (which is the limit) and then returning them back to the library unread.  

But!  Over the past month I read not one, but two books.  I used to read a new book each week...maybe I'll get there again.  For now, though, here's what I've been reading:

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl:  Book One by Paige McKenzie. 

Ahhh, some YA horror fiction, with praise from R.L. Stine on the back cover. I think it was a YouTube series that might interesting to watch.

In my younger days, like middle school, this book would have been one scary read. Now, in my mid-thirties, it was mildly entertaining.  A good way to pass the time.  I think Violet will like it in about 7 years.  Ha!

Next was The Cellar by Natasha Preston. 

 When I came to pick up this book, the librarian said she read it for me first while she was waiting for me to come in.  Ha!  She liked it and thought I would, too.  She was right.  This was  more of a "grownup" book.  Really exciting and full of suspense, but a little upsetting, too.  I recommend it!

It's nice to be reading again, and I'm taking suggestions for some new material.    


Friday, September 23, 2016

The School Year, So Far

Well, it finally happened.  It only took me seven years, but I finally unlocked the secret to having a successful and stress-free school day.  

The answer?

Getting up early.

I'm not a morning person, so just typing out those words make me sleepy.  Let me repeat, I'm NOT a morning person.  I didn't think my kids were, either.  We are all really grouchy first thing, so for years, I've let us sleep in.  This year, it seems like we are so much busier than before.  Our afternoons are filling up and we're not able to still be doing school on into the evening.  Which, ironically, is the part about homeschooling that appealed to me the most. 

Anyway, we've been getting up early, having breakfast, and getting started by 8 most mornings, whether we have something to do that afternoon or not.  

And the difference is phenomenal.  

It does take a little while to get the boys out of bed, but they perk up over breakfast and then they'll work straight through until lunch.  And we're done.  The funny thing is, if we have an early morning appointment and have to put off schoolwork until we get home, the day is horrible.  All  I hear all day is, "What?  It's after 12:00.  We're supposed to be done!".  Whine, whine, whine.  Even if we don't get started until 11:00.  I guess we really are morning people, after all.  

Who knew?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

First Day of School, 2016

So, I didn't blog all summer, and now school has started back for us.  

The boys, grades 10 and 5, were not thrilled but they pushed through anyway and yesterday was actually the best first day back we've ever had.  Maybe we finally know what we're doing.  Ha!
They didn't let me take any pictures.  I'm proud of them, anyway.  

Violet started school on Friday.  She would have started back in May, when her curriculum was delivered.  She's not 4 yet, but seems to be ready, so we're going on with Pre-K.
Here's a picture of her first day.  She loved it.  Girls are SO different from boys.  
Here's a picture from her first day.  It's not a Pinterest-worthy chalk board shot, but we started on a whim and I wasn't prepared.  Story of my life!

I really have been slacking with keeping up with this blog.  I need to do better.  I'm forgetting things, and I don't want that to happen.  This will probably be Jordan's last year at home, so I'm savoring these days and I want to soak up every minute. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ballet Recital, Butterfly Release, and Another Field Trip

Life is full and busy these days.  Here's some of what we've been doing.

Ballet Recital
Violet had her first ballet recital a few weeks ago.  She loves to dance, when she's in the mood.  Unfortunately, she's 3, so her moods change from minute to minute some days.  For this reason, I'm extremely glad that I didn't sign her up for formal dance lessons like we'd planned.  A beginning ballet class was offered at our co-op, and it was the perfect amount of commitment for us.  She took her class during co-op and they performed "Teddy Bear Picnic" for us at the end of the semester. 

Weren't they the cutest?

This is a "real life" picture, and the reason I'm glad the formal lessons didn't work out. Violet before the performance, on the verge of a mini-meltdown.  She pulled it together before her group took the stage. 

And this one is after the show with a flower from Daddy.

Butterfly Release
I decided to take Violet to our city's annual Butterfly Release.  I hadn't been in years, several years before Violet came along.  We met up with a group of friends and had a wonderful time.

We had the most fun when Scott offered to "haul us back to our cars".  Ha!

Field Trip- Thompson Mill State Arboretum

I'd never heard tale of this place before, but now that we know about it, I imagine we will be back.  A recent newspaper article referred to Thompson Mill as "Braselton's best-kept secret".  We took a little hike and enjoyed learning about nature.  The scenery was nice, but it was so hot and I was sweating...I was ready for the hike to be over with WAY before it ended, but the kids had a really good time.  That's all that  matters!