Thursday, January 30, 2014

Happy Birthday Twin Boys

For anyone who knows me knows that i have 5 (almost 6) adorable nieces and nephews. Seriously, they are just the cutest, sweetest kids ever - although I am sure every aunt feels that way!

Among those are my sisters twin one year old boys..., Did I mention she is having another baby in less than a week - another boy... Can we all just give this woman a round of applause right now.

A couple of weeks ago she threw this adorable Sesame Street 1st Birthday Party. She had everything from walking big bird balloons to custom birthday shirts, and cookie monster and Elmo cookies and cakes. It was picture perfect. I showed up at the party a little bit early (okay an hour) to take pictures of everything before the rest of the guests arrived. When i walked in and saw everything I knew I had to share it all with you as well.

So here are a few (okay - more than a few) of my very favorite pictures from that special day.

Seriously - how cute is this cake

The boys and my sweet sister - they needed a little bottle pick me up before opening gifts.

Today I read something that my sister wrote to me. She said "Thank you for doing everything that you do to make our life easier."

Twins are fun, they really are. Everything from coordinating outfits and Halloween costumes to double the laughs and kisses BUT twins are also a lot of work (duh, right)... Who am I kidding, its a lot of work just to get them dressed in the morning.

I am not there day in and day out by any means, but I do spend every Saturday morning with them. I honestly think that in 52 Saturdays i maybe missed 4 or 5... Aunt of the year award, anyone - just joking!

It really all starts with my sister. We've always spent Saturday's together. Prior to the babies it was shopping trips and lazy days by the pool. We have some great memories and they were all great days, but I must say.... Our current days that are filled with peekaboo, messy pancake breakfasts, book readings and wagon rides are by far my favorite. Nothing compares.

For their birthday I got them adorable matching (go figure) swim trunks. We have a HUGE family vacation planned late this summer in Seaside, Florida and last fall my parents put in a swimming pool, so i assumed that they would get plenty of use. Along with another little cozy outfit from none other than The Gap i made the following "movie". It was super easy using iMovie on my mac book.

(Turn up your volume)

Samuel David and William Louis Krause....

Needless to say it brought tears to her eyes (and a lot of others)

Hope you are all having a great week - stayed tuned for an upcoming post about these sweet twins and their new baby brother (due anytime now)....

Monday, January 20, 2014

Laundry Room Remodel

I love many things about my job including my close commute, and the people that I work with, but all of these great holidays off (Happy Birthday Mr. King) are definitely my favorite perks to the job.

I spent the day organizing and cleaning my closets. I like to go through my clothes about every six months and bag a bunch of stuff up to send in for a donation. I love clothes and it seems that I never stop buying them, so in order to make space I must keep donating as fast as i purchase (which is a lot).... I usually wait until the Spring, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, my farmer and I are headed to Mexico in a few weeks. I used this as a great time to go through my stuff and see what else we need for our trip.

Onto my actual blog post. Our laundry room remodel.

I must confess, we actually did this last year. But today, as I was sitting at the kitchen counter sipping coffee and flipping through my planner (and Instagram) I peeked into the laundry room - then smiled.  It seems that this little room always gets cluttered with boxes, Christmas decor that needs to go to the basement, coolers, trash, etc.... It tends a to be a little catch all room of things that need to put away (AKA things that my farmer is supposed to put away)....

But today, this room was clean, the sunlight was pouring in and the best part - laundry was done. I was quickly reminded of that first little remodel that we did a year ago and I figured I would share it with you.

I have no REAL BEFORE pictures of this room. It was dark and dingy (the joys of moving in a bachelor pad) but I did have a vision for it. I envisioned exactly what it is today.

The walls were just oak paneling, so i started by painting those blue. I used the paint and primer in one (which i was a skeptic of) to hide the knots of the pine. It turned out great.

My farmer begged me to rip up the floor and lay something different. After all, I think the current flooring was from when my farmer's parents lived in this house after they first got married more that 35 years ago. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on it, I knew that it was only a matter of time until we looked into building our dream home (something we are in the early stages of designing) and this home would be torn down. Even if it ended up being a couple hundred dollars, it wasn't worth it to me. Instead I used what we had - white paint from the trim and light beige paint from, the walls.

The first step is to take a little mini palm sander and run it across the floor. Sand until it's a rough surface so that the paint can adhere to the floor. If you don't have a palm sander you can use good ole sandpaper.

Next clean the floor with hot soap and water, allow to dry then paint the whole floor with oil based paint. Allow this to dry for 24 hours.

The next morning I started painting, you can use a latex paint on this part. I decided to paint a check pattern on our floors. I am not known for my patience ( I am working on that in 2014) so my farmers help in this matter was imperative.

Once you have finished painting allow it to dry completely. I was not as patient with the drying (again...something I am working on) so I had to keep touching up places.

