Making soap on the weekend

Well I still have my cold and with going on week #3, I realized that I don’t have time to feel better. I have to get some soap made. 

So when I woke up this morning I told myself that no matter what – I’m making soap. 

OK, that’s the plan. 

And guess what? I didn’t do too bad. I really was excited to spend the whole day in the kitchen working on soap and also on a couple of new designs. I made a new soap with a fragrance of Garden Herb’s and even though it sounds kinda weird, it’s probably one of my favorite scents right now. When I take them out of the molds tomorrow, I’ll shoot a couple of pictures. 

I’m running into a problem though. I’m running out of room. I’ve got to add a couple of more shelves to our laundry room and I’m wondering do we really need a laundry room? Maybe they are overrated? (just kidding

But seriously I’m scoping out the house to where I can put the soap and I think I’m going to have to be creative. I’ve even upgraded my cooking equipment to the Jethro size this weekend.20170110_184213_resizedAnd my orders that I’ve been placing seem to be getting more and more expensive. But it’s like Christmas when they come so you kind of forget how much you spent 20170110_172626_resized

So while I’m waiting for my new soap to cure, here is a couple of pictures of the soap that I made earlier that will need to be cut and added to the drying rack.  20170114_083409_resized

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Getting a cold

I guess I should have titled this post – I’ve got a cold! It’s one of those colds when you can taste your fillings in your teeth and your hair hurts.

Now seriously I don’t get sick too often at all and I have absolutely no idea the last time that I did get sick. Well up until now. 

I’ve been hacking and coughing these past few weeks and I’m getting pretty tired of it. I mean I have a LOT to do and none of the things that need to be done involve laying on the couch under blankets. Nope, pretty sure that isn’t on my planner’s list to do.

But I guess I’ve just got to wait this out. And after 2 weeks, I sure hope I’m going to feel better soon! 

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Let’s go skating

Yesterday I officially called it that I am sick and tired of Winter! Yup, I’m done with it. 

But I don’t think I could not have picked a worse time because it’s raining and snowing today and our farm yard has turned from ice to a super ice rink! 20170109_152926_resized

When you drive in our farm yard you have to be so careful and I literally haven’t put the car in the shed for many days. I am scared that when the back of the car swings one way and then the other way that I’ll for sure be hitting something like Daryl’s truck or the garage. 

But it sounds like we might put some sand or gravel down tomorrow. Who would think I’d be so happy to see some dirt! Maybe now I can actually walk across the yard without doing the slow mans shuffle. 

With the terrible weather that we’ve been having, the wind was howling so much tonight after work when I was in the back yard the noise was incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the wind so loud and the old pine trees were just bent over so much I was even worried about them possibly breaking. DSC_1048You can just see the birds in this photo above. They were trying to see if they could land someplace and all the while I was outside they never did land. I think they should land someplace like Florida or Texas where it’s warm :)

This is the first year that the county is trying to catch some of the snow in the fields. They took equipment and pushed types of barriers in the fields. Hey I’m all for trying anything to keep the snow off the road. I do not want to miss any days of work because of being stuck on the road. DSC_1050

And the photo of the day is one that I was trying to show just how cold it was here in Iowa these past few days. brrrrr  DSC_1046

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Our dogs

I’ve talked before on how our dogs just hate birds, and I mean HATE birds, so when I see the Bald Eagles flying around our farm this afternoon while I was making soap, well I just knew what I had to do. 

Our dogs had to come into the house so they won’t get into trouble. 

See the last time the Bald Eagles were flying around our farm I was so mad at our dogs that they literally shook for about a week every time that I came near them. What happened was that the birds flew over our farm (God forbid!) and the dogs saw them overhead and went barking and tearing off after them. Did they look quite silly doing this? Yes. Did I think they would ever catch them? No. 

Now I don’t know if you ever seen a Bald Eagle before, but they are big, and well honestly they can fly pretty fast and very long distances.

But for some reason these birds only wanted to hang out in our neighbors field and when the dogs saw that they actually landed – well they were on a mission. And that mission was to find out just why there were these birds flying over our farm to start with and to make sure that everyone knew that they were the boss around here. 

So off they ran, and I mean ran! Barking all the way and across the fields as the birds saw them coming and took off and flew. Now at first I thought what happens if they end up miles and miles away chasing after the birds? We’ll never see the dogs again. But after going outside in the frigid cold yelling for them to come home, I honestly thought to myself that I guess we’ll just have to deal with it and went stayed inside where it was much warmer. 

Finally Kaiser came home panting and puffing and when I yelled at him so much I swear his ears hurt, into the barn he went. But I did catch him looking back to see where Reno was, and I’m guessing he wanted to warn her about how much trouble they were going to be in. 

Once I had Kaiser in the barn, eventually Reno shows up. She just knew she was in trouble and the closer she got to me, the more her head dropped to the ground as she was making here way to the barn. 

Finally with both of them in the barn, I didn’t know if I was still mad at them or if I was happy they were home. But I did know one thing that they better not be doing this again! 

So while I was making soap today and saw outside the kitchen window the eagles flying over our farm, I could feel my blood pressure rising and hurried up and got the dogs in the house before they also saw the birds. Yup, I had a much better plan for them this time around.

Well this is how they spent the afternoon, and for some reason I think they might be OK with this new plan :) 20170108_151517_resized

With the dogs under control, here’s a couple of photos of the soaps that I made this weekend. 

Morning Sunrise 20170107_144025and Fancy Chicks 20170108_151802_resized

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My new planner is here!

Some people get excited when they get the latest magazine that they ordered in the mail, but what do I like to see in my mailbox? 

My NEW 2017 Planning Organizer that’s what!! whoop whoop 

When I get to start the new year out with a planner that has all empty pages in it and it can bring so much hope that I’ll be the organized person that I would just love to be – well it’s like you get a ‘do over’ from last year but only hoping that it’ll be even better! 

Now do I always pull through the year with great accomplishments and amazing feats of organization? Well honestly not so much. But I do start every year out strong with a lot of hope that just maybe, yes maybe, some year I will do a good job.

So this year I ordered a little bit smaller organizer that I can take in the tub with me and work on it while I’m just hanging out in there. It’s the perfect size, and in the beginning of the book there is a goal section that you are supposed to fill out first and that will dictate how you plan your upcoming year. I did start to fill it out but I think that there are some goals that you can pick up as the year goes on don’t you? 

Well I did put down some of my goals anyway and some of the obvious ones were related to my soap business and others are related to our family, but then I added a personal goal. This personal goal is to find more time this year to do the fun stuff that we might not have had time to do last year. Now what exactly is that? No clue – but I sure hope to find out!

Happy 2017!   You are looking mighty promising!! 20170107_164947_resized_1

 

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My soap business 2016

I am so pleased how my soap business has taken off. I mean – who would have guessed that I’d be so busy with it? For sure not me! 

But what a great thing to happen. I had tons of soap to sell in the beginning of December, and around 2 weeks before Christmas I was sold out. 

Now is this a good business practice? nope. But without knowing what would happen at Christmas time, I had literally no clue what to expect. But next year? You bet your boots I’m going to be ready!! 

I mean if there is a demand, as a business you should be filling that order. But I had no idea that I was going to sell a couple of hundred bars of soap in the first two weeks of December and I literally went into my secret stash of soap to fill some of the orders. Finally I had to turn people away. Yup, I have a lot to learn about owning a business!

So I figured if I made 72 batches of soap in the next month or so, I would be somewhat out of the ditch that I’ve dug and it should be smoother sailing. Well that’s the plan anyway :) 

Now one of the changes that I’m going to do with my business is to introduce a Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter line. That would mean that I would have 6 ‘regular’ soaps that I would sell all year long – Morning Sunrise, Barefoot in the Grass, Sassy Come Home, Squeaky Windmill, Fancy Chicks, Lazy Lavender. These are my best sellers and I always sell out of them really fast. And then now all I have to do is to figure out what my Spring Line will be. I’m pretty juiced about this new way of how I’m going to do my business and I’m thinking it’ll be a lot easier to manage.

 

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Christmas 2016

Well it’s time to take down the inside decorations and that means also the tree.20170102_172252_resized It was hard to think that it’s time to do this because today was a dreary day outside with all the rain going on. 

But even though our tree really never dropped any needles, I was ready to have it go outside for it’s new purpose now as a hiding spot for the bunnies in the back yard. And as much as I like having it up, it’s just as nice having it taken down to put the room back in order. I usually plan on having the outside lights on until Three Kings Day and this year that date is January 6th. I think most everyone turns their lights out way before this, but oh well, I guess I’ll keep them wondering how long we’re going to leave them on :) 

We really had a great Christmas this year once again. From the first weekend of December with St. Nicolas Day with my whole family which means around 55 to 60 people, to having our kids here to enjoy our own Christmas together. dscn9227dscn9237Now to be honest this week some of the meals were just thrown together20161226_190815_resizedbut I don’t think anyone cared too much about that. We even had some New York bagels expressed delivered from… New York, for a breakfast sandwich one of the mornings20161231_113236_resized to homemade noodles for beef soup one night.dscn9230

We made some bath fizzys and lotion 20161230_205202to head back with the kids and I’m not going to say who won the annual Card Game ….but I’m thinking you can guess who was the WINNER! BAM! dscn9228

So with the Holidays over and taking the kids to the airport for their trip back20170101_184202_resizedit’s time again for the 5 day work weeks. But I’m thinking it’ll be May real soon and William & Jude’s wedding will be here before we know it.  It’s going to be a really fun Spring!! 

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Congratulations William!

I know that everyone always says where does the time go, but honestly how can William be graduating already from college? I mean it was just yesterday when we were making trips back and forth to our local high school for one thing or another and now he has a college cap and gown hanging on his bedroom closet door!

