Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Camping and Kayaking Trip 2014

You may remember that last September, Tyler and I went camping and kayaking in southeastern Oklahoma at Beaver's Bend State Park.  

We had such a great time last year, that we've basically decided to make our trip there an annual event for Tyler's birthday, which is today!  We enjoyed our annual trip for his birthday weekend before last!

We arrived in the evening with just enough time to pitch our tent and gather firewood.  
This campsite has been pretty full each time we've gone, so there's basically no avoiding having other campers on either side of you.

For dinner our first night, we used the campsite grill to make brats, corn on the cob, and had some other snacks to go along with it.  I got the grill and food going (so proud of myself for getting the charcoal going by myself without help) while Tyler lit us a campfire.

A fine Eagle Scout he is.

After dinner, the time made it so that I had been awake almost a full 24 hours, so as much as I wanted to stay awake and enjoy the campfire, I was actually falling asleep in my lawnchair.

I took a few naps there, then eventually moved to the tent.  I used a different sleeping bag than normal, and I was so tired I couldn't figure out how to get in the sleeping bag, so I just slept on top of it.  Haha!  #NightShiftProblems

My view out of the tent the next morning.  I really enjoy waking up in a tent when the rain trap is open and I can see out.

Tyler is the breakfast man, so he used his nifty Coleman camp stove he got for Christmas to make us breakfast and coffee.

This is how we do coffee when we camp...

-   h o t   w a t e r   -

-   f r e n c h   p r e s s   -

 -   c o o l   c a m p   m u g s   -

 Really.  He's the breakfast king.

Do you see that beautiful Autumn?  Do you see it?!

There were some really interesting looking mushrooms near our campsite.

 I saved this cute little leafy guy from dying in the heat in our car.  I'm sure he liked crawling on the tree much better.

After breakfast and packing up, we headed off to rent Kayaks from our favorite place to rent called Lucky Dog in Broken Bow.  I'd have to say the place is preeeeetttyy redneck, but that also means they have fewer rules and we can do whatever we want.  We just pay them, they take us to the river with the kayaks, and pick us up when we're done.  Its hard to find places in the US that don't over-complicate things for silly safety reasons, and that's why we like this place.  I mean, there were other groups who had to wear helmets, which is ri-dic-u-lous.

This time, the river was a bit more full, which made it easier to navigate in some ways, and some of the other (very small) rapids were more fun as a result.  It is fun how rivers, although the same, still change quite drastically with just a small change in water level.

Just before I took this picture, we went over one of the taller rapids.  The water was gushing so much that when you went down, your kayak filled with water.

This old guy was taking pictures of everyone who came down the particular rapid we went down.
I'm not sure how he planned to use the pictures, and didn't offer to send them to me, or tell me what he was going to do with the picture he took of me, or even ask me if I wanted to approve that the picture wasn't awful.  So I took a picture of him wearing his silly bathing suit.

We took a break right after that spot to eat our lunch and watch other people go through the rapids.  

It was humorous to watch those who tried to be careful and go through the rapids slowly, which in turn meant they would flip their kayak.  Some were even paddling backwards trying to go through slower...not really the best way to make it through without turning it upside down.

Like this guy in the middle whose kayak is upside down.

The water was really shallow here, so I pulled the kayak on a rock and waded around a bit.

 The scenery really is beautiful here.  Loved these red flowers.

The last bit of the river was quite uneventful.  The water was much deeper, so there were no rapids and we had to paddle to really get anywhere, where as earlier in the river you really just had to steer and let the water carry you.

There were a few beautiful trees, and several large birds along the banks.

Still water meant I could row over and take some nice flower pictures.  
Wildflowers are truly better than those from the flower shop.

After kayaking, we utilized the nice campground showers we found in the RV park and then headed back home.  Luckily this long trip is along the way to my grandma's house, so we stopped to visit her for a little while before returning home.

Have you had any fun adventures this month?
Do you have any traditions for yours or your spouse's birthday?

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fall is HERE!

Fall is here!  Woohoo!  
I'm super excited, because it is my favorite. 
I love the cool air and seeing the leaves change every year!

Here is the first picture I took this year of this particular tree I was obsessed with last Fall.  Its colors are just so vibrant.

