The Hastings Rivertown Days Parade is a big event every year. It’s fun to see people we know in the community handing goodies out to the kids. We also enjoy the creative and fun floats, vehicles and walkers.
For a severe allergy family, we can’t enjoy the candy, but the kids always have fun collecting it. The big girls usually gather up all of the candy and divide it among themselves. I give the little kids safe, homemade “candy” or safe treats that I’ve found online.
This year, we went to the Kingdom Hall early in the morning, then rushed home as fast as we could (while not speeding, safety first!) for the parade. The kids changed into play clothes and we rushed down to try to find a spot. As usual, the roads were packed with people. Every year, people set out chairs, blankets, and towels to reserve their spots. The curbs, sidewalks, and lawns are always packed with people.
The parade was well under way by the time we got there, but it wasn’t even halfway over. One year, the parade was over two hours long! Thankfully, this year it was only about an hour. Two hours can get kind of long for little ones.
Right away, we found our friend’s Matt and Silvana and their children. They were kind enough to let us join them. While the little kids gathered up goodies, we relaxed in the shade of the tree we were under. Thankfully, this year it was mostly cloudy. Other years have been hot and sunny. I always feel bad for the marching band kids in full sleeved jackets.
There were a few new additions to the parade this year. Sponsors rented a fire truck that had been active in New York during 9/11. Little Log House Pioneer Village had a huge piece of antique farm equipment. As usual, there were mobile bands, marching bands, horses, and local businesses. I really enjoyed the landscaping displays. It was a beautiful and fun day.
Hastings Rivertown Days 2017
Every year we go to Hastings Rivertown Days. One of our favorite things to do as a family is to go to The Dime Carnival. The kids play games to their heart’s content and win tickets to pick out fun prizes.
Every year, it always seems as though it’s on one of the hottest days of summer. Since the carnival is in a parking lot, the heat is reflected up off the asphalt, making it feel even warmer. This year was no exception. Not about to let a little heat ruin our day, we enjoyed the carnival and hid out inside the prize area to cool off when needed.
Princess has always loved picking ducks in the duck pond. Mr. Awesome loves the jumpy house. Cupcake loves all the games. Cat is starting to get to an age where the carnival is too young for her. She loves helping the younger kids play the most.
After cooling off at home, we went to the library to drop off some books and pick up some more. As soon as I walked into the library, my eyes started itching. Cat said “Oh look Mom! A beautiful dog!” I turned to see a huge white dog near us walking across the library. It must have been a therapy dog. Unfortunately, because of my allergies, I left the building while the kids had fun picking out books with Dad. Outside I enjoyed photographing the library’s beautiful garden.
We stopped at Walmart for a few necessities and I got a contact case and solution so I could take out my contacts ASAP. My eyes were burning so much I could barely see. After I removed them, in the middle of the aisle at Walmart, I felt such relief. Although I was now blind. I had to hold Nate’s hand through the rest of our Walmart trip.
My vision is -8.50 for contacts. I’m not legally blind with my contacts (legally blind is a legal term used to sort out those who can apply for medical benefits. Anyone who can not see with corrective lenses after a certain point is considered legally blind. I am very thankful that corrective lenses work for me. I will never be able to have perfect vision even with them, but it’s still a blessing I am thankful for.). Without them, I am blind. I can’t see definition, I can only see basic blurry shapes. I can see colors, dark and light.
As you can tell from the image above, I can not see very well. We stopped to get the kids ice cream at our local dairy co op, then checked out the craft fair at the LeDuc mansion across the street. Since I couldn’t see, Nate took my hand and led me around. He described what was around us and what was in each booth we passed.
I heard a familiar voice call out to me. My friend’s Katie and Dusty from our Kingdom Hall were there! I got a chance to check out an amazing card booth with them. The cards opened up into intricate pop-up scenes all made of colorful paper. One was a ship, another a camera, others were scenes of various places around the world.
Although I am blind from a distance, I can see up close. I mean extremely up close. Whatever I’m looking at must be a couple of inches from my eye. What I do see from that close is detailed almost microscopically. I can see the tiny details that the normal eye can’t see.
