One-Yard Wonders projects

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Summer Days, Summer Fun

Hey everyone! Summer is underway and we are having one of the best summers in memory! I can't tell you how much I love living in a small town! We've experienced so many great things already -- walking to the farmers market on Tuesday night, walking to the library, walking to downtown shops and restaurants, shopping a great local stores, dropping in on Shawn's parents, etc. It's really, really great. We love it.

Shawn and I have been working steadily on the house. Due to insurance, we had to find a contractor to quickly do some exterior work in order to get the house insured... We found a great guy though and he reshingled the front porch, took down two chimneys and patched up the roof. We'll have him back in a couple weeks to check out the central beam in the basement. He showed me some photos of his landscaping business -- wish I could hire him to do that! Our new yard is a bit of a mess... Lots of weeds, really hard ground, places with rocks and black plastic... Ugh, lots of work ahead. We tried to mow it yesterday, but the darn mower isn't working. So Shawn tried to fix that today but couldn't figure out the problem.

What else.... My sister and niece are coming to spend a day with me and Violet next weekend -- looking forward to that! My niece will be quite envious of my side of the hobby room. I spent several afternoons unpacking my fabrics and organizing them on shelves. It was so nice to be reunited with them!

The only downside this summer has been my work schedule -- totally busy and chaotic. I have two business trips coming up in the next three weeks. So far the commute to Des Moines hasn't been too bad. I enjoy the quiet time with my thoughts, but I miss being home to start supper, pick Vi up from daycare and run home for lunch.

No house photos to show you, but here are some fun pics from the 4th of July on the farm:

And here are a couple pics from our local library. The kids and I like to walk up there after supper. It's open until 8! 

Have a great week ahead, friends!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cherry Pickin' and Jam Makin' Time!

Tonight I did something that I have wanted to do for the last five years -- I made jam!! And I had three helpers, and it got a little hectic at times, but no one was hurt in the making of the jam and the kitchen is already cleaned up!

Let me take you on a photo essay of our afternoon:

2 p.m. Arrive at my sister's house to pick cherries and blueberries. It was pretty hot and sunny, but I had the boys with me and they were very willing helpers. Here's "the flying squirrel" (as my mother calls Bo) up in the tree picking cherries. 

He was up there for about a half hour and filled his bucket!

Poor Mazy was in the hottest part of the yard -- no shade at all. We found a little umbrella in my sister's garage but he had trouble holding it and picking at the same time. 

3 p.m. Mazy filled his bucket as well, and then we were sweating like crazy and ready to cool off. 

4 p.m. Arrived back in Nevada, picked up Violet (who was NOT happy, not happy at all, that we had picked her beloved blueberries without her.) We ended up with quite a bit of fruit. We refrigerated the blueberries, but I spent an hour pitting the cherries. We had just over eight cups of them. 

6 p.m. After looking up a few recipes and deciding that I could make jam, we got to work. We put all the cherries into a pot and added sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice. And then Bo carefully helped me stir it for about 40 minutes until it hit 220 degrees. 

Violet took this picture.... Actually she took about 45 pictures that look exactly like this -- her finger on the left, Bo's butt on the right. 

7:30 p.m. Success! It was a lot of work for three small jars of jam, but who cares, don't they look great! The kids were so excited. They want to make jam and sell it at the Nevada farmers market. I love that idea! We started brainstorming names for our stand. Let's see, Mazy suggested "Keesia's Kitchen -- Jams, Pies and More." Bo said: "Mom's Best Jam Since the Stone Age." And Violet's was "Mommy's Best Pie Kitchen." She also suggested one with "naked" in it and thought it was the most hilarious name ever. That girl....

So that was Wednesday afternoon and evening at our house. It was pretty awesome. Shawn was in Des Moines for his board game night and missed all the fun. But, he is the one who bought me a canning kit for a Christmas gift many years ago, along with the awesome pieces of cloth to decorate the lids with! Thanks, Shawn! I love living in a small town -- we are already embracing a slower, less complicated way of life. We didn't have the TV on that entire time. The kids were all out in the kitchen with me. We had fun. We made supper together. We ate at the table together. It was really great. Life is good. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day and New House Photos!

