Sunday, December 30, 2012

Fun with Toys and Friends!

Tall Guy is still laughing about the title to this post! Naughty boy!

I have received a couple of new toys to play with from my very good friends at Verizon Wireless. One is a very little but mighty gadget called FitBit. Click here for the full description, but I.Think.I.am.in.Love! This is the read out I have from my first day of wearing it. Mind you I did log about 2.25 miles on the tread mill this morning before meeting up with friends at the GREAT Mackey Arena! The first page shows how active I've been. You may have to click on it and view it in its own screen to see the numbers more clearly. I'm trying to keep up with my new challenge to myself. Check out the Year2Challenge badge at the top of my page. Click on it, and join my friend Cris and I and many others in helping each other achieve our goals for 2013! Basically I have been very active for me. :-)

 
The second picture shows how well I slept last night. I just put the FitBit in it's little wrist pocket and velcroed it on to my left wrist, the less dominant. For those of you who have been with me a while, you know that I have huge sleep issues, so it was nice to see that the meds are doing their thing in helping me get quality sleep time.


One reason why I had such an active day was because I logged 2.25 miles on my treadmill. The other reason was because our family met great good friends at the one and only Mackey Arena for some Purdue Mens' Basketball. Jen and I decided to let the rest of our family in on the fun we have at PU games!





Just have to say that the Alumni Band ROCKED IT! as usual!


Check out these beauties!


This was the first time our girls had EVER met! Can't believe it! They are stair-stepped: grades 5-2. Two are quiet, and two are jibber-jabberers. Two look like their daddies, and two look like their mommies. Two are watchers, and two are the picture takers. Jen and I couldn't quit smiling and watching them. We were yick-yacking about the game to friends on Facebook, yes we can multi-task: yell and text at the same time, and got the brainiack idea to have another family meet us at Bruno's for supper after the game! SIX of our infamous Cactus Crew together plus kids! It was soooo cool!



All pictures taken with my other toy from Verizon, the Samsung Galaxy camera. It sends pictures straight from the camera to Facebook, Instgram, or anywhere else I want them to go.  NO down time taking them home to upload to the computer and then send them out!  Want to know something else? It's so easy to use that Bear took most of these pictures! She DOES have a knack for taking pictures

Now to work at getting the rest of our old crew together, with children. That was one of the best moments of the whole day. Oh yeah, Purdue won! Here's to Boilers, old and new. The future is looking very bright!

 P.S. Have to name drop just a bit. We were at Bruno's, which any sharp-eyed grad from PU would recognize from all the sports memorabilia , and a friend called me over to her table. I graduated with her husband, and she was a grade behind. Awesome couple then and now. She introduced me to her family, which just happened to include new son-in-law David Boudia! WOW! Olympic gold just a table away. It was great to meet him.

BOILER UP!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

After all the Unwrapping....


Well, Did you all survive your Christmases?  We actually have one more with my family on the 30th, but so far this is one of my favorite gifts; Tall Guy and I have matching shirts!  If you like them, you can order one for yourself and your favorite farmer at the Indiana Soil and Water home page, but wait until after their conference January 7-9.  Mark the 10th on your calendar to visit their page here and order away!


I don't know about you, but I have been eating way more than I should have since, oh, Little Bear's first birthday party back in the middle of November!  That nasty habit prompted me to reacquaint myself with our dear ol' treadmill.  My goal is to start at 3 mph, start walking 40 minutes (that's 2 miles at 3 mph.), and add .1 each week and maybe a % every other week on the incline, so that by spring break, I'm taking a little less of me to the beach!  Feel free to keep me honest and ask how I am doing.  I'm taking a page out of my friend Cris' new blog Year 2 Change.  She is doing an awesome job working toward her goal, so I'm jumping on board the wagon!




I'm not usually one to make New Year's Resolutions, but I see a few goals taking shape for 2013.  Besides working on a healthier me, or maybe as a part of being a healthier me, I have got to find a way to slow the heck down.  Not sure if it was the tragedy in Connecticut, my rising weight and blood pressure, or just a sudden realization that I cannot do EVERYTHING, but some of this chaos is just going to have to take a back seat next year!

