Winter Is Coming

Okay while that may be the obvious Game of Thrones quote it’s actually true for us mid-westerners this past week! We had our first taste of winter with brutal winds and cold air along with some (or a lot depending on where you live) snow! I love the first snow fall, it suddenly makes everything seem so magical.

The holidays have always been my favorite time of year. I have so many warm happy memories of this time of year when I was child and it’s always stuck with me. When I got older the  holidays always meant my family getting together again. I was only in 5th grade when my older sister moved out and went to college, and 8th grade when my brother did. So for me that meant siblings coming home and having a full house again. This year M and I will host Thanksgiving at our house and the weekend after we head to my sister’s house for our Christmas celebration. December just makes me happy (stressed too, I’m not immune to the rush and bustle of it all). It’s one of the reasons we got married in December. With three weekends in a row of family get togethers I’m starting to freak out about everything that needs to get done. The planning, the shopping, the time off work (not paid for either M or I, one drawback of the type of work we do), the travel ahh! But we’ll get rewarded with food so good you only get to eat it once a year, alcohol to make awkward family moments funny, and memories to last through the years.

As I think on what I’m thankful for, the amount of things to list are endless. My friends and family are having and adopting babies left and right, some are getting engaged, some are moving into houses, some have found that special someone…I’m thankful for their happiness and excited for all these developments. And I’m really thankful that Mitch went to Florida, which gave me time watch a lot more tv, which led me to watch a diet series on ABC randomly, which showed me how amazing The Wild Diet is, which made me feel motivated and capable, which has helped on our fertility journey, which is what our goal has been the whole year! And I’m thankful that through all the ups and downs of the past year I’ve had M at my side to challenge me and support me.

 

Messy hair don’t care. But seriously love her and love living in the same town as her. We took this picture after spending the day making freezer meals for our friends’ new baby.

We had a ton of fun making delicious recipes. This one is a pork tenderloin with sweet potato, apple, and pear freezer meal. We were more than a little jealous and hungry after doing these. šŸ™‚

Remember when I decided to save the chili in the freezer until the first wintry day? Friday was our cold snow storm day so we made sure to have that in the slow cooker during the day. Then I boiled and mashed some sweet potato to put on top and I kid you not it was the best chili I’ve ever made. It was perfect especially with a side of grilled cheese and veggies. We had leftovers for lunch the next day too. 

Isn’t the plating beautiful? That’s all the handy work of my hubby. I was impressed! Just a light snack of tomatoes drizzled with evoo, s&p, and mozzarella. 

We’ve been making and eating a lot of salads lately. This one we made with chicken, tomatoes, mixed greens, almonds, evoo, and balsamic vinegar. 

We went to Panera today and had this lovely lunch of a Green Goddess salad. It was news to me that you could sub the baguette for an apple so that was a nice surprise. The acorn squash soup we thought would be acceptable after M looked it up online. Then after we sat down I looked it up as well and found very different information. As my info came directly from the Panera website that’s the one we trusted and after looking at it decided we probably shouldn’t have ordered it but oh well. We’ll just chalk it up to a learning curve. But boy was everything sure delicious!  

Here are the protein cakes topped with some raw local honey that we enjoy most weekends. Head to the recipe tab to make this one yourself!

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My VeteranĀ 

My army veteran
Before I met M, when we were 18 years old, Veterans and the military didn’t hold much meaning to me. I had never known anyone personally that had a military connection. Yes, my grandfather had been in the military during WWII but I didn’t even know that until I was 19! How sad. He wasn’t very close to me as he lived in FL but it wasn’t all on me for not asking. My dad and his family never seemed to honor that part of him and it was never talked about. But then I met Mitchell and my whole perspective changed. He comes from such a rich military history in his family with many relatives having served in some form or another. Including his uncle who was a marine who died in the Beirut bombings. His older brother is also a marine. And his dad served in the national guard. Suddenly military had a personal role in my life. 

