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.

IMG_1699

IMG_1698

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.

IMG_1709

IMG_1701

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.

IMG_1712

IMG_1708

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

IMG_1716

IMG_1717

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Husband Has Been Scared Healthy….And Now We Are Eating Plant Based Meals Almost Exclusively

Yes, you have read that correctly. WE, as in both of us, are now eating plant based meals 80% of the time. And the best part is, it was my husbands request. I still can’t believe it but I am not going to dare question it. It’s a dream come true for this girl!

Let’s begin back about three weeks ago when we got a call that a family member was having some health issues. OK we thought, nothing we all have not been through before…right? Well, those health issues turned major very quickly and then other things happened and wow, it just all went south from there. So needless to say, we have spent way to much time in this waiting room praying with cousins, aunts, and friends the last few weeks. As of today we all continue to keep praying and hoping for the best outcome.IMG_2868

All this along with a few other things made my husband really look at the big picture. This is now two people in his family that have went through the same big surgery and one survived and is doing ok and one if fighting for his life as we speak. Seeing a loved one in this condition is heartbreaking. You feel helpless, angry, and lost all at the same time. After two visits and numerous setbacks, I could see it was hitting home with my husband. Maybe everything I have been begging to change in our diets is worth trying. Maybe I am not just over exaggerating everything I have researched and have studied to keep us as healthy and active as possible as we age. Although, I said nothing…he had enough going through his head at this time. So when I got an email a few days later from him stating he wants to try going more plant based with our meals and also, when possible, cut out dairy, I was ALL IN!!! I did, however, ask what this meant to him and he simply stated, lets try eating meat/fish/chicken only twice a week and the remaining meals he wants all plant based. I knew right then, this was my chance to run with this. He was scared once two years ago with his own father in this same hospital unit, but this time he has been scared healthy.

So, where has this lead us? Well, its only been two weeks since we have begun and I must say I am loving it all so far. However, its been a challenge at times. The first week was great. We were home and I prepared dinner every night with success and no complaints. Here is a picture of my homemade ramen noodle veggie bowls. OMG, it was fabulous and oh, so filling. It was homemade broth with Thai curry and a ton of veggies over plain ramen noodles. YUMMMM!!!!

IMG_1605

The second week was tougher since he was away the entire week for work and was on his own for meals. Although, I did what I always do and made him a care package of meals for the road that he can use either for his lunches or snacks when time is tight or he just gets hungry. The difference this time was his care package was all plant based meals/snacks.

IMG_1620

I am still experimenting with a lot of recipes and ideas and hope to start mealtime blogging once again. I am still meal prepping which I am a firm believer it saves so much time during the week for me. This week, for instance, I prepped peppers/carrots for hummus dipping, zucchini, leek, and bok choy for a veggie lo mein I am making. and fresh fruit and eggs whites for breakfast.

IMG_1617

IMG_1618

Right now flying solo at home, working, and training for our upcoming hiking trip leaves me very little time to blog. I will say, I am hopeful this way of eating sticks since I hope to never have to live the pain and agony we are living right now watching our loved one fight for his life. I will do my best to start taking pictures of meal time and share them with you whenever I have a moment.

I truly believe you are what you eat and food is medicine.

 

Returning To Daily Workouts Finally

After being in pain since July 4th bad enough to have me….yes me seek a medical opinion, I am please to say I have finally returned to my daily workouts.Light, easy workouts but hey, we all have to start back somewhere. Right now I am doing no weights at all since technically every child I lift during the day is like lifting weights. I been doing mostly cardio and stretching with of course some trail walking thrown in the mix. And it feels so WONDERFUL to be back!!!!! There are not many things in life that I would miss if it was taken from me suddenly but exercise is definitely one on the top of my list next to my husband and son.

