Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Planning A Camping Adventure

Her walking stick was bigger than she was

Sydney, currently 6, has been an outdoor girl since September 2006.  She was just six months old when Jim and I took her to her first Ozark Trail Association- OTA- trail build.  Needless to say, the two of us did not get a lot of trail built, we spent most of the time under a tree, me holding an umbrella while I breast fed her. Actually, it really wasn't that bad. We took her on many day hikes before attempting an over-nighter.  By July 2007, she was 18 months old and completed a three day hike of Berryman and Council Bluff.

Berryman July 2007

I wanted to give you some background info to assure you I know what I am talking about.  Preparing for a week long camping adventure seems overwhelming.  At first, it really is.  The planning and prepping for our trips did get easier over the years. I learned so much during those early outings, I could write a book.  Hmmmm.    Having done this so many times I can now get us camp ready blindfolded and in my sleep.  

   My mind was free to pack and plan meals once I found someone willing to :

* Watch the house
* Pick up the mail
* Take care of the dog
* Water my garden

****Thank you Trevor and Emily


I plan our meals based on what I have on hand first.  Leftovers do not go to waste at my house and are easy to reheat.  Using this time to clean out the fridge is a good idea too.  That way you don't come home to spoiled food and a stinky refrigerator.

Try to set up a daily meal plan.  I like lists, they work for me.  Make it easy on yourself.  Pre-made foods are quick options and keep your cooking time to a minimum. In the past, I have prepared home-made  stews, soups, spaghetti and BBQ pulled pork.  (  That was before I became a vegetarian ) Packing a cooler full of fruits and vegetables is easy. I make sure to clean and slice them beforehand and place them in freezer bags.  Using frozen Platypus bottles or water bladders in addition to loose ice cubes is a good idea, especially when it's hot.  If you have a large cooler, you can also freeze 1 gallon water jugs.  As a bonus, you have drinking water as they thaw out.

Plan easy snacks.  Granola, protein, and cereal bars are a great option.  Keep it simple.  Cut up fruit, apples, bananas, etc... If you bring it , they will eat it.  After planning your menu, make a grocery list of items you still need.  Easy so far?


Having had a lot of experience outdoors, I know what works and what doesn't.  Our family uses Bullfrog  Mosquito Coast, and a lot of it.    Mosquitoes, pesky gnats, and biting flies are no fun.  Not to leave out the danger of being bitten by a tick and possibly getting lyme disease or worse, Ehrlichiosis .

I like to stock up on sunscreen, took three bottles on this trip.  We prefer the spray on, sweat proof, sport sunblock.  Purchase a couple travel size lotions too.  They don't take up much space in a backpack.  When we returned home, we had less than half of one bottle left.  Maybe I am a sunscreen nazi, nonetheless, you can't be too careful if you are blonde and blue-eyed.

Toss in a bottle of Doc Bronners soap, baby wipes, Advil Liqui-gels, and travel size tooth brushes/paste and you are good to go.  Don't forget any medication.  It's hard to find a Walgreens in the woods.


There is no one to impress while camping.  Choose light colored, loose fitting, breathable clothes and you will be comfortable during the summer weather.  Keep in mind that whatever you wear may get ruined or turn into permanent "camping only" clothing.  Piece of advice.... pick an old swim suit since it will never be the same after a week of playing in the river.  Sydney is old enough to pick out and pack her own clothes.  Last year, I separated her "camp clothes" from her "everyday clothes".  I give her a number of items to pick out, say eight shirts and shorts.  Who cares if she doesn't match? Add in a jacket and some pants, just in case.


Our family usually sleeps in ENO's or Hennessy Hammocks. ( Check out the Alpine Shop for deals ) We purchased bug nets to keep the bugs away while we sleep, and tarps in case of rain.  All we need are a couple of trees and we can use our car as a tie off.  In bad weather, we use a tent or we  sleep in the car.  The hammocks are the best choice since they set up in minutes and double as chairs. I sleep better in my ENO than in our Sleep Number.  No kidding.

Ready to roll

My next post will tell you where we ended up and what we did when we got there.  In six days I did NOT hear "I am bored".  In my eyes, that equals success.  Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section  below or send it to my email.

Before I go, I want to leave you with a giggle..... Before we leave I shower, shampoo, and shave since I will not be doing these things until we return.  I must have been in a real hurry because I missed shaving under my right arm.  It was hilarious when I put my swimsuit on for our first swim.  It goes without saying, that was the first thing I rectified when we returned home.

Happy Camping,

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Have Questions About Camping With Kids?

My husband  and I just returned from a six day adventure with our six year old. I have had many parents ask me " how do you do it".  I am putting together a few blogs about our experiences and would like to provide as much information as possible.

  In order to do that, I need your assistance.  So, here's your chance to ask me anything and everything about camping with your child/children.  I will try to incorporate your questions into my posts.

 Don't be shy.... ask me anything.  Leave me a comment or send me an email.  I hope to have my first post up by Monday. Have a great weekend. Get outside!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Quality Time

A last minute sitter afforded my husband and I some much needed time together.  We try to get one weekend a month alone together.  These outings help us stay connected and remind us that our relationship is important too.  Being parents is great, being ourselves is awesome.

It was still a stifling 102 degrees at 630pm this past Tuesday evening.  We stopped at QT and picked up a cold, frothy beverage to enjoy on our hike at Lewis and Clark.   We covered ourselves in bug spray and  entered the trail to find it a pleasant 10 degrees cooler.  We were still going to sweat a ridiculous amount, which was better than sitting on the couch.

I love that my other half and I share an active lifestyle.  When we can't be together, we support each others solo journeys.

A Trail Monster is always prepared
The Lewis and Clark trail is about 15 minutes from our house. This trail system offers a five or an eight mile option.  We had planned a bike ride for the following day so five miles would suffice.

On my right

On my left
We reached the special overlook spot as the sun went down. Jim had carried our ENO hammocks but we decided against hanging them. It was just too hot.  After enjoying a couple brews, we headed out.  We reached the car at 10pm.

The following day, July 4th, we awakened early to beat the heat and get a ride in.  We were on our cross bikes by 730am and in the woods a short while later.  We are fortunate to live close to several trails, single track and gravel.

Katy trail bound

Shady Kona's
Not even the pinch flat I had at mile 10 could ruin our day.  We hit the Katy Trail after riding some at Busch Wildlife.  We had high hopes of catching up and enjoying a beer with friends, who were doing another ride.  There were many people out taking advantage of the cooler morning temp. We rode to Matson and then headed back to Defiance.  

It turns out the two bars were closed for the day, which was probably good since the temps were climbing quickly and we needed to be home by 1pm.  We reached our neighborhood by 1230pm with 35 miles under our belt.  Not a bad day.

We finished up the holiday by grilling some veggies and enjoying a Raspberry Hefewiezen Ale by Schlafly.

What a fun and healthy holiday!  What did you do?