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.

 

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Anyone Else Waiting For Summer?

You know when all the snow finally melts in your yard, you have made the Spring to do list, you have dusted off the patio furniture and are ready to bring it outdoors, and you are so ready to pack away scarves, hats, gloves, and everything that adds bulk in the winter and then you wake up one morning to another full layer of snow covering everything in sight???? This was me a few mornings ago here in Green Bay! IMG_0877

I was bummed. Yes, I know we have gotten snow before…..many times in April, heck even May, but come on already. I am done with winter. So done. It’s really no joke when we here in the midwest say we have to train to get back into shape for the summer season. Winters are long, boring, we eat comfort food just to stay warm, and then before we know it, we are 10 lbs heavier, our joints hurt, and staying up past 8 p.m. is literally a chore even though the sun is still shining brightly. I keep telling my self it’s coming just hang in there.

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Alrighty, I just had to get that rant off my chest. So this weeks meals turned out to be a disaster…but not on my part. It all began Easter Sunday about dinner time when my husband got the call that he was once again was needed in Tennessee and would be leaving on the 7a.m. flight out of Green Bay. UGGGG, we first thought it was an April fools joke, but unfortunately it was not! So even though I had the menu planned and all the groceries bought for the week, I replanned very quickly, and winged it all week.

Here is what this week was in meals:

Saturday: unwrapped egg roll bowls….they were such a big hit last time I had to make them once again

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Sunday: egg and roasted potato bake with ham along with roasted green beans (Easter)IMG_7009

Monday: here is where the week went down hill…at least in the meal area.

Today we ate pasta salads that I had prepared for both my husband and my son’s lunches for the week.

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Tuesday: I opted to try a jar simmer seasoning I picked up on my last trip down to Trader Joe’s called Masala Simmer Sauce. I prepared this with carrots, chicken, and spinach. It was ok, not great, but coming from a jar it was edible. Would I buy it again? Probably not. IMG_0871

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Wednesday: Out for my monthly dinner with my brother

Thursday: bean burger wraps, chips and salsa

Friday: out

Food prep this week was a bit all over the place. I, like I said above, threw together two different pasta salads for lunches for my boys this week. I also roasted potatoes for a casserole and boiled a dozen eggs for myself  for before my morning workouts.

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I also made up 6 muffin egg sandwiches to toss in the freezer and reheat for fast breakfasts. I love doing this….it so easy and so much less expensive than the store bought premade breakfast sandwiches that have so many other ingredients in them that you really do not know what your truly eating.

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Life Lately….

I have come to the conclusion in life that once one matter is handled the next big pressing situation is never very far behind.  It’s sort of like when you come into a bonus amount of money and you never quite know what to do with it….until…..the refrigerator decides to stop working in the middle of the night, the washing machine decides to spring a major leak during your last load of laundry, or you slip and fall on the ice and need an x-ray when your deductible is not met yet. Yeh, thankfully none of this has happened for us recently but just when things starting calming down after Christmas the next big thing(s) starting popping up. Let me catch you all up on life as it is here today.

We have our first glamping (glamorous camping) trip planned for 2018 and I am excited…very excited. Once again we are returning to what I consider is Wisconsins best state park….Devil’s Lake. We missed visiting this park last year and I really missed it. We have hiked Devil’s Lake every year for at least the past 5 years, but last year we skipped it due to other trips we had planned and we just could not fit it in anywhere. Plus, this year we are glamping for the first time ever with my brother and his family. We have cabins rented at our favorite nearby campground and we plan to campfire, hike, explore and celebrate springs arrival. No one will ever be as happy as I am when spring finally arrives!!!

I also am loving that my husband is finally getting some projects done that have been laying around waiting for completion for quite sometime. My brother, one year for Christmas, had some pictures made up into puzzles for us. Once they were assembled my husband thought it would be cool to glue them and make red rock frames to go with the red rock theme of the puzzles. I agreed, then life happened, and they sat there. Well, they are now completed and I love them. Now we just have to figure out where to hang them.

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I have now expanded my cookbook selection to include one more clean eating/plant based cookbook to make meal planning easier. Since cutting out artificial sweetener in all our diets and with the amazing success my husband has had with this change, I am now finding it much harder to make casseroles. And casseroles were my “go to” for an easy make ahead and throw in the oven meal in the winter months. However, I am really finding plant based meals to be fulfilling and much less work than I ever imagined. Plus, my grocery bill is pretty nice also.

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I do have to give a shout out to my other half lately. It’s been one of those winters where everything keeps breaking. Nothing huge but big enough that thankfully with his repair skills he has saved us so much money just this year alone so far. I love having my own maintenance man in the house. Some people marry for money, some marry for love, I married for love and the money he saves us.

