Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rural Thursday - More Living History Photos

I've been meaning to share some more photos of our Memorial Day  '12 trip to Living History Farms. What better day than "Rural Thursday," right?

Living History Farms is an open-air "museum" with plenty of exhibits. The part we visited was "Walnut Hill, IA," which represented an Iowa town, typical of what you'd find in 1875. 

Here are photos of our visit to the one-room schoolhouse, representing what a school would've been like circa 1875. These photos were all taken with my iPhone. (Can you believe today's technology?!?!)

Exterior view #1.

Exterior view #2, with Liv in the doorway.

Interior view #1.

Interior view #2; Iowa winters require those wood-burning stoves!

Livie's excited to be "an 1875" student! Check out the chalkboard tablet.

She's practicing writing.

And a final photo, which Livie thought I should include today: the photo where she's posing next to an "old-fashioned" butter churn, which, of course, wouldn't be "old-fashioned" in 1875.

In the background, you can see examples of farming tools farmers would've regularly used in the late 19th Century.

Rural Thursday is co-hosted by Two Bears Farm and A Rural Journal.

Please click on the button below to view the rest of Rural Thursday's entries:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Busy Days

I've been busy lately, chauffeuring Livie around to various activities (mainly swimming), and trying to get some studying accomplished (hard to do with Livie out of school for the summer).

However, we have been able to do a few fun things during my "summertime extended study break," (aside from swimming/swim lessons, studying, and reading for the library's summer reading program).

The other night, for example, Livie and I were able to go to an outdoor concert in the local park. We had a picnic dinner and listened to a classic rock cover band.

On the way back to the car (which was parked a few blocks away), I snapped a photo of a local church, using the Instagram app on my iPhone:

Of course, it seems like in the summertime, the weekend is the best time for me to get study time, because Andrew's home and able to do fun things with Livie (like gardening stuff). So that's when I get an hour or two to get out of the house and get some hard core reading/studying accomplished - at the local bookstore/cafe, of course (which also entails getting myself a little treat, like an iced caramel macchiatto). This photo was also taken with my iPhone and the Instagram app:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The First 10th.

Andrew and I have two anniversaries. Today is our "First" 10th anniversary. Our "first" anniversary of the calendar year is the anniversary of our Justice of the Peace ceremony, which took place in Fayetteville, NC on June 21, 2002. (Click here to read about the actual day, which I'd blogged about last year on our "First" Ninth.)

The condensed version is as follows.

We were both active duty in the Air Force. As of January 2002, we were planning on getting married in December 2002.

But I was stationed in Tucson, AZ. He was stationed in Fayetteville, NC. I was expecting orders for a new assignment by the end of Summer 2002. He wasn't going to get orders for another couple years (maybe 3). Well, in order for us to be stationed at the same place at the same time, we couldn't be simply engaged, we had to be married.

Hence, the Justice of the Peace ceremony, which took place June 21, 2002, just in time for them to cut orders for BOTH of us at the same Air Force base, at the same time.

The Justice of the Peace ceremony was small, informal, and included a few of the guys from Andrew's office. Meanwhile, plans for the church wedding in December in Chicago were continuing to keep me, my mom, and the wedding planner busy.

(Our "Second" 10th anniversary - celebrating the church wedding - is December 14th, 2012, in case you're wondering. But I'm sure I'll blog about it when the time comes.)

Anyway, knowing Andrew was busy and probably hadn't planned anything to commemorate our first decade, I decided not to do anything big. I figured we'd keep this one small, like the original ceremony was 10 years ago.

Here's what I did. Yesterday, Livie and I went to the open art studio at The Dreaming Bear, here in town. Partly it was something fun to do inside (in AC!!!) on a hot summer day. But partly, I wanted to do something other than getting a boring ol' anniversary card. Because it IS the 10th anniversary, after all!! Right?

So Livie worked on her own art project (painting a wooden horse cutout).

And so I picked out a small, white stretched canvas (something like this, but about 4"x6"). Then I painted the base color (sort of turquoise-like) and then the letters and dots, and then it got glittered-up. Just to be cute.

Like I said, it's just something cute that we could hang somewhere in the house. I'm not good at painting letters freehand, so don't expect anything Degas-like, or something like that.

