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Baby Shower Time!

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of helping out with a super special baby shower. One of the little girls I used to babysit, is having a baby! (insert sobbing) The years need to stop flying by. Seriously!

It was a blast coming up with ideas for her “Woodland” themed party. She had it it in the woods located on the grounds of her family’s horse ranch in South Lyon, Michigan. Very picturesque and very freezing! Ha! October is an unpredictable month here in Michigan. Thank goodness we had a huge bonfire to keep us warm!

Here is a picture of the sweet table we did for her event…

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We did the toadstool cupcakes and designed the table. The background is a section of old fence that we attached to posts and secured into the ground. The picnic table was one that the ranch had just sitting around.  Isn’t it just gloriously weathered?!  We hung decorative fans onto a length of jute with clothes pins. The little decorative sign was made by modpodging letters that we cut out onto a canvas and hung in the center. The tiered glass trays were made from lovely vintage thrift store finds. And of course, we love beautiful cake plates. It’s very hard for me to not purchase every single one that I see!

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Just drilling stuff!

Anyway, here are a few more fun shots.

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My little bluebird of happiness goes to all my events with me!

Thank you, sweet Katelin for having me be a part of a precious day.  Your little one is going to be a little Prince, and I cannot wait to meet him, smush him, and feed him sugar behind your back! Ha! Love you!

Hi everyone!  I got all my licenses and classes and tests all DONE!  Hip hip hooray!  I can now bake for you and your events and we can all be confident that nothing will cause you bodily harm.  Of course I say this with a slight (hearty) laugh because, I did not learn anything all that new.  The biggest point that was gone over and over and over is “WASH YOUR HANDS”.  Um. Who is not doing this? I’ts like all the commercials for toilet paper… Who is not buying this product? haha! Anyway, rest assured that I am washing my hands AT ALL TIMES. If you call me, I will not be able to answer because my hands will literally be covered in suds. Leave me a message, I’ll listen to it, and then go wash my hands before I call you back. We are GOOD. :)

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So I am working out of a FABULOUS commercial kitchen in Plymouth called Proud Mitten. I love it here. It’s huge and gorgeous and it has a walk in oven! Woah! I share space with some seriously talented people and it always smells delicious!

Check them out at http://www.proudmittenkitchen.com/

Last week, I had my FIRST food event. Eek! Exciting! I was invited to the gorgeous and stylish “Beauty Haven” in downtown Plymouth, to participate in the Plymouth Ladies Night event. Beauty Haven is lovely and welcoming spa that offers sublime beauty treatments and top of the line products. Heidi, the owner, is so kind and beautiful too.

Check them out at http://www.yourbeautyhaven.com/

For this event, I made items for sample and items for sale. For sample, I did Vanilla Marshmallows spiked with peppermint essential oil. I had not used essential oil for marshmallows before and so my first batch was an experiment. It was terrible! It tasted like peppermint toothpaste. I was impressed! Essential oils pack QUITE a punch. I have used lemon, lavender, and orange before but not in food that was such a blank canvas like marshmallows. Needless to say, I made the peppermint batch over again, this time with far less essential oil. They were great! The ladies who came through the spa, really liked them.

For sale, I made Toasted Coconut Marshmallows. These are delicious little fluffy pillows of sugar topped and bottomed with nutty, fragrant, toasted organic coconut. So many people are surprised when they bite into a homemade marshmallow. They are so much better than the ones you buy in the bag. However, bagged marshmallows have their place. I wouldn’t dream of making krispy cereal treats without them.

Part of what I do with my business, is to set up displays or Sweet Tables. I wanted to showcase that a bit as well. Here are some pics of my set up at the event.

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I wanted to create a display that said “I bake, but I also design” and I hope it was a success! I have several upcoming events and I can’t wait to share them with you!

For orders, please contact me on my facebook page at facebook.com/bluebirdsnest

Thanks! Have a SWEET day!

Love,

Meagan

Hi All!  Just thought I’d post a quick and easy yet impressive dinner that I pulled together the other night.  It’s a lovely roast chicken that you could serve on a Sunday to company but also makes a week night meal really special.  The tomato side dish was almost too easy to consider a recipe but what the heck… It was in Ina Garten’s cookbook so it has to be good!

