Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Decorating in Progress

We're working on our Christmas decorations. How about you?

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shopping/Thanksgiving/ Birthdays

We started the weekend by shopping at Tanger.  Truth be told I only went  so that I could have pizza with everyone!  Tasha, Trina, and Trilby along with Clara went early in the day, and then Trilby, Kerry, and I went that evening while Bud, Travis, and Chance went to Scheel's.  I did get a good buy on body lotion at a store I like.

BBW LogoThat means I was there a year ago!  I don't like to shop, so I try to stock up or have my personal shopper(Trilby) buy it for me!

Saturday Trilby, Trina, Tasha, and I went on our traditional shopping trip to Des Moines.  We go every year when the big craft show is at the fairgrounds.  I forgot my camera, so no photos.  I admit we had the waiter take one at Cheesecake Factory but it wasn't very flattering of either Trilby or me!  We had a great time and returned home tired and shopped out!
Sunday we celebrated Payton's birthday which was Nov. 12th, and Bud's birthday which was Nov. 22nd along with celebrating Thanksgiving.  We began doing this several years ago to make it easier for everyone to celebrate with both sides of the family.  Travis, Kerry, and Chance couldn't be with us because Travis had to work. :(
Trina spent the night because it was so late when we got home.  Payton spent the night since he and Bud had been at Travis' hunting.  This is how they helped get ready for dinner!
Grayson picked up the slack for his mother!

Clara and Grayson spent time learning to play together.  They have each been known to have some bully tendencies!!LOL
And then we ate dinner together.  Ham, smoked pork loin, California blend vegetable casserole, green bean casserole, broccoli/cauliflower salad, party potatoes & gravy, sweet potato casserole, cinnamon bread, buns, cherry pie, and pumpkin dessert was all on the menu.  I get full just thinking about all of that food!
Clara enjoyed her cinnamon bread!
The three oldest grandsons played and watched tv in the basement, so we didn't see much of them all afternoon!  The biggest boys were glued to the NASCAR race, while the females visited and discussed Black Friday ads.

Grayson chilled with the ipad, blankie, and roo! 
It's always nice to be together, and it doesn't happen nearly enough!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Texas Motor Speedway

Several weeks ago we had a mini vacation.  On Thursday afternoon we flew to Dallas, TX.  My cousin, Mark,  and his wife, Lori picked us up at the airport.  After a nice supper we spent the night at their house.  Friday morning my brother, Dean, and sister-in-law, Gay picked us up.  We did a couple of touristy things that I had insisted on.  Our first stop was Southfork.
What is Southfork, you ask?  Well, at least several of my kids asked!  Southfork is the home of JR and Sue Ellen Ewing among other fictional characters on my favorite tv show---Dallas!    I have to say it was disappointing.  The home wasn't all that grand, and come to find out none of the show was filmed inside!
A new series is being filmed, and I WILL be watching!

From there we went to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.  This is formerly known as the Dallas Book Depository. The museum chronicles the assassination and legacy of President John F. Kennedy.  
In this photo you can see the window on the right that is always left open halfway--just as it was the day of the shooting.  It was very interesting.

Next off was a great meal at Pappadeaux's Seafood Kitchen.  We started with some appetizers--
Alligator on the left, and frog legs on the right.  I have to say I preferred the alligator, and the frog legs did NOT taste like chicken to me!  The rest of my meal was FANTASTIC--right down to the cheesecake for dessert!

Then we were off to the real reason we were in Dallas--The Texas Motor Speedway!  We camped in the infield in my brother's camper.  There were four campers in our group.  
This shows part of my brother's fifth wheel where we stayed, my cousin's RV, a friend's RV, and there was another Rv on the other side of us.   There were about 100 acres of campers. (I didn't come up with this number, but it may be wrong..just sayin.)
My cousin has this fancy "thing" (not sure what to call it!) that he built that they watch the races from.
Yup, that there's Bud up there watching the race on Saturday.  They have seats and a TV up there too.  You will notice headphones on them as they watch the race.  Well, they can listen in to the drivers' conversations as they race.  I can't imagine how boring it would be to watch the race without them!
Underneath is the cooking area complete with a grill, cupboards, and a serving area.  Cynthia and Randy made some great food--chicken wings, ribs, tenderloins, fries, etc.

Friday night was the NASCAR Truck Series race, Saturday was the NASCAR Nationwide Race, and Sunday was the big one--the NASCAR Sprint Cup Race.

Sunday Dean, Gay, Bud, and I went to the CAT tent where we had breakfast and lunch and met Jeff Burton.  

