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Watch out, Walls…

Here we come!
Hubby bought me this for Christmas.  He may live to regret it.
It’s lightweight and plugs straight into the wall to charge…no separate, heavy battery.

I suppose I *could* use his drill when I need to, but having my own makes me feel so manly independent and strong.

First project:  Curtain rods in the kitchen.
Second project:  Shelves on basement stairway
Third project:  Drill holes in a diamond pattern all over the walls!  (Just kidding, but that does kind of sound like fun, doesn’t it?)

Top 10 of 2010

I (re)started blogging January 3, 2010, so this is really the “Best of” my first year of blogging!  I went through and chose the posts that had the most comments.  Click on the titles to see the original posts.


In chronological order:


1.  Burlap Box


(I’m about to make more of these…going to alter my technique a little though.)

2.  First Impressions

Before:                                             After:

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3.  Box Pleats


4.  Charleston Inspired Patio


5.  Farmhouse Porch



6.  Garden of Lost SOLES (Probably my favorite project from this year!)


7.  Heartache: 

The day we lost a LOT of turkeys.

8.  Before and After: The Kitchen

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9.  Adam’s Annoucement:

Adam announced my pregnancy in this ADORABLE video!

10.  How did I get Here?  AKA: How I became a farm wife


11.  (Oops – I thought this was a Top 10 list!  Oh well!) Musee d’Art


I’m a little late to the party, but I’m linking up over here:


Brain Rules for Baby: Pregnancy (And the Pregnant Party)

*This is part of a series I’m doing as I read the book Brain Rules for Baby:  How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five by John Medina.*
The first part of the book focuses on pregnancy.  Of course, I was interested, as I am currently pregnant.
The chapter begins with an overview some general information.  Then, Medina transitions to a timeline explaining when the fetus begins processing sensory information: touch, taste, smell, hearing, balance and sight.
Finally, we get to the important stuff:
4 things proven to affect baby’s brain.
1.  Weight: Gain the right amount.
2.  Nutrition: Eat balanced meals.  Folic acid is important at the beginning of pregnancy and omega 3 fatty acids can help boost brain power. 
3.  Stress:  Stress that is too frequent, too severe, or just too much for you is no good.  Look forward to another post on this specific topic.
4.  Exercise:  A moderate amount leads to an easier delivery and helps ward off stress.

A few interesting notes:
*Morning sickness, according to some evolutionary biologists, once served a purpose: to keep pregnant women from eating exotic, dangerous foods.  The fatigue in the first trimester was possibly to keep women from doing too much physical labor.
*There is one study that links more morning sickness with higher intelligence in the child.  Comforting for those of us who spent three months throwing up!
*”No commercial product has ever been shown to do anything to improve the brain performance of a developing fetus.”  So any toys or gadgets aimed at increasing intelligence in utero are a scam.
*Only 1/4 of birth defects have been linked to a specific DNA problem and environmental toxins have been linked to only 10% birth defects.
*The brain continues developing until we are in our early 20s, and even later for boys.  (Which is why the legal drinking age is so important – I learned that a few years ago when I worked for Youth and Shelter Services.)

And now, since I haven’t had a Pregnant Party in quite awhile, here it is!  Feel free to link up ALL your pregnancy posts since our last party.


“Merry Christmas, Everybody!”

That was Adam’s holiday greeting for the past few days.  He (barely) survived the 5 family Christmases we attended this weekend. 

Before they started on Christmas Eve, I finally managed to get a Christmas tree picture using the Nick Kelsh Pizza Box Lighting System.

Not the best quality, but I love the glow on his face, and the fuzzy lights behind him.  Not to mention, I happen to have one cute kiddo!



So, although we’re a little late, “Merry Christmas, Everybody!”

Santa Claus is coming (in a firetruck) to town

That’s right…Santa came to visit the kids of our town on Saturday, and his vehicle of choice was a firetruck.  How exciting to combine two of Adam’s favorite things!


We talked about it a LOT before hand, so that maybe Adam wouldn’t be scared to death of Santa.  He did remarkably well, only saying, “I’m shy” once when we told him to sit on Santa’s lap.  He did NOT talk to Santa, but he didn’t cry either.



After sitting on Santa’s lap, there were treats and crafts.  We stayed to color a picture before going home for nap time.


