Friday, October 20, 2017

Surprise waterfall- Every day is an adventure!

This past weekend when we made plans to go hiking at the The Channels, Kenan told me 'we won't see any waterfalls' since we usually we plan our hikes around waterfalls.  i love big waterfalls, but The Channels look really neat, so i was fine going somewhere without water for once.

After exploring the The Channels and having a great time, we started headed home.  We were driving along, following the holston River, when all of a sudden Kenan said, 'Woah..did you see that?' Then he turned the car around and went back looking for a place to park.

We found a place to pull over, crossed the road, and climbed down the embankment to the river below.

The river was beautiful, but hidden almost out of sight when just driving by was a HUGE cascading waterfall!

Pictures never really do justice to show the size of waterfalls, but they were really gorgeous!  This is the lower part of the falls with the upper part in the background.

Kenan and the kids are up at the top right standing at the top of the upper falls. It was such an awesome surprise, especially since i didn't think we'd be seein any waterfalls while we were out and these were amazing falls!  



After coming home and googling, i found out they are the Logan Creek Falls near Hayter's Gap.  Definitely worth checking out if you are in the area. i would have loved to explore the river more, but the kids were tired and we were all hungry so we headed home. It was a fun adventurous weekend, a nice change from band competitions. We have one more competition, and then our weekends will be free again. Hoping it stays warm enough for a few more hikes before winter arrives.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Paper Poppets Story and Activity Book- Review (Sponsored) #PaperPoppets #PlayWithPaper #PPSociety

Anyone else remember playing with paper dolls as a child?  Paper dolls and activity books were always one of my favorite things. Before all this technology took over,  we played outside, road our bikes, played with simple toys and used our imaginations. We were not distracted by phones, social media and video games.

When my kids were little, i really tried to keep the toys simple. i loved natural toys, playing outside and anything that encouraged imagination and creative play.  As they've got older, they've been sucked into the technology culture just like everyone else. Although neither of my kids have their own phones, they do have tablets and i find myself having to limit their screen time on a regular basis.

When i first saw the Paper Poppets, i was was filled with nostalgia and memories of my childhood.  Paper Poppets are paper dolls re-imagined with fun, retro and modern illustrations that inspire imaginative play, personal storytelling and stylishness. The mission behind Paper Poppets is to help girls of all ages build their imagination and self-expression so they can showcase creativity and empower their inner-storyteller. In this day and age it's so nice to find these #timelesstoys that don't require batteries or an internet connection. 

My girl and i spent an afternoon 'unplugged'. We had fun reading the story, punching out the paper pieces, coloring the pictures and dressing up the dolls and pets! 

The set comes with 3 pages of easy to pop out fashions. There are more pages of outfits in the book, that can be cut out or copied and cut out if you don't want to ruin the book. The outfits are fun and modern. There are even accessories for the pets! 

My daughter needed a little help popping out the fashions, she was afraid of ripping the tabs, but for the most part was able to do it herself.  She absolutely loved the paper doll set and story. We explored the website and she enjoyed learning about the different characters and their pets. At the end of the day the dolls can be tucked 'into bed' in the pocket at the back of the book. You can store all the pieces in it, to keep them from getting lost or ruined.

Perfect for girls of all ages, the Paper Poppets Story & Activity Set is going to be your new favorite toy. Unleash your inner fashion designer and cut, color and fold these amazing hand-drawn outfits on Maddy and Ava. Don’t forget about dressing up your pets, Otto and Buddy, as well!

  • 2 Dolls (7 3/4″ Tall)
  • 2 Pets
  • 50 pieces of Pre-Cut Fashions
  • 32 Page Illustrated Story/Coloring Book with DIY Activities
  • Storage pocket in back of book
  • Box dimensions 10″ x 10″ x 1″

We really loved the Paper Poppets paper doll set. My daughter's only complaint is that the dolls can't share clothes. Each outfit goes to a specific doll, and so you can't mix and match Maddy's clothes with Ava's.  She also thought it would be really neat if they made a downloadable blank template for the dolls, so she could design her own clothing for them. We are going to trace the girls shapes onto some blank paper, and try coming up with our own. 

Overall, this is a really a neat set and would make a fantastic gift for any young girl. We enjoyed our time unplugged, as we dressed up each doll for the costume ball.  My daughter is getting to that age where she doesn't want to hang with her mom, so it was fun to play with these together and be reminded of a simpler time where kids could just be kids.

The Paper Poppets are available here. The story and activity set is $19.99 .

i received the product at no cost, in exchange for my review. My opinions are 100% my own.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hiking the Great Channels of Virginia

This weekend we took a trip to Abingdon, VA to check out a  the Great Channels. 

The Great Channels are a virtually unknown slot canyon on the southern slop of Clinch mountain. They are impressive formations of 400-million-year-old sandstone, that create a maze of stone. 

While slot canyons are somewhat common in the southwest USA, they’re pretty rare on the east coast. There is nothing else like the Channels anywhere in Virginia. The labyrinth of crevices, passageways, and twists and turns means it’s potentially easy to get lost so pay attention to where you came in. 

We had a great time exploring the labyrinth of sandstone. 

Geologists believe that the Channels were  formed while the high-elevation sandstone cap was under the influence of permafrost and ice wedging during the last ice age. These forces shattered and enlarged the joints in the sandstone caprock creating the tunnels and maze we see today.

