Trying Something New

I did something today I would not have even dreamed of doing a year ago.  In fact I probably would have gagged had someone tried to make me eat what I ate today much less prep and cook it.

What was different about today? Well, two things have changed my way of thinking recently.  One is trying to get healthy.  I’ve been reading and researching on healthy things to eat and organ meat kept coming up.  I was really hesitant because to be honest it just sounds gross.  But the health benefits are there.  The other thing I’ve been learning about is subsistence and minimalism, using the things you have around you to survive and live. Part of that is, if you hunt you use every part of then animal you possibly can.

So that brings us to today.  My best friends husband went hunting and got a deer yesterday and he brought home the heart.  We were having a sewing day and figured we’d mix it up a little and cook up some heart for lunch.


Now, I/we have no idea how to prep this thing for cooking or how to cook it.  Thank goodness for Google and YouTube.  We found a great YouTube/Instagramer called Breaking Wild.  His video showed us how to prep and cook the heart.  Thank you Breaking Wild. (Link will be at the bottom of this post.)

It was a new experience.  I mean I’ve cut up a chicken breast before, but this was a heart and there were ventricles to cut off.  I am so thankful for that video.  Very thankful.  I’m not sure how it would have turned out had we not found that how to video.  I cooked up the heart steaks in butter, garlic, onions and a little cooking wine.   Then it was time to eat them.

This was actually the scary part.  Venison has always been hit or miss with me.  Sometimes it tastes really gamy and sometime when prepared right it tastes great.  So there was that and who the heck knows what heart tastes like.  There was a lot of anxiety going into the first bite.  A lot of anxiety.

As it turned out there was no need for all that anxiety.  It was really good.  It tasted like steak to me.  Not an expensive t bone or anything but a decent sirloin.  I don’t think I would eat it regularly but once every hunting season.  It would be really good in a stew too.

Moral of the story: don’t be afraid to try new things.  Even if you end up hating them you will have learned something in the experience.


I love coffee.  My favorite is a good dark roast with a splash of cream.  Oh man, if it wasn’t 8:30 pm, I would go make myself another pot, I mean cup.  I have been trying a lot of local coffee places lately as well as locally roasted coffees.  There is something heartwarming and comfortable about going to a locally owned small business coffee shop in contrast to the bigger chain coffee places.

I am getting off task though.  What I want to write about are three things that have come into my coffee world that I am loving right now.  The first is my percolator.  I remember camping when I was a child and waking up to the smell of coffee being percolated over an open fire.  It smelled so wonderful and I couldn’t wait to be old enough to try it.  I had forgotten about percolators with the convenience of the drip pot and the Keurig until the other day when my best friend whipped hers out and suggested we percolate some coffee.  The difference in the taste was astounding.  I felt like I was really tasting the coffee and it’s flavors the way they are meant to be.  I think the percolation (is that a thing) brings out flavors that we miss out on with a drip pot or a Keurig.  If you haven’t tried it, you should.  So good!!

The other thing that has come into my life recently is a coffee protein shake.  It has the coffee from two espresso’s in it and it tastes wonderful!  I love having one for lunch.  It fills me up and I get my afternoon hit of caffeine to make it through the rest of my day.

Last but not least I have found a wonderful dark roast coffee from a roaster near me in Hayward,Wisconsin.  It’s Backroads Campfire Joe.  I received it as a gift from someone who knows my love for coffee.  I have never seen grounds so dark and I was so excited to make it.  I was not disappointed.  The dark, almost woodsy flavor transported me back to sitting next to a campfire on a cold morning watching the forest wake up.  If you like dark roast coffee it is definitely one to try.


I Love Where I Live

Autumn is rivaling summer for my favorite season!  Especially here in my northland.  The colors, the smell of the leaves, the waves on the lake, the crisp breeze in your face are all invigorating.  There were lots of yellows and oranges this year and they mixed beautifully with the evergreens. The pictures speak for themselves!



The Fletcher Foundation

October is Miscarriage and Infant Loss Awareness month.  I’ve shared the story of our miscarriage with our daughter before on this blog.  Every October I am somewhat surprised by the emotion that greets me.  As the expanse of social media has happened I am learning I am not alone.  I am learning it is okay and normal to tell people Noah is not my first and only.  He is my only living child.  I still don’t understand why there is such a stigma with miscarriages and acknowledging the children that have been lost.

