The Mommy Bloggy

Reflections of a Mother's Heart

Gem Mining May 21, 2012

Filed under: The Ferguson Family — Michelle Ferguson @ 1:27 pm

On Friday, my family and I headed to Hiddenite, NC for a day of gem mining at Hiddenite Gems, Inc.  We paid permit fees to sluice and creek.  At the sluicing table, we each sat at a bench in front of a wooden sloped “sink,” with running water.  We each had screen boxes which we filled with scoops of dirt from our 5 gallon buckets.  As the water ran through the boxes and we washed the sand out, gems and rocks were left behind.  Each scoop of dirt was like a Christmas present to Luke.  He couldn’t wait to “unwrap” the sand to see what was hiding within.  He was so excited about finding his gems, including sodalite, quartz, crystals, amethysts, and aquamarine.

After sluicing, we had a picnic lunch at their picnic area in the woods.  During lunch we were surrounded by these bold ducks (I called them turkey ducks because their heads look like turkeys).  They knew we had food, and they knew we had kids!  Kids who drop things, so they hung out with us and were pretty aggressive.  Chasing them away only helped temporarily.  Then, a cute squirrel made his presence known at the next picnic table.  I threw him a couple of pieces of my sandwich wrap which he gratefully consumed.  After a few minutes, we noticed he made his way to a trashcan and went inside it to look for more lunch.  Lindsay walked over to the trashcan to toss him a piece of bread, and I warned her that if she startled that squirrel he may jump up and land on her head.  As soon as I said that, she tossed her piece of bread, and that squirrel came flying out of that trashcan with all fours spread in the air, like he’d just been shot out of a cannon.  I was so startled that I let out a blood curdling scream, then I laughed my head off!  It was the funniest thing!

Then we made our way to the creek where we spend the next 2 1/2 hours mining for more gemstones.  We all had water shoes, which was a big help, and the water was C-O-L-D!  I believe Luke found the most gems.  He would simply reach down, pick up a handful of sand and find a gem!  Or he would catch a glimpse of a gem from above the water, reach down, and pick it up.  He was amazing!  We did rent a screen box and shovel to take to the creek, which was fun to use to filter out sand we dug up.  Almost every time we would find a precious gem.  We did find lots of gems and we got excited about every one!  The kids absolutely loved playing and digging in the creek!  When they were done, they were wet, cold, and sandy, but we had taken a change of clothes for them, so they were happy to be dry again.

There is also an emerald mine where you can dig, but we chose not to do that.  One recent discovery there, produced an emerald worth $10,000!  Hiddenite Gems’ motto is “You fine ’em, you keep ’em.”  And so we did, our plastic bags full of precious gems, and my heart full of precious memories of our time there.


Mummies of the World May 9, 2012

Filed under: The Ferguson Family — Michelle Ferguson @ 8:02 pm

In March, my family and I went to see the Mummies of the World Exhibit at Discovery Place in Charlotte.  We made a day of it, even packing a picnic lunch which we ate outside in a small courtyard area on Tryon Street.  Our tickets included an IMAX movie (and the experience of that HUGE, surrounding screen thrilled Luke!) and admission to the rest of the museum, including an aquarium area where the kids were mesmerized by sea horses, an octopus, and shrimp.

We found the Mummies exhibit fascinating.  Mummification can occur naturally or intentionally and includes animals as well as people.  For a body to be considered mummified, it must contain original skin and/or organs.  The collection included mummies from Europe, Africa, ancient Egypt, South America, and the South Pacific.

We saw several animals on display, including a squirrel mummified in an attic for many years, a 500 year old, still-furry dog preserved in a bog,  and a monkey from Argentina found with a feathered head dress.  The focus of the exhibit were the people, real people with real stories.  We saw a 6,400 year old child so well preserved that scientists could conclude from cat scans and MRI’s that he had died from a heart defect.  Also on display was an 18th century Hungarian family killed by the plague and a German nobleman found wearing leather boots.

As we toured, I found it interesting that intentional ancient preservation included the use of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  I couldn’t help but think of the gifts the wise men brought to Jesus after he was born:  gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  It was the ancient preserver’s quest to maintain the body of the deceased for the “after life.”  They put so much focus on the body, that they ignored the spirit.

This was a great educational and spiritual field trip, where we reminded our children that death is real, and it is important to focus on growing our spirits in the Lord.  No amount of “works” or “spices” will gain us entry into heaven.  “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast”(Ephesians 2:8-9).



