#OperationThunderChicken — Part 1

I survived my first hunting trip!

Trip seems a little over adventurous of a term.  This wasn’t a big epic back packing trip into the mystical, mountain backcountry.  I spent a couple days hanging out in a field about 45 minutes from the house I grew up in.  I maybe was harboring delusions of grandeur about what my first hunt about be like.  It wasn’t nearly as glamorous as I had imagined, nor was it the smashing success that I had hoped for.

The Engineer used some connections and lined up permission to hunt some private farm land.  We arrived out at the farm around noon on Saturday and initially set up on the North edge of his hay field next to several fallen turkey feathers…..everything was seeming very promising.  After receiving a real time location tip off on the turkeys from the farmer, The Engineer and I decided to pack up and move to the southeast corner of the farm’s property.  We were using a small blind we borrowed from The Engineer’s Dad, and we had a couple turkey decoys from one of his hunting friends, so moving camp was a little bit of work, but overall not that bad.

It’s maybe about 1:30, perfectly nice, slightly warm fall day…..and disaster struck.  The Engineer wanted me to practice drawing my bow in the blind so I could make sure I had enough room to move without bumping the blind.  Everything was fine until I tried to release my bow.  Before you jump to conclusions….I didn’t dry fire my bow.  I didn’t have an arrow nocked, but it is possible to just slowing release a draw back.  That’s the effect I was striving to have.  What ended up happening was that my string popped off the bottom cam of my bow.  So now……we are sitting in a field, calling for turkeys, and I don’t have a bow that would be good for anything except maybe throwing at a turkey in the hopes of knocking one unconscious.

So for the second time in maybe….an hour…..The Engineer and I were forced to pack everything back up and schlep it back up out of the pasture to the truck.  Bows can’t be restrung without a press to release the tension, so we had to drive into town and head to the sporting goods store.  I haven’t always had the best experiences at the shop in town, mostly because I think they thought I was just a stupid girl buying a bow she wasn’t going to use.  I was surprised at their willingness to get my bow back in shape and help me get back out into the field.  They didn’t even charge me, and in the time it took me to walk back out to the truck to get my wallet they had it all put back together!  After a couple practice shots at the range to make sure everything was still tuned in the way it was supposed to be, The Engineer and I headed back out to the farm.

We once again hauled everything out, for the third time that day, and set up underneath the same tree.  We could hear turkeys, they would answer back almost every time we would call, however we never saw any.  So, there we sat.  The Engineer scrolled through his phone while I fidgeted around like a small child, until almost dark.  At this point I was a bit cold and wanted to actually do some moving around.  I convinced The Engineer that maybe we had missed the turkeys crossing back over in the North tree line……so we went on a bit of a hike back towards our initial set-up location.  Still no sign of the elusive flock we were told resided on the property, but it was nice to move around a little bit and warm up.  The 30 minute shooting window after sundown closed, and we packed up and headed back to Momma Jules house.

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That’s a direct quote from The Engineer about what’s standard practice while hunting!  He’s super serious in a blind….but at least he shared the snacks!

 

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If by share you of course mean giving me the tough pieces.  Couple of glamorous jerky models we are though!

The part of hunting I have always dreaded and used as a perpetual reason to not participate in hunting adventures….is that premium hunting always seems to occur at the absolute earliest possible butt crack of dawn.  I am really not at all a morning bunny, but apparently the prospect of shooting my first turkey is all it takes to get me out of bed and dressed at 5:30 in the morning when it’s 23 degrees outside!  On the dark drive back to the farm we decided that we would try the North tree line we had originally set up on the day before.  Of course you have to get there early, so there we sat, mostly frozen, almost half an hour before shooting time…..which is already half an hour before sunrise!

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Couples who freeze together stay together!

We sat in the blind and called turkeys and watched the cows and calves meander around the pasture till about 10 with still no sign of a turkey in sight.  Even though I didn’t end up with a turkey, I will say that listening to them all do their morning round up calls shortly after the sun came up was the high point of the weekend.  To hear the change from silence to everything around you getting up and start moving around is something you just don’t really get to hear and appreciate when you live in town.  From a purely hunting perspective, it was proof that the flock was indeed close, and hopefully they were hopping down out of roosting trees near us!

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I almost actually kinda look like I know what I’m doing……

I had already stolen a pack of hot hands from The Engineer’s hunting bag, and we were both getting hungrier than peanut butter crackers and jerky was going to fix.  Before we headed back to town for lunch and a thawing, we thought maybe we would walk the tree line and see if we could find out exactly where the turkeys were hanging out.  This was our last day to hunt, and a day only lasts so long after all…..crunch time was looming!!

We did eventually find the turkeys……across the county road from the field we had permission to hunt.  We found them because we……probably mostly me…..were making too much noise as we neared where the tree line we were walking met the road.  The line of trees extended across the road to a cut corn field.  I’m sure the flock was hanging out over there because the eating prospects were easier.  No need to contend with the cattle herd, and cut field means corn on the ground for easy snacking.  Not that this does me any good, I needed them to move North across the road onto the land we had permission to hunt.  We were operating under the assumption that if our farmer knew the owner of the field South of him and if it would have been okay for us to follow the flock over there……he would have told us the first day when he said he saw the flock.  Since he didn’t, we were forced to assume that was a no-go zone.  We packed up and headed back to town for some food and heat, and hoped that something would happen to drive the flock back north across the road.

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Headed back out to the farm for one last shot at a Thanksgiving turkey!

We set up for a final time on the edge of the tree line, as close to the road as you’d probably want to be.  To get to this spot, we parked the truck on a little access path between the farmer’s pasture land and the neighboring corn field.  We then hiked in, past were we had set up the night before and climbed up out of the creek bed and crossed into the farmer’s cut hay field.  It’s important to note that the path we took was clear….on the way in.

The decoys were set up in full view of the flock…..who still hadn’t motivated to cross the road.  We hoped that calling and being able to see the decoys would be enough to pull them across.  We had been researching and googling all weekend that fall turkeys are notoriously hard to move because they are set up in family flocks and not breeding, but all we could do was try.  It was about 2pm when we got back out, so we had about 3.5 hours to try and persuade them across…..even if we just got one stupid one…..that would have been enough!

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You can’t see them in the picture, but there’s the road….and the flock is just around the curve of the tree line on the left side of the picture!

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Our excellent bait turkeys…..or so we thought!  For reference the road is just skimming the left side of the picture.  They didn’t even have to motivate that far!

It became apparent around 4:45 or 5 that we were not going to get a turkey.  Especially if they were roosting in the trees on the South side of the road.  By this time they would slowly be waddling back towards the safety of their roosts before night fall.  Around this time we started to hear some crunching from the pasture behind us, but we obviously knew there were cows wandering around so we didn’t think too terribly much of it.

Feeling a bit sad and defeated, we packed up the gear for the last time.  Our inventory becomes important so I’ll give you a quick recap of what we are hauling back to the truck.

The Engineer-

  • The blind

Me-

  • My bow
  • Two camping chairs
  • Bag with the two decoys

Nothing that either of us was carrying was heavy……just a bit cumbersome and a tad hard to wrangle.  We both also had backpacks on, and I had the slight added struggle of trying to not bang my bow around too much on the various trees and brush we were trudging through.  We were slowly making our way back down to the creek bed when we ran into a sort of wall of evergreen trees.  They weren’t tall, but they were a bit dense and while we could have been pushed through, we decided to go around.  We headed left to skirt the heavier brush when we had to stop short because The Engineer saw cows.  I’m not sure if he saw exactly what they were, or if he just heard them….but in any case we turned around.  We headed back up the hill a bit and back South towards the road.  We weren’t on any beaten cattle trails, but I sorta just picked a path and went.  We ended up between two much taller evergreen trees that you could sorta duck underneath because the lowest branches were about shoulder height.

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Hindsight being 20/20…..we should have just skirted this tree line on the outside of the fence down to the road……..

This seemed like a good way down the hill, until I got the bottom near the creek, stood up and turned to come up almost face to face with a bull who was not at all happy to see me near his creek!!  Now I grew up with grandparents who raised cattle, so it’s not that I’m totally unfamiliar with their behavior, but we also weren’t allowed to be around and in the pastures and such when the bulls were out.  We turned south and sorta jogged off behind a fallen tree and looked back to see him loping and bucking in our direction.  He wasn’t really running…..he certainly would have been able to out run us, but he could have started at anytime.  I got a swift push to the shoulder and two words from The Engineer…..”Go, run!”  So we ran back up the hill….crashing through the thick trees and bushes…..hauling all our stuff!  We then had to jump back across the barbed wire fence which essentially put us 20 yards south of where we had been set up hunting!  It’s moments like that I’m glad I work out.  It’s nice to be able to count on your body when you need it, although again my hill sprints have nothing on charging bull pace had he actually been interested in following us.

So there we stand…….a bit out of breath…..basically on the highway.  I’m sure we were a sight trudging down the side of the road like hitchhikers.  The distance to the truck was probably shorter this way, and definitely easier to travel, but it’s probably not great form to be looking like total delinquents on the side of a country road as the sun is setting and it’s getting dark.  We had just sort of started to regroup and trudge when a badger comes scurrying across the road and stops at probably 15 yards from us and turns to face us.  Having not packed in his hand gun, our only “badger defense” was my bow, so The Engineer took the decoys from me and had me nock an arrow.  The badger didn’t end up causing us any trouble, but he would occasionally turn to look at us while we all walked in the same direction.  Trudging the country road with an arrow nocked on your bow probably doesn’t look great either, but ya know……..ya gotta do what you gotta do!

By the time we turned down the field access road and were headed back North to where we had left the truck, it was clear that we had ended up taking the only acceptable path out of the field.  I’m honestly not sure why we didn’t just walk the road back to begin with, but I’m sure The Engineer had his reasons…..I mostly just did what I was told.  The whole herd……mommas, calves, and a few more bulls…….had moved South into the corner of the field we had hunted the night before.  Even if we had managed to get across the creek without being chased out by the bull we would have climbed up out of the creek bed to face the whole herd.  Getting out of that situation would have been much harder, and it probably would have called for more evasive maneuvers than just running back up a hill.

So I guess all is well that ends well, and even though I didn’t get a turkey to cook for Thanksgiving next week, I’m glad we took the weekend and tried to fill the tag.  The Engineer was a bit sad I didn’t get to shoot any arrows all weekend except at the range and suggested I should have shot the badger.  Technically, they are nuisance animals and therefore can be shot on my license.  I don’t really have a use of a badger and would have only shot the animal if it had messed with us.  Badgers are known to be a bit feisty and are not afraid of taking on something much bigger than themselves.  The Engineer does have a coworker who really wants a taxidermy badger…..for whatever reason, but I’m fine having not shot anything.

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I think pretty much everything makes a badger angry…..beware the angry badger!

It’s called hunting not shooting after all, and to expect to go shooting your very first weekend out hunting is a stroke of luck that mother nature doesn’t allow everyone to have.  Probably, having my first hunting trip be an exercise in actually hunting and not shooting was helpful, after all…..if I wanted to just fling arrows all day I could have just headed to the archery range.

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No News is Boring News….So Updates?!

It’s been a pretty slow and lack luster week here at Casa Mishappenings. The weather this week was too hot and sticky to inspire anyone to do anything other than stand in front of an open refrigerator door slowly wafting cook air over yourself.

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Things that make you say “UGH”

I mostly only when outside when forced or to quickly water and pick some ripe veggies from the garden.   I might not love the heat, but it’s been good for the plants.  I get a handful of green beans and a few peppers and tomatoes almost everyday.  Several of the squash blossoms have become large and in charge squashes now, so I’m sure I will have plenty of spaghetti squash to eat all winter long.

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The daily bean harvest….bring on the Hidden Valley ranch dip!

We bought a patio umbrella lasts weekend, so that has helped with the heat some, but it’s still very unpleasant.  It’s just been the sort of hot and humid that reaches down into your soul and sucks all your energy……like a dementor.

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Accurate representation of SoDak heat and humidity on your energy levels…..

