Monday, May 23, 2011

In The Garden

Finally a chance to get the garden tilled and plants in the ground. I am begining to think we picked a bad year to start a farmers market booth, it will be August before we have product! The nephew was in town so had to be part of the action. We have gone back and forth with a name for this new venture and then it came clear, "Uncle Andy's Garden".

He really wasn't much help, after digging one hole he was more interested in finding sticks and old garden markers!

Regardless we all had fun!

His next venture was our new fountain, he enjoyed putting in rocks and adding the bubble container, thank heavens he could not get the lid off as we do not need real bubbles in the bubbler!

Ended the day with a snack!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Planes, Trains, Automobiles, and Boats!

I had the opportunity to travel to Baltimore for work a couple of weeks ago.  One evening we had "free" time for dinner on our own.  This was my third trip to Baltimore in as many years so I took the opportunity to venture out a bit.  A good friend of mine from college lives in Philadelphia so I headed there for dinner!

I like to take public transportation when possible and the city offered a free bus that would take me right to the train station.
A short trip to the train station and I as ready for the hour trip via Amtrak to Philly!

My friend Char welcomed me at the train station and became a great tour guide.  My first stop was the Liberty Bell.

There was a long line to get in, turns out that was just to get through security.  Once we were in we were able to walk right up.  I was really surprised at how small it really was!
A quick walking tour we also got to see where Ben Franklin was buried, Independence Hall, and the US Mint!

We ended the visit with dinner and catching up on old times.

I then headed back to Baltimore via the train, hoped into a taxi and got back to the hotel!  It was a super quick trip but lots of fun.  I would love to go back some time and take in all the sights and history that the area holds.

Our hotel in Baltimore was right at the inner harbor, so we got a chance to take the water taxi to Fells Point.

The conference also offered tours so I got a bus trip out of the deal as well.  The highlight was to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, it was huge!
But as with any trip it is nice to get back on a plane and head home! 

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Big Day

It was a great day Saturday, the weather was awesome and the birthday boy was in good spirits!  He started the morning with a new haircut!
As I said last time I was working on decor, the banner was put together and we grew wheat grass to make little farm scenes for the tables.
Goodie bags were stenciled and sewn and filled with farm treats for the kiddies.

Even our gift went with the theme!

He is a big fan of his uncle!

He loves glasses so these special glasses from nannie were a big hit!

Had to sneak a taste.

My special cowboy, everyone got hats and bandanas for the occasion.  As Andy said, a bear is an animal too, just not as fitting as the cows and pigs.

Being an aunt is the best job in the world, I get to spoil him rotten, jack him up with sugar then I go home!

And I couldn't have the best nephew in the world without the best sister in the world (ok so she's my only sister!)  We've had our moments like any sister, but giving me an awesome nephew makes up for her short comings!  Looking forward to the next event.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Birthday Preparations

My sincere apologies for my time away.  I have been blogging in my mind and taking pics, just haven't got the time to get it all down in writing so I am going to stretch this topic to make it count!

The nephew turns 2 on Saturday so my sister enlisted my help.  I enjoy being crafty and it helps that I work for a farming organization so I have great material to work with. 

For Christmas I made banners, so she asked that I make a birthday banner.

I used the Cricut to make my own stencils.  First cut triangles out of burlap, then stencil your letters one per triangle.

I use old newspaper to lay all the parts out to dry, it was a nice sunny day so it took no time!

Once all the letters were dry I rip material and sew the triangles to the material.  Very simple and prim looking.  We will hang these one on top of the other for a layer effect.  Actual party photos to come later!

Next we needed goody bags, not plastic here, I cut muslin squares.

Again, made my own stencils, this time our goody bags are going to be feed sacks since this is a farm party.  I mixed cows and pigs on all the bags.

An almost finished product, I stenciled before sewing so I could lay them flat and not have paint soak through.  I have cut twine that will tie the bags closed.  Items in the bags will include soy crayons, farm animal toys and cow tail candies!

Table decor will consist of bandannas and small galvanized buckets.  A few weeks ago I planted wheat seed in the buckets and have been trimming them.  I found little farm animals, wired their legs and stuck them in the wheat.  With plant markers I made a little farm sign for each bucket!  Photos to come later in part 2!!  Stay tuned!
Monday, January 3, 2011

My Pioneer Woman Christmas

Through my bloggy connections I was introduced to the Pioneer Woman this year and I am hooked!  It is hard to believe someone took to the Internet with their thoughts, recipes, and pictures and now has a successful cookbook, a new book on the way and who knows what else in the coming year.  I could only be so lucky to hit it big that way!
So I asked Santa and his elves to help me out.  Father in law got me the cookbook and my sister in law pre ordered the new book, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels.  Two great gifts!
I also tend to purchase something special for myself for Christmas.  There was a pair of Stetson boots that I have WANTED since October.  Tried them on at the FFA Convention, tried them on at the livestock show in Louisville, and looked online numerous times, I just couldn't bring myself to paying that for boots.  So I asked my mom for the money for Christmas to buy the boots, I wouldn't feel bad about it that way.  So December 23rd I thought I better go online and see if they were still available.  Bazinga, there they were on sale at Zappos and free overnight shipping so I would have them on Christmas Eve! 

These are mean boots, the kind of boots that say, "Watch out, these things can put a dent in your toosh!"  So with the books and boots I feel a part of PW (Pioneer Woman) is right here in Indy.  Now I just need a cattle ranch, I'm secretly working on that though, still trying to convince the father in law that he needs to convert from grain to cattle!  I have also gotten the sister in law hooked on PW, after buying me the book and hearing about her, she is hooked on the blog too!

Being on vacation last week I put the cookbook to good use.  We still have a lot of beef in our freezer and I have been stumped with what to do with the "special" cuts.  PW saved the day and here is my best Hunk of Meat entry.  This was the biggest hunk of meat in the freezer!

I had to cut the roast in half so it would fit in the pot!  I have had pot roast before, but this was the best pot roast recipe!

Had to brown the carrots, you can see here, pan was too small!

What sets this cookbook apart from all others is the great step by step photos taken by PW herself.  This is where Betty Crocker falls short!

Here it is before going into the oven.  It looked great and smelled even better.  The house smelled wonderful all day long!  Over the weekend I used the country fried streak recipe, another great one and can't wait to use it again!  This is the Christmas gift that keeps on giving!
Sunday, January 2, 2011

Starting the new year with a mission...

My first mission is to be a better blogger, life caught up with us here at the end of the year.  First off I was working on a second blog for our light show  Our house and the website were in the Indy Star and for the month of December we had over 1,200 page hits!  The show has been put to bed for the season but you can see the videos and follow us for next season.

2010 was a great year for us, both happily employed, enjoying fun times with the nephew, house remodeling, and just spending time together.  G is a cancer survivor, he has been free and clear for over 10 years now.  Each fall he has to go for a yearly check up.  At that time he pointed out to the doctor that he thought he had a lump in his neck.  It was checked and they called in a specialist who cleared it as an enlarged saliva gland, but to be sure they did an ultra sound. The ultra sound turned out the same result, but as they were checking that, the doctor noticed something on the thyroid.  They then ordered a needle biopsy.

That sent an alarm in my mind. I have had thyroid issues for 15 years now and my doctor has always avoided a needle biopsy.  The procedure took place on a Friday and they said it would take a week.  That week came and went, and finally the following Monday they called.  CANCER!  We wanted to get it taken care of in 2010 and the only day they had open was Friday of the same week, so we processed the news and made arrangements for the surgery.  Thyroid cancer is the easiest to treat, they remove it and put you on synthetic thyroid.
Here is the location of your thyroid, it is a butterfly shaped gland that sits just under the adams apple.  It really controls a lot of things, but most of us have issues and are on medicine. If you are tired and worn out and don't know why, this might be the cause! 

Here is how you can check your own thyroid and see if it is enlarged.

1.Hold the mirror so that you can see the area of your neck just below the Adam's apple and right above the collarbone. This is the general location of your thyroid gland.

2.Tip your head back, while keeping this view of your neck and thyroid area in your mirror.