With the cards, I could see the fiber of the paper, the tiny cuts and details. It was like stepping into a new world where fantasy and reality collide. I intended to go back and purchase some cards after I got my contacts in, but sadly that was the last day. Perhaps I’ll get the chance to see them again next year.
We purchased some sheets from a vendor and then went home to enjoy pizza and family night. Thankfully I was able to put in a fresh set of contacts to see. After that, we walked down to the river to enjoy the Hastings Rivertown Days fireworks. It was a busy and fun day.
Twas the day of the farm tour and all through the house,
Every creature was stirring, yes, even the mouse.
The children were loaded in the van with great care,
In the hopes that the Rhodes Family soon would be there;
The children practiced what they would say in their seats,
While they snacked on organic, non-GMO treats…
We had a lot of fun at the Great American Farm Tour Minnesota Meetup. The park was packed with kids and the lawns were packed with like minded small farmers. It was a lot of fun meeting new friends and sharing our farm stories.
If you haven’t heard of The Great American Farm Tour, you should check it out! It’s about small farmers using permaculture methods to grow food and raise animals. My Dad recommended the Rhodes family to me last year and I’ve been hooked, watching almost all of their YouTube episodes.
All of us were excited to meet and talk to Justin and Rebekah. Rebekah was even sweeter and more beautiful in person. They were kind enough to take the time to talk to each and every person. I can only imagine how tired they must be after traveling across the country, but they were kind, patient and respectful to everyone.
My Dad and Cat were the most excited to meet the Rhodes. I think it might be the highlight of the year for both of them. Cat was especially thrilled that Justin asked her to play her ukelele.
Waiting for the Rhodes to release their video of the day, all of my family had the farm tour youtube tab open and kept hitting refresh all day. lol You’ll have to check us out in the video below. If you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, you can skip to 7:42 to see us!
What farmers are you fans of? Do you have a favorite YouTube channel or a channel of your own? I’d love to hear about it!
Happy Farm Tour to all, and to all a good-night!
Check out our video of the meetup!
Check out the video from The Great American Farm Tour to see what everyone was growing at the Minnesota meet up:
It was a hot Saturday as we drove a little over an hour to Community Park in St Francis, Minnesota. We drove up to meet my parents and sisters at the Great American Farm Tour Minnesota Meetup.
There was a lot of major road construction along the way, and thankfully Nate was driving. I get anxiety driving in unknown places with a lot of traffic. Add detours to the mix and I might have gotten us lost.
As we neared the park, we saw a bus heading toward us. Nate asked me, “Is that them?” as he pulled the van over to the side of the road. The bus had slowed and turned onto a dirt road. The kids were hopping in their seats in excitement as we saw the Great American Farm Tour logo on the side.
We debated if that was the turn to the park, since we were so close, but decided it was a private farm. We thought they were perhaps running behind and had just gotten to their host’s house and they might be a bit late to the meetup.
The park was mostly empty when we got there. There were only 3 other cars in the parking lot. My parents greeted us and let us know that only two of the people were also waiting for the farm tour. I let them know that we had just seen the bus and perhaps they would be a little late. The children played at the park and I caught up with my parents.
As time wore on, I began to worry, was this the right park? Was this the right day? The other car waiting for the Rhodes left without saying anything. I began to look for the meetup information on my phone. My Dad was the one who let me know, but since I was behind in watching the farm tour, I personally hadn’t seen it yet.
It took awhile to find the info because I couldn’t figure out how to pull it up on my phone. I watched the youtube video to find out the date and I laughed when I realized we were indeed a day early. I could tell my Dad felt awful about it, but it honestly didn’t bother me. I called it our planning prep trip. Now we knew about the road construction and detours and we also knew exactly where the park was. Sunday, Nate would be a work and I would have to drive up instead. Plus, I got the joy of seeing my family two days in a row, a rare treat!
We hung out awhile longer, playing with the kids and enjoying our family time. Cat ended up going with my parents to spend a night at their farm.On the drive home, we stopped at Aldi’s for some snacks before dinner. It had been a fun day and we looked forward to returning to the park again on Sunday.
Have you ever gotten a date wrong that ended up being a blessing instead of a disappointment?
As someone with severe, life-threatening, airborne allergies, I need to carry some things with me at all times. This means that whatever I carry must be light and easily accessed. In addition, I need others to be able to find my emergency information fast. I also need a way to alert strangers to my allergens should I become incapacitated.
I keep both my lip balm and Cupcake’s lip balm for when she needs it. Next to that I keep my essential oil roller bottles. I usually have a couple more than what’s pictured. I normally carry an anti-anxiety blend, first aid blend, Cat’s sore wrist blend, and Mr. Awesome’s ADHD blend. Behind that, I tuck my tissues into one of the pockets.
My phone has medical alert information for emergency personnel. My wallet has my insurance cards, my ID, my bank card, and membership cards.
I keep both face masks in a zipper pouch to keep them clean and safe from dust and other contaminants. I take them out and use them in dangerous places where I might potentially be exposed to airborne allergens.
I put my checkbook into the other zippered pouch to keep it clean and safe from damage. Yes, I still have a checkbook. The DMV and the kid’s schools are pretty much the only time I ever use it.
The kids and Nate are always bringing me pretty rocks. I stash them in my purse till I get home and put them in little bottles or on shelves. I’m a rock nerd. 🙂
I keep my eczema cream in a little jar. I also keep bentonite clay in a little container for emergency use. Bentonite clay can help absorb toxins, it kills viruses and bacteria, reduces swelling and helps to reduce allergy symptoms from accidental internal exposure(eating allergens by accident). It can also be used for bug bites.
My inhaler has saved my life many times. I’m not a fan of most pharmaceuticals, but when it comes to asthma, I don’t mess around. Thankfully, I rarely have asthma attacks anymore since I cut wheat from my diet.
My epi pen still scares me, even though I’ve had it for years. I’ve taught my family how to use it should I ever pass out.
A Park With Beautiful Rolling Hills and River Views
5 Week Workout Challenge: Week 4, Day 4 Afton State Park
It was early on Saturday morning when Nate playfully tried to wake me up. He told me he’d already gotten the kids out of bed and they were getting breakfast. We were going for a walk! He had picked the spot and did all of the work to get everyone ready. He even made my morning tea. What a wonderful way to start the day!
It was a beautiful day for hiking. The high was 81 with a cool breeze. When we started out, it was still in the lower 70’s. The drive there was scenic and peaceful. The park was packed with people.
This was my first time to the park, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was a little worried seeing how packed all of the parking lots were. I didn’t realize it was such a popular destination. Thankfully, we were able to find a spot to park.
Heading down the trail, we encountered some beautiful views of the hills surrounding the river valley. I was easily able to see why this was such a popular park.
Unfortunately, I had forgotten our bug spray. The mosquitos were huge and the lower we descended into the valley, the more gnats and mosquitoes there were. We tried to walk fast and mostly kept to the center of the trail to avoid them.
Once we got down to the beach, the breeze kept the insects away and we were able to relax. The kids enjoyed checking out the dock and then searching for agates and rocks to skip. We watched the boats zoom past and we thought about how fun it must be to tour the river from the water.
Heading back, the bugs weren’t as bad. Maybe it was because it was a little later in the day and a bit warmer. Heading up the trail was a bit more difficult for me, but the rest of the family wasn’t fazed. They jumped up the steps like mountain goats. I lagged behind, tired and struggling to keep up.
Later that night, I ended up in bed sick. Perhaps Princess’ fever wasn’t allergy related after all, and she had passed a virus to me. I spent the next week bedridden.
For some reason, I always get the sickest in our family. Over the years, I’ve learned holistic remedies to heal faster and keep from getting as ill as I used to. I also don’t get sick as often as I used to, thankfully.
Have you been to Afton State Park? What is your favorite area?
5 Week Workout Challenge: Week 4, Day 3 Night With Nate
We got some new nail polish called Ella and Mila that is low on the toxicity scale. It’s the least toxic I’ve been able to find that is also affordable and works well. Cat painted Princess’ and my toes and put cute little feather decals on too.
After running around with the kids all day and Nate’s long work days, it can be hard for us to find time alone. I thought it would be fun to join him for a night-time walk before bed.
It was a beautiful, warm night. Being as hot as it was, I wore my pajamas on our walk. My pj’s were cute matching shorts and a t-shirt, acceptable for wearing in public. I personally wouldn’t be comfortable during the daytime, but I didn’t think we would be seeing many people. As it turned out, since it was such a warm night, there were a lot of people out taking walks.