We’ve all just been laying low inside, and I’ve been fitting the urge to pick off my dip nails. They have started to lift slightly at the cuticle, but I’m going to try and seal them down a bit with some gel top coat and try and get another week of wear out of them. I’m not sure if they are lifting because that’s just what they do, or if they are lifting because an extra coat was applyied to them.  However, I’m on day 15 now and they still look remarkably good. No one other than me knows they are lifting, so I’m just fighting my internal nature to not fidget with them.  #thestruggleisreal

Friday night, The Engineer and I went down to my Momma’s house to make doughnuts.  Momma and I spent most of Saturday afternoon at my great aunt and uncle’s house, and considering the doughnut recipe is his mother’s……they were a total requirement.  A couple hours and several rounds of hazing from my Momma and The Engineer about my cooking, stacking, and packing of the doughnuts…..we had 3 batches of doughnuts packed up and ready to be enjoyed.  We returned home last night with no doughnuts and some…….interesting……information about our family’s genetic history.

Today, it was finally nice enough to be comfortably outside so The Engineer and I ran some errands and then hung out under the patio umbrella.  He bought me The Hogwart’s Library while we were at Target, so reading while sipping on mules consumed the bulk of our evening.  We also made a trip to Ulta.  It was initially to look at an at home dip nail kit….however I decided to opt out of that little adventure.  What I did buy was…..sheet masks!

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Yes I put on falsies for errands today….sometimes I’m just extra like that!

Don’t tell The Engineer I told you, but I think tonight is going to consist of wine, a new Game of Thrones episode, maybe some ice cream, and couple’s sheet masks!!!  I’m pretty excited about it honestly, and a little bit of at home pampering never hurt anyone, guys included!  Plus, they are cold….so that should feel nice after an entire week of over heating overtime you look outside.  I might paint my toe nails tonight too, although I’m sure he won’t join me on that…

Side note…..if you’re in need of shampoo and conditioner…..Ulta is having a sale on their large salon sized bottles.  But….you’ll need to hurry as the sale ends next weekend!

Trying Some New Things

You may remember a few weeks ago when I was ranting about feeling like a chubby panda.  Well, I decided to take a positive step towards at least feeling like I’m getting myself back on track, and I bought some protein powder.  Technically speaking, I bought some collagen peptides, but at it’s core, collagen is a protein.  It’s a protein source many people ignore now, because we don’t need to cook and eat every part of an animal anymore.  Modern society has allowed us to pick and choose what we want to eat, but modern choices aren’t necessary what our bodies need or want to function well.  It makes me feel “fitter”, but that might only be because I know lots of cross fitters and fitness bloggers use this particular brand.

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I’m not really living a strict Whole 30 life, I still like a sprinkling of cheese on a taco or an occasional drink, however overall I’m being much more mindful of what I’m putting into my system and the effects my diet has on the way I feel and look.  I do think it’s made a big impact, and if chugging some greens and adding collagen into my coffee helps me be more mindful of everything else, then so be it.

Throwing a scoop of the collagen into my morning coffee, whether it’s hot or cold, with a splash of unsweetened coconut milk has become my daily breakfast.  I might supplement it with some fruit, but I find that the added protein is enough most days.  It’s flavorless, so I’ve tried to convince The Engineer to add some to his Moscow mules….he’s not having it.  I’ve also blended it into smoothies with flax seed, greek yogurt, and whatever frozen fruit has been laying around.  Really, I think you could add it to anything.  I did learn that even though it dissolves in cold solutions, it needs to be stirred quickly.  One morning I threw a scoop with some ice into my travel mug and had the Ninja “Brew Over Ice”.  Since I wasn’t there to stir it, it did start to form a sort of jello-y blob that took quite a bit of vicious stirring to break up.

The Beauty Greens have taken some getting used to, but now I find that I don’t mind them really at all.  First things first, don’t let the “Coconut Vanilla” flavor make you think they are going to taste like anything….because they don’t.  They honestly taste like a bunch of green veggies that have been steamed and pureed with no spices.  Just….greenness….  I don’t recommend smelling them, they smell a bit like pond water.  I promise that they taste much better than they smell, but the smell leaves serious things to be desired.  I usually drink these with lunch every other day.  It’s just become part of my routine.  I’m not sure that they are doing much for me, but it’s not like more veggies and vitamins ever hurt anyone.

I’ve only taken the vitamin pills a few times.  I wasn’t really after more vitamin pills, but it was cheaper to get the bundle pack.  Plus, it’s not like having vitamins around hurts anyone.  I did take them one morning, but like most vitamins do, they sort of made my tummy upset.  I think if I took them at night I would be fine, but I’d also have to remember to take them.

