Monday, August 22, 2011

Frogs... two specimens

 Specimen #1:

For my birthday this year, I asked Cam to make me some frogs.  He was a little perplexed.  But, when I showed him a picture of these,  he thought he could fix me right up.  A circular piece of chicken wire and *voila*! I had a great way to keep my flowers from falling to the sides of the jars.  I created this beautiful bouquet from flowers I picked around the farm and Old Glory.  It's interesting to me the way flowers come out in limited colors.  That week, every flower I saw was either purple, yellow, or white.  But, I thought it made for a really nice display.  

Specimen #2:

 Tonight Cam found a couple frogs swimming around in the water formerly belonging to pigs.  He called the girls out to catch them.  They then proceeded to put the in the kiddie pool, push them down the slide, and generally cause the frogs much anxiety.  Don't worry PETA, these critters are safely back in a puddle.
 I love how curious the girls are and how excited to touch, look at, and interact with critters.  That is totally their daddy's influence.  Don't misunderstand me, Cam has brought out my curiosity, too.  But, the man knows a ton about wildlife.  The girls are so lucky to have such a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips.  He is constantly bringing home one critter or another.  Not only that, but he will know it's name, habitat, lifespan, mating habits, often the genus and species, etc., etc.  My mother-in-law tried her best to be patient with her son growing up, but I think one of the secret (or maybe not so secret) reasons for having a farm, is being able to find and bring home a menagerie of reptiles, amphibians, and all things four-legged.  Now that he has girls, you never know what he might come home with.  In case your wondering, these were green frogs we had the pleasure of meeting today. 

A Beautiful Wedding


Our buddy, "Uncle" Ross, got married last weekend!  We drove up to Northern Indiana to celebrate with him and be part of the festivities.  He asked the girls to be flower girls and they were tickled pink.  Ross asked Cameron and me to sing a song during the ceremony, too.  We were thrilled.  We decided to make it a weekend vacation and stay a couple nights at a hotel near Fort Wayne complete with a pool and hot tub.  

 The girls could not get in enough swim time.  We had such a good time splashing around in the mostly empty pool.  The girls hopped back and forth between the hot tub and the pool, impervious to the temperature change.  Lila showed off by doing the back stroke and swimming under water, while Maggie jumped in again and again.  

There was much debate about these flower girl dresses. The girls (translation: Lila) got to choose.  The really cute, inexpensive Target one the bride sent a link to was "blech" according to Lila.  After scouring pages and pages of online wares, Lila picked out a rather hideous one"didn't come in her size".  Nana came to the rescue and suggested a brick and mortar shopping trip.  As soon as Lila saw this one, she knew it was the one.  When I showed it to Maggie for the first time she said, "Oh! I Lub it!" The looked beautiful for the big day.

 Nana and Opa were also invited to the wedding and drove up.  It's always so nice to have extra hands to keep the girls happy and Cam and me sane.  The first thing Maggie said when she saw Opa was, "Opa! You pack your swim trunks!?"
Apparently, Maggie has learned to wink.  She and Opa played piano before the ceremony to keep everyone calm.  The weekend, despite being busy and having activities during naptime, went super well.  We made sure the girls were fed regularly, which helped.  I also drew a quick picture schedule for Lila on the wedding day.  It seemed to help, as well.  We had a lot of fun celebrating with this special couple and their awesome families.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


 Here are some recent pics of Lila's pup Bluebird.  He is well-loved and growing well.  He is a good pup and is so sweet with Lila and Maggie.  Lila got Blue for her birthday as a tiny puppy.  She was so excited. 

She has done a good job taking care of him.  He sleeps in her room every night. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mollukah 2011!

