Log Cabin Outing - Nov 4

On November 4, we drove out to Indiana and spent the weekend with old friends at New Harmony State Park. Now, a weekend at a state park normally conjures up visions of camping, roughing it and communing with nature. However, in addition to the traditional campsites, the park has Family Cabins available, and that is what we and the two other families rented out. We were in Cabin 8 (or Cabin ‘ocho’ as Scott started calling it), with our friends in Cabins 3 and 4.

This “camping trip” has been an annual event for the past three years, but this was our first time participating. During the weekend, each family is responsible for hosting one of the meals, and the rest of the time is spent playing games, fishing, hiking, making campfires and generally hanging out (sounds like normal camping activities, eh).

Since this was our first time going to the State Park, we weren’t sure what to expect with respect to the Family Cabin accommodations. We had told Erica and Brian that we were going to a “cabin in the woods” and Brian automatically assumed that “Cabin” meant “Log Cabin”. In the days leading up to the trip, Brian hyped up our impending “Log Cabin Adventure” to all of his friends and teachers. We really didn’t expect authentic log cabins, so we continued to say to Brian “You know, it may not be a LOG cabin”, hoping not to disappoint him. So, imagine our surprise when we pull up to our cabin, and discover that it was indeed an authentic log cabin . Brian was so excited - he kept on touching the log walls.

The cabins has two bedrooms, a full bath, kitchen, great room and screened in porch - really not roughing it by any stretch of the imagination. In the kids’ bedroom, the immediate attraction are the two sets of bunk beds - each claimed the top portion of the beds and set up their sleeping bags (thank goodness there were two sets of beds - would hate to have to mediate the “who gets to sleep on top” argument).

Our first night was spent unpacking, having dinner with the W’s and enjoying the campfire Mr. Jeff built outside. The fire kept us nice and warm against the cold November night air. The mostly clear skies allowed the almost full moon to cast its cool glow on the campground.

Saturday arrived with sunny skies and fairly moderate temperatures. No, it wasn’t warm, but it wasn’t cold either. Our family (ie - yours truly) was responsible for the lunch meal. I prepared BBQ Beef brisket and Chinese Homestyle BBQ Pork. The Chinese pork is really easy to prepare - just combine cubes of pork (not to lean - it has to have fat in it to taste good!) with equal parts of Sugar, Ketchup, Soy Sauce (I use Kikkoman), Red Vinegar and a half part of cheap white wine in a stock pot and cook it for 3 hours or so, until the meat is nice and tender and the liquids have reduced to a medium thick sauce. We served it with rice and steamed broccoli

While lunch was cooking, the kids decided to explore the park grounds. They came across a lakes set down in the woods and decided to try there hand at fishing. As ususal, Brian was enthralled with the worms.

The heavy tree cover posed line casting challenges - several of the kids’ casts became tangled in the tree branches or got stuck in the floating branches in the water. They didn’t catch anything, but had fun while enjoying the fall scenery.

After lunch we took a hike on the number 2 trail which winds through the woods, along the banks of the Wabash and back through the woods.

We took time out at the playground to play on the swings and jump in big piles of leaves.

Dinner Saturday night was hosted by Mr. And Mrs. Jeff and followed by an evening of entertainment, games and general silliness while hanging out by the fire. For entertainment, Sarah first wowed us with ballet as she demonstrated her advanced pointe technique on her new pointe shoes. Then Meredith and Erica played several violin pieces from the Suzuki program. Finally, the extreme silliness set in as the kids created several cheerleading “cheers”, led by the sole male child (yes, that would be Brian - and he really hammed it up).

But the excitement didn’t stop there - it continued as we returned to Cabin “ocho” where we were greeted by an unexpected visitor - a MOUSE! The mouse ran from the kitchen into our bedroom, amidst some yells and squeals. Then it scurried into the kids’ room, around the beds and proceeded to climb the walls. The screaming started to crescendo until the mouse disappeared into the wallboards and seemingly up into the attic area of the cabin. Then the reality of a mouse in the cabin set in along with the normal feelings of the heebie-jeebies and elicited some funny comments, the being:

“I can’t go to sleep in this cabin! The mouse might come back and bite my head off!”
. We finally convinced ourselves and the kids that the mouse was not coming back into our sight and settled down to sleep.

The next morning, we all gathered at Mr. And Mrs. Jeff’s cabin again for a great breakfast:

The last activity before we all parted ways - we went on a letterbox search and found this cool letterbox that the kids signed -

Looking forward to attending in future years, and hopefully, we won’t get a mouse in our cabin the next time!!


Traveling Man......

I took one of those Blog Quizzes to answer the question "How Well Travelled" I am, and here are the results:

Your Travel Profile:

You Are Extremely Well Traveled in the Northeastern United States (100%)
You Are Very Well Traveled in the Midwestern United States (75%)
You Are Very Well Traveled in the Southern United States (62%)
You Are Well Traveled in Western Europe (57%)
You Are Well Traveled in the Western United States (53%)
You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in Southern Europe (27%)
You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in the United Kingdom (25%)
You Are Mostly Untraveled in Canada (20%)
You Are Mostly Untraveled in Eastern Europe (20%)
You Are Mostly Untraveled in Asia (13%)
You Are Untraveled in Africa (0%)
You Are Untraveled in Australia (0%)
You Are Untraveled in Latin America (0%)
You Are Untraveled in New Zealand (0%)
You Are Untraveled in Scandinavia (0%)
You Are Untraveled in the Middle East (0%)

Not surprisingly, I am well travelled in the North East where I grew up and very well travelled in the Mid West, where I currently live.

And of course, this points out all of my travel deficiencies, but I guess I can add these places to my "places to visit at one point or another in my life".

Now, my parents are very well travelled - I wonder how they would do on the quiz??


Halloween with the Girls

Whew - what an action packed night.....
First, the kids had Fall Parties at school (named as such to ensure no one is offended - except those who don't "do" Fall - OK, that was a little sarcastic and really the topic of another post). Then they had a Halloween party (and even named as such!) at their after school day care. Because of the Halloween party, the kids didn't want me to pick them up until an hour after their normal time - they wanted plenty of time to enjoy the party (ie - eat stuff).

Our church held a Fall Fun Fest from 5:30 to 7:30, and it is always a really good time with inflatables, games and food. Erica and Brian wanted K and M to attend the Fun Fest, so I picked them up as well and brought them to the house for a little between party snack (like they need any more food!).

We separated the girls from the boys at this point. Brian didn't want to go trick or treating with the girls and had made plans to go with his friends. This was the first year Erica and Brian didn't Trick or Treat together! Scott and Brian headed to the Church Fun Fest while the girls gathered all of their "stuff" - costumes, backpacks, shoes, missing headbands, treat bags, etc. It is a good thing that Erica has become slightly responsible because it is just too much to keep track of.

We spent about 40 minutes at the Fun Fest. The kids mainly played on the large inflatables and here is the one classic picture I got of all three of the girls going down the Megga Slide:

Isn't that just classic? If you look carefully, there are three sets of feet there......

Just as we were about to leave, the girls discovered that their other good friend, J was there! We arranged to meet at K&M's house for Trick or Treating. There, we were met by K&M's dad who was dressed as R2D2, and we all lined up for a group picture:

The girls spent the next hour or so running from house to house, gathering candy. Running was the only way to keep warm - I personally nearly froze and had to head back to K&M's house early.

At the end of the night, Erica had gathered almost 200 pieces of candy! That certainly was the mother load of all Halloween's and certainly far more enjoyable than last year's Halloween in the rain.



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