Archive - May 2015

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Camp Recipe Reviews
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REVIEW: Bledsoe State Park (TN)
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SWAP Socks: Mismatch for a Purpose
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Oh Man… it’s Mother’s Day
5
Outfitting your Camp Site at Dollar Tree

Camp Recipe Reviews

We tried a few of the recent camp food trends on our recent adventure. As you know everything looks good on pinterest. Here are a few of the recipes and my thoughts on how they actually turned out. (click link to view recipe)

Crescent Dogs: I’m not a hotdog fan to begin with but I picked up some all beef nitrate-free Applegate Farms hotdogs and decided the kids would love this treat. This was just one of those failures all around. The crescent roll burns before the hotdog is cooked, even when kept at a safe distance from the fire. So you end up with cold hotdog encased in charred dough. Really gross. Thumbs down, and won’t do it again.

Tacos in a Bag: I modified this a bit using grassfed beef and homemade taco seasoning. (trust me, read the taco packet and you’ll make your own too) This was tasty and a hit with all the kids. Also RICEWORKS sweet chili chips (2.49 at Kroger) taste just like Doritos for another healthier alternative. It was also very easy. I chopped up all the taco salad parts beforehand and only had to freshly slice the avocados and brown the ground beef over the fire. We used a Cast Iron dutch oven and it was just heavenly.

Campfire Cones: These were a great success and very easy. We used marshmallows, dark chocolate and bananas. We simply filled the sugar cones with the ingredients, wrapped them securely in foil and placed them on top of a log in the fire. After a few minutes we removed them with tongs, unwrapped the foil and enjoyed our easy dessert.

Foil Packs: The foil keeps everything inside and the meat doesn’t get dry. It’s super easy and everyone can customize what they want, chicken, mushrooms, no mushrooms, spicy, mild… whatever. There are tons of great recipes online just do a quick search for inspiration.

What are your favorite tried and true camp meals?

REVIEW: Bledsoe State Park (TN)

On Thursday I attended the last of a series of ceremonies marking the end of school. I ended up with one best smiler, one super reader and one fun friend. Say what you will about unnecessary pomp and circumstance but my kids’ teachers nailed it with their awards. We had a great year of school with tons of progress, growth and achievement. IEP meetings for Lola were smoother this year and there were less hurdles all around. We are better at advocating and anticipating her needs. The year went by so quickly compared to the year before. In fact, it went a little too quickly. Next year we will have a 2nd grader, two 1st graders and a mother’s day out preschooler. Liam is almost four, and while he loves being the baby of the family, he seems less and less my littlest everyday. I feel like I’m approaching the stage where I blink, and instead of awards for super reading my kids will be accepting diplomas.

Entering into the “big kid” stage definitely has it’s advantages. They pour milk, clean rooms and even lay out their outfits for the week. Life feels much less chaotic than the “Four, 5 years old and younger” category we lived in for awhile. Those new advantages were definitely tested this weekend when we headed out for our first of many family camping trips.

I was super excited to get the kids and head out so we checked out of school a little early and hit the road. We made reservations at Bledsoe State Park because it’s conveniently located just 30 minutes away. I’m an ambitious mommy so I told Calvin to just meet us there after work and planned to set up the site with the help of my four small ones. This actually went pretty well minus the excited youngest who wanted to run off and explore every 4 seconds. Bledsoe is a great little state park. They have excellent hiking trails, some that run along the water, and nice wooded campsites. The bathrooms are also clean and heated which was very nice on cold mornings. The Goodbye boys didn’t frequent the bathrooms often, as they were more interested in the bathroom freedoms the woods provide.

The days were spent hiking, relaxing, preparing camp meals, riding bikes and playing games. Man did the kids ride their bikes. Liam even conquered two wheels. And that’s the thing about family trips and memories. I love that we can look back and say “remember when Liam rode a 2-wheel for the first time?” And we will, because it was a big event taking place in the simplest of times. This may be the reason I’m obsessed with becoming a camping family. I grew up camping and I loved backpacking in college. Some of my clearest family memories come from campfire circles or hiking trails. And as I watch the kids grow and gain independence, the moments where my almost 8-year-old holds my hand for a moment while we walk toward the water will become increasingly rare. Camping also builds character. It creates a need to work together. Gathering wood, setting up camp, cleaning up after meals and making sure nothing is left to draw animals. We were also lucky enough to hit early tick season in Tennessee. (insert emoji that displays a completely stressed out mom face) I cannot handle ticks. Read WebMD, they are tiny killers on the loose. I picked them off the kids and dog regularly. I’m still checking necks, ears and crevices because they were THAT BAD. Another memory right??

We have a few more camping trips planned this Summer. Hopefully there will be less ticks. Hopefully. We are all genuinely looking forward to more challenging hikes, longer stays and more adventure. And for those of you who have yet to take the plunge I’ll continue to blog about camping gear and what made life a little easier in the great outdoors. And for those of you who have non-camping significant others… just buy them some cool hiking shorts, it will change their whole outlook. It worked for me!

