Wednesday, January 28, 2015

7th Annual Holiday Swiss

My first chess tournament of the year was the 7th Annual Holiday Swiss on January 17th.  Papa and I began our drive at about 7:15 a.m.  Sunrise was particularly beautiful, and windmills, which have thoroughly invaded our area of Iowa, added interest to the scene.
After reading a chapter from the Bible, I settled back and enjoyed the scenery along the way.  There were five very impressive stacks of corn stalk bales.  The large rectangular shape of the bales indicates they will be used by an ethanol plant.  Most farmers in the area feed their cattle with large round bales.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Saying No to Okra

One vegetable that my family used to grow in our large gardens is okra.  My parents loved it, but to me and my siblings it was the epitome of a slimy, not-so-great-tasting, green vegetable.  Mama taught us to give everything a try, so we dutifully tried it...and our opinions remained steadfast.  My dearest papa has a policy that no one has to eat anything he or she doesn't like, so we were spared from eating okra and taught a life lesson I'll never forget.
Wiki Creative Commons
"Children," Papa said, "What if a neighbor walks up to your door with a big box full of okra and says, 'Hi, I have some extra okra from my garden, and I thought I'd bring some over for you!'  Would you respond, 'Oh, thank you so much!  I'll just love this!' and take it just to make your neighbor happy?  No!'"

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Bloggers' Night Out

The first time I visited the Coffee Attic and Book Cellar in Iowa Falls, Iowa was for a meet-up with my dear friend, Nela, who blogs at Beloved Star.  Not long ago, we decided to go out for dinner at the Princess.  We were there an half hour before the restaurant opened, so we walked over to the Book Cellar again to chat and wait.
The front of the building is devoted to the Coffee Attic, where you can purchase all types of coffees, as well as tea, chai, cream sodas, and smoothies.  During lunch hours there's also a soup and sandwich menu.  Baked goods, coffee beans, cards, and books are on display.    

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Ahoy Fountain

I first visited the Ahoy Fountain in Eldora, Iowa many years ago.  For some time I had been intending to go back to review the soda fountain.  That opportunity finally came when I scheduled a dentist's appointment in Eldora.  Afterward, my papa and I stopped at the Ahoy Fountain for lunch.
Now it may not seem fair to review a restaurant after going to the dentist, but my mouth was not anesthetized; I was in full control of my faculties, and I can guarantee an honest review.

The original soda fountain was installed in the pharmacy in 1928.  It was destroyed by a fire in 1948 and replaced.  In 1982, it closed when the owner retired, but was later re-opened.   

Monday, January 12, 2015

Barns and Beasts

"The beast of the field shall honor me, the dragons and the owls:
because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.
This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise."  --Isaiah 43:19-20

The beasts of the field honor God by being exactly what He made them to be: examples of His great handiwork and design.  We can honor and praise God too by acknowledging Him as our Creator and Savior and thanking Him. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Birds and Books

Unless you're a very patient person or fellow photographer, you may find me a terrible person with whom to take a bicycle ride because I frequently stop to take pictures.  My mom belongs in the first category; she's a very kind and patient person!  During one of our rides at the lake, she spotted this red-bellied woodpecker and pointed it out to me.
The red-bellied woodpecker is named for the reddish tint on its belly.  Although the red feathers on its head are much more obvious, another species already holds the name of red-headed woodpecker.  

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Family Dinner: Better than Fiction

Ready for dinner?  If you're joining my extended family for Thanksgiving or New Year's Eve, you're in for a real treat.  Chances are there will be turkey, tender and cooked to perfection by my mom, or the world's best meatloaf expertly created by my sister Charity.  Homegrown mashed potatoes and green beans will grace the table.  

Grandma will bring her classic 7-layer salad.  Uncle Rick will bring a delicious corn casserole, and, perhaps, Aunt Sandy will bring fruit salad.  My youngest sister will have a beautiful array of pies: apple, raisin, pecan, and/or Santiago Chocolate.  Her hands know how to work wonders with pie crusts, and with a dollop of ice cream, these will be the best desserts you've ever tasted.  Be sure to save room!