Monday, July 6, 2015

Little Red Library

Across the street from our house there is a beautiful little lake 
with a walking path all the way around it. About a mile and a quarter. 
There are always people walking the path or fishing or biking.

But one of our favorite feature of the lake is the little red library. 
It is sponsored by our local library.

The books are all free inside for anyone to take.  
The only guideline is if you take a book then please leave a book. 
The kids and I are always digging through our bookshelves for books
to leave In hopes of finding a treasure to bring home with us.  

Jackpot! We can't resist a good Eric Carle. 

I love this concept of a free little library and feel so lucky 
that we have one within walking distance of our house. 
It was put in shortly after we moved here. 
And we noticed that it took a little bit of time for people 
to understand the concept. We use the walking path around 
the lake all the time so we had plenty of opportunity to pass by. 
At the beginning it would start  off full of books one day 
and be completely empty the next.  But as time has gone by 
people are starting to understand it. It's constantly full of books now.
 Some books stay in the little red library longer than others while 
other books are snatched up fairly quickly.

Does anyone else live net one of these? 

How does it work in your neighborhood? 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Chalkboard FIX!!

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I last blogged. I always thought that once we moved I'd have more free time on my hands to blog. Amazing though how three kids and their activities plus mine eat up the hours of my day. 

One thing I did get accomplished was taking care of the "Red Square"! 
Ha ha!! When DR looked at our house there wasn't anyone living here but there was still a little furniture left. Of course, nothing looked out of place until we moved into an empty house and their was a red rectangle in the middle of the dining room!! I WAS NOT ready to paint an entire room and I knew matching the color was iffy. 

So the RED SQUARE sat for quite a while as I thought of an alternative. I hung our family portrait there, obviously not as a fix, but thinking maybe we needed a giant canvas to cover it. 

But then our friend JESS stopped by for a quick visit and suggested a chalkboard. YES!! Perfect idea!! I found some small bottles of chalkboard paint, maybe only 8 oz, at Hobby Lobby that worked perfectly. 

It's mighty handy sending birthday messages to friends!! 

(BTW....when did Yip start looking so grown up???)

The trim was just some scrap wood with some leftover stain which makes a perfect chalk tray! We use it all the time for logging summer reading time, and leaving notes for one another. The little kids in the neighborhood love to draw on it! What a fun fix that turned out to much better than painting an entire room! Thanks for the idea Jess! 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Rainy Days and Broken Crayons

We've been in our new home just about three weeks and it's rained every day except one. We've had a few days in a row recently where it's rained all day and was cold. I was hearing the dreaded "B" word way too often. 

"Mom, I'm Bored!" 

The kids still had their school supplies in their backpacks. We hadn't unpacked them in the move. It was just low on my to do list but we dug through them and found all the broken crayons that accumulate through a school year. We had tons of crayons between three kids. I'll kind of be happy when Yip and Yap hit middle school and they won't need crayons anymore. 

Anyway we peeled and broke up some of them, we still have lots more, and sorted them by color in a muffin tin I found at a garage sale. I popped it into a 200 degree oven for a few minutes. It didn't take long, maybe five minutes, to melt them all. 

I had tons of old brushes that I let the kids use to paint with the melted wax. A few boxes out of the recycling bin worked perfectly! Yahoo enjoyed following the circle imprints from a box that held soup cans. It looks very Kandinsky like doesn't it? 

I just love the texture that Yahoo came up with!! 

We did have to remelt the wax a couple of times but it remelted fairly quickly. And it kept Yahoo busy at least for about an hour!! 

I looked at the weather forecast for this week and it doesn't look like the rain is going away any time soon so I better start looking for some new indoor ideas! 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Just about settled.

It's been seven days now since we've arrived at the new house. The kids and I left SW Kansas on Saturday morning and by the time we arrived the moving van was gone. And it was time to unpack. It was a bit hairy and stressful for a bit but practically everything is in it's place except for all my photos and paintings. The garage is a bit of a mess too but that's not my department. 

The last few weeks have left me feeling anxious and nervous but those feelings have quickly subsided. DR and I have meshed together fairly well this week after six months of living apart. I sure am sleeping better now that my bed isn't empty! 

The biggest adjustment we've probably all had to make is the change in climate. Of the seven days we've been here it's rained every day but one. Everything is so very green and there are flowers's a bit of an assault on the senses after 5 years in SW Kansas. Even the wet smells of grass and earth seem almost intoxicating. 

