Monday, February 23, 2015

Weekly Schedule

I am trying to get myself back on a weekly schedule for meals and workouts.  Both of these things are especially important now that I am kicking it solo for a few months.  I do well with schedules and structure, it seems like the best way to pass the time and keep myself on track. My meals are all frugal options and made for only one person.  I'll try to post recipes for some of them, but keep in mind you'll have to double or triple to measurements to make enough for a 2+ people.

Weekly Meal Plan
Sunday: Creamy Garlic Penne Pasta, Asparagus
Monday: Stoney's (out to eat)
Tuesday: Veggie Fried Rice and Tofu
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Cheese Quesadilla, Tomato Soup
Friday: Baked Potato, Asparagus, Salad
Saturday: Tofu and Veggie Soup

On the workout front I am keeping things pretty simple and fun. I am mixing it up with some at-home workout tapes, weekly yoga classes, hikes, and long doggy walks.  I walk Specks about 1-2 miles each day.  I consider a long doggy walk to be at least 3+ miles and often the two of us hike on the weekend.  Here's to hoping that I actually stick with it!

Weekly Workouts
Sunday: Walking 3 miles with Specks + Shoveling 
Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred
Wednesday: Hula Hoop Fitness
Thursday: Yoga Class
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: Hula Hoop Fitness

Your turn...What are some of your favorite meals and workouts?

Currently listening to...TED Radio

Sunday, February 22, 2015

He's Off!

I put Cody on an airplane on Thursday morning. That airplane would lead him to a car and then a train...eventually it will lead him straight to Juneau.  It's crazy how fast all of our life changes are happening. Cody will be back living in Juneau by this time next week.

The next few months will be lonely for me.  I'm allowing myself the weekend to wallow about a bit.  I plan to throw myself into things starting on Monday.  Spending time with friends, cooking, playing guitar, writing, exercising.  All of these things will keep me sane, hopefully.

Your turn...How do you stay sane during stressful times?

Currently listening to...Blueside- Rooney

Friday, February 13, 2015

Traveling off Beaver Island

So, while I am still kicking around Beaver Island for the next few months I thought it would be fun to profile a few aspects of life on the island.  There are lots of semi-strange things about living on a remote island.  One of the strangest things (in my opinion) is traveling off of the island.

Asleep on the deck of the ferry. 

The island is only accessible by boat or airplane (much like Juneau).  However, the ferry only runs for a handful of months out of the year.  From November to April it is pretty unlikely you'll be making any sea voyages.  Rough waters limit travel greatly. That leaves flying as the main mode of transportation to and from the island.

My boys looking out the airplane window.
There are only 500-ish people that live on Beaver Island.  A full-scale airline service just isn't happening.  We basically fly in bush planes similar to the ones that they use in remote Alaska villages.  You can fly with Island Airways or Fresh Air.  I usually use Island Airways because they have a contract with the school.  It just makes life easier to always fly with the same company.

Views from the airplane in late October. 
One super tough thing about being limited to air travel for most of the year is obtaining a car when you're off Beaver Island.  Unfortunately, Cody and I haven't hit the legal car rental age yet.  This means we can only fly off of the island if someone (like our parents) is willing to drive 4+ hours each way to pick us up.  Things get a little inconvenient.  Many families choose to just own a second car and pay to keep it stored at the Charlevoix Airport.  I think if we were planning to stay on the island long-term we probably would have done this. It would make life so much easier.  We must really like living in difficult places though…Juneau isn't on the road system either.

Your turn…Have you ever lived somewhere off of the road system?

Currently listening to…Two Weeks- Grizzly Bear

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Specks Update

Some of you may know that our doggy, Specks, has been suffering from an unknown illness. He started getting sick in August and has been battling it ever since.  His symptoms were chronic ear infections and itchy skin.  It took us months and a ton of trial and error.  Finally, we did a huge blood panel test on him and it came back with some surprising results.

Specks is allergic to human dander, maple trees, oak trees, various types of grasses and weeds, dust, beef, venison, lamb, rice, oats, barley, corn, and soybeans.  Seriously.  Somehow all of these crazy allergies just showed up in the last six months.  He is now on a special diet and will be getting a monthly shot.  I'm going to learn to give him the shots at home to make things easier on him.

