welcome ... enjoy yourself

Monday, August 18, 2014

today i'm thankful for

cribbage dates with my love
a porch garden update
peace found while gardening
a donut from Cranky Al's
watching the pups play with their new toys
the first caprese salad of the summer
brioche bread and a red velvet macaron from Rocket Baby
meeting new year-long volunteers in Milwaukee
my first Irish fest!
having a whole weekend to hang out with my hubby and catch up on "me time"

Friday, August 15, 2014

four simple goals: july (recap)

It feels like I blinked and suddenly July was over, and I was half way into August.  Thanks to switching from working a full time to now working two part time jobs, I completely missed sharing my four simple July goals update.  I didn't even remember to set four simple goals for August.  But don't worry, I'll be getting back on the wagon and setting my goals for September. 

I felt so proud of the goals I accomplished in July that I still wanted to share them -- even though July is a few weeks past. 

1. I gave my best at roller derby, and I passed my 101 level WFTDA skills test!  This was a huge accomplishment for me because I really had to push myself to skate faster and with greater skill than I had done before.  Since I passed the test, I can now skate with the more advanced skaters in the rec league, learn how to make contact, and learn more about how to actually play derby.  Up until now, I was developing my basic skating skills.  For safety reasons, the league makes sure you can stay on your skates before adding hitting and blocking - which makes perfect sense to me! 

2. If you're a returning reader, you've probably noticed that my blog has a new look.  I put a lot of work into switching my blog platform from Weebly to Blogger and to update the overall design of my blog.  I'm really, really happy with how it looks, and I feel like it reflects my style much better than my last blog design.  I feel like I can grow with this design and keep adding fun elements to continue strengthening the quality of Finding Joy.  I hope you enjoy the new look - feel free to let me know what you think of it!

3. Total fail: did not send any photos to friends.  Look for this goal to end up on future goal lists.

4. I was also really proud of how I took time for myself in the midst of a very busy and very stressful month.  There's a line in one of my favorite Youtube meditation videos that says "the world will not come to an end because you are taking time for yourself."  This thought has stayed with me and has shifted the way I think about productivity.  Giving 100% of my time to a task doesn't actually help me finish faster or work better.  In fact, I become tired more quickly and burn out. 

This month I felt inspired to take mini breaks in the middle of tasks to calm down and relax.  The importance of self care was reaffirmed for me: I emerged from a crazy time more centered and calm than if I had pushed myself and not paid attention to my needs.  Nothing fell apart, nothing failed - I was completely successful!  Yay for taking time for self care!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

holy hill

Last weekend, Paul and I took his dad to Holy Hill, the tallest point in Southeastern Wisconsin.  We thought we would knock two things off the site seeing list and hike a bit of the Ice Age Trail too.  But, the Ice Age trailhead wasn't marked very well, and we took the stations of the cross path up to the top of Holy Hill instead.  It was still pretty cool, but it means we'll have to make another trip for me to cross an Ice Age hike off my goal list.  Above you can see one of the stone path markers on the way up the hill.   

The woods were really beautiful.  I always love when religious sites are integrated into really beautiful parts of nature. 

At the top of Holy Hill is the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians.  It's a Catholic shrine dedicated to Mary.  The church had a gorgeous style, some breath taking mosaics, cool windows, and a great view to boot! 

We continued our hike all the way up one of the basilica's towers -- all 178 steps!  I have to say it was a little easier than climbing up the Arc de Triomphe or to the second level of the Eiffel Tower.


The view from the top.  We made it!

The view of the other tower.  Paul enjoyed pointing out that this tower only had a ladder going up inside - no stairs.  I decided I was just fine enjoying the stairs in our tower - no several story ladder for this girl.


This is a view of some of the artwork inside the shrine.  I really liked the different colored marble and the lighting highlighting some of the mosaics. 

I'd love to paint a ceiling like this some day.  This reminded me of one of the church ceilings we saw in Paris last summer.  Probably why I liked this one so much. 

Thanks for taking a lot at my pictures of Holy Hill.  If you're ever in the Milwaukee area in the fall, I recommend taking a drive out to Holy Hill to get a view of all the beautiful trees changing colors.  Actually, that'll be happening here before I know it.  I am not ready for that!  Summer, please stay forever!  Or at least just a few more months. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

today i'm thankful for

the view from the top of Holy Hill

a weekend without any work

spending time with my husband and father in law

surviving my first three hour roller derby practice

actually enjoying walking the dogs around the neighborhood

afternoon naps

watching the beagle boys hanging out with their Grandpa

Irish, Mexican, Italian, and Fish Fry - all in one weekend

having time to curl up with a good book

homemade vanilla ice cream
picking the first cherry tomatoes

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

today i'm thankful for: summer edition

not ever needing my winter coat
taking my time outside because the weather is so beautiful
harvesting vegetables from the garden
porch sitting
long walks with the pups
so much light and sunshine
shorts, tank tops, and flip flops
sleeping with the windows open
green leaves and flowers everywhere you look
being able to park anywhere because there's no snow/ice mounds blocking the street
concerts in the park
csa boxes and so much fresh produce
farmers' markets
riding my bike
tan lines
the feeling of warm sunshine on my face
what else do you feel thankful about in summer?

Friday, August 1, 2014

this week in the garden

Last weekend some of my fellow gardeners and I spent a Saturday cleaning up the community garden.  We weeded the herb circle, took care of the strawberry plants, and attacked the thistle.  We're hoping that chopping off the tops of the thistle will keep them from going to seed and propagating even more than they have done over the past couple of years.

Things in the garden are just gorgeous right now.  I'm especially in love with the herb circle - the borage, chamomile, and dill complement each other so well and the colors all pop. 

The thyme has also gone to flower recently.  I love the delicate purple flowers. 

We've had such a cool summer that the tomatoes are growing pretty slowly.  Luckily the plant has some flowers, so hopefully that means I'll have some tomatoes to eat in the not too distant future.

I am so happy with how my nasturtiums are looking!  Due to last year's success growing them, I picked a few additional varieties to grow, and they are all so colorful!  The ones below remind me of a creamsicle. 

The other big garden success story this season is my kale. After my lettuce finished, my kale was free to grow to its heart's content.  And grow it has.  It tastes delicious, and since my CSA has less kale than usual this season, I'm really glad I decided to grow it.  I have been officially converted to a kale lover. 

And last but not least, our three educational plots are all growing really well.  We have a bean plot, a three sisters' plot (corn, beans, and squash), and a potato plot.  You can see our corn above.  It's a couple feet taller than me at this point!  Can't wait to taste it!