Thursday, January 29, 2015


Well, here goes....another random post.  But so much has happened that I need to share.  Extremely exciting things. For example:
1.  Art was craving chili, so I told him I'd pull some out of the freezer for dinner.  I heated up the French bread in my steam oven (the wonder-of-all-wonder appliances), defrosted the chili, grated some cheese, and voila!  Dinner is served....  Ellie Mae mentioned it first, and once I took a bite or two, I wondered why the chili didn't taste quite right.  Coupled with the fact that I could find no beans in it... and I realized that I had taken out PASTA SAUCE instead of chili, which we were eating straight up (with some cheese, of course...).  I quickly decided that if you heap pasta sauce on top on warm French bread, is still does taste alright.  Not as good as chili though, and not as good as pasta with sauce.  I have dubbed it "Sweet Chili Heat".... Tonight, we'll have the leftovers, but I'll actually make some pasta to go with the past sauce...
2.  Last week I went to Goodwill, and found a painting of an old barn that I fell in love with.  On that back of it was the quarter section of land that the actual barn was located on.  The only problem was that they wanted $50 for the picture.  Really?  Goodwill?  Why so pricey?  There was a blue tag special on, but the picture had a red tag, and for all my trying, I could not get them to lower the price.  This week, I popped back in to see if the picture was still there, and much to my delight, it was there...waiting for me.  And the signs everywhere said that everything with a red tag was 50% off.  Hallelujah!  So I picked that baby up straight away and brought it home with me.  It sits in my office now, and I've decided that this may have started a new collection...
3.  Mini eggs are out in full force, which means that they have made it into my home.  Is this a good or bad thing?  Both.
4.  It's been crazy warm around these parts, so we've spent lots of time outside.  Snow has been melting, which means our yard is an ice rink, but that's ok.... We've had fires and made s'mores,
we've been able to ride outside a bit (before it got too icy!), as well as haul horses for lessons...
my Mom and I were able to get out for a walk or two... It's been really, really nice.  This weekend, temperatures are supposed to get back to their sub-zero normalness, but that's ok.  It's been a pleasant break, and made the winter feel so much shorter!
5.  Hannah got her learners license last week.  She was super proud of herself, and very excited.  Art's taken her out driving once already, and she's itching to go some more.  Heaven help us all... I can't believe this is happening already!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Fine Tuning

Every year, after we've taken down Christmas decorations, I always get the urge to rearrange and redo things.  Since we haven't quite figured out where everything fits in our new place, it's been fun (for me!) to try out new ideas.  This is the wall in the dining room, and originally, I had the whole wall full of black and white photos.  That didn't seem to fit, though, and after Art had painstakingly hung them all, I took them down, filled the holes and touched up paint.  Then, I replaced them with these old doors.  I've had these doors for many, many years, sitting outside, just waiting for the right time and place to be used. 
The sign is a very cool Christmas present which we received, and the stars were laying around in various places around the house.  I love the idea that I can create a new look without spending any money.  These doors were literally dragged out of old barns and outbuildings that were being torn down, and although I have (more than) a few of them, I love how they look, and the instant character they give a space. 
We've talked about putting some sort of cabinetry along this wall, to give me a bit more storage, but that solution is so permanent, and I'm not 100% sure that's what I want.   So, for a short (or long) term solution, we repainted this jam cupboard Art made, many years ago, and threw it in the corner. 
This cupboard was the first piece of furniture Art made for me when we were married.  He used 2x4's and a hand saw, and constructed it in the living room of our little basement suite.  Methodically, he stapled all of the chicken wire to the wood.  I then painted it navy blue, and the top, which is pine, was stained with a natural type finish.  Once we moved, I put it outside, where I've been trying to "weather" it, but I'm really happy with how it turned out.  The white painted chicken wire is especially eye catching.  I have another old cabinet sitting out in the shop, waiting for shelves to be cut and installed, which I might use in place of this, but I was too impatient to wait.  For now, this'll definitely do the trick.    
I also wanted to get my office in some sort of order, so I enlisted of The Girls to help.  We organized, purged, created storage solutions and found homes for most everything which was crammed into my office.  That room had turned into  the "I don't know where this should go so throw it in my office" room, and it needed help!  I drug out an old, solid maple table which I had sitting in an outbuilding.  We bought this table a few years ago at a farm auction, and I think we paid about $15 for it.  (Sidenote: it's so great to have a husband who is a woodworker, who can see the beauty behind the nastiness of old things, to support me in my crazy farm auction purchases).  I was going to paint the table, but upon further inspection, I realized it wasn't as bad as I had remembered, and instead just needed a good clean.  I also spent too much time scraping off chewing gum from underneath the table (who does that?!  Yuck!!), and used a whole lotta disinfectant to make me feel like it was somewhat clean.  We lugged the heavy beast into the house and threw it in my office to set up a sewing area for me.  Oy.  Such excitement on a Friday night in these parts!  I puttered around, put up some pictures on the walls and found a lamp or two, organized some more, and Voila!  Here's the result....
For years, I've dreamed of having a room all to myself, where I can leave out sewing or craft projects.  Now, instead of lugging everything to the kitchen table, where I have to clean it all up every time we eat a meal, I can (in theory), chip away at a project a little bit at a time.  The Girls were awfully excited about my "new" office, and especially the fact that I could do any small mending immediately when they require it, instead of waiting for months for me to pull out my sewing machine.  I suppose this means no more excuses for me...
Sometimes I think I have a serious problem... keeping old furniture on the chance that one day, I'll use it.  But then, when I grab something like this old cabinetry or table, and put it to good use, I feel completely justified.  I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Time for Everything

