Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Heat Wave

Here is how we helped handle the heat wave that has settled over our area of the country this week.

On Sunday, we ran to town and picked up an inexpensive wading pool for the boys.

The boys couldn't wait to play in the water so it was very COLD!  You know, from the depth of the well cold.  But the expression on Grant's face when he poured water over his head was priceless!  They both soaked themselves over and over again.

The boys had wanted the pool at the store with the slide built in but I convinced them we could come up with something better (and save some money).  So we took the little slide (that the goats like to play on) from the sandbox and moved it to the pool area.

The boys have had great fun enjoying the pool on these hot days.  They especially love that the rules that apply to bath time DO NOT apply to pool time!

Don't let Fred fool you - he merely looks curious in this picture.  Yesterday while Clark was in the pool  I found Fred playing with Clark completely submersed in the water - Fred was loving every minute of it.  He was even laying down in the "shallow" end (little bit of a slope to the yard).  Yes, we have a water loving dog.  Who can blame him in this heat!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Our "New" Home

On Saturday, we drove down to Red Oak to do a walk through of our rental home.  The people were supposed to have moved out on Friday but they were still working on some things so I didn't take as many photos as I had wanted to.  However, we did measure all the rooms so I could lay out some plans this week.

Here is the front of the house (faces west).  The landlord has someone coming to replace the front steps as they are becoming quite worn but the boys loved running around on the front porch.  And sitting on the front porch swing!  I'm giddy - we have a front porch swing.  Not only that the porch faces west - great location for watching storms roll in.  I remember sitting on our back porch with my dad watching storms come in.  Granted that porch at home faced North but it was still memorable!

Here was the one interior shot I took.  This was probably the old "parlor" but it will be our living room.  Wood floors throughout - although they need some love and urethane.  The views are lovely from the big old windows.  We are a bit worried about how much cleaning there may be but we'll get it shined up.

A view of the back porch.  It sits right off the kitchen.  There is also a laundry and mud room area to the other side off the kitchen.

A view of the house from the driveway.  See that third story window?  That is a finished usable space up there which is where my sewing area is going to go.  Not to worried about heat in the winter but may need to look into a window air conditioner for the summer months.

Looking to the south of the property.  We have a nice clothes line.  The place is surrounded by Oak and Walnut trees.  Clark was picking up old walnut shells wondering what they were.  There are also a couple of apple trees on the property but they don't have many apples this year.  In addition, it supposedly comes with a large asparagus patch and I found the old rhubarb patch.  Our landlord is very open to us doing anything we want outside.  I think there is a nice sunny area to the east that will make a great garden location next year.

Finally, here is our livestock's lodging.  It needs some work to make it usable and winter ready; however, it should be a nice little area.  My picture doesn't it show it that well but the one side is concrete floor and the other side is dirt floor.  It is an open faced shed - facing south.  However, there's a nice beam that we can use to build an enclosure big enough for everyone.  This is the one downfall of the property - there is no garage and this is the only out building (and there is only one outdoor water hydrant which is up by the house so we'll have to haul water).  But for the price and location it's still a very nice property.  It is secluded and quiet which makes me happy - I like my privacy.

I think the boys like it - I foresee a lot of tree climbing in the future though.  We also know we'll need to build a sandbox since they already mentioned it didn't have one and that is their favorite outdoor activity (well - until we purchased a wading pool on Sunday but I'll post that tomorrow).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Oh, What a Day!

At this point I would much rather be blogging about preparations for the upcoming Iowa State Fair; but as many of you know our lives this summer have made that a bit impossible.  However, I have received numerous e-mails from people who are entering and prepping for the upcoming fair.  All I have to say is HOW AWESOME!  Good Luck to all of you and I hope you have lots of fun!

Now for a word of warning - the next part of the post is more of a story than a blog but I wanted to put it in writing.  So no pictures but I'll try to make it an amusing tale.

For our family Friday through Monday this past weekend was simply a flurry of activity as we finished off all those little (and in our case some large) projects that we expected to get to slowly as we had time and money around the house (we really never expected to move - at least not anytime in the near future).  The house is lovely now.  My poor husband had to put up with "wow - that would have been great to have done 'x number' years ago".  We still have a few little details to work on and some more cleaning both inside and out but we accomplished a lot.  The boys had lots of sandbox and outdoor time but not a lot of mommy and daddy attention the past few days.  Although Clark was a big help moving empty boxes for me and even Grant helped haul and load some little items that were just his size.

On Monday the inspector and buyers were to do their walk through starting at 1 PM.  So, we worked up until we needed to leave.  We thought we would take the boys out for a treat and get some lunch and head to a movie.  If we all fell asleep in the air conditioned theater we decided that wouldn't be all bad.  First we needed to deposit a refund check and take out some cash.  Upon depositing our check we realized our bank account was over drawn.  That seemed very strange to me since I had been carefully watching our ins and outs with all the extra bills and purchases we've had to make with the finishing work on the house.  But I thought - well, I must have miscalculated somewhere very badly.  Normally, I would have headed straight home to check the accounts and see where I went wrong but that wasn't an option.  With two hungry kids in the back of the car we had to come up with some sort of plan.  Luckily, while cleaning out the garage Alan and the boys had loaded up our pop cans to take to recycling.  On our way to the recycling center I went through my purse and found a $5.00 bill and $4.00 in my change purse.

Of course, Grant fell asleep in the back seat during our driving around town.  Once to the recycling center I stayed with sleeping Grant while Clark and Alan took in our cans.  Clark felt like such a big boy hauling in two bags at the same time all on his own.  We could tell this little excursion was fun for Clark because he talked about it non-stop and asked a million questions when we were back in the car.  It has been a long time since Alan and I have taken back cans in order to get a meal but if that's what it took to get some food so be it.  We now had $19.00 to spend.  How ironic - we had plenty of food at home but we couldn't go home.  It was a bizarre feeling.  We headed to HyVee and bought some fruit, meat, cheese, chocolate milk and crackers.  We bought a couple fountain drinks and sat down in a booth in their meal seating area.  The boys thought it was a great picnic.  They were completely happy with their meal.  We decided to just enjoy the time sitting together as a family (in air conditioning).  We laughed and munched and had a good time.

Of course, at this point we still had about 1.5 hours of time to kill before heading home.  The boys decided even though it was hot they wanted to go play at a playground.  Mommy decided on the most shady one she could think of in Bandshell Park and we headed out.  While at the park my husband gets a phone message from Shazaam saying they have noticed unusual activity on our card.  We call in and yes, over the weekend while I wasn't paying close attention some charges had been made on our card - not by us.  We tell our hot and sticky boys that we need to go back to the bank and figure out what happened to our account.  Clark is determined to find the "bad guys" that stole our money.  Which somehow morphed into a lesson on Jesse James - having a history buff for a husband comes in quite handy at times.

Funny enough at the bank I felt worse for the bank manager who told us this was the second case she had handled that day than I did for us.  Yes, we had our entire account wiped out but we signed all the paperwork and the bank will take care of it (in about 7 - 10 days).  The boys even got suckers which made them happy little campers.  The bad thing is the banks have to pay out of their own pockets for these crimes and the perpetrators are rarely caught or held accountable.  Sad.  All I have to say though is stupid on their part for stealing our pin number - since there wasn't all that much to take at the time anyway.

Amazingly enough after the bank we still had a 1/2 hour to kill.  We headed to the library.  The boys found some good books (since most of theirs are currently packed up it was nice to get some new reading material) and had some good play time.  Grant snuggled up with daddy to read some books and do some puzzles and Clark played at the Lego table (no surprise there).  Having someone else along I was even able to look for some books at my leisure and my husband found the comic book section and found some items he has been wanting to look at too. Oh and I found the Brer Rabbit collection of stories that I decided we had to check out.  I remember reading the story of Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby with my grandma before naptime over and over again.  Grandma once told me it was by far my favorite story.  I would beg to have her reread it to me.

