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Monday, April 21, 2014

Baha Black Sheep



It’s hard to believe that our Little Orphan Lambie is almost 6 weeks old!

It’s really  hard to believe that we’ve kept her alive this long.  Sheep are known to just fall over and die. Luckily, that hasn’t happened to us.

In those six weeks, Lambie has undergone a name change, from Bailey to Baha.  She drinks 4 times as much milk as she did when she was born, and she’s at least 3 times her birth weight. 

20140316_124316(rev 0)People keep asking me what kind of sheep she is, and I keep telling them, “The kind with four legs.”  I think they’re looking for a more specific answer, but right now, I don’t know what that answer is!

Baha has had a couple of vaccinations, and had her tail docked. (Apparently, tail docking keeps sheep healthy.  Bart used an elastrator and she didn’t even cry when he did it.)  The tail fell off last week and it’s sitting on a hay bale near her pen.  Grosses me out every time I see it.

We are no longer feeding her in the middle of the night, thank goodness.  Going out to the shed in the cold, dark night was a little too much for me.  I mean, I like her and all, but not that much.  Most of the time, Bart did the midnight feedings, but whenever I did it, I made sure to make a big stink.


Now, she gets three bottles during the day.  The lamb milk replacer we use smells a lot like the vanilla protein powder I put in my smoothies.  I’m wondering if they’re interchangeable.

The plan is for Adam to “show” her at the county fair.  That means, he has to keep records, do an interview with judges, and then walk her around the ring.  Should be interesting, since he likes to purse his lips and look away when adults ask him questions, and she doesn’t exactly like her leash.  (I think it’s called a lead rope? or halter? Or something more technical like that.)

In order to participate in the fair, we have to attend four meetings to learn how to care for the animals.  We’ve been through three of the meetings.  The fourth is sort of a dress rehearsal.  We take Baha with us, and she gets checked out by the vet to make sure she doesn’t have any contagious illnesses, which will happen again at fair time.  Just another example of biosecurity.


IMG_8314-4555(rev 0)


We never really wrote down any goals for this adventure, but I think Bart would agree…the general idea is to teach Adam to care for something other than himself; to willingly be inconvenienced by another being’s needs.  It’s a good thing he’s only 5, because it might take a few more sheep before he really gets the hang of it.

Although, he’s pretty cute playing with her!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Alleluia! He is risen!


Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. John 16:22

Adam David -  He Is Risen!

Happy Easter.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Thrift Fix: Tips for Shopping Second Hand

Thrift store shopping is part luck, part skill.

So for those of you who said you never find anything good, maybe you have bad luck?

Or maybe you need some new skillz. :)


Tips for Shopping Second Hand:

1.  Go without your kids.

2.  Don't try to look at every item in the store.  Focus on what you need. 

3.  Go with a friend, who is NOT your size. :)  That way, you can split up the store and shop for each other.

4.  If your weight fluctuates, only buy things that are in-season and fit you perfectly at the time.   One of the dangers of thrift store shopping is that you will end up with too many clothes (guilty as charged.)  Buying things that are in-season and fit you well will keep you from coming home with a bunch of stuff you might never wear.


My friend Rachel, from Joyfully Weary, also submitted some tips.

1 - think in colors - a lot of thrift stores are organized by color so figure out the ones that look good on you and will blend in with your wardrobe and then only look in those sections

2 - don't forget accessories - belts and scarfs are pretty easy to find at thrift stores

3 - avoid casual shirts and athletic wear - these are items that usually get the most wear in someone's closets so it's hard to find items that are "good as new" 

4 - research your stores - do they mark down items have discount days, when do they put out new merchandise, etc. 

5 - don't feel like you have to look at every piece. When looking for jeans I'll closely inspect the racks other than that I graze racks with my fingers and eyes only pulling out pieces that stand out to me in some way.  I know hard core thrifters would probably say take the time to dig because you never know what you'll find but my time is too limited. 

6 - be okay with walking out empty handed


(Speaking of new skillz – I need to perfect my outfit photography – my cell phone pictures are terrible!  WHY????)



I wore this to give a presentation at an ag conference in Florida.
Jacket: Target, Dress: Calico Corners via Goodwill, Shoes: Bandolino via TJMaxx



I wore this the next day of the conference, and to fly home in.

Floral shirt: Target (old), Tank: Target, Pants: Banana Republic via Goodwill, Shoes: Payless, Plaid Bag: Faux Burberry via Goodwill, Laptop Bag: 31 Bags Bracelet: DISNEY!

