North Georgia Thanksgiving

My family frequently gets together for Thanksgiving in North Georgia. We absolutely love the area but especially in Fall. 

This year, as in many past years, instead of spending Thanksgiving Eve waiting in a store, we went for a hike in beautiful Tallulah Gorge. If you haven’t been it’s worth it. Those who know me and many who’ve followed me for awhile know well that I’m not the biggest outdoor girl. Bad luck tends to ensue (insect bites, run in with venomous snakes, etc) but this time was lovely. The Moose and I are proud parents of a seven year old and an 18 month old at this time. We use one of our backpacks from Ireland (Osprey, non-sponsored but just love their products) as our diaper bag and have for about 6 months now. It was perfect for our short hike. When lil bit was Lilo’s age we bought a carrier to be used for hiking and the Moose was thrilled to finally put it to use. The leaves changed later than usual this year so the Gorge was well gorgeous! We spent a few hours and went to Inspiration overlook as well as the North Rim trail (I think). I do recommend Tallulah Falls and the area as a whole. 

Downtown Clayton is full of wonderful little small-business shops and fantastic restaurants. Our favorite food stop this time was The Farmhouse Donuts and Decor (on Facebook as The Farmhouse Clayton). The cow pie and their well all of them really were delicious I just love peanut butter. Their coffee was great with the donuts, very fresh on a particular cool day.

Blue Ridge Toys was an awesome little local toy store with wonderful German and French hard-to-find brands. We got the girls some VERY cool presents for Christmas. The shoppe was wonderfully helpful and even helped us hide the gifts, a worker with elf ears walked with my husband three blocks back to our car carrying a rather heavy wooden kitchen in the cold and then refused to let him tip her. You don’t get costumer service like that many places IN N AMERICA everyday anymore. I hope they do well and we can have the pleasure of buying from them again next year.

Another wonderful, more tourist place we love to go to is Goats on a Roof. It’s a very cute family owned mini-tourist spot with a yummy little cafe and nitro-ice cream. The gift shop inside is fun to look through but toasting marshmallows, drinking hot cocoa and of course feeding the goats is the main attraction. You can also pay a very reasonable fee to get a picture with Santa Claus and a baby goat as well as cocoa and a cup of goat feed. And before you go calling PETA the goats are very well loved and kind of respond to their humans like large house cats. One was roaming around the room visiting with everyone and rubbing up against its Elf trying to get in her lap and have her head scratched.

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Roasted…

My sketch(es) done for Day 3 of Inktober were not at all what I had in mind but I’m learning. These were also entirely done with sharpie but my exercise in futility for art will hopefully at least bring good posting habits.

Sigh…Tranquility

So I definitely could use some tranquility this week but I’ve had to settle for a bubble bath with some lavender EO in there. Dr Teals is awesome BTW.

Inktober prompt two is tranquility and what I had in my head is definitely not on the paper lol.

☠️ Inktober

So I have not been posting like I should. I started a new job and between it and the kiddos I have just not been making the effort I should. I have even programmed an alarm to go off weekly for a blog post and yet here I am for the first time in months and months. So I’m going to show off my very crappy to mediocre artwork as I try to participate in Inktober where you are encouraged to draw daily. I am still making my polymer clay jewelry as well in the evenings when I have time so I will try my best to stick to this.

We have also traveled recently and both Little Bit and Lilo were so well behaved. I’m feeling very Disney homesick atm so when the first prompt was poison my mind went straight to the bottle of “poison” which was actually extract of llama. lol.

Told you I was not talented but there you have it. I was not being modest lol.

I’ll write about our little four day trip soon. I hope. Maybe.

Teacher Appreciation Week

We don’t just celebrate teacher appreciation day, we do a whole week. I mean the two women who manage 21 5-6 year olds 5 days a week, all day, and still manage to teach them something—they deserve a whole week.

I consider myself a fairly successful adult and my penchant for learning (life-long) and for reading came from a beautiful, amazing tiny little woman who is now retired but with whom I still stay in touch. She was my first grade teacher and her name was “Miss” Judy. I still remember learning phonics lessons in her class. She made an impact. Many of the children in her class at that small little private school in South Carolina have gone on to become pretty successful adults. Even though I moved away after 2nd grade I still stay in touch with many of them and they are contributing to society in many ways. Let’s not pretend our time with Miss Judy didn’t play a roll in that.

My own baby sister (8 years age difference) is now a first grade teacher, at the school in the very classroom where she attended 1st grade. I could not be more proud. She is 3 years in to teaching and she already has former parents and students stopping her when we are shopping to hug her and thank her. She glows afterwards. She, my mom and I have spent many of our own dollars 💵 and lots of time giving her students special lessons and surprises each year. Having someone who I’m so close with as a teacher deepens my respect for them so much. Sweat, paper-cut blood, tears and a good chunk of her not-big-enough-in-my-opinion salary goes into teaching each of those 19-22 students she has for 8 hours 5 days a week 184days +\- each year so please know to all those teachers out there I appreciate you, I love you for caring, to the two currently teaching my little bit–thank you. Thank you.