After your floors are how you want them to look apply 2-3 coats of a clear polyurethane. Once that is dry (i think i waited another day) you can get to the fun part and start decorating your new space, or in our case, at least get your washer and dryer out of your kitchen.

I got a simple jute rug from Pottery Barn. We walk in and out of this spot everyday, so I wanted a little rug to help with the wear. After all, my new fresh painted floors were still 35+ year linoleum.

One year later they are still looking great - and when this room is clean, the rest of my house feels clean.

I got this wire rack at Hobby Lobby last spring. It's great to keep things like hats, gloves, extension cords, koozie cups, plant food, etc, organized. I like it when everything has it's own spot.

This room gets great light, so it's where my little potted plants end up. Below is my African Violet that was looking dreary a couple weeks ago but with all of this sunshine it's really starting to bloom again.

So there it is. Our laundry room remodel - I must say it makes laundry a little more fun. Long ago are the days that laundry rooms were in the basement or a closet somewhere. As I mentioned earlier my farmer and I are in the early stages or designing our dream farmhouse and you can bet that my new laundry room/craft room will be a great one. Who knows, I may even decide to paint my floors in my new house too, well probably not, but if you need a quick and inexpensive change to a room I recommend giving this a try.

Have a great week everyone - and as always thanks for stopping by my blog. I have had over 3,000 page views, so please know that i appreciate each and every one.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fish Tacos……..Farmer Approved

Fish tacos are a favorite around here. We usually have them at least once every two weeks, sometimes once a week. Plus, in a few weeks my farmer and I will be in Mexico for 6 days-it seemed fitting that we get into the festive spirit.

Fish Tacos:

1 lime
1/2 bunch of cilantro 
1/2 red onion
2 pieces of fish (we love tilapia)
whole wheat tortillas
1 can of black beans (Low Sodium)

2 large avocados 
1 can of mexican style corn or Jalapeño corn 
1 lime
1/2 bunch of cilantro 
1/2 red onion

You really can use anything or add/substitute things. I have just recently added the corn to my recipe and when the tomatoes look good at the store, or are in season then i add a few of them. I have a lot of onions in mine because both my farmer and I love onions, but you don't have to add that many.

I mix up my guacamole first. Then my farmer and I munch on it as i finish cutting up veggies and getting things ready for dinner. It's a great way to unwind from the day and catch up on each other. Often times after dinner is done and cleaned up I hit my Macbook and blog (as I am doing now) and he hits his Macbook to look for a work truck. He has an obsession with trucks and buying new ones that I will never understand. I think it's a farmer thing.

First mash your avocados up in a medium sized bowl.

Then add your onions and cilantro and stir together.

Lastly, add the juice from 1 large lime and some salt to taste. Limes are a MUST. I actually forgot limes so my farmer ran back into town to get some from the store.

I prefer to make my own chips using whole wheat flour tortillas. I take 4 tortillas and slice them up into triangles. Spray a cookie sheet with a cooking spray, arrange the flour tortillas, spray a light coat of spray over the top and sprinkle with a little bit of salt.

Bake on 325º for 5-7 minutes. Then let them stand for another 5-7 minutes. They get flaky and crispy during that time. When they are fresh out of the oven they are too soft to be a chip.

YUMM…. They are delicious, i promise you won't buy another bag
of tortilla chips again.

Onto the fish tacos.

I use tilapia. I get it at Costco and both my farmer and I love it. It does not have a "fishy" taste at all.

Spray your pan with cooking spray, and i add a teeny tiny bot of olive oil so that my fish doesn't stick to the bottom or flake apart too soon.

As soon as my fish is all browned up i chunk it up into little pieces

Meanwhile, i chopped up 1/2 an onion and 1/2 bunch of cilantro

Then i added my fish and squeezed a lime then added a little bit of salt.

Add it all to a wheat flour tortilla and chow down - just the same way my farmer and I did this evening. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Pulled Pork Sandwiches…. Farmer Approved

Hi everyone,
I hope that you all had a great weekend. Today was so great outside, an amazing 60º. Sadly, I spent it all indoors…. I know i should have taken advantage of the non -10º weather that we had, but for those of you who know me, its playoff season.

Since I know that my farmer and I were going to spend a majority of the day in front of the t.v. I wanted something easy for dinner. I wasn't totally unproductive, I also did a little bit of cleaning (you know, on timeouts, commercials and at half time - ha-ha)

My farmer is a lover of pork, he and his family raised hogs for over 40 years. Although now him and his dad are row crop farmers only, when i ask my farmer what he would like for dinner, it's usually a pork request. While most of the time we try to eat leaner meats like chicken and fish, I always smile at his pork requests and imagine my farmer as a ten year old little boy helping his dad on their hog farm. That's usually about the time that I close my eyes and picture our little boy learning farm stuff from his dad. That makes me smile - this farm, my farmer and someday our future little farmer… That's what my dreams are all about.

