House guests

How fun it is to have house guests! OK, sure it’s a little work getting ready for them. I mean you want everything to look nice in the house and out on the farm right? But once you get all that yucky stuff done (which should have been done anyway!) I’m ready to have a good time.

Our house guests this week were friends of Kyle’s. He had a chance to meet one of them when he was in the United Emirates and just by chance she was coming through Iowa and stopped in. Now just because he met her in an other country doesn’t necessarily mean that she was from there. Nope she was originally from Ireland and her travel friend was from London.

OK, flashback time. When I was a kid when we went to Oelwein Iowa for school clothes shopping once a year .. I mean… well it was a BIG day! We got to eat at a lunch counter at Woolworths and we were thinking that this was pretty big stuff. We were walking at least an inch or two taller because we were so cool! And what were the other kids that we knew other than the brothers and sisters? Well your cousins of course. I did have a pen pal from England when I was a kid but I think she lost interest in me. That’s a whole nother story. Where I’m going with this rambling on is that life sure has changed a lot in just one generation! And is it bad? Heck no! I think it’s about the coolest thing.

Now to get back to our house guests. I wanted to make sure that everyone had plenty to eat and even I knew that I had over done it. Check out the food as it was cooking,

Garlic smashed potatoes and sweet corn

Garlic smashed potatoes and sweet corn

There was 5 at our table for supper and we had enough for about 15. No lie! And this doesn’t even include watermelon and warm brownies with ice cream. Yup I made too much.

Steak kabobs and chicken kabobs

Steak kabobs and chicken kabobs

But it’s always better to have enough than not have enough right? Well we’ve got warm ups in our fridge for awhile.

The rest of their visit was hanging out on the farm feeding chickens, having campfires and s’mores, feeding apples to No Ears, playing with the dogs, and riding tractors. When Daryl and the girls were driving away for a ride tonight and they were sitting on both sides of him,  it sure made me smile that even though our farm doesn’t have much fancy stuff, it’s still pretty cool!DSCN0192

So here’s my photo of the day of the girls and Kyle. The girls were headed out west for a couple of weeks after our farm and how fun would that be?DSCN0195

So it’s got me thinking and I wonder if I need anything from Oelwein?

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Scaredy Chickens

Well we bit the bullet and put the little chickens in with the big girls. Yup it was about time.

How are they getting along?

Well here are the little girls in the chicken coop tonight

I had to bring in their favorite water tank so they all can stick togethe

I had to bring in their favorite water tank so they all can stick togethe

and here are the big girls watching themIMG_3208

As you can see they are not friends yet and are not commingling. So I sure hope they put on their big girl panties and start hanging out together soon. They’ve been in jail (chicken house) all of yesterday and today, so I’m thinking that they will get out tomorrow. They are kind of funny because when you go into the chicken coop the little girls just sit there and not really moving too much. And they seem to be saying, ‘are you sure that we should be in here’? To me they look like they are the freshman class in the PE locker room on the first day of school. No one is making eye contact and would give just about anything to leave! But I’ll let them all out tomorrow night and I sure hope the dogs play nice or I’m just saying that they’ll be in jail and not liking it at all!

The picture of the day is Daryl cutting hay Sunday afternoon. And now of course there’s a stray rain shower going by and it’s raining. Good for the corn but not so good for the hay :(IMG_3196

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Friends

Have you ever met someone for the first time and you just knew that you would have a good time hanging out with them? Well that’s what happened when we were on our winter vacation this past February in Jamaica and we met up with a group of  people also from Iowa when we were all checking into the hotel.

And that’s how this story starts. We started talking to them and found out that they only lived about 2 hours from us and from then on we got to know this group of about 10 people pretty well before the week was over. And when our vacation finally came to a close,  we all said that we were going to get together in July.

Well it’s July and with their annual pond party in full swing, we got there later in the afternoon to join the fun. The location couldn’t have been more awesome! The one couple has about 10 acres of land with about half of it a pond. There is so many cool buildings that they built around this pond that every time that you turned around there was another thing to look at. So like I said, when we got there the party was in full swing and we laughed because we were being introduced as the friends from Jamaica. I guess we didn’t look the part of who they were expecting. Too funny!

But at the end of a fun night of hanging out and getting our share of dancing in, it was time to find a bed for the night. A couple of years ago they also built a cabin with a loft at the pond and with a bunch of beds in it  that they said we could use – well that’s where we landed for the night.

So the next time your’e out and about and find some people that you think you could get to be friends with, who knows? You just might be spending a weekend with them in July!

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Cream Puff Dessert

My nephew will be getting married soon and on Saturday is the bridal shower. What I plan on bringing to the shower is a dessert – Cream Puff Dessert to be exact.

What I like about the dessert is that it’s easy and also it’s made with stuff around the kitchen that you probably have on hand already!

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • FILLING:
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 3-1/2 cups cold milk
  • 2 packages (3.9 ounces each) instant vanilla or chocolate pudding mix
  • TOPPING:
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1/4 cup chocolate ice cream topping
  • chopped nuts (I used pecans)

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan bring the water and butter to a boil over medium heat. DSCN0102Add flour all at once; stir until a smooth ball forms. DSCN0103Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
    Our chickens are free range chickens so our egg yolks are more orange than yellow

    Our chickens are free range chickens so our egg yolks are more orange than yellow

    Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny.

  2. Spread into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. DSCN0106Bake at 400° for 25 to 30 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. For filling, beat the cream cheese, milk and pudding mix in a large bowl until smooth. Spread over puff; refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  4. Spread with whipped topping; refrigerate until serving. Drizzle with the chocolate and sprinkle with nuts.DSCN0113 Refrigerate leftovers.DSCN0190
Posted in Baking | 1 Comment

Research

I never thought of myself as a gadget person but after I was soaking in the bathtub tonight I’m thinking that well maybe I am just a little bit.

I saw this ‘Deep Water Bath’ plastic thing on the web the other day and I thought  – Heck yea! The claim is that you can get like a billion more gallons of water in your tub instead of it all draining out when it gets up to the drain. OK,maybe not a billion gallons but it’s supposed to be a lot more.

So tonight I was going to give it a try. I must say that it wasn’t the easiest to keep in our tub because our tub has more of a rounded edge by the drain than the normal tub, but I did get it to finally work and I think I might have got just a little bit too much water in the tub to fit in. It was full. Very full!DSCN0111

But the trouble that I had was because it was so full, I got so stinking hot that I had to get out of the tub way too early!

The final conclusion? Well the Deep Water Bath attachment did really work!DSCN0112

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Mystery Photo 7-8-15

Now try your luck on this weeks Mystery Photo

Here is the photo clue

DSCN0101 - Version 2

Posted in Wednesday's Challenge Photo | 4 Comments

Results for Mystery Photo 7-1-15

Now there’s no fooling you guys is there!

Here was the clueDSCN0095 - Version 2

And the answer was that it was the egg basket. And let me just say that these days it’s used quite a bit! DSCN0095

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When did this happen?

Tonight Daryl had an eye appointment after work and as I was sitting in the lobby waiting for him to get done with his check up, I was thinking to myself when did we get old and need glasses to see?

I mean it just literally snuck up on me. One day I could see almost down to the corner on our gravel road and now? Well now I put on my glasses pretty much the first thing in the morning just to see which tooth brush is mine. Yea, not cool.

Now I know that there are many things that are so much worse in life and I agree with that. But I guess I never really thought that I was getting old until tonight. Kinda crazy isn’t it? I mean I’m not a spring chicken but I’m not a old dead hen either!

So with thinking about getting old and how fast time flies, I also started to think about what we should do for our 35th wedding anniversary. By now you probably know I’m a planner and our 35th anniversary isn’t for a couple of years, but hey I think I better talk about it now before I forget :)

 

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The Holiday Weekend comes to a close

This weekend we sure got a lot done and also we spent some time doing nothing. It was the absolute perfect weekend for both of these things.

