I would not describe myself as a camper. I didn’t camp while growing up, except for a few outdoor sleepovers, which I would not describe as “camping”. I love the outdoors and appreciate all that nature has to offer, but I’d be fine doing that during the day and then coming home to a nice comfy bed and a clean, operating bathroom. I really love a clean and functional bathroom. I do.
The subject of camping is something the hubby gets excited about and it appears that the kids enjoy it. So, it seems that this camping thing is going to be happening. We’ve done it a few times and I’m still warming up to the idea. There is a bit of a learning curve associated with camping and I think I’ve almost got it all figured out.
A few weeks ago, we headed out for a weekend of outdoor fun. Just the family, a big tent, and the hopes that our campsite wouldn’t be next to a group of young party people who planned to stay up till all hours and sing Kumbaya.
When we arrived, the children were so excited to get out of the car; you would think it was Disneyland. It was cute. I figured I could set aside my camping hesitations after seeing how happy they were to be there.
We set up camp, a fire was built, we cooked dinner on the grill, and s’mores were devoured. Ironically, everyone slept fairly well in the tent, except for me. I think I have the hearing of an owl, or some other nocturnal animal. I could hear every animal noise and conversation within a ten-mile radius. But, I watched my little ones slumber and in the morning they had huge smiles on their faces. They loved that we were all in the tent together and that our time was uninterrupted.
At home, we spend our time doing errands, cleaning up, cooking, shopping, and sometimes that routine needs a bit of a shake-up. Sometimes we, as parents, forget that our children really just want our time. No phone, no computer, and no television! It is shocking how much time we all devote to these devices. Stepping away is a good thing, isn’t it?
Each time we have camped, however, I struggle with the dinner planning. Breakfast and lunch are easy, but trying to be creative with dinner is a little tricky. I want it to be easy, but healthy, too. We brought our portable BBQ and grilled sausages the first night with some veggies on the side. My little ones don’t do hot dogs, as I know many people like to do when camping. So, the second night we made little individual pizzas on whole wheat English muffins. We got to choose our own toppings and all was well with the world. I always make sure to have some carrots with ranch dip (those small individual sized ones are great) on the side.
So, as much as I complain about the dirt and the bathrooms (really, can someone improve on that?), we had a successful trip. The children rode bikes, dug in the sand, ate at a picnic table, and shared their stories around the campfire. We were even frightened by a raccoon, which was a bonding moment if nothing else. These are the simple things that we overlook far too often. And, these are how memories are made.
Please share your favorite camping recipes! I would love to know what you cook when you are bonding with nature.
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