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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Photography..........

I love to take pictures, but I'm SO not a photographer. This fact is really frustrating to me, as I feel I have a lot to share. I keep trying to snap shots of my home, but they always look so dark. Or, they just don't have the pro look that I feel warrants sharing. I need help!! If there's ever a kind soul that actually reads my ramblings, please offer up some advice. I guess the first would be.........read the manual! I have good intentions of doing that......someday!
Here's an example of my poor photography skills.......well worse than normal....I think I usually do better than that............I think.......
So you say, well of course it's dark.....the lights are off! I realize this. But when I'd take the shots with the lights on, they were blaring so much that I couldn't see the fixtures. And how do you take a photo of a bathroom, without seeing yourself in the mirror, while still getting a great view?! Do I need to own photoshop? Other design bloggers do it so beautifully. I think I have design blogger photo envy!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Waterskiing & Gardening...........

So these topics have nothing to do with each other, but are a big part of my day. First of all, what a great weekend. We spent the entire time at my parents home on the lake, boating and skiing. My husband is a super talented skier, and my kids seem to be picking up his skills. We started the summer with lots of tears from them, mostly because they were scared of falling. Now they're fighting over who gets to go first! And not just two skiing! They're actually barefooting! I definitely think we have a future with the Waterhawks ski club.
I'm not sure why our big boy skiers always stick their tons out! :)


My boys are already dreaming of being pros. My younger son Brooks says he wants a "bling" that says "Skier". I asked him what a bling was, and he said it's a giant gold chain that you wear around your neck. I guess there's no modesty on his part.

Here are the views we had from our Friday night outing. It's a small town lake, but the views can really be out of this world!

We ended the weekend at the Waterhawk's Ski Show Memorial for Bodee Petersen. He only passed away on Wednesday, but his brother asked that they not cancel the show. They made it a sweet tribute to that little nine-year-old boy. Such a brave family for allowing that to go on. I think the team needed that show. It's so hard when you feel helpless during such horrible tragedies. This was their way of being a part of healing. Lots of kisses blown to the sky last night. I imagine he's probably blushing...........

And now on to this mess, we call a garden.

We plant a garden every year, and as you can see, we're not master gardeners! We've tried several spots throughout our property, and finally decided this spot is the best. My husband plants, by throwing piles of seeds in, or as many plants as he can. He wised up this year with the zucchini plants, and only planted one, after last years over abundance. We had crates full at the end of our driveway with a big sign that said "FREE". There are only so many zucchini recipes out there!
The part of our garden with the viny veggies looks great. I wish I could say the same for the side with the tomatoes! Holy Cow! We have them coming out of our eyeballs. My husband is so proud of his garden. He actually makes me take a walk out to look at it every night after dinner. But I think he needs to scale back on the tomatoes next year. I wish I had a picture of my dad's garden to compare to ours. His is complete perfection. Just the right amounts of everything, and all rows stand straight. It really deserves an award! I guess ours isn't the prettiest, but it does bear fruits of my husband's labor. LOTS OF IT! After the cleaning, and catching up from the weekend that I need to do, my next job is to dig through that jungle. This is my last week before school starts, and I think I'm going to be in the kitchen freezing tomatoes and making salsas or sauces. And so, I better get busy!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Life in an instant.........

Tonight my heart it breaking. My husband and his family were long time members of a local ski team, called the Waterhawks. His family moved several years ago to Florida, and now ski for the Tampa Ski team, but we haven't been members since our oldest son was born. Life just got too busy. Our sons are getting older and learning to ski, and we recently decided it was time to join again. Today there was a tragedy at that great lake. A nine year old boy was hit and killed during what was just a fun day skiing over the noon hour. The boat driver didn't see him, and he was cut badly by the boat prop. His poor mother was on the boat when it happened. So tragic for the family, the boat driver, and all who were there to witness and help.

It freshens memories of a horrible accident my family, and my husband's family were involved in a little over two years ago. We were on a boat that exploded while anchored at a fun little island off of Tampa Bay. It was a day full of anyone's worst nightmares, that left several family members critically injured. Thankfully everyone survived, but I remember holding my son in arms, and not knowing when the helicopter landed and rushed him away, if that would be the last time I'd see him alive. Knowing that mom got to hold her son in her arms as he slipped away from her, just kills me. It makes me realize how very lucky I am. My son recovered, and is a normal, very active 10-year-old. He drives me crazy at times, but I'm so thankful that he's here to drive me crazy. I need to remember that.........

