Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Pomme de Terre State Park

What was the weather like this past weekend in your part of the world?

Here in Missouri, it was one of the most beautiful autumn weekends ever!

I was sooooo happy to go camping!  It was one of the first times I can remember ever camping beyond Labor Day weekend.  I remember tent camping one year for my birthday (November 1) but other than that, we rarely camped after Labor Day.  It can and did get pretty chilly at night.  I have a hard time sleeping if I'm cold!

Camping in an RV is so luxurious!  Heat and air and a fire place!

We went back to our favorite campground - Hermitage at Pomme de Terre.

We love Hermitage because it is relatively flat, has lots of shade but also has great views (and access to) the lake.



















































Monday, September 28, 2015

Babler State Park

It is my goal in life to camp and/or visit as many state parks in the United States.

Recently we crossed off a state park in Missouri we had never camped at or had even visited - Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park.







































Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Camping at the Branson KOA

I am super excited about this coming weekend!  We are going to camp at a (new to us) state park outside of St. Louis - Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park.  I'm excited about trying out a different state park but I'm equally excited about attending the Taste of St. Louis food festival!  Babler State Park is just 15 minutes away from the food festival.  Combining two of my favorite things - cooking and camping - is a weekend made in heaven!

I certainly can't go camping this weekend without first catching you up on our Labor Day camping trip.  We had not made reservations anywhere since we did not buy our RV until the end of July.  When you don't make reservations 6 months in advance, you won't be staying at any popular state parks in Missouri!  So we started looking at other campgrounds in the Branson area since we had some family visiting there.  We called several other places but they were all booked.  We called the Branson KOA - we've stayed at other KOAs and have enjoyed them.  They had one space left!






































Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Stockton State Park Part 2

Howdy!  Hope you all had a relaxing weekend!  Clinton and I did - we thought about camping but our puppies got "fixed" Friday and they needed some R&R.  It actually felt really good to totally unplug for the weekend and just be lazy with them.

Since we didn't go camping, I am going to show you the rest of Stockton State Park.

Stockton State Park has two really nice picnic shelter areas.  The first one we visited is close to the marina and to the campground - the South Shelter.







































Thursday, August 20, 2015

Camping at Stockton Lake

Have I mentioned after 26 years of marriage, Clinton and I bought our first RV?!  I might have mentioned it once or twice!

One of the reasons why I wanted an RV so badly was because I was hoping it would allow us to go camping more often, especially after school starts.

This past weekend was our first time just hooking up the RV and heading to a state park without any prior planning.

It was awesome!  I came home from work, threw some clothes and food inside and away we went.  We decided to camp somewhere we had not camped before and settled on Stockton State Park because it was less than two hours away.

We left our house around 5:30 and got there at 7:15 Friday night.  It probably took us 15 minutes to set up our Forest River Rockwood Ultra Lite.








































Monday, August 3, 2015

Our First RV!!

I can't really tell you where my love for camping came from.  My family never went camping when I was growing up, neither did my husband's family.

After our son was born, Clinton and I took up camping because it was an expensive way to "go on vacation."  We bought a tent, an air mattress, a couple of coolers and we started camping.  

I guess that's actually where this deep-seated love for camping occurred.  There's nothing better than setting up camp, then sitting around a campfire - cooking, eating, and laughing.  Then you wake up, usually early and watch the sun rise.  You hear birds, crickets, and other sounds of nature.  You smell bacon and coffee wafting across the campground.  It's so peaceful and helps to clear your mind.  

We have tent camped at various state park near us in Missouri and we have also tent camped in other states, like this one trip we took around the Great Lakes.  

Last year we finally upgraded to a pop-up camper.  It was like a tent only with air conditioning!  We only kept it one year and then sold it, with the hopes of buying a full-size 5th wheel RV (the type you hook to the bed of your truck).  

Friday we were finally blessed with the good fortune of purchasing our first RV - a 32 foot Forest River Rockwood Ultra Lite.  Let me take you on a tour!


























Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Purpose of Happy Camper Life


Last week I attended an educational conference in Atlanta, GA.  When I originally agreed to attend this conference, I assumed we would fly since it is an 11 hour drive to Atlanta from here.  I assumed wrong!  But I'm always up for a road trip so I stuck with it.  All those hours in the vehicle and all the hours waiting in lines for various things at the conference (sessions, food, even elevators!) gave me a lot of thinking time.

What did I think about mostly?  My blog of course!  Mostly I kept thinking about why I'm doing this.  I decided I want to constantly remind myself and anyone who takes the time to read my blog that the purpose is to stay true to its name - Happy Camper Life.  In other words, regardless if I have any followers at all or if I make a cent off this blog, I want to share my life and how I stay happy through the everyday ups and downs.  Whether that's through remodeling a house, cooking a great meal, camping at a beautiful state park, or even attending an educational conference, there is always something beautiful and wonderful and awe-inspiring in this life.  We just have to search for it, notice it and appreciate it.

So here are a few things that made me happy while at the conference in Atlanta:

The huge KFC sign that actually moved!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Key to Happiness {Be Flexible}

There are a lot of self-help books out there telling people the keys to happiness.  Really the only self-help book you need is the Bible.  I'm serious!  True happiness comes from giving up what our selfish nature wants and listening to that still, small voice telling us what we should do instead.  When we follow that still, small voice, we get want we truly need which makes us happy.

Sometimes doing this is easy and sometimes it's REALLY hard!  Like Wednesday.....it was our anniversary.  Last year we celebrated by going to Alaska!  This year we were so overwhelmed with the house and new puppies, we had no plans.  Yet I was determined to do something fun.  Besides I'm writing a blog now and I have very few posts about the joys of the great outdoors lol!

So I quickly planned a day of outdoor fun at a couple state parks about 2 1/2 hours away.....Elephant Rocks and Johnson's Shut-Ins.  We hadn't been in there in years - our son didn't really remember going and he's 22!  I was able to coordinate him and his girlfriend going with us.  By the grace of God even the different guys working on our house couldn't work on our house Wednesday due to other jobs.  So I bought a new swim suit to wear at the river, new beach towels, lots of snacks - I was ready!

Then it rained!


















And rained......


















Tuesday, June 30, 2015

RV Shopping

Saturday we took a break between painting and drove to Camdenton to do one of our favorite things - look at RVs!  Seriously we could do it all day!

Clinton wanted to look at the swanky Cedar Creek RV - it was sweet!  It actually had sliding doors at the back that closed the living room area off from the rest of the RV.  This would be really nice if you have others with you - giving them privacy while they sleep.  



It had a bigger refrigerator than the new one we bought for the house!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Weekend Wedding Reception

This is the third and final post of our weekend at Bear Creek Bed and Breakfast Lodge.

This post will focus on the reception.  After the wedding, we had set up a popcorn bar on the tailgate of this old truck that is permanently parked there.  That gave guests a chance to snack while the wedding party was getting pictures taken.



































On one side of lodge is the wedding garden.  On the other side is a long reception building.  It has the look of a cabin on the outside with french doors lining surrounding it.  Inside it has a French country look.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bear Creek Bed and Breakfast Lodge

As I shared yesterday, this past weekend hubby and I stayed at Bear Creek Bed and Breakfast Lodge outside of Branson.  We were there for our good friends' daughter's wedding.

Twenty-six years ago when we got married, most people got married in the church they attended.  It cost you nothing except for a small gift for your pastor.  You had cake and punch in the basement and that was usually it.

These days, everyone is looking for a cool destination to get hitched.  Some people go far away, like Florida or Mexico.  Others looks for wedding venues a little closer to home so more family members can attend.

The Bear Creek Bed and Breakfast Lodge is a perfect choice for a modern day wedding for anyone near southwest Missouri.  The grounds are beautiful and romantic and require very little decoration.



