We Still Do….After 25 Years

This past week we spent as a family in Sedona, Arizona to celebrate our 25th anniversary. To celebrate this occasion we did something somewhere very special to us and it could not have been more perfect.

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That picture right there is Doe Mountain…a place that will forever have great meaning in our hearts. That is where I dreamed of saying I Do all over again and my dreams came true on this day.

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We married very young, we have had many struggles, we have gone through many things together and never once have we left each others side through it all. Today, looking back, I can honestly say that it all made us stronger and so much more grateful for each other. So to make it to this milestone in our lives together where we could celebrate in a big way was something we worked very hard to do. We came up with the idea a year ago to renew our wedding vows on our anniversary but I wanted to do this at the top of this mountain…not on ground level. Yes, crazy I am…..but I was determined to find a minister that could and would be willing to make this happen for us. So I started contacting ministers in the Sedona area and I was quickly shot down by six of them as soon as they heard my destination. That is, until I contacted the 7th one on my list and after talking with him, he kindly agreed to hike with us to the top, let us pick our place atop the summit, and perform the ceremony all while our son photographed the entire time.

On Tuesday, October 23, 2018 we arrived at the trailhead parking lot and waited patiently the arrival of our minister, Reverend Ken Froessel.

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We said our hellos and began our hike up the mountain.

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This was to be a completely casual affair. However, our kind and thoughtful minister asked if we would mind if he changed into his hiking boots to make the climb instead of his normal wedding attire shoes he arrived in. I simply said of course, we are planning to wear our boots, he may as well also.

We said our vows on this point looking out into the canyon. It was perfect. Something we will never forget.

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After all was said and done we took some more pictures, he presented us with a copy of the vows we had just promised to each other, and then said our goodbyes as he headed back down the mountain while we stayed up to enjoy more of the summit.

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It was a dream come true. A day that will forever hold great meaning in our hearts.

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I could not be more honored to be married to this man. He is my rock….the person that I know, no matter what, I can lean on. Here’s to many more ahead of us babe.

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From Sunscreen and Bug Spray To Chap Stick and Hand Warmers

Yes, summer is no doubt over here in WI. I have traded my sunscreen and bug spray out for chap stick and hand warmers and I don’t like it!!!! I know I know, I should be used to this by now but it’s no secret I dislike winter with a passion.

Anyhow, I thought I would share with you my first walk in over a month in a forest setting that was on my own free will, not meant for any sort of exercise, and it was simply just to get out, breathe, and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors before old man winter freezes everything into a solid state of miserable.

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We here had a rough week this past week. My husband had some nasty illness that really leveled him. He came home from work one day early to sleep, slept on the couch four nights in a row, ran a high fever with not much relief from any fever reducing medications, and hardly ate much all week. So finally, when he said he was feeling up to doing something, we took a walk. Fresh air never hurt anyone is my thought.

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It was gorgeous in the woods. Trees were all colors and the ground was just as colorful. Never have I seen a purple mushroom like I found on todays walk.

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It felt so good to get out and enjoy a few hours of nothing…..just nature.

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It makes me sad winter is right around the corner. Although, like most things, it will pass. I can just hope it passes by quickly and with not much snow and ice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Way Over Due Brain Dump….

It’s been over a month since I have been here to chat and I apologize. Sorry!

I thought of naming this post a “coffee date” but in all honesty, I need a nice tall, cold glass of something much stronger than coffee to take away all that has happened in the past month. So let’s just have a good old brain dump of sorts.

First, our 80/20 eating plan of meat/fish/chicken only twice a week and plants the remainder of the week is going fabulous. If you wish to read why this all came about click on Scared Healthy. Actually, there are many weeks we eat meat only once a week. I don’t miss it at all and surprisingly my husband does not either. In fact, the other day he said he would really like to have sloppy joes for dinner and I simply looked at him and said really, ground meat sloppy joes or what? And he said, can you make it any other way….I mentioned maybe lentil sloppy joes and he shook his head and said sure why not, let’s try it. MY HUSBAND…I can’t believe this to this day, ate lentil sloppy joes and said he liked them and they could be added to the make again cookbook. IMG_1688

Another big hit recently was my remake of mushroom reuben sandwiches. I had went with a friend of mine to lunch one day and this was on the menu. I love reubens so I had to give this version a try. I was blown away….it was fantastic and I told her right away I think this would be great to try on my husband. Sure enough, the next weekend I prepared these for him and I was right, he gave them a thumbs up in the first bite.

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Speaking of scared healthy, the family member that started this transition for my husband to finally eat more plants did not win his fight against heart disease. Sadly, we attended his funeral a month after fighting for his life. And if that was not enough, his wife also passed away 3 weeks later of what most say was also heart disease, but in my opinion it was more of a broken heart.

