We woke up last Sunday and I said, "Let's go to the zoo today!" Then The Hunter actually agreed with me....which he never does. Usually he will tell me we don't have the time or money. So, I ran to get ready before he changed his mind.
We jumped in the car with no food or water...which never happens either and took off. If there is ONE thing I have together it's my organization of food and water.
It was a little on the cool side but with our coats and hats we were just fine.
We decided that it's a lot nicer to go to the zoo when it's 45 degrees out instead of 95.
I think the animals like it a lot better too. They were out running around and playing. Usually when we go it's July and they are laying under a rock giving us the stink-eye.
Flowers are starting to bloom here...since we really didn't have a winter and March is feeling more like May.
There were very few people at the zoo so we were able to check out EVERYTHING without having to stand in line.
I really do not think I have ever seen this bear moving. We have often joked that he might just be a rug laid over a rock. But not today....today he was out moving around feeling frisky in the 40 degree weather.
The St. Louis Zoo has an awesome penguin exhibit. It's ever MORE awesome when it's 100 outside cause it's always 32 degrees in their indoor world. We always linger and enjoy the penguins a LOT...but not today. Today it was colder in THEIR world than ours. That was a first.
We ended up spending about $40 total for the day...not including gas so it was a GOOD day.
Last month we visited my sister who works at a fort....how cool is that?? It was VERY cool....literally. Hard to believe it was COLD only a couple of week ago. Last fall we were there for the Encampment with 10,000 other people. This time we had the place to ourselves and our own personal tour.
We took a small river cruise. Good thing they brought that guy along to paddle for them....doesn't look like anyone else is going to paddle.
After the cruise we had dinner at a local cabin.
Then my sister brought out the big guns....animal skins. My kids think this is the coolest. Bubby thinks about what kind of trap he can build when he gets home and Sissy wonders how she can decorate her room in wolf skins.
I want to share with you my new favorite drink/meal/snack....The Smoothie! Smoothies are very popular right now. I've seen recipes all over Pinterest. I've been reading up a lot online about fruit and veggie smoothies because I don't really get a lot of veggie's in my diet. Don't tell the kids but I really don't like vegetables. I try...I eat them cause I know they are good for me and I do feel better when I have eaten them but I don't really like them.
Between recipes I've found online and through friends and family I have come up with my own Smoothie 'recipe'.
To the blender I add:
some spinach leaves or broccoli
1/2 of an avocado (sometimes)
1 Cup Egg Whites
1 Cup Milk
1 Scoop Protein Powder
1 Scoop Ruby Reds Powder
1 Scoop of Glutamin Powder
I throw all this in the blender together. Don't worry....you can't taste the spinach! The blueberries over power the taste. I swear. My sister told me to add the spinach or I would have never tried this.
I don't add ice because my strawberries and blueberries are frozen. I pick them fresh earlier in the year and freeze them but you can also buy bags of frozen berries at the store. I also have pears on hand I picked and canned last year. Again...you can add whatever fruit or veggie you have on hand and like. If you hate banana's don't add it...it's fine.
This smoothie is SO creamy and yummy....especially if you add the avocado. Avocado's are very good for you but they are high in fat...good fat but still fat. So, if you are really trying to watch your weight you might want to limit how many you add a week. I love them because they are so good for your skin and hair.
I love the pineapple taste in my smoothies but it is hard to keep fresh pineapple around. My mom figured out how to buy the crushed pineapple and freeze it in ice cube trays. She got them at Bed, Bath & Beyond and they are for making ice sticks to go in your sports bottle. You can use regular ice cube trays if you want.
One can will make two trays. Once frozen I pop them out and put them in a freezer bag. I then use 3 sticks in one smoothie.
The protein powder I am using right now is Beverly International Vanilla. I've used chocolate and cookie's and cream but I personally like the vanilla the best for my daily smoothie. It's up to you. I don't really have an opinion on the protein powder. Buy whatever is all natural and whatever tastes the best.
The Ruby Reds I do have an opinion on. I love it!!! I take a couple scoops of this a day. I mix it with the smoothie, water and even my iced tea. It tastes like fruit punch. One scoop is all your fruits and veggies for the day. I feel so much better since I started using it. I even make the kids use it and we have rarely been sick this winter.
These are the egg whites I use and I really love them. 1 cup is equivalent to 10 eggs!! My hair and nails are growing like CRAZY!! I buy mine at our local gym but you can find other brands in stores. This brand is the only brand I have found that is 1 cup=10 eggs. They do not smell and you can not taste them. I swear! You can drink them straight or make them into an omelet.
The Glutamine is for your muscles. Again this is personal preference. I use it cause it seems to help with my muscle recovery after a workout.
I feel a bit silly giving nutrition advice but I talk about the smoothies I make and have had people ask me for the 'recipe' so I thought I should do a post about it. Basically I throw a bunch of fruit and veggies in a blender and mix them up.
