Thursday, August 23, 2012

Camping and a Wedding

I miss camping with my family a whole bunch. I used to go camping with my extended family quite often but after my dad passed no one felt like going. This is understandable but I still miss it just the same.

 This weekend as my one sister gets married; we have the opportunity to once more camp out. Considering I do not have a car and must rely on others to escort me places, I may end up camping out. This will be fun without a doubt but I sure will miss the comfort of sleeping in a camper where I am off the hard damp ground!

The wedding itself and reception afterwards will be fun. This is a unique wedding, which all second weddings should be. Our family is unique by any measure but this wedding is going to make us stand out. Yes, someone will be videotaping the wedding procession, which will be the unique part.

I have never been in a wedding so that alone will be different to me and to be doing this ‘first’ with all my sisters is awesome. Our dad will be watching from heaven as the ‘sisters’ give away our other sister to her new husband. I know this will be a very special time for all of us.   

Monday, May 7, 2012

Camping fun with preschoolers

Camping is great family fun, and out in nature there are many things you can do that do not cost you a penny. Free entertainment is a great way to stick to your budget. Here are some fun ideas to try when you have preschoolers and toddlers at camp.

On our second full day of camping Wednesday July 1 2009, I woke to sunlight streaming through the windows of the camper and birds chirping all around me. There was a mist rising from the trees that simply was very breathtaking and relaxing.

There is nothing but trees and wildflowers when you open the door to our camper and it was so nice to see that image when I chose to get up and greet the day. Tons of berries are out there too, and the earliest berries are starting to ripen.

My daughter accompanied my niece to a doctor's appointment so my grandchildren joined us at the campsite for a few hours. They arrived early at 8:30 eager to start their day.

I stoked the fire with hopes of removing some hot coals to get a jump-start in the cinder block campfire stove to begin breakfast. However, plans for bacon and eggs were forgotten when I spotted the hot dogs. The little ones enjoy hot dogs and found it fascinating that I was cooking their hot dogs this way. Both little ones sat on the bench with eager anticipation.

There is absolutely nothing in the world that tastes better when you are camping than a hot dog cooked over the open fire. Those extended forks that you cook marshmallows on work excellent on hot dogs too, and cooked my hot dogs to darkened perfection.

My parents arrived on their four wheelers and brought scrambled eggs with cheese it was a nice delivery at the campsite. We had hot dogs and eggs for breakfast, which the little kids loved.

The little ones a preschooler and a toddler loved hanging out at the campsite, checking out the fire from a safe distance and stumping in mud puddles. When they get antsy with that they played on the many toys available. We have a central area for their playthings, such as bikes, slides, trucks, and dolls it is playtime heaven for these little ones.

I walked my grandchildren on a little hike where we saw a family of bunnies. We also picked fresh raspberries from the vine. Because we are in a field it is safe to allow the little children to run and play and my grandchildren had so much fun on that walk.

Allowing children to run and play in a field where they are safe makes, them feel more independent. I was always close by so they were safe, but they were free to run all over with no danger from being hit by a car.

My granddaughter who is five enjoyed her first ever four-wheeler ride with my mom. However, my grandson who is a toddler would not go near a four-wheeler while it was running. Tip if you are going to put a five year old on a four-wheeler you need a helmet, and the adult driving needs to take it slow.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Buy a cheap camper

Camping is a fun way to have a vacation and stay in your budget. However, purchasing a camper is usually out of the budget for most families in the current economy. I have a budget friendly way for you to be able to afford that camper so your family can enjoy a camping this year.

Look around your local area for these you can locate them as you drive to the grocery store or in the newspaper. Sometimes on bulletin boards in grocery stores, laundry mats, and libraries, you can find low cost campers.

If you cannot locate anything locally within your budget try eBay camper and RV search. You can find a motor home, pull behind, or pop-up camper within your budget. However, before you buy something expensive, ask the sellers for more images or travel to see the purchase.

Always check feedback and of course, any shipping charges before making a bid. Who knows this maybe just what you are looking for.

You may want to look on the site for good deals in your area or locations close to you. You can usually see more images and a phone number so you can call and ask questions.

