Thursday, October 4, 2012


My husband takes our daughters on a semi-annual Daddy/Daughter camping trip.  They've been going for 8 or 9 years now.  It started as out with one family who started getting together at a camp in Michigan as a way for cousins to get to know each other and has now expanded to add friends & their kids.  Last count was approximately 20 or so Dads and over 40 kids.  They do all the cooking, cleanup and everyone watches out for each others kids.  Kids range in age from 3 - 20somethings!  College kids still come out with their Dad's to camp.  (How cool is that?) 

The kids spend their time swimming, fishing, kayaking, frog catching, sitting around the campfire and more!  It is a great way for kids to spend their time!  My husband is the official "fish fillet-er" and apparently it's become a show for the kids.  They all rush into the kitchen to watch him fillet the fish and fry them up.  Kids who have never tasted fish before are excited to try it at camp. 

Anyway!  My post is entitled "Hiking".  My kids ask what I do when they're not around for the weekend.  I joke and say "absolutely nothing!"  I don't have to cook for anyone, drive someone somewhere or look for lost socks or shoes. 

This last time my Mom and I decided to go hiking.  We chose a place near my home that I haven't been to in awhile.  We went to the Chicago Portage National Historic Site.  (So close I could probably ride my bike there!)    What's so important about the Chicago Portage Site? 
Chicago owes its very existence as a city to the location of the Chicago Portage. Long
used by Native Americans, the portage was revealed to French explorers Pere Jacques
Marquette and Louis Jolliet in 1673. It provided an easy connection between the Atlantic
and the Gulf of Mexico by linking Lake Michigan with the Mississippi River. Jolliet
suggested then a that a short canal cut through the portage area would create a
vital transportation and trade connection.
It's also a very beautiful area.  Once you get back in the woods you don't even realize that you're right next to I55 and Harlem Avenue.  (Very, very busy area here in Chicago).  Very peaceful and if you're quiet you'll see some critters!

I love that there is history in this place.  To walk where Jolliet and Marquette walked once just amazes me.  Touching history.  Not to mention the beauty of the place.  I love to hike, especially with my Mother.  We really enjoyed ourselves while walking.  Talking about plants, animals, flowers, life and what's happening in our lives. 

Get out and explore your area!  You never know what treasures you'll find.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fall activities

I'm so behind on posting.  School started back up as did work for me.  No time to sit and chit chat.

This September we attended the River Thru History  We try to go every year.  This year we were a little disappointed with the low turn out of reenactors.  But we still enjoyed ourselves.

Love to walk around and learn about life during that time.

Only my teenager went with me on this trip.  Surprisingly she wasn't too busy and brought a friend along! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Simple Syrup

I love sun tea!  Visiting my Mom last week she had a jar of simple syrup in the fridge next to the iced sun tea.  She had infused her syrup with basil!  She's so smart!  It was so delicious.  Just a hint of basil in the tea was fantastic.

I decided that we needed some here at home!  I made a double batch.  2 cups of sugar to 2 cups of water.  Brought to boil on the stove - while mixing so that my sugar would disolve.  I poured 1 cup of syrup into my measuring cup to infuse with lemon.  To the syrup left in the pot I tossed in a handful of fresh picked basil and put the lid on.

First the basil

Next came the lemon

I forgot to take pictures of the finished product which I poured into canning jars.
They're sitting in the fridge nice & cold just waiting for that next cup of iced tea!

What a great way to sweeten your tea without that clump of
undisolved sweetener in the bottom of your glass.

My youngest daughter and the hubby like a bit of each in their glasses!

I have extra basil.  Thinking of making nut-free pesto and freezing
in ice cube trays.  Stay tuned!

Do you make simple syrup?  Have you thought about infusing it with something?

I have my eye on the lavendar in the yard.  Wondering......

Friday, July 13, 2012

Where I am:  In the office

What I hear:  The dog I'm watching for the weekend is pacing in my kitchen.

I am wearing:  Capri's, t-shirt - barefoot as of right now.

In my kitchen:   Nothing cooking yet. Just the coffee.

What I've been doing:  VBS week at church.  My kids have been volunteering.  I have been catching up on errands.  Much easier to do alone than with 2 kids in tow.

What I'm reading, listening, watching:  I'm restarting Made to Crave. 

How I'm taking care of my health:  Making better choices about what I put in my body.  Fresh, clean foods.  Lots of water.

Plans for the future:   My oldest daughter is starting high school NEXT MONTH!  I'm not so sure I'm prepared for this transition.  Not to mention she's been giving me a hard time lately.  I'm sure she's nervous as well.

My prayers:  For us to enjoy our summer together.  Not get to crazy about school starting. 

We're headed out to camp.  A new place - with a swimming lake.  Whoo hoo!  I'm excited.  Hope to share more next week.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Curiosity Cabinet

I've been a collector all my life.  Rocks, fossils, bones, feathers.... you name it.  People know this and bring me things.  Even people who don't know me send me things!  A co-worker of my husbands sent home a piece of petrified wood from the Holy Land told the hubby "women love rocks".  He knew.  I have a jar of rocks collected from all over the United States.  (I forgot to take a picture of that).  Not all my rocks fit in there, they're all over the house.  This is my (and the husbands) attempt at keeping my favorites in one place.

Here's the whole cabinet
This is our baptism picture along with rocks from the river where my entire family was baptized last summer!

My moon globe.

Shells from Sanibel & Captiva Island.

Bones, rocks, horseshoe crab, big pine cones....

Reminds me of all the adventures
 we've been on.

What do you collect and how do you have it displayed?
Snake skin (from our snakes) emu & ostrich egg from tour of ostrich farm in California.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I really should post something.....

