(and any Heart of the Matter friends that might visit…added very late, of course)
I am so, so, so glad that you are coming to visit me today in NC.
since I am still a “you guys” kind of gal.
I was born and raised in the North (Go Packers), but have been a southern girl for 13 years, and wouldn’t change a thing.
These past few days have been one of those ‘do I even have a moment to breathe” kind of weeks, and so here I am ALL excited to have my new BATW friends come hang out, and my post is going to be…well, a bit boring….just tellin’ ya.
So, yep, I am cheating…and welcoming you personally before I show off this UN-BE-LIEVE-ABLE state of ours.
Click below to “meet me.”
I know, I never watch them either, but it’s only a minute.
(I have been in the middle of saving money on grocery/couponing posts, so for you new friends who want to meet my family and me, please click on older posts at the bottom of the page. This is a tour of NC, right, so it wouldn’t be good if it was all about me.)
Ok, now that we have been formally introduced, let me highlight a few of our favorite spots.
N.C. is a state of incredible variety.
We live in the northern part of NC, and within 1 hour we can be here –
the marvelous mountains of the Blue Ridge
or drive another hour into the mountains and find this beauty in Asheville.
The Biltmore House is the largest home ever built in America, and it is so far beyond fantastic that I won’t even begin to describe it. You must come see it personally, and then come see me. I have always wanted to open a bed and breakfast, but then reality hits and I realize that I would have to have my house clean….all the time, and laundry picked up….all the time, and my dream shatters, since that will never happen.
But I can give you a nice cozy bed and bountiful breakfast. 🙂
That counts, doesn’t it?
The beaches of NC/SC are breathtaking (well, maybe not as in Hawaii breathtaking, but I’ll take them non the less :), and depending on who is driving in the family, we can be there in three hours…our front door to bare feet buried in the sand.
Ahhh- wish I were there now!
(oops, don’t get me wrong, of course you come first, but ….you know what I mean).
Since we didn’t get the opportunity to go to the beach this summer – yes, I know, no lectures.
It’s only 3 hours away , we should have no excuse. I hear you!
Ok, I got that little guilt off my chest so I can go on. The Lord graciously gave us an oasis within walking distance from our house. We live minutes away from this lovely lake.
That’s not our new found treasure – we’ve always known there was a lake and my boys do bike to it, but without a boat, it makes the water sports non existent since there is no accessible beach….until we found this…..hmmm….it’s a path….that leads to this….
A 30 foot high rope swing that is nestled in a cozy, deserted cove.
The rope swing is “famous” on the lake, and we have heard about it for years.
Yep, even spied it a few times when we were on our friends’ boats,
but little did we know that we could access it on our very own two little feet.
Talk about some boys’ summer time dream!
We can take the whole family, and the girls just swim in the shallow cove – after they risk their lives climbing down the cliff to get to it.
and was in crunch mode.
As we drive, I realize that our spot in the country is also a mixture of beauty and bedlam because right next to enormous houses like this…..
You might have something like this….
(This is where my husband insists I must say something about NASCAR since NC is all about Nascar and basketball), I explain to him the fact that I have 5 minutes to finish typing up the blog post so here goes…the famous Nascar Driver Kevin Harvick lives here.
Right down the road from us.
I gawk at his house, and try really hard not to have a “keep up the Jones” mentality every time I drive by.
Well, I guess this time it would be “keep up with the Harvicks” and keeping up with him would be really hard, wouldn’t it? I hear he’s REALLY fast!
It looks to me like he tried to copy the Biltmore….I’ll take this impersonation any day.
Here is the poor little neighbor of the famous Nascar driver.
Oh, poor neighbor. It’s rough! And yep…I have to drive by these houses EVERY DAY!!
That’s character building for you.
The irony is that I also drive past these houses every day.
Yep, beauty and bedlam.
I love country living. It does express the real US to me.
Everyday they hang their clothes on the line.
What a pain, but I bet they sure do smell splendid.
