Weekend Adventures: It’s Just Too Hot To Stay Home

In Wisconsin you can usually count on a few days each summer that it gets hot….I mean really HOT!!!! Add some wicked humidity and that is a great combo for sickness and heat exhaustion if you do anything outside for an extended period of time. However, I am a summer lover and refuse to miss even one weekend inside. So I had to think fast and come up with a plan for this past weekend since it was hot…..added with the humidity levels we all had here and we were easily above 100 degrees. Thankfully we are surrounded by water and many times the lake shores are much cooler. So that is where we headed and believe it or not, the temps varied greatly from place to place all day.

First, we started our day at a new park we stumbled upon. Lakeside Park is located in Jacksonport, WI and right along Lake Michigan. The main reason for stopping was to use the facilities but often times these are the times we find the best spots with very little people.

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A nice area to park, great playground that is well kept for children to enjoy, bathrooms, and a short walk to a public beach(no lifeguards….swim at your own risk). If you can tolerate the water temperatures of Lake Michigan this would be perfect since it was not packed at all. Truthfully, it was us and one other lady. Not bad for a quick last minute stop.

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Next, we headed to our actual destination. Our whole goal of the day was to try two new disc golf courses in this area and also stop by a friends cabin if we had time before returning back to Green Bay. The first course being right in Jacksonport at the sports complex center. IMG_1239

We played the nine baskets here and then headed a bit further to Sister Bay to try the next new course I had located in the area.

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Both course were fun, cooler than back home temperature wise, and both offered us some time in the sun. I plan to blog about both courses in more detail soon so keep reading and maybe you will want to give them both a try if your in the area.

After two course of disc golf we were hungry. It was about noon and we had seen a wayside with some nice shaded areas to stop for a quick picnic lunch before stopping in by a friends cabin in the area. Apparently, we were exactly half way to the north pole where we were going to enjoy lunch….or at least this is what the plaque said that we found.

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We found the only picnic table empty which was perfect.

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After lunch we stopped in and enjoyed some float time with our friends. They have a cabin right on a lake in this area and its was great to catch up about their recent vacation and for my husband to finally have some down time from all his work travel he has had.

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It was a full day of fun outside. I could not have planned us a better day to escape the heat.

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Weekend Adventures and The Answer To A Recurring Question: No….We Are Not Getting A Dog!!!!

Becoming empty nesters has been an adventure. Some things I expected to happen….like a lot less food needed on the grocery list…..and some things I never expected to happen…..like being asked over and over again if we are now getting a dog. This question has come up so many times in the past three weeks since our son has moved out that I am simply amazed. Why would we get a dog???? If you know anything about us, we do not have time for a dog. If we had a dog we would never be able to pick up and go like I have been known to do. So here in our home there will be NO dog added to the family.

Let’s move on to our weekend. We finally had some fun on the water and it was exactly what we both needed. Minus the sunburn we are both suffering from since there is not a sunscreen protection high enough to protect us from four hours in the gorgeous rays of WI. The best part of WI to me is that within 10 minutes you can typically find water from any location in the state. My husband and I took advantage of this and drove to our favorite river and enjoyed a tube float.

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We started late Saturday morning and it took us four hours to reach our ending destination. Along the way we enjoyed the peacefulness and my favorite sight of all times….a bald eagle.

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We actually saw three bald eagles along the entire stretch of the river we floated. Although, this one, by far, was the bravest and just sat in the tree and watched us float by offering me the opportunity to take a few pictures.

It really was a gorgeous day on the river. Here are a few more pics from the day.

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Questions:

Are you empty nesters? If so what was the strangest thing you were asked after your kid/kids left home?

What was you hardest adjustment after your kid/kids moved out?

 

Balance….I Am Trying So Hard To Find It

Where to begin is often that hardest part of writing here. I feel like I have not shared much of what this blog was intended for lately since, to be brutally honest, I have not been out much enjoying the outdoors that I love so much. Believe me, I want to but time and weather and life have just not been cooperating to allow for this type of activity.

So, what have I been up to? A few things actually. Let’s see, I recently fell in love with riced cauliflower and although I think it is ungodly expensive to purchase, I have found it is super easy to prepare yourself if you have the right kitchen tools. So after purchasing one bag of frozen riced cauliflower to try, I now make my own with a head of clean cauliflower and my food processor. In a matter of minutes I have three times more for half the price.

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You may be wondering why life has not allowed me out much. Ultimately, it boils down to priorities. We own a house, three vehicles, I run a daycare out of my home for my job, and I also handle all the normal wifely matters from cleaning to cooking to budgeting….you name it and I do it. For the past few years my husband has really been pitching in and helping with the yard, bushes, cleaning, and so on but a few months ago his job took a turn and now he is traveling at least half, if not more, of the time. The change has been good in some instances and not so good in others.

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Yes, his employer typically flies him home on Friday evenings and then back out again Monday mornings. Although, this leaves us very little time to get everything done and still find time to enjoy life. So priorities have taken up much of my life. If I don’t do all what needs to be done during the week then that leaves us even less time to find fun time in the 48 hours he is home every week. We have ventured out on close by trails but nothing to far and no serious mileage has been accomplished yet this summer. Balance…we are still working on trying to find a balance.

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Speaking of balance, due to some last minute changes at work my husbands flight plans got changed for the Father’s Day weekend and this left him and our son the time to finally take out the boat and get in a few hours of fishing time. It was a very successful fishing trip and they both seemed to really have a great time.

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Father’s Day dinner was also a success since we once again had a nice family dinner together. Meal times have really changed since our son moved into his own apartment so this was quite the treat to share a meal together like old times. On the menu was baby red garlic mashed potatoes, BBQ ribs with homemade rib rub, and corn on the cob.

Those ribs look good but don’t let them fool you all. I am still sticking to my 50% meatless meals around here. By no means are we going vegetarian but eliminating meat and sticking to fish and veggie based meals has been a game changer for our health and how we feel.

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In the upcoming weeks I am really hoping to get in a river float or two, make a trip two hours south to our nearest Trader Joe’s, dust of my standup paddle board in the Bay of Green Bay, make a trip to a friends cabin for the day, and maybe even fit in a camping trip or two. Maybe these will all be solo trips or maybe they will be a couples outing….I do not know quite yet. For now I will leave you all guessing since that is also what I am doing.

 

 

It’s As If We’ve Been Robbed

It’s funny how life can change in a few days. A little over a week ago our son moved out of our family home after 23 years and dad and I returned home to a very empty house. Where does time go? I can’t believe my baby is 23 years old already. My husband said to me, ” It looks like we’ve been robbed…. there is so much empty space.” I couldn’t help but laugh at this statement.

Which brings us to today. It’s different to put things mildly. I have way less dishes to wash, way less groceries to purchase, way less food to prepare, I have no vehicles parking me in when I want to up and leave home, and we have way less chatter at the dinner table. However, we are happy, our son is happy, and life is good. Who could ask for more? IMG_0135

As life continues onward I am adjusting our meals the best I know how. I am trying to incorporate more veggies and less animal protein. I recently had time to experiment in my kitchen and came up with three winners for meal times. First, I threw together an asian type quinoa skillet meal that I served over baby kale that I tossed with a bit of fresh lemon juice and olive oil. It was absolutely delicious.

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Then I replicated a corn on the cob recipe from a local restaurant that I am a bit ashamed to say I LOVE!!! Never in my right mind would I have thought smearing mayo on corn on the cob would have been so good but I tell you all….it is!!!! Sprinkled with a bit of chili lime seasoning and it is like a party in your mouth. You must give it a try.

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I also tried my hand at roasted parmesan cauliflower steaks one evening. It turned out fabulous but one head of cauliflower only yields two “steaks” and a bunch of chunks since the core is the part that holds the “steaks” together. I would make this again for sure but maybe just do it all in chunks and have marinara dipping sauce on the side. This would be more realistic for a family like meal.

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I still have a big bunch of recipes I have been researching and I can’t wait to try them and share them all with you. However, in all honesty, I am concentrating more on sunscreen, hiking boots, and bug spray at the moment and not so much of what is (or is not) happening in my kitchen. I live in WI and summers are so short that I need to take in every moment of sunshine and warmth that I can. I will be back here and there with things to share but until then….get outside and enjoy life.

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Becoming Empty Nesters

As we embark on becoming empty nesters here in our house it has clearly proven to have a different affect on all of us here. Our son has signed his first rental lease and will be moving out in a few days. He is excited! My husband is sad but proud. I am proud but ready to see him spread his wings and fly. In all honesty, our lives here have been chaos for a few weeks. Not only helping him apartment hunt but there are a few more things going on in the background all at the same time. It’s not the image I had in my mind of how this summer would begin but I am learning to find the silver lining in it all.

