Sunshine Is The Best Medicine

A little over a week ago I came down with some virus that has caused me to uproot everything normal in my life. I have not worked since last Wednesday, I have not seen the gym in over a week, and I have barely gotten any exercise at all since breathing is something you need to be able to do to exercise. And in the kitchen, well thank goodness for my husband and son or we would have been eating from a can for at least three nights this past week.

This past weekend I started feeling somewhat better finally and really felt the need to get out and suck up some of the wonderful Wisconsin weather we had. Sunshine for me is often the best medicine. Although, I knew it would not be a distance hike by any means I wanted to walk outside and feel the sun on my face. So we did and it felt so wonderful. We arrived at our favorite spring time trail and saw no snow, a few people who also felt the need to venture out, and still ice fishermen capturing what is left of the season.

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Like us, we saw one couple out looking for the eagles that frequent this area. Shortly after we began walking we located them. Usually they would be up in the trees but this time they were out on the ice enjoying a meal the fishermen left behind for them. They were quite a distance away but still fascinating. IMG_0735

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It was wonderful to be out again. Everything is beginning to come alive after a long winter.

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All in all our weekend was not bad. Yes, I am feeling a bit under the weather yet but so much better than a few days ago. Hopefully my energy level comes back quick enough that I can once again return to my early morning gym sessions and keep up with all my little tykes that return this morning.

 

 

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Icy Adventure With A New Lunchtime Cuisine To Follow

Our weekend ended up being pretty interesting. Going into the weekend I had plans but they quickly fell apart when a friend got sick, my son ended up almost working Saturday which would ultimately cancel our mother/son date we had planned, and my husband changed up his ice fishing day because of the wind forecast Saturday. Then Friday evening everything fell into place and we had a plan.

Saturday morning I mentioned I wanted to see the ice shoves in Oconto that were being mentioned all over the local news channels. Ice shacks were being swallowed up by this and men were scrambling to move their trucks in time to also not be swallowed up or destroyed by the big ice bergs being pushed around. Sounds interesting I thought, so I had planned to take a drive and go see. However, being the city girl I am, I had no idea where I was headed so my husband said he would also come with and take a look. Last year my husband and son took a drive but I had already made other plans so I did not go. The pictures they brought home were spectacular and I wished I had been there. Now, this year when we arrived my husband said they were nothing like last years on the Winnebago side where they had went. Although, they were still pretty cool looking(literally being it was ice and all).

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The wind was fierce but the sun sure did feel good on our face while we walked around watching the ice melt away.

After that we took a small detour home and went to our favorite spot to see bald eagles hoping they would be out watching the open river. With no luck finding any to view, we walked across the icy bridge to make our way back to our vehicle and head home to pick up our son for lunch.

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This is when the day got even more interesting. Wisconsin does not have a whole lot to offer (in my opinion) in cuisine variety. It’s definitely getting better but other places we have visited have so much more variety than WI but we are slowly catching up. And my son loves to take me to places that offer different cuisine. My husband surprised me by also saying he would join us so it was an unexpected family outing. I finally got to try pho….a Vietnamese soup. We arrived, placed our orders, and were quickly served ultimately the biggest bowl of soup ever.

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Amazing, simply amazing that my husband actually finished his entire bowl. We both ordered the same beef pho which came with basil, bean sprouts, and jalapenos on the side. The serving size bowl was so big I don’t even think I finished half of mine. It was  tasty, very soothing, and definitely a good comfort food type of meal. However, I wish they had smaller versions…since we were not headed home afterwards so I was not able to take the left over amount home with me. Even though I did enjoy the soup I have to say the highlight of my meal was my drink of choice. I ordered a jack fruit smoothie and oh my goodness it brought me to a tropical island somewhere warm while I sat eating my soup with my winter jacket on and a scarf wrapped around my neck. Again, you rarely, if ever, see jack fruit on any menus in WI so I just had to try this. Will I return, yes for sure? Although, next time I will probably have a Vietnamese vermicelli veggie bowl instead, since the soup is simply to much to eat for me personally.

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After lunch my son headed home and my husband and I walked a nearby trail for a few miles before returning home for the evening.

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I am now on a mission to make this pho dish at home and possibly even a Vietnamese vermicelli veggie bowl also. Ahhhh, time to do some research……

 

 

Weekend Outdoor Fun….Yes, Outdoor Fun…Can You Believe It?

Oh my, was it a great weekend to be outside. I went outside in January….and had fun….simply amazing!!!! It was so warm….in the 40’s here in Green Bay both days…yeh!!!!

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I had planned to go to yoga Saturday morning as usual but when my husband mentioned to me that it was going to be warm enough to venture out and take a hike I immediately changed my plans.

