A Little Bit of Fall Decorating

I was soooo sore after walking yesterday. I think we might have overdone it a tad – four miles right out of the gate! But, after walking this morning I’m loosened up and feel much better. Still sore but it will only get better from here right??!! Yesterday afternoon, instead of working on Drew’s room like I had planned, I got some fall decorations out. Every year I do less and less and this year is no exception. I’m mostly using my stitched stuff. The less I get out, the less I have to put away later and the less cluttered the house looks right!

Labor Day Campers

Another Labor Day camping weekend has come and gone. And it went way too quickly! Things weren’t quite the same as one couple had to cancel at the last minute and another couple decided to come but that’s okay. We missed our friends and made new friends and hopefully we will all be together next year. That’s what we’re planning anyway!

We got to the campground early evening Friday and were the first ones there. We got set up and decided to eat supper at the restaurant. They had all you can eat seafood buffet. Who can pass that up! First we loaded up the truck with firewood as there was no bringing in your own here. Drew loved climbing the woodpile while we loaded up the truck! As we were getting ready to eat another couple showed up and they were wanting to eat at the restaurant too. Not what we usually do when camping but when it’s late and you’re tired and it’s there – why not!

Saturday saw us eating a brunch of bacon and eggs and hash browns then exploring the campground. None of us had ever been to Skip-a-Way before. It was definitely full for this weekend and we could see why. There was miniature golf, a game room, a splash pad, peddle boats, canoes, and kayaks for the lake and tubing down the Turkey River. They guys played around in the game room then we played a round of miniature golf. We walked around the campground and enjoyed seeing all the campers that were set up permanently. They all had sites decorated and landscaped and you could tell everyone knew everyone else. How fun that would be.

The days were nice and the nights were chilly and it was perfect for campfires in the evening. We spent a lot of time sitting and chatting around the fire, getting to know one another and to just relax. the best part of camping as far as I’m concerned!

Sunday we had planned on Tubing the Turkey but it was just chilly enough that we decided to make a change in plans and we’re all glad we did. We took a road trip to Spook Cave and it was so much fun. We’ve toured many a cave but not like this. This tour was all by boat. There were times you couldn’t sit up at all as the roof was so low. Not good for those who are claustrophobic. We had a great tour guide who was able to deal with the guys and their antics. She never batted an eye! I decided I want to go back as there is a campground right on the grounds with the cave. You camp right beside a creek and a waterfall. It would be a fun getaway for the family. Maybe next year!

After the cave we drove onto Pike’s Peak for a fun hike and beautiful views. We got to see the spot where Matthew proposed to Whitney the year before which was fun for all of us and especially Whitney’s mom and dad! Again, I would like to spend more time here and do some more hiking and visit the Effigy Mounds. It was a beautiful place.

By the time we got back the campgrounds we were all tired so a quick supper and more campfire time! Rod got out some lanterns and set them off. Something so simple and yet it’s fun to watch them soar away into the night.

Sunday we were up and headed to the restaurant for breakfast and we were all headed for home by noon. Before we left we were planning our trip for next year. Sounds like we’ll be going south instead of north this time. We like to change it up. As this was our year to plan it I’m glad to hand off the task to somebody else for a couple three years. We’ll let Steve and Wendy make the choice and we’ll have fun no matter where we end up! Skip-a-Way wasn’t necessarily our favorite campground we’ve ever been at but it had lots of fun things to do and places close to visit and it really doesn’t matter where we are. We just all enjoy spending the time camping together!



Wednesday Chatting and Stitching

Happy Snowman designed by Tina Herman, Shepherd’s Bush.

I had a surprise visitor yesterday. Aaron stopped by and spent the majority of the day here. It was so nice to see him and have a nice chat. We hadn’t seen him for what seems like forever. He started a new job as a manager at Walmart and he’s also still working part time at Casey’s. He’s been putting in 70+ hours a week between the two jobs. That’s too much as far as I’m concerned. I tell him what I think but ultimately it’s his decision and he knows I support him in whatever he chooses to do. As a Mom I have that right to tell him how I feel. He can take my advice or not, it’s his life and he’s an adult. He just knows I’m going to tell him how I feel and at the same time respect his decisions!

