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  1. Challenge Yourself

    August 3, 2016 by admin

    “You look back over the miles and miles you’ve run and think: ‘I did that!  My little body!’  You never feel the same about yourself again.”

    •  Kathy Switzer, Marathoner


    Find your challenge and work at it!

  2. Project Time

    June 2, 2016 by admin

    Use this chart for getting your wooden projects to measure out correctly.  Very handy, if you’ve forgotten most of what they taught you in Woodshop class in junior high:


  3. It’s A New Day

    May 3, 2016 by admin


    On getting past conflict, wisdom from the youngest Rambler:

  4. Winter Walk At Indian Lake

    February 29, 2016 by admin

    No need to sit inside all year.  There’s always a way to get outside and explore.

    We are blessed to have a good county park system in our area.  This makes it so much easier to get out and explore all year around.

    Our latest adventure took us to Indian Lake County Park, about a twenty minute drive from our house.admin-ajax.php

    A walk through the winter woods is a great adventure.  Making sure we wore proper clothes, we were comfortable during our long walk.  We were able to explore to our hearts content before turning back and heading for the car.

    Along the way we found animal tracks, a warming cabin which inspired a long talk about planning a camping trip,  cool leaves that had melted into the ice, and this funky fungus!  Much better than staying inside.

    We used the “I’ll follow you.” method of exploring the park to give Bluey the maximum amount of control over exploring this park.  He chose the paths, he made changes in our explore- he was in charge.  And when he was ready to back, we returned to the car.

    With no pre-selected path, we explored the many cross-country skiing paths, and meandered through the woods.  It was a great morning of exploring, creating another great memory, and another place where Bluey says: “Let’s go back there soon.”


  5. Homeschool Snowday

    January 26, 2016 by admin


    One reason to love homeschooling is we get to have a whole new definition of ‘snowday’ ‘holliday’ and ‘vacation.’  Our recent snow means P.E. happens on the hill!  We guarantee that our Bluey gets more moving around time in his day than his public schooled peers.  IMG_3875

  6. Baby, It’s Cold Outside

    January 12, 2016 by admin

    Out 2

    Out 2When the weather outside is frightful, you can still go outside!  Dress warmly and go have fun!

  7. I Know Your “Chicken”

    December 21, 2015 by admin


    12341322_10208364235247228_2027019583423696611_nWinter is soup season, as much at the TR Home as anywhere.

    Chicken noodle soup is a classic that many people remember fondly from childhood, and treasure on a chilly day, or when they are a bit under the weather.

    But we’re a vegan/vegetarian house!  How can we have all the yummy of goodness of chicken noodle soup while staying within our dietary guidelines?

    Enter: “Chicky” Noodle Soup, a delicious version of the classic that can be made vegan or vegetarian while keeping all the yumminess you expect and remember.

    “Chicky” Noodle Soup


    1 Package Beyond Vegan Chicken Strips (or equivalent)

    2 Carrots

    2 Celery Stalks

    1 Onion

    2 Garlic Cloves

    4 -6 Cups Veggie Broth* (or Water)

    1 teaspoon Oregano

    1/2 teaspoon Rosemary

    Salt & Pepper to taste

    2 Cups Noodles**


    1.  Partially defrost vegan chicken strips, enough so they can be diced.

    2.  Saute Onions, Garlic and Carrots in bottom of soup pot for six minutes or so.

    3.  Chop or grind rosemary in a spice grinder or with a mortal & pestle.  Add to sautéed vegetables.

    4.  Add diced vegan chicken.

    5.  Add broth or water and bring to a simmer.

    6.  Add noodles and cook 10 minutes until soft.

    7.  Add Salt and Pepper to taste.


    Invite a friend over to share!

     *  Make your own veggie stock:  The next time you chop onions, peel carrots or use celery, take the peels and bits you don’t want (so long as they are not spoiled!) and boil in water for 45 minutes to an hour.  Things to include in your veggie broth: onions, carrots, celery, parsley.   Thing to avoid in your broth: potato peels, pepper innards, beets.   If you don;t have veggie broth, you can use a vegan vegetable bouillon, available in most groceries.

