About Dana

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I'm a dichotomy of blue jeans, pretty jewelry, frugalista, and Southern girl living the simple rural life. I want to live my life holistically, thoughtfully, economically, and most of all gratefully, and encourage other women to do the same.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Baked Spaghetti Casserole

I just quickly peeked at the page views on The Country Belle blog, and I see you all like to learn about new recipes as much as I like cooking them. My recipes veer 180 degrees from each other. They either fall into the delectable Southern put-some-meat-on-my-bones dishes or healthy remove-the-fat-from-my-rumpus recipes. The following recipe falls into the first category, but when you taste it, you'll want to slap your mama. (Not really. DO NOT tell your mama The Country Belle said to slap her.)

This recipe came from my mother-in-law, which she posted in a church cookbook. Do you own a Southern church ladies' cookbook? I think maybe I own 30 by now. If you don't have one, go get yourself one immediately. They contain some of the finest Southern cooking around.

I've just put together a progressive photo montage of the recipe. See how better it looks with each photo?

Baked Spaghetti Casserole

2 onions, chopped
1 med green bell pepper, chopped
2 1/2 lbs. of ground beef
2 cans tomato soup
1 jar stuffed olives
1 lb. extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. thin spaghetti, cooked
2 cans cream of mushroom soup

Brown the onions and pepper in olive oil in a medium-hot, large non-stick skillet. Add ground beef, salt, and pepper and cook until meat is browned. Drain. Add tomato soup, 2 soup cans of water, and olive juice to the skillet. (If you enjoy olives, you can slice them and add to the sauce at this point. My family is totally adverse to olives, but adding the juice is a necessity for great flavor). Simmer until the mixture thickens, about 30-35 minutes. In the meantime, cook the spaghetti according to package directions and drain. Put it in the bottom of two greased 13x9 inch casserole dishes (or one larger casserole dish). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Next, turn off the heat under the skillet and add the Worcestershire sauce and cheese. Stir until it melts. Divide the meat sauce evenly between the two casserole dishes, layering it over the spaghetti. Top each casserole with a can of cream of mushroom soup. (Hint: Stir the soup in the can until it is easily spreadable over the meat sauce). Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

If you want to save a casserole for the future, you can freeze or refrigerate it before you add the mushroom soup. Bring it to room temperature and add the mushroom soup right before baking.

Baked spaghetti casserole is great for the holidays when you have a big crowd coming to your house to eat.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Double-Yolk Egg

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about how large my hens' organic eggs are compared to those I've purchased in the store labeled "large." But sometimes the size changes.

Recently, we added three new hens to the flock. They were only 4 months old when we brought them back to our coop from the breeder, so we knew it would be a few weeks before they could lay eggs. Most hens start laying about 6 months old, and we prefer to purchase them when they are close to that age instead of when they are still in the fragile chick stage of life. This week was the first time any of them laid an egg, and as you can see, it sometimes takes a while for their systems to kick into production mode.

See how little one of the new chicken's eggs is on the left? The one on the right is a little larger, but not nearly as big as the older hens' eggs. That will change in time, I feel sure, as it did with the original hens' production.

Most mornings, I eat eggs for breakfast. I thought I'd crack open both of these this morning since one was so tiny. But no need. See what I found in the larger egg?


First time I have ever seen this. Have you?

Happy Day!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

No Childish Antics: Leave Christ in the Story

A few years ago, I wrote a devotional for my church's Advent devotion book. Since I had a four-year-old son at the time (and he had a closely competitive four-year-old cousin), I had the perfect, true story to use as background for my writing. A relative reminded me of the story during a recent gathering, so I thought I'd share the Christmas story with you:

Leave Christ in the Story

It has become a Christmas Eve tradition to read the story of Jesus’ birth at our annual family gathering. Since we had two energetic four-year-old boys at last year’s celebration, I decided to tweak our tradition a bit and read the Christmas story from a preschool book. This was a special book to the boys; it was a lift-the-flap book. As many of you know who have children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews of your own, lift-a-flap stories and the surprises that await little fingers under the flap are extra special. 

