Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Camping at the New River

Robert and the kids camped at the New River for the third year in a row. They joined the Ifjus, Cooleys, and Cranwells for five days in The Pit (officially - the River Room!) at the Junction campground from August 14-18. Cortney had a race weekend and then started work Monday so she was a bit of a drop in, doing a bit of meal and coffee delivery too.

There was a bit of rain each day, but that seemed not to dampen the spirits. I asked the kids to write up their thoughts on the trip.


What I did on my new river camping trip.
  • Build the whirlpool
  • Iron Chef New River: Popcorn Cook off
  • I played in the mud
  • I went tubing
  • I swam in the currents
  • I made river roast
  • I learned how to play volleyball correctly
  • I went down the rapids
  • Overall I had a great time
Of all the things I did at my camping trip, I have selected two to talk about.

The first event I would like to talk about was the Iron Chef New River: Popcorn. The competition consisted of three sub-events, the first of which was kettle corn. I mixed popcorn, sugar and olive oil together to make my popcorn. Before cooking it, the concoction smelled of sugary, sweet, kettle corn and tasted as if made by a professional. I made a tinfoil pan on with I cooked it. I let each kernel pop and let the others burn. BIG MISTAKE! Long story short, 5/5 on presentation, 5/5 on originality an 2/10 on taste. Round two: Original popcorn. I mixed salt and olive oil and put that on my popcorn: Result: FAILURE! As of stage three, I did well. I tied for first. I used butter, all purpose seasoning and sugar.

I also built on our whirlpool. Some people altered our design completely so we had to rebuild it. Basically, the entrance was blocked and the top was ruined. I learned how to pick up rocks correctly and where to put the rocks. The whirlpool was much enjoyed and on Monday night, we lit a fire out there.


I liked camping.
I had pork and turkey. We cooked it in the river.
We also had Iron chef Popcorn, I made movie mix popcorn.
The best was Daniella’s cheddar cheese popcorn…in my opinion!
We also continued the whirlpool “tradition”!
Someone blocked off the entrance of the whirlpool so we fixed that!

Marcella, Georgia, Keely, Grant, Daniella, and Spencer

The MIRV was Peter's idea. He can't camp without having some kind of project involved!! He's very creative and MIRV was this year's excitement! Here's what Peter had to say about it in an email prior to the trip:
I have this craving to roast huge chunks of meat. I made a poor man’s slow cooker out of a plywood box and a piece of metal roofing. I plan on cooking some beef ribs and other chunks for 8-10 hours starting on Sunday morning. John says he’s going to bring a pork loin. I may throw a small turkey in it also. The box will be lined with aluminum foil and the sheet metal acts as a lid. You just burn charcoal on top of the sheet metal lid and the heat radiates into the box. I built it last night and plan to calibrate it tonight to make sure the temp is in the right range and the new plywood smell gets cooked out. I think I’ll call it MIRV (mobile indigestion rendering vehicle). It has legs, so theoretically we can do the cooking out on the river.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Munchie (1992-2010)

On August 16 we lost our beloved Munchie cat. I had him since he was a kitten. His mom, Raisin, was a stray, found living in my apartment's parking lot and sewer. I took her in and soon after she had a litter of kittens. All of the kittens found new homes and Munchie almost left too, but at the last minute I couldn't let him go. So he stayed and we enjoyed 18+ years with him.

Age had taken its toll on him in the last year, but he remained spry, able to jump to the kitchen counters, much to our dismay. We think he may have gotten a tad senile too, but he seemed about the happiest cat around. Lately we had been calling him "vulture kitty." If you left any food unattended for more than 4 seconds, it would likely be claimed by Munchie! Check him out eating corn on the cob not too long ago!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Drama Camp

Spencer and Grant participated in a four-week drama camp in which they write, create, and perform a play from scratch! Spencer did it last year, but he was the only veteran in the group of 11 children. The third-grade teacher, Alicia Lloyd, runs this amazing program. The gist of the play is that a group of people were supposed to go through a black hole, but because of a delay, it was a white hole, resulting in them aging 60 years. The play is about restoring their youth and is full of imagination (and requires much imagination to watch as well!)

Below are some photos and video excerpts.

Duet with Spencer and Vivian

Grant (Burrito) and Spencer (Prof Taco Butler)

Grandparent visit!

These posts are very out of order as I play catch-up, but last weekend Ted and Donna came down to check out the play that Spencer and Grant were in that was a culmination of a four week drama camp. We enjoyed dinner at BCC and also a quarry swim!

Spencer diving down-down-down

Claytor Lake

We spent the day at Claytor Lake State Park, about a 25 minute drive from the house. They have a nice swimming area, but one side of it was like a huge terrarium with body-grabbing bushes growing up from the bottom. Spencer made the most of it and then involved Grant.

Steppin' Out - Karate Demo, Hula Hooping

The Blacksburg Martial Arts program where Grant is a Karate student, had an exhibition as part of Steppin' Out. He was asked if he would be willing to break a board. He accepted, without hesitation, despite the fact that he only broke a board one other time and it was last winter! He did a quick break in practice, then the real thing in the exhibition. There's a video of the board breaking at the bottom of this post...

The kids with their sensei, Dax

Getting reading before the exhibition. What in the world is Grant doing here??

Grant spent hours, literally HOURS, in the hula hoop area of the festival. They had dozens of hoops of all sizes to play with. Grant has always had a knack for hoopin' and even bought one to have at home. There is no comparison to the cheapie big box store hoops, this one is indestructible!

Steppin' Out - Draper Mile

At the start of the race...

This weekend was the 30th anniversary of our town's Steppin' Out festival, which is a terrific event with multiple stages for music and community acts, vendors, and much eating/drinking! We had great weather and made the most of it. The kids started off by running the famous Draper Mile race, which starts at the top of Draper and is largely downhill right into the heart of Steppin' Out.

Grant ran the mile in 7:36, Spencer in 8:26...nice work for both! Here they are with Shannon Price who is a good friend and an ultramarathoner who runs 100 mile races, but threw in the 1 miler for fun!