Life Hacks with Yooper Stewart

Yooper Stewart Bed Frame Flavor Bars. Patent pending.

Meijer – the preferred retail store of Midwesterners. It’s also where Yooper Stewart and I regularly hang out. We not only grocery shop, we restock his Amazon store, buy clothes, and laugh uncontrollably at ourselves as we cruise the aisles, often with a tactical shopping cart (a YS term for the smaller, dual-basket carts).

On our most recent trip to Meijer, Yooper Stewart clued me in to some of his redneck-inspired life hacks. Here are three of my favorites:

  1. Weekend Wear: why bother with an entire wardrobe when you can wear one outfit all weekend (saving yourself time and money)? Here’s how it works: take a shower Friday night, then put on a clean shirt. Wear that shirt to bed, and to your family picnic the next day, then to bed again. No muss. No fuss. No coconuts – just the same shirt all weekend.
  2. Flavor Bars: Open your gas grill. Look into it – below the grates you’ll see some metal strips. These strips cover the flames, protecting the fire from going out while also adding flavor to your food (the drippings heat on the metal, creating smoke and adding flavor). After a while the flavor bars may need to be replaced. Normal people go to the store and buy replacement bars. Yooper Stewart disassembled a bed frame and used pieces of it in our grill. Since I’m not keen on the flavor of burned paint on my food, I wanted to buy real replacement flavor bars. So there we are in Meijer – Yooper Stewart and I arguing because he didn’t trust the quality of the store-bought flavor bars. You know – the ones specifically designed and made for a grill. His argument: store-bought flavor bars will only last 10-15 years; his bars will survive at least two generations of grill masters. It took fifteen minutes to convince him that the store-bought bars were probably a better option than Aunt Linda’s old bed frame.
  3. The Belt. I have no words. Instead, I’ll let you see for yourself.

I can’t wait to see what I learn from him the next time he’s home!

Staying Busy, Yooper Style

I have horribly neglected this site all summer, and I apologize. It’s not that there aren’t stories to tell, we’ve just been good-and-busy, so I’ve been pouring my time into the paying gigs. Summer vacation is officially over, however, so I have a few minutes to let you know what’s been going on.


After putting on his most comfortable around-the-house outfit (plaid and camo is a favorite combo), YS took Aunt Linda outside to show her the compost pile. It’s a must-know location for disposing of a watermelon that’s spoiled when you cut into it (bleh).

DSC02771Then he busted out his favorite toy: the dual-bevel, sliding, compact mitre saw (I had no idea what any of that meant before I got married). He uses it at least once a month for various projects. This summer he used it to help organize his Legos (that deserves a post of it’s own).


Let’s just say the Lego project involved a lot of shelves.


One of his favorite activities was driving our friends’ boat. It had been years since he’d been on a motorboat, and he loved it. (Besides the camo, have you noticed the other theme throughout these pictures? I swear these are summer photos, it was just a rather cool summer).DSC02800

There were a few really nice days, so we made sure to take advantage, and his new favorite way to enjoy the outdoors was in our new kayaks. We’ve rented them before, but this year someone generously bought two for us. We took full advantage, exploring Grand Traverse Bay and the Chain-of-Lakes. Generally YS is the slowest moving person I know, but put him in a ‘yak and I can’t keep up.DSC02847We even managed to find some time to play tourist and go up to Mackinac Island for the day. We thought a weekday would be less crowded than the weekend, so we drove up on a Monday…the Monday when the Chicago-Mackinac sailboat race was ending. That’ll teach us to check a calendar.

This doesn’t show half of what we did this summer, but it’s a pretty fair representation. Regardless of what he was doing, YS stayed true to himself – camo, hoodies, and a beard. It’s all part of his master plan to convince me that camo and hoodies are all-occasion wear.




Always Ready, Always Prepared

Sam’s Club was made for Yooper Stewart. The man loves to be prepared for any situation. He’s doesn’t always know what he’ll need (or how much he’ll need) for possible future scenarios, so having lots of everything works well for him. His garage is a shrine to his desire to be ready.

DSC02668I’m not really sure what these are (I think they’re the glass tops of old power lines, but don’t quote me on that). I don’t know what he’s going to do with them, but he has six, just in case.

DSC02669 Why use one garbage tote when you can use three? Strange bit of info: we don’t actually have trash service at our house. As part of our village taxes, we take our garbage to the compactor station for disposal. I think YS puts the garbage bags in these until he’s ready to make a trip to the station (which I can’t imagine smells nice during the summer).DSC02670

If you’re going to have one grill, you might as well have two. These are different, though. We’re a fully equipped BBQ stop, with gas and charcoal options available.DSC02671

YS and I have been married for eight years. He’s been selling tires ever since we’ve been married. I don’t know where they come from. I don’t know how we always have them (they’re rarely from old vehicles), but these are only eight of the 12+ tires we currently own (that number doesn’t include the summer and winter tires we actually use on our cars).DSC02672Old salad containers make the BEST Lego holders (you can seal them, stack them, and still see inside to quickly find what you need). These have yet to be put to work, but I’m sure their day is coming.

As I took these photos, it occurred to me that my honey may have learned these habits from someone.

Me: Were you ever a boy scout?

