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We have been on skis almost everyday.  Our daughter started practice with the nordic ski team and the boys and are also spending some time together on the trails after school.  

Our oldest son (11) tried skate skiing for the first time last Friday, he picked the technique up very quickly and is enjoying the speed associated with this style of skiing.  The other two younger boys are impressing me with their endurance, so we are already able to go a litter farther together.

The weekend held opportunity for some outings with more daylight.  It feels good to transition from running to skiing and too to have something different and fun with the change of the weather.

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Our family participated in a community Gifts that Give fair that was coordinated by our church.  At the event there were tables set up by various community groups where you could buy holiday gifts or make donations to support different programs in our community and others in need around the world.  It was great to have all of our children involved.

 

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My eldest two and I are back in the grove of guitar lessons.   The past several winters we have had Nick (pictured above) come to our home to share the gift of music with our family.   Now he is getting busier with his own musical career, performing at more and more venues with his band Van and the Free Candies.   Because of this, we had to go in a different direction for lessons.   To make it work best with our schedules we went with an online option:  GuitarTricks.com.   So far, it has been working for us.   And, this mama is participating as well!  I am developing finger calluses once again, practicing and learning new skills alongside my two oldest children.   We are trying to do a new lesson/activity once a week, with time to practice in between.  It is not quite the same as having Nick come into our home, but I am grateful for the time and experiences he shared with the kids and happy that we have found a way that works for us to move forward in developing our guitar skills.

 

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This act of sharing photographs and ramblings of our daily life is a practice in gratitude that brings me joy.

I encourage you to reflect on the good in your life.

What are you grateful for today?


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Around Here 10-22 - 2 (2)We are spending as much time as we can outside.   Savoring the sunshine and above zero temperatures when we have them, because soon enough true winter will arrive.

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Around Here 10-22 - 11We are making progress on the sauna building!  The roof is on, the wires have been pulled, the interior has been framed up, and a trailer load of supplies have been purchased for the next steps in the construction process. 

Around Here 10-22 - 2We are participating in the rituals of the season.  Several pumpkins have been carved and we have been roasting batches of pumpkin seeds.  This year we tried a new recipe from the Magnolia Journal for pumpkin seed turtles that were a big hit!  We improvised and used roasted pumpkin seeds, purchased cartels and chocolate chips.  Yum!

Around Here 10-22 - 3We are cheering on this girl as she is heading in strong to the section cross country competition.   She has had an amazing season and we are excited to see her run in her race tomorrow!

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This act of sharing photographs and ramblings of our daily life is a practice in gratitude that brings me joy.

I encourage you to reflect on the good in your life.

What are you grateful for today?

 


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We have been soaking up the bounty of the early fall harvest.  We had our first hard frost this past weekend, which concluded the tomato harvest and altered the landscape of my garden.  Early Sunday  morning my kids helped me harvest our garden pumpkins and completed the job of pulling the wilted vines and leaves out of the garden.  

I will be bringing several of these pumpkins into school to share with my kindergarten students and using the rest at home with my own kids.   Likely using the pumpkins for some of these recipes in the upcoming weeks that I highlighted in a post on mothering.com

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The fall colors are starting to appear!  I enjoyed a beautiful trail run with my canine companion Sunday afternoon.  Speaking of running - I am proud to share that I completed a local half marathon this past weekend.  I have been working hard, in my efforts to run back into health, and I met and exceeded a personal goal on this race.  I am continuing to keep self-care and fitness a priority in my life and it is making a positive difference in my overall well-being.

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My husband James has been making amazing progress on our sauna building!  The kids have been helping too and are learning a lot in the progress of helping out.   This building is going to be a fun and purposeful addition to our homestead.   We are hoping to have the sauna portion functional by wintertime!


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We celebrated the last weekend of summer vacation at the lake.  Although it was cooler, the kids had no problem jumping in the water, for what may be their last lake swim of the season (although time will tell).  We participated in several special activities that were part of the weekend festivities, including an arrowhead hunt, a 5K and an ice cream social.   In the race I had a hard time keeping up with this 11 year old, who pounded out 3 miles in 22 minutes plus change!  It is a privilege to be raising young athletes - and this mama is doing what she can to stay fit to enjoy activities like this with them.

