Mother Nature May Be Testing Me!

 

This week was a test from Mother Nature and clearly I am not happy about it. Wisconsin has been so chilly this week. Tuesday I found myself with a sweatshirt on, windows and doors all closed, and I was shivering in my own home…..AND IT”S JUNE!!!!! Now, that is not funny!!! The worst thing came when I turned on the news and heard the southwest region like Nevada, Utah, and Arizona (my favorite states to hike) were having a record heat wave. I simply wanted to cry…..like really cry:-(

Speaking of which, I actually just told my husband I was really feeling the need to hike a mountain lately. Is that odd or what? Some days I am content with the elliptical at the gym and some days I really need to push my body just to make sure I still have what it takes to do what I love. And let’s face it, there are no mountains in Wisconsin that could even come close to one in the southwest so he knew exactly where I was going with this statement. He simply looked at me when I said this and smiled. I guess that means he is not against a possible trip but then again, I honestly still can’t decide where to go back to….Utah or Arizona. We all agree, we have unfinished business in both states so time will tell where we end up. For now, I have to concentrate on our next destination….McAfee Knob and the Shenandoah National Park. Which, rightfully so, is a mountain I plan to hike and another bucket list destination I hopefully will be able to remove from the list in the near future.

For now I guess the elliptical, kayaking, and outdoor fun will have to be enough to keep me happy. Plus, after all, eventually it will get warm again here in Wisconsin….right???? Summer did officially just begin.

Here is look at what I did to increase my body temperature to a happy degree this week:

Saturday: kayaking the Chain O Lakes….paddled and swam for 3.5 hours (if you missed it read about it here)

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Sunday: gym: 30 minute elliptical

Monday: morning weights in the home gym, 1.5 mile walk with my daycare kiddos through a nearby wooded area.

Tuesday: home: morning weights

gym: 30 minute elliptical

Wednesday: morning weights in the home gym

Thursday: yoga at home

gym: 30 minute elliptical, weights, and stretching

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Friday: rest

After my post this past week regarding how hard it has been to remove artificial sweeteners from our daily diet, I received many questions what a daily day of food looks like for my husband. I have decided to try and document 2 days worth of food and post my findings in the near future instead of addressing each and every question. However, this may take a week or two to complete. I, for the most part, know what he eats in a day since I prepare his breakfast, pack his lunch for work daily, and dinner is eaten together. The hard part will be to remember to take a picture of the food and then find the time to write the post regarding his daily meals. Just know, I am working on it and hopefully all of you suffering with the same symptoms get as much relief as he has. Life is so much better when you feel healthy.

Have you been to either Utah or Arizona hiking?

If so, which is your favorite state?

Why?

Paddling The Chain O Lakes in Waupaca, WI-Summer 2017

We finally made it to my favorite place to paddle…. Waupaca, WI and the Chain O Lakes. Upon waking up Saturday morning we had originally planned to head to Door County.  Although, after watching the weather forecast, I quickly changed my mind and suggested we head to Waupaca. You see, when its hot here in Green Bay then Door County is typically 20 degrees cooler and that would put their temps right about 70-75…..too cold for me to enter the water. And I had my heart set on paddling and doing some lake swimming. I suggested this quick change of plans to my husband and he said….let’s do it! So we did!

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Upon arrival, we were not surprised to see some very large trees down between the chain of lakes since we saw some big trees along the highway while driving. However, everything down and in the path of the lakes is easy to get around in both kayaks, canoes, and standup paddle boards.

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As usual, I go to paddle/swim and my husband never forgets his fishing pole. Three casts in and he caught his first northern pike of the day. It was going to be a good day;-)

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Since we arrived by 9:30 Saturday morning the parking lot was still easily doable and I made my way immediately to the public dock on Marl Lake to get in my swim I was hoping for. Marl is probably my favorite lake here…..it’s crystal clear and has the most turtles which I love. However, the public dock where we beach our kayaks to swim fills up quickly on nice days so I wanted to get this in before it was too busy.

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Next, it was time to make our way back through the water path to another one of the lakes.

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At this point we passed by where we were parked and noticed that the number of people starting to show up had nearly tripled. Wow, they just kept coming and the lot was nearly full with cars, trucks, and trailers.

Making our way through Beasley Creek was once again a pain in the butt as always. We were hoping with the amount of rain we have had in the area lately that there would be enough water to paddle the entire creek but no luck. Although, this time we planned ahead just in case and my husband grabbed a piece of kayak strapping and threw it in his kayak. This way I held his boat, stayed in mine, and he pulled me and his kayak through with little effort.

