Thursday, July 21, 2011

Float Trip!

This past weekend we went camping and saturday we did a 6 mile float on the Huzzah River.  We haven't been floating since before I was pregnant with the Munchkin and this was long overdue.  I am not much of a pool person (mostly public pools), but give me and river or a lake and I will hang out all day.  It always brings back so many fond memories of when we were kids.  We would pack up all of our stuff and head out to either my mom's parents property or my dad's parents to camp for the weekend.  We roughed it too.  We always stayed in tents and brought everything to cook our meals.  It was so much fun.  I am looking forward to taking the munchkin camping and bringing her up with the same traditions.  I will wait till she's a little older though.

So a few months ago, I sent out an evite, rounded up the troups and planned our adventure. We headed out Friday around 1:00 to embark on our 1.5 hour drive to our destination.  We were so excited when we got to our campsite.  It was literally right on the river!

Our Campsite right on the river!
Which was fantastic, since it was nearly 100 degrees.  We headed down earlier then everyone else with another couple, Kurt and Amber.  We set up our tents pretty quick, they set up theirs, then we wrestled with my sister and her husband's tent for about an hour.  This was the most ridiculous tent.  The instructions made no sense at all and we were all getting pretty frustrated with it.  Since they weren't coming down until after dark, she had asked if we would set it up for them.  She's so lucky she's my sister.  And you better believe we gave them some crap about it!

After we had everything set up, we were all pretty sweaty, so we changed into our suits and jumped into the river.  The water was crystal clear and felt so refreshing.  We hung out in the water for a couple of hours until other people started to show up.  We had an awesome group for the weekend, about 18 people and everyone got along fantastically.  Once everyone started arriving, we started to help some of them put up their tents and get settled.

For dinner we had steak kabobs.  Oh how I wish I had taken pictures of our food this weekend.  It was amazing.  Thursday night before we left, I marinated steaks in one bag and veggies (onions, peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms) in another bag.  Friday night, I assembled everything onto the skewers and we cooked them on the grill.  It was amazing!!

It was a little hot for a fire, but we made one anyway.  What is camping without a fire?  Ofcourse, no one sat around it.  But we had a fire damnit.  We didn't stay up too late since we knew we would be up at the butt crack of dawn when the sun started beating down on our tent.

I think it was about 7:00am when we finally got out of bed.  I forgot my glasses and needed to wash my hands before I could put my contacts in so I woke up Joe and begged him to drive us down to the bathrooms since I couldn't see well enough to drive.  Not a good idea to drive when all you see is really fuzzy shapes infront of you.  One of these days I am totally getting lasik.  Figures the one thing I forgot is the one thing I couldn't buy while we were there.

For breakfast, I fried up some bacon and then made some scrambled eggs in the grease.  Yum!  Gotta stock up on that protein and healthy fats for a long day on the river!  Then we headed out about 10am.

My sister and me ready to head out!
I am not a big fan of beer and I wanted something refreshing and delicious for my beverage of the day.  I also wanted to stay plenty hydrated, so I came up with the perfect plan.  I took a huge 2 gallon jug, filled it with ice, raspberry vodka, water and lemon juice and brought it with me for the float.  It was fantastic!  Maybe too delicious and refreshing, because that jug was almost gone by the end of the float.  In my defense, I was sharing it with plenty of other people.  Especially towards the end.  Our float took 7 hours, longer then expected, and everyone else ran out of beer.

My girl Amber and me.

My sister Amy and her hubby Jeremy.

John and Jessica and their dogs, Sadie and Kenya.

Erin with her boombox, I can't believe it survived the entire float.

Me and my sisters!
We met some of the most interesting characters along the way.  I kid you not, it was like spring break.  There was an insane amount of people floating on the river that day.  Probably more then I have ever seen on a float before.  Floating is a pretty popular summer event in Missouri.  The rivers are beautiful and there are so many of them.  One guy was running around in his pink underwear.  It was pretty funny and really gross at the same time.  We kept seeing him and he was always standing up and waving his junk around.  As far as I know he kept it covered up.  But still.  Ewe.

A shot of the crazy amount of people on the river.
We picked up a couple of stragglers along the way.  These were people that had somehow lost their group and needed a ride.  I am not sure how we kept ending up with them.  They were all completely wasted and it wasn't too hard to figure out how they got lost.  We picked up one guy named Joe, who looked so much like my sister's ex-boyfriend, it was scary.  He completely freaked us out.  My sister's husband knew her ex-boyfriend too, so I am sure he loved having his look alike in our boat.

Joe, one of the stragglers we picked up along the way.
My youngest sister Erin's boyfriend, Chad, earned the nickname that day of super athlete.  It was nice having him along.  He was pretty much in charge of steering the boat and he would jump up into trees or leap out of the raft to get us unstuck and push us in the right direction.  Thanks to him, the other guys got to be a little bit lazy.

Chad, our super athlete, and Erin
We lost half of our group about half way through the float.  We had 8 people in our raft, two (and two dogs) were in a canoe, and the rest in another raft.  We kept stopping and waiting for them.  After a while, we wondered if they were actually ahead of us, since we had spent so much time waiting.  By the time we finished, they were still an hour behind us!

My favorite sisters.

This was a tricky bend in the river where rafts would pile up.

Our Baywatch photo shoot.

Amber and me.

At the end of the float, right before we got off the river, there was a big cliff that people were climbing up and jumping off of. We watched a few guys in our group jump off and I wanted to sooo bad!  There was a time when I would have done it in a heart beat.  For some reason, ever since I had a child, I am so much more careful about that kind of stuff.  Being a parent is the most wonderful thing in the world, but I definitely miss being reckless sometimes.

We dragged all of our stuff out of the river and onto shore to load onto the bus to head back to camp.  Our raft was absolutely disgusting.  There was piles of trash and who-knows-what all over the floor.  We had to clean it all up and put everything in trash cans.  After we climbed onto the bus, I sat down and left some room for Joe.  Right before he got to our seat, a woman sat right down next to me.  I tried to tell her that my husband was just getting ready to sit there, but she was actually deaf, so she couldn't hear me.  So whatda gonna do?  Joe found another spot and it was no big deal.  What did suck though, was that she smelled absolutely AWFUL and she was facing the isle, while I was crammed up against the window.  She kept leaning back into me and rubbing her back on me.  She was pretty drunk and I couldn't help wondering who was in charge of this poor woman.  Not cool.

We arrived back at our site and Joe and I headed immediately for the showers.  Being on the river all day and drinking somehow left me with a headache.  After the shower, I took some aspirin and laid down for about an hour. Then I was good to go again.

For dinner I had made chicken hobos.  In foil, I wrapped up some marinated red potatoes, onions, carrots, I laid a chicken breast over that, then topped that with pats of butter, seasonings and crumbled bacon (which I had already cooked).  It was so easy and always makes the perfect camping meal.  I pre-assembled them the Thursday night before we left, so all we had to do was take them out, throw them on the grill and eat them up.  They were delicious!  Joe and I couldn't finish them, so we gave our leftovers to Chad, my sister's boyfriend.  He was so funny, he kept thanking me and telling me how awesome I was.  He was pretty drunk. 

After dinner, we stayed up and hung out for a while.  I tried to hang as long as I could, but after getting up so early, and such a LONG day on the river, I was exhausted.  We ended up going to bed around 11:30pm.  About 5:00am I woke up to the sound of people yelling at their children.  I couldn't believe it!  They were literally cussing their children out, telling them to shut the f%#$ up.  Classy.  Didn't they know it was friggin 5 am!  I felt worse for the kids though then I did myself.  They didn't stop either and eventually we gave up and got out of bed around 6am.  We were eager to get packed up and get back home anyway.  I whipped up some coffee, made some more bacon and eggs, then we got to packin.  We always bring alot of shit.  It's awesome to have it all, but when it comes time to pack up and leave, we usually start first and finish last.  Which is fine, I like to take a walk around the site after everyone leaves and make sure that all the trash is picked up and everything is back to how we found it.  I can't help it, I feel bad leaving behind a bunch of our trash out in the wilderness.

So we headed out and headed home.  One thing is for sure, I missed the munchkin soooo bad!  This was the first time she had ever stayed the night away from both of us.  She stayed with my mom and apparently she had a blast and barely noticed we were gone.  My mom kept sending my pictures to my phone all weekend and updates, which helped, but I couldn't wait to get back home to see her!  It was an awesome weekend and it was alot of fun to get away for the weekend, but it was so good to get back  home!

I bought a kodak mini video camera for the trip.  I wanted something besides my nice camera, to take on adventures like these and to take video of the munchkin here and there.  It worked out good for the float since it was waterproof, but the pictures were pretty crappy (as you can see) and I ended up returning it.  Anyone know of a really cheap video/camera that still takes decent pics?!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Eggs: The Perfect Food. Feel free to eat them. Every. Single. Day.

