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camping

Posted on July 27, 2016

DIY Frugal Campfire Fire Starter Camping Hack

Campfire Starter

So.  Rewind a couple years (okay about 15).  Bob and I were just two young starry eyed kids, starting out on some of our very first camping trips together.  And can I just tell you this: he SUCKED at starting a campfire.  It took him FOREVER to get a fire to catch and we used to tease him that he probably had trouble lighting fires because as a firefighter he spent so much time trying to put them out.

Over the years and after much practice, the man can now build a pretty impressive campfire.  This year we discovered a camping hack that helps to get our fires started even faster!  It’s so easy and the chances are good that you already have the required materials around your house.  All you need to make these firestarters are LINT from your dryer and an EMPTY TOILET PAPER TUBE.

I have a jar sitting on the dryer and after each load of laundry, I pull the lint from the trap and stick it in the jar.

Dryer Lint

Lint in Jar

Once you collect lint from a few loads of laundry, lightly pack it into an empty toilet paper tube.  I store our lint-filled tubes in a freezer bag, ready to be packed for the next camping trip.

Toilet Paper Roll

Lint in Toilet Paper Tube

Lint Firestarters

You only need one of these to get a campfire going! Simply stick the tube underneath your wood (standing vertical seems to work the best).  Light the lint on fire and you’re in business!

Campfire

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camping hack

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Posted on July 26, 2016

Coleman Mountain View 12×12 Screendome Shelter Review

We received a sample of the product reviewed in this post in order to facilitate the review.  No compensation was received.  All opinions are 100% our own.

Coleman Mountain View 12x12 Screendome Shelter

When we go camping, our very favorite campsites offer some sort of shade from surrounding trees.  The shade cuts down on the heat on sunny days and gives us a nice spot to relax and for the kids to play.  Of course, I also prefer that our campsite be bug-free, LOL, but that’s clearly not a realistic campground feature, is it?  We recently had the chance to try out the Coleman Mountain View 12×12 Screendome Shelter.  We were hoping to find a roomy shelter where we could eat while contending with a few less flies and where the kids could enjoy some shaded play on non-wooded campsites.

So before I tell you about our experience, let me give you some cold hard facts about this shelter:

  • Dimensions are 12 feet by 12 feet and center height is 7 feet 6 inches tall.
  • Covers 100 square feet
  • Has 4 screened walls
  • Comes with 2 removable shade walls
  • Comes with a storage bag
  • 50+ SPF protection

Now check out this video I put together of us (okay, Bob) unboxing and assembling the shelter:

We really like this shelter! It has worked as promised the few times that we have now used it. As you can see in the pictures below, we moved our campsite picnic table right on into the shelter. We ate our meals in the shelter and the kids enjoyed lots of playtime inside.

It went together pretty easily – though having more than one person assembling it would have made the process a quicker one. I’ll be able to jump in and help when I’m not taking video, so that won’t be an issue!  We were happy to add this Coleman camping gear to our collection!

Coleman Screened Shelter Tent

Kids Playing Play Doh in Tent

Coleman Screened Tent

Coleman Tent at Campground

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Posted on July 18, 2016

Campground I Spy Game – Free Printable

Campground I Spy Printable

I have a new free printable for you!  My kids LOVE taking walks with us around campgrounds and I knew that they would love this game.  This printable would be great to give to the kids while you set up your campsite or let them bring it when you go on a walk.  They can cross off each item that they see, trying to find everything on the page.

I printed our copies on cardstock and will probably laminate a couple of them so that the kids can reuse the same printout with dry erase markers.

Playing Campground I Spy

Lily Playing Campground I Spy

Download this print for free right here (or click on the image below).

Save this high res print by right-clicking on the image below and choose save-as. This print has been formatted to look best as a 8.5 x 11 inch image.

I Spy

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Campground I Spy Free Printable Game

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Posted on July 7, 2016

10 Cookies You MUST Make Into S’mores!

10 Cookies You Must Make Into Smores

Chances are probably good that least once this Summer you’ll find yourself roasting some marshmallows over a campfire.  But before you go all traditional with boring old graham crackers, you simply MUST check out our suggestions for some delicious renditions on the basic s’mores dessert.

That’s right – grab some of these cookies the next time you’re at the store and try the concoctions for yourself!  Most of the cookies have chocolate in them already.  For the few that don’t, add a piece of chocolate from your favorite candy bar.  We have tried all of these cookie s’mores over a few different camping trips and all of them get 2 thumbs up!

Note: I am going to list the brand name version of each cookie, when applicable, but I want you to know that we saved a TON of money buy purchasing the ALDI equivalents.  There was no compromising on taste!

10 amazing cookies to turn into s’mores:

  • Pizzelles
  • Chocolate Covered Shortbread
  • Oreo
  • Golden Oreo
  • Thin Mint
  • Peanut Butter Patty
  • Fudge Stripe
  • Chips Ahoy
  • Nilla Wafer
  • Nutty Bar

Pizzelle Cookie SmoreThin Mint Smores
Fudge Stripe Cookies Smores
Smores Cookies

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10 Cookies You Must Make Into Smores Treats

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Posted on June 28, 2016

10 Cool Campground Friendly Toys and Games for Kids

Disclosure: We have received sample toys of some of the toys in this post to review and/or feature as part of my membership on the Play Like Hasbro team. All opinions expressed within this post are my own. No compensation was received. #PlayLikeHasbro

10 Cool Campground Friendly Toys and Games

We have found that our weekend camping adventures have really brought out the differences in our kids’ ages and attention spans. Lily is quite content with a book or a notebook and pen. She will (very happily) read, draw, write or just walk around our campsite taking in the various examples of nature. She does love to play games and play with toys, though she is usually very good at making her own fun. Landon, on the other hand, at not quite 3 years old, is another story. He certainly can’t “just wander” around the campsite without close supervision or he’d wander clear into the next county. The last thing we want to do is throw a tablet in front of him, so we’re always on the lookout for toys and games that are easy to bring along and that engage both of the kids.

Check out these 10 toys that we have found to be super campground friendly, not to mention very portable.

1. Play-Doh – An absolute timeless classic, Play-Doh is a FANTASTIC toy for kids to play with while camping. It’s fun, it’s creative and they can make all the mess they want since we’re outside! Sometimes we take cans of Play-Doh with us, other times we take a Play-Doh playset. Last weekend we brought the Play-Doh Cake Party Playset with us and I’m not exaggerating – it bought us a couple of HOURS of happy playtime over a couple different playtimes.

Play Doh Cake Party

2. Zuru Bunch O Balloons When the temperatures soar, most kids enjoy some water play for cooling off. Water balloons are fun, and these self-tying balloons fill in seconds. They are simple and quick to fill – no more waiting around forever waiting for someone to manually tie all of those tiny balloons. Now of course you’ll do your best to clean up all of the trash – but a big bonus: the balloons are biodegradable! (The hose adapter straws are recyclable, so simply drop them in the recycling container at your campground.)

zuru bunch of balloons

3. NERF Super Soakers – We always bring along some water toys for a quick campground cool down! One of our favorite versions is the Nerf Super Soaker Breach Blast which holds up to 50 fl oz of water and shoots water up to 38 ft!

Nerf Super Soaker Breach Blast

4. NERF Blasters – Same concept as the Super Soakers, without the water.  Chances are pretty good that if you’re camping you have some sort of tree coverage.  Trees make great cover during a NERF Blaster fight!  Just be sure you stock up on lots of extra elite darts – they like to get lost forever in the brush!  Landon loves the new Marvel Captain America: Civil War Blaster Reveal Shield!

Landon Captain American NERF Shield

5.  Pie Face If you follow me on Facebook, you know we LOVE this game!!  It’s so entertaining, so easy and really a fun-for-all-ages game.  Don’t forget to throw a can of whipped cream into your camping cooler!

Pie Face Game

6. Hula Hoops Hula hoops are such a timeless classic!  They don’t require batteries and you can pick them up from your local dollar store.

hula hoop road trip

7.  Bulldozer and Dump Truck Toys Stones and sticks and leaves, oh my!  So many little bits of nature all around the campsite – so many opportunities to scoop them up and dump them out!  We never leave for camping without packing Landon’s excavator and dump truck toys!

Construction Toys

8. Kinetic Sand I am leery of letting the kids play in big open public sandboxes.  One reason: cats.  Yes, too many times we have discovered that public sandboxes also serve as giant litter boxes for the neighborhood cats.  Instead, we love playing with kinetic sand at the picnic table at our campsite.  It’s so much fun with little to no mess.

spin master kinetic sand silly string blogger bash sweet suite 2014

9.  Baby Pool – If you have a campsite with water hookup, bring along a small baby pool to fill up for water play.  These pools also serve as a great “refill tank” for the Super Soakers I already mentioned.  Make sure you clear the ground of sticks and stones to avoid any rips!

Baby Pool on Beach

10.  Jenga GIANT What’s even more fun than the original Jenga game?  A GIANT version!

Playing Jenga GIANT

What are YOUR favorite campground friendly toys and games?

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10 Cool Campground Friendly Toys and Games for Kids

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