Archive | October, 2011

What I picked up…

31 Oct

Saturday morning, I made a very necessary run to Walgreen’s for coffee and then spent a long time in the morning researching in the Bible what I wrote in my recent post on grace. I think this is going to be the hypothesis or main focus of the book I’m slowly attempting to write.

After getting dressed, I decided what to make for dinner (usually I choose 3 recipes, but this time, I chose 4 because of the little butternut squash from our garden I want to use up):

Minted Rice with Garbanzo Curry

Chicken and Dumplings

Tomato Tortellini Soup

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Then I made my shopping list, and went to my favorite grocery stores: Sunflower Farmer’s Market and Safeway.

Here’s my haul:

Pantry Items: 2 loaves of bread, instant brown rice, condensed tomato soup, vegetable broth, tomato sauce, garbanzo beans, raisin bran granola, Multi-Grain Cheerios, Hint of Salt Triscuits, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, sun-dried tomatoes, butternut squash puree, cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom condensed soup, dried apricots, walnuts, chocolate chips (which I realized after I took this pic should have been included with the baking stuff)

Baking Goods: 2 cake mixes (bought to make these easy pumpkin cupcakes and they were Buy 1, Get 1 Free), Bisquick, brown sugar, white and semi-sweet chocolate chips (also B1G1)

Produce: baby carrots, Honeycrisp apples, bananas (usually I buy more than this but we have quite a few vegetables left over from last week)

Perishables: shredded Parmesan, shredded mozzarella, half & half, pepperjack cheese, roasted red pepper hummus, mint leaves

In case you’re curious, I spent a little less than $100 on all of that (plus sandwich bags and Febreze, unpictured).

Then I checked out more books from the library than I could possibly read before their due date (thank goodness for online renewal!):

I started reading Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge and LOVE it so far.

I also set out our green tomatoes in the sun to ripen.

{Notice Katy in the window – that’s how she alerts us she wants to come in.}

Instead of diving right into the books though, I went on a 3 mile tempo run with the dogs (32:43) and then did the first 30 minutes of YogaX.

Saturday night, we babysat a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old for some friends. It was so much fun! As I sat by the 1-year-old’s crib waiting for her to fall asleep, she rolled over and I was struck by how much they are little people, with little quirks and personalities. And I realized, if I can be so fond of someone else’s kids, how much am I going to love my own kids someday, whether they are biological or adopted! I am still praying for the grace to wait patiently until the time is right for us to try. Soon…

Sunday, we went to church, ate lunch (leftover Tortellini Soup, which was delicious but very rich – would be good as a small appetizer instead of the main course, or with less cream), and after starting laundry and cleaning the bathrooms, did Travis’ favorite thing – shopping. Like a lot of men, he is very hard on his clothes and has one by one destroyed his good work jeans by either getting them irreversibly dirty or wearing  holes in the knees, until he was down to one pair of jeans. So shopping it was. I was also on the hunt for a pair of skinny jeans to wear under my new boots.

We looked at the thrift store first because I have been able to find a lot of good deals there for myself, but there wasn’t a good selection. So we headed over to the Eddie Bauer outlet at Denver West. Travis has had luck there in the past with finding jeans that don’t have holes or any weird washing technique. Often, men’s jeans are very “trendy” and Travis is not. So he sticks to brands like Wrangler, Carhartt, and Eddie Bauer.

We found a couple of great pairs of jeans on the $19.99 rack – it was such a good deal, I was worried that they had been misplaced there (having worked in retail myself and seen that happen many a time). And I was right. They rang up at $49.99 each. But when we said that we had found them on the clearance rack, the clerk was amazingly nice and gave us the sale price. I was floored. He saved us $60!

