All posts by Amy

Amy is married with two young daughters. She and her family enjoy hiking, biking and exploring the Wisconsin outdoors as much as possible. When Amy isn't galavanting across the state with her family she is either at her full-time job, working to complete her master's degree or listing items on eBay. Amy is also a proud U.S. Army Reserve Veteran. She hopes that in the near future she can earn enough money through blogging and her photography that she can quit her day job.

Feb 2017 – Shed Hunting

A few weekends ago my husband loaded the children up for the YMCA as we go most ever Saturday during the winter months, but on this particular day I didn’t feel like going. He proceeded as planned and I had the morning to myself at home. I completed a few necessary chores before taking a hike out on our 20 to look for deer sheds. Now to be clear I have never found one, I have never gone out looking and had little knowledge of what I was looking for.

I mean I did a Google search and read a few blogs before going out, but it was more or less just a hike. I found a den in the side of a hill where I think the raccoons have been living…..we’ll take care of them now that we know where they are living. I found a lot of deer scat, but not a single shed. We also don’t have many bucks around here as a few of our neighbors shoot anything with horns regardless of size. Jerks.

Anyway, I just realized with my lack of 2016 posts you were not aware I went out deer hunting for the first time in my life! Okay so now I’m going to take a quick detour from my original post and tell you about it. I don’t know if many of you know this, but I’m a U.S Army veteran. I’m obviously highly trained on how to sight in and use a gun, but have never killed anything in my life. Last year in like March I announced to my husband that I was going to go deer hunting in the fall.

I didn’t do much to prepare. I went out the night before opening day and sighted in an old rifle. I grouped in my first three shots so I went with it. We don’t have any deer stands on our property and I hadn’t scouted where I would sit. Also, and probably my biggest issue is I’m terrified of the dark. So opening morning I got up early, thew on my gear and headed out. It had rained the night before so the ground was wet, it was crazy windy and the rain was turning to snow. Well it was trying to snow, but the temps were right around 32 so it was just sleety nasty. I got out in the woods in the dark and found a downed tree that I decided to sit under. I’ll have to head out there one night and get a picture for you.

Anyway, so there’s this down tree….it’s snapped like 7 feet off the ground and the top part makes like a teepee to the ground. Then immediately in front of this tree is a living larger tree and to my right a bunch of thick buckthorn. I get settled in, pour my coffee and get on my phone. I fully intend to just sit outside and drink my coffee in piece and quiet and claim to not see anything. Once I hit shooting time I put my phone away and try to listen for movement. With the crazy swirling winds it was impossible to hear myself think, let alone hear if anything was coming.

Off on the tree line I see three deer moving out to the field to eat. I think to myself that I set up in a dumb place and wish I had stayed tight to the field just for that reason. Too late now.

Awhile later I spot a small buck off to my right heading down into our cofferdam damn to get a drink. I text my husband about his arrival and ask him if I should try to “advance” on the deer. At this point I think he realizes that I’m crazy and should not have been allowed out on my own to hunt. We continue texting about how I’m going to sneak up and shoot this deer. Between texts I look up and it appears I’m sitting right on a deer run and there are three dear like twelve feet in front of me. I pull up and it seems that time slows down to a crawl. I have her in my sights, but fear this is the doe and her two fawns that I enjoy watching from my kitchen window on weekends.

I still have her in my sights, I slide the safety off and squeeze. KABOOM!! Jesus, my ears are ringing, should I have worn earplugs. I see the other two deer look up and I have the second one in my sights, I think about pulling the trigger, but refrain.

Meanwhile, the deer I “shot” jumps over me on my left. Great, I missed it all together. I feel like an ass and am glad I didn’t shot any more than I had. By now my phone is blowing up as my husband wants to know if that was my shot and if I got anything. I respond to him and then turn to see if there is anything to track. I take a couple steps and see the deer laying on the ground a few feet behind me. “That’s silly.” I think to myself. Why is she……out of no where I get these crazy, uncontrollable shakes. I hit her, OMG what have I done. I start to walk towards her. At this point I’m in shock, she gets up and jumps.