Like I said, I’m not sure that any of these products are helping me slim down.  Granted, protein has been shown to be an important part of weight loss, so that might be helping some.  Mostly, just having a set routine and knowing I’m taking these products has kept me more responsible and thoughtful about what I eat the rest of the day.  Starting off my day with collagen coffee seems silly if I’m just gonna pound down ice cream, snacks, and a burger later in the day.  Not that I always say no to these things, but I’m just getting myself back to a level that feels good and sustainable to me.  Bodies are a constant work in progress, so I’m not sure that the work is ever really done, but I definitely feel like I’m headed down the right path again.

In more fun, and less “diet-y” news….I got my nails done last weekend!  Technically, I got them done for a wedding…..The Engineer wanted to send me for some fancy pampering while he was doing Best Man things for a wedding.  I’ve been having some trouble with getting my regular gel polish nails to stay bonded correctly.  It has it’s pros and cons…..pros being I no longer have to spend anytime soaking off my polish, it just peels right off.  Cons….when I want/need it to stay looking nice it almost never does.  To try and remedy this, I tried a new acrylic/gel system called Slickpour.  You’ve maybe seen the videos of people dipping their nails into colored powders.  It’s the same concept, only at my local salon, they pour the powder onto the nails.

I tried to find a good picture or gif of the process, but I couldn’t really.  I didn’t want to just post the stock videos of the process as that seemed just sorta boring.  Basically it’s a laying process of colored powered and activator polishes.  I did a very light blue, so it needed three coats to cover well, although that apparently isn’t the norm.  My salon topped the whole process with the gel polish top coat, but that isn’t a requirement, it’s just how they do it there.  They are supposed to last 3-4 weeks and wear more like an acrylic set of nails than just a polish.  Once you’re done with them, you’re supposed to just be able to file off the shine and then wrap and soak them off just like regular gel polish.  So far so good I guess, although I did have the corner of one of my longer nails crack yesterday.  However, I was able to file everything down and even it all out and there doesn’t seem to be any lasting bad effects.  They aren’t lifting, and my nails feel much stronger than they normally would at their current length.  I’m only a week in, but so far I like them.  I like them enough that I might even consider buying the products so I can do them at home.  I’m not much for paying people to do what I learn and do myself.  I’ll keep you posted though I’m sure!

Old Stores and New Favorites

Being gone from home lately has given me the chance to shop at some fun places we don’t have at home.  Lush, which I can order online but that’s less fun because you can’t smell through your computer, and Trader Joe’s are a couple of my favorite shopping destinations when I go to “the big city”.

Since I went to a actual Lush store twice the other week…..maybe we will start there!  My primary motivation at Lush the first time down in Omaha was getting a fun variety of bath time things for Lil B’s birthday present.  It was a super fast power shopping trip because we were on the way to The Engineer’s PE celebration dinner with his family.  Actually, his sister just dropped me off and circled the parking lot…..ain’t nobody have time to find parking at Village Point!  However, they had just released a new body wash scent, and I was super excited to try it.  Mostly because my favorite scent, Lord of Misrule, is a seasonal scent and smells more like fall and winter than it does spring and summer.  Enter…..Plum Rain!

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It’s fruity, but in a dark, adult sorta way.  That probably doesn’t make sense, but it doesn’t smell like childish tutti fruity gum.  Not that there is in anyway anything wrong with that tutti fruity Fruit Stripe gum.  Actually, there is something wrong…..it’s nearly impossible to find anymore, and the flavor doesn’t last as long as I want……however I’m getting side tracked.  I find that this fragrance, compared to other Lush body washes I’ve tried, lasts much longer.  I don’t ever remember smelling Lord of Misrule or The Olive Branch on myself post shower, but Plum Rain has a nice light amount of scent that seems to cling to me.  I think this scent has been available for some time in the UK, so I’m glad I can finally get my hands on it.  I think Plum Rain and Lord of Misrule, fingers crossed they bring it back again, will be my all the time go to scents.

The second trip to Lush was more of a casual shopping stop.  A coworker and I were in Minneapolis for a conference, we just got there a little early so we could shop!  She has two little girls who love the Lush bubble bars, so we stopped in so she could restock.  While wandering around the store I found a new body scrub and figured I’d give it a try.

 

I’ve tried the Ocean Salt scrub before, and just thought a change would be nice.  However, I’m not in love with the Rub Rub Rub scent.  I got a little bit of scent overload in the store, but thought that I would like this.  Once I got home, it’s a little too flowery for my liking.  I mean, it’s not bad, just not something I’d choose again.  I defiantly find the Ocean Salt scent to be more refreshing and neutral.  However, I do like that Rub Rub Rub has some bubble to it.  Scrub and body wash in one is a hard combo to beat.  Honestly, if they offered it in another scent I would be all about trying it.

Big city shopping trip number two was Trader Joe’s.  I feel like people who have Trader Joe’s near them don’t appreciate them the way they should….they are amazeballs!  The only down side is that I’m always traveling when I’m at one, so I can’t really explore the frozen or fresh sections of the store.  All that untapped potential!!

Since I have to mostly purchase dry goods…..I stick mostly to snackies.

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So in looking for a picture of my peanut butter pretzels I discovered I just grabbed the wrong color bag.  THE RED BAG IS UNSALTED!  Not that unsalted, peanut butter pretzels are the worst thing, but they certainly aren’t the best thing either.  They will definitely leave you feeling like they are missing something…..SALT…..but are a good snack to have around anyway.  I don’t love peanut butter, and these aren’t over powering…..although next time I will for sure be grabbing the BLUE BAG!

Since The Engineer was home watching the tiny, furry, terrorist, I thought he could use a couple yummy presents.  Since he pretty much eats what I eat, it wasn’t too hard coming up with some must have items.

 

I had previously grabbed a BBQ sauce here in town that’s a little too on the hot side for The Engineer.  We haven’t tried the Kentucky bourbon sauce yet, but reading over the ingredients doesn’t lead one to believe that it will be super hot.  We made some chicken, pepper, and pineapple hobo grill pouches a couple weeks ago and it should go well with that when we make them again.  The ginger beer was a fairly obvious choice.  However, in googling ways to reign in our budgets I was curious about the difference between ginger beer and ginger ale.  Turns out one is brewed and one is not, but all my research seemed to say that if you weren’t buying sorta artisanal, hipster, still cloudy in the bottle ginger beer…..it probably isn’t all that different from ginger ale.  All that is to say that I bought some ginger ale to make mules with….and he hated it.  So, since the Trader Joe’s bottles said “brewed” and it looked a little cloudy I figured it was worth trying.  I haven’t tried it, but The Engineer did.  I’m not sure that he was wowed enough by it for us to stock pile it, but it was probably a nice change from the diet stuff I usually keep in the house.

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Since I was going to be spending long days sitting at a conference with limited and generally crappy coffee, I grabbed a couple of these little guys to get me through the morning.  Plus side, they are small cans so they tucked right into my wristlet.  Down side, they are small…and a small coffee is never super ideal.  Some coffee is always better than no coffee though!

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My last Trader Joe’s purchase was a couple RX bars.  Basically, they are a quick and easy meal or snack bar, but they are are free from any extra junk.  My coworker likes them, and started eating them because most of the flavors are Whole 30 compliant.  So, I decided to give a couple a shot.  It’s always good to have a quick and easy grab and go something laying around the house.  I tried the Coconut Chocolate and the Chocolate Sea Salt.  I was anticipating that the Chocolate Sea Salt would be my least favorite, but I was wrong.  I’m generally not a huge fan of chocolate, but those I would definitely purchase again.  I’m on the fence about the coconut.  It wasn’t good…..but it also wasn’t bad.  The main win about buying these at Trader Joe’s is that they are WAY CHEAPER than I can purchase them here in town.  I believe that the bars were $1.60ish a piece at Joe’s……here at my local grocery store they are ALMOST $4!!!.  Get your crap together Hyvee!!!!

I also picked up a couple staples……the english toffee and the roasted tomatillo and mango salsa…..so good!  I grab them every time I go.  Hopefully, now that I’m headed down to the Omaha area more often with The Engineer, I’ll be able to hit up Lush and Trader Joe’s more often and keep trying some fun new things.  Life is too short to not try new things!

