Once again I'm pushing it for getting my simple pleasures up before the end of the month. Am I the only one who finds the months flying by though? I swear I just did July's simple pleasures not too long ago...

Anyways, this month I mostly focused on my camping gear and actual camping. It wasn't on purpose, I just found these things made me smile so much, I had to share.

My new sleeping bag

My HUGE fish I caught!

An evening canoe ride

Onions hanging on the porch. This sight makes my heart full.

New camping gear (water bottle, air mattress and sleeping bag)

A BLT sandwich

My 30ish tomatoes
Another month done. I'm pretty sure it will be the end of September before we know it. What are YOU smiling at lately?


My garden is slightly overwhelming me with tomatoes. Seriously, this heat that has come back (which I'm totally not complaining about) has helped ripen my tomatoes and I'm picking a basket full every few days.


Which means my counters are filling up with tomatoes every few days and then I have to deal with said tomatoes. While I know that I will enjoy the canned tomatoes this winter, it gets tiring having to can so often. I'll stop complaining now, I know that I am fortunate with how well my garden is doing.

Our zucchini is finally doing something, the flowers are getting bigger and tiny little zucchini have started. I find these plants to be so pretty.



Our peppers are also catching up with the rest of the garden. The jalapeno has some small ones on it and some of my other plants are finally beginning to change colours. I hope this heat wave keeps up long enough to ripen the rest of them.



Our carrots that survived the second planting are thriving and becoming huge. I have to start picking and eating more carrots! They're not all this big, but this one concerned me.


I'm happy with the progress my garden is making and I'm happy for all the veggies I'm harvesting and storing up for the winter. My cold room and freezers are filling up nicely and it makes me feel awfully proud.


After yesterday's blog post about our camping weekend, I thought I should go into a little more detail about the food we ate and how I planned meals for us for the entire weekend while following my dietary restrictions.

At first, I kind of freaked out and decided there was no way that we could actually feed me all weekend while living out of a cooler and cooking over a campfire but I eventually calmed down enough and started doing some research. And by research I mean looking at Pinterest for inspiration. I finally made up a meal plan that both Dan and I were comfortable with and I got to work on it.

Friday night dinner was a quick easy meal of sausages, baked potatoes and grilled veggie kabobs. Simple and yet tasty.

 

Saturday morning breakfast was cereal with blueberries, another simple one and easy to pack too. We had pre-measured our cereal into individual baggies and each had our own mason jar of milk. Worked like a charm.


Lunch on Saturday was sandwiches, veggies and hummus.


Saturday supper, delicious hamburgers! This one took a little more planning since I had to pack some condiments and toppings for us but it was totally worthy it and oh so tasty.




I'm pretty sure we were the envy of our neighbours. Maybe not but I like to think so.

Sunday breakfast was amazing! We went all out and had scrambled eggs, bacon and bannock. The bannock was the total hit and is going to be my new go to camping food.

It tasted way better than this picture looks


If you want to make this bannock yourself, I found the recipe from this website and it worked really well with the gluten free flour I used. I highly recommend giving it a try on your next camping trip or backyard fire.

We also had snacks of chips, granola bars, apples, trail mix and fruit cups and we were never hungry, so I think it was a success.

I learned some stuff from this camping trip and will do a few things differently next time. Like figure out a way to keep all our food colder for most of the weekend. Any tips from anyone on that? Or any other recipes or meal ideas you would like to share? What's your favourite thing to cook over an open fire?


Many moons ago (a.k.a. summer 2010), we bought a tent with great intentions of using it regularly. Except for that didn't happen thanks to some miscarriages, health issues, moving, etc. In fact, we didn't use it once until the summer of 2012. And even that was a little lame, since we camped out in our backyard. I'm sad to say that the backyard camping was the last time I slept in our tent, and that was two years ago!

All that to say, we were due for a camping trip together. This was our first summer in a long time that we have actually been able to do fun stuff together, since I'm not sick or have a sprained ankle, so we have been taking advantage of it. Dan goes backcountry camping every summer with some guy friends, but it's been ages since I've camped. We opted to go to a campground though, since I'm not quite ready for backcountry yet. We tried to line it up to go with some friends, but our schedules didn't mesh so it ended up being just Dan and I. Oh and Mia.


