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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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.

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

As I Turn Another Year Older I Have A Few Wishes

Recently I celebrated a birthday….a very low key birthday just as I like them to be. However, I did make a few birthday wishes…some of which may or may not come true. Here is what I wished for…

I wish for good health for my whole family.

I wish for peace.

I wish for winter to be over and done.(We received 5+ inches of more snow on my actual birthday….wish fail!)

I wish for kids to feel safe at school again.

I wish for parents to put down their phones, close their laptops, and turn off their televisions to be able to LISTEN to their children.

I wish for real, healthy, chemical free food to feed our families.

I wish for families to make sharing a meal around the dining room table a meaningful event again.

I wish for people of every race, color, and religion to look past these three things and just be together as one.

I wish for equal rights for women.

I wish for calorie free chocolate.

I wish for better healthcare for everyone.

I wish everyone would learn the number on the scale does not dictate healthy or unhealthy.

I wish for three day weekends.

I wish people would stop thinking so hard and just live in the moment.

I wish for more time in a day.

I wish for a self cleaning house.

As you can see, I, like many of you, could probably wish forever and some wishes may and some may not come true. At any age I believe it’s better to just make everyday count and live everyday as it could be the last. You really never know…so why not be happy now instead of trying to be happy later.

 

Cabin Fever…..This Is Real People!!!

They say a broken heart is a true condition some people suffer from. I also believe that cabin fever should also be on the list of real diagnostic conditions. For me, and I know many others feel this way also, cabin fever is real. And the past two weeks it has been pretty severe. My moods are all over, my energy level I need to dig deep for, and my sleep is some nights great and some nights not so great. And when I listen to the weather…..well, it’s normally best not to listen to the weather.

Even though temps lately have been tolerable, I know living in WI the weather can turn back to full blown winter in a matter of hours so I try not to get to excited too early.  However, that didn’t stop me from taking my whole gang outside to play for the first time in months. Oh, it was glorious!!!! And it also gave me a big case of cabin fever!!!!IMG_0513

Like I said, I have been struggling and I needed to make a snap decision to turn life back around and get some air. All this took was a bit of thought, a quick email to my husband that I needed a break from life, and a few things thrown into an overnight bag…..and I was off on an overnight adventure to find myself again. Saturday morning I quickly threw together a penne pasta casserole for Sunday when I returned home to toss into the oven for dinner. This way I would not need to hurry home for any reason….and walla we were off to find sunshine, fresh air, and hopefully open water and not ice bergs. IMG_0520

Like usual, I chose the destination and I wanted somewhere I had never been before. I also knew I needed to be around water(two places that bring me peace are one around water and  two atop mountains…..WI has a ton of water and no mountains so my options were limited) and I needed everything in walking distance since I hate driving in strange cities. I made some strict rules for my husband to follow since he asked to join me in my 24 hrs. of solitude…..no job talk, I get to choose all the restaurants, I get to walk as far I my body will let me, and I get control of the remote control when we finally do decide to rest. He happily agreed and then was allowed to join me in my adventure.

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My destination ended up being Port Washington,WI. I had never been here and neither had my husband. IMG_0558

Upon arrival, it was sunny, gorgeous, and the ice had all melted and left open water and miles and miles of harbor walk for us to enjoy.

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We walked mostly paved walkways but we also did climb some pretty big boulders to make our way out to some of the lake markers that I don’t know know if we should have but we did anyhow. There were no Do Not Enter signs but clearly no one else was taking this route except us. It felt so good to be alive and breathing fresh air again that I really did not care if we would have found the game warden/or the dock master waiting for us when we returned.

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We explored for miles…..we saw so much beauty and I even got to sit on one of the piers for a bit and just let my mind clear itself.

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We paid tribute to a fellow kayaker by climbing to the top of his memorial gazebo which personally, could not have been placed on a better part of land. It overlooks where he lost his life and this is somewhere that can honor him and his love for paddling forever. Being a kayaker myself, I can truly see why he was paddling the waters of Lake Michigan….so gorgeous.

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After all this walking, more sunshine that I have gotten on my face in over 6 months, and even a bit shopping on the historic street next to our hotel….we were tired. We checked into our hotel located right on the harbor walk and walked to dinner before turning in for the evening. And believe it or not….I could not find a single thing on television to keep my interest so I handed over the remote control to my husband with a kiss goodnight….and that was that.

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I will soon fill you all in on where we all ate and the absolutely fabulous meals we had in this area of the city. We also already have plans to return as a family. Only next time, fishing poles, tackle, cameras, tripods, picnic blankets, and coolers will all be added to the packing list. Maybe even a few kayaks, paddles, and PFD’s.

 

 

Sometimes In Marriage You Must Agree To Disagree

Sometimes in marriage you must agree to disagree. This is always what I have believed. Just because your married to someone you love does not mean you have to have the same beliefs and thoughts. And I can assure you, in our marriage, we disagree about a few things but this one main topic I was determined to win….it all started about 8 years ago. Our disagreement was and still to this day about dishwashers.Seriously, not money, not where we vacation, not lack of communication….simply dishwashers! I feel they are the most useless appliance in a household. Here is where this all started.

Twenty-two years ago we bought our house and it came with our first ever dishwasher. I was excited.Then maybe two years after it started to leak. And sometimes finding a leak in a dishwasher takes awhile, so by the time you figure it out you have floor damage….thankfully we found ours fairly quickly. We repaired this one, this time. Then a year after this the entire dishwasher was junk for some reason that I don’t recall. OK, so we go buy another one. Four years after this one is purchased, this one is junk. I even called a repair man….which let me assure you, rarely happens in my house since my husband can fix almost anything. This guy, the repairman, assures me it is junk and tells me to buy a new one. We buy another dishwasher. Then, like always, while my husband is traveling for work this dishwasher also springs a leak. I call him, tell him, and he says I will look at it when I get home. OK, I stop using it and wash dishes by hand until he returns. No big deal! Well, he traveled for two weeks with work and I really learned that doing dishes was seriously not that bad. I could wash them, they would dry quickly, and I could have them all put away in a few minutes…..compared to the hour it took for the dishwasher to wash, dry, and then be emptied. That is after you find at least one, usually more, dishes that did not get cleaned. OMG, this used to drive me insane….I remember it like it was yesterday.

So this is where the argument starts…..he got home, looked at it and said, oh I can fix it it’s no big deal. I said, you know what, I don’t want it fixed. Let’s just do dishes by hand since it’s so much faster. He looked at me like…what…are you serious…or just crazy??? I laughed and said….don’t fix it, because if you do your wasting your time, I am not going to use it anymore anyhow. And he knows not to second guess me, what I say I mean with all my heart and soul. I was done being the dishwasher queen….I was now converted to the dish washing queen. So he did as asked and left it.

And here we are today, after getting a quote from a professional to remove the dishwasher and make it back into storage space a few weeks ago….which my husband is the one that told me to get this professional quote, I did as I was told. I knew exactly what would come of this but I did what he asked. I then emailed him at work with the quote and waited patiently for his response. I would love to repeat what he sent me but let’s just say this is what has been happening in my kitchen since this email.

It began with a plan scribbled out by MY personal repair man…my husband!

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Then we hashed around a few ideas and before I knew it the dishwasher was out of it’s hole and was history.

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Wood was cut, drilling was happening, and saw dust was now starting to cover my house.

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That all took about 3 hours on a Sunday. Then it was time to go back to work for the week and I was left with a hole for the time being.

That is until an ice storm happened on a Tuesday where both my husband and son were home from work for the day……however, I still had to work.(Remember: I work from home with my in home daycare)

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You can only imagine that I knew what he would want to do on his day off….which was work on the cabinet. Which meant that I would have to try and keep children out of his way and still function in the kitchen during breakfast, lunch, and snack times. Ugggg, this would be like me trying to make a chocolate cake with icing and sprinkles on his work bench while he is trying to work. Yeh, not a good thought but we made it work. Thankfully, he loves children and has learned how to have an enormous amount of patience from having so many in our home for so many years.

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He even made time for a quick break taken at snack time to keep his “little supervisor” happy since he promised her he would make popcorn after nap. Plus, this snack takes a good amount of time to eat with little fingers which meant he managed to get all but the staining done on the new cabinets on his day off.

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The finished results are wonderful. I am so excited to have additional storage in a spot that has been wasted space for so many years. It’s been a long debate in our house…one that I would not budge on. I will never be the owner of another dishwasher.

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As for the argument of whether or not we need a dishwasher……apparently not!