Monthly Archives: July 2013

coffee snobs.

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Did you know that I live with a coffee snob? A coffee yuppy, as Duck Dynasty would call it. (The kids watched Duck Dynasty for hours while we drove—it’s great for us in the front seats too—so funny even without viewing it!)

Back to the coffee snob. I’m not sure how it happened, although I do know the coffee bean doesn’t fall far from the plant–meaning Steve and his mom both have very particular tastes when it comes to coffee. Unfortunately, it’s beginning to rub off on me. I never even liked coffee. When did this happen!? That I have to have a fresh brewed cup each and every morning. Not only fresh brewed, but fresh ground. Not only fresh ground, but fresh roasted. We have become crazy people over here!!!

So when Mary & Martha introduced their new product, fresh roasted Honduran coffee, I was a bit skeptical. Mostly because I knew the coffee snobsdrinkers that I live with, and knew it would be a tough sell.

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After hearing from the coffee roaster himself about the misson and roasting of this Honduran coffee, I could not wait to put these two coffee roasting connoisseurs together head to head. It was fun for Steve and the roaster of Mary & Martha to hook up and share their roasting experiences.

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This taken straight from our new product guide:
Our coffee has a story. Our current selection of coffee grows in a remote,mountainous region of Honduras—the Opalaca mountain range. The region produced generations of coffee farmers who were proud of the crops they raised, but they had a big problem. They did not make enough money from their coffee to last from one harvest to the next. Enter a missionary family from the U.S. Nearly twenty years ago, they moved to Honduras and connected with these farmers. They worked tirelessly to improve both the farming practices and business practices of these farmers. As a result of this work, the farmers now make 500% more for their harvests, which they invest in building homes and youth programs plus other investments in their local community.

This is the story behind the coffee of Mary & Martha. Besides getting an awesome cup of coffee, you are helping improve the lives of a family of farmers in Honduras.

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The next couple of weeks I will be having Meet Mary & Martha gatherings…and as long as we don’t drink it all before my order for more comes in, it will be served. And even more exciting than that? It is our guest promotion for the month of August! You will have the opportunity to purchase for 1/2 off and receive a Mary & Martha coffee mug for free!!!

Come Meet Mary & Martha and taste for yourself how yummy this coffee is. It just might make you a coffee snob too…

what to do about dating…

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Being together in my circle of friends 10 years ago our conversations centered around potty training, deciding between preschools, to work or not to work, how to keep your house clean, when the next play date was, trip to the zoo, lunch at the park, discussions on discipline, which activities to get your kids involved in— and the list goes on and on. I remember those days so well. The problems and issues of raising toddlers and babies. It was so fun.

And then things change. And your circles of friends change as your kids go to school. Living out in the country like we did, I had many friends from different towns. All raising kids together. Tuesdays in the summer were an open invitation for swimming with brownies and peach tea. Oh how I miss those days.

And now, as our older kids are going into high school, we are reconnecting again. And this time, the subjects aren’t as light. The subject of dating is what one coffee hour consisted of. Definitely not an area of expertise of mine. But we are realizing it is time to begin thinking about our feelings on the matter.

And luckily this last week provided Steve and I with some much needed insight into the world of dating ( as far as our girls are concerned—not even going there with Landon).

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We have found the perfect date for them. He’s a little stiff, keeps his hands to himself, and has a perpetual smile. He doesn’t speak, can’t drive or text. We think he’s just perfect. And the girls look pretty happy, don’t you think?

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Ready to Meet Mary & Martha?

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Won’t you come MEET…mainlogo

Coffee and Goodies Gathering!!!

Wednesday, August 7th at 10:00 am.

802 Koehn, Moundridge

I would like to introduce you to Mary & Martha (formerly Blessings Unlimited) and there is no better way than bringing you to my home. Please join me and bring a friend or two!

We have a new vision, a new name, and new products.

“Behold, we are doing a new thing!” Isaiah 43:19

You will receive a new product guide and a sneak peek at our new products…

PLUS, grab a cup of our NEW fresh roasted coffee!!

HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!!!

gratitude.

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It’s pretty easy to take a look at a heaping pile of laundry after a week away from home and want to crawl in a hole—-been there?!

