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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Getting Into The Great Outdoors: Our 1st Adventure Continued

Post 3 on our camping excursion.


I Got A Car.



Saturday greeted us with rain.

I believe it greeted me first by saying: go piss before your sheets are done for.

I threw on my jeans and grabbed my toothbrush and toothpaste.  I may be alone here but brushing my teeth makes me feel like a new person.

Happy news alert!  As I walked up the hill to the bathroom I noted that the rain had stopped!  What was hitting the camper was dripping from the trees around us and not from the actual sky.  Perhaps this 30% deal my husband had mentioned was on point...perhaps.



After breakfast (muffins of course) we took off for a daytime stroll of the park.  We were hoping to get on a trail and do a little hiking.  Sadly, the gate attendant said there were no trails to use on that piece of the campground.  He said that they had not been properly maintained and he couldn't advise us to use them.




Because of all the rain the playgrounds were mush.

I started getting aggravated.  We'll call it part mama bear part PMS-ing broad.

Once back to the camper we loaded up in the car and went to the main area of the campground.  The welcome center had some good things to offer the kids (and us).  We spent time in the museum and learned that when you retire in Florida you move to North Wilkesboro to work as a volunteer at dam & reservoir.  You also learn that Wilkesboro flooded back in the day and that is why the army moved in to build a dam.





The hubby had found a few trails to hike while in the welcome center. Our next adventure consisted of going to the trail head and taking off.  Once we got there (and out of the car) the rains started again.

Back in the car and down the road.  Or should I say....

Up the road we go!

My lovely husband drove past our entrance to the campground we were staying at.  If it was going to rain we were going to go on an adventure....somewhere.

I must say I'm pretty good at navigating and finding my way.  Its just a talent I am blessed with.  Until I met my husband I thought all people had this inborn ability to navigate with common sense.  I was wrong.  It is a blessing the man can get to and from work without a wrong turn.  Ha!  Just kidding love ya.

Up, up and away we went.  Leaving Wilkes County and entering Caldwell County.  Caldwell County was a narrow road that was winding like a black snake.  The homes were out of a bad movie based in West Virginia and we felt as if we were on the road to nowhere.

Eventually we stumbled on a place called Fort Defiance.  Now, I'm not a military buff or into the Revolutionary War, 1812 War, Civil War, or anything like that. My husband is equipped with testosterone so his interest was a bit peaked.  He pulled in and I was just hoping they sold snacks.  {This sudden road trip was done with zero diapers and zero snacks.  You can imagine how hungry we were having only eaten a few blueberry muffins four hours earlier.}



We pull up to this Ft. Defiance place and there is an old home and a primitive building beside it.  The hubs and daughter get out.  Since the baby was asleep I hung out in the car begging my cell phone to find some miraculous service.

Guess what I learned when they returned to the car?

There is no fort at Fort Defiance.

What?

No Fort.

It is just some old dead white man's house who was all about killing some British Loyalists during the Revolution.  He named his damned house Fort Defiance.

I bet his neighbors made the crazy sign when his name was mentioned back in the day.  I bet it was complete with rolling eyes and coo coo being mouthed silently.

Next we stumbled upon a place called The Patterson School.  I had never heard of this place before and lets be honest I only live like three counties away.  Of course good ole Wikipedia was down so I couldn't quite figure out this place.  We didn't stop either but now I was wondering just what this school was.  It looked very old and very shut down.

It turns out this school was founded in 1909 as an agriculture school for mountain boys.  I kid you not.  It started with roughly 19 boys enrolled and grew to having 200 boys enrolled.  It is no longer a school but more of a learning center for students in Caldwell and neighboring counties.  Check out their website for more information....its kinda nifty ya'll. The Patterson School Foundation


Our mission was now to go eat.  Screw sandwiches back at the campsite.  It was raining, it was cold, and we were going to eat something good.

You just read "it was cold" - yes it was.  On July 19th it was 60 degrees at 1:00 PM.  I was wearing jeans, a tee shirt, and a fleece jacket.  I'm built for 88 degree summers not 60-degree-no-sun-in-site summers.  I am from North Carolina not North Dakota.