My husband is coming out now and is upset that I jumped her…..I don’t know what I’m doing. I never thought I would actually shot anything. I just wanted to drink my coffee. She didn’t go far so we go in the house. We come out a little while later as we can see the area she fell inside the cofferdam from the kitchen window. She’s dead. My husband wants a picture of me with her, but I’m sobbing. I’ve never killed anything and man was it sad, but I know we’re going to eat her and she’ll be tasty.

I compose myself and did end up getting a picture with her. My husband was kind enough to field dress her, as one of us had to stay with the children or I would have been out there helping. Turns out I even shot her right and exploded her lungs.

I went out most all of the other nights and had two other chances, but they were nothing like that first shot and I really didn’t want to track a deer so I let them go….I think this is how deer hunting stories go lol.

So, now I’m hopelessly addicted and will probably go out this season and do it all again. Crying included as it’s still sad to me.

Anyway, back to the post at hand. (Shed hunting) I went out for something like two hours and found nothing. I managed to slide down a hill and wrap myself around a few trees resulting in some nasty bruises on my forearm and knee. Oh well, maybe someday I’ll stumble upon just one shed, that’s all I need to make this wreath I want for our home.

Alright, enough for one evening. I’ll try to come back and share with you more often as this was nice.

Amos

First Hike of 2017, Green Coulee Park

Well hello! It’s been entirely too long. So as some of you know my family and I live in Wisconsin. This spring (?) we have had some crazy warm weather. Today March 5th it was 60 degrees and my family and I went out on our first hike in what feels like forever.

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We decided on the Green Coulee Park in Onalaska, WI. So it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. First of all you drive through this posh subdivision and park in a small lot right in the middle of this neighborhood. We selected the Pierce Path, anticipating to hook up with the Humfeld Summit Trail going out the the Highest Point. Well, sometimes things don’t go according to plan.

The trails started out clearly marked, but somewhere along the way we lost the trail?! Or need up on an area that is not on this map. We ended up on top of a coulee next to our end point. The view was still amazing, but with three littles the path left me with high anxiety. I say path as it didn’t resemble much of a trail, but more something that a herd of deer have carved into the landscape. Then on either side it was basically a steep grade with buckthorn and under brush. My husband had our youngest in the Kelty backpack, I had my three year olds arm and our oldest, well she was being her usual sweet self. Not really, she’s basically 7 going on 15 and knows everything….I don’t remember being as emotion as her at this age, but whatever it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.

Anyway, there was still a significant amount of snow up on the trail which had been packed down and was rather slick in some parts. While other parts were mud and just as slippery. There was a portion of the trail where a rope had been secured to a tree and was essential to hold onto to proceed up the trail. I’m still not entirely sure how I managed this part with a child literally under my arm. I’m thankful I made it up and down in one piece. I guess my daily workouts are really paying off.

All-in-all the trail was okay. I don’t think we would go there again as I prefer some place a little more off the beaten path where the children can burn off some energy. It was nice to just get outside and out of the house.

We were discussing places to go on hikes today and I pulled out my log book, there are still a fair amount of hikes that I haven’t document. Also, there are a great number of trails we have planned for this year. Now that our youngest is 15 months we have a few more options and don’t need to be quite as careful. I’m sad to not have anymore babies in our home, but thankful to get out and explore more as a family. I guess it’s double edged.

Until I feel the urge to share again.

Amos

Happy New Year!

Glad to see we have successfully made another rotation around the sun! Yeah, so as you can tell I haven’t done a very good job of keeping up my end of the bargain and getting into a regular updating routine. With three small children, a full-time job, being a wife and an avid gym goer I just haven’t found the time. No worries, one day things will slow down and I’ll long for to have these day back.

Not too much new to report since my last post. ¬†I’ve backed off on the essential oil thing for a bit. I still use them extensively at home, but stopped trying to build an empire and quit my day job. Even though I’m still not really digging on the new town or job for that matter. Like I’ve eluded too I’m not really much of a creature of change and the whole move across the state has been a challenge for me. Here’s a fun fact to help you put this into perspective. We have lived here for just over two years and I have zero friends. I have a few work acquaintances that I talk to at work and go to the gym with, but that’s the extent of my adult interaction. It’s mostly my fault I’ve become a bit of a home body.

