No Place Like Home

The term “home” has lots of meanings these days. We have been busy the past few weekends. Last weekend we were out of town. I had Sunday to hang out in the Twin Cities before traveling back to our home in the country. Saturday night my husband and I had supper at a quaint, little Indian restaurant. We haven’t been able to have that since we moved. It was yummy! I had the chance to have breakfast at Panera Bread the next morning, visit Trader Joe’s for some goods, hang out at Starbucks and have lunch at Noodles and Co. These are all things we had in Mankato but are no longer near us. What a treat!

Home is also a local restaurant we are now regulars at and visit often. We are on a first name basis with the staff. Thy know what we drink. We are chatty and catch up when we visit. We love the food but even more than that, we love the atmosphere. It’s homey and familiar to us.

Home is our residence, they place we come home to at the end of the day. We have had old friends visit recently and stay with us. It is great to host and entertain, be able to show our friends our new world, and share the familiar stories and laughs.

Soon home will have another meaning – Home is where the heart is…and no matter where we are my husband and I are still home with each other.

Enjoy home wherever you are!

Bitter Cold

I think the weather has been a part of many recent posts but there isn’t much else to talk about in winter in MN – except the Vikings. SKOL!

This past week was brutal and we have at least four more days of this crap. Besides the cold it seems to be exceptionally windy lately. Being outside is hard. The cold hurts your face. Everything takes longer too. Longer to warm your car, longer to get places (you have to drive slower) and longer to do things (more clothes in the way and we just move slower in this weather).

This morning it was my turn to move snow. Fortunately for us we have a plow on our ATV. I have my doubts that it was above zero when I ventured out mid morning. The machine started hard, but it did start. That’s a blessing. I’m short in stature. I have to stand up to plow otherwise I can’t see ahead over the front and I usually have to lean forward too. The cold air was making my eyes water and my lashes were instant icicles. Up and down the driveway I buzzed. It went pretty quick I guess. It could have been worse.

So for the rest of the day – a pot of chili and some wood in the fireplace.

This was what I dealt with on the way to work on Thursday – snow and ice.

Mystery Solved

We are going on month 7 since our move and making good adjustment to our new normal. The past month has been exceptionally cold with long streaks in negative temperatures. Temps have been frigid with wind chills in the -30 to -50 at times. This morning was no exception.

For months we have been on the hunt for a missing box. My husband and I have had several conversations about it. We know roughly the time frame in the move it would have been packed and loaded. We know what was in the box, the closet it came from at the old house, etc. it has been no where to be seen. We have back tracked our steps, looked in every odd place possible, gone back through areas that have been previously unpacked and revisited every storage space and closet in the house.

The boxed container winter gear. These are things that have been much needed in prior weeks – winter parkas, heavy boots, etc. It has been frustrating.

Magic happened today.

We have cleaned and rearranged our garage several times since our move. Many of the things that remain in there belong in our shop which is not completed. We have opened kids, renamed boxes and reorganized. Even though we had done all those things the box still eluded us. That finally ended today.

Like magic, it appeared. We will never know how many times we moved it or moved things around it without looking inside. Now we have our cold winter gear – even though we have already survived weeks of these frigid temps; now that the weather is supposed to hit double digits tomorrow for the first time in a while. Oh well, there is always next year, or next month, or next week. After all, this is Minnesota.

Old is New

I was reading a story on Facebook recently. My cousin was talking about a magic potion she used to get her daughter’s soccer pants clean. It was Grandma’s Spot Remover. It’s been around a while. I bought mine at a fabric store. It got a red Starburst melted candy out of a bite denim jacket for me once. The stuff is amazing. The post started a conversation around other laundry challenges.

I recall recently having a conversation with a coworker on this same topic. I mentioned the soap I used to use to clean my son’s baseball pants. I will never understand why little league programs issue white pants. I think it’s to see if parents are made of the right stuff to raise an athlete. Anyway I told my coworker about Fels Naptha bar soap. “Never heard of it” she said. Most people haven’t. I was told about it in the early baseball years from another mom. This was her third child in baseball. She already had a baseball and softball player and she swore by this stuff.

For the next ten years I carried around a bar of that soap with me in a plastic container with a lid. It went to every game and tournament with me. I can remember a few times being in a hotel laundry room with it – rubbing it down the pant legs of ten pair of pants before throwing them in the washing machine. Our kids looked so good. White pants on Sunday.

Now, to the old part. According to FrugalSOS “els-Naptha soap has stood the test of time. It has been around for over 100 years.  It was in the Fels family until 1964 when it was sold to Purex. It used to come in not only bar  form, but in liquid, granule and chips form (Gentle Fels, Instant Fels, Speedy Fels) as well. It’s manufactured by Henkel Consumer Goods Inc. It now has the Purex logo on the packaging. It’s often over-looked in the laundry aisle. But once you see the vintage looking label, you’ll easily recognize it.”

The best part is you can buy a bar of this for under $1.00. I only went through 2 bars in the 10 years of little league, traveling and high school baseball. It was worth it! Now I’m sure I could have found something eventually that works equally as good but a friend saved me the trouble. Besides, who can argue with 100 years?!

Just Stay Home

As the kids get older the idea of shopping for gifts seems to go away. Two in college. Two finishing high school. Money, gift cards, gas cards. That’s where it’s at.

This past weekend was spent cleaning and doing random chores at home. We ran errands (on a very loose schedule), ate out and chilled. This low key thing is easy to adopt. Gone are the days of shopping at 4am on Black Friday and planning out every weekend trip to the mall. Things are slowly making their way into the stockings.

I have the food planned out for Christmas Eve. We will celebrate here at home. Looking forward to a calmer and quieter Christmas this year.

Lights On

And the stockings were hung by the chimney with care…

So tonight was the night to enter the crawl space and drag out all the holiday stuff. We spent the evening putting up the tree. Yes, I have an artificial tree. I’ve never had a real one due to allergies in my family and never liked the idea of dead needles in the floor. I held off with the decorations for now. They will wait for another night. I did, however, get the string of lights on. Like most people with any street smarts I ran them out in the floor first and checked them. Only two needed to be replaced. I thought that was pretty good. It spent about 10 minutes trying to figure out where I stashed the extra bulbs. I still haven’t found them but was able to come up with a small replacement pack of three bulbs.

Most evenings the house is lit up with a string of LED bulbs above the fireplace mantel, a few LED tea lights in a lantern, and now we’ve added the tree. Who needs lamps and ceiling lights when you have all that?!

That’s enough for tonight. I’ll save the rest of the fun for another night.

Winter Lazyland

So the cold is rolling in again. The last week has been balmy…40 to at time over 50 degrees. Tomorrow the forecasted high is 16 I think. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like winter. However, I don’t particularly like cold. I don’t snowmobile. I don’t ski. I have and I could but I choose not to. I don’t really ice fish. Again, I have and I could but that’s a weekend thing for me. It’s a weeknight.

I have a fire going in the fireplace. It will probably be a regular thing this week and likely for the rest of the winter. It’s cozy. Who wants to go outside in this weather? Well, that only lasts so long. I get bored. I can get stir crazy. I need activity. So tonight I started running up and down the stairs. I didn’t do it long. Just long enough to get the heart rate up and feel the burn in the thighs. I might have to make it part of my winter routine. Closest thing to a gym to me for 25 miles.