The High King Lives

2013 Bucket List & the Best Moments of 2012 December 31, 2012

Hello gang and I hope you have a lovely New Years Eve! I was inspired by another blog to revisit my bucket list and to make a new one. I also want to share the best moments of 2012 for our family. Enjoy the pics!

This is the link to my 2012 Bucket List post.

Here is the mini list. I didn’t cross anything off of the extreme list but I did cross a few off this list. #2 wasn’t quite fulfilled but I would not have gotten as far without NaNoWriMo.  We got to visit Biblical Antiquities twice this year. Once for a dig and second for a Nativity show. I may keep a few of these on my new list but I’ve got more to add to the 2013 list.

1. Visit Helen Ga (Go tubing?)

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2. Finish my book and publish it. Almost finished the book, at least the first draft. NaNoWriMo was a new experience.


3. Visit Cumberland Island (photograph a wild horse)

4.Visit Aspen, CO (stay in a cabin…see snow)

5. Visit New York City ( See Belvedere castle in Central park)

6. Visit Forks, WA

7. See the River Fires in Rhode Island

8. Atlanta~ Medieval times, Aquarium (sleep over in the aquarium), and the Varsity(again)

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9. Biblical Antiquities

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10. Treetop excursion (climb to the top. Sleep in a tree?)

I’m happy to have crossed off so many, considering how busy we are and our budget. Praise God!

My 2013 Bucket List/ Resolutions

These aren’t in order.

  • Visit my best friend Julie (Frodo) in Tennessee
  • Take a road trip to Kentucky and visit the Creation Science Museum. Pick up some Ale 8 One soda, only made in KY.
  • Take a road trip with my grandparents up to New York to see family, maybe visit friends in Rhode Island, and take stops on the way, like seeing Washington D.C. and the White House. Praying Mema gets better so we can do this together & of course because I just want her to feel better. Actually see the Statue of Liberty when I pass through New York! Actually see the River Fires this year.
  • Ride a plane again and see my sister in Texas. Maybe visit the Narrows?
  • Publish my first book and write the second book in my trilogy.
  • Simplify our homeschool  and enjoy God’s wonders.
  • Go to a writing retreat or do an online writing camp.
  • Visit Cumberland Island (photograph a wild horse). Yep, still want to do this one.
  • Visit more museums & historical sites for hands on homeschooling.
  • See several plays and attend a mystery dinner theater.
  • Go to Disney World. Meet TinkerBelle?

A blog friend asked what she should add to her bucket list and it’s only fair that I use my own ideas…even if they aren’t necessarily “fun”. These next few are for perspective.

  • Lose one of my senses for a day- go blind folded all day?
  • Learn to paint with my mouth.

Here’s a challenging one.

  • Enter a Color Me Rad 5K race- it may take me several hours to walk it and it may be painful but it’s for charity. Maybe if I started practicing I could do it. My hubby just said “We’ll see”. I know I’m the chick who about faints from standing several minutes in the pews at church. Still, I want to try…
  • Take an art class. Paint pictures and sketch like a pro.
  • Go on unique and crazy dates with my hubby. Become a more respectful wife.
  • Go on more Mother-Son dates.
  • Dig deeper into my Biblical studies & get better at apologetics.
  • Do more Geocaching
  • Go to a Hockey Game and to a Football game. Maybe pick a team for the heck of it?
  • Have an American Girl tea party with my BFF Hannah and her daughter Olivia and don’t care what people think. I have two American Girl dolls from my childhood and Olivia just got hers.
  • Become a professional at making Machinima and use it to share the gospel and inspirational stories.
  • Drink less soda, sleep better, and wake up earlier. Relax and stop stressing…
  • Stop trying to please man. Be myself. Love God more.
  • Go to Emory and be tested for Ehlers Danlos
  • Disney Cruise?- Meet TinkerBelle
  • learn to shoot a bow
  • Be adventurous even if it’s painful. Don’t think of the pain. Don’t think of being sick…just do things.

So we had so many great moments this year. We did things that were not on my 2012 bucket list but are definitely bucket list worthy 🙂 like…..

Michael had his first Easter Egg Hunt (we never did egg hunts when he was little, for beliefs that we no longer have)

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We planted a successful garden and actually enjoyed the food from it.

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I went all out for Michael’s pirate themed birthday party.

Michael's 6th bday 014 This is sad but we finally honored our almost adopted twins that miscarried, by setting up a memorial. I finally grieved and let them go.


Michael and I started having Mother-Son dates.

065 I started geocaching.

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I held a live starfish. We threw it  back.

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I got to pet a baby deer.

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We saw a Century plant bloom. It’s supposed to bloom only once every 50 to 100 years…something like that.

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I got to see a mischievous raccoon up close.

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We had many food fightsConstellations 017

and water fights…FourthOfJuly2012 026

I made several peg dolls  Community Helpers 2012 019

I canoed for the first time since I was a kid.Anniversary 2012 067

I painted alot

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We got to go camping with our best friends for Sukkot.

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I attended my Granny’s 80th birthday party.

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I did NaNoWriMo for the first time and came close to finishing my first draft. I put in a lot of hours and hard work. I found the best writing spots.


We adopted someone new into our family, our guinea pig Snowball!

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We actually took a Christmas photo with all our pets and it turned out nice!


I don’t have a picture of this one but I stayed in a hotel completely by myself for the first time in my life. It was my birthday present. I enjoyed dinner & cake with my family at the hotel and then they left so I could have peace & quiet after. I was surprisingly upgraded to a room with a jacuzzi. I got a lot of writing done and felt like a princess.

I watched several Korean dramas and feel like I know Korean even though I don’t…..

I experimented with cooking more than usual. I plan meals better.

I really started blogging and people actually started reading what I wrote.

We did a ton of fun projects in homeschool and learned many neat subjects. Below is pics from our bug studies in May.

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I’m not going to post pics from every month but I will list what we studied. You can check these out on the right panel of my blog under Crafty Mondays. I have subcategories.

January– we hung bird seed stars in the trees, made ice sun catchers, & Borax snow flakes.

February– We learned about Medieval times and also Black History Month. We did several Civil Rights crafts.

March– Dinosaurs, Purim, & St. Patrick’s Day. We made fossils, presented a project on ancient Persia (Iran), and had a crazy leprechaun maze with many crafts for each occasion.

April- We learned about the death and resurrection of Jesus. We had tons of crafts and egg hunts. I really liked our Resurrection Garden. Check out the great Easter crafts. We read about Pirates and geared up for Michael’s Pirate birthday party and his girl pal’s mermaid party. We learned about the Weather and did a lapbook & crafts. We also had a neat experiment.

May-  bugs bugs bugs! We did the Danielle’s Place bug Bible study with lapbooks. We painted our front door with bugs and flowers and had many tasty themed treats and fun crafts. We also briefly learned about the Holocaust while studying butterflies. Then Pentecost crafts.

June- The ocean and it’s creatures. We had some hands on learning at St. Simons and Jekyll Island. We made star fish cookies and ocean crafts. We drew on the trampoline with chalk.

July- Independence Day and outer space. I painted Michael’s face and we did a patriotic lapbook with several crafts. We had water fights and a three legged race. We had fire works. Then we studied the planets, stars, and the phases of the moon. We visited the Space center and ate Oreo moons. We made a jar of stars and a jet pack. We saw lightening bugs at night. We had fun with our Summer bucket list and played many outdoor games.

August- Self awareness, Health and safety, and Community Helpers. We spent a week figuring out Michael’s favorites. Then we learned about fire & stranger safety. We learned about dental hygiene and good manners. Michael learned how to set a table. Michael learned how to say no to drugs and why drugs are so bad. We learned about different jobs and community helpers like policemen and nurses. Michael pretended to work at Krispy Kreme.

September- The Human Body. We learned about the different body systems and made several crafts and fun experiments. We did a project on Canada for our homeschool group. We also celebrated the Feast of Trumpets. We had a week all about apples (food and crafts). We made homemade apple sauce. We put an apple tree on our school door.

October- Sukkot, & Fall crafts. Leaves, Pumpkins, bats, acorns, scarecrows, candy corn, crows, spiders, and lots of owls. We made homemade rootbeer. We read so many books and played many math games. We celebrated World Pasta Day with our group. We began our Bob Jones Devotional and started doing more Bible crafts. Our door tree lost it’s leaves.

November- Thanksgiving, Pilgrims, & Native Americans. We made candles, wrote with a quill, made a medicine pouch and arrows. Michael dressed as a Native American. We put on a Thanksgiving play. We made a thankful turkey and studied fractions with pizza. We learned division with candy. We learned place value with marshmallows and fruit loops.

