In March of 2021, Mr. Farmhouse and I made the decision to schedule a surprise road trip for the girls.
The tail end of their spring break aligned with the beginning of mine, so we took advantage of this and planned a little mini-vacation.
We used AirBNB for the first time and booked our stay at The Old Riverton Post in Riverton, Kansas.
There were a few things that really made this trip fun.
First of all, the girls had no idea we had anything planned until the morning that we were getting ready to head out.
I still had to work that day, so to build their anticipation, I hid bags with clues in them around the house. The clues gave them a little bit of information about the upcoming trip and also had a surprise inside...road trip snacks, a game to play, a small piece of jewelry to wear on the trip, a photograph of some friends we were going to visit...you get the idea.
Secondly, the best part of the scavenger hunt (for Mr. Farmhouse and myself) is that there were chores tied to each of the clues. So once they found a bag containing a clue and some sort of little surprise, they also found a short list of things that needed to be completed before we could leave. By the time I got home from work that day, the house was picked up, the girls were packed, and we could jump in the car and head out!
Finally, we decided to visit little "hole-in-the-wall" joints for meals and we didn't do anything really "touristy" (except for maybe visiting Big Brutus in West Mineral, Kansas). We spent most of our time at the AirBNB, playing board games, reading, and watching movies.
We had such a great time on that trip, that I immediately scheduled another similar getaway for March of 2022.
This time, we visited a cabin in Greenfield, Missouri -- on an unexpected cold and snowy weekend!
The girls were off school on the day we left, so again, I had clues set up and ready for them to find throughout the day! It was a fun and relaxing trip, filled with lots of cozy family time in this beautiful cabin.
One of our family goals that we have set for ourselves is to have lots of experiences for our girls to look back on, especially since our oldest will be graduating in just a few years.
With this in mind, I scheduled a little summer getaway and we ended up in Phillipsburg, Missouri just a few weeks ago. This stay was super-unique -- we slept in a converted grain bin! It was so much fun!
We did have a few more experiences outside of the airBNB during this trip and they were all well-worth the cost!
We have decided that booking a bed & breakfast through AirBNB or VRBO is the way to go for lodging when we travel.
Mr. Farmhouse and the girls love to cook, so they prepare a lot of our meals wherever we travel.
We take board games and our books and spend a lot of time just being together.
One of my favorite parts of each trip is when we're driving home.
Mr. Farmhouse and I sit up front and talk the whole time, as the girls sleep in the back seat, all cuddled up to one another.
When we pull into the driveway, the girls wake up and thank us for the trip and usually say something along the lines of, "Ahhh...home sweet home".
Planning our next little getaway here at the farmhouse,
You might recall some of my plans for the year 2021 that I wrote about back in January.
I shared about using each week to set goals, breaking down our big projects into smaller, manageable chunks -- instead of setting big annual goals that often seem unattainable.
We are making good progress on several of our goals for the year, by taking an hour or two each week to work on them. Our detached garage/canning kitchen/man cave is almost finished. It's been a long process, but by knocking out a few tasks here and there each week, we're closing in on the finishing touches.
We've done a lot of outdoor clean-up this year, by working for one Saturday a month or so to knock out some big areas of the property.
I wrote daily through March 8th and have 22,179 words in my first draft. My goal is to get to 60,000 words by the end of the year. I think that's still doable. I have six chapters finished, so far.
3. Blog Each Week.
This is only my 10th blog post of the year, so as you can see -- I'm a little behind on that.
After spring break, school became a whirlwind and I just had to put something on the back burner. Unfortunately, it was blogging.
I've got some catching up to do! :)
4. Lose 15 pounds.
Following my experience with COVID-19 in September, I realized I had developed an allergy to dairy and sensitivity to gluten. Changing my diet to not include those things helped me to lose 15 pounds with no problem.
I have slowly started introducing these things back into my diet and I will admit -- I don't feel as well.
So I probably need to remove those things again.
Whole30 coming again in August!
5. Read 40 books.
As of last week, I had finished my 21st book and am almost finished with my 22nd and 23rd.
So I'm right on schedule for the challenge.
Happy Almost August, Friends!
Taking in the last few days of summer break here at the farmhouse,
I am typing this from the airport in Tampa, Florida.
