Monday, July 26, 2010

Our church camping trip

Last week went by in a whirlwind of activities.

Our church camping trip was from Thursday morning until Saturday afternoon, so I spent the week leading up to that getting ready and packing up. I precooked as many meals as I could since the camp we went to had neither electricity nor running water.

A good friend of mine was coming with her two little kids from California to come camping with us. She arrived here on Tuesday evening, after having driven all the way from Northern California by herself because her husband could not get the time off from work to come along. I don't think I could have handled a drive like that by myself in one day!

Our plan was to head out to the campsite early Thursday morning, so with the last minute packing, I only got 4 hours of sleep that night. I am glad we got there by mid-morning though, as it gave us a chance to get the tents and everything set up, cook lunch (nachos baked in aluminum foil), and get dinner started which was going to take hours to cook (Hungarian goulash cooked in a kettle over the open fire). Just as we were getting done with all that, it started pouring rain for several hours. Thankfully, the fire was going strong enough that it was not put out by the rain, and it saved me having to keep adding water to the goulash as it cooked :)

The rain let up a little just in time for dinner, which was absolutely delicious. I love Hungarian goulash cooked in a kettle over the open fire, and have only had it a couple of times since moving to the US.

It started pouring again as soon as the evening preaching service started, and it rained through most of the night and the first half of Friday. On Friday, it was not raining during breakfast (pancakes, bacon, and eggs), but rained the whole time up until lunch. I was in the tent with the girls because Becky was napping and Miriam didn't want to be out in the rain, but my husband and the boys were all out playing volleyball in the rain for hours with everyone else.

The rain let up a bit around lunch (we had chili) and for a few hours in the afternoon, so we headed to a nearby lake to join others from our church who had gone there to go kayaking, but I could tell the weather wasn't going to hold. The minute we arrived at the lake and unloaded, we were hit by torrential rains. My husband and another pastor who had joined us on the camping trip decided that since they were going to get wet one way or another, they might as well go kayaking and swimming in the lake in the pouring rain, while the kids and I watched from the van and munched on kettle corn.

Thankfully, it was not raining nearly as badly at our camp site, and very soon the rain stopped completely for the whole rest of the evening. After dinner (hot dogs and baked beans) we heard more preaching, and then all sat around the main campfire late into the night. I had brought along cookie dough to bake in castiron pans over the coals as a special treat, since Saturday was my husband's birthday, and we all ate those around the campfire that night.

It rained some more through the night from Friday to Saturday, but it did not rain at all the whole day Saturday. I tried a new recipe for breakfast that day, and it was unbelievably good. Basically, I sauteed onions, bell peppers, garlic, and corn in a big cast iron dutch oven over the fire. Then I added sliced smoked sausage until it was nicely cooked and browned, and last of all added diced baked potatoes. I seasoned everything with salt, pepper, and paprika and cooked it some more until the potatoes were warmed through. Then we moved it off the fire and sprinkled lots of grated cheese on top, which immediately melted. It was so good!!! If you like camp cooking, you will love this recipe.

After breakfast, we packed up the tent which had by then had a chance to dry out, since we didn't know if it was going to start raining again (it never did). There was more preaching, and we stayed at the campsite until the early afternoon. We thought we would go back to the lake to give the kids a chance to play in the water since we had been rained out the day before, and we were also going to barbecue cheeseburgers for a late lunch there. As it turned out, the lake was very crowded that day and two of our kids and one of my friend's kids had fallen asleep on the drive there and it seemed smarter to just head on home the rest of the 2 1/2 hour drive while everyone was happy and quiet.

We got back home around 5 pm on Saturday, but other than unloading the perishables, we left all the camping gear in the van because we were all tired and knew there was a baptism at our house on Sunday morning. I had left the house in presentable condition before we left camping, and didn't want to trash it all by unloading, and then having to clean the place all over again. Instead, we were all so tired from the camping trip that we had dinner and went to bed early.

