Thursday, November 29, 2012

RIP The Best Farm Dog A Family Could Ask For

I feel like farmers don't like to admit how attached they get to their farm dogs - after all  they're suppose to just be helpers on the farm, right?  But like probably your dogs at home, they become members of the family.  Yesterday morning, my family felt the loss of our dog, Dolly Freckles Krumm.

Dolly September 2008
Dolly passed away yesterday morning at the age of 18 and a few months - which I figured out to be probably about 129 years old in dog years.

Dolly and I November 2003
Seventeen years ago my family adopted Dolly, as she was a rescue dog and spent the first year of her life starved with no shelter and chained up.  Technically Dolly was my youngest sister's dog, but she became the family's dog at the same time.

Dolly and my youngest sister August 1995
Dolly and my youngest sister November 2009
Over the last day my whole family has been thinking of many memories we all have of Dolly and we all figure she just must have lived for so long because of all the love she gave us and we gave her.

Dolly playing on top of a snow drift January 2001
Eighteen years is an unbelievable amount of time for any dog to live, but especially one whose first year of life was so horrible.  Think about that, eighteen years old.  That's like you getting a puppy when your child is first born and for them living through their senior year in high school!  Or for me, it was the summer after 3rd grade through me getting married and having a little boy who loved Dolly as much as I did.

Dolly sleeping on Christmas Day (inside the house!) December 2009
(I guess you could say we all got a little soft and let her in the house the older she got...)
LP petting Dolly in one of her favorite sleeping spots November 2011
I wanted to conclude with a poem my youngest sister wrote yesterday in memory of Dolly:

You were there for me since I was eight,
When I first met you I knew it was fate.
A second life I was determined to give you,
And through these 18 years both of us grew.
From playing sports, hunting and playing dress-up,
You were always such an amazing pup!
Such great memories with you I can't pick just one,
We always had so much fun!
You will always be close and dear to my heart,
I'll never truly feel like we are apart.
I'll meet you again someday in heaven,
You can wait for me chasing bunnies and eating bacon.
I'm very sad to see you go but know life must come to an end, 
Your time here on earth you were my best friend.

Dolly with my sisters and I on the trampoline Summer 1996
Dolly with my sisters and I on Christmas Day 2004
Dolly and all the "kids" at Christmas 2007
My youngest sister with Dolly and
me with our dog Bailey when she was a puppy May 2008
My Mom, Sisters and I with Dolly November 2009
My youngest sister with Dolly and her other dog Lobo May 2012

Blog Photos Are Back!

Some of you may have noticed that my last blog post had no photos on it.  Well this was due to me running out of free photo space on my blog.  (I didn't even know there was photo limit space for a blog!)  Well I decided I wasn't going to take the easy way out and just buy extra photo space - I was going to find a way to continue sharing photos for free!  So I contacted some social media friends and received a link to this great website about using photo sharing sites to embed photos in your blog from Judi Graff.  Thank you Judi for all your help!  I now am using Photobucket and once again have photos for my blog once again!

Be sure to check out my updated Thanksgiving Weekend Wrap-up post now with photos!  Photos just help tell the story so much more.  Here is one of my favorite photos from the post.  It is of My Farmer blowing up a pumpkin with tannerite in it.  I was happy I caught the photo just at the right time and was able to get an action shot of the pumpkin blowing up!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend Wrap-up

What a Thanksgiving holiday weekend!  We battled through the flu, had a great time with lots of family and I'm over 50% done with my Christmas shopping!

Our first big Thanksgiving celebration was on Thanksgiving Day at my in-laws.  This is where we had the big Thanksgiving Dinner with not only My Farmer's family but part of my family too.  Thanksgiving Dinner included lots of great food, great times talking with family and blowing up pumpkins with tannerite.

My sister-in-law and mother-in-law with all the great food
before people started eating it (well at least most of it!)

LP with his giant plate of food at Thanksgiving Dinner
Thanksgiving Dinner - Post Full Stomachs
Catching up with family - My Farmer talking with one of his Uncles
My Farmer blowing up a pumpkin with tannerite in it
Can't forget the dessert!
Following the big Thanksgiving Dinner, the rest of my family came up to our house and my Mom, sisters and I got busy finalizing our Black Friday shopping lists and plan of attack for the night/morning/day.

My side of the family Thanksgiving night
Nine years ago we started Black Friday shopping because of a college writing assignment, I was suppose to experience something new and write about it!  This year was a new record for us, we Black Friday shopped from 8:30pm to 2pm - that is 17.5 hours!  We were all exhausted by the end of the day but we just have so much fun Black Friday shopping!  Also, another fun note about Black Friday this year - we had snow flurries!  No snow stuck to the ground but it was fun driving from store to store listening to Christmas music and watching the snow fall from the sky!

