The Rough Draft In Our Book Of Life Is Beginning

The rough draft in our book of life has begun and when I say rough I mean rough! Clearly, as you look back, the last time I blogged there was still snow on the ground. That was 10 days ago. Wow, where does time go?

OK, so without wanted to jinx anything here, I want to fill you in a bit on where we are since I get lots of support from friends and family that read here on the blog. I will admit, not proudly by any means but it is what it is…..here goes…..we have not eaten at our dinner table in well over 9 days!!!!! For this I am ashamed. Although, I have managed to precook meals in the morning hours to enjoy when we all do finally arrive home to enjoy them where ever this shall be in our home. I mentioned in the last post we have been apartment hunting with our son. Everyone…this has been SCARY!!!! Coming from a mom who does not always agree with her son…..we have been seeing eye to eye on most things lately and for this I am so thankful. Dad on the other hand is much more verbal and will tell him straight up when he don’t like something. I am more of a live and learn type of mom….however, unless it is just something I cannot look past and must give my input. Anyhow, here’s where we are with this….his one and only application for a place has been submitted and now we wait and pray. I am going with the hope of, if its meant to be it will be. Time will tell.

In between all the evening showings we had scheduled we took weekends and days to get other stuff done. That is when the tools for the other chores did not break while trying to get things accomplished. Frustrating I tell you….simply frustrating!

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I have been searching high and low for furniture and home items for our son in his preparation to move out of our family home and this too has been a battle. Garage sales here are mostly on Thursday and Friday and by Saturday if they are still happening all the good items have been scarfed up already. And Saturday is the only day I have to garage sale since I work. Although, we have lucked out on a few items and dad is lending a hand to fix, repair, and create quite the unique DIY home decor for when the big move finally happens.

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Also, with a well deserved needed break from daily life we escaped for our first camping…ok really it was glamping since technically we slept in cabins and not tents….trip of the year.

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We were joined by my brother,sister in law, and our nephew on this trip for the first time. It was fun…we hiked the entire bluff lake loop at Devil’s Lake State Park here in Baraboo, WI and enjoyed the great outdoors.

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We even dusted off the discs for disc golf while we were here and played a few rounds. When its your first time out for the season we found that things are a bit rusty and you often end up searching out your disc in the trees.

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It was a nice break from our home life chaos. We had a great time, I was sore from the first big hike of the year until Tuesday and I don’t think any of us were ready to wake up and leave Sunday morning. Especially their pup, Coconut, who simply was exhausted by all the outdoor activity from the day. What a cutie….

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For now I will leave you here….but you can bet this shall be continued eventually.

 

 

 

 

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Your Wish Is My Command

If you look up this phrase Your Wish I My Command you will see this definition

Phrase. your wish is my command. (often humorous) Whatever you say you wish for I will treat as a command and do straight away.

Well, this is exactly what happened one Sunday while I was searching Amazon for reasonably affordable doll house furniture…which I will tell you….none of them were reasonable! I was complaining about the price and said in a  frustrated voice, all I need is two beds, a table, and two chairs….and nothing is under $50. And my husband says, how big do you want these things and where are you going to use them? I explained what I was looking to do and before I knew it he was in his workroom constructing me some furniture.

It started with a plan, scrap wood, and a quick trip to the hardware store for paint.

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And construction began.

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Once everything was assembled, it was time to paint the pieces. IMG_0864

A few hours after painting I had two chairs and two beds….table is yet to come.

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And the finished product, by far the most important, was one VERY HAPPY LITTLE GIRL!

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Sometimes In Marriage You Must Agree To Disagree

Sometimes in marriage you must agree to disagree. This is always what I have believed. Just because your married to someone you love does not mean you have to have the same beliefs and thoughts. And I can assure you, in our marriage, we disagree about a few things but this one main topic I was determined to win….it all started about 8 years ago. Our disagreement was and still to this day about dishwashers.Seriously, not money, not where we vacation, not lack of communication….simply dishwashers! I feel they are the most useless appliance in a household. Here is where this all started.

Twenty-two years ago we bought our house and it came with our first ever dishwasher. I was excited.Then maybe two years after it started to leak. And sometimes finding a leak in a dishwasher takes awhile, so by the time you figure it out you have floor damage….thankfully we found ours fairly quickly. We repaired this one, this time. Then a year after this the entire dishwasher was junk for some reason that I don’t recall. OK, so we go buy another one. Four years after this one is purchased, this one is junk. I even called a repair man….which let me assure you, rarely happens in my house since my husband can fix almost anything. This guy, the repairman, assures me it is junk and tells me to buy a new one. We buy another dishwasher. Then, like always, while my husband is traveling for work this dishwasher also springs a leak. I call him, tell him, and he says I will look at it when I get home. OK, I stop using it and wash dishes by hand until he returns. No big deal! Well, he traveled for two weeks with work and I really learned that doing dishes was seriously not that bad. I could wash them, they would dry quickly, and I could have them all put away in a few minutes…..compared to the hour it took for the dishwasher to wash, dry, and then be emptied. That is after you find at least one, usually more, dishes that did not get cleaned. OMG, this used to drive me insane….I remember it like it was yesterday.

So this is where the argument starts…..he got home, looked at it and said, oh I can fix it it’s no big deal. I said, you know what, I don’t want it fixed. Let’s just do dishes by hand since it’s so much faster. He looked at me like…what…are you serious…or just crazy??? I laughed and said….don’t fix it, because if you do your wasting your time, I am not going to use it anymore anyhow. And he knows not to second guess me, what I say I mean with all my heart and soul. I was done being the dishwasher queen….I was now converted to the dish washing queen. So he did as asked and left it.

And here we are today, after getting a quote from a professional to remove the dishwasher and make it back into storage space a few weeks ago….which my husband is the one that told me to get this professional quote, I did as I was told. I knew exactly what would come of this but I did what he asked. I then emailed him at work with the quote and waited patiently for his response. I would love to repeat what he sent me but let’s just say this is what has been happening in my kitchen since this email.

It began with a plan scribbled out by MY personal repair man…my husband!

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Then we hashed around a few ideas and before I knew it the dishwasher was out of it’s hole and was history.

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Wood was cut, drilling was happening, and saw dust was now starting to cover my house.

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That all took about 3 hours on a Sunday. Then it was time to go back to work for the week and I was left with a hole for the time being.

That is until an ice storm happened on a Tuesday where both my husband and son were home from work for the day……however, I still had to work.(Remember: I work from home with my in home daycare)

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You can only imagine that I knew what he would want to do on his day off….which was work on the cabinet. Which meant that I would have to try and keep children out of his way and still function in the kitchen during breakfast, lunch, and snack times. Ugggg, this would be like me trying to make a chocolate cake with icing and sprinkles on his work bench while he is trying to work. Yeh, not a good thought but we made it work. Thankfully, he loves children and has learned how to have an enormous amount of patience from having so many in our home for so many years.

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He even made time for a quick break taken at snack time to keep his “little supervisor” happy since he promised her he would make popcorn after nap. Plus, this snack takes a good amount of time to eat with little fingers which meant he managed to get all but the staining done on the new cabinets on his day off.

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The finished results are wonderful. I am so excited to have additional storage in a spot that has been wasted space for so many years. It’s been a long debate in our house…one that I would not budge on. I will never be the owner of another dishwasher.

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As for the argument of whether or not we need a dishwasher……apparently not!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Lately….

I have come to the conclusion in life that once one matter is handled the next big pressing situation is never very far behind.  It’s sort of like when you come into a bonus amount of money and you never quite know what to do with it….until…..the refrigerator decides to stop working in the middle of the night, the washing machine decides to spring a major leak during your last load of laundry, or you slip and fall on the ice and need an x-ray when your deductible is not met yet. Yeh, thankfully none of this has happened for us recently but just when things starting calming down after Christmas the next big thing(s) starting popping up. Let me catch you all up on life as it is here today.

