A while back a friend said to me, “In an airplane emergency, first you must put on your own oxygen mask, then help those around you. Have you put on your life mask first?”

Since December, I have diligently tried to remember to practice self care as a means of improving my own life, and also the lives of my family members. This has been a difficult task for someone like me. Someone who often says yes to everything others ask, without any thought as to how this decision will impact me on a personal level.  Someone who puts the thoughts and feelings of others before my own.  Always.

Last week we ventured to the Northwoods of Wisconsin for a family vacation, but also for a personal recharge. While Up North this year, I tried to carve out some “me time,” where I could breathe in the positive energy around me, and release any toxic, negative energy that was holding me down.

I ended up finding time in the early morning hours, while my family still slumbered. The sun cast a faint glimmer upon the mirror-like surface of the lake, while the frogs and toads sang me a melodious tune. I found myself in the many green spaces on the property, pulling weeds and tending to the small plants that managed to survive the feast of the nearby deer. With my hands beneath the soil, I could feel the energy of the Earth pulsing through me, filling me with a profound sense of peace. It was during these moments that I felt connected, not only to the Earth, but also to those in my life whom I have lost and to the God who placed me here at that moment to embrace the spirit of my surroundings.

Yes, these moments of recharging my mind, body and spirit have proven to be my life’s saving grace. And for that, I am so very grateful.

A Quick Escape

With all that life placed before us this summer, we had yet to take any sort of a trip as a family.  It was important to me that we have at least one small excursion before summer slipped from our grasp.  This past weekend we were gifted with the ability to make a quick escape from our routine and visit the Northwoods of Wisconsin.  Although the trip was just one full day, we were able to celebrate a 60th wedding anniversary, visit a distillery and brewery we had never before visited, and spend some quiet time in a beautiful bistro while chatting and drinking lots of lattes and hot chocolate.  Who could ask for more?

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IMG_0729It is with a full heart that I head into this week, trying to hold on a bit longer to the summer, but also looking forward to the adventures that fall will surely bring.

I wish you a beautiful start to your week, friends.

A Day at the Beach


Living in the Midwest, we have little opportunity to make beach-side trips.  But this weekend we had the wonderful chance to visit…Wisconsin.  Yes, I know what you are thinking.  The words Wisconsin and beach don’t really coincide, but Sunday my mother-in-law competed in a half-Ironman in Racine, Wisconsin and i must say, it was not quite the locale I was envisioning.

We arrived to find ourselves surrounded by sun, sand and waves.  Words cannot do this sight justice, so I thought I would tell you about our day from behind the lens.

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What Summer Memories Are Made Of


When I think back to the summers of my youth, there are certain images that float immediately to my mind…Balmy summer nights, when the sound of chirping crickets drown out all other noise in the darkness while my sister and I camped out with our neighbors in their play house.  Walking barefoot through the damp blades of grass at dusk catching lightening bugs with my mom and dad, then storing those seemingly magical creatures for just a few precious minutes in wooden bug houses my Grandpa Dit crafted.  Taking long leisurely bike rides with my two best neighborhood friends, every once in a while pausing to chat with a boy we all had a crush on.  Running up and down our street in the warm summer sunlight, as a lively game of capture-the-flag was underway.  I have no doubt these memories will stay with me for my lifetime, for these are the moments that define summer for me in my mind.

Ever since having children, I find myself thinking about what little images will be held in their minds for the duration of their lives.  After spending time in the Northwoods of Wisconsin last week,  I can unequivocally say these Northwoods-memories will stay with my girls forever.  For what could be better than a breakfast cooked on the beach? Or jumping off the dock at least a hundred times, never tiring because it fills you with the most thrilling feeling each and every time your body pauses for that brief moment in the air before plunging into the cool waters below? Or crunching your toes in the damp sand as the refreshing water waves over them?  Or having your parents feed you bits of food in the lake because you refuse to get out of that amazingly fun water for even a second?  Or dancing on a stage with your cousins while a Tom Petty song plays, without a care in the world that dozens of grown-ups are watching you, wishing they could embrace the wild abandon running through every fiber of your being?  These are the moments I am sure my girls will carry with them, for this is what summer memories are made of.

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Winter Adventure


This weekend our family headed for the Northwoods of Wisconsin for a winter adventure.  (Take a look at our most recent trips to the Northwoods here and here.)  My husband had not graced the winter Northwoods with his presence in twenty-five years, and it was a first for the girls of our family.  Although there were absolutely frigid temperatures (let’s just say we woke up to a few mornings where the temperature was -15 degrees), we didn’t let that stop us from getting out there for some outdoor winter fun.

