Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Shenandoah National Park, Day One: Dickey Ridge Trail and the Shenandoah Valley Overlook

If you noticed I've been away from my blog for awhile, it's because I have.  I have been on vacation.  We went to spend Easter weekend with the kids and grandkids, and from there we drove to Shenandoah National Park.  

Now, if you're like everyone else, the first thing you will say is "Where is Shenandoah National Park?"  Every time I told someone where I was going on vacation, they would ask that question.  I don't think I've met a single person who knew where it was or even heard of it.  And to be perfect honest, I never heard of it before either.  I was reading a blog from another reader who lives in New Jersey, and that is where I first saw it.  I then looked it up on the map and saw it was only about nine hours from my daughter's house, which is an easy days drive, so I thought it would be a good trip when we were in her neck of the woods.

Shenandoah is in the beautiful state of Virginia about 75 miles from that den of inequity people like to refer to as Washington DC.  I must admit every time my husband and I looked at a map and saw how close the park was to DC we got shivers up our spine.  But we braved it out, and to our surprise Virginia was filled with people who were freedom loving Americans who thought and lived just like we LOVED it!

We left for the park on a Monday with the plan of hiking a full four days in the park until we returned home.  But to our surprise, Virginia had a freak winter storm and the park was closed for two days.  I've never experienced a park that closed due to weather before, and here is the reason why:  the park is actually high top of a mountain.  There is one road that goes for 105 miles on top of this mountain range, so if there is bad weather, they close the park.

We were so disappointed they wouldn't let us drive into the park, but we saw there was a trail that started just outside the park called "Dickey Ridge Trail" so we decided to make the best of it and hike that while we waited for the park to reopen.

It was a beautiful wooded trail that went through a forest and ran along a stream.  We were in lower elevations at this point, so there wasn't much snow and ice YET.  The trail is actually quite complicated for there are several options to hike it ranging from a five mile gentle loop to an eighteen mile ridge hike.  Initially we planned on taking the loop, but somehow made it five miles up to the Dicky Ridge Visitor Center (I'm sure the snow on the ground covered the trail and that's how we missed the loop).

Of all the trails we hiked while in Shenandoah National Park, this was the only trail where we saw Blue Bells.  I couldn't believe they were still blooming through the snow and ice.  After this picture was taken, I saw an even larger field of Blue Bells higher up the mountain.

This bridge was completely covered in snow and ice when we started our hike, but on the return trip it was already all gone.  I know it looks freezing in the photos, but it was actually a beautiful, sunny day.  I think that was why so many people were surprised that Skyline Drive (the name of the 105 mile road through the park) was still closed.

We really loved this trail.  After walking along the creek for awhile it gains in elevation and you can start seeing the mountains!

We hiked all the way up to the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center which was five miles from the start of the hike.  Now up here at 3, 530 feet it was cold, with a sharp, bone-chilling strong wind.  But oh my goodness the view!  It was incredible and so worth the five mile climb to get here.

We decided to walk the Skyline Drive partially back so we didn't have to hike in the slushy snow.  As soon as it dropped elevation a bit, it got warmer, and we were treated to even more spectacular views.  This view is called the "Shenandoah Valley Overlook".

It was amazing to me to be "up in winter wonderland" and look down at the lush green valley below where it was in the upper fifties.

We always love to head east in spring to see these purple flowering trees.  They are everywhere out east and down south.  We don't have them in Wisconsin, but I sure wish we did.  

By the time we made it back to our car, we had hiked ten miles and we really felt it!  I couldn't believe we hiked ten miles in a single day!  We didn't get to hike the trail we planned on hiking on day one (Piney Branch Trail Loop) but we made the best of it and had fun on another trail instead.  And I never would have seen Virginia Blue Bells if I didn't hike this trail.  Vacations don't always go as planned, and you quite often have to just alter things and make the best of it.

The park did reopen the next day, and we were back on schedule!  I'll share more hiking adventures at Shenandoah National Park next week!  

