Sunday, June 26, 2011

5000 miles ~ 11 states

Let's wrap it up folks, with one last post from our trip to Wisconsin
We were bracing ourselves for some smoky haze on I-40 because of the AZ Wildfires,
but the winds shifted and we had clear sailing into Arizona.

We were sad to hear at this point in our trip
that over 400,000 acres were burning and 0% contained.

I love these old Route 66 relics against some of the most breathtaking rock formations ever.

I have said it before and I will say it again... Arizona is still one of my most favorite states!
Randy & I drove over 5000 miles through
Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and back through
Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.
And I still got excited and full of pride when we passed this sign. 
Randy & I have also made plans to celebrate Arizona's 100th Birthday this year
with trips to the Grand Canyon North Rim and the Antelope Canyon near Page in August ~
in addition to several trips to the Mogollon Rim above Payson in our cozy cottage on wheels.
I can hardly wait to hit the road again!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Oklahoma family

Meet Ezra. My sister's newest grandbaby. My niece Kristen & Joe's son. He's adorable.

Meet Randy. He's a pyro. He loves bonfires and roasting marshmallows.

Meet Mya & Zac. They're cousins, neighbors and best buds.

How cool are these glow sticks photographed at night and reflecting the fire!

I'm not a chocolate lover... so Joe introduced me to cookies 'n creme S'mores.
Oh my gosh, sooo yummy good!

Sisters Mya & Kennady huggin' & kissin' their brother Ezra.
While brothers Parker, Zac and Alex wait their turn to love on their new cousin.

Nothing sweeter than a mamma and her newborn baby...
and making memories with family in Oklahoma. I miss 'em all so much!

Joe ~ Ezra ~ Kristen ~ Kathy ~ Linda ~ Randy
Brandi ~ Aaron ~ Zac (on lap) ~ Mya ~ Alex ~ Kennady ~ Parker

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Newcastle, OK tornado

Most of you may not even know that two days after the F-5 Joplin tornado, an F-4 went through Newcastle, OK. My sister Kathy and her son's family and her daughter's family live only a few miles from the devastation that destroyed this little community south of Oklahoma City.

We left Wisconsin and arrived in Oklahoma three weeks after the tornado hit... and immediately had my sister drive us around to witness the devastation. I can't even begin to tell you how heartbreaking it was to see these images up close and personal. And this was 3 weeks after the fact!

There were no deaths as a result of the Newcastle tornado on May 24th, but these images will forever haunt me. These folks lost everything... but their very lives.

This home was near the school my niece & nephews attend. Because it happened after school hours, over 1500 residents of Newcastle were able to squeeze into the 1000 capacity 'safe room' located within the school. Thankfully only a portion of the school was damaged. The 'safe room' literally saved their lives. Click HERE to see the tornado shelters that many are having built on their property.

This is where my sister's family hunkered down. My nephew's property came with this old storm shelter next to the house and they were able to get 14 family members and 4 dogs underground... and that included my niece's 2 week old baby!

I can't imagine waiting and wondering what they would discover when they came out. Thank God the tornado missed them. But they would soon find out that others nearby were not so lucky.

Let's not forget to keep these communities in our prayers, as they rebuilt their homes and lives. Yesterday as I was searching for a Newcastle link, I came upon a Joplin link that brought me to tears. Please take some time and pray over these stunning images HERE.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

vintage inspired grad party

We literally hit the ground running upon returning home from our trip to Wisconsin.
We were hosting our daughter Miranda's graduation party in 3 days!
She decided on a vintage theme ~ ice cream bar.
So I googled MOJO's and was blown away by all the topping ideas.
I couldn't wait to fill my PYREX collection with all these decadent choices.
You can see more of my collection by clicking My Pyrex Collection.

Miranda, Elisabeth and Nicole
We had over 40 people in our home and backyard and actual seating for everyone.
Yes, I happen to be a hoarder of chairs.
Seriously, who can pass up those vintage wooden folding chairs!
Because well... you never know when you might need seating for that many.

This quilt happens to be one of the last purchases I made just days before my little thrift store closed. I think I paid around 4 dollars.
It has a flannel backing that is so soft. I couldn't resist hanging it from the back wall.
Oh and I brought back more vintage canning jars from the farm.

My daughter-in-law Nicole convinced me to throw down several rag rugs and quilts 
to give it that comfy, cozy feel. Thanks for all your help Nicole!

And you can bet my galvanized containers came in handy.
Here's my little secret to preserving ice... I lay frozen containers/blocks of ice (milk jugs, etc.) at the bottom of the galvanized tubs and then add bags of ice and bottled beverages.
You can't see the frozen containers... but it keeps the ice cubes from melting 
and the beverages ice cold. Even in our Arizona 100+ heat!
Oh and my $5.00 vintage IGLOO cooler (3 gal.) kept my homemade lemonade ice cold.
Do you want to see more party pics? Then here you go ~ Miranda's Graduation Party

I'm linking my thrifty finds with ~ NIFTY THRIFTY TUESDAY

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rural America

Oh wait, that's not a barn... that's a Casino! What's this world coming to?!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Studebakers & gas pumps

Oh my gosh, this has to be a photo stylists dream shoot come true!
But no, it just happens to be my brother-in-law Dave's collection of Studebakers...

and vintage gas pumps. 

Can you imagine stylizing a photo shoot for a family of school age kids...
and dressing them in vintage plaid outfits, carrying metal lunch boxes from the 50's, 
and holding a shiny red apple for their teacher
and walking single-file in front of this Studebaker school bus! Oh be still my heart.

Love the dinosaur Sinclair pump... but how cool is this pegasus Mobil gas pump!

But my favorite... Dave's '60 Studebaker Lark that he towed back from Phoenix a year ago.
He has several other Studebakers in buildings throughout his property, 
but the lighting made it hard for me to photograph.
Wished you could have seen his Avanti, but it's being painted. 

I love the patina on this Shell gas pump.

Dave stores his prized Studebakers in metal quonsets on his property.
Did you know I also have a thing for old vintage trucks? I do.
Can't you just see his '50 Studebaker on location at an engagement shoot...
along with an old picnic basket and a vintage cooler filled with bottled pop. Love, LOVE!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day 6- final farm day

Our final day on the farm was another hot & humid day. 
It would get down in the 40's that night with a high in the 60's the next day. 
Wouldn't you know... we'd leave and take the heat with us!

My sister-in-law Debbie invited the Earp brothers, I mean the guys,
over for a good ole' fashion farm breakfast...
before Randy drove Shawn & Tyler to the airport in Minneapolis.

Um, need I say more. Or as we Norwegians would say "Uff Da! That's a lot of food!"

I had to post this pic of Debbie standing in her kitchen because 
it happens to be the kitchen that I washed & dried dishes after every meal while growing up.
However did my Mom prepare three hearty meals a day
 for a family of 8 in this tiny, galley kitchen!

No trip is complete without climbing the 90 foot Harvestor silo.
This year Tyler chose to climb the silo on one of the hottest days on record. 
~100 degrees, humid and windy~

Tyler has been climbing the silo with his Dad since he was quite young,
but this year Randy chose not to climb. Can't say I blame him.

Oh my gosh, I'd be freaking out! Tyler took this one with his iPhone.
You can see the farmhouse below... and my Mom's house behind those pines in the distance.
And here's a better look at where I stayed while visiting the farm.