Our Visit To The DeYoung Family Zoo In Wallace , MI

Once again my husband came up with a spectacular idea to make my weekend a bit more fun while taking it easy and letting this muscle strain heal…he suggested we take a trip to Wallace, MI and visit the DeYoung Family Zoo.

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I have a love/hate relationship with zoos since I sometimes feel sorry for the animals penned up and not free to be in their normal environments. Although, I do love the zoos that offer a place for animals to rehabilitate from injury or even survive as happy as can be in the case of a birth defect. I have found that its best not to know and just enjoy the zoos we visit to the best of my ability since let’s face it, zoos have been around forever and will always be a popular place for families to enjoy whether I like them or not. In this instance this is by far one of the more rustic non commercialized zoos I have ever been to. For a reasonable entrance fee you can enjoy a natural setting with animals and very little hype when it comes to snacks, gift shops, and extras around every corner.

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There are no paved sidewalks in this zoo and no big guard rails to keep you at a distance from the animals. However, every cage is double fenced and found easily with hand painted signs through out the area. It’s like hiking through a jungle full of various animals.

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The do offer food to purchase and feed the animals in the feeding area. Although, we only saw one place to buy food and that is in the same building you enter and pay admission in. So save yourself some time and buy this at the same time you pay your admission fee.

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There are also signs posted along the way when special feeding times are for the large animals if you enjoy this type of thing. Crowds gathered for the hippo were amazing so this is something you will want to make sure you grab your spot in time.

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It was a nice change from the zoo in our area here. All dirt trails, tons of trees, and nothing for your children to beg you to buy throughout the entire zoo.

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I would highly recommend this zoo if your looking to get away from the big city and enjoy a few hours of animal adventure.

Get here early for good parking since parking is limited. Bring your own snacks or a picnic lunch since snacks/food is also very limited. And remember bug spray since this is Michigan and bugs are everywhere!!! And if you forget the wipes/hand sanitizer…no worries, they offer soap and water right on the premises to clean up after the feeding area.Oh, and I almost forgot….grab some tissues/toilet paper since all the facilities are porta potties and some where out of toilet paper while we were here.

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It Has Been Open Less Than A Week And….

It’s finally open and I have been there twice in less than a week…..Fresh Thyme Farmers Market in Ashwaubenon,WI had it’s grand opening last Wednesday and I was there!!!!

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A friend of mine joined me for the first visit here and to say it was packed with people would be putting it mildly. Our area (Ashwaubenon is minutes from our home and is where the store is located) has no organic healthy grocery at all. So for those of us that have always wished and hoped for a Whole Foods or a Trader’s Joe’s, this may be as good as it gets and in my opinion it’s pretty nice.

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I have never once braved the crowds and went to any grand opening of anything but this one was different. Upon arriving I knew it would be busy but wow, our area clearly needed a grocery store like this. I did not get to enjoy looking around as much as I would have liked but what I did see made me very happy. I found a few new items that my husband can enjoy since going to an artificial sweetener free diet.

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And I also found a kombucha flavor he has been searching for…win for him.

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I’ve already made another visit since this grand opening night and crowds are much more manageable. I love the meat/seafood, bakery, and fresh veggies/fruits selection. I have also found some other amazing items that we have all fell in love with. In my opinion, it’s a great addition to the Green Bay area.

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Talking about my husband being artificial sweetener free…..he is doing wonderful. He is feeling great and has surprisingly lost his big sweet tooth. He still enjoys candy here and there but before this he loved candy and could not live without it. He has also since lost his taste for coffee….go figure. How odd is that? Cooking is getting easier and I have been working on getting creative so everything he eats does not have to be so basic. Like one evening we had Korean BBQ pork sandwiches, zucchini, and corn on the cob.

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And another evening we had homemade BBQ chicken pizza. The only difficult thing about this meal was finding a store crust without artificial sweetener. Our normal grocery store had only one out of at least 10 different brands so we tried it. He loved it….win for me!

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This weeks menu has two new meals on it for us to try. Slowly but surely I am finding meals he enjoys and that are easy to prepare now that we have revamped our pantry. I am just so happy to see him happy again and not always so miserable with stomach aches.

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Following Doctors Orders…..Sort Of

As I mentioned last week, back on July 4th I pulled a muscle in my abdominal area and after suffering for two weeks went to see my doctor. He examined me and agreed at this point that I was right and it is what I said it is…a pulled muscle. And then he said to do the normal pulled muscle regimen…..rest, no lifting, ice/heat, and take an anti inflammatory. As always I left thinking yeh, whatever.

Which brings me to my gripe….I am sorry, but you know, medical professionals will ask you things like where it hurts, then what you do for a living, then examine you, and then tell you what to do without even thinking back to what they just asked and the patient then told them. In my case, I hurt here(showing him with my hand), I care for multiple children during the day telling him one does not walk yet, and that I have been taking an anti inflammatory med for two weeks! After hearing him say no lifting, ice/heat the area three times a day, and rest…..I simply left thinking ok whatever!!!! Clearly he has no clue!!!!

So my weekend arrived and I was bummed. It was gorgeous outside and I did my best not to lift, bend, strain and such the rest of the week. I even iced/heated the area in the evening for a bit before bedtime. Although, with the weekend here I could surly do as directed by the doc with no kids and all this extra time on my hands. However, I still was just bummed…who wants to sit home on a weekend with the sun shining and rest…ice…heat…and rest more. Not me and my wonderful husband could see it was killing me. He then made a suggestion and I was dressed and ready to go in minutes. I was still going to rest, get heat from above(sun), coolness from below(water), and I took meds before we left. He did all the work and we had a wonderful time.

We floated our first ever river in inner tubes instead of any other watercraft we own and it was FANTASTIC!!!!!

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My husband did everything. I just needed to board my tube and sit back and relax. Which is exactly what I did and I must admit, I did it fairly well.

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We saw eagles, fish jumping along side of us, turtles, and we even ran into some friends of ours on the river.

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I never once left my tube the entire 3 hour float. This was a first for me and I guarantee it will not be the last time I do this. It was so relaxing yet we were still outside doing something fun. I did exactly as my doctor ordered. I rested!

This is one of the nicest things about WI…..water is everywhere and it only takes a short drive to reach it. Plus, I am married to someone that knows almost everything about just about every body of water there is in the state. Thanks honey for making my dull Saturday much more fun.

Sometimes In Life We Must Learn To Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable.

Can you believe July is almost over with? Sad but true…summer is quickly coming to an end. I still have not taken my SUP out on the water since I am still suffering from a sore stomach muscle(hopefully). And kayaking for us has been very minimal this summer. It’s funny to see how we have changed over the past few years. We used to whitewater kayak every single weekend. Have we now grown up? No, I would not call it that so much. I would say life has just changed dynamics and time and logistics plays a big part in what we do now. River kayaking takes two vehicles, a nice day, and many of our kayaking companions were younger and have since all gone off to college or are in the pursuit of life as it should be. Do I miss river kayaking? Yes, at times. However, I do have my doubts I could still do it with the changes I have experienced since having abdominal surgery in Jan. 2016. I do not have much strength in my core at all and typically suffer for days when I paddle a calm lake. I highly doubt I could fight current in a river much less add some rapids on top of it.

Sometimes in life, we must learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. I have come to terms with what I have been left with after this surgery. Well…. for the most part. It’s not like I had a choice in this whole matter but it has changed me quite a bit. It seems like my whole life is a matter of, I used to do that and now I do this instead. I am thankful for the fun I can still have and don’t dwell on the things I can no longer do. I’ve learned to be thankful for each day and to make the most of the moments of fun I do have. It saddens me to see people I know always thriving for long range plans and missing out on what’s right in front of them at this time. I have learned the importance of NOW, not later, since who really knows if later will ever come.

On that note, here is what my week was like for exercise with a very sore stomach muscle. So sore that I sought out a medical opinion mid week. Which if you know me, medical opinions mean very little but sometimes it is needed. At least the doc and I agree at this point to give it a bit longer…time will tell what comes next.

Saturday: 3.25 mile hike on the UWGB loop

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Sunday: 3.7 mile hike on the Terrell’s Island breakwater trail

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Monday: 3.0 mile rail trail walk…I saw my first albino squirrel today

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Tuesday: rest….visit to the doc for my stomach pain made me cancel exercise tonight

Wednesday: legs workout in our home gym and 1.5 mile solo trail walk (I had a time limitation tonight…so I had to be quick)

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Thursday: 30 minute recumbent bike in our home gym and legs workout

Friday: rest

That should do it for me this week. Have a great weekend everyone!

 

Roasting Poblano Peppers On A Gas Stove Top

I have received a few questions on how I roast poblano peppers. Honesty, the first time I did it I swore I would never to do it again. However, then I tried a different way and this time it was a breeze.

First, clean your peppers under water.

On a gas stove, light the flame and lay the peppers right over the open flame on the grates.

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Turn them every few minutes until the entire pepper is blackened….about 10-15 minutes.

Next, take a large plastic bag and seal the hot peppers in here for about 10 minutes.

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After 10 minutes or so, fill a large bowl with some cold water and taking one pepper at a time gently rub the blackened skin off in the water. Slit one side and carefully pull the stem off and dip the pepper in the water until all the seeds are out.

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Lay each pepper on paper towel to dry.

