Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Meal Planning for Camping

All smiles while Dad does the cooking!!
I'm learning that a large part of a good camping trip is good food.  You've got to indulge a little (eatallthehotdogs!!  it's 5:00 somewhere!!) and keep it tasty, but you don't want to run out and a little originality makes it fun too!

For our 4th of July camping trip, we planned to camp for 3 nights but wisely called it quits after 2.  So we ended up bringing a lot of food home, but in this stage of life (i.e., with a small child, he says "I am a big, BIG BOY!") I think 2 nights was more than enough to keep the trip fun and not too exhausting for all of us.

I tried to plan meals that were a little bit fun, but could also keep in a cooler over the course of a few days.  I also wanted to minimize the amount of stuff that we'd be bringing as much as possible.

Before the trip:
I made panini sandwiches on our panini press for dinner the first night at the campsite.   

Truth: Everything is better on the panini press.

No fire or campstove required.  I also made Texas caviar to eat with chips that night, and a pasta salad.  As it turned out, my husband didn't want to eat the pasta salad ("has too many vegetables" - wha??) so we ended up throwing a lot of that away, because, despite my best efforts, I couldn't eat all of it.

I bought Horizon boxed milks and chocolate milks for M to drink on the trip.  These worked really well, although he definitely preferred the chocolate over the vanilla.

We had sausage and pancakes for our first breakfast, and eggs and toast for our second breakfast.  All were cooked on the single pan that we brought.  Rather than slice the sausage up or crumble it, D just cooked as one giant patty.  It looked quite odd, and certainly won't win us any awards for presentation, but we still ate it.  #notpicky.

We also used the Starbucks single serve coffee packets for our morning coffees.  D has a camping percolator somewhere, but we just couldn't find it before we left.
Showing off his superb-hot dog roasting sticks - please excuse all the smoke in the photo!

Lunch on the 4th of July:
Sausages roasted over the campfire!  #Merica =)
Venison steaks!  Never in my life did I think I would be so excited about these!

Venison steaks over the campfire.  We also intended to have potatoes, but these failed because we didn't use enough oil or let them soak long enough beforehand.  #lessonlearned

We also snacked on apples, chips and Hershey bars.  I packed a ton of other snacks that we didn't end up eating (peppers, hummus, fruit cups, apple sauce, etc) so next time I will err on the side of less food rather than more.  We can always just leave early if we run out of food!  What a novel idea. =)  We had one water jug full of water, and in 2 nights we almost depleted it, so we'll definitely need to bring more water the next time we go "rustic camping"!

We only really used our pan and tea kettle for cooking - I brought a big pot too (because our third dinner was supposed to be pesto spaghetti) but that didn't get used.  We used our picnic plates and utensils to minimize our trash since we were packing it all out.
All smiles, with our water jug propped on the truck in the background.
What I'd Do Differently Next Time:
I should remember to pack everything in ziploc bags or rubbermaid in the cooler.  As the ice melted, packaging for a lot of things got kind of soggy, so that was a yucky mess. 

Bring less food.  We had a lot left over.  I also forgot to pack fruit snacks and fruit juice (both of which M loves).  He asked for them several times, but he took it in stride very well (i.e., did not whine, fall apart) when I told him that we didn't have any.

What are your tips for meals/food while camping?  Obviously, I am a novice at this, so I'd love any new suggestions!

We're thinking about camping again soon - what are your favorite camping meals?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Running & Biking - Heyburn State Park

Good morning!  How was your weekend?

Ours was great.  I got to run 8 miles on Saturday morning!  They felt fine, but I am still S.L.O.W.  But it was a beautiful morning to be out there.

Here is a little bit of what else we have been up to:
We recently drove down to Heyburn State Park to ride bikes on The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes.  The trail is awesome, we only covered about ten miles (it is over 70 miles long!!), but it is a nice, gorgeous ride along the lake shore.

We crossed over this neat bridge towards the beginning of our ride.  M loved all of the "bumpy spots" and it was very picturesque!

