Camping Recap

As I mentioned yesterday, camping wore me out. Part of that is the lack of sleep. The other part is we spent the entire time on the go. It was such an enjoyable weekend.

The drive down to North East Missouri (in the same area as Mark Twain State Park) took about 4 hours. It went remarkably well. I borrowed my sister’s portable DVD player, so the kids were able to watch Mickey Mouse and Olivia in the car. We stopped at a park about three hours into the drive. Getting them out of the car to play helped all of our moods.

When we got to the campground we unpacked the car and then walked up to the camp store to order pizza.  It was a great way to get the kids familiar with each other again, and a great way to get us out of cooking.

This is the first time the boys have spent much time together. They immediately hit it off and played well together all weekend. It was so much fun to watch.

After dinner we headed back to the camper. The girls and Bryan went for a ride on the golf cart (Kirsten’s husband was there dropping it off and drove them around) while Kirsten and I go the beds ready. Elliot was not up for a ride yet. He liked exploring the golf cart, but he was scared of riding on it.

After the golf cart ride we tried to get the kids to bed. It did not go well. That was the case all weekend. As they get older it will get better. That’s what I’m telling myself.

In the morning we had breakfast at the camper before we loaded up the golf cart and heading out to play.

The first stop is the modern playground. It is a big cube for climbing, with a slide and swing in it. The kids loved exploring it. Eventually it got busy and we headed to a different playground.

The second stop was an older playground, also at the campground. We were the only people there, which the kids (and their mothers) enjoyed. The kids played hard until it started to rain.20180512_0953321026274787.jpg

The campground has a place for kids 1-5 that is basically an indoor area to explore. Sadly most of the toys were broken and it hadn’t been cleaned for what looked like a decade. That being said, it was free and kept the kids busy.  20180512_1021082060642474.jpg

After all of that it was only 11. We decided to have lunch and try for naps. Lunch went well. Naps didn’t. The boys got out of their pack and plays after about 30 minutes and walked out to the living room. We decided to throw in the towel and explore some more.

We headed to the Mark Twain Lake visitors center. It was full of things to do. We checked out a few scenic overlooks. We took a hike. We looked around the visitors center. They had a table with crayons and coloring books for the kids. The employee on duty even handed me a bag with 4 packs of sidewalk chalk and two workbooks for the older girls. He mentioned they will be added a playground next year, so we will be back.

The nice guy at the visitors center then told us the best park to visit at the state park. It was a great park and it is very close to the campsite. There is also a beach close to the park, so hopefully we will try that out later this summer. The kids were so entertained at this park Kirsten and I were able to sit on a bench and actually talk! It was a miracle.

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That night getting the kids to sleep was horrible. At one point I went in to check on the boys because they were being very loud. They had crawled into bed together and were very proud of themselves.

20180512_190013579921131.jpgOn Sunday we got up, attempted to go get pancakes and found the restaurant closed, and drove home. All in all, it was a crazy way to spend Mother’s Day weekend, but it sure was fun.

 

 

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Camp Snacks

Tomorrow I’m packing up the kids and driving four hours to camp with my friend Kirsten and her two kids. We will have four kids under four in a camper. We are clearly insane.

Because I imagine it is going to be a crazy weekend I wanted to get some of the work done before we left. I also wanted to make sure we had some healthyish items. I threw together a few things that I think the kids will like to eat. As an added bonus Kirsten and I will like them too. 20180510_195417436169163.jpg

I’m still on my hummus high, so I made some more sun-dried tomato and basil hummus. I sliced up some bell peppers to use for dipping sticks. I am also bringing crackers for the hummus.

For quick snacks and an on the go breakfast I made some peanut butter energy bites. These are basically no bake cookies, so I think the kids will love them.

I am on the e-mail list for volunteer recipe testers for Cooks Illustrated, and just this week they sent out a recipe to test for raw fruit and nut bars. I thought they looked good so we are trying them out this weekend. They have dates, dried cherries, almonds, and cinnamon. They are basically the homemade Lara bars I’ve been making for years, but with smaller bits of almond. I think the kids will like the texture of these better.

Do you have any make ahead snacks you like to take on trips?

Minnesota Children’s Museum

While visiting with my cousin and her kids in the Twin Cities this week we headed to the Minnesota Children’s Museum. The main reason we wanted to visit is because they currently have a travelling Daniel Tiger exhibit. The kids and I love Daniel Tiger.

If you aren’t familiar with Daniel Tiger, you are probably familiar with the inspiration for the show – Mr. Rogers. Daniel Tiger is based on the Land of Make Believe from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. It has a lot of the same good life lessons that Mr. Rogers’ had, often with a helpful little song. I get some of my best parenting advice from that show.

The exhibit was packed full of things from the show, from instruments at Music Man Stan’s shop to the clothes the kids use for dress up at Daniel’s school. They even had a post office with letters for the characters. The kids could be Mr. McFeely and deliver the letters to each of the buildings.

It was like a dream come true for the kids. We spent about an hour in the room, letting them run and explore. They have Daniel Tiger books in O The Owl’s room, so you can curl up with a book in O’s reading nest or one of the chairs they have around the exhibit. Audrey loved being able to explore and play and read a book. It isn’t often you get a story while exploring.

We finally decided to leave the Daniel area and headed to a room with a fire station, hardware store, farmer’s market, taco truck, and post office to play in. Elliot found a wall of switches to play with, so he was pretty happy. There was also a fire truck to ride in. It was overrun with school groups, and it was hard to explore it all. The big kids were not excited to share with the little ones.

The museum is four stories, but we only made it to half of one story before Audrey was ready for bed. She got a little overwhelmed by all of the kids and asked to go home. I was also ready to go, as it was getting too crowded to watch over four kids under four with only two grown ups.

I can’t say enough wonderful things about the Daniel Tiger exhibit. It was well worth the price of admission (around $45 [including parking] for the kids and me). I wish it was a permanent exhibit, as I can see going to visit it again and again. I hope we continue to visit the museum as the kids grow. I’m sure we’ll be able to explore more of it each time we get there.

Road Trip Update

We got back from our trip earlier tonight. We had a wonderful time in the Twin Cities, and I plan on telling you more about it soon (when I’ve had some sleep).

I did a good job preparing for the trip there, but did not do a great job thinking about the drive home.

When it came to snacks we were good for the drive up to Minnesota, but I totally forgot about snacks for the way home. The kids and I ended up eating cookies from a gas station for a treat. Gas station cookies aren’t very good. Elliot decided to “take it apart” instead of eat it, and now I hope that soaking his shirt in OxiClean will get all of the chocolate out of his shirt.20180419_1454272054893516.jpg

I let Elliot put diggers in his back pack, which is a great toy for him. I didn’t think about how playing with trucks would keep him from sleeping on the drive. He didn’t sleep on the drive there, yet I didn’t think to take them away until after he slept on the drive home. So he didn’t sleep in the car either way.

On a positive note, at the Children’s Museum yesterday I thought to clip Giraffe to Audrey with her mitten clip. It made the visit much less stressful for me.

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I love travelling, and I’m glad I went even if the kids didn’t sleep in the car. I am hoping to go on several trips this summer, and I will eventually remember things like snacks on the way home and not giving the 2-year-old his favorite toys to play with at nap time.

Do you have any travel tips for car trips with kids?