Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tent camping with four kids

I've written previously about how we tent camp with small children here and here.  It's been over a year since we last camped (our last camping trip was at Death Valley) and it was reassuring how naturally everything comes back, and Tom and I fall into our respective responsibilities.  I'm updating a few of my traditions in this post, so if you're interested in how we do it, read the first two posts and then this one.

We didn't make it to Joshua Tree because of the wind, but we had a great time at San Clemente Beach.  Here's a picture of our campsite (the PackNPlay for Dominik must have already been in the tent).

Dinner for the first night was Beef Stroganoff with noodles, and corn.  I've changed my camping cooking so I don't use Hamburger Helper anymore (the MSG makes at least one of our children crazy), but I still cook as much in advance as possible.  For the Beef Stroganoff, I cooked it the night before at home, except for adding the sour cream...I added the sour cream and chopped parsley at the campsite after the sauce was hot and the noodles were cooked.  Everyone loved it (my recipe is from America's Test Kitchen).

It was so wonderful with the time change that there was still light at dinnertime!

Of course, there are S'mores!  Natalie and Lukas love them (Konrad likes them without the marshmallows...that's his texture aversion to creamy things).

This was not a school break, so we had school the next morning while Dominik napped and Natalie and Konrad went for a bike ride with Tom.  Natalie came back and wondered where her school work was.

Good work, Lukas!

School is over, so it's time for play again...climbing trees!

Konrad was reciting the books of the Bible on this stage.

Natalie did a great job walking on the uneven ground.

Sibling love!

And then the boys left Tom and Natalie behind and trekked out on their own through the brush.

To get to the beach, we crossed under the railroad track.  Tom captured this photo with the kids, the train, and kites in the background.

The forecast for the weather said 60 degrees (15 C), so we didn't bring bathing suits.  When we got there the first day, it was beautiful and warm, at least 70 degrees (21 C).  The kids played in the ocean a bit, then the next morning I went to the store and bought bathing suits (we NEVER camp that close to civilization!)  Of course, the second day was more like 60 degrees (the water was 59 degrees!) but the kids couldn't stay out of it!

Tom and Natalie walking in the waves.

Lukas and Konrad each doing their thing, running back and forth in the waves.

Dominik sees all that water and wants to get in it!

That's Natalie's "excited!" pose...arms stuck straight out.

Cindy and Natalie, with Konrad in the waves.

Dominik's trying to hide his sandy mouth from you.

Back at the campsite, Dominik gets dinner first and everyone is happy!

The boys play in the dirt with their trucks.

Natalie goes back and forth from riding her trike and sitting to watch the fire.

My new discovery for this camping trip is that the thermos (in the bottom right of this photo) keeps water hot overnight, so I can making hot chocolate for the kids first thing in the morning, without having to heat water.  I discovered this while trying to come up with a way to give Dominik a warm bottle early in the morning (so screaming child wouldn't wake up others while water is heated on a stove).  It worked great...and I'll keep the hot water in the morning as part of our camping repertoire after Dominik is off formula...for the hot chocolate!

Pancakes and bacon the first morning, oatmeal the second morning.

 Natalie is enjoying her hot chocolate too.

There was a lot of this on the trip...our first trip where we brought the bikes (because we were at a campsite where biking was practical).

Natalie does so great on her trike!

We had such a fun time creating new memories at a new location for our family.  It wouldn't be our first choice to go there again because of the noise from the 5 ends up being (pretty loud) white noise at night, but we're used to no background noise while camping.  But this is a great Plan B when the weather keeps us from another site.


Sarah said...

This is so great. I LOVED reading about your trip. You both are such great parents, giving your kids these kinds of experiences.


Cindy said...

Thanks Sarah! I can't wait to see pics of Samantha's first camping trip!