Training for our up coming mountain hiking trip has been difficult to say the least. Hills have not happened in two weeks due to non stop rain. I have never seen so much rain here in WI. And distance hiking on the weekends has been about all we have been able to accomplish. Plus, I have been going to the gym in the wee hours of the morning on a pretty regular schedule. So exercise is getting fit in just not according to the original plan.

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Another big change in the past month has been that we decided that I needed to cut back on working. I have done childcare in my home for well over 20 years and with my husbands new position and added travel I just could not find enough time to keep up with everything plus all his responsibilities if he was on the road for an extended period pf time. So ultimately, something had to change and this was the logical thing to change. I have dropped the number of children I care for per day and I have lessened the number of days per week I offer care. Which, in the long run, should give me one whole day extra to do life things, home chores, and maybe even get back to finding time to have some me time once again. It sure was hard to make this decision and I had to say good bye to some of my little loves, but I know when things settle down once again I should be in a better spot.

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And last but not least, and by far the biggest change in the past month has been our big shade tree…..

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now looks like this. 20180927_134318

This, for me, is an experience I NEVER want to relive as long as I live. It was the scariest, most horrifying job anyone could get up and go do every single day. We hired a climbing professional to remove our tree limb for limb. It was in a very tight spot, could have easily taken out three homes….ours being one of them, we were not allowed in our home during this process, and I am so thankful it’s down and no one got hurt. Damage wise, well, the very last branch from the very top did fall on the back corner of our home but left very little damage considering what could have been. Another branch did damage our fence but all in all it went well. All the repairs have been made and soon we will have a nice green area once again. I will leave you with some pictures and hope that soon I will get back to a normal blogging schedule once again. I just need life to settle back into a new normal and then all shall return to normal here on Natural Red. On that note, the removal our our huge shade tree went a bit like this.

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I Am So Tired Of Doing What I Have To Do And Not What I Want To Do….Plus Some Recent Meals

Do you ever find yourself tired of simply doing??? You know, doing all that normal daily stuff…..laundry, meals, yard work, bills, grocery shopping, organizing events, child care, exercise, etc. By golly, there are days I am almost too tired to shower. However, I find myself every day getting up to do the same thing over again way to often lately with no fun thrown in the mix to make all this monotonous stuff not seem so bad. Maybe it’s where we are in life right now, I am not quite sure. Although, I sure hope things slow down and we find some free time to add back a bit of fun here and there.

So let’s see, a lot has happened recently and I am trying to not let all the stress effect my daily life. This is not as easy to do than I wish it was but life goes on. OK, so we have made a huge decision after a major rain event in our area a few weeks ago. We got a ton of estimates and have finally chosen a company to remove our big cottonwood tree from our yard.

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I have mixed emotions about all this. Yes, it’s a messy tree, with sticky horrible pods in the spring time, then the cotton is a mess flying around the entire neighborhood for weeks mid summer, and it continually clogs our downspouts making rain storms a major event almost always…..but after all that, it’s a beautiful shade tree that we(my daycare kids and I) play under every single day. And then of course all those leaves fall……and it is a horrendous job to clean up!!!! So after this last rain storm where I, of course, was home alone with my husband away for work, decided this is it. We are not doing this anymore. It’s too much work, too much hassle, and just too much!!!! It’s coming down and hopefully before all those leaves start to fall from it. The date is set, we are praying for good weather, and I will share some pictures when it’s all said and done…soon.

Speaking of falling leaves, wow has the weather changed here and so fast at that. We went from hot, humid, and miserable to sweatshirt weather over night. Which has me thinking soup, chili, and more comfort foods being added to the menu. We are still doing the 80/20 meal plan only eating meat about twice a week at best and its working out great. Some meals lately have been:

Tuna melts

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Falafel salads with pickled onions…..both I made myself for the first time ever and they turned out spectacular. IMG_1645

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Quinoa sweet potato chili

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Hearty lentil veggie soup

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Many meals lately have been for just one person….me…and not really worth sharing since they sometimes end up being a bowl of cereal! Yes, I do eat cereal and quite often at that when I am solo. By the time my day ends with work and all is said and done, cereal is easy, fast ,and only uses one dish which is a bonus for me. On a good night I may even add some almond milk….haha!

That should do it for now. Enjoy what is left of summer where ever you are, I know that is our plan here.

 

The Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan-Part 2

It’s amazing to me how much we can pack into one day when it’s all we had in cooper country. We saw so much and explored everything from waterfalls to old abandoned buildings.

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One of the unique places we stopped was an old abandoned mill of some sort. This is typically not something I would explore but our son and my husband had this one their to do list of places to see.

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Directly across the street from this building was a piece of old machinery also left behind for people to explore. I was not game for this adventure…but both my boys went and checked it out up close.

