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Monday, January 31, 2011

January Recap

See the list?

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That’s right, folks!  I almost finished all my January To-Dos!

Kitchen Window Treatments AND Trim

Before:

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After:

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The Verizon rebate:  I didn’t post about this, but it was kind of a pain in the butt.  An hour on the phone and I have a $100 Visa card. :)

I sent 5 garbage bags full of Adam’s clothes to my cousins for their little boys.  We have a “hand-me-back-and-forth” system going on, since there will be 5 boys under 4 between the 3 of us this spring!

I also did a presentation at work a couple of weeks ago.  It wasn’t a huge deal, but it added a little stress to the month.

The two biggest projects were the taxes/W2s, which I finally completed Thursday…

And then, the Storybooks…I am a Creative Memories consultant and hardcover storybooks were 20% off this month, so I took advantage of the sale and finished a bunch of projects I’ve been working on.  Here are a some pages from each of the Storybooks:

Anderson Christmas book was a collection of pictures of Adam throughout 2010.  It clearly wasn’t done in time for Christmas.

anderson Christmas 10 - Page 001

 anderson Christmas 10 - Page 006 anderson Christmas 10 - Page 007 anderson Christmas 10 - Page 008 anderson Christmas 10 - Page 009 anderson Christmas 10 - Page 018 anderson Christmas 10 - Page 019

Chicago Storybook (from our vacation in August.)

Chicago2 - Page 001

Chicago2 - Page 002 Chicago2 - Page 003 Chicago2 - Page 012 Chicago2 - Page 013

Bob and Mary’s Heritage Album:  This was a huge undertaking, but I am so proud of it and glad that I could do it for my husband’s grandparents.  I am so blessed to be a part of this family, and this became even more clear as I worked on the album.

olthoffs - page 001

olthoffs - page 002 olthoffs - page 003 olthoffs - page 004 olthoffs - page 005 olthoffs - page 008

And finally, Ronda and Jamie’s wedding:

Ronda&Jamie - Page 002 Ronda&Jamie - Page 003 Ronda&Jamie - Page 004 Ronda&Jamie - Page 005

Did all those pictures load?  You’re still with me?

 

I also made some new storage bins, even though they weren’t on the list.

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I’m formulating February’s list in my head right now, and ready to get to work!


Housewife MacGyver

Saturday, January 29, 2011

He’s nesting…

Pregnant women are notorious for nesting.

But apparently the nesting bug has bitten my dad, too.

Earlier this month, he declared that he was going to finish the bathroom and third bedroom before Baby Brudder arrives at the end of March.  Those are the last two major rooms in our house to be renovated.

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bathroom in September

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unfinished bedroom

This declaration came after a two year break from our home’s renovations.

I think he’s feeling the rush because he feels sorry for his first-born Daddy’s girl, living in an unfinished house and hugely pregnant.

But he says he wants to get the rooms done because once the baby is here, he can’t bang around and make so much noise.  And that was also his excuse for not working on the house much since Adam was born.  He said, “Well, I would come over and work here for a couple hours every afternoon when I get off work, but Adam’s always sleeping then.”  (Right now, they’re both sleeping.  Dad got here right after I laid Adam down.  Adam’s snoozing up in his bed, and Dad is snoring on the couch.)

 

Yesterday, he worked for a few hours on the bathroom – installing the closet door and putting up some trim.  And because most of our tools are in the basement, he did 5 loads of laundry while he was here, too.

 

Two finished rooms and laundry done in the process?  He’s welcome to nest at my house anytime he wants!

Friday, January 28, 2011

It takes a village…

to raise a child.  And I’m so thankful for my village!

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Both of our families are nearby and we rely on them for so much.  In the past few months, this has been especially clear.  A few examples:

My sister took Adam to see Thomas the Tank Engine and to the fire department’s open house last fall when I was working in the turkey barns.

Over Christmas break, hubby’s sisters came over to make cookies and paint with Adam while I put away Christmas decorations and reorganized the closets.

He spends every Wednesday with my parents, and lately, Tuesday and Thursday nights are spent with my in-laws while I go to prenatal water aerobics and hubby works in the barns.

Last Saturday, he went to Great Grandpa and Grandma O’s and played with cousins who were visiting from South Dakota while I went to the chiropractor.

