Perhaps it’s the mid-February thaw or the lingering essence of wood smoke in the air, either way I’ve being thinking about camping. Summer camping. Smores and tents. Goofy camp songs.
Just a couple days ago I had a conversation with my husband on whether we should look for a pop-up camp trailer that we can keep stocked with camping equipment. That way we could flee into the mountains on the spur of the moment for a quick camping fix. We spent the next few minutes dreaming specifics: used but in good condition, plenty of sleeping space, only food and drinks to load at the last minute.
Remembering that we like to take the 4-wheeler when we go camping, I wondered aloud if maybe tent camping might not be a better fit for our family. Oops. That would mean buying a new family tent as our old one now has a duct-taped spot that resulted from taking our pup, Annie camping last summer. (She dug at it in the night and split a seam.) I did propose the possibility of keeping a few Rubbermaid totes fully loaded with essential camping supplies as a substitute for a stocked camp trailer. We’d be missing a potty, but if you have all the comforts of home while camping, is that really camping?
This train of thought led me to the remembrance of one of our first camping outings with the Ernie family. The plan was to bring tin foil dinners for supper. I had some defrosted hamburger in the fridge that I thought would work for the meat, but upon closer examination it was not only too small a portion, but was also growing hair. Not good. What can you take in tin foil to cook over a campfire when nothing is defrosted?
Anything! I raided the freezer and thought outside the box. Or inside the box, actually. Why not wrap a few corn dogs in tin foil and heat them in the coals? Ditto frozen burritos. For myself I loaded some frozen, pre-cooked shrimp and sliced an onion into some foil. It was honestly the best tin foil dinner I’ve ever had. Shrimp while camping – what could be better?
I’m a big advocate of simplicity. Kids shouldn’t be the only ones to enjoy camping. Mom and Dad need to enjoy it too. For me that means simple dinners and breakfasts. I think muffins, fruit and chocolate milk make a great camping breakfast. If my husband is hankering for pancakes and bacon, then he’s in charge of breakfast and clean-up. Sometimes a traditional camping breakfast is worth the extra effort to him. Also, for simpler smores we like to use fudge stripe cookies in place of graham crackers and Hershey squares.
I suppose that if I get desperate for camping I could just take over our next family night. I could pitch our small tent in the basement family room. We could each spray a bit of mosquito repellent on each other and then set up camp chairs around the wood burning stove. For dinner I could bake traditional tin foil dinners in the oven and serve microwave smores for dessert. Oooh! Now I’ve got to do it.
I know! I’ll call and invite the cousins for a pre-President’s Day camp out. Whee!