You could try a place where they sell campers and rvs' and ask about the trade in models. These are usually outdated models but are usually in fine working order. Rich people simple change their campers as faster than the rest of us.

Sometimes with a used camper, there are minor things wrong with it. Some of these things are cosmetic and easily fixed. If the paneling is broken or scratched, you can easily replace that part or wall paper it.
If the refrigerator, electric or stove do not work who cares. Take a cooler, and use flashlights or those battery-operated lights at night. A broken stove is not a problem, as you should be cooking over an open fire anyways.

People do time shares on vacation houses and condominiums all the time, but it does get expensive. Have you ever thought of doing this? Used campers can run 300-700 dollars, which make it out of reach for some people.

What happens if you split that cost with two or three families this way no one is paying a huge price? You simply need to find enough families who have a little money to spare and that you trust.

Plan which family will have the camper on what weeks, this way there are no disagreements when it comes time for your vacation. Verbal agreements are fine for some groups, while others may need to have things written down.

If all families agree to keep the camper, clean and follow the vacation schedule and keep the camper in good repair than there should be no problem with this way of saving.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Camper or Tent?

Which is better, a camper or a tent when one goes camping? That of course depends on personal tastes, age and abilities. Me, I love sleeping in a camper in comfort but I will sleep in a tent if I have too.

The comfort in a camper is noticeably better then compared to sleeping in a tent. Even if you were sleeping in a tent on an air mattress or a cot, the comfort cannot match that of a camper.

Most modern campers have thick comfortable mattresses, but even if you have an old one you can still have added comfort simply by remaking the mattresses. Couch cushions when placed under the mattress will add comfort.

You can also add sheets to have a higher standard of comfort, because as we all know the material used to cover traditional camper mattresses needs to be durable, which means it is scratchy.
The ground the matter how many blankets you put under your sleeping bag, or air mattress is never soft enough to get comfortable.

Even if your camper does not have electricity to run the heater, you are still warmer in here than you would be in a tent. The structure of the manufactured camper will block out some of the wind and dampness allowing you to get a more comfortable restful sleep.

This storage options within a camp where are much better than a tent. With so many storage compartments, it is easy to store everything out of the way giving you more walking, sitting, and relaxing space.

Security in a camper is a better than a tent, simply because you can toss everything into the camper when you need to go away. As long as there is a lock on the door the items inside remain safe and secure.

Your family is also safer at night sleeping inside from erratic weather and the wild animals. Although I have never had a snake enter any tent that I have been sleeping in, I have heard of it happening. In a camper, it simply does not happen.

The tent is more portable if you simply have a car or truck without a hitch. It is so easy to pitch a tent in many places and to move it to change the scenery.

Whatever your personal preferences are I hope you remain safe on your summer vacations. I am so happy we have a camper, as I am too old to sleep on the ground comfortably these days. I still get to enjoy nature at its finest around the bonfire.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Backyard Camping

Backyard camping is not only for children! My friend Sharon was mentioning that it has been awhile since she has been camping and she misses it I am creating this article for her and others who think you need to leave home to enjoy nature. Backyard camping makes tons of sense if you stop and think about it.

If you live in the country, you may have the perfect spot to pitch a tent already. If you have a level area among the trees, you have the perfect place to pitch a tent. If you do not have a level area than level out an area which is suitable.

Make sure you clean the brush so that it is not destroying your tent. If you have an old rug or big piece of carpeting, you can lay it on the ground as extra padding beneath you.

If it is your property, you never have to worry about paying park fees, which are increasing each year.
There are many benefits to this type of camping. There are no gas fees, and with the price of gasoline in recent summers, this is a godsend to many.

Another benefit is that you can sleep outside when you feel the desire. You need not worry about leaving valuables in your tent if it is in your property.

If you have animals, they can enjoy camping on their own property as well. There is no need to uproot dogs or cats that will minimize their stress. They will certainly enjoy you being outside so much with them during your vacation.

If you do not have a tent, you can curl up on an air mattress or rough it with a sleeping bag and the ground. There is nothing like sleeping under the stars to renew your spirit and be at one with nature.