We really had no idea about how heavily the area has been polluted by years and years of mining operations, however.  The trail itself is safe, but the brochure had lots of warnings about not playing/walking alongside the shoreline off of the trail, I think because of lead residue present in the sediment.  That's too bad, because it is lovely!

We had a great bike ride, and I'm excited to go back and ride further!  Check it out, y'all!

Tell me about your favorite biking spots!

Does your toddler like to ride in the bike trailer? Thankfully, M does!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Quick Takes: Scenes from Our Week

  What have you been up to this week?  Here's a little bit of what we've been doing.

My running buddy, relaxing after our run by the lake. A gorgeous Idaho summer day -- breezy and in the 70s.

A bread machine failure, followed by a success.  The failure was whole wheat, the success was a more balanced mixture of whole wheat flour and bread flour, plus some other changes.

Wednesday workouts!  My friend and I are taking turns watching each other's kids while we run.  M loves playing with his 4 little friends, although my friend sent him home with an evil "rockin' Mickey" that is just a little bit too loud. =)  D quickly banished rockin' Mickey to the closet.

We had an epic thunderstorm the other afternoon, so of course we indulged in some extra snuggles after naptime!  M said "dunda is scawey" (thunder is scary).  Please excuse my crazy hair and workout clothes!

I finished reading "The Romanovs" another book by Robert K. Massie about the discovery of the bones of the last czar and his family, and the surrounding controversies.  It was, like all of his books, extremely well-written and informative.  Would love to hear any unique book recommendations you might have!

Last night we rode our bikes down to the Riverstone park area, where the CDA Summer Theatre was giving a free performance, singing Broadway and off-Broadway tunes.  There was a good crowd there, and it was a fun and beautiful evening.  M was rocking out with his air guitar and dance moves - his performance was also free, although if he keeps it up, D & I might start charging, because his moves are legendary! =)

Today is the Feast Day for St. James!  I didn't grow up celebrating any saint days, other than St. Lucia (I'm Swedish!), but I've always felt a special connection to St. James.  The church I grew up in was named St. James Methodist, and after college, I walked a portion of el Camino de Santiago in Spain, the ancient pilgrimage route to the shrine of St. James.  That experience deserves its own post, of course!  Do you do anything special to commemorate the Feast of Saint James?
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Please Pray for the Christians in Iraq

I was going to have a silly little post about nothing important, but my mind keeps returning to all of the tragedies and violence occurring in the world today. 

I am particularly saddened to hear of the ongoing persecutions of Christians in Iraq.  Please read this post and this one, and remember these people in your prayers. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Family Reunion in Numbers

Grandmother, whose memory was honored and toasted, as she passed away this past year and wanted us all to gather together this summer.

GaGa+Papa, who hosted and cooked for us ALL!  

little R cousins, in their matching jammies!

R relatives, 2 adults and 2 kids, tubing behind Papa's boat!

great-grandchildren present and playing in the lake

descendants of Gramma & Granddad, present at the lake, watching home movies from the 1930s narrated by Granddad

lakes in Minnesota, but ours is the best

Plus countless rides in the paddle boat, s'mores roasted over the fire, cocktail cruises in the "giant ferry" (M's name for the pontoon), games of SkipBo, and memories and laughs shared.  Thanks to all for a wonderful week.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Calm Before the Storm

It is a rest day here at The lake cabin in Minnesota.  We are here for a family reunion and enjoying a day of quiet before the rest of the family arrives!

It's a beautiful afternoon, as you can tell.  D and I will try to get up on the skis this afternoon.  Wish us luck!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hiking at English Point

There are some lovely hiking trails just 10 minutes north of our house, and we finally got out to explore them recently!

You know our little hiker had the best time. 

We only did the shortest section of trails since we were letting him walk. 

But we'll definitely go back with the hiking backpack and do more.

M was totally soaked from jumping in puddles, but he had a great time. 

We relaxed afterwards with drinks and garlic fries at the Marina on Hayden Lake.  Isn't summer awesome?!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Work It Out #2

Last week's training for Sandpoint's Scenic Half Marathon:

Monday: Easy 4 mile stroller walk/jog - 5 min walk warmup, then ran around the neighborhood, then 3 min walk cooldown.  Followed up with some playground time for my stroller companion!
Stop the paparazzi!
Tuesday: 1 hour strength class.  I love this class!  It wears me out!

Wednesday: Easy 40 minute walk/jog in the late afternoon when D came home.  It was warm, and then a biker rode by me and said, "you think it's hot enough out?" which then made me panic that maybe I should have brought my phone, it was too hot to be running hard, I was going to bonk at the furthest point away from my house, etc.  So I just kept it at a slow, easy pace.  Isn't it crazy that I just let some little offhand comment affect my run like that?  In any case, this run went a lot better than last Wednesday's run.
One of our gorgeous running/biking paths!
Thursday: no time to workout - unplanned rest day

Friday: About 3 miles of hiking in the mountains

Saturday: 1.23 miles of hiking along Priest Lake

Sunday: Rest day

My training plan called for 9 miles on Saturday.  There was no way that I was going to run by myself up on that mountain, so I am not going to worry about missing that run! =)  It happens.  I'm planning to do it for my long run this weekend instead.  But I know that if I am going to PR in Sandpoint, I really need to pick up the pace on my weekday runs and make them more effective!

Happy running!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Independence Day: Camping in a Grizzly Habitat

Hello!  I hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend!  Its my favorite non-religious holiday - I love celebrating this beautiful country that I am fortunate to live in.

This year we celebrated with a VERY rustic camping trip in northern Idaho - yes, even further north than we live now! ;)

We drove up to Priest Lake hoping to catch a first come, first-served campsite on the lake (i.e., "camping light" because you can get running water/restroom access, but really, my style of camping.). All the brochures promote Priest Lake as "the crown jewel of Idaho" so I figured it was time to see for ourselves.

Turns out, they were right - it IS beautiful!
Every campground that we passed on the lake was totally full!  I was shocked.  D remarked about how funny it is that we now live in a state where everyone camps.  Very different from the East Coast!

We headed north up Plowboy Mountain towards a "dispersed camping" spot that D had stumbled upon while hunting last fall.

On the way up the mountain, D tells me that we should "manage our expectations" which really turned out to be code for "be prepared to live like a pioneer for the next few days." =)

After a 6 mile bumpy drive up a dirt Forest Service road, we arrived here:

There were a lot of good spots to set up our tent, and it also had a fire ring and a lot of wood already chopped and ready for our camp fire. 
He just loved playing in the tent!
 And it was about as quiet and peaceful as you can get!  It was a very nice spot and we all had a lot of fun there.  It was definitely off the grid, so my husband was thrilled, but I laid awake all night long trying to devise our escape plans in the event of an emergency (i.e., bear attack)!
Bear locker provided so the bear will only eat you, and not your food.

We toasted our nation's independence by exploring the mountain, roasting hot dogs over the fire for lunch and dining on a gourmet venison dinner. 
Grass-fed, lean, and all organic too!

We didn't see any big game, mostly because M & I did our best to scare them away with our normal noise level, much to D's disappointment.  Although two cars drove by our camp site and stopped to tell us that there was "fresh bear scat" just around the curve from us, and asked if we had seen any bears.  Yikes! #toocloseforcomfort

 M loved exploring and playing in the woods and we all got a chance to get some fresh mountain air.  It was a beautiful weekend, but we were thankful to get home to our showers, a/c and cozy beds. =) 
Icy cold stream won't bother this guy!
 After we came back down the mountain, we did one short hike along the lake shore.  It was really beautiful, M splashed in the water and we found another awesome beach camping spot.  Hope we can get back to claim that one next time!
Awesome little beach on the west side of Priest Lake
 It was definitely an adventure, we'll be back to do some more exploring of this pristine area!

Anyone ever been to Priest Lake?  Seen a bear?