Goodbye, Margins

A couple weeks ago, last time we were in church, our pastor preached about the need to keep margins – margins meaning downtime.  I went home and thought very hard about how to reduce stress in my life and create time to allow myself to simply be and came up with three little words:  June, July, and August.  Now, with a quick flip of the calendar, they have vanished and we are back to the rat race.  But not without one last hurrah. 

This past weekend was spent with all but one of my extended family members.  That one party pooper decided he had to move back to college this weekend – bah humbug.  We pulled campers out to my brother’s “cabler” – which is a trailer house on an almost-lake-lot.  Yup, that is how we roll.   In our camper, our dog often breaks the not-on-my-bed rule, but you can see I get really mad about it.


Fishing, wakeboarding, tubing – we have a boat for every activity. 


Four kids learned how to wakeboard this weekend thanks to a very patient Uncle Bill.  A very happy JP won the Family Fishing Tournament trophy with his 19” Walleye.  I don’t know if they forgot to set rules before the tournament but there was a slight disagreement over whether heaviest or longest won.  Either way, he made off with all the champion fishing lures and that is all that matters.


We had a 7:30 AM 5 mile fun run, although only two of the participants found it to be fun at all.  “Smile!!” I said.   “But I am not happy,” was the reply.  JP kicked Bill’s butt completely, which was a long time coming – Bill hasn’t ever let JP be faster than he is but that day, within the first 100 yards, Bill said he knew his ruling days were over.


This little guy, who is the family baby, found every way possible to get licorice and a “pop drink” from his aunties.  To oblige is our job, especially when mom doesn’t know.


The girls were there as well, of course, although slightly outnumbered.  They all spent most of the time tubing.  Once, they were attacked by a giant wiener, but I will blog all about that awesome experience later this week when I have pictures.  I will leave you with this beauty:  “Hey Boys!!!!  Get away! Your wiener is drenching me!!!”

What??  The camera battery went dead after about 3 hours?  Yes, that is how things go when we are back in the rat race.

It was 3 action packed days – Lucy can hardly walk, the boys have great allergies plugging their heads, Crazy Man sports an awesome sliced finger, and I am sunburned.  It measured up to a successful weekend.


Fall camping is great – the fire actually feels good because it cools down at night!


We Loveth our Dutch Oven

…And I don’t mean farting and trapping it under the blankets in order to torture others under the label of crude humor…

Our Dutch Oven brings much joy to camping.  Sure, we have made some real food in it, but honestly, we pretty much make desserts in it.  Desserts have a place in camping similar to paddles and canoes, socks and shoes, showers and towels.

You must go find liners – Walmart carries them, it is not a difficult hunt.  MUST HAVE THEM!  You don’t want to scrub anything late in a day of camping.  Late camping is for laziness.  Of course, ya gotta have charcoal.  That is just a given. 


I am taking a guess that you can make almost anything that is traditionally baked in an over in one of these babies – here is a temp chart for ya:


Ok, so the best thing we made this trip was a spin on apple crisp.  I found a recipe on Pinterest and we followed it, with a couple baking modifications.  Cinnamon Roll Dutch Apple Pie.    I mean, it has the word “Dutch” in it.  It was meant to be.

1.  Quarter the cinnamon rolls and put in the bottom of Dutch Oven.



2.  Coat apples that you brought already sliced up and ready to go.  To do this, slice them and simply freeze them.  When they thaw, they will be brown, but who cares, they are getting cooked so it doesn’t matter.  Just dump all the stuff in the bag, shake to coat, and dump into the Dutch Oven.


3.  Dump all the topping on top.


4.  Put the Dutch Oven onto the right amount of charcoal and put some on the lid so your oven reaches the right temp (according to the chart above.)


5.  Sit back and grab a book.




6. Heat the frosting part while the stuff bakes and you read.


(While heating frosting, dry out friend’s phone that accidentally went swimming in the lake.)


7.  Drizzle frosting over finished Apple Pie.  Ahhhhh, yeah.


We added Cool Whip on top, because as I have stated before, I can eat Cool Whip with a spoon and call it a meal.

Yeah, camping is better with good desserts.

We Were Roughing It


We spent the past five days out in the middle of the woods being chased by wild animals.  Well, sorta, ok, not really at all.  We went camping again.  Why?  Because 1) It is a cheap way to vacation with a big family and 2) We like it.  We are somewhere closer to tent dwellers than monster-house-on-wheels people.  We have our beloved pop-up camper and we like to live in it whenever possible. 

Not much of this trip went according to plan – we had reservations at Jay Cooke State Park, which flooded, so we went towards the lakes and found 2 sites at Lake Carlos.  They were non-electric, so we were forced to really rough it.  Smile  Our boat broke down after day two, so it sat in the campsite looking all nice and dry.  It was just one of those trips.  And we had fun anyway! 

We always have fun with camping food.  One of my favorite things we ate was these noodles, which we served with Asian Chicken – I could eat this combo on a very regular basis. 


 Sesame noodles

We also made fajitas – a perennial favorite.  I have switched to making my own seasoning following this recipe.  YUM!

For lunch one day, those of us who decided against PB&J ate chicken cheesesteaks.  Well, almost, I ran out of onions so we ate onion-free chicken cheesesteaks.  Oh, and I used gouda cheese instead of cheddar.  Spicy YUM!

And, we stumbled across another new dessert – details on that another day!

Ah, I love camping!!  (I tried out topless sunbathing.  Not true.)









Life is full.  Life is good.  We are blessed.