Better than a card, because I made it myself. Plus it was fun to make. However, I won't quit my day job anytime soon. (Or I'll stick to photography as my art medium!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Remembering a Different Home

Normally, if I feel a little homesick (or have a feeling of saudade), it's for New Mexico (or El Paso, TX, or even Tucson . . . but generally somewhere in the Southwest).

But lately, I've been kind of missing my other home, Chicagoland. See, I went to college in Chicagoland - Lake Forest College (in Lake Forest, Il, to be exact). And before I joined the Air Force, I worked as a Certified Legal Assistant in Chicagoland (in Deerfield, IL) and lived in Chicagoland (Arlington Heights, IL, about 8-9 miles from where I worked). So I lived in the Chicago area for a number of years.

There's so much to do in a metropolitan area like Chicagoland. There are plenty of sports related activities, like my being able to go to Chicago Blackhawks games (my favorite NHL team). My brother and I would go to a home game together at the United Center at least once a season - the 'Hawks, a beer, nachos, and good company - you couldn't get a better type of fun than that. Plus Chicago has two MLB teams, an NFL team, and a MLS team. Of course, Chicago has plenty of cultural activities, too - the Art Institute, the Shedd Aquarium, opera, theater, various concerts. And restaurants - think of a type of food . . . Spanish tapas, Italian, deep dish pizza, steak . . . you name it, Chicago has it.
Andrew and I also got married in Chicago, in December, when the air was crisp and cold, Christmas-y lights were twinkling, and there was a hint of snow in the air and that special holiday buzz surrounding us.

(Oh, and here's a little-known tidbit: the best driver's license photo I ever had was for my Illinois license, when I'd renewed it in December 2002.)

So as you can see, there is something special to me about Chicago.

But I'm sure you're wondering what got me on a "I miss Chicago" kick.

It was a dog.

A dog? 

Yes, a dog.

Not a canine.

A dog.

A hot dog.

A hot dog?

Yep. A Chicago dog.

Poppy seed bun, hot dog, mustard (and NEVER ketchup!!!), sweet relish, dill pickle spear, tomato wedges, sport peppers, and a bit of celery salt.

There's a hot dog place near us that opened within the last year here in east-central Iowa. We'd never been there, but had noticed they advertised Chicago-style hot dogs. So this past weekend, out of curiosity, Andrew decided to go get some Chicago-style hot dogs, just to see how they stacked up to the real thing.

The dog (and a beer), via Instagram app on my iPhone.
(No, that's not the exact color . . . I tried giving it a little bit of an artsy look to it with the Instagram app.)

Well, it was pretty good - good enough to satisfy the Chicago dog craving. But it made me miss stopping at the hot dog stand I used to get my Chicago dogs from, when I was in the city - a little place called Hot Diggity Dog on Ohio St (off of . . . um . . . Fairbanks, I think?), where they had the BEST chocolate malts.

And that's what made me start reminiscing about all the other things I missed about Chicago (driving Lake Shore Drive at night, going for a run at the lake, the IMAX at Navy Pier, etc.) . . . and, well, there you go.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Barn Charm, Again! (#3 For Me!)

Yay! I'm participating in another "Barn Charm"!

Of course, these two "Barn Charm" photos are from Living History Farms, in Urbandale, IA. Living History Farms is a large, open-air "museum" showcasing what life was like in Iowa in 1875 (like my previous two "Barn Charm" entries).

The first photo here, is an exterior view of the "Flynn Barn," which I've learned is on the National Registry of Historic Places.

And the next photo, taken from inside the barn, is a bit of history about what this barn (and the "Martin Flynn Farm") would've been like in 1875.
I know it's hard to read (but if you click on the photo, you may be able to read it, sorta-kinda). Basically, Flynn was a prosperous businessman who'd built a home and farm there, with building taking place between 1870-1871, and raising short-horn cattle.

Even if you can't read the print within the photo, you can at least see where the barn was in relation to the "Flynn Mansion" (to the left), and the fenced off pastures (to the right).

"Barn Charm" is hosted by Bluff Area Daily. Please click on the button below to view the rest of this week's "Barn Charm" entries.

It Was a Good Father's Day, 2012

Andrew and I had a grilled filet mignon and "waffle cut" potatoes cooked on the grill. Andrew (who didn't want his picture taken, and therefore isn't looking at the camera) is giving the meal two thumbs up. After taking a couple bites of steak, said it was cooked just right.

