Simply the Simmonds Life

family, life and love on the lake

Highlight Reel August 29th-September 4th,2009 August 31, 2009

Filed under: Highlight Reel — Angie S. @ 9:54 pm

Saturday- up at 6am, peeled apples for 2 1/2 hours for Crockpot Apple Butter.  Then destemmed, cooked & juiced chokecherries all day.  Ended up with 18 jars of chokecherry jelly and 8 jars of appple butter.

Sunday- Jeff and Zach went fishing and I fully enjoyed my day of rest.  Then I cooked a couple of pork tenderloins and roasted red potatoes and took them to Mom and Dad’s for supper.  Today is my younger (but not by much!) brother Mike’s 40th birthday.  Welcome to the Old Fart’s Club, Michael!

Monday-  my sidekick is on vacation for the next 2 weeks so work will be a little more hectic.  After work I headed over to the hospital where my dad and grandpa were in the process of admitting my grandma to the emergency room.  She’s been sick for the past week but too darn stubborn to go in.  I stayed at the hospital with them until 6, went home and picked up Zach and got him to his Scout meeting by 7pm where he met with his Personal Management Merit Badge counselor.  One more required for Eagle merit badge done.  Yay!

Tuesday- relaxing evening with nothing going on.

Wednesday-  Had Zach’s freshman orientation tonight.

Thursday-  Zach and I picked wild plums tonight.  Thorny buggers had our arms all scratched up in no time.  I’m sure I will spend most of Saturday making plum jelly.  Went for a walk in the woods to take a look at the hazelnut bushes.  The husks are starting to yellow so it shouldn’t be much longer but they look really wormy.  Hopefully I can get to the good ones before the squirrels do!

Friday- Yay!  Long weekend!  Zach helped Grandpa out all day.  He picked a bunch of apples, helped secure, strap up and wrap the apple tree limb that twisted and fell, dug a bunch of carrots…


Highlight Reel August 22nd-28th, 2009 August 28, 2009

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 11:00 pm

Saturday-Jeff and Zach went fishing all day.  I mowed the lawn and read a little.  When the guys got back we set up the tent and the screenhouse to dry them up after camping in Hurricane Katrina earlier in the week.

Sunday-  Monica dropped Gracie off at 7am so she could volunteer with the Special Olympics today in Maple Grove.  Gracie went to church with us and later we brought her to the park.  I didn’t think we’d get her off the slides!  In the afternoon I finished mowing the lawn while Gracie took a 3 hour nap.  I guess I wore her out as much as she wore me out.  After supper Jeff, Zach and Monica helped me peel apples and roll out pie crusts for the apple pies I made for our family and Mom & Dad.

Monday- 1st day back to work went well.  Bernice always does an awesome job in the department when I’m gone.  It’s nice to not have to worry about coming back to a mess.  I made a pan of lasagna and brought it over to Mom & Dad’s along with some garlic toast for supper.  After supper I drove in to my grandparents house to see if I could fix their cable.  They had upgraded their cable service and now had a cable box to deal with.  After the installer left they turned the TV on and had nothing.  They called because 3 days later they hadn’t figured out how to get the picture to come on and had played cards and went to bed early each night.  After turning on their TV and changing the channel from channel 4 to channel 3, I went home.  (I feel bad for all the frustration the elderly go through because of the changing technology.  Hopefully I can stay on top of things as I grow older :0)

Tuesday-Went to Brainerd High School South Campus to pick up Zach’s schedule and take a look at where his classes were.  Zach and Jeff then went fishing in the evening.

Wednesday-picked a bunch of apples for a friend off Dad’s tree

Thursday-  Zach picked an enormous amount of chokecherries for me to make jelly and syrup with.  Spent 2 1/2 hours destemming them and only got half way through them all.  Juiced the 1st batch.

Friday- my cousin Janeen had a Norwex party (environmentally safe cleaning products) that I went to.  Looks like pretty good stuff.  We will see how impressed I am after using it on a daily basis in my home.