We have our first glamping (glamorous camping) trip planned for 2018 and I am excited…very excited. Once again we are returning to what I consider is Wisconsins best state park….Devil’s Lake. We missed visiting this park last year and I really missed it. We have hiked Devil’s Lake every year for at least the past 5 years, but last year we skipped it due to other trips we had planned and we just could not fit it in anywhere. Plus, this year we are glamping for the first time ever with my brother and his family. We have cabins rented at our favorite nearby campground and we plan to campfire, hike, explore and celebrate springs arrival. No one will ever be as happy as I am when spring finally arrives!!!

I also am loving that my husband is finally getting some projects done that have been laying around waiting for completion for quite sometime. My brother, one year for Christmas, had some pictures made up into puzzles for us. Once they were assembled my husband thought it would be cool to glue them and make red rock frames to go with the red rock theme of the puzzles. I agreed, then life happened, and they sat there. Well, they are now completed and I love them. Now we just have to figure out where to hang them.

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I have now expanded my cookbook selection to include one more clean eating/plant based cookbook to make meal planning easier. Since cutting out artificial sweetener in all our diets and with the amazing success my husband has had with this change, I am now finding it much harder to make casseroles. And casseroles were my “go to” for an easy make ahead and throw in the oven meal in the winter months. However, I am really finding plant based meals to be fulfilling and much less work than I ever imagined. Plus, my grocery bill is pretty nice also.

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I do have to give a shout out to my other half lately. It’s been one of those winters where everything keeps breaking. Nothing huge but big enough that thankfully with his repair skills he has saved us so much money just this year alone so far. I love having my own maintenance man in the house. Some people marry for money, some marry for love, I married for love and the money he saves us.

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And last but not least, the one big thing I have been working very hard on is our next big trip…the one where we are renewing our marriage vows for our 25th. anniversary this year. Do you know how difficult it is to find a minister that is willing to hike up to the top of a mountain to perform a renewal ceremony for this occasion? Well, I can tell you how difficult it is……VERY DIFFICULT!!!! However, I found one, we have talked with him and explained how important it is for him to make this trek for us, and he assures me he can do this as long as we are not trail runners and plan to race up the mountain. I promised him we could take as long as he needed to arrive safely at the top and for him to grant us his services. Now I just have to figure out a proper tip to give this gentleman since he is clearly putting his life on the line to make our wishes come true. I cannot wait to say “I Still Do” to the one I love in a place that brought such happiness to us the first time we saw it.

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What would you tip the minister in this situation? I would be grateful for your suggestions.

 

Reader Question Answered: How Do I Manage To Cook Every Night? Meal Prepping-It’s A Time Saver

Over Christmas break I had a few requests from some readers for some specific blog topics. Meal prepping and daily exercise were the two most asked about. Today I am touching on meal prep since, for me, it’s takes very little thought and is priceless.

Many of you are parents and are very busy but still want to prepare healthy meals for your family. I too am a parent but my son is much older now, although, I am a childcare provider and care for very small children 10+ hours per day 5 days a week which is exhausting some days. IMG_8059

However, I still manage to prepare meals nightly for my family which I share with you weekly (like here, and here)  to inspire you all to get in the kitchen and cook. Today I am touching on meal prepping and why it is such a time saver for me.

First, let me give you a bit of insight into my life. Monday- Friday I religiously work on routine….a tight routine. Wake up at 4a.m., pack two lunches and make two breakfasts, eat breakfast with my husband, and leave the house to workout by 4:50a.m. every single morning. Trust me this takes planning. I then return home by 6:15a.m., shower, and begin to prepare for my daycare children to arrive from 6:30a.m. on for breakfast and the day. We have a normal day, they all get picked up at 4:30 or there about and I immediately go into dinner mode and begin preparing dinner for my family. Dinner is served at 5:30 when our son arrives home from work and dinner is then cleaned up and either I do yoga or go back to the gym for a second time with my husband depending on what day it is. We then return home at 7:30p.m, I shower again, and I am usually in bed by 8/8:15p.m.. Yes, routine for me is crucial!!!

OK, with that being said, this is why meal prepping can pay off for everyone. Spending an hour…maybe a bit more can allow you to pre chop any veggies for weekly meals.

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It can allow you to prepare healthier lunches for yourself, children or spouse instead of some processed wrapper covered convenience food, and can allow you a bit of breathing time if your day is thrown into a tailspin and you have to readjust on the fly.

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Now, don’t think that even with this tight routine things still dont go wrong because they do. And sometimes they do often. Especially being a parent…if kids are involved things can go wrong very quickly. However, having options like pre cut veggies and easy to grab healthy options that are ready to go makes it much easier to pick up the pieces of a failed plan and not call the takeout restaurant for delivery. Dinners for us during the week are far from gourmet…but they are healthy and fresh.

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And believe me, having a major food allergy in our home as of the last few months makes calling for takeout almost impossible, so I do know how hard it is to think fast and come up with something instead of takeout.

The easiest way for me to meal prep is to plan a weekly menu and stick to it. Do this on the weekend, then grocery shop, then prep anything you can on Sunday before the beginning of the week. For me, Sunday works best, first thing in the morning so nothing else becomes more important. I usually will also make some go to foods for me for during the week also. Boiled eggs are a favorite….you can grab and go, smash them in seconds and make egg salad or stuff them with hummus and avocado with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and have a healthy fast lunch. I am never without hard boiled eggs in the frig. IMG_0170

Also if you have a sweet tooth make sure you plan for this. Having something sweet but healthy in sight is always better than grabbing that bag of candy and forgetting to stop eating them until you find the bag is empty. I keep a well stocked fruit bowl in sight at all times.

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I also was amazed when our son started his new job a few months ago to hear him ask me how he could make a healthier lunch but not buy expensive processed lunch meat. I suggested cooking up some chicken and making sandwiches or wraps with this instead. So he has been taking my idea and making this ever since starting his job. It easy, filling, and does not need heating up since he does not have this option like his dad does who takes leftovers every day. Plus, he can easily change it up with different meats or add ins.

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Another great help when it comes to spicing life up a bit in the kitchen or adding flavor to dishes is to utilize your freezer. I will blend sundried tomatoes in olive oil and freeze in small containers. When you are ready to use in a dish simply take it out and toss it in. It unthaws in seconds and adds so much flavor.

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You can also do this with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Simply toss the entire can into a food processor and blend until smooth. Spoon tablespoons onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and toss it in the freezer. Wait until its frozen (2 hrs or so) and easily remove them and put them into baggies, containers or wrap each in plastic wrap. Place them back in the freezer and take one out when you need to add a bit of spice and get a deep smokey flavor in any dish. We love this in chili at our house.

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For upcoming weekly meals posts I will also include what I prep for the upcoming week according to the menu I have in place. Some things will be for meals and some things will be for work lunches. Maybe this will help and maybe it will not. Although, I do believe if you all give it a try and a bit of dedication you can really make your life a bit easier and find that making a meal after a long day is not always as hard as it seems. It’s kinda like going to the gym…..getting there is often times the hardest part. Just like starting meal preparation after a long day…once you start you might as well finish.

 

How We Made Curtains For Our SUV For Camping Privacy

Recently, I was left home alone…with plenty of time on my hands…..and so much to think about. This is never good since I can come up with some crazy ideas sometimes. Although, I don’t think this one was all that crazy.

I decided I wanted to make curtains for my SUV since we loved sleeping in it for camping this past spring. So as always I did some research, went in the garage and sat inside my vehicle and thought….and thought hard. Then I made a few notes leaving them out where I knew my husband would see them when he returned home from his fishing trip and I would be sound asleep. I do this so my crazy ideas don’t come as a complete shock to him when I approach the subject….haha! And sure enough it worked….come morning he immediately asked what all the measurements were and why was the roll of twine out. I simply told him I was experimenting with the twine and have decided that we are going to make curtains for the SUV today. He, as usual, looked at me and said ok…tell me more. And as you can imagine….I did tell him more and an hour later we headed to the hardware store.

First, I had thought about buying fabric for the actual curtains but I do not sew. Never have and I have no interest in learning. Plus, I wanted to do this as cheap as possible with no drilled holes or any damage done to my vehicle. Then I remembered I had a dark colored single sized sheet downstairs that was a spare. It would be perfect. I measured it, laid it out, and simply cut it in half the long way.

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We got really lucky with the sheet having overlapping sewn edges. This way we could thread some paracord through here to be our so called curtain rod.

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However, I did have to cut the corners to allow for the cord to come through. So what I did was cut the ends and then quickly hand sew through the original seems so they would not unravel. Not pretty, I know, but it will work.

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With the cord through both sides we then moved out to the SUV and started making the anchor points where the curtains would hang from. My SUV has these round hooks in the back of both sides that we believe are for a cargo net that I do not have. So these two hooks are going to be used for one end of the curtain anchor on each side.

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The front anchor will be the visor on each side. We simply tied a loop that will stay attached and made a loop in one end of the cord and attached a carabiner for easy hookup and removal.

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Then when both ends are secured we simply loop the middle over the garment hook on each side.

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Add a solar shield to the front window and it was time to install and see how it all comes together.

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The curtain easily slides on the paracord to leave in more light or less. And with a metal paper clip it can be attached easily to the edge of the solar shield for extra darkness and privacy.

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It’s lightweight and easy to remove.Simply unclip the front carabiners and unhook the back two cords clipping the metal paper clips to these so they cannot pull back through the curtain then fold and store. Simple, cheap, and super easy…just the way I like it.

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I do believe I will leave the tiny side windows near the back uncovered for some daylight and just to be able to see if any creatures of the wild wander into our campsites at night. Someday I really hope to see a bear! Even though we don’t plan to cover these small windows they are still tinted glass so we will still have plenty of privacy. The back hatch window we are thinking of using poster board to just cover this area if anything. Again, it’s tinted darker and we always back into a sight so privacy in the back of the SUV is usually never an issue.

Now all I have to do is wait until I can go camping and try them out. That probably will not happen until September. Until then I will live with memories of the first time we slept in the back of our SUV.

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Painting, Planting, Planning

We spent the weekend working….to put it mildly. Being a home owner is not what I would call rainbows and cupcakes all the time. Yes, it’s a great investment for your future IF it does not consume all your time repairing, remodeling, and reinvesting more money into that so called future investment.

We started this weekend with a simple room painting of our son’s bedroom. Not so bad right…..until it was time to install the new ceiling fan since his was making some kind of weird noise. Still not so bad, $100 later and the new fan was picked out ready to install. Well, that is where things went completely wrong. Now, being the person I am, I do not know the technical terms for any of this building stuff, but whom ever built our house years ago really half assed a few things and we are slowly finding them throughout the 20 years we have lived here. And believe me, when you have a husband who knows a lot about technical/mechanical things…..it makes him livid which then inturn makes a 1 hour job into a 3 hour job. It then makes me question, once again, why we ever thought buying a house is something everyone should do in their lifetime. And it also makes me very thankful my husband can fix almost anything.

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While all this repainting and repairing was going on in one end of our house, I spent time in the other end meal prepping for the week and planting some herbs to enjoy cooking with in the next few months. Fresh herbs add such a wonderful flair to dishes and I am so looking forward to having them freshly available.

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I also did some experimenting with brewing coffee in our tea/coffee press. We are  seriously thinking of taking this with us camping for fresh, non instant coffee and I had never made coffee in the press before only tea. So today was a good day to try it out. Impressed I was after we both tried a cup and now it is officially added to our list of camp supplies we will need in the next few weeks.

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Add in two trips to the gym, a haircut I had to give to my husband, and numerous other home chores, I would say we had an extremely productive weekend. I am glad we finished these big jobs before the upcoming nice weekends we are hoping to have are here. There is nothing worse than having the sun shining brightly and us stuck indoors working.

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