The Coin Jar

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For the last 15 years or so Hubby and I have been throwing change into a cookie jar I have in the kitchen.  Over the years our kids have “stolen” quarters from the jar to wash the car, do laundry at college and the like but never once was it ever completely emptied.  Well we got the microwave cabinet (which no longer has a microwave on it) in place in the kitchen and the cookie jar was going to go back into it’s place on the cabinet.  That’s when I said to Hubby, “Maybe it’s time to cash that in.”

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We had always thought we’d go on vacation with the money or something like that but never did that happen.  We talked for a minute about what we should do with the money….we came up with a “really original” plan.  We’d share with the kid of ours who could guess the amount and we’d use the rest for an additional house payment.

I sent the above picture to our kids.  They were told they had to guess and whoever was closest without going over would get 1/4 of the money.  They all had to privately guess so someone couldn’t under bid and say a dollar under another’s bid.  I dumped the money into ice cream buckets and was off to the bank.

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Kelli was home and watching the childcare kids so I could go to the bank.

I jumped in the truck and just started easing the truck out of the garage…and CRUNCH!!!

I hit Kelli’s car.  We have a RULE that no one is suppose to park behind the truck bay.  Hubby is a first responder and fireman so we never know when he has to be out of here in a hurry.  Kelli had Puppycat and Carver and parked behind the truck bay so Puppycat didn’t run off she could get them both in the house in one trip.

Anyway…here’s what Kelli’s car looks like.

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UGH!  Kelli was upset.  I really wasn’t.  Stuff happens.  Kelli wasn’t mad at me..more herself.

…but back to the coin story-I went on to the bank….here’s the tally.   [Read more...]

Ragbrai

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Have you heard of Ragbrai?

If you’re from Iowa, you likely have.  It’s a HUGE bike ride across Iowa.  The ride starts at the west border along the Missouri river and ends a week later at the east border and the Mississippi river.  I had never heard of it until we moved to Iowa.  It’s been going on for years and attracts thousands.

This year, the route was across the northern part of Iowa.  You can see the route in the picture.

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When I say thousands…I mean thousands.

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One year when I was on the library board of directors, the route took riders right through Waucoma.  Community groups got together and put up food stands to feed all the riders coming through.  It is massive.  At that time I knew so little about it and when I heard people say thousands..or when I heard people say it attracts people from all over the world, I was sure they were lying.  WRONG.  It’s the truth.

The ride is very organized.  Bicycle riders have a designated route.  They have to leave towns by a certain time and have to arrive at a certain time.  They can only stay overnight in designated towns.  It makes it easier for all the host towns.    Each day the riders ride anywhere between 50 and 70 miles.  The ride goes on regardless of the heat (which is always the end of July and the hottest days of the year here) and regardless of the weather…rain or shine.

Another year the ride went past the farm where Hubby works.  We were living there then.  Our kids sat on lawn chairs at the end of the driveway and greeted riders.  They would often give the kids pencils or other trinkets as the passed.  It was fun.

Well this year the ride is going through Castalia.  We go to church in Castalia so church is having a food stand.  Pies are the main thing they are selling so pie making is what Kelli and I needed to do.

We opted to make strawberry pies.  Pie have been know to be a big seller for to the bike riders.  We are day 6 of the ride so I am figuring the riders might be interested in something beyond the usual apple or cherry….We had pie making day on Tuesday evening after childcare.

Here are the first six from the oven…half baked at Kalissa’s house, half at mine.

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Then another three were made before we were finished.

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I know it’s bad to say, but one of these stayed at my house…and one at Kelli’s.  But I looked at it this way….we were never asked to make pies.  We completely volunteered.  So whatever they got was more than they thought they’d have.

I actually like to make pies.  I sure wish I did it more often.  It really isn’t that hard either.  I know one thing for sure, making a pie (or even nine of them) is MUCH easier and more enjoyable (at least in my opinion) then riding a bike across the state of Iowa.

New Cement

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My Monday was a pretty easy one considering I have eight kids here.  They spent most of the day like this…watching the workers outside my windows.  We’re getting new cement.

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I’m so happy.  It’s been a long debate between Hubby and me trying to decide if we wanted to afford cement.  The stuff is expensive.  We finally both got on the same page and decided it was time.  I was tired of the childcare moms coming in with nice shoes only to have them covered in mud.  I was tired of yelling at the kids to stay out of the puddles.  I was tired of Hubby dragging in mud.

Today they started out small.  See the fence along side our house.  I hide the kids’ ride on toys behind there.  I requested that we cement that small area.

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They did.  This is now the “parking” area for the ride on toys.

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We had them pour a new back step too.  I’m loving this already.

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Then we decided to bite the bullet and cement the driveway.  Originally we were only going to do from the corner of the porch back to the garage but we decided to do this instead….. [Read more...]

Microwave Cabinet that Wasn’t

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So Hubby and I finished the microwave cabinet.  It’s done, finished and in place.  You might remember that we originally thought to mix paint and stain.  The drawers were going to be stained along with the drawers-the rest was going to be chalk painted to match the island.

Well we ended up not happy with the stain.  On the wainscoting doors we couldn’t get the paint out of the cracks good enough and the drawers were stained but we didn’t like the look and decided paint the whole thing.  I’m glad we did.  Here’s the reveal:

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After we had it in place we both marveled.  Hubby asked me if I still had the beginning picture.  I did and showed it to him.

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It’s hard to believe it was the same piece.  He was impressed all over again.  He praised my painting and I praised his work.  Then we decided right there and then we really are a good team…not just in marriage but woodwork too.

Here’s the funny part of it all.  Even though we originally wanted this for a microwave cabinet I rejected that idea.  I put the microwave on the counter in the laundry room for now at least.  I hate the microwave.  It takes up too much space and I (maybe) use it once a day or so.  It’s not worth taking up prime “real estate” on my kitchen counters.

The kids had fun making fun of Hubby and I.  They keep telling us that they can’t believe we can continually find more cabinets and find more places to put them.  I think we are done in the laundry and the kitchen now.  It’s kind of bittersweet.  Both of us love the hunt and love working on projects like this..but alas, we’ll have not other places to put them in the kitchen.

So now, here’s how the kitchen looks.  This is when we first moved in….

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and this is now. [Read more...]