This past week was so restful, compared to the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Months ago, my sister had planned a get-away for our families down at the beach. We all packed up and headed down there on New Year’s Day. She graciously got us wonderful accommodations, using her time-share points.
My sister took us all out to lunch to celebrate Alissa’s birthday. Most other food was eaten in our hotel.
Because we were in a time-share, there were full kitchens in our units. We planned the meals ahead of time and took turns cooking the dinners. One of my dinners was spaghetti and turkey meatballs with salad and home-canned green beans. I pre-made the meatballs at home and used jarred sauce that was purchased a while back for 99c/jar.
Our other meal was steak, baked potatoes and cauliflower. Because we buy 1/4 beef each fall, it’s the same price for steak as it is for hamburger. Of course, we need to pace the steak dinners throughout the year, or they would be gone quickly, but Alissa’s birthday dinner was a worthy occasion! That girl loves steak:).
The process of cooking the steaks was quite comical. As Rob was attempting to barbecue this steak on the little balcony outside of our room, the wind was blowing so hard that it was whistling through the windows of our room, blowing rain sideways and blowing out the flame on the barbecue, but he managed! Afterwards, he said they were on fire at one point, not cooking at all at another point, and he was absolutely amazed that they turned out so well. But, they were wonderful, so all’s well that ends well:)
Rob ate the zucchini-noodle lasagna for several lunches. We also took salad stuff, sandwich ingredients, and gluten-free pizza crust to made quick meals. Breakfasts were things like eggs, sausage, and cereal. We ate breakfasts and lunches in our own rooms, and ate all the dinners together.
I exercised several times at the small gym in the hotel. We didn’t take many walks. On the few occasions we ventured out, we were hit with ferocious winds, driving rain, and even hail pellets in my hair one morning when a walk was attempted by my sister and I. We turned around immediately and headed for the stationary bikes!
I read a couple of library books and watched a little t.v.
The kids played a game borrowed from the hotel’s stash, Jake build Legos, Patsy did a little school, her friend Celeste did a lot of school, I read an entire chapter book to Jake, my sister took them all to play arcade games in the town of Seaside, Rob took Patsy rock collecting, we took them all to the small aquarium, they watched movies, Rob took Michaela down to Costco for a hot dog while he got a case of water, my sister braved the outdoor swimming pool several times with the kids IN THE RAIN!!, and we all played Bingo when the hotel offered it as an activity.
Everyone took turns with the kids, so I feel relaxed and rested. The only thing that would have made the trip better was our other sister who intended to come down for a little bit, but her plans changed and she was not able to make it:(
The girls got a real kick out of the seal-feeding at the small aquarium. Those seals sure got excited. Water was splashing like crazy! The girls were squealing as loud as the seals, I think. Everyone had a great time.
We all arrived home late afternoon yesterday, and today, the week starts with a flurry of activity. I’ve got lots of good ideas for this week. January is a favorite month of mine and I’m eager to get started on all the projects and plans that fill my mind at this time of year.
We had a wonderful time in Maui. So, the thriving part of my weekly post was easy and enjoyable.
We saw so many flowers. This one is a protea blossom.
A banyon tree that took up almost a block in Lahaina….
And so much more!
Now, the thrifty part…. I will start by saying that traveling is not inexpensive. We had a lot of friends and family help us financially to be able to go on this trip. It all started when our daughter sent us 2 plane tickets for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Wasn’t that sweet? We thought so. So, people helped a lot. But, we also needed to save diligently for months to be able to do this on our limited budget.
The first thing Rob did was make out a budget. It was modest, compared to some travel budgets, but he was realistic in the fact that Maui is an expensive place to be, we needed to rent a car and a spot to stay, and food would be outrageous. We knew from day one of our trip how much we would need to spend on each category. We stuck to it. We frequently checked in with each other on how we were doing.
We flew out late in the day. It was less expensive.