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And last but not least, the one big thing I have been working very hard on is our next big trip…the one where we are renewing our marriage vows for our 25th. anniversary this year. Do you know how difficult it is to find a minister that is willing to hike up to the top of a mountain to perform a renewal ceremony for this occasion? Well, I can tell you how difficult it is……VERY DIFFICULT!!!! However, I found one, we have talked with him and explained how important it is for him to make this trek for us, and he assures me he can do this as long as we are not trail runners and plan to race up the mountain. I promised him we could take as long as he needed to arrive safely at the top and for him to grant us his services. Now I just have to figure out a proper tip to give this gentleman since he is clearly putting his life on the line to make our wishes come true. I cannot wait to say “I Still Do” to the one I love in a place that brought such happiness to us the first time we saw it.

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What would you tip the minister in this situation? I would be grateful for your suggestions.

 

Cold…It’s Draining Both Mentally and Physically For Me

It has been below zero for 12 days. Seriously, some mornings are as low as -30 with the wind chills. It feels like months but according to the weather man this morning its been 12 days…..12 painful days.

A few mornings I have not even had it in me to drag myself out to go to the gym in the wee hours of the morning and we all know this is my happy place in the winter months. It’s simply astounding to me how it can get this cold.

I went out last night with my brother and walking back to my vehicle I could feel my inner core shaking….like when you are doing a plank and your near the end when your entire body starts to shake….yeh, that was me simply walking to my vehicle. Who needs to do planks, just step outside in Wisconsin during the winter.

My fingers are cracked and this is after putting lotion on numerous times a day.

I dread going to the grocery store since it takes a few minutes longer to load the packages into my vehicle.

Oh, and pumping gas. Yeh, this is not going to happen. I make sure my husband or son are with me and then I politely mention….maybe I aught to stop for gas, would you pump it please? Yup, I am THAT wife/mom!

I sit a pray every morning when 4:40a.m. rolls around that the garage goes all the way up and comes back down without coming off the track since garage doors hate the frigid temperature for some reason.

Thankfully two out of four of our vehicles are in the garage overnight. Although, so far all have started every morning at this point.

I already have my Christmas list started for next year….I want a heated mattress pad. There is nothing worse than climbing into bed after a long day and the sheets are freezing cold. I have resorted to turning on a heating pad a half hour before going to bed to “preheat” my side of the bed. Yeh, ridiculous isn’t it.

Apparently, the weather professionals say it is suppose to warm up as of Sunday. A balmy 30 degrees or there about….I am excited! Yes, you read that correctly…..I am EXCITED about 30 degrees.

I know its only January..but I am over winter. Anyone else feeling this way yet?

Items That Help Me Survive Winter In Wisconsin

It’s no secret winter is not my favorite season. I suffer from seasonal depression and literally count down the days on a calendar until the clocks change again, daylight appears past 4p.m., and I see green grass. Once the holidays are over is when it really gets rough for me. Although, I have lived here my entire life and have found some things that I simply could not live without during the winter months. So for all of you making plans to visit us here in the midwest during the winter or for all of you thinking about moving here from a warmer climate…read on!

#1 Lotion: Once the heat is turned on and the water we shower in is turned up it’s like death to your skin. You dry out, you itch and it’s just plain rough on the skin to be out in the elements of winter.

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#2 Lip Balm: Much like our skin, our lips are every sensitive to the cold also. I have these little tubes of moisture in every little hiding spot I know…..SUV, car, pockets of all my jackets, next to the bed, in my purse, and even in my backpack if the urge would hit for a quick snowshoe hike through the woods somewhere.

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#3 Tea/Coffee etc: You may think being in a warm house you could drink anything and maybe so, but something mentally happens when it starts to snow and you literally crave something warm to drink. We here are not all day coffee drinkers but tea makes an appearance quite often during the days of winter.

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#4 Down: I will never regret buying my down bed comforter and my down winter jacket. They are the best investments I have made to help me survive winter.

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#5 Hobbies: I am not sure if you would call this a hobby but it does take my mind off the snow and the days that are so incredibly short and cold. We do jig saw puzzles during the winter months and its always a goal to see how many we can finish before the snow melts.

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#6 Memories: What once was will come again. I look back at my summer time pictures often during the winter months. They help me recall a much happier time in life and give me something to look forward to.

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#7 Exercise: You know it baby….it’s the only time I can break a sweat during the winter months. Sometimes I will workout twice a day just to feel warm.

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Are you from the midwest?

What is one thing you could not live without during the long winter months?

Getting Through The Winter Blahs

52 days from today we all get to change our clocks again. No matter what the calendar says….this is what marks the end of winter for me. More hours of sunshine is instant happiness for me. However, until that days arrives I often feel blah. It’s hard to cook, clean, work, and all around function some days. Although, somehow I do it, everyday! Which made me pay attention to what has been helping me get through these days of blah.

