Warm Sunshine Drink

There is nothing like curling up under a warm blanket with a wonderful warm drink to take the chill out of winter. After reading many different recipes online and making some adjustments of my own…I think I finally found a drink that will bring me back to summertime in the middle of winter.

Here is my version of warm sunshine in a mug.

4 cups 100% apple juice

3 cups orange juice

1 cup water

2 TBSP. lemon juice

1/2 cup brown sugar

dash of cinnamon

Malibu Rum(optional)

IMG_6216

In a kettle on the stove top mix all the ingredients together except the rum. Heat until the sugar is well dissolved and serve warm in a hearty mug.

IMG_6218

Add a splash of rum if you really want to warm your insides.

IMG_6273

Weekend Shenanigans and Our First Snowy Hike

Hello, hello, did you all have a good weekend? We sure did here.

Our weekend started with a bunch of crazy errand running like always. We are officially DONE Christmas shopping…..ahhhhh, what a great feeling this is let me tell you. We made a quick stop at the library to restock on books for my husband to listen to on his way to and from work. They had to cutest little Christmas ornaments decorating the library that the children had made.

IMG_6356

IMG_6355

And we also needed to pick up a few odd and ends including new windshield wiper blades for my SUV. Snow, rain, and darkness do not making driving easy for me, but you add in crappy windshield wiper blades and it could mean disaster. So we took care of this issue first thing in the parking lot of the store.

IMG_6353

The rest of Saturday we went our separate ways. My husband headed to the woods for some hunting and I headed to the gym for a workout.

Then Sunday rolled around and we had made plans earlier in the week to redo our original plan for Thanksgiving which was to hike a waterfowl preserve near us that was closed down for the gun deer hunt season. Even though it is still bow hunting and muzzle loading season, the trails were once again reopened for hikers with the caution to wear blaze orange….which we did.

IMG_6368

Upon arriving it was starting to snow. We had woke up to a winter weather advisory but this little bit of snow don’t really stop us here in WI.

IMG_6361

And as much as I hate to admit it….the snow did add to the serenity and ambiance of the hike.

IMG_6363

IMG_6375

IMG_6372

We hiked the Meadow Ridge trail and it took us just over an hour to complete.

IMG_6366

It ended up being an wonderful, snow covered 3.4 miles that ended with hot chocolate.

IMG_6379

IMG_6380

What a great way to end a weekend….even with snow falling from the sky.

Feeling Healthy Again

You know there is something to be said about endorphins…..if only you could buy them off a store shelf the first time and give them a try I believe everyone would believe me when I say they truly can put a smile on your face and a spring in your step. However, since the only way to feel the effect of something so powerful is to actually get up and exercise, many individuals will never experience this feeling. And honestly, that is a sad fact of life.

For me, being back at the gym has been wonderful. It’s my shining light when the sun goes down so early every evening, it’s my way to feel as healthy as I can feel, it’s my way to relieve stress from a hard day, and it’s my way to just be happy.

Here is a peak at what my week consisted of:

Sunday: hike with the hubby….3.9 miles

IMG_6326

Monday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, rowing and stretching

Tuesday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, rowing and abs, ending with stretching

Wednesday: rest….errand night

Thursday:gym: 30 minute elliptical, total body weight lifting, stretching

Friday: rest

Saturday: 30 minute elliptical, total body weight lifting, stretching

I am loving life after a week like this. We hiked, I got in some awesome workouts, and I am feeling stronger every day. I finally feel like I am in a groove again.

My suggestion to everyone who is considering starting an exercise program of any type…..go for it…..you will not regret it!

Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary Trails

I have been a life long resident of Green Bay for 40+ years now and I am ashamed to admit, it took me this long to hike the trails that are practically in my own backyard. Maybe that is exaggerating a bit….they may not be in my backyard but they are located about 15 minutes from my home and at a place I have visited numerous times throughout my life.

