Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Jeep Doors Off!!! But the Mom gene kicked in.

Finally! -- Last week the weather was nice enough to take a chance to go Full Monte on the Jeep. It was the first time taking all the doors off since purchasing the Jeep. It was a pretty simple process. We just removed two bolts from each door. Then all I had to do was lift them off the hinges --which took a little muscle power. But since I've been pumping iron in the gym -- getting ready for the big Warrior Dash in 10 days -- it was not a big deal. 


On the first spin around the neighborhood I took my two boys. It was fun at first but once we left the confines of the neighborhood my mom gene kicked in. I started to feel those panic moments we have when we think our kids are in danger. It wasn't long before we were back inside the safety of our neighborhood and home. I don't think anything will override that mom gene. The safety and well being of my kids will always come first. 


We all liked having the doors off and the freedom we felt. But at the same time there was a level of feeling exposed and unsafe. I don't think we will be riding around in the city with the doors off anytime soon. But once we go out camping or out off roadin' that will be another story. We won't have to worry about all those crazy big city drivers or being left feeling exposed to ogling eyes.
  
So for now the doors have been reattached but the windows are off and the top remains all the way down. Except for today with the torrential downpours we are experiencing. In the meantime we will wait to take the doors off until we get out on the trails. The countdown for that has begun -- 25 days until my trip to Rausch Creek for a little one on one off road driving instruction and getting to know my Jeep's capabilities. Then the experiences can begin and my decision on how I want to use my Jeep can be made. 

Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! -- 
-- The Jeep Momma Way! --

Monday, April 28, 2014

MyBuckleMate -- A Must for Every Jeep Mom! (and other Moms too)

I always seem to miss out on the cool stuff -- like having a cellphone in high school or the Internet in college. That would have made my life a little bit easier back then. Well, I just found another cool invention that I missed out on the great benefits.


MyBuckleMate


A mom friend and founder of MyBuckleMate, Meghan Khaitan, sent me one to take for a test drive in my JeepI only wish I had one of these about 14 years ago when my kids where smaller and in booster seats. It would have made getting in and out of the car easier with a toddler. However, I went ahead and installed it in the back seat. I wanted to see if my kids would like it. Now that they are older they get buckled in by themselves. Sometimes we have to wait while they struggle to get buckled or find the buckle. But not now.







It was so simple to install
Easy as 1, 2, 3!
Just remove the MyBuckleMate from the package.

Press the latch and pull apart until it disengages.






Lift up the buckle and slide MyBuckleMate around each side.







Push the two sides together until they click securely into one another and Presto you are done!

EASY!

But will the kids like it?







After installing MyBuckleMate, which took about 5 minutes max, I went to pick up my youngest and his friends at school. I wanted to see how they liked it. 

"There's no struggling with the buckle!"
"It's so cool I can do it with one hand!"
"Now I can find the buckle and don't have to look between the seats!"

MyBuckleMate:
  • Helps kids in booster seats
  • Helps adults with limited mobility and arthritis
  • Keeps the buckle from falling between the seats
  • Keeps the buckle from getting wedged under the booster seats
MyBuckleMate makes seat belt buckling simple and easy. Now, I can get out on the road quicker and feel the wind in my hair and sun on my face! No more waiting to find lost seat belt buckles! We like it so much we are ordering another set for the Chevy Avalanche.

Check out www.mybucklemate.com for more on this product and to order yours! 

Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! -- 
-- The Jeep Momma Way! --

Monday, April 21, 2014

Jeep Momma's Not Perfect

So it was brought to my attention that I -- Jeep Momma -- always seem to be having a good time, always keeping to my exercise routine and eating healthy twenty-four seven because I never write about the "bad things". Well folks I hate to tell ya -- I'm not perfect. 






Yes, I exercise -- run, bike and lift weights in the gym. I have gone down four pant sizes in the past year, ran my first 10K and plan on running in the Warrior Dash Race in May. But there are days when it's just not possible because I am so busy or I just don't feel like working out --  so I don't. Some days I feel like taking on the world and do them all. Or some days I need to do them all to clear my head and get some focus back. 



