South Dakota

My sister and I decided kind of on a whim, during the week of the 4th, that we should take her oldest and my two on a road trip to Mount Rushmore. After over a week of trying to get a place to stay in Custer State Park (it was solidly booked), I gave up hope. A few days later, my sister, who is more determined than me, called and found that they just had a two bedroom, two bathroom cabin with a kitchenette open up. We were going to South Dakota. Basically, July has been a whirlwind.

Lest the beautiful pictures fool you (and it was beautiful country), my sister was probably ready to hit me over the head with a frying pan our first full day in South Dakota. I broke out in hives the week before we left and they would NOT go away so I was on prednisone for a portion of the trip; I wasn’t that fond of myself to be honest. Thankfully, the remainder of the trip was much better despite still having some weird allergy stuff. We hiked, paddle boarded, canoed, swam. The wildlife was amazing. We saw buffalo, elk, burros, pronghorns, and so many deer. We heard at least one rattlesnake but thankfully never spotted one. Our last night in the park, we went on a chuck wagon dinner that I cannot recommend enough if you ever get the chance to go. We drove Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road (actually, my sister drove those and I can’t tell you how grateful I was for that). We tried the Jefferson vanilla ice cream at Mount Rushmore which was pretty delicious. And then, despite having plans to stay overnight in Sioux Falls, we power drove home. Our children were the world’s best road trippers.

P.S. Buffalo sound like they are growling and elk have high-pitched almost bird call like vocalizations. I found that kind of surprising.

P.P.S. My sister and I had a half-joking conversation on the ridiculously flat first 3/4 of South Dakota regarding the sheer amount of content in the world and how every day more and more and more is being pumped out. The sheer quantity of instagrams, Facebooks, twitters, news articles, youTubes, blogs, etc., etc. is overwhelming. And everyday we make choices about whether we add to the noise, ignore the noise, consume the noise. Basically, tech is really great, but it’s also creating content at a rate that is overwhelming and every day it grows exponentially. We didn’t come to any solutions, but it has had me thinking lately about our need to CREATE and our need to CONSUME and how creation can lead to consumerism and how I think taking breaks from consuming – whether that’s a NoSpend November or logging of social media for a couple months – is something we should probably be incorporating more of in our life. (Speaking of no spending: this not buying sock yarn thing is KILLING me.)

P.P.P.S. We did decide that we need to walk outdoors more often – like the real outdoors not the sidewalked outdoors – though that works fine in a pinch – because it makes you feel good.



Spinning a Bit

This summer has been full on go basically since school got out and I’ve loved every minute of it.

We’ve had a wedding.

I’ve hosted my sisters, their significant others, and a niece and nephew at the cabin for the days after the wedding but before the 4th of July.

I’ve packed my son for his first “mini-week” camp excursion. I drop him off tonight. I’m a bit nervous, but he’s wanted to go ever since V came home last year and he’s sharing a cabin with some buddies from school. So…we’re giving it a try.

We’re also celebrating Violet’s birthday with her classmates today because I’m a real whiz at scheduling things.

We’ll celebrate Violet’s actual birthday on Saturday with family (after I pick Abram up from camp), and then Violet is off for her own week of camp on Sunday. Her birthday present is a bedroom redo (paint, wallpaper, new light fixture, closet organizer) so I’ll be working on that the week she’s gone.

Knitting: I finished two pairs of socks that were gifts due in June. I finally got them blocked and ready for giving this week. I’d usually feel terrible about this, but I’m hoping the recipients understand.

Watching: I finished watching The Office and powered through the fourth season of Orphan Black.

Reading: I’m behind. I have the Miseducation of Cameron Post on the bedside table, but I haven’t actually gotten around to reading it. Or much of anything else.

Cooking: I made this beet salad with the beets and arugula we got from our CSA. It was a little futsy but I could have eaten the whole thing (and pretty much did because everyone else was claiming they didn’t like beets). For my first time attempting anything with beets, I was pretty impressed. I also managed to clean (with the help of Abram) a bunch of gooseberries, red and black currants (also from the CSA) because I was going to make a crumble with them, but after spending over an hour de-stemming and top-n-tailing, I just kind of lost steam. They’re in the fridge if I can get up the energy. I’d hate to waste them, but, eh. I also made this chicken/tomato/pasta dish one night. I had leftover basil (again from the CSA) but not much else fresh. Thankfully, I had some chicken in the freezer, pasta in the cupboard, and I just used canned tomatoes. It turned out well enough that the kids have asked for it again. And I’ve made a few quick and dirty stir-frys. Basically, I’m trying REALLY hard to use up the CSA produce (except for the kale. I’m completely fine donating the kale.) because a few years ago I felt like I wasted almost all of it.

