Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts

GOODBYE TECHI

July 12, 2013

We just returned from four days in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and a 2 day visit to Ely.  Initially our trip north was filled with lots of excitement because not only were we going to be able to relax for the first time in 2 years but we were also going to meet a fellow wolf advocate that I'd only had the pleasure of knowing through Facebook.  Unfortunately three hours into our 4 hour road trip things took a turn for the worst.

We had all four of our dogs with us and two of our chi's were going to stay at a kennel in Embarrass, MN (the other two were going to the BWCA).  About 15 minutes before we arrived at Black Wolf Kennels, which is where Lisa, a fellow wolf advocate and owner of the kennel lives, one of our male chi's (Techi) started having trouble breathing.  Lisa took one look at him and sent us to the Ely Vet Clinic just north of where she lives.  His tongue was bluish, he kept panting, it wasn't good.  Long story short, Techi didn't make it.  

Techi has a story (like all of my dogs), we bought him as a pup, the neighbor boy (spawn of satan) poisoned him, against the vet's advice and through my tears I begged Dr. Pomeroy to revive my little dog, which he did, and like the vet warned Techi was never the same again.  Fast forward 7 years and now we are standing in the middle of the Ely Vet Clinic and I'm being told once again, in the subtle way that vet's tell you, it is time to let my dog go.  Anyone who has had to put a pet to death knows how painful it is (and I say death and not sleep because death is what it is).   You're being "advised" to take life from another living being and it can really make a person physically ill.  It's the second time I've personally had to do it (Chelsea, another one of our chi's had a brain tumor) but this time I walked out before our dog was sedated and left my husband to deal with the rest.  I'm not good with death, never have been and never will be no matter if it is a human or an animal it always hurts and I never get over it.  
Then, to make matters worse, while we are going through the process of losing our  beloved chihuahua my daughter comes running into the exam room yelling that our female chihuahua Franny was dying.  She was holding a limp Fran in her arms so the vet scooped her up and began treating her immediately.   The initial diagnosis was possible seizure or stroke, I don't think there was ever any certainty about what it could be but it was touch and go as to whether she'd recover.   Fran did recover but had to stay behind for observation in Ely when we went into the BWCA (to avoid the stress).  
We've returned home now... one dog less.  Techi's energy has disappeared into the universe and all we have left of him are his ashes and our memories.  
R.I.P Techi boy


Techi meeting Gypsy
Techi lounging while Middy decorates his face with American Girl Doll Glasses


THANK YOU Lisa Fabish at Black Wolf Kennels for running a really great dog kennel (loved everything about it), taking awesome care of our Santi and for getting Techi excellent medical care.  I wish you and I were neighbors :-) You are a genuinely caring person! So happy we finally met face to face.  We will see you in a few months... 
 
I'll be back to post about the BWCA trip in a couple days.
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GYPSY vs. LEMON

June 29, 2013

I saw a funny video on YouTube showing various dogs fighting with a citrus fruit and so I thought I'd see how my dog Gypsy, the one that EATS EVERYTHING, would react to a lemon.




My Dog Gypsy


Gypsy didn't eat the lemon (even if she wanted to eat it I wouldn't let her - I'm sure it isn't good for dogs), she took one lick and what you see in the video was her reaction to it.
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STRAWBERRIES!!

June 25, 2013

If you can't grow your own do the next best thing... PICK SOMEONE ELSES!!

The family and I drove over to Sam Kedem's  Farm in Hastings yesterday and picked over 12 pounds of big juicy organic strawberries.  Sam is the only one I know that grows organic PYO fruits, at least within driving distance from my house so we visit his farm several times a summer to get blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.  Since I didn't get started until later in the evening I only canned 3 jars of strawberry jam.  As you can probably tell by my photo collage my jars have that ugly foamy swirl in them.  I've read in one of my Ball canning books that the foam can lessen the shelf life of the jam so I'll make sure to eat them in the next month.  I should have spent some time scraping off that frothy mess but I was just so darn excited to making jam again that I didn't pay attention to that last step.

Anyone have an opinion on the foamy stuff that appears when boiling the strawberries?  To what extent does it shorten the shelf life?



For anyone else that would like to try making strawberry jam I have two recommendations:

My friend Teresa turned me on to this ebook by her friend Robin.  It is very informative!  I've always struggled to find good canning books that are easy to understand for the beginner but also contain recipes that even the experienced canner will enjoy (once I get there); Robin's book is perfect!

The other "very easy" go to source for canning strawberries is this video:



I don't recommend the video for those wanting to learn about canning per se but more for those who just want to whip up a small batch of strawberry jam quickly without getting into all the details about canning.
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REVIVING THE BLOG

May 13, 2013

Starting with a random post about everything.

Well, in the last couple years I've been a complete failure when it comes to this blog.  I delete, undelete, delete, undelete, promise to post more regularly and then don't, promise again and fail once more. So... Here I go again.
I've held back on making a lot of posts just because there has already been something similar on another blog or website somewhere but I'm no longer going to let that hold me back.  I was talking to someone recently about handmade laundry soap and she asked if I ever blogged about it and I said no because there are numerous blog posts about it already, lots of links to great laundry soap recipes on Pinterest also.  This individual tells me that she never goes on Pinterest and doesn't have time to follow a bunch of blogs but if I wrote something about it she'd check it out.  Hmmmm... I thought.  So maybe it doesn't hurt too much to blog about something that's already out in cyberspace??? With that in mind, I guess I'll just blog about whatever the heck I want and if no one reads it, oh well, someone may find it useful.

So... as for random whatever's that someone else has probably already blogged about here goes nothing:

Midwest Shepherd's Harvest Festival 2013

Lama

Sheep Shearing





 Yana Pretending to Spin


Spinning Demo


Maya & Yana petting the angora rabbits


Lots of raw fiber


Creative Activities

I purchased a bunch of stuff too but I'll share that in a later post :D

I have to toot my own horn here.  I knitted a washcloth! Yes, yes, you can stop the applause.  The washcloth was easy but since I'm a wee bit "special" (ahem... perfectionist) it only took me a month to make just one O_O


Making candles! Lots and lots of candles!  I'm up to 20 so far.


New Addition to the Family

Last but should have been first, our beautiful little dog.  She came to live with us this winter and my husband is so in love with her.  She's not your typical American looking chihuahua, my husband says she's a Mexican version :-) I think she looks like a baby seal.  Here's Gypsy:


My next post will be a bit more coherent. 
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WINTER SOLSTICE 2012

December 21, 2012

Happy Winter Solstice Everyone!

The Solstice marks the Mayan rebirth and according to American Indian prophesy we are in the time of the 7th Fire.  

We humans are at a crossroads.  We can choose to continue down the path humanity has been traveling for decades or find a new direction, one where our thoughts and feelings are no longer controlled by the media and/or politicians but instead guided by our inner wisdom that tells us the difference between right and wrong.  It is time to treat all sentient beings as equals, recognize their value in this world and fight for their protection.

The choice is ours... we can walk into the new world the same people we were yesterday or we can be better.  


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WHO COULD HAVE KNOWN...

September 18, 2012

That my creative energy would return and I wouldn't even realize it.  Since August I've felt like a new person.  After turning 40 last year I fell into this nasty little funk and had no energy to write, craft, or even spend that much time in nature.  My summer began pretty poorly but before I knew it I was busy making cards, knitting, baking; all of a sudden I feel good again.  All I want to do is spin fiber, knit, poke around the garden - is it some kind of weird rebirth?  Who knows and who cares right?  As long as I am being productive and enjoying myself.
So my blog share is really just about what I've been up to.    Let's start with my garden:

PEAS: didn't turn out due to the insane heat we experienced this summer.

TOMATOES & ASPARAGUS:  stolen by one of natures creatures, likely deer and rabbits.

CUCUMBERS: due to my raspberry bush being grossly overgrown it swallowed up my cucumbers so I couldn't get to them without being attacked by a hoard of wasp (I learned my lesson about how closely I plant things).

STRAWBERRIES: looked healthy but didn't produce a single strawberry because of the early spring and refreeze we had.

APPLE TREES: still not producing apples.  I learned from an organic farmer that it's because I purchased the large apple trees and not the dwarf.  Apparently it may not produce for 3 more years.

PEANUTS: didn't grow - don't know why

BLUEBERRIES: deer ate them all down to little nubs.

LAVENDER: one bush died and the other is doing ok.

So what did turn out perfectly?  Shallots,  beans and raspberries!  This is the first year to plant shallots and beans and I've planted a raspberry bush a year for the past 4 years.  Thanks to my friend Teresa over at Homestead Notes (growing, writing, creating) and her advice on what book to buy I learned when to harvest the shallots and beans so not only did they grow well I was able to harvest them before they rotted.  My raspberries were in a happier mood than last year, producing and producing and producing lots of yummy fruit.  They must love heat!


And speaking of feeling creative, productive and having such an awesome friend, Teresa sent me a wonderful little package of goodies this past weekend.  The package included a recipe for pumpkin pineapple muffins, 3 little cloth bags with gifts inside, a pretty handmade card and this:


Colorful, interesting fiber to spin!  The pinkish fiber is cotton and the silky looking blue fiber is tencel.  I've never spun either so I'm looking forward to seeing how it spins.  

Thank you so much Teresa for the wonderful package and for knowing what I enjoy so well.

Now I'm off to knit :-)










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RENAISSANCE PROVES THE PEOPLE DON'T WANT A WOLF HUNT

August 19, 2012

Howling for Wolves had a booth at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival - Pet Fest Weekend - on Saturday, August 18 and Sunday, August 19 and the response about the Wolf Hunt is exactly what we all expected.  People do not want the wolf hunt/trap this November and they were very eager to sign the petition demanding that it be stopped.  Out of the hundreds of people that passed by the HFW booth I personally only came across 3 that were in support of the hunt/trap and their responses went exactly like this:
"The wolf is a son of bitch, they'll kill your animals for fun and won't even bother to eat their kill." (false - wolves have been known to get into a feeding frenzy where parts of a kill is wasted but that is very rare)

"I don't understand why you don't want the wolf hunted, their numbers are out of control and pretty soon they'll start attacking people." (false - our wolf population hasn't been counted since 2008.  At that time the numbers were a little over 2900 and the count was based on the discovery of scat, tracks, depredation and seeing wolves in the wild.  Why does the 2008 count not represent accurate numbers?  Imagine counting the poop of your dogs.  One dog can poop several times.  If my dog take a poop 6x's does that mean I have 6 dogs?  Tracks are also misleading because wolves can cover the same territory several times.  Seeing a wolf in the wild and identifying it as such is very difficult.  Most people confuse the coyote with the wolf.  Same goes for livestock depredation.  Wolves get the blame for livestock kill when in fact a coyote is responsible.  Now here we are in 2012 and with the loss of habitat, road kills, disease, poaching (one of which was recently prosecuted and written about in the Star Tribune) and controlled legal killings by certified trappers, farmers & ranchers - how many wolves actually exist in Minnesota today?  We aren't sure.)

"Trapping doesn't hurt a wolf.  Their foot goes numb in the trap and it is virtually painless so please stop telling people that trapping is inhumane." (false - an animal in a trap doesn't cry and bleed when no pain is present.  Wolves have been known to chew off their own foot to get free from a trap.  The man arguing that wolves feel nothing when trapped claimed the wolf chews its own foot only because there it has no sensation.  He said a wolf wouldn't chew off its foot if it had feeling.  For those of you who wonder if this is true... Aaron Ralston cut off his own arm to free himself when his arm was trapped by a boulder while out hiking.  He said he experienced excruciating pain while doing so.  A wolf and a man will remove a body part not because it doesn't hurt but because the desire to survive and be free is greater.)

For the record, does this look painless to you?

http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com/

One person did ask me if Wolves were native to Wisconsin because they believed that any species that were introduced to an area shouldn't be protected because they are a non-native species.  

The reintroduction of a wolf is not an introduction.  Wolves existed across the United States and were driven to the brink of extinction.  Minnesota is the only one of the lower 48 states that retained their original wolf population, the other states like Wisconsin needed a reintroduction of the species, which has fought their way back to good numbers.  

I came across a couple of hunters that were against hunting the wolf.  They were big deer hunters but think hunting the wolf is very wrong and they were happy to sign the petition requesting it be stopped.  Although I'm not a hunter I could identify with those two men for several reasons.  I come from a long line of hunters.  My family loved to hunt deer, waterfowl and small game like rabbit (some still do).  One of my earliest memories is seeing deer strung up in the backyard on our family property in Bemidji Minnesota.  There wasn't any "sending" the deer off for processing back then, the women in the family took care of that.

Being against wolf hunting has nothing to do with being against hunting in general.  My grandfather taught his children and his children taught their children that trophy hunting, which is the real reason people hunt the wolf (and bear), is for cowards.  My grandfather killed a bear once in self defense and he made it clear that he never felt good about it.  He believed as does the rest of my family that if you can't utilize all of what you hunt then you have no business killing it and although many hunters see hunting as a sport, my grandfather didn't, he was a man who lived off the land and that didn't include killing animals for their skull and pelt.  Minnesota's wolf hunt is about money, pure and simple (isn't all destruction of biodiversity about money) and Howling for Wolves is working diligently to stop it.

One of Howling for Wolves volunteers educating visitors to the booth on why the 
wolf hunt isn't necessary.



Our mama wolf showing the littles ones that there is no such thing as the "big bad wolf."



Let's not go back to this Minnesota:



My daughter as a peasant girl working at the Renaissance (I just had to throw this one in because I think she's so darn cute in that peasant girl outfit).




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RUNNING OUT OF TIME...

August 16, 2012

That is all I kept thinking about today.  We are running out of time to save our wolves.  The hunt begins in November and although it seems like a lifetime away it's really just around the corner.  The leaves are already beginning to change from a bright green to a dull yellow which means fall isn't far away. 

Once the leaves begin to drop it won't be long and we'll be hearing about all the dead wolves being dragged into the DNR for inspection; not looking forward to the pictures that will emerge.  It is hard to comprehend how someone can save an animal from the brink of extinction and then shout "hey, they bounced back, now let's kill 'em."  It is insane. 

Well, we are doing our best to stop it.  As I told my daughters - if we sit and do nothing, the hunt/trap season is sure to happen, if we get up off our asses and try to make a difference then maybe the wolves will have a chance.  Here we are getting off the couch.  We spread ourselves out on Summit Avenue in front of the Govenor's mansion (since the Governor does have the power to stop this hunt/trap).  This fight isn't over - we'll be handing out information on the hunt and how you can help stop it at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival during Pet Fest weekend (August 18 & 19) so if you are in Minnesota make sure you drop by.
 (check out the press release about the protest at the Governors Mansion HERE)


My daughter Maya


Howling for Wolves founder Maureen is in the red jacket on left (awesome lady)



My daughter Yana

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MINNESOTA SHEPHERDS HARVEST

May 14, 2012

We hit the great Shepherds Harvest Fiber Festival over Mother's Day weekend.  Lots and lots of fun things too see; angora rabbits & goats, llama, alpaca, and sheep.  We ate fried pickles dipped in horseraddish sauce and fried walleye.  The Shepherds Harvest and the State Fair are the only two places I'll eat fried anything. LOL!
Here is Aiyana learning how to spin.


One of the many angora rabbits.  This one is a french angora just like our bugs.  I never let buggsies coat get that thick though which is why I don't have much angora to knit with.

Lots of fiber supplies.


Middy enjoying the animals.


How sad is this.  I've dreamed of having an alpaca farm and yet I can't tell you if this is an alpaca or a llama.  That's ok though.  After learning about all the work involved with these little creatures I won't be buying livestock anytime soon.




This is called skirting.  I'm not entirely sure what that means since we missed the demo but there was a sign on the side that said "skirting."  My fiber lingo, unfortunately, is very limited but... I'll get there some day.


