Monday, December 26, 2016

Holiday Decor Updates

During the first week of December, the annual ritual of Christmas decorating begins. The tubs come out of storage and the thinking begins. Although I use the same things over and over, I try to switch them up a bit.

I pinned a red pom on the end of the deer's nose again but the mantel is dressed with thick garland wound with mercury glass lights. We've had the lights beneath the mantle for years; the shades are pierced galvanized metal.
The toy farm wagon I bought during Junk Jaunt this September is filled with pine cones and silver sparkly picks. Under the entry hall table, I filled a new galvanized pot with greenery sprigs and added a red woven ribbon. The little inverted crate is the perfect pedestal for the top hat tree topper I bought on clearance a few years ago.

The incubator tray features an oval picture frame (another $1 Junk Jaunt find) that I spray painted gray. I found this cute vintage image of a fawn on the internet and added the script "Peace." A simple print on card stock fit the frame beautifully.
Our tree this year is another beautiful Frasier fir. Trimming the tree is always fun when I find my stash of post-Christmas-clearance bargains in the bins of ornaments. I love the mix of decorations we've collected over the last 30 years.
We Hope Your Holiday Was Holly Jolly!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Sweet Christmas Tradition Continues

One of my favorite things about Christmas is baking sugar cookies. Using my family's recipe results in the yummy smell of butter and lemon extract drifting through the kitchen. When it comes to decorating though, it's always better to enlist the help of some friends. Luckily, I found three adults and five adorable children willing to labor over bowls of buttercream for a few hours the Friday before Christmas.
This year's cookie crew consisted of Amy B. with Brenna and Tripp; Leigh Anne and Meredith, and Sara with Bennett and Elliot.
Brenna may have had more than a few little bites of frosting. It's hard to resist the buttery goodness!
Bennett concentrated on adding details to his cookies while mom Sara and baby brother Elliot cheered him on from the sidelines.
Leigh Anne gave the kids lots of good frosting advice. She's been by Cookie Buddy for (literally) two decades!
Bennett took a break from creating works of art and devoured a "B" cookie.
Amy created super hero-inspired frosting designs for Tripp and Brenna. When they were restless from all the work, uncle Scott hopped in to entertain them with walkie-talkie lessons and general silliness.
Leigh Anne snapped this great action shot.
Bibbers shared a bunch of cuddle time with Meredith. 
The best part about Cookie Frosting Day is spending time with wonderful friends! Thank you Amy, Sara, and Leigh Anne for your friendship and hard work (and for bringing along your cute kids.)
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Deer Little Post

Scott set the trail-cam up near the top of the west slope and captured a few photos of our noTTafarm deer family. Sadly, we are still unable to determine if these guys are related to Rudolph or Blitzen.
Hello, Deer Friends! We hope you are enjoying this fine day. 
The deer party is just getting started when the sun goes down.
What the . . . ?
Rudolph, is that you?
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Time Already!

Hi, Mommy! Finally - a new blog post!
At last. Something to write about:  Christmas with the Ward Family. My mother was starting to wonder if I would ever post again! The whole family was able to meet in Kearney this past weekend (December 16/18.) We packed alot of fun into our brief time together!

"Welcome home, Kids! When are you leaving?" 
Mom and Dad have grown accustomed to having a quiet empty nest. With kids, grandkids and four great grandkids, it does tend to get a bit noisy when we're all together.
Great Uncle Scott got a squeeze from Allie - the oldest of the "greats." Allie is now 5-and-a-half and killing it in kindergarten.
Our baby nephew, Clark, is now 18 and a freshman at UNL. He's very sophisticated and can't quite bring himself to enjoy his family. Luckily, Miracle the Cat offered some relief. We love you, anyway, Clark!
Meanwhile, Clark's big sister (Karli) and beautiful mother (Teresa) couldn't have been sweeter!
Warning: watch out for these three. Cousins can get a little crazy! (Kitra and Maggie are already 3 but Allie does her best to keep them in line.) Brooke outfitted the squad in adorable pink leggings and cute Scotty t-shirts. Of course, being a Scotty Dog expert, I heartily approved!
Sweet 8-month-old Bailee is the apple of everyone's eye - including Great Gramma! Bailee rarely fusses and loves being held by whoever wants to hold her. Isn't that the best? I hope she never outgrows this stage.
Our niece Chelsie took control of the food and set-up - and ran it all the way to the finish line of our successful event! Since our family of 24 (22? 26? I can't keep track) has outgrown Mom & Dad's house, we moved the celebration to Dad and Nick's business, utilizing the conference room. Chelsie had everything in place, from elegantly dressed tables to a beautiful tree. Best of all, we let Hy-Vee do the cooking so clean-up was a snap. Thank you, Chelsie Lyn! We all appreciate your hard work! (Note how Chelsie's mom and dad and brother all pitched in to get the buffet line ready.)
Again this year, all of us were spoiled rotten with the quantity of gifts!
Chelsie and her mommy, my much older sister Karolyn. 
Now this pic is a keeper: the four original kids. 
From left, Tim, Mark, Kristin & Karolyn. 
Kitra took time away from her duties of passing out presents to give her baby cousin Bailee a little pat. So sweet!
Speaking of Kitra...who gives little kids recorders? Each of the girls got one and created quite the calcophony.
General chaos ensued as presents were opened. (Note Allie with her own recorder.)
These three nieces have reached the stage in their young lives when they have earned their own copies of the Ward Family Cookbook. It was my honor to design custom covers for the notebooks that hold family recipes typed by Mom back in 1984. Lots of good stuff in there!  
Dad and our nephew Joe show off their new winter hats from Santa.
Lauren and her boyfriend Jeff - ugh, too cute! 
We took the time to get everyone seated for a family portrait, using the camera's timer. Despite the noise and having to travel through icy conditions and nearly freezing in the cold north wind (in the time it took to run from the car to the house), I declare this Christmas gathering a huge success!
Merry Christmas!
Stay Tuned for More Christmas Adventures!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Recap: Lumberjack Day 2016!