And guess what? We actually got our bicycles out these past two days. Normally we get them out around the first week of May – yea, that for sure didn’t happen. So this is the latest that we’ve taken them out of winter storage and hopefully we won’t pay for it on our upcoming bike rides. The big thing that I noticed these past couple of days is that I went brain dead on the gears. Now not necessarily how to shift but when we were going up this one pretty big hill today I thought what in the world is going on? I mean I was just saying to myself, one leg two leg, one leg two leg…. I’m sure you get the picture. I just focussed on the top of the hill and only to realize that the big gear is the top 12 to 17 gears and not the bottom 1 through 5 gears. Kind of a big mistake don’t you think? But it’s crunch time baby and what doesn’t kill you makes you strong right? Well I was sure glad that it didn’t kill me that’s all I’m saying about that!  We started our training on the bike trail yesterday and I sure like the Prairie Farm Recreational Trail in Calmar Iowa. A lot of the ride is under a canopy of trees and we rode to a local town to see what was going on there. Just a really nice trail.20150704_162431_resized

Other things going on was that I was reading from my soap bible book and in it there is a section that said if you are a soap maker, then you need to make some bar shampoo. Well if the book said that this is something that everyone should try, I guess count me in! It had coconut oil, olive oil, and then something called jojoba oil. This last oil, jojoba oil is kinda weird because it’s not really an oil but a wax that’s found in the seeds of the jojoba plant. Now who said you can’t learn something new about soap making every day :) So this soap is fragranced with some of my essential oils. I used lavender and frankincense in it. After I put the frankincense into it I thought holy smokes that was kinda dumb! That oil is one of my more expensive ones. Oh well, I guess too late right? Hopefully I like the soap.

Drying the hair soap out

Drying the hair soap out

But I got done with the hair soap and then I thought also to make a double batch of ‘Sassy Come Home’ soap. This soap has about a cup of milk in it, along with oatmeal, honey, and the normal oils. It’s one that seems pretty popular and I sure hope it turns out because it made a pretty big batch! It kind of looks good to eat doesn’t it?

Sassy Come Home soap

Sassy Come Home soap

A couple of batches of beef jerky made it’s way into the schedule these past two days and it’s like a broken record because I sure wish I would have kept track on how many lbs I’ve made over the years. So if I would’ve kept track, I’d add another 4 lbs to the list.

A tradition with us is to also see how tall the corn is on the 4th of July. The old saying is that it should be knee high on the 4th of July, but as you can see it’s much taller than that. Someone was saying that last week it grew three leaves in a week. Now you almost could see the corn growing if it grew that fast! Daryl said that it’s close to tasseling out. It sure seems early for that. 20150705_171610_resized

And to finish out the weekend – make sure that you’re ready for this. If you’re not sitting down, I’d recommend that you do find a chair. I’m just saying…

Here is the picture of the garden a couple of days ago

This is the before picture of the garden

This is the before picture of the garden

OK, it’s not pretty I know! And here is the garden all cleaned up

Wait for it…..

 

Wait for it…

 

Here is the finished product. SHAZAM! In the garden I’ve got a both eating tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, banana peppers, green peppers, and a couple of different hot peppers, peas, onions, lettuce, chives, parsley, and a strawberry patch. Not a bad haul underneath all those weeds! Daryl had some extra grass the other day so he put it around a couple of the tomato plants to keep the moisture in. Yup, she’s lookin’ pretty fine if I say so myself!  DSCN0097

 

And our 4th of July weekend wouldn’t be complete without getting the Chevelle out to celebrate our engagement anniversary. See we got engaged 33 years ago on the 4th of July. Pretty romantic right? Well it is a fun weekend to get engaged or it’s also an easy weekend to remember when we got engaged. Maybe it’s just a little bit of both!

