Monday, July 19, 2010

Urban Camping

This past weekend we decided to go camping with our friends, the Vreekens. Now, this wasn't what I will call "normal" camping...this was urban camping. After work on Friday, we drove 40 minutes from our apartment, set up camp and were roasting weiners before dark. McGrath State Beach is basically a spot of sand near the beach where they have set up about 100 campsites (all within about 20 feet of each other,) so this is not the type of wilderness where you wonder if you will be eaten by bears in the middle of the night. In fact, I had cell phone reception the entire time, slept on an aerobed and had access to a flushing toilet...practically a 4 star hotel! Bear Grylls would be ashamed of me. Keep in mind that most of my girl's camp experiences followed the "No tents allowed" rule, even in the rain. We slept under the stars on tarps and made lean tos when it rained. Hard core.

However, I must admit that urban camping was so so so much fun! We laughed all night, discovered that roasting corn on the cob in the fire only has a 25% success rate, ate some marvelous peach pineapple cobbler (if I do say so myself!) sang some tunes and lost a box of donuts to the ants.

The best part of camping, as everyone knows, is the s'mores. My parents brought Luke back a bag of the biggest marshmellows that I've ever seen from their trip to Utah. Luke calls them (and I quote,) "The best things that have ever been created." In order to create a successful s'more with these suckers, you need to use 2 full grahams (if they made mega grahams, that would be even better) and a full sized Hershey's chocolate bar. These s'mores are not for the weak. I came out of the experience with a couple of burned fingers, a pant leg smeared in mallow and a very sticky face, but well worth the battle....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

4th of July

This 4th of July, the Erickson clan gathered for an official chili cook-off and home made root beer contest. I scoured my recipe books and the Internet looking for the perfect chili recipe. Luke doesn't like soup or anything that even closely resembles soup, so I was determined to find something even he would enjoy. I finally decided using a tried and true Olson/Low family recipe that has been around since the sixties.

Saturday morning, my trusty sous chef and I started cooking...several pork chops, a flank steak, a few roasted anaheim chilis and 5 hours later, we knew we had a tasty concoction! (Even Luke liked it!) As for our root beer, it had been brewing under our bathroom sink for a few we were ready.

Sunday was the day of the big competition (with a very distinguished panel of unbiased judges.) Everyone had delicious entries and we had such a good time enjoying the company. And we even walked away with the win!

(We were awarded a 100 Grand candy bar...which as you might be able to see, did not make it home.)

The root beer on the other hand, was awful! But that didn't stop me from trying all of the entries, from Beer Mon to Sniper Hill. It was a hoot! Somehow, Luke and I also won the root beer contest. However, don't be fooled...I think the prize was "Least Worst Root Beer." I think next year, we may try our hands at home made Dr. Pepper...get ready!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I am definitely not a morning person. I literally have to drag myself out of bed at 7:30 or 8am. But ever since I switched my gym membership to MAC in Moorpark (cheaper and closer than 24 Hour Fitness, plus they have movie ticket discounts which sold Luke on the idea) I’ve been wanting to try some of their fitness classes. Last night I vowed I would go to bed early and wake up at 5:30 am for my first ever spin class. Unfortunately, I was so nervous/excited that I woke up every few hours for fear of sleeping in.

I made it to the gym and I must have had “newbie” written all over my face because the instructor came over and helped me adjust the bike. Despite the discomfort of the bike seat (and I thought I had a fair amount of padding back there!) it was a really fun, high paced class with great music. (Hello, hearing Eurhythmics makes the 5:30am rise totally worth it!) Even though I kept the tension pretty low, I sweat a ton and got a good workout. When it got tough, did I imagine that I was biking in the French Alps with Lance Armstrong? You betcha. When Justin Timberlake and Madonna were singing to me about how we only had 4 minutes to save the world, did I worry that the fate of the world rested on how fast I pedaled? Absolutely. According to the Internet, you can supposedly burn 500 calories in a spin class. This may just be the variety I’ve needed in my workout routine. Hopefully I won’t be too sore tomorrow!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Palm Springs/Mt. San Jacinto

Father's Day weekend I drove out to Palm Springs with my Dad to climb Mt. San Jacinto and spend time with my family. Saturday morning we took the 8am tram up to the trail. There were tons of other people hiking as well. Toward the top of the mountain there was still quite a bit of snow on the ground, which I am not a fan of. For some reason, the thought of slipping on the ice and sustaining a massive head injury on some rocks over 10,000 ft really freaks me out. Anyways, we made it to the top for a quick Kodak moment and headed down.

The reason I hike mountains is to climb them and conquer them. Once I've reached the top, I feel like my duty is done and therefore, my motivation to hike down is pretty low. My Dad had to put up with a pretty slow and extremely cranky hiking partner for the way down (sorry Dad!)

Though, after a shower and pastrami sandwich, I was in much better spirits.

On a side note, this trip was my first night away from Luke since we've been married. You'd think that sleeping without him for 24 years of my life would make this pretty simple, but I missed him terribly. Luckily my grandma was a good replacement on the pull-out couch!