Screened in porches are also excellent places to crash for the night so you can remain dry if it decides to rain during the night. Sleeping on a porch or deck will keep away the critters and slithering snakes. Snakes are the reason I dislike sleeping on the open ground any longer.

Pitching a tent on your property means less packing for the trip, electric and indoor bathrooms. You can shower at your convenience, and not worry about leaving the campsite unattended.

Do not take the phone with you, that is what answering machines are for. Leave technology inside and become one with nature and you will have a restful mini vacation any time you need it.

Of course, if you have an emergency an added benefit for backyard camping is you have the telephone near by if needed. However if you play it safe, the chances of an emergency occurring is drastically limited.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Colored flames in a campfire

Colored flames in a campfire are a neat way to bring some laughter. Make these with common household substances and a piece of duct tape. You can get a single packet of this material from Wal-Mart for about 5 bucks. I am not responsible for your actions if you decide to try any of these at home.

Colored flames are also a great way to make people think you are very smart or perhaps a little magical. Bring out the magic in you at your next bon f ire or the next time you are sitting around the campfire.

This would be funny to do if you live in the country and use a burning barrel. Prepare your packet of colored flames and toss it in the burning barrel to delight your neighbors.

If you want to scare the crap out of someone, make the packet toss it in the garbage bag before they take it out.

First for each of the colored flames, recipes listed below you need plain ordinary duct tape. You need to make sure you get the wider roll as it is easier to work with. There are plenty of colors of duct tape so you can get your favorite. Once your packet is created just toss it into the fire and watch the fun begin.

For light yellow or and light green colored flames you simply need borax. Simply cut a one-inch piece of duct tape and lay it on a flat surface. Next, add 1 teaspoonful of the borax. Fold the duct tape into a little packet, making sure to seal each seam by pressing the duct tape together.

For nice violet purple colored flames, purchase some saltpeter. Saltpeter sometimes called potassium nitrate. Cut your duct tape as directed above. Add a teaspoon of the saltpeter to it. Make your packet as you did before.

Dark purple colored flames can be made with water softener salt at Wal-Mart. Cut your duct tape as directed above. Add a teaspoon of the water softener to it. Make your packet as you did before.

For nice white colored flames, purchase some Epsom Salt. Ask your grandma for some Epsom Salt rather than purchasing a box as all you will need is a teaspoon. Cut your duct tape as directed above. Add a teaspoon of the Epsom Salt to it. Make your packet as you did before.

For bright blue colored flames, you simply need calcium chloride. Calcium chloride is damp rid and it takes moisture out of a damp cellar. Cut your duct tape as directed above. Add a teaspoon of the damp rid to it. Make your packet as you did before.

Once more, I am not responsible for your actions if you decide to try any of these at home.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Camping Games for Rainy days

A few Yahtzee games for rainy days at camp will not only help everyone pass the time easier but it will also get in some hidden match skills for children. Children need to keep up those math skills in the summer, less they forget how to count. It happens, kids do forget simple math things over the summer.

Phase 10 dice game is played with lots of dice, and it is played like Yahtzee sort of. Players make runs and sets of different numbers, which makes it more like the classic game. It is played with more dice, which makes it even more exciting.

Flinch is a great card game that has been around for many years. It was introduced back in 1903 as a card game, which could be played solo, or with up to four people. Players try to get rid of stockpiles that they are dealt by discarding cards in piles where the cards ascend or descend.

This game was fun game in my childhood when I would sit and play it with an aunt and my elderly grandparents. I remember sitting on top of Mount Pisgah playing this game with them during many rainy and sunny days.

Bingo is a great game to play with kids of any age who can read numbers. This is a game, which can be played with different ages, but younger kids will become bored quickly with longer versions.
Grab a few decks of cards and visit this site for tons of card game ideas you can play with your family. This web site has many instructions, and some of the variations have photo guides.

Resources for camping games phase 10 various card games

Monday, March 26, 2012

Quick Camping Lessons

Camping in a way is forming a new civilization of it is done in the true American way. I am speaking of pitching a tent and creating a campfire. The lessons are endless almost with this type of camping.

