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!

 

 

I Thought 50 degrees in February Was Awesome…..64 Is A Small Miracle

Wow, what a week we had here in Green Bay. Sun was shining, snow was melting, warmth was beaming down from the sky, and I saw neighbors I have not seen since November. It’s always so funny to finally see who you live next too after a few months and high five each other for making it through another LONG winter.

Alright, so maybe winter is not quite over yet, but you could not tell by the week temperatures we had here. Needless to say, this all changed Friday morning upon waking up. We were once again, hit by yet another snowstorm. Which made me so happy that I took complete advantage of the nice days we did have and spent every moment possible outside for exercise.

Here, take a look:

Sunday: Fox River Trail walk 3 miles…The trail, river, and parking lots were packed with everyone wanting to get some fresh air. However, we found a quiet stretch to walk on which offered us some peace from all the bikers.

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Monday: 2 mile walk and upper body weight routine

Tuesday: 3 mile walk and upper body weight routine

Plus numerous hours playing outside and going for two kid walks which equal approx 1.5 miles total….exhausting day but so nice to enjoy this mid February.

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Wednesday: 1 mile walk…..In honor of National Margarita Day my dear neighbors brought over two margaritas for my husband and I. I then proceeded to drink mine before leaving for our evening walk, which then went from a planned 3 miles to a stumble instead of a walk and lasted 1 mile instead. However, I am not complaining since that margarita sure tasted great after a long, summer like day:-) It’s great to have such wonderful neighbors….

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Thursday: home: 30 minute recumbent bike and a 3 mile evening walk before the snowstorm arrived over night

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Friday: rest

Saturday: I finally got the virus all my daycare children have been passing around for the past few weeks, so no exercise for me today:-(

As for meals this week, I will admit, I should have planned some grilling meals but I did not. My husband is the griller in our family and we had some nights where he was not due to be home on time so inside meals it was all week. Although, that’s ok, we still had some great meals and one new recipe this week which was a summer time quinoa salad because summer temps deserve a summer salad…right?

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One night was pulled pork sandwiches with roasted carrots and sun dried tomato couscous.

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Another evening was no boil lasagna because nothing is easier than making it all in the early morning and sliding it in the oven when you spent all day outside and need a hot dinner but have no energy left to prepare it at the end of the day.

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Happy New Year…..First, Let’s Catch Up On The Last Two Weeks

I feel it’s important to catch up on the events of these past two weeks. With me being self employed, I had kids here and there through most of the past few weeks. And now, with the new year upon us, everyone is back to normal schedule, my husband is back to normal schedule, and I am looking forward to getting our routine back.

As most of us have done, we had family and friends to celebrate with but we keep things pretty low key here and that is how I like it. We hosted two gatherings, opened gifts, and had a very nice time chatting and catching up with family. From homemade gifts to fabulous food, we all enjoyed the holidays and the time we spent together.

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In between parties, I lived in my pj’s and just enjoyed the down time I had.

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That is not to say I did not exercise though. I am not going to lie and say it thrills me to death to see all the new people at my gym working on new years resolutions because in all honesty it’s a bit frustrating. However, I know from past years a small few will hang on past a few weeks and it’s just something I have to live with until it thins out a bit. That being said, I do hope all the newbies find health happiness and keep up the good work. It’s a hard step to take and once your past the front door why not keep going. It only gets better from there.

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Let’s see…..in case your wondering my outdoor life has been pretty scarce for quite some time already. We have plenty of snow in my opinion…..ok, maybe in my opinion we have too much snow already. And the worse part is I know there is still so much left to come. So outdoor adventure for me is simply not happening anytime soon.

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During our few weeks off, we did celebrate something other than Christmas and New Years….our son had his 23rd birthday. Yes, he was almost a Christmas baby but I kept my legs crossed for this not to happen…..and thankfully he was born 8 hours later. So every year he gets a few gifts wrapped in birthday paper to make sure his birthday is never forgotten.

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Meals lately have been all over the place. I have always said and still believe that Christmas should be called the “cream cheese holiday” since we consume so much of this food during this holiday. So after all the holiday get togethers were over, I made a big batch of chili and it was a perfect way to get back on a daily meal schedule.

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Plus, I have a new addition in my kitchen and I was dying to give it a try. I have been working on some new recipes to share in the new year while I enjoy cooking with my new dutch oven.