Time to Get my Booty in Gear

I’m generally not one for recording goals.  I think everyone has goals that they mull over in their minds, but it’s often said that the most productive people write down their goals so that they can actually see them.  I’ve sometimes debated creating journals and lists for myself, but I know myself well enough to know that I’d probably do it for a week or two….but my commitment to these things never lasts very long.  Really, my commitment to most things only lasts until I forget to do it once and then it’s just all over.  Taking vitamins…..solid for a week or two at a time until I space it off one night and get out of the habit.  Honestly, this blog is one of the longest things I’ve ever committed to……and even on this I’ve missed a couple posts here and there…..like last week for instance!

I’m not interested in books like 50 Shades of Grey okay?!  I’m interested in the life changing magic of tidying up.  That’s right, how to declutter my home to achieve inner peace, and my optimum level of success!  That’s what your 30’s are about.  How can I turn this shit around?!  I’m a horrible person, I’m not happy with where I am.  How can I turn this shit around?!  Help me Tony Robbins, help me! — Ali Wong

So, in an effort to try and motivate my nearly 30 something life towards my maximum level of success….I present THE TO DO LIST!

  • Work to double my number of followers on social media — I have little to no idea how I’m actually going to accomplish this, but I’m hoping that people will just start to realize the amazeballsness that is me and decide to come along for the ride?!
  • Upgrade my blog account to look more professional — I’m thinking I’ve reached a place where I should take the plunge and fork over the cash money to buy my URL outright.  I’ve stuck with this long enough that I think it’s officially a thing.
  • Prepare, practice, and study to perform a successful turkey hunt this fall — Okay, so there’s nothing saying that every hunting trip is successful, that’s why it’s called hunting and not shooting.  However, I have good feelings about trying to get ready for a hunt.  I didn’t buy the bow with the intention of hunting,  but turkey tags are relatively inexpensive, I’m in charge of Thanksgiving so I obviously need a turkey, and I feel like this plan will help keep me motivated to hit the ranges.
  • Recommit myself to my fitness, specifically cardio — I say that like this isn’t Easter weekend and I’m not just lounging around munching and snacking.  However, I have recommitted myself to sculpt and rowing classes at the gym.  Also, summer time is coming and that means bike time on the trails with Pimp Money and his wife, so maybe I’ve sorta got this in check?!
  • Finally motivate to do the yard updates I’ve wanted since I moved in —  I can’t guarantee that I’ll be allowed to make these updates.  Mostly this sits in the hands of the HOA board.  However, if they approve my plans I’ll have to put them into action.  I took the first steps tonight by finally emailing the board with my requests, so now we just have to wait.  Approval will mean some digging and serious time in the yard ripping out and replacing plants, and digging up grass for a garden!

I’m not sure what kind of optimum levels my success will reach, but sometimes I think it’s important to take steps to over ride your inner lazy girl.

Things that Go Crunch: Part 1

THIS WAS NOT HOW I WANTED TO START MY WEEKEND!!!!!

I mean, not that anyone ever wants this to happen…..but I was amped to have finished a good workout and start out what is planned to be a good party weekend.  I won a VIP table to a concert for 10 people and a $100 party tab, so fun party plans have been in the works for a couple days.  A crunched front end on my Terrainy girl wasn’t exactly part of my previously scheduled fun! :/

Ugh…I’m just so annoyed.  And I’m still cold hours later…..a lingering byproduct of having to stand out in the chilly SoDak spring wind for two hours while we waited for everything to get sorted out and settled.  Thank goodness it wasn’t winter…..I would have frozen in a post -Yoga Sculpt sweatcicle!

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Doesn’t take much of a collision to crumple plastic into submission…….

Other than being cold, and a turn signal that is currently on the fritz, all is fine.  I’m fine, and the Terrainy girl will live to see another day.

Things to be grateful for are good things I suppose.

 

 

 

Takes A Lot of Water….To Wash Away New Orleans

I know I missed last week’s blog…..but I was on vacation!  We took a trip to New Orleans with my Daddy’s side of the family.

I have some….thoughts…..about NOLA, but let me show you some of the sights we saw around the city.