It’s also pretty easy to look at my kitchen table full of deliveries that need to be made, VBS materials looming to be organized, finalized, and ready for a huge weekend of hopefully life changing fun — and think…just take me back to last week—please?

It’s just the reality of vacation. It must come to an end. And reality sinks in and you wish it was three or four days later when the comfort of routine has taken up residence once again. To be honest, it will probably take me longer than that. Although there is only one load left to wash!!

20130728-224641.jpg{don’t they look happy folding laundry? And not sure it was appreciated the question of which was better—laundry or hiking 7 miles! Ha! I think I am quite funny sometimes.}

In all seriousness, we were able to capture the virtue of thankfulness. And gratitude. This past week was filled with the beauty of creation. Perhaps some of the most beautiful sights we have ever seen. And when we walked in next to a family with a blind adult child, I was overwhelmed with gratefulness that we can see. While on the train we were next to a family of 5. As we rode together, it became obvious that the father was deaf. At first you wondered if there was something wrong between him and his wife– as it appeared they were not talking to each other. But we soon realized, as his wife signed to him, that he was deaf. As I heard the exclamations from his children as they would see something and point, it became blatantly obvious that I got to hear the joy and excitement from his kids–and he didn’t. I was overwhelmed with the ability to hear. It seemed as though he was missing out on so much interaction. And yet, both Steve and I found ourselves wishing at different times that we couldn’t hear bickering, yelling, and whining. How quickly this turned us around. How quickly we were reminded of the gift of being able to hear and see with our kids.

And on our huge trail. How many times I thought—-not everyone could do this. Not everyone is healthy enough to experience a hike up in the mountains with their kids and family. There are kids who can not walk. There are chronic illnesses others are faced with that would never allow them to experience what our family of six was able to experience—together.

We were able to talk with and introduce the kids to someone who is homeless and had not seen his parents for three years. He lived in a bus. And here we are, able to vacation together–stay in a mountain home and GO home when our week is through. Go home to a house with plenty of food. No worries of keeping cool or warm.

We are home. We have learned to be grateful. We were experiencing what it COULD be like. We were experiencing what we take for granted. God showed us and gave us opportunities to talk with the kids about how blessed we really are. Because it can be pretty easy to get caught up in what isn’t “right” in our own little world.

And to think we came home at the end of July and Steve was wearing this to go outside? Gratitude.

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the best for last…says miss kass

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And now we hear from Kass…

“We went white water rafting today!! I started my day off with a pain in my back after sleeping three to a bed last night.

We woke up, ate breakfast and headed to white water rafting at Mild to Wild. We got through the whole safety schpiel (sp?) and we were off! And of course we got the weirdest guide there…he was a total adrenalin junkie!! I have to admit, it did make the rides more interesting.

The ride started off pretty slow, but then we all had to get in the frigid water–in the morning!

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Towards the end of the ride we hit some rapids and I about fell out. Then we finished the ride and rode the bus back.

We went back to our hotel and packed up our stuff. For lunch we went to HomeSlice Pizza. We ate some really good pizza!

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Now, we are back on the road. Our original plan was to drive to Colorado Springs, but unfortunately plans changed. We are heading home. The whole 13 hours home. It’s gonna be a long night”.

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18 and counting…

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It’s my day. And what strikes me the most about this vacation is…18 meals TOgETher!!!! Say what?! All of us together at a table or a nature made picnic table. And we’re not even done yet. It has been the best part of our week for me.

Togetherness…something that is hard to come by with our jobs and activities. It has made me all the more intent on finding a way to get back around our table. Especially as we look to the school year. When we are gone to activities in the evening? An intentional sit down breakfast around the table together. I want to make it happen. These past 18 meals have shown me what we have been missing. And an extra hour of sleep is not worth it if it means it’s our only meal together that day. Now to hold myself accountable to this!

We spent our day at Mesa Verde National Park. Completely fascinating!! Looking first hand at a civilization from so long ago. And the girls were excited that we got in a good deal of hiking. Again! Ha!

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Steve and I have had some early morning talks. Some hard talks –mostly due to the realization that we have only four summer vacations left before Natalie heads to college. Where and what we need to do before we are at that point because it is going to be here before we know it.

And then, both of us got to experience this…

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A little boy who thinks he’s pretty big most of the time—-that still wants to hold his Mom and Dad’s hand. I do not EVER want to lose those memories and praying that it’s not a “last”.