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Romantic Cabin

This past weekend, hubby and I spent Friday night and Saturday night at Bear Creek Bed and Breakfast Lodge.  We were there for our good friends' daughter's wedding.  Bear Creek is right outside of Branson, just a few miles off of Hwy 65.  It was super easy to find, even though it was off the beaten path.  We drove through shabby chic metal gates down a gravel road with beautiful lanterns lining it and then past a couple of cabins, the beautiful shaded garden area for weddings, and the main lodge to the cute little check-in cabin.




Tessa checked us in and took us on a tour of the grounds and then met us at our cabin.

We stayed in the Tree-house cabin.  We parked a short distance away and walked the mulch path into the woods and down a steep little path to the cabin door.


I loved the private walk to the cabin!



The kitchen was on the left when you walked in.  Notice the healthy snacks of Fiddle Faddle and chips!



Down from the kitchen was the dining area with a cool antler chandelier.




The cabin opened up into the living room with a leather sofa-bed couch and an electric fireplace.  The door by the couch opened up onto the private covered deck with a four person hot tub.




To the right of the front door was a private bedroom with cute cabin decor.




It had a plaid hunting outfit hanging in the corner - it was neat but kind of creepy!




I loved the water canteen lantern beside the bed!



This was my favorite spot - on the back deck where I would drink my morning coffee and read.  

There were three other cabins on the property.  One was a great big one beside our cabin called the Wilderness Cabin.  It was really two cabins in one.  It would be great for extended families.  

Another cabin was called the Bootlegger's Bungalow.  It looked like a newer cabin.  It was in an open field across from the wedding garden.  If you are looking for a cabin in the woods or one with a little more privacy, this is not the one for you.  It did look like this one was a little more accessible.  

The other cabin was beside the lodge and the wedding garden - Creekside Cabin.  

It was very cute!  It had a lot of bushes surrounding it but it was right beside the wedding.  It was a great location for weddings or other events but it lacked the privacy of our cabin.  

I will share the main lodge in my next post.  I just loved this place and can't wait to share more!

Definitely a Happy Camper Life location!
Michele

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Throwback Thursday {Memorial Weekend 2014}

One of the main reasons why I started this blog was to share one of my favorite things  - CAMPING!!

Hence the name lol!

I know it sounds crazy but I have a goal to visit and/or camp in every state park in the country!  Seriously!

Camping is usually one of those things most people either love or hate.

I hope I can inspire some of the haters that camping might not be so bad after all and I hope I can share camping tips with the lovers {insert winky face!}.

We probably won't get to do much camping this summer.  The obvious reason is our home remodeling project but also we sold our pop-up camper {we plan to buy a bigger one} and our tent supplies is at the very back of our storage unit.

So.......in the mean time........I will occasionally share some past camping trips.

Like this one we took last Memorial Day weekend.

We have had the tradition for several years to go camping at St. Joe State Park near Park Hills, MO on Memorial weekend.






















St. Joe's State Park is a park where you can ride 4-wheelers and dirt bikes.

We brought our 4-wheelers with us and had a blast!


















This was just a few pictures to give you an idea of how awesome St. Joe is!

Future camping trips will include more pictures and more food!  My favorite!

Remembering the Happy Camper Life!
Michele

Monday, April 27, 2015

It's the Little Things

I truly believe the key to peace and happiness is to focus on the wonderful, little things all around you and not the overwhelming, negative things.

Here are a few things that have made me happy recently. 


A beautiful little plant that we had totally ignored until it bloomed these beautiful bleeding hearts!


A beautiful blue sky and trees budding out green leaves! 


Watching the trailer for the newest Star Wars movie coming out in December!  


A cute little gift from a thoughtful friend who supports this crazy idea of starting a blog!

Find your Happy Camper Life!
Michele

Sunday, April 26, 2015

From the Field to the Table

This weekend has been busy but rewarding.  I picked up litter in our town for Earth Day Saturday and that evening we took our son and his girlfriend out to eat.  Sunday my hubby got to go turkey hunting in the first time in years.