I am sure if you have ever visited Green Bay there are two places you have heard about….Lambeau Field and Bay Beach Amusement park/Wildlife Sanctuary. And rightfully so….they are two of the best places to explore when in the area. We are going to concentrate on the Wildlife Sanctuary today. Across the grassy lot from Bay Beach Amusement park you will find this treasure that offers so many things for families. From places to explore nature, places to feed the ducks and geese corn kernels, to places to hike. However, if your looking for somewhere a bit more secluded and peaceful to hike you may want to venture down past the main entrance about a half mile to the trail entrance. You will see a gated lot with ample parking and the entrance to the trails. NOTE: there is no bathroom at this entrance!

IMG_6246

Make notice of the hours posted on the fence as they seem to be strictly enforced at every gated entrance. So unless you can climb a fence really well, I would suggest you watch the time while hiking.

Another thing to note is that there are no dogs allowed on the trails along with no snow shoes either. And according to staff, once the trails are groomed for skiers no hikers are allowed again until spring.

IMG_6325

Within this gated wooded area there are quite a few trails and they are very well marked.It is very easy to add a few together to make a few hour hike or just do a quick little hike since most single trails are not long at all.

IMG_6303

IMG_6254

IMG_6247

IMG_6302

There is one hill overlook that will offer a bit of a challenge if your looking to break a sweat but other than that, most of the trail is flat or has very little incline. The hill lookout is optional and does not need to be climbed to continue down the trail.

IMG_6257

IMG_6266

IMG_6290

Terrain can be anything from grass, wood chips, dirt or wooden boards in some areas that cover water.

IMG_6255

IMG_6314

You may think being in a fenced in area that the trails would not have much to offer but even I was amazed at this area. You would never know you weren’t hiking in the forest somewhere. We came across deer scrapes,

IMG_6313

bald eagles,

IMG_6311

and deer all in a few miles.

IMG_6320

IMG_6306

I am sure soon enough there will be snow covering this area if you wish to ski this trail in the winter months, but for right now, we will be making this a repeat hike as much as possible. There is a lot to see here and right now the ponds are still not frozen and neither is the trail.

IMG_6317

IMG_6296

 

 

 

Questions I Am Asked Most Often Being A Female Hiker

Being a female hiker is not common in the WI, at least this is what I have found in my journey. Maybe this is the reason I loved visiting Utah an Arizona so much. Clearly, there were just as many, if not more, female hikers than males. With that being said, I do know of a few women who like to hit the trail and often will be asked questions by them in regards to my likes and dislikes. Which I thought would be informative and fun to share with those of you that are wondering some specifics in regards to this activity.

So here are some of the most asked questions and my answers to them all.

Water Bladder or water bottle? For me it’s a bottle every time. I have tried a bladder and both my husband and son love theirs…..I just can’t get past the rubber bag taste. I know it would be much more convenient but for the short trails I mostly hike(10 mile or less) I don’t mind having to carry a bottle(s). I love my Nalgenes most but the collapsible Platypus brand are very nice also.

IMG_5778

Pit toilet or cathole? Clearly there are moments where there is no option….but if at all possible I will wait till we get to a trailhead and use a pit toilet. I have learned either way it is a “crapshoot” since some pit toilets are down right horrendous. The worst pit toilet I have ever seen was at Scouts Landing on the way up to Angels Landing in Zion National Park…..we all decided to do our business behind the building because this pit toilet was not even “hold your breath” tolerable!!!! I will never forget it!!!

IMG_1778

Distance or elevation? This really depends on a few things. For me here at home, there are really no elevation hikes, so scenery and distance is usually the goal. When we travel to hike while on vacation….I am an all or nothing elevation hiker. The higher the better for me….I love the feeling of being as close to heaven as possible without being deceased. If I am hiking for stress relief, any place and any distance will do as long as it’s a dirt trail with very few people.

