Friday, August 30, 2013

Sweet little trinkets



Yesterday I was given these cool little brass looking (I don't know if they are really brass or not but they look like it)  I have been eyeing a project on my favorite website for some time now and well seeing that these were given to me I thought "no time like the present!"  I couldn't hardly contain my excitement while waiting for the hours to tick by until work was over and I could make a quick run to the craft store to see if they had a stamping kit and a few other items I would need to complete the project.
They did and I used the app on my phone to get the famous 40% off one regular priced item for the tools (I sent Britt through the line to use the coupon too).  I spent just under $25 on this project (not too bad in my book)  After closing down the previously mentioned store with my sweet Brittnie we stopped and grabbed a bite to eat and headed home to start on our crafts.  Turns out she is as bad as her momma when she gets an idea in her head...but that is a story for another day.
  
We got home and tore into our stuff the stamping kit looks simple enough.  You put the metal you want stamped on the small block of metal (to keep your table or cabinet from being torn up I guess) pull out the letters you are using one at a time so you can get them back in order fairly quickly.  Line it up making sure the letter will be facing the correct way after stamping. And the fun part (or nerve racking if you're worried you will mess up like me) Give it a nice firm hit with a hammer.  I used some huge thing my girl got out of dads shed, but a normal carpenters hammer should work fine.  I held the hammer close to the head as to have more control and not smash any fingers and to get a good firm hit on the stamp.  Repeat with all letters you have chosen for your project.  After stamping is all done I took a sharpie and just traced over each letter let it sit a second and dry then with a bit of rubbing alcohol wiped it clean.  It leaves just the right enough ink in the groves of the letters to really make them pop.
Mine says "lucky us" on the brass looking disk I got yesterday and the coins are what make this a super sweet girly mushy trinket because then on the penny of my hubby's birth year I stamped "Mr" on the penny with my birth year I stamped "Mrs" and the penny of the year we were married I stamped the "&" sign.  I think it is the cutest (sweetest) little homemade trinket.  
I have shown off my newest creation and have had several people offer to buy one with their dates so maybe I can make a couple dollars with this new tool of mine.  After all I have been looking and people are selling them on sites like Etsy.com for anywhere between $20-$40.  This is something people are paying for.  I wanted one for myself and will be making some as gifts as well.  So why not make a few extra to sell?  I'm also thinking give away...keep your eyes open, that will happen soon.




It's Friday and for most people the beginning of a nice 3 day holiday weekend (Yay for Labor Day!) So enjoy your extra day with your family and if you have time try to be creative it keeps the brain sharp, OK I don't know if it really keeps the brain sharp but how could it not?


 I am loving my new key chain and am just dying because I want to show it off but how can I show it off if it's stuck down inside my bag on my truck keys?  Hmmm...


My finished project!!  I ♥ it!!



 Have a great weekend!

Always,
tammyc



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What I'm working on Wednesday

I am so excited.  I can't even slow down long enough to form full sentences about this super fun idea that was given to me today.  So if this post makes sense when I'm finished it will probably be a miracle that's for sure. 
Anyway...This morning in a normal daily visit with one of the girls at work she gave me a super fantastic idea.  OK well maybe I am the only one that thinks it is a super fantastic idea but still I am excited and it seems like we are going to have a great turn out.  OK I know...I know...what is it already?  Right?  :)  A recipe swap party!!!
That's right a recipe swap party.  I have done a bit of foot work (text work really) to see if there would be very many ladies interested in attending one of these parties and turns out almost everyone was willing to participate.  So what does this mean exactly?  I am inviting several ladies over everyone is going to bring their favorite recipe (already prepared and ready to share) along with printed copies of the recipe they are sharing to pass out to all the ladies in attendance.  I am inviting work friends, family members and several friends both old and new.  I am excited for all the women in my life to get a chance to meet one another and share lots of yummy food and the thought of lots of new recipes to add to our kitchens sounds fabulous to me.  I can't wait for October to get here and see how it all turns out.  In the meantime I will be over at Pinterest finding lots of ideas for the party and let me just say I have already found a bunch more party ideas and told hubby this evening that he will have to start being gone more often so I can have the girls over for a different kind of party every couple of months.  To which his reply was "hmm"  My translation to that was "Sure honey whatever makes you happy"  That probably isn't what he meant but until he uses words that is how I am taking it.  :)
 
Like I said I have been on pinterest already so keep your eyes open for party ideas as the weeks slowly drift by and October finally makes its entrance. 
 
So that's "What I'm working on this Wednesday"  stop by next week so see what's going on.
 
 
Thanks for reading
 
Happy hump day
(I see that silly camel from the commercial every time I hear or say that now)
 
 
Anyway, have a great week!
 
tammyc
 
 
 
 
 
 
  These are just a couple of the invitation ideas I found...






