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Back in the Swing of Things....

First week - 1 (1)Well, we survived the first week of school!

We hit the ground running with a 9th grader, 6th grader, 4th grader and 2nd grader.   This mama started her 19th year of teaching.    

It is always a big transition, for me especially, as my responsibilities and care of children increases exponentially with the onset of the school year, but we are all getting back into the swing of things.

This year I am continuing to work on self-care and stress management strategies and I also have a goal of "working smarter, not harder."

Here are three things I am focusing on to start the school year:

Drinking More Water.    On our summer vacation to the Pacific Northwest I got a new Hydroflask Water Bottle as a souvenir.  I am trying to drink two full 32 ounce bottles during the day.   I have been adding Nuun Immunity Tablets to give me a little boost as well.

Yoga.  I am continuing to incorporate yoga into my life.   I am aiming for one session a day.  My go-to home practice is a video from Yoga with Adrienne.  This week I have done her Sunrise Yoga, Stress Melt, and Yoga for Neck, Shoulders and Upper Back.   These free, quick videos have really helped me feel better.

Getting Help with Meal Planning.    Meal planning is a huge chore in my life.  Last school year I had a whole series of meal planning posts. where I created a collection of posts with weekly family meal plans.   This school year I am trying out a recipe meal planning service called emeals.   I subscribed to the "Kid Friendly" plan and every Wednesday I get an email with dinner recipe ideas and grocery lists for a whole week of meals.  I have been trying this out for a couple of weeks and I like it so far.  It is making this big responsibility in my life a little bit easier.  

There are several different meal planning menu theme options (ex. Quick and Healthy, Vegetarian, Budget Friendly and Clean Eating to name a few).   If you are interested in trying checking it out, try it free for two weeks using my referral link:   http://emeals.com/invite/megan-devine.    


I hope your school year/September is off to a good start.   If you have some strategies that you are using that are working for you to get back into the swing of things I'd love to hear about them!  


Never a dull moment...

Water Monster - 1
Water Monster - 1
Water Monster - 1 Water Monster - 5
Water Monster - 5
Water Monster - 5
Water Monster - 5
Water Monster - 5This is what we came home to yesterday!  

As it turns out a beaver dam broke out about a mile up the road from our house and caused this "water monster" that overtook our driveway.     

This is not the first time we have had trouble with spring run off, such as this.  

I have memories of portaging babies in infant carseats to my car parked on the other side of our bridge.

Every year this particular problem is a little bit different.   We are brainstorming some solutions to offset the effects that are associated with the ice dam that forms on the upstream side of the bridge.    

There is never a dull moment around here!  Friday night fun, like this,  adds even  more excitement to our already full and rich life.   



Sauna 1
Sauna 1
Sauna 1

Our big excitement on the homestead this week is that:

We have a sauna!

My husband has been putting in a lot of time and energy and has created this beautiful and functional space for rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation.

The invitation to this space and this experience could not have come at a better time, as the last few weeks have been particularly challenging for me in terms of keeping balanced and managing stress.


As a mother of four children who’s also a kindergarten teacher, I feel like I’ve jumped into the deep end of the pool — in terms of my commitments and responsibility.

Most of the time, this deep end is a wonderful place to be, as I have so many blessings in my life.

But there are waves. Waves, that we, as parents, all experience — not-so-pleasant moments involving our children, our careers, our family and home lives — can be overwhelmingly stressful.  


About five months ago, my husband and I decided to sell our camper and invest that money in this more permanent space that encourages rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.

Now we have our sauna - our family resilience builder.

I am beyond grateful that we now have our sauna! The routine of taking a sauna is grounded in simplicity, mindfulness and connection  This avenue for relaxation and and outlet to experience, what the Finns term saunanjälkeinen, the state of rejuvenation that cleanses the mind, body and soul.



Around Here


Ski 5 Ski 5
Ski 5



Although we are experiencing some sub zero temperatures, we are finding our way outdoors.    We have a solid base of snow for cross country skiing and between after-school ski practices, MYSL and weekend outings, we're logging a fair amount of kilometers on the trail.

Coffee shop 2
Coffee shop 2

Duct tape crafts
Duct tape crafts
Duct tape crafts


We are staying warm, even given our recent sub-zero temperature cold snap.   We recently tried out a new coffee shop in town with a welcoming atmosphere after a cold and snowy ski.  We have been keeping ourselves busy inside, the kids experimenting with duct tape crafts, the mama with some knitting projects.  On these winter days we are also savoring summer blueberries and backyard maple syrup with pancake breakfasts.

Wishing you a great start to your week!

In the Garden & In the Kitchen - Mid August



















Oh August, a month of abundance!  

This month is delivering an abundance of garden (work and harvest), preserving, gatherings with friends and family -and lots of lake time.   We have been so busy, but in a full, rich and wonderful way.   August, has its moments, but overall it is a wonderful time to be.




We have been experiencing some pretty gloomy, snowy and muddy weather this week.  It is quite tempting to complain and give into the crabbies. 

However, I am working with intention to find pockets of light and love amidst this all - seeking moments of sunshine that can often be overshadowed by the clouds.

Today I am sharing just some simple snapshots that reflect gratitude:


sprouts of green in my kindergarten classroom


gifts of eggs from our flock of chickens


echoes of "mama kiss!" before I head off to work


all six of us eating together around our family table

yes, there is lot's of sunshine in my life these days - clouds, snowflakes, mud and all! 







holiday sweetness


Between last evening and this afternoon we have completed our holiday baking.  We usually make four different kinds of cookies to enjoy and give.  We also end up being on the receiving end quite frequently so there is no need to go too overboard.

This year we made gingerbread cutouts, maple sugar cookies with snowflake icing, holiday pretzel rings with carmel & chocolate and peanut butter blossoms.  I am gaining more and more help every year.  This year I had a lot of help with baking and decorating.



It is starting to feel like the Christmas season.  All we need now is a little more snow!


::making to use and to give















We have used some pockets of time over the last few weeks to do some making, both for use in our home and for holiday giving.

New this year:  bath bombs!  We made one experimental batch, which was fun and easy - and another for gifting.

I have also been doing a little more experimenting with my soap making.  I have made four batches this year:  peppermint , calendula, lemongrass and oatmeal & honey.  I have been trying out some layering techniques and experimenting with colorants, exfoliants and textures.  I am pretty happy with the results.

We also made a large batch of homemade fire starters for our own wood-stove fires and more to give (a very practical gift in our north woods).

We have had fun so far - and I do have a couple more projects on my list for the upcoming weekend - stay tuned!





I love sharing these images from the day that we got married,

and I love the life that we have created as husband and wife.


bunny yarn






I have been harvesting fiber from our bunny "Checker" since we got him late last Spring.  Today I put a new spool on my spinning wheel and started spinning some super-soft bunny yarn!

This afternoon I carved out just enough time to spin about half of what I have been collecting so far.  My plan is to add to this spool until I have a usable amount, then dye it and knit it into something simple and functional like a hat, shawl or scarf.

It is great to have hobbies like this to lean into on cold and rainy afternoons, and it is ever so meaningful to have the fiber sourced from our own little fiber bunny.