Feeling Good About Being Back In The Kitchen

With the cooler temperatures I find myself getting the urge to do two things, #1 return to the kitchen and #2 research next summers destinations. IMG_5524

Although one takes much longer than the other, returning to the kitchen comes fairly easy to me. I am not a big fan of cooking in the summer months. It’s simply a waste of sunshine and daylight hours for me to spend time in the kitchen. If it’s above 75 and the sun is shining, you better be willing to grill out or make your own meals at my house because this mom is not cooking…..

Fall brings changes to our backpacks by adding gloves and hand warmers for trail hikes


and it also brings changes to what we eat for meals on a daily basis. There is no more grilling for us once the temps hit the 40’s unless my husband is willing to face the cold.

Some of my fall/winter favorites start making appearances for those chilly mornings like peanut butter oats with sliced bananas.


I also found that both my family and my daycare children enjoy egg omelet cups. Which is basically your choice of veggies sauteed and topped with an egg. Bake these for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees and tada…..you have enough to feed a crowd or enough for a day or three to grab and go.



For lunch I love roasted veggies. Sweet potatoes are one of my favorites.


And dinners are all about casseroles again. No more brats, burgers, and hotdogs plopped in a bun for dinner. I recently made stuffed manicotti for the first time and it was FABULOUS!!!


And then there is soup. What can I say…..I LOVE SOUP!!! I could eat it for every meal, everyday, and during every season. However, soup would not go over well with my boys in the summer months….so I make it at least once a week as soon as it gets chilly.


For more recipes and ideas click on over to my recipe page. Enjoy!

Tell me…..what are some of the things you bring back to the table when the temperatures drop?

Do you have any favorites?

UWGB Cofrin Arboretum Trail Hike

One of my favorite times of the year to hike is in the fall. The colors are gorgeous, the leaves rustle as you step on them, and the squirrels are busy finding nuts and burying them for the long winter to come.


This weekend we ventured to the UWGB campus near our home to hike a few miles on the Cofrin Memorial Arboretum Trail.


Today’s hike began just off of Bay Settlement Rd. and continued to Nicolet Rd. where we did a complete loop back to our vehicle. A small area of parking is available roadside near the soccer field.


Terrain on this trail is a mixture of paved sections, crushed gravel areas, and a long section of wood chips.



We passed a few ponds and a small stream along the trail.




Some areas were highly wooded and some were open to the blue skies above. Colors were amazing and the trail was quite peaceful with us only coming across a few people running or biking.




We did not track our mileage on todays hike but I would say the loop we hiked was about 4 miles, with numerous places to cut off and shorten if needed.



If you are in the UWGB area and are looking for a nice place to walk, bike, run or just escape the public for a while, I would highly recommend this trail.

****NOTE: No dogs are allowed on this trail.

Hiking Terrell’s Island

After a great suggestion from a fellow reader I finally found time to get out and hike Terrell’s Island near Omro, WI.


This trailhead was fairly easy to find and offers ample parking and of course the most important part….a port a potty.



Upon arrival you will notice many signs of what is allowed and what is not allowed at this area. There are trail maps and information boxes with a lot of information nearby.





As you can see this trail is mark handicap accessible which is so wonderful. Not many long trails are so accommodating to persons with disabilities.

We decided to actually begin this trail backwards since the wind was strong and in the direction of blowing us backwards if we would have began at the #1 trail marker. Here is where we began our hike.


This trail is actually a breakwater path that leads in and around a large area of Lake Butte Des Morts, which means we were almost always surrounded by water.







There are ample opportunities to sit on provided benches and rest if needed.



Eventually, I would say about a mile or so, from the end of this trail you will leave the waters edge and enter into a marshy area.



At trail marker #4(remember we are going backwards) you will see in the distance another port a potty.


You will finish the trail at the parking lot you began at, almost 4 miles later.



We really enjoyed this hike. It’s long enough to offer a good walk, it’s on the water which is a plus for us, it’s well cared for by the club that owns it, and offers many different sights along the way. My advise to you would be, if it’s windy or cooler make sure you have a jacket. On the day we did this hike it was about 50 degrees and 15-20 mph winds which made it quite chilly.


I would highly recommend this hike to anyone.


Let’s Chat Over Some Tea….

Let’s chat a bit over a nice cup of hot tea.


Hunting season is in full swing and this is a big stress topic for me. I am not fond of hunting…well not really hunting per say….just the part that includes the gun! So for me, when my husband says he is going hunting for the day…the busier I can keep myself the better I will be until I see him arrive home safe and sound. And hiking during hunting season offers a bit more stress since I often think the gun shots are closer than they actually are. Soon we will be adding blaze orange to our hiking attire to hopefully not be mistaken for an animal and shot at.


