Friday, October 19, 2018

Upcoming festivals- Fall on the Lawn!

i'll be set up all day selling my glass pendants and jewelry.  Come on out for a fun filled day! 
October 27 , 12 -8 pm behind the Floyd Center for the Arts.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

7th DC Trip

Back in October i chaperoned the 7th grade field trip to Washington DC.  It was a jam packed, 3 day, whirlwind adventure.  When we returned home i spent the next day in bed.  i was just ridiculously exhausted, both physically and mentally.

Many of the places we stopped at did not allow photos, so this is just a few of the places we visited. The 7th grade teacher who put together the field trip, did an amazing job to give these kids what is probably a once in a lifetime trip. 

We spent 3 days in DC and saw an unbelievable amount of stuff in that time. Our itinerary was 
Day 1. depart Indian Valley at 6:45
11:30 Udvar-Hazy Space Center & lunch on site 
3pm Spy Museum and Operation Spy 
6pm Pentagon Mall for shopping and dinner 
8:30 leave for hotel. 
Day 2- breakfast at hotel 
8 am Arlington Cemetery 
10:30 Capital tour, lunch at the capital 
12:30 Natural History Museum 
2:30 Holocaust Museum 
4pm Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
 6pm dinner & shopping at Union Station 
7:30 walking night tour of monuments and memorials return to hotel around 10:30 pm. 
Day 3- breakfast at hotel 
8:30 Driving tour of National Cathedral and Embassy Row 
10am National Archives 
11:30 American History Museum & lunch 
2pm Museum of American Indian 
3pm depart for home, and stop for dinner 
home between 9pm-10pm.

Day 1. First stop was the Udvar-Hazy Space Center. There was a lot of interesting things to see, but the kids in my group were more interested in speeding through the museum as fast as they could, making it difficult to stop and read anything. 

There were a some neat things too look at and the building itself is two huge airplane hangers. 

 We were not allowed to take photos at the Spy Museum, but it wasn't my favorite stop anyhow. We  participated in Operation Spy, which is an immersive, interactive experience at the International Spy Museum where you're the spy. The place was in need of some major repairs, we couldn't complete some of our tasks because of faulty equipment and then ended up locked in area when the control pannel that unlocks the doors broke. Our 'spy' agent had to contact help to unlock the doors. lol. The best part of that museum was the gift shop, which did have a lot of fun items.  According to their page the spy museum has moved, so hopefully it will be a better experience for the next groups that go through it. i wasn't really a fan.

After the spy museum we went to the National Mall for dinner. The mall was ginormous. My group (3 tween girls) tried to spend all of their money at the first store we walked in. i've never been in a mall so large, and hope to never have to be in one again. 

 Day 2. Arlington Cemetery. We visited JFK's memorial and watched the changing of the guard ceremony at the tomb of the unknown soldier.

We toured the Capital building which was interesting. i most enjoyed the architecture and artwork in the building. Interesting little tidbit- the beautiful chandelier lighting in the Capital building was made here in Floyd, by Crenshaw Lighting. i of course, failed to take any pictures of the lights. :) 

Next stop was the National Museum of Natural History.   They have a butterfly exhibit at the very top of the museum that i wanted walk through, but it was an additional cost and the kids in my group were more interested in spending their money on souvenirs than on the butterfly exhibit. So they raced through the museum and we spent most of our time in the gift shops.

Pictures were not allowed at the Holocaust museum. We only visited the children's exhibit which is called  Remember the Children-Daniel's Story. It was very difficult to view and i can only imagine how devastating and horrific the full museum must be.

Another Air and Space Museum.  i had a different group with this museum and they were actually interested in the museum so we got to causally explore the museum instead of just racing through.  After this we stopped for dinner at Union Station and then did the night walking tour of the monuments.   

At this point i was so tired, my brain just about shut down. i took a ton of pictures, but none of them were really very exciting. It was really cold and we walked a ton, but it was a neat experience seeing the monuments all lit up.  i believe it was close to or even after 11pm by the time we returned to the hotel.

Day 3.  We did a driving tour of the National Cathedral and Embassy Row. i actually really enjoyed seeing embassy row, just wish the bus didn't drive so fast through it all. It made it very difficult to take pictures or really know what we were looking at. 

We also visited the American History Museum and Museum of the American Indian.  Both were interesting, though we didn't have enough time to really see it all. The Museum of the American Indian was favorite and the last thing we did. So we really were rushed for time there.  

It was really neat trip for the kids to be able to see as much as they did. i would like to go back some day and do it on my own time, where i'm not responsible for other peoples kids, following such tight itinerary and i can actually take my time and see the exhibits. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Italian Wood Cook Stoves by La Nordica (sponsored).

For over 18 years we've been heating exclusively with wood. We are blessed to have many acres of land to collect firewood from downed trees, so we essentially heat our home for free.  Although i love my little wood stove, i dream of one day getting a wood cook stove so that i can heat our home and do our cooking on it too. Once we switch to solar power (hopefully within the next few years), i will very likely be switching to a wood cook stove. 

i've been checking out lots of the different wood stoves online and have fallen in love with this one. This is the Regina model  it is made by Lincar in Italy. Lincar is an Italian leader in the sector of wood & pellet stoves. Regina is made primarily of steel with the cook top being cast iron. It's a very solid piece of equipment. . Both the firebox and the bake oven are large and both feature see-through glass doors. There is also a storage area under the baking oven.  The color of this one would match my slate perfectly, and i just love the overall design of this stove.

Wood burning cook stoves offer a perfect blend of design, quality, and efficiency for your heating and cooking needs. Made in Italy, La Nordica cook stoves feature great durability, efficiency, safety, and quality. The primary function of these stoves is indoor cooking however they also provide a very significant source of heat for home, cabin, or cottage, even in the harshest climates! 

