Happy New Year and Stuff!

Uh, ahem, is this thing on?

The last time I saw you here it was the middle of 2015…and now it’s 2016!  Happy new year, everyone!  We have some catching up to do…

The kids and I resumed homeschool back in June 2015 for a year of travel and learning.  Well, we did both, but we only made it half a year.  Whomp, whomp.  The kids missed their friends too much in school.  They had already tasted the sweet elixir of traditional school for one year, and for me to pull them out of that arrangement to homeschool again, well, the transition back wasn’t as smooth.  Additional truth is, I had also tasted the delicious flavors of traditional school, that moment of freedom when Daddy drives off in the morning with a carload of kids and I wave serenely while my other hand cradles my coffee–yeah, that.  We had a great 6 months of homeschool–the travel was wonderful and the teaching was bearable.  A friend told me when I was feeling bad about quitting halfway, “Angela, you just wanted a bunch of fabulous trips.”  Ha, true.  And, I got three.

We started with an Eastern US trip–with stays in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maine, New York City, Washington DC, and the bulk of our trip in Quebec City where we took French lessons for two weeks.


We had a short trip to Florida to seek out manatees in the Crystal River.


Our third trip was to the Western US, starting in San Francisco and ending up with a week in Utah hitting three national parks.  That was so much fun!


It was such a great experience–I’m happy we tried it.  I’m just bummed because the second semester was going to be all our international travel and we’ll miss out on that.  But the kids are happy to be in school again.  And we can travel on their breaks in shorter bursts…we discovered that three weeks away from home was tough!  Soooooooo…yeah, I’m here again, figuring out what to pursue now that the kids will be in school for the duration.  It is a weird feeling since I have been birthing children and rearing and teaching them for the last 12 years.  It’s go time for me now and I’m a little scared, overwhelmed, excited.  No more crazy ideas to take me away from a career of sorts.  Probably.

Well, crazy ideas seem to be what we do best.  Last fall I was driving and thinking, “It’s been a while since we got ourselves into something nutty.”  And then that following weekend we came upon a foreclosure listing for a North Carolina historic inn.   Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 1.33.27 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 1.35.04 PM

This is the kind of nutty I’m talking about, I thought.

Ultimately, nothing came of it, but it bears mentioning because there is a hunger in me to find my destiny and I thought, “oh my, this could be it!”  A good month was spent on researching inn ownership and management, many site visits, talks with the bank, and meetings with a builder.  We finally determined the property needed too much work and investment than we could commit.  And we pushed it away in peace that it was the right thing to do.

But of course, I found time around homeschool and learning about self-catering properties and hospitality software to put a design board together.  You know, just one evening to indulge in it–because once the heart goes in, it is hard to let it go.  Just one heart-filled evening to see what the wood and stone interiors might look like in colors of poplar leaves, forsythia, and rhododendron…


So I’m not to be an innkeeper–right now anyway.  I have some ideas that I’ll try and see which one opens up wide for highway cruising.  Hopefully one will.  In the meantime, please remind me not to be sad about the ideas that fail.  It’s all part of the process, they tell me.  Also, in the meantime, I’m going to be hitting this “new” house hard (we’ve been here for two years already, “new” whatever).  Time to make some decisions.  And, I’m excited to be blogging about it again.  You’re still here, right?

Before I go, a few thank yous are in order:

Fieldstone Hill Design wrote a sweet post about our guest room.  Come back and see me, Dar!

Bliss at Home included me in her 5 Blogs I Love This Summer post…and then I stopped blogging for 7 months, sorry, Kristin!

There are TPH blurbs in these links from Apartment Therapy, House Beautiful, and Country Living.

And, thank you to Julia at Hooked on Houses for featuring our ranch house redo–we go WAY back, right, Julia?

And, speaking of our ranch redo, I found this ranch renovation on HGTV…I think they might have been inspired by our exterior redo!




www.tphblog.comIt’s my most pinned post–I’m happy so many people are inspired by the transformation!

And, one last thing!  Better Homes & Gardens came to photograph the cottage last fall for an upcoming DIY Magazine issue!  Oh, cottage, how we all love thee.IMG_4361Wallpaper is going up here next week!  Chris is doing this and that.  I’m painting walls…a new bed is on order…furniture is being designed…studio painting is planned…good things to come.  I’ll be back next week with some details.  Thank you so much for stopping by and not giving up on ye olde blog!  Until then, find me on Instagram.