 

The organic, locally raised, antibiotic free chicken came to us courtesy of Bluebird Meadows Farm which just happens to be the home sweet home of Mark, Trish, Nolan, and Wesley Vermeer!  Also known as my bro and sis in law and nephews!  Trish is a fabulous lady and you can check out her blog at www.wagonwheelsandhighheels.blogspot.com   For this meal you will need:

 

One 5-6lb whole chicken
4 large cloves of garlic minced
One stick softened butter
Olive Oil (1 or 2 tbsp.)
3 tbsp. fresh minced parsley
2 tbsp. fresh minced basil
App. 30 sprigs of fresh thyme
half a lemon
2 large onions quartered
10 carrots peeled and cut into app. 2 inch pieces
Kitchen twine
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 425. In a 9×13 baking dish place onions (except for 1 or 2 quarters), carrots, and half the sprigs of thyme. Drizzle with olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Set aside. In a bowl, combine the butter, garlic and herbs with small spatula until well mixed. Generously salt and pepper the inside cavity and outside of the chicken. Fill the cavity with the lemon, onion, and remaining thyme sprigs.

Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. With your fingers, gently separate the chicken skin from the meat creating pockets. Do this at the breasts and also along the back or “top” of the bird. Using your spatula, scoop out some of the butter mixture and stuff it into the pockets so it’s directly against the meat. Massage it in. Place the chicken on top of the carrots and onions. Spread the rest of the butter all over the chicken.

Roast for 1 1/2 hours or so until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through.

Serve on a platter surrounded by the roasted vegetables.

For the Tomato Salad:

5-7 Heirloom Tomatoes of different colors
7-10 Cherry or grape tomatoes
Blue cheese Crumbles
Salt and Pepper
Blue Cheese dressing
Fresh basil cut into a chiffonade (app. 12 leaves)

Cut the tomatoes into thick slices and arrange them nicely on your plate. Strew the blue cheese crumbles all over the tomatoes. Top with blue cheese dressing but not too much. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stack the basil leaves and then roll them up into a little cigar shape. Slice the cigar thinly so the basil is in little strips. Sprinkle over the top.

I also made some yellow rice to accompany the chicken and I think it was perfect. A side of buttered noodles would have been nice as well. Enjoy this meal soon!

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Love,

Meagan

Michigan has some sweet little towns… I’ve been meaning to blog about Fenton for a while now. I’ve been saving all these pictures and I decided you need to know about them now!

So here is downtown Fenton. I love cute little store fronts and brick buildings… It makes me feel like I’m in another time. Maybe even the time I would have lived in if I could pick.

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We walked around and stopped at 2 gorgeous antique stores and vintage store with beautiful chandeliers and funky clothes. Take a look!

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Next we headed to the Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. It is SO GORGEOUS here. We met the owner and his wife who started the whole thing as a place to have their sons wedding. It morphed into acres of trees and flowers, fairy gardens, green houses, and even a beautiful store full of magical home décor, candles, and specialty jams. Here is a little bit of the splendor… I’ll never quite do it justice!

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If you ever have the chance, please visit this gem! They also have classes and events you can check out as well. Visit their website at http://www.heavenlyscentherbfarm.com

We loved our Fenton Fun Day! Can’t wait to visit again soon. Wanna go?

Love,

Meagan

Amy’s 21st Birthday

So my little sister Amy is now 21… It’s fine. I’m just very very old now. Rather than weep bitter tears into my keyboard, I will just tell you about the day and take my mind off things.

Her birthday was Sunday so we started it off by attending Northridge Church. I didn’t take any pictures of that because we were late and it would have been weird. After church, Amy, myself, our mom and friend Kenzie headed to Ann Arbor to do brunch.

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Zola’s is an adorbs café that serves crazy good and unique cuisine and a large array of specialty teas. We ordered Russian Tea while perusing the menu.

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The Russian Tea was a traditional English Breakfast Tea but instead of cream and sugar, you stir in cherry preserves and some lemon. I still added sugar…. shh! My mom and I both ordered Turkish Eggs, Amy ordered Heideye’s Breakfast, and Kenzie got the Smoked Salmon Platter. Um. Yum!

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After brunch, we walked around town a bit. We made a stop at The Literati Bookstore. So cute. I loved the chalkboard art that defined each section. Check out the Nancy Drew collection…. My childhood was calling! Amy is an English major so she loves all them book thingys… ;)

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We also happened upon this little Antique Shop. It was super pricey but cute. I’m a sucker for any kind of vintage cat. I just can’t apologize for it.

