Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Holiday Wreath

A few weeks ago, I mentioned my “new” picture frame and the big plans I had for turning it into a Pinterest-inspired creation.  I was able to finish it to my complete and utter satisfaction last week, and it now hangs on my front door!  It is so very different that I love it!  It has also given me a few more ideas…

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And here is the full effect…

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I just love coming home and seeing this!  What decorations are you putting up right now?

Monday, November 19, 2012

It’s a Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s…

SUPER-SPUD!

When I came out to the kitchen last week, waiting on the table was a unique offering from Josiah.  An intricately drawn card proclaiming “Happy Birthday Mama!” written in filled letters -  cursive letters!   I was amazed at the time he had put into this card.  Sitting next to the card was the ultimate multitasker…  This was supposed to reflect my duties as mother, I guess.  That, or my child thinks I am some kind of potato-shaped monster.  Come to think of it, maybe a little of both!

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Here is a breakdown of what I assumed each of these meant:

Obviously, in his opinion, one of my more important jobs is fixing meals, since two of the arms are holding food. 

The jester must mean my ever-present good humor and love for a good joke – as long as it isn’t too early in the morning… like the mouse in the oven trick.

The arm with the bracelet must signify my impeccable taste in fashion (har har)

Of course, I never leave home without my purse, since it contains so much valuable stuff!

The “thumbs up” hand either means that I like to hitch-hike, or that I give encouragement where needed.

I’m not really sure what I am supposed to infer from the Frog Prince, so we’ll just leave that one alone.

There are several extra hands that I guess do all the other things that need to be done – who couldn’t use an extra hand every now and then?

While the fact that I have no visible features is somewhat disturbing, I was pleased to note that he had me shod in a pair of sparkly pink heels.  Even my son knows how much I love pretty footwear!  All in all, it was a rather interesting perspective, and I enjoyed the thought that went into it. 

Well, I, Super-Spud, am signing off to get back to my multi-tasking…

If you had a super power, what would it be?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Happy Birthday, Daniel!

Right on the heels of my birthday comes Daniel’s special day.  This has been a crazy week for our family, having just arrived back in town.  It seems that this time of year has extra extra-curricular activites – practices, hunting, birthdays, holidays, etc.  I am scrambling to get all my regular duties done, and as if that wasn’t enough to keep me busy, I have taken on a few projects of my own.  I will write more about these next week!

We are so thankful for Daniel. He is a ray of sunshine in our lives, and is such a happy-go-lucky little guy (most of the time). We celebrated his birthday last night due to some schedule conflicts, but who really cares when you get cake, ice cream, and presents!

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Here is his cake, a delicious confection of chocolate.  He wanted a train cake, which I had been planning to do, but since it takes hours to ice it, I opted out of that at the last minute due to a lack of time. This is just a simple two-layer cake.  It has a creamy homemade chocolate icing, and a hot fudge/crushed oreo filling, reminiscent of those wonderful Dairy Queen ice cream cakes.  It was a real sugar overload! :)

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Then after cake and ice cream, it was time for presents, of course…

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He was thrilled with the homemade cards that his brother and sisters gave him, and the Lincoln Logs were also a hit!

The crowning joy of his evening, though, was his new Beanie Baby, Max.

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My baby is four now. Sniff!  Where has the time gone?  We love you, Daniel! Happy Birthday!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Passing Days

As the days get shorter and cooler, it reminds me of the passage of time.  The unrelenting tick-tock that propels us into our own futures seems to go faster as I get older. 

And, I am getting older… again.

Yes, I hate to admit it, but today is my birthday.  Yikes!  I look at myself in the mirror, and think, I don’t really look that old, do I?” Of course, I reassure myself that I do indeed still look like a young chick, and not an aging hen, or crow, as some of you may suggest!  :)

So, I am going to put my blinders back on and pretend that I am as young as I want to be – and when I think about it, I really am.  I don’t think I would want to go back in time and go through all of that drama again!

