An Offer I Could Not Pass Up

****Disclaimer: I was offered free product for an honest review of my thoughts on this company. All opinions are honest and in my own words.

After a horrible week of chaos before leaving for our Virginia hiking trip I must say life is getting back to a new normal. Is it normal for everything to break, for work to be super stressful, and for plans to change all in the week prior to vacation? Well, this is exactly what all happened here…there was even a point two days prior to leaving I wanted to just forget the entire trip. Thankfully, we did not and we had the best time with nothing….not one single thing going wrong. How wonderful is that?

Anyhow, about two weeks prior to leaving for this trip I was given a diagnosis of something I had a feeling was coming but was avoiding for quite some time. Well, now its time to face the facts and move on. Its nothing life threatening but will be life changing for me for sure. Then, ironically, a week after this I received an email from Swanson Health asking if I would like to take advantage of $50 in free product from their website to try. I took a quick look and noticed a few things that they offer that was on the list of things to try from my doctor. How is that for perfect timing?  So I decided why not give them a try and I placed my order.

That being said, I have been trying to take my doctors advise and learn how to meditate. No laughing now…..because if you know me personally, sitting and clearing my jam packed mind is a funny thought in itself for sure. So far I am not sure if its working or not but I am truly giving it my best shot. I bought some essential oil room/yoga mist and have been trying some sound therapy to help get me to “this place” where I should not be thinking of anything. Again…..trying not to think of anything…..really trying;-) I have also been doing yoga daily to help with joint and muscle pain I have daily which was also suggested. Happily, I am seeing improvement and the days where I forget to do it I find myself reminded by evening with my body talking back. Thankfully 10-15 minutes of yoga is easy and can be done literally anywhere. Along with massage (thanks to my husband) and daily exercise I have been feeling pretty good once again. This mist I bought is pretty nice in all honesty. I am not a big fake scent person so I really love that its an essential oil mist and can be used anywhere. There are many scents available and a little goes a long way for a small price.

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Around our house we have been preparing for winter. Like it or not I feel it coming and its never a good feeling but I am not dreading it quite as bad as other years yet. Our fall chore list is long but we are getting there. I can only dream of owning a home where the summer season stays around all year long and you never have to pack away patio tables, grills, close up windows to the frigid cold breeze, and swap out lawnmowers for snow blowers. I tell ya….its a big dream!!!! With winter always comes cold which means dry air and then comes dry skin and hair. For me, I have been using the same facial moisturizer for a few years and love it so much I purchased another container from this company when I found they offered it much cheaper than I buy it here on the store shelf.

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Speaking of joint health, I never really jumped on the cherry juice bandwagon since its so darn expensive but when I saw that they had a concentrated bottle and the reviews were really great, I gave it a try. So far we have used it in smoothies, taken it straight from a spoon, my son has flavored his homemade kombucha with it, and drizzled it over greek yogurt to add flavor. It’s pretty good but as for any joint health improvement, I can’t say I notice anything yet. Although, I am not sure how much or how long you need to consume it to be able to notice joint health relief either. So be what it may, its not bad used the way I have tried and I may possibly order more here and there.

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The last thing I ordered was something my husband swears by and something I have been taking for years also….Tumeric. I know everyone is talking about tumeric tea online lately but personally I can’t even imagine drinking this spice this way. We have tried a few different brands of capsules(our preferred method) and if you do not eat a bit of food with them you will surly taste tumeric shortly after ingesting it…and sometimes even puff orange powder like puff the magic dragon. Oh, so not tasty!!!! Anyhow, capsules are our way of reaping the benefits of this wonderful spice for inflammation relief and when I saw that Swanson Health offered this also at a better price than we normally purchase it from another company, I immediately knew I had to order some. Plus, at the time of my order they had a special going of buy one get one free. Bonus!!!

