Thursday, October 17, 2013

The 12 Days of Camping - Apple Picking!

I have wanted to go apple picking.
It sounds like so much fun!
But we have never 
had the opportunity,
nor taken the opportunity.

So while we are in the mountain area of NC
in mid-late August,
we took advantage of the 
there apple season


that we had the opportunity.

It was not planned
and somewhat of a last 
minute idea.
And I am 
ever so thankful
that the hubs decided that he was ok with 
spending one of his
actual vacation days
taking me and the kids
apple picking.

I found a place called 
close by
that had some apples ready.

They gave us a basket for our apples,
a couple of containers for our blackberries
a wagon...

And away we went!

The basket of apples had to share their wagon
space with Mr. T.

Which I am sure was by design,
because he sat right there

Jackson was tickled by how tiny the apples were 
that we were picking.

Everyone took turns 
pulling the cart too!

they told us to sample them
as we were going through
to make sure we were happy with the flavors 
we were picking...

They were juicy!
But tasty!!

We finally got Mr. T to contribute to the 
and not just the eating!

 He even took a turn pulling 
the cart for us.

Once we filled up our apple basket,
we headed over to the rows of
blackberry bushes.

Caught daddy eating a couple of those!

And Mr. T
This kid put away some blackberries!!!

So did Lex!

They thought that the object was
for us to pick them
and fill up their containers.

Tony was quick to tell us
each time he ran out!

Tony Cruz did pick one or two 
off the bush by himself...

But stuck close to dad
so he could keep filling up 
his container for him.

Lex did pick more than she ate.

They all enjoyed eating their way
through the blackberry bushes.

And, naturally,
Rico had to hot dog a little!
From the looks of the black mark
on his cheek
in this picture...
it appears he MISSED that one!
But don't tell him!

Here is our bountiful

Unfortunately the apples
started to go bad before we could eat them all.
I got the opportunity to make apple filling for 
I haven't decided what,
I froze most of it.

And what blackberries survived the trip home 
from the mountains,
got frozen
and we have been using in 
in my new water infuser!

We stopped
and posed for a few pictures...

When we got back up to the 
to pay for our haul...
I told them they really should 
have weighed my kids
before we went out there.
And that I should probably pay for
a few more pints of blackberries.
I was thrilled when 
they told me it was
All You Can Eat
while you are picking!

Even though everyone else 
was pretty full from
eating our way through the orchard
I insisted on getting a could of apple treats
when we got back.
They had apple donuts,
blackberry donuts,
apple turnovers,
apple cider
a few other things.
But those are all the things we tried.
The donuts were fantastic
I was anxious to try the turnovers,
since this was now the THIRD
I had tried on our trip.
These were
the absolute BEST!
I bought 3 more for breakfast the next morning!!
Luckily no one else liked them as much 
as me,
so after warming them in the oven,
I had a great breakfast!

Apparently we had worked up quite an appetite!

These turnovers were finger licking good!!!

This concludes 
epic adventures
"The 12 Days of Camping"


The 12 Days of Camping...(Part 4)

haven't we had enough fun already?
Are we done yet?

We are just getting started good!
So far,
we have only talked about
the first 6 days!
We still have half a trip left!

When choosing our third and final
campground for our trip,
I wanted to make sure it was somewhere
with enough for me and the kids
to do.
It also had to be near Morganton,
since that is where daddy's class was.
So we were going to be solo
most of Friday.

There is a whole lotta nuthin
in and around Morganton!
So I broadened my search
and found an
in Marion, NC.
It put daddy at a 20+ minute
commute to the class.
But gave us TONS to do!!

We decided we would give
Yogi Bear's JellyStone
Camp & Resort
a shot.

I was so excited to visit after
finding their website!!!

Since our return I have looked up
other JellyStone's in the area...
the owners of the Marion one...
really have a passion for this,
they know what they are doing,
they enjoy what they are doing
and you can tell!!!

It is owned and run by a family.
Mom (Mama Bear)
Dad (Chief)
Oldest Son (Running Bear)
Younger Son (Happy Feet)

We had a FANTASTIC time!
I had us booked Mon-Fri
because they didn't have room for us to stay
past Friday.

When we arrived,
it was actually VERY disappointing...
it looked so dirty!
Everything was covered in mud!
The lake
(that looked beautiful in all the pictures)
was the color of mud!
The grass was covered in mud,
the boats
(that looked so neat and clean on the web)
were all flipped upside down
and dirty
and partially submerged.

I was really confused!

We later learned that there
had been a record rainfall
two days before.
(Saturday - didn't rain that bad in Balsam Mtn 1 hr away!)
It literally washed out the ONLY bridge across the lake
that took you to the camp sites.
Mud came down the mountain
washed right into the lake.
The lake flooded horribly!
It came up on to the grass
(bringing mud with it).

It messed up the boats,
the foot bridge across the lake,
the pump on the water slide,
quite a few lakeside campsites...

It was just a mess!
And they did their absolute best!
To get the campground back up
and running
and looking
like they built it to look
and kept it looking!
I was BLOWN away
by how diligently
the "Chief"
the entire time we were there,
to get his campground
back to the condition
that they kept it in!

I honestly can't give enough kudos
to the hard work that family
put into getting the place
"back together".

Within a day of our arrival,
I was begging them to find room
for us to stay through the weekend.
I wanted Daddy to enjoy some of the
campground that we were enjoying
while he was in class.

they found a spot for us!
It was a little tight,
we got to stay.

