Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Sermon - 10 Commandments

Ten Commandments at Cal's

The other day after the Farmers Market Dynamo and I rode over the MLK, Jr. bridge to Colonial Heights and noticed the giant billboard next to the metal salvage yard. I had never noticed it before. Apparently, the owner changes the sign regularly. I thought it was really cool! And...a great reminder! Sometimes we all need to be reminded. Just seemed like an odd place to find a billboard like that.

But, I always look over at the "junk" at Cal's. The main reason is that years ago my parents told me that my Grandpa's old Studebaker went to "live" there. I'm sure it's long gone today, but everytime I ride by I think about it and tell Dynamo. I'm sure he's tired of hearing me say it :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Oatmeal, Milk, and Honey Soap

Dynamo made me another beautiful soap mold. This time much larger! I was so excited to try it out that I decided to make some oatmeal, milk, and honey soap the other evening! It turned out just lovely.

Oatmeal Milk Honey Soap 001

The mold he made was the perfect size for my "standard batch" recipe size. I think we've got it down pat. Each batch makes about 80 ounces of soap. I get about 20 bars or so from each batch. They are a little bigger than the soap bars you buy in the stores, and in my opinion, better!

So, here is the loaf cut into 1 inch bars!

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The oatmeal is ground up and mixed in during the process to provide gentle exfoliation. I also sprinkled some on top because it looks pretty!

After all this soap making, our house sure smells really nice! Now, the batches of soap must cure anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks. Our upstairs bathroom is the official curing room! As of right now, we've made lavender, oatmeal/milk/honey, orange crush, feliz navidad, and peppermint/tea tree soaps. I'm planning to work on a dog shampoo bar next. We want Lexi to smell pretty! The recipe I'm working on is one that humans can use as well. It will be a good bar to use before biking/hiking/camping because it will have good bug repellent properties!

I'll keep you posted, but for now we'll be preparing for Hurricane Irene. Be safe and have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A little luck

So, a co-worker of Dynamo's is leaving and heading off to new adventures. We wanted to give her a card to wish her well! Here is the front view!

good luck card

I'm also giving her two bars of my soap too!! She looks like a person who would like purple, so that's what I decided on!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mountain Bike Monday - A Balancing Act

Some people never cease to amaze me! My balance is much better than two years ago when I started riding, but nowhere near the level of Dynamo's!

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You wouldn't even know he had on a cast! I'm lucky to be able to take one hand off to grab a water bottle! he is cruising down the road!

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We had a great ride yesterday at the park. We started out on the "horsey" side of the park. We did the Bright Hope Trail first, which is relatively smooth except for the hoof prints here and there. Oh, and the occasional steaming pile of poop that sneaks up on you when you'd least expect it. Then, we cut back across the main road and ventured on pretty smooth pavement for a couple of miles. We ventured over to the camp.

August 21 Biking 007

Then, Dynamo asked if I wanted to go down to the dam and climb the big hill. I agreed reluctantly as it wasn't in "the plan." Remember how I am about my plan? After we ventured down the steep, rocky hill (Dynamo took it easy going down) we quickly met a long steady uphill climb. Dynamo quickly ascended and I just pedaled slowly and steadily keeping my breathing under control. As I crested over the hill there he was stopped and waiting for me. This is how the conversation went:

Dynamo: "Good job, hun. Did you make it all the way up?"
Me: "Of course I did."
Dynamo: "You didn't even stop?"
Me: "No way. I can't believe you would even ask such a question. And, after all I only have 9 gears."

He just laughed and smiled! I do remember the day when I couldn't climb it but a short ways and then I'd have to walk. Today, I'm proud to say that many of the climbs don't seem so gigantic.

Next, we continued our adventure on the fireroads. We headed down to the Nature Center and looked for the snakes. None were to be found. We looped back around and rode through the campsites and then completed our ride logging 20 miles.