I feel bad that he suddenly has this crummy health problem.  Thankfully, it is totally treatable and as long as we are careful about what he gets into he won't have any real issues.  I'm so glad that we've finally gotten to the bottom of the health scare.  Specks is such a huge, lovable part of our family.  He really is like a child to Cody and I.  We are so happy to have a treatable solution to his health issues.  Specks is very loved :)

Your turn…Do you have a pet?  Tell me about him/her!

Currently listening to…Lights- Ellie Goulding

Monday, February 9, 2015

Why I Miss Living in Alaska

It's been five months since Cody, Specks, and I left Alaska.  Not a day goes by that we don't miss it.  We've spent the last five months having fun and keeping ourselves busy.  We've truly thrown ourselves back into Midwestern life.  But, something has been missing.  Life just isn't the same here.  I've narrowed it down to a few key points.  I know what we miss and why we miss it.  Alaska just gets in your soul.
1.) The lifestyle.  I miss having thousands of miles of hiking trails at my fingertips.  Cody, Specks, and I hiked at least 2 times per week.  Plus, there was a breathtaking glacier in the middle of town that I walked to at least once a month. Every weekend was new adventure when we lived in Alaska.  We rarely ever spent a weekend inside, even in crummy weather.  We hiked, fished, camped, and climbed mountains.  Exercise in the form of outdoor activities drove our lifestyle.  Dull moments were few and far between. We were healthy, happy, and whole living this lifestyle.
2.) The community and culture.  Alaska has an incredibly rich culture.  I miss living somewhere so identifiable by this.  There are no Tlingit dance groups or storytellers in the Midwest.  There aren't monthly artist walks through downtown Beaver Island. Canoes don't carry tribes from all over the state to a yearly Celebration.  Poetry slams, theatre performances, and symphonies are all missing from our life.  Juneau was a tiny city with a HUGE cultural impact.  Not many towns of 30,000 people can boast such a rich repertoire of events. It's just not the same living without these cultural elements.
3.) Winter.  Winter in the Midwest isn't like winter in Alaska.  Sure, there are places to ski (kind of) and hike in the winter here.  It's not the same though.  Alaska lives in near-constant darkness in the winter, which I never minded.  If anything, it made me more ambitious because I had a much shorter amount of time to accomplish tasks like shoveling or exercising.  We were constantly taking trips to the ski resort( five minutes from our house) or hiking out to NFS cabins to spend snowy weekends. I also really like cozy, dark evenings snuggling at home with my family.
4.) The weather.  Now, the Midwest tends to have far better summers than SE Alaska.  Midwestern summers are long, hot, and gorgeous.  SE Alaska has the better weather overall though.  Juneau is in a rainforest and the weather is incredibly temperate.  We typically didn't see winter temps below 30°F and we didn't see summer temps higher than 60°F.  There were exceptions to this obviously, but the average is between 30°-60°F for the whole year.  Midwestern weather on the other hand is a fickle thing.  Take last week for example, we had five days of temperatures in the -15°F range.  The summers might get above 100°F for weeks at a time.  It's a big change and I've found that I prefer my temperate climate.  I like that in Juneau I could wear the same outfits all year and I could hike all winter with only a fleece and a raincoat.  It made life easy.

5.) The mentality.  There is just something about the people in Alaska.  Juneau is a blue city in the midst of a red state.  But, the state as a whole is very libertarian.  People tend to be very "stay out of my business."  I like this.  I knew people, people were incredibly friendly, but people generally stay out of each others business.  Everyone takes care of each other without needing to discuss it.  It's a beautiful thing.

Your turn…What are your favorite things about where you live?

Currently listening to…The Lumineers- Dead Sea

Monday, February 2, 2015

Quality Time

Cody is going to be leaving for Alaska sooner than I am.  We've been trying to make the most of our time together before he leaves.  This means that all of our free time is being spent trying to squeeze in a little quality time.  We've been cooking meals (breakfast, lunch, AND dinner), hiking, snowshoeing, snuggling on the couch.  All of our time is spent together these days.

It's been bittersweet.  I love spending so much time together.  I don't love that it means we will be spending the next several months apart.  I know that it is a means to an end.  Cody going to Juneau early means that we have the financial stability to move back to Alaska.  It means we will have a house secured.  It means that we will be settled.  It means things will be easier in the long run.

Until he leaves we will continue to pack in as much fun as possible together.  Enjoy the pictures while they last.  I have a feeling that Netflix binges will rule my life once he leaves…and nobody needs to see a picture of that.  Hah.

Your turn…Have you ever spent any significant time away from your spouse?

Currently listening to…Midnight City- M83