Friday, October 24, 2014

Photo Friday- The Pumpkin Patch

You'd think that after almost two months of the boys all being in school that I would have a great routine and be creating scrapbook layouts and cards, taking tons of photos, and getting it all blogged!  Well, as you might guess I'm not!  I really do want to get on a better blogging schedule and am really setting that as one of my goals.  Keep your fingers crossed.  I do have another family photo session coming up this weekend so you have that to look forward to.  I'm also ordering a ton of pictures this week so I'm getting down in my craft room and getting all of those memories in the books.  Wish me luck.

Today I'm sharing what has become one of our favorite fall traditions.  Our trip to the pumpkin patch.  We've been going to Vala's Pumpkin Patch every year for the last 11 years!  We always plan on spending the whole day there because there is so much to do!  This year we tried something different and went during the week.  It was amazing!!  The crowds were minimal, parking was excellent, and there were almost no lines!  We are definitely going to go during the week from now on.  There are so many things to do that we never can get to everything.  This year was no exception.  When we left all of the boys were telling us about the things we didn't get to!  Maybe next year.  Some of our favorite activities this year were the new Barnyard Sports, the Pie Barn, and of course the hayrack ride.  Thanks for stopping.

This tractor was my favorite thing at Vala's this year.  I just love it!!
They are the happiest tractor couple I've ever seen. 

Taking a hayrack ride out to the pumpkin patch is still one of my favorite things to do at Vala's.

Having some fun at lunch time.

The inside of the new Pie Barn is absolutely gorgeous!

The pig races are always a favorite.  See you next year.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Photo Friday- Missy the Mantis

With four boys in the house bugs are always a topic of conversation.  So much in fact that one of my boys wants to be a 'bug expert'.  Most of the time I don't get involved in those conversations.  Bugs aren't really my thing.  Until this time.  Almost two weeks ago we noticed a praying mantis on one of the flowering plants by our front door.  We checked it out and I took a couple of pictures thinking it would be gone the next day.  I was wrong.  Like I said, it's been almost two weeks and it is still there!  From the little information I have looked up on the Internet I am thinking that this mantis is a female (which we have named Missy) and we are hoping that she will be laying an egg sac in our plant.  Everyday we go and see where she is.  Some days she is really hiding and others she is out in the open.  We have watched her catch a fly and I even watched her devour a grasshopper.  I go and check on her a few times a day and of course I have taken some pictures.  I'm a little obsessed with her.  If you don't like blood and guts leave my blog now.  I'm warning you that some of these photos are a little graphic.  Enjoy!

I believe she was cleaning herself after eating a fly. 

My favorite photo of our 'pet'. 

This is the really graphic one.  That is a grasshopper that she is eating.  She decapitates it. 

Still eating the grasshopper.  Notice the missing head. 

I'm pretty sure that is one of the grasshopper's wings in Missy's right arm.

In case you ever wanted to know, the inside of a grasshopper is orange. 


Friday, September 19, 2014

Photo Friday- Lauer Family Photos

I had the pleasure last weekend of photographing some friends of ours from college and their lovely boys.  We had a crazy Sunday (my #2 fell and hit his head on the driveway and needed to go to the ER.  All is good with him.  No fracture or brain bleed, just a big goose egg).  I drove from the hospital to the park where we were taking pictures.  Needless to say I was a little scattered.  Our friends arrived and their little one just woke up from a nap.  Needless to say he was a little scattered too.  We started taking some pictures and once everyone got calmed down even the little guy was giving me smiles.  We had a great session and it was so fun to get our families together.  Here are a few of my favorites from our session.  Thanks for stopping.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Visit to THE Little Town on the Prairie Part 2

Welcome back to part 2 of my De Smet journey.  Our second day began with breakfast and saying goodbye to The Prairie House Manor Bed and Breakfast that we stayed at while in De Smet.  This bed and breakfast was once the Banker Ruth residence and is truly a grand home.  Our stay there was lovely and the food was delicious!

This photo taken with a tripod wrapped around a stop sign. 
Once we said good bye we were off to the Ingalls Homestead Laura's Living Prairie.  As much as I LOVED all of the history, family stories, artifacts, and being in actual homes that Laura lived in I really loved this hands on prairie visit.  If you have children this place is a must stop on your Little House list of places to go as everything here is hands on.

Before actually getting onto the grounds of Laura's Living Prairie we stopped at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Site.  Here still stand 5 cottonwood trees that Pa planted on his homestead.  I must say that I was in heaven.  Being where Laura once played, under the trees Pa planted, with the wind rustling the leaves and the sun shining through them I didn't want to leave.  It was beautiful and these photos don't even do it justice.

Our first stop at Laura's Living Prairie was the look-out tower.  On our way Katie befriended a little black cat who led us up the stairs.  Here we could look out over the land that was the Ingalls family homestead in 1880.  Simply beautiful.

The next stop on our tour was Laura's Travels Exhibit, the Dugout, and the Burvee Shanty.  The dugout mentioned in On the Banks of Plum Creek always intrigued me.  After going in this one I have a new respect for Ma and the family.  I can't even imagine staying in here for one night let alone many.  I'd take the shanty any day.

This original claim shanty was built in 1878. 
Inside the claim shanty.  This is a palace compared to the dugout. 
The hayroof barn.  There were even kittens, a rooster, and a calf to greet you in here. 
Ma's Little House and the Livestock Barn came next.  I could just imagine living in this little house on the SD prairie.  It was just perfect.  The livestock barn gave me a surprise I wasn't expecting.  I walked in and was immediately overcome with emotion.  The smell of hay, dirt, and livestock took me back to my childhood on my grandparents' farm.  I haven't been in that barn for probably 15-20 years.  I was brought to tears.  Funny how things happy when you least expect it.

This photo taken courtesy of the self timer and a stump of wood. 
Next, we took a wagon ride to the "Little Prairie School" and attended a class.  Kids would love this!  They can help lead the horses and wear clothes of the era in the school house.  Super fun.

Thanks for the photo Katie!

I had a little editing fun with this selfie. 
West Bethany Church was built in 1905.  It was a short walk through the prairie to get to it.  The clouds and sun just made for a beautiful photo.  I couldn't help but take one.

I have one last photo to share courtesy of Roland, Laura Ingalls Wilder Specialist.  Isn't that just a fun job title?!  I am so glad that Katie and I were both able to live one of our childhood dreams together.  If you have ever thought about visiting De Smet or any of the other Laura Ingalls Wilder museums and towns I would highly encourage it.  I hope you've enjoyed my little trip the the Little Town on the Prairie.  I know that I enjoyed it and I can't wait to go back with my boys.  Thanks for stopping!

If you've enjoyed my De Smet journey stop by Katie's blog to see her take on our trip.  She is also heading to a few other Laura Ingalls Wilder spots so be sure to follow her on her adventure.