Friday, October 31, 2008

Weekend Wisdom and a Belated Birthday

I am a terrible sister, so I’m combining this week’s Weekend Wisdom with a belated Happy Birthday to my little brother, Kelsey.

Kelsey is six years my junior, but I still look up to and admire him. He’s an amazing son, brother, uncle, and friend. He’s extremely intelligent, independent, and successful. Kelsey is very loving and kind. There are very few people who I am more proud of, and I am honored to be his sister.

I was trying to find a picture that best describes him, but it’s impossible to pick just one. So, I will give you the short version of the montage I made for Kelsey. The first picture was taken the day after he was born, and the final picture was taken the day he graduated from college in 2006.

Below the montage is this week’s WEEKEND WISDOM – the speech Kelsey gave at his high school graduation. There are just two things I want to point out about his speech - #1) when he talks about being long-winded, everyone there laughed because long-winded is far from what Kelsey is (unlike his dear sister!). And #2) when he mentions bending the bed supports, every single senior laughed so hard they nearly cried – whatever that’s about, I promise he’s not a pervert, it’s a private joke between the 2003 seniors.


I thought I was finally done with homework, but then I found out I had to give the Valedictorian speech. While you may worry it will take quite some time, knowing how long-winded I am, I promise to keep this speech short as it is warm in here and I have a cake at home to eat.

Our time at SCHS has been a plethora of experiences and memories. These shape us into what we are, yet high school is only a small part of our lives. We will experience and change even more as we move on. While the memories of high school, both good and bad, are important to us, we cannot dwell upon them. With time, the good memories will make up "the good ol' days" as the bad memories become less significant. We can take these memories and use them to strengthen us against whatever we may come up against in the future.

Often we will be faced with adversity. Sometimes the challenges are best met head on. At other times we will need to know when to not give a flip, for we must choose which battles are worth our time. Mr. Behrens brings up a good point about time, it is everything. If you understand time, it will be eternal and you can accomplish anything you wish.

But we must also realize that having a fun time is an important part of living. On occasion we must bend some bed supports. However, we must be careful not to break them.

Our time here at SCHS has expired. As we go down our chosen paths, I will leave you with something to ponder from Pink Floyd's "Time":

You are young and life is long and there is always time to kill today
Then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

Today is our starting gun. Godspeed.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Vintage Thingies Thursday - Rusty Red

Let me introduce "Rusty Red". She needs a new paint job, and that is scheduled for the first warm day after I buy some new paint. I wouldn't paint her at all, but she's got a spot that has rusted through, so I need to get that taken care of.

My parents rescued her at Nebraska's Junk Jaunt, and brought her home for me. I can't wait to find some friends for her!

For more vintage delights, go HERE.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Haunted Castle

Last year for Taylor's birthday party, we decided to celebrate a couple of weeks early and have a Halloween party with a Haunted House. My SIL Kelly decided that she wanted to do a Halloween party for her day care kids, and my neice Jadyn wanted to have a party as well. We got the keys to the building on Friday afternoon, and by Saturday at 1:00, we had decorated the party room and put up an AWESOME Haunted House.We didn't do a lot of pre-planning for the HH part, but it still turned out really well, especially considering what we had to work with. We didn't buy anything new, just used our own combined (mine, my MIL's, and my three SIL's) Halloween costumes and decorations. The HH room wasn't very big, maybe only 20x25 feet at most. I'll have to see if I can dig up some pictures from it.

Anyway, since we did such an amazing job (when the parents came to pick up their kids, they wanted to go through, then told some of their friends, so we were guiding people through for about 2 hours after the last party ended!), we were asked to put together another one for the Holstein Community Foundation as a fundraiser. It was held on the lower level of the old Holstein school. Kelly was dressed up as Spiderella, and had written out a history of our castle that she told our guests as she gave them a guided tour through the basement of our castle.

All in all, it was a pretty good weekend. The foundation raised a little more than $1500 (which is really good for a town that has less than 250 people and the closest town to them - Roseland - has less than 275 people). Friday night was our Kids' night, and we just changed a few things to make it a little less scary for the little ones that wanted to come through. Saturday night was our biggest money maker (we charged $2 more per person, and had more people come through). We had several drunks come through, but only had to kick one out after he kept yelling at us to show him our "ladies" (he used a quite vulgar term that I won't repeat). Other than him, we all had a great time!