Nate and I walked up to a gas station where he got something to drink. In the harsh lights, I felt awkward in my little PJ shorts, but I tried to play it off like it didn’t bother me.
As we walked back toward home, I could hear thunder rumbling in the distance. Beyond the trees, I could see occasional flashes of lightning. The storm looked like it had passed us over for the night.
We met a man out walking who asked us if our power was out. It turns out, that half the city was without power. We chatted with him for a little while before heading the last couple blocks home. Fortunately, our power was unaffected.
Unfortunately, poor Princess had a small fever and had been asking for me while we were gone. Cat said she had been doing mostly well but had only gotten hot shortly before we got home. Poor kiddo was either sick with a virus or was having an allergic reaction to something mildly corny she ate earlier in the day.
What do you do for alone time when money and time are short? Do you enjoy taking walks at night, or do you prefer going in the daytime?
I have always joked about having a brown thumb instead of a green one. I have good intentions with plants, but I usually kill most of them. My problem was that I watered them too much. For me, caring for a plant equaled watering it. I literally loved them to death.
I did manage to keep hardy plants alive, to my great joy. My brother got me a Philodendron as a gift when I was 13. It’s the only plant that has survived this long.
My parents were great gardeners. As a child, they had a huge garden in our yard. I can remember working with them to weed, pick off pests, gather ripe plants and care for my own little garden plot. And occasionally, they had me get to lawn care and landscaping near me to make the garden more aesthetic-appealing. My favorites were the raspberries bordering 2 sides of the garage and the strawberries.
When I was given my own little corner plot, I planted Shasta daisies, echinacea, and zinnia among a few other flowers. I loved flowers and the butterflies that they drew to our yard. My Mother had flower gardens in raised planters that my Father built all over our property.
After my own children were born, I gave plants a renewed interest. I tried a few easy house plants, a few palms, some morning glories outside during the warm months, hanging petunias or impatiens. I tried peppers many times but they rarely produced peppers and if they did, were never large enough to eat. I’ve overloved and killed many orchids over the years.
With the addition of extreme allergies to my life, I’ve had to learn to grow my own food. Organic food from health food stores is usually incredibly expensive and is not always guaranteed to be corn free. The safest option is home grown because I control all of the factors of what my food is exposed to.
When I first moved to this house, my Mom helped me plant a small outdoor garden. The weeds overtook it to my great frustration. Creeping Charlie choked out most of my plants. I did get some tomatoes and small ears of corn (ironic, right? This was pre-corn allergy.). After that, I gave up planting in the ground. Nate built me a planter around the mulberry tree in the backyard, which I grew flowers and hostas in, for an easy to maintain, decorative garden.
Inside, I grew potted plants. I tried basil by the sink but I ended up overwatering it. My next sink plant was rosemary, which, as it turns out, LOVES being overwatered. In fact, if I don’t water it often, it starts to die. I also grow potted plants on my porch and bring them inside over winter. My theory was, if they die, that’s ok because they would have died if I had left them outside to die by frost. If they live, I have another plant to enjoy.
This last year, my gardening skills have grown, as has the number of plants in and out. I have several plants that live inside year round, Outside, on my porch, my number of potted plants has grown. After installing a critter fence, it was clear that the plants where staying healthier and growing faster. Those pesky critters can really make a dent in most plants. Those interested in the specific fence used, I found it here. I renewed my attempt for ground grown plants. I planted several things around the porch outside and started a new side garden. I’ve also planted raspberries and blueberries along the fence.
I am not an expert gardener. I have, however, turned my brown thumb into a green one with persistence and determination. I’ve never given up. If my plants die, I try again. I do more research. The best way I’ve learned is by experience and trial and error.
I recommend everyone give gardening a try. It is so rewarding. When I eat food from my own garden, I have a great pride and satisfaction that I have never gotten from bought food.
If you are afraid of killing plants, don’t let that deter you! Keep trying! Start with potted plants. Try something easy to maintain, like impatiens, petunias, philodendrons, or palms like I did. Otherwise, try checking out the end of the year plant sales that most greenhouses have. You can usually get plants cheap or for free. Use the mindset that if it dies, at least you tried. Research what you can do differently next time.
