Friday, December 30, 2016

365 New Days, 365 New Chances

It's hard to believe that another year has come and gone!  But oh what a year it has been!  We've shed some tears as we lost some dear friends and our 10 year old boxer, Jack.  We rejoiced at being an Aunt and Uncle again to our sweet niece, Lisa. We celebrated my Pop's 90th birthday and all in all good health. 
We took a leap of faith and made the move from Indy to TN.  Along with many many other blessed moments.  I couldn't be happier to have the ones I love beside me and an amazingly supportive and loving husband to jump into 2017 with.  

So many of us look at the approaching new year as a chance to exhale that breath we've been holding onto, excited to 'put this year behind us'.  But, before we all go rushing into New Year's resolutions (which let's be honest, most of us are horrible at keeping...and sometimes even beginning) try to take the time to pause. Let us not be so quick to throw the last year away and wipe the slate clean.  These last 365 days were part of our story.  Good or bad they existed and molded us into who we are at this exact moment.  Now yes, some moments may not have been our finest and I'm sure we all can nod our heads in agreement that there were a few lessons learned and scenarios we pray do not repeat themselves in the year ahead. (Can I get an Amen!!)  

But take time to remember those moments, no matter how embarrassing, chilling or heartbreaking they were, and use them as fuel for new growth. Because ahead of us are 365 blank pages awaiting the next chapter of our story. 
Let's make it a good one!

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Time For Thanks

My family and I have always been very close and have quite a few 'family dinners' throughout the year.  So celebrating Thanksgiving this time around was a little different since we moved.  But, we were blessed to be able to spend time with both of our families only a day apart!  Sometimes I have to remind myself that change isn't always a bad thing.  ;)

Because of this we were able to enjoy double the amount of delicious food & belly laughs (these blow up body bubbles were hysterical!!  The kiddos loved them),
Jaycen & Malina

Big brother & Michael
hugs & kisses and time for reflection.  

Uncle Kevin & Jonny
Karha Jane
My sister Ashleigh, Jonny & I.

Kevin and I truly do have a lot to be thankful for.  We have wonderful friends and family that have helped us out immensely these last few months with packing, moving, unpacking, visiting, cooking and job references.  We have a roof over our heads thanks to his brother Kenny, food in our cabinets, good health & an abundance of love.  I am especially blessed to have such a strong and supportive husband walking beside me through these adventures.  The world is chaotic and there is a lot of hate among us, however I find peace and happiness in knowing that my life is full of so many wonderful moments , big and small.

With that being said, I encourage you to slow down this next month.  It's hard to believe Christmas is just around the corner and then the beginning of a new year!  Find time to enjoy the little things.  Stepping outside for a fresh breath of air (even if it is cold out!), making that phone call that's been put off, meeting that special someone for coffee or lunch, or even putting down the cell phones/tablets/laptops etc. to enjoy an evening or to watch a movie.  Life is short and it's gone in the blink of an eye. 

This & That

  • The Southern hospitality here is alive & true!  Even the DMV is nicer than back home! haha  Although we did have to drive an hour (Cookville) and they are only open M-Fri. 8a.m. to 5p.m.  A little inconvenient, but it's done!
  • The opossums & raccoons are absolutely ridiculous right now.  Not sure if the warm weather has them all confused, but I've hit more in the last two weeks than I have my entire life!!  They can't make up their minds which way they want to run. lol
  • "Poo-cat" = Skunk  (I've heard this from my Pop too)
  • I made my first ever batch of turnip greens & they turned out pretty good.

Drumsticks used by some of the world's most famous drummers stem from TN hickory trees.  
Web Link

Doing a little front porch sittin.

Roscoe enjoying the warm weather we have had.  Shaking off the creek!

Bush's Pinto Bean Pie
Recipe Web Link

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Willow Grove: The Town That Drowned

Fall's crisp, cool air is among us and the evenings seem just a little more mysterious this time of year with the extra rustling of brittle leaves and branches in the wind. With Halloween just a few days away, I thought it would be appropriate to share a little eerie Tennessee history.