Our vehicle is not the best on gas.  The next adventure would be getting gas for said vehicle.  I noticed our elevation was quite high at this point and figured we were headed to Boone.  I knew where the highway we were on would lead us to - south was Hickory and north was Blowing Rock/Boone.  Since we were going north I wasn't in shock that the high country was slowly greeting us.  We'd need gas for the trek.

What took us by surprise was that this one station we found {or came to first} had gas cheaper than anywhere else we had been.  Since petro is extremely expensive these days you know how excited you get when you see it for a cheaper than average price, right?!?!

We pulled in.  The place advertised breakfast biscuits, lunch sandwiches, and dinner pizzas.  The gas pumps were your typical 1980 somethings.  In the land of 2014 were weren't sure if we could even pay for gas with a debit card at this place.  I sat in the car with the kids while the hubby went in.

This is crazy.

Those retro pumps were ran off of an iPad.


How the hell can you make the old school, basic gas pump run off a damn iPad?  The whole store practically ran off an iPad!  My husband prepaid inside, the girl accepted his payment via iPad {nothing new} and then set up the pump via the iPad.  Are you kidding me?

We were seven miles from Blowing Rock.  When he asked the attendant where we were she couldn't answer him...just said we were 7 miles from Blowing Rock.  Cool.

The rain gently fell and the fog was out of this world....that's how you know you're in the Northern Mountains of North Carolina.  When it rains its foggy and gross.  When it does it in summer its extra gross.  Like always, the roads of the mountains are always getting expanded and repaired.  We crept along the narrow byway to get into Blowing Rock.  Finally there we decided against any local fare and to just settle for some good ole Outback.


A Blooming Onion has never tasted so wonderful.

I began making mental notes of a weekend trip, no kids, for the hubby and I.  In my mind we are staying at Green Mountain Inn and shopping at the Tanger Outlets and finding some water to canoe.  At night we're downing good drinks at an adult establishment that does not offer a kid's menu.

After a yummy lunch we headed to Boone and then to 421 for a quicker trip back to the camper.

----

When we arrived back it was still nasty and wet and more rain on the way.



Screw it all.  We packed everything up and our daughter cried the entire time.

Our neighbors did the same.

See, after our arrival back to the camper from our adventure our bedding was wet.

Un-freakin'-cool.

So yes....we unpopped the pop up and hitched her up and came home.



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Getting Into The Great Outdoors (Our 1st Adventure)

Post 2 in this series of amateur camping.  


Not Every Day is Sunshine and Unicorns




Two weeks prior to the first camping trip... that is when I booked our site.  We had scouted out W. Kerr Scott located in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina.  Immediately, we fell in love with the location and scenic views.  It was a no brainer we wanted to camp here.

I thought I had paid close attention to the weather. Part of camping in anything but an RV is having great weather to enjoy what is outside. At the time of booking the weather projections were for unseasonably cool July temperatures.  There was no mention of rain.

However, that was two weeks out.  Sad for us that meteorologists are not really psychics.  Ms. Cleo where ya at, girl?



I prepped for the trip Friday morning.  I made one and a half dozen blueberry muffins and two dozen chocolate chip cookies.  A quick Walmart run for my crack coffee addiction was pertinent.  {Guys, I have to have my coffee a minimum of two times a day if not four times a day.  Don't judge!}  I purchased an $8 basic pot to keep in the camper.

Meticulously, I went over everything I had to pack.

I made sure that we had all the grilling and grocery staples:

*Grill & Charcoal
*Grilling utensils
*Meats for grilling
*Condiments
*Disposable utensils and plates
*Beverages
*Sides
*Breads

Since it is a camper I also had to get the linens in order:

*Two sheet sets
*Blankets
*Pillows for the beds
*Towels and wash cloths for the bath house
*Toiletries



This wasn't a nudist camping colony so I packed four changes for each kid and two for the adults.  The plan was to be in our bathing suits the majority of the time we were there.

