Monday, March 25, 2013

Kids Camp Free Fathers Day Weekend 2013!

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kids camp free fathers day weekend 2013
That's right!  Kids camp free Father's Day weekend, 2013 at select KOA campgrounds in the US and Canada!

Mom and dad can take the kids on a weekend camping getaway June 14-16, 2013, and the kids camp free!

KOA Campgrounds have been around since 1962 and they have over 475 locations.

They've also kept up with the times, offering cable and now WiFi!  lol

So, if you're looking for a camping getaway where the kids can camp free, go to KOA Campground for more info and to find a campground near you today!

Happy Camping!

Hilarious Redneck Camping Guide Video!

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Camping getaways should be relaxing and fun!

I stumbled across this hilarious Redneck Camping Guide video and just had to share.

I'm not sure you want to practice these camping tips, but camping with humor is the best!





Happy Camping!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Calling All Inexperienced Campers!

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family campout program offering a camping getaway
Are you an inexperienced camper who wants to experience a camping getaway?

Well, if you live in or near Arizona, here's a great opportunity.

Arizona State Parks is offering their Family Campout Program.

It's $65 for a family of 4.  No pets and no children under 5 years old.

All you need to bring are sleeping bags, pillows, clothing, study shoes and any personal items.  i.e., toothpaste, etc.

You will be provided with a tent, sleeping mats, camp chairs, lanterns, flashlights, GPS units, water bottles, first aid kits, equipment for activities, water, lemonade, coffee, and all food which includes 2 lunches, one dinner, one breakfast, daily snacks and campfire treats.

Whew!!

Activities included in this camping getaway are fishing, biking, desert survival, hiking, astronomy, bats, archery and more.

For dates and registration information, visit Pason's Roundup Arizona Family Campout.

Happy Camping!

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Budget Camping Tips and Resources!

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Budget camping isn't probably what you think of when you think of all the camping gear you will need.  But that's not true.

Camping doesn't have to be expensive, really! 

Hopefully we can brainstorm some cheap camping ideas together.


Camping Shelter:

You could sleep under the stars, or in your car, but if you're out to get a tent, there are a few cheap ideas to explore.

You can borrow a camping tent.
You can look on Craigslist or similar for a used tent.
Hit the garage sales for a used tent.
Go to rei.com to see if renting a tent is an option in your area.

If all else fails, you can always hit amazon.com.  They have tons of inexpensive tents, like the 4 person camping tent pictured below for less than $40.

budget camping with low cost camping tents




Budget Camping:

There are several places you can actually camp for free.

Wilderness areas - these camping areas might require a permit, but they're usually free.  You'll be secluded which means peace and quiet but no running water or toilets.  lol  Check out wilderness.net maps to see if one is near you.


BLM, which is the Bureau of Land Management - also has areas free to camp.  Some areas require a permit, while others do not.  These camping areas are also without running water or toilets.


National Forests are also a good option for free camping.  The less secluded of an area you chose, the higher likelihood you'll run into some fees.


You can find free and low cost camping in the US and Canada at freecampsites.net.  This is a community driven site, so not only can you find free and low cost camping, but you can add your own to their list.

If you have an RV, check out freecampgrounds.com, which lists places to park for the night for less than $10.

There are plenty of ways to still enjoy a camping getaway without spending a ton of money, however for a few bucks more you can Find The Best Camping Spots!

Happy Camping!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Campsite Cleaning Tips!

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Campsite cleaning tips for a relaxing camping adventure
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cleaning can take up a lot of your time while camping, but hopefully with these campsite cleaning tips you'll be laying back enjoying the sun in no time.


No one wants to sleep in a tent full of dirt, so here are a few tips to keep your camping tent clean:

♦  Lay a barrier between the tent and the ground.  It could be a tarp or even a large shower curtain.

♦  Lay another tarp inside the tent.  This will not only give the sleeping area a little more cushion, but you can grab the 4 corners and drag the tarp out of the tent to shake the dirt and sand free.

♦  Place a mat at the entrance of your tent or camper.  Instruct everyone to wipe their feet before entering.

♦  Sprinkle baby powder on the entrance mat.  This will help remove sand off feet.

♦  Keep a feather duster near the entrance of the tent or camper to remove sand off legs, ankles, and tops of feet.  The kids love it!

♦  Have another mat off to the side of the tent or camper entrance for holding shoes.  No shoes inside is the rule!

♦  Hang a few charcoal briquettes in a sock inside the tent.  This will help absorb moisture and odors.


Keeping hands clean is another dilemma.  Of course it's good to get dirty, you're camping!  But there are times when you want to see your little one's hands.

♦  Save a gallon jug that can be filled with water, or buy a gallon of water in a plastic jug.  Place the jug on the end of the picnic table, or hang from a tree.  Punch a hole on the side of the jug near the bottom with a golf tee.  When you need water, pull out the golf tee.  When you're done with the water, replace the golf tee to stop the flow.

Tip:  A nail could work in place of the golf tee.

Bonus Tip:  If you use those large plastic laundry detergent jugs with a spigot, those work perfectly, too.

♦  You can also put a bar of soap in a knee-high pantyhose, and tie to the jug handle for added cleaning.

♦  Clip a towel to the picnic table using a tablecloth clip, or use the paper towel hanger tip I have on my post Campsite Cooking Tips under the "Tips at the campsite" section.

Tip:  Shop towels work great as they are stronger than paper towels, but can still be thrown away.


Garbage, garbage everywhere!

♦  Yes, there will be garbage, so what's the easiest way to contain it?  There are a few, but if you can get your hands on a pop up clothes hamper or two, your trash troubles are over.

These are great for a few reasons. 
  • They fold flat when not in use, so packing them for a camping trip is easy.  
  • They usually have a zippered lid, so animals and kids can't play in the trash.  
  • They will hold a regular kitchen trash bag, and if they do get dirty, you just hose them down.

They're also not as unsightly as having several store plastic bags hanging everywhere.


Laundry

There just might be a need for doing a load of laundry while on your camping getaway.  A laundromat is the first thing that comes to mind, but they can be expensive.

I've had to do laundry on our 2 week camping trips.  It's not fun, but it can be.

♦  You'll need a 5-gallon bucket with lid, a new toilet plunger, and some detergent.

♦  Cut a hole in the lid of the bucket just large enough to fit the handle of the plunger through.  Punch a few holes in the rubber part of the plunger to allow water to flow through.

♦  Fill the bucket about half way up with water, add some detergent and dirty clothes, and replace the lid with the plunger through the hole.

Now the fun part!  Plunge away!  Better yet, have the kids do it!  They'll love it!

If you can't bring yourself to use a toilet plunger, whether clean or not, you can always purchase the Rapid Washer from Amazon which is a stepped up version of the toilet plunger.


Hopefully some of these campsite cleaning tips will help you to have a relaxing and stress free camping getaway!

Happy Camping!


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Friday, March 15, 2013

20 Campsite Cooking Tips!

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20 unique camping cooking tips at home and at the campsite

Campsite cooking can be stressful, so I've come up with these campsite cooking tips to help with your stress free camping getaway.


The first few tips are to be done while still at home, before the actual camping trip.


Tips for planning cooking at the campsite are just as important as the campsite cooking tips.





Tips before the campsite:


♦  Planning a menu before your camping getaway ensures you will pack all necessary ingredients and spices.

♦  You can pre measure all dry spices of a recipe and save in a Ziploc bag.  Label the bag so you can just dump it in when ready.

♦  Instead of bringing large bottles of spices, fill empty tic tac boxes with your favorite spices.

♦  Cook ahead as many of the meals as possible and freeze.  You'll have quick delicious meals with minimal cleanup.

♦  Precook meat at home if possible, and freeze.  Meals will be ready quicker, and cooked meat lasts longer.

♦  Checking your camping menu, chop all vegetables at home and put in ziploc bags.

♦  Freeze your water bottles. You'll save on ice and you'll have cold water to drink at the campsite.

♦  If you're worried about eggs breaking on your camping trip, break your eggs into a large container and seal.  At the campsite when you need an egg, carefully pour them out.  They will come out of the container one at a time.

♦  Mix hamburger and Lipton Onion Soup Mix.  Shape into patties and wrap each patty in a double layer of aluminum foil.  Throw them on the fire while you set up camp.  First meal is easy peazy!


Tips at the campsite:


♦  Put a pan of water on the fire while you're cooking so you'll have hot water for dishes after the meal.

♦  Slip a rope through a paper towel and hang on a tree branch or wherever convenient for quick and easy access.

♦  Stick a paper plate inside a frisbee to stabilize.  This worked great when my kids were young.

♦  In a pinch, cut a 2 liter bottle down and use as a bowl.  Be careful on the cut edges.

♦  Use a large ziploc bag instead of a bowl for mixing foods to save on cleanup.

♦  Use a ziploc bag for mixing pancake batter, cut a corner off to dispense the mix onto your griddle.

♦  Long handle channel locks work great at picking up hot cookwear.

