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


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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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Filed under Critters

Prince Nimbus

In need of a distraction, I have been on the lookout for a kitten for JJ, since he lost his ol’buddy Tang last month. JJ wasn’t too sure about any of the prospects I had found for him until… he heard this little guys story.


Okay, a couple of weekends ago, I had to run into Pets Mart to grab something real quick. But you know how they have the cat and dog adoptions going on there on the weekends? Yea, I try to avoid them because we all know I’m such a sucker for cuteness! Well, I had my mind on other things that day, and forgot all about the fact that it was an adoption day. Suddenly, there was a whole cage of little kittens in front of me, so… I paused to check them out. I didn’t see any white ones (JJ has been very specific that he wanted a white, male kitten.) and so I started to head on by when a lady asked if she could help me. I told her no… that we were looking for a white one, and they didn’t have any. She lit up like a Christmas tree and said that they had one, but he was just not ready to bring out yet.


Apparently, someone brought him in the week before, after witnessing him being thrown from a car window as it was speeding down a busy road.

He was checked out and had no broken bones, but was in very poor shape.

We were able to adopt him a week later, although technically he was not ready to be adopted. Seems he was not doing well in the foster home he was in (Due to one lady trying to take care of too many kittens at once. With several others, plus five to bottle feed, she was overwhelmed and he kind’of got left on the back burner – so to speak.) and they asked if we would be willing to deal with some of his health issues and the poor condition that he was in. Heck yes!


He came to us covered with fleas, had many sores from said fleas, was skinny as a rail, and stank to the high heavens. They said he was about 8-9 weeks old by looking at his teeth development, but looks a whole lot younger due to neglect.

He is still struggling with worms, and we haven’t been able to put any weight on him yet. (He only weighs 1 lb, 6 oz.) We are going back to the vet tomorrow to see what else they can do for him.

But even with all the mistreatment, starvation, sores, sickness and neglect he has endured in his very short life… this little guy is a SWEETHEART!

We just LOVE him.


Everyone in the whole family is enamored with him. We just can’t stop looking at him. The other day JJ said, “Nim’s cuteness is liable to kill me. I just don’t know how I’m going to survive it!” 🙂 In this photo below, JJ was holding him in the car, on the way to the vets office yesterday. He just laid in his lap and played. He totally trusted that we were going to take care of him and NOT throw him out the window or leave him.

He knows that he has found his forever home!


Although it seems as though I would already have enough to do around here, I am happy to have this little bundle to help take care of and love. He is a cuddle bug, and looks into your eyes like he can read what you are thinking!


I’m so happy that JJ was able to find such a wonderful little guy to help fill the void of missing Tang. (And Papa)

So, with all the sadness that’s hanging on around here… it has been softened a bit by a tiny, fluffy, white cloud of pure preciousness! Papa would have sure loved him.


And to the people who threw him out the window… karma. That’s all I have to say about that.DSC_0005hi-d


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The Roughest Fathers Day Ever

I had so much planned to say. So many great stories to share about my dad. But now, as I sit down to write this post, it seems all jumbled and pointless. I miss my Dad. That’s it. What more is there to say really. I don’t feel like being clever, intelligent, witty or even nice. I’m so sad.

However, I do want to honor him on Fathers Day. If you didn’t already know him, by viewing these photos you will get an idea of the kind of man he was. It’s evident that he loved kids, life and family.

He is missed so much.














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Filed under Something Special

Chicken Talk


One of the three chickens that were given to me last year was a little bantam. She’s smaller than the other hens, but not even close to as small as Peeps. She has been the sweetest little thing. Her name is Lucy, and she was the best guard hen! She would always be the one to alert every one of a predator in the area. Every time she sent out her alarm sound… we would run outside to find a fox, coyote, stray dog, snake or hawk in the yard. She was right every time.

She was also a very friendly little girl. So the boys liked her a lot.

Well, ever since I got back from my Dad’s funeral, she refused to go into the coop at night to sleep. She prefered to sleep in the branches of a nearby tree instead. That way she didn’t have to spend half the day in the coop waiting for me to come let them out. She liked her freedom early in the mornings. I would catch her when I could and put her in, but couldn’t get her every night.

Well, one night last week was just such an occasion, and the next morning I found her feathers out in the yard, and a trail of them off into the woods. 😦

We will miss her. But in the light of all that I’ve lost lately… I was not devastated. Just sad. Very sad. But I am sad a lot lately.

Lucy & chicks

Lucy & chicks

This photo was taken just the day before she became somethings breakfast. She was checking out the three new chicks that came in the mail while I was out in California the first time (back in April). I am thankful for a couple of friends for taking care of them. One friend that came to my house to receive them in the mail, and another friend who got them from her and took care of them at her house until I got home. Thanks Amy and Twila! They are doing great.

The new girls…

Buffy, Dee Dee, and Missy. (Even though I paid good money for pullets – girl chicks – I am fearful that Buffy might be a rooster. 😦 Will keep you posted on that.)



Remembering… last years chicks… and my Daddy…

Papa, Mama Bonnie & the chicks

Papa, Mama Bonnie & the chicks




Filed under The Chickens

Road Trip

After four days with my brothers in California, getting some important legal stuff done, I hit the road with a great friend to drive my Dad’s old Cadillac back to Georgia. (No, not in the Mustang. Sadly, I had to return it to the rental company. 😦 BooHoo.) My brothers agreed that my three youngest boys could use Papa’s car until they save up enough money to get their own vehicles. Figuring that this big’ole Cadillac is a lot safer than a small compact car for these boys in their early years of driving. (Especially Gerrit. If you haven’t read his story yet, you can find it here.)

It’s a comfortable car, but not something the youngsters are going to want to show off to their friends with! Like I said, they can use it until they can purchase their own cars… and driving this big’ole car may be an incentive for them to get jobs and save up. Eh? 😉

Maurene and I took Interstate 40 across the country, stopping when we felt like it, but wishing we would have spent more time planning what we could have seen along the way. We’d see a sign for some monument or historical site, and before we could decide if we felt like going to it… we’d pass the exit, then just shrug! LOL!



New Mexico Sunset

New Mexico Sunset

Windy New Mexico

Windy New Mexico



So, we decided that we will do this trip again next year, plan it better, and rent a Mustang! (We’ll just have to budget in for tickets.)

New Mexico Sunset

New Mexico Sunset


Best lunch ever!

Best lunch ever!

Maurene is one of those friends that is easy to be with. We chatted, listened to music, listened to an Audible book, got into deep discussions, or just looked on in silence. Anything we do together is always comfortable and easy-going. I like that. It’s what I needed at this sad time in my life. She was a salve on my broken heart.


Some of the devastation we saw from the road in Oklahoma.

Some of the devastation we saw from the road in Oklahoma.

We got home in four days. However, we did contemplate shooting past our exit and driving a few more hours to the coast!



It was good to get home and see my family and all the pets. There was lots to do, but I was able to enjoy having Maurene out here with us for a little over a week after that.

Wish we lived closer to each other…

My problem after living here for so long is, no matter which end of the continent I live on, I will be missing good friends. But that’s a good problem to have!

Thank you Maurene, for a great road trip.





Filed under Our Friends Around the World, Things I like