Simply the Simmonds Life

family, life and love on the lake

Camping Trip 2010 July 30, 2010

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 7:04 am

Every year my family goes camping.  Camping is definitely one of my favorite past times, and I go with the Boy Scouts as often as I can.  However, a family camping trip is completely different.  This year we chose to go to the Park Rapids area.  There is a lot to do in that area and we had a guest with us this time.  Monica, Tyler’s girlfriend, and her daughter Grace-Lin decided to join us.

We left Monday morning to warm temperatures and blue skies.  It was a beautiful day!  We grove to Pillager where we met up with Monica’s vehicle.  From there we traveled through Wadena and Sebeka before making a stop in Menagha to see St. Urho.

When my brother and I were younger we had to wait in Menagha for our car to be repaired during a family camping trip and I’m almost positive my mom has a picture of Mike and I in front of this same statue.

From Menagha we traveled on to our campground about 10 miles north of Park Rapids.  We love to camp in state forest campgrounds.  Not only are they cheap, but they are primitive and not usually very crowded.  For this trip I chose Hungry Man Campground on Hungry Man Lake.  At $12.00 a night it was very affordable.

After setting up camp we had our traditional first night of camping food…wieners over the fire, baked beans and chips.  We debated about whether we should tarp the tent or not.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and even though the Weatherbug on my cell phone was predicting a 40% chance of thunderstorms my husband just did not believe it.  Even though my tent has a fly, it leaks like a sieve.  I will never buy another tent from Bass Pro Shops again.  I spent a bloody fortune on it and it has been nothing but a piece of junk every since we bought it 3 years earlier.  Before that we had an Eddie Bauer tent for over 10 years and it held up and only leaked once when we were in a storm in Canada with winds so strong it actually laid the tent down on top of us. 

Anyway… we didn’t tarp it and the storms moved in.  There were 4 lines of them that rolled through.  It poured and thundered and lightninged all night and all the next day.

In the morning, being unable to cook in the storm, we headed in to Park Rapids for breakfast at McDonalds.

We spent the rest of the day exploring the downtown area and other fun shops around Park Rapids.


Finally, around 8 pm, the weather broke and cleared up.  By that time everything was too wet for making a fire and we were all tired and disappointed about losing a whole day so we sat by the lake and fished for a little bit before heading to bed.

The next morning after a breakfast of eggs, corned beef hash, sausages and Pop-Tarts (Monica and her Pop-Tarts!) we headed to Itasca State Park.

At the park we visited the Jacob V. Brauer visitor center.  It was filled with fun activities and things for the kids to do.  Then we went to the Mississippi headwaters and crossed the Mississippi and then ate lunch at the Headwaters cafe.  After visiting the gift shop we took Wilderness Drive, an 11 mile one way drive through various scenic and historical trails.  We stopped and checked out the record white pine, the Bison kill site, the former record red pine (its top blew off in a storm), and watched swans on Mary Lake before walking to the Afton fire tower.  We thought about trying to climb the 100 ft. tower but they only let 6 at a time climb it and there were about 5 groups ahead of us.  With Zach’s knee it probably wouldn’t have been a good idea anyway. 

Back at camp, Zach took the boat out to fish

While Tyler & Monica started cooking a dutch oven meal for supper.


While it was cooking, the kids went swimming.


We watched the sunset


before heading back for scalloped potatoes & ham from the dutch oven.


Then we sat around the campfire.

The next morning we packed up and headed to the Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes

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From there the kids had fun at Evergreen Park

before we headed for home.  Vacations go by way too fast!


Highlight Reel July 17th-23rd, 2010 July 23, 2010

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 9:44 pm

Saturday-Stormed all afternoon.  Got stuck in my Trailblazer druing a hail storm.  The Cold Spring area reported grapefruit sized hail!

Sunday- We took a day trip to Grand Rapids to visit one of our favorite stores- Glenn’s Army Navy Surplus.  Actually I think they recently changed the name to Glenn’s Outdoors because that is mostly what they have.  Full of camping, fishing & hunting supplies as well as a huge selection of Carrhart & Columbia clothing, shoes and gift items.  And you wouldn’t believe the deals!  Stopped at a few more places and had a Dairy Queen before we headed for home.

