Saturday, December 29, 2012

Week 52

Four generations of Durbin men.
This week was all about a few days in Paducah for Durbin Christmas. 

Link and Naomi (pre-blizzard in Kentucky).  This is who I think Link looks the most like.

One of Link's great gifts.  He also got a hand knit sweater and hat from Agnes' mom (in Norwegian pattern).

Link had a lot of fun with Bryce's cousin, Landon.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Week 51- 2012

1. I finished the Lego table for Link.  He loves it.

2. We continue our Norwegian/Scandanavian theme Christmas with our advent calendar and tree (decked out it flags).  Link is so use to reading books by our author of choice every time I say the word "by" he smiles and says "Jan Bread" (Meaning Jan Brett).  We made a Norwegian ornament of weaved paper as well.

 3.  We did Christmas with my mom's side of the family and my family opened gift too.  It was a lot of fun with the Giuntas, including a great game of spoons and lots of laughs. Link got a Leapster from Grandma and Grandpa that he really enjoys.  While most of my family was watching Green Bay versus the Bears, Agnes and I watched Norway versus Montenegro.  In what sport you ask?  Handball.  It seems like such a whimpy little thing in the name, but it was quite entertaining.  It's like a mix between soccer and basketball.

4. Monday Link and I went to Dubuque.  He was excellent all day.  We went to Menards and I bought myself what I really wanted for Christmas, a miter saw.  We went to several other shops and ended the day at Olive Garden (using our gift certificate), which according to Link "smells like bread!"

5. SNOW!  Lots of it.  So much so that school was canceled.  I tried to take Link outside during the blizzard and the wind blew snow in his face and he was done.  So we stayed inside and made a ton of crafts (button snowflake, shield, weaving heart ornament, etc) and cooked (broccoli soup, homemade bread, etc).

6. At story hour Link made a pine cone bird feeder.  He was very excited about putting it up.

7.  After yoga the group got together for a cookie exchange.  It was awesome.  Natalia is not only a phenomenal yoga instructor and attorney, she is also an amazing chef.

8. I woke up Wednesday to what the chiropractor told me was a "rib head out of place."  Fortunately I was able to get in right away, but it still took my breath away every time I looked right for the next couple of days.

9. I opened Whimsy Market back up on Friday and Agnes joined me for the day.  She made the day fun, even making me laugh so hard that I was wiping away streams of tears.  On Saturday the Bruxvort Colligans "The River's Voice" came and sang for the store patrons.  They were excited to visit with us, and Sam was excited to see Link.

10. Dad came over to look the car over once more before we head to Kentucky tomorrow.  He also found a few other projects to tinker with.  We thought he reminded us a lot of Santa in this photo.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2012- Week 50

1. It snowed and we took family photos.

2. Link wrote his first letter to Santa.  He asked for a back pack and his typical candy canes and sack of toys.

3. I took a Quick Books class in Elkader.  I am still debating if I should get it, but it seems pretty great, so I probably will.

4. I got a new phone.  Not a smart phone, but a samsung freeform.  I can text a lot better with a keypad.

5. The last time I went to Goodwill in Decorah they gave me free movie passes for shopping local.  When I got home, the coat I purchased had two free pizzas in it to Happy Joes in Decorah so on Saturday Link and I went to Ice Age- Continental Drift, then we went to have a free pizza at Happy Joes.  We were not planning on using the other pizza coupon so I let Link choose someone to pass it on to.  The family he chose was very appreciative and Link was so happy he made someone else happy.

6. Bryce's parents gave us money to repair our piano, but this week we found one nearby that costs even less than the repairs so we are purchasing it instead.

7.  Agnes had a home basketball game so I went.  She got to play a bit, which was nice.  She seems to be a little bit more concerned about what she is eating now and I am wondering if basketball has anything to do with it. 

8.  The editor of the paper did a story on whimsy market to highlight the local craftmanship I support in the store. 

9.  My friend Adam met with me over lunch to discuss the possibility of working his company Fire Farm to do Facebook/Pinterest promotion.  I am very excited about the possibility.  We were interrupted by the fire alarm and someone calling his cell to tell him it was his fire alarm going off. 

10. We did another Essential Oils meeting at Whimsy Market and I ended up purchasing a starter kit.  I am excited to get them. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2012 Goals Accomplished

Lifestyle Changes
1. Buy 99% of meat and eggs from local sources
2. Make 99% of all our bread
3. Replace a household cleaning product with a self made
4. Make a worm tea bin or get a compost machine
5. Plant a bigger garden
6. Buy/eat only locally grown vegetables
7. Trade out non-stick pans and plastic spatulas for iron, stainless steel
8. Can vegetables or make jam
9. Replace a bathroom product for a natural fragrance free product
10. Learn to make cheese
11. Look in the fridge/pantry and pick something to make from scratch instead
12. Switch something buying from store to co-op bulk

Professional Goals
1. Use credit at Photo Pro in CR
2. Make a new photography brochure
3. Become a home vendor of a product
4. Print t-shirts
5. Choose a wholesale company to partner with
6. Read the Barbra Winter's Book Again
7. Finish the Art Punks website and get it up
8. Create an art chair
9. Start a day care
10. Create a play area for day care
11. Finish children's book
12. Publish children's book

House Goals
1. Have electrical done in the bathroom
2. Plaster and paint bathroom
3. Plaster and paint kitchen
4. Roof the house
5. Clean siding and put up shutters
6. Have ceilings done
7. Have floors done
8. Strip the wood
9. Fence in play area for day care
10. Paint/Seal the basement
11. Put bathtub upstairs
12. Set up a better recycling area

Financial Goals
1. Record expenses again
2. Don't buy anything in Prairie du Chien
3. Do taxes and get refund
4. Have credit card below $8000
5. Create a will or revocable trust
6. Set up a Roth IRA/retirement
7. Put $3000 in Link's savings account
8. Pay off $6000 in college loans from AmeriCorps
9. Cut one of our biggest monthly expenses in half
10. Have credit card below $6000
11. Learn about the stock market
12. Give to a charity

Random goals without a timeline
1. Read the Grant Wood book and visit locations
2. Read the El Kader book and write play
3. Make a photo album from high school stuff
4. Make a photo album from college stuff
5. Get Lasik
6. Take a sister's day trip or vacation
7. Go to Amy's Scrapbooking Saturday and do paper crafts
8. Get a dress pattern and sew own dress
9. Take piano lessons again
10. Go to a Quaker meeting in Decorah
11. Visit the Mosque in Cedar Rapids
12. Bike at least once a week
13. Improve time in the Bix or run the Quick Bix
14. Take dance lessons and perform in the dance reunion
15. Plant Link's placenta and possibly a tree
16. Enter a project at the county fair
17. Learn to do my own taxes
18. WWOF in Australia
19. Go to the Duqubue museum of art

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Santa Claus according to Link at age 3

Bryce and I have never really figured out if we were going to tell the fable or truth about Santa, so we have just kind of ignored it.  We thought maybe friends and family would tell Link one or the other and he would ask questions, but he hasn't, so today I asked HIM questions.

This is what he said:

1. Have you ever met Santa?  Yes
2. Is Santa real or pretend? He is just like us.
3. Where does Santa live?  Umm, Elkader
4. Does Santa ride in a sleigh with reindeer? Yes
5. Do the reindeer fly? Some do, some don't.
6. Does Santa bring you anything? Yeah, candy canes
7. When does Santa bring you things? When we go see him at the stores and stuff.
7. Does Santa ever come to your house when you are sleeping?  No, that's silly.
8. Does Santa leave presents under your tree? No, that's silly.
9. Who brings you presents? Everybody
10. If you could ask Santa to bring you something other than candy canes what would you ask for? A sack of toys.

Monday, December 10, 2012

2012- Week 48 & 49

 1. I took a couple ideas from different people and made Link an advent calendar of gift bags.  Each bag has a book in it we read each night.  Since we are having a Norwegian themed Christmas, I have mostly been using Jan Brett books.  I just check them out from the library and fill the bags.

2.  Paul and Paula had us and the Moser's over for dinner.  We had soup in bread bowls.  Agnes even came.

3.  Link had his first bout of pink eye.  Paula had some meds from her sister, who works at an eye clinic, that she passed along to us.  We looked the medication up online and made sure it was for pink eye and could be used on children.  It got rid of it in a day or two.

4.  I decided to gift Lincoln with a lego table that I am making out of our old coffee table.  Phase 1-3 complete.  This photo is phase 1.  Just need to attach the lego top now. 

 5.  We had our second Women's Circle in Guttenberg.  I brought a friend I met this summer at the garden, Kaitlyn.  She fit in very well even though she was the youngest and the only one without children or a spouse.  She even signed up to host an event!  The only negative is that Kaitlin lives in Prairie and has a suspended license so it is a lot of driving at night for me, but I think it is worth it to make this connection for her.

6. I met with a food service director in Wauzeka to go over purchase orders and start the bid process for farmers.  I also met with Kayla Koether, who is the Farm to School Representative in Clayton County.  She gave me great ideas on bidding, going into the classrooms, and was just fun to talk to.

7. Kim and Kelly Bromelkamp and Julie Grau did an essential oils class at whimsy market.  I am opening up the store to home based business meetings during the slow time.  They did a really good job.  I liked the emphasis on natural products and following your intuition.  But the strength test just seems silly.

8. There was parent's night at tap and gymnastics.  It was great to see how far Link has come and also reminds us what we need to work on.  He doesn't seem to be a natural at either so we have to
practice.  I really like that he is learning these new ways to move his body.

9. My friend from high school, Scott Farmer, was back home for a visit.  He tries to fit me in whenever he comes back from Hawaii, or Thailand, or Australia (which is where he has been for the past 4 years).  We always get a few minutes together that feel special.

10. On Friday the Holiday train came to McGregor again.  This year we almost got to ride it as well, but the people we were replacing decided to go.  It seemed much earlier then last year and we got their right when the train was leaving.  Fortunately Santa stands on the back and waves so to Lincoln it didn't seem like we missed anything.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

2012- Week 47

We found out these have little fairy tales in them for kids.
 1. Monday I went to Decorah for errands.  I stopped by Brenda's house and gave her a drying rack I had scored at a Goodwill in Madison that she had admired at a clients house we had been to in the past.  I also went to the Norwegian Museum and bought some food for Agnes (so nice we have one so close) and had lunch at La Rana.  I also scored some great deals at the Depot and Goodwill, took the recycling to the center, bought Bryce a great Christmas present, and bought Lincoln a fish, which we call Ruby.  Not bad for a single day.

2. School was cancelled on Tuesday due to dense fog, but that didn't keep us inside.  Agnes went with Link and I to story hour in McGregor and then we went shopping in Prairie.

3. We had a pretty good week at the store, being that one day we were closed.  Friday and Saturday actually turned out really well (and I thought everyone was going to head the malls, silly me).

4. Thanksgiving dinner was at my parents.  I made Russian Tea, Cream Corn, and a lettuce salad with berries, nuts, apples, etc.  I wasn't to thrilled about any of them but we still had a good meal and then people napped and watched the Macy's parade (watching for Ted, Lorri, and Mason) and then the rest of my family all took off at 5 pm for Black Friday shopping.

5. I was called at midnight on Thanksgiving to attend a birth I was on call for to photograph.  It was a great birth.  I can't say too much about the family for professional reasons but it was their ninth child, but the first time they were using a tub which is why they were wanting a photographer.  The baby was born at 9 am so we were all pretty sleepy.  It was born in the caul and had its arms crossed over its face which was why it was taking a little longer then some of the others.  I am still in awe over it.

6. On Friday we were invited to the Schillers' house and we had a great time.  We got there a little bit later then the rest of the guests because we had to close the shop up, but we had really nice conversation and things felt a lot better for us, especially with a little bit smaller group than last.  Agnes was with us again, but we were a lot less concerned about her comfort level as we know now that she does fine any place we go.

Europe had some new things to learn, like tunnels and train stations.
7. Saturday was Small Business Saturday and it was a good day at the shop.  When we were finished we went to Ryan and Kim's house with Lincoln and played some games (Agnes had basketball practice).  A couple other couples came too, one we know in passing and the other we didn't know at all.  We played Ticket to Ride (Europe version), Yahtzee, and Zoink. 

8. Sunday we had a bigger family gathering for Thanksgiving.  It was at my Aunt Amy's.  All her children were there and all my uncles and their families (minus Liz and Amanda's).  We ate until we popped, then danced to Kinect until we were out of breath, then played Apples to Apples until we were out of laughter.

9. I put up the tree.  We decided to go with a Norwegian theme this year and because I am also a fan on "The Mitten" by Jan Brett we are incorporating some of her books in.  I asked Agnes how they decorate their tree so we have a lot of little Norwegian flag garland on our tree.  Also, Grandma Koch gave Link a steam train set so that will go under the tree too.

10.  To make way for the tree I had to get some control of the toy box so I offered boxes of toys to child-free families and had two takers.  I've got one delivered and one I will need to send, so I am working on that one still.  I am excited to do it.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

2012- Week 46

1. I was in the office last Friday when Russel, from the OHP, stopped by to talk to a co-worker.  He was mentioning some musicals he was interested in and I told him I really wanted to do Dirty Rotten Scoundrels for the HS, but was afraid of content.  He told me Waukon was doing so that night, so I rearranged my schedule a bit and went to show.  It went well and sealed the deal on me doing it for the high school.

2.  Bryce's parents, after leaving Door County, went to Minnesota for a few days and then stopped at our house for the weekend.  We had fun playing more board games.  It was a very rainy weekend.

3.  Bryce and I went to the Harvest Dinner in Prairie.  It was delightful.  We had a totally local meal from the wheat in the buns to the beer and everything in between.  We also had great company at our table.   I loved meeting my boss's husband (Kevin) who owns a locker and had some interesting stories and The Austins, who were some of the farmers of the meal, were great keeping conversation fun.

Joleen with a class who just got their new t-shirts.
4. We are doing Pumpkin as the Harvest of the Month for November.  I got Joleen Jansen, who hobby farms pumpkins, to come and speak with the classes as well as provide all the pie pumpkins needed for the schools.  I have been a puree making machine.

5.   Both the van and the car overheated this week so we had to borrow two other cars.  The belt broke in the van and had to be taken to the shop.  It was too big of a job for my dad and the car just has a small leak in the antifreeze so we just have to keep a close eye on it until we find it.

6.  I had another overnight in Wisconsin for the AmeriCorps opening ceremony in Madison.  It wasn't totally worth the drive, but I liked seeing the Wisconsin State Capitol and meeting someone who had met Eleanor Roosevelt and I got plenty of shopping done for Whimsy Market.

7.  As I just mentioned, I got lots of stuff up and redecorated for Whimsy Market.  A lot of my merchandise had sold over the fall and I hadn't been out on many shopping excursions so the place wasn't looking as nice as I wanted.  Now it is looking good.

8.  I went to see Argo at the theater by myself.  It was really good.

 9. Stocked up on glow sticks in the Halloween clearance aisle and Link got a glow bath.  He loved it. 

10. On Friday my parents' agri co-op had a fancy customer appreciation dinner for the whole state in Waterloo at the Casino.  So they brought us all.  It was yummy and afterwards my siblings and their spouses and my parents gambled, but Bryce and I went shopping with Link instead.  We had forgotten that they still allow smoking in casinos in Iowa.  Instant headache.

Monday, November 12, 2012

2012- Week 44 & 45

1. On Tuesday Bryce and I went to the Morrissey Concert at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake.  The tickets were an anniversary gift.  When we got there it looked like there was construction going on so we checked the website and the concert was canceled.  So we walked the cold dark beach and headed home.
2. Halloween was a great day.  Link had so much fun being "The Flash" and excitedly telling everyone until he got tired and started telling people he was a skeleton.  We stayed in Elkader, though we had been invited to Independence and Decorah, because Link had tap and gymnastics that day as well.

3. There was a zombie run in Elkader on the 3rd, but we skipped it because Agnes was interested in seeing Obama in Dubuque.  It was quite a wait, but pretty fun.  She was also excited to see Kate Walsh from The Practice, but less enthused about John Mellencamp.

4. While we were in Dubuque we also did a little sightseeing.  We parked at the top of the hill for better parking and then rode the cable car down.  We stopped in a few of the shops I had never been to and a few of my standard favorites, the book store and Crust.

5. I was so saddened to hear that one of the people I admired the most died from liver failure.  He was a 50-something dad of a kindergartner, who changed his life totally around when he had the little girl and the mom went to prison and later died.  You could see the effects of 30-some years of drinking and drugs on his body, but boy was his heart and mind in a good place for the last 5 years.  He was so excited about purchasing his first house this summer and so helpful in all the programs I did in 4-H.  He will be dearly missed.

