Friday, January 22, 2010

Cherry Blossom Boxes by LyndseyKeiserDesigns

I'm not big on product promotion - but I've decided to make an exception since its family. And because I think every graduate, mother, daughter, bride or any other person who wants to feel special should have one of these.............................

Let me give you a little background first:

Lyndsey, Ben's middle sister - has made a profession out of using her creativity. By day - she's a middle school art teacher, by not she operates a small sweat shop with one employee (her trusty dog Lucy). Not really, but she does spend time working on a "side" business that I'm pretty impressed with.

(I posted these pictures without her permission - hope she doesn't mind ;)).

It's pretty ingenious, really. Although I think she should have copyrighted it - because I've seen alot of "POSERS" popping up now on

Anyway - she makes card boxes, for any occasion. You know those old bird's cage card boxed people used to use to put cards in at weddings, birthdays, etc.? Those are SO SO out! Her first one was actually from her own wedding.

She's sold quite a few (I don't really remember the exact number, but its more than 20). I know she's sent at least one across the Northern border and several to the East Coast. She decided to try her luck at the bridal show in Indiana - and she visited with over 100 brides. I think she would LOVE it if she could quit her day job and work full time on something like this (that's what I think anyway - I've yet to validate this statement.)

The official name of her business is something like, Cherry Blossom Boxes by LyndseyKeiserDesigns. You can find her on Etsy by clicking that link. I know she can customize about any color, design or theme you might want. Its not just limited to weddings, she's designed boxes for graduations, baby showers and a few other events.

I think this box is particularly beautiful. Especially since BROWN is the new "RAGE". She keeps a few sample boxes around, but I'm sure she'd send them packing if you fall in love with something.

This last one pays homage to the upcoming spring (don't we wish it'd get here already?). I'm a big fan of purple - and I know of a few K-Staters who could find a home for a box in this color.
She makes the boxes to order, based on your specs. But don't wait until the last minute - her hubby doesn't want that kind of pressure looming around the house during calving season.
So, in short - if your thinking about a creative, UNIQUE way to spruce up your gift table - consider one of her boxes. You won't be disappointed.
If nothing else, "Its free advertisement Lynny!"

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Whoot whoot!

I was able to hop on a plane last Friday afternoon and meet Ben and the NDSU judging team in Denver, Colorado for the National Western Stock Show. I get a little jealous when Ben gets to go to show, contests, etc. and see family and friends while I sit at home - so I could easily justify the $109 plane ticket. "It's for my mental health, Ben." Thank goodness he had already decided to let me go before I started begging.

Boy was I glad I went. I got to see friends from all walks of life. I got to meet up with some old graduate school friends, undergraduate friends and friends I've had my entire life. I also got to see my younger brother, Grady.

I'm sure he wasn't as excited to see me as I was to see him - but frankly I didn't care. I think at every opportunity I was hovering over him - just like a mother (not my mother) would do. I determined that after this weekend that I will not be a good mother. I spent more time worrying about how my brother was doing, where and if he was going to eat, if he got enough sleep and was he going to get into trouble.

This was the only real picture I got to snap of him the whole weekend. He did conceed to a picture with Ben and I before the livestock judging banquet on Saturday night. I tried to get another one, with him after he won a 5th place ribbon from the Carload Contest - but I was politely told to "BACK OFF" by BOTH MY HUSBAND and MY BROTHER.
I couldn't get them to understand, "The family would really appreciate a picture. Not everybody gets their names called at contests." I still lost. :(

I'll still chaulk to up to a successful weekend.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My first work post....don't get used to it!

I'm excited to finally start getting busy at work - I've got a few things going with 4-H parents for livestock projects so I feel at home. I told dad if it were a song, it would be "These are my people" by Rodney Atkins. And that excited me.

