Thursday, October 23, 2014

Easy and Delicious Crock Pot Apple Crisp…That You Can Make While You Camp!

preparing apples

What could be better than savoring a spoonful of warm apple crisp as you sit around the campfire with friends and family?? 

This was the first time I tried this and I will definitely be making it again!  

Crock Pot Apple Crisp (Great for Fall Camping!!)

  • 6-8 medium baking apples,
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (to toss the prepared apples in to keep them fresh),

…Crumb Topping

  • 2/3 cup quick-cooking oats,
  • 2/3 cup flour,
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon,
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg,
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (not melted)

And if you like your apple crisp sweet…

  • a container of sugar and cinnamon to sprinkle on the apples before you add the topping, or on each serving once it’s cooked to suit your taste. 

Before you leave home, use a pastry blender to combine the butter and dry ingredients, then toss the mixture into a zip lock bag and put it into the cooler to take with you. 

At the campsite, peel and slice 6-8 apples right into the crock pot. (If you use a liner, you won’t even have to clean the crock pot afterwards!)  We skipped the lemon juice since our cooler space was limited. Sprinkle the apple slices with sugar and cinnamon and stir them up if you like your crisp a little sweeter.

Dump the crumb mixture on top of the apples, place a double paper towel between the lid and the crock to absorb moisture, and cook on high for 2 hours, or until apples are tender. 

Scoop, sprinkle with more sugar and cinnamon to taste, and enjoy! 

Yep, I have a pretty major sweet tooth, lol!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Picture Journal of Our Camping Trip to Hardy Lake State Park

Last week was fall break, and we spent it camping with friends at Hardy Lake State Park.  It was absolutely beautiful!  

The guys hung out fishing on our friends’ pontoon boat and giving their electronics a break.  Um… B and C on boatWell, they fished, at least.  :)  My little guy caught the most.  Might be because he wasn’t texting every other minute.  ;)

A and fish

These were out campsites.  Our little Jayco Pop up is the one on the right.  The trees were just beautiful!

two campsites

Directly behind our camper there was a short path that lead down to the lake where we could tie the boat. I took this after the guys pushed off for one of their fishing trips.Pontoon boat

My oldest son and a friend slept on the boat one night.  It was all good until about 4 in the morning when a cold front brought wind and rain sending them back to the campers.   

I took this on a walk between the lake and our camp site.hike

Greta, as usual, enjoyed being a part of everything.  She loves camping as much as we do!

B and Greta

There were several UNO games…

uno

as well as our annual pumpkin carvings. 

pumpkins

We took our bikes and enjoyed riding around the park.  We also used them to ride to the comfort station, which was a good ways away.

The only bathroom close to us was a vault/pit style restroom.  NOT something I wanted to brave in the middle of the night.  Once in the daylight confirmed that.  I was not about to slice through those cobwebs in the middle of the night.  Nope. NOT HAPPENING.

siteBut I had looked at the campground map before we left and knew we were staying in a more remote area.  So, I bought a pop up hunting blind from Rural King to take along.

In spite of the boys’ objections that the blind was too cool to pee in, I plunked my little porta-pot inside, strung some lights,and hung a roll of toilet paper.  I must say, it made a happy little potty hut!  I think it was much nicer than those stand alone outdoor shower shelters I saw on line.potty space

I have NO idea why I didn’t do this LOOOONG ago.  Seriously.  It stayed nice and dry inside and as an added bonus, I could change in it when the boys beat me to the camper.  Greta even napped there from time to time.  It was worth every penny.

Here’s a picture of my boys chill’in in the camper. I applied my phone’s water color effect just for fun.  :)

water color chilling inside

One day, my hubby and I made some crock pot apple crisp.  It was SOOOO good!  And easy, too!  Tomorrow, I’ll share the recipe, so be sure to stop back!

It was a fun time, for sure! 

What have you been doing to enjoy your fall?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What My Middle Son Did to Make Me Cry

Mom made it home safe and sound last week.  Which is good!  She was getting homesick.  But it’s also bad.  I miss her!  It was really nice having another female in the house.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked down the hall ready to laugh with her about something only to stop short at the sight of her empty chair or room.  This was taken right before she left.

one more pic 3

That said, I was already feeling a tiny bit emotional when I heard arguing and slamming-of-doors at the other end of the house. 

Middle Man was determined to boot his little brother out of his space into Grandmom’s newly emptied bedroom.  And Little Guy was making it perfectly clear that he did NOT want to go. 

There were tears.

There was drama.

And there was no reasoning with either son.

Little Guy went and hid himself in the sunroom. 

Middle Man looked at me, dropped his shoulders, and sighed.   

