Lazy Days of Summer?

In looking back at a recent email where the sender had asked what I had been up to this week, I thought long and hard.  What have I been up to this week?  Here it is already Thursday and even though the days seems to pass by in a blur, I couldn’t actually say that I had done much.  Well, I did go to a baseball game with all 3 of my kids on Monday night (hey, $1 tickets through KwikShop, couldn’t pass it up!), ran track night Tuesday night (my awesome running group), church group Wednesday night (DivorceCare), did some baking (banana muffins and brownies – yum!), cleaning, watched the latest episode of Zoo, and finished an entire library book (they’re due on Friday) so I did do something, just not as much as I would usually accomplish.

This morning I made sure I was going to do better than that.

So, I hit the weeds.

This was supposed to have been a vegetable garden.  Although I didn’t seem to get around to it this year.  I meant to.

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Instagram caption: “My vegetable garden. Hey, at least the weeds aren’t too crazy – yet! #keepingitreal #haventgottentoityet #notenoughtime

Geesh, it had gotten ridiculously crazy.

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A third of it was already weeded by this point. And I had a huge blister on the palm of my right hand to show for it!

The dogs were chasing around a humongous wasp the entire time, which was like, 2 hours in the semi hot sun, that seemed to think I was disturbing its area.  It kept landing on the fence around the garden but, fortunately, never on me!  I never found a nest so hopefully it just moved away but it certainly kept my fur boys busy!

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Cooper finally gave in to the heat and wasp chasing and collapsed in the cool earth under the bay window in a section that I hadn’t weeded yet.

I had some potted plants that weren’t fairing too well in the heat, despite the constant watering and their location, so I planted them in this really-next-year-it’ll-be a vegetable-plot.  They’re likely going to die anyway so at least it’ll look nice for a day or two. Okay, I’ll be honest, I’m hoping they’ll last longer than that since it took me so long but I won’t hold my breath. At least my neighbors will be happy not to have to look at the overgrown mess that was there before! (You might be asking why is there an old tire in the garden? I saw somewhere on Pinterest that they made a planter out of it so I thought I’d give it a try. I may regret it later . . . )

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The finished product, including the fence, to keep the dogs out of it! Granted, Cooper can jump it in a single bound but it does slow him down.

I worked very hard this morning to accomplish this, then went inside to change clothes and headed to the Y for a treadmill workout with my daughter, who had missed her cross country conditioning this morning (likely on purpose because it was early!).  After getting in my miles (our group run was scheduled for 6 pm tonight, but I haven’t been doing well with the heat/humidity and the heat advisory was brutal today – 108 degrees – so the treadmill had to suffice), a quick drive to MacAlister’s for their free iced tea day (free drinks! Yay!), lunch at home, then preparing for book club. Book club is always fun (a post on that coming up soon!), then dinner, which my son didn’t want to eat.

I feel quite accomplished with today. Is it time for bed yet?

 

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We’re Off to See the Wizard . . .ROAD TRIP!

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Yep, one of my Bucket List items – check!  A long weekend due to President’s Day and I couldn’t resist a road trip to Wamego, KS with my 3 kiddos. I mean, really, would I rather do chores or go somewhere fun? Exactly. We left the house before 9 am as it was supposed to take us about 2 1/2 hours to arrive.  We did, of course, stop by QuikTrip for the necessary refreshments prior to hitting the highway!

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Hwy 77 has plenty of farms and this kind of scenery.

When we arrived the teenagers were more than ready for lunch.  Two of them wanted Subway but my oldest said that was like driving 3 hours to go to Walmart. Good point.  So we looked at Friendship House (not the kids’ idea of a good place to eat: “It looks like someone’s house!”) or Kreem Kup, which ultimately won. Yummy food, that’s for sure!  With full bellies, the museum was next.

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The front of the museum. Very easy to find with front row parking.

When you first enter the museum you go right into what looks like a farmyard shop at Auntie Em’s.  Very friendly staff who not only helped me get as good a deal as I could get on the admission (yay for a college ID!), but she even volunteered to take pictures of us in the museum should we want!

The museum was full of artifacts, characters and a few videos about the making of the movie and the history — in other words, a plethora of information about the Wizard of Oz. We read oodles of signs and even watched part of the movie while we were there.  Here are a few pics of our fun trip.

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Perfect photo opp!

Illuminations and an Old Tradition

I think they used to call it The Festival of Lights but it’s evolved over the years from brown bags with plain white candles in an eerie silence to hundreds, if not thousands, of all kinds of  lights, a big screen, Santa, and lights choreographed to music. It used to be a tradition of ours but over the past couple of years,  it had been dropped. Why not try it again this year? Besides, I LOVE Christmas lights!

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On the first evening of my Winter Break (because I think ours was the only district in the entire state of Kansas that still had school this week!) and an evening off for my eldest son, we did something as a family with dinner out (Chick-Fil-A) and then came here, to Illuminations, with what seemed like the rest of the entire city. Crowded was a major understatement.

