Improve Your Life By Doing Yourself A Few Favors

Do you ever wonder if there are things you could do for yourself to make you feel better? Whether you are lacking sleep, lacking stamina, suffering from aches and pains, or just not feeling quite up to par in all areas of life… can improve this by changing a few things on a daily basis.

It’s no secret we are a society of technology. Many of us cannot even imagine leaving our smart phones for a few minutes, let alone a few hours, unattended. Although, those seem to be the same people that say….I don’t have time to do this or that. I had a friend once tell me that she could feel her heart rate race at the thought of leaving her smart phone behind while we were discussing the fact that we don’t take technology with us camping. All we were doing was talking about it and this happened. Seriously…..this was amazing to me. Going somewhere unplugged from the cyber world is absolutely amazing. Everyone should try it at least once in my opinion. Although, in reality, this could also be so mind blowing for some that maybe we should talk about other favors you can do for yourself that are so much easier.

Drink Water


I am known to always have a water bottle with me at all times. I rarely ever leave home without it. Most individuals are dehydrated on a daily basis which can lead to all sorts of issues. And it’s easy to fix…..just drink more water.

Eat Healthy


This is a no brainer in my opinion. You are what you eat and by eating a rainbow of colors you will feel so much brighter inside. And no, I am not talking about eating rainbow sprinkles on a cupcake.

Use Sunscreen


Sun protection is important no matter what time of year it is. Use it daily, year round.

Schedule Yearly Physicals


I know, no one likes to go see the doctor. Although, no one likes to be ill either. So yearly physicals are important no matter what age you are.

Learn To Relax


Relaxation is often hard to do today with everyone being pulled a million directions. However, eventually your body and mind will say enough is enough and just be done. This is called exhaustion. So do your body and mind an favor and give it a rest once in awhile. Step back and just relax. Find your happy place and just go there for an hour, think of nothing, and BREATHE!



Exercising a bit each day will benefit every part of your life. Your body, mind, job,marriage, parenthood, etc. and it only takes a little time each day.

Fall In Love With Something/Someone


Everyone needs love. Whether its something or someone, life is not complete until you fall in love with that certain something/someone.

Have something to add…..leave a comment?

Time To Kick It Up A Notch…..Our Training Plan For Arizona Hiking

Yes, you read that correctly…..I am finally headed to another destination on my bucket list…..Sedona, Arizona!!!!!! OMG…excited is an understatement.

With this destination comes another training plan so I can make sure I can reach my goals while I am there. Hiking, of course, is the activity we have planned. And with hiking mountains comes switchbacks and elevation which all leads to pain the next morning upon waking up to use the restroom. Trust me when I say that the toilet seems much lower than any other toilet you have ever sat on the morning after you have hiked up a mountain side. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the pain I am going to try and avoid this time around. Anyone that has ever hiked elevation knows exactly what I am talking about….for the rest of you, just try and imagine sitting down and not knowing if your legs will be able to pick your body weight back up again. It’s pure muscle pain, like no other!!!

So I have a plan. Again, like times in the past, we will be training as a family, but at different times and different levels.  I need to listen to my body and not over do it since I still have some scar tissue issues happening in my abdomen. My husband has knee issues that we are hoping to #1 strengthen before leaving and #2 remedy some with the trekking poles he is going to purchase for this trip. And our son, who is also joining us, just needs to find time to exercise in general. He has a lot on his schedule being it’s summer and he works two jobs.

So the plan looks a bit like this for my husband and I:

Monday: stair climb and hill walking.


Tuesday: recumbent bike, weights


Wednesday: 3-5 mile walk…. which ultimately we will consider our rest day since walking is more a relaxing, end of the day activity for me than actual exercise.

Thursday: stair climb, hill walking


Friday: recumbent bike, weights


Saturday: random…..paddling, walking, hiking, yoga, elliptical etc.


Sunday: stair climb and hill walking


Thankfully, we are very lucky to live near all these types of challenges. We actually live at the bottom of a fairly large hill so walking up and down this hill is very convenient. And our steps are located at a nearby middle school which also is withing walking distance of our home, again very convenient. And with our downstairs full of workout equipment and a gym membership, we are set for success.

Here’s to a great few weeks of preparation………

Questions For All My Readers

****Have you been to Sedona, Arizona? Do you have any recommendations on what we should make sure we do or see? I would love to here them.

****Are you a trekking pole user when you hike? 


Can you believe it’s the middle of August? I feel as if summer flew by this year.