So, here is to getting older, enjoying who I am, and looking forward to how wonderful I will become in the future! LOL

                      Happy Birthday to me!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Quilt of Hope

Ever since early this year, I have had the desire to make a quilt.  The desire was only intensified when I received my beautiful heirloom quilt this summer.  My biggest problem is that I don’t really know how to quilt.  Seriously, though – how hard can it be?  I already know how to sew, right?

I purchased a quilt book that had the particular quilt I fancied (“Summer Porch” by Eleanor Burns), and was very excited.  However, upon opening the book and reading the directions, I found that they may as well have been written in Swahili.  I am totally out of my league here.  Not good.  I asked my mother-in-law for some help.  She looked at it (she makes quilts all the time) and gave me a few pointers on deciphering the directions.  Thank goodness!

Now, at the close of the year, I am finally getting closer to starting this enormous project.  I have to gather a few more tools, and equipment, but I now have the most important thing – the fabric! Woohoo!

I went to the fabric store in search of the perfect fabrics for this oh-so-important project.  I had an idea of what I wanted, with some amount of allowable variation.  This is what I ended up buying.  I suppose I should have bought a few more prints, but I didn’t see any more that really grabbed my attention.

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The sashing will be the plain, off-white muslin you see in the background.  This set of coordinating fabrics is made by Colorbok.  I fell in love with them and was so glad to see that they were on sale for 30% off! :)  I thought the muslin was on sale, but it wasn’t so I was able to use a 40% off coupon, which was better than a sale!  When I went through the checkout, the fabric rang up at the normal price.  I mentioned this to the attendant who told me that this particular kind of fabric was, in fact, not on sale.  I was chagrined, and showed her that it had been sitting under the sale sign.  Guess what?  It wasn’t on sale.  It was last week’s sale sign that someone had neglected to remove.  So, they gave me the fabric at the sale price!  Double Woohoo!  The Lord gave me a much better deal than the store intended to give me! 

I am so excited and hopeful about making this quilt.  I don’t know when I will be able to begin, especially with all the travel and the holidays just around the corner, but I am determined to do a good job and enjoy the whole process!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thrift Store Treasures

We are in Minnesota this week, and while in town, I passed a thrift store.  I vowed to stop in before the week was up, and ended up going on Tuesday.  Boy, was I ever glad I did!  It was a treasure trove of finds!  I browsed the aisles, trying not to grab everything that I fancied!  There were a few things that I absolutely could not leave behind, though!

Check out these super finds!

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The large embroidery hoops were an item for which I had been looking, due to several posts on Pinterest.  I have big plans for these in my craft/scrapbook/laundry room!  :)

The little white jug was love at first sight for me.  It has a little blue windmill painted on the other side, but I haven’t decided what I want to do with that yet.  I may just leave it facing the wall.  Or, maybe I will spray paint the whole thing… I haven’t decided yet.

The salt and pepper shakers were so cute!  I actually can use them for something other than decoration.  I picked them up because I liked the shape, and found that they are wooden. That means that I can paint them to match my kitchen d├ęcor if I like, or just leave them for a pop of contrasting color.  Whatever I decide, I will be happy with my find!

My other great find was a picture frame…  “What’s the big deal?” you may think, but I have been looking for a certain size and shape of frame for some time in order to make this particular Pinterest project that I saw a while back.  It is perfect for my front door!

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Isn’t it adorable?  And so very “outside the box” for a holiday wreath!  I wanted something a bit more ornate, but this frame was very sturdy and the perfect price, so I grabbed it.  I can’t wait to get back home and get to work on this holiday project!  The question now is where I am going to store all this stuff until we get home.  I have run out of space in my bin! :)  Hopefully, I will have enough time to get this done before Christmas.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Little Field Trip on the Prairie

For years as we have criss-crossed the midwestern states, I have seen signs along the way advertising this historical site or that one.  While most of them attract the attention briefly, I don’t feel as if I have  to stop and visit each significant place.  However, there is one attraction that we never seemed to have time to visit, and I really, really wanted to see it.  My not-so-secret wish?  To visit the Ingalls Homestead.  As in Laura Ingalls Wilder.  As in my all-time favorite childhood books – the Little House on the Prairie series. 