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A Year In Review

It is hard to believe that this blustery day in February marks the one year anniversary of Making of a Home.  Thank you so much to all of you who have been following my musings over the course of the last year!  I am deeply grateful for each of you.

Today I would like to share with you some of my favorite (and your favorite) posts from this past year.  Thank you again, and be on the look out for some new and exciting changes and additions to Making of a Home over the course of the next year.


Chocolate Anyone?






Laundry Day






Let Them Read



Rhubarb Goodness



Spring Soup



It’s In My Blood



Pastaless Lasagna 



Fuasa—Italian Easter Bread



Generational Wealth



Farm Fresh



Ode to the Strawberry






Grandma Dit’s Carrot Cake



Canning Day



New Chapter



Suburban Homestead



Walk with Us



Thanksgiving 2012





It seems like ages since I have visited this space to share with all of you the goings on of our little family.  I hope all of you had a wonderful Independence Day and are staying cool, despite the incessant heat.

This past week, we spent our days immersed in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.  Every time we begin our journey five and a half hours north, our stresses seem to melt along the expanse of highway.  When we finally arrive in Manitowish Waters, we find ourselves already a little lighter, less burdened and receptive to the fun times that lie ahead of us.  This place is our sanctuary.  Our retreat.  Our place of reconnecting with nature and all that this beautiful earth has to offer us.

I think this wonderful journey of ours is best shared through images that I will forever hold in my mind from this trip.  Enjoy.

Farm Fresh

This weekend, the littlest of our clan turned three.  In order to celebrate this day, our entire family gathered in our backyard for some farm fresh eggs and local bacon cooked up over the campfire by my hubby.  We also devoured birthday cake at nine in the morning, which was my favorite part of the early morning eating festivities.

After everyone was well fed and revved up with a bit of coffee in their systems, we loaded up into a few vehicles and headed to Krusen Grass Farms.  We have been ordering organic grass fed, grass finished beef from Sue and Altfrid Krusenbaum  for three years now.  We have spoken with them via phone and email many times over the course of the past few years, but had yet to visit their farm.

I spoke with Sue several months ago about a visit and since we have small children, she suggested we come and visit in May because that is when their cows are calving, and the girls would get to see a bunch of calves.  And see calves we did…over 80 of them!  And of these eighty young calves, we were even lucky enough to have timed our visit as such that we were able to see, touch, and snuggle two calves that were just a day old.

I’m telling you, I could have plopped myself right down in that barn and stayed there all day long.  Those little ones were the most friendly, lovely animals I have ever come across.  It was just amazing for the girls (and the adults for that matter) to experience.

But that was not the end of our visit, in fact it was only the beginning.  Sue was so incredibly kind and gave up over two hours of her day to show us her family’s absolutely gorgeous land, animals, and explain to us their sustainable farming practices that make the farm an absolute wonder to behold!  Our next stop was the egg mobile, where the girls were able to gather the day’s eggs.

I think the egg gathering was my oldest daughter’s favorite part of the day.  As she climbed down the steps of the egg mobile, she looked at me and said, “Mom, I think I want to start my own business.  I want to buy chickens of my own and have them lay eggs and then I’ll sell them.”  Love her.

Following the egg extravaganza, we made our way out into the pasture to visit with some of the other cattle.  After growing acclimated to our large group, these beautiful animals meandered our way and we were again able to “visit” with them for a bit.  Such fun!

Of all things I’ve done in my life, including our recent visit to Growing Power, which I touted as one of the greatest days in recent memory, this day now also tops my list.  We were once again able to forge relationships with the people that raise the food our family consumes, see the magnificent landscape on which this food is grown, and also witness a family acting as true stewards of the land.  We had such a fabulous day, and we thank you very much Krusenbaum family for a wonderful visit!

Generational Wealth

As I sit here to write this post, I am not thinking of generational wealth in the form of monetary currency passed down from one generation to the next.  Instead, I am pondering the wealth of knowledge, the wealth of history, and the wealth of love that is exchanged when multiple generations of a family spend quality time with one another.

This past week my family was fortunate enough to spend many days up in the Northwoods of Wisconsin with my husband’s grandparents.  While on the trip my girls were able to hike and fish with their great-grandfather, cook and feed the wild life with their great-grandmother, and ramble about the woods with their second cousins.  There truly was a great deal of “wealth” passed from one generation to the next on this short vacation.