In two weeks children in our area will be back to school and summer as many know it will be over. Which ultimately brings me sadness but at the same time great joy. Sadness, since I love summer, sunshine, heat and summertime activities which I hate to see all come to an end.  Although, on the flip side, great joy because fall is my next favorite season. We can begin geocaching again with less bugs, I can finally enjoy the windows open during the night again since the humidity will subside some, and we eventually store our paddles for the season and trade them for our hiking boots again. So, all in all, I am sad and happy all at the same time.

As we switch seasons here in WI and prepare for some long…..very long months….stuck in our homes, I take full advantage of packing the prewinter weekends with all kinds of things. I have been working diligently on this task and have every weekend in September booked, half of October, and some of November so far. (SHHHH…don’t tell my husband. I will break this to him when the time is right since he hates when I packed our weekends full of stuff with no down time)

Let’s see, currently we have one, but working on two, weekends that will need our tent.


I have a dinner out with my brother coming up that I always look forward to. We just don’t have time to connect like we should unless it’s planned and put on the calendar. Sad, but life is just so busy…


I have attempted to start a hiking group in our area and have had a few really promising responses. The first, meet and greet hike, has been planned and I am really looking forward to hitting the trail with fellow hikers. I am hoping this is a success.


I have plans with a few friends to travel to a nearby Harvest Festival and then take them on a canal hike in the area. Neither are big hikers but both have reaped the benefits of being active and are stepping out of their comfort zones with me a little more each time. Which is exactly why I write this blog… inspire people to get out, live, explore and step out of that comfort zone and experience what the world has to offer. So I am pretty pumped about this date and the plan we have set.


I also have another girls day out happening soon. You see, with hunting season right around the corner, my husband and I part ways for a few weekends and he hunts and I do my thing. I am not a hunter….I see nothing wrong with hunting…’s just not my thing. So he goes one way and I go another and we meet back up and share events after they happen. It all works out in the end. He has fun, I have fun, and we are both happy.


We also will be celebrating our 23rd anniversary this year and I am so, so, so excited to be doing this in Sedona, Arizona. Which means we have begun training for this adventure and this takes a lot of time and discipline on our parts during the week. It makes our weekdays even longer than usual, but I know it will be so worth it in the end. I plan to share our training plan with you all soon.Hint: it involves a lot of these!!!


And our last planned excursion before the snow forces me inside for the winter is my annual shopping trip to my favorite place to shop….Chicago! Actually, a very nearby suburb of Chicago. This is one day I splurge on things for me….whatever I see that I like I purchase with no guilt, no regret, and no worries. I can’t wait!


Besides a few random outings throw in there between all this, we are pretty well booked solid till Thanksgiving.

Do you like relaxing weekends or busy weekends?

What’s your favorite fall activity?


Geocaching By Kayak….It’s Harder Than What You Would Think

While geocaching one day last Spring we noticed that the area we were geocaching in had a few water geocaches. Which we decided to try and find this past weekend in our kayaks.

We arrived at our destination and prepared to paddle our way around the area.




Our first cache was easily located. We knew the name of the cache was related to the eagle nest located in this area, so we headed that direction first.




It took very little searching to locate this one. However, the next one we searched for quite sometime. And eventually gave up this search since maneuvering a kayak under trees is not our favorite place to be. There are a lot of spider webs under fallen tree branches. EWWWWW!


Our next few were apparently located somewhere under the bridge. Which we thought would be an easy find also….however, there are even more spider webs and spiders for that matter, under bridges.



So after very little discussion on whether or not we should continue searching, we gave up and just enjoyed the area we were in for what it was. We paddled the shoreline,


took a break and had a picnic lunch,


and enjoyed the time we spent together.


We added one found cache to our list of successful finds and called it a day after about three hours of paddling.


52 Hike Challenge Officially Completed

If you all remember last year, near the end of September, I registered to do the 52 Hike Challenge along with my husband.


Originally this was something I choose to do to keep me motivated through the long months of winter here in WI. Which was working out wonderfully at first. Then the holidays rolled around and it got to be a little harder to go outside when the temperatures dropped. Although, it did not stop us all together. If you recall, we even went for a family hike on Christmas Day.


