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Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween at High Cliff State Park

Goblins and Ghosts and Grandtots, oh my! 

Halloween was in full swing at High Cliff State Park.   The campgrounds were reserved and full to the brim.  People came a week early just to set up their displays and haunted houses and lit up decorations in each of their campsites.

The Friends of the Park volunteer group and the Lions club set up a pumpkin carving, a costume contest, a hay wagon ride and a spooky walk along a trail in the park.   It was advertised far and wide with many of the local residents coming to the park for the event.  Free admission to the park makes it even more attractive to the locals.

During the week, Steve had to mow along all the roads for extra parking leading to the pavilions and campgrounds, as he was told all of the parking lots would be full too.  He has a big blower attachment to the tractor and it would blow the leaves off the roads back into the woods.  He was busy for days leading up to the event with mowing, blowing leaves, clearing leaves out of campsites and blowing out water lines to the bathrooms, drinking fountains and water faucets because we are into freezing weather in Wisconsin.  The only water available was at the dump station towers, and even then they had to turn it off at night to let the water out of the standing towers and turn it back on in the morning to prevent freezing in the handles and piping above ground.  The pit toilets were available but most campers had to make due with their holding tanks and on board water for the weekend.  Best you can do when you camp in Wisconsin during the sub-freezing temperatures at night.

Soon it was SATURDAY......
It was a wonderful day because ALL of our grandtots came to help us celebrate!!!  

Even the littlest grandsons were all adorned in their costumes....

(L to R: Princess Allegra, Skeleton Boy Mason, Ducky Boy Clayton, and Kitty Chelsea) 

(Grandson Jason Spiderman came later for trick-or-treating) 

We made the rounds just looking at all the fun stuff, and then again when the campsites put out their trick or treats.  Most campsites set up bowls near the road with children politely taking out one piece each.  We went through about 700 pieces of candy, I kid you not!  We ran out about 6pm... as did many of the other campsites. There were 112 campsites in the park, and almost all had decorations and treats for the kiddos.

Some sites had moving displays, inflatable decorations, eerie lights, and even smoke machines. 
Some sites even handed out "Adult Treats"  such as this neighbor with shots of flavored schnapps, some had jello shots, and another one was passing out beers to the adults. 

The autumn woods was alive with pumpkins and ghosts and witches in the air!

One site had set up a ghostly walk in the woods with a path lined with tombstones, each displaying a funny epitaph.  Another site had set up a whole portable garage of electronic fun stuff behind panels of plexiglass, with rows of doorbells to push the buttons to activate each one.   It was hard to get our grandtots out of that one.

Our site was a little "tame" because we started out on a non-electric site first.  So I only had some battery LED lit japanese lanterns and inflated decorations.  Later in the morning, we were able to move over to an available electric site that came open, so we quickly moved the decorations over to the new one.   I made up a few more ghosts outta kitchen garbage bags, inflated some zip lock bags for heads inside of them and wrote on eyes and mouths with magic markers.  Good enough!  I think next year I will need to beef it up a little more, eh?

As it got darker out, it was even more magical and fun.  
Glowing lights, campfires, eerie music and laughter rang through the park throughout the evening. 

(I am also a Halloweenie Baby, so the grandtots helped celebrate my birthday too) 

ahhhhhh  Grandtot kisses!

 After having some sloppy joes, hot dogs, and other assorted snacks, 
the wee ones helped to blow out my candles.

Sharing my day with the grandtots was the icing on the cake... err cupcakes! 

The kids gave me such wonderful presents, as did Steveio.  I got my favorite brand of flavored coffee, and some gift certificates for quilting and knitting yarn supplies.  Silly little Chelsea had posed for a birthday card making her "Crazy Face"!  

On Wednesday, my actual birthday, Steve is taking me out for a birthday dinner. 

Snuggles and cuddles, 
with all my Little Grandtot Goblins.  

They all took time to jump on Granfaddah and Granmuddah's bed, 
which has become kinda a tradition now in the motorhome.  
Why? I don't know.... probably because I let them get away with it? 
They jump so fast they are only a blurrrr in the camera! 
Must be the sugar high from all the treats???
We read a Halloween story and calmed down a bit later.

