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camping

Adventures/Travel, camping

5 Reasons We Love Camping

Eric and I camped a few times before having children.

Of course, we were certain that one day, in the not so distant future, we would take children camping with us; and since we planned to have a few, we invested in a 6 person tent even before they came along.

Don’t laugh.  I am a planner.  I can’t help it.

Of course, we had no idea that it would take over a decade before we actually packed up that tent and used it with children. And now we are hooked.

And while I could list a bunch of things about camping that are difficult like cooking and cleaning or annoying like bugs or frustrating like weather that doesn’t cooperate, I am going to focus on the top five reasons that I am now in love with camping.

Reasons we love camping.

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Adventures/Travel, camping, North Carolina Adventures

Cold Camping Survival: Linville, NC

(October 2015 camping trip)

Carefully, I researched an area of North Carolina to visit. Then I narrowed down the campground.

When I camp, there has to be hot showers and flush toilets. No exceptions. Which left me with The Linville Falls Trailer Lodge and Campground.  The only downside of this campground, according to Trip Advisor, seemed to be that the primitive tent sites, our typical preference, were down a steep hill from the bathrooms. I did not envision much joy in the evenings when walking my 6 year old up steep hills to the bathroom.

We decided to go with a site that had water and electric.  We booked it.  A month in advance.

Then the weekend began to approach.  At the same time, a cold front began to approach. They were clearly going to collide.  And if the weather forecast was accurate, we would be camping in below freezing weather on our first night there, but then it would warm up a bit more each day.

This frantic mommy took to google and Facebook.  Turns out, that you can run a ceramic space heater in a tent IF you have a site with electric, and thanks to the steep hill situation for the primitive tent sites, we would have electric this trip!  We decided to be wild and crazy and go for it, after all, the best memories usually stem from wild and crazy.

The campground was beautiful, as was the drive through the mountains to get there.  We were given a choice between two sites and we selected the first one.  It was only 4 sites away from the bathrooms and it had a lovely private pathway to the field across the road for the kids to play.  It was also sunny for the majority of the day, which was very important.
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We quickly got our tent and screen tent set up and then we began working on a fire.  My kids are getting pretty good at starting a fire.

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The kids spent a lot of time whittling on this trip.  Everyone had a great time with Daddy’s pocket knives.

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Eventually I began to explore the campground.  The bathrooms were the best ones I have experienced camping.  There were hot, private showers.  A space heater was located near the sinks and there was even a little make up area by a mirror.  Yes, make up and blow dryers are acceptable camping equipment.

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Soon, the cold settled in and we began to break out the warm winter coats.

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Smores are a nightly dessert when camping, so I set up my Type A smores-gous board.  (pun intended)

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Finally we retired to our tents, sleeping with snow pants and winter coats by our sides for the morning.

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In the morning, no one was eager to leave their warm sleeping bag.  We huddled a bit by the heater.  I can’t tell you what a brilliant idea the space heater was.  MAJOR points for this Mom!

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Eventually, breakfast had to be made.  Do not be deceived by my smile.  This was NOT the most fun I have had camping.  It was cold.  COLD I tell ya.  But I had electric and I had my hot water kettle, so I had tea.  Happy Mommy.

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Chocolate Chip Pancakes are always a hit.

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We spent our days hiking and enjoying the fall colors, which I will post in the next few days.  Our late afternoons and evenings were spent at our site.  Luckily, none of the evenings ever dipped below freezing again.  WHEW!

Our camping neighbors were all very friendly and many were older so they absolutely loved the “life” our kids brought to the campground.  I sat on a bench with one woman and talked for awhile.  She was sitting at the playground just to listen to my kids laughing and playing.  Hers were grown and she missed camping with them.

It was a beautiful reminder for this mom.  The moments are fleeting and the babies grow fast.  So thankful that we braved the cold weather camping.

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Adventures/Travel, camping, North Carolina Adventures

Our First Family Camping Trip, Campsite Life

Planning.  Packing.  Prepping.  Camping calls for a lot of all three.

But the day arrived, and ready or not, here we went…

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Of course, as HUGE fans of the Hunger Games Series, it was time to take the rest of the crew to District 12.  Only my oldest daughter and I had been there and it was on the way to our campsite destination.

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And two hours later, we were setting up camp!

Our campground, Davidson River, was a random find through google searches.  It was in the ideal location, near Brevard, NC,  based on the hikes we wanted to take.  We were thrilled with how pleasant the campground was and how ideal our particular site was.

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Hot dogs were our first official camping meal as well as our last meal on this trip!  Hot dogs are just an easy dinner while camping; it was such fun to cook them over the fire.  Our second night dinnertime meal consisted of grill cheese sandwiches and soup.  Soup turned out perfect for night number two because it was rainy!

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After dinner activities consisted of marshmallow roasting. Smores.  Mountain Pies.  Popcorn.  Fire watching.  And games by lantern light.

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I’ll be honest.  My first night of sleeping was not good.  Hot and sticky are not the words I use when I describe the ideal sleeping environment.  On top of that, one of my children couldn’t sleep either and was keeping me up.  Finally, at 1 AM we both took Benadryl and finally drifted off.  The next morning, our first stop was Walmart for some battery powered fans.  The next two nights were much more pleasant.

Breakfast went smoothly each morning.  Two mornings included eggs and sausage and the remaining morning consisted of pancakes and fruit.

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Obviously, we also had to buy one little girl a hoodie sweatshirt at Walmart when we stopped by for fans.  She forgot hers and was trying to make due with paper towels on the chilly morning.

These hammocks (below) were fabulous sources of relaxation, fun and entertainment.  Sitting around the campsite and relaxing was possible due to these two person hammocks.  We purchased two of them, so they accommodated all four kids.  They had a blast relaxing, playing, and learning to hang upside down in them!

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Our one mistake was purchasing a screen canopy that was just too small for our family of 6.  When the rain came, we added this blue tarp to help keep everyone and everything dry.  In the end, we just made it work and went with it.  We were dry and cozy under it!

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Our three room, 6 person Coleman tent (from a purchase over a decade ago) held up beautifully, even through all of the rain.  We were pleasantly surprised.

While we didn’t have a ton of extra space, the six of us fit comfortably, two in each room.

Part of the fun in the evening was giggling and talking at night until it was time to go to sleep.  Our kids really enjoyed being in a tent with us and we enjoyed them.  It added to the novelty of the entire weekend as well as the family bonding and silliness.

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We had a wonderful three days, full of adventures and experiences that I will make time to record here.  In the end were all sad to leave and we can’t wait to do it again.  I would say that camping was a great success!

How about you?  Have you taken your kids on a camping trip?  How did it go?

 

Parenting

Send Help. It’s May and there is Total Parenting Chaos

The other night I was scrubbing the house. Random stuff. Cleaning the appliances. Wiping doors and molding. Scrubbing kitchen drawers.

And I overheard one of my daughters wonder out loud, “What is mom doing?”

My other daughter replied, “Oh she is stressed. Just leave her alone.”

I wanted to laugh and I wanted to cry. I am sure I have done a little bit of both since that moment.

Because it is springtime.

And all of the parenting chaos, along with all of the pollen, arrives sometime in mid-April and sticks around for a few weeks causing complete and total parenting chaos.

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Adventures/Travel, camping, Gifts, Homelife

Essential Outdoor Adventure Gifts for Kids

A few years ago, our children received Outdoor Adventure themed Christmas and birthday gifts to equip them for family outdoor adventures for years to come. They received many of the essential items required for our family outdoor adventures.

Since then we have traveled the US from coast to coast and I am grateful that we always have the basics for hiking, camping, exploring, and more.

A list of Essential Outdoor Adventure Gifts for Kids

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Games, Homelife, Homeschooling, Parenting

Playing with Language: 10 Ideas for Families

We love to play with language in our house.

Words. Idioms. Jokes. Figurative language.

It’s all part of the atmosphere of learning that we have created in this house and it is easier to create that you might realize.

We repeat our favorite lines from movies and TV shows, share silly puns, attempt to solve riddles, and experiment with new vocabulary words. There isn’t a limit to the many ways you can play with words and language in your home.

I bet you’ve already started to realize how much your family plays with language as well, so let’s talk about ten ideas you can incorporate into your family lifestyle.

Check out these easy ten ideas to play with words and language with your kids. Continue Reading

Homelife

Because Doing All The Things Won’t Work

Laundry sits in piles upstairs. There are two loads waiting to be folded and two are sitting in the washer and dryer. Campfire scented top sheets are tossed haphazardly on the floor so I don’t forget to wash them next.

None of these piles include my own laundry which is overflowing in a basket down the hall. I have only tackled the towels and the boys’ clothing so far and I can’t seem to even finish that task.

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