I'll blog about what I purchased next : )  Lots of fun stuff.
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TO PIERCE OR NOT TO PIERCE...THAT IS THE QUESTION

May 5, 2012

I recently took my 16 year old to get her nose pierced.  The response to having actually allowed my teenage daughter to pierce any part of her face other than her ears is quite interesting.  I'm the cool mother to  my daughters friends and those working at the piercing shop but among other mothers whose teen daughters now want their noses pierced after seeing my daughter, I'm not so awesome.
I remember my own mother had rules about such things.  I wasn't allowed to pierce or tattoo anything, I wasn't even allowed to wax my eyebrows or dye my hair, but that's a whole other topic.  I got my first tattoo when I was 18 and managed to hide it from mom until I was 21.  I got my nose pierced when I was 26 and displayed it proudly (it took me that long to stop fearing the wrath of my mother).  I decided when my children came along that I'd be a little bit more open minded.  I would never sign for a tattoo but I think nose piercings are really cute (and luckily not permanent).




I also like ear piercings.  In my husbands culture babies get their ears pierced within 3 days of birth.  Since  midwives and OB/Gyn's aren't really accustomed to that practice I had my oldest child's ears pierced down in Mexico by a family friend when she was 6 weeks old.  Our second child had her ears pierced at 8 weeks old by our pediatrician.  When our last child came along I had decided I'd let her decide if and when she wanted her ears pierced.  Well, shortly after turning five she said she wanted earrings like her big sisters.  I made her wait until she received her vaccines and told her if she could take the pain of the vaccine then I'd let her get her ears pierced.  So, she took the three shots like a trooper and we got her ears pierced.  She did NOT take the ear pain experience like a trooper but she loves her earrings and made me promise she'd never have to take them out :)


As for my 16 year old...

Yesterday she says "if I'd known this piercing was so high maintenance I wouldn't have done it" (referring to the number of times she has to clean it every day).  I guess we'll see how long it lasts :D



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COUNTING THE YEARS...

April 19, 2012

It is hard to believe that today is the fifth anniversary of my mothers death. I remember when my mom would count the years after her own parents passed and now here I am doing the same. After losing my sister, watching my mother die was the second hardest thing I have ever experienced in my life and can only hope nothing equally as painful ever comes my way again. 



The death of a loved one is life altering in so many ways. I remember after my mothers third heart attack and struggle with breast cancer I'd try to imagine what life would be like without her. It was a defense mechanism in a way. If I prepared for the loss then maybe, just maybe, it wouldn't be quite so painful. Of course I was wrong. No one is ready to lose someone they are so attached to.

One of the biggest internal struggles I had after my mom died was trying to decide how to honor her life and mourn the loss. We have somewhat of an eccentric family (you may have noticed that already by some of my posts :). My mother was raised 7th Day Adventist but ran screaming from the church when she was 18 (not literally, just figuratively). By my own choice I've had lots of experience with Lutheranism, Catholicism, Judaism and Buddhism. Before my mother died she shared with me what she had settled on as her spiritual beliefs and they didn't involve religion. She wanted to be cremated and didn't want anyone coming to mourn her that wasn't a presence in her life when she died.

While sitting with a Hospice Chaplain it came to me. My mother believed in God but she didn't care for religion. She loved nature in all its forms (she could identify every tree, plant and wild berry by name), she raised her children to value all living things and she cherished all the childhood memories she had of her families experience with the Native Americans.

I decided I wanted someone from the Native American community to help me say goodbye to my mother, someone who understood how our family felt not only about my mother but about the earth, its inhabitants and the feeling of loss; but I had feared finding such a person wouldn't be easy. Of course, in traditional Michelle fashion, I marched over to Franklin Ave. in Minneapolis and started looking for "the" person. It should be of no surprise that I was met with a lot of skepticism. It isn't easy going into the Native American community asking someone to conduct a service for your dead mother and it certainly wasn't easy for the Native people to grasp such an idea. As usual though, everything worked itself out. I was very fortunate to find the person I was looking for in the form of Clyde Bellecourt.

Clyde is one of the original founders of AIM (American Indian Movement), a civil rights organizer and a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe here in Minnesota. It is ironic really that he turned out to be what I call my "savior" in the midst of everything I was going through at that time because I had read about Clyde and AIM many times over the years. Clyde, we had discovered, was a friend of my daughters God father. He graciously offered to do a "Wiping of Tears Ceremony" for our family and moms closest friends, all that he required in return was a can of tobacoo (a specific type) used to carry prayers and wishes of our family to the Creator and to cleanse us of any spiritual negativity. Clyde, his niece and great nephew performed the ceremony together.

