Thursday, April 16, 2015

Pedernales Falls

Recently my family and I went to Pedernales Falls State Park near Johnson City, Tx.
Pedernales is the Spanish word for flint; there are many chunks of flint in the river bed.
The park has lots of hiking trails, camping sites and boulders to climb and explore, but the main attraction is the falls.  The falls are beautiful at low water, but can turn deadly in flash floods, as signs throughout the park state. The falls trickle off into little pools of water, you can walk out to them on strips of rock that jut into the river.

The area the park is situated in is really picturesque- it seems like a backdrop for an old Western, with rolling hills and brown mountains.

mom kept taking pictures. ;)


 This was a cave. I crawled pretty far in but wriggled back out when the tunnel narrowed. People had scratched names on the sides, and sunlight filtered in through a hole in the roof. I felt like Nancy Drew, exploring. :)

The park itself is 5,200 acres and was a private ranch until 1970. Can you imagine owning all the waterfalls?!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Museum and Library

While in Austin for Agrilife 4-H Day at the Capitol
(Bleed Maroon! Bleed Green!) we stopped at the LBJ library and museum on the UT campus. Compared to the other two presidential libraries I've seen (there are 3 in Texas) this was a little dated, but it still had some really neat exhibits.
One of my favorite things was the telephone calls on any and everything, from Johnson's wife Lady Bird correcting his speech to him offering Jackie O advice.
 The museum focused a good bit on the decades in Johnson's life- a room filled with 50's, 60's or 70's mementos, etc.  It was very interesting to see what was popular at different times, and what news and wars impacted life.
Johnson's presidency was deeply overshadowed by the Vietnam War, and he hated the fact but knew he could do nothing to change it. More than anything, he wanted to use his Presidency help the underdog - poor, minorities, children - anyone who didn't have a voice or say at Congress. A few years teaching at an impoverished school on the Texas- Mexico border instilled this desire to help in him early on.

This table showed how events in Johnson's presidency affect our lives today.

You have to give it to him- it was a pretty good idea to get people to care about who their senators are. He had some pretty snazzy tactics- while running for President, he handed out toothbrushes and razors so people would remember him 'first thing in the morning and/or before they go to bed' as he felt those were important decision- making times.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Patriots Redcoats and Spies Review


When Revolutionary War Patriot Lamberton Clark is shot by British soldiers while on a mission for the Continental Army, he has only two hopes of getting the secret message he’s carrying to General George Washington: his 14-year-old twin boys John and Ambrose. Upon discovering that their father is a spy in the Culper Spy Ring, the boys accept their mission without a clue about what they may be up against. They set off from Connecticut to New Jersey to find General Washington, but the road to the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army is full of obstacles; including the man who shot their father who is hot on their trail.

I decided to let my youngest brother read it first, as it was elementary historical fiction. His thoughts:

  • Good for all ages
  • Made history interesting
  • Exciting action
  • I liked that it was  Christian
  • Seemed a little unreal
My review:
 While the book was very interesting and action packed, it was definitely unrealistic. From telling jokes to George Washington (what do you call a patriot dog? Yankee poodle!) or using more modern, 19th century words like 'ok', 'guys', 'yeah', 'Mom' and "Dad', there were certainly many historical flaws. Another 'con' would be the pictures. The people all resembled Quasimodo from the Hunchback of Notre Dame!

I DID, however, like the storyline. Ambrose and John, twins, had to choose to work together. They had to make many painful choices and sacrifices along the way to deliver their secret message. It was neat to see them mature and work together, and to learn more about the Culpepper Spy Ring.

The book had a Christian message, which I found uplifting.

I also found it fascinating that this book was based off a true character - Lamberton Clark was distantly related to the authors.

All in all, I give the book 31/2 out of 5 stars.
    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A perfect Christmas?

I had a great Christmas. I received a lot of presents, saw a lot of family, and played a lot of games. And I did a lot of thinking. So many times we want our Christmases to be perfect. We spend hours searching for the perfect gift, decorating the house elegantly, stringing lights just so. Maybe we want to have the perfect outfit, or matching pjs on Christmas morning.

Do you think the first Christmas was perfect? No. I love this photo, but it wasn't all like this - cozy, warm, private.

Image credit

I'm sure it was cold and uncomfortable in the stable, and that Mary and Joseph didn't want a bunch of shepherds showing up when they were  trying to sleep.  Jesus is the only perfect part of Christmas. But somehow, they understood it was all part of God's plan.

We need to be more like that. Less worried about the perfect-ness of our holiday and more concerned about the people in it. Perhaps you could talk to someone in your family about the true meaning of Christmas, or offer to pray at the big family dinner. Find opportunities to put Christ back in Christmas, instead of focusing on material things.