My aunt went with us. She, along with the rest of us, searched on-line diligently for an affordable option to stay in. We ended up with a condo unit with a kitchen, bedrooms, etc, and it was very near to our daughter’s apartment. It had a pool, which Patsy enjoyed the most—one day she stayed in there for 3 hours or more. It had a washer and dryer, and I took soap pods with me.
We went to Safeway on the first morning and stocked up on groceries. I used all my Safeway rewards I had been saving to get a free box of butter, a package of bacon and some bananas. We packed a few food items in our backpacks and suitcases–a loaf of cheese, 2 boxes of cereal, nuts, even mayonnaise, and a baggie of packets of hot sauce and ketchup that had been saved when someone had too many in their take-out order over the past couple of years. (We don’t get much take-out and there aren’t very many extras, but they sure came in handy in this case!). We also put in empty baggies, but still had to buy a few. I put in a small amount of taco seasoning.
You don’t even want to know how much I spent at that Safeway during the week. My daughter was told that it was the 2nd busiest Safeway in the United States, and I believe whoever told her that! We stepped gingerly around crates and boxes and people unpacking them, picked things from near-bare shelves, and wound our way from the bread aisle where bread was $7.50/loaf, to the dairy where the milk was at least $6/gallon.. The 18 eggs we bought were around $5, and I thankfully found a less-expensive option than the $13 case of water.
Even with the high prices, it was cheaper to cook our own food, than to eat out every meal. A meal was typically $15-$25/per person, except McDonald’s, where I was surprised to find the prices about the same as at home. I was determined that Rob’s diet would not be blown, so we happily got the $1 Diet Cokes and iced tea, and limited the French fries to one time. Also, what we cooked was very healthy.
We chose to cook meals of things like tacos, sandwiches, salads, etc.
My daughter had some food she wanted used up, as she is moving home at the end of the month. So, we gratefully worked that into our meals. She also let us “borrow” her olive oil, Lowrey’s seasoning salt, and a few other things.
We went to Costco one morning on our way to somewhere else. We were going to eat out that day, but so many people grabbed a substantial snack at Costco, that we didn’t end up stopping anywhere. We got water much less expensively there than at Safeway. I could have got a rotisserie chicken for very reasonable there, but we had no where to store it as we were sight-seeing.
We packed a picnic for the all-day trip. There are no restaurants on the top of the volcanic mountain anyway. We often ate breakfast, or lunch at the condo, went off exploring, and then returned to the condo for the next meal, eating snacks in the car if we needed to.
We went out one time to a restaurant. The name was Brick Oven. If I look excited, it’s because I was over the moon. The food there is ALL gluten-free. I could have anything I wanted from the menu. And, I did! I had fried mushrooms, fried mozzarella sticks, French fries, coconut shrimp, fish and chips…….you get the drift! Now, to clarify, we ordered several things and shared, but I ate some of each, and am still smiling at the memory. I did not get even a tiny bit sick, although I would have deserved to ’cause that’s more fried food than I’ve eaten for many a day…..
We chose simple, inexpensive entertainment. Some things did cost money, but they were not expensive. We drove to look at beaches. The ones who wanted to walked out closer, the rest enjoyed the view from the car. One time, my daughter coaxed me down a long, long set of stairs to a gorgeous beach below. I loved it! We drove around a lot, just looking. We looked for turtles several times, but will have to go back another time if we want to see any:)
My aunt and I went to 2 quilt shops. It was fun to see different fabrics. I bought a few pieces with some money I had been given for my birthday. We went to a lavender farm, that had a large area with various blooming plants to wander though, in addition to the lavender. We went through a free museum, highlighting Lahaina history. We strolled under the banyon tree.