My son zoomed in on a bunch of their undies, and my kiddos thought it was hilarious. They were cracking up in the back seat, along with MANY photos of people driving by in cars. They would zoomed in and caught many people doing some very weird things while they were driving.
Can you tell we got a new camera with a great lens?
I now understand how paparazzi can catch people without their knowledge…we definitely got a few of those today.
I won in the battle of “to post or not to post” question.
And down the road, our neighbor’s sweet lovely log cabin….it’s SO cozy!!
And the gentleman built it himself 40 years ago.
Another few castles I pass on a regular basis.
And since my son is so proud of the shots from the van window,
I can’t crush his spirit by deleting them.
Most of you probably know that NC is famous for Furniture and Tobacco, but do you know what tobacco actually looks like?
Here it is….a whole field full…. and it’s worth a whole lot of money.
The house with the underwear?
Many of the farmers live in “shacks” but are sitting on millions in land/crops.
It’s really very interesting to learn about this industry.
Old abandoned tobacco barns are littered everywhere in the country.
They have so much character, and I wish I had one on our property.
My brother has one through the woods, so I vicariously live through his.
Are you wondering what this amazing vine is that grows bountifully up and over this tree?
Well, if you live any where in the Southeast, you know it well.
KUDZU, and it’s here for keeps.
Kudzu was introduced to the United States in 1876 when countries were invited to build exhibits to celebrate the 100th birthday of the U.S. Everyone was blown away by Japan’s beautiful arrangement. The love it because it grows normally in their country, but in the warm weather of the south, can you say, “invasive predator?”
It grows 7 feet a week and nothing can control it.
One plant can stretch for 7 miles!
Look closely in the background. Do you see how it’s covering every tree and has already taken over all the open space? That is Kudzu throughout the field, not some wonderful crop that a farmer is growing.
Ok, I am out of time….I have to have this up now…midnight EST, and it’s midnight!!
It’s a race against the clock….don’t we teach our kids about the devastating effects of procrastination?
Sheesh!! Who is their mom anyhow?
Today’s blog was a family event. These next pictures were uploaded here by mistake, but I did take them, so I’m leaving them….Come on back….with my new camera, I will finally have some eye candy for you, and a new and improved blog. Just have to figure it out first.
Thanks so much for coming on by, y’all…..you guys.
Let me know you stopped by and can’t wait to meet you….if we haven’t already. 🙂
Balancing Beauty and Bedlam,
This is like a big P.S.
These are on my windowsill (added from a prior post).
Wait till you see this zoomed in close.
We have no idea what kind of insect it is, but can’t wait for you to help us identify it.
Yes, I vicariously live through my alter ego every week as a 16 year old named “Cammie.”
This was last Sunday as we crammed during our dress rehearsal. Can I just tell you that my memory is not what it used to be? I have become the master of hiding lines in the most creative places….I think some of you designer types call it “creative concealment?” 🙂
Yes, so cheesy….but I am 16……and like, you know, I am like so supposed to be totally…ummm…..like this!
Great tour! So cute and original!
Thank you for the tour. Your son’s pictures were wonderful, and I loved your video! You give off such a warm and welcoming vibe!
Wow, what a tour!! We lived in Georgia for four years. I remember all of the beautiful homes just like you show. Down the street would be a shack!
The Kudzu, oh the kudzu, never saw anything like it in my life. The story I was told was that it was imported thinking it could be grown as food for livestock. What ever the reason it has certainly taken over.
Hope you enjoy your BATW day and have loads of fun.
Thank you for the NC tour! I love visiting NC and have always thought it was beautiful. I have several relatives that live there, also transplants from the North. (visiting from L.A.)
So nice to meet you and your lovely family!
I’m a mama to five blessings, too. (with number six due in January)
I’ll be stopping by again!
Daja, from BATW
thanks for the entertaining blog and I love the fact your kids got into it!
