6 Weeks Ago We Had A Major Snowstorm…..Today We Broke Heat Records

I heard on the news this morning that 6 weeks ago we were digging out from our major record breaking snowstorm of 20+ inches of snow. Here was my husband shoveling off our roof to hopefully prevent it from collapsing.

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Fast forward to this weekend and we once again broke records but not with snow depth….this time with heat! Whew, it was hot….and for me to admit it was hot, you know it was HOT!!!! However, unlike that snowstorm where it kept me inside without any thoughts of venturing out, the heat wave we had this weekend did just the opposite. I pressed pause on the life calendar and enjoyed each day out and about doing what we love to do in the great outdoors.

First, we played a round of disc golf at one of WI most challenging disc golf courses. It is located in Manitowoc, WI right on the lakeshore so visiting the beach while we played was quite convenient.

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The next day we hiked one of my favorite trails located near Oshkosh, WI called Terrell’s Island. (more info on this trail is located on the hiking trails page)

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I love this trail since wildlife can always be seen at any time of year.

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Not once have I visited without seeing at least one snake…..today I got a bonus with the one snake seen whom was already dead and half eaten by something. This is just the way I prefer to see these creatures.

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This trail literally weaves through the water the entire 3.8 miles and offers much to see. I would highly recommend it for anyone looking to escape the heat. There is no sun protection so remember sunscreen!!

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The remainder of the weekend we spent together doing odds and ends, like shopping, cutting the lawn, laundry, etc.. I needed to throw together more bean burgers since we had eaten the last batch.

recipes here and here (minus the spinach since I forgot to buy some)

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I also worked on organizing the weeks events coming up since its a shortened week with the holiday Monday and I also have a day off to prepare for our sons moving date. It’s almost here and I do believe we are as ready as we can be at this point. It’s been a long haul for sure since finding a reasonable apartment that was not in a terrible neighborhood was the hardest part. Although, we did it and it’s happening soon.

So you may wonder what is next for my husband and I. Well, I hope to change a few things. I want to go more veggie based in our meals by deleting meat at least half the time instead of only twice a week like now. We will never remove meat completely but I know we could easily do half and half. I also am working on turning our sons room into our office area. This could take some time but eventually I hope to be done by July. Right now, those are the only “for sure” items on the list. I am tossing around a few more ideas in my head, but if your husband is anything like mine, you have to bring these up slowly and not overwhelm them to quickly.HAHA! So, for the time being, I am just going to try and make it through the next week or two. I hope to begin blogging regularly again in regards to our meal plans which I know you all ask for me to continue. And I will for sure share our summer adventures here as we do them. I just need life to slow back down and offer me time to breathe.

 

 

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Not What A Typical Week Normally Looks Like For Us

This week was full of meals I did not have to prepare. This is great for me but tricky at best for my husband since he has a severe sensitivity to artificial sweeteners. Although, we made it work and he did pretty good. Typically, we would have had to go out for one more restaurant meal this week if we would have stuck with tradition. We normally celebrate birthdays by letting the birthday person pick their restaurant of choice…..and Tuesday was my birthday. However, Tuesday we also had a snow storm and I did not mind cooking…but my boys were in charge of clean up. Plus, I knew we still had two more evenings out coming up so it was what it was.Having someone clean up for me was gift enough.

Looking back here is what the week was like…..only one new recipe and a whole lot of meals out which is not typical for us.

Saturday: out with my hubby on our 24 hour getaway (if you missed it read about it here and here)

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Sunday: penne pasta casserole and crusty bread

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Monday: take out made at home: general tso’s chicken and broccoli

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Tuesday: pasta, peas, bacon, and mushrooms with garlic cream sauce ***New recipe and a keeper at that. However, I may change the bacon to ham or go meatless next time since the bacon just did not do it for me in this dish.

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Wednesday: Out with my brother for our monthly dinner together…this month was his choice restaurant and Indian it was. Him and I loved everything, my poor nephew left hungry I am sure, and my husband was very happy with his meal choice but not so much with the appetizer when he found chick peas in it. I found out I love butter chicken and plan to give this a try at home here soon.

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Thursday: grilled homemade burgers, side salads and chips

Friday: out

Next week looks much more normal. I even have 3 new recipes at the moment planned and I am excited for them all. I am also getting back to my meatless journey and throwing in two meatless meals to try and get past my boys with little to no complaints…..here goes nothing. Wish me luck!

Sunday meal prep for the week ahead looked a bit like this. First of all, it ended up being Saturday that I meal prepped since Sunday I had plans. However, come Sunday, I woke up feeling quite crummy so I was grateful I meal prepped Saturday but not so grateful to have to cancel plans because I felt this way.

Ok, so first I had to find something to do with really ripe bananas so I prepared two loaves of banana bread and froze them for an upcoming camping trip.

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Next, I made up three lunch meals for me consisting of chicken, olives, and artichokes sauteed in olive oil with sundried tomatoes. Then I laid this over a bed of whole wheat couscous.

