Foto Friday {6}

Just a couple of pictures (literally) from this week. Back to work = very few pictures.

The colors in the sky one evening last week when I left Church: 
 I took the picture with my cell phone, so I wasn't sure if the colors would really reflect the true did. I used no filters.

Selfie from last Sunday on our visit to Sierra Nevada Brewery in Asheville. Have I mentioned just how hot it was?

I told you it was just going to be a couple of pictures! That was quick, wasn't it? :)

Hodgepodge: Better Late Than Never

1. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your summer so far? Why?
(1=eh and 10=best summer ever)

So far? Ha, ha...I laugh! Summer is over for me, as of 2 days ago. I'd say the summer was about an 8; here's why it was rated so high:

2. July 26th is National Aunts and Uncles Day. Did you have many aunts and uncles growing up? Were you especially close to any one or maybe all of them? Are you an aunt? (or uncle for the men who join here on Wednesdays) Share a favorite memory relating to one of your own aunts or uncles or relating to a niece or nephew who call you Aunt (or Uncle).
Again, I laugh. Both of my parents had 7 siblings, so, yeah, I'd say I had plenty of aunts & uncles! Since we lived in Tn. and most of them lived in Tx. (except for an uncle on the other side of NC & one in Idaho), we didn't get to know them very well. Oh, but my favorite uncle was one of my mom's brothers, Father Arthur. He was just the coolest! When it was the off-year for us to go to Tx., he'd bring a carload of cousins up here, as well as an aunt & uncle (when they could come).  I have such fond memories of going to day trips in the mountains, with Father Arthur leading us in songs.

There is a children's book called "The Relatives Came" by Cynthia Rylant. That is our visits to a tea. If you've never heard of it, you can check it out here.
I'm the aunt to 9 nephews & 1 niece. That's correct: only 1 girl in the bunch!

3. What's your favorite food dipped in chocolate? What's your favorite food dipped in cheese?
The best thing I ever had that was dipped in chocolate was Flødeboller. I wrote about it here. I had it the last time I was in Copenhagen; it's a chocolate covered light, fluffy marshmallow.

As far as the cheese question, I'd have to say nachos.
4. When were you last astonished by something? Explain.
I hate to keep harping on this (okay, not really, because I keep doing it!), but the vastness of parts of our country (and the beauty) are astonishing. (This picture was taken as we drove through Kansas. You can see some dust kicking up in the distance.)

5. Surf board, paddle board, ironing board, Pinterest board, score board, clip board, bulletin board...which board have you most recently encountered?
Again, I laugh. Having been back to work for 3 days, obviously it's a bulletin board.

6. What's your favorite story from scripture? Why that story?
The story of doubting Thomas; it shows us that even those close to Jesus doubted who he was, and he still accepted them.

7. If you were to travel from the east coast to the west coast in your own country, which five cities would you most want to see?
1. Boston   2. Chicago   3. Tucson   4. Las Vegas     5. Seattle

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Sunday, CH & I took a little trip to Asheville, because it had been a week since we'd been in the car for any amount of time! He had to meet a man who was buying his bed extender for a truck. So, we decided to make the most of it. We met him at Sierra Nevada Brewery. We weren't able to get an official tour (you have to make reservations), so we just wandered around by ourselves. The building itself is gorgeous.

I saw something I've never seen before. Someone commented on Instagram that it was like magic!
They have beautiful gardens and a huge firepit that I wanted to sit by...except it was about 100 degrees with 150% humidity.
Then, there was this: 
 Yep, we got to see OS! Isn't he handsome?

Vacation 2016: Almost There!

We said goodbye to my sister and BIL, and hit the road for a long day's drive to our next destination: the Black Hills of South Dakota. Once we hit Sioux Falls, we started traveling west...and the wind started blowing. We left the corn fields of Iowa and headed into yet another new state for me. 

When we crossed the Missouri River, it was like driving into a whole different world. The landscape had been flat, just about the flattest land I've ever seen, and then we went down a hill, crossed the Missouri, and....BOOM!

There was this one cloud that was just drifting along by itself.
Then the landscape got somewhat flat again with buttes and rocky hills scattering the countryside.

Once we got to Wall, we stopped for dinner and a quick look around at Wall Drug Store. If you don't know the story of how it began, there was a young married couple; he was a pharmacist. They were looking for a place to settle; the 1 condition they had was that there had to be a Catholic Church. There was one in Wall, so that's where they opened their drug store. The problem was that no one was stopping. In the summer heat, the wife told her husband that they should advertise free ice water to travelers. After doing that, their business started booming. To this day, they advertise free ice water.

After Wall, we had about another hour's drive to our campground...the place that would be home for the next week.

There is a really cool wooden bridge going to Keystone from Rapid City:
It didn't take us very long to set up camp and get comfortable in our new home. Our campsite was perfect. There was a flat space in the back of our site; it was perfect for YS' tent.

 For a full review of the campground, see our Flyin' the Coop blog.
So, now that we're there, there's more adventures to come!

Vacation 2016 Part 1: Sister Time!

What an awesome vacation we had! I had never been further west than Texas (except for a quick weekend to Phoenix for my nephew's wedding), so I was really looking forward to seeing a different part of the country. 
We started off our vacation with a 2-day visit with one of my sisters. I hadn't been to her current house, so I was really excited to see it...oh, and her! I can't believe I didn't get a picture of the 2 of us. (Bad blogger....very bad blogger!) 
I got to see the St. Louis Arch for the first time. The Small Town's high school band participated in their St. Patrick's Day Parade when YS was a junior, so he has actually been to the top.
As we went over the bridge (which apparently had been built since the last time CH went through St. Louis...he talked about how horrible it was to go through that city but was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was this time), I was busy taking pictures. when we got to the other side, I asked CH when we got into Missouri; he looked at me kind of funny & said we hit the state line When we went over the bridge. I was too busy taking pictures to notice the sign!

The drive up was somewhat uneventful, except for the horrendous rain we drove through Saturday night. If Google maps hadn't frozen, we wouldn't have missed the exit that would have taken us around Kansas City, and we would have missed the rain. We ended up getting a hotel room that night...we were only about 1 1/2 hours from my sister's. 
We drove the rest of the way in on Sunday morning, and arrived to see my sister standing at the end of the sidewalk with a huge smile on her face. My BIL was standing on the porch. He doesn't ever show much excitement, but I know he was secretly excited to see us!
She gave us a tour of their beautiful home; we were standing on the balcony looking out at the backyard, and she caught sight of a cardinal. She grabbed my hand & told me to look. No doubt Mama was looking down on us in approval.
My sister is an absolutely marvelous cook: we ate really well while we were there! We originally had visions of us sitting around the pool, talking, but y'all, it was cold! YS (who went with us) and CH got in the pool; I stuck my feet in, but that was as far as I got. It was cold enough for us to have a fire in the firepit one night.
I even got to see one of my nephews! (That's  him on the left, YS in the middle and my BIL on the right.)
We did a bit of sight-seeing while we were there. My sister lives near the town where the Pony Express started.
 Very interesting history there. It was very much worth the $6 admission.

We also went by the house where Jesse James died. We didn't go in; my sister said that the only thing really of interest is the wall that has the hole from the bullet that killed him in it. We saw a picture of it & saved the $4. (The house isn't at the original location.)
Just a couple more pictures of my sister's yard. They have a sweet little fish pond with a bridge over it and some lilypads in it.

My sister was a little concerned that YS would get bored, but he got in there and the boys did their thing.
The only bad thing about the first leg of the trip was that it was over too soon and we had to leave. But we had more adventures to come!

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