Groceries?

I had good intentions the other day to stay focused when I went into the grocery store. Well I had pretty good intentions anyway. 

And guess how long that lasted? Well I didn’t even get into the store when my eyes glazed over and even though there was no way that I needed the product that was displayed just as you opened the first doors to the store – I stood and with an excited reach, I grabbed as many as I could get into my greedy little hands. 

Yup, the seeds are out! Whoopppeeee!!! 

So I got some peas, flowers, tomatoes, and then some more flowers 🙂  

The greenhouse has taken a terrible beating this fall and winter, so I’m a long way from actually planting anything. But when I get it all put together, and I get some more seeds in my next town run,  I’ll be ready! 

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Iowa winter weather

Good weather and bad weather – it’s all just weather right? 

But for some reason the good weather is just so much more fun! 

Earlier this week they were forecasting the weather to start out with rain, go to sleet, get in some snow, and to top it off around 35 to 45 mph winds. Yup, would have chosen good weather instead for this week,  but I guess no one asked for my vote. 

So off to work I go knowing what this days forecast is. Daryl asked if I wanted to take the truck but honestly I drive the car more and know how it’s going to react if I get in a jam. 

Well there is a lot of times the weatherman isn’t right but of course this day they were spot on. We got rain, then while sitting in my office I could hear the sleet hitting the side of the building – so we got sleet, then about 20 minutes later after we had a good shiny coat of sleet on the ground the snow started to come. And for some reason it didn’t want to stop either! 

And all you can do is just hope for the best. When it was time to go home, the windshield really didn’t have ice on it and the layers of sleet just made kind of a slushy layer instead of freezing to the windows. I thought to myself, OK this isn’t so bad.

But as I started to drive I quickly changed my mind. The roads were completely covered and I just kept thinking to myself, no big deal… just take your time, just take your time. So that’s what I did and I kept checking my mirrors to make sure that no one was behind me just swearing up a storm for me going so slow. But guess what? I didn’t meet anyone or have anyone behind me going home that night. Now I’m really not sure why, but I didn’t care! 

With a couple of white outs on my drive home, I finally made it to our yard and into the garage. This is what our yard looked like when I got home around 4 pm.

And it just kept snowing and blowing but who cares right?  I was home and was planning on making soap all night. 

Well as the night went on, my plans changed. Remember the sleet that I talked about earlier? It now coated the power lines and with our lights flickering on and off for about an hour or so, I just couldn’t take the chance to start anything in the kitchen. And I’m serious when I say that you literally could hear the wind just howling outside. 

So what did I do? Well I putzed around the house for awhile and then we skyped with the kids in New York. The dogs begged to come in, so of course they came in. You know the old saying that you can’t teach an old dog a new trick? Well I’m thinking that our dogs learned this new trick of looking kind of pathetic so they can come in by the fireplace. And guess what? It works. 

Is it too late to go back to our nice warm island again? 

 

Posted in Farming, Our dogs | 1 Comment

Winter escape, Curacao 2018

We’ve been lucky these past few years to pack some warm clothes in a suitcase and head to much warmer parts of the world when it’s cold here in Iowa.

So having said that – just where did we go for a week in February? Well we went to Curacao with my brother and sister in law. And if you are like me, the first question is where is Curacao and what is it? And to be totally honest I wasn’t even sure how to pronounce it when we were just starting to talk about our vacation 🙂

Daryl is standing in the C and I’m in the U in the picture below 

OK, so here’s the low down. It’s an island just North of Venezuela and the islands are so close to each other that one of the local islanders told us that you can see each others island on a clear day. Now if you really want to be impressed – Curacao is part of the ABC islands – Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. So sometime see if you can work that into a conversation not only is it impressive,  but who knows just maybe they’ll be asking you to be on the next Jeopardy show!

Our flights were from Minneapolis to Miami and then to the island of Curacao

Waiting anxiously for our flight and for our adventure to begin! And to say that the island is ‘amazingly beautiful’ is an understatement. There are over 30 beaches on the island, and our resort had a a private beach with the waters completely filled with more colorful fish that you can ever imagine! We learned a great trick this year too!  When snorkeling what you do is to take some bread and put it in a water bottle and  then you shoot out some of the bread from the bottle by you. It’s crazy but soon you’ll be surrounded by more tropical fish than you can count! I’m pretty sure we’ll be using this trick more than once again!  What I didn’t know until we got to the island was that it is considered one of the top diving locations in the world, and after seeing how many fish that were just by our cove I’m kinda guessing that it’s true.

Our week was filled with tons of stuff, some of it was being tourists in the capital of Willemstad where all the buildings are painted so colorful it was just cool to see them. I think they kind of look fake don’t they? 

There is a floating market in town where you can buy fresh fruit and fish, and tons of shopping of course! 

One of the local meat markets was even selling pig tails. Now not that this was a bad thing, but we were sticking with our food at the resort 

and a local restaurant where they literally were cleaning the fish that was just caught before they cooked them up for you

Some people ate iguanas on the island and made soup or stew out of them – but we liked our local star Charlie at the resort too much to even think about it!

Other things that we did was that we took a catamaran out to the island Klein Curacao. OK, so here’s another geography tidbit – Klein Curacao is owned by Curacao and the word Klein means small. So the trip started out pretty typical on the boat with sun shining and everyone anxious to spend the day together checking out the uninhabited island. But when the captain and his crew came around and said that you will need to put anything under deck because it’s going to get wet, well to be honest I kinda didn’t think that much of it. But we did what he said and then soon found ourselves holding on the railing as we literally rode the waves! It was such a wild ride and as you’re holding on so you didn’t go overboard it didn’t take long until my sister in law and myself, along everyone else, were completely soaked!  The ride was so crazy that your feet sometimes came off the boat deck and you just hoped that you could keep a good grip on the railing. Once we got on the island  we took a quick tour to see if we could find the turtles that are common for the area and then checked out the abandoned ship and lighthouse.

And I took this picture below of the pelican to show just how turquoise the water was. 

The ride back to Curacao was much calmer with the sail up and thank goodness! We sat on the front of the boat with the sails up gliding us through the much calmer waters. Even once in awhile we would see flying fish jumping out of the waves which was pretty cool. And with the warm sunshine on our faces and having our fill of barbecue and drinks, we knew that Life was Good!  

After we landed on shore we ended up taking the party bus back to our resort to get us ready for the nighttime fun! 

Let’s see, other things that we did was to check out the North side of the island which has much less people and is beautiful. It’s really hard to show just how wild the ocean is there! The cliffs are very steep and when the water came up into them it was really loud and awesome. Well it was awesome also because we were safe on a secure look out point! 

I also did something on this vacation that was both fun and terrifying at the same time. What I did was to do a cliff jump. Now seriously no big deal I thought. I mean I’m not afraid of heights and was so excited to do it…. well until I got to the edge of the cliff. There wasn’t anyone else that was jumping so I had no idea what it was supposed to look like and the part that put the fear in the pit of my stomach was that there were rocks where you were jumping. OK, seriously ROCKS? But the local island guy who was helping me said that it’s no big deal, just don’t jump where the rocks are. It totally freaked me out. There were rocks all over. Now after the fact, I’m sure that they were probably pretty deep right? But when I asked what I can do so I don’t jump on the rocks he told me to just make sure that I pick up my legs when I hit the water. Well I was nervous but thought what the heck, so I curled my toes over the edge of the rocks and pushed off. Did I do a good job? Well I didn’t hit the rocks so that was good,  but I also leaned too far with the front part of my body and as my feet hit the water so did my upper body. I know it wasn’t pretty at all and I’m sure that I’m not Olympic ready – but I gave myself 5 points for the guts to do it and then maybe around 2 points for not dying 🙂

Like I said earlier that the island is known for it’s incredible waters and fish, they also have flamingo’s migrating there and fly in during the afternoon and then fly out somewhere (?) during the day and come back again. Pretty cool to see them in their natural habitat and not just in a zoo or something.

What did we do with the rest of our time? Well vegging out on the beach, contests during the day at the pool, eating too much, having cold refreshments, spending time at the spa, checking out a local distillery, and just having a great time! 

What a good sport Daryl is to do these pictures with me at the distillery! 

But all good things must come to an end and this is what it looked like from our pool when we left our resort- 85 to 90 degrees and sunny

and this is how it looked like when we landed – snow and blowing! 

Even our driver who picked us up at the airport to bring us to our car suggested we not travel back home until tomorrow. But we did thanks to some careful driving from my brother, and we made it home just in time to grab a quick shower and head to work for the day. 

Hum.. I wonder where we’ll go next year? 

Posted in Places to visit | 1 Comment

Bad luck?

If you are superstitious you for sure don’t want to continue reading this post. 

See what happened is that about a good week ago, just right before we were leaving on our winter vacation, I was messing around in the closet to finalize my wardrobe for the trip. No big deal right? 

Well I was trying on clothes for about the 3rd time to just ‘try’ to downsize the amount that I was bringing on our vacation and hoping that when I was looking in the mirror I would have a miracle happen and look 25 lbs lighter  – but that’s not what happened. 

What did happen is that we have 2 mirror doors on our closet and the one was just a little funky lately and wouldn’t open very well. Well it wasn’t working the best again so as I was trying to move the door open it came completely off the track and as if in slow motion it fell. Now as it was going down I thought that maybe I’d be in luck because it was falling on the extra bed pillows that I had thrown on the floor. But nope! When it hit the pillows it kind of twisted and as I started to hear a crunch I knew that it wasn’t going to be good. The door mirror broke into small pieces of mirrors and then the other side of the door then broke. 

Seriously? I didn’t really plan on vacuuming the again – much less try to figure out just what I was going to do with this mess! So with all the pillows now in the wash and the floor vacuumed up again, I figured I was done with the packing and called it good. 

But then I thought about the two breaking mirror doors  – if breaking a mirror is bad luck then how much bad luck is breaking two huge door mirrors? I sure hope I don’t find out! 

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Soap and more soap

I’ve been really pretty busy making soap these past couple of weeks and finally I was able to start wrapping them up for a show coming up. Now I’m sure I’ve mentioned it about a once or maybe 30 times that when you make soap it has to sit for 4 weeks to cure and to harden. So with a show coming up in a couple of days, I was able to get a jump start on getting it wrapped. 

Now I’ve gotten so much smarter  (now if you’re rolling your eyes – just hear me out!) The reason that I said that I’ve gotten so much smarter is because I’ve got the local print shop making copies of my soap labels so I don’t have to. It saves me about a billion hours of not having to do it myself. OK, maybe a billion is a little over dramatic, but it really does help.

See once I start wrapping the soap I used to work on it for around 12 hours straight. And I’m just telling you that if you are working on anything, much less wrapping soap for 12 hours  straight.. well it’s a long night and a very early morning! The worst that I had ever gotten was that my right arm and shoulder went completely numb after a 12 hour wrapping session. And if you think that this isn’t a good look for just about anyone – well you are right! But the worst thing was that after I got all done wrapping the soap, I jumped in and out of the shower and headed out for a show. Now have you ever tried to be polite and helpful when only half of your body worked? Yup, back to the ‘not so good look’. So I just kind of did everything with my left arm and side and would hit my right arm once in awhile to wake it up and to try to bring it back to life. And if you’re ever trying this method at home  I’m just saying that it doesn’t work so well. But I didn’t die or anything and I got a good night sleep that night and all was good in the world and my arms the next day. 

So now I have the labels preprinted and it saves me about 1/2 of the time to get the bars wrapped. See I told you that I’m so much smarter now 🙂

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Happy Birthday to me!

It’s that time of the year again when I get to say that it’s my Birthday! Shazam! 

Now this year I did things a little different. I actually went to work. Yup, I got up, got dressed, and went to work. I’m sure you know those days when the last place you want to be is having to work on your Birthday! But this year I’m trying to save my vacation so I sucked it up and went. This year is one of the first years in a very long time that I didn’t take the day off and now it wasn’t the worst thing in the world and the day went by pretty fast.It’s been very busy at work so the time kind of flew by and I just kept telling myself that this summer I can use the day to do kayaking or something. Well, I tried to convince myself that anyway. 

And then when I got home guess what Mom brought over? Well if you guessed home made noodle soup then you are the winner!

After a weekend of going out on the town a couple of times and meeting up with friends, I guess that this Birthday year is starting out pretty darn good! Here’s to my 57th Birthday!! 

Posted in Family | 1 Comment

Super Blue Blood Moon with an Eclipse

Super Blue Blood Moon with an Eclipse. OK, try saying that 5 times fast! 

If you were out and about Wednesday night on January 31st you might have noticed how bright is was. Now sometimes the moon is bright, but holy smokes tonight it really was bright! I was upstairs in our hallway and thought that the hall nightlight was still on, but it was just the moon coming through the window. 

So what made it so bright? Here is what was written on NASA’s webpage 

“The Jan. 31 full moon is special for three reasons: it’s the third in a series of “supermoons,” when the Moon is closer to Earth in its orbit — known as perigee — and about 14 percent brighter than usual. It’s also the second full moon of the month, commonly known as a “blue moon.” The super blue moon will pass through Earth’s shadow to give viewers in the right location a total lunar eclipse. While the Moon is in the Earth’s shadow it will take on a reddish tint, known as a “blood moon.”

Seriously if the moon could throw a party this would be the night! 

So while I was watching the moon and sky change over the coarse of the night I couldn’t help to remember when I would take the kids outside when they were little all wrapped up in a blanket and we’d check out the stars while singing ‘I see the moon, and the moon sees me…..’ It seems like a million years ago and kind of corny now, but it’s a nice mom memory 🙂  Now even though the moon was the closest to the earth tonight coming at us within 223,068 miles, I was more fascinated how the clouds were dancing around the moon as it was trying to make it’s show stopping appearance early in the night! 

 

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Blast from the past!

Our wedding anniversary is just around the corner and because I haven’t had my wedding ring looked at for a very long time – well I thought tonight was the night to get that done. See I haven’t worn it for quite awhile because I was worried that maybe the prongs were bad or something. Who knows? – but I knew that I wanted someone to check it out before something bad would happen to it! 

And because we live still not that far from where it was purchased, I thought how fun it would be to go back to that jewelry store again. 

So after work that was my mission. I was going to see if the same jewelers were there yet. With a big old grin on my face, I hopped out of the car and made my way across the street to the store. OK, this is going to be GREAT. Now I wasn’t sure why it was going to be so great – but I was just sure it was going to be! 

As I walked through the front door I was greeted by the women who helped me pick out my ring 35 years ago. And guess what? She still looked the same! A little older yes, but I recognized her. So as I stood in front of her when she asked if she could help me, I proceeded to tell her that I got my wedding ring from them 35 years ago and wanted someone to check it out. She just kind of looked at me funny and I thought it was because she was trying to remember me or something – but I soon realized it was because I had a big old goofy grin on my face! And if that wasn’t bad enough before I could stop myself I found that the words just spilling out of my mouth again was that I got my ring there 35 years ago. So she just kind of smiled (to be honest I think I was scaring her!) and we made our way back to her husband and said that I got my ring from them 35 years ago, then hesitated, turned and looked at me, kind of nodded her head, and then asked her husband if he would want to check it over for me. Well he was busy with a watch repair and had the whole thing gutted on the counter in front of him, so he wasn’t as impressed as I was that I was back in the original jewelry store and talking to the same original people again. Shazam right? Well he took the ring, and in less than 5 seconds he looked over his glasses and asked if I had ever worn it. What? OK, maybe I just take good care of my stuff right? Then he said (again while he was looking over his glasses) it looked perfect and he went back to his business again with hardly missing a beat. 

The wife smiled at me and said it sounds like your ring is good and that was that. 

Now I don’t know if I expected balloons to be dropped down from the ceiling and maybe an announcer there to say that I had come back to the same store again to visit the same people that we did 35 years ago, but seriously maybe a huge welcome banner or a horn going off wouldn’t have been that much to ask now would it? I wanted to snap a quick picture of them while I was in there, but for some reason I didn’t think that would have been the best idea. Just saying. 

Oh well, it sounds like I’m good for another 35 years! 

 

 

Posted in Projects completed | 3 Comments

Ping!

Remember when I said that I cleaned out my freezer the other day? Well what I found out when I re-organized it was that I had too many tomatoes in it from this summer/fall. See I put them in the freezer as the fall went on with the thought that I’d get them canned this winter. 

Well it’s winter and since I haven’t done a thing with them so far – I better get to it! 

I took about half of them out of the freezer and after dragging up the canning supplies from the basement (OK it wasn’t all that bad!) I was set! 

My plans were to make some fresh tomato juice. So after a quick chop in the food processor, into the big kettle the tomatoes, celery, carrots, & onions went. I left it cook for some time and then I wanted to get the ‘big’ pieces out by straining it. Now this worked pretty good but I found out that I still had more seeds in it than I wanted after it was strained. So off I went to town to get some cheese cloth. I swear that the last time I needed cheese cloth I bought about 2 or 3 extra bags but I just couldn’t find them tonight for anything! 

Now the tomato juice went through the nice new cheese cloth and just like that it looked and tasted awesome!! Shazam! 

After heating it up again and having my jars sanitized in the dishwasher, it didn’t take long to get it all set up and into the water bath for about 30 minutes. Of course the first batch the water was looking a little funny and guess what happened? Well one of the jars broke for some reason and out everything came! So I had to start over with new water and a new jar! Good thing that I like doing this otherwise I think it would make you kind of mad 🙂  

Now the best part! In less than a minute after the water bath you could hear the Ping of the jars sealing and then you just know that it was all worth it after all. 

Posted in In the kitchen | 1 Comment

Getting some projects done

I was in the zone tonight!

I mean for some reason I really got a lot done. First project was to get some baby cards and Thank you cards done. Now don’t give me too much credit because this was a project that was way over due! But with a quick note written inside and some pictures also – in the mail they all went.

Busy last couple of months in our families – 6 baby cards needed

Unfortunately we had also 5 wakes lately also so that meant it was time to get some sympathy cards made too! 

Next was to haul all my soap supplies upstairs to put it into a temporary storage to give some walking room in what should be called our laundry room 🙂 This really was a big task and I’m sure hoping that William isn’t planning on using his bedroom for sometime in the near future. But with most of the supplies upstairs I’ll have more room to also store my soap after it’s cut downstairs! 

To finish the night off a couple of loads of laundry were done, dishes cleaned up, and the house vacuumed. 

Yup, what a good night! 

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