Posts

Showing posts from 2016

Find your escape place

Image
Wow. What a heck of year we have had. Although I'm glad this year is almost over I'm fearful of the year ahead like so many other people. A couple weeks ago I finally came out of my mental hiding place. Hurray! Ready to fight the fights I need to.

One thing is for certain we will all need to find our mental escape. A place or an activity that can relax our minds and remind us that life is enjoyable. Outside is that place for me. Fresh air, hiking, biking, geocaching, sitting and enjoying a book (or comic book!). Find your mental escape place. Step away from your social media, websites and cell phone even for a few hours. Enjoy life then step back in and keep fighting for the future and the now.





Enjoy today

Image
I was gifted the book "Hardcore Zen" from the hubby on our 17-year anniversary. Taking on a new role at work and already being a bit of a workaholic and stress-ball, this book is exactly what I needed. I've always enjoyed the idea of Buddhism, but have never wanted to latch on to a "religion". If you find yourself in a similar situation, pick it up. It's worth reading. But, I'm not here to talk about that.

There are many things I really connected to and enjoyed about this book. One, among many, that stood out to me is the need to not always have to make everything so grand. Put so much pressure on the future. Yes, I want to see as many national parks and beautiful places as I can in this life, but I can also appreciate my daily walk with the dog. Enjoy the the little mushrooms growing in the fall, the leaves changing colors and my dog happy as can be. Yes, I want to help people on a grand scale, but I can also take my Mom to the grocery store or doctor.…

Family Adventure - Pittsburgh to Acadia Part-2 Acadia, ME

Image
After a few days in Bantam, CT we hit the road for another 8 hour drive up to Acadia, Maine.

We stayed at Seawall Campground for the entire week, arrived Sunday and left the following Sunday. I really liked this campground, due to its proximity to the ocean. We could ride our bikes and be playing in tide-pools in 5-minutes. You could smell the beach in the morning at the campsite, walk down to catch the sun rise and set. The campground had a small amphitheater that held ranger talks, Stephen & Odin attended a bat one that they reported was totally awesome.This campground is also located on the "quiet side" of the island.

The good, we hiked, biked, played in tide-pools, attended ranger talks, laughed around the campfire and saw a lot of beautiful sites.

There are 45-miles of carriage roads in Acadia National Park. They were built by John D. Rockefeller Jr. & family from 1913-1940. There are a lot of different entry points, occasional pit toilets, wild blueberry's…

Family Adventure -Pittsburgh to Acadia Part-1 Bantam, CT

Image
Last month we embarked on an epic family adventure. We drove from the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA to Acadia National Park, Maine. Stopping in Connecticut on the way up and back. We loaded up the truck and pop-up trailer with; canoe, life vests, paddles, 4 bikes with helmets and hydration bags, a ton of food, clothes, an assortment of shoes and rain jackets. Somehow it all fit. In the truck we packed ourselves and a pile of things for the kids to do, my work stuff so I could tackle things as we drove. Downloaded a few audio books, made the dog a comfy spot in the back of the truck and off we went.

The decision to stop halfway and camp for a couple days had its good and bad. Our first stop was White Memorial Conservation Center in Bantam, CT it was about an 8 hour drive with stops. The good; it was beautiful and we did a ton of hiking. The kids hunted for frogs and toads, we found beaver lodges, and a lot of birds, the campsite followed the quiet hours regardless of some early evening par…

Family Adventure - Virginia Beach, First Landing State Park

Image
The middle of May was Odin's B-day and he requested to go to the beach. The hubby are not going to say no a beach adventure! Both of us grew up mostly in the beach town of Ventura, CA. We both miss the ocean a lot and hadn't been to a legit ocean beach in a while. So off we went!

We hillbilly glamped at First Landing State Park, VA. There are tent and rv camping accommodations. Some of the tent camping is secluded by trees or a short walk from the car. Trees! Trees! Trees! Great hammock capability in all the spots I saw. Lots of good rv spots, some more secluded than others and a very short walk to the beach.


