Category Archives: Adventure


Just a week after my last post, I took my girl to Mayo Clinic for a week of testing. Oh, we didn’t go with the thought we’d be there a week… but we were. Then in February we were there for another 4 days. This month? We only had one appointment two weeks ago. And if we’re lucky we don’t go back for 2 months.

She has a couple of chronic conditions. She is an amazing girl who is still an A student although she’s missed about 2 dozen days of school so far. She is happy and peppy. And a little sassy, in a good way. Everyday she feels rotten to some degree. It may be light-headedness or headaches or hot/cold spells or stomach pain and cramps all day. Or any number of other uncomfortable things. She’s passed out in school, at church, at home and at Mayo Clinic. She plays two band instruments and is a rock star on the speech team.

Before you want to tell me all the things it could be or that I should be doing… I’ll tell you that any/all heart issues have been ruled out with a LOT of tests. Seizures and other brain abnormalities have been ruled out with an EEG and MRI. She’s had an upper endoscopy, colonoscopy, CT scan with barium contrast, Renal Scan with lassix, multiple labs and other random tests I’m forgetting right now. Celiac and Fructose Intolerance have been ruled out. Most everything has been ruled out. I am pretty confident that her diagnosis are correct and the main cause of her symptoms. (I’m not quite ready to share the diagnosis) We are working on getting her feeling better with lifestyle changes and medications. It’s a slow process but we’re hopeful!

So, I still live in a SmallTown and I still strive for a SimpleHome, but the reality is that we take it all a day at a time.

Honestly, I have taken it hard the last month. These first months of this year are taking their toll on this mama’s heart. I do the thing in front of me and that’s about it. I do my best to follow my daughter’s example: suck it up, smile and get through the day with as much joy as possible. Obviously watching her suffer is tough. So is not knowing if I will get to work on my own stuff at night or if I’ll be sitting with her while she feels awful.

So there is a glimpse of the reality. I’m still not sure why I’m putting this out there. Maybe I need to get some of it out of my head. Maybe someone out there won’t feel like they are alone. Because sometimes I feel that way.

Now it’s midnight and I need to make a meatloaf for tomorrow. If you feel like it, comment! I’d love to hear what you make ahead to save time (and sanity) the next day.

Maybe I’ll be back soon. Maybe I’ll be cuddling with my wonderful teenage girl. Either way, thanks for stopping by… I haven’t forgotten about this place.


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Filed under Adventure, Attitude, Kids

Weekend Wrap-Up

Well,  it was a very busy weekend!  I did push through and go shopping with Grace on Friday. As predicted we got home at midnight.  By 7:15 on Saturday morning Dan & I were at our CSA garden to pick beans and cukes.  That took a couple of hours and we were home by 10.

The rest of the weekend was a blur of vegetables and canning jars.  Here is what we made/canned this weekend:

  • 25 pints & 7 half-pints of dilly green beans
  • 6 quarts of dill pickles
  • 4 pints of dill spears
  • 5 pints & 4 half-pints of hamburger slices
  • 5 pints & 5 half-pints of dill relish
  • 1 pint & 5 half-pints of sweet relish
  • 5 half-pints of jalapeno jelly
  • 5 pints of freezer slaw
  • 4 gallons of cabbage (for soups)
  • 5 pints of freezer cucumbers

And then, because my house is hopping by 7 am…we cleaned the kitchen.  Including the jelly that boiled over all over the stove.  What a mess.  But by 9:30 last night the floor was scrubbed too.

And I collapsed.

Remember the sore throat I mentioned on Friday?  It never went away.  In fact, it invited its friends: body aches, low-grade temp, headache & mucous to the party.

I thought I’d take it easy at work today, but still take kids.  I feel bad taking a sick day when I am on vacation all next week.  And since I sorta brought some of this on myself (hello super-woman syndrome) I kinda feel guilty about that too.  However, this morning Dan said at 5:00 am that he was not working (he & I have the same party goin’ on in our bodies) so I decided that maybe that was a good idea.

I took a 5 hour nap today.  yes.  FIVE HOURS.  So maybe I needed this sick day after all.

And maybe I shouldn’t pick green beans and cukes on the same day again.

