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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Empty Nest? What do we do now?

daughter's dorm

As I have shared before, our daughter is away for her first year of college. She won't be home until Thanksgiving. Her dad and I can't wait for her to come home. I'm sure the cats and dog will be happy to see her too. We miss her very much. We have been to see her twice. I'm working on my husband to go first see her again before Thanksgiving. It probably won't work. She had done a good job texting and calling. I bet that means she misses us as well. She also misses the food at home.


She is our only child so we have an empty nest. So it is just the 2 of us and the dog occupy our time. We are no longer running her back and forth to school and band events. That has left us with a lot of free time. What to do?

Top Empty Nester Activities 
1. Go places that your child didn't like.
2. Dinner and a movie ( we go to the movies on week days in the afternoon since we are both home).
3. Try new restaurants 
4. Go to the zoo and museums in Cleveland
5. Sent care packages to child
6. Cook fancy meals together
7. Take day trips (we haven't done this yet but plan to)
8. Go out of town just the 2 of you
9. Get coffee or lunch and go to the park or beach (we live on lake Eerie)
10. Go on those fall dates

I still do things by myself including running or walking, meeting my friends, and going to Lake County Ladies from meetup.com.  I saw some writing groups and a wordpress group I'm interested in as well. I have friends with empty nests and friends with little ones. There are a few with college kids and little ones. Enjoy your time with your children. It goes supper fast!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Rescue a pet

Shadow - Flan and Shadow are litter mates
As October is adopt a pet from a shelter month, lets talk about our pets. We have 3 cats - 1 from a shelter and 2 from a friend's yard. We had Lily the pug for about 10 years. She came to us when she was 6 from Ohio Pug Rescue.
Lily
Now we have Abbey the miniature schnauzer. She is 3 years old. We adopted her on July 21st. We found her using petfinder.com. We drove 3 hours away to pick her up at My young and old fur babies in Woodsfield, Ohio. Our dog came from a breeder and Abbey was a non-producer of puppies along with another mini schnauzer. They were both terrified and huddled together. We had to pick one. It was so hard to leave the other one behind. She was adopted a few days later so I felt better.


Flanagan 

Abbey has been a wonderful new addition to our home. She was scared of everything. We took her to our vet and she shook the entire time. Abbey had ear infections in both ears and hookworms. She started to warm up more after she started feeling better. She is still scared but doing a lot better.
Abbey the day after she came home

Just last week she started going in the kitchen and dining room. Before she would only go in the living room and bathroom. We feed her in the bathroom. She had never had an accident in the house. She loves going for walks (4-5) a day. We live in a condo development and don't have a fenced in yard.

I decided to take her to obedience training. Not because she was behaving badly but I wanted to have her trust us more. We are going to Foundations 1 at Digging Dogs in Mentor, OH. She has learned some of the things but is often scared and refuses to walk. The was scared of the cones, the far wall, and the teacher. She is not as scared of the teacher anymore. The class was for 6 weeks. Tonight is actually the last class. She is not ready for Foundations 2 so I will work with her and try to get her ready for it. We will skip the next session that begins next week.
Abbey now

We have had a great experience adopting our pets. The dogs have both been wonderful! Cats are cats and have their moments but they are great too. So if you need a new pet in your home, make sure to adopt. There are plenty of rescues and shelters around. You can visit your local vet, Petsmart and shelters. Good luck!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Crockpot Fall Favorites

I love to use my crockpot. It's a great feeling to have dinner started in the morning. There is also no excuse to go out to dinner because you have dinner ready. My crockpot has been busy lately. I already made 2 soups, chili and apple sauce. I am planning for a few more this week and next week. This week we are making Split pea soup. What crockpot meals are your favorite? What have you made this week in  your crockpot?

Fall Crockpot Favorites 

  1. Apple sauce, apple butter, apple cider (I didn't make apple butter yet. It takes 12 hours in the crockpot.) 
  2. Chili (I make 2 point weight watchers chile recipe. I often use ground turkey instead of ground beef. This is a great recipe.)
  3. Italian Beef (A midwestern dish served on rolls.)
  4. Split Pea Soup (I love this soup. I have a great recipe from one of my friends.)
  5. French Dip (A favorite of my daughter)
  6. Beef Stew (We often make a Guinness Beef Stew. Need biscuits with this meal.)
  7. Pulled pork (Also needs rolls)
  8. Pork chops and apples or apple cider (Use for those apples you picked.)
  9. AuGratin Potatoes (My daughter like this with ham. Another one of her favorites.)
  10. Pumpkin Dump Cake (There are many crockpot dump cakes. They are quick, easy and taste great.)
  11. Bread Pudding (I am going to try a pumpkin pecan bread pudding this year.)
  12. Mac & Cheese (There are lots of varieties of this dish.)
  13. Stuffed Pepper soup (A favorite of mine)
  14. Meatball and Pasta Sauce (A favorite in many homes including mine.)
  15. Beef Stroganoff (Sour cream goes in at the end. Also, this dish needs egg noddles.)
  16. Turkey Breast (We are going to be trying this for Thanksgiving this year.)
  17. Pasta y fagioli (I use a Olive Garden copycat recipe.
  18. Pot roast (A fall and winter favorite. I put potatoes, carrots and onions in this.)
Have fun with your crockpot. Share with me your crockpot fall favorites. You might give me more ideas. 