Pretty good day! It was so nice to be back out there again! Even though it wasn't singletrack, it was still a good workout for me because as you know I was chasing Dynamo the whole ride! I probably will be all my life. That's ok with me!

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Hope your weekend was great!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Man or Machine?

Yesterday, I pulled into the parking lot at Poco to find Dynamo ready and waiting with the bikes unloaded and ready to go. Dynamo decided that it was time to try and get some riding in on the smoother fireroads and pavement at Poco. So, we met up after work for our ride.

After waiting out the rain for a few minutes (Dynamo's cast can't get wet you know?) we ventured off to see how Dynamo's hand would feel.

August 18 Biking

Dynamo took it a little slower on portions where it was really bumpy so as to not further injure his hand, but for the most part this was what I saw a lot of....

August 18 Biking

I'm not too fast going uphill, so I'm usually a ways back. Even in Dynamo's current state he still continued to pedal away as he always does. At this point in the ride as I watched him effortlessly pedal forward, more balanced with one good hand than I am with two, it occured to me that there are just some people in this world that are superhuman. Dynamo is one of them.

He will disagree with me, but this is how I see him. He rarely complains about pain, discomfort, bike troubles, body troubles, life troubles, etc. Most people that get a cast on would take the opportunity to sit around and relax for 6 weeks, but not Dynamo. From day 1 he's been trying to figure out how he can get back out there on the bike. He can go riding forever with no need for a plan of how much or how long we will be out there. Not me, I want to know the exact plan of how long we'll be there and how much mileage we're planning to do. He just likes to go out and ride. Oh, to be so uncomplicated!

August 18 Biking

This is where I compare Dynamo to a machine. Again, he would disagree, but it's true. There are very few "machines" that I know personally. Who else could ride with a cast on their arm without a single complaint? Not me!

And, we even stopped to check out the snakes at the bridge. There were 5 hanging out in the water yesterday!

August 18 Biking

It was nice to be back together on the trails! I've missed our time together being one with nature! 11 miles completed! Not too bad.

August 18 Biking

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A "Honey Do List" Project

Even though Dynamo is out for a short while when it comes to serious mountain biking, he's still pretty able to achieve other honey do tasks! Although...he shouldn't overdo it! One of the first items on the list was to PLEASE make me a soap mold. Yes, you heard it...a soap mold. A while back I tried homemade soap making, but wasn't too successful, but recently before the "soap lady" from the farmers' market left to move to Iowa, I asked for a lesson. So, one night in late July I went over to her lovely home with my arms full of olive oil for my lesson. I came home with 5 pounds of soap, supplies, and new plans. Sometimes I get too excited and have too many projects going. But, Dynamo takes it all in stride and supports me in all my efforts.

So, here's the lovely mold handmade by Dynamo.

Soap Mold_0003

Did you know these things cost upwards of $50 if you buy them from the suppliers? Mine is better than any bought mold! And, it's special because he made it for me. I treasure ALL the wonderful things he has made. Dynamo can make anything. He can do anything. I'm so lucky to have a hubby that is so talented. And, everything he does is done to perfection! Did I ever tell you about the fantastic book shelf/cabinet he made me for my craft room? Well, I'll have to share that pic soon too!

Oh, back to the mold...He even made it so I can cut the bars right there in the box! I even have a piece that sits on the top to insulate it. He thought of everything! He rocks!

Soap Mold_0004

I got some wonderful fresh lavender from our friends at Cardinal Hill Farm (another fabulous vendor at the Petersburg Farmers' Market) and made a deliciously fantastic batch!

This is what it looks like right out of the mold...

Lavender Soap

You line the box with wax paper to prevent sticking (that's the white stuff in the pic)!

Look at the lovely fresh LOCAL lavender on top!

Lavender Soap

Then, Dynamo helped me to cut it up! He's an excellent cutter!

Lavender Soap

I even experimented with coloring the whole bar purple! I think for my next batch I will layer purple and white. Doesn't it look good enough to eat?

I'm grateful for the lesson from Emily! You should check out her hubby's blog (he's a biker too)!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The latest...

