It’s As If We’ve Been Robbed

It’s funny how life can change in a few days. A little over a week ago our son moved out of our family home after 23 years and dad and I returned home to a very empty house. Where does time go? I can’t believe my baby is 23 years old already. My husband said to me, ” It looks like we’ve been robbed…. there is so much empty space.” I couldn’t help but laugh at this statement.

Which brings us to today. It’s different to put things mildly. I have way less dishes to wash, way less groceries to purchase, way less food to prepare, I have no vehicles parking me in when I want to up and leave home, and we have way less chatter at the dinner table. However, we are happy, our son is happy, and life is good. Who could ask for more? IMG_0135

As life continues onward I am adjusting our meals the best I know how. I am trying to incorporate more veggies and less animal protein. I recently had time to experiment in my kitchen and came up with three winners for meal times. First, I threw together an asian type quinoa skillet meal that I served over baby kale that I tossed with a bit of fresh lemon juice and olive oil. It was absolutely delicious.

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Then I replicated a corn on the cob recipe from a local restaurant that I am a bit ashamed to say I LOVE!!! Never in my right mind would I have thought smearing mayo on corn on the cob would have been so good but I tell you all….it is!!!! Sprinkled with a bit of chili lime seasoning and it is like a party in your mouth. You must give it a try.

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I also tried my hand at roasted parmesan cauliflower steaks one evening. It turned out fabulous but one head of cauliflower only yields two “steaks” and a bunch of chunks since the core is the part that holds the “steaks” together. I would make this again for sure but maybe just do it all in chunks and have marinara dipping sauce on the side. This would be more realistic for a family like meal.

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I still have a big bunch of recipes I have been researching and I can’t wait to try them and share them all with you. However, in all honesty, I am concentrating more on sunscreen, hiking boots, and bug spray at the moment and not so much of what is (or is not) happening in my kitchen. I live in WI and summers are so short that I need to take in every moment of sunshine and warmth that I can. I will be back here and there with things to share but until then….get outside and enjoy life.

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The Rough Draft In Our Book Of Life Is Beginning

The rough draft in our book of life has begun and when I say rough I mean rough! Clearly, as you look back, the last time I blogged there was still snow on the ground. That was 10 days ago. Wow, where does time go?

OK, so without wanted to jinx anything here, I want to fill you in a bit on where we are since I get lots of support from friends and family that read here on the blog. I will admit, not proudly by any means but it is what it is…..here goes…..we have not eaten at our dinner table in well over 9 days!!!!! For this I am ashamed. Although, I have managed to precook meals in the morning hours to enjoy when we all do finally arrive home to enjoy them where ever this shall be in our home. I mentioned in the last post we have been apartment hunting with our son. Everyone…this has been SCARY!!!! Coming from a mom who does not always agree with her son…..we have been seeing eye to eye on most things lately and for this I am so thankful. Dad on the other hand is much more verbal and will tell him straight up when he don’t like something. I am more of a live and learn type of mom….however, unless it is just something I cannot look past and must give my input. Anyhow, here’s where we are with this….his one and only application for a place has been submitted and now we wait and pray. I am going with the hope of, if its meant to be it will be. Time will tell.

In between all the evening showings we had scheduled we took weekends and days to get other stuff done. That is when the tools for the other chores did not break while trying to get things accomplished. Frustrating I tell you….simply frustrating!

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I have been searching high and low for furniture and home items for our son in his preparation to move out of our family home and this too has been a battle. Garage sales here are mostly on Thursday and Friday and by Saturday if they are still happening all the good items have been scarfed up already. And Saturday is the only day I have to garage sale since I work. Although, we have lucked out on a few items and dad is lending a hand to fix, repair, and create quite the unique DIY home decor for when the big move finally happens.

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Also, with a well deserved needed break from daily life we escaped for our first camping…ok really it was glamping since technically we slept in cabins and not tents….trip of the year.

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We were joined by my brother,sister in law, and our nephew on this trip for the first time. It was fun…we hiked the entire bluff lake loop at Devil’s Lake State Park here in Baraboo, WI and enjoyed the great outdoors.

