Camping Part 1 – My Top 5 benefits of camping as a family

Camping is a great Australian past time, and has been for years.  Some of my greatest childhood memories are that of camping with family and friends.  These days as a family we camp in a Caravan (Jayco Expanda) and love it, however it wasn’t always this way.  As a child we camped in heavy canvas tents, had bush toilets (a hole in the ground, with a nice seat on top and a canvas room erected around for some privacy) and a bush shower (the solar kind that hung from a tree and would only give you a couple on minutes of water) and there was of course no power.  I could still easily camp like that and I have, but these days we usually put down our roots at a caravan park, with amenities such as toilet blocks and kiosks.

After our recent three-week camping trip down the coast, I’ve been thinking about the benefits of camping with children and how Phoebe has changed in our short time away.  I could probably prattle on all day, but instead I jotted down the things that sprung to mind straight away and thought I may share them with you.  Obviously, this is completely my opinion, but I would love to hear what you think too.

_DSC0261

1. Camping is inclusive – these days camping can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you want or your family can afford.  There is so much choice around.  You can camp by a river, in a National Park for instance for free.  Or you can camp at a caravan park where there is still an abundance of choice, from unpowered and powered sites as well as some pretty spectacular cabins.  You can choose to eat our regularly or cook your own to save on costs too.  Tents, camper trailers, caravans, we all start somewhere.

2. Community – when you camp, there is a difference sense of community and a different set of rules too.  As soon as your new home is erected, you’ll find yourself talking to strangers and your kids making friends with the neighbours.  Rarely do you worry about locking things up, it’s an unwritten rule that you don’t touch anyones camping equipment.  If a gale starts a blowing, everyone seems to whip into a frenzy helping each other peg down gazebos and batten down the hatches.  There is a definite feeling of generosity, and community when camping that seems to have disappeared somewhat in our local streets.

3. Independence – even at the age of four, Phoebe who is quite independent anyