Friday, August 30, 2013

High Five for Friday!!!

It's Friday!!!! Wooooo Hoooo!!! Our favorite day of the week!! This weekend is especially exciting... My sweet sweet daughter turns Sweet 16!! It's a little hard to believe considering I am only "29" and it seems like yesterday that she was toddling around. Time sure does fly. What a wonderful 16 years it has been though and each year it just gets better and better!! I am struggling a bit seeing her in the drivers seat of the car... When I look over I still see this little face, how do I accept that my baby is actually old enough to drive????

This has been a busy week... Well yes, most of our weeks are, but this has been especially busy! In addition to all that we have been in planning mode for a Sweet 16 Birthday Trip and doing a little car shopping it has been the first week back to school for the girls so we are adjusting to some slight schedule changes, transportation arrangement adjustments, the re-introduction of homework, prepping school lunches, earlier bed times, etc. Whew! TGIF!!

Our High Five:

1. All the back to school paper work is COMPLETE!!! It's crazy how much there is to complete each year... I haven't used so much ink on paper... Welll since last year about this time... Do they even look at these papers... I just filled them out last August... It's would be awesome if I could just review last years documents and check a box that said NO CHANGES :) Or maybe this could be electronic with some auto fill fields... My wrists hurt!! 

2. After a long night of filling out paper work I indulged in a little soothing foot spa.... I love my Brookstone Spa!! Ahhhhhhh.... What a way to end the day!

3. Friday Night Football!! Both my girls made Varsity Cheer so Friday Nights are filled with excitement!! The team won their first game last week and we are ready for another game tonight!!!

4. We are BEACH BOUND!!! We are celebrating my daughters Sweet 16 with a girls trip to the beach!! So excited! Wish me luck!!!
5. We are hosting our very first giveaway!! We have several great items already lined up for future giveaways too!! We decided to set the first giveaway up and see how it goes!! ENTER ENTER ENTER!!! Only 9 days left!!

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Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Up before the sun!

I love running in the mornings, it is the only time of the day I am not busy. I wake up at 4:30 a.m. fuel up a bit and get out the door for my run by 5:00 a.m.

My busy day then officially begins at 6:00 a.m. when I get the girls up for school, get cleaned up and dressed up for the day, head out the door no later than 7:15 a.m. and head to the office for my 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. day then home for dinner, ball games, after school activities, homework, laundry, pack lunches for the next day, etc. By 9:00 p.m. I am exhausted! Morning runs better fit my schedule.

A morning run will jump start your metabolism and your body will be charged up and ready to burn calories throughout the day!

According to several studies morning runs burn more fat! Because you are waking up and running before breakfast you are in what is called a fasted state or semi-fasted state. A person is considered to be in a fasted state after 8-12 of no food or drink and because you are (hopefully) getting 8 hours of sleep you will wake up in this state. In a fasted state your carbohydrate stores are depleted and since carbs are typically your energy source in their absence your body will use fat as energy to fuel your run!

Running in the morning also improves your mood. I feel happier and more energetic throughout the day when I run in the morning than if I miss my run. Exercise releases endorphins, endorphins create a feeling of well being and a sense of exhilaration! What better way to start the day than feeling well and exhilarated!

Morning runs wake you up allowing you to be clear and focused for the day! Mornings are cooler making the run much more enjoyable. The air is fresh and crisp. I love that the town is still asleep. The sun is not yet up, the streets are quiet with only a few cars and a few people walking their dogs. It feels as if the town is mine and I can run wherever I want. It is fun and I enjoy exploring new streets as I add to my routine. I get home after my run feeling refreshed and ready for a new day!

These are just some of the benefits of running in the mornings, running in general produces many many more benefits such as heart health, bone strength, optical health (yep), pulmonary health and the list goes on and on!

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Giveaway Time!!

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This Weekend's VIP - Camp-Tek Microburst

Happy Monday!! It's an up and at em' day for us today! It's the first day back to school from summer vacation!

This Weekend's VIP is our Camp-Tek Microburst! This is such a great device and we are so glad to have found it! The Microburst is a small, lightweight piece of equipment that we use on our backpacking trips to help inflate our sleeping mats. 

