Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wharton Family Camp - The Preview

Wharton Family Camp 2009
The Whole Crew, except sister Beth, who's taking the picture.

The Wharton Family Camp.  If you were born a Wharton, married a Wharton, or spawned by a Wharton, you're invited to this annual event.  A last hoo-rah of summer, held sometime around the beginning of August, this sacred event is definitely family tradition at it's best.  All Whartons are invited, but generally, because my siblings are spread across the country, the only participants are my family, and my two sisters, Beth and Dawn, with their families.  Sometimes my parents will show up for an afternoon or a meal, but are quick to play the Senior Citizens Card if we suggest they spend the night. 

The three of us girls, with our families, wouldn't miss it though.  It's been a hallowed event for at least a dozen years.  I'm still ashamed to confess that my family actually did missed one year.  Last year, I was given the opportunity to go to Virginia Beach with my mom for a week, and the crazy, sick person I am, I took it.  Unfortunately, it was scheduled the same week as Family Camp, so I had to miss it.  I felt like I was committing an unpardonable sin.  My sisters, treated me like I was committing an unpardonable sin.  I stressed and mourned and whined to Kevin.  It could not be helped though, and fortunately I was forgiven, and allowed back into the fold.  And, of course, we're on again for this year. 

This is the event I'm planning for right now.  And planning it definitely requires.  We camp from Wednesday to Sunday, each bringing our own drinks and our own lunches.  We receive random food assignments for dinner on Wednesday and breakfast on Sunday.  Then the three particpating families are each assigned a day, at which time we have to provide breakfast and dinner for the entire crew and a craft for the kids.  We also bring two snacks to share.  It's a very structured event.  Don't doubt it or I'll send you the Wharton Family Rules, which I have typed up neatly and stored right here on my computer.  I have to send out reminders every now and again, but mostly particpants are very compliant.  : )

Another thing that I do during the weekend, which takes quite a bit of planning is Wharton Wars.  This is an event not to be missed.  It's a battle of teams for fabulous prizes, and most importantly, bragging rights as Wharton Wars Champs until the next year.

You will not want to miss my next few posts, because this is the event that will be highlight.  So stay tuned. . . . !

Thursday, July 28, 2011

More Pics

Flynn Rider.  I totally see the likeness.

Camping crafts.

Nice job, Brinks!
 We're home and I'm going through pictures we took.  At the beginning of this trip, before I started blogging, we spent a few days higher on the mountain dry camping.  That was kind of a new experience for us, but I loved it.  We were basically all alone and it was so quiet and peaceful.  And, truth be told, we still had all the luxuries of home, except actual plug-in electricity.  We had hot water, a stove, oven and fridge.  They all run off of propane, and we have a solar panel that recharges the battery for lights.  The girls really enjoyed it too.  They loved roaming, finding new secret clubhouses, and riding their bikes down the very rocky road.  Here are some pictures from that leg of the trip, and also others that didn't make the blog.

Look who sits in Papa's chair while he's at work.

Ride 'em Cowgirls!

Ready for the Rodeo

Kev and the girls waiting for the rodeo to start.

Brinkley took this pic of the river while fishing.

More fish cleaning shots.  "Lily, you like eyeballs AND guts?"

4-Wheelin' with Papa.

Being Silly.

Tye, enjoying the shade.

Lily and her favorite person.

I should have posted a blog about this.  Kev dug this hammock up for me. 
What a guy!  I love it.

The perfect S'More.

Lily's version.  Graham cracker, chocolate and roast Starburst.

Lily, partying after they found Javier's note.
Being Lily.
Brinkley's self-portrait in Skittles.

Working on a masterpiece.

Lily's version of Tye.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Homeward Bound

We're heading home tonight and I confess this time, that I'm pretty ready.  Two weeks out is a long time.  Of course after about 4 days home, I'll be ready to turn around and come back and do it again.  I haven't slept well the last few nights and need a break in my own bed.  Plus, I feel like I'm eaten up with mosquitos.  The spot we chose this trip by the river is beautiful, but infested with bugs.  I don't know if it's always like this, or just this year because of all the rain.  This may not be the spot for us in the future though, we spend too much time outside, and our bug spray was just not up for the challenge.