This picture is from the first day of Fall, and even was featured by NewsOK's instagram!
(I'm a just a little happy about that!)

Trust me, this tree will just keep getting better.  But sometimes I wonder how.

Some other glimpses of Fall...

Oh, and just in case you didn't know, I love squirrels.

When I was a kid, my grandparents had a lot of squirrels in their yard because they had four giant pecan trees.  I, being an only child, had to come up with creative ways to entertain myself, so I often watched the squirrels or chased them around the ginormous tree trunks.

I liked squirrels so much my grandpa even recorded on a blank VHS tape (#true90skid) what now must be the most boring video about how old people kept squirrels out of their bird feeders, and I watched it because it showed the squirrels cleverly maneuvering their way around mostly unsuccessful traps.  

Well, in honor of my squirrel love, this handsome guy graces my living room! 

 I think he's just perfect for Fall, but Tyler thinks it is creepy. What do you think?

Do you have a favorite tree to go to in the Fall?

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Planning a 25th Anniversary Party

Last month at the end of August, my parents were married for 25 years!  

In celebration, we threw them a small dinner party at our apartment and invited close family and friends.

Because it was their 25th Anniversary, obviously I needed to work silver into the party decor.  But I really wanted to add more of a specific color so that our apartment would go from just being "our apartment" to being this party space.  

Two things really set off the main colors I chose to work with for the party:  first, four colored glass vases I found that just looked great for an end-of-summer party, and secondly the color of an emerald, which is the stone in one of my mom's favorite rings from my dad.  

For vase filler, I decided to not go out for expensive and plain flowers at the grocery store, and opted to walk through the field near our apartment complex to find some interesting plants.

This one particularly was my favorite, found growing near some trees.  
It has such interesting seeds and formations!

I also found some wild sunflowers and rustic brown filler, but alas forgot to take photos.

These scrapbook accordion fold and bunting helped me to tie the warm and cool pallets together.
While none of the colors are really the same colors, the mixtures of blues/greens and pinks/reds were the connecting factor.

One very fun aspect of the party was this "He Said, She Said" game I created for guests to complete.
I simply took quotes from each of my parents from facebook and made the guests guess which person said it.  Some quotes are obvious, however after 25 years of marriage, it seems couples really do start sounding more like each other, because there were a few trick quotes thrown in there!

 We strung up seafoam balloons with 25th silver hanging decorations from Party Galaxy, and silver tassels across the living room hanging on a seafoam ribbon.  This really helped create a festive atmosphere!

Would you have thought these little tassels were made out of tin foil?  

See my "happy" banner?  That one is from Oh Joy's collection from Target.  Love it!  And the 25th was made by me on vellum paper and ribbon.
Here is a tutorial to make the same kind of banner, and HERE is a printable for the same 25th pictured here.

I made this alternative countertop board to set on my stovetop for parties when we really need more counter space than we do a stovetop.  It worked great!

These colorful, reusable, party straws also helped me tie in those same end-of-summer colors.  
Also by Oh Joy...I think I'm obsessed.

I forgot to take the picture before dinner, so here is the party kitchen after dinner!
On the menu was chopped brisket sandwiches, jalepeno cornbread, macaroni and cheese, and a Simon and Seafort's salad.  For dessert we had strawberry and blackberry cheesecakes!

Tyler made a new friend and chess buddy (my little cousin)!

Whoops!  Way overexposed! 
But as you can see, our normally spacious-to-us apartment is pretty crowded when you pack this many guests inside!  The more the merrier!

And if you have a friend who attended the party who is an aspiring photographer, then she might take a few wonderful family pictures for you!  Thanks Ashley, you're doing some great work!

A great portrait of my parents after 25 years of marriage!

P.S. If you're looking for someone who can do your hair, makeup, AND photography in Oklahoma, Ashley is your girl!  Check her out her facebook page!

Another photo taken by Ashely of Tyler and I with my parents!

I had a great time preparing for this party in our home, and I think everyone who attended had a good time too!  

I think sometimes a space that's just *almost* too small can help everyone get to know each other a little better and interact more, and I'm grateful for all the fun conversations that were had that evening!

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Copyright 2012-2014 Saxon Smith (Let's Drink Coffee, Darling). All rights reserved.
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