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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Let's start with a pig.... and end with a tour.

Last weekend we had a fantastic weekend at the cabin, and at the lake house in which my sister in law's family likes to visit a few times a year.  However, I am seriously kicking myself.  I took ZERO pictures.  Nothing of everyone swimming, or being pulled in a tube by a boat.  Or eating peanut butter pie at East Texas Burger (it seriously was the best piece yet.. but Mike keeps telling me I say that every time).  We had a smashing time!

But .... I finally took my camera out when the big finale of the weekend was when a few guys in the family & Maddie (Katie took off early) went hog hunting.  Then Mike shot a hog.  Actually, the rule was "Uncle Ben and Papa gets to shoot first" .... but Uncle Ben couldn't see the hog until he had the binoculars, so Maddie was told to take the shot.  Mike tells me she went to adjusting her hot pink ear plugs then settled in to take the shot.  Then she said "which side of the tree are they on?"  SHE couldn't even see the huge family of hogs either!  So Mike grabbed the gun out of her hands, and shot a piglet (aka.. a year and a half hog that weighs about 100 lbs).  He didn't want the big sow.

So our neighbor brings it over to us in his big green tractor (in the bucket), deposits it and Mike lifts it in the tree.  Then I was told "get your camera".  Now, we had an amazing moon at the same time, so I tried to do a little (snort) creative photography of what I'm sure is the ONLY picture known to mankind around of a moon and a pigs head. It's terrible, but here it is for your enjoyment.

My brother in law Ben with the hog 

OK ... now that the hog business is done, let's move on to the newest addition to our cabin.
Mike put in bamboo flooring a few weeks ago, and we absolutely LOVE it.
Now it gives me opportunity to do the one thing I love more than life itself.  Mop.
Just kidding.  I abhor mopping.  I pay my kids to mop so I don't have to do it.

Also on the same trip, Mike finished texturing and painting the walls!!  it's done!
Cue the "Hallelujah" chorus!
It is a bad photo ... but you get the idea.  it's done.
Now to get a steer head w/ LONG horns to put up on the wall. 
If I can ever find one that isn't $31,984.92.  (just kidding, but they aren't cheap)

and here is another fashion show of the floor..

during the same time period (he was up there for a week), he built a closet!
Now we have a place for our toilet paper to call home!  You can never have too much toilet paper.
Or water.

another view of our amazing, yet super-small-but-it-works-perfectly-for-us cabin!

Now I have gotten quite a few requests of what our property looks like as a whole.  So I took pictures through each step of the way, so you can feel like you're there as well!
In the beginning.... it was a huge mess.  HUGE mess.  I couldn't envision what Mike saw when we bought this.  I saw a jungle.  Now I see beauty and I'm so grateful for Mike's vision.

This is looking AT the gates from our property.  This is looking at the road that we will come off on.
OK, this picture is looking from the road to start the journey...

Now right as soon as we drive onto the property, on the immediate right, there is a small trail that was made for the girls to drive around on.  It never gets used though b/c the rest of the trail has a ton of thorny grapevines growing, and we can never seem to cut it back fast enough.

After you go around the corner, this is what you will see... a huge open space


 This is where that trail starts .... it is a nice trail, if we can ever abolish the thorny grapevines

We love our little area in the piney woods.  We may not have anything "Piney" growing yet ... but hopefully someday after we clear more out, we'll be able to grow some Pine trees on the property. 
It's the perfect place to sit on the porch, enjoy the peace and quiet and tranquility. I am so proud of Mike for having this dream for his family -- he has truly created and built a beautiful place for hopefully generations to come.  Many happy memories have already been made here by our little family and other families who have come to visit, and hopefully many more happy memories for more years to come!
Thanks for visiting!!
More cabin updates to come in the near future!! 
psst.... we're expanding!!  Yikes!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fourth of July at the Cabin ... and more cabin updates!

