Heirloom Project

Laura had a couple of small projects she wanted done for her wedding.

Both turned out very cute, but one ended up being something even more.

It started out as an idea from Pinterest – their initials on weathered barn boards.

She found the wooden initials and hoped that a search through our pole barn would yield some neat barn boards that could be used to create the background.
img_01661

But it didn’t.

So we talked to Papa Jim – hoping he had something in his stash.

He, however, had a better idea.

Remember my Grandpa’s barn that was going to be taken down? It was still standing and had a lot of barn boards.

A quick call to my Uncle Delbert and we had access to all the wood we needed!

But wait – there’s more.

As the guys were cutting away at the boards in the barn – Uncle Delbert told me to run to his Ranger and grab the saw in the back.  I carried the old rusty tool back, wondering why in the world they needed it since the nice new saw seemed to be working just fine.

But Uncle Delbert took it, handed it my dad and said, “This was my grandpa’s saw.”

dad-and-grandpas-saw

Then the reality of the situation hit me and I grabbed Jan’s phone to record it.

Laura’s grandpa was cutting wood from her great-grandpa’s barn using her great-great-grandpa’s saw to make an original piece to decorate for her wedding and later on her home.

grandpas-saw

How cool is that.

She doesn’t just have a one-of-a-kind piece, she has a bit of history.

It’s a heritage piece that goes back three generations and is anchored deep in the farm soil of north central Iowa.

Now that’s a pretty neat story to share.

 

Heirlooms from Home

IMG_0125Laura was home this weekend.

Not only did we do some wedding planning – but she packed up more of her stuff to move into their new house.

The tool box I kept tripping on in the attic is gone.

The chin up in the basement that was collecting spider webs no longer lives here.

Her sewing machine that was covered with dust will now gather dust somewhere else.

This is all good.

But we also went through my kitchen cupboards and pulled out everything that was hers.

This was not so good.

She had quite a collection of kitchen tools and accessories that I freely used.

I’ll miss the nutmeg grater, micro-planer and cookbooks.

The sil-pat and custard cups.

The grill pan.

Sigh.

But in the search for her things, we were able to find and pass on to her some extras that I had.

Serving bowls.

A Christmas tray.

And that set of pot de creme cups with the divet in the bottom that makes it impossible to get out the last bite of chocolate.

It makes me smile to think of the two of them sticking their tongues in the divet to lick out the good stuff – just like she did growing up.

So amidst all the new and wonderful things in their first home,  there will be some old and familiar ones.

Some heirlooms from home.

And that makes my heart happy.

 

 

 

The North Shore Reunion

We made some sweet family memories last weekend.

All of Jan’s family (except for our Matt) gathered at his brother’s cabins in northern Minnesota.

13876109_1459629397384432_6868868125053906765_n

Grandpa, Grandma, uncles, aunts, and lots and lots of cousins.

Traveling from four different states for a few days of fun in the north woods.

13876214_503364943190149_8436446565822270973_n

Cousins that seldom see each other wasted no time in having epic adventures.

Climbing waterfalls.

Swimming.

13882350_1458658657481506_4557737401741005938_n

Hiking.

Rock Climbing.

 

13934572_1457271540953551_7536963962963502107_n

Wild blue berry picking.

And wild blue berry eating.

IMG_3861

And a one-of-a-kind Purple Lupine Olympics that included a Grand Prix, pine cone toss, target shooting, and a fire starting contest.

The camp fire was always burning.

There were s’mores every night.

Singing.

Laughter.

Conversations.

Too many marshmallows.

And sweet, sweet fellowship.

Perfect.

Independence Day in Small Town America

We joined the crowd of people in the little Missouri town of Allendale today.

Every July 4th since 1964, this little town with a population of 53 (more or less) have been serving up an Independence Day breakfast for upwards of a thousand people.

f8d655a5-2c00-47c2-94c9-a8f4fc92dd0e

That’s a 52 year old tradition.

Neighbors greeting neighbors.

Entire families sitting around picnic tables.

IMG_3656 (1)

Three generations of men manning row after row of grills frying sausages and eggs.

Making toast.

Pouring coffee and juice.

a2860dfd-14f0-46af-92d3-bcd9cae4125b

Flipping piles of pancakes on a rotating grill.

Pounds of butter.

Gallons of syrup.

IMG_3661

There were flags flying.

A band stand decorated and filled with patriotic songs.

Kids playing.

IMG_3660

And veterans honored.

Made me proud to be an American.

Made me thankful for all those who sacrificed so much for my freedom.

Made me remember that it’s people like this – all over our nation – that make America great.

Thank you, Allendale, Missouri!

And God bless the USA!

Improv Night and Birthday Oscars

My family got together last weekend for our yearly extended family camping trip.

One of our traditions is an Improv Night – when we entertain each other with skits we pull together at the last minute.

Each family brings an unmarked bag of 10 random items that we distribute one evening. Each family is then given about 15 minutes to pull together a skit using those items.

The results are hilarious!

This year – however – was different. But I didn’t learn that fact right away.

You see – my siblings used our annual Improv Night to surprise me for my 50th birthday. (I should have expected this – since I have a history of surprising my siblings on their 50th birthdays!)

I was very active in speech and drama in high school and have always been a bit disappointed that I was never given a lead role in any of the high school plays.

So this year – my family gave me the lead role in each of their skits.

16 06 18-M500- 27-3

They just didn’t tell me.

After the kids and I did our skit – which was a true improv – using the special bag full of random geriatric items they gathered for us – I was called on to act in every other skit.

16 06 18-M500- 30-8

Skits that were written in advance, with appropriate props and – not surprisingly – were full of family memories and embarrassing moments for yours truly.

There were certain “This is Your Life” kind of moments.

 

16 06 18-M500- 28-1

And some wild “I can’t believe they are making me do this” kind of moments.

Each skit was different – I was handed a prop or a costume or both and given a few instructions.

16 06 18-M500- 32-6 (1)And I winged it.

Acting my heart out to tremendous applause and wild laughter!

16 06 18-M500- 33-3

And when the final skit was over – they had me walk the red carpet and handed me a plastic imitation Oscar for my performances – before spraying me with silly string.

Because they love me.

I guess.

Hollywood here I come!

Or not.

After a career like mine, it might be time for retirement.