Lovana and I went for walks. Patsy and I swam in the pool. We took our daughter back and forth to work every time. Rob and I spent time at Lovana’s work with her–just sitting at the cafe for a while while she did her thing. I enjoyed wandering through the large hotel where her second job is–so beautiful! One day was spent packing up her apartment, taking things to Salvation Army, and mailing a few things home. I’m so glad she was well organized and knew what she wanted me to help with. We brought the 3 biggest suitcases in the world home with us (I got to manhandle them, so I’m sticking to that assessment!)–it was much, much less expensive to pay the fee as checked luggage than it would have been to ship those things home any other way. We had planned that, so had only travelled with carry-ons on the way there.
We did not go on excursions, tours, helicopter rides, horseback rides or snorkeling trips. We almost got to go to a luau, because at one of Lovana’s jobs they let the employees have tickets for a very cheap price, IF they didn’t sell them all. They sold them all this time, but we were running out of time anyway. There’s always a next time, and alway more to look forward to.
We found so many more things to do than we had time to do! We didn’t push ourselves, but instead allowed hours and hours for spending time with our daughter, reading, stretching out, swimming in the pool and sitting on the balcony watching the waves crash. We had so much fun! We really took time to explore the island. We love the outdoors, so focused on those kind of activities. I have many memories to reflect on during this upcoming rainy, wet, cold winter. And, I still have enough money left over to buy all the tea and hot chocolate I can drink while I sit in front of my cozy, warm fire, thinking of my time in Maui:)
We spent one day driving to Haleakalā National Park. We went from where we were staying in Lahaina, with it’s warmth and humidity, up into the clouds, rain and wind. The view was beautiful and the cooler temperature felt more like what we are used to at home. I’m glad our daughter had mentioned that we would need jackets. It was COLD up there!
We slowly meandered our way up the curvy, winding mountain side. At each new curve, we were treated to another breath-taking view. The air was thin when we reached the top of the mountain. I’ve not experienced that before and it took me a few minutes to adjust to it. But I was quickly hiking from one little viewing station to another.
There were panoramic views, breath-taking rock formations, and clouds and mist that rolled in and out, sometimes obscuring our view completely, only to clear out so we could again glimpse the scene below.
Our daughter has been to the top of this mountain a couple of times to watch the sunset and really wanted us to see how beautiful it was. Instead, as the time for sunset came nearer, the clouds rolled right in and put a cold, wet blanket on our hopes of seeing anything but our immediate surroundings. We stayed up there for over an hour and a half, to see if it would clear and decided to give it up when it only worsened. The road was was both unfamiliar and curvy, so we were not sad to go down it in the daylight.
We had a wonderful day, with or without the sunset!
We left our home in Oregon with rain showers, a freeze warning and temperatures begging for a cozy fire, and flew into sunshine, warm temperatures and tropical breezes. We are on the island of Maui right now.
We are so grateful to everyone who helped us get here. It was a group effort, for sure, and we are truly thankful.
It was so nice to leave everything in Alissa’s capable hands—the house, the dog, and, to sweeten the deal—the car.
Patsy is in the pool again right now, and Rob and I dipped our toes in the ocean this morning. We are enjoying the sights and sounds—the surf is crashing outside our hotel and tropical birds are chirping Sailboats, snorkeling excursion boats and paddle-boaters are frequently passing by, and we even saw a cruise ship a couple of days ago.
The sunsets are gorgeous.
We had a great day of driving to the center of the island to Haleakalā, which is a volcanic mountain crater. I will do another post about that, as we stopped several other places along the way. It was amazing!
After riding on the boat all day last Sunday, we travelled to Bandon by the Sea, a town about an hour from the town where the boat was.
We served out a quick dinner of tacos. I had pre-cooked the beans and meat and the rest was quickly put together. It was all devoured! Everyone was starving.
The next morning, Rob and I made pancakes, eggs, fried ham, and fruit. Patsy got a pancake shaped like a fish. It was a complete accident, but she really liked it! We decided it was a perfect beach breakfast;)
Most of us went to the West Coast Wildlife Game Park. It was a place where the kids could pet animals. There were also lots of big cats in cages. Michaela loves those more than anything. This trip was especially for her, but all the kids enjoyed themselves.