And this last parting shot happens to be my favorite picture of the day...

The two youngest grandsons, both are 7 months old.

Clayton: "Hey, you got bones!"
Mason: "Yah, but they don't walk too good yet"


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Getting Ready for Halloween

Oh, it's been crazy lately....  seems that horrible Big C has touched two members again in our family.  Considering their privacy, but we appreciate all prayers and gentle thoughts if wish to send them.  It sure is hard to know how horrible the battles they are fighting against cancer and not much we can do but pray.

Our grandkiddos are gearing up for the Halloween festivities.  All of them will be coming to High Cliff park for Saturday.  The park holds a big event with costume contests, pumpkin carving, spooky walk in the woods, hay rides and then trick or treating among all the campers in the campground!  They close off the roads to traffic, so it's all pedestrians on the six campground roads.  Host Rosie said last year she went through 600 pieces of candy!  We are stocked up and ready for the little Trick or Treaters---- and have decorations to put out too.

Last weekend little Chelsea and Clayton went to a pumpkin farm:

A pony in the petting zoo wanted to eat Clayton's shoe!  And he said "Sure!"

They had cute John Deere rides made from old barrels.  
(that is not a cigarette hanging outta here mouth, it's a sucker)

and our little Chelsea is sporting a new tattoo!

Little Allegra and Mason are having a blast, 
I swear everytime we see him, he has a big grin on his face!

They grew their own pumpkins this year in their garden!

I think this is Allegra's "Scary Face" 

 Grandson Jameson was put to work....

And he comes from a totally crazy family of Super Heros! 
(Heather, Jesse and Jameson)

Halloween is going to be a fun celebration this year, and spent with family.  Also it's my birthday so that makes it extra special!   But even with all the fun and frivolity, we will keep those we love who are hurting, near and dear in our hearts.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Soooo far behind!

Hello bloggers and readers... I am SO SORRY that I am sooooo  far behind in posting!  (and reading other blogs too)

It's been a whirlwind of activity here, with a bunch of crazy stuff going on.   Besides finding a rental for us to live in for the winter months (Steve doesn't want to winter over in the rig in Wisconsin temps)  Then we also found storage space for the motorhome and some studio space for me to work on things over the winter too.  Been running around doing leases, keys, setting up utilities and planning what goes where and when.

That plus handling a few other details here, that I won't mention till it all comes about.  That way, if it doesn't, then I don't have a zillion questions to answer.  So in a holding pattern.....

The woods here are all yellow leaves left, and many are blowing down... soo the trees will be bare and the skies will be dark and we will get some of that dreaded white stuff.....  ick! 

We do have some vacation time accumulated from this year to carry over and add to next year's vacation time.  We are thinking of sneaking off for 6-7 weeks down to perhaps Texas.. leaving maybe in later January and be gone all of February, and into March before coming back.  Escape the worst of it.  Then my blog will be more interesting with some travelling and places and things! 

We are still staying here in the park for the upcoming Halloween celebration they have here. Pumpkin carving, costume contest, spooky trail walks and trick-or-treating among the campsites.  The host Rosie said she went through 600 pieces of candy last year!

Jameson helped us decorate up our campsite last week... and we have a few more things to put out on the actual day of the event.

This week our good friends Paula and Mel are here camping in the site next to us.  We are going to go to a quilting "Shop Hop" this week where we go from quilting store to quilting store, taking part in their drawings and seeing what each shop has to offer.

I have been putting together some quilted hot pads and coasters, to test out different patterns next... Paula brought me a bunch of new ideas (and more supplies!)  to work with.

Yesterday we hit a few thrift stores, and I found some books and little quilting sample bags of fabric, patterns and designs.. each for $1.25.  So I have a lot to work on over the winter ... to learn and play and create.  I got my rug loom set up and have some rugs to do, and now set up the table loom and have some more towels to weave off.   So while the winter winds will start to howl in Wisconsin, I will be weaving away and getting more socks done too in the evenings.

Life is good.