A few days ago I had my first meeting with my livestock parents/volunteers to discuss the 2010 Cass Co. Achievement Days at the RRVF! We struggle the same way other smaller counties struggle in that kids are being forced to choose between activities - sports or 4-H, etc. Many of the 4-Hers who once were active participants left the farm and haven't returned, leaving a smaller pole of upcoming 4-Hers to replace the graduates. Furthermore, we don't want to make it hard for those kids who want to participate but don't live on the farm - we want options for those kids to be involved.

I know Craig, Ben's dad, will probably roll his eyes and laugh once I type the next statement - but I'm pretty excited about a new set of classes at the county fair. In response to a brainstorming session we had to potentially increase participation at the county fair - we implemented a bucket calf class! These are by far my favorite livestock classes - but I know Craig doesn't care for them as much as I do.

I was started in 4-H with the bucket calf project, as were my sisters and brother. This is where we learned responsibility by going out and feeding the bottle calf two or three times a day. Bucket calves were easy for us to care for and easy for dad to break (unless they were 600-lb monsters that were harder to break to lead). We were judged on our knowledge of the project - and I am particulary partial to those judges who let the 4-Her talk on the microphone when answering the questions. Its the first project talk I ever did - and I was five!

We have a few parents with younger 4-Hers who are already interested! I think its a great opportunity for younger kids (we set a 12-yr old or younger requirement) to learn about livestock but not have to show a +1000 lb steer/heifer the first year or two!

Also, to promote positive husbandry skills we've implemented a "herdsmenship" competition that is aimed to showcase those 4-Hers who proactively take care of their projects, the stalls are free of manure, the animals look comfortable, the tack is in the tack area and the stall just look good. It a era where we need to keep a good face on production agriculture we hope to give kids a chance to rewarded for taking good care of their animals even out of the showring.

Finally, guidelines were established for an animal leasing agreement between local producers and 4-Hers who might be interested in having livestock but don't necessarily have the set-up or facilities to do so. This has actually already been in place here for several years, but we are going to begin marketing this option in 4-H in another effort to increase participation.

Its not alot, but the county has seen a loss of interest in the 4-H livestock program and have tried to think of ways to rejuvenate it. I'm hoping to help them in my new job! Hopefully a few of my KS ideas will get some more interest!

Headed off to Denver to see Ben and a good handful of friends tomorrow - so I'll have pics and updates next week!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Welcome Williams' family Christmas

(Thanks for the pictures Amanda, BTW).

All the men got some new duds this Christmas, so they had to model in front of the Christmas tree. Let me explain, starting left to right:

Craig - 1) chore cap, with EAR FLAPS and 2) Purdue fleece to sport at work
Ben - 1) Stormy Kromer (aka - Elmer Fudd) hat for judging practice and 2) Blue Cinch shirt
Matt (Lyndsey's husband) - 1) Hunter Orange cap for Thanksgiving hunting expeditions, 2) Camo face shield for snowmobiling and 3) Blue Cinch Shirt
Nick (Amanda's honey) - 1) John Deere baseball cap and 2) Blue/Red Cinch Shirt

Thanks for being a good sport guys. And for not making the girls model.

Not sure why these are small, but Lyndsey got a really "NICE" pair of balls this Christmas. The kind that hang between a bull's legs. If I remember correctly they are in response to the t-shirt Matt got with a picture of him and the dog (Lucy) entitled "Daddy's Little Angel."

We laughed along time about this gift. I wish you could see the disgust in her face. It's priceless. She actually had already driven around Lafayette with them attached to her rear hitch - without even knowing it. She REALLY, REALLY, REALLY hates these things.

Amanda got a sleeping bag from Nick. It should protect her in sub-zero temps - which she might not have experienced in previous years anywhere but ND and MN.......but I did hear of a bum being found dead of hypothermia in Memphis. Maybe she should keep this close by, JUST IN CASE.
Finally, "UNCLE" Ben got to spend some quality time with the "Neices" on the Williams' side. Macy likes to be snuggled and Ben happened to be near. Those dogs keep us very entertained.....especially when they decide to use the carpet as a bathroom.