After that, I asked Travis if I could take a quick detour into a store called Papaya. It looked a lot like Forever 21 and I found that the prices were similar as well. I found a pair of skinny jeans for $24 that fit me well. They’re just a little bit long, so they bunch up around my ankles like this, but since other people wear them that way, I guess it’s ok… Sometimes I feel like such a poser wearing fashions like that! I even felt like the girl manning the dressing room at Papaya gave me a look like “What are you doing shopping here?” I guess I am almost 30… And when I shop at stores like that, I have to get over any hangups I have ever had about pants sizes because the reality is, when a size 6 adult woman shops at a store for juniors, she’s going to be more like a size 11. (Is it just me or have juniors pants gotten smaller since I was a teen? I mean, who can possibly wear those size 1 pants?)

I told Travis as we were leaving that I’m going to be sad when I can no longer shop in stores like that, either because I’m too old or because I can’t fit into anything, because those stores are so cheap! Shopping in adult stores meaning paying adult prices. Ugh… I don’t want to grow up. 

After our shopping trip, I called my mom, finished laundry, cleaned the rest of the house and then went on a 4 mile run (43:30) with Travis and the dogs. The pooches were still exhausted this morning!

Have you read any good books lately? Do you ever feel weird wearing trends?

Strength and Crossfit

29 Oct

Thursday night, I was able to motivate myself to do a quick strength training workout before going to my Silpada party. I am a big baby when it comes to strength, and I only have a pair of 3 lb and 5 lb dumbbells at home, so this is what I did:

3 x 15 squats @16 lbs

3 x 15 biceps curls @8 lbs

3 x 15 overhead presses @8 lbs

1 x 15 lunges on each side @16 lbs (would’ve done 3 sets, except I really hate lunges)

2 wall sits for 30 seconds each

15 toe-touches, tossing and catching 6 lb medicine ball at top

15 bicycle crunches

10 full situps

2 x 15 pushups on my knees (right now, if I want to full ones, I have to do them first or it doesn’t happen)

I was actually sort of sore the next day, especially in my inner thighs. Soreness, to me, equals success! It lets me know that my body at least did something it wasn’t used to.

I want to be more consistent with strength training so that I feel strong when doing it, and not like a little wussy girl.

 

 

The other night, Travis and I discovered that the Reebok Crossfit games were on TV. We watched them for a while and I was very impressed and inspired by the incredibly fit women. I have been thinking for a while that Crossfit sounds interesting and would like to give it a try. But I hesitate for 2 reasons:

1. It sounds like a commitment. I’ve looked up gyms around us and you have take (and pay for) a beginner’s course before you can even start Crossfitting. I just don’t know if I’m that interested…

2. I hate weight/strength training so I’m fairly sure I would hate Crossfit. But you never know until you try, right? And it really intrigues me…

Dilemma.

 

 

On another note, I bought this ring at the Silpada party I went to:

There were so many other pieces of gorgeous jewelry I wanted, but this one came to the closest to fitting in my $25 budget. So that’s what I got. I should get it in the next 2 weeks!

Have you tried Crossfit? Do you like it? Do you like strength training?

I got tagged!

28 Oct

Lisa over at Cow Spots and Tales recently tagged me with two awards: The Versatile Blogger and I Dig Your Blog Award. I feel honored! Thanks Lisa!

What follows now is that I tell you 10 fun facts about myself. I may have used them all up for my birthday post, but here goes:

1. My favorite TV show of all time is Bones. If DVD sets of television shows didn’t cost me the arm I use for the TV remote, I would totally own every season. The season premiere this year is November 3rd. Can. not. wait.

2. It never even crossed my mind to move to Colorado until I got engaged to Travis and that was one of the grad schools he looked at. I always thought I’d move somewhere like NYC or Chicago, since that is where a lot of magazines and publishing houses are. Colorado has treated us well!

3. My favorite season is fall. I love being outside on a sunny fall day, the leaves changing and falling into big piles, wearing a thick wool sweater and doing “fall” stuff – like picking out pumpkins, drinking apple cider, sitting on hay, going to football games, etc. I’ve been too busy to any of that this year! (Boo on busyness.)

