In fact... after posting this picture, it occurred to me that maybe the reason I was drawn to this particular picture is because of its resemblance to my favorite piece of art. I feel like they're showing the same emotion.
I just noshed on melba toast + fat-free cream cheese + Craisins and I LOVED it. It totally satisfied my craving for sweets.
Yesterday, in a different sort of mood, I loved my snack of cucumber and Laughing Cow cheese. It helped to tide me over until dinner without ruining my appetite. So far, so good! Let's just see how long the novelty of it all lasts...
I recently came across this article from Real Simple, and the timing couldn't have been better. Whenever I go back to work, I get HUNGRY and I need to snack. However, I always feel guilty about snacking. Well, now I'm guilty no more!
I thought you would all appreciate the article as well since it's chock-full of exciting snack ideas. I mean... I was inspired to grab a pen and paper to make my grocery list when I saw all of the yummy things they suggested. Hard-boiled egg? Yay! Cheese? Yes, please!
I'm sharing this in the hopes that you'll feel a bit of the same enthusiasm.
I thought you might enjoy looking at some of the houses that Laura "lived" in. Some of them are replicas of what her house probably looked like based on her descriptions, but that is a minor detail. I've put them in chronological order of when she would have lived in them.
Wisconsin: (none of her books cover this part of her life -- she was too little to remember it)
Kansas: Little House on the Prairie
Wisconsin: Little House in the Big Woods (same house from before, they moved back into it)
Minnesota: By the Banks of Plum Creek (this house is made of sod and was located just a few steps from the creek).
Iowa: (none of her books covered this part of her life, but she did live in this hotel for a while -- her parents helped to run the place) PS: We did not visit this in our trip.
Minnesota: By the Banks of Plum Creek (Back to the same town! It's unclear whether or not her family lived in the same house again, but I suspect that they did. They only lived in the "sod" house for less than a year. Her father later built a house with siding for them, so that's probably the home they returned to. Unfortunately, no replica of this house exists.) I found this picture on the Internet -- it's not Laura's family -- but this is how I always imagined their house would look:
South Dakota: By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long, Hard Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years, The First Four Years
First they lived in the Surveyor's house.
Then they moved out to their homestead (about 2 miles outside of town) and lived in a small "claim shanty."
Eventually, her father added on to the claim shanty and turned it into a "home" for the family.
Missouri: (She did not write about this part of her life; however, she spent about 60 years living in Missouri with her husband and daughter.)
First, they lived in the farm house that her husband built for them. It was much smaller at first (only the back-half that is one-story). As time went on, he added the front, two-story addition.
Their daughter achieved fame and wealth as a writer and designed/built the "Rock House" for her parents. They lived there for about six years, but never felt like it suited them.
Ultimately, they moved back into their farm house where they each lived until their deaths.
Here's a map to help you keep all of Laura's travels straight.
Twenty years after having read The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder for the first time (and forty years later for my aunt), we both finally got to go on our dream trip through Laura's prairies. It was everything we had hoped it would be. One of the most amazing parts is that now, when I reread those books, I can truly see what Laura was describing. I have collected so many memories over this past week, and it's daunting to think about where to begin blogging. That's why I decided that the best place to start is with the senses. Maybe this will help you imagine what it was like...
See: Prairie grasses up to your waist, blowing in the breeze. From far away, they look soft and pinkish against the horizon and the vibrant blue skies. When you get up close, you realize it would be rather difficult to walk through them -- especially while wearing a full-length dress. The clouds looked like they had been painted there, and it was easy to see where Harvey Dunn got his inspiration.
Taste: A juicy steak, medium well, with no seasonings. This is what the West is known for, and with good reason. A side of potatoes: French fries, American fries, Lyonaise, Baked, Twice baked, (you name it, every restaurant offered it!). A caesar salad. Yum! Thanks to our self-imposed "Prairie Diet" (where we were always too busy to bother eating lunch) we were always ready for a good dinner.
Smell: A sweet summer scent wafting on the breeze, probably coming from the flowers in the prairies. Damp, clean soil in the dugout houses, which were created by stacking pieces of sod like bricks. Timber in the log cabins and claim shanties, all of which were made from freshly-cut trees. Dust in the old houses that Laura lived in -- although I'm sure they never smelled that way when she was taking care of them.
Feel: The constant breeze. I don't think it ever stopped blowing, and you can get visual proof of that by looking at any of my photos. Our hair was always blowing all over the place!
Hear: The wind blowing through the grasses. The creek babbling over tiny stones. Excited voices chattering together about Laura Ingalls Wilder. Pa's fiddle playing songs like "Pop! Goes the Weasel."
Home long enough to sleep one night in my own bed... don't blink or you'll miss me! Tomorrow I'm on my way to Laura Ingalls Wilder's prairies out west. Look for blog updates. I'm going to see about keeping you folks in the loop!
1. Beautiful weather
2. Hanging out with Aunt K
3. Catching up with my "little" cousins (yeah, they're not so little anymore).
4. Fresh veggies
6. Laura Ingalls Wilder!
7. The Wedding Date
8. Laura Ingalls Wilder! (well, we did talk about this a lot)
9. Yummy drinks
10. Buttermilk (cake)!