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SWAP Socks: Mismatch for a Purpose

WHAT ARE SWAP SOCKS?

SWAP Socks are purposely mismatched socks that come in packs of 4. They serve as an eye-catching, wearable statement and reminder to support the movement to end preventable blindness. In the process, they spark natural conversation about the privilege of sight, which so many live without. Each (HIGH QUALITY) pack gives you the freedom to swap styles around, and create 6 unique pairs to choose from. Each pack sold funds an eye care service for a person in need.

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WHY VISION?

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HOW?

SEVA, SWAP Socks’ partner organization, works to build local eye care personnel and partnerships to provide comprehensive eye care services in 22 countries. This is completed through eye care exams, low-cost eyeglasses, medication for eye infections, and eye surgery. Restoring vision is more than just seeing clearly, it allows a quality of life that will lead to heighten economic productivity across many communities.

WHY WE LOVE SWAP SOCKS

1. I got to speak to the founder of SWAP Socks and hear about the first-hand experience he’s had with helping treat blindness. Their mission is noble and their passion is great. You can even follow some of their more recent adventures on the SWAP Socks blog.

2. If your husband is like mine (or you are like me!), finding a matching pair of socks is nearly impossible. No more wasting time on looking for a matching pair. In fact, there’s no matching sock to throw away when one goes MIA to the couch cushion or behind the washer and dryer.

3. Great quality.

4. SWAP Socks makes buying socks for Father’s Day cool again. (Use code 25OFFNEW for 25% off new orders!)

5. Girls can enjoy them, too!

6. Lastly, our obvious connection with blindness/visual impairment softens our heart to this issue.

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How to Find SWAP Socks:
swapsocks.com

facebook.com/swapsocks
instagram.com/swap_socks

Oh Man… it’s Mother’s Day

It’s that day. The day that is really great for some women and really craptastic for others. (Also, please note that when you type craptastic it auto corrects to capitalistic. I find joy in that.)

Maybe you are the mom who gets pampered. Whose children greet you with words of affirmation and arms full of potted plants and gift certificates for pedicures. Yet you feel ignored and unappreciated the other 364 days of the year.

Maybe you are the woman who is still hoping and waiting for a child to call you mom. Maybe your babies are in Heaven and today breaks your heart wide open.

Maybe you are the mom who won’t get on Facebook today because while everyone is getting celebrated you fixed breakfast for kids who didn’t even remember to say Happy Mother’s Day.

Maybe you are the mom whose child is still help captive by red tape and you spend countless sleepless nights hoping someone took the time to smile at them that day. You are praying that they had enough to eat, and hoping they are beginning to understand how much they are wanted.

Maybe you are the mom who is still learning to love a child who was a stranger just months ago. You feel tired, worn out and unworthy.

And maybe you are the mom who is having a perfect day today. You are prized by your family. (I am joyful for you!)

You might be one of these or several of these today. You might be something I forgot to mention even. So beautiful friend, let me propose a two-part challenge today.

1. Celebrate yourself and the women around you. Do not let bitterness take root. Find joy in the time at hand. Find joy in your service today. Remember that you are a treasured daughter of God. A princess. And heir to the throne. Your tasks and hardship and heartache here on Earth are not in vain. You are seen and loved.

2. Be kind. Don’t succumb to the temptation of disappointment. Hinging expectations on others is never a healthy way to live. Break free from that notion and find some freedom. Enjoy the day. If you have children, serve and teach them well today. Show them what joy in motherhood really means. I truly believe that joy is contagious. Share some today.

Happy DAY to each of you beauties.

Outfitting your Camp Site at Dollar Tree

Camping is considered an inexpensive vacation or getaway. However, gathering the gear and supplies can get pretty pricey. I like to cut costs by picking up clever little items at the Dollar Tree. I spent $18 at the Ol’ DT compared to what would have cost me close to $50 at Target (But I still love you Target!). Here’s what I picked up:

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Large Stackable Storage buckets (2). These can be used for washing dishes, collecting small sticks for fires, holding shoes the list goes on. Laundry hooks, this particular hook is strong enough for heavy items like towels or even blankets. Clothes pins, because who doesn’t need those around the camp site. Brush and dust pan set for keeping the tent tidy.

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Licensed antibacterial wipes for the kids to keep in their back pocket or backpack. It’s always fun to get character items on the cheap. Finger Lights for night-time story telling in the tent. We brought these to Disney and they were a huge hit, who needs light up wands??
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Microfiber Washcloths 3 pack (2). Microfiber is great for washing dishes and cleaning up spills, super absorbent and easy to wash out. Storage Bags for snacks and other kitchen items. Medium sized dish detergent, for you know… washing more dishes. Scrubber with dish soap reservoir, so convenient. Grill sponge for cleaning up the Ogrill.
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The Dollar Tree is definitely a great place to pick up all those little items that can really eat away at your camping budget. Try it out, the great deals are waiting!

All Content © Erica Ho, Goodbye Normal