Let’s begin at the call that solidified the one and only apartment we all felt good about. This came last week, he then signed the lease a few days later and then we scrambled to begin packing. One day my son and I also took almost 6 hours to go shopping together to buy some things he needed and we had promised him when he found a place that dad and I would buy him a bed. So this all happened in one day of power shopping which to my surprise went really well considering it was a Saturday and we typically do not shop well together.

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Then it was time to hit up the hardware store for a project him and dad were working on. IMG_1031

Then like a blessing from above, I had the gift of only having to work three days a week for two weeks straight which ultimately bought me some much needed time to make a bunch of appointments that I always have trouble making. However, one day I did sneak away for lunch and coffee with a friend to a new local cafe. IMG_1020After all this I felt a bit settled and ready to relax for a bit. That is until my husband emailed from work that travel plans would be crazy for awhile and I could only sit back take a deep breath. With Memorial Day weekend almost here, moving in the very near background, and hardly no fun plans on the calendar because life is such a mess right now, I felt like having a meltdown. Which, I really don’t do often and the only thing I could think of was escaping the place I call home that is piled high with stuff ready for moving, escaping the place I call work which is the same place I call home, and escaping the place where I need to find new normal routine soon which could prove to take some time after all this is said and done. I needed to get out and be one with the trail which I did and it immediately calmed my soul.

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This was exactly what I needed. Trees, dirt, wildlife, nature…..I just needed to breathe fresh air and find peace.

My next few weeks I know are going to be a struggle. I can hope my husband makes it back in time to help and be part of this next chapter. I can hope it don’t rain on moving day, I can hope adapting my recipes for two is easy, and I am excited to find  new normal after all this is said and done.

Until then…..have a great holiday weekend if I am not back before then with any updates and don’t forget to add fun to everyday no matter how hard it is to squeeze it in.

It Feels So Good To Hurt So Bad

Pain….sometimes it’s bad and sometimes it’s good. Pain from an injury is not fun…we’ve all been there at one time or another. Pain from doing something fun and exciting….just means you had fun and pain is easy to deal with from this fun. This is where I am right now. Believe it or not I love yard work. Not so much the process of it but the outcome of…. it’s done and it looks nice. Accomplishment is a fine thing to feel. Raking is not my favorite thing to do but it’s SO MUCH BETTER than shoveling…which I refuse to do and have not done so for the past four years. This weekend I raked our yard, picked up sticks that fell all winter and I feel every pull of that rake but it feels so good.

As for the rest of our weekend, well, it was a bit crazy. We are in the process of apartment hunting with our son who is ready to move out. I thought vehicle shopping was difficult….boy was I wrong. Apartment hunting is so much harder.

I also found a bit time to food prep for the up coming week ahead. I threw together more egg sandwiches for the freezer, a batch of chimichurri to use on grilled chicken this week, and a big pot of braised cauliflower for my lunched this week.

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Life lately has been all over the place. We have been adjusting to some big changes and clearly, as stated above, more changes on on the horizon. I am trying hard to keep calm and have a open mind.

That will have to be enough for now….the sun is shining and I have to go out an enjoy it while it lasts.

A Sign From Above Is Granted

Recently my husband has been spending more time on the road than at home for work. And this last time he came home he mentioned that he wished he would receive a sign from above to know what to do about a matter we have been pondering for quite some time now. How funny he should ask for this such thing since his wish has been granted loud and clear. As I sit and type in this very moment we are getting hammered with the biggest snow storm….ooops, sorry let me rephrase that…..the biggest blizzard in over 20 years here in WI.

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It began Friday evening and is still snowing at this time. We have had 50+ mph winds and so much blowing and drifting that highways are being declared impassable.Snow blowing has been done three times already just to keep up with the drifts forming around our vehicles, boat, and doorways/windows.

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And the best part of this whole sign from above is……IT IS APRIL 15!!!!!!!!

In three weeks we are suppose to be camping, hiking, and hopefully wearing a little less clothing than we need to wear right now to go outside.

So to all you enjoying spring time cherry blossoms, tulips poking through the ground, and sunshine on your shoulders…..please, please, take a moment and be thankful you live somewhere this is all happening.

For me, I am not angry about this snow….I am not sad about this snow…I am just smiling and being thankful that my husband got what he needed to now know……we need to make a change and we need to make a change soon.

Thank you GOD….he needed your help and you came through.