This morning when I woke up I got a frozen pork roast out of the freezer and put it in the crock pot.

I put it on high (only since it was frozen) and added about 2 cups of water and some pepper. I don't add salt to pork because it's a saltier meat already.

After it cooked for about an hour or so I turned it on low and covered the top with barbecue sauce.

Once I could cut through the roast (about 2.5 hours) I took it out of the crockpot and sliced it into long strips.

Then I returned it to the crock pot on low until about 20 minutes before we were ready to eat.

Then I chopped my meat up smaller (perfect for a sandwich) and put it in a 9X13 pan. I also added a little bit of the drippings from the crock pot.

Then I covered it with aluminum foil and put it in the oven for only about 10 minutes (or until the rest of your sides are done).

I prefer to buy breads from the local supermarket bakery as opposed to your regular packaged hamburger buns. Most of the time for sandwiches i get wheat kaiser rolls, and I always toast them in the oven before serving.

Add some pickles and onions, or whatever toppings you prefer and chow down, just like my farmer and I did this evening.

Now our stomachs are full we are sitting here reflecting on the great weekend that we had and getting everything ready for the next work week. Sunday evenings with my farmer are always some of my favorite. It's just us, relaxing and a little bit of quiet time before the busyness of the next week hits us both.  The house is clean, the laundry is caught up, there are no dishes in the sink, it's just him and I, and I can't help but think that this is a pretty perfect life.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Write It Down

My farmer called me this afternoon and said that he was going to go to hang out with some of the guy's tonight. Of course I am lucky enough to have him home every night. There are some late night's during his busy times, but when he goes to work, it's behind the house in the barn. No commute, no out of town trips, he is home with me every single night. That's our life, that's our lifestyle and I could not be happier. BUT with that being said I did get a little giddy at that phone call. You know how it is, being home by yourself is just different. I sipped on some wine (let's be honest I do that when he is here too), watched those crazy reality t.v shows that he despises and cleaned the house while listening to music-really loud. Now it's only 8:30 and I already miss him, or can't wait to hear about his day, but i am going to use the remainder of my time to write about a couple of traditions that I am starting this year.

I am getting the remainder of my Christmas decorations down. I took a majority of them down right after the first of the year, but I left a couple of greenery pieces up. I am ready for my house to be back to normal.

This year my mom filled me in on a little tradition that she has been doing for years. Every year, as she goes through the house and takes her Christmas decorations down, she sits down and writes a little note and packs it away tightly in the last box. She writes about how that Christmas was, some of the highlights of the season, what the family is up to and how next Christmas might be different. Then the following year when she gets everything back out she reads about the prior year and reflects about how things have changed, or stayed the same. It's such a great thing for her to do and just another reason as to why she is the glue that holds us all together.  I imagine someday I will be that same glue for my family (who knows, maybe I am that glue for my farmer already) so I need to do things like that. I need to have great family traditions… This year, I will write it down.

My other little "write it down" tip I have comes from my sister. A few weeks ago I was in at her house on a Saturday morning playing with babies when she got out her 2012 and 2013 planners. We started flipping through the weeks of the prior years. We laughed and we cried. 2012 for her had one of the toughest moments of her life, she lost her father in law.

She was lucky that 2013 was so great to her family, it included the best moment, the birth of her twin baby boys.

We wiped each other's tears as we have been doing our entire lives. Although the tough pages are hard to look at, it's still a memory - it's still part of your life. There might always be pages where it hurts to look, but the good pages, like the picture above, that's what makes it worth it.

I hope that I have encouraged you to write down your memories, because someday you will be sitting in the living room with your daughter telling her about your own traditions or laughing/crying with your sister  about the incredible year that you have both had.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A New Year…. 2014

2013 has been pretty good to me. I feel this past year i have really found myself… Finding your place in this world, finding your purpose in this world, realizing what you are here - that's what it's all about. 

I may never find the cure to cancer or walk on the moon, but what i do here each and everyday at this farmhouse on this farm, that's what is important to me, that's my life - and let me tell you, its a pretty darn good one!!

I was up late the other night browsing Pinterest, when i came across this….

The truth is I have never been one to get caught up in the hype of New Year's resolutions… I prefer to set goals for myself for the stage in my life I am in.  When i make goals, things happen. I have always been a list maker. Grocery lists, to do lists, need lists, want lists… You name it, I jot it down. It's how I keep my sanity… I like a neat, tidy life. In a world of so many uncertain things, I guess that's a way of keeping control of what I can.

