Sunday, July 26, 2015

Summer Bucket List Week 8: Trip to Raleigh, Boys Book Club, and Camping

We started our week turning in our Summer Reading sheets at Barnes and Noble on Monday.  Each of the children were able to pick out a free book.

Chad had a half day conference in Raleigh on Tuesday.  Since it is 3 hours away, they let him get a room at the downtown Marriott Monday night.  At the last minute, the kids and I decided to join him. We drove down when Chad got off of work.  The trip wasn't on our original list, but still super fun. 

We were there less than 24 hours, but we had a fun time at Marbles Museum Tuesday, which has been on our bucket list for a few years.  Glad we finally made it there! And even better, it was free, since we have a pass to the Discovery Place! We played until lunchtime and then headed back home.

On Wednesday, I hosted our first Boys Only Book Club.  It definitely won't be our last!  I chose Sign of the Beaver.  All of our activities were inspired by the book. (Kind of like Mommy and Me Book Club, but with chapter books).  

We started with a fun Bingo Quiz.  I asked questions about the book and the answers were in squares of the Bingo Board.  The boys did were superb at remembering details of the book. 

The boys roasted marshmallows over a fire for S'mores.

We headed to one of the boy's home to shoot with bows and arrows, since our backyard is not a very safe place to shoot arrows.

We finished with free time to explore the forest together.  Next month we are reading The Phantom Toll Booth.  Any fun ideas?

Thursday we headed to Cascade Lakes for a wonderful camping trip.  I did a separate post about that activity.  But as Andrew said, camping is the highlight of his summer every year, and in his opinion, no bucket list would be complete without a trip to Pisgah National Forest. 

Camping at Cascade Lakes

We spent two nights and three wonderful days with these friends and their parents at Cascade Lakes in the Pisgah National Forest.  We have been friends with the Westbrooks for 16 years and the Campbells for 10 years, so my kids don't ever remember a time when these families were not a huge part of our lives.   The kids are as close as cousins to one another and I truly love them as much as I love my own wonderful nieces and nephews.  Aenea and Dodie are like sisters to me.  Truthfully, I am feeling a little melancholy today after leaving them.   I miss them so very much.

We arrived Thursday afternoon and set up camp.

While dinner cooked, the kiddos headed down to explore the lake with their friends and dad.


All three of my children came back soaked head to toe, cold, but happy.

I inaugurated my new dutch oven with a yummy chicken and bacon dinner and then we held our own version of "Will it Smore?" loosely based on our favorite web show, Good Mythical Morning.  The kids tried dozens of types of candies, chips, jerky, crackers, oreos, and chocolate doughnuts.  They had a good time.  I am not sure about everyone else, but my two boys went to bed with quite the tummy ache.  For the adults, we brought yummy German chocolates bars from Aldi.

The next morning, we headed to Sliding Rock.

The crowd was crazy there this year, so after about an hour, we headed over to Andrew's very favorite place on earth, Coon Creek Picnic area.  He joked and said that now when his friends' parents ask them if their friend jumped off of a cliff, would they, the friends would have to say YES!

We think this cliff is about 10 feet?

And that perhaps this one is about 6 feet?

The dads all jumped, too.

Unfortunately, this was the only picture I managed to capture of the many times that Chad jumped.  Oops!!!!

Ryan was an awesome cliff jumper.  He even managed to do some spinning as he jumped.

Molly would only jump if Andrew jumped with her and if Chad would catch her.

Andrew jumped off the highest cliff this year.  We would not let him before.   He is my thrill seeker.

We are estimating it is about 15 feet.

Funny side story.  I sat down on the beach next to a family. We started chatting.  I asked her where she was from.  She is from Indian Land. Her kids go to the same school as mine. She lives off of the same road as us!  She very sweetly let Molly play with this little raft in the river when she was done with jumping.  Such a small world.

The males of our family were all battered and bruised by the time we headed back to the camp ground to swim in the swimsuits this time.

Chad blew up our little inflatable boat.  The kids took turns going out across the lake.

Across the lake, they found a rope swing someone had built.

The next day, the rangers came and took it down and said we could not use it anymore, so we were glad that we took advantage of the chance on Friday. 

That evening, we roasted hot dogs and made three ingredient peach cobbler in the dutch oven.  For some reason, I didn't take any pictures after we got back from the lake.

In the morning we enjoyed a very leisurely breakfast and then broke down camp. 

We had a couple of hours left together after we all packed up our tents.  Some of the kids went fishing, while others went back to the lake to swim.  The camera went with Chad to the fishing dock.

My spirit was refreshed spending time with my friends who are also brothers and sisters in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I miss them more than words can express.  I am grateful that distance cannot weaken our bond.