Unplugged For Five Days….Amazing!

We just finished up five days off from both our jobs and spent the majority of it together…..we so needed this time. Never knowing when or if work travel plans will affect our lives has become a way of life for us. So spending time together when we can is crucial to our relationship. With the bonus of Independence Day falling mid week this year we decided to take the remainder of the week off and just be us. No work, no email, no schedule, no cell phones, no nothing. IT WAS SO NICE!

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Let’s start with the holiday….it was HOT once again. We actually all had off and had planned the night before to disc golf as a family. This quickly fell through when I woke up after a very long night of not feeling well. So I decided to stay home and let my husband and son go alone. They soon returned after only nine holes extremely hot and miserable. Gosh, was I happy I did not go with. The remainder of the day we hung out as a family indoors. It was nice and quiet.

Thursday my husband and I headed to Milwaukee, WI to check out a new mall I have been eyeing up for quiet some time now and of course make a Trader Joe’s trip.

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The mall was a bust…..just not impressed at all. Trader Joe’s was fabulous…..gosh, I wish we would get one closer to us here in Green Bay!!!!

Friday the humidity finally broke and that meant we could have some fun outdoors. Say no more, I was packed and ready to go in less than an hour. Snacks, hydration, tubes, hat, sunscreen, bug spray, and sunglasses.

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We chose to once again float our favorite nearby river in our tubes. I love doing this. It’s so relaxing listening to the birds and just floating along. It took us 4.5 hours to float from the starting point to our end point and it was exactly what I needed. It was hot and sunny the entire river. My husband actually spent more time out of his tube than in it since it was so nice.

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Him being outside of his tube offered lots of exploring of the river bottom.

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The dragon flies were very friendly also. They literally had no fear of us at all.

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The biggest bonus of the day is when we came upon these two beauties. I know the picture is blurry but I did the best I could from my tube on moving water.

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Saturday it was father and son time….which meant mom got some time alone to catch up on laundry, do some house chores, go to the gym.

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I also had time to prepare a meal that actually took a bit of thought instead of throwing something together fast after a long day. Pizza wonton cups (recipe here) and summer squash were a perfect summer dinner. IMG_1281

Sunday again was an early morning rise and shine event since fishing was not all that great Saturday they decided to take the boat this time to their favorite fishing lake and try again. With the heat expected by mid day to be once again high, they left super early in the morning. And since I am a morning person, I went for a 4 mile hike on a local trail before the heat of the day set in.

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Dinner was another cool and refreshing summer meal of Greek salads for everyone.

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We sure had a great few days….some alone time and some family time. Unfortunately, like most good things though, it had to end and it’s now back to work for everyone.

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Girls Weekend At My First Bed And Breakfast

I had such a relaxing weekend. There is something to be said about no television, no phone, no internet, no laundry, no dishes, no meals to prepare, and no kids!!!! We all need it sometimes and for the first time ever I kissed my husband good bye for an overnight adventure with a good friend.

We spent our Weekend in Door County, WI, not too far from home but far enough to still be wonderful. We shopped at the many, many shops…everything from clothing to candy.

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We drank numerous lattes at various coffee shops along the way.

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Ate some fabulous meals at some of Door Counties numerous restaurants.

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Was not surprised to still find winter in full force since Door County is known to always be at least 10 degrees colder than where I live.

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We experienced a gorgeous sunset on our way to our bed and breakfast after a full day of shopping.

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And had our first experience ever with a bed and breakfast that really was the perfect place to relax.

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The best part was breakfast was prepared for us, brought to our door, and served with a smile…..no whisks to clean, no dishes to wash, and no crumbs for us to pick up. Simply wonderful!!!!

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I arrived home 28 hours later feeling refreshed and ready to face another year until next time.

 

A Strange Week That Ended In An Awesome Way

This was a strange week for us here. My husband was missing in action all week and I feel every one of us noticed. Missing one person in the family makes a huge difference…from less laundry, to less food required at meal times, to no one to talk to in the evenings, and no one to wake up to in the morning. Like anything in life, some things are good and some are not so good…. in this situation we adapt, overcome, and move on.

