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!”

 

 

Insanity: Day 1: Fit Test

Posted: April 29, 2013 in Healthy Lifestyle

My husband started the Insanity workout program today. We currently can’t follow the meal plan, but that will be solved May 7th when my state food assistance help comes in (LINK). He’s trying to drop just 10 more pounds or loose just 2-3 inches off his waist to meet the body percentage he needs to join the Navy…22%.

Day 1 of the 60 day program is a Fit Test where you count how many you do of a specific exercise in one minute. There are 8 different ones (listed below with my numbers).  He tackled it with gusto, got a good sweat going…and wanted to do more! I told him we can go for a walk or something later…LOL!

I thought about it for a bit and decided to do the program with him as much as I can. A husband & wife support team! Thinking it’s a good thing for us both health and goal wise, plus make another solid brick for our marriage foundation.

I hopped to it and started the program. My hubby was behind me helping me count and cheering me on, as I did with him. (We only have enough room for one person at a time.)  I started off okay, but got tired quickly. I am SO out of shape, it isn’t funny any more. Plus, my legs were still a bit sore from the 4 hour hike we did this past Saturday.  Even so, I think I did okay. I got mad at myself during the Power Jacks because I can’t do push-ups, at least not normal, plank style. I usually do the girly ones with my knees on the floor. I cried in frustration, but controlled the tears because I knew I had one more to go and the cool down section.

We watched the video for tomorrow to mentally prep ourselves.  Good lord…we are going to be on floor sobbing for mercy or cursing at Shaun T. on the TV screen. (I already told him to shut-up during the fit test. LOL!) Hour long session…joy! Even so, I love that we can rest if we need to and there is a timer on the screen. Love the timer! If I’m feeling like “No…can’t do it”…I can look at the time and see I only have 15 seconds to go for that particular exercise and power through it to the start of the next one.  Greatest thing about the video, was all these fit, in shape people, towards the end started shaking their heads like “No…mommy, no” at some exercises and need to rest a bit before continuing.  I loved that because it made the whole workout more realistic.

Oh! I have to point this out. While watching video for tomorrow, we noticed this woman in the back row…she was so white, the light reflected off her! She was like one of those glow sticks. Almost blinding at times.

Well tomorrow is a brand new day to whip myself into a sexy cougar!

Here is my Fit Test numbers:

  • Switch Kicks:  40
  • Power Squats: 26
  • Power Knees: 43
  • Power Jumps: 12
  • Switch Jumps: 8
  • Suicide Jacks: 10
  • Push-up Jacks: 5
  • Low Plank Oblique: 10

I will try to keep a regular report on my progress with this program and if I end up admitting defeat…don’t plan on it!

Not a great before shot, but you get the point... that stomach. (Yes, slouching here).

Not a great before shot, but you get the point… that stomach. (Yes, slouching here).

At a local pond/lake. My son burying me in the sand.

UGH!

 

Today was a complete off day when it comes to eating regular meals.  I awoke to a drizzly, misting spring day with a full sky of grey clouds.  I spent part of the morning just relaxing on my deck with my coffee.  Although drery looking, the day seemed beautiful.  When my hubby (Mr. Beefy) came home from the gym, he and I worked on the cat coop for outside for a few hours, but then my back started to stiffen up since the weather was getting wetter and colder.  I decided to go in the house to rest and he was able to work on the coop at this point on his own.

While I was dickering around the internet I glanced down at my desktop clock and noticed it was getting near supper time.  My silly butt forgot to get a meat out of the freezer to thaw for dinner!  My mind raced trying to think what to do…do I make Hamburger/Tuna Helper dinner? No, not very healthy and we had one 2 nights ago.  Dash to the grocery store with the last 20 bucks on my LINK card (state food assistance card) to get a meat? No…I want that for produce and Mr. Beefy needs more salad bags for his lunches.  Suddenly my brain went “Hey, stupid…what about that pork roast you took out of the freezer 3 days ago?”

DING! DING! BINGO!

I grabbed my glass roaster, plopped in the pork roast, toss on a can of garlic soup dinner starter from Campbell’s.  Opened up one can each of kernel corn, lima beans (yuk! but Mr. Beefy loves them), and sliced carrots.  Into the oven it went at 350 degrees for about an hour.  

I just made up some batter for Bisquick‘s biscuits using Heluva’s French onion dip.  I’m currently cooking it in small batches in my toaster oven. We’ll see how the first batch comes out.  I will probably finish off the batter in the oven shortly.

Welp, I need to go check on dinner.  Mr. Beefy just came in from the garage and announced to me that my “shit’s done”. LOL!  He wants help on finishing up the cat coop…the door needs to go on.