Our sleeping mats do "self inflate", meaning when you unroll them and open the valve they will fill up naturally. We, however, prefer our mats just a bit firmer. You could blow into the valve to firm up the sleeping mat however that introduces unnecessary moisture on the inside of your pad. 

The Microburst makes getting our sleeping mat comfortable so easy! The process is much quicker and the Microburst is so light weight you won't even notice you have something extra in your pack! 

As an added feature we found it to be excellent at helping the fire along on difficult nights with less than idea wood ;)

For your next backpacking or camping trip you should check out this cool product! The Camp-Tek Microburst is sure to become your camping VIP!

Also check out our very first (more to come) GIVEAWAY!!! 

We hope you have a wonderful Monday!!

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Friday, August 23, 2013

High Five for Friday!!!

Oh Friday, how I have missed you!!! Happy Happy Weekend!! This has been a very busy week!! I love High Five for Friday! Sometimes things get so busy (especially like right now with all the back to school activities) that we tend to over look the great parts of the week! High Five for Friday gives me the opportunity to stop and remember all that was great even while things were hectic!

1. Our blog is growing!!! We started this blog only two months ago and this new adventure has already our exceeded our expectations! Thank you all so much for stopping by to check us out and stick around we have lots of good stuff in store!!

2. It has not rained EVERY day ALL day this week... It has rained just about every day just not all day which means I have gotten in my runs all but one day this week!! Woooo Hooo!!!

3. I was also FINALLY able to mow my yard, it was soggy but I managed. The grass no longer comes up to my knees... OK so I am exaggerating a bit but just imagine and abundance of rain and the inability to mow due to the wet conditions... It did somewhat resemble a jungle ;)

4. The fig tree in the yard is producing like crazy!!!! Oh how I love figs straight off the tree!! Yummmmmmmy!!

5. We made an oh so yummy fig and blue cheese pizza. It is so much fun to try out new recipes especially with fruits and veggies we harvest at home. This was delish!

It looks like this weekend is going to be nice out with no rain (fingers crossed) and maybe just maybe we will get to go camping!!! Remember that "This Weekend's VIP" is moving to Monday. We hope you have a wonderful weekend! 

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Much ado about water

On a backpack camping trip it is our preference to find a site with natural water source nearby so that we don’t have to carry in our water. Water is heavy and doesn't pack down too well… We need lots of water too. We only drink water and we need about 150 ounces (combined) per day (maybe more if the temperature is up) and we cook with water (oatmeal, mac and cheese, etc.). We generally carry some water in with us but we seek out a supply almost immediately when we get to the site and begin collecting. 

We of course prefer a moving water source like a creek or stream, because this water is continually flowing algae and bacteria have less opportunity to grow and we like to gather from a pool created within the moving water, if that makes sense. We want a moving water source but a still spot within the stream as many particles will settle and we can avoid them all together. Standing, still water sources are typically stagnant, unclean and laden with bacteria. 

The majority of the places we have camped the water source has been identified on a map. In the event you are camping without a source identified or get lost here are a few tips to finding water:

  1. Quite simply stand still and listen for it. Stand still and be quiet and listen to your surroundings. Listen for sounds that could be water moving in a nearby stream.
  2. Look for animal tracks, animals know where the water is, if you see a collection of tracks (more than one set) follow them, you will likely find water. 
  3. Look for swarming insects, insects also depend on water. If there are a large amount of insect’s water is also probably nearby.
  4. Walk down hill, streams and creeks naturally flow downward, as you move to lower elevations you may find a water source.
  5. As a final (survival) resort you can dig for a ground water supply. This should be your last result and only used if necessary for survival because the ground water will be very dirty. 

Once you have found your water source and even if the source is moving you will still want to purify it prior to drinking unless of course you are in a survival situation. The three common options used for purifying water are:

  1. Boiling the water – Boiling won’t clean the water but it will kill the bacteria and viruses. This water won’t be pretty but it also won’t make you sick! The water is also going to take a while to cool down so that it's drinkable.
  2. Treatments – There are several water treatment options such as tablets that can be used to drop into the water. These claim to kill most protozoa, bacteria and viruses. They don’t leave the water tasting like the fresh spring water you just found but more like a Band-Aid (yuck). They do have neutralizers so if you go with this option you may want to pick a pack of neutralizing tablets to use after the treatment. 
  3. Filtering the water – This is our preferred method and there are various options for filtering too! We use both the MSR MiniWorks EX Water Filter and a SteriPEN

We locate the water source pretty quickly after we set up camp and we located the right spot where we plan to gather from. Look around and make sure previous campers haven't over used the area, we saw one spot recently where a camper had dumped a large amount of left over food in to the creek... Not very nice... They might have benefited from our post about what to pack to eat and leaving no trace...

James is the hunter gatherer and he works to get us the water we need. He finds the right spot and begins to collect into our bottles using the MSR MiniWorks EX Water Filter. This filter uses a Ceramic plus Carbon filter to remove protozoa, bacteria, particulates and chemicals and toxins from the water. The filter does not effectively remove viruses. Viruses are too small for these filters to catch. In most protected wilderness areas in North America viruses in creeks and streams are not as serious of a concern. 

As an added precaution however, once he has gathered all of the water we need we head back to the camp site where he will use the SteriPEN which uses UV purification to remove bacteria, viruses and protozoa. 

The water we then enjoy is the coolest, freshest most wonderful tasting water you will ever drink! We love drinking the water the earth provides. On our backpacking trips we not only breath in the fresh air but also drink up the fresh water!!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hind Technical Apparel

I know I have discussed this before but I just can't help it, I am in love with certain lines of performance apparel! In addition to my beloved MPG clothing line I have a new found obsession in Hind!

Hind clothing is made from quick drying materials which is especially important for longer runs and also is great for hiking and backpacking! The clothing fits true to size and is very comfortable! I have several pairs of the running capris and shorts. I love that they have a zipper pocket on the back waist line. Often times I am meeting friends places to run and I always struggle with what to do with my car keys! This pocket is perfect for me to tuck away my key fob while I run! I also love Hind tanks! They are light weight and slinky making them cool and comfortable (and cute)!

It is so important to wear the right clothing on a run, while it may feel cooler when you first step out of the door, once running it will begin to feel 15+ degrees warmer due to the build up of your own body heat as you run. Technical clothing like hind make selecting the proper clothing easy!

Technical clothing like hind will cost a little more then your standard gym shorts and t-shirts but you will quickly realize the importance of the synthetic fabrics in keeping you cool, dry and comfortable. The materials are designed to wick away moisture from your body and the fabric dries quick, cotton clothing will hold moisture (sweat, yuck) and is not quick drying. Just think about how long your dryer runs to get your t-shirts dry... Enough said! In addition during colder months insulated technical clothing like the items hind offers will keep you warm without being bulky.

I have found hind apparel in specialty running shops and you can find discounted hind clothing in the active wear section of TJ Maxx!!  You should definitely give hind a try! You won't be disappointed!!

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday Musings ~ Time Flies

Happy Happy Monday! It's that time again! Time to wake up, grab a cup of coffee, hit the road running (I wish, did I mention the rain???), clean up, dress up and conquer the world!! Well head to work rather and at least give conquering the world a good try!! If you don't at least try you never will accomplish anything.

This week is going to be busy!! This is the last full week before it is back to school... Hopefully this year will go smoother than last... Since I am getting up so early already it won't be a huge adjustment for me and the girls have been getting up just about all summer relatively early for cheer practices so I hope the "get up and go" momentum each morning won't be hard to achieve! 

Several big milestones are going to occur withing the next week and a half... My youngest will start high school and my oldest turns 16!!! Crazy!! Where does the time go? 

While I would like to press rewind sometimes, at other times I don't, I am so proud of the young women my daughters have become and look forward to watching them continue to grow in their lives. Embrace each day and live completely within it! Before you know it today becomes a memory!

Wishing you a wonderful week! 

Beginning next week our "This Weekend's VIP" post will be moving to Monday's with a little Monday Musings mixed in ;)

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

This Weekend's VIP - Alps Tri-Awning

Have we mentioned the rain lately??? We are so tired of the rain! Our summer has been short changed. We are typically out every weekend and we have really been held back this summer due to the weather, We hope to have a drier fall so we can get in some good camping trips and hikes! 