So being I was on my own all week, I could do what I wanted when I wanted to do it. I returned to the gym, started Christmas shopping, enjoyed the exceptionally warm weather we are experiencing here in WI, and caught up on some reading. I made some great progress on the to do list for fall and made meals that would make my husband cringe.

Here is what my workouts consisted of this week.

Sunday: 3 mile walk

Monday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, stretching

Tuesday: 30 minutes on the recumbent bike, floor weights routine, stretching, 5 mile evening walk with a friend

Wednesday: 3 mile evening walk with a friend….this was suppose to be gym night but with temps so wonderful here yet, why would I go to the gym when I can spend it outside and not shiver in November…..so awesome!

Thursday: rest

Friday: floor weights routine

Saturday: off…..however, we did tons on walking while on our shopping trip.

Which brings me to the ending of our week. Saturday my husband and I took our annual shopping trip to a mall in Illinois. It’s our day to spend whatever we wish on just us….and this year was a blast. We found some awesome deals, ate at our favorite place, and enjoyed the day. And the best part is that we take a coach bus so we never have to worry about traffic, parking or being too tired to drive back home at the end of a long day. I can’t wait until next year.

Here are a few pics from our trip.

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Home Alone!

On rare occasions I find myself home alone. And when I say rare, I mean hardly ever.

You all know my husband and I do almost everything together as far as activities go. However, there is one thing I am not willing to do …..that is ice fishing. I have tried it a few times when we first started dating but clearly it was not for me. You can’t say your surprised…..freezing temperatures, holding still in a very small ice shack for hours and wearing layers and layers of clothing….nope not my idea of fun. Although, I would never tell him he can’t go, which he did Saturday for the first time this winter. He left bright and early, our son was scheduled to work bright and early, which meant I had the entire house to myself. So I said my goodbyes and they left and I immediately made a list.

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I can get so much done in so little time when alone that it’s amazing. During the week some things are just impossible to try and accomplish with kids running around everywhere. So this was my moment to get it done.

First priority was to get the crock pot chili going so I could assemble some freezer meals later in the day. I love this chili recipe, it’s so, so, so simple but tasty and freezes wonderfully for my husband lunch on days we don’t have leftovers from the night before.

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Then I threw in a load of laundry and decided to get my husbands shirts ironed and out of the way. Ironing is not my favorite thing to do. And this is definitely one of the chores I can not do with kids hanging on my legs during the week.

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Next, it was time to clean the front hall where all my parents enter our home. The one thing that drives me crazy about winter is the “gravel yard” we are blessed with from the salt/stone mixture in parking lots everywhere. Shoes carry this yuck in and somehow my little ones find these little gravel pieces and attempt to eat them. So cleaning the front hall is often a daily chore, if not twice a day. While I was at it a complete vacuuming was also done.

Then it was time to switch the laundry, add another load, and get ready for the gym. I love morning workouts. They give you so much energy, are off the to do list, and it’s just a great way to start a day. I grabbed a snack, my gym bag and headed out the door.

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It’s then that I remembered our driveway was like an ice skating rink. The night before we had a freezing rain event for a few hours which left everything covered with a nice layer of solid ice. So I ended up taking a little detour before the gym to a local hardware store for a bag if salt.

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After the gym I returned home to fold laundry, shower and then I took a few hours of “me time” and went shopping for some items I have had on my list for awhile. Happily, I found everything I was looking for and then some….like usual! Those darn clearance racks get me every time….but I did find two awesome pair of yoga pants and another work shirt for my husband (that doesn’t need ironing..yehhh) so I had to purchase them.  IMG_3328

On the way home I decided on dinner, pasties for everyone. Easy, fast and yummy! Since Saturday is normally my day off from cooking dinner, this was as good as anything to throw in and enjoy.

It was a wonderful Saturday I must admit. I got everything on my list done and then some. I couldn’t ask for a better outcome. Oh, and by the way….ice fishing was a success!

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Has It Really Been A Month Since I Walked A Trail?

Our weekend started with dinner out on Friday night. Friday was a long day for me….so when my hubby said let’s just go out for dinner, I put up no argument at all. I love that he knows just when to suggest things like this.

