Do you remember January 28, 1986?

Do you remember where you were when you heard that the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded? I can remember that day like it was yesterday. I seriously don’t remember a lot of things, but this day I remember.

The day went like this : because we are talking 30 years ago the opportunities for having a fast food restaurant is pretty slim in our area. So when a Hardee’s opened up in the town where I was working, we would take turns heading that way to grab a sandwich and to bring back about 5 more for the others. Well it was our turn to make the food run and when we came back everyone was really quiet. Now when I mean everyone, I mean that I was working in a factory and it seemed like they were more stunned than anything. With a couple of quick questions to try to find out what was going on, they said that the Space Shuttle Challenger just blew up. This in my mind was catastrophic. Everyone was following this flight more so than the rest because of having the first teacher going with them into space. With it being the 30th anniversary today there has been a lot of coverage of it and I saw that back in 1986 within an hour of the explosion that 85% of the people had heard of the tragedy. Back in 1986 you have to remember there were no cell phones to send a text or stream the launch and for sure no one was sending snapchats of it either. So when you think about that 85% that’s kind of a lot don’t you think?

So here is a picture that was on the internet of the explosion of the Space Shuttle that day to remind us all on how terrible this accident really was and all because of a O ring.

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Iowa in January

What is Iowa like in January? Well unless you absolutely LOVE to take about a billion phone calls about who you would vote for in the Caucuses, there’s not much else going on. So what do we talk about? Well we talk about the weather of course. So this post is about the weather and how I’m so looking forward to spring. My first picture to describe the weather is one that I took the other day when I got to work. Now mind you that this is the air temperature not the wind chill temperature. That’s why the top picture under the time is also so important. It’s your butt warmer and plays a very important job when it’s this cold out :)20160118_064052When it’s that cold and your nose sticks together when your’e outside trying to breath – well it’s just too darn cold for anyone! It’s also not a very good look for any girl.

My next picture also gives an idea on what January looks like in Iowa. You look across the fields and see what almost looks like an ocean of snow. Our farm is the one in the middle of the picture with the trees around it. 20160126_155223Because we’ve gotten a couple of inches of new snow these past few days I kinda was expecting some snowmobilers in the area taking advantage of it but we haven’t heard too many yet.

And my last picture is one that is pretty common in January on our farm. It’s that of Daryl pushing away the new snow drifts from the garage and trying to break up the ice path that was once called our driveway. 20160127_172923So this week I think I’ll make it my mission to see if I can take some nice pictures of January in Iowa. I wonder how well I’ll do?

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Birthdays and wedding plans

What a busy day! It started out with going with a group of girls to check out the latest things in wedding planning. And I must say that I am very much out of my league on this. I’m just glad that there are others that are really good at it and that our future daughter in law knows pretty much what she wants. So at the Bridal open house there is a lot to see and eat. I mean you can literally eat about 30 different kinds of cake if you wanted and I think I’ve tried about 20 :) There are also dresses to look at and a bunch of guys showing off the latest looks in tuxes. It was in a hotel and all three floors were packed with bridal things. Whew!

But it really made the whole wedding day seem real though. I know that it’s not until 2017 for the kids but that will probably go fast. I started to look at dresses just today and there sure are a lot of pretty ones out there. I sure hope that I can find one that makes me look about 4 inches taller and about 40 pounds lighter!

Then I headed to Ma’s for her birthday! She looks awesome and yesterday we spent most of the day doing some Christmas shopping for her list for this upcoming December.12507691_1068151679891176_5991405324565842916_n I seriously still have a Christmas card of ours to send out to someone yet for this year. I kept it back because I wanted to send a letter and some other pictures with it. Man I sure can learn a lesson from her I guess. A big group of the family went out for dinner and then I met up with them after at Ma’s house. She had so much food there that there was no way that we could eat it all. I had to laugh later because she was upset because she forgot to bring out some pizza’s that she was also going to make for lunch. But all the tables were full and I’m pretty much sure that our bellies were too! DSCN8571

Then the night was spent at a town meeting getting ready for the upcoming Irish Stew supper and town festival. By the end of the day I was ready to get my jammies on and call it a night.

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Roller Derby Action

Now I don’t know if you’ve gone to a Roller Derby lately, but I haven’t until Saturday night and it was a Hoot! We were all pretty new to this sport and we were anxious to see the Push-Up Brawlers at their best. When we got there it didn’t take long and I went to the table where they were selling ‘stuff’ because I really wanted one of their T-shirts. I looked around and noticed that they also go by the name Cedar Valley Derby Divas and to me that just wasn’t as catchy as the Push-Up Brawlers – so I guess no new T-shirt for me tonight. And seriously I don’t really need another T-shirt anyway. (but I kinda did want one)

So we got our tickets and now it was show time. The sport isn’t quite like it was when we’d watch it on TV about a million years ago but still fun to watch. They used to grab one of the girls on their team and just whip her around the track. But on this night the Dibrarian could get through blocks that pretty much no one else could without having being whipped around. There was still a lot of arms and elbows pushing each other and the penalty box was used a lot! I think because there was a lot of rules to learn, the announcer gave an overview of how this was going to do down and we found ourselves going back to our schedule with the rules to see if we could catch what the points that were just given. I think the guys had it kinda figured out, but for me? Well I was just rooting for team that was loosing and hoping that Dirty Shirley was going to make up some of the point gap. 12573223_1068195179886826_8365878262886894993_n
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It really looked like they were having fun and it almost made me want to get some roller skates and go out skating again. I said almost :)

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God Bless Dennis

As you can see I’m up and running again with our internet and what a challenge that was! I’ve learned more about modems and routers that I ever want to admit. Now granted I started out with a blank canvas but still!

Like I said it was a challenge trying to figure out just what was the matter. What we noticed at first was that the internet kept going in and out. Now other than a total pain, it didn’t cause us much concern. I’d go upstairs and reset it and then we’d be back on line working on really important stuff I’m sure :) But then it happened. I couldn’t get it to be reset. And at that point I knew I was in trouble.

So the next day I started to make the calls to our provider to see just what was going on and if they had any outages that were reported. Well of course they didn’t have anything and instantly I could feel my heart starting to pound. I asked them if we could do some tests on the modem and after a blunt conversation that I needed to get a technician to come to our house, the conversation was ended. With my heart pounding and an instant squinting of my eyes (like he would see that ?) I was instantly mad. It was late anyway and I went to bed. Everyone was going to have to live without the internet for the night.

My plan for Day 2 was to call the help desk again and see if they could help me. I got a girl this time and she said that she could see that we were getting a signal and that the modem/router was bad. Are you sure I asked? Because why would I be getting such a good signal but not connecting? Well after a couple of hours of trouble shooting the answer was that I just needed a new ethernet cable and it’ll work. Now lack of common sense I said thank you and hung up. I instantly knew that I shouldn’t have hung up before trying it but it was just too late. And what did I find out? Well I found out that it wasn’t the issue. So I called them back and once again asked them to help. I’m pretty sure that it was some kind of pathetic plea if I’m remembering correctly about if they just please would help me. After a couple of more hours on the phone this tech person said that I needed a new modem and helped me understand just what in the world I should be looking to buy.

Day # 3 time to get a new router/modem. My drive to buy the modem was 45 minutes one way, then 10 minutes to pick up the modem, and then 45 minutes back home again. Not bad but then after around 4 hours with that new modem’s tech support on trying to set up the modem, it turned out to be a very long and frustrating day. The first call after about 2 hours got dropped and I’m not for sure that it was an accident. Then the second guy helped me quite a bit and we went into screens on the computer that I honestly never knew even existed! But then at the end of the night (literally!) and after sitting on the wooden floor for hours by the modem, the technician said that he had absolutely no idea what was the matter. And because he was so worn out I was trying to give him suggestions so he wouldn’t feel so bad.

Day # 4 I called tech support again and my goal was to convince them that this problem is definitely something on their side and that’s when I was assigned to Dennis. Now I didn’t get Dennis right away but was transferred to him. But who cares right?, he was the person that I needed. After Dennis looked at my case he said that he knew what was wrong and it was an issue on their side. Now this was good to hear and also at the same time bad to hear. It was good to hear because he might be able to help me and bad to hear because why did it literally take 4 days? I don’t know what Dennis’s title was but I was so happy that he was the guy that I was talking to and within about an hour the internet was up and running again. Something got messed up on their software and needed to be recoded. I think I kinda scared him a little bit though. I said how much I appreciated him and thanked him for helping me and I know that I had told him this multiple times! Now I’m sure that he didn’t care that I had way over 12 hours on this little project and a very stressful 12 hours at that! Like I said I didn’t know what his title was but he said that he was going to have to write up some training for the other tech’s that have helped me because they should have seen this on the first call. But as for me?  All I can say is God Bless Dennis!

 

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Day 4 of internet problems

I’ve had some really bad karma lately and it still is continuing. My latest issue is that we are having internet issues and so I’m using my phone as a Hot Spot to log in. Just so not cool and I wanted to let you all know that I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth or anything like that. Now come to think of it, it’s kinda like you are on another planet though. Wish me luck! :)

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Seriously Easy Coffee Cake

I was pretty ambitious this weekend and had gotten quite a few things done which is an awesome feeling. This weekend I went to two consignment stores that are selling my soap – one new one and one that has been doing it for about a month, visited Ma twice, did a little shopping in town, put away the rest of the Christmas ornaments (about time), started a pile for the thrift store, cleaned our bedroom, exercised (seriously about time!), mailed a Thank You card20160115_144012_resized_1filled the refrigerator with homemade chicken soup & a pan of lasagna, worked on an a soap inventory sheet for taxes, got groceries, and started to declutter some of our stuff in the basement. So what did I do next? Well I was out perusing the internet and found a cake that I thought I should make. I mean I did exercise and everything right? So it was probably one of the easiest coffee cakes that I’ve ever made in my life and guess what? It even tasted pretty good! Here’s the recipe that I used:

HONEY BUN COFFEE CAKE

  • 1 box yellow cake mix (I used vanilla) 
  • 8 ounce sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

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Preheat oven to 325 º F

Mix the cake mix with the sour cream, eggs, and oil in a large bowl with a spoon. Don’t worry if it is a little clumpy. DSCN8558Put 1/2 of this in a prepared 9×13 pan.

Next mix the brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl until it’s mixed well together. DSCN8559Spread this over the bottom layer in the pan.DSCN8560

Now spread the remaining 1/2 of the batter on top of the brown sugar mixture. This got a little hard so I globbed (very technical term :) )  it onto brown sugar/cinnamon DSCN8561and then spread it out as good as I could. DSCN8562You then take a knife and twirl it through the batter.DSCN8563

Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.DSCN8566

Finally mix the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla together. DSCN8564Now I added more milk to make sure that it was pretty runny. For some reason my mixture was way too stiff to pour! So I just kept adding milk until it was loose enough. When you take the cake out of the oven you immediately pour the powdered sugar mixture over it with a thin layer and let it cool. DSCN8567Then it looks like this and tastes even better. Seriously Easy Coffee Cake!DSCN8570

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Good-bye Chowder and Opal

We have had very bad luck these past weeks with our cats, and two in particular. The two that I’m talking about are Chowder and Opal. When they were first born we knew that they were special and they had spent more time in our house than probably a normal house cat would have. They’ve spent a lot of time upstairs just chilling out on the beds with the kids and you couldn’t ever stay mad at them because they were so cute! But a couple of weeks ago Chowder got in a fight with our dogs and must have gotten hurt inside. By the time the night came, we knew that she wouldn’t live until the next morning and we were right. It was pretty sad in our house that morning! Now on Saturday morning I noticed that Opal didn’t come barreling into the house with the rest of the cats when the front door is open. This wasn’t her normal behavior and it made me pretty nervous. Kyle called around quick to see what vet was open on a Saturday morning and was able to get in to have her checked out. It turned out that she had a stomach blockage and was too far gone to be saved. Let me just say it was another very sad day in our house. Now I know that it is all part of life but jeepers it sure would be nice not to get so attached to them wouldn’t it? So here is a couple of pictures that Kyle took of both little kitties.