If you pitch a tent in the middle of nowhere, you have to clear the land. In clearing the land, you learn about tools, plants and even some leveling. A smart camper learns quickly to put his or her tent on moss or at least on a layer of carpet. The carpet keeps moisture out. The carpet and moss protect against tears in the tent from rocks or other things under the ground surface that may come uncovered.

A smart camper also quickly learns the difference between harmless plants and plants that can cause rashes and other harm. Never make a campsite near poison oak or poison ivy. Take the time parents, learn these harmful plants, and educate the children as well.

Parents also need to teach their children to take care of food and to keep the campsite clean of any food scraps. This means bread, chips, candy, and snacks need to be in plastic containers so that there is no odor to call the animals.

Coolers, dishes, and tabletops should be washed often to keep pests from entering the camping area. Parents will also need to make certain that small children have their faces and hands washed often as they tend to get food all over them. It would be a shame if a bear wandered into camp to eat the creamed spinach that your infant dribbled down his sun suit.

The campfire is also a great area for lessons to be learned. Gathering wood should not be just one person's job; small children can gather sticks or small stuff to use when an adult starts a fire. Stick a box for the children to fill near a tree and allow the children to fill it. Teach them why they need to gather the small stuff, and explain the dangers of fire when starting a fire.

Explain why the fire needs to be contained in the fire pit; a forest fire is an awful thing to start. Take the time also to explain what type of stick is needed to push the burning logs around to slow down the fire or speed it up.

I hope that your children will never need to make a fire themselves. What happens if you get hurt out in the middle of nowhere and fall ill, you child may have to build a fire to signal help. It is better to teach them this lesson so they can do it, if it is ever needed. Teach them the ways of camping and they can carry these lessons and adapt them as needed in their lives.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rainy Day activities

Camping games for rainy days are a Godsend if you are stuck in a tent or camper while the rain pours down outside. If you do not plan ahead and take some games for rainy days while camping, then you will need to get creative.

Camping Games for Rainy days are the focus of this article, and all of these games are geared towards older children and adults alike. Games like Phase ten dice, Yahtzee, and Flinch have been around for years and are part of my sister Carmon's arsenal, which she shared with us on a rainy day of camping lately.

Camping is a great activity for families to enjoy together, and it can be a great way to teach different things that will stick with a child forever. There are many lessons to be learned while camping and they all promote teamwork and working together.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Win a Book Contest!

One of my favorite things to do while I am camping is relax like everyone else, but when I get very relaxed I tend to work. When I am in the midst of Mother Nature, my muse floods me with ideas for stories. Of course, when Mother Nature inspired my muse, anything is possible. Most of the stories I have written for my own books or my stories in Circle 8 Writers Group have been ‘born’ at the family campgrounds.  My muse just enjoys the serenity of the wooded acres on my sister’s land.

I can often be seen lunging in the chair under the trees with a pen in hand. I am a writer it is what I do, more importantly it is who I am. I have never been one to leave my work at home since I began writing full time back in 2007.  Sometimes when my muse is kept at bay, I read a good book. I believe there is nothing like getting lost in the words between the cover of a notebook or a good novel.

SO anyways, Angel Sharum who founded the Circle 8 Writers Group is currently running a contest through March 31. The winner gets an autographed copy of one of our six books. Please visit her blog and get your entry in there today, we also have a Facebook Fan page.  

Happy St. Patrick's Day I hope you have your green on.!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Camping with Fresh Berries

There are many uses for fresh raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. These are three berries, which are coming into season, and if you are lucky, you can pick them right off the vine, if not, visit your local fruit stand or grocery department. Grab your own raspberries, blueberries and blackberries today.

The freshest raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries can right off the vine and this is a great family activity. If you live in one of the small towns around America, you can find these berries growing wild. There are also berry farms where you can pick your own for a nominal fee.

I love to eat fresh berries right off the vine, but when I go camping, it is a whole other ball game. My favorite way to eat them is straight from the vine but there are other ways. When the morning dew is still fresh on the fruit is the best time to pick raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. You can sprinkle them on unsweetened cereal to make it more healthy and it does not add as many calories as sugar would.
At lunchtime when you go camping, you can toss any raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries one to plain pudding or vanilla ice cream for a special dessert. If you are eating a fruit salad, you can toss these berries in the mix as well.

For a special dessert, purchase a plain pound or angel food cake. Slice it but before serving this, top with raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries and whipped cream or cool whip.

You can also add raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries to batter for great campfire pancakes. These pancakes will keep the kids and adults alike eating. Syrup is okay but these griddlecakes are also good when spread with peanut butter or topped with butter only.

If your family enjoys making mountain pies the raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries make a wonderful addition. Simply butter a slice of bread put it in the pig iron sandwich maker, top with the berries and a buttered slice of bread. Grill this as usual. These sweet pockets make a sweet delicious and healthy treat for your family. You can add a bit of sugar to the fruit if needed but it is not necessary.

A very special treat if you have a Dutch oven at your campsite is to make a cake with fresh raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Simply prepare a white cake batter as usual and pour over the fresh berries. Bake as usual; on a campfire, which is, build in a fire pit that has grates above the flame to prevent burning. If you have never baked a cake on a grill, here are some easy directions.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place on unheated side of grill grate. Allow this to bake for about 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. You will need to turn the pan during the cooking process to prevent burning. Carefully remove Dutch oven from campfire pit grill and allow cooling.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Campfire Potatoes

Cooking baked potatoes in a campfire is a great way to have a hot nutritious main dish to eat when you are camping. Many people think it is hard to be cooking baked potatoes on a campfire and nothing could be further from the truth.

First, it is important to make sure you have a right type of potato, as some work better than others do. Russet potatoes and salt potatoes are two great ones to use camping.

You will also want to make sure the potatoes are of uniform size to ensure that they are all done around the same time. As we all know the size of the potatoes varies greatly within the package, and if this is the case for you, it is better to cut the potatoes in chunks and cook them that way.

First, I am going to tell you how to cook with chunks of potatoes and then I will tell you how to do the full potatoes. Both of these are the preparation stages to a great side dish or main meal at your outdoor excursion.

Get a bowl or pan, and cut the potatoes into roughly the same size pieces. Go ahead and chop any items you would like to add to your potatoes at this time. This can include chopped onions, bacon, or even cloves of garlic. Tear off a sheet of tinfoil, place a handful of your potatoes and your toppings on top of that tinfoil. The close that tinfoil up you can make this a ball, or even form a small package.

If you choose to use whole tubers, make sure to pierce the potato in a few different places to allow steam to escape. Get a sheet of tinfoil that is large enough, to cover the baked potato. Put your favorite toppings in there such as onions, bacon, garlic, or even some butter and close the tinfoil.

Now with either preparation method you have chosen it is time to begin cooking baked potatoes in the campfire. You do not want to put these directly within the flames, but you would put them at the edge of the fire by the hot coals. Allow them to cook at least an hour for the chunks of potatoes, or two or more hours for the whole potatoes.

You can also cook these potatoes in packets on the grill but putting them in the campfire makes them taste much better. You can be cooking these while your meat is also being done, this way you have a nice hot meal that is filling and satisfying.

You want to cook these potatoes, more than you usually would because while many of us are camping we use plastic silverware for convenience. You do not want to break the fork by trying to cut the potatoes, the cook them a few extra minutes before you enjoy your meal.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mountain Pies and Hobo Pies

Mountain Pies, also called hobo pies among other things, are a sure fire campfire hit. These mountain pies can be filled with many ingredients to be a main dish, a quick snack or even a scrumptious desert.

These are simply 2 pieces of buttered bread (white or wheat) which are filled and then grilled to perfection.
Every thing tastes better over a campfire so try these quick ideas on your next camping vacation.

Mountain or hobo pies are small hot pockets of bread that are cooked over a campfire. You can fill these with all sorts of good foodstuff. These have many names, and are made all over the world in different cultures, so you are sure to find your favorites.

There is various mountain pie makers which can be seen on Amazon if you have no clue what I am speaking of. Do your family a favor and purchase one of these for your next trip and your family will thank you repeatedly.

