Monday, April 25, 2016

Life in pictures...

I officially hit the end-of-school-year-beginning-of-Spring crazies.  It's been pretty all over the place around here.  My house is never clean (despite my efforts), the kids are never clean (they have been in the mud just about everyday since the rain started) and I have a new niece and a new nephew!  :D

Fife Ida- I was so honored to be able to drive up for her sweet and calm arrival.  She is the cutest little thing.
 Adrian whipped this up for Gi :)
 Then little Atelier arrived!  I drove up for his brith too and it turned into an all nighter.  I was honored to meet him right when he arrived to and I could really hold him all day.  He is the cutest little bundle of boy.
 Gi at a fashion high...
 We had our end of year program for Classical Conversations.  Adrian chose Augustus Caesar for his paper/costume.  So cute
 I loved all of the kids tutors this year...
 Our Challenge A class presented a sentence in Latin 
 and Noah drew and ear from memory and added some commentary about ear piercing locations on the fly :D
 The boys started soccer at the local park league- games on Saturday have been fun
Christian informed the coach that "I'm pretty good" after scoring two goals. ha  Luke had to give him some tips on team spirit and encouraging his other teammates when they score as well. ;) haha
 Challenge A class slaves on for another 3 weeks after the younger kids finish. ;)
 A student map from memory...I won't show you mine (ha).... these kids are amazing.  I'd like to say I'm a super amazing tutor...but it's all the kids.
 Dissection day on the porch.
The kids not allowed to bug us but still trying to watch anyway... ;)  We let them come see everything after-don't worry.
 I'm not sure if the pig dissection will gross you out, so I'll post the starfish before we cut it open instead. ;)
 Luke and I finally logged another cooking night together after the kids where in bed.  We made beef wellington for the first time.  I think the fillet was a tad overcooked but still really good.  We'll have to try it again. :D
 My date in the moonlight... so romantic :D
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Friday, March 18, 2016

That will cost you... ultralight camping gear

So lately I've become nit picky about camping gear weight to the point of maybe being considered an "ultralight" wannabe.  But then there are things I'm not willing to forsake for the worry of carrying another 18 oz.  Like... I'd rather sleep on a blow up mat than a piece of cardboard so...I bought a blow up mat.  If the said mat is very light, it will cost you-dollars.  And so the game of packing backpacks begins (insert polka music).  What are you willing to give up comfort wise vs what are you willing to carry vs what are you willing to pay.  After several long practice hikes, I don't want to carry over 25 lbs, which is really really light but our guides carry the cooking gear (not actual food or our mess kits-like the gas/burner etc) so come now...we can do it right?  I've got all kinds of ideas for how to do this...which include burning in the sun w/o sunblock, smelling terrible, only bringing one set of clothes, not wearing contacts because who wants to see the canyon while hiking anyway... oh wait...that doesn't sound fun.  How am I going to do this?  Really people- how?

If anyone is a camper in real life and has any ideas, that would be amazing.  Our backpacks weigh almost 5 pounds...and while it's worth it (I think?) because they are really comfortable, I don't know how to pack light enough to not be nearly dead by the middle of the hike.  Maybe not dead, but writhing in pain on our somewhat comfortable blow up mats.  Consider our backpacks are 5 lbs, our minimum water per day is 6 lbs, tent provided is 3 lbs for half of it, and we have about 5 lbs of food to carry including snacks...that's 19 already.  So I've got 6 lbs to play with unless I want to be a pack mule.

Some ideas I've put into motion so far in my amateur attempt to lighten the load (you can thank me later...after I actually try these ideas in real life-ha)

1st up: Trader Joe's reusable paper towel... I could buy a camp towel but they weigh (gasp) half a pound!  No way-not with my precious 6 lbs on the line.  These weigh like...nothing.  They can be rung out and used even when wet to dry off (in my trials studies) and Luke and I could even share one since we are good friends and patient...er...Luke is patient I should say-maybe we'll pack two.

