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Showing posts from 2020

"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

Wow...10 Years!

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As I sit here and ponder what I should write about, something my mom told me when I was a teenager crept inside my thoughts.   “Never wish your life away.   The years go by so much faster the older you get.”   I remember thinking, no way was that going to happen to me.   I couldn’t wait to go to college, get married, and start my family, but as much as I hate to admit it, she was right. I started working at Libertyville Savings Bank in September 2010 as a teller.   My daughter Shelby was twelve at the time and my son Zach was only seven.   Not only am I now celebrating ten years at LSB, Shelby is now a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in Genetics and Zachary is going to be a senior at Fairfield High School with plans to also attend ISU to study Electrical Engineering. As my kids have grown and evolved in their lives, I have also grown and evolved.   Within the first year of being at LSB, I became the Deposit Compliance Officer as well as being a teller.   Five years ago,

For the Love of a Dog

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  I have owned my fair share of dogs over the years and have loved them all, but what I have seen develop between Blake and his dog, Gunner, is something special.   Our youngest son, Blake, who is 11 years old, got his first puppy, Gunner in July of 2019. Gunner was about 8 weeks old when we brought him home, an English Chocolate Lab, the last of a litter from Ryan and Randi Troutman. It didn’t take Gunner long to settle into his new routine.   Between Blake and our older beagle, Bluegill, Gunner learned the ropes.   Blake taught him to sit, stay, lay down and go up and down a loading ramp.   He taught him to load into the ranger and kennel into his kennel.   They wrestle each other, jump in the creeks and ponds, and play keep away daily.   Then COVID hits, and Blake is home more than ever without baseball or school.   Gunner is his go-to playmate.   They travel miles through the timber, down the old dirt road, and through the pastures exploring together.   Whenever Blake is outside, G

No Place Like Home

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  I’m a home body…always have been.    The farm is my favorite place to hang out, and I’ve never been more gr ate ful for it.    With the world slowed down, I’ve spent more time enjoying my favorite  past imes. I like working in my flower beds, on landscaping projects and on my never ending “to-do” l ist.   It’s a great feeling to cross something off that list.   The problem is, I’m usually adding to it faster than I’m crossing off.   I always love spending time with my pets.   They put life into perspective.   Their favorite evening is when I read a book on the patio.   You’ll find them right beside me…a contest of which one of them can get the closest.   Cooking and b aking are also a favorite.  I’m trying new recipes; including my first attempts at key lime pie and homemade strawberry ice cream.  Some recipes are more successful than others.  I cons ider myself an amateur, but I enjoy the creative outlet.  Hope you’re finding ways to enjoy the “silver linings” in these wonky times. 

The Story of Josh and Molly Pilcher!

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Josh and I met when I was 18 and he was 24. We were engaged when I was 19 and Josh was 25 and married on August 2 nd , 2014 at 20 and 26. Once we were married, we decided it would be a great idea to buy our first house and remodel it all while being newlyweds. There were a lot of long nights spent ripping out plaster and old insulation; moving the stair way and adding another bathroom upstairs. Then picking out flooring, cabinets, counter tops and paint. It was a lot of hard work, but we were able to make it our forever home. We have now been in our home for 5 years! After we were all moved in and settled, we thought that we would try to have a baby. We thought it would come easy, but we were extremely wrong. We tried for a year and a half before I did a bunch of testing to find out that I have Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS makes it very hard for me to get pregnant without being on the right medication. Once I was on the right medication it took 4 months and on my

Competitiveness

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Competitiveness is something I was born with as sports were a big part of my life growing up. My brother and I lived at the gym watching my Dad coach, play old men’s basketball, or at a diamond watching slow pitch.   It was at a young age that I realized losing was one of the worst feelings in the world.   My earliest memory is being in gym class trying to out race all the boys. No matter how hard I tried, I never came in first.   Each time I lost I felt so angry. My Dad was normally coaching my brother and I no matter what sport it was.   Most people thought he was harder on us than the rest of the team and they were right!   My brother and I knew it was just because he wanted to push us and wanted us to get better.   We had a few rides home that weren’t so fun but if he knew we were giving it our all that’s what really mattered.      I believe that growing up around sports is a big part of who I am today.   Being a good loser takes maturity and practice.   It also teaches us to

KnowBe4 Security Tips - Malvertising

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Visit any website these days and it’s very likely that you will be viewing ads as well.  Sometimes these ads can be tempting, with many offering sales, promotions, or freebies to attract more clicks. Ads on certain websites can even be targeted specifically to you based on past browsing history, making you even more likely to click! Remember this: just because you are on a reputable, well-known website, it does not mean that the ads on the website are safe to click as well. How adspace can become infected: Advertisers do not sell their ads to websites one at a time. Websites that want to make money sell their advertising space to an ad network. Advertisers sign contracts with that ad network which then displays the ads on the participating websites. The ad network sits in the middle between the advertisers and the websites and manages the traffic and the payments. So there can be a problem because of this. Cybercriminals can fool the ad network into thinking they are a legit ad

Small Town Iowa

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 Small town Iowa. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, living 10 miles from nowhere; we had to find things to occupy our time. In today’s era of Covid it seems as though it’s a snapshot back in time for many families that have school age children. The question is what do we do with all our time? Here are some of my memories. We would spend hours climbing in our hay mow making forts and jumping into the broken bales of hay. When the sows were farrowing, we would pretend that we were watching a movie.  We spent the dog days of summer in the cow tank cooling off only to drag out every clean towel in the house. This always delighted my mom when she got home. Kendra and I spent countless summer days with my dad building fence or hauling big round bales of hay home for winter. I remember Saturday mornings were not spent watching cartoons as we were expected to clean farrowing crates, castrate baby pigs; and ring sow noses so they could be turned out to pasture. We were not shy towards m

My Quarantine Life

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As we all try and make sense of our “new normal” lives due to the pandemic, my first reaction was feeling scared and anxious of the unknown. I have found the pandemic to be very eye opening. I realized that I fly through my days and hardly ever take a step back to relax and truly appreciate the little things. During my quarantine, I wanted to take advantage of the time and focus a little more on self-growth. So, I made some goals to help me stay focused without falling into the routine of binge-watching Netflix everyday (which occasionally happened, but only the rainy days). A couple of my goals were to read more, enjoy the outdoors, express my gratitude better, and mainly learn how to take a deep breath and slow my days down. I succeeded in all my goals and looking back I am glad I had that time to relax and grow. I enjoyed the time flexibility quarantine gave me. It allowed me to wake up to endless options for the day (of course ones that included social distancing). Many of th

KnowBe4 Security Tips - Multi-factor Authentication

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What is it? Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) is the process of verifying that you are who you claim to be when logging in to a device or an account. If you're reading this from your work computer, you probably logged in to your computer - that's single-factor authentication. But single-factor authentication is no longer enough to keep your accounts secure. Learn more below about the various ways you can digitally-authenticate your identity. Understanding the Types of Identity Claim Factors: Something you own. This is using a mobile phone or device that you have in your possession to prove your identity. Typically, the device provides a code via an application, text message, email, or voice call. You then enter this code, and for successful authentication, your code must match what is expected by the service you’re attempting to log in to. Something

Cheers to life’s unexpected twists that turn into our greatest adventures!

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At the beginning of 2020 I started thinking about my upcoming 10-year anniversary. I was thinking about how much had changed and how I couldn’t have imagined in May of 2010 what May of 2020 would look like…Turns out even in January 2020 I couldn’t have imagined what May 2020 would look like. Life has a funny way of throwing us curveballs! I started as a part time teller for Farmers Savings Bank in Keota. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to come home that summer or stay in Ames. I told my best friend jokingly, “find me a job and I’ll come home.” She was dating the Ag Lender at our local bank and he told me to apply for the summer. I figured why not!   Never thought I’d still be there 10 years later. PS they are married now and have the sweetest family! 😊 The thing about starting at the bank when I was 19 is that my co-workers turned to family very quickly. They were my second moms. They were there to support me as I dealt with hardships in transferring schools. They celebrated with me

