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.

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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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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.

Another Weekend of Frigid Temps

My husband thinks I freeze much faster than he does thanks to my very low blood pressure. I thinks I freeze simply because it’s freezing. Now normally I  would research his statement and see if he is correct, but you know what? It really does not matter to me, either way I still freeze and I do not like it!!! OK, enough complaining, let’s move on.

Saturday morning we woke up bright and early to make our way to Milwaukee for a day of shopping. I could hear the wicked winds blowing outside before even raising my head from the pillow and knew it would be a “soup for lunch” kind of day. Since we already had plans to enjoy lunch at Whole Foods I was pretty happy. Although, before lunch could happen we had to get some shopping done.

Usually I get to this area twice, maybe three times a year. So when I do, I stock up on all our favorites, especially from Trader Joe’s. After TJ’s we traveled to REI, which is bound to cost a few bucks and take a lot of time. Since we are outdoor enthusiasts this is by far our favorite sporting goods store. On Saturday it just happened to be their “garage sale day” which means tons and tons of great deals:) We must have spent almost two hours in this one store but left with so many goodies. I was very happy with the results.

Saturday night we celebrated Valentine’s Day with my hubby making bread bowl smoked salmon salads for us. (My absolute favorite) Again, with the frigid temps lingering on we found ourselves just hanging out the rest of the day. It was really quite nice to say the least.

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Onto other things….how are you all doing with the February health challenge of forgoing fast food for February? It’s it a struggle? You are half way done, are you hanging in there? I have to say, being that I work from home and we very rarely do fast food, I am not really struggling with this one. I have not done fast food, such as McDonald’s for at least 8 years, probably more. This is one thing I am pretty thankful for. It was a hard habit back then to break, but I don’t miss it what so ever.

You know what started creeping into my mind last week? Our Spring chore list…..is it too early for that? Well….maybe a bit.

How was your weekend?

 

 

Paddling Class with an Expert

On our last day away from home, we had the opportunity to attend a class with a paddling expert from Werner Paddles. Danny Mongo was our instructor for a stand up paddle board maneuvering and bracing class at a popular paddle shop in Madison, WI called Rutabaga. We signed up for this months ago, before I even could call myself the proud owner of a SUP.

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We awoke from a very stormy night to very ominous morning sky. Packing the vehicle to make our way to Madison, was quite depressing, to say the least.

I really wanted it to be sunny, hot and beautiful for our class. My husband kept reassuring me that it could pass through and be done by the time class started, but I was not so sure. We arrived in Madison, visited my favorite grocery store, Trader Joe’s and stopped for lunch before arriving at Rutabaga. While eating lunch, the skies brightened and the rain stopped.To our surprise, we left the restaurant and noticed it had gotten much more humid and hot outside. HURRAY! Let’s go paddling:)

We were a little early, so of course, because they have whitewater boats, my husband and son just had to try two of them out. They honestly have quite a big selection of anything and everything that floats.

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This company, has a nice little lake which is connected to Lake Monona, where you can “test drive” anything in their store. How awesome is that?

So the Jackson Zen and Karma were brought out.

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The boys tried them out, each in there first picks and then they switched. They paddled around and decided one was better then the other, but neither was quite ready to part with their own kayaks yet. (Thank Goodness) We really haven no more room for another kayak.

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Then it was time for class. We were all introduced to Danny Mongo from Werner Paddles, and all given some basic paddling information before hitting the water.

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We took the third level class, because we really needed to know how to do some more advanced techniques before we hit Lake Michigan. I can not say enough about how much we all learned. None of us even knew you could turn quickly the farther back on your board you stand, and just pivot it around. Now, let me remind you, alot of us went for a swim trying this out, including my husband and son. I must admit, I never really mastered this, because I am not confident standing that far back on my board. Maybe in time, possibly.

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Danny even got creative and did a yoga standing tree pose on his board, which was spectacular. Then my husband decided to try his yoga pose and did a warrior II. Very nice. If that was not enough, my hubby even stood on his head on his board. Straight up, and then straight in to the lake. Good job honey!!!!!

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(In case your wondering, we even played in the pond fountain. Fun,Fun,Fun)

We all left wet and happy. A big thanks goes out to Danny and Amelia for some great fun on the water. Thank You!

If you ever get the chance to take one of his classes, go for it. It was very rewarding. Now we need to find time to get to the big lake and see what we can do.

Happy Paddling Everyone.