Do you care for any plants? What do you grow? Have you also overcome a brown thumb or has gardening come naturally to you?
Choosing one hobby for this project was no easy task! I have many, many hobbies and interests. I love learning, I love being busy and creative. Ultimately, at the base of that, has always been reading
I love to read. I have always loved reading. I can remember my Father teaching me to read my first books, The Fox and the Box and Green Eggs and Ham. As a child, I was teased for being the girl who always had a book in her hand. I could read 7 books in a day at one point. My elementary school librarian told me that I read too much and I needed to get out there and live a little. There was more to life than books! I still laugh remembering the shock I felt. If a librarian tells me that I read too much, it might be a wakeup call.
There is no limit to the type of book I like to enjoy. I love learning about many different topics, so the non-fiction section is where I spend most of my time in the library. I do love fiction, but I usually listen to those as audiobooks while I work. With 4 small children, sitting down to enjoy a great novel can be difficult.
When it comes to learning new subjects, I love to have my children join me. I took an anatomy course online earlier this year and I really loved it, but going through the textbook and pouring over the pages was such a thrill for me. I read and reread so many sections, took notes and I probably drove my family crazy with my exclamations. Everyone got a chance to learn along with me as I described the wonders of cell structure, the fascination of a neuron, The complexity of all of our systems, working together in harmony. It’s beautiful and awe-inspiring. I felt closer to God, marveling in how he created us with such intricacy and detail.
Personally, I love the feel of a real book in my hands. I love to look at them and feel their weight in my hands. I enjoy feeling the surface of the cover, smooth on newer books and soft and bumpy on older ones. I love turning pages. If there are diagrams and images to enjoy, or words to mull over, I can pause and take it in. I love hugging a book to my heart, or a stack cradled in my arms.
Overall, whether a real book or an audiobook, there is always great excitement in something new. A new book is a whole adventure contained in one small package. The thoughts and works of the author, which maybe took months or even years to gather and put together for our benefit is such a gift. A book is a doorway to another place, a guide to a new curiosity, a page away from changing the rest of your life.
For this project, I photographed my daughter Cat, holding an old copy of Shakespeare. Since my children share my love of reading, I thought it was appropriate to use one of them for my hobby project.
Cat chose to photograph her piano for her hobby project.
What is one of your hobbies? What do you love about it? Do you love to read? What books are you reading right now?
5 Week Workout Challenge: Week 4, Day 2
Historic Fort Snelling
Today we visited Fort Snelling. My parents, my sisters Shannon and Liz and Liz’s boyfriend Jimmy had a lot of fun! We’ve been here many times and every time I find something new to enjoy.
Although I’ve always visited Fort Snelling as a tourist, my Dad visited as a child, before it was restored as a historic landmark. When he was a child, his uncle and cousins lived here!
Fort Snelling has always been one of my sister Liz’s favorite places. Since she was a child, she’s always loved the cannon blast. That might be because, when she was little, my Dad used to tell her that they set it off just for her.
After hearing the cannons go off, we went to get root beer and cream soda for the non-allergy people. Then, we practiced walking on stilts. My Dad was the best, to everyone’s amazement.
We checked out some of the usual buildings, like the tower and the schoolhouse, but my favorite was the medical rooms. There were some new displays that I haven’t seen before. I especially got a kick out of the weather diary. The climate here was judged “the most excessive among all military posts in The United States.”
Liz, Jimmy and the kids had great fun making star wands in the arts and crafts building. Liz has always excelled in making a four-sided star. In usual tradition, she gave her star to the youngest in our family, Princess. Jimmy was kind enough to give his star to Mr. Awesome.
After we were done for the day, we cooled off inside the gift shop and art gallery area before heading to our cars. This year’s exhibit was a display of beautiful photography by Paul Kitagaki. Accompanying the portraits were moving stories of families and people who had lived through the Japanese internment. There was also a fascinating display of old clocks.
Later that night, we met up with my friend Joleen and her son Drake for fireworks at our local golf course. It was a lovely evening. The fireworks were beautiful and seemed to be right on top of us. It was the perfect finish to a fun day.
Have you been to Fort Snelling? What is your favorite part? What historic sites are near your home? I’d love to hear about it, share a link to your blog post in the comments!