YS: For a while, but I didn’t like it. You always did everything as a group, and there weren’t any girls.

So much for that idea.

Auxiliary Assistance

Ocassionally Yooper Stewart lends a hand around the house. I enjoy doing laundry, but he likes playing with the HE, large-capacity washer and dryer, so every now and then he washes a load. Though nothing about laundry is particularly news worthy, everything with Yooper Stewart has the potential to be.

On my way to bed last night, I found a few randomly placed articles of clothing. I had a pretty good idea of what was going on, but I couldn’t help asking.


Note the unconventional hook-through-the-belt-loop hanging technique.

Me: So, what’s up with the pants?

Yooper Stewart: That’s my auxiliary drying rack.

Of course it.

The Organic Influence of Yooper Stewart

Meet my nephew, Butter Bean. He lives on the other side of the country. His dad is a city boy from Long Island. His uncle, however, is Yooper Stewart. Notice the influence:

Yooper Hipster

Camouflage – check

Something Lego – check

Something Star Wars – check

Scruffy beard – give it a few years

Butter Bean has tapped into his city-boy roots, though, and loves to wear some stylish headgear. For that reason he has earned himself a new nickname. You may now call him Yooper Hipster.

Six Wrenches, Two Hands – Not a Problem

Yooper Stewart recently spent some time putting together a bike for Aunt Linda. He couldn’t wait to explain to me how the situation justified his purchase of a new wrench set. It was such an interesting conversation that I cut him off and made him start over so I could preserve the memory forever.

Here’s that memory:

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow


Baby hair!

It’s come to my attention that my super-stylish, beyond-adorable nephew, Butter Bean, wants a buzz cut. This breaks my heart. The kid has amazing hair. He had the crazy baby curls for about two years, but then his parents decided they were a bit of a hassle. A sad day for me, but I guess I understand.

It definitely made it easier when BB came home as GQ Butter Bean. Watch out ladies, this guy’s got “the look!” He called this his spiky hair, and for a while he’d grab a brush and try to push his hair into the faux hawk. When you’ve got great hair like this, use it!

Now, however, Butter Bean want to shave off his hair. Now that he’s four he’s got life figured out, 072and he wants to look like his grandpa (who is quite … folically challenged). Ugh. He also lives near an Air Force base. He saw some soldiers and decided he wanted a hair cut like them. Well, okay, that’s cute.

Butter Bean, here’s the deal. I understand your desire to rid yourself of your beautiful hair. Yooper Stewart did the same thing. My curly, highlighted hubby shaved it all off for a chance to drive a front end loader (at least your motives are a little more admirable). If you must shave your head, here’s how to do it Yooper Stewart-style: (DISCLAIMER: Aunt Karin was on hand and supervised the hair cutting. Please do not try this without at least Aunt Mimi’s supervision.)

Shave carefully ...

Shave carefully …

... but don't forget to smile for the camera!

… but don’t forget to smile for the camera!

Viola! Buzz cut perfection!

Viola! Buzz cut perfection!


Matching: It’s a Matter of Opinion

"The shorts"

“The shorts”

No one’s ever accused Yooper Stewart of having too much style. I often remind him to thank God for his good looks, because his fashion sense attracts the wrong kind of attention. Ninety-nine percent of the time it looks like YS grabbed clothes off the floor in the dark and walks out in whatever he happened to grab.

Would you believe me if I told he you picked that outfit on purpose? One of the most surprising things to me about Yooper Stewart is that he actually likes to make sure his clothes match. The problem: he doesn’t understand what “matches.”

A couple of summers ago, YS walked out of the bedroom in a pair of patchwork shorts (the kind with lots of squares of different colors/plaids sewn together). He’d paired it with a green plaid shirt. His reasoning: they’re both plaids, plaids match.

"The Comforter"

“The Comforter”

Two winters ago I tried on an outfit of skinny jeans, nude heels, and a gray sweater with a section of brown/white/tan argile-type patter wrapped around it. He didn’t like it. His reasoning: the nude heels didn’t match any of the colors in the sweater.

Yooper Stewart doesn’t really understand neutrals, so he doesn’t like gray pants with brown sandals (and don’t get him started on the evils of a brown belt and tan boots – brown and tan do not match), but he’ll put together four different camo patterns in one outfit.

His matching obsession doesn’t just affect his wardrobe, though. Our home is also a victim of Yooper Match.

"The Lampshade"

“The Lampshade”

With the recent purchase of a king bed, we’ve made the decision to forgo king sized bedding for dualing twin comforters. We’ve had separate winter covers for a couple of years, and we’re making the full transition this year. Because it’s been so cold here, we haven’t been in a hurry to find new comforters. While at Big Lots, however, Matt noticed a couple of red and gold twin comforters.

“These would totally match our lampshades!”

Seriously? YS wants to buy his bedding based on how well it will match our lampshades? Does he even remember what they look like?

Apparently he does, and apparently exact color matches are as important to our bedroom

Who'd have guessed - it works!

Who’d have guessed – it works!

as they are for his feet and waistline. I still haven’t figured out how his brain processes the matching-code, but I can’t complain about the house. Midgie seems to enjoy it … and at least it’s not camo.