50th Anniversary Celebration {Part 1}

Hello, dears!

This past weekend, Mom’s side of the family came up to our farm to celebrate Grandpa and Grandma’s 50th anniversary! It was AMAAAZING, ahhh! We made so many good memories, had so many fun adventures, and ate so much good food. XD I also took hundreds and hundreds of pictures, obviously. 😀 I got so many pictures that it was hard to pick a small enough amount for this post, but I hope you enjoy this selection of photographs and fun times with family. 🙂 Continue reading

Summer Barn Dance

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Hello, dears!

Just a few weeks ago, we had the privilege of hosting a barn dance in celebration of our friend Sam’s (Samantha’s) birthday! It took a while to prepare for, but we all absolutely LOVED the dance. 😀 It was the first one our family had been to.

Sam wanted Megan and I to take some pictures, and of course we happily obliged. 😉 Today I’m going to show you a few of my favorite photos, from decorations to dancing. Enjoy!

I got to help with the decorating, which was super fun. 🙂 At first we tried hanging streamers from the loft, but it was too damp and humid and they just sort of hung there limply. So we took them down. But while we were hanging them we found this gorgeous moth! Isn’t it striking?

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Don’t these blue gingham tablecloths go perfectly with the barn dance/birthday/picnic atmosphere?

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Our magnolia tree is blooming, so Megan suggested we use some of the flowers for the table. I’m so glad we did, because I had no idea they’d be this beautiful! And they smell amazing.

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Unfortunately they are rather prone to closing up into buds, but they’re still pretty that way too. 🙂

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We also had bouquets of ferns from our woods, chamomile daisies from our pastures, and larger daisies that Sam brought, which they had dyed blue with food coloring! 😀

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I enjoyed making “place cards” for the food, even if I didn’t get around to labeling everything. 😉

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Sam brought these lovely stamped paper fans (because boy was it hot that day!).

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She also brought a bunch of paper medallions and some balloons to hang from the loft. They looked so pretty!

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They set the speakers and such on haybales, which made it seem more like a barn dance. 😀

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Hee hee, I quite like this picture of Sam’s sister Jesse.  😀

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And this one of Sam. 🙂

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Oh, and it was so funny – Sam and I wore almost the EXACT same outfit! Identical shirts and only a tiny bit different skirts. XD She was going to do my hair to match hers too, but we ran out of time, so it kind of looks like an octopus in these pictures. O.o Next time I shall remember to put it back before the dance. XD

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Megan took the picture before and this picture from the loft. Aren’t they so neat?

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Okay, now we’re finally ready for the barn dance part! One of the ladies from church was the “caller,” who patiently instructed all the dozens of people in how to do each dance. We learned the dance slowly first, without music, and then did it once or twice with music before learning a new dance.

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For each dance, we lined (or circled) up in the middle of the shop floor and usually did a short sequence of steps that ended in being whirled off to the next partner, where you repeated the process until the music stopped.

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We learned quite a few dances including the Virginia Reel, the Caroline Promenade, the Spanish Waltz, the Basket Weave, the Snowball Reel, the Patty-Cake Polka, the Posties’ Jig, and one or two more which I don’t remember the names of.

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I think my favorites were the Basket Weave and the Spanish Waltz, although they were all fun.

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I didn’t get pictures of the Posties’ Jig, but HA HA WOW. It was a 10-years-and-up dance for good reason: it had a lot of steps. Our group kind of epically failed at it since we got so mixed up and confused, but it was HILARIOUS. We laughed at ourselves so much. XD

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My brother Logan was my partner for a couple of the dances, which was nice because our heights are a good match. 😀

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One thing I really like about barn dancing is how changeable it is. You don’t stay with one partner for long, which adds to the excitement (and confusion, but XD). It’s also very fast-paced, which makes it feel like a game.

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And I think it’s great that whole families, even younger kids, can participate in most of the dances.

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I’m so glad Sam chose to have a barn dance for her party, and that we got to come. 🙂 Hopefully we can do one again soon!

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So there you have it! At the end of the dance I was EXTREMELY hot and sweaty, and my feet were so sore from going barefoot on concrete for a whole day that I could hardly walk, but it was definitely worth it. XD XD Next time I shall 1) put my hair up and 2) wear shoes. *nods*

Have you ever been to a barn dance? What dance is your favorite (the Virginia Reel, Spanish Waltz, etc.)? Do you have a favorite picture?

Thanks so much for reading, dears, and have a lovely day!

