Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Washington Island Trip: Part One

This year, we decided to take our big family trip to Washington Island in Door County Wisconsin. We live pretty close-ish to this gem but have somehow never been there. This was the most last minute planning I have ever done in my life! We took our vacation days long in advance and knew we were going somewhere, but didn't know where. We were going to do our regular trip to Wisconsin Dells, but Kayne broke his pinky and we didn't think he'd be able to do a lot of the fun stuff in waterpark city. So, I considered Baraboo, I considered way "up north" somewhere, I considered home-sharing in Madison, etc. Hubster was pretty much fine with anything. I finally landed on Washington Island, and it was exactly the trip that we needed! It was full of relaxation and nature, the two things we needed most during this time.

On our way to the ferry, we made a pit stop at a rest area that turned out to be the halfway point to the North Pole!!!






I also decided to start a weaving project on the car ride. You know, just cuz.



So, we started with our first ferry ride across the lake. None of us had ever been on one, so it was interesting do drive up, ride over the water and drive right off again. We made our way to our cabin, which I had reserved, sight unseen, because they didn't have a website. It was the most adorable, charming thing I've seen! There was no TV and no WiFi, so we were forced to go unplugged, which was reeeeeeally nice. The cabin had a nice-sized living area with two bunk beds and a fold-out queen-sized couch. We set up a Pack N Play for Rayna. We had our own kitchen and bathroom with shower for a very reasonable price. It was nice because we could bring the dog and baby and not have to worry about our family's noises bothering our neighbors or being too confined in close quarters. We also could prepare all of our own meals.


Cutest porch nestled in the trees

Our backyard!!! Even saw deer out here a few times!

Steps up to the house

They had the most beautiful property
and quaint little landscaped areas

Our hosts were so accommodating. They were so friendly and attentive to us. They live in a house on the property and rent out two cabins in their backyard. They invited us to a bonfire the first night. The wife even dug out a whole bunch of games for Kayne and played soccer and golf with him for at least a half hour. How sweet is that? One night, the daughter, who was visiting from Germany, even brought us over a yummy German dessert she had made from scratch that had a hint of a beer flavor. I wish I remembered what it was called.



Across the street from where we were staying, the owners owned a patch of land on the water with a peninsula where the swimming was fiiine. They even had a boat that they told us we could freely use.



Even the poochy took a swim

Look at that view!




We did a little bit of sightseeing the first day, just to get an idea of the layout of the island, and we went grocery shopping for the first few days' worth of meals. That evening, we took a long walk down the road we were staying on. Saw a huge disgusting millipede! And all the mailboxes seemed to have these quirky little displays.

 I'm sure at one time this looked cute, but in its current condition, a bit creepy.




I was super surprised that the island wasn't overly tourist-y. Sure, there were just a few requisite cute little shops, but for the most part, the island is all about experiencing nature, history and community. One of the shops was a lavender shop, but even that was based on local traditions and had a lavender farm attached to it. The town seemed to be populated more with locals than anything, so the experience was more authentic than "painted on," if you know what I mean.

So, this was the beautiful introduction to the island that we had. Tomorrow, I'll be back with Part Two of our trip with a few more details about the places we visited.





Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Farmer's Market Kale Salad

I know that one of the most persistent comments I hear about going to the farmer's market is "I love getting fresh veggies, but I don't know what to make with half of these ingredients!" I myself have fallen into that rut myself. But I've made it a point to be intentional about my farmer's market shopping, picking out recipes that I'll actually make and eat. I'm dedicated to living healthier and just love knowing that all the little pieces of fresh veggies go to work inside my body. So, maybe I'll make "farmer's market recipes" part of my new blogging repertoire. We'll see;) I usually only like to make simple things. I also like things that can be tweaked based on what I have on-hand. If that's your jam, stay tuned.

So, kale! It looks like something you probably never want to touch. It's such a weird thick lettuce-y vegetable that no one knows what to do with, let alone WANTS to do anything with. I happen to love it when prepared right. The secret is in the marinade. You have to marinate kale to soften it up and give it good flavor. You have to massage the marinade in so it really absorbs, like sunscreen on the human body. See how that sounds like more like an "interaction" than a recipe? You actually have to interact with the kale to get it how you want it.




Farmer's Market Kale Salad

Ingredients
1 bunch kale
4 green onions, chopped (also from the farmer's market)


Toppings
2 Tbsp craisins
2 Tbsp almonds
2 oz cheese, cubed (found THE best mushroom cheese at the market)
Other toppings of choice (other nuts, raisins, cherry tomatoes, feta, etc)


Dressing
4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil


Directions
Shred the kale and put it in a bowl. Toss in diced green onions, cheese and toppings of choice. Mix all the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad. Massage the dressing into the kale. You might even want to put the salad into a plastic container with a lid and shake it up, especially before serving. That's it!