Remember the days when you actually took the time to put lotion on after a shower or bath?  Made it mandatory to at least wash your face and moisturize it before bed?  Happily listened to every (ok most) of your children's requests and usually tried to make them happen?  Had enough energy to appreciate a bit of adult time with your significant other?

It's usually not the law around here that "If Mama ain't happy, no body is happy," but I'm thinking there might be more to it than what you see on the surface.  If I take the time to make myself happy, I probably will be happier and nicer and calmer and energized.  It's worth a shot anyway.  The worse that can happen is that I lose weight, tone up, my skin doesn't look like the proverbial desert, and wrinkles do not win too much ground on my face.

Want to jump on my train?  What are you planning or NOT planning to do in 2013?  I am very interested to hear your thoughts.

Happy Day After Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas from Our House to Yours!

Just came home from Christmas Eve Mass at Dunnington Church.  Hope you are able to share the spirit of Christmas with all of your family and loved ones in the days to come.  As Father Zigler reminded us, "We all are important!  We all are loved!  Pass on this Good News!"










Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Past: Part 2

Ok, time to grow up a bit.

Here we go!

I'm thinking Christmas 1968



Believe it or not, this is the train my dad had as a kid, AND IT STILL RUNS TO THIS DAY!
I hate to say it, but it's getting kind of antiquish!  Sorry Dad!



WOW!  Mom and Dad look so young!


Of course this was way before we had snow blowers, and once Dad shoveled this out, he had about another 1/4 mile to go to get to the road!


YEAH!  "S" stands for Southewestern Wildcats!  Dad coached basketball and baseball, and helped with footbabll too.





Back row:  Grandpa Bill, Grandpa Todd, Mom
Front row: Grandma Phyllis, Me, Grandma Lyons, my brother, Grandma Flossie


And now a wee bit about my family:  Bill and Phyllis are actually my aunt and uncle, BUT.....Phyllis was the oldest of the Lyons girls (that means she is Grandma Lyons' daughter)....24 years later Dad, #9, was born.  Phyllis and Bill were married by then, but then did not have any children.  Grandma and Grandpa Lyons were running Hazelden Country Club for George Ade, and then they ran the Brook Hotel, so Phyllis and Bill would take Dad out to the farm a lot.  Spoiled little guy had his own horses and dog out there and ruled the roost.  When I came along and then my brother, we were just blessed with an extra set of grandparents because Phyllis and Bill were like second parents to Dad.  Mom, who belongs to Todd and Flossie, is an only child.  This means we had all our grandparents around us at Christmas time and other special days.  We were truly blessed!

Trying to get those last minute presents found and and start cooking the goodies to get us through this weekend.  THREE family Christmas parties this weekend, then the BIG DAY, then again with my family on the 30th.  Rumor has it we might see some snow Friday.  The wind is howling, and the temps are dropping as I finish this post.  Could be an interesting morning.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Past Part 1

I am SOOOO trying to get in the mood, but like the song goes, "It hasn't snowed a single flurry..."  Maybe this will help

Christmas Circa 1964........

NO!  It wasn't my first Christmas.

YES!  I'm that old!

The silvers strings are called tinsel, and if you were my mother, you put it on the LIVE tree ONE strand at a time!

SERIOUSLY!




Circa 1965!  Ha!  I first typed 1065....I'm not THAT old!  It was our last year with Grandpa Lyons.  Boy, did he like popcorn balls!


There's Grandma Lyons in the background.  Don't you just love the knotty pine paneling?
 

Probably 1966
and with the best dog in the whole wide world, Suzy!  She was with us until the last day of my first year away at Ball State!  Still miss my first BFF!


The very LAST time I was at Santa Clause, Indiana, aka Holiday World now!  Probably the summer of 1967....that would make me five years old.  :-)



Hope you are all ready or at least close to it!  The big day is just a week away!

Any other blogger buddies want to go retro with me.  Come on in;  the water is dandy!

Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Verizon "Play" Party and Thinking Outside the Box

Last Thursday morning I had the most incredible opportunity to offer up to ten of my friends and readers:  an invitation to the Verizon store in Lafayette BEFORE store hours so that we could learn about new gadgets and actually get to try some of them out ourselves....Like I said in the post before this, 'WHO KNEW?"

First of all you have to know I have a new passion.  I want to educate the Ag people of all ages in this great state about technology and how it can make our farm lives run more smoothly, efficiently, quickly, all just by making a tap on our smart phones and/or tablets.  What I saw this day just opened my eyes wider to all the possibilities.

Want to see what my friends and I saw at the party?

Keep scrolling and be prepared to be amazed.

Danica was the first to arrive, so our personal salesperson Ance let her play with this drone.



It flies!  It takes pictures!  It records video and streams it right to the internet.  You control it with a tablet, Droid or iPad.



WOW!  Ance said that builders and realtors love this to record progress of projects or take aerial shots of properties, but while Ance was talking, I could heard Danica thinking of how she could use this at her job.  She is Engagement Project Manager for Purdue's College of Agriculture and loved the idea of doing crowd estimates and taking her own aerial shots of annual events as the Purdue Fish Fry and Purdue's many activities at the Indiana State Fair.  My wheels were turning too.  Wouldn't it be nice to be able to see your mature corn field to check for damage after a hail storm without walking through it, or at least knowing where to check for damage?  You could check a cow calf heard for new arrivals or at least find a certain cow if you are worried about her close to calving. Way cool!  And I think the guys would dig it because of the whole throw back to flying model planes and helicopters.  It's that kind of fun!



Next up is a digital camera, Belkin's Netcam W-Fi Camera, that I so could use at our house.  You might not believe me, but some days I don't even hear the semi's leave the farm if the wind is blowing loud enough in the right direction.  The new sun room and garage has blocked most of my view of the barn lot, so often times people pull in, and I don't even know it.  I would love to be able to take a quick peek to see who just drove in and is about to ring my doorbell.  I would love to be able to see what is going on in the barn lot.  This little dude could fit the bill for several issues around here.  AND when the girls get a bit older, we could move it inside to use as a Teen Tracker! ;-)  Just kidding......NOT!.



Ance also showed us this nifty dog tracker, that every farmer would love to have for the favorite farm dog.  You don't have to rely on a chip and wait for someone to take your lost dog to have it's chip found and read.  This collar works on GPS, which means I can go find Miss Sadie by turning on my smart phone and tracking her myself if she ever decides to take off on me again.  It also monitors the animal's activity to help with general health issues.  Why couldn't we attach this to a sick cow and monitor it 24/7 so that we know how often it moves, rests, and how active it is in a 24 hr. period?  Way better than setting up camp out in the elements with poop everywhere!

The Smart Watch made me want to say, "Beam me up Scotty!"  It is a phone, GPS device, music maker and more!


Ok, this is just cool, fun, and hopefully will extend the life of my smart phone. The Moga turns your smart phone into gaming toy!  I am going to have to let the girls at this one.  Danica, living up to the name most people think they hear the first time they meet her, took this little dude for a test drive too!

(oh, I was referring to Danica PATRICK! ;-))


Most of my invited guests are all involved in agriculture and live in rural areas.  One of the great aspects of my budding relationship with Verizon is the exchange of information.


I do not have Verizon coverage in my are. The girls from White County do, but the signal drops calls on occasion.  It's nice to be able to tell our issues to someone who will listen.  I truly appreciate the time Verizon people like Kyle Niederpruem and Michelle Gilbert have taken to educate me on wireless communication, especially all the issues many parts of rural USA are having with coverage.  The good news is that it IS coming.  Now all we have to do is be patient and keep in contact with Verizon to let them know what our issues are out here a bit north and west of civilization.  The people at Verizon were great about listening and giving options, names, and phone numbers to people who will listen and have answers to our questions. Love the feeling of being heard, and opening the, pardon the pun, lines of communication.

