Monday, October 20, 2008

A weekend in the wilderness

We had a Brownie camp out over the week-end. Two nights, a group of 7-8 year olds in tents. The girls enjoyed sleeping out, even though it was quite cold out at night. It was so cold the second night we were worried, but when we checked the girls were snug as bugs in a rug. They were warmer than we were! Passed out some extra blankets just to be sure (you know, for that mom in us that insists children are cold whether they are or not). They cooked muffins in box ovens, peeled and chopped veggies for stew, washed their own dishes. For some of them, it was the first time they had ever served themselves a meal, let alone washed a dish. You could see their little minds whirling "I have to scoop the stew into my own bowl and CARRY it?". It was a great week-end. I do want to say however that it always amazes me how long it takes girls to do EVERYTHING. Don't count on dressing or bathroom trips taking a few minutes. Plan about 30 minutes and don't be impatient. Girls this age live on their own time-space continuum. The days were bright and sunny (good thing, to take the chill off) and boy does spending all that time in fresh air stimulate the appetite and make for good sleep at night. It was a bit odd sleeping without a dog on my head or a cat sprawled across me trying to smother me to death. But I managed to cope ;). I was amazed at the yellow jackets still flying around. Come on, darn things. It is practically WINTER out there. Enough already! For the "Circle of life" moment of the week-end, we were gathered around a campfire in the afternoon singing songs, when the girls found something. Not a mouse. HALF of a mouse. Specifically, the back half. That is right. Something ate the other half, in one big bite by the looks of it. And hadn't finished all that long before, either. We figure an owl or hawk got startled and dropped it. Before any of the girls could get upset, I launched into my "now that bird will be stronger so it can build a good nest next year and lay eggs that will hatch into more owls, and since mice reproduce so quickly if it wasn't for birds and things that eat them, we would be overrun" and so on. You know. Supply and demand. It was easier, granted, because it was not the half of the mouse that has those cute little ears and stuff. Then we distracted them with kool-aid jammers and granola bars and led them to another activity. I enjoyed every moment of it, and boy did I notice a difference in how I felt, now that I have been going for personal training. Sure, I was tired. And my feet hurt because we were basically standing for two days straight. But I felt nowhere near the car-wreck I felt like last time after only a single day. And we were ACTIVE. It felt good to get some sunshine and fresh air and get moving. Next time I will wear better shoes. I should have worn light hiking boots. I bought a small (2 quart?) crock pot for the week-end, and I love that little thing. I enjoy slow cooked food, but DH and DD aren't thrilled about their meat being cooked with veggies. And frankly, now I am not so into having my veggies cooked with meat. This size is perfect for me to make a smaller batch of veggie stew or soup. Last night I toasted a cup of steel cut oats and tossed them in there overnight with 4 cups of water. I don't like cooked oatmeal usually (unless it is in a baked good - just not as hot cereal) but I figured I would try it on a lark. It turned out much different than I expected. It looked creamy but the texture was fluffy, with bits from the whole oats that gave it substance. Not slimey at all. I ate mine plain, but might add some fruit next time. Or maybe even some veggie stock powder and try it that way. DD tried it, and liked the texture but not the "toasted" flavour. She said "please just make mine in the microwave like normal next time". Tee hee! So now I have oatmeal to reheat for the rest of the week. It is nice and warm and filling. My only problem with it, is that it doesn't stay with me. By 10:00am I am starving again. Have to bring some fruit or something to combat that. Anyhow. Back to work!