We got to spend a good chunk of time in Indiana - we played lots of boardgames, Wii and even put together a 1000 pc. puzzle. We went to the Sherlock Holmes movie, went bowling and even got a little shopping in......all in about 3-d time.

Good stuff.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

When little one's are around - the world is so much better!

There are not enough words to describe how wonderful it was to spend a few days over Christmas with the little kids. Just a few pictures of the girls......

Emily's little girls - Kenya (just turned 3 on January 3rd) and Honey (who was 6-mths.) with their uncle Ben on Christmas Eve. They LOVE their Uncle Ben - and he LOVES them too!
Honey is the best behaved Baby ever..!!! Right Em?
This is the coolest contraption ever invented (in my opinion)! Honey got a BUMBO chair which is supposed to help support their back and neck so they can learn to set up on their own! You can even buy a tray so you can feed them in it! I've already asked for the "hand-me-down" in the event we have children of our own one day!

Kait got a SNUGGIE for Christmas! How cool is that?

Sorry Shelby, I know there are more flattering pictures of you - but it was good of Kenya.

Hope you enjoyed my showcase of the little girls!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Nothing like a new marriage to ring in the new year!

A little peak at how it all went down - 'BAMA style.

First off - the rehearsal was capped off by celebrating with a few fireworks. Totally legal, it was New Year's Eve afterall!

Followed by the ultimate smack-down! Totally never saw it coming! The brothers-of-the-bride have GOT to be a good time - this was their idea!
Post-silly string incident. They took it pretty well considering the leather jacket Brett was wearing!

Yes, this is my husband trying to give the bride a wet-willy. Wonder where he gets that? Any ideas Dad?

My camera (go figure!) wasn't able to capture the pure beauty of the church or the ceremony. The white pine on the ceiling with the contrasting darker pine - oh, my!

I'm not afraid to admit that when Karen's recording of the Rose started playing - I got teary eyed and had goosepimples. It was wonderful - that girl's got a gift.
Congrats newlyweds! Hope you had fun on your undisclosed honeymoon! Karen - welcome to the family! See you in Denver..........................dress warm.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Got 'Bama on the Brain.

Watching the national championship football game reminded me that I need to fill you all in some more details of our Alabama trip.

As far as the game goes I've got a special place saved for 'Bama in my thoughts after meeting and visiting with a very nice lady whose blood is very Crimson - but I can't help root for the Big XII!


you'll have to wait UNTIL TOMORROW to get more wedding pictures and recaps!!!!!

Photo of the K-State crew who made the trip: Back row - Lance Leachman, Adam McGee, my hubby (Ben), the groom (Brett Crow) and me; Front row - Christi Gabel, Amanda Brooks, Crystal Young, Emilie Miller, the bride (Karen Crow) and Austin Fink.!

Sometimes I wonder who takes the time to read my blog updates....but at least I know my dad does. After posting for a series of two days in a row - and missing yesterday - I got a phone call from dad making sure everything was okay. He checks almost everyday - and noticed I hadn't updated (lets not introduce him to facebook - all his productivity may forever be lost!) I was actually doing extensionally duties yesterday and didn't get a chance to blog over my lunch break. So dad, this one's for you!

Thank goodness for duplicate wedding gifts.

It was a blustry, cold day up here in the tundra. I won't complain because I've noticed on the news that its pretty much one massive cold front across a huge portion of the country. I also won't complain because we CHOSE to move to North Dakota - we knew the cold and snow was part of the deal!

Last night after work - I've decided to change my office hours to be on the road when other people aren't - I headed to the mall. You know, when its sub-zero temps and mild-blizzard like conditions - its great time to go to the mall. NO CROWDS or LINES! After making a few non-essential but fun purchases I headed home. I wanted to be a responsible tenant (and didn't feel like sitting home alone - Ben's travelling) so I shoveled the snow the mandatory 2-feet back from my garage door, picked up my things, toted the scoop shovel to the apartment and went inside. Typically the snow removers come over-night so I thought "Great, unlike the rest of the suckers living in the apartment complex - I won't have to hike over the 2-foot of snow piled against the door to get in the car in the morning."