We ended up driving up the night before his graduation because the first ceremony was starting early in the morning and we didn’t want to be late because of the weather. And man oh man that was a good call! We took the truck because we weren’t sure how our gravel roads would be when we got back home and when we were leaving for Ames that night we had already about 10 inches of new snow at our farm. But as we were driving the weather was a little warmer going south and then for the life of us we couldn’t keep the windshield clean of ice. The heater was cranked as high as it goes and it was so hot in the cab I was literally worried about the eggs that we were bringing with us. But you had to keep it so hot to try to keep the ice at least somewhat off the bottom of the windshield so you could see when you were driving. So when we finally got to the kids, we were glad that we didn’t have to try that drive early in the morning tomorrow and all we had to do that night was to kick back and hang out.

The photo below is one of the Jumbotron at the stadium while we were waiting for the second ceremony to start. We got there pretty early because the weather was still terrible outside and that meant we had a lot of time to kill. It’s a picture that I put out on Twitter of William that the college picked up and put on the Jumbotron. Now ours wasn’t the only one that they posted, and we did pick a nice picture to submit.  20161217_131923_resized

But with that said, you know the feeling that you get when you’re either watching your kid in a musical, sports, or a concert? Well it’s the same feeling that I felt while waiting for them to call his name at graduation. You try not to look too anxious, but inside you’re just busting at the seams. And guess what? When I looked around I was sure that I wasn’t the only one feeling that way. There was a lot of proud parents and friends there that I know also were pretty excited. 

Once the ceremony had started and all the graduates walked on stage for their diplomas, they all took out their streamer horns and shot them off at once. It was VERY cool! The first picture is just when the first streamers were flying – William is in this picture but it’s hard to see him. We were literally straight across from him during the ceremony.  

dsc_1024This picture is one of when the streamers were almost gone and the end of the program. 

dsc_1025

It was such a great weekend and I couldn’t be more proud!  I am very excited for him to start his next adventure in his life and I know that he’ll do well.

Congratulations William!!!20161217_165519_resized_1

 

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Good bye Pacifica

As we said Good Bye to the Pacifica, we knew that she was a good car and it was time. 

We all agreed that this was one of the best cars that we’ve had – and let me tell you that we did have a lot of cars these past 30+ years. 

See this is the first (and probably will be the only) car that we had special ordered back on 5/12/2005. And it came at a perfect time. We hardly had the car a month and took it on a family trip up for a week touring Michigan and the surrounding states up north. It was the beginning of a great relationship.

Now if you don’t believe that your car is in a relationship with you, well I beg to argue. 

Our cars not only take our kids back and forth to their school practices, they are ready to haul them to the early school classes, vacations, it also would go to and from the airports for family vacations or pick someone up that needed a ride. It hauled tons of friends of our kids for overnight birthday parties, was always filled with some type of band instrument, went to a lot of college performances, was expected to go through a snow storm from Chicago when all plows were pulled off the road, made it through one of the worst ice storms when our parents were with us going to Pella for a concert, headed to and from work … and that’s just some of the things!  

So when it’s time to put her ‘down’ it’s never a good thing. Even though last summer we were really excited when it turned 200,000 on 5/7/2015 almost 10 years to the day that we bought her, IMG_2830we knew this summer when the transmission was slipping we had to do something. Now if it was up to me, I would like to have her repaired, but then we’d have a car with 261,889 miles that I’m guessing probably needed more work. 

And when we were leaving the junk yard and they were going to use the fork lift to move it to the strip down area –  I just couldn’t look back . What a good car and we’ll miss her. 20161209_160909_resized

 

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I’ve got candy – How about you?

Well I finally finished up my candy making on Christmas morning and to tell you the truth, it’s a good thing that this only happens once a year. Why? Well I find myself eating more candy in one week than I’ve eaten in the whole year before that! And even though it seems like it’s a good idea when I’m eating it, I don’t think it’s going to be the best idea when I weigh myself the next time! 

I think I ended up making around 12 platters and that’s a lot of candy! It took me around 10 days to get it all done and it was sure nice to have them all delivered to their new homes. 

And this year I did something that I don’t think that I’ve ever done before. Well at least I don’t remember doing it. For some crazy reason I thought that I was really going to need a lot of brown sugar for my candy making, so I ended up with 11 bags of it just waiting to be used in some type of special and grand treat. Well 11 bags of brown sugar is 22 pounds and I ended up not having to open any of them up. Yup, I had 22 pounds of brown sugar with not much to make with it. See my old recipe for caramel used brown sugar but the one that I use now doesn’t. So I’m not sure if I was thinking about that or what – but every time I was in the store I thought I’d better buy more brown sugar! So if you were one of the ‘Lucky’ ones when you came to get your platter of candy … you got a bonus surprise. You also left with a bag of brown sugar. Some people give tips, I give brown sugar. 

Now if you take a look at this platter below you’ll see some Christmas cookies on it. 20161225_104143_resizedI really don’t like making Christmas cookies much at all, so I traded some candy with my Mom for some frosted cookies. 20161225_103815_resizedNow that’s a good trade if you ask me! But don’t ask my brothers and sisters. See I got the whole stash from Mom and there wasn’t any left for them  :) Maybe they would like some brown sugar instead?

But just check out my view from the kitchen window. How can it be all that bad work with a view like this? 20161223_164928_resized

 

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