Back On Track Once Again/ Breaking Records/A Healthier “Us” Anniversary

After two weeks of meal time chaos, I feel like I am finally back on track. Everyone was home and accounted for so I knew exactly how much I needed to prepare each night for dinner this week. This makes this wife/mom happy.

Things that did not make all that happy this week was the fact that we broke records here in Green Bay with our newest snowstorm. It was the biggest snowstorm in over 100 years coming in at a whopping 24.5 inches in 48 hours….I guess winter is not quite done with us yet.

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Anyhow, back to better topic, this week we tried two new recipes and one new product I have been dying to try out on the family. Here, take a look….

Saturday: grilled chicken brats, grilled zucchini, and perogies

Sunday: Lentil veggie soup and chicken pita sandwiches

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Monday: slow cooker burrito bowls(new recipe that is a keeper for sure)

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Tuesday: dynamite stovetop casserole

***This recipe was very tasty and basic. As my boys both commented during dinner, mom why did you think this would be a keeper, you can do so much better than this on your own? Well, now, didn’t that make me feel good…although, I thought the recipe itself was quite good. Yes, basic but still good. And how often do you make a recipe that actually turns out to look just like the picture in the book?

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Wednesday: chili stuffed sweet potatoes

***I loved this so much that I needed to make it again so soon after the first time so my husband could enjoy it this time also. Last time I made it he was traveling for work and missed out.

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Thursday: out….tonight plans got scrapped for some unexpected events that happened which left no time for dinner preparations

Friday: red lentil pasta with ham, zucchini, spinach,and parmesan cheese sauce

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Have you tried red lentil pasta yet? This was our first time and I must say, it won’t be our last for sure. It tastes no different and the texture is very close to regular pasta that it was very acceptable. All of us said this is a good healthier option in pasta dishes….yeah, another win for mom!!!!

Swapping something unhealthy in your diet that you have eaten and enjoyed for years is often hard and will, without a doubt, be different BUT change is hard and sometimes has to happen. Whether for health reasons, allergies, or you are just getting on the healthier eating train, I believe you mentally have to prepare yourself for the reality of what I eat now is slowly killing me and I HAVE to change to better myself. If this mental transformation don’t happen then you will never find something you can live with in place of another product you have eaten for years and is bad for you in some way. I touch on this subject because coming up here in a few days we will hit the 1 year anniversary of eating completely artificial sweetener free in our home. Yes, at the time it was for major medical issues my husband was having. However, now those issues have all cleared up and he is feeling fabulous. We now all find ourselves reading the label and often times putting a product back on the shelf to find a healthier alternative. I guess maybe one has to be miserable enough to want to make a healthier change before it can happen long term…but for us here, only one of us was suffering with issues and instead of signaling him out we all made the change as a family unit and we all could not be happier.

 

 

A Sign From Above Is Granted

Recently my husband has been spending more time on the road than at home for work. And this last time he came home he mentioned that he wished he would receive a sign from above to know what to do about a matter we have been pondering for quite some time now. How funny he should ask for this such thing since his wish has been granted loud and clear. As I sit and type in this very moment we are getting hammered with the biggest snow storm….ooops, sorry let me rephrase that…..the biggest blizzard in over 20 years here in WI.

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It began Friday evening and is still snowing at this time. We have had 50+ mph winds and so much blowing and drifting that highways are being declared impassable.Snow blowing has been done three times already just to keep up with the drifts forming around our vehicles, boat, and doorways/windows.

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And the best part of this whole sign from above is……IT IS APRIL 15!!!!!!!!

In three weeks we are suppose to be camping, hiking, and hopefully wearing a little less clothing than we need to wear right now to go outside.

So to all you enjoying spring time cherry blossoms, tulips poking through the ground, and sunshine on your shoulders…..please, please, take a moment and be thankful you live somewhere this is all happening.

For me, I am not angry about this snow….I am not sad about this snow…I am just smiling and being thankful that my husband got what he needed to now know……we need to make a change and we need to make a change soon.

Thank you GOD….he needed your help and you came through.

