First Trip as Family of 3

One Cute Cowboy and I both grew up taking trips to Red River, New Mexico with our families. In fact, we probably passed each other on the sidewalks of the small mountain town, when we were just 10 or 11 years old, and never knew we were within arms reach of our future spouse and soul mate. We both love Red River and have gone just about every summer since we started dating.

This year we made kind of an impromptu trip up there when I decided to take vacation at the last minute. This was our first vacation as s family of 3!

“Red River you say? Very interesting!”

We loaded up Lil’ Cute Cowboy and all 90 of the different supplies we thought we needed! Haha! I really should have gotten a picture of the way the pickup was packed. We might have overpacked a bit, not knowing what we would, and wouldn’t need for this little turkey.

I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous not knowing what he would do going to a place with higher elevation. We live at 4,167 ft. above sea level. Red River is another 4,500 ft. at 8,671 ft. above sea level. But he was a complete champ and did amazing on the drive up!

We stopped at our favorite little roadside stopping place in Gladstone, NM for a bottle break. There was a nice, cool breeze so we decided to have our bottle outside. It’s the cutest little rest stop this side of the Mississippi, and has out of this world baked goods, every day!! We never ever drive by without stopping. We always end up leaving with at least one bag of oatmeal raisin cookies (One Cute Cowboy ‘s) and one bag of chocolate chip cookies (mine!). Not to mention she has homemade loaves of bread. *Swoon* One Cute Cowboy grew up stopping and eating here often. As a young boy he’d day work for people around the area and got to know the owners well, so he especially likes to stop so he can be sure to say “hi!”

Since One Cute Cowboy and I have been together, we’ve never stayed in the same place twice at Red River. Always trying out new (to us) places to stay and trying to figure out where our “spot” will be in years to come. Well, this year, I think we’ve found it! Hotel Ryland! This is a place neither one of us had ever stayed. The newly renovated room was perfect for our small family of 3. It was definitely a smaller room, but worked out great for us. It was clean, updated, and cute. Upon arrival an older gentlemen led me up to our room and told me he was glad for us to be there. He was so nice and sweet and Riley enjoyed talking with him the next day before we left too. He was very welcoming and sincere, and that just made us feel good, and definitely made us want to come back and stay.

Once we unloaded our things we decided to go across the street to my favorite place in Red River–The Bobcat. This place has been my turquoise sanctuary since I was 9 years old! The A-frame building welcomes you in, with its wind chime lazily dancing in the breeze. You walk in and can feel the warmth of the owner, Sherri. We’ve gone for so many years she knows our faces when we walk through the door, and she immediately greets us with a warm smile and a “You’ve added to the family!” She came over to see Little Bear and quickly says, “I have a gift for you!” She went to the back, with her sweet dogs following her, and she came back with a beautiful sterling silver baby rattle that she said to use when he starts to teethe. She said to just stick it in the refrigerator and get it out once it’s cool to soothe his little gums. It was such a sweet, and beautiful gift.

Then she told her helper, a woman I’ve never seen before, to get out the pawn/antique stuff because she knows that’s what I’m there to see. She has the most beautiful and unique vintage turquoise, not to mention a slew of other different stones. We start out looking at the rings, then the squash blossoms, then the cuffs. Most handmade by Native Americans. I ended up with a “Fred Harvey” cuff and ring set. It’s hard for me to ever leave without getting something.

Lil’ Cute Cowboy was fascinated with everything in the shop and I was so proud of how well he did! After that we decided to stroll down Mainstreet.

It was a little warmer than usual, but there was still a nice mountain breeze that made it perfect. It was pretty quiet in town, being the middle of the week, there didn’t seem to be as many people as there usually are, which was really kind of nice. It felt like we had the place to ourselves.

Little Bear absolutely loved it! We’d stroll around and he’d just look at all there was to see, taking it all in. Then we’d stop and hang out for a little bit in the shade and he’d just hang out and listen to the birds or the wind chimes clinging around town. He’s a mountain kid for sure!

