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Camping at Home– A Fun & Easy Family Adventure

We had a fun family adventure this weekend.  We went camping! And it was so easy, free and fun– no packing, no hauling anything, no hassle.  Because we went camping at home.  Yes, this might be considered cheating by camping enthusiasts, but I think it’s just a great thing to do as a family.

We were celebrating Amelia’s birthday, and I didn’t have it in me to do a big party– we knew she would also love just spending time together doing something special as a family.  And it was really fun.  We all had a great time, and I can’t wait to do it again.IMG_9908We don’t have a particularly big back yard, but it’s long, and the end of it is pretty wild.  Jeff made us a fire pit with some bricks laying around, and the area near the shed and our big compost bins ended up feeling like a pretty legit campsite.  We just got a family-sized tent, and it was fun to break it in.
IMG_9911Jeff also got to break in the Father’s Day gift I gave him this year.  So we had all sorts of good camp-y fun out there.  I had the luxury of making dinner in a real kitchen, and then we broke out our picnic kit for dinner on the grass by the tent.

Birthday cake (strawberry shortcake) was enjoyed by the fire.
It was windy, so Jeff had to step into the shed to light the candles.  This was a magical moment– seeing the glow through the dirty windows.  And then having him emerge singing “Happy Birthday.”IMG_9921IMG_9923IMG_9924IMG_9928For the record, the cake was delicious.  We used a (grain-free) sweet biscuit recipe from this cookbook, and made whipped coconut cream— very good!

Oh, that time around the campfire was really sweet.  We sang songs, burned stuff, and joked around.  We asked Amelia about what she loved most about her 7th year (travel, time as a family, having a crush for the first time) and what she hopes for her 8th year (a bigger bedroom, new friends, new travels– all very likely.)IMG_9914Jeff and Amelia had made marshmallows for the first time that afternoon, and they turned out really well!  We had all entertained fantasies of roasting marshmallows around the campfire.  However, the marshmallows did not stand up to the heat.  I think they would work if we froze them on skewers beforehand (another privilege of camping at home!) so that only the outsides toasted.  It was fun, anyway.IMG_9907We “roughed it” by washing our faces and brushing our teeth in the garden, with the hose.  Then it was into the tent, to play cards and, later, tell (vaguely) scary stories.
I loved sleeping in the garden, looking up at the sky.  We could hear our neighbors out in their gardens with friends, talking quietly, too, and that did not detract at all from my urban camping bliss. We have lots of things blooming in the garden right now, and the air is so fragrant.

In the middle of the night, Amelia woke up completely disoriented.  She had insisted on sleeping outside of her sleeping bag, and was, naturally, freezing.  She went inside to use the bathroom, then ended up in her bed upstairs.  We followed, but only because I knew the sun would be up at 4:30 in the morning, and I wanted more than a few hours of sleep.

In the morning, it was back outside, making a new fire.  When was the last time you cooked over a campfire?  IMG_9945The smells take me right back to my childhood in the Philippines.  Somehow, squatting in the dirt and cooking this way feels so natural and good to me.  It’s even better when you manage to get your egg yolks exactly how you want them!IMG_9948IMG_9949      We enjoyed breakfast around the fire, and then it was time to pack up camp–  Amelia had a play practice to get to. We all loved our back yard camping trip so much.  We got all the best parts– the family togetherness, the quiet, the campfire… With the conveniences of bathrooms, a kitchen (when needed) and of course not having to go anywhere!IMG_9962     What a fun weekend, and a really nice way to spend time celebrating our favorite eight year old.  Yes, we’ll do real camping sometime soon, but this was so relaxed and easy.  I can’t wait to do it again soon!

Have you been camping lately?  Have you done it at home?

Camping at Home  And Here We Are...

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11 Responses to Camping at Home– A Fun & Easy Family Adventure

  1. ladyhaun June 23, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

    That looks like so much fun! I remember a time when my 4 younger sisters and I would “camp out” on the trampoline. At that time, we lived way out in the country, and it was safe & fun. I love camping! I’m hoping after we move, that we can take our son for the first time.

  2. Joanna June 23, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

    My husband and I have a caravan out on our land, which is only about 5 km away from home, but we stay there for a couple of nights a week at the moment. We used to wake up early, but now we even sleep through the cockerel crowing and the cuckoo.

  3. learningandyearning June 23, 2014 at 7:30 pm #

    I enjoy reading about your family so much! Thanks for sharing this precious time. :)

  4. Joy June 24, 2014 at 12:47 am #

    Such a sweet story. I have boys camping out right now. I hope to go to a small close by campsite later this month. It is close to the house but still far enough away. We live on a golf course otherwise the back yard would be close enough. Not so much when we have golfers 5 yards from the porch at all hours. Love your little fire set up, so easy for cooking out.

  5. Sheri June 24, 2014 at 4:50 am #

    Time to build a teepee on a platform!

  6. Holly June 24, 2014 at 5:23 am #

    What a great memory to treasure, especially for Amelia. I’ve been thinking about inviting my niece and nephew over for a camping adventure, and having my son teach them many things he’s learned as a Boy Scout. Cooking outdoors, listening to the sounds of nature, and telling stories and making s’mores around the camp fire are my favorite things to do when camping. Will you be sharing the recipe for the grain-free shortcake?

  7. Rocio June 24, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    What a great birthday and family day! I’m noticing your campfire–it’s the perfect size! I saw your FB post where you mentioned Amelia’s birthday and when you first moved abroad. Does she have an accent and/or use British syntax? So cute!

  8. Susan Gaines June 24, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

    Very charming cheating if you ask me. Happy birthday, Amelia! Your bathrobe is very cute. Camping suits Jeff – best photo yet.

  9. paleoirish July 26, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    What a lovely story! I did recently camp put and it was the first time in years that I had used my tent as we van-camp so often as a couple. I really enjoyed my solo experience and it did bring back so many memories.
    Recently two school friends and I gathered to spend a wonderful evening celebrating us three turning 50 this year. They both remembered that their first camping experiences were in my back garden! My parents often put up the large family tent, my siblings and I would have our friends over on different nights. Such good memories!

  10. Susan Gaines May 19, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

    Completely loved this! Will pass on my little 3 person tent to my son and suggest they do the same when Jonah is a bit older.

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