I know it's been five months... and I sorely miss blogging!.  We had an adventurous 4th of July this past weekend, and I just HAD to blog and share our progress and adventures!!
Down the road by our cabin is a "U-pick-it blueberry farm". It has been on my "Momma's Bucket List to do w/ the girls" list since they were toddlers.  Needless to say, it's always closed.... no matter when we go.  Probably something to do with blueberries having to be IN SEASON!  Anyways, last week I had the bright idea to see if it was in fact open, and it WAS!!  So the girls and I headed over to the blueberry farm (orchard?!) for an hour of picking blueberries.  Only one blueberry was placed in the mouth (that was me).  We had a great time, and only paid $8 for a HUGE bucket of blueberries!  They are a bit tart .... but that's OK.  I love a good deal, and it beats paying $2.50 in the store for a small pint size container!

Katie the camo punk girl holds up a blueberry ....
(she wore her hair and hat like that ALL weekend long)



"Girls.. pick the ones that are PURPLE!  Not pink!"


By now, our bucket is only 3/4 of the way full, but sweat was dripping off of our noses and we were tired and frankly .... ready to call it a day there.  It was only maybe 9:30 in the morning.

Later that night we headed down the road to the lake and grabbed a (horribly bad) spot to watch the fireworks.  The girls placed their chairs in the truck and had fun.  Needless to say since we were in a bad area (tons of trees in our vision), we left early.  Now we know where to park next year.
On our property, we have lots of studs.  (lumber... that needs to be used)
This is one of the studs that can be found on the property.
Ha ha ha... (I know, bad humor)
Earlier this year, Mike threw our other picnic into the fire b/c termites pretty much ate the thing up.  Not to mention it was fit for a giant to eat at (it was so huge and tall... our feet never touched the ground).  So, placing concrete .... things.. on the ground, he built another picnic table.  This is MUCH better as far as proportions go, but definitely our nieces and nephews will need to sit on their knees again, or eat on the porch.  Still a bit tall -- but at least we touch the ground!
We spread mulch on the ground, so now it smells all purdy like cedar.
Mike started landscaping a bit... placing more concrete.. things... on the ground in front of the porch.  Lattice fencing will go under the porch .. eventually.
Due to all the break ins we had last year (four in total) -- and the last one they tried to get in through the window, Mike built closeable shutters that open and shut (and lock for when we're not there).  I absolutely love them.  We'll paint them green to match the bottom of the cabin and the top part of the cabin.
and since I need to help a little here and there... trimming is all I do.  Mike tells me I rock at it. I hate trimming.  Ever since I got into whatever it was three years ago and developed a HUGE rash (probably poison ivy) ... I avoid it like the plague.  But I sported around a long sleeve shirt and gloves and got the job done.  I cut down trees (ok, they were probably 1-3 inches thick, so not sure I can QUITE call them trees), and lots of branches -- so now our entry way into the property looks much cleaner.  Had a few spiders drop on me that scared Katie away.  So much for my kids looking out for me....

I managed to pull down a TON of grapevine growing on the trees (really, strangling the trees).  A lot of the vines had green grapes growing on them.  I consider it a huge accomplishment if I can pull down a huge section of grapevine!!  Those suckers are hard to pull!
and when the girls aren't riding the four wheelers around the property, you can find them playing badminton.  However, they're not playing right now, so enjoy the picture of two trees with a net in between it.
another closeup picture of the concrete... things.  Now we can stamp our feet to get the sand off even more before we step onto the porch.
the final look of what the shutters look like closed and locked.
and finally... a dead scorpion.  I had NO STINKING CLUE we had scorpions on the property.  I have NEVER seen a scorpion since we've moved to Texas six years ago.  Mike managed to never TELL me we had scorpions in the CABIN in the early stages.  In the Jacuzzi tub!!  Well, after coming home from fireworks it was right NEXT to the front door (I call it the front door, Mike calls it the back door)... and Katie shouted "SCORPION!" and Maddie came to the rescue and promptly stomped the crap out of it.  Lovely.  We shall call Maddie "The Insect Stomper" or "The Insect Killer" from here on out b/c she managed to kill a mini tarantula for me yesterday.  At least, it was a big spider that was really fuzzy, and big.  :: shudder ::
So altogether we (remember I say we, and I really mean Mike) got a LOT done and it really is coming along fantastically!!  We (Mike) has gotten a lot done inside of the cabin as well, but I have no pictures to share of that ....
Until next time....  :)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Katie turns Sweet 16!

I can't believe how fast time flies....  especially when I remember holding my newborn baby girl in my arms, and seeing her now as a beautiful young woman.  Sometimes I wish they would stop growing...

