Camping with kids (Also filed under "Parenting on Display")

No but seriously, camping with kids is the best thing since sliced bread.

I had to push aside my fears of "inconveniencing others" and parenting on display for the world to scrutinize and judge. But hey, I'm willing to be fodder for your sinful conversation if it means I get to do this all weekend!! (I know I look like I'm in pain. I'm not. The flash BLINDED me!!)

Jason and I have wanted to camp since before we got married. We had all the awesome stuff for camping on our wedding registry, but I guess when people saw that we didn't even have cutlery, a pot, or a vacuum, the camping stuff was less urgent. Looking back, it is better that we were gifted this stuff or we would still be washing and reusing plastic forks because we are both money hoarders so frugal.

Anyway, we were gifted a tent by a large family looking to upgrade. And FINALLY were able to plan ahead for camping. Jason's Christmas stash looked like an outdoors store threw up under our tree. And he was itching to get a chance to use it all. Backyard camping is fun, but you don't really need your propane stove and mini axe.

But you know where a mini axe comes in handy? In the wild!! NATURE!!!!

I think it was right about this time that an older couple pulled into the campsite next door to us. While they were scoping out the perfect location to put their tent, I jokingly said, "You should put it as far away from us as possible!"

HAHA. Right?

Our ever-so-tactful neighbor replied with, "Yeah, when we pulled in, I said to my husband, 'Oh no, a baby.'"

She was met with an icy cold stare and awkward silence. Because what do you even say to that? Once I recovered, I told her she didn't need to worry about the baby. It was the loud 3 year old that might drive them insane. Cue awkward laughter...

And I told Bridget to go wake them up bright and early each morning.

Aside from the stress of parenting my children in front of 200 strangers (it was packed!), our first camping weekend as a family was amazing. I'm antsy to go back. Without the rain ending our trip early next time! I sat outside reading, sipping coffee, watching my kids play, and talking to my husband. And when I got cold at night, I grabbed a couple kids and sandwiched myself in between them. What is better than that???

Okay so let's talk real quick about the awesome camping gear we had and what we wished we had!

We brought my beloved cast iron skillets for cooking over the fire, but there wasn't enough room over the fire for the entire meal, and it just got too smoky and hot. This outdoor kitchen is awesome for the extras! We put our Propane Stove on top and were able to make pancakes, sauteed veggies, and campfire coffee (which is all you really need, amiright?!).

Okay there were only a couple other things we had that were ESSENTIAL!

A basic kitchen utensil kit. This little kit has all the cooking essentials. Except garlic. Never leave the garlic behind!

God bless this portable fan.

We won't need it for fall or spring camping, but it was 95 all weekend and we would have been too uncomfortable to sleep without this fan!!

We actually don't need a ton of stuff when we go camping. Our kids were so well occupied all weekend with activities and meeting other campground friends that any other stuff we brought was ignored. Most of our activities centered around cooking.

Fact: Bacon cooked over a fire tastes better.

The kids spent a ton of time in the stream catching crawfish, reading books, canoeing, learning from the Park Rangers, hiking, and catching (and naming) crickets.  It makes me wish we had gone camping SO much sooner!! 

And the only thing that would have made this camping trip more perfect (aside from a large tarp so we didn't get rained out...newbie mistake):

A camping hammock! Or 3. We are going to try to buy at least one of these before we head out camping again in October. They were all OVER the campsite! I assumed they were too expensive for us, but they are actually affordable!

I have 1 month of prep time before we go camping again. What am I missing? What are your camping must-haves?

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  1. People can be so rude sometimes! The comeback was great though. My three year old definitely is louder the baby most of the time.

    1. I know - I know that people will think it, but I can't believe she actually said it out loud!! But I win in the end because the toddler in the camp next to her was WAY worse than any of my kids ;) Toddlers are way harder...

    2. People have forgotten some things are best left unsaid. Ah - toddlers. I both love and hate the toddler stage.


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