Sunday, August 6, 2017

Races - Sunflowers - Food Helper

Playing catch up. I've been so very busy the last couple of months. Couple of trips to Missouri, few to Canada and one to Rhode Island. Trying to get myself caught up again. 

I did manage to make one race this year. ONE. That's it. I have really missed them and love doing them so much. The one I did make was one of my fave's. It's through a campground, so pretty and mostly shaded. Downfall are those pesky campers cooking bacon and eggs while we run. 

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One thing I love most about these small town 5k races is running into people you least expect and meeting new friends. I always meet someone new. But the biggest best surprises are running into great old friends you haven't seen for a very long time. This is one of them. Have missed her and was great to see her.

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Ahh, playing in the rain. Does that really ever get old. Some of the most fun you can have. Just nothing comparable to great puddles. (Don't worry or call DCFS, I only let her do this when it's just rain and no lightening).


It's funny how we always say I wish our kids would stay little. You miss the stages that have passed. They grow up so fast. And although these are all true, it's nice to enjoy the present stage and not dwell on what has slipped passed. Because I cannot stress enough how wonderful it's been to be able to have her help out in the kitchen.

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She's having fun, learning things she'll need for the rest of her life and helping me out as well. She's all about chopping things these days and she just made my lunch for several days and she loved it.

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She actually hates salad and homemade applesauce, but she loved making it and I loved eating both. It's a win-win. I take full advantage of the present stage.

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On our way to a softball game this summer we always passed this sunflower patch. Was always so pretty. She didn't believe us that the sunflower seeds she eats at every single softball game come from these flowers. So we stopped for proof. They weren't ready to where you can see them yet, so she still doesn't believe us. We're parents, we don't know anything ya know.

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Today, a picture by sunflowers was pure torture. Maybe now you should call DCFS. It's bad.

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I'll try not to be MIA for so long again, but it happens. Hope you have all been well.

Do you love sunflower seeds?

Do you have a kitchen helper?

What is your favorite part about races?



Friday, July 14, 2017


Slime is coming around our house again. This summer alone, I wish I had invented Elmer's Glue. Wow !!!

This time she's making the Borax version but seems like there are a million of new recipes this year.

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The contact solution version is a good one too.  And definitely the shaving cream one.

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I think all versions are fun. This one isn't sticky, doesn't leave a film on your hands and was cheap and easy.

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She wasn't quite done with the green yet but I snagged the photo before she was ready. It did turn out smooth like the others.

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She has now moved on to creating her own slime. She doesn't measure anything, so it's nothing I can post. But she's gotten quite good at it. The little chemist.

What version of slime do you make?

Do your kids even like slime?

Please share any good recipe you have.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Fun Days - Animals - Ice - Lotsa Pics

That time of summer again when all the small towns have their Fun Days. Always such a good time for all the kids. 

This face paint lady is phenomenal. She does an amazing job. And the make up she uses does not sweat off. She goes from this green and yellow smudge.

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To an amazing Dino-Eye.

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This kid just loves these petting zoo's. Anyone needs a farm hand to help with your animals, this is your girl.

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Deep conversation. Or nostril inspection.

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She loved the pot belly pigs and there constantly twirling tails.

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And the games where we bring home 5 million prizes from.

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One day, one llama is gonna hock that nasty loogie and she might not be so chummy with them.

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Softest bunny ever! (possibly the laziest too)

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It was so hot for the bouncy houses but they still had fun.

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Now this, we NEED this at home. I played several rounds with her. We neeeeed one.

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And when someone dumps out their cooler ice...on a hot day...

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you try to throw it down your Dad's shirt !!!  Actually she already had at this point, the war was on in this picture.

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Hope you are all having a great day and staying cool if your temps are hot too.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Fun Summer Drinks

My neighbor made the cutest neatest drinks ever !!

I think this first one without the alcohol would make a really cute ice cream float for kids too. 

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The creativeness of making these is not my talent.

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But drinking them is !!!  They were all very good.

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I almost felt bad on this last strawberry one. I'm sure it took much more effort to make it, than it did for me to suck it down. 

Have a great day !

Have any fun summer drink ideas?

How far did you run today?

Favorite summer BBQ food?


After living in this house for a year, we decided maybe we should finally do some landscaping. Trenching 12x12x2 brick in for edging was the worst part of it.

Ashlyn was able to sling around a few 30 lb bags of mulch.

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Started with a few Lilies. Still waiting on a few more plants to go in back.

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We need things easy and maintenance free. We don't like spending time on it and we are not that good at it either. Plants are so needy, always wanting water.

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I just LOVE these. My absolute favorite.

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Apparently they are the bunnies favorite too !!!!!!!!!!   They lasted a 2 whole days.

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Do you love landscaping or just enough to get by like me?

Do you have to have everything in chicken wire to prevent rabbits from munching on it?

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Original Vanilla Bug Spray (VBS) - Review

I think we just might get to enjoy the outdoors yet. At last, a product that does not contain Deet or other harsh chemicals and it actually works and is safe for the whole family.

It's called VBS Bug Spray. It started with The Original Vanilla Bug Spray. Then they made a few additional formula's and scents and all three smell really good. 

