Tuesday, July 18, 2017

City of Rocks 2017

The last three Octobers we have camped in Arches with three other families.  One of those families, the Larsens, decided to join us in City of Rocks. They hadn't been there before, and since we won't be going to Arches this October (roadwork), we decided to see what southern Idaho had to offer. We arrived on Thursday evening and set up our camp. We had stopped in at Rock City for Jeff to get a selection of good beer that is not easy to get here, and since Smoky Mountain Campground has power and water hookups, we can use the fridge in our pop-up!

The Larsens have two kids (Talia- 15, and Drake- 11) that Katie and Maggie really enjoy, so they were very excited about this camping trip with them. They are a nice bunch! Once they arrived and set up we enjoyed a group campfire and s'mores.

The next day, we all got in our car and went over to Castle Rock State Park, and did a bit of hiking. We even brought the dog along on this trip. But I am a bad dog mom as I forgot to bring water for her. On our way to the pictograph, there was a small creek, and this dog hopped right in, waded around, and drank her fill! After walking out to the pictographs, Jeff and Katie took Minnie and went back towards the parking lot, there were picnic tables where they hung out. Maggie and I, and the Larsens continued on up the trail and essentially hiked around a big rock. Haha. But the day was gorgeous and the prickly pear was in bloom!

When we got back to the car, we all got in and drove back to the campground for some lunch and water! City of Rocks is in a very small town called Almo, ID. But Almo does have a hot spring. The last few years we have never remembered our swimsuits, but this year we did! And the hot spring pool felt great after all the hiking!

Dinnertime was grill night! We all got together for burgers, and salads. Then it was time for a fire. When it finally got dark enough we set up the telescope and enjoyed looking at the stars. We were fortunate that there was no moon, and those skies are full of stars!

Saturday was a rather lazy day. The kids played, I read my book. It was very relaxing. At one point, Jeff took Mrs Larsen, Talia, Drake, and Katie to the store for firewood and wi-fi while Maggie and I stayed at the camp. All the sudden I hear "MOM! I CAUGHT A LIZARD!!" Maggie had used the butterfly net to trap it and then gently shook the lizard down into the butterfly cage. This was huge, as Katie and Maggie have been trying to catch lizards for years! When the others returned from the store they were all duly impressed. We watched him run around in the cage for a while, and then eventually let him go, after taking a ton of pictures!

Saturday evening we had pork tacos. Before we left I cooked up this recipe, and froze it to take with us. This worked out very well. We heated it up, had a bunch of toppings and fed this hungry crew! Saturday evening was time for a fire, s'mores, and more fun. Lots of laughs were had!

Sunday the Larsens left, our reservation was until Monday. But Jeff's back was bothering him and so we decided to leave on Sunday as well. We had a nice breakfast, instead of our usual quickie breakfast and then started putting things away. I think we finally got on the road by about 1:30 or 2. We finally got home about 6pm and put things away, and got cleaned up. Always a good feeling.

It was an awesome weekend and a good time was had by all!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Memorial Day Camping at Spruces

The end of May was pretty warm, up until the time we left for camping for the Memorial Day weekend. Of course. Luckily the snow had melted in the campground. Mostly. We did see some snow banks here and there. But this weekend was a bit colder than I prefer. I think the temps were mostly high 50s to low 60s, but as there was no rain forecasted we did not let the cold stop us! We packed plenty of cold weather gear however!

We got a good start on Friday and got to our spot in the mid afternoon. We cooked dinner and got a fire going. That felt good. We all went to bed early because of the cold. 

The next day, we mostly sat around and read. A few weeks ago we had convinced Erica and Jeramy that they should come camping. Jeramy was all for it, Erica was less than enthusiastic but agreed. We brought along our deluxe 3" thick Thermarest mattresses for their enjoyment. A good sleeping mat can make or break your trip. 

Once they arrived we had a great time talking and laughing and then grilled burgers for dinner. Jeramy made a dutch oven peach cobbler that was awesome! The girls enjoyed playing near the small stream by our campsite. There was a lot of spring runoff going on.

In the morning we cooked a hot, hearty breakfast with coffee. We sat around shooting the breeze, but eventually they had to go. But they left Victoria with us! The girls were thrilled- they all got along great! The next day we had a quick breakfast and then started the pack up. We had a great time, and I think may have convinced Jeramy and Erica to make a return trip with us! 