And some of the party favors I came across.  Can't wait to see what it will all be like when it is all put together!
Take a step out and try your own recipe swap party.  If you do (invite me I love to cook)  Send me pictures and stories.  I am sure it will be loads of fun!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tasty Tuesday

 
 
I love to cook.  Not only do I love to cook, I love to eat.  And I think that my all time favorite type of food is Italian food.  Well no, because Mexican food is right up there with it.  Anyway...I love cooking different kinds of Italian foods (sometimes I wish I had a maid to clean the kitchen after some meals).  A big thank you to who ever created every one's favorite website Pinterest.com because this site gives us all instant access to hundreds of thousands of recipes.  That is where I found tonight's dinner recipe : Tomato Basil Chicken.  Oh my goodness it was pretty amazing.  And honestly it probably has some super awesome name in Italian but that is what it was called on Pinterest.
 
I am always trying something new on my poor family, thankfully I was blessed with a not very picky eater of a hubby.  Not like my daddy who when we were growing up liked his meat & potatoes and corn for a veggie.  No Stephen will eat just about anything I put on the table (not cucumbers or bell peppers...or pineapple)  Ok well there is a few things he won't eat but the list is way shorter that dads was :)
 
I can always trust in Stephen to give me honest feed back on whether or not a meal is a repeat or not ever again.  And we've had our share of "not ever again"  :)  Tonight I got a definite repeat.
 
While sitting at the dinner table enjoying dinner Val asked Stephen what he thought of the home made cheese sticks she made to go along with moms new dish.  No kidding his words were (pardon his french)  "my ass those are home made"  We were cracking up.  Because yes they were.  Poor baby is as bad as her momma when it comes to recipes.  She didn't even have a recipe to follow.  Just pictures.  She used sticks of string cheese breaded them and baked them in the oven.  Not fried and let me just say they were so Yummy.
 
I am really starting to enjoy writing in the blog more often.  I hope you all are having fun reading and keeping up with the Corleys  ;)
 
Here is the recipe for the tomato basil chicken.  I never follow the rules exactly and I am sure I added more butter than I needed. But butter makes everything better.  Right?  This meal will have you grabbing your fork at the 30 minute mark, which is great news when you need to have a nice, hot meal on the table quickly. 
~~
Tomato Basil Chicken
 
Ingredients: (4 servings)
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 4 Tbsp cold butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano cheese, for garnish
Directions:
Season chicken breasts with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Add a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to your skillet. This may seem like quite a bit, but it will form the base for the sauce. While waiting for the oil to heat up, go ahead and get your water going for the pasta. When the oil is HOT, add the chicken breasts. After about 4-5 minutes, the chicken breasts should be ready to turn. By the way, when did chicken breasts get SO HUGE?! You'll want to cook them on the second side another 4-5 minutes,or until the juices run clear when you pierce them with a small sharp knife. If you pounded yours out thinner, they will cook faster than this.
After the second side has been cooking for about 4 minutes, go ahead and add in the fresh tomatoes that you have chopped up. Next, add the fresh basil that you have chopped into ribbons, the cold butter, the minced garlic, and you will probably want to add some more kosher salt and black pepper to season the sauce. Now give it all a good stir so all those flavors will marry together.
When your chicken is "done," turn the sauce down on the lowest setting to keep it all warm until the pasta is cooked, which should be any minute now. At this point, if still waiting for the pasta, you can remove the cooked chicken to a cutting board, and after resting just a couple of minutes, cut the chicken into slices on the bias. Divide the pasta among individual bowls, and top each with half of a chicken breast, sliced into pieces, and equal portions of the tomato basil sauce. Top with more fresh basil and freshly grated Parmigiana reggiano cheese.
~~
 
Like I said I did change a couple of things, I used boneless skinless thighs instead of breasts and too much butter but I also got the go ahead for this to be a repeat dinner so it must have turned out ok :)
 
I got the recipe from a fellow blogger over at ( http://menumusings.blogspot.com/2013/04/tomato-basil-chicken.html) So if you have time take a click over and check out the stuff on that page.  Who knows you might find something yummy to make for yourself.
 
Thanks for reading today.  If you make this Tasty Tuesday meal holler back at me and let me know how you liked it. 
 
As always I love comments and would love to hear from you.  If you have a minute check out an ad or two.  I found a site for coupons while on here earlier and a page for free recipes all while clicking to see what ads are posting on my blog.
 
Have a great week everyone.
 
Always,
tammyc


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Weekend project

So I was picking through my head trying to find a story for you and well life has been pretty routine lately and I don't have a great story for you.  But...What I do have is a project.  That's right.  Every weekend I try to do at least one thing productive with it.  Well most the time anyway.  We spend quite a bit of time on the motorcycle (with good reason but that's a story for another time)

I like to post at least a couple pictures with each of my blog entries so I was flipping through my phone to see if I could find something to share with you all.  Turns out I have lots so I am going to have to figure out which order they should be shared.