December- Advent and Christmas crafts.We learned about Christ’ birth and studied his different names (characteristics) during Advent. Our door tree became an advent Christmas tree. Each day Michael read a joke and an activity that was in the pockets.  Our crafts were full of nativities, ornaments, lights, candy canes, wreathes, angels, gingerbread men, & Christmas trees. We learned about the different traditions. We had a Christmas party with our group.

Whew! That was a lot! We really had a full and blessed year. I should stop worrying about my health holding me back because seriously I did a lot not just for a sick person but even a healthy person. It is all by God’s grace. I am so thankful! Thank you Jesus for this abundant life and a lovely year. There were definitely moments of pain and hardship but that all fades away in light of the good.

I pray you all have a HAPPY NEW YEAR! I for one am ready to chunk my Christmas tree!

God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover


My Family Rocks! Sunday: Bucket List Dream Helen, Ga October 15, 2012

In this Post: Our trip to Helen, Ga and a Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle. So It’s actually Monday now. It took for ever to load the pics and post them.

Hello everyone, I hope you had a lovely weekend. Honestly I’ve felt crummy because of the change in weather and chest inflammation etc. I’m clinging tight to my heating pad. I should give it a name lol………maybe draw a face on it. Like I said, I have a love hate relationship with Fall. I’m not even going to get into how I feel about Winter. Praise the Lord for Christmas at least.

Anywho, though our trip to Helen took my pain from a dull ache to wanting to kick a gnome……well, I’m glad we went this season. Because Fall is beautiful and making it up to Anna Ruby Falls gave me a sense of accomplishment. I kept asking Frodo if we were almost there lol. Then I laid down and waited for eagles to carry me back to the motel……oh wait never mind…..that was just my overactive imagination. I hope you enjoy the pics and that you will see this amazing village some day.

First, here’s the Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle. I have a lot of Helen pics so I wanted to post this first. Chris didn’t like the ginger cake. Michael loved this. It tasted like breakfast rather than dessert to me.

Recipe at:

Note: I didn’t like the smell of just the pumpkin & pudding mixed together. So I added 2 packs of cream cheese, some milk, cinnamon, and vanilla.

Now for a million Helen pics…….

Day one: shops & festhalle

Hansel and Gretel Candy Kitchen- their chocolate toffee is amazing!

Enjoying my caramel apple at our motel. We made a lot of pit stops at our motel. It was nice because I didn’t feel the best & we had a fire place which kept the place toasty. Best Western rocks :). It was cold and thankfully the “Bavarian” Dollar General had a comfy owl hat. I got several compliments. I do sort of look like Mario in his raccoon costume though….

Folk band at the Festhalle

Walking the streets of Helen

Glass shop– watching the man make a glass hummingbird

Helen at night- I don’t remember the shop but we found cheap hot dogs & funnel cake 🙂

Michael showing off his wooden dagger from one of the shops

Michael & Woody fast asleep at the hotel

Day Two: Bear Park, Charlemagne’s Kingdom, Cabbage Patch Land, Hofer’s, and the Troll Tavern

My guys drinking coffee on the balcony. We had a beautiful view.

Yaaa cozy fireplace! Michael ready for an adventurous day

Before we saw bears we were forced got to see reptiles. Michael was a bit anxious. I lost my love of snakes after middle school. I didn’t bother saying hello.

More reptiles….yaaaaa

This was an actual Rattle Snake. It was freaky to see one so close. I generally try to avoid them. Chris is brave.

Finally we are ready to see BEARS

What’s even better is that we got to FEED the bears……and they DIDN’T eat us 🙂

Here are the live bears. They did tricks for food. They were too cute (from a distance).

They preferred that we throw the food directly into their mouths.

Feed me Seymoure!

Come on! I’m starving here!

Look! We’re trees!

Chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’, all cool…..

lol this bear was doing some serious posin’

Bear Park Mural outside

Charlemagne’s Kingdom

If you visit Helen, this is a MUST. This model of a railroad and Germany is the only one of it’s kind in the U.S.A.

castles in the mountains

It’s huge! You have to see this in person 🙂

Mountain village

View from above

Babyland a.k.a Cabbage Patch Land

This stop was completely for me. I may have went here as a kid but I can’t remember. If so it was before they built the huge building.

When I got inside I was like a chipmunk on coffee. It was awesome!  A nice “nurse” welcomed us in and told us where the nursery was and how to “adopt” a baby (cabbage patch doll).

A big nurse doll in the nursery

We got to meet one of the original nurses from when it all started. She is the last one left there. She was very nice.

dolls everywhere!

