Thursday, December 20, 2012

Camping Adventure

I know I've promised you guys a camping adventure update, and here it is. . .

Bean Boy reminded us that this was the first time we made it 3 whole nights camping.  We almost canceled our trip on account of rain.  But, Sunday I checked the weather, and it still said only 20-30% chance of rain.  If I had checked it Monday morning, we would have canceled!  Hubby and I decided that a little rain won't hurt anyone.  Uh...someone forgot to tell God what the weather was supposed to be! When we pulled up in Orange City, FL at Blue Springs State Park, we quickly put up our tent (with ponchos on) while rain was coming off and on.  Because we were a glutton for punishment, and the rain was at a temporary stop, we tried to set up our huge tarp for "outdoor" cover.  Success!!!  We sat down, mostly dry, and decided to eat tomorrow's lunch, since the rain was pelting and we couldn't build a fire.  Then, as it turned out, we weren't as successful as we once thought.  The tarp ended up mostly on my head while we finished up dinner!!!  Oh well!  We tried.  The rain did stop, and we had enough time to unpack, check out the area, see some manatee, and get to sleepy!

The next day, it was beautiful when we woke up.  That was a great thing!  The only bad thing, is that no one slept well and everyone woke up when I did.  Now, even when camping, I like to have a little time to myself before everyone else wakes up, but it was not to be this time...oh, this was Tuesday, our birthday too.  So, being the lovely wife who shares a birthday with her Hubby, I kindly let him know that if I couldn't be alone, neither could he...heheh! SO, he got up, we made a fire and made breakfast.  Listen, sausage was supposed to be made on a fire!

Sooo, good!  We went for a bike ride and came back for lunch.  Noticing clouds heading our way, we decided to try to set up the tarp again.  We wanted some way to build a fire and keep it going in the rain.  We ended up using my husband's truck on one side and trailer on the other to tie up our tarp.  It was decent, and ended up keeping us dry.  I felt like we were building couch forts with blankets!  It was challenging, but no one got hurt, upset, or ugly!  Success on many levels.  I just kept telling Hubby this is an adventure.  We're going to either succeed or fail if we try. . . So, since we had success, we made dinner, and birthday cake!  I had seen recipes for making cakes inside of an orange peel.  We (the girls did) pre-made and froze the batter, so all I did was cut the corner of the bag and squeeze it in.  They were delicious!!!  Uh..we each ate 2!!!  Happy birthday to us, honey!
We covered them with aluminum foil.  A few recipes said that yo can wrap them individually in foil and throw them in the coils, but I wanted to be able to check on when they were done.  Plus they were all different sizes. . .

I know they look black on the top, it was just smoke, with frosting, you couldn't tell... I forgot to take pics with the frosting on!  Everyone ate them and loved them!!!

We used the screen house for extra "support" and to help a little with bugs.... I'm not even going to talk about how well the mosquitoes were fed on this trip...just now getting us all out of the itching phase!

Poor Hubby could barely stand under it all!  The rest of us were fine though.!

It did get a little smoky, and loud when the rain came, but we were glad to be dry. We were able to fit a few chairs around the fire too. . . it was more room than it looks like. 

A good view from my chair of how the tarp and the trailer were a good fit. 
So, since it gets dark so early, we thought we'd bring along the DVD projector.  We had everything almost set up, when Hubby looked up and said, "Um, I think we were supposed to bring the DVD player to connect to this!"  Oops!  Poor kids...we had the perfect set up, under the tarp, with the sheet on the back of the trailer door. . . no movie tonight.

See the sheet on the back of the trailer door?  And the box for the DVD projecter (that's not a player!)  

The next day was much of the same.  Rain off and on.  Wonderful camping food. Bike rides. Special time with my favorite family in the whole world.  Hubby and Bean Boy went for a canoe ride, while the girls and I walked up the spring run to look for manatee, then played in the park.  Our tarp stayed good most of the time, with a few adjustments here and there, and we didn't catch anything on fire that we weren't supposed to.  We packed all our soggy things up the next day to head home...haha... then we stopped at Camping World and Gander Outlet on our way through St. Augustine!  Yes, we did.  Just to browse and add to our wish list!  It was fun.

We plan to wake the kids up early one cold, cold morning in January, and skip on down there again to get a view of a LOT of manatee.  The most we saw was on our first day. . . maybe 12-15 all together.  They're amazing.  Little Bit said, "Mom, they have no necks."  God is creative!

Oh... I almost forgot one of my favorite parts about this trip, until I pulled up pictures!  We drove separately this trip, so Hubby could bring the trailer with our bikes.  It was such a blessing.  We had extra room, and the back of the trailer was under the tarp, so we kept our coolers and "stuff" there.  But, genius mom that I am. . . (insert snickers here...truth is some other mom from Pinterest is a genius). I had brought some stuff to organize the back of the van, and one of those things included a hanging shoe organizer.  After about the 5th time of looking for the scissors and lighter, I took about 20 minutes, and came up with this beautiful organized camping trailer.  (see pic below) If I can talk Hubby into, the trailer will always come, and I will add 2-3 more of these sweet babies! Camping unorganized has always bothered me, and I'm always looking for ways to rectify that problem.  This made life soooo much easier. Does anyone else find it sad that this was one of my favorite parts?

The kids said one of their favorite parts was the "rain bucket" that I brought.  Fearing we would be cooped up in the tent quite a bit, I bought some games, and "stuff" that we could do in the tent.  One thing was Little Debbie Christmas Tree Snack Cakes.  You guys have no idea what a treat that was for the kids... I have NEVER bought them Little Debbies!  My son's favorite thing from the rain box was the knot tying app that I downloaded to the Nook.  I bought some small rope and had it in the bucket, and we tried learning some knots.  Boys are much better at this than girls!  The girls ended up making up and naming their own knots.  We had a lovely, looong game of Uno too.  I still have things in the "rain bucket" for next time too.

To sum it up, this was not our favorite camping trip, but I would put it up there with one of our most successful and most challenging trips.  And, we made it and enjoyed it! And there's so much more I didn't write about too.   I'm glad everyone in our family seems to love camping!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Weekly Wrap-up: Still breathing. . .barely

I am going to keep this short and sweet. For the two of you who missed me last week and this previous week, I'm alive, doing ok, dealing with all life has to throw at me.

Last week was just a killer... my regular night shift work was anything but regular.  I worked 2 on, 1 off, 1 on, 1 off, 1 on.... for anyone who has ever worked night shift, that's a killer.  Then, over the weekend I had one of the most stressful classes I have EVER taken, and an extremely difficult/stressful/obscenely hard test I have EVER taken!  It was for Trauma certification so I can keep working in the Trauma ICU.  So- I passed (happy dance) and won't have to do it for 4 more years!!!! (I can't believe I'll have to do it again!) SO that was Sat/Sun.

THEN, on Monday we left for our 3 night camping adventure.  I have started a post about this and will post it as soon as I can...but since we came home yesterday, and tonight starts 4 days in a row for me, you'll just have to wait!  Yes, my life is crazy. Sigh!

Until I'm able to update about our camping adventure, just keep me in your prayers.  I'm ready to settle down!  I love my crazy life though!  Here is a picture preview...

The mirror manatee at Blue Springs State Park.