Monday- Zach and I had a pre-camp meeting for Boy Scouts.  We just needed to finish up some paperwork and get all our camp info.  Zach’s very excited to be going again this year.  It’s really a great experience for the boys.

Tuesday- I had a meeting at All Saints Church tonight.  The pastor of our church, Father Tony, just recently found out he will be the pastor of two more churches- All Saints & St Thomas of the Pines as well as the 3 he already has.  The meeting tonight was an informal question and answer session to allay concerns that some of the other churches had about us all temporarily coming together.  Father Tony asked for as many committee people as possible to show up.

Wednesday- A hot & muggy day ended with a fun last minute picnic at Crow Wing State Park.  Zach had recently decided he wanted to try muskie fishing so we took the rods down to the river to fish.

Thursday- The Bazaar committee had a meeting at the church tonight to discuss wrap up.  Our bazaar this year was very successful raising a little over $10,000 for the general fund at the church.

Friday-  Jeff got a flat tire on his truck and the chip in my windshield turned into a crack.  Not a good day for vehicles.  But in the meantime we did some maintenance & Jeff got his tire fixed after work and I got an oil change and new headlights put in mine so we should be ready for the traveling next week.


Muskie Fishing on the River

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 9:34 pm

Wednesday after work I picked up some chicken and poatao salad from the deli, grabbed a fruit bowl, cheese & crackers and some pop and met the guys at home where they were waiting with the cooler and the fishing rods.  We headed down to Crow Wing State Park wehre Zach got to try his new muskie rod.  The rod is HUGE!  It’s 8 feet long and a lot bigger around then a regular rod and the lures they use for muskie fishing are monstrous, not to mention the 30 pound test line they put on.  We started down at the group camp area (remember when we always walked down the trail to the cabin, Mike?)  After casting for a while there we went to the picnic area up by the pavilion and had our picnic before walking down to the stairs by the boardwalk and trying it there.  (The pavilion where we had our Memorial Day & Labor Day picnics was enclosed a few years ago.  It’s just not the same.)

Even though Zach didn’t even get a strike (and neither did Jeff or I when we tried it for a few minutes) we had a very relaxing time.  The water always has such a calming effect.  No matter how tense I am or how bad my day was, being by the water centers me.


Highlight Reel July 10th-16th, 2010

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 9:15 pm

Saturday- Went to the beach with Janeen, Trever, Troy, Janelle & Zach.  We swam, had lunch and just relaxed on the floaties.  I got so sunburned it wasn’t funny.  I kept forgetting to put sunscreen on.  I know, dumb huh?

Sunday- Jeff & Zach went fishing while I spent the day slathering aloe on my skin and cooling in front of the fan.

Monday- Back to work.  Terrible day!  Was glad when I got home I could take a walk and vent!

Tuesday- We had our Bookie Queen Coronation tonight.  It was so much fun like always!

Wednesday- Zach got his physical for summer camp today.  The clinic wouldn’t let us schedule his surgery pysical for the same time so he gets the pleasure of having another physical in 3 weeks.  Mom & I went to Little Falls and signed up for high speed internet.  Finally!

Thursday- Janeen & I took a walk while Zach ambled down her gravel road looking for agates.

Friday-  Zach and I wanted to cool down so we went out for ice cream, stopped at the meat market and got some wild rice brats, came home grilled them and then the whole family watched The Bounty Hunter.  It was okay.  Funny only in a few places but I like Gerard Butler so I kept watching it.


Congratulations Queen Lori

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 9:14 pm

Despite threatening weather our Bookies Queen Coronation went off without a hitch.  We all met at Sharon’s beautiful home on Sorenson Lake.  When we got there she had lawn chairs set up for us in a circle with overturned 5 gallon pails as coffee tables.  We all brought a dish to share and Sharon’s husband, Jeff, was kind enough to grill the hamburgers and brats while we discussed our books and gave our “I want to be queen” speeches.  While Amy was reading her speech Sharon’s wet dog ran up from the lake and shook himself off behind her.  There were lots of sqeals from all of us!

