Crazy….Maybe….Worth It….Totally!!!!

Training for our hiking trip is going quite well. I am finally starting to feel better in the pain department which I am so thankful for. With that in mind, time is always our biggest issue when we need to step things up in the exercise area for vacations but we get in what we can during the week and I typically give it a good go on the weekends. My husband tags along when he can during the week and weekends we typically do something active one day and one day we spend separate since this trip is more my destination than his. Well, maybe they are all more my destination than his but so far he has not been disappointed so I just go with it.

Here is what my week was like:

Saturday: 6.5 mile trail hike with my husband

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Sunday: gym: 30 minute elliptical and total body weights on the Cybex machines

****This is the first weights I have lifted since injuring myself July 4. I have decided to start on the machines which are not my favorite but I feel are more forgiving if my form is off in any way.

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Monday: home gym: 30 minutes recumbent bike

commercial gym: 30 minutes elliptical and leg lifting on the Cybex machines, along with a ton of stretching

Tuesday: 3 mile rail trail walk

Wednesday: home gym: 25 minutes recumbent bike, floor mat exercises with very light weights

evening rail trail walk for 3 miles

Thursday: rest

Friday: rest

I am really feeling the effects of age, life, summer….I am not quite sure exactly so call it what you wish. Workouts at the gym are a struggle at best during the week but I have to remember I NEVER used to visit the gym in the summer months two years ago. My job is active and chasing kids all day in the summer heat (pure heaven for me) is a lot of work. However, we have trained for far worse trips in the summer heat…like when we did ooodles of stairs for our trip to Sedona, AZ. These were killers but I was so happy we did them when we arrived and started hiking the area.

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As usual I am putting off friends, family, and events to get in what I can in my free time to prepare for this adventure. Some clearly believe this is crazy…..and some few understand its what I love to do. Reaching a destination you think is impossible is the best feeling in the world. And for me, the higher up this destination is the better the feeling of accomplishment is when I reach it.

There is nothing better for me than arriving at the trailhead and seeing this sight… my boys looking up and thinking…..is my mom/wife out of her mind???? And then we begin our hike and eventually reach the top! Priceless and and worth every step I took to get here.

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That’s it for me…our weekend is a bit unorganized at the moment so we’ll all see what plays out when it actually happens. As usual the chore list is always something we could do…..scrub carpets, laundry, cut the lawn and so on, plus I know we have to make a quick trip down to our nearest Trader Joe’s for backpacking food which is no quick trip being its two hours from us. And of course, while we are down there we may just have to make a quick stop in at REI to see what’s on sale. Plus, we have not decided on buying a bear canister yet or winging it and going without. I have been watching the trail condition updates and they are all talking about numerous sighting of bears which is exciting and scary all at the same time. I would love to see one on the trail BUT not searching for food in my backpack!

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As usual time will tell and we’ll see what gets done and what we end up doing all in good time.

Anyone have a bear canister to recommend?

 

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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.

Did You Know….

Did you know….that in WI you can purchase your yearly state park entry sticker for full price ($28) and they offer a second sticker for a second vehicle for a reduced rate? We never did until a few years ago and for us this is a bonus since we need three for our household.

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Did you know…. that my dream someday is to section hike the Appalachian Trail? As of today I have 6 miles completed which is hardly a start but it’s still a start. I have read numerous books about it and just started one that was recommended to me called AWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David Miller. So far I am really enjoying it.

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Did you know….I cannot mix meatloaf or meatballs without wearing rubber gloves? My husband thinks this is hilarious. Although, he has learned not to laugh at me since he loves both meatloaf and meatballs and if he laughs at me then I don’t make them.

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Did you know….I love to grab takeout menus from various restaurants and recreate some of the dishes at home? I think this is such an easy way to come up with variety for home menus. Plus, typically there are many different things that sound so wonderful and who can order more than one entree while out for a meal. My friend recently chuckled at me when I grabbed menus at every restaurant we stopped at and I told her this is what I do with them. Doesn’t anyone else do this???

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Did you know….pancakes are one of our favorite camp breakfasts when we are headed out for a day of hiking? However, since surgery (January2016) I have a hard time eating pancakes….and I mean a real hard time. Well, as you all know, we have made our first camp reservations of the year and I am also convinced that I can find a pancake I can eat without losing the contents of my stomach within minutes, by this trip. I recently was told to try Kodiak brand so I picked up a box and we are going to give it a test run here at home. Let’s hope for the best since these are full of protein and would be perfect for a prehike breakfast.

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Did you know….that even though our son takes family, graduation, wedding, and professional pictures for everyone else, I have never had him take a professional picture of our family? Why you ask…..well honestly, a nicely dressed, matching outfits, sitting on a stone man made fence is not my idea of what my family is and/or looks like. So why would I want a picture that does not describe who we are as a family? I have some of the best pictures of all of us, us as a couple, and just myself on trails in some of the most beautiful places ever and I cherish these and the fact that he was there to capture the moment with his camera.