This is the one type of salad where you actually want the leaves to "marinate" in the dressing. They won't get soggy! It will only taste better. If you want to add other greens to your salad, add before serving so they don't get soggy.


What would you buy at the farmer's market if you knew what to do with it?


Monday, May 4, 2015

Weekend Highlights: A Quick Glimpse of Spring!

**I started this post several weeks ago on my phone, but still thought these memories were worth recording:)



Well, we were finally reminded of what 60 degrees feels like here in Wisconsin this past week after what has felt like a cold desolate winter. Is that dramatic? Well, that's how it feels. The sidewalks are literally swarming with dogs on leashes, bicycles, strollers and roller blades. You fellow Wisconsinites know exactly how the first heat wave of the year phenomenon works! People. Everywhere.

Titus and I took advantage of the temps and went out for a morning sunrise run. My first outdoor run of the season!!! We've also been picking up Kayne from school on-foot, with the baby in the stroller. And we even happened upon one of these neat lending libraries we've seen finally popping up in our city.









Our family spent an entire weekend letting our cheeks tilt toward the sun. After enjoying a lunch out on the town this past weekend, we headed over to the dog park, but the mud up to the armpits of every dog out there made us reevaluate our plans. After trying another dog park that didn't look any better, we finally made our way to a local park with pet-friendly trails. Earlier, we had stopped at a cheese factory and picked up some fresh cheese (the freshest WI cheese possible), sausage, crackers and jam to picnic on.



I dabble in babywearing every now and then. Trail walking necessitates it. Rayna isn't usually very content facing me, so we're still adjusting and trying to figure out what works for us.



The trees out on this trail were exceptional for climbing!


And someone had built this super amazing fort thing among some of the trees. This is the kind of hideout my kid dreams were made of! We'll be back here, for a picnic or spring break or something.


Another little lean-to someone built. Makes me wonder who's been hanging out here.


After church the next day, the kiddos and I headed out to another favorite trail along the river to get a good leg stretch in again. We know that we are not out of the woods yet with snow being only March, so we get our leg stretchin' and sun soakin' in while we can. These little reprieves in the weather are always just enough to make the last few weeks of winter/early spring seem tolerable.


See what I mean? Wednesday we woke up to white stuff, but by the afternoon it had all melted. Spring, you little tease.



I can't wait for summer! To say the very least...

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Ultimate Tone it Up Bikini Series Printable

TIU Printable


Anyone else super excited for the annual TIU Bikini Series? Last year, I was unable to participate because I was very pregnant and very mobility-challenged. This year, I intend to rock it! Basically, the Bikini Series is an 8-week workout plan that leads right up to summer. You follow the workouts that are posted by Tone It Up each day. If you have the Nutrition Plan, you'll be choosing recipes and following along with that (or just eating clean). Their are daily prizes and huge incredible grand prizes for the winners. Check out last years' winners!

What I love most about Tone It Up is their community of women. They're all about making girlfriends for life and it's like a close-knit group of friends, bringing each other up. Everyone is encouraged to make connections on Twitter, Instagram, the TIU community pages, in real life, etc.

By the way, I will be doing daily/almost-daily check-ins on Twitter/Instagram. Let's follow each other! Twitter: @BounSee_Jess, Instagram: @Boun_SeeJess. The hashtags for the series are usually #toneitup, #BikiniSeries #100bysummer, #150bysummer, #tiumeals, etc.

Now, because I'm a super Type-A organizer type, I just had to design a printable for the upcoming Tone It Up Bikini Series. I've designed a few others in years past, but wanted to make a fresher, more comprehensive printable. I like things concrete, on paper, in front of me, especially when I'm doing my daily planning and goal-setting. 

So, I designed the ultimate Tone It Up Bikini Series printable. You can print the entire set of printables HERE. It includes eight trackers:

  1. Workout Planner
  2. Daily Checklist (Bombshell Spell, Booty Call, Workout, Check-in)
  3. 100 by Summer Tracker
  4. 150 by Summer Tracker
  5. Meal Planner
  6. Goal Tracker and Reward Sheet
  7. Summer Bucket List
  8. Measurement Tracker


Hope this printable helps you achieve your goals. Please Pin and Share away! If you use them, I'd love to see pictures. Tag me or leave a message so I can see! 

These are just for personal use though, not intended to be sold or distributed. The logos belong to Tone it Up.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Vegan Roadie at Work

So, my workplace had the honor of hosting the Vegan Roadie for cooking demonstrations today. He was a contestant in the "Brand with 10 Grand" promotional contest that we ran, and so we invited him to make a stop here on his tour. It's kinda cool how it turned out that way!

The presentation was short and sweet, but Dustin Harder has a great personality that kept us engaged and laughing. With him and his assistants being show people, their personalities were animated and entertaining.




His recipes du jour were Vegan Caesar Salad and Bowties in Garlic Cream Sauce. They were both very delicious! And they looked pretty easy to prepare. I'm no vegan, but I do enjoy many a meat- and dairy-less meal during the week, so I can definitely appreciate having some new recipes in my standard rotation. Dustin had a strong bent for chemical-less ingredients, i.e. clean ingredients. Real food. I'm always down with that!




Bowties in Garlic Cream Sauce


Vegan Caesar Salad


Have you ever tried nutritional yeast before? I actually do have some on-hand at home because it's actually has a great nutrition profile (excellent source of complete protein) and a really great cheese substitute. That was the main base of the "Parmesan" dressing and it had the same consistency and cheesy taste as parm. It's a great salad, popcorn and casserole topping. You should try it! It's not that hard to find in the store. I got mine at a nutrition supplement store, but they sell it right by the Parmesan cheese at the regular grocery store.


Thanks for stopping in on your way through Dustin!

By the way, check out his fun video entry into our contest here!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

My Favorite Easy Shakeology Recipe

In the morning, at work, you'll typically find me triple-fisting it with my three essential beverages: water, coffee and ShakeO smoothie. Obviously, the two first ones are essential for human life, hee hee! The third one is like my protein and vitamin insurance. It covers me in case I don't get enough essential vitamins in my food and could cover some protein and fiber deficiencies in my diet. Just reading the superfoods in the ingredient list makes me feel healthier. Haha!

Now, I have tried quite a few protein shakes, meal replacement shakes and other smoothie mix-ins. I'm not about to get all gimmicky, but right now I really love the taste of Shakeology and what's in it most. I was skeptical of it for a loooong time (like, years!!!), but once I tried it, I loved the taste and the ingredient list! There's nothing but superfoods and all-natural ingredients in there. There are even probiotics in there! You won't find any weird chemicals like you do with some of the other meal replacements that are big on the market right now (check your labels, I dare you! Ha!)

The fact that it has so much protein is really good for me too. Remember my doctor's orders about protein? Whenever I track my food intake for a day or two, I always notice that I lean heavily on carbs and not enough on protein. Have you tried this? My guess is you're leaning the same way too. It's something I notice with a lot of people I coach. So, getting the extra dose of protein is really important to me.

The only other powder I've found so far (because I have looked HARD for an alternative, believe me!) is Raw Meal, which I requested for Christmas, but the taste doesn't even begin to compare! Raw Meal tastes like it sounds. Kind of like ground up "stuff." I can just "tolerate" it in my smoothie, but it leaves much to be desired. So, right now, ShakeO it is!

So, my favorite way to prepare Shakeology is this:

Berry Shakeology Smoothie

1 c Frozen berries
1 splash milk
1 scoop vanilla shakeO
Water to fill the rest of the cup
I just blend all the ingredients in my Bullet, and that's it!

It's what I always drink on my way to work, after my workout. And let me tell you, it's an amazing meal replacement when you're sick because it's yummy and filling when nothing else sounds good or goes down, it's giving you tons of vitamins, and the frozen stuff feels really good on the throat.



Another favorite is a Banana ShakeO Milkshake. I like to freeze bananas in our house that are just past the edible stage, but aren't quite to the rotten stage yet. Thin, I mix a frozen banana with vanilla ShakeO, milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon (and on occasion, some peanut butter). It tastes like a milkshake, no lie!

Interested in Shakeology? Check out the incredible ingredient list and benefits here. Leave a comment or contact me to give it a try.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Summer Bodies Weight Loss Challenge

I'm hosting a fitness challenge group over on Facebook and wanted to extend the invitation here on the ol' bloggy.



It’s true! The time to start working on your summer body is right now! Picture yourself lighter and leaner in your favorite summer vacation spot this summer. Now let’s make that dream a reality!!!

I’m starting a fitness challenge group on March 23rd for three weeks. What you’ll get is an entire package for transforming your body:

  • Fitness: doable yet challenging at-home workouts with such variety that you’ll never be bored. I'll help you find the perfect match for you!
  • Food: you’ll get a meal planning book, additional help with meal planning, and 30 days’ worth of easy nutrient-dense breakfasts.
  • Support: not only do you get me, a certified personal trainer and fitness coach, for support, but you’ll also be cheered on and guided by the other participants. It’s amazing how something as simple as an accountability group can have such a profound impact on goal achievement!


The support group takes place in a secret, confidential Facebook group. My last few groups have been a huge success—people reported everything from losing weight to managing pain to simply feeling better—and I can’t wait to help more people. I’m still on a weight loss journey myself after having a baby and I myself get so much out of these groups, it’s really my passion!

Because small intimate groups really have the most impact, I am opening up the group to only FIVE people, so secure your spot right away if you want in!


Message me if you’re interested in more info.