Monday, August 30, 2010

our first camping trip, a few lessons learned included

this past weekend jamie and i took the kids to fairy stone state park in stuart, virginia, for a first time camping trip. it was fun. i really enjoyed the camping part, just not the kids part. i learned a great deal though and i thought i would share my lessons with you. first, don't take kids or specifically my kids. they are non-listening, sprinting, yelling, spitting, arguing, hair pulling brats and that is just travis. my kids were so unruly it it was sad. they took our camping trip from an ten to a two on the drive up! they yelled and fought the whole four and a half hours in the car. i can not remember how many times we pulled over to rebuckle seat belts, pass out threats of corporal punishment and "i will turn this truck around". it was crazy. once we got there, it didn't get much better....

looks cute, huh? looks can be deceiving....

we were lucky and got the campsite number one which was excellent. there were no campers to the right, of course, and we were about fifty yards to site number two. it work out great for the other campers, our hoodlums would not be disturbing them or riffling through their belongs. i guess that is another lesson i learned, the farther away from fellow campers, the better for all of us, the campground, the state of virginia. 

our hillbilly camp all ready to go....

another lesson learned ,just because it is august, don't think you won't get cold at night. jamie and myself froze, huddling under two beach towels. the kids, they were fine in their sleeping bags and a comforter. also, it is pretty much a given that in any direction, give or take fifteen miles or so, there will be a walmart, where you can purchase two more sleeping bags.

caroline or pyro, as we like to call her, was obsessed with burning the end of her marshmallow stick, then putting it out and doing it again, over and over and over. travis, too, but he had a tendency to put it out on his sister's leg, so after that occurred a coupla times i javelin it out into the woods.

we did the required hot dogs and s'mores the first night.

travis with his s'more, it was only one bite and he was over it. thank goodness bedtime came next. he had run the campsite, tripped, burnt sticks and his sister so he pretty much crashed and burned himself. ptl.

morning came slowly....i was cold and mother nature was loud....

the next morning we went to go hunt fairy stones. it started out innocent enough....

notice travis' step, that turned into a jog, then a sprint! he was off and out of sight within seconds. i was dialing search and rescue on my phone, well if i could have gotten a signal. caroline took off to catch him and he stopped long enough to pick up fistfuls of gravel to pelt her. she's screaming, so jamie takes over the chase, only to catch up with travis as he trips over a tree root, so after a few choice words and tears we are all back in the truck and off. it was all said and done under five minutes. it is going to be a fun day. i can feel it.

back to the park to explore....

on to paddle boating....caroline is so excited and peddles furiously and get us out in the middle of the lake....
and craps out on me. she starts complaining about being hot and tired. i knew it. we have the boat for an hour and last maybe twenty minutes. i peddle us back into the dock with her occasionally burst of energetic help. i go to get out of the paddle boat and ask her to give me a hand. she jerks me so hard without warning, i land face first in the gravel. i am sure it was a lovely site for all to see, my life jacketed big butt getting up on all fours with bloody knees. i was not happy. yep, it is a great day. oh well, on to the next adventure. did i mentioned that we walked to the beach front from the campsite, about mile and half up and down the foothills. i now had to get back to the campsite, hot, tired and wounded. greaaaat.

we took our time going back, i had no choice. i was hurting.

pretty things to look at along the way....

required "look i am in a tree" picture....

after we get back from our hike we take a break and grab lunch...we then attempt to take the kids fishing. fairy stone park does not have a large bank fishing area and what they did have was already swarming with little kids, so we opted to let them swim instead. fairy stone park does have a wonderful lake setup for kids and adults, just beautiful.....

the kids had fun. caroline immediately made friends with a set of twin girls from new kent county, which is not far from our home. she had a blast. travis, what can i say? he would just not listen and kept creeping out into deep water. i had his life jacket, but didn't put it on him because i was afraid it would give him too much confidence and even more defiance. he had fun regardless. jamie and i did, too. time to go back to camp and get ready for dinner. thank goodness we drove down this time, 'cause my knee was really hurting.

that is the best part of the trip....

dinner! oh, another lesson learned, pie irons!!! they are fantastic!!! i brought fixin's for pizza and quesadillas. they were delicious. the pizzas were the best. jamie and the kids ate and ate, all was good.

now a little after dinner entertainment and no it was not campfire songs. it was a movie and popcorn. there was an electrical hookup at our campsite, so i had brought the laptop. it was a smart idea, but i burnt the jiffy pop over the campfire, not so smart. oh, and glo sticks, another smart move, but only one pack, not so smart. the lesson, buy multiple packs from the dollar store next trip, so each child has a ton and won't whine. also, glo sticks are great entertainment in the tent when the five year old is not into the movie. they help him fall asleep. ptl.

we enjoyed the movie, popcornless, and then called it a night. next morning we were packed and on the way back home by eight a.m. we separated the kids, me in the back with travis and caroline up front with dad, all was well, mostly.