I will have a goal each day, no matter how big or small

I will eat real food - good healthy, real food (there is a roast in the crock pot now)

I will read more books

I will drink more water

I will exercise daily (or least 5 days a week)

I will shop for quality (my farmer will say I have no problem doing so)

I will decrease clutter, i hate clutter and have slim to none, but I would be more than happy to decrease my farmers clutter

I will hug those I love - every chance i get

I will find the best in others, I am so blessed to have such good people in my life, that isn't a hard thing to do.

I will show others the best in me. There is good in me, i will let that be shown more in 2014

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Christmas on the Farm

Hi everyone,
It's been entirely too long since i have posted anything… I remember just a couple of months ago when i started this blog i was so excited for it to be during the holiday season. I saw endless possibilities, but again the Holidays were here and it was busy. I always do pretty good about starting to shop early, and i try to stay organized with lists and goals for each week, it does help but i have had a lot of events packed into four short weeks. I always intended to do a blog post about each one, but i am going to show you a little bit of everything here…

No matter how busy things get, this picture right here, my beautiful family together, under this beautiful tree is really what it is all about. I may have been a crazy lady the rest of the month running around with cinnamon rolls, cookies, shopping, wrapping, and decorating, but on the afternoon of December 25th, i ate pie (lots of it) played with sweet beautiful babies, hugged my parents, laughed with my siblings and after all of that, I came home with my farmer. It was a very Merry Christmas at this farmhouse. 

Every year i dream about Christmas cards that actually have snow. I hold off in early December in hoping for a blanket of white snow. This year, that dream came true…. My sister who was about 7 months pregnant came out on bitterly cold afternoon and snapped these pictures.

Its not exactly a blanket of snow, but the dusting in the field was enough for me. I didn't really want to crop this picture so close, i wanted a little bit of the field in the background, but that particular tractor had a plow hooked up to the back.

Earlier that week, my farmer had been plowing his terraces and it hadn't yet been removed. As much as i appreciate a farmer who keeps his terraces plowed, i was more than happy to crop it from our photo.

This year Christmas has been all about tradition. I am trying to keep old family traditions alive and create new traditions for me and my farmer as well. 

I have two beautiful nieces (ages 7 and 9) and every December we get together and bake cookies, do Christmas crafts, order pizza, and drive around and look at Christmas lights. 

Baking and Decorating Cookies

We always have hot chocolate and this year i took some little ceramic spoons, melted some chocolate (almond bark), rolled the spoons around in chocolate and added sprinkles. The girls absolutely loved them. 

Taping together our Christmas Countdown Chain 

                                                            Painting ornaments 

 It was such a great day with them. They look forward to it as well and always have a good time, but every year i think to myself, i wonder how many more times they will think this is cool. For now, they jump into my arms when i walk in the door, and i will choose to believe that will never change, as i tell them all of the time, they were my first two great loves. 

When they are here i very rarely partake, i let them do their own thing and i snap photos, chat with them, prep the next project, etc…. So when i dropped them off at Sunday School the next morning i hurried on home and whipped up a batch of cookies for myself to decorate. 

If you have never tried William Sonoma's decorating pens, i highly recommend them. They are easy to use and taste amazing (white chocolate)….

It was a fun little creative thing for me to do, and my farmer enjoyed munching on them after dinner.

My farmers dad had a birthday right before Christmas. I baked him some cinnamon rolls early one morning and delivered them to him before work. It's something that i do every year for my own dad on his birthday in April. That's another one of those great traditions. 

It turns out he LOVED them. Even compared them to his own mother's that she used to make for him - apparently no one can make anything as good as Grandma Lichte. Of course i was happy that my 5:00 AM project was a hit,  and even more so to think that maybe they triggered a great childhood memory. The stories that i have heard about Grandma Lichte always make me sorry that i will never get to know her better. When i do projects on this farm or take on certain "farm wife" roles of taking my farmer things in the field, or make sure that he is taken care of, i can't help but think that she would have really been able to teach me a lot of things. I hope that we, me and my farmer, make her proud. After all, the only reason that we are here is because of the sacrifices that those before us made.  

 On Christmas Eve i got an itch to bake.. I decided to make a bunch of cinnamon rolls and deliver them to our neighbors, friends, and family. 

And…. in true fashion, my favorite part was packaging them them up and putting pretty ribbons and a foil embossed sticker on them. 

I hope that you have had a Merry Christmas. Here are a few of my favorite photos from this Christmas season. 

Santa always makes a visit every Christmas Eve at my parents house when we get home from Church. Ava and Hailey have just spotted him in the yard. That was fun, Santa is so magical. 

My farmer and i on Christmas Eve.

We got my farmers niece and nephews a great sled from LL Bean. Needless to say, i think that they loved it. As i am sitting here looking at snow falling i am thinking about this sled and the memories that they are going to make together. 

Lastly, here are two of my sweet nephews. There are no words to just how cute these photos are. 

I hope everyone has had a safe and happy new year. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...