Big Sister has been begging to go camping for months. We’re not particularly outdoorsy, but we’ve been known to camp from time to time. I mean actually camp too, not drive an RV to a hook-up or sleep in a cabin. Actually set up a tent and a campfire and stay outside…on state sanctioned camp grounds (come on, we’re not animals). Well, with Spring Break this week, I decided this might be a good time to have a quickie campout (or camp-in) as a test run for what a real one might be like with two little girls. Although I have been called “prissy” in my lifetime, I’m actually pretty good at roughing it as long as I’m not in danger of someone seeing me peeing outside…I don’t handle that well. I’m worried about the girls deciding in the middle of the night that they don’t want to sleep outside when we’re an hour from home, so practice campout it is! Plus, it’s hubby’s birthday, so that will make the campout extra special…and gives us an excuse to make 2 desserts!
We borrowed a fire pit from some lovely friends, got a tent, and set out to camp in the great, just barely outdoors.
I did some pre-camp out work yesterday by making my second batch of homemade graham crackers. After making them twice now, I believe I will make some tweaks to the recipe next time. If you embark on making these graham crackers (and believe me, you should), add more flour. Increase the flour in the batch to 2 3/4 cups and some for dusting. When the recipe says dusting, I think they incorrectly use that word. To me that means it should be ready to roll out. I had to knead a significant amount of flour into the dough to make them roll out and be in a fit state to move to a cookie sheet. The crackers taste amazing, and if you add more flour and roll them out thin enough, they really taste and crack like graham crackers. If they are too thick, they are more like graham cookies…which are still delicious.
We had dogs, chips, fruit, pork ‘n’ beans, s’mores and pineapple upside down cake and were ready to rough it. The hot dogs rocked (highly recommend Oscar Mayer Selects Premium Beef Franks…so delicious), the Doritos were…Dorito-y and made for lovely color when mixed with dirt on my children’s faces, the fruit was ripe and yummy, the beans were beans, and the “Snores” were ooey, gooey, perfection. We didn’t make it to the cake, so Hubby will have some eating to do over the next few days, but I’m sure he’ll manage.
I’m just going to say it, part of the inspiration for this camp out was the graham crackers. I wanted a reason to make S’Mores with homemade graham crackers. I love a good S’More. I have definitely been known to make one with a candle lighter or, in the much more hazardous way that my husband taught me, by briefly touching the marshmallow on the stove (the electric stove that is) and lighting it on fire. I blacken my mallow. I think it’s partially out of impatience and laziness. I don’t like standing over the fire “toasting” a mallow. Just set the thing on fire…it’s so much faster and totally scrumptious. Hubby and I both had the S’Mores scene from “The Sandlot” running through our heads while we assembled ours: “First you take the graham. You stick the chocolate ON the graham. Then, you roast the mallow. When the mallow’s flamin’, you stick it on the chocolate. Then, you cover it with the other end.” Ah, Sandlot, good times.
I’d say the camp out was definitely a success. The weather was great, there were very few mosquitoes (yes, we already have mosquitoes), and the outside dog didn’t drive us totally insane. Big Sister got to make “Snores”, Little Sister got to climb in and out of the tent, and Big Sister and Hubby got to sleep outside. I actually felt a little left out of the last activity, but we thought it would be too cold (mid-50’s for a low) for Little Sister to be outside all night, so I slept in the house with her. After Little Sister went to bed, I went out to check on the campers, and just like any good, 21st century camper, they were busy with camp out activity…watching Cake Boss on the iPad. I said, “You’re really roughing it, huh?” Hubby said, “Who said anything about roughing it?” Touche….
MORNING: The campers stayed all night in the tent! I was very proud of Big Sister for sticking to her plan and not making her daddy get up in the middle of the night to bring her in. She had so much fun that she asked if we could do it again tonight. The answer was no, but we can definitely do it again soon! I slept later than they did, so I didn’t get a picture of them emerging from the tent.
They did apparently have a small encounter with a wild animal who actually devoured part of our extension cord (AKA: the iPad power source):
Hubby and I tore down camp so that the “animal” didn’t eat our new tent.
This is the stuff childhood is made of…and it’s fun for adults too! When you have a 33-year-old man saying that this was a great way to spend his birthday evening, that is pretty high praise (and a pretty awesome man). We will definitely camp-in again…and might even camp-out pretty soon. To quote my baby girls’ favorite band (The Fresh Beats…of course) “What a great day!”