Friday, September 20, 2013

Happy Hour

This last Friday we bottled our long awaited peach mead, and two batches of beer (a dunkelweizen and an oatmeal stout).

Hamburger was in the middle of all activities, as per usual.

First Hamburger sanitized bottles with Grandma

Then he was nowhere to be found for the bottle filling process

Because he was too busy conning people into playing with him
Look at that innocent face!

But then it was back to business while managing the corking process

Pineapple grilled bacon!!!!!!!!


Then a few days later Hamburger found an empty bottle and the bottle capper and went to work. 
I'm not so sure a one and a half year old should know how to do this...

 All in all it was quite a successful day with 12 bottles of mead and about 100 bottles of beer! (On the wall?)

Happy Friday, Cheers.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Camping With Much Less Pooping

Well folks, I am the queen of procrastination.

Last week I posted about our last years' camping trip, in preparation for this years camping trip. And I mentioned that I was going to book a campsite, but hadn't done it yet. What I didn't mention was that last year I did the same exact thing, I waited to book until the week before, and we didn't get the site we wanted. Frankly, we were lucky we got anything! Lesson not learned... I didn't try to book ahead of time this year either and EVERY. SINGLE. SITE. was booked within an hours' drive of where we wanted to be. EVERYTHING. Oh yea, Lake Michigan is super popular. Dumbass. Moral of the story: Book WEEKS in advance, seriously.

SO. Again, thanks to Hamburger's awesome camping pro grandpa, he happened to know of a nice little secluded area we could just pitch a tent along the Muskegon River on the west side of Michigan. It wasn't a campsite per-se, but it was all we needed. No toilets though and I did have to poop once. So yea...

Regardless, we had a blast, of course.

Hamburger helped set up the tent.

We were just a short woodsy stroll from the Muskegon River.

Where Hamburger enjoyed throwing rocks and splashing

And we both went on our first canoe trip!

As far as food goes we did about the same thing as last year, brought the gas burner for easy food prep and two 5 gallon jugs of water. Last year I made the mistake of feeding Burger overly poop inducing bean soup, this year I messed up with the dry ice situation...

I packed a cooler with food, and now that mister Burger is a toddler he is drinking (raw) milk so I am extra cautious with it and wanted to make sure it was held at the proper temperature. Ice packs probably wouldn't have sufficed for the whole weekend so I stopped at the grocery store and bought two 3lb packs of dry ice. This happened:

Exploding eggs!

Friends, do not just throw dry ice in your cooler... The package says that if you just want to keep stuff cold, put the dry ice at the bottom, if you want your stuff frozen, put the dry ice on top. This is not true, as it turns out, no matter where you put it, it freezes ALL your shit. The remedy to this apparently is to pack the dry ice in Styrofoam. I'll be trying that next time. This time, we had frozen milk and eggs and chicken sausages and fruits! Not the end of the world, everything thawed out, except the eggs. Eggs explode. However, dry ice also coats everything with CO2, which is unpleasant. Again, the Styrofoam will stop that. I WILL figure out this camping food thing... Eventually.

This year I just went to the local health food store and bought some healthyish snacks and organic preservative free hot dogs and chicken sausages for our camping food... Along with Burger's homemade cereal and milk and fruit. Camping is enough work, a few days of store bought food won't kill anyone. But maybe next year I'll try to be more crunchy ;)

That is all the advice I have... Good luck with dry ice.

But we had a fantastic time canoeing

Meet our Captain. Captain BurgerMan

We brought our own canoe but there are several places to rent canoes, kayaks, and tubes. Many places offer float packages and will pick you up and drop you off. There is also great fishing in the Muskegon river. It's a pretty great place, check it out! Just Google the activity you want to do on the Muskegon River and you are sure to find several companies that will provide you with the service. And everyone is ridiculously nice!
Our sleeping arrangements. If ya know, there was actually any sleeping involved...

The first day Hamburger refused to nap. The second day we wore him out canoeing so much he passed out for three hours. Which was a much needed nap for all of us. Of course, getting up at the crack of dawn was always on his agenda. 
Aaah camping

Meet Burger's awesome Grandpa!

Tiny chair! Even tinier than last year... Sniff sniff 

Camping is one of my favorite activities, and we definitely don't get to do it enough!  Family trips are often so over planned and hectic that you don't even have time to enjoy the company... Although I do love a good road trip! There is definitely something to be said for leaving the highways behind and just hanging out in the woods for a bit. So grab a tent and go make some hot dogs and let your children explore the outdoors. I love watching Hamburger discover the beauty of nature, and you get to rediscover it all over again as well. It's pretty great :) Just don't forget the footy pajamas and blankets!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Camping With The Pooping Monster(s)

We are preparing to go on the first camping trip of the summer (if you can call this summer) in a few days here. And by preparing I mean I have been putting off making a campsite reservation for the last three days. I'll do it tomorrow. Really.

So for any of you that love to sleep under the stars and eat bugs in the middle of the night, and for the even fewer who will attempt to do it with a child strapped to your back, here is a throwback of our camping trip last year with (then) 8 month old Burger.

(That's me there on the left) Yea.

First, I must say I was very proud of ourselves for being so awesome and taking a baby camping. Second, it really was not that hard. Other than the fact that hubby and I both got food poisoning the night before and he had the shits all trip. 