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Which brought us next to Saturday morning. I had a list a mile long to do including a pharmacy stop, shoe shop, finish Christmas shopping, bank, and something active that did not include spending money….like more shopping. Unlike most women who love to shop, I am not one of them. Especially when it comes to shoes, since I have very difficult feet to keep happy. To say I was dreading today’s shopping trip, unlike last weekends shopping experience, was putting it mildly. Although, when my husband offered to join me and assist with gift buying I was a bit happier.

However, first things first, we started our day in 20 degree temps on a nearby trail for a 3 mile walk.

IMG_2901I have not been on a trail in over a month and even though it was quite chilly, I completely enjoyed ever second. What a great way to start a day.  IMG_2906

After our trail walk, we hit the stores and malls full force along with every single other person in Green Bay or so it seemed!!! It was so crazy out there. We completed our list in a few hours and this made us very happy. After all that shopping I brought my very stressed husband home and made one last stop at a chocolate shop for some last minute gifts.

Sunday was our quiet day. I started a new job Sunday morning that I accepted earlier in the week. Let me just say, it sure felt odd to leave home to go to work since my “work” has come to me for the past 20 years. It’s a very minimal job opportunity that I felt can really benefit my future plans, so I accepted the offer and so far so good. We’ll see how it goes.

After working my husband and I made a trip to the gym for a workout and then we returned home for some quiet time. Our son had also started a new job last week and having him home during the day was a bit strange but nice. We actually had some time to talk instead of just passing by each other in the same house. All in all it was a great weekend.

 

 

 

Weekend Snapshots: A Bear Sighting…..Come On, Seriously????

This weekend started out very strangely to put it mildly. Friday I received a call from a friend that I should keep a look out because there was a reported bear sighting on the corner our house is located on. Now, even though I am an avid hiker and have always assumed I would come across a bear on a trail somewhere, I never thought living in an urban community I would have to deal with such a possibility. Not 30 minutes after hanging up from this phone call, local news stations started showing up and knocking on doors asking for interviews.

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I did not grant them any interview because first of all, I was busy with three kids, and second, I did not see any bear so I had nothing to say in regards to this sighting. However, this did not stop them from hanging around for hours searching and taping for upcoming news broadcasts throughout the day. It was quite an amusing Friday on our block;)

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Saturday then arrived and we were on the road bright and early headed for Milwaukee, WI for a visit to my two favorite stores. I had received an email about REI having a garage sale event for members only. And then also knew that nearby they had recently opened a Trader’s Joe’s which I will never pass up an opportunity to make a visit. First was REI, and upon arriving we were shocked to see how long the line was.

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This was our first time to a garage sale event so we were not sure what exactly to expect. Despite this announcement upon opening the doors, “that there will be NO RUNNING and NO FIGHTING because if two people fight neither person will be allowed to purchase said item,” neither of these two rules were followed. People ran and fought and honestly it reminded me of black Friday shoppers. These outdoor enthusiasts were fearless and on a mission for a deal. (I would not put it past any of them to have bear spray in their pockets to ward off others in their pursuit of a great item at a great price…HAHA) My husband and I were also hoping for a lucky find, but clearly not quite as desperate as some of these individuals. Don’t get me wrong, we did end up with our fair share of good buys since our hands were full while standing in the LONGGGGG checkout line.

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Although not all our items were garage sale deals we did fairly well. He found some boots, a pair of hiking pants, water bottle, and two new freeze dried meals for us to test. I needed rubber ends to put on my trekking poles for hiking rocks/mountains, a water bottle cleaning kit, and finally I found a replacement for my backpack that I needed to return after our Michigan hiking trip. I struggle with backpacks since many have wide bulky shoulder straps that I don’t care for. This time I am trying a Gregory pack which I bought a bit larger than my old pack since I seem to be carrying most of our supplies at the moment until my husband’s back is fully recovered. It very comfortable and hopefully will meet our needs well. I should find out in a week or so how it carries on the trail.

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Our next stop was a new Trader’s Joe’s. Milwaukee has two locations now, and let me tell you, this one is so much nicer in regards to the parking situation. Both stores a great but this is by far the location I will be back to. IMG_2740

We stocked up on all our favorites and are fully prepared for a winter of fabulous meals thanks to some of our favorite Trader Joe’s additions.

