Saturday, November 25, 2017

OCTOBER & NOVEMBER RAMBLINGS

Wow, October is gone and November is almost over so I'm way behind on blogging. I started and completed a CNA course. I quit working at Walmart right before I started taking the CNA class. I'm glad I did because the 5 week course was intense. I took my state test a week ago so I'm hoping to know soon if I passed. I'm hoping to be working at a nursing home within the next two weeks, I can't start officially until my passing score posts.

Recently I started dating a farmer who lives 2.5 hours north of Jamestown so I have been playing the gypsy and driving a lot of miles. My first weekend visiting him at his farm I was blessed to be able to help harvest soybeans. It was very educational and a lot of fun for me. The hours that farmers spend in their tractors is unbelievable to say the least. We did 13 hours on Saturday alone. I'll be honest my butt hurt afterwards from all that sitting.

Lacey enjoys herself very much on the visits. When she's at the farm she does do a slow run from the house to the shed which still amazes me with how arthritic she is. She LOVES kittens and tried to play with a couple but got her nose scratched for her efforts. She was in dog heaven nonetheless. Since then she's been leery of the smaller barn kittens. As soon as she sees me start packing she starts getting excited and worries I'll leave her behind when I go up for weekends.
Lacey exploring the farm
My arrival the first weekend was an adventure as he wasn't able to meet me as planned due to a combine breaking down before I arrived. His son met me at his farm and transported me to where his boss was unloading beans, who kindly let me ride with him and his 4-year-old some out to the field.  I've never driven in a semi before and was surprised at how comfortable they are. His boss's sons spend a lot of time in the tractors and combines between riding with him and their grandparents who drive the combines. I'd forgotten how child friendly farmers are - it was so nice and refreshing.  Field repairs on the combine were routine unfortunately so harvesting went slower then normal.  There was even a fire in one of the combines!
I got to drive the blue service truck when we moved equipment from field to field






































The views from the tractor were beautiful. Fall colors everywhere. He refers to his tractor as his office. I keep telling him he has the best office view ever.

View from the tractor
Jasper joined us a couple weekends ago and had a blast. One weekend up there and you'd think he was raised on a farm the way he walks around like he knows what he's doing. He's all boy too and has to check out all the boy toys in the shed. His favorite is the Harley although all the snowmobile sleds attracted him too. Since then when Jasper's at the farm he follows him around a tries to copy everything he sees him do. It can be pretty funny.

Does't he look like he knows what he's doing? lol
Jordon, Jasper and I spent Thanksgiving up at the farm. It's been quite a while since I've done a large holiday meal and enjoyed cooking all day. Ham, cheesy scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole, homemade rolls, and pumpkin and apple pies.




Thursday, October 5, 2017

More September Ramblings

While up at Lake Metigoshe Park we went to a cute little park that has a stone clock. I wish it hadn't been raining so much and we'd been able to explore more while there. The landscape was beautiful though! We also visited Strawberry Lake which was equally amazing. I want to go camping there next year. I absolutely fell in love with the area around Lake Metigoshe. The area reminds me a lot of northern Michigan in the upper penisula - breathtakingly beautiful.


Polaris Sighting Tube

Solstice viewing

On Sunday we went to the International Peace Garden, which is situated between the US and Canadian checkpoints. Next year I would like to visit while it's in full bloom. If you visit definitely wear your walking shoes.

US on left side and Canada on right side

Promise of Peace exhibit that was added this year
There's also a cute little cafe in the building where the bookstore and the entrance to the Cacti Exhibit is. They had a delicious buffet while we were there and it was very reasonably priced.



 



                        

Friday, September 29, 2017

JULY & AUGUST & SEPTEMBER RAMBLINGS

I can't believe we're almost done with September already - where has the summer gone! Fall has definitely arrived with cold crisp mornings encouraging sweaters and hot cups of tea.



















