Monday, July 21, 2014

A Matter of Perspective...

I was walking back up the driveway from the mailbox today and saw this sight:

I thought to myself, "What are they doing?  Filling the combine with corn from the bin?  What could be the purpose of that?  I thought they were trying to empty out the grain box on the combine so that they could start harvesting oats and wheat?"

Also, I don't know why the sky is gray... stupid phone camera.

Then I got a little closer and it became clearer...

...that my eyes are really getting bad.  It's just a perspective issue.

And then as I was actually upon the scene. I felt really dumb because, in reality, the combine and the auger were a solid 20 paces away from each other.  Boy, did my eyes play tricks on me!  As I took this picture, I was standing under the yellow auger, the one I thought was filling the combine.

Moral of the story:  I MUST see an optometrist sooner than later.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What to do when it rains on your pool party...

Emma turned 7 last Sunday and the rule at our house is that you get to have a "friends" party when you turn 7.  So, we intended to have her friends over for a pool party.

She found cupcakes on Pinterest that were baked in ice cream cones and decorated to look like teddy bears were swimming in rings or floating on rafts.

Piece of cake...  Mix up a box of yellow cake mix, put them in the ice cream cone, fill ONLY TO THE LOWER RIM and bake for 20 minutes.

Yeah.  Right.  Pinterest FAIL.

Oh well, I had 2 cake mixes, so I whipped up the second one and went straight to cupcakes.

It was fun decorating them, Emma was pleased with how they turned out, and they incorporated her favorite thing:  gum!  The beach balls are little gum balls and the rafts are fruit-stripe gum.  Special hint:  Emma found that you have to put the teddy gram inside the gummy lifesaver before putting them on the cupcake.

I bought $0.99 beach balls and wrote "Emma's 7th B-day 2014" and each girl's name on them before the party started.  The girls took turns signing each other's beach ball as a reminder of the day and who they partied with.  They had a good time doing the signing, and hopefully we will be able to keep track of Emma's so she can remember her special party in the upcoming summers.

Because it was too cool and dreary to swim (although 4 of the girls and Holly did get in the pool for a few minutes), Drew and I concocted a game to play.  They did a soda-tasting thing where they had to identify what kinds of soda were in the numbered glasses (pretty easy since the choices were root beer, 7-up and Coke).   Then, we gave everyone a piece of paper and had them number 1-5.  We put a piece of candy in each person's hand and they had to guess what it was and write it on their paper.  We had M&Ms, Skittles, mini Starbursts, mini 3 Muskateers, and mini Milky Ways.  It was fun and used up some of the time.  No one got all 5 right!

I give all the credit in the world to moms who host big parties (or even little parties) for bunches of kids year after year.  One per kid is enough to do me in!  It was a busy day, but a fun one!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Happy National Cow Appreciation Day!

I'm finding conflicting information on the EXACT date for Cow Appreciation Day, one website says it was July 11th, but Facebook told me it was July 15th.  We're celebrating it on the 15th.

Here are the cows we are appreciating this summer:

Baby Blair!  Isn't she adorable!  She's Danny's bottle calf, she was orphaned this spring when her mom (Danny's cow, "Bernie") got sick and died.

These are our bred-heifers:  The black-white faced cow is Danny's 3rd heifer, Belle, and technically Blair's older sister.  She's a DOLL!  Love her to pieces!

The red-white faced Hereford-looking cow is a replacement heifer that belongs to my parents.  She spent the winter in the 4-H pen and is SUPER friendly, so the boys have broke her to lead and will show her--just for fun--at the fair.

These are the boys' steers:  The black steer is Danny's.  His official name is "Bugsy" because when he was a little calf, his eyes were too big for his head and it looked like he had "bug eyes".  The Hereford is Drew's purebred calf from his fancy, purebred cow that he bought two winters ago.  "Chuckie" won Grand Champion Hereford at the fair last summer.  Hopefully he will do o.k. this year, as well.

We are a stock and custom feeding cattle operation, so we are in the business to MAKE BEEF, not fluffy show cattle.  We feed a ration to put on weight, not grow hair, so we never do very well at cattle shows, but we "hold our own".   It's a fun time nonetheless, and the kids are learning a lot about animal husbandry and RESPONSIBILITY.  So in the end, they really are winners!

Monday, July 7, 2014

More new house... and a little something extra...

Here is the kids' bathroom.  The teacher in me fell in love with this shower curtain at Kohls last winter.  HAD TO HAVE IT!  Isn't it cute!  I think this will benefit the Pecatonica Community Middle School and Pecatonica High School (eventually) academic bowl teams because there might just be a question or two somewhere down the line about something random that I bet my kids will be able to answer because of all the time they'll spend on the crapper looking at it.  Like, did you know that "Virginia is for Lovers"?  Or that Kentucky is horse country? (Well, everyone knows that, I guess.)  I also have been reviewing my knowledge of which state is which...  I can now correctly label Alabama, Arkansas (completely landlocked--which I had forgotten...duh...keep me in the math department, please!), Louisiana and Mississippi.
Anyway, its kitchy, I like it, and it's colorful and educational.  What more could you ask for in a shower curtain!

