Monday, July 28, 2008


Here are some more pictures from our Weekend at Bernie's. Also, I wanted to include a link to the real-estate website in case anybody wants to take a peek at the home we like. You can access pictures at The address of the home is 6923 Albervan St., Shawnee, KS 66216. Enjoy!

We Finished!

I'm sure all of you have been on the edge of your seats to hear our 5k results. I finished at 32 minutes and 57 seconds, placing me at 7th for my age group and 127th overall. I'm not sure what Justin's results were, but he finished in 35 minutes. We are really just happy we finished and are planning for our next run on August 16th. It is the Mayor's OP 5k Farmstead Stampede. Yeehaw!

Later on Saturday we traveled north to a Weekend at Bernie's at Lake Viking. Kati Bernard had planned a super weekend at her in-laws' place and it really couldn't have been better unless more Thetas would have been present to enjoy the fun. The Bernards are super hosts and we grant them many thanks for their hospitality. The pictures re-cap the weekend above. Hopefully, Kati will plan another Weekend at Bernie's and more people will be in attendance. Trust me, it is worth the trip to Missouri.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Start to Finish (we hope)

The weekend has finally arrived for our first 5k we are running together. It is a 5k promoting higher education starting with Johnson County Community College and ending your degree at KU Edwards campus. I've been running, not as much as I probably need too, but Justin has only been playing basketball. Neither of us is nearly as excited as we were when we originally registered for the run back in June. I think the stark reality might hit us even harder this weekend; we are both not in the best of shape and have been living a semi-glutonous lifestyle since our wedding. It is probably really time to stop the madness. Lord knows we both have been complaining about it enough this summer. I guess we'll see...

Other updates include a fatastic weekend getaway with the Bernards at Lake Viking. We are leaving after the 5k and are looking forward to some fun at the lake. We also are taking a second look at a home next week. More news on the house-hunting on Monday. I'll be sure to keep everyone updated. Have a great weekend everyone!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

More Farm Fun

These pictures were taken back in the spring and no one is looking their best. Justin and I went back to Greenfield, IA in May to visit his family. The weekend was filled with many small town events such as visiting the local bowling alley, attending a war veteran parade consisting of motorcycles, and visiting Justin's dad's farm. It was calving season and Justin's dad, Doug, had been struggling all night delivering a 100 lb. calf. Doug does not usually let me visit the farm, usually because I do not pack the proper attire. We were lucky enough to go very early in the morning to check on all the cows. When we arrived, the calf was laying in a pile of weeds looking pretty much dead. We discovered, however, the calf was being very dramatic. He had not taken to his mother's teat. Really, I could not blame the calf because his post-partum mother had very swollen utters and was a very angry mother cow. Thus, Doug had to milk a very angry mother cow in order to teach the calf life-saving nursing skills. The calf took the bottle and Doug attempted to promt the suckling to the mother, but failed in the fact the calf found it more interesting to suck on his elbow versus his mother's utters. It took a couple of days after our visit, but the calf did eventually take to nursing from his angry mother.

Later that morning, Doug decided to enlighten us even more. A true believer in farm education, Doug lined up a visit to a neighboring farm for some good ol' artificial insemination. Being I had never seen A.I., as the experts call it, I got an up close and personal view. It is all very scientific. The cows are injected with hormones eliciting them to go into “heat” and produce eggs. Next, the sperm arrives from very expensive bulls which carry traits of the ideal cow. The sperm is frozen and comes in tanks filled with liquid nitrogen. It must be thawed to 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. There are special heating machines which thaw the sperm. Then it is attached to a syringe and uh yeah, the rest is history as it is injected into the cow. Now that’s farm livin’!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Green Thumb

Our biggest undertaking/hobby this summer has been starting a patio garden. I have tried this in the past only to fail and have the plants dry out and die while on weekend get-aways. This summer has been very successful, however, with one green pepper on the way, basil, cilantro, and several tomatoes. It has been pretty exciting to watch the garden evolve. I hope you all enjoy the pictures.
In other news, we are actively house hunting and have an appointment to look at a few houses on Saturday. We will keep you all posted on the events as they occur.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Waste Not Want Not