 

Meal Recap-New Recipes Are So Much Fun

Goodness, I had a long week. Good but long….yoga Saturday is going to feel so wonderful! On that note, I am keeping it short and sweet today. Here is what we enjoyed for dinner all week…see something yummy you want to try, let me know and I will get you the recipe.

Saturday: veggie enchiladas (new recipe and surprisingly it was a hit)

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Sunday: chicken fajita seasoned brats with veggies over farrow

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Monday: Spanish chicken and cauliflower skillet with crusty bread(another new recipe and another hit…yeh)

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Tuesday: BBQ chicken from my new clean eating cookbook, pita bread, roasted carrots, and kale side salads (one more new recipe….that make 3 for three this week and all a hit)

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Wednesday: general tso’s chicken and broccoli IMG_9967

Thursday: homemade egg biscuit sandwiches with homemade chicken breakfast sausage IMG_0094

Friday: out

Meal Prep:

This week I needed to whip up another batch of homemade fajita seasoning since we can’t find any without artificial sweetener in it in our area.

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Since I knew this week would be a doozie….I made a big batch of homemade pea soup so I get to eat also. There are many times I often find myself so busy caring for the children during the day and taking care of everything else I take care of, that eating is often forgotten. That is until I have the shakes and a headache from not eating and then it dawns on me….did I eat lunch today? And sure enough, this is the perfect time for a big ole cup of hearty pea soup. IMG_0240

I also washed and pre cut any veggies that could be pre cut for the upcoming week of recipes. Then we saw that a snow storm was going to be what we woke up to Monday and Tuesday morning which meant our alarm would go off at 3a.m instead of 4a.m. so a fast breakfast was needed. Carrot muffins are healthy and a good “on the road” breakfast for these types of mornings being both my husband and son travel a good distance to get to work. And of course I made my staple, hard boiled eggs for breakfast.

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There you have it, another week of great meals and a week of meal prep ready to go.

Are you a meal planner or do you wing it and see what happens?

What’s your favorite go to breakfast?

 

 

It’s Time To Prepare Some Freezer Meals

Every once in awhile I take a weekend morning and prepare some of our favorite freezer meals. This weekend seemed like the perfect time do do just that after waking up Saturday morning to another few inches of snow covering everything.

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I knew we would not be hiking, kayaking or doing anything outside so why not fill the freezer with fast, easy to grab and go meals for when we are having fun in the outdoors and don’t feel like cooking.

I started out browning the meat to prepare crock pot chili. I knew it would be simmering away for a few hours and could be finished up later on in the day, so this was the first thing to start.

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Later that afternoon, I prepared some spaghetti and layered it all in glass containers to freeze.

While I was tending to the spices for chili my husband had a pile of veggies to get cleaned, cut and ready for a huge batch of soup. I love soup and so do all my daycare children. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, I could eat soup every day.

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After that was put together and simmering, I began preparing a couple loaves of zucchini bread. These are perfect for a fast breakfast since we both get up at the butt crack of dawn every morning for work. They also freeze very nicely and are super quick to grab and throw into the pile of camping food for an easy, fast breakfast for those last minute pack up and go camping trips. (Hint hint…..we plan to do a lot more of these this summer) IMG_3779

My final dish was lasagna. This is my absolute favorite recipe for lasagna. It’s fast, easy, healthier than most, and needs to be prepared hours before which means later on all you need to do is preheat your oven and bake. No mess later in the day when your tired and exhausted from a full day of fun…..or work. We actually ate this for dinner and then I froze the rest for later in single serving portions.

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After all this it was time to head to the gym. Which again, I am happy to say, I made it both Saturday and Sunday.

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As for the rest of this week, I am simply hoping for nicer weather. I really miss walking in the morning and not being able to play outside with the kids. Apparently, it’s suppose to be 60 degrees by the weekend……I’ll believe it when I see it.

 

What is your favorite freezer meal?

 

 

 

Looking Back At 2015

About this time every year I find myself looking back at the year and like many of you, looking forward to the next year to come. 2015 for our family was not a typical year, from beginning to end, it seemed to challenge our strength as a family both mentally and physically. However, I will say, I do feel like we won this battle and came through it pretty well.

Take a look back with me,

January 2015

I experienced my first dislocated rib while working out and preparing for our rock scrambling vacation in February. Very painful!!!

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February 2015

Our rock scrambling vacation we had prepared for for months was suddenly cancelled due to a major snow storm and no flights were coming or going. We were completely disgusted for weeks….

March 2015

I celebrated a birthday this month with a venture out of the house and some first steps of the year on a muddy trail.

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April 2015

I finally decided to see a doctor for a sore foot I had been having for a few months. After testing and imaging I found out I had torn two tendons in my ankle. Which resulted in some new footwear for weeks.

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On the brighter side, my husband picked up his brand new Jackson kayak this month.

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May 2015

After 6 weeks in that orthopedic boot I thought I was going to go see my doctor and he would say everything looks good and I could remove it. Well, that was not quite what I heard from him. He said I still had two weeks to go, but now I could do anything I wanted to do as long as I wore the boot. I took that line,”anything I want” very seriously and left two days later for a hiking trip to our favorite WI state park. Thanks to my husband and son, I made it to the top of the bluff and back down again with that horrendous contraption on my leg. Let me tell you, IT WAS NOT EASY BUT I (we) DID IT!

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June 2015

I finally was able to remove my ortho boot and what happens next…..my husband suffers a sudden back injury that literally changes our entire summer outlook. After a day of lake kayaking and standup paddling where we were rained on all day, we returned home that night with him feeling pain in his leg.

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After numerous tests, doctors, and images, we had a diagnosis that we were hoping not to hear. Next would be physical therapy for weeks, a lifting restriction for quite sometime, and learning how to do things differently for the rest of his life. This took some soul searching and a lot of praying that he could eventually recover enough to continue doing what we love to do again.

July 2015

This month was the start of a few months of physical therapy which we all tried helping with. He did seek professional help for awhile but after some time his neurologist thought he could accomplish more on his own. Most people need a therapist because they are so inactive that they don’t know where to start. We, however, are very active and just needed to know the basics of what would give him the biggest benefits toward his recovery. We found all sorts of ways to do physical therapy.

TENS Therapy: IMG_1701

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Resistance Bands:

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Walking:

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August 2015

After all that therapy he was given the ok to go on our planned family vacation which just so happened to be hiking in the desert southwest in extreme heat and with extreme elevation. He was limited on backpack weight and was not allowed to even touch our luggage but could hike as far as his body allowed him to hike(as the doctor kindly stated). So we did. And it turned out spectacular!

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September 2015

We returned from vacation, rested up for two weeks and hit the trail again, only a little closer to home this time. We headed to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and hiked the Chapel Loop together….10.6 miles in a day.  IMG_2530

He was still feeling some discomfort but by now we had learned how to deal with any pain he was having. We would rest when the pain started or soaking his foot in cold water was also a nice way to help decrease his discomfort.  IMG_1798  IMG_2661

I also got away in September for a girls day to Cranberry Fest. We had a blast!

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October 2015

October is when we celebrated our 22nd. wedding anniversary. We did this with a overnight trip to Sister Bay, WI at the Birchwood Lodge.

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November 2015

The beginning of this month we found ourselves, yet again, among numerous medical professionals supporting my father-in-law with a major surgery.

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Also this month my husband and I went on a shopping trip to my all time favorite city….Schaumburg, Illinois. I begged him to join me last year and he agreed. This year he offered to join me since we had so much fun last time. I think I may have a shopping partner (package carrier) for life:) Whoo Hoooo!  IMG_2888

December 2015

As predicted by weather forecasters, it had been a pleasant December. One of the best ways for me to celebrate a no snow December is to continue hiking which is exactly what we did. Here is where we spent Christmas Day as a family with sun in our eyes and doing what we love…..hiking.

(photo courtesy of our son, Quade Byrnes)

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So there you have it. Our year from start to finish. It’s been quite a roller coaster ride this year. Among so may other exciting things that have happened throughout the year, I am happy to see this year is now behind us.

My hopes for next year, of course, are to continue to stay healthy. We miss our kayaks severely, have not touched a golf disc in months, and are very excited to be traveling more in the upcoming months.