Liv chose to have a "hoagie" sandwich, with turkey, cheese, and lettuce. and ate a few of those grilled potato slices, too. She also gave her meal two thumbs up, and hoped I'd make her another sandwich like that when 1st Grade starts up in the fall.

And just because it was Father's Day yesterday, I have to include this photo of Andrew and Livie (because it's one of my favorites of the two of them). This was taken the day Andrew got home (in New Mexico) from his deployment to the Middle East, and the first time he'd seen Livie in 120+ days (he'd left when she was 3.5 months old, and returned when she was nearly 8 months old). 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Grow, Corn, Grow!!

As Livie always says as we pass green farm land in the spring and summer, "Grow, corn, grow!! Grow!!" (Or soybeans, as the case may be.) Yep, the corn is getting there, slowly but surely.

Instagram photo, taken 12 Jun 2012, near Hiawatha, IA.

I occasionally pass this field when I run on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail early in the mornings. I must've paused to take this photo around 6:45 AM the other morning.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Another Barn Charm Post!!

I took a couple photos of that red barn at Living History Farms, while we were there on Memorial Day, so I figured I'd save this second shot for use as a second Barn Charm entry.

Here it is from another angle - this is what one end looks like, with its sliding door entry, and a window partly covered by foliage. I love how the peeling paint gives it character. I wonder what's on the inside.

(Here's last week's view - click here -  if you hadn't caught it before.) 

Please click on the button below and check out Bluff Area Daily for other Barn Charm entries:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The 2012 Iowa State Fair Coloring Contest Entries!!

Okay, so for the past couple years, Livie has been entering the Iowa State Fair's kids' coloring contest. (Here's the 2010 entry, and here's the 2011 entry, where she won 2nd Place for her "Anything Goes.")

Well, she's entering the contest again, this year, and she's really excited about it!

Each year, they hold a coloring contest for kids ages 3-10. They have age group categories (3-4, 5-6, 7-8, and 9-10), and an "Anything Goes" category.

For the age group, they are to use crayons, markers, and/or colored pencil to color their coloring sheets (each age group has its own picture).

The "Anything Goes" division (one picture for all ages) is where they can use anything to decorate their sheet - glitter, stickers, crayons, markers, felt . . . whatever they can imagine!

Each year, the pictures' themes change.

Last year, since it was the 100th anniversary of the famous Butter Cow, each division's theme had something to do with the butter cow. (Liv won 2nd Prize for her "Anything Goes" Butter Cow!)

This year, the theme has to do with some very tasty fair treats. For the 5-6 age group, the coloring sheet showcased the Fair's famous chocolate chip cookies.

Here's Liv proudly displaying her finished 2012 age group entry, having chosen to use crayons only (though she briefly considered using either her markers or colored pencils):
Yes, she added smiley faces on the "tablecloth."

These cookies at the Iowa State Fair, by the way, are SO GOOD!! Mmmmm! You can get them by the cup, or by the bucket (as seen in the picture)! When you buy them, they are warm and chewy, and the chocolate chips are gooey, and you can't eat just one. They are the best!! I don't know if it's because we only get them at the Iowa State Fair, or if they are really THAT GOOD, but we've never had better!

(Can you believe that I don't even remember whose cookies they are?! This year, when we stop at the Varied Industries Building, I'm going to take a picture and tell you all about it.)

Okay, enough about the cookies.

Alright, alright . . . back to the coloring contest.

So this year's "Anything Goes" division showcases a delicious three-scoop ice cream cone. Liv used crayons, ink stamps, glitter glue, sequins, and specially decorated art paper.

Here's her 2012 "Anything Goes" artwork (she especially loves the glittery "cherry" on top):

And here's where she wanted to display them both, together:

We're putting them in an envelope and taking them to the post office tomorrow, first thing. They should be in Des Moines by Tuesday (or Wednesday, at the latest); the deadline is July 30th.(Come to think of it, that's a bit earlier than previous years, if I remember correctly. I think the first year, it was early, early August. Oh, well - not that it matters - we'll get it in with plenty of time!)

Wish Liv luck! She's really hoping to top last year's 2nd Place entry by winning 1st this year. (She really, really wants that blue ribbon!)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Barn Charm!!

I finally have a barn photo to submit to "Barn Charm"! I love red barns, so I'm glad I was able to get a photo of a red one.