We worked up quite an appetite and decided to try the brand new brewery that opened in town just about a month before. We’d walked by earlier and it looked fun and the food they were serving looked delicious! When we got there we could tell the music was really loud but hoped maybe there was an area where it wouldn’t be so loud, but we walked in the doors and Little Bear had a look of terror on his face, seconds from a complete meltdown. We quickly walked back outside and decided we’d better try some place else. So we decided to go to the nice little Mexican food restaurant in town, The Sundance. It was Lil’ Cute Cowboys first time in a restaurant.

He did pretty good as long as he could see all that was going on. He was completely worn out by the time we got back to our room. He’d had a huge day!

The next day we ate at our favorite breakfast place, T-Bucks, and did some more walking around and visited our favorite little coffee place The Way Coffee. I ordered my go-to, a London Fog, and Riley ordered himself a latte. They were so delicious! We just sat and watched passerby’s for awhile and enjoyed our beverages and breathing in the mountain air. It was so relaxing and peaceful.

“Best Seat in the House” by Kenneth Wyatt

One of my favorite places to stop in Red River is Kenneth Wyatt’s art gallery. Photos on the internet cannot do his incredible paintings justice! This is one of my favorites of his. He is truly gifted and I always enjoy walking through his gallery to see what’s new and to see the ones I’ve seen 100 times over again. He’s currently 88 years old, has painted over 9,000 paintings, and paints every single day. Did I mention he didn’t even start painting until his 40’s?! If you ever go to Red River, do yourself a favor, and walk through his gallery.

We tried out the Smokehouse before we left, and parked beside this pretty little stream to eat our chopped beef sandwich. Little Bear loved to watch and hear the small stream. It was finally time to head home. We said goodbye to the mountains, and pointed our pickup east, back to the flatlands. It was such a nice trip and went great for our first mini-vacation!

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Check back in for the newest “Ranching on the Ponderosa” that will be up in the next few days!

*ASpottedHeart

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Protected: March on the Ponderosa: Lil’ Cute Cowboy

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Baby Boy McNabb

This past weekend, my friends and women in the community threw One Cute Cowboy and I a shower, celebrating Baby Boy McNabb.

Baby McNabb

They did such an amazing job on just the decorations alone! I could’ve just set up my nursery in there and would have been just fine with it. They decorated in buffalo plaid and gave it a very woodsy feel that I absolutely loved!

 

Not to mention the delicious goodies they had! Beautiful & yummy sugar cookies, muffins, fresh fruit, yogurt & granola, and sausage balls. It was all so good, and looked amazing! Not to mention they had a hot tea bar, coffee, & punch!

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I’ve always considered myself blessed to live in the community that I do. It’s a community full of giving, supportive, and loving families. Not only the people that still live in the community, but the people who have lived here in the past and moved off still make a point to be a part of celebrating and loving others! It was so nice to see some people I don’t get to see all the time.

I was overwhelmed with the amount of love that was poured out for us yesterday! My heart was so full of love and gratitude and I just don’t feel like I can say ‘Thank you!’ enough!

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My wonderful hostesses!

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My mom (Yia-Yia) & I

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My niece, MIL, & I

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My sister, niece, mom & I

The girls in this next picture are 3 of the ladies I’ve known my entire life. We grew up together and I feel like have been through everything together. We sure missed the other girls we grew up with in our class, but I was so glad to get to see these 3 and their cuties! Baby Boy McNabb will be surrounded by some pretty dang cute little girls!! I’m so thankful for these friends that God placed in my life 31 years ago, and excited to raise our babies together!IMG_0267

And this picture was just too cute not to share! These two girls belong to one of my life-long friends that I can not believe I didn’t get a picture with! But they were such little helpers, bringing me gifts to open and taking the ones I’d opened back to the tables. They were great little helpers!

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My heart was overflowing with gratitude and joy yesterday! I can’t express just how thankful and heart-warming it felt to be surrounded by these friends and family to celebrate this huge thing happening in One Cute Cowboy and I’s life! We’re so incredibly excited, it was such a blessing to feel the excitement of the people in our lives as well. We’re so excited for Baby Boy McNabb to get here!

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(Stay tuned for name to be revealed on March 12th 😉

Thanks for reading!

*ASpottedHeart

 

 

December on the Ponderosa

This month started out unusually warm for December. We kept hearing colder weather was coming, but it was hard to believe when you didn’t really need anything but a light jacket to go outside. But then, let me tell you, when the cold hit, it hit! The last few days haven’t gotten above 16-18 degrees, finally the sun is starting to poke out today. If you follow One Cute Cowboy’s instagram, I’ m sure you’ve seen how thrilled he’s been about the colder temperatures.

This month has been all about wheat pasture cattle. Every. Single. Day. OCC loads up a trusty horse, a fueled 4 wheeler, charged fence batteries, his medicine bag, and hot coffee, 7 Days a week to go check the cattle on wheat pasture and corn stalks. He makes his rounds through 6 pastures at one location, then 2 other separate fields, then checks the bull calves that are also on wheat. While he’s at these pastures he also has to break the inch thick ice in the tanks, and check the hot wire fences to make sure they’re keeping their charge. Cowboy roping a steer

This guy wasn’t sick, just in the wrong pasture and had to be moved.

He checks for anything that might be sick, or not looking healthy. Cowboys wear many hats, and one of those hats is unfortunately, Doctor. One has to know what medicine is good for what ailment, they have to keep track of which ones they’ve already doctored, and what medicine they gave them. Some medicines are so strong they can only be doctored once with that particular kind and it’s imperative for the Cowboy to remember what calf the medicine was distributed to.

During wheat pasture season, calves can get bloated on the wheat really easily and really fast. There are several things the cowboys do to help fight bloat. They put out a block called a “bloat” block and they also add soap to their water and keep hay out. The blocks and soap help the stomach continue to bubble and break down the foam which helps the gas escape. The hay offers dry matter which allows the rumen to operate correctly.

Besides checking wheat pasture cattle, the cowboys have also been feeding cake and hay to the ranch cattle. They definitely keep a full schedule in the winter months!

We also got to get away for an overnight trip to see some of OCC’s family for Christmas, and also had a nice Christmas with my whole family once we got back. Christmas was here and gone in the blink of an eye, which always makes me a little sad. But it’s exciting to think this time next year we’ll have a little pup around to unwrap gifts and start some new family traditions.

The cake my niece made all by herself, “Frosty.”

I hope you all have had a wonderful December, and are ready to jump into the New Year with lots of hope, love, and excitement!

Happy New Year! 🍾

*ASpottedHeart

Keeping Christmas

This was actually a post I had planned for the day after Christmas, but I had some technical difficulties and couldn’t get it posted. So as we look into the new year, here is a few thoughts I’ve had.

What exactly does it mean to “keep the Christmas spirit?”

I hate when Christmas is over. I get the Christmas blues every year. There’s all of this fun and exciting build-up—playing Christmas music, watching Christmas movies, getting and decorating the tree, pulling out all of your favorite decorations from storage, and making your house into a winter wonderland. Finding just the right gift for the ones you love, lighting the Advent wreath, preparing to celebrate the birth of our King! There’s all this build-up, and Christmas Eve comes and the magic is palpable, then Christmas morning is finally here and the festivities of the day begins! Then in the blink of an eye, it’s all over. The lights come down, the wrapping paper gets picked up, the family goes home, and once again, your heart waits for the next Christmas to come.

So my question to you is, how do we keep that Christmas spirit all year long? How do we keep excited and passionate about giving to others, our appreciation for the small things, our waiting for the King?

This year it seems like it went even faster than usual, and I’ve found myself stuck with this question. I want to keep the fulfillment that Christmas gives me in my heart all-year round.

My mind keeps going to Proverbs 17:22, “A merry heart does good, like medicine.” Surely part of the key of keeping Christmas, is keeping a merry heart. But that’s sometimes easier said than done. You get cut-off in traffic, your boss is on you about this or that, your day just doesn’t go “as planned”—it’s hard to keep that merry heart in difficult times.

So I’ve been thinking of how to keep a heart for Christmas all year-round, and this is what I’ve come up with:

  • Immerse yourself in scripture

I’m one of those people that always likes to know more. I want to know facts and details. I used to love Paul Harvey, “and now you know, the rest of the story.” One thing I’ve thoroughly enjoyed is the “subtext” in my Bible. For most verses there’s a footer at the bottom telling details about what the scripture might be pertaining to in that time, going into further explanation of the verse. I think one way to keep a fulfilled heart is to read scripture everyday, and for me, dig even a little deeper to find what the scriptures are actually saying.

