Thursday, July 17, 2008

Camping with the Cousins

Things have been crazy busy here with summer goings-on. I apologize for the lack of posting but it's going to be sporadic for the rest of the summer.

We just spent a couple days with my mom, three of my sisters and almost all of Julia's Nicholas cousins at a cabin in the woods. What a fun time we had. The cousins age from nine to eighteen so finding things that they will all enjoy is a stretch. I found a great book called Camp-Out by Lynn Brunelle that gave me 10 summers worth of ideas. I highly recommend it - especially if you are digging for a summer birthday present for a child or outdoorsy teenager.

We had just about 24 hours to pack in some fun. It wasn't hard to fill up the time. The cousins are not outdoorsy by any stretch of the imagination. Neither are my sisters. When I was a kid, we went camping once with a pop-up camper. It was a fiasco. My dad hated it and Mom had to work harder than ever. That was the first and last camping trip for us.

So as you can imagine, my nieces and nephews prefer lounging by a pool to a day without showers, hot water but plenty of bugs. But they were good sports. I had everyone check their ipods and cellphones at the door (last year that was a bit of a snafu!)

We built a couple camp fires and did almost all the cooking over the fire. The kids helped cook their dinner and made s-mores. Finding kindling took a bit of time. My sister Nancy made some killer pancakes for breakfast.

I organized a tree and leaf scavenger hunt and the cousins totally surprised me. They each got a zip-loc bag with photos and identifying characteristics of 15 trees. I split them up into two teams and off they went. And they actually did go deep into the woods and both teams came back with all the different leaves. I'm hoping they learned something - at least they will remember the day.

Then it was off to a swimming hole and an icy dip. And then sadly, everyone went their separate ways.

I have some very fond memories of spending time with my cousins in the summer. My sisters and I try real hard to get our kids together a few times during the summer so they too have good memories. We are all scattered throughout the Northeast and two of my nephews live in Brazil so it takes a bit of effort but it is worth it.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely worth it! For our 40th anniversary, my husband and I rented a large "cottage" on Lake Michigan for our kids and their families.... 4 cousins so far, ranging from 3 to brand new (born last Sunday!) We hope it will be low key fun for all, so the next generation will have happy family memories too.

Barbara M.

John said...

I looks like great fun was had there. We too love caravanning & camping and have our own blog on the subject below...

Michele in Maine said...

I take my daughter camping once a summer with my sister and her family (two cousins). I'm hoping we can give the kids some good memories too! Love your leaf scavenger hunt idea.

Sara in WI said...

What fun! I wish that we had been able to do more outside with our sons when they were little. Your pictures are great, especially of the fire. I can almost smell the campfire and taste the s'mores! Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer said...

Thanks for the tip. I'm all about camping and the outdoors. I'm off to get my own copy now. Looks like you're having a great time. Enjoy!

KSee said...

I just gave that book as a wedding shower present to one of the guys at work. I thought it was the best for young and you can never get too old! He had his wedding register and then there was hers. His now wife came into the office and what fun to watch them open a mix of presents.

Peggy said...

What an excellent plan. I love the checking ipods and cell phones, ingenous. Those will truly be times they will remember forever.

Carrie said...

Love your blog!

We have that book too and love it!!! My mom gave it to my 1 year old for his birthday so his 7 year old brother can help introduce him to the wonderful world of camping :). We go camping numerous times through the summer including a one week stint in June.