Loving Lately….Plus Looking For Suggestions

As you all know winter is not my favorite time of year. There is very little I love about this season and anything and everything I can find to make me a bit happier during this time I savor. With that being said, let me share a bit of what I am loving lately. Plus, a few topics I am looking for suggestions about.

Bare Naked Granola’s New Flavor….Sea Salt Caramel Apple: I recently saw this in our local grocery store and just had to try it. I am not a huge dessert lover but this sounded like the perfect treat. I love it dry right from the palm of my hand or mixed 1/2 c. granola with 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk. I leave it soak over night or at least for a few hours to absorb the milk. Then it’s time to enjoy this sweet and salted mixture of yumminess!

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Broccoli Slaw: One of the hardest parts of winter here in the midwest is that there are no fresh veggies unless they are shipped from miles away. Ultimately, meaning they are not fresh. Which in turn means I often struggle to find veggie recipes to add variety to our meal time. I recently gave broccoli slaw a try and have found it to be one of my favorite go to winter time veggies. I simply saute it in a pan with a bit of olive oil or I have even flavored it with soy, teriyaki sauce and even BBQ sauce. Plus, I have also found that my daycare children devour it….which is always a plus in my eyes. IMG_2859

Durable Duffel Bags: I can’t technically say I am loving this quite yet but I will be. Right now I am planning our next vacation and know we will be taking camping gear with us.  This means I need a big, durable, sturdy duffel bag that can handle being thrown around in  the airport and in camp. I am debating between two different bags at the moment, one being the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 120L and the second being the North Face Base Camp Duffel XL. If anyone has a recommendation for which will hold up better, I will be glad to hear your suggestion. They both seem similar, both come in nearly the same size, both are close to the same price and both have great reviews.

Double Camping Comforter: Ever since I purchased my down sleeping bag we have had a love hate relationship. I love that it keeps me nice and warm. I absolutely hate the mummy style. I move around a lot when I sleep. Just the thought of having to sleep in this sleeping bag zipped up gives me anxiety. So typically I sleep on top of my sleeping pad with the bag thrown over the top of me completely unzipped which works quite well. Although, I think we would really like a down quilt instead of hauling two separate sleeping bags every time we camp. I have looked at a few but again, I don’t know if it’s worth the money to just carry one item for sleeping. I will say, since purchasing our down comforter for our bed at home, I have never slept better with as little as one blanket on us during the winter months. If this is any measure of how happy I would be to have a down comforter for camping then I think maybe I should make this investment. What do you think????

Still Hiking: The last and final thing I am loving lately is that we are still able to hike and its the beginning of December. Yes, it’s cold and blustery at times but at least there is no snow covering our trails quite yet. I know I could hike in the snow, but honestly, I’d rather just stay inside and count the days until it all melts. So lately, I have been taking every free moment I can to venture to our local trails before they are all buried for the next few months. We even managed to sneak in a family hike the day after Thanksgiving which was quite nice.

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Loving Lately….

Another week has come and gone and we’re off to enjoy the weekend. With that in mind here are a few things I have been loving lately whether it be a weekday or a weekend…

Flowers are in full bloom everywhere: Nothing says summer more than flowers in full bloom everywhere you look.IMG_1763

Triscuit Thin Crisps Wasabi Soy Crackers: YUMMMMY. I am not a big chip eater but lately when we do splurge on a bag of chips we have not been able to find our favorite flavored wasabi soy chips anywhere. I think because the new line of this years flavors are coming out, they have stopped selling them…anyhow I was bummed until now. I recently saw these crackers and bought a box. Surprisingly, they are exactly like the chips just not quite as bad for us. Give them a try.

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Clean Public Park/Trail Bathrooms: Being female has it’s ups and downs. One of the biggest downs is that we are not as lucky as males who can basically relieve themselves anywhere on a trail. Yes, I know, females could too but it’s a lot more work. So when you are lucky enough to come across a clean park/trailhead bathroom it is quite nice to say the least. Some make you gag and just hold it until the next opportunity comes, some are so disgusting that I would rather pee in a parking lot(which I have before). And occasionally you have ones that when you open the door oh so very slowly bracing for the stench and aroma that most have, you are pleasantly surprised by the cleanliness. This was my experience recently when we went hiking at a nearby trail. I opened the door and couldn’t believe my eyes. It was clean, did not smell at all, and I think I could have even considered sitting on this throne if needed (although, I have never sat on a public throne in all of my adult life, why would I start now). Hurray for whom ever cleans this trailhead bathroom in the town of Maplewood, WI…..GOOD JOB!

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Whole Fruit Sorbet and Greek Frozen Yogurt: I recently found these in the frozen foods section or our local grocery store. I was pleasantly surprised to find them very tasty and refreshing. At a 100 calories each, not a bad treat.

IMG_1849Tazo Chai Latte: I don’t usually try samples when I walk around Costco, first I normally don’t have time to wait in line much less the patience. Although, recently this was being sampled and there was no line so why not. It took me about two seconds to try, taste, and purchase this chai tea. They had it mixed with milk at the store which was great. However, when I made it I mixed it with almond milk which was just as yummy. Add some ice and you have a wonderful, summertime, pick me up drink:)

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Still Finding Time With Mom: I love that my son don’t mind walking with his mom. We don’t get a whole lot of time together anymore with work, school, and more work but when there is time he don’t mind spending a little bit of it with his old mom. They say your kids love you, then hate you, then eventually come to be thankful for all you did for them later in life. I am not sure what stage we are in at this point in time, maybe a little of all of them, although when we are together its fun. Which means my plan is to take it for what it is at the moment and run with it…

(picture courtesy of our son)momhikinglow-1

Anything you want to share that you are loving lately?

