Saturday, June 30, 2012

Crazy Camping

This last week was Mouse's very first Girl Scout camping without mom. Three days and two nights in the woods without her security blanket.  At first I did not have her signed up ....because we were supposed to be long gone by now (how many times have I said THAT lately??). But the opportunity arose for her to slide into a spot and join her troop at Stonybrook Girl Scout camp for three days of fun.

And I jumped on it.

Mouse was excited about camp but didn't want to go without me.  I thought it was the perfect time to show her she could do it.

At the same time the rest of us were jealous as we wanted to camp also.

It all worked out. Caesar Creek State Park and Lake is right there close to Stonybrook. So, we could still camp as a family AND be close just in case Mouse was too much of a marshmallow to tough it out without me.

So the teen talked a friend into joining us and off we went right behind the Girl Scouts.

Of course it ended up being the first time to top the temps at over a hundred. Of course. But with the nice new tailor, we were able to hide from the sun in the air conditioning. Only drawback is we were running behind the day we left so we didn't grab a t.v. which would have come in handy with the amount of time we stayed inside.

We picked up Mouse Friday morning. She was tired but had a great time. And we stayed camping another night because she felt left out of family camping so we really had to.

Things go interesting that evening when those storms you heard about on the news swept through. We knew rain was coming so we kept our ears open.  I saw the front coming through the treetops and yelled to get the awning down.  It took the teen and I on the supports and Hubs doing the heavy work to get it down quickly.

As we were doing so we watched the tents in the next site get tossed up and twisted like a pretzel. It got really crazy. We scrambled inside and watched the show from our windows. It was like watching a train wreck. They were finally able to throw something on the tents and just rush to sit in the cars for the downpour.

And before you ask why we didn't invite them in, it was two combined sites with over ten people....two of which had wolf whistled at my teens.  It was a karma moment. All we were missing was the popcorn. It was an enjoyable show.

Turns out our neighborhood and the surrounding area got really beat. There were (and still are) power lines down everywhere. They lost power about 4:30 in the 102 degree heat.

And we missed it all.

We contemplated staying another night when we found out at 10 the next morning that the power was still out and they were predicting several days to get it fixed. Even the stores were closed as there was no power. But in the end we packed it up. After all, we just had to pull the trailer in and fire up the generator to hook it up to and we were sitting pretty. Plus I'm supposed to leave Monday morning and we need time to get ready.

We found out what roads were closed and plotted our return ( not as easy when you are hauling an RV). We said our prayers that the electricity would be fixed quickly as we need to get the RV back to the lot before I can leave as it takes two people.

God was smiling on us because by the time we pulled up the power was on...and had been on long enough for the house to be cool.

The neighborhood is a wreck. There are branches and leaves and just big messes everywhere. Easy-ups and pools ended up in other yards and twisted up and smashed. Luckily our home was untouched. I expected a branch down on the van from the crap tree out front but it held.

And now the laundry is being done, suitcases are being packed and we will tie up loose ends tomorrow to prepare for the trip the girls and I are taking.

It will be epic.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rising Sun

Due to an incredible deal, hubs and I were able to run away for a two day adult weekend.

We stayed at a historical hotel in downtown Rising Sun Indiana.

It was right on the river bank and our suite overlooked the river. Beautiful view. Awesome breeze.

Rising Sun in a beautiful sleepy little town. There is a riverboat casino that has brought in tax money and really revitalized the town, without changing the pace of life or values of the residents.

So we had two very low key days walking around or exploring the scenic highways of the area.

Along the river banks there are walking paths with playgrounds and this cool tree fountain.

We loved the town. To the point that we checked on housing prices, etc. I would live to live in this little town.

We did visit the casino also. I had never actually been in the game side of a casino before or gambled. So I tried it. My $10 keep me busy for a couple hours but no, I didn't win anything. Nor did I expect to. Lol.

We also visited a local museum and tried out several local places during meal times. There were no fast food or franchises in town - which was awesome. I had the best tamales I have ever eaten on day, and an amazing pulled pork BBQ sandwich with coleslaw on it another. Actually that sandwich we had for breakfast. We had arrived to late the night before (most businesses operated from 11 am to 4-6 pm) so we asked if the owner would serve us lunch for breakfast. And she did.

I have to also say this is by far the friendliest town I have ever visited - and I've visited a lot!

So for any of my local friends, I highly recommend a lazy getaway with your better half to this sleepy town.

Totally relaxing.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pinterest Project #8

This last week was Girl Scout Day Camp. I wasn't signed up as a leader this year as I really thought we wouldn't be here anymore. I thought we would be long gone. LONG gone.

But we weren't.

And up to the last minute they were struggling to find another Cadette leader with camp training so I got the call. No reason to decline since its not like we are leaving after all. So I said yes and committed myself to another year of fun in the sun.

But I was a little worried about the bugs this year. Our winter was so mild that we know its going to be a banner year for bugs.  And we had already found 5 ticks on us at home.

I remembered seeing and pinning a natural tick repellent pin on Pinterest not too long ago so I went to my boards and pulled it up. It consists of tea tree oil and water.

I would give you the link but it has been broken. I tried an internet search and did not find it either although there are lots of sites that tell you how to do it.  I did find an article here for 20 uses of tea tree oil. It does not talk about what I did from the pin.

The recipe from the pin is simply 1 part of tea tree oil to 2 parts water.  Put it in a small spray bottle and shake it up and use.

A word of warning: some people will have a reaction and get a rash from tea tree oil. It has not been a problem in my family but you should be aware that you need to watch for this if you have never used it before.

We already have tea tree oil in our house because I add it to our shampoos. It is a lice deterrent also. With all the problems we had with our youngest last year I started using it. Not a single case of lice in our house this last school year. Nice. (But I will also admit that the child I suspected of being the problem was no longer in the same school with Mouse either so it could have simply been that.)

So - how did my tick deterrent work? Well, after a full 5 days and a overnight in the woods I saw no ticks. AND I have exactly one bite on the back of one ankle that I got on the last day when my spray pump gummed up and stopped working and I couldn't do the back of my legs.

Bugs stayed away from me.  We even had people stung by wasps while working on a service project and I was not stung.  At the horse camp when others were being swarmed by the little sweat bees they stayed clear of me...and I sprayed the others down and the bees went away.

I used it also to spray down my sleeping bag as we were in an open canvas tent on the grass and the bags were left out for the better part of 2 days.

I'd say it worked for me. I want to find a better spray bottle as the super cheap one did not hold up.  You just need a small one as you don't make a whole lot at a time.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Got Ticks

We have found no less than 5 ticks on one of us or in the house so far this year. Each time it was crawling and not fat so we caught it before it bit anyone. They are probably coming in on the dogs but not biting them because of their flea/tick control. Nice to know it works but scary that we keep catching them on human bodies.  Ok. On Hubs. He is a tick magnet this year for some reason.

Anyways, I saw this posted on FB and wanted to share with everyone. I hadn't heard this one before.

Tick Removal

A nurse discovered a safe, easy way to remove ticks where
they automatically withdraw themselves when you follow her
simple instructions. Read this one as it could save you from
some major problems.

Spring is here and the ticks will soon be showing their heads.
Here is a good way to get them off you, your children,
or your pets. Give it a try.

A School Nurse has written the info below--good enough
to share--and it really works!

"I had a pediatrician tell me what she believes is the best
way to remove a tick. This is great because it works in
those places where it's sometimes difficult to get to with
tweezers: between toes, in the middle of a head full of
dark hair, etc."

"Apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Cover the tick
with the soap-soaked cotton ball and swab it for a few
seconds (15-20); the tick will come out on its own and be
stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away.

This technique has worked every time I've used it
(and that was frequently), and it's much less traumatic
for the patient and easier for me.."

Also, if you just pull a tick off, their heads sometimes break off
and are left under the skin so this is much safer. Be aware

also that a tick with a white speck on its back is a Deer
Tick, these can cause Tick Fever so check yourself and
your family good if you see any of these!

"Unless someone is allergic to soap, I can't see that this
would be damaging in any way.
Please pass on. Everyone needs this helpful hint.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Real Problems

Let's face it...

I don't have any.

Six months with no job?

