Category Archives: Small Town Life

New Year, Big Changes!

Whew!  2015 was…weird!  I guess because it was kind of a blur of crazy busy days, selling our old Salt Box house, finding a new house, softball softball softball, and me kind of falling off the wagon with my fitness a little bit, only to come to the realization that that is totally normal & even sometimes necessary in order for me to keep going with it.

I am currently running what will probably be my last fitness group.  I’m making less social media a goal for 2016, and Facebook is the portal that I’m using for those groups, so I, at least for the foreseeable future, will be hanging that up.  I’m also fairly certain that I won’t be renewing my training certification when it expires in June.  Not because I’m turning my back on fitness, but because I don’t really plan on using it as means for income anymore.  I found out soon after getting my certification, that most of the one on one training I was able to do had to be done in the evenings, which took me away from my family at night.  No bueno.  Plus with practices, hitting lessons, and catching lessons our evenings are pretty booked now anyway.  It was fun & I’m glad I did something for myself outside of just being mom/wife/taxi driver, because I think sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of yourself and the things that are important to just you when you are wearing all of those hats all the time.

So, with all that being said, I won’t be renewing my certification & I won’t be running any more groups for a while after January.  I will, however, be returning to more regular blogging and am planning to make fitness a huge feature here, so for all (5? lol) of my readers…stay tuned for that!

I hate not being in my normal routine.  With Christmas break and a house that is half in boxes, I’m going insane over here.  But soon we will be moving into our new house!  And oh man, I am so excited about being warm in the winter & never running out of hot water & not having to slay camel crickets in the basement every time I need to do laundry!  It’s the little things in life, folks….

2006 Neal Dr

 So, I’m hopeful that I will be back into a routine soon after we get settled in.

Yes, 2015 was crazy.  And 2016 will likely follow suit, but I can’t imagine it any other way, so here’s to the new year & new beginnings!

Happy New Year!


Sometimes the ordinary days are the best days…

Yesterday was such a good day (except for the fact that I was in mourning over the previous night’s Walking Dead episode 😦 ).  Well it was good, kind of. I got a call from the school that Hannah wasn’t feeling well & had to pick her up, causing her to miss her first basketball game, so that part wasn’t so great.  But the rest of it?  Wonderful!  Wonderfully boring and uneventful.  And sometimes those days are the best days.

I started it off with a 30 minute walk/jog through our little town.  It was breezy, sunny, & cool…in other words, a perfect fall morning.

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After that I had an awesome back & biceps workout then took the pooch for a walk with my auntie.  I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning & doing laundry.  Lunch was a delicious spinach & feta omelet & apple.

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In the afternoon, I read a little, crocheted a little, until I got the phone call from the school nurse.  I snuggled up with my little sick kiddo & we watched cartoons.  She took a nap, then Katie & I made supper together which was baked pork chops using a homemade rub (delish!), peas, & PW’s au gratin potatoes.  More snuggling with the sickly child in the evening and early to bed.

Was there anything special about today?  No.  Not really.  But sometimes those are the best ones. ❤

Another Reason to Love our Small Town Life

This is from a couple of weeks ago.  The town square all set up for the kid’s Easter egg hunt.  Why we gotta be so stinkin’ cute all the time???  I ❤ our town.

Easter Egg Hunt on the Square

Easter Egg Hunt on the Square

Veggie Scramble and a Thundery Run Through the Graveyard

Yesterday I went on a jaunt through the graveyard to do my sprints.  I love going over there.  It’s so peaceful and quiet.  And on a stormy day, it makes for a nice creepy atmosphere and I love me some creepy.



I made it home just in time to not get completely drenched and then fixed this delicious veggie scramble for lunch.  I love pretty much all vegetables.  So weird because there was definitely a day when corn and potatoes were the only things I’d even touch.  But that was years ago and my tastes have definitely changed.  I have loads of veggies every day.

Veggie City!!!

Veggie City!!!

This is so easy to make and you can use any veggies you like.  I used an entire bag of frozen fiesta style veggies (Kroger brand).  I just sprayed my skillet and turned the heat on med/low.  Threw in the frozen veggies (because I forgot to thaw them in the fridge) and then seasoned with salt, pepper & garlic powder.  I covered my skillet with a lid and let them cook at least 10 minutes, stirring every so often.  While they were cooking, I whisked an egg with 1/3 C. egg whites.  When the veggies were done to my liking, I just poured in the egg mixture and stirred it all up and cooked it until the eggs were cooked through.  I then gave them a light sprinkle with sharp cheddar cheese and red pepper flakes.

How I Finally Learned to Stop Hating this Old House

This house….boy, where do I begin?  This house….well, before I start with this house, let’s go way back to 1997.  In 1997 we were living in a new house on an acre out in the country.  I loved that house.  I mean LOVED it!  It was new.  It had 3 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms.  It had a GINORMOUS kitchen.  I had a big garden.  We had horses behind us that Katie loved to sit out back and watch every day.

So why in the world did we move, you ask?  Well, it turns out that that beautiful new house had a very hefty house payment.  We were making it, but not comfortably and little did we know, but big financial changes were just on the horizon for us.  We didn’t know that, but we did know that we weren’t comfortable with scraping by.  The other negative was that the house sat on a road that is a very heavily traveled road that links our small town to the nearby bigger town.  There was a lot of traffic and nobody was obeying the speed limit.  The girls were 5 & 3 and I was scared to death that at some point they would get out of my sight for a minute and out to that busy road.

We listed our house and were completely unprepared for it to sell in only a month’s time.  Worse than that was that the people needed to be in right away.  We had nowhere to go!!  I was looking to move into our cute little town.  I had grown up there and I missed it.  I wanted to be close to the school, park & library.  The problem with a small town is that there isn’t always a lot of real estate to choose from.  And the other problem with this particular small town is that the houses are O-L-D.  So odds are pretty likely that if you are buying a house here, you’re going to have lots of fixing up to do.

It just so happened that my parents had just purchased a big farm house out in the country and their realtor had bought a house in town to flip.  I remembered them telling us about it and about all of the work it needed.  So when our house sold and I saw that there was absolutely nothing for sale here, I thought of my mom’s realtor.  A few phone calls later and a walk-through and we’d made an offer that was accepted!

Prior to this house, all of the houses that Brian & I had lived in (with the exception of our very first rental house) were modern and nice.  So, when you go from that to an old, crooked, drafty house it can be quite an ordeal.  Not to mention that our girls were actually frightened of their new home.  Yes, for real.  Frightened.

Everything in the house needed attention.  There’s no other way to put it.  The roof…oh my the roof!  Old, single-pane windows and several of them were broken.  The old original wide-plank wood floors with huge gaps.  And everything was crooked.  The floors, the stairs, the walls.  No wonder the kids were scared!



The previous owners had done some of the work themselves.  Siding, furnace, air conditioning….but there was (and still is) A LOT left to do.  But, the beauty of it was this:  we had bought this house cheap and we could afford to fix it up.  Maybe not all at once, but we could do it.


This is what she looked like when the previous owners bought her! Can you imagine???


However, life had other plans and not long after we’d been here…maybe a year?  The economy tanked and Brian was laid off from his job.  Talk about scary times.  What a blessing in disguise this ugly old house was.  Because of it, we were able to scrape through that time.  And the remodeling has been sloooow going ever since because #1) we used a lot of our remodel money to live on during those lean times and #2) we are now so busy that it has just taken a back seat.  And finally #3) we are NOT do-it-yourselfers, a fact we quickly learned once we moved in and started projects.

My hair was so short!!

My hair was so short!!

But we have managed to do some things over the years…windows, floors, roof, a new deck, paint (most of the rooms).  The kitchen cabinets are still ugly.  The ceilings are still hideous and my bedroom still hasn’t been touched, but it’s home.  The girls are 13 and 10 now and we are crazy busy with life now.

I’m ashamed to say that I have sometimes been embarrassed to have people over.  You know, it’s all so hip and cool to have an old house in the middle of remodeling because there’s proof all around that it will one day be updated and nice.  But when you’re just living in an old house & the renovating is nonexistent?  Not cool.  Not cool at all, my friend.

We are no longer kidding ourselves.  The remodeling is not happening anytime soon.  We can’t afford it now.  We don’t have time for it now.  We don’t even have time to paint for Pete’s sake!  And even when we do have time, we don’t want to.  We just want to sit.  And play board games or go to the movies.  Or some other fun thing because seriously, life is flying by us every day.  Perhaps the day will come when I live to remodel.  But that day is not today.

And so, I’ve learned to stop being embarrassed by my unfinished home.  And quite frankly, the people who visit us here could care less about what our house looks like.  And maybe there is a lesson somewhere here for my girls that says something like, your true friends will love you for you.  Not for your house.  Not for you possessions.  A house is a home when love lives there, crooked floors and all.  ❤



When we moved into this old house 7 year ago (7 years ago!!!), it was with the intention of living here a few years while the girls were little and wouldn’t mind sharing a room and fixing it up a little, possibly make a little money off of it and then buy something newer, bigger, better.  So, fast forward a few years and Brian gets laid off from his job and our world gets turned upside down for a period of time.  Then enter travel softball, which now consumes a huge portion of our lives and here we are.  7 years later.  There have a been improvements to the house here and there along the way, though it’s FAR from where I’d like it to be.  And those girls who were 5 and 2 when we moved in?  Well they are now 12 and 9.   That sharing a bedroom business is about to push this woman over the edge.

Over the years, we have gone back and forth a thousand times on whether to stay or go.  And just recently we had said, Okay!  We are going!


One day, Katie and I took a walk.  We were talking about all the things we still needed to do before we could sell the house.  And how in the world we were going to make that happen with softball season approaching.  And then out of the blue, my daughter, the one who has said since she was 7 years old that she just couldn’t wait to get out of this old house and have her own room, stopped me in my tracks with this:

I don’t think we should go.




She proceeded to tell me that she would be so sad if we left.  That she has so many good memories here.  Not to mention a neighbor boy who, though they fight most of the time, has become like a brother to her.  And our awesome sledding hill?  How could she survive a winter without that?  And walking to the library and park and cafe on the corner?  How could we possibly go away from that?

So, I did the best I could to not just bawl and hug her to death because honestly, as mad as I get at this old house and all of it’s inconveniences, she is right.  Those things are so wonderful.  They really are.

And here’s the next crazy thing, when I told Brian about it, even HE said he would like to stay.  And he has been the BIGGEST hater of this house from the day I decided we should buy it.

Now Hannah?  That girl lives in the moment.  She wouldn’t care if we lived in a barn.  She goes with the flow and she’s got way more important things to do than sit around caring about where we live.

Of course, that doesn’t help the bedroom situation at all.  And that’s going to be a big, costly project that I have no idea how we will pay for, but we’ll work it out.

In the meantime, I am breathing easier knowing that at least we have finally made a decision.  And honestly, I’ll be 39 in a few months.  My drive and energy for doing things like buying and selling houses….well that train done left the station.  I’m ready to be settled in and enjoy my old age. 🙂



The I-Don’t-Know-How-Many-Years Annual Pumpkin Carving Party!

We had our awesome pumpkin carving party again last night.  It was so much fun, as usual.  The Spinster really outdid herself this year with some really awesome Halloween treats and even a craft for all of us to do.  We tried to figure out how long we’ve been doing this and we aren’t really sure.  It’s been at least 5 or 6 years, but we’ve only been documenting it since I’ve had my blog.

Anyway, I got some great pictures and am very happy to report that I actually did a good job on my pumpkin this year!!  If you’ll recall, last year I ended up doing just a regular jack-o-lantern face because I was so traumatized over the pumpkin-carving incident from the year before.  So, this year I was determined to redeem myself and just feast your eyes on my creation!

Never mind the fact that I completely blocked everyone & everything out for at least an hour while I was in deep concentration on my pumpkin.  Never mind the fact that I had pumpkin pulp from head to toe by the time I was finished and never mind the fact that I looked like I had been run over by a mack truck from the amount of stress I was under to be successful.

Never mind all that, k?  I was a pumpkin carving queen, people!

My sister was a lazy bum and just carved a heart into her pumpkin.  Puh-lease!  But we did get a really cool picture of the heart that she cut out, so I’ll let it slide…this time.