With that being said I had packed swim beach items like:

*Sand shovel and pail
*Puddle Jumper for the little guy
*Two camp chairs that we could easily tote to the beach or just set up outside the camper were also a necessity and packed
*The stroller for small human cruising was packed
*SPF, bug spray, and of course beach towels

A few fun things were thrown in like my book, a DVD player for when the kids were too restless to deal with, and of course the camera.

Lastly, tennis shoes for lots of walking and hopefully some good hiking.

And the sky became gray and clouds began to cry....

Friday it rained.  Friday it became cool.  Friday could have been the start of October for all I know.

Our goal was to be on the road by 6:45 PM.  My husband works until six each day and this event would not call for an early departure from work.  It just was not far enough away to warrant him leaving even ten minutes early from work. Plus, my oldest has tumble and cheer on Fridays and that is one thing that girl is not going to miss!



As we drove the up the highway I mentioned to my lovely spouse that "earlier in the day I had heard that this was the weather for the weekend,".  He quickly shot that down and said only a 30% chance of rain was forecasted for Saturday.  Mmm hmm.

Roughly forty minutes later we arrived to our campsite and quickly began the wet and dreary set up of the camper.  It didn't take very long to get her up and stable.  Considering this was only our third time completing this task and it took 15 minutes to do it. I was impressed!  Since Mother Nature was having a cleansing event the kids had to sit in the car while we set up.  They weren't too thrilled about that.

I'm going to be very truthful and admit something. As I prepped the inside of the camper I realized this style of camping is ONLY good for people who can spend the entire daylight and twilight period outside.  When you have a nearly two year old a pop up camper is not the way to go if the weather is wet.



As I was trying to figure out ways to neatly store everything I was silently losing it.

I like organization, cleanliness, and neatness.  Those are three things you have to throw out the window when you have young children plus bad weather and have yet to devise a plan of structure for how you will store everything in your very small camper.

Eventually, I gave up.  The kids were unleashed from their seats.  It was on.



----

There was no way we were staying inside.  After a few minutes in the camper we pulled out the stroller and took off to check out the now darkened campground.

The sky temporarily plugged it's leaking and we walked around checking out campsites, campers, and people.

It really is a nice place.  All the people were cordial and in all honesty you've never seen a cleaner more well maintained place.

I wish I would have had my camera on me for that initial stroll because the site of the lake at dusk was simply gorgeous.

When we returned to our little pad we slept.  Or tried to.

Tomorrow:  I Got A Car.






Monday, July 21, 2014

Getting Into The Great Outdoors (or something like that)

Warning!  I am divulging some "new" information in this post.

Post 1:  Meet my new little property tax.

At the beginning of July I became the proud new owner of a pop-up camper.  I would like to make this tidbit of information so much more golden than it is.  Unfortunately, the sugar coating machine is clogged.

All kidding aside I have a pop-up camper now.  In May, the hubby and I began asking the age old question of whether we should get a boat or a camper.  

What?  
You weren't aware of that age old question?  
Well that's how us high class folk roll ya know!  Get a boat or get a house on wheels by gah!

The camper won by a landslide due to many factors.  
OK really two contributing factors.  

The first was that our friends who had boats quickly shot down the boat idea.  They let us know that boats were not economical, required too much maintenance, were too expensive to use, and finally a waste of money.  We also noted that nearly all our friends who had boats had sold them in the last couple of months.

The second, and major, contributing factor was that a camper kind of sort of fell in my lap.  OUCH!  Ok not literally but to make a long story short my dad had one he wasn't going to use so I got it for a great deal.

So what is a "pop-up" camper?  
Well for those of you who are travel trailer virgins let me put the ball in the hitch.  
Ugh that was um gross.


A pop up camper is that thing you see behind cars, trucks, SUVs, and minivans that is sandwiched down to look like a piece of metal with a doggy door on it.  


You get a place to "set it up" at and you literally pop the thing up.  I am not kidding you.  You manually pull the sides out (beds) and then you take a crank and crank that bad boy open.  KABOOM a camper.

High rollin' I tell you.

