Sunday, April 27, 2014


Hi all!  It's been a day or two since I've been here.  It's that dreaded end of semester time.  Papers due, presentations due, final exams....2 more weeks.  Just two more weeks!  I can do this!  LOL

We've always loved camping.  Not only is it cheaper to rent a camp site (or even a cabin) than it is to rent a hotel room, etc.  It's also so nice to be out in nature.  To wake to hearing the birds chirping, to hike in the woods and explore.  It's just wonderful.  As with my gardening, I'm having to adjust how we camp due my health so tent camping is out for me now.  We've gotten a camper but a lot of things will cross over between the two.  More on that later.

I've also been planning a camp out for my son's Cub Scout troop at the end of May.  It's a crazy time to be volunteering to do this but it's for the kids.  I was a Girl Scout leader for a number of years so you'd think it would be just as easy to plan but the two different scouting organizations have very different rules.  It's still do-able.

Regardless of rules, some things are universal for camping.  

I always have a handwash station at camp.  It sure does save time running back and forth to the bathroom.  It involves a milk jug, pantyhose, golf tee and rope.  This guy has an awesome demonstration on building one like I use.  The only thing different is that I add a golf towel to the rope that hangs it from the tree.  A golf towel because it has the grommet in the corner to allow me to string a rope through it.  Here is the video of making one.

Another thing I do is make my own fire starters.  One way is to use cardboard egg cartons and fill them with dryer lint.  I generally just put the egg carton on my dryer and each time I empty the lint, I put it in one of the egg cups.  Once all of the cups are full, I melt some old candles (or any wax) and pour over the top.  This is just strictly to keep the lint from falling out of the egg carton.  Once the wax is cooled, you can simply cut the cups apart (discard the top) and one or two of the egg cups is all you need to start a fire.  You can light the cardboard cup itself to start the fire.

Another fire started for times when space is limited (like backpacking) is to take a cotton ball and really stretch it out some, put Vaseline (or any petroleum jelly) on it.  Really work it into the cotton, coat it well.  Drop the cotton balls into a small Ziploc type baggie and you're good to go.

Shoot, in a pinch, my son learned at camp last year that you can start a fire with Doritos.  Who knew?

A couple of things that I insist on with little kids is swim shoes for around camp...they're hard soled and easy for kids to put on/take off.  And they don't feel as restrictive as tennis shoes.  Kids don't fight as much on leaving swim shoes on.  And they're easy to wash.  The other thing is flip flops.  These are for the shower.  I don't even wanna think about what might be on those shower floors!  Kids wear flip flops in the shower.  No exceptions!  They are NEVER to be worn other than in the shower though.  There are too many things that can stab their feet if they wear them anywhere else.

If you're camping with little kids, I skip the showers entirely.  I used a tub that I brought things to camp with to fill with water and gave the little ones a bath right there at the campsite.  It's pretty easy.  Another  side  use is that this tub is the tub I used for washing dishes too.  Everything that goes to camp has to serve more than one purpose for me to pack it, load it, haul it, etc.

I'll have more on camping later.  And my journey into switching from tent camping to rv'ing.  I love taking my kids camping, they learn something new every time.  And like a friend just said to me today about taking her kids camping "I'm gonna make outdoors kids out of them!"  It's a good thing too, I've always said "Kids need dirt and sunshine to grow!"  

I hope you're having a great weekend!

Monday, April 14, 2014

How to brighten a gloomy day?

The last few days here in Indy have been beautiful.  Sunny, upper 70's, lower 80's temps...just a gorgeous few days.  Monday brought thunderstorms and rain...and more rain.  And tonight is to be in the 20's and possibly snow.  As quickly as the wonderful weather brought good moods, Indiana's ability to change so drastically can sap that mood just as quickly.

Then the mailman came.  And this made the day her MUCH less gloomy!

What rain?  LOL

I'll be perusing my favorite plant catalog today!  Let the garden planning begin in earnest!

Have a wonderful Monday!

Sunday, April 6, 2014


I often say that I may not be good at a lot of things, but I can improvise with the best of them!  Sometimes you just have to think outside the box for solutions.

The other evening, while in the midst of working on homework, my husband tells me that a beloved employee at his work was coming back after being off for a bit.  And could I bake something?  Cupcakes are easy to send to work as you don't need silverware and plates to eat them.  

I needed to get them done quickly if I was going to get them iced at a decent time.  I only had one cupcake pan.  Time to improvise...

Instead of using the cupcake pan, I used a sheet pan, canning jar rings and cupcake liners to get this:

This really does work!

Before baking:

After baking:

I was able to make 23 cupcakes (who really gets 24 out of a batch anyway?) in one round in the oven. 

Here's another quick hint to improvise...Those pricey cake mixes that are "Funfetti"...make your own!  I just add some cookie sprinkles to the cake batter.  Make sure you're going to bake them pretty quickly afterwards or the cookie sprinkles will start to "bleed" their color through the batter.  I usually just add them in immediately before putting the batter in the liners.

Make a quick powder sugar frosting with some strawberry flavoring and you're good to go!

These were the ones that the hubby took to work.  I kept a few out and iced 4 for the kids.  We don't eat a lot of cake type things.  The cupcakes that were left, I did not ice.  I put them into a Ziploc and froze them.  Then in the future when someone has a craving for a cupcake, you just pop them out of the freezer and being cupcakes, they thaw pretty quickly.  Just ice and you impress the kids (or hubby) and you didn't even have to bake!  LOL