World’s longest brat and a 12 foot apple pie

We took the short drive to Prescott, WI for Labor Day to partake in festivities surrounding an attempt at a world record bratwurst and the state’s largest apple pie.

World's Longest Beer Bratwurst

A makeshift grill was made from cinder blocks forming a long trench.  Charcoal was added to the trench and lit.  Alongside the grill was a trough holding a giant bun.

Bratwurst Grill

The bratwurst was rolled out onto the grill foot by foot.  As the brat cooked, several people lined up shoulder to shoulder and, on cue, rolled the brat a quarter turn to continue cooking.

One the brat was cooked, a long tape measure was rolled out — the official tape measure — to measure the lengths of the cooked brat.  I believe I overheard one of the volunteers say the brat started out at 159 feet, but ended up at the record breaking 152 feet 9 inches.

After the brat was done cooking, we moseyed over to the tent with the pie.  A custom oven had to be built to hold the entire pie, made up of 8 wedge-shaped pie pans.  It was quite an impressive sight.

12 Foot Apple Pie Oven

The giant pie pans were acquired by Herdie Baisden, of Maiden Rock Winery and Cidery last year and this was the perfect opportunity to share some apples from his orchard — 580 pounds of them.

12 Foot Apple Pie

Pieces of pie with ice cream were available for a 3 dollar donation to the local Lions Club.  The pie was delicious!  The crust was nice and thick — and crispy too.

Slice from the 12 food apple pie

The pie fed 2600 people.  I was really surprised to see so many people show up for this event.  There was even a shuttle bus running from a business down the street from the IGA grocery store where this event took place.  What a great way to spend the holiday!

Posted in Travelogue | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saving on cell phones using Net10 Wireless

Raun's Blog

In our quest to trim the fat from our monthly budget, we actually made an increase to our cell phone bill.  We’ve had the same flip phones on a cheap plan with Verizon Wireless for about 8 years.  We shared 550 minutes, with no texting or data for about $67 per month.  It worked fine for us generally, but the time has come to move into something a little more current.

We had been scouring different carriers and different plans trying to find something that wouldn’t cost an insane amount of money for the value we would get from it.  We certainly weren’t going to move from $70 per month to $200.  We needed a budget option.

Net10 Wireless

We settled on Net10 Wireless.  We get unlimited talk, text, and data for a total of $90 per month for 2 lines with no contract.  To help you decide whether to make the same switch we did, here are some of the good points and the not as good points.

Advantages of Net10 Wireless:

  • No contract.  We haven’t had an active contract for years.  We’re not contract averse as we rarely switch services anyway, but it might make a difference to you.
  • Pay as you go option.  You can buy 30 days of access to unlimited talk, text, and data for $50 per line.  You can pick up access cards all over the country at stores like Target, Walmart, Walgreens, and Radio Shack.
  • Auto-Pay option.  You can also set up recurring automatic payments every 30 days.  You get a discount of $5 per month for the first line and $10 per month for additional lines when enrolled in the family plan.
  • Family Plan.  Net10 Wireless is one of the few non-contract cell phone carriers with a discounted family plan.  The family plan supports up to 4 phones.  4 phones would cost you $165 per month with the auto-pay feature rather than up to $400 per month with plans from other carriers.  Not bad.
  • You can transfer your existing phone number to Net10 so you don’t have to worry about the hassle of a new phone number.
  • Unlimited talk, text, and DATA.  :)
  • Lots of different phones to choose from including iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3.  You can also get Windows phones or Blackberry phones if they suit you better.  You may also be able to use your current phone.
  • Net10 has deals with the 4 biggest carriers so you know the coverage will be good.
  • You can pay the bills for all phones together or charge them each to different accounts.  We split ours out.  Mine goes to my business account and Liz’s goes to the family budget.  Pretty nice to be able to do that.

Disadvantages of Net10 Wireless:

  • Data is only 3G speed.  There are faster data services out there and if you need 4G or LTE, Net10 won’t work for you.  We don’t need the speed at this point, so we’re going with it.
  • No tethering to other devices and no mobile hot spot services.  Net10 won’t allow you to tether your phone to your computer or tablet.  I’m not a huge fan of this decision, but I understand that in order to offer unlimited data, they have to put some limitations on the types of data being transferred.  “Mobile data” is smaller and “regular computer data” so that explains it.
  • If you transfer your phone number to Net10 Wireless and buy airtime cards on a monthly basis and you miss a month, you could lose your phone number.  That’s why the auto-pay option makes a whole lot of sense to me.  I’d forget and lose it.
  • Phones aren’t subsidized so you pay the full retail price.  They offer some high end phones, some mid-range phones and some budget phones.  We opted for a pair of factory re-certified Samsung phones that operate on the Verizon network.