Here are a few highlights (there are more pictures here):

Last week, I showed you a picture of my nephew Holden doing his little dance. The above picture is what he looked like on Saturday - pretty freaky with a strobe light going!

My SIL Brooke was CREEPY! She just followed people and moved from room to room, not saying a single word. (The picture is foggy because she's in the crypt where we had the fog machine.)

My nephew Cole played the headless guy. My father-in-law had built a small guillotine for us, but we couldn't figure out how to make it look real without hurting someone. So we hid FIL, Cole, and the guillotine behind a curtain with a slit cut in it. Cole started yelling stuff like, "No! No! Don't kill me!", the guillotine would drop, and Cole would fall through the curtain at peoples' feet. Then FIL would stick his head out (with an executioner's mask on), grunt, and pull Cole back through. Poor Cole's elbows and knees were swollen by the time we were done Saturday night!

Behind Cole, you can see another one of my SILs, Jocelyn. She and I were in the same room, and she played the Alchemist. We had a really good time, and got quite goofy on Friday night (we were the comic relief between scary rooms), and on Saturday night we broke out the Flash paper. Between groups, we were rolling the paper, and couldn't stop ourselves from singing (a less vulgar version of) a Jay & Silent Bob "song" (**WARNING** Not for little ears, and not appropriate for work!).

We were lucky enough to have Mark from Gentert Packing volunteer to be our butcher. He brought his saw, a couple of cow hearts (one is on the tray next to the table), and a cow tongue (hanging over the front of the table) to add to the grossness of it all. Kelly kept telling people that the tongue was real, but few believed her and touched the tongue anyway - YUCK!

This is poor Claude. We made him for our Halloween party last year, and this year, we added the ribs. The ribs were made from cardboard and monster mud, then my SIL painted them.

Would you believe that these pumpkins are made from newspaper, paperbags, egg cartons, cardboard, paint, and "monster mud"? They took a little while to make (mainly due to drying time), but were a lot easier than we had thought. I wish we had taken pictures after each step, but we had them almost done by the time we thought of it. I'll try to get a little tutorial put together in the next few days, and I plan on making some for our house in the summer, so hopefully I'll remember to take pictures of each step.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Watcha reading?



Grab the nearest book.
* Open the book to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post the text of the next two to five sentences in your blog along with these instructions.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.


I've seen these around on different blogs, and finally decided to give it a go. Here's what I came up with:

"We do not want to be encumbered by these just now," he said, pulling out his wand again. "I shall send them to the Burrow to await us there. However, I would like you to bring your Invisibility Cloak...just in case"

Harry extracted his cloak from his trunk with some difficulty, trying not to show Dumbledore the mess within. When he had stuffed it into an inside pocket of his jacket, Dumbledore waved his wand and the trunk, cage, and Hedwig vanished. Dumbledore then waved his wand again, and the front door opened onto cool, misty darkness.

"And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure."
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J.K. Rowling

Taylor wants to see the movie when/if it ever comes out (it was pushed back from November 2008 to July 2009), so I'm reading the book so I can decide whether or not it's appropriate for him.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Bird is the Word


My 14-year-old nephew is a Family Guy fan, and has recently there was an episode where Peter is singing the Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird". He has been singing this song for the last couple of days, and does a pretty good dance with it, too! The photo above is from Wednesday night when we were working on the Haunted House. Tonight is for the younger kids who want to go through, so my nephew will be wearing that wig, a red & white checked costume, and he'll be singing this song with his hilarious dance.

For your enjoyment, here's the Trashmen with "Surfin' Bird"

Weekend Wisdom

“Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can on it.”
~Danny Kaye~
The above picture is Danny Kaye entertaining US troops on Oct 25, 1945 in Japan. He was an actor and appeared in many movies during his lifetime. One of my personal favorites is "White Christmas" (with Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Ellen).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Vintage Thingies Thursday - Repurposed


Several years ago, my great-uncle moved into an assisted living home. Since my grandmother's old bed was slightly smaller than the rest of the beds in the house, he took hers with him. A year ago, his health started failing him more, so he was moved to a rest home, and was not able to bring the bed with him. So, it sat in storage for about 6 months until we recieved a call asking if we could come get it. Mom and dad made the 6 hour drive just to find that one of the side bars had gotten lost when it was put into storage. They brought it home, anyway, and I put my dad to work turning into a bench (he loved this idea because it gave him the perfect excuse to buy a new welder)!