It's been so wet in fact that we had to go buy rain boots for the kids so they had something to play in the woods with. (More on that later.) In SW Kansas I never even had to buy them winter boots. A SW Kansas winter is a dry winter. You always hear about the dry heat but a dry winter is different too. It may get cold in SW Kansas but it's the humidity in winter that will drive that cold to your bones like here in the east. I've felt like I've gone through three seasons in one day just because the way humidity effects my body. I didn't think I'd ever have to get used to humidity again!! 

Across the street from our house is a lake that the kids have thoroughly enjoyed playing in. Wading and skipping rocks and tromping through mud. I haven't done this much laundry in ages. Yip, Yap and Yahoo are constantly stripping off wet clothes. I won't complain though because they are outside!! 

This little lake is a gem where you can fish and has a 1 1/3 mile walking path around the lake. On Mother's Day evening we all went for a walk here and ended up getting thoroughly soaked by the rain. The boys, who were almost 6 years old when we moved away from Illinois, were happy as clams that they were in the rain. Yahoo however was not impressed. She was only 1 1/2 years old when we moved to SW Kansas so she know nothing but a climate of severe drought. She HATED walking in the rain. It was almost comical how much she complained!! 

Besides the house I think we have made a good start into settling into the community. We signed up for the summer reading program at the town library. Yip and Yahoo are in baseball this summer and Yap is signed up for golf camp. I'm trying to spread the word about The Roving Brush and hoping to get a couple painting parties scheduled for summer time. We've met a few of the neighbors and have become a familiar face already at the local Orscheln Farm Store. 

I'm excited for the summer. I think it will be a good one but I am a little bit homesick for SW Kansas. 
I miss you Sue, Connie, Angie, Cassandra. Montezuma will always hold a special place in my heart! 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

It's down to one hand now and living in limbo.


We are down to five days till the big moving day!! 
I'm excited...I'm nervous....
I'm emotional....I'm ecstatic.....
I want to see everyone before I leave....I don't want to see anyone.....
It's bitter....It's sweet.....
This is home....but it's not.

Our moving day will also mark SIX months since DR left for Kansas City and his new job. After living in a hotel for five months and a new house with no furniture for a month he's most excited about having a couch. I'm mostly excited about not living in limbo anymore. 

There gets to a point in the moving process when you are just there. You can't plan much for the near future. You stop grocery shopping because you don't want to buy something you'll just throw away. Needless to say I expect us to be eating some odd combinations of food this week. You stop reading the newspaper or paying much attention to what's happening in the community because you won't be here to enjoy it. 

A lot of people imagine that I've been super busy these last few weeks but the truth is life has been the polar opposite of busy. I'm not packing anything. The moving guys get to do that Wednesday and Thursday and even then they won't let me help. I went through the house months ago getting rid of stuff so I don't really have anything to sort through. We sold a trailer and a mower. We got rid of scrap wood in the garage. 

Tomorrow I'll pack bags for the kids and I to live out of when everything is on the truck. Tuesday I'll take all the photos off the walls and try to consolidate items for easier packing. Thursday and Friday I'll eat pizza at the school with my kids and their classes. 

But that's about it. My "to do" list is pretty short. 

Living in LIMBO. It's a strange feeling. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Moving Jitters

Twelve days....just TWELVE more DAYS! 

In twelve days I'll be moving out of the Southwest Kansas house that we've called home for almost five years to move in with my husband. I know that saying "I'm moving in with my husband" sounds weird...and it is weird...but that's how I feel. 

DR moved into our new house (not a home yet) the week before Easter. The only furniture he has are camping chairs, an air mattress and bar stools that he got at a garage sale this weekend. We've been apart for almost 6 months only seeing one another about every two weeks. We've come up with this weird routine over 6 months of seeing each other only occasionally. We save up doing the fun stuff like movies and shopping trips for when Dad is home. I miss my husband but I have to admit that there are certain aspects that I really enjoy about him not being around. I have less messes to clean up! I have a whole bed to myself...that's going to take some getting used to. I have one less person complaining about eating vegetables at dinner. Moving in with my husband is going to be a little weird. 

It's weird because he's been living in this house for a month by the time we get there. I can't help but kind of think of it as his space and the house we are in now is my space. I'm confident that we'll blend back together just fine (after all we've moved enough times I have this moving thing down pat) but I'm still nervous. 

I'm nervous about living in a subdivision with so many neighbors. I'm nervous about moving from a town of 900 to 4500. I'm nervous about the first baseball game Yip will play a week after we move there. I'm nervous about not making friends. I'm kind of a loner and not very good at just putting myself out there in social situations. 