Year of Travel!

It’s happening.  It’s either my best idea ever or the worst thing I could possibly decide to do for a whole year.  Time will tell.www.tphblog.comStarting this June, we are returning to homeschool and traveling the world.  World school, edu-travel, travel school, ridiculousness–it goes by many names, and we are going to give it a shot.  Like, it’s official. IMG_6244

I took my sweet time deciding if I were up for it.  But I couldn’t let this unbelievable opportunity, completely amazing, pass me by.  It’s really the only year we could do it, as our oldest will be starting high school the following year (utter disbelief) and we don’t want to interrupt his high school experience.  Once I decided I could handle vomit and diarrhea in a foreign country with my three children by myself, I was in.  Pops will be joining us some, too, so I’ll have reinforcements!


It has been difficult to narrow down our destinations, but here is the working list:  Greece, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, France, Germany, England, Netherlands, Quebec, NYC, Vermont, Connecticut, Washington DC, Hawaii, Beijing, California, Utah, Arizona, and somewhere in Latin America (but that’s our last trip so we’ve got time to decide).  Iceland is hard to omit.  And, India!  Australia and New Zealand were on the list for a long time but got cut due to expense.  And, there are so many fabulous spots in Asia, I just had to pick.  We are also going to do some quick trips in between: Florida for some marine biology, Ohio for Cedar Point (okay, that’s not school, unless we’re talking physics), Pennsylvania for Fallingwater, Florence, AL, and some local Georgia sites.  I miss my bed already!IMG_2389

So, I’d love to hear your recommendations on the above destinations.  Kid-friendly spots and activities?  Travel tips with kids on long plane rides and subsequent jet lag?  Fun history books with interesting stories for kids?  And French language tips or resources?  We will be taking lessons at home and abroad…I apologize in advance.


I’m so excited about this whole adventure…and so scared, too.  The planning is insane, and I’m trying to get a lot of the research done before the kids are finished with their spring semester in traditional school.  I’m also trying to finish up as many projects at the house as I can so I won’t be too distracted by the undone around me while I teach the kids.  And, by teach, I mean lots of cozied-up reading and videos.


We are going to learn lots, but it will be really relaxed.  I have enough homeschooling experience behind me now that I have confidence in my kids and myself that we can learn without meticulously doing every single workbook page.  Don’t put an artist in charge, people.IMG_8414

I’m not sure, yet, how we will document the year–how public we want to be.  I want the kids to blog but probably privately.  I might share something here every now and then.  We will write a children’s book with photos and art we make throughout the year–I’ll Shutterfly a book for ourselves unless someone wants to publish it, just putting that out there!  Hopefully I can sweet talk my husband into writing some posts on the travel deals he finds to make this all possible.  Some days I feel really ambitious, but most days I know realistically I need to take it slow and easy.


The kids are looking forward to trying candy all over the world…and desserts.  The littlest one wants to try all the sodas.  I’m so excited for them to see the world with young eyes.  Here we go!


Weekend Reading (I Was Optimistic)

I didn’t lift a one from my weekend reading stack, even with good intentions.


But I did take in some tulips.  Just a few.


I refereed some rough-n-tumble boys.


I breathed it in and whispered thank you.


I contemplated a brother swap for the mischievous little one.  He’d fit right in.


I made a note-to-self:  get some sheep, STAT.


But I positively, absolutely didn’t do any reading.

(I adore the Biltmore Estate in spring.)


A tough gang of colorful-bag-toting chicas took to the streets of Asheville this last weekend…can you Guess-A-Blogger?

guess-a-blogger1.  This is a trick question.  She’s not a blogger…but this sweet tall brunette may be my long-lost sister.

2.  She gives a mean make-up tutorial.

3.  She’s a magician who turns spoons into flowers!

4. She doesn’t leave home without C.S. Lewis.

5. Even though she’s famous and just wrote a book, she’ll take a turn sleeping on the sofa.


Did you get them right without looking?  Please let me encourage you to waste not another minute and to get together with your friends for some girl time.  I can tell you these five ladies are tops and blessed me huge with their company in the mountains this weekend.

More photos of the weekend are here at #4 and here at #3…plus they sum up beautifully the fellowship of the weekend.  They are much more eloquent than a Guess-A-Blogger game.  And, the cottage gets dittoed!

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