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I enjoyed the ride and captured a beautiful hawk hiding out in the trees right next to the creek edge.

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Arriving at the next lake in the chain he again caught a fish after a few casts and this time it was a nice bass.

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Our entire day was a success. No rain, abundant sunshine, warm water, and great fishing. And I even had my first swim of 2017 in a lake…..it was a great way to spend a Saturday.

 

 

My Definition Of A Successful Week

Ahhh, the weekend is finally here in a few short hours. Anyone else just need a weekend….I sure do.

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This week I really changed things up in my schedule and it has brought me some great success. For one, I began working out in the early morning in our home gym before my daycare children arrive. Summers for me are exhausting to put it mildly and by nap time I am pooped out which is normally when I would have my first workout of the day….my second being after dinner in the evenings so my husband can join me. Well, lately I have been waking up sore and quite miserable…..especially after street walking the evening before for our normal 3 miles. So Tuesday when I woke up…..I felt like &$#@, and I said to myself,”Karen, you know how to fix this…go downstairs and stretch, move, and exercise!” So I did and let me tell you…..I felt amazing the remainder of the day. And since this was such a great feeling, I did this every morning the rest of the week and have decided to continue doing so. Moving my body is always the best medicine…..how could I forget that?

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Speaking of street walking…..I have been walking for well over 10 years now on a very regular basis for three miles minimum. This is how I began my weight loss journey way back when and this is still what brings me the most peace. However, the past three years or so it is also what brings me the most pain in my joints. Let’s face it, I am not getting any younger and my joints are telling me this every single day.  After Monday evenings walk with my husband I was miserable and said to him that I do believe my days of black top/concrete exercise are over. Facing reality for some is difficult…..for me it’s more about feeling better than anything. I can walk forever on dirt/crushed gravel and wooded trails but give me concrete and I would have to say no if its any great distance. At this stage of life it’s more about heart health, stress relief, and staying healthy…..not about mileage. And lets face it, even though the street is very convenient, close to home, and requires no driving to get to to exercise….trails are all around us and they offer so much more than just joint pounding pain on a hard surface. A great example would be this trail on Tuesday evening….exercise, wildlife, and veggies….who could ask for anything more.

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My entire week in exercise ended up being this:

Sunday: gym workout on the elliptical

Monday: 3 mile street walk, weights in our home gym

Tuesday: 2 mile trail walk, 30 minute recumbent bike and weights in our home gym

Wednesday: weights in our home gym, 30 minute recumbent bike at home

Thursday: weights in our home gym, cut the lawn

(***I love lawn cutting but rarely get the pleasure since I work later than the rest of my family and I can’t start our lawn mower on my own. Today I got done working early…so I jumped at this chance to cut the lawn)

Friday: weights in our home gym

All in all it was a successful week. Workouts were great, body feels good, food journal is looking good, and meals were mostly spent eaten outside on our porch…..which means summer is in full swing. We even had the pleasure of sushi one evening right after a big thunderstorm. If that don’t spell summer….I don’t know what does.

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What’s your definition of a successful week?

How have your workouts changed over the years?

It’s Cooler By The Lake

As life would have it high heat and humidity in WI bring the risk of sever thunderstorms which brings a quick change of plans. So what do we do to escape the heat but still be outside, we head to the lake….Lake Michigan that is.

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Originally, we had plans to paddle the chain of Lakes in Waupaca but quickly made a change since the sustained winds were 30mph or higher and thunderstorms were a possibility. We have been there, done that before, and we were not willing to relive this possibility again. However, it was a weekend, the sun was shining, and it was HOT! Which meant I wanted to be outside where I am happiest, so my husband suggested we head lakeside and tour lighthouses and walk the piers since the waves would be fun to see. I was all in!!!

We started in Kewaunee, WI but were quickly disappointed to find the lighthouse was under construction and the pier was closed.

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We did see a wedding just finishing up lakeside. What a gorgeous place to say I love You!

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Being we have been here many times before, we also brought the watermelon rind from the watermelon I cut up before leaving home and grabbed a few carrots to feed to the deer at a local wildlife park in this area. They seemed to enjoy the cool treats.

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Next we headed to Algoma, WI and had lunch at a place my husband has eaten at numerous times for business lunches but I have only visited once with a friend for coffee. Wow, what a fabulous lunch we had. They have an enormous menu, indoor and outdoor seating(with blankets provided since it’s always cooler by the lake), and some wonderful desserts which we did not indulge in sadly.

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After lunch we visited the Algoma pier which waves were crashing over so hard that we were also not able to walk to the end. Although, the view was quite spectacular and it was much colder…..87 at home….64 in Algoma! BRRRRR!!!!

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Even the pelicans seemed to be struggling in the high winds.

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Our last pier of the day was Sturgeon Bay. This is always my favorite. It’s so beautiful.

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While here we even got to witness a “not so wise” family attempt to take on the waves with their boat and quickly decided it was too much to handle when the turned back around shortly after.

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Thankfully, the coast guard boat never had to leave the dock and rescue them. However, whether they know it or not, on shore they had quite the audience watching them attempt this crazy stunt.

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And that was our Saturday…..still spent outside but at times I did have to wear my jacket.So if your looking for a break from the heat and humidity you can never go wrong heading to the lake shore and exploring the area. It has so much to offer… just don’t forget a light jacket.

As for Sunday, much of the same weather was expected so I stayed home and did some things of my own and my husband and son headed out for a quick fishing trip. Successful fishing trip it was…..here is what they brought home. WOW!!!!

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Summer Fun At The Milwaukee County Zoo

Are you looking for something to do in WI this summer? For a full day of fun you could visit the Milwaukee County Zoo. My husband and I used to take our son here years ago and recently we decided to go as a couple.

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It has been at least 6 years since I last visited this zoo and I was quite amazed at the difference now compared to back then. First, let me say gooood jobbbb to all the employees today….the zoo is much cleaner than it ever used to be. Very noticeable and nicely kept.

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It took us about 4 hours to see the entire zoo and we did none of the specialty rides or attractions except for the special exhibit that was happening during the time we were there. So I would bet a family with kids could literally spend an entire day here if they wanted to explore the entire zoo.

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Upon our arrival it was raining so we choose to do all the inside exhibits first where you walk between building viewing animals.

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Which worked out perfectly since the rain stopped right before lunch time which meant we could then do all the large outdoor exhibits without getting wet.

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I was really happy to see that they still offer the opportunity to carry in picnic food. They offer many eatery places along the way or a place to grab a quick snack but in my opinion, all the prices are very expensive.Take a look at some menu choices inside the zoo.

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Although, with a little planning you can easily pack a nice picnic and enjoy this just the same for a lot less cost. We even saw families tail gating in the parking lot and if you know anything about WI, you know that we are professional tailgaters here.

As for the special exhibit going on while we were visiting….this was also an extra cost of $10 per adult above and beyond the admission price. And when I saw what the special exhibit was I was all in since I LOVED going to see the Body Works( a few years back) I just had to see the Animals Inside Out also.

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If your looking for a great place to spend some family time and learn about nature and wildlife, give a thought to visiting the Milwaukee County Zoo. Your children will love it and so will adults.

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*** All opinions are my own regarding this establishment. All admission fees, parking, and special events were also paid by myself.

 

 

National Trails Day Hike-2017

Did you hike a trail for National Trails Day this past weekend? I sure did and it was exactly what I needed to recoup from the week and recharge for the week ahead.

I solo hiked a trail about an hour from our home that weaves through a water way which I thought would end up being a bit cooler. Ha, was I wrong…although for me, this was just what I needed, a good sweaty hike. It’s no secret I LOVE SUMMER HEAT!!!! Thankfully, I grabbed a cooler for cold water, sunscreen, and my summer boots before leaving home.

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I arrived mid morning since I knew this was a hike just short of 4 miles and storms were predicted by dinner time so I wanted to be off the trail early and not later. Plus, I had a crap ton of other things I needed to get done at home. However, in the summer, my pleasure always comes before chores since summer is short and chores can be accomplished all winter long.

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I love this hike since you are literally following a path right through Lake Butte des Morts and there is so much to see and explore on this winding path.

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I love the peacefulness of hiking solo. You can go at your own speed, stop when you want to explore, sit and rest if you wish or just simply walk and let all the thoughts in your head roll right off your shoulders the farther you walk.

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By the time I finished the trail it was 85 degrees, breezy, and gorgeous. I, just having breakfast so far, found myself hungry and very thirsty so I changed shoes and grabbed a snack for the ride back home.

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Where did you hike for National Trails Day?

 

 

Photos Speak Louder Than Words-Memorial Day Weekend 2017

Since photos often speak louder than words…..let me recap Memorial Day weekend for you simply using photos and very few words.

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Wow, what a weekend!!! We finally dusted off our paddles from the long winter, had a little fog one morning, rain another morning, and relived a place that we use to take our son every year when he was smaller. We enjoyed dinner outside at our favorite place….the front porch and we all are feeling rejuvenated and ready for a great summer ahead.

Did you do anything fun you care to share….if so feel free to comment?