Finding The Humor In It All

Week two of school is done. Wheeewh. 

We are all still alive and I even hear laughter downstairs! That is a good thing.

There were a couple big hurtles this week, but we have tried to find the humor in the situation. Not always easy… and sometimes… not possible, but at least it’s worth a try.

Harry had to get the bottom braces put on this week, and he is not finding much humor in any of that. However… I did get him to smile this morning! So that is a start. Once his teeth stop hurting, and he gets used to all that stuff in his mouth, he might start to enjoying life a lot more again.

JJ has been driving a bit more this week. He didn’t think he was ready, but I made him get on a real road today. And not just an empty parking lot or deserted road. I knew he was ready and could do it., he just needed the confidence of seeing for himself that he could. I guess… now that I think about it… if he had wrecked or driven off the road the opposite could have happened too. Hmmm. Good thing I didn’t think about that while I was telling him to pull out into traffic! Lol! 

Even in his nervousness, JJ has a sense of humor. He said some of the funniest stuff while he drove along… going wherever I told him to. Coming up on an intersection with a light, where I had told him to hang a right…he says, “Okay…so…I…I can take this corner for free?” Meaning: Do I have the right of way? 

Silly kid.

He did great. He had WAY more confidence the second time around “the track”, and had a big smile on his face heading home!

He asked if he scared me by being nervous. I told him I’d be nervous if he wasn’t nervous. I think they SHOULD be scared to death at first. They are driving a lethal weapon for Pete’s sake, and every decision they make could forever change the rest of their life. I want my boys to be nervous, and then slowly build up confidence in themselves as they practice. It’s the ones that think they know it all already that you have to worry about!

But hey, I have one more boy to go…and that might be him! YIKES. I have two years to prepare my nerves for that one.


Hope you all have a great weekend,





Filed under Real Life on My Planet

The School Year is Under Way

Today was the first day of the 2014 – 2015 school year for us.

It was met with excited children, a “together” teacher and lots of bubbles, balloons and rainbow streamers. Just kidding. 

But I have to say it did go quite well.

The boys got themselves up quite early, and were working on their assignments before I came in from having my own worship time in my art studio. I was so happy that I wanted to smother them with kisses and hugs, but I played it cool and just said “good morning!” Didn’t want to jinx it, ya know? After all, they ARE teenage boys!

Surprisingly, I was even able to get their school pictures taken after school! And they cooperated! Of course, I had to take them outside one at a time…or they would goof around and I wouldn’t get ANY decent shots. LOL!

So, I am feeling very blessed, and hope that the majority of the school year goes as well as this first day has.



(Even though he graduated last year, he is taking some classes on his own, and also teaching one for me this year.)

Guy B39



Jage B82


(8th grader)

Harris 010

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Creative Juices Flow

Yes, I realize that the cobwebs have taken over on this blog again. I guess I just need to accept that I am not going to be doing weekly posts, or even monthly posts anytime soon. It just is what it is.

Maybe it has to do with the boys not being little kids anymore. They are all teenagers now, and don’t need me as much. They keep themselves pretty busy with their individual hobbies, work and friends. And by this time next week…school. Or maybe it’s because I spend every spare minute in my studio!

Yep, that’s it! We are all spending our time being creative. That can’t be a bad thing!

And by the way… here is a photo of the studio after the outside was painted. It is finished now. My Daddy would have loved it.


Isn’t it so cute?

While I am on here, let me share the boys latest creative talents. I think I’ve missed sharing the last couple of their movies with you. You can always go to their You Tube channel (Trippin Lion Studios) and watch them… but here are the three latest.

Pro Clip Exchange (1 min. 38 sec.)

Justice Breach (3 min. 9 sec.)

Motion-Trigger (2 min. 2 sec.)

I am so proud of all these boys and the time and effort they put into these movies. They have learned so much over the last few years of doing this. JJ, the camera man and editor, is so talented. But like he always says, he couldn’t do it without his actors!

It’s exciting to watch these boys and see where this might take them in the future.

If you have some time, take a look at them.




Filed under Art Projects, The boys

Here, Let Me Just Clean Out the Cobwebs on This Blog

Yeh, five and a half months in between posts a great blog will not thee make.


I know, but let me show you what I’ve been up to.


Remember the little art studio I had built last August? You can check out that post here if you want to.

Well, when I’m not home schooling, cooking, and all the regular stuff around here… I’ve been working on the art studio. Loosing my Dad left a HUGE hole in my heart, so the making of this studio has been VERY therapeutic for me.