Happy Birthday Lindsay! April 10, 2012

Filed under: The Ferguson Family — Michelle Ferguson @ 8:15 pm

Saturday was Lindsay’s 12th birthday!  I cannot believe that twelve years ago, Brad and I were camped out in a teeny tiny hospital room watching the Masters on t.v.  in Norfolk, VA, waiting for this little baby to make her entrance into the world!  Little did we know how much she would impact our lives!  She’s grown to be a wonderful, beautiful young lady who loves the Lord…what more could a mom ask for?!  Thank you, Jesus!

Birthdays around here mean sugar for breakfast because the Birthday Girl or Boy gets to choose the menu!  We had doughnuts for breakfast and cake and ice cream for lunch!  Not too healthy, but that’s just the way it happened.

Lindsay had a small party with her girlfriends Saturday morning.  We tie dyed tee-shirts using Sharpies and rubbing alcohol.  We found this wonderful idea on Pinterest and tried it out before Christmas.  It worked so well, we thought it would make for a fun birthday party.  I made a tie dyed birthday cake and we decorated the house with pink streamers and tie dyed balloons.  The girls had a ball!

Lindsay’s best friend Claire was able to come spend the weekend with us, and nothing could have made her birthday any happier!  Those girls have known each other since Lindsay was six months old and Claire ten months old!  Even distance has not been able to blow out the flame of their special friendship.

Saturday afternoon found us at the mall along with everyone else who had waited to the last minute to finish their Easter shopping!  Our mission at the mall was to have Lindsay’s ears pierced.  After waiting patiently for several years, finally at age 12, her daddy and I allowed her to have it done.  We told her that anything you want so badly is worth the wait.  It grows your character (self-control).  Besides, I didn’t want my little girl growing up as fast as our culture makes them.  She has the rest of her life to wear earrings!

We went to Claire’s to have the piercing done, and Lindsay was a little nervous.  I told her it would sting.  I’m not one to sugar-coat pain!  She was brave, and with Claire by her side, she endured the process.  The manager of the store told Lindsay, “Don’t worry, you are in good hands.  I do this all the time.”  And a fantastic job she did!  Lindsay chose studs in her birth stone (diamond, but these are cubic zirconia).  Afterwards, Lindsay kept saying, “I can’t believe my ears are pierced!”  She is thrilled, and she is being very diligent about keeping them clean.  For her birthday, she received 15 pairs of earrings, and in 2 months she will be wearing them all!

 What a joy and privilege to be a mother!  I am so thankful for our three children with whose lives God has entrusted to Brad and me!


Charleston Tea Plantation March 15, 2012

Filed under: The Ferguson Family — Michelle Ferguson @ 10:26 pm

The kids and I visited with my mom for a few days this week while we were on spring break.  However, I always tell my kids “you can never take a vacation from education!”  So we visited the Charleston Tea Plantation for a fun field trip.

The Charleston Tea Plantation is the home of American Classic Tea, and it is the only tea plantation in North America!  It is located on Wadmalaw Island in the heart of South Carolina’s lowcountry.  Tea plants need sandy soil, hot temperatures, and high humidity to thrive and they’ve got it there!  We took a tour of the 127 acre plantation in an old Philadelphia trolley, which the owner purchased on eBay!

We learned that tea plants are called Camellia Sinensis and green, oolong, and black tea are all made from the same tea plants.  What makes them different from each other in taste is how long they sit on the oxidation bed in the processing plant.  Also white tea is not made from the leaves of the tea plant, but from the new growth buds on the plant and has to be hand picked, which is why white tea is more expensive.

We toured the factory where the tea is processed and watched on flatscreen televisions how tea is made from the raw leaves.  Of course we enjoyed the delicious tea samples in the charming gift shop and left with boxes of tea to enjoy at home!  Rockville Raspberry and Island Green Mint teas rock! 


Armed and Dangerous February 21, 2012

Filed under: The Ferguson Family — Michelle Ferguson @ 10:59 pm

Brad and I had a hot date Saturday night!  We went to a firing range with another couple from our church, and I shot a gun for the first time in my life!  I was given a quick lesson on gun safety and before I knew it I was donned in safety glasses and ear protection, holding a Glock 40-calibur semi-automatic pistol in my hands.  On my first round of 5 shots, I actually hit where I was aiming, the X in the middle of my pink target!