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We stayed close to home since we knew the snow depth in our area and arrived at one of our favorite nearby trails. I was very happy to see it was not nearly as snow covered as I had thought it would have been. IMG_0275

We walked along the trail and took in the sunshine on our faces with great pleasure. It felt so good to breathe fresh air and get in some outdoor exercise.

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We watched the ice fishermen nearby on the Bay of Green Bay, all the while thinking to myself how crazy of a sport ice fishing is. IMG_0277

We did not see much wildlife while we hiked but we did run across a trail friend who was moving very, very slowly but moving none the less.

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Three miles later we ended our hike and it felt amazing.

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Then on Sunday I woke up, got in a gym workout, came home to meal prep, and once again headed back outside for yet another hike with a friend this time.

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We walked 5 miles, saw one bald eagle that I scared away trying to get a picture of, and lots of melting happening all along the way. IMG_0301

I know it’s too early to be this excited about the weather being so nice but you know what, I will take what I can get and enjoy every last hour until the next snow fall happens or the next ice storm glazes over everything in sight(which could happen tomorrow from what they are saying).

All in all it was a great weekend. I feel refreshed and ready for another long week ahead.

 

Weekly Meal Plans….Back By Popular Demand/Weekend Recap

Our weekend started off as a weekend away camping…..and was changed mid week due to weather concerns. Whomp Whomp! So my husband who was suppose to be setting up our tent to sleep in, instead started preparing his ice fishing supplies by setting up his ice shack instead.

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Then I had planned a night away with a friend….and this was changed last minute due to illness! Whomp Whomp!

So ultimately, I was home all weekend. I started Christmas shopping, I ran some errands, I got in two awesome workouts at the gym, I took care of some daycare business, and the hubby and I hiked a nearby trail together.

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Not the weekend I had planned but you know, life happens and plans change and you sometimes just have to roll with it.

Anyhow, lets move on. I have had a few requests for our weekly meal plans again. I used to post these but never really thought anyone followed….I guess I was wrong. And now that we follow an artificial sweetener free diet, my meal plans have been changed up and I have found myself revamping many recipes I have prepared for years to be much cleaner than before. So back by popular demand, I will be posting my weekly meal plans for you to read. I will not be including recipes but if you find something that looks yummy, don’t be afraid to ask what the recipe was. I will be happy to share anything with you.

Saturday: dill caper farro, grilled salmon with lemon and onions, and baked squash.

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Sunday: fajita brats with onions, peppers, and mushrooms, over quinoa

Monday: mexican tortilla stack(meatless)

Tuesday: stuffed manicotti with cottage cheese, spinach, mushrooms and pesto, with marinara sauce and melted cheese over the top. served with bread sticks (meatless)

Wednesday: cowboy caviar filled wonton cups and side salads

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Thursday: egg frittata(recipe here)

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Friday: out

You will find that two nights a week we try and eat meatless meals….more if I can get away with it but my husband and son like their meat. And every meal is made strictly without the use of artificial sweeteners so my husband does not feel ill. If you missed why this diet change happened you can read about it here.

I will try and post our weekly meal plan on Sundays. Our week typically runs from Saturday to Friday since I almost always grocery shop on Fridays for the following week. Let me know if you see something you like. And by all means, if you prepare something yummy please share it with me….I am always searching for meals to prepare that are as clean as possible so everyone is happy.

 

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.

Spring Is In The Air….

After an uneventful week it was so nice to wake up Saturday morning to 35 degree temperatures and make plans to head outside for a little fresh air. However, I had a list of things I needed to tend to first…..work before play is how it has always been at our house. So we got right on it Saturday morning, all pitching in so we could head outside for some fun.

While I made boiled eggs, chopped dipping veggies for the upcoming week, and started the laundry, my husband gave the pimento cheese spread recipe remake another try. We attempted one but it was not nearly what the one in Tennessee was so we again tried another. Hopefully this one is a winner.

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After this it was time to clean, do a few home repairs, eat some lunch and then we headed outside for that much needed fresh air.

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We drove to one of our favorite trails once again and decided today would be the wooden adventure route….one we never take in the summer due to tooooo many snakes!!! It was so nice. It was so peaceful with the wind howling through the pine trees up above.

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On our way back to the parking area, I was amazed at the number of people out on the bay ice fishing along with numerous snowmobilers. I am not a fan of ice fishing or driving on ice for that matter. Too risky for my liking.

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Ok, so let me share with you what I did for exercise this week. It’s more for my sake than yours…..I know, but it keeps me accountable. So here we go…

Sunday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, abs and shoulders on the TRX suspension trainer

Monday: home: abs and upper body weight routine, and 2.5 mile evening walk outside….fresh air was so nice

Tuesday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, abs and legs, stretching

Wednesday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, abs, and stretching

Thursday: rest…..foam rolling

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Friday: home: upper body weight routine and abs

Saturday: 2.5 mile snowy trail hike

You all have a great week as we count down to SPRING!!!!

 

 

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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