Sunday morning we had a new record attendance of 59 in the morning service, and most of those came over to our house afterward for the baptism. With that many people walking from the front door, through the house, out the back door to the yard to watch the baptism in our pool (and all back again), and given the fact that the temperature outside was something around 115 degrees, the house got really hot really fast and didn't cool back down for several hours in the afternoon, which took away all my motivation to carry anything from the hot, sunny outdoors into my house that was also too hot. Or maybe that was just my excuse! Instead, I napped for several hours, as all the lack of sleep from the previous week was still catching up to me.

This morning, my husband helped me unload the van and get much of our gear organized, although I still have to finish putting everything away and put away the rest of the laundry that has not stopped running since we got back. Right now, I'm just going to fix lunch and nap some more :)

Camping is really NOT my idea of a fun vacation at all, which has a lot to do with the fact that it just takes a lot of planning and packing with 5 kids in tow (and pregnant - try traipsing to an outhouse in the dark, with cold rains coming down, four times every night). But the rest of my family LOVES it, especially the kids. The trip got a lot better once the rain let up about halfway through it, so I had fun, in spite of how much work and dirt it involved. But yes, I'm very glad to be back home! :) I do feel for my friend and the other families who drove out here just to go camping with us, who today are still on their way back home (we had people coming from California, New Mexico, and all the way from Mississippi).

I only took a few pictures because I didn't want to drag my nice camera out in the rain, but have not yet had time to transfer them to the computer. I'll add some once I do, and maybe more pictures that others from our church took.


  1. You should do a blog entry of camping recipes! I always come up short on that end.

    We too haven't found camping nearly as fun since kids/pregnancies have come along, but I'm determined to keep trying at it because our son loves it SO much. Fall will be our next attempt.

    BTW, I made the recipe you posted a few weeks ago - it was great! I made in two 8x8 pans and froze the other, so we'll have that soon. Thanks! :)

  2. Wow, that sounds like a lot of fun...well, minus all the rain! But still, I bet it was great, a lot of preaching and fellowship with friends and church family! My idea of a wonderful time :)
    I agreee about the camping recipes, that would be a great post. We haven't camped much since we have had real young ones, only a couple times in the past 3 or 4 years, but we are planning a camping trip soon (I believe) with my brother and sister-in-law!
    Sunday we had a new visitor at Church. Her name is Chelsea, I had the proviledge to talk to her after the service and actually got to lead her to the Lord, so it was a wonderful blessing!

    Well, glad you had a good time, pray that you are feeling great! Loved reading about the trip! Can't wait to see pictures!


  3. Just wanted to add: As you know, life got a little crazy and very busy and things were rocky for a bit (no complaining here~ To God be allllll the Glory, great things he really has done) but just wanted to let you know it's been a little while since I have listened to sermons on the church website, and I have been listening to a few of your husbands messages, while also reading some great text studies, and I forgot how much I LOVE listening to all the great truths he preaches about!!! Listening currently to "Why we started in the House" ~ and that is how we just began (with Brandon's brother and his wife) not even two years ago) and we just moved into a building 6 months ago, but anyway, I just LOVE listening, and appreciate good, Bible preaching, Baptist, independent, fundimental, KJV ONLY, preaching!!!! I get it every week at church, but appreciate hearing others take all the same stands!!!!
    Sorry for the LONG comment, just had to let you know!
    And my Pastor did the SAME study in God's Word on the age of the Earth, loved that study too :)
    Well, talk to you soon!

  4. Too bad it had to rain so much! I would have LOVED to go. I hope one year, if money permits, we can go. I'd love to move there too but that's another story :)
    My mother used to say the same thing about camping. Too much work! I used to love it but maybe that will all change now that I'm the mommy lol.


Your KINDLY WORDED, constructive comments are welcome, whether or not they express a differing opinion. All others will be deleted without second thought.