Have a Great Day! Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!


Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Bible Journaling: My March Pages, 1 Corinthians 9 through 2 Corinthians

Once a month I like to share my Bible Journaling Pages and what God has been teaching me.  In the month of March I finished the books of 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians.    Sometimes I just color in the preprinted images of the "Inspire Bible" (available on Amazon) and I also create my own pages.
Unless otherwise stated, all the images are colored in with either gel pens or colored pencils.  I tend to color larger areas with pencils then get the more intricate spots with pens.  I high light my Bible with gel highlighters, and I usually use gelatos or  craft paint for my backgrounds.

As any Wisconsinite knows,  March is a long, cold month so I had plenty of time of time to Bible Journal. I was able to finish two books in the month of March.

My first page is one I created myself.  This is one of my husband's and mine favorite Bible verses.   We believe the Christian life is a disciplined life where we should work continually to draw closer to God through Bible reading and prayer and make every effort to be obedient to Him.

I made this page by first coloring in a background with gel crayons.  The sentiment is stickers, and the runner was printed off the Internet onto sticker paper.

In Christ, we have freedom but we always have to be careful we are not causing another person to stumble.  The verse below is in reference to Jews being offended by Gentile's eating habits.  When the gospel was opened to the Gentiles many Jews struggled with them not obeying the Jewish laws.  The apostle Paul told the early church that they don't have to obey the Jewish customs anymore, for Christ set them free from all that, but if it offends someone they should obey them when they are with them.  In today's modern Christian world we don't have dietary issues that could cause another believer to stumble, but we do have other issues like drinking, seeing certain movies, etc.  What could be a stumbling block for one Christian isn't for another, but we need to be sensitive to other Christians if it is.

Taking communion regularly is what Christians do to remember Christ's sacrifice on the cross.

Ah, the famous Love verse.  Every time I get angry at someone or something,  I recite this verse in my head.  It helps the anger to dissipate.

This page is just the first part of the entire verse above.

This is a beautiful verse.  Although one can look at this verse as the new life we have when we first accept Christ into our hearts, it is actually referring to the resurrection of the dead in Christ.

This is one of my favorite verses so I had to create a page for it.  For most believers, death is not to be feared for we know we will be in heaven with Jesus.  But this verse also refers to sin and how it causes death, but Christians are victorious over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The interesting thing about this verse is that the sentences before it says "Be on guard.  Stand firm in the faith.  Be courageous.  Be strong.",  but then it says  "AND, do everything with Love".  The preceding verses sound like we are to be warriors (and we are) but never with hate or anger, but only with love.

This is the title page to the book of 2 Corinthians.  I colored this page with pencils.  I love this verse, but I also noticed there is a second part to this verse:  "He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.  When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us."  We learn how to comfort others by how God comforts us.


Isn't it wonderful to know that our lives are a pleasing aroma to God and a "life-giving perfume" to "those who are being saved"?  But to those who are perishing, the Bible says "we are a dreadful small of death and doom".   Our aroma is perceived differently depending on the person's eternal status.

This verse was made into a worship song.  I absolutely love singing it in church!

To have never seen the Lord, yet still believe is faith.  To "live by believing" means to make faith part of our daily lives.   How we live our lives is determined by what we believe.  Because we believe in an eternal life, we conduct ourselves in such a manner knowing we will "all stand before Christ to be judged" (v. 10).

When someone has a true conversion experience, they change, and people can see the change.  It doesn't mean they are all of a sudden perfect, for their sin nature is always still there, but now they desire to lead a more holy life and develop a personal relationship with God.

I think God knows how hard it is to give, that why He "LOVES" a person who gives cheerfully.  I think a person who loves to give is rare.  My father was someone who had very little.  He had no desire for the material things of this world.  He lived very simply.  Most people today would consider him poor.  Yet, if anyone needed anything, he would give it to them.  I've seen him sit in the same ragged chair year after year,  yet buy brand new furniture for a friend.  He was also the most generous tipper I've ever known.  He led a life of giving cheerfully, never once thinking of himself.

My final page is a powerful verse.  When we are weak, then we are strong, for that is when God works through us!

Have a Great Day! Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!


Tuesday, April 12, 2022

What I Put In My Grandchildren's Easter Baskets

I get a few questions from other grandmothers about what I give my grandkids for Easter, so I thought I would share what I put in my grandchildren's Easter Baskets!  This post has both photos and videos, the videos offer the most thorough explanation of why I chose the items I did, but if you're like me and find videos to time consuming to watch, you can scroll through the photos.

These are my finished Easter baskets.  I have three grandchildren:  Alethea, age 4, Atticus, age 2, and Elisha 7 months.  The two bigger baskets are for the older grandkids and the baby gets the tiny basket sitting in front.

Now I will walk through all the items I chose for my grandchildren's Easter Baskets.

Clothing Item

I always put one clothing item in their basket, but I try to make it a fun clothing item that they would like and fits their personalities.... nothing practical like underwear or socks.

Atticus is into dinosaurs so I chose a cute Dino tee and soft shorts.  Alethea just started ballet so I picked up this cute and sparkly play outfit.

Craft Item

I always like to throw in a couple of craft items that I can do with the grandkids while visiting with them.  I picked these two items because I liked the religious element.  I always try to give them a few religious things, so that they learn and remember that the real meaning of Easter isn't the chocolate bunny but Jesus!

                            Chocolate Bunny

My daughter Ashley always prefers I give the kids dark chocolate if at all possible, as it has less sugar and is better for them.

Religious Books

To keep  the focus on the true meaning of Easter, I always include religious books.

Easter Candy

Most of this candy will go into those plastic Easter eggs for their Easter egg hunt on Sunday afternoon.  But I did tuck half the Reese's and Dove eggs inside their toilet paper roll bunnies too!


What would an Easter basket be without toys?  It's not Christmas, so no expensive toys here, but just a few fun things for them to enjoy.

Atticus enjoys re-enacting "David and Goliath" and tends to pick up any household item and pretends it is a sword.  He has come close to smacking someone accidentally multiple times, so I thought this Nerf Sword would be a little safer.

I thought Alethea would love creating her own bracelets and necklaces with this beading kit.

                              Healthy Treats

I always include a few "healthier" treats in their baskets so they are not just eating candy.

Handmade Items

Nothing shows Grandma's love more than a few handmade items.  I made these pretty bracelets for Alethea, plus some handmade cards, tags,  and Easter bunnies.

Handmade Easter Bunnies

Handmade Tags

For baby Elisha, I purchased two spinners for his basket.  He's a little young yet for candy. 

Baby Toys

I managed to get everything into their baskets no problem.  I then wrapped cellophane around each basket and secured it with a bow on top.  This keeps everything in place and prevents the items from falling out of the basket on the long car ride to their house.

I made sure to prominently display their personalized, handmade card at the front of the Easter basket.

I was worried about how I would fit Atticus' sword inside the basket, but it worked out very well.  I simply stood the sword straight up and tied the cellophane around the sword's handle.

The cellophane is secured with either a twist tie or rubber band, then I string a pretty ribbon through the name tag and tie a bow.  I fold the rest of the cellophane inside the basket, and secure it closed with invisible packaging tape.

For baby Elisha's basket, I simply stuffed the spinners inside the basket and tied the handles closed with a blue ribbon.

The basket is handmade by me also.

And now, here are a couple of videos which explains everything in much greater detail than photos can.  The first video shows everything I put into the baskets and I explain why I chose the items I did.  The second video shows the completed baskets.  Enjoy!

So what about you?  What do you put inside your children and/or grandchildren's Easter baskets.  I'd love to hear from you so I have some new ideas for next year!

