Sunday, July 25, 2010

Camping tips & tricks 2

My last post was getting so long that I had to break
it up into two parts.
I wrote a lot about cooking & the kitchen stuff you'll
need or want to bring. In this post I will cover other
aspects of housing, set up, and a little
about how to make your life easier on the campsite,
especially with kiddos!!
So for housing...tent, camper, tent homes. There are
a lot of choices. We tent it. So, I'll just be talking about
tenting it. Buying a tent can be very overwhelming. We
have a tent for 8, but there is only 4 of us. Why, you ask.
Well you have to think about where to store your clothes,
extra blankets if it gets chilly at night & more things like
that. We have our bags at the end of each bed to make it
easy to just sit up and get dressed. You also want to think
about the option of standing up in your tent. If you will
be doing all your changing in the tent it would be nice
to have a 6-8 foot tall tent. We have a 6 ft (something)
tent & it just makes it easier for my hubby & me get

As you can see from this picture, we
have a little porch on our tent. Our
tarp under is bigger than the tent and
makes a great little porch area. Here is
where we put our shoe bag, games & brooms. Let me take
this moment to say that large "tarp-like" reusable bags
(like the ones from Ikea) Make great shoe & game bags.
There are no shoes aloud in our tent, so it's a great place
to shed them before entering in the tent. A little tid bit about
shoes...crocs are great camping shoes!!

We also use air mattresses. We have a really nice pump
that hooks up to the car cigarette lighter and works
great for all our mattresses. If you do air mattresses
instead of a mat or just sleeping bags, you can also use
sheets. We don't just because it's easier to transport
everything. We lay out one sleeping bag on the top
and one on the bottom and bring extra blankets if
it's going to be cold. As I said in the last post, we have
a ceiling fan for the tent and we have a light that hangs
from the ceiling. It is a great little thing and didn't cost
very much.
Our food tent (also seen in the picture above) covers the
picnic table and sometimes where we cook and leave our
food & stoves. This time we stayed in a place where there
was bears. So we had a bear box where everything that had
to do with food was stored. On this trip we just left the table
cloth on and cleaned it really well after every meal. A little
tent for your food area is a great idea, especially if you are
surrounded by trees. It keeps most of the flies out and it keeps
leave & stuff from falling in your food. We've only had it for the
last two trips and it's is a must from now on!!! We also play
games in there and sit and chat. Here is a picture of the bear
box from Yosemite. We basically set up all our cooking &
dish washing stuff on it.

Another must, that you can see in this picture is bikes!!! It
keeps the kiddos entertained forever! On our Yosemite trip
our girls made some friends just by riding their bike around
our loop. They would get up and ride until breakfast, then
ride as we got ready for a hike, then ride before lunch, etc.
Another thing we discovered is walkie talkies. We would
give Hannah one while she was riding so we knew where she
was at all times. We never let her go very far or anywhere we
couldn't see her, but it gave her some independence and
helped us keep tabs on her. We didn't bring our bikes this
time and really wish we had. Biking is a great way to get
around a campsite without having to drive everywhere!!!

Stuff to keep the kiddos entertained:
We bring a whole reusable bag filled with games. Board
games, outdoor games, balls, etc. It's a great way to pass
the time and builds great memories!! This trip we taught
the girls Yatzee with my grandmothers old set. It might be
older than me. We also bring crafts to do or worksheets.
This time I found a great worksheet on that
had to do with a nature walk. Basically they write down
things they see, copy leaves, etc. I also brought them
travel journals to write down their memories of the trip,
and to later add photos to. We let them use an old camera
and they took some great pics. It also helped to keep them
interested in the hike or place where we were going. We
sat down a couple of times and had them write their
memories and draw pictures of the last couple of days
while it was fresh in their minds. And we also brought
books in that bag for nighttime reading. Last time we
brought a couple of books about camping and that
was really fun for them to read.
Sidewalk chalk is another great way to keep them enter-
tained. Usually at the campsite your park your car on a
paved parking space. We just leave a little room for them
to draw and it keeps them busy for a long time. We also like
to bring jump ropes, hula hoops & other outdoor toys.
A lot of the ourdoor games or lawn games you find at
Target or Walmart are great for camping.

I hope some of these tips & tricks help you to have a
wonderful camping experience! I grew up camping and
still love it. It can feel intimidating, but hopefully after
reading this, you will be able to do it too.
Please feel free to ask for any other tips or if you have
questions, please leave me a comment and I would be
happy to answer them!!!

Happy Camping!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Camping Tips & Tricks

I know...FINALLY!!!!
After we've already done two major camping trips,
I'm finally getting to this post that I promised a long
time ago :) Well, here it camping tips & tricks.

First of all, here's what we bring and why:

These are plastic containers I found at
IKEA. BTW, Ikea is a great place to buy
camping stuff. Cheap!!
We use these for kitchen stuff like
spoons, tongs, lighters, knives, & more.

I know this seems obvious, but you
must bring potholders or mittens!!

This is another Ikea purchase. A block
with knives. I think it was something
like $4.99

Here is one of those plastic containers &
what we keep in scissors, a peeler,
& steak type knives.

Lighters, lighters, lighters. Another one that
seems obvious, but you're totally bummed
if you don't have them. And they fit nicely
in those plastic containers too.

Instead of buying a bunch of silverware, we
use an old plastic stash from our little people.
I believe these were purchased at Ikea too
when they were little. We also have bag clips,
a scrub brush (for dishes) & sponges.

Some plastic utensils purchased from good
ole Walmart. Tongs are a must!!! Spatula
& little plastic scrapper.

Here's what you'll need to wash your
dishes...a scrub brush, sponges & lots
of old kitchen towels. We use old ugly
kitchen know the ones you
got for a wedding present, that you vowed
never to be used in your kitchen :) Some of these sponges
have soap already in them. We bought them from Walmart in
their camping section, but don't waste your money. They're
only really good for one load of dishes. Just bring a small
soap container & sponges or washcloths. You will also need
two plastic tubs, but I'll talk about that a little later.

We got these travel mugs at Target in the
dollar bin. The lids leak a bit, but they were
cheap and we now use them without the lids.
One is broken and we still use it :) Or you can
upcycle old ones from your kitchen!! Camping
is a great way to use all that stuff in your kitchen that you've been
meaning to get rid of :)

We have two for hot water & one
for coffee. We've been doing this forever until
this year, when my hubby discovered instant
coffee. I can't drink it, but I'm not a big coffee
fan anyway. I just bring my tea bags :)

One of those vinyl can find them
at Target, Walmart, Biglots, etc. I just used an
old one that had been used for an art project.
It has orange paint on it :) But, it's great because
camping tables are gross & this is easy to just
wipe down. I would get this longest one there is, because every table
is different.

Cutting boards!! I have that's flexible &
the others are these cool ones with handles...very
handy!! I also purchased these from Ikea...very cheap!!

These are leftover from the girls again. You
know Philip loves drinking out of those pink

This little guy is actually the pan we use the
most. I think it belonged to my grandma.
Very cute 70's pattern!! It's easy to clean, has a
cover and the perfect size for a couple cans of beans,
eggs, veggies, whatever!! It's about 9ish inches.

Here are some more well used pans. I think most
of these belonged to my parents. I have to say,
we have learned that non-stick pans are a must!!!!
It is a bear trying to clean eggs off of a pan with our
little plastic tubs and luke warm water!!!

CAN OPENER!!!! Hello, how else would you eat :)
And some more utensils. I think I got all of those
at Walmart as sets for like $1.99.

Love this little toaster!! It's simple, cheap, and
works great. You used it on your propane stove...
but you have to watch it and you need tongs!!!

Have to have these!!! Foil is an awesome tool. You can
wrap things and grill them, put them in the fire, cover
things, line pans...very important!! Paper towels are a
must with kiddos!!!

This is a tent ceiling fan. We got this at
Walmart...again. It runs on batteries, and isn't
super powerful. But, it takes the edge off if you
need an afternoon nap!!! Keeps the air flowing!
Let me take this opportunity to say that Walmart
has a grrrrrreat camping section!!! And pretty inexpensive!! loved it!!! I got these in the dollar bin
at Target like a year ago...and they were still good.
I know, not super healthy, but fun!!!

Here are those lovely plastic bins...and yes you
need two. They're cheap & everywhere. One for
washing & one for rinsing. A lot of campsite have
rules about washing dishes at the sinks. Most
places want you to wash your dishes at your campsite.
We set up a little "sink" at our site with these, two towels, sponges & a
scrub brush. We lay out one towel to lay dishes on & one for drying. Also
another must have (we discovered this one on this last trip...we learn
something new everytime) A gallon water jug. we just used an old one
from water we had purchased. Sometimes the only place to get water is
from the bathroom. So having a jug to transport the water in is very handy.
Trying to fill these up and walk with them isn't super fun unless you wanna
get wet. You can get bigger jugs of course, but our girls helped us out
a lot, with carrying water and larger jugs are super heavy. Also pictured are
a small broom & dust pan. We also bring a big broom...they're a great way
to clean your tent & tarps. We have a little "patio" with our tent, so we
like to keep that clean.