And our family’s help isn’t limited to babysitting.  From remodeling the house and working on the farm to free lessons in accounting, our families are pretty awesome, and even though we don’t always make it clear to them (sorry, Mom!) we love and appreciate them everyday!

 

What about you?  Do you have a village?  Do they know how much you appreciate them?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Inspiration Station: Shopping Candy

Lately the phrase “urination station” has been going through my head a lot.  I can’t help it – I have to pee ALL THE TIME.  But this is different…the “Inspiration Station” is a new category of posts I’m going to start, which will feature some of my favorite home decor blogs.
I’ve been working non-stop on a digital scrapbooking project and my W2s, which both need to be finished by the end of the month.  Because of this, I’ve been slacking on my blog.  I have several posts started, but none finished.  I’m sorry.  I will be starting some more of my own home projects when I get the “January” stuff done.
But today, I thought I’d give you a little glimpse of one of my favorite blogs: 
Shopping Candy for my First Home
Jolie’s living room looks like it’s straight out of a magazine or catalog.

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Her use of texture is PERFECT!
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Look what she did with that little nook next to the fireplace for the winter!
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I adore the butcher block counters in her kitchen.
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And this laundry room – can you imagine?  It sure beats my yucky basement!
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Look what she did with an unused coat closet.  I wish I had any coat closet, let alone an unused one. :)
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Go show Jolie some love HERE!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

“Urine” for a treat!

1.  I learned how to pee in a 5 gallon bucket today.  There aren’t many other options for a 7 month pregnant woman stuck in a turkey barn all morning.
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2.  I had to pee in a cup this afternoon.  They should really give us a big funnel to use.  This is not the easiest thing to do when you have a big ol’ belly in the way.
3.  Adam decided yesterday he wants to use the potty.  And he was successful 3 times.  I’m so NOT ready for this.  I was planning on waiting until he turned 3 this summer to potty train.  But maybe he’s ready?  Any advice?
4.  My dad declared last weekend that he is going to finish our 2nd floor bathroom and 3rd bedroom before the baby comes (the end of March.)  The bathroom has been in the same, only-the-toilet-functions state since September.
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Turkey Tuesday: Owning your own Business

I have never taken a business class.  Not even in high school.  And now, essentially, I co-own and co-manage a business with my husband.

Over the past 3 years, I’ve had to learn a LOT.  Mostly, managing a farm is a lot like managing a household, except with bigger numbers.  Taking the Annie’s Project classes last summer helped a LOT, especially figuring out where we stand financially with our asset to debt ratio, a balance sheet, and cash flows. Those things are nice to know for your household, but vital for a farm or other small business.

But the biggest thing I’ve learned is how to do the payroll for our employees. 

We only have one regular employee, Beth the Brooder Lady, who averages 10 hours per week.  But when we unload our poults or move turkeys we have to hire a few people to help.  And in the summer, my brother did some mowing and other work for us.

Although we don’t hire a lot of help, it’s enough that we have to do the whole payroll taxes thing-a-ma-jig.  We looked into having an accountant do it for us, but it was something like $90 a quarter to file the taxes and $30 every time we wanted to cut checks.  That seemed a bit steep for the small amount of work it would be for us.

So my mom and I got to work. She has some background in accounting, although it’s been a few *cough* years. We worked with an accountant to get everything started – all the Federal and State ID numbers we needed.  Then, we visited a very close family friend and farm wife, Barb, who has done their farm’s payroll (for several employees) for years.  She helped me set up an Excel spreadsheet with some formulas that make it really pretty easy.

When we write a check for our employees, I just plug in their total hours and hourly wage, and it pretty much gets figured out for me. That part has been really easy.  I <3 Excel.

Then, every quarter, I have to add a bunch of numbers and pay the government.  This part makes me a little nervous, but it’s getting easier and easier.

Now, I have to issue W-2s.  Although we don’t hire a lot of help, there have been 9 different people throughout the year (some of them only worked for us once, though.)  And the whole W-2 thing is making me crazy.  Literally.  I tried to register for the W-2s online, got partway through it, and literally started to have an anxiety attack. 

So I waited a few days and tried again.  And it didn’t work.  And the end of the month is coming.

Like most (every) other aspect of farming, this has all been brand new to me.  Should have taken a business course or something, I guess!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Why?