My short-story is never short. Stop reading now if you have limited time.

I tried to remove the snow from our balcony (I'm never sure how much weight it can withstand) but the south-prevailing wind hindered much progress. After the 5th or 6th facefull of snow - I was done! No more, I don't have time to be sick.

Fast-forward to 7:00 a.m.

I leave the house around 7:00 a.m. to begin my workday. To my surprise upon leaving the building I noticed a small snow-capped mountain range in our parking lot. The snow-removing gnomes hadn't got to our lot yet evidently. Hmmm.....makes sense why no-one else was bothering the remove the snow last night - THEY HAD REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS!

Never-the-less, I got all settled in - put the trusty car in reverse and began to back out of the garage. No problem. Putting the car in DRIVE was a completely different story. Old trusty wouldn't budge!!!!! Now - I realize we don't always get this kind of snow in Kansas BUT I had driven in snow before so I rocked the car (with the wheel remaining straight) back-in-forth between reverse and neutral until I could smell burnt rubber!

ENTER ALMOST TEARS. Where's my man when I need him? I held back because a) it was too damn cold to cry and b) Ben would make fun of me. NO TEARS, but another dilemna loomed- the snow shovel was still across the parking lot and upstairs from the previous evening. But wait - didn't we get 2 as wedding gifts! Thank goodness we had enough sense to not return it!!!!!!!

So after a quick glance at the thermometer (-8) I opened the garage back up - grabbed shovel #2 and went to work. It took me twenty minutes to alternately dig myself a path and slide the Equinox about 2 cm forward until I was able to get traction! The wind was really the killer but lying down and dying there wasn't an option - I don't think my life insurance policy covers "giving up" or "wussing out" as payout reasons.

Now, it wasn't anyones fault but my own in this situation........I left before anyone else in my apartment complex is even awake and I probably helped create the mountain my car couldn't quite climb. Never-the-less I was able to get out and on my way to work. Thank goodness I was all bundled up to go to work that's all I've got to say.

I did however throw the snow shovel in the back seat just in case! It could get nasty out today.

Please be safe while driving - and maybe just maybe - THROW THAT EXTRA SHOVEL IN THE BACK SEAT! It might come in handy.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What were we thinking? Adventures in babysitting.

Sometimes Ben thinks I tend to go overboard. Whether it be with gifts to loved ones, treats for the office, decorating for Christmas or any other "hair-brained" idea that comes to mind.......I can't really help myself.

It was no surprise to him that upon returning from Louisville this past November my Sunday adventure in "just baking some cookies" quickly had spiraled out of control and produced 9 dozen soft batch (almond flavored) sugar cookies (I should share my recipe but I'm selfishly keeping it to myself). During this temporary break of reality I had decided "How much fun we would have over Christmas if we invited the kids up and decorated cookies for Santa Claus!"

About 3 dozen never made it to Kansas because of either I took them to the office, had one for a "treat" after work or Ben snuck a dozen when I wasn't looking. Never-the-less we took home 6 dozen cookies, 4 containers of every imaginable sprinkle, my new frosting tips and 6 containers of frosting,

Mom and my brother conveniently contracted "headaches" the afternoon we had planned to decorate cookies leaving Ben and I with four kids, 72 cookies and 85 lbs of frostings and toppings.
Thankfully Kait and Camdan are old enough to be pretty self-sufficient because it took a village to keep Kenya and Honey a) entertained and b) from sampling.

Here are a few pictures of the kids as they worked, hopefully Santa enjoyed the cookies from the Godsey kids!
Kait was very diligent and thoughtful in choosing the perfect color and sprinkle combination. Is anyone really surprised by this? Not me.
Kenya couldn't keep out of those cookies! She LOVED them!