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I was able to enjoy these beautiful views on a 7 mile trail run this morning.   I have a half-marathon race coming up in a couple of weeks and I am favoring the trails to the pavement on longer runs, especially with the opportunity to spend some time with my canine companion out on beautiful local trails.   Around here - 2 (1)
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We celebrated the last day of summer vacation with a feast of walleye cakes. We also spent some time paging through our photo books from the memories that we created on our trip out west and our weeklong camping trip in Voyager's National Park. We are so blessed to have had the opportunity to make these memories together, plus all of the others we have made this past summer.    Around here - 6
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It's time!  5 out of the 6 of us are transitioning back into the routines of school - tomorrow!   We are all excited and a little bit nervous.   If you or your children are in the same situation, I wish you the best!  Cheers to a new school year!  May it be one that encompasses purpose, balance, connection and joy!







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The seasons are starting to shift.   The landscape of my lush green summer trail runs is changing to where I am seeing yellows, browns and even an occasional red leaf making its appearance.  Although we are in summer mode subtle changes are hinting of the onset of fall.   

The rhythms of our activities are changing as well as we are gradually gearing up for the start of the new school year.   I have been in school, getting my classroom ready for my new students.  This year will mark my 18th year of teaching!

The cross-country running season has also started.   Our eighth grader is training hard, gearing up for the first meet next week.  I am helping with the team as an assistant coach, as I have been doing the past couple of years.  We have both been running and doing some other cross training all summer long.  I am working through a running injury (plantar fasciitis), but still on track to complete a half-marathon in late September.   My daughter and I have been inspired by the newly published book:  Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.: Quick-Fix Recipes for Hangry Athletes by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky.  There are lots of great recipes, tips and training advise including the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (pictured above) that my daughter has been making from the "Power Snacks" section of the book.  

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I have been keeping up with our bountiful garden and lining my pantry shelves with canned goods.  Lately, I have been busy pickling cucumbers and beans.   We are having a great year for tomatoes as well!   We're eating a lot of garden suppers (BLT's, salads, and quick pasta dishes celebrating and savoring the gifts of the garden.

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I am still working on new and different avenues of publication.   I recently received the exciting news (and payment!) from Highlights for Children that two of my submissions will be published in upcoming issues of Highlights High Five. 

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We are making progress with our sauna building!  James is working hard and the rest of us are pitching in when we can. We have the slab poured and we just started framing up the walls.   We will be slowing down just a bit as we wait for our trusses order.   We are so excited about this new addition to our homestead. 


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We have recently returned from a long weekend trip to on the North Shore of Lake Superior at our annual destination campground family reunion.  We experienced comfortably cool weather and had a great time connecting with extended family during our last "glamping" trip on our camping travel trailer.   Recently, we decided that we are putting our camper up for sale while it is still in excellent condition. (Help us spread the word if you know of someone who may be interested!!)  

It served us well for our trips to Michigan and, most recently to the Dakotas. But now we have our sights instead on our goal of constructing and finishing a sauna building at our homestead.   This has been something that we have visioned for a while and that we have recently started on.   Check back for updates on the progress of this functional and creative project!

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I am navigating a rich and abundant early August garden.   Upon our return from our trip to the North Shore, our large garden was a bit overwhelming to say the least!   

Weeds!  Cucumbers!  Tipping tomatoes!  Overgrowing pumpkin plants! 

That and the arrival of 2 cases of peaches (a nordic ski team fundraiser) led me to spend many hours both tending the garden in canning and preserving in my kitchen.

I did my best to focus on the positive and dove in and tamed the garden, harvested herbs, tomatoes, kale, beets, cucumbers, then dried and preserved what we didn't eat fresh.  
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Around here - 1As much work as it is, it is always worth it in the end!