This afternoon it's off to the pool for one last dip, but for now we're just cleaning, packing, and rocking out to Avril!

Secret Clubhouses

As soon as we arrive in a new campsite my girls head off to find a Secret Clubhouse, where they'll spend hours playing house or "neighbors" or secret agents.  Poo-Stew is the house speciality and guests are always welcomed. 

Mixing Poo-Stew

The clubhouse of choice this trip was right by the river in the trees.  They decorated it and each had their own wing.  They spent a lot of time playing here and I love watching them use their imaginations.  I always say there is something wrong with a kid who gets bored in a place like this.  I feel fortunate that my girls can play, make-up things and entertain themselves for days on end.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


 Several summers ago, a mysterious pirate named Javier, showed up at Woodland Camperworld for the first time. On the run, he needed help from Brinkley and Lily. He crowned them “Princesses of the Mountain” and sent them on a Scavenger Hunt to search for hidden treasure that they could keep, but only if they could find it. Each summer since, he has shown up at least once. And though they’ve never actually seen him, Brinks and Lils know he could be near and are on constant look-out for secret notes that could have been left by him.

Well, to their pure delight, he resurfaced again this past Wednesday evening. A note was found, and the hunt was on. He sent them from one end of this camp to the other. Even out of the camp and down the secret road. Only through the most diligent searching, the greatest ingenuity, and lightning quick speed on their part (with only one bathroom break for Brinkley), they found the treasure and the reward was great. Skittles and squirt guns. That Javier! He sure knows the way to a two little girls’ hearts!!!

Time Out!!  I need a pee pee break!

We found it!  If you look close you can see a plastic bag (full of loot no doubt) down in the rocks.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Cache Hounds

Last year, Kevin introduced our family to Geocaching.  Geocaching is basically treasure hunting using coordinates on your GPS.  The Geocache generally consists of a small container containing a log book that you can sign and sometimes little trinkets that you can trade for.  You sign the log book, put a small prize in, and take something out.  Then you put the Geocache back just as you found it, and leave it for the next person to find.  We think they are a lot of fun, have taken the name “The Cache Hounds” and have hunted Geocaches in Bountiful, Woodland, Coalville, Goblin Valley, etc.  We decided last summer that we wanted to hide our own.  Finally tonight for Family Home Evening, we went out to do it.  We found a fantastic spot in a hollowed-out log near Camperworld so we can check it whenever we come.   Kevin got it registered online and we're excited for fellow Geocachers to come looking for it!

Goin' Fishin'!!

Kev and the girls got up early and went finishing this morning. He said it was quite the adventure. Here are the details, in his words:

The girls had been harassing me for days to take them fishing. I have no idea why. Last year, I took them to Mill Hollow for a morning, and we didn’t see any action at all. No bites, no fish. So when they started the relentless prodding, I was a bit surprised they wanted to go so bad. Fishing with little kids is not the most thrilling experience. It definitely has its highlights though. When your kid squeals with excitement and you can see the thrill and adrenalin throbbing just under their skin when they catch a fish, that’s the payoff. The rest is work.

So my work began this morning by getting up somewhat early to wake up the kids, get them dressed, and get moving towards the lake. It wasn’t a long distance away, so the drive was a bit non-eventful. I did let Tye out once the asphalt ended, and let him run the 3 miles or so to the lake. He loves doing that and it gets him nice and tired so once we hit the lake all he wants to do is sleep.  He did find a herd of sheep on the way up, and properly ruined their morning. He said thanks for breakfast as he promptly found a couple of steaming piles and began eating them. I have no idea why he likes it but sheep dung seems to be a favorite of his.  I'm sure it is an acquired taste. I quickly put an end to that business as soon as I saw it. I had flashbacks of driving 2 hours in a car with him my head hanging out the window the whole way because of the unrelenting sheep-dip gas he kept sharing the entire trip. He had spent the day at my Dad’s place gorging on the stuff.

