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Why Isn’t the Snow Melting?

It’s universally acknowledged that the weather and everyone’s health are acceptable conversation topics. Knowing that, it’s hardly surprising that I’m completely and utterly sick of everyone whining about the weather. “Not enough sun”, “too cold”, “winter never ends”, etc, etc, etc… Yes, this winter stinks and is never ending. Yes, it was 20 degrees out this morning. Yes, I still have snow everywhere and can’t go for a nice walk. The re-hashing and whining from 50 different people a day wears you down a bit. I keep telling everyone “just one more week” because, eventually, that will be true.

Would be nice to put away the snow blower as well.

I’ve been looking into some other options for my chronic stuffy nose. Obviously we are never going down the steroid path again. Meds are somewhat helpful but terrible for me and only work for a short period of time…

My mom hosted an educational party with a few close friends to learn more about essential oils. One of my mom’s friends has been using them for several years now and just loves the results. She offered to give everyone a run down on what essential oils can do, what to look for in buying oils, and let us try and smell several different ones. It was a riot!

It’s interesting how there’s an essential oil for just about every possible malady. My mother bought a few bottles during flu season and was sold on how fast it knocked sniffles and bugs out of the house. So I’m intrigued and thought I’d give it a try and see. I’m pretty excited too. I purchased the oil combination that’s recommended for congestion:

And I bought a diffuser so I can have it misting in the room each night before I go to bed. I also am going to try their rub-on cream for muscle pain (I’ve had some strong pain on the outside of my knees) and a combo blend for calming and stress. I’m trying to be a bit less stressed. ;)

Here’s the diffuser. Kinda pretty too I thought!

So when everything arrives and I start using it, I’ll let you know if I notice any difference. I’m all for a little experimentating! Have any of you ever used essential oils??

I forgot to include one fun picture from Madison. This is the view from the outside sitting area at the Madison branch where Ben works. I’m zoomed in quite a bit here but how fun is it to be on the 6th floor and able to walk out for lunch, sit on a table, and eat lunch while you look at the captial??

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:-)

We’re cruising to the weekend! I’m planning on getting another 2 miles on the treadmill covered tonight. Have a great day everyone!

 

Let’s Go Back to Madison

When my family moved to Green Bay 15 years ago, I used to tell everyone about life further up North. During the winter months, I’d explain how things could be worse and lead into the story of how we all were outside figure skating on the homemade rink in our backyard. It was a beautiful rink and the picture mom has shows 2 foot high buffers of snow around the ice. The more interesting part? Mom took that picture on Tax Day. When I look out the window this morning, I’m not happy to be drawing any comparisons…

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It’s starting to feel like winter may never end. I’m wishing we were back in Madison now since the weather was so sunny and gorgeous!

Speaking of Madison, the rest of our trip was terrific. We had nothing planned other than a few stops we wanted to make, so Friday morning we sauntered down to the hotel’s breakfast buffet:

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We didn’t know the buffet closed at 9am – so just as we got our first plates, they took all the food away! If I’d known I would have grabbed a few more eggs. Oh well :-)

After breakfast we went for a workout in the fitness room. They have an indoor “water park” which is more suitable for the kiddos, but if was fun to look down from the exercise room and see everything

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(excuse the glare)

Ben found the elliptical – his machine of choice – and I went for the treadmill. He wrapped up after 20 minutes and went for the weights. I did 30 minutes and then Ben walked me through a few weight exercises as well.

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We showered and left the hotel around 11 in search of Bed Bath & Beyond. Our local store is so small that none of the china, cutlery, or glasses are on display. Plus, the online pictures aren’t good enough. I wanted to hold and feel everything to make sure it was what I wanted and we had hoped Madison’s store would have more to see.

Eureka!

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The store was huge with so much more to see. Our GB store always feels cramped but this was open and wonderful. The best part had to be the wonderful sales women we worked with. I made my top selections and then they’d go over the pros and cons, give me feedback, and I left feeling like I made all the right choices. We changed quite a few things based on our new-found education and I was so glad we did! What was so much fun was having the lady wheel out a cart with our china on it so we could pick out matching cutlery and place settings. They don’t have that in Green Bay.

The final product:

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Super happy – I just love it! It’s hard to see in the picture but the china has a delicate white-on-white scrolling around the edges of the plates.

We were famished after all that hard registry work and went in search of some lunch. The mall had a little sub shop so we stopped there for some sandwiches.

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We mosied through the mall for a couple more hours, made a few more unsuccessful errands to look for centerpiece ideas, and then went to look at Ben’s Madison office building. He has to go there a lot to help with computer stuff, so it was fun to see it all.