Okay. Monolouge over.
My grandparents spoiled me with a Nancy Drew game ( i love it!!) a darling blue coat, a soft blanket, candy, and so much more.
My Aunt Lisa got me this and a music box with the Eiffel Tower on it:
isn't it adorable?

 Mom and Dad got me some really pretty clothes, and their good friend Santa brought me Sperrys, Bobs, a Nancy Drew game, pjs, and so many fun litttle surprises.

some of the loot

bobs sneakers and sperrys <3
All of the family got camo in some form (yay) and we had several modeling sessions in between wrapping paper and cookie tins.

picture won't turn for some reason :/
One of my favorite parts of Christmas is getting gifts for the boys. I got Christopher  a lot of books, and Andrew a game called Ticket to Ride. We've been playing it a lot. The boys got me a bop- it game and paterned craft tape.

diving into the spoils


Monday, October 20, 2014

HGTV Fixer Upper Store in Waco, TX.

Saturday we were already in Waco for our Ag Id Contest;
Ag Id -First place as a team, third individual for me, and first individual for C! YAY! So proud of my little brothers :)
so we decided to drive by the Magnolia Homes store. That's where Joanna Gaines from HGTV's Fixer Upper sells a lot of the decorating items she uses on the shows. You can find it at :
3801 Bosque Blvd.
Waco, TX 76710
Office: 254-235-6111
Shop: 254-235-0603
She has several Baylor students working there - I guess she's too busy with the show to work behind the counters! One really sweet thing is that there are a lot of Bible verses up in the store. :) The store has a lot of unique, rustic items. Everyone there is definitely, obviously a tourist, and it's quite entertaining to watch them. The place is small, and they're planning an expansion at the 'Silos' - some old silos they're renovating and expanding to include an antiques trade days and a food truck parking lot.  From the Waco Tribune:
"The Gaineses estimate they will spend $1.4 million on the renovation and finish it in early 2015. The result would be a Magnolia headquarters and retail center, plus an indoor “trade days market” open monthly or weekly, as well as a food truck court with regular hours."

The Magnolia Farms truck

MAGNOLIA! (and me on the porch!)

The silos!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Secret Adversary review

I had always wanted to read Agatha Christie, but simply never got around to it. I love a good mystery; Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and Trixie Belden, etc. The first Agatha Christie I read,

Secret Adversary, got me hooked. It's free in the Kindle Store, too! And the BBC remake is on YouTube, free as well.

Here's your review:

In 1915, as the Lusitania sinks, a British spy gives a girl his secret papers, since she is a woman and will have a better chance of getting into a lifeboat. He tells her to get the papers to the American Embassy at all costs - even if it means her life. She agrees.

Flash forward to the end of World War 1, 1918. No one knows where that girl is, The papers were never delivered. Did she and the spy drown?

   Enter Tommy and Tuppence, a likable, British, charismatic young 'couple' - they're mainly just friends, and there's not much romance, which I liked- who decide to become mercenaries to earn a little money. Thinking the whole thing is a joke, they unwittingly stumble upon an enemy spy. He sees their innocent naivety and hires them to find the papers!

   Luckily, Tuppence realizes he's up to no good and she and Tommy decide to help one of the Queen's agents by alerting them to the enemy. He in turn recruits them, thinking they are experienced in the underworld. Hahaha-no. Tommy and Tuppence have no clue what they're getting into. They fall into a deadly game of espionage, torpedoes, amnesiacs, kidnapping, poisoning, and basically every exciting thing that could happen to a person. The book is very clean, and not graphic at all. It’s one of my favorite books, and there’s a great plot twist at the end!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

i have an unusual name - a drama/tragedy/comedy in three parts.

Side note in case you're new here... my name is Laura Ashley . :)

What's in a name? For me, it's a lot of explaining.

"Laura. Ashley. Two words. Yes, it's my first name."

"Not Laura. No, not Ashley either."

"Laura Ashley. Like Mary Anne or Mary Kate."

"Yes, like the British fashion designer. And no, I don't get free dresses from them."
My name as a dress logo.

And whenever someone calls "Laura!" or "Ashley!", I automatically turn around because I get called that often, too.

I am called many names that are not mine. The only one I really dislike is Laurie, but the people who call me it are such sweethearts I don't mind. :)

  • Laurie
  • Smiley
  • Larsie
  • Doll
  • Laura Lynn
  • L.A
  • Laura Ashley
  • Lauren
  • Laura
  • Ashley
  • Ashlynn
  • Lora
  • Lara

All these things in consideration, however, I like having an unusual name. It makes me feel unique, and it's pretty cool to have never met anyone else with my name.  Do any of y'all have unique names, or are named for a cool reason? let me know!