Hug a teacher, buy her a bottle of wine or some chocolate or a gift card to get her toes done. She (or he) deserves it.

So here’s what we did–I made print outs on Silhouette studio for the bags (I will try to find a way to post the svg file if anybody is interested) the first day I made “Your the balm” and gave Burt’s Bees lip balm, today is donut day so I bought donuts and put them in pretty white boxes with the donut tags I found here.

Tomorrow I will be making or finding a “thank you for helping my bloom” and giving them each a rose ring that I make (I make jewelry with polymer clay, you can follow me on Instagram at ClayMagnolias or my Facebook page under the same name, I do not have Etsy yet but I do accept PayPal and ship). I have a Youtube channel with tutorials in the works you can find here.

Friday the last day we will be making a teacher supply “cake” and I will post an updated picture when it’s done!

What did you do for teachers appreciation? What impact have teachers made in your life? Your children’s?

Treasure Hunting: Family Adventures

Every year for the past three years at least, our family tries to make our way over at least a few times from Jan-Feb to one of my favorite spots on the GA coast, Jekyll Island. If you are unfamiliar with the island its a small island off the Southern coast of Georgia that was once a vacation spot for big names such as Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Pulitzer, etc who built “cottages” there and had an exclusive hunting club. The island is now a State Park and home to both historic landmarks and beautiful beaches.

During the cooler months when tourism is down, we find it the best time to partake in the many trails/bike paths all over the island as we don’t have to become food sources for the insect population. It’s also this time of year (Jan 1- Feb 28) when the island hosts its annual treasure hunt!

The treasure hunt is based on a hobby from the 1950s when beach-goers would collect hollow glass balls/floats that fishermen would use to mark their nets when they broke free and drifted on shore.

As you may have read in my New Year’s post, the Moose and I have made a joint decision to disconnect this year and spend more time outdoors with the girls. We took the somewhat warmer day (above freezing) as a sign to do just that. We packed up the girls and dressed them and ourselves warmly and went on an adventure.

We went along the trail leading towards the historic district keeping our eyes out for treasures and stopping along the way to read and discuss some of the historic sites with Little Bit.

We did make it all the way to the historic district but the wind had picked up, the clouds started to come in and the girls were cold. We headed back, walking about 3 miles round trip and having a lot of fun!

While we didn’t find any treasure this weekend we hope to come back soon with better luck!

I’d love to hear from you! What adventures do you like to go on with your kiddos or significant other?

The rare cold day

We took Little Bit and Lilo on a hike at a state park on New Years Day. I️ haven’t always been an outdoors woman to say the least. I️ mean bugs, snakes (many poisonous around here) and the sun are not exactly in this pale girl’s friend list. I️ am trying to find it more enjoyable especially when the weather assists me in blocking my three aforementioned enemies as in Georgia “Swinter” or the extreme mixture of weather we have between late October and March. I️ mean, y’all, my idea of a great day is curled up in my pjs or yoga pants reading a good book and drinking some hot tea on a “cold” day.

We had decided if the Seattle-style weather subsided on New Year’s Day and the weather was above freezing we would #optoutside with the girls as my husband is very much an outdoor kind of guy and since Ireland I’ve found a bit more of an adventurous side to my soul.

With much difficulty we mustered enough layers to be somewhat warm in the just above freezing temps (it’s the South y’all, I️ didn’t even get to wear a sweater last “winter”) and threw some things in a daypack.

We were pretty much the only people in the park other than employees. I’ve already learned a lot about dressing warmly after this one trip lol. It was frigid. I didn’t have true mittens for the baby and vowed to crochet some as soon as possible. Especially, as I suspect, we will be doing this more often. We hiked down the pioneer trail until the temp started dropping and we decided to turn around. It was amazing but not entirely unsurprising how well Little Bit took to the hike. She found area where the wild boar in the area had been digging, saw hoof prints from deer and the boar along he way. The Moose was an Eagle Scout so had camped at the park before and took her to view the campsites which she thought was awesome. There are few benches along the trail and we stopped and let Little Bit assist Moose in using the campstove to boil water for one of those rehydrated meals to try. It was actually delicious for camping food and the warm slightly spicy meal was welcome to cut through the cold, almost wet chill.

We decided as we made our way back to the car to do this more often during the year as disconnecting from screen time and the more modern world felt good. The connection we made with the girls and with each other on this brief hike left me wanting more. The-not-so-outdoorsy girl in me finding very little room to complain about anything other than her desire for a warm bath.

So as we begin 2018 we start with true family time and have already done a little treasure hunting on Jekyll Island (see next post).