But mostly I'm really nervous about leaving Montezuma this AMAZING community. Small and strong. A place that I feel I was completely embraced by. My boys have lived half their lives here and Yahoo has lived 4 1/2 of her 6 years here. All the school friends they've ever had are here. This may very well be the hardest move we've had to make. Though we are moving to Kansas City and many friends here get up there to the city often, I am nervous that there are some of these wonderful people I may never see again. 

So it's not really the house or the place or even moving back in with my husband that I'm nervous about but I'm nervous about friendships. Friendships are always a risk and I'm throwing a wrench in a lot of relationships right now. I sure hope I can make them survive. So..I'm nervous. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Country Mouse in the City

So much for a daily blog picture idea that I tried in February. That lasted for all of four days before I got distracted. 

But today I'll try just five minutes of blogging before I get distracted by kids and dishes and whatever else.

Good news is that we only have 26 days until moving day and I'll finally be living under the same roof as my husband again. It hasn't been all that tough, just annoying. I told him that we'll have to get used to each other again not to mention get used to a new house and neighborhood. 

Which is something I'm a bit anxious about. Over spring break the kids and I spent a few days with DR up in Kansas City and we did a lot of touristy things. And a lot of eating out since we were at a hotel which I got tired of pretty quick. 

Between visiting restaurants, museums and just generally being in the big city I felt like a Country Mouse visiting the City Mouse!! I loved the art museums and places to go but I could never shake the feeling that I just felt out of place. AND there were just too darn many people!!! 

It's a good thing that we aren't actually going to be living in the city....that might give me a heart attack. Our new town is a small town south of the big city, though it's still a LOT bigger than the teeny tiny town I'm living in right now. To give you an idea...Yahoo is in Kindergarten and there is one Kindergarten class of only 14 kids. In our new school there are SIX Kindergarten classes!!! 

My Five Minute Timer just went off so I'm going to sign off. I'm excited about moving..but a bit anxious too. But I came across this last night.....

Words of Wisdom~ I know I'll be okay! 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Artsy Fartsy Night

I absolutely LOVE nights when we, as a family, spend lots of creative time together. The older the boys get the more they tend to do their own thing which is great but I miss that time when they were little and excited to do art with their mom. 

But last night I was able to talk my kids into helping me with one of my creative endeavors. I bought myself an anatomy book and am slowly working my way through it in order to better understand body structure to improve my figure drawing skills. I always enjoyed figure drawing but haven't done any serious figure drawing since college. 

And my kids agreed to do a little modeling for me! Hope I can make this a daily habit! The boys were pretty patient and sat still for a FIVE WHOLE MINUTES!! For them that's practically an eternity! Yahoo I think lasted a total of 60 seconds and even then I had to sketch fast, she was always moving! 

Yip even set up my camera in order to work on a stop action film with his superhero figures. He got about half done before the battery died...sorry bud! When (and if) he finishes it I'll be sure to share! 

And Yahoo had her own special artwork to share especially with me this week! Yesterday I painted a Leprechaun for an upcoming painting party. 

But when Yahoo saw it she immediately said,
 "Mommy that painting isn't good!!" 
"Why?" I asked thoroughly puzzled. (I thought I'd done pretty good considering how fast I'd painted it.) 
"You can't see his face!!" 
(enter eye roll and exasperated face of five year old)
"I will show you how to make a GOOD leprechaun!" 

A GOOD Leprechaun

Yes dear. I totally see my mistakes. Thank you so very much for setting me straight!! LOL 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


It's a bit chilly and windy today but this gorgeous sky more than makes up for it. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

What a surprise!

Well look at this...snow!! I sure wasn't expecting to see this when I woke up. 

What a change from just a few days ago when I was outside without a coat! Kansas weather is crazy. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

On the bright side...

Dirty dishes at night....

...but very blessed for the food that dirtied them up. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A nice day...

My poor Hoosier family. My mom just texted me that northern Indiana is under a code red travel advisory.  And a blizzard warning until 10 tonight and winter storm warning until 7 in the morning. 

My poor sister in law moved from western Kansas to northern Indiana just a few month ago. I'm guessing she's not having a very good winter so far. 

I probably shouldn't share this photo with her then should I? 

Sunny and bright and almost 60 degrees. 

I shouldn't complain but honestly...I don't think I'd mind being in the middle of a blizzard right now. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Papa Asa

With the big move coming up in just three more weeks my busy schedule is slowing down. I gave up my position as Sunday School teacher and on the Township Library Board. I was looking at my schedule last week hoping that I'd get some good long hours of painting in before the move. That hasn't quite happened yet. I did get this handsome guy done a little over a week ago though. 