“best day ever!”

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Landon got after his vacation entry as soon as we got back while waiting for supper. In his words…”this was the best day ever!” I’m really not sure how he figures…we made a wrong turn on our Perimeter Trail hike making our trip 2 miles longer than the intended 5 mile hike around Ouray. Which, put is at tripling our hiking from yesterday. When he whined and griped. I will never understand him, but the joy he’s had all day has given us all joy. (Well, it’s all relative. Not much joy when we veered off our path). By the time I started our mapmyrun app, we had already gone well over a mile.

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And Landon’s thoughts…

“We had a really big breakfast with steak and eggs. We did a 5 mile hike but we turned rongand we added 2 more miles.

I was walking with Dad and he dropped his granola bar and he slipped on a rock and his foot whentup and he kicked the bar and almost hit me in the back of the head.

Me and Kourtney whentto the hot springs pool. I sat out for a hour because I thout that I wasn’t going to pass the swim test but I actually past the swimming test!!”

(Kids under the age of 13 have to pass a swimming test before they are able to play on the obstacle course.)

{see Landon going over the yellow end~he and Kourtney raced each other over and over}

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kaufman’s vs. wild—gotta be Steve.

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Landon believed that he wanted to take the “hiking” day. Mostly because he thought this would be the best day ever! And it was great…until our 2nd trail didn’t turn out to be as fun as everyone would have liked. And there didn’t seem to be enough water. And our legs starting hurting. And then came the proclamation…”I’m not writing this day!!!” So Dad to the rescue –they did a little tag teaming. Landon’s got his sights set on Saturday.

So with that, take it away Steve…

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The mountain home we are staying at it is in a very quiet and peaceful location, other than an occasional vehicle sound in the distance, most of what you can hear are birds singing and the squirrels chewing somebody out for being in their area. I have good memories of spending time in the mountains on vacations as a kid and so hopefully our kiddos will look back someday and remember this trip as well.

Today is a hike day. I have been planning this adventure for a while. I even invested in a hydration backpack because it seems like thats what you do when you go hiking—well I bought one that can double has a hunting bag —so a big win for dad!

A morning drizzle moved into the area but posed no threat to the Kaufman’s vs Wild adventure I was envisioning. We were all excited to hike. Everyone made their own sandwich for lunch. By the way, If you know anything about Steph, your choices for bread will only be whole grain, or wheat or you could try a rice wrap…seriously! What is so wrong with normal “white” bread?

Anyway, we started out heading up a nearby mountain looking for an old mill and mine shaft based off of a recommendation from a local blacksmith that we met the day before. Huh, yeah… after taking the suburban on a road that was unfit for a large vehicle, no place to turn around, Kourtney warning me about every rule and regulation I might be breaking, we finally found a clearing and a place to hike that was public property…I think. It wasn’t how Mr Blacksmith explained, but we decided it was hiking in the great outdoors nonetheless.

With the Kaufman’s and hiking, I would have to say that snacks are one of the best parts for the kids. I spent more Cabelas points on Jerky than most normal people. We had at least 4 different kinds and it doesn’t seem to matter if it tastes good or not…it gets eaten.

It is funny to me because Landon bounces around the trail, picks up a rock every 3 feet and heaves it into the woods, is set on seeking out a bear at every turn while his sister,Kourtney, bless her heart, is constantly trying to control him and keep him safe…Kourt, you will run out of energy on that mission I am certain.

We hiked about a mile up the mountain and back in some fairly dense terrain and were ready to try something new. So after arriving back at the vehicle,we traveled back to our fork in the road and took a right instead of a left. This time we ended up at the described trail. It was close enough to lunch so we found a shady rock, popped open the cooler and chowed down. After some serious energy intake, we decided to take off again, bound and determined to find the old mill and mine shaft just up the path, through the clearing and over to the right….uh, yeah right! We started up this path which, in my opinion, was only fit for a miniature mountain goat. First of all, it felt like we were climbing straight up a ladder… with no rungs. My cardio is not great but not this bad…I mean I felt like it was the first two days of football practice after about the first 200 feet. My lungs were burning, legs ready to give way. I kept most of this sizzling pain to myself as I am trying to set a good example for this adventurous day. However, as a good dad should, I did suggest we take a few extra breaks so the kids wouldn’t get too tired! As we continued up the mountain, the path continued to narrow so much and the drop offs were so brutal that I honestly couldn’t stand to watch Steph and the kids take another step–so I called it quits, made everyone turn around and head back. I was not happy at Mr Blacksmith for the recommendation,and in fact, he is till probably laughing as he saw a Kansas boy coming from a mile away.

