Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Tree


As has been our tradition for the last several years, we took a drive out in the country to find and cut down a Christmas tree.  The tree farm that we’ve gone to for the last 12 years does not have any trees left, so I had to search the internet for a new farm to go to.  Live Christmas trees can be pretty expensive, and we were spoiled by having only paid $25 (regardless of height) for our tree in the past.  Luckily, I found another tree farm that was offering any size tree for $30, and they had frasier firs – my favorite tree!

The funny thing is, they never look that big standing out in the field . . . we found the perfect tree, and Nicolas got right to work cutting it down!


Tom got into the act, too, to make sure we had a nice straight cut!


Once we had it cut down, one of the guys from the farm loaded it onto the wagon, trimmed the bottom of the trunk, and drove us back to our truck.  They loaded it up for us, and we were off --  barely an hour for the entire process!

Back at home, Nicolas was anxious to get the tree into the house and set up!  We moved the living room furniture out of the way, and brought the tree in.  On the first try, the trunk didn’t get centered properly in the stand . . . so it had to come back down!  We figured we might as well shorten it up a little bit, while we had it back on the floor, giving it a little more clearance to the ceiling.

Attempt #2 went a little smoother . . . the 6 inches we took off the trunk actually seemed to make it lighter!  We got it set up, straight and centered in the stand . . . all ready to start the decorating!


Nicolas and Bryce will take care of that this week!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


Tom & I and the boys spent Thanksgiving with my family at my parents’ house – it was a cold & rainy day, but we had a nice time.  My brother, Donnie, did the majority of the cooking,


with some supervision!


The final product was beautiful . . . and delicious!


We enjoyed the full thanksgiving feast – turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, noodles, vegetables, salad . . . and more desserts than you can imagine!


The chocolate turkey tasted pretty good, too!

We weren’t planning on doing any “Black Friday” shopping, but looking through the ads at my Mom’s, we found that Best Buy had the Nook (which the boys are getting for me for Christmas) and the XBox with Kinect (which the boys want for Christmas) both as doorbusters on Friday morning.  So . . . we were there at 6 am, in line with a hundred other people . . . and managed to get both of them!  That was it for us, though – after a couple of minor stops to look at snowblowers, and at Kroger to pick up a ham for dinner – we were back home by 9:30.

After our mid-afternoon nap, Tom’s family came over for dinner, and we had a “leftovers buffet” along with the ham we picked up at Kroger.  Another delicious dinner!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Campground Review–Evergreen Park RV Resort–Mt. Eaton, OH


Dates we stayed here:  October 29 – November 2 (Friday – Tuesday)


The campground was celebrating Halloween this weekend, so it was full for the first two nights of our stay.  We called for a reservation about a month ahead of time, and were put on the waiting list (#1 on the list).  We got the call telling us that we had a site about 2 weeks later!

Location:  Mt. Eaton, OH

Evergreen Park RV Resort is located in the Amish countryside of mid-Ohio, near the quaint towns of Berlin, Sugarcreek and Walnut Creek. 


The RV Park is bordered by Amish farms – this was our neighbor to the north.


Our site:  #55

site 55

There are 87 sites, all big-rig friendly in length, and with decent separation between them, although some have issues with leveling.  It’s not very apparent from this picture, but our site was on an incline, front to back, and lower than the road.  This created an issue for us when it was time to hitch back up at the end of our stay.

empty sites

All of the sites are full hookup (30/50 amp), and both cable TV and wifi are free.  We had good luck with the wifi, and no problem with our Verizon phone signal either.  Each site has a picnic table and a firepit.

We paid $45 per night, which is a little high, but the facilities made it really worthwhile.

Amenities:  The campground has an office/store building, with a LARGE laundromat – and I do mean large!  There must have been 20+ washers and dryers (each!) in there, and a flat-screen TV for your viewing pleasure.  The laundry is open 24 hours with the code provided at check-in.