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Speaking of meals…..I am trying something new after my workouts. The past year I have been having issues with charlie horses in my leg after workouts. It’s only one leg and it’s the leg that caused me such issues after surgery on my abdomen….I know, who would have thought…anyhow, someone told me to try coconut water after a workout. Well, I did and this drink is not good! However, I really wanted to see if it would help so then someone told me to try making it into a smoothie which I did and now it tastes a whole lot better. Since I do not have a fancy blender and don’t wish to buy one, I simply purchased a Blender Bottle and have been experimenting with different mixtures. Happily, I can report, I have seen great improvement in my leg pains after workouts and have been enjoying the smoothies I have been coming up with.

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That pretty much sums up the past few weeks. I am looking forward to January and hope it brings some fun along with a bit of adventure in the new year.

The Crack Of Thunder vs. The Growl Of A Snow Plow

I came to the conclusion this weekend that I would much rather wake up to the crack of thunder than the growl of a snow plow early on a weekend morning. I am happy to report that the precipitation the professionals all had predicted for our area Sunday morning fell in the form of rain and I could not have had a bigger smile on my face. Thank the Lord above for this being rain and not snow. We would have been buried!

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Let’s take a look at what else happened on a positive note this weekend.

Lunch out with a friend who I have not seen in months. It was great to catch up and chat.    IMG_1865

Two great workouts accomplished

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Homemade lasagna with this recipe

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That pretty much sums up my weekend. Warm temps, good friends, great workouts and comfort food….who could ask for anything more?

With Christmas being a little over a week away our calendar is pretty full with family and friends get togethers coming up. We have two parties to attend and I am hoping to fit in some vehicle shopping somewhere in that mess. My boys attempted to finish good ole mom for Christmas yesterday and they came home a few hours later ready to both take up drinking from the mass chaos happening at this time of year in the stores. I secretly chuckled …..alright maybe not secretly….I actually laughed out loud at their frustration. I often ask to just buy my own gifts to make life easier on them but every year I am turned down and they ask for just a list. I think I may be getting closer and closer to them giving in and letting me do this after this years experience.

Do you buy for your spouse for the holiday?

Is it more important to get them what they ask for or get them something you think they would like?

 

 

Weekly Dinner Planning

A while back I was asked how I plan and accomplish getting dinner on the table every night while caring for children and exercising as often as I do. I thought now would be a great time to touch on this topic since everyone has probably started their resolution of adding exercise to their daily life all while trying to juggle everything else that life throws their way.

First let me say, I always have a plan but do not beat myself up if that plan does not always happen. However, there are many factors that play into our weekly meal plan. Things like appointments, # of people eating that night, schedules, seasons, moods, weather, workout plans, coupons, etc.

Typically, I make my menu plan on Friday’s so I can take stock of the pantry and grocery shop for the needed supplies over the weekend. I always give myself Saturday off, where I prepare no meals at all for my family. This is the day I only cook for myself, someone cooks for me, or in the summer time you will usually find us sharing a meal on the tailgate of our truck after hours of kayaking,

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a meal on top of a bluff,

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There is no magic trick to getting a decent dinner on the table most nights. I use my time wisely, I prepare anything I possibly can ahead of time, we have many cooking projects that the kids I care for can help with, I use kitchen tools when time is tight (love the crock pot), and always clean and cut up veggies right after I buy them. That is one step I don’t need to worry about getting done during the week.

A normal week looks somewhat like:

Sunday: nice dinner could take anywhere from 30-45 minutes to prepare (workout day)

Monday: 30minute meal (workout night)

Tuesday: 30 minute meal ( workout night)

Wednesday: crock pot or casserole meal (playdate on Wednesday’s means something to set and forget or a casserole I premade in the morning is ideal) (workout night)

Thursday: 30 minute meal ( workout night)

Friday: easy fast 15 minute meal (who feels like cooking on Friday’s) (off no workout)

Saturday: off (workout, kayaking, hiking, tennis, etc)

I will start posting our weekly menu plan on Sunday’s so you can get a little look into how I manage meals, exercise, working, and life. Maybe this will help those of you who struggle to find balance when it comes to feeding your family and still finding time for you.