We made our way through several pages of the book, each boy taking a turn lifting a flap to reveal the angel Gabriel and animals in the stable. When we got to the flap that lifted to reveal the baby Jesus in the manger, a small tussle broke out between the two boys vying to see who could lift this flap. In the struggle, they both grasped the baby Jesus cutout and ripped him right from Mary’s arms! How ironic. Inadvertently, these boys had removed baby Jesus entirely from the “Christmas Story.” 


How many times have we done the same thing during this most festive time of year? In our mad rush to buy gifts for others and juggle our schedules to attend every Christmas party, we often rip God’s real gift to us right out of our celebrations. Let us remember Jesus’ words in John 10:28 – “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” And that is the most wonderful gift of all. We must be ever careful to leave God’s precious gift to us in all of our holiday celebrations.

With love,

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Happy's Shaming Day

Have you heard about the new book (and website) Dog Shaming?

Since we have sooooooo many shameful days around The Country Belle's house (comes with animal territory), I thought I'd share just one mugshot today.

I keep telling her it's gross and she should stop.

I forbid her to kiss me anymore.

Happy day!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Southern Cornbread Dressing

Just in time for Thanksgiving, I have pulled together Mama's recipe for cornbread dressing. Since I am not making it for this year's family feast, I do not have photographs. But what you need to know is that this is not some hoity-toity stuffing with apples and walnuts and such and such. It is simply Southern cornbread dressing with lots of sage, and it is divine.

Mama's Southern Cornbread Dressing

2 pones* of cornbread** (made a day earlier), crumbled
Stick of butter
1 onion, chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped (optional)
one can of cream of chicken soup
chicken broth or chicken stock
pepper (to taste)
2-3 Tbsp. dried sage

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a skillet and saute the onions and celery until soft and translucent.

Put the crumbled cornbread in a large mixing bowl and add the cooked onion mixture, sage, pepper, cream of chicken soup, and enough chicken stock to give it the consistency of the uncooked cornbread you prepared a day earlier (sort of like a lumpy cake mix). You don't want it too runny, but it shouldn't be super thick either.

Pour the dressing into a 9x13 pan and bake it for 40-45 minutes or until it begins to brown and is no longer "jiggly" in the middle (use a knife to check).

This is excellent with your choice of gravy and cranberry sauce or relish.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!


* If you're not Southern and the word "pone" is freaking you out, fear not. It simply means a "loaf" of cornbread.

**If you don't have your own cornbread recipe, see this post for mine.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I am thankful I am able to waste less.

I started composting a couple of years ago, and it has enabled me to keep many food and paper items out of the trash can and ultimately out of the landfill.

Here's one day's worth of compost material. If I'm throwing it away, and it's not right for the chickens to eat, it makes wonderful compost after a few months for my vegetable and flower beds.

By living in the country and having a little space to move around, I feel I must compost to be responsible to Mother Earth. Composting doesn't take much space, and you can compost even in a small backyard. With the right mix of materials, there should be no odor at all. I talk about the proper ratio in this previous post.

Think outside vegetable and fruit peels. Used tea bags and coffee grounds (including the paper filters) make good additions to a compost bin. Flowering shrubs such as azaleas and camellias love the acidity they add to the soil when fully decomposed.

Composting always sounded so difficult to me before, but I have found it is an easy way to live "greenly" and improve my flower beds at the same time. And since it's November, it almost time to rake all the dried leaves from the ground and add them to the bin. By spring, it will all turn into black magic.

Hope you are inspired to do your part, too. It's a cinch!


Related Posts

Winter is Ideal for Composting

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

As you may remember, I'm writing about thankfulness in every post this month. I am thankful for so many blessings, but today I'm writing about a food item that I was not thankful for at all when I was a child.

I wished Brussels sprouts would disappear from the earth. My mother used to make me eat them, and I would choke two down at the beginning of the supper meal at which they were served so I could enjoy the rest of my food in peace. My dear brother, Mark, however, would try to hide them. There was the napkin trick and the beneath-the-mashed-potatoes trick. We didn't have a dog inside to snatch the detestable food from his hand, so he had to make the best use of his criminal mind using leftover food and dishes on the supper table.

