Friday, July 31, 2009

Interested in swimming with dolphins?

I have been. And I did swim briefly with dolphins and had my picture made with one years ago went I went to the Bahamas. What was I thinking? What beautiful and intelligent creatures! I would love to be up close and personal with them! They are always happy and lively, and they seem to like the interaction with humans. Right? They're smiling, right?

No. There may be some happy dolphins in captivity, but the point of this documentary is to the contrary.

This new documentary coming out is called The Cove. I urge you to click on this link to NPR and read their summary of an episode of Fresh Air that I listened to yesterday. Please take the time to listen to the 20 minute show. It will turn how you feel about human interaction with dolphins upside down.

The former trainer of Flipper, Ric O'Barry, admits that dolphins do not belong in captivity. They become depressed and they die. They don't die because they refuse to eat, they die because they choose to stop breathing, and they asphyxiate themselves. Ric O'Barry talks about how many different "Flipper" dolphins he trained, and how they all died because of depression from being in captivity. It is a known fact amongst dolphin trainers.

In a remote village in Japan there is a huge industry for dolphin killing and dolphin selling. The dolphins are viewed as "pests" because they eat the fish that fisherman need to make a living from selling. The word for dolphin in Japanese literally means "monster fish." This is taking place in a Japanese national park in Taijijii that even Japanese people aren't permitted to go in. Mainstream Japanese people don't know this is going on. Most of the world is ignorant of what is going on.

In summary, dolphins are scared into this death cove by fisherman using sound that terrifies the dolphins. Once in the cove the dolphins are separated into groups, ones that will be sold to seaquariums world wide and the ones that will be slaughtered for consumption, which their meat shouldn't even be consumed considering the high levels of mercury found in dolphin meat. Consumption is really beyond the point, tho. The cruelty of the process, and the fact that these animals are being disposed of in such a manner, is preposterous.

Please find out more about this cruel trade. And consider watching the documentary when it is available in your area. Become aware of what's really going on. I feel it's the least we can do.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hard day at work...

Today has been hard. I'm the Human Resources Manager at my job, and I've been trying to familiarize our staff with some big employee policy changes. And, I've been met with quite a bit of resistance. The major change is to paid time off (pto) and let me tell you (as I'm sure you already know) people don't like their pto being jacked with.

So, today I've had a man roll his eyes in my face and ignore my "good morning" greeting to him while in the break room. I've had the same man imply that I, being an "exempt" employee, do not play by the same rules when using my pto as he does since he's hourly. And he said this during a meeting with five other people in it. That's totally false and showed his ignorance of his coworkers, and I felt his comment was way out of line.

Needless to say there have been others giving me the snub, too. It's as if I've written these policies all by myself and I'm being attacked personally. Actually, I'm part of a collective of managers who drew up the new policy changes, but alas I am the messenger. So I've been stabbed. In the face and in the back as I know there are more coworkers who are keeping their opinions only amongst themselves but are still driving my name into the mud.

I had a minor breakdown earlier and I feel better now. Tomorrow will be a new day. I will finish my policy review meetings and report the discussions back to Management. Perhaps we will make some changes. Perhaps not. Either way, I'll be so happy to be done with this project.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Check out this giveaway...

I have found a new blog that I'm very intrigued by...

She is a "green" crafter and I'm so curious about all of the wonderful things that she creates. I wanted to pass her blog to you guys so you can check out her giveaway. The item up for grabs (possibly) is a book on Kanzashi flowers. Here is a description from her site telling us exactly what that is...

"Traditional kanzashi are beautiful Japanese flowers created by folding small squares of silk into petals and then gluing them together."

I am so intrigued by this! I think it is so beautiful and I'm itching to try it out. Too bad I have some other projects I need to finish first. Or, I could just follow my traditional way of thinking, procrastinate with my current projects and just dive right in with the Kansashi!!!