In the winter one of the biggest things I struggle with is feeling warm. I actually believe some of this is mental, because if everyone else is comfortable, why am I always cold? I have found a few solutions to help me with this issue. I eat a lot of soup. I would bet I eat soup at least 5 out of 7 days a week. Homemade, boxed or in a restaurant, it really doesn’t matter to me. I love soup.

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Another thing I have been experimenting with is hot tea. My son is a huge tea drinker which made me start trying some teas. He is into the loose leaf tea and has so many different flavors that I would not even know where to start. So I recently found some sample size tea and bought two different flavors. Both of which I am really enjoying on a daily basis. IMG_3300

One big thing that brings me joy anytime of year is my job. Daycare can be stressful, difficult and exhausting…..believe me, I have been there! Lately, however, the two boys that I have, who have grown up together since birth at our home, have turned into toddlers and have begun playing so nicely together. It’s great to just sit back and watch them figure things out on their own and work together.

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Winter for me is my time to get organized, clean, and sort through items we no longer want. Let’s face it, in the summer my weekends are spent paddling something somewhere and my weekdays are spent outside running through sprinklers or having water balloon fights, which means nothing inside gets done for months. But that’s ok, that’s what winter is for. Anyhow, I finally made an attempt to organize our food shelves upstairs. Ever since they changed from boxes to zipper bags in many food items, my shelves have been a disaster!!! Boxes used to line up nicely and stack beautifully. With the amount of food we consume between my family and the daycare children, I often will open the door to find a complete unorganized mess of zipper bags. Here is the before picture:

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So I bought a few vacuum seal containers to hold some of the food items that we use the most. I then organized and cleaned out this area. I plan to try this for a week or so and I will then go back for a few more containers if needed. So far it’s been a success. Here is the after picture:

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I would have to say by far the biggest thing that has changed this winter for me compared to others is that a group of friends and I have started going out for lunch once a month together. You may think once a month is minimal but this gives me something to look forward to every month. We have done it a few times so far and have plans in the making for the next month already. I am really loving this time and believe it is really helping me get though the worst of winter. IMG_1918

That’s how I have been trying to beat the winter blah feeling here in WI.

Tell me, have you found anything that works for you?

What is your hardest month to get through in the winter? (Mine is February)

 

 

Summer vs. Winter On The Trail

How can we be 45 degrees one week, then get 13 inches of snow the next week and now this…..frigid, painful, below zero temps for the majority of this week? It’s like a roller coaster ride and I want off!

Before this all came about and I knew I would be locked up in my home for days I made an attempt to walk a trail with my husband. I really thought we would arrive and it would be snow covered but to my surprise it was not bad.

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Those tracks you see are from someone pulling an ice fishing sled down the trail to access a favorite ice fishing spot. As we made our way further down the trail you could see large rocks thrown out onto the ice to see the thickness of the ice cover. Which meant, of course, my husband had to toss one out there also to see for himself how much ice was there. Needless to say, not enough to even walk on. The rock he tossed out went right in and water came shooting up and out as soon as the rock made contact.

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A little further down the trail we saw that the person dragging the ice fishing sled made the decision to forgo his ice fishing plans and the tracks ended and turned around. I’d say that was a good choice, or at best, a safe choice.

As happy as I was to be on a trail, it also made me so sad at the difference winter makes from summer on this same trail. With the water being icy and looking so cold

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to parts of the trail being snow covered,

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it really made me think of how much more I love this trail in summer time. Things are green,IMG_1664

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and sunsets are beautiful in the evenings.

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Oh, how I can’t wait to walk out to the platform, sit, and watch the sun set again. A few more weeks to wait but it’s coming……..

Alrighty then…..enough day dreaming. Here is reality and what I did for workouts this week.

Saturday: gym:45 minute elliptical and stretching

Sunday: gym: 40 minute elliptical, lower body weights and stretching

Monday: mall: 3 mile walk

Tuesday: home: upper body weights and 20 minute recumbent bike

Wednesday: home: 30 minute recumbent bike

gym: 33 minutes elliptical, total body weights, stretching

Thursday: home: upper body weights

mall: 3 mile walk

Friday: rest

As you can see this has been a rough week of workouts. Life sort of got in the way a few nights and I had to take care of some business matters another night. Add in the extreme cold and our over flowing gym with new members…..and I just couldn’t find the motivation to go there more than once during the week. No one really understands how much I dislike the winter cold except me.

However, I do feel somewhat accomplished this week. I did some well needed cleaning and organizing of an area in our home that has been driving me crazy for awhile now and I finally found what I hope will be a great addition to our group of kiddos in the near future. These are both big areas that #1 make me happy and #2 give me security. Change is hard but when you feel good that the change about to happen is positive then it’s so much easier to face head on.