I want to tell you about an amazing foundation started by a friend of mine and her husband.  Matt and Haley had a text book pregnancy with their first child and had no reason to expect anything different with their second pregnancy.  However, their second pregnancy was anything but text book and Fletcher was born too soon.

Matt and Haley took their experience and wanted to help others going through similar situations of pregnancy and infant loss.  They started the Fletcher Foundation in memory of their son.   The mission of the Fletcher Foundation is to bring hope to families who are grieving after a miscarriage or stillbirth, as well as provide financial assistance to those enduring financial burdens due to the loss of a child.  Our heart is to point mothers and families in a season of grief to joy and life after loss.

I get emotional every time I read their mission.  After my miscarriage I didn’t know what to do, what to think, what was okay to feel or not feel.  I didn’t know anyone who had had a miscarriage other then the recovery nurse who told me to do something fun and not sit at home after my D and C.  I was lost and sad.  To have an asset like the Fletcher Foundation to help me grieve would have been wonderful.   In addition to having resources available to help you grieve, they also want to help financially if there are medical bills uncovered by insurance.  We were blessed with great health insurance at the time of our loss and I am so thankful for that.  I’m not sure how it would have added to the stress of the situation to know I had medical bills to pay.

I love what Matt and Haley are doing through the Fletcher Foundation for so many reasons.  My main love of this is that they are providing help to a group of women and their families who are dealing with a situation that many do not understand or talk about.  It makes my heart happy to think that some one out there experiencing this loss will not have to walk through it alone because of the Fletcher Foundation. One little man and his presence is going to help so many people.  There is a purpose for everyone, those that live long lives, those that live just hours or minutes and those who don’t even make it to this world.

Make sure to check out The Fletcher Foundation online at: or on Facebook at The Fletcher Foundation (Des Moines, Iowa).  As with most foundations they are dependent on donations from people to enable them to accomplish their mission so visit their site and consider making a donation to help a family going through a really tough time.


Strawberry Jam

First, let me say this is not a Paleo recipe.  I tried making no sugar jams last summer and did not like any of them.  Personal preference I guess.  I did use organic cane sugar instead of white sugar.  It’s what I had on hand as it’s what we use day to day.  I also cut back on the sugar a bit.

Second, all the credit for this amazing strawberry jam recipe goes to the Pioneer Woman.


We usually love to go and pick our own berries at one of the local farms but this year the farm we usually  pick at had closed.  I didn’t want to miss out on the strawberry season so I grabbed a box from a road side stand.


Look at those beauties.  So fresh. So red. So delicious.  It was so hard to not eat them all before we made the jam.

For the summer my son has to do a list of things before he can have screen time.  One of those things is help someone in the family.  So he got recruited to help me with jam and we had a blast.  He helped cut all the strawberries.


He loved the mashing of the strawberries.


He help with every part.  He stirred the strawberries and the sugar together and when it was time to scoop it into the jars he did all the scooping.  IMG_6898

It was such a fun and easy project to do together.  It only took us about 2 hours total start to finish including the water bathing.  I love taking my favorite tastes of summer and preserving them to have to eat through out the winter.


Never Too Old

I’m going to take a little trip down memory lane in this post. Life is constantly changing and while I super excited and inspired by the changes currently taking place, I think it’s good to remember where you have been.

30 years ago my family and I moved to a small town in Iowa.  26 years ago we moved into this house.  This house is beautiful inside and out.  Though she needs a bit of work in this particular picture. IMG_6142 (1)

I “grew up” in this house.  I say that even though we moved there either my freshman or sophomore year of high school.  It went through my teenage years with me.  And those were some years.  As I walked through the house one last time I was flooded with memories.

IMG_6472  The attic.  It was much nicer back in the day when it was my room. If those walls could talk.

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I was blessed to have my best friend live next door to me for a while. I used to sit on this window seat and she’d sit on her couch by the window and we’d talk on the phone.