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After paying 4 – yes, 4! – adult tickets even though I was there with my 3 children (okay, okay, so they’re 18, 16 and 13), we joined the lines of people viewing the lights. The weather wasn’t bad but there were plenty of cranky people, that’s for sure. You could easily overlook that, though, when you could hear the sweet voice of a little girl singing Let It Go when they saw the Frozen characters  on this humongous screen, small children on the shoulders of their Dads, little babes fast asleep in strollers, and the squeals of delight from wee ones from sheer amazement of what they were seeing.  And we’ll try to forget the area that smelled like an extremely bad case of B.O. although we thought we had identified the individual and avoided him like the plague. Turns out it wasn’t him after all. Whoops! Sorry, Dude!

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The hot chocolate in the Children’s Farm area was reasonable ($1 a cup) and absolutely delicious. My youngest was, however, getting annoyed that I kept getting the camera out to take pictures. But even though I’m not the best photographer, I like to take them.

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Spazzy look! Daughter wanted us to wear the Santa hats. The eldest son refused. And I’m well aware that my red and green scarf I got from the Santa Run didn’t match the faux leopard Santa hat.

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Eyes half closed? Who cares!

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My oldest son said that was the worst lighting with the worst background to take a picture. I took it anyway. 🙂 Besides, their red eyes match the red tree and lights. 😉

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This area, on the grass by the tables there are some steps by the person wearing red (left side of pic), was where my husband and I exchanged our wedding vows in 1992. It makes me sad to see it now.

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Reflections on the water

I had a good time last night seeing the lights, even if it was crowded. I didn’t let my son’s cranky attitude ruin my night. We were all together and doing something as a family. That has to count for something, right? And we can restart or make new traditions on our own as we see fit. Or not. But enjoy life? ABSOLUTELY.

Miles, Moose & Memories

I think my Honda Odyssey knows the route to Keystone, CO, where I love to spend as much time as I’m able.  I saw the weather forecast for our fair city and thought, uh-oh, I can’t be stuck for a miserable sleet/ice-y long weekend! I made it out before the weather came in and back in as it was over. Perfect! Food was prepacked so our only expense is gas and hot coffee while traveling. (Yummy Mighty Mocha Latte from QuikTrip set the trip off to a great start!)  Oh, and Adele’s new CD – 25.

So we left early - 6 am - but still ran into a bit of funky fog. But all of a sudden, poof! It was gone! Weird KS weather!

So we left early – 6 am – but still ran into a bit of funky fog. But all of a sudden, poof! It was gone! Weird KS weather!

So, there’s no back yard where we are when we’re in Keystone which means when the dogs need to potty, we have to take them out on leashes.  I was up early Thanksgiving Day, maybe due to the time change, maybe due to the fabulous silence of being in the mountains or not wanting to waste a moment being inside in Colorful Colorado and God’s gorgeous mountains. I leashed up Buddy and Cooper and headed out.  I was walking through the parking lot when a large shape caught my eye by the tennis courts. By golly, there were 2 HUGE moose meandering up the walk!  I fumbled for my phone in an attempt to get evidence but alas, for such large animals, they move quite quickly. I went in search of them to be sure my eyes had not deceived me and saw them again by the townhouses before they likely headed back up the mountain as a loud bus taking skiiers to the slopes rounded the corner.  WOW.  Majestic moose were the words that came to mind as I marveled at their sheer size.  And the fact that I’ve been coming here for YEARS and only just saw this by the homes!

No, REALLY! There were 2 moose by the tennis courts!

No, REALLY! There were 2 moose by the tennis courts! (center of the pic kind of by the brown house)

Our first full day there consisted of a Turkey Day Fun Run in Frisco, supposedly a 5K.  My Garmin measured it at 2.68 miles. No timing, just for fun (really!). I ran with my daughter. We did it for the first time last year.  Fortunately there wasn’t anywhere near as much snow as there was last year (knee high and mushy. Think mashed potatoes!) and only some ice. We enjoyed watching all of the dogs dressed up and running with their owners. Dogs are so accepted everywhere there.  LOVE.

By the "start" line. Me & my fellow runner/daughter.

By the “start” line. Me & my fellow runner/daughter.

The Finish Line banner - perfect for Turkey Day!

The Finish Line banner – perfect for Turkey Day!

Got a pic like this last year with just my daughter. Had to get one with both of us this year.

Got a pic like this last year with just my daughter. Had to get one with both of us this year.

Our "official" finish picture. Yes, I grabbed my daughter's hand so we could finish together. I know, too sweet.

Our “official” finish picture. Yes, I grabbed my daughter’s hand so we could finish together. I know, too sweet.

My parents walked it. Not too strenuously as my mother had just had her 2nd cataract surgery 3 days earlier!

My parents walked it. Not too strenuously as my mother had just had her 2nd cataract surgery 3 days earlier!

A Thanksgiving tradition we've been doing since 2008, a balloon launch in memory of my sweet nephew,Weston, who went home to be with the Lord at the young age of 22 months.