Anyway, at the lake, I had one pole made up already, so I threw a worm on it, tossed it out, and gave it to Brinkley. Then I started to get Lily’s pole ready. We were fishing with a worm and a bubble, with the worm hanging about a foot or so under the bubble off the surface. It wasn’t even a couple of minutes, and Brinkley’s bubble was bobbing up and down.

We tried to set the hook a couple times, but kept missing the timing. Every time we’d throw out though, it would start bobbing. Finally, I left her to battle the fish so I could get Lily out. Of course then I had TWO bubbles bobbing constantly. Lily ended up catching the first fish and the entire lake was treated to her high-pitched squeals, laughter, and hollering. You’d have thought she got a new bike or something. We put the fish on the chain, and I tried to get another worm on her hook.

I had been coaching Brinkley on how and when to set the hook on these fish, and she was close to getting it. At some point, I needed to get something from the truck and told the girls I’d be right back. Wouldn’t you know it. I wasn’t gone two minutes, and Brinkley has hooked and reeled in a very nice fish all by herself. She was grinning from ear to ear and made sure the whole lake knew she had landed a whale.

The rest of the morning was pretty much a blur of putting worms on hooks, casting out for them, and taking fish off while one little girl or the other danced around, squealing with delight. They both wanted to hold the fish once they caught it, and then wanted to help put it on the chain. They ended up catching a few too small ones, so they enjoyed watching them swim away once we let them go.

All in all, Brinkley caught 6 fish, and Lily 2. It was a morning of constant action. Each cast had that bubble bouncing up and down. The challenge was getting them hooked. The girls had the time of their lives, and I was thoroughly worn out after 2 ½ hours of it. At about lunch time, the action slowed and I was starved. We loaded up everything and headed back to camp.

Once there, the girls told their battle stories to Mom, and we proceeded to clean the fish. The girls squealed plenty over the “disgusting” guts, etc. Lily has been fascinated by eyeballs for awhile—who knows why—but both girls were super-excited when I popped an eyeball out of a fish for each of them. They walked around holding it for quite a while.  Actually, each eyeball is still sitting in a cup of water out on the picnic table. Tiffeny is not happy about this at all. Especially when she accidentally threw one out onto the grass in the rain tonight and had to stand out there getting wet trying to find it. The whole experience pretty much solidified the fact that the next time we come up, they’ll want to hit the lake again. I think next time, I’ll be sure to have Tiffeny there with me to help put worms on.

Incidentally, as a side note, I was joking with Brinkley and told her that I'd pay her a dollar if she popped the eyeball in her mouth for 10 seconds....she quickly declined.  However, Lily, our wild and crazy one, quickly said she'd do it, no problem.  And to my amazement, she did!!!   It was so funny.  She said it didn't even taste like anything.  Brinkley was pretty sorry that she hadn't risen to the challenge.  Funny girls.

Here, Have a Sniff

This afternoon after we'd had showers, Lily confessed that she'd forgotten to wash her armpits. "Well", I said, "I guess you'll have to use some deodorant then." So amidst a band of giggles, she and Brinkley applied deodorant, and then had to sniff each other's armpits in order to test the product. What a couple of weirdos!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hello Toof-less!

WITH . .
Miss Brinkley lost another tooth this week, which I think is worth mentioning. I don't think she's lost one since Dec/Jan, when she lost 4 within a 2 week period! She told Kev last Monday morning that it was really loose. He told her to keep working on it and he'd take a look when he got home.

He ended up  getting home pretty late and wasn't able to look at it until Tuesday morning before work.  He checked it as he was heading out the door and popped it right out. We were all a little concerned about the tooth fairy being able to find Brinkley and (especially) not forgetting about her way up here in the mountains, but alas, she is one reliable old gal!


