Hike the Hooch: First Stop, Island Ford

{SMIJ by Jill “Game Day” hats and football thermal available at Henry & Pearl}

We love to hike and part of the fun is heading out of town an hour or more to find great spots to explore.  Let me clarify “we love”.  It’s always me coming up with the idea and “breaking the news” to the rest of the family.  Pat is usually pretty quick to jump on board.  I think he has already prepared himself for what he knows is coming as soon as the weather starts getting nice.  The kids want to know “how long of a drive is it?”, “can we bring our iPads, iPhones, etc?”, “What time will we be back?”, “What about my friends?”.  They give in pretty easily because they know I won’t give up!  And, let me tell you, without fail, 100% of the time, the one who complains the most about going is the one who never wants to leave.  Just sayin… Sometimes mom does know best.  And, we are all just different people after a few hours in nature.  There is just nothing like getting that fresh Georgia air into every last cell in your body.

So, while it’s fun to explore the endless options to hike around Georgia, sometimes you just don’t have that much time.  For those days, we have so many great options right in town.  I thought this Fall it would be fun to explore some favorites around the Chattahoochee.  Please share your experiences, too.  We are always looking for new places to explore.

First stop, Island Ford in Sandy Springs.  This park is right off Exit 6 in Dunwoody.  Very easy to get to, lots of parking and well-managed and staffed.  It is open every day except Christmas!  There is even a nice visitor’s center with clean restrooms and a park attendant to answer questions.  For your little – or big – scientists, they have a cool microscope display where the kids can get up close and personal with things they see in Georgia.

We started with this hike because it is very easy.  It is short and flat with breathtaking views of the river.  You can even take your shoes off and wade into the cool water in some kid-friendly spots.  We wish we would have brought a little snack because we wanted to enjoy a picnic on one of the rocks sticking out into the river – and because no one wanted to leave.  Remember that “mom knows best” thing…. The kids want to come back next weekend with bathing suits and a picnic.

The trail is fully shaded the entire way, but you can easily step off the trail at many spots to get close to the river and enjoy the sun.  I do recommend bug spray although we didn’t get bit, it seemed like a good thing to have along.  There are also two huge rock formations along the trail that kids can explore.  Great picture spots, too!  People were fishing, rafting, kayaking and enjoying this river.  We had a blast and we were back home right after lunch time with our lungs full of fresh air, our minds calm and plans for our next Chattahoochee adventure.  Stay tuned…




Summer Color

Yum! There is nothing like veggies at their peak. We actually came to this Farmer’s Market determined to leave with corn. We got distracted by so much goodness that I forgot the corn! Oh well… Grant picked out mini cucumbers and local snapper fish dip to top them with and… W O W! My new favorite lunch at the beach, for sure. This market is open again Saturday and I’ll be back for peppers and tomatoes for Shrimp Ceviche. Another favorite! I’ll share a recipe I love later this week. 

Beautiful & Delicious – Great for a Party!

I’ve been holding on to this recipe since April’s Southern Living waiting for Vidalias to be in season and the time had finally arrived.  I made this Spinach-and-Vidalia Dip last night and everyone loved it!  We even made the potato chips homemade in the fryer and used chives from Grant’s Herb Garden.  You could substitute kettle chips if you don’t have time to make them.  I think Sweet Potato chips would be great, too.  This is a great summer dip and it looks beautiful, making it a great dip to bring to a party to set out for a summer cookout.  We did cucumbers and red, yellow and orange peppers to dip along with the chips and my family raved more about how the peppers tasted in the dip than the chips.  They just really went together nicely.  All in all, highly recommend!

Driveway Bootcamp #2 • Taking it Up a Notch

SMIJDrivewayBootcampHeader

Continuing with Driveway Bootcamp today!  Talking next workout and running skorts.  First, fashion, of course. We’ve been talking about keeping it simple and getting it done.  Nothing helps me with that more than running skorts.  I can quickly grab a workout outfit that works for tennis, yoga, running or driveway bootcamp.  I’m ready for whatever workout I can squeeze in for the day and have a practical – and cute – outfit to get it done in.  Here are some favorites:

 

Now that I’m a few workouts back into my Driveway Workout habit, I took it up a notch or two.  Here is a higher impact, longer workout that I did after a few days or low and slow.

Warm-Up:
10 Sun Salutations

Work-Out:

Repeat 4 times: (1) 20 walking lunges (Yes, I love these and their results!) (2) Balance Arm Circles (picture below)  – Stand up holding one leg extended out in front while holding your arms out to the sides and making 30 small arm circles forward.  Next leg, do the arm circles backwards.

Then, 4 times:  (1) 10 Burpees with Jump and Push-Up and (2) 20 Standing Elbows to Knees – Stand up Straight, feet shoulder width apart, fingers interlocked (or close to it) behind head.  Lift knee up and touch it with opposite elbow trying to stay up as straight as possible.  Should feel this in abs.

Lastly, 4 sets of 10 (twice for each leg), do Lunge Kick-Backs illustrated below. Start in a lunge, stand up out of lunge and touch right foot to left hand (balance) and then push right leg back into lunge.  Repeat 10 times per leg, 4 sets total.

Abs:  Rocking Planks

I like to end with abs and I learned a doozie in yoga the other day.  Start in a plank position and rock forward and backward on your toes.  Keep your plank perfect and simply shift forward and backward for 10.  Do 4 sets of 10. You’ll feel this zip up your core big time – especially at the end of a workout.

Thanks for keeping me motivated to create fun Driveway Bootcamp workouts to share.  Again, I stop often in between these exercises to help my little people.  I try to just do the best I can, keep my heart rate up, and get it done while enjoying the time with the kids.  I know it’s better than nothing.  Hope to see the results this has given me in the past soon!

 


Vidalias! 

It’s Vidalia season and I just planned every meal this past weekend around them. We did fajitas with carmelized vidalias, vidalias sautéed with zucchini and squash, Vidalia onion rings with dipping sauce… Is anyone else thinking about Forrest Gump?  (BTW, see below… we MADE Outback’s Blooming Opnion sauce)

What makes a blooming onion so great? The sauce! I found someone who re-created it for home. She also has an amazing taco seasoning recipe. I’ve never gone back to store-bought. Had to share both.  Sauce HERE. Taco Seasoning HERE. Happy Vidalia Season!