Merry Mollukah 2011!  It has been quite a lovely celebration so far this month.  We had the annual Mollukah pitch-in last weekend and it was loads of fun.  We almost got blown away by the storm that caused power outages and lots of damage.  It blew through Corydon about 30 minutes before the party.  Some of the guests were en route and had to wait it out in gas stations or at home.  But, it was a lovely crowd and a lovely party despite the rain and wind that tried to thwart our merry-making.
 I thought the spread was particularly nice this year with fruit salad, meat thingies (or Hanky Pankies), guacamole (sans cilantro, thanks Rhonda!), homemade salsa, fried cheese sticks, deviled eggs, peach cobbler, homemade ice cream... oh my, I wish I could go back and eat it all again!

My friend Melissa brought her sweet little gal, Cece and I just could not get enough of her bright blue eyes!

My big birthday gift this year was a fancy-butt camera.  I've been drooling over my sister-in-law's for quite some time.  I finally decided with the blog, our websites for the farm (in the works) and business, and just general living, I just *needed* one.  Ha ha.  So, here is Renata using her fancy-butt camera to take a picture of me taking a picture of her using my fancy-butt camera.  That's confusing, but I think you get the point.  So, look forward to some awesome (fingers crossed) pictures around here!  Once I get the hang of it!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Never underestimate the power of...

As a mom, I've learned a couple things in the past four plus years.  Let's hope so, anyway!  I've been mentally writing this blog for awhile now.  I wanted to document some of my successful strategies as a parent that sometimes I forget in the moments, days, weeks, and months that I really need them.  So, here goes:

Never underestimate the power of...
  • a hug. In the midst of tantrums big and small, sometimes all your kiddo needs is some tender-loving care. I know sometimes I find it hard to see around my own frustration at the situation to offer one, but sometimes it's just what's needed.  On the other hand, it may be what the parent needs more!
  • a game.  As creative a person as I think I am, I sometimes struggle with making a game out of a chore.  But, when I do, it makes a world of difference.  The chore gets done faster, with more laughs and pleasure, which makes everyone happier.
  • "Handy".  What, might you ask, is Handy?  Handy is a being created by my father-in-law for his kiddos more than 30 years ago.  Do this: hold your hand as if you are doing a sock puppet.  That is Handy.  Handy can talk, sing, jump, dance, eat, drink, tease, tickle, etc.  Why, you might ask, would this be handy to have?  Things that I would ask my girls to do might be met with a resounding "no!", but if Handy asks, wellllll... of course they will.  Drawing on the game idea, if Handy asks, it becomes a game.  I love Handy and have relied on him heavily with Maggie.  Every night she wants to "play Handy" in bed.  She has two "baby Handys" and I have two "sister" Handys.  Lila went through a similar stage where she could be easily convinced by her puppet "Racoony". 
  • a snack.  In the midst of Lila's most violent melt-downs I have discovered that all she often needs is a snack.  It's finally hitting me that the cause of most of such melt-downs is low blood sugar.  I am amazed at how her outburst is squelched just moments after getting something good to eat.
  • incentives.  I suppose some might call this bribery, but if it keeps panties from being peed in, I'm all for it!  I often use this when one child is doing the right thing.  I will say "gosh, Lila, thanks for bringing your plate to the counter just like I asked! Have a chocolate chip!"  Boy, the other child tends to hop to.  These tiny tokens can make a world of difference!  Mutiny threatened while loading the car?  "Don't you want your m&m?"
  • a positive attitude.  How much of our children's attitudes is directly linked to our attitudes?  Um... like a lot.  When I am conscience about pointing out the good things my kids are doing, smiling a lot, and trying hard to have a good time, 9 times out of 10, they pick up on that and mimic it. 
  • a change.  Last year, picking out clothes and getting dressed for Lila was a fight every morning.  I kept expecting something to change and then realized I was living the definition of insanity: doing the same thing and expecting different results.  We started picking out clothes the night before and for some reason, it made all the difference in the world!  It was like magic! In the same vein, however, Lila often resists change, so you have to be careful.  
  • a change of scenery.  When the girls were wee babes, sometimes there was just nothing that could calm them down.  That is, until we went outside.  There are times when kids, and parents too, just need a change in scenery!  Whether it's outside, to the library, whatever!  It improves everyone's mood in my experience. 
That's all I've got for now, I may add to this list periodically as Eureka! moments come.  What have I left off the list that works for you and your family?

    Sunday, August 7, 2011


    The girls and their daddy recently took their first caving trip.  Mind you, they have been to Squire Boone with their Nana and Opa, but this was their first time in a non-tourist cave.  Cameron has been spelunking in this cave since he was a wee thing.  Our "family-of-choice" owns the property that the mouth of the cave resides.  This cave holds special significance to their family and, by association, ours.  It's the rule that anyone wishing to marry, must bring that special someone to the cave.  Cameron and I made sure to make the trip.
    They seemed to really enjoy their first "get-dirty" cave trip.
    Obviously, this wasn't the reason for the visit with the girls. We have tried really hard to expose our girls to a variety of natural experiences.  Living on a farm makes it a lot easier, of course, but we also make use of friends, family, and public land that is available to us.  They are not afraid of snakes, bats, bugs, and other things that tend to make people squirm, but instead have a healthy respect for them.  They've gotten to see them close up, touch them, and interact with them.  They've been able to see how wonderous and varied our planet is, even just our little corner of the world.  
    On their way out, the telltale signs of caving were spotted

    We've recently started watching a new series for Pizza and a Movie Night.  When Cameron and I were young, we watched a series called "The Living Planet" which was hosted by Sir David Attenborough.  We wanted to share that series with the girls, but read reviews that the DVD transfer was lousy.  Thankfully, Attenborough made an updated documentary series called "Planet Earth" with the BBC.  It is amazing.  The girls soak it up like sponges- especially Lila.   I was worried that they might not like it, not being geared for children.  But, not at all.  They would watch the whole series back-to-back if I let them.  I whole-heartedly recommend it if you're looking for something like that.  For us, it fills the gap when we cannot take the girls to see the exotic locations and animals in the series.  It gets us past our little corner of the world, to see the big picture.  How do you share nature with your kids?

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Lunch toters

     Another great project from the One Yard Wonders book!  I made a bit of an adjustment and serged the inside instead of binding it with bias tape and put the pocket on the outside.  Oh, and I also added a handle.   
     I split the pocket to make it handy for holding a napkin and water bottle. 
     But, it wouldn't be complete without coordinating snack bags and sandwich wraps.  The real reason for the project is that my best buddy Rhonda requested sandwich wraps for her birthday.  I had made some in the past that were not too well-designed, but she used them so much, she wore them out! 
    The ones I made this time double as a place mat.  Awwww.  Please forgive the plastic fork in all this happy reusable-ness, it's for demonstration purposes only!  Bon appetit!

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    Farm Fun Day!

    I recently hosted the 2nd annual Farm Fun Day!  Last year it occurred to me that while we host a lot of events at our home, there was nothing for my mommy friends and their kiddos exclusively.  So, I decided to host a massive playdate with them at our farm.  It was a great success and everyone had a lot of fun, so it is now an annual event.  
    These "sassy girls", as they called themselves, were all dressed-up for ... a barn dance?
    This year I put out dress-ups and they were a big hit.  Who knew kids would want to put on tights in 90 degree weather?
    My mama friends Rhonda and Amy

    The littles enjoyed the pool.

    We are all watching the pigs eat our leftovers.  I guess that's what makes it "Farm" fun day.

    This year's first date was thwarted by thunderstorms and cool weather.  I hated to postpone, but it's no fun to be stuck inside our small home on "farm" fun day.  However, the rain date two weeks later was HOT!  But, it didn't keep everyone away!  The yard was shady enough that heat wasn't too oppressive until after lunch. We had a lovely pitch-in, fed the piggies our scraps and called it a day.  I'm already looking forward to next year!