Sunday, August 28, 2011

Family Travel Tips-Wild “hair-brained schemes” that work:

(and How to pull it off)
If you’ve read AdventurezInChildRearing for very long -
you know that we are prone to take off on one of our Adventurez at
the drop of a hat.

For instance:
A few months ago- just before it got way hot here in Southwest Florida-
we were out on a family boast ride and stumbled upon a little bitty “island” -

By little bitty I mean that I could probably throw a ball from one side to the other
- it had a pretty little beach with shells washing up and in the middle there was a clearing with some small trees around for shade.

I was in heaven!

It was almost 4:00 in the afternoon and we were just supposed to be out for a
family boat ride - but I had the itch.
“I really want my tent and camping stuff,” I mentioned to my husband.
My laid back, easy going, happy to be here husband thought I was joking.
I wasn’t.
Once we got that straight and enough time (like 5 minutes) past for him to
realize that this little “wild hair-brained scheme” of mine wasn’t just going
to go away- we threw the kids back in the boat and made a mad dash for home.

Yes, I’m a little nuts.

But, we love it- well, I love it and the rest of the family seems to be tolerating it pretty well.
We had about 2 hours of daylight left - so time was of the essence.
12 minute boat ride to the marina- 12 minutes more to get back to the house
The clock it ticking. . .
I coached the boys on the car ride home as to what they needed to do when we got home:
"Pull pants and long sleeve shirts on over your bathing suits
Bring me your tooth brushes
Get your backpacks and choose 3-4 toys /cars and trucks or sand toys - nature journals
Meet me at the front door!"

They had their orders- it was time to move out!

I rushed into the house and grabbed some very basic supplies for the family- personal items like clean underwear, toothpaste, soap, small shampoo, PJ’s, and extra shorts and T-shirts for everyone ( 10 more minutes) = 1 backpack
I gathered the food while my husband loaded up the camping gear- and here’s the key:
I already had our necessary camping items - sleeping bags for each family member, blow up mattresses and blower with extra batteries, cook stove and small propane, lantern, flashlights, tent, & lighter , camp plates and silverware and cooking utensils with small soap detergent, a large aluminum bowl for washing dishes and such- all packed up in 2 large bins where they live- in the garage.
We added a couple of folding chairs and a case of bottled water
 (remember, all this + the family has to actually fit on our little flats boat)!

I packed kitchen items into a plastic bin:
1 cast iron skillet, salt & pepper (I keep a baggy of extras from fast food in the drawer)
1 small pot & can opener - plastic cups - cook spray
For the cooler- I threw together raw baby carrots, small dressing container for dipping

Cheese sticks in zip-lock baggie, a roasted chicken from Publix, eggs, bacon, sandwich meat, dip for chips, and a bag of cooked sliced fajita steak, butter (we like butter).
I grabbed potatoes and washed them and wrapped them in tin foil for the fire- a bag of chips, some tortillas

  Tip- tortillas are easier than making sandwiches- throw cooked meat and cheese in and maybe some veggies or lettuce - roll it up- and enjoy!

 I didn’t forget the smores-

 Tip- I keep chocolate covered graham crackers on hand - no need to buy extra chocolate bars- just add roasted marshmallows!

Bug spray and sunscreen were already in my beach bag along with a couple of towels.
I added a couple of washcloths and. . . .

We were back to the marina and loading the boat in just over an hour. By 5:30 pm we were zipping over to our own little private island.

You don’t want to try to pull this off if you don’t camp much.

If you are a novice camping family - I suggest that you take your time and plan it out. Careful planning makes everything go smoothly! If I hadn’t already been “camping organized” - we could NOT have done this! These tips all apply - even if you aren't a nut like me.

By the time we got back to the island the sun was definitely starting to sink!

You know, my husband HAD to be just thrilled at this point - he is furiously unloading the boat and working to set up camp before darkness really sets in . . . And I’m busy snapping pictures to share the moment with You! J

VIP Tip- KNOW your tent! Get familiar with it before trying to set it up “under the gun” or even in the dark (we’ve done that too)!

We set up lanterns so that when we lost the light we wouldn’t have to scramble around.
Then, we carefully laid out the tent poles and got it put up.

Hubs got to pulling out the cook stove -
Keeping kids belly’s full is actually #1 Tip for Happy Family Adventurez!

The boys’ job was to gather more fire wood- hubs brought one box of scrap wood from the house. I began blowing up the mattresses and setting up “house/camp”.

We didn’t have to cook a big dinner - we had roasted chicken and raw veggies,
It was time to relax and enjoy our little impromptu adventure.

You just can’t beat the view we had upon waking.
I used to fish from this old train trellis with my daddy when I was a child.

 I love sharing these memories and making our own on our family AdventurezInChildRearing!

Hopefully they will cherish their memories like I do and will carry on the family tradition of seeking adventure in the great outdoors.

 You really can get out and explore God’s creation with the kids in tow!

*We had a fabulous experience in nature and came upon dolphin, and a baby great horned owl-
I'm planning to make up a couple of unit studies for our homeschool to go along with our observations and I'll definately post them here for you to print out!

*I've been nominated on Parents (dot) com for "Best Family Travel" blog- I surely would
appreciate your votes if you have just a minute:


Tawanna said...

Love this Kelli! Thanks for stopping by Mom's Guide to Travel. I seriously enjoy the spur of the moment trips that work out in the end. It definitely takes a veteran to be able to whip it together and not forget anything. You made it work and that's a lot like me so we are kindred spirits in that respect.
See ya around.

Kelli @ Life in a Barn said...

I think you and my Dad would get along famously. He loves last minute trips. I do too, but have a husband that is a thinker. He needs time to mull things over. Which works great for us because him thinking over some of my hair brained schemes keeps me out of trouble sometimes.

MJ said...

First congrats on your nomination!! Second, I just LOVE your spontaneity! But I know you were wondering about mosquitos and ponds, what about mosquitos at night on little islands? I had heard a rumor that mosquitos don't like it near the ocean, is that true? Regardless you are one brave and tough mama for camping in this state in the summer!!

We plan on zipping around some islands this weekend with some friends that live over in New Port Richey. Thanks for helping me get excited about it!!
xx oo

Kelli- AdventurezInChild'Rearing said...

MJ- The sea breeze definately can help- but it isn't full proof! We did this trip right before the weather turned #super hot - so it was just perfect. I have camped in August and September though- last year in St. Augustine and at the Suwannee River

LeAnn said...

I am always telling friends and family to be sure and enjoy the moments and I see that you do that. What a fun adventure and your boys will remember it for life.
I loved the pictures and the details of preparing and going back to the island.
Love this post!
Check out my blog sometime @Living Waters by LeAnn

Sparklee said...

How COOL! My kids would love to do something like this! We've been reading The Swiss Family Robinson and now they are obsessed with living on an island!

Good for you, for making the most of the moment. I bet your kids will never forget that spontaneous camping trip!