Yes, I have been clean eating and getting healthy. I don't always stick to that plan. Sometimes I just need to have a thick piece of white sourdough slathered in butter or even that gooey piece of chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream lathered in chocolate and carmel. Yes -- I make room for those cheats. Eating would be boring if we didn't give into our favorites once in a while.

Some days I wake up not feeling in the best of moods and even a ride in my Jeep just doesn't fix it. We all have those days. We sludge through the day go to bed and wake up the next morning ready for a new day. Good times wouldn't be so good if we didn't have some not so good times. So we all just trudge on through hoping tomorrow brings on better days.


So Jeep Momma isn't perfect. I haven't even gotten the Jeep muddy or been out wheelin'. Unless you count the snowy front yard. But I am on the move. I have scheduled a private off roadin' lesson for May. I'm excited and looking forward to learning more about my Jeep.

So.... No life isn't perfectly simple, healthy and Jeep happy but it's always a work in progress. I enjoy sharing those good moments with you and hope to inspire more Jeep Owners in this world. They can change your life.

     
 Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! -- 
-- The Jeep Momma Way! --

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jeep Momma Facing Another Dilemma

I am afraid I have put the "cart before the horse" or "jumped the gun" on my last blog about modifying my Jeep. I was asking myself -- modify my Jeep or not to modify my Jeep. Modifying a Jeep can be in many different forms and many different costs. It all depends on the reason for the modification -- Rock Crawling, Trail Riding with many different levels from difficult to easy, or modifing your Jeep just for the Beast-Mode look or I could just leave it stock.

To even begin to know what kind of -- if any -- modifications I need to make I need to decide how I want to use my Jeep. For me that's a hard choice since I've never been rock crawlin' or out on the trails. So before I even begin to ask myself these modification questions and spending thousands of dollars to change my Jeep -- I'd better get out there and experience it first. 

Now -- for Rock Crawlin' I've heard many different opinions on best Rock Crawlin' locations -- anywhere from West Virginia to Pennsylvania to Colorado to Northern California. So I took to google and began searching. The Four Wheeler Magazine listed the top Rock Crawlin' spots in the US.

Number One -- Rubicon Springs in Sacramento, California - The gold standard for rock crawling. A 12 mile length with some of the most famous obstacles around.

OK stop there...

I don't need to go any further! Hooked! But now my problem is two fold. First -- if this is the best of the best then my little ole stock Jeep would never be able to handle those rocks. And then jeez Northern California. 



That's 2700 miles away -- $1500 in gas not including lodging or food. That's quite a bit of money to dish out. So then I thought we could fly there and hook up with an outfitter to take us out. They have Rock Crawlin' Outfitters right. They have to. Nope! I searched and searched and found nothing. Or maybe I don't know where to search. So unless I have any friends who have Jeeps equipped for Rock Crawlin' who happen to live in Northern California I will have to find somewhere else. So back to the drawing board. Oh and by the way the 10 others next on the list were all on the west coast. Oh Well. 

Now onto trails. This can be such a daunting task to find trails and groups to go ride with. There are so many options. This is something you just can't do by yourself.  So I've signed up onto a Jeep forum in hopes to connect with some like minded Jeepers.




Next -- Beast-mode Modifications well my son is on this one. So far he wants 44 inch tires, a Rugged Ridge Bumper, Rubicon Rails and cut off the fenders. Hmmm! It's a thought... but I'm not into spending that kind of money just for a look. I want to have a purpose and lots of fun.




Well I could leave it Stock I just don't think that's an option but my wallet likes it.

So here it is. My mission has begun. Before I can even begin to decide what to do with my Jeep I need to go out and get the Jeep Experience!     



 Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! -- 
-- The Jeep Momma Way! --

Monday, April 14, 2014

To Mod or Not to Mod -- That is the question.

Ever since I got my Jeep everyone keeps giving me suggestions on how to "mod" it. 

 "Mod" means modify in case you didn't know. 

Everything from a lift kit and new tires to a new bumper. My son wants me to get rid of the fenders so my Jeep will look Beast-Mode.

I've been checking out a lot of places where we can take the Jeep off roadin'. There are some really great spots. We could go camping at Assateague State Park. There are sections of beachfront we can drive on. There are dirt trails in the mountains. There are creek beds and muddy trails as well. But the coolest I've seen is Rock Crawlin'. Check out this link for some pretty awesome videos out of Northern California. I saw these videos and would love to take my Jeep out there.
 https://www.youtube.com/user/FamilyJK1

But if I want to go out on most any of these trails I would need to make some changes to my Jeep. If I want to go Rock Crawling I would need to make major changes. Now, I have to ask myself many questions. Making these kind of changes to my Jeep can cost thousands of dollars. Spending that kind of money would mean a committment to the hobby. I also need to look at the facts. My Jeep is our family car. We take it to the grocery store and to school. It's only a year old and still not paid off. So taking it out on the trails or rock crawling could be risky.

Some questions: Do we have spare money to mod the Jeep? How often would I have time to go out on the trails? Would I have the oportunity to go Rock Crawling? If I lifted the Jeep would it fit in the garage?

So as I sit and ponder these questions I still have the itch to get out on the trails. Especially those mountainous rocky ones. So maybe I can convince the group in Northern California to give this Maryland Jeep family a sneak peak into their Rock Crawlin' adventures. We can throw our tent into the back of the Jeep and head out on the road. It would be like one of those family vactions at a dude ranch but we are crawlin' on rocks in Jeeps instead of riding horses on a trail. We like the outdoors -- nights sleeping under the stars and warm sunny California days in the mountians crawlin' on trails. We could even bring the hot dogs and smores.


 Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! -- 
-- The Jeep Momma Way! --
    

Friday, April 11, 2014

Jeep Momma Venting - Can't Just Let it Go.





I interupt this regularly scheduled blog post for an important announcement. 



Normally today's post would have been a showcase of my latest photos and an update on my passion for photography. With the arrival of the Spring colors I've been snapping quite a few photos. But something has been weighing on my mind lately that I need to get off my chest. Perhaps I should "let it go" but if you know me -- that's a very difficult thing to do.



I bought my Jeep -- a brand new 2013 Sahara Unlimited -- almost a year ago. The Jeep replaced the "grocery getter soccer mom" car we had. The Jeep became our family vehicle. I have never been so thrilled about a purchase of a vehicle before. It brought a new joy into my life and lifted my spirits. 

Getting old sucks and I was having a hard time dealing with it but the Jeep opened up doors that normally wouldn't have been there to open. 






I love to drive my Jeep in the summer with the top down and even in the winter with the top down. It's refreshing and energizing. Plus, I became part of a great family - the Jeep family. Huh?  You ask. Well it's a Jeep thing and most don't understand. 






However, since the purchase of my Jeep I have dealt with all those naysayers out there. Yes.. I know the Jeep is a gas guzzler! Yes... I know know it rides rough! Yes... I know I won't get to be a part the carpools anymore (YAY!). I've heard it all from it's not a practical car for a mom or a family to girls don't know how to drive a Jeep to it's unsafe. I get those looks at school drop off from other moms and dads as well. Yep people -- Mid-life crisis vehicle here -- and I love it! I just wish I would have become a part of this family years ago in my 20's!


I quickly got over those naysayers telling myself I don't really care what they think. I like my Jeep and my family like my Jeep. I have a good time driving it and it makes me happy.  

But what has pushed me over the edge are the naysayers within my own family -- the Jeep family. Here's what I say to you.

I love my JeepI am a big fan of the Jeep wave. I always give a wave or wave back.  I take my Jeep everywhere. I don't care if it's stock or modified or if I'm on the road or off the road. I LOVE MY JEEP!  




Look!!!  Here we are at the grocery store. 

And may I ask what is wrong with running daily errands in my Jeep.  A girl's gotta eat! 









Yep I pick my kids up at school -- IN MY JEEP











Oh and guess what... when I go workout I go to the gym IN MY JEEP! 

No, I haven't been mudding yet. No, I haven't been off roadin' either unless you count my front yard. 

And the shocker of it all is MY JEEP IS STOCK well except for the floor mats. What are you going to say about that - wait I don't care. 