That took until early afternoon. We returned to the beach house for lunch and the kids played down on the beach. Then, a dinner of spaghetti was enjoyed, and we dropped into bed. On Tuesday, it was time to make the long journey home after a quick breakfast of muffins and cereal.
My sister decided we’d had enough cooking, and treated us all to lunch at Mo’s. Yum! I hadn’t eaten there for quite some time and enjoyed it very much.
We returned home late in the day, tired, but very happy and full of wonderful memories to cherish for years to come.
We just returned from a big adventure, complements of my sister. She should have been a travel guide…..She planned the trip out to the last minute, got all the accommodations and tickets, and arranged everything. It was amazing. Here’s what we did.
Months ago, she had purchased tickets for the play, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” up at the Keller Auditorium in Portland (Oregon). It was for my birthday present, and started at 2 p.m. on Saturday. We had a wonderful time. It was so well done. I loved it!
When planning the trip, she found the beach house she wanted to rent was only available on this past weekend, the same weekend as the play. She also wanted to go ride the jet boats that go from Gold Beach, Oregon, up the Rogue River 52 miles and back down again. So, we needed to leave on Saturday to make all of that happen. The play caused us to get a late start.
I was in charge of the meals for everyone. Everyone included: My sister, Gail, 3 of her children, myself, Rob and Patsy, and a friend, Debbie, and her 7 children. Jake and his big sister, Caitlyn, came on Sunday night, as he doesn’t do well on boats. So, I packed a picnic for 13 to eat in the cars on the road. We pulled into the hotel around 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning. It’s a distance from here, and we didn’t leave until early evening.
The hotel included breakfast the next morning, which we enjoyed tremendously. The kids loved the waffles with the heart shapes in the center. Rob and I packed a large picnic for the 13 of us who where going on the boats, plus drinks, while the rest of the crew enjoyed the hotel swimming pool. Then, we were off for our 11:30 departure time.
Rob really, really wanted to do this trip. In fact, he declared to Gail (my sister) that he would crawl into the boat if he had to, when the subject was first brought up. He had to!
It was so worth it to him!
At the 2 rest stops, they sent a van down a steep hill to drive him (and us) up to the top, where we could use the restrooms and at lunch time, eat our picnic.
I had a blast, too! My little friend, Delaney, fell asleep between Rob and I on the way back. It was super funny because we were getting splashed with large amounts of water going down the rapids. We tried to shield her the best we could with a blanket that was for that purpose, but in the process, I was absolutely soaked. It was dripping off my hair and down my face. Some got on her, too. Through it all, she never woke up. The people behind us (and us) kept looking down and asking if she woke up, and each time the answer was “no.” Pretty soon, we were all in gales of laughter as each new wave of water doused us, and the child still slept. I guess she was tired:). When she was good and ready, she woke up and enjoyed the rest of the ride.
We saw so much beautiful scenery. There was a lot of wildlife. We saw ducks, egrets, osprey, a bald eagle, otters, deer, and a seal or sea lion–not sure which, and more.
There were a couple balancing on various small rocks. The boat driver was very skilled and got us up pretty close to this one.
We were on the water for around 6-1/2 –7 hours. We went the 104 miles, and had 2 stops. We went from the cool, balmy coast to the dry, scorching hot interior, and back down to the cooler coast once again. The driver did a great job of cooling us off with water when it was hot, and keeping us dry when it wasn’t. Running the rapids was fun. We all had a blast.
We got back into the vehicles, handed each kid a granola bar, and headed an hour north to the town of Bandon.
It was pretty late by the time we arrived, but I had dinner all planned and it didn’t take long to get it on the table. I had taco meat and refried beans premade and they were warmed up. Tortillas, garden tomatoes, lettuce and pre-shredded cheese were put out, along with a Costco bag of corn chips and some salsa. Every scrap was devoured.
Our Monday was very full of fun, as well. I’ll continue writing about our trip tomorrow in Part 2, as this post is getting pretty long, and there’s lots more to tell.
