Wisconsin Is Once Again Coming Alive After A Long Winter

My husband and I took a chance this weekend and visited a trail that we thought would be very wet and mushy after the long winter…..but to our surprise it was very nice and had very few wet spots.

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There is nothing better than seeing wildlife and individuals out and about coming back to life, shall we say, after being cooped up all winter protected from the snow and cold.

We walked for maybe a bit more than an hour on this trail and we saw and heard so much it was literally music to our ears.

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It was so peaceful and such a wonderful relaxing walk. That is until…..I almost stepped on two of these just before heading back to our vehicle.(Pics are courtesy of my husband since I did not hang around to capture the moment)

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There is something to be said about a leisurely walk through the woods after a long winter.

****Just in case your all counting since I seem to attrack snakes….the snakes are winning so far this year. I have gone on two spring hikes and have seen 4 snakes total so far. It looks like it may be a stressful year of hiking for me.

 

A Great Ending To Finish Off The Week….Minus One Snake

Strange week for me for sure. All the stars aligned and left me with Friday off….super cool in every way possible. So what did I do, well, I do what I always do, I went and had the best sweat session ever in the wee morning hours at the gym Friday morning. You all know I LOVE to work out in the morning and it leaves me with SO MUCH ENERGY the rest of the day it’s crazy. After this I came home, showered, and surprised my husband by freeing up Friday night by going grocery shopping during the day instead of the evening as we always do. I even made a trip to Aldi’s here in Green Bay. Someplace I really need to visit more often but just never do and it’s a shame. I could save so much money I know, but I dislike their hours and I can’t get everything I need there either.  So to normally shop two grocery stores would be a huge hassle for me.

My knee is back to almost 100% so it was back to full workouts all week. It was a bit of a crazy week with my husbands birthday one day which meant we were gone out one evening.  One day we had gorgeous spring like weather which we spent all day outside enjoying, doing yard work and taking walks. Which then left me completely exhausted come evening time. Just how I love feeling after a great day outdoors.So my workouts were all over the place but I still fit it what I could.

Sunday: gym: 30 minute elliptical and legs

Monday: home:1 mile walk with my kiddos, 30 minute recumbent bike, total body weights, 3 mile evening walk with my hubby

Tuesday: 2 mile walk and a lot of yard work

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: home: 30 minute recumbent bike, arms and shoulder weights, stretching

Friday: gym: 45 minute elliptical, TRX suspension trainer, and stretching

Saturday: gym: 30 minute elliptical and stretching

outdoors: 3.1 mile hike

Ending the week with an nice spring mud hike through an area waterfowl preserve near us. I love this place, they have so many gorgeous hiking trails and its minutes from our home.

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The true sign for me that spring has arrived is these slithery creatures start making a comeback. Going into the hike I figured it was still way to early to see any….apparently I was wrong. We came across this one just off the trail….and he was not moving all that quickly since it was still cold so I actually calmed myself(and used my zoom) to capture my first ever living snake picture.

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Mediterranean Quinoa Breakfast Cups

Fast and simple breakfasts at our house are must during the week days. We get up early, very early(4a.m.) and I prepare breakfast every morning while my husband prepares to leave for work by 4:40 a.m…..if there is no snow predicted. So needless to say, I have very little time to make two breakfast meals, his and mine, coffee, throw together his lunch and pack it to go, we then eat breakfast together,and out the door he goes all in 40 minutes. I will say, I have become very efficient at making this happen but from time to time I do wake up with no plan and struggle to find something quick and nutritious for breakfast. Which brought us to this recipe. I have been meaning to give something like this a try for sometime now and I finally did it and quite successfully I will say on the first attempt.

This has a protein punch with eggs and quinoa, along with some mediterranean ingredients that are packed with flavor.

Mediterranean Quinoa Breakfast Cups

1 cup of cooked quinoa

1 handful of baby kale, roughly chopped

1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes in oil, roughly chopped

3 TBSP crumbled feta cheese

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. ground flax seed

2 tsp. creole seasoning (or any preferred seasoning mixture)

3 whole eggs

5 egg whites

First, you must cook 1 cup of quinoa as the package says. (1 cup seed, 2 cups water, cover and cook for approx. 15 min)  About five minutes before the quinoa is done, add the chopped kale and sundried tomatoes to wilt and wake up the flavors from the tomatoes.