Suddenly I knew what it was like to have your best friend leave for basic training. I knew what it was like to write letters while he was in AIT. Then when we started dating I knew what life was like as a military girlfriend to a deployed solider. And more than anything I know what life is like as a veteran’s wife. I’ve now seen first hand some of the positives and negatives that come with giving yourself to the military and it is humbling. Memorial Day and Veterans Day (and everyday) became days that held deep meaning for me and I am sure grateful…truly grateful for the services and sacrifices the men and women in our past and present military have given. 

For this Veterans Day we decided to rent a cabin at Lake Carlos State Park in MN. We dropped Jackson off with M’s grandpa, dropped Stewie off at Lucky Dog, and hired a cat sitter for Snickers. We were animal free for 30 hours! We started our trip by having dinner and drinks at a place called Brew: Ales & Eats in Detroit Lakes, MN. The food was amazing! And the beer was awesome! (I’m happy I’ve grown to enjoy craft beer, took a long time to get there but now I love them). We had Gouda fried pickles and we split a philly steak sandwich.

We arrived at our cabin around 9 and we were both sleepy from the food and the dark drive. We decided to snuggle into bed and go to bed early so that we could get up for the sunrise and get the most out of the sunlight hours. Friday morning was cold but clear. 

Lake Carlos November 11th: Travel the world even if it is only in your backyard
Sunrise in the park
 

After exploring the entire park by vehicle we went back to our site and made a camp fire to cook our eggs and sausage. The only thing that was a bummer was I hadn’t packed well enough for weather conditions. We’ve been having near record highs and unseasonably warm weather that I wasn’t really prepared for the chill that day. Should have brought warm snow boots instead of hiking boots and I should have packed some gloves and a jacket. But that was just fine we stayed inside the cozy cabin and played monopoly. (I lost). Then we went to a local winery, Carlos Creek Winery. We had so much fun sampling all kinds of wines. The place was beautiful too and you got to keep a free wine glass with the tour! 


Then we headed into town for some lunch at Doolittles Woodfire Grill. They were kind enough to offer a free meal to veterans. We started with the baked goat cheese spread that was a bit spicy but still really good.


And then I had a sandwich and M had the Parmesan walleye and that was heavenly. 


We made it back to the state park with enough daylight for a couple mile hike and then we sat around the campfire. After it got too cold to sit outside comfortably we headed in for the night to play some more board games.

It was a great mini vacay to celebrate my veteran. He deserves it! Happy Veterans Day to all of you veterans out there, I can never stop thanking you! 

A Bad Case of the DOMS

I had a hell of a time recovering from last weeks work out. I mean I had a very severe case of the DOMS (I googled my aches and found out it’s common and has an acronym. Delayed onset muscle soreness.) the next morning. I was in so much pain that I had a hard time sitting down on the toilet because my legs were so sore from all the squatting I had done the night before. I bought some CoQ10 as I had read that it helps to speed up the recovery from exercise. I also made sure to try and get good sleep because I know that is when your muscles actually recover, heal, and get stronger. I kept hydrated with a lot of water. And still the pain was crazy. I’m embarrassed to tell you how out of shape I’m in. I even did some active recovery in the form of a walk downtown (whilst also catching Pokemon) :). And after taking the CoQ10 on day two I did start feeling better (i.e. going to the bathroom without feeling a million years old).

After picking up my supplement at the vitamin store downtown I took a lovely walk downtown. Half of the time I enjoyed the beautiful sights and the other half I took advantage of all the Pokestops in the downtown area. Hey, I never said I was cool.

Luckily, I heard my mom telling my sister a story about a man she works with. He is an active exercise enthusiast and had a very similar story to mine last week. I felt a bit better knowing that this DOMS business can happen to regulars as well as out-of-shape newbies.

Today was the first time I both felt good enough and had the opportunity to get in a work out other than a walk. I did the 21 Day Fix Upper Fix video. A lot less squatting (obviously it’s focus was on the arms and upper body) and even if my arms are crazy sore tomorrow I can avoid lifting things and it shouldn’t bother me too much. Plusnow that I have CoQ10 I can start taking it right away which I do really feel helped in the recovery phase. I also had a Shakeology after my workout tonight. I had another chocolate, peanut butter, banana one that made me look forward to doing the workout so I could reward myself with one of those bad boys.

Anyone else dealing with doms? How do you recover? Let us know!

The Mother Of All PostsĀ 

I spent the past weekend in the Twin Cities with my mother. It was opening deer hunting weekend in Minnesota so M and Jackson we’re gone with friends.  I took Stewie and kitty with me. Mom and I had a lovely weekend relaxing and eating. Friday evening I got in town just in time to say a quick hello to my darling nieces.

Lover her smile face! I never met a child who loved animals so much as this one does. Also, she gave me the greatest hug of my life this weekend. She literally ran into my arms, threw her arms around my neck, and rested her head on my shoulder and hugged me for over a full two minutes. I hope to never forget that hug even when she’s grown up.
Then my older sister and I met my mom at a local bar where we enjoyed apps and taps while gossiping about the rest of the family (because that’s what family does) all while listening to some truly terrible karaoke candidates. It was a great time. Sissy had a work commitment so it was just momma and I the rest of the weekend. We hung some new curtains in her apartment (the picture in the featured image at the top) and we set records all over the region for high temperature so we had all the windows open enjoying the crazy unusual weather. My mom has had her own fair share of success in the weight loss department and so being that we had Leeann Chin for lunch (yum!) we decided to go for a nice long walk with our puppies and explore some parks in the area. The first one was kind of a bust of a city park but the second one was part of this whole big trail that is like 50 miles long and goes in and out of parks and all these insanely beautiful places. We walked the part near the golf course of Theodore Wirth Park. After our walk we drove around the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway system and we highly recommend this. Scenic is dead on in this case. The leaves were falling like snowflakes from the sky. And we seriously couldn’t stop talking about the weather.

My mom and Archie…if you don’t look to closely you’d never tell that he’s 12 years old.
Loving loving loving this weather we are having!
We had Chinese for lunch which we tried to balance with a walk. For supper we ended up eating at Perkins because we were too tired to cook. I came so so close to ordering a cranberry Sprite drink. I was very thirsty because I didn’t really like the flavor of my mom’s tap water and we didn’t’ stop anywhere else to grab a jug of water. But I didn’t order it. I ordered water. I wanted to order something delicious and was torn between the blt sandwich with french fries (and ranch of course) or the honey mustard chicken crunch salad. I decided to call the ranch and the honey mustard dressing equally bad. And decided the fried breaded chicken was comparable to the non-sprouted thick cut bread. There were way more veggies in the salad and no fries. So I settled on the salad, skipped the cheese, added green pepper, and avocado. It was quite yummy and I was satisfied with my decision.

Unfortunately Sunday had no successes food wise to speak of. But I shook it off today and got up and had my fatty coffee for breakfast. I fasted for lunch and had a delicious beef and broccoli supper. I had planned on making white cauliflower rice for a base but sadly the bag of cauliflower did not last the weekend and was mushy and gross and not edible. So I just ate it without and it was still very good. All I did was switch out a few ingredients from a recipe I’ve had for awhile and it tasted just the same if not better.

Wild Diet approved Beef and Broccoli
We recently had Wild Diet chili which was really quite good too. It had a whole bunch of fresh veggies, stew meat, ground beef, and some simple seasonings, broth, and tomatoes. It came together beautiful and deliciously. We only sampled a couple bites and froze it to take out and toss in a crock pot for a cold winter day. At which point we will boil a sweet potato, mash it, and drop it on top (which was recommended in the book). I’ll let you know the final verdict when we get there!

 

Look at all these beautiful veggies!

