Archives for April 2009

Camping With Small Children. Yes, it’s possible

We went on our first camping trip of the season this past weekend.

It was mah-ve-lous. Days were a pleasant 83 and nights dipped down to around 64.

It was a great time. Even the smores were perfect.

Do you ever wonder how people with small kids are able to go camping? Do you think it’s impossible? It’s not. With some simple planning, it can go smoothly. 

Here are some of our tips:
(**for the record, we did this with four children – ages 19 months to 8 years**)

    • Find a campground that is close by for your first camping trips. It may just be a mental thing – but it makes it more bearable to go on a short outing when it doesn’t take an entire day to drive there.

The campground we went to was only 20 minutes away.

    • Plan on a short trip (1 –2 nights). It’s much easier to pack for your first trip if you are only packing a couple of simple meals.

Our menu for our one night trip:
lunch – pb&J, chips, juice and fruit
dinner – hot dogs on the grill, mac-n-cheese (the simple kind that comes with the cheese packet [doesn’t require brining milk or butter]), green beans. Smores for dessert
breakfast – instant oatmeal, juice

    • Take lots of Quart or Gallon size freezer bags. They come in handy for many things – storing wet clothes, sealing up open food containers, holding leaf and rock collections.
    • We didn’t take all of our equipment for this trip. It just seemed like a bit of a hassle to take some of the things we didn’t have to have. For instance, a brief listing of what we took:

      our coleman stove,
      2 pots (for boiling macaroni, heating green beans and boiling water for oatmeal),
      a spoon for stirring,
      a strainer for draining macaroni
      can opener,
      lots and lots and lots of plastic cups
      lots of sippy cups for the two littlest
      plastic utensils and paper plates (this, along with taking plenty of cups and such alleviated the need to wash anything – we just rinsed at the spigot [our camp sites all had spigots])
      a larger cooler
      sleeping tent
      eating tent
      table (though most campgrounds have a picnic table at each site)
      table cloth
      lots and lots of towels and rags
      409
      toys for the kids (this was probably the bulk of what we took. We took bikes and skates)
      plenty of clothes for each of us
      plenty of sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, sheets and air mattresses or cots.

    • Pack several outfits for each child for each day. You’ll have a lot more fun if you just resign yourself to the fact that kids will get wet and dirty and let them.
        • If you have a young child (infant to toddler) take a port-a-crib/playpen with you so that the child can have more of a sense of being secure in a new place. Bring along any favorite blankets or toys.
    • Bring something that will keep the kids occupied while you set up camp, or else be prepared for it to take a bit longer.
        • Try to choose a camping spot that is near the bathroom. Obviously, don’t set up right next to it – otherwise you will hear the troops marching to the potty all night long. But be close enough that the little ones can get there as quickly as possible.
    • While you are there, take note of items you might like to have with you the next time you head out to the woods. When you get back, type your list out, print it out and then slip it into a page protector. Use a dry erase marker on it to keep track of what you’ve packed.
        • Consider how any little kids will sit at a table. Will they need to eat in their stroller? Will there boost seat work?
        • Plan on arriving early in the morning so that you can get the kids settled and the camp set up while it is still cool. Plan on breaking down camp early the next morning as well; between breakfast and lunch.

    We arrived around 10:15, a little later than we had intended, but this allowed me to get lunches made for all of the kids. They ate while we unloaded things. The next morning, we ate breakfast, did devotions, let the children play for a bit and then we started breaking things down.

Yep, it was a brief trip. But it allowed us all to get our camping feet wet again for the year. We came back with our sanity intact. AND we had actually gotten away and reconnected. It was a great time.

Camping is fun if you are prepared, so give yourself to plan. But don’t do so much planning that you end up never going. Get out there!

Your turn – Have you camped with young children? Share your tips in comments.

    The Things I’ll Do For You

    Yesterday I was foolish enough to write a post about my new hair color without posting a photo. The reason I didn’t? Too lazy to get hair fixed and makeup applied.

    Yes, my vanity got in the way of your reading enjoyment.

    Today, I bit the bullet – Still no makeup. Hair not fixed. But the masses are screaming for a view. ;0)

    Here I am first thing this morning: (in the sun it looks more dark brown)

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    Not totally scared yet?

    Here you go: (no sun – it looks almost black)

    DSC_1218

    You are welcome.

    (Do you even remember why I was posting these? Oh yes – the “overdid” hair color. Next on my list – getting my hair trimmed.)

    Updated: I forgot the

    Work From Home Tips

    working from home

    Staying in your pajamas.

    Potty breaks whenever you want.

    Fabulous break room.

    Flexibility.

    These are some of the ‘supposed’ perks that people fixate on when they are thinking about working from home.

    But in reality, working from home requires discipline (Hello, Distraction!), quick-thinking (kids fighting in the background while you are on the phone with a client) and dedication (no more leaving your work at the office or ending your work day at 5:00pm).