Saturday, July 23, 2011

4-Wheelin' for Them, Relaxation for Me

So, last Fall Kev bought a 4-wheeler. He said for hunting, and then in January, he joined Search and Rescue and uses it for that also. He doesn't always get to bring it camping because we don't have a hitch on the camper and we drive a 'burb, rather than a truck, so in order to get it here, he has to make extra trips in the 'burb. This trip though, it's here, and this morning he announced that he was taking the girls for a ride. And much to my excitement, they took drinks and snacks, which means that I can probably count on them being gone at least an hour and a half. Wa-hoo! What are my plans you ask? Well, I'll give you a hint. They involve a comfy chair in the shade, an ice cold Dew, and a good book.


Yesterday was the Kamas Fiesta Days Parade. We went to the parade last year but I'd forgotten how great it is. This parade is definitely one of Kamas' best kept secrets. It was short, 30-40 minutes tops. The parade route is fairly short, so there's not enough time to create huge gaps in between the floats. It's also very uncrowded. In Davis County at least, parade routes are just person to person. Yesterday there was at least 10 feet between us and anyone else. And the best part - they threw TONS OF CANDY. And only about 50% taffy. The rest was good stuff. Plus we got t-shirts, frisbees, small toys, pizza, freshed baked chocolate chip cookies, popcorn from the local movie theater, and toothbrushes. There were several times I had to help the girls gather because they just didn't have enough time in between to get it all. I saw a lot of candy just left in the street, which I can't imagine. Kind of a sign of the excessive world we live in when kids don't gather every last piece of candy thrown. It was grand fun!

Uh - just a short side-note to people who throw Otterpops. Please don't. Otterpops are the most idiotic thing to throw. Do the throwers not realize that when the pops slide along the pavement they get little holes in them. And then they start leaking - all down the front of your shirt. And that's only if you're lucky enough to try to eat it right then. If you don't and stick it in your loot bag, then it melts all over your candy. Plus, by the end of the parade route, the Otterpops are just slush and that's no fun. There was one truck yesterday that was handing them out, and the lady had one that she'd cut in two. She handed one half to each of my girls. They ate it right then and it was done. That's the only way Otterpops should be given in my book!

Friday, July 22, 2011


July 24th is a big state holiday in Utah. It’s Pioneer Day and most little towns celebrate with all sorts of festivities – parades, carnivals, fireworks, rodeos, festivals. It’s big do-ins! Bountiful is no different. A parade, carnival and yummy food in the park. For this reason, for many years I didn’t want to camp over July 24th because I didn’t want to miss Bountiful Days. Then, last year, I discovered that bless Kamas’ little heart! They celebrate too! And they even have a rodeo! For those of you that haven’t been to a small town rodeo, you really are missing. These little rodeos are America at its best.
Kamas calls their celebration Fiesta Days. Last year we went to the Bull Wars, which was a lot of fun. This year we decided to try out the plain old rodeo. Mostly because it was kid’s night, which that means that kids get in free, and free is one of my favorite words. : )

I had gotten rodeo tickets last week and picked up a flyer with a schedule of the festivities, but then couldn’t find it. I wasn’t worried though because the front office here at Camperworld always has a schedule posted. Of course by yesterday though they had given all their flyers out and someone had nabbed the posted one. I knew from my tickets that the rodeo started at 8pm, but I also knew that there was some kind of kid’s event that went on before. I wasn’t too worried though because I figured there would just be a bunch of overpriced rides and food and the later we got there the more money we’d save. So we headed into the rodeo at about 6:45pm. I dropped Kev and the girls off and went to get drinks then came back to meet them. Well, apparently, they had a whole LOAD of those blowup toys, helium balloons, water bottles and it was all FREE. From bounce houses to a rock wall to slides to an actual bull-riding ride. And they all closed at 7pm. Kev had gone to a couple as they were wrapping up and tried to get the girls on with the last kids that were going through but the operators said, “No, we’re closed!” So rude! He finally got them on one. I arrived by then and we headed to the bull-riding, which had a big line, but they were still letting kids ride. We didn’t know if we’d make it for a while, but they finally got to ride. I felt bad that they missed most everything else, but they were thrilled with the bull ride. Brinkley left her hat on, hoping that it would fly off during the ride, just like a real cowboy, and it did! She was so excited. They were OK with not getting to do anything else. I guarantee though that I’ll get there early next year. FREE kids rides? That’s unheard of!