  • Prayer

I guess you could say this goes hand-in-hand with reading scripture, but I find when I start and end my day with prayer, I keep a more mindful heart (and mouth for that matter) and reflect more upon the happenings of my day-to-day.

  • Continue to Give

Now, don’t get me wrong , I’m not saying buy gifts for everyone you know or love all year long, but have a giving heart. Maybe that means giving your time to someone to listen, maybe it’s giving someone a helping hand at the grocery store, and maybe it means to simply give–whether it be to your church, someone in need, the homeless, or something else entirely, but don’t let the Christmas season be the only time you “give” during the year.

  • A Christmas Reminder

I challenge you to keep one small Christmas decoration/ornament out in a place where you’ll see it everyday to remind you of the joy and peace that comes with Christmas. The picture above is a candle One Cute Cowboy got me our 2nd Christmas together, and I plan on keeping it out even after I put my other decorations up, to remind me to keep the spirit of Christmas in my heart all year long.

I hope you had a beautiful, joyful Christmas and pray for many blessings to all of you through the new year!

Happy New Year!

*ASpottedHeart

Christmas Tree Hunt:Year 4

I’ve shared before that one of Riley’s Christmas traditions has always been to go find and cut down your own Christmas tree. It’s always a pretty big adventure.

This year was a little different, since I’m packing around a little bear in my belly, we decided maybe we wouldn’t do quite as much hiking as usual, and take the 4-wheeler so it’s a little easier to haul the tree back to he pickup. We went up to our usual spot in New Mexico, and hopped on the 4-wheeler. We drove around and down through a few groves, then decided we’d walk a little bit and try to find the perfect tree.

As I’ve mentioned before, my husband has Clark Griswold Syndrome-he wants the biggest tree he can find. This is the one he originally wanted this year! Haha!

We look through loads of trees. You have to keep certain things in mind when looking for just the right tree. Is there a good sturdy base? Does it have a good top for our vintage Shiny Brite topper? Is it too robust for our home? Is it too tall for our house? How many branches will we have to remove from the bottom to make it stand up in the stand right? Will it still look full if we remove said branches? A lot of thinking goes into it. Seems like we always end up picking one that’s too big (round) but it’s so hard when they look so pretty out in the pasture.

This Christmas we chose this fat & jolly guy-just how we like ’em! He was a little hard to get on the 4-wheeler, trying not to run over everything in our path, but we eventually made it back to the pickup unscathed.

He is *ahem* a little big for our house, but we both agree this has been our best tree yet! He’s beautiful! Perfect base, perfect top, really full and lush.

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I love ornaments, and how we’ve collected so many in our short 4 years together. Every one of them is meaningful it seems. I’ll share a few with you.

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do  know this is the first one from our first Christmas together. It’s a Brighton silver, reindeer. Still one of my favorites and most elegant ornaments.

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This is one from when One Cute Cowboy was just a little guy. It’s so cute, and a Hallmark Classic.

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This one is special not only because it represents the true meaning of Christmas, but my dad’s side of the family did an ornament exchange for a few years, and this is one I got that my Grandma had put in the exchange. It is, for so many reasons, one of my favorites.

 

What are some of your family’s Christmas traditions? Do you have a favorite ornament that hangs on your tree each year? I’d love to see them!! Leave me a picture in the comments or e-mail me a picture of your ornament at aspottedheart@gmail.com. I’ll put your name in a hat and draw a winner next Tuesday, the 19th,  for a surprise ornament I’ll send right to your door*! Happy Tree Trimming!

*ASpottedHeart

 

 

Previous Christmas Posts:

 

*Must live in the U.S. for valid entry for the surprise ornament. 