I should remind you that it was a crazy busy week with everything on the calendar this week. So I do feel pretty good about what I did accomplish since it was not an easy task to fit it all in. Having my clotheslines full of workout clothing once again is a wonderful sight;-)

IMG_8929

A look at my week in workouts:

Saturday: gym:30 minute elliptical and stretching

Sunday: gym: 30 minutes, elliptical, leg weights and stretching

Monday: home gym: legs workout and 30 minute recumbent bike, along with some foam rolling

Tuesday: 3 mile trail walk (I was a bit hung over from our night out and my new favorite drink….read about it here)

Wednesday: home gym: legs workout and 20 minute recumbent bike

gym: 30 minute elliptical and stretching

Thursday: home gym: legs workout and 20 minute recumbent bike

Friday: rest

Early morning workouts for me are now key to getting it all in before my body says your done. My brain and body simply are not seeing eye to eye so I do what I can when I can and mornings are my time to give it all I got.

As for our weekend ahead…..anything could happen truthfully. We are hoping to float a river again and relax a bit like we did here. Plus, I have a full day planned with a friend to a nearby festival, farmers market, and lunch at a new restaurant I have been waiting to get her to. If the stars all align properly this should all happen….and if not I will take what I can get.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Recent Random Thoughts

Hi, how is your week going? Mine is good….and almost over, yeh!!! Just a few more hours to go.

With no great workouts to share with you all since I am mostly just walking area trails and riding my bike giving my body time to heal, I thought I would share some random things today. My brain is often like a never ending trail to nowhere and sharing it sometimes helps relieve some of the “pressure” shall we say.

IMG_8917

I’ve been up to a lot but at the same time not so much….is that possible? Makes no sense I know but that is how I feel lately. Summer has not been what I thought it would be and now we are into August and we all know what that means….it’s almost over! It’s weird to think my mind still runs on the school calendar when my son has not been in grade school for years already. How do us moms break out of this and just take every day as it is….I haven’t figured that out quite yet but I am working on it? Which is why, as of the end of August, I consider summer over. However, I know in my mind we have plenty of nice days left in September and even some in October but ultimately it comes to an end so quickly.

IMG_4575

Speaking of September and October, I do believe I have over booked all our weekends once again for these two months. Fall is the best time in my opinion to hike, camp, explore the area and enjoy harvest time. Bugs are dying down some, colors start to appear, veggies are plenty, and it’s cooler so camping and hiking are much more pleasurable. Now I just have to find a way to tell my husband I only left him two weekends for hunting in the fall months….he may not like this very much!

Anyhow, let me tell about some treasures I have found lately. First, I must give a big shout out to Fresh Thyme Farmers Market here in our area. We have fell in love with their meat department and if you know me, that is saying A LOT! I am not a meat lover but my husband is. I have a hard time buying it, preparing it and eating it but my attitude has changed a bit since this store has opened. We are loving their meats.

IMG_8766

IMG_8919

I have also found an essential oil room freshener that I love and does not cost an arm and a leg. (I paid $7) I hate chemical fresheners and don’t want the overwhelming smell of a plug in oil freshener since I don’t want the aroma all the time. Which makes this spray perfect and I can use it when I wish and not gag when I spray it in my home like the chemical fresheners cause me to do. I know it says it can be used as a body mist also but I have not gone this route…I strictly use it for our home and vehicles.

IMG_8928

Once again I am attempting to grow my green thumb and I am going to try and grow a prickly pear plant or two. We fell in love with this fruit in Arizona and I recently kept the seeds from one we purchased here in WI. I would bet it’s not going to grow and if it does it may not survive but I have to give it a try. Here’s hoping for a touch of the southwest in good old Green Bay. On the flip side, if I do not succeed at growing one myself I can always plan another trip for fresh fruit. I know none of my family would object to returning to this area.

IMG_6047

Speaking of vacations, we are inching our way closer to our next one and I cannot wait to step foot on the A.T.( Appalachian Trail) once again. Back in January 2017 I made this dream come true and finally got to log some miles on the A.T. with my husband and son. Our next trip will bring us back to the A.T. only in a different state and I plan to log even more miles and hopefully make more wonderful memories. However, this time it will be just the two of us since our son recently started his new job and is not bale to join us for this adventure.

