Adding Authentic Farmhouse to Your Decor

I see these great pictures of farmhouse decor mudrooms on Pinterest and I’m always just so amazed.  Where is the MUD?!  Our little place doesn’t have much space for a mudroom, or even lockers, so our back hallway is always crowded with coats, jackets, mittens, coveralls, insulated chore boots, thawing water buckets, egg baskets and anything the little guy wants to add to the pile.

farmhouse 2

I mean really, why bother cleaning at all?  At minimum we’ll go in and out of this backdoor, through the snow, slush, or ice, at least four times a day, usually more.  So what would be the point?

No point whatsoever.

In fact, I’m embracing it.

Because you’re probably aware that “farmhouse chic” is all the rage in home decor right now.  Some people like the vintage look, or add industrial touches.

farmhouse 1

I’m calling mine “authentic farmhouse.”

And it is so on trend.

farmhouse 5

To DIY this in your home you’ll need an indoor space for drying coveralls.  Try to find unmatched leather gloves for this area as well.

Farmhouse 4

A vignette is a great way to bring a little of the country to your home.  Start with a basic place for all the bills (very farmhouse authentic) and add extras like farm tools and the many electronic devices your farmer uses each day.  Don’t forget their cords.  Add to your look with a pile of farm magazines.  Toss yearly to make room for the 18 inch stack you’ll be receiving.  For every conference/expo/event attended you’ll also need another file folder to hold all the promotional materials that must be retained for future reference.  For additional texture, keep several hats with farm brand logos prominently featured.  The display gains depth if your hats were given for “free” after spending thousands of dollars with a company.

farmhouse 3

Although not specifically part of a mudroom, an open door to the bathroom can provide a glimpse of other farmhouse must-haves.  A boot dryer is fought over not only by people wanting warm, dry boots, but home decorators across the country.  A gallon sized container of industrial-strength hand cleaner can be found at your local farm store.

farmhouse 6

Also available at farm stores is the authentic chicken waterer.  This works best in the space if it is covered in ice and can drip water continuously throughout the day.

farmhouse 7

Bonus points go to any entryway containing a bag of trash if the trash truck was unable to navigate your driveway the last three trash days because of ice or snow.

So add some farmhouse to your home.  It’s easier than you might think!

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#MOFBImagine Cuties

Christmas traditions are important, and one of ours is the annual Missouri Farm Bureau meeting the first weekend in December.  It’s held at a resort on the Lake of the Ozarks, with the conference held in the main lodge.  The first several years we tried to get rooms in the main hotel or in one of the buildings with a walkway so we’d be close to everything, but now we love getting a room in the “estates” where our favorite place has a huge deck overlooking the water and a fireplace the hotel staff cleans! Brian goes to vote on changes to our policy, I go for the quiet room, and both of us have more friends than we can catch up with at the conference.

This year’s conference was more “adorable” than usual.  The theme “Imagine” inspired the state staff to put together a video of what our kids imagine the future will be like when they are grown up and farming on their own. You may find a familiar face or two!

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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving


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So Much To Be Thankful For

We celebrated Thanksgiving with my family this weekend when my sister could come from Iowa.  We had it all.

Thanks 1


Thankful 3


Thankful 5

And food.

Thanks 2

Which my Dad reminded us, isn’t always the case.

Thankful 4

(Toddlers get their own table!)

A few years ago my parents invited some church members from Africa to stay at their home while they did a circuit of the area congregations.  One day my Dad took a gentleman named Sam with him to feed the cows and while they worked and the two talked about the fact that Sam’s family might be getting electricity in their home.  With Sam remarking about the very special cows my Dad commented that the thing he would miss most about not having electricity would be the refrigerator.

“Brother Gene,” Sam said.  “We do not need a refrigerator.  When we are done with a meal, there is nothing left to store.”

He indicated the grain being fed to the cows and noted, “That would feed a family in Africa for a day.”

Special cows indeed.

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When our meal was over I could hardly fit the leftovers into my triple door refrigerator and I took some of them to the basement fridge.

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When I came back upstairs I remembered to be thankful.

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So very, very thankful.

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My Own Front Yard

While we wait for the ground to dry out and harvest to kick into high gear I’ve been using my new camera (the old one was dropped one too many times!) to capture the beauty in my own front yard.

My own front yard. The beauty of fall #harvest15. {}

As we drove to church yesterday I noticed the balconies on a set of apartment buildings.  Small platforms, maybe 4 x 6 feet where families store a bicycle or two, maybe a potted plant.

My own front yard. The beauty of fall #harvest15. {}

Making me very grateful.