6. Over the weekend we went to Door County to see some of Bryce's family for a family vacation.  Door County was mostly closed, but we did spend time playing games with Joy and Corey and Grandma and Grandpa.  I definitely would like to go back in the summer.

7. Election night was on Tuesday.  We stayed up way to late watching results.  I was pretty confident Obama would win and was happy to see him pull through.  I was way nervous about some of our local races, especially when I went to bed Roger Thomas was behind, but when I woke up he had pulled through.  (Obama shirt designed by our friend Maddy)

8.  On Wednesday I was dropped off at the Kalahari in Wisconsin (wow, that place is grandiose) and went to a health and wellness conference for Farm 2 School.  It was a one day conference and had many great speakers including Olympian, Casey FitzRandolph, and Dr. James Painter who is a great speaker and scientist who also directed a movie called "Portion Size Me."

9. The van broke.  The belt to the air conditioner and alternator snapped.  So we are down to a two door car for hopefully only a few days.

10.  On Thursday I went to the Women's Clinic in Waterloo.  I love this clinic, but rarely go due to distance.  The last time was 5 years ago.  All my tests came back very healthy.  I love it when they say that word, because I am always nervous something is wrong.

Friday, November 2, 2012

2012- Week 43

1. Agnes signed up for driver's ed so it has been a whirl wind of meetings, faxes, letters, and such to get her to get an American permit and such.  And unfortunately when she went for the test which we were told over and over would be in Norwegian it was not and she was unprepared for the measurements like feet and miles and failed, but after a few more attempts she got it.

Never before had he formed an attachment, but bunny now is it.
2. Link's day care was on vacation so Link and and I spent a lot of time together.  We painted and did lots of projects.  Link is having a mental growth spurt right now.  A whole new sense of awareness is showing and he is non stop talking mode.

Link and Taryn won the cake walk.  Taryn was so surprised and overjoyed. Link was hungry.
3. We went to McGregor Library's Halloween party (which they had a week early).  I couldn't find Link's Flash costume so he went as Superman (thanks G-ma for the discounted costumes from last year).  He played some new games, but was really tired (especially after a full hour of gymnastics and tap first) so we ended up with a tantrum.

Table setting prior to getting the pork out.
4. I was in the pork cook off again.  I made chocolate pork chops that I tried to imitate from Kuai.  Not a main winner again this year, but it was a lot of fun.

5. I presented an award at the 4-H award ceremony and surprisingly was presented an award myself.

6.  The shirt I had worn that day for Farm 2 School and the ceremony ended up getting stained so I went to Maurice's and updated my wardrobe a bit.

Amy Winehouse and Witch playing a candy corn game.
7. Sadie and Jason had a costume pirate party on the 27th.  We dug out some scarves and headed over for the fun.  We played some great games and had some good fun around the bonfire.

8.  Agnes, Link and I went to Cedar Rapids on Sunday to get her a cell phone.  We found out that iwireless is the only place around here that sells unlocked phones (allowed to get another service in another country).  We also got ugg type shoes at Abercrombie.

Agnes with her new phone.  Me with a cucumber water.
9.  We had a wonderful meal at Cibo that Link ate all of, even though he was running circles in the restaurant.  And later Agnes wanted to try Orange Leaf, which I had never tried before.  It was pretty good.  You make your own frozen yogurt sundae and pay by the ounce.  For my indecisive nature it wasn't something that I would do again soon, but it was still fun.

10.  Dad came over and put up the mirror in the bathroom, so we are a few steps closer to getting the house done.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

2012- Week 42

1.  I started to go to yoga regularly in Elkader.  LOVE the teacher, Natalia (an attorney from Dubuque who drives to Elkader every day to work for the county).  First session seemed hard, but I am picking it back up again pretty easily.  Classmates are all very nice.  Natalia is also very knowledgeable about moons and takes the class out on excursions like kayaking to locations to do yoga, etc.