i learned a lot of little things about camping and myself. i want a cot. air mattresses are not good, especially if they have a slow leak. i want a real toiletry bag, not a plastic shopping bag from the h&m store to haul back and forth from the bath house. i want a real kettle for the campfire, not a stainless handled mixing bowl. i want a broom to keep the sand out of the tent. i want, i want....i want to go camping again. it was a fantastic time despite all the mishaps, fussing and craziness. i want to do it again and i want to do it with my kids. it was the best. we have laughed about it all already and the kids, individually, have told me what a good time they had. travis told me just today that he wanted to go back to "site one", me too. i might need professional help. enjoy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

i pretend to be crafty, but....

i don't pretend to be cheap, because i am. actually, i was not so much cheap this go around as not having enough time to get what i needed wanted. it is nothing big really, a woman-y kinda thing, just tablecloth weights. tablecloth weights? yep, i wanted some for our big camping trip this weekend. camping trip? yep, the first ever. i just hope it won't be the last. i am pretty excited, as is the rest of the gang. we are headed off to fairy stone state park in stuart, viginia. i went forty years ago with my family, don't remember much, other than sitting on log benches and watching the blob at their outdoor movie theater. this time, we will watch movies in the comfort of our tent, on the laptop. wow, times sure have changed.

anyway, other than a tent, few chairs and two pie irons, i am trying not to invest too much money into this excursion. i am digging through closets, cabinets, drawers, boxes, etc... to see what i can piece together for two night of camping. like i mentioned earlier, this is our first wilderness outing and it may very well be our last. who knows? anywho, will rummaging i found the perfect tablecloth and matching napkins that had been buried in my linen closet literally for years! i got it all out, washed, folded and packed, but it needed some those cute little tablecloth weights. ideally, i wanted these. aren't they just too cute? well, i need want them now, so i started brainstorming and scouring the net for other ideas. this is what i came up instead....whadda ya think?

not fancy, but cute or at least i think so. all i did was hot glue some cheap flowers on to some chip clips, all bought from the dollar store.

i am rather pleased with my handy work although i still want those ants! i guess i will just add them to my amazon wish list, afterall my birthday is right around the corner!

p.s.-this is not the buried tablecloth i found for camping, just my everyday kitchen one.

Friday, August 20, 2010

i know we have talked ribs before but....

you need to make these now. they are so easy it is crazy. you simply wrap a rack of ribs in a double layer of foil, sealed nice and tight. bake in your oven at 300 degrees fahrenheit for two hours. go fire up your grill, gas or charcoal, slap'em on and just start basting away with your favorite barbecue sauce. me? i love sweet baby ray's original. omg! flip often and keep basting till the sweet sauce has caramelized making for a tasty bark on your divine swine.


Monday, August 16, 2010

happy birthday stinkpot

happy birthday caroline!

 caroline(left) and friends

not flesh of my flesh
nor bone of my bone,
but still miraculously
my own.
never forget
for a single minute:
you didn't grow under my heart
but in it.

you are so loved, all though you pluck my nerves..... a lot.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

my first eggs

i am so excited. the ladies gave me not one, but two lovely little brown eggs.

they did mama proud.

i am guessing it was miss abby and miss lucy, the rhode island reds. i need a hankie.

Egg on FoodistaEgg

Thursday, August 5, 2010

homemade laundry soap-duggar style

my friend kelly turned me onto this recipe for homemade laundry detergent. it is a duggar family specialty along with their tater tot casserole. the duggars you ask, you know that arkansas family that can't seem to stop breeding. you know they must have a buttload of laundry. i am all about saving a buck, so i thought i would give it a try. kelly is a family of three and one batch lasted her a year! i wash a lot of clothes, so i am unclear how long my batch will last. it did cost about nine dollars to purchase the ingredients, not including the free five gallon bucket from the bakery, which by the way still had about a cup of buttercream frosting still in it. omg, do you know how cruel that was to me? which the exception of the bar of fels-naptha soap, i have plenty of leftovers to make several batches. i did however, see a recipe for a dishwasher soap using the borax and soda. hmmmmmm......

nope, not grated cheese, but grated soap!

the next morning when i popped the top it looked like this, slippery jello. you will dilute this one to one with water to get this...

kinda looks like lemonade, but i wouldn't recommend drinking it. i have done three loads today with my new detergent, including jamie's gnarly jeans. i like it. i am, however, do plan to buy some essential oils such as lavender to scent it. right now, it smells clean, but borning. have fun.

Monday, August 2, 2010

my new favorite thing-trader joe's dark chocolate covered espresso beans

these are my new favorite thing, no obsession. they have become a lifesaver for me and my chocolate cravings. you only need two or three because they are potent and delicious. in order for me to not devour the entire container, i poured off half and mailed to tennessee to my girlfriend april. she is my fellow dark chocolate, coffee and weight loss buddy. gotta love the buddy system. i know she will. enjoy.