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We even dusted off the discs for disc golf while we were here and played a few rounds. When its your first time out for the season we found that things are a bit rusty and you often end up searching out your disc in the trees.

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It was a nice break from our home life chaos. We had a great time, I was sore from the first big hike of the year until Tuesday and I don’t think any of us were ready to wake up and leave Sunday morning. Especially their pup, Coconut, who simply was exhausted by all the outdoor activity from the day. What a cutie….

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For now I will leave you here….but you can bet this shall be continued eventually.

 

 

 

 

November=58 degrees…In Wisconsin…..Seriously??? Time To Trade In My Whisk For My Hiking Boots Once Again

As you can probably assume from the title, I am one VERY happy person. When I awoke Thanksgiving morning and saw the forecast prediction for the day after Thanksgiving was going to be in the mid 50’s I immediately put things into high gear. I simply looked across the room at my husband and he knew exactly what I was thinking……..he said calmly, “let’s get it all done today so we can hit the trail tomorrow.” I love how he understands me without me even saying a word.

As you can imagine I had a load of things on the to do list to accomplish with four days off for the holiday. We literally packed all our chores into one day, we got in our annual family hike for Thanksgiving morning, plus I made Thanksgiving dinner that same evening. Oh, I was so tired by evening but so happy to be free of the long list and just had a few things that needed tending to before we hit the long trail on Friday afternoon.

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Then Friday arrived and I was excited to get in some warm mileage on a dirt trail once again before the snow arrives full blast. We arrived at our chosen trail head to find just us. I did not mind this at all, I parked our lone vehicle and it awaited our return.

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The temp on my vehicle upon arrival was a balmy 58 degrees. Amazing!!!!

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And a few steps into our hike and I had to chuckle. Clearly, this lone dandelion was not ready to give up quite yet on summer either.

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The trail was wonderful. Leaves crunched beneath our feet,

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signs of deer were everywhere,

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nature could be heard and saw along the way. It was so good for my soul…to just walk, listen, and breathe the air around us.

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The only thing that could have caused me any worry was that we were hiking during the gun deer hunt season here in WI. We did see many different deer stands, thankfully no active hunters during our time on the trail . And yes, in case you are wondering, we did also wear blaze orange for our own protection on this hike.

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With 3.3 miles Thanksgiving day and just over 4 miles Friday, we could all agree that summer is going to missed.

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Hiking, along with numerous other things we were able to pack into four days, left us all with a feeling of happiness. Add that to a fabulous Thanksgiving meal……along with my first ever homemade whipped cream (which turned out wonderful I may add) so my husband could enjoy whipped cream on his pumpkin pie along with everyone else…and I could not have been more thankful for anything else in the  world.

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Now, we all have to return to normal life once again and hopefully be ready for Christmas in a few short weeks. Sadly, I have a feeling I will not be hiking anywhere where that snow is not covering the trail come this time but who knows, maybe just maybe, wishes will come true.

Weekly Meal Plans….Back By Popular Demand/Weekend Recap

Our weekend started off as a weekend away camping…..and was changed mid week due to weather concerns. Whomp Whomp! So my husband who was suppose to be setting up our tent to sleep in, instead started preparing his ice fishing supplies by setting up his ice shack instead.

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Then I had planned a night away with a friend….and this was changed last minute due to illness! Whomp Whomp!

So ultimately, I was home all weekend. I started Christmas shopping, I ran some errands, I got in two awesome workouts at the gym, I took care of some daycare business, and the hubby and I hiked a nearby trail together.

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Not the weekend I had planned but you know, life happens and plans change and you sometimes just have to roll with it.

Anyhow, lets move on. I have had a few requests for our weekly meal plans again. I used to post these but never really thought anyone followed….I guess I was wrong. And now that we follow an artificial sweetener free diet, my meal plans have been changed up and I have found myself revamping many recipes I have prepared for years to be much cleaner than before. So back by popular demand, I will be posting my weekly meal plans for you to read. I will not be including recipes but if you find something that looks yummy, don’t be afraid to ask what the recipe was. I will be happy to share anything with you.