Looking over the hood of the Chevelle heading out for the night

Looking over the hood of the Chevelle heading out for the night

Posted in Gardening, Places to visit, Riding bikes, Soap | Leave a comment

Save the lettuce and Museum Day!

With the 4th of July being on a Saturday this year, both the companies that Daryl and I work for are closed on Friday. SCORE!!!

So what to do with the day right? Well first things first, since I saved the peas in my garden, I wanted now to move on to the rest of the vegetables. I wanted to see if I had any lettuce left. I really like fresh lettuce out of the garden and for some reason when William planted it in the past years he had everything come up. Me? Well I’m not as lucky. Or maybe the weeds choked it out. Yea, that’s probably the real reason. Oh well whatever happened, it was todays job early this morning to see just what I have left (if any) and try to save the lettuce.

I’ve been trying to only spend only about an hour a day pulling weeds and tilling the garden ad so far so good. For today’s job, I was able to find a few scrawny stems. Well it’s better than nothing and now to see if they will grow better without all their friends the weeds.

After catching up with things around the house, Daryl and I have been talking about going to the John Deere museum for sometime now and today looks like the perfect day for that. After some other errands in town and of course we went out for dinner, we finally made it to the museum later in the afternoon. IMG_3174And to say that I was impressed is an understatement. IMG_3169The museum is beautiful. IMG_3168IMG_3173OK, that’s kinda weird to say that about a tractor museum,  but from the second you walk into the door you know that these guys spared no expense to make it look expensive and awesome. IMG_3166They did really cool things with technology and it was fun just to see how they not only set up the place but also how much stuff was in it. Man oh man, if we could just get our little store in our town to look 1/10 this cool once a year for the Irish Fest that would be awesome!

On to the next museum. The next one was the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum & Grout Museum of History & Science. IMG_3186Whew! Just looking at the title you know that there’s going to be a lot going on in there right? And that’s an understatement. This museum looks big on the outside but once you get inside you know that if you want to see it all, you’re going to be spending a couple of hours inside it.IMG_3185IMG_3179

The Five Sullivan brothers

The Five Sullivan brothers

I’ve learned quite a bit these past few weeks about the Sullivan brothers and the one thing that it really interesting is that one of the reasons all five of these brothers signed up for the war was because of a friend from a nearby town of ours was killed at Pearl Harbor. IMG_3178This made the boys angry that their friend had to die and they wanted to do something about it. Now I know that this was a time when most all young guys were signing up for the war, but seriously having 5 sons and all of them heading out at once? Then the story goes that the boys who wrote home all the time all of a sudden had their letters stop. But the parents neighbor who’s son was also a sailor wrote home to say it was too bad that the Sullivan’s boat went down. How crazy hard that would be wouldn’t it? Yikes! And they just had to wait until someone gave them to formal word. I can’t hardly stand it if one of the boys are traveling somewhere and I don’t a text that they made it OK safe and sound. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t handle this situation very good that the Mom and Dad had to go through!

Because this museum is also a Veterans Museum there are artifacts and history of all the wars. IMG_3181There was one place in the museum that we really wanted to go visit and that was the Korean War. Now I wanted to go see this not only because my Dad was in this war but also because we had heard that Daryl’s uncle was in a picture in the museum. If I remember the story right, his uncle said that they were visiting the museum with their grown kids and one of the kids turned around and saw a picture of their dad (Daryl’s uncle). Seriously how cool it that? It might bring back some memories that have been put away for awhile but it would be something to see if you were his wife and kids. It didn’t take us long and we like we found Morris. Check him out! I don’t think they knew this soldier was from Iowa, but even so, there was 8000 Iowa’s in the war and around 5,720,000 people sent over to serve, how crazy it is to see Morris standing there !IMG_3180

Well that pretty much ended our day for today. We thought about getting our bikes out for the first time this year  – but it only was a thought for now :)

Posted in Gardening, Places to visit | 4 Comments