I did a quick spray painting with brown because that was the bed's original color, and I already had a couple of cans on hand. I'm planning on making a cushion and a couple of pillows for it, I just have to decide if I'm going to keep it brown, or paint it something else. Any ideas?

For more Vintage Thingies, go HERE.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What happened to Fall?


This was what our drive to my parents' house looked like on Saturday morning. Foggy, but really pretty. We left the house around 7:30 so I could get the grocery shopping done before the Melody Round-Up parade. It was chilly, but we had a good time. Hastings College hosts the parade every year to celebrate their Homecoming, so it's always filled with floats from sororities, fraternities, and other school organizations. My dad's favorite float - the frat boys having a tailgate party. As part of their float, they had a BBQ grill set up and were grilling hot dogs and tossing them out to people.

After the parade, mom and I sent the boys with dad so we could do some shopping that included a trip to my favorite beading store, Beads and Botanicals. If you're ever in Hastings, you should definitely stop in, even if you don't bead. Carla is a very sweet person, and just meeting her would be well worth the trip.

Other than Saturday, my time has been filled with Haunted House stuff. I've been at the school setting up every evening (and sometimes in the afternoons) for the past 2 weeks. We're almost finished and are hoping to be ready for a run-through tomorrow night. We start Friday night and I still need to make some edible fingers, fix my sis-in-law's costume, finish the executioner's hood, and finish my father-in-law's costume!

Today, all counties west of us are in some kind of Winter Weather/Storm Advisory/Watch/Warning. It has been raining since early yesterday morning, and it's supposed to turn to snow tonight or tomorrow. Time to make some potato soup, then curl up on the couch for a movie while sipping some hot chocolate and munching on popcorn.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Weekend Wisdom

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn.”
~David Russel~

Monday, October 13, 2008

STELLA!

Saturday was the start of Popcorn selling for our local Cub Scouts, so Taylor and I started around 10am with the plan of getting all over Roseland (a cornfield is bigger than the town - check google maps - so we knew we could do the whole town in a day or less, depending on how chatty our fellow residents are). We were forced to call it quits around noon due to the weather...and a little surprise. We had a few more houses we wanted to hit on the way home, but as we were walking up to the 3rd house from home, an adorable little kitten was wondering up to us, crying her little heart out. The lady who lives at that house, "D", told us she's a stray (the kitten, not the lady), but none of the stray cats would claim her. D said that her little dog was trying to mother the kitty a little, but there were a couple of problems - #1 the dog is a boy and #2 D caught him trying to bury the kitty like a bone! D went on to tell me that if I wanted to take kitty off her hands, she would really appreciate it. As I'm opening my mouth to tell her that as much as I'd like to, we just can't take a cat (neither Jeremy nor I really like cats all that much, and Landon is slightly allergic), my darling Taylor looks at me and says, "Mom, we can't just leave her! She's too small!"

So, I agreed to take her, but was very firm when telling Taylor that we would only keep her until we can find another home for her. So, we brought her home. My sis-in-law had studied to be a vet, and although she hadn't finished school, she still knows a lot about animals. So, we called her with the hopes that she might add our new found kitten to her collection of rescued pets. She can't take little kitty because I think her husband would possibly file for divorce. Not that I can blame the guy. Six months ago, they had 4 dogs, a frog, and 4 cats. Since then, 2 dogs have had to be put down and they were able to give 1 cat away to their cable guy, but the other 3 cats (all females) mark his clothes when they're in heat. He has actually been VERY patient with the many rescued animals that have come into their home, but he's ready to be done with it all.

So, this little black kitten, with a bald spot above her left eye, that we're not going to get attached to and decide to keep, is staying with us for a little while. I bottle feed her every 4-6 hours, she has her own bed - the pet carrier we bought for our smaller dog - that is padded with some extra fabric I'll never use and an old stuffed bunny. She has a brand new food dish (we're starting to introduce her to solids), brush, and toy. And as soon as I can make a trip into town, she'll have her very own, brand new litter box. She also has two boys who just adore her and want to spend all of their free time playing with her and showering her with their attention.