♦  Cover the bottom of your pots with aluminum foil or liquid soap before placing over the fire to keep them clean.

♦  Use a hanging shoe organizer hung near your camping kitchen.  It can hold all your tools and utensils.  No more digging through boxes trying to find a spatula!

♦  Keep a bar of soap in a pantyhose near the water supply for easy cleanup of your hands.  The pantyhose will keep the soap clean.


♦  If water isn't handy, bungee strap a bottle of antibacterial soap and a towel around the nearest tree.



I hope some of these campsite cooking tips have helped.  If you have great tips, please share in the comments!



Happy Camping!
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dutch Oven Recipes for Camping!

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Dutch Oven Pot Roast and Vegetables

We talked about Why you need a dutch oven when camping, now I'm going to offer some tasty dutch oven recipes for you to try!

Many of these recipes can be adjusted to your taste and liking.  Experiement and enjoy!
  



Walking Taco

1 individual Dorito chips bag per camper
1/3 cup hamburger
1/3 cup refried beans
2 Tbsp shredded cheese
salsa

Cook the hamburger in a skillet.
Add the beans to heat through.
Cut open one end of a bag of chips.
Spoon in some hamburger and beans mixture, sprinkle on cheese, add salsa.

Tip:  Cook hamburger at home.  Use a can of chili rather than hamburger and beans.




Chili

2 lb. ground beef
4 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp each - Worcestershire sauce, cocoa, ground cumin, oregano, salt, sugar
1/2 Tbsp Tabasco sauce
1 large onion
1-1/2 Tbsp chili powder
2 cans kidney beans
3 cup canned diced tomatoes

Preheat dutch oven to 325 degrees.
Add oil and onion and cook until clear.
Add the ground beef and brown.
Add remaining ingredients except kidney beans.
Lower heat to 250 degrees by raising dutch oven or scattering away coals.
Simmer 1 hour covered.
Add kidney beans.
Cook 1 hour uncovered.

Serves about 6



Corn Bread

1 cup corn meal
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup oil or margarine
2 or 3 Jalapenos, chopped (optional)

Directions:

Grease a 10-inch Dutch oven and preheat it over the coals. Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Remove Dutch oven from coals. Pour corn bread mix into Dutch oven. Place lid on top, put 10 charcoal underneath and 12-14 on the lid. Cook for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Turn the Dutch oven occasionally to avoid any hot spots.



Easy Breakfast Burrito

1/4 stick butter or non-stick spray
8 Soft tortillas
8 pre-cooked sausages, cut in small pieces
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
4 eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheese
salsa

Melt the butter in dutch oven.
Add sausage and potatoes.
When the potatoes are brown, mix in the eggs.
Lay tortillas on lid to warm.
Put eggs and sausage mixture in a tortilla.
Sprinkle with cheese and salsa; roll up!



Pot Roast with Vegetables

1 (3 to 4 pound) piece beef chuck roast
Salt and Pepper
3 tablespoons oil
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
2 yellow onions, halved
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bunch baby carrots
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 cup button mushrooms, stems removed and sliced in half
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves

Directions

Season all sides of the beef with a fair amount of salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately high heat. Brown the meat on all sides, taking the time to get a nice crust on the outside. Pour in the tomatoes and the water. Scatter the vegetables and herbs around the pot roast, season with salt and pepper; and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Braise for about 3 hours, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices, until the beef is fork tender.



Southern Baked Beans

1 large onion, diced
2 (16-ounce) cans pork and beans
3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup light brown sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 pound bacon strips, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Directions

In a Dutch oven, mix everything except the bacon pieces. Top with the bacon pieces. Bake, covered, for 45 to 60 minutes.



Pizza

1 box Pizza dough mix
1 can pizza sauce
1/2lb mozzarella cheese
1/2lb pepperoni
1 aluminum pie tin

Prepare pizza dough according to box.
Spread dough inside pie tin and up the sides.
Top with sauce, cheese, pepperoni.
Put dutch oven on top of 12 briquettes and cover dutch oven with 14 briquettes.

Cook for 15-25 minutes.

Tip: Can use French Bread instead of pizza dough mix



Apple Crisp

Serves a lot!

4 pounds of apples
half a box of quick oats (oatmeal)
1/4 cup cinnamon
1 pound dark brown sugar
1-1/2 sticks of butter
handful or 2 of water
caramel sauce, for topping

Preparation:

Core and slice apples into a 12-inch Dutch oven, filling it to approximately 2 inches from the top.