The Cabbage Patch tree where the “babies” are born.

Don’t judge me. I don’t care if I’m an adult. This is flippin’ cool!

It took a long time for Michael not to act miserable & too tough to be there. After awhile he warmed up. He even asked me if the bunnies really made the babies grow in cabbages lol.  I told him he came out of lettuce…….lol no worries. He knows better!

My wonderful husband had to take this crazy picture. It’s supposed to be the look on my face when I found my very own cabbage patch.

So I have a princess cabbage patch for my doll collection. I only feel slightly guilty…since I don’t have a little girl..and I’m 27.

We were surprised by a live birth! The “nurse” actually delivered a doll from the cabbages. Her narration of the process was hilarious.

After the crowd named the “baby” we watched the nurse get the baby ready for adoption.

Hofer’s Bakery

Chris finally found his beer stein here. He drinks coffee out of it :).

Chris and Michael enjoying their eclair. That thing was big.

Michael and I sharing a gingerbread man. It was the best gingerbread.

One of the most magical things about Helen is the wild bunnies. If you haven’t been in awhile then you would not have seen them. We asked the waitress at the Troll Tavern and she said a man had bunnies as pets and they got out of control Two years later the bunnies are EVERYWHERE!

Bunnies under vehicles…

Bunnies sitting quietly…..not moving until you reach out to touch them

Michael trying to catch a bunny

We ate at the Troll Tavern under the bridge. It was beautiful next to the river. We ate inside because it was cold. Chris had his one beer for Oktoberfest. I don’t drink and Chris rarely drinks. The crab artichoke dip was awesome!

Helen is beautiful at night 🙂 The end of another good day.

Day Three: Anna Ruby Falls, Scarlet’s Secret, and the Dutch Shop

Time to say goodbye to our motel. I don’t think any of us wanted to leave. 😦

View of Helen coming in

This beautiful little structure is out in the middle of a cow field.

We collected fall leaves at the park across from our motel room. Then we drove to Anna Ruby Falls. We bought a “Gandalf” walking stick in the shop.  Michael is reading below. So this counts as a school field trip 😉

I needed the walking stick the most, so I became Gandalf…..with a Mario hat….cough

Me and little man “climbing” the rocks. Lol I could so be a Disney character with that get up…..Rafiki maybe?

Anna Ruby Falls was so beautiful. I took tons of pics but I’m not posting them all here. Maybe you will see more in my inspirational posts…….

Family pic 🙂 We all have our interesting hats

Chris carving our initials.

The results…. C.A.M (Chris, Amber, Michael)

We took several kissing pictures everywhere. I’m sparing you. So here’s just one.

We ate at the Helen Huddle  House just to say we ate there. It looks completely Bavarian on the outside but on the inside it’s the normal greasy but yummy Huddle House. Gotta love the south 🙂

Inside Hansel’s & Gretel’s main shop…yummmm

Michael actually wanted a pic with Santa, which is surprising since we don’t do Santa

The Christmas shop was closed 😥 It looked so inviting…

Michael is not channeling Michael Jackson lol. He said he was putting his hands in his pockets like Bruce Banner (the Hulk) ;P.

Another Bruce Banner pose

Chris got me these beautiful Windmill earrings and necklace at the Dutch Shop.

Look! ANOTHER bunny!

On the way out of town, we visited Scarlet’s Secret, a Gone with the Wind museum.

I told the nice owner that I would mention her in my blog.  I’m not a big Gone with the Wind fan or anything but it was neat to see the collection.

The plantation house

Christmas tree decorated with Gone with the Wind ornaments. You can buy your own in the gift shop.

A portrait of Miss Scarlet O’Hara

So we are home now. I’d love to see Helen in the winter. Have you been to Helen? What are your favorite restaurants and attractions?

God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover


My Family Rocks!Sunday: My mini bucketlist~Medieval times & the Ga Aquarium February 19, 2012

(My son and I doing “chemistry”)

Hello friends and welcome to My Family Rocks! Sunday :). We had a busy weekend and I want to share our experiences with you guys. First off, I want to say how truly inspired I am by people with illnesses who just get out there and travel. I love it when people fulfill something on their bucket list. I am really inspired by my friend Sheri ( who has colon cancer. She’s going to Cambodia with her family in March. Also there’s Xavier (I posted his blog earlier today) who went to Italy for his Make-A-Wish.