Saturday: dill caper farro, grilled salmon with lemon and onions, and baked squash.

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Sunday: fajita brats with onions, peppers, and mushrooms, over quinoa

Monday: mexican tortilla stack(meatless)

Tuesday: stuffed manicotti with cottage cheese, spinach, mushrooms and pesto, with marinara sauce and melted cheese over the top. served with bread sticks (meatless)

Wednesday: cowboy caviar filled wonton cups and side salads

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Thursday: egg frittata(recipe here)

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Friday: out

You will find that two nights a week we try and eat meatless meals….more if I can get away with it but my husband and son like their meat. And every meal is made strictly without the use of artificial sweeteners so my husband does not feel ill. If you missed why this diet change happened you can read about it here.

I will try and post our weekly meal plan on Sundays. Our week typically runs from Saturday to Friday since I almost always grocery shop on Fridays for the following week. Let me know if you see something you like. And by all means, if you prepare something yummy please share it with me….I am always searching for meals to prepare that are as clean as possible so everyone is happy.

 

A Surprise Training Hike Once Again and Some Meal Prep To Begin The Week

Ahhh, what a weekend. One that I really needed….I’ll tell you that much. After a major flop last week, we had some business to take care of Saturday morning and then my husband surprised me by suggesting another training hike mid afternoon. He knows I would never turn down a hike and the best way to get me to relax is either bring me to a river….which could not happen due to my finger accident last week…. so the next best thing is bring me to a trail. Which is exactly what he did.

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We knew we could not do all three laps this time around as we did the first time because time was limited today. However, we knew we had time for two full laps and we wasted no time getting started. After lunch we headed to the trail, sunscreen and bug spray in hand. Upon arriving we were greeted by a whole family of wild turkeys.

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I simply love what trails offer me. There are wild flowers everywhere, quietness of the woods, and the ability to just escape everyday life and be one with nature.

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6.6 miles later and we were done, I was relaxed and calm, and felt completely ready to face what life decides to throw at me next. I am really getting excited and feel I am closer every day to feeling like we will accomplish our next big adventure that’s on the horizon.

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Sunday then arrived and I awoke happily feeling good. No pain anywhere after our hike Saturday so I immediately got to meal prepping for the week. Nothing makes my week flow more smoothly than a weekly menu and meal prepping as much as I can for the week ahead.

I started by cutting up fresh fruit….pineapple and strawberries are loved by us all. And then I hard boiled a dozen eggs. I still felt I needed a bit more prepping so I threw together some curry lentil stew this time with sweet potatoes in it and cut up peppers for fajitas one night, I tossed together a greek veggie salad, and also made a new muffin for breakfast…carrot and coconut muffins for the win. MMMM, they are delicious!!!

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After this I bid my husband good luck fishing and headed over to Fresh Thyme for a few items, stopping at the gym on my way home for a workout and my first attempt back at weights since injuring myself back in July. Slow and steady is what I am practicing….and its slowly coming back to me.

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A few hours later my husband arrived home with dinner….apparently my wish of good luck paid off.

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A Crazy, Busy Weekend Of Fun

I had quite a crazy, busy weekend here. Summer is often loaded with busy weekends but sometimes there is just so much to choose from that its hard to decided who does what and with whom it all includes.

My weekend started Saturday morning with plans to attend Green Bay’s Fit Fest with a friend of mine. This was our first ever Fit Fest and I can honestly say it will probably be our last. We did not know exactly what we would be walking into but quickly became disappointed in the lack of…..well, lack of everything offered. Green Bay is really trying to get people outside and active but I think they have a ways to go yet.

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After walking through the Fit Fest booths, which maybe took us a half hour at best, we made our way over to a new brewery/coffee bar in downtown Green Bay called Copper Rock Coffee Company/Brewery. Since we had never been here we walked inside to place our order and were immediately impressed with the atmosphere and surroundings. The service was friendly and the outdoor seating was exceptional. We can’t wait to return and try the luncheon menu and maybe something a little more potent than coffee.

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After having some time to chat and catch up we drove to our lunch destination which has been a restaurant on our “girls list” for quite some time. Melts With You in DePere is where we had lunch…again on their outside patio area.