Warning:  This is a sad, rambling post.  I’m having trouble getting my thoughts together.  But if there’s ever been a time when I need your comments or advice, this is it.

 

My friend lost her baby this week.  Olivia (baby) had been diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder about halfway through the pregnancy.  She was just days from her due date, but was “born into the arms of Jesus” on Friday.

Which makes me sad.  Really sad.

 

I seem to know a lot of women who are experiencing some sort of “baby loss.”  I have a few friends who have been struggling to conceive, many who have gone through miscarriages (some multiple times), and several who have had extremely premature babies.  Finally, I know two whose babies have serious medical conditions that will ultimately cost them their lives within their first year of life.

And as sad as this makes me, I’m actually more confused.

Why does this happen?  Why do these wonderful couples have to go through this?

And why have I been blessed with a nearly perfect little boy, and another healthy pregnancy?  I often feel like hiding my belly when I’m around these women.

 

Let’s go even deeper…why do bad things happen to good people, in general?  One of my friends lost her mom last week at the age of 54.  She was also a beloved teacher in our community.

 

It’s all really hard for me to deal with.  I like to make sense of situations, and that’s obviously difficult right now.

 

So really, I want to know, how do you make sense of it or deal with it?  Whether through religion or some other means, please comment and let me know.

And what can I do for Olivia’s parents?  We don’t live very near each other, and honestly, I’ve felt very awkward talking to them since I found out about Olivia’s diagnosis, because of my own pregnancy.  But I want them to know that I care about them, am thinking about them, and praying for them.  What else can I do?

 

I hate reading sad blog posts, the same way I hate reading sad news stories.  But if you’ve read this far, please take time to leave me some advice, or say a little prayer for all these women, or something.  Thanks.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Oh, oh, We’re halfway there…

Oh-oh, living on a prayer

Who else is singing with me now?  Well, take a little break and read this post.

January is half over.  How are you doing on your resolutions (or whatever you want to call them?)

I feel pretty good about mine.  I made this January To-Do list and put it on my sidebar, and I have been referring to it at naptime.

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As you can see, I’m over halfway done!  And I’m making good progress on what’s left.   I’ve been working on the boys’ clothes all week, and I have three garbage bags full to hand down to my cousins.  That should be finished this weekend.  Ronda and Jamie’s wedding storybook is almost done, too.

But the W-2s are giving me trouble.

And I really need to spend a few hours scanning pictures for Bob and Mary’s storybook.  That’s my “naptime” plan today.  (Creative Memories Storybooks are 20% off this month, so I’m trying to finish up a few of them!)

I still need a lesson on using the caulk gun before I can finish the windows.

But with 2 weeks left, I think I’m doing pretty well!

 

So, how are you doing?

Take my hand, we’ll make it I swear.

Oh-oh, living on a prayer.

(Feel free to sing that in your head the rest of the day.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

29 Weeks

 

26 Weeks:

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27 Weeks:

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Sunday, I’ll officially be 30 weeks, which means 3/4 done!  I’m excited, because Baby Brudder keeps poking me.  I’ve been checking for bruises just to the right of my belly button…I think he’s trying to kick his way out through my belly.

I love that he responds to Adam’s voice.  When Adam sings, he starts moving like crazy.  My two boys are already bonding.

Lots to do before he comes, though!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Turkey Tuesday – To market, to market

*This is a repost from last April, before I had many followers.  But it is totally relevant, because we loaded out turkeys last Monday and Tuesday nights.  Just imagine everything covered in snow and it’s basically the same thing.*

 

One of our flocks goes to market tonight.  They are somewhere around 20 weeks old (I can’t remember exactly, should have asked hubby.)

The first half went out last night.  Ten semi loads.  Average weight per turkey was just over 44 lbs.   That is a GREAT weight! (And we are paid per pound.)  I would love to show you a pic of the birds at this age, but I just couldn’t get a good one.  Maybe next time. :)

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The loading crew starts around 8 PM.  Hubby helps them.  Last night, he came in, showered, and stumbled up to bed at 3 AM. (I say “stumbled” because I heard every move he made.  Apparently too tired to be quiet.)

I’ve never watched them do this, because quite frankly, 44 lb, aggressive, waist high birds kind of scare me.  But this is my understanding:  there are a few guys who “herd” the turkeys by waving plastic feed sacks at them.