IMG_6888

That shall be it for today. Enjoy your weekend…..that’s my plan.

 

 

 

Some Of The Best Places Are Ones We Stumble Upon

While we were in Wallace, Michigan visiting the De Young Family Zoo(read about it here if you missed it) we were hoping to stumble upon a park nearby that we could enjoy a quiet picnic lunch together at. So we drove down a nearby highway thinking we were headed toward lake Michigan and were surprised when we realized we had turned the wrong direction. Which we then turned around and passed a sign that said public boat landing on a flowage.

IMG_8914

Now, if you know anything about my husband, he knows just about every boat launch in our area. However, in Michigan, he knows very little but said that the ones in WI sponsored by WPS are usually pretty nice so why not check this one out in Michigan. I had no reason to complain since I know very little about any of them and plus, I was hungry and wanted to eat lunch. So we ventured down this gravel road and came upon this.

IMG_8886

Wow, gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!! A big lake, with a nice gravel lot, and a porta potty. And the best part….not another vehicle in the entire lot except for us. We both used the bathroom facilities and then ate our picnic lunch of chicken salad on pitas, fresh apricots, prickly pears, and Larabar caramel seal salt bites.

IMG_8884

Oh, I must mention, if you have not tried this flavor if Larabar bites yet, you must….they are fabulous. Good luck eating only one serving…..the two of us finished the whole bag!

IMG_8784

After lunch he knew I spotted the grassy trail we passed off the gravel road that seemed to lead around the lake and suggested we go check it out.

IMG_8902

Now, keep in mind, we were not in any way prepared to hike today since I was suppose to be taking it easy and letting my abdominal muscle heal. However, I saw the trail, he saw that I saw the trail, and my hiking boots are always in my SUV just in case….you never know when I will come across a trail I must explore. So after lunch we both sprayed down with more sunscreen and bug spray which also never leaves my SUV and we headed out for a look where this trail led to.

IMG_8907

It quickly got much more wooded and the trail turned from grass to dirt. And soon we found ourselves surrounded by big tall trees as far as we could see.

IMG_8912

IMG_8910

I asked my husband if he felt we could possibly see a bear here…and he said it was very possible which made me stop and look around. One of my bucket list things to do is to see a bear in the wild while hiking someday. Although, today was not the day since we soon found ourselves swatting at numerous bugs. Plus, not having any hiking supplies, backpack, bug nets, water or bear spray we decided it was probably best if we turned around and head back to the parking lot where we left our vehicle.

We walked probably about 1.5 miles on this trail with no end in sight. You all know what that means…..we will return and come better prepared next time for sure. I never start a trail I can’t finish. And next time maybe we will stumble upon a bear…who knows.

All in all it was a very beautiful place to share a lunch and explore. Never be afraid to stop and take that turn if you not sure what’s down that road. You never know what you may miss by passing it by.

IMG_8891

IMG_8899

IMG_8888

IMG_8895

Following Doctors Orders…..Sort Of

As I mentioned last week, back on July 4th I pulled a muscle in my abdominal area and after suffering for two weeks went to see my doctor. He examined me and agreed at this point that I was right and it is what I said it is…a pulled muscle. And then he said to do the normal pulled muscle regimen…..rest, no lifting, ice/heat, and take an anti inflammatory. As always I left thinking yeh, whatever.

Which brings me to my gripe….I am sorry, but you know, medical professionals will ask you things like where it hurts, then what you do for a living, then examine you, and then tell you what to do without even thinking back to what they just asked and the patient then told them. In my case, I hurt here(showing him with my hand), I care for multiple children during the day telling him one does not walk yet, and that I have been taking an anti inflammatory med for two weeks! After hearing him say no lifting, ice/heat the area three times a day, and rest…..I simply left thinking ok whatever!!!! Clearly he has no clue!!!!

