Monday, June 17, 2013

The Big Campout 2013

On Thursday, my kids finally got to celebrate the beginning of summer.  School had been over for a while, but soccer and dentist appointments and other commitments kept us from really relaxing.  They made up for it in spades.

Commence fort building. We have old barns galore, so finding a spot to set up was not difficult.  They grabbed things from the house, scavenged around the yard, and built their outdoor homes.  Water jugs, tablecloths, bricks and wood to make tables and shelves and walls, snacks, coloring books and crayons, flashlights, pocket knives.  They thought of everything.  And much to my surprise and pleasure, even hygiene.

Learning how to be a big kid.  I saw him maybe three times all day.
While I was working in the garden, I kept hearing a consistent pounding on wood and the little boys shouting, "Aye, aye, Captain!" (ala SpongeBob Squarepants theme song) over and over and over.  I later found out they were putting on a "trampoline" show.

They set up boards to bounce on and do some cool tricks.

They were choreographed and everything.

They even made stands for the audience.  (Turken was in the show.  He just sat down during my tour of the fort.)

FYI:  It is quite handy to have well-trained Boy Scouts when wanting to roast hot dogs for dinner.  Phoenix and Star had it going strong before I even got to the fire pit.

THIS.  This here is what summer is for.


While sitting near the fire, I was so overcome with the love my kids were showing for one another.  When people ask me why we have so many children, I just want to whip out photos like this.

Once the hot dogs were gone, the Scouts introduced the non-Scouts to a delicious little campfire treat.

Dad showed Buttercup how to core and fill apples with cinnamon sugar.
Wrap in foil and place on the edges of the fire.  Let cook for approximately 20 minutes.

Have a big, strong, he-man carefully take them out of the fire.

Ooohhh, what is it going to look like??

Once it cools a bit, dig in!
To end the day, the Scouts once again came to the rescue and set up the tents.  One for the big kids outside

and one for the little kids inside.

Miraculously, everyone actually slept the entire night in their tents, despite the fact that Giant is convinced a coyote was howling right outside their tent at 2:00am.

Over the days after the campout, I asked the kids some questions for you, in case your kids ever wanted to try their own campout.

First, the little boys. 

"Boys, what was your favorite part of the camp day?"

I think we all could have predicted that.

I asked the big kids what they would do differently next time, and they all agreed to plan activities for the day before the campout begins.  They spent plenty of time planning a menu for the day (even attempting to balance the junk with the healthy), but it seems they were too lax about deciding what to do all day.   (See?  A list, People!  Always prepare with a list!!!)
Back when I was young, we lived in a new neighborhood with only four houses on our street.  There were open fields, a creek behind our house, a bike path throughout the neighborhood, and woods very nearby.  We were loose all the live-long day, coming home only for meals.
It saddens me a bit that we don't live in the same kind of world anymore.  Kids who are left to roam free all day, every day are seen as having neglectful parents.  I'm so grateful to be able to live on a property out in the middle of 200 acres of corn, far from the road, where my kids can still be the kind of kids who get filthy dirty, scratch their knees all to pieces, get a few ticks, and avoid their mother all day long.  They can't do it every day, but they can do it.  
I love summer.
Have a lovely day!   


  1. What a great childhood your kids have! You are definitely doing things right.

  2. Love, love, LOVE the photos, especially the one of Cuckoo leaning on Phoenix's leg.

    Tell Giant the coyote wasn't going to hurt him; it was just keeping an eye on the bobcat that was in the trees above the tent.

    AND NO ONE HAD TO GO TO ORTHOINDY! Success on so many levels!

    1. Hahahahaha!!! A couple of times, I thought, "Please don't hurt yourself. I can't go into the doctor with another injured child."

      The kids were melting my heart that day.

  3. Wow, this is all very Famous Five! That lot were always camping and I remember being incredibly jealous of them and their adventures (before I realised that to me staying in a 3 star hotel is roughing it). How wonderful that your kids get to live those adventures!

    1. I have never heard of the Famous Five. I'll be looking into those books pronto!
      I, too, prefer hotels. Notice I did not camp out with them.

  4. I love the idea of camping in the backyard. I have done that a few times when I was growing up. I love the apple idea, too:) What wonderful memories your kids are making!

    1. I rarely camped out as a kid. A few times with my friends. I like my bed too much.

      I expect them to remember this for years and years to come. I'll be sure to remind them if they don't. :)

  5. How cool that your kids can really enjoy each other and spend so much time exploring outdoors. Even though my kids have a gorgeous backyard pool, they prefer to sit on their lazy bums and play electronics instead. Go figure!!!

    1. Can't say this is the norm. While they are all outdoorsy kids, there is such a thing as too much sibling time. They are happy to play electronics, too.

  6. Oh, that reminds me of my days as a child growing up on a farm. We were so creative about our today (excluding yours) just don't know how to be creative within themselves. I love the trampoline idea! I wish I could have camped out with them...of course they wouldn't have wanted an old lady in their fort I am sure, lol.

    1. I've noticed the lack of creativity and problem solving in some kids, too. Fortunately, my kids all have chosen friends who are creative and fun and enjoy the same things.
      They would have welcomed you with open arms! Old people don't bother them. :)

  7. Lucky lucky boys- and great shots I might add--my idea of camping is a hotel with a door to the outside....

    1. Thank you! I am a big fan of hotels myself. Preferably hotels with a good view of a beautiful outdoor spot.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  8. WOW! Your brood are going to have some AWESOME memories of their childhoods. On behalf of kids everywhere who remember muddy knees and climbing trees and hiding in bushes and wishing there was more garden to play in - thanks :)

  9. Ahhh. Best. Post. Ever. This pictures are truly priceless and so sweet!! Reminds me so much of my own childhood... memories such as these are amongst my most treasured. We are trying to have children and have for some time now. I want to experience these kinds of things with kiddos of my own! What wonderful fun. :D

  10. I agree with the comment above- best post EVER. The pictures and sentiments are wonderful. What a fantastic memory (and new summer tradition I'm guessing;) for them all to have. :)

  11. What time is dinner tonight? I'll be over with the kids!

    Julia @ Mom on the Run x2

  12. Sweet! That's doing summer right!

  13. This is awesome!! Is there anything better than kids playing/working cooperatively outdoors, enjoying nature and adventure??? We really should be neighbors!!

  14. This looks like it was a ton of fun for them! We used to sleep out in a tent in our yard (though never our woods for some reason...), but it was nothing this extravagant. We didn't even have fires and activities. I basically told ghost/horror stories and we played cards :-)

    How often do you let them do this?

    Great pictures!

    Jak at The Cryton Chronicles & Dreams in the Shade of Ink

  15. Oh My Gosh. I want to be one of your offspring.
    Those apples? I MUST do them on my firepit. If it would ever stop raining long enough. (cries)


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