Then, they put them on this “escalator” that takes them to the truck.

And the truck takes them to the meat packing plant.

Which processes the meat and sends it to Subway (and some other places.) Yeah, seriously.  Our plant supplies all of Subway’s turkey west of the Mississippi River.  So eat turkey at Subway!

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This is one of our 4 finishers, where the turkeys live from 6 weeks of age to market age (around 20 weeks…sometimes more or less depending on conditions of the flock.)

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This whole process occurs about once every 9 weeks.  Then, after the flock is processed and whatnot, we get a check!  That’s right, my hubby, the Farmer, gets paid approximately once every 2 months.

But better than this:

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…which was going on across the road, and only happens once a year.  No wonder farm families are so frugal.  It’s hard to make a budget when there are so many variables.

So there was another glimpse into the life of a turkey farmer (and his family.)  I can hear the first semi pulling away right now.  They kept waking me up last night, but I really shouldn’t complain, should I?

Got any turkey related questions for future Turkey Tuesday posts?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Storage Solutions: Pretty Storage Bin Tutorial

Don’t you love my new, fabric, toy storage bins for the living room?
How to make a DIY storage bin from a diaper box
Would you believe that they started out like this?
fabric covered diaper box

How about this one?
DIY storage box
Which started out like this:
DIY storage bin cover with fabric
Here are some guidelines for making your own…each box is different, and I’m not sure I’ve figured out the best way to do it, yet, so expect that it will take a little experimentation.
1.  Find a box.  Cut the corners off of two of the flaps.  It makes things a little easier later on.   (I’m not sure which two would be best…I tried the short flaps and the long flaps and either seems to work.) 
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I used this handy dandy thingy (a zip and snip) that hubby bought me for Christmas.  It cuts through cardboard like (insert simile here.)  It’s also AWESOME on all that plastic packaging that toys, tools, and other Christmas presents come in.
zip and snip used to cut cardboard
(I also had to cut part of the flaps off on that box.)
2.  Measure.  Measure all the way around your box and add a couple inches.  Measure from the bottom of your box to the top of your flaps, and again, add at least 3 inches (you will want your fabric to wrap around the top and bottom.) 
how to make a diaper box storage binhow to make a diaper box storage bin
3.  Cut your fabric.  For the diaper boxes, I used two fabrics and sewed them together and pressed the seams.  This made the whole project a lot more complicated because I was obsessed with making sure that the seam was level and the same on both boxes.  It’s not.  I may come back later and glue some ribbon at the seam to even it out a bit more.  If you are a perfectionist like me, just use one fabric, or for Pete’s sake, don’t use a plaid fabric because it’s too darn easy to tell if you screwed up by looking at the top of the box.
*Note:  My boxes were almost 60 inches around (all 3 of them.)  So, if you are buying fabric for this project, I would buy 2 yards so that you have enough length, or plan on sewing (or gluing or stitch witchering) two shorter strips together.
4.  Glue.  Apparently I was too busy burning the flesh off my fingertips to take pictures of this part.  I started on one of the sides that was least likely to be seen (the short ends on the diaper boxes, for example) and used hot glue to attach the fabric along the bottom of the box.  Pull it tight as you go. After wrapping it all around, I folded under the edge and glued that down.
5.  Next is the tricky part.  The fabric isn’t attached yet on the flaps.  Fold the flaps down, and try to get your glue gun underneath them.  If you value your fingertips, you may want to use a piece of cardboard or a plastic knife or something to shove the fabric under the flap. Keep working with it, alternately swearing, tucking fabric, and picking glue off your fingers, until you have glued all four flaps down.  I’m sure there’s a better way to do this…I just don’t know what it is.
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6.  Enjoy your new boxes!  The one under the end table holds games and puzzles.  Adam loves it.  Last week, I said, “Look, Adam!  I made you a new box!”  Later that night, at my Grandma’s house for her birthday, he was asking me for it there.  Crazy kid, loves organization as much as I do.

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One of these will hold dinosaurs, and the other will hold diapers and wipes.  I’ve had this fabric for almost 3 years, so I consider this to be a FREE, but beautiful project.
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Do you have any cheap, pretty storage solutions?  I’d love to hear about them because I’m always trying to hide stuff!
The Girl Creative
WhisperWood Cottage


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