That’s when my up-to-now-unreasonable middle son did something that made me super proud of him.  He told me he was going to work non-stop till he had made his little brother’s new space SO cool that he, himself, would be jealous.

And he did.BBB

He hung soccer jerseys, Chelsea flags, and Colts gear.   He hung posters of Lamborghinis, and tucked well-loved stuffed animals around the room.  He put water guns in the shower,  a beach ball on the bookshelf, and a battle ax by the toilet.  He created a drawing nook and hung Christmas lights.  He even thought to download Little Guy’s favorite music to his tablet and set it to play.  And as a final touch, he built a tunnel-fort under the table. 

It was a little boy’s dream room.

I wish you could have seen my little guy’s face when we finally got him to come and see.  Because it was priceless. 

And it brought tears to my eyes.  :) 

He absolutely loved it!!!

And later, all by himself, my Little Guy did his big brother’s chores.

Those, friends, are the kind of things that Mamas tuck away to smile over when no one is looking.

So, where did I find my Little Guy this morning? not enemies after all In Big Brother’s room, of course. 

It made me smile.  They’ve been hanging out in each other’s rooms most of the day.

My little guy has a pretty awesome big brother! 

However, I’m not allowed to post this without clarifying that Little Guy still thinks his big brother is annoying. 

Of course he does. 

And I’m sure the feeling is mutual. 

I love my guys. ;)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Please Allow Me To Ramble On For An Entire Post and Share Random Highlights Of Our Summer As I Fall Woefully Short Of Organizing Any Thoughts…

I hate that it’s been so long since I’ve posted here.  Summer went and flew away before I could lasso it and slow it down.  :)

In June, we took a trip to Pennsylvania and Maryland to see family.  First, we visited with my husband’s family in Chestertown Maryland.  Then we headed up to my Mom’s house in Pennsylvania, where we cut down her field of bamboo.  (It was not fun work. But it really needed to be cleared.) 

This year, we took our pop-up so our moms didn’t have to worry about where to put us all.  It gave us a place to crash, and also tickled my little guy who wanted to go camping in the worst way! 

The day after we cut down the bamboo, the guys went to Hershey Park with my husband and a family friend.  They had a blast experiencing the park I grew up loving. 

Mom and I stayed at her place, and I used the time to paint some of the trim on Mom’s front porch.

image

When it was time to head back to Indiana, we brought Mom home with us. That’s one of the reason’s I’ve let blogging go for so long.  I hate spending time on the computer when I can be visiting and doing things with her and the boys. 

Speaking of the boys, they went to soccer camp the very next day after we got back.  It was the first time we went to the Ben Elo Soccer camp, and they really had a great time. 

After that, high school soccer practices began, along with  weight training.  And the summer fell into a busy routine of mowing, practices, gardening and canning.

Canning.  This summer, I made two kinds of relish, lots of ketchup, and tons of salsa.  I also froze enough zucchini to have zucchini bread all winter long.  It feels great to have all that stored away!

School has been in session here for almost two months.  I now have a junior, a sophomore and a 4th grader. 

The two older boys play soccer for the High School, and my youngest still plays for his travel league.  As always, the schedule is crazy and it’s hard to keep up.  But it’s a fun kind of crazy.  I love watching my boys play!

Last week, my two older boys’ team played an incredible game against their biggest rival.  It was so intense, I’m pretty sure a few of the parents (besides me) lost their voices, lol! 

The game ended in a 1-1 tie, and because a conference game cannot end in a tie, it went into overtime. Still tied at the end of overtime, it went to PKs.  (If you are not familiar with soccer, both teams pick five players to shoot one on one against the goalie and the team with the most goals at the end wins.) 

It was a long and hard fought game.  But we finally won in PKs!  What a great night of soccer!  And the icing on the cake?  My middle son was one of the players who scored a PK in the end!

Like I said, I love watching my boys play.  :)

A photographer from the local paper tweeted this picture taken during the game…

Number 13 is my oldest son.  I feel bad for the player who caught his teammate’s high kick with his chin.  However, I’m incredibly glad my son’s face missed the action! (And glad, too, that I didn’t see it happen!!  Who knows what I might have shouted!  Ha!)  The other player in white is my middle son.  My oldest told me he was cleaning up the mess my middle son left by not sticking to the man he was supposed to be covering, lol!

They each played great games and I enjoy listening to them laugh and banter back and forth. 

Where is my mom in all this soccer, you ask?  She has been coming along to some of the games when it isn’t too hot or cold, and when there isn’t too much walking involved.  She enjoys watching, too.  But she is ready to go home to Pennsylvania.  Once I get my little guys’ soccer schedule added into my master calendar, I hope to be able to squeeze in a trip east with Mom. 

