outdoors Feed

Rainy Day Project: Make Fire Starters

Fire Starters - 1 (1)It was a rainy morning in my neck of the woods, so the boys and I got to work indoors making a large batch of fire starters.

Use fire starters to help start our wood stove and for campfires on camping trips.  

Over the years I have both purchased and made different kinds of fire starters, this year I was inspired by a tutorial in ISSUE 25::HEARTH of Taproot Magazine which used cupcake liners,  wax and topped with a piece of pine.

For our version we used:

*one great option for the wax in fire starters is to use old candles.  I chose to purchase wax this time around, which added to the expense of the project - but made it easy to complete in a few hours.

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The process is simple:

Melt the wax, add essential oils  *don't walk away from your wax - it is very combustable, especially with the addition of oils and the good potential for drips and spills

Fill a muffin tin with parchment cupcake liners.

Fill cupcake liners with a good amount of shredded paper, top with pine.

Pour melted wax to saturate shredded paper and pine.

Let cool.  *I cooled mine in the fridge between batches to speed up the cooling.

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We certainly made a mess, but it was easy enough to clean up.  And, now our house is smelling great (due to the cedarwood essential oil I added to the wax) and we now have over 75 fire starters ready to go.Fire Starters - 5

If you give this project a try I would love to hear how it worked out for you!

 


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I have been working to keep up with the garden.   When we came home from our camping trip last weekend we had a garden that needed some attention.   I spent a rainy Monday morning making dilly beans and sweet pickles.  I also made some calzones adding some flavor with some of the fresh herbs.

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I have been getting outdoors everyday with by boys.  Whether it is a bike ride, run or a hike we make it a habit to get outside, to explore and to get exercise.  We have lots to explore close to home.  Sometimes it is a challenge to get everyone out, but once we do we all feel better afterwards.

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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 spent a weekend car camping at a family reunion gathering in the Duluth area.    It was fun to get together with cousins and family members we do not get to see that often.   We also had our first dip of the year in the big lake (Lake Superior), which was a very refreshing way to beat the heat.
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.....and after a couple days away we came home to this:
Garden goodness
.....plenty of garden goodness to keep me busy tomorrow morning!

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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?


Mama Recharge

Can you guess where I might be this weekend??

Enjoy this re-post of my 2018 December column in Minnesota Parent Magazine.  

Take it as inspiration to schedule a weekend away of your own!!!

Northwoods girls weekend

It’s booked — three nights at a vacation rental on the North Shore of Lake Superior for me and three of my great friends. Whoo-hoo!!!!

This will be our third-annual Northwoods “girls weekend” getaway. 

Why is this such a big deal?

Well, as a mother of four, I spent a long time in the thick of the baby years.

During that incredible but long chapter of my life, I felt defined by my role as a mother of a baby. I didn’t stray too far from the house. I spent a lot of time caring for the children, but not a lot of time caring for myself. I don’t have to tell you: It wasn’t easy. Sometimes I felt bogged down with the responsibility of it all.

Now ages 13, 11, 9 and 7, my children are becoming more independent. They have their groups of friends and are involved in all sorts of activities. We’re in a fun new stage of our life as a family. And I feel I have a little more time and freedom to nurture myself as an individual. 

I’m able to focus a bit more on my own physical, spiritual and mental well-being, which, in turn, helps me to project myself as the person — and the mother — I want to be.

Several years ago, I reached out to three of my friends to see if they would want to attend the popular YMCA Camp du Nord Women’s Ski and Snowshoe Retreat on the North Arm of Burntside Lake near Ely. 

They responded with a resounding, “Yes!” “Yes!” and “Yes!” 

We all registered and were soon together — all in one place at the same time, without husbands or kids, for the first time in years!

Although the camp where the retreat was held wasn’t far from my home, I felt a world away. Distancing myself from my day-to-day responsibilities — and distractions of work and home — gave me an opportunity to relax and reconnect with my dear friends.

At the retreat, we were catered to with great food, wine and full days of unstructured time. We had opportunities to participate in yoga classes, get massages, go for hikes, talk, laugh, read and sauna. It was an amazing experience!

We had so much fun that we decided to make our girls weekend an annual tradition.

The following year, we had intentions to do women’s winter retreat again, but it filled up before we were able to make our reservations. 