You know I live in Hungary, but in 2007 I was home at my mom’s in Denver NC and she lives right on Lake Norman…in one of those huge houses, it is ridiculous… and I gave birth to my son in Mooresville, NC which I am told is the NASCAR capital of the world. I had no idea and everyone kept telling me how blessed I was to have my son born there! Ha ha
Neat video it was nice hearing your voice. The kids take great photos.. I can just picture them cracking up laughing while taking the clothes line of undies lol, something my olders ones would have done when they were little.!! Thanks for the tour..
I loved all of it! And I really love that your kids got into. That Kudzu is amazing…7 FEET A DAY!!!! It’s gonna take over the continental US pretty soon. And I had never seen a tobacco plant before. Thanks for a great post!
BAHAHAHAHAHA You SO look 16:) LOVED your tour, and those amazing houses. You know though, I’m actually more impressed by the log cabin your neighbor built himself. Can you imagine? I’ve seen Kudzu and read about it–geesh, talk about a mistake bringing it here! Well, I’m off to the next tour. Thanks so much for your hospitality:)
Great Tour Friend!
Your son did a great job! I can’t wait to come back and catch up on your grocery savings posts.
Loved the pictures! Have you played with your camera’s aperture button yet?…it is my favorite for taking close ups. With it you can focus on things and blur everything else out. I love it!
What an amazing tour! You have such a lovely family. I enjoyed looking through your blog. I went through NC a couple of years ago – I am a big Duke basketball fan!!! Thanks for sharing and enjoy your day!
Congratulations!! I love the video, that was a great idea!! So much more personal!! I enjoyed the tour you gave us also. The pcitures are wonderful!!
Greetings from Knightdale, NC
Ooohh.. It’s so pretty 🙂 What a lovely tour! Your son’s photos were wonderful, but I must say, I’m so glad that you included the kudzu. I live in Louisiana, so we have a little bit of it, but the Mississippi River protects us from being totally overrun with it like our neighbor. Anyway, Thanks for making me feel so welcome 🙂
I wouldn’t go to the ocean either if such a beautiful lake was nearby. Then again, did you say something about jumping off a cliff to get there? Now, I’m going back to find those grocery savings posts.
good job, jen! you are too cute as a 15 year old – you should post a pic from when you really were 15 – i bet you look exactly the same!
Wonderful tour!! Amazing how there is such a huge difference in homes in your area!
Oooh, I loved this tour! Thanks for showing us around the mountains and your beautiful neighborhood. What an AMAZING lake to have so near!! And thanks for the video clip – what a treat to hear your voice 🙂
Happy day-in-the-BATW-sun to you …
I’m glad to meet you to! How come we’ve never run into each other here in the bloggy world? I’m going to remedy that by subscribing!
Okay, I’m ashamed to admit, but I’ve learned a few things about this great state by reading your post. First of all, I never knew for sure what tobacco looked like. A couple of years ago I was driving through the country with my grandparents and we kept seeing a crop that we assumed to be tobacco since it was so prevalient (sp?), but we never asked. Now I know we were right.
Also, I didn’t know what that vine was (though I see it a lot), or that it wasn’t native. Thanks for the info!
What a great tour! NC looks very nice, I’d love to come and visit. Enjoy your BATW day!!
Thanks for the great tour!
Hey, fellow NC girl! Great post today, loved the video :)!! You really captured a lot of the unique things about this state! I really hope that no one else in your family gets the stomach bug :(.
Thats for the tour and the video was awesome, nice touch. You are so nice and welcoming. I really enjoyed my time here.
That was a fun tour, Jen! I love NC & have spent a lot of time in your fair state when I was growing up. My parents have a mountain house in West. NC & it's beautiful up there. We have many majestic homes as well as shacks here in AL too. Lots of variety!
Thanks for the tour! Where do I leave my tip?
I love the pictures of the houses. I think that’s one of the most defining characters of our country. It seems every region has its own housing varieties. I live in the St. Louis area, and we too have the shacks and the castles right next to each other. We also have the shacks in the middle of brand spanking new subdivisions with huge houses. Almost like that one guy DID NOT want to sell his house!