Then you have the colors that are changing in the trees surrounding our state. Which is a photographers paradise….and our son is a photographer. Well, this also brings stress for this here mom since the same place my husband stumbled across a bear while hunting, just so happens is the same place my son says he is going to try and capture some fall photos. And let’s face it, a camera is far from carrying a gun for protection….so at least he asked dad to join him(with the gun) and he armed himself with the bear spray. I was a bit more at ease then.


You all won’t believe what I received in the mail this past week. A “save the date” invitation for an upcoming wedding of one of the first children I ever cared for in my home. OMG, did this make me feel old. Even though I knew she had gotten engaged, had introduced me to her fiancee, and I even got to see the ring…..the invitation is what really made me think back and just say WOW….I have cared for children for a long time!!!!


I am learning more and more every day how to live with my new limitations since going through major surgery 8 months ago. I am not going to say I like it by any means, but I am learning to live with it. I am still not up to what I weight lifted prior to surgery, which in all honesty, I don’t think I ever will be back to where I was. Although, I am ok with this since weight lifting was never my favorite anyhow. Yoga is a challenge….especially on my right side. However, I am not willing to give up yet on yoga since it brings me such calmness and peace. I do what I can and accept it for what it is. I am happy to say my cardio is back where I left it and even more on some days. This is awesome, since cardio is my favorite, stress relief.


Even though fall officially just started….I really miss summer already. Like, REALLY miss summer!!!!!


That being said, we are in full swing of some big home repairs and this makes me very happy. I hate summer home repairs, so we put them off until the fall and go crazy during the weekends.


Have you all seen them….these mini 100 calorie bars of yumminess? I am by no means a chocoholic but when I am craving chocolate I will eat it no matter what the calorie count is and later feel guilty. I came across these in the store the other day and grabbed 4 bars just for me. Now, when that moment hits and I NEED chocolate, I can eat one of these with very little guilt.


I have to say, since the weather has gotten cooler I have found myself rotating some of our favorite stove top and casserole type meals into our weekly meals plans. Summer is when we grill often and I rarely make casseroles.


That’s it for me today. Got anything you want to share? Go ahead, I love hearing from you.

Not Great….But Good Enough

Alright, last week was not the best but it was good enough. I struggled to find time Monday evening after an issue at the pharmacy that needed dealing with. (I love insurance companies!) So our walk was shortened but at least we got in a short one. As for the rest of the week, it was a success.

Take a look for yourself:

Sunday: 3.5 mile hike


Monday: 1.5 mile walk

Tuesday:  floor workout with weights, steps and hill walking


Wednesday: 1.5 mile walk after dinner with my brother

Thursday: 3 mile walk

***This was originally our gym night but after enjoying the wonderful day of 70’s and knowing Friday was bringing chilly temps, I just could not see going to exercise in the gym. So we took a nice long walk after dinner instead.

Friday: home:20 minute recumbent bike, yoga

Saturday: hiked a new to trail I have been meaning to hike all summer which ended up being almost 4 miles.


Even though we changed the plan a bit this week, we still got in exercise and that is what matters most. Some people will just say….ahhhh I will just do it tomorrow. Myself, on the other hand, feel my day is not complete until I fit a little exercise in. Maybe this is why rest days are forced…..I have such a hard time NOT exercising but know its good to have rest days.

As for the upcoming week it looks a bit like this at the moment.

Sunday: rest…that’s if you consider yard work a rest day!

Monday: steps

Tuesday: gym

Wednesday: walk

Thursday: steps


Saturday: its anyones guess….

Do you enjoy rest days or struggle with them?


Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

Beef stroganoff is one of the best smelling meals to come home to at the end of a long day. Not to mention one of the easiest to prepare in a slow cooker. And with the cooler weather, it’s one of my families favorites. So I thought I would share my recipe with all of you.

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

1.5-2 lbs beef stew meat

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

2 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce

1/2 package dry onion soup mix

1 tsp. minced garlic

1/4 cup sour cream

Potatoes or pasta


Set your slow cooker to low and spray it with non stick cooking spray. Add your beef.

In a separate bowl mix the remaining ingredients together but RESERVE the sour cream.

Pour this mixture over the beef, cover and cook for 6-8 hrs.

After 6-8 hours the beef should shred apart very easily and this is when you would add the sour cream to make a nice creamy gravy.

Serve this over mashed potatoes or pasta with a side salad to make a comforting meal after a long day.


A Walk On My Favorite Trail

It’s been almost two months since we have been able to walk my favorite local trail due to some maintenance the county was doing to it. Sunday we finally went to check things out and saw others walking around the remnants of what was left and we decided to do the same. It felt wonderful to be walking this trail again. And we saw so many things…








A few more weeks from now we will be able to walk out here and view the beautiful fall colors…..they are just starting to change now.


What a wonderful end to the weekend this walk was.