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After this is prepared, if there is any remaining liquid, drain it off. Ideally, this should be cooled then for an hour or so but in my world, when I am cooking,I don’t have an hour to return and finish the project. So if you wish, you could do what I did and place it in a bowl and into the freezer for 10 minutes and stir it every few minutes. This will at least drop the temp enough while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

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While this is cooling, measure your spices, cheese, and crack your eggs. Whisk this all together until combined. During these 10 minutes you also can line your muffin tin and make sure you spray the inside of the liners with non stick cooking spray since this will assure easy removal later on.

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Preheat your oven to 350.

Ok, now get that bowl in the freezer and add this mixture to your egg mixture. Mix well and scoop it into the muffin tin liners.

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Place these in to bake for roughly 20 minutes if your quinoa is not completely cooled like mine wasn’t. If your quinoa was completely cooled, cooking time will vary, so keep a close eye on them. You will know when they are done when a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Remove them onto a cooling rack until cool and store them in an airtight container in the frig for reheating in the mornings. They are great for kids and adults.

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Painting, Planting, Planning

We spent the weekend working….to put it mildly. Being a home owner is not what I would call rainbows and cupcakes all the time. Yes, it’s a great investment for your future IF it does not consume all your time repairing, remodeling, and reinvesting more money into that so called future investment.

We started this weekend with a simple room painting of our son’s bedroom. Not so bad right…..until it was time to install the new ceiling fan since his was making some kind of weird noise. Still not so bad, $100 later and the new fan was picked out ready to install. Well, that is where things went completely wrong. Now, being the person I am, I do not know the technical terms for any of this building stuff, but whom ever built our house years ago really half assed a few things and we are slowly finding them throughout the 20 years we have lived here. And believe me, when you have a husband who knows a lot about technical/mechanical things…..it makes him livid which then inturn makes a 1 hour job into a 3 hour job. It then makes me question, once again, why we ever thought buying a house is something everyone should do in their lifetime. And it also makes me very thankful my husband can fix almost anything.

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While all this repainting and repairing was going on in one end of our house, I spent time in the other end meal prepping for the week and planting some herbs to enjoy cooking with in the next few months. Fresh herbs add such a wonderful flair to dishes and I am so looking forward to having them freshly available.

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I also did some experimenting with brewing coffee in our tea/coffee press. We are  seriously thinking of taking this with us camping for fresh, non instant coffee and I had never made coffee in the press before only tea. So today was a good day to try it out. Impressed I was after we both tried a cup and now it is officially added to our list of camp supplies we will need in the next few weeks.

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Add in two trips to the gym, a haircut I had to give to my husband, and numerous other home chores, I would say we had an extremely productive weekend. I am glad we finished these big jobs before the upcoming nice weekends we are hoping to have are here. There is nothing worse than having the sun shining brightly and us stuck indoors working.

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Active Lifestyle+Age=Aches and Pains

You can eat right, exercise, and drink all the water you want but sometimes your body just says….ENOUGH! If you’ve been noticing on these weekly posts regarding what I have done for workouts each week I have been adding a lot more stretching to try an alleviate some aches and pains I have been having. Well, it’s not working and I came to the conclusion that maybe I just need to give my joints a break. More precisely, I need to give my knees and ankles a break. Yes, I know they have never been strong especially my ankles, but recently I have had a sore knee. It plagues me most when going up steps and seems very weak and unstable. So before I do real damage, which hopefully I have not already done, I made a deal that I would take it easy for a week and see what happens. I made this deal with myself Monday evening after my 3 mile walk when I was miserable after I finally arrived home. So here is a look at my easy exercise week….which was not so easy mentally but needed.

Sunday: 3 mile trail hike

Monday: home: 1 mile walk with my kiddos, full body weight workout and 3 mile evening walk

Tuesday: rest

Wednesday: upper body weights in laying/sitting position and rowing

Thursday: upper body weights and rowing+ 1.5 mile slow walk on level ground since my knee seemed to be feeling better today I thought I would give a slow walk a try. No pain during or after so I am hoping that it’s on the mend

Friday: rest

Saturday: gym: 30 minute elliptical

Not a week I was hoping for but it is what it is. I am trying to learn to listen to my body but at the same time I also know moving helps my body feel better. So it’s a double edge sword at times. In my heart I know walking on pavement, black top, and cement gives me pain. However, dirt trails are not always close by or time prevents me from making the trip to one so I settle for this alternative. Lately, with the snow and ice gone, I have been spending much more time on hard surfaces and I am hoping this is what is causing my joint issues. Time will tell…

 

A Big Spring Welcome

Spring has finally arrived and I am LOVING the extra daylight hour we now have. I can prepare dinner and still have time to enjoy sunshine….how wonderful is that. Anyone that suffers from seasonal depression is well aware of this I am sure, since it really is a game changer in how life is lived for me.