Willow Grove, 'the town that drowned'.

Willow Grove was located on the banks of Irons Creek and was named for its many willow trees.  Despite being a little town, they were home to one of the largest schools in the area.  Unfortunately, despite many protests, in 1942 the town was forced to evacuate so the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District could build the dam and create what is now Dale Hollow Lake.

*Read the attached article for in depth story*

Aerial photo of Willow Grove school foundation.

The school can be seen best in the fall when water levels are lowered.  It remains a popular spot for divers. 

*Related scuba diving video at the Willow Grove School ruins posted on YouTube by Eddy Haynes

*YouTube Video Link

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Moonshine Daze

This last week has been a little crazy (October full moon!) & busy.  I survived my first trip into Cookeville by myself.  One hour there, about 40 minutes in Walmart and an hour drive back.  Yes Karen, I know it only takes you 40 minutes but I don't know the roads well enough yet to drive TN style!  ;)  I'll get there!  All I have to say is that my sister better like her birthday book I traveled there for!! haha Those trips will definitely be planned out and have a list of anything and everything we can not get at the local Save-A-Lot or Dollar General! 

We didn't end up making it to Moonshine Daze due to some minor "health defects", but there's always next year and we're not going anywhere! Until then, here is a little moonshine history to hold you over. 

Arno Hatcher is pictured on the right in his overalls.

Local moonshiner, Arno Hatcher, resides in Union Hill and has been a Clay County resident on and off his entire life.  He has always longed to open his own distillery in Clay County and "go legal".  
"Arno claims that his moonshine is second to none and grew to be that way after years of making it.  Moonshine, Shine, White Lightning, Union Hill Wine, and Union Hill Whiskey is what Arno is famous for."  Moonshiners, Revenuers, and Ordinary Folk by Susan Bailey

Michael, Malina & Karha were on Fall Break all last week and ventured over to the house for some fun backyard adventures.  Big brother kept them entertained!!  Michael kept wanting to go faster while Malina was a human seat belt for Kevin! haha  Kevin didn't think she could possibly hold on any tighter...and he was only taking them around the yard.  Can only imagine if he took her on a trail! 

Kenny worked on our other S10 that needed a new intake gasket.  He rocked it out in a day and replaced a few other minor things on it while Kevin helped his Dad and I enjoyed the front porch, rocking chair and a good book.  :)

Our Mechanic - Kenny

That night the kids made us a delicious dinner.  For those who follow us on Facebook, you may have seen a few pictures of Chef Michael in training earlier in the week.  

He was practicing taking orders and making toast.  The menu consisted of Chicken bacon ranch pasta, toast with garlic butter and vanilla ice cream & brownies. Mmmmm is all I have to say.  (Kevin had thirds!)

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Recipe   

Random Bits & Phrases

  • FYI: PB Blaster works great on loosening up a sliding glass door, however it does not dissipate from the house very quickly...(cough, cough) 
  • "It was really cuttin a shine on it" ~ Metal to metal rubbing; burnin rubber
  • "Tougher than woodpecker lips"

“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” 
― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables

Sunday, October 9, 2016

It's All About The Food

We survived the first week & are completely exhausted.  This whole moving thing is for the birds.  Kenny has announced that he is never helping us move again, so I guess we find a replacement helper or he's stuck with us forever. I'm kind of leaning towards the latter...which I am not at all against.  The thought of lifting furniture and hauling boxes up & down stairs is nauseating at the moment. 

Kevin couldn't hold off any longer and got some mowing and weed eating done this week. That man loves his mower...seriously, he would mow in the winter if it was possible.

He finished organizing the garage/shop spot and surprisingly managed to fit just about all of his tools in along with Kenny's.  Those two could easily start a side business with the variety of tools they have acquired!

We now have a lot of empty boxes (Hallelujah!!) despite the uneasy feeling that they are somehow duplicating themselves in the basement just to spite us.  How did we acquire so much stuff?!  (only small items for Christmas this year family) I organized the kitchen cabinets this week and in the process realized that I may have a slight problem...I had no idea that I owned this amount of seasonings, (mind you, some of these are Kenny's.) baking supplies, canned goods etc.  But on the positive side, we are set if this whole "worst winter ever" happens.