This week, one of Patsy’s new daffodils bloomed! This past fall, she planted a few special ones amongst the yellow ones she planted the first fall we moved in here. We didn’t buy many, and they were from Winco, so I was hoping we would get a nice one or two. We were not disappointed. I notice there is another one like it about to bloom, too! Hopefully, they will multiply in time as well as the yellow ones do.
We finally got some seeds planted, and just today a few broccoli plants have popped up.
We camped for 3 nights at the beach, using the park pass. We enjoyed some exceptionally nice weather, for the Oregon coast. Patsy and I took 2 nice walks and she collected rocks. Our second walk was abruptly terminated when a sneaker wave filled my rubber boots. Then, we got a lot of cheap entertainment trying to dry out the boots:). And me! Rob made a contraption from duct tape and boards and we propped them up on that until the duct tape gave out and they collapsed. Then, he rigged up a paper plate between the 2 boots, put that over the heater in the camper, and conducted the air into each boot that way. We didn’t want to set rubber boots right on top of a heater vent. We wanted the heat to go inside. By last night, they were about dry.
We enjoyed our camp spot. We got near enough to the ocean that we could see it from the door of our camper when it was not blocked by another camper–so part of the time. It was a short walk to the beach from our site and was easy to see–I walked a few steps and soaked in the beauty a few times. Rob made a big fire, and he and Patsy sat by it a lot. They played cards. Rob roasted things over the fire. I had pre-cooked some things, cooked a lot of veggies and made salads in the camper.
I have a quilt that I started 15-20 years ago. Yes. Really. That long. It has lived in the camper for a few years now because sometimes that was the only time in an entire year I could find the time to quilt. This trip, I really made some progress on it while Patsy watched some DVD’s. We’ve been taking Mr. Jake camping the past few times, and there’s no quilting to be done when that boy is there! After all, how could I quilt with the table covered with Legos? :). This time, he’s on vacation with his family. He will get a turn later in the summer.
I finally have hope that this quilt may someday get finished. It took me quite a while to even figure out what needed to be done and find the parts and pieces, but once I did, the project started moving along. Everything still seems to be there so far!
I worked on my current quilt at home quite a bit this week as well, before we went camping. I have only 1 more 6″ square to complete of the 20 needed for the main body. Then, there is quite a bit more to do to make it larger–there are going to be 2 special rows down below, plus borders all around, but I’m really gaining on it.
We drove back this morning so Patsy could go on her Spring Break Service Project with the youth group. It’s just a couple of days long, but we didn’t want her to have to miss it.
Patsy has an interest in rocks, shells, and fossils. We found this interesting fossil-filled rock on one of our walks. She also collected 2 small rocks with fossils in them. We will hopefully see many more when we go back down to the beach. Last year, Rob and one of his best friends took her on a rock-hunting expedition. Maybe this will turn into a nice hobby for her–time will tell.
Down at the coast again–crazy, I know! We took one last quick trip camping at the beach this weekend. We were fortunate enough that Lovana had the ability to get time off and go along, so we took her down there. She hasn’t been able to go at all this summer until now. It was a whirlwind trip, and we are back home already. Because I knew we were going again, I was able to leave a lot of things in the fridge of the camper last week. I left clothing enough in there for this time, and things like my embroidery were also just left in there. After we returned this afternoon, we really cleaned it out of perishable things and things I would want. I’m also going to wash some bedding, and actually got in the bunkhouse where the girls sleep while we were down there, and cleaned out a lot of cluttery things and wiped off the window ledges, etc. That’s not necessarily frugal, but it counts as a feel-good moment, for sure:)
We went clamming in Yaquina Bay, where Patsy skunked me–getting 11 clams while I only got 5, and mine were smaller:). We just cleaned and froze them, and another meal of clam chowder is on the horizon in the future. Rob went down with us, and he did get one. It was a different kind, and he dug for it in a different area while we were raking for ours out further.
Before we left on Friday afternoon, we had a busy, productive week. Patsy started school, and Rob and I worked many, many hours with the kids, as they are now on vacation and we will not work with them this week at all. We got the chore routine going, by having the kids do them several days this week. Rob took Michaela to her volunteering. I took her to the zoo on Jake’s first day of school. She had so much fun. We went to the tigers 3 times, some other things twice, and skipped several animals entirely. A cheetah decided to sit down by the viewing window, and Michaela sat there for at least 15-20 minutes, just enjoying the big cat. I took food with us, and we re-filled the 2 water bottles purchased at the zoo in years past. If you take the time to wash them and bring them back, they will re-fill them with soda for $1. We also got one order of fries for us girls to share. (J went with us.). I used our zoo pass for admission. It was a frugal, fun day. It was so nice to have a relaxing day after all the canning I had been doing before and after watching the kids.
I pre-cooked and prepared some of our food for camping so it would be easy while we were there. I made it super easy, and just used the jarred sauce and didn’t even add meat this time. We used up parmesan cheese packets that I’d had in a ziplock for ages. They were from when the older girls ordered pizza at some point. Lovana took us out to lunch yesterday. It was a nice treat, and we ate the food I took the rest of the time.
Before my sister’s family went on vacation, I was over there working with the kids. My brother-in-law kindly offered me all the rest of the perishable food that would go bad while they were gone. I got 2 sad bananas and made banana-coconut bread for the trip. There was cilantro and 2 halves of white onion, so I added garden tomatoes and peppers and made Pico de Gallo. There were corn chips in the camper, so we ate it with them. There were some limes, so I juiced them out and froze the juice in tiny containers for when I have a recipe that calls for them, after I used what I needed for the Pico. Rob saved them a fortune by taking them to the airport and he will pick them up. Parking is quite expensive up at the airport.
Rob made stuffed zucchini one night for dinner. It was great, and a welcome meal after coming home from work. The zucchini has slowed down to a nice level of production, and we enjoy having it in more moderate quantities.
My aunt passed a few tomatoes on to me, and I got 5 more pints with what I had on hand from my garden, plus hers. I hope to get another small batch of pints this week, as well. Little by little, I’m coming to the end of the canning season. I still have a few more things I want to make, though, like salsa, salsa verde from the remaining green tomatoes once the season is over, maybe taco sauce if I can find a good recipe, some dried herbs, etc. My focus is still on using the fresh items as much as possible while they are available, but we have started popping open a few jars. That’s what they are for, and I’m glad to have them.
How did your week go? Did you have any “feel-good” cleaning moments or save money in a creative way?
This is one of my favorite times of the year. The canning cupboard is getting full, the garden is winding down but still producing, and the weather is cooling down. There is still more preserving to do, but a lot has been accomplished. It won’t be long until I turn my energy to other projects, like cleaning! There are some areas in the house that have been neglected, for sure:)
We spent a few deliciously cool days down at the beach, camping. While we were there we went crabbing, clamming and fishing. Since we already had our licenses, were able to camp for free using our park pass, and took our food with us, we spent very little extra money. It was very restful, which is good, because we hit the ground running once we returned home.
We purchased albacore tuna from off the docks and canned it once we got home. We got 40 assorted jars, mostly 1/2 pints. We caught both crab and clams. I made clam chowder, ate crab, and froze the rest. There is just a little bit of each in the freezer, and I need to use them quickly, as they don’ t last very long.
Before we left, I picked peaches at my sister’s and she gave me some pears. I put them in the drawers in the fridge, and they lasted just fine until I got home.
I bought grapes for 99c/lb at the beach and brought them home, since they would have been off that great sale price once I got back. Marachino cherries were purchased before we left, in a big container at Cash and Carry. They are much more reasonable that way. I was all set to make fruit cocktail once I got home. I also made crushed tomatoes from the ones that had ripened while I was away.
