Sunday, July 13, 2008

Never perfect, but always fun

We went camping last week! It seems every time I come home from camping, I have a running list in my mind of what we'd do better or different next time. This time was no different, but it was, never the less, alot of fun!

There was a group from Westport that spent three days at Fisherman's Bend camp ground on the Santiam River, about 30 miles east of Salem Oregon.

Camping is such an unusual experience in that we are balancing between trying to "rough it" and yet still trying to enjoy some of the luxuries of our normal everyday lives.

Before we had kids, all we needed with a tent, sleeping bags, a pack of hotdogs (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and some matches to start a fire. Since our kids came along we have had several camping trips that were anything but roughing it. One year we had a mini fridge plugged into the outlets (which were made available for people with RVs).

And when we only had one child, it was all about the battle to stay clean. Now there is no battle... just stay happy!

And we are moving down a path of convenience. We recently found a deal on an older pop-up tent trailer on craigslist (gotta love Craigslist!)

This was our maiden voyage for the trailer. We all slept comfortably in the trailer, but it was a wee bit crowded. Upon coming home, we listed it for sale and are figuring on finding something larger that will allow for our growing family.

On the up side, the trailer allowed us to bring our bikes, including a 2-seater bike trailer for the littles.

We were able to explore the camp ground as a family on bikes!

I don't know that I have really even ridden a bike in at least 6 years... I was sore!

We took an afternoon and traveled 15 miles up river to Detroit Lake for some splash time. Just what the kids needed to wear themselves out!

A campfire certainly allows for the cultivation of new friendships.

It was a very nice time, and as always, camp ended too soon.

Here are my top ten lessons learned this year at camp:

10. Strap the firewood to the roof of your car (protected by a tarp, of course), preventing debris from getting into your food, clothes or bedding. In my case, I need a Macgyver like husband to help, because when I strapped down the tarp, it was flapping in the wind 5 miles from home. How would I know how those tie-down, ratchy things are supposed to work?! I love my man.

9. Smile pretty and ask your father in law for some free firewood, vs buying at the camp site. We were blessed with some large pieces of Oak and Maple that Ken had and would have been too big for their stove. The logs burned nicely into the wee hours.

8. Rubbermaid bins! Since we were cooking in a covered picnic area about 50 yards from our trailer, having everything in one central box (or two) would have been very convenient. (we tried to use all the "handy" little compartments in the trailer, but it all eventually ended up coming out.)

7. Simple foods, there is nothing wrong with hot dogs for 3 days. You can get a balanced meal when you get home. (try to find some snacks with nutritious value, a little fruit is a good thing)

6.Variations on the S'more: Cinnamon Graham Crackers, Reeces PB Cups, Strawberry marshmallow, the Choc Rock (toast your cracker and melt the choc on a rock close to the fire).

AND Variations on toasting over the fire: Of course there are the standard hotdogs and marshmallows, a little less common, the dough boys (pop buscuits toasted, dipped in butter and cinnamon sugar). Or Dan's last morning breakfast... toasted left over hot dog buns... add some jelly. (Next year I'm doing my hot dog buns French Toast style!)

5. Make a list when you get home, things not to forget! (I have a running list that I update from year to year, email me if you'd like it) It sounds a little over the top, but makes a lot more sense than trying to sleep with out a pillow, or having to stop at the store to buy a cigarette lighter because you don't have any matches.

4.Glow sticks for all the kids are a must. (I grabbed a couple of packs for my kids, but didn't think to get enough for everyone, thankfully, some one else did!)

3. Rough it as much as you can, but if electricity is available... bring a coffee maker. (Personally I'm not much of a fan of the perc coffee). It is also a great way to befriend Eric!

2. Invest in a good first aid kit. We had pulled ours together, bits and pieces, just the important stuff (so I thought), and it seemed to be sufficient for the bums and scrapes the kids found themselves in running through the woods or falling off their bikes. Unfortunately, it just didn't cut it when I took a graceful leap sideways into the ground and planted concrete into my right palm and left knee cap. Between Nurse Dan and Kurt and Laura's "Official Red Cross" first aid kit, I was in tears (benzocaine REALLY STINGS!) and cleaned up.

1. Travel cosmetic bottles for your condiments. PIPER YOU ARE A GENIUS! Because of a limit on space, Piper and Dan packed their condiments (ketup, syrup, etc) in travel cosmetic bottles. Just the perfect amount for 3 days. LOVE IT! Favorite camping idea of the century! You rock!

Do you have a favorite idea for camping preparations? What is the most outrageous thing you've toasted on a stick over the fire?


  1. My number one for next year: Don't have just been home from a third world country the week prior to the all church camp out!

    Wish we were there. Love your list. I like your strive for simplicity. I'd totally eat hotdogs three days straight.

    Looks like fun. We'll see you next year. Barring any new adoptions, that is.

  2. Hey Sarah!
    Sounds like a fun trip. Thanks for the pointers. We camp every year, too, but I'm always looking for better new efficient ways to do things.
    We will really miss camping with you this month.... :(
    Hey, try those biscuts wrapped around a hot dog over the fire. Those pigs 'n a blanket were a hit last summer.

  3. Fun! I totally miss church camping. And Rubbermaid is definitely a best friend of campers.

    Your tent trailer looks comfy and cozy. We sure love our bunkhouse trailer. It makes all the difference when you are camping for very long with more than a few people.

  4. OK - you caught me reading your blog again! :)

    The camping trip was a lot of fun!

    We are "new" campers since moving to the NW. For some strange reason, I never got into camping while living in OK and TX where the mosquitoes are on steroids, the snakes are in abundance and the heat is obnoxious....we're just weird like that.

    Anyway, one of our favorite things to do while camping is Ziploc Omelletes. This is one of those recipes that you have to put the fact that you are eating from a plastic bag that is doing who knows what to our bodies in the back of your mind. However, for each omellete, you need a quart size ziploc, 2 eggs, and your favorite omelette makings. Then, you place your zipped, ziploc bag in a pot of boiling water for 12 - 15 minutes. When the eggs are done, open the bag and slide onto plate. Don't forget to bring along the salsa as that is the perfect complement to any omelette and you have yourself one very yummy, easy clean-up, camping breakfast!


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