Hey!  Let's get back to the fun!  Here are a couple more great gadgets to checkout:


FitBit is "a fitness device that tracks steps, distance, and calories burned and provides progress reports to your smart phone or computer!"  I may have to put that on my Need To Try List after the holidays!  I know my friend Cris Goode, on her new blog, As Good As It Gets: Year 2 Change, is using this little dude, a scale I saw on sale at Verizon that monitors everything you need to know but don't want to about your body, and probably a few more toys to help her on her journey to a healthier her!  Check out her blog, and follow her progress as well as her husband's.  Puddy has heroically manned up and joined her on this journey.


Just fessed up to Tall Guy that I bought this gadget because I AM the girl who is in the car, about five miles down the road, when I go into a panic attack that I didn't' turn off my curling iron!  How cool will it be to just check from my cell phone and turn it off with the touch of a button.  You can do the same with lights when you are gone (and have packed said curling iron), or turn on fans to cool off a room before you get home!!

We also saw a "smart glove" that allows you to operate your smart phone or tablet without freezing your fingers, and a couple other gadgets that allow you to connect your phone or tablet to your TV!

ALL.FROM.YOUR.SMARTPHONE.!!!!!

SERIOUSLY!!!!!!!!

I have to tell you, dear readers, it's time to get to know your smart phones and tablets more intimately.  These appliances are our future, and I will be telling you more about this topic in the weeks and new year to come.  Like I said, I am on a mission to educate.

If you know little tricks that your smart phone or tablet can do, will you do me a favor?  Will you share these bits of knowledge with a friend who doesn't know?  Help someone download Instagram and start an account there.  Teach them about hash tags.  Introduce them to Pinterest, or Facebook, or your favorite blog ;-)  Every time you do this, someone gets to know her/his phone and computer better, and the opportunity to communicate is broadened.

Have a great week before Christmas! I promise to be back many more times before ringing in the new year!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Never Say Never!

My fun partnership with Verizon taught me this important lesson once again.  I never thought I would want an iPad, but guess what?  I said I would try one out for a month.....

Guess whose children took to it quicker than chocolate milk?


Guess whose HUSBAND picked it up and started searching for a certain John Deere tractor?


I swear Pumpkin played on it or would have it I had found that cute cat and mouse game I saw once upon a time........

And yes, I used it too.  It was an absolutely sad day in this house when I FINALLY packed up our new friend and passed it along to the next blogger reviewer.

I don't get to keep any of the gadgets and fun techy stuff Verizon sends me, but I get to put my hands on each one, see how it fits into our lives, see how it might help or enhance learning, farming, or just plain having fun.  This has been my big pay-off with my opportunity to work with Verizon, and I'm loving it.

Left me share the biggest reasons I did NOT discourage our girls from putting the iPad on their Santa list:
1.  It was a blessing during homework to be able to put the iPad on the table and work around it to figure out  what thingy was what part of the respiratory system.
2.  It was extremely handy to call up the help site of Tink's math book so I could remember all the geometry I learned in 10th grade that she is leaning now in 4th!  (so going to have to hire a tutor for math next year if this pace keeps up because I won't!)
3.  It enhanced their computer skills because they could navigate the apps and go at their own pace with a wide range of educational and fun games.
4.  It was just plain easy for them to use!  They liked the Samsung Gallaxy tablet, but this first tablet didn't keep them coming back like the iPad did.  Maybe it was the larger selection of apps Apple offers, maybe it was the 10 inch screen vs. the 7 inch screen (gotta admit these eyes liked the bigger screen too), but they truly loved playing on it.  I can't wait for them to have their selection of Kindle books in their own reader!

Sold yet?  That's ok, I don't get any $$ or product for sales tracked to this blog, but I am here to give you an honest evaluation of each product we try out, and I have to say I'm writing my own letter to Santa, and right after the continued good health and safety for my family in the new year, an iPad is also at the top of my list.  Who knew?


