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10/24/2014
“How much longer until we get to Burlington?” I asked my husband as the sky darkened. “Can’t be much farther south,” he said, glancing at our car’s compass. South? Oops. Somewhere along the way, we missed a turn that would have pointed us east toward the Iowa-Illinois border. But finding yourself off your planned route can lead to unexpected... More
10/22/2014
Midwesterners are fortunate to have two of America's elite National Scenic Trails: the North Country Trail, which stretches from New York to North Dakota, passing through Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota in the process; and the Ice Age Trail, which winds throughout Wisconsin. Although the Ice Age Trail (IAT) was conceived in the 1950s, only a little more than half of... More
10/20/2014
'Tis the season for photos of pumpkin spice lattes, thick sweaters, changing leaves and bear rugs by fireplaces. Fall is like an Instagram feeding frenzy. And I've gladly added to it. I took this season for granted while growing up in my northwest Ohio hometown of Maumee. Then I graduated from Maumee High School and joined the Army. Letters from home would... More
10/17/2014
I think Mother Nature does her best work in fall—painting the outdoors in a wash of golden hues that I could look at for hours. I love the autumnal color show so much that I’m always looking for ways to decorate my house so I can enjoy the season inside as well as out. See how I took one mantel and decorated it three ways in celebration of fall. For a golden glow,... More
10/15/2014
A cascading waterfall, palm trees and a rush of warm air greet visitors as they step into Omaha’s newest attraction, the Marjorie K. Daugherty Conservatory at Lauritzen Gardens. Last weekend, I was among the first guests to wander through the $21 million, 20,000-square-foot glass garden that features a Tropical House, Temperate House and temporary plant display area... More
10/13/2014
Chicago’s lakefront, waterways, parks and gardens make it easy to be outdoors and exercise year-round. Here are some of my favorite ways and places to actively explore my hometown. 1) Lakefront Trail Bike, jog or walk this popular 18.5-mile paved route that skirts Lake Michigan and runs through parks and along beachfronts. It’s part of the city’s 200 miles of designated... More
10/10/2014
The days are getting shorter, which means I'm up before the sun peeks over the North Dakota prairie. My morning routine involves sipping coffee and scurrying around the house to help our kids get ready for school. But when I catch a sunbeam darting through the window, I embrace the interruption. I stop for sunrises. Even Butler the farm dog stops for sunrises.... More
10/8/2014
It’s that time of year when pumpkins pile up on hay bales outside grocery stores and overflow at orchards across the Midwest. Instead of searching for the biggest pumpkin in the patch, I have my eye on mini pumpkins this autumn. They’re cheap (50 cents to a couple bucks apiece), lightweight, and come in a variety of colors and shapes. My favorite varieties: standard orange ‘Jack... More
10/6/2014
Whether you’re a fan of the Twin Cities’ glittering blue lakes and lush parks or its many artsy offerings, there is plenty to do for free or for only a parking fee. Even better: Exploring without a car has never been easier. This summer, the light rail train debuted its Green Line that runs between Minneapolis and Saint Paul and connects Target Field to Mall of America... More
10/3/2014
So, I had a giant can of pumpkin. Really giant. At 29 ounces, it was large enough, the label helpfully explained, to make two pies. I'm sure that's the only reason this can exists—to make Thanksgiving baking more efficient. But I never make two pumpkin pies. I make a pumpkin and a pecan. Or a pumpkin and an apple. And I certainly don't need four loaves of pumpkin bread.... More