Thursday, September 30, 2010

Kansas Skyline

I am... love...

...with the Kansas sky!!!

I could post Kansas sky pics everyday and not get bored with it!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Cool Ride in Montezuma, Kansas...

Settling into a new community is always challenging especially when you are working to get into the "cool crowd". That's us all right! DR and I, we are social ladder climbers, yessir! Have to keep up with those Joneses next door you know!

Well getting in the cool Monte crowd means bike riding. Oh, I don't mean any old kind of bike boy. You want to make a social statement in this here town then you need one of these babies!

A three wheeled bike. I have never seen a bike like this anywhere. Have you? These bikes are custom made right here in town...and there's a waiting list. Even with a price tag of $900, yes that's right $900, they are in high demand and rightly so. Most of the folks riding these bikes are older and retired and in many cases in poor physical condition. One gentleman from our church who rides his all over can hardly walk because his feet are in such bad shape. Another woman who diligently rides everyday, and she is pretty quick, needs to walk with a cane. I have to say that these bikes seem to have done wonders for this community. There are dozens of theses bikes around! I have no doubt that without these bikes there are many elderly who would rarely exercise or leave their homes. Of course I did see two high school football players riding around the other day, not sure what that was about. LOL See? Everyone wants one of these bikes!

I know quite a few older folks around the country who would love to have one of these bikes! I'm not sure if the guy who builds them would ship em' out of state but you never know. Are you interested in one? It's the cool thing to do!! (At least here anyway!)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Scenes from a Grain Elevator

It's late September and that means Harvest. I'm a Harvest Widow. DR is never home. Oh he's here to sleep and that's about it. I mean the poor guy is in such a hurry he doesn't even eat here! There's been nights when he doesn't even get home until after midnight but he's always at work before 7 the next day. Poor guy!

Harvest not only makes temporary widows out of wives but it also makes children fatherless. Temporarily anyway. I've been making the effort to load up the kids after school a couple times a week to see DR just so they don't forget what the other looks like. Plus we've been bringing in dinner to the office girls and crew, when we come, who seem to enjoy it so we're going to keep bringing dinner until harvest is over.

There are a few things about grain elevators during harvest that are certainly scenes of the season. There's always a flurry of activity everywhere; in the office, outside, on the phones. EVERYONE is super busy with multiple projects and tasks. In never fails either that during harvest something major always breaks down at the most inopportune moment. I've seen DR making flying trips for motors for grain dryers and grain legs. Today he had to go pick up a new time clock for the employees because theirs broke down. Last week he had an employee who had a car accident, while on the job, and per company policy DR had to take the guy for mandatory drug test. It's been so busy that DR has brought in company employees from Nebraska to help out with harvest! Needless to say when the kids and I do make it into the elevator we don't stay long because we would just be in the way.

But for the few moments we are there it's surely an interesting scene. There are always trucks waiting to get weighed and to get dumped. You only see truckers waiting during harvest. Truckers don't like to wait, oh no. And they sure don't like to get the run around either. Truckers are known to be a little.....let's say grumpy. Yeah, they can be pretty grumpy during harvest. This is what these guys do all day long; drive to the field, pick up grain, drive to elevator, dump grain....again and again and again.... I'm glad I don't have to deal with the truckers. (Sorry Purse Gurl!)

My favorite thing to watch at the elevator is the ground pile going down. Now I grew up in northern Indiana and had never seen a ground pile of corn before I married DR. They are much more prevalent the further west you go. I've seen small ones in southern Indiana and larger ones in Illinois but this is definitely the biggest ground pile I've ever seen (at an elevator anyway).

When farmers haul in corn it is tested for moisture levels. If the moisture percentage is too high, in the upper teens or  twenties, then the grain has to be put in a grain bin and dried down. A process that's expensive and a real pain. If there is too much moisture in a grain bin then the corn can mold and bad things happen. (Especially bad things happen to DR's happy go lucky mood!)

But if a load of grain is tested to have low moisture percentages, 13 is ideal, then the grain can be stored on the ground and can free up some much needed space in the bins. If the ground pile does get wet then it probably won't get to levels that are too damaging (usually).

The barricades are like a series of short walls about 3 or 4 ft. high and are placed in an oval shape. These are only meant to keep the bottom of the pile in place. Trucks head over to dump at the pile and the grain is shot moved to the top of the pile. 

Once the oval is filled the huge tarps are strapped over the pile to protect the grain over the winter. Eventually the grain pile will get picked up, usually over a long working weekend in the late winter or early spring. Some may be moved back into bins or trucked off to processing plants or feed lots.

This grain pile probably  isn't even a quarter of the way filled. Like I said this pile is going to be big. It has the capacity to hold 800,000 bushels of corn. WOW!!!!

Scenes from a grain elevator are always changing and if I'm stuck being a Harvest Widow this fall, well then, at least I have some interesting harvest scenes to keep me entertained!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A drawing I really like...

