Monday, February 29, 2016

Geocaching in Hobart Indiana

Last weekend we took a little road-trip to Hobart, Indiana to do a little geocaching.  I don't know about you, but by the time February rolls around, I start to get cabin fever and I'm itching to hit the road.  But since we plow snow for a living, we can't venture far from home from December until the beginning of April.  To keep my wanderlust at bay, we plan day trips so we can get out of town and see some sights.  Lucky for me that we can combine day trips with geocaching.

Old Settlers Cemetery was small and out of the way.  I do love an historic cemetery.

Check out the old tilted headstones.  They remind me of crooked teeth....

Go Navy   was located at a military memorial.  Unfortunately the high winds last weekend broke and blew down 2 of the flags.  We found them flapping on the ground.  We picked them up and tried to secure them off the ground before we looked for the cache...

Another well hidden cache....

 Life is a Gas was my favorite cache of the day.  It was a gas nozzle - very clever!  We had actually tried to find this cache last year when we were in the area, but it had been missing.  We were happy to see that it had been replaced....

Here's an example of a well crafted and nicely hidden cache.  It was a hollowed out bolt....

How do you like this well  hidden cache?

Rocket J was a perfect name for this squirrel in a tree cache....

I always like to find an ammo can cache....

Or a small cache hiding out in a tree...

How do you Measure Up?  is a great example of a creative cache.  The log sheet was taped onto the measuring tape and you had to pull it out to sign it.  I have to remember this one!

We had a great day in Hobart, Indiana.  It's right next to Merrillville, Indiana where we went geocaching last July.  This area is ripe with fun caches.   In fact, there is a forest preserve there with a bunch of great caches around it that I am eyeing.  Future day trip - here we come!

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Vintage Wedding Photo

I have always loved my Grandma and Grandpa's wedding photo. They were married in 1928.  Late last year my parents gave me the photo.  It's such a great picture of them.  I think my grandma looks so elegant in her dress and headband.  Check out the huge bouquet of flowers with the draping ribbons.  This is the only time I've ever seen my grandma with short hair.  I remember her brushing out hair that reached all the way down her back and then twisting it into a braid before she went to bed.  During the day she would wrap it up into a neat bun that she piled on top of her head.  This photo of her as a young bride gives me a glimpse into her past and lets me see her as someone besides "Grandma."

My mom just told me "Her dress was blue velvet and she had made it herself. I still have a piece of the ribbon from the bouquet. She also carried a blue hanky that I carried at my wedding and two grandchildren of hers carried at their wedding. It is so fragile now that I have it framed along with the flower ribbon."

A week or two after they gave me the photo they had this frame laying by their front door because they were going to get rid of it. The frame was an ugly brown, made out of plastic, but it had a beautiful domed glass insert.   For some reason it also had this picture of a raccoon in it....

I tossed the frame into the trunk of my car and there it sat for a couple of weeks because I forgot about it.  When Tony put his cap and gown in the trunk for graduation, we told him the raccoon picture was his graduation present and made him pose at school with it.  My son has a good sense of humor and played along with our joke.  LOL!

I finally brought the frame inside and decided to paint it.  I mixed Aqua Smoke with a hint of black and got a really great gray/aqua color.  The photo doesn't do it justice, but take my word for it - it's a great color and beautifully offsets the black and white picture.  Then I popped Grandma and Grandpa's wedding photo into the frame.  It's a whole new look.

The framed photo is headed to the lake house.  It's going to look wonderful in my bedroom.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Gear Review - Lewis N. Clark ElectroLight Backpack

Gear Review - Lewis N. Clark ElectroLight Backpack

I recently discovered Lewis N. Clark Travel Accessories and Outdoor Gear and I couldn't wait to share this company with you.  The first product I was given to try out is their ElectroLight backpack.  They come in several color combinations and I'm partial to the blue/green colors.

(image courtesy of Lewis N Clark)

The backpack is constructed using an ultra light fabric that is water and stain resistant.  It comes with 2 adjustable shoulder straps, a top loop for hanging, a double sided zipper and a roomy interior with a large interior pocket. 

From their website:

ElectroLight is the packing solution that’s perfect for everything from camping to overseas trips.
Featuring bright bold colors and durable silnylon, these items are so lightweight that they will meet the needs of even the most minimalist travelers and backpackers.
With the ability to organize daily essentials and equipment alike, ElectroLight is the collection for anyone who doesn’t want to put up with heavy bags or disorganization.
• Ultra-lightweight packing organization
• Durable silnylon fabric is water- and stain-resistant
• Unfolds from compact pouch to full backpack
• Pouch can be used as a separate ditty bag
• Non-slip, adjustable straps
• Internal pocket
• Great for a light jacket, book, magazine, water bottle, and other small essentials
• 17in x 13in x 6in
Weight 3 oz.

I've been looking for a small, lightweight backpack.  Anyone who follows my blog knows how much time I spend outside hiking, geocaching and taking pictures.  A lightweight, yet durable backpack is a must for me and this one fits the bill perfectly.  There was ample room for my camera in the large compartment, and a water bottle and my wallet in the side pocket.  I tested the backpack at the RV Show last weekend.....