Justin and I were just enjoying our Saturday morning bagel breakfast when the most disturbing event happened. I was watching one of the workers put huge loaves of bread into a slicing machine. He would quickly take a loaf off of the sales display, carefully set it on the machine, and set the slicer. Here is were the disturbance occurs, after the bread was sliced, he would throw away the heals, or ends of the bread, and package the bread for either sandwiches or sale. He did this with about 20 loaves of bread. My stomach felt sick. After working with poverty stricken, hungry children who have no choice in how they come into the world, I had to say something to the manager. So, I pulled the manager aside and asked, "Do you throw away the ends of every loaf of bread?" He looked at me like I was crazy and said, "You can't make a sandwich out of that! Besides, no one enjoys the ends of the bread." I told him I was quite shocked and informed him about the children with whom I work. He apologized and reassured me that Panera Bread donates money and left-over food at the end of the day to many charities around the Kansas City Metro area. I said okay and thanked him for answering my questions, but still felt haunted by the amount of waste I wittnessed. After leaving and thinking about the huge hunger problem our world has, the future of our economy, and the slow decline of the middle-class population I am deeply concerned about the amount of waste which occurs. While people may employ their good-doings with monetary and left-overs which do not sell at the end of the day, why not do more? Save the ends and ship them to Africa, dry them out and grind it for future batter or breading, make a gosh darn crouton out these unworthy sandwich making ends, but don't throw them away.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Back in the Races

So, I just have a feeling that maybe some of you quite checking the blog since there has not been a recent post. Just when you think I've fallen off the face of the planet, here is an update on what's up in the Nickel household.

The Fantastic 4th of July Extravaganza went off without a hitch. Although, Amy's significant other (or however they stand right now, jerk face) failed to make the festivities we kept her mind off things with plenty of fun. Pool olympics did not amount to much, as there was much soaking in the pool and pure enjoyment of the beautiful Kansas weather. Everything else was tons of fun. Above are some pictures recapturing our pool-time relaxation.

In other news, Justin and I are seriously considering buying our first home. Due to our rent sky-rocketing to an amount equal to a mortage the issue is somewhat being forced upon us. I keep trying to reassure the hubby/risk manager that this is a good think as we need to make the investment (not to mention the fact WE NEED MORE ROOM FOR OUR CRAP!). Anyhow, so on top of philosophical contemplations on education, massive time spent in front of the computer formulating these contemplations, and the onset of more adult responsibilities life is again gearing up for another fast-paced, adulthood challenge.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fantastic 4th of July

Let the countdown begin to the Duree Girl Fantastic 4th of July Extravaganza! In 24 hours the festivities will begin. Both my younger sisters, Erin and Amy, and their significant others, Todd and Matt, will be traveling to K.C. for our first ever Fantastic 4th of July Extravaganza. We will begin by attending our favorite neighborhood establishment, Tanners, for some brewskies and food. Justin and I will most likely get nachos, as they are our favorite item. Friday will entail pool time, pool olympics, bocce ball, ladder golf, cheap plastic lacrosse, board games, and whatever else suites our fancy. Plus, don't let me forget, fireworks!! Ahhh! It is going to be a blast and offer fun-filled pictures for blog posts. We wish you all a fantastic and safe 4th of July. Happy Birthday America!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My Study Lamp

As many of you know, Justin and I have surrendered to the sadistic choice of obtaining degrees in higher education past our current bachelor’s degrees. Thus, there is plenty of studying to be had on any given night of the week at any given time of the year. For myself, I am attempting to acquire my degree in two years versus what my given company will pay for my classes. In the world of education, that means they pay absolutely nothing unless given the time of political standing. In all reality, however, I do not care whether my institute contributes to my higher learning. Education is an active goal instilled since birth. For, largely we learn from experience. But, it is from education, reflection on experience, and the freeing of one’s own mind that brings meaning to our lives and makes educated. Therefore, I care nothing about what contributions otherwise would make my education “free.” It is the liberation of thought that makes my education all the worthwhile.

Anyway, enough about philosophical thoughts; it is education which has brought us to the many lamps in which we have purchased over the past year. Lamps require light bulbs. I hate light bulbs. Have you ever had to replace a light bulb and realized, after discovering which rotation (left or right) the bulb requires in order to disperse this light, that you have left the switch in the “on” position?? This problem only leaves you blinded temporarily, but really is a huge pain in the you-know-what! I hate replacing light bulbs and have had to do it twice in the past two days. Is that not enough?! I guess it is all in the name of higher education.