Thursday, August 20, 2009

Over the River and Through the Woods . . .

I love camping.

Next to reading a great book, it's probably my favorite thing to do.

Growing up my family and I took camping trips to many of the National Parks and innumerable state parks. I learned to fish, start a fire, build a fort, toast the perfect marshmallow and play spades, about wild animals, poison ivy and geology. For a curious kid camping trips are the best!


Sometimes, and especially here in Colorado, the weather just gets in the way of plans. Quite literally raining on the parade.

So when you can't go camping outdoors, bring the adventure in - and take a good book (or five) along for the ride!

You can set up a tent indoors, or even better: build one together out of sheets and assorted furniture:

If you have a fire place, build a "camp" fire to roast marshmallows! If this is a dinner time camp-out, try the recipe below for one of my favorite kid and camp-stove friendly meals. Then it's time to snuggle up in the tent, wrap up in a blanket or bed down in a sleeping bag for story time!

My all-time favorite camping book: Three Days on a River in a Red Canoe by Vera B. Williams. It's the story of a family float trip down the river in a book that looks more like an illustrated scrapbook than a traditional children's book. As bonuses it has a couple camp recipes and even teaches you how to tie knots!

Some other good picks:

But there are SO many to choose from. An Amazon search for Children's Books about camping produced 8,309 results! A search of the local Denver Public Library system yielded 168 books in their collection. These include tales from many of your favorite characters and series like Caillou, Maisy and Little Critter.

So next time you're ready to gear up for an outdoor adventure but the weather just won't cooperate - Take an adventure with a good book instead!

Recipe for Hobo Pockets:

The recipe for hobo pockets is - there is no recipe, just ingredients! Older kids can help cut the veggies, and everyone puts the ingredients of their choice onto a square of aluminum foil. Grown-ups then fold the foil into little packets, and place the packets in a 375 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes.

Ingredients (mix and match as desired):

  • ground beef or turkey
  • cut russet potatoes
  • spring onions or pearl onions
  • cut carrots
  • herbs (parsley, sage, thyme)
  • seasoning salt
  • peas
  • sweet corn
  • mushrooms
  • cut celery
  • salt and pepper

My personal favorite: beef with potatoes, pearl onions, peas, mushrooms, herbs and a dash of seasoning salt. Experiment with your own tastes and have fun!

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