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. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Photo Friday- A Visit to THE Little Town on the Prairie Part 1

I don't know how many times I have driven by the sign for De Smet and thought that I really needed to stop there. Two weeks ago I realized that childhood dream and visited the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder in De Smet, SD.  I loved reading the Little House series when I was a child and also have many fond memories of watching the show at my grandparents' home in Minnesota.  I even had a bonnet that I wore at recess at school and yes, I got made fun of but I wore it anyway.  So when my good friend, Katie, said that she also has always wanted to visit De Smet we made plans to go.

I really wanted to have the full Laura Ingalls experience so in preparation I reread all of the Little House series in two weeks!  I must say that reading these books again as an adult and a parent was really rewarding.  I picked up on things I'm sure that I never noticed as a child.  With all of the books read and our reservations made we were off!


The first item on our agenda was the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic homes tour and museum.  They have both a walking and driving tour of the different places in De Smet.  We started with the guided tour which started at the Surveyors' House.  If you want to know more about these buildings I would suggest reading the books or visiting the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Homes website.  Having just read all the books it was almost surreal to be in this home that the family actually lived in.  Laura's descriptions were fresh in my mind and now I could clearly envision exactly what she was describing. 
    
Next on the tour were the replica of the Brewster School and the First School of De Smet (the actual school that Laura and Carrie attended).  It was so fun stepping back in time in these one room school houses.  I just loved the desks and the original blackboard.  
Our final stop on the guided tour was the Ingalls home.  Charles built this home in De Smet in 1887 and it was the final home they lived in.  When I first saw this home it reminded me of my grandparents' home.  The only photos we could take in this home were if we were playing the instruments.  Of course I had to fiddle around. 
My dear friend Katie took this photo.  This was a happy accident since I forgot to change the settings from all of our outdoor photos from earlier. 
Another photo by Katie with the right settings this time. 
Katie had to take a turn on the fiddle too. 
We then did the walking part of the tour and walked up and down Calumet Avenue.  In the store front of every building is a photo and story of what building was there during the time of Laura's books.  It was so neat to see all of those different parts of history.
Charles Ingalls helped build this Congregational Church.  It was the first church erected in De Smet.   
We also drove around town and saw a few extra sights including the homestead of Laura and Almanzo as well as the De Smet Cemetery where Ma and Pa Ingalls are both buried. 

That concludes our first day.  I plan on putting part two of our trip up tomorrow.  There was just too much to include in one post.  I'll leave you with these quotes.  Thanks for stopping.