It’s the dead of winter and the wind chill is something like 20 degrees below zero tonight. I’m over it! As you may have figured out from reading my blog, I enjoy exploring outdoors. Well when it’s this cold there is no exploring that cannot wait. Maybe this will be the push I need to get back on here and knock out some long over due posts that have been eating away at my insides.

I was going to make a calendar to sell this fall and managed to talk myself out of following through that project. I also managed to not sell stock photos in 2016. I really am on a roll. I got off the adrenaline high after I graduated in Dec 2015. Was super ambitious with all these goals and things I wanted to do. Then our third child came super early and has been a complete game changer. I wouldn’t trade him for the world, but things are busy to say the least. I don’t have too much free time these day and what little time I do find I invest in working out at the gym.

I decided I wasn’t happy with my body and it was time to do something other than complain about it. There is gym at work that I can work out at for free so I started going on my lunch break back in September. I go on average three to four times a week and LOVE it! I’ve always considered myself a runner, but just wasn’t seeing the results I wanted. So I went down to the gym talked to one of the trainers and got hooked up on a 16 week lifting plan to make some changes. I hit my goal weight like three weeks before anticipated and haven’t looked back. Rather than back off I started working out twice a day and have really made a lifestyle change.

Tonight I will not make any idel promises to get on here more and update. I will tell you that my 2017 new year’s resolution has been to be less critical of others. I need to take the same advice I give my 7 year old and if I don’t have anything nice to say to just not say anything at all. We’ve all either been told this line or have utter it at one time or another, but it’s time to start walking the walk. I want to lead by example and have nothing but dignity and respect for others. I want to stop focusing on the negative and focus on the positives.

I’ll stop here and post as time permits or the desire to talk to others just comes flowing out. Based on my lack of posts I doubt there are any followers left outside the spam trolls, but at least I have an outlet that allows me to let everything out and for that I thank you!

I wish you all the best in 2017. I wish you happiness, success and peace. All my love….

-Simply Amy

4 month hiatus….

Well….hello strangers! Boy have I missed you guys. I hope the feeling is mutual, but I’m not so sure….

So, life has come at me crazy fast the past few months and I just needed to take a break and focus. I’m swinging back around as I have been seriously considering the release of a 2017 calendar and have decided to pull the trigger. I’m not really sure if this first year there will be a “theme” per se…actually I’m pretty sure the only theme is going to be I am the photographer and they will be of nature and barns haha! I’m need to get moving as I would like to have said calendars in hand by November 1. With this being said if any of you have designed and printed a calendar I would be interested in picking your brain.

I operate on Apple products and have a few different platforms that I could utilize to create a calendar. However, I think that I should first find a printer and see what format they would prefer prior to starting. Actually before I do that there is still one rather large detail I need to decide on and that is the actual photo selection.

I have started pulling together some of my favorite photos and working on editing them. There is also the process of locating some of the photos. As it turns out I’m not as organized as I use to be, guess that’s to be expected when you have three small children. In reading a few different articles and blogs it looks like I’m going to be visiting the marketing department at work and seeing if I can find some sort of content editor or marketing employee that would be interested in giving me honest, constructive feedback on what I need to do to ensure this project is a success.

I don’t know why but I have kept this blog a secret from most everyone. My husband is aware of it as are a few close friends that I have shared the link with. I’m not entirely sure if any of them frequent the site as we don’t really talk about it. This year my goal was to get the word out there now that I’ve grown the site some, but the thought terrifies me. I think I’m going to continue working under a pseudo name…..just feels better. I’m not sure if this is something I will ever get over?! Anyway, this fact makes it difficult to approach anyone at work for help. I’ve been here about a year and half now, but no one really knows too much about me and I prefer it that way. I guess if they only help with the calendar they would not necessarily need to know about my secret life as a blogger.

