These Days: Harvest

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A Day at Joie’s Farm


My dear friend Joie is spending the summer as an intern at Prairie Whole Farm in Ida Grove, Iowa. The kids and I visited yesterday, and I don’t have words to describe what a terrific day we had. We came home dirty (so dirty) and exhausted (in the best way), our heads and hearts full of new experiences and our arms full of produce and fresh flowers and even eggs from the prettiest  chicken I’ve ever seen (June). I’m still buzzing from friendship and inspiration.

Missy and Phillip (the farmers) and their family were so generous with us. The kids made fast friends, and the hardest part of the day by far was saying good-bye. We harvested vegetables for a snack and for the most delicious lunch ever (ok, maybe not ever, but it was so fun to know that more that three-quarters of the food on my plate came from the gardens less than an hour ago. I’m still kind of in awe of that. So, yeah, maybe ever). And I finally learned the secret of kale chips!

We played with the animals (that poor cat!) and walked in the gardens and splashed in the puddles and jumped on the trampoline. I don’t think I could ever get enough of this place. What a gift it was to spend the day with Joie and get a glimpse of her life and spaces this summer.

These Days






Eat a Little Differently


As I mentioned, Jason and I are doing a Whole 30 for the month of June. (Actually, my friend Joie suggested that we do a Whole 40 because of the biblical significance of the number 40. Sounds good to me.) I’ll post some updates here about how I’m feeling and such, but most of the Whole 30 love (meal plans and recipes) will be over at Needs More Butter.

I did a Whole 30 a couple of years ago too, and to be honest, I don’t think I got a lot out of it. I didn’t feel worse, but I didn’t feel particularly better. I lost a bit of weight (8 pounds if I remember correctly), but it didn’t really change my relationship with food. Basically, I think I did it wrong. I was compliant food-wise, but I didn’t really do any of the mental work to break habits and cravings and such.

I do believe I’ll have a different and better experience this time. I’m in a different head space entirely. I don’t know quite how to articulate that, but I’ll try over the course of the next month or so. First up, I think Jason doing it with me this time will be so good. I’ve also done a lot of reading and research this time around. Personality-wise, I do well when I’m on a kick, and right now I have a lot of energy for this pursuit. I’ve been more or less compliant for a week or so (although yesterday I had hummus and Dairy Queen and root beer all because I still could), and I feel great in a lot of ways.

The Whole 30 is strict, and some days are just going to be harder than others, but I recently read some good advice: “The chatter you keep running in your head makes a huge difference in how successful you are with change. Instead of ‘this is hard,’ try ‘I’m going to feel so amazing’ or ‘I can do hard things’ or ‘I’ve totally got this.’”

Day 1, here we go!

Cloud Collecting


A car conversation earlier today:

Me: Seriously, I just can’t get over the clouds today. They are incredible.

Simon: I call them “weaving clouds” because look how they go together. I put them in my cloud collection.

Me: Where do you keep your cloud collection, buddy?*

Simon: In my brain! Where else? I also call it my nugget.

* I recognized the idea of a cloud collection from a delightful new series we found on PBS Kids  called Plum Landing (we watch on the Roku, but it’s also available online). One of the characters keeps his cloud collection on his phone. I was so happy that Simon picked up the idea that I pulled over to Holmes Lake to let the boys use my camera to save some of their clouds, and later we laid a blanket out in the back yard to do some cloud watching.

Later in the day when we were in the car again:

Simon: Look! That cloud looks like a geyser.

Ian: You should put that in your nugget.

These photos are taken by the boys. Enjoy a peek into their nuggets.

These Days

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Places We Go: Hiking by the Platte


For Mother’s Day this year we had a chance to revisit the hiking trails along the Platte River near my parent’s house. The last time we went was almost four years ago, and well, it could have been better (and it could have been worse).

This time was great. We underestimated our boys’ attention span for throwing sticks and rocks in the river, and I underestimated my desire to linger and take a billion pictures, so the biggest complaints we got, really, were that it was time to head back too soon. The kids loved collecting rocks and sticks and pine cones for their “nature backpacks.” I said no to bird feathers. I’m not sure if bird feathers are okay to collect or not? I always fear we’re going to die of some birdy disease. Jason said no to what I’m pretty sure were perfectly good morel mushrooms, citing that one book where that guy died in the wilderness because he misidentified a plant. Better safe than sorry, I suppose. But boo.

I love that it just gets more and more fun to do things with the kids. It takes a little of the sting out of how fast they are growing up. A little.