I loved your video post – nice to meet you! You gave a spectacular tour. I think I am really going to enjoy your blog – glad BATW brought me by!
You are so cute. You remind me of darling Sandra Lee from Semi Homemade on the Food Network. I LOVED your BATW post today. It’s so much fun to see how other’s live and the sites they see in their every day busy lives. Thank you for sharing. (Oh, hello from Idaho.)
Jen, your “you guys” accent is still in very good shape after all those years–way to go! But Go Packers??? Let’s hear it for a little purple and gold you guys!
Wow, I breezed through here a few days ago, but I am definitely coming back when I can stay longer! Have fun with your day at BATW!
Oh…and seriously, that LAKE! Wow, lucky you!
Greeatings from Wisconsin:-) Congratulations on your BATW feature!! I hope you enjoy your day in the sun.
I like you!! We have a lot in common. Living in Wisconsin, it’s required to be a Packers fan. And, we are also NASCAR fans too. Wait until I tell my husband you live down the street from the Harvicks!! I love his wife!!
That was so fun and I want to live in those houses as long as Alice comes too.
I have heard so many great things about NC and now I want to come see for myself.
You did NC proud! Thank you!!! 🙂 (…from a coastal native of NC!) The pictures were great and your video was very good!
Forgot to add…You can go to my blog and Saturday’s Post shows our local corn harvesting! 🙂
Great tour! I am super interested in how to save money on our groceries, so I will be checking back.
Wow… i live here and didn’t know all that. And I totally agree that harvick was going for a Biltmore kind of thing…
Happy BATW day!!!
Visiting from BATW. I love NC, I have been there and would love to visit again!! Thanks for all the great photos 😀
What a fun tour! I enjoyed every minute of it!
I love you blog, and just thought I would let you know. 🙂
Wonderful tour of my neighboring state! Loved all the pictures…
But I have to say…Kevin Harvick makes me ill. No self-respecting Nascar driver would attempt a faux Biltmore. I can’t wait to show this to my husband, who is an enormous Jr. fan. He’ll sneer, I’m sure!
Thanks so much for the tour!! I LOVED it! My boys would LOVE to live that close to a lake! But like you said, without watercraft, you are limited. We only recently bought a boat.
I love how all of your kids got involved.
Thanks again for Sharing!
Such a great tour of the NC! I have family there and it is quite beautiful! Tell your son he did a wonderful job with the photos!
I hope you have a happy BATW day!
I'm a NC girl & you did a great job showing off my homestate and I'm quite proud of you for spelling y'all right.
Tell your son, great pictures.
You are so cute!!! I can tell from your little video clips I have seen that you have a wonderful outgoing personality and you always make me smile!
LOVE the tour of NC…it looks so gorgeous there. I heard of Kudzu when we went to Georgia to visit my hubby’s family. It is all over the place.
Awesome pictures – are those houses for real?!!
Enjoy your BATW Day.
Hi again! I live about 1 1/2 hr from Greensboro, just southwest of Raleigh. Let me know if you’re doing a dinner–sounds like fun!
You are a woman after my own heart. I love to do rebates and coupons. The CVS deals are incredible. I also do Walgreens and get the payment back with a Walgreens gift card they add 10% to it. Like your video proves there really is no reason to pay retail for shampoo, deod., toothpaste these days. These items are too easy to get free or at a huge discount. Look on my blog past the hurricane stuff and see a money saving hint for lunch meat. I’ll come back and visit again. Hugs from Texas via BATW.
WOW! Great post! Greetings from Ms. Oklahoma! That Biltmore House is INCREDIBLE!! Would LOVE to see it some day! If I do…I’ll swing by your place 🙂 You have a beautiful family. Wish you lived closer…my hubby is an orthodontist and I’m sure he’d give you a discount. (I think Debbie wrote that you’ve put 5 kids through braces??? Bless you!) Enjoy your big day today!
