If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Gifts for the new baby

Even when a family is adding a second child and even when that child is the same gender as the first child, I like to give a gift recognizing and celebrating the birth.  My bonus son and his wife recently welcomed another little boy to their family.  So, my daughter Bridgette, of Goody Stuff, and I compiled a gift for the sweet little fellow.

Knowing that Dad and Grandpa (and several other family members) have orange blood in their veins, we went with a University of Tennessee football theme.
I picked up a set of three UT onesies featuring the colors and the big T.  Then, when we were out fabric shopping, I stumbled across an orange print that reminds me of a bandana with paisley and diamond swirls and a white T.  That became my starting point.  I added a couple of packages of rick-rack and began my search for a companion fabric.  My search was futile but Bridgette thought she had a football print at home, so I stopped my hunt.
She appliqued a T of orange and white gingham fabric and embroidered his first name below it to make a sweet, personalized, swaddling blanket.  Using a fabric scrap, she also appliqued a T onto a cloth diaper and backed it with another scrap to make a coordinating burp cloth.
The two handmade pieces are cheerful, sweet, and say all-boy to me!
After she completed the applique on the fabric, I stitched them together.  So, it is truly a collaborative gift!

We also thought we should add another set for him just in case of spits or other baby accidents.  So, for the second, we went with a cowboy theme.
This set began with a soft print featuring buffalos, a covered wagon, and a Pony Express rider.  I found a companion print with galloping mustangs.  Bridgette appliqued a horse-shoe with his name on a burp cloth and backed it with the mustang fabric.  She added a covered wagon with his initials for the corner of the blanket.
Even though it looks rugged, the blanket is soft and cuddly just like our little cowboy is right now.

We didn't want Levi to feel left out.  So, Lillie picked a rough and tumble design and Bridgette created him a Big Brother shirt complete with his initials on the sleeve.
Levi may be the savage as a big brother wearing this cute little shirt but he is a sweety, too.
As a family, we love and appreciate personalized and hand-crafted and I think our little fellow does too!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

In the Kitchen

I love working in my kitchen most of the time.  I mean, I enjoy cooking and baking.  Sometimes I use these tasks as therapy.  There is just something about creating something delicious and tasty from a conglomeration of other things that might not be delicious and tasty all on their own.  One of the features in my kitchen that makes such tasks go well is the big, deep, black sink.  Oh, I know that those apron-front, farmhouse-style sinks are all the rage, and I might really like to have one.  But, I'm really pleased and satisfied with the deep black sink I have.  I mean, dirt and stains don't show - not that any sink of mine would have dirt or stains in it anyway.  Because it is deep, it will hold a lot of pots and pans and cooking utensils and I can pile them up in there while I'm cooking and leave the counter space free for other uses - not that I would pile things up.  I mean I do clean as I go because that is considered the most efficient way.  That deep sink will allow lots of clean pots and pans to set and drain during the dish cleaning process.  I mean, God and I work together on kitchen cleaning.  I wash and He dries and I put away.  I love the squirty thing at the right of the faucet because all of the splatters from spatulas or spoons that have bits of gunk on them can simply be rinsed away with a simple little squirt.  Not that I would flop a spatula and cause a splatter or drop a spoon with gunk and cause a splatter.  No.  Not me.

A couple of months ago, though, something went awry.  After years of functioning and squirting and cleaning, the squirty thing just stopped squirting.  I've lived with it for a while trying to convince myself that I don't really use that squirty thing all that often because I rarely splatter or pile things in the sink.  And as for soap suds after washing up pots and pans, a quick swish with a palm cupped full of water is enough to rinse the sink.  Then, it occurred to me...I'll bet they sell just the squirty thing at the home improvement store and it can be replaced without the expense or trouble of changing out the entire faucet.  So, I suggested that the hubby ask the local handyman to come by and repair/replace the squirty thing at the kitchen sink.  And, while he was at it, would he also repair the one at the kitchen sink in the basement to make rinsing out the coolers and the canners easier.  I think that while-he-was-at-it part is what sold the suggestion, by the way.

So, yesterday the local handyman came by and began working on the kitchen sink squirty thing.  He discovered that there was really nothing wrong with the squirty thing.  The problem was lime deposits in the kitchen faucet itself.  So, instead of replacing the inexpensive little squirty thing, the entire faucet wound up getting replaced.

I was sent to the home-improvement store to get a faucet.  I went, "so I could pick out the kind I want."  Do you have any idea how many different styles of faucets and squirty things there are at the home-improvement store?  Do you have any idea of the price range of all those faucets and squirty things at the home-improvement store?  I mean, isn't it just a decorative sort of pipe that delivers water?  Why does it have to be so complicated?

Finally, I emerged from the store with a couple of faucets and squirty things in tow.  The hubby called the handyman to let him know I had returned with the needed supplies.  In no time, the handyman had installed the beautiful specimen of a faucet and squirty thing and went along his way to improve someone else's life.

I do love my new faucet.  I think she is a beaut!  I love her matte brushed stainless finish that resists spots.  I love the way she stands tall and proud reigning over the sink.