Mix cinnamon, oats, and brown sugar in a separate bowl until well mixed, fine and crumbly. Dump oat mix on top of the apples, evenly spread it out over the apples and push everything down firmly in the pan.

Top with sliced butter pieces and sprinkle with a little water before you put the lid on. You can also add some more water sprinkles on top if it looks too dry during cooking.

Cook about 35-45 minutes or until it smells like cobbler. Dutch oven cooking time may vary. In the oven at home it's pretty consistent at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Tip: Put all the dry things together in a zipper bag. One less task at camp.




I hope you see that having a dutch oven when camping is very worthwhile!

Happy Camping!

Why You Need A Dutch Oven When Camping!

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 There are many reasons why you need a dutch oven when camping

I will list as many as I can think of, and hopefully my readers will add their thoughts on camping with a dutch oven. 

The dutch oven is the best camping equipment for campfire cooking. It's a heavy, flat bottomed kettle.  It has legs for stability, a lid which keeps soot out and can serve as a griddle, and a heavy wire for lifting or hanging.


Reasons to take a dutch oven camping


Here's why you need a dutch oven when camping:
  • You'll have more packing room for camping as having a dutch oven is like having several pots and pans. 
  • You'll have less cleanup with only 1 pot to clean. 
  • It only takes water to clean a dutch oven, no soap needed. 
  • It's very versatile. It can cook anything, including bread! 
  • It's made to go right in the fire, so no gas grill needed for the dutch oven. 
  • It cooks evenly, so no burnt or raw food. 
  • It basically cooks itself so you can enjoy camping more. 
  • It's contained, so no sooty taste to your food. 
  • You're not stuck with only 1 pot meals, as the lid can serve as a griddle. 
   
Dutch Ovens come in various sizes and material.  The one shown above is made of cast iron.  

Cast iron dutch ovens are the most popular as they hold the heat very well and they will last a long time if properly cared for.

You'll want a dutch oven that is thick all the way around.

The legs on a dutch oven helps with stability over hot coals or wood.  Obviously you'll want a wire handle for lifting in and out of the fire.

Dutch ovens can range from $50 to over $300, but it is a wise investment.

After quite a bit of research, I found a great one for less than $65.

Check out this Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Camp Dutch Oven at Amazon.  143 customer reviews at the time of this post.  5 stars is the current rating.

No matter which dutch oven you choose, you will be thrilled the next time you take it camping!

Happy Camping!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Find The Best Camping Spots!

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Find the best camping areas in the US
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whether you're a beginner camper or an expert at camping, you still have to decide where you'll set up camp.  Just where are the best camping spots?

The best places for camping varies among all campers.  What might be right for a couple, might not work for a family with small children.

Do you need an rv park?  Tent camping areas?  You have to know exactly what you want to get out of the camping experience.

You might be surprised, but one of the best camping spots can be closer to home than you think.


Your own backyard!

Sometimes just getting out under the stars and away from the stack of bills is all you need for a relaxing camping getaway.

If you've never went camping before, this is a great way to do a trial run.  You can sit in the tent and make a list of things you wished you would have brought.

If you have young children, this is a great way to introduce them to camping as well.  And it's just plain fun!



However, for the more daring camper in you, there are 1,000's of rv parks, tent camping areas, and even free camping spots.

Since there are so many camping areas, I'm going to direct you to Woodall's where you can find a campground with your specific camping needs.

Just select the State you will be camping in and hit search.  Once on the search page, you can filter park features like if they allow pets and/or tent camping, etc. 



For a list of the top 100 Campgrounds, check out Tripleblaze.  Just remember, the more popular the camping areas are, the more crowded they will be.



You can also check FreeCampsites.net for a listing of free and low cost camping.  Just click on the State you'll setup camp for markers.  Click on a marker for more information.



I recommend calling ahead if using these sites to make sure you have the current information with the camping areas you choose.

Happy Camping!
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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

How To Build a Campfire!

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Campfire

We're going to learn how to build a campfire.  Yes, if you've never tried, even you can build one.

First, check with the campground to make sure campfire's are allowed and learn the rules, and always have water or a fire extinguisher accessible.

You find out campfires are allowed, but should you build one?

Look at the campfire location.  Are there trees too close and low?  Is your tent/camper too close?  Is it smack dab in the middle of the walkway?  How about the wind?  If it's blowing hard, that's dangerous.  The wind can blow sparks and embers onto your gear or your family!

If conditions are safe, it's time to build your campfire.

Start gathering very dry tiny pieces of wood.  If it snaps, it's dry.

Tip:  Save dryer lint and stuff it in empty toilet paper rolls.  They make great fire starters!

