Visiting Pop-pop & Nana


posted by Stelzl Family in Family Fun, Trips & Travels

Earlier this month we had the opportunity to travel to VA, and visit our grandparents!! Pop-pop and Nana own a beautiful house in the Bristol area, and have a boat … which always makes for a great day on the lake, swimming, picnicking, and making memories together.

IMG_1255 Matching sisters :-)


Taking a walk after dinner…


A family game of volleyball!

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Working on a 1000 piece puzzle – when we arrived the border was just started. Nana, Sarah, and Bethany  finished the puzzle on Saturday afternoon. :-)


An exciting day on the lake…


Swimming from the boat to “the cliff” … a popular place to jump from.



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The water was high this year, so the cliff was only about 12 feet.

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We enjoyed our time so much! What a blessing to take time away as a family, and be together. And how very grateful we are to have Godly grandparents who love spending time with our family, and who faithfully pray for us and encourage us – in so many ways! We love you Pop-pop and Nana!!

Sarah also posted here.

A Week in Review


posted by Stelzl Family in Family Fun, Trips & Travels

It’s been one incredible, packed-full-to-the-brim kind of week… and all along the way we captured those fun-filled memories with the camera. Gotta love the opportunity to look back and remember those moments with the ones you love!! Time is so short and precious… and what a rewarding blessing it is when we choose to make the most of those times together – whether a short walk through the neighborhood with a heart to heart talk, watermelon on the porch, soaking each other with the hose… or even just pulling weeds or raking mulch together. _MG_9358 We had a sweet girl from AL here, for a couple of day (we discovered that it was less expensive for her to fly here, and then home… than to fly directly home from where she had been with relatives). Joanna was a special highlight of our week – we filled her short visit with fun times (in the picture above we took Joanna to visit a produce/peach stand in SC, where they make delicious strawberry and peach soft serve)!

_MG_9335 Mashed potato omelette anyone? We first discovered one of these at a little bakery/restaurant in Mooresville NC…. and we’ve not stopped making them at home ever since! Makes a wonderful breakfast treat for our out-of-town guests!! :-)

_MG_9383 Hymn singing one evening…

_MG_9405 Joanna flew home on the 4th of July… but not before coming along on our traditional family trip to the cemetery, to visit Elisabeth’s grave.

_MG_9419 Later in the afternoon we had a family cookout on the back porch…

_MG_9448Some of the kids went into town to get ice cream from the creamery, where they make it fresh! This was just a couple of hours before the fireworks were scheduled to start. And of course we stayed in town for fireworks, which were thoroughly enjoyed!! :-)

_MG_9651 The following day (yesterday!), the weather was gorgeous… high 60s low 70s and a little warmer at times. We jumped in the van and drove a couple of hours to the mountains where we enjoyed a picnic lunch, and then hiked a short trail to swim in the river!! Fun times together as a family! _MG_9568


_MG_9753And thus ends our lovely, delightful, and very memorable weekend!!

Sarah posted about the week here.

Blueberry Picking


posted by Sarah in Family Fun, Farm & Garden

Today was the perfect day for five of us kids to go pick blueberries at a farm in SC. The weather forecast was calling for rain in the afternoon, so we managed to get ourselves out the door and drive over an hour to the “middle of nowhere”, before the rain came. :-)

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It was a lovely gray morning – cool but not rainy… no bugs and no sweat! Fun times together on the farm!

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We picked 7 gallons – some to eat and some to freeze :-)

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Many hands make light work! What special memories we made racing each other to fill those buckets to the brim… laughing and talking and comparing the sizes of our biggest berries.


We were able to purchased some cantaloupes from the farm stand as well. We love fresh farm produce! It will be such a blessing to have our own fruits in the years to come, as our fruit trees continue to grow and bear more fruit.

_MG_9283 _MG_9302The finished work… 13 big bags of blueberries to freeze. Happiness! :-)

I posted more pictures here.

Fresh Garden Veggies~


posted by Stelzl Family in Farm & Garden


We’re enjoying an abundance of fresh garden veggies this year! It’s a HUGE blessing to be able to harvest our own fresh lettuce, cucumbers, summer squash, as well as berries and herbs. The Lord is good!

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Last year was our first year mulch gardening. We noticed quite a bit of improvement from our rocky red clay soil conditions, although the garden was not as successful as we had hoped. This year we have been blessed with so much already! The mulch has had a while to break down and help further improve our garden. We’re so excited about the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, and look forward to future years when we can enjoy the fruits of our orchard!



We are learning a lot this year about planting – how much, where, and when. We had 200 heads of lettuce ready to be picked from within 2 weeks of each other… but not enough mouths to eat it all fast enough ;-) … so since the garden is now filled with small lettuce “bushes” and rather bitter leaves, we are noting that next year we should plant smaller sections in overlapping time periods throughout the spring. So far, everything else has been wonderful though!


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Mmm… few things compare to the taste of fresh garden vegetables! And there’s certainly a huge difference between the ones from our garden, and those that can be purchased at the grocery store! :-)

Celebrating a Milestone


posted by Stelzl Family in Friends & Fellowship, Trips & Travels

This past weekend we had the privilege of celebrating a special milestone with our friends, the Staddons! Their son David graduated from high school, and friends and family gathered for a time of sharing, special music (David is very musical, playing both piano and violin very well!), fellowship, and food.

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(Thanks to James Staddon for taking this picture on his iPhone, despite poor lighting and other conditions)


Since the graduation was on Saturday, we arrived Friday evening which made for a fun time of visiting and meeting the Staddons’ other relatives who were in town. We arrived just in time for dinner, a bon-fire and smore’s (with a drizzle of rain and lots of mud!), and a fun game of “ultimate frisbee” with a football. :-)

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(James Staddon snapped this with his iPhone) :-)


On Saturday we helped the Staddons prepare the house and get things ready for the graduation. Furniture was moved from kitchen and living room to accommodate 60+ people! David, along with some of his family members (and our David), prepared special music to play throughout the graduation – both violin and piano.



We were so blessed to see so many dear friends again! Robert and Kendalyn were there with their little girls Sauntina and Merilee. Many of the Staddons’ relatives were there, some having traveled long distances for the occasion, and others more local.



David shared some short and long term goals, and expressed his gratitude to family and friends for their investment in his life. Mr. and Mrs. Staddon shared about their journey of teaching/home education, and James (David’s brother) encouraged him to read and meditate on the Word of God.

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Many hands made light work! Cheerful helpers worked together to make the day a huge success. There was fellowship, laughter, and games. Fun times!

Later that evening, rather the following morning ;-) sometime after 12 AM, Wilkes Teams 12 (Josh & Lisa), and 3 (Matthew & Amanda) arrived from VA. While we waited for their arrival, we played games like Dutch Blitz, and Kings and Peasants… and ate cookies.

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Other highlights from the week included…

- Playing games outside… ping-pong, there ain’t no bears out tonight, football, and volleyball.

- staying up *way* past our bedtimes, laughing and making fun memories together

- Cooking delicious meals, fellowshipping around the table, and washing dishes together

- A fun surprise for David Staddon after midnight, including a huge “hailstorm” of candy falling from the ceiling fans in the living room (those who had already gone to bed thought it was hail ;-) ).

- Special music for Sunday service by various members of the different families

- 40 people staying at the Staddons home (and overnight)… oh what fun it was!!!

- Keeping each other’s names straight… there were 3 Sarahs and 4 Davids  ;-) …

- Holding babies – there were at least 5 “littles” at any one time, to play with or hold…

- Meeting new families – there were so many people at the graduation, and visiting throughout the weekend. It was a huge blessing to meet the Staddons’ different relatives, and other friends, and also to visit with our dear friends that we don’t see very often.


Thank you Staddons for having us! We so enjoyed our time in WV, fellowshipping and making memories. We can’t wait until next time, and look forward to future visits!!! :-) :-)