30 Things I Love: Coffee


My friends and family know I love coffee. In fact, this is the 5th post about coffee this year!

For many years, I liked the smell of coffee, but didn’t enjoy the taste. I got my caffeine fix through soda (we call it pop here in Minnesota), but that wasn’t as pleasant to drink right away in the morning. Then, my friends eased me into coffee drinking. Now, I am totally addicted.

I know we all have different olfactory sensitivities, and that plays an important role in how we perceive taste. I happen to be one of those with a more sensitive nose. If a food’s taste doesn’t match the aroma, I probably won’t like it as well. I discovered that I liked the taste of coffee, if it tasted how the beans smelled when they were freshly ground. This may be the reason this Mrs Olson doesn’t enjoy Folgers as much as other coffee.

I’ve said before that I like the ritual of drinking coffee in the morning while catching up on social media, and reading the news. I also love having coffee right away in the morning as a wake to fire up the old brain cells so I can function in the morning. This is probably why I liked the quote on my photo so well. Another good thing about coffee in the morning, is that I can fake being a morning person once the caffeine kicks in. Before I became a coffee drinker, I’m not sure how I survived being married to a happy morning person!

Some people are pretty opinionated on how dark your coffee needs to be (black coffee, no cream, no sugar is their preference), but I like all types of coffee. My favorite coffee style is a mocha latte made with 1/2 ounce of dark chocolate syrup, 8 ounces of 2% milk, and 4 ounces of espresso. Sometimes I’ll brew another shot, but I try to reserve that for really tough days. Otherwise I’m a little like Hammy in Over the Hedge. If I’m drinking brewed coffee, and not espresso, I like it with just a splash of milk. If the roast is good, and the coffee tastes how it smells, I’ll drink it black. The choices on how to make your coffee are one of the things I love about it. You can make your coffee according to what will make you happy that day.

Are you a coffee drinker? How do you enjoy your coffee?

Day 1: Pizza

Day 2: Shoes

Day 3: Shout Stain Remover

Day 4: The Ability to Vote

Day 5: My Heritage


Day 7: Black Velvet for Photography

Day 8: Strong Coffee and Strong Hairspray

Day 9: Peacefulness

Day 10: Winter’s First Snow

Day 11: Freedom

Day 12: Dairy

Day 13: Jonathan

Day 14: Coffee

Click here to go to Holly Spangler’s blog, and see the link for other 30 Day Challenge Bloggers



30 Things I Love: Strong Coffee and Strong Hairspray

Vintage Strong Coffee

I love coffee. Most of my friends and family know that by now. I also love a good, strong hairspray – one that will keep my spiked hair spiked. When I saw a vintage inspired tray on Pinterest with this saying, I knew I had to make something similar! It fits me perfectly!

Mornings are not my thing. I married a happy morning person. I have learned to cope after 26 years…by consuming espresso first thing in the morning. The other thing that makes me happy? A shower and looking decent for the day. Trust me, having spiked hair may seem like bed head wouldn’t be an issue, but it is. And it’s bad.

While strong coffee and strong hairspray sometimes make me feel like I can conquer the world…especially if I have an extra shot of espresso…it’s not the only thing that makes me strong. My family and friends are a great support system for when I’m feeling weak or vulnerable. They are my cheerleaders. Being an extrovert, that is important to me. My other source of non-caffeinated strength would be my faith. I don’t know anyone who has the “perfect” life. I’m no different. My faith has sustained me through Anna and Jonathan’s MS diagnoses, the death of family members, and, to be honest, in parenting our girls and our current foster child.

Have you ever noticed how good you feel when a meeting goes well and you were able to contribute in a positive way, or when you were able to lift someone’s spirits after a tough day? What about the feelings accomplishment when an event went really well, because you empowered other members of the group in the planning of that event? Those are instances when we are the coffee and the hairspray. We can energize a group with our participation and engagement. As the leader of a group, we can hold our members together while we give them the ability to use their strengths for the planning of the event. That makes the group stronger overall. Part of the reason that I am running for our Farm Bureau state board of directors is to be the coffee in the room. I hope to energize others for the good of the organization.

How have you been the coffee or hairspray for your friends, your job, or volunteer organizations?