He had an autograph session, so we got our hats signed. (We were given a hat as we entered the tent.)  We were also lucky enough to be chosen to have our photo taken with him.  Then we spent some time at the merchandise area.  Finally, it was time for the race!  Mark and I sat in the stands for about half of the race.  This was our view--
Thanks to Dean, Bud, however,  was able to be in the pits for the Sprint Cup Race.  He was in HEAVEN!!  
He was this close to the drivers, their crew,  their cars, and the track:
Even with that, the best way to watch a race may be this:
At the race track, headphones on, watching the TV on the side of the RV!!
Bud really just sat there for a short time when he came up for food.  He finished the race in the pits, then proceeded to the garage.
As you can imagine there was some socializing at the campground!  Kevin Black, brother of Clint Black, performed just around the corner from us.  Bud and I listened to him for a while Saturday night.  He was very good!  Trace Adkins had a concert before the race, and then he sang the National Anthem. There were many campsites with very elaborate grills, big TVs, and stripper poles!  Our last night there we had a good time reliving old memories.  I guess we do that more when we get older!
Mark, Randy, Bud, Dean--Randy and Mark are my cousins that are the same age.  Bud, Mark, and I were in the same class for about 5 years.  Dean is my younger brother.  We all grew up in NW Iowa, but now Dean and Randy are in Dalhart, TX, Mark is in The Colony, TX, and we are in SE Iowa.  

We spent the last night back at Mark and Lori's.  After lunch on Monday we flew home.  I have MANY more pictures of cars, drivers, the garage, and the track!  I had a good time seeing relatives, and it was an experience.  Bud can now check it off his bucket list!

Thanks Dean & Gay, Mark & Lori, and Randy & Cynthia for a great weekend!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Happy Birthday, Payton!!

Our very first grandson, Payton, turns 11 today.  It's hard to believe he is that old already!

Payton is a Case IH lover.  His whole room is decorated in IH stuff, including a pair of curtains he and I are working on.  He is a farmboy through and through.  Spending time with his animals and being outdoors are his favorite things to do.  He loves to go hunting, fishing, and camping with Grandpa.  Payton is a big softie and a wonderful big brother too.

Happy Birthday, Payton!   We love you!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Hawkeye Tutu

I had an order for a black and gold tutu for a newborn. This is what I ended up with:

I'm sure it will be much cuter on the baby, but there was no newborn baby in sight!!

The yellow tulle is sparkly, so I have sparkles EVERYWHERE in my sewing room! You can see it better in this picture.

When I make things for people I often fell guilty about the price I have to charge, but if I don't then I'm basically doing it for free. As it is I probably only made $8 for my time. If anyone has any suggestions for me regarding this problem, I'd love to hear them.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Huge Change!

Once upon a time we lived in a big farm house that we had rented for 18 years.  We loved that house...well, most of it.  Bud and Travis probably loved the outbuildings and pasture more than the house.  I loved the HUGE country kitchen.  We had many parties, holidays, and celebrations in that house.  Don't get me wrong, it had it's issues.  I hated the heat bills in the winter most of all.

One day after the land changed hands ( and several of us felt cheated out of the opportunity to purchase, but that's another story), Bud QUICKLY decided we were moving.  When I say quickly, I mean he decided on Thursday that we would be out by Monday!!  Trilby was already married, Travis and Tasha were in college, and Trina was just a few short weeks away from graduating from high school.  Technically that Monday we became homeless!  We packed up with LOTS of help from family, moved Trina to Kalona to her adopted grandparents' home, and Bud and I moved in with Trilby, Mike, and Payton.  We then began to look at acreages to buy.  We had looked at a house about a month before, but we decided it was just too small.  Then it sold.  I always liked the little Cape Cod style home, but it was just too small.  After six weeks, and the first sale falling through we were the proud owners of the little Cape Cod style house.

It had a lot of appeal--hardwood floors throughout, (after we tore up all of the shag carpet!), it was on pavement, room for the cattle, etc.!  It was three bedrooms, one bath, dining room, living room, small kitchen, with a basement.  All of the rooms were SMALL!!  The first thing we did was to add a 1/2 bath upstairs in what was, well, we're not sure what it was.  It is about the size of a large closet, but the former owners used it as a small office.  The downstairs bathroom was remodeled...I just couldn't live with the pink plastic tile!  We moved cupboards around in the kitchen and tiled the floor too.  There is always a project.

After eight years of cramped holidays, and an ever growing family we decided to add on.  Well, actually the plan was in my head since the day we bought it!  But, the only way we could afford everything we wanted was to do most of the work ourselves.  And we were raised to do things ourselves if we could. So, we set out to adding on.  A friend drew up what I had in my head, and we went from there.  We did everything except pouring the basement, setting the rafters, shingling the roof, and mudding & taping the walls downstairs.  It was a LOT of work,  A LOT
several arguments, and MANY late nights (often in the cold!).  Thank goodness for our relatives who helped.  Our house now looks like this:
 The two dormers on the left are the original ones.  The door is approximately where the north window once was.  We still have three bedrooms, but ours more than doubled in size with a huge closet added.  The dining room is now the foyer, the living room is now the dining room, and we have a large family room.  The kitchen was remodeled, but the old cupboards remain, and it is still the same small size(another project for another year).  We have a sunroom and huge wrap around porch that we love.

Then we started finishing the basement about a year ago, but that's another story for another day because it still isn't completely finished!

We come home tired and lazy now and can't imagine how we did all of that work while still working full time.  But it was well worth it!

What things have you done for yourself instead of hiring someone else to do it?