I was never thankful for Brussels sprouts. It wasn't your cooking, Mom, they just tasted nasty to a 10-year-old's taste buds.

Wouldn't you know last week in my produce co-op basket was a pretty little crop of Brussels sprouts? My son said, "Yea! Brussels sprouts," and I will admit I looked at my precious bundle like he had two heads. I decided right then and there I would find a way to cook them so I could somewhat enjoy them. Wasting is not allowed!

So here's what I tried. I must say, particularly because it is the month of thankfulness, I am grateful for this new recipe that may be the beginning of my new relationship with Brussels sprouts.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

fresh Brussels sprouts heads (about 2 cups)
sea salt
black pepper
olive oil
4 slices of bacon, diced
balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half lengthwise. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. (After all, who wants to wash a mess of a pan later?) Toss the Brussels sprouts with enough olive oil to coat them and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on the diced bacon. It will look like this.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the sprouts are beginning to turn golden brown, stirring them every 10 minutes during the cooking process.

When you remove them from the oven, sprinkle lightly with balsamic vinegar. The finished dish will look like this.
I may actually smile if Brussels sprouts show up in my produce co-op basket again this week.

Watch out, Mark! I may be bringing this dish for Thanksgiving dinner, and there will be no mashed potatoes serving as handy hiding places.


Related Thanksgiving food posts:

Best Broccoli Casserole
Carrot Souffle
Wintertime Roasted Vegetables

Friday, November 8, 2013

Flyday Dieting

I'm thankful for Happy.

Even if a diet is in order. She has traded chew bones for celery so she can eat lots on Thanksgiving Day.

Happy Flyday!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

In Gratitude

One of the themes of my blog is living life simply. In order to live simply, I believe it's necessary to live gratefully. Gratefulness makes you joyful for what you have, regardless of how simple or inconsequential that particular thing may seem to the outside world.

I hope I live gratefully every day, but in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to focus this month on just a handful of people and things for which I'm grateful.

This first one is a given:
My immediate family (fish not included). I'm thankful for the fish, but they're not part of my immediate family. Oh, forget it. Just know I am thankful each day for each family member, even those not pictured above.

I'm also thankful for something I've had a very long time:
This Bible is my favorite for a couple of reasons. First, it was the only thing I got from my grandfather's house when he passed away. I was 10 years old, and this has been a treasured Bible since then. On the intro page, my grandfather's name is written, followed by my (maiden) name underneath. He never wrote in it, but I could tell it had been well used. It looks a little shabby now, and I have written and highlighted all over it. I loved it when I was 10 because I could understand its story-like conversational tone when I couldn't make heads or tails of what King James meant. Now, I love it because it helps my son understand the Word a little better than other translations.

I would love to hear what you're most thankful for in the Comments section below.

In gratefulness,

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My New Best Friend is a Vacuum

Happy brings happiness into our lives...
... and LOTS of hair.

I could vacuum every day and still have white hair covering the floor. Therein lies the problem: if vacuuming were quick and easy, I would do it every day and everything would be a little less hairy. But draping the vacuum hose over my arm to bring it downstairs every day along with the attachments is too much work. Even though I have a central vacuum system, the hose takes up too much space to have one upstairs and downstairs, so I "share" between floors. Which means vacuuming downstairs - where the dog lives - is burdensome enough that I don't want it to be an everyday task.

So here's my savior:
A super small and lightweight stick vacuum - with removable handheld vacuum - for the first floor. Plugged into the wall, this Electrolux Ergorapido is so light I can vacuum with one hand. It swivels around so I can reach in all sorts of (hairy) places and makes my chores so much faster. Now I can bring out the big guns once per week and use this quick, "lick and a promise" solution daily.

The instructions say it should "only be used by adults." Bologna. Hogwash. Nonsense. It fits perfectly into the hand of my 11-year-old.


