Hocking Hills Birthday

I can’t begin to write all of the things that Shane and I did this summer, but I can tell you that when we looked back at a calendar, our weekends were mostly all taken up by some sort of gathering or activity. This is a blessing as much as it is an annoyance; I consider it a blessing because it means we are healthy enough and able enough to do all these different things, but it is also annoying to think of how little we got done around our home. It is a funny thing because if we did more at home, maybe we would be more inclined to finish projects at home, but as it is, we are hungry for adventure. So even though we want to get things done with in our walls, we are out and about in God’s nature.

That all being said, we are well into fall and I have barely kept up with this blog, this glimpse into our wildly busy little life. But as rain drizzles down outside and lesson plans are finished for dance classes tonight, I feel I can take the time to express my pure joy over Shane’s little birthday weekend that I planned at the beginning of summer.

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Hocking Hills, Ohio has been on my radar for quite some time, and knowing we were going to have a puppy this summer, no big trips were planned. When I say there were no big trips planned, I mean on both sides of the family no trips were planned by either side, unlike last summer where we spent a week with Shane’s side in Put-In Bay, Ohio. This would make it seem like our calendar was left wide open for little weekend getaways, but in fact little things kept pushing out any free time we might have had. The idea of Hocking Hills stuck though and I booked far in advance a camping trip there over Shane’s birthday in September.

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This place was beautiful! I could go on about the falls there, but I am going to focus more on our camping experience.

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We got there on a Friday afternoon and set up camp. I had booked a primitive campsite, which I am so glad we did after driving through their crowded campsites later that weekend when we went to the bathhouse to shower. I had chosen the furthest primitive site from the parking lot which was almost a mile down a gravel path. We took two packs in and carried a soft-sided cooler and bucket of water for the dogs. The cooler was refilled each day with the food we were going to eat which prevented us from hauling back a huge cooler.

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I had chosen the farthest campsite, figuring we would have a puppy and who knows how he would act while camping. To our great surprise, he was so well behaved! Grizz and Jagger both slept under the tent at night and we never heard a peep from Grizz. Honestly, it was Jagger who was the loud one. From time to time he would catch the glimpse of a neighbors flashlight and start barking.

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By the end of the trip, the two dogs actually seemed to get along a little better. Shane remarked that maybe this was a good bonding trip for them!

But it wasn’t just a good bonding trip for them, it was another brick in the foundation of Shane and I’s relationship. We didn’t have to go to Hocking Hills to appreciate one another more for their strengths, but it gave us a chance to in a different way. I had begun the craziness of my job and was only on the second week of it by the time we packed up the truck and drove out to Ohio leaving behind a big wooly mess of my fiber sculptures all over the dining room because I had just done my first art festival with my fiber sculptures.

Needless to say, it was mainly Shane that packed and prepared for the trip! Normally I am on top of the food game, but again, was caught off guard because I was so sidetracked with fibers and dance. We had long ago signed up for one of those home delivery meal services and honestly hadn’t received any in a very long time, but God had perfect timing because that week I had forgotten to cancel it and somehow an order showed up at our door step. Basically ignoring their cooking instructions, we had amazing meals over the fire with their fresh ingredients.

For Shane’s birthday meal, we had his favorite, salmon! We cooked it in foil with a sweet mustard sauce. It was paired with green beans cooked in foil and a hasselback potatoes in foil with sour cream.

 

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Thank goodness Shane picked up breakfast at our little local meat shop and got the worlds best bacon that we enjoyed with some jetboiled coffee and eggs.

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We hiked all day Saturday, so it was a good thing we had loaded up on fat and protein in the morning. We grabbed a quick sandwich after the all day hike before returning to our campsite where we made my favorite meal of the trip of southwestern pork chops topped with cilantro lime sour cream, cheese and tortilla strips and a side of foil cooked squash and zucchini.

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We left in the afternoon on Sunday after we had an easy morning of oatmeal and coffee as we slowly packed up the whole site. Once everything was packed, we stood around the warm fire as the stuffed peppers Shane also grabbed at the meat market cooked. It was a perfect ending to all of our yummy meals.

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Everything that came in in one trip went out in one trip! And yes, I brought my felting things a mile hike in to a campground because I was in the middle of a pumpkin seed bluegill that I was really excited about!

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It was a wonderful birthday weekend slipped in between busy weeks and rushed schedules. Even though it was short, it was a great reminder of God’s creativity and how he has blessed us with one another! 

 

 

Keto Diet Snack

The truth is, I never figured I would walk into one of those weird fad diets. One that had you eating coconut and almond flour willingly, cooking with ghee, or containing the words “gluten free”. It is funny what you will do for those you love though, and Shane and I started our journey with the ketogenic diet after repeated, long lasting gout attacks that would practically cripple Shane.

In the middle of summer, we began and stuck to a keto diet. We did so pretty well for about four months. Heading into the holidays, we weened off of it and still ate healthy, but Shane admitted to feeling better when on the diet, and he was the reason we were doing it in the first place. So, we are weening ourselves back on, which is difficult to do during the holidays, going to peoples houses and eating what they serve. We almost always come across I am sure as picky eaters and often times, if headed to my moms, I will redirect the menu to include things such as bacon wrapped asparagus and side salad instead of just sweet potatoes, beets, and cornbread.

Honestly, when you first undertake this diet, it can be pretty depressing. I am being totally honest, I wish I could say after a week, I stopped craving sweet things, but I didn’t. I just really love sweet things, and stevia is not the same tasting. There is no, “Oh, just use natural honey instead!” or “But, maple syrup is a safe sweetener!” Sweets are pretty much out of the picture, and that pretty much even means fruits. About the only thing that saved Shane and I the first time around was that I do genuinely love spending time in my kitchen, so I was getting to do a lot of that on this new diet plan.

You begin to figure out things that work for you. You find favorite recipes, and because your body is craving correct fuel, we have yet to grow tired of these favorite recipes that I often make once a week, like our chicken breast pizza in the crockpot, of course no bread like substance included, and our venison crustless pizza in the crock pot. On occasion, we stumble into a snack that is delightful, and this is one that I wouldn’t even hesitate to bring to a party.

Snack

Salmon Cucumber Sliders

  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 8 oz smoked salmon
  • 1-2 avocados, depending on size diced
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Persian lime infused olive oil, available at places like The Enchanted Olive
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
  1. Mix mayonnaise, lime olive oil, and parsley until combined
  2. Top cucumbers with avocado, followed by salmon and finally a small dollop of mayonnaise dressing

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If anyone would like the nutritional break downs of this bite sized treat shown, I can take the time to do so. For the most part, I discovered I do better not tracking my macro’s like a mad woman. I have a sense of how much protein I should be having a day now and know if I am irritable or tired, often times that means I need a little more fat. Oddly enough, I feel like I can go much of the day eating very little, then a big dinner feels good, but Shane is the opposite, eating small all day and a small dinner.