Book Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

When it comes to reading the Harry Potter series, I know I am way past the prime reading time. But here’s the thing… I read this book long, long ago. I’m bringing the next round of “fan” into the reading world. 

Last fall when the little started school, we learned we had to read 30 minutes per night. No big deal. Then one weekend we watched the Harry Potter movies. Since then all she’s done is beg to watch them again. So I made her a deal. We had to read the books (as well as other books because come on she needs to learn to read)… and as a reward, she’d get to watch the movies.

It seemed like a fair enough deal, right?

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

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Guided 365 – January 2019

I decided to tackle the Guided 365 project that Digital Photography for Mom’s does. This is a paid class. It was a lesson that we received every day (about 5 am). There were times I got behind. It just happened, but as long as I caught up, did it really matter? 

We submitted our photos through Instagram. Now… my biggest complaint was I didn’t feel like I got as much feedback as I would have liked. Maybe that’s a good sign. My photos were just so outstanding that… or maybe I was just behind. Who knows why.

The first month she spent teaching people how to shoot in manual mode. That’s awesome, but I’ve been shooting in Manual since 2011. I was a little bored and contemplating why I did this class, but I stuck through it and I’m glad I did. Now, people can start and stop and restart if they want. You paid monthly. No, I’m not getting anything for talking about this, I just wanted somewhere else for these photos to live. I’m going to break it up into 12 posts, otherwise, there would be 400+ photos on this blog post alone. I’ll break them down by month.

Note, I got started late. I’ll tack on the last 3 photos that were done in January 2020 onto that last post so there will be a few more days there.

January 2019

Day 1 objective: Connect to what you want to photograph.

It has one of my kids and cake… I love photographing both! P.S. Happy Birthday Tbug.

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Chiefs Tree

Honestly, I’m quite late on this, but better late than never. Now that we are in our own house, we had a little more room to put up more trees. We put up 3 in fact. You’ve seen the family tree which housed all the presents. Then both girls got a tree. This one was the Chiefs Tree for Tbug. She had options and this was what she wanted.

Last year at the end of the season I bought this tree. The funny thing is if you look at it, it almost has a silver tone to it. However, it was bought to be gold. So looking at the box, what was printed directly on the box says silver. The label Walmart put on it said Rose Gold. With the lights on it looked more rose gold so who the heck knows what color this tree really is. (more…)

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

For school, the little has to read at home for at least 30 minutes per day. Every 15 minutes, we get to count a “step.” They are supposed to have 4 steps per day as a minimum. She gets 2 at school and 2 at home to equal the 4. But sometimes she and I go over the top. 

Things that count, parents/siblings/grandparents reading to them, them reading to the family member, reading books, magazines, etc. A Kindergartener’s book if you’ve looked lately is very thin. That means that you can read 1-6 books in 15 minutes. Sometimes though she and I go for chapter books. And I’m not really sure how, but late last fall we got into watching all the Harry Potter movies. She loved them. I was a bit leery at first, afraid we’d deal with nightmares. Not that they are that scary, but she’s 5. They could be scary to a 5-year-old… She is team Gryffindor. Her favorite character is Hermione. Pretty sure because she’s the lead female character. At that age, it matters.

So I figured if she liked the movies so well, we should read the books. I have Kindle Unlimited and they are on there so no big deal. We can only read 1-2 chapters a night depending on the length. Toward the end, she starts getting restless but that happens when we read 16 children’s books too. We started it on December 11, 2019, and ended on January 6, 2020. (more…)

A Week in the Life, Vol 1

Welcome to 2020. Can you believe it’s already 2020? I swear I went to bed one night and the next day was the new year. Oh wait, that’s how that works, isn’t it?

Well, our New Year’s started off with a quick kiss at Midnight. Then it was off to dreamland because we had to get up early to head to the lake for the New Year’s Day Dive.

The next day at the lake, I didn’t partake in SCUBA Diving. I think I’m too much of a wimp. Now hubby and about 4 others have dry suits. Maybe if I had a drysuit I might try it, but I don’t have one so… We actually had 16 divers and 19 people on land. I heard the water temp was like 45-50 degrees. The on-surface temp was 56 degrees. The wind was frigid so that’s what made me sit there and contemplate life and why I thought it might be fun to go to the lake on New Year’s Day. As the surface temp warmed up it got better but the wind picked up. We had a wind block for a while made out of tarps but when David had to leave, we lost those. Brrr… (more…)

Book Review: Smokin’ Seventeen – Janet Evanovich

So last year Good Reads prodded me to challenge myself to read X number of books. That number could be anything I wanted. So I bit and chose 12. Well… here we are in the next year. By the way, I challenged myself to 12 books last year. I’d like to brag on myself and say I surpassed that. Yey! Go me!!