Me in my TGIBF shirt
Thank God It's Black Friday!
Waiting in line at our first store of the night - Target
Got all of our stuff and Wal-Mart, plus "ordinary" items too
(I came home with some paper plates...)
This little boy was tired at Kohl's
(His family was going home after they checked out thankfully)
End of the car ride was a tight fit for those in the back seat
Couldn't see out the back end of the car by the end of the day!
Then on Saturday most of our family left, with the exception of one of my sisters who ended up getting the flu so she stayed at our house, since we had already had the bug make a run through our family.  I guess you could say we quarantined her at our place.  On Saturday, I also made a quick trip into our county seat to do a little bit of shopping for Small Business Saturday.

And then yesterday ended a long but fun weekend with afternoon naps for the whole household after church and my first glass of egg nog of the season!  Plus, I started early on my Cyber Monday shopping!

Mmmm Egg Nog!
We feel very blessed this Thanksgiving and hope you all had a great Thanksgiving too.  What was your favorite part of the Thanksgiving weekend this year?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Getting Organized for the Holidays - Thanksgiving Week!

It is Thanksgiving Week and I'm already getting excited for all the good food and time with family!  Last week I told you what I was doing to get organized early for Thanksgiving.  Here is what I'm working on this week so I have a no-stress Thanksgiving Week:

  • Make and bake ahead for Thanksgiving Day dinner, that way you don't have to do it all on Thanksgiving morning.
  • Give the house a final clean sweep and lay things out for guests.
  • Decide what gifts you're giving others for Christmas
  • Shop Black Friday - go through all advertisements and make plan for shopping
  • Remember to give thanks!
Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Getting Organized for the Holidays - 1 Week Til Thanksgiving!

Can you believe that it is just one week til Thanksgiving?  It is hard to believe it is November, let alone so close to Thanksgiving for me.  I know the holidays can sometimes be stressful.  So to decrease stress, I try to be as organized as possible and stay ahead of the curve getting things done.  I figured everyone can use some help getting organized for the holidays, so I figured I'd share some "tasks" I'm working on with all of you.

My Family on Thanksgiving Day 2011
1 Week Til Thanksgiving:
  • Finalize Thanksgiving Menu (I'm bringing creamed cauliflower, pecan pie, pumpkin brownies, pickled herring and shrimp dip to Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws.  I've also finalized what we will be eating Thanksgiving night through the weekend.)
  • Buy Thanksgiving Groceries (I bought mine yesterday so I can stay out of the grocery store all next week!)
  • Finalize Travel during the Holidays (This past week I finalized all our holiday gatherings and travel with our family.  It feels really good to have this done and organized.  Also confirm which family members will be visiting with you during the holidays and get all arrivals and departures on your calendar.)
  • Gift Lists (Finalize your family member's wish lists to send to other family members.  Also start making a gift budget and gift buying list.)
  • Peek at Black Friday sales (I'm personally a big-time Black Friday shopper.  Several stores' Black Friday advertisements are already out for public view.  Take a sneak peak to give you ideas for yourself and others.)
Now the thing for me that takes the most time and energy is Gift Lists.  What are you asking for Christmas this year?  I'm always looking for more ideas for myself, My Farmer and LP.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

This year we bought a tile plow, so My Farmer and Father-in-Law have been busy putting in tile the last couple of weeks.  We finished putting on anhydrous over the weekend, so now the last and only thing on the post-harvest to do list before the ground freezes is to install tile.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wine Tasting Bridal Shower

Those that know me know I love to entertain and be the "hostess with the mostess."  Well, this past weekend I had a great time hosting a bridal shower for my sister-in-law and several of her friends!

When I first started planning the shower I decided I was going to have the shower in/near Des Moines (about 100 miles away from home for me) because that is where my sister-in-law and the majority of her friends live.  Second, I decided I wanted to do something fun and different.  My first initial thought was to have it at a winery, but the wineries in the area I checked either were already booked, or didn't do Saturday afternoon events.  So I found a great substitute, WineStyles in Johnston.  WineStyles is a wine boutique and retailer that also has an area for private parties and wine tastings.  It was a very fun and casual atmosphere to have the bridal shower.

So once I got the the who, when and where taken care of the fun part of "what" was left to do.  The first "what" to take care of was what activities or games would we be doing.  Of course one of the activities would be wine tasting.  WineStyles offered a wine tasting to the group of six wines, three red and three white.  To go along with the wine tasting and "Raise Your Glass" theme, I also had all the girls write words of advice, sayings, quotes, etc. on old wine corks, that were then put in a candle arrangement for the bride to then take home.  It was fun, simple, and it was a great way of everyone introducing themselves to the rest of the group at the beginning of the party.

