The state fair tradition continues

Sweaty people, greasy food on a stick, and sunburns . . . that doesn’t necessarily sound like a wonderful time, yet thousands of people go out of their way to experience all of this yearly. I am proud to say I am among that crowd.

Going to the state fair has been a summer ritual for as long as I can remember. Growing up in Illinois I attended the Illinois State Fair in Springfield and still remember the Tom Thumb donuts, the year I bought my horse blanket, and the many concerts I attended. Now we continue the tradition with our daughter at the Minnesota State Fair.

At the age of two she has now attended her first state fair and from the looks of it she had a blast. That experience is what keeps all the people coming back year after year and makes Minnesota the state fair with the highest average daily attendance. Going with a two year old in tow makes the experience very different, but took me back to those days of my own childhood.

This year’s visit included a stop at the dog stunt show, wandering the barns much more than normal, and even a ride on some flying elephants. But it was all more magical than the last few years. Her yell of joy on the big slide made a ride I haven’t been on in years a great experience. Her excitement petting the cows and horses in the barns made me view the animals I’ve seen hundreds of time a little more special. Watching her jumps of happiness as Pedro the horse nuzzled her hand made me thankful that generations of families still pass on the skills of farming.

St fair ele St fair slide State fair 14What would a trip to the fair be without a little (or a lot) food. New options included walleye mac’n’cheese, bacon ice cream, and pretzel coated fried cheese curds. We didn’t make it to any of these options, but Olivia got to try items that were new to her. We found out she likes gyros, lemon shake ups, and Martha’s cookies.

The next time you get to go to the state fair take a kid with you and you will see it with fresh eyes full of excitement and wonder. I’m thinking we might have to put a state fair tour on our list for a future road trip!


Investing in life accounts

I’ve spent the last several weeks attempting to reconnect with myself and embrace my own nature. Since my last post I have completed my sessions with my life coach and am carrying everything I learned forward with me. In fact, one of the first things I learned is what has kept me busy the last month – life accounts.

We worry so much about investing our financial resources into specific accounts; always evaluating the return. Yet we often think very little about our finite resources of time and energy and where we invest those for the biggest happiness return. A return that often leads to improvement in health, relationships, and even those much worried about finances.

So step one was deciding what six areas of my life are truly important to me. This was hard because I’ve tried for years to give full and equal attention to everything in my life . . . which is probably why I was feeling burnt out and like I had failed at so many things. By narrowing my focus to just six areas I could put my energy into the things that would enrich my life.

Rule one is Self has to be an account you focus on first and often. As is normal with women, especially moms, I suck at taking care of myself first. However, the last few months had shown me that if I am falling apart I’m no good to anyone anyway. So I am at the top of the life ledger and have been making investments more regularly – consistent runs, reading daily for fun, writing, creating, and sometimes just sitting in silence.

All of that me time felt very selfish and unacceptable at first, but it has trickled into my other life accounts and more than doubled my happiness return. Having time to focus on myself has also allowed me space to gain clarity on what my other life accounts are and what I want to achieve in them.

happiness creation1. Self – be intentional with who I am and feed my mental and physical needs.

2. Spouse – be a wife and friend to my husband and open up to share a full life with him.

3. Children – help my daughter grow into a strong and confident young woman and show her how to go after what you want.


4. Family – be an active part of a loving family that can rely on each other through thick and thin.

5. Career – love going to work everyday feeling fulfilled and challenged while giving back to the world.

6. Exploration – be led to knew destinations and experiences by my curiosity.

What are your life accounts and how will you use them to explore the world and create your happiness?