Archive for May, 2013

My darling hubby, Scott, and I decided to do an impromptu trip to Byron, Illinois to a forest preserve there to do walk some trails.  It was our first time out there and we love to explore new places.  It was a nice change of scenery from the White Pines National Park outside of our home town, between us and Dixon, Illinois.  The Bryon trails are all grassy and wide, mostly out in the open prairie fields, so we got a lot of sun today…but no sun burns! It was very cloudy and windy today, even so we did sweat a bit and get tired since we probably walked about 3 miles.  We wandered sort of aimlessly along the trials since none of them are clearly marked as to what trail is which and blend into each other.

It was a beautiful, relaxing, fun time with my true love and best friend.  I will never find a better life mate and partner than Scott.

My hubby, looking so hunky. He looks so fantastic because he works out so much...Insanity, running, hiking.

My hubby, looking so hunky. He looks so fantastic because he works out so much…Insanity, running, hiking.

The Bryon Forest preserve is VERY large park with all the trials out in the open.  They also have a bike path, small museum inside the Garrett Center, and an observatory (for star-gazing!)  The park is alongside the golf course in Byron and has other buildings to rent out like picnic shelters. We came across a big fire pit surrounded by recycled plastic cement benches, were we relaxed a bit before heading home.  According to the brochures they have skiing in the winter and have ski rental…this might be a fun idea for a nice winter day.

A path bridge we didn't go to, but I loved how it looked out by itself. There is a trail out near that tree line, which is also the direction of the Rock River.

A path bridge we didn’t go to, but I loved how it looked out by itself. There is a trail out near that tree line, which is also the direction of the Rock River

A grove of trees we walked by.  Scott thought it had a Sleepy Hallow look to it.

A grove of trees we walked by. Scott thought it had a Sleepy Hallow look to it.
A little side trail we found to short cut back to our truck.  It got us to the fire pit we found.

A little side trail we found to short cut back to our truck. It got us to the fire pit we found.

A little grotto/ditch area we found on our side trial.  It looks neater in person.  I could imagine it being a little pond or even a "fairy" glen.

A little grotto/ditch area we found on our side trial. It looks neater in person. I could imagine it being a little pond or even a “fairy” glen.

 

 

 

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My husband has been following the recipes in his Insanity workout booklet.  I have been trying some of them out myself, with an occasional tweak.  I found this stuffed tomato recipe to be pretty delicious just has it is, although I like eating just the tuna salad part.  I’m thinking of tweaking it a bit by chopping up the tomato to put in the salad part or on top as a flavorful garnish.  The following is the recipe and the nutritional breakdown:

  • 4 oz of water packed tuna (I have 5 oz cans of water packed tuna. When I drained out the water and weighed on my scale, it came out to about 3 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup of celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of red onion, chopped (I don’t see why you can’t use any onion you prefer, the red just looks pretty.)
  • 1 Tbsp. of reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. of Dijon mustard (Again, you could swap for a mustard of choice, adjust amount for taste.)
  • 1 large tomato, hollowed out (I simply sliced off the top, use the knife to severe the “meat” sections off the “wall” of the tomato, used my hand to wrench the “guts” out, used a spoon/melon baller/scoop to scrape a bit inside, and rinsed it out.)
  • 3 pieces of whole-grain Melba toast or 1/2 of a whole-grain English muffin

Combine the tuna, celery, onion, mayonnaise, and mustard in a bowl.  Scoop the tuna salad in to the hollowed out tomato.  Serve with the Melba toast or English muffin.

Nutritional breakdown:

  • 289 calories
  • 30 grams of protein
  • 21 grams of carbs
  • 9 grams of fat
  • 3.5 grams of fiber

As always, you can adjust a recipe to fit your needs.  If you don’t like tomatoes much, but still wanted the stuffed veggie concept, use a bell pepper! Not a fan of tuna? Swap it out for chopped chicken or turkey.  The celery could be changed out with chopped bell peppers or carrots.  I personally like the idea of adding some bell pepper to the current recipe, serve on the English muffin topped with chopped tomatoes and maybe a little parsley.  The recipe doesn’t call for salt and pepper, but we did at some pepper and pinch of salt.

I was just thinking this stuffed veggie concept would work great for a breakfast!  Take a small bell pepper, hollow out or half in 2 sections, length wise.  Stuff or top with scrambled eggs of choice… plain, cooked with other veggies, seasoned up, or with a meat.  Mmm…sounds so good right now!

Scott and I have discussed several times over the past couple of years about making an outdoor cage area for our cats.  We don’t mind them being outside, but do not want them loose to roam freely.  We did try this for a while, but a few issues arose.  They wouldn’t come back when called or come home at night.  I kept having little panic attacks worrying about them (I helped Charlie and Marble be birthed, my firsts ever!).  There are raccoons, possums, wild dogs, and feral cats in our area.  I think the worst issue was that people kept wanting to take them home.  I had one old lady who attends the church across the street pick up Marble when I was trying to chase her down (Marble escaped).  The lady then looked at me and said that if I didn’t want my cat, she would take her. NO!  My three fur babies do go out on the porch roof, which allows them some outside time, but they really needed some more.  So, we decided to get one built this summer.

About 3-4 weeks ago my husband (Scott) built the cage!  We call it a cat coop, because that’s really what it is.  It has been great, especially for when Scott does his Insanity workouts.  The kitties do like it and gives us a sense of peace knowing they are secure.  It is mobile so we can move it to any place in the yard and makes mowing around it easier.  It is very lightweight, but awkward to move alone.  My dad built a box with a little shelf ledge on top of it for the cats to have an interactive unit to use.  We are plan to put in some dangle toys on small plant pot hooks or on thin metal rods bent over.

Probably the best angle of the cat coop. No box unit to play on (I don't have photos of that yet).

Probably the best angle of the cat coop. No box unit to play on (I don’t have photos of that yet).

We made the cat coop frame out of left over furring strips when we dry walled the bedroom.  We wrapped all for sides and the top with chicken wire, using a staple gun.  The whole thing is anchored in the ground with garden tarp stakes.  It is 5 feet long by 3 feet wide by 5 feet high.  We made it tall so we could get in there fairly comfortably if we need to. Star Baby and Marble both climbed the wire looking for a way out.  There is a door on the front, that side on the right there, furthest from the chair.

Close up of the 3 of them in there. First thing they all did, even before inspecting, was to eat grass. CATS!

Close up of the 3 of them in there. First thing they all did, even before inspecting, was to eat grass. CATS!

We got extra furring strips and chicken wire at Menard’s.  I searched through 20 different strips to find just 5 that were fairly straight.  We do plan to rebuild it next summer or the one after with sturdier wood like 2×4’s and maybe 4×4 posts for the corners.  We want to be able to build in some platforms and hammocks for them, and possibly larger.  I think for chicken wire and extra strips I spent about $40 or $50…BUT we ended up with a whole roll of chicken wire left over, plus about 1/4 of the another (I purchased 2 rolls). I had also purchased more screws, 4 hinges (2 packs), and a latch.

It has been a good investment.  We lock them up in it (weather permitting) when we bring home a tons of groceries, moving stuff in and out of the house, have a lot of guests, etc.  It really was not that hard to build.  We just needed a simple hand saw, staple gun, an electric drill (to per drill holes and screw in the screws), and a hammer.

 

…at least for me.  My husband, Scott, is still going strong.  Monday will be Day 15 and the second fit test session.

What happened to me, you ask?  Sigh…I tried doing the second day’s video and just failed, horribly.  I am not ashamed to say I cried in frustration at not being able to do it.  Scott reminded me that I am not physically active person, I don’t workout daily like he does and has been for over three years (he does no less than 4 times a week, usually 6 times).  Even he has a hard time keeping up with the videos!  I just, ugh, wanted to be able to do it, to take on the challenge and conquer it…just not going to happen right now.  I have to go about the physical aspect of my healthy lifestyle differently.