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We also scoped out a record store where I almost bought a Ray LaMontagne album but decided I should get a record player first. Amy and Kenzie went to Urban Outfitters where I saw nothing I liked lol… but when we stopped by a cute vintage clothing store, I found a shirt for my fireman. :) Yay!

Later that night the whole family went to The Sardine Room for dinner followed by cake and gifts for the birthday gal! Happy Birthday, Amy! You are loved. xo

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“She knows just where I dream to go, remembers where I’ve been.
Accepts me just the way I am and treats me like a friend.
She’s someone who is there for me, no matter what or when.
And every time I’m with her, it’s like coming home again.” -Author Unknown

Love,

Meagan

Our trip started with a sleepy baby bear in the backseat…. He’s sorta adorable.

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Here are his parents! It was about a 3.5 hour drive from our house. Not too bad when you have a bag of snacks and candy and the baby has a dvd player :) Ah technology… you are a life saver!

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When we arrived, we set up Gertrude (our camper) and our campsite had to get gussied up too. I’m still workin on it, but for now I just have flamingos, a rug, flower pots, and lights. I feel like it leaves a lot to be desired but it’s cute in a minimalist sort of way…

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And here are a few pictures of the inside. Excuse the mess. It happens when you’re living out of a tin can in the middle of a grassy field….

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We met up with my husband’s side of the family(Grandma Penny, Uncle James, Auntie Nette and Uncle Matt, Auntie Trish and Uncle Mark, Nolan and Wesley) which was nice because we don’t see them as much as we’d like to. Bentley had a great time playing with his cousins Nolan and Wesley. They are a lot older than him (10 and 7) but they paid attention to him and carted him around the campground and Bentley loved it.

Instead of joining the gang for hiking, we took the opportunity to explore the neighboring town of Gaylord, MI. It’s so cute and fun.

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We visited a yard sale, 2 resale shops, and a salvation army before heading to “The Bearded Dog” for lunch. It was gorgeous and the food (and the martini… whoops…. it’s vacation…) were awesome!

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This was a sweet little antique shop…

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That evening, we all reunited for a group dinner and smores around the campfire! I would say it was a glamping success. Hartwick Pines, we loved visiting you… glamp again soon! Bye!

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Love,

Meagan

So, I didn’t document the Halloween thru Christmas festivities as well as I’d planned, but I hear that’s what having a 1-year-old does to you. Here is an unorganized look at some “stuff” from our holiday season!

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Bentley had a blast playing in his first ever pile of leaves!

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This was my fall table and chandelier.  I LOVE decorating for each season.

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This photo was taken on Halloween just before Bentley went outside, fell, and cut his nose and lip… Poor baby!  Honey Child (our dog) went as a dinosaur.

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During the fall season I made these delicious treats!  Home made Marshmallows (Ina Gartens recipe), An apple tart in puff pastry (based on a Kelsey Nixon recipe), and White Chocolate Bark (also one of Ina’s)  They were all AWESOME!  The marshmallows are easy and so delish.  If you make them once, you’ll want to make them forever!  Get the recipes:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/homemade-marshmallows-recipe/index.html  AND http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/white-chocolate-bark-recipe2/index.html  AND  http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/kelsey-nixon/honey-glazed-apple-pear-tart-recipe/index.html  I hope you love them as much as we do!

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These are pictures from Bentley’s FIRST BIRTHDAY!  It was a cowboy themed party at Victory Ranch in Northville.  It was so much fun…. I can’t believe my sweet baby is a year old… wow….

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Somewhere along the way, I went dark!  This is my natural color.  I miss the blonde, but my wallet sure doesn’t… haha.  Brunettes have more fun because they have extra money ;)

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Christmas time in our nest began with this Refrigerator Snowman!  His name is Chilly Willy.  It’s his Christian name.  He’s made of construction paper and scotch tape.  Next year, I hope to make him out of felt and magnets.  He’s so darn cute!

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I made Nigella Lawson’s recipe for Gingerbread.  It’s AMAZING! You can find it here http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/nigella-lawson/guinness-gingerbread-recipe/index.html  I purchased mini fake evergreens and vintage plastic deer figurines on etsy and stuck them all over the bread.  Then I made it “snow” with some powdered sugar!  Kids LOVE to help put the deer on and its so cute when its done.