 

The Mountains are Calling and I Must Go

Every now and then, OneCuteCowboy and I get off the ranch and out of town. Last weekend my parents and the two of us went up to Colorado. Our destination was Steamboat Springs, CO, but we had a few stops to make on the way. We started out Saturday morning for Denver to go to a Rockies game. On our way up there, my mom realized we’d be going by the OSU “Remember the 10” memorial site. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, back in 2001 a plane went down near Byers,CO, where 2 players of the OSU Cowboys basketball team, 6 members of the coaching staff and OSU broadcasting team, and the pilot and co-pilot were killed. You can learn more about it here. You see, my family are all big OSU fans. My Papa Sam played football there in the 40’s, and my parents (and all their siblings) went to school there as well. My oldest sister, Kizzi went there, and I spent my Freshman year of college there, along with other cousins that have also gone there, so needless to say, we all bleed orange. Anyhow, we decided to stop and pay our respects. It was a very nice memorial site. It’s in the middle of nowhere, so much so that I was just sure we had taken a wrong turn and were going to end up lost, but we made it.

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It’s one of those places I have no words to describe it. I’m glad we stopped though.

 

Then we were off to make it to the Rockies game. My parents had never been to a professional baseball game before, so we were excited to take them. Riley and I have only been a few times, but we fell in love with Coors Field the very first time we went. We are now Rocky fans for life! 😉

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We love the atmosphere, the smell of good food wafting through the stadium, watching them prep the field before the game, the respect that’s shown when the red, white, and blue comes on the field, and just the camaraderie of it all. To be a part of something like this, is just plain fun. We really had a good time!

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We had pretty great seats

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Dad & Mom

Best of all, the Rockies won against the Philly’s 8-2. Since it was the weekend after the 4th, they were doing fireworks after the game. We thought that was pretty cool, but man, we weren’t expecting just how cool they’d be! That was the best fireworks I’ve seen all at one time. They shut all the lights off, and just left the Rockies sign lit up, and then they literally lit up the sky. It was awesome!

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Night games are the best

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This picture doesn’t even start to do the fireworks show justice

It was a really fun night and we can’t wait to go back and do it all again.

We were up the next morning to head to Steamboat Springs. Last summer, OneCuteCowboy and I made a trip up to Aspen and came through the cutest little town called Idaho Springs (I am incredibly sad I didn’t get a single picture in Idaho Springs, I was so excited to be there I completely forgot). Riley fell in love with an ice cream shop, and I fell in love with a little store called The Wild Grape. It just so happens, that Idaho Springs is just about 40 miles outside of Denver, on our way to Steamboat Springs. I was so excited! We decided to stop and grab some ice cream at Miner Decadence Chocolates, which I might add has the best homemade ice cream I’ve ever had in my life. If you ever go be sure and get a couple chocolate covered cherries as well, they are wonderful! After we got our ice cream, we wondered on down to The Wild Grape. It has all kinds of fun knick-knacks, kitchen gadgets, lovely smelling candles, outdoor whimsy decorations, and fantastic “selfish necessities” as it claims on their sign. I left with a new candle, a cute new tea rest, and finally had the chance to buy some of the Badger Balm, lip balm. I talked about another Badger product in this post. I was glad to go back and I’m in hopes of stopping by again near Christmas time.

Then we were ready to continue on to Steamboat Springs. As we were filling up with gas, getting ready to leave town, I had just gotten in the passenger side and we were all loaded up, when this guy, around my age, that had been in front of me in line inside the store had stopped and was pointing for me to roll my window down. I thought he was going to tell us we had a flat, or maybe we’d left the gas tank open. Instead he said, “I really like what your shirt says,” he then gave a a thumbs up and said, “good words.” You see, I was wearing my new, soft Bible School t-shirt that the leaders had been given to wear. On the front it has an arrow with the words “Be Something Bigger Than Yourself” with our church’s name at the bottom, and the back reads this,

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I actually had planned on wearing a different shirt that day, but for some reason changed my mind that morning and put this one on instead. Maybe that guy needed those words that day. Maybe there were others that read it without commenting, but it left them thinking. God works in wondrous ways, sometimes it’s a small nudge, and we may not even know it’s a nudge from God,  but I’m glad I changed my mind and I put on that shirt that morning.

So then we were finally off to arrive at our final destination. We drove through about 2 hours of beautiful mountain side country, filled with green knolls, evergreen trees, and small ponds and lakes. It was a beautiful drive up there, and even more beautiful when we got to Steamboat.