For those of you with illness, you know traveling is different when your body has so many limits. I’ve dealt with chronic illness for several years now but I’m just starting to learn I have limits (that healthy humans don’t deal with). It really hit home when we stayed at the beach in October. I wasn’t able to walk very far before I had to sit down (pain & exhaustion). Eventually I curled up in a chair & just watched my hubby and son move around.  Ehlers-Danlos (or whatever this is) (*Update: It’s not Ehlers-Danlos, praise God!) is very random so I have good days and bad. I’m learning to always locate the bathrooms wherever I’m at. Also there must be lots of places to sit and rest. I must have salty food with me just in case my blood pressure drops and I can’t expose myself to the cold very long or different things inflame. Also, Endometriosis causes major issues once a month. Other than that it’s not so bad. I’ve yet to encounter what some of my friends deal with while traveling etc. So I applaud you guys…you are brave.

Anywho, I made a bucket list because I hope to experience many adventures before I meet Jesus face to face. Also, I want to take my family along for these adventures. I’m the planner in my family so usually I organize all our outings. My hubby could sit at home watching youtube videos all day & be happy lol (I love you honey!). So I have to kind of nudge him out the door. My little guy, Michael, is very much like me when I had energy. He would travel every day if he could. He’s like the energizer bunny. I guess I’m in the middle. I push myself (usually despite pain) because I know none of us know when we will take our last breath. We must make every moment count.

Moving on…. A bucket list is a list of things to do before you die. My mini bucket list is things I can do in the next year or so. My major bucket list is things I may not be able to do for awhile (because of health, finances, time etc…). Here is my mini bucket list and two I have checked off this weekend:

1. Visit Helen Ga (Go tubing?)

2. Finish my book and publish it

3. Visit Cumberland Island (photograph a wild horse)

4.Visit Aspen, CO (stay in a cabin…see snow)

5. Visit New York City ( See Belvedere castle in Central park)

6. Visit Forks, WA

7. See the River Fires in Rhode Island

8. Atlanta~ Medieval times, Aquarium (sleep over in the aquarium), and the Varsity(again)

9. Biblical Antiquities

10. Treetop excursion (climb to the top. Sleep in a tree?)

Here’s my major or “Extreme” bucket list just for the heck of it:

1. Visit Israel & walk where Jesus walked

2. Visit the Black Forest in Germany (see Castles, woods, and clock making shops) (This one should be at the top)

3. Visit Ireland (see ruins)

4. Drive up the coast into Canada (making stops on the way) and stay on Prince Edward Island. Experience Anne of Green Gables

5. Visit Hawaii- take a cruise?

Anywho, I may expand my list in the future. I’ve had longer ones but they were rather far fetched… own a coffee shop….sprout wings etc etc…… I don’t even like drinking coffee. I just love to smell the beans.  As you can see from my pictures we enjoyed the Ga Aquarium & Medieval times this weekend. We also ate at the Varsity which is all about experience…..not taste. Gotta love the greasy goodness…

I really enjoyed Medieval Times because I was able to sit, eat, and be entertained. The aquarium was interesting…..just alot of walking and a huge crowd. But my guys had a blast & that’s all that matters. Enjoy the pics 🙂

My lil man was a court Jester. I made the felt hat he wore 🙂

We ate with our hands. I felt like such a glutton. They just kept piling on the food.

The show was great! I love sword fights and jousting. If you’ve read many of my posts you know I’d sprout wings & be a fairy princess if I could. I love the time of chivalry. I would miss my computer though….and indoor plumbing.

Oh to be a Medieval Princess…..sigh…….

We were told to cheer for the Green Knight….the only evil knight. He was nice in person lol. Go green!

A kiss by the roaring fire 😉 Lil man is quite the photographer…

The Aquarium was neat. I do not recommend going on the weekend. It was SO packed! Maybe one day we can stay the night and have the place almost to ourselves…..

Woohoo! Penguins!

how cool it would be to swim with a dolphin….

We took alot of pictures but there’s too many to post. Do you have a bucket list? If so please leave me a comment with the top five on your list. Have you checked off most of your list? If you don’t have a bucket list I hope you make one. Maybe you could start out small and local… take a painting class…..go see a play. Then you could expand it to other states and countries. I’m finding there is so much to do locally if you research.

I really enjoy Lesley Carter’s blog:

She blogs about her bucket list experiences and also hosts other bloggers. I enjoy living vicariously through her 🙂

God bless and Remember The High King Lives!~Amber Dover