So my weekend arrived and I was bummed. It was gorgeous outside and I did my best not to lift, bend, strain and such the rest of the week. I even iced/heated the area in the evening for a bit before bedtime. Although, with the weekend here I could surly do as directed by the doc with no kids and all this extra time on my hands. However, I still was just bummed…who wants to sit home on a weekend with the sun shining and rest…ice…heat…and rest more. Not me and my wonderful husband could see it was killing me. He then made a suggestion and I was dressed and ready to go in minutes. I was still going to rest, get heat from above(sun), coolness from below(water), and I took meds before we left. He did all the work and we had a wonderful time.

We floated our first ever river in inner tubes instead of any other watercraft we own and it was FANTASTIC!!!!!

IMG_8718

My husband did everything. I just needed to board my tube and sit back and relax. Which is exactly what I did and I must admit, I did it fairly well.

IMG_8744

We saw eagles, fish jumping along side of us, turtles, and we even ran into some friends of ours on the river.

IMG_8748

IMG_8752

IMG_8732

IMG_8730

IMG_8759

I never once left my tube the entire 3 hour float. This was a first for me and I guarantee it will not be the last time I do this. It was so relaxing yet we were still outside doing something fun. I did exactly as my doctor ordered. I rested!

This is one of the nicest things about WI…..water is everywhere and it only takes a short drive to reach it. Plus, I am married to someone that knows almost everything about just about every body of water there is in the state. Thanks honey for making my dull Saturday much more fun.

Sometimes In Life We Must Learn To Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable.

Can you believe July is almost over with? Sad but true…summer is quickly coming to an end. I still have not taken my SUP out on the water since I am still suffering from a sore stomach muscle(hopefully). And kayaking for us has been very minimal this summer. It’s funny to see how we have changed over the past few years. We used to whitewater kayak every single weekend. Have we now grown up? No, I would not call it that so much. I would say life has just changed dynamics and time and logistics plays a big part in what we do now. River kayaking takes two vehicles, a nice day, and many of our kayaking companions were younger and have since all gone off to college or are in the pursuit of life as it should be. Do I miss river kayaking? Yes, at times. However, I do have my doubts I could still do it with the changes I have experienced since having abdominal surgery in Jan. 2016. I do not have much strength in my core at all and typically suffer for days when I paddle a calm lake. I highly doubt I could fight current in a river much less add some rapids on top of it.

Sometimes in life, we must learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. I have come to terms with what I have been left with after this surgery. Well…. for the most part. It’s not like I had a choice in this whole matter but it has changed me quite a bit. It seems like my whole life is a matter of, I used to do that and now I do this instead. I am thankful for the fun I can still have and don’t dwell on the things I can no longer do. I’ve learned to be thankful for each day and to make the most of the moments of fun I do have. It saddens me to see people I know always thriving for long range plans and missing out on what’s right in front of them at this time. I have learned the importance of NOW, not later, since who really knows if later will ever come.

On that note, here is what my week was like for exercise with a very sore stomach muscle. So sore that I sought out a medical opinion mid week. Which if you know me, medical opinions mean very little but sometimes it is needed. At least the doc and I agree at this point to give it a bit longer…time will tell what comes next.

Saturday: 3.25 mile hike on the UWGB loop

IMG_8621

Sunday: 3.7 mile hike on the Terrell’s Island breakwater trail

IMG_8678

Monday: 3.0 mile rail trail walk…I saw my first albino squirrel today

IMG_8692

IMG_8694

Tuesday: rest….visit to the doc for my stomach pain made me cancel exercise tonight

Wednesday: legs workout in our home gym and 1.5 mile solo trail walk (I had a time limitation tonight…so I had to be quick)

IMG_8699

Thursday: 30 minute recumbent bike in our home gym and legs workout

Friday: rest

That should do it for me this week. Have a great weekend everyone!