Happy Halloween!!

Ever have a diary or something when you were a kid - and then go back and read is ages later?  Yeah, well, I didn't.  I'm not the diary type.  And I'm not a hoarder, so even if I did have one, it would be long gone by now. But I get a kick out of writing this blog and reading the zillions I follow.  Because of that, and because I was bored last year and wanted a healthy place to focus my attention (the couch gets really boring sometimes.) I started a now-defunct blog - Balance Your Journey.  It had healthy posts about exercise and eating with a vegan recipe or two and some crazy new exercise trends I was trying when I wasn't sitting on the couch.  But the interesting part (to me, a year later) was the page someone asked me to write explaining a little bit about myself.  I've posted it below - and added updates to it out to the side.  
Where to begin?  How about with that title up there.  Balance Your Journey.  Isn't that what life is all about? I think so - I'm a big fan of balance.  From the literal to the figurative, I try to balance all aspects in my life. 

A little about me:
  1. I'm a fitness instructor - yoga, pilates and TRX (how's that for literal?)
  2. I love to hang out on the water - particularly on the SUP 
  3. I am an artist - I love photography, painting and hand dying silk scarves
  4. I'm newly Vegan. 
  5. I am in culinary school - just for fun! 
  6. I love to learn new things
  7. I am currently studying/training for my 200hr yoga teacher certification 
  8. I am the 2nd of 6 crazy kids - thus bossy and opinionated
  9. I am ridiculously frugal
  10. I LOVE travel!
  11. I am quite the bookworm
  12. I have a fabulous husband, step-daughter and 2 weenies

1- I am always looking for new, fun ways to be fit!  I'll be sure to post new fads/ideas/gizmos as I run across them. (and water aerobics and Senior Chair Fitness)
2 - SUP is one of those crazy fun ways to stay in shape while soaking in the beauty of Savannah, GA - and anywhere else I drag that big ole board.
3 - I'll be sure to post new ideas/projects/crafts!  There's a link up there to my Etsy shop.  I also sell my silk scarves at Red Clover Boutique in Savannah, GA.  (now this shop is only hand dyed cotton - currently working on a nautical themed jewelry shop!)
4 - I don't know how long that will last, but I'll share recipes while I try out this new lifestyle.   (that lasted until Thanksgiving, when I had a wild fling with ham and began a long-term affair with dairy)
5 - I absolutely love food.  I love to cook it, eat it and share it!   (yep, still there - in the never-ending "you only need 10 classes!" program)
6 - See 5 and 7  
7 - Namaste, y'all!  (Dude.  That is EXPENSIVE.  I am 1/2 way done but figure I can do a full training on an island in Costa Rica one day if the urge strikes.  For now, I'm perfectly happy teaching yoga in a gym setting under my gym certifications and a half finished YogaFit cert.)
8 - For some reason people always ask my opinion on things.  I don't really know why, other than I always have one.  But I try to stay open to new things, so those opinions do change as I learn and grow.  I think this is the primary reason for creating this blog - so I can share the answers to the questions I get asked the most.  (I guess I ran out of new things.  Or went back to work.)
9 - I am always looking for ways to save money!  It's like a game.  I'll be posting tips as I find them - and would love to hear of yours!  (pretty sure this will Never change.)
10 - Sure, I like to save money - but life is all about the experiences we accumulate while we're here on this gorgeous planet!  So I may not be the flashiest dresser - but I have a pretty impressive passport :)
11 - I also LOVE to read!  I'll be posting good reads as I run across them.  I'm a big fan of Historical Fiction, spirituality, healthy lifestyle, mystery, and even trashy beach romance novels.  
12 - I have the coolest family ever.  

So there you have it.  A brief summary.  Have questions?  Just comment or send me a message.  You can also Like my page on Facebook, or Follow this blog to stay up to date.  (good luck finding that FB page.  But you can follow this one!)  

Thanks for visiting!  


Boat Food! - Amaranth

Hello, I'm Jennifer and I'm a food snob.  Kinda.  I have been trying hard to buy local and/or organic whenever possible because the nutrient content is higher.  And the weird chemical content is lower.  I don't like chemicals.  Or preservatives.  But what about on a boat?  Mark was kind enough to remind me a while back that I can't just stop at a farmer's market in the middle of an ocean crossing.  He's nice that way.

Since we're not ready to leave any time soon, and I am in no hurry to give up healthy eating, I'm researching/cooking with healthy yet boat-friendly foods.  Today we're gonna talk about Amaranth.  I'm sure, unless you live under a rock (or in the middle of an ocean) that you've heard of Quinoa by now.  But what about amaranth?  It is also a tiny, dry (great for a boat!) grain (technically quinoa is a seed, but whatever).  Amaranth is also a great veggie source of protein.  I was able to find it at our local health food store in bulk for about $2.50/lb, as well as at Whole Foods - also in the bulk food section, at about the same price.  That's a whole lot cheaper and easier to store on a boat than meat.  But now I have to figure out what the heck to do with it.

