Tag Archives: road trips

Friday Favorites: June is going to wear me out!

I drafted this post on Tuesday and started with this sentence – “It has been another busy week but the pace is about to slow down considerably.”  At that time I was blissfully ignorant of the events that would transpire on Wednesday.  That is going to be it’s own story, but suffice it to say it’s the reason I didn’t get this finished and posted earlier and there may be some typos and unfinished sentences because I. AM. TIRED!   But nevertheless,  I’m linking up with Andrea this week to share some favorites.

I’ve been asked to lead a large project at work.  It’s been awhile since I have managed a project and I’ve missed it.  I was starting to feel like I was in a slump and needed something to energize me and this was the perfect solution.  Plus I get to use my sticky notes and markers!


My new washer and dryer are a big hit.  We traded out our old Whirlpool Duet set for some shiny white Maytag numbers.  While watching the first load through the clear glass cover (nice touch), I was skeptical about how the clothes would get as clean as they did in my front loader since it seemed like they were hardly moving around in the machine.  But everything came out clean, soft, and smelling fresh so it must be working.  And the clothes are dry after one cycle!

via Lowe’s – my machines but unfortunately, not my laundry room. And I don’t have a glass door on my dryer, it’s white.   #laundryroomgoals

I had planned a whirlwind trip to Chicago on Wednesday.  I had a meeting from 9 – 4 so I flew out at 6:00 a.m. and expected to get home at 10:30 p.m.  That didn’t exactly happen.  I actually got home somewhere around 5:00 p.m. on Thursday and it wasn’t by air, it was by rental car.  Here’s a sneak peak from my Facebook post:

I look like I’ve had a stroke but I think it’s just a mixture of exhaustion and squinting into the sun.  I’ll post the full story next week.

We have been bathing Scout in the bathtub, using a red Solo cup to wet and rinse him.  It takes forever to get the soap out and I can barely stand up straight by the time we are done.  He isn’t a huge fan either.  Last week I saw a picture of a dog tub, and as I started researching it I saw shower heads with the optional hand held sprayer.  Not sure why I never thought of this but Gary bought and installed one last weekend and it took us all of five minutes to give Scout his bath.  And he was much more relaxed.  Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make the biggest difference.  And sometimes I’m amazed at the things that never occur to me.

Zach was with us last week, but we hadn’t seen very much of him because he was home for a wedding and had activities every night (other than the one night we all met for dinner).  The wedding was on Sunday and he got home about 8:00.  He went downstairs to change, I cut Gary’s hair quick, and then he, Gary, Megan, Amy and I sat around the table and visited.  At one point the front door opened and Hunter came in, and she and Megan stuck around and visited with us for awhile.  There is nothing I love more than  hanging out with my family and seeing them all interact, especially now as adults.  It makes my heart so happy.

Our central air went out on Sunday and the service company can’t come out until next Wednesday so we have been trying different things to keep cool.  Our favorite solution is Dairy Queen.  Tuesday was exceptionally hot, and Scout had been in the warm house all day so we loaded him up in the car and pushed his kennel all the way to the front so he would feel the cool air.  We went through the drive thru and they could see him so they asked if we wanted a Pup Cup.  Well, yes ma’am!  He thoroughly enjoyed it.

So that’s a glimpse into my week.  I had high hopes of accomplishing some projects around the house this weekend, but I’m probably going to spend much of my time napping.  At least on Saturday since it’s supposed to rain off and on all day.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Friday Favorites: College Pickup Road Trip

It’s technically still Friday as I finish this post.  Amy and I made it home safe and sound, and I want to get this out before the weekend kicks off because I have so much more coming up.  I will have to describe most of Wednesday because I was driving solo and didn’t have many opportunities to safely take pictures.   I made up for it yesterday and today, with Amy’s help.  You may want to grab a beverage and get comfortable for this one.

Wednesday dawned clear and sunny, the perfect way to start a road trip. I left one minute later than planned…20160504_071827

…picked up a Vanilla Latte, and settled in for the drive. I used my Waze app again for this trip, but after passing two highway patrol that hadn’t been reported, decided to set my cruise control and not take any chances.

The first few hours through Wisconsin were so beautiful. I saw cattle, horses, buffalo, sheep, llamas, wild turkeys, and even a little ground squirrel. The trees were budding and blooming, and the leaves were various shades of green, yellow, and red. So much like fall except more vibrant in color and subtle because of their size.  The trees almost looked fuzzy.