4. I used to hate dogs. Like “Don’t come near me, you slobbery, disgusting, stinky mess.” Even before we got Katy, I was very picky when it came to dogs. I liked some dogs, but not all dogs. I prayed for a long time that God would recognize my weird phobias and give us the perfect dog. And He did. Katy has been amazing. Charlie has too, although quite a bit more work. Still, I love those two dogs a LOT.

5. I’m not quite sure if I like hiking or not. I like nature and I like beautiful views but getting to the top is not always pleasant. Regardless, I still go on hikes because Travis enjoys it and we can do it together. I just need to learn how to keep a good attitude!

6. I worked at a drug store in high school. On Sundays when I worked 9-6, the pharmacist would give me and another girl a little “quiz” with trivia facts like what temperature does water freeze at. Whoever won got to choose whether they wanted to vacuum or refill the vial bins (which was a lot of work). We were pretty evenly matched. I usually wanted to do vials.

7. My dream vacation is to go to the Mediterranean — Italy, Greece, Spain, France. A coworker just went to Slovenia and Croatia and said it was absolutely beautiful. If I could go nowhere else, I’d choose there. And if I had to choose a country, it would probably be Greece – why? Because I love Greek food and it just looks like it would be awesome to visit!

8. My favorite author is C.S. Lewis. I haven’t read nearly all of his books but I have re-read some of the classics (Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, The Weight of Glory) and they are even better the second or third time around. I can’t wait to meet him in heaven!

9. I dislike strength training and weight lifting. I would much rather do hours of cardio than spend 30 minutes doing lunges, bicep curls, and other various exercises I have heard about but would probably kill myself doing. I wish I liked weight lifting… but I just don’t. So that is the one form of exercise that I have to force myself to do because I know it’s good for me. The rest, I really enjoy doing!

10. I am obsessed with cereal. If I could eat a balanced diet of cereal for 3 meals a day, I totally would. Some people crave ice cream – I crave cereal. When I am eat for emotional reasons, I eat cereal. I just LOVE it. I don’t know why. My favorite kinds are Honey Bunches of Oats (best with peaches), Oatmeal Squares, Frosted Mini Wheats, Honey Nut Cheerios, and Kashi GoLean Crisp.

So there you have 10 “fun” facts about me.

And now, I need to pass the kudos on to 10 blogs that I (truly!) dig (and stalk) and find versatile:

B at B. in the Know

Ana Helena Campbell

Brie at Brie Fit

Kristina at Kristina J.

Jen at She Collects

Katie at True Things

Callie at The Wannabe Athlete

Sarah at Once Upon a (L)ime

SkinnyRunner

Kate at Fitting Into the Windy City & My Clothes

If you don’t want to participate, I won’t consider you a curmudgeon. I’m sure your blogs have been nominated a lot more often than mine has!

Camping Indoors

27 Oct

So you may have heard that Denver and northern Colorado got a bunch of snow dumped on us yesterday. At our house, we got about six inches. Which usually isn’t that big of a deal. But six inches of heavy, wet snow – not gonna lie, it’s kind of a big deal. There are tree branches down everywhere. It looks like a huge wind storm came through here.

Since everyone else in Denver has been squealing in delight over the dramatic difference from Tuesday to Wednesday, let me join in the fun. Here is a picture I took Monday evening of the gorgeous fall colors in Denver this year:

I don’t know what it is about this year – perhaps the lack of wind, the perfect fall temperatures, or the late frost – but the fall colors here this year have been AMAZING. Since moving out here, I’ve said every year that the fall colors are better in Minnesota or the east coast because they get reds and oranges, while we only get yellow from the Aspens and green from the evergreens. Well, this year has proved me wrong. Driving to work, I’ve been awed at the range of colors – lots of reds, oranges, vibrant yellows. Where did all these come from? I wonder. And how did I never notice this before? I talked to a girl I work with and she said the same thing – the fall colors have been unusually beautiful this year. Yay for Denver!