Nanner decided to draw on hers instead of carve (thank you, Lord!).  And then after we had put candles in all of them and she saw how cool they looked, promptly changed her mind.  We were out of daylight at this point, so I am gonna help her carve it this weekend.

Katie did an EXCELLENT job on hers.  I expected no less, she is a perfectionist.

My niece, Madie, made an “I {HEART} Candy” pumpkin.  😀

Mamaw wasn’t feeling well, so she didn’t carve this year & the Spinster made a cool ghost picture on hers.

This crocheted candy bowl was the secret project that I told you about a while back.  I made it for the Spinster as a thank-you for always hosting such a great party.

Look at the awesome spread that the Spinster prepared!

After we were all done with carving & eating, we sat down to do a fabulous bonfire.

Did you happen to notice the goose in the noose up in the tree in that last picture?  Well, you might think that was part of our spooky party decor, but actually that is a practical joke that my uncle (the Spinster’s brother) played.  He was supposed to take that goose to the dump for Mamaw, but instead came over & hung it in the Spinster’s tree.  We thought it went along perfectly with our party’s theme.

We ended the night with an adorable little craft.  The Spinster went over to the graveyard the day before and collected some small rocks.  She then got some twigs, orange acrylic paint & tacky glue.  We painted the rocks orange, attached pieces of twigs to the top for stems & then used black Sharpies to draw on jack-o-lantern faces.  It was quick and easy & I thought they turned out awesome.  What do you think?

The After-School Hangout

Everyday after school, the girls come home and have a snack.  They tell me all about their day and I look through their papers.  Homework gets done.

I start hearing the knocking usually around 3:45- 4:00.  The kids come over and the playing begins.  I miss those days of running out the front door after school and playing hard til supper time.  : )

Me & George (and how Hannah brought us together)

My neighbor George lives directly across the street from us in this great old house…

I believe he is in his late 80’s or early 90’s.  I first met George when we moved into this house, 4 years ago.  I was talking to the neighbors beside us and we were discussing antiques.  I told them how much I love all things old.  Especially houses.  They informed me that George had a house completely full of antiques and that I would really love the inside of the house.

Well, a few days later I was outside and I looked up to see George shuffling along toward me.  He was moving very slow, but since I could tell that he intended to talk to me, I decided to meet him halfway.  He introduced himself and told me that he’d heard that I was fond of antiques (don’t you love how fast word gets around in a small town?) and wondered if I’d like to come inside his house and see his.

I’m pretty sure I may have actually squealed with delight.  The girls were only 2 and 5 then, so I told him that I first had to gather them up to come along with me.  He seemed a little nervous at the idea of 2 little girls inside his antique-filled house.  I can’t say that I blame him.  But, the girls were extremely well-behaved especially considering that we spent an hour and a half going through his house.  Aside from the wonderful antiques that he had, just the house itself was awesome.  There is a servant’s entrance and a butler’s pantry and all of those cool old things that you don’t find in houses anymore.

We said our goodbyes that day and I would see George out mowing his yard or working in his flowers on occasion.  Sometimes we’d wave and a few other times we might talk for a couple of minutes, but we didn’t really spend any time together after that first day in his house.

The years have gone by and as the girls have grown it seems that we get busier and busier.  I hadn’t seen George out a lot, but I just chalked that up to the fact that we are always doing something.  However, right before we left for our summer vacation, a neighbor came & told me that George had taken ill.  Something to do with his heart.  He doesn’t have any family living, but he has a rental house and the tenants had been taking him to his doctor appointments, but they live in Greensburg and it was a little difficult.  The neighbor that I was talking to had been stepping in a little and taking him to some doctor appointments here and there.  I told her that I’d be praying for him and that I’d check in with her when we got back from vacation to see how he was doing.

Well, it shames me to say that I forgot all about poor little George across the street.  I did pray for him a few times before we left, but we got back from vacation and we were in full softball mode and I just completely forgot about his situation.

Until one day Hannah comes up to me and says, “Mama, I want to make a card for George so he will feel better.”

And then it hit me that I had forgotten all about his health issues.

So, she made him a card that said, “Dear George, I heard you were sick so I made you this card to make you feel better.  Hope you get better soon, Hannah (your neighbor across the street)”

She walked it over herself and put it in his mailbox.