****Now if you have a garbage disposal you can do the cleaning step right under the faucet. I do not have a garbage disposal so I clean mine in a large bowl of water and then drain the water to discard the skins and seeds.

After cleaning your peppers you can stuff them, chop them, or slice them to enjoy however you wish.

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A Crazy, Busy Weekend Of Fun

I had quite a crazy, busy weekend here. Summer is often loaded with busy weekends but sometimes there is just so much to choose from that its hard to decided who does what and with whom it all includes.

My weekend started Saturday morning with plans to attend Green Bay’s Fit Fest with a friend of mine. This was our first ever Fit Fest and I can honestly say it will probably be our last. We did not know exactly what we would be walking into but quickly became disappointed in the lack of…..well, lack of everything offered. Green Bay is really trying to get people outside and active but I think they have a ways to go yet.

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After walking through the Fit Fest booths, which maybe took us a half hour at best, we made our way over to a new brewery/coffee bar in downtown Green Bay called Copper Rock Coffee Company/Brewery. Since we had never been here we walked inside to place our order and were immediately impressed with the atmosphere and surroundings. The service was friendly and the outdoor seating was exceptional. We can’t wait to return and try the luncheon menu and maybe something a little more potent than coffee.

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After having some time to chat and catch up we drove to our lunch destination which has been a restaurant on our “girls list” for quite some time. Melts With You in DePere is where we had lunch…again on their outside patio area.

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The menu offered a nice variety of sandwiches, soups, and sides. Prices were reasonable and the service was good. It’s a small place and offers a fast meal. Would I return? Maybe. Typically, when I go out for a meal I want it to be unique and something I cannot make at home. I could have easily made the sandwich at home that I ordered along with what my friend also ordered. So ultimately the restaurant was not good, not bad, just your average sandwich shop.

After this is was time to return home for chores, laundry, prepare braised cauliflower/kale stew for the week, and a hike with my husband.

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Originally, he was going to go fishing but since he did a bit of that in the morning while I was gone he decided a hike would be nice. We once again made our way to our favorite hiking destination as of right now…UWGB (info on the trails page). And as usual we saw so much wildlife and a completely new mixture of wildflowers since the last time we were here two weeks ago.

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We really enjoyed the 3.3 mile hike along with the trail snacks we found along the way.

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However, the visitor waiting for us at our vehicle when we returned was not in the least bit happy we chased him away from what he was eating. Sorry fella!

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Sunday brought a nice surprise when our son announced he had the day off. I immediately suggested a hike/bike ride for all of us. I have been wanting to take him to Terrell’s Island (info on the trails page) trail for quite sometime but its a hour from us and time is often limited. We left him sleep until 9a.m. since he worked until 1:30a.m. and we headed out on our adventure.

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He rode his bike around the trail twice while we walked the 3.7 miles once and met back at the vehicle. We all got in some exercise and had a great time doing so.

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The rest of the evening was time to relax….and indulge in some ice cream. How perfect is that for a weekend of go, go, go.

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Rail Trails…..Boring But Convenient

For me it was a pretty uneventful week. Nothing too exciting happened. My daycare children were fairly well behaved and in good moods all week and exercise was good. I avoided weights until mid week and cut back on poundage since I believe (hope) I have a pulled muscle in my stomach/abdominal area. For now I am going with this conclusion and hoping for the best.

On the home front, meals were good. I even had some time to prepare some freezer meals for fast “on the go” lunches for my husband during the week days when I cop out on making dinner the night before. Typically, he takes left overs for his lunch but sometimes life happens and there are no leftovers. And previously everything I had prepared for freezer meals all had artificial sweetener of some sort in it so I needed to remake his favorites with new ingredients. No Boil Lasagna is one that feeds us all for dinner, leaves me enough for lunch for all the kiddos the next day, plus leaves me two to three servings to freeze. How is that for awesome?!

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OK so here is what I did for exercise this week:

Saturday: gym workout…30 minutes elliptical and stretching

Sunday: rest

Monday: 3 mile trail walk

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Tuesday: 3 mile trail walk

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Wednesday: morning weight routine in our home gym and a evening 3 mile trail walk

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Thursday: 3 mile trail walk once again

Friday: rest

As you can see walking a nearby rail trail was mainly the name of the game this week. Rail trails offer mainly a straight, flat trail but being close to home and convenient is nice after a long day. It’s been hot, humid, and I have been happy. A friend of mine simply calls it “Karen hot”  and I can completely understand why. I just love it….

And on that note I will leave you with something that some people will never see. I rarely see sunsets since I am often in bed and sound asleep before its even dark outside but some individuals never see sunrise like I do every single morning. You have no idea what you are all missing.

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What a great way to start a day!