We ate a wonderful meal and then the Queen was announced.  Congratulations to Queen Lori and also to her Lady in Waiting, Princess Brenda!  We always share so many laughs during this annual event.  I already have my dress for next year and I can’t wait to do it again.


Highlight Reel July 3rd-9th, 2010 July 16, 2010

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 11:01 pm

Saturday- I stocked up on groceries for the weekend so I didn’t have to brave the traffic to go into town.  Zach and I went to the river and he casted for northerns but nothing was hitting.  We also looked for agates again for a while.  In the evening we coaxed mom out of the house (she didn’t want to leave the fan!) and we lit off fireworks and I brought over dome leftover BBQ chicken to munch on.

Sunday- Happy Independence Day!  Never take your freedom for granted.  We are so blessed to enjoy all we do in this great country we live in.

Monday: Had lunch with Papa & Nana.  That was the extent of my excitement for the day.  Jeff had the day off because of the holiday so him and Zach went fishing.

Tuesday-  Janeen and I took a 3 mile walk and caught up on all the local gossip!

Wednesday-We had a little scare today.  Tyler’s girlfriend Monica collapsed in the bathroom at work and was unresponsive.  They had to break down the door and call an ambulance for her.  Because of her brain surgery 2 years ago and knowing she had suffered from a headache all day, we were concerned she was suffering from a brain bleed.  Tyler rode to the hospital with her in the ambulance and I followed.  They are doing more tests but so far it looks like her brain is good.

Thursday-  Monica spent the night in the hospital and didn’t get out until late today.  The doctor thinks she might have had a seizure but Monica thinks it was heat stroke or heat exhaustion.  She’s calling her neurosurgeon to get another opinion.  Her doctor here pulled her driver’s license for 6 months because he thinks it was a seizure!  Mom & I went to Little Falls after work so we could pick up a wireless modem to try for a few days to see if we want to sign up for their high speed internet.  Janeen and I took another hike.

Friday-Zach and I headed to St Cloud to go shopping for a formal dress for the Bookies Queen Coronation next Tuesday.


A Beautiful Fourth July 9, 2010

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 11:46 am

We have been very lucky for many years to enjoy perfect weather on the 4th of July.  There were forecasts of a possible thunderstorm in the afternoon and then clearing up for the fireworks, but we didn’t have to contend with that.  The weather was hot, sunny, and breezy.

We started out with the parade in Crosby at noon.  We started going to this parade when the kids were younger.  Not only was it shorter but they threw way more candy then Brainerd did and for that it scored high marks from my boys.  we got there very early (Because I thought it started at 11am instead of noon) so Jeff got quite sunburned just waiting for it to start.  It’s really too bad that they don’t do parades like they used to.  Does anyone remember actual floats?  You just don’t see them very much anymore.  This parade started with about 15-20 firetrucks.  Come on.  Once you’ve seen a couple, you’ve seen them all.  I do enjoy listening to the bands and watching the dance lines and the clowns, but there are very few of them anymore either!  Oh well.  The times they are a changin’.

After the parade we headed to Merrifield Lions Park for a picnic lunch and were to the beach by 2:30.  The water (once I gasped a few times and got used to it) was nice.  There were lots of boaters out so a couple of times a “tidal wave” toppled my air mattress, but that was okay.  Jeff and Zach threw around a water football.  Tyler opted not to hang with us this year.  he’s to the stage in his life where friends are everything and family just isn’t cool enough.  Hopefully that styage won’t last for long.  We sure miss having him with us. 

When we figured we’d had enough sun we headed to Brainerd for supper and then headed over to the football field to wait for the fireworks.  The area really takes on the atmosphere of a carnival down there.  Jeff loves to people watch so it was right up his alley.  You see all kinds, let me tell you.  But by and large, the people are great.  They bring their coolers, lawn chairs and blankets and play ladderball, frisbee and football.  The ice cream guy goes around on his bicycle and every time you turn around there is someone trying to sell you a glow stick.  We always run into lots of friends and relatives there and the band playing in the background helps pass the time. 

The fireworks were beautiful as always and we snuck out right before they ended so we could beat the traffic.  It was a lovely day!