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Earlier in the summer (or, it might have been spring?) some of the families we’re friends with mentioned doing a group camping trip in September. Jon and I were all for it – we’ve gone camping before with the kids. Taking 3 kids (one who was crawling) was a bit more of a challenge than last time. We had our minivan filled to the max and actually had to unpack and repack it a few times to get everything fit. We brought both of the kids’ bikes, plus food, and the most challenging was actually packing in our UPPAbaby Cruz stroller.
We tent camp. When we bought our tent back when Aubrey was a baby – we bought one that was able to be set up by one person in under 3 minutes. It’s the Coleman 8-person Instant Tent. Little did we know back then how truly important that Instant part would be when I’m keeping 3 kids entertained and Jon is in charge of setting up everything. Another key item we bought was the Coleman rechargeable quick pump. (always bring a plug-in back up!)
One of the other families brought washable paints and the kids had a great time doing several different painting activities. They gathered rocks and painted them, I think they also painted pine cones. Oh, and the table. It was cute though. You could tell little kids had been there and had a great time. It kept them entertained at different parts of the day.
Kids really do love nature. Jon and I kept it simple with our food. We used some of the things I have saved on my Pinterest Camping board. And then he created his own. He pre-made jalapeno poppers and instead of cooking them on the fire pit, we used our friend’s barbecue grill.
We did try to use the creamer container for pancake batter, but he added blueberries and that didn’t make it easy to pour. I had to take the top off and then it dripped down the sides. Next time – no berries! One AMAZING camping hack was this one – using a huge bucket as a bathtub. We filled it up in the morning and by the late afternoon it was completely warm. We had a wash cloth and gave the kids a bath right there. We didn’t stick them in it since they were COVERED with sand from the beach. Aubrey got the first bath but Jon said for Luke – he did have him go in because he was just so so so dirty. (Looking to increase your grill game? Sign up for the Grill Masters Club box! Monthly goodies to try out straight to your door)
One thing I had never heard of was what I called – Magical Unicorn Fire. We used 2 packets on the first night and it was mesmerizing. I tried to capture it on photo but it didn’t do a great job.
Believe me – you need to keep this stocked for future campfires!
We pre cut all our sandwich items, we pre-cooked pasta to heat up in tinfoil pouches. We premade breakfast burritos too. The one learning tip is to not heat them up on a skillet on a campfire stove in tin foil. It caused ours to get too hot and burned through the foil. We didn’t know until we opened it. Next time definitely make a small fire and let them warm up that way with more indirect heat. (we did a similar method earlier in the summer with an outdoor barbecue heated up to about 300).
And the last thing we did was one of my favorite traditions we did growing up. We headed into town and got ice cream! We did this all the time every summer. The kids enjoyed theirs (Aubrey picked vanilla and Luke chocolate. I got swirl!) and I had them snap a photo out in front of the sign. Yes. I’m now that mom.
Despite all the dirt, and the really bad sleepless nights, we did have fun making memories and we’re going back in the spring!