I love ALL Jeeps stock or modified. I don't care if you go to the mountains of Colorado or deserts of the Arizona to drive your Jeep. You can pick up your kids, your groceries or your mail in your Jeep. I don't care. As long as you love driving your Jeep and have a good time that's all that matters. Oh wait there is one important thing that does matter to me -- the Jeep Wave. Please make sure you wave back.



So haters please quit hating on my stock, grocery getting, kid hauling, errand running Jeep. Someday we will hit the trails for some off road fun. But right now I'm going to take it slow and easy, put the top down and enjoy the wind in my hair and the sun of my face.     
  




And like my friends son always says. I don't fah-care what you think! It's my Jeep and I'm sticking to it. 

 Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life!-- The Jeep Momma Way!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What you see is what you get. This is ME - Jeep Momma!

If you could go back in time to visit your younger self what advice would you give yourself?  

There's a saying people say -- if only we knew then what we know now. Unfortunately that won't ever happen. It's a part of life and a part of growing up. All our experiences make us who we are today. 



Seeing this old picture of myself -- a #TBT picture -- Throw Back Thursday for those who don't read hashtag speak -- sparked that question for me. In the picture you notice I'm wearing a pink top with matching pink sunglasses. WOW! Anyone who knows me would say the same thing. I am not a pink kinda gal. Never really was and seeing this picture made me wonder. But it all makes sense when you see how young I was.  I was trying to fit in -- be who everyone expected me to be. I wanted everyone to like me. So that would be the first piece of advice I would give myself. 

Be who YOU want to be not how you think you should be! Don't worry about what other people think. 






I didn't always cave to peer pressure stereotyping. Instead of being the pretty girl in front of the camera I was one of very few -- at the time -- female videographers. I liked it behind the camera and behind the scenes. I liked getting muddy and dirty running through the woods chasing bad guys. Or sitting in the hot steamy sun for hours waiting to get a shot of the bad guy coming out of court. That's me.  










Too much time is wasted trying to be who you are not -- and worrying about what others think. A friend posted a picture that says it all for me.






Growing up I let too many people's opinions and actions affect me. Those actions changed things about myself that I really liked. It wasn't only until recently that I discovered long lost loves of the past. No not people but things I enjoyed doing! I get sad thinking about everything I missed out on because of how other people (kids) treated me. It was a form of bullying. But I guess back then there was no such thing as Bully awareness. It was a part of life you had to deal with and we did. We were tough, resilent kids. We had to be tough and resilent it was how you grew up. We didn't have seat belts, bike helmets and we played outside all day long running throughout the whole neighborhood at the age of five!

Now -- I decided not to waste anymore of my time here on this great planet we call Earth. I am going to be who I want to be. Either you like me or you don't.  



 I drive a Jeep because I LOVE my Jeep. Nope it's not a practical soccer mom hauler. And yes it is a gas guzzler. Oh yep I know it is a bumpy ride. But you know what! I don't care! I get to drive a big fun 4X4 -- in the mud -- yes the mud and I want my Jeep to be dirty because I think it's cool! What other vehicle lets you be a part of a family where you are welcomed no matter what - unless you don't wave back then we don't like you anymore.  






I write a blog! Yeah my blog is about ME! I LOVE me! I'm a Leo see me roar! 



My favorite color is purple. I would rather have leather and pewter than gold and diamonds. I would rather camp and hike in the woods then go see a musical on Broadway. I don't wear nail polish or make up but I like a glass of wine. Though I'm really a  - drink a beer out of the bottle -kinda gal. But now I have to watch those calories. :(

So this is me... Take it or Leave it because I'm not going anywhere!  

Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life!-- The Jeep Momma Way!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Jeep Momma goes Italian - Italian Chicken

I'm always looking for simple, easy to make recipes that are tasty but healthy. They have to be clean - my version of clean - organic - protein - veggies - no starches. Check out my website for more on my version of clean eating. www.thejeepmommaway.com




My two favorite types of food are Mexican and Italian. Both can be very fattening. So I'm always looking for ways to get my Mexican or Italian fix with out all the extra weight gain. 