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All in all, I was thrilled with this company for a few reasons. Typically, I place and order for our tumeric and it could take anywhere from one to three weeks to arrive. Grrrrr, its never ever been on time. And like I said, even two days without this product and my husband can barely move his fingers since he has such bad arthritis from years of working with power tools for his profession. I also love that they really have reasonable prices and things did not seem be be sold out when I was shopping around the website. Again, an issue with our current vitamin/supplement company. Everything I ordered from Swanson Health showed up in 4 days, with exactly what I ordered, and in tacked. I was very happy and would highly recommend if you are shopping around for a healthy living company you may want to give them a try. Look around their website….they offer many, many different items for the health conscious consumer.

 

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Time To Catch Up

Warning: Long post ahead:-)

Life has been so crazy that I have been struggling to find time to blog. However, that does not mean I don’t have a ton of stuff to share with you all. So let’s briefly catch up a bit today.

I mentioned back a few weeks that we were headed out to waterfall hike. Well, I have 6 waterfall hikes that need to be written and posted on the hiking trails page and hopefully I will get to them before the snow flies but if not, winter is LONG and that will be something to blog about then. For now, I will tell you we had a magnificent time and while my husband and I ventured off alone leaving the photographers do their thing…we came across one of my favorite reptiles ever. I love turtles…even ones that bite!!!!!

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We also had another monthly dinner out with my brother recently and it was his pick on the restaurant so we ended up trying Green Bay’s newest sushi restaurant….Sushi Lover.

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Oh my….I could eat sushi every day…..it was so darn tasty. I loved this place. Everything was made fresh, you can order as many times as you wish, and it is one flat price. My husband and brother can sure pack away their share of sushi…..and I had fun watching them fill themselves to complete fullness from about that half way point of our meal.

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Then we had our first camping trip of the fall season. This time it was only the two of us and it was so relaxing.

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He was in charge of keeping the fire going so I could stay warm.

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I was in charge of meals for the weekend.

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My only request for the weekend was to relax, go out for our favorite pizza at the new location of our favorite restaurant in the Door County area which is Wild Tomato now open also in Sister Bay, and to go out just once for ice cream before the end of summer. All of which we made happen.

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We used to go out for ice cream all the time….heck, we used to go out for anything all the time…but since going artificial sweetener free for his stomach issues we can’t without causing problems. Although, since getting this all under control, it has gotten easier to go out here and there and he only gets a little stomach upset if we go overboard. Some foods and restaurants we have found are fairly safe for him to eat at…like sushi…..this causes little to no problems at all.

While camping we also got in a small two mile hike which was the highlight of the weekend. I love hiking and it makes me sad to know that very soon the ground will be rock hard and frozen solid for months.

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Then I had a mid week day off of work which I packed way to much stuff into. I had three appointments to attend and a date with my son for lunch at a new restaurant in Green Bay near his work.

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That evening my husband and I walked my favorite nearby trail to discuss the results of one of these appointments in a place I feel peaceful.

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There is nothing like a beautiful sunset to reset my mind and make me come to terms with news I don’t like hearing. Although, as with all things, we will move on and deal with what comes our way.

In the food category the fall menu has arrived here in our house. Soups are being made, the last of the fresh veggies are being enjoyed everyday and I am even sneaking in veggies where my husband and son would least expect them. So far no one has complained and they have even asked for more. From salads, to veggies added to pasta sauces for the entire family instead of just myself, and even carrot muffins…..eating clean and healthy is getting to be so much easier.

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And lastly, this past weekend I spent with a friend attending a harvest festival in Door County. I was not sure I could pull off another weekend away but when travel plans were set back a bit for my husband I went for it. We had the best time chatting, shopping, and of course eating.

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That should catch me up to date I believe. Eventually I will get to the details of those beautiful waterfalls but for now I will leave you all with the reminder to get out and enjoy life while it’s still nice. Go hike, enjoy the beautiful fall colors that are starting to appear, and breathe the fresh air……see ya!

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In Search Of Activity Based Friend Time

Life has changed! These past 5 years have really opened my eyes to how much they have changed. Our son graduated high school, my husband has moved up to at least an 80% desk job from being on his feet all day for well over 20 years, and I have found freedom from being a full time parent. You would think all this sounds wonderful but I can assure you it’s been a challenge at best.

Let me explain. I have a small group of friends I talk to on a fairly regular basis. Although, after dedicating my whole life to work and raising our son by being a stay at home working mom I have found it really hard to venture back out in the world and meet active people. Key word here is ACTIVE!!! I have gone to active seminars, met people on trails, and seen people in camping areas with groups of active friends all out enjoying life on the trail, waterways or just simply working out in the gym together. Where these individuals find active friends is beyond me since I have searched and searched long and hard. Plus, I have found living in WI is of no help what so ever. WI is not a very active state and that saddens me to no end.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being with my husband doing the outdoor activities we love to do. However, there are times when either he is busy or I find I just need some friend time instead of husband time. And regardless of what is offered and where it is, my small group of friends are either busy, tired, too hot, too cold, have too much to do, want to but think they can’t, are sick, are scared to try new things etc.. You name it, I have heard every excuse in the book.  Although, they never seem too “enter excuse here”  to want to go out for a meal instead of doing something active. This is nice but not always what I am looking for. It’s as if they have given up on life and I just can’t go there yet. I am not ready to sit, get old, and die. I guess maybe I am not done living yet.

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All this is what led me to join a Meetup group in our area. I will admit, I am amazed by this new active outdoor meetup group that I found and I still have my doubts this will work. I suppose the only way to find out is to give it a chance and see what happens. So now I wait and hope for fun adventures to be invited to and the possibility of meeting new people that aren’t afraid of sweating, getting dirty or just having fun while not sitting on our rear ends.

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I scares me to think that some people are content with life with no adventure. What makes them want to get up every morning if every day looks just like the last. I understand the midwest is not all that great and there are much better areas to live adventurous. However, I live here and I do my best to make the best of a not so great situation….and when I can’t I plan a vacation to a better place. HAHA!

Anyhow, I guess you could say I have given up on asking for company to get out and enjoy life. Now I will just wait for the asking to come to me. Hopefully I will meet new people and have fun all at the same time.

Have you been a member of any Meetup group?

Did you meet like minded people who you enjoy being with?

Do you have two sets of friends…active and inactive?

The Unofficial End Of Summer Is Here

The unofficial end of summer is upon us with this being the Labor Day weekend. I am sad but excited all at the same time. We have a FULL fall season right around the corner.

Recapping this week….basically a mess. Strange happenings all week, numerous appointments we needed to attend to, great weather for outside play during the daytime hours, and a surprise two days off for our son means I heard,” hey mom…..plan something quick!” Which I did and can’t wait to share with you all. HINT: It involves hiking boots and waterfalls:-)

So without more jibber jabber….here is what I did fit in this week for exercise and let’s all go enjoy the last big weekend of summer!!!!!

Saturday: gym: 30 minute elliptical and stretching

Sunday:gym: 30 minute elliptical and stretching

Monday: 2.5 mile rail trail walk

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Tuesday: home gym: 30 minute recumbent bike

Wednesday: home gym: 30 minute recumbent bike and legs workout with weights

Thursday: rest

Friday: rest

Have a safe, fun, and exciting weekend.

Crazy….Maybe….Worth It….Totally!!!!

Training for our hiking trip is going quite well. I am finally starting to feel better in the pain department which I am so thankful for. With that in mind, time is always our biggest issue when we need to step things up in the exercise area for vacations but we get in what we can during the week and I typically give it a good go on the weekends. My husband tags along when he can during the week and weekends we typically do something active one day and one day we spend separate since this trip is more my destination than his. Well, maybe they are all more my destination than his but so far he has not been disappointed so I just go with it.

Here is what my week was like:

Saturday: 6.5 mile trail hike with my husband

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Sunday: gym: 30 minute elliptical and total body weights on the Cybex machines

****This is the first weights I have lifted since injuring myself July 4. I have decided to start on the machines which are not my favorite but I feel are more forgiving if my form is off in any way.

