An {Almost} Serious Guide to Family Camping

The almost serious guide to family camping


Step #1: PLAN

Our campout started Friday afternoon. 

By Friday morning I had planned one thing: Go Camping. It was even written on the calendar. Food? Tents? Sleeping bags? Those were all minor details.

I woke up Friday morning realizing it was serious crunch time. There was no way to put off prep any longer.  As I was planning meals at 7 am, we had a sudden vehicle issue, which meant I needed to take Tilly babysitting at 9:30 am and pick her up at 11:30. No problem for this super organized mama! <insert laughter and snorting>

Finished meal plans. Loaded Tilly (plus six kids) into the van. Drop off Tilly, head to bank, mail letters at the post office.  With six kids. Go to the bank to get money to buy groceries. Head to restaurant supply store. With six kids. As we exited the store Apollo began an emotional meltdown. I suddenly realized he hadn’t had any breakfast. I explained to the kids I was “going to get some food” for Apollo.

“Can it be Chinese food?” he asked.

Of course! Except it was a quarter after ten and I wasn’t sure the Panda Express would be open. I still wasn’t sure when I pulled into the drive thru and saw an employee washing the signs. 

“Are you open?” I asked.

“I don’t know. What time is it?”


“We will be in six minutes.”

I pull forward (out of her sign-cleaning way) and stop the van. I suddenly realize we need gas before we head off to the campground wilderness. I can see the gas station from Panda Express. Off we go to fuel our trusty van (whose transmission went out last month- darn thing). As soon as I start fueling, Apollo starts yelling that he needs to PEE right now. He is going to DIE if he doesn’t get to pee RIGHT NOW. I smile and tell him we will be back at the Panda Express in five minutes. By some miracle, he survives, does not implode, die, pee his pants or get a urinary tract infection. Off we go to Panda Express and a bathroom. Out of the van we file, through the rain, into the restaurant (I told my SIX children ahead of time to go sit at a table…I didn’t want them jumping and dancing and rejoicing in their Pre-Camping Trip Excitement). I went to order. Apollo took care of his urinal duties and I picked up the food. 

“Are you sure that’s all you want?” asked the former sign-washing employee.

“Yes!” I said with a smile as well all filed out into the rain. Suddenly it dawned on me: I took SIX kids into the restaurant and ordered one entrée. 

Oh, well, Costco was calling. Costco was shopped and we were only 30 minutes late to pick up Tilly.

It’s now noon. I have: dropped kids off, picked kids up, gone to the post office, gone to the bank, gone to Panda Express and visited two mega-busy grocery stores. Now all we need to do is eat lunch. 

And pack for our camping trip. And do the lunch dishes. And load up the van.

After lunch (Rotisserie chicken and croissants- thank you Costco) we started prepping food, putting away the groceries. Packing. And tidying up. Then I realize we have no ice for the coolers. I give Tilly a handful of money and send her on a solo quest. For ice.

By some miracle we left the house at 3 PM, ready for our big adventure. In the rain. With no campfire.

I will say, I was very proud of my offspring. We picked a campsite and had our tents up camp ready in less than 20 minutes.  Then it was time for adventuring and shivering until Chuck showed. Because he was still at work.

Missing out on all the fun.

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5 thoughts on “An {Almost} Serious Guide to Family Camping”

  1. Alright, I realize Apollo is kind of a special case, but you just might be the COOLEST MOM EVER for saying yes to chinese food for breakfast.

    1. bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Honestly, I’m not really into “breakfast food”…I’d much rather wake up to Chinese food than eggs and bacon…so basically, it never occurred to me that it was an odd breakfast! LOL

    2. My favorite breakfast is leftovers!!! If Im going to eat breakfast its generally for dinner but I also hate cooking in the morning.

  2. Pingback: Oregon Coast Family Camping {Part I}

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