The girls during the wine tasting
If you look closely on the table, you can see the candle/cork centerpiece
The next "what" to take care of was food (which just might have been my favorite part to take care of...)  I was traveling almost two hours to the shower so all of the food I brought had to be "cold."  So I decided to have a cheese tray from WineStyles (I feel like a cheese tray is mandatory, right?) and I made a cheese ball, BLT rolls, lemon cake balls and oreo balls to go with.  This was the perfect amout of savory and sweet to go along with the wine.

The final "what" to take care of was a gift for the bride.  I figured I'd go with the theme so I got a reusable four-bottle wine bag to put all the gifts in (you can get these at Wal-Mart for $1!).  Since there were four slots, I figured I'd better fill eat of those spots.  So I got her a wine slushy mix, LOVE wine charms, a certificate for her favorite bottle of wine from the tasting, and I made a set of chalkboard wine glasses.  The first couple of items I was able to get at a couple local shops in Hampton.  And as for the chalkboard wine glasses, I recommend doing them a week in advance to make sure they are fully set and I personally did three coats on each glass before I was satisfied.

I had a great time hosting the shower and now I'm gearing up for the bachelorette party!  I already have most of the details done and this week I hope to get the official invites out for it.  I'm having way too much fun being the matron of honor I think!

The group after the wine tasting!
(I didn't have to worry about decorations because
there were fun "backgrounds" everywhere you turned.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting is a Privilege

Today is Election Day and this morning I'm proud to say I voted!

I've been seeing a lot of GOTV (Get Out The Vote) articles, facebook statuses, tweets, etc.  This is great!  I hope everyone does vote in this election.  But one misconception I keep on seeing is that voting is a right.  Actually voting is a privilege.

By definition a right is something that can not be lost or taken away.  It is inherent.  A privilege is something that can be revoked due to special circumstances.  It is conditional.  There are few simple rules that you must follow to vote in the United States:

  1. You must be an United States citizen.
  2. You must be 18 years old.
  3. You must register to vote by the specified deadline.
  4. You must not be a felon as stated by your state's felon voting laws.

Warning - the rest of this might get a little "random"...

Our founding fathers decided on these rules and this system of voting as one way of "checks and balances."  Our troops over the years have fought for us to keep this freedom of choice.  Having choices is what makes the United States unique and special.

So maybe in summary, I should just wrap up by saying - go out and vote!  Vote for those that will allow you to keep your freedom of choice and not limit or reduce your ability to choose.

And one quick side note, as a resident of the first in the nation state which is also a swing state - I'm so excited for no more political ads, phone calls, mail, etc. after tonight!  I'm looking forward to seeing election coverage tonight and hope that tomorrow when the results are finalized, that everyone can work together.  That is the only way we will make progress.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

First Trick-or-Treating in the Books!

I'm happy to report that yesterday LP went trick-or-treating for the first time!  

Halloween 2012
LP the skeleton
Last year he was only eight months old so we didn't go trick-or-treating because well lets face it, he wasn't walking or eating candy...

Halloween 2011
LP the pumpkin
Anyways we had a great time last night!  It took a house or two for him to figure out that all he had to do was smile and people would give him candy to put in his bucket.  After each new piece of candy he just had the biggest smile.  While we did have a lot of fun, My Farmer and I did learn a couple things as first time parents of a trick-or-treater:

  1. Make sure your trick-or-treater gets a nice long nap the afternoon before "the night."  Otherwise your little one will just crash once all the excitement of trick-or-treating is over.  (I'm afraid LP didn't have that great of a nap yesterday and once we stopped trick-or-treating he was done for the rest of the night.)
  2. Make sure your trick-or-treater gets to eat their first piece of candy that night.  Otherwise they'll try to eat the candy through the wrapper in the car...
  3. Do not go to a sit down restaurant to eat supper following trick-or-treating.  Your trick-or-treater will not want to sit down after so much fun.  Instead pick up a pizza.  (I'm afraid we tried the sit down restaurant and ended up packing up our food and eating at home.  Next year I told My Farmer we'd start the tradition of picking up a pizza and bringing it over to My Farmer's parent's house - that way they'd actually be able to see LP in his costume!  We had to visit Grandma and Grandpa this morning because it just wasn't able to happen last night...)
So here's to a great second Halloween and first trick-or-treating for our family!  Hope you all had a spooktacular night!

I'd say LP did pretty good for a first time trick-or-treater!