Although the trail was tough and we didn’t end up going very far, we still found some magnificent rock formations that were fun to climb around. If you ever get the opportunity to stay in or around Ouray, CO, I would recommend it. It is a small town nestled in a valley between magnanimous mountain peaks. In addition to the mountains, there is a natural hot springs and a box canon falls that is worth experiencing while you visit. The kids loved the falls because you can get right next to the fall and experience the constant rush of the water.

Steaks and sweet corn on the grill were anticipated by all for supper as we worked up a healthy appetite with all of the hiking adventures we experienced. I was super excited to grill some Kansas grown T-bone steaks we packed for the trip, as you can see from the pics, nobody left the table hungry.

We finished off the evening with a soak in the 104 degree hot springs…it soothed the tired muscles and gave us more great conversation time with the girls as Landon was off splashing like a fish.

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I think I can, I think I can

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Natalie’s perspective for day 2…

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“Tuesday……
We started our day out with yummy berry pancakes made by none other than, dad. He was pretty proud of himself!

After breakfast we all hopped in the car, getting ready to drive to Silverton! About 45 min drive from Ouray. Now I don’t know about you but I don’t enjoy glancing outside of the car and seeing a shear drop down! I cannot even explain how freaked out mom was……..we needed to bring an extra pair of clothes for her and I, just saying! We did end up getting to Silverton safe!

Silverton is a cute little town with lots of the same exact shops right by each other! We spent an hour looking around until finally, train time! I had never been on a train before so I was super excited! We got on the train and we were off!

The ride was 3.5 hrs long! That seems like a long time but when you are surrounded by God’s creation, you loose track of time! It was gorgeous. Apart from the scenery, Kassidy and I had a good talk. We haven’t had that sister to sister talk for quite some time so it was nice to catch up! Then mom joined in…… Go figure! I really did enjoy talking with both of them without the other three interrupting! To be honest, I am not quite sure where Landon, kourtney, and dad were at but I really could have cared less!

A few hours passed and we finally had made it to our destination, Durango! We are just chugging along through town when we get another surprisingly hilarious view, can I say HARD CORE MOON! This guy gets out if the car and yells at us to look, and he moons the whole train! Dad and I were dying! It was hilarious and disturbing.

We stopped finally after 3.5 hrs and headed straight for a restraunt! We ended up at a Mexican place….not my favorite! By the time we got our food, everyone was getting antsy because the bus that was supposed to take us back to Silverton came at 7! We got off the train around 6:15! Dad was on a mission to get our food and GO! We made it with 3 minutes to spare!

Our ride back to Silverton was long and well, we were on the edge of our seats! The driver drove right on the edge. I am talking shear drop down at 11,000 ft! We were not impressed! He got us back to Silverton alive so I guess I should stop complaining!

We got off the bus at Silverton and headed to a little ice cream shop across from the bus, mom sprinted to the car! We got our ice cream got in the car and headed back to Ouray! Made it back safe and are happy with how our day went! ”

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a fave fam vacay idea…

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A very good friend of mine and awesome mentor gave me such a wonderful idea for family vacations. First, purchase a journal specifically to document your vacation. Or if you have a blog, that works great too!

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Each day of your vacation, a different family member documents that day’s events. We started this a few years ago and it is so awesome to read through and remember things we did. And we have found that we forget so easily.

It’s also an awesome way to get different perspectives from each person. This may be my favorite idea ever. And for this year, the kids and Steve are going to tryto document via the blog. We’ll see how this goes.

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Kourtney is excited to share about our first day. As you will see, there is nothing she wants to remember about our 13 hour drive to Ouray, Colorado.

“Yesterday we got there and we went to our house and we saw some deer. We ate out at a pizza place. Then me and Landon went to a hot springs. It was fun. Landon had a bloody nose. It was bad. That’s pretty much all.”

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