We had an awesome little campsite and we happily set up our tent and eating area. We fortunately arrived early on Friday so we got everything set up by early afternoon and then could explore for the rest of the day.


Our exploring involved walking around the campground in order to find out where the nearest bathrooms were and then heading out in the canoe. We paddled around the small bay and fished for a bit. I caught a HUGE fish too! It was all pretty thrilling, considering I rarely fish and even then only usually catch tiny little rock bass if anything. But I was sitting there in the canoe, lazily casting out while chatting with Dan and all of a sudden I had something on my line. It fought pretty hard and I was sore and exhausted by the time I got it in, but it was totally worth it for the photo shoot.


I caught myself a Northern Pike that was about 30 inches long and probably around 5 lbs. Don't I look proud? And a little scared too. We didn't eat it though, I let it back into the wild and waved at it as it swam away. It totally made my afternoon weekend.

We paddled around a little more before heading back to the campsite. After all, I was pretty exhausted from my fishing adventure.



The really cool thing about our site was that we had access to the lake from it. I mean, it was a round about sort of access but still, we didn't need to carry the canoe half a kilometre down to the boat launch. Our site backed onto a marshy area and there was a tiny path down to the water from it. From there, we could paddle along amongst the lily pads for a bit and then came out onto the lake. It was great!

Little pathway to the marsh where we launched our canoe

The marshy area we had to go through to get to the lake
The campground had a cute little walking path that went through another marsh area and we traipsed along there quite regularly. Since Mia had to be kept on a leash at all times, we went for a lot of walks to give her exercise. When we were at the camp site, we played ball with her too but it was trickier with her on a leash.



It was a little chilly Saturday morning but by the afternoon it had warmed up considerably. We headed off site for a bit to do some geocaching and give Mia some time off leash, but I forgot to take any pictures from that time. We found 4 geocaches though, so it was a productive time away.

Once we were back at our site, we curled up in the tent for a while and read. We're still working our way slowly through the book we're reading together, but this weekend definitely gave us a good jump ahead in it.


While we read in the tent, Mia napped outside. When she wasn't intently staring into the bushes that is.



It was a really fun weekend of relaxing and spending time together. We mostly just fished, walked, read and ate all weekend.

Dan and Mia "cuddling"

I totally caught the biggest fish of the weekend

Doing dishes by the fire

Eating hearty meals!

Cooking over an open fire makes everything taste better

The sun was so nice Sunday morning
It was a fabulous weekend and has got me a little hooked on camping. We are already trying to figure out a time to go camping in September with those friends who couldn't make it this weekend. Who knows, maybe by next summer I'll be ready to try backcountry camping again!

P.S. Be sure to swing back by tomorrow morning to read all about how I planned and pulled off a gluten/dairy/corn free camping menu!


I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one out there who spends WAY too much time on the computer, watching TV/movies or playing on their phones. Most days I can convince myself that it's really not that bad and it is how I keep in touch with so many people, via Facebook or email. But on a whole, I know I have a problem with spending too much time staring at some sort of screen.

I keep telling myself that I will do better tomorrow, that tomorrow I will shut off my computer and leave my phone sitting on the counter. But tomorrow comes and I spend just as much time on all my separate screens as I did the day before, sometimes even more.

So I've been thinking of ways to try and break this habit, to step away from technology a bit and learn to spend more time doing other things. Things like housework, gardening, reading, etc. I've tossed around the idea of giving up Facebook but in reality, I know that I wouldn't actually want to do that, since I'm in contact with a lot of my friends through Facebook only. I don't want to give up the computer entirely either, since I have this blog to keep up with and I wouldn't want to take that away from all of my readers.

So I have come up with a plan. I'm not sure how well this plan will actually work, but it's worth a shot right? Instead of just talking about spending less time in front of screens, I want to start putting those words into action. Starting next week, I'm going to choose one day (Tuesday) and not use my phone, computer or TV at all for the whole day. The only exception being my phone, if it rings. Other than that, it will be a screen free day. The plan is to keep this up for a while and spend every Tuesday without all the screens around me.

Maybe over time I will get more used to it and it will feel less like a punishment and I will be able to add in more days of freedom. Or maybe I'll realize it isn't working and give myself designated screen times each day but the remainder of the day is free. Who knows, I'm just flying by the seat of my pants here. I'm going to take it one day at a time.