You also want to gather some larger wood, or kindling.  About the size of a pencil or your fingers. 

Start building your campfire by putting the smallest of the twigs, dryer lint, pine cones, small bark, etc into the center of the fire ring.

Take the kindling, and start making a teepee.  Jab a stick in the ground and lean in toward the middle.  Go all the way around the fire starter, but leave an opening so you can light the small stuff in the center.

Light the fire a let it burn a bit so it catches the larger kindling pieces on fire.  Now you can start laying on a little bigger pieces of wood.  Not too big yet and not too fast, or you'll smother the fire.

If the fire seems to begin to die out, add small twigs and fan it with a paper plate.

Have patience.  A good campfire takes time to grow. Follow these tips and you will be able to build a great campfire.

Happy Camping!
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Monday, March 4, 2013

The Best Camping Tips!

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Here are some of the best camping tips I've learned.  These tips may or may not work for you, but hopefully you'll find one or two that will make your camping getaway a little more relaxed.


Be Prepared

This camping tip isn't something we want to think about, but this is probably one of the best tips around for camping with children.

Tip:  When you get up and get everyone dressed in the morning, have your kids line up and take a picture of them.  This way, if they get lost, you not only have a current picture, but exactly what they're wearing.

This tip can actually work for anyone or anything.  Your camping gear, your pets, anything that can become lost and you need help from park rangers or fellow campers to search.



Camper Parking in the Dark

Having plenty of readily accessible flashlights is a must.

Tip:  You've driven for hours and you finally reach the campsite...  after dark.  It seems like in my 30+ years of camping, we always reached the campsite after dark.  lol  Anyway, if you need to park a camper (backing in), you can use the flashlight to give signals to the driver.  It's the easiest way I've found.  Flashlight goes left, turn left, etc.  You can also point the flashlight up if the trailer will hit branches overhead, or turn it off if you need the driver to stop.

For a tent, it's a bit easier, but you still need to scour the area for the tent location.  Look for glass, stones, twigs, and ants!  The last thing you want to do is park your tent on an ant hill!

There are plenty more reasons, but the main point is to keep flashlights readily accessible.



Glow Sticks to the Rescue

Keeping track of children after dark can be a little hairy.  This next camping tip can help with that, especially if the kids are playing in the surrounding woods.

Tip:  Get some glow sticks and have the kids wear them as a necklace or bracelet.  Wrap them on a belt loop, or anything that works.  Now all you have to do is look for the glow.

This also works on pets.  99% of the time, pets are tied up on campsites, but if your pet escapes, at least they won't get hit by a car if he/she is glowing!



Save Those Jugs

A few weeks before your camping getaway, start saving large plastic jugs.  Wash them out, fill them with water and freeze.


Tip:  Blocks of ice stay frozen longer so you will save money from not having to buy ice so often.  When the ice finally starts to melt, you won't have to drain your cooler, and you will also have clean ice water to drink.  If someone gets a little overheated (non life threatening), give them the jug to hold. 



Toothpaste - Not Just for Teeth

Hopefully you didn't forget your toothpaste at home, and if you use toothpaste and not gel, this tip is for you.


Tip:  You've done everything to keep the mosquitoes at bay.  You've sprayed, you burned citronella candles, and you've kept your camping quarters closed up tight.  But you've gotten a mosquito bite.  Instead of digging through your first aid kit, grab some toothpaste.  (Not gel).  Put a dab on your bite and you should feel instant relief.

Bonus Camping Tip: if you've forgotten your mosquito spray, grab some Listerine or rub the inside of an orange peel on your arms and such.  That will keep them at bay!



Spare Belt for the Tree

It angers me to see campers pounding nails in trees to hang untensils or their garbage bags.  There's a better solution.


Tip:  Bring an extra belt.  Preferably a leather belt, or at least a strong heavy one.  Wrap the belt around a tree, and using S Hooks, you have a neat place to hang up your items.  You can also use strong wire pushed through the holes of the belt and bent into a hook.


Those are just a few of the best camping tips I've learned.  Come back for more as I continually update!

Happy Camping!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Easy Camping Recipes!

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Smore
I've found some easy camping recipes, and thought I would share.

One thing about camping, easy is best!  And when it comes to food preparation, easy camping recipes are perfect!

These camping recipes are mostly made right at the campsite.  I will be gathering more recipes that are best prepared at home before the camping getaway.



S'mores

Makes 1 serving

1 large marshmallow
1 graham cracker
1 (1.5 ounce) bar chocolate candy bar


Directions

Heat the marshmallow over an open flame until it begins to brown and melt.
Break the graham cracker in half. Sandwich the chocolate between the cracker and the hot marshmallow. Allow the marshmallow to cool a moment before eating.