Her name is Stella...
but we're not going to keep her.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Weekend Wisdom


The Cab Ride I'll Never Forget
by Kent Nerburn

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. One time I arrived in the middle of the night for a pick up at a building that was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself.

So I walked to the door and knocked. "Just a minute," answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.

"It's nothing," I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated."

"Oh, you're such a good boy," she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?"

"It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly.

"Oh, I don't mind," she said. "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice."

I looked in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.

"I don't have any family left," she continued. "The doctor says I don't have very long."

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. "What route would you like me to take?" I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm tired. Let's go now."

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

"How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse.

"Nothing," I said.

"You have to make a living," she answered.

"There are other passengers."

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

"You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said. "Thank you."

I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life. We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware—beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Vintage Thingies Thursday - Brooches


These are 4 of the brooches from my grandmother's costume jewelry collection I inherited. Instead of just storing them away in a box somewhere, I wanted to display some of my favorite pieces. Along with a new vintage-inspired brooch I picked up, these are now being put to use as decorative "tie-backs" for my living room curtains.

For more vintage beauties, go HERE.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Which one?

I'm not a snob, I swear. I just hate school pictures. They show no personality, and are ALL THE SAME. I'm also cheap. I don't want to spend $20 on pictures I don't like, don't want hanging in my house, and don't want to give to my family to clutter up their houses. I prefer to take pictures of the boys myself. They're more fun to look at, and I can give just one picture to everybody instead of two. The problem is trying to figure out which ones to develop, so I'm asking for help.

One of these (above) will go in an 8x10 frame in the living room.

These are my two choices for photos to give to family.

On either side of the 8x10 frame, there is a 5x7 frame for individual pictures. I've narrowed it down to these three for Landon...

and these three for Taylor.

This is the picture Taylor picked out to give to his friends and teachers at school. I don't like it - he looks too grown up!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Workin' through it

About a month ago, I broke my hand by once again shutting it in the car door. Yeah, I'm a clutz! The bones didn't actually break, but 3 were severely cracked. I had a pity party for a few days, then figured out how to work through it and found that I could actually type, sew, take pictures, and kind of write despite my injury!

As busy as this weekend was, it's a good thing my hand is healing so well! We spent Friday evening, Saturday late afternoon & evening, and Sunday late afternoon & evening at my mother-in-laws house working on stuff for our upcoming Haunted House - it's less than 2 weeks away! Saturday morning, Taylor and I went to take some pictures of my nephew (and a few of Taylor) before picking my mom up to do some grocery shopping. On our way, we saw a garage sale sign that was just begging for our attention, so naturally we had to check it out. They had a LOT of antiques, but we were good and only bought 2 things. I bought a glass juicer, and my mom bought an adorable stuffed chenille bunny. We're still trying to figure out who's keeping it, but we just couldn't leave it at the sale!

Sunday, my parents and I took Taylor and Landon to the Prairie Loft's Harvest Festival. We had a lot of fun listening to Jim King sing, Rajean Luebs read her stories, painting, and making corn husk dolls (Landon made a corn husk squid). There was also a petting zoo, free watermelon, a farmer's market, and the boys were able to use an old apple press to make some delicious apple cider! Oh! I can't forget the tractors - they had at least a dozen John Deeres ranging from the 1920's through today, as well as an old Fordson, Farmall, and a new Case Combine.

Taylor's hard at work making his corn husk guy. They boys enjoyed it so much, I've had to add corn husks to my shopping list this week.


Landon cranking away at the press - with a little help from Grandpa.

The boys found a nice place to sit and relax for a few minutes.

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Below is a picture of a blanket that I finished a few weeks ago, but just got around to taking a picture of Friday night. Each square is 15 inches, so it's a nice big picnic blanket - we've already used it twice and picnic season is about over!

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I added a couple of new photos to my etsy store, and have a few new things I've been designing and I'm hoping to get them into the store by the end of the month, so check it out if you have a chance!

Plans for today:
Laundry
Work on Taylor's quilt (I'll have to take a picture of Landon's to post)
Work on new etsy items
Edit the boys' fall pictures
Take pictures of bench and chair
Figure out how to sell popcorn and go to the museum at the same time!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Weekend Wisdom


“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
~Maya Angelou~
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