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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Birthday Prep

~Wednesday, February 15, 2023~

Day 977

Well the mosquitos aren’t bad, but the no-see-ums are a force to be reckoned with, forcing us to don bug spray and put up our bug tent so that we can enjoy our lovely, peaceful setting by the river. I guess in a way, it’s getting us prepared for what life will be like living in the Southeast. Having a light wind seemed to keep them at bay. In fact, the winds picked up so much, we had to bring in our protective awnings. I don’t think we’ll be seeing any kayakers paddling the waters today. We’re crossing our fingers that tomorrow offers more favorable conditions for Jeff’s birthday. We thought a day on the water would be a fun way to celebrate. They offer rentals here at the park for $25 for a 4-hour minimum. Not bad. And the launch area is only 5 minutes from our campsite. I can’t tell you how many occasions we wished we had brought our own kayaks. But the bikes won out as we thought there was no way to fit both. Had we known then what we know now, we could definitely have made both work somehow. Next big trip for sure!

Hey, great news! My mom’s home is officially on the market! After all the prep and stress that goes with selling a home, the day is finally here. Wishing her loads of interest and an offer over asking!

Today was all about getting prepped for Jeff’s birthday tomorrow. Another trip to the local Publix grocery and the UPS store would do the trick. One of the gifts that I’m giving Jeff is a book he’s been wanting (one recommended by his favorite RV couple……(Barron and Elsa Rhae otherwise known as ElsaRhae on Instagram), called “Own the Day, Own Your Life” by Aubrey Marcus. Since they too give this book such high praises, I just had to get it for him. Normally Jeff prefers reading from his Kindle. But since this seems to be such a special book, I decided to order a hardback version of it which posed a problem……where to send it? Since I didn’t know exactly where we would be on Jeff’s birthday (this was the one week in Florida we didn’t have booked ahead of time), I had to have it delivered to my mom’s. So instead, a copy of the cover would have to suffice (thus the trip to the UPS store for a photocopy). The other gifts are a 6-pack of “A Lil’ Sumpin’, Sumpin” , and 2 card games that we recently got turned onto in Utah, “Monopoly Deal” and “Play Nine”. These strategy based games are so much fun and remembered Jeff’s comment about wanting to add it to our addition of trailer games. Thanks Katie and Wayne for introducing these to us.

Next…..the birthday menu which would be along the lines of a tapas thing. For starters, I thought I’d make a creamy tomato soup. This recipe intrigued me because it doesn’t use a bit of cream or milk. The creaminess comes from the roasted vegetables themselves….fresh tomatoes, carrots, red onion and broth. I thought this healthy version of tomato soup would pair well with the richer appetizers that I’ll be serving with it. The first appetizer is Goat Cheese/Phyllo Wrapped Rolls with a Honey/Red Pepper Sauce. I made these for New Years where it received rave reviews. The second would be Fried Sticky Rice topped with a Smoked Salmon Relish and Sauteed Serrano Chilis and Avocado. I was inspired by these while we were visiting Katie and Wayne’s place in Utah a few months ago. Even though Jeff helped Wayne make these delectable apps on that occasion, I was up for the challenge this time around. There’s definitely a lot of prep involved with these puppies. And I’ve never used sticky rice before, so we’ll see. I thought a nice, dry, yet fruity Sauvignon Blanc would pair nicely with everything. And of course, you can’t forget the cake. Though the menu would be a surprise, I wanted Jeff to choose his dessert……his favorites being apple pie, key lime pie or chocolate cake. He chose chocolate cake. I decided to go the Duncan Hines route. I know, I know. A crime considering how making it from scratch is best. But with the involvement of the other recipes, I didn’t think I’d have time. Plus, he actually loves the boxed cake since that’s what he grew up with.

Since we have plans to be out kayaking all afternoon tomorrow, it’s nice to have most of the prep done beforehand. What remains is just a few hours of the finishing touches. All in all, it was great to be back in the kitchen being that Jeff takes on those duties on most occasions. This arrangement works very well for us as it allows me more time to concentrate on our blog and all that goes with keeping up our website, while Jeff has the whole tiny kitchen to himself a few hours each night. While cooking, an added perk for him is being able to tune into one of his favorite cooking/traveling channels while he creates, appropriately called “Create”; a channel that seems to be more prevalent in The South.

Before we turned in for the night, we were visited once again, by another curious 🦝 racoon, this time a baby. Evidently a mom has been spotted regularly around the campground with her brood of 8. It appears one steered a little off course deciding our campsite might have some potential offerings. It didn’t. But Sadie spotted it immediately, chasing it up the safe haven of a tree, where it waited a few hours before being guaranteed that the coast was clear. A few minutes later, momma came looking for her adventurous little one. Hopefully, it didn’t take long for them to be reunited.

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