 After 2 hours of climbing in and out of RV's, I noticed how comfortable the backpack was and how my lower back was not aching at all.  The ultra light material is also cool.  I imagine this will be a huge bonus this summer when I'm hiking in the woods.

I also tested the backpack while we were out hiking and geocaching yesterday and it was fantastic!  I noticed a nice feature about this backpack - I could easily reverse it and wear it with the zipper side facing my back, making the inner contents inaccessible to anyone else.  I felt this was an added security feature, especially when I'm using the backpack out on the street or in a mall.

I guarantee that this backpack will be getting a lot of use.  It looks like it would be easy to toss into the washing machine if it gets dirty too.  How many backpacks can you say that about?

There's another reason why I'm crazy about this backpack - it comes with a ditty bag.   Check this out - the entire backpack easily folds up and fits into this 4" x 3" bag.

Can you imagine how convenient this is??  Simply fold up your ElectroLight backpack, stuff it into its sack and toss it into a suitcase, your purse, the glove compartment, a larger backpack, a gym bag, even your jacket pocket!  The Lewis N. Clark ElectroLight Backpack is perfect for camping, traveling and every day use.

Go over and visit the Lewis N. Clark website.  They have an amazing line of travel accessories and outdoor gear including electronics, health and personal gear, luggage and packing solutions, outdoor gear and travel security.  You can also visit their Facebook Page.

(I was provided a backpack for review purposes and asked to give an honest review.  All opinions are my own.)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Fiber and its Benefits

Fiber and its Benefits 

We’ve all been asked the question “how much fiber do you eat?” by doctors, nutritionists, dietitians, family members, and/or friends.  The topic usually comes up when you’re having some kind of problem in the bathroom and need some advice to find relief.  But what is fiber? Where do you get it? How much do you need? What are the benefits? There’s two types?

All these questions will be answered right here and now in the quickest way possible to save you all from hours of internet searches and endless contemplation.

What is Fiber?

Fiber is a part of plants that cannot be digested by the human body, which allows it to remain mostly intact while it passes through the GI tract.  Many of you have probably heard of soluble and insoluble fiber and may be wondering “whats the difference?”  Basically, it comes down to how the fiber acts in relation to water.

Soluble fiber:  Soluble fiber absorbs water and swells inside the GI tract.  This can slow down transit time and carry pathogens, fat, and cholesterol out of the body.

Insoluble fiber:  Insoluble fiber does not absorb water so it is said to add “bulk” to stools.  Insoluble fiber decreases transit time and makes stool elimination more simple. 

Sources of Fiber

Fiber can be found in many types of foods, but different foods usually have different types of fiber in different amounts.

Soluble fiber: Oatmeal and oat bran, beans ( black, pinto, kidney, navy, lima, and many more), all fruits and vegetables (especially oranges, avocados, brussel sprouts, and sweet potatoes), and nuts.

Insoluble fiber:  Whole grains (foods that say whole wheat or whole grain), vegetables (especially leafy greens, onions, bell peppers), popcorn, beans, and most fruits (especially raspberries). 


We started this conversation by talking about fiber helping out with bathroom related issues. It is true that fiber, both soluble and insoluble, can decrease problematic evacuation.  It is also true that insoluble fiber is seen to be more beneficial for this purpose than soluble fiber.  But surely there are more benefits of fiber than that right?  Correct!

People who consume enough fiber have been shown to have lower risks of certain cancers, diabetes, obesity, and many other medical complications

Cancer:  Studies have shown that increasing fiber intake decreases ones risk for colorectal, ovarian, prostate, and lung cancer.  People who have the highest intakes of fiber generally have the lowest risk for these types of cancer(when only fiber consumption is taken into account)1.  

Diabetes:  Fiber, especially fiber from whole grains, has long been shown to decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  Possible mechanisms for this are improved control of blood sugar (improved glycemic control) and body weight2.

Obesity:  Fiber has also been suggested to decrease the risk for becoming obese and gaining body fat3.  Fiber slows down digestion and elicits a feeling of fullness and satiety, which can decrease immediate and post meal calorie consumption.  Foods high in fiber are sometimes very low calorie in comparison to their volume (they have a high volume to calorie ratio), which increases fullness with fewer calories consumed.  This is especially true of fruits and vegetables. 

Amounts needed
 **These values are based on total fiber.  No specific recommendations for insoluble fiber intake currently exist.

In conclusion, fiber is important.  It helps stave off constipation and can decrease your risk for certain medical conditions.  There are two types of fiber, but you should only worry about your total fiber intake unless otherwise directed by your medical doctor or dietitian.

Written by Anthony Scornavacco.  If you missed his post on Iron, please go back and read it here.


1. Kunzmann AT, Coleman HG, Huang WY, Kitahara CM, Cantwell MM, Berndt SI: Dietary fiber intake and risk of colorectal cancer and incident and recurrent adenoma in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Am J Clin Nutr 2015;102:881-890.

2. Meyer KA, Kushi LH, Jacobs DR Jr, Slavin J, Sellers TA, Folsom AR. Carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and incident type 2 diabetes in older women. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;71:921-930

3. Liu S, Willett WC, Manson JE, Hu FB, Rosner B, Colditz G. Relation between changes in intakes of dietary fiber and grain products and changes in weight and development of obesity among middle-aged women. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78:920-927
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