GREAT tour. I love NC. If I could move anywhere in the world it’d be there.
Cute pics at the end. High Five to the dude in the McNabb jersey 😉
Very cool, thank you for such a great blog 🙂
Stoppin by from Kansas!
Thanks for the tour. We have uncontrollable KUDZU in Alabama too. It is everywhere!
Thanks for the tour! Love all the snaps and the video, too. Isn’t BATW wonderful?
Loved the tour! Thanks for showing us N.C. I’ve been to (Raleigh) once but only for a day, I’d love to go back. My 10 year old Jaxon saw your post with the different houses and in a very concerned voice said “I hope she got permission.” He’s too funny! Have you ever toured the huge house?
LOVED all your pictures of NC! Thanks for having all of us over!
I’m having so much fun on my BATW tour! Let’s hear it for UNC Basketball! I was a Kansas fan, but when Roy Williams moved to UNC, I started bleeding Tarheel. Thanks for the tour!
first of all, congrats on being a FB on BATW!!! 2nd, thanks for the tour of your great state!!! I LOVE the “eclectic style” of the homes in your area. Also – I think you make a cute 16 yr-old! hahaha.
Awesome tour!! Loved the pictures of all the houses, especially the more run down ones.
Thanks for the NC tour! Great idea with the video!
Great tour…yes I’d definitely say Kevin Harvick copied the Biltmore! Wow! Pretty cool!
Thx for sharing and Happy BATW Day!!
Enjoy your BATW day and thank you so much for the tour and video!
Lovely tour. I think we must live right down the street from you. I’m in Summerfield and pass many of the same homes you listed. Great pictures.
Happy BATW day. Your family is lovely and where you live is gorgeous.
Great post. I am new to all of this and need to read up more on what the award and all is. But I really enjoyed taking your tour! By the way… the bug? It is a Saddleback Caterpillar. DO NOT TOUCH IT!!!! It is highly poisonous. The hairs hold the poison and it can sting you even after it’s dead. I ended up in the ER after accidentally stepping on one. It hurts… BAD. Maybe you have already Googled it… but I just thought you should know! I will be back to visit your blog.
great tour of north carolina. wow! those homes are enormous. thank you
awesome post! glad to ‘meet’ you!
and the kudzu, it’s all over the place, isn’t it?!
Great tour… thanks!
I love Biltmore… I’ve been there three times, once was during December and the house was so beautiful decorated for Christmas. Its been about 8 years since I’ve been there and would like to take my girls there sometime. They are 5 and 7 and I’m not sure at what age they would get the most out of it.
Oh, the kudzu! Our city government has even “hired” goats to try and keep the kudzu trimmed near the highways.
Hi from Louisiana!! What an awesome post!! I love your blog!
I love your video..so cute! I now know you much better. My husband is from NC and looked at your posting…we are very partial to NC and the coast!
Loved the video, was very welcoming!! 🙂
The tour was also great. It’s a state that I’ve always wanted to visit .. especially since I became a NASCAR junkie 🙂
Fantastic peek at NC. My husband and I are huge fans of your state (Asheville, The Biltmore and The Grove Park – in particular). I thoroughly enjoyed your blog.
Thank you for being so gracious.
Very cool! I love all the informative pictures.
I so get the driving by the incredibly huge houses thing, then seeing the tiny other ones. We have a lot of that around where we live, too. Seriously, some of them look like castles.
I have cousins who just relocated down your way from MA, and they RAVE about it!
Looking at those pictures, I can see why, but I’m just not getting the Nascar thing. Maybe NH can explain it to me…
You have me hooked! I logged on and have only just stopped reading after the post with the goat, the post about the Sahara film premier with you in a stunning outfit for next to nothing, and the one about your dear hubbie getting the children dressed for church… wow! What a fabulous blog – congratulations!
I’m writing this with a flu-induced spinning head, but just had to say something – as your blog is such a fabulous read of humor, inspiration, family-values and also practical tips.
I’m off to rest my head now…
All the best, Sarah (from way down New Zealand!)
