I have so many amazing memories from my childhood, but our camping trips are definitely some that make the short list. When I was really little, we camped a few times (that I can remember) in a tent, but after a torrential downpour one night, we upgraded to a pop-up camper and never looked back. Our pop-up was retro as some might call it, but my mom and dad fixed it up with new curtains and things. The fanciest thing about it was the swing out kitchen — if I close my eyes, I can visualize the three of us girls poking sticks in the ashes from the campfire the night before, my mom prepping eggs to scramble for breakfast, and my dad cooking bacon on the picnic table with a little propane stove.
Most of our camping trips were in Minnesota somewhere on the bike trail. We’d wake up, eat some breakfast, and then we would hop on our bikes for the rest of the day. I would throw out some estimate of mileage here, but I was a kid and memories have a weird way of growing astronomically (we biked 150 miles each day! I was only 10.) or completely wrong in the other extreme (we biked about 5 miles a day. We left after breakfast and didn’t get home until dinner.)
So I have no idea, but I remember usually finding somewhere to get ice cream along the way. Bike rides are always better with ice cream.
Or if you’re Jones: corn on the cob. (You guys, I have NEVER seen him cry as hard as he did when we took the corn away from him for about 30 seconds to pop a bib on him. Guess he likes corn!)
Our lunches would be packed and eaten along the way, “Little Bunny Foo Foo” would be sung on repeat and we would return to our campsite ready for dinner, campfire, s’mores and usually a game of cards. I learned how to play Hearts on our camping trips, and I remember a few games of Rummikub and Rack-O too. For dinner one night, we’d make pudding for dessert. Looking back, I cannot imagine how funny we looked: instead of using a beater to mix up the pudding, my mom would put it in a container for us to shake. We’d take turns shaking it until the pudding was good to go — and even writing that makes me laugh.
I love how some of my most favorite memories are the ones that are so simple.
We haven’t attempted camping with the kids yet, but Harlow and Andy have started the tradition of camping outside in the backyard. We don’t really have any outdoor space at our apartment, but I can’t wait for them to continue the tradition when we move to our new house in the fall. Having lived in the city before, stars were a little more difficult to see: I can’t wait for our kids to experience campfires and campouts right in our own yard with the stars shining brightly above.
In the meantime, we are enjoying picnics on the beach and at the park. We are grilling at friends’ houses and making memories as we go. I’ve begun taking our Stanley cooler with us everywhere — it keeps food cold for 36 hours and is super sturdy and easy to carry. It also doubles as a seat, which is always coming in handy. I love that the top will hold a vacuum mug or thermos in the elastic, because my BFF, coffee typically travels with me wherever I do.
Today we used our Stanley Adventure Cookset to cook broccoli on the grill — I definitely want to try this over a campfire sometime! Just add water, broccoli and pop the top on to keep the steam in.
Another new campfire favorite is chutney and brie cheese.
Place the brie round on a skillet and cover with chutney. Let it melt and sizzle and smell amazing – remove from heat and eat with tortilla chips, pita or small slices of bread.
You. Are. Welcome. ;)
Happy Camping! What are some of your favorite memories of camping — or not so favorite memories? Anyone else wake up in standing water in their tent? — and what are some traditions you have with your kids now? I’d love to hear!