Kathleen at Strategic Planning meeting, making use of her 3M stock.
2. Lots of Farm to School work.  Strategic Planning, Harvest of the Month, and Harvest Challenge in Viroqua, much more.  It was a jam packed week.  The Harvest Challenge was very fun.  I got to hang out with Ella, Kathleen's daughter, who although only 11, has become a good friend and I ran into Katya, who I hadn't seen since birthing group.

Paul was a great husband and was sober chauffeur with the RV for the party.
3. Made it to a half an hour or so of Paula's birthday party.  The girl's were already having a good time when I got to the bar and after about 1/2 hour of laughs and deciding to hit up another bar, Paula was done for the night.

4.  We were able to enter our pumpkins into a contest after all.  St. Joe's Harvest Fest were taking submissions.  We took first in about each category.  My favorite prize is a $25 gift certificate to Drew's.

5.  We went to Michelle's birthday party in Manchester which doubled as an OHP meeting.  We thought we were getting there early, but our invitation had the wrong time and we got there right when the food was being put away (not that they didn't get it back out).  Lots of great conversation, Link slept most of the time, but woke up when Michelle got the cotton candy machine going.

Cold Rainy weather, but some beautiful scenes.
6.  I haven't gotten requests over a year but got two for this weekend.  Another cyclist on the Adventure Cycle route and a Danish Algerian woman who wanted to eat at Schera's.  Due to bad weather both ended up canceling.

7.  We took Agnes to the Norway Lutheran Meatball Dinner.  We totally prepared her not to expect much, but we all were blown away.  Great meal and she gave an A+ to everything from the meatballs to the rice pudding, except the mashed potatoes (which were instant).  Afterwards we went to the cemetery attached and she read tombstones to us.

Robin and Agnes' WWI bunker cake
8. Agnes had a hard week.  Her friend, the German Foreign Exchange student decided to move out of her host family's home and find a new one.  Which was doubly hard because she had a host sister the same age.  Robin, the host sister, came to make a cake for history class with Agnes during the whole ordeal. 

9.  Trish and Richard borrowed our second car for a few days so we went on Wednesday for dinner at their place.  Sam made "epic guacamole" and we had a good time catching up.

Bordeaux Pizza Special
10.  Link and I went to Manchester to visit Treasure Alley and a few of the stores that my own shop had been compared to to get some ideas.  We also ate at Bordeaux Pizza which I had seen several times, but never thought of trying until I got the recommendation from someone who I met in San Francisco (of all places).  It was mighty tasty.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

2012- Week 41

1. 7 Year Anniversary!!!  It was also Columbus Day and Monday so we were not sure what to do.  We ended up having a great evening out at La Rana in Decorah.

2. Link spent an evening at the Mosers' and did a fun letter activity I have seen on pinterest and told jokes with one of his best friends, Taryn.  So greatful for Cheri's willingness to watch him so last minute.
The newsletter I made for the kids.
3. Anna and I started doing Harvest of the Month.  November is Green Beans and the Austin Rush Creek Farm.

4. Oliver!  I was the Strawberry seller and have my first solo on that stage "Ripe Strawberries Ripe."  It was good to connect with some old friends and new.

5. Laura and Agnes and I went to take fall photos before the leaves were all gone.  It is beautiful right now, but the rains are coming.  Laura is having lots of problems with her host family.  I feel blessed to have the such a great relationship with Agnes.

6. We got to watch Link do gymnastics and tap dance.  He followed directions pretty well, but didn't do front rolls without assistance so we have been working on them a lot and he is getting them.  He also can not balance on one foot at all.

7.  Square came in the mail.  So now I can do cards at Whimsy Market.  I am trying to figure out how to work that into my budget.

8.  We made fresh tomato soup from our garden and Agnes introduced us to boiled eggs in it, which is a tasty treat.

9.  Link has been super lovey and playful all week.  He is even starting to run his fingers through my hair just because he knows I like it.  He has also been creative all week.  He found a box with an oval cut in it and was pretending to be a robot so I added some tin foil for him.  He is really into Phineas and Ferb right now and has shown me a thing or two about running my ipad.

10.  We decorated pumpkins like we do each year for the Heritage Festival in Osborne.  Only this time when we opened the door to get out the loud speaker said "1st place goes to..." so we missed it.  I was upset and because it was raining and we didn't want to tramp in the mud, we just went home.
We used pumpkins that grew out of our old pumpkin compost so they were all white.