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Monday, April 11, 2022

Spring Fashion Trends with Stylish Monday

On the second Monday of every month a group of style bloggers and I pick a theme, style an outfit based on that theme, and then do a link up together where you can join too!  This month's theme is "Spring Trends".

This month Nina challenged us to choose from five spring trends this season:  1.  Pleats,  2. Bright Colors, 3. Halter Neckline, 4.  Statement Suits,  5. Cut Outs (and a couple of ladies picked their own spring trend).  I really wanted to show a halter dress,   but we are experiencing cold temperatures in Wisconsin so I chose "Bright Colors".

The Pantone Color of the year is "Periwinkle" but as usual with their color picks I'm not seeing it in the stores or on people.  I always feel whatever color Pantone picks,   I never see it trending till 1-3 years later.  It must have something to do with manufacturing I'm sure.  But the color I am seeing everywhere is yellow!  People seem to love this happy, bright color!  

I found this cute and comfy sweatshirt on clearance for $7.00 at Walmart.  I thought it would be perfect for these cool spring temperatures we've been experiencing in Wisconsin.

I styled my spring sweatshirt with black embroidered jeans.  The floral embroidery on the jeans is also perfect for welcoming spring

I love to wear casual, comfy clothes yet add some accessories to elevate the look so it doesn't look like I'm just chilling at home.  One way I do this is by wearing jewelry.  For this look I wore a gold bracelet, a colorful beaded necklace, and a pair of drop earrings.

Footwear can also change a look from casual to dressy.  If I would have worn sneakers with this outfit, it would have been a lot more casual.  Instead,  I wore pointy toe burgundy flats.  The flats are still comfy, but dressy at the same time.

And now lets see what the rest of the ladies in the group are wearing and be sure to link up your outfits with us below too!


Shelbee - Shelbee on the Edge - Bra tops and bell bottoms are two trends together that appeal to my hippie soul. I found these amazing embroidered bell bottoms and the coordinating fringe cardigan at Indigo Sun, a funky little bohemian boutique we visited in Asheville on my recent road trip adventure. And now I am officially ready for festival season! 


Suzanne - Ask Suzanne Bell - Secured at the back of the neck, a halter style dress or top highlights your shoulders and is an incredibly flattering silhouette, yet many of us shy away from this style due to not knowing what type of bra or support works with this style dress/top. Fortunately, the halter is my all-time favorite silhouette, and I’ve got you covered underneath with styling solutions + bras and bralettes, on the blog…


Lucy - Lucy  Bright colours make my heart sing and I’m in complete dopamine styling mode when I see the Spring sunshine.  Is it just me or are other Northern girls itching to pull out the sandals (even if only for a photo moment)? 


Nicole - High Latitude Style - The trend to invest in this year is fringes if your personal style is Bohemian or Rock’n Roll. This is due to fringes being a perennial trend. Even if your personal style is not one of the two, a fringe clutch may be worth it when your most frequent travel destination is a beach resort. It’s perfect with a beach dress or resort style.


Julie - Fashion Trends and Friends and Instagram FashionTandF -  The current spring 2022 trends include: pleats, bright colors, halter neckline, statement suits or cutouts. Additionally, feathers and wearing bras as a top are trending! You know my mantra: Wear what you love or what speaks to you and you'll always look great! Can you guess which of these appeal to me the most? Hop over to my blog to see if you guessed correctly!


Nancy -  Nancy’s Fashion Style - It has to be tiered dresses. I already bought last year several and I am still very much in love with this design. In fact I already ordered a few more! These two are my favourites from last year. I actually like it better to wear them without a belt, but these two are very bulky. They would have been perfect if there were pockets in it. I will show my latests tiered dresses soon on the blog!

And Me!

Amy - Amy’s Creative Pursuits - As a Wisconsin Gal, every spring we have to deal with frigid temperatures, leaving me in quite the conundrum as I want to wear spring clothes but I can’t.  How do I solve the problem?  By wearing bright colors in warm winter fabrics.

Have a Great Day! Amy

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