Now, I like to think I'm a pretty decent cook, but trying to learn the actual heat and cook time of a new oven/stove reverts me back to a toddler attempting to cook apparently.  I almost ruined grilled cheese and a frozen pizza this week! Those are two of the easiest things to make!  Thankfully later in the week Kevin and Kenny stepped in and grilled steaks one night and a seafood variety (swordfish, tilapia, crab legs & shrimp) another.  It was delicious!!

New Food Item of the Week:  Pickled bologna with cheese & crackers "sandwich"

Thursday was Kenny's first day off for the week so we decided to take a break and went on a wheeler ride.  He introduced us to The Line gas station's pickled bologna with cheese & crackers.  In replace of the standard bread slice for the sandwich, they use 4 saltine crackers that are still attached to each other. Genius!!  I was slightly hesitant towards the thought of eating bologna again since my childhood consisted of begging for anything but bologna sandwiches, but decided to be an adult and at least try it.  It was actually really good!  The pickled flavor is where it's at!  Made for a perfect snack to continue on the trails.

Roscoe was a little jealous that he didn't get to ride along with us. Haha

We spent Friday on the lake with Matt & Karen and met up with friends for a few hours.  The water was a little chilly at first but refreshing after soaking up the sun.  Pretty awesome to just hop in the truck and drive a few miles down the road to enjoy the water at 2:30 in the afternoon.  Not to mention it's October and we can still do that!

Saturday we headed into town for the 8th Annual Fall Fest Chili Cook-Off.  It was $5 for the "chili kit" which included the below soup mug, crackers, a raffle ticket and voter ticket.  I tell you what, a small scoop from each station fills you up fast!!  The variations were awesome and the weather was perfect!  They had live music as well and the proceeds went to the Junior class.  (Karha Jane is a Junior this year!)

                     Michael & Kevin at the Chili Cook-off.  He was trying to give Kevin bunny ears.

Random Bits

  • Saw a bigger bobcat last Saturday a few miles from the house, a baby bobcat chasing a rabbit at Matt & Karen's house Tuesday, about 10 turkeys, a ton of deer, heard multiple owls hooting back & forth while enjoying the evening on the porch & heard a pack of coyotes as well.  Loving Nature!
  • Out here the dark is darker and the evenings quieter.  There are stars and then there are "country stars".  Looking up you see more stars than you ever thought possible.
  • Roscoe almost caught his tail on fire walking by the tikki torches just off of the front porch!  I laughed...Bad Mom moment haha
  • Kenny brought us home our first TN pumpkin 
Terms & Funny Phrases
  • "We don't G-Haul" translates to "We don't click"
  • "I ain't easy but I can be had!"
  • "I was performed and born here in that right house."

Top News

Stay tuned: Clay County Moonshine Daze Oct. 14-15 w/ the Best of Tenn-Tucky car show (Tennessee vs. Kentucky)

~Always find time for the things that make you feel happy to be alive.~

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Beginning of a New Adventure

Thought I would try my hand at this whole Blogging thing and attempt to keep people updated on our transition from Indiana to Tennessee and random day-to-day shenanigans. We might entertain you and keep you slightly intrigued, however, we may very well bore the hell out of you and force you to forward our posts to your 'Spam' or 'Blocked' folder. Either way I will not be offended and I'm going to do my best at keeping it updated and share some pictures with everyone!

That being said,  this is our home!!


(Poor Kev attacked an army of VERY red wasps in that shed yesterday!  He survived; the wasps...not so much...although we still haven't ventured back out there yet today...)

Side View (from the backyard)

To start, Friday was the end of our Monrovia, IN Farmhouse chapter and the beginning of our Celina, TN Hills/Dale Hollow Lake chapter.  The radar was not very promising in Indiana Friday, however the rain thankfully held off while loading the U-Haul all day.  Now upon loading up and leaving the driveway Friday evening at 5:45 p.m., that was a whole other story! Torrential downpour, high winds, hail...had to pull over at the Love's truck stop just a few miles from our house and wait it out.  Apparently Indiana was throwing a  little hissy fit about our departure!!  Gratefully, we arrived to Celina just after midnight (TN time) with no other storm issues. 