Due to my new position for the 2018-2019 school year, as the Director of Special Services in my district, I was asked to attend the Council for Exceptional Children's national convention in Tampa this week.
Making the decision to accept the invitation was a big ordeal.
There were many factors to be considered:
- leaving Mr. Farmhouse and the girls for four days
- putting my classroom in the hands of a substitute for three days (for the umpteenth time this school year)
- missing the girls' school picture day, Valentine's parties, and basketball games
- the cost associated with traveling out of state
With much encouragement from a few colleagues and a long talk with Mr. Farmhouse, I decided to jump in head first and head south for the winter.
Okay...head south for four days.
I dropped the two older girls off at school Wednesday morning, dropped my Mattie-girl off at my parents' house, and headed north to meet a few coworkers who were making the journey with me.
About five minutes from the location I was to pick up my teacher-friends, Kathi & Jolie, my cell phone buzzed with a plane delay notification from my Delta app.
Your flight has been delayed. 12:15 takeoff time, now 1:32.
Okay...so an extra hour and fifteen minutes in the airport won't kill us.
Our connecting flight in Atlanta didn't take off until after 3:00, so we would still be fine.
We sat down at IHOP for a little brunch, just in case we were unable to grab lunch during our layover in Atlanta.
As we were pulling into the airport, we received another notification.
Your flight has been delayed. 1:32 takeoff time, now 2:07.
Okay...so we should still arrive with half-an-hour to spare.
We parked, jumped on the shuttle, and headed to the Delta gate.
As we were standing in line to visit with a Delta employee about our options, just in case the delays kept coming...it happened.
Your flight has been delayed. 2:07 takeoff time, now 2:57.
And with that, our chances at making our connecting flight went out the window...or down the runway.
We found a seat near an outlet to charge our phones and we started receiving texts and calls from the secretarial staff at school, who apparently had been notified off the recent changes to our itinerary.
The bookkeeper got us a new hotel room in Atlanta for the night and cancelled our Tampa accommodations and it was settled. We would stay in Atlanta on Wednesday night and get up super-early to fly to Tampa on Thursday morning.
We made it to Atlanta and headed to Ground Transportation to grab a shuttle to our hotel.
At 7:16 p.m., we finally made it down to the shuttle parking lot.
Our hotel shuttle left at 7:15 and would be back at 7:45. Seriously.
So we sat on a bench to wait.
Eventually, a shuttle driver from another hotel offered to take us to our hotel and we decided it was well-worth the large tip we would give her in exchange for a ride.
We checked in, dropped our belongings off in our rooms, and headed to the restaurant.
After a tasty "soul food, Atlanta, Georgia" supper, we headed to the hotel and went to bed.
Thursday, we were up at 4:00, at the airport by 5:00, and flying into Tampa by 8:45 a.m.
At the recommendation of one of my BFFs from high school, we decided to eat at The Columbia in the Ybor City Historic District of Tampa.
I was so very thankful to be able to meet up with the best man from our wedding and enjoy a meal with him. After an eventful and somewhat exhausting trip, it was amazing to see his familiar face and introduce him to my colleagues.
Friday, we were up bright and early to attend the rest of the conference sessions we were looking forward to!
We learned so much, found many resources, and I am excited to be able to share our newfound knowledge and strategies with our SpEd team when we return!
When the conference ended on Friday, we had time to make a short trip to Clearwater!
We ate at Frenchy's Rockaway Grill on the water and it was ah-ma-zing. The fish tacos were spectacular!
We ended up at a Little Greek Restaurant by the hotel.
I had a gyro and it was also spectacular.
I called Mr. Farmhouse and the girls and we all rejoiced that I would be home in less than 24 hours.
Okay, two of three girls cried...
one made funny faces at herself as we FaceTimed,
and Mr. Farmhouse rejoiced.
So now...our journey begins.
Praying for traveling mercies, an uneventful trip home, and a happy reunion at our nice, warm farmhouse sooner than later.
Much love to you, friends.
This morning was the day our rest & relaxation would be coming to an end.
We would enjoy our last few hours of vacation, pack our belongings, and leave the lake house to come back to reality.
I pictured us arriving home about lunchtime, unpacking, doing laundry, and spending the rest of the day outside with each other.
I woke up about 3:00 this morning feeling dizzy, however. Feverish. Miserable.
I tried to sleep it off, but as the rest of my family woke up and began making their way to the breakfast table and then down to the dock to fish, I couldn't make myself get out of bed.
In fact, I stayed there until noon...willing myself to feel normal and be able to get out of bed.
It never happened.
Finally, around 12:15, I got up and got dressed.
By this point, Mr. Farmhouse and the girls had packed the truck and were ready to head out.
They had some lunch and we loaded up.
Since being home, I haven't done one thing that I had planned for myself to accomplish.
I have been sitting or lying flat for the last seven hours.
With the stress of the closing date being switched so many times, the school year starting up in the next two weeks, and trying to get settled into the farmhouse...I kind of think my body is just tired.
I guess I was to the point in life where I needed to choose to slow down for a little while or my body would force me to.
I'm already in bed.
Praying to wake up in the morning feeling like myself.
Trying to remember that stressing about anything in life isn't helpful.
Hoping that in a few weeks, I will look back at this summer and wonder why I got so worked up over the whole house situation.
Until then, good night friends. Sleep tight. ❤️🏡❤️
Our mini-vacation to Oklahoma was so much fun. We leisurely drove down on Thursday afternoon. We missed a turn and kept right on going to find a new route instead of turning around.
When we finally made it to Bartlesville, where we were staying, we found a Japanese Steakhouse and enjoyed supper together.
No rushing around.
No numerous bathroom trips with various children.
Just peace and quiet...and my first experience with sushi. Still not so sure about THAT.
We got up Friday morning and enjoyed The Pioneer Woman Mercantile and some boutique shopping in downtown Pawhuska.
I made a few purchases for the farmhouse.
We laughed a lot.
Enjoyed some nice food.
And did some serious walking.
We dropped Mom off to get some work done at the hotel and the three of us girls went to the mall.
By mid-afternoon, we were ready to head back to our room..
We spent some time resting and relaxing, watching television, reading, and visiting.
It was strange not having the seven grandkids running around between the two hotel rooms, visiting with Grams and playing noisily.
It was so quiet. Almost TOO quiet.
That evening, after a quick trip to WalMart, we came back to the hotel to sleep.
"I wonder if they would let us check out a day early." Mom said.
"Maybe. We can always go ask."
So we did.
And they did.
Yesterday morning, we woke up and got around slowly.
We stopped and did a little more shopping (yay, Hobby Lobby!).
Besides the canvas United States map I picked up at the Mercantile, the galvanized metal distressed Farmhouse sign was definitely my other favorite purchase.
You can see how wide it is right now, sitting on my piano music stand just waiting for its new home when we move into the farmhouse. It will be the perfect focal point in the new living room (I think...if that's where it ends up).
I got the other three tin quotes on clearance (along with about 5 others) to round out some various gallery walls I have planned for the house. Acts 2:46 will hang in the dining room, "I choose fabulous" will (of course) be in the Claire Bear's room, and Jeremiah 1:5 will hang in the playroom to remind the girls daily that they are set apart for Kingdom work!
After the "brief" Hobby Lobby stop, we loaded the van up and headed home.
Mr. Farmhouse and the kids didn't know we were coming home early.
The kids were out at the annual antique tractor show in our town and Matthew was putting up hay.
So I leisurely unpacked and soaked up a little more of the peace and quiet before I went to pick up the girls from my in-laws.
Three big hugs from three little girls.
Smiles and dancing from the three-year-old.
"I missed you so much," from the older two.
We probably won't have a chance for another "girls' trip" like this for another year or two, but that's okay.
There definitely is no place like home.
A few months ago, my sister, my sister-in-law, my mom, and I planned a road trip to Pawhuska, Oklahoma to visit the Pioneer Woman Mercantile.
Originally, with our closing date being June 16th, we were planning to be moved into the farmhouse and ready for a relaxing weekend girls' trip.
Since life didn't quite work out like that, we'll be relaxing on the girls' trip and also planning excitedly for the moving process and decorating the farmhouse. I'm hoping to pick up some vintage goodies on the trip, like a square cast-iron baking dish, a strawberry can for above my kitchen cabinets, or some cow plates for my sweet Mattie Moo.
We're leaving in a few hours to head south for the weekend.
I'll let you know what treasures we discover!