AppleJackMountain Pies
Please butter your bread and add in fresh slices of apples, apple pie filling, or even applesauce. Sprinkle on cinnamon, raisins and cook as directed.

Mixed berry hobo Pies
Once you bread is prepared and placed into the cooker, top it with your favorite berries which are in season. Sprinkle with sugar if you must, and cook as directed.

ChocolateRaspberryMountain Pies
Prepare your bread. Add in half a regular size Hershey's chocolate bar and a hand full of fresh picked raspberries. You could use white chocolate or special dark in this version. If raspberries are not to your liking try cherries, blueberries or your favorite type of berry.

Pizza hobo pies
If you wish to create a Pizza hobo version, prepare your bread and top with your favorite pizza sauce. Add in the sausage, pepperoni, cheese, or other ingredients and cook as directed. Do not over stuff your pie as the hot filling will run out and you may get burnt.

Meat and Cheese
If you have chunks of chicken, pork, beef or sausage left from summer, toss them on two pieces of bread. There is no better comfort food than a grilled ham and cheese, but in this twist, you can use chunks of ham or a variety of cheeses. Use you imagination and come up with something creative for your family.

Meat salad mountain pies
If you have tuna, chicken or ham salad you can create these sensations for your family. Take care not to over stuff the meat salad, as you would not want to risk a family member or friend being burnt.
Please all any of these mountain or hobo pies to cool down before they are eaten.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Camping Tips

Are you headed camping? Here are some tips for gathering wood, and other ideas for keeping entertained during a camping trip. Camping promotes teamwork and family togetherness and I highly recommend it.

Fix the fire before you go to sleep for the night with big logs which will slow burn during the night so there are plenty of coals in the morning.

Place all games in a plastic bag with pens so that you have pens to keep score.

 A tarp comes in vary handy in a campsite so purchase one for an awing, to cover excess belongings or even hang over tents, which may leak.

Use a tarp to cover wood, this prevents it from getting wet, yet it is easily lifted when wood is needed.

Camping is a wonderful way to relax over the summer, and it is one of the cheapest vacations around. You can camp at a public campground, private campground or even your own backyard.

Battery operated lights from the dollar store are a necessity in a camper or even a tent.

Grilled hotdogs were the name of the game and boy were they great. Grab some extender marshmallow poles from your favorite sporting goods or department store. They are great not only for grilling hotdogs over an open fire, but also for grilling marshmallows for your gram crackers and chocolate confections.

Extended grilling sticks make cooking hotdogs and marshmallows over a campfire safer.

Purchase a used camper. If you can afford one, for a few hundred dollars and it is in good shape, purchase it quickly to sleep in. Make any repairs before you head camping this way you are ready to enjoy camping when you head out.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Opening a Camper for the Season

How does one open the camper for the first glorious days of summer? Ray and I bought a camper last year at the end of the season, so this year will be our first real vacation in there. This list includes non-food items that you need to stock your camper with when you open it for the season.

Before we move in though we need to clean it up, and stock it before hand with some items. This makes other vacations less stressful. After the first time we visit, each other vacation will be less work.

You can go out and buy special dishes for camping vacations. However, I already have camping dishes from last year so I will just be packing them up so that we can take them to the camper and leave them for the summer.

I will need to buy more paper plates to fit in the wicker holders, but we have the cups and plastic covered dishes that I will just remove from the cupboard. I received new silverware over the wintertime so my old silverware can be taken up to the camp, and this way I do not have to use the dreaded plastic versions.

Rummage sales are a great place to get assorted dishes along with pots and pans for your vacation. I do not recommend cooking on a open fire with your good pans because the flames from the fire will turn your pots black quite easily.

Pick up a few cast-iron frying pans if you can get them and a couple of saucepans for side dishes. Leave these pans right at the campsite. This way they are always there for you and you do not have to cart them back and forth.

Every family that I know of has extra blankets within the household. If you have faded blankets that you would rather not use on your bed, take to the campsite. Store them in your camper, because on chilly summer nights these faded blankets will come in extremely handy.