Miss Opal

Miss Opal

Chowder

Chowder

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The 5 things that I’ve learned about soap so far

I’ve learned 5 important things so far about Soap that I’d like to share with you.

# 1 – Not everyone likes to talk about soap. OK, that is just plain crazy isn’t it? I mean you like soap right? Now why in the world wouldn’t everyone like it as much as we do? But sadly I’ve found out when those people say something like ‘Hows the soap going’ and then they cringe when I proceed into a 15 minute story on what soaps I’m making and what is the newest scent.. we’ll you can see where that is going. It only took me about 6 months to realize that these people are just trying to make conversation with me and kinda don’t really care about soap. Weird.

#2 – I have come a long way from the first bars of soap that I made. When I first started with this crazy soap habit I was just so excited to have the soap turn out I really didn’t care if the soap was going to have a superfatting level of 5% or not. I just didn’t want it to turn out like a big glob of junk when it was all done. And now? Well the last batch I made I think I had around 6 different oils in it and 9 different colors. Yea, pretty sweet huh?

# 3 – I have a very long way to go. I am by far not an expert in making soap and have just tons and tons of stuff to learn. Have you ever thought to yourself ‘I’m pretty good at this’ and then step back and wonder if you’ve been living in the twilight zone or something? I think it’s one of those things that you always are learning. And seriously I thought I was probably way too old to learn something new. Boy was I wrong!

# 4 – The soap doesn’t have to be perfect to be good. When I made some of the first batches of soap, if it wasn’t perfect there was no way in the world was anyone going to see it. I would take it and either try to use it up in the shower by leaving it get way too wet and turning into some type of funky liquid soap or I just plain got rid of it. Now? Well if it doesn’t have 4 perfect lines separating the different layers of the soap I’m guessing that it’s not that important and others might think it brings character to the craft.

# 5 – Feel good about the little steps of this whole adventure. Now there are people that are not going to understand that this craft really isn’t the worst thing to do with your time and money (see #1 above) But seriously why should I care about them? Tonight I was so nervous about going to one of the shops that is selling my soap now for a couple of weeks. It was the first time I would visit them since I dropped off my soap and I mean I literally practiced on the drive over how to act not disappointed if they said no one liked my soap. But guess what? People bought my soap and I had to bring in more for them to sell. Yea, I didn’t even have to use my acting skills tonight at all. Score! Now granted it was only a few bars of soap that they sold, but still it was a few bars of soap! I’m sure that there will be times that I won’t sell any, but guess what? I’ve contacted another store and they said they would like me to bring in some and see how the next month or so goes to see if people are interested in buying it. So that brings my distribution up to 3 stores. Man I’m on a roll now!

Now I’m sure that I can go on and on with this post but I said that I would only share the top 5 things that I learned so far. So if you are reading this, the next time you see someone selling soap at a craft show or it’s available at a speciality store, you might just think to yourself if they also had the same 5 things to share. Oh and yea if they practice their acting skills in their car too! Happy Thursday!!!

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Discipline

I really wanted a new planner for Christmas and not just any old planner – I was hoping for the Tools4Wisdom planner. It is awesome and I ended up getting one! Whoo hoo!! Now this planner is something that you need to not only be organized to use (kinda defeats the purpose doesn’t it?) but it also is something that you need to be disciplined with. There is a lot of goal planning to do not only for the year, but also monthly and daily.  And I’m really hoping to get better at keeping it filled in as the year goes on so I can be better organized. Why you ask? Well I still have some Christmas stuff to put away and I haven’t lost any of my New Years Resolution weight yet. Maybe a second glass of wine tonight will help me with the planning that’s needed. I’m thinking though it’s not going to help me with the Christmas stuff that needs to be put away :)

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