Then there is this beautiful staircase where many a family picture was taken.  I remember putting my wedding dress on and walking down to show my family.  The archway that welcomed so many as they walked in our front door.  The room where I had my first kiss with the man I would end up marrying.IMG_6481


And the last picture I have for you.  The kitchen that Adam and I remolded a bit together.  Again, as in my other posts more Adam than me.  But I did chip off all of the plaster covering the brick wall.  I love exposed brick.


Why am I sharing this walk down memory lane with you? Well about a 3 months ago my parents sold this house.  And it got me thinking about the past, the future, change and living your dreams.

They have always been adventurous, my parents.  My dad maybe more so then my mom.  Though,  in spite of dealing with anxiety/depression issues due to a genetic disorder she is a carrier of, she has always been up for whatever adventure he could dream up.  She may want to let her fear and anxiety keep her from these adventures but she doesn’t.  She puts her trust in God and goes.  My dad has always had a dream of living in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana and so at 77 and 72 they are working at making this dream come true and that inspires me.

What dreams have you been putting on the back burner?  What have you wanted to do forever but have thought impossible?  What is holding you back from achieving your dreams?

My parents have taught me a lot over my 42 years but one of the best lessons is don’t let fear hold you back.  It can be crippling.  I’ve seen my mom work through it time and time again.  Be brave! Be bold! Have faith and go for it.  You are never too old to make your dreams come true!


Table Building Amatures

7 or so years ago my husband was helping my dad clean a shed.  While doing this he discovered these. 3 – 12 foot 100 year old barn boards and he got a vision of what they could be someday.


These barn boards sat around in my dad’s garage until about 6 months ago when they made the voyage from Iowa to Wisconsin.  Where they sat in our garage until March.  Over spring break we got ambitious and said let’s build a table.  Something we have never done before.  How hard can it be, right?

I must stop for a moment and say this, my use of we should really be limited to the planning, sanding and painting on of the protective coating.  The building of this table was all my husband.  Through YouTube, Google and his dad (thanks Glenn) he made the plans and executed.  So while I may use the term “we” throughout this post please know my husband deserves all the credit for the actual building of the table.

Now that we have that clear, on with the post.  We cut the boards down to 3-6 feet pieces and 2-4 feet pieces and my husband set to work putting it all together. IMG_6172  We had to take the boards to be planed (thank you Patrick) and jointed (thanks Tom)





After they were planed and jointed it was time to start building.  I can’t give you all the details but there was lots of drilling of holes, dowels, and glue.  There was not one nail or screw used in the building of this table. A fact that I find extremely cool!  If you have questions or want specific plans leave a comment and I’ll get them to you.

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We chose to use cedar for the base.  Cedar is so beautiful and it really goes well with the table top even though we think that is white pine.  (If you can tell us if we are correct leave me a comment).
IMG_6400After he got all the parts assembled it was time to sand the whole thing.  I helped a little with that.  I wanted to say I helped “build” the table.  I am not really a details person.  Well, on somethings I am but on something like this it makes my head hurt.  My husband loves it and he is great at it though and he did an amazing job.IMG_6239

Anyway, after all the sanding was done we began to debate what we should use as a finish.  We knew we didn’t want to use a stain of any kind.  The wood was so beautiful as it is.  We considered tung oil or teak oil.  We spent a lot of time in the finishing isle at Menards.  We finally settled on a clear water based poly.  I can’t really tell you why we made that decision.  We just needed to make one and it seemed like a good choice.  I liked it because it didn’t have a strong smell and its really easy to apply.  It really made the table look even more beautiful.

The table is 7 feet long.  The top alone ways at least 250 pounds.  We built the base separately and brought that in the house first.  I was able to help with this and that’s it.


I knew I could not help carry that table top from the garage to house.  My husband and his dad made that happen.  It is a beast.  A beautiful beast.

IMG_0632I have dreamed about having a farm house table for a really long time.  I have pictured sitting around sharing meals, but also living life around it.  My kid working on homework while I meal plan, having my quiet time with God, playing board games, maybe having a puzzle going during the winter, projects being done, laughing and playing cards with good friends, and holiday meals with family.  I love this table! If you couldn’t tell.  Thank you Adam for making my dreams come true!IMG_6549