Friday, October 7, 2016

Fall Dates Changed Up

Everyone had things they love to do in the fall or any season. My husband and I need to change up what we can do for fall dates do to his multiple sclerosis. We can still do a lot of the fun activities.

Top Fall Dates


  1. Apple picking - We go to Patterson Fruit Farm in Chesterland, Ohio. We try to go during the week when less people will be there so its less crowded then on the weekend. They have a cute little store that we get to shop in. We get homemade apple cider donuts. They are great and often warm. Then we check out the apples which we can taste. The have signs that tell you what the apple are good for - eating, sauce, pie. We usually buy a seconds bag which we then spend the next week making apple stuff. This year I made applesauce and apple cider in the crock pot. I also made an apple crisp and froze some apple pie filling.
  2. Leaf peeking - We usually drive to the wineries in the Geneva, Ohio area. Ferrante Winery is my favorite but there are many others. We will drive out and check out the leaves. Then we have lunch and buy some wine. 
  3.  Roast Marshmallows/Smores - We have a fire pit and can do this in our back yard. We live in a condo development and can't have a bonfire and this is easier to control and more romantic. I love campfires!
  4. Pumpkin picking - We get our pumpkin(s) at Mulberries Pumpkin Patch in Chesterland, Ohio. Its a cute little place where they have pumpkins of all sizes in the front yard. We can "pick" our pumpkin(s). They also have gourds, apple cider and more. 
  5.  Halloween movie-athon - We have netflix and hulu as well as cable so we have our pick of halloween movies scary or not. We make popcorn and other fall type treats. Hard cider would go well with activity too.
  6. Football game - We used to go to all the home football games and as many band competitions  as we could but our daughter is no longer in high school or the band. We like to watch college football on Saturdays. We watch North Carolina as the quarterback is local boy. He is doing great things! Instead of tailgating, we can host or attend a football party at our home or a friend's home with all the tailgating food and fun.
  7. Pumpkin Coffee - This is one of my favorite things about fall. I like lots of pumpkin things especially coffee and muffins. Dunkin Donuts has really good  pumpkin muffins although I would like them better without the icing. I love the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks. Starbucks also has a pumpkin scone (I love scones) but it has way to much icing on it. It would be perfect if it was plain or just had the little bit of the darker icing
  8. Thanksgiving  - My favorite thing this fall will be driving to pick up our daughter from college for thanksgiving at our home with my in-laws!


I hope that everyone has fun this fall! I now have to go to Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte and DD for a pumpkin muffin.  (By the way - no one paid me for what I wrote above.)


Monday, October 3, 2016

October, Already?!

I can't believe it is October already! I have been busy with my daughter at college. We have been there 3 times. Its been crazy. I have also been to BloggyCon16. I learned a lot there. I also learned that I have a lot to learn. I will tell you all about BloggyCon next Tuesday. For today, I will share what I have planned for the month.


Goals:

  1. I will keep working on my couch to 5k and walking. I am motivation myself using virtual runs. I already have one metal and am working on the next one. I am signing up with my running friends for the Run Santa Run race. It was the first race I ran last year. 
  2. I will continue working on my blog, transfer to wordpress and learn more about blogging. I have a lot to learn.
  3. Making and freezing chili, soups and pasta sauce. I already make turkey and rice soup and pasta e fagioli (Italian pasta and bean soup). This week I plan to make chili (weight watchers 2 pt turkey chili). Let me know if anyone wants me to share the recipes. I have been using my crock pot for these recipes.




Books: I plan to read at least 2 non-fiction books and 3 fiction books. The non-fiction books that I chose to read are The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and How to Blog for Profit Without Selling You Soul by Ruth Soukup (which I received at BloggyCon). The fiction books haven't been picked yet but I want to finish Where She Went by Gayle Forman.