You can also use these faded blankets, under your sleeping bag to provide actually comfort and warmth. These will also protect you from the dampness that comes up from the ground, if you or your children prefer to sleep out on the ground rather than the camper.

You can store these blankets in large containers that you keep in the camper or within the many storage places within the camper. It is always a good idea to stick a sheet of fabric softener in with the blankets before you store them for a day of any length of time to keep that freshness.

Miscellaneous items
Miscellaneous items to keep in your camper throughout the campaign season include fresh batteries of various sizes. This way you are covered all the time.

You will also want to include a first aid kit. You can buy one of the prepackaged ones, or put one together yourself. Make sure you include pain relievers, bandages, and some antibiotic ointment for the cuts and scrapes which always tend to happen.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Camping Year Long Items

If you enjoying camping, you know there some things that you can leave there all season long! That means less to haul each time you need to get away. Here is a brief list of items you can leave in a camper all season.

Games and activities
Do not forget games and activities to keep your family entertained in the event of rainy days while you were camping. Good ideas to include are a deck of cards, a card game, dice, writing implements, and a notebook or two.

If you are camping with children, include puzzles, coloring books, crayons, and other activities to keep them happy and they are stuck inside.

You can add balls, jacks and other playthings kids will enjoy in your home away from home. Camping is a vacation for everyone in the family, so include activities for all age groups.

Some clothing is permissible to leave in the camper after you open up for the summer. Make sure you have a clean outfit for each member of the family for both high and chilly temperatures. Be sure to include warm socks that your family can use any time in the camper for those chilly mornings or nights. Extra shoes always come in handy.

It is a great idea to keep a light jacket or sweater in there as well for those cold damp rainy nights.

Canned goods will be fine when you need to store them in the camper. When you are opening your camper for the season make, sure you stock it with canned goods that your family can enjoy. Make sure you have a can opener as well to ensure that you can open the cans.

Any fresh fruits, vegetables, along with some snack items will have to be removed each time you leave the camper for a few days. However, things like marshmallows and bags of snacks if they are sealed can sit in airtight containers to maintain the freshness.

This way when you return to camp when you have a few days you really do not have to bring very much food as the camper is already stocked.

Pest control
Keep a bottle or two of OFF insect repellent spray around. I like the spray because one can spray it on the screens and this will prevent bugs from entering the camper that way. You could also spray it on curtains.

Wear the insect repellent bracelets on your body, but you can also stretch these around table legs, hang it on garbage cans or other places to keep bugs away. Wipe all surfaces clean after food prep or mealtime and that will help immensely.

Waterproof matches are important do not forget them, and keep them stored in the camper.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cheap Summer Vacations

Cheap summer vacations can be relaxing or hectic, me I prefer the relaxing type. Have you planned your yet? If not why not? Do not give me the bull of money to tight, high gas prices etc. We all need to have cheap summer vacations, which help us to relax.

So how can you plan for cheap summer vacations this year? Simple grab a tent and pitch it in the great outdoors. Of course, a camper if you have it is much better, but pitching a tent is good too.

I will take a few cheap summer vacations this year. I am a lucky woman. Of course, these are all cheap and kind of close to home, but they will provide me with the much-needed relaxation. The first break in my routine begins this Saturday when I head out of town to begin a three-week stay in the camper.

Camping is one of those cheaper vacations if you have a private campground that will not cost you money. Ours is free to any family member, and this year cousin Dan and his wife Cindy had better join us at some point. Bring a tent and pitch it!

There is nothing as relaxing as being in the great outdoors, where you can sit and relax by a huge bonfire by night. The lighting bugs are plentiful and so are the chirps from the crickets. Oh what a wonderfully cheap summer vacation it is. The tiki torches light our way to the campers and tents and keep the wild animals from the camp when we sleep.

When morning rolls around and the sun peaks over the mountain camp begins to stir to the sound of the birds. Gather the firewood for the day and how about a nice game of redneck horseshoes. There is a creek to cool off in for the little ones, but the shade of the private campground provides comfort to all.