I do enjoy watching my feathered friends strutting around my house but they are very plentiful.  So hubby went out with a friend (no not in our back yard lol!) and he got a fine one!  There's something about your man being able to hunt for your dinner!

As soon as I got this picture from him (those are decoys in the background), I started Googling fried turkey breast recipes.  I found one that was unique.  I found in on myrecipes.com.  I had to tweak a little since I didn't have some of the specific ingredients.  It came out very good!


Hubby cut the breast into strips and then into chunks.  


When he was cutting up the meat, I made the marinade - 1/4 cup honey....


Here was drew me to the recipe lol!  It called for Wild Turkey Bourbon.  I didn't have any Wild Turkey but I did have some Crown - a little Crown makes everything better!  In this case, 1/2 cup....


The recipe called for spicy brown mustard which I didn't have so I substituted sweet mustard.  The end result was perhaps just a touch too sweet, I would substitute just regular mustard in the future.


Add 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, and put the marinade in a bag or container with the turkey.  Marinade for 4 hours.


When it's time to fry, combine flour and the seasonings (see recipe)....


Take your turkey out of the marinade, put in flour, and drop pieces into hot oil.


Fry until golden brown, sprinkle with more salt - eat until your swollen!


Deep Fried Wild Turkey Breast
  • 1/4 cup honey 
  • 1/2 cup Wild Turkey bourbon (or some other alcohol)
  • 2 tablespoons spicy deli mustard 
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • canola oil for frying
  • 1 whole wild turkey breast skinned

Preparation

  1. Remove the skin from the wild turkey breast. Slice the meat crosswise into strips. Wash the meat and pat dry. 

  2. Place the honey in a medium micro-safe bowl and heat on High for 1 minute. Whisk in the bourbon, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce until smooth. Pour this marinade into a large freezer ziptop bag. Add the turkey breast strips. Toss to completely coat the meat and refrigerate for 4 hours.

  3. Whisk together flour, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, thyme, basil, onion powder, and garlic powder in bowl.  

  4. Remove turkey breast strips from the marinade and shake off excess liquid. Place the strips into the bowl with the seasoned flour. Toss to coat strips.

  5. Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a heavy skillet. Fry turkey strips until golden. Do this in batches in order not to crowd the pan. Drain on paper towels.
Find your Happy Camper Life!
Michele

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Date Night

I firmly believe you cannot have a happy life without having a happy marriage.  Having a happy marriage takes work - sometime it takes a willingness to get off the couch and out of the house and do something different!  Hubby and I did just that the other night - we got dressed up and went to the big city of Springfield, MO - ate out and went to the Pat Benatar concert!


We tried out Big Whiskey's downtown.  It had a cool downtown vibe to it.  My chicken parmesan was very good!


We had time to kill before the concert started and I didn't want to stand around in my heels lol so we ordered dessert - fried cheesecake!  It was cheesecake wrapped up in a flour tortilla, deep fried and served with ice cream and caramel sauce.  It was delicious!


The concert was held at the Gillioz Theater.  The Gillioz is a beautiful theater built in the 20's with lots of charm.  I really enjoy going to concerts there - it is smaller and more intimate.  You feel like you're right there with the musicians.  


Even though we got dessert, we were still pretty early for the concert - we were so excited!


Pat Benatar and her husband of 33 years Neil Giraldo put on an amazing concert!  When she came out and started to sing Shadows of the Night, I thought she was lip syncing because she sounded just like her records!  Some musicians don't sound as good in person.  Not Pat!  She has one of the most powerful voices I've ever heard!


I actually teared up when she sang Love is a Battlefield!  I was 16 years old when that song came out.  You always remember those songs when you were a teenager!


Hubby and I were all smiles throughout the evening!  We had a great time and made some great memories.

What are you waiting for?!  Get out there - do something different - spend some time with your spouse.

Find your Happy Camper Life!
Michele