Retirement check just covers the bills. Cashed in a fund to cover food and gas for a time. (Do you know people that have already lost all after not working for 6 months?? Everybody does.)

Children sick or at deaths door?

Not a one. And no longer having dental insurance is unfortunate but not tragic. At least the braces are off and paid for.


Cashed in another fund to buy a travel trailer to live in when we get to that point. (Ok - so convincing the hubs we are at that point has been unsuccessful...but its there waiting for when he does get it.)

Unable to buy food or gas?

We haven't hit that rock bottom quite yet. (Do you know how many people have?)

Worried about the dwindling bank account?

The government makes a big mistake and dumps lots of money in our account. Yes, it is to be paid back but that number keeps me from going into honest to God panic attacks every time I pay the bills or look at the account.  Ever had a panic attack?


I know people that:

have been looking for a job for a year
have a very very sick child
are very sick themselves and can't work
have lost their homes and everything else and are living in a shelter
dont even have a bank account anymore
have had to pay out lots of money for sick pets and even lost pets afterwards
have serious problems in their marriage
have walked away from their marriage
are in very serious debt

So why am I so pissed off and hating everyone and everything and throwing a mental tantrum of all tantrums?

Because I feel forgotten and unloved.  Unworthy.  Not worth the time.  Silenced. Ignored. Passed over.

Where is my patience? Where is my faith? Where is my thanksgiving and thanks offerings? Where is the praise on my lips? Where is my trust? Where is my assurance?

Used up.


Pushed past where I can hang on.

Talk about a spoiled little white girl.

I want my pony back.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pinterest Project #7

Summer weather is here and I have been trying to find things to drink other than soda. Yesterday I pulled up my recipe board on Pinterest and found a Pin to try.

The Recipe comes from and can be found at this link. I changed it up just a bit so I wanted to make sure you could go back to the original. (Picture is from original site also.)

Sweet Thai Iced Tea

  • 8 cups Water                                            ( I ended up using 10 cups instead)
  • 1 cup Loose Thai Tea                              ( I used  1/2 cup  Chinese  Lychee Tea I brought back from China)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • ¾ cups Sweetened, Condensed Milk    ( One whole can)

*I don't know anything about Thai tea, but I had Chinese tea.  It's strong. There was no way I was going to use a whole cup of this loose tea in 8 cups of water. I recommend you know your teas strength and adjust accordingly. This is also why I increased the water amount.

Preparation Instructions

Note: If sweetened condensed milk is too sweet for you, you can use evaporated milk or cream instead and just sweeten the tea before adding the milk. If you are lactose intolerant, you can sweeten the tea with sugar and add soy milk instead. Just be sure to add the sugar after the tea has steeped. Agave nectar works just fine, too.
In a medium-sized pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the loose tea and vanilla and remove from heat. Be sure to stir so that all leaves have been submerged in the water. Allow to steep for about ten minutes.
Strain the tea in a pitcher using a mesh strainer and place in the fridge to cool. (If adding sugar, do so at this time and stir till sugar has dissolved. See note below.)
When ready to serve, fill glasses with ice to the top. Pour in the tea until the cup is 3/4 full of liquid. Add a few tablespoons of the sweetened condensed milk. Leave a straw or a spoon so that each person can mix it on their own.
Note: If you are not using sweetened condensed milk, then I recommend you use about 1/2 cup of sugar, adding more to taste.
* I found adding the milk to each glass tedious and messy. At Hubs suggestion I just dumped the can into the whole pitcher and mixed it.  I also added an extra 6 cups of water to my tea leaves and increased my tea amount because they still had so much life left in the leaves. The whole can of milk went into the 16 cups of tea.

I probably won't make this again. It does taste good but its not GREAT. Love the vanilla in it...and I'm not a vanilla person. It is very close to Chai flavored. 
So do you have any summer drink recipes to share?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Summer Begins Part II

So after our day of non-vacation like activities in Cleveland, we woke up Saturday to a sunny day. Which was also Songbirds 17th birthday.

And after a breakfast at the hotel we jumped in the car and headed for New York.

Neither Hubs or I had ever been to Niagara Falls. Originally we planned to go on our anniversary last December, but we thought we would be moving so we canceled. Stupid move as it appears Hubs will never find a job and we are stuck here forever. (you are bitter sister, get over it already)

On the way we were looking at a tourist magazine and found some good tour info. We were staying downtown and knew there were parking problems so we wanted to park the car and walk mostly. Seeing how we were not going to arrive until lunch I didn't think we were going to see much with that plan.

So I did something we never do and called a company that does tours and booked the full meal deal. Yes I spent stupid money at a time when we are unemployed. Happy anniversary six months late.

We rolled into Niagara before noon. Check in time wasn't until 4 pm but we put my favorite saying into use ( you have to a-s-k to g-e-t). They actually let use check in before noon!

Our room had this box window that Mouse loved. She wanted to sleep in it. Mom and her fear of heights couldn't deal so she had to sleep in the bed instead.

We had lunch downstairs and had time to freshen up before the tour guide came and picked us up. (Nice).

I'm pretty sure Mouse would tell you that riding the little bus was her favorite part. She is very strange. I think a big part of it is that there are no seatbelts.

We had to wear very orange tags to be easily identified by our guide. He was a great guy and told us so much history and fun facts.

We went to the cave of the winds first. Boy did we get wet. Mouse was a daredevil and running and climbing railings and sticking hands and feet places she shouldn't. I'm pretty sure I lost a year or two off my life. How is it that the kid that is fearful of people is so fearless of natural dangers???

Some parts of the falls washed right over the decks.

Mouse wanted to be right on it.

We were glad we brought our own rain gear. Of course they give you disposable ones.

And they give you these sandals. Sexy feet.

Of course our favorite thing was The Maid of the Mists boat ride. Now I have to admit we liked all the different falls but we were not pressed. After living in Iceland and visiting all those falls we just weren't excited. Until.

You get on that boat and drive right into the falls.

Most amazing.

We went to several other places also. We saw the worlds largest whirlpool, the Bridal and American falls, a few different islands. All with being driven by Ed and given lots of info.

It rocked.

Songbird picked TGI Fridays for her birthday dinner. She loves those fried green beans.

Cheesy tourist picture with Blues Brothers.

And then it was back to the hotel for a swim and tucking the girls in.

Then Hubs and I took off on foot to go see the falls lit up at night.


So to any of my friends. If you haven't been to Niagara....GO. If you have passports go to the Canadian side as you can see it better. But if you don't have passports it is still well worth going.

I also recommend booking a tour. It's expensive but well worth it.

And then it was over. And all too soon we had to head home.

But boy was it great.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer Begins Part I

I love summer. I love lazy days and no schedule. I love sleeping in and spur of the moment trips.

And we started our first day of summer off with a bang due to a successful yard sale.

Knowing (still hoping) we are on borrowed time here in Ohio, we decided to do a couple of things from our bucket lists.

Friday we jumped in the car and headed to Cleveland (the half-way point to our final destination). The Hubs was interested in checking out The West Side Market that he had seen on programs on the Food Network and the Travel Channel.

So we had lunch at the place he was interested in. Steve's Gyros. And yes it was very very good. Although I will confess that it is the first Gyro I've ever eaten because lamb meatloaf is not appealing to me. Anything with lamb is not appealing to me.

But it was good!

I wish we had a market like this where we live. It is amazing!!

We even found something for Mouse to eat. Not an easy thing to do.

And my newly graduated teen found the crepes.

And strangely enough it looks look both my guys are meat men in Cleveland. I had no idea they led double lives.

We were going to see what else we could get into but Songbird had a strap blowout on her purse. So we spent the rest of the day searching for a new one. In the pouring rain.

I think I can state with some authority that Cleveland proper thrift stores are over priced and junky. Now you know. Thank goodness for Burlington Coat Factory.

We also took a drive down by Lake Erie. At one point we even got lost in the pouring rain and ended up down by the canal. I didn't get it when Hubs started cracking Erie Canal jokes. I grew up in the desert. We didn't even sing songs about the canal in music class like he so fondly remembers.

Thankfully the hotel had a pool for Mouse to burn off some energy after a boring afternoon of purse shopping.

And our day was done. Now we were all excited about tomorrow.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone