Jamaica – the first days

So we were finally heading down south for some warmer weather, whoo whooo!! You just know that it’s going to be a good vacation when they’re de-icing the planes in the airport that your trying to leave and the weather that you’re heading to is between 80 and 90 degrees. Am I right? Now sitting on the plane watching them take the ice off the wings can be a little nerve wracking, but for me? Well I’m OK with it! IMG_2294

Good Bye cold weather!

Good Bye cold weather!

Like I said, as long as were heading to someplace that you wear shorts and swim suits, they can pretty much do whatever to get us there.images

We had a short layover in the airport on our first stop and we were kinda hungry because of the schedule that we had in the morning. So when we saw a Retirement Party – and with cake, well I must admit I did kind of walk by to see what was going on and take a gander at the cake. It turned out that they were celebrating the retirement of the 767 plane and now it was heading to the desert to be abandoned.IMG_2299 I felt kind of bad for it, but when I was offered some cake, I didn’t feel that bad anymore. The sugar fix was just the right ticket! IMG_2300The plane ride to Jamaica was pretty much uneventful (which is good!) and it didn’t take long and we were changing into summer clothes at our final destination – Jamaica. Since we booked our trip on line, we all weren’t just sure what we needed to do to get from the airport to our hotel, but the people at the airport were nice and we were hoping that we’d fine the correct bus to get us to our hotel.

We were on the right one and once in the lobby – it was warm and it felt good. Yea, really good!IMG_2629 It was funny because our group usually either wears something from Iowa or carry’s Iowa mugs, and just as we were checking in we met up with others from Iowa also just checking in. And throughout the course of the week, we all became pretty good friends.

Our rooms were really nice and clean, and of course came with a welcome towel design on our bed to let us know who our housekeeper was for the week. For me to it’s a true sign that we’re really on vacation. towelsNow I’m not saying that I don’t fix our bed at home – but I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen any fancy towel designs on any of our beds!

After unpacking we needed to get a lay of the land and to see what fun excursions were available. We signed up for a couple and we all were hoping that we picked the ‘good ones’.

Daryl checking out the hotel from the balcony

Daryl checking out the hotel from the balcony

First one was going to be on a Party Catamaran where we were going to do some snorkeling, Dunn’s River Falls, and then lunch and hang out in the Caribbean Sea for awhile.  First things first. We knew that it didn’t make sense to risk getting our good cameras wet so we checked out the cameras that you could buy. OK, now we all decided that the $5 disposable camera that was selling for $27 just wasn’t worth it. I mean seriously, $27?? So we decided that we’ll just buy a picture from the local guys that they took if we got a chance.  We had to take a bus from our hotel to the boat and it was literally a 15 minute ride. We laughed when we saw this little building and was sure hoping that we wouldn’t need the fire station to help us today. It looked pretty small. It’s the building on the right (red one)

This has got to be the smallest fire station around!

This has got to be the smallest fire station around!

Here’s a picture of the boat that we spent the day on and other picture of the bay where the boats are all held. Check out how clear the water is even here.

Our boat for the day

Our boat for the day

The bay where the boats were kept. See how clear the water is!

The bay where the boats were kept. See how clear the water is!

We got to the spot that we were going to snorkel and into the water we go. Now it’s not like we’re expert snorkelers or anything – but I’m telling you that I’ve never seen such a perfect spot ever to check out the underwater wildlife! Usually when we’ve snorkeled in the past you’d see one or maybe two cool fishes, but this time there were tons of all different types of fish just swimming around by you. It literally was like you were in someones aquarium or something. My brother had a couple of fish so close to him that he was trying to catch them. So cool! Too bad I didn’t have that $17 camera with me to take that picture :(  We were swimming by a reef and it was so alive with color and different types of coral. I read reviews that said it was the best that you’ll find for not only the water but also the fish and scenery and I’m thinking that review was spot on! I tried to dive under deeper to get a better look, but after getting a couple of mouthfuls of water, I decided that maybe I didn’t need to get any closer after all. snorkeling two

After snorkeling we were off to Dunn’s River Falls. Now this falls is spring fed and is about 180 feet high and 600 feet long. And rocks.. lots of rocks and water! It’s one of the very few waterfalls in the world that empties into the sea. When you stand on the bottom of the falls and look up – well it doesn’t look possible that you would be able to climb them. Everyone tells you that you need water shoes to do it, but I’m thinking that I’ll need spiked boots or something! But with a lot of hand holding (literally) you do eventually make it up the falls. I found a picture off the web that gives a better visual of what we climbed. It’s just a picture of a small part of the climb.

Just part of the falls that we climbed

Just part of the falls that we climbed

Thank goodness the guides every morning brush the rocks so there isn’t anything on them to start the day out that will make the climb too slippery. They tell you to hold hands and at first I thought this holding hand thing was… well kinda dumb. Yea, that thought was short lived! Poor Daryl’s hand! I think I cut off his circulation a couple of times.

After the falls, we got back on the boat, cranked up the music, found some food, and headed out to the waters for a good time and some good food. Even though the weather was overcast today, we all sure had a good time!

When we were getting ready to go out for the night, I quick checked the internet on how cold it actually was there. Yea, too cold! temperature

At the end of the night we had a good meal and headed down to the nightly entertainment. Tonight’s show was a tribute to Michael Jackson.michael jackson show

What a couple of busy days we’ve had - I wonder what adventures we’ll have tomorrow?

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And now we’re home…

What a great time we had this past week in Jamaica! I can’t believe how you wait and wait, and then you have to wait some more and then finally the day is here that you get to go on vacation. It feels to me just like when you were a kid and you were waiting for the summer time to come to get out of school. You know what I mean? Then just like that the time you’ve been waiting for is over and you’re looking forward to the next year. Well now that our vacation is over and it’s stinking cold here, I have to admit I’ve been thinking about next year already.

So as always I’ve got tons of pictures to share and some stories, but it’s going to take a little bit of time to put them all in the blog. I thought I’d start out with the picture of Daryl and I just hanging out in the kitchen waiting to get picked up to head to the cities for the night. When I looked at this picture I realized that maybe the camera was at a weird angle. We had to put it on a stand on the table and then set the timer to get this one. After a couple of tries,  I was sure wishing one of the boys were home instead taking it! But for now – here is our ‘Heading out for vacation’ photo and of course in front of the cupboard in our kitchen :) DSCN9589

For the past week, both our hotel and the weather was really good and so how can you complain about.. well anything right? I’ve got a picture of our hotel that we took from the ocean (another story) but I have to figure out how to combine two pictures. The hotel was so big that I couldn’t fit it in all on one. So I’ll keep trying and see if I can get it.

At the end of our vacation, the car pulled into the driveway around 4:30 am . With being busy on the vacation and just vegging out, it’s going to take sometime to catch up on our sleep I think. So I’m glad to have the weekend coming up to do just that! I’ll try to post some of the vacation pictures hopefully tomorrow.

But for tonight – here is a sneak peek of the beach from our balcony. IMG_2331

 

 

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Mystery Photo 2-11-15

OK, now you can put on your thinking caps.

Here is the clue for this weeks Mystery Photo Challenge. I made it especially hard this week!

DSCN9587

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Mystery Photo 2-11-15 results

Wow this week’s was a hard photo to guess and one person actually got it.

So here is the clueDSCN9587

And Gene you’re the winner!! It was a glass insulator off the telephone pole!  AWESOME guess!

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No internet service

I’m thinking that we’re going off the grid for a week starting tomorrow with internet service – so don’t miss us too much!

ps: Work on the mystery photo, you’re going to need the extra days to solve it!

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Mystery Photo 2-4-15 results

Shazam! How in the world did you guess this one? Right when I think the clue is too hard, someone gets it right away.

OK, here was the clueDSCN9581b

and the answer was a Sad Iron! Awesome job!! DSCN9581

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Another Monday

It’s crazy how fast the Monday rolls around isn’t it? Well I’m finally got my birthday treats made for work yesterday afternoon and I have to admit that I almost caved in and bought donuts instead.

Well I knew that I had all the stuff to make them now but I sure can get lazy  - – and for a couple of minutes I even thought that I should just run to town and pick up something that’s already made. But even I knew that this was a pretty dumb idea. I mean if I didn’t make the pumpkin cake roll yesterday afternoon, I’d just be hanging out in front of the fireplace watching TV or something. Yup, I needed to just get this done.

I had to made a 4 times batch of the recipe and when I was all done it seemed to be the perfect amount. Now I’ve made this recipe for a lot of years and only lately have I started to use parchment paper. Let me just say that parchment paper is your friend when you’re making any cake filled dessert. The recipe for this pumpkin roll is on the dessert page on top of this page.

With the cakes all done and now I’m just hanging out by the fireplace.  I’m sure glad that I ended up making the treats myself instead of buying them. I hate to think that I would be that lazy! This is how the pans were lined up before they went into the ovenDSCN9585

And the picture of the day? Well they moved in the crane down the road for a cell tower for our area. Check it out –  It’s HUGE! IMG_2288

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Just Life

Now why do you think our house gets so messy and we don’t even have little kids in the house anymore?  It doesn’t make sense does it?

When you have kids, you’re always in the ‘pick up’ mode. You have toys, Cheerios, socks, and sometimes even pants in about every room in your house. Well, we did anyway. And you’re picking up stuff and trying to just keep a path going, right? Now when you don’t have kids in the house, the mess just creeps up on you and you’re not in the pick up zone anymore. All of a sudden you look around and find some socks in the living room and  realize that the dog that you just left in was digging around in the laundry basket and found some treasures he wanted to keep. And the only reason you found the sock was because the blanket moved when he got up where he hid it underneath.

Now come to think of it, maybe it wasn’t all your kids messes and you just thought it was. I mean I’ve got soap setting all around lately and if we had kids, I sure wouldn’t be doing that!

And we’ve got our taxes all sprawled out on the floor and before we’d have to worry that someone would either color on it or sparkle glue them before they’d get to our accountant. Now? Well we’re just worried about bringing them to the accountant.

But all in all, as long as it’s not like gross or anything – why do we care so much? Our house will never be as clean and perfect as others that I’ve been in, so I just will have to keep trying! And mostly just remember that it’s just all part of life.

The picture of the day is one that I took after a meeting that I had downtown. It’s snow coming off a building and it caught my eye. We’ve got our tax appointment tomorrow night downtown and I’ll check to see if it fell off by then. Snow coming off the roof on a building downtown

Snow coming off the roof on a building downtown

This is the front view

This is the front view

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Whew! What a busy day

I knew that I was going to get a lot done today when I realized that even before 6:00 am, I got a load of laundry washed and the second one in the wash machine, dishes done, dinner made and the fridge, and the floor scrubbed. Yea.. can you say Super Woman? OK, maybe not so much Super Woman – but I think I definitely went to bed too early the night before.

Now that I had those things done, it was time to make a couple more cards for my Mom and then get ready to go to town. I still had her card box and with a couple of birthdays coming up, I knew that I better get it filled and get it back to her. I ended up making 4 more cards this morning to add to her collection. Score for her!

Next thing to do was to cash in on a gift certificate. The gift certificate was for a ‘Day at the Spa’ and man oh man was it nice. The boys gave it to me for my birthday last year and I’ve been hoarding it ever since. Do you ever do that? You get something that is so good that you never want to use it? It happens to me all the time. I still have some gift cards that are 5 years old! Well with the gift certificate being a year old and about to expire,  I thought I better cash it in. Now seriously, if I had about a billion dollars I would get a facial more often. And to finish off the day was a pedicure and a manicure. Yup, living the good life.

Next on the list was to drive back home (around 30 miles) and then pick up Daryl to go shopping (opposite 45 miles) to town. We needed a couple of things and we also wanted to take William out for supper for his birthday. It was a really nice night and after the kids went off to go to a movie or something,  we headed back home to our town to see what was going on.

Whew! What a busy .. but fun day!!

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Cheese Balls not Cheez Balls

First of all, did you know that ‘Cheez Balls’ are discontinued? Well if you didn’t know this you can join my group. We had this container forever that we use for throwing change in at the end of the day and I always thought it was an empty Cheez Ball container. Only to find out that it really was a Cheese Ball container and a knock off of the original. I kind of feel like I was cheated or something.

So why in the world am I even talking about this? Well, today was the day that we find out the amount of change we’ve gathered throughout the year! And it was being stored in a Cheese Ball container.

How this works is that when you come home or if I clean out my purse, all the change goes into this plastic container that we have just literally sitting around waiting to get filled up. It’s a pretty good gig and even the boys help out with tossing in their change when they’re home. Now normally we have a contest with everyone in the family and you guess how much the change was going to add up to. And what does the winner get? There’s no set amount, but sometimes they get $50 and I think once someone even got $80 for guessing it right. But sad enough, the boys aren’t around tonight and well.. Daryl and I are just going to pocket the whole thing. Whoo Hoo!!

Well of course I had a couple of errands to run tonight and before I was heading to a local town, I decided that I’d stop at the bank and drop the money off first – you know, so they can have it all counted when I came through again. First things first. I took my ‘Cheese Ball’ container and poured it into two ice cream pails to be able to get it to the bank. You can see that the container is literally on it’s last time and it’s starting to break apart.DSCN9583 Then I grab my purse and out the door I go. I decided not to bring the pails into the bank at this time just in case they didn’t have a change machine in there. I mean it’s been a year since we’ve done this and maybe they don’t offer this service again? So after I said my hello’s to everyone in there (small town, everyone knows everyone!) I ask them if they offer change counting? I got kind of a funny look and then a funny throat laugh and said that they do, and the machine is right over there. Humm, OK. Then they said that it was self serve. Crap. I didn’t have time right then to do it and I was really glad that I left the money in the car at this point. They asked how much I had and I said two ice cream pails pretty full. DSCN9584Then I saw this scared look on their face and said – yea, self serve. So out the door I go and say that I’ll be back a little later. They were really nice about the whole thing, but somehow I got the feeling that they were hoping that I wouldn’t be back.

OK, after some running around in town, I go back to the bank. And guess what? I think I was right about the comment that they were hoping that I changed my mind. The first thing they said was , ‘Oh you did come back’. See what I mean?  They said the machine was self explanatory, but when I was standing reading the instructions, I ended up getting help anyway. Then after the machine just stopped for some reason, guess what? Now there was three of us working on it. By then end of sorting out the two ice cream pails of coins, having the machine stop for a little bit, changing out multiple coin bags that were full, and jamming the machine with foreign money that got stuck (note for next time: do not mix in foreign currency when you bring change to the bank – they don’t like that at all!!) my time at the bank was finally done.

But after all of this, I was the one that was smiling. We were around $650 richer!!

Now where can I get another Cheese Ball container for next year?

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