Jeffrey and I have lost a total of 110 lbs so far!

This a fun new thing I found while getting gas at Smith's. It's called a Swedish Fire Log. It's basically a hunk of log that they cut a star shaped hole in the middle. They stick in a treated fire starter in the middle of the 'star', it lights really easily. This is easy to bring along, the wood burns for a long time and it would be great for those wood burning fire pits in the backyard.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Christmas 2017

Katie and Maggie begged for a Gingerbread House kit. So we picked one out and they had a great time putting it together. It even stuck around for a while, though candies did slowly start to go missing. Yuck. But it's a fun project to do. 

 This photo is of the girls and I after church one day. I just love these two!

About a week before Christmas, I see this pattern and decide that THIS MUST HAPPEN FOR CHRISTMAS!!! Now I am not sure why I wait to do my Christmas crafting for so late, but I do. Lucky for me this was a very quick knit and I actually finished both of them two days before Christmas. I took this picture while I was wrapping gifts. They really turned out cute I think!

Christmas morning was a blur of excitement, of course! The girls seemed thrilled with the things they got. On a whim, Santa brought them each a Nerf gun with extra ammo. They have really had a blast with these (pun intended).

 They each got one of these pillows that has sequins sewn in just a way that you can change to color just by rubbing your hand over it. Well they found out these pillows make great targets for the Nerf guns. So they set them up and fire away! When the Nerf bullet hits the sequins they change their color.

We have had a wonderful holiday and wish everyone a healthy and happy New Year.
2017- How did that happen?!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

December Fun with Cousins

My sister Jamie and her family, and my sister Pam and her family, all live out of town. WAY out of town. Jamie has recently moved to Alaska from Tokyo, and Pamela has been in Italy for the past year. But they were both able to come for a couple weeks to visit!
We had a great time and did several activities with the kids. A trip to the Festival of Trees was at the top of the list. I just got one good pic here. Some of the cousins were still in school at the time.
L to R: Katie, Maggie, Benny, Clara, Eva, Ella

Our Cousin Ella celebrated her 10th birthday at this gymnastics studio. All the kids had a blast running and jumping into the giant foam pit. Then cake!

Followed by a massive Christmas cookie decorate-a-thon!

But all too soon the fun ended and back on the plane they go. We all hope to see them sooner than next Christmas!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Katie Time Travels!

November 12, Katie had the opportunity, with her Girl Scout Troop, to go to Camp Floyd State Park for the Ladies of Camp Floyd event. It was like going back in time to the 1860s when there was a stagecoach stop and Inn in Fairfield. All the girls were given a hoop skirt to wear and they got to do different activities, such as; washing clothes with a tub and a wash board, spinning wool, trying to do school with chalk and a slate. They learned about proper etiquette of the time and learned how to play games that kids would have played 150 years ago. The general public is welcome to come and learn about the stagecoach Inn and history of the surrounding area, if you are looking for something to do one Saturday Camp Floyd State Park Museum .

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Great Weekend in Arches...

It's mid-October and that means a camping trip in Arches National Park. You may remember last year we had a bit of drama on our way there, but no trouble this time! We got our shopping done Wednesday night so that we could get up on Thursday morning, pack, and get our of town. The day was beautiful and very mild. We rolled into Arches around 4 pm and found our campsites. We were the first ones there so we got first dibs! Got the tent set up, kids are really getting helpful with this. Everyone else started to arrive and get their stuff set up, the kids found plenty of rocks to climb on and we ate our hamburgers for dinner.

Friday morning we had a nice breakfast and then the kids took off rick climbing and playing in the sand. I sat and read after cleaning up breakfast. Jeff and his friends played the card game they all love. At 4pm we left for a nice dinner in town. We went for BBQ at the Blu Pig. Once we got back to the campground, I could tell that things had been 'moved around'. Just as I was asking Jeff where he moved everything to, the campground hosts stopped by to inform us that we had left our garbage unattended and the ravens had a good old time going through all the garbage. We were horrified and had no idea they would do that. The park ranger apparently caught the ravens in the act, shooed them away, and picked up all of our garbage. The campground hosts told us the ranger would probably stop by tomorrow and talk about this with us, maybe give us a ticket. Great. Did I mention we were horrified?

