Sunday, January 14, 2018

'twas the Season for Sparkle & Shine

Maybe someday, I'll be one of those people that thinks putting a tree up means you're done decorating for Christmas. Until then, I'll continue to carry the tubs out of the basement and thoughtfully add fake pine and felt mistletoe and yards of ribbon to every nook and cranny. Here are some of this year's highlights:

  • Picture frame with chicken wire to which our Christmas cards were clipped
  • Entry hall table with lumberjack theme 
  • Christmas Pfaltgraff blended with red and green-toned Fiesta on the kitchen shelves


  • Mantel dressed with lighted pine garland, galvanized-shaded lights. Deer ready for Christmas with red pom nose and wreath headdress
  • Library fireplace dressed with a fruit-and-gold theme
  • Library buffet and table
  • Parlor and kitchen entry (with kitchen-theme ornaments on lighted garland)

And, of course, the tree:
This year's beauty was from Earl May - a 9 ft. Frasier fir. Did you know that they will deliver your tree if it's bigger than 6 ft. tall -- for free!? Helped relieve the typical stress of hauling an oversized tree all the way to noTTafarm.

As if decorating noTTafarm wasn't enough fun, I was also responsible for decorating my church's sanctuary (under the direction of our Minister of Worship, Rev. Jerry Brabec.) We were especially proud of this year's effort!
 I hope you had a sparkly, bright, glittery, velvety, beaded Christmas!

Cookie Tradition

My buddy Leigh Anne and I have been baking and frosting Christmas sugar cookies every year for close to (or over?) 20 years. It's always an enjoyable day when we get together and this year was no exception.
Leigh Anne's daughter, Meredith, brought along her friend, Mia for her first cookie-decorating adventure. They are both 7th graders and fans of YouTube and Stranger Things and all sorts of other stuff unrecognizable to old ladies like me. They both did a great job!
Thanks, Leigh Anne, Meredith and Mia for a wonderful afternoon!
Stay Tuned for Our Next (Baking) Adventure!

Christmas Day Filled with Family

It's not often that we've had both Camps and Wards visit on the same day so Christmas Day was extra special. Our family-filled day began with the Camps desending upon noTTafarm for brunch followed by a visit from nephew Nick, Brooke and their three girls in the afternoon. It was such a wonderful day!
Christmas Eve, we were still prepping. Scott was a super good helper and even dipped the pretzels with a smile. They were delicious!
After we got home from church late on Christmas Eve, I still had many presents to wrap. Luckily, I was inspired by my retro-styled scottie dog wrapping paper and plaid ribbon. So cute!
It wouldn't be a great Christmas day without our great niece, Sophie.
Sophie created a personalized painting for us as her gift. Featured on the canvas are four kitties with nametags on their collars (Wilson, Bibbers, Leo and Rocket) plus a Scotty dog - all wearing colorful Christmas sweaters. We are proud of this "Sophie Original" and have displayed it upstairs near the guest rooms.

Our nephew, Andrew, and his girlfriend, Kate, were home from Arkansas. They are both teaching high school in Stuttgart and considering beginning a Masters' program soon.
The newest Mr. & Mrs. Camp (Jeff and Tanya) 
Pat & Kathleen were in Portland and Kate & Alessio were in Italy - but we were able to chat with them all via the miracle of Facetime (and nephew Pete's technological know-how.)
Just when you think you don't need a thing . . . presents! So many lovely gifts were exchanged, including:
Carl took this photo of our barn and then had it placed in a lovely mat and frame. It now graces a wall in the great room.  Beautiful!

Miss Sophie counted all the change that was in the unicorn bank we gave her (upwards of $16!)
Kate and Andrew gave Sophie a robot. She had alot of fun figuring out how to make it do tricks.
 Sophie & Kristin Selfie
Batten down the hatches! 
The Ward girls arrived at about 2 o'clock (along with their mommy and daddy.) How fun to have these three little balls of energy join us for the afternoon. (That's one-year-old Bailee making a run for it with big sisters Allie and Maggie.)
 Maggie and Allie "posing" for me.
Allie got a really cute kid-sized Polaroid camera from Santa. Here she takes a snap of Leo who was trying to avoid all the ruckus by hiding under the tree.