I love the book of Ecclesiastes.  So many good nuggets in there.  In my reading, over the holidays, I once again read chapter 3....
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
So many hard, hard things going on with friends around us.  We've mourned the loss of loved ones with friends, and joyfully celebrated new life.  We've laughed, we've definitely danced, we've mourned and wept.  This season, I felt especially grateful as I looked at the ones I love, around me, celebrating the birth of Jesus. 
We did have some time to play, over the holidays too.  We had some really lovely days, with warmer than normal weather.   Art got to try out his new snowshoes, and a few of the girls got a ride in the sled (only for a short while!) while they hiked out to the bush to put up a tree stand.  I definitely think Art was more tired than The Girls were!
We got to go and ride horses, both at home, outside, and at a friends' indoor heated arena (definitely a treat!!)  Ellie Mae is still in the process of breaking in her chaps, and oy, does this little girl look cute!

We called the horses to the pens with some grain, which they loved...

...and I'm still in awe of this life which we get to live.

We also helped some friends work cows, which was wonderfully fun and tiring.... just finishing up while the sun went down.
"Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him - for this is his lot.  Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work, this is a gift from God.  He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart."
Ecclesiastes 5:18-20


Thursday, January 8, 2015

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Ah, Christmas!  It's the most wonderful time of the year.  And now, it's done.  We had a great holiday season.  We had Art's Mom out for almost a week, which was nice to have some time with her.  Auntie Frieda came and stayed for most of that time that Mom was here, which was lovely.  We ate, and laughed, and did puzzles, and ate some more, and celebrated Christmas.  It was exciting to spend our first Christmas in our new home, and nice to make some memories here.
Christmas Eve is always appetizers, which is relatively easy, since I'm usually in the kitchen for a few days before Christmas.  This year was no exception. 
These little ladies are starting to look so grown up!  It was super nice to have a couple of sous chefs in the kitchen, helping me this year.  Molly was helpful in some of my prep....

As well as Abby, the superstar kitchen helper.  As I looked around the table, I told them they MUST stop growing up, because they are looking more and more like young ladies, rather than little girls!

Molly and Ellie Mae made sure to put out cookies and milk for Santa.  Art remarked that he thought that they should put out rum and pretzels, but whatevs....

We always open one gift on Christmas Eve, and this year, the Girls received excellent pj's.  Oy, they were so cute.  Hannah's were just a little bit different, which she was thrilled about!

Christmas morning is always so fun, and we love watching the Girls open their stockings (my favorite part!).  Ellie Mae got this camo buff in her stocking, which I don't think she's taken off since then.  It's to aid in her "coyote hunting", which she loves to do with Art.

Molly still loves sock monkey anything, so these ear warmers were a bit hit for her.

Art's Mom had her stocking to open, well as Auntie Frieda.  We were so lucky this year, she stayed with us for several days.  It was lovely to get up and sit around in our pj's, while she drank coffee and we watched the birds.

The Girls added a few animals to their Schleich collection, as well as a cattle squeeze and some chutes.  These things are always necessary when you are running a ranch in the basement!

Auntie Frieda made all the girls hats and scarves and gloves this year.  It's a tradition of sorts, and one I totally love.  The Girls look forward to these new clothes to keep them warm every year or two.  We also all got slippers.

From every single person The Girls know, this year we all pooled together and got some chinks made for them.  They were able to pick out the leather and conches that they wanted back in November, but it was a surprise to them to open up a gift and actually see what they had chosen, and how they turned out.  They didn't take these chinks off for days, and would wear them over their pjs to play, all day long.  They played lego in them, cleaned the house in them.... I laughed very hard, and they informed me that they were "breaking them in".  That's hard to argue with.... They have got to ride in them a few times, and every time we go to the barn, they throw those bad boys on, even if they're just helping with chores.

These are just a few pictures from our holiday season.  We also celebrated Art's Mom's birthday, Hannah's birthday, and New Years in the couple of days following Christmas.  It was full, for sure, but very, very lovely.  After New Year's, we basically sat around and rested and relaxed after a full week of celebrating. 
Monday was back to the routine and schedule of life, and I'm not gonna lie, I do love that.  It's nice to have some sort of rhythm to our days again, although I did enjoy a break.  Hope your holidays were great!