So, then we headed to the rodeo. I confess that I enjoyed the Bull Wars last year quite a bit more. Most of the riders fell off their bulls or horses before the buzzer rang, or they missed roping the calf or steer, so very few actually qualified, which is kind of a bummer. I’ll say right now, I am an animal lover, but I’m OK with rodeos for the most part. As long as the animals are treated well out of the arena, I seriously doubt the rodeo events hurt them in anyway. There is one event that I would get rid of though if I ruled the world - calf ropin’. Roping those poor baby cows, flipping them on their sides, sometimes by one leg, and then
tying a rope around 3 legs? Seriously?! Pick on something your own size! One poor little calf managed to get up on his 3 legs that were tied together, teetered, and then nose planted in the dirt. Pitiful! Once he was untied though, he did run off seemingly unscathed. Believe me, I was watching for signs of injury.

Oh, while we were waiting in the stands before the rodeo started, they were playing this aweful country music and the girls were dancing down in front. Then they came up and started harrassing Kev to dance with them. He resisted for a while, until Brinkley said, "Papa! Aren't you feeling it?" Well, he must have decided he was cause he went down in front and danced with them. Not to many Dads would make a fool out of themselves like that. It's no wonder they are both totally in love with him.
The night ended up with fireworks, which was about the best part. This afternoon is the parade and we’ll be there with bells on. Bring a loot bag and come join us!

Midnight Misery

I am posting this event, only with Brinkley’s permission. Last night near the end of the rodeo she told me, “My stomach is all twisted up, not like I’m sick, but like I did something bad and haven’t told you about it.” Oh, boy! First let me say, Brinkley is our confessor. She has a conscience the size of Texas and confesses any unkind deed or thought that ever enters her head. Sometimes she gets on a roll and I think that if I hear one more confession I’ll have to slit my wrists. It’s stuff like this: “Sometimes I say the word crap!” “Sometimes, when you get mad at me, it makes me really mad.” “One time, when I was little, I thought that I might want to wear a bikini when I get older even though it’s immodest”. Holy crow! Really? Just keep it to yourself sista!

So, anyway, during the fireworks last night, she tells me this about her stomach. I asked if there was anything she’d done that she need to tell us about, and she said no, not unless she meant to, and now she forgot. Well, that was that.

It was late when we got back to camp and pretty much went straight to bed. Well, at 3am, Kev and I were waked from a deep sleep by Brinkley. Her stomach was hurting bad. She was crying, clearly in pain. Of course, me, being the great mother I am, instead of wondering if she is OK, the first thing I think is, “I hope this doesn’t cost us anything because we’re in between insurance plans right now.” If you’ve never been there, I’m telling you, it’s stressful! So, she lies down in bed with us and Kev starts poking her stomach and asking questions, trying to figure out what the problem could be. Luckily it wasn’t her right side, which means Appendix, right? Anyway, long story short, we finally decided that she was constipated. Bad! Like it had possibly been 5 or 6 days since her last session. Holy cow! And though I keep a well stocked medicine cabinet in my camper, two things I do NOT stock are enemas or suppositories. So, bless Kevin’s heart, he gets up at 4:00 in the morning and heads out. There’s nothing open in Kamas, so he heads on to Park City. Then he can’t find anything open in Park City, so he heads back to Heber. Finally, he finds an open grocery store, makes his purchases and gets back close to 6am. By 7am Brinkley is feeling much better, he naps for an hour and then heads out to work. And me, of course I got to sleep until 11am! : )