IMG_3117

Boots or trail shoes: This is completely personal but I would never hike any trail without my boots simply because I have very weak ankles and need the extra support.

IMG_5781

Trail map or GPS: Both! Before I hike any new trail, I do tons of research. I always have a trail map along and we almost always bring our GPS with us with our vehicle marked before starting the trail . You just never know and I am a better safe than sorry type of person.

IMG_6082

Alone or with a group? I rarely get the opportunity to hike alone….but when I have I find it very peaceful. I can go at my own pace for as long as I wish. However, there is something to be said about hiking with my husband and son and also with a group since I have done both. They all have there pluses and minuses so I like all of them for different reasons.

IMG_3127

What do I use for personal protection: I always hike with bear spray…and not always for the bears I may come across. My thoughts are, if it works even a little bit on a bear, it will work enough on a person so that I can at least have a chance. Plus, I also use my husband for protection…..I believe this man would give a limb to save my life.

IMG_5383

Forest or desert hikes: Both since here at home I have only forest. When we travel and it’s my choice where we are headed….it’s always the desert. I love it hot!

IMG_6040

Squat or female urine device: Female urine device every time. I am not a fan of peeing in my boots…which sometimes happens when you squat. It’s much more discreet when hiking with men, which is almost always who I hike with.Plus, imagine this….temps are 20 degrees, you have a ton of layers on, and snow is up to your knees when you step off the trail to go squat. Now you tell me if you want to drop your drawers and squat to pee. This is what I hike in 4-6 months out of every year which is why I love my female urine device.

What are my biggest dislikes about hiking? I have two big dislikes. One being garbage left by humans on the trail. Some of us are just plain old pigs and need to learn to clean up after ourselves. My other dislike is bushwhacking…..you know, going off the trail to a so called trail that is really not a trail. Ugggg, this is a big dislike for me. We actually came up with a new family rule when we recently traveled to Sedona and hiked in the desert. If the trail is not as wide as my hips I am not hiking it!!!! My husband and son seemed to think this was funny……but we did not hike anymore trails on this trip at least this wide.

What’s the one thing I would not hike without? My boots

Am I scared? I am asked this very often and every time I am not sure what to answer. Scared of what is always my thought. In my opinion, there are bad people everywhere, there are guns everywhere, there are animals everywhere, and there are places in my every day life that I could be in danger. If it’s my time , then so be it. I can only hope that when it is my time it is somewhere beautiful, I am wearing by boots, there is a smile on my face, and dirt under my feet. So no, I guess I am not scared.

IMG_5846

If I could choose one place to hike where would this be? Such a difficult question. I have hiked in some places that have taken my breath away, made me feel emotions I have never felt in my life, and have given me such a feeling of accomplishment that it is hard to explain. So, in all honesty, I don’t know where I would choose but I know it would be the southwest region without a doubt.

These are the most commonly asked questions of me in regards to what I hike, why I hike and what I do differently as a female on the trail. Hiking does not have to be technical, it can simply be a walk in the woods. Women often think because of there shape, size, time of the month, physical ability or the fact that there is no one to do this with, that it is not feasible. I am here to tell you it is and if you have ever considered trying this activity to do it. I think you would be surprised at how much you will enjoy it.

****Keep in mind, these are all my personal opinions and are not meant to guide anyone one way or the other. I consider myself a casual hiker and my no means a long distance or an ultralight hiker.

I Love Four Day Weekends….We Get So Much Done!

Here at our house the holidays are pretty laid back and casual. Typically, Thanksgiving morning I always hit up the gym first thing in the morning, my husband preps the smoker to smoke our turkey breast, and our son either works or sleeps in. This year things were a bit different…. we started out with a hike this year and a friend of mine joined in on the adventure. It was something our family has done the last few years on Christmas Day and this year I thought, why not go for a hike on Thanksgiving also. Our original planned hike was scrapped when we arrived at the trailhead and it was posted as “closed” for the gun deer hunt season.(FYI:This is why we are wearing blaze orange vests during todays hike) So after some fast thinking by my husband, we crossed town and headed to a new trail we had never hiked before but had drove past numerous times.