Update: the give away is now closed... but if you are a craft lover like me you still need to go visit Betz White and check out her tutorials. She's done some amazing stuff! My project list is growing by the second!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lakecation Recap

It's Sunday evening and Hubby and I are back from the weekend retreat with our friends. And, let me first own up to an embarrassing fact... I was totally wrong about our destination in my last post. We did not head to Caddo Lake at all. And, that's what I get for trying to be overly spontaneous and not ask enough questions before I left. See, we were riding with friends, so I wasn't worried about getting to the destination on my own. However, when Hubby and I were talking about how long the drive was going to be... well, let's just say the couple we rode with looked at us as if we were looney. My bad.
This is the front entrance to the house, where the screened in porch is.

This is the view of the lake from the backside of the screened porch.

This is the back of the house while standing at the water's edge.

Here is part of the porch area where you can see the big game table in the middle of the room. The room was so big I couldn't get it all in one shot. Too cool!

We actually went to a little town called Caldwell, which is close to College Station where Texas A & M University is. And the lake the house was on Lake Woodrow, and it was pretty petite. Really, it was a private lake. And a very beautiful place to stay. The porch was in the middle of two houses that had been remodeled and joined together. Our host and hostess stayed on the left side of the house which had its own sleeping quarters, bathroom and fridge, and the rest of the couples divided up space in the right side of the house where there were two bedrooms, one bathroom, the kitchen & dining areas, as well as several seating areas with add'l couches for sleeping on.

We had so much fun that I can't even begin to describe just how much the muscles up and down my sides ache from laughing all weekend long. Literally, I gave my obliques a work out from laughing pretty much non stop from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.

Friday night started off with the mustache back in action... Hubby took one for him and one for the friend that drove us. They put them on in the car during our rode trip and kept them on while we stopped for gas in a little town somewhere in Texas. The looks they were getting from the townspeople was hilarious. Literally, it looked like two guys were about to break into their own version of "Y-M-C-A" just without the rest of the costumes. It was hilarious.

We played tons of games... Apples to Apples, Gin Rummy, Poker (with chips not cash), Beer Pong (I was just a spectator for that one), told ghost stories around the fire pit, cooked wonderful meals, made smores and camp fire cakes and shared many a tottie while we listened to music. There was even a bit of fishing and laying in the sun. It was an absolute blast!!! And, we are hoping to be invited back very soon!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Weekend Retreat

This weekend we are heading with some good friends to a part of Texas we've never visited.

There are tons of Cypress trees with moss and swamp-like waters. I'm not sure how I will like this kind of lake. I've heard its beautiful and so peacefully relaxing. But, I keep trying to imagine laying out in the sun on a dock over waters such as these. With an occasional Jurassic Park leftover like an alligator. Will that even be a possibility??? Geeze, I hope not.

You know, most times when I go to a lake I float on a raft or something so I can stay cool while catching some rays. Or I take a dip when I have to pee. (Gross, I know... but come on, everybody does it, right???) But, I'm questioning if getting in this type of lake is an option at all. Where will I pee?

The couple who is leading our retreat has been to this place many times as the fella's parents own the lake house we'll be staying at. Since I have never been there I have tons of questions about amenities such as bathrooms, is the dock within walking distance from the hacienda, and what kind of coffee is available. Shallow questions, I know. Especially considering just last month I lived in a tent for a week and had to carry a fly swatter with me as I trekked around our camp site. I am confident the living quarters will be much better than my "roughing it" ones were.

But, I'm one of those gals who doesn't do too well with ambiguity. I like to know what to expect. I'm working on this so that I can become a more spontaneous free-spirited kind of person. So, I'll be back in touch Sunday night to let you know how this adventure turned out. I'm counting on it being a ton of fun, no matter if I can dip in the water or not.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cool Thongs

To continue on with my theme of being a walking contradiction, I'm a girly-girl who sometimes likes things a bit on the masculine side. So when I saw these little undies over the weekend at Nordstrom I had to snag a pair.

(They are from "Commando" of all brands... isn't that hilarious?)

The pair I have actually has more green and black in the pattern, but I think these are cute, too. And, they are seamless... a plus in my book!

Hubby was pretty fond of them. Which he's an "all things tactical" kind of guy, so I wasn't surprised.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Oatmeal Raisin Cranberry Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cranberry Cookies

(makes about 4 dozen)
You'll need... 2 sticks (or one cup) of margarine, 1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tsp vnilla, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt (optional), 3 cups of Quaker Oats (old-fashioned or the quick variety), 1 cup raisins and dried cranberries.

Heat oven to 350 degrees; beat together the margarine & sugars until creamy; add eggs & vanilla and beat well; add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon & salt; mix well. Stir in oats, raisins/cranberries; mix well. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool one minute on the cookie sheet then transfer to a wire cooling rack.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saturday Funnies

This weekend did not disappoint! Friday night with my girls was a great time... lots of goofiness and being silly. Our favorite thing to do! We hit the mall for a couple of hours before closing time because hey, Nordstrom is having a huge sale right now!

Saturday we took care of a couple of wedding planning appointments for Sissy, then we headed to meet up with Hubby and The Little Guy. And more shopping. Back to Nordstrom. And here is what Hubby had to wear while we shopped. He picked up that great mustache from the prize counter at Putt Putt Friday night when him and The Little Guy were hanging out. That's my Sis in the background saying, "I'm not going in there with him like that!"
Hubby kept it on for awhile. The looks he got from strangers was pretty hilarious. Sissy and I hit the MAC counter super fast, Mom and The Little Guy took off to the kids section, and Hubby was left following us around in his costumed state. He finally took it off, after the girl at the MAC counter commented on it. I think that's what he was waiting for... a bit of recognition from the crowd. We went to Starbucks later and he put it on again to order his coffee. The girl who rang us up ignored him, but the girl making the drinks chatted with Hubby about it, which of course boosted his confidence to wear it even longer. Thankfully he had to take it off to drink the coffee.

Sunday was a bit more low key. Mom and Sis went back to Sissy's casa, The Little Guy went to a cousin's birthday party after church, and Hubby and I decided to make some Oatmeal Raisin Cranberry cookies. Ok, I made them and Hubby is devouring them. I got the recipe from the Quaker Oats container... pretty good we must admit!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Family Friday Night

Mom is in town and tonight I'm hanging out with her and my sis. Can't wait! I love it when the three of us get together. There's always tons of laughter and tons of goofiness. What more can you ask for on a Friday night?

I'm the short stack on the far left, and those used to be my favorite jeans. I must confess... I can't fit into those anymore... dang it. From the way my leg is bending under my butt it looks like I had a hard time zipping them up before the photo shoot! Honestly, I can't recall. This pic was taken about three years ago.

Happy Friday to you!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

From my Sis...

This morning I checked my emails and had a couple of nice surprises from my Sissy. (That's actually the name we call each other... it used to be Big Sissy & Little Sissy, but now it's just Sissy most of the time.)

This is her with my nephew Tini... (and yes, he has a shirt for every day of the month... some of them Juicy Couture. He lived in Manhattan in a past life... actually I think both Sissy & Tini did...)

And here is a funny email she sent over... if it isn't large enough for you to read then shoot me an email and I'll forward it to you. It's a cute one!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Get Smart

Last night The Little Guy and I had time to watch a movie... Get Smart with Anne Hathaway and Steve Carell. Now, we have this on DVD, so we've seen it a few times already. But it was fun to sit there with him and laugh at the goofy antics. Then at the end, I had a nice reminder of one of the hit songs from the soundtrack...

I love that song. I had to dig up my copy of the cd and stick it in my car so I can jam out while commuting.

I've got to go now... I've only got four minutes... uh... to save the world!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sunday Update

After I finished my Sunday angst post I realized that I didn't recap one of the highlights of my day... going to a Bridal Show with my sis in Dallas. Her wedding date is fast approaching (June 19, 2010), and she is so on top of everything. She makes me so happy to see that anal retention is still running rampant in my family and wasn't lost in the gene pool!

I'm not kidding, my Lil' Sis is on THE ball with her planning. She's already got a dress, shoes, wedding venue... and she's got an agenda planned for when our mom comes to town this Thursday to visit florists, more bridesmaid dress shops and I think some cake decorators.