That was so FUN!!! I even watched the video ;)! The houses were wonderful (most of them…), and I loved seeing kudzu. I’ve read about it, but never actually seen it before. What a crazy invasive “thing” !
As if Nester and Emily weren’t enough to make me come want to visit N. Carolina one day, now I want to come see you too! 🙂
Hope you had a great BATW day!
man i love ur whole blog!:)
tell your son he did a great job on those pictures
I have never been to NC, but have always wanted to. I’m sure it’s beautiful! So funny about the people hanging their clothes on the front porch. I’m laughing at them and they probably have more money than I do!
What a great post! I learned so much!
To my virtually famous friend~
Guess What!? You have been tagged. Come on over and find out what it’s all about.
thanks for your concern! i am better, but, alas….I am sure you know with your big group that getting sick is never, ever a one person deal. So…i am home again with a sick baby girl! ~sigh~ one good thing that comes from being forced to stay home from work. I get to clean house today and spend time with two of my girls. yeah!
HEy Jen! So fun to watch the video of you, I feel like I know you even more now! And NC looks BEAUTIFUL!
ack! serves me right for not getting on the computer yesterday!!! i missed you delightful post. i think that more of us should do videos of ourselves b/c we all just wonder what the rest sond like and act like…writing words on a page just doesn’t tell the whole story now, does it? 🙂
very fun and the pictures are splendid (even the undies ones…)
Congrats on your feature! Adding the video was such a nice touch. I always wonder about the voices and accents of the bloggers I read, so I was able to hear your voice as I read your post. North Carolina is beautiful! I went to kindergarten through second grade there. We lived in the Concord/Kannapolis area, and I have always thought it would be fun to go back to visit sometime. I would like to see if the hills on my streets were as tall as mountains, as I remember them.
I love NC it is one of my favorite states ever. I would move there in a heartbeat. You are very cute and real and that is why I love your blog. I just found it after you left me a sweet comment. Keep it up, I love it.
How amazing…I just found your blog today and I am from North Carolina. I live only about 30 minutes from the Biltmore house. I enjoyed reading your recent posts. I look forward to checking back in the future. I love finding other NC bloggers.
Sorry, I’m a day late! Great tour! Those houses are amazing! I have always wanted to visit the Biltmore, so amazing!
Wow…thanks for the great tour!!
What a great tour! You did a great job at giving us all a glimpse into who you are and what you enjoy…and on such short notice! I’m quite impressed!
This was a wonderful tour. Sorry I am late for it. Fam has been sick. I love NC and well the south.
Great BATW post! The tour was very unique and quite fun.
You are so adorable. I loved the video! And wow what a tour. I think I’ll move into one of those big old houses…they probably won’t even know I’m there for years!
Oh, Jen, that was a GREAT post! And that explains why you don’t have a Southern accent! I wondered why you didn’t in your CVS video the other day.
I’m so glad you posted about kudzu because I totally forgot about it when BATW came to my house. But I thought it was brought over to combat erosion? It’s evil, whatever the reason it was brought over. But it has pretty flowers. : )
I’ve never been to the Biltmore but I have been to Ridgecrest in Ashville. Have you been there?
I’m glad you came by my blog. I’ve replied to yoru commetn at http://psalm37v4.blogspot.com/2008/09/1930s-wife.html. ~Tami
Hi from California via BATW! Sorry I’m so late! I’m playing catch-up.
I’ve visited you before when “Chatting At The Sky” raved about your wonderful family. It seems she was right!
I enjoyed looking around your blog before and visiting again today!
I can’t believe I missed this!
I’m kickin’ myself. I was stumbling through the past memes at HOTM online and found this link and then to find out it was your BATW day?!
What a lousy janitor I am!
That was wonderful!
(who is way more than a day late and a dollar short but couldn’t NOT comment!)
Hi, I just found your blog here…and I loved it right away….but now that I know you are a PACKER at heart….THIS WISCONSIN girl is hooked!