In other bathroom-related news, I came across this can of bathroom cleaner with the DREAMY, the HUNKY, the MANLY Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs on it!  Again, HAD TO HAVE IT!  (It was pretty cheap, too.)
See, I really like Mike Rowe.  I just love a guy who's not afraid to work hard and get dirty. He's got such a cute smile, too!  I'll bet that when he gets all cleaned up, he smells good, I know he looks good, and I'm pretty sure he can show a gal a good time.  Maybe not.  I don't know.  Also, I think he's nice to his mom.  

(I don't know if I'd buy another can of his bathroom cleaner, it's nothing special. But I probably will keep the can around long after it's empty!!!)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Antiques, Immediate Gratification, and Sibling Togetherness...

The other day I had the kids helping me pick up and finish continue organizing the basement.
Danny found my Fisher Price record player and albums and tried to get it to work.
Luckily, I realized what he was messing with before he ruined the player or my BELOVED "Alvin and the Chipmunks:  Hollywood" Album.

The following observations struck me:

1.   They had no idea that music could come from something like this (a box with parts you can actually see and touch, or a boring old piece of black plastic).

2.    You might remember how record players work, you set the needle on the lane-thingy where the music is etched or whatever, and then you wait for the needle to hit the groove.  The kids couldn't understand why or how you could possibly be expected to wait for a few seconds for the music to start.  They were also baffled by how you had to read the album cover or the center of the record to figure out where to put the needle to get the song you wanted to hear play.  Couldn't you just push a button and zip through the song choices until you landed on what you wanted to hear?!?!?

3.   The kids genuinely liked hearing the music and about how much I enjoyed my record player and albums when I was a kid.  They poured over the albums with, "I know that song!", and "The Smurfs were invented when you were a kid?"  It was nice seeing them enjoy each other's company for a change!

Unfortunately, we still have some work to do in the basement...

Thursday, June 26, 2014

My new kitchen!

A friend recently asked me if I'm going to recreate my old kitchen "look" in my new kitchen.  She remembers how much I used to go on and on about how much I loved my old kitchen: the pretty robin's egg blue paint, the black & white checkerboard floor, my curtains that I made all by myself, and my collection of roosters and chickens.

Well, I have to say good bye (forever probably) to the checkerboard floor, our new kitchen has ceramic tile and I don't see us wearing that out anytime soon.  I'm pretty mych over my robin's egg blue obsession.  But, I still think chickens, especially the roosters, are really pretty.

We had a lady from Pec come out and paint the kitchen a lovely light brown, almost goldish, color--she did an AMAZING job! I painted the one little mantle wall a dark brown, the kids call it "chocolate".

I found the wall hanging at Hobby Lobby for ridiculously cheap.  I also bought the rooster on the left at Hobby Lobby (well, there's some robin's egg blue!), but the other chickens are from the old kitchen.

Here's the hutch I mentioned awhile ago.  I LOVE the way it turned out!  (Oh wait, there's more of that pretty blue!)

I have fabric to make some sort of valance or something.  I just love the plain, uncovered windows, though!  We are slowly getting birds to come back to the bird feeders.  We have a couple of pretty regular humming birds and a house finch (no yellow finches, yet...).  I think all the birds moved down the road with my folks.

The kitchen is nice and spacious, we splurged and bought new appliances (ours were mismatched and various ages).  Including the appliances with our old house also helped to sell it.
 Over to the right is the fridge, a breakfast bar and more cupboards.  This area also leads to the mud room... more on that to follow!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Pallet Bike Rack

Here is the "before" picture:

Many people around Pecatonica refer to us as "the house with all the bikes out front".  Yes, we have 6 bikes.  There are 6 OF US.  Anyway, now that we live in the country, we still..... have 6 bikes.  

I found an idea for making a bike rack out of pallets on Pinterest (of course!) and put the hubbykins to work on Sunday.  

Total price:  $1.44 x 4 = $5.76 for the brackets.

We didn't exactly follow the pattern, it was more like, "How quickly can I get this project done so my wife will leave me alone?"  

Anyway, it works.  It's not beautiful, it could be bigger, like two pallets instead of just one.  We had to back some bikes in to accommodate the handlebars.  And, it really only fits the 4 bikes, two are leaning up against the ends.  

But, it serves the purpose:  All bikes are NOT laying on the ground (due to faulty kickstands), and all bikes will be stored here in one central location.  

I really wish we could keep the bikes in the garage, but we just have too many bikes for that. 

And the "after" picture: