Unplugged For Five Days….Amazing!

We just finished up five days off from both our jobs and spent the majority of it together…..we so needed this time. Never knowing when or if work travel plans will affect our lives has become a way of life for us. So spending time together when we can is crucial to our relationship. With the bonus of Independence Day falling mid week this year we decided to take the remainder of the week off and just be us. No work, no email, no schedule, no cell phones, no nothing. IT WAS SO NICE!

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Let’s start with the holiday….it was HOT once again. We actually all had off and had planned the night before to disc golf as a family. This quickly fell through when I woke up after a very long night of not feeling well. So I decided to stay home and let my husband and son go alone. They soon returned after only nine holes extremely hot and miserable. Gosh, was I happy I did not go with. The remainder of the day we hung out as a family indoors. It was nice and quiet.

Thursday my husband and I headed to Milwaukee, WI to check out a new mall I have been eyeing up for quiet some time now and of course make a Trader Joe’s trip.

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The mall was a bust…..just not impressed at all. Trader Joe’s was fabulous…..gosh, I wish we would get one closer to us here in Green Bay!!!!

Friday the humidity finally broke and that meant we could have some fun outdoors. Say no more, I was packed and ready to go in less than an hour. Snacks, hydration, tubes, hat, sunscreen, bug spray, and sunglasses.

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We chose to once again float our favorite nearby river in our tubes. I love doing this. It’s so relaxing listening to the birds and just floating along. It took us 4.5 hours to float from the starting point to our end point and it was exactly what I needed. It was hot and sunny the entire river. My husband actually spent more time out of his tube than in it since it was so nice.

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Him being outside of his tube offered lots of exploring of the river bottom.

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The dragon flies were very friendly also. They literally had no fear of us at all.

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The biggest bonus of the day is when we came upon these two beauties. I know the picture is blurry but I did the best I could from my tube on moving water.

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Saturday it was father and son time….which meant mom got some time alone to catch up on laundry, do some house chores, go to the gym.

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I also had time to prepare a meal that actually took a bit of thought instead of throwing something together fast after a long day. Pizza wonton cups (recipe here) and summer squash were a perfect summer dinner. IMG_1281

Sunday again was an early morning rise and shine event since fishing was not all that great Saturday they decided to take the boat this time to their favorite fishing lake and try again. With the heat expected by mid day to be once again high, they left super early in the morning. And since I am a morning person, I went for a 4 mile hike on a local trail before the heat of the day set in.

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Dinner was another cool and refreshing summer meal of Greek salads for everyone.

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We sure had a great few days….some alone time and some family time. Unfortunately, like most good things though, it had to end and it’s now back to work for everyone.

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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.

 

 

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.

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.

 

Anyone Else Waiting For Summer?

You know when all the snow finally melts in your yard, you have made the Spring to do list, you have dusted off the patio furniture and are ready to bring it outdoors, and you are so ready to pack away scarves, hats, gloves, and everything that adds bulk in the winter and then you wake up one morning to another full layer of snow covering everything in sight???? This was me a few mornings ago here in Green Bay! IMG_0877

I was bummed. Yes, I know we have gotten snow before…..many times in April, heck even May, but come on already. I am done with winter. So done. It’s really no joke when we here in the midwest say we have to train to get back into shape for the summer season. Winters are long, boring, we eat comfort food just to stay warm, and then before we know it, we are 10 lbs heavier, our joints hurt, and staying up past 8 p.m. is literally a chore even though the sun is still shining brightly. I keep telling my self it’s coming just hang in there.

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Alrighty, I just had to get that rant off my chest. So this weeks meals turned out to be a disaster…but not on my part. It all began Easter Sunday about dinner time when my husband got the call that he was once again was needed in Tennessee and would be leaving on the 7a.m. flight out of Green Bay. UGGGG, we first thought it was an April fools joke, but unfortunately it was not! So even though I had the menu planned and all the groceries bought for the week, I replanned very quickly, and winged it all week.

Here is what this week was in meals:

Saturday: unwrapped egg roll bowls….they were such a big hit last time I had to make them once again

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Sunday: egg and roasted potato bake with ham along with roasted green beans (Easter)IMG_7009

Monday: here is where the week went down hill…at least in the meal area.

Today we ate pasta salads that I had prepared for both my husband and my son’s lunches for the week.

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Tuesday: I opted to try a jar simmer seasoning I picked up on my last trip down to Trader Joe’s called Masala Simmer Sauce. I prepared this with carrots, chicken, and spinach. It was ok, not great, but coming from a jar it was edible. Would I buy it again? Probably not. IMG_0871

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Wednesday: Out for my monthly dinner with my brother

Thursday: bean burger wraps, chips and salsa

Friday: out

Food prep this week was a bit all over the place. I, like I said above, threw together two different pasta salads for lunches for my boys this week. I also roasted potatoes for a casserole and boiled a dozen eggs for myself  for before my morning workouts.

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I also made up 6 muffin egg sandwiches to toss in the freezer and reheat for fast breakfasts. I love doing this….it so easy and so much less expensive than the store bought premade breakfast sandwiches that have so many other ingredients in them that you really do not know what your truly eating.

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Your Wish Is My Command

If you look up this phrase Your Wish I My Command you will see this definition

Phrase. your wish is my command. (often humorous) Whatever you say you wish for I will treat as a command and do straight away.

Well, this is exactly what happened one Sunday while I was searching Amazon for reasonably affordable doll house furniture…which I will tell you….none of them were reasonable! I was complaining about the price and said in a  frustrated voice, all I need is two beds, a table, and two chairs….and nothing is under $50. And my husband says, how big do you want these things and where are you going to use them? I explained what I was looking to do and before I knew it he was in his workroom constructing me some furniture.

It started with a plan, scrap wood, and a quick trip to the hardware store for paint.

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And construction began.

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Once everything was assembled, it was time to paint the pieces. IMG_0864

A few hours after painting I had two chairs and two beds….table is yet to come.

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And the finished product, by far the most important, was one VERY HAPPY LITTLE GIRL!

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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.