Hi everybody! First, Happy Father's Day! We had a great day celebrating all the wonderful fathers in our lives. Love you Kevy! And I'm so glad I got to spend part of the day with my dad and my father-in-law.

Bright and early this morning, the entire family walked from our amazing new house over to Main Street where we enjoyed breakfast with Shawn's parents, Dwayne and Belinda, and my sister-in-law Denise and her family. Snack Time is a great local restaurant with a friendly staff and good food -- when you're in Nevada visiting me, you should check it out!

After breakfast and our walk back home, we spent several hours unpacking and organizing (that's the story of our life right now, it's exhausting....) and got the house pretty darn presentable. Then at 2, it was off to the boys flag football games in Ankeny. My parents joined us there and then came back to Nevada for supper at our house. I grilled a pretty amazing supper -- pork loin on the grill, potatoes and onions on the grill, vegetable shish kebabs (on the grill), a cold sweet corn/tomato side salad and deviled eggs. Yum yum yum!

Have I told you lately how much we love our grill? I have wanted one for so many years, and now I have a grill and an amazing deck for grilling and it just makes me so happy! Anyway, we even grilled peaches soaked in rum to go with our angel food cake and fresh strawberries and blueberries for dessert.

After supper, the kids and Shawn all took showers and then came down for dessert and a Father's Day 2016 photo:

OK, now, for the big news. Yesterday we finished moving EVERYTHING out of the old house and up to the new house! You might be thinking, "Hey Keesia, didn't you do that two weeks ago?" Nope, we sure didn't. It seems like we have been moving vanloads, truckloads and even a 20-foot U-Haul Truck full of junk to this house for our entire lives... But yesterday, thanks to Denise (the amazing sister-in-law mentioned above) and her two mighty sons, the old house is officially empty! Please don't look in our garage at the large trailer filled to the brim with boxes... Or at the other side of the garage, filled to the brim with empty boxes and junk we're getting rid of.... We won't be parking in the garage for awhile. But who cares, it's nice weather and we don't need it. :)

Last week I promised to share some photos of the house. After much unloading, organizing and decorating, I finally have some photos of the kitchen to share. It's obviously a work in progress, but it's quickly become my favorite room in the house.

This is easily my favorite part of the kitchen -- look at all the awesome red, white, turquoise, enamel and vintage items! My mom bought me a lot of it, including that awesome red clock. My aunt Sherie bought me a lot of the rest, including giving me the white/red chicken pot holder. I think it came from my grandpa's aunt. I LOVE having family heirlooms to enjoy. Oh, and did you see my new garbage can! I just realized I need to take the big sticker off... 

This section isn't finished yet, but I wanted to point out the enamel tray holding six awesome drinking glasses with straws that my mother-in-law bought me for a housewarming gift, and the green vaseline glasses behind the rooster windvane that my Aunt Cindy was so very kind to pass out to all of us. She inherited it from Grandma Betty, and after Grandpa Keith's recent death, Cindy let everyone pick some pieces from her collection to take home. Thank you, Cindy -- I love them and think of you and Grandma every time I see them. And thank you to my mom, who brought me a couple more pieces from the collection. My heirlooms! 

This is the window over my kitchen sink. The curtain is an embroidered apron that my Aunt Sherie gave me, again, I believe it was from my Great Great Aunt Iva. It's beautiful and I think it will work great as a curtain.

Not much to see here, but above the cupboards you can see some of my vintage tin and enamelware collection. Now that I have space, I can add a few more pieces to finish it!

That's all you get to see today. Give me time to get more boxes unpacked and I'll show you some more rooms. Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

I'm Tired, But Happy

Well hey everybody! Greetings from Nevada. We've been in our new house for a full week, and it's so awesome! I'm sorry I don't have any photos to share today -- I've hardly taken any since we've moved in. But I promise I'll get some this week!