Now, some of Rachel’s adorable outfits featuring thrifty finds!

cowl: gift/diy (similar $55), shirt: old, belt: thrift, skirt: thrift (similar $110),
shoes: dsw (similar $37)

fur collar: gift (similar $32) sweater: old navy (similar $29), skirt: thrift,
shoes: dsw (similar $37)

coat: thrift (similar), sweater: thrift, skirt: anthropologie, boots: same

Happy Thrifting!


thrift-fix_thumb5This post was part of Thrift Fix.  To see all Thrift Fix posts, click here.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Isaac, the Threenager

My sweet Isaac turned 3 a couple of weeks ago.


This kid keeps us on our toes. 

img_6456At his first birthday, he was going through a period of time where he just didn’t sleep from 2am to 4am.  He had chronic constipation that made his poor little tummy hurt. 


When he turned two, we started speech therapy, because he just didn’t talk.  At all. Throughout the last year, he learned to talk, but he also learned to beat up his (bigger) brother.


And now? Now he’s three.  And refuses to give up his pacifier or wear underwear or stay in his bed or eat anything but pancakes and Chex.


But through all the little battles and challenges that Isaac has brought us, he has also brought us JOY.


For a long time, I couldn’t figure out what Isaac’s strengths were.  He didn’t seem to have any.  But I finally realized, Isaac’s strength is joy.

2013-10-30 11.14.02

Isaac can find the joy in any situation. He is never simply happy – he is over-the-moon excited about nearly everything.  Of course, he has his grumpy moments, but for the most part, he approaches life with a happy-go-lucky, sunshine-y attitude that rubs off on anyone around him.


Sometimes, Isaac’s joy is a bit misplaced.  Like when he delights in hitting Adam.  Or giggles like crazy when he sneaks out of bed for the tenth time.  Yes, Isaac is a little ornery.  But he more than makes up for it with his sweet hugs and infectious smile.


Happy Birthday, sweet Isaac!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thrift Fix with Holly from Style From the Sticks


I’m in Florida right now for a conference, and half of what I packed are second-hand items!  I’ll take some selfies while I’m here and share my outfits with you next week.  But this week, I’m excited to have a guest blogger, Holly from Style from the Sticks. 

Day TwentynineHolly Jirovsky is a middle-aged, stay-at-home mom in Iowa, otherwise known as where style goes to die.  In a previous life, she worked in advertising as a writer and also in the publishing industry.  She can be found up at midnight poring over fashion magazines with a glass of sangria posing as her editor.

She’s a real mom, just like you.  She doesn’t have time on a daily basis to spend carefully choosing what to wear.  Her mastery is the quick outfit for real life.  She strives for affordability (keeping costs to less than $100), accessibility (these looks can be found your local mall, online or a thrift shop) and Photoshop free pictures.

(And isn’t she adorable?  Be sure and check out her other cute outfits on her blog!)



Thrifting is such an easy topic for me.  It’s in my blood.  I’m the kind of girl that doesn’t shy away from digging through trash to find my treasure.  I completely and totally appreciate the wonderfulness of new clothes.  But I’m also conscious of two things, cost and excess.

It boggles the mind to really think of all the new things that are produced daily.  And all of what is still usable that ends up in a landfill.  I like new trends just as much as the next girl and won’t stop buying new.  But I shop more often than not at thrift stores and garage sales, anywhere secondhand.  Not only because these clothes still have plenty of life in them but also because I know I do good things by giving them a second chance.

And then there is the financial issue.  I shop at thrift stores even though there is money in my pocket to buy something new.  I enjoy getting more bang for my buck.  And while there are certain things I cannot pass up that are new, I love finding little gems secondhand.  So does my wallet.

I am so excited to share my love of thrifting in this series.  Last year I wrote a series on how to become a savvy thrifter and you can read that here.  Also, to challenge myself, I did a little project on putting together outfits in a thrift store quickly.  I think I did all of the outfits in under an hour.  You can read those here.

For this post, I thought I would take my thrifting skills to another level and give myself a half hour to find as many clothing treasures as I could, that I will actually wear this spring/summer for around $20.  This adventure took me to my local thrift store, Trinkets and Togs, where you can find just about anything.  The bonus of shopping there, they support the disabled and it makes you feel great knowing you are supporting a good cause while you shop.

Trinkets & Togs

Trinkets and Togs does a great job of keeping their store clean and organized.  Such is not the case for many of secondhand stores.  So you have to be prepared to dig.  Don’t always stay in your size.  Sometimes things get mixed up or kids’ clothes find their way into adults, etc.

For my half hour, I hit the racks running.  I started with my size and stuck to mainly shirts because pants are a “must try on” and I didn’t have time for that.  Once I was through my shirt size rack, I poked through a few of the other sizes, just to be sure.  Here is an example of some of the items I found, but didn’t purchase:

Banana Shirt - Copy

I also made my way through some of the coats, the shoes and the home goods.  All in a half hour!

Here are the treasures I found that you’ll be seeing on Style from the Sticks soon!


I found a surprisingly large amount of white shirts on this visit that were in pristine condition.  They don’t even look like they’ve been worn.  And since it is my favorite color, I snapped them up. Plus, I love to wear white in the summer!

White Cover UpWhite Tank

White Tee

Don’t let the label concern you.  If it does, cut it out!  I bought this to wear as a swimsuit cover up! 

White Cardi

I love this shirt because it is stretchy and has the peplum bottom.  It will be great for a girls’ night out!

Green Shirt (2)This top is also for a fun night.  Maybe a date night with the Mr. this summer.  I love the cut out in the back!Blue Top BackBlue Top FrontHere is just a casual tee that I’ll be happy to wear with jeans when I’m running errands.

Peace Shirt

My grand total for the day $26.25.  All in a half hour!  

For more thrifty finds, follow Holly at!


thrift fixThis post was part of Thrift Fix.  To see all Thrift Fix posts, click here.

Get Thrift Fix and all of my other fascinating and entertaining blog posts delivered to your email inbox!  (Don’t worry, you can always unsubscribe later!)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Filled with Love, Joy and Peace


I tend towards “anticipatory stress,” as I like to call it.  When I know that I’m going to have a busy few days, or a large to-do list, I start to freak out a bit.

The last few days have been like that for me.  Starting last Thursday and ending late (LATE) this Friday night, things have been (and are going to be) a whirlwind of go, go, go and “major project deadline” and fly-to-Florida-to-speak-at-a-conference.

Saturday morning, I read this devotion, and I felt like it was written just for me.  Like it truly was Jesus calling me…

From Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence

April 5

Let Me fill you with my Love, Joy and Peace.  These are Glory-gifts, flowing from My Living Presence.  Though you are an earthen vessel, I designed you to be filled with heavenly contents.  Your weakness is not a deterrent to being filled with My Spirit; on the contrary, it provides an opportunity for My Power to shine forth more brightly.

As you go through this day, trust Me to provide the strength that you need moment by moment.  Don’t waste energy wondering whether you are adequate for today’s journey.  My Spirit within you is more than sufficient to handle whatever this day may bring.  That is the basis for your confidence! In quietness (spending time alone with Me) and confident trust (relying on My sufficiency) is your strength.

And, for the most part, I’ve managed to stay filled with Love, Joy, and Peace since then.  God has provided me the strength and focus that I needed to get my to-do list done.  And now, I’m about four hours ahead of schedule before meetings and travel start tomorrow, and I’m going to go spend the afternoon in the sunshine working at The HomeShed.


love, joy, peace jesus calling

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thrift Fix:How to Pop Tags with Only $20 in Your Pocket (and look good doing it!)


Full disclosure:

-I’ve gained 10 pounds in the past few months.

-My pants don’t fit.

-I don’t really want to lose weight (but I do want to be able to run a 5k.)

-I’m on a budget.

-I need some new pants.

Enter Thrift Fix.

thrift fix

So, that’s the story. I need new clothes, on a budget. And when that happens, I head to the thrift store.

I’ve been doing this for years.  In fact, I’m a pretty regular thrifter.  And I’ve been meaning to blog about it for years, too. But I’ve never gotten around to it.

But the blogging part is going to change!  I’m teaming up with a bunch of Iowa bloggers to share how we shop at thrift stores, our favorite finds, and how to upcycle and style our finds.



I got started this weekend by going through my entire closet and getting rid of everything too small that was in there mocking me.  Then, I picked out my favorite pants and shirts for spring and hung them all together.  Finally, I made a list of some things I wanted to coordinate with my spring wardrobe and headed to the Goodwill!  $50 later, I have a closet full of cute, name brand clothes that FIT for this season!


Today’s outfit, at the Blank Park Zoo for a leadership class, and here’s the run down…

Sweater: Gap via Goodwill

Pink shirt: Target clearance

Pants: Ann Taylor Loft via Goodwill

Jewelry: Park Lane

Shoes: Bandolino via TJ Maxx


So, what do you think? Could you create an outfit based on thrift store or second-hand finds? It might be kind of a fun challenge!

(Follow along as several Iowa Bloggers take part in Thrift Fix! Click here and never miss a post!)


Linked up with Two Thirty-Five Blog’s Casual Friday