Cabin Fever…..This Is Real People!!!

They say a broken heart is a true condition some people suffer from. I also believe that cabin fever should also be on the list of real diagnostic conditions. For me, and I know many others feel this way also, cabin fever is real. And the past two weeks it has been pretty severe. My moods are all over, my energy level I need to dig deep for, and my sleep is some nights great and some nights not so great. And when I listen to the weather…..well, it’s normally best not to listen to the weather.

Even though temps lately have been tolerable, I know living in WI the weather can turn back to full blown winter in a matter of hours so I try not to get to excited too early.  However, that didn’t stop me from taking my whole gang outside to play for the first time in months. Oh, it was glorious!!!! And it also gave me a big case of cabin fever!!!!IMG_0513

Like I said, I have been struggling and I needed to make a snap decision to turn life back around and get some air. All this took was a bit of thought, a quick email to my husband that I needed a break from life, and a few things thrown into an overnight bag…..and I was off on an overnight adventure to find myself again. Saturday morning I quickly threw together a penne pasta casserole for Sunday when I returned home to toss into the oven for dinner. This way I would not need to hurry home for any reason….and walla we were off to find sunshine, fresh air, and hopefully open water and not ice bergs. IMG_0520

Like usual, I chose the destination and I wanted somewhere I had never been before. I also knew I needed to be around water(two places that bring me peace are one around water and  two atop mountains…..WI has a ton of water and no mountains so my options were limited) and I needed everything in walking distance since I hate driving in strange cities. I made some strict rules for my husband to follow since he asked to join me in my 24 hrs. of solitude…..no job talk, I get to choose all the restaurants, I get to walk as far I my body will let me, and I get control of the remote control when we finally do decide to rest. He happily agreed and then was allowed to join me in my adventure.

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My destination ended up being Port Washington,WI. I had never been here and neither had my husband. IMG_0558

Upon arrival, it was sunny, gorgeous, and the ice had all melted and left open water and miles and miles of harbor walk for us to enjoy.

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We walked mostly paved walkways but we also did climb some pretty big boulders to make our way out to some of the lake markers that I don’t know know if we should have but we did anyhow. There were no Do Not Enter signs but clearly no one else was taking this route except us. It felt so good to be alive and breathing fresh air again that I really did not care if we would have found the game warden/or the dock master waiting for us when we returned.

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We explored for miles…..we saw so much beauty and I even got to sit on one of the piers for a bit and just let my mind clear itself.

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We paid tribute to a fellow kayaker by climbing to the top of his memorial gazebo which personally, could not have been placed on a better part of land. It overlooks where he lost his life and this is somewhere that can honor him and his love for paddling forever. Being a kayaker myself, I can truly see why he was paddling the waters of Lake Michigan….so gorgeous.

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After all this walking, more sunshine that I have gotten on my face in over 6 months, and even a bit shopping on the historic street next to our hotel….we were tired. We checked into our hotel located right on the harbor walk and walked to dinner before turning in for the evening. And believe it or not….I could not find a single thing on television to keep my interest so I handed over the remote control to my husband with a kiss goodnight….and that was that.

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I will soon fill you all in on where we all ate and the absolutely fabulous meals we had in this area of the city. We also already have plans to return as a family. Only next time, fishing poles, tackle, cameras, tripods, picnic blankets, and coolers will all be added to the packing list. Maybe even a few kayaks, paddles, and PFD’s.

 

 

Weekend Events/Food/Happenings

Wow what a busy weekend. Ours technically started on Friday evening when we found ourselves at our local hardware store staring at different wood stains. Yeh, we have a project happening around here and I can’t wait to tell you all about it later this week.

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I finally got to use my new cookbook holder my husband so nicely made me after I complained one evening that my cookbook would not stay open to the correct page while making a recipe. It’s amazing to me how he can go to his work room and whip something like this out in minutes. I guess he works with wood like I work with kids….its comes pretty easy to us both.

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Saturday I was solo all day since he needed to squeeze in at least one more ice fishing day before the ice is unsafe for the season. Plus, two of his best friends have been waiting to fish with him but with work travel lately fishing has not been able to be worked out for them. Being solo for me is not a bad thing though. I get so much stuff done when I am alone. I began my day at yoga…..I so needed this yoga session. Then I came home changed and off to the car wash I went.

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Living in WI does not make keeping your vehicle clean in the winter and easy task. And if there is one thing I dislike with a passion it’s my vehicle dirty. Being it’s winter, my only option is the car wash…just one more thing I miss during the winter months is being able to wash our vehicles in our own driveway. Soon…real soon. Anyhow, while I was sitting in the car wash I began thinking about treating myself to lunch but was also tossing around the idea of going back home to grab my husbands vehicle and treat him to a clean car come Monday morning. He was kind enough to treat me to midweek tulips after work one evening since he knew I was struggling through this week with the winter blues…so I figured I owed him one and a clean car would make him pretty happy. The tulips sure brightened my day with the melting snow making a nice mud mess outside.

