I realise that this post is overdue, but I wasn’t eager to admit defeat to the public. I was so excited about our camping trip, and I so badly wanted it to go well. I had spent days making lists of what we would need, and carefully packing. I managed to fold our clothes so carefully and meticulously that I fit clothes for the three of us in one small duffle bag, I was so proud of myself. When my husband got home the car was completely packed, with the exception of his fishing poles, so we were on our way by 6:00. It took us about an hour to find the campground, so we were setting up by 7:00. The tent was pretty straightforward, so my husband put it up pretty quickly while my son and I gathered sticks for the fire. I had forgotten the pump for the air mattresses, but our neighbors were kind enough to let us use theirs. While my husband struggled to get the fire going I got our mattresses arranged in the tent and made our beds. I also pulled out some chips for us all to snack on while we waited for the fire to get hot enough to cook our hotdogs. By the time the food was ready it was dark. I’ve been in the city so long, that I had forgotten how thick the darkness was. Even here in little St Augustine the glow of the city lights is always hovering on the horizon. Thankfully, my husband had the foresight to bring a flashlight or we all would have been stumbling around in the blackness that was our campground. We never managed to get our firing burning strong enough to provide much light, and while we were eating our hotdogs it burnt itself out. Our tent was smaller than we anticipated too. Our air mattresses filled the entire space of the tent. Not that we need a ton of space, but the lack of space meant that we were on a mattress as soon as we entered the tent, which made changing clothes a little difficult. And it was HOT! I couldn’t believe how hot it was even after the sun went down. After eating and changing clothes we as sat around our picnic table in the darness. I was fully aware that the night was a bust, but I was looking forward to the morning when my husband and son could go fishing and we could go for walks around the area, as checkout wasn’t until 1:00. But the day of working followed by manual labor, blinding darkness, and oppressive heat was too much for my husband. At 9:00 he announced that he wanted to go home. I couldn’t believe it. Our tent was up, our beds were made, the site was paid for. We’d been planning for this trip all week long, but I knew he was exhausted and hot, so after a few minutes of discussion I asked my son if he wanted to stay or go. He wanted to go too, so we turned the car headlights on and packed up. Our camping trip was not so much an affordable getaway as it was an expensive test drive. We did manage to salvage our day off together by driving down A1A to a small beach that had a nice sized current of water left over from the high tide, so my son was able to play and swim without worrying about any big waves or a strong currents.
The week continued to improve as I was reminded of the joy of ‘peasant food’. While searching the internet for some ideas on what to make for dinner I stumbled onto Chicken ALa King. When I expressed interest in it, my husband described it as poor food. That peaked my interest even more because so often the food that has been created by those who have nothing tastes the best. In fact, one of my favorite dishes growing up was something that could be made almost entirely from food that comes from a can, but that’s for another blog.
My Chicken ALa King is the easiest possible recipe:
1can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cans of white meat chicken
1 can mixed vegetables
1 cup of milk
Pour ingredients into saute pan. Cook over medium heat till bubbling, stirring often. Lower heat and let simmer for another 5 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over rice.
Easy huh? It was tasty too. I love those dishes that satisfy the whole family and cost next to nothing. That’s as pleasantly poor as it gets.
I also ventured into the world of homemade laundry detergent this week. Sunday is my laundry day, and when I walked into the laundry room to start my first load I discovered that I only had enough detergent for two loads. We’re a little tight on money right now, so I didn’t relish the idea of having to buy more detergent just then, but it’s definitely a necessity. Rather than heading out and buying the cheapest detergent I could find, I Googled homemade laundry detergent and found several good recipes, but the quickest, easiest, and therefore, my favorite, came from none other than my go to DIY site, One Good Thing By Jillee.
Her recipe called for:
3 tablespoons washing soda
3 tablespoons borax
2 tablespoons dish soap (she use Dawn, but I chose Mrs. Myers natural, cruel free dish soap)
4 cups of hot water
Put the washing soda, borax, and dish soap into a gallon container of your choice (I used an empty gallon milk jug and an empty bottle of laundry detergent ). Add 4 cups hot water and shake the container until everything is mixed well, fill the jug the rest of the way with cold water. For just over $5 I now have two gallons of detergent, with plenty of ingredients left over to make more. So far it’s working nicely. The real test will come when I wash my husband’s work clothes I’ll keep you posted.