So, what do you think?  Is Net10 right for you?  We’re happy with it so far, but only time will tell.

Posted in Raun's Blog | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

All wretch and no vomit

Raun's Blog

I saw this video floating around Facebook several weeks ago and wanted to share it with you.

I have read through several of the comments in Facebook for this video and those leaving comments seem to fall into one of three distinct camps:  Those that are doing it, those that claim to want to do it, and those that think it is a lie.

To those that are doing it, living life doing what you enjoy, keep it up.  We need that.

To those that claim to want to do it, step out of your place of fear and try.  You don’t have to get there overnight.  You have time.  Start taking the steps necessary to bring your fullest potential to the world!

To those who don’t believe it, you missed the point.
“I’ve got bills to pay!”
“Who’s gonna watch my kids?”
“We need garbage men so not everyone can do what they love.”

If this is what comes to mind when you are asked “What do you desire?” you are destined to stay right where you are.  There are always more options.  If the only choices you allow yourself to see are 100% success or 100% failure, you are going to miss 95% satisfaction and 5% stuff you don’t like that allows 95% satisfaction.

Would 95% satisfaction be success?  I sure think so.  Start looking for “and” solutions.  Not either/or solutions.

I’m sure I’m not going to convince you that the message is true if you don’t believe it, but I’m living it.

What are your thoughts?  Which camp do you find yourself in?  What ways can you challenge yourself to move toward that thing which you were created to do?

Posted in Raun's Blog | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

People don’t care how you feel

Raun's Blog

“People don’t care how you feel.  They care how you act.”

I’ve heard those words said and seen them written by Andy Andrews many times.  The first time I heard them, I thought the idea didn’t seem quite right.  Feelings are important, right?  That’s not the part the bothered me.  I’d always thought of ‘acting’ as a fake pursuit.  If you’re acting, then you’re not being who you are supposed to be.

What turned the concept on its head was after Timothy was born.  Sometimes I would get frustrated when I was trying to put him to bed and he just wouldn’t fall asleep.  Most of the time, he would just lay there in my arms staring up at me.  Other times he would be fussy.

It occurred to me that he could tell when I was frustrated.  He would wake more and fidget a lot.  The truth is, he doesn’t care how I feel.  He only cares how I act.  When I act frustrated, my pulse quickens, my arms tense, my rocking is more severe and less serene.  No wonder it wakes him up!

When I act calm and focus on keeping my body relaxed, he sometimes falls asleep within a couple of minutes.

Translate this into your life today.  When you interact with people, you are constantly giving reasons to either interact with you more or less in the future.  People see how you react to situations.  How you react might be the difference between getting hired and not gettting the job.  It might be the difference between being asked to join a committee where you’d shine or not being asked at all.  It might even determine your relationships with friends and families.

Today, focus on your reactions.  Make them positive — even in negative situations.  See what happens.  It might make you feel better.

For a really good explanation of the concept, read this blog post, “Controlling the Cookie Flow,” by Andy Andrews.

Posted in Raun's Blog | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

In honor of Isaiah Theis

Isaiah Theis

Truth be told, I never met Isaiah Theis.  Or his family.  By all accounts, he was a precocious, curious, exploring little 2-year old.  His life was cut short because of these characteristics.

When little Isaiah was discovered missing, something incredible happened.  Over 2400 people showed up to help search for him.  To put it in perspective, the town of Centuria, WI where he’s from has a population of less than 1,000.  Two and a half times the population of the town wanted desperately to find him.

I don’t know what caused so many people to drop what they were doing to help.  Was it the fact that he was 2 years old and by himself?  Was it an inherent need to help when the community needs it?  Was it to try to fill the hole left by someone else who left too early?  I’m sure the answer to all of these questions is true for some of the searchers.

I’m not going to pretend to know or understand what Isaiah’s family is going through.  I do know what it’s like to lose a child, although in MUCH different circumstances.  The wound from losing Samantha isn’t healed, but it had scabbed over.  The more I thought about Isaiah, the more I was reminded of the pain from our own experience.

If Samantha had survived and was born full term, she would have just turned 2 — Isaiah’s age.  What would Samantha be like as a 2 year old?  Would she have been as daring as Isaiah?  We’ll never know.

What I do know is that heaven has a new resident that was taken from us too soon.  Samantha, if you haven’t already, please show Isaiah around Heaven and help him make some new friends.

If you’d like to help contribute to help cover the final expenses and help the Theis family, you can do so here.

Posted in Raun's Blog | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment