Redneck Bootcamp Was All About the Food

If you know Ben, then you know he not only loves his food, he takes it very seriously. And every meal, he overindulges in his animated feasting. Take a look…

Here he is eating a fried pickle…


Here he’s eating a cowboy lollipop. It’s either hot, spicy or out of this world ‘good’ by the look in his eyes…


This next look I found a little disturbing. He is eating his much anticipated frog legs… but what’s scary is that it looks like some other kid took over his body… It doesn’t look anything like him!! Maybe it’s his new “lust for frog legs” look that I’ve never seen before!


This is his slow passionate devouring of Eric’s special grilled wings…

This is his look of “I ate way too much but I can’t seem to stop because I love meat so much…”
redneck-bootcamp-food-wingsBut when he’s all done eating and his belly is full, he’s back to happy Ben again.


Above is me, Eric and Ben at our favorite lunchtime restaurant, Collins River. He’s happy because his tummy is full of ribs, mac and cheese and sweet potato fries. Happy! Happy! Happy!

Redneck Bootcamp: The Box & Basket Completed

So we’re winding down at Mr. Basketmaker’s Redneck Bootcamp and Ben’s box project and Trinket Basket are completed.


Oh wait. He said I forgot something in the final project shot….


I forgot his new favorite hat that I got him at our local Goodwill. He announced that it was his favorite after one of the teenage waitresses told him “Nice hat!”


He did make the Trinket Basket and was looking forward to working with Mr. Basketmaker again this year. And I heard he showed much improvement since last year.

Now of course I’m impressed with anything he creates,  including his latest basket, but his burning wood design all over his box was amazing! Check this out…


At one point I almost thought he was leaving it here with us when he said that it looked really good on Eric’s wood table in the living room. My face must have quickly lit up because before I could say anything I heard “But there’s no way I’m leaving it here. I spent too much time on it!” (Drats.)


He even worked on the inside of the box. I love his perspective work and patterned lines.


Even burning lines on the inside feet on the bottom of the box. I didn’t dare ask which was more fun the box or the basket?


No matter the answer, I hope he had a great time at this year’s Mr. Basketmaker’s Redneck Bootcamp. I cannot wait until next year!

Redneck Bootcamp: The Tour Guide

Ben’s mom (my sister) Michelle flew in to stay with us a few days and to bring our little ‘Redneck Bootcamper’ back home. What better way for Ben to show his mom around the property than piling the little tractor trailer with pillows and blankets and giving her (and me) a makeshift “hay” ride!

However, when we were in the woods, along the cleared path Mr. Basketmaker created last year, and about the furthest spot on our property that you can get, our young tour guide learned a valuable lesson… make sure to check the gas tank before the long trip!

I’m sure everyone can relate to this happening… I know I can. I was driving my first car — a cute silver Nissan Pulsar with T-roofs — and as I drove into a busy intersection on my way home to my first apartment in Nashua, New Hampshire, I ran out of gas, right smack in the middle, just as I was making a left turn. Cars were honking at me from all directions. And of course I had the T-roofs off so every one could see me completely panic and start to cry. I was 22 years old and this was well before cell phones! I had to get out and do the walk of shame to the nearest gas station. Let’s just say I never ran out of gas again!

And it was a long walk for my nephew Ben…


the poor guy…


Along the way he proclaimed it was time for me to carry the gas instead of him. I wanted to but I told him he was the driver so only he could be responsible for filling up the tank.

He wasn’t understanding my logic. Eventually he announced new rules that if he’s the driver then the passenger should be in charge of the gas. Before I could respond to that, we arrived at the broken down tractor, much to his relief. I know this because he let out a loud sigh and said “Finally Auntie Kiki!” as he dropped the gas can on the ground.

I’m hoping when Ben becomes a young driver himself, he will remember this experience and never forget to always check your gas levels!