Tuesday, it started raining. I had planning on doing 2 miles of speedwork and since the dogs go crazy when they don’t get a walk, I decided to brave the cold rain. I’m glad I did because it was actually a really enjoyable run – I jogged .5 mile, ran fartleks for a mile, then jogged the last .5 mile. The dogs got very wet but I think they enjoyed being out.

Wednesday morning, we woke up to this:

(Those pictures are at my office.)

I was loving it. I love snow. Every time I look outside and see whiteness, I feel warm and cozy. That is, until our power goes out and we have no heat and it’s 15 degrees outside. Then I feel cold.

Actually, it wasn’t that bad (yes, our power did go out and we were without heat all night). We ate McDonald’s for dinner and put all our perishables from the refrigerator and freezer into coolers and set them out on the back porch. We had care group so we were in someone else’s warm house until it was time to go to bed. Then we piled another comforter on our bed and dressed like we were camping (for me, that mean long underwear, fleece pants, wool socks, long sleeve t-shirt, and warmest-ever sweatshirt).  Amazingly, we both got too warm during the night. And if you know me, that happens like once every 10 years. Amazingly, it has happened twice in the past 2 weeks. ::Mind reeling::

I think situations like this are actually kind of fun. They’re an adventure. It’s also funny to see how ingrained some habits are. Like anytime I’d walk into a room, even though I knew the power was out and the light wouldn’t go on, I’d flip the light switch before I knew what I was doing. And I was actually sort of surprised that the light didn’t come on until I remembered that the power was out. I also found myself thinking about making a cup of tea because the coffee pot wouldn’t work, and then realizing the stove wouldn’t work either because it’s also electric. Same with the microwave. And the toaster. Cereal for breakfast, it is.

On the bright side, I got to have a Pumpkin Latte this morning! This whole no-power thing isn’t half bad…

Although I did blow off time in the Word and writing my book (reading in the dark and being cold did not sound appealing) as well as a morning workout that was to replace my normal routine. I’m going to a Silpada jewelry party tonight and then my brother’s band, Peter Wolf Crier, is playing at the Hi-Dive (if you’re in Denver, you should come!!) so no workout today. Getting back into the routine of things is presenting a challenge.

Our power is supposed to be restored by noon today. So I’ll be praying that happens! Or else we’ll be camping indoors again.

Has your power ever gone out for an extended period of time?

You Can’t Object to Grace

26 Oct

I’ve realized something in the past couple of weeks.

In all of my focus on living out my faith practically, I had left God’s grace behind. I didn’t believe that God loved me, as I was. I felt like the only way God would approve of me is if I had it altogether and was doing everything right. Anything less meant I was a failure, a disappointment. God had high standards, expectations, responsibilities for me. And I fell short. So very, very short.

But there’s a reason why we have the saying, “For every look you take at yourself, take 10 looks at the cross.” Yes, on the cross, we see how utterly sinful we are (nothing new there) but we also see, and should focus much more on, God’s love for us. He, in love, sacrificed His Son to win us back, and now, delights in us completely independent of anything we do. No matter what, His love for us is unconditional. And by unconditional, I mean exactly that. There are no conditions.

Are you thinking of any objections? Any qualifiers? “Yeah, His love is unconditional, but we can’t just do anything. I mean…”

Those are the very objections that have been popping into my head, for a very long time. And I’m beginning to see that those objections aren’t true.

What is the risk we run in declaring that God’s love for believers is unconditional? Why are people so quick to qualify that statement or make disclaimers?

I think the Apostle Paul stumbled onto a similar situation in his ministry to the Roman church.

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 5:15 – 6:4)

Paul made the bold statement that the law was valuable because it increased sin, which in turn increased God’s grace. Sin abounded but grace abounded more.

Paul anticipates the objection, “So are you saying we should sin more, so that grace abounds more?”

“By no means!”