I was thinking I would make this "weekend project" a frequent post.  For those of you that don't know I work every other weekend and when I do have a weekend it is 5 days long so sometimes I find myself doing more than one project per weekend.  Like the weekend I did this desk project I also made a mini ironing board.  So maybe this will help me to post a weekend project each Saturday.  We'll see  ;)

So that's the plan one weekend project every Saturday.  Not because I think you should rush out and make one of everything I make.  That would be silly.  Just to show you what I have found on pinterest and tried for myself.  If something I have done sparks you to create something for yourself well then that's awesome.

I found this pin on pinterest and I followed the link and it took me to a blog of a lady that sounded so much like myself.  She took an old computer desk that she wasn't using and turned it into a sewing cabinet.  WHAAAT???  I can so do that.

I love to sew (quilts anyway) and when I started sewing 10 years ago we lived in a much smaller house my girls were sharing a room and if there were more than 6 people in the house at one time it felt so tiny and confined.  But the one thing that tiny house had was an incredibly large laundry room that doubled as a sewing room as well.  There was enough room for a long table and my sewing machine and tub after Rubbermaid tub of fabric.  I loved sewing there because if I were working on something I could just stop turn off the machine and walk away only to return turn the machine back on and start right where I stopped.  Here we have room to move and breath and we genuinely like our home just fine.  Well I do for the most part.  It does have the smallest of small laundry rooms therefore no sewing area.  So for 7 years now if I wanted to sew I had to drag all my sewing stuff out from all the different places I had stashed it bring it to the kitchen on the dining room table.  Here I would sew until it was time to have dinner or some other meal and I would have to pack all the sewing stuff back up and put it away.  Eventually it just sat in tubs at the edge of the kitchen and I had almost stopped sewing all together.  Then it would somehow collect more stuff(not sewing stuff) and more stuff and it has been a complete eyesore for I don't know how long.  Then I found that pin and was sure this was just what I needed.   

<~~I found this desk at a yard sale with Stephanee one year for $25 bucks.  I thought it was great because it could hide the computer and all its mess.  Open it when we need it close it when we don't.  It worked like that for a while until the computer broke and we stopped using it.  The desk sat right inside the front door right by the coat rack and well the desk itself became a sort of coat rack(pile rather) a dumping ground for coats, jackets and hoodies. It was a piled up mess.  After seeing the pin I cleaned the desk out put all the coats and mess in the rooms of their owners, dusted this bad boy off and moved him into the spot that was once the pile of sewing stuff.
It looked so nice there instead of a pile.  I started sorting all my sewing supplies and making spots for all the different things I have.  So now everything is pretty much easy to find and use (no more buying something that I couldn't find because it was lost in the bottom of the tub)  Every thing has a spot and every thing's in it's spot. 


<~~The desk top where a computer monitor would sit is home to several different jars with lots of different notions in them, rotary cutters, thread, markers, pens and pencils.  An old envelope sorter is holding all my rulers up right where I can see them in one glance.





The shelves below (three of them)pull out.~~>  One is to pull out and place a sewing machine on while it is in use.  One is for my laptop because it was once a computer desk right?  ;)  and one is for a couple of sewing projects I am working on.  The very bottom is home to 2 of my 3 sewing machines a bag of old jeans I need to make into something and a basked for machine cords and foot peddles.



<~~
Both doors have cork board where I can pin small useful items so they will be handy and readily available.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And the shelves above~~>
they hold more thread, the tool kit for the machines and pattern books and a folder full of fun ideas to try.  And a work in progress.

 

The photos above shows an old computer desk that was going to be hauled off to the dump or out to the burn pile refreshed and given new life.  Yes it could stand a nice bright coat of paint to freshen it up a bit but because it has to live in my kitchen I figure I will wait until we redo our bedroom to paint it before it moves in there out of the way.  But for now it works and it doesn't look like a horrible mess.  While I working on something I still use the kitchen table as a cutting table because...well you kinda need a bunch of room for fabric sometimes.  But when it's time for dinner I can turn off the machine set it on the desk top, slide the shelf in and shut the doors.  Only to return pull the shelf out and get back to work.

This seems much easier now and I am super glad to have that pile of sewing stuff sorted as well as the pile of coats and jackets sorted and put away.  It makes things a little less messy in the crazy house where the mess sometimes has a life of its own and seems to grow out of control. 

That's my weekend project and if I never find anything useful on pinterest again (I'm sure I will) this has taught me to look around at everything.  Just because you bought something for one thing doesn't mean it can't be used as another.

Leave a comment, let me know what kind of weekend projects you have been working on.  Even if your weekend isn't the normal Friday, Saturday, Sunday.    I would love to hear what you're creating.

Have a fantastic weekend

always

tammyc

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back to school!




Well here we are, that time of year yet again when moms all around are rejoicing to their children’s dismay. Um…most moms to most children’s dismay. I don’t know about at your house but here I was glad to have my girls for the summer even though it seems like every other week one of them were gone off doing something great and exciting without me. My girls are at an age that I do enjoy spending time with them. We’re silly we like a lot of the same shows on TV we like wondering through antique malls or the woods (whichever the day finds us) So for school to start back was a little bitter sweet for me. I would have time to finally do stuff around here and not feel like I need to keep them entertained but in the next breath I already miss having someone to talk to while I am here hanging out at home. But don’t worry, I will manage. I have several unfinished projects to work on. Maybe even drag some of them out of the unfinished project cemetery (out from under the couch) as Britt would call it. Maybe make and sell some of the ideas floating around in my head. My girls seem to be overjoyed to be back at school (not stuck with mom every day she’s off work) they get to see all their friends they missed through the summer. For Val it’s kind of more of the same…she is in the middle of high school (a junior) so it all seems pretty routine for her. But Britt on the other hand. Well she has started her high school adventure FRESHMAN YEAR.
I know my girls read this blog even if it isn’t the cool thing to do, they have both at different times made mention to something or another that I have written about. So with the thought that they may read this one as well I just want to address a few words to them.
To my girls (and yours) at the beginning of another year of school…
 It doesn’t matter who is right. It only matters who is in charge. Of course this does not apply when moral issues are at stake. But the fact is you are not going to like every teacher or coach. Some will make mistakes. Some will be unfair. Some might even be rude. None of this gives you the right to be disrespectful. If you buck a teacher the teacher will always win.
The most attractive girl in any room is the one with confidence. Stand up straight and know you are something special.
Never underestimate the impact of even the smallest act of kindness. For some your smile might be the only smile or attention they receive all day. Always be kind.
Some things are still personal. Boys (or anyone for that matter) don’t want to see you put on deodorant, pick your nose or hear about well you know that one week…
Learn to load the dishwasher properly. Ok that has nothing to do with school I would just love for you to learn this ;)
Don’t be hot. Be beautiful. Commodities are hot. Commodities are to be used and discarded. But if something is beautiful it is valued and treasured. You both are so very beautiful (and no I don’t get paid to say that) you truly are beautiful.

I wish I could say this was all you need to know about high school I am sure it isn’t. I am sure you wish this was all I have to say truth is it isn’t. There is so much more I will want to tell you over the next few years while you’re still living at home with your dad and me. Sometimes you won’t want to hear it, you’ll think I am old fashion or out of touch maybe even a nag, you will even want me to butt out and leave you alone.
Sorry. That will not happen. High school is great, but it is by no means the greatest time of your whole lives. It gets so much better. I am proud of you. I have faith in you. I love you. Make good choices and know that I am here for you no matter what.
Love,
Mom
To all my friends with little ones. Kiss them every day and have a blast with them while you can they grow entirely to fast and then they are in high school not really wanting kisses from momma any more.
Check back soon. I have lots of ideas for all this alone time I have encountered and will be posting all my crazy antics. I have added some ads to my blog and would love for you to take a minute of your day to maybe click them and see where they take you. It doesn't cost you anything but time.  and Please share my blog address with your friends, who knows they might like my silly stories :)  I love feed back. If you have an idea for a post or a comment about something I have posted in the past. Please feel free to let me hear them. Leave your comment in the comment section below. Or shoot me an email at:tlc33195@gmail.com I answer everything.
What will you do with your extra time now that school has started back up?
 
See you soon.
tammyc

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pickled okra

It seems like all that I have been talking about on facebook for what feels like forever not.  Those of you that are friends with me on there I am sorry if you are burnt out on hearing about okra.  To be honest I am too.  It just turned into this huge undertaking that felt as if it might never end.  And not that it is all done I find myself wishing I had more because it turned out pretty darn good.
But don't take my word for it there have already been several jars eaten and even some given away(or stolen...I'm still a little fuzzy there)  :)
 
 
Let me go back and start at the beginning.  Last week on Thursday I got a text from Steph telling me that Conrad's had okra on sale, just $18 for half a bushel.  Oh I do love okra and I haven't made any pickled okra in a few years.  I wanted some.  She said she would drop it by the house later that night.  When she came to the house and walked into my kitchen and sat down this box of okra  (yep that one up there^^^)  I was thinking wow that's a lot of okra and asked if she was taking half of it seeing that I only paid for 1/2 a bushel.  She said no.  This is half a bushel.  I paid her the money I owed her and we visited a bit about her bee class (can't wait til she gets some honey) and she left.  That's when my brain really started working...I don't know what I am ever going to do with all that okra, pickle it, fry it, bake it, make stews with it.  Geez that a lot of okra.  And to top it off this is my work week.  How am I gonna find time to get it all put up?