Yesterday's mission at the Bridal Show... Operation Sweet Entertainment. (Ok, that's what I named it... because I'm a dork like that!) She was hoping to find the perfect cake and d.j. Let's just say she made some progress. We were floored by one of the d.j. guys... boasted that he was your one-stop-shop and would make sure the reception flowed seamlessly from the music to the cake cutting. We just thought he was trying to justify his minimum $2500 fee... yeah, right. Not in the budget, dude. Go bark up someone else's tree.

I tell you what, you've got to admire most of the vendors at those types of shows. To stand there all day long and hope to drum up business, saying the same thing over and over to hundreds of people??? Not something I could do unless I was heavily medicated and had an assistant to do all the talking.

Anyway, in summary... I'm very proud of my Lil' Sis for all her hard work and dedication to having just the right wedding. She's got more determination that I can shake a stick at! Check out her blog and follow her adventures. Her fella did a pretty good job with the proposal!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Struggles

Today was an emotionally moving day for me at church. A teenage girl was baptized. I always like this type of service since it allows me to renew my covenant with God right along with the person being baptized for the first time. I tear up a bit when I hear the person being baptized making their pledges.

I felt the tears coming again when I saw the young lady walking back to her seat wiping her own eyes with a tissue. I was glad to see her visibly moved. But, I blinked back the tears reminding myself I didn't have on waterproof mascara. (I know, what a deep thought, right?)

Side note... The last song we sang today was "Amazing Grace." Yes, that's a beautiful song, however I've always told myself that I don't want that played at my funeral. I want "Ode to Joy" played instead. It starts off, "Joyful, joyful, we adore thee..." talking about God, of course. My thinking is that the second song is so much happier. But, today "Amazing Grace" moved me like it hasn't ever moved me before. I also noticed two other women around me that had the sniffles, too. It made me wonder what exactly made them feel so moved when hearing that song. Was it because the song was played at a funeral of a loved one? Did it make them feel closer to God because of the universal familiarity of it? I'm just curious... and I'm not sure why I felt that way.

I've been struggling a lot with my relationship with God lately. I feel estranged from Him, and I know it is only because I have pulled away. I'm involved with three other friends in a prayer group where we exchange weekly prayers for our families, and part of the church sewing guild, but I know I need more. My spiritual discipline has waned. I think about joining a Bible study, but I talk myself out of it. I think I'm afraid to be moved in front of others.

I've wanted to write a letter to my priest and let him know what I'm struggling with. I've also thought about just talking with him in person, but I think I would just become a blubbering idiot and not end up making a whole lot of sense. I want to do more for my church and my community. I don't have a desire to convert people, but I do have a desire to do more behind the scenes. I feel like my contribution is supposed to be greater in this life. I'm struggling with what to sign up for and making sure it balances with the rest of my family life. So, basically I'm not letting God lead me at all. I'm consistently telling Him no, I'm too busy to take on more.

Today I am making a pledge to pray more often and more focused. I'm going to reach out to some people that I'm spiritually connected with and ask for their prayers, too. I'm a big believer in prayer. I've had more prayers answered than I can count. And, I'm confident I'll find my niche. I just need to start with discipline.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Note to Self: Don't be a pedicure hater!

I was given a gift certificate to a local nail salon. I must admit I'm jaded these days about paying for such services. I've been scalded one too many times, I can't stand listening to a foreign language being babbled about in front of me (for Pete's sake, what are they saying about me???), and I'm always a bit leery about catching some sort of flesh eating bacteria from those pedicure chairs.

But, I was in need of some feet pampering. I try my best to take care of my feet. I've found a great Sally Hansen product, Pedicure in a Minute, that really works wonders. And, I've gotten pretty decent with painting my own nails. But, after our camping trip my feet were in some seriously neglected shape.

Here are my feet pre-pedicure... My Doberman Axel just had to get in camera range for this shot. I thought that was too cute to ignore!

Yep, this is me and Axel again, post-pedicure...

The place I went to is new. It was a large facility, clean, quiet and smelled delicious when I walked in, not pungent with artificial nail products. And, there were men! Three or four men working the place, and a few hubbys were in there with their significant others getting their toesies pampered. I took a book to indicate I didn't want to chat, and my nail tech was perfectly mannerly. I still got scalded, but I tried to just bite my lip and enjoy the pampering she was indulging me with. I must admit I would like to go back to this place.

Wait to watch it in the privacy of your own home...

OK, Hubby and I made a mistake this evening with our movie choice. It was between Public Enemies with Johnny Depp or Bruno with Sacha Cohen. We decided we wanted to laugh more than we wanted to be serious tonight.

So we did laugh. A lot. But after the movie was over we actually felt violated!!! We were making sure we didn't know anyone walking out of the theatre! My recommendation? Wait until it is out on video so you can watch it when no one knows. We felt sort of like we had been exposed to gay porn.

It's a crazy movie.

Hubby and I are now thinking, "Why in the world did we just send our money to this guy and not Johnny Depp?"

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The New Do

Getting my hair spruced up yesterday was such a nice treat! Oh how I love that little bit of pampering! And, visiting with my stylist is always fun... she's so hip and freaky cool. She's been traveling to Israel and Turkey, for Pete's sake! I'm way to big of a chicken to even want to try to go to that part of the world. She said Istanbul is an amazing place to go, by the way. It sounded like San Francisco... always bustling with energy and jazzy things to do.

Ok, so this picture shows my "do" erring on the side of conservatism. When I got home from my appointment last night my hair was flat-ironed in a pretty extreme fashion. My stylist usually does that, and I like a bit more body in my hair. So this morning I dried it then put in my velcro rollers, which gives me just a bit of lift. I'm sure I'll style it in other ways so that some days it looks more edgy, but after my brief trip back to 1992 I wanted just something that looked a bit on the plain side this morning.

And, my apologies for the goofy look on my face. No matter how hard I try to relax and give a "real" smile for the camera when I'm taking my own pic I just can't do it. I feel like a total goober taking my own pics like this... Do you have that problem, too? My real camera croaked on me a couple of months back so I keep using my phone. I think I did better with the real camera...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Girl Time

After work yesterday I met up with two close friends that I don't hang out with often enough. We always laugh so much when we're together. And, they are the type of friends that I can chill poolside with, do fancy things with, or just hang out barefoot in pj's with. I had a great time and can't wait to schedule another get together!

Tonight I'm getting my REAL haircut so a new "do" pic will be coming soon!

And, tomorrow after work... more girl time! I'm stopping by another friend's house and we are going to do a bit of sewing while we chat. This is another one of those friends that I don't see often enough and we always have tons to chat about. She's another gal that I can be totally relaxed with. I love that!

Who else has some girl time planned this week???

Monday, July 6, 2009

Karen's World

I must pay homage to Karen at A Peek at Karen's World today. That sweet thang featured Securityville as her Blog of the Week. How flattering! She's got some great posts you should check out, as well as book & movie recommendations. One of her recent movie viewings was Hangover, which I really want to go see. Hubby & I just saw Transformers 2 last week and I must say I absolutely loved it! Megan Fox actually moved me to tears in the end... can you believe that? I was really impressed with her acting. And Shia Lebouf... well he's always an amazing actor in my book.

So, stop by and see Karen and tell her I said hello!

Have a great Monday folks! It's back to work for me after having all of last week off. I'm looking forward to seeing some of my coworkers and getting back to my routine. Oh, and I'll have some sewing updates in the next day or so. Progress has been made at mi hacienda!!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Note to self: You can't cut hair!

I've been toying with the idea of cutting bangs for several weeks. And, I do mean that I wanted to cut the bangs, not have a professional do it. By Friday night I had worked up the courage. I had watched some YouTube demos and felt I was all set.

Let me point out a few things... I didn't have the proper hair-cutting tools (I used embroidery scissors), I didn't re-watch any instructional videos before getting started Saturday morning, and I didn't listen to that little voice in my head trying to correct me as I went. So, I forged ahead with a confidence like I had been doing this kind of thing regularly or something.

Let me just say it's a darn good thing that my hair grows fast. And, I have access to a great hair stylist that I am calling this week to see if she can help correct my snafu. I'm sure she loves it when people like me come in after several months of not getting a professional trim or cut. (Hubby trimmed my ends a couple of months back and now I've cut bangs... sheesh.) She'll earn that $50 in no time flat, right?So here's a photo recap... my hair right after the cut. Doesn't look terribly bad, right? Just a bit of a flash back to the 1990's, wouldn't you say? All I need is some high waisted pleated jeans like Z. Cavaricci's and I'll be all set!

Now check out Hubby's close up of my side burns...
I was actually considering shaving that all the way back and dying it orange like how Cindi Lauper used to look in the 80's. That would be fun, right?

And, here is me again this morning, trying to "make do" with my do. My "look" is so from another era right now. I keep telling myself there are super models who have thick bangs like this. But, then I remind myself it is probably just an old photo circulating in my brain trying to make myself feel better.
I'll post another pic after I get my REAL real hair cut. Until then, if you're thinking of cutting your hair just make sure you don't have the false confidence I started with, and make sure you have the right tools. And, for Pete's sake... re-watch those instructional videos before getting started!!! OR you just might end up on the road to having a mullet like me.

On a side note, you may have noticed if you read my blog regularly, that these are actual "show my face" kind of pics. Yep, Hubby and I are turning over a new leaf with our blogs... a bit more reality driven. We'll see how it goes...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Camping Details

As you can imagine, camping outdoors for five days can bring with it much relaxation, but a touch of boredom, too if you don't plan enough activities. We tried to plan ahead. We took some games, some books and planned to fish and swim to stay busy.

Keeping the camp fire going was quite a bit of work, but Hubby loves that sort of stuff and stayed "on duty" during the a.m. and late p.m. hours when we needed to cook. Not only that, but we had to immediately wash our dishes and remove all traces of food after each meal to try and keep the bugs at bay, so I was the Chief Bottle Washer, which felt great having my hands in the cool running water at our campsite.

Flies were everywhere. The flies were actually worse than the mosquitos. "Then the ants came...." Or, I guess the ants were always there, but busy with their normal duties. After day two of our vacation the ants seemed to recognize that we had invaded their space, so they wanted to pay us back and invade what we had claimed as ours. We didn't remember until after a couple of days of swatting flies that we needed to hang some clear bags of water to deter the flies. Don't ask me how that works, but in Texas a lot of horse/barn owners hang clear ziploc bags of water from ceilings and rafters and it keeps the flies from attacking the horses. We realized this quite by accident when we had one of our clear plastic Nalgene water bladders sitting on our picnic table and wondered why the flies weren't swarming our food and our heads. We set another one out after that and it did really help. We could've hung more but by midday each afternoon we were pretty tuckered out from the heat and just wanted to go swim. The flies go to bed when the sun goes down anyway, so we could sit around the camp fire in peace for a bit before turning in.

There were a few afternoons where The Little Guy and Hubby asked me to read to them from my Stephen King book of short stories. The Little Guy thinks he's always up for a scary story, but the ones I read weren't too bad. I had to edit a few parts as I read along since some of the text definitely wasn't kid-friendly, but for the most part reading a story out loud killed an hour's time and we all got to take our minds off the heat and relax for a bit.

At night, when the sun went down, we went inside the tent and played a game by the light of the lantern (battery powered with an LED light... worked great!). We played UNO one night, Trouble another night, and The Game of Life the other two nights.

During the day, around 3 to 5 o'clock, we would drive about two miles to the beach area of the lake and swim. The water felt so good.... I can't even tell you what a difference it made! Thursday afternoon the guys didn't want to go swim for some reason. It drove me over the edge. Seriously, I had a mental breakdown after about an hour of trying to cool myself off in the water spickett during the heat of the day. Hubby quickly realized (as he calmed me down with his gentle and rational voice) a dunk in the lake was certainly needed, and later the guys admitted they were pretty glad to have gone swimming after all. Next time maybe they'll just do what I want to do and not try to out-vote me...

What did we eat? We actually ate pretty well for camping primitive-style. We brought along one ice chest and bought a new bag of ice each morning from the store by the lake. Monday night we had hot dogs with all the fixins and baked beans, all cooked over the camp fire. We made S'mores for dessert. Tuesday night we had sliced New Potatoes with sweet onions, seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic, cooked right on the coals in a foil bag, and some we grilled corn on top of the camp fire grate we brought along. For dessert we made Camp Fire Cakes from a recipe recommended by Bettymountaingirl. This recipe works and is very delicious!!! I must admit I have some tips to add... mix your batter before you get to camp since eggs and oil are involved, and take it in a sealed container kept cool in your ice chest, and bring a sharp spoon to carve out the insides of the oranges... our little camping plastic ware spoon was not a wise tool. They bake up fast (in about 10 minutes) and are so good that you'll want to make more than just one for each person (which is what we did).

Wednesday night we drive into town and ate at the Mesquite Pit, a BBQ joint that was so delicious! Not sure if it would be as tasty on any other given time of the year (when we weren't camping and having to work so hard to cook), but that was the best food we had tasted in as far back as we could recall!!!

Thursday night we had more potatoes and onions, more grilled corn, but this time we wrapped the corn in foil, sprayed it with a bit of non-stick oil, and seasoned it before we cooked it. Both ways of prepping it were delicious, but the second way was just more convenient. For dessert we tried a little pan of jiffy pop over the camp fire but it didn't pop up as well as we would've liked. It was a small treat, so we followed up with more S'mores!

If you want more details on how we prepared things just email me. I wasn't sure how many of you might be interested so I tried to just summarize.

We had a great time on our family bake out, er... I mean camp out, but let me just reiterate to you how glad I am to be back in civilization, with full-time air conditioning, a full-service kitchen, and a running refrigerator that I can easily walk to at any time of day or night without having to worry about bugs or what might be lurking in the dark!

Happy 4th to you and yours!

Since I have no beautiful pics of fireworks to share today, and would only end up googling the holiday to see what pics I could copy/paste for today's post, I figured I would link you guys up with one of c jane's blogs. She lives in Provo, Utah and evidently they have quite a festival going on in preparation for and celebration of Independence Day. Check out her posts...

And, most of all... Have a very Happy 4th of July!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Camping Vacation

Well, we made it! It is Friday and we returned home from our camping vacation without incident! Ok, so we have a few bug bites and are really, really tired of drinking warm water, so thankful to be back in air conditioned buildings, but there are no injuries to report, and most importantly..... no snake sightings to report!!! (Just in case you aren't in the loop, we are in Texas, and we've been camping in 100 degree temps... the nights fortunately cooled down to the 70's!)

Here is a pic of what our kitchen looked like on Sunday night as we prepped our food stash. We were worried we would run out of food, but that was not the case. We came back with a few more days worth of snacks and munchies... nothing very "meal" worthy, but it would've gotten us through if we had needed it.
Here are a couple of shots of our Clampett style abode from Monday to Friday.

And, here is a pic of something we perused while we took a drive into the nearest town (Mineral Wells) so we could soak up some a/c from our vehicle. This is the Baker Hotel
which was once a bustling place, a luxury hotel to be exact, back in the early 1900's. Mineral Wells made it big with their "crazy" mineral water which people claimed cured their ailments. Celebrities would travel to this little place just to soak and swim in the stuff, and tons and tons of the water was bottled and shipped throughout the South. (click on the link to The Baker and you can find lots of old pics and history.... very cool!) There were even crazy water crystals that people bought and added to their own water. The town was also a big military hub until Vietnam when the base was practically shut down, so the remnants of what once was is pretty sad. We kept saying how nice it would be if someone would invest in fixing up the old spots around there, but unfortunately the economy these days in Mineral Wells just doesn't support that idea. It's a beautiful little town, and the people are great. And, their Wal-Mart? Stellar! I'm not kidding, its the nicest Wally World we've ever had the pleasure of touring. Great a/c, too!

Curious about what we ate and how we entertained ourselves in the heat while we "roughed" it? Tune in tomorrow! I'll be back with more details on how you can plan your camping adventure, too!