When I was 16 ... my family made it a special day for me.  So, naturally I wanted to do the same for Katie.

One of the family lines is through the Tiffany family (of the famous Tiffany & Co -- yes, that same line) ... and since Katie LOVES the color blue, namely turquoise, or the Tiffany blue color, I was going to do a Tiffany & Co party.  However.. b/c we had boys coming, and to have jewels and all that all around, we sort of went away with that idea, and just did a basic color theme.  And polka dots...
So she didn't care what I did .... so I picked turquoise & red.  Boy, was it an awesome choice!!
My fabulous friend Christine hosted this at her gorgeous home, and had a lot of decorations on hand already.  She is so talented in decorating!! 

We had cake, with a Tiffany box typed cake.  Then, a candy bar that was on the same table as the cake.  There was also a popcorn bar on a different table.  Since this activity took place in Texas, where it can be warm in January -- we played outside games to start the party.  Everyone received a glow in the dark necklace and a few bracelets.  Then we went outside and played glow in the dark kickball (with a kickball that did NOT hold up to its name!  BOO!).  After we played a few rounds of that (which was so much fun!), they played the hula hoop game -- basically getting into two groups and they join hands.  A hula hoop is placed in between two people, and the circle that can pass the hula hoop through everyone wins!  it was hilarious!

After those games, we came inside to eat cake and stock up on candy .. and popcorn.  Because after all of that, we went outside to watch a movie -- Despicable Me 2 -- it was a TAD bit cold that night -- but everyone had blankets and chairs.  All in all, everyone had a blast of fun. 
This is what the party decorations looked like:

What is it about giant Pixie Sticks that makes everyone grab those first?  I bought 50 of those suckers.. Katie had 6 herself.  :: rolling eyes ::


The balloons were duct taped to the ceiling, and at the bottom of the ribbon, were pictures being held up with a clothespin (that was spray painted to match the colors)







We also had a photo booth!!  It wasn't SUPER popular, but a lot of kids did get into the action.

The banner is basically letters cut out from a Cricut, glued onto scrapbook paper, glued onto a paper plate.  Tulle is holding each plate to each other.


The popcorn bar had candy to put in the bag along with the popcorn, as well as spray butter (not on table), and different types of toppings (seasonings).  I also had four types of popcorn on the table:  caramel, popcorn drizzled with milk & white chocolate, and popcorn made with coconut oil (went super fast!) and popcorn made with vegetable oil (a whole tub leftover!).

and to wrap up this blog post... here are a few of the cute photo booth pics!



Putting on a deck... at the property

Mike has been working on a deck at the property.  I was thinking it was a small deck... but when I saw it, I was thinking "Holy Guacamole!  This deck is HUGE!"

Now... it has fancy railings too.  I spent FOREVER... painting these suckers.  It has to be JUST right.... no drip spots, nothing.  Mike only finished it about 3/4 of the way through before bad weather hit, and we had to call it quits.  But, he's done a GREAT job, and it looks very nice.  He's mostly looking forward to hunting from the deck (yes, he has a feeder already set up and it's in the nice range of view from the deck).

Unfortunately, because of all the break ins we had last year (four total...), our windows will be rocking those awesome steel bars as well.
Cue:  angry face

Our friend put a stand up in a tree directly in line of the feeder on our property, and so the girls were often found going up and down that tree... sometimes just to read in it, or to text.  I had to laugh at them when I heard a few times "HELP!  I can't get down...."
Katie.... was found IN the cabin a lot, reading her books and texting.. a new friend. 
I, on the other hand, enjoyed pulling all the fallen trees on the property and creating huge bonfires.
This is the best time of year to do it -- when the snakes (are hopefully) deep underground b/c it's so cold.  And... of course, poison ivy is nowhere to be found.  In the summer?  Forget it -- you will not catch me in that area!

Thanksgiving at the Cabin

We absolutely love Thanksgiving at the cabin.  It is so relaxing, a little cold, and we have lots of bonfires to sit in front of and watch the beautiful stars.

This year my parents & my brother & his family came down from Missouri to celebrate Thanksgiving with us.  We just bought a metal storage unit.... and like rednecks that we probably tend to be, they slept in there (complete w/ carpet and heating units to keep them warm!).  My parents slept in the cabin with us.

