Archive for December, 2008

The Sunset of 2008

December 31, 2008


As the sun sets on 2008, I have reason to pause and be grateful for what a wonderful year it has been. At the beginning of 2008, I chose to take the time to be quiet with my thoughts to figure out WHAT NEXT. A big change was coming in September when my youngest daughter would be going to school full day. This event would give me something that I had not had for nine years…EXTRA TIME. I realized that I could take the path of least resistance and fill my time with whatever came along, or I could really take the time to DESIGN my next step. I chose the latter and became a master sorter of “stuff”. I asked myself these questions daily to make sure I was staying on track.

  • Have I spent 15 minutes of quiet time today, no interruptions, noise, or agenda?
  • Does this opportunity/event/time spent match my family mission or personal mission?
  • Is this time well spent?
  • Am I aware of what is being placed in my life right now?

I kept the process simple - work one hour a day to DESIGN my next step. One hour per day was manageable for me. I also knew on a grander scale, that one hour per day = 7 hours per week = 30 hours per month = 360 hours for the year.

The outcome was worth the work for me. I found that extra hour a day by saying a little word that is so very hard for a Type A like myself, NO. I gave myself permission to say no to the things that didn’t answer the questions above. I said NO to business opportunities, volunteer requests, and a few social events. But here is the great part…I also said YES. YES to opportunities that matched my family goals, like Travel and Entertaining. YES to more reading, YES to starting dance again, YES to writing everyday, YES to spending time with people who are positive, YES to clearing tangible and intangible clutter in my home to make room for what is really important to our family…spending time together, talking, eating, and reading together. I said YES to rearranging my home to reflect how we live at our best. I said YES to going to a writer’s retreat led by one of my favorite authors and lifestyle philosophers.

Here is what ended up happening in 2008. I have spent some time dreaming about “what is next” and I have set some things in motion toward those dreams. I certainly don’t have all the answers. One thing is for sure, by living this way this year, I am happy. Happy to be the owner of the word NO and YES. Happy to be awake to the possibilities and grateful for the amazing year it has been.

Make 2009 a WONDERFUL year!

Charles Towne Landing-Day 2 Charleston

December 30, 2008

Charles Towne Landing was the first European settlement in the Carolina province dated back to 1670. Our visit was filled with educational moments for the children and garden inspiration for me.

Type of Trip: Day Trip/Educational
Who: Entire Family
Arrived: 15 minutes from Charleston
Cost: $5 per person, children U5 free
Highlights: Living History demonstrations. “The Adventure” wooden boat floating in the water meant for boarding and exploration. A reproduction crop garden based on instructions given to Capt. Joseph West, leader of the Carolina expedition. A small zoo including wild turkey, bison, an aviary, and bobcats. Fortified area including a beautifully constructed Palisade Wall. The Legare Waring House and grounds.
Things to know: No food available in Charlestown Landing. Bikes are allowed. Free sturdy strollers are available with the exchange of a drivers license while in use.
Additional Information on Charles Towne Landing:

Charles Towne Landing “here”.
Legare-Waring House “here”.


The park had an area demonstrating what a typical colonial settlement might look like in the late 1600’s.
settlers hut

Including the stocks (I think this might be the perfect solution to ending some of the sibling arguments–I wonder if I can pick up a set on ebay?)


A highlight of the day for the kids was to board “The Adventure” and explore this beautiful wooden vessel.

The highlight of my day was to study the reproduction colonial garden based on actual instructions from the time period.
colonial crop garden

Additionally, I enjoyed exploring the grounds of the Legare-Waring House. It was stated on a plaque outside of the home that the last owner saw herself, not as owner of house or land, but caretaker of God’s place. Mrs. Legare-Waring planted the Avenue of the Oaks on the property (looking out the front of the house), 40 years before she was able to enjoy the shade they provided. It is now one of the most beautiful spots on the property.

avenue of oaks

The home was equally as magnificent and is now offered as a wedding destination.

waring house

If you are planning on visiting Charleston,SC, and enjoy visiting parks with a historical offering, add Charles Towne Landing to your list.

Bull Island - Charleston Day 1

December 28, 2008


Type of Trip: Day Trip from Charleston, SC
Who: Entire Family (best for children over 4)
Arrived: 30 minute ferry ride
Cost: $15 per child, $30 per adult for the ferry ride
Things to do: Bird watch, treasure hunt on beach, walk/hike, kayak (if you bring your own boat), picnic
Things to know: No food or drink provided on the island. One restroom on the island about 1 ½ - 2 miles from the beach. Need comfortable walking shoes. Bring a camera.
For additional Information on Bull Island click “here”

Our family spent six glorious hours on Bull Island. From the ferry, we hiked 1.5 miles hike to the beach. We had to stop over 20 times to enjoy our surroundings.

bull island marsh

Morning on the marsh.
Driftwood Treasures

Once we arrived at the beach we treasure hunted for hours finding some of the most beautiful seashells, sand dollars, star fish, coral and driftwood.
bull island seashells

yellow coral



Our beach hiking destination was the “Boneyard”, named for the hundreds pieces of Live Oak left on the beach by Mother Nature. It’s Mother Natures sculpture garden.

Fog crept into the “Boneyard” taking my breath away.

It was the perfect day. We enjoyed the Ferry ride, the long hike, and the bags of beach treasures we discovered.

Christmas Road Trip 2008-Charleston, South Carolina

December 27, 2008

Heading south during portions of the winter is at the top of my priority list. In fact, being a sufferer of SED (Seasonal Effectiveness Disorder) and low Vitamin D levels almost makes having a few warm weather reprieves mandatory (it also keeps my head from spinning off my shoulders and spewing green stuff during February and March.) This year, we decided to visit my Mother and Step-Father in Charleston, SC. It is a 10 hour road trip, straight down south, and is typically much warmer than western Maryland.
South Carolina Weather
(Weather as I write this post—oohh la la.)

When we arrived in Charleston, we found this list on the kitchen counter. It was lovingly prepared by Nana giving us a few possibilities of fun things to do while we are here.

Can’t wait to share the adventures.

Christmas Vacation 2008

December 26, 2008

This year Christmas fell on a Thursday, which gave us an unusually long Christmas break from school –2 ½ weeks. FREEDOM!!! If I could change one thing about having school aged children, it would be to adopt the year round school calendar where children go to school for 9 weeks and are off for 3 weeks. I love the idea of having longer periods of time, in addition to summer months, to be with the kids.

Having 2 ½ weeks, gave us the opportunity to split the vacation into two segments. One week at home through Christmas day, and one week on a road trip.

Christmas week was wonderful. We attended a few fun parties, had a quiet Christmas Eve, and woke up, just the four of us, to a lovely slow paced Christmas morning.

christmas morning

Early afternoon on Christmas, we headed 30 minutes north to spend the rest of Christmas day with David’s family. Having the week leading up to Christmas with the girls at home was just the perfect combination of friend time, family time, and down time.

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2008


Merry Christmas from Buttercup Farm!


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