Monday, August 20, 2012

Family Camp Adventure

I often keep my blog to writing about the world of vintage and kitsch, but every once in a blue moon I find the need to blog about life in general.

This past week, our family experienced the best vacation of our lives. 

Keep in mind that we used to live overseas, so some of our vacations have included Italy, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands.  Those now pale in comparison!
When I asked my husband if it was the best week of his life, he replied, “No, the best week of my life was the week we got married.  This week was just second to that”. 

Good answer.

Today’s entry isn’t to make you envious of our week, but to point out an amazing opportunity for families to truly get away and be restored.  It’s an opportunity we knew nothing of a few months back, so I want to make sure and share it with others!

In April, we received an email via the Army, highlighting a family camp taking place here in Colorado during the summer.  We applied, were placed on a wait list, and in late July were notified that we got a slot.
My husband then went onto the camp’s website to check it out a bit, and within a few minutes shouted, “Babe!  This is a real camp!”.

Yep, Trail West is definitely a real camp.

We knew nothing about it before experiencing it, and we now have memories that will last each of us a lifetime. Evidently, Trail West has been hosting their camps out in Buena Vista, CO for many, many years. 

When we arrived,  we were escorted into camp via horseback Wranglers, there was singing and dancing, shouting and waving, photographers snapping pics, and name tags were slapped on each of us. 
It felt as if we had just walked onto the set of a musical.  

 It was magical!

Our entire week was mapped out with amazing family adventures;  horseback riding, white water rafting, a ropes course, a Jeep tour to a ghost town, family rodeo day, square dancing under the stars…and the list goes on!

Just the Fort would have kept our kids happy for an entire week!

Trail West had a large host of Kid Wranglers – high school and college volunteers who were there to insure that our children had the time of their lives, and so that parents were given adult or alone time throughout the week.  
 I have no idea where they found these Kid Wranglers, but they were amazing.  Full of energy, silliness and lots of love and patience for every munchkin present!
Every meal was planned out, with every dish served family style (with portions unlimited), and the food was delicious.  
No, that’s not a typo - camp food was delicious! 

Now I love to cook, but just escaping the three meals a day drudgery in my own kitchen was a vacation in itself!

One of the volunteers at the camp told me that she and her family spent 14 summers in a row at Trail West. 
14 years?!
Once they got a taste of it, her family never wanted anything else.
No Disney, no beach vacations, just Trail West.

She explained that it was the only vacation they had ever experienced as a family where each family member had an incredible week of adventure, but also left feeling rested and restored.

I couldn’t agree more.

You know what family vacations are typically like.
You spend more money than intended, the kids get crabby, and dirty clothes and attitudes start piling up. Moms are typically completely worn out and ready for a vacation from the vacation!

I can’t lie.  This vacation did have its share of tears.
The kids cried the night before we left, and I cried on the drive home. 
Bittersweet tears because of what we were leaving behind.

We have never experienced a vacation like this, and we hope to create many more adventures and memories at Trail West in our future. 

So, as your summer is winding down and you find yourself editing vacation pics and reminiscing over the summer, put the possibility of a family camp in your future.

It was definitely a game changer in the way we look at vacation time.
And guess what our 7 year old and 5 year old are now saying?
No Disney, no beach, just Trail West!


Here's who we're hanging out with this week.  Join us!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sweet Summer Finds

I had grand plans of doing my yearly buying trip across the pond in June.

My mind was screaming, ‘Woohoo!  Passport in hand, let’s fly!’, but my body was telling me otherwise.

For once I decided to listen to my body. 

When I told my mom that I was postponing my Euro trip for some much needed R& R,  
she knew that I was in serious need of rest.   

So Europe will wait until early fall, and this summer has been very relaxing.  
 Just what I needed!

And of course in whatever we do and wherever we go, I  manage to pick up some fun vintage pieces along the way.  That’s one of the perks of having a business that’s also somewhat of a hobby!

At an estate sale in Texas, I picked up these awesome (hospital green) mini tool cabinets.

They had several of these, but just two will do the trick for my crafting and business knick knacks.   

(By the way, if anyone out there has a connection to the reality show Mom Cavesplease put in a word for me…my 9x7’ miniscule craft space could use a big-time Hollywood makeover!)

These fire-y Anchor Hocking canisters were a great find.   

You can find them in the shop here.

This vintage French table setting is crazy cute.   

I was kinda bummed that I only found one set, but I do know some mix-match china collectors out there who will quickly scoop these right up! (in the shop soon…)

Here’s a little collection of milk glass saucers with dainty scalloped edges.  

I don’t often run across milk glass that is truly iridescent like these.  (sold)

I always grab chenille when I find it in good condition.

 This piece is a sweet blue with a buttery chenille weave.  Fun.  (in the shop soon!)

I also collect vintage cookbooks and I couldn’t pass this one by for …a dollar!

The author is the former director of restaurants for Neiman’s.  
If any of you have ever tried the famous Neiman’s chocolate chip cookie recipe – it’s unbelievable.   

Before I end today, I want to give a shout-out to Autumn in Texas. 
You see, on my annual summer Texas trek, I was sitting with family at the Grist Mill (put that on your Texas eat-list) and a sweet girl approached me and asked if I was the owner of Sweet European Dreams.  

It turns out that Autumn was one of our customers that we met at the Country Living Fair back in April and she recognized me. 
How fun is that?

So happy I could stop in to blog this week!  
I'm off to see what you vintage lovin' mamas are up to!

Here's who we're hanging out with this week!

Debra @ Common Ground
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