Before they arrived, Mike and I went to town (remember, we're kind of far from town... ) and bought half of our kitchen cabinets.  We both absolutely LOVE this style of cabinets, as it reminds us of what a cabin style cabinet should look like.  We'll add more to it later this year, but at LEAST.. I have a kitchen sink now, and I no longer have to do dishes in the bathtub or outside with the water hose.

Mike built new steps complete w/ a handy "hold on for your life" handlebars.  It is actually pretty cool.  He did it earlier, but he only put in maybe 3 steps, so it was more like rock climbing to our bed every night.  It had to go....

Mike loves riding around on our neighbor's John Deere tractor...

Maddie shot her first animal!  It was actually a 6 point buck.  Not bad for the first time Maddie!

Maddie 'n Liam loved playing together.....
They both are such hams.

While Maddie 'n Liam hung out together, Katie & Joshua were buddies.

Finally a picture any grandparent who only has 4 grandkids would love to have hanging on their wall.

Miss Maddie is a Beehive!

Miss Maddie turned 12 last fall -- and when a girl turns 12 in our church, she gets moved up to the Young Women's group (ages 12 - 18 year olds) .... they in turn are separated by three groups, from 12-13 year olds (Beehives),14-15 year olds (Mia Maids), and 16-18 year olds (Laurels).

Our YW leaders (which, I am one of them...) spoil these adorable girls when they turn 12 and give them a huge bouquet of "Beehive" stuff.  :)  They love it!


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Building a Cabin ... part 238

I've written so many blog posts on our updates of building a cabin.. that I have officially given up on keeping track just what number I'm on exactly. 

But, it's time to get back in gear with this blog and update on our cabin life!

We went to the cabin this past weekend .... and we (remember, I use the term "we" very loosely here) managed to finish the ceiling of the cabin, and start the framing of our deck!

I say "we", and I do have to admit, my girls are either lying on the bed watching season 3 of Duck Dynasty that I picked up for $9.96 at Walmart .... or they're riding the four wheelers outside... or they're eating. 

I (emphasize I), hold a board here and there for Mike.  I did do something important!

So we get to the cabin, and lo and behold as soon as I take my shoes off in the cabin, my foot hits one of those cockleburs.  OWW!  They're all over the place.  They're hanging on our pants, on our shoelaces, on our tennis shoes.  They're even UNDER our shoes.  So our shoes are back on our feet for good in the cabin.. unless you want some type of needle inserted in your foot?

I go outside and I find these wicked plants.  I had always wondered what they look like on a plant.  Now I know! 

While Mike is busy getting the front part of the deck ready the girls are out four wheeling.  I put the sprinklers on to keep the dust down to a minimum.  It gets REALLY dusty around here when they ride their four wheelers!

Here is Mike getting ready to add the mesh to the cover the openings.. so wildlife (aka raccoons, possums, etc) won't get in.  I have to say that I did do my part here.. Katie drove us to Lowe's (we lived), I bought the mesh, Katie drove us back, I spray painted it, and I cut it.  Let the record be known that one should ALWAYS wear gloves when cutting this mesh up.  Let's say I was bleeding in a few places on my hands.  Owww...

After Mike starts to hear the thunder start to roll in, I hurry off to my photo shoot, which takes place exactly across the street from our cabin!  Our friend has his girls in for the weekend, and had some great ideas -- so I was game!  I think it all turned out really well!

On our last day at the cabin, Mike set about to finish putting up the ceiling in the cabin.  It took a few hours (and my part on helping him hold the boards, and handing the boards up to him... see, I do important work!) -- but we can say the ceiling is 99% done!  I think he did a BEAUTIFUL job!

A few months ago (or rather, earlier this year), Mike put up two beams at the top of the loft.  It is very scratchy... and I have had several splinters come from this already!  He also built a ladder, since ours was stolen from one of the three robberies we had.  However, he might have spaced them a *little* too far apart.  It's like rock climbing to the loft.

By the time we left, this is what our cabin looks like so far... our doors and windows are boarded up to prevent future robberies, our deck is slowly being framed in, and all is well on the eastern Texas front.

The girls took one last time around on the ATV's ....

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