Camping Trip 2009 August 22, 2009

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 11:06 am

Every year my family gets in just one family vacation to go camping.  This year we didn’t want to go to far away so we chose the Sauk Centre area.  We actually camped at  Birch Lake State Forest Campground nearer to Melrose.  We love State Forest Campgrounds because they are remote, primitive and cheap.  Camping at this campground cost us only $12.00 a night.  We arrived early monday afternoon and set up.  There was only one other tent in the whole campground.  The advantage of arriving on a Monday is you get the pick of the campsites.  We chose one of the largest sites- close to the bathrooms and water supply.  We set up our tent at the back of the site up on a little hill.  Then we proceeded to set up the kitchen, screenhouse and fire pit area.  Once everything was set up the guys hopped in the boat to go fishing.

When they got back, Zach helped me get  Lasagna (see favorite recipes tab) in the dutch oven and we settled around the fire for the evening.  The lasagna was excellent.  We ate, played some cards and went to bed early.

In the morning I got up early and put Mountain Man Breakfast (see favorite recipes tab) in the dutch oven.  I figured a hearty breakfast would keep the guys on the lake longer and leave me more time to explore the town. (Which I did while on my author jaunt. see previous post)  For supper I grilled hamburgers, made Potato Packets, and put an Apple Spice Cake (see favorite recipes tab) in the dutch oven for dessert.  Why does food taste so much better when you’re camping? It rained most of the night and except for a little puddle of water by the door we stayed dry.  I enjoyed watching the lightning through the skylights in the tent.

Day 3 watched some wild turkey near my campsite and later heard a deer walking in the woods next to us and saw it and the fawn a short while later on the path behind our tent.  The guys did some more fishing (in between downpours) and Monica and Gracie drove down for the day to visit us.  Zach and Gracie were brave enough to don swimsuits and swim in the cold water while Monica and I sat on the rocks near shore to watch. We were supposed to have fish for supper but it rained too much to get much fishing in so we had brats and dogs over the campfire to go with the Scalloped Potatoes and Ham (see favorite recipes tab) I put in the dutch oven.  Said goodbye to Monica and Gracie around 9:30 pm.  We offered to share the tent with them if they wanted to stay but Monica had to work in the morning so they left.  Rained all night long . This time we didn’t stay as dry.  I think our problem was we didn’t have the fly pulled tight enough because it seemed to leak only in the loose spots.  I felt drops from time to time on my face but otherwise stayed dry.  Zach did too, but Jeff’s pillow got wet on one side and there was a large wet spot by his knee.  The back room of the tent where we keep our suitcases and stuff was quite wet.

Day 4 with no end in sight to the rain and no way to get our gear dry we decided to pack up and head for home a day early.  I fried eggs and corned beef hash for breakfast and made some toast in the short span of time we were dry but ended up washing dishes in the rain and tearing down camp and the tent and screenhouse in a downpour.  We were all wet and muddy when we finished and got in the car to head for home. 

Our vacation didn’t quite go like we wanted it too.  Tyler wasn’t able to join us, we didn’t get to sit around the fire very much, the guys only hit 2 of the 4 lakes they wanted too, and we never did get in our late night card game and Jiffy Pop but we had a great time anyway.  It’s never a disaster when you get to spend time with the ones you love.



Sinclair Lewis- An Author Jaunt

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 10:44 am

Being a “Bookie” I am always interested to read or learn something about a famous author.  That’s why our recent vacation to Sauk Centre  included an author jaunt to learn a little about Nobel prize winner Sinclair Lewis’ hometown and setting for Main Street.

While my husband and son were fishing, I traveled to  town where I started with the Sinclair Lewis Interpretive Center and went through the small free museum there.  From there I traveled down the Original Main Street and turned onto Sinclair Lewis Avenue and stopped at Sinclair Lewis’ boyhood home.  Walking the same streets he did while growing up (although they were not paved when he walked them) I took in the some of the same sights he would have seen.  I tried to get into the mind of the character Carol Kennicott as I thought about some of the characters from Main Street and wondered if I could pick out some of the same types of people today.  I walked around the carraige house behind the home knowing this is where “Red” as his friends called him wrote some of his earlier works. It was said that Sinclair Lewis had a very unhappy and lonely childhood so it wasn’t surprising the carraige house in the back and off to the side was his private haven.

The last place I went to was  Greenwood Cemetary to see the gravesite of Mr. Lewis.  Even though he died in Italy it was his wish to be buried in Sauk Centre where he grew up, and as his brother opened the urn to sprinkle his ashes into the grave some of the ashes blew away in the breeze.  A fitting burial for the restless soul that he was.