Saturday was a day of card games for Jeff and his friends, the girls and I, went to Sand Dune Arch with two of the other wives and the other kids. The instant they got in they started digging quite the pit. It was fun to watch the kids do this, and to watch the random kid come up and start pitching in. Kids are amazing in their ability to work together.

Anyway, we stayed there about an hour and then the rest of them went off to hike The Windows, while the girls and I went to this new Moab Dinosaur park that is on the road going into town. It is fairly new and (in my opinion) mostly geared towards the 12 and younger crowd. My girls really enjoyed it. There is a nice, easy trail that takes you through different dinosaur eras, with statues of different kinds of dinosaurs. They have an information plaque at each statue. We had fun. There are also several interactive displays, and two theaters. One of the theaters we went to was a 5D walk through PALEO AQUARIUM!!!! You wear the funny glasses and walk past these "tanks" with (animated) paleo fish. Not unlike walking in the fish cave at Cabela's. The tour guide told you facts about that particular critter and you move to the next. The final "tank" was for the MEGALODON!!! The tour guide is talking about it, and all the sudden the megalodon swims right to the glass and bumps it, while at the same time the floor shakes, water sprays, and people scream. I was laughing the whole time, but Katie and Maggie had their eyes closed and missed all the fun!

Once we got back to the campsite, I learn from Jeff that the Ranger did come by, and took down Jeff's information and ran him through the NPS Database. We are now known to the NPS as rabble rousers and next time we will be ticketed for ravens in the garbage. At this point I start getting ready for dinner and between that and packing up the next day, I had to have Jeff write the rest as he was more involved with our second run-in with the law...

Early in the afternoon on Saturday, while the rest of the gang was off hiking, and Johnny, Brian and I were sitting around playing cards, an older man approached us in our campsite and said "Hi, I'm from the Czech Republic, and I'd like to set up my tent back here aways." We saw that his group was in the next camp, and I said "sure, just go back there away from us, and set up. So we saw him set up his little red pup tent, and then his whole group left for the afternoon.

It was after dark, and we were eating dinner, when Czech man came up to me directly while I was prepping my food, and said "Something has happened to my tent, I need you to see it." So I left my food to get cold, and wandered over to where his red pup tent was set up. He pointed to a six inch rip in the rainfly fabric down near the ground, and said, "Your children did this." I didn't believe him, and mentioned that he had set up his tent basically in the middle of a trail that went back and forth across the face of the rocks, and that there were people passing by all afternoon and evening, and that I seriously doubted my children did it. He told me that "adults would not do this." and that there were no other children around. Having sat there all afternoon watching a parade of people going past his tent, I basically told him that without evidence to the contrary, I wasn't going to accept his accusation. Knowing that we had trouble with the ravens trying to get our food, I asked him if there was any food in the tent, and he took a very long time to answer, and then said no. I told him if he wanted to take the matter further up some chain of authority, he should inform the campground host. And I left him to go back to my cold food. We asked the kids if they'd ripped his tent, and they all denied it utterly. We told them we wouldn't be mad if they did it by accident, and just to tell us if they had. Nobody fessed up. 

Later, Brian and I walked over to the campground host's spot and informed him of all that had happened. Then after we were done with our story, he says: "Well, you know I'm not on duty tonight, that's the other campground host."

Anyway, that's where it sat overnight. In the morning, we noticed that the older lady campground host was talking to the Czech man and then she got on her golf cart and was getting ready to leave, when I asked her about what he had said. She told me he told her this story about my kids ripping the tent, and she didn't believe him, and wasn't even going to bother me with it, until I asked her. Then somebody in his group photographed us, and our gear, and cars, and everything, and he came over with his bill, saying "I know Americans are honorable people." I took a look at it, and said "I'm not paying you a dime," as I was thinking "Yeah, we are honorable, but we're not suckers." Then after he and his party had left, the campground host brought the park rangers to talk to me and take my statement. They told me not to worry about it. I gave them the handwritten bill he had given me. 

That's about it. It kind of felt like a shakedown after all was said and done. 

Leaving on Sunday, we got out around 9:30am. We left Moab via the Colorado River route 2/3 of the way to I-70 we had to stop and wait a half hour for the marathon to finish. We spent this time throwing rocks in the river and enjoying the sunny day. I was very glad to get home and cleaned up!