 

 

Why, Hello NovemberĀ 

Good lord almighty I can’t believe we’re approaching the end of this year. November 1st today and M and I were already looking into the coming weeks and knowing that time is going to fly by. I started holiday meal planning already because I know that no plan means no success and not that I’m not so much looking to lose a lot during this time. What I’m planning for is to not ruin what I already have worked so hard on. November is also the month that exercise is becoming a priority again. We are coming up on completing our 3rd month on The Wild Diet. It has seemed easy in some regards but it has also been a lot of time and effort. Many many more trips to the grocery store and a ton of more time in the kitchen making fresh foods not just heat and serve prepackaged foods. There’s been weekends spent baking and shopping and so much time spent planning. It has been a lifestyle change. No more zombie nights groggily staring at the tv coming down off of a sugar high. While I love being outside and have gotten in some short walks, I haven’t put a ton of my energy into exercise. One thing at a time if I want to really succeed not just short term but long term.

I do feel like I’m ready to push myself for more activity because I miss being strong. For me exercise this time around is less about weight loss and more about seeing what it will do to/for my body. I have never been in tune with my body before like I am. It used to just do things and I would just have to deal with the effects. But now I can do a much better job of listening to what food, alcohol, and medicine to do my body. Good quality clean foods have completely relieved my heartburn. (Side note: I was diagnosed with heartburn in the third grade after a trip to the E.R. when I told my mother I couldn’t breath. It was actually just me constantly trying to swallow the food in my esophagus that made it seem like I couldn’t breathe properly. THIRD GRADE! I started drinking Maalox daily. As I got older I could tell what foods made it worse. I decided in high school not to take anymore medicine for it because I was clearly in control of what affected it. It was my own form of punishment…can’t do the time don’t do the crime sort of mantra.)

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Me as a third grader in our very clever Halloween costumes…
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Snapchat makes for another lazy Halloween costume šŸ™‚ 
Good quality clean foods have protected me from getting sick. (Another side note: I’ve been kind of a weakling my whole life. Bronchitis spell after bronchitis spell that’s hangs on for weeks and months at a time. Two years ago we saw a chiropractor twice weekly for a year. I never got sick once while going to the chiropractor. Well that was insanely expensive and we just couldn’t afford to do it another year. Guess what came right back? All that sickness. I get sick every single school year in September [I even have the whiny Facebook “from the past” posts to prove it :)]. Every single year. But guess what? I have not gotten sick yet this year and that seems like a miracle.) 

Good quality clean foods have given me two natural periods. Which is great but so far no ovulation is occurring. And that’s where I am at now. Just can’t seem to get these ovaries working properly just yet. Food has done as much as it will and now I want to find out what adding in the activity will do. There is a flood of hormones that go on when you get your sweat on so I wonder if that will have an effect on the reproductive side of it all.

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Some of that good quality clean food I was talking about! 
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He CAN cook! Thanks to my hubby for making us a Wild Diet meal of ham, eggs, and veggies.
 

Also, apparently I’m getting old. I guess 28 is the year you first start to notice a decline in the body! Or probably it’s just an excess weight issue but the ailments I have make me feel about 100. I got plantar fasciitisc this year and typically it’s due to one of three main factors. Standing most of the day, flat feet, and being over weight. Well I’m a dead ringer for all three. Ironically enough my second issue has been my butt. Too much sitting on hard plastic chairs for work putting pressure on a nerve or bone that makes it super painful. So it hurts to stand and it hurts to sit. Lovely. I’m hoping the exercises get my body strong enough to heal those pains.

Since I am committing to an exercise routine for healing/strength purposes I’m hoping it’ll be a bit more motivating to stick with it rather than just for an  unattainable fantasy bod.

So November is today already which means I got my but downstairs and put in a 21 Day Fix cardio video. And it kicked my butt! Holy smokes I am out of shape. I even had to modify some of the modifiers! I will definitely feel this tomorrow. I also had my first Shakeology in probably six months. I’ve been too lazy previously and didn’t think it was necessary since starting the Wild Diet but as an intense workout recovery drink I had one with a banana, milk, and pb2. It sure was delicious! If I can have one of those bad boys as a “treat” afterwards maybe it won’t be all bad. šŸ˜‰

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There’s really not a filter good enough to make an unfinished cement basement look charming but I tried my best. My little work out room downstairs where the phrase, “really!?” was muttered a lot as I attempted some cardio tonight. 
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