Gardening gamechanger.

31 May

I bought gardening overalls and it has changed my life.

Okay. Dramatic much. It has changed my GARDENING life.

Here’s how it happened: I saw a facebook photo with my sister-in-law in overalls. She and my Alaskan brother recently bought a farm in WI and she’s out pruning her fruit trees and planting Christmas trees in her overalls. And I thought to myself: huh. Overalls. I forgot about overalls. They make complete sense.

Facebook obviously read my thoughts because suddenly there were overall ads all over my feed. Duluth Trading Company sells gardening overalls. And I was sold.

Loads of pockets. Space to insert knee pads (haven’t gone that extreme yet). Snaps to roll them up to capris. A fabric that mulch or dirt doesn’t cling to.

They’ve seen me through a lot of hours outside already this season. Tearing up hostas, planting a new cut flower garden, spreading twelve yards of mulch. Gamechanger.

Game. changer. I now better understand what my Dad and Grandpa Sid saw in their blue-and-white-striped wardrobe all those years on the farm.

Oh yes. They also have gnomes.

Camping is back!

22 May

It was the (nearly) perfect weather weekend to book a non-electric site at Hartman Creek State Park in Waupaca.

We’ve been hiking here once and knew it was a place we’d like to land for a long weekend. State parks are our favorite for camping but do require some advance planning. We booked this weekend back in January to make sure we could make it happen.

The weekend was filled with ticks, carbon monoxide, and lovely moments.

… did I get your attention with carbon monoxide?

We set up camp Thursday evening, went for a short hike, and ate supper. We sat around the campfire on this still night, making the dogs lay on towels – instead of the ground – at my feet so as not to encourage ticks to jump on board.

The fire was diminishing when Emmett tried to get up. But couldn’t. His hips failed him and he went back to the ground. Soon his head was on the ground; he seemed unable to lift it.

Here’s what you need to know: Dave listens to podcasts constantly when driving. One of his favorites is Stuff You Should Know. He quickly realized – thanks to a podcast he’d heard – that Emmett was possibly suffering from an excess of carbon monoxide. It’s a heavy gas; Emmett was laying on the ground. It was a still night; no wind to blow the smoke.

Dave carried Emmett to fresh air, away from the fire, and slowly, he returned to his old self. He lifted his head, tail started to wag, and he rolled to his back for a belly rub. A scary welcome to Camping Season 2023.

Other than that and the ticks (ew), the weekend was glorious. Dave did some extensive hiking on the Ice Age Trail that runs through the park. We spent some time on the patio at our favorite little brewery, HH Hinder. Many games of Farkle, naps, and coffee outside in the morning.

Dave had plans to make a quick trip to Sturgeon Bay to pick up a pinball machine (Is anyone surprised? I’m not.) and the dogs and I rode along. We stopped at Potawatomi State Park for a couple hours of hiking along the bay, and had a delicious lunch at a bistro/dairy along the route.

We stopped at Dave’s sister’s for a couple hours. I brought some cookies to decorate; Elizabeth’s a pro and three-year old Abby loved the piping bag!

Next up: Bong – a state recreation area that’s 45 minutes from home (and within my work territory so I can work from the camper) – in two weeks. We have camping reservations sprinkled through the summer and into fall; here’s to a fun camping season.

The pups; Emmett with some poorly placed face fur.
The Ice Age Trail is marked by painted yellow swatches on the trees.

Little joys.

6 Mar

Life has been plump full of little joys lately, as evidenced in my camera roll. (Or perhaps I’m becoming more keen at noticing little joys that really have been there all along? #deepthoughtswithlindsay)

For a couple weekends, a couple weeks ago, I pulled out the hearty sourdough starter. It’s been in the fridge, resting, for a long time. I found a no-knead sourdough recipe from King Arthur Flour that makes a tasty, easy loaf of bread. Super delicious. It requires the starter to do all of the lifting; no yeast added. Proud sourdough starter moment!

Speaking of bread, I think I’ve shared with you that Dave enjoys a good bagel. Living near NYC for a brief time in his (pre-Lindsay) life has spoiled him to all bagels available here. We thought we had perfected the at-home bagel … and then we tried a new recipe from Molly Yeh’s new cookbook. It calls for high gluten flour (we subbed bread flour) and barley malt powder, so it’s a bit more specialized. But boy oh boy can you taste the upgrade.

You all. I joined a wine club. It was a crazy holiday special thing but since then, I’ve stuck with it. And by stuck with it, I mean I get a delivery of six bottles of wine every 12 weeks. (Nothing too crazy! I average about 2 bottles a month.) I don’t drink a whole lot BUT this means what I do drink is yummy. Before I would stand in front of the wine at the store and randomly pick something that I may or may not end up liking. This way, they ‘curate’ (a-hem) a shipment just for me. It brings joy.

I have taken a few cookie decorating classes over the last couple months and am trying my hand at practicing my cookie skills. My mom posted a gnome cookie on facebook, Dave printed a cookie cutter on his 3D printer, and I got to work.

(Are we noticing these are all food related? Hmm.)

We now have a puzzle table at our house. Slowly placing a couple pieces a day. It’s an Easter themed puzzle so we’ve got about 5 weeks …

We spruced up our laundry room and attached bathroom but perhaps that will be another post. But here’s a cute dog soaking up some winter sun from his always-perch on the back of furniture –

Einstein doing what he does best –

12 Dec



25 Oct

The joke at our house is often that I don’t have friends. It’s a joke because it’s not true but – also in reality – I have no LOCAL friends. Dave has made oodles of pinball peeps; he has people over on a weekly basis or is going to pinball events with his pinball friends. I have coworkers that are lovely and social on occasion. But I have no “let’s go see this movie” or “let’s take a pottery class” friends.

So I have no local friends. But the list of really, really spectacular people I consider to be friends is long. I’ve been reminded of that recently.

In the middle of September, I attended my 20th high school class reunion. Whoa. 20. But I didn’t just go to the reunion. Kim and Kris – twins with whom I’ve been friends since, oh, first grade – and I rented a cabin (at the campground we all used to work at) for the weekend. We went to our friend Jenni’s childhood home for a birthday bonfire in her driveway Friday night. (Not unusual behavior for us as high schoolers.) The next day, we attended our reunion where we saw lovely people and added Dancing Banana Lynn to our list of friends who gathered. (That made for 5 of 7 Dancing Bananas gathered, missing our Texan and DC-er.)

(AND THEN, that night, Kim and I built a campfire BY OURSELVES. We were so proud. We sat by it long enough to eat a s’more and then retired to our cabin. Where all three of us climbed the narrow, steep stairs to sleep on thin mattresses in the loft, slumber-party style.)

Fast forward to this past weekend when I jam-packed two days with meet-ups in Minnesota and northern WI. I saw my Dawson-turned-Owatonna friends for dinner. When I first met Aaron and Sabrina in Dawson while I was on internship, I became best buds with their son, Carter, who was, oh, three at the time? He’s now 15 with a learner’s permit. Oy.

The next day, I had coffee at the farm with Marilyn, the admin at Red Oak Grove, the church I used to serve. From coffee, I went to lunch with best-pastor-friends JD and Paige. From lunch, I drove to an early supper with college friends, Amanda and Deb. (Who, after calculations, I’ve known for TWENTY years now, first meeting while I lived across the hall from them in the freshman dorm.)

The following day, I started for home, making a stop in Menominee to visit an aunt and uncle and their NEW PUPPY. We had a delicious lunch, lots of puppy laughter, and then – sadly – it was time to make for home.

… when I met the friendliest people due to my flat tire on the side of the interstate.


News flash: I can’t change a tire.

Updated news flash: They don’t like you to change a driver’s side tire on the side of the interstate anyways. Mr. State Trooper told me so.

I called Dave, freaked out momentarily, before googling local towing companies. The first call was answered and he said he’d be on his way. I maybe had to wait, oh, 20 minutes? Mr. Tow Truck Man arrived and loaded my car onto his flatbed. He was super friendly and made bunches of phone calls to find an open tire shop on a Sunday because my donut spare would not get me the rest of the way. We’ll focus on his friendliness and helpfulness … not the fact that his tow truck had no passenger seat belt and that he was spitting his chewing tobacco into an empty gas station coffee cup as he drove. Nevermind that.

The state trooper that pulled up behind me before the tow truck arrived and approached my passenger window was also the friendliest. I was a bit frazzled at the moment. My phone was ringing with Dave and the Mr. Tow Truck Man and I couldn’t get my audio book to stop playing and cars were zooming by … I apologized for my frazzled state and the trooper kindly responded, “It’s okay. You’ve got a lot going on.” Indeed.

Mr. Tow Truck Man found that Farm and Fleet was my only tire option and so he towed my car there. I was grateful; in an afternoon of chaos, Farm and Fleet is a known entity in my life. I could comfortably sit at F&F and compose myself while they work on my tire (which could be patched, thankfully). I could do that. The service gentleman behind the counter was maybe in his early 60s and kind as kind can be. He had heard my story from Mr. Tow Truck Man and knew I had a bit of travel time still ahead of me. He himself personally re-torqued my tires (Is that the right language? I don’t know. Close enough?) and sent me on my way; he awkwardly paused outside my driver’s side door and wished me well.

Of course I had sewing with me as I waited.

I made it home just after 9pm, about four hours delayed.

I went straight to bed, grateful for splendid friends and friendly people.

Recipe Round-Up

9 Aug

Here are a few things we’ve tried – and a few I have in the docket.

I made change-your-life-chicken tonight. It’s a game-changer. We’ve made it a handful of times with whatever we have on hand AND we’ve actually started to make it with frozen chicken thighs. It’s not too often we buy fresh chicken, mostly opting for the convenience of frozen. (Plus, our beloved Aldi – where we do our weekly shopping – does not carry fresh bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs.) But here’s the deal – we think it’s just as good. I made it tonight, as it was finally cool enough to open the windows and turn off the air conditioning; I thought, hey, let’s heat the house up with a 500 degree oven. (I’ve actually been toying with the idea of making it in the Traeger on hot nights. Still to come.) Tonight I used sweet potatoes, red potatoes, carrots, onion, and green beans I picked up from the farm stand down the road (because my green beans remain only an inch long – slowest growing season EVER here by the lake).

Last week, Dave and I attended a local Kenosha Kingfish baseball game, complete with tailgate beforehand. My work offered employees two free tickets so a bunch of the hospice team + families gathered to tailgate before the game. As luck would have it, I stumbled across a dessert blog a couple days prior and suddenly knew exactly what I wanted to take to share. DESSERT CUPS aka dessert in a small disposable cup. They were pretty simple to make, perfect to take to a tailgate, super cute, and DELICIOUS. Even Dave – I-can-say-no-to-dessert-Dave – loved them. I made two batches – cookies and cream & strawberry crunch. The blog has a ton of fun flavor combos.

I’m hoping to have time this weekend to give this a go – bagel bread. Dave loves a good bagel but making his own is time-consuming. I kind of hope that this bread with be an adequate stand-in when we don’t have individual-bagel-making-time available. PLUS – if you read through the recipe – I will get to dump a loaf of bread dough into a boiling water bath. Could be fun. If Jennifer Garner can do it, I’ll certainly give it a whirl.

This birthday cake babka remains on my list of want-to-tackle, along with any type of macaron. We also just used our last jar of homemade pasta sauce. DANGER. DANGER. If the tomatoes in the garden would ever ripen, we’ll be canning some more. MUCH more. (We planted, like, a million tomato plants this year with the hopes that we can become a pasta-sauce-canning-factory.)

We went on a trip.

26 Jul

Michigan is lovely. I had some idea but not a complete understanding of how very lovely until after our week there earlier in July. The dogs stayed back and we enjoyed a road trip up the coast and home through the upper peninsula.

We took the USS Badger car ferry from Manitowoc, WI to Ludington, MI. I don’t love boats; this was not a whole hearted exception. It was okay but not necessarily my favorite part of the travels.

From there, we drove north discovering cute harbor towns, biking through Sleeping Dune National Lakeshore, picking cherries, and eating lunch out of a cooler. It was low key and super fun.