After that, it was time for dinner. We picked one of Ben’s favorite places when he is in Madison: The Bonfyre. You walk in and you can smell the wood chip smell and they have rotisserie chickens that have been slow-cooked all day.

My dinner started with a balsamic salad (kind of a departure for me)

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I left the olives and hot peppers but ate the rest

Of course I went with the BBQ rotisserie chicken. It just sounded too good!

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Ben went with his “usual” the self-declared best chicken parmigiana on earth

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And we finished with two little “dessert shots”. The cookies and cream was definitely my favorite. Ben ordered the white chocolate raspberry and oddly, I think he liked mine better too.

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I love mini desserts! You get a sweet treat without it being too big.

I also love their water glasses. So now I’m searching Amazon for a similar clear one for my registry. :) I just think they’re fun.

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We watched more Brewers Friday night and then crashed. It was a long day with a lot of walking. Saturday we checked out of the hotel and drove to a cute little retro 50′s dinner.

French toast for the boy:

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Eggs, perfect bacon, and the fluffiest buttermilk biscuit ever for the girl

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I caught Ben eyeing up my plate a few times and gave him a generous portion of my meal. As it was, I left totally stuffed. The place was so adorable too. It was all decorated to look like it came from the 50s. They even had an old fashioned black and white TV playing I Love Lucy. I would have taken pictures, but the place was packed and all the tables were in the open so I didn’t want to photo anyone.

A trip to Madison wouldn’t be complete without a stop to Trader Joes! I’ve been studying blogs for ideas on what to get and we ended up with a fair amount of new things to try. Among the goods: mandarin orange chicken, sweet potato fries, cashew meal, cookie butter (ooooh yes), tons of canned beans – stock up time, and a bunch of $3 wine for friends. I am so jealous we don’t have a TJs or a Whole Foods anywhere closer.

The drive back was pretty grueling. We ended up driving through a really bad rainstorm. The visibility wasn’t great and the storm didn’t let up for the entire drive. When we left Madison it was overcast and 60. When we arrived in GB it was 41 and pouring. Whomp-womp!

I’m so glad we got a little trip in. It helps so much to have a quick change of scenery and spend a few days doing absolutely nothing. Now I need to plan the next vacation. Ha ha! :)

A Little Break

Good morning and happy Monday to you all!

I sincerely hope that Green Bay is the only place being hit with wind / SNOW / and sleet this morning. It looks like Winter all over again – and I am guessing you are all horribly jealous, aren’t you!?

We took Thurs/Fri off of work and spent a few days in Madison. We didn’t have any grand plans but thought a few days of roaming about and not being at home or at work would be good for us. It was! We started things out by driving to Appleton so I could get fitted for new running shoes. I really loved the people who worked/owned the store years ago and wanted to go back and support them… but it looks like it’s now a chain. In hindsight, I think we’d have gotten a better selection in Madison, but the shoes I picked up look OK. We’ll see.

For lunch we stopped at the Atlanta Bread Company. ABC was one of my favorite places for lunch in Green Bay until they closed a few years ago. Ben isn’t as big a fan but indulged me. :)

Ben got the half chicken salad sandwich and potato soup:

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My meal was the balsamic salad (with apples, blue cheese, walnuts: yum yum) and the frontier chicken chili:

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We split a delicious, buttery macadamia nut cookie for dessert. We drove to Oshkosh and stopped at the Outlet Mall. I really failed on the picture front – I think I was just being low-key. Anyways, we got some candle holders and fun lilac Spring-scented candles (you know, to go with this beautiful weather we’re having ;) ) and I picked up a spring purse and matching wallet.

The breaks on the way down were really nice because although it took all day, it felt like we weren’t just stuck in the car. After we got checked into the hotel, we still had some time to kill. The weather was beautiful: 60 degrees!!! So we left our jackets in the car and did some more exploring. We ended up at World Market and I bought another set of candle sticks. I’ve been hunting for brown wooden ones forever. I’ll post a picture soon for you to see. I’ve never been to World Market so it was interesting to walk around and see what they had. Anyone need a terracotta pig grill?

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We left and still needed to kill more time before our dinner reservation, so we drove down the road and roamed about their Costco. It was a big disappointment – no food samples! I hope that our Costco doesn’t end up like that. The samples are my favorite part!

We were starving and it was still 30 minutes before our reservation, but we decided to go anyway and see if we could get a table. Hurray! We were seated right away.

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Ben absolutely adores Ruth’s Chris steakhouse and we always end up there during our Madison trips. We always get the same thing too: the tenderloin steak and house salad. Ben picks random potatoes but I am in love with their sweet potato casserole. It’s too delicious. I’ve often considered just buying two portions and eating nothing but that for dinner!!