Variations:  try using different chocolate flavors.  Wrap in foil and put in hot coals 2-3 minutes.



Hobo Pies

Makes 1 Hobo pie

2 (1 ounce) slices white bread
1 tablespoon butter, softened
3 tablespoons apple pie filling


Directions

Spray a hobo pie toaster with nonstick cooking spray. Evenly spread one side of each slice of bread with softened butter. Lay a slice of bread, butter side down, into the toaster. Spoon on pie filling, and top with second slice of bread, butter side up.
Close up toaster, and trim off excess bread.  Cook over a hot campfire, turning occasionally, until the pie is hot and golden brown, about 4 minutes.

Variations are endless!  Use any kind of pie filling.  Pizza pies using pizza sauce, mozzerella, pepperoni, and anything you like on pizzas.  Beef Stew, Chili, Cheese, etc.  Just make sure you don't fill them too full, and the kids eat over a plate.  My daughter dropped hot cherry pie filling on her leg and it took the skin off her leg.  :(



Sponge Cakes

Makes 6 cakes

6 sheets heavy duty aluminum foil (10x12-inch)
1 (12 ounce) package prepared sponge cake shells
cooking spray
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained, juice reserved
2 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
1/3 cup chopped pecans, divided
18 maraschino cherries (optional)

Directions

Spray the aluminum sheets with cooking spray, and place a sponge cake shell in the center of each sheet. Spoon the crushed pineapple into the cakes, dividing it equally, and sprinkle each cake with about 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and about 2 teaspoons of nuts. Top each cake with 3 maraschino cherries, and drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons of the pineapple juice over each cake.

Wrap the cakes in the foil, leaving some room at the top for air circulation. Place the foil packs onto the embers of a campfire until the cakes are hot and bubbling, about 3-5 minutes.



Banana Royal

Makes 6 servings

6 unpeeled bananas
2 (2.16 ounce) bars chocolate-coated caramel-peanut nougat candy bars (such as Snickers®)

Directions

With a sharp knife, cut a lengthwise wedge out of each banana, slicing through the peel and almost through the banana. Carefully remove the wedge and set aside. Slice each candy bar into 3 slices the long way. Insert a slice of candy bar into the banana, then replace the wedge back over the candy, pushing the wedge back down. Repeat with remaining bananas; wrap the stuffed bananas tightly in aluminum foil.

Roast the bananas in the coals of a campfire until the fruit is hot and the candy has melted, about 5 minutes. Unwrap the bananas, then remove peel from wedges and eat the bananas with spoons. Candy filling could be very hot, so use caution.

Variations:  Any candy bar will do.  Eat with ice cream or whipped cream!



Visit my Camping Recipes page for more great easy camping recipes!





I scoured the Internet and can now recommend The Scout's Outdoor Cookbook.  It is getting rave reviews everywhere.  It's reasonably priced and packed with tips as well as hundreds of recipes for all kinds of meals that can be made using dutch ovens, camp stoves, fire pits, and grills, or that do not require cooking at all!


Feel free to share your favorite easy camping recipes!  I'd love to see them!
 

Camping Stories For The Campfire!

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camping stories around the campfire
Who doesn't love a good story?  Especially camping stories around the campfire!

Here's a few to get your imagination going.  Some are scary, some are funny, so grab the ones that are age appropriate for your children.

If you love books, at the bottom of the page you'll find a book of campfire stories I highly recommend.


Scary Camping Stories



The Killer in the Backseat

ONE NIGHT a woman went out for drinks with her girlfriends. She left the bar fairly late at night, got in her car and onto the deserted highway. She noticed a lone pair of headlights in her rear-view mirror, approaching at a pace just slightly quicker than hers. As the car pulled up behind her she glanced and saw the turn signal on — the car was going to pass — when suddenly it swerved back behind her, pulled up dangerously close to her tailgate and the brights flashed.

Now she was getting nervous. The lights dimmed for a moment and then the brights came back on and the car behind her surged forward. The frightened woman struggled to keep her eyes on the road and fought the urge to look at the car behind her. Finally, her exit approached but the car continued to follow, flashing the brights periodically.

Through every stoplight and turn, it followed her until she pulled into her driveway. She figured her only hope was to make a mad dash into the house and call the police. As she flew from the car, so did the driver of the car behind her — and he screamed, "Lock the door and call the police! Call 911!"