After this we headed home. We had spent enough money and were satisfied that the trip was worth the long drive. Idealy, it would have been in our best interest to keep driving until we passed by a new store right off the highway that we have never been to before. Grafton,WI has a Meijer now….which is pretty cool since Green Bay is also due to get one of these retailers soon. So of course we exited and had to check it out. I was pleasantly surprised although, it does remind me very much of a Walmart in some ways. I am not a fan of Walmart, or maybe I should say not any Green Bay Walmarts at least. However, this Meijer was not bad, prices seems good and it was nicely arranged and not overly packed with items. I think Green Bay will benefit when it makes it’s arrival here in the near future.

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With a bit more money spent here, it was really time to head home. No more stops and no more money to spend. We arrived home with a full trunk and tired from a full day of shopping.

Sunday was our “get it done day.” My husband and son worked outside storing the boat for winter, doing leaves(again), and other winter prep chores. I spent time indoors baking pumpkin muffins/bread, laundry and cleaning.

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Later in the afternoon my husband got away for some hunting, I made a trip to the gym for a workout, and our son did something with a friend. It was a great way for all of us to end our weekend.

What brand of backpack do you prefer?

Have you ever seen a bear hiking or in an urban environment?

 

 

Let’s Talk P’s: Preschool,(Green Bay) Packers, Planning and Photography

As we slowly adjust to our new daily schedule of walking the four year old I care for to and from school everyday, we have really surprisingly been enjoying the few hours we are a threesome instead of four. The two boys I care for are 6 weeks apart and play very well together (at the moment) which is so fun to watch. At first they seemed to miss her presence, although now they seem to know that eventually we go back and get her.

IMG_1378Another fun thing I have been taking full advantage of lately is the Green Bay Packer season has officially begun. You all know I am not a football fan which means when the GB Packer season begins and everyone (and I mean everyone) in Green Bay lives, sleeps, breathes, dreams, schedules vacations, plans births, and even shits according to the GB Packer schedule, I take full advantage of the moment and I go shopping!!!! You can get in and out of Costco with a full cart in under 20 minutes with no lines to stand in, literally. I know because I did this on a Monday night game recently and it was incredible. So even though I don’t care to watch the GB Packers, I sure take advantage of the their schedule and get lots done in a very little amount of time in the city.

We have started looking at our next vacation destination. Both my son and husband requested Alaska….like this would ever truly happen. SERIOUSLY!!!! I can hardly get through winter in WI, why would I choose to go to Alaska. I am all for traveling the road less traveled but no snow covered roads for me during vacation….sorry boys. I offered for them to go their direction and I would head to my happy place (south) but they both agreed to join me in my next adventure….how thoughtful they are. For now I am working out all the logistics, which is extremely time consuming. We don’t typically go on your normal beach vacation where we sip umbrella decorated drinks on the ocean side. Our vacations take hours of planning, permits, and it looks like this time we will be needing a high clearance rental vehicle. Ohhhh, what fun we will have….

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You all know our son is working on becoming a professional photographer. This has been his passion for many years and he is enjoying every second of it so far. One of his recent classes gave a final project of creating a 3-5 minute video using the techniques they all were taught in class. Of course he wasted no time getting this together and roping in a friend to help create this project. One Sunday morning they woke up bright and early(4 a.m.), loaded up the car with all their photography equipment, and headed to Sturgeon Bay, WI to capture the sunrise on the pier near one of our favorite lighthouses.  IMG_0745

His friend is the musician and our son did the camera work…..enjoy.

Here for Me – Ian Sutherland from Dockside Productions on Vimeo.

Our upcoming few weeks look a bit sketchy to be honest. We have our anniversary coming up in about a month and no real plans quite yet. We are hoping to join our son and a friend in a Devil’s Lake hike before winter. I have one more bus trip scheduled and I am hoping to make a day trip to Trader Joe’s and REI before November. And to top all this off, we are still awaiting my father-in-laws heart surgery date to be set. If we pull all this off we will be doing good. I am feeling the pressure to get in every second I can outside before our lawn, streets, and trails are covered with snow and ice. I’d say it’s a bit like controlled chaos and honestly, I love every second of it. Busy is good.