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Did you know….that I am so ready for winter to be over with already? We had a burst of spring like temperatures and now we are back to full blown winter. Add in the few snowfalls we have also had since these nice days and ugggg, I am ready to be done. We have some big plans for this upcoming weekend and hopefully it will be all good. I am in the market for some new hiking boots, a stop at Trader Joe’s, and a nice dinner somewhere other than in good ole Green Bay. Hopefully this brightens my mood and if it doesn’t I think we may plan a hike on a WI state trail that we have not visited in a while. Rarely, do we hike south of Green Bay but I recall it being a nice trail. If we make this happen I will be sure to keep you all updated on the trail conditions in this area.

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Finally February…What’s Next On The Agenda?

A few more weeks to go until we change our clocks once again and life starts looking a little brighter and much more fun in my eyes.

Typically by this time of year, I have already starting planning our summer excursions, booked some camp sites, and made numerous other plans to fill up our summer calendar. This year, however, has been a bit different…..I have done none of this. UGGGG! I have been, in all honesty, unmotivated since we returned from Tennessee to do any of this. Life has been chaos and I just can’t seem to catch a break long enough to even consider summer planning.

I have been keeping up with my pledge to try at least one new recipe a week for our family dinners. And so far, we have found some real winners. Like beef with pepperocino peppers in the slow cooker. The easiest recipe ever since you literally take your beef roast and lay it in the slow cooker. Dump the jar of pepperocinos with the juice over the roast. Add a shimmy shake of Worcestershire sauce and a tsp of beef bouillon to the mixture and cover and turn it on. Taaaadaaaa….6-8 hours later you shred it up and serve how you wish. I layered whole wheat rolls with cheese and baked them until they were melted. Then I added the meat and served it with a side salad. A complete meal, with little work and very tasty to end a long day.

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With February normally being the month I struggle with the most, so far it has been ok.I have been keeping busy thanks to many different things on my plate at one time. With a trip disaster in January to TN, I am still fighting with the airlines for refunds. I have made and have had plans with friends cancelled due to illnesses(on their end) numerous times. And I have been doing my best to keep a level head about some work issues that have been plaguing me.

I recently went to dinner with my brother to a restaurant I had not been to in at least 15 years and was happily surprised by the remodel job. The place was beautiful but the food was mediocre at best. Next month it is my turn to choose the restaurant and I think I might try Thai for the first time ever. I love that my brother has a broad sense of taste, since then we have many different options to choose from. Often, when I go out with my husband, it’s to the same three restaurants and even though its nice, I sometimes wish he was a bit more adventurous when it came to trying new things.

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February at the gym has significantly gotten less crowded. Normally by February I am so ready to be outside doing something active, however, this year I am not quite there yet. I am loving the gym and my time to do what I love. I have been concentrating on strengthening my abs and core along with my upper body again. Paddling season is not that far off and after taking it easy all last summer due to my abdominal surgery and the summer before due to my husbands disc herniation….this summer I plan to paddle as much as possible.

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We have a bunch of birthdays coming up in the next few weeks and no real plans as of yet to celebrate them. For mine, I am hoping to get a nice dinner out somewhere…..maybe Hibachi/Sushi….we shall see.

There is also an REI garage sale date coming up and unless there is a snowstorm that stops me from making this two hour drive to our nearest REI, I have the calendar marked and the gift cards are burning a hole in my pocket. On the list….a new pair of Keen hiking boots for yours truly. Mine have taken me many miles through Minnesota, Tennessee, Arizona, Michigan, Utah, Arkansas, and all over Wisconsin. I think it’s time to let them rest and break in a new pair.

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And come next month our clocks will once again be changing. Daylight will be longer, snow will begin to melt away leaving mud around every corner. And we will slowly start to venture back outside and start making memories again of times better spent somewhere other than in the four walls of our house. Ohhhh, how I wait patiently for this month to pass.

Moments That Have Made Me Smile

It no secret that once autumn rolls around my mood is affected drastically by the thought of winter on its way. Having seasonal depression is rough but as of lately I have been enjoying the moments that bring me a smile.

Recently, I visited a festival with some friends and we saw some of the strangest art work I have ever seen. Imagine this on your back patio….

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Oh, how I wish I could have these bright, beautiful flowers around my home all winter long.

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I took a leap of faith a few weeks ago on our last visit to REI and bought a new pair of trail shoes. I have always been a KEEN lover but these Oboz were on sale and they had my size but they were out of my size in the KEEN style I liked. I tried them on and thought, why not. REI has the best return policy ever, so I knew if I ended up hating them I could always return them for a full refund. After wearing them for a few weeks, I am happy to report I am walking around with a smile on my face and my feet feel great. I am still sticking with my KEEN boots for the trail but for my everyday shoes, these will be just fine.

