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Adventures in Camping with Kids

Camping with kids is like pitching a tent upside down. Both are bound to fill with laughter and raindrops.

--Victoria Marie

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Art of Fine Dining

Every camper thinks a screen house will give them bug-free meals. Campers also believe that those three burner stoves can make meals quicker. Let me just say that you should never wait until you are famished before beginning to prepare a meal when camping...especially when you have children in tow.

Let's start with the screen house. Seven people, a picnic table, extra chairs with pool towels draped over them, cooking utensils, pots, dishes, etc., ice chests and food bins for the duration of the meal. Never leave ice chests and food bins in a screen house when not at camp. Keep any and all food in sealed containers or bags in the camper if it is secure during the day and in the vehicle at night. If you are in a canvas tent, place the sealed food in a pack and hang it from a nearby tree, at least 5 feet from the trunk or any substantial branch and at least 12 feet up in the air. Before hanging, cover the food pack with a rain poncho to keep moisture off overnight. Take the hang rope tied to the pack handle up through the neck hole of the poncho. Some campgrounds have metal bear boxes available to place foods in although you may have to share a box with other campers.

Try as I might, I can't get the children to take out the excess chairs and supplies from the screen house while my husband and I prepare dinner. It doesn't make sense. The children are in and out of the screen house 70 times during meal preparation. You see, they don't think that sound can travel through the screen and must come in to tell you something--especially if it is about a sibling. And NO ONE can come in or go out at the same time. Hence, there are usually more bugs inside our screen house than there are in a hundred mile radius. Plus we wear out the zippers before we wear out the screens of the house. But it is a good thing that there are screens, for air when we all squeeze into the tiny screen house to eat.

Now for the three-burner cook stove, a three-burner cook stove that only really cooks well on one burner. No one likes the same thing, requiring at least three different foods to be prepared--usually one at a time. Meals take at least three hours. No one volunteers to clean up, necessitating a forced labor team schedule to be made and posted of washers and dryers.

And this is called fine dining while camping.