Summer In My Eyes Means…..

Summer means something different for everyone. For me, it the BEST season ever. That being said, there are very clear signs that tell me when summer has arrived, officially or unofficially.

There are always a pile of shoes outside my patio door to trip on.

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We have sunscreen and bug spray in every vehicle we own.

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Our summers are very colorful and sometimes very expensive.

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Dinners outside are a daily thing.

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I spend 8-9 hours of my day in this area during the week. A place that we don’t get to enjoy half the year….our backyard.

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I bid farewell to the gym and do most of my workouts outside. I will, however, make the occasional stop in at the gym if the weather is not favorable for outside exercise.

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My husband always picks my favorite flower and brings them inside so my house smells like lilacs.

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Fresh veggies are abundant

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There is never enough hours in a weekend to fit all our favorite things in.

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And my clothes lines are always covered in Turkish beach towels.

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What is your favorite part of summer? (mine is tank tops and shorts)

What is your least favorite part of summer? (mine is that is has to end so quickly)

 

 

 

What I Am Loving Lately

I find myself starting to enjoy each day a little more as the weather starts to heat up little by little here in Green Bay. From finally seeing leaves on trees to gorgeous colors starting to be planted in planters around homes and businesses. There is something about color that just adds happiness to life. With that being said, here are a few things I am loving lately.

Dinners outside again: My husband and I will often share dinner together outside on the porch in the warm months of the year. We have begun doing this again on the days that are nice and I am so grateful for this time.

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Coffee Nut M&M’s: OMG….they are my favorite all time M&M.

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Our Bugaboo Camp Cooking Pot set: I could not believe this when I found it at a garage sale one morning walking the neighborhood with my kiddos. I almost had a stroke when I saw the $3 price tag (normally $70 brand new retail) and opened it up to find it new, not scratched, and never used for that matter. It will no doubt be the best thing I find at a garage sale this season.

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Palmer’s Coconut Oil Lotion: As I mentioned in the past, my hair and skin have drastically changed since surgery back in January. And since I found my new favorite hair moisturizer, I was on a mission to find a lotion that would offer my skin some relief. I gave this coconut oil lotion a try after talking with a friend and have been very happy with the results so far. It not in any way greasy which is a BIG thing for me. It smells wonderful….like the tropics and really seems to moisturize well.

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Luna Chocolate Dipped Coconut Bar: After a long walk one day I stopped at a local drug store for a quick errand and noticed these by the checkout. I grabbed one since I was hungry and this sounded yummy. I don’t typically do bar type snacks unless on a trail or paddling a river but this just sounded perfect. After opening it and giving it a try, I think I may have a new favorite bar because it was soooo good.

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Sriracha Aioli: With grilling season upon us I am always experimenting with ways to liven up burgers, chicken and other meats. I picked this up in Door County, WI on a day trip with some friends and cannot wait to return for another bottle. We have tried it on chicken sandwiches, turkey burgers, and its fabulous in black bean burger wraps. It really adds a kick of flavor and spice.

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This inspirational saying:  I recently saw this while shopping and thought of how much our life has changed in the last few months. It’s exactly how I feel and I am working very hard to feel like I am living right side up again. All in good time….right

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That shall do it for now.

If you want to share something you are enjoying lately, feel free and do so.

Since tomorrow is going to be one of those crazy busy days I will end by wishing everyone a safe and very happy Memorial Day weekend………….

 

 

 

 

Are Family Meals A Thing Of The Past?

As a child, I was raised to always be home at dinner time and we always enjoyed dinner at the dining room table together as a family.Well, there is no doubt times have changed. Family dinner is, for the most part, a thing of the past, from what I can tell in reading some of my favorite blogs. I have to admit, this does sadden me. I can remember when our son was young this was when he would tell us about school, what this/that friend said/did, how a test went is this/that class, and we also discussed our weekend plans during this time. Granted, now that he is older and works numerous jobs, our family dinners are far and few between but when they do happen we still find so much to discuss and catch up on that I savor this time.