This barn is at Living History Farms in Urbandale, IA.

Please check out Bluff Area Daily for this week's other "Barn Charm" entries.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The "Hodge Podge of Photos" Post

I've got a bunch of random photos from our week in the Des Moines area that I thought I'd share today.

But first, an update on that bird that was stuck inside my parents' house last week. (Check on the original post here.)

This bird found itself trapped inside my parents' house. I don't know how long it had been inside before I realized it was in there. Originally, it was in the living room (not pictured) stuck in between an inside shutter and the window, desperately trying to get outside, and not realizing that the glass overlooking a wooded area would never allow him to get out.

I'd somehow gotten him to perch on the brush end of a broom, as I held the handle. I quickly walked to the front door as Livie held the door opened. But he became confused and flew not OUT the door, but up into the window way above the door. You can't get to that ledge unless you have a tall ladder (or are a bird).

We tried shooing him out, but he was confused, and just hopped, fluttered, and flew around near the window. I thought of throwing a towel on him so I could transport him out, but I was too short and didn't have a ladder tall enough to facilitate that idea.

We'd gotten a suggestion to use a butterfly net, but the only one we own, Livie's, was at our home 140 miles away.

After a couple hours of trying, off and on, we just left him there for the time being. When my dad got home from work, he also tried shooing him away, without success. But at one point, he FINALLY shooed the thing far enough away from the window that somebody was able to gently grab it, and release it outside!! So the little thing was finally free!!

And the funny thing is that we would occasionally see him at the bird feeder in the front yard. At one point, Andrew saw him on a ledge looking inside. Livie wondered if it was trying to figure out what had happened to him!

Anyway, here are the random photos I'd wanted to share. The first three were taken at the Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market.

Enjoying a bean and cheese pupusa for breakfast at the Farmer's Market.

This dragon is on a building on one of the side streets in downtown Des Moines.

Livie got a "fishing" balloon "hat."

And the "Instagram" photo (of a Farmers' Market goodie) I took with my iPhone:
We'd gotten a blueberry pie from the Farmers' Market. Here's the piece I later enjoyed.

"Oh, deer!" Guess who was enjoying the spilled bird seed in the front yard?

Oma (Liv's great-grandmother, my grandmother) and Liv are enjoying caramel sundaes one evening after dinner at the local DQ.

Friday, June 1, 2012

On the Farm, Back in the Day

Livie and I were on a bit of a vacation for the last few days. We were visiting her grandparents for a week, and had plenty of adventures. Andrew had 4 days off from work, so he was able to come out Saturday-Tuesday.

One of our adventures was going to a place called Living History Farms, in Urbandale, IA. It's a huge, 500-acre open air museum, with re-creations of life in various time periods here in Iowa.

We visited the museum's town of "Walnut Hill, IA," which is a representation of a post-Civil War Iowa town, as it would have been in 1875. They have various buildings, such as a church, a lawyer's office, a doctor's office (the doc also being the town's dentist), a one-room school house, a millinery, a bank, and other such offerings a town of this sort would have in this time period. Plus, they have various people in period costume and "in character," ready to teach visitors about life in the 1870s (like the milliner, who taught us about which hats would be appropriate for women and girls (like me and Livie) in the time period).

I took a TON of photos, both with my little Cannon PowerShot camera, as well as my iPhone. But instead of boring you all with a million photos, I'll show a few "like" photos today (ones that are similar in theme), and then a few more over the next few days. (And of course, the Living History Farms' website has great photos for you to get a good idea of what this fun museum is all about.)

First stop, the horse-related photos:

We're at the vet's. To the left, his office, to the right, the barn.

In the barn: a wagon, and behind Livie's left shoulder, a stall with hay bales.

In the office - a horse skull, and tools in the cabinet.

A fenced-in yard outside the vet's office.

In the barn - some "advertisements" from around town.

Of course, there's a blacksmith in town.

The blacksmith - the billows that stokes the fire is in the upper left hand corner of the photo, with a "pipe" focused on the fire; it's currently in the "closed" position, having just blown out a bunch of air onto the fire. The (21st Century) boy is operating the billows' handle. Liv's hatted head is in the lower right corner.

And one cool sign from the gift shop:
Stable Inn: Stall Rentals, Riding Lessons, Horseshoeing, Training
The only thing that stopped me from buying it? No place to put it!
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