Tucker

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Memorial Day 2019, we added another member to our family. Tucker is a miniature golden doodle. Tucker’s mom is a golden retriever and his dad is a miniature poodle. My youngest daughter had wanted a dog for a couple years, but with us on the go, traveling to her and her sister’s sporting events, the answer was, “no, we are not home enough to have a dog”.   Mom finally gave in.   After months of my daughter asking, I said “ok”. I had thought of how many pets I had as a kid, and finally concluded that I was not really being fair to her. So began our search.   I had a golden retriever before I had my girls and loved him and his temperament, but we were living in town and our house was smaller.   I thought maybe we should try to go with a smaller dog, but still wanted the temperament of the golden retriever. So, my daughter and I went to the internet and began looking.   We came upon the mixes of breeds with golden retrievers and found golden doodles.   We kept looking and found a place

Where does the time go?

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I can’t believe I’ve been with Libertyville Savings Bank going on 5 years March 2020! When I try to think back to my first day, I remember a whirlwind of visiting all our office locations and meeting every single employee.   I was sure I would never be able to remember any of it.   Now all of those faces I ran into that first day have become a second family to me. As I think back Kael, my baby, was just starting Kindergarten.   Liam had made the leap to first grade and Cullen had just started junior high.   We were all starting a new chapter in our life as I had been a stay-at-home mom previously.   Five years later, they’re growing into young men/boys that I’m proud to call my own.   Being a mom of 3 boys is a constant challenge.   They try my patience one minute and melt my heart the next. More changes will be coming in the next few years as I see our office in Keota change locations.   I’ll have one graduating from high school next year.   I just hope time doesn’t fly by a

15 years and counting...

It is amazing how fast time passes. For me it is hard to believe that I have had the pleasure of working in the banking industry for 15 years. So much has changed in banking since my start in 2005. Many new and different regulations, the way that the examiners look at customers and their business, and the way the economy can influence examiners on what is acceptable and what is not. I am grateful for being able to start my career with a community bank and always be able to say I am a community banker. As time goes on, I look back to the customers I started working with and the new ones along the way. So many of these people have been influential to me and have helped me to grow in my career and my personal life. I have seen and been a part of many joys and successes with my customers. It is so exciting to be able to help someone buy their first farm, piece of equipment, or home! With the joys also come the sorrows. The loss of a customer due to death, or divorce. Some operati

Small random act of kindness

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A few weeks ago, my son Drew came home and told me he had taken his girlfriend out for supper. We had the usual conversation of where did you go, what did you have, was it good? He answered all those questions, then he said something that caught me totally off guard.   He said that when he went up to pay for his meal, he told the person at the register to add in the elderly couple’s meal that was in the restaurant. I must admit I was a little taken back when he told me this.   I asked him if he knew the couple and he said no.   He said he just thought it would be a nice thing to do. I responded with the comment that small random acts of kindness can go a long way in making someone’s day.   As a parent you always want your children to do the right thing and show kindness.   I am so proud of him to take it upon himself and pay it forward to someone that he didn’t even know. This kind gesture is proof positive that maybe all of my lectures didn’t just go in one ear and out the o

Protect Your Identity This Tax Season

Taxes are due April 15, and as busy professionals work to complete their tax returns, cybercriminals are stepping up their identity theft efforts. We want to make sure our customers know how to spot potential identity theft scams this tax season. It’s easy to let your guard down during a busy time like tax season. Cybercriminals take advantage of this, so it’s important to be alert to the types of fraud that are common this time of year.                 IRS impersonation scams involve phone calls or emails from someone claiming to work for the IRS. They may tell the victim that there is an issue with their tax return or that they need to update tax filing information. Following are tips on how to spot these scams. ·          Don’t trust emails or phone calls. The IRS will not contact you by email or by phone to confirm information on your tax return. Ignore any such communications, and report suspected IRS impersonation scams to the IRS. ·          Protect your Social Securi