So we decided to try a ski weekend on the North Shore. We booked a vacation rental and planned on a day of downhill skiing at Lutsen Mountains and a day of cross-country skiing on the Sugarbush ski trails for our second-annual girls weekend. 

We lucked out with mild temperatures and a dumping of 10 inches of snow that made our ski day at Lutsen feel like we were in the mountains! Meanwhile, our cross-country ski trails were perfectly groomed, which made for an outstanding experience.

Although we might not be so lucky to get perfect conditions again, we all agreed we’d have fun together, no matter what we were doing!

I’ve come home from these weekends with my friends refreshed and recharged. 

If you’re in the thick of the baby years — or don’t have the finances or support to get away for a night or more — I encourage you to be creative and find ways to take a break closer to home. Maybe it’s dinner with friends or an afternoon or day trip. 

I think it’s important for our kids to see us having fun and doing something for ourselves.

Remember, if you’re a healthy and well-balanced individual, it can help you to be a better mother!


An Afternoon Adventure to North Hegman Lake

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Hegman Adventure - 9We were not expecting to come across something like this!Hegman Adventure - 9
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Monday afternoon I took an adventure into the BWCA  to the Hegman Lake pictographs.   This involved both skiing and skijoring for the 9 year old.  It is fun to make an outing like this at least once a year when the conditions are just right.

It was such a beautiful day!  


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We are in the peak of the ski racing season.  

This past week our daughter competed in the section ski race and qualified for the Minnesota State Nordic Ski meet which will be held next Thursday.  

Yesterday our  11 year old had his very first race.   He had fun and he did great!

We are proud of both of them!

 

 


Cold Snap

 

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It is COLD outside.

But we're not letting that keep us indoors all day. 

I am finally feeling better and enjoyed a bundled-up hike today.   We all got outside, whether that was skiing, sledding, hiking or snowshoeing. 

It is just the way we roll in our neck of the woods.

Stay warm friends!


Knitting, Reading and Skiing

Knitting, reading and skiing, those three words sum up the recreating that I have been able to enjoy over my winter break from school.    

Knitting:

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10755312736_IMG_6684I am working on a Brae Cove Tunic.   I like having a large mind-less project that I can just pick up and put down.   Knitting is a perfect accompaniment to long car rides, time spent in waiting rooms, watching movies and listening to audio books.    I am all geared up with my new Grey Duck Bag Comarket tote and collector bag which hold my gear and project perfectly.   

 

Reading:

I have been enjoying some books both audio books and in print.   Here's what I have been reading:

audiobooks:

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Becoming by Michelle Obama

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Resilient by Rick Hanson

books in print:

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Making Winter: A Hygge-Inspired Guide to Surviving the Winter Months by Emma Mitchell

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The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton

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The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings

(my current read-a-loud with the boys)

Skiing 

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Both nordic and alpine skiing have been extra special with all of the new fallen snow.  I have been having a lot of fun on my telemark skis, learning as I am going.   I have enjoyed several outings on my nordic skis as well.   

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It has been a good winter break.   I would love it if you would drop me a note and share what you have been keeping busy with too!

Cheers to you and yours as we venture into 2019!


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We have been enjoying time together outdoors on the weekends on the slopes at Giant's Ridge.  We are enjoying alpine skiing, snowboarding - and - this mama's new style: telemark skiing.

Zoe and I are spending time on the nordic trails as well.   We are having a lot of fun together and it is good for everyone to get away from the responsibilities of home and have a weekend day of fun.

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It certainly feels like December in kindergarten!   There is lots of energy and excitement.   In December I like to pull out some of my favorite projects and activities to share with the kids.   We are in the process of  hand sewing project with felt and buttons. This week my kids completed a winter birds project (I get a lot of inspiration from Patty Palmer's Deep Space Sparkle site) .   The Kindness Elves have also been visiting our classroom, this week the kids were inspired to make Christmas cards for residents of our local nursing home.   (I love this alternative to the elf on the shelf idea.)  

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James is continuing to make great progress on our sauna building.   We now have an installed stove, a sheet rocked wall and a door!   

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The nordic ski season has begun!  Our daughter competed in her first meet this past week and did great.   We are excited to cheer her on at our first home meet next week!

 

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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?