I Thought 50 degrees in February Was Awesome…..64 Is A Small Miracle

Wow, what a week we had here in Green Bay. Sun was shining, snow was melting, warmth was beaming down from the sky, and I saw neighbors I have not seen since November. It’s always so funny to finally see who you live next too after a few months and high five each other for making it through another LONG winter.

Alright, so maybe winter is not quite over yet, but you could not tell by the week temperatures we had here. Needless to say, this all changed Friday morning upon waking up. We were once again, hit by yet another snowstorm. Which made me so happy that I took complete advantage of the nice days we did have and spent every moment possible outside for exercise.

Here, take a look:

Sunday: Fox River Trail walk 3 miles…The trail, river, and parking lots were packed with everyone wanting to get some fresh air. However, we found a quiet stretch to walk on which offered us some peace from all the bikers.

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Monday: 2 mile walk and upper body weight routine

Tuesday: 3 mile walk and upper body weight routine

Plus numerous hours playing outside and going for two kid walks which equal approx 1.5 miles total….exhausting day but so nice to enjoy this mid February.

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Wednesday: 1 mile walk…..In honor of National Margarita Day my dear neighbors brought over two margaritas for my husband and I. I then proceeded to drink mine before leaving for our evening walk, which then went from a planned 3 miles to a stumble instead of a walk and lasted 1 mile instead. However, I am not complaining since that margarita sure tasted great after a long, summer like day:-) It’s great to have such wonderful neighbors….

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Thursday: home: 30 minute recumbent bike and a 3 mile evening walk before the snowstorm arrived over night

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Friday: rest

Saturday: I finally got the virus all my daycare children have been passing around for the past few weeks, so no exercise for me today:-(

As for meals this week, I will admit, I should have planned some grilling meals but I did not. My husband is the griller in our family and we had some nights where he was not due to be home on time so inside meals it was all week. Although, that’s ok, we still had some great meals and one new recipe this week which was a summer time quinoa salad because summer temps deserve a summer salad…right?

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One night was pulled pork sandwiches with roasted carrots and sun dried tomato couscous.

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Another evening was no boil lasagna because nothing is easier than making it all in the early morning and sliding it in the oven when you spent all day outside and need a hot dinner but have no energy left to prepare it at the end of the day.

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Egg and Roasted Potato Casserole

This recipe came about when I noticed I had a bunch of roasted potatoes from the night before when I thought our son was going to be home for dinner and then, like usual, plans changed and he was not. If there is one thing I hate doing it’s throwing out food. So I needed to think of something to do with these potatoes and this is what I came up with. I prepared and egg and potato casserole and it turned out so good I thought I would share it here with all of you.

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Now first, if you would not happen to have left over roasted potatoes that is going to be the first thing you will need to prepare. You simply take your potatoes, wash them, cut them into cubes and toss them with salt and pepper and a little olive oil. Doing this in a bag or large bowl works best. Then lay them on a heavy baking sheet you already sprayed with  non stick cooking spray and bake them at high heat(450) for about 20 minutes or until tender.

****Since I used my left over potatoes I prepared this casserole with cooled potatoes.

Egg and Roasted Potato Casserole

12 eggs

left over roasted potatoes(about 2-3 cups diced)

hand full of spinach – roughly cut into strips

bacon pieces( I used the whole package)

small onion-diced

1/2 green pepper-diced

cheddar cheese(optional) (I used about 1/2 cup)

salt and pepper to taste

First, you will need an 8×8 baking dish and spray this with non stick cooking spray.

Dice your onion and green pepper and microwave them together in a safe bowl covered with plastic wrap for 1-2 minutes.

Lay your potatoes in the bottom of your casserole.

Layer the onion, peppers, spinach and bacon over the potatoes.

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Crack and whisk 12 eggs and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour this over the potatoes.

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Bake this at 350 for 40 minutes.

Take it out and check with a knife or toothpick if the center is set. If so, layer your cheese on top and bake an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

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Serve with toast, english muffins, roasted broccoli as I did or alone if you prefer.

This was a great, quick and easy way to use up leftovers and feed my entire family a healthy meal. You can bet the next time we have roasted potatoes for dinner I will make a few extras to have for the next day. This way I can prepare this casserole once again.

What??? 50 Degrees In February In Wisconsin….YeeeeHaaaa!!!!

How do I even try to explain how happy I was when I heard it was going to hit 50 degrees this week in Wisconsin. Explanation points, happy faces or just burst out with words like….yeeee haaaaa!!!!! This is completely a gift from up above and I will gladly except it with a big THANK YOU.

Something happens when it warms up over in our house. I become a happier human being, I find energy to cook, clean and make lists of things to cook and clean when I run out of time. Thoughts of vacations and places to visit start popping into my head and trails I want to hike become a date on the calendar and not just a thought. I send home reminders to all my daycare parents that we are headed outside FINALLY so prepare for muddy children. I go for walks outside instead of the local mall where we do laps…..so boring. All in all, things just become a bit brighter for everyone when I become a happier human being.

In my heart I know this is too good to be true, since it is Wisconsin and we could easily get one, if not more, snowstorms well into March, but for now I am taking it and loving every last minute. So take a look at what I did this week in the world of exercise. Not a single mall lap walk during the whole week and that I am so thankful for.

Sunday: gym: 30 minute elliptical and full body weights on the TRX suspension trainer

Monday: evening walk outside 3 miles

Tuesday: home: 30 minute recumbent bike

gym: 30 minute elliptical

Wednesday: evening walk outside 3 miles

Thursday: home: 30 minute recumbent bike and total body weight routine

Friday: rest

Saturday: trail hike of 2.5 miles…original plan was 3.1 miles but it was more like a skating rink so instead of falling and injuring myself, I cut it short and still had a wonderful time. Here are some pics from todays 50 degree hike in February.

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As for meals this week. I did not do very good at remembering to snap pictures but don’t think we did not eat…haha. I again tried two new recipes, this one which will be shared soon.

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and this one which turned out better than expected.

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And one night I rebounded to a family favorite of turkey fajita seasoned brats with veggies, and like always we enjoyed one dinner out on Friday evening.

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The highlight of my week next to the awesome weather we have had was when my son snagged some floor to ceiling mirrors from the gym he works at that they were going to toss out. One corner is a bit cracked and one is slightly chipped but hey, they will do just fine here at home. I have been wishing for mirrors for my workout area to keep an eye on my form when doing yoga and lifting weights but they cost a fortune to buy. Now we just need some time to install them….which until the temps turn back to freezing, this will not happen because WE WILL BE OUTSIDE……HURRRAAAYYYY!!!!

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Getting Your Family To Eat Vegetables

Sometimes getting your family to eat vegetables can be hard. Here at our house, I typically make meals that are either for my husband and myself, my husband, son and myself, or for three kids all 2 years or under. When asked which one is the hardest to cook for…..my response is almost always the three of us….my husband, son and myself. Shocking right? I bet you would have thought the three kids. Here is why I respond the way I do.

For one, my son is not a vegetable eater!!! Even though he grew up having to try whatever the veggie was that night for dinner, he is not a veggie eater. I think this may happen to all teenagers and then they don’t venture back to vegetables until later in life maybe. Who knows, all I know is he is too old now, at 22 years old, for me to say he HAS to try the vegetable of the night. However, that is not to say he still does not get them in his diet when he eats at home. It a guarantee, if mom is cooking there is a veggie mixed in the meal somewhere that is very difficult to pick out or eat around.

My husband on the other hand, likes some vegetable and some he will not touch….okra for instance. So in this instance I can work around this much easier…..we just don’t have okra or I save a vegetable I know he dislikes for when he is traveling or not going to be home.

Here are a few tricks I have found that have made getting my family to eat vegetables a bit easier. One, mix them into casseroles. Cooked spinach can be mixed into almost any casserole or soup and is nearly impossible to pick out.

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Roasting a vegetable adds a whole different spin on flavor than boiling does. Boiling vegetables is very unexciting and bland in my opinion. Take for instance broccoli…..roasted with whole garlic cloves and a bit of salt…. it is fabulous and even my little kiddos eat the florets up like they are candy.

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Sauce them up. My son loves chicken curry and I used to serve this with mixed veggies on the side. Now, I add the vegetables right to the chicken and add the curry sauce to the entire dish. He eats them and admits they are good this way. Win for mom!!!!

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Add them to breakfast egg cups….no one thinks to have veggies at breakfast but it sure is easy to add them in where they least expect it. My daycare kiddos love these veggie egg cups and oftentimes we will make them together.

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Instead of meat marinara over pasta, try veggie or meat and veggie marinara. The pickier they are when it comes to vegetables, the smaller you should cut the pieces of vegetable to ensure they can not pick around them. Add some cheese to the top before serving and I would bet they will all try it if not gobble it all up.

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Try adding vegetables to sandwiches….like beef with pepperocini peppers

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or our favorite here is turkey reuben sandwiches.

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Don’t be afraid to try different things. We fell in love with lemon shrimp with capers and spinach. It was enjoyed by all of us even the spinach haters in my house.

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Sometimes even letting your children help prepare the meals will encourage them to try what they made. And one word of advice…..if you make a face at something you don’t like they are almost always going to agree. So if at all possible, try your veggies without expression and let them decided for themselves whether it is good or bad.

 

Spring Is In The Air….

After an uneventful week it was so nice to wake up Saturday morning to 35 degree temperatures and make plans to head outside for a little fresh air. However, I had a list of things I needed to tend to first…..work before play is how it has always been at our house. So we got right on it Saturday morning, all pitching in so we could head outside for some fun.

While I made boiled eggs, chopped dipping veggies for the upcoming week, and started the laundry, my husband gave the pimento cheese spread recipe remake another try. We attempted one but it was not nearly what the one in Tennessee was so we again tried another. Hopefully this one is a winner.

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After this it was time to clean, do a few home repairs, eat some lunch and then we headed outside for that much needed fresh air.