Highlight Reel August 15th-21st, 2009 August 21, 2009

Filed under: Highlight Reel — Angie S. @ 10:30 pm

Saturday- helped out with the Boy Scout Brat Sale Fundraiser at Wal-Mart

Sunday- shopped and packed for our camping trip that we will leave for tomorrow

Monday through Thursday- camping (see post on camping trip)

Friday- went to the George Tautges Memorial Fundraiser put on by the St Mathias Knights of Columbus.  Great food (roast pork, corn on the cob, baked beans, cheesy potatoes & lots more) &  good time.  There was a band and raffle drawings and lots of visiting with family and friends.  Tyler’s girlfriend Monica won $50 cash in one of the drawings.


Ahhhhhhhhh! August 14, 2009

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 10:33 pm


I’m on vacation!  This is the vacation that I look forward to every year.  My other vacations are usually weeks I take off to get yard work done.  But this vacation…THIS one, is different.  This is our camping vacation, and I love to camp!  This year, a mere 2 days before we head out, we still have no idea where we are going.  I used to spend weeks researching the route and area we would be camping in and making sure there was enough things to do to keep the boys busy.  But as they have grown older (and unfortunately me as well) we have grown more relaxed.  No longer do we look for campgrounds with swimming pools, a mini golf course, waterslides and movies at dusk out on a painted white wall.  No- we look for a primitive campsite far away from people with nothing but a lake or a river to keep us occupied. 

I have already planned my meals for the dutch oven (Mountain Man Breakfast, Dutch Oven Lasagna, and Fruit Cobbler), bought the Jiffy Pop (kind of an evening tradition), and restocked the first aid kit.  I am antsy and ready to go.  As long as the fish are biting and the mosquitos aren’t we should have a great week!


Highlight Reel August 8th-14th, 2009

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 9:48 pm

Saturday-  Went to the bank and started school shopping today.  Zach is very easy to go school shopping with.  In less then 2 hours we had 5 new pairs of jeans, 5 new shirts and shoes.  The paper, pencils, pens, folders, etc, I have already purchased on sale so we are good to go.  I think this is the earliest we have been done.  When we had finished we stopped in to visit with Mom before heading for home.  In the evening Mary & Jerry brought a pizza up for Mom and she got to play cards for the first time in 3 weeks.  She enjoyed that.  Tyler, Jeff, Zach and I went for a ride and ended at the Dairy Queen in Little Falls.  We took our ice cream to the dam and stood there for a while watching the water.  We drove past the Graffiti Rocks on the way home.

Sunday-  Visited mom in the morning.  Spent the afternoon reading the Book Club book that I had just started so I could finish it in time for book club on Tuesday night.  Zach and Jeff spent the afternoon fishing.  In the evening I went in to visit Mom.  When I got there Dad, Monica, & Gracie were there.  Papa, Nana, & Bonnie came shortly after I did.

Monday-  Mom was having a tough day today.  She was hurting -probably overdid it the day before and was sleeping when I got there for lunch.  She’s really getting homesick too which doesn’t help.  Dad spent the morning working on her wheelchair ramp.  He’s missing her too.  Got my computer back from the repair shop today.  Over $280.00 later I am once again ready to roll.

Tuesday-  Busy night.  Had a Faith Formation meeting from 5:30-6:30 then a book club meeting from 6:30-9pm

Wednesday-  picked up a loaner commode for Mom after work today, took it home to clean it up and the pan underneath it had no bottom on it!  What good is that?  Did dishes, Lori and Aidan stopped by on the 4 wheeler and visited for a while and then I finally got the back yard mowed.  Mom comes home tomorrow.

Thursday- Got up ealy to make bars and get supper in the crockpot so Dad wouldn’t have to worry about making anything on her first night home.  Took an early lunch so I could get home before Mom did.  Zach and I put a big welcome home banner on the garage door and scattered balloons throughout the house and a few outside on her wheelchair ramp.  After spaghetti for supper I took Zach down to the access so he could jump off the dock for a while and cool off.

Friday- both Mom and Dad had doctor’s appointments today.  Mom was disappointed to find out she has to spend at least 3 more weeks in the wheelchair.  Tyler and Monica, Gracie and Zach spent the whole day on Serpeant Lake jet skiing and tubing.  The boys had a blast!  I kept Mom company while our men watched the first Vikings preseason game.