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Filed under Adventure, Gardening, In the Kitchen

New Birdbath

All the dark stuff is rhubarb leaf that still needed cleaned off.

For being such a small town, there are a lot of things offered.  There is a local plant place/greenhouse that offers weekly classes on Wednesdays.  Many are free and some have small fees.

A month ago I went to a free class on herbs.  It talked about uses for, growing and storing herbs.  I learned some things and picked up some new resources for info on herbs.

Then two weeks ago I attended the most popular class they offer: Birdbaths!  It is offered three times each summer and the class fills up each time.  We made our birdbaths from rhubarb leaves! It was fun…smoothing things out and putting on the cement to dry.  For five days the ladies at the greenhouse slowly dry the cement creations.  Apparently they are stronger if they dry slowly so they spritz them with water every day to slow the drying.

When I picked mine up on the following Monday, it still had a good bit of the leaf attached.  I was told that using a toothpick to clean out the crevices would help.  So I worked on it a couple of days when I had kids outside playing, then we got a big thunderstorm and the pounding rain cleaned it further.  Over time, they say the edges will smooth out too.

While they call it a birdbath, it is said to attract butterflies because it is low and not too deep.  I can’t wait to see how much action there is here. My main birdbath gets used multiple times a day by the neighborhood birdies.  We have a butterfly garden too, so there are lots of butterflies around too.

Filled with water afer a rain.

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Filed under Adventure, Gardening

CSA Picking Events: Peas

Along with our CSA membership (full-share) we get to attend 7 picking events.  The choices include peas (unlimited), cucumbers (1 bushel), herbs, green beans (unlimited), beets, sweet corn (10 dozen ear), pumpkins (8), fall produce (50# mesh bag to fill with squash, potatoes, onions, etc), fall decoratives, and tomatoes.  I don’t think we’ll do beets.  I know we’ll do peas, green beans, cukes, tomatoes & fall produce.  The rest is up in the air yet.

Anyway, back to the pea pick!  It was scheduled for July 10th.  Our CSA farm is abut 40 minutes from our house so we had hoped to leave early and pick before we got too hot.  Unfortunately we didn’t make it out very early but we were picking by 10:30.  There were three kinds of peas to choose from: shelling, snow & sugar snap.  We picked 6 (ice cream) buckets of shelling peas & 2 of sugar snap.

Grace and I started in on picking the shelling peas while the boys picked sugar snap.  My hubby said it was like picking next to a rabbit.  Stanley ate & ate those peas!  He told me he ate 150!  I don’t think it was really that much, but he barely ate all his lunch.  At least he was filled up on good food, right?

After picking, we found a little canoe access on a nearby river and had our picnic lunch we’d packed along.  PB&J, raw kohlrabi with ranch dip, cheese sticks & fresh peas (of course).  Stanley practiced skipping rocks, while Grace tried to get a lesson in rock-skipping from her dad.  He’s our family pro.  It was a nice stop along the way to the nearest larger town to do some shopping.

Once home we all sat on the deck and spent the next hour and a half shelling peas.  That was actually fun too.

It was an all around nice day spent together.

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Filed under Adventure, Family, Frugal Fun, Gardening

Textured Paint

I am quickly reminded why we haven’t tackled redecorating Grace’s room before now… and I’m wondering why we’re doing it now.

When we moved in her room had been a decorated years earlier as a baby girl room.  It has mauve carpet.  ick.  The walls were a light pink on top with a rag-type paint treatment in a darker pink/mauve color.  The bottom was some comb-type texture paint treatment.  Near as I can tell it was painted the darker color then the lighter color was thickened a LOT and applied, then combed to create a striped effect.  Our problem is that half way up the wall, where the previous owners placed a lovely border of pink cabbage roses, the texture stops.

When we moved in, we had a day to paint before the movers brought everything so I scrambled to find a border to match the paint we were using and went with it.  For almost 5 years the bottom half of her room has been purple with 2 green and 2 yellow walls on top.  A tie-dyed swirl border has camouflaged the transition from smooth wall to texture.

Now she is going to make a switch to a more streamlined black and white look.  Everything is bought and we’re even replacing flooring this weekend.  The thing is, we have a timeline!  I have to have it all put back by 6:30 Tuesday morning so I can work.

