We are in the 2 week zone

It is now two weeks until Christmas from today! Holy Cow can you believe it? Well, it’s a count down to Christmas and I’ve still got way too much stuff to do and feeling a little nervous about it to be honest. I’m making lists and checking them twice (hum…) to see what I still need to do. Do you ever feel that one day it’s the beginning of November and then you look at the calendar and you’re already in December? I sure do.

So for the gifts – I still have a couple to buy, but I know what I need so I’m not expecting that to be a problem. Most of everything that I ordered is in and that’s a sigh of relief. And for baking? Well I hope to have more of an opportunity to do that this year. If you remember last year Daryl had heart surgery in mid November and my Mom had surgery in December. So this year everyone is doing so much better and that’s really great! We are NOT expecting any more surgeries this winter in our family and I hope to keep it that way. My plan is to get the groceries that I need for baking tomorrow night after work and then spend the weekend in the kitchen. I’m pretty excited to get started and now I just need to figure out my grocery list. How many lbs of pecans do I need again??

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Mystery Photo 12-10-14

Here is the picture of this weeks Mystery Photo. The only clue this week is that it’s metal.

DSC_0365a

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Mystery Photo 12-3-14 results

Isn’t that funny – when I think a picture will be hard you guys can guess it and when you see this one, well no one guessed it.

The clue was that it was very photogenic.

Here is the pictureDSC_0136

and this is what it was. DSC_0136aIt seems like it’s in almost all of our outside photo’s! It’s our barn sign.

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Our little chickens

Well there’s good news on the farm! Even though the ‘old’ chickens haven’t really started laying eggs again, but the new little girls did! We’ve gotten a few eggs these past couple of days and even though they’re pretty cute – I’m not sure that I’m ready to eat them. I mean they kind of look like bird eggs or something. Tonight when I was in the chicken house I found a secret spot that both Tuff and Booker T (2 of our little chickens) were guarding with their lives. Well let’s just say I didn’t make any friends with them when I took their eggs. I have no idea how old these eggs are so outside they went and I fed them to the dogs. But when I went back to check on the water bowl, I had all 5 of the little chickens just by my feet. Now I’d like to think that they missed me or something – - but the reality is that I’m guessing that they’re pretty mad at me!  I forgot to tell you that we have one rooster in the bunch. I thinking that the rooster is Duff. Well, I’m guessing it’s Duff, it’s kind of hard to tell. I was walking by the chicken house the other day and I heard this terrible noise coming from it. My first instinct was that we had another stray mink or maybe a possum that got into the coop and was killing someone.  So I whipped open the door and all the chickens were just looking at me like what is the matter with her?  Weird. Then as I was walking around I heard it again and this time I knew the area where it was coming from. It was one of the new little chickens trying to crow. And I use the term ‘trying’ very loosely.  The chicken was standing there all proud and the other little chickens were close by and I thought to myself – I sure hope that he’s going to practice during the day when I’m at work :) Here is a previous picture of Duff that I took earlier this summer. He kind of looks both spunky and kind of dumb at the same time – but I really like him!

Our new chicken Duff

Our new chicken Duff

So the picture of the day is some eggs that the little chickens laid the other day. I just haven’t had the heart to eat them yet.

The one on the left is a store egg and the three on the right are from the little girls

The one on the left is a store egg and the three on the right are from the little girls

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Sock, Air Balloons, Christmas Trees, and Trains

Now what do these 4 things have in common? Well absolutely nothing – but it does mean a ROAD TRIP!!

The Saturday started out kind of uneventful. I asked Daryl if he wanted to go to the sock sale and he was wondering what in the world I was talking about, but he finally gave in. Well the sock sale that I wanted to go to was in Caledonia Minnesota which is about 1 hour and 20 minutes from our house. OK, if you’re thinking this is a long way to go to get socks, well you’re probably right. But I heard this sale advertised on the radio and was anxious to check them out. The socks are supposed to be good for running and helps with circulation, so I guess we’ll see if it’s true or not. I bought the 6 pack socks on sale for me and I only bought one for Daryl. Now for my defense his socks were $18 a piece on SALE. Yea, not a cheap date at all! When I told the sales person that $18 was kind of a lot for socks, he said they were normally $35! Wow! I must not have bought socks lately. But I could get a ‘packaged deal’ for his socks and it was going to cost me $80. Well, I think he should just try one at first to see if he likes them right? So after we went to the sock sale we headed downtown to grab something to eat. Neither one of us had been to this town to eat before and when we saw this sign outside the restaurant, we figured it was a fun place to stop for dinner! IMG_2176While we were eating, there were some people talking about the balloon race that was cancelled this morning but they were hoping that it was still going to be on this afternoon. Well of course my ears perked up and what I found out was that Caledonia has self proclaimed themselves as the Hot Air Balloon Capital of Minnesota. They have two rallies in a year and this weekend was the second one – SCORE! We found out that these balloon competitions are kind of like a poker run if you’ve done that with cars or snowmobiles before. They have certain spots that you have to go to and then do certain things with the balloons. Well of course we had time after dinner so off we went to the High School where they were setting up. The morning race was cancelled due to either too much wind or not enough (we weren’t sure) but after checking out where they were supposed to take off, the same problem with the wind was also for the afternoon race. No balloons in sight, and what a bummer that was.

So next on our trip was to get a Christmas tree. We wanted to end up in Marquette Iowa to see the Holiday Train, so we headed south to find our tree. Well do you think we could find a tree farm on our travels? We found some pretty amazing roads that we want to take the Chevelle on next year – but no trees. After around 40 minutes we ended up in Waukon and were told that if we wanted to get to a tree farm that we needed to go to Decorah. And also if we wanted to see the Holiday Train in the dark then we should go to Lansing. Both of these ideas sounded good to me and back we got into the truck and headed east. We made it to the tree farm in Decorah and we found a perfect one for our family that we liked right away. We wanted to wait on getting our tree until this weekend because we’ll be celebrating Christmas a little later this year and we wanted the tree to last. IMG_2177After a good shake to get the needles out of it, into the bag it went. IMG_2181Now we needed to head back to Waukon to be on the right roads to get to Lansing. Back to Waukon we went and then off to Lansing. This drive wasn’t too bad, it’s only around 45 minutes from Decorah to Lansing and now we found ourselves getting to town too early. No problem, we found a place that served some really good wings and fries and along with some cold refreshments all we had to do was to wait for the train. There are a couple of things that I really Love — and trains are by far the top of that list! So with having to wait in the cold for the train to come wasn’t an issue at all for me. It wasn’t terrible cold and Daryl and I waited with a couple of other thousand (?) people to see the train pull up to the stop. It was AWESOME!! When some of the younger kids would yell out that they could see it coming down the track, all you could see was this train decorated with over the top lights on it. It kind of looked like the Vegas Strip on railroad cars.

Holiday Train

Holiday Train

But it wasn’t decorated gawdy – just perfect. When the train stops the one section of the car opens up and then they have entertainment for about 45 minutes. It was funny because with all those people there, we still saw quite a few people that we knew there that night. The trains are a fund-raiser for food banks in Canada and the U.S., the Holiday Trains — one travels through Canada, the other in the U.S. — have covered over 100,000 miles and raised close to $9.5 million and 3.3 million pounds of food since the program started in 1999. The Holiday Trains stops in communities across the service area, offering free concerts from their traveling stages. Over the three weeks of the program, the musicians on board the trains will play more than 150 free concerts from their boxcar stage. OK, pretty cool right? I had a video of it, but it was too large to download to this site. But take my word for it, it was definitely something to see.DSCN9259

So after the long day, we headed back home with our socks, Christmas tree, and Christmas songs stuck in our heads. What a totally fantastic day this was!! We definitely need to do more Road Trips next year!

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Update on my lights

Well as you know that we’re having light issues this year. And to be honest – we kind of have them every year for some reason and I guess I should just get used to it right? But I knew that I needed extra lights for our fence outside and off to the store I went to buy them. I did end up seeing some that would work perfect .. and they were on sale .. and I had a 15% coupon… AND I had another coupon for $10 off. I’m Living the good life. It’s funny how little things make a world of difference in your demeanor now isn’t it? But now I’m standing in front of the shelf with the lights on them and trying to figure out just how many boxes I need. My first instinct is to buy everything that they had. I mean I’m sure next year I’ll need more! But with having other things to spend my money on this holiday season, I settled for 6 boxes. I mean honestly, 6 boxes of lights that are supposed to cover 35 feet each should be enough. I never measured our fence (which could very much be the problem) but it sure sounds like enough. So into the cart the lights went and soon I was driving home. When I got home I noticed how bright the moon was and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. DSCN9246Just the perfect night to get the lights up. When I opened the first box they were pretty long and they worked! First hurdle accomplished! As my project went on, I noticed that I was using more of the lights that I thought I needed. Guess how I did at the end of the night? Well I used all of them up on only one fence. Now I should have bought the whole shelf of lights. But at least I have one fence done!! I guess I’ll have to back and buy some more this weekend.

While I was doing chores I noticed that the clouds were moving in for the night which was a good sign. There was a warm front trying to come in and it looks like it finally made it.  I tried to snap another  picture of the moon tonight because it really was cool.  I’m not very good at night pictures – but you can get the idea with this one. DSC_0360a

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Christmas Light project continues

Now you can say that I’m frugal, money conscience, or down right cheap… but when it comes to Christmas lights I might just have to prove you wrong.

Tonight was the night that had planned on putting up the Christmas lights. This was supposed to be about the easiest thing to do in the world. Why you ask? Well, I took down last years lights so carefully, plugged them into each other and then packed them into plastic totes with paper in between the layers. So you could pretty much say that I ‘Rocked it’ and I shouldn’t have any problems when I needed them again.  Well it was the furthest from anything successful and pretty much a nightmare!! When I took out the first one it lit and I thought to myself – yup I did a really good job putting these lights away last year and to be honest I was feeling just a little too smug even for myself.  Then I took out the second one and guess what? It didn’t work. No worries yet, maybe it was just a dumb one that probably didn’t work last year anyway. Then I took out the third one and it also didn’t work. Now it’s not a fun game anymore. What went wrong? I thought if maybe I set them aside and then tried them later at the end they would probably work. I mean I did such a good job putting them away right? Well that wasn’t the case. When I came back to them, I found myself holding my breath while I was plugging them in and then … they still didn’t work :( So after spending most of my night trying to find just enough to try to cover the one side of the yards fence, I only got about half way around the fence with lights that worked. I was talking about this problem at work and someone said that they just take their lights and kind of throw them in a pile and they always work next year. Well, good for her right? And if I was my sister I would spend the time to check them out and see if it’s a fuse or a bad light or something. But guess what I’m going to do? I’m going to town to buy all new ones! Do you think they’ll be on sale? 

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Mystery Photo 12-3-14

OK, now this should be an easier one. Can you guess it? DSC_0136

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Mystery Photo 11-26-14 results

I think this weeks Mystery clue was kind of hard.

Here is the clueDSC_0341a

and here is the results. It was our silo unloader. DSC_0341

When Daryl and I were first married, we didn’t have a silo unloader and for the first years we had to pitch it down the shoot by hand. Once we got the unloader – we thought we died and went to heaven!!

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Newbie

Well it’s official. I have joined a gym. Now this might not be earth shattering news to you, but to me? Well it’s kind of big news. The reason that I joined was because I was looking over my 2014 goals and was happy and sad at the same time when I saw that I did the 10k run this year. The happy part of me was feeling pretty good because I’ve never done a 10k before and it was a good goal to get done. So yea for me right? But the kind of sad part of me was that the original goal was to do a half marathon. OK, sometimes I set pretty big goals I get that, but I really would like to do a half marathon (and a marathon) someday. So I had started on my 2015 goals for next year and you guessed it, back on my list the half marathon went. But this time, we have a friend that runs a lot and I was talking to him and we made an agreement. He’s going to do the marathon and I’m going to do the half marathon on an upcoming race in the fall. He had done some half marathons in the past and even some marathons, so he wanted to get back into it. And for me I thought if I said that I’m going to do it with him I don’t think I can back out as easy. So how in the world am I going to get ready for this? Well that’s where the gym comes into the picture. I knew that I wouldn’t run outside too much this winter and even though we do have a treadmill, I’m really not that disciplined to spend the winter running on it. I also wanted to run more on a hard surface instead of a gravel road all the time – so I joined the Wellness Center in a town nearby. Tonight was the first night that I went and even though I was a little intimidated at first, it was too bad. And at the end of the night I was really happy that I made this decision. OK, I know that it was only my first day and all, but I sure hope that I can stay with this and run this fall in the race. If I don’t, I’m not sure on the rules on having the same goal three years in a row!DSCN9244

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