I finally got my wish!

Here in South Dakota, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Highway winds along through little towns all the way to DeSmet, where Laura and her family spent the Long Winter.  Off in the distance are Lake Henry and Lake Thomas where Almanzo and Laura courted.  The Big Slough is also nearby the homestead.  I had to go see it.

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We took a day off school for this momentous and historical trip into the pioneer days.  The original homestead is maintained and managed by local people, and is a delightful place to visit.  They had actually closed for the season on October 31, but when I called, the lady was so very kind and said that since nothing was locked up yet, we were welcome to come out and explore as long as we wished.  That also meant that we didn’t have to pay for an admission ticket, which was an unexpected blessing!

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This view of the homestead was taken from the observation tower there, where you can see the whole outlying  property.  Doesn’t it look just like you pictured it?  The Little House is pictured on the left, and the larger building by the windmill is the barn that Pa built later.

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This is the famous Little House on the Prairie.  The part with the porch  was the original house, and Pa added an extra room on later, after Mary was at the school for the blind.  When we went in, it was quite small, and reminded me a lot of our trailer!  :)  The girls absolutely loved it!

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Here is the kitchen area, with the stove and the cupboards and tin dishes.  You can see the wood box next to the stove.

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The bed frames were built into the walls, and mattresses were stuffed with hay.  Frankly, they were not very comfortable!

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Pa’s hay barn was a marvel of construction.  The roof was made of poles, then covered with dried hay and tied down so that it wouldn’t blow away.  It was quite cozy inside!

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Along with the original house, they have built several other replicas of prairie life – a shanty and a sod home.  It was very dark in the sod home, or dugout, and smelled very…earthy.  It would have been a true test of character to live in one of those for any length of time.

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This is a view of the inside of the dugout.  It was crowded and dark, but quite warm, due to being under the ground.  The stove was in the middle of the only room, and the walls slanted in an uneven way.  It would have been like living in a basement, I guess.  You can see the layers of sod in the walls.  It seemed very sturdy other than the ceiling, which seemed to be coming down in places.

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This is a picture of Laura when she was 27.  On the left is a picture of Abigail and Esther sitting in the covered wagon.  It amazes me to think how long it would have taken them to travel from place to place.  If you figure out all the places they lived, they were a traveling family!  I am grateful for the speed and convenience of modern travel!

I know this isn’t “in the area” for most people, but it is charming, a must-see!  It is a very family friendly place, and everything is hands-on for the kids.  In the summer, there are scheduled activities that make the experience even more fun.  I know I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the field trip.  Paul insinuated that I had a better time than the kids, but I really don’t think so…

I can’t wait to go back! :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Pie Season

I love fall for many reasons, but one of them is that it is pie season.  All the fruit is ripening, and being harvested, and all the crops are in from the garden.  Apples, peaches, cherries, pumpkin – you name it – it smells like pie to me!

While with Paul’s parents  a while back, his mom and I made several pies.  We made a few pumpkin and one delicious cherry pie! 

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I don’t think I had ever made a cherry pie before, but I will definitely put it on my list of things to do again in the future!  Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream it was good enough to “make you want to slap your mama,” as they say.  none of us slapped anyone, but we did enjoy this pie!

Paul’s grandma came foe lunch on day and brought two of the best lemon merengue pies I have ever eaten!  They were not runny at all, and the lemon flavor was so clean and tangy.  Yum!  I have to get that recipe as well. 

What is your favorite kind of pie?  Mine is anything but pumpkin.