When the police arrived the horrible truth was finally revealed to the woman. The man in the car had been trying to save her. As he pulled up behind her and his headlights illuminated her car, he saw the silhouette of a man with a butcher knife rising up from the back seat to stab her, so he flashed his brights and the figure crouched back down.



 The Hook-Man
A TEENAGE boy drove his date to a dark and deserted Lovers' Lane for a make-out session. After turning on the radio for mood music, he leaned over and began kissing the girl.

A short while later, the music suddenly stopped and an announcer's voice came on, warning in an urgent tone that a convicted murderer had just escaped from the state insane asylum — which happened to be located not far from Lovers' Lane — and that anyone who noticed a strange man lurking about with a hook in place of his right hand should immediately report his whereabouts to the police.

The girl became frightened and asked to be taken home. The boy, feeling bold, locked all the doors instead and, assuring his date they would be safe, attempted to kiss her again. She became frantic and pushed him away, insisting that they leave. Relenting, the boy peevishly jerked the car into gear and spun its wheels as he pulled out of the parking space.

When they arrived at the girl's house she got out of the car, and, reaching to close the door, began to scream uncontrollably. The boy ran to her side to see what was wrong and there, dangling from the door handle, was a bloody hook!




Funny Camping Stories


You Can't Get Out

A Oklahoma Ghost Story

retold by

S. E. Schlosser

One dark, windy night, the town drunk was meandering his way home after the bar closed. Somehow he got turned around and ended up walking through the churchyard instead of taking the road home.

The wind picked up and he thought he could hear a voice calling his name. Suddenly, the ground opened up in front of him, and he fell down, down into an open grave! He could hear the voice clearer now, calling to him. He knew it was the devil, coming for him just like the preacher said, on account of him being the town drunk.

The hole was very deep and inside it was pitch black. His eyes adjusted to the darkness after a few moments, and he made out a form sitting in the darkness with him. It called his name, and he scrambled away in fear, trying to climb out of that terrible grave. Then the figure spoke. "You can't get out," it said.

The drunk gave a shout of pure terror and leapt straight up more than six feet. He caught the edge of the hole in his hands, scrambled out, and ran for home as fast as he could go.

Inside the open grave, his neighbor Charlie sighed in resignation. He'd fallen into the hole a few minutes before his friend and had thought that together they might help each other climb out. Now he was going to have to wait until morning and get the mortician to bring him a ladder.



Red Sloppity Lips

A young man was driving along and old road and had become lost. He was trying to find his way back to a gas station to get directions when he ran out of gas. So he grabbed his gas can and began to walk. He had been walking for half an hour without seeing a single other car passing when it began to rain. He pulled his jacket up over his head to help keep the rain away, but it began to rain harder. Then it began to thunder and lightening, so he knew that he must find shelter quickly. Up ahead he saw an old abandoned house, so he ran onto the porch. Certainly nobody would mind. But the wind began to blow and blew the door right open. The wind blew so hard, that it blew the rain onto the porch soaking the man even more. So he went inside to get out of the rain. The house was very large and though it was abandoned, dirty, full of cob-webs and in need of some repair it kept the man dry.

A big gust of wind blew in the door and then back out again, slamming the door shut. The man tried to open the door, but the rain had caused the door to swell, wedging it in the door frame when it slammed. He could not open it.

Just then, he heard a voice call out "Do you know what I do with my red sloppity lips and my long green fingers?" Next to the door was a large, green hairy monster with huge red lips, pointed fangs and gangly legs and arms with very long fingernails. The man panicked and ran down the hall. The monster followed.

Again, he heard the monster say "Do you know what I do with my red sloppity lips and my long green fingers?" as he followed him down the hall. The man ran up some stairs at the end of the hall. And the monster pursued him.

The monster was getting closer, so he heard the monster say louder "Do you know what I do with my red sloppity lips and my long green fingers?". The man ran away from the monster down the hall at the top of the stairs and into a room at the end of the hall, closing the door behind him. But he heard loud footsteps coming down the hall. And he had run into a room with no windows, so he hid in the closet.

The bedroom door flew open and again he heard the monster say even louder "Do you know what I do with my red sloppity lips and my long green fingers?" The man tucked himself into a corner of the closet and hid as best as he could.

The closet door opened wide and the huge hairy monster stood before him. Again, so loud that it hurt the mans ears the monster once again said "Do you know what I do with my red sloppity lips and my long green fingers?"

The man shook as he answered with fear in a quiet voice "no".

The monster smiled and said "Then I'll show you."