That objection completely misses the point of grace. Why would you want to keep sinning in the face of God’s endless and boundless love and grace for us? The person making that objection has obviously not actually been impacting personally and transformed internally by grace – they’re merely observing this outpouring of grace. Because no one can drink deeply of God’s grace in Christ and use sinning as a way of going about getting more of it.

I think the same false objections are being applied here with God’s unconditional love for us. Is it audacious to say that God demands nothing of us, that His standards and expectations have been satisfied, and that we have complete and utter freedom in Christ? That we can do anything we want? Does that seem brazen or presumptuous? Are you squirming off your chair with objections that need to be heard?

Consider this: if our freedom flows out of a deep knowledge of God’s love for us, why do we need to be concerned that we would “take advantage of” that freedom in the wrong way? When we look at God’s grace abounding for us as sinners, why are we scared that we’ll dive off the deep end into sin?

Why can’t we say, with 100% certainty and absolutely no qualifications, that God’s love for us is unconditional?

Because we feel sure, somewhere deep down, that something is required of us. Something has got to be required of us. Right?

But the truth is, God doesn’t need our good intentions, our heartfelt desires or our well-developed plans. He doesn’t need our service, our tithing, our words of encouragement, our sacrifice. He doesn’t need our busy schedules, hours of Bible study and prayer, meals delivered to families in need, hospitality, or generosity.

All of those things are for us. They are His blessings to us.

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25).

Here are a few beloved quotes that illustrate this very well:

“This is how the ‘giving God’ gives—with a selfless, total concern for us and with an exclusive preoccupation as if he had nothing else to do but to give and give again.” (Alec Motyer on James 1:5)

“We actually slander and dishonor God by our very eagerness to serve Him without knowing Him.” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest)

And my favorite (it’s long, but you really should read it – John Piper states it far better than I do):

Can we give anything to Christ?

When the psalmist cried out, “What shall I render to the Lord for all of his benefits to me?” the reply was, “I will lift the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord” (Psalm 116:12-13). Jesus gives us the gift of himself and we ask, “Now what can I render to Jesus for all the benefits of his fellowship?” Answer: Ask him for his help. That’s the gift he wants.

The reason Christ wants this is because he always wants to get the glory while we get the benefit. Glory comes to him when we depend on him rather than try to enrich him. If we come to him with gifts—as though he needed something—then we put him in the position of a needy person, and we’re the benefactors. He always wants to be the one who is infinitely self-sufficient. Therefore the only gifts that we can bring Jesus are gifts of praise, thanks, longing, and neediness.

A fountain is not glorified by us hauling buckets of dirty water up the mountain and pouring them in. A fountain—a spring in a mountain—is glorified, rather, by us lying down at the edge of the stream, putting our face in, drinking our fill, and getting up and saying, “Ah!” That’s called worship. Then we take a bucket, dip it in, walk down the hill to the people in the valley who don’t know that the spring exists, and we say, “Taste this! It’s right up there, and his name is Jesus!” The kind of gift that the fountain wants is drinkers, because then he looks truly overflowing, rich, and self-sufficient. And that’s exactly what he wants to look like.

But aren’t we giving to God when we give to the poor (Matthew 25:40)?

Yes, but what is the something? Jesus is clearly in heaven today, risen, triumphant, and supplying everything we take to the poor. That’s an absolutely clear teaching: “My God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

So if you have anything to take to a prisoner, any clothes to put on the naked, any drink to give to the thirsty, any fellowship to give to the refugee, you’re getting that from Jesus. You can’t be enriching Jesus. So what are you giving Jesus? You’re giving him honor, tribute, and glory.

Remember also that in this text Jesus calls these beneficiaries “my brethren.” That means that if you give to the poor then you’re choosing to bless, at your own cost, the brothers of Jesus. You’re treating them with honor because they belong to Jesus.