2nd up: These are little 2"x3" baggies!  wow!  a camper ultralight wannabe's dream!  I'm putting all my stuff in these babies. I think I can even bring sunscreen now if I play in right.  I'm going to figure out how many squirts it takes to use whatever solution I'm packing and only bring that x5 for our five days.  I actually thought of this one while surfing Amazon for small containers...but I'm sure other hikers have done the same...or it's a really bad idea for some reason.  I'll let you know if all the baggies break and mix all the solutions together in the gallon bag I'm stowing them in. :P

3rd: contact solution is no longer sterile if you change the packaging- but liquid is heavy and I don't need a whole mini bottle of solution.  I plan to bring the more expensive, but much smaller, lubricant drops instead.  I can't see anything wrong with this other than the expense or running out.
4th: I'm using gallon bags for all kins of stuff...compression bags-ziplock! wash basin-ziplock! bag to hold little bags of soap and lotion-ziplock! bath: ziplock! doing some laundry: you guessed it...ziplock!  I think you get the idea on that.  they are cheap, weigh nothing and can be used for multiple purposes.  It's my only hope for not smelling terrible before going to bed at night.
5th: I'm bringing a tiny bit of this soap...it's concentrated, it's smells like home, it could be dumped in the CO river because it's biodegradable.  I'm not the first hiker to do this based on the small bottles for sale at REI. :D

6th: This will cost you... Luke and I got this for our valentine's day gift...and Christmas...and birthdays and whatever other holiday comes up in the near future. I used our credit card bonus points...to make myself feel better.  It's about as light and easy to carry as a combo gets.  because it's a double set up, you save a little weight since only one of us has to carry the sleep quilt and they other the mattress coupler. bonus is not rolling of a narrow sleep mat.  We will bring camp pillows too...yes they weigh something...no, I can' sleep without a pillow... I'm not an ultralight camper okay.  I said I was a wannabe. ;)
I hope this post didn't bore you to death.  It's what we've been up to...that and our kids getting sick the last few days.  But who wants a blog post about that? :P haha
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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Grenada in pictures...

Prim Ashton
 Luke and Jen going over anatomy with a guava shake
 the boys had some energy...so we let them tour guide us to their beach front
 Avo's face expression may be due to the fact that Uncle Luke doesn't let them get away with anything. ;) haha
 By Jen's apartment




 pretty building on Jen's campus
 Sailing is the thing around here...
 celebrity boat...it was sooooo pretty
 French press coffee on the first morning on the sail boat we stayed on
 Marina... we slept a bit more soundly when docked than the night we anchored out of the marina in open water.  We don't have sea legs I guess. :)
 ropes and rigging...
 serious breakfast!  Who knew you could make all this in a little sailboat kitchen :D
 Luke gets a chance at wheel while sailing
 Me not catching a fish with Craig...
 Tuna with rice and tropical salad with peppers and tomatoes...and other tropical fruit I'm not sure I can identify-maybe guava or papaya :)
 Tree is in bloom at the start of the dry season...so pretty
 Local curry wrap

 old old water wheel used at the rum distillery


 pressed sugar cane used for fuel to heat the burner

 the press
 evaporating the cane juice
 burner under the distillery

 tiny tiny sample station :)
 they also had mango and chocolate rum varieties
 evaporation bowls not in use
 fruits grown at the chocolate plantation
 unripe cocoa pods...ripe is bright yellow or orange
 the white fruit on the outside of the bean inside the pod tastes like mango I thought
 Flowers and very little cocoa pods starting to grow
 if the pods are not picked, they dry up instead of falling down when ripe.  There are monkeys that will eat them, but pretty much they rot if people don't harvest them and make cocoa powder out of them.
 fermenting beans under banana leaves and then a jute bag for 6 days.  It felt really warm under the leaves from the fermentation process.
 Doing my part moving the beans around so they dry evenly in the sun.  The shell is still on so it's considered hygienic if you were thinking about my feet in the cocoa beans. :D haha

 with the outer shell removed. this part looks purple before drying and fermentation takes place.
 They don't export beans anymore, they make all the chocolate bars in house from all the beans they source.  We were told they sell the bars at Whole Foods in the US but I've never seen them or looked before so I don't know.
 The last house we stayed at was an AirBnB connection and was $50 US. :D  The water in the shower was room temp but hey, we got to see some real parts of Grenada and we were flying out the next morning early so we weren't too picky.  We had to balance out our cost on the sailboating. ;) ha

This fish sitting out by the window sill did NOT stink at all.  Must have been fresh.  this house was in a fishing area.




 right outside the house were the fishing boats
Thanks for having us Grenada!
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