And shortly after that my hiking all came to a screaming halt for a while because of an unplanned abdominal surgery at the end of January. Obviously, my health came before any goals I had set prior to all this drama but I still had the knowledge in my mind that it is only 52 hikes in a total year and I REALLY wanted to finish. If only my body would have agreed with my mind after surgery all would have been good but clearly it did not. (And neither did my surgeon)

Although, about 9 weeks after surgery I did feel well enough to go on our preplanned trip to Arkansas and this was the first time I had put on my trail boots since being laid up. I remember it being a very emotional time…..for awhile there, while I was laying on my couch trying so hard to feel better, I did not think I would ever feel good enough to hike again. Granted, it was hard hiking in Arkansas and I ended up resting way more than normal on rocks and benches along the trail side, but I was there and doing it and that was all that mattered at that moment.


Which now brings me to today. About three weeks ago, we complete the 52 Hike Challenge and honestly, even with 10 weeks off completely… was not that big of a challenge. It was fun, rewarding, and yes, it even gave me a reason to want to heal and feel better so I could attempt to finish before the year was up. Although, I have to give a big shout out to both my husband and son who helped me get through these rough few weeks after surgery. And also to two great friends who walked the local mall with me every morning during those long winter months so I did not have to walk alone when I was ready to begin rehabilitation.


Without all these people I can’t say for sure I would have recovered as fast as I did and made it back to my beloved dirt trails as quickly as I did either.

So thanks everyone for helping me complete this goal!!!! I could not have done it without all of you.


What It’s Like Living With A Self Proclaimed GEEK

Over twenty years ago I stood in a church and was married to the love of my life. We had known each other for quite some time before tying the knot but it’s over these last 20+ years I have learned how much I did not know about my husband.

Barkhausen 4-3-16low-1(photo courtesy of Quade Byrnes Photography)

Through job changes, having a child, deaths, buying a house, numerous home/vehicle repairs, caring for each other in times of sickness, panic attacks on mountain tops, to days where I just could not imagine having to wake up to another day covered in snow….we have stood my each other through it all. I have changed, he has changed and we have changed as a couple….but the one thing that has not changed is his self proclaimed title of being a GEEK. He has been known, for as long as I have known him, to be called by anyone and everyone for help with any type of project. And let me tell you, his brain never, and I mean NEVER, stops thinking. And this is the one thing that DRIVES ME CRAZY. He knows so much about off the wall things that it is amazing. But ask him to stop and pick up milk on his way home from work…..and its likely not going to happen without a reminder. Frustrating, it is, but I have learned to love what he can do since he does it so well. Here is a bit of what living with a GEEK looks like on a daily basis in my home.

He can build almost anything from scrap…..balance beams for my daycare kids,


kayak trailers,

IMG_4417 SUV camp platforms to sleep in our vehicle,


to a fishing pole holder that attaches to his Jackson kayak with no holes drilled into the kayak itself.



Oh, and don’t forget the organic fly swatter built one evening while sitting by the campfire.


We have also had to try some of the strangest food and drinks. Some of the strangest being this crab looking thing


to alligator sausage(YUCK, YUCK, AND YUCK AGAIN).


And then don’t forget the celery soda…..this was, by far, the WORST!!!!


He comes up with the some cheap ideas to store all our watercraft. This storage idea for “the Beast” cost us $7. Now, this I didn’t mind at all since I am quite frugal.


He repaired my immobilization boot after hiking with it on a few trails with some funky smelling glue type material which in turn saved me $100 to buy a new one.



And yes, even though not all his ideas work out as planned and there has been some failures and some bloodshed, for the most part he can fix, invent, make, and come up with a plan to do almost anything. At times as annoying as it is to watch this happen on a daily basis, I am proud to say that I am a pretty lucky person to be the one he choose to spend his life with. All in all, living with a self proclaimed GEEK is not so bad and when it is there is always wine.







N.E.W. Zoo Feast With The Beast 2016…..Another Fun Filled Year of Food, Friends and Fun

We had another fun filled year at the N.E.W. Zoo Feast With The Beast.


We have attended this yearly event for the past several years now and it just gets more enjoyable every year. This year my brother, another couple, and a person my husband works with along with his son in law and his grandson joined us. And let me tell you….we all left in a food coma!


From BBQ ribs, which is always our first restaurant table to stop at,


to fancier wonton lime shrimp cups….you can never say there was not enough food offered during this event. IMG_5118

Many of the featured restaurants offer one or more food samples and often also add in a specialty brew. There were numerous breweries throughout the event along with wine and margaritas thrown in just incase your not a beer drinker….like myself.


And if you need a break in between samples, you can also enjoy the live music IMG_5130

or view the animals who are enjoying the extra attention they receive by all the event goers.



This year ended up being just wonderful. Another great job was done by the event planners, zoo staff and of course Mother Nature for giving us perfect weather to enjoy the evening.