Looking up from the inside the channels. A lot of my pictures didn't come out, because there isn't a lot of light inside the maze.  The sunlight sort of peeks through in spots like this.

 There are lot of tight spaces to squeeze through. A few areas that were a bit claustrophobic, and we made our way through the maze.

After spending some time wandering around the slot canyon, we followed a trail that took us to the top of the Channels. Here we were able to peer down into the them.  This made me a little nervous as we had to jump over some pretty steep spaces to move around this area. 

 It was a nice place to rest and enjoy the views, which were truly breath taking.

This is the view from Middle knob.  The elevations on the Channels State Forest range from 1,800 feet to more than 4,208 feet. The sandstone maze at the heart of Channels State Forest sits hidden at the top of Middle Knob – elevation 4208’.

The actual trail to the Channels is about 3 miles, from the parking lot. It's well marked and reasonably mild although there is a gradual 1000 ft incline.  

We really enjoyed the hike (it had been way too long since our last one). The weather was gorgeous for October, and we found it well worth the 2 hour drive to get there. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Garden update 10/13- Transitioning to Fall.

A couple weeks ago we had our first frost. It was only a light frost, but i pretty much gave up on the garden and really didn't expect to be posting anymore harvest pictures. My focus has been on moving my craft area downstairs, setting up a studio and playing in the glass shop again. So my garden is a neglected mess of weeds and morning glories right now. 

Went out this morning to clean it up a bit and was surprised to see that it's still producing. 

i planted a bunch of lettuce and kale under row covers back in July. The majority of it never germinated, or was munched (especially the kale) before it had a chance to grow.  The few that made it, did really well. SO we are starting the fall with fresh lettuce....but just a little.  i do have more planted in a different area, that does seem to be germinating better. 

i have fall peas blooming and producing. i planted green, yellow and purple again. So far only the yellow have started to produce. They really seem to be enjoying the cool mornings.

My rattlesnake preacher beans are fantastic.  These area  pole bean and they produce like crazy. i also have bush beans planted, they are producing but not as abundantly.  We could get a frost any day now that will wipe them all out. i'm feeling pretty grateful to still be getting so much summer goodness in mid october.

Morning glories are beautiful, but also extremely invasive. i spend all summer ripping them out of the garden, but they just keep coming. By the fall, when the garden is nearly done and i let the morning glories take it over. These are my bean poles. The morning glories have completely covered them, and the tomatoes. They pulled down what was left of my bamboo fence, and knocked over several of the tomato supports. 

It's a beautiful sort of destruction that eases us into the winter. Just as everything begins to really die back, it's all covered in flowers. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Witchy Halloween- Finding the Perfect Witch Hat! (sponsored)

Halloween is quickly approaching! i hadn't even begun to think about a costume, when i received an invite to the Practical Magic Halloween from a friend on facebook.  Here is the description of the event.

"Ladies, this Halloween, let's show our little town our true spirit! It isn't hard to do and it won't take a lot of money. Think about this, a black dress or black top and skirt, witch's hat, and striped socks....there you go! Show up to Dogtown and not only do we win the prize but how amazing will it be to have a whole room of Witches! i happen to know that there is another group that thinks they might win the group prize...but who can compete with this!"

" Ladies who will be taking little ones out for trick or treating, wouldn't it be a sight if we all dressed up to do this too? At least we can throw our hats on and nod to each other as we pass in the street!"

So just like that, i knew exactly what i'd be dressing up as this year. A witch!  Every year my kids come up with costume ideas and i spend so much time working on them, that i don't always have the time to finish mine. 

This is the first time ever i have my costume done before the kids! Wohoo! Okay, it's not really done. i'm going to hit the goodwill this weekend to find a better witch dress and some accessories, but i'm feeling mighty witchy. ;)  i've been wanting a nice witch hat for ages (i mean, who doesn't?!) Everytime we go to a Harry Potter party, HP festival etc i wish i had a Professor Mcgonagall costume, but couldn't find a good witch hat.  Most of the witch hats i've seen in the stores are pretty lame.  

So you have no idea how excited i was to find this one by Sdsaena. This hat is amazing! It's very stiff and sturdy. It's huge! The outer fabric has a lacy look, i believe there is a layer of felt in the center to stabilize it and then it's lined in a satin type fabric. The spider on the side is made from pipe cleaner, but looks neat on the hat. The flower on the front of the bow has just a hint of sparkly green going through it. It doesn't have the full round brim like a traditional witch hat, but it's such a cool design! 

"We have a witch in the family. Isn't it wonderful?"- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
My girl loves the hat so much she tried to claim it, even though she wasn't even planning to be a witch this year.  It even has a decorative spider climbing up the side.

What could be better than one amazing witch hat? Three amazing witch hats!! This hat is sold as a set of three. So my girl will be getting her hat.  This set is perfect for group costumes, witch gatherings or Harry Potter parties!  i'm super excited to be able to share one with a friend that wanted to attend the Practical Magic event but didn't have a hat. You can check it out here  It's available in black, purple and orange.  It's also available in Amazon, and i have several 10% off coupons to share, so drop me an email if interested!

Now that my costume is (mostly) done, i can start working on the kids costumes as soon as they decide what they are going to be! 

i received this product in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are my own.
#sdsaena #sponsored #cosplay #halloween #witch #witchhat #witchclub