Here's my version of Italian Chicken. It's super easy to make and very yummy. I cook it in a crock pot on low for about 7 hours. You can serve it with whole wheat pasta, quinoa, or Jeep Momma's version of pasta -- sliced zucchini.





Jeep Momma's Slow-Cooked Italian Chicken
  
3 4-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 Red Pepper sliced

1 Green Pepper sliced
1 Vidalia onion sliced
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
6 oz can tomato paste
4 tbsp red wine
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes optional


I like to add a lot of mushrooms to my Italian Chicken for many reasons. One is I love mushrooms but they are also very good for you. Here are 5 reasons you should eat mushrooms. 


Boost your Immune System
Increase your Vitamin D
Antioxidant
Kick up your Metabolism
Good for your Bladder 


Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life!  -- 
The Jeep Momma Way!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Spring has Spung!



Friday's Fotos of the Week

Spring has Sprung! 

No, not that kinda Spring. 



I am so glad Spring has finally arrived. This has been a very long and cold winter. I was tired of all the frigid wet weather and being stuck indoors. My options were limited for snapping photos. Now with the arrival of Spring it means Summer is just around the corner and the kids will be out of school. The opportunities for adventure abound. I'm very excited for the opportunity to get creative with my photography. 



The arrival of Spring means a blossoming of colors. The first color we see here in Maryland is yellow -- yellow daffodil and yellow forsythia. When taking pictures of flowers you really need to get in close. I found it to be very difficult with the lens I have. My lens is pretty basic, so now I am researching new camera lenses. 











On my adventure to find my passion I discovered my long lost love of photography. It wasn't until I started to reflect on my life about what I enjoyed did I remember that love I had was younger. Also I had a career as a videographer. Then dedicated myself to my kids. Now that my kids are older I have begun a search for the next steps in my life. I have found photography to be very relaxing and a way to express my creative self. It's also a way to show the world how I see life.      





Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life!-- The Jeep Momma Way!



  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Jeep Momma-- into Overdrive to Boost my Metabolism - Shed the Belly Fat!

Metabolism -- a word that didn't mean a whole lot to me when I was younger. But now it's very important. Metabolism is when substances are broken down to yield energy. So the higher the metabolism the more "substances" your body breaks down to energy. The faster your metabolism the more calories you burn. The more calories you burn the easier it is to drop pounds. 

A woman's metabolism slows by about 5 percent with each passing decade. Hormones play a role, but mostly it's because as you get older, you typically become less active. As a result, you lose muscle mass, a major consumer of all those calories you scarf down.  You can outsmart the aging process with a few tips. If you don't here's what will happen. 
  • 20s:Your muscle and bone mass are at their peak.
  • 30s: Your mitochondria—cellular powerhouses that fuel muscles to use more oxygen and burn more energy—become less effective.
  • 40s: A drop in estrogen production further slows metabolism.
  • 50s: Sharp decreases in activity reduce the levels of hormones responsible for maintaining lean muscle mass and bone density.
You can help speed up your metabolism by what you eat and how you exercise. Here are a few tips that I'm going to be trying out to throw my metabolism into overdrive.


  • Eat a good breakfast
  • Sipping coffee/tea -- Caffeine -- first thing in the morning  
  • Drink eight 12 oz glasses of cold water
  • Eat protein at every meal
  • Drink Greet Tea
  • Eat more chili peppers 
  • More dark leafy greens - spinach, broccoli
  • Get plenty of sleep




Calcium-rich afternoon snack -- eight ounces of milk or six ounces of low-fat yogurt. 
Calcium helps your body metabolize fat more efficiently by increasing the rate at which it gets rid of fat as waste 





Eat Organic  - researchers in Canada found that dieters with the most organochlorides (chemicals found in pesticides) stored in their fat cells were the most susceptible to disruptions in mitochondrial activity and thyroid function. In other words -- Their metabolism stalled.

Can't afford a full organic switch check out foodnews.org/fulllist for the most (and the least) contaminated foods.








Slow down strength training -- when lowering the weight count to three and lower it slowly.





Mix up the intensity when running or biking -- short bursts of sprints.




 Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! -- The Jeep Momma Way!