This is Dynamo with his cast...

July 2011_0021

So, what do you do when you can't ride your bike? We catch up on chores and relax a little bit. Or, start working on the "honey do list" with one full functioning arm. More on the projects later.

Dynamo joined us recently on Friday night while we cut flowers.

Here is mom's flower patch...

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And, the prized sunflowers...

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And, Lexi is in charge of manning the finished bouquets in the garage as they cool off...

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mountain Bike Monday - Down and Out

We had such a lovely ride together last Thursday at Poco! We ventured over to Forest Exploration/Fendley Station and proceeded to vary the ride up a bit by doing it backwards! Dynamo likes to break out of the box, but I tend to like the same old thing. I like familiar. I can remember all the turns and bumps, but when we switch it up everything looks different! This time I was up for trying it! Good thing we did because it was fun! It was a little challenging to be sure that we turned the right way, but we got it!

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I don't think I've mentioned it before today, but Dynamo hurt his thumb earlier in the month of July, so he's been having some trouble riding the really bumpy stuff. He went to Patient First after he injured it. They did an x-ray and said he didn't break anything, but to come back in a week if it wasn't better. Well, Dynamo iced his thumb religiously and babied it for days, but no relief. So, he went back into Patient First and the doc there referred him to an orthopaedic specialist for hands. And, on Friday at 9:15 a.m. he had his appointment. Shortly after he went in I got a text that said, "About to get casted. Done for 6 wks!" To that I replied, "U r jokin right?" Then, I got the picture via text of his hand in a cast in the parking lot at the doctor's office. (Since I'm having technical difficulties pretend I've inserted a photo here of his cast.)

Apparently he has pulled some ligaments around his thumb (in the webbing). This condition is called "skier's thumb." Talk about devastated! Dynamo has been training for over a year to get ready for the big Shenandoah Mountain 100 mile mountain bike ride on Sunday, September 5, which is 4 weeks away! I was devastated for him! It broke my heart to see him so sad and disappointed. When someone you love works so hard for something you want to see them achieve their dreams. Team Chieppa was so sad on Friday. We are still recovering and dealing with the news. Dynamo is still trying to think of ways to make it happen. But, we'll have to see. It's pretty hard to ride with a full cast. But, he will continue to ride the trainer and I will too. And, before long we'll be back out there on the trails. We'll be kickin' it up a notch and getting ready for next year!

So, to sum things up...Dynamo lost his cell phone on the trails a couple of weeks ago, hurt his thumb earlier this month, got a cast, and Monday morning when he went out to go to work he had a piece of metal stuck in his truck tire. We readjust. We stay calm. We thank God for all the blessings we do have. And...we continue onward. Life is good. God is good.

Technical Difficulties

Hellooooo Everyone! Please be patient. I haven't disappeared. I'm having serious technical difficulties uploading photos. Hopefully I can figure out the problem soon. It's quite frustrating.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Our baby turned 10!!!!!!!!!!!!

lexi patio

We can't believe it! The steed turned 10 on Sunday! Time really flies! Look at all her gray hairs! Dynamo and I have been together since she was 2.75 years old! She got 3 bones, 6 marshmallows (from Grandpa), and a bath for her birthday! Yes, she loves a bath! She starts hovering around the shower while we're in it and that's our signal she's ready for her bath! So, in the utility tub she went, and out she came all sparkly clean!

This dog has been our child, our referee, and our solid companion through all of our moves and life changes. Our life has been so blessed because of her. She has brought us much more joy and companionship than we ever deserve. She may be a little slower now coming to greet us at the door. She may not play fetch for as long or even at all. She may not play tug with Dynamo. But...she's still our girl! If only people could be as loving, forgiving, kind, and trusting as dogs are maybe the world would be a better place. We all could take a few lessons from our furry friends about how to treat one another!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Flowers and Fun at the Petersburg Farmers' Market

Here are some photos from last week at the Petersburg Farmers' Market! Mom and I grow and sell fresh cut flowers! She grows the majority in her backyard flower patch and Dynamo and I grow a few in raised beds at our house! We call ourselves "The Flower Patch."

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We sell mostly by the bunch, but occasionally have flowers for purchase by the stem! We have various sizes of bouquets and assorted flower varieties. If you'd like to come visit us we'd love to have you. We're at the Market beginning at 7 a.m. on Saturdays. The Market is located under the Martin Luther King, Jr. Bridge next to the train station in downtown Petersburg. It's a busy place on Saturdays! You can find lots of goodies including bakery items, plants, honey, veggies, soap, and lots more!

Here are some pics of other goodies!

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I don't even eat these beets, but they are so photogenic!

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Lots of tomatoes...

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Squash galore!

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And, okra...

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Mom and our "neighbor" Joyce love to chat!!!

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Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mountain Bike Monday - We meet the nicest people!

Well, sorry I'm a little late with this post. We biked last Thursday and as we were finishing up our ride and started packing we started chatting with the guy next to us. You know me...I'll talk to anyone! So, we found out his name was Jerry and he has only been biking for 6 months. We visited for a while and then more bikers started to arrive. There was a night ride scheduled for 8 p.m. that evening, so there were quite a few other riders arriving. Everyone was so friendly and talkative. We decided that maybe one night we'd check out the night ride. Dynamo has gone before and says it's fun. So, I might get my big girl panties on and try it!

Yesterday, Dynamo and I met up after work at the park and decided to ride green and blue since we were short on time! For those of you that don't know, Pocohontas Park is about 1.5 hours from my job, so it's quite a hike to get there, but since the daylight hours are longer in the summer it's possible for us to get in a ride! Yesterday, I hit a traffic jam, so I was a little later than normal making it to meet up with Dynamo!

Also, keep in mind that Panera closes at 9, which is my ultimate goal. I love our ride nights because that means I don't have to cook and we get to go out! I enjoy our time together on the trail and then a chance to eat dinner with my hun! Our ride nights are the highlight of the week for me!

So, as we were starting to ride a guy came up behind us. We offered to let him pass, but he said he'd just hang back and see how we rode. Then, all of a sudden he asked "Is that you, Rachel? Jeff?" I said, "Hey, Jerry!" It was the guy from the week before! So, he decided to ride with us. We rode and chatted just enjoying the conversation. Biking is fun, but it's more fun with friends! It's not always about breaking speed records, but learning, sharing, and making new friends!

Jerry talked about how many nice people he's met since he started biking and we echoed that sentiment. It is quite amazing how many kind people there are out on the trails. He said that he noticed that since it can be hard to learn (very grueling on the body and mind at times) that the people out on the trail are ones that really want to be there. I agreed that from my experience it was super frustrating and not too fun in the beginning, but I was determined to learn and get better.

As we completed the blue trail we stopped for a quick break and met two other riders, Nick and Wayne (I think). They were just getting back to riding after about 10 years off! So, we heard about their mishaps and struggles, and then offered for them to ride the green trail with us. So, now instead of a ride with just Dynamo and myself, we had Jerry, Wayne, and Nick. It was a lot of fun to have a big crew!

So, every once in a while it's nice to have company! It kept me from complaining too much too! Just know that we really enjoyed the chance to meet new friends! If anyone reading wants to ride with us just send me a message! I don't ride super fast, but I'm steady!

Have a great Wednesday!

P.S. Sorry we don't have pictures! We'll do better next time!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Purple Journal

I hope you like my latest journal pages!

purple journal cover

purple journal page 1

purple journal page 2

Happy Tuesday!!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Craigie Baby's Birthday Card

Dynamo's baby brother, Craigie Baby, had a birthday a few days ago and here was his card...

Craig Birthday

I wanted it to be boyish and comical! So, I pulled out these old monopoly "Chance" cards. The "Go directly to jail" card was perfect especially for his 39th birthday.

Craig Birthday