There is also a friend that has graciously offered to assist me in beefing up the site and make it “prettier” and more user friendly. I think it would be safe to start there and continue to build the site. I feel as though I could work on this for years and never really be fully satisfied or ready to announce to the world it’s here. So for now my secret is safe with the three of you that are reading this and for that I thank you. Ha! I bet you never thought you would stumble upon a blogger that wishes you not to share their site….I am truly one of a kind my friend.

I guess this is just more of a random thoughts by Amy, but an update nonetheless. I’m making my way back, I’ve given up on regular posts for the time being because let’s face it I just cannot commit to the project as much as I want to. Be sure to check back later this fall and order a 2017 wall calendar if you so desire.

Signing off….

Amy

Getting back into the hang of things….

About two weeks ago my domain came up for renewal. I seriously considered allowing it to lapse and letting the site go, but something inside me decided it against it. So, here I am giving this one more year.

After careful consideration it’s so much more than that. For starters I need to gain the courage to share my site with the few friends I have. For those that already know me, you know I’m an introvert. So to put myself out here like this is a bit overwhelming and somewhat scary. However, I feel that I have put this much time and effort into developing the site to what it is today, it would be a shame to walk away. Plus it would be really cool if I could make this happen (I’m not sure what “this” is, but I’m here to do it).

I’m going to try and commit and do a better job of getting back into a regular routine as to when I add new posts. I mean let’s be honest since I graduated, I haven’t been consistent. Then again I did have a third child…..maybe I’m to hard on myself?!?

So, if you’ve been following and/or reading please drop me a line. I’m open to constructive criticism, and advice. Please keep it clean and keep it positive. I mean let’s face it, there’s way too much negative coming at us during any given day.

Much love,

Simply Amy

Calendar?

So as with most anything I want to do….I tend to mull it over for a bit before making the next step. On my mind presently is to put together a 2017 wall calendar and start selling it around Oct/Nov of 2016. However, before I put in the time and money I wanted to know if there is even a desire for such a product. Like really there are way better photographers than myself out there and consumers already have a plethora of calendar options. If you could please take a quick minute or two to leave me some feedback it would be greatly appreciated.

Baby #3 and the NICU

Happy New Year!!!

My apologies for my hiatus. I graduated with my MBA as project on December 19th and closed a huge chapter in my life. It felt fantastic! Then the following week on Friday, December 25th. For those of you keeping track, yes this was indeed Christmas Day. My family and I unexpectedly and quickly welcomed our third child into our family.

It was a crazy series of events, but everything has worked out for the best. Christmas Eve my husband and I were working on some last minute gifts. Ah, who am I kidding we had procrastinated to the last minute as usual and stayed up late putting the finishing touches on a memorable Christmas for our girls. After sitting on the floor for a few hours I started experiencing Braxton hicks contractions. Brushing them off I drank lots of water and attempted to go to bed.

That entire night I was unable to get comfortable and my lower back hurt. (Looking back I should have known better.) Anyway, I was up and down the entire night and just miserable. Christmas morning our girls were up at 5 am to open presents. I was there for the gift opening, but I was in pain and had a hard time focusing.

After gifts were open I sat in the recliner where I timed the contractions and found them to be 5 minutes apart for 1 hour. This was interesting, normally Braxton hicks don’t time out like that. I mean come on this is my third child. I went to take a bath and drink some more water.

While in the bath tub I saw part of my mucus plug. I texted my husband to come in and I needed to talk to him. He came in and encouraged me to call the women’s health nurse. I felt bad, I mean come on it’s Christmas. Reluctantly, I called in. The nurse had the same feeling I did. I was 5 weeks from my due date and I probably just over did things with the holidays. She asked me to take it easy and to drink more water.

At this point I wasn’t really sure how much more water I could hold, but I agreed. The nurse ended the call with, “if you find the contractions are stronger or closer together please don’t hesitate to call back or come in. If you come in please call on your way.” For those of you unaware we live 45 minutes from the hospital.