The general cooking rule is 2.5 to 1 - water to amaranth.  It cooks up in about 20 minutes and has a wee bit of crunch at that time.  You can apparently cook it a little longer and it becomes kind of like porridge.  My first round is a little bland - but it seems to take on whatever flavors you cook it with, so it becomes a bit of a chameleon in the kitchen.  The bowl I'm having for lunch was cooked with salted water (needs a little more salt) and an Italian spice blend.  I added fresh tomatoes, garlic and a jar of artichoke hearts during the last few minutes of cooking and then topped with mozzarella cheese.  It's pretty darn tasty.  I've stuffed a red pepper with it for Mark's dinner tonight.

I can see cooking it with just about anything.  One recipe calls for simmering it with milk then adding sugar/butter - so it would become more of a hot breakfast cereal.  I also think it'd be great with mushrooms and cooked in beef stock.  As I experiment, I'll try to add more recipes.  In the meantime - here's the best part, the nutritional information:
It's gluten free, a great source of lysine and iron, has a decent (and absorbable) calcium content, 1 cup has 18 grams of fiber vs 2.4 in white rice, and is a good source of vitamin E/polyunsaturated fats (similar to olive oil).

Another handy little bit of info - you can pop it!  Just like popcorn.  This stuff is tiny, but it supposedly is great on top of salads, etc for extra crunch.  I'm not sure I'd sit around eating it like popcorn, but if I do, I'll let you know how it goes...

Anybody out there tried it/have a great recipe using it?  I'm sure there are a million ways to cook it and am ready to start trying them all.



So many boxes/packages have been showing up in the mail this week.  But most importantly - guess who's shiny new dinghy outboard showed up yesterday!?!  Yep.  Ours.  Too bad it's not actually attached to the dinghy and ready to go.  But soon!  Mark has his 140 mile bicycle ride from Savannah to Augusta tomorrow, but we'll get it installed and tested and blogged about before you know it.  Have a great weekend!  :)

Anybody want to buy some very well used, but a bit dusty wakeboards?  I see those going up for sale before we leave this condo life...  (yeah, there's at least 4 and a wakeskate back there.  We like toys.)
Can't wait to attach it to something other than a step stool.  


Death to Dust Mites

***Ok, to be honest, this post is over a week old and I just never got around to actually posting it.  I took a final pic of the covered cushions, but when I got home, the lighting was terrible.  So I decided not to post without going back to get another pic.  I just got back from the boat, and the bed was made, and I didn't want to disturb it.  It was all peaceful looking and junk.  (or maybe I didn't want to remake it?)  Anyhow, here's the post - minus the final final pic (there's one of the smaller one finished) of the aft cabin.***

Pretty much no sleep last night (Friday).  I've mentioned a couple of times that I'm working on adding memory foam to the berths and recovering them.  They seem to have the original foam and definitely have the original striped Beneteau fabric.
Ideally, I will replace all of the original "charter" fabrics (salon pleather, mainsail cover, bimini, outdoor cushions and all the green, navy and maroon striped stuff throughout), but for now I'm just trying to annihilate the stupid dust mites that are clearly (per my lungs) stowing away on Luna Sea. 
Last Sunday, after nursing a sick LibbyLou back to health, I managed to get the memory foam cut to fit the forward berth, as well as the fabric cut to cover the aft starboard berth.  The aft berth has two cushions in it - and I've already covered the smaller one with this weird outdoor fabric that I found at WalMart for a steal.  

I'm using pinking shears for all of my cuts to reduce the risk of fraying threads.

 I'm reusing the breathable backing and zippers.  I don't think I'd ever sewn a zipper before that small cushion.
The larger cushion that I did manage to get fabric cut for last weekend.  
Re-covering was interesting, but I think I've got it figured out.  I like a good puzzle - and by dismantling the existing cushions, I feel like it's kind of a game.  (anybody wanna come over and play?)
Back to my lack of sleep.  We slept on the newly memory-foamed forward berth Friday night -with freshly washed sheets, but it hasn't been sealed yet with the Weird Walmart Stuff.  And  I just could. not. sleep.  I don't know if I couldn't get comfortable, if it was just sleeping in a different cabin or that the dust mites were having their way with me without my knowing it...
File:House Dust Mite.jpg
Image from Wikipedia
I am pretty allergic to dust mites.  I've learned over the past few years that almost anytime I feel sickly, it's because of these tiny little suckers.  They live everywhere - well, in pretty much any fabric that can breathe -sheets, cloth pillows, rugs, mattresses, etc.  The only way you can get rid of them is to wash the fabric in hot water - or not use/have fabrics that are dust mite friendly.  That brings me back to the weird WalMart Fabric.  It's tan - so it doesn't look weird, but it has some sort of plastic-y waterproof barrier on the inside of the fabric.  It's a little coarse, so I hope it softens up a bit with use - but I'll put sheets on it anyway, so hopefully it's a moot point.  I don't think the dust mites can really get through it - maybe it will slow them down, at the least.