My own front yard. The beauty of fall #harvest15. {}

Farming is more than a career.

My own front yard. The beauty of fall #harvest15. {}

It’s a lifestyle.

My own front yard. The beauty of fall #harvest15. {}

And a pretty amazing one at that.

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When is An Inch of Rain Welcome in September?

Rain during spring planting can be looked on as a good thing; rain is necessary for crops to grow. But rain during harvest?  All it does is slow you down.

So when is an inch of rain a welcome blessing in September?

When the combine runs a board through the head while driving through the field and you have to tear the whole thing apart to fix it.

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When the part you need to fix the combine head has to be shipped from three states away.

When your farmer signs up for professional development programs and must travel to D.C. during prime harvest time.

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When you really, really, really need someone to fix the dishwasher.

When you really, really, really need someone to wrangle the kids.

When we’re all tired of family dinners consisting of Subway sandwiches at the edge of a field.

Rain 1

When the average amount of sleep you’re farmer has had per night is less than the number of days since you saw him last.

When God sends the rain and there’s nothing you can do about it anyway!

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The Japanese Art of Getting Rid of All Your Stuff

The Japanese Art of Getting Rid of All Your Stuff

If you haven’t heard about KonMari, you’re probably not on Facebook enough.  (Congratulations!)  Marie Kondo wrote The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanses Art of Decluttering and Organizing a few years ago, but the phenomenon recently hit the US.  She teaches you how to have a tidier house by getting rid of the clutter, i.e. everything.

The Japanese Art of Getting Rid of All Your Stuff

I can’t really explain the book, so you have to read the real thing if you’re interested.  But you start with clothes, hold everything you own, and instead of choosing what to get rid of you choose what to keep– only things that bring you joy.  The distinction is surprisingly more important than you’d think.

The Japanese Art of Getting Rid of All Your Stuff

When I started I thought I didn’t have a lot of clutter, since our house is an older home with little storage space.  I was wrong.  Using Marie’s criteria I’ve gotten rid of more than half of each category I’ve “KM’ed” (that’s KonMaried).

The Japanese Art of Getting Rid of All Your Stuff

But, #farmmomproblems, I don’t have good place for a yard sale.

The Japanese Art of Getting Rid of All Your Stuff

And I have So Much Stuff.  (That’s crafts, not scrapbooking.)

The Japanese Art of Getting Rid of All Your Stuff

Homeschool.  Not this year’s curriculum.

So what every country girl needs is a friend in the city.  Hopefully a super great friend with prime garage sale real estate.  And then you’ll need a couple of pick-up trucks to haul everything down and a few days to sit outside with your laptop while writing blog posts and re-pricing items that lost their stickers.

Japanese Art of Tidying

And you’re set.


Now if only I could get rid of all the dishes so I wouldn’t need to wash them…

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What is the Answer?

Did you know the answer?  Monday I asked what these signs on the edge of fields represented.  Several people commented, here or on the Facebook page. Ever wondered what these signs mean? The signs don’t designate field ownership, which was the misconception I was trying to correct.  Instead they are a little more like billboards.  They advertise to other famers what brand and variety of seed was used to plant this field. Ever wondered what these signs mean? So here the seed was sold by Pioneer.  If you looked at this field while driving past (and farmers do) and noticed the ground was  similar to yours and the soybeans were doing really well you might take note of the number in red as well.  Calling a seed salesman and asking for “Pioneer seed” would get you a very long list. A screen shot from DuPont Pioneer's website Here’s a screen shot from their website.  You scroll through two pages of this chart. A screen shot from DuPont Pioneer's website But if you know the number you can click through and find the information about the seed you are interested in.  The website provides information on how it grows in different soil types, how many days it will take to grow to a mature plant, how well it does against disease. Ever wondered what these signs mean? And while you might go around with a brand name on your jacket, you probably don’t go out of your way to advertise for a company. Neither do farmers. Seed representatives for the various brands check with farmers for the the fields using their products and then scout for crops that look best.  The reps put in signs to advertise their business.  For the farmer a sign is a little bit like a gold star.  Your crops look great! Brian (AKA Daddy) used to scout for sign-worthy crops during an internship he had in college.  It’s hot, sticky work! Ever wondered what these signs mean? Some of you also mentioned test plots, or research, where a company or university grows a seed to learn how it does in a specific area.  You can usually identify test plots by the rows of signs. Also important, seed companies work with farmer/landowners to do these test plots.  The seed representative (rep) sometimes gives a farmer specific seed to try for free, or the rep may come and plant the seed himself.  It’s a pain on our farm, but some growers really like the advantages of test plots.  While the companies do own ground, probably near their research facilities, it is a TINY percentage of farmland in the US. So the family farm isn’t gone.  In fact, non-family corporations actually make up only 3% of farm ownership in this country.  97% are still family farms!

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On the Farm Quiet Book

Let’s face it: farm life is cuter in felt.  The cows are easier to handle, hay isn’t itchy, nothing smells bad.  Plus felt is quiet and good for keeping future farmers and ranchers busy during church.  Which is why I’m back with quiet books!

Ideas for "On the Farm" quiet book from felt.

I found a pattern for a barn with finger puppets at Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows.  Ideas for "On the Farm" quiet book from felt.

It worked really well and I loved not needing to measure all the white strips.  Her pages look like they were made for a 8 x 10 inch book and mine are 9 x 9, so I changed the size to 80% before printing.

My other change was that I cut double of everything and sewed them together for strength.  The chick’s wings are a double thickness, as are the ears, etc..

Ideas for "On the Farm" quiet book from felt.

This particular gift is for my nephew.  Since my brother’s family raises Charolais cattle I made my cow all white.  Unfortunately that makes him look like a sheep to the rest of us, but Xander will get it!

My next two pages are a backdrop for the puppets, as well as a few other farm essentials.

Ideas for "On the Farm" quiet book from felt.

Because I must have crazy, I bought a sheet of thin metal at Hobby Lobby and cut it to 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 and sewed it between the pages, making these backdrops magnetic.  This was a struggle, since I don’t own the right scissors and I forgot to cut out notches for the eyelets the first time.  Also, don’t bother with the pocket on top.  The metal is too sharp for little fingers to be reaching down between the pages and the felt is already stretched too tight for storing.

Ideas for "On the Farm" quiet book from felt.

I made some double-thickness fence pieces with magnets between the layers.  You’ll need the tiny, super-strong kind.  Cheap magnet tape won’t hold through all the felt.  I like to sew everything but there wasn’t room to get my needle around the magnets, I wasn’t doing this by hand, and magnets stick to the sewing machine.  So hot glue.  I also added a pick-up truck with magnets to run the errands. 😉

Ideas for "On the Farm" quiet book from felt.

My last page is a hay field, baled and ready for eating.  The tractor is green, but I will learn to live with that.  Again, the hay bales and the tractor are magnets stuck to the background.

Ideas for "On the Farm" quiet book from felt.

The last page is a pocket for storing the fencing, truck, and tractor, as well as any other pieces that can go to future pages.  I like to make my quiet books with eyelets and rings so pages can change as the child grows.

So now you’ll have something to do if you’re bored this weekend- lol!

Ideas for "On the Farm" quiet book from felt.

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A Real Disney Princess

You know how as a parents sometimes you just smile and nod and say “Sure sweetie”?  These certianly aren’t our more stellar parenting moments, but when you’re home with kids 24/7 it happens.  There are just certain instances when this has more consequences…

For example, the other day when two of Baby’s therapists were finishing up their visit, in walks Anna, just like this.

Anna's dream came true.  She caught a bird!

Since it’s hard to tell in the photo, I’ll tell you.  That’s a baby barn swallow in her hand.  Which would be interesting enough as a parent, except for one small thing.

For the past four weeks that background chatter, the constant flow of conversation as been, “Can I please try and catch a bird?  Princesses can catch birds.”

The conversation typically continues something like “Maybe someday we’ll get a pet bird.”

“But if I catch one can we put it in that bird cage?” (points to Hobby Lobby decorative bird cage)

“Um, not really.”

“But can we get a bird cage?”


“Can I pray to catch a bird?”


“Yay! I’m going outside right now to get one!”

“Uh, huh.”

Never.  Ever.  Did I expect to see her walk in with a real, live, baby bird.  And, I should add, neither did the therapists.  Holding it bird out with both hands she exclaims, “All of my dreams have come true!”

Prayer is powerful stuff.

She and Brett were playing in the shed on Daddy’s old Chevy when she found this baby bird on the ground.  When I went back outside with her I found half a nest on the roof of the pick-up that had evidently fallen out of the rafters, another fledgling still inside.

Anna's dream came true.  She caught a bird!

We took lots of pictures and then a broken hearted Anna left both birds in the nest, certain I was thwarting God’s ultimate plan for the universe and denying her her royal birth-right.

Anna's dream came true.  She caught a bird!

There’s little hope for the poor things; I didn’t see any sign of the parents all morning and there are too many predators around here for birds to survive on a truck.  But leaving them there is probably their best bet.

And Anna is praying for them.

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