Archives for November 2012

Charleston, South Carolina | Thankful

It took only 7 years of living in the Southeast to make it to Charleston, South Carolina.  When I told our friends and neighbors here that we were headed there for Thanksgiving, everyone vowed that I would love, love, LOVE it.  They were right!

Crisp, clear weather made it a perfect place to be whilst feeling thankful for our blessings…though not the perfect place to have a fake Thanksgiving dinner if a person prefers to eat vegan, but we managed.  Some Vegan with a Vengeance pumpkin muffins and Tofurkey sandwiches for the car trip at least started the trip right in my book before we entered praline central.  Y’all, do you know they hand out samples for those sinfully good candies all day long?  My kids soon knew where each outpost was in the city, and we’ve been singing, “Praline Samples!” ever since.  Anyway…

A Thanksgiving sweater for everyone!

Tops on my blessings list are these four peeps:

If I can have all these guys and gal healthy and happy, my world is good.  And exploring a new place together makes my world even better.

The Circular Church Cemetery

Charleston possesses the trifecta of deal clinchers for me when it comes to ideal destinations:  killer architecture, riveting history, and bucketsful of charm.

We mainly did a broad overview of the city–drove around The Citadel, College of Charleston, and Murray Boulevard to gawk at the waterfront houses.  We toured the Old Slave Mart Museum–unfathomable–and the Old Exchange Building & Provost Dungeon. 

The Dungeon

I met this cutie in uniform at the Old Exchange Building…we compared boots.

We walked all the way to the dock to take a cruise to Fort Sumter only to discover it was sold out.

We walked a lot.  But despite the look of fatigue on my daughter’s face, she exclaimed one night while walking past the shops on King Street, “I LOVE walking in the city!”  Girl, you and I are going to get along together all right.

There was also a history carriage ride…that didn’t end well.  Using poor judgment, I downed a soda before climbing up into the carriage only to be suffering with the dire need to pee midway through the ride.  As the carriage driver, dropping his voice to a whisper, finished a dramatic story of murders and hangings and ghosts, we emerged from a residential area into a commercial one with public restrooms.  I shot up my hand, and the driver asked, “Yes, ma’am?” to what he thought, I’m sure, what a curious, intelligent question to his creepy ghost story.  “I’ve got to go to the restroom really badly–I’ve waited as long as I could!”  At that, the five of us slunk off the carriage, leaving the remainder on board to enjoy the rest of the ride.  Kind of embarrassing, but not as embarrassing as peeing my pants, so what could I do?

Carriage ride of torture

My husband humored us at night with Pic Stitch on our photos–we’re easily amused.  Looks like I might need to get my son to an eye doctor.  Patch me!  I did say “stuff it with stuff” at one point on our trip–an inarticulate moment that my family isn’t letting me forget.

Two of the three kids totally have their mouths stuffed with “Praline Samples!”

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, too.  Thank you for joining me here on The Painted House!

Yellow Tulips | A Painting

Nothing like a little child labor to start the holiday season, right?  My 7-year-old daughter has been busy working on Christmas gifts for the family–so, sorry for the spoiler, family, you’re all getting paintings…maybe.

The problem is this:  I love each and every one of her paintings like it is a newborn baby.  Her heart is open and selfless, excited to give these away to her family; I, however, can only selfishly think about how much I will miss them once they leave the fold.  Can anyone love them as much as I do?  I guess that isn’t for me to judge.

Meanwhile, until the art is framed and wrapped, I will enjoy the yellow tulips in the kitchen.

You can see her other paintings here, here, here, and here.

A Cozy Chair for Reading

I will never, ever romanticize homeschooling to anyone.  It. Is. Hard…for me, at least.  But there are so many perks or we wouldn’t keep going.  It was the following scene that had me thinking to myself, “Yes, this is one of the prime reasons why we homeschool.”

A cozy chair, a good book, time in which to leisurely read, and a soft kitty to pet all the while–what’s not to like about this school?  But this is just a snippet…remember, no glorifying here.  But I am reveling in a good moment–keeps the fire going, you know.

And if you have ever toured someone around your house, telling them the stories behind every single furnishing and thingamabob, assuming that they sincerely care about your ramblings–and I have done this to be sure–then please read the following excerpt from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.  I had dogeared this passage last school year for its charming depiction of someone (like me) very house proud.  It is the first time that Rat sees his friend Mole’s house.

Then, while the Rat busied himself fetching plates, and knives and forks, and mustard which he mixed in an egg-cup, the Mole, his bosom still heaving with the stress of his recent emotion, related–somewhat shyly at first, but with more freedom as he warmed to his subject–how this was planned, and how that was thought out, and how this was got through a windfall from an aunt, and that was a wonderful find and a bargain, and this other thing was bought out of laborious savings and a certain amount of ‘going without.’  His spirits finally quite restored, he must needs go and caress his possessions, and take a lamp and show off their points to his visitor and expatiate on them, quite forgetful of the supper they both so much needed; Rat, who was desperately hungry but strove to conceal it, nodding seriously, examining with a puckered brow, and saying, ‘wonderful,’ and ‘most remarkable,’ at intervals, when the chance for an observation was given him.

Isn’t that such a great passage?  I love “that was a wonderful find and a bargain.”  Mole needed to keep a blog.  And, Rat, what a gracious guest.

This year our literature selection started with the slightly darker The Time Machine by H. G. Wells.  We are two chapters away from finishing.  The kids have been troopers through it–I’ve found it fascinating.  This morning we finished Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White, which we have been reading in the evenings.  Heaven help me if I didn’t fight back tears with all my might last night reading them the chapter when Charlotte dies.  Darn, I’m such a sap!  I thought for sure I would be all over it by the morning when I read about Wilbur returning to his pen without Charlotte–darn!  I was fighting the tears again.  Don’t even get me started on the polar bear mom and cubs we saw this weekend in the IMAX movie.  Darn!

So yeah, homeschooling can be tough; but having this extra time to read with them is one of my very favorite parts.

Su Gologone

Aren’t we all thinking cozy sweaters and hot drinks right now?  I know, me too.  Except that every now and then my mind drifts back to Su Gologone.  I’m sure it has everything to do with how fabulous our time was there–I can’t get it out of my mind.  And, it was the last time I felt truly unwound.  Since we’ve been back late August, it has been home sweet chaos.

I’ve stayed in some posh places, sleek rooms, all the boutiquey trappings; but Su Gologone possesses a quirkiness that appealed to my sensibilities.  It was like staying at your artsy aunt’s compound, which is overrun with beautiful flowers planted all willy-nilly, tended to but hardly defined as manicured.  Rustic, simple, colorful, kittens and dogs roaming about–and just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, there was the tinkling of bells on the grazing sheep nearby.

Su Gologne is located in Oliena surrounded by the limestone mountains of Sardinia.  It is just rub-your-eyes stunning and romantic.

Wandering the hotel is like navigating a maze.  Corridor leads to corridor leads to stairway and a split and a turn.  Just ask my husband how many times I got lost.

But here, getting lost is a delightful turn of events.  More to discover and what else do I have to do today?

Original art and folk costumes line the hallways…just like your eccentric aunt’s house.

Sweet little nooks and crannies tucked themselves here and there.

There is even an outdoor little piggie roaster that fires up each day.  Poor little guys…

Su Gologone was by far my favorite hotel of the trip.  It was the perfect balance of remote mountain locale but close enough to the beach for an easy excursion.  The scenic drives on our explorations were definitely gasp-worthy.  I just need one more day there…


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