A lady came up with this as a way to help with biting gnats for her granddaughters and it turned out to work for repelling all biting insects as well !  Now that's a good accident. One thing led to another, and a wonderful product was born in Pekin, IL. 

Vanilla Bug Spray (1)

We have been using these 3 for several weeks. They have really been working well for general activities that we do...ballgames, sitting on our porch in the evening, fireworks, parks and picnics, cookouts. We are outside a lot. But one thing we do frequently is camp.
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We tried it out fishing and staying within the camping area. But I knew the true test would be the trails. We can get eaten alive in them, and have before. One time went 50' in and came running out real fast.
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When spraying the VBS, it's more of a mist. So it doesn't shoot, sputter or spit the product out. I found the mist better covered my body rather than the air around me. Which is precisely the whole point. At first I thought it was a touch greasy, but it just looks that way for a second. Then whether you rub it in or let it sit briefly, it just goes away and your skin is not greasy or sticky which was a dislike in other sprays I've used. It also does not stain your clothes.
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The original Vanilla was the first created and works well as an overall repellent. Then came Cedar Wood for a more manly man woodsy scent. Cedar is a natural tick repellent so there's a huge added bonus for this one. Then came Eucalyptus which is good for when the mosquito's are really bad.
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We purposely wore tanks and shorts for this experiment. One, it was very hot. Two, I'd usually wear pants and long sleeves to help with bugs. But I really wanted to see how it worked, so we threw ourselves in like raw meat to those little buggers. But first Ashlyn had to play in the water, since that's where she is 99% of the time.
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So we applied Vanilla first. The smell is A-Ma-ZING. It doesn't hang around and it's not overpowering, just smells really good.
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Here we go, we are going in. At first, we kept swatting at the skeeters. We stopped for a second to adjust the backpack or take a photo and it dawned on me....I'm swatting them because they are close to me but....they are not actually landing on me. I think it's just natural to swat.
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Many times, you never stop moving, just keep walking because they are so bad you can't stand it. But it was very tolerable to stop mid-trail. Keep in mind, I have seen the skeeters much worse than on this day, I'd say they were a medium peskiness on this particular day. Do you ever really call it a 'good skeeter day' in the woods. So although they were flying close, they were not on us and biting. Half way through, we did stop and apply the Eucalyptus one for bad mosquito's and because we were sweating like crazy we wanted to reapply.
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Trailing is one of our favorite things to do. We come up with fun treasure hunts. We walk them, jog them, take the dogs on them. Have a slight obstacle here from last weeks storm.
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This is one of my most absolute favorite trails with these awesome tall tree's.
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Lake break in our afternoon journey. Since we were in wooded area's, we did use the Cedar Wood spray to repel some of the wood related bugs like ticks and possibly spiders.
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It must work, because when I used it in the last several weeks, we've not found any ticks on us or the dogs.
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Also worth mentioning, after using these for a couple of weeks, the level of liquid is still at the top part of the bottle. So it doesn't go fast. I can't tell you how long it lasts since that will vary so much from person to person and their usage. But it does appear that it's long lasting, which also means more bang for your buck.
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More water, she loves everything to do with it. Loves fishing and playing in it.
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Anyone who fishes knows how much bugs love a person sitting still. Oh they can be bad.
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Do you want to know what one of my most favorite things about this product is? You can use it on your pets too !!!!  The same product for all of us is simply genius. Dogs are always laying in the grass and when we camp the bugs and gnats can be bad for them too. Sometimes they even want to go in the camper to get away from them.
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I just love that they can enjoy outside more too when we spray them. (And then they smell good too). And the fine mist is an easier way to spray them.
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I spray their body with it, then I will spray some in my hands, rub them together and sort of pet them around their face on their head, neck and ears.
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Well, we made it out alive and lived to tell about it. Yay! We were in the trails for 1 1/2 hours and we each came out with 1 single skeeter bite. One !!  Instead of 52 !!  And mine was on my shoulder blade which was probably a spot that didn't get sprayed well anyway.
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After a very hot afternoon on the trails, we came home and jumped in the pool, clothes and all. This pool has been one of our smarter purchases.
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Around us, the mosquito's can be down right vicious in the evening. Between a fire, the VBS and hopefully a slight breeze, we can better enjoy our campfires and friends. And the kids can fully enjoy catching lightening bugs without getting eaten alive.
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I highly recommend you give this stuff a try and enjoy your camping and outdoor activities bug free as well.
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The 4 oz. size fits in your hand perfectly. Easy to bring with you anywhere in your purse, bag or pocket. I've tossed this in our backpack many times and I've not once had it leak. So that's always a good thing.

These contain No Deet or harsh chemicals. Phthalate and paraben free. For those that know me, you know that I am the Queen of skin sensitivity. None of these bothered my skin at all.
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So here's the low down on how to get your hands on this stuff. 

Vanilla Bug Spray website. You can read about the company, contact them if you wish, find retail locations for purchasing, and it is also available online through their website. 

Make sure you follow their facebook page too !

Trust me, you definitely want to try this for your summer activities. Thank you to my friend who told me about this product, you know who you are.

Enjoy the outdoors bug and chemical free friends !!

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