Saturday, August 20, 2011

Camping Food Prep

We're leaving tomorrow for a week of camping in the rustic cabins at Allegany State Park. I took the boys last year, and spent the week there with our great friends, Cassie & Pat and their boys. We had a great time, and we're definitely looking forward to going this year.
About the only thing that I did NOT like about camping last year, was trying to get everything together for the meals everyday. I had tossed different meats and things into the cooler, along with other foodstuffs, but I had no real plan.
This year I had a plan all written out, and wanted to prep as much stuff ahead of time, so I didn't have missing ingredients when it came to make things up. I got some great ideas from Make and Takes blog.

 Since this year my parents, nephews, aunt, cousins, and our friends are all going, we have a couple evenings where we have a community meal planned.  One night my dad will be using the big deep fryer and we'll be cooking up a Turkey.  Another evening we'll be having a garbage can dinner.  Wait!  Don't freak out!  It isn't a USED garbage can.  You use one of those big metal garbage cans with the lids.  My dad put a grate in the bottom of it.  He puts water in the bottom of it, so it comes up to the grate, and then we fill it with tons of food.  Everyone tosses stuff in.  A ham, a head of cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, sausages, steaks, etc.  It all then gets put on the campfire and the fire ends up steaming everything in the can. 

 So this is my plan.  Hobo Pockets, Sweet & Sour Pork, Deep Fried Turkey, Meatloaf, and then Garbage Can Dinner.

I got everything out for the Hobo Pockets and started prepping them for camping. We bought the stuff at Aldi's, so it was super cheap.  Here is a quick picture walk through on how to do the Hobo Pockets (super easy).  I'm sure yo could use fresh potatoes & carrots in this, but they take longer to cook and I find that we end up with burnt burger and raw potatoes, so we go for the canned ones.

Canned potatoes
Canned carrots
Beef patties
Salt & Pepper
Aluminum Foil
Get some canned potatoes and carrots. 
Some beef patties & onions

And some Aluminum foil

Tear off a piece of aluminum foil about 20 inches long.  Place a burger patty on it.

Take big slices of onion and place it on top of the patty.

Slice up the 3 of the canned potatoes and put them on top of that.

Add in a handful of carrots, top of salt & pepper.

Put a couple pats of butter on top.
And wrap it up into a nice square.  I wrap it up like I would wrap a present.
I was able to fit 4 packets into a large freezer bag.
When you have them all packed in freezer bags, just label them and toss them in the freezer.  When it is time to leave for camping, pull them out and toss them in the cooler.  This keeps everything colder longer, and it keeps everything together.  No more last minute scramble while camping to put a meal together.

When you are ready to eat these for dinner, just pull them out and lay the packets down in the hot coals and cook for 10-15 minutes. 

Another great meal to do in pockets like these is ...
Sweet & Sour Pork. 

Pork steaks
Green Peppers
Cubed Pineapple
Soy Sauce
Salt & Pepper

Lay pork steak out on a 20" piece of aluminum foil.

Cover with lots of onions (we love onions).

Add green pepper slices.

Scoop a handful of pineapple chunks onto that.

Add just a little minced garlic, a couple splashes of Soy Sauce, and salt & pepper.

Top with a pat of butter.

Fold the aluminum foil up and over it, creating a square.

I can fit 4 packs in a freezer bag.  Then label.
 Place in freezer, and take out and put in cooler when you leave for camping.  When you are ready to have these for dinner, lay them down in the hot coals and cook them for about 20 minutes. 

With both this and the hobo pockets, I like to double layer the aluminum foil.  So when I'm doing wrapping it once, I go back and wrap it once again.  This way, when you place these in the coals, you are less likely to get breakage.

For the dinner of meatloaf, I pulled the meatloaf freezer meals I made about a month ago out and put them in freezer bags to be put in the cooler as well.  Those will cook up nice in the coals.

One last thing I did before cleaning up after all this prep work was to get another couple onions and dice one up fine (to go on hotdogs the night we get there that isn't listed), and sliced up another one (to go on the hamburgs if we choose).  I don't want to get stinky onion hands while camping where there is no running water.  Just another quick thing now, that would be a pain while camping.

Soooooo.... the most important question now is ......

Are you all going to miss me while I'm gone this week????
I'll take lots of pictures while we are there.  My cellphone doesn't even come in down there! UGH!  So we will be 100% unplugged.  I keep telling the boys it is going to be great for them and to stop whining.  Little do they know that Mommy is going to be going through techie withdrawals herself!  Eek!