Not long ago, my rickety pear tree in the back yard just fell over one Sunday afternoon. I was able to pick a few now-ripened pears from it where it lay, and use them in the fruit cocktail. I cut a bunch of branches off, and will put them in the weed bin once it has been emptied. It is full now. The tree is being removed little by little, and then Rob will chain-saw up the trunk for firewood. Ironically, we have not harvested good pears from that old tree until now:)
I also got one load of beef broth canned. There were two packages of soup bones in the freezer that I wanted to put into a more usable form. I still have some broth and all the bits of meat to deal with in the next couple of days. In the next couple of months, our beef farmer will be calling to let us know that our 1/4 beef is ready. We need to make room in the freezer for that over the next few weeks.
We watched several library movies and I read 2 books I had downloaded for free onto my Kindle before I left for camping. Once home again, Rob took Jake to the library to pick up some books that were on hold and also took him to garage sales while I canned. In the afternoon, since I was pretty tired from canning, I read several chapters to Jake of a much anticipated book, since it had arrived at the library!
Jake did not go camping this time, as his big sister took him to Disneyland. Yes. Really. She did. They had a blast and he arrived at my house yesterday looking like a character from Star Wars–a starfighter in full regalia. He was so cute, but not in a mood for pictures, so I respected his decision, as hard as it was!
I grabbed a few more school supplies at rock-bottom prices, once I realized I needed a few more of certain items.
I did not have time to grocery shop on Friday, as I normally do, and I did not get time yesterday, either. I will hang on to the weekly money for later in this week, or save it. We have plenty to eat for now.
Patsy, Alissa and I had a wonderful time on our backpack trip. We went to Tumble Lake, which is near Detroit Lake. It was very frugal. We had to chip in $5 each for gas. Some of those Mountain House dehydrated meals were donated to the youth group, and we had those a couple of times. I actually bought one gluten-free one at the store, not knowing if there would be any gluten-free options, and I also took a bunch of other food for myself, but did find a breakfast in the available options that I could have, so used that.
The hike was extremely rigorous. Patsy and I were not as fast as the others, especially the football player. So, we came along at our own pace, and enjoyed the view. Going out was extremely difficult. My phone’s app claims we climbed the equivalent of 27 flights of stairs. I believe it! But, we made it:).
There were tons of salamanders that the girls enjoyed playing with. Several of the guys fished for hours, but let them all go but one, since they were so small. The kids roasted hot dogs and marshmallows, and we played a game that was like charades for hours around the campfire. One girls had an app on her phone and you chose a category, then held the phone up to your forehead so everyone could read the word. They were to describe it to you, and you had to guess. If you got it, you ducked your head, if not, you tipped your head back to pass, and the phone kept track of the score. It was really fun to spend time with the kids, and they were a cheerful, happy group. Of course, there was no phone service, but the game still worked.
When we arrived home, we were SO tired, but I was super happy. I had a really good time. We put those things away and packed the trailer for camping. We traded our niece for our nephew and were off again.
I did not have time to pack the usual picnic for our ride to the campground. Instead, I just fed everyone well (Rob made omelets and there was cereal) and when we stopped at a rest area, I climbed into the camper and grabbed snacks, bars, drinks, etc. and let them eat what they wanted. It wasn’t the healthiest, but it worked.
I picked lettuce, snow peas, green onions, parsley, cilantro and mint from the garden to take with me. I found some chili in the camper freezer that I defrosted and put half with some noodles to make chili Mac for our first supper when we arrived. I also made a cornbread mix I found in the cupboard. We used some for dinner, and some for breakfast, and I froze a bunch of it, as it made a LOT! Usually, I make a casserole or something for the first night, but had no time to do it this trip. I cleaned out one of the cupboards in the camper as I found a home-canned jar that had popped its seal. I plan to clean under the seats on this trip, as I think there is food under there as well. I have a goal to use as much food as I can this trip out of the camper since it’s been in there for a long time. That will also save on the grocery bill, since it’s all been purchased long ago.