KatieOlthoff.com participates in affiliate marketing and other forms of advertising. We only recommend products and services we believe in and think they will be of use to you. As such, posts on this website may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read my disclosure policy. Thank you for your support of this website and our family.

Yes nester, it works.

Nester asked her readers whether or not the “copper really works with my muddy turquoise?”

Here’s my answer.  (All photos from my first house, circa 2007)
P1010282 P1020390 P1020393 P1020394  P1020396 P1020402 
Sure, it’s a bit floral-y and accessory-y for the Nester’s current taste, but the colors are the same and I still love them!
fabric 2
I love them so much, in fact, that I still have yards of that striped fabric in my closet. And my aunt recently redecorated her beautiful, Victorian living room in the same colors.  This is the best picture I could find…
So yeah, Nester, I’d say it works!

Inspiration Station: Gray

I want to go to Lowes today, buy a five-gallon bucket of gray paint, and attack my house.  (But instead, I’ll probably attack laundry and dishes.  Maybe.)
Here’s some inspiration from Pinterest.  Click HERE to see all my pins.




The Handmade Home


There are several things I’d love to write a whole post about…and there are several posts that I’ve started writing, but haven’t finished. 
So, I’m just going to do a random post with some updates and pictures.

1.  Isaac’s 7 weeks old now.  He’s cooing and smiling, and sleeping really well, between 4 and 7 hours at night.  He is such a laid-back baby!


2.  I went back to work this week.  I am a part time Talented and Gifted teacher.  It was the last week of school, so I spent most of the time closing up my rooms and reviewing test scores and teacher recommendations for my TAG classes next year.  It was fun to go back and see everyone, but I missed my boys.

3.  We got the swingset!


4.  I’ve been staring at my house too much.  I tore down the curtains, and have spent hours and hours looking at decorating inspiration online.  And I started stripping the woodwork.  I’ve got some plans.

5.  The bathroom and Isaac’s room aren’t done yet.  Oh well.


6.  We’ve been working outside a bit.  I’m going to try and put my garden in tonight before it rains.


7.  I’m not sure if I ever told you all, but we hired help for the farm in March, right before Isaac was born.  It has made a huge difference!  Bart is able to spend so much more time with us!

8.  I am OBSESSED with Pinterest.  Addicted.  Truly.

      img_7393 img_7397

I’m going to stop now, before I get distracted and fail to actually post this, like the other 5 drafts I have started…

Parenting Toddlers

Being a mommy to a newborn is difficult, but I think raising toddlers is at least 10 times harder.  New babies need you 24 hours a day, but it is pretty straight forward.  Make sure they get enough to eat, enough sleep, and enough cuddling, and you’re a pretty good parent. 


When the child gets older, things get more difficult.  There are so many choices you have to make every day that affect your child’s behavior, how much they learn, and how healthy they are.  I firmly believe that it is my job to to make choices that are best for him in the long run, which is often NOT what makes him happy at that moment.


Obviously, my almost-3-year-old does not understand the benefits of having string cheese instead of m&ms for a snack.  And he has no idea why I’d rather he play with his blocks than watch Diego again.  He can’t even seem to figure out that he feels better after a nap.

And so, he fights. 

He cries, yells, whines and pouts when he doesn’t get his way. 

And ideally, I stand my ground.  Once I’ve said “no” to something, I try very hard not to give in.  I do NOT want Adam to learn that throwing a fit will get him what he wants.  That’s just not acceptable to me.

But it’s. so. hard. 

Sometimes, I give in right away. For example, if he ate a good lunch, I won’t argue over snack.  Some battles just aren’t worth fighting.

But other times, I say no, and brace myself for a battle of wills.  Unfortunately, he is often more stubborn than I am.  He wears me down and his fighting makes me long for the same instant gratification that he’s seeking. 

And too often, I give in.



Eating Easter candy and watching TV.  *sigh*

Turkey Tuesday: Kate’s Project

Some of you may remember last summer when I took a class called Annie’s Project.  It is a class offered through our 4-H extension office, designed to help women learn how to manage the financial aspects of farming.  It was all about crop marketing and balance sheets and FSA loans and so on.  I called it my “Farm Wife” class, and I learned a LOT.

But apparently, there are a few things I still need to learn.  After reading yesterday’s post about the swingset, Kate offered to teach me how to pull a trailer.  But then, I had to confess that I couldn’t drive the 3/4 ton farm truck anyway, because it’s a manual transmission. 
(My dad tried to teach me how to drive a stick once, only he didn’t explain that there were 3 pedals instead of 2, so I was pressing the brake instead of the clutch.  Failure.)
So then, Kate suggested we start a series of lessons.  Here are some of the topics I’d like her to cover:
1.  Manual transmission
2.  Pulling something – trailer, manure spreader, whatever needs pulled.  (My main goal here is that I can take the trailer to the big Highway 141 garage sales.  Just kidding.  Not really.)
3.  Drive a tractor…I’ve been taught this several times but it just never “sticks.”  I think I should read about how it all works, and then maybe I’d remember more.  Seems like I learn things more easily if I know the WHY behind it.
4.  Memorize the names and locations of father-in-law’s fields.  Not very often, but occasionally, I’m asked to pick up or drop someone or something off in the field.  It’d be nice if I knew where I was going. 
5. Freezing grocery staples – I’ll never forget the time Bart said, “Don’t you have some in the freezer?  My mom always had ____ in the freezer.”  I think, in that case, the food in question was butter.  So a lesson on “What can be frozen and how” would be great.
6.  Removing stains – Kate said this is important.  Does this mean I’d have to wash Bart’s clothes?  Isn’t he supposed to do that?
7.  Make a good cup of black coffee.  Our hired man doesn’t like the flavored, weak stuff I make.  sigh.  I like my coffee to taste like candy!
8.  Cook.  ‘Nuff said.

Maybe I should just take Home Ec at the high school again, instead.

Timeline of a Craigslist Transaction

AKA: Swingset Saga

Oh my goodness.  Craiglist drama at our house today!

I have been looking for a swingset on Craigslist for Adam’s 3rd birthday in July.  And yesterday, I found one.  A great deal, even!  Only $100 for this guy:


(Maybe I should wait to post this until the deal is done…If any of my readers snatch it out from under me I’ll never forgive you!)

Sunday, 1:49 PM: Craigslist ad was posted.  $100 swingset, about an hour away from me.

6:32 PM: I emailed about the swingset.

6:34 PM: Bart said he couldn’t go with me, so I called my dad to see if he could.

9:05 PM: received reply from seller: “Yes it's still available, but I have a few people who want to look at it tomorrow.  I'll be home tomorrow after 5:00.  Please call my cell anytime tomorrow if you want to stop by,”


Aunt Rosie and Uncle George’s amazing slide!



Today (Monday)

11:31 called seller and left message.

1:39 emailed seller again

talked to dad a couple times in between to coordinate things

2:32 called seller and finally talked to him.  He gave me directions to his house.  I told him we were just coming to look because my dad donated blood and couldn’t lift anything.

2:37 called Dad to verify – he said he DIDN’T donate blood, and therefore we COULD pick it up tonight.

2:38 called seller and agreed to disassemble and take home tonight.

2:40 texted Bart and told him we were going to use his pickup and his new trailer.


2:59 Bart called and said we couldn’t use the new trailer with the 1/2 ton truck (which is the extended cab truck with the carseats.)  And, since we’re having gale force winds, we decided today was not a good day to haul a swingset an hour!

3:01 Called Dad again to tell him we couldn’t take the trailer.  Decided to just go look at swingset to make sure it was in decent shape.  Dreaded calling seller AGAIN to change plans AGAIN.  He must think I’m nuts.

3:05  - 3:15  I thought.  And I thought some more.  And I got to thinking – the slide itself is over $100 new.  And the kit to build this thing is over $100 on amazon.  And the wood to build it is about $500.  Even if it wasn’t in great shape, chances are that we’d get $100 worth of swingset! It was such a bargain, and I was afraid someone else would buy it if we didn’t seal the deal tonight.  But after calling seller so many times to change plans already, I wasn’t eager to call again.  After some thinking, another phone call to Bart and another to my dad, I decided to offer the seller $100 via paypal and we would pick up the swingset another day.

3:20 Called Seller.  He said he’d hold it for me, no payment necessary yet (I was the first to respond to the ad) and we could come and get it tomorrow night.  Dad said Tues. or Wed. would work for him, so I that sounded great.

3:22 Called Dad.  Turns out, he said Tues. or Wed. would NOT work for him.  I misunderstood.  Darnit.

3:26 Called Bart to see if HE can go with me tomorrow night.  He’s not sure.  He’s cleaning out turkey barns and at the mercy of the manure removal trucks’ schedules.


Adam’s in the orange – he loved playing on Grace and Alex’s swingset Saturday!

Now, I’m waiting until tomorrow to contact the seller again.  I’m going to cross my fingers that Bart WILL be able to go with me, and when we know for sure, I’ll call the seller again, if necessary.  What an adventure!  If there wasn’t the prospect of saving hundreds of dollars, I’d say forget it and just buy a new swingset!  Oh, the things we do for our kiddos!


Happy Mother’s Day to Me!  My beautiful boys let me sleep 7 hours straight last night.


Happy Mother’s Day to my mom – I don’t know what I’d do without her!



And Happy Mother’s Day to all the other mommies out there! You are amazing!