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As for that lunch, I did end up treating myself to my favorite deli in the area and got myself my favorite sandwich that I ended up eating in my husbands clean car since the restaurant was fully packed with people.

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After lunch I came home, cleaned the garage, went for a 3 mile neighborhood walk, took a shower, put on my lounge clothes, made BBQ chicken pizza, and called it a day. IMG_8713

And then Sunday arrived. We already knew the weather was going to be nasty so I had planned all my indoor stuff for Sunday. House cleaning, haircut for my husband, laundry, and food prep all happened while my husband finished up the home project with that stain we picked out Friday evening.

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Food prep for this week looks like this:

I decided tuna pasta salad would be my choice lunch this week so I threw a quick batch together.

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Plus, I made a dozen hard boiled eggs then cleaned and chopped all the needed veggies for the week. I also sauteed some cabbage and spinach to have with eggs.

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That sums up my weekend…..super productive which made me feel pleased by Sunday evening.

 

Some Real Talk Moments…..

As you all know Halloween rolled around, we changed our clocks, woke up and began November with cold, darkness, and ultimately then a bit of snow arrived. And if you love winter I am sure your thrilled about all these changes…..for me it’s been a long month! Besides all this change we had so much more happening behind the scenes here that I honestly found solace in some quality alone time. I decided to make a huge change to my daily routine and began going to the gym at 5:00a.m.. And let me tell you….this has truly changed my daily dynamics completely. Somehow this, that, and the other all changed and I have free time now from 5-7a.m. and its perfect time for me to get in a great workout, free my mind of the constant boxing match happening up there, and get some endorphin help to make me feel alive at a time of year I just want to crawl under the covers and not come out until mid March. Anybody else feel this way when winter rolls around?

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So let’s see, November has been good. Challenging but good. We have had work issues to deal with pertaining to all three of us this month.One job change(our son), I am waiting for maternity leaves to be over and then I will be back up to my happy stress level of kids once again, and the other issue is my husband is traveling one day and the next it is cancelled. Which results in literally driving this very organized person (me) completely crazy with frustration!!!! I am a total, get your %$#@ together or don’t plan on me being part of it, kind of person. So when he says he is leaving I plan for him not to be here…and then all of a sudden he is here which means I need to replan once again. Frustration I tell you, complete frustration.OK, that rant is over with….lets move on.

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I always feel pressured to get my Christmas shopping done since I really dislike the crowds at this time of year. To help with this task my husband and I once again made our annual bus trip to Illinois to spend the day shopping, eating, and enjoying life away from the daily grind at home. This all started a few years ago and now it has turned into a yearly event for us. He is the best package carrier ever and all I have to do is promise to feed him from Whole Foods hot bar for lunch every year. It’s a LONG day but so worth it. We always find treasures and deals we can’t find here in Green Bay and there is no stress since the bus ticket is cheap and we don’t have to worry about parking, traffic, getting lost or anything. Just shop, eat, and have fun.

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I took my first ever structured yoga class with a friend and it was life changing. Since starting yoga on a regular basis at home my back has gotten significantly stronger and has been feeling better. I thought a class taught by a professional would correct any form issues I could be having so this was the thought behind the class I took. I will honestly say that after class I was pleasantly surprised by how much I got out of it. I am planning on taking 1-2 classes a week for the time being. And I am looking at them as more of an active recovery day than anything. Movement is medicine in my situation and a day off with absolutely nothing is worse than anything so this should be perfect for me on my exercise recovery days.

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We once again broke out our yearly winter pass time activity of jig saw puzzles. This for me is a huge turning point since it really means my time outside is going to be next to none for the next five months.

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I do have something pretty big waiting in the back ground for me to begin planning after the first of the year. My husband and I have decided to renew our wedding vows for our 25th anniversary in 2018. I have a few ideas rolling around in my head but so far nothing is set in stone yet. I will say, the ceremony will be small…..simply because not a single person in our families will be joining us except our son. Why you may wonder…..well, none of them are willing to climb the mountain I wish to have the ceremony on top of. I have however, found a minister that is willing to hike this route and do the honors, so I may have to add in a bit more compensation than his usual and customary fee just for his effort.

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And one last thing to share with you…check this little morsel of yum out! I was shopping at a local grocery and they had these in the seafood case. They called them volcano shrimp. I asked what they were exactly and the employee said they are cooked shrimp wrapped in sweet potato strands sprinkled with ginger. Well, I had to give one a try. I brought it home, baked it for 10 minutes as directed, and shared it with one of my daycare kids. She cried when it was gone and I felt like crying too since it was the only one I bought. IT WAS SO YUMMY!!! Now I am determined to try and make them myself. Really, how hard can they be right? I just have to get my spiralizer back from the friend I borrowed it to and then we will have many more of these to enjoy with no tears when they are gone.

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That should do it for now. Have a great Thanksgiving.

 

Life Lately….

