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.

 

 

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6 Weeks Ago We Had A Major Snowstorm…..Today We Broke Heat Records

I heard on the news this morning that 6 weeks ago we were digging out from our major record breaking snowstorm of 20+ inches of snow. Here was my husband shoveling off our roof to hopefully prevent it from collapsing.

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Fast forward to this weekend and we once again broke records but not with snow depth….this time with heat! Whew, it was hot….and for me to admit it was hot, you know it was HOT!!!! However, unlike that snowstorm where it kept me inside without any thoughts of venturing out, the heat wave we had this weekend did just the opposite. I pressed pause on the life calendar and enjoyed each day out and about doing what we love to do in the great outdoors.

First, we played a round of disc golf at one of WI most challenging disc golf courses. It is located in Manitowoc, WI right on the lakeshore so visiting the beach while we played was quite convenient.

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The next day we hiked one of my favorite trails located near Oshkosh, WI called Terrell’s Island. (more info on this trail is located on the hiking trails page)

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I love this trail since wildlife can always be seen at any time of year.

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Not once have I visited without seeing at least one snake…..today I got a bonus with the one snake seen whom was already dead and half eaten by something. This is just the way I prefer to see these creatures.

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This trail literally weaves through the water the entire 3.8 miles and offers much to see. I would highly recommend it for anyone looking to escape the heat. There is no sun protection so remember sunscreen!!

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The remainder of the weekend we spent together doing odds and ends, like shopping, cutting the lawn, laundry, etc.. I needed to throw together more bean burgers since we had eaten the last batch.

recipes here and here (minus the spinach since I forgot to buy some)

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I also worked on organizing the weeks events coming up since its a shortened week with the holiday Monday and I also have a day off to prepare for our sons moving date. It’s almost here and I do believe we are as ready as we can be at this point. It’s been a long haul for sure since finding a reasonable apartment that was not in a terrible neighborhood was the hardest part. Although, we did it and it’s happening soon.

So you may wonder what is next for my husband and I. Well, I hope to change a few things. I want to go more veggie based in our meals by deleting meat at least half the time instead of only twice a week like now. We will never remove meat completely but I know we could easily do half and half. I also am working on turning our sons room into our office area. This could take some time but eventually I hope to be done by July. Right now, those are the only “for sure” items on the list. I am tossing around a few more ideas in my head, but if your husband is anything like mine, you have to bring these up slowly and not overwhelm them to quickly.HAHA! So, for the time being, I am just going to try and make it through the next week or two. I hope to begin blogging regularly again in regards to our meal plans which I know you all ask for me to continue. And I will for sure share our summer adventures here as we do them. I just need life to slow back down and offer me time to breathe.

 

 

The Rough Draft In Our Book Of Life Is Beginning

The rough draft in our book of life has begun and when I say rough I mean rough! Clearly, as you look back, the last time I blogged there was still snow on the ground. That was 10 days ago. Wow, where does time go?

OK, so without wanted to jinx anything here, I want to fill you in a bit on where we are since I get lots of support from friends and family that read here on the blog. I will admit, not proudly by any means but it is what it is…..here goes…..we have not eaten at our dinner table in well over 9 days!!!!! For this I am ashamed. Although, I have managed to precook meals in the morning hours to enjoy when we all do finally arrive home to enjoy them where ever this shall be in our home. I mentioned in the last post we have been apartment hunting with our son. Everyone…this has been SCARY!!!! Coming from a mom who does not always agree with her son…..we have been seeing eye to eye on most things lately and for this I am so thankful. Dad on the other hand is much more verbal and will tell him straight up when he don’t like something. I am more of a live and learn type of mom….however, unless it is just something I cannot look past and must give my input. Anyhow, here’s where we are with this….his one and only application for a place has been submitted and now we wait and pray. I am going with the hope of, if its meant to be it will be. Time will tell.

In between all the evening showings we had scheduled we took weekends and days to get other stuff done. That is when the tools for the other chores did not break while trying to get things accomplished. Frustrating I tell you….simply frustrating!

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I have been searching high and low for furniture and home items for our son in his preparation to move out of our family home and this too has been a battle. Garage sales here are mostly on Thursday and Friday and by Saturday if they are still happening all the good items have been scarfed up already. And Saturday is the only day I have to garage sale since I work. Although, we have lucked out on a few items and dad is lending a hand to fix, repair, and create quite the unique DIY home decor for when the big move finally happens.

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Also, with a well deserved needed break from daily life we escaped for our first camping…ok really it was glamping since technically we slept in cabins and not tents….trip of the year.

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We were joined by my brother,sister in law, and our nephew on this trip for the first time. It was fun…we hiked the entire bluff lake loop at Devil’s Lake State Park here in Baraboo, WI and enjoyed the great outdoors.

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We even dusted off the discs for disc golf while we were here and played a few rounds. When its your first time out for the season we found that things are a bit rusty and you often end up searching out your disc in the trees.

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It was a nice break from our home life chaos. We had a great time, I was sore from the first big hike of the year until Tuesday and I don’t think any of us were ready to wake up and leave Sunday morning. Especially their pup, Coconut, who simply was exhausted by all the outdoor activity from the day. What a cutie….

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For now I will leave you here….but you can bet this shall be continued eventually.

 

 

 

 

Life Lately….

I have come to the conclusion in life that once one matter is handled the next big pressing situation is never very far behind.  It’s sort of like when you come into a bonus amount of money and you never quite know what to do with it….until…..the refrigerator decides to stop working in the middle of the night, the washing machine decides to spring a major leak during your last load of laundry, or you slip and fall on the ice and need an x-ray when your deductible is not met yet. Yeh, thankfully none of this has happened for us recently but just when things starting calming down after Christmas the next big thing(s) starting popping up. Let me catch you all up on life as it is here today.

We have our first glamping (glamorous camping) trip planned for 2018 and I am excited…very excited. Once again we are returning to what I consider is Wisconsins best state park….Devil’s Lake. We missed visiting this park last year and I really missed it. We have hiked Devil’s Lake every year for at least the past 5 years, but last year we skipped it due to other trips we had planned and we just could not fit it in anywhere. Plus, this year we are glamping for the first time ever with my brother and his family. We have cabins rented at our favorite nearby campground and we plan to campfire, hike, explore and celebrate springs arrival. No one will ever be as happy as I am when spring finally arrives!!!

I also am loving that my husband is finally getting some projects done that have been laying around waiting for completion for quite sometime. My brother, one year for Christmas, had some pictures made up into puzzles for us. Once they were assembled my husband thought it would be cool to glue them and make red rock frames to go with the red rock theme of the puzzles. I agreed, then life happened, and they sat there. Well, they are now completed and I love them. Now we just have to figure out where to hang them.

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I have now expanded my cookbook selection to include one more clean eating/plant based cookbook to make meal planning easier. Since cutting out artificial sweetener in all our diets and with the amazing success my husband has had with this change, I am now finding it much harder to make casseroles. And casseroles were my “go to” for an easy make ahead and throw in the oven meal in the winter months. However, I am really finding plant based meals to be fulfilling and much less work than I ever imagined. Plus, my grocery bill is pretty nice also.

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I do have to give a shout out to my other half lately. It’s been one of those winters where everything keeps breaking. Nothing huge but big enough that thankfully with his repair skills he has saved us so much money just this year alone so far. I love having my own maintenance man in the house. Some people marry for money, some marry for love, I married for love and the money he saves us.

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And last but not least, the one big thing I have been working very hard on is our next big trip…the one where we are renewing our marriage vows for our 25th. anniversary this year. Do you know how difficult it is to find a minister that is willing to hike up to the top of a mountain to perform a renewal ceremony for this occasion? Well, I can tell you how difficult it is……VERY DIFFICULT!!!! However, I found one, we have talked with him and explained how important it is for him to make this trek for us, and he assures me he can do this as long as we are not trail runners and plan to race up the mountain. I promised him we could take as long as he needed to arrive safely at the top and for him to grant us his services. Now I just have to figure out a proper tip to give this gentleman since he is clearly putting his life on the line to make our wishes come true. I cannot wait to say “I Still Do” to the one I love in a place that brought such happiness to us the first time we saw it.

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What would you tip the minister in this situation? I would be grateful for your suggestions.

 

Icy Adventure With A New Lunchtime Cuisine To Follow

Our weekend ended up being pretty interesting. Going into the weekend I had plans but they quickly fell apart when a friend got sick, my son ended up almost working Saturday which would ultimately cancel our mother/son date we had planned, and my husband changed up his ice fishing day because of the wind forecast Saturday. Then Friday evening everything fell into place and we had a plan.

Saturday morning I mentioned I wanted to see the ice shoves in Oconto that were being mentioned all over the local news channels. Ice shacks were being swallowed up by this and men were scrambling to move their trucks in time to also not be swallowed up or destroyed by the big ice bergs being pushed around. Sounds interesting I thought, so I had planned to take a drive and go see. However, being the city girl I am, I had no idea where I was headed so my husband said he would also come with and take a look. Last year my husband and son took a drive but I had already made other plans so I did not go. The pictures they brought home were spectacular and I wished I had been there. Now, this year when we arrived my husband said they were nothing like last years on the Winnebago side where they had went. Although, they were still pretty cool looking(literally being it was ice and all).

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The wind was fierce but the sun sure did feel good on our face while we walked around watching the ice melt away.

After that we took a small detour home and went to our favorite spot to see bald eagles hoping they would be out watching the open river. With no luck finding any to view, we walked across the icy bridge to make our way back to our vehicle and head home to pick up our son for lunch.

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This is when the day got even more interesting. Wisconsin does not have a whole lot to offer (in my opinion) in cuisine variety. It’s definitely getting better but other places we have visited have so much more variety than WI but we are slowly catching up. And my son loves to take me to places that offer different cuisine. My husband surprised me by also saying he would join us so it was an unexpected family outing. I finally got to try pho….a Vietnamese soup. We arrived, placed our orders, and were quickly served ultimately the biggest bowl of soup ever.

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Amazing, simply amazing that my husband actually finished his entire bowl. We both ordered the same beef pho which came with basil, bean sprouts, and jalapenos on the side. The serving size bowl was so big I don’t even think I finished half of mine. It was  tasty, very soothing, and definitely a good comfort food type of meal. However, I wish they had smaller versions…since we were not headed home afterwards so I was not able to take the left over amount home with me. Even though I did enjoy the soup I have to say the highlight of my meal was my drink of choice. I ordered a jack fruit smoothie and oh my goodness it brought me to a tropical island somewhere warm while I sat eating my soup with my winter jacket on and a scarf wrapped around my neck. Again, you rarely, if ever, see jack fruit on any menus in WI so I just had to try this. Will I return, yes for sure? Although, next time I will probably have a Vietnamese vermicelli veggie bowl instead, since the soup is simply to much to eat for me personally.

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After lunch my son headed home and my husband and I walked a nearby trail for a few miles before returning home for the evening.

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I am now on a mission to make this pho dish at home and possibly even a Vietnamese vermicelli veggie bowl also. Ahhhh, time to do some research……

 

 

Missing Summer

We are almost to the end of January and about this time every year I find myself really missing summer. Winters in Wisconsin are so long and seem to drag on forever. Shall we relive some summer moments together by looking back at sun filled summer activities? I say YES!

I miss floating on the lake covered in sunscreen and letting the birds fly above my head. (and hoping they don’t poop on me)

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I miss watching my husband catch fish while I paddle my kayak searching for turtles.

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I miss the beauty nature provides us for free.

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I miss camping and sitting around the campfire with good friends while someone else does the cooking.

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I miss seeing the most majestic creatures watch over us from above.

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I miss hitting the trail with my son.

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I miss relaxing on the river as my husband maneuvers us around boulders so I don’t have to get out of my tube.

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I miss finding big beautiful creatures that we literally stumble upon while hiking near the rivers edge.

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I miss sunsets that make you forget all the bad in the world.

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I simply miss feeling alive.

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Hag in there….summer is coming…we just have to all hang on a bit longer.

Happy New Year

First, let me wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! This morning I loved hearing my alarm go off, grabbing a half cup of coffee, and hitting the gym early. Routine…it is a wonderful thing! Tomorrow we are all back to work, a meal plan is made for the first time in over two weeks, and our shelves and refrigerator are stocked with healthy options to begin the year. I have made no great new years resolutions since I already feel I do my best physically when my body allows, I do my best financially when the funds are there, and well, I guess the only thing I can hope for in the new year is good health. Which I really have no control over above and beyond what I already do to stay healthy, so I will let it be what it shall be.

Let’s see, Christmas for us was wonderful. Family…as small as our is, is a wonderful thing. We ate, drank and were merry as many of you were also I would imagine.

We celebrated one birthday during the holiday…our son’s falls the day after Christmas.

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And since he is an adult now, many of his gifts revolved around getting out on his own and having the basics he will need when this happens. Yes, I did buy my son a laundry hamper as a gift. He told me to buy practical gifts which I did….and I LOVED every minute of it;-)

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We also had a milestone happen in our family. Our son bought his first car which we picked up the day before Christmas Eve. These moments make me proud as a mom….slowly he is making a life for himself and spreading his wings. Next, he tells me, is apartment hunting. Oh boy, this brings me back many years. Can I seriously be this old already that my son is ready to move out….wow, where do the years go?

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Lets see, back to Christmas, we ate tons of food….some healthy and some not so healthy…..but all artificial sweetener free. We host here at our home every year and we also pick a theme to celebrate the holiday. This year we decided on a home cooked meal and pajama Christmas. So meatloaf, glazed carrots, and mashed potatoes were on the menu. Birthday cake and ice cream was dessert. Along with some appetizers to share before dinner like this pickled shrimp recipe we tried for the first time which ended up being a big hit.

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I even snuck in a new treat….and I assure you it was well deserved some days.

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With the week off between holidays, I had ample time to restock the freezer with freezer meals. Soup is a favorite for me to freeze and eat later.

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I am killing the early morning workouts….which I am proud to say I missed not a single day through the holidays. However, this is more for my mental health than my physical health during this time of year. It’s a great holiday stress reliever.

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I also have been experimenting with some new recipes from a new cookbook I received from Christmas. I know most people get new recipes online now a days but I don’t have a whole lot of time to search and find recipes. So books are still my favorite way to find new recipes. And my slow cooker is going to be my best friend with two newborn babies starting with in a week of each other here. Oh boy, time will be limited for sure.

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Also over the holiday break I enjoyed an afternoon snow hike with my son and a few feathered friends we saw along the way.

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And let me tell ya, snow adds a whole different spin on hiking….wow, were we tired after about 3 miles of snow hiking an area trail.

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We did this hike while dad ventured out for the first time to ice fish an area lake. I, like always, thought it was too early, our son also thought it was too early, but arguing with a fisherman is pointless so we made ourselves busy while he took his chances with the ice thickness. He came home a few hours later with not a great ice report but enough to be able to limit out on his catch of the day. IMG_0099

That sums up my last two weeks. As I adjust to new children to care for and we all adjust to going back to work, let’s savor the reality that routine is really a nice thing to have. I loved the holiday break but for me personally, normal life is not a bad thing either.