Kristy, Au Naturale: Survival in the woods, aka tent camping with kids.

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Camping is one of those activities that our family has always enjoyed doing together. Being in nature, grounding ourselves, and slowing down for a weekend has been really effective in helping us reconnect and bond when daily  life seems so busy. We camp with extended family as well, which, for us, has always been an amazing time.

Our camping journey started in a tent for seven people. There were only two of us and a puppy, so that made it roomy and doable. Our spacious luxury camping getaway quickly became a cramped space when we had our first kiddo.

When little #2 came around, that seven person tent turned into a giant canvas bag of emotions!

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So, we bought a Pop-up.

 

Now at least we had a roof overhead, a stove, and heat and air conditioning!

“What a step up!” we thought until even that became cramped with “baby stuff” and then the space above began to feel like more like this…

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Our camping nights started to become very very difficult. It was almost like going back to newborn stages for the first two nights every time we took a trip.

8 pm: Honey, the cloth diaper blew out, we need to go to bathhouse to hose the baby off.

10 pm: Mommy, I have to potty

Midnight: Dangit, now I have to pee

1am: diaper leaks onto mattress

3 am: Mommy I have to potty (again)

Suffice it to say, we…never…slept.

Now that we are GLAMPING it up in a tag along trailer with a bathroom, queen bed, and kitchen, I can look back and give a list of all the things necessary for tent camping with tiny kids. (If you’re not wanting to totally give up on it like I admittedly did)

Kristy’s no bull survival guide to tent camping with kids:

A large tent: 

Don’t want to pay $250 for a large WATERPROOF tent? Well, sorry Charlie, you’re gonna be cold and wet in a cheaper one. They can leak, not hold up in the wind, and have a tendency to be crackly and loud when the wind does blow.  Better investments equal better experiences in my opinion. This tent is big enough for your overnight bags, the essential change of clothes needed for any accidents, and extra towels/wetbags for any messes or laundry. Dew will make everyone damp and miserable even if you’re not rained on while camping.

A Sleeping Pad

Content_Team_081417_71478_Choosing_Sleeping_Pads_lg.jpgIn addition to a specific sleeping bag meant for outdoor slumber, you’ll need a buffer between you and the ground. TRUST ME, even if the beautiful weather during the day is warm, the ground at night gets cold! Putting a pocket of air between you, your littles, and the ground can help insure a better night sleep for you all. You can also use a camping pad, or an air mattress (but good luck trying to get the kiddos to sleep when you’ve basically just blown up a bouncy house in a tent!)

Pillows

One of the things people don’t usually think of, is how bulky pillow can be in the car ride and especially in a tent. They make specific camping pillows that have their own cases for storage when you’re out and about during the day and need more room in your tent to move around.

Proper Footware

What shoes you will need for your kiddos depends on time of year, and typography of your campground. We usually do a water based (crick, creek, or lake) campground so our kids can explore, fish, and collect shells and rocks. So we select our favorite Keens that can be amphibious. They are also great on hiking trails that aren’t too rocky. You’ll want an option that’s easy to slip on and off for those bathroom breaks.

Fire Utensils

Whether you’re roasting hot dogs or marshmallows, let’s be real…who knows who has let their dog pee on a stick nearby! I usually resort to bringing my washable Roasting sticks for all things S’mores related.

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For fire stoking, do yourself a favor and have a proper set of fire gloves incase you need to adjust any logs or one goes astray.

For cooking, we use this adjustable tripod that cooks veggies, meats, and will even toast bread right over the fire! It breaks down and goes right back in the box as well for easy traveling.

Lighting

You’ll obviously need flashlights for when you’re walking around at night. We always have these solar lamps hanging around as well, for use inside the tent as well as around the site itself. Kids and adults alike do well with headlamps as well. Just make sure you teach your kids not to shine it at your eyeballs.

Snacks

Overestimate the snacks you bring – basically double what they would go through at home. Pick things unlikely to melt/squash like nuts, dried fruit, whole grain crackers and peanut butter, etc…. One of the worst possible camping situation is running out of food. While you’re at it, pack yourself some extra adult beverages.