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This was out of my parents hotel window

We were pretty exhausted, and hadn’t eaten lunch by the time we rolled into town, but we wanted to stop at a few shops before going to eat or finding out hotel. Steamboat has a cute downtown, with lots of shopping, and little restaurants. Unfortunately we got there late in the day, and our hunger out-weighed our wanting to shop so we just stopped in a couple places then decided it was time to eat. But I want to go back sometime and really spend some time downtown. We found a Mexican food place called Fiesta Jalisco that definitely satisfied our hangry-ness. We spent the rest of the evening in our hotel and getting ice cream.

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The next morning was the livestock sale, the whole reason we’d made the trip up there. OneCuteCowboy is a Superior Livestock Rep, only one of the many irons he has in the fire. So we’d gone up there for their big Week In The Rockies livestock sale. My dad had some of his cattle in the sale that would be selling that morning.

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Superior Livestock Sale

It was a nice morning, high of 68 degrees, whereas at home it was more around 101. Talk about a nice change! It was beautiful out. It was an early morning, but it’s always fun to hear the auctioneer and see all the different cattle on video being sold. Superior is a way to sale livestock through internet and tv sales instead of physically having to go to a sale barn to buy/sale cattle. You can have buyers all over the country seeing your cattle from home and calling in to bid. It’s really pretty neat when you think of the substantial amount of ranchers and farmers that could be watching. I personally love how they always have a flag and the pledge of allegiance and a prayer before they start.

About 6 hours later and we were back in the car for the 7 1/2 hour drive home. It was a fun time, and definitely worth the trip! I can’t wait to go back up sometime to enjoy the mountains. For when the mountains start calling, the only cure is to head to higher elevation. 🙂

Hope you’ve enjoyed my little story! What are some trips you’re taking this summer? Where are some of your favorite places to go?

OkieWild

I’ve been blessed by knowing incredibly talented people in my life. From musicians, , to artist, to poetic masterminds, to creative DIY geniuses! I’ve been lucky enough to have some pretty inspiring people in my life. 

Today I want to talk about one that’s been in my life since day 1. My cousin, Sam. Growing up, we were best friends, even though we lived 5 hours apart, that didn’t stop our endless phone calls, our summer adventures, and our ever-growing love for creativeness and imagination. 

A summer picture, circa 1988. Kambri,Me,Sam, and Kizzi

Sam’s always had great interior-design-type taste! Always decorating with fun, funky colors and cool, creative pieces. She’s a cowgirl at heart with a Rock n Roll, gypsy soul! She’s rodeoed most of her life, and I can remember a time when she redid a complete dresser in funky pinks and oranges, then used belt buckles as the drawer handles. It was so stinkin’ cute! Well now she’s started her own little business called OkieWild Customs. She’s just starting out and she makes one of a kind signs for your homes, offices, business and probably whatever else you can think of!  

This bad boy hangs proudly on my red office wall. One of my husband’s favorite quotes from The Duke, himself.

The Duke


Sam made this one for her friend’s bar in Stillwater, OK.


They also make great gifts! This is oneSam made for a friend​ of she and her husband’s initials and wedding date. It’s called the “Babe, I Got You Babe!” Such a cute idea!


She has creative, fun ideas. I’m just waiting for her to start doing custom furniture (hint hint Sam!) 😄 

You can go visit her Etsy shop: OkieWild Customs  

Also follow her on Instagram here

I promise you’ll find unique, one of a kind pieces that you’ll love! The best part is, she’ll customize it as much as you want. So go check her out and drop her a note! 

Home,Home on the Range

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I come from a long lineage of cattle ranchers. Cowboys and cowgirls on both sides, fill up my family history and  family stories, so naturally, I married One Cute Cowboy and decided to carry on the tradition.

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Last weekend, after spending the winter on corn stalks, our 70 head of black Angus cows  finally headed back to the homestead. A ranch that has been in my family for 4 generations.

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My husband and dad are cattle partners. Luckily they make a pretty good team.

For me, it’s always nice to see the cattle back at the ranch, enjoying “Home.” Of course, I know it’s good to give the land a break, and we’re very thankful for the farmers that let us lease their fields for the winters, but it’s just nice to see them in the House Pasture once again where soon we will have little babies running around of which we will enjoy and the generations of cattle on the Smith Ranch will carry on!

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