Jesus doesn’t need the food or the clothing. What he delights in is receiving the honor that his name gets when we chose to say, “It’s his brothers that I’m going to love and sacrifice for.” So as long as we talk about giving to Jesus—in terms of Matthew 25:40—we should understand that what is happening there is that Christ is being honored, glorified, and valued, because these are Christ’s brothers that we are willing to serve.

God’s love for us in Christ is unconditional. We don’t have to (and can’t) do anything to deserve it, ever. We can’t even make progress toward deserving it, or pay God back in any way for it. So let us be life-long drinkers of the fountain of grace and not undermine it with objections.

 

Elk Slayers

25 Oct

Here are the elk hunting pictures you’ve been waiting for I told you about. Even if you don’t want to see them.

But I promise there is nothing gross or bloody awaiting you. These are just the nice pictures.

Travis’ parents and brother arrived Thursday afternoon and did all the grocery shopping. When I got home, they were loading up the trucks, so while they did that, I packed my bag. I did fairly good this time and only forgot a flashlight. That’s not important when you’re camping, right? (It turned out okay because I didn’t go to the bathroom during the night once – haha!, and I borrowed a lantern anytime it was dark.)

Friday morning, I got up early to make monkey bread (a breakfast tradition with Travis’ family) and shower. We got on the road about 7:15, got up to Silverthorne around 8, and drove another hour and a half into the middle of nowhere to find our mud pit camp spot.

 

Mission accomplished.

You can’t really tell from this picture but 60 degrees, intense sun at 9750 feet, melting snow, and dirt ground = MAJOR MUD. Ew. It was only bad for the first day and the last day we were there though.

We decided on the spot for our tent (easier said than done since the whole campsite sloped one way or another) and started setting ‘er up.

Voila!

Katy didn’t even pretend to help.

Next orders of business were getting the kitchen set up, getting the tent and rainfly staked down, assembling the wood stove, chopping firewood and setting up our cots and sleeping bags. I tell you what, elk hunting is a lot of work. And I don’t even do any of the hunting!

Free tent courtesy of Your Cause Sports.

The Leaning Tent of Pisa. The black camp stove was propped up by wood to be level and it seriously played with your head. Trippy.

My adorable hubby “trenching” – the snow was melting so fast we practically had a river running through our camp!

The inside of our tent – close quarters! The stove isn’t in the pic but it’s to the left, right as you walk in the tent. (I unfortunately didn’t take a pic of it.) My cot is usually the middle one on the left (as this picture shows) but Beth and I ended up switching so I could be near the stove. Nice on cold nights but one night, I melted into a puddle because the stove was cranked so high! Holy cow. I actually got up and asked Travis to turn it down. (Now I know how, so I could just do it myself.)

You can also see the dogs’ kennel in the back left. Charlie slept in there and Katy (who sleeps like a rock) slept on Beth’s sleeping bag most nights. Last year, Katy got so cold sleeping in the tent that I let her sleep inside my sleeping bag. She crawled all the way down to the bottom (talk about not being claustrophobic!) of my mummy bag! This year, I switched sleeping bags with Travis to let her do the same thing, except in a square bag. Well, instead of being rated for 0 degrees, his is rated for -25 and Katy ended up overheating. She crawled back up to the top, panting, and ended up just sleeping the outside of the bag. Then I switched my sleeping bag back and she decided to sleep on Beth’s instead. Fine by me!

After we got everything set up, we just hung out.

Charlie doesn’t mind laying in the dirt one little bit.

I was pretty impressed at Travis’ and Matthew’s wood-splitting abilities (they chopped it after using the chainsaw). I’m pretty sure you don’t want me to ever use a hatchet or a splitting maul. Pretty much anything that involves hand-eye coordination, you want to keep far, far away from me.

Evening, morning, the First Day.

Saturday morning was Opener. Weehee! Beth seemingly bounded out of bed to cook pancakes and bacon (as she did every morning) and by 6:15, the men were off to slay themselves some elk. They were going to come back for lunch at noon, so we had some time to kill. Every day, we read our books while waiting for it to get light outside. Then we’d wash dishes and do various things – read, go on a walk, play a game, scrapbook. Saturday was the nicest day we had so I actually took a nap in the sun.