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What's for dinner?!

I love to cook. Probably because I love to eat. And I love collecting cookbooks. My favorites are by far my church cookbooks. I grew up going to a small country church in Nashua, IA. The dust would fly as we'd travel those gravel roads each Sunday morning. I have fond memories of Sunday morning sweets after church, Bible School meals, wedding showers, and chicken suppers. The ladies in that church knew how to cook for their farm families, and every so often, would incorporate what they loved into a little cookbook. When I need to take something for a social event, I often turn to that book.......which has seen better days. The pages are curling, they're crusted with dried flour,(The "Cookies and Bars" pages have gotten the most use!), and at some point, one of my kids decided to use it as a coloring book. Still, it's always close at hand!

Besides my church cookbooks, I also love books that exude that same old fashioned goodness. The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen, and Home Cooking With Trisha Yearwood, are two that I use often. Yesterday I was at our local library and was so excited to see they had The Pioneer Women Cooks. I've wanted to purchase it, but hadn't yet, so am thrilled that I can read it first. I STILL need to buy it. Such a neat woman, with down to earth values, and an exciting life. Hope to get my work done this morning, so I can sit on my screened porch this afternoon, with a glass of tea, and savor each page.

Sadly, my love of food has left me 10 pounds heavier,(for the last few years!), so I'm currently dieting! Blah! Back to my egg white in the whole wheat pita this morning. But as the saying goes, "Everything in Moderation".....I will allow myself an occasional indulgence from one of my favorite books!

This is my Grandma Vetter. Her recipe for Disappearing Marshmallow Brownies brings me back to my childhood on their wonderful family farm!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Back from Eagle Lake Lodge!

There's nothing like a good old fashioned family vacation. My family, along with my parents, spent all of last week at a wonderful fishing lodge in Fifty Lakes, MN, called Eagle Lake Lodge. The cabins aren't fancy, but they make you feel like you're back in time. The views are spectacular. There are no t.v.'s, no computers, and no video games. We fish, swim, paddle boat, kayak, sit around a campfire, watch the kids build sand castles on the beach, and in the evenings, the adults meet in the manager's garage to talk about their "catch" of the day, while the kids play hide-and-go-seek in the dark. It's so relaxing, and just plain fun. This was our second year, and we plan to make it a yearly tradition!

Now to the fun of catching up on my favorite blogs. I already see I missed out on some great posts last week from the Lettered Cottage! They featured Camp Wandawega. It was everything I love, and love to collect. I stayed up late last night drooling over each picture. My husband and I actually dream of running a lodge someday. In the meantime, I hope we can sneak a weekend away to Wisconsin and check out Wandawega!

Friday, August 5, 2011

For the love of etsy!

I love etsy. My brother introduced me to it, and I knew instantly, it was right up my alley. A few years ago, I talked my mom into renting a space with me at a local antiques and gift shop. We had a tiny wall space that we paid $40 a month for. On top of that fee, the owner got 13% of our sales. We completely filled that space with handmade items, and lots of thrift shop finds.

It was fun, and we loved the girls we worked with there, but after all the fees, we didn't exactly make much of a profit. We also had to fill our spot, according to the seasons, which meant I wasn't always selling the things I had a passion for. I was making things that would sell in that market. I love designing folk art pieces, signs with lake, cabin, or beach themes, and collecting things to sell that are cottage or farmhouse related. With etsy, I'm able to sell what I love, which means my heart is always into it. The selling fees are low, so I'm actually making a little money. Although, I'm not really in it for the money. It's more of a great hobby. And, the other talented artists I've discovered there are amazing. My favorites grow by the day! :)
Some examples of other wonderful shops include:
BarnOwlPrimitives, OldNewAgain, OldTimePickers, Indigotwin, ChickdeePrimitives.....
Just to name a few. To see more of my favorite shops and favorite items, check out my etsy shop. Just click on my link on the top of my blog page. :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm a design blog junkie!

I have so much to do today, but instead, what am I doing?!? Oohing and ahhing over my favorite blog sites. One of my MOST FAVORITES is The Lettered Cottage. From the minute I found them, I couldn't believe how much my design tastes mirror theirs. Almost eerily. The designs through HGTV, Pottery Barn, etc... that I'd study and drool over, were featured on their blog. The items that I scour thrift shops for, are the same things they find and feature. There's so much plain yuck on t.v., or in the world for that matter. These wonderful design blogs are just good wholesome escape to simpler times. Just love 'em!