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Welcome! Our blog focuses on environmental conservation, education, green living & wildlife rescue! We have put together links to resources, books and information to help you and your children learn more about these topics. Please feel free to comment on any items posted. Rate or review us on NetworkedBlogs (Facebook app) & Blogged. Tell your friends about us. Follow us on Twitter and other sites listed on this page. There's a banner & widget if you would like to include us on your webpage. All we ask is that you please keep any comments here G-rated for the kids!

NOTE: The birds & squirrel pictured at the top of this page and in the slideshow below are just a few that I have helped rehabilitate.
WARNING: Please do not touch a wild animal, especially the young ones. If you remove a baby from it's home, sometimes the mother is just off getting it's baby food and will be back.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer Fun!

It's that time of year again! I love travelling and experiencing new things. I would love to go out of state and visit new places, but usually it can cost you and you are not always sure what to expect or how kid-friendly a place is. My husband and I love camping and we have been passing that love to our children. It is a great learning experience for them and a great way for the family to connect! We go camping at least 5-7 times a year for a weekend, up to a week at a time.

(Pictured at right: My boys last year on the trail at P.J. Hoffmaster Park in Muskegon, Michigan)

We used to camp in a tent, but now we have a pop-up camper that we use. In the pop-up, we can do rustic campsites or the more modern sites. However, the biggest reason we started using a pop-up is because we wanted to take our children when they were toddlers. Honestly, it was great because we could lock the door and they couldn't be escape artists:) I don't care what age a child is, more than likely they will try to sneak out on you! Hence the pop-up for safety reasons. The other reason is because it saves time. When we pack for our trip, pretty much all of the basic things we need for our trip is already in the camper, all we need is clothing and food. We are completely set! We can camp at the drop of a hat! Our children love it and look forward to our trips every year.

As a matter of fact, we are preparing for our first official camping trip this year! This time around JRouse and family is going with us to Silver Lake State Park in Michigan which is near the Silver Lake Sand Dunes off of Lake Michigan. My husband has been there a few times, but I never have been there.
What we plan to do while we are camping:
Nature Hikes - My sister JRouse and I take our kids on nature hikes at any place we camp. Our children's ages range from 2-7 years old. No child is too young for a nature hike and for learning about the plants and animals. Not only do they get to ask questions about the different things they see, but we also learn things from them (Sometimes the kids can put a whole new spin on things that even us adults hadn't thought of before). Stay on the marked trails and your good to go! I keep a book in our camper that has information on different wildlife (track recognition and some other facts) that the kids can look through.

Campfires - At state campgrounds they have fire pits that you are to use to have a campfire in. If you plan to use them to cook, before you use it you may want to stir it up with a long stick and check for trash that is not burnable or is toxic (plastic products, aluminum foil, etc.). Make sure you remove those items and dispose of them properly. We usually burn a hot fire in it prior to using it for cooking as a lot of previous campers may have burnt plastic items in it and we want to make sure it isn't going to affect our food (You can't always pick stuff out so this is an added precaution).
Hobo Pies - A staple of our camping experience, we ALWAYS have our pie makers in our camper for this purpose. You can buy them in cast iron or in aluminum. I prefer the cast iron as they tend to hold up better and longer. We had some aluminum ones but they did not hold up as well, the pro to having them is that they are lighter weight-wise. You can buy cookbooks for the pie irons that have Pesto Calzone and Falafel recipes. For more info on the irons and the cookbooks go here: Fire Pie Trail Store (We actually own the cookbook on that site and there are some GREAT recipes in it). Some of our favorite foods to do with the pie irons are:
  • Dessert Hobo Pies - This one is the most simple. All you need is: Bread, butter and any pie filling of your choice. Take the square pie iron and open it up on a flat surface. Butter two pieces of bread and lay one of the pieces butter side down on one side of the pie iron. Scoop 2 tablespoons of pie filling onto one piece of the bread, take the second piece of buttered bread and put it butter side up (Kinda like making a grilled cheese sandwich). Close the pie iron (keeping the sandwich on bottom side) and close it up tight. Take a knife and cut any bread crust that is outside of the pie iron off. Cook for a few minutes on one side, turn it over and cook for a few minutes on the other side (Time depends on how hot your fire is). Make sure to check your hobo pie while you are cooking it, both sides should be golden brown (Again like grilled cheese). Once it is done, carefully find a surface to set the iron on (wooden picnic table is best) and open it up (Make sure you have it flat side down). With a plate ready, turn the iron over and dump the pie out onto the plate. Let the pie cool for 5 minutes or more because the pie filling with be hotter than the surface of the sun fresh out of the iron. Be sure to check the temp before you eat it. It will burn you if you don't!
  • Pizza Hobo Pies - Will add an easy recipe at a later date.
  • Meat and Cheese Hobo Pies - Same concept as dessert pies except you add sandwich meat and cheese.

In what way do you or your family enjoy the summer? Do you make it a learning experience for your children (if you are at that stage of your life)?

(Pictured are my boys being "chased" by Lake Michigan's waves at P.J. Hoffmaster Park in Muskegon, Michigan. My youngest (photo on right) seems to think that screaming at the waves will get them to stop chasing him or something to that effect)

I'll let you know how our trip goes and will have pictures! Till next time!


Khrys @ GreenSpot-On