We stayed in a large rental home on the North side of the Gentilly area on an inlet from Lake Pontchartrain.  The Wi-Fi was non existent unless you were at the bar, and it was quite far away from the French Quarter so we had to Uber in and out everyday, but it was a lovely house with plenty of room for all nine of us.

Stop one on morning one was Cafe du Monde.  Wait in line and commune with the pigeons while you shove steaming hot beignets covered in powdered sugar into your mouth.  This is the way every morning should start.  Coffee and sugar covered beignets can never be a bad life choice.

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We maybe went to Cafe Du Monde……a few times……..

The French Quarter is beautiful….if you can get around the overwhelming amount of people and ickiness that that many people in a small space create.  There were small glimmers of time when there would be on one else on the streets and you could see the buildings for the beauties that they are, but the crowds and craziness takes a lot away from it.

Most of the food we ate was underwhelming.  Maybe we all just had really high expectations of what Cajun and Creole food was supposed to be.  Even Momma, who isn’t widely known for her love of spicy food, was adding hot sauce to most of her dishes.  One place I would go back to anytime if given the chance was Jacque-Imo’s!  It’s a ways out of the French Quarter but still easy to walk to using the Green street car line through the Garden District.  Also, apparently dessert is complimentary!?  We had no idea, but even though we were all exploding with food we did manage to power through creme brûlées and bread pudding.  I don’t even really like bread pudding, but I’d willing eat huge plates full of theirs any day!

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Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Cheesecake

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Duck and Andouille Gumbo

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Seriously…..get in my belly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s vacation without a few selfies?!?!  Most of them include alcohol because you can drink anywhere you want in the city.  Most restaurants and bars have tables or shelves of plastic cups by the exits for you to transfer your drinks into when you leave.  This probably contributes to some of the ickiness of the city, but I guess it’s all part of the vibe that is New Orleans.

 

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The humidity was surprisingly fine.  I was expecting much worse but my hair has seen much worse days!

The trips out to the plantations were maybe my favorite part of the trip, but I just like that sort of thing.  It was a little weird to learn that the plantations weren’t as wide apart and open as the idea everyone has in their brain.  The plantations were all located on the river, so most were quite thin areas of land that extended back from the river several hundred acres.  It’s very possible that you would have been able to see your neighbors from you house, which wasn’t the vision I had in my brain.

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The Whitney Plantation—Photo by my Sister

Exterior stairways are also something you’d never see in the North!  The Whitney is only one room deep!  Large doors on the front and back of each room can be opened to allow the strong river breezes to blow through and cool the house.

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The Laura Plantation

Raised up almost 6 feet off the ground to protect the living areas from the nearly continuous floods of the Mississippi River…..again, something you could never do in the North….you’d never be able to keep it heated!

Oh the crowds!!  We were all told this parade would be very risqué and worth the crowds.  Once again, I think we were all just a little bit underwhelmed.  It was a good experience and we all had a good time, but I think it was a bit over hyped.  Maybe this is just what happened when you’re hanging out in a high tourist destination??

We took a cemetery tour, and more to the credit of our guide than anything else, learned quite a bit about the history and founding of the city.  Not that the cemeteries themselves are all that interesting, but they are an interesting thing to see.  That’s probably confusing, but wandering cemeteries where you don’t “know” anyone isn’t necessarily the most interesting.  However, seeing the different styles of burials and frankly the totally random layouts of the old cemetery was interesting.  Also, we saw Nicholas Cage’s purchased eternal resting place…..a white pyramid…so that was a thing I guess!

We also swung through a few famous locations through out the Quarter.  We had drinks at the Carnival bar, although the bar was too full for us to sit and spin around.  We caught some local jazz and zydeco music at The Spotted Cat, and had drinks at the oldest bar in the country, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop.  On a side note…. the Carnival Bar hotel had these flowers planted outside in their window boxes…..anyone know what they might be!?!?!

 

The whole French Quarter was full of these gorgeous gas lanterns.  I had never seen anything like this, but I’m quite sure that at some point in my future I’m going to have these!

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While I was away seeing new sights, Scout-a-Roo was staying with the BFB and the Hubby in Law.  I’m so lucky that they don’t mind having her and that she’s comfortable staying there.  I’ll leave you with some pics of my nugget in her home away from home!