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While I was at it, I also found two 1/4 boxes of different pastas in the pantry….and this drives me a bit crazy to have a bit of every shape and sized noodle left. So I quickly threw together a chipotle chili mac casserole for my husbands lunches and froze them. He takes these on nights when I don’t cook dinner and there are no leftovers for his lunch the next day.

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Also not pictured is pre chopped veggies for the weeks menu and a dozen hard boiled eggs.

 

Rail Trails…..Boring But Convenient

For me it was a pretty uneventful week. Nothing too exciting happened. My daycare children were fairly well behaved and in good moods all week and exercise was good. I avoided weights until mid week and cut back on poundage since I believe (hope) I have a pulled muscle in my stomach/abdominal area. For now I am going with this conclusion and hoping for the best.

On the home front, meals were good. I even had some time to prepare some freezer meals for fast “on the go” lunches for my husband during the week days when I cop out on making dinner the night before. Typically, he takes left overs for his lunch but sometimes life happens and there are no leftovers. And previously everything I had prepared for freezer meals all had artificial sweetener of some sort in it so I needed to remake his favorites with new ingredients. No Boil Lasagna is one that feeds us all for dinner, leaves me enough for lunch for all the kiddos the next day, plus leaves me two to three servings to freeze. How is that for awesome?!

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OK so here is what I did for exercise this week:

Saturday: gym workout…30 minutes elliptical and stretching

Sunday: rest

Monday: 3 mile trail walk

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Tuesday: 3 mile trail walk

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Wednesday: morning weight routine in our home gym and a evening 3 mile trail walk

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Thursday: 3 mile trail walk once again

Friday: rest

As you can see walking a nearby rail trail was mainly the name of the game this week. Rail trails offer mainly a straight, flat trail but being close to home and convenient is nice after a long day. It’s been hot, humid, and I have been happy. A friend of mine simply calls it “Karen hot”  and I can completely understand why. I just love it….

And on that note I will leave you with something that some people will never see. I rarely see sunsets since I am often in bed and sound asleep before its even dark outside but some individuals never see sunrise like I do every single morning. You have no idea what you are all missing.

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What a great way to start a day!

 

 

Bonus Freezer Meals, Big Decisions, and Bad Luck For Someone All Rolled Into One Week

After a fabulous Easter dinner last Sunday with my husband and son we had, once again, tons of food left over for the week.

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Which meant I had to come up with ideas to use up the leftovers. From ham soup to ham and hash brown egg bake…we enjoyed ham for a few days.

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I also needed to concentrate on restocking our freezer meals so I planned the weekly menu around doing this. We enjoyed no boil lasagna one night and sloppy joes another. Both meals leaving plenty to package and freeze for fast lunches to send with my husband for work.

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Workouts this week were pretty good. I am still dealing with a sore middle back….but foam rolling has been offering some relief. I think some of it may be stress which I am trying to figure out and deal with.

Easter Sunday: 2.5 mile hike with my husband

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Monday: another 2.5 mile hike on the same trail….only much, much colder and windy today and upper body weights at home

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Tuesday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, abs and legs workout, and foam rolling my back muscles

Wednesday: 3 mile evening walk and upper body weights at home

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Thursday: gym : 30 minute elliptical and stretching

Friday: rest

Saturday: solo hike on two different trails for a total of 4 miles

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Some weeks it helps to try and find the positive and not focus on the negatives. Not that it was that bad of a week but there are some decisions I am struggling with and I know I have to deal with them soon. Losing sleep over things I cannot change is one thing but losing sleep over things I can change is another. It’s not good for anyone since I really need my sleep. So I need to get on this and soon.

On the positive side of things….at least I am not this guy with this dilemma!!!!! Mother Nature and her fury won again after a windy ride on the Bay of Green Bay, this guy had his sail ripped right from his hands and thrown up into a tree. Talk about bad luck….Yikes!!!!

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It’s Time To Prepare Some Freezer Meals

Every once in awhile I take a weekend morning and prepare some of our favorite freezer meals. This weekend seemed like the perfect time do do just that after waking up Saturday morning to another few inches of snow covering everything.

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I knew we would not be hiking, kayaking or doing anything outside so why not fill the freezer with fast, easy to grab and go meals for when we are having fun in the outdoors and don’t feel like cooking.

I started out browning the meat to prepare crock pot chili. I knew it would be simmering away for a few hours and could be finished up later on in the day, so this was the first thing to start.

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Later that afternoon, I prepared some spaghetti and layered it all in glass containers to freeze.

While I was tending to the spices for chili my husband had a pile of veggies to get cleaned, cut and ready for a huge batch of soup. I love soup and so do all my daycare children. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, I could eat soup every day.