***Allison***

Bits & Pieces #1

Hello, my dears! Welcome to yet ANOTHER random photography post, where Allison dumps all the miscellaneous orphan photos that she couldn’t fit in any other post. XD I am waaay backed up with extra photos so I hope you’re ready for a lot of photography posts! 😀

Ahem. Let’s begin.

The Eclipse

I still haven’t shown you my pictures from the eclipse? Dear me, I AM behind. XD Anyway, I didn’t get any spectacular pictures, but I did get a few through welding glass to at least document what happened. The welding glass made everything look green, but I managed to edit out most of the color except that one green guy over there. XD As you can see, we weren’t in the path of totality.

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I thought the eclipse looked really neat through clouds!

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And here’s just a bonus picture I took that day. So pretty!

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The Enormous Bonfire

We occasionally burn a heap of brush or extra wood piles and such on our farm, and I got these pictures from one of those times. Dad pushed the pile around with the telehandler which made the bonfire practically explode in a column of glittering orange sparks. It was breathtaking!

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Bonus picture of the cows that watched the bonfire with us. XD There were a bit confused about what was happening, as cows usually seem to be.

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There were actually a few bulls in the pasture, and one started sort of stomping and bellowing. O.o Thankfully nothing bad happened. Isn’t it funny how he has a heart on his forehead? You can’t see it too well in this picture, but he really does!

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Megan’s Birthday Party

We had a lot of fun decorating the front porch and outside table for Megan’s party. Aren’t the colors pretty?

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We used zinnias from our garden for some of the decorations, and I got some lovely pictures of the bouquets. ♥

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Megan wanted to have doughnuts instead of cake, which was quite a good idea in my opinion. 😉 We made the doughnuts the previous day and I also made a little happy birthday banner for the top.

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Yum, fresh lemonade!

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Grandma brought Megan a beautiful rose from her house along with her gift.

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We had a water balloon fight for one of the party games. It was so fun, AND I didn’t get very wet, which was good since it wasn’t that hot. XD

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A bonus picture of the gorgeous spreading maple in our front yard…

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Bonus picture #2 of an adorable fuzzy caterpillar we found before the party.

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Isn’t it cute? 😛

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Moving a Piano + Another Bonfire

One night we went to our grandparents’ house to help move their piano from the basement to their room. 🙂 It was quite hard work… well actually I didn’t do much but stay out of the way and document it for posterity, but it looked like hard work. When they finally brought it to my grandparents’ room, it wouldn’t fit through the door. But then they tried turning it on end and thankfully it just fit. Phew! The poor piano.

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I also got some super neat pictures of the piano without its top on. I love them, especially after they were edited!

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After we got the piano all figured out we had a bonfire and picnic. Fire is so fun to watch, isn’t it?

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I got a really good picture of my grandpa smiling when he didn’t know I was taking a picture. I edited it a good bit, as you can tell, but isn’t it neat?

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Freshly Picked

I took these photos for my sister’s photo contest, BIBPC. I think they turned out rather pretty!

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Also isn’t this tomato HILARIOUS?! It looks like it’s sticking out its tongue at you.

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The Rest of Them

THESE COOKIES ARE DELICIOUS! I took pictures of them because I wanted to submit the recipe to Olivia Bell’s wonderful magazine. Be sure to check it out (and make it) when the next issue comes out here soon! You can subscribe to her magazine through the contact form in this post.

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Random picture of the details on one of my Sunday dresses…

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I edited this one a LOT to get rid of the power lines crisscrossing it, but this is the view from one of our upstairs windows. 🙂

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There we go! That was pretty much a whole bunch of mini posts smushed into one huge one. XD I hope you enjoyed! Which topic was your favorite?

***Allison***

Chocolate Covered Party Mix

Today I suddenly had the urge to make up a party mix recipe, so I did! My family liked it, and I hope you will too. I present… my very own Chocolate Covered Party Mix!

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Yield: About 2 quarts

Party Mix:

  • 4 cups of Cheerios
  • 3 cups of Honeycomb cereal
  • 1 cup of roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup of M&Ms (or a similar chocolate candy. I used Reese’s Pieces.)

Chocolate Sauce

  • 3/4 cup of chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1/4 cup of coconut (optional)
  • a pinch of salt (optional if your roasted peanuts are salted already)

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Combine the Party Mix ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the Chocolate Sauce ingredients (except for the coconut which you will add later) in a small pan. Stir the mixture over medium heat until it is smooth and melted, then mix in coconut. Pour the Chocolate Sauce over the Party Mix and mix thoroughly until everything is coated. Enjoy! Store the leftovers (if you have any 😀 ) in a Ziploc bag.

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I hope you enjoy this yummy snack!

