Thursday, April 30, 2009

Seen any UFO's lately? Right now I'm looking at more than an Alabama woman who moved out of the trailer park has any reason to admit to! No flashing lights, weird noises, hovering or probes, just plain ol' ordinary humiliating UFOs. Also known as UnFinished Objects. Sigh. Melissa at the Inspired Room is hostessing a blogger/Mr. Linky party to challenge bloggers to get those projects finished. Sadly, I have more than one UFO and must choose which one to get through. Maybe the party will help me get it done before the two-week period so that I can get an extra one or two completed as well.

Back in January I attended a smocking workshop with Judith Adams from Australia. She taught us how to do vertical smocking and we made a lovely piece to be turned into a pincushion. I have finished the smocking and was quite proud of myself for getting that done.

Then I realized I had to turn a piece of smocked fabric into a pincushion. Gulp! I was so intimidated by the thought of the construction that I stuck the pretty piece into my work bag and took out something else to do. So my work is to get this made into a pincushion. I have no excuses; we are moved and the essential boxes are unpacked. My sewing machine is back from the repair man and in great shape. My iron and ironing board are just waiting on me. So today I will see just how much I can get done.

Off to work!
This is a story for my friends Moses, Makenna, Noah, Tori, Rosie, Charis, Nicholas, Cameron, Jack, Nikki, Numero Uno, and the others whose Moms let them pop in and visit Auntie 'Ginia every so often.

Mr. Mark and I bought a house last week.
The new house has a deck in the back that is very nice to sit on.

Because the deck is on the back of the house, it is pretty high up in the air.

We also have two cats; Baby Boo, who is not quite as bold as she thinks she is,

And Duncan whose temper rarely matches her sweet appearance.

Mr. Mark worked on the back deck over the weekend and put some screen up to keep the bugs out. This meant that the cats could go out on the deck with us and enjoy the fresh air.

There is one spot on the deck that Baby Boo found quite interesting.

She was so interested in it that she would spend almost all her time crouched down beside that little opening trying to look through it. Sometimes she would even lick the deck near the opening! Crazy Cat! Sometimes when it was time to go back in the house she would not come and would have to be chased back in the house or even picked up and carried. I wondered if there might be a lizard under there.

Boo and Duncan do like lizards and I couldn't imagine what else might be making Boo quite so excited.

Yesterday morning I finally got down on the floor of the porch and tried to peek through the opening. I squinted and scrunched and tried to peek this way and that.

Finally I thought maybe I saw something funny, but it was really hard to see it through the itty-bitty slit in the floor. So I went for a walk around the house to see what I could find.

I walked around the side by the Christmas trees

and past the propane tank

Then I looked up under the deck and found a big surprise!

It was .....

A Mama and Daddy robin who built a nest right up under the porch! I'm sure that soon there will be some babies in the nest. That means that until the babies hatch and grow up and fly away...

I'm going to have a pretty sad Baby Boo!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What do you do when you move to the country and discover that the garbage services in your county do NOT send a truck up your road?

And you have a car, not a truck, so you can't load a big garbage container up and drive it down the steep hill to the highway?

You get creative! You take all your paper products and food scraps (not meat) and compost your tomatoes. You cover the compost with the old leaves that are abundant on a wooded lot.

If you are lucky, you have a magic barrel.

You put stuff in this barrel and it just disappears! I have been informed that the magic does not work during very dry weather for some reason.

You take what is left, marvel at how little there is, put it in a box in the basement and start looking for a recycling center in your area.

Now wasn't that easy? And you don't even have to worry about a sanitation bill coming in every month!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

While I have a couple of loads of laundry to do today (even after yesterday's laundry marathon), I was going to skip and work on other things today. Then I remembered what my VERY wise Mama taught me. "If it is not raining today, do laundry and hang it out because tomorrow it might rain". So I'll get a couple of loads done and hung out this morning. The nice thing is that after yesterday (I lost count of how many loads but I'm pretty sure it was at least 10), a couple of loads is no big deal.

Mark and I have been talking about renting a pressure washer to get the outside of the house cleaned up. It has been looking pretty dingy and grungy and really needed to be spruced up some.

It's vinyl siding, so paint is not the answer (and given how much money and time it costs to paint that is a relief). We had decided to put off doing this; pressure washer rentals do cost and we have other things to spend money on right now. Last night Mark had the hose out watering his seven newly planted tomatoes

He decided on a whim to see what the hose would do to the front of the house. Have you ever heard the sound of a hose spraying down vinyl siding? That's the kind of sound that a Mama must investigate! So I stepped out to see what was going on and was asked to fetch the scrub brush. I got the brush, changed into sloppy shorts and t shirt and joined him. It was surprising how much grime came off with just some water and some elbow grease. The chore grew, Dan got called to get off the computer and come join the fun, the cats were in the window watching and trying to keep from getting wet (the windows were shut but cats don't really trust closed windows when there is water on the other side). After an hour, we were finished with the front and the porch decking and pleased at the difference that little bit of time, effort and fun made.