As an active family we spend many waking hours outside enjoying life. For us family dinner time today can be almost anywhere. When we have the opportunity to actually be together we often will choose to do something outside and fun rather than sit at home, prepare a big meal, and sit down together. That is not to say we don’t pack up some food and take it with us to share in, what some may call, the oddest places to share a meal together. The point is, that a family meal can be shared anywhere you wish it to be shared. With just a little planning and some creativity it can be whatever you wish it to be.

Here are a few of the strangest places we have shared a family meal together.

the beach on a picnic blanket

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over looking Lake Superior

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top of Peter’s Dome

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tailgate of our truck

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top of Devil’s Lake Bluff

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campsite deep in the woods

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Rib Mountain picnic table

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our front porch

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tailgate of a friends truck

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atop a kayak

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our kitchen table(yes we do own one)

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Christmas Day lunch from the back of our SUV

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sitting around a campfire

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picnic table over looking the Bay of Green Bay

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As you can see, we can share a family meal almost anywhere and have it be special. During the spring, summer, and fall months, our dining room table is very rarely used, but that is not to say we still don’t spend a lot of time together having family meals.

Do you think family meals are a thing of the past?

Do you have meal time as a family? If so, how often?

Why do you think family meals are a thing of the past?

 

 

Let’s Reminisce Again….

Every year about this time I look back through my photos and just reminisce. Winters are very long, lonely, and cold for me. I try and keep myself busy, however, winters drag on as if they last forever. My summer photos give me something to look forward to so let’s reminisce together.

I miss grilled food

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I hope to utilize this box this summer.

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Maybe I will try outdoor yoga in the park.

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We are hoping to make another visit to a friends cabin.

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I miss relaxing on my front porch almost as much as I miss the beach.

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Don’t forget the sunsets of summer

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Disc golf, one of our family favorite games.

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This year our son’s brand new kayak will get a real taste of summer now that he is completely healed up.

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Just to see green leaves and grass again would be an improvement over snow, slush and yuck that is covering everything right about now.

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Summer can not come fast enough for me.

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What do you miss about summer?

A Littel Girl’s Wishes Are Granted

Nothing makes me happier when I see a spark in the eyes of a child who loves to be outdoors. Even at a young age you can tell if you have one of these children or not. I have a family that I offer childcare to that has one of these children. She is just shy of three years old and often tells us that she wants to do the things we do, such as kayak, standup paddle, hike and go fishing. She helps me pack supplies every Friday for whatever it is that we have planned for our weekends and every single Friday she says she’s going to come too. I knew this past Saturday we were going to have a pretty low key day at the beach so our son could give paddling a try so I asked her parents if we could borrow her for the day. They happily granted us this request which meant her little wish was was going to come true. She was finally going to get to kayak, standup paddle and go to the beach with us.

We packed up our supplies as usual adding her water shoes, suit, towel and PFD right along side of our gear. We talked about what we were all going to pack for a picnic, who would all be coming along and so on. We made a list for her mommy and daddy of all the supplies she would need to bring Saturday morning. And, I also added, that she needed to go to bed like a good girl and sleep a long time because Saturday would be her big day.

She showed up Saturday morning and we all packed into the truck and off we headed…to the beach. Upon arrival, she could not change into her suit fast enough. We hauled all our gear to the edge of the beach, laid down some safety rules (no entering the water without a life jacket on) and then it was play time.

Her first wish was to try kayaking. We did bring our recreational kayaks for her to ride with one of us in but my husband was the first one in his whitewater kayak. She immediately ran to him and he just sat her on top of his kayak skirt and she was all smiles.

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We eventually got her to get into a recreational kayak with me and we paddled the lake for a bit before she said it was time for the standup paddle board. She wasted no time hopping on but was a little more unsure about this ride than the kayak. I think she expected sides on the board and obviously there are no sides to hold you in.

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Her biggest wish was to paddle by herself. She is three and it’s all about independence so my husband granted this wish but dropped down to his knees because she was not brave enough to stand.

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She was one happy little girl, doing all these big girl sports. After some time though, the little kid came back out in her, my husband and my son. They all joined her in building a sand castle together.

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We called this Addie’s Island and it even had a waterfall!!!!