I was proud of her for thinking of George, especially since we’d been on the go so much that I forgot all about it, let alone a 6-year old girl who has tons of other stuff to occupy her time and mind.  I was also really ashamed of myself.

A couple of days later, Hannah looked out the front window and there was George, shuffling along towards our house with an envelope in his hand.  She jumped up and flew out the front door and met him halfway.  I followed along behind and he handed her an envelope and thanked her for her card and told her that it made him feel so much better that he could even get out and deliver this letter to her.

For the next 15 minutes or so I stood talking to George and finding out all about his health issues.  Aside from the heart troubles he also has cataracts and has been told he can no longer drive.  He has a nurse that comes in once a week to check on him and one of our neighbor’s grandsons is taking care of his yard for him.  I asked him how he was getting his groceries and he said that he tried to get a ride into town whenever he could find someone to take him.  I told him that I go get groceries every Thursday morning and that I’d be happy to take him with me if he wanted to go.  He was thrilled at that and said that he would love to go with me.

When I got back home, I read the letter to Hannah.

“Hi Hannah – Thank you for the hand-made drawing/”get well” card.  Yes, since the first part of May, I’ve been in and out of hospital, but had to return again the last part of May and June.  Was happy to return home to see the town of Hope.  Thanks again for the card. – George (your neighbor across the street)”

He even decorated the letter and envelope with hand-drawn flowers.  Hannah was absolutely beaming when I read it to her.

So, now I have a date with George every Thursday morning and I have to tell you that I really look forward to my time with him.

I have learned that back when he worked, he was a movie set designer out in California and he traveled all over the world buying different pieces for the movie sets.  I asked him if he’d ever done sets for any famous movies, but he said it didn’t really work like that.  He didn’t always know what movie he was building sets for.  He said that sometimes the studios would reuse the sets in different movies.  However, he did know that he’d built a couple of sets that had been used in Alfred Hitchcock movies.  Pretty awesome.

George is sometimes very chatty and sometimes very quiet.  He will sometimes assume that I know what he’s talking about when I honestly have no clue what he is saying.  He tells me all about the places he’s been to all over the world and what different cultures are like and I am never anything less than amazed after spending my mornings with him.  We make our way very slowly through the grocery store.  The cataracts really do a number on his vision and sometimes he bumps into things, but holding on to the cart helps him keep his balance.  I try not to do too much for him because I don’t want to offend him and he told me once that he has to learn to do these things for himself as best he can.  I help him read some of the food labels that are too small for him to make out and he tells me how bad some of the stuff I put in my cart is for my health and I will throw up some lame argument about “all things in moderation”.  🙂  But I always enjoy his company and am very fond of my new friend.

I am so glad that Nanner didn’t forget about him and that her little get-well card brought us together.

A Long Weekend

We had a very long, hot, and tiring but fun weekend.  It started with Katie’s first All-Star tourney in Shelbyville on Friday night.  We played 1 game Friday night, 2 games on Saturday and one on Sunday.  It was smokin’ hot.  The girls did great for their first tourney.  Placed 3rd out of 9 teams in the Babe Ruth Sectional.  Not bad…

After we got done playing ball on Sunday, we came home and celebrated my niece & nephew’s 12th birthday.  I can hardly believe that they are tweens!

My sister had a little party for them up on the square.  The kids played at the park and we had cake & ice cream.  Well, everyone except for Pouty Butt here…

She didn’t want cake & ice cream, she wanted to walk over to the cafe and get an ice cream cone.

My nephew, Mason and his buddy, Brandon

My niece, Madie and her friend, Jade

Chillin' with the Spinster


Nanner climbed high up in a tree & GOT STUCK!  🙂

Madie looking so grown up

Oh and I can’t forget my other bratty niece, Maryka and her boyfriend Jake

After that, we were off to the fair.  The girls both had a 4H project, which I neglected to take pictures of for some dumb reason, but they each received a blue ribbon.  I will have to post pictures of their projects later.

We found some friendlies in the livestock barns.

Brian and I laughed ourselves into tears watching these guys ride the rides.

Nanner is looking a tad nervous


Don’t know who this kid is, but had to throw him in because he’s having such a great time.  😀

Whew!  Long post for a LOOONG weekend.  🙂

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