I don’t know why I haven’t done it before now. I mean I was all worried that it was going to be this scary, crazy, miserable experience. I figured it would be fraught with complaining and mumbling. Especially by the teen and pre-teens. I didn’t think they would survive without their electronics for an entire weekend! Well, okay, without wifi and a cell signal to be precise. But they all amazed me!
Want to know what I am talking about?
Yeah, we did it. We buckled down, packed up tents, minimal food (well as minimal as it can get for a group of 9), loaded sleeping bags and blankets, and headed out to one of the State Parks close to us. We had decided we wanted to get out of our county, but didn’t want to drive too far. So we ended up at Blackwater State Park in Holt, Florida. Once we got there, we found out that all the campsites were gravel. Not so great for trying to stake down tents. But, it is a smaller park. Which meant that all the campsites were within easy walking distance to the restrooms, showers, and playground. We were able to set up one large tent and two smaller tents, and still have room for the kids to play without tripping over strings and tent pieces.
I think that all kids should experience a weekend of camping. Really. No matter how much they kick and scream about not wanting to go. For me, growing up in the country, it was always something we looked forward to doing. Camping at the lake was my favorite get away as a kid. The reason I think all kids should experience it, is because it will help them later in life. Not only is it a great emergency preparedness teaching moment, but it will help them learn that they are stronger and more capable than they would ever imagine. Teaching your kids to pitch a tent, cook over a fire, and enjoy the stars is something you will never forget as a parent.
And really, who can resist s’mores?
It was such a great time. The kids loosened up and had fun. They got to swim in a river. It was cold as all get out, but it was a blast. They got to make new friends. One of the things that seemed to thrill them the most though- getting to eat FRESH blackberries off of a bush. Yeah. We didn’t wash them. Might have had critter pee on them. But oh well.
We set phones and electronics aside. Hence the lack of pictures. But we needed it. The teen even managed to untangle herself from her phone long enough to enjoy herself.
We got SOAKED. Tents were FLOODED. And we SURVIVED. It was a BLAST!
We managed to experience a few new things. Like Breakfast in a Paper Bag and Campfire Cake. It was WONDERFUL. I’m going to share both of those recipes here. Unfortunately, there were no pictures of the Campfire Cake taken, but I did get a full photography tutorial for you on the Breakfast in a Paper Bag. Go HERE for that recipe. Look below for the Campfire Cake recipe.
- 2 boxes Jiffy yellow cake mix
- 2 cans crushed pineapple. Drain only one.
- Cast-iron Dutch Oven
- Follow the directions on the Jiffy cake mix box with exception of the water. Only use 1/2 cup of water.
- Add both cans of pineapple. Remember to drain one can of pineapple and leave the juice in the other.
- Mix all ingredients.
- Spray the Dutch oven with cooking spray (I use Baker’s Joy for cakes and cupcakes)
- Place in middle of hot coals. Make sure the coals go up to at least the middle of the Dutch oven.
- Let “bake” for 45 minutes.
- Remove from fire and let cool.
- You will want to make sure that you have HOT coals to work with. So start your fire early in the morning and let it go. Cook your cake while you are eating your dinner. Hot Dogs maybe?!
Do you plan on camping any this summer? What is your favorite camp meal or activity?