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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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.

 

Spring Is Here….But We Are Still So Limited

According to the calendar Spring arrived a few days ago and I clearly am not feeling the excitement yet. Yes, we have been able to get outside for short bursts of time here and there but come on already…I am so over winter!

One weekend we got out and walked in just sweatshirts on a local trail.

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The next weekend my husband wanted to try out his new fishing reel and I wanted to wander the wooded area near the rivers edge while he did this. We both needed winter jackets once again unlike the weekend before we only needed sweatshirts.

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We arrived and he balanced on ice along the shore hoping it did not break

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while I only made it a little ways down the trail before hitting snow and ice.

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And that’s when I noticed this fella fishing in the river with neoprene waiters on. BRRRRR!!!! I don’t care how thick and warm those waiters are….there is no way he was not freezing his %$##@ off. In my eyes this was crazy….in a fishermans eyes this is dedication. All I can say is I sure hope he caught something for all his effort.

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On a brighter note…and much warmer topic…our gym got an overhaul and I could not be more thrilled. I walked in a week after missing out for illness and wow I was excited. Almost 15 years ago now I began my health journey and my first piece of exercise equipment was a stepper at a very small gym. Then I left that gym and never found another with this piece of equipment until now….our gym has two brand new seated step machines. WHOOHOOO!!!!

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Plus, they added 3 of my next favorite machines…rowers!

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So now when I go to my early morning workout session I mix things up a bit. I am all about cardio and do weights simply because I have to. And you all know if you’ve been following for awhile that when we train for our vacations we utilize real concrete steps at a local high school. Concrete steps=torture!

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We have been seen here a lot with boots on doing flights of stairs in the heat and humidity many times. Well…..never again! I can just go to the gym now and step until I cannot step anymore. And I can even wear my hiking boots if I wish to get strange looks from other gym members which I may just do. After all, you cannot climb mountains with out strong legs now can you.

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2 Newborns, One Almost 2 Year Old, Dinner 4 Nights This Week, 5 Early Morning Workouts=Exhausted But Accomplished!!

Alright, I am not going to lie and say life has not been difficult these past two weeks because they really have been challenging. Although, I will be the first to admit that it sure feels good to be back to my happy stress level of children (which in my case is work), daily workouts and happily dozing off on the couch while my husband rubs my shoulders before bed. Yes, life is good…..exhausting but really, really good!!!

Add all this plus a few things behind the scenes and I still managed to get dinner on the table four nights this week which is a success in my eyes. Here take a look.

Saturday: make your own personal pizzas IMG_8224

Sunday: pasta and veggie marinara sauce with crusty bread IMG_6954

Monday: honey bourbon chicken thighs, roasted broccoli and carrots over bulgar

Tuesday: one pot shrimp and garlic cream sauce

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Wednesday: pork tenderloin with apples and cabbage (another new recipe which turned out pretty good) IMG_0255

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Thursday: stuffed zucchini boats with crusty bread on the side IMG_8311

Friday: out

Do you start the week with a goal? Mine is always to get through dinner. I can do my job pretty well with little to no stress since I have been doing it for so long now. Yes, at times we have moments of stress but they pass fairly quickly. For me, getting dinner on the table is usually the end point of my night. I care for myself early at the gym, my daycare children all day, and last but not least my family in the evening(and sometimes during the day in between children), and then this mom/wife/caregiver signs off for the night.

Meal prep for the upcoming week included:

Clean eating brownies and honey scones…one turned out fantastic(brownies) and the other was horrible(scones).Whomp whomp!

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I also made veggie burgers from my new plant based cookbook which turned out amazing!!!!

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The rest of my meal prep included chopping veggies, cooking chicken to make wraps with for lunches, and preparing a batch of quinoa sweet potato chili for my lunches this week. IMG_0297

There you have it, another week on the books and another week closer to retirement…..yes, I am dreaming big today.

 

Yoga Update

It’s been a few weeks now since I gave my first instructed yoga class a try at a yoga studio here in town. You may be wondering why on earth would anyone pay for yoga when you can find numerous free yoga workouts on line. I completely AGREED with you….that is before I tried the one free class this studio offered. I had nothing to lose and was not obligated to anything. And now, since its been a few weeks, I feel I should offer an update on what I have found by stepping outside of my comfort zone.

First, I must admit, I was completely blown away at how peaceful class is. I opted to start with gentle yoga since I have been suffering with mid back pain for quite sometime now. Class is conducted in low light, with relaxing music, and moves are slow enough to not cause any stress while trying to get into each pose before the next is introduced.

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The other thing I noticed to be most helpful is I can totally let go of my thoughts here. I have done numerous yoga workouts online while in my home and each has been very beneficial. That being said, I never truly can let my mind release and just be one with my breath. At home I work through the movements all while hearing the washing machine doing its thing, hearing my family walk around or talking about this, that or the other thing, or thinking about what I am going to prepare for dinner, etc.Plus, you have to remember I work from home…so ultimately, I NEVER can leave work behind like most people can. I simply can’t just turn off at home like I can in the studio setting.

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And probably the most important thing I have learned is proper form. If something is wrong they walk over and help you find the right placement of this foot or that hand, etc. I feel amazing after each and every class. Whether its from stretching or simply clearing my mind, I am not sure. Either way it’s a great feeling to have and I look forward to going every week. Which, yes, to answer your next question…yes, I have signed up and am now a paying yogi….as they say.

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What are your thoughts:

Yoga..yea or nay?

Home or studio?

The Unofficial End Of Summer Is Here

The unofficial end of summer is upon us with this being the Labor Day weekend. I am sad but excited all at the same time. We have a FULL fall season right around the corner.

Recapping this week….basically a mess. Strange happenings all week, numerous appointments we needed to attend to, great weather for outside play during the daytime hours, and a surprise two days off for our son means I heard,” hey mom…..plan something quick!” Which I did and can’t wait to share with you all. HINT: It involves hiking boots and waterfalls:-)

So without more jibber jabber….here is what I did fit in this week for exercise and let’s all go enjoy the last big weekend of summer!!!!!

Saturday: gym: 30 minute elliptical and stretching

Sunday:gym: 30 minute elliptical and stretching

Monday: 2.5 mile rail trail walk

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Tuesday: home gym: 30 minute recumbent bike

Wednesday: home gym: 30 minute recumbent bike and legs workout with weights

Thursday: rest

Friday: rest

Have a safe, fun, and exciting weekend.

Crazy….Maybe….Worth It….Totally!!!!

Training for our hiking trip is going quite well. I am finally starting to feel better in the pain department which I am so thankful for. With that in mind, time is always our biggest issue when we need to step things up in the exercise area for vacations but we get in what we can during the week and I typically give it a good go on the weekends. My husband tags along when he can during the week and weekends we typically do something active one day and one day we spend separate since this trip is more my destination than his. Well, maybe they are all more my destination than his but so far he has not been disappointed so I just go with it.

Here is what my week was like:

Saturday: 6.5 mile trail hike with my husband

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Sunday: gym: 30 minute elliptical and total body weights on the Cybex machines

****This is the first weights I have lifted since injuring myself July 4. I have decided to start on the machines which are not my favorite but I feel are more forgiving if my form is off in any way.

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Monday: home gym: 30 minutes recumbent bike

commercial gym: 30 minutes elliptical and leg lifting on the Cybex machines, along with a ton of stretching

Tuesday: 3 mile rail trail walk

Wednesday: home gym: 25 minutes recumbent bike, floor mat exercises with very light weights

evening rail trail walk for 3 miles

Thursday: rest

Friday: rest

I am really feeling the effects of age, life, summer….I am not quite sure exactly so call it what you wish. Workouts at the gym are a struggle at best during the week but I have to remember I NEVER used to visit the gym in the summer months two years ago. My job is active and chasing kids all day in the summer heat (pure heaven for me) is a lot of work. However, we have trained for far worse trips in the summer heat…like when we did ooodles of stairs for our trip to Sedona, AZ. These were killers but I was so happy we did them when we arrived and started hiking the area.

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As usual I am putting off friends, family, and events to get in what I can in my free time to prepare for this adventure. Some clearly believe this is crazy…..and some few understand its what I love to do. Reaching a destination you think is impossible is the best feeling in the world. And for me, the higher up this destination is the better the feeling of accomplishment is when I reach it.

There is nothing better for me than arriving at the trailhead and seeing this sight… my boys looking up and thinking…..is my mom/wife out of her mind???? And then we begin our hike and eventually reach the top! Priceless and and worth every step I took to get here.

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That’s it for me…our weekend is a bit unorganized at the moment so we’ll all see what plays out when it actually happens. As usual the chore list is always something we could do…..scrub carpets, laundry, cut the lawn and so on, plus I know we have to make a quick trip down to our nearest Trader Joe’s for backpacking food which is no quick trip being its two hours from us. And of course, while we are down there we may just have to make a quick stop in at REI to see what’s on sale. Plus, we have not decided on buying a bear canister yet or winging it and going without. I have been watching the trail condition updates and they are all talking about numerous sighting of bears which is exciting and scary all at the same time. I would love to see one on the trail BUT not searching for food in my backpack!

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As usual time will tell and we’ll see what gets done and what we end up doing all in good time.

Anyone have a bear canister to recommend?