This is my Grandpa Asa who died a few years ago. I was pretty close with this Grandpa even though we fought a lot! Stubborn runs in the family I guess. 

I worked on this one on and off for about 4 months before it was finally finished. I already shipped it off to my Grandma Mary, his wife. I already miss him though. I admit when I started painting this I started at his eyes and I cried for the first couple days. Papa's eyes were his most striking feature and it was really hard to paint him. 

Last year I finished a painting of my Grandma Lennis. 

I think I'm getting better. I'd like to paint a picture of each of my grandparents but I'm having trouble finding good photos of my other grandpa to work from. 

Yesterday I was hoping to paint but Yahoo was sick all day. Maybe nothing urgent will come up today and I can get some time in. I think one of the hardest things about being an artist is not allowing day to day life intrude on your creative time. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Home sick

I guess I'm not going anywhere today. Yahoo is home sick with a fever. I'm not complaining though because we have dodged the bullet on the nasty stomach flu so far this winter but we've had a lot of bad colds. Coloring books and Netflix!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Big News!

Wow, I can hardly believe that it's been almost four months since I've blogged. I know I've been ignoring my blog here but I must say the other aspects of my life have been flourishing! 

In case you didn't know, in the last year I've started my own business The Roving Brush, a traveling painting party. It became more successful than I had ever imagined it would. In the past 16 months I'd say I averaged one party a week which along with substitute teaching and teaching Sunday School I've only gotten busier the last couple of years. 

And of course Yip and Yap are 10 1/2 years old, almost as tall as me and busy with basketball, 4H and the many adventures they get themselves into. Yahoo will be 6 in a couple of weeks and is so very proud of the fact that her bike's training wheels are off and she's working really hard at learning to ride like a big kid before......

........big news coming......

........can you guess???.............

WE ARE MOVING! (Yes, again!) 

Let's recap shall we?? 

Quick timeline;
Aug. 2003 - DR and I were married and I moved from central Indiana to Kentucky
March. 2004 - DR's job moved him, temporarily, to Delaware. I was two months pregnant with twins. I move in with my sister in Indianapolis because we don't know how long "temporary" will be and what issues we may have with twins. So for the next few months DR and I flew back and forth to see one another. In June, "temporary" became permanent and I am told by my doctor to no longer fly. 
August/Sept. 2004- Yip and Yap were born very healthy and a month later my mom and I drove to Delaware with the babies. DR didn't like the position he was forced into with this company and so....
January 2005 - My parents and teenage brother came to Delaware and helped move us back to northern Indiana....through a blizzard....with 5 month old a rental house that I'd only seen once.....two years before.  
October 2005 - We moved again to a house we bought two streets away because,you know, we thought we'd be there for a while. 
July 2006 - DR is asked to take a position in southern Indiana close to his family....we move again. 
October 2007 - July 2010 DR's company moved us again to central Illinois close to the Indiana state line. Yahoo was born!! 
July 2010 - March 4, 2015 We've lived in Montezuma, KS one of the best little communities in the world!! (can you tell I'm biased?)  
March 4, 2015 - will be our last day in this great town and we'll be moving to a 20 acre place in the country that I haven't seen yet!

I am super excited for our move though. We'll be living about an hour southwest of Kansas City, KS which is only a day drive to my parents in Indiana!! That's so much better than the two day drive with three kids that we've faced these last 4 years. DR has taken a job with his company that's a promotion (more on that later hopefully!) that he is really enjoying. He's been living in Kansas City in a hotel since early December and we are all tired of it! My kids miss their dad!!! The kids are pretty nervous about being at a new school but I'm sure they'll adjust pretty quickly. 

Anyway, with our move coming up we (obviously) have some big changes coming. I anticipate that the biggest challenge for me is that I will suddenly have either a) a whole lot of time on my hands to blog or b) so busy with living in the country and kick starting The Roving Brush again that I won't have time to blog! We'll see! 

As I was searching back through my blog to find that timeline above I found all those posts I did years ago that were Pics of the Day. Now why haven't I been doing those in a while? Oh, I know it's tricky to lug a camera around, load pics onto the computer and then post. But now I have a phone I can blog from and....why haven't I? I've decided to try to do those again.

With just about 3 weeks until moving day my schedule is all kinds of crazy. Some days I find myself busy from sunup to when I crash into bed and then other days, like today I find myself with some unexpected time on my hands. 
I'll do my best to keep you all updated on the big move! 

Keep us in your prayers...we need it!! 

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