BLBLBLBLBLBLBLBL (Put your fingers to your lips and strum them across your lips while you make a "b" sound. Cross your eyes when you do this if you can. This should result in the desired silly effect.)

Visit Camping Stories for more scary and funny stories.


Scary camping stories to read around the campfireScary Camping Stories to read around the campfire

I also recommend the book  Scared Silly: 25 Tales to Tickle and Thrill.

It is 97 pages long, it gives tips on how to read a scary camping story, and it has a spook-o-meter for each story so you know if it is age appropriate for your child.  5 Star reviews on Amazon!

I hope you've enjoyed these camping stories!

Happy Camping!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Camping Games!

1 comments

best camping games for kids
Camping, a time to escape into nature and away from the daily grind of everyday life.  Relaxing in the sun at the campsite is so peaceful.  Tranquil.  Until...  "Mom!  I'm bored!"  lol

So how do we keep the children entertained?  Camping Games!

Finding camping games and activities the whole family can enjoy brings you all closer together.  Some of my best memories of camping are playing camping games with my kids.

Here are some fun camping games, and the best part is, they require little to no equipment!


A Scavenger Hunt

What I like about a scavenger hunt is that it's versatile.  You can use objects that you have in your camping supplies, or you can look around and use objects found at the campsite.  Flowers, colored rocks, etc. 

Make a list of objects to be found and hand them to each child.  Set a time limit.  The one with the most found objects wins.  For older kids, you can send them off the campsite to find the objects.  Just set a time when they need to be back at camp and give them a whistle and a flashlight in case they get lost.



Round-robin Storytelling

Ah, campfire stories.  Each person creates a story by adding a sentence or adding as much or as little to the story as they wish. Just go around the campfire as many times as you want, or until the story seems to run out. Round-robin storytelling sparks everyone's imagination and it allows the younger campers to participate, instead of just listening.

You can make the story harder or scarier depending on the ages of the kids involved.



Glow In The Dark Bowling

Put glow sticks in 2-liter bottles filled with water. Use a ball to knock them down.  For younger kids, you could leave the water out (if the wind is cooperating) to make it easier.



Cheeto Toss

One person has shaving cream on their face. The rest of the team throws cheetos at their face, one person at a time. At the end of five minutes, the number of cheetos stuck on their face is the number of points. Throwers must stay behind the line and may not go in front of the line to retrieve fallen cheetos.

I've never heard of this game, but it sounds like fun.  I think I would find an alternative to food being tossed.  lol



Charades

I'm sure everyone has heard of Charades.  One player tries to get the rest of the group to guess the word or phrase by acting it out.  It could be a movie title, a book, a television show, a famous person, an animal...  The player that guesses correctly is now the actor.



Telephone

I remember playing this game in 3rd grade.  Many moons ago!  lol

A sentence is whispered to the first player.  They in turn whispers the sentence to the next person.  This continues until it reaches the last player in line.  The last player repeats out loud what was whispered to them.

There's no winner, just the fun of comparing the original and final sentence.



Balloon Charades

Write down people, places, or things on thin strips of paper. Fold them in half so you can stick them in a balloon.  Blow up the balloons and tie the ends. Place the balloons in the middle of a group and have one child choose a balloon. The child will then pop the balloon and act out the word on the paper. The child who correctly guesses the word will be the next actor. The game is over when there's no more balloons.



How Long Is A Minute?

A very simple game that can be used for a minute of peace and quiet.  lol

Tell the campers that you are going to time a minute on your watch. The campers have to count to a minute in their head.  They raise their hand when they think a minute is up.

The camper that is the closest guesser to the minute wins.

This game can be extended to two minutes (or any other length of time) when the children get good at it.



Flashlight tag

Flashlight tag is a combination of hide and seek and tag. The person who is "it" waits at the "jail" counting to a high number while everyone else hides. With flashlight in hand, this person searches for the others. The flashlight must remain on at all times and may not be covered. When the person who is "it " spots someone, they use the flashlight to look at the person and identify who it is and call out their name.

This is another versatile game. One variaton is to pass the flashlight to the caught person, so they become "it." Another version is to send each caught person to "jail" to wait until everyone is caught. The first person caught then becomes "it."



Musical Chairs

You don't even need chairs to play this camping game.  I've used paper plates, sticks, stones, or anything else found at the campsite.  Have one less plate or other object than the total number of kids playing. Play or sing a song, and once the song stops, the kids stand on whatever object you are using.




There are plenty of camping games to be played.  I like these games because they're so versatile and can be played with little to no equipment.

Trying to pack for a camping getaway is hard enough, so you don't need to pack extra games if there's no need.



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