This break I decided to take the four younger kids camping. We left our "non-campers" to their own activities and travels and headed west to Turkey Run State Park.
We set up our tents and the boys experimented with making fires.
Of course half the fun of camping is making food outside. Laura took on the dishes.
Some things have changed since I went camping as a child -- for one thing, it seems that 95% of the campers have RV's now! When I was a child it was more like 20%. With the RV's comes all kinds of fancy decorations! Each evening we walked around the campground to see the full-scale halloween paraphernalia that many campers had set up!
I think one of the highlights of camping for me was seeing the beautiful stars again -- just like I remembered as a child. We could even see the Milky Way. Living in suburbia means we don't see many stars. (The photo below is not of the stars -- it's a special tree light several of the campers had.)
We needed fires in the mornings because the temps dipped to 42 degrees at night! Very cold!
Tea and hot chocolate and a good fire make all the difference!
And of course pancakes with real maple syrup!
We spent two mornings hiking the trails at Turkey Run and we were all impressed with what fun and beautiful trails they were!
We put a lot of steps on our feet!!!
One afternoon we headed south to Bridgeton to find out what the "Covered Bridge Festival" was all about.
We quickly discovered it was not for us -- mostly it was food tents and crafts we weren't going to buy.
Things were better back at the camp site where we could read and draw.
And then there was dinner to make.
We tried to imagine historic Indiana where the forests were covered in trees this big.
The trails were so different from where we live and we enjoyed the variety.
We had such fun camping that I think we will make a regular habit of this.
Back at home we started in on chores, doctor appointments, and lunch with Auntie Em and Cousin Olivia!
Everyone needs to get in on the action where Olivia is concerned.
Our fall was so different from the picturesque and perfect season we had last year. However, we still have some color going on.
I can't believe that next year I'll just have these two home with me full-time -- everyone else will be at high school or college!
I've got to enjoy these last few months with Rachel before she heads off to college next summer!
Outdoor fall picnics are lovely -- except for the yellow jackets.
I took some time to go meet my friend's new member of the family: Kip. He's awfully cute and I think will make such a lovely companion!
I read this book over fall break and it was SO good -- tea, favorite authors, Europe, books, librarians, etc.
My mom invited James over to paint one morning -- the entrance to where she stays looked like a magic forest.
Laura got to go out for "tea" at Panera with me one day.
And I took a "day off" by myself to go down to Brown County and visit the T. C. Steele home there. The weather was fantastic and the foliage was beautiful!
T. C. Steele was a famous Indiana artist who was one of the first artists to move to Brown County. He chose a beautiful place to build his home!
Just look at the golden carpet underneath those trees!
Since I've read about T. C. Steele in the past it was even more fun to see his studio in person and a number of his paintings.
And my day off was certainly a gift of beauty:
I loved the tea-scape set up in the Steele's living room, alongside all the books and paintings.
And there was a painting of peonies in the old kitchen!!! PEONIES!! I had to get excited.
I even had some time to sit and sketch the house.
Then I took myself to tea in the touristy town of Nashville. The day had quite the rejuvenating effect. Hopefully enough to last me through the next school term!
Meanwhile the kids were slaving away......not really. They only had to do a few chores a day, and they even earned computer time for it! But we did manage to get the winter clothes out and some good deep cleaning accomplished.
And now we've had several frosts, summer is truly over, and the holidays are fast approaching. There's still beauty everywhere -- it just changes daily.
School is underway and our break is receding into the background but I'm thankful for the new memories we made and the refreshment we enjoyed.