We are both doing the recipes that came in the booklet with the Insanity DVDs. Scott is following them almost to a perfect T, but I’m fudging them a bit here and there.  An example is the Turkey BLT.  It says to have the turkey bacon, lettuce, and tomato on two slices of whole wheat bread, which he does exactly that.  I do it on a whole wheat hamburger bun with a smear of light mayo on each half, less than half a tablespoon total, WAY less…and today I added a very thin slice of provolone cheese.  Another aspect is that he is to eat 5 meals a deal, spaced out about 2-3 hours.  This is actually what many personal trainers tell you to do these days.  It helps keep your metabolism going all day long…it’s a matter of WHAT you eat and the portions.  Since I’m not doing the Insanity workout, I’m sticking to 3 meals, with lighter snacks in between.  Two of his five meals are really more snacks, but larger portions.

I have decided to just practice on my running and training to do some 5k’s and mud runs this year.  I have yet to sign up for them, waiting for that IRS refund still and getting a job.  Either way, I want to do ONE 5k this year and at least jog 80% of it, even if it’s a slow jog.  My hubby got me a new pair of shoes to run in, as my other pair really aren’t fit for the job any more, besides they were more walking shoes, then running shoes.

I will get my tush in gear with a daily workout, I will have it in effect by the end of May!  Onward to self-made destinies!

Today, lovely Saturday, has been a day of entertainment for this crazy cat lady…and it isn’t even over!  All three of my fur babies got me with different emotion today.  It all started with a silly anecdote from my hubby, Scott.

This morning Scott went to the basement to do a full cleaning of our three litter boxes. We always keep one empty for situations like this or for emergencies (quarantine a cat for health reasons, etc).  He decided to fill up the empty box with fresh litter since Marble was circling him like a shark.  She promptly went into the litter and took a pee. No biggie, right? Well, she just went freak-o psycho scurrying around in the box in circles, doing flips, and hops (his words) like a demon just up and possessed right then! Suddenly she STOPS, digs a little hole, takes a prissy princess poop into it, nonchalantly covers it up, and daintily walks away!  After my husband told me this story I was rolling on the couch laughing.

Marble inside a plastic drawer organizer...she gets into everything.

Marble inside a plastic drawer organizer…she gets into everything.

Later in the day we decide Charlie needed to have fur shaved on top part of his haunches, at the base of the tail. He’s a bit over weight and has some trouble cleaning himself there.  As a result we have to bath him on a regular basis and try to brush him. He has thick hair, so brushing can be hard.  At times his fur will clump and mat up on use, typically we just snip them off, but they got real bad over the last few weeks because we hadn’t been on top of it.  So we trimmed him down and shaved him!  Poor baby boy…didn’t like that all.  Broke my heart!  After we shaved him, we gave him a bath, making sure to scrub his rump real good.  He has so much dandruff!  I’ve got to do some research and see what home remedies I can do to help with that and maybe a better way to get down into his skin when bathing.  He’s not quite a long hair, but really THICK fur. I never had a cat like that before.

Charlie on his scratch pad. "I'm so cute!!"

Charlie on his scratch pad. “I’m so cute!!”

Star Baby surprised us today.  She is a very stand-offish cat and has NO love for me.  We have no clue why and yes, she’s fixed (as they all are).  We have had for two years now, fixed for one year.  It took me about 8 months from time of being fixed to get her to cuddle in my lap, but even longer for her to warm up to Scott.  Although during these past two years she has shown an undying devotion to feet!  Boy, does she LOVE feet, especially my hubby’s…he’s got that big toe with thick nail that she just enjoys rubbing her ear on and cramming into her ear.  Making love to our feet (as we call it) is her cat nip.  Well, today, she jumped up on the couch between us, settled down, rolled over a bit, and fell right to sleep!  We were in shock, she NEVER does that!  She even let Scott pet her without getting all miffed and angrily strutting off.  YAH! for Star, she’s making progress!

"OMG! My foot, my foot! I love you, foot!"

“OMG! My foot, my foot! I love you, foot!”