So we were all happy.

We are anxiously waiting to find another
time to hike out there...
its a 4 hour drive...
so unfortunately,
its not a weekend trip...
not a frequent one anyways.

But we are definitely ready to do it again.

This campground it 100% geared around families.
And most of the activities are geared toward
the school aged crowd
elementary to middle school aged.
Which works perfectly for us.

They have a schedule of activities
every day...
all day!

So you can be as active
as relaxed
as you want to be.

Our first day there,
We got a SMALL glipse of the
flooding mayhem
when the rain started again...
I am certain everyone was holding their breath...

You can kind of see the slope on the 
we were pretty high up
and the lake was at the bottom...

We had to find something to do,
to keep entertained during the rain.

The next day,
the boys gathered firewood.
We asked permission to 
scavenge through the woods
and gather the fallen branches.

Over the next few days,
we stayed QUITE busy!

We tried out the boats:

Daddy and Lex in the canoe

Rico rocking the kayak like he knew what he was doing!

Jackson chillin in the paddle boat
(cause he was extremely apprehensive of all 
of the other boats!)

And Mr. T
keeping his feet firmly
planted on dry ground!
(tough job havin a kid this cute!)

We tried out the playground...

  Mr. T giving daddy a push...

Sort of!

This is the only boat
we could get Tony on...

Playing a couple of rounds of putt-putt
with some new friends.

Watering the flowers
with Cindy Bear

Hitting the pool and waterslide:

Rico forgot to take his shirt off,
so he rode down with it in his hand...
and it didn't get wet!
He was so proud!

This water was COLD!
Tony and I sat and watched
and everyone coming out
was commenting on how COLD 
the water was!
It was a chilly day,
but the water was all new
They had to empty the slide,
and replace the pump due to all 
the mud that had made its way into the slide pool.

I opted NOT to go down the slide,
SOMEONE had to stay with Mr. T.
The sacrifices mommies have to make.
(wink, wink)

doesn't he look like its chilly outside??

The boys had been BEGGING 
daddy to go on the waterslide with them,
but by the time he got back 
from class and chilled out a minute,
the slide was closed!
So we finally had a chance to get daddy 
on the slide on Friday.

Once Lex finally got on the slide,
it was almost impossible to get her off!!

Look at that happy girl!

Daddy finally made his way down the slide!
He makes it look like such a fast and exhilarating slide,
doesn't he?

After watching everyone else having so much fun
on the slide...
Mr. T decided he was willing to give it a shot.

Daddy attempted to stay in the seated upright position...
but the shear force of the speed slide (har har)
he was on...
knocked him and little man back.

Then my sweet husband,
did the noble thing
held our precious 
baby boy child
up above his head
as he plunged into the ice cold water!

Baby boy hardly got wet!

What a good daddy!

I have no great caption for this next photo...
I just loved it!

Daddy is grinning because I saw this and
wanted to get a picture,
so I ran ahead of them and turned around
and started taking pictures.
And if you look REAL close,
you can see daddy is stepping 
a little unusually high with that left foot...
he had a blow out with his flip flop
and had to walk rather 
awkwardly back to the site.
We had quite a few flip flop blow outs on that trip!
(Note to self: Next time we go camping take atleast
TWO pairs of flip flips for everyone!)

The big boys hit the boats for a second time,
and this time Jackson got brave!!

He started out in the canoe with Rico...

Then Rico wanted to ride the kayak,
so Jackson decided to man the canoe solo!

Then I turned around and he was in a kayak
by himself!!!
Oh what fun stuff we are going to do
when these littlest ones get a little older!

We are gonna do things I never thought
I would do:
canoeing to a campsite
kayaking down a river

(p.s. - see all of the yucky in the lake - 
that is NOT normal there)

So those were some of the things we did that I actually
took pictures of.
There were a TON of other activities that we either
didn't participate in,
didn't photo graph
or chose not to show include.
I got tons of pictures of
the kids in the pool...
chose not to add those cause
that is "every day" stuff.  :)

Some of the activities that they had that
are not pictured:

Hey Rides around the grounds
Nature Hike around the grounds
Lunch with a character
Breakfast with a character
Roasting smores with Yogi
Daily Organizied Games
Daily Arts n Crafts
Story time complete with milk & cookies with Yogi
Dance Parties

(me and Mr. T at one of the dance parties)

We had an absolute ball
can't wait to go back!
Daddy has already been notified of the dates
for the next class he has to take
out there...
he is ready for me to book our trip already!
For NEXT August!!

On Sunday mornings,
they have Yogi come around the campground and say good-bye
to the campers.

We were busy packing up
when he stopped by our site.

We had a cooler propped
up on a set of sets to drain.
thinking he was helping...
came by and
helped speed up the process...
he dumped our cooler
all of its contents all over the place!

Much to his surprise...
it was FULL
of drinks!

Yogi was so embarrassed
his escort was playing the disappointed
"helper" well.

He even gave Daddy a hug
as an apology.

We were laughing at the accident.

Mr. T watched the chaos from afar.
He was a little apprehensive 
about getting too close to that 
big brown bear.

We got packed up
were able to leave without any further incident.

Here are a few random pictures:

Pb&js outside for lunch!

My baby boy and his curls!

Playing with bugs!

And Rico made himself a coffee
one morning when we went 
up to have muffins with BooBoo.
He *thought* I was going to let him drink it.
I let him take a sip because I knew he wasn't going 
to like it...
Sure enough - he didn't.