    It is fabulous. It is wonderful. And it’s wildly crazy.

    In 2 weeks, I will be starting a series on Working From Home. I’ve got a great book that I will review and copies to give away. There will be loads of useful information.

    If you are considering working from home (whether starting something on your own, or through your employer) or you are already doing it, but find yourself struggling to make it work or work efficiently, this series is for you.

    So sound off:

    What are your thoughts on working from home? If you do, what do you do that makes it work for you?

    (photo: dr.jd)

    Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow (yeah… I know)

    For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a love affair with hair color.

    In high school, I sported plum hair and black hair. [I may or may not have tried sun-in at some point too…] After high school, I made a couple of forays into Perms-ville and didn’t color my hair for a bit during that time. (perms + hair color = a red hot frizzy mess)

    But eventually, I returned to my world of multi-colored hair. I wear it like a badge of honor: “Look how cool and hip I am sporting my sassy colors!”

    So much did I color, that it wasn’t until I was pregnant with my daughter and stopped my addiction coloring that I realized that I had a great big gray streak in the front of my hair. I made an appointment with Miss Loreal as soon as I could.

    The colors since then have changed, but my desire to color my hair hasn’t. Some people shop to feel better. I color my hair.

    (I have just written “hair” 9 times in 9 sentences…)

    All along, I’ve been too cheap to actually have someone else do my color. Two or three times I have, but who can afford the constant cost of upkeep when the roots start to grow out. Each time, I’d quickly reacquaint myself with Miss Loreal or Miss Clariol. At some point, I did pretend start to act like I knew what I was doing – after all, technically, I probably have more experience and years with coloring hair than most beauticians, and started buying bottles of color from a beauty supply shop. (the kind you mix with developer in your own bowl).

    That being said, I don’t think I do a half bad job.

    If I feel like getting really crazy – ie highlights and lowlights, I go to the local Paul Mitchell school and have my hair colored and highlighted for $20.00. Yes, you read that right –but because it is a school, it takes a month of sundays to get your hair done because they have to keep checking with the instructor and, let’s face it, they are nervous as crap. (they always do a beautiful job.)

    I’m pretty sure that I have a point to this post somewhere. But I’m enjoying our little trip down memory lane together. And you must be too, if you are still reading…

    For the past 3 years, I’ve been highlighting my hair. My grays have multiplied like rabbits increased a bit, and are so resistant to color that my only solution has been to blend them in with highlights.

    Enter my husband (Hi husband!) He luuuuurvssss my dark hair. That’s how he married me. And that’s how he likes it.

    Enter my daughter (Hi daughter!) She has her strongest memories of me as a lighter haired mama.

    Enter me (Hi me!) I’ve grown weary of the lighter color. I’ve been feeling the recoloring itch starting up. Beside, my roots were screaming uncle. The light color has worked but again with the upkeep! [have I mentioned I’m lazy?] And because I am a dark brunette, my lightened hair tends to take on a <shudder> brassy tone.

    Enter Miss #30 Dark Brown Colorsilk [have I mentioned that I’m cheap?] (Hi Miss Colorsilk!) totally neutral party.

    I like it. Hubs looooooves it. BOOYAH!

    Yesterday, getting my daughter ready for school, she comes downstairs, bleary-eyed, takes one look at me and says “Your hair is dark.” (waiting…) speaking in a hushed-panicked tone to me: “You sort of over-did it

    There you go. How does one respond to that??

    She is still not liking it. [have I mentioned that she doesn’t like change]

    Obviously, she hasn’t  been properly schooled in the fun of hair color (she’s all of 8 years old, after all). One day, she’ll understand that just because it’s “too dark” one day, doesn’t mean it stays that way for long.

    Find Out Whether that Email is Truth or Fiction

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    By now, most of us know that the Nigerian lottery email that hit our inbox is a scam. Scams are easy to spot.

    Or are they? I’m still surprised by the number of emails, Twitters and Facebook messages I receive from (smart intelligent) people warning or alerting me about some new hoax.

    Before you click forward, please please check through the following sites to find out the truth behind it. Your contacts will thank you.

    Snopes – one of the best, most thorough and up-to-date sites for finding the truth or fiction in the

    Truth or Fiction – “Get the truth about rumors, inspirational stories, virus warnings, hoaxes, scams, humorous tales, pleas for help, urban legends, prayer requests, calls to action, and other forwarded emails.”

    Urban Legends at About.com – About.com has long been a good resource on many topics.

    ScamBusters – very up-to-date; offers a free subscription to email alerts, alerting you of the most recent scams.

    The internet is full of information. Not all of it is true. Sometimes, it requires a bit of digging. Don’t believe everything you read.

    Sound off: What do you do to protect yourself from scams?