The 4th of July Jasper and I went shopping and I found a kayak at Tractor Supply I liked and somehow managed to get maneuvered into the Jeep along with Jasper and his car seat. It's 10' long so I have to pop the back window and not drive to fast so I don't break the window. I ordered some crossbars for my luggage rack and finally got them 1.5 months after I ordered them. I needed the crossbars to attach the J-hooks to put the kayak on the roof. I've been taking the kayak out as often as I can. Of course I decorated it with paw prints to ensure people knew who it belongs to. I doubt I'll get any more days out in it although I might try going down the river if we have a nice warm weekend.

Jasper celebrated his 2nd birthday in August!!! We kept it small with just my son, Jasper and myself.  We had our traditional family menu of pizza burgers and a small cake. Paw Patrol was the theme as he's a huge fan. Jordon found an adorable Paw Patrol potty chair that has a handle on it that sounds like a flushing toilet - too cute. I picked him up an electric piano that he loves. It didn't come with a stand so I used his construction table to put it on and it's the perfect height for him.

The First Years Nickelodeon Paw Patrol 3-in-1 Potty System


I went old school and bought a reel lawnmower. Some people think I'm crazy but I really don't like gas lawnmowers. I'm not big on electric ones either with having to drag extension cords around and I have no outside electrical outlets. Jasper likes to "help" me push it and with the reel mower I feel safe letting him. I don't trust kids around gas ones as I had a friend as a child that lost all her toes on one foot when her dad accidentally ran over her foot with a mower.



I also signed up and attended Wild Outdoor Women (WOW) at Lake Metigoshe Park September 15-17.  I was super excited to be attending it despite the cold and rainy weather. I ended up only attending the Wild Edible class out of all the classes I signed up for. It was a lot of fun. We make Juneberry pies from scratch and chokecherry jelly, which didn't set so I now have syrup.

Baking our pies
Chokecherry jelly/syrup

Making our pie crusts - team effort

My pie - and it was tasty too

I've started decorating the house for fall and have mums on the outdoor steps. I'm giving serious thought to pulling the flowers in the window box and putting small mums in that planter as well. I hope to get my box of fall decorations out of the basement and start putting them out.

Other news is that I'm changing careers (again). I accepted a CNA position with Eventide nursing home and start my CNA training October 16th. I've given notice at Walmart and my final day will be October 12th there. I hope to start my new position after Thanksgiving. This change will finally allow me a more normal life (if there is such a thing) and to work a normal 40 hour work week. Also with this change I will no longer be babysitting Jasper except on the rare occasion and can be a grandma again. So some big changes with this decision and hopefully for the better. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June Ramblings

Summer has finally arrived for good here in North Dakota - although there's always a possibility of snow anytime here - but I think we're safe saying it's SUMMER! Beautiful weather too.


It was so beautiful one Sunday we went to the Reservoir with lil dude. He's never been to the Reservoir and he got excited just driving there as he spotted the water from his carseat. He was pointing and using his favorite phrase "What's that." I'd thought the water would be too cold for him so I hadn't brought a swimsuit or swim diapers for him (note to grandma to pack backpack better). He was beside himself with excitement as we let him run around. He initially stayed away from the water but after I ventured in to get my feet wet he waded in and we almost weren't able to get him back out he was having so much fun. He was really good about staying in the shallow water just getting his legs wet - well until he went down on his belly. Thankfully grandma packed extra clothes.







   



It's hard to believe lil dude is almost 2! Grandma isn't ready for him to be growing up so fast! He's a cuddle bug but a demon energy wise. Everybody kept asking us when we were going to cut his hair. They kept saying he looked too much like a girl with all those cute curls. His mother was threatening to cut it so I took up the task and clipped his beautiful curls off to ensure he had a decent hair cut. What a difference the haircut made too - he looks even more grown up (NO!!!!). The pictures were taken within a week of each other so you can see the difference the haircut made!

GOOD READS:

Into the Amish
INTO THE AMISH BY Erin Brady
Amusing book about a young girl who loves everything about the City. When her socialite soon-to-be mother-in-law starts taking over and changing her wedding plans and her life goes crazy she escapes to Amish country to stay with cousins she never knew she had.

Lagom: Avoid Waste and Live a More Fulfilling Life by Adopting the Swedish Lifestyle Choice of "Just Enough"

LAGOM: AVOID WASTE AND LIVE A MORE FULFILLING LIFE BY ADOPTING THE SWEDISH LIFESTYLE CHOICE OF "JUST ENOUGH" By Clara Olsson
Kindle Unlimited read before I ended my subscription. Great beginner book on the concept of Lagom.

Sara in Montana (Second Chances Series Book 1)

SARA IN MONTANA by Morris Fenris
Sweet story about a young woman who wants a family and thinks she's fallen in love with her boss only to find out he's in some shady dealings. She flees California and ends up in Montana where a kind sheriff takes an interest and finds out what is really going on.

   

Friday, June 2, 2017

May Ramblings - Lagom - the New Danish word



My hygge dining area
Everywhere I look there are articles on the Danish being the happiest people in the world and how hygge contributes to that happiness. Hygge has been a huge buzz word in the UK for a while but is just now reaching our shores here in the US, so don't feel bad if you're just starting to hear about it. Basically hygge is creating a warm fuzzy feeling. Unfortunately, as usual, a concept has been exploited to the point you can hardly recognize it and I think that's the case of hygge.  In the UK they've got special hygge candles, cashmere sweaters, cashmere blankets, fur blankets, etc. all promoting hygge.

Unfortunately if the UK has gotten bitten by the bug I can only imagine what this will turn into here in the US. The good news is it doesn't need to cost a thing! It can be as simple as friends sharing a cup of tea maybe with some homemade cookies or a homemade cake. It has nothing to do with breaking the bank to buy things. Hygge typically occurs the most over the winter when people in Denmark are stuck in their homes.

Less known is Lagom which typically comes after the over indulgences of the holidays, It's reining in the money spending and appreciating what you have. Logom focuses on the balance yet still enjoying hygge in your life. Hygge and lagom are about simple things, not about extravagance. I think a lot of Americans need to learn to grasp this concept.

Moo hanging out on the bed and checking out the bookcase for a new book to read
I've been trying to figure out how to reduce my expenses - a very lagom or frugal thing to do. I chose to only have the internet installed when I moved into my rental. I've had Netflix for years and have tried a couple different membership subscriptions like Acorn, Gaiam TV and Hulu. I enjoyed Acorn, which is a British channel, and Gaiam TV which has a ton of yoga sessions. Unfortunately I don't have time to watch a ton of TV or to do yoga right now so I decided to cancel them. Hulu I enjoyed while I watched the entire 6 seasons of Miss Marple but really didn't find anything that drew my attention to justify keeping it. Besides, if I'm only going to watch British movies and series then Acorn or BritLit are cheaper at about $6 per month. For yoga I found a ton of yoga and other exercise videos on Youtube for free.  I may add some of these back on later, but for now it's just Netflix for TV watching.
**Savings about $27 per month for those I cut.

I also did away with Amazon Prime. I was starting to find that most of the items I was ordering were from third party suppliers and the 2 to 3 days delivery was a joke. Yes, it was nice not to have to put together a larger order to get free shipping but I'd started buying less and less from Amazon and finding things on other sites cheaper.
***Savings $99 per year.

I'm going to shock people when I admit I cancelled my Kindle Unlimited (gasp!). Considering I have been reading about 2 to 3 books a week I could justify the cost of this BUT I found my library has digital e-books and I can read them through an app called Overdrive, which is totally free, and you use your library card to activate and use. I installed Overdrive onto both my Fire Tablet and cellphone and then stopped at the library and finally got my very own library card.
**Savings $10 per month.