Cooler packing hack: Prep ahead of time by freezing water bottles, juice boxes or pouches, and squeezable yogurts. Use these along with ice packs and bags of ice. These will keep things cold in there for longer and also be nicely chilled when your kiddos or yourself want to eat them.

And the Piece De La Resistance

The Toilet Tent

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I cannot stress to you enough how important this little bugger is. You think, “Oh, we are camping, there’s a bathhouse right there that I’ll walk to” or “I’ll just pee in the woods cause I am woman hear me roar!”

Awesome thought. Really, it is.

HOWEVER, 9 times out of ten when your kid wakes up, you wont want to trek the 100 yards to the actual toilet when they are freaking out about the dark walk or first thing in the morning when the entire campground is sleeping and your kid is screaming that they have to go.

This tent is taller as well, so you can change in it without the hassle of ducking, if you’re tall like my family.

Putting The Fun in Family Time

We like to stay at campgrounds with lots of activities. Crabbing on piers, shark tooth treasure hunts, easy hiking, wagon rides with water balloon fights, splash parks, gem mining, local watering holes and breweries with picnic style seating can be all great things to look for. When hanging fireside, though, we always love to add magic to the experience of being outside and away from home as a family.

These amazing fire color packets change your campfire into a magical rainbow of colors that can spark the imagination of even the curmudgeonist of curmudgeons.

I hope this helps some of y’all get your family out and exploring your area or surrounding areas in order for more tiny humans to learn to appreciate and love this earth that sustains our lives. I know I am awed by the majesty of its landscapes, and weather patterns every time we go.

Oh, and no light pollution of rural campgrounds equals amazing star gazing! (Throw in a little romance for you and your partner as well!) Or some educational constellation spotting with your science kid! (There is an App for that)

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Night breezes seem to whisper “I love you”

 

Friday Funnies: Sh*t Moms Say

Before we were parents, we had this editorial Stepford-wife, blissful image of what it was going to be like. The kids would be clean and organized and I would gently teach them the ways of the world in a calm and reasonable voice. They would dote on me as much as I doted on them..and all would be…well cuteness and rainbows.

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Welp, welcome to the real world, folks. This is a little compilation of some of the best moments of “I Never Thought I’d Say….” and then parenthood rolled up like…

TOP 20 CRAZIEST THINGS TO COME OUT OF OUR MOMMY MOUTHS:

  1. “Guys, poop is not finger paint”  <cue barf noises>

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  2. “Do NOT wrap that extension cord around your neck.” or your sister’s, or the dog’s….why do they want to strangle themselves all. the. time??

  3. “Wow, I never knew that your best friend could single handedly defeat a colossal squid…..NO, I totally BELIEVE YOU.” <serious face>

  4. “No hunting chickens with the garden hose” please. 

  5. “Do you need a snacky-poo?” in some weird alien baby voice, who even am I??

  6.  “No touching butt-holes at the dinner table” because “no touching butt-holes ever” became unattainable at some point…

  7. “Oh God. Who did you just call?”

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  8. “Don’t worry about how bad my breath is, mama needs a hug!”

  9. “Did you just wash your hands in my water glass?!”

  10. “Boys! Use. Toilet paper.”

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  11. “An octopus does not have eight testicles” it’s tentacles, dear. 
  12. “Daddy was just helping mommy stretch” ahem…

  13. “GRAPES. OUT. OF. YOUR nose !” and, basically replace grapes with any object roughly nostril sized – what is with this??

  14. “No lightsabers at the table!”

  15. “Did you fart or is that your sister’s diaper?”

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  16. “Don’t wave your vulva at your sister!” because when you decide to use correct anatomical terms with your kids, you better stick with it.

  17. “We don’t poop in other people’s yards!” oh potty training…

  18. “Good Lord kid, quit eating the money.” there goes your college fund…

  19. “No coloring on the baby” or biting, or spitting, or feeding nuts to… just don’t touch the baby FFS!!

And by far, the craziest thing to come out of any of our mouths….

20. “Let’s have another baby”. BAhahahhahahahahhah!!