Friday, October 5, 2012

BRRRRR Frosty Cold Weekend at High Cliff State Park

Temps are due to dip down into the 20's.....  we put my hanging flower basket into the Tracker to keep it from freezing. Maybe we can get a few more weeks of blooms out of it if we are careful.  I have had it since Mother's Day and hope to keep it a bit longer. Heard there is 1-5 inches of snow forecast for the U.P. of Michigan this weekend.  Brrrrrrrrr

I drove Steve over to the maintenance shop this morning, (that long 1.6 mile commute)  and kept the Tracker for the day.  Our kids Heather and Jesse are celebrating their anniversary this weekend, so we offered to take little Jameson down to High Cliff State Park.

I scooped him up, along with his winter coat, hat and mittens for his weekend attire at the campground.  On the way to the park, we stopped at a roadside stand to get some pumpkins!

He picked out three of the best ones, and we loaded them into the Tracker.  He will help me decorate them with black foam cutouts and a glue gun.  That way I can bake them later into pies.  All of the campers here in the park are gearing up for the Halloween season already with decorations and lights are adorning almost every camper.  So we also stopped at a dollar store and stocked up on decorations.  We will wait to put them out once the winds die down, as tonight they are in the 20-30 mph range.

I tried to get Jameson to nap in the afternoon, but that only developed into a "Monkey Jumping On The Bed" routine.  So we played around outside and walked the dogs for a bit.  He was collecting the hickory nuts and acorns, just like a little squirrel!  

Park Ranger Amanda also gave Jameson a "ranger badge" sticker for his High Cliff sweatshirt.  Now he said that he can arrest Granfaddah for speeding, and he said Granmuddah ALWAYS stops at the Stop Signs, so I don't get a ticket!  LOL

When Granfaddah was done with work, we drove over to his workshop to pick him up, and then headed back to the motorhome to make supper.  Jameson helped arrange these little pizzas (Pillsbury Grands flaky biscuit dough split in half and squished out flat, then pizza sauce, pepperonis and cheese)  

What a treat!  That little guy gobbled up two of them and the rest of my second one! 

Before it got dark, we headed out for the playground and shuffled in all the leaves along the way.  It was delightfully crisp and cool, and the winds were dying down as evening fell over the campground.   The dogs enjoyed getting out and about too.

We walked around the loops, admiring all of the decorations and efforts to bring Halloween into the season all month long. Crunching our way through the leaves, making rhythms and beats with our feet, I recalled a time on my way to Brownies when I was crunching through the leaves.  I was 8 or 9 maybe and remembered wanting to keep crunching and rustling the leaves under my feet instead of going to the meeting!   I told Jameson about that, and he just looked at me with that secret smile of a child.  He knew the feeling....

We had such a fun time at the playground....
Imagine his surprise when Granfaddah came down the slide after him!

Before bedtime, we decided to heat up the motorhome a bit with some baking!  All my grandtots learn to bake chocolate chip cookies.  Plus our secret touch of adding extra chips to the top of each glob of dough, for extra full chocolate gooey goodness.   Excess chips go IN the mouth....
 (pssst friend Paula Pfaff--- please note the towel clipped around Jameson as an apron)

Finally it was time for BED!   Jumping into Jammies, then teeth brushing, and a final hug and kiss... and crawling into his Blues Clues Sleeping Bag.   Granfaddah kept a dutiful eye on him (well... on the laptop next to him)  till the wee man was asleep.  And yes, he fell asleep in about 6 minutes.. no kidding!

And now we are ready for bed, too! 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

EEK EEK a Motorhome LEAK!!!!

Oh my, that bane of RV existence, a LEAK!

A couple weeks ago we saw some water in our basement compartment under the kitchen sink.  OH MY!   Steveio deduced  that it was coming from the black plastic drain pipe joints.  So he disassembled them, and sealed all the seams with TFE paste and thought he took care of it.  He put our small cube electric heater in there to dry up the carpeting.

Fixed?   We thought so....

Last week, more water again!   If you are an RV owner, you KNOW that water in any compartment or cabinet or wall or anywhere is damaging and can lead to long term rot.   Hopefully we don't have much damage, as underneath this blue carpeting is a layer of treated plywood, not pressed wood or buffalo board.