It was a lot of fun, but I have a very healthy respect for guns.  In fact, I was really pretty nervous, and I experienced sore arm muscles from my tension.  There is a lot to remember when firing a gun!  I learned how to load the magazine, rack the slide, and how to line up my target with the gun’s notches.  I even used one gun with a laser light which was really cool!

Brad’s goal is to get us both very comfortable with firing a gun, so we are competent should the need to defend ourselves ever arises.  Brad wants to put a sign in our front yard that says, “Protected by Smith & Wesson.”  I think I could just attach my pink Target practice paper to the front door, and that should be enough to scare any intruder away!


Valentine’s Tradition February 14, 2012

Filed under: The Ferguson Family — Michelle Ferguson @ 11:54 pm

Our Valentine’s Day tradition continued today by the loving hands of Lindsay.  While I was busy studying, she was busy in the kitchen.  She melted dark chocolate chips and hand dipped each strawberry in the delicious sweetness.  This was our special dessert tonight, and we’ve made these chocolate-covered strawberries every Valentine’s Day for many years.

I picked out the “pretty” ones to take a picture of, and Lindsay said, “Well, who cares what they look like?  The important thing is that they taste good!”  Ahh, I see a need for a lesson in food presentation!

Anyway, “well said, my Lindsay!”  And they were soooo delicious!


Kings Mountain January 16, 2012

Filed under: The Ferguson Family — Michelle Ferguson @ 9:28 pm

On Friday, our family visited Kings Mountain for a day of hiking.  We first toured the Living History Farm of re-created buildings of an 18th century farm, where a cat ran over from the woods to join us.  He lead us around like a tour guide!  Logan loves cats and always manages to find one…we call him the cat whisperer! 

After peering inside a privy, we decided we are all very thankful for modern conveniences, especially indoor toilets!  We learned that a long time ago bed frames had a system of ropes running through them which held the mattress up off the floor.  Occasionally, these ropes had to be tightened so the mattress would not sag.  This is where the term “sleep tight” comes from!

We ate our picnic lunch inside the car (with heat running) because it was chilly and windy outside.  Then we drove to another parking lot and began our 7-mile hike.  The trees this time of year have no leaves, so we could see straight through the woods.  My boys collected an arsenal of stick weapons to carry through belt loops and in their hands.  They were on the lookout for Indians! 

After 3 1/2 miles, we came to the Visitor’s Center where we watched a short film on the battle which took place at King’s Mountain.  In a nut shell, the American patriots, led by Col. William Campbell, defeated the Loyalists commanded by Major Patrick Ferguson, who was reputed to be the best marksman in the British Army.  In fact, at one time, Ferguson had a key patriot leader in range ready to kill, and at the last minute, refused to fire.  If he had shot, he would have killed George Washington, commander of the Continental Army.  How different America could have been!  No doubt God has His hand on history!

As it was getting late in the day, we decided it would be best to forgo the walking tour of the battlefield behind the Visitor’s Center and hike back to the car.  That leaves us something else to go back and do.  Luke complained some about the long walk, but he’s really becoming quite a great little hiker!  We all really had a fun time and learned something, too!  The air was cool and refreshing, and it was wonderful to spend the time outdoors with my favorite people!


A Day at the Museum January 14, 2012

Filed under: The Ferguson Family — Michelle Ferguson @ 10:11 pm

The Queen City is home to the Mint Museum, a museum of craft, design, and American and European art.  When Logan first began noticing the signs for this museum, he expressed over and over his desire to visit there.  I think his desire had something to do with the word “Mint.”  When I found out what the museum was about and told Logan, he was slightly disappointed that samples of mints from around the world would not be one of the exhibits!

Our opportunity to visit the Mint Museum came this past week after I received an e-mail from a friend that the museum was offering free admission to home schoolers for an afternoon.  Now, driving to a new destination in uptown AND finding a place to park are not at the top of my favorite things to do, but I was up for an adventure with my kids on a rainy day!  Their eyes were pealed for the big “P”  signs indicating parking, and we found the right garage, then the elevators we took up, exited that building, and entered the museum right next door.

We signed in, got our stickers to wear, and headed to the “Family Gallery.”  It was a very kid-friendly room where the kids took part in building and puzzle challenges, posing for pictures inside frames, making large doodles on paper, and creating art of their own at a well-stocked art center.  When I finally coaxed them away from the art table, we headed upstairs to browse through two floors of exhibits.  We saw glass and pottery designs, wood designs, woven bamboo designs, even art created with painted threads.

