30 September 2018

Good Luck Charm

So happy to be six!
Kate's wish finally came true--she turned six! This sweet, sassy, girlie girl came into our family at the conclusion of Jack's schooling in Iowa and couldn't have picked a worse date: my water broke at ten at night, the day before Jack was scheduled to have three interviews that were going to determine the fate of our family and where we ended up for a job. So, after she arrived, he went to his interviews on approximately five seconds of sleep but did such a fantastic job that he received job offers from all three companies. Conclusion? At her core, Katherine is a good luck charm.
Writing about my children is always surprisingly difficult. How do I sum up someone who, though they're so young, are so complex, interesting, and unique? I don't know how without falling short but here's a glimpse of who Kate is. First off, she has an incredible, healthy sense of humor. She is quick to laugh and says some of the funniest stuff, especially when it comes out without a shred of guile. She speaks her mind and a lot of what she's got going on in there is hilarious.
She is 100% a girlie girl. She loves everything from makeup to dresses to shoes to makeup. If she doesn't feel fancy enough, she remedies it with homemade bling, like paper tiaras to taped-on earrings. However, her love of all things feminine does not mean she won't run around until she's sweating, dig in whatever loose patch of soil she finds and lives with perpetual dirt under the nails, or wrestle and play, scraping her knees and elbows. She's just very ladylike farm girl.
She loves to serve and pamper others, the same as she enjoys. She'll offer foot rubs, fixing hair, and applying makeup to whoever will sit still long enough.
Kate is extremely competitive and the older she gets, the less I have to even the playing field. Now she's got a steady enough hand and smarts to win a lot of things on her own.
Though she's still little, she's a thrill seeker. She gets a wide-eyed, terrified look when she goes on theme park rides and insists she would love going on full-fledged roller coasters. Um, we're going to wait a little longer...once you're on that ride, there's no getting off!
Life might as well be a beach for Kate. She loves the water, the sun, the sand, and the carefree life of it all.
She loves to learn and FINALLY got to go to school with her big sisters this year. It's been everything she's ever dreamed of! Yay for enjoying school!
If you ever need a friend, Kate is your gal. 
Kate and her twin cousin, Elsa.
 Curiosity is strong in Kate, especially if it involves bubbles.
Life with her is like living in a funny nature documentary. Have you ever seen a jaguar drag its prey up a tree? It's like watching Kate scramble up our walls and onto one of the support beams, where she sits and observes, eats snacks, plays with toys, colors...
...or reads her favorite book.
Definitely uses her upper body strength to get up there every day.
Motherhood comes naturally to her.
Snuggling cousin Felicity.
Not only that, she makes everything FUN, whether she's teaching Henry to ride a bike, taking Zoey for a spin, or playing peek-a-boo with a baby cousin. She is already a way better mom than me.

To say Kate loves the water is an understatement.
She has the cutest little dimples!
So much so that she and her siblings were in the pond as often as possible this summer. I have to give Kate credit for patiently encouraging Raven to enjoy the water. I'm not entirely sure if it's a good thing to have a wet dog every time the kids go out to swim but they sure found having her paddle by entertaining.
Kate loves all animals, including chickens.
She would totally kiss a toad.
 She adores the cats.

(Not quite as much as Claire, though).
She's given up her initial discomfort around bugs (June bugs in particular) and has followed in her siblings' footsteps to embrace insects and all their creepy, crawly awesomeness.
Praying mantises are one of her favorites.
Of all of the animal kingdom, dogs and horses are her favorites.
 Fancy is her middle name.
She loves pink!
And her sweet tooth is alive and well!
The day of her birthday, she was in heaven, reveling in the attention and special exceptions. Henry, Zoey and I ate lunch with here, where she smiled like a benevolent queen to her subjects as they sang Happy Birthday to her.
For her birthday dinner, she requested a picnic of fruit, veggies, bread, and cheeses. The weather cooperated wonderfully and she got her wish!
A picnic by the pond.
 Then, we scarfed down Dirt Cake (her all-time favorite) and opened presents like there was no tomorrow.
You can never have too much bling, cake, or pink when you're six!
Though we thought Kate's arrival may not have been ideal, it turns out that everything about her is just perfect. She is a representation of how long our family has been in Indiana, and is one of our last ties to Iowa. She is a ray of sunshine with adorable dimples that show every time she smiles. Kate is quick to forgive, willing to befriend anyone, a born-and-bred farm girl mixed with high-class, and one of the biggest helpers we've ever seen. We sure love her and are loving watching her grow! 
Happy birthday to our adorable, giggly, beautiful,
talented, smart-as-a-whip Katherine!


15 September 2018

Easy Candy Corn Halloween Sign

We saw another fun idea for Halloween decor and decided to recreate it. It was so easy and turned out really cute! Change the wording and detailing for a different feel, if you like. Overall, it took less than two hours of total work time, not counting time for paint drying. And now, we have another addition to our Halloween decorations!

You'll Need:

1 board
Sandpaper
Yellow, white, orange, and black craft paint
Brushes
Measuring tape
Masking tape (optional)
Polyurethane

1. Cut wood to desired length, if needed, and sand edges
 2. Measure and mark three sections (white=top, orange=middle, yellow=bottom). For more straight edges, paint the orange section, then mark with masking tape to paint the edges of  the white and yellow.
3. If you have a Cricut, you're in luck! Otherwise, you'll have to cut out your own letters.
4. Arrange letters (I used a tape measure to make sure everything was even) and trace.
5. Paint letters. Add any fun detailing you'd like (we changed an O into a spider, for example).
6. Paint a couple layers of polyurethane on to protect your creation.
7. Display proudly!

13 September 2018

Woody

It's been almost three and a half months since Dolly's calf has made an appearance and while it's almost no time at all, it feels like he's been a part of our farm for as long as I can remember. Funny enough, he was born the day Jack's company started its six-week paternity leave program. Too bad it only applies to human babies, not livestock.
One of these bovines is not like the others...
We eventually settled on the name Woody, as a subtle pun between him and his mother. Dolly came with a name but her first calf did not, so he ended up with the name of Parton (haha...get it? Dolly and Parton?). So, to continue with tradition, her second calf with us is a nod to Dollywood (heehee...we're so clever).
Woody had a bit of a rough start to his earthly existence. He was plenty big when he was born, thanks to his Angus dad, but he caught a case of navel ail. Basically, his umbilical cord got infected, which honestly, isn't a surprise. Cows don't exactly care where or what they lay in. I noticed his runny nose, tearing eyes, and how cloudy his irises started looking. Out came the vet and we wrangled him for his first round of antibiotics and vitamins. He left me with several syringes and told me to repeat the process for the next several days. Since all the exciting stuff happens when Jack is out of town, that meant I got to wrassle Woody all by myself every afternoon and jab him with some meds. By the end of all the close interaction, we were actually quite good friends.
That didn't mean he necessarily trusted anyone else though. Props to the kids for trying to tame the beast.
Woody recovered nicely, with no residual cloudiness or other ill-effects from his short-lived sickness. He quickly went back to hanging out with his mom, tailing Parton everywhere he goes, and wondering if the horses are, in fact, larger, more colorful cattle.
The only other unpleasant experience of Woody's short life was being castrated. When the twin cousins were visiting, I had Jack, my sister, and my brother-in-law help band Woody. As big as that calf is, it took all of us to hold him down and do the deed because he was quite certain he wanted to grow up as a bull. Since I don't want a bull around right now, his manhood had to go. Thank goodness we talked about it once in college in one of my animal science classes, though I never got any hands-on experience. There's a first time for everything! It wasn't too terrible (well, maybe not for Woody), and I'm happy to report, Woody is now a steer instead of a bull.
Hanging out with mom.
I do really love having baby animals around. They're so cute, always looking for someone to play with, aren't old enough to be ornery, and a lot of their mannerisms remind me of my own kids. Woody certainly fits the bill as an adorable calf! Makes me want more baby animals...
What a big boy, eating grass all on his own.

10 September 2018

(Upcycled) Fan Blade Happy Halloween Hanging

Don't they all look so happy? ;)
One of the first things we did when we moved into our New Harmony home was to update the old fans. Since I hate throwing things away, I kept all fourteen (yeah, it was a lot of light) fan blades to use for crafts. We've made a DIY Bling Butterfly before but this time, we saved the blades for something Halloween related...because you can never have too many Halloween decorations, right?

So, if you'd like to make one of your own, here's how to do it:

You'll Need:

Fan blades (3 to however many you want)
Screwdriver
Wood filler and sandpaper
Primer
Craft Paint
Paint Brushes
Felt, glitter glue, raffia, etc (whatever you'd like to decorate it with)
Construction adhesive
Thin pieces of wood for attaching together (must be the length of however many blades you use)
Wire for hanging

1. Remove the screws and hardware from fan blades
2. Clean and dry fan blades
A great job for kids to do. ;)
3. Prime fan blades (I use Bullseye Primer because it sticks without having to sand--click here for an Amazon link)
4. Fill in holes with wood filler--leave any holes unfilled that will be used for hanging (click here for an Amazon link if you need some wood filler).
5. When dry, sand filler until smooth.
The hole at the top was left open for hanging the completed project.
6. Once you've decided what characters will be included in your hanging--think vampires, witches, black cats, pumpkins, ghosts, Frankenstein's monster, etc--paint the base colors. Once dry, sketch characters with pencil and paint details.
7. Once the characters are finished, paint with a coat of polyurethane to make them more durable and weather resistant (we like Rust-Oleum's water-based version)
Isn't Dracula cute??
8. Add any felt detailing, if needed.
Every witch needs a hat!
9. Finish with any glitter glue, rhinestones, raffia, etc.
10. Decide in what order you'd like the fan blades 
11. Using construction adhesive and (we use Liquid Nails) the wood pieces, attach fan blades together. Let dry.
12. Attach wire for hanging and display proudly!
Happy (early, early) Halloween!

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