Camdan's favorite part was "mixing flavors."

Uncle Ben was a good helper but I did catch him rolling his eyes, sighing rather loudly and clearing his throat about a hundred times over the course of 2 hours. He finally retreated to the recliner with Honey while I man-handled the remaining 4 dozen. NOTE: THERE IS NO WAY YOU CAN KEEP A 7, 5 and 3-YR. OLDS ATTENTION LONG ENOUGH TO DECORATE SIX DOZEN COOKIES - NO MATTER HOW MUCH FROSTING AND SPRINKLES YOU HAVE!!!!!!!!!
We (mostly me) enjoyed being able to hang out with the kids - it gave me a chance to ask them what they commissioned from Santa this year, how their school programs went, their grades and who their favorite reindeer is. However, I am equally thankful that we only decorate cookies once a year!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Anyone care for a little "Wild Hawg"?

Apparently every state has a stereo-type. For those who live in Alabama its those who run around bare-foot, have less than a half-mouth full of teeth and speak in a real deep Southern drawl. I didn't know this stereotype - sure I had seen a few characters fitting this description in the occasional movie or two but I rarely thought there were actual people like this living - to me it was a mere dramatization - UNTIL NOW.

We left the hotel early to get pictures taken at Brett and Karen Crow's (a friend of Ben's from Butler and KSU) wedding. Upon entering Moulton, at the "T" in the road we happened to see a rather "large" animal draped across the tailgate of an old "F-150" pickup at the local gas station.

We contemplated getting out the camera, bothering the group of hunters and just generally acting like "tourists" - but we decided "Hell - these people don't know us, what have we got to loose. Plus - that, whatever it is - it's massive."

Well, tada---------------------------------------------

What we quickly realized is that this animal was actually a MONSTER. We proceeded to get out of the car (it took me awhile longer - I couldn't find the batteries or memory card for the camera) and walk up to a group of 3 hunters who were admiring a 350-lb wild boar that was recently harvested from the local "mountain."

The hunter proceeded to fill us in on how he:
a) lured it in - by using a "Hawg" call, twice while stalking (sitting) on the ground under a tree up on Sipsy Mountain
b) shot it - pointblank in between the eyes with one shot
c) guesstimated its age and weight - about 4 years (note that they age them by sizing up their tusks) and it was "the biggest of the season!"
d) planned to do with it - eat it of course!

Evidently these beasts are over-populating areas like this and there has been an effort to weed out the population by offering a week long season and several shorter seasons to hunt these pigs throughout Alabama. I couldn't decipher how many, what type and the method in which they could hunt the pigs from this particular person but I can tell you he was a) excited about his bounty and b) very patient with our 101 questions.
I was informed by friends at the wedding that our description of a "WILD BOAR" is not infact the correct way to refer to this type of animal. The correct term (to fit in with the locals) is to refer to them as "WILD HAWGS." Never-the-less we experienced a very stereo-typical event of rural Alabama according to guests at the wedding who just laughed and rolled their eyes when we shared our experiences with them! Little do they know - stereo-typical or not - we LOVED every minute of it! Ben might even go back for a little "HAWG" hunting of his own!!!!

Over the river and through the woods................

We just finished the last leg of the season's longest Christmas vacation! In a little less than 2 weeks the trusty Equinox carried us over 12 states and 3200 miles to see family, friends and enjoy the holiday break! For your entertainment - I tried as hard as my memory would allow to document our trip.

During this trip we traveled through North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Wisconsin and Minnesota! The snow seemed to follow us everywhere --except on the trip South where we enjoyed clear skies and beautifully warmed to 45 degrees (our southern friends disagreed on the "enjoyable" weather).

Over the next few posts - I've let you in on some of my favorite moments of Christmas break. The first of which - actually happened while in "The South" keep reading!