What I Am Loving Lately

It’s Friday again and I have a few things to share with you that I have been really enjoying.

Nature Box: First, let me tell you about a monthly snack delivery we have been receiving from Nature Box. We pick out five different bags of snacks each month on their website and they are sent to our home address. The guacamole bites are spectacular…I ate the entire bag myself. Shhhh, don’t tell. (I am the lucky mail retriever so I only show my boys some of the treats we receive:) Anyhow, they make great additions to a quick grab and go snack bag for last minute outings.  Plus, they have a huge assortment of treats to choose from, so you really never get bored of the same old thing.

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Superfeet Insoles: I have come to love my new insoles. After talking with my doctor and hearing him suggest a high profile insole I bit the bullet and spent the money for some Superfeet.

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They get wonderful reviews from fellow hikers and seem to hold up to some of the roughest trails which is exactly what I was looking for. At first, I will admit, I had my doubts. They were so uncomfortable. Every step was painful and I cringed for about three days. However, each day seemed to get a little better and by the time I reached my first week with them I could not tell I even had them in my shoes. Now, I cannot even imagine walking without them. I no longer feel my ankle bones grinding together when I walk and my hips(for some strange reason) no longer hurt me at all. I even bought a second pair to rotate between my hiking boots and my water shoes since I was told never to walk without firm arch supports in my shoes.

Garage Sale: I recently had a garage sale and I am very happy the pile of junk accumulating in my basement is now gone. HURRAY!

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Panic Attacks: Call me a terrible mother but I was so thankful to hear my son tell us that he no longer can do hills on his long board. After last years accident where he spent the summer recovering from a head injury, a broken collar bone, and numerous road rashed areas, I was extremely thankful that his brain told him this is something that should not be attempted again. However, in case he would forget he does not have to look far to have a reminder that the blacktop is much harder than the human body! He actually had his collar bone x-ray enlarged, colored, and decorated his board with it.

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Water Balloons: Nothing says summer more than a good old water balloon fight between father and son. No matter how old they get, they really never seem to truly grow up. IMG_1228

Active Families: I am so proud to say that we are an active family. Even though we all have jobs, school, different friends, and many other responsibilities we still find time to do what we love as a family and that is being active together.

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What I Am Loving Lately

What a week it has been. It’s finally Friday which makes it the perfect time to tell you about a few things I have been loving lately.

Leaves on the trees are starting to emerge everywhere. It’s been so long since we have seen green grass and leaves that it makes me giddy just to image that soon we will be playing under our big shade tree.

Muffins in a cup. I came across these while grocery shopping recently and they were on sale for $1 each.

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You just add water, stir, and microwave for a minute or so. How cool is that? Perfect for a single serving dessert craving or in my case a youngster to do by themselves when they are dying to cook and you simply don’t have time.

Farm fresh eggs. We have been offered the opportunity to get farm fresh eggs on a weekly basis from one of my husbands co workers. When he told me this, I was excited. We regularly purchase 4 dozen eggs a week. To get them straight from the farm for less than store bought eggs is terrific.

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Lightweight option for camp towels. Did you know that a cheaper version of a fast drying, lightweight camp towel can be found at your local discount store? You can go to the automotive department and purchase a microfiber towel for under $10 that will do everything your bath towel does but takes up a lot less space in your backpack. IMG_0767

You can use these as your bath or beach towel. You can dry the dew off your tent in the morning before packing it up. You can also roll it up and stuff it in your boots/shoes for a few hours and it will suck up the moisture from a rainy hike. These are much cheaper than actual camp towels and so much more practical than a normal everyday bath towel.

Book: A Blistered Kind of Love by Angela and Duffy Ballard As you all know I have been sitting for quite awhile. To pass my time I have been reading a lot and found this book to be very humorous. It’s about a couple that has decided to test their relationship by hiking the PCT together. If you like hiking and are looking for a good laugh, I highly recommend reading this one.

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Dawn infused paper towels and hand wipes. It’s no secret I am a germaphobe. I am not obsessed to the point that I cannot function in society but I do need to feel clean. That being said, the thing I miss the most when we camp or hike is being able to wash my hands at certain times. It’s at this time of year we stock up on packaged wipes to have in our car/truck, my backpack, our camp supply box, and so on. This year we came across these new Dawn infused paper towels in a trial pack. There are 6 towels per pack and when I saw them for $1 each I grabbed a few. These will be perfect for wiping down dirty picnic tables, washing cooking pots/dishes at the campsite, and for wiping down things in hotel rooms. (In case you are laughing at me about wiping down a picnic table, let me explain. I once saw a parent change their child’s dirty diaper on a park picnic table and literally walk away for the next family to enjoy a picnic on. So yes, I do wipe down every picnic table I eat on!) All we will have to do is add a little water from our water bottles and cleanliness will be easily achieved.

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What have you been loving lately?