Warning, the local coastguard has training drills in the evening and it scared the poo out of us when we heard it. It did have right on the camp paper we were given to expect these, but we hadn't read it the first night. (Note to self, read the info when you arrive). They were shooting off flares and yelling "TURN OFF THE ENGINE! YOU! YOU! ENGINE OFF!". We …

Family Adventure - McConnells Mill State Park

Image
Thank goodness spring is here. As soon as the nice weather hit, the thought of the blog left my mind and I tried to fill any time I had sitting in the sun away from a computer.

First! At the beginning of winter we purchased an old pop-up camper. Which will from here on out be referred to as "Popper". We both telecommute and do not take advantage of the option to travel, so this is way for us to have an office on wheels while camping. We have been tent campers for 15 years and going to a trailer is definitely interesting. Now we hillbilly glamp in our old-school Popper.


We don't use the water hook-up or gas. We like our camp stove and washing system. We are hoping it will last us a few years then we will gut it all, use the trailer base and make a Vardo to go with our homemade truck topper.


Anyway...
Last moth we took our maiden voyage in the trailer. Short trip for us, McConnells Mill State Parklocated in Portersville, PA. It is a beautiful state park, great place for hi…

Food alergies, No more cane sugar

I've done it!
I've cut cane sugar out of my diet for 30days. That was intense.
After a food allergy test came back with a big NO to cane sugar, soy, rice, cows milk, wheat, bakers yeast and a handful of other common foods, the hubby helped me make the needed changes to my diet. Its been a little more than 30 days now and it has definitely made a difference.

I did find cane sugar supplements; maple candy, stevia chocolate (Lilly's Sweets) and making homemade frozen yogurt pops.

My love for cheese is not an occasional indulgent of goats cheese. Yum!

I don't want the rest of the household to not be able to eat the things I cannot. It is still challenging to watch my kids enjoy a pint of ice cream or the occasional pizza, I generally excuse myself from the room while they indulge. But, while I get ready to head off on a work trip to Monterey, CA they plan on a few "sometimes" foods that Mom can't eat; pizza, sushi, donuts, etc. Now the challenge of traveling…

A great Geek Week

Image
Under all my attempts at being outdoors, riding bikes and being a Mom/Wife I have always been (and always will be) a "Geek".  Star Wars, comic books, sci-fi, fantasy movies and books. I love it all and I have passed down some of this love onto my hubby and kids. Go me!

Independent Comic Book Expo (PIX), Tekkoshocon, new Rogue (#Rouge.. that's so funny) One trailer and a new Fantastic Beast and Where to find them trailer. Needless to say the past two weeks have been good.

At PIX I got to meet Grace Ellis, co creator of the Lumberjanes comic book and very nice individual. And, I meet Caitlin Rose Boyle co-creator or Jonesy. It is always great to meet women in an industry where women are under-represented. Both of these ladies, along with quite a few others, are really setting the tone that women in comic books are here to stay. And as I complimented both of them for creating a comic book that I will let my kids read.


Last weekend I took my Japanese language taking, anime an…

April 30 Days of Biking

Image
The 30days of biking challenge is a pledge to ride for everyday in April. With a co-workers encouragement I decided to join the challenge. 

For those of us who dislike winter and do not ride over the the cold months (like me!), this is a great way to get back on the bike and be in better shape for warmer riding months ahead. Of course here in western PA on May 5, it is flurrying...


It doesn't matter where you ride, how long, etc. Just go out for a nice little ride everyday this month.

After over a year of on and off foot problems and minimal winter activity I feel better just riding these last few days. My hope is that in 30-days I will feel like a champ and be ready for some long distance riding and mountain biking.


Follow me on Instagram as I attempt to complete the #30daysofbiking challenge, I hope that it will encourage other folks to get outside and do the same.

The End of Winter Weekends

Image
Winter is almost over. We have hustled through these last few months of winter trying to get as much done around the house as possible. Anything we can do to lessen the spring and summer to-do's. Downside of being a home-owner the upkeep and overall maintenance can be daunting.