So I have lots of other bits and bobs and goals and projects I’m working on and I’ll have to get around to sharing them at some point, but it might not be until September when things slow down, if they slow down. Hope all is well with you! What have you been watching, reading, making?



Another Tuesday Post

I am exhausted. In that emotionally, social kind of way that happens when life is good, and full, and busy but a day lying on the couch reading a good book or bingeing on a show sounds a little bit like heaven. Since I’ve seen you last: we celebrated my birthday, another birthday over Memorial Day weekend, hosted a wedding shower for my future sister-in-law, attended a birthday party on the other side of the state. This weekend we’ll be celebrating two family birthdays AND Father’s Day. School has been let out (we celebrated with a night at the pool with friends) and kids have started their activities (yoga and tennis for Violet, golf and tennis for Abram). I’ve broken a finger cleaning the washing machine (because you never break your finger doing something brag-worthy like helping build houses with Habitat for Humanity or rock climbing some mountain. Granted, I’d have to DO those things, to break a finger doing them, so it’s washing machine injuries for me.) And we’ve pretty much filled our schedule until mid-July at which point, I’m going to pony up to the pool and not leave until school starts. So…here’s my breakdown:

Knitting: Socks. I have a few other projects on the needles and I’ll get to them just as soon as I finish the pair of socks. Knitting with a broken finger is kind of a pain. I tried switching my yarn holding hand. Didn’t help.

Reading: Warriors. Blame Violet. She loves that I’m hooked. I love that they’re quick. Not a huge fan of the reading them poolside though. Need suggestions for good summer (light) reads that weren’t written for elementary aged kiddos.

Watching: 30 Rock and Star Trek TNG. Jesse and I used to order pizza and watch Next Generation marathons when we were first married. It’s the only Star Trek series I’ve ever watched so I don’t claim trekkie status, but I do enjoy them. 30 Rock is new to me but I’m enjoying it.

Making: We’ve gotten so much lettuce from our CSA so far this year. There are nights were I literally just rip off pieces of head lettuce, dip them in dressing and talk about how hip we are with our hand salads. And yes, I took a picture of one of the heads of lettuce because I got four heads that week and every single one of them was beautiful. And I don’t care how silly it makes me sound. It was.

In other news I was conned into baking banana bread by children. They asked for bananas at the grocery store and when they started to get overripe,  I asked why they weren’t eating them. Violet said, “Oh, we were just waiting for you to make banana bread.” So we made banana bread.

So that’s me. How about you? What’s new? Making, cooking, doing, reading, watching, thinking about anything you’d like to share? Catch me up!



39 for 39

Today, I am officially  one year away from 40. I’m planning on making the last year of my 30’s my best year yet.

Here’s my list for 39:

  1. Mail a handwritten letter each month.
  2. Try the bullet journal method & don’t obsess about making it pretty.
  3. Get my health indicator numbers inline.
  4. Finish an entire coloring book.
  5. See Hamilton on Broadway.
  6. Take a firearm safety/shooting class.
  7. Try paddle boarding.
  8. Smoke zero cigarettes.
  9. Try a new food.
  10. Run/walk a 5K.
  11. Run/walk a 10K.
  12. Run/walk a Half Marathon.
  13. Take a family vacation – just the 4 of us.
  14. Knit myself a sweater.
  15. Read 30 books.
  16. Purge craft space – donate supplies that won’t be used.
  17. Finish quilt top.
  18. Buy a new lens for my camera.
  19. Have family pictures taken.
  20. Continue to practice unapologetic self-confidence.
  21. Go on a picnic.
  22. Take the kids camping. Even if it’s in the backyard.
  23. Buy a new box of high quality colored pencils.
  24. Learn to back up boat trailer quickly & accurately.
  25. Attend Mass.
  26. Take a break from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. for at least one month.
  27. Abstain from purchasing any sock yarn.
  28. Embroider something.
  29. Create a photo album for each of the kids.
  30. Get a mole check.
  31. Quit drinking Diet Dr. Pepper.
  32. Establish a regular sleep/wake time.
  33. Buy a record player and some records.
  34. Cook more.
  35. Listen to my gut.
  36. Celebrate my people.
  37. Update master list of home projects.
  38. Find a project/cause that could benefit from my time & talents and donate.
  39. Make my bed.

Last year, I made a list of 38 things I wanted to accomplish while 38. I didn’t manage to do them all, but you can read about that here.