Today's work is the extra un-named room. Office? Sewing room? Craft room? Quiet room? Whichever it is, it needs a lot of organizing and unpacking! Pictures tomorrow.

Monday, April 27, 2009

We are Here! After a marathon week of closing, packing, cleaning, moving and cleaning, we are in our home and completely out of the apartment. We have internet access again AND Mark got me a clothesline up over the weekend. Wow! He even got the screen loosely hung up on the back porch. Unfortunately, we forgot that the ever-so-small gaps in the flooring of the deck means that the mosquitos and bugs can come up through there to bug us. We'll have to work on that before full summer gets here. Or get some citronella candles. Or both.

This weekend was race weekend at Talladega. I have heard about race weekend. I have heard some interesting stories about what life is like in Talladega on race weekend. I have even heard that traffic on I-20 gets a little challenging between Anniston and Birmingham over race weekend. Stories just don't give you a real picture of what race weekend is like. I made the mistake of going to the Pell City WalMart on Tuesday evening. Tuesday. The race was not until Saturday! Pell City is a whole 15 miles from the speedway. That seems to be close enough for the craziness. There were 15-20 RVs parked at WalMart on Tuesday, the beer displays were set up in the store, and people were filling up their carts with multiple 24 packs of their favorite brew. On Wednesday Mark and I went together and he got to experience it. We made the mistake of thinking that the check-out line by the tobacco counter would be the fastest line since there were not many people in it. Dumb move! We saw more tattoos than I have ever seen (and I watched part of an episode of Miami Ink one time). Heard more whoopin' and hollerin' than I have heard in a WalMart before. Mark and I talked about going back with camping chairs on Thursday and just sitting and watching the entertainment. But we figured we had enough going on with getting things done at the house. I might venture back to Pell City by Wednesday; I hear it takes a while for things to settle back down to normal. In the meantime, I've got a few loads of laundry to hang out on my new clothesline.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I'll be signing off for a few days; probably until Sunday or Monday. Tomorrow we pick up the truck and move as much as we can to the new home. Yay!! I've got several pictures already and I'll share more as soon as we have internet service again. Keep us in your prayers.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Welcome to Alabama! Another stormy evening in our part of the world. Mark and I are back at the apartment sitting and watching James Spann on ABC 33/40. It is interesting listening to James Spann because when he is reporting on the storms he relates them to local landmarks. As much as he travels around doing school programs and speaking engagements I guess he has learned the landmarks. It is funny, though, to listen to him describing a storm as just about to pass over the local barbecue joint, school, or church! We have watched (on television) a tornado pass over I-65 about 5 miles south of us and that was pretty exciting. It was odd, because it really didn't look that bad here at the apartment, but there are trees and buildings and hills between us and the shopping center where it was. It is going to be a busy night in this area; in the last hour there have been reports of three tornadoes touching down in the area. The sirens just keep on going off and this is just a little different for this Georgia family.

Today after church we met Dan at our new house and had lunch. Mark got the fan put up on the back deck (the mountain porch) and I got a little more dusting done before I gave out completely. Tomorrow I'll post some before and after pictures of the new fan. Let me just point out to you if you are thinking about mounting a fan on your porch or deck, that you do want to make sure to get a fan that is outdoor rated. And whatever you do, don't get one with wooden blades.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Plans, plans, plans.
Last night when we got to the new home, our plan was to adjust a little, eat supper, and come home. We decided to spend today cleaning the new home. Cleaning is hard to do with no water and we found out while grilling supper that there is at the moment, no water to our new home. Apparently it got shut off a little early. So instead of cleaning, today was spent putting on new locks, putting up smoke, fire and CO2 detectors, mounting fire extinguishers, vacuuming and dusting. Unfortunately someone (ME) forgot that the cleaning rule is dust first, top down, then vacuum. So I'll do one room over again Monday. Oops! Mark and I spent some nice time on our quiet back porch (it feels like being in a tree house, Noah)after all that was finished. I took a few pictures, but I don't want to overwhelm you with too many at a time, so I'll try to space them out.

Here is the front of the house without a ladder standing there. The porch is quite big; one day I want to have a swing at one end, a couple of rockers in the middle, and a wicker rocking chair on the other end. The red in front are some beautiful azaleas that are still blooming for us.

This is the side yard on the left as you face the house. I keep telling Mark that we ARE decorating those trees in December. Right now the bushes are a little more visible than the trees. I think they are camellias. Anyone else?

And finally, these are at the front down by the road on the right hand side of the driveway. I'm hoping to find some violets, too, next spring.