Now for the fun part!  I have an exciting post to write this weekend telling you about a very cool "play" party I was asked to host at our Verizon store in Lafayette.  Let me just say, if you are asked to go to one of these by any of my Real Farmwives of America pals, GO!  Our store even had one open to the public for the first 20 to RSVP, and I strongly encouraged those who were not able to make my party on Thursday morning to go to it.  Even if you, like me are not a Verizon customer, you can still get your hands on the toys you would see in other stores, learn how to use them, and see how they fit into your lives.

Stay tuned for more fun and a peek into the real world of technology that is actually easy and helpful!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

PLEASE LET IT SNOW!

I am so ready for a snow storm, I am just about ready to go rent an snow machine and make my own!

Since this is a update, get comfortable.  I would do it in segments, but Lord only knows when I will get another break in the action around here.......

Comfy?

Got your coffee?

Here goes:

Lordy, have I been busy!  I would just love to have a good old fashioned 8-10 inch snow storm with wind to slow everything down around here.  It would be a bite to get out and feed the critters, but there wouldn't be any meetings to go to or places to be and things to do..... Ok, we could hold off until after Sunday because the Indiana Farm Bureau State Convention is at the J.W. Marriott this weekend.  If you have never stayed there, this would be the PERFECT treat for you and that special someone in your life.  Kiddoes are staying here, but Tall Guy and I have meetings on Friday, and then we get Saturday afternoon through Sunday at check out time to ourselves.  Ahhhhhhh...........I just about can't wait!

So what the heck have I been doing that kept me away from you all for so darned long?  Well let's let the pictures do most of the talking......

First there was the Veteran's Day celebration at our school.  I had to share these pictures with you because I just love them.






Then ten of these cute, adorable-in-their-uniform little girls came to our house for Bear's Party!






First Little Bear had all her girlfriends over the weekend before her birthday for a trip to the Fowler Theater to see Wreck It Ralph, and then the ten little dears "slept" over.  2 of the 8 were Tink and her friend, and the last ones didn't give up to the sandman until 2:00 in the Blessed A.M.!  We did have fun, though, and I informed all the parents, as they came to pick up the precious girls, that since I started this bit of fun, I think by the time the rotation comes back to me, they will all be graduated!  Woo!  ;-)


The next we celebrated our Little Prince's First Birthday, my great-nephew!



Then we had Bear's real birthday on the 16th, the same day our church ladies' designated Noodle Day.




Peeps, I am telling you, you have not seen noodles made until you watch the entire gym turned into one big noodle factory.  I was about the third youngest there, and our elder church members just about worked me under the table.

I had to dodge out a couple times to take pictures of the books on loan to the school library from Benton County Farm Bureau,



and then I had to run home and get the #$%^%$#!!*&^ cake pops I made for Bear's class treat.  That is a whole blog unto itself, but let's just say some of them were cake plops!



Her family birthday meal was on Sunday, and she picked SHRIMP as her birthday meal.  Yeah, I had to get up and peal the darned things before we could fry 'em up.  They sure were good!


Our dear Bear has been strongly suggesting she would REALLY like a rock polisher for her birthday, and guess what?  Yep, she did!


Nope we haven't polished any yet,, but she has a whole collection just waiting for us to say "Let's do it!'

Yep, I know how long it takes to polish rocks.

Yep, I know how loud the bugger is, which is why it will be plugged in outside in the old garage or tool shed once we get started.

This little Bear didn't fall far from her mamma's tree.  I was a "rock" start when I was her age! :-)

Let's see, that brings us to Thanksgiving week which saw TWO Thanksgivings here at the Wallpe house.  The first one was on Thanksgiving, and we went a bit "ooo-la-la" and served prime rib from Buetler Meats!  It was TO.DIE.FOR!  just sayin'!



That was with my family, and then we had smoked turkey and all the traditional fare for Tall Guy's family on Saturday.  Thanks to the Brook Locker Plant for smoking our turkey!  That's my family's home town, so we try to give them a shout when we can as well!  Can you just guess that I have gained just "a bit" of weight from all this yummy eating?  Oye!