At the end of the month/ beginning of the new month, I will share how I have done on my goals and my goals for the next month. Do you have any goals for this month? Can you share any in the comments? There will be more on Thursday about fall, my favorite season. 




Thursday, June 30, 2016

Camping at Mohican

One of my favorite things about summer is camping. Last year we only went camping for one night. Liz was super busy with marching band and there was a ton of rain. Its not much fun to camp when it rains the entire time. We had scheduled 2 camping trips that we cancelled do to the weather. One was when our daughter was at Buckeye Girls State at Mt. Union College. we were going to camp while she was there for 2 nights at Salt Fork. We canceled due the weather. Good thing we did. There were tornado warnings near where our daughter was and other places. At Mt. Union, they had to go in the basement of the building they were in which was the gym. There were classrooms for them to hang out in.
Camping At Wally World 2014

This summer there is no marching band which was most of July and August (she graduated from high school).  The weather has been hot and dry so far. We will be able to camp in the early fall since we won't have weekends tied up with football games and band competitions.  We can also camp during the week because our daughter will be away at college.

Our first camping trip this year was with friends. We went with 2 couples. The women are my running buddies. They were running in the Shawshank Hustle in Mansfield. That race was a 7K. I am not ready to go beyond the 5K so I didn't run. We camped at Mohican Reservation campground. We arranged to get 2 sites next to each other. The sites were very deep and were waterfront. The sites were $35 a nigh plus $10 for any people over 2. It was beautiful. We had 2 pop up campers, a tent and a screen room type canopy. The sites around us had campers and bunches of tents. They partied all night. We were there from Friday to Sunday.
St. Patrick's Day 5K 2015

As usual, it took us longer to then we planned. We left at the time we were planning to arrive. That was about 2 hours late. Our friends with the pop up had arrived just a little before us and the other couple arrived a little after us. The race was on Saturday. They finished the 7K in 51 minutes. That's about how long it takes me to finish a 5K. When they returned, we went tubing on the Mohican River. It was the first time I had ever done that. It was fun but I would like to have a kayak next time. I think that would be better.

We have camped in the Mohican area before but not at this campground. Last time we camped at Wally World (picture above). It would be hard to choice which to stay at next time. The sites were nicer at Mohican Reservation but the bathrooms were great at Wally World. The bathrooms were only ok at Mohican Reservation.

I can't wait to go camping again. I also would love to camp with our friends again. I'll tell you about camping as we continue to camp. My running buddies and I have a 5K planned for July 3 at the Lake County Captains ballpark. This will be the first one I will get a finishers metal. I will post pictures.



Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Summer of Changes


Summer is a wonderful time of year. The flowers are blooming and veggies are growing. The county I live in northeast Ohio has several different farmer's markets on different days. People spend lots of time outside and cooking on their grills. There are so many things to do and see outside.

Summer is bringing lots of changes in our home. The first change was the easiest. We had our landscaping around the house redone. It looks wonderful. That was finished during the week before Memorial day. On Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend, our daughter graduated from high school. I am going to brag for a minute. She graduated magna cum laude and with an honors diploma. Not only is she a smart kid, she s a great person.  Her class was about 650 students and their graduation was too big for the high school as usual. Graduation was held at Cleveland State University.

On Sunday, we had a graduation party at our house. We had it right away because my parents and brother were here from New Jersey for graduation. My in-laws were also her from Illinois. We wanted to have it while they were all visiting rather than make them come back. We ordered food from Manhattan Deli. They did a great job. The party was great. It was nice spending time with our neighbors and friends. Most of them had never been to our house before. On Monday, we finished cleaning up from the party and got ready to pack.

On Tuesday, we left home for our daughter's orientation at Miami University. It's quite a drive - 4 1/2 hours away. We stopped at her favorite restaurant in Columbus (Pho). I admit they have very good pad tai. Not so good for weight watchers. Orientation was busy for us and her. We had stuff to go to as well and I felt they were repeating the same things over and over. By the time we left on Thursday afternoon, she already had her student ID and registered for her classes. So much happened in that short period.

In a little less than 2 months, we will be leaving our one and only child at college. She has decided to be a biology/neuroscience major and to join the marching band.  She is going to be super busy especially since she has to take into to bio and intro to chem her first semester. My husband and I will be empty nesters and have much less to do. No more running her to band practices, football games, performances and everything else she does. She already knows what she will be busy doing but we have to figure out how we are going to keep busy. It gives me more time for this blog and my novel. Any suggestions?

Until that day comes, we will spend time with friends, cooking out, shopping for college and camping. We also have a wedding to attend. Let me know what the best thing is that you or you child took to college with you. Next time, I will tell you all about our first camping trip of this summer!