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Balsamic Chicken Sandwich

Showing my sandwich with the works, Kev's minus tomato and the girls minus tomato and basil.
A lot of times when we camp I keep the meals really simple.  Last night, with this recipe, corn on the cob, swiss chard and watermelon, I think I outdid myself a little.  I clipped this out of some magazine in the spring.  It’s from Jessica Seinfeld, Jerry’s wife.  She said, “Once, on a trip to Italy, Jerry had a sandwich he loved so much that he didn’t stop talking about it for years.”  So she experimented and came up with this, which according to Jerry, hit it right on.  I figured that if it was good enough for Jerry, it would be good enough for me and Kev.  Kev gave it two thumbs and I thought it was great too.  I’ll post the recipe as is, then tell how I changed it.
Balsamic Chicken Sandwich
2 lb boneless, skinless chicken beasts, cubed
½ t. salt
½ t. pepper
¼ c. whole wheat flour
3 T. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
½ c. balsamic vinegar (must be balsamic)
6 T. firmly packed dark-brown sugar
½ c. broccoli puree (**see recipe below)
6 Ciabetta rolls
6 large tomato slices
½ cup grated mozzarella
Fresh Basil
  1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Spread flour on a sheet of waxed paper.  Toss chicken chunks in flour to coat completely.  Preheat oven to 350’F.
  2. Warm oil in a large skillet over medium-high.  Add chicken and garlic.  Lower heat to medium and continue to cook until chicken begins to brown and garlic becomes fragrant, 8-10 minutes. 
  3. Add chicken broth, vinegar and brown sugar.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.  Add puree and cook 2-3 more minutes until flavors are blended.
  4. Place rolls on a large baking sheet.  Top each of the 6 bottom halves with tomato slice and fresh basil.  Divide chicken among them and sprinkle with mozzarella.  Bake until cheese is melted and edges of the rolls are crisp, 5-7 minutes.  Serve immediately.
This is what I did differently:  I halved the recipe, which made 4 sandwiches.  I used regular flour instead of whole wheat, and I used Bolillios Rolls instead of Ciabatta.   I asked Kev to stop by Walmart and pick rolls up for me and this is what he came home with.  They worked great.  I also used mozzarella slices instead of grated.  And I highly encourage you to not scrimp on the fresh basil leaves.  They were yummo!

**For Broccoli Puree:  Steam frozen or fresh florets until tender but still bright green.  Puree in food processor or blender, about 2minutes.  If needed, add a few teaspoons of water for a smooth, creamy texture.

Neighbors - The Good and the Bad of It

When we got here on Sunday, we decided to choose a camp spot by the river. We’ve never camped over on this side of the campground before. In years past, the girls were too little and camping by the water made me nervous. Mostly though, it’s a space issue. Some of these campers don’t mind being packed in like sardines. They just need a spot for their satellite dish and they’re all set. They don’t venture outside much anyway.

Me, I like a little space. I have a dog. My girls want to play outside and we like to eat at the picnic table without another camper 4 feet away watching our every move. There is only 1 spot by the river with any lawn space and on Sunday it was open, so we took it. I figured the sound of the river might drown out other noises, and it has. I think Kevin has slept better.

Well, on Monday a big old 5th wheel decided they wanted the spot right in front of us. Great. We’re happy to have neighbors. As they’re pulling in I noticed that they are really hugging the edge of their site (the edge between us and them). Their wheels are practically on the grass, but they aren’t, and I don’t really blame them for wanting to maximize their spot. That is, until they crank out their 3 ½ foot tip out. And this is what we end up with. They are now 3 ½ feet into our site, practically touching our camp chairs and fire pit. Well, speaking of fire, I was fired up. How rude is that? Of course I didn’t say anything, and really, we still have plenty of space, but I still think it’s totally rude and they should be ashamed! I don’t know about ashamed, but they ARE going to be sad when we fire that pit up and all the smoke goes right in their windows. Ha!!

I have to put in a little note about the neighbors who were behind us when we pulled in. It was 2 old ladies (lesbians? no, I think just sisters) and their dog. The moment we pulled in they brought over a small camping chair and gave it to Lily. They said they had just bought it for their chihuahua (hee hee), but he won't sit in it. Then, Tuesday, they brought over 2 card games, that they owned, but never played for the girls, plus 2 bags of candy, and some gourmet dog treats that their dog won't eat. How sweet is that? Bless their hearts! We were sad to see them pull out.