Wow summer already!  Kids are out of school, we've gone camping once and 1 of my children is up at church camp this week.  The other goes at the end of the week.  Busy, busy, busy.  Thought I'd make a meme of sorts - that's what they're called right?

Where I am:  Home for now.  Specifically in my home office.

What I hear:  Birds outside the window, bubbling of the fish tank filter and the occasional car that passes by.

I am wearing:  Capri's, t-shirt and my new running shoes.

In my kitchen:   Nothing cooking yet.  I plan on putting some chicken breasts in the crockpot to cook then later assembling this: 
Oh, there is coffee brewing! 

What I've been doing:  Hauling my teenager to work.  (She'll bike from here on out since it's not terribly hot this week).  Dentist appointments, packing for camping, unpacking from camping.... we hope to camp much more this summer.  Driving to church camp.  Attempting meal planning.  Swimming in our pool. 

What I'm reading, listening, watching:  One Minute after You Die  excellent book!  Listening - mostly to KLOV in the car, since I seem to always be in the car!  Watching - Duck Dynasty!  I'm hooked.

How I'm taking care of my health: Portion control and clean eating.  I'm dressed to head out the door on my bike.  I may need a little push!

Plans for the future:   Something I need to seriously sit down and pray about.  We have much happening in our life right now that it's hard to think about the future.  More on that another time.

My prayers:  My children to be strong in the Lord.  Follow Him always and not let the world get them down.  My husband to remain strong and healthy despite a life threatening disease.

Well, that's it for now.  Perhaps with an outline I can blog more often.  Maybe, maybe not.   Only time will tell!

Monday, April 30, 2012


Really?  It's been that long since I posted?  Life has a way of getting in the way of blogging, I suppose. 

The hubby & I took a weekend trip a few weeks ago.  A marriage retreat in the north woods of Wisconsin.  It was wonderful!  We have a great marriage, but this has brought us closer together.

On the way home we decided to take a different route.  To follow the Wolf River down to the major expressway.  The hubby kept commenting about stopping and getting out near the Wolf to check it out.  (Water calls to him - it says "fish here!  fish here!)   We passed up a bridge that had people standing on top looking into the water.  Had to turn around quick and head back.   Getting out of the truck a woman approached us saying "Illinois?  You came all the way from Illinois?"   I was puzzled.  I explained we had been staying up north for the weekend and thought to stop along the Wolf on the way home.  She replied "Oh, so you haven't seen the news reports?"  Nope, no tv, nothing.   We were clueless.

Apparently we picked the perfect time to stop.  The state and the Menominee Indian Tribe had released sturgeons into that part of the river.  First time that a sturgeon had been in that area in over 100 years!  The weekend we happened to stop by was the spawning weekend.  I've never seen a big sturgeon before, only 12" long or so.  There were huge sturgeon in the river below the dam!  It was exciting to see.  As well as feel - the Menominee people were so excited and it was contagious! 

Read about it here: 

I think we need to make a trip back to Menominee!  I was excited to stop and learn all about the sturgeon.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

And the winner is.....

Sorry for the delay, we've had some technical difficulties here.

I asked my daughter to assist me in drawing a winner for the MaryJanes Farm back issue magazine and the chocolates. We employed a very scientific method to find a winner so of course my 10 year old had to tell me what to do....

We put all the names into her favorite hat.

She shook them up really good.Removed one entry from the hat.....

Showed me the winner! Pam - 22angel on MJF! Congrats Pam! Send me your address
so I can get your prize out to you!

Congrats! And thank you to all of you who played along. I hope to have some
more giveaways in the future.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

New neighbors moved in...

Parked their broken down trailer in my side yard. They sure are loud!
Chattering and singing all day long!

Their friends come and spend the day with them.
They're just as loud as the new neighbors.

We're thankful to have them!

Can't wait to see their babies sticking their little heads out the camper door!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Me? On Girl Gab?

I'm gushing! Seriously, being on the front page of Girl Gab has me so excited! So excited, I decided to do a giveaway!

It's my first - so bear with me.

Last May, MaryJane, Meg and some others from the farm, came to the Macy's store in Lombard, IL. I was too shy to stay afterwards and chat with them and the other Farm Girls who showed up. MaryJane & Meg were so friendly and down to earth! I was happy to go and listen and learn!

Anyway, They gave away some really great things. Some of which I'm going to giveaway here.

A back issue of MaryJanes Farm magazine - April/May 2011, a nice little flyer with MJ & Megs picture on it and a pack of 3 chocolate bars. Dark, Beyond Dark and Darkest.

Leave me a comment here to be added to the drawing. For extra entries leave separate comments with your farm girl number and if you subscribe to my blog!

I'll be drawing a winner on Valentines Day!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


My kids bought me show shoes for Christmas. Our weather here in Chicagoland has been so goofy! Mostly it's been in the upper 30's-40 degree weather. Lots of rain too. But on a (though it seems) rare occasion - we get snow!

I was finally able to test drive my snowshoes and I'm in love! I walked up and down the block while my husband snowblowed the neighbors walkways. It was dark and late so I didn't want to venture too far away. Who was watching our 10 yo anyway? I can't wait to take them out to the woods. Watching the weather ever so closely these days. Hoping and praying for a snow storm.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Desperate for an adventure

Seems like I'm spending my life in the truck. Driving one child here or there, then the other. While I have them in the vehicle, I thought we'd take a quick drive.... to Resurrection Cemetery. I know, I know, why take your kids to the cemetery? For one, the history. You can learn quite a bit and spark some curiosity about local/national legends who have gone on. Two - you can letterbox, in good weather. Three - you can see this:

I am seriously craving some adventure. I don't know how long the cemetery deer will hold me for. The bald eagles have returned to Starved Rock - I see a road trip in my future!!!