I plan to stop taking my “sunshine medicine” at the end of this week. Since I have seen more of the natural sunshine than I have seen in the past five months I think it’s time.

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My brain has been in overdrive at night when I lay down to sleep trying to think of new places to explore in the state. Since this is the only time I really have time to think without being interrupted, I typically will have a list of places to research by morning. Which then ends up taking me until the weekend to actually research…again, time is always a scarce factor during the week days.

I have also found my way back to some nearby trails for my nightly walks instead of city streets which offer boredom and sore ankles. Last week one evening it was suppose to be gym night but the sun was shining and the temps were tolerable so we changed up routine and ventured to one of my favorite trails.

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Birds were chirping all around us.

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I prayed all the way there the trail would be clear of snow and ice and my prayers were answered. It was clear of all winter leftovers and this made me even happier.

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The ice on the Bay of Green Bay is showing sever signs of stress which to our surprise we still saw 4 people not willing to give up ice fishing and making the most of what was left of winter. Crazy in my opinion, but more power to them if they feel a fish is worth risking there lives at this stage of winter.

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And let me just say, watching the sunset on this trail is exactly what I needed to end my day. It feels good to be feeling alive and enjoying time outdoors again. I am looking forward to so much more to come but for now, I will completely settle for this.

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Weekend Recap….REI Garage Sale Deals, BBQ, and a Trail

We had a fantastic weekend….I can’t believe it’s over with already.

Our weekend started with an early morning rise and shine wake up at 4a.m. to leave and hit the road by 5a.m. and travel to our nearest REI outdoor store for a “garage sale”. This is something we do about twice a year and this time we brought our son and his friend along for their first one ever. Even though it was cold(very cold) and very early…it sure was nice to stand in line and talk with individuals that have done we we do. Many of us have seen the same places and have experienced the awwww that we have experienced in our adventures. The way that we can all understand each other and the need to be outside and in nature is something I cherish since many people don’t understand the meaning behind what we do. Anyhow, this is always quite an event. We have seen breakfast prepared in line numerous times.

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It’s sort of like Black Friday for outdoor lovers since there is always people that camp out overnight.

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However, this time we really were quite chilled. I ended up sitting in the vehicle twice to warm up in two hours of waiting in line, all while the guys kept our spot.

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In the end it was all worth it. I found my next pair of Keen hiking boots, my first pair of Chaco sandals, my husband found some treasures, and so did our son. Well worth the early wake up call, the chill we had for the rest of the day, and the fun we had chatting with others.

After this it was one more retail store….Trader Joe’s….oh boy, did we find treasures here and then it was time to eat lunch. We were all very hungry and I had been told of this BBQ restaurant in the near by city of Grafton from a friend. Which was also on our way home so we decided to give it a try. What a nice little city this ended up being.

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We found this restaurant easily located off the highway.

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The atmosphere was clean, friendly and welcoming.

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The menu was huge….so much to choose from and so many great entrees.

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And when our food arrived I was in heaven. And remember, I am not a big meat eater and this was some of the best BBQ I have ever eaten. I ordered the brisket reuben and its was fabulous.

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It was so huge I hardly touched my fries. They offer six different style BBQ sauces at the table for you to choose from and numerous different sides to replace the fries if you wish.I highly recommend visiting this place if your in the area of Grafton, WI and love BBQ.

Sunday consisted of meal prep, chores, and a solo trail walk since the hubby was off doing his own thing and our son was working.

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I came across the first snake sighting of 2017 that I could actually capture a picture of since he had no hope of moving anytime soon. If you know how much I LOVE  despise these creatures, you will also know this was the best way for me to see them….dead!

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I also witness a boy catch a very nice northern pike on the Bay of Green Bay ice fishing.

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All in all it was a wonderful weekend. Lots of family time, some alone time, and some much needed fun all wrapped into two days.