Anyway, I didn’t want to “ruin” Christmas so I tried to hang out with my family, but I just couldn’t do it. I told my husband I was going to go lay down. It was while laying down the contractions increased in strength and I found myself unable to walk/talk. Deciding I didn’t want to have this baby at home we needed to go.

I was 99.8% sure they would give me some fluids and chalk my labor pains up to Braxton hicks…….this couldn’t be further from the truth.

I managed to get out of bed and start packing a hospital bag. Being so early I had not had time to do so. As I packed I asked my husband to please get the girls dressed as “it was time.” I’ll never forget he was standing in the kitchen with the girls sitting on the stools at the island. He turned and gave me a look, almost as if to say “Really Amy, we are going to do this today?”

I continued on. I packed my bag, got dressed, let the dog out and started loading the girls into the car. I think about half-way to the hospital when my contractions were now 3 minutes apart that my husband realized yes it was indeed time.

As we approached our exit on the highway and were about 10 minutes away from the hospital I had this incredible urge to push. I vocalized this to my husband who instructed me that only three more contractions and we would be there. He also added to keep my legs together and relax. (Easy for him to say.) He seemed so calm and collected. I felt as though my world was unraveling. I was trying to lay my head back and be quiet so as not to scare the girls. (I didn’t know/realize until later that they had feel asleep and were oblivious to the circumstances.)

Upon arrival to the Emergency Room I was taken to labor and delivery. The nurses told us they needed to monitor the baby and ensure his safety. I laid on that hospital bed with this incredible urge to push for 15-20 minutes, but it felt like days. Once, everyone was ready and in place the doctor broke my water. I then pushed for a mere three minutes and just like that it was over and done with.

The first question out of my mouth was “Is he okay?” Followed up with, “Does he have all his parts?” Everything seemed so surreal, we were not expecting a baby so soon and there was no indication in all my doctor visits that he could come early. A week or two prior I had another vaginal ultrasound and was cleared for a VBAC. (At the beginning of my pregnancy at week 18 they found I had placenta previa which later changed to low lying placenta and then corrected itself.) Other than that I felt great.

To keep my long story from becoming longer and to prevent you (the reader) from boredom I will cut out some stuff.

The whisked baby off the NICU. My head was swirling and looking back I think I was in shock. My husband, two daughters and myself were taken to my own room in labor and delivery. I felt great. Labor had gone so quickly I didn’t feel much different….just no longer pregnant and without child.

The next 9 days are a complete blur. My girls were not allowed into the NICU because of peak cold and flu season and being under the age of 12. My oldest who would be 6 in four days protested about how she hated “this company” and was angry. The little one, didn’t really know what to think.

My husband and I took turns staying in the NICU. One of us remained at the hospital each night with baby, while the other went home to attend to the girls. This was the most difficult time for us all. ¬†It seemed the adult “on the inside” with the baby, and doctors felt the best. This person had access to instant answers, could see baby and knew what was going on first-hand. The adult left with the other children was more of an emotional mess.

During the middle of our stay baby decided that he no longer wanted to eat. He was given an ng tube and his food was forced into his belly. My heart was breaking and I blamed myself. There had to be something that I either did or did not do which resulted in our situation. Approaching the nurses with this, they assured me that I did nothing wrong. I still don’t know, but with him doing better I can accept it.

Today baby #3 is three weeks old. We just got back from a well child visit and he weighs 6 lbs 15 oz. – for the first time since birth he has surpassed his birth weight of 6 lbs 8 oz. If I had carried him to term I fear he would have been a 10 lb baby! He is doing great and is well on his way to being normal. Well as normal as he can be for joining our family, lol.

It was while sitting in the NICU on New Year’s Eve alone. Well, with my new man. Reflecting on 2015 that I realized just how blessed our family is and how things could be so much worse. (While surrounded by sad families and really sick children, I realized our situation can be fixed and while circumstances are not ideal they are temporary.)

In closing our 2015 was pretty much amazing! We moved to a new town, started new jobs, sold and purchased a home, got pregnant, I completed my master’s degree and we welcomed baby #3 to our family. I hope 2016 is as good to us.

