When we have each other, we have everything.
People often ask me, "How do you survive in Minnesota?" Growing up in Washington state, I was admittedly not prepared when I moved here 8 years ago for what the winters/summers would bring. Minnesota sees both extremes compared to Washington state. I remember the first time I was here in the summer and saw 100 degrees on a temperature gauge...I was amazed. I remember the first winter I was here and saw 0 degrees...I was amazed. Now, it just feels like home and I look forward to all that each season brings. I embrace it (yes, even the days when it feels like -43 outside).
Honestly, I feel as though Minnesota is easy to embrace. Ben and I try to find an activity that works well with each season. Hiking in late fall and spring, snowmobiling in the winter, and boating during the summer. Our activities cause us to look forward to the cold and the heat. Each season, I hear people complaining about "When will the cold ever end?" or "When will we get a break from this heat?" I choose to love each season I am in because I know that all too quickly we will be in the next.
Speaking of embracing all seasons...a season I am embracing in life is learning how to be "healthy" on my own terms. The word "healthy" means something different for most people that I know. For some of my friends and family, it is paleo or gluten-free or organic only or yoga or running, etc. I have tried many a different thing and yet nothing ever stuck longer than a month. I would become frustrated thinking that it was something that I was doing/not doing. I put a lot of pressure on myself to learn about the next thing and the next hoping that something would click.
When I found www.100daysorealfood.com on a Facebook post I read, I was intrigued. The idea seemed simple: cut out processed food by making your own versions with everyday food in your kitchen OR if you bought something from the store, it should have ingredients that you could easily find and use in the kitchen. I was skeptical that this would be a passing thing for me as well. We started with this plan back in November (5 weeks of meal plans on the website) and are more committed to the idea now than we were back then. I have already posted on my garden that I am starting this summer, but another focus area for me has been bread. We have not purchased a loaf of bread from the store since January. I know that may not seem like a huge feat for some of you, but for someone like me that is a toast/juice breakfast eater, it was a big deal. Some loaves have been disasters and some loaves have been successful. We are finally falling onto the "more loaves are successful than failures" stage. Below are some pictures of the bread I made today. My hope for summer is that I will have a variety of types of bread for summer eatin! Wish me luck!
One season of our lives that has an end in sight is indoor house projects. Below is a sneak peak at our old downstairs bathroom. This is the third to last project we will work on between now and summer. Look for pictures of the before/afters tomorrow in our "House Photos" section.
For President's Day Weekend, Ben and I drove 9 hours to the Black Hills in South Dakota. The drive can feel a little long after a full day of work, but we made really good time because of the lack of head winds. We stayed at the Marriott in Rapid City and then drove 1 hour each day to Spearfish for the trail head. There was an awesome amount of snow out there this year. In the past, the trails have been a bit spotty. This year, however, there was plenty of fresh powder both days. In addition, it was a balmy 30 degrees on Saturday and 50 degrees on Sunday. Those are my kind of riding temperatures! We rode to a different restaurant each day for lunch and covered about 150 miles total between the two days (I am not as fast as Ben). It was a nice break from the frigid Minnesota winter. Lucy stayed with Auntie Ali and Uncle Mike, played with Stella and Chance all weekend, then came home tuckered out!
Ben, Julie, and Amelia