Another awesome savings I get with my Overdrive is audiobooks! So I was able to cancel my Audible membership. I love listening to audiobooks while I do dishes, cleaning, knitting or working on my rugs or while relaxing in my recliner. I don't want to buy everything I listen to though so it's a costly enjoyment if I'm buying each book. I can also get free audiobook rentals at the library. I bought a mini stereo system to be able to listen to the audio CD's which also allows me to listen to the radio too so an added bonus.  I had to wait a couple weeks on a hold list but I received The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking (shown above). This book was released last year in Europe but was just released here in the US a couple months ago. I've heard tons on how great it was on the various hygge groups so of course I wanted to listen or read it. This week I got the email stating it had been added to my audio bookshelf - it was like a Christmas present! I finished listening to it while typing this. Today I got another email saying the e-book has been added to my bookshelf as well so I can both listen and read it.
**Savings $15 to $25 per month.

So to start my summer off I'm now saving about $50 a month on memberships and subscriptions that I've cancelled and been able to find free or cheaper alternatives to. I'm in love with Overdrive! I can listen or read anywhere just like I could with Audible and Kindle Unlimited. The disadvantage is that there are a lot of Kindle only books that I won't have access to unless I buy them but as most of these are romances and not the best written anyway I don't think this is a huge disadvantage. $50 may not seem like a lot of money, but over a year that's a savings of $600 and with not continuing my Prime membership it's about $700 in savings - that's HUGE for some of us. What could you do with an extra $700?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April Ramblings - Hygge on a Rainy Day

Sorry for the lack of pictures but I'm still trying to find my camera in the remaining boxes I need to unpack.

Spring is finally appearing and I've been enjoying the warmth this past weekend after our harsh winter. Even the native North Dakotans were complaining about how harsh it was. It was truly beautiful this past weekend with temps in the 60's. I spent the weekend reorganizing the pantry and craft/office room. It was an extremely productive weekend. Matt put my clothes line up for me so now I'm ready to start hanging laundry out again.


Today it's cold and raining - two things I hate as the cold just seeps into my bones and I can't stay warm. So, I thought I'd post today about how I try to hygge, or would like to hygge, on rainy days (actually this is the same setting I like for snow days as well).

***Fireplace***
I'll start this with having a nice fire going in the fireplace to add warmth and light. Unfortunately I don't have a fireplace in my quirky little house but I have been known to put a fireplace video on the TV to give the illusion.

***Candles***
Lots and lots of candles. They don't have to be scented candles either, sometimes just unscented candles for atmosphere are great. Another option are beeswax candles which have a wonderful scent of warm honey. I'm rethinking real candles right now due to the lil man so another option if you have babies/toddlers are the electric candles. These also work great if you're in a hotel or other situation where you can't have anything lit.

***Furniture***
Comfortable furniture should be required, preferably some that you love. Soft, comfy couches and recliners are my favorites. A chaise would be awesome too. These need to have throws and pillows conveniently located on them to curl up in and get comfy.

***Throws***
You need to have blankets,afghans and quilts thrown over the above furniture. These are to be used and are not for decorative purposes only. I never have gotten people who have throws for decorative purposes only. Nothing is better than a soft blanket, afghan or quilt that's repeatedly been washed and is soft from use and love.

***Pillows***
Pillows can make an uncomfortable or marginally comfortable chair comfortable so having pillows to be used can make the experience much better. I suggest having various sizes so you can find the best one for your comfort. Some days a faux fur one might be divine and other days it might irritate you so having a variety of textures is good.

***Food/Drink***
Nothing is better on a cold day like today than a cup of something HOT: hot chocolate, tea, apple cider, or whatever. So having a cup of your favorite hot beverage close by to sip on is important.  Also having something special to nibble on is important. Depending on your mood it might be something as simple as a muffin, fruit or cheese and crackers or it might be more specific like a chocolate fest of your favorite chocolate candies.

***Clothes***
Some people love to live in the pajamas when they want to get comfortable and others have special sweats or sweaters they enjoy wearing. Pick clothes that are comfortable and soft. There's nothing worse than a sweater that itches when you're trying to relax or a tag on a new piece of clothing that keeps pricking at your skin. Warm socks are mandatory for me, preferably a pair I knitted myself.

Once you have your setting established you need to decide what you plan on doing in that location.  I love reading or watching chic flicks like Ms. Marple, Miss Phyrne Fisher Mysteries or anything Jane Austin (sometimes at the same time) and sometimes I knit as well. You might also like to listen to your favorite music and just watch the rain and wildlife outside your window or french door.

Okay so we now have our setting: a nice fire going in the fireplace, you're dressed in your warm sweats and favorite baggy sweater, wrapped up in a comfy quilt or afghan on your favorite couch or chair with pillows tucked around you, there are candles lit throughout the room (possibly giving off a divine scent) with a cup of hot tea or mint hot chocolate and some fruit and a muffin to nibble on as you fall into a wonderful book for the afternoon.  Doesn't that sound divine! If you catnap while enjoying this hygge afternoon it's an added bonus.

So think about your next rainy day and think about how you'd like to spend it. I think the building of the details in our heads can be a small hygge experience in itself when we have kids, jobs and obligations prevent us from enjoying it first hand.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

March Ramblings



This has been a busy couple of months. Many things are transitioning.  When I took my Reiki course, my instructor told us she got a message that we all were getting clean slates. I had an idea of some things that it might pertain to but at that time did not see I'd be single again and starting a clean slate relationship wise. To say the end of 2016 turned into a roller coaster ride would be putting it mildly and 2017 started on the same note, but thankfully has calmed down.

I feel like I'm finally beginning to uncoil and relax - I'm finding my balance again.  I have my own place.  I was living with my son for almost two months so to have my own place was HUGE for me.  I desperately needed "me" time especially with what seemed like weeks on end of lil man having ear infections, teething (breaking 5 teeth in!), a nasty cold and then the flu. Thankfully he's gotten past this now and is the happy lil man again and fully of mischief. I have him overnight several nights a week as my son works nights.

This past week has been absolutely beautiful and warm.  I've been able to walk Lacey a couple times now and she's enjoying being outside as much as I am. I need to get my Fitbit charged up and start using it again. I need to get my table and chairs outside so I can enjoy the sunshine at lunch. I bought a Little Tyke slide that I have at my son's place I need to bring over to put outside. I picked it up on an online garage sale for $10! He has some large trucks he got for Christmas that I plan on taking outside. I'd love to find a sandbox for him. I'm looking forward to wearing some of his energy off outside.

I moved into a very small house. It has a nice backyard for Jasper to play in this summer.  There are fewer steps so it's easier for Lacey to get in and out of the house.  It doesn't look like much on the outside but to find anything nicer looking would have cost me an extra $160 or more per month and after much thought I decided having a "pretty" house wasn't worth another $160+ per month. I can think of a lot of things I can do with $160 extra a month!

What drew me to this house were the old fashioned built in cabinets.  Unfortunately the previous owners and rental company have painted over all the beautiful hardware but I can still appreciate it.  There are arches going from room to room.  It feels like an old farmhouse inside to me and I really like it. When it's just me it feels "just right" but with Jasper it feels way too small sometimes.

I've had to be inventive trying to work with the old house.  There's no shower in the bathroom, just a tub, so I've had to buy a shower attachment.  There's no storage in the bathroom so I'm having to be inventive in ways to store all my bathroom supplies.  I definitely had to downsize and get rid of some items.  I may get rid of some more. I'm pretty much unpacked now. It does have a basement, although, not a very clean one but I can store things down there.

There's one ripped pull down blind in the living room bay window so I've had to come up with window coverings. Of course I went thrift store shopping to see what I could find.  I bought several lace panels for $2 a panel which I thought was a great deal! I'm thinking I may tea stain them. I had the red and tan plaid valance panels I'd used at the other house and I brought those over for the large kitchen window. I did buy red panels for the lower part of the window.  There's an open area so light still gets in but I have privacy.

Search This Blog