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We drove to one of our favorite trails once again and decided today would be the wooden adventure route….one we never take in the summer due to tooooo many snakes!!! It was so nice. It was so peaceful with the wind howling through the pine trees up above.

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On our way back to the parking area, I was amazed at the number of people out on the bay ice fishing along with numerous snowmobilers. I am not a fan of ice fishing or driving on ice for that matter. Too risky for my liking.

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Ok, so let me share with you what I did for exercise this week. It’s more for my sake than yours…..I know, but it keeps me accountable. So here we go…

Sunday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, abs and shoulders on the TRX suspension trainer

Monday: home: abs and upper body weight routine, and 2.5 mile evening walk outside….fresh air was so nice

Tuesday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, abs and legs, stretching

Wednesday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, abs, and stretching

Thursday: rest…..foam rolling

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Friday: home: upper body weight routine and abs

Saturday: 2.5 mile snowy trail hike

You all have a great week as we count down to SPRING!!!!

 

 

Finally February…What’s Next On The Agenda?

A few more weeks to go until we change our clocks once again and life starts looking a little brighter and much more fun in my eyes.

Typically by this time of year, I have already starting planning our summer excursions, booked some camp sites, and made numerous other plans to fill up our summer calendar. This year, however, has been a bit different…..I have done none of this. UGGGG! I have been, in all honesty, unmotivated since we returned from Tennessee to do any of this. Life has been chaos and I just can’t seem to catch a break long enough to even consider summer planning.

I have been keeping up with my pledge to try at least one new recipe a week for our family dinners. And so far, we have found some real winners. Like beef with pepperocino peppers in the slow cooker. The easiest recipe ever since you literally take your beef roast and lay it in the slow cooker. Dump the jar of pepperocinos with the juice over the roast. Add a shimmy shake of Worcestershire sauce and a tsp of beef bouillon to the mixture and cover and turn it on. Taaaadaaaa….6-8 hours later you shred it up and serve how you wish. I layered whole wheat rolls with cheese and baked them until they were melted. Then I added the meat and served it with a side salad. A complete meal, with little work and very tasty to end a long day.

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With February normally being the month I struggle with the most, so far it has been ok.I have been keeping busy thanks to many different things on my plate at one time. With a trip disaster in January to TN, I am still fighting with the airlines for refunds. I have made and have had plans with friends cancelled due to illnesses(on their end) numerous times. And I have been doing my best to keep a level head about some work issues that have been plaguing me.

I recently went to dinner with my brother to a restaurant I had not been to in at least 15 years and was happily surprised by the remodel job. The place was beautiful but the food was mediocre at best. Next month it is my turn to choose the restaurant and I think I might try Thai for the first time ever. I love that my brother has a broad sense of taste, since then we have many different options to choose from. Often, when I go out with my husband, it’s to the same three restaurants and even though its nice, I sometimes wish he was a bit more adventurous when it came to trying new things.

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February at the gym has significantly gotten less crowded. Normally by February I am so ready to be outside doing something active, however, this year I am not quite there yet. I am loving the gym and my time to do what I love. I have been concentrating on strengthening my abs and core along with my upper body again. Paddling season is not that far off and after taking it easy all last summer due to my abdominal surgery and the summer before due to my husbands disc herniation….this summer I plan to paddle as much as possible.

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We have a bunch of birthdays coming up in the next few weeks and no real plans as of yet to celebrate them. For mine, I am hoping to get a nice dinner out somewhere…..maybe Hibachi/Sushi….we shall see.

There is also an REI garage sale date coming up and unless there is a snowstorm that stops me from making this two hour drive to our nearest REI, I have the calendar marked and the gift cards are burning a hole in my pocket. On the list….a new pair of Keen hiking boots for yours truly. Mine have taken me many miles through Minnesota, Tennessee, Arizona, Michigan, Utah, Arkansas, and all over Wisconsin. I think it’s time to let them rest and break in a new pair.

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And come next month our clocks will once again be changing. Daylight will be longer, snow will begin to melt away leaving mud around every corner. And we will slowly start to venture back outside and start making memories again of times better spent somewhere other than in the four walls of our house. Ohhhh, how I wait patiently for this month to pass.

Let’s Relive Summer Mid Winter…..

Who’s feeling like they have had enough of winter? I know I am.

As I often do at this time of year I thought I would take a look back at summer and all the fun that was had by us all. Let’s just say it’s something a bit more brighter, a bit more fun, and a bit more cheerful than looking outside my window at everything covered in WINTER!!!

Join me will you….

The view from atop Oberg Mountain.

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Water, sunshine, and two great friends…who could ask for more?

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Simply relaxing;-)

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Catch of the day.

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Yoga outside…..priceless!

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My second home.

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Freezing cold Lake Superior in July.

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Disc golf anyone?

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The bluest water in Wisconsin.

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Roses….oh, how I miss stopping to smell the roses.

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Homemade fly swatter constructed while sitting next to the campfire.

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It’s coming, summer is right around the corner. If you keep repeating this to yourself like I do we will all survive this winter. You gotta believe….