This Saturday we had a garage sale, we are making room for some renovations! The forecast as of Friday showed a 70% chance of rain!!! James did not want to cancel. We had everything moved from the basement into the garage he wanted to get it sold ASAP so we could get these projects going (and park in the garage again). 

We had planned to use our Alps Tri-Awning if we were not lucky enough to be in the 30% chance of no rain window! The awning would have worked great to cover a couple of our tables and we kept most of the furniture items in the Garage.  Fortunately the rain held off most of the morning and we were able to get a lot of the items sold and stay dry!

We purchased this awning a few years ago when we were planning a trip to the beach. We were looking for something to be able to sit under in the event that the sun got too hot. Our girls were younger then and our niece and nephew were very little. We wanted to provide a shady spot for them to play and enjoy the beach without getting too hot!

We had tried the pop up style awnings and they were miserable to deal with, the wind always threatened to topple the pop up and carry it halfway down the beach, we had to come up with ways to weigh the corners down to help it stay put and sand always finds it's way in to the collapsing legs making them difficult to take down.  

Our Tri-Awning is wonderful! It sets up very similar to a tent. The awning is so versatile, you can set it up to be taller simply by bringing the legs closer together or lower and more spread out by spacing the legs out farther. It also has a detachable sun shield panel so one side can be fully closed if you need it to be. It served us very well at the beach providing shade from the sun we desired.

When we backpack camp we take the minimal amount of stuff with us and do not take the awning but we take this awning with us EVERY time we car camp. We had it with us on our more recent trip to Lake James State Park. It seems to rain on us quite a bit when we are camping and this awning allows us to still enjoy the great outdoors and the camping experience with out getting soaked! 

Our awning has never leaked either! We have taken this with us so many places and sometimes we even set it up when there is no threat of rain. At Lake James it did rain a bit and at night we moved it to cover one of the tents to provide extra protection from the down pour! On another camping excursion we set it up out side our tents and enjoyed playing cards and snacking on camp foods while we watched and listened as the rain drizzled around us. 

We highly recommend the Alps Mountaineering Tri-Awning! It would be a great add to you camping gear and we assure you that it will come in very handy on those hot sunny beach days or rainy camping trips!

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Friday, August 16, 2013

High Five for Friday

Hooray for Friday! It has been a wonderful week and we are ready for the weekend! 

We are gearing up for a garage sale this weekend, which is sure to be a lot of fun, to make room for some construction! This is a very exciting time for us as we work to merge houses :) The girls are getting ready for back to school and have several cheer events this weekend as well so it will be busy busy! The air is just a little cooler in the mornings when I run and I LOVE it!! Fall is my very favorite season and is just around the corner!! Here are five highlights from the week:

1. We had an amazing hike on Sunday!! After struggling a bit the week after vacation to get back into the swing of things this hike recharged us and this week has been awesome!

2. Oakley Loraine, the cat, is just so entertaining!!! I came in from a run this week and started to roll... Oakley decided my lap, while rolling, would be a great place to curl up for a nap... She just makes me happy (sometimes crazy but most of the time happy ha ha)!

3. I encountered a yellow finch yesterday visiting some wildflowers, there were actually four of them and I watched for a while as they delicately jumped around on the flowers. I didn't want to scare them off by getting too close so this pic is a bit blurry... Can you see him?? They were so pretty and fun to watch. I have never seen them around before!

4. New running shoes arrived this week!! I am so happy with them! Brooks Ghost are right now my favorites for running on the roads! This is my second pair!

5. Saving the best for last... We started this blog on June 16, 2013 so today is our two month anniversary!!! Yay!!! We have been so overwhelmed by the growth of this blog already!! We have in two months grown to over 6,000 visitors and are growing on other social media platforms by leaps and bounds as well! We have made some great connections and are so excited to see where this blog goes, we love sharing our stories and mishaps and sharing the beautiful places we enjoy the most! We were elated yesterday when our local REI shared our blog on their page!! Thanks so much REI!!

We hope you have an amazing weekend!! Check back in with us on Sunday to see what our Weekend VIP will be!!

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We are linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday!!

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