Sunday, March 22, 2009

Switzerland

We're making more progress on planning our trip to Germany and Switzerland! We'll be staying in the Interlaken area for several days while we're in Switzerland. We booked some beds at the Happy Inn Lodge for our first night in Switzerland. Then we'll head up into the valley near Interlaken and stay in Lauterbrunnen at the Valley Hostel for four nights. We've heard this area is pretty amazing and in the heart of the alps so we're spending a good chunk of our time there. Can't wait!! We leave in about 7 weeks!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's an adventure every day ...

So this isn't a traveling adventure but I still thought it was worthy of a post. Grant got home from work tonight and I was washing clothes. Our washing machine has been getting louder and louder lately and I really think one day it might explode. Tonight it seemed louder than ever before and it was making a weird noise. I kept walking over to it to see if I could tell what was wrong. I thought maybe the clothes were out of balance or something but they didn't appear to be. I went back to the living room and sat on the couch and Grant asked me if the fridge was running. I was slightly puzzled and said I don't know if the fridge is running - what does that have to do with the washing machine? And he asked me again 'is the fridge running?' And so I thought maybe he was implying that the washing machine sounded extra loud because the fridge was running at the same time. So I proceeded to walk over to the fridge and put my ear up to it to see if I could hear it running. I didn't hear anything so reported that back to Grant and he just started laughing and said 'Is the fridge running? You better catch it!' Gee I have a clever husband ;) I can't believe I fell for that. Actually I can believe it.

Tamalie Pie

Every time we go camping Grant insists on making his famous tamalie pie meal in our cast iron pot. It really is a tasty meal but we never really have a recipe for it. We just go to the grocery store before our trip and guess what ingredients we should put in and hope it turns out. Well, this time I think we found the perfect combination. At Kathio State Park the tamalie pie was the best ever!! Maybe it was because we slaved away in the freezing cold trying to get the charcoals lit and then waiting and waiting for it to get hot enough to eat. But really I think it was a pretty good concoction.

Here's what we put in:
1 large can enchilada sauce
2 cans black beans
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped
2 bags of shredded mexican cheese
1 can of corn
2 small boxes Jiffy corn meal
16oz of diced chicken breast

Here's how we made it:
Browned the chicken breast in a pan on a gas camp stove. While that was browning we started the charcoals and let them heat up. Once the charcoals were ready we mixed up the corn meal in our 6 quart Lodge cast iron pot and put it over about 8-10 charcoals and then put about 8 charcoals on top (keep in mind it was only about 15 degrees Fahrenheit outside when we made this). When the corn bread was done we layered all the ingredients on top except one of the bags of cheese. We took all the charcoals from underneath the pot and put all of them on top so the bottom of the corn bread wouldn't burn. We let it cook for awhile until it was getting warm and then put the other bag of cheese on top and let it heat up the rest of the way and melt the cheese. It seemed to take forever in the cold weather but it was worth it when it was finally done!! Usually one cast iron pot full of tamalie pie feeds about 6 people but the four of us scarfed up almost the whole thing! We were definitely stuffed afterwards but it sure was good :)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Johnsons And The Schnells Weekend Bender

We made it back from our trip to Mille Lacs Kathio State Park! The adventure started yesterday when Brody and Angie picked us up. Of course we didn’t just take the simple route on highway 23 to 169. Nope. Instead Grant navigated us through back roads the whole way. At every stop sign Brody stopped the car and the conversation went something like: Brody says, “straight?” Grant replies “No right. Maybe straight. Err wait, no, left. I only went this way once but I think I know the way.” Brody chimes in “Darn, we forgot the atlas too.” And then we’d continue on our way. Finally after winding our way through the country side we saw a sign that said Onamia 13 miles and we all wondered why we’d ever doubted Grant. As he says, “If there’s one thing I have it’s a photographic memory and a good sense of direction.” I’ll give him that one ;)

The night before we left for our trip when Brody and Angie were over we talked about possibly going ice fishing during the trip. Angie thought their fishing licenses were expired so they pulled them out and we discovered that the license had already expired but the angling portion of the license was valid through April. This was confusing for Angie who grew up in South Dakota and isn’t quite familiar with all the ice fishing lingo. “Does angling mean fishing?” hehe. So after we arrived in Onamia and picked up a few things at a gas and grocery store we stopped at a liquor store that had this sign up. How appropriate :)

Finally we were on our way into the park. We stopped at the ranger station to check in but we were early and there were still people in our cabin. So, we had a few hours to hang out before we could get settled in to our cabin. We headed for the Interpretive Center to check that out and then have a picnic and go on a walk to the dam on the Rum River. At the dam we were entertained by Grant and Brody trying to break ice chunks off and watch them go over the dam.

By about 3:30pm we headed to the cabin and moved in.


a table and two double beds with bunks on top. We played some cards, hung out, made a porcupine snowman,

made ‘tamalie pie’ in the cast iron pot for supper and played more cards.

Later in the evening after it got dark we decided we ate way too much and needed to go on a hike. We headed out on a trail near our cabin. When we got a little ways out we stopped to see if we could hear any animals. It was silent so Grant started howling to see if anything would howl back. We didn’t hear anything so started making our way back to our cabin. We stopped to look at some tracks in the snow that might have been coyotes and then we heard something howl. And then something else on the other side of us howled back. It was pretty cool. We’re not sure if they were coyotes or wolves but Grant thought probably coyotes.

The next morning we got up and made some breakfast. Grant took care of frying the bacon.
Brody was in charge of cracking the eggs and mixing them up.
video
He had a little trouble and dropped one on the picnic table. We still threw it in with the others though since Grant said “we’ll just cook any of the germs and bacteria out of it.”

We checked out of our cabin around 1pm and headed to the trail center. We took a little walk to see if we could find any porcupines since Grant said he’d seen some there before. Sure enough, a little ways down the trail we saw a little fuzzy ball up in the trees.
What a cute little guy! Angie wanted to throw something at it to make it move but we held her back :) After that we played some cards in the trail center and headed for home. It was a good weekend! More pictures are in my picture album.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

This weekend our adventure is camping out at a cabin in Mille Lacs Kathio State Park with our friends Brody and Angie AKA The Johnsons. Last night we got together to plan for the trip over some venison hot dogs, potatoes, beer and rice krispies cookies. Grant bought the rice krispies cheater cookie dough from a kid at work that was selling them for a fundraiser. Pretty sure the cookies costed more than the whole rest of our meal :) So we grilled, made our camping list and then went grocery shopping.

Our plan once we get to the cabin is to check out the snow conditions and possibly go cross country skiing. If that doesn't pan out we have some board games and cards along. And, of course, we'll be making Grant's famous camping meal, 'the tamalie pie' in our cast iron pot. And if we still need something to do there's always Grand Casino a few miles away! But, as Angie said, if we go to the casino we'll spend the money we don't have so maybe we should skip that.

Brody and Angie should be here to pick us up in about 45 minutes so I'll post about our trip when we get back!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Philly

We're going on another adventure in 2009!! We booked tickets to fly with Mom to Philadelphia to visit Dad over MEA weekend in October! As we make more plans for that trip I'll post them here :) woo hoo we love vacations!!
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