Long story day short - we went home and we enjoyed a nice evening meal followed by early bedtimes for all (and mommy enjoyed reading Brer Rabbit to the boys at bedtime).  Oh- and we still have $4.00!  You know - all in all the day made me very grateful that God has so greatly blessed our little family.  Although sometimes the end of the month feels a little tight I know that we won't go without and that is a great blessing.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What Type Am I?

That's a pretty open ended question.  I have taken many quizzes and tests to find out.  Things regarding my personality, my work habits/style, my strengths and weaknesses, etc.  Most of these for work or school.  Today I found something else to help me find direction.  Hah - I need all the help I can get in that regard.  But today's direction is more home decorating style focused.

Today as I was reading through a few blog posts I found this blog post entitled "House Speak" by The Shabby Nest.  Since we are in the process of moving to a new home it made me think about my own decorating style.  I have to admit when we first bought this house I almost cried since it wasn't exactly the charming 2-story farm house I would like.  I actually find ranch homes boring and architecturally ugly.  However, with a lot of time, hard work by hubby and myself we made it feel cozy and homey. Now I am actually sad to leave it and it's open floor plan we created.

Our new rental home will be that charming 2-story farm house complete with original wood work and pocket doors (and a front porch with a porch swing!).  We've only done a brief walk through so I look forward to getting inside again the middle of the month to take measurements, figure paint schemes and hopefully by August at least have the nursery, kitchen and boys' room put together.

So for a little fun today while I sat for a break to put my feet up (thankfully they aren't swelling up) I took the style quiz over at Sproost.  Actually no surprises - I am a mix of 40% Traditional Country, 40% Classic and 20% Modern Elegance.  That pretty much sums me up.  From the Traditional County I like to surround myself with vintage pieces, rare finds and hand-me downs to help create a homey feeling.  From the classic I like classic lines, solid furniture and an overall sophisticated feel.  And then there is that little modern side of me where I enjoy simplicity and some modern pops mixed in with my vintage items.  Where I fall short on the modern side is actually keeping the place from feeling cluttered.  I'm going to work on that in the next home.

OK - back to working on getting this house to the final stages of the sale!  We have a buyer (only 5 days on the market I can't believe it), now we just need to get through inspections next week (still lots to do).  Once we get past inspections I'll sleep better!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Two and Four

This year we did not have photos taken of the boys at their birthday time.  We decided to save some money and wait until baby girl is born later in August and do a whole family layout by a professional photographer friend of ours.  Last night though we captured some great photos of the boys at the playground.  We played in the park until it was time to watch the fireworks from the hill of the park.

These are some of my favorites and I think I'll order a few to use as their two and four year old photos.

This is Alan's favorite!

Grant thought he was such a big boy learning how to swing.

Bye, bye - see you later!

It is becoming harder all the time to get any good pictures of Clark.  He's become a stinker when it comes to taking photos.  That and he's become very quick.  Still it only takes one good photo, right?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Hope everyone had a fabulous 4th of July weekend!  We spent most of the weekend packing, moving and working on getting the house ready for inspection.  However, today we celebrated our nation's birthday with what has become a favorite family tradition - blueberry picking!  This is the 3rd year we have picked blueberries on the 4th of July (the 2nd year with grandma).

Clark is a serious little blueberry picker.  He worked hard on trying to fill his bucket (which he then proceeded to sit and eat for snack).  Funny enough he told grandma that this was blueberry picking time when he caught her sampling the goods!

Grant started off the day putting berries in his bucket but it wasn't long before the bucket was empty.  After that point he decided to skip the middle element and just put berries straight in the mouth.

Clark was especially excited when he jumped rows and started picking berries by grandma where they had somehow managed to find the JUMBO berries!

Between the 4 of us we managed to fill two buckets which ended up being just over 10 pounds.  Yummy!  They will have to go in the freezer though for now but there are plans for blueberry syrup making later this fall.

The boys had fun berry picking with grandma!  Grandma picked two buckets also.  Eventually the boys did tire of berry picking so their dad took them over to visit the honey bee hives.  After lunch they decided to take really long naps this afternoon - must have worn them out.  So, hopefully everyone will be ready to watch fireworks later tonight!

Happy Birthday America!  
Thank you to our founding fathers and all who have served our country to grant us such marvelous freedoms!