While visiting with Aaron, Eric and Drew I gathered up floss and linen and got a great start on Christmas ornaments. One stitched and a good start on another. I stayed pretty true to the suggested colors on these two, just switched them up a little. I still have to decide on Baby Girl’s. I’m thinking pinks of course! And I need to figure out a font to use to stitch the year and their names. Then hopefully I can find some tiny snowflake buttons and some fabric to back them with at Hobby Lobby. It’s great knowing I can head to Hobby Lobby now whenever I need to and not have to plan a trip to Iowa City! It’s good to be back to stitching. I didn’t realize how much I was missing it.

The rest of today is going to see us working on Eric’s bedroom, doing laundry and packing for college. My pack rat Drew is having a ball. Eric is giving him all his Iowa State stuff and he’s loving it! Then tomorrow we meet my sister to drop Andrew off with them. He’s heading out on a camping trip with them in their RV. They’re going to Illinois for the weekend. Saturday we go to Burlington to spend the day at our annual fish fry at my aunt and uncle’s. Looks like a couple busy days ahead. Sunday and Monday will be finishing up packing, organizing and probably shopping so we can move Eric to Iowa City on Tuesday. Now I’m going to be wanting to plan trips to Iowa City. I have a feeling he’s not going to be coming home often so we’ll be heading that way if we want to see him!


I searched and searched but could not find a picture of the stockings I made for Abby. These are my family stockings. As you can see – the first four match. Then Eric came along and I stitched him a Shepherd’s Bush stocking. Then Andrew – he loves that his is the biggest one of them all!

No – I am not ready for Christmas yet! I am ready for fall. We’re having such beautiful fall like weather and it’s my favorite time of the year but as I was searching through some of my favorite cross stitch designer’s patterns this morning looking for patterns to make my annual Christmas ornaments for Drew and Braxton I was not having much luck. Then I decided to check out the Shepherd’s Bush site and see what they had. I found a free snowman pattern that is so cute and I can customize it with different colors and add their names. Perfect! But searching the Shepherd’s Bush site led to panic mode! Oh my goodness – here I’ve been stuck in a rut not having anything really to work on crafty wise in the evenings, just yesterday I was thinking about how I’ve not been in a rut like this in years, when all of a sudden it hit me. I have to stitch a Christmas stocking for baby girl. Maybe that explains the rut – I knew there was something I needed to be working on. How could I have not remembered this before now? When Braxton was born I made Shepherd’s Bush stockings for Jeremy, Abby, and Braxton. I picked Shepherd’s Bush for many reasons – they are beautiful, they all match, they come in a kit and specifically, there are so many of them that I knew if/as Jeremy and Abby added to their family, I could easily find a pattern to fit in with what I had already made for them. The panic part is due to the fact that these stockings are big and intricate and take time – lots and lots of time! So, this morning Drew and  I picked a stocking, ordered it and now I will wait impatiently for everything to arrive – and I’ll have to break the news to Mom. She did all the sewing into stockings after I finished the cross stitch part last time. Hopefully she’ll feel up to the task again! In the meantime I should probably get started on the ornaments. With baby girl coming I’ll be making three this year instead of two!

The Rest Of Our Memorial Day Weekend


I had two things I planned to get done over the long weekend – help Joe finish the lean to and hang some lights I had made on the pergola. What did get done? The dog kennel and lots of fun! Sunday we spent the day in Des Moines with my sister. They have neighbors who own a “lake” where they get to camp for free and they are the only ones who camp there. It’s 10 minutes from their home in Norwalk so they go out often. Lots of fishing, playing in the sand and yummy food was had by all! We were there all day and didn’t get home until after 9:00 p.m. and we were wore out!

The lake was an old quarry and back in the 90’s it was known as Clearwater Lake. They held concerts there and the lake was used for swimming. The Beach Boys played there at one time. I remember hearing about it but Joe and I were busy starting a family in the 90’s and never went. The old stage is still there and the old lifeguard stand. It’s a neat place for Beth to get to camp.