Here's one of the boxes we pack with all that stuff!!
We put all this stuff in two...yes only two...plastic bins.

Here's the other bin.

Some other things we bring...not pictured. Mallot purchased from a
camping section, for hammering in stakes. It has a hook on the
end for pulling them up when you're done. Gloves for handling wood
and so there are no blisters from hammering in those tent stakes. Axe
for chopping wood. Use a pill box...ones with the dates...for carrying
spices. Here's a great little example of someone's cute version: HERE
I use reusable bag to hold & carry all of our dried goods...cans, peanut
butter, bread, chips, etc. Crocs (or imitations :)) are great for camping!
Especially when you have to make a potty trip in the night and have
socks on :) A propane stove is really a great tool. You can get much
more creative with your cooking!!! You can get them at Target, Walmart,
REI, and other places that sell camping equipment. They come small (one
burner) all the way up to many burners. We have one that Philip's dad has
had forever. I think it's older than my husband. They are sturdy and you
can use them forever!! And the propane canisters can be found everywhere
and they're cheap and recyclable. We also have a propane grill and love
that too. Another great cooking tool is a dutch oven. They are great for
creative cooking or baking and for simple camp food as well. We actually
don't have one and I REALLY want one. My parents have one & sometimes
we borrow it.
I think this puppy is getting super long. I may have to break this up into
two posts. If you have any questions or need some advice, feel free to ask!!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Some Summer projects...

***I finally got my problem fixed...after a week of being home from
our camping trip...sorry about all that. Here's one more post before
my camping tips. I will be posting like mad now :)

This post contains a few things we've done so far...a great recipe for
gluten free playdough...and some fun traveling ideas.

I have been getting very inspired lately with some great
scrapbookers & crafters out there. Some amazing ideas for
We are leaving for Yosemite on Saturday and I'm trying to get
a bunch of stuff together to keep the girls entertained on the
long drive and to help preserve their memories of this trip. So,
I wanted them to have a travel journal, but decided that I wanted
it to be different than just a comp book. I found these little card-
board books @ Micheals. I would have made them with the girls,
but we were limited on time. And they were cheap!! My new
favorite thing is chipboard scrapbooks, so we made them kinda
like those.
Here they are painting their covers...

I had them pick out papers, embellishments & stamps. And had
them decoupage the paper onto the covers...

And here are the finished products....

I'm so excited about this trip and to see what their journals will
hold when we are all done!!

Here are a few travel ideas...if you are going on a road trip or a
long plane ride.
Tonight, I went to Target and found a bunch of educational work
books about the US Presidents, math, reading, etc in the dollar bin.
There was also flash cards with a bunch of different subjects.

We pack totes with a lot of activities to do while riding in the car.

Here are some more ideas: flash cards, coloring, road/car bingo
(HERE is a link to some pages you can print out.), MP3 player,
books on tape/CD, travel journals, dry erase markers with a small
board or they can use them on the windows, card games, stamps,
educational handheld video games, pipe cleaners, ABC game
(pick a category...ex: an animal for each letter of
the alphabet, surprise bag (have a bag with surprise snacks, games,
coloring pages, toys, etc & give them out every so often during the
trip), old baking sheets w/fun magnets (it can also be used for snack
trays, play dough trays, etc), "find it" jar (fill an old peanut butter jar
with dried rice, beans, etc...and add a bunch of different little things.
Make a list of what you put in there and then let the kids go on a
scavenger hunt. They can check off every item they find.) Here's what's
in our jar: ring, Q-tip, scissors (small pair from an old sewing kit), marble,
plastic castle (from an old game), rock, battery, guitar pick, eraser, lock, key,
barbie shoe, crayon, penny, nickle, dime, screw, bobby pin, domino, paper clip,
clothes pin, marker, magnet, scrabble tile, rubber band, dice, button, bell &
zip tie.
Here is our playdough day. We made our own, girls picked out the
colors, and it was super easy & quick. They were playing with it
within 20 min. And they've been playing with it ever since!!

Gluten Free Playdough:
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tarter
1 cup water
1 tsp cooking oil
Food coloring, if desired
Preparation:Mix ingredients. Cook and stir on low heat for 3 minutes or until mixture forms a ball. Cool completely before storing in a sealable plastic bag.
I made one batch for each girly!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Having a little problem...

Hey everybody,
I'm having a problem with my blog writer and can't download
anything right now.
So, my summer post & camping post will have to wait until after
we get back from our trip!!!
Major bummer!!!  I hate it when things don't work!!