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Then my son, being he has been here many times before, wanted to show mom what this area calls a mountain. Since we have explored and climbed a few real mountains, I always find it amusing what other areas consider to be a mountain. However, elevation is elevation and I love it no matter where I can find it.

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After a full day of beach exploring, hiking, and just seeing what this area had to offer we headed back to the hotel to clean up before heading out to dinner.

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After dinner our son said he was planning on heading out for a picture of sundown, which normally I would have joined him but I simply was just too tired from the day. So I tossed him the keys and dad and I went to bed. I remember vaguely him coming back, hearing him in the hotel room, and the next thing I knew we were all awake and wondering what the heck that earsplitting noise was????? Well, we soon figured it out, I glanced at the clock next to me……3:00a.m…….as our son raced to the door to glance out into the hallway to figure out was this really happening?? Sure enough it was……the fire alarm was blaring and strobe lights in the hallways were flashing like the northern lights!!!! We quickly grabbed our valuables, threw on shoes, and headed outside with the rest of the people.

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Being the town and area we were staying in were not large, it took a bit for the volunteer fire department to show up and thankfully within 30 minutes we were all cleared to enter our hotel once again and go back to sleep. Which is much easier said than done…..take my word for it!

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All in all, it was a great weekend. Some adventures were better than others and I am sure you can pick out which one we could have done without. However, we also learned from some of them…the emergency evacuation to be exact. I would highly recommend visiting this area of Michigans Upper Peninsula if you have the chance.

****To read part 1 of this trip click here.

August Already??? How Can That Be?

Where has summer gone? It’s August already I am not ready for summer to be almost over! Although, our August calendar is full and September is filling up quickly so maybe the best of summer is yet to come.

Alright, I know its been a while but life got a bit hectic once again. I flew solo this past week since my husband was once again on the road for work. Which meant we did all we could to get everything done that needed to be done and also spend a day together before he left. We decided to float the river once again since its relaxing and we both needed a few hours to relax.

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It was a floating trip that paid off since he found a very nice fishing lure stuck in the bottom of the river. IMG_1398

Then the week happened and it was busy! Hence why there was no postings last week. I simply did not have time to sit and type.

Friday then rolled around and as he was on his way home making his way through airports, I was packing and preparing for our weekend. We had a day planned at a friends cabin that was sure to include water, sun, and campfires! I threw together a quick broccoli salad and grabbed the beach towels and sunscreen. IMG_1425

We left a bit early since I had my heart set on stopping at the farmers market near where we were headed. I bought a bunch of fresh veggies for the week ahead.

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We then arrived at the cabin to find sunshine and warmth. This is not always the case here since it’s often cooler by the lake, but I was happy today was not one of those days. We boated, stopped at the beach, and prepared dinner on the open fire.

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It was a great day. Weather was perfect, company was fun, and the water was warm. What more could we ask for?

Sunday was then catch up on chores day. We typically have one day of play and one day of work every weekend. I prepared baby food, veggie dip, and pre chopped veggies for the week ahead. My husband did oil changes and other things on his “Honey Do” list like normal. This week is jam packed with stuff. Our annual date event we go to is this week, we also have plans to visit somewhere we have never been. And believe me, we have been almost everywhere in WI….and surrounding states. So I am excited to explore more of what our area has to offer. Hopefully the weather cooperates and I will have something fun to share with you all real soon.

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Have a great week!

Mother And Son Day Out….We Had One Of The Best Burgers Ever!

Saturday my son and I spent the majority of the day together and it was quite nice. I never in a million years would think he would ask to join me in my plans for the day but surprises happen and this was a surprise. I had planned to travel about 45 minutes from home to a local community for a city wide garage sale event. And since our son recently moved out, he has a few things on his list that he still needs and asked to join me.

We left bright and early Saturday to arrive in Algoma, WI by 8a.m.. Needless to say my husband had no interest in joining us….he had a “honey do” list a mile long anyhow. We toured the town and shopped until my son had $3 left in his pocket and then we called it quits. My SUV was full, our pockets were empty, and by the end of the morning so were our stomachs. We needed to fix this last problem so we had been hearing about a fairly new hamburger restaurant that is operated by a very successful high end dining establishment also in the same city. Skaliwags 2…..or Skaliwags Burger Co. is right around the corner from the original Skaliwags and this one only sells burgers. Located on the main drag in this small city….604 4th St., you can easily locate it and have one of the best burgers I have ever had in my life!!!!

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This place is tiny, very clean, restaurant staff was very friendly, and the food was worth the small wait. IMG_1387

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They have a number of sides you can choose from. Burgers are prepared to your liking. And many are chef inspired creations that you must try.

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Our day was completed after this meal…you can only imagine why. We were exhausted from garage shopping all morning and then having one of the best burgers ever. If your in the Algoma, WI area, I would highly recommend a brief stop at Skaliwags 2.