The hubby successfully converted Darby's bunk-bed into a loft bed for Odin. And he is super stoked. We topped it off with a tent topper for him, since he;s been sleeping in his sleeing bag for almost month. He is prepping for camping season.


We upgraded Darby's room to be a bit more "grown-up" and although Stephen successfully manipulated a bunk-bed I couldn't stop gloating about my impromptu device docking station.

Check out these other hacks for binder clips here.

Looking forward to spring and getting in more outdoor adventures with the kids.


No Sick days for Parents, tidying adventure continues

Image
There are no allotted sick days when you are a parent. Even if you're ill and your kids are ill, the whole house is on quarantine-lock-down, you still have to march on and get things done. Unless you have an amazing partner who says, "Go to bed, I got this." Or you tag team those responsibilities when you're both sick.

Those partners are the ones to hold onto. Anybody who is not willing to share in these more challenging parental and adult days are not worth the time.

I spent last weekend coming down with something (again). I knuckled down and somehow managed to help the hubby stay on task in tidying his art studio, which is full of needed supplies and random project things. Basically pointing and barking semi-coherent orders at him. It worked! His studio is clean and organized. I hope he can tackle his amazing art with a clearer mind not worrying about the clutter.



And I somehow manage to tackle the 13yo's room. Which was a lot of work but met with little resist…

Tidying kids room & DIY custom Lego table

Image
The 8yo and I tackled tidying his bedroom last weekend. Going through clothes is pretty easy, whatever doesn't fit anymore goes to the donation bin. Toys can be an entirely different matter...

I'm fortunate enough that my son is pretty keen to say, meh I don't really play with that anymore, and  I love playing that.  So his room was relatively easy. We started with clothes, then pulled everything out of the buried closet and went from there. Odin insisted we take a break every hour to go outside or play video games, "Because this is a lot of work".

One kids room tidied with the only thing left on his room agenda is building him a loft bed from his sisters hand-me-down bunk bed. Which has been added to the hubby's "honey-do" list.

Right now my son loves Legos. Last year the hubby made him a custom Lego table that I meant to blog about but didn't, So here we go!



Supplies:
One Flat piece of wood for table top: 2x4 you can adjust this as you see fit…

Hiking, a Bike Garage Sale & Tidying momentos

Image
It's been a busy week and a half.
Winter gave us a weekend of tolerable weather so we headed out for a hike Saturday. We initially had planned to Geocache at Laurel Mountain but once we drove up the mountain and saw the drive was very snowy and icy, we turned around and headed back to somewhere we could enjoy the spring temperatures. Note to self: mountains still have snow in February.



Just a few miles drive from the bottom of the mountain is Linn Run State Park. The parking lot was a bit icy so we slid across it and headed for the trail head. Linn Run has 6.25 miles of hiking. We parked near Adams Fall trail, a 1-mile loop with some rocky (and ice-melting muddy) terrain that starts and ends at a waterfall. We had just enough time to hike down the 0.5-mile Flatrock Trail then head back to the truck.


Once we got home Odin and I shoved food into our mouths, grabbed some snacks and "things to do", to head for the local indoor mountain bike park garage sale. The Wheel Mill i…

Pittsburgh Aviary - Baby Sloth Visit

Image
As soon as I heard about the baby sloth arriving at the Pittsburgh Aviary I squee'd with excitement. Sloths are awesome and adorable. A baby sloth is cuteness overload.

We got very lucky and the kids were out of school on the Friday of the Baby Sloth's open-to-the-public date. We arrived as soon as the Aviary opened, 10am. Weekday or weekends as soon as the doors open have almost always worked out in our favor when it comes to zoo, science centers, museums, etc.

There were three feeding times that day, the first was at 11am. Right away we hung up our coats and found where the Baby Sloth's habitat was. There were a few staff members around and we were able to ask a couple questions; baby is about 2lbs, a boy, no name yet, they have to feed him and exercise several times a day, sloths sleep a lot as it is so add in being a baby and he sleeps a whole lot.

We hung out in front of the habitat staring at blue lump under a towel for about 30-minutes so we could get a spot. At abo…