    **  What noodles to use:  For a more traditional ‘Chicky’ Noodle Soup, use egg noodles.  But these are not vegan.  If you like a vegan soup, we like to use bowtie pasta.  As it gets very cooked, the bowties partially unfold leaving large, flat noodles of deliciousness.

  8. Calculated

    September 14, 2015 by admin


    School is now in full swing. Back to school shopping has been completed.  Paperwork has been filled out and filed.  Extraneous school fees for things like orchestra, sports, etc., have somehow been paid.  You breathe a sigh of relief and get ready for the typical drama that any new school year brings as your child navigates friendships and homework.

    51555_calc_machine_mdAnd then your kid comes home and declares, “I need a graphing calculator for math.”  Ummm…okay.  We don’t recall seeing that on the supply list but we’ll get right on it.  We can find a calculator at any type of Dollar Store, Walgreens, etc.  No problem!  And then reality hits.  A quick google search shows that the average price of a graphing calculator is around $100.

    We can swing $100 but it is an unexpected major blow to our budget.  And since we are hard hit by this expense, we can only imagine that many families find the purchase simply impossible.  There are some free, and some low cost, apps of graphic calculators.  But purchasing apps works on the assumption that all families have unlimited access to the web and that teachers will allow personal devices, like iPhones or iPads, in their classrooms.

    No family should be faced with an unaffordable educational purchase that is required for the successful completion of a class.  And no child should have to deal with the embarrassment of figuring out how to ask the school for charity.

    We live under constant bombardment of news stories and politicking calling for increased attention to STEM (Science/ Technology/ Engineering/ Math) curricula in schools.  Students are taught on a daily basis that success in these fields is vital for their future careers.  (Setting aside for the moment the question of whether a STEM focus is the best direction for schools to be heading…)  How is a student supposed to find success in STEM classes if they aren’t given the tools required to learn those topics within our public schools?

    It doesn’t have to be this way.  If our nation values STEM classes, then our nation must also value getting a graphing calculator into the hands of any student who needs one.

    So we reach out to:

    • Mayim Bialik:  Actress, Doctor, and brand amabassador for Texas Instruments Education Technology.
    • STEM Education Coalition:  Working diligently to educate on the critical role STEM education plays in the US.
    • Bill Gates:  Founder of Microsoft and philanthropist.
    • Vi Hart:  Recreational mathemusician.
    • Danica McKellar: PhD Mathematician, Author of math books including “Math Doesn’t Suck” and “Hot X”, Actress


    This is our starting list of influencers we call upon to join this cause.

    Here’s our proposal:

    Let’s work together to create a national program that puts a graphing calculator in the hands of any child age 12 – 18 for free.  If a family can make a donation when they pick up their absolutely free graphing calculator, great!  And if they can donate back their free graphing calculator at the end of their schooling career- fantastic!  But nothing will be required to pick up a free graphing calculator beyond proof of age.  It seems like such an attainable goal.

    And so very necessary.

    Who’s with us? We know there are many people (more than listed above!) passionate about education, math, and closing the severe educational gap caused in part by economic disparities. Local and far flung friends, let’s get this done for all kids in this country!

    We will keep you updated with our progress as we move forward and as we find other possible solutions to this national issue.  Every student should be able to pursue STEM classwork as far as their interests and aptitudes take them.  No child should find a door closed to them because they lack the immediate resources to buy the tools needed to succeed.

  9. Horicon National Wildlife Refuge

    September 7, 2015 by admin

    IMG_2111Horicon National Wildlife Refuge is a place of wonder.  Located just about 1 hour from Madison, it is a super easy day trip for a hike or a bike ride upon your arrival.

    We had decided to bike and made our first vehicle stop at the Federal Visitor Center on Headquarters Road for some suggestions on the best path for our family.  We were pleased to discover a nice nature display, an observation deck, a small gift shop, and clean bathrooms within the Center.

    The Center’s guide suggested that we try a bike path that runs along side an auto tour road.  This path included access to a network of floating pathways which led out into the wetlands and a central observation spot. We have the most luck on our hikes and biking when our travels include water, so we knew this was probably a great trail to explore.