There’s no logic to it.

 

Oh yeah, that’s why!

Happy Friday peeps!!

 

Friday Faves: Summer Cocktails

With Memorial Day weekend coming up, we thought you all might be interested in mixing up the usual libations.

We’ll start with the fancy and finish with the simple. Cheers!!

Annie’s Picks:

Gin and Tonic Granita

This fantasical dessert-cocktail courtesy of Amanda on Chew Town Blog is as refreshing as it gets. If you’re somewhere like my part of California and looking at 90 degree temps for the weekend, this is the drink for you!

Gin and Tonic Granita | Chew Town Food Blog

I personally decrease the simple syrup from her recipe, but if you like it sweeter, adjust to your taste. I have converted her funky milliliter measurements (silly Australia) to ounces 😉  If you don’t have a juicer for cucumber, just blender them until they’re smooshy and push juice through a fine-mesh strainer.

GIN AND TONIC GRANITA

1/2 cup water
1/8 cup fine white sugar
5 ounces Hendrick’s Gin
16 ounces tonic water (I like FeverTree)
1/3 cup cucumber juice (made using household juicer)
Cucumber ribbons, to garnish

Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan and heat over medium high heat, stirring until sugar has melted. Reduce to a simmer and continue to heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Once cool, place in a medium baking dish and add gin, tonic and cucumber juice. Place in the freezer and each hour, take a fork, and fluff up the ice crystals freezing for at least 4 hours.

Serve topped with skewered cucumber ribbons. You can play around with adding mint or thyme to the simple syrup as it cools for more herbal flavor. Makes ~4 depending on your serving size.

Gin-Gin Fizz

This is one of my own creations. I’m admittedly a ginger-fanatic. The world has yet to make a ginger beer that’s gingery enough for me. If you prefer your ginger on the lighter side, omit the extra fresh ginger and/or swap out the ginger beer for club soda. You can also go full-domestic and make your own honey-sweetened ginger ale from This Post on Kitchen Stewardship (picture below from that blog).

natural ginger ale recipe

GIN-GIN FIZZ (for each)

1 oz Domain De Canton Ginger Liquor
2 oz good Vodka
1/2-1 tsp fresh grated ginger (can also buy in a jar or tube)
Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime (Meyer lemons are great too)

2 Tbs fresh mint leaves

Strong ginger beer (I recommend Cock and Bull) or club soda to top off 

Muddle first 5 ingredients together. Add ice and shake vigorously to chill. Strain into ice-filled glass.

Top with ginger beer, garnish with lime and mint.

 

Christiana’s Pick:

Blackberry Mojito

This tart little twist on a traditional mojito is absolutely perfect for a southern summer afternoon. Even better, an urban gardener can grow these ingredients themselves and make some seriously farm-to-table beverages. We personally made these with our backyard blackberry and mint harvest last year, and loved every sip.

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Photo by Jess Watters on Pexels.com
There are several takes on this recipe, here’s mine.
BLACKBERRY MOJITOS
Per serving:
  • 5-6 blackberries (frozen work great too, if you don’t have fresh ones on hand!)
  • Small handful of mint leaves
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 1/2 tbsp simple syrup
  • 1 shot of good quality light rum
  • Club soda
Muddle blackberries, mint, lime, and simple syrup in glass. Add rum, and fill glass with ice. Fill to the top with club soda and ENJOY. Easy, peesy, mojito squeezy.

Margo’s pick:

Grown Up Cherry Coke

This one is fast and delicious. Goes great with burgers on the BBQ!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

GROWN UP CHERRY COKE

Love Cherry Coke? You will love this:

1. A shot (or two) of Three Olives Cherry Voda

2.  Coke or Diet Coke

3.  Splash of Amaretto

You won’t taste the alcohol, and it will bring you back to the 90’s when cherry coke, lucky strike candy cigarettes and hot fries were your go to at the community pool!!

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Photo by Aaron Schwartz on Pexels.com

Enjoy any/all of these responsibly with 1 glass of water for every cocktail 😉 Dr. Annie’s orders!

With love from the ladies of Lockers to Littles