***Allison***

How to Blow Double Balloons

I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving. I did! At one of our Thanksgiving celebrations we had a lot of fun watching home videos from years ago. We were hilarious back then, and so cute!

Anyway… moving on. For my brother Jeff’s birthday party awhile ago I figured out how to blow up two balloons, one inside the other! Like this: (although it’s a little hard to see in the picture).

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It is kind of hard to explain how I did it, but I will try my best because it looks really neat when you’re finished! It would look especially good if you used really clear balloons instead of colored ones for the outside balloon because then you could see the balloon inside of it better. I sort of learned that the hard way. I tried it once with blue inside and green outside, and another time the opposite way. When I used the blue balloon as the outside balloon, it was so colored you could hardly see the green balloon inside it. So, lesson learned: use the lightest or most transparent balloons for the outside balloons.

Now I’ll stop jabbering and actually tell you how to do this.

  1. Pick two balloons. You will want a light colored balloon for the outside and a darker color for the inside. I, sadly, did not obey this rule for this balloon, so in this case, my darker color (blue) is going to hold the lighter (green) balloon inside it.
  2. First blow up the outside balloon (in my case, blue), to stretch it.
  3. Now hold open the outside balloon with your fingers, stretching the neck as far as you can, while pushing the inside balloon down inside it. I took this picture while doing all of that – aren’t you proud of me? ;D  -Allison(sunset, balloon, mold) 014 (1280x960) You may need someone to help you with this, but it is possible to do it by yourself because I did! Push the inside balloon down until only the rim sticks out of the neck of the outside balloon. You should see even less of the inside balloon than it shows in the picture. If I unfolded the blue it would be about right. You should just barely see the rim showing.-Allison(sunset, balloon, mold) 015 (1280x960)
  4. Blow! Since there are two balloon layers, it is harder to blow, but again, it is possible! The inside balloon will blow up the outside balloon too. Stop blowing when the balloon is still fairly small.
  5. Now tie off the inside balloon by stretching the neck far out of the outside balloon and tying it. -Allison(sunset, balloon, mold) 019 (1280x960)-Allison(sunset, balloon, mold) 020
  6. Push the inside balloon as far down as possible -Allison(sunset, balloon, mold) 021 (1280x960)and blow up the outside balloon. You should be able to see the inside balloon move around when you shake it by the time you’ve blown it big enough.
  7. Tie off the outside balloon.
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I hope you can figure out the instructions because they look amazing when they’re finished!

See you later!

***Allison***

Woodland Birthday Party

My sister Megan’s birthday was yesterday!  She chose to have a woodland themed party with hedgehogs as the “life of the party.” (Hee-hee!)  I thought I’d go through the decorations for the party and how we made a few of them.  (Megan didn’t especially want to do all the decorations, so I got to make most of them – hooray!)

The colors of the theme were green and brown.  For the decorations, I hung up twirled green and brown streamers and green balloons.

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I also drew and cut out some forest floor type things like toadstools, grasses, and pebbles.  It would have been better to make the toadstools out of red paper, but we didn’t have any. 🙂

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Meet Mr. Hedgehog, the gift guy.  I designed him; Megan painted him.  Megan also had the great idea to use him to show the guests where to put gifts.

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The table was really fun to decorate.  We got the tablecloth, plates, napkins, and cups at Party City (which was FUN, by the way!).  My mom made the cute cake, I made the hedgehogs, and Megan made the labels for the “Dew Drops” (water) and “Twigs” (pretzel sticks).  I found the ideas for twigs, dew drops (which was originally named “Morning Dew”), and hedgehogs from Pinterest.

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Here’s a tutorial on how to make this cute little hedgehog for snacking on. (Poor guy!)

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For one hedgehog you will need

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A pear

Whole, black olives

Grapes

Toothpicks

Whole cloves

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First, peel the top of the pear for the hedgehog’s head.

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You can try sticking a whole olive on the tip of the pear, but it worked best for me to cut the olive in half.

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Stick two whole cloves above the nose for eyes.

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Now make him prickly!  Skewer a grape onto a toothpick, then stick the toothpick into the unpeeled part of the pear.  I put the skewered grapes on in rows.  I started with a row next to the head, then progressed all the way back to give him the proper rounded shape.

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Such a prickly little guy!

Now for the party favors.  I like to make things out of polymer clay, so I made clay hedgehogs for favors, along with little bags to put them in.  At the end of the party, the guests each got to “adopt a hedgehog.”

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So there are a few ideas for a woodland party.  I hope I’ve given you some inspiration!  (And thanks for letting me decorate for you Megan!)

***Allison***