Day 1: Pizza

Day 2: Shoes

Day 3: Shout Stain Remover

Day 4: The Ability to Vote

Day 5: My Heritage


Day 7: Black Velvet for Photography

Day 8: Strong Coffee and Strong Hairspray

Click here to go to Holly Spangler’s blog, and see the link for other 30 Day Challenge Bloggers



It’s National Coffee Day!

National Coffee Day

I wasn’t always a coffee lover. I loved the smell more than the taste, so I didn’t mind sitting in coffee shops with my friends, the Domestic Goddesses. Then they encouraged me to try different types of coffee. Soon, I fell in love. I have many types of implements to make coffee with…a French press, electric drip coffee maker, filter cone, and my favorite…my espresso machine. Along with the implements, comes the need for good coffee beans. I may be a Mrs Olson, but I don’t serve Folgers. Right now, my favorite is Love Buzz, a free trade coffee that I purchase through my church. It isn’t bitter when brewed correctly, and works really well in my espresso machine.

I live two hours from a Starbucks, one hour from a Caribou (my favorite Midwestern coffee chain), and 11 miles from my favorite local coffee shop. With that in mind, for my 40th birthday, Jonathan gave me an espresso machine. I loved it! In fact, I loved it so much, I wore it out. Last July, my three daughters bought me a replacement. This time, it is a semi-automatic espresso machine, which means that after the water and coffee reservoirs are filled, all I have to do is push one button and it does the rest for me. It makes those tough mornings do-able for me…who am I kidding? Every morning is a tough morning for me!

The routine of drinking coffee with my breakfast every morning, while at the same time reading blogs and catching up on social media has become something that I miss when I’m traveling. For me, it’s a nice, gentle way to begin my day.

How do you like your coffee? Do you need a cuppa joe to get you started in the morning, or are you more of a I-really-have-to-stay-awake-and-I’m-desperate type?

Thankful Thursday – The Local Coffee Shop

CarolynCares ThankYou Coffeeshop

Rural areas like ours in Southwest Minnesota can seem like Mars to some coffee loving city dwellers when they learn we are two hours from the nearest Starbucks. They wonder how we can handle living so far from that type of atmosphere. It’s pretty easy for those of us in my area. We have two great locally owned coffee shop options.

My favorite place to grab a mocha latte (my favorite beverage), or have lunch with friends, is a little place called Bagels & Brew. This cute little place is attached to a laundromat in an unassuming building along the main drag in Marshall. After 15 years in business, they have built up a loyal following. They serve bagels, but also have a nice selection of sandwiches and paninis, along with side salads. If you are just looking for beverages, they have a full line up of coffee options, tea, smoothies, and in the fall, a delicious caramel apple cider.

What makes Bagels & Brew my favorite coffee shop…besides my love for the coffee? The people. I have stopped for coffee or lunch many times over the years, and I have never seen any of the employees grumpy. It doesn’t matter if you are going through the drive-thru, or eating in, the staff is always friendly. I have witnessed Todd, the owner, run out to vehicles in line, taking orders so they wouldn’t have to wait so long in the drive-thru. When customer service is taken seriously, and delivered with a smile, it makes me want to support them.

Living out in a rural area isn’t so bad when you have great local places that fill your needs. When the service is delivered with a smile, it makes it all the sweeter. Thank you, Todd and staff at Bagels & Brew in Marshall for your smiles, the friendly atmosphere, your delicious sandwiches & salads, and your wonderful mocha lattes!



30 Days of Thanksgiving – Day 6: Coffee

CarolynCares Happiness

I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination. I like to ease into my day. Part of my morning routine includes enjoying a mocha latte that I make using the espresso machine that the girls bought for me when I wore my other one out. I like the routine, the smells, the warmth. It makes it a pleasant way to begin any day.

What is your morning routine? Are you a morning person, or a night owl?

Holly Spangler laid down the 30 Day Challenge – check out her blog, and find links to other bloggers who have accepted the challenge.

Introduction to the 30 Day Blog Challenge

Day 1: Family

Day 2: Harvest

Day 3: Music

Day 4: Bacon

Day 5: Flowers