I just love my little space! Let me give you a quick tour.

This is my work table (craigslist), and what you see when you walk straight in the double french doors. The awesome triple light over the table is an old chicken brooder light I found at an antique market. I just love it.


Turning to the right, I have a lighted hutch (craigslist) to display some of my work.


And further over, a stand up desk (craigslist) that I painted. The old industrial stool was a birthday gift from my friend Maurene.


Turning a little more to the right, and looking back at the doors, this is on the left side. A little tribute to my loving Daddy, who made this possible in the worst way possible.


Now, standing back in the doorway and turning left is my sink and counter area.


The brick behind the counter is the faux sheet brick stuff, screwed onto the wall, and then I dry brushed white over it. The cabinets, counter-top and bookshelves are all from IKEA. (Love the products, hate the store.) The water dispenser (hot and cold) was another craigslist find. Best 50 bucks in the room! The big thing next to the water dispenser is the standing air conditioner. I may come to like it later on in the summer.

Turning more to the left…



My little sitting area. The love seat & ottoman are off craigslist. I did order the white cover for the love seat from JCPenny. The old ladder, flea market. Oval tray on ottoman, antique store, and another gift from Maurene. The shabby shic quilt on the back of the couch is from Target, and my friend Branndan made me the patchwork pillow. I painted the canvas over the couch a couple weeks ago. The words “I Come To The Garden Alone” are from a lovely old hymn. It was sung at my Dads funeral service.

And this is looking out the french doors into our backyard.


The last detail was finally finished this week, so, this weekend I had a little dedication service & party to honor my Dad, and to commit my artwork to the Lord. It was a wonderful evening.

Our good friend Matt did the service. It was beautiful. Perfect.

Here are some photos from the Dedication.


My friends Ralph and Tina brought me a hand-made sign. Ralph and his son-in-law James are the ones who did the drywall, insulation, wood ceiling, plumbing and various other things in the studio.

Dedication 5-3-14 301




My husband cutting the ribbon.







Image (these two teal chairs are also craigslist!)


Maurene and I made these little roses out of clay (on green pencils) to give out as favors.



 Thank you to all of you who came and helped make it a very special event.

My Dad would have loved it.




Filed under Art Projects, Something Special

My Movie Crew

JJ has a birthday this next week. He will be sixteen years old. (boo hoo… can’t be…) However, we celebrate his birthday in October when not as much is going on. He chose to do this, several years ago, because he was sick of his birthday celebration being so close to Christmas and his big brothers birthday. He wanted to open presents more than once a year like everyone else! Couldn’t blame him. So we moved it! We call it his “still __ birthday party”. (Fill in the blank with whatever age his still is!)

Well, this past “Still 15 Party” he wanted to have his friends over and film a movie. That was it. He told me that I could provide food and his regular “doughnut” cake, but not to plan anything else for them. Hey… easy!


So… had a house full of boys for about 24 hours, and this is what became of it.


JJ is the guy behind it all, but he would NOT want me to make it sound like it’s all about him. He LOVES to come up with little movies, has a gift for working the camera, likes to be behind the camera, and enjoys the pants off of editing… but he couldn’t do any of it if he didn’t have his brothers and buddies as actors. So, he is always quick to point out that it is a team effort.

Just before he posted the Hostages video, he and Guy made this little gem.

A Day in Minecraft

Now, I was doubly impressed with this one because not only was it JJ’s first attempt at adding animation to a film, Guy did the music for it! (I am so proud of them… even if I don’t always get the subject of the movie.) 🙂

Then a few weeks ago they filmed this one on a Saturday afternoon/evening at a friend’s house.

Power Level Too High?

I have already gotten on them for having my baby say one line that I am not happy about. Of course they all think I am over reacting… and that’s fine… it’s my job!

They have a great time making these movies, and JJ spends a lot of time editing them. I am very proud of my boys and all their friends that help out. They are a good bunch of boys.

Their You Tube channel is Trippin Lion Studios. In case you haven’t seen Friendly Fire or Wolf and Lance (the latter being a 24 minute movie that took them a whole year to make.) A “like” or comment would be wonderfully encouraging to them. Thanks!




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Truly Christmas 2013

We had our annual Truly Christmas event last night at our church. It turned out wonderful. Good food, good people and good music! The group that came to play for us was called Purely Acoustic. Three sisters who truly have a love for and the gift of music. It was a blessing to listen to them.