IMG_6249

IMG_6266

IMG_6260

IMG_6253

IMG_6255

After hiking we came home and prepared to cook Thanksgiving dinner. This is a few hour process when smoking a turkey breast so in between we did some chores.

IMG_6274

Earlier in the week, my husband finally caved to my my request to buy a new Christmas tree. So I went through our Christmas box and did some much needed tossing of old or unwanted decorations and threw a few in the donation bags I planned to drop off.

IMG_6235

IMG_6285

After dinner was cleaned up and everyone was tired and full from a fabulous meal, we started our first jigsaw puzzle of the winter. If you don’t know from past winters, this is what we do to pass the long, cold, snowy months of winter here in our house. Jigsaw puzzles are, in my opinion, mind numbing and make time pass faster than just sitting watching the clock and waiting for Spring to arrive.

IMG_6233

Then Friday, the first thing on my list was a trip to the gym. I rarely have the opportunity to workout in the morning hours so every chance I get I take full advantage of.

IMG_20161125_0851082_rewind

Then it was time to decorate for Christmas. I must say…we all love our new slim Christmas tree. We even put our old one in the drive way with a FREE sign on it for someone to utilize who may not have a tree for Christmas. It was picked up in 20 minutes…..this made us pretty happy.

IMG_6279

IMG_6281

Saturday, again started out at the gym. Why not, right?

IMG_6277

When I returned  from the gym I washed and cut all our fruits and veggies needed for the week. I also hard boiled some eggs and made egg omelet cups for the week ahead to make breakfast easier on those hectic mornings. Doing this on the weekend saves me so much time during the week when time is always hard to find.

IMG_6282

IMG_5510

My husband and son then went fishing together and I headed out for lunch with a friend and the goal of finishing my Christmas shopping. We had a wonderful lunch and great success shopping. I found everything on the list and then some.

IMG_6287

Sunday rolled around and we had discussed going for another hike to finish the trails we started on Thanksgiving day. So about mid morning we headed out and began our hike and ended up hiking for almost 4 miles and seeing some fabulous wildlife.

IMG_6326

IMG_6329

I must say….I have been a resident of Green Bay for my entire life and have never known these trails existed…..and now I plan to hike them regularly they are so nice. I will blog more about these in an upcoming post, but wow, what a great place to hike. See for yourself.

IMG_6310

IMG_6306

IMG_6290

IMG_6311

Thanksgiving Week- Finding Ways To Fit In Exercise

Well, winter temperatures have officially arrived. We woke up Saturday morning to a covering of snow and quite chilly temperatures. So long 60’s, I hope to see you again soon;-(

Speaking of cold…..one of my dear friends sent me this on my email one morning. Maybe this means I am “that friend!”

(I will admit, this sure does look cozy;)

14650711_1537866986228409_2427188976841988985_n

Since this was the week of Thanksgiving, things were a bit all over the place in the exercise department. However, no matter how little time I had, I still made time for some type of workout. Here is what my week consisted of:

Sunday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, stretching

Monday: 3 mile hike on a trail under the stars…..great stress reliever on a hectic Monday.

Tuesday: rest

Wednesday: home: upper body and abdominal workout

gym: stretching and 30 minute elliptical

IMG_20161125_0842439_rewind

Thursday(Thanksgiving): 2.0 mile hike with my husband and a friend

IMG_6264

Friday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, rowing and stretching

IMG_20161125_0846595_rewind

Saturday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, abs, rowing and stretching

home: 1.5 mile walk in the evening with my husband

As I said above, this was quite a whirl wind week. I was very thankful to have a four day weekend by the time Wednesday rolled around. We had so many things on the agenda and thankfully we fit everything in and still had time for fun.