Here is this weeks plan:

Sunday: no boil lasagna and side salad

Monday: pork stir fry over rice medley

Tuesday: crunchy ground turkey hoisin pockets and roasted broccoli

Wednesday: roasted whole chicken in the crock pot, stuffing, and zucchini

Thursday:  sushi and side salads

Friday: tuna casserole

Saturday: make it yourself or starve:)

If you see something that sounds good and  you would like the recipe, comment or email me at rednatural1973@gmail.com and I will be happy to share it with you.

 

 

Weekend Highlights: July 4th. Weekend

Technically, our July 4th weekend started out at 4:30 Thursday night when my last daycare child was picked up from our home. My husband was with our son at the orthopedic surgeons office and I was left home alone with my thoughts of the last few days. And what a few days it was.

First of all, being out of routine with little ones running around does not make life easy! Typically, our son is at work most week days and we do our thing throughout the day. This is not at all what happened this past week. Instead, our son slept most of the day time hours or needed assistance of some kind. I honestly don’t know what injury was worse for me to deal with. His broken clavicle was the one that gave him the worse pain but the head injury gave us the biggest worry. Even the doctors were amazed all the CT scans came back ok because the bump and gash they stapled back together was amazing. So we obviously did not leave him alone for the first few days, which meant after Monday when my husband went back to work it was all me. Thankfully my husband took the overnight hours of checking on him and making sure he did not roll on the head injury and kept his medication on time. I got to sleep through most of the first few nights.

Then our weekend arrived and all original plans of kayaking were cancelled:( I was bummed! We struggled to decide if we should do anything at all with or without him and in the end decided that it would be best to stay together and just take it easy. He was still sleeping a lot of the time and his arm still hurt him quite a bit. So Friday was a relaxing day of getting some things done. I did a little shopping and then we planned a relaxing beach day for Saturday hoping that he would feel up to at least getting out of the house.

Saturday morning was gorgeous. We loaded up the stand up paddle board, one kayak, beach towels,chairs, and headed to the beach. If there is a better place to recover from an accident other than relaxing on a beach I would love to hear it because I believe sunshine can cure almost anything. We had the pleasure of having our neighbors join us for the day and it was quite a pleasant day for everyone. Both our neighbors had the opportunity to try stand up paddle boarding for the first time and did wonderful.

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Even our son was in the water for some of the time. The only part of him that he was not able to get wet was his head so he even attempted to play frisbee with us. Although, it was quite frustrating to throw with the wrong hand and watch it go everywhere other than where he was hoping it would go.

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At the end of our day our neighbor decided it was her time to learn how to wet exit and roll in a whitewater kayak. We had taken her down a river once before in the past but it was too cold to teach this on that day, so this was the perfect place to learn. The beach was a controlled area with no current and lots of assistance.

First, the wet exit was attempted. She got all the advice she needed and we were all close by for help if she needed it. Over she went.

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And out and up she came.

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Success!!!! It’s funny how this is really the biggest fear most people have when in a kayak for the first time. The questions of WILL I BE ABLE TO GET OUT is always scary and the best way to know if you can is to just do it. She did terrific and even said she has a better feeling now knowing she will be able to exit in the event of a rollover on a river.

Then she surprised my husband and son with the request to try and roll. Females are the bravest people we have had on the river by far and she was no different. Request granted and the lesson began.

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Here she is learning the hip action while leaning against my husband as our son watches and gives pointers. (he really felt so useless because normally he teaches the roll very well)

Now, it was her turn to try it and hope for the best. Over she went…

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And no success, she had to wet exit. Although she tried twice, both times were unsuccessful:(  We all have faith that in time she will get it.

After this we were all chilly and agreed it was time to pack up and head to a county park very nearby before heading home. Upon arrival the temperature change was amazing. I grabbed a jacket before heading down to the shoreline.

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We did not spend a whole lot of time here because of high, rough water and it was time to get our son home to rest. He was already sleeping in the car by the time we returned.

Even though it was not the weekend of kayaking we had planned, it was still a great day on the water. We all had a wonderful day at the beach with some fun friends and beautiful weather. I love summer:)

Then Sunday came and the first thing on the agenda was a quick trip to the clinic so our son could get his staples removed. I can’t believe a week has past since the accident. The rest of the day we just sort of did our own things. My husband went fishing, I hung out did some reading and went for a walk and made a pan of no boil lasagna for dinner. And our son had more friends stop in for a visit. I must admit, it was a nice way to end a long weekend.

Did you do anything fun? I’d love to hear about it.