Anyone else ever try or are trying to spend less time on their screens? Any tips or advice for me? Anyone want to join in on my personal challenge?


As I've mentioned in passing a few times, I started running again this summer. I'm hoping that none of you actually remember this post I did back in May saying I was starting the Couch 2 5k program the next week. Because I didn't. In fact, it wasn't until the beginning of July that I finally laced up my running shoes and got out the door.

By that point, I had given up on my goal of running another 5k this year and was having a pity party by myself. I remember the day quite clearly actually. I was sitting at home, depressed by yet another pregnancy announcement and feeling quite miserable that my life wasn't going as planned. I then took a look at my 14 goals for 2014 and got myself more depressed with how slowly I was progressing with them. After a while of pouting and grumbling, I finally pulled myself together and decided that the only way that I would reach my goals is if I sucked it up and actually did them. And so, I started to run again.


Since the beginning of July, I have run steadily every Monday, Wednesday and Friday except for a small almost two week break in the middle there somewhere. But on a whole, I've been doing really well and sticking to it. Mia loves that I have taken up running again and she comes with me every time.

By the end of this week, I'll be done week five of an eight week program. I've NEVER made it this far before and I have started it four times before this, so I'm feeling quite proud of myself. I may actually finish it this year!


Since my goal was to run another 5k, I have scheduled one for September 7th and I'm getting excited for it. It's actually a virtual 5k, so I will be running it by myself but the money is going towards a really great cause, international adoption. I will have more details of it all when I do a post about the actual 5k.

Another thing I am proud of, I've been getting up early to go for my runs. And by early, I mean getting out of bed at 6:30am. While I realize that this isn't early for everyone, it is most definitely for me. I love to sleep and I find it hard to get out of bed in the mornings, especially just to go for a run. But I've been trying really hard to get up when Dan gets up and so far, I've been doing well. But in order to motivate myself even more, I've been giving myself stars every time I get up early. So for the last two weeks, my calendar has been looking more and more shiny.


While this star reward system may seem silly to some, it actually works for me. I love giving myself a star and being able to see how well I've done over the last few weeks makes me ridiculously excited. So I'm going with this system since it works and people can laugh all they want at me. I am in the process of forming good habits, so there.

The only downfall to my regular running again was the weight loss. The beginning of July I was up at 116 lbs and loving it. Then I started running and I dropped down to 113 lbs. The good news though, as my body adjusts and I work on consuming more calories, I am slowly working my way back up. I'm only at 114 lbs right now but at least it's going in the right direction.


So overall, I've been doing really well with my running and I am feeling good about it. It makes me so proud to see how far I've come and I know that exercise is important for health. Now I'm just trying to figure out how I can keep working out during the winter without actually having to go out into the cold.


I'm back this week to show off some more garden pictures as well as what I've been up to with said garden produce. Ready?

The onions are just about ready to start hanging

Our third cucumber we have gotten from our garden

The potatoes are slowly being overtaken with weeds
The herbs are growing well and I'm happy to report that their new garden suits them much better than the gutters. Now to get out there and actually use the herbs! Making pesto is on the to do list for today.


Our tomatoes are in full swing now and I've been picking and making stewed tomatoes out of them. I'm pretty sure this will now be a weekly occurrence, given how many green tomatoes are left on the plants.



Speaking of canning, here is a picture of last weeks efforts! I finally worked my way through all the cucumbers and beets I was given. 12 jars of pickled beets, 15 jars of bread & butter pickles and 10 jars of relish. Pretty amazing, right?


I'm also in full bean freezing mode and work on prepping them while watching Gilmore Girls. This is considered my "break".


And because I love to flaunt just a little bit, this next picture is of our meal we had last week. The chicken is one of ours from last year, as well as the beet pickles and bread & butter pickles. The carrots, beans and potatoes are from our garden this year and the crabapple jelly is not from any of our trees but I picked and jellied it. So this WHOLE meal was completely ours!


Nothing we've eaten lately tasted quite as good as that meal did.

And because I like to occasionally leave you guys with a small bonus picture on these posts, here is a picture of the things that are currently growing the fastest around here.



I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday and the rest of your week goes well.