From Sunscreen and Bug Spray To Chap Stick and Hand Warmers

Yes, summer is no doubt over here in WI. I have traded my sunscreen and bug spray out for chap stick and hand warmers and I don’t like it!!!! I know I know, I should be used to this by now but it’s no secret I dislike winter with a passion.

Anyhow, I thought I would share with you my first walk in over a month in a forest setting that was on my own free will, not meant for any sort of exercise, and it was simply just to get out, breathe, and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors before old man winter freezes everything into a solid state of miserable.

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We here had a rough week this past week. My husband had some nasty illness that really leveled him. He came home from work one day early to sleep, slept on the couch four nights in a row, ran a high fever with not much relief from any fever reducing medications, and hardly ate much all week. So finally, when he said he was feeling up to doing something, we took a walk. Fresh air never hurt anyone is my thought.

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It was gorgeous in the woods. Trees were all colors and the ground was just as colorful. Never have I seen a purple mushroom like I found on todays walk.

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It felt so good to get out and enjoy a few hours of nothing…..just nature.

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It makes me sad winter is right around the corner. Although, like most things, it will pass. I can just hope it passes by quickly and with not much snow and ice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Weekly Meal Recap: Plant Based Meal Ideas…Plus This Weeks Training Schedule

As promised here is our first documented week of 80% plant based meals. If you missed why this lifestyle change was made you can read about it by clicking here.

Once again this week I was solo from Monday morning on. So some meals were thrown together quickly with very little prep time involved since it was just me.

Saturday: veggie lo mein

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Sunday: farro shrimp with lemon, dill, zucchini, and peas

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Monday: sun dried tomato and spinach casserole with artichokes

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Tuesday: leftover casserole from the night before

Wednesday: braised cauliflower and spinach

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Thursday: leftover braised cauliflower and spinach from the night before

Friday: take out

I am amazed how much easier it is to cook without meat. I never have to worry about trying to remember to take out anything to unthaw and plus not having to cook meat saves so much time in the cooking process. It’s a win win for me in time and health.

And for those of you who are watching my workout schedule for our upcoming hiking trip here is what this week was like.

Monday: rest…..we were up way to early for my husband to catch his flight, so just getting through the day was a workout in itself

Tuesday: morning gym session: 30 minute elliptical and weights

***hills were scheduled also for the evening hours but we had major thunderstorms all night…so we cancelled them

Wednesday:  20 hill laps

Thursday: morning gym session: 30 minutes elliptical and stretching

Friday: rest

Saturday: lawn cutting and chores

Sunday: 3.5 mile hike IMG_8435

All in all a good week. I am keeping up with home life and fitting in workouts the best I can when solo.We have a lot of things being scheduled in our lives right now, so my workouts are the one thing that keep me level headed in all the chaos. This I am thankful for.

 

The Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan-Part 2

It’s amazing to me how much we can pack into one day when it’s all we had in cooper country. We saw so much and explored everything from waterfalls to old abandoned buildings.

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One of the unique places we stopped was an old abandoned mill of some sort. This is typically not something I would explore but our son and my husband had this one their to do list of places to see.

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Directly across the street from this building was a piece of old machinery also left behind for people to explore. I was not game for this adventure…but both my boys went and checked it out up close.

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Then my son, being he has been here many times before, wanted to show mom what this area calls a mountain. Since we have explored and climbed a few real mountains, I always find it amusing what other areas consider to be a mountain. However, elevation is elevation and I love it no matter where I can find it.

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After a full day of beach exploring, hiking, and just seeing what this area had to offer we headed back to the hotel to clean up before heading out to dinner.

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After dinner our son said he was planning on heading out for a picture of sundown, which normally I would have joined him but I simply was just too tired from the day. So I tossed him the keys and dad and I went to bed. I remember vaguely him coming back, hearing him in the hotel room, and the next thing I knew we were all awake and wondering what the heck that earsplitting noise was????? Well, we soon figured it out, I glanced at the clock next to me……3:00a.m…….as our son raced to the door to glance out into the hallway to figure out was this really happening?? Sure enough it was……the fire alarm was blaring and strobe lights in the hallways were flashing like the northern lights!!!! We quickly grabbed our valuables, threw on shoes, and headed outside with the rest of the people.

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Being the town and area we were staying in were not large, it took a bit for the volunteer fire department to show up and thankfully within 30 minutes we were all cleared to enter our hotel once again and go back to sleep. Which is much easier said than done…..take my word for it!

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All in all, it was a great weekend. Some adventures were better than others and I am sure you can pick out which one we could have done without. However, we also learned from some of them…the emergency evacuation to be exact. I would highly recommend visiting this area of Michigans Upper Peninsula if you have the chance.

****To read part 1 of this trip click here.

The Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan-Part 1

This past weekends we visited the Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan….also known to many as copper country. Our son has been here many times with a friend that has a cabin in this area but dad and I have only visited once a few years ago. During that visit we had no time for exploration what so ever since we were touring a college at the time. Which meant this time was strictly for fun and adventure….which we sure had. Here is the first part of our trip.

We left after work Friday evening for the 4 hour drive to our hotel. As the sun set in the sky we were eagerly awaiting the end of a long work day plus the drive to our destination. Knowing that if we arrived late Friday night we would have all day Saturday to explore made the long drive a bit more tolerable.

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We arrived, checked in, and immediately went to bed. We had all agreed to wake early(6:30a.m.) to begin our day Saturday.

On the agenda were a few waterfalls,

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some geocaching,

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and some trail hiking.

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Everything we went for was accomplished and then some, during our day in this area of Michigan. I found that I love Michigans abundance of fresh edible berries all along their trials. Wow, we would never come across all this yummy goodness here in WI.

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I will end here for now but if your curious to see what else we explored in the Keweenaw stay tuned to part 2 next.

 

 

Trails Are Picked Out And Now It’s Time To Train For This Adventure

Recently our son stopped over for a visit and I tossed out to both my boys (husband and son) a suggestion that we really should consider looking at preparing a training schedule for our upcoming trip to Sedona, AZ. Surprisingly enough, both agreed! This brought a small chuckle to my inner self. It’s funny how when mom (me) plans a vacation it takes 10-12 weeks to prepare for this vacation. We know this because after attempting once to do one of these vacations without training….we have all learned the hard way. Training makes what I love to do on vacation so much more pleasant in the long run. IMG_5837

So this is what we came up with. We agreed 10 weeks should be enough time to accomplish what we need. I have already picked out all our hikes, summits, and activities that will take the toll on our bodies. All the rest of the fun should be easy and just plain fun. We know the area already since we have visited once before so we all agreed incline strengthening is the most important.

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Along with some higher mileage walks/hikes added in, this should prepare us for the adventures we have planned. Planning was the easy part….now finding time, energy, and the area where we can do this is the tricky part. Although, I think I have it set. Here is the plan….

First, let me say WI is flat!!!! In the past we did steps to help us prepare at a near by track field. This year, however, we will not be doing those steps. Why you ask??? Simply stated, they are concrete and torture, to put it mildly!

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Plus, we know we will not be boulder climbing, for the most part, like in the past, so a hilly incline to climb up and down numerous times is more what we need. Thankfully, we have a new grassy hill near our home and it will be perfect.

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Second, we know we need to up our mileage from our normal walking/hiking distance. So we have a great hilly trail on the UWGB campus that worked perfectly for our last vacation and we plan to use this same trail again to up the distance for this upcoming trip. Three laps of this trail almost add up to 10 miles which is perfect.

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Plus, we have many rail trails that go on forever. We could easily take our pick of rail trails and just walk until we can’t walk anymore.

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Last, finding time will probably the hardest part. We are planning on twice during the week in the evenings and once on the weekend. Add this with my normal daily early morning workouts and I should be plenty exhausted. Although, I still plan to take Fridays off of all exercise since, after all, it is Friday and every body needs a rest day. If my husband is on the road traveling for work this schedule could get a bit tricky for him. He works long hours on the road so he may or may not miss out on some training days. He typically takes workout clothes to hit up his hotel gym but sometimes this works out and sometimes it does not depending on his schedule. It will be what it will be.

Like usual many people ask us every time if its worth all the work we go through to go on vacation. I can honestly say, no matter how much we dislike the preparation, the reward is so worth it. Anyone that has had a goal and has accomplished that goal by putting in hard work to get there will know…..it is so worth the effort!Mom Cathedral End low logo-1

If your in the Sedona, AZ area and have any recommendations for us let us know. I would love to hear from others what they found to be the best hikes, restaurants, places to explore and so on.

Feeling Almost Back To Normal

This week has been good. We are finally feeling almost back to normal. By this I mean, meals were shared together, exercise routine is back to an actual routine, and peaceful sleep was had all week long.

Let’s start with exercise shall we. Typically, I workout in the early morning hours at our local gym….by early I mean 5:00a.m.. With summer here my job gets much more physical when we can finally get outside and enjoy the outdoors instead of everything indoors like during the winter months. So during the summer I concentrate on making it to the gym twice a week in the early morning, I then bike on my stationary bike the other two mornings, and one day I take off for rest….not from work just from exercise. And then my husband and I have begun walking area trails for about 3 miles after dinner. Add this with many additional steps put on during the day while playing outside chasing daycare kids around and by 8p.m. I am typically falling asleep on the couch.

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As for meals, I finally feel like we are eating regular and not grabbing and going to the next thing on the agenda. If you have been a long time follower you will know that grabbing and going is not easy with my husbands artificial sweetener allergy so this has been a real struggle to keep juggling. Although, I am happy to report we are back to eating regular meals and enjoying the time to sit, eat, and chat about our day. One the menu this week was a new lentil ham soup and BBQ chicken quesadillas. Both turned out fabulous!

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That will be it for today. We actually have plans on the calendar for the weekend…..finally!!!!! Now I am just praying for no rain and sunshine so I don’t freeze since we will be enjoying some water play. It is summer after all, so that means it’s time to enjoy all the rivers and streams Wisconsin has to offer.

 

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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