After a few 'chill out' beverages and a few hours of sleep, Saturday morning brought some sore muscles but we were revived with coffee and Dairy Queen breakfast from Kevin's parents who also brought along the minions to help unload and transfer boxes into the basement.  Nothing better than strong coffee and younger siblings with fresh muscles to get the job done!! With only one furniture catastrophe, which we should be able to mend with wood glue and clamps, everything was a success and unloaded by 5ish. Even though we were 100% ready to collapse on the couch and watch a movie (and get showers!), we ventured into town to Kevin's Dad's company appreciation picnic.  Listened to a band out of Texas perform, Shot Gun Rider, with an awesome fireworks show afterwards.  Have to say, it was a great way to start our stay here in Celina, TN! 

Awoke Sunday morning and headed over to Kevin's parents house for an all out breakfast buffet!  Biscuits & Gravy (sausage & chipped beef gravy), scrambled eggs, French toast, bacon, Country ham, cut apples & oranges, OJ, milk and COFFEE!  Much appreciated since all food was packed tightly away in boxes or still on the shelves at the store.  The house was full with the family (minus Kenny who stayed home to sleep all day and get ready for the start of his night shift work week), Indiana friends that were down for the weekend (Clyde & girl friend) and previous Indiana friends who were also pricked by the 'TN bug' and moved down a few years ago (The Elsea's).

After getting fueled we made a quick grocery run to the good 'ole Save-A-Lot in Celina, got our bed frame put together (which is quite the task!) and organized the laundry room.

Today was filled with a lot of wiping off (upon moving you realize how much dust your stuff collects; where has my cleaning lady been?!), sweeping, washing the front half of the house windows,  cleaning off the front porch and unloading the random crap that was thrown in the back of the daily trucks we drove down.  Dish Network came out this morning to set up our transfer account; pleased to say that we were scheduled for 8 a.m.-Noon time slot and received a call at 7:57 a.m. that he would be there within 30 minutes!  Funny side note: you know you haven't upgraded package plans for awhile when they notify you before you leave IN that we do not have to bring along our old receiver and remotes (even though we did pack them; Just In Case!). 
Only annoying thing right now is that we have a huge old school big screen that they claim can not "fit the picture without the original remote" we are watching DVD's until we come up with a universal remote or a friend figures out how to shrink the image through the Dish remote (Which the 'installer' claimed couldn't fix the issue)...oh well, we have plenty to do for now without worrying about television!

Roscoe is doing well!  Thanks to a few kiddos that ran him all day Friday while we were packing, he slept the entire way down.  He has been napping a lot once we bring him inside; a lot of changes for the little guy this last month and a half!  Sissy Girl and him are getting along great.  She is older so she tends to put her foot down just like 'ole Jack did, but she loves to run and play with him!

Random Bits
  • No matter how hard you try to control the emotions, they will find their way to the frontline and typically that will result in a burst of waterworks/anxiety/happiness all rolled into one ...being a female really takes it toll sometimes!!
  • We had previously been warned, but were reminded by a friend's experience, do NOT eat the
  • You know you live in a small town when you go to drop off the U-Haul (technically a day late because they're closed on Sunday) and they were already expecting you because another employee called to inform them that he
    "...saw a U-Haul with an Auto Transport driving through town and we'll most likely get the 'drop-off'."
  • The air is crisp and the accents thick. (Will probably acquire "the talk" quickly!)  For those who know my husband, his will probably just become a little more Southern.
  • Little side note: Kevin's parents live on Kinney Rd.; their younger son is named Kenny.
  • The pointer finger is used in place of a full handed wave when passing someone while driving.
  • 'Hose Pipe' translates to 'garden hose'
  • 'hun' or 'honey' (male or female) 
  • 'By God' is used frequently for everything; Ex.: Joe is a hard worker & will do anything for ya, by God!

~For this I am blessed~