We took a risk when we scheduled Lumberjack Day for the last week of October. The weather could have been rainy and gray or even cold and icy . . . but we got lucky! With clear skies, no wind and 73 degrees for a high, a bunch of happy lumberjacks celebrated another fun day.
As is LJD tradition, The Kupzyks were the first to arrive. Bennett (who turned 4 on Oct. 13) enjoyed the noTTafarm coloring book I put together.
Some of those representing my side of the family:  Chelsie, Tim, Dad, Joe's friend Phalen, Joe, Lauren's boyfriend Jeff, and Lauren.
Hotdog Lunch! 
Our friends Hank and Susie stopped by at lunch as did Scott's brother Jeff and Tonya. We had a great mix of friends and family in attendance!
Two of my faves . . . my mommy, Jolene, and my buddy, Leigh Anne. 
Scott was stylin' in one of our new noTTafarm t-shirts. (If you want to order one, let me know!) Teresa, Clark and Karli missed the fun but brother Tim spent the day with us before heading home to Sioux Falls. Thanks for making the coleslaw, Timmy!
Scott and Kevin started the west brush pile fire around 9AM. By the end of the afternoon, not much was left of the once 10-ft. tall pile.
noTTafarm Super Friend Amy B. had an intense Harry Potter conversation with Leigh Anne's daughter, Meredith. I was so happy to have LA's hubby join us this year. Come back soon, Dave!
Sister-in-law LuAnn helped three of her four granddaughters with their pumpkin carving. The Brummet babies got help from their daddy, Monte.
Brenna and Meredith - such concentration for the perfect jack o'lanterns! (Thanks for the photo, Leigh Anne!)
The boys actually cut down a tree! Scott directed the chainsaws toward a dead elm east of the barn. It came down with a huge "CRACK" but - thankfully - no injuries this time.
Amy B. had Tripp pick up six sticks before he could go on a hayrack (aka trailer) ride. He did a great job and enjoyed playing with all the other little visiting Lumberjacks!
What else would two three year olds do with the challenge of Scott's rock pile? Perfect climbing opportunity for Kitra and Maggie!
This year, we outfitted the trailer with haybales topped with leftover canvas from The Wedding. I knew if I kept that in the basement, I'd be able to use it someday. The hay rides were a huge hit! Scott and the Ranger made several trips around the property from west to east and back again.

As with previous years, I didn't take enough photos - but I hope what I've included here gives you a good snapshot of the day's activities. Thanks for attending and we'll see you next year!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Turning the Table

The annual Junk Jaunt through central Nebraska lured me home to Kearney again this past September. My niece, Chelsie, and my mommy, Jolene and I hit the road early in search of vintage finds and freshly-baked kolaches. One of the items I couldn't pass by was a cute table in a shop in Ravenna. Even through the grime and chipped paint, I knew that it was the right scale for a side table in the great room. I couldn't resist the $2 price tag, either. Let's see if Scott was successful in helping me transform my little treasure.
This table had definitely seen better days. It's construction is a mystery; it seems like it was made of twigs but Scott deduced that the texture of the wood was manmade, perhaps by smacking a hammer in an even pattern around each piece. The blue roll of tape is filling in for a missing piece of leg.
The first order of business was to even out the three remaining legs. Scott used his laser level to mark where to cut each.
The M-12 multi-tool with the reciporcating blade made quick work of the task.
The replacement leg began as a 1"-square piece of leftover pine. Yet another example of why we don't thrown out perfectly good wood! You just never know when you will need to hewn a table leg. The process began by tracing the diameter of the finished leg.
The benchtop belt sander slowly-but-surely sanded away the excess pine.
Scott used a pocketknife to replicate the texture of the original leg. The length of the finished leg is indicated with a black ring of Sharpie ink.
Scott drilled a hole to receive a wood peg . . .
. . . and added plenty of wood glue to secure the peg in place.
A little painter's tape kept the new leg in place while the glue dried. Scott lopped off the excess pine the next day.
A good scrubbing with a soapy rag revealed that the most recent coat of paint was light pink. Scott quickly dispatched any evidence of pink with a good coat of bronze metallic paint (leftover from painting our register vents.)
Ta Da!
The finished product is sturdy enough to hold my cup of coffee and looks perfect next to the chair in the corner of the great room. Not bad for $2 and a couple of hours of Scotty Time! 
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!