I'd highly recommend this product.*


*No one paid me anything to say this. That's too bad.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Country Life

We love living in a rural setting, but it's not always glamorous. Having a piece of land means a few extra chores have to be done outside when you'd rather be chillin' inside (like you might be able to living in a condo!). Hmmmm......

Time to spray some caterpillars who have tented in the trees before they emerge and eat ALL my flowers.

If you want a tree chopped and moved out of the way and you're not old enough to operate a chainsaw, here's how to get it done.

Sometimes you need to burn stuff. Not everyone calls this work.
Even with all the extra work, we wouldn't trade it for anything.

This weekend, I'm determined to do the final trimming of all the landscape plants and bushes around the house. Wish me luck. My sore arms will need it.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Iced Vanilla Lattes - The Champion Mom's Drink

I love my iced coffee, but I don't always love the steep price tag associated with purchasing one at a coffee shop. Plus, as y'all know, I'm not really that close to a coffee shop that I can run out for a morning latte. It's too far and takes too much time. Plus, school lessons await. Hungry chickens are cackling. A hungry dog is begging. A *starving* cat is scratching furiously at the garage door. My writing assignments for clients are calling me for some personal one-on-one time.

So I have learned to make my own version of an iced vanilla latte - only healthier. This one uses a natural, organic sweetener and is dairy-free. I have read about and used lots of others' recipes for iced lattes, but some of the ingredients - while super friendly to my taste buds - were not so friendly to my waist line. So here's my "healthy" latte for a real kick in the morning. I like to make it in a Tervis tumbler with a lid and built-in straw. No sweat rings on my table, y'all, and the ice lasts as long as I want to nurse my drink.

Homemade Iced Vanilla Latte

7-8 oz. of cold brewed coffee*
splash of almond-coconut milk
unsweetened vanilla almond milk
organic raw honey
sugar-free vanilla syrup
ice cubes

Put a heaping tablespoon (or an amount to your liking) of organic raw honey in a 16-oz. cup.
Since organic raw honey is solid at room temperature, I pop the cup into the microwave for 10 seconds to melt it. 

Add a tablespoon of sugar-free vanilla syrup. I found mine at Sam's Club.

Fill up the cup about halfway with cold brewed coffee. I have jars of cold-brewed coffee just waiting in my refrigerator.

Stir the honey to dissolve into the coffee. Add a heaping dose of ice cubes, then a splash of almond-coconut milk.
Fill up the remainder of the glass with unsweetened vanilla almond milk.
You are finished!
Now I can tackle math class! Or write like nobody's business!


* I use a very large, commercial-grade stainless steel mixing bowl and pour in a full bag of ground coffee, your brand of choice. I enjoy using the "donut store" coffee. Then I add 32 cups of cold water, mix, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit on the counter about 12-16 hours to cold brew. Next, I pour it into mason jars with lids and store in the refrigerator (as long as three weeks) until I need it for lattes.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What I'm Reading Now

From time to time and when the mood hits me, I write about what I'm reading. I do it for no reason in particular, mostly because I like to see what others are reading and I'm assuming I'm not much different from everyone else. Maybe they want to see what I'm reading, in case it's something they want to check out also.

1. My Delicious Life with Paula Deen. Told through her husband's vantage point, the book provides a glimpse into Michael Groover's courtship with Paula, with some pretty darn good recipes from his files thrown in as a bonus.

2. The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Good reading for a parent with children of any age. It's the third time I've read it. I'm reading it again because of the next book on the list.

3. How to Talk Confidently with Your Child about Sex. Do I have to do this? Bring me Stormie Omartian's book to get me through it.

Happy reading.


Related Posts:

What I'm Reading in May
What I'm Reading in September

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Homeschool Freebie in South Carolina

Here's something I found out when I took my son to see the natural history, science, and other historical exhibits at the SC State Museum.

It's free to both homeschool educators and homeschool students! I had no idea. I just had to show a teacher i.d., which I fulfilled with my HSLDA card (or SCHEA card would work, too).

Super cool! Thought I'd pass it along to those in our state who, like me, are in the dark.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Here's a REAL Organic Egg

Here's my organic, home-fed chicken egg on the left, and the grocery store's "organic, vegetarian-fed" chicken egg on the right.
My egg can beat up your egg. Just sayin'.