A Thanksgiving tradition we’ve been doing since 2008, a balloon launch in memory of my sweet nephew,Weston, who went home to be with the Lord at the young age of 22 months.

Always loved, never forgotten. We write messages on the balloons.

Always loved, never forgotten. We write messages on the balloons.

A glorious sunset during an evening hike up what we call the "Back Mountain".

A glorious sunset during an evening hike up what we call the “Back Mountain”.

We took the dogs out several times a day to run and we hiked the “Back Mountain” several times as well, almost getting caught in the dark once! Cooper scared me on one of these hikes as he came toward me, crying, then trying to bury himself in the snow.  Great, I thought. He’s having a stroke of some kind and I’m going to lose him. Not to mention we’re over a mile up the mountain! Fortunately, he had a drink from my water bottle, cooled down in the snow, and then took off like nothing had happened. Geesh. Now to calm my beating heart.

Salmon for Thanksgiving dinner since 3 out of 4 of us are vegetarians!

Salmon for Thanksgiving dinner since 3 out of 4 of us are vegetarians!

My dogs love Colorado and playing in the snow! They particularly enjoy running without their leashes.

My dogs love Colorado and playing in the snow! They particularly enjoy running without their leashes.

We left to go home very early Sunday morning as not only did I have to go back to teaching and the kids to school, my two sons were back home. My youngest hates the long drive so we compromised this trip.  I can’t help but feel sad each time I leave there. I feel so at peace and more in-tune with my body, feelings and spirituality. Maybe some day this will be my home. In the meantime, I’ll visit as often as I can.

Ms. Independent

My significant other used to complain that I wouldn’t “relax” on the weekends. I usually have a to-do list a mile long and I actually enjoy accomplishing these things and marking things off my list. Since I’m the one that enjoys doing this, it also means that I’m usually doing this on my own. Hmm, Ms. Independent!  Well, this weekend was no exception. And even better? It was a three-day weekend due to a Conference Release Day! Too bad my body didn’t know how to actually sleep in on days that my alarm wasn’t going to be going off!

Friday consisted of an orthodontist appointment for my son, prepping for a painting job in my daughter’s room , a quick run on the treadmill at the Y (thanks to the thunderstorms in the area), cleaning the basement, prepping my vegetable garden (after the rain), and helping weed the front flower bed in our neighborhood before heading out for a night with my favorite girlfriends.

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Saturday – WOW – it was a go, go, go day. I started early finishing the prep work on my daughter’s room and painting. I hadn’t anticipated it taking as long as it did but it required 2 coats and moving the loft bed back and forth and back and forth wasn’t easy. And the high ceilings meant up and down, up and down the ladder. No wonder I’m sore this morning! Not to worry, though, I still had time to do some shopping with my mother at Gordman’s, attend church, have dinner at Doc Green’s, clean the kids’ bathrooms, and yes, even though it was late, added new knobs to my bathroom cabinets.  I might add that I am so proud of myself using the drill and not screwing things up! I now do all of these jobs on my own and I’m learning so much.  Now I can say that I am no longer afraid of this tool!

I'm so happy with the way these knobs look! Good deal, too, $8.08 on clearance for a 10-pack from Target, with an additional 5% off for using my Red Card. Score!

I’m so happy with the way these knobs look! Good deal, too, $8.08 on clearance for a 10-pack from Target, with an additional 5% off for using my Red Card. Score!

Sunday was a catch up day to somewhat relax considering how sore I was but I still started a new cross stitch ornament, made some cookies, and ran 8 1/2 miles. (It should have been 11 miles but shhhhh, I struggled and *gasp* even walked a bit! I had to listen to my body, though, and let it go. After all, next week is another week of training.) The rest of the day has been kind of blah as I’m quite tired so I’m going to finish my day flipping through some magazines, sipping my hot green tea, and putting my feet up. Not to worry, though, as I can still feel that sense of accomplishment by checking off the items on my to do list! 😉

Nutella Goodness

I have really been enjoying Pinterest lately and pinning to my heart’s content on my boards labeled Inspiration, I Run, Hmmm, For My Home, and Yummy Recipes, just to name a few.

Last night I stumbled across an incredibly easy recipe with only three ingredients. My daughter LOVES Nutella so this afternoon I thought I’d give it a try. Besides, there was NO ADDED SUGAR in this recipe so it must be semi-healthy, right?!

1 cup Nutella
1 whole egg
1 cup flour

Bake 6-8 minutes at 350 degrees.

Yes, peeps, that was IT! The mix seemed a bit crumbly, particularly the 2nd batch, so when I used my cookie scoop I used my hands to compress them a little more.  These cookies were delicious and all of my children (and yes, ME!) liked them. Definitely an easy recipe and one to have on hand since it doesn’t take long to bake and very easy to just pop in the oven for a quick dessert when the oven’s already on! This recipe made 24 small cookies, about an inch in diameter. Yum, yum!

Nutella cookies

Nutella cookies