3.Take a drink of water and swallow.

4.As you swallow, look at your neck. Watch carefully for any bulges, enlargement, protrusions, or unusual appearances in this area when you swallow.

5.Repeat this process several times.

6.If you see any bulges, protrusions, lumps or anything that appears unusual, see your doctor right away. You may have an enlarged thyroid, or a thyroid nodule, and your thyroid should be evaluated.


1.Don't get your Adam's apple confused with your thyroid gland. The Adam's Apple is at the front of your neck, the thyroid is further down, and closer to your collarbone.

Here is where it gets interesting and this is my call to action to all of you.  While on vacation last week there was a rerun of Dr. Oz on this very topic.  The news was astonishing.  Thyroid Cancer is the leading cancer among women right now. While breast and ovarian cancer has dropped, thyroid cancer has doubled since 1990.  3 out of 4 cases are women and most generally in their 30-60's.  Here is the link to the Dr. Oz info
While they are still learning about this, causes are most generally linked to family history and exposure to radiation.  The thyroid is very sensitive to radiation and what are we exposed xrays!  Some dental offices have started using a thyroid guard that is connected to the apron your dentist uses when taking an xray, if not Dr. Oz suggest that you request they get one, or refuse xrays if they are not needed. 
I have a dental appointment later this month and I plan to decline x rays unless they have the thyroid guard in place, I figure I already have thyroid issues I don't want to press my luck.
My patient is doing great!  He had tape on his neck over the incision and is feeling fine.  He goes back in a week to see how things are progressing. 
Cancer will always be a part of our lives, it is something I worry about every year when he goes for a check up.  Since learning of his diagnosis, we have met several others in their 30's that have had their thyroid removed this year.  If reading this helps one person find an issue with their thyroid, I will feel blessed that someone else caught it early.  G was in stage 1 and removal should take care of it because he was persistent and caught it early.

So here is to a happy and healthy 2011 to us and to all of you!!
Saturday, November 6, 2010

It's begining to look a lot like Christmas!

Many of you saw flurries Friday night.  But Christmas has been at our house all week.  Our schedule is a little different for a couple of reasons.  My mom owns her own gift shop in Cayuga, IN.  The Gingerbread Shed.  The second weekend on November is always her Christmas Open House so for three days we sit in a Christmas wonderland listening to Christmas music non stop.  If I want to make anything and contribute to this event that means I have to be making Christmas items in the fall.  This year I was behind, just didn't have the desire to get the sewing machine out.  This past week I have been in the craft room each evening with Christmas carols blarring to get me in the holiday spirit. 

In the basement, G is listening to Christmas music too.  His is a different reason, he is busy putting together this years light show.  For the past two years we have had over 30,000 LED lights synced to music!! The lights come on the night after Thanksgiving!

For several years now I have designed, sculpted, and created my own line of santa's.  I will post more about them later.  I also try to mix in something else.  Last year I made jewelry and this year I am creating prim banners that I found this fall.  I bought a Halloween version and knew it would be easy to duplicate my own.

I started with cutting triangles out of burlap.  Size will depend on the size of your stencils.

I created my own stencils.  I had bought a set and they were regular stencils with the lines that connected the center of the stencil.  I knew I wanted a more prim look.  Luckily I had just invested in a Cricut for work purposes and thought I would test it out.  The result was perfect! The only downfall is the letters with a center, like the above "e" I have to hold the center piece in as I paint around it.  I used regular craft paint and sponged it on.

I made a big mess and had newspapers laid out all over the place.  It made it easier to put the paint on a plate.  Lay out the painted pieces to dry.

To attach the triangles, sew to a piece of material.  Last year at a garage sale I found a whole bolt of homespun material that was perfect and long enough that I was able to use one piece of material instead of sewing a few pieces together.

Action pose!  Luckily I have a craft room that I can just close the door and forget about, this is not the best scenerio for trying to sew!  My santa heads are drying in the background!

The first finished product!! I am so excited.  I can't wait to see if they sell next weekend.  If making your own, you can make them say anything you want.

Three options to choose from!  They look great hanging from a mantle or over a door way.



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