It's been a while since I posted a drawing because of time issues and also just taking more time thinking about my drawings' compositions. Technically, these drawings aren't anything great but I've enjoyed them and I like to share. I love the Kansas sky and sometimes feel there is more going on "up there" than "down here". That's what I was trying to say with this one.

Okay, you are just going to have to cock your heads to the left. I don't know how to fix this. I've tried loading this photo three different times and it always turns it sideways. Okay BlogWorld! Anyone know how to help me on this one? It's right side up on and on my computer! What am I doing wrong?

Marker Monday - Rattlesnake

With the start of school, we've also had the chance to attend kid's activities at the local library after school. This month's theme is Cowboys! The librarian read the book Why Cowboys Sleep with Their Boots On.

Why Cowboys Sleep With Their Boots On (Why Cowboys Series)

It was  a funny story of how animals stole the cowboy's clothes everytime he got undressed and went to sleep. 

Our librarian had a really easy and cute craft for Yahoo's group to go along with this book I'm going to share with you today. You'll need a printer, crayons or markers, scissors, tape, empty water bottle and some dried corn or beans.

First, go to this website and print off the template of the rattlesnake and color it.

Then cut it out...pretty realistic isn't it? Ha!!

Put a handfull of dried corn or dried beans inside and close the lid tightly!

Tape the tail to the top of the bottle and wrap your snake around the bottle and tape the head down to the bottom. Finally, give it a good shake and there you have your rattlesnake!

Yahoo has already torn apart a few snakes by shaking them so much!

Does anyone have any good crafts for kids to share? I'm always looking for something new to do with Yahoo during the day.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Devotions - will be revealed to you.

'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'  Jeremiah 33:3

I was having one of those days this past week; one of those days when I had no motivation. I was tired, it was really hot and I had spent a lot of time with my butt stuck on the couch watching way more television than what was good for me. It was a rather a blah and depressing day. It was also one of those days when I was having a bit of a head/heart struggle that didn't much help my attitude.

You see, this particular morning I had noticed an ad in the newspaper for a part time job that I was a little interested in (not a lot mind you) and my head was saying I should look into this position while my heart was saying that my place, for now, was to be home during the day with Yahoo. I was a bit grumpy with Mr. Heart. Just for the record I have nothing against working moms! Some of the best moms I know work outside the home. Every mom has to make her own personal choice, but Yahoo had been a handful this particular day and I was having a hard time seeing what was so wonderful about being a stay at home mom. My head and heart were wrestling back and forth all day.

Head; "Has my staying at home with my kids really made that much of a difference? What's the point? My kids still argue and fight and don't ever listen to me. Would they have been really that bad off if I had worked and they were in daycare? I miss adult conversation! My kids won't miss me that much if I find a job." Not to be outdone - Heart; "Can I really find a job worthwile though? Why did I have kids if I'm going to have someone else raise them? They are only little for a short time, do I really want to miss them grow?" These and all other kinds of thoughts bombarded me all day until I was mentally and physically exhausted.

When it was time to pick up Yip and Yap from school I was still in a "poor me" mood. As I walked into to school I was approached by one of the boys teachers who said, "I can tell you are a great mother!" Wow, my brain did a double take. Excuse me, what was that? She continued to explain how she just knew I had to be a great mother and teacher because of the stories the boys tell and background knowledge they bring to class and how well their express themselves. "You have really taught them well." She could have knocked me over with a feather. Wow, God sure sent the messager with a loud and clear message for me didn't He?
"You need to stay at home with your children. I told you once, that was Me speaking through your heart, but you needed to hear it again. So there it is." "Sorry for not listening the first time God...I've got the message now. This job isn't for me."

It's hard to be a stay at home mom, I know! Sometimes we feel like we aren't making a difference; there's no feedback on our job performance. Sometimes if feels as though no one notices how much effort we put into our children's lives. Least of all our children. Hang in there!! Someone is noticing right now. Someone can see that you are doing a great job so don't give up! You WILL get that feedback, it may just take a while. It IS worth it if it feels right in your heart! Heads are important to listen to but don't ignore what your Heart has to say either....even if your days are mostly like this!

Dear God, Thank you for revealing Your words and Your purpose to me. Help me call upon You for help before I rely on myself. Thank you for seeing all we do, everywhere and everyday. Amen.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

"Mom, I'm hungry!! Can I have a snack?"

"Mom, I'm hungry!"
 I swear, Yip utters this phrase at least a dozen times a day. Every five minutes....well, it feels like I hear it that often anyway. You'd think I starved the kid or something. He looks it, doesn't he? He drives me crazy.

And he's persistent. He won't take the answer, "No, you aren't hungry; you are just bored.", which is often the case. He restates his case over and over and over. He bombards me with supporting facts and arguments of just why he needs to eat again...and again...and get the idea.

This kid can talk forever too. He always has something to say; an idea, an argument, an opinion, a question, an annoying remark...something. Oh, there are days I am SO tempted to use an entire roll of duct tape on his mouth. I refrain but it sure takes a lot of self discipline on my part to deal with this kid some days.

