Life Lately….

As you all know if you have been reading recently I have mainly posted new trails for you all to try. Well, that’s because a lot has been happening in the background of life that I have been trying to gather and sort through in my mind. So I thought I would give you a break from trails and hikes we have been enjoying and focus on other life topics today.

Starting with…..we just celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary. I can’t believe it’s been this long…seriously over half my life I have been married to this amazing man that puts up with my crazy ideas. It’s been fun so far….and we are far from finished. So as we begin another year of life together I can only hope the fun continues.Stay tuned….

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As the leaves start falling this means less sunshine and that for me is like a death sentence. Here in Wisconsin most people hibernate all winter long. I see my neighbors come and go but don’t talk with them for months since I very rarely step foot outside in the winter months by choice.  I don’t even walk to the end of the driveway to pick my own mail in the winter months. Sad but true….it is what it is. I am simply not a winter lover!!! So as of October I always begin taking my “sunshine vitamin” (Vitamin D) to help with the winter blues that typically hit me hard by January.

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On the brighter side of things….we have planned one last camping trip of the 2017 season before the snow flies here in a few days/weeks. You really never know when it will happen…..so hopefully we make it through this last trip without a light covering of white stuff on our picnic table. I am excited to get out one last weekend and enjoy nature before it all freezes over. I am a bit up in the air but I do believe we will be sleeping in our SUV this time around and using our new SUV curtains we made a few months back.

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Soon after all this happens,Thanksgiving arrives which we are planning once again to keep up with the tradition of a Thanksgiving morning hike. Many people do some type of turkey trot but we would rather hike a trail than be surrounded by a bunch of runners/walkers. Looking back to last year reminded me to dig out the blaze orange once again since its deer hunting season in our parts during Thanksgiving.

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And after Thanksgiving comes the big Christmas holiday. This year we plan to simplify and not be so stressed out by who wants what, where, and when. Christmas is always a big stresser in my life. Why does everyone put so much pressure into two days of the year….like honestly, its two days?To make this less stress, we already have decided on a few things, we have already discussed our family gatherings and thankfully all I have left to do is the menu planning. Well, and gift buying but that is fairly easy at this stage of life.

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I have been getting back to making some family style meals with the colder weather upon us now. Summers meals can be almost anything after a long hot day of playing outside for my job. Fall and winter offer me more time in the kitchen(often with the kids helping) to prepare more thought out meal plans. I have been concentrating on two meat free dinners during the week and one on the weekends. This soup blend I found has been changed up a variety of ways and so far they have all been winners.

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Casseroles are back in the rotation once again and are a family favorite.

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And our son even surprised us one night by making french onion soup which was so yummy.

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As for workouts…..this has been the biggest change recently. Yoga has been my “go to” to help strengthen and get some flexibility back in my thoracic spine area. Physical therapy was an option but both my MD and my chiropractor suggested trying yoga before physical therapy since this is suppose to offer more benefit. Without a doubt, I am feeling better already….so for now yoga is scheduled into every single day.

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And four days a week I am back at the gym. Walking has become difficult to do since the sun is leaving us faster every evening that passes by, so the gym is my “go to” for cardio. Plus, in my opinion, movement is medicine!!! I feel so much better after a gym workout than I do if I do not go. Which means there really is no question of whether or not I need to make this happen. So once again, until the days get longer, I am back at the gym on my trusty elliptical.

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That should do it for today.

Anything your curious about….let me know?

Do you change up your workout routines as the seasons change?

 

 

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Spring Is In The Air….

After an uneventful week it was so nice to wake up Saturday morning to 35 degree temperatures and make plans to head outside for a little fresh air. However, I had a list of things I needed to tend to first…..work before play is how it has always been at our house. So we got right on it Saturday morning, all pitching in so we could head outside for some fun.

While I made boiled eggs, chopped dipping veggies for the upcoming week, and started the laundry, my husband gave the pimento cheese spread recipe remake another try. We attempted one but it was not nearly what the one in Tennessee was so we again tried another. Hopefully this one is a winner.

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After this it was time to clean, do a few home repairs, eat some lunch and then we headed outside for that much needed fresh air.

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We drove to one of our favorite trails once again and decided today would be the wooden adventure route….one we never take in the summer due to tooooo many snakes!!! It was so nice. It was so peaceful with the wind howling through the pine trees up above.

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On our way back to the parking area, I was amazed at the number of people out on the bay ice fishing along with numerous snowmobilers. I am not a fan of ice fishing or driving on ice for that matter. Too risky for my liking.

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Ok, so let me share with you what I did for exercise this week. It’s more for my sake than yours…..I know, but it keeps me accountable. So here we go…

Sunday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, abs and shoulders on the TRX suspension trainer

Monday: home: abs and upper body weight routine, and 2.5 mile evening walk outside….fresh air was so nice

Tuesday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, abs and legs, stretching

Wednesday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, abs, and stretching

Thursday: rest…..foam rolling

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Friday: home: upper body weight routine and abs

Saturday: 2.5 mile snowy trail hike

You all have a great week as we count down to SPRING!!!!