I haven’t heard yet how much we raised last night, but our charity’s this year were One Roof and PTC Women’s Ministry. The Women’s Ministry makes heart shaped pillows for breast cancer patients. They supply several hospitals in our area.

My three youngest boys were servers once again, along with their dad. The boys fuss about it a little right before we have to head to the church, (I think it’s more about having to wear those ties! LOL!) but once there, they are happy and pleasant. Plus, they enjoy any bit of time they can have with their friends.



They immediately head into “help” mode when it is over and help me gather my stuff, load the car, and assist anyone else they see that needs it. (I think it’s mostly so we can get out of there and go home quicker, but… it’s still helpful!) I thank them profusely for helping me out with the event on the way home, and they seem happy that they did it.

Guy and JJ started serving when they were 7 & 8 (I believe), so this is old-hat to them. This sure helps them out if they ever decide to wait tables for pay! Harrison didn’t get to start until he was 11, but this was his second year and he got to team up with his best friend Tucker. They did a great job.

My only regret (and it seems that it is this every year) is, not getting enough pictures. So busy greeting people and making sure everything is going well, that I don’t get to think about what I might want in a picture later. 😦

At least I got these.

DSC_0255 (2)


I only ended up having to make one snowman. And THANK GOODNESS! I never would have gotten them both done. It was a long and tedious process. A great medium for smaller projects, but just too much for something this size. Here is where I got the recipe Paper Mache Clay. Then I painted him white, sprinkled white glitter all over him, and finished it up with Mod Podge sealer. It’s heavy.



The snowman looked pretty good on the stage, but ended up being kind of hidden with the various instruments of the musicians. Ahh well, Frosty will be there through December, so he will get lots of stage time!

Here are the 300 ornaments in baskets ready to pass out at the end of the evening. I did not have to tie all the red bows and stars on them. A special thanks to the other ladies that did that part! And a thank you to Becky and Branndan for helping fill them.

Learned how to do these here.



I pulled my cabin out of retirement this year. Dusted it off, patched it up and fixed the little smoke motor in the chimney. Oh, and I got some hot chocolate scented smoke oil for it. Smelled wonderful!



Can you see the smoke coming up the chimney?



Mailbox on the cabin centerpiece

I had a nice group of ladies at my table and enjoyed the evening very much.


Good times, great friends!


Next year I will not be on the TC committee, so will have more time to spend in my studio making a new centerpiece. I am SO looking forward to that! 🙂

(Update on the studio progress coming soon.)


My hair! I did an up-do deal. I had to watch about 4 tutorials to even attempt it. But for my first one… I think it came out okay.


Now to clean up my messes and get ready for Thanksgiving! So grateful it went well and that it is over. 🙂

Maybe now I could hibernate through the rest of the winter. Please?




Filed under Art Projects, Christmas Time, The boys

Alvin the Chipmunk – Kidnapped

After a very busy day, I took a seat next to JJ to rest a few minutes before starting dinner. I’ve been trying to get over bronchitis and a sinus infection, so I wear out quickly. I had made myself a cup of tea, and was just getting my emails up to read, when JJ and I both startled at Nimbus running pell-mell through the living room crashing into things. Along with the noise from Nim knocking into furniture, we hear a very loud squeaking!

We both yelled out “Nimbus!” and at that… he dropped his “toy”… and off it went!

Thirty minutes later, and with a disheveled house, we got’em.


Poor little dude. He seemed fine, besides being scared out of his wits!

I took him to a tree and opened my hands. He took off in a flash. Free!

Nimbus on the other hand, was quite upset that I took away his first catch (besides bugs and his own tail). He looked around the house for that chipmunk for almost an hour.

Never a dull moment around here.




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An Art Studio

I’ve tried several times in the last few weeks to write an update post. Thrilling, I know… but it just seems weird to me to start-up now and write a specific post like the last two months didn’t have anything happen in them. I just can’t make any of my attempts work. I have four posts drafted and saved… but I just can’t post them. Actually, this one may not make it either. 😦

Mostly, I think I’ve lost a lot of the inspiration I once had, after my Dad passed away. I started the blog five years ago, for my family that lives three thousand miles away from me, as a way for them to keep up with what the boys are doing and see pictures of them growing up. But, now that my biggest blog fan (Dad) is not reading it, and my Mom is blind  and hasn’t been able to use the computer for several years now, it just isn’t the same. But… I know some of my dear friends around the world like to see what is happening at our house from time to time…so, for them… I’ll continue. Or at least try.

