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A New Term Has Begun!

10 Feb

You may have noticed that things have been eerily quiet on my blog for a little over a week.  My apologies.  Last Wednesday I started into my second term with WGU.  You can read all about my school in this post.

Last term, I managed to bring my credit tally up to 70 credits (yes, in one term… WGU is awesomely flexible!).  The minimum credits to enroll in at WGU are 12.  Last semester I figured I’d be happy if I did 30 credits.  When I ended the semester I was elated to tally them up and find that I had gotten 70 in!  I went to find out what my official status was and found out that I needed one more credit to move to “senior” status.

I am so excited to share with you that as of Tuesday the 7th, I am officially a senior.  I passed the bane of my existence, an exam on math – algebra, geometry, trig and a sprinkling of calculus  (QLC1).  I have since moved on to statistics and accounting.  Meanwhile, I’m also working on my Sales and Marketing Executives International “Certified Sales Executive” certification.   It’s been a bit busy around here, as I’d like to complete my Bachelor’s degree this term.  Life likes to attempt to stall me on that goal.

I’d like to apologize to you for the lack of posts as of recently.  I haven’t forgotten about that third installation of the coffee series (if you’d like to read the first two, start here.  🙂  Hopefully I can find time very soon to post the third coffee post.  If you can’t tell, coffee is a huge motivator for me through school and life.  🙂

I’d love to hear about what motivates you!  Leave me a comment below!

How to Make the Best Coffee in the World

26 Jan

This is part of a series on roasting your own coffee.  Today’s post is the actual roast process.  Do you have all of your equipment?   If you missed the previous post about the supplies you’ll need, please read this post first.

When your popcorn popper has heated to 400 degrees (again, this is more difficult if your popper has not yet been seasoned), you want to add your green coffee beans at that point.  Once you have done that, the temperature usually falls about 50 degrees.  You will want it to hover around 350 for the duration of the roast process.  Begin stirring (with the popper’s handle) immediately.  You’ll need to continue constantly stirring during the entire process.

After about six minutes, the first signs of “first crack” will appear.  You’ll actually hear the beans making a cracking sound.  With some roasts, this may be barely audible.  However, with some practice, you’ll begin to notice other signs of pending first crack.  Once first crack occurs, second crack will not be far behind.  I like to turn down the flame at this point so that I can control these events, because from here on out it begins to move more quickly.  Once first crack has finished, the roast is said to be a “full city” roast.   When the coffee beans start to sound like popcorn popping, you’re into “second crack”.   Once second crack starts, I pour the coffee into the colander quickly.  This is “full city +”, and is how I like most of my coffee, but depending on what the label on my bag of green coffee beans says, I sometimes vary this.

Once the coffee is in the colander, I usually take it outside, shaking it in the colander and blowing off the chaff.  Chaff doesn’t really affect the taste of the coffee, but it makes a mess, so I just get rid of it.  This also serves to cool the coffee down quickly.  This is also important because the coffee will continue to roast if not cooled quickly.

If you prefer a darker roast, you can go on to French roast, which is what occurs after second crack is completely over.  Go past French roast, and you’ll produce a coffee which tastes burnt and lacks body.  I don’t recommend it.

Once your coffee has cooled enough to touch, remove any beans which are tan or white in color.  You can also remove any beans which have gotten too dark for your liking.  This ensures continuity of the cup.

Once you have roasted your coffee and gotten rid of the chaff and “quaker” (unroasted) beans, you’re ready to store your coffee.  I store my coffee in a tin (which I am fairly certain is not made of tin).  I do not completely seal the lid on it for 4 hours.  This is also the amount of time it takes until the coffee reaches its “peak”.  Freshly roasted coffee tastes much better after aging 4 hours.   Since the biggest perk of roasting my own coffee is freshness, I do try not to roast more than what I can use in a few days to a week.

There are also a variety of coffee storage methods available in the same location I buy my coffee from : Sweet Marias.  This website also has in-depth information about other roasting methods, such as using a wok or an air popper, all the way up fancy roasters specifically for the purpose of coffee roasting.

In my next installment, I’ll talk about how I brew my coffee to continue consistency in the cup.

Behind Every Good Woman, There’s a Great and Supportive Spouse!

11 Jan

I’m blessed, very blessed.  I have a great family, and I’m blessed to have their support.  That’s a big thing, especially given the fact that despite being the Chief Domestic Officer (stay at home parent) of our household, I actually am busy all the time.  As you may know, I attend school full time for sales and sales management and run two businesses in addition to being a wife and mother.  Sometimes juggling is difficult.

One man makes it much easier… and I’d like to give him a bit of a mention here:

My wonderful husband cooking breakfast

Not only does he cook, but he’s an excellent father as well, and really helps me pick up the slack that being so busy causes.  Did I mention that he works excess of 80 hours a week most weeks?  He’s been my number one supporter and even though we haven’t always seen eye to eye, we check and balance each other.  He’s never told me no to something that I really really wanted to do, such as starting a business or going back to school.

My hubby and I met at the first school I attended out of high school… and since then I’ve attended two other schools.  He’s the most patient person I’ve ever met.  And I think I finally have a grasp on “what I want to be when I grow up”.

This is a salute to not only my husband, but all the great spouses and family members or friends that make it possible for us to achieve our goals  and are our greatest cheerleaders!

Hoping your journey leads you to a great supporter as well

Happily Ever After

The First Post

9 Jan

Well, the ink isn’t quite dry on the header and background… but here we go.  Time to write the first post of a fresh blog.

I suppose you want to know a bit about me to see if this blog is worth your time!  (Thanks for reading, by the way.)  This blog is about my life and its many aspects.  I’m first and foremost, as the title of the blog suggests, a (mostly) stay-at-home mom for my little girl.  I say mostly because I do have two businesses which I mostly run from home but do have to occasionally leave the house.  You’ll learn more about them later.  In addition, I also attend Western Governor’s University full time.  Well, it feels more like all the time than full time, but that’s my choice.  You’re sure to hear more about WGU as you follow my blog.  Tell you what, why don’t you go over and click the follow icon right now so you don’t miss any of the fun?  Thanks for stopping by!