Sometimes life can be so hectic that you forget to stop and enjoy the little things. Living in the Shenandoah Valley, I don’t have to travel far to enjoy the simple beauty in nature.

Whether I’m walking through wet grass in the morning…

wet grass wm

or stopping to watch the clouds creep over the mountains during a mid-morning hike…

ravens roost over

I’m witnessing something magical.

Stopping to Enjoy My Surroundings

Hidden in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Swannanoa Palace is a lovely mansion with Italian style and a Great Gatsby vibe. It’s glory days are long gone and it is in desperate need of renovations, but if moody, forgotten masterpieces are your thing, add this to your bucket list.

The fog was heavy, but I think it only added to the mystery of this old treasure. See all of the photos from the Swannanoa Palace Gallery here. Enjoy!

Swannanoa Palace (part 2)

My son, Patrick, and I are working with a speech therapist to help develop his communication skills. One of the tools that has really helped has been the use of flash cards.  In order to help his recognition of common items at home, I decided to create some flash cards of everyday items around our house.

Apple wmBall wmbanana wmBook wmcar wmcup juice wmmilk wmold bay wmPear wmshoes wmSlinky wmbell bright wm

Speech Therapy Flash Cards

Oh Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart!

It’s not everyday that your first born baby girl turns 5.  I can hardly believe it! Where does the time go. It seems like only yesterday she was chewing my sneakers and graduating from puppy school.

Cecilia white w wm

When you want her to smile but she wants treats.

I had a whole cute Birthday theme planned, but she wasn’t very interested in messing with any of that. She simply wanted the treats in my hand. What can I say… she’s a girl who knows what she wants.

Birthday Pittie

I’ve been on a hunt for some new places to explore in the Shenandoah Valley and thanks to a few natives, I learned of this breathtaking gem. It is a bit run down, but you can still see how glorious it must have been at one time. It almost feels like you’re in the middle of a beautiful memory.  I wish I could have seen more, but Swannanoa Palace is only open on weekends; this was as close as I could get today. I will definitely be back!!!

Swannanoa Palace