We have been told that we could just sand down the texture, so we were resigned to the fact that it would be a messy job, but do-able.  Not long into it, it is evident that this could rip up the drywall too.  The sander keeps grabbing more than it should.

My hubby is out getting a haircut and then he’s going to pick up some different sand paper to see if that helps.

I washed the top half of the walls and was researching other possible ways to smooth out these walls… it seems there are two choices if the sanding doesn’t work.

1.  use a gel-type paint stripper and strip most of the paint off that way, then sand and paint (this would seriously mess with our timeline)

2.  buy smooth wall board and cover this problem up (not a great option and definitely not good for the budget)

Stay tuned for updates!  I’m sure this could get interesting…

And if you have ANY experience with this stuff  SPEAK UP!!

**I’ll add photos later

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Filed under Adventure, Attitude, Home Projects, Kids, You Don't Have to Like It

Makin’ Ice Part 2

Over the weekend I talked about the excitement in the air over the colder temps.

At church the older men behind me ( in their 70s & 80s) were talking about how we’re “makin’  ice” now and asking each other if they knew anyone that had been out yet.  One man said he knew a guy (maybe his son?  I was trying not to be too obvious in my eavesdropping) that had tested it out, but the rock he’d thrown out went right through the ice so “he’s gonna wait a bit”.

Sure enough as I was leaving town yesterday to do some shopping, I passed one truck leaving the gas station pulling a fish house.  Then, less than half a block later there were a couple of guys leaving the bait shop and walking back to their truck.  The back of the truck held a portable fish house, some buckets, a little heater…all the paraphernalia.

Now I can’t think that the ice is thick enough for a fish house of any kind right now, but maybe on some of the smaller lakes.  We literally have hundreds of lakes in our county, within an hour radius.

And the really crazy thing, the reason that I am even telling you all this, is that Saturday some smart guy decided to take his BOAT out on one of the lakes. He admits he had to break a little ice to get out on open water.  Then it froze back in around shore, the man’s motor stalled out and he had to be rescued.  I bet he doesn’t live that down any time soon. Yesterday that lake was completely frozen over.

So my deck doors are frozen up and it is about 10 degrees.  There’s an inch of snow on the ground with a little more expected tomorrow.  My husband is out-of-town for work until tomorrow night, but Wednesday I’m sure he’s planning to go fishing.

Should I remind him to take his life jacket?


Filed under Adventure

Menu Plan Monday: September 7


While I always have a loose menu plan in my head, my degree of serious menu planning varies.  It seems that summer time is the hardest time of year for me to plan menus.  The structure of the school year is much better for me.

And here we are, the start of school this week.  Oh, and I’ve joined Mary over at Owlhaven in cutting my grocery spending way back.  I just know that meal plans will become my friend once again.  Tentative plans are made for meals through the 27th of September…and it looks pretty good.  Lets hope execution of said plan goes well.

So here’s the plan for this week…


  • cereal, banana & milk
  • oatmeal, apple & raisins, milk
  • waffles, strawberries & milk
  • bagels, fruit & milk
  • oatmeal, raisins & apples, milk
  • weekend: cereal or english muffins, fruit juice and/or milk


  • venison burgers, refrigerator pickles, apple
  • chicken noodle soup, cheese & crackers, nectarines and milk
  • BBQ cups, lettuce salad, apples
  • tuna salad, whole grain crackers, cucumbers & carrot sticks, milk
  • meatloaf, baked potato, peas, roll & milk
  • weekend: volleyball game & cheeseburger pie on Sunday

Afternoon Snack:

  • popcorn & juice
  • cookies & milk
  • cottage cheese & toast
  • apple & peanut butter
  • animal crackers & milk


  • whole chicken, rice, corn and melon
  • waffles, strawberries & bananas, hashbrowns & sausage
  • walleye, baked beans, cole slaw
  • leftovers
  • homemade pizza, fresh fruit and veggies
  • weekend: shredded venison, buns, potato wedges & oranges, then leftovers on Sunday

I look forward to getting back in the swing of things now that the chaos of summer is coming to an end.  Check out all the great things at  I’m an Organizing Junkie for tons of ideas on this Menu Plan Monday.


Filed under Adventure, In the Kitchen, Menus