We did go with my father-in-law, who is basically a pro at camping, which made the whole thing a hell of a lot easier. I hope you're so lucky.



Most of you are probably not as psychotic as I am about food, maybe you are, but Burger has grown up to be a 99.92% organic Burger. Free-range and grass-fed. Don't take that the wrong way. No hot dogs or canned beans for him!

 We only went for a few days, so we packed a cooler with dry ice and a glass tupperware container of his home-made cereal and another of his home-made chicken soup and some blueberries and other snacks. I did bring along some organic jarred and pouched baby food for him as well, because sometimes that's just easier.

Pops brought his propane (or something) burner with some pots and a huge jug of water for rinsing out said pots. So that covers that. We could have probably heated Burger's food over the fire, but this was easier, not trying to get too crafty here or anything.

I did bring several containers of water from home because Hamburger was still on some formula (as well as breastfeeding) BOOBIES. And I read that sometimes if you change the water source up on them, they get upset tummies. And we don't want that.

And now, listen up, because this is VERY IMPORTANT:

ONLY bring food that your baby has already had and enjoys to eat. For the obvious reason of food allergies and ease of feeding as well as, and we found this out the hard way, the POOPING factor. For the love of gawd do not let your mother cook the soup the night before you leave, because she WILL put too many beans in it and your baby WILL poop all over the walls. Um, trees.

Don't let this be you.

Or this.


We quickly realized our mistake, after my mother got some angry phone calls, and quit feeding him the soup. I like to over pack, and had plenty of extra cereal and jarred food. And diapers. Bring lots of diapers.


Now I'm not trying to get all fancy here or anything so we just brought Burger's pack n' play for the sleeping situation. It worked out just fine for us. That's the beauty of camping, is that you have all your stuff in your car, and you can fit a lot of stuff!

3. Bugs 

Our pack n play came with a mosquito net for the top, The mosquitos weren't too bad, but I still put it on just in case. Because bugs are gross. Speaking of mosquitos, BUG SPRAY! And this is the fun part, because most bug sprays have DEET. And whatever DEET is, it's bad! Because mosquitos seem to think so. I scoured the stores in search of a decent bug spray, and found Burt's Bees All Natural Insect Repellent, it consists of all sorts of things I can pronounce! Does it work? I have no idea. Didn't have to use it! But the reviews seem to be ok for it, so maybe this year we'll give it a whirl. My mother, however, was completely convinced that this "all natural" crap will only attract mosquitos and baby will for sure, 100%, get West Nile Virus if I don't use a REAL bug spray. So I also found  Coleman Insect Repellent (DEET Free) (also comes in pen form). This product instead has 20% 3-[N-Butyl-N-acetyl]-amino propionic acid ethyl ester and 80% "other ingredients". So basically, many other harmful substances that have just not yet been caught up with. And yes, I took chem, and then I took orgo, and THEN I took biochem, so there was a point in my life where I could have drawn out that ridiculous chemical name for you in pretty lines and dots. Instead I'm blogging. Yay college.

I digress.


Bring EVERYTHING. Because you're just going to throw it in your car anyways. This is one time when over packing is ok because it won't cause extra stress lugging it around; and when you're camping, who wants to drive an hour to the nearest convenience store because your kid pooped all over all his clothes in one day?!?! And we tend to forget that even in the middle of summer, camping gets cold at night. Make sure to bring warm pajamas and extra layers and blankets. And butt cream. Cuz sand knows no boundaries. And of course sunblock. Duh. hats. shoes. swimwear. towels. plastic baggies. Can I stop?


We went camping about 30 minutes north of Ludington, MI at Nordhouse Dunes. Our campsite was a short hike to Lake Michigan. We did drive into Ludington one morning for some great breakfast in town and a little kayaking action at Hamlin Lake at Ludington State Park.

Don't forget the baby carrier!

Really though, as far as "activities" go, you're camping! That's that! And baby will be amused as long as you are.

We did a little kayaking on Lake Michigan

Apparently ACTUALLY kayaking with baby is considered "bad parenting". But pretending is ok.

A little flipping our kayaks. The waves were pretty decent, in his defense. I guess. I didn't flip mine....

A little sand in our bums action

A little drinkin on the beach

Speaking of drinking... Do NOT let your husband who "doesn't really drink much anymore" bring a bunch of high gravity beers along. Because he will keep up with everyone who's drinking Labatt, and he will start getting pretty drunk after 3, and the baby will start crying at some point, and hubby will just stare. And stare some more.

And some straight chillin'

And this....


So there ya have it, our first camping adventure was quite a success, and even all the poop can't keep us away this year! We'll see how round two goes with a toddler... There will be NO soup involved.

If you are interested in camping on the beautiful coast of Lake Michigan here are some nice spots:

Ludington State Park -- Has electricity and nice showers/bathrooms
Nordhouse Dunes -- More primitive. "Nicer" facilities are at the entrance of the park.
Sleeping Bear Dunes -- Just awesome. And they're ok with bonfires on the beach! -- Handy little site for finding camping and making online reservations!

These are just some places that I have been to over the years... There are hundreds of great places along the coast though, you really can't go wrong.

Happy Camping!