Much of the time I am poopy and sad. And I don’t like being poopy and sad around others. Although exhausting, I can “fake it” pretty good when I have to go out and be around people. Some days it’s just too hard to fake. I guess I am not done grieving yet.

But… I am keeping busy and trying to work things out in my mixed up head.

These keys will help.


Back in September, I figured out how to use the money my Dad left me, in a way that would have made him very happy, makes me happy, and will keep his memory alive forever. I built an art studio in my backyard.


My Dad and I had gone looking at little out buildings many times when he would come out and visit. We would talk about how cool it would be for me to have a little place that I could “escape” to and work on my creative therapy. We would gather information, take pictures of the ones we liked, walk in and out of them discussing all the while what we could do to make it work as my art studio. And in the end we would always say, “Yea…someday!”


Well, that someday happened. I’d MUCH rather have my Dad back though. I’d much rather go around looking at the sheds forever with him, than be in one without him. But, since that is not an option, I’m glad that he was able to make the “someday” happen for me. Just wish he could be here to see it. He would be beaming with happiness.

He would look something like this!


And then he would ask a million and one questions. Questions I don’t even think of asking. Things that one would need to know if they were going to do the project right… but that few of us ask.

I hope I do him proud.

I found a local company that builds on site. Dustin Hirschfeld was professional and good to work with. My Dad would have really liked him. He and his crew got this up in two days…and in the rain. Check out their website at Backyard Custom Construction or even better… on Face Book here Backyard Custom Construction. I got more of what I wanted, and we didn’t have to deal with hauling a big building down our long, already broken, driveway.










It has been a very emotional journey for me. At first I didn’t want to tell anyone about the studio. I told a select few with fear and trepidation. I’m not sure why. But I am now getting used to the idea, and it doesn’t feel as much like I traded him in for an art studio anymore. It is a beautiful gift from him… and a wonderful way to keep him with me forever.


My precious neighbors brought me this lovely gift not long after the studio was up. Beautiful sounding wind chimes that say “in memory of Papa”.  *sniff*

It’s still in the process of being finished. Electricity is in. The drywall almost all up, and then the ceiling will be next. I have most of the furniture picked out or purchased already, and am chomping at the bit to get it all done so I can “move in”.


My husband wouldn’t let me have a bathroom out there. He said he’d NEVER see me again if it had one. He’s probably right. I could live out there. Hey… I have no problem peeing in the woods! I could maybe last a few days before having to come home and clean up. 🙂


Sooooooo, besides the art studio construction process,




keeping up with all the feathered, furry and funny rascals,






surviving a nasty cold bug making the rounds,


a visit from my cousin and her kids,


doing three different photo shoots,

Knauta Family 2013


038 (2)

going to a beautiful wedding,


making 300 ornaments and two life-size snowmen (pictures to come) for Truly Christmas,


the death of a dear-sweet friend (who has made a major impact in my life) from our church,


a 16th birthday party with 10 teenage boys – overnight,


keeping the family “full”, house “clean”, and laundry “done”… I am trying to take some time for myself to meditate and grieve the loss of my Dad. It has been six months already. I just can’t belive it. I miss him SO much.

I do know that I was blessed with a great Dad. I had a wonderful relationship with him and we spoke often. He was a good Papa to my boys and they are all old enough to remember him and all the good times they had with him. All that is a major blessing. So many don’t have good relationships with their parents, or don’t even know who they are. My Dad was a blessing to our family and to many, many others as well. He gave from the heart. He gave his time, his money, his knowledge and his love. He was kind and generous to everyone he met. You did not have to know him to gain a blessing from him! He impacted strangers everywhere he went. Genuinely interested in people, their lives, their family’s and their hearts. I was blessed. And continue to be blessed.

No promises… but I do hope that I will begin to get back to “myself” again soon, and maybe get better at keeping up with this blog. 😉




Filed under Art Projects, Home Improvement Projects, In The News

As My Planet Turns

Yes. I have noticed that I am not the most consistent blogger on the planet. I’m not the most consistent cook, artist, teacher or mom either. But hey… I do the best I can with what I’ve got!

A lot has taken place over here in our neck of the woods in the past couple of months. Let’s see if I can briefly hit on most of them.

Okay, I’ve already updated you on the new kittens. They continue to make us go “awe!”. In fact, the boys keep saying that “there should be some sort of cap on cute – because these two little babies are going to kill us with cuteness!” In fact, one is sitting on my lap as I type, making it difficult to concentrate!

But here goes.

Mentally, it has been a very dark and sad summer for me. But physically – and as far as everyone else goes – it has been filled with activities and good times.

At the end of June, Harry got to go to summer camp with his best friend. He had a blast!



In early July, Guy & JJ filmed their first wedding! They did a pretty good job – for not ever having done it before. They learned a lot, and this could turn out to be a great side job for both of them. Thanks Jake and Cassie for giving them the opportunity!


Oh, and I also got to do a little artsy stuff by making these Pikachu grooms cake topper for Jake and Cassie. Fun.

Next, I took five teenagers to Helen, Georgia for a long weekend full of tubing, zip-lining, and card games! We had a great time and lots of awesome memories.


(and yes… JJ really is that much taller than the rest of them! Guy – in the white shirt – is 6′ 1″ and 17 years old. And JJ is 6′ 61/2″  and is only 15 years old.) :O



Right after that, Guy got his drivers license!


I was all excited and happy for him until the first time he took off in the car with his two younger brothers… then I freaked out! WAIT!!! NOOOOOOO.


(Here they are leaving the house for the first time – alone – in Papa’s Cadillac. The Caddy is now; the boys car.)

I am working hard on getting used to all of this. Truly I am.

On the 24th of July, I took the five teens to Atlanta to attend a Meet & Greet for Olan Rogers. They were SO excited! We waited in line for 6 hot hours. (I must really love these kids!) But let me tell you, it was well worth the wait. This Olan Rogers is one special guy! Okay, okay… I was excited to meet him too!

He has become a YouTube celebrity in the last few years. My boys started watching his stuff when he was part of Balloon Shop – doing films with his friends – just like my boys do. He has now taken his filming to a new level, and done very well. But that is not the only reason I like him. I like him because he is a decent guy. A good role model for my boys. I appreciate the fact that he doesn’t curse or demean others to gain popularity. He doesn’t need to. He is funny and talented… and oh those dimples!! What a cutie! His mama should be very proud of him.


He took his time with each and every person that came to see him, (hence the 6 hour line – which for him was a 9 hour line!) and was willing to let you take pictures, ask questions and he even recorded a short video for some of the kids that wanted to come with us but couldn’t! His whole team was awesome and I was truly impressed.

He just finished up his Eat-a-Slice-with-Me tour, you should google him and find his website – it’s worth a read. Oh, here… I’ll give you the link to his YouTube channel. Just click here. He’s one of the good guys. I am very glad that he is out there for my boys to look up to and aspire to become like. What a silly, funny, crazy, kind, thoughtful, great guy! (My Dad would have loved him.)


Stay true to yourself Olan! Don’t let the world change you. You keep changing the world!

And speaking of filming… we had a few extra boys at our house this past weekend, and so it was an opportune time for them to film another movie. Thanks to some good friends that let us use their house while they were gone – the boys finished it up and JJ is now in the editing stages. I look forward to seeing it. If you care to go see what they have already done in the past, you can go to

Well, we started our new year of school this week. Guy is now a Senior, JJ a Sophomore, and Harrison in the 7th grade. I am praying that we have a good and productive year. It is off to a good start despite my recent depression and regular panic over my job as teacher!


There was a whole lot of other neat stuff happening around and in between all of this, but you, nor I, have the time to hit on it all! These were the highlights, and since I just don’t seem to be able to be consistent with blogging, highlights is how I’ll have to roll!

Until next time…



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Filed under In The News

Princess Jasmine

About a week or so after we got our Prince Nimbus, I agreed to receive another kitten from a friends litter. (I’m sure you are questioning my sanity about now.)



Sight unseen… again… I agreed to take in this little fur ball to maybe help Nimbus out in his struggle to gain weight and thrive.



Am I ever glad I did!


Jasmine (Jazz) is such a beautiful and sweet little girl. She has been such a blessing.

The first few days she was here, she hid, and hissed a lot! She hated Nimbus and I was so worried that they would never be friends. But after a while, Jasmine adjusted to her surroundings, and began to accept that Nimbus was her new brother.

Now, they are buddies, as you can see.





They keep us laughing, loving and cuddling! I’ve never had a cat that enjoyed being held as much as Jasmine. She jumps in my lap for a nap almost every time I sit down. What a trusting, relaxed, little lover!


And to think that I was never really a cat person!








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