I may be outing myself as a bad mommy but here goes: despite repeated pleas I’ve never taken my kids camping.
It’s not that they’ve never been camping. My boys have had plenty of scouting overnights under canvas. And I’m sure the day will come when my daughter will go off with her Girl Scout troop. We’ve just never done the full-on family trip where we pack up and pitch a tent at a campsite for a few days.
I’m afraid that my camping aversion is depriving my kids of precious childhood memories. So what’s my big issue? First, there’s the food. My camping friends conduct elaborate meal planning meetings weeks in advance of a trip. They have to shop, lug everything home and put it away–only to load it back up into coolers and haul it way out into the woods. Then they cook, eat and clean under completely primitive conditions. I suppose this is somebody’s idea of fun, but it sounds like too much work to me. Plus, all the gear that needs to be moved—tents, sleeping bags, tarps, lanterns—is completely overwhelming. Frankly, I had far too nomadic a childhood to relish any activity that requires this much packing and moving. For me, the point of vacation is to let somebody else do the work.
It’s not that I don’t see the appeal. My friends swear there’s nothing like being out in nature, and I believe them. Last summer, our family took a day trip to a beautiful state park on Cape Cod. We sat by the lake, paddled canoes and went swimming. It was perfect day…and I capped it off back at my comfy hotel where I showered and ate a nice restaurant dinner.
The truth is, I don’t like the idea of sleeping outside. I fret about the natural perils—bears, mountain lions, raccoons, ticks and Poison Ivy to name a few—too much to fall asleep. And I’ve seen one too many horror movies where unsuspecting campers meet grisly fates out in the woods. Why risk it?
Still, I don’t want to disappoint my kids. So we’re starting slow…this weekend, we’re going to pitch a tent in the yard and sleep out. The kids are beyond thrilled. They’ve already got their sleeping bags and flashlights ready. And I’m doing my part with a crunchy popcorn trail mix.
As for me, we’ll see how it goes. I may make it the whole night out there. And perhaps I’ll consider a real camping trip someday soon. But I’m not making any promises.
Crunchy Popcorn Trail Mix
Yield: 9 cups
- 5 cups popped popcorn
- 3 cups whole grain oat cereal
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup peanuts (or other nuts)
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
- 6 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon light corn syrup
1. Stir together popcorn, cereal, raisins and nuts in large microwavable bowl; set aside.
2. Combine butter, brown sugar and corn syrup in small saucepan.
3. Heat until boiling; cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Pour over popcorn mixture, stirring to coat evenly.
5. Microwave 3-4 minutes, stirring and scrapping bowl after each minute.
6. Spread onto greased cookie sheet; cool.
7. Break into pieces and store in airtight container.