About two hours into our day her little belly started to get hungry so it was picnic time. I knew exactly what she all asked for and most of it was granted along with a few of her favorites, like green peppers and hummus.

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We really all had the best time. She was a complete angel the entire day. She enjoyed playing in the sand, getting to ride alone in my husband’s kayak while we spun her in circles and even using her big muscles to paddle with me really fast to beat my son back to shore for our picnic. It was a wonderful day!

I should point out, this is typically not part of what I do for my daycare families. I don’t often see this spark in a child anymore and it is quite heartbreaking that many kids will never get to experience things like this in their lifetime. This is the same child that requested to come hiking with us one day and we also granted her this wish back in Spring. Since then, her parents have followed along and have taken her camping for the first time and also on a few hikes. I am so proud they are encouraging and granting her the opportunity of an active lifestyle in the outdoors.

I am also very thankful they granted us the opportunity to have this day with their daughter. The big hug, kiss and thank you I received when I went to put her into her car seat before leaving the beach for home made me so proud. I am quite sure she will remember this trip for a long time.

A big Thank You goes out to her mommy and daddy:)

 

Eating On The Road, River or Trail

Once the snow melts and we start venturing out to do our favorite outdoor activities one of our biggest obstacles is eating on the road. We are not big restaurant goers and let’s face it, after hours of hiking or paddling we probably should not be in a restaurant anyhow. I will let your imagination go where it wishes with that statement.That leaves me to figure out what to pack on our outings.

First of all, we are not always hot, sweaty, wet or stinking like wet suit funk after a long day. Sometimes we are just on the road and don’t want to have to make a stop for food. Or maybe we know we will be traveling for too long and instead of stopping for two meals on the road I will pack one of them. Recently, this was the case. We knew we would eat out on the way home, so I packed the meal we would need while at our destination for lunch. I threw together a quick orzo salad, sliced up some strawberries and kiwi’s packed some water and lunch was served.

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So easy, filling, healthier that restaurant food and at this time of year, easy to keep cold with a few ice packs in a cooler. I packaged the salad in three different containers so no plates were needed.

Now, when we kayak it’s a whole different story. We always tell everyone to eat before arriving and eat enough to last a few hours. We do carry one dry bag for just snacks that usually consist of nuts, Clif bars and applesauce pouches. Everyone is also told to have their own water bottle. We normally have this snack about half way down the river. Our meal upon completing our paddle is left in the vehicle at the takeout point.

After all the kayaks are taken out, emptied and gear laid out to drip dry some, we normally lay out our towels and feast. We are usually all hungry and tired.

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These “after paddling”  meals could consist of cut up watermelon, pineapple, boned chicken, shredded cheese, tortillas, crackers, nuts, turkey jerky, hot sauce, veggies and dip, string cheese, and gummy candies(a favorite river treat of everyone).

Some of our favorite places we have shared meals with friends have been on tailgates, atop kayaks and sometimes we even get lucky and there may be an actual picnic table nearby.

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Either way, the most important part of eating on the road in the middle of summer would be ICE! ALOT OF ICE. Pack more than you think you would need to be on the safe side. No one wants to share a picnic with friends after a great day of paddling only to be sick a few hours later. And truthfully, if there is too much ice, its always good for the bumps and bruises you may have after a great day on the river:)

Then we have our hiking trips. Sadly, it is almost always just the three of us. For some reason everyone says they could never hike as far as we do or they don’t want to hold us back. Only twice have we had people join us, once was my brother and his family and they did just fine. The second time was a friend of my son’s and she did pretty good also. With my brother we had coolers packed in the cars and grilled out food after our hike. The second time we climbed to the top of a beautiful cliff and shared lunch up there. My husband carried a pack with some ice and food.

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When it’s just us, we get a little braver and bring our ultra light stove and freeze dried meals. No ice needed, light weight and easy to prepare. We also pack snacks for along the trail like gorp, granola bars, dried fruit and veggies etc. Again, don’t forget the water.

So, no matter what you are doing either in the outdoors or just on the road traveling there are options for eating healthy.

What are some of your favorite things to eat while on the road?