Before I finish, I must apologize. I discovered today that the comments feature has not been working lately. I recently changed it and made it (I thought) a little easier and more user-friendly. Unfortunately, I changed it in the wrong direction and made it more complicated. I'm sorry, Nancy! It should be fixed now, so feel free to leave a note as we are going along.

Friday, April 17, 2009

What a week! Mark and I closed on our very own house today. Tonight after fixing Dan's car we all went over to the new home and had our first meal there (hamburgers and pasta salad on our porch). There is, of course, a good deal of work to be done on the home. I'll be spending a large portion of Saturday through Tuesday cleaning while Mark moves boxes into the basement (we have our own basement!!). The piano man will arrive Wednesday and move the piano for us. Whoo-hoo! Where do we live now, you may ask? According to USPS we live in Pell City, Alabama. According to the people who draw up fire districts we live in Cook Springs. According to the map and Google we live just north of Prescott (very few people live in Prescott; most of us live just outside it in one direction or another). And to get to our home from Birmingham you get off I-20 at the Brompton exit. Confused? Me too! Just tell yourself that the Akins have moved back to the country and it will all make sense. Once Mark gets all the boxes and furniture moved he can get out and till up an area for a garden. I'll be posting lots more pictures as time goes on but here is the first one I took. The porch is even more enormous than it looks in this picture.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Slow blogging week, crazy home week! So much is going on in our family this week and I will post more tomorrow about the BIG news. Last night Mark and Dan and I tried (really we did) to go to the Birmingham TEA party (Taxed Enough Already) with Rick and Bubba and Sean Hannity. It was such a crazy day that we did not leave the apartment until 7. The party started at 6. At 7 pm, traffic going to the park was backed up over 5 miles from the park. We detoured and finally got there at 8 (normally a 10 minute drive max!) but were unable to park closer than 3/4 mile from the gathering. That was a little too far for me to walk, so we had to head back home. We are glad that there are many people who share our concern about the poor stewardship of taxpayer money being exercised by politicians (and I have to say that most of the republicans are as bad about this as democrats).

On another note, I have finished my first Wee Care gown and the first two bonnets I have been given, turned them in (forgetting to take a picture to post, of course) and have two more gowns and another bonnet to be working on. I'll try hard to remember to take pictures of these. I am loving smocking!

Have a great evening and big, big news tomorrow.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I really am going to get back to the sermons/lessons that I have heard Friday and Sunday, but today is Monday, so it's memory verse day. Today I am ready to move along to the 5th chapter of Revelation and there are some great songs here. This week's is a little longer but honestly, the past two have been pretty quick and easy. Get ready to sing!

Revelation 5:9-10

9And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."

I'm using the NIV this time, because while I prefer the NASB myself, I have been reminded that the language is a bit archaic and difficult for some folks. It's going to be a busy week in the Akin home; I'll update Thursday, but in the meantime, have a blessed week!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

I have a very dear friend who asked me years ago to share with her our family's traditions for Christmas and Easter. We do have a few that are meaningful to me (and hopefully the boys!) and may seem silly to anyone else. I would encourage you to start your own traditions if you have not already done so and to post a comment and share them with me if you would like.

Today is Good Friday, so that means this morning started with Hot Cross Buns. If you have never tried them, they are very easy to make and I'll be happy to share my Mama's recipe if you'll send me an email or post a comment.
On Maundy Thursday or Good Friday I fix lamb and we spend time at dinner thinking about and talking about the cross. We are no longer bound to find a "perfect" lamb to offer at least once a year for the atonement of our sins. The price has been paid once for all time. Any attempt to do something on our own power and strength to offer atonement is like telling God that Jesus' work on the cross was not enough and we have to add to it. Stop and think about that for a moment!
On Easter we celebrate with ham and remember that we are no longer bound by the ceremonial food laws that God gave his people. This year we'll celebrate with our family here in town and enjoy a meal with them.

Have a blessed weekend and above all else, remember that because of Jesus Christ, and through His life and death and resurrection, Death Is Ended! (I Corinthians 15)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

I started writing about Sunday's sermons and Mark suggested that I re-work what I was trying to say, so I'll work on that and instead share with you one of my favorite pictures. I took this several years ago at the Boone Hall Plantation on James Island near Charleston.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Five Days. Oh well; I'm trying! Yesterday was a wonderful Palm Sunday for Mark and Dan and I and I want to share some of that with you this week. But today is memory verse day, so here is the song from Revelation for this week. This is the song sung by the twenty-four elders when they fall down and cast their crowns before the throne.

Revelation 4:11
"Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed and were created."

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

I don't really have anything significant or interesting to say today but I am trying to post more regularly, so I thought I would post a Birmingham picture for you to enjoy. These are the Bradford Pear trees at Mark's office; they have finished blooming but weren't they pretty a couple of weeks ago?

The memory verse is almost memorized, so I think I'll go to the next song tomorrow. Until then......