31 Days of Living Local

Weekend Activities with Macaroni Kids {31 Days: Day 26}

Meet my friend, Jennifer.

She has triplets.  All boys.  And a little girl.  And a teenage son.

Yeah, I know.  She’s super mom.

She’s also a mom who loves to get out and be active with her family and enjoy all the local activities that are just minutes from our homes.  So…

“When we first moved to North Georgia, I cried a lot. There was no Target to stop by on the way home, no conveniences.  When we were in Atlanta with nothing to do, we went shopping.  I still remember leaving the old Ingles and crying in the parking lot. I loved fresh produce and their store was not like any I shopped at in Atlanta. The schools were different too, and I cried.

Fast forward twelve Years. I now shop online, in the evening, when the kids are sleeping.  When I really need some me time I still go shopping, not at Target, but consignment stores, Belks and all those cute local shops. I love talking to our neighbors.  I shop farmers markets for our fresh produce now and I love where our kids go to school.  We are fortunate to live in area where we have so many State Parks and we use them all of the time. When there is nothing else to do we hike, or bike or play in the water. We love it.  Life is different now, and we are happy.

 We do love to get out so we are constantly looking for things to do in the area. We try to find things or events we will all enjoy.  I was always being asked how did you find out about that?  So I thought why not have a website where I can share what I find in our community.  Because I am not truly computer savvy and had no idea how to even set up a website, I found Macaroni Kid.  Macaroni Kid is a National company. They have helped me get everything started.  With Macaroni Kid I can share all of our local family friendly events with other families.  It also is allowing me to share some of our local businesses that parents may be interested in and never have known about. I am having so much fun with this and learning so much more about our area at the same time

Check it out here and be sure to let her know of any great activities coming up that could be added.  If I was home this weekend, I’d definitely be checking out the pottery show in downtown Cornelia or heading over to Pumpkin Days in the Park at Unicoi State Park in Helen. 

And if you’re not local to my area, you can still use Macaroni Kid to find out about activities in your local area too!

For all my posts in this 31 Days series on Living Local click here.

31 Days of Living Local · Friday Five · Friends

Together: Five Minute Friday {31 Days: Day 25}

Five Minute Friday

Because even though it’s October and I’m writing about Living Local for 31 days straight, it’s also Friday, and I’m learning to find my place in a local online community of gifted writers who let it all fly free for Five Minute Friday.  We’re linking up over at Lisa Jo’s where motherhood comes with a superhero cape and lots of chocolate.  Tonight some of us are blessed to be gathered together in person (wow!) for the #flashmob writing at the Allume Conference. Join us as we explore…


When you live in a small town you spend a lot of time together.

There’s a lot of Friday night football and church potluck and Saturdays at the baseball fields and farmers markets and middle school dances. 
And everyone knows your name, especially when you taught that community for five years about the literary significance of hunger games and gerunds.
But if you leave, if you go somewhere else even for a short time (like say three days at a conference) you might discover that all those people who know your name back home only know a piece of you and not the real show. 

They only know the mama, the teacher, the MOPS coordinator who’s stepping out on a big Leap of faith to leave a comfort zone where folks pretty much know she doesn’t have it all together and they’re okay, and have even embraced that. 
But to be together with those who might know what it means to call yourself writer when it sticks in your throat and makes your stomach flutter is worth it.

31 Days of Living Local

Sarah’s Lavender Cottage {31 Days: Day 24}

Meet Sarah Samsel
A Pressed-Flower and Cornhusk Doll Artist

A multi-media artist since the time she could glue construction paper together and an avid gardener, Sarah Samsel combines her excitement for creating and creation through pressed flower art. In addition to flower petals, Sarah uses foliage, seeds, bark, fruit and vegetable peels and a variety of other natural materials to create her pictures. In 2005, Sarah got her start in pressed-flower art when she was 10 years old by making greeting cards.

Ocellated Turkey  
banana peel, money plant, orange peel, smoke tree, corn husk, delphinium, spider mum, aucuba, zinnia, cockscomb, Georgia blue, cotton, mulberry, luffa, oak, parsley, chrysanthemum,
various other plants and
Sunny Day
gray poplar, black hollyhock, tiger lily, fern, birch, 
aucuba, banana peel, pampas grass, seaweed, tulip, cornsilk, hornet’s nest and mica

Manipulating cornhusks is also one of Sarah’s favorite activities. She’s been bending cornhusks since she was 12 years old. Sarah has made cornhusk sheep, camels, flowers, guys and dolls.

The Messenger

Field Gatherer

Joyful Noise
From Sarah..

Bringing hundreds of tiny pieces of plant material together to make a picture is one of my favorite things to do. My hometown, Clarkesville, is a great place to find a wide variety of botanical supplies. Most of what you see in my pressed-flower pictures once grew in a Georgia garden, field or forest. I also enjoy the challenge of seeing how far I can push the limits of my cornhusk dolls. Lately I’ve been making a flock of cornhusk birds. North Georgia is good about supporting its artists through its many galleries and art shows. I’m very thankful for where I live!

For more information on Sarah’s talent and to visit her shop visit Sarah’s Lavender Cottage online.

For all my posts in this 31 Days series on Living Local click here.

31 Days of Living Local

It’s a Small Town, After All {31 Days: Day 23}

Sometimes a town is a blessing.  The ubiquitous everyone always knows your name, your family, your concerns.

Sometimes a small town is a curse. The ubiquitous everyone always knows your name, your family, your concerns.

There’s no hiding that you got pulled over for speeding because everyone knows the van with the peeling paint is yours.

There’s no hiding when you’re almost out of diapers and it’s not quite payday and someone who knows your size and brand leaves an anonymous package in that well-known van when it’s in the church parking lot.

There’s no hiding certain unmentionables at the grocery store because both the clerk and the bag boy sat through your seventh grade literature class four years ago.

There’s no hiding that bad day when you just need a little mercy in the line at McDonald’s.

But, generally? I’d have to say it’s a blessing.  There’s no need to explain sometimes that you just need a little extra love because everyone knows about the hospital stay or the new baby or that you just might lose your mind because you agreed to direct a show at the community theater at Christmas after a fall that makes the calendar itself beg for mercy.

I love the connections of small towns.  It’s always some twisted route that starts with high school or church or a hometown committee and leads to the realization that you know people in circles that overlap and intertwine and build community that’s tight and strong and knit together because we share culture and values and a love for the heritage of this place.

Like when I realized that the sweet teenager who brought her little sister to audition for my show is a friend of my great-aunt’s because Aunt Wanslie was president of the Garden Club and the Garden Club has been a  supporter of Sarah’s art since she started years ago before I even moved my family over here.

Yeah, that’s small town.

Tomorrow I’m profiling a local artist, Sarah Samsel.  She makes beauty out of pieces others would call trash, or compost, at the very least.

Don’t miss the opportunity to embrace your small town, and all those who live within its circles.

31 Days of Living Local

Did You Know? {31 Days: Day 22}

Do you know any local entrepreneurs? Leave a link to your favorite local business that helps keep your community resilient in the comments. One of my favorite small town businesses that’s created jobs for our local and yours? The sister duo of Ivey and Brittany who founded Initials, Inc. and still call my hometown theirs.

Stop by tomorrow for a highlight of one of my favorite local artists: Sarah Samsel of Sarah’s Lavender Cottage. 
For all my posts in this 31 Days series on Living Local click here.