    Tip1: Be careful to examine your maps closely. In our haste to begin, we ended up on a path that shared the way with vehicles. The majority of drivers were using extreme caution, but a few zipped down the path with seemingly no care about the blind corners, hikers, and bicyclists.

    We were happy that the bike trail had only a few rises that Bluey easily managed. We had to leave our bikes to explore the floating pathways.

    Tip2: There are no bike racks at the head of walking-only pathways. Be prepared to take valuables with you and to leave your bike propped off the main road.

    The surroundings were breathtaking. We’ve done a lot of biking and hiking in the areas in and around Madison. But we were impressed with the beauty of Horicon National Wildlife Refuge.  And we had more wildlife encounters than we’ve ever experienced in our prior outings.  If you aren’t familiar with many species of water birds, you may want to tuck a pocket guide in your gear.  You will have a chance to see many rare birds in a wildlife setting such as this.

    Tip3: It appears that dogs are allowed on many trails but we’d suggest you leave them at home if you are interested in experiencing wildlife.

    Even though we spotted a school bus, vehicles, and others out and about on the trails- we managed to enjoy the majority of the area we chose on our own, without fighting crowds. Parking wasn’t an issue and access is free.

    We can’t wait to go back in the Fall and perhaps witness some migratory bird viewing!

  10. Uninsurable Ball Of Fluff?

    August 24, 2015 by admin

    This TR Family had been with Progressive Insurance for about a decade.  When we recently purchased our new home, it was a no-brainer to stick with Progressive for our homeowner’s insurance.  We had never had an issue with their service.  In fact, when we had an unfortunate car collision about a year ago, Progressive’s handling of our accident was stellar.

    We paid the annual fee for our homeowner’s insurance and were quite content for two months, when we got an odd email from Progressive indicating that our policy would be canceled.  Thinking this was some sort of miscommunication, we immediately phoned Progressive.

    We were told that we hadn’t provided any proof of our dog’s breed and our policy was going to be canceled.  Since we received NO request for dog information from Progressive – other than when we applied for our policy, we had NO idea they needed further information from us.  We immediately supplied what was requested: a picture of our dog and a statement from our Vet as to the breed.

    Here is the picture we provided:IMG_1039

    Along with our Vet’s disclosure.

    We are very proud owners of our rescued pup, Molly.  The organization that we used to adopt Molly referred to her as a “Spanador” as they thought she was half lab and half spaniel.  Since she is a rescue, no one could say with 100% accuracy her definite lineage or breed.  But she is a slightly overweight ball of love that has never had anger issues and has never bitten anyone.

    According to Progressive Insurance’s management, not being able to pinpoint Molly’s breed beyond a shadow of a doubt meant that we were no longer insurable.  Our policy was canceled effective immediately and there was no recourse.

    Here are the undisputable facts:

    • Progressive Insurance does not care how long you’ve been a loyal customer
    • Progressive Insurance discriminates against certain dog breeds
    • Progressive Insurance has an impossible set of criteria for any adoptive dog/rescued dog family to fulfill
    • Progressive Insurance will cancel your insurance on the spot regardless of your loyal history and regardless of initially accepting your payment and contract. Remember- their agent that opened our homeowner’s policy did NOT ask for any further information about our pup!

    We are very glad that we found out we were giving our business to a company that isn’t dog friendly.  We would not want to patronize Progressive Insurance had we known these facts.  And we are thrilled to now have our insurance relationship with State Farm.

    Rescue families and friends of rescues and strays be warned!  Do your research and ask pointed questions about dog ownership when searching for home insurance.  And have a back-up plan just in case you find yourself suddenly invited out of your Insurance company.

    We urger you to spread the word!  If you love stray and rescued animals and support those who take them in- make sure all your friends know that Progressive Insurance will cancel policies based on the unknown parentage of those pets.  We’ve had great luck with State Farm taking care of us and our harmless dog.  What other companies can you help us identify as pro-rescue pet?  Help spread the word and support companies that support rescued pets!