Saturday, November 29, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Our self-timed groupie...the best we could do.
We didn't get to go camping this summer, like we usually do, so I took the opportunity to get away for the Thanksgiving holiday.

We've camped for Thanksgiving when oldest was younger but the other three never had.

Personally, I was using it as a bit of escape too. I didn't want to have to face the idea of another holiday, *all together* when we aren't *together* the way we should be. It's too hard on everyone. At the last minute I made a reservation at O'Neill Regional Park.

In my family, I don't know if I have a reputation or what but I am usually assigned to bring the 'bread rolls'. It's lame because I love to bake desserts but I get stuck with that. It's convenient though, for sure.

Well, it was interesting to plan a Thanksgiving camping menu. The weather was unpredictable. Were we going to need more hot foods or cold foods? I cooked more for this camping Thanksgiving than I have any other Thanksgiving...and I loved it!

Our Thanksgiving table.
Our meal was fabulous and it actually wasn't that hard to do. I cooked the main side dishes the night before we left so they only needed to be reheated. We ran into an issue when our one burner camping stove ran out of butane after our first breakfast.

We had to cook over the fire in a make-shift way. It took a long time but remarkably, every thing stayed warm on the table.

Our Thanksgiving breakfast (that took 2 hours to cook) menu:

Pumpkin Pancakes, bacon, Hawaiian rolls and orange slices.

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu:
Turkey melt sandwiches
wild rice with cranberries
apple-sage stuffing
potato medley (sweet, yellow, and red)
corn, baked beans, pumpkin & dutch apple pie, pumpkin pie mini tarts,  tri-color tortilla chips and a toast with Sparkling Cider. Oh and Red Vines. lol

Our camp site is down there...view from our hike.
I didn't make or cook everything from scratch. It was a mix of scratch made, store bought and canned foods. (Come on! It's camping!!!) Everything was absolutely delicious! We couldn't even finish it all, much less our sandwiches...they were piled high with 3-4 different flavored turkey meats from the deli and various sliced cheeses.

The weather was quite warm during the day light hours. We seemed to have the only campsite with out shade! haha. As soon as the sun went down cooled down quickly. We didn't realize how much wood we would have to burn through.

The camp ground itself was wonderful really. A great 'beginner' site. Family friendly. Very bike and hike friendly. It was like a little treasure hidden away in the middle of suburbia. We found a grocery store and pharmacy only 10 minutes away (perfect for last  minute needs you didn't realize you had or when you forget essentials like...soap, shampoo or more firewood!). The park had great (ie: real & clean) restrooms that included free, warm showers. There was a play ground and nature center on site as well. The nature center states it is only open on the weekends and weekdays via reservation. We showed up on Saturday before we left, at the designated *open* time and were disappointed when it remained closed.

Emotionally, we all felt a bit 'off'--which I think is to be expected under the circumstances. We handled it like we usually do---> talking it out, taking a walk and with humor.  It didn't help that we forgot CHAIRS! Of all things. haha. We improvised and used the bench seat from the van but with out shade...we found ourselves often sitting IN the van...that wasn't fun but it made our trip memorable for sure. In the end, everyone agreed that we enjoyed the place and would like to return again...even next Thanksgiving. Maybe we will make this a new annual tradition. It helped that is was also ONLY about an hour's drive away, if that.

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