Easy, efficient, independent cooking with a wood cook stove from the best known Italian producer. Wood burning cook stoves offer stylish and off the grid cooking and heating. Very different from their century-old predecessors, these stoves are designed and made in Italy combining clean burning technology of the 21st century with practicality and modern home design trends. Apart from everyday cooking and baking a wood cook stove will also contribute significantly to heating your home. Exquisite maiolica tiles, live flames, and cast iron parts are sure to add elegance to any room. And soon after wonderful aromas will follow: fresh bread, buns, muffins, roasts, stews, and cookies. Nothing unites a family like a warm and delicious smelling cooking stove on a cold winter evening. A family tradition, a culinary delight, a practical tool for energy independence - a wood cook stove is all of these.

The slate in this photo is very similar to what we have with our wood stove. This one is also a similar size to ours, and makes it really easy to imagine putting a wood cook stove in it's place. 
What are the advantages of wood cook stove over gas or electric stove? First and foremost – independence, being able to cook & heat off the grid. Ambience – a live fire is a pleasure to sit by and enjoy on a cold winter day. Style – our stoves carry a distinctive Italian design. Heating – a cook stove is a powerful source of heat for your house.

Discover stylish, efficient, and off the grid cooking & heating with an Italian wood cook stove. La Nordica stoves already work in hundreds of homes in the US. 
To learn more and watch videos visit

i really love having a woodstove and look forward to eventually switching over to a wood cook stove one of these days, once we are set up on solar power.

*This post was sponsored by i received compensation for posting about their products.  My opinions are my own.

Summer Round Up- Garden Season and Mushroom hunting.

We've had a really weird garden season this year. Snow in April, non-stop rain in May, July temps and drought in June, then pretty much non-stop rain the rest of the summer.  The cold in April and heat in June caused a few things to get a late start and then bolt early, but other things are doing okay.  It rained almost every day during late summer, and although it wasn't good for my garden it was great for wild mushrooms! We saw a crazy amount of varieties this year we've never seen before on our land. We are still finding tons of chanterelles even though it's nearing the end of October.

 Even though i haven't been posting updates here on the blog, i've been taking lots of photos and sharing them on facebook and instagram.  i figured i'd post a few of my favorites here. 
This one is from 8-27. End of August, we were still getting lots of tomatoes, beans and got a few more blueberries from out late varieties.

9-2 We began September with lots of tomatoes and peppers. Starting to get a few eggplant, and still getting lots of eggs.

Harvest 9-10  Finally starting to get some of the fun tomato varieties i'd planted. With all the rain, they didn't do well at all, but i did get to pick a few of each. The Barry's Crazy cherry tomatoes, were really heavy producers. They just went non-stop and were very yummy.  Each week i'd go out mushroom hunting and pick enough chanterelles for a couple meals.

9-18  Peppers are really coming in now, and i'm starting to see some different colors. i planted red, yellow, green and purple.  Still finding tons of chanterelles, and occasionally something more fun like a black trumpet.

9-23  Still getting a few beans. Most of the tomatoes i'm harvesting now are coming from the greenhouse. The ones in the garden basically drowned. Kenan went out mushroom hunting and came back with our first Hen of the Woods and a few more chanterelles.

10-1  More tomatoes and peppers. Lots of wild mushrooms!

10-15  We spotted a lion's mane in the woods behind the chicken coop, and still finding chanterelles.  The tomatoes and peppers are almost all coming from the greenhouse. We have a frost coming in the next week, so this may be the last of my garden pics.  We found all kinds of mushrooms this year, but i'll put that in a different post later this week.

i canned tons of tomatoes, picked the peppers and we froze lots of chanterelles. We ended up getting a free stand up freezer, and already have it filled up with garden produce for the year. Lots of beans and corn and other things.  Although my garden season was disappointing, the mushroom season made up for it, so i really can't complain.  It seems like every year, we have new challenges and new surprises. Our bees are doing very well (with just a few hiccups) and i'll update on that again soon.

i hate to admit it, but i'm definitely ready for the cooler weather and the slowness that comes with the season.

Summer Round Up- Live music and Bubbles

Our summer went way too fast this year. i'm still struggling to figure out how it is already October. Although we didn't take any big trips or vacations this summer, we still packed a lot of fun into our quick 8 week summer vacation.

i use to love going to music festivals, but once i had kids it sort of lost the fun.  It's hard to sit back and enjoy the music when your kids are bored and complaining, or want to spend the whole time in the kids universe playing. Now that the kids are older, i've started volunteering at a few of the local music festivals. Sometimes i go by myself (which is really nice) and sometimes i bring a kid along to help out. ;) Sage and i volunteered to help out in the kids area at the Floyd Fandango festival. 

My husband surprised me with Avett Brother tickets this summer. They were playing at the Kingsport Funfest . i absolutely love the Avett Brothers and have been listening to them since 2009, but this was the first time seeing them live.

They put on an absolutely amazing show!  It really reminded me how much i love live music and that i really need to make more of an effort to get to more shows and music festivals. 

One more picture, because i just adore them so much. i'm going to be watching their tour schedule closely so i can see them play again soon.

This year i also volunteered to host giant bubble workshops at  Floyd Fest.  As a volunteer i got a couple extra passes for helpers, and we were gifted another extra pass from a friend, so the whole family got to come out and enjoy a day of the festival.

The highlight for me was seeing Old Crow Medicine Show play on Sunday night. They put on a really fun show and i got to dance my booty off. i was really reminded of how much i enjoy it.  i'm already eager to see the line ups for next year's  music festivals.  i love hiking, traveling and kayaking each summer...but really need to fit in time for live music.

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~Berthold Auerbach