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The menu offered a nice variety of sandwiches, soups, and sides. Prices were reasonable and the service was good. It’s a small place and offers a fast meal. Would I return? Maybe. Typically, when I go out for a meal I want it to be unique and something I cannot make at home. I could have easily made the sandwich at home that I ordered along with what my friend also ordered. So ultimately the restaurant was not good, not bad, just your average sandwich shop.

After this is was time to return home for chores, laundry, prepare braised cauliflower/kale stew for the week, and a hike with my husband.

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Originally, he was going to go fishing but since he did a bit of that in the morning while I was gone he decided a hike would be nice. We once again made our way to our favorite hiking destination as of right now…UWGB (info on the trails page). And as usual we saw so much wildlife and a completely new mixture of wildflowers since the last time we were here two weeks ago.

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We really enjoyed the 3.3 mile hike along with the trail snacks we found along the way.

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However, the visitor waiting for us at our vehicle when we returned was not in the least bit happy we chased him away from what he was eating. Sorry fella!

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Sunday brought a nice surprise when our son announced he had the day off. I immediately suggested a hike/bike ride for all of us. I have been wanting to take him to Terrell’s Island (info on the trails page) trail for quite sometime but its a hour from us and time is often limited. We left him sleep until 9a.m. since he worked until 1:30a.m. and we headed out on our adventure.

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He rode his bike around the trail twice while we walked the 3.7 miles once and met back at the vehicle. We all got in some exercise and had a great time doing so.

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The rest of the evening was time to relax….and indulge in some ice cream. How perfect is that for a weekend of go, go, go.

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What??? 50 Degrees In February In Wisconsin….YeeeeHaaaa!!!!

How do I even try to explain how happy I was when I heard it was going to hit 50 degrees this week in Wisconsin. Explanation points, happy faces or just burst out with words like….yeeee haaaaa!!!!! This is completely a gift from up above and I will gladly except it with a big THANK YOU.

Something happens when it warms up over in our house. I become a happier human being, I find energy to cook, clean and make lists of things to cook and clean when I run out of time. Thoughts of vacations and places to visit start popping into my head and trails I want to hike become a date on the calendar and not just a thought. I send home reminders to all my daycare parents that we are headed outside FINALLY so prepare for muddy children. I go for walks outside instead of the local mall where we do laps…..so boring. All in all, things just become a bit brighter for everyone when I become a happier human being.

In my heart I know this is too good to be true, since it is Wisconsin and we could easily get one, if not more, snowstorms well into March, but for now I am taking it and loving every last minute. So take a look at what I did this week in the world of exercise. Not a single mall lap walk during the whole week and that I am so thankful for.

Sunday: gym: 30 minute elliptical and full body weights on the TRX suspension trainer

Monday: evening walk outside 3 miles

Tuesday: home: 30 minute recumbent bike

gym: 30 minute elliptical

Wednesday: evening walk outside 3 miles

Thursday: home: 30 minute recumbent bike and total body weight routine

Friday: rest

Saturday: trail hike of 2.5 miles…original plan was 3.1 miles but it was more like a skating rink so instead of falling and injuring myself, I cut it short and still had a wonderful time. Here are some pics from todays 50 degree hike in February.

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As for meals this week. I did not do very good at remembering to snap pictures but don’t think we did not eat…haha. I again tried two new recipes, this one which will be shared soon.

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and this one which turned out better than expected.

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And one night I rebounded to a family favorite of turkey fajita seasoned brats with veggies, and like always we enjoyed one dinner out on Friday evening.

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The highlight of my week next to the awesome weather we have had was when my son snagged some floor to ceiling mirrors from the gym he works at that they were going to toss out. One corner is a bit cracked and one is slightly chipped but hey, they will do just fine here at home. I have been wishing for mirrors for my workout area to keep an eye on my form when doing yoga and lifting weights but they cost a fortune to buy. Now we just need some time to install them….which until the temps turn back to freezing, this will not happen because WE WILL BE OUTSIDE……HURRRAAAYYYY!!!!

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