As you all know if you have been reading recently I have mainly posted new trails for you all to try. Well, that’s because a lot has been happening in the background of life that I have been trying to gather and sort through in my mind. So I thought I would give you a break from trails and hikes we have been enjoying and focus on other life topics today.

Starting with…..we just celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary. I can’t believe it’s been this long…seriously over half my life I have been married to this amazing man that puts up with my crazy ideas. It’s been fun so far….and we are far from finished. So as we begin another year of life together I can only hope the fun continues.Stay tuned….

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As the leaves start falling this means less sunshine and that for me is like a death sentence. Here in Wisconsin most people hibernate all winter long. I see my neighbors come and go but don’t talk with them for months since I very rarely step foot outside in the winter months by choice.  I don’t even walk to the end of the driveway to pick my own mail in the winter months. Sad but true….it is what it is. I am simply not a winter lover!!! So as of October I always begin taking my “sunshine vitamin” (Vitamin D) to help with the winter blues that typically hit me hard by January.

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On the brighter side of things….we have planned one last camping trip of the 2017 season before the snow flies here in a few days/weeks. You really never know when it will happen…..so hopefully we make it through this last trip without a light covering of white stuff on our picnic table. I am excited to get out one last weekend and enjoy nature before it all freezes over. I am a bit up in the air but I do believe we will be sleeping in our SUV this time around and using our new SUV curtains we made a few months back.

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Soon after all this happens,Thanksgiving arrives which we are planning once again to keep up with the tradition of a Thanksgiving morning hike. Many people do some type of turkey trot but we would rather hike a trail than be surrounded by a bunch of runners/walkers. Looking back to last year reminded me to dig out the blaze orange once again since its deer hunting season in our parts during Thanksgiving.

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And after Thanksgiving comes the big Christmas holiday. This year we plan to simplify and not be so stressed out by who wants what, where, and when. Christmas is always a big stresser in my life. Why does everyone put so much pressure into two days of the year….like honestly, its two days?To make this less stress, we already have decided on a few things, we have already discussed our family gatherings and thankfully all I have left to do is the menu planning. Well, and gift buying but that is fairly easy at this stage of life.

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I have been getting back to making some family style meals with the colder weather upon us now. Summers meals can be almost anything after a long hot day of playing outside for my job. Fall and winter offer me more time in the kitchen(often with the kids helping) to prepare more thought out meal plans. I have been concentrating on two meat free dinners during the week and one on the weekends. This soup blend I found has been changed up a variety of ways and so far they have all been winners.

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Casseroles are back in the rotation once again and are a family favorite.

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And our son even surprised us one night by making french onion soup which was so yummy.

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As for workouts…..this has been the biggest change recently. Yoga has been my “go to” to help strengthen and get some flexibility back in my thoracic spine area. Physical therapy was an option but both my MD and my chiropractor suggested trying yoga before physical therapy since this is suppose to offer more benefit. Without a doubt, I am feeling better already….so for now yoga is scheduled into every single day.

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And four days a week I am back at the gym. Walking has become difficult to do since the sun is leaving us faster every evening that passes by, so the gym is my “go to” for cardio. Plus, in my opinion, movement is medicine!!! I feel so much better after a gym workout than I do if I do not go. Which means there really is no question of whether or not I need to make this happen. So once again, until the days get longer, I am back at the gym on my trusty elliptical.

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That should do it for today.

Anything your curious about….let me know?

Do you change up your workout routines as the seasons change?

 

 

A Big Spring Welcome

Spring has finally arrived and I am LOVING the extra daylight hour we now have. I can prepare dinner and still have time to enjoy sunshine….how wonderful is that. Anyone that suffers from seasonal depression is well aware of this I am sure, since it really is a game changer in how life is lived for me.

I plan to stop taking my “sunshine medicine” at the end of this week. Since I have seen more of the natural sunshine than I have seen in the past five months I think it’s time.

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My brain has been in overdrive at night when I lay down to sleep trying to think of new places to explore in the state. Since this is the only time I really have time to think without being interrupted, I typically will have a list of places to research by morning. Which then ends up taking me until the weekend to actually research…again, time is always a scarce factor during the week days.

I have also found my way back to some nearby trails for my nightly walks instead of city streets which offer boredom and sore ankles. Last week one evening it was suppose to be gym night but the sun was shining and the temps were tolerable so we changed up routine and ventured to one of my favorite trails.

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Birds were chirping all around us.

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I prayed all the way there the trail would be clear of snow and ice and my prayers were answered. It was clear of all winter leftovers and this made me even happier.

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The ice on the Bay of Green Bay is showing sever signs of stress which to our surprise we still saw 4 people not willing to give up ice fishing and making the most of what was left of winter. Crazy in my opinion, but more power to them if they feel a fish is worth risking there lives at this stage of winter.

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And let me just say, watching the sunset on this trail is exactly what I needed to end my day. It feels good to be feeling alive and enjoying time outdoors again. I am looking forward to so much more to come but for now, I will completely settle for this.

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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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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?