Even though this is one of those cheap summer vacations, I still have to work. I will be taking my computer up and leaving it at a home within a mile of the campsite. This way I can still work and pay for the fun as it comes!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cheap Vacations

If you do decide to camp by the water, the best time to do so is over the fourth of July holiday as the fireworks on the water re awesome. When I was a child, I spend many summers camping with my parents and assorted friends down at horn brook. We pretty much lived there, dad commuted back and forth to work while mom and us children remained at the park.

Now days with inflation and the cost of everything going up my family has gone back to the traditional summer vacations. With soaring gas prices, and prices of amusement park entry fees camping is the smart answer to the tight budgets we all live on.

If you have a family member who has plenty of unused land in the country this could very well be the perfect spot for a private campground. My sister has 80+ acres in the country so we have converted a few acres into a private campground. We are close to home, so gas prices are not really an issue.

We simply used my brother in law's backhoe to clear out campsites in among the trees and to make the ground move even in some areas. Now we have a nice secluded campground in nature, with plenty of trails to walk. We simply pack up and go when we have a few days.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Saving Money while camping

Saving money for camping is a necessity, especially with many families who are battling in these tough economic times. How can you save money when camping and still have fun? Trust me there are plenty of ways to stay within your budget while camping.

Save money on lighting
Those tiki torches are nice and do provide a measure of security for a large campsite. In our privately owned campsite we have several of these every ten feet or so around camp to light the pathways to the individual campsites. There are twenty of these and when they are filled every night trust me it gets expensive to keep them all going with the expensive tiki torch oil, which went from 5 dollars a gallon to a little over 10 bucks for the same amount this year.

We began filling these tiki torches with kerosene as it is cheaper and it burns slower then the commercially prepared and expensive tiki juice. We keep these torches burning through out the night so this is a great way to save money.

Purchase candles in windproof housing these throw off lots of light in a camper or even a camp table. To get even lighter from these simply place the candle housing in a large stainless steel bowl or place it on a mirror.

Save money on ice
You can save money on those expensive bags of ice to keep meats, and dairy products at safe temperatures. Simply by recycling plastic covered dishes or even 2-liter bottles you can come up with a cheaper alternative. Just remember to only fill any container half full of water before freezing as liquids do expand as they freeze.

Ice will last longer in a cooler if the cooler is kept in the shade. If no shade is available or limited, toss a towel or something over it to make it a bit darker. Stainless steel will keep all products cooler so if you can purchase a stainless steel cooler I encourage you to do so.

Stainless steel coolers are hard come by. However, watch your local convenience stores for bargains. My boyfriend got a tall stainless steel cooler for drinks at a very good price, and it works wonderfully for hot or cold products.

Save money on food purchases
Purchase large bags of meat including hotdogs and at home store them in meal size packages. Freeze them so that they go into the cooler frozen and this will help to minimize ice purchases.

Grab a jar of peanut butter to help at those times when a quick sandwich it needed and it is a healthy alternative to hotdogs.

Store snacked in individual serving sizes to save money when camping. When stored in these individual sizes it prevents waste from stale snacks and of course overeating.

Saving money on camping begins at home. All the change we get during the fall, winter, and spring seasons goes into the camping funds. Roll it up and cash it up for those summer fun expenses.

Camping with the extended family

Camping with the extended family is one of the best summer vacation ideas I can think of to have fun and bond with extended family members. This is something that our family has done since I was a child, and each year memories are added to enrich our lives.

When I was a child, I could not wait for school to let out for the summer. I knew we would leave for Mount Pisgah within a few days and I was just so excited. Our family would all gather on top of the mountain and enjoy the summer days as a whole family.

Camping on the mountaintop is always one of the best summer vacation ideas you can do. Think of all the hiking you can do the wildlife you will see and the peacefulness of nature almost unbroken.
All you need is a tent, coolers for your food, blankets, and other personal items. You can take a puzzle book or board games for when it is raining but get out there and enjoy nature on your camping trip.
This is perfect for adults or families with older children and it is relatively cheap. The memories you will create are priceless and it good for the whole family to be out in nature.

Camping with extended family by the lake or other body of water is also nice. This one is perfect for families with children of all ages as long as the children are supervised. Please also take the time and educate your children about water safety before allowing them to run loose.