So Friday came and all day the only thing I could think about at work was the box of okra sitting at home needing to be put up.  I was excited to get home and make some pickles.  Well when I got home of course Everyone had plans and well a motorcycle ride with the hubs sounded too fun so I put off making the okra.  I needed to go to the store for some more dill seed anyway so while out we could stop and get that and I had Saturday night to mess with okra. 
 
Saturday at work again all I could think about was pickling and I knew I couldn't keep putting it off. I wanted it done and so after work and after dinner Val helped me with a batch of okra.  She was more than a little help.  I love that she wants to learn all this stuff and enjoys cooking as much as she does.  The whole time we were boiling jars, measuring spices and stuffing jars. I got to share my memories of my grandma Hilton and her canning days.  Oh how doing this sort of stuff floods me with memories of her. 
I remember more than one summer getting to go with her to her best friend Patty's house to spend the day canning.  I really don't remember the recipes or much of the process.  I do remember how they would make jars and jars of beets, and tomato preserves and I remember how I watched her make those things thinking (and telling her) I would not eat those that's gross to put sugar in the tomatoes.  But I do also remember that those tomato  preserves were fantastic and I loved them.  I remember her running me out of the kitchen more than once for being under her feet while she was moving hot jars.  I learned very quickly that you could stay in the kitchen all day watching grandma can if you sat under the kitchen table and stayed out of the way.  I remember watching her like that for hours. 
 
Oh my look how easy I get off track.  Making okra with Val was so much fun.  We took lots of pictures and tweaked the recipe a bit to "make it our own, because that's what all good cooks do mom"
Every recipe I found said wait one week, or wait one month before opening jars except the recipe we used.  There were no restrictions and on Sunday Val and Stephen were about to go nuts waiting to "taste test" our first batch of okra.  Turns out they were damn good. 
 
I got home on Sunday from work and Stephen informed me that the okra was attracting a ton of gnats so to stop the gnats from taking over our house he cleared a shelf in the fridge and put the okra in there.  Turns out the fridge was way too cold for the okra and some of it was a bit frozen.  that makes it soggy and gross and not suitable for pickling or frying.  So After some very time consuming  sorting I ended up making 21 pint jars of pickled okra.  I got 2 & 1/2 pounds of chopped okra for frying (which a pound and a half was made at dinner Monday with Nikki, Andrew, Cathy & Kashly)
and the dear chickens that wonder my yard got their tummies full with the bad stuff so really nothing went to waste not even the gross soggy okra because the chickens loved the treat.
 
Oh and if any of you know how to make this  ~~~>
not happen to every jar please let me know.  I packed and packed and packed each and every jar as full as I possibly could and no matter how much I stuffed in the jar they still shrink up like crazy after cooking during the processing that it looks like there aren't enough in the jar.  UGH this makes me nuts.
 
 
Any way that is what is going on in m y world these days.  Ive been busy working and when I'm not working I've been canning.  I also made ten 8oz jars of grape jelly yesterday as well. 
 
Back in January i posted on facebook and here in my blog that if people commented on my post they would receive a home made gift from me...well some of you keep your eyes open cause you could be getting some of this stuff   :)
 
I know this isn't the coolest thing to do anymore.  people don't really spend time preserving and putting up food like they did back in the day. but this is not only a great way to spend time with your kids teaching them something your grandma showed you but it can save you money and you know exactly what you are putting in your food and into your family.  I like doing my part to feed my family safe healthy food, while saving a bit of money.  So if you're interested here is the recipe I used to make the okra
 
Pickled Okra
 
Ingredients
canning kit, including canner, jar lifter, and canning rack
7 (1-pt.) canning jars
3- pounds small fresh okra
7- small fresh green chili peppers
7- garlic cloves
7- teaspoons dill seeds
4- cups white vinegar
4- cups water
1/2- cup pickling salt
1/4- cup sugar
Instructions
1. Bring canner half-full with water to a boil; simmer. Meanwhile, place jars in a large stockpot with water to cover; bring to a boil, and simmer. Place bands and lids in a large saucepan with water to cover; bring to a boil, and simmer. Remove hot jars 1 at a time using jar lifter.

2. Pack okra into hot jars, filling to 1/2 inch from top. Place 1 pepper, 1 garlic clove, and 1 tsp. dill seeds in each jar. Bring vinegar, salt, sugar, and 4 cups water to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour over okra, filling to 1/2 inch from top.

3. Wipe jar rims; cover at once with metal lids, and screw on bands (snug but not too tight). Place jars in canning rack, and place in simmering water in canner. Add additional boiling water as needed to cover by 1 to 2 inches.

4. Bring water to a rolling boil; boil 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool jars in canner 5 minutes. Transfer jars to a cutting board; cool 12 to 24 hours. Test seals of jars by pressing center of each lid. If lids do not pop, jars are properly sealed. Store in a cool, dry place at room temperature up to 1 year.


The only thing I did differently was I put the spices and such in the bottom of the jar before the okra, not for any reason except I like the way it looks better this way. 

Thanks for reading my rambling today.  Let me know if you make your own pickled okra.  I would like to know how you feel about the recipe or if you have  your own to share, feel free to share it in the comment section below. 

Have a great week.  See you all here again soon.  This time I promise!

Love you all

tammyc 
 
 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Camping...the real kind (recovered version)

~~~if you follow my blog at all you would have seen earlier today that I accidentally deleted this post. And if you all know me well you know I kinda have a tendency to fly by the seat of my pants often and sometimes regret that about myself. example at the first of july I deleted over 350 photos off my phone by mistake. Some kids think that if you delete something that no one will ever see it again...WRONG!! I have proven twice in the last couple of months that just because you hit delete it isn't always gone forever. I got all my photos back. Well more like over 2500 photos that I had taken and deleted on purpose and today after a bit of searching recovered the wonderfully awesome story of Nikki and I's camping experience. while there are not any pictures with the recovered version I can add them back in at a later time. and I will. Just not today. I need my own laptop for that. Thanks for hanging out with me on this crazy ride I call life. I love you all~~~ tc


Back in April I was browsing a popular social network and came across Nikki's statement that she wanted to take the boat and go camping on the island at the lake. Well as crazy as I am sometimes I replied to her post with "if you wait until Sunday evening I will go with you" Of course I wasn't thinking she would say yes. No one ever agrees to do something that works with my work schedule so I was sure she would say no that she was busy. That was not the case. She thought that was a great idea and happily agreed. She talked to uncle Mike and he agreed to let us use his boat and and text me to let me know that all we needed now was a tent. "What? we're in luck...We have a tent." And so would begin the best adventure I have had so far this summer and it wasn't even summer just yet. After work on Sunday I rushed home to throw all my camping gear and my clothes into the truck to head out for some fun. I am sure that Stephen was thinking I would never make it all night in the woods at the lake by my self. People I work with were asking if I was crazy because well most of the people I work with don't seem to know how to have any fun. Work is all anyone there thinks of. The only reason I think of work is because I need some way to provide funding for all the crazy things I think up. Maybe some think I need to grow up because life isn't all fun and games but really it should be. You can't go through life worrying all the time. And if this is what you do you need to take a step back and ask yourself: Why? Worrying sucks the life out of you. People get so wound up worrying about making a living they forget to live. Well not this girl. I want my girls to grow up and look back and say "remember all the crazy things mom did with us when everyone else was working." like this past Monday, we just jumped in the truck and took off to find some geocaches in the middle of no where. Anyway...man I get sidetracked so easy. Our camping trip. After work I got my stuff stopped at the store to grab some stuff for hot dogs and s'mores. Who goes camping with out s'mores? Right...NO ONE and if they do they're not enjoying camping to it's fullest. I got to the lake about 7:30 and we load our things in the boat (tons of stuff for one night) as we were about to leave to put the boat in the water Nanny said "you all want the lighter fluid for starting your fire?" Nikki replied "what we don't need no lighter fluid. We'll use leaves" a mistake...I mean really this is Nanny Fern. I was around in the "old days" when my entire family went camping ya know way back there before anyone of them had grown up enough to afford all the fancy campers and travel trailers they have now. This woman knows how to camp. She married a Hilton for crying out loud. That's what they do. Camp! (and buy lighter fluid in the biggest bottles offered at the store). So we get to the little island (which with the low water level of the lake was more a peninsula than an island) to camp and the water is so shallow that we can't get close enough to land so we can get out without getting wet as the water in the lake still feels like ice burgs are floating in it. So we head for a nicer looking spot down the way and we cant get close enough to that spot either so we head to the other side. Surely there is someplace to pull close enough right? We get to the other side and where the water use to be is nice and flat for a tent and the water seems deep enough to get the boat close enough to get out with out getting wet so we pull up and just under the water is this nice bed of little pebbles and mud. It looks as if we are close enough to the bank to get out but we're not. Just a few more feet so Nikki puts the boat in reverse and it refuses to move(aiming to back up and try again to get closer). We can see through the water near the prop and there is plenty of room it isn't stuck in the mud but we're still not moving because the front of the boat seems stuck. Nikki gets out (remember ice burgs could survive in this water) with toes freezing tries to push the boat off the bit of mud it's stuck on without any luck. So in an effort to help her out I kick my socks and shoes off roll up my pants a bit and get out into the freezing cold water to help push. I have a big ol' butt so well...the boat would be lighter....no it didn't help.We decide that since we are running out of daylight and we don't have a fire built or a tent put up that I should go ahead