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.

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My Favorite Things

With us being the outdoor family that we are, I don’t want you all to get the wrong impression of me. I, like everyone, love a shower, clean clothes, good food and a roof over my head at night. There are so many things I have learned from others or by trial and error that I could never list them all. One of my biggest issues throughout my entire marriage has been the issue of a bathroom. My husband has been an outdoors man for as long as I have known him. For me it has been a slow moving transformation. When we first met, “upnorth” meant bugs everywhere, an outhouse which was just beyond possible for me to imagine and hotdogs cooked over a fire on a tree branch…ewwww! We could only visit “upnorth” after stopping at the gas station before arriving so I could use the bathroom and with the understanding that I was not going to eat a hot dog off a dirty branch. As far as the bugs, well, I still don’t like them, but who really does?

I laugh writing this because now I can’t wait to be in the outdoors with much less than “upnorth” had to offer back then.Which brings me to this post today. I thought I would share with you some of the things I just can’t live without while at home or in the great outdoors. I think some of you may find some items useful in the outdoors, at home, during the four seasons or in your every day life. I think you may find some things quite odd also but I am who I am and really have things that I can not imagine living without.

Some of my favorite things:

During Winter: my gloves. I am a germ freak, I would NEVER shop or open a door handle during the winter illness season without my gloves on.

During Spring: longer days, grass reappears, open windows with a breeze.

During Summer: my clothes lines. I love the scent of fresh hung bedsheets. I feel alive when the sun shines. Water activities, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding.

During Fall: hiking excursions.

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In the Kitchen: my ceramic knives. They make life soooo much easier when it comes to food preparation.

In the Bathroom: Alba salt scrub. My own little piece of a tropical island. Oh, and dental floss, I am obsessed with flossing my teeth. (Odd, I warned you)

In the Bedroom: flannel sheets, I would not survive winter in Wisconsin without them.

Kayaking: hair elastic….have you ever attempted to kayak when it’s 90 degrees wearing a helmet with long hair? I will assure you it’s hell. Also, my PFD, the astral bella. Made for a woman. Brilliant invention!

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Stand Up Paddle Boarding: have to have my water shoes, I hate the feel of YUCK at the bottom of some lakes when I take an unexpected swim

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Hiking: My go girl.Guys are so lucky. They can literally pee anywhere. Us females have to tromp back into snake territory, find a tree to hide behind and squat, praying a snake don’t appear at our feet and we pee all over ourselves. This little device my friends is a woman’s best friend, trust me. $10 will buy you a snake free pee anywhere opportunity. One word of advise before using outdoors is PRACTICE at home.

Favorite Freeze Dried Meal Brand: Mountain House

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Favorite Drink: I have fallen in love with the Almond/Coconut blended milk

Favorite Dinner: during the summer its always a summery salad like the BLT pasta salad, winter months it’s any type of soup.

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Favorite Breakfast: egg whites on Trader Joe’s Sprouted Grain Bread with siracha sauce, fresh pineapple chunks and coffee.

Gym Bag Necessity: head bands

Favorite Outdoor Sport: really depends on the time of year. Summer it’s kayaking or if its really hot stand up paddling, fall it’s hiking, spring it’s hiking and winter is really nothing outdoors.

Favorite Thing To Relax: walk

Favorite Hiking Boot/Sandal: Keen

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Favorite Day of the Week: Sunday….this is usually our recharge day. Mon-Fri we work, Saturday is when I get all my errands done in the winter months. In the summer months we are doing something fun as a family from sun up to sun down on Saturdays so errands may be Friday nights. Sunday is the day to rest, prep weekday foods and laundry. When evening rolls around it’s usually spent cuddling on the couch trying to stay awake at 7pm.

And I have to add the two things I could never live without are of course my husband and son. It scares me at times to see how alike they are although I would not change anything. My son enjoys giving me these daily lessons in physics, which I will admit, I really don’t care how or why things work sometimes as long as they work. And he loves scaring me on the trail by throwing sticks in the bushes from behind me and then I think there is a snake. He may get a good laugh out of this but I always find a way to get back at him eventually. My husband is my rock. He always sees the bright side, even on gloomy days. He is my personal massage therapist, winter driving chauffeur, my kayak carrier, snake tamer or maybe I should say wife tamer when I see a snake, my work out partner and my best friend.

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So there it is, I think I hit all my favorites in all the areas of my life.

WHAT WOULD BE THE ONE THING YOU COULD NOT BE WITHOUT?