camping, kayaks, birthdays and dirt…

We made it home from camping Sunday afternoon, covered in a layer of dirt and looking forward to sleeping in our own beds.  It was a good trip.  We headed up on Thursday after work with the kids and the dogs, loaded in the pickup, filled to the gills with all our camping gear and enough food to last us three days.  When we arrived at our campsite that evening it was already dark, so we did the best we could.  Luckily, we had help – Mark’s parents and uncle were there to camp as well.

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As soon as we were unloaded enough to satisfy ourselves, and the tent was set up, I had a treat in store for the girls.  Thanks to a recipe I found here, I had prepared the ingredients for making homemade ice cream, arranged in little baggies and ready to freeze in ice.  So I set them to work agitating their bags filled with ice and “ice cream salt”.  In less than five minutes they had themselves the “best ice cream” they had ever eaten.  Add a few mini m&m’s and it was just like the DQ, only better!

It was our first time camping with the dogs and they were so good!

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The first night was a little noisy with neighbors partying into the wee hours, but the dogs and the girls slept right through it.  Mark and I, on the other hand, didn’t fare so well.  We only had the first camp site for one night and had to move, and luckily our second spot was a lot more quiet in regards to neighbors.

On Friday we set out to do some kayaking that was offered by the State Parks, guided by a Naturalist who called herself Ranger G.  I have to say she made our trip so much more fun.  Unfortunately Veda’s tummy got upset right before we were to launch our boats so she and Mark had to sit out.  It was a beautiful day on the river and I discovered that Claire has quite a talent for kayaking!  She rowed as much, if not more, than I did and honestly I’m not sure if I would’ve been able to get back to the docks without her help.  It was exhausting!  She did an amazing job and we had a lot of fun.  We learned about the palisades and saw some blue herons.

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On Saturday, my birthday, we enjoyed another gorgeous day with some fishing, swimming and presents!

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Claire was photographer that day and she took some fantastic shots!  A budding photographer? A budding Kayaker?  I think all of the above!

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what is up with my pinky finger?


My birthday dinner was pretty awesome – pirate fingers, baked beans, mashed potatoes and RC cola.  For those of you that don’t know what pirate fingers are, let me explain.  I have always referred to them as weiner wraps, perhaps that sounds more familiar to some of you, because they were a favorite grade school lunch item of mine.  When I met Mark and we took our first family camping trip together, he mentioned that we should make pirate fingers and I was intrigued!  Turns out pirate fingers and weiner wraps are the same thing!  When doing this over the campfire it’s always a crapshoot on how they will turn out, you have to wrap the hot dog in a crescent roll and cover in foil, leaving enough space for the roll to plump up while it cooks.  Unfortunately the outside tends to get crispy before the inside fully cooks so you are left with a bit of dough that doesn’t get cooked.  Veda mentioned that it was her favorite part and that prompted me to tell a story about when I was a kid and my mom would make homemade dinner rolls.  She affectionately refers to this time period in her life as her “Suzy Homemaker days”.  Anyway, my mom and my grandma, and my great aunt all made the most delicious homemade rolls you will ever taste.  When we knew this was happening, my sister and I would stand around the kitchen and wait for her to cut out the roll shapes because we  knew that she would give us the leftover dough to eat.  Well, if there was one thing my mom excelled at it was using almost every bit of that dough.  She would just keep rolling it out and cutting the shapes until there was just a pinch of dough left.  And then of course my sister and I would have to split it.  It was fun to know that the love of dough has not skipped a generation.

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We also enjoyed some classes that the park had to offer while we were there.  Ranger G led a demonstration about coyotes on Saturday evening…

Ranger G with her grandmother's coyote fur shawl!
Ranger G with her grandmother's coyote fur shawl!

…and then on Sunday morning before we headed home, the girls participated in a “make and take” and painted their own bandanas!

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It was a good time, we do love us some camping…

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