Monday saw us up and revamping the kennel. We made it out of hog panels and steel posts. The dog house is in one corner and it’s very roomy. Izzy had spent the past few years living in a horse stall so we thought she would enjoy the freedom of this kennel. And she seemed to be okay with it. As long as we were outside. As soon as we went in the house she would get out. We discovered she was climbing up the hog panels and then jumping out! So, we put a chain link cover over the top. And we covered one end with a tarp for shade. I know – it sounds very redneck. But it doesn’t look too bad and she is nice and safe. Plus – it didn’t cost us anything as we used what we had. She can’t get out, she has a nice insulated dog house, plenty of shade, grass to lie in, food and water. She seems happy and we can relax knowing she is comfortable and safe.

I never tire of the beautiful views at Belva Deer!

After finishing up the kennel and eating lunch Joe mowed the yard while I finished planting flowers and swept the deck. Then we took Izzy to Belva Deer where we met Dad and Mom for a picnic. Eric met us out there too. Izzy loved it. She is such a people person and she loved on everyone and she loved going for a walk. She was wore out after so much excitement and fell asleep on the way home. Then when we got home she went straight to her dog house and laid down. I think she’s liking her new family and home!

For a weekend with no plans except working around the house we sure did a lot of running but it was also a relaxing and fun weekend. Lots of family fun!

Mother’s Day Fun

Mother’s Day saw all of us wore out and not wanting to do anything much! Joe took Drew and I out for breakfast. Eric and Aaron had to work all day. The rest of us decided to meet at Belva Deer early evening for a picnic. Leftovers from the graduation party worked out great – no work required! Joe, Drew and I went early to go for a bike ride before everyone else came out. Later Dad, Mom, Jeremy, Abby and Braxton came and we had a nice visit. The boys played at the playground, we went for a walk/bike ride and called it a day. It was a nice quiet get together. Perfect for Mother’s Day! We are so blessed to have Belva Deer so close!

Looks like a serious conversation going on here!
Playing a little UNO while waiting for Braxton to come!
I love vintage tablecloths!
Pit stop at the bath house for Grandpa and the littles!

Hopefully next time we visit Belva Deer we’ll have the camper with us!

Easter Fun


The bluebells were up for Easter! One of my favorite spring flowers are the wild bluebells that grow in Dad’s timber. Rarely does a spring go by that I don’t get down to the timber to visit them. They are beautiful and the timber is my happy place. There’s no place I would rather be to relax and unwind!

We had a perfectly beautiful day for Easter and it was so nice and relaxing. Just spending time with family, sitting down together at the table, being outside and playing with the littles. There’s nothing better.

Grandpa and Braxton hunting for eggs. Braxton loved finding eggs this year!

Teamwork – I love how these two are bonding! They get along so well together right now. I can’t even imagine what kind of trouble they will get themselves into in the coming years.

A beautiful end to the day.


Birthday Boy


A battery operated pencil sharpener. You never know what he’s going to ask for!

Wow – Drew is 6! Where has the time gone? It’s amazing how fast time flies. There was no school for Easter so Drew go to sleep in on his birthday! He opened up presents at home on when Dad got home from work and we took him out to supper. Of course he picked his favorite restaurant, Bubba-Q’s in Ottumwa which worked out great as we picked up the chicken coop while we were there. They have the best barbecue ever although Drew always orders the macaroni and cheese! He got to open more presents on Easter and we had birthday cupcakes for dessert after out Easter meal. Lots of fun for a six year old!

Drew loves Play Mobile and he had been asking for the tree house forever. I love Play Mobile too – I would have loved to play with this stuff when I was little!
Love all the details!

Later we went out to the shop and put together the chicken coop. We were actually able to put the whole thing together without any arguing – a small miracle for sure!

Its so cute – cant wait until morning to put the chicks in it! I think they are going to love it!

Easter Decorations

My dads childhood decorations.

The older I get the less I decorate for the holidays. I might be just a tad bit lazy. It’s fun to decorate but not so fun putting everything away again. I do have a few things scattered around the house for Easter this year. My bunnies, my dad’s childhood decorations, and some of my cross stitch pin keeps. After taking the pictures I see that I have more scattered around then I thought I did!

After making the Spring pinkeep I decided to make one for the little boys for their Easter baskets. I love the little chicks fluttering around under the wheelbarrow!