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The Big Block

I’ve got that thing they call writer’s block. I’m sure you’ve noticed since it’s been months since my last post. Or maybe I’ve just been trying to thaw out from this insanely long winter. It’s now spring, officially for about a week now. Thank goodness. The sunshine, chirping birds and green grass is so welcome in my book… so welcome!

Stay tuned, I’m hoping to finally write several posts that I’ve been prepared for but haven’t written. What I mean is hopefully I’ll get to posting all the images I’ve taken over the last several months. Don’t hold your breath though… I might get distracted! Until then, enjoy the warming weather.

Snowed In

The Start of the Storm- Tuesday PM

8 AM Wednesday- I'm getting snowed in!

I opened my door to find this...


At Noon it was WORSE!! See my door knob?!?

Our Pretty Wreath had not a chance in the World!

My view out at Noon. Notice the door design in the snow.And 3pm- Still snowed in!

3pm- I think this was as high as it got.

Huge, crazy icicle on my house.

Christmas Candy or Snowman Poo?


I crossed one item off my Christmas baking list- Divinity. Divinity, for those of you who have never experienced it’s greatness, is a sugar treat. When you bite in, it just melts in your mouth and you get to enjoy it’s awesomeness! (Is that even a word?!?)  My aunt makes it almost every year for our family Christmas get together and I’ve always wanted to try making it myself. This year I decided it was the year, except I came across one small problem. I have a slight fear of the candy thermometer….but I succeeded. I learned you just need to be patient with the thermometer- candy making takes time! I took a few photos along the way…. a few steps are skipped, because you can’t get the camera sticky and belive me, this stuff gets stiiicky! OH and we may change the name to snowman poop, thanks to my brother Matty and his witty comments! It looks like it could be snowman poo though doesn’t it?? :)

Darla’s Divinity

3 cups sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water
2 egg whites
Stir sugar, syrup and water together over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Then let it sit and heat to a temp of 248 on the candy thermometer. When the sugar mixture is almost to temperature, beat the egg whites unti they hold stiff peaks (6-8 minutes). Pour 1/2 of the sugar mixture into the egg whites, continually mixing on medium speed. While you mix, let the other 1/2 of the sugar mixture cook to a temp of 272. When that reaches temp, combine with rest of mixture. Mix on medium speed unitl you have soft, glossy peaks. Immediately drop by spoonful onto wax paper. When the drops harden slightly, place in covered container for storage.

Conquering the fear of the Candy Thermometer

Ace of Cakes

Have you seen the show? I’m quite the fan of cakes and all that comes with them, but I don’t think I could every accomplish some of the crazy cakes they make on the show. So for now… I settled for meeting two of the stars of the show!!! Duff and Mary Alice were at the Food and Wine Expo in Des Moines this past weekend and I was able to meet them and score their autographs.


Duff, Mary Alice and I

The Autographs

Melissa with Duff and Mary Alice


It has become a family tradition to tailgate at the home Iowa State football games. It’s something I look forward to weekly, but every week it reminds me I’m not as young as I’d like to be, AKA I feel old amongst all the young students. Some days I’m glad I’ve grown up and some days it just makes me wish I was back in school. Here are some photos I captured tailgating, more to come soon!



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And of course with tailgating there comes game time. Now we may not have the best team, but I love the game atmosphere. I love the fun Cyclone aerobics we do and I enjoy the band.

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My Brother Got Hitched!!

A collage of the professional photos by

A collage of the professional photos by

 My big brother was married to an amazing woman on August 22 in Sioux City. It was a great day and a night to remember! I had the honor of standing up for my brother as a ‘grooms woman’ or whatever you would like to call it. It was the perfect opportunity to get all dolled up and have a great time. I wish them all the best in the future!!

Iowa State Fair

State Fair 2009

  I visited the Iowa State Fair for the first time… or so I consider it! I had visited once when I was younger, but then I visited to see my 4-H projects and to work and exhibit- not to enjoy all it had to offer. There was a great array of foods, some I had never even heard of or wanted to hear of! I decided it would be a fun adventure to be a fair food critic, but my figure wouldn’t like that career! But really, how fun would it be to get paid to try all the crazy fair foods! During my vist to the fair, I of course took many photos to share with you- so many I just collaged them all! 

State Fair 20091Collages1


My little Zoey decided to be a model for me the other night… here are some of the pics!



I made some cupcakes for a bakesale the other day too… they served as very steady models! :)




My co-workers and I visited RAGBRAI in Indianola the other day. We were able to spread the “We Love Smoke-free Iowa” message, as well as take in the event. Megan and Bobbie Jo became a part of history by putting their handprint in cement for the Guiness Book of World Records attempt at the most handprints in cement. Indianola was able to grab this title after 2,581 handprints were put in cement.

RAGBRAI is quite the event. If you have never seen the event, look for the event next year and visit a town along the route. I hope to train and participate in the event sometime in my life!


Ice Cream Delish


I made a batch of my favorite ice cream dessert last night that was brought to my attention years ago by my grandmother.  I enjoyed a serving of it just as soon as it was set and it was as delicious as I remembered it to be.  I decided to take it to work with me today and it got rave reviews… even one calling it “Delish”… so now I have renamed the dish! I think Delish describes it perfectly! Grandma definitely knows how to make some great food! You can find the recipe for the dessert here. Enjoy!!


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