So this year it encouraged me to do the same challenge. I thought, well… last year I read 17, so how about challenging myself to 13. Ha! Yup, that was my thought process. I challenged 12 last year so I just added one… why not. There really wasn’t a real reason behind my thought process… But we are remodeling our house so I didn’t know if I would even have time. I mean I have the next year, but how long this remodel will take is anyone’s guess.

Anyway, this one started like December 28 or something… but since I finished it this year, hello, it counts as 1/13 books. (more…)

Oreo Cheesecake Cake

Another birthday cake! Yey, I love birthday’s!! Although… the story about this cake…

  1. The person who I made this cake for apparently doesn’t celebrate birthdays anymore…
  2. I didn’t get to try any.
  3. I was told it was yummy.
  4. Life took over and I was afraid I wouldn’t get it to them on their birthday

I’ve been so consumed by the house remodel, I swear, that I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to deliver Dan’s birthday on time. I told him this the day before. That way he knew it was coming and I didn’t forget.

In the end, I got it there on Betty White’s 97th Birthday, aka Dan’s birthday. I did tell him it was a birthday cake to celebrate Betty White’s birthday since he apparently doesn’t celebrate birthday’s anymore….

Betty White’s 97th Birthday Cake (aka Dan’s Birthday cake)

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Chocolate Birthday Cake

What is the deal with everyone wanting Chocolate Birthday Cake? Seriously… haha. Okay, let’s back up and I’ll explain. Tbug’s birthday is the 2nd of January. Then my father-in-law’s birthday is the 9th of January. Bam, 2 in a row.

When I asked her what she wanted, it was a yellow cake with chocolate icing. Very plain and simple. Sometimes though, those are the best. Then I asked my father-in-law what he wanted. He said, oh, I guess chocolate maybe.

Chocolate, okay, we could go many different ways with that, right? But… then he mentioned, not German Chocolate or was it not Devil’s food chocolate. Gosh, I can’t even remember now. Either way… that did help narrow it down a little.

I had run across The Stay at Home Chef‘s The Most Amazing Chocolate Cake. I’ve made the cake before, which ended in me almost having a meltdown and crying. Ugh! But I’ve learned quite a few tricks since then… So… I decided to make it word for word recipe-wise.

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#BlogJanuary

This may not interest anyone else but me, but I wanted to keep track. That’s just how it goes :).

In January this year, I wrote 9 blog posts. That is down from previous years, but I still absolutely LOVE this blog. I write blog posts in my head on a daily basis. Usually, it is when I’m driving down the road and can’t actually blog… In college, I used to write great blog posts… in the shower. I decided then I needed to come up with a writing system that withstood water. Btw, being a farmer, I know that one exists. I went to our local farm store and they have a paper/pencil system that allows you to write in rain.

Now the question is, why would you need to write in rain as a farmer? Well, what if you have a baby calf born. What if you gave one a vaccination to help them with something. What if this what if that. It is always best to write yourself notes so you can keep them in case you need the information later. i.e. birthdates. So they have created a paper system farmers can keep on them that won’t disintegrate when wet and will get those notes from the fields to the house. Very cool, right? Why didn’t I think of all of this? Oh, wait, I did.

Anyway…Back to blog posts… Here are the top 5 blog posts as viewed by readers. The Honorable Mentions catch us up to the top 5 2018 posts 🙂

Top 5 Blog posts January 2018

  1. 2017 – Buncha Crunch Oatmeal Cookies
  2. 2017 – Gus’s Mac and Cheeseburger
  3. 2018 – 5 Years
  4. 2018 – Gussied Up
  5. 2012 – Dry Hands

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When things don’t go right…

What is the saying… When things don’t go right… go left.

Is this where I get to yell PLOT TWIST?

A little while back I mentioned that we could use prayers. I mentioned this while also mentioning that I hate when people are so open-ended and vague. Now… the real sucky part is I’m not ready to discuss what they were needed for yet… but I can tell you things didn’t go the way we hoped. To say that we are heartbroken might not even do this feeling justice. In fact, I’m kind of at a loss for words. I will preface by saying this has nothing to do with growing our family… It’s more on a professional level… does that help a little bit?

We could still use those prayers. I know that God has a bigger and better plan for us and that we just aren’t ready to see this yet. I believe that wholeheartedly, but at the same time I always feel like in the back of my mind I’m being punished. God isn’t vengeful. He doesn’t do things like that. Life isn’t easy and that’s all there is to it, but I was a little cocky and arrogant when I was in my 20’s and I swear that it’s coming back to bite me in the ass. (more…)