We were absolutely stuffed after dinner and headed back to the hotel happy and tired. I wore my pedometer all weekend and was surprised that it felt like we were always moving around and yet I only clocked 5,000 steps. I think since we both have desk jobs we just weren’t used to standing and shopping that much – as weird as that is to say.

Our hotel room had a big whirlpool in it so we cashed in a few complimentary drink tickets and sipped them while watching the Brewer baseball game. The jets felt so nice on my feet!! I want one at home. :)

So that was our first day in Madison. The snow is still coming down so I’m going to wrap this up and head to work. Hopefully it’ll all be melted by the time I have to leave work this evening. A girl can dream, right?

Excitement

Happy Saturday! Oh wait, it isn’t Friday for you too? Sorry ;)

I’m more than a little bit excited for our mini vacation. Even better? We have some friends staying at the house while we’re gone. They get a little vacation away from their house and we get someone to make sure everything is OK while we’re gone. Win/Win

I got to sleep in until 7am so already this is off to a good start. We’re planning to hit a fancy shoe store on the way down. It’s been 8 years since I got properly outfitted in running shoes and I’m looking for a new pair. Yay! I think we’re also going to browse around the outlet malls and then we have reservations at our favorite steak place tonight.

As for tomorrow? Nothing set in stone yet – totally depends on the weather. I should plug in my pedometer and see how many steps I rack up over this weekend. I’m hoping it’s a bunch. We’re going to Trader Joes too – and I’m giddy to find some new and interesting things to try. Any favorite things anyone?

We’re done with our 10 day cleanse – just in time. Not sure how much I noticed from it, except for a lot of nasty break outs on my face. Still, sometimes the inner stuff you don’t as readily notice. I would never say it was a waste though. I’m sure it did something.

One more pretty glance at my roses. I hope they are still alive when we get back!

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Have a great weekend and I’ll catch you all on Monday!

Loving the Oatmeal

My mornings are now consisting of a medium coffee and a cup of oatmeal from work’s cafeteria. In the past I’ve tried overnight oats, but I just don’t like them cold, and I’ve given up trying to make oats over the stovetop and get ‘em packed before heading to work. There’s just not enough time. So I’ve taken to picking up some piping hot oats ready-made. Usually they serve them plain and you can add a variety of toppings, like craisins, grape nuts (whyyyyy?), cinnamon, brown sugar, and granola.

A few times now they’ve served a specialty flavor – and they’ve all been delicious. The first was a cinnamon pecan – and the toasted pecans were absolutely incredible. (Need to make at home!!) Yesterday it was apple cinnamon walnut. Delicious too!!

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When I got home from work, I changed into my exercise clothes so we could head to Body Pump. But when Ben got home he was itching to try biking now that he’s tightened and tuned up a few things. So we went around the neighborhood. Wow, my legs were burning! I’m out of shape, true, but my new bike is much more upright and so I don’t have the leverage I used to have when pedaling. In short, I have to work harder. Oh well – if it saves my hands from going numb. I need to charge up my Garmin so I can start counting the mileage. :) exciting!!

We tried a new skillet lasagna boxed meal as well. Boy we’re branching out! Ben found some organic grass fed beef (hard to find around here) and we mixed up a box of goodness. It had different spices than we are used to and I’m not sure it was really our favorite. Probably would not buy again.

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Last week was Asbestos Awareness Week and Heather, one of my blog readers, asked me to share her website with you. Heather is one of the few mesothelioma survivors and her story is both incredible and inspirational. For those looking for more info on mesothelioma, you can head to her blog at www.mesothelioma.com/heather/awareness

We’re going to be packing tonight and tomorrow we’re off for a tiny vacation. Hurray and hurrah! Super excited for a change of scenery – and the weather looks great too!!! :-)

Out and Biking, Finally

Warm weather, warm weather… la dee dee. Warm weather, warm weather, come to me!!

Yesterday was beautiful. I think it was a bit over 60 actually. I’m giddy with excitement. Only the largest of snow banks still remain and some small areas are sporting a bit of a green tint. It’s wonderful.

Ben pumped the tires up on my bike and we both did a quick stint around the neighborhood. It’s fun having a biking buddy. I’m so used to having to bike alone. I definitely need to tweak a few things on my bike. For whatever reason my rear light has an extra flap that smacks my leg when I pedal. That’s got to go! I also want to get a smaller pouch (just big enough to hold keys and a camera). The one I have now is too big and also smacks my leg when I pedal.

Last year I set modest mileage goals both for summer biking and for walking – and I didn’t hit either goal. Despite that, I still feel like I want to try and set goals for this year. It gives me something to shoot for and helps get me out and moving.

We found a recipe for something called fiesta lime rice that sounded pretty good. We didn’t have whole tomatoes and substituted tomato sauce… which I think was a mistake. But it’s always a fun adventure trying new recipes right?