It's who he is. He's my talker, my starving one, my mover and shaker.

And someday, someday, I'll be proud of his constant need to speak and share his thoughts. Someday it will be an asset for him. Someday, someone will want to hear him speak up.  But for now I'm off to feed him...just to shut him up!

God love him!! I sure do!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Foody Friday - Chocolate Banana Bread

One of my favorite blogs to read is Souffle Bombay, she has some of the best recipes and always a good story to go along with them too.

Recently she posted about Chocolate Banana Bread that she would make for her granmother....YUUMMM!!! What a hit this has been in our house!
I doubled the recipe to make two loaves but totally forgot to double the chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips) and it was still out of this world.

Chocolate and Banana Bread

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 brown bananas
3/4 to a cup of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour and baking soda in a medium bowl, set aside. In a small bowl or mug, combine the milk and the lemon juice, set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar. Add the bananas and using a potato masher, mash them into the butter and sugar mixture. If you don't have a potato masher you can use a big fork or your clean hands - it is quite fun squishing bananas! Add in the milk mixture, stir well. Add in the flour mixture and the chocolate chips, stir well, until fully mixed. Spray or butter a loaf pan, then pour your batter in. (You can add extra chocolate chips on top if you like or some raw sugar) Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Variation: Instead of a loaf, make banana bread muffins, just pour your batter into a sprayed or buttered muffin pans or cupcake liners in your muffin pans and bake for 10-15 minutes for mini's or 20-25 minutes for regular sized.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"We are a movin' family."

If you don't know how often our family has moved in the last 7 years then click here to gain a bit of background.

About a two months ago, as you probably know, our family arrived in Kansas from Illinois. Moving isn't new to us and once the movers finally arrived we promptly unpacked and quickly settled into our new community. I think I can say that we are all in a good groove here. We've joined a church, visit the local library regularly and everyone has already made new friends. We love this community and we are doing good!

Yip and Yap especially seem to have easily slipped into the groove of the community. So I was surprised when Yip said the other day, "I wonder where we are going to move next."

"Hey! We just got here." I replied.

Yap chimed in, "Yeah Mom but we are a moving family!!"

So...there you are! We are a moving family. We've moved a lot and I know we'll move again in the future. I think it's inevitable with the nature of DR's job and ambitions. When the boys were about three and we moved to Illinois from Indiana, as well as this past move, I worried that they would have a hard time making the transition. We talked a lot about what to expect to prepare them for the move. Obviously picking up and moving halfway across the country hasn't seemed to bother them at all!

Part of me feels guilty though having to uproot our family every couple of years. Of course, I know there are advantages to such a lifestyle. I think our family has become more flexible in dealing with change. We've been able to visit parts of the country we may never have traveled to otherwise because we've lived so many different places. Especially after this last move, I've noticed my boys are much more open to meeting new people...probably more so than me!

But could all this moving be bad for my kids too?? I don't know. I lived in one home from the time I was born until I went to college. I never had to move away from my family. My grandparents were all close by as were my large extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. I know for me it was wonderful growing up with the constancy of my family. Sometimes I regret that my kids don't have the family experience that I had.

However, I've realized that times are changing. No longer, or not often anyway, can a person be born, grow up, live, work and die in the same place. It seems to me that my and my siblings generations are going further away for college and are more likely to move away for jobs. My brother is in college in Kansas and I have another cousin at college in Oklahoma. I wouldn't be surprised if neither of them went back home to Indiana permanently.

Back when my parents helped DR and I move back from Delaware to Indiana my dad commented on how much more mobile my generation is than his was. I can see that too. Transportation is more reliable and readily available. Communication, like cell phones, allows for quicker and easier trip planning. We have information readily available all the time with the Internet. Now with Facebook or MySpace we can keep in touch with family and friends better than ever before. But mostly I think it is a mindset. I think my generation feels there is nothing that can or should hold us back, not even loyalty to family or location. I think we are more mobile because we have allowed ourselves to be.

My kids have that mindset already. After I was informed that we were a moving family I asked them where we should move next. Without pausing or missing a beat Yip answers, "Australia!" Well...I've always wanted to visit Australia. Why not live there for a while? You never know Yip, you may get your wish someday.

What do you think? Has your family moved alot? Do you have family who lives far away? How do you handle it? I really want to hear any comments on this subject!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

At the park, on picnic tables..

A day at the park....monkey bars....slides....but then we found....

The Picnic Tables!!
The highlight of the park. Jumping and running down this row of picnic tables.

This went on forever.....




But most importantly...smiling....

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hairstyle, Coiffure, Pompadour

The hair....this hair....

....her hair....always in the eyes... constant battle with Momma...

...but finally....I think I may have conquered because....

...we have a new do'!
Her hair is finally long enough for the double pony tail. It's keeping all the hair out of her eyes.

The mane is tamed...for now.
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