We met up with many of Dave’s family for three nights in St.Ignace. This included a day trip to Mackinac Island where Dave and I biked around the island and ate fudge samples. We spent time on the many beaches of Lake Heron, picnicked in parks, and swam in the hotel pool.

It’s a BIG boat that holds approx. 140 vehicles.
Looking for Petoskey stones.
Sleeping Bear dunes.
We happened upon Traverse City in cherry season. Dave was thrilled. We even picked our own at one stop.
A ‘mushroom house’ in Charlevoix.
Seven miles into our bike around Mackinac island.
Where’s Dave? Matching the couch in the Grand Hotel.

Kitchen game-changer.

21 May

It feels like such a little thing but it also feels like such a win.

Do you have bunches of recipes torn from magazines, printed from the internet, copies from family and friends? Come on. I can’t be the only one.

They were folded in a stack in a drawer and the chaos of it kind of made me crazy.

So I bought a binder. And a bunch of page protectors. Viola. Recipe binder. (They totally sell ‘recipe binders’ on Amazon but I like my budget $4 version.)

When I meal plan for the week (when I’m organized enough to meal plan … which isn’t every week), I can look through and pull out any recipe we’ll be using. The page protector saves the recipe from any splatter. It works for us.

Dave’s bagel recipe and its many revisions.

We also use an index card system. That’s not new but something we’ve used for a long while. Simple favorite recipes that don’t require fancy instructions or lots of words get an index card on a book ring.

A tiny macaron obsession.

3 Apr

I’ve tried many times over the years to make a French macaron cookie. I’ve tried many times … and failed.

Enter Sur La Table virtual cooking classes and the one Saturday afternoon they offered a course on pistachio macarons. I joined 83 other bakers in a zoom video chat as we learned the basics of the delicate sandwich cookie.

That course, combined with three other attempts in the last week, has gotten me farther than I’ve gotten before with egg whites, almond flour, and sugar. I have succeeded in baking the cookie with consistent “feet” – the wrinkly bottom edge, a must have with macarons. Win! However, they’re hollow. And they shouldn’t be. Many more batches, trial and error, and following a super-intense-macaron-baker-facebook-page will hopefully get me there.

In the meantime, I have two Tupperware containers full of macaron trials in my freezer. They’re not perfect but they still taste good. My coworkers are about to have their pick of French sandwich cookies. (Because what else does one do with so many cookies?)

Vacation sewing.

20 Mar

Don’t be confused. I don’t mean sewing on vacation (at least not this time). This is sewing FOR vacation. We’re anticipating a week in Florida in mid-April and have been looking forward to the beach, time away from work, and chill time. We’ll be meeting up with my brother/sister-in law and their two kiddos to rent a house on 30A, a stretch of highway between Destin and Panama City Beach.

It can’t come fast enough. We haven’t had a week away since … early September? I’ve been working full weeks but for a few three-day-weekends and I am ready for a bit of a break. Enter vacation anticipation. This time around, I’m anticipating vacation by sewing.

First up — a countdown chain. A fabric, REUSABLE countdown chain. This isn’t construction paper but quilted layers of fabric with snaps. (Hey. I learned how to do snaps!) I’ve had this pattern from Maker Valley for forever and finally decided to tackle it. Right now, it will count down the days until Florida. Then, snap it back together and we’ll pick something else to count down. It’s good to have exciting things on the horizon.

Peeps on Instagram have been posting photos of the yarrow clutch (a pattern by noodlehead) and I decided that was next. It will be my purse while away. I don’t need to carry much and it’s easily thrown in a larger bag if needed (see next project). I made one … and then decided to make a second with some improvements. The rainbow stripe one has an added snap on the front pocket and an added zipper pocket on the back, in addition to interior zipper and card slots like the first.

THEN I was thinking I needed a larger-ish bag for the airport. I combed through sotakhandmade’s Etsy store (a favorite go-to for patterns) and decided on her Kensington tote. For fabric? An ode to former home, Austin, I found Spam fabric. It’s got bunches of zipper pockets, a recessed top zipper that opens wide, polka dot interior fabric and will be large enough for my clutch, water bottle, book and snack. I finished it up just today.

What’s next? No idea. I think that may be all the vacation sewing I can think of right now.

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