First Camping Trip 2009

We finally took the camper out last weekend. And it has taken me a week to share it. I know. Craziness. The plan was to camp somewhere near Gainesville, Texas since we wanted to go to Lavender Ridge Farm and pick strawberries on Saturday. All of the Texas State Parks we called were already booked (this is a problem we have a lot). So, we ended up going up to Lake Murray State Park in Marietta, Oklahoma which was about 45 minutes further north of Gainseville. They have something like 400 sites so they usually have plenty of room. I took a laid back approach to packing the camper. Something like “Hmmm, I see sheets and pillows and blankets. Here’s the food. Ok, if it’s not in here we don’t need it that much for just two nights!” It really reduced my stress level and, it actually worked. We had everything we needed with no problems.

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We really enjoyed the state park. It was a nice, level site, easy to get the camper into and only $18 per night. Daisy did wonderfully and even when we let her off leash at the camp site she stayed relatively close to us and didn’t wander off. I think we made it in around 8pm on Friday night. Saturday morning we headed up to Gainseville to pick some strawberries. Unfortunately there were not all that many to pick and we only ended up with about a third of a bucket full. Enough for one round of shortcake. Well, better than nothing and we did have a nice time so it wasn’t a loss or anything.

We headed into downtown Gainseville after that. They have a nice square, similar to what we have at home. There are lots of cute little shops and restaruants. We put Daisy on the leash and she and Robert walked and window shopped while I browsed inside the stores. I didn’t buy much. I found a blown glass firetruck Christmas ornament so I had to get it. We have several fire fighters, fire helmets and even fire boots, but no firetrucks so obviously it needed to come home with us! The other place I had to do a little shopping was Pass Time Fabrics, a quilt shop. I found a few cute little bits of fabric in the clearance area, a Texas print I’ve been looking for and the most tiny English Paper Piecing hexagons. They are extremely cute and very tiny. Awesome!

A little trail near our campsite

A little trail near our campsite

After our wanderings we went back to the campground to just relax. Robert needed some serious decompression time and he got it so that was very very good. We took Daisy on a little bit of a hike down to the lake, which she was scared of (what kind of Lab is scared of water?!) and Robert made some delicious chicken and rice in the dutch oven for dinner. We went to bed early and slept late both days – Robert because he was worn out and me, well, I’m a champion sleeper. I could sleep 10 hours every night with no problem and feel pretty good about it!

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It was the inagural trip for the camping quilt I made on my quilting retreat in Indiana. It fit the bed really well, looks good in the camper and was nice and warm and snuggly. It’s also pretty sturdy which is good. Since the best place for Daisy to be out of the way in the camper is for her to lay on the bed, whatever blanket we use gets covered in dog hair. I wanted something I could wash after most of the trips without a problem. The quilt is simply squares of denim and flannel but on the denim squares I am sewing patches that we have gotten from places we have camped or visited on camping trips. The patches are inexpensive souvenirs and the blanket is useful in the camper so it is a nice way to combine functionality with some sentimentality. We had a great weekend and when we came home the garden was looking great so that was even better. I’ll write more about the garden this week because it is really going to town.

Here’s your puppy picture for the day.The focus is less than perfect, but this is Daisy’s little spot in the camper. And she’s wearing her red traveling dress (her harness). Her travel bowls are Fiesta, spoiled dog!

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Mini Madness

As I mentioned, I joined the local quilt guild the other night. In May the program is called May Mini Madness. Guild members make mini quilts to donate and then there is a silent auction where everyone bids on them to raise money (not sure if for the guild or for charity). I came home from the meeting wondering if I had enough time (2 weeks) to pull together a mini for the auction. I also had most of the remains of a charm pack that were wanting to be used. I started looking for a pattern to use up the charm pack, not thinking about a mini and then stumbled onto a tiny paper pieced cake stand pattern. I adapted it into a basket and used cherry fabric to make little baskets of cherries. And by little I mean 3 inches.

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I made four of these and am trying to figure out a good layout. I am considering a 9 patch type layout, which could require another basket, or not. I am feeling indecisive on it. I would like to take it over to the quilt shop and ask for opinions but that could cause me to spend money which is not the goal. I need to think on it some more. And I sent it out to the committee (my Mom, my Aunt and my cousin) to see what they think about it all. Of course no one has responded yet either.

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Aren’t they cute? The charm pack is Recipe for Friendship from Moda. They are Mary Engelbreit fabrics, or at least the matching panel is ME so I assume they are all ME fabrics. The cream with dots was something I got in a scrap bag from the local quilt shop. They have some scrap bags, about $3 each. I found two the other day that had all neutrals in them. I have been using them in my Geese in the Forest blocks and in these little baskets and here and there when I need a little bit or piece. Most of the pieces I got in the bags were around 6 inches wide. It has been very useful. I hope they have more!

Totally unrelated but I was looking over on Kate Kwiltz today and saw her post about shopping at IQF in Chicago. She posted the beginnings of an orange and turquoise four patch quilt. I love the orange and turquoise together and had not even thought of it. I may spend some time this afternoon looking in my stash for orange and turquoise and appealing to the committee to send me their scraps. 🙂

We have tiny cucumbers and tomatoes in the garden and all sorts of good things going on there. Almost everything is planted for now. I am going to put in a few more green bean seeds since those will can or freeze well if we have an over abundance. I think will stick the remaining onion sets in amongst other things too. I don’t know if they will do much as they have been sitting the greenhouse for awhile, but, we’ll see. Oh, and we’re going camping this weekend for the first trip of the season. Lots to do to get ready for that one. I need to get easy hand sewing together and find a campground. We’re going to go up to Gainseville and hopefully go to a U Pick strawberry farm.Woo! Strawberry jam here we come!