So we dried it up again with the heater and Steve checked and tightened ALL the lines and joints.   Now, in case you think this is a "minor job" ...take a look at the piping behind our water manifold:

This manifold is like a "control panel" for all the devices in the motorhome that function from both hot and cold water feeds.   On the outside, there are a series of ON and OFF levers to control the flow to each appliance or item inside.  We have 2 sinks, shower/tub, toilet, outside shower, washer/dryer, and a separate Uline icemaker appliance.     Steve contorted his lanky long frame down into this compartment and twist around behind the manifold to tighten up each and every joint and fitting.

Fixed?  We thought so.....

I have been under the weather the last few days, I think a flu bug snuck up on me.   Both dogs seemed to be sick too!  They were listless and stinky and blah... so they needed to be perked up with a good bath.  Today I had the water running for a long time, as I washed both dogs in the bathtub inside the rig.  When Steveio checked the basement compartment, sure enough, that same spot in the carpeting was wet again!  So THIS time I said let me run the water inside while he watches underneath in that compartment with a flashlight.  AHHHHHHH he found it!

It was leaking from the pressure switch on our water pump!  No wonder he could not see any leaks from any lines or joints.

Now he needed to release all the water pressure, and then remove that pressure switch.  I had to come out and play "Little Girl with her Finger in the Dike"   while he removed the switch and sealed up and tightened the screws where it was leaking.  It seemed to take ffooorrreeevvveeerrrrrr while I laid in that compartment with my finger stuck in that hole.  Finally he was done and able to slide my finger off, while he popped the pressure switch back into place.  Reconnected the wires and we did a test run.

Wheeeeee it was all done, and didn't seem to leak when we test ran the water again under pressure.  We put the heater back underneath again to dry out the carpeting for the third time.  Three time's the charm, right?

Our campsite number 100 is lovely this week at High Cliff State Park.  Everything around us is golden and yellow and orange and beautiful.

We have been blessed with warm days in the 70's and evenings in the 50's.  But that is soon to change. By the weekend we are going to drop down with overnight lows in the 20's and high winds and it will be blasting the leaves off all of the trees.  The winds are already kicking up tonight and we keep hearing acorns bouncing off the roof as they are worked loose from the trees.  So it will look quite different by tomorrow morning, I think.   For now, I will capture it on digital medium so I can remember the sunshine on my face as I sat here knitting socks outside of the motorhome.  What joy!

Oh, I wanted to write  about a few little baking and cooking things we did this week....

I used to buy these wonderful bottles of dried vegetables at the Piggly Wiggly in Oconto Falls, in their spice department.  I checked two Larry's Piggly Wiggly stores in this area and they don't have them. They are only specific to the Witt's Piggly Wiggly chain in NE Wisconsin. So I begged daughter Erin to pick me up three bottles for me last time she was in Oconto Falls.

They are dried carrots, spinach, onions, celery, bell pepper, and tomatoes.     The bottle is large, about the size of a parmesan cheese shaker bottle.  I love to put them in with rice, pasta, or in cream of potato soup.  Yummmmm

Something else we did last night was to make up some neat little snack cakes from a special blend of  boxed cake mixes.  I wrote about them in another blog in the past. after reading about the recipe on facebook...

Using a new recipe where two boxes of cake mix are blended into a zip lock bag.  One box HAS to be angelfood, (for the included powdered egg whites and rising properties) and the other box can be any flavor. This mixed up bag of powder can be kept in the cupboard indefinitely and scooped from any time you want a quick snack cake! 

Dump 1/2 cup of the blended powder into a coffee cup, add 3TBsp water and blend.  Microwave for 1 minute (10 extra seconds in my smaller microwave) and voila!  You have a snack cake!   

Last night, instead of using coffee cups, I have this cute microwave plastic tray with four hearts.  I mixed up a double batch of the recipe and it's enough for four hearts.  Yummmmmm 

Oooh we each ate two... 
we deserved it after being such good RV plumbers today!