My favorite bread dressing that my Grandma Phyllis and I always made together in the very same pan we used all those years ago!


Then it was Tink's turn for a birthday on the 30th, but bless her heart, it fell the day before our school's biggest event, the Sacred Heart Christmas Bazaar.  I had a meeting in Monticello on Thursday night, came home beat, sang "Happy Birthday" to Tink that next morning, then everyone pitched in to make 4-5 batches of puppy chow for the bake sale at the bazaar.  I ran the girls and puppy chow to school, then I headed on up and over to The Homestead in Remington for another Farm Bureau meeting,


 then back to school and home and back to school to help set up for the big event.


Saturday was spent at school selling Gooseberry Patch cookbooks as part of our fundraiser for the school.  You should really check into their program.  We got to keep HALF of what we made on the books!  $17.00 cookbook = $8.50 for Sacred Heart!  I think we will end up with $800 to add to our schools' CPTO account!

Then it was take everything down and put the classrooms back together and then home to get ready for the family dinner on Sunday to officially celebrate Tink turning ten.....TEN!  How the heck did that happen?


OH we had to move two of the 4-H calves over to their new pen after church and before I could start frying chicken for the dinner!  This is a pic of the Little Prince and one of the Holsteins before the move.




And then there are these FIVE little darling devils just finding their way off the bales of alfalfa and into the very dangerous waters of the tool shed.





Bear said it best when she told me she wasn't going to name any of them until after winter.  I think she is starting to understand the perilous life of a barn cat in the country.  They are danged cute though!

Tree is officially up!


Today I spent trying to get two new computers up and at least one to talk to our new printer.  In the midst of all this fun, Tall Guy's computer crashed, and mine started making terrible noises.  Merry Christmas to us!  OYE!  The Geek Squad can't get out here until NEXT Monday, so I am trying to get as much up and running as I can so we can function around here.  Anyone good at navigating Windows 8?  Danged if that won't turn your hair gray!  AND I am trying to load Office 2010 after using only 2003 for the last,,,,,uhm,,,,,,seven years I guess.

So now it's Wednesday, UGH!  So couldn't get this posted before last weekend.  IFB State Convention was GREAT!  Our Saturday night date night was AWESOME. and then I woke up with the flu in the wee hours Sunday morning.  BLECH!  Made for an interesting drive home.   Mercifully, it was the 24 hr. variety, and I am just about back to normal.  Computers are all hooked up and speaking to each other, cookbooks are in and ready for delivery, Daddy Donut at Dawn Day is tomorrow, and I think that is all ready to go.  Sadly, we are down to three little kittens in the toolshed...Bear was right to wait.  Not sure what happened, but that is usually the way of barn/tool shed kitties....sigh....  Great NEWS!  All the dairy steers are now officially off the bottle!  That takes a few steps out of our day :-)

Unfortunately, I was going to do this catch up yesterday, but I got the call right after hearing Bear read in church that my Aunt Marty passed away.  She was 85 and always the life of the party.  An avid golfer in the Newton/Jasper County area, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, she always made me smile.  She was also # 6 in the nine kids Grandma and Grandpa Lyons raised.  That leaves me with my Aunt Sue, 93, Uncle Bob, 90, and Aunt Donna 80something ;-)  There is an awesome family reunion in heaven going on today.


If you haven't seen it, my dear friend Leontien updated her blog.  Please keep her in your prayers this holiday season and every day.  Here is a link to her latest and greatest post: Four Leaf Clover Tales

Now it's time to pay bills while the little girls and big boys are gone because rumor has it we are going to "work cows" when the big boys get back.  Go figure it's the coldest day of the season so far.

Hope this post finds you in the HAPPY chaos of Christmas activities.  I have a great post coming to you soon about our adventures with an iPAD thanks to my great friends at Verizon.  I promise it will be up before the end of the week!  Just as a sneak peak, I thought I would never want one of those "things," but......

Still watching for snow, but out here on the farm, we will take any form of precipitation these days.  It's getting dry again ;-(

Until later this week!

Be Merry and Bright!