Is that like birthing a baby with a big head?

Nothing can beat homegrown with a little love.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cooler Weather Means Bye-Bye Pests

A small line of thunderstorms and some rain pushed through our town yesterday, so slightly cooler weather  is here. It's funny - the cooler weather always arrives in time for our State Fair, which begins tomorrow.

I am a warm weather fan; however, the cool days and nights are a huge plus down South.

They mark the end of scary, hairy creatures for a few months.

Imagine finding this on your bare leg when you remove the grill cover on the outside deck.

I just gave myself the willies all over again.

Happy Fall!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Easy Potato Salad

My last post focused on making pasta salad. As you can see, I am not ready to give up the warm days of summer yet. In fact, it is "Indian Summer" in the South, so it's still perfectly acceptable to eat different forms of cold salads. We don't ban salad after Labor Day like we ban wearing white shoes.

I want to share my recipe for potato salad. Like the pasta salad in the last post, it only tastes better with a little time in the refrigerator. It's tasty with pork tenderloin, grilled chicken, or hamburgers.

Easy Potato Salad

5-7 potatoes or 3-4 baking potatoes (I like to use red potatoes and sometimes skip the peeling)
mayonnaise (I use a combination of whole-fat Duke's mayonnaise and Kraft reduced fat with olive oil)
real bacon bits or 2 strips of bacon cooked crisp and diced
Potato Topping flavoring packet (found in the produce section of the grocery store)
sea salt
diced onion (optional)

Peel, cut into medium-sized cubes or chunks, and boil the potatoes in enough water to cover them until just tender. As they are boiling, add some sea salt. Be sure not to overcook or they will become mushy when you try to stir in the seasonings.

Drain the potatoes and rinse with cool water. Put them in a large bowl and add a few squirts of mustard and about 3/4 cup mayonnaise. You will have to stir and see if that makes the right consistency, adding mustard or mayonnaise as needed. The end result will not be soupy in any way, but each potato cube should be covered with mayo and mustard. Next sprinkle on Potato Topping, bacon bits, sea salt and pepper to taste, and diced onion (optional). It's hard to guess how much you'll need - like a good cook, you'll need to taste test along the way to get it just right for your family.

Store in the refrigerator for a few hours or up to 48 hours. What a great side dish to make ahead of the other meal preparation events.

Viva la Indian Summer!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Anytime Pasta Salad

When I think of pasta salad, I often label it in my mind as a summer side dish, but that really isn't true. Since my summer tomatoes are gone for the year (I stripped the vines last week and I'm silently crying inside), I use cans of diced tomatoes to add flavor to pasta dishes.

I want to share a delicious pasta side dish I made this summer as an accompaniment to grilled chicken and hamburgers. It's tasty with a long list of main dishes, so that's why I call it...(drum roll)...

Anytime Pasta Salad

bag of tri-colored pasta spirals
can of diced tomatoes
can of Ro-tel
fat-free Zesty Italian dressing
crumbled goat cheese or crumbled feta cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta with the cans of tomatoes and Ro-tel, both undrained. Pour in enough Italian dressing to coat all of the pasta. I like to add enough so it's a little "soupy"; it will soak in overnight in the refrigerator and make the pasta extra delicious. Mix all well. Add crumbled goat cheese (my top pick) or crumbled feta cheese (great, too) to suit your taste. Personally, the more cheese the merrier. Mix in and store the entire dish in the refrigerator. If you have time to allow it to set in the refrigerator overnight, it is more flavorful.

This dish keeps in the refrigerator for a week. Take it from a Mama who knows - it makes just as good of a lunch you can eat standing up (especially with added pepperoni slices), as it does as a supper side dish. I can eat this pasta and teach a math lesson simultaneously like nobody's business!


Friday, September 27, 2013

Flyday Fun

Ehh?? What did you say, sonny?
I can't see too well out of these here spectacles.

Happy Flyday Friday to you! It's apparently going to be a little crazy around here today.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

She's a Lover, Not a Fighter

If you love your pets super sweet and super loving, may I suggest you run out and bring home an English golden retriever?

Happy must always be touching someone if she is nearby.

Do you have a shoulder to lean on?

Can you give me a hand, mister?
Sometimes, the people come to her. She doesn't have to move at all.
Sadly, sometimes the people are busy. That's what the monkey is for.
Hug your pet.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Patient Impatiens

Last summer, I wrote about the terrible disease that plagued all the beautiful impatiens in our part of the country. They all died, and local garden centers suggested it would be years before we had the opportunity to buy a new hybrid of impatiens that were impervious to this disease.

In case you missed this post, you can see the impatiens story here.

I have been using begonias to fill in for the last two years, but it's just not the same. Begonias are beautiful; in fact, their foliage is more showy than impatiens' leaves. But I want tons of flowers, man!

So as my begonias try their best to become a bounteous eye-feast in my deck planters, I captured a sight that warmed my heart just a little.

A lone impatien refusing to succumb to disease. It was a volunteer from last year that popped up halfway through this year's growing season, surpassing the begonias by several inches.

I love impatiens. Come back soon, you hear?

Love your friend,

Friday, September 13, 2013

What Dogs Do When You're Not Looking

Time for Flyday Photo Fun!

Here's a hint to a particular inhabitant of our home:
Do NOT leave your Fruit-of-the-Looms on the floor. You never know WHAT might happen to them.

Happy Flyday!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Babies Growing Up

Yesterday, it was all fun and games.

 Today, it's totally serious, man.


Be calm, my mama's heart.

Enjoy your chil'ren today.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fig Preserves

Part of living the country life is enjoying the bounty you or your neighbors grow. One of the things I love most about summer produce, besides homegrown tomatoes, is figs. My grandmother has a fig tree that has been mowed over, run over, and generally abused, but it will not give up. It was planted in the early 1930s before she even moved into her house. Can you imagine what it was like then when the tree was a sapling? Our country was going through The Great Depression and looked very different than it does right now. Still, the fig tree stands and flourishes.

Every mid- to late August, the tree's green figs are ripe. If you can beat the bees and birds to them, they are delicious to eat right off the tree or to make fig preserves to enjoy all year long. I like to do both, but my favorite thing to do is eat fig preserves in the morning on my toast.

This year, I tapped my 91-year-old grandmother's surprisingly easy secret to making fig preserves.

After picking the figs that were ripe, I washed and dried and put them into a large soup pot. If you don't have access to a fig tree, they often sell them in nice supermarkets in late summer.

For this amount of figs, I added almost 5 cups of sugar. I'm sorry for the inexact amounts, but I usually wing it depending on the quantities I have. Let me put it this way - you need to have at least an equal amount of sugar-to-figs ratio.

Then I cook the figs, covered, on the stovetop over a low temperature for 2-3 hours until they thicken, stirring every so often so they won't stick. In the end, they'll look like this.

While the figs are cooking, prepare your Mason jars and lids in a boiling bath as directed by the manufacturer. While the figs and the jars are both hot, fill them, wipe the rims clean, and apply the lids. They should seal as they cool. For those that don't seal, you can pop them in the refrigerator and eat them first. (Or share them with friends - they'll really appreciate them).

How beautiful in my refrigerator.

(These are the boogers that didn't seal).

Happy canning!


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Summer Nostalgia and Marsh Views

Post-Labor Day, I always become nostalgic for summer. I feel like it's all gone (even though we still have mid-90 temps). Everyone is in the fall rush with work-related projects and school is back in full swing.

So, I was flipping through some of my photos of our summer island visits. Even though there's a beach there, we love hanging out in the tidal creeks and on the marsh just as much.

Isn't South Carolina's coast beautiful?

Can I please go back there?

No deadlines...

No homeschool lesson plans to complete...

and no telephone ringing.

I feel happy and sad all at the same time.

No one call a psychiatrist, please.

I promise I'll have it all together by October 1, when there's no chance of summer's return.

Love from the country,