We had a wonderful time, and all the food was DELICIOUS!  We had some leftover Hobo Dinners, so we cut up all the ingredients in them and made a beef stew for the last night! Nom!Nom! :)

Linked up!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Flashback Friday #4

Halloween is only a couple months away!  This flashback friday is brought to you by my little cuties from last year's Halloween.  Niko was a very happy Frankenstein's monster.  Timmy was an awesome Mario.  Adrian was a rocket ship.
What are your kiddos going to be for Halloween this year?  Have you already started thinking about how you will make their costumes? 

Right now my boys want to be ...
Timmy - Anakin from Star Wars
Niko - Papa Smurf
Adrian - Spongebob

For Timmy I'm going to sew him a simple outfit and crochet him a lightsaber.
For Niko I'm going to crochet him a smurf hat with an attached beard.  We'll have to look into blue face paint.  I'll be looking for a blue turtle neck at thrift stores, and I'll be making some red pants for him out of felt, I think.
For Adrian I'm looking at making his costume out of a box.  I think.  LOL  And make some spray foam that I will shape down to look like SB and then paint it up. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm working on a new pattern

Making a crochet pattern can be a long process.  First you have to decide what to make.  Then you need to figure out in your head what stitches would work best to get it to look exactly how you envision it.  The next step is making one.  While you make it you have to meticulously write down all your stitches so you can recreate it and make it into a pattern. 
All of that takes enough time ... but when you don't end up with the exact piece you were envisioning, you end up starting all over again.  And again.  And again. 
That has been the process with the current hat pattern I'm writing. 
My first attempt was too loose on my head.  Not slouchy enough in the top area, and not tight enough in the band area.  Also, it was a little too short for my taste.

My second attempt fixed the looseness problem.  This one fits very well, but it doesn't have the slouchy or the little bit of poof I was looking for. 
I'm currently on my third version of this hat, and I'm not happy with this one, either.  The yarn I'm using isn't the right weight.  It says it is worsted weight, but it actually feels more like sport weight.  It is making holes between my stitches because the yarn isn't thick enough. 
So right now, I'm frogging the third hat, and I'm going to start AGAIN.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Ahhhh .... SUMMER! <3! :)

Linked up ...

Before school jitters

I called the school last week to see if Timmy could come in and see the classroom and meet his teacher before school started. Just as a way to transition him into going back to public school. The secretary told me she'd let his teacher know that I wanted to talk to her and she'd be calling me.
Timmy's teacher called me last night. She didn't know she was going to be having a child with Autism in her class. She didn't know that he had an IEP. She didn't know that he'd be leaving school everyday an hour earlier than the other kids, so she'd have to send an entire lesson home with him every night. She didn't know that he'd get extra time in a quiet room for all tests. She didn't know any of it.
School starts in 2 weeks. Doesn't the school think that preparing the teachers for the kids with special considerations and IEP's is important? This teacher has to plan her last lesson of everyday so that it can go home with Timmy to be completed here. She's supposed to make a special schedule and tape it to his desk for him so he handles transitions easier.
His teacher seems very nice and she sounds like she will be on top of it all. She does know she will be using the amplification system for her class, but that was a given, since she uses it every year I guess. I am just concerned that the school (as always) wasn't communicating all of this stuff with her so she could plan accordingly.
I'm just worried. Is it okay to worry? After all of the rigamarole that we went through last year with this school ... I'm just very, very concerned. :(

Friday, August 12, 2011

Flashback Friday #3

This picture is of Timmy, his friend Austin, Niko, and Adrian at Allegany State Park 2 years ago.  I thought this picture was fitting, seeing as we will be leaving for our week long camping trip to Allegany next weekend.  I can't believe how much the boys have grown in the past two years!  Look at Niko's long hair!  I loved his hair like that! 
Everyone say a prayer for me this week as I get everything packed up for this trip.  Thankfully we will not be camping in a tent.  We rented an extremely rustic cabin for the week.  We will have cots.  There is a stove/oven.  There is a woodstove as well.  My bff, my aunt, and my mom all rented cabins as well, so it is going to be a BLAST! :)  1 week of screaming, carefree boys running and playing in the dirt, the trees and the creeks.  1 week of bonfires and s'mores and garbage can dinners.  1 week of family, friends & fun! I can't wait! :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Here is my Niko this past week while we were camping.  He's my emotional one.  He's my one that gets all bent out of shape when he feels things aren't fair.  He's my whiner.  LOL  I'm not being mean.  I'm just being truthful. :)  And, yes, I DO know where he gets it from.  His beautiful and wonderful mother, of course! :)  Yeah, yeah, yeah ... I can be a bit of an emotional whiner too. 
Even crying, though, isn't he just adorable? 