I woke up a little wheezy (apparently they are the cause of my occasional asthma attacks), with a scratchy throat.  And tired.  If I didn't know better, I'd say I'm coming down with something.  But I do know better.  So instead, I've whipped out my already cut fabric and gotten to work on finishing the aft berth.  This girl is sleeping dust mite free tonight!


I did manage to get the fabric for the top of the bigger cushion sewn Saturday morning before we sailed off, but we opted for fun over work (yay!) so the backing/zipper project was saved for Monday.

Update on above Update:

I spent a few hours on Luna Sea yesterday finishing up the aft cabin - and it should now provide relatively dust-mite-free sleep!

Sunday - Up the Mast - and other small projects

We headed off to Luna Sea late this morning to finish off a few projects and visit with friends and boat neighbors.

I covered the ports in the salon with some static cling window vinyl stuff - my version of curtains.  Here's a pic of Mark working on a template - most of the windows were simple, but two of them were fairly challenging.  Not that we're perfectionists or anything...

One of the easier lights
Then I headed on up the mast for some de-rustification.  (That's a word, right?)  Translation: I strapped on that adorable bosun's chair, hooked into the main halyard, and Mark had the privilege of winching me on up.  He only complained a little - and was smart enough to choose his words carefully.  

On up to the top to check out the burned out anchor light

Figured I oughta take a couple of shots from above - here's that .29 mile hike I used to whine about allllll the way to the parking lot.

We need a pirate flag.  I should add it to that ever-growing list...

There's Mark's noggin' poking out from under the boom. 
So that whole mast event was really fun.  I was even able to swing around a little and pretend I was an acrobat.  Maybe I should add an electric winch to the list so I can talk Mark into sending me up there more often.

Mark also hung up the safety net to keep the wiener's from sliding off the boat - but I forgot to take pics. (It's always best to keep your wieners contained.)  I'll just have to post on that another time.  Happy Sunday!


Another First - a weekend in pictures.

We had another First this weekend - we headed out to meet some friends in Wassaw Creek to raft up for an over-night trip.  We've done one over-nighter before, but we were alone.
Saturday morning Mark headed off for his 60 mile bicycle ride while I prepped for the boat then we grabbed a quick lunch and loaded up.  Our friends on Tammy Ann headed out an hour or two before us, so we just shoved off when we were ready and headed their way.  The winds were light, we motored most of the way.

We headed down the river, into the ocean then around Wassaw and in at Odingsell.  It took about 4 hours - and we didn't go that far, via a map.  But it was a great distance for an easy, relaxing overnight.
We got rafted up to our friends and settled in with drinks and a snack in plenty of time to enjoy the setting sun.

The first time we've rafted up - they had their anchor out and we were just tied to them.  Made for a peaceful night of sleep - the anchor was their responsibility!

As gorgeous as that sunset was, I enjoyed the misty, foggy morning almost as much.  (Minus the sand gnat swarms...)

Our single, unknown  neighbor - a hefty catamaran down the creek a-ways.

After a shared brunch, we all packed up and shoved off around noon to head back.  Still light winds, but a little more sailing.
The deepest part of the channel runs right along the beach - had to really hug it during low tide.  It completely throws me off when that happens - you would think it would be shallow there.

Tammy Ann cruising along under sail power.

Libby is feeling much better this week.

THIS is Heeling.  This is what makes me nervous.  But it was much better this weekend.  Only one pouf of air that really pushed us over.  (This is not our boat - just a shot of someone else that is a good demonstration)

More heeling

We were being stalked back to the marina.

These guys flew right up to the pod, then wondered where the went...  (they were behind the boat - the dark section 1/3 of the way between the edge of the photo and the boat.)  You are not supposed to drive within around 50 yards of the dolphins.  They can come up to you, but you're not supposed to go up to them.  Silly power boaters.  

I've noticed an unfortunate pattern.  When we have a hard time leaving the dock, it's a breeze getting back in.  This weekend it was a breeze leaving and a bugger getting back in.  Oh well, no boats were hurt, we just entertained the folks at the dock for a while.

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