I love the stylish handle that responds to a light touch.  I love her curved neck and pouty little spout.  I love the matching squirty thing and how it is molded to fit right in my paw.
Doesn't she look regal and fancy?

I don't want you to think I pamper her or anything.  I don't want to lead you into believing that she and her squirty thing partner have changed anything around here.  After all, this is a working kitchen and we do use it to prep real country meals.  This is the way she will look most of the time...

She will be reigning over the drying dish cloth throughout the day and the skillet I washed and God is drying and the vegetable scrub brush with the broken handle and the plastic cup for filling dog bowls or watering flowers.

She will stand there tall and proud surrounded by empty canning jars and smudgy glasses and cups and the hubby's popcorn bowl.  And her companion squirty thing will be standing there soldier-ready to rinse away soap suds and splatters and grit.

Just keeping it real, ya'll!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

New Baby!

Last night at 10:21 we welcomed grandbaby number eight into the world!  Easton Cunningham weighed in at eight pounds and measured twenty-one-and-a-quarter inches long.
We all fell in love immediately and could hardly stop eye-balling him to pack it in and get some sleep for the next day.
He was stretched and measured and poked for a bit.
His temperature was monitored and statistics documented.
Mom and baby are doing well.
And SOMEBODY's head hardly fits through a doorway!
My bonus son seems to be one proud papa! (Grandpa is so puffed up that he wouldn't even fit into a camera shot - no really!) These guys!
And now there is one more of them.  Happiness abounds!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Snow Day Photos

While we were out in the snow the other day, I had my camera and took some photos.

There was a little sprinkling of snow resting on top of the silo cable.

This galvanized tub was doing a good job of protecting this elevator motor from the elements.

Look how the snow clung to the planks on this fence section framing out the water trough.

This old fence post and the stack of bricks was a serene pastoral sight.
Mama's birdhouse and rose garden looks shivery.

The yard fence and gate was crusted with ice and snow.

The entire hillside looks blanketed in cold and more snow was falling!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Crafting and Parenting Through Generations

Before the children headed back to school, Bridgette took some time to teach them a craft or two.
They crafted delicious smelling oranges with cloves on that day.

Sometimes she parents kind of like she was parented.

Her parent sometimes parented like she was parented, too.

At times there was intense concentration.

And at times the movie Rocky was more riveting.

I can remember drawing a line or etching a line on the peel to make it easier to dig those cloves into the orange peel and forming designs.

And at times we would just poke the end of the clove in at random and see what turned out.

I think this is certainly a planned design and really no surprise considering the crafter.

The smell was heavenly and I'm wishing I had some oranges and cloves right this minute!

Parenting and crafting traditions down through the generations can be wonderful at times.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Life on a farm is no fun when the weather is cold, freezing, and snowy.  The animals need more feed because they burn more energy trying to stay warm.  Their water freezes and they are dependent upon us to break the ice and provide fresh water.  So, out to the barn I went on a snow day to keep this guy company and give him a helping hand.

I was told to bring him a broom and then get into the truck and wait for him.  So, I did.

He swept and scraped and brushed the entire truck off..

... while I sat inside and watched.

Then, I rode alongside him as we trekked...

...over hill...


...and curve

to get to my parents' place.

He remembered to stop at the mailbox to get the paper and see if the postman had run.  Then, we crept up the hill to the barn to check on the boys.

They were waiting at the fence in expectation and seemed quite happy to see us.
Isn't that a happy face?
We gave them some grain, checked their water supply, (They are lucky and have a heated waterer from the days when we operated a dairy farm there.) and gave them a good inspection to make sure they were weathering the cold, freezing, snowy day.
Happy times two!

We stopped in at the house to check on Mom and Daddy.

Finding them snug and toasty, we headed back over hill and curve to our house.  And when we arrived there, we fed, and watered, and inspected Mike's calves before tracking half-a-snowman into the house on our boots and clothes where little puddles of muddy water formed before I could even get my boots in the boot tray.

The snow never even let up.  It kept blowing and falling and covering all day long.

The roads got nastier looking. (This is at almost the same spot as the first road shot above after only a couple of hours!)

And the snow kept falling.  So, the next day was a repeat all over again.

Not fun in my estimation.  Glad to have the opportunity, though!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Then and Now

We got snow earlier this week.  We got snow Friday.  We are getting snow as I write this today - Saturday.
Wednesday
Friday
Same stack of bricks.  Lots more snow!
Wednesday

Friday
Same interesting rock.  LOTS more snow!

Only the frozen rain and frozen fog clung to the pipe fencing Wednseday.

A layer of ice and a layer of snow was stacked on the pipe fencing Friday.
And there is more today!  It is beautiful if we could stay inside and just look out the window at it.  However, today the high temperature is expected to stay below or near the freezing point.

Yesterday we were hoping things would be clear enough to go to my niece, Megan's wedding.  It is about an hour and a half drive south of here.  Today, Mike and I are hoping we can drive fifteen to twenty miles to my parents' house to check on them and feed the livestock.

Best wishes to the bride and groom and to my sister and brother-in-law as they host folks for a wedding and corn boil.  Wish we could sled our way there!