Monday, December 23, 2013

I guess I'm a snowbird!

I've done just awful at blogging for the last few months. I guess it's a lot of things.

I'm busy. (Who isn't?)

We've been fighting colds and little stomach bugs off and on and honestly I just haven't felt good.

Mostly though I think I've been bad at blogging because anything I feel like blogging about, I know I've blogged about before. Which, on the other hand, isn't so bad. I guess that just shows the cyclical and seasonal, habits and traditions that our lives tend to take. The last few years bring the same fall/winter traditions of trick or treating, school music programs, gingerbread house building and somehow I just don't feel like blogging about those things again!

This winter however has been a bit different. We've had five snows this winter! The earliest was way back in October and our big one, 6 inches, occurred right before Thanksgiving. After the last three years of living in the worst drought in Kansas history it's really nice to see all this white stuff on the ground. Really nice since the infamous Kansas winds have seemed to back off and allow the snow to stay put!

I remember winter days growing up in Indiana where I just dreaded the cold winter days. I'm not even sure what it was about a snowy winter day that bugged me. Maybe it was having to get so bundled up in so many layers to go outside and get chores done. Maybe I despised it because my sisters and I spent so much time outside during winter weekends cutting and splitting wood to fill our wood burning stove. Maybe I just got cabin fever being stuck inside with six brothers and sisters. Who knows! I just remember not really enjoying winter much growing up in Indiana. I would have been happy with snow on Christmas and that's it!! I lived for summer!!

But this past weekend changed my thinking. Saturday night we received a lovely snow, 3 or so inches. The kind of snow that you see on made for TV movies that just fell gently and looked lovely under the moonlight. Then yesterday after church we had a beautiful sunny day, cold enough the snow didn't melt and no wind. I felt antsy and even though DR and the kids were quietly watching a movie I just felt like I couldn't stay in the house one more minute so I decided to take a quick walk around town.

My intention was a brisk 15 minutes of fresh air but as I meandered through our sleepy town my walked stretched to much longer. My light excersions quickly warmed me up until I had unzipped my coat, dropped my hood and stripped off my mittens. It was glorious! The sun was bright, the snow was clean and I felt that with just a few more trees I might have been at home in Indiana.

And at that point I realized I really loved being outside in the snow. Or maybe I just love being outside and I haven't spent nearly as much time out in nature as I did growing up. I think maybe it was God's way of telling me that I need to spend more time outside. Either way, it was lovely and I think I'll be thinking of snow differently from now on.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Grain Elevators and Snowmen

I've been busy, busy this week! 
Tonight I had my very first home painting party! I had so much fun. 
Miss Cassandra was a wonderful host and she picked a grain elevator to paint. I love this painting because it is much more low stress than some of the other paintings I've led. 

Another funny thing about this painting was how all the ladies were worried that their husbands/fathers would be picky about their paintings if they weren't just right since this is a painting of the elevator in our town...a site we all see everyday! 

Then Monday I also led two snowman painting parties! 

Let me tell you too, that having two sisters paint together can be just hilarious! 
These two sisters bickered and bantered and were great entertainment for me. 

These paintings have been great to do and I'm having so much fun. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Snow Day!!!

We woke up to snow this morning, just a bit, but it snowed all morning long until we had at least 2 or 3 inches! Yay!! I love snow. The kids were dismissed from school because the weather is calling for even more snow later this afternoon, a possible 7-8 inches!! Bring it on! 

After trudging through snow on the way home, the boys were wet and ready to cozy up for a movie and hot apple cider. 

And a round of hamming for the camera! 

And like most of his free time, Yap has his nose in a book! Love how much this kid is into reading! 

Oh no, they aren't sad about school being let out early or anything are they? 

Isn't all that white just gorgeous? 

My crazy dog. When we get any sort of snow she prances around like the happiest dog in the world but if we get any rain, even just a little, she freaks out and takes off around town and scared of her own shadow! 

I sure hope we get more of this white stuff, we can always use the moisture! 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Santa Success and my first Private Party!

This past week I taught two painting classes in one day, one in the morning and one in the evening. During both sessions I led the ladies, and one very brave teenage boy, in painting a Santa Claus. 

Our painting parties have become so popular that we outgrew our library and had to move to our town's Senior Center next door. 

We had some crazy Kansas State fans that painted Santa's iconic hat purple! I thought that was great but I told them I would absolutely refuse to help them draw Willy the Wildcat. I have to uphold my allegiance to Purdue Pete you know!! 

Altogether we had 23 Santas created on Tuesday. One woman even attended both sessions and she's planning on painting a Santa for each of her daughters for Christmas. 

With this group I led my first pair of sisters in painting together, the two ladies on the right. Talk about fun! Those two were egging one another on and laughing all evening. I get to lead these two next week too as the lady in the middle is hosting my first private party! We are both really excited! 

Leading these painting parties have been so much fun. You'd think that after leading a class for two or three hours I'd be exhausted but I find myself coming home after these classes excited and energized! 

What I really enjoy is that so many different and individual paintings can come out of the very same instructions. 

I'm finding too that some of these women who are attending these classes keep coming back again and again. I even asked them why and some of their answers were surprising. Some said they do it because it helps out our town library and it's local. It's nice to have something to do in our tiny town and not having to drive an hour to do something. Some ladies enjoy it as a challenge that is forcing them out of their comfort zone. Others have realized that they can paint and it was something that they never thought they could do. I've always been convinced though that ANYONE can create art!! I've also found that it seems to be a really fun way for women to spend evenings together. Most evenings are filled with just as much relaxing and laughing as creative painting! 