The park also offers a large recreation building which includes  the bathhouses – with separate, heated & cooled, individual shower rooms, each including a shower, toilet and sink (at least on the women’s side; my boys say they aren’t like that on the men’s side); a gameroom/exercise room with snack bar; and the indoor pool and hot tub.  It was really convenient to bring warm clothes to the pool with us in the evenings, and go straight to the showers when we finished swimming.  The showers were warm & toasty – I think they must have radiant heat, because even the floor was warm!

pool building

The pool and hot tub are both very clean, and the entire pool area is very attractive.  Both are open until 10pm Sun – Thurs; 11pm Fri-Sat.  The pool is only open to campers, accessible with a keypad code that you are given at check-in.


hot tub

Surrounding the pool building, there is a shuffleboard court,


a playground, basketball court and a large pavilion with built-in grills.  The park also offers rental cabins


and another small pavilion attached to the maintenance shed.  There is also a coin-operated doggy wash, which we did not try out (too cold!).

Our overall impression:  We really enjoyed our stay here.  The facilities are great, and all of the staff that we met were really nice!  The location is perfect for exploring all of the Amish towns nearby – the resort is well outside of the congested area around Berlin, but plenty close enough for visiting!  If we return to this area, we’d definitely stay here again.  We will, however, be more careful in selecting a site and positioning the RV so that it’s level and not so difficult to hitch back up.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Amish Countryside

This is an area of the country where EVERYTHING is still closed on Sunday, so after going to mass in nearby Navarre and a quick trip to Walmart in Massilon, we spent the rest of the day relaxing at the RV Park.  We caught up on all of the Halloween/Michael Myers movies during the “Fear Fest” on AMC, and then went over to the pool for a swim, before spending the evening around a toasty campfire.

Monday was our last full day, so after a breakfast of pancakes and sausage, the kids got their schoolwork done and we headed out for a drive around noon.  As we drove from small town to small town, we saw lots of beautiful Amish countryside,

view from Walnut Creek

and quite a few gorgeous horses.

amish horse

These guys look like they are waiting in line for dinner to be served!

amish team

We did some shopping, picking up some Christmas presents, but it seems like most of what we came home with was food!!

In Sugarcreek, we saw the world’s largest cuckoo clock (in the process of being restored) – officially; it’s in the Guinness Book!

cuckoo clock_1

This is what it’s supposed to look like when it’s done.

cuckoo clock_2

From Sugarcreek, we drove across a little country road, through Amish farms, to Charm.  Along the way, we saw Amish farms up close, and passed may buggies on the winding, twisting road.  At one point, there was a beautiful team of Belgians, still hitched up to a piece of farm equipment outside a barn, but Tom couldn’t slow down for me to get a picture because somebody was right on our back bumper.

Our (my) destination in Charm was this quilt shop,

Miller Dry Goods_Charm

Miller’s Dry Goods, that my sisters had told me about.  It was really nice, but we arrived about 45 minutes before closing, so I didn’t have a lot of time for shopping – I picked up a few things, though! 

The previous owner of the shop, Mrs. Miller, had passed away a few years ago, so her former home has been converted to a rental cottage. 

covered bridge in Charm

It’s a really cute place, and if we didn’t have our own home with us, we might like staying there.

By the time we reached Berlin, the largest and most touristy of all the little towns around here, it was 5pm, and all the shops were closed.  We didn’t mind, though, we had seen enough and were ready for dinner.  We had eaten the customary “Amish meal” on Friday, so tonight we opted for something different, and tried the Berlin Hickory Smokehouse.  It was REALLY good – the boys had pulled pork, Tom had brisket, and I had a ribeye . . . all delicious, and we were stuffed!

Back at the camper by 7pm, Tom and I sat out by the fire for a bit – until it got too cold – and then retreated into the RV to watch TV with the boys.  Tomorrow morning we pack it up and head home, and then we’ll put the RV away for the winter before Tom leaves for Denver on Wednesday. 

We got in 7 camping trips this year – and four of those were for a full week; the rest long weekends – not too bad – we enjoyed all of them, and are looking forward to getting out even more very soon!  Just have to sell the house!  In the meantime, we’ll hunker down and enjoy one more Michigan winter . . . the weatherman is calling for a chance of snow on Friday – I hope he’s wrong!!