Anyone want to be my driving buddy?  :)

I’ve missed this little space and the chance it gives me to catch up with my “virtual” friends.  So hopefully, with the boys back at school, I can carve out a regular time to catch up with you all! 

What kept you busy this summer??

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Hard Thing About What Our Schools Are Doing To Make Up All The Extra Snow Days

Thanks to Friday’s 7 inches, 2014 is now the snowiest winter on record in Indiana.  And thanks to the polar vortex, it ranks 11th as being the coldest winter in history. 

Our school district has piled up eight snow-days, thirteen two-hour-delays, and one early dismissal.

I’ve appreciated every call (well, at least the first two), and so have my kids.  We welcomed the extra sleep, if not the overabundance of family bonding, and I’ve appreciated that they put safety first. 

Like many officials, our school board has had to figure out how to make up the time.  

Beginning tomorrow and continuing through March, they have decided to add an hour to the end of each school day.

My teens will get home at 3:45 and my third grader at 4:50.

Although this isn’t my first choice for how to make up the time, I’ll do my best to support the school board and their difficult decision. 

I wonder, though, if any of them remember having small school-age children.  I wonder if they realize how hard they are about to make the lives of those poor souls who teach Kindergarten through 4th grade.

Can you imagine trying to escort an entire class of cherubs through the bewitching hour?  

Every mom knows exactly what I’m talking about. 

There is a tiny little clock built into each and every child that springs a sprocket at 4:00 without fail.  It’s so predictable it’s like magic.  Not the good kind of magic.  That’s why moms call it the bewitching hour.    

My youngest still melts down.  Do I blame him?  No.  By four o’clock, he’s tired.  He’s hungry.  He has to pee—badly—because he’s held it all day.  He hates the bus.  He hates the sun.  He hates his brothers.  He hates the car. He hates his homework.  He hates his classmates.  And he even hates me

Although the attitude will pass with a little TLC, it goes without saying that his ability to think rationally closes up shop at four.  

I’ve learned the hard way with my boys not to make eye contact or engage in unnecessary conversation when they get off the bus until they have hit the bathroom, had a snack, and kicked a ball.  In that order.

I was encouraged to see a note yesterday which said all elementary aged students would be given a snack during that last hour.  Thank the Lord someone must have talked to a MOM.

Still, pray for those poor teachers and bus drivers.  They’re going to need extra grace to get through the extended days of the next few weeks. 

On the other hand, for the first time in 16 and 1/2 years, I will be able to prepare dinner in blessed silence.  BLESSED SILENCE.

No interruptions.  No juggling homework, breaking up wrestling matches and conducting frantic searches for soccer gear while dinner sets off the smoke alarm.

I wonder what that will be like?  ;) 

What do you think of the idea of extending the school day to make up snow days?  How are schools in your area handling the missed time?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Hope Your Valentines Day is OUTTA THIS WORLD!

valentines box collage

This was my third graders entry in the creative Valentines box contest.  :)  The lights alone have to win him something, right?  Right??

For his flying saucer, he used packing foam, low temp hot glue, permanent markers and two short strands of battery operated LED lights strategically taped in place.  :)

He had so much fun working on this project! 

This afternoon, I’ll be helping out with his class Valentines party and I can’t wait to see what the moms in charge have dreamed up to do with the kids. 

Last year we had relay races with candy sweethearts on spoons, aiming/tossing games with candy sweethearts and  heart-shaped picture frames decorated with, you guessed it, candy sweethearts!  The food police would be horrified, I’m sure, Lol!

sweet hearts

Long live candy sweethearts!  ;)

Have a wonderful day with your family! 

Long ago the Lord said to Israel:
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.

Jeremiah 31:3

New Living Translation (NLT)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snowbuddies!

I sent my youngest out to gather eggs yesterday and noticed an hour later that he hadn’t come back.   It was a balmy 12 degrees (a virtual heat wave for us).  So I wasn’t too worried about the cold—just more curious about what he was doing. 

I found my boy sticking out of a snow mound left by the snow plow.

And he wasn’t alone, lol!  Is there anything more fun than building a snow fort with a friend?

When I was his age, my friends and I would build fabulous forts on opposite sides of our sidewalk.  There would be lookout windows, hideaways, and even shelves stocked with snowballs!  I wasn’t much of a snowball thrower, but I LOVED making the forts!  It was always fun to play out there with my brother and neighbors.  Well, until the ice balls started flying!  Lol!

I’m glad my little guy had someone to build with!  :)  They cracked me up as they both tried to fit into the hole. 

Gotta love my snow buddies!