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"Like magic a box arrived at my doorstep."

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I’m a person who likes to find something positive in almost everything.  There are few things I can honestly say I dislike, except one, cooking.  I grew up with homemade meals and desserts cooked with love by Mom.  There were no precooked or boxed anything that came out of her kitchen – 100% from scratch always. My older sister Lori has the same cooking/baking talents and there are few places she would rather be than in the kitchen.   I, on the other hand, would rather spend my time doing anything but cooking.   I dislike grocery shopping, have zero culinary skills, don’t do well at planning meals, and there is nothing more frustrating than spending time making a dish and have it turn out mediocre at best.   The whole process induces stress for me. Tired of take-out and looking for alternatives, I decided to try a “meal kit by mail” company and there are many to choose from.   Some have pre-cooked meals while others send ingredients to make the meal yourself. I went the make yourse

Great Memories and Family Time

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For years, our family has been blessed to be able to take some wonderful vacations. Since we have been married, my wife and I have taken a trip every year.  Our goal has been to visit multiple states and see various sites. Our somewhat cheesy end goal is to visit every state. To date, we have been to 32 states, so we have plenty of traveling left to do. Last year our two boys got to experience their first taste of live Major League Baseball and they loved it. While at one of the games, our oldest son spotted a Stadium Passport. Inside of the passport was a listing of every MLB stadium, along with fun facts, that could be time stamped by ballpark attendants validating your trip to each stadium. We made a deal with the boys that we would make an effort to visit all of the ballparks. Last year we took the boys to visit Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia, Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, and the historic Wrigley F

Steps to a Budget-Friendly Holiday Season

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Shopping for the holidays can be a stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Planning ahead can help make sure that you don’t overextend yourself when shopping for loved ones. Check out these steps for a holiday season that won’t break the bank. 1.        Make a list. Write down the names of everyone you wish to buy a gift for this holiday season and the items you would like to purchase or the amounts you would like to spend on each one. 2.        Set a budget and stick to it. Decide how much you can afford to spend on gifts for your loved ones this season, and make a pledge to not go over that amount. 3.        Research. Start checking prices on the items you listed in Step 1. Go window shopping at stores and check prices online. Add them all up and compare this amount to the amount you budgeted for in Step 2. If it exceeds the total you want to spend, it’s decision time. Go back to Step 1 and either cut some items off your list or choose less expensive gifts for certa

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. --Anatole France

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I am an animal lover.   Yes, life would be “easier” daily if I wasn’t so smitten, but I can not imagine a life without a furry friend.   Dogs were my first creature of choice, cats a close second and about 7 years ago I was introduced to a new four-legged friend, the African Boer Goat.   A relative mentioned to my daughter that she needed to get a couple to show at the fair.   My son already had a flock of sheep as his 4H project.   I had been raised on a cattle farm, but cows are big, and we wanted to have something that was smaller and easier for our daughter and younger son to handle.   If you’ve ever been around a Boer goat, you learn quickly that each one has its own personality, much like a dog or cat.   They can easily become a pet. So began my relationship with goats.   We now own 39 head of Boer Goats, 28 of them will kid this winter and I am planning to increase our herd.   My family is becoming more involved in the industry all the time.   I am a member of the Iowa Meat Goat

It’s a reminder that our freedoms weren’t free

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 It’s probably been close to a year ago when local veteran Bob Waugh was the guest at our Keosauqua Rotary program.  He spoke about the American Legion and mentioned that he was going to be installing flag poles as a fundraiser for the Legion over the coming months.  I didn’t think a lot of it at the time, but 1 by 1 I started to notice new flag poles popping up across Jefferson and Van Buren County over the course of the past year.  As flag poles popped up at a couple of my neighbor’s places, I started to feel like our place looked bare without the flag.  When Bob installed our family’s flagpole a few weeks ago, he told me it was number 78 that he had done, and he had several more yet to install. I really appreciate Bob for the work he is doing.  Not only is his work aesthetically pleasing, but there was an educational element to the project at our house.  While installing our flagpole he took the time to discuss flag etiquette with our young daughter and teach her a few things she di

KnowBe4 Security Tips - Protect Yourself Against Card Skimmers

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    With the convenience and seemingly secure way of paying at the gas station pump and using drive-up ATMs, cybercriminals are now targeting these locations. They are using this technology called Card Skimmers to read and record your card information in a matter of seconds. With each Card Skimmer being able to hold details on about 80 cards, protecting yourself at gas station pumps and ATMs should be a priority now more than ever. How Does It Work? Card Skimmers are physical devices that cyber criminals attach to the credit card reader. The card skimmer then reads the magnetic strip on the card to gather your full name, the card number and the expiration date. Once the skimmer reads your card information, the cybercriminals can then sell your information or use it to gain access to your bank account. These skimmers are designed to fit tightly over the real card reader at

Always a Horse

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If you have never ridden a horse this might be hard to understand, but there is a power, a freedom, and peace about it.   On the back of my horse is one of my happy places.   Since the age of around five I have had a pony or a horse. Starting with my pony General, the beginning of love for the soul and the spirit of a horse.   A fter G eneral came Satin, my Welsh pony.  I spent so many hours with this horse. H e could pull a cart that my parents bought for me. I taught him to lay down and sit up. We barrel raced at Douds Field Day along with all other kinds of events. We swam across ponds, camped out in old barns, rode thru parades, moved and worked cattle. We were trusted friends. I was blessed to have had the opportunity as a child to have a horse. When we bought our farm in the early 90s, I had to have a horse and then came Jewel.  She was a kind soul with a beautiful spirit. We had a lot of good years together. We did hours of trail riding, rode to the Ft Madison Rodeo and camped i