Allie joined in a rowdy card game of Spoons with many of the Camps. Kate taught everyone how to play and Pete, Sophie and Andrew helped Allie catch on. It was great to see both sides of the family represented in the competition. After the Camps departed, Allie challenged Brooke and I to a few rounds; she tried every trick she could to win every hand.
 The Wards will add Baby Girl #4 to the family in May. 💜
After everyone left and the house was quiet, Scott built a fire and we were able to relax. A wonderful end to a wonderful day.
We Hope You Enjoyed Your Christmas! 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Graduation Gathering Subs for Christmas in Kearney

Rather than the traditional trip to Kearney for dinner and gifts, the Ward family gathered in Lincoln on December 15/16 to celebrate the graduation of our nephew, Joe. He earned his bachelor of science in ag econ from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Before he crossed the stage Saturday morning at the Pinnacle Bank Arena, we kicked-off the fun with a party Friday night. 
Niece Chelsie helped organize the party at the Embassy Suites in downtown Lincoln. We had our own private party room and could goof around without annoying other restaurant patrons. It was so good to see nephew Clark! He is busy with his sophomore year (also at UNL) and is enjoying his Geology/Biology coursework.
Mother-of-the-Grad, my sister Karolyn (right) invited her bestie and husband to Lincoln for the festivities. Julie and Hal are super people so it was great to have them with us.
Our sister-in-law LuAnn got a chance to catch up with niece Karli. She will earn a master's degree in May from the University of South Dakota. (Go, Yotes!) AND get married on October 7. Lots of fun coming up in 2018!
 My brothers and uncles-of-the-grad, Tim & Mark.
Joe invited several of his brothers from Acacia Fraternity to the party. (This was Scott's fraternity, too, so it brought back many memories of the fun he used to have.)
Kitra and her gramma enjoyed the party.  
 She's got style, that cutie pie.
 The original Ward kids (Kristin, Karolyn, Tim and Mark) looking cute!
Karli gave her little brother Clark lots of attention. They were antipating the semester break with their parents (Tim and Teresa) and Karli's fiance (David) in sunny & warm Phoenix.
We were all up and at 'em early Saturday morning since graduation started at 9:30. With nearly 2,000 graduates, there were a lot of faces to scan - but Chelsie caught Joe's face on the big screen.
Post-graduation photo session with Joe's dad, Alan. 
The proud graduate!
I apologize for missing photo opportunities with the rest of the family, including both sets of Joe's grandparents. I took lots of photos with everyone's cameras but mine. Typical!
Stay Tuned for Joe's Great Adventure!

Mile High B's

When the opportunity arose to see both my buddy (noTTafarm SuperFriend Amy B.) and one of our mutual heroes (Joe Biden) in one swoop, I packed a bag and jumped on a plane for a quick trip to Denver. Since moving from Omaha in May, I had been looking for an excuse to visit the Brummet family's new home so this trip was a "win" all-around. 

On tour to promote his book, "Promise Me Dad," Mr. Biden made an appearance on Saturday evening, December 2nd, at downtown Denver's Paramount Theatre. But since my flight arrived early in the morning, Amy had an activity planned - namely baking and frosting sugar cookies with Tripp and Brenna. It was fun to keep our tradition of baking Christmas cookies going!

 Amy gave Brenna a quick pep talk with pup Tank listening in for good measure.
The Brummets' new neighborhood is great, and Tripp (now in Kindergarten) & Brenna have made many new friends.
Brenna did a great job of rolling out the dough and Tripp was an excellent cutter. Amy and I completed the frosting portion of the fun while the kids played outside in the 60+-degree sunshine.
Our plans for dinner before the show were thwarted by a massive traffic jam downtown. Many activities, including a ball at the convention center and a holiday lights parade, closed city streets and brought hoards of people. It took us over an hour to find a parking place within a mile of the theatre. Luckily, we found our seats and had a moment to catch our breath before Mr. Biden was introduced. His 90-minute presentation was inspirational and entertaining. Afterward, we (finally!) ate dinner at a great Italian restaurant where I enjoyed a ridiculously delicious butternut squash pizza.
Before I left for the airport Sunday early afternoon, we all huddled around the iPad to watch the formal press conference from the University, announcing the hire of Scott Frost as the new head coach of the football team. Pretty exciting for us Cornhuskers!
Brenna and Tripp were not as impressed with the press conference.

Thank you, Amy and Monte, Tripp and Brenna, for your warm hospitality!

Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Two Saws Are Better Than One

You know your husband really loves you when he buys you a chainsaw for your birthday. What girl wouldn't want her very own 14" cordless chainsaw, powered by a 40V lithium battery?
Expertly adorned with a single red bow, of course!
Following a week of gray, cold weather, today (November 12) was 54 degrees and sunny - the perfect opportunity to test out my new toy. 
Scott loaded the Ranger with his Stihl Farm Boss and my new Ryobi for an afternoon of fun. 
Our first subject tree was a long-dead tree of unidentified species near the east end of the driveway, just one of several that should be culled.
My cheesy smile tells you that I was excited to give the new saw a try! 
For the last few years, the green leaves on this tree were actually part of a huge grapevine. The vine was twisted all over and around the tree which made removing the whole thing a tangled, unwieldy mess. 
Scott used the Ranger's winch to drag several big bundles of gnarly branches to the east burn pile - plus we pulled four loads on the trailer. Trees always seem to be bigger once they're on the ground! In addition to this tree, we took out a couple along the fencerow facing the street and four cedars on the north side of the east pasture. We certainly got a good day's work done before quitting time.
All that's left is that little stump...
As weather permits, we'll continue to clean up dead and otherwise undesireable trees. My new saw worked great, and I'm really happy that I've been promoted from my previous position of branch-picker-upper. Of course, the best part was just getting to hang out in the sunshine with my Scotty.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

noTTafarm Visitors Keep Us Hoppin'

While we haven't had any big projects to work on of late, we have kept busy with visits by friends and family. I would be remiss if I didn't notify our vast readership and remind each of you that We Love Visitors!
Since moving to Denver in May, we have missed noTTafarm Super Friends, the Brummets. What a treat to have Monte, Amy, Brenna and Tripp visit for a few hours on Sunday, October 22nd. It was a  perfectly beautiful autumn afternoon so we had a small bonfire and roasted hot dogs and s'mores.
Bibbers just had to climb all over everyone, even Monte. Silly cat.
Amy helping Brenna with her marshmallows. I can't believe our little buddy just turned 9 years old! 
Tripp was happiest when taking rides in the Ranger. Scott was happy to oblige! Tripp is really enjoying kindergarten.
My buddy, Amy, and I will be together the first weekend of December. I'm heading to Denver so we can go to an appearance by Joe Biden. While I'm there, we're going to bake some sugar cookies and blueberry pancakes. It will be awesome!
Never leave your phone unattended . . . 
Brenna and Tripp took plenty of entertaining selfies.

Shortly after the Brummets left, my baby brother Tim stopped by. He was in Omaha with Teresa for a few days and since she needed to get some work done, he came over to sit and watch me do housework and entertain me with stories of his exciting life in Sioux Falls.
Hi, Timmy!
Tim was supposed to bring me two pieces of Fiesta that he bought at my behest. . .but since he left it at the house, Karli and DJ were kind enough to drop it off on their way out of town. Bonus! I got to chat with them for a few minutes before they hit the road for Vermillion. It's just under a year until their "Big Day!"

Speaking of Big Days. . .Jeff & Tanya chose to tie the knot on Saturday, October 21. The thunderstorms threatened but stayed clear of their front yard nuptials. It was a lovely ceremony and we're glad to have an "official" sister-in-law.
Congratulations, Jeff & Tanya!

All hands were on deck to get noTTafarm in order for a rather impromptu reunion of my sorority. I responded to a post with a casual "we can do it at my house" comment on Facebook -- and the next thing I knew, 15 alumni of Kappa Delta (Pi Chapter) made plans to meet two weeks later on Sunday, October 29. 
Many of us hadn't seen each other for over 30 years but when each girl walked in the door, it was like time had never moved past 1986. What a joy to welcome these amazing women to noTTafarm! (And of course, Bibbers had to get in the group photo.)
I had this vision of a facsimile of our sorority crest, created of twigs, and serving as a "welcome wreath" at the front door. Scott went above and beyond the call and not only helped me harvest appropriate branches but figured out the orientation of each section and used the chop saw to trim to just the right size. I served as the glue-gunner and overall stylist. It was a big hit with the girls - and now Scott and I are going to go into the fake Greek crest business. Probably be millionaires in a year or so.

Whew! That's a lot of activities for one month! Now as we gear up for the holidays . . .you should
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!