Whew, I don't even know where to begin. Well, first I should acknowledge that amidst all this fun and excitement, we unfortunately had a death in the family. My Grandpa Keith passed away late Tuesday night, after fighting Stage 4 prostate cancer. His visitation will be tomorrow in Panora, Iowa, with the funeral on Monday morning. His eight grandchildren will be the pall bearers. He was 87 years old. Many in our family are saddened by this news. I've told several people that he always seemed invincible to me -- working hard up until the final months of his life, when he was finally slowed down by the cancer. As a child, I spent many days and nights at his and Grandma Betty's farm. I think that's what I am saddest about -- that part of my life is now gone. The farmhouse will likely be torn down. Maybe it will be rebuilt, but it will no longer be my grandparent's farm. Last Sunday, I sat on the deck watching the sunset for the final time. I'd gone to the farm with my sister and our daughters to say goodbye to him. The girls played in the yard, just like we did when we were little. We drank wine and chatted late into the night with my aunt and cousin from Mississippi. I don't think any of us wanted that night to end because we knew it would be the last time we'd be there together. Violet and I drove back to Nevada, arriving just before midnight. And that was the end of an era...

I've spent the last week working from home a couple of days and working on the house. Violet started her new daycare on Wednesday morning, and seems to be adjusting well to it. The boys were home all week with me. They've been pretty good help -- carrying lots of boxes up and down stairs, sorting through totes of their old toys, helping with meals, and watering my plants every evening. We've made good progress, but there's still a long way to go. Unfortunately, we still have a lot of crap in our old house. Good ol' Shawn borrowed a truck and brought a load back today, including the head board to our bed! Our bedroom is in the worst shape of any room.... Doesn't that figure? I have great ideas for it, but I just haven't had the time to work on it yet. Plus, it has two big walk-in closets in it, but like every closet in the house, they need a lot of work to make them functional. Meanwhile, the kids all have their own rooms and we've even hung pictures in all of them! They're the most decorated, organized rooms in the house. And the kids love them!

We are also in desperate need of shades and curtains. Not a single window in the house had them and with these long days and late sunsets, it's impossible to get Violet to bed at a decent time. And I need closet organizers. And a new ceiling fan for the living room. And more pots for my tomato and pepper plants. And weed spray for all the thistles growing in the yard. And patio furniture for the deck. And desks and shelves for the Ultimate Hobby Room that Shawn and I will share. And another couch for the living room. And....  :)

Well, I guess I'll end here. I'm tired just thinking about it. Hope you all have had a good week, and come back soon for a tour of the new house! It is AWESOME!!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Night Before Our New House

I still can't believe this is happening. Tomorrow we are buying a new house and moving to a new town and starting a new life for our family!!! Holy cow. I have dreamed about this day for years, and it's just a few hours away.

These past couple of months have been crazy -- between getting ready for the move and an insanely busy schedule at work, I am really looking forward to the next five days! Packing is going to seem like a breeze compared to all the late night work I've been doing!

But speaking of work, this morning I received an email from the president of our company, asking me to drop by his office. In the two and a half years I've worked at this company, he's never asked me to report to his office. So clearly, I assumed the worst and figured I was in trouble. So I told him I'd be right up and quickly climbed the stairs to his office. I was about to sit down when he handed me something and said, "Why don't you put that in your pocket." I looked down and he was giving me two $100 bills! Then he told me it was a bonus for all the hard work I've been doing and that it was on the recommendation of one of my bosses. Whoohooo! Isn't that awesome?! I really appreciate working for a company that acknowledges hard work and going above and beyond. Hooray for my company! And hooray for me! Now I have some spending money to buy new stuff for the house! I'm thinking things for the yard -- new plants, maybe some yard art, that kind of thing. I'll definitely spend the money locally to support our new community.

Well, tomorrow is not only closing day on the new house, but also the last day for Violet at her daycare. She's been at Lil Scholars since she was 3 months old. They took on Bo when he was 2, after he'd been booted out of two daycares. The director and assistant director are amazing women. So many of the teachers have been amazing. I've always felt so confident and trusting of the entire staff. It's going to be hard to say goodbye after more than 4 years with them. Tonight I ordered a bunch of pizzas and pop for the staff's lunch tomorrow -- just a little thank you for all their hard work, patience and love for all my children. Thanks Lil Scholars! We'll miss you!! 

Whew, I guess that's about it. I think I should get to bed. The next five days are going to be crazy!!! I'll write again once our Internet is hooked up and I unpack my computer and find a place to sit. Until then, have a great week everybody!