There weren’t a ton of kids there, but I’m so glad that our little town of 200 keeps doing things like this.  They have a wildly successful Easter Egg hunt every year, the volunteer Fire Dept. joined with the library and our daycare last fall for an event at the fire station, and in the summer, Watermelon Day is a great celebration.  Quite honestly, our town doesn’t have a lot going for it…the school is gone, the restaurant is gone, and main street is pretty empty…but I’m thankful that we have these activities for the kids!


Adam woke up this morning and immediately asked, “Should we go sledding?”  I think he had been dreaming about it because he had so much fun the other day with Daddy.


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MIA: Didja miss me?

Well, I’m going to pretend like you did!

This week has been really busy. 

First, we got poults Sat. morning.  To see how we unload 20,000 poults in under an hour, in a snowstorm, go here.


Then, the blizzard really hit.  Not a lot snow, but LOTS of wind and blowing!


So we were stuck inside all weekend.  And instead of blogging, I spent a lot of time scrapbooking some Christmas presents.

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Then, work and chiropractor appt. on Monday.

Kindermusik and mental health afternoon (watched TV and napped) followed by dinner at the in-laws on Tuesday.

Wednesday, I worked at school and in the turkey barn Wednesday night

And finally, today, I took Adam to daycare and then helped with chores in the barn. 

Which brings us to this afternoon, and some more digital scrapbooking, cleaning, and rearranging Adam’s room.

One of these days (soon!) I need to get a belly picture to post on here.  At 25 weeks, I’m obviously pregnant (even to strangers!)

Brain Rules for Baby

How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five

By John Medina


I’m a little crazy.  And recently, one of my colleagues lent me her extra copy of the preschool curriculum guide, which had DETAILED milestone charts up to age 5 or 6, including social, emotional, physical and academic topics.  “Feeding” my crazy, she called it. :)  It also had ideas to help develop the skills described.  After poring over it, I decided that Adam is right on schedule…ahead in some areas, slightly behind in a few others, but overall, doing really well.


Why am I crazy like this?  Well, my college education was all about teaching children.  I know lots about older kids, especially 9 – 11 year olds, since that’s who I’ve been working with the most.  I know where they should be, and for the most part, how to get them there.

But I know relatively little about babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  I know I want to provide my kiddos with opportunities for growth, independence, and problem solving, but I don’t feel like I know exactly how to go about doing it.

Education is my passion, and that extends to my own children, too.  I’m not nearly as worried about nutrition or motor skills as some parents, and I think it’s because of my “real” job and educational background.  So I am doing the same thing I do when I’m not sure what to do with my “real” students – researching!

I just started reading Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five.  My mother in law “fed my crazy” and got it for me.  I plan to share a few tips here and there as I read, so you can learn along with me.

Anyone read it?  Any other great parenting books I should know about?

TB’s Christmas Card Photoshoot

I don’t know about you, but I’ve tried before to get a beautiful picture of Adam in front of the tree.  It’s hard.  If I do it at night, I have to use a flash, and it ruins everything.  During the day, I don’t get that beautiful glow from the lights.  What’s a girl to do?

My best buddy Nick Kelsh recently addressed this issue.  (Okay, he’s not really my best buddy, but I wish he were.  He’s just “another better than average photographer out there” who critiques and gives advice to amateur photographers through his facebook page, books and dvds.)

Here is Nick’s Christmas Card video.  It’s 10 minutes long, but you’ll enjoy his sense of humor and great tips.  The last three minutes give tips on pictures in front of the tree.

I decided to give his tips a test run before trying them out with my little guy.  I wanted to get all my settings right before dealing with a mobile subject.  So, Teddy Bear and I had a photo shoot yesterday.

I should have taken a picture with the flash, to show you the difference.  But I didn’t.  Maybe I will do another photo shoot with TB tonight.

First, I set up the studio:


(The disaster relief efforts from the Christmas explosion are taking longer than expected.)

This is the key, friends.  Lots of white lights, draped over a hanger, with tin foil behind them.  I hung them on a sled that was propped in another corner, but Nick Kelsh used a pizza box lined with tin foil hanging from a clothes hangar on a chair.  Either way works.  And the lights give you that pretty, Christmas-tree-esque glow.


Anyway, here’s how TB’s Christmas Card photo turned out:



I didn’t color correct or even crop since it’s just TB.  I wish he would have looked at the camera for me, though.

Then, I decided to try it with the self timer, to see if it would be possible to get a family photo in front of the tree.  But I don’t have a tripod, so my camera was sitting on a bar stool in the living room.  And it had issues focusing the first time around.  Pretty good picture of me, huh?


Okay, this one’s a wee bit better.



I would have went ahead and had a photo shoot with Adam and hubby last night (even had their shirts ironed) but they were both a little crabby.  We’re snowed in tonight, so we will try again!

Family Health Portrait

This isn’t a very fun post, but I think it’s an important one!

My grandma was hospitalized Wednesday night, and since then, I’ve learned more about her health history than I ever knew before.  This reminds me of an article I read recently about the importance of knowing your family’s health.

Why is it important to know?

“For two important reasons. The simplest is that many of the studies linking a gene variant to one or another disease are incorrect at worst and useless at best. The more interesting reason to rely on your family medical history is that genes do not act in a vacuum. Those realizations have now prompted the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) to declare family medical history “the gold standard” for assessing what diseases you are at risk for—a conclusion as surprising, given the source, as if Exxon declared solar-powered cars superior to the gasoline variety.”


Basically, even with all of the advances in genetics, your family health history is still the best predictor of your risk for various health problems (I feel like a hypocrite here because my best friend is finishing her masters in genetic counseling right now, but even she and the ASHG admit that this is true.)

So yesterday, while sitting in the hospital, I got started.  I went to My Family Health Portrait and started filling in information.  There are still a LOT of holes, which I’m hoping to fill in over the holidays.  And once it is done, I’ll never have trouble with those doctors forms about family history again, and I’ll feel confident knowing that we are providing complete and accurate information for our doctors to use when dealing with any problems my husband, children or I might have.

Like I said, not a fun post, but important.  Go get started right now!  If not for you, then at least for your children!

(And btw, they’re still doing a kazillion tests to find out what is wrong with grandma.  She has no symptoms to speak of, just had some wacky test results at a regular check up so her gorgeous, young doctor is trying to figure out what’s up.)

Blank Slate

Before Christmas exploded,  I cleaned the dining room so I would have a blank slate to start my Christmas decorating.img_4910
The bay window is waiting patiently for the tree.
Yes, I cleaned the dining room, but I did not, however, clean the living room.
Or the kitchen…and I resisted the temptation to buy myself a new, black garbage can at Target the other day, and put it on my Christmas list, instead.
After some virtual shopping with my best friend 3 states away and my cell phone, I bought some new fabric for the china cabinet…hard to see here, but better pictures are coming, I promise.
Now, it’s time to crank up the Christmas tunes, make some fudge, and get to work!

The Old Barn


I love old barns.  In fact, I wanted to have my wedding reception in one (this one, to be precise.)  My husband and I frequently “wish” there was a barn on our property.


This is the barn at my Great Grandpa’s farm.  When he died at the age of 98 in 2008, my cousin Amy and her husband bought the place, so the farm is still in our family. 


Unfortunately, though, the barn no longer will be.

It looks beautiful, doesn’t it?  Great Grandpa kept his outbuildings painted nicely, even after they were no longer used for the farm. 

But the foundation is bad, and since it’s not being used for agriculture, it doesn’t qualify for any of the “save the barn” grants out there.


So it’s coming down.

But not before family had a chance to salvage what they wanted.





My dad took home a trailer full of barnwood.  We’re discussing what to do with it right now.  He is planning to build a display shelf for his entryway, to show off some of his toy tractors and I think it would be pretty cool if he’d build a barn playhouse for Adam out of it, too. 

But no matter what happens to it, the barn and the memories will live on.

Welcome, Lazy Moms!


Welcome, Lazy Moms!

Lazy Mom is having a meet and greet and I thought it would be a perfect place to meet some other lazy moms, like me.


Lazy Meet & Greet

In addition to being a part time teacher, part time farmer, part time 100-year-old-farmhouse-remodeler and full time (although, lazy) wife, I am also a lazy mom to a 2 1/2 year old boy and am pregnant with another little boy!

Some examples of my laziness…


I make cookies from packages.  It’s the experience that counts, right?


My house usually looks like this:


It took me 2 1/2 years to get this project done:


I use this unfinished bathroom because I’m too lazy to walk downstairs in the middle of the night:


I’ve tried to train my son and hubby to help with housework, but it’s just easier to do it myself (lazy!)

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So there you have it.  I’m a mom.  And I’m lazy.  If you’re a lazy mom, go over to the meet and greet going on today and tomorrow, and meet some fellow LMs!!