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After that was put together and simmering, I began preparing a couple loaves of zucchini bread. These are perfect for a fast breakfast since we both get up at the butt crack of dawn every morning for work. They also freeze very nicely and are super quick to grab and throw into the pile of camping food for an easy, fast breakfast for those last minute pack up and go camping trips. (Hint hint…..we plan to do a lot more of these this summer) IMG_3779

My final dish was lasagna. This is my absolute favorite recipe for lasagna. It’s fast, easy, healthier than most, and needs to be prepared hours before which means later on all you need to do is preheat your oven and bake. No mess later in the day when your tired and exhausted from a full day of fun…..or work. We actually ate this for dinner and then I froze the rest for later in single serving portions.

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After all this it was time to head to the gym. Which again, I am happy to say, I made it both Saturday and Sunday.

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As for the rest of this week, I am simply hoping for nicer weather. I really miss walking in the morning and not being able to play outside with the kids. Apparently, it’s suppose to be 60 degrees by the weekend……I’ll believe it when I see it.

 

What is your favorite freezer meal?

 

 

 

Home Alone!

On rare occasions I find myself home alone. And when I say rare, I mean hardly ever.

You all know my husband and I do almost everything together as far as activities go. However, there is one thing I am not willing to do …..that is ice fishing. I have tried it a few times when we first started dating but clearly it was not for me. You can’t say your surprised…..freezing temperatures, holding still in a very small ice shack for hours and wearing layers and layers of clothing….nope not my idea of fun. Although, I would never tell him he can’t go, which he did Saturday for the first time this winter. He left bright and early, our son was scheduled to work bright and early, which meant I had the entire house to myself. So I said my goodbyes and they left and I immediately made a list.

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I can get so much done in so little time when alone that it’s amazing. During the week some things are just impossible to try and accomplish with kids running around everywhere. So this was my moment to get it done.

First priority was to get the crock pot chili going so I could assemble some freezer meals later in the day. I love this chili recipe, it’s so, so, so simple but tasty and freezes wonderfully for my husband lunch on days we don’t have leftovers from the night before.

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Then I threw in a load of laundry and decided to get my husbands shirts ironed and out of the way. Ironing is not my favorite thing to do. And this is definitely one of the chores I can not do with kids hanging on my legs during the week.

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Next, it was time to clean the front hall where all my parents enter our home. The one thing that drives me crazy about winter is the “gravel yard” we are blessed with from the salt/stone mixture in parking lots everywhere. Shoes carry this yuck in and somehow my little ones find these little gravel pieces and attempt to eat them. So cleaning the front hall is often a daily chore, if not twice a day. While I was at it a complete vacuuming was also done.

Then it was time to switch the laundry, add another load, and get ready for the gym. I love morning workouts. They give you so much energy, are off the to do list, and it’s just a great way to start a day. I grabbed a snack, my gym bag and headed out the door.

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It’s then that I remembered our driveway was like an ice skating rink. The night before we had a freezing rain event for a few hours which left everything covered with a nice layer of solid ice. So I ended up taking a little detour before the gym to a local hardware store for a bag if salt.

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After the gym I returned home to fold laundry, shower and then I took a few hours of “me time” and went shopping for some items I have had on my list for awhile. Happily, I found everything I was looking for and then some….like usual! Those darn clearance racks get me every time….but I did find two awesome pair of yoga pants and another work shirt for my husband (that doesn’t need ironing..yehhh) so I had to purchase them.  IMG_3328

On the way home I decided on dinner, pasties for everyone. Easy, fast and yummy! Since Saturday is normally my day off from cooking dinner, this was as good as anything to throw in and enjoy.

It was a wonderful Saturday I must admit. I got everything on my list done and then some. I couldn’t ask for a better outcome. Oh, and by the way….ice fishing was a success!

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Getting Life Under Control…..For The Moment

It’s no secret that we all feel a little overwhelmed some days. Two weeks ago, I wondered if I would ever get the hang of two infants and a preschooler again, but it’s starting to come together nicely. I can’t say we have a schedule but at least a routine for now. Yes, some days we are completely thrown off but for the most part we have all found our happy place. That’s not to say my family is not having to help more. Not so much with the kids but with life in general. More specifically, meal time after they all go home for the day.

Preparation of meals have been shared more and more by everyone instead of just me being the cook. Even our son has been taking one night a week and preparing dinner…..and we have been actually enjoying his creations. (Typically he eats things I would never even consider eating) My husband has been making use of the grill at least once if not twice during the week. And I will admit, sushi has been picked up and brought home more often than usual lately. Having help with meal times alone makes a world of difference in my life after a long day of work.

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I recently found myself taking an entire morning this past weekend preparing a bunch of things I could prepare and freeze for quick meals or for my husband’s lunch. I made two loaves of banana bread, enjoying one now and freezing one for later. I made a huge batch of calico beans, chili John’s chili, and a pan of lasagna all to freeze in single serving glass dishes. This is a life saver for quick healthy meals when there simply is not enough time.

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I am looking into possibly trying some crock pot breakfast ideas that cook while your sleeping. How super cool is that? Although, I have not given any of these a try quite yet. With my new workout routine so very early in the morning, I can see how this would really be an easy and quick option. I will let you know how this goes when I eventually get around to giving it a try.