Ours has many amenities on it including:  
Electrical hook up
Water hook up
Gas hook up (which scares the bajeezus out of me)
Sink
Fridge (wait or is that a cabinet...?)
Stove  (never will I use it, that is just too confined of a space baby dolls)

And if you are going, "Is this really camping?"
It is because we do not have a shower, toilet, or air conditioning.

Go ahead, roll your eyes with me.

A pop up is a glorified tent.  
It has a bit of structure to it thanks to some vinyl, metal, and wood.  It also allows you to see at night thanks to the power hook up for the four interior lights.  Other than that you're pretty much in a tent.  


The beds are not Serta or Sleep Number.  They are pieces of over-sized foam in furniture upholstery.  I know that sounds very plush to you, gentle reader, but really.

When I was in high school my parents purchased a pop up camper.  I can say I never stayed one night in that thing.  I always made my way home at bed time.  Ok...wait there was one time I stayed in it.  It just wasn't my thing.

Now that I'm just a bit older I realize they aren't the worst form of "vacationing".  {Let me just confide to you I have slept in a couple places where the mice shared the mattress with me.  Don't judge, college was fun!}

Pop-ups are pretty economical too.  The maintenance is minimal.  You just have to be a bit of a neat freak and keep them clean.  My husband already did an outside check to keep the thing waterproof.  I guess if you have lived in a single wide trailer, ok any trailer not wanting to discriminate, you know the basic care a camper needs...they're like cousins guys.  Also since part of the structure is basically tent canvas you have to keep it in good condition as well.  This means cleaning and waterproofing it.  Really its not hard work.  

Good tips for cleaning and waterproofing the canvas on your pop up camper.
Pop Up Help on Pinterest!


We can go away for a weekend for roughly $50 with our little pop up.  The rate includes our electric and water.  I wish I could stay at the condos and hotels I prefer for $50 a night in the summer!  Since we live on a budget and make sure we know where each penny goes; cheap get- a-ways are a total must for us.  Campgrounds offer many fun activities for families.  From putt-putt to traditional canoeing to craft activities and movie nights there are tons going on you just have to find the best campground fit for your family and budget.  This topic will pop back up in another post.

Click here to visit Robslink for this camping NC map!



Then there's the whole purpose of camping.  Camping means you get out and unplug.  You enjoy what is outside - hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, tubing, etc.  With a pop up you get to do all that and have something a tad bit more stable than a tent to hang out in when the rain comes down.

However, when the thunder rolls and lightning strikes go to safer shelter.

This has been post one on my newest addition.  This week and in the future there will be more posts on camping.  I'm learning as I go and cannot wait to play around with organization, recipes, and places and things to do when you're out and about with your tent, camper, or even RV.  






Friday, July 18, 2014

Well How-Dee-Doo!

I so badly wanted to find a fitting YouTube video of Eminem telling you he's back but yeah I didn't think ya'll would appreciate that too much!  I figured this would work better:


So yeah...Brownie has returned!  Guys, its been nearly two months since A Brownie World (ABW) was blindfolded and gagged.  We're talking Lady Ga Ga or something right?  Wrong but the blog was silenced.

Just like friends who have been distanced for long periods of time, I want to pour a cup of Jamaican Me Crazy and play catch up with you all.



In true Friday form I am back with a Five for Friday.  This time it is not a listing of favorite recipes, drinks, outfits, movies, pins, etc.  Nope, this time I'm going to play catch up and let ya'll know whats up!

Number 1:  Where did Brownie go?

I would LOVE to say that either of the items listed below are true:

A)  A two month sabbatical to Bermuda or Aruba.  It was heavenly with lush cuisine and endless rum based beverages.  The children were entertained by a staff of excellent, well rounded nannies.  The husband and I enjoyed long walks on the beach, sailing trips to various reefs, and dancing long into the night.

or

B)  I won the lottery.  I lost my mind and now am the only person featured on the People of Walmart website.  Yes, that was me weighing in at 310 with a thong and I'm With Stupid tiny tee on.

Unfortunately, neither of those exciting and fun options are true.