So did Charlie:

Noon rolled around, then 12:15, 12:30. The guys still hadn’t come back. Beth and I got into a conversation about Occupy Denver and pretty soon, it was 1:15. We decided to go ahead and eat, hoping that the men’s tardiness meant they had actually shot something. Since we were a lot closer to the hunting zone that year, we heard a lot of shots but obviously didn’t know if one of those had been our guys.

Finally, around 4, the guys came back, a nice big rack in the back of the pickup. They had shot it at 9:30 that morning after they heard the elk bugle over a ridge. Once they saw it, Done.

As you might know, elk are huge. Not as big as moose, perhaps, but still huge. They estimated this male elk weighed 750 lbs – once you butcher it, you end up with about 200 lbs of meat. That’s a lot of meat. Each hindquarter weighed 65 lbs just by itself. Travis and Matthew both made 2 trips, Al made one (really heavy) one, to get the elk to the truck. Some people use horses to bring their meat out – these guys just use backpacks. Big, external frame packs. Needless to say, after their haul (literally), they were wiped.

Since I promised no gross pictures, here’s just one of the rack. Aren’t I so lucky that Travis wants to hang that on our wall with the skull still attached?

We ate dinner – I can’t remember what it was that night exactly but over the course of the 5 days, we had chili, potroast with veggies, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken and stuffing. For breakfast, Beth cooked bacon or sausage with pancakes or french toast. And lunch was always sandwiches with a side of baby carrots, chips, trail mix, string cheese, mini candy bars, or granola bars. I tell you, we ate good out there. I also drank more Mountain Dews and ate more mini candy bars than I had since July’s Weeklong Eating Extravaganza.

The next day (Sunday), Beth and I drove into town for ice and a few other things. Because of the nasty, not-well-kept roads and the fact that we were camping in the middle of nowhere, it took us an hour and 15 minutes just one way. We were in town for about 40 minutes, then turned around and drove back. I was not asking to do that drive again anytime soon.

Monday, it snowed and we all stayed inside for the better part of the day.

Everything was freezing (literally) and the wind was blowing snow everywhere. Made it very challenging to do dishes. After the guys left, Beth and I played Bananagrams, scrapbooked, and read. We got checked out by the Division of Wildlife twice. We went on a walk in the snow.

A lot of the trees in that area are dead because of the pine beetle. So sad.

Blaze orange is the new black. Even the dogs thought so, with their blaze orange bows. We didn’t want them to be mistaken for any baby elk, although I mentioned to Beth that the dogs wouldn’t ever stay still long enough to get shot.

Tuesday, it didn’t snow but it was decently cold so we stayed inside or by the fire. We went on a hike called South Fork Loop. Very muddy and destroyed by horse hooves. Grrr…

Wednesday, it warmed up just in time to pack everything up.

But the fun didn’t stop there! Once we got home, everyone immediately got to work unloading the truck, hauling stuff into the house, setting up the wall tent to dry, scrubbing the tent floor clean, etc. I unpacked all the food and went grocery shopping. Travis bought a new vacuum sealer (ours bit the dust – don’t get the Seal a Meal brand!). Finally, it was time for Buffalo Wild Wings – the guys split 50 wings between the 3 of them (they were a little full afterward). Beth and I split 12 boneless wings. I also got a Black Cherry Mojito and it was delicious! And only $5!

The next day, it was back to work and I’ve already told you my saga of what happened after work. I’m glad elk hunting is over – it’s fun and I like Travis’ family but it’s a crapton of work. And I’m ready for some relaxing weekends. (Even so, I’ve already been fighting off the temptation to schedule things “now that I have free weekends”!)

Any questions about elk camp?

Look like something you’d like to do?

