Backyard Camping

Wanting to do something special during the week before the kids head back to school (or just because she is a crazy person, you pick), my neighbor Kim decided to plan a backyard camp-out for our kids. Four boys, one girl, one adult, in one tent. (I'm leaning towards crazy person at this point.)

But in typical awesome Kim fashion, she pulled off a fantastic day that kept the kids engaged, got them to help with planning, shopping and executing, included a great dinner for us adults, s'mores for everyone, and ended with four boys, one girl, and one adults all asleep in the backyard tent. I am still a little shocked and much in awe.

Four boys in a grocery store?! Still leaning towards crazy person at this point.
First the boys had to help plan a menu for the evening's dinner and then help shop for the food. We ended up with hobo packets (veggies and chicken in a foil pouch grilled to perfection). Kim confessed to receiving a few looks at Publix. One lady whispered in terror, "Are they all yours?!" One woman swore she could see the halo around Kim's head, to which Kim replied that it was more likely her forehead was stamped with "crazy person!" But they all lived to tell the tale and we're all still allowed to shop there, so it's all good.

Next up, make camp! And trail mix! The boys were sweet enough to make Violet a bag of trail mix since she was at school. When I picked her up, she couldn't wait to join the festivities!

Look how helpful we're being!

And then, make dinner! Everyone got a sheet of foil and got to pick which veggies they wanted to include. For the adults, Kim made an awesome salad in a jar which was deemed a complete success! And the best part was the clean-up. Crumple up the foil, pitch it in the trash, call it a day.

Check out that awesome jar salad!
 Finally it was time for the campfire! Reed, having survived a week at sleep-away camp-out camp, was our fire expert and got everything heated up. Violet was strangely scared of the fire, despite the fact that we've had this fire pit going numerous times this summer. But no one was scared of the s'mores! We tested out a new combination of toasted marshmallows with Reece's peanutbutter cups for the chocolate and oh. my. stars. Do not try one. It will be impossible to go back to plain Hershey's chocolate again. Wow. I can almost still taste it. Must. Make. More.

I got the baby to bed a little after nine, but everyone else was still going strong. There was much debate about whether Violet would last the night. She had been insistent that I stay with her (nope) or that we sleep outside for a little bit and inside for a little bit (um, no). But she gamely dragged her Hello Kitty sleeping bag into the tent and acted like she wanted to stay. She was so convincing that I actually went back inside and got in bed, assuring Kim that the backdoor was open and to call when Violet threw in the towel.

Playing cards in the tent, one big, happy family.

Notice everyone else pretending to sleep except for my noodle. Quite cozy in there!
Imagine my surprise when morning dawned, my alarm blaring me awake (stupid back to school alarm!) and Violet was still in tent! I even check the video monitor to make sure she hadn't been smuggled in during the night. Kim reported that Violet was actually the first one to follow directions to get into the sleeping bag and fall asleep. Everyone else followed soon after, although there was a slight snafu when Christian lost his first tooth (don't worry, the tooth fairy found the tent). All in all, it was a most excellent adventure. Most importantly, Kim is a) alive, b) still speaking to our children (and us), and c) says she would actually do it all again!


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