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In all honesty, this is not something that brought a smile to my face but it did give me a good laugh. While out with a few friends recently we came across a vendor selling chocolate dipped bacon. I like chocolate and I like bacon but mixed together….ahhhh, I was hesitant!!! Well, one friend bought a piece and we all tried a bite. For a whopppping $5 a slice (this is what made me laugh….are you kidding me….$5 A SLICE) I can honestly say it was not my thing. Way to sweet,way to much chocolate, and no way should bacon ever be combined with chocolate.

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However, as for these yummy little balls of chocolate….I would highly recommend them to anyone craving a chocolate treat that is actually healthy for you. These are sure to bring a smile to anyone that likes chocolate.

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And one last thing…..I often have moments throughout my day that bring me happiness caring for children on a daily basis. Yes, we have stressful moments, some meltdowns, and times of complete chaos….but….the genuine moments are the ones that I wish I could freeze in time. That innocence of ahhh and wonder in every child’s eye when they stand back and just take in what nature has to offer makes me smile. How precious life can be if everyone could experience it through a child’s eye.

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On the exercise side of life, steps have gotten quite a bit easier than when we first started training on these dreaded things. My hips, knees, and legs don’t ache for hours afterwards anymore like they used to. And I can say with a smile on my face, I actually think I may included these in our exercise routine even after our Sedona vacation is over with.

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What is something that has brought a smile to your face lately?

Do you suffer from seasonal depression?

How do you cope?

A Weekend Of Sun, Fun and More Sun

What a weekend we had!

We traveled 2 hours to pick up our son’s new kayak at our nearest REI on what happened to be one of the famous “garage sale days”. Since we were aware of this event ahead of time we planned to arrive early enough to hopefully get some deals ourselves since we had to be there anyhow. Even though we needed nothing at all….we still ended up with $100 spent and some buys that we just could not pass up.

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After we did our shopping they kindly carried out the new addition to our fleet of watercraft. Meet the new addition the Dagger Stratos. IMG_4325

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After we left the store we remembered that we had not eaten since 5 a.m. so we stopped at a great restaurant with outdoor seating. It was perfect, hot, and sunny outside. I could not have wished for any better.

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Until, of course, the food arrived, which was fabulous. IMG_4334

After that I was itching to get home quickly. I had prepacked our bags to make sure we had a few hours to spend on the water ourselves having some fun. Upon arriving home, we tossed everything in the house, grabbed the bags, switched vehicles, loaded up my standup paddle board and headed to the bay.

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By the time we returned home we were exhausted. 

Which then brought Sunday and as we call it, a sun hangover. This is when you feel as if you drank all night but never had a  sip of alcohol. Morning came way too early and I knew the plan was to pack up and head back to the bay, only today with our son and his first paddle of his new kayak. However, I quickly decided today mom was staying home. I had taken my first fall off my SUP Saturday and was feeling the after affects in my abdomen area, which meant I was taking it easy today. Neither of my boys disagreed and they packed up and headed out while I did some chores around the house. By mid afternoon, it was time for some relaxation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Abdominal Workouts For Me

I came upon my one month mark where I was allowed to try an abdominal exercise of my choice according to my doctor. Needless to say, I did not even try!!! I wanted to in the worst way ever but I have learned to really listen to what my body is telling me and I know I am not there yet. Every evening when my daycare children leave I am sore, tender and tired.Clearly, I feel myself slowing down and getting sore faster toward the end of the week. I also figured out that frisbee is not my activity of choice quite yet. If my four year old could throw a bit better I could catch it, but since she is not quite at that level yet, every throw she makes I bend over and pick up. After 30 or so throws, I am done!!!!

I know eventually I will bite the bullet and give an ab exercise a try. Although, I am not willing to risk going backwards in my recovery. So for now, I need to be happy with what I am able to do and move on from here.

Here is what I did this week.

Saturday: 3 mile street walk

Sunday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, stretching

Monday: 20 minute recumbent bike, 3 mile morning walk, arms and back weight routine

Tuesday: 1.5 mile morning walk

Wednesday: 30 minute recumbent bike, arm routine, stretching, 3 mile evening walk outdoors

Thursday: 20 minutes recumbent bike, arms, shoulders and legs with 10 lbs of added weight today…..yeh!

Friday: rest

My weekend looks pretty uneventful at this point. With yet another snow storm expected tomorrow, it really puts a damper on my lifestyle. However, I do have quite the list of “to do” items to accomplish. I think we have finally figured out where we are headed this summer for a mini vacation. It’s all written down on paper, now I just need to book it all online.

I also have a list to order with my REI dividend that I have been working on spending since it arrived in my mailbox weeks ago. We plan to do a lot more camping this year and there are a few things I know will add to the enjoyment of this for me. Specifically, switching out my mummy sleeping bag for a down camp comforter.

And my goal is to attend the gym twice this weekend. Hopefully my body agrees and allows this to happen.

For now, you all have a great weekend…see you Monday.

Do you prefer sleeping bags or comforters for camping?

Where is your favorite place to camp and why?