 

 

First Hike Of 2017

We decided to forgo the gym on January 1st. and hike since the sun was shining and I came down with some sort of nasty respiratory bug which made working out difficult the day before. Plus, my husband was dying to try out his new GPS we bought him for Christmas.

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We headed to my favorite nearby trail to see if the construction signs were removed yet and the trail had reopened. Upon arrival, I was thrilled to see it open….it had been closed for at least the last 6 months. We wasted no time making tracks in the snow since it was too cold to stand around.

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The temperature was about 20 degrees when we arrived but the winds were quite low which made this hike fairly tolerable for this time of year. The trail did have varying depths of snow cover but was still easy to maneuver through.

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It felt so good to be outside and soak up some natural sunshine. It has been weeks since I have ventured onto any trail in the area.

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Even though my toes were cold by the time we were finished, it was a great way to start the new year.

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Today we hiked the first 3 miles(almost) of many more to come this year.

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Did you do anything special on January 1st?

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow….

Well, it’s here, 3.7 inches of the fluffy, white covering fell on Sunday and this meant life for me got a bit lot more depressing. I miss green grass, green leaves, and warmth. Suffering with seasonal depression is real everyone and it hits hard in our house when it begins to snow. However, as always, I hold my head high and try my best to stay positive….and by this I mean, I am positive that someday I will never have to endure another winter like WI winters again. Someday…..

So let’s talk about what does bring me happiness…like exercise. Here is what I did this week in the happiness department:

Sunday: 3.4 mile hike

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Monday: 3 mile mall walk…yes you read that correctly…..our first mall walking laps of the winter….ugggg!

Tuesday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, rowing and abs with a short stretch session

Wednesday: 3 mile mall walk and floor weights routine at home

Thursday: 3 mile mall walk

Friday: rest

Saturday: 1.5 mile freezing cold hike(check out the temperature when we arrived at the trailhead)

gym: 30 minute elliptical, rowing and my first attempt at the new addition to our gym….the Synergy 360 Circuit.

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This week was a bit odd. My husband hurt his shoulder so we swayed away from the gym most of the week and concentrated on walking instead. Mid week the stomach bug plagued one of my kiddos which meant some disinfecting at nap time instead of exercise for me. And then, near the end of the week we got a bit of unnerving family news that threw me for a loop which then made us change up our weekend plans. Add in the snow storm we are experiencing while I sit here and type….and well, let just say it’s a good week to have over with.

 

 

 

Weekend Shenanigans and Our First Snowy Hike

Hello, hello, did you all have a good weekend? We sure did here.

Our weekend started with a bunch of crazy errand running like always. We are officially DONE Christmas shopping…..ahhhhh, what a great feeling this is let me tell you. We made a quick stop at the library to restock on books for my husband to listen to on his way to and from work. They had to cutest little Christmas ornaments decorating the library that the children had made.

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And we also needed to pick up a few odd and ends including new windshield wiper blades for my SUV. Snow, rain, and darkness do not making driving easy for me, but you add in crappy windshield wiper blades and it could mean disaster. So we took care of this issue first thing in the parking lot of the store.

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The rest of Saturday we went our separate ways. My husband headed to the woods for some hunting and I headed to the gym for a workout.

Then Sunday rolled around and we had made plans earlier in the week to redo our original plan for Thanksgiving which was to hike a waterfowl preserve near us that was closed down for the gun deer hunt season. Even though it is still bow hunting and muzzle loading season, the trails were once again reopened for hikers with the caution to wear blaze orange….which we did.

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Upon arriving it was starting to snow. We had woke up to a winter weather advisory but this little bit of snow don’t really stop us here in WI.

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And as much as I hate to admit it….the snow did add to the serenity and ambiance of the hike.

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We hiked the Meadow Ridge trail and it took us just over an hour to complete.

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It ended up being an wonderful, snow covered 3.4 miles that ended with hot chocolate.

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What a great way to end a weekend….even with snow falling from the sky.

Big Changes Bring On Big Decisions

Gosh, I thought October flew by quickly but November has been even faster. It literally feels like just yesterday my family was vacationing in Arizona and now it’s mid November already. Alright, I admit, my Sedona tan is fading fast…..but I really don’t know what has happened to the first few days of November. Let’s catch up a bit on what’s been happening.

Wisconsin has seen some amazing temperatures so far this fall. Honestly, I am still going to the gym in shorts and not wearing sweatpants over the top of them. This is a miracle in itself. However, they say it’s on the way….you know that wonderful white stuff that covers every green surface I love so much….grass.

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Unlike my younger years when all my Christmas shopping was done by Thanksgiving and I spent the week of deer hunting wrapping while everyone was gone….I literally just started shopping this year. However, we really revamped the way we shop today compared to past years and I do not have many gifts to purchase at all. With very little contact with nieces and nephews it was time to make some big changes to the way we spend. Most will get gift cards and only the people we are close to get actual gifts. So it is much easier to shop today than it was when we had a bunch of gifts to purchase.

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I have come to the conclusion that I am as good as I am going to get. Let me explain a bit….January of this year(in case some of you missed it) I had major surgery. I was told it would take me a year to completely recover but without a doubt life has improved greatly. However, there are a few things that I have been trying to ignore, look past or really just try to get back to and simply can’t. Did I think 10 months ago laying there for weeks with so much pain that I would ever get back to normal….no not really…..but I am really trying to learn what my new normal is and I believe this next step will help. I have decided to sell my home gym weight machine. Now if you know me, this is a big decision. I LOVE to exercise!!! However, I have tried this machine numerous different ways and with much lighter weights than before surgery and everything I have tried causes me pain for at least two days afterwards. So then I back off, workout with different things for a few days all while this machine stares back at me and the guilt for not trying it again drives my crazy. So I do and again, two days of pain! I have discussed it with my doctor, I have done what they told me to do to try and remedy the issue and nothing is working. So I have decided to sell it to keep from torturing myself. I have to learn to live with my new normal and I can only hope this helps.

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As we approach Thanksgiving many people are planning to run/walk the Turkey Trot in our area on Thanksgiving morning. I however, am not into run/walks because, well, I am too cheap to pay the admission cost to walk on a street when I could do that right in my own neighborhood for free. Although, this did give me an idea and I approached a friend of mine who has given hiking a try and loves it and we are now planning to do a hike Thanksgiving morning together. Our plan is to hike a trail near us at a waterfowl preserve that is about 3.5 miles long. This should be a fun way to start a great Thanksgiving day and maybe we can make this a yearly tradition.

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I have also been experimenting with some new holiday warm drinks to take in a thermos on winter hikes. I came across one and tested it out this week and hit the jackpot. I even may make this for our Thanksgiving morning hike….it is so good!!!

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As for the next few months I am concentrating on just getting through the holidays. With Christmas parties planned, family get togethers planned, and hopefully a Christmas Day family hike somewhere, I just want to enjoy the next two months. January for me is when the seasonal depression really hits hard and I can only hope winter is not so rough….although everyone has told me the farmers almanac says its going to be a doozie this year. We also have some big plans coming up in January and possibly some big family decisions to make….but let’s not get ahead of ourselves quite yet…..the rest of November and all of December come first.

 

Loving Lately….Plus Looking For Suggestions

As you all know winter is not my favorite time of year. There is very little I love about this season and anything and everything I can find to make me a bit happier during this time I savor. With that being said, let me share a bit of what I am loving lately. Plus, a few topics I am looking for suggestions about.

Bare Naked Granola’s New Flavor….Sea Salt Caramel Apple: I recently saw this in our local grocery store and just had to try it. I am not a huge dessert lover but this sounded like the perfect treat. I love it dry right from the palm of my hand or mixed 1/2 c. granola with 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk. I leave it soak over night or at least for a few hours to absorb the milk. Then it’s time to enjoy this sweet and salted mixture of yumminess!

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Broccoli Slaw: One of the hardest parts of winter here in the midwest is that there are no fresh veggies unless they are shipped from miles away. Ultimately, meaning they are not fresh. Which in turn means I often struggle to find veggie recipes to add variety to our meal time. I recently gave broccoli slaw a try and have found it to be one of my favorite go to winter time veggies. I simply saute it in a pan with a bit of olive oil or I have even flavored it with soy, teriyaki sauce and even BBQ sauce. Plus, I have also found that my daycare children devour it….which is always a plus in my eyes. IMG_2859

Durable Duffel Bags: I can’t technically say I am loving this quite yet but I will be. Right now I am planning our next vacation and know we will be taking camping gear with us.  This means I need a big, durable, sturdy duffel bag that can handle being thrown around in  the airport and in camp. I am debating between two different bags at the moment, one being the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 120L and the second being the North Face Base Camp Duffel XL. If anyone has a recommendation for which will hold up better, I will be glad to hear your suggestion. They both seem similar, both come in nearly the same size, both are close to the same price and both have great reviews.

Double Camping Comforter: Ever since I purchased my down sleeping bag we have had a love hate relationship. I love that it keeps me nice and warm. I absolutely hate the mummy style. I move around a lot when I sleep. Just the thought of having to sleep in this sleeping bag zipped up gives me anxiety. So typically I sleep on top of my sleeping pad with the bag thrown over the top of me completely unzipped which works quite well. Although, I think we would really like a down quilt instead of hauling two separate sleeping bags every time we camp. I have looked at a few but again, I don’t know if it’s worth the money to just carry one item for sleeping. I will say, since purchasing our down comforter for our bed at home, I have never slept better with as little as one blanket on us during the winter months. If this is any measure of how happy I would be to have a down comforter for camping then I think maybe I should make this investment. What do you think????

Still Hiking: The last and final thing I am loving lately is that we are still able to hike and its the beginning of December. Yes, it’s cold and blustery at times but at least there is no snow covering our trails quite yet. I know I could hike in the snow, but honestly, I’d rather just stay inside and count the days until it all melts. So lately, I have been taking every free moment I can to venture to our local trails before they are all buried for the next few months. We even managed to sneak in a family hike the day after Thanksgiving which was quite nice.

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