Yep, I said it.  Every. Single. Day.  

So I was doing a little research on eggs and their benefits this morning.  I know, I know, I'm a big nerd.  It actually all stemmed from a conversation I was having with a girlfriend who was talking to me about her egg-whites-only breakfast.  I just couldn't imagine throwing out the yolks!!  It's the most delicious part, not to mention it gives us the most health benefits.   I googled some quick info for her.  She's actually a super healthy person and turns out, she knows the yolks are healthy, they just gross her out and she doesn't like them.  Oh the shame. 

But I wanted to share this study I found....  

Basically, it is saying that the subjects all did a carbohydrate restricted diet and some of them also ate lots of eggs.  They all saw healthy benefits, but the subjects eating eggs everyday had even more positive results!  Not only did the low carb eaters lower the very small particle LDL (the worst kind) for all of the subjects, the egg eaters also raised the HDL (the good) and the larger LDL, which also raised the plasma lutein and zeaxanthin in their blood!! That's amazing! Plasma lutein and zeaxanthin helps in the prevention and improvement of visual disorders such as macular degeneration and helps to support healthy eyesight!

It's also interesting to note that the study I posted is from a government website.  Funny how most of their own studies contradict what they say we should be eating.

Eggs are especially good for growing children and egg yolks are the perfect first food for babies!

BTW, most of the health nutrients are found in the yolk!!  Just check out this awesome article all about eggs!

And it's a good thing too.... Eggs are pretty much the only food I can eat every single day and not get sick of.  

Okay, I could probably eat bacon every day too.  

And chocolate.   

Chocolate covered bacon anyone?  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Have You Been Considering a Water Filtration System?

I have been looking into getting a new water filtration system for our kitchen sink.  We gave up the water bottles a while back.  Not only to save some bottles from ending up in the land fill, but we are trying to get away from as much plastic as possible.  In the meantime, we have been relying on the filter on our refrigerator until we figured something else out.

There are several different types of filtration systems out there.  I wanted one that removed as many chemicals and heavy metals as possible, but also leaving the natural minerals that make water important for drinking.  For example, a reverse osmosis system removes pretty much anything harmful, but it also removes everything beneficial, like calcium and magnesium.  Unless you add them back in yourself, it just doesn't seem like the best option to me.

I have been researching them for a while and had settled on one that I really liked.  Here's an excerpt from their site:

"The winner of Health Magazine's "Healthiest Product" award for 2010, this water filter uses Aquasana's unique selective filtration process: a combination of carbon filtration, ion-exchange and sub-micron filtration to produce clean, healthy water. Our drinking water filter products install in minutes and are certified to NSF standards 42 & 53 to reduce sediment, chlorine, lead, herbicides, pesticides, cysts, VOCs, SOCs, THMs and bad taste & odor. Our unique filter also leaves in healthy minerals for optimum hydration. Since Aquasana filter cartridges last 6 months or 500 gallons, you're getting the healthiest water and the best value."

I was also wanting a system that removes flouride, but without getting something like reverse osmosis, i wasn't having much luck finding something that would remove it all.  The Aquasana system removes anywhere from 40-60% of the flouride in the water.  What I do like, is that it removes all of the chemically added flouride, and only leaves the naturally occurring flouride.  That's definitely something.

I found several comparison charts on other websites that helped me to decide as well, along with reviews from other bloggers.  Here are some of the sites that I found to be the most helpful in my decision.

I also love that it has a lifetime warranty offer and a no questions asked, 60 day money back guarantee.

So anyway, I have been wanting to take the plunge and order the system for some time, but with the upfront cost of $125, I have been waiting.  Today, though I saw that they are running a special in July.  If you order their system and sign up for their filters for life you get 50% off plus free shipping.  They will ship you the new replacement filters every 6  months automatically (which you need to do anyway and costs only $48 when you autoship) and you get a complete lifetime warranty on the system as well.  You can also cancel the auto shipping at any time, as there is no contract.  This brings the water filtration system down to about $63!  That is a really good deal (Amazon currently sells the system for $99). You also get a free glass water bottle thrown in.  So yeah, I ordered it right away.

This deal also extends to their other filtration systems.

I will give my full review on how much I actually like it after I have used it for a while.  I wanted to share with everyone the special though, since it's only through July, incase anyone else had been considering getting a water filtration system as well.