Disclaimer #1: This is my breakfast and sometimes a before bed snack. It's not a meal replacement. I also have a couple of regular meals a day. I do work out an hour or two a day so my calorie and nutrition needs might be different than yours. You do what you need to do for your body.
If you have a smoothie recipe or supplement you use let us know in the comments.
Disclaimer #2: I was not paid by any of these companies to talk about their product. These are just the products I use at this time and my opinion of them. If any of these companies would like to send me free product I would be MORE than happy to try it out.
We were told there were very few items in the home from the original owners but everything was from the same time period. I thought the rooms were actually very homey feeling....not like a museum at all. Our tour guide was wonderful....but, unfortunately, I can't remember her name. I loved listening to her southern accent! It was like she was telling us a story.... not giving us a history lecture.
This is the downstairs hallway of the home. The staircase and the hardwood floors are not original to the home. Apparently the floors were marble at one time and one of the owners let his kids race horses through the house. Can you even imagine??!
The large dining room off the main hallway was very spacious but the dining table was made for children! I swear these people must have been four foot tall cause the chairs were tiny and the table not that far off the floor. The fan in the center of the table is original to the home.
This is the only room in the home that was not decorated in 19th century style. It's very 1950's looking because it was left exactly as the last owner, Mrs. Stewart, had decorated it. After her husband passed away she could not stand to sleep in the master bedroom anymore so she moved into one of the children's rooms until she herself passed away. How sweet is that?
This is the view from the second story balcony to what had once been the kitchen.....it has since been turned into a garage. The slaves would carry the covered food from the kitchen house to the main house. I have read they had to whistle the whole time they were carrying the food to insure they did not taste anything.
Someday I hope to visit this area again and tour EVERY plantation home along the river. I am going to be one of those old ladies on bus tours lunching on chicken salad and touring flower gardens. I can't wait! Want to join me??
Spreading the blog love....check out Shannon's great post about all our Louisiana adventures.
Call me dorky but I am obsessed with all things on Masterpiece Classic. I like to DVR all the episodes of Masterpiece Classics and when the house is all quiet I sit and watch them in private. It relaxes me.....and yes...when I hear the theme song I do get giddy.
I'm wondering if this love of Masterpiece Theatre comes from growing up with only 3 TV channels. Sometimes all one HAD to watch was PBS.
These shows are my soap operas. I like to think if they are speaking in a British accent then it's an educational experience. Hey...totally makes sense to me.
Have you seen this show? I LOVE LOVE LOVE Downton Abbey and can't get enough. This miniseries portrays life above and below the stairs in an extremely large home in England. I don't know about you but I love seeing how the servants lived.....maybe I relate to them better. Ha!
Right now I am reading this coffee table book The World of Downton Abbey. If you love this miniseries then you need to get this book. Pull color pictures and lots of behind the scenes information. Did you know this is an actual home. REAL people still live there. I'm thinking this home is bigger than the town I grew up in.
So....check your netflix, your library, the PBS listings, and set your DVR because this is a MUST SEE show.
(I don't know if you realized it but I wrote this whole post in a British accent.)
Oak Alley Plantation....this place has definitely been on my bucket list forever. I have ALWAYS wanted to walk down this path of trees.
Last month I was able to go with my friend Liz to New Orleans. She was there for a conference... I was there to hang out, get away from the home responsibilities, and have some much needed girl time.
The city of New Orleans was fun and interesting but the ONLY thing I really wanted to see was Oak Alley which was an hour outside of the city. I begged, pleaded and finally got my way....a rental car to plantation country. I seriously would have hitched a ride. Luckily I didn't have to....we walked up to the rental car place and the guy took one look at my long legs and decided I couldn't fit in a economy sized car. He VERY nicely suggested we might be 'more comportable' in a more luxurious car. We didn't argue and drove out of the city in style.
We were served lunch at the Plantation and we actually tried a bit of alligator. The general consensus was it was a bit tough and we aren't sure we would eat it again. It may have just been the way it was prepared. The fried catfish and duck were very good. All the sauces were homemade and SO yummy. We then had a egg plant/sausage casserole that was VERY filling.
Then we moved onto dessert. Bread Pudding in Whiskey Sauce.
Pecan Pie....which down there is pronounced p'CAN pie.
Praline Cheesecake. We were pronouncing it Pray-leen but our waitress made it into ONE syllable...not sure how she did it.
Chocolate Pecan Pie.
After what ended up being a HUGE lunch we were able to tour the grounds and home.
I'm in love...I want to live there. I'm not used to being in the city and around people all the time so being at the plantation was like a breath of fresh air.... literally. Everything was starting to bloom and smelled so spring-like.
The rooms of the house were so wonderful to see.
I'm not sure my friends enjoyed it as much as me but I do thank them for indulging me.