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It was pretty easy – we cooked down the onion in some grapeseed oil with salt and garlic. Meanwhile we were cooking brown rice (over the stovetop – we’ve given up on our rice cooker!). Then it all gets tossed together with a few liberal squeezes of fresh lime juice and some chopped cilantro… and you’re done.

We did add a bit of chicken but this could have been removed. It was supposed to be a white rice with chunks of fresh tomato and I think all the tomato sauce was overpowering. I loved the lime tang though.

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Ben also came home from work with a surprise for me!!

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I have fresh, beautiful flowers. Usually he doesn’t get me roses since they die so fast but since we’re heading out of town soon, it didn’t matter this time. They smell amazing and the color is beautiful!

I’m so eager to get out of dodge and have a few days away from work and home. It’s sad but I’m so desperate for a change of scenery. Maybe I am still feeling bad that we couldn’t get a vacation in this Winter because of my class schedule. Whatever the case, I’m hoping for some good weather and that we’ll be able to get in a lot of walking and sight-seeing (whatever the sights may be).

I hope your week is going great!!! :)

 

How Much Can You Do in a Day?

HAPPY Monday everyone!

We finally hit the jackpot with weather over the weekend. It’s hilarious (but great) that we ended on a high note, because Friday looked like this:

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More snow! I am super-duper hoping and praying that’s the last we see until at least late November.

Since we started the 10 day cleanse, we’ve been trying to eat better and incorporate less meat and dairy and more fruit and veggies. When we are looking for a big dose of vegetables, I turn to my favorite honey stir-fry. This time we boiled 2 chicken breasts and then shredded the meat. Normally we’d each have one breast for a meal, but those two stretched for 3 meals. I was seriously impressed. I didn’t have cashews so we tried roasting some pecans and they were an amazing addition! I think I could eat this every day.

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I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to keep tweaking meals in the hopes on finding a good balance that will help with weight loss. The scale hasn’t been budging. In fact, it’s been downright evil! But I’m trying to drink less coffee and more water. I also was thinking of trying to get tea back into my routine. I definitely prefer coffee but I know how great tea is for you. I picked up a few intriguing flavors and will see if I can ease a cup in each day:

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slimming, healthy skin, and detoxification? I’m not sure how well they really help with all those things, but why not? :) I’ve tried sillier things before!

We ran a zillion errands on Saturday and spent some time with the wedding registry gun. It’s a weird mix – trying to upgrade the falling apart (but still working) things you have but also trying to be super practical. What’s funny is the “helper” they have follow you around the store pointing out all the things you apparently desperately need. Honestly, how will I ever function if I don’t have the $599 cookware set and the expensive Dyson vacuum? LOL But our vacuum works great and I am finally to the point where I’m ready to get rid of non-stick and move to healthier stainless cooking – and I really didn’t feel like explaining all that to the bubbling sales lady. :)

Sunday was the warmest day yet – 60 degrees! It started out pretty windy and felt cold but it kept getting warmer and warmer as the day went by. My entire day (or so it felt) was spent doing laundry. I got every sheet, blanket, towel and comforter washed. Normally Ben does his own laundry but I took care of his too – so everything got hung and lined dry. We opened all the windows and I mopped, dusted, and vacuumed. Meanwhile Ben was putting together our push mower, our new fire pit, and his new bicycle.

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He still has the wheelbarrow to assemble yet. What a lot of Spring things to do! My tulips have just started peeking out and I’m surveying all of the winter rabbit damage to my shrubs. They look pretty gnarly and decimated. Two of my rose bushes are almost gone. –sigh– I love outdoor house projects. Maybe it’s just the thrill of being outside after a long Winter or the fact that every project has some visible and immediate result. It’s great!

I called Ben in for a quick lunch. Look at us – salad! Honestly, I don’t like salad. I think I need to find some decent salad dressing to make or something. Just not a fan. But we made this with baby arugula, snap peas, carrots, green onion, peppers, carrots, and feta. This was my first time buying feta. I’m not sure why but it always freaked me out a little bit. I’m still getting used to it. :) Our usual 2 chicken bratwurst portion was reduced to one each and we had some green grapes as well. It looks like a summer lunch I think.

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I’m excited because we have a short work week. Ben and I are taking Thurs/Fri off and spending a few days in Madison exploring around. I want to stop at Trader Joes (my once-a-year trip!) and really, we’re just trying to get away and hopefully de-stress a bit. I can’t believe what a tense mess I’ve been and I’m worried the weight loss thing before the wedding might be an issue too. So anything I can do to mellow a bit will help, so I can’t wait for a weekend of exploring away from home!

Bring on the great weather and let’s hope Thursday gets here quickly!!!

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