My library ladies, that's what I call my core group of women who return time after time, have already told me they are expecting a painting next month. The librarian in our town has been choosing the paintings so I'm excited to see what she chooses! 

P.S. - Next Friday I'm doing my first private painting party at my friend's house and we'll be painting a Grain Elevator at Sunset! I'm am beyond excited!!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Long Time, No See...But Now There Are TWO of Me!

You are probably wondering where I've been huh? It's been a while since I've had the chance to blog! 

What's been keeping me so busy? Well, I've been painting....a lot! In October I taught two painting parties where we painted monogrammed pumpkins. It was so much fun and some of the ladies who participated were incredibly brave with their choice of colors! 

I never would have imagined that cream and gray would make a nice pumpkin but oh, boy didn't it turn out just wonderfully? 

And this one, I just love that green and the fact she chose a lowercase letter! So unique! 

Next week I'm going to be teaching two classes in one day, oh boy!! And we are going to be painting Santa! 

This is going to be a fun one! 

Our painting parties have became so popular that we are increasing our maximum class size from 10 to 20! 
I have to give a big thanks to my town librarian Angie for starting me down this road of teaching painting parties. I've enjoyed it so very much and though I've found my calendar full between teaching classes and preparing paintings for possible classes I've never felt more energized! I feel like this is exactly what I should be doing! 

In fact, I've decided to start a little business. Not only am I going to keep teaching these painting classes at the library, as long as my librarian will allow me to, but now I'm going to start traveling to host painting classes where the customer is, within reason. I'd love to travel back home to all you wonderful folks in Indiana but I'd have to REALLY adjust my prices!! So, I've been working on a separate website for these traveling painting parties; introducing The Roving Brush. 

I'm so excited! I have so many painting ideas I can't seem to paint fast enough. So, anyone interested in a party? 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Snow?? On October 19th!! And NOT just a Little!!

Yesterday's weather was about 60 and sunny. A pretty wonderful day all around and today's forecast was a 15 degree drop with snow. Truthfully, I wasn't too surprised. Kansas weather tends to fluctuate up and down often. And really, how much snow could there be today?? I figured we'd get a bit of snow that would just melt when it hit the ground. 

That's not exactly how the day has been going. The snow is sticking...and it's not stopping! It's 1:30 right now and it's still snowing. But you know what's crazy?? Our weather forecast is calling for a high of 65 tomorrow!! 

Here's the playground at Yahoo's preschool, entirely covered!! 
Though the snowy weather isn't going to stick around too long, it sure isn't going to make the farmers around here happy. 

Corn harvest is pretty much done out here and DR's elevators have the corn ground piles covered which is good but the quite a bit of milo is still out in the fields waiting to get harvested because it's still too wet. 

Well, today sure isn't going to help the moisture levels. The milo still needs a good hard freeze to draw the moisture out of the milo heads. Maybe we'll get lucky and get a freeze tonight. 

I'm sure any farmers out there would be angry at this photo but I think it's kind of pretty. 

The one good thing about the snow is the grain elevators are closing early tonight which means I might get to see my husband for more than an hour this evening! 

I don't mind the snow in October. Today's snow reminds me quite a bit of Indiana snow. The flakes are big, wet and heavy and the sky looks more like January than October. As long as the snow can hold off until after Halloween I'll be happy. I'm not looking forward to wearing snow boots while trick or treating!! 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Garden Dirt Clod Fight

The other day I decided it was time to dig up my sweet potatoes. Yes, I know we haven't had a freeze yet but I decided I'd rather dig when the weather was pleasant than cold and windy. While the weather was pleasant I was also able to get more willing helpers! Yip, Yap and the neighbor boy helped me scrounge through the dirt, after I dug, to dig out those big red tubers! Yum! Sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving! 

After we were all done the boys decided that that freshly turned earth was too good to pass up and they proceeded to have a dirt clod fight! I did warn them that if they were going to throw dirt clods that I wouldn't tolerate any whining if they got HIT with one. 

Winding up! 

I often tease Yip that his body movements mirror Captain Jack Sparrow. Sometimes his arms and legs are all akimbo but they always tend to land just where he wants them too, though I often fear he's going to just trip over his own feet! 

It's harder than you think getting a good photo of a dirt clod. 

My boys are getting too dang tall!! Yap there is one size away from he and I wearing the same size shoes! 

And here are my wonderful, small, but glorious crop of taters curing in my kitchen. Another couple of days and I'll make myself a batch of sweet potato fries before I store up the rest. 

DR and I love sweet potatoes. The kids..not so much. Anyone have a great sweet potato recipe to win over my kids, not involving marshmallows, that you could share with me? 

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Photo Shoot - The Many Faces of Yahoo.

I think I got burned on taking photos a while back but after I got some camera advice from a friend of mine, ordering some filters and taking football pictures I've been finding more and more reasons to break out the camera. Last week Yahoo and I were outside on one of our many glorious SW Kansas days and, surprisingly, she was hamming it up for the camera. Most days she runs and hides when she sees me shooting. I'm sure most of you won't care one bit about this post and that's fine; these pics are mostly for grandmas, grandpa and numerous aunts and uncles anyway :) 

Pretending to be asleep. 

She spends more time swinging on this hammock than actually laying down. Good thing they are sturdy. 

Her Princess Face....

...and her Tiger Face! 


...and again!

I was playing around a lot on editing these and I'm really happy how they turned out. Since she was born I've been trying to get a photo showing the accurate color of her eyes. I think I'm pretty close here! 

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