The truth of the matter is I took a job.  A public job.  A job that, little did I know, took away your right to free speech even if it was vague and not quite "pin pointing".  They didn't like that I had the blog and they had me shut 'er down.

Well that's it.  Sorry its not Barbie glamorous.  Trust me, I'd much rather it involve a dream house and Corvette too.

Number 2:  So what made Brownie return?

Simply put:  The job was eliminated.

What can I say I have a magnet in me for jobs that fall in any of these categories:
1.  Grant funded (bound to tank)
2.  Temporary (but told permanent....then the budget has to be cut and the shaft comes and they say oh well this is temp oops)
3.  Lay off bound (I always get the job two weeks before they decide hiring a bunch of people wasn't good for the accounting department)

Number 3:  Did Brownie miss blogging?

At first, no.

I didn't realize how much time it took.  I enjoyed it so much that it wasn't a big deal but after I stopped I realized a lot of time went into it each week.  It was nice to have a bit of respite.
Then a few weeks later I started really missing it.

When I stopped I also stopped reading blogs my friends were putting out.  I missed their blogs and I missed chatting with them.  I missed hearing from my fans and acquaintances who would send me some food for thought both good and bad.  Dude, I missed a lot.

Most of all I missed writing.  To be quite honest, writing is a passion and if I could do it to pay bills boy would I be happy.  I missed being able to throw thoughts, emotions, and sharing good stuff with you guys.



So um yes.

Number 4:  What's new in Brownie's World?

Aside from unemployment....

I was going to say not much but that would be a lie.  I'm sure a lot has changed since May.  Actually, right now I just thought of two things!  Of course its nothing earth shattering or OMG must tell!
I'm sure the changes will come up in future blog posts!

Number 5:  Does Brownie have anything up her sleeve for the blog?

You betcha.  Gimme some time.  I'm here for good.






Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Drink it UP!

Summer is upon us.  It has been right around ninety degrees where I am for several days!  I love HOT weather. The hotter the better.  I have been "put down" for being one who likes heat.  Many of the old bystander bitches like to complain that I like the heat because I spend my days by the pool.

I like to correct them and explain how:

1.  I didn't grow up with central air.  I grew up in a log house with a window unit.  If you wanted to cool off you stood in front of the kitchen window.  You did not adjust a thermostat.

2.  I didn't have central air until I was closer to my 20s.  And by then I was pretty well adjusted to heat that it didn't matter much.

3.  I hate winter.

-----

One thing I freakin' love about HOT weather and and summer evenings (and days sometimes) are drinks.

Boat drinks, beer, wine, etc....love 'em all....almost.

Recently, I had some "new drinks" for me and I wanted to share.

1.  Michelob Ultra Light Cider

Visit their site

Oh.my.God.

This.is.good.

I.want.more!

My dad's girlfriend offered me one of these a few weeks ago.  I took a sip and was hooked.  This stuff tastes like a sour apple, one of my favorite flavors!  It is fresh, crisp, and very delicious.  It is also a gluten free option if anyone is hoping to shave a few pounds from their diet.

I've always been a Mich Ultra fan.  It is my choice of beers but it has to move over because its brother here is looking f-i-n-e!

2.  The Mother's Day Mimosa

As usual the bar we dined at for Mother's Day....wait that sounds wrong....the establishment we ate at on Mother's Day of course had to find a drink and call it something festive.  I realized if we put in Blue Curaco this would be a 2000 flushes....how appropriate for Mother's Day.

1 part lemonade
1 part mango rum
1 part Sprite
1 part spiced rum

Enter heaven.

3.  Mang-o-rita by Budweiser or Bud Light or whatever

ritacans.jpg
Visit them here!

Ok this is a throw back to Bartles & James....these things tastes straight up like wine coolers.  They are so sweet.  I would not recommend getting tanked off these hummingbird feeder finds.  I would recommend one for when you want to have some dessert.









Monday, May 19, 2014

Let's Share!: Hormone Hell

funny-hormone-guide-women


So today I'm sharing all about my experience with hormones in my thirties.  Thirties being the third decade of my existence on the earth.

