Ice Cream, Coloring & Cuddles

In two weeks – yes TWO – Miss Ella will be starting kindergarten. We’re mostly excited about that in our house. I think it’s safe to say that Ella is completely excited while I, like so many parents, am a little more hesitant. It has always felt like we have all the time in the world before this milestone, and now it’s a mere 14 days away. It’s not that we’re jumping into something brand new. Ella started Montesorri school two years ago, just after turning three. That year she went every morning from 8:30-11:30. Last year we extended her stay to include lunch. When she starts kindergarten at the Montessori school, she will be in school from 9-3 every day. Of course the most exciting part is that she will be riding the bus. I’m so glad she gets the opportunity to ride. It may be the only time she can, since it’s hard to know what school will look like on visits back from Kenya after we move.
Before school begins, we wanted to make one more trip to visit Grandma & Grandpa in Wisconsin. The kids were rock stars on the five-hour drive. Big sister told me Sam was scared after we passed a semi so she wanted to hold is hand. I just adore her protective heart.
Once we arrived, there was plenty of time for long chats and cuddles for these two.
And walks around the lake with Grandma. (Thank you, Kristin, for the photo!)
And yummy treats, because such things are inevitable at Grandma’s house.
We love when Auntie Kristin visits, too!
We all go to the park…
And get into all kinds of mischief.
And we definitely get in a healthy amount of coloring.
We had a wonderful visit! Thank you, Grandma, Grandpa, and Auntie Kristin for watching the kids so this mama could rest and for always sending us home feeling completely loved.



In the Forest

This is a very happy place. I’m sitting at a picnic table while Pete builds a fire, Sam rests in the camper, and Ella cuts grass with her child-size scissors, which she’s very enthusiastic about. The smell of campfire is one of my absolutely favorite scents. I wish I could trap it in a bottle and open it in my house while I wrap up on a chilly day with a cup of coffee and an enticing book. I know they have candles that attempt to replicate the scent, but we all know it’s just not the same. And I don’t have a wood burning fire place. Instead, I’ll store away the memory of it right now and save it for late fall. Mmmm.

Tuesday we made the short, 45-minute drive to join my parents at one of their favorite state parks. We set up camp and then sat back to relax in the warm, fresh air.

Sam is just the right size to sit in one of Grandpa & Grandpa’s camping chairs. Ella was bursting to share all her newest stories with a captive audience.

We went on a couple hikes, which this guy loves.

Becky and her girls joined us on Wednesday morning and we took a hike out to the lake.
We’ve had campfire meals, hot chocolate, more smores than we can count, and two bee stings. Fortunately they were on me, not the kids. I discovered a hive while playing Frisbee last night. I’m not allergic, so all was okay. This morning we woke to sunny skies and big appetites.
We’re about to pack up and head home. We always wish we could stay longer. We have a date planned tonight before Pete heads into a pretty intense week of work. We’re looking ahead to plan our next camping adventure!





Photo Friday

Happy Friday! Today I’m taking the kiddos to Pete’s parents’ house for a few days, which we love. It always feels like such a vacation! We’re going to have some downsizing/house/what’s next news to share next week, so be sure to check back! Have a lovely weekend!

Photo Friday is a little glimpse at our week in pictures. To see more, follow TheMangoMemoirs on Instagram!



Intro to Camping

Remember our beloved Beatrice? We introduced her last fall on our previous blog in this post. We had such beautiful dreams for her…remodeling the inside and decorating with vintage Lake Superior decor, painting her exterior powder blue, and pulling her to picturesque camping locations throughout the north. It was something I had dreamed of doing for years, and I was thrilled when we found her for dirt cheap on craigslist.

Old Beatrice

Alas, our lovely Beatrice was not to be. She sat in storage throughout the long winter and her work was to began in mid-spring. However, when the RV experts had a good look at her, they came back with two options. The first was to rebuild the roof and multiple other parts, with a price take of many thousands of dollars. The other option? Let her rest. In the end, we found a nice home for her with a gentleman who will be using her as a hunting shack. It took me a while to part with the idea of remodeling her. I had pretty fantastic plans and imagined us pulling into a campground and being the talk of the place. We’d roll out our stripped awning and set out our chairs under a string of bare lights. Honestly, letting go of her hurt.

Even with the change of plans, we didn’t want to give up the idea of camping altogether, so we searched craigslist again, and found a perfect little pop-up camper in Minneapolis that fits us beautifully. And guess what? She doesn’t need any work. We immediately brought her home, set her up in the driveway, and camped our first night in her. A week later, we tried her out for real at a wooded, quiet campground only about 30 minutes from home. This little guy has decided he likes camping!


Ella has loved camping, too, introducing herself to every person around us. This girl is all about new adventures.



Camping food always tastes amazing. We did all our cooking on our stove that can be inside or outside. We opted for outside. Maybe that’s what makes it taste so good.


Ella is really into games since turning five, which is a lovely fit for camping. High Ho Cherry-O, anyone?


Her daddy is already teaching her the ways of fire. Look out.


Did I mention that Ella insisted on naming this camper Beatrice as well? She was quite disappointed about not getting to paint this camper, as we had told her we would do with the first Beatrice. After listening to her sadness, I gently asked if she would like to keep the name for the new camper. That somehow made everything okay. And now, after taking Beatrice and Ella on an in-the-woods camping trip, the two have  bonded beautifully.


We’ll be out with Beatrice again next week, and this time, we’ll be camping alongside Grandma & Grandpa Scott! We can’t wait!



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