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I made up that word yesterday, and it pretty well describes how I’m feeling.

The last couple weeks have just been really busy and a little weird.  Lots on my mind, and I can’t seem to concentrate on one thing at a time.  “Hocus, Pocus, Katie needs to focus” has been my chant, but it’s not working.

Since I started typing this post, I’ve open 7 jars of playdoh, wiped a butt, poured a cup of coffee, checked facebook, checked the weather, called my doctor, checked facebook again, checked my cell phone, checked the weather, and put away playdoh.  And now, I can’t remember what I was writing about, and I still want to check craigslist.

So, I really meant to get the 2nd part of my Junkin’ in June preview up earlier this week, but I didn’t.  Sorry.  I’ll work on trying to get back into a routine, without feeling guilty about neglecting certain things (like vacuuming and blogging) and then I’ll be back!


In the meantime, say a prayer of thanks for the hardworking farmers who are enduring this heat to put food on your table!

Junkin’ in June Preview–Part 1


It’s no secret that I love junk.  I love antiques, vintage items, and repurposing.  I love taking something old and used and make it beautiful again.

And I’m blessed to be surrounded by a lot of others who feel the same way!  Some of my favorite shops are taking part in “Junkin’ in June” this weekend, so I decided it was time to dig out the pictures I’ve taken as I’ve perused the junk lovers’ shops near me throughout the past year or so…


Broad Street Market by Carter Station in Story City: 515 Broad Street, Story City, IA (12 miles north of Ames on I-35 or Highway 69) --- Chippy & primitive furniture, industrial pieces, cool one-of-a kinds!

Broad Street Market by Carter Station – I first met Joe and Sandy when they came to my garage sale two years ago and packed their van full of furniture and scrap wood.  Since then, they’ve opened a brick and mortar in Story City and they have the coolest vintage, farmhouse, primitive, industrial stuff!  (These photos are from April – no guarantee that these pieces are still there!)

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inVintg in Story City: 526 Broad Street, Story City, IA 515-733-5331 --- Inspired vintage: refined, refreshed and rustic homewares.

Across the street is a relatively new shop – inVintg.  I’ve long been a fan of Antiques Iowa (BIG antique mall in Story City, right off I-35) and inVintg is owned by the same person.  It is in a really cool old building downtown and full of unique items.  I took these photos back in April, so no guarantee that these pieces will still be there!




JB Knacker in Gilbert: 123 Main Street, Gilbert, IA 515-233-2600 (5 miles north of Ames on Hwy 69, west at Gilbert Casey's corner to Main St.) --- Flea Market in side yard!


Next up is JB Knacker in Gilbert.  You really must stop there – Brenda is hosting a flea market in the side yard.  These pictures are really old – from summer 2010 – but I’ve been back several times and JB Knacker never disappoints!  Always great treasures to be found!dscn2150

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Those are just a few of the stops – check out the Junkin’ in June facebook page to see more!  I’ll be back later this week with another preview!

Outdoor Progress: Siding and Gardens

Thrifty Décor Chick is having an “Outdoor Spaces” party, so I thought it’d be a good time to share what we’ve got going on outside.
It’s DEFINITELY a work in progress.  Since we moved here 4 years ago, we’ve had to dig up the yard north of the house (septic tank), regrade the yard west of the house, and dig up the southwest corner to run rural water to the house. 
And because we’re still working on the siding, we haven’t paid any attention to the lawn…siding (and heavy equipment) first and then lawn.
So that was a long way of saying “ignore my sad grass, okay?”
Also, because of the unfinished siding, I can’t landscape around the house, either.  So I’ve worked on a couple of small flower beds.  They’re not looking great, but consider these “before” pictures because my friend, Nicole, from Red Granite Farm is coming out to tell me what to do later today!
Construction and unfinished-ness doesn’t keep us from enjoying the yard, though…my favorite space is this little shade garden. It’s ALWAYS in the shade, and I can sit and watch the kids play from the bench.  Right now, it’s also serving to shelter a bunch of bargain plants I couldn’t pass up.  When Nicole comes today, I’m hoping she can help me decide where to put them.
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Here’s a wider shot showing that big sycamore tree – it’s ginormous and we love it!
This little entryway is going to ripped off and rebuilt.  It’s really too small, dark and dreary to be very functional right now.
Then, of course, we’ve got the front porch.  We use this door a lot to let the dog in and out, and the boys and I use it when we’re going out to play. The trunk holds small outdoor toys, and there are usually about 10 riding toys scattered around the front yard.   But honestly, the porch is on the south side of the house and is generally pretty sunny (although not in this picture, obviously!) so we don’t use it too much.  I’d rather sit under the tree in the shade.
The siding: Here you can see some of the new siding.  That is the primed color and we haven’t decided what color to paint yet.  The window trim isn’t done on that side…
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…but this is kind of what it will look like.  I can’t wait!
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We’ve also got a little patio, and honestly, we never use it.  It’s in full sun until late, late in the evening.  But it’s cute (sometimes!)

Slowly, but surely, we’ll make the yard a beautiful, useful space.  My neighbor, Amy, has been helping and now, Nicole is going to give me some advice, too.  The siding will be done this year, so hopefully next year (or even this fall?) we can landscape around the house!

Sharing at Thrifty Décor Chick’s Outdoor Spaces Party

Knock Off Pouf

turquoise chairs
When we got our turquoise chairs, we needed some sort of footstool or ottoman.  So I went “exploring” to find something to put our feet on.  After checking the outbuildings and finding a couple of old stools that might work, I remembered a “vintage” ottoman that was in the basement.vintage ottoman
It had been there for an eternity and had definitely seen better days.  But just LOOK at the stitching on top of it?  Doesn’t it say POUF to you?

Moroccan poufs have been all over in home décor but you can’t deny that they’re kind of pricey. (Check out this post, by the Nester, to see what I’m talking about.)So I had Bart haul my soon-to-be-pouf-ottoman outside, and then Adam and I scrubbed it thoroughly and let it sit in the sun for a couple of days.  It didn’t smell musty or anything, so I figured it was safe!

The hardest part of this project was choosing from the cans of brown spray paint I had in the basement. :)
brown spray paint
Then, a QUICK coat of dark brown spray paint, and we have a knock off leather pouf…vintage ottoman makeoverturquoise living roomturquoise vintage living roomturquoise wingback

Serena and Lily Version: $450 (Tan Moroccan Leather Pouf)
serena and lily pouf
Crate and Barrel version: $69.95 (Clint Faux leather 20” pouf)
crate and barrel pouf
Horchow “Petal” Leather Pouf: On SALE for $525
horchow pouf
Land of Nod Aqua Pouf: $79
land of nod pouf
Restoration Hardware Writer’s Ottoman: SPECIAL $765 (was $900)
restoration hardware ottoman

Squaw Creek Version – $5? can of spraypaint I had on hand!

knock-off pouf
What do you think?

Shared at: July Before and After Party at Thrifty Decor Chick

Awkward Vacation Photos

Adam, Isaac and I went to Minneapolis to visit Karen (and Jon) last weekend.  Bart, of course, had to stay home and take care of the turkeys.
We spent Saturday at the Como Park Zoo.  It was, as always, free and packed.  And a fun adventure.  I took some pictures, but unfortunately, they didn’t turn out very good.  I’ll start out with the best ones…
Adam and Jon -


Subway Word Art

I’ve been seeing Subway art all over the blogosphere for a long time, and I finally broke down and made my own!
olthoff grunge 

Since you asked: How is Common Ground funded?

You all know I’m a volunteer for CommonGround, right? (CommonGround is a grassroots organization of volunteer farm women who share information about agriculture.)
Well, lately, CommonGround has been under attack on Facebook. Writers accuse CommonGround of being a front for corporate interests. Let me set the record straight. CommonGround is NOT funded by or influenced by any corporate interests – Monsanto or any other for-profit company.
So, who funds CommonGround?
America’s corn and soybean growers.
“The program is funded by the United Soybean Board (USB) and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). Each organization spends a portion of their checkoff funds on the program to educate consumers about where their food comes from, not tell them what to eat.”
What’s a checkoff?
Farmers from commodities, such as beef, dairy and eggs, soybean collectively invest a portion of their product revenue to fund research, education, and promotion efforts to increase the value of those commodities for farmers and consumers, alike. This collective investment is called a checkoff.
How do we get that done? Well, the farmer-leaders of USB and NCGA hired a team of agriculture communicators to keep us organized – these folks run the Facebook page and website, send out press releases and help arrange our speaking opportunities, and they give us tips to tell our stories of agriculture.
As a CommonGround volunteer, I can’t tell you what to eat or how food should be grown. I can, however, tell you how food IS grown on my farm, and other farms I’ve seen. I can put you in contact with farmers of all kinds – big, small, organic, conventional, vegetable, meat, grain…the list goes on and on.
CommonGround doesn’t take a position on issues, such as labeling of genetically modified foods. We only provide information. And the information I’m providing you with today is that we are NOT funded by OR influenced by Monsanto in any way, shape or form.

Grilled Turkey Salsa Burgers

Hey Freaders!  (I just made up that word.  It’s a combination of friends and readers…like Brangelina, except way cooler.)  I’ve been trying slow down a bit the past couple of weeks, so even though my turkey chefs have been hard at work, I’ve been slacking in posting their recipes.  To make up for it, I’m going to share an awesome turkey burger recipe with you today, from my friend, Ann…
From Penzeys Spices
The weather is warming up and that means it’s time for grilling! Most people know how to grill a good beef burger, but here is a delicious recipe for grilled turkey burgers that you’ll want to make over and over again.
1 lb. ground turkey
2 scallions, 3 inches of green left on, thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
2 teaspoon. minced fresh garlic
2 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional
4 burger buns, sliced and brushed with melted butter
mayonnaise, sliced avocado, lettuce leaves, sliced tomato, and sliced onion for garnish
Prepare hot grill. Mix ground turkey with scallions, bell pepper, garlic, cilantro and spices. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Gently form into four equal patties.
Place on grill, and cook for about five minutes on each side. (To test if the burgers are done, check using a thermometer. Ground turkey should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.)
Grill the buns off to the side over indirect heat, keeping them warm until ready to serve.
When the burgers are ready, place on the buns and garnish with mayonnaise, avocado, lettuce, tomato and onion and serve.
Tomato, lettuce, onion and avocado for garnish.

Finished burger. Delicious!

vn9q2jozAnn is a Registered Dietitian who loves to cook, scour the earth for new recipes and share her love of all things food with family and friends. She has worked in food service for four years, including two years in India, where she has gained a vast knowledge of what it takes to serve the good food that people need in a safe manner. Turkey is a low fat, low sodium protein option. Its functionality makes a simple yet satisfying meal. Outside of the kitchen, Ann loves reading, hosting friends and family, and travelling to new and exciting places.

Shared at: Sunday Showcase at Under the Table and Dreaming