and build a fire while she gets the boat unstuck. I'm walking up and down the bank collecting perfect little dry tree limbs (twigs really) that seem just the right size for kindling and we are laughing. Not just a little laugh here and there but laughing and asking our selves "what in the hell were we thinking?" "we don't camp" "we are spoiled we camp in big double slide camp trailers with all the luxuries not tents with no electric or water" "what were we thinking" I can not even tell you how many times one of us asked that question while trying to build a fire. I had collected lots of little pieces of wood for our fire and Nikki built us our own little fire ring while I got the tent out of its box. Stephen and I keep our tent in a good sized Rubbermaid box. Its a good thing too because the spot we picked as our camp site seemed to be in the windiest spot on the entire lake. I just keep laughing while fighting the tent and the wind and I keep checking to see how the fire is going...it isn't going. We laugh and laugh and laugh and when I say we I guess it must have just been me because it was around this time when Nikki asks "why do you keep laughing like that?" My answer is "because the sun is all but gone it is completely dark out here and we still don't have a fire or a place to sleep." I got to learn something new about myself...I laugh when I'm nervous & scared. I laugh a lot! I guess its because if I don't laugh I'll cry. who knows. But for a girl that won't even walk outside of the light circle of the porch light this was a HUGE step for me. I abandon my tent responsibility to help with the fire because what good is the tent if we have no fire, we can't eat, we cant see...we need fire! this is the funniest thing ever, Nikki and I huddled up around the little fire ring and pile of sticks with two of the littlest lighters in the world trying to block the wind enough to get a stick to catch fire. Yes a stick because this spot we picked out to camp has no leaves. Did you read that last part. NO LEAVES! how are we suppose to start a fire with out something to burn long enough to catch the sticks on fire. So here we are all bend down trying to block wind with our bodies and the lid off the box that holds the tent and the only thing getting burnt is our fingers from these tiny little lighters. we go over to the side of the hill beside us to try to block wind and light this stick on fire. who knows how we would have kept it lit as we walked it back to the fire ring in the wind but we weren't thinking about that. when i glance up and see all this dried grass at the edge of the rocks. DRY GRASS WOHOO!! We start gathering up dry grass and and go back to the fire ring tucking it into our tiny stick tee pee we made and again attempt to light this fire. It worked finally we finally got the grass to burn long enough to catch the little sticks and then the bigger sticks. It was a very small fire but it was a fire. i don't know why we were so relieved to have the fire done but we did it without help and with out lighter fluid (we will take that next time though) So we go to set up out tent. Turns out the tent is pretty easy one might say idiot proof. We got it up put our things inside and got out our food to make some dinner. It was so nice just sitting there talking, slapping bugs off each other and roasting hot dogs on a fire we made ourselves. it was the best tasting hot dog ever. (just saying...THE BEST) About 2 bites into our dinner we hear a noise. it is coming from the woods on the hill to the south of us. we can't see anything. I mean complete darkness is what we see when we look to where the noise is coming from. it sounded like footsteps and bushes rustling something was up there. I was thinking deer maybe, it sounded like lots of footsteps but it really was more than likely a raccoon or armadillo or opossum. who knows but when I heard the noise I gave my hot dog to Nikki an told her i would be right back. I took a gun with us just in case. I know how to shoot, Stephen has always been very good at making sure his girls know how to handle a gun. But in the hustle to build a fire and set up the tent I had forgotten about the gun until I heard noise. It was that moment I felt the magazine full of bullets in my front pants pocket. Awesome, a little relief except...the gun was back inside the tent in my duffel bag. So yes I handed the hot dog to Nikki and told her I would be right back. I stepped into the tent dug into my bag found the gun and as I was standing back up and slapping the magazine into the handle of the gun I am turning around and OMG! NIKKI DON'T SNEAK UP ON ME LIKE THAT! I HAVE A GUN IN MY HANDS! Ok maybe I didn't yell (maybe I did) all that but those words did in fact come out of my mouth. I didn't even know she had gotten up and came into the tent with me until that second. I never heard her. Her answer was "you left me out there with that noise" We then start laughing again...guess we were nervous or scared(or both is more like it) We went back to the fire and sat down finished our dinner and started roasting the marshmallows and made s'mores. As long as we kept talking we seemed ok. the gun was sitting near just in case. But while eating our s'mores Nikki says "can we finish this inside?" because whatever was making that noise was still out there. We had left the big flashlight in the boat and now it was too dark and with the noise out there neither of us was willing to walk to the boat to get it. We had 2 tiny flashlights and the flashlight on my phone we kept shining them in the direction of the noise but could not see a thing. I mean nothing. This is a picture outside our tent with our lights off. NOTHING BUT NOISES!! no way in the world for us to see what was really out there. So I look at Nikki and ask "you want me to shoot in the direction of the noise? I have 7 bullets. There are no people or houses out here, maybe it will get scared and run away" She replies with "NO save the bullets in case we really need them" and again with the laughing. We were in the "safe confines" of our tent (without the rain top on because we couldn't see to put it on) with the stars shining down on us, talking having a great time just visiting. Then we hear something else moving around. Only this time it was closer, we can hear the rocks right out side our tent moving. Something was just on the other side of the tent with us. I am whispering to Nikki and she is whispering to me..."you look, no you look. I'm not looking you look" this goes on for a moment and we decide that if we just keep talking we wont notice it. but whatever, every time there is a pause in conversation (even short pauses for breathing) we hear noise. Well we keep hearing noise because we are in the woods. Again, what were we thinking? We kept getting that feeling you know the one. The one that feels like someone or something is watching you. Yea that one. We then decide that we need to be brave enough to turn our little lantern on bright and put the rain top on the tent. Not because it will rain but because we don't want any animals watching us sleep. Yes, crazy I know. But at the beginning of this story I told you I was crazy and Nikki that poor baby got every bit the crazy I did from this family of ours. I don't think crazy is like twins...it doesn't skip generations. (in this family anyway) With the top in place we head back inside to lay down and try to go to sleep. We talk about tons of stuff. I love that about her and I. Just like sisters. So were just talking and talking and soon I begin to realize I seem to be the only one talking. So i stop mid sentence and ask her "Nikki are you sleeping?" well of course she didn't answer because yes she is asleep. Well great, who is going to talk me to sleep now? I reach out above my head and remind myself that the gun is right where I can reach it. And I start counting...with the covers pulled over my head and trying not to think about the fact that I am the only one awake in the woods with the animals...well just great. I finally did fall asleep I guess I was sleeping pretty good. At some point in the night I did wake up, I don't know why maybe my body wanted to get up and go to the bathroom but after remembering I was in the woods it decided I didn't need to pee after all or maybe it was the moon which happened to be nearly full and it was shining right in the crack between the tent bottom and the top we put on. I mean I am not going out in the dark in the middle of the night with the animals to pee, so laying there trying to fall asleep again I hear birds and frogs and lots of noise. It is never really quite out there like that if you stop long enough to hear what is around you. and I am not saying I believe in all the stories of Bigfoot or anything. I have never been one to believe that stuff although I love watching those shows on tv. You know the ones where they gear up with cameras and infrared equipment...yeah those I love to watch that mess. And in those shows they always tell you that the Bigfoots (bigfeet? Who knows how to make that word plural) anyway they tell you how they hit logs on trees to communicate or hit large rocks together and such. Well i was laying there in the dark listening to the sounds of nature when all of it seemed to stop...I'm sleepy, and in the dark alone with my imagination (and i have a great imagination) I heard all the noise stop and I heard rocks knock together.(STOP LAUGHING AT ME I said I have a great imagination and that I watch TOO MUCH TV) at that point I pulled the covers over my head again and just shut my eyes. I didn't want to hear another thing. Next thing I know its morning because the sun is coming up and it is bright and shiny inside the tent. Knowing that Nikki has to get up and go to work we get up and around pack everything up back to the boat and back to Nanny and Mikey's camp (the real camp with power, running water and a nice noise proof travel trailer) :) We made it. We stayed a whole entire night at the lake on an island in the woods with only God knows what is really in those woods...just sayin'. But we did it. There may have been a moment of weakness where we thought we needed to go back...after all Nikki said we just had to make it until dad (uncle mike) went to work because mum (nanny) wouldn't tell anyone we came back early. Well I know how everyone likes to pick at us and I know how none of them thought we could make it out there so we chose to prove them all wrong. You wanna know the most crazy part (yes even more crazy than some make believe monster knocking rocks together) the crazy part is we both are ready to do it again. We had such a great time we want to go when we can stay longer and actually get to enjoy more daylight hours and fish and hike and have fun. We will. We just have to find a few days where we are both off work at the same time. And we are working to fix that. Now that you have had a super amazing laugh pick yourself up off the floor remember get out and try something no one else thinks you have the balls to try. Prove them wrong! And have a great time doing it for when you're sitting around a camp fire with the rest of them (yes the same them that didn't think you could do it) you will have one hell of a story to tell and you will enjoy telling it again and again and when you have grand kids you will be able to tell them about all the fun you've had. (probably you should leave out the part about Bigfoot, they might think you are nuts, it's ok if they think that though because you had a blast right?) :) I love you all thanks for reading.
Have a great Saturday always tammyc

Well CRAP!!!

Yep just crap.

I was deleting some old unfinished posts on the blog just now and deleted my all time favorite post.  It was the one about camping.  I just want to crawl under a rock and cry.

That is all

tammyc

Maybe I can rewrite it, but I'm sure it won't be the same.  I don't even know if I want to try


May you have a better day than I'm having