I shared with you about my Mirena experience a few months back.  If you're interested in it you can click here to read it.  I will briefly discuss it in this post.  Briefly. as in you really don't need to click back because I'll sum that shiz up for you real quick like.

When I was in my twenties I took Ortho Tri Cyclene for my birth control.  I didn't gain w  eight, life was good, I was happy, no babies. Enter some headaches from hell and they moved me to Ortho Tri Cyclene Lo.  All happy again. Then somewhere around 25 I took some antibiotics and won a baby.  That's fine.  Whatever.  She's cute (at times).  After I had her I went back to my the pill but this time I took Tri Sprintec which I think was a generic of the Ortho Tri Cyclene Lo or something.  Then I had a very interesting experience where they said I stroked on July 13, 2008.  Some type of concoction between having a baby, body fluids, medicine, etc.  Huh?  Yeah no.  So I went to a new doctor who said it was a complicated migraine.  I should be ok on my birth control but I needed to add in some vitamins.



In 2011, a month and a half into my 30th year,  I found out I was knocked up again.  Ok....cool.  Post baby I had Mirena put in.  To put it simply....Mirena was Satan placed inside my uterus.  I became a non stop bleeding, bitch with no libido.  I had that piece of hell removed in January of this year.  I"m not sure if my body just decided hormones were not allowed the way eight year old boys post signs of NO GIRLS ALLOWED on their doors or what.

I was placed back on Ortho Tri Cyclene Lo and I hate to report this but....

My body just cannot tolerate hormones like it once did a few years ago.

Now, I get plain out sick on my pill.  Woozy, dizzy, sleepy, and not very happy.  It seems like someone mis-packaged my pills to be an anxiety drug but the chemistry is all screw balled.

So now I'm at a cross roads.  (Cue Bone Thugs)



Yep...you guessed it.  I'm done.  I know that I cannot tolerate hormones.  I know that me not tolerating adding and taking away hormones from my own self can be very hard on the other half of this relationship.

So, I'm putting him on deck.



Yes, it is true.  I am calling Mr. Snip Snip to cut the canals of Sperm Stream.  I've gone through two pregnancies, two births, and too many birth control issues to have to "take another for the team"....its time for another player to have some time at bat.

I hear this "bat" consists of fifteen minutes, valium and frozen peas.  I think he can handle it.



Friday, May 16, 2014

5 on Friday

Grab button for FIVE ON FRIDAY AT THE GOOD LIFE BLOG
Here's five...

1.  Friday (today)

Well this isn't a normal Friday.  I left work early to go be apart of my kindergartner's "Parent's Day" at school.  What a sweet event.  All the kinders gathered in the gym to sing us songs.  It was very sweet.  I'm pretty lucky to live in a little map dot town that has deep values and strong roots.

2.  That hour before you get the kids

I know many of you do not have children and you just rolled your eyes.  You can skip this one...its ok, I was once one of you!  I had an hour before the kids were to be picked up (you know if you let them stay too long then DSS will pick them up for you....its a service they do I hear....just kidding).  I decided I would kick some tail on the house.  I did and therefore my weekend will be better because of it.

3.  Shorts at work?

Get this...I can wear shorts to work.  Get this....that means I need to go shopping!  Hehehe.  Ok turns out I have to wear Bermuda/Golf style shorts but shorts are shorts and May is hot.  I'm looking forward to a little retail therapy tomorrow.

4.  The last tee ball game

Tomorrow is the last tee ball game for the year.  It is a happy day....I know the kids were getting burned out.  It is a sad day....I really like ball and I really liked the group of kids I had.  This experience with these little bitty ball players has been very rewarding and a teaching session for the kids as well as myself.  I totally enjoyed every minute of this season.  Remarkable job Cubbies!

5.  A beachy day

My husband has deemed Saturday afternoon and evening to be a beachy kind of day.  No, we haven't moved.  Instead we're having fruity drinks and to him that means beachy I guess?  Oh well...I'll happily take it!  Next week is going to be a tiny bit headachey so why not pretend to be in  Jimmy Buffet song this weekend?