Again, another odd coicidence, I chose the Minnesota River Valley as the location for the ceremony and it turned out that the Native Americans lived along the river valley prior to Euro-American settlers arriving. We love that particular area because my mother would take our children there for long walks and to teach them how to identify medicinal plants and wild berries. Did she know it's history? Probably.

During the ceremony it was the first time I really felt at peace with all that had occurred. Clydes niece had prepared a bag full of juniper for me to burn in the days after the ceremony to clear my heart and my home of any sadness. We concluded the ceremony with every individual present releasing a single monarch butterfly into the sky. It was a good ending to what had been my mothers life. When I was little my mother told my sister and I the story of how a Native American woman saved my great grandfathers eye sight when he was just a boy and then there we were with Clyde and his family, them helping us heal and move foreward.

I am eternally grateful for what Clyde and his family did for me and my family five years go. There isn't a day that goes by when I think of my mother that I don't think of Clyde, his niece and nephew too. It is the kindness of others that have helped me live with my mothers death to this day.
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THE CANNING EXPERIMENT, PLUS!

September 1, 2011

I haven't found much time to blog lately but I hate just leaving the place to gather dust so I thought I'd post a quick one. I've been pondering the idea of deleting the blog again. The reason being, I think if I have to struggle to organize time so that I can get on here and write something then maybe it just isn't something
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BUCKET LIST: BOUNDARY WATERS CANOE AREA

July 21, 2011

On July 10 my family and I took a trip to the Boundary Waters in Ely, MN. This was our 2nd time visiting the area. The first time was in February this year for a dog sledding trip and this time around it was for some canoeing. I've always wanted to (#1) canoe in the Boundary Waters and (#2) swim in one of the beautiful BWCA lakes but neither my husband or I could read a topography map very well, much less use a compass so... we got lucky.
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ART TO HELP THE GRAY WOLF

July 20, 2011

My daughter Maya and her friend Kim have started a new blog called GENERATION OF THE WOLF. They plan on using the blog to share their thoughts about wolves and to sell their drawings in order to raise money for the International Wolf Center in Minnesota.
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WILL THE LANDSCAPER FIX THIS? OR DARE I WONDER, IS OUR BEEKEEPING VENTURE DONE?

May 21, 2011

Hard to imagine that within hours of "fixing" our backyard water issues the yard is once again flooded. After going to bed with this:
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LANDSCAPING, ISN'T IT FUN!

May 20, 2011

Our water issues are solved... at least I hope so. This is the first time we've ever used a landscaper and I'm glad we did. Since we moved into our home the backyard has been one big pain after another. First we had to remove numerous dead trees and way too many buckthorn to count, second was the rock. Rock, rock,
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MN RALLY DAY: LABEL GMO!

March 27, 2011

We had a good turn out at the rally for the right to know. Lot of great speakers and creative signs. I was surprised at how many people are TRULY dedicated to this cause especially on Saturday when it was only in the 20's, we were all freezing our butts off, but... we were all happy to be there fighting for what we believe in.
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BUCKET LIST: WINTERGREEN DOGSLEDDING

February 28, 2011

When you make travel a family event you need to find the perfect place. One that not only provides entertainment but SAFETY. I've always been amused by dogsledding, just didn't have the nerve to try it. All I could think about is how cold those mushers must be. I like winter, but not to the point that I want to sacrifice warmth for entertainment. Plus, my only reference for dogsledding are the movies I've seen and
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I FINALLY DID THE NETI POT

January 22, 2011


For over a year now my friend Angie has been trying to convince me to try the "neti pot." I had read a little bit about it several years ago but the thought of running water through my sinuses brought back bad memories of the time I almost drown, 
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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

December 31, 2010

I almost forgot to blog "HAPPY NEW YEAR" to all of you in cyberland. I cannot believe it is already New Years Eve. I'm not one for cocktails or clubbing, the hubby and I don't care for alcohol and big crowds, so we are hunkered down at home for the night with the kids. Possibly sitting up til midnight to watch that ball thingy come down in New York City (not sure exactly why we do that).
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