Thanks for reading,

Simply Amy

Milk Baths **Recipe Included

Essential Oils and Baths….
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So while preparing for a relaxing bath the other night. I texted a friend asking for relaxing oil combinations. She responded with the following recipe:
 
5 drops of serenity
2 drops of lavender
3 drops of white fir
 
I also had lavender/chamomile bath salts I added. My friend then followed up the text with:
 
MIX WITH 1/2 C EPSOM SALTS OR MILK
 
Umm, wait, what? This is not something I had previously done, but is very important. Usually my husband and I put the oils directly into the tub and you can visually see them floating on the surface of the water. By adding them to either the epsom salt or the milk the oils are broken down and can better be mixed with the water to be absorbed by your skin.
 
So since I wasn’t previously aware of this I just grab the milk out of the refrigerator and added the oils. (I had already add my bath salts prior to receiving this text message.) It worked amazingly well and I feel as though I slept better last night.
 
So this morning I was looking online and there are indeed better ways to prepare oils for baths. Here is a recipe that is new to me that I can’t wait to try out:
 
It’s a 2:1:1 ratio of powdered milk** (moisturizes), baking soda (softens skin) and cornstarch (soothes irritation).
 
So if you use 1 C of powered milk then utilize a 1/2 C of each baking soda and cornstarch. It it recommended to store this mixture in a glass or metal container because again plastic is not recommended when using some oils. To this mixture add 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil(s). Allow this mix to sit at least 24 hours prior to using. This specific mix would be good for quantity two baths.
 
**Note: The higher the fat content of the powdered milk the better and more moisture your skin will absorb. The articles that I found recommended powdered goats milk or coconut milk. I haven’t done too much shopping around for these items, but with the internet I think it’s safe to assume one can purchase anything they’d like. If not there are sheep across the road perhaps I could sneak over in the night and milk them?!?
 
As always please feel free to share recipes, ideas or recommendations. I love hearing them.
 
Until then,
Happy Oiling

What is a diffuser?

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 3.41.34 PMSo a diffuser gives you the benefits of a humidifier, air purifier, atomizer and aromatherapy all in one! The diffuser further breaks down the oils into micropartials and circulates them into the air. There are quite a few different products on the market. I happen to have a DoTERRA one, but I’m sure there are others that will get the job done. Just be sure to read reviews and be an informed consumer as some of them are not built to handle citrus oils and¬†can either clog or stop working as a result. For those not familiar with the citrus essential oils they can actually eat through plastic. For instance, I learned this the hard way. I had a Tervis hot/cold beverage cup that I liked to drink water out of. My mother-in-law visited and was encouraging me to try the oils so I did (leomon). Unfortunately for me I didn’t know about them eating through plastic and put them in the water in my plastic Tervis where it ate away the inside layer of plastic. That was only a few drops in a 24 oz container, these oils are nothing to mess with! I have the lotus diffuser as photoed below, but will be purchasing several of the petal diffusers in the near future for each of our bedrooms.¬†

I like to run On Guard through ours upon arriving home in the evening. I posted about On Guard last night, but it’s pretty much amazing at helping to fight and kill cold and flu bacteria. Plus it has a pleasant smell that also deodorizes our home. For those of you unaware I’ve become somewhat of a hippie in the past few years. I prefer not to burn any candles having small children and I’ve never really been a fan of potpourri or “canned” scents. So this is perfect for our family.

Another sweet treat that I have recently discovered with the assistance of my sister-in-law is Holiday Joy.

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It’s pretty much like Christmas trapped in a bottle. I purchased mine a little before Thanksgiving and love it! Just a warning it is a seasonal oil and I have been told it sells out rather quickly!

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DoTERRA Emotional Aromatherapy Kit…now available for individual resale.

Looking for something fun to run through that new diffuser?

I haven’t purchased the emotional aromatherapy kit yet, but it’s definitely on my Christmas List. In case you aren’t interested in the entire kit DoTERRA just made these oils available for individual purchase this week. Check out these 6 fun essential oils.

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As always shop here:

http://www.mydoterra.com/amyplainandsimple/#/