Rambling Over Coffee: A Camping Gift Themed Christmas After All (And flashback photos of camping in South Dakota and Arizona)

I didn't have any intention of chit-chatting about Christmas gifts over coffee this morning, but then again, I didn't realize my gifts this year would be so... unexpected.

Earlier this week my husband said he was going to wrap gifts one night after I went to bed.  I made an off-hand comment about being surprised he was able to come up with any ideas as we haven't spent a lot of one-on-one time together talking about things to generate ideas and we've not gone anywhere together that we would have seen or mentioned anything that I liked or was interested in.

My Expectations
I truly expected him to get me an Amazon.com Gift Card. Last year he got me an Amazon gift card and he knows I can always find something there.  When he came upstairs with a pile of gifts to put under the tree I was confused.  There were about five gifts and I had no idea what he could have possibly thought to get me. 

I searched my brain for a second to think;  What have I possibly mentioned I'd like?  I was interested in?  Nothing. We've talked about nothing.  Nothing recently at least.  We've been so busy with 'life' that we've not had any "what I'd really like for Christmas" or "this really cool thing I saw...."  talks. 

The Realism

Pre-Seasoned 10.25-Inch Cast Iron Skillet
I had some pretty heavy gifts under the tree and I was incredibly surprised to see my husband actually got me one of these!!!!  Ok... TWO OF THESE!!!!

I opened a heavy box that had not one, but Lodge brand cast iron skillets!  The 10 1/4 inch and a smaller one, as well as the silicon hot pad slip cover. I've wanted one of these for years.  YEARS.  As in, probably 15-20 years. But I've not talked about wanting once since, oh, 2000 or so. 

He got me the medium sized skillet and then, because he isn't an internet shopper, he went to 3 stores to find the hot pad holder and a smaller sized skillet that he knew I could use on my solo camping trips.

I then opened another gift...
Estwing Sportsman's Axe

A really, really sharp camping hatchet Ok, honestly I'm not sure if it's this one (in the Amazon image I'm posting here) because I don't want to have to go get my new hatchet out and look at the exact style (it's put away).  But it has a real leather handle, a great cover and is oh so, so sharp.  My husband actually sliced himself taking the cover off to look at it the night he was secretly wrapping my gifts.

He had borrowed my machete's last week to chop down some brush I asked him to remove from the backyard, and he saw how awfully dull my machete's are.  But the problem is that I suck at sharpening them.  I try and try but I just can't get a good blade on them and I've asked him numerous times to help me sharpen them but he realized how sucky they were and he got me a good quality, made in the USA hatchet for not only here at home, but my camping trips.

A smaller gift I opened was something I hadn't seen before - it's a cell phone power pack (power bank) but it uses 3 AA batteries!  He said this way I can keep it in my pack and know that I will have power when I'm camping or hiking.  Even if I don't have a way to charge a regular power pack or my phone, I will have a backup that just needs AA batteries.

I had another awesome gift that isn't camping related, but the last one that is camping related - at least intended to be - is Amazon gift cards!  He had specific intentions for these that is also camping themed.

And he told me as I opened them that he remembered last month when I wanted to take off and go camping but it was getting pretty cold at night and my tents are all thin, summer weather tents, as is my sleeping bag.

I also had mentioned wanting to take off and go camping in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and South Dakota again, but the time of year I go (usually May) they still receive snow, and/or get down to the 20's and 30's at night which is really, really cold in my current tent and sleeping bag!

When one of my daughters and I camped in Arizona in May, it was pretty warm during the day (note my tank top in the photo below)  I was sending messages to my husband and kids back home and mentioned it was going down to 34 degrees that night.

And camping in South Dakota in May....  we woke up one morning to this. 

When we camped in South Dakota, we reinforced our tent with a tarp I had brought, which helped a lot!  And we had fleece liners for our sleeping bags and we slept in layers with hats on.  (But isn't it amazing how good fresh, hot coffee tastes on cold camping mornings?)

Here is a 'good morning' text I sent to my husband from the Badlands one morning after it had gotten down the 30's the night before.  The funny thing (I think) about this photo is it shows the crazy temperature changes between day and night there in May.  Note I was in a hat, layers of clothing including the sweatshirt you can see... but also note what I was wearing before I got ready for bed.  It's folded next to my pillow.


We had hiked in shorts, tank tops and a light flannel shirt over, which we could remove and tie around our waists.  So I slipped off my shorts at bedtime, replaced them with fleece pajama pants and layered on the sweatshirt and hat.

My tent was a very, very light weight tent, reinforced with the blue tarp I had thankfully packed just in case we needed it for something.  We stayed pretty toasty this night.


 If you are 'new' around CoffeeTalking you should know that...
my husband does not camp!
That's what makes this pretty awesome.
My husband WILL not and DOES not Camp.
That's why I do cross-country camping trips alone.
He. Does. Not. Camp.
I think I've made that pretty clear now.  Ha ha.

The last of my coffee is cold and I've veered pretty far off the 'Christmas Gift' theme by reliving some of the awesome memories of camping in the Badlands and in the desert of Arizona...  so it's time to wrap this post up!

Basically, my husband did AWESOME this year on gifts.
He went with a camping theme based on a conversation we had in the garage last month about how I wanted to take off and do some camping but I really needed to invest in a cold-weather sleeping bag and a heavier tent....  He recalled that conversation and ran with it!

And I got a skillet, a hatchet, a cell phone power pack backup, and a gift card to cover the cost of a tent and a lower-temp sleeping bag.

Happy Christmas to me!

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Amazon.com $100 Gift Card in a Black Gift Box

Lodge 10.25 Inch Cast Iron Skillet.

Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet 2-Piece Set (10-Inch and 12-Inch) Oven Safe Cookware - 2 Heat-Resistant Holders - Indoor and Outdoor Use - Grill, Stovetop, Induction Safe

  Estwing Sportsman's Axe - 14" Camping Hatchet with Forged Steel Construction & Genuine Leather Grip - E24A