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Bentley visited with Santa, but he wasn’t so sure it was a good idea… I think we got his picture just in time to avoid some tears.

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Bentley got his first haircut!  A  fohawk just like Daddy… :)  My boys are too cute.

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Here is a centerpiece I put together for my mother in law’s table.  The bowl came from IKEA and I just filled it up with random Christmas bulbs.  Simple and lovely!

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A shot of our Christmas dining room.  I printed out the letters for my Merry Christmas banner from here: http://www.shanty-2-chic.com/  It’s an amazing DIY website that offers FREE printable banners and an entire banner alphabet.  I printed out my letters and then I taped them onto brown paper lunch bags that I had cut open and spread flat.  then I cut a border around each letter.  I clothes pinned the letters to some lines of jute that I bought at a hardware store and tied them to the back of the mirror.  Boom.  Merry Christmas!

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Night time shot :)

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Tree #2 is in our living room.  My fireman calls this the “Christmas Throw Up Tree”…. He’s just jealous of my vast ornament collection that spans almost 3 decades… I’m not 30 yet ;)

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Look who I found sneaking behind the tree…

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Christmas shopping with my little copilot!

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Christmas card picture!  Thanks Auntie Jeanette and Uncle Matt!

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Great Grammy and Great Poppy got Bentley some singing snowmen and a saxophone playing Santa.  To say he enjoyed them would be a gross understatement….  To say I enjoyed them after the hundredth time they were played would also be a gross understatement…

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My fireman had to work on Christmas… so baby and I (and Grandpa, and Great Poppy, and Uncle Joel) went to visit him.  Someone was asleep by the time we got there :)  Daddy carried him around and showed him off.

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I fell in love with the firehouse vintage Santa who stands between the truck and the engine… Sorry husband…

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One of my beautiful gifts from my love…. a ruby heart.

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I hope to spend more nights in front of this fire… after the hectic pace, I need to relax for a few!  I hope you had a beautiful and meaningful holiday season.  Happy Halloween, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!  (the Mayans were wrong… bring it on 2013!!)

Love,

Meagan

Magic Cobbler

This cobbler is magic in more ways than one. Not only does it taste like something not from this world, but it comes together the right way when you seemingly put it together the wrong way! Maaaaagicallllll…….

This is my grandmother’s recipe for all her cobblers and pretty much any fruit can be substituted for another. Well, except watermelon…or tomatoes… or a combo of the two. Bleck… The magic in this cobbler comes from the odd way you layer the ingredients. One may think that you should pour the topping over the top…. one may however be wrong. In this magical fantasy cobbler, you put the topping on the bottom and it rises to the top all by itself! ….magic…. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself you big bully! You’ll see! And I am not a sissy! Don’t pull my hair! I’m telling!!!!

For this recipe you will need:

1 stick of butter

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 cup milk

Desired Fruit (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, apples, etc.)

1/2 cup fairy dust (optional)

Begin by pouring the stick of melted butter in a 9×13 pan.

Next, mix together the flour, sugar, and baking powder until well combined.

Add the milk and mix well.

Next, pour the batter over the melted butter but DO NOT STIR.  I freaking mean it.  Don’t do it.

Then you can tumble your fruit over all that.  You want enough to cover the surface of the mix.  I’d say maybe 2 1/2 to 3 cups-ish?  Whatever looks good to you.  Then go ahead and sprinkle some sugar over the fruit.  About a tablespoon I’d say.

Then you stick it in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and delicious.

See?!  I told you!  Mom says you owe me an apology!

Enjoy this!  Make it today!

Love,

Meagan

Bacon Sprouts

So… I like bacon. I have a crush on it. I want to marry it. Too much? Sorry. I think everyone pretty much shares my feelings though. Am I right? Of course I am. However… can the same be said for brussel sprouts? The poor little baby cabbage who is repeatedly scorned and fed to the family dog under the table… (cue the sad music) If I could, I would hold a stalk of innocent brussel sprouts in my arms while a single tear rolled down my cheek and softly whisper “It’s going to be alright… I’m going to cover you in bacon and present you to the masses!”. Then I would walk over to the open window and scream at the top of my lungs “brussel sprouts will triumph!”… Then the men in white coats would come and return me to my cell, but not before I shared with you, the secret recipe for… bacon sprouts. Deal with what just happened…

For this recipe, you will need:
1 lb fresh brussel sprouts
8 slices of bacon
1 clove of freshly grated garlic
salt
pepper

First you want to remove the tough outer leaves of the sprouts and slice them thinly into shreds. Think coleslaw size.