I made a total of four stops, two for gas and two additional bathroom breaks.  One stop was this Wayside Rest in Wisconsin.20160504_110227

It was a beautiful building, but there were very few people there and it made me a little uncomfortable.  There was one other woman in the restroom, brushing her teeth, and I wonder if she was, or was traveling with, one of the truck drivers.

It became cloudy and cooler as the day progressed, but I didn’t really have any traffic issues or actual rain. I did miss one toll – I hate the tolls through Illinois.20160504_125854

I arrived at Tim and Laura’s at about 6:30, ready for the Founders IPA they had waiting for me.  In a frosted glass, no less.

So let’s discuss podcasts for a minute.  And by discuss I mean I will simply state, I’m a fan. I listened to six episodes of Serial and, like everyone else, am hooked. Story aside, it really did make the time go by faster,  but I don’t think I noticed as much around me while I was listening. I was so focused on hearing the details, oh yeah, and driving, that I didn’t enjoy the scenery.  On the other hand, I like listening to music because it energizes me and makes me move around a little.  So bottom line, I think I prefer to mix it up.  Music in the morning, podcasts after lunch when I hit a slump.

And now let me introduce my hosts for Wednesday night, Finn and Fiona. 20160505_101044They are European Landseers, and they are great big furry lap dogs. I couldn’t get a great picture because they never stop moving! So sweet, and they gave me a much needed dog fix.

I woke up to the smell of coffee Thursday morning, which was followed by stuffed French toast and bacon.  Tim totally spoiled me with both dinner and breakfast.  Laura and I took a walk around the neighborhood, and then I left to meet Amy at about 12:30.  This was pretty much the state of her room…20160505_134714

And that was after I had folded and stacked all of her clothes.  We got the closet and her desk packed and then ran to Target for disinfecting wipes, trash bags and paper towels, then had lunch at Qdoba, and desert at Orange Leaf.20160505_155728

We went back to the dorm and finished packing and wiping down the furniture, celebrated with confetti and silly string that Amanda had sent her…20160505_22175320160505_162402… and then Amy gave me a tour of the new Medical Pavilion on campus.

20160505_185615After that, we went downtown for dinner.  We had found an Italian restaurant inside of the JW Marriott hotel, right near Lucas Oil stadium and the baseball field.  Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, they had a 45 minute wait so we walked to the other end of the hotel to the sports bar. This was our view…20160505_193856

We needed to walk off our meal, and get a little exercise before the long car ride, so we walked through the park and past one of the museums.20160505_203012

It was a beautiful evening and a nice way to say goodbye to Indy.20160506_09291620160506_144719

I got to sleep in Amy’s dorm room because both of her room mates had already moved home.  We had so much fun, and it was an experience I will never forget.

The drive home today was long, but uneventful.  Some of our favorites were the windmills20160506_11294220160506_113030

and our favorite Oasis.20160506_122448

Another fun road trip in the bag, and now I’m going to bed because I have a very full day again tomorrow!

On The Road

At the time this post is published I will be heading out on my solo road trip to bring Amy home from college.  I can’t believe it has already been 8 months, and she has finished her first year.  I get to hang out with my friends Tim and Laura while she finishes her finals, and then I will meet up with her Thursday afternoon to get her all packed up.  We are going out for dinner Thursday night (I really wish she liked Mexican food with it being Cinco de Mayo and all), and then we are having a little slumber party in her dorm room Thursday night before hitting the road bright and early Friday for the long drive home.

I was having all sorts of deep thoughts about the passing of time, and watching our children morph from little caterpillars into beautiful butterflies; spreading their wings and finding their way through life.  How, it can’t be possible that Amy has finished her first year of college when I so vividly remember bringing her to her first day of pre-school.  But as I try to put all of my deep thoughts and feelings down on paper (or keyboard), my mind drifts to one thought in particular…

ROAD TRIP!!!!!!!!!

College Tour Roadtrip August 2014
College Tour Road Trip August 2014

I’m going to try to document the adventure, but I make no promises because I tend to get so wrapped up in the ‘experiencing’ that I forget the ‘capturing’.  I have downloaded a couple of podcasts for the drive down, so I will give some feedback on those too.  I have never listened to a podcast, but apparently that’s the NEW THING in road tripping.  We’ll see.

Oh, and May the 4th be with you!

2016 Snowshoe Weekend

Our annual snowshoe weekend is in the books!  As I mentioned in my last Friday post, we each had chicken names for the weekend.  You will notice a theme throughout this recap.

Lefty (Annie) sent us an email on Thursday letting us know that she was not going to be able to make the trip due to some health issues.  We were all so sad, but agreed that resting at home was a better option for her.  So we were just four this year.

After a quick dinner Friday night, I whipped up this strawberry bunt cake…20160219_183448

And yes, the wine was instrumental in giving me the energy to do this before I fell asleep on the couch.

Then it was packing time…20160219_192534 20160219_193830

Up and out the door at 8:30 Saturday morning, a quick stop for gas, picked up the flock and hit the road at 9…20160220_085619

First stop, Cub for lunch fixin’s (Angel [Pat] also found some wind-up chickens). Second stop, Tobie’s for sandwich buns and one caramel roll to share…20160220_104657

We stopped at Brighton Beach just north of Duluth to check out the ice stacks…20160220_12160020160220_12091720160220_121038

Our lunch stop this year was The Vanilla Bean in Two Harbors…20160220_135426

We sent a short video to Annie to say hi and do a quick chicken dance.  She posted it on Facebook.  Oops.  Good thing nobody ever looks at Facebook.  Right.

It was a quick 20 minute drive to our VRBO house in Beaver Bay. The owner texted us on our drive up letting us know we should park on the road because the steep driveway was all ice. Good call.20160220_142051

We checked out our surroundings, the house and then got settled in. Thus began Scramblepant’s (Laura’s) mission to get the fireplace working.  It never happened, but she gave a valiant effort!20160220_144938 20160220_145024 20160220_145103 20160220_145149

The rain stopped, the sun came out, and we had more fun on the rocky beach.  We also got a coating of sand on the driveway so we were able to park by the house.20160220_164805 20160220_165456

After a delicious dinner of chicken chili we drove to Gooseberry Falls State Park for candlelight snowshoeing.  Lots of luminaries, plenty of snow, temperature around 35 degrees, and corn popping at the bonfire.20160220_191550 20160220_192903 20160220_192927 20160220_194631

We called it a night before 10:00.

We woke to much colder temps, stronger winds and snow.  We enjoyed a leisurely morning of coffee,  breakfast, and laughter before getting dressed and driving to Tettegouche State Park for a 4 mile snowshoe in moderate temperatures and gently falling snow.20160221_124830 20160221_124846 20160221_124901 20160221_124912 20160221_130215

We went back to the visitors center for lunch and ended up chatting in front of the fire for the afternoon. Then we took a quick hike through the cart-in campground to scope out the best sites. Not for me, the tenting train has left this station but Kathy camps every year in the fall. The waves were fierce and put on quite a show.20160221_113741 20160221_150046 20160221_150102 20160221_150119 20160221_150544

We came back home to a pork loin in the crock pot. We created a couple of Banana Cream Rum drinks and after dinner, sat around the table and solved most of the world’s problems. Then we noticed that the sky had cleared and the full moon was up so we bundled up and headed down to the beach.  And did the chicken dance.  We ended the night with a few rounds of Kings in the Corner, and turned in around ten again.

I woke up at 5:30 Monday morning and could see clear sky so I laid in bed until 6 and then went down to the beach for a beautiful sunrise.  Somehow, over the years, I have become a great big scaredy-cat.  I have these great ideas about walking in the moon light, or sitting on the beach watching the sun rise, but then when I actually go to do it, I am afraid.  I was so nervous walking down to the beach because I was afraid of critters and serial killers – equally afraid, by the way.  But I made myself do it and I was rewarded with the most beautiful sunrise (you may have to use your imagination here, my camera really stinks at dark pictures).20160222_060603

So then I faced the dilemma of whether to wake Agnes (Kathy) or not.  You see, we have a pact that if either of us ever see the Northern Lights, no matter what time of the night, we will call the other to let them know.  She is usually the first one up in the morning to see the sunrise, so I thought maybe she really just needed to sleep in.  I actually walked half way back to the house and then changed my mind and went back to the shore.  But as the sky lightened and I saw how beautiful it was going to be, I did go back and wake her.  She was very happy I did.20160222_063114 20160222_070212

We finally got cold and went inside for breakfast and to pack up for the ride home.  I must have really been tired because I did not take one more picture.  We drove out to Park Point in Duluth, but it was icy and there wasn’t much to look at.  We met Annie for lunch in Woodbury and had a fun visit.  And exchanged chicken toys.  I was home by 4:15.