Introducing…

Daisy!

Daisy!

Daisy, our new yellow lab puppy, came home last Saturday. She has kept me busy all week! She’s a very good puppy overall and I can’t complain. I’ve never owned a dog before though, so it has taken some getting used to. I am not used to planning my day around when we will have to go outside and go potty but I am getting the hang of it.

She had a pretty awful case of fleas when I picked her up, but a trip to the vet on Monday got that cleared up. She was very lethargic and not interested in much of anything over the weekend. My Aunt thought she might have worms but it appears that the fleas were SO bad, that is what was dragging her down. Poor puppy. She’s feeling much better now. She has already managed to rip open the tail of her squirrel chew toy, she’s played with all of her toys at least once or twice (the squirrel and the kong are the favorites and the “puppy fish” nylabone and the rope are close behind).

She’s gotten used to walking on a leash, so that is good. And she seems to not mind riding in a car at all. We are taking her camping tonight and tomorrow night so hopefully she will like it. If she does well on that, she will be joining us on our trip to Indiana on Wednesday. We’ll be driving there Wednesday, Robert will speak at a conference in Indianapolis on Thursday, we will drive up to NW Indiana and see my parents and other relatives Friday and Saturday and drive home Sunday. It will be nice to go “home” as I haven’t been back since I moved here in 2005. It’s been almost four years since I’ve seen Lake Michigan and all my other favorite spots. We are both looking forward to it. My Mom is having a brunch on Saturday so some of the family that couldn’t make it to the wedding can come over and meet Robert, so I am looking forward to seeing all of them as well.

I think it will be a fast and furious trip overall, especially since we will be camping tonight and tomorrow, getting home Tuesday evening, just to repack and leave again. But, we will manage.

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Great Weekend

We had a great time at Caddo Lake State Park. It was a really unique place. So much so that at one point, kayaking down the river, I saw a sign with a Texas flag on it and said “Look, they’re from Texas too!”. To which my lovely husband said “Duh!” Oh well. It was just so different from the part of Texas we are from that I felt like we were someplace else entirely. I also felt like we were getting away.

I haven’t downloaded the pictures yet, but I hopefully can do that tomorrow. Highlights of the weekend – going on a 6-mile kayak on Caddo Lake. My amazing patient and wonderful husband kept paddling even when I was very tired and getting a bit cranky. He was so excited to be out on the water, it was great.

We cooked fajitas on the campfire for lunch Saturday, and made a combo turkey/beef meatloaf in the dutch oven for dinner (on the campfire) along with foil packets of asparagus and red potatoes. And then we had s’mores with dark chocolate. Yum!

Sunday we had my attempt at the Weight Watchers version of chili dogs, using turkey chili, turkey dogs and wheat buns. It worked pretty well. We also did some geocaching which we hadn’t done since we were in Mexico for Christmas. It was awesome to be outside, being active together and just being together. It was really refreshing for Robert, who has been completely stressed lately and it was a relief to me to see him so visibly relax.

It was a good trip. Today, I got some decent work done posting. The kitchen is another story – it’s trashed! It will get done though. Tomorrow we are getting physicals for life insurance and I have a Weight Watchers meeting. It should be a busy day. I hope I can get some work done.

Wait, where did my week go?

I was just telling Robert the other day that in the past 6 months I have finally come to understand the saying “time flies.” In the past, I honestly almost never felt that way. Days continued to go by slowly, no matter what was going on. The past 6 months have gone by in a blink or less. This week, I feel like I haven’t even gotten started and already it is Thursday. We are planning to go camping this weekend so I think tomorrow will be filled with preparations for that.

I think no matter what we do this weekend there will be some kayaking involved. My poor husband has been itching to do some serious kayaking lately and it just has not happened. I am not sure yet where we are going either. Obviously someplace with a lake. 🙂

I increased my paid posts by 1/3 last month (75 vs. 50 in August) so that made me happy. It is still not as high as I want to be, but at least it is forward progress. I am struggling to make time to work on posting AND work on other story ideas and find places to pitch them to. I guess it is something I need to learn how to do. I need to make more money so I can get my savings account built up, take some classes and just generally have more flexibility (and security as far as back up funds). I need to get better at keeping myself on a schedule and if I can do that,  I think it will all fall into place.

I went to my first Weight Watchers meeting on Tuesday. I joined the program about 2 years ago and used the online tools and lost about 30 pounds. When I met Robert, we quickly discovered that we both love to try new and interesting foods (and chicken wings) and we love to cook. That 30 pounds came back AND it brought along some friends as my mother would say. So, I need to get that taken care of, seriously. Luckily, my husband thinks it’s ok to make that monthly expense a priority as it will improve my health in the long term. He is also thinking about joining at some point, though right now he is so busy with work it isn’t going to happen. Maybe in another month.

I need to take some photos of the quilt blocks I made for exchanging with my cousin. They are super cute, as are the ones she sent to me. We are exchanging them every month until our quilting retreat in March. I will try to do that later today.