I am not an art connoisseur by any means, but there were certainly some very unusual (okay, strange!) pieces on display.  One display from a distance looked like toilet paper thrown over ropes.  As we got closer, we discovered the piece was actually made of white linen, in my words, “thrown over rope.”  Another eye-catching piece was a preserved, dead Christmas tree decorated with clear glass balls filled with the dead needles from the tree.  Now why couldn’t I have thought of that?!

We saw necklaces that looked more like (in Logan’s words) “neck braces.”  Some were huge, some were twisted, and some looked very uncomfortable.  There was one  necklace made of all recycled plastic things the artist found, like plastic tabs from milk jugs, plastic care instructions that come with flowers, etc.  Other painted works looked like my Luke could have made them and even done a better job!

I got excited when I found a painting by Benjamin West because we’ve studied a little about him this year in our history lessons.   West was an American-born artist who became painter for King George III of England during the time of the American Revolution.  Seeing West’s artwork made our book studies come alive.  We also saw lots of paintings of George Washington.

We all searched for our favorite pieces, and Logan’s was a footed rosewood bowl.  Lindsay’s favorite piece was called the “Pacific Rose,” which looked like a huge crystal suspended by a hook.   Luke liked a wooden piece shaped like a huge slug.  My favorite piece was called “Dancing Pear Bottle.”

Our day at the museum was fun and since admission is free on Tuesday nights between 5 and 9pm, we may visit again with Brad.  Then he can pick out his favorite piece!


My Birthday Cake March 28, 2011

Filed under: The Ferguson Family — Michelle Ferguson @ 6:23 pm

My precious daughter, Lindsay, asked me last week what my favorite cake was because she really wanted to make me a birthday cake.  Without hesitation, I replied, “Strawberry cake with fresh strawberries.”  We found the recipe, bought the ingredients, and Sunday afternoon, she worked her magic in the kitchen.  The only thing I did to help was wash, slice, and prepare the strawberries for the recipe.  She did all the rest, including making the homemade icing, stacking the three layers, and icing it.  She even picked out the fun candles to put on top!

We laughed because it turned out crooked!  I pretended to walk crooked after I ate my piece!  Though it wasn’t what the world would call “perfect,” I thought it was!  My daughter gave me the gift of a cake and, more importantly, the gift of her love!  I love you, my Lindsay!


The Unsocial Network March 6, 2011

Filed under: The Ferguson Family — Michelle Ferguson @ 6:10 pm

One of my favorite past times is people watching.  I love watching parents interact with children, couples whom I presume to be on first dates, teenagers at the mall, and elderly couples taking their time.  You can tell a lot about people by just watching them for a few moments and how they speak and interact with others.  Now I am not saying that a snippet in time tells the whole picture of a person, but you can get a good idea.

Last night, Brad and I took the three L’s out for dinner.  It was inspired by Logan who told me that he really wanted to go somewhere last night (I think he was tired of being housebound due to the rain!).  Brad suggested we go to dinner, and it was not at Chick-fil-A!  We arrived at the restaurant before the typical Saturday night crowd and were seated pretty quickly.

After we placed our orders, I began to people watch.  We were seated right next to a table of five women.  Next to them was another table of five men.  I guessed that they were probably together, a group of couples out for a night of fun, women at one table, men at another.  I couldn’t help but notice something else, too.  This group of women was the quietest group of women I’d ever been around.  Then I looked closer and observed that four out of the five were on their phones, texting, surfing the web, and totally ignoring the company of each other.   I couldn’t believe it!

Brad and I began to talk about this.  He commented that what we were observing was the unsocial network.  These women were at dinner with each other to enjoy fellowship, yet their social networks trumped the ones sitting at the table with them.  If I had been that 5th woman at the table, I would have been somewhat hurt that my friends’ attentions were elsewhere.  These ladies could not even put their phones away to eat.  They sat on the table beside their plates!

Then I looked around the restaurant and at the other table beside us sat a father and young daughter.  He was playing on his phone as his daughter colored her menu.  How sad to lose the conversation with a daughter because of a gadget.  Our phones are taking over our lives!  There are certainly good things about i-phones, but they do have their place.  Their place should be back burner to a face to face conversation with a spouse, a friend, or a child.  What message is being sent when our phones demand our attention all the time?  That the people in our company are not really that important?

Be where you are!  Love and fellowship with those in your company!