We figured out that this was our seventh annual trip, and each one has been just a little bit different.  I really cherish these women and the time I get to spend with them.  This one will go down in the books as the Year of the Chicken.  Good times and great memories!20160222_083834

Friday Favorites: Let There Be Fall!


I have a random collection of favorites this week because so many things have been going on around here and I haven’t taken the time to write separate posts.  At this point, I think that train has left the station, so I’m just going to do some little flashbacks of the things that have been making me happy lately.

ONE:  Booties


I have been on a mission to find a new pair of booties for fall.  My old ones were really old, the straps were curling on the sides, the leather was cracked beyond repair, and the heel caps kept falling off.  This was the last straw because I felt that deemed them a safety hazard and totally justified a replacement pair.  Plus, I had found the perfect new pair of boot cut jeans, and everyone knows you have to wear booties with boot cut jeans, so it would have been like I had just thrown that jean money out the window if I hadn’t bought a new pair of shoes.  So once I had fully justified the purchase in my head I began the long search for the perfect booties.  It has been months, and I finally found a pair at Target of all places.  Now, I know that Target shoes are not always the most comfortable, so I bought them a full size bigger so that I could put cushioned insoles in them.  I think I need to go back down a half size because I can tell I am walking funny in them.  But then I think I can finally move on.

TWO:  The Great Minnesota Get Together


I did honor this tradition with a post of it’s own, but I feel it deserves a second mention.  Because I am about to state here and now, that I am adding something Fair related to my bucket list.  I want to go to a Western Horse Show.  That is what I remember most about going as a kid, and that’s what I want to do one more time.  And it would be an added bonus if the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were performing.

THREE:  These two girls


I have been reminiscing a lot lately about these two when they were little.  It seems so strange to just have Megan around.  I love having one on one time with her, but then I feel bad that I didn’t get that same one on one time with Zach or Amy.  I had Amanda all alone for three years, and now I get Megan all alone for two years.

20150901_185144I guess I shouldn’t be so naive, I could very well have either Zach or Amy back again at some point, but that wouldn’t be quite the same.  Anyway, for as much as these two fought (every waking minute of every day, and probably even in their sleep sometimes), they sure seem to miss each other.  They talk on the phone every day.   I love what good friends they are!

FOUR:  Road Trips

I had every intention of capturing every detail of our trip to Indiana, but I was so full of emotions that it was just too exhausting to relive it again for the blog.  Here is a high level recap.

We loaded Amy’s life into the back of the car.


We drove 9-1/2 hours to Indianapolis making three quick stops for food and gas.


We went out for dinner,


and then walked around downtown.



We woke up early Wednesday morning and made a stop for vegan donuts (I kept that whole vegan part a secret until we got to the bakery).


We unloaded Amy’s life into her dorm room,


We made a quick Target run for the stuff we couldn’t pack, then had lunch and spent some time walking around the campus until the Convocation


and class picture.


Then we said some tear-filled goodbyes, and headed back to the hotel.  I waited up until about 11:45 when she finally texted, just so she would know I was there for her.  We left Indy bright and early Thursday morning, and had an uneventful drive back home.  It was a whirlwind trip, but we had a really good time together and we felt pretty good about leaving her.  Now I’m counting the days until winter break.

FIVE:  Harvest


I finally have enough tomatoes and carrots to harvest.  I froze these Roma tomatoes for pasta sauce this winter.  I almost have a ripe Brandywine tomato so I bought a head of lettuce and I’m ready for a BLT.

SIX:  The return of fall.


Hot coffee in the cool mornings (occasionally with a touch of pumpkin), and Facebook flooded with back to school pictures.  I wore a sweatshirt and leggings for the first time this week, and actually have to cover up with warm blankets at night.  I am so happy it’s fall again!  It’s supposed to be in the low to mid 70’s and sunny for the next five days.  I sure wish it would stay exactly like this for the next five weeks.  Gary and I plan to do some yard work this weekend, hopefully involving some burning.  And naps!

Linking up with Andrea again, be sure to check out her Friday Favorites!