In a nutshell… Boots!

24 Oct

This is a strange feeling – being rested on a Monday.

How did that happen? By following my plan of relaxing Friday night, doing (7 loads of) laundry Saturday and cleaning Sunday. It worked beautifully.

The weekend in a nutshell:

Friday

“Cooked” a frozen pizza for dinner.

Researched boots online for 2 hours.

Gave up finding cute, warm boots.

Watched Parenthood.

 

Saturday

Had coffee with Cathy.

Scored cute winter boots (detailed below).

Started laundry (insert between each of the following).

Returned overdue books.

Bought groceries.

Read.

Napped.

Read.

Walked the dogs.

Enjoyed girls’ night (we watched a Bollywood movie – love it!).

 

Sunday

Went to church.

Cleaned and tidied house.

Vacuum-sealed the last of the elk meat.

Read.

Napped.

Spend time with God in prayer.

Went to the church potluck and meeting.

Watched Desperate Housewives.

 

There were other things I was tempted to do – clean this, put away that, weed out this drawer, organize that closet. But I didn’t. Instead, I intentionally stuck to my plan and while laundry was being laundered, I laid on the couch and read my book (right now, it’s We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates). And I am so glad that I gave myself that permission. I feel refreshed and rejuvenated today – but probably also because of my great time with God yesterday and today. I’ll blog about that later this week.

First things first – I am way more exciting about my new winter boots than I am about the details of elk hunting so I’m pushing hunting pics out until tomorrow.

So the story behind these boots is that the only pair of real winter boots I own are too small for me (and I won’t wear them in public). I got them a LONG time ago (high school?). The boots I have been wearing for the past 7 years are a pair of fashion boots that I bought while working at a department store in college. They don’t have any insulation and they are only kinda-sorta waterproof. So while I have worn them for snowshoeing, tromping around in the snow, and they have been very loyal to me, I’m not going to lie – my feet get pretty cold wearing them. As in, very cold. No insulation = no warmth.

Travis’ cousin emailed us to say that he could get a great discount on new Columbia gear through the store he works at, but only through the end of the month. So I started looking at Columbia boots, and quickly discovered all of the cute ones only had 200 g of Thinsulate! (Travis said that 400 g would be a bare minimum.) Don’t these people know that a lot of women want to be warm and cute? (And actually, Columbia only carries one boot with more than 200 g of Thinsulate that I could see). As I looked at other brands, those too were only 200 g. The only warm boots I could find looked so… booty. Do cute, warm boots exist anywhere? 

I didn’t want to spend $150, or even $100, or heck even $50 on boots I wouldn’t want to wear in public. I mean, how often do I go elk hunting or snowshoeing – twice a year, combined? I needed boots I could wear casually around town and not look like a goober. Anyway, after 2 hours of unfruitful searching (although I did really love these, but they didn’t have my size – single tear), I decided to just go to Dick’s Sporting Goods to try on boots in person.

And wouldn’t you know, on the 75% off clearance table, like a beacon of light, I saw these gems:

So comfy. So cute. So warm. So CHEAP.

Originally $149. I got them for $40.76. 

Since they were on clearance, I couldn’t find out how much insulation they had. I tried to look it up on Travis’ phone while we were in the store but to no avail, since they are no longer being made by Sorel (why, I don’t know because I have read nothing but rave reviews of them online). I tried on a bunch of other boots and felt “eh” about them. Plus, these were so cheap. And Sorel has a reputation for making a very high-quality, long-lasting boot. (In fact, that’s what brand my old-boots-that-I-won’t-wear are.)

We decided it was too sweet of a deal to pass up. Plus, their clearance items are returnable so I figured I could do a little more research on them and if I found a bunch of bad reviews, I could just return them. But the reviews are all good so I think they’re keepers.

I heart finding clearance deals, especially for things I would have paid full price for.

So if you have any questions about winter boots, I am now your expert.

What do you wear on your feet during the winter?