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Monday: home gym: 30 minutes recumbent bike

commercial gym: 30 minutes elliptical and leg lifting on the Cybex machines, along with a ton of stretching

Tuesday: 3 mile rail trail walk

Wednesday: home gym: 25 minutes recumbent bike, floor mat exercises with very light weights

evening rail trail walk for 3 miles

Thursday: rest

Friday: rest

I am really feeling the effects of age, life, summer….I am not quite sure exactly so call it what you wish. Workouts at the gym are a struggle at best during the week but I have to remember I NEVER used to visit the gym in the summer months two years ago. My job is active and chasing kids all day in the summer heat (pure heaven for me) is a lot of work. However, we have trained for far worse trips in the summer heat…like when we did ooodles of stairs for our trip to Sedona, AZ. These were killers but I was so happy we did them when we arrived and started hiking the area.

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As usual I am putting off friends, family, and events to get in what I can in my free time to prepare for this adventure. Some clearly believe this is crazy…..and some few understand its what I love to do. Reaching a destination you think is impossible is the best feeling in the world. And for me, the higher up this destination is the better the feeling of accomplishment is when I reach it.

There is nothing better for me than arriving at the trailhead and seeing this sight… my boys looking up and thinking…..is my mom/wife out of her mind???? And then we begin our hike and eventually reach the top! Priceless and and worth every step I took to get here.

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That’s it for me…our weekend is a bit unorganized at the moment so we’ll all see what plays out when it actually happens. As usual the chore list is always something we could do…..scrub carpets, laundry, cut the lawn and so on, plus I know we have to make a quick trip down to our nearest Trader Joe’s for backpacking food which is no quick trip being its two hours from us. And of course, while we are down there we may just have to make a quick stop in at REI to see what’s on sale. Plus, we have not decided on buying a bear canister yet or winging it and going without. I have been watching the trail condition updates and they are all talking about numerous sighting of bears which is exciting and scary all at the same time. I would love to see one on the trail BUT not searching for food in my backpack!

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As usual time will tell and we’ll see what gets done and what we end up doing all in good time.

Anyone have a bear canister to recommend?

 

Recent Eats….Still Adjusting To Our New Way Of Eating- Artificial Sweetener Free

If you recall back in May of this year we changed up our diets completely free of artificial sweeteners to hopefully help with some of the issues my husband was experiencing with his health. Read about my first update here. The change has been remarkable but you may wonder how this has changed life for me…the main cook in the house. Well, it’s hard at times but I just need to think back at how frustrated I used to be when we would be ready to go somewhere and I would have to wait once AGAIN for him to use the bathroom. So ultimately, I’m happily adjusting.

One downfall I face is we can’t eat out just anywhere anymore.We have no more delivery to our home. No matter how tired I am, how much I don’t feel like cooking or simply don’t want to clean up the kitchen once again….I need to cook 99% of the time. Take for instance the evening we went out with my brother to Red Lobster….my husbands favorite restaurant for crab legs.

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He had plain old crab legs, one biscuit and two chips of the artichoke appetizer with water to drink. He then woke up in the middle of the night miserable and for two days later he was miserable. We think it was probably the biscuit but it could have been the dip or both for all we know. Two days of misery for crab legs….not worth it in my opinion and he agreed after the fact. This is typically how eating out goes. He tries to pick healthy, sometimes can’t resist his favorite things, and sometimes all is good after and sometimes not. However, I will say since this big change we have been venturing out a bit and trying new organic restaurants in our area and we have found one nearby that is a big winner. It has the best ever reuben sandwich and has passed the test since he felt no ill results after we ate here together.

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Salad dressing/sauces are still a battle. I am using more fresh herbs and spices than ever before and experimenting with recipes I find online and some I make up as I go. Some are winners and some are not but I am not giving up yet.

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I’ve even invested in a dressing shaker bottle since making dressings in a jar with a lid tends to be a bit messy which drives me a bit crazy.

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I am giddy to report that I can once again put meal salads on the menu and he can eat them with no adverse effects. I have to believe its the dressings that caused the bad reaction but with his stomach so messed up trying to process the raw veggies that are often in salads it had to be torture on his insides. All this is in the past and we are once again enjoying salads…yeah!!!!

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We have even been using our spiralizer more since before I found it a waste of time being I was the only one eating the veggies I spiralized. Now, I can make a whole dish and we both can enjoy it.

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Casseroles were, by far, the hardest adjustment with the most changes. Probably since sauces often combine the casseroles together and as I said above, sauces and dressings are terribly tainted with artificial sweetener. Cheese and half and half make a great sauce when simmered together with other herbs, spices, and ingredients. I have done this mixture with a number of different dishes and seems to be one of our favorites.Take for instance this dish pictured here.

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The ingredients are simple: deboned roasted chicken, sundried tomatoes puree, garlic, half and half, pasta, kale, and parmesan cheese. Mixed all together makes a fabulous meal and goes a long way to feed a crown…in my case, my family(three adults) and three kids for lunch the next day, plus lunch for my husband once again the next day. How is that for a hearty, fast, easy meal?

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Or chicken piccata with leek and pea pods was also a big hit recently. So yummy, yet so easy to do with a few ingredients. Just the way I like it on a busy weekday.

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And when I am really just not feeling in the cooking mood or simply need a break….I lay out the ingredients, leave directions, and he prepares the meal while I escape to venture beyond to new tasting adventures. I did this once this week with a friend and tried Ethiopian cuisine for the first time. I can’t wait to tell you about this experience in an upcoming post. HINT: It was fabulous!!!!!!!!!!

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All in all, I would say we are adjusting quite well to our new lifestyle of no artificial sweeteners in our food. Was it difficult….yes! Was it worth it….for sure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Weekend Full Of Food And Fun

What an adventurous weekend I had in both the fun and food I was able to experience.Saturday I had plans with a friend to hit up a festival and a flee market both at two separate spots here in the area.

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One ended up being a bit of a flop and one ended up being a big garage sale. So needless to say we were done with both adventures in an hour and half. And at least 30 minutes of this time was spent eating breakfast from a BBQ food truck since our sandwiches were too messy to walk and enjoy at the same time.

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She had a bacon,egg, and cheese croissant and I had a pulled pork sandwich with a poached egg on top with cheese. Mine was good but super messy.

Then, since we both did not want to return home yet….it was only 9:45 in the morning after all…we decided to head to Appleton to hit up World Market an Penzey’s Spices. I love both these stores.

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We also hit up a new boutique back in DePere and found some very unique things. I however, bought nothing. I love knick knacks and stuff to decorate my home but at the same time I hate to dust. So the more I buy the more things I need to dust. Although, it was fun looking around.

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The highlight of our day ended up being lunch. I have been trying to get her here for some time but as usual, life always kept getting in the way. However, this time we made it and wow it was amazing. It’s a deli type restaurant where they serve sandwiches, soups, chips and usually a pasta/grain salad of sorts. Although, in my opinion, the sandwiches are so large that nothing extra is really needed.

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We both had the “Late Night” which is their version of a reuben sandwich. Only this one has pickled red cabbage with cranberries mixed in. It is so absolutely wonderful words can’t describe.

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And then Sunday arrived and I should have gotten out of bed as I did Saturday before anything else got in the way and went to the gym. However, this did not happen. I was tired, bed was warm, and my husband offered to make my favorite breakfast if I stayed home and skipped the gym. That was all I needed to hear and I happily stayed home.

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After breakfast we quickly did some chores and were on the road and headed to the river for a 4 hour float once again. The last time we did this it was so relaxing and refreshing. So we had to get it in one more time before the river turns too chilly for my liking. And without a doubt this time was just as wonderful as the last…..so relaxing!!!

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