Next, chop up the bacon and render it in a skillet. Stick your face over the pan and get a bacon facial. Don’t apologize later when your husband tells you that your face smells curiously like bacon.

Remove the crisped bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and set it aside on paper towels to drain. Pour off all but about a tablespoon of bacon drippings and add the brussel sprouts. While they saute, add salt, pepper, and the grated clove of garlic. Cook until tender.

Serve the sprouts with the fairy dust bacon sprinkled magically on top. Call someone who has wronged you and tell them you forgive them. Trust me… it’s that good.

I love you. So much man… Seriously.

Love,
Meagan

Glamping Trip 2012

As many of you know, I have always considered myself “in-doorsy” and my favorite kind of camping is the kind where I don’t go. I wasn’t raised in a camping family. In my house growing up, camping was definitely not a vacation… it was work! Then I grew up and got married. Once I was married I realized…. I married a CAMPER! Not only did he like/love to camp, but his whole family camped! Even his family’s extended family camped. And just when I thought everyone who loved camping was accounted for, I was told their DOGS camped too… I realized I was screwed. Camping was in my future and I could either like it or love it. Goodbye nice hotels with room service and cable tv, goodbye quaint towns filled with antique stores and restaurants, goodbye exciting night life and champagne in the jacuzzi…. Hello woods, and dirt, and bugs, and man-eating predators.

Since I knew I had to go camping, I tried to think of a way that I could make everyone happy including myself… there was only one solution… GLAMPING! Glamorous camping! I scoured the internet for a small vintage camper in need of some TLC and lo and behold… I found one! A little 60’s number that we rehabbed and affectionateely named “Gertrude”. I think every vintage camper should have a vintage name. I found that the more love I put into Gertrude, the more excited I was about camping… and my husband definitely appreciated my new outlook. Nobody wants to camp with somebody grumpy. It’s part of the camping code. I know about the code now becasue I’m cool like that.

In July 2012, I took my second ever glamping trip. We went in 2010, then in 2011 I was quite pregnant with our first child, and this year I had no good excuse! Not that I really wanted one… It’s so nice to see everyone. Like I said, everyone in my husband’s world camps so we end up with quite a large group. We call our little group “Camp La-koh-ver-no-rill-et” which is a funny combination of all our last names. Every family takes turns cooking meals, the kids play, nature hikes are taken, swimmimg is a given, and every night there are smore’s and adult beverages around the campfire. I’ve come to enjoy camping because I love and enjoy the people I camp with… and it goes to show you, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, just have fun while you’re doing it. Here are some pictures of our trip!

Here is our little Gertrude all set up on our site! Isn’t she adorable?

This is our beautiful view. We were camping at Taqhuamenon Falls in the UP.

I see God’s artistry in nature…

You can’t glamp without plastic flamingos!

Another view of our cute site and papaer lanterns!

A view of the bathrooms… not totally hideous…. but it still makes a girl miss the Holiday Inn!

This is my sister in law’s glamper! Jenny the Jayco! Too cute… love it!

I believe this is a late 70’s or early 80’s model? She has it so cute inside and her family loves it. They use it a lot more than we use ours because they’re super duper campers!

Salmon on the fire. Yum! Wish I had some now…

Potatos and onions in a tin foil package. Wonderful!

Pizza Hobo Pies! I was a hobo pie novice, but they turned out great! Thanks for teaching me Trish!

My husband and I did an oatmeal bar for breakfast. Tons of toppings, hot oatmeal in a crockpot, bacon, toast, mimosas, coffee, and juice. Phew!

Bentley and daddy taking a break. My two great loves…

In the small neighboring town, there had been wild fires ripping through. This was painted on a store front window. My husband is part of a fire fighter family all around the world. I thank all of them for what they do everywhere…this was so nice to see.

Our lovely (and safe) nightly bonfire. I do love that smell…

I hope you enjoyed my glamping trip as much as I did. Are you a camper/glamper too? Where do you go? What do you do? I’d love to hear about it. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you back real soon.

Love,
Meagan

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