30 June 2015

Cabbage Patch Kid

The cabbage patch kid.
That was going to be for dinner...oh, well.
The broccoli monster.
And the ice cream lover.

I see a little of myself in all of them.



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28 June 2015

Muses

Last night was cool and calm, so I decided to sit outside and type a bit. The girls were sleeping in their room, worn out after a long day of work and play, Jack was busy checking beehives, the cats purred nearby and behind me, the horses snorted and stomped while the rooster crowed. Our halfway renovated house watched over our acreage while fireflies and stars started twinkling overhead and the man in the moon smiled.

Some people need exotic destinations or beautiful people as their muses. I find mine all around me in at home, sweet home.

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27 June 2015

Decorative Pallet Flag

Can't make much with the girls without adding some glitter, this time on the stars!
We were in the mood to make something patriotic and since we had some pallets laying around, decided to make them into a decorative flag. It was a pretty quick and simple craft and the nice thing about working with pallet wood is the imperfections give it character and charm and they don't have to be flawless for them to look good. The girls enjoyed helping and now we've got a little Americana to display for Independence Day! Want to make your own? Here's how:
1. Cut seven strips of wood an equal length.
We put in finishing nails through the back and front to really secure the wood.
2. Secure wood with two additional pieces of wood on the back.
Letting the girls at it!
3. Tape off section for blue. Paint stripes. remove tape and paint blue area.
The only time white crayons come in handy...
4. Trace and paint stars.
We attached screws then twisted wire around them for hanging.
5. Secure wire for hanging.
6. Display and enjoy!

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23 June 2015

Tis The Season

Berry hands!
'Tis the season for wild black raspberry picking! Every since our family outings last year collecting the sweet little berries, we've been enjoying everything from cobblers to muffins to yogurt infused with the bounteous crop we reaped.
Jack found a few wild raspberries growing in our backyard and after cutting out a dead tree and trimming back some other bushes, the raspberries have increased exponentially. Once he returned from scout camp, we took a stroll outside and did some picking.
The girls are expert berry pickers now. It's fun to watch them pluck the fruit off the vine--I laugh when only about one in five berries actually makes it into their buckets because they're busy eating the rest. I love that they love to eat fresh.
Ah, Jack is up to his usual antics...
Jack, in true form, got into a little mischief while the Evelyn and Claire picked on one side of the bush with him and Kate and I were on the other. When I announced our bucket was full and I was tired, sweaty and ready to come in, Jack and the older girls giggled and said they were coming. When I rounded the bush, I found them painted with berry juice. Oh, Jack. Good thing it was bath night and it came off easy enough otherwise the girls would have been up singing at church for Father's Day with berry juice war paint on their faces.
Evelyn lost in the sea of berries.
I think we'll make some jam with the first round of berries. There are still plenty on the bush but between us, the chickens, the birds and the insects, not a berry will go unappreciated. Thank you Mother Nature for another bountiful (and free!) harvest!

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22 June 2015

Dragonfly versus Mayfly

Claire is an entomologist for sure. There are very few bugs that she'll scream at when she sees, and usually, she's screaming out of excitement more than fear. So, when she got her hands on a mayfly and a dragonfly, she got a mischievous look in her eye and held them together like she was encouraging them to battle.
Lucky for them, she had to let them go before they got in any punches.

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21 June 2015

Fathers

On the day we celebrate fathers, husbands, men and father figures, Jack is our shining star. He works hard to provide for not only the necessities, but a rich, abundant life full of adventures and unique experiences. He is our guardian and protector. He's quick to smile and laugh and is more than willing to impart his wisdom, but knows when to listen too. He serves willingly and frequently. He honors women and motherhood as an equal companion to his own divinely appointed roles and he encourages us to develop our own talents and skills so we can spread our own wings. Jack is a gem and we know it.
To all the fantastic men out there...
 Happy Father's Day!

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20 June 2015

When Daddy Comes Home

Jack's all set for a week at camp.
There's a popular children's song at church entitled, I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home. The girls sing it quite frequently because they always are so glad when Daddy comes home. Early Monday morning, we sent Jack off to Scout Camp for an entire week. He was loaded up and ready to have his own fun adventures while we stayed behind and tried to have our own.
Claire is not impressed that Jack's gone.
Truth be told, I'm not generally the "fun" parent, not because I don't like fun, but because someone has to be responsible and get stuff done. But, when I'm the only parent around, I've got to play all the parts. I'm the entertainer, the storyteller, the maid, the cook, the doctor, the chauffeur. I have to answer midnight screams from nightmares, take out the garbage, put the chickens away, feed everyone, clean, discipline, return library books and generally make sure everyone's happy. It's a balancing act and after each stretch of single parenting while Jack is away for work or volunteering, I'm probably the most all grateful to have him back. While he was gone this week, we tried to have fun. Tried being the key word.
I think we're about halfway done prepping firewood...
We stacked wood...
Finishing the last bit of tile in the master bath!
...worked on the bathroom...
...played in the rain (because otherwise, we weren't going to get to go outside)...
...visited the horses...
Last of the grout!
...worked on the bathroom some more, while doing summer homework...
Kate throwing in a few rocks before it started to sprinkle.
...and basically tried to survive.
Hiking down to our Scouts' campsite.
The highlight of the week came Wednesday when we went to visit Jack during parents' night at Scout Camp. Though it rained off and on, we were able to enjoy several hours there, too many sugary treats and exploring around the campsite.
Catching rain while visiting Jack at camp.
Of course, when it was time to leave several hours after bedtime, there was much whining and crying (me included) while Jack promised us he'd be home in a few days.
Stopping at the animal building, of course!
In the meantime, we went back to working on the bathroom, editing my next novel and starting on oa new one, watching too many chick flicks, staying up too late,  and surviving the girl drama that always escalates while our guy, Jack, is gone. Saturday morning, we tidied up the house and at long last, Jack came back.
We're all so glad when Daddy comes home.

Now, time for some real fun.

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19 June 2015

Variety

All the eggs taste the same but the variety is much appreciated.

Thank you, hens!

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15 June 2015

Play On!

Kids have it so rough. This Saturday, the girls were having picnics, eating candy, swimming in their pool, playing with the animals or on their playground and climbing everything in sight...
Not exactly good timing working on outside projects with Jack's horrendous allergies, but he's a good sport.
...I was working up a sweat alongside Michael Jackson Jack, finally getting a good start on the front pasture fence. And really, entertaining and taking care of themselves is incredibly helpful and a skill that not all kids have. So, play on, girls!
One more rail and some stain and gates and the fence will be DONE! Doesn't it look nice?!
There's never enough horse fencing...

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14 June 2015

Climbing

The day wouldn't be complete without someone climbing up something.
Climbing has long been a tradition with the girls. Evelyn is a climber...
Claire caught a branch, pulled it down and shimmied up. She's very ingenious.
A rock exterior on a house is always free game for a climb.
Guess it's a good thing there's always something to climb around here.
Even the cats enjoy a challenging climb...

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