Linked up!


Friday, August 5, 2011

Spotlight on my Nottinghamshire pattern

I'm a member of the Hat of the Month group on Ravelry.  For the month of August, they are featuring my Nottinghamshire pattern! :) It's so nice to see so many of these beautiful hats being made by ladies on Ravelry! :)  I'm just tickled pink! :)

Flashback Friday #2

Here's Niko, all snuggled up in the sling on my chest.  I carried him around in this thing all the time. I was able to run after Timmy (1.5) while keeping the baby comforted at the same time.  When it was time to make dinner, I'd move the sling to my back and have him on my back while I cooked. 
I loved my sling.  I made them for a while.  They are super easy to make, and it really was a wonderful thing to have. 

Isn't he just adorable?  He was so tiny back then!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Floating Robot Head Space Wars

Timmy sat down next to me today while I was packing lunches.  He had brought a paper and pencil with him and started drawing. 
At first he drew a picture of himself with his glasses on.  His head was in the center of the paper and it was a cute picture.  He's really big on self portraits. 
Then he drew a smaller picture of Niko in the right corner, and Adrian in the left corner.  They were below him, because he is the oldest, he informed me.
Then he drew a couple small robots above his head.
Then the robots started shooting at him.  It was okay, though, because his head wasn't really his head, it was a giant floating robot head.
Then his brothers started shooting at him.  Oh no!  They were robots too! 
(This is where I stopped making lunch and snapped a picture)
This became a huge robot war in outerspace.  His brothers were shooting at him and each other.  The unknown robots above him were shooting at him as well.  He would draw the lasers shooting, and then he would erase lines where they hit, showing the "breaches in the hull of the robot space ships".  Then he'd go back in and patch the holes up with darker lines, showing that they were all fixed.  He'd erase the laser lines and soon after, another attack would come from one of the other robots.
More robots flew in to try to defeat the evil flying robot head of Timmy.  Bombs detonated left and right.
I didn't get a chance to snap the final picture, but needless to say, you really couldn't tell what he had initially drawn on the paper.  If he were to "turn in" this art project to someone, they would probably just see the scribbles everywhere.  They wouldn't see the huge imagination that he has.  They wouldn't see how he created an entire story around one thing - his initial self portrait.  LOL, can you imagine if he was sent home to make a self portrait and came back in with something covered in the scribbles?  Yeah, it probably would not go over well. 
I guess this is just me saying to really look past what you first see.  If someone sat him down and asked him "what is this?" he could tell them this incredible story about floating robot head space wars! 
And honestly ... this kid just amazes me with his imagination.  To sit there and watch him draw this all out was great!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How does your garden grow?

Let's take a look at the garden! We got the garden in pretty late, so we know that we won't get as huge of a harvest as normal, but it should be good!
Some of the goodies we spied today!
Our first cherry tomato!

Baby Yellow Squash

Some pickling cucumbers

That is a cantaloupe.  What?  You couldn't tell?

In a day or two, we'll be eating this zucchini!
Oooo!  By next week we'll have tons of cucumbers!

Look what Niko found!

These are the tops of the milkweeds that grow in the weeds by the garden.

These tops are beautiful and they smell just like lilacs!

 So after I left the garden, we went over to our "volunteer" garden.  This is all in last year's pigpen.  That pig manure is making this stuff grow like crazy!  We have tomatoes and pumpkins growing like mad over there!

I'm not sure what this is ... perhaps another pumpkin.

I guess that the pumpkins that are growing in here are considered "8 ball zucchini" if you pick them early enough.  If that is true, then we should probably pick this one in a few days if we want to consider it a zucchini.

Huge pumpkin.  This will eventually turn orange with green stripes, I guess.

Smaller version of the big pumpkin.  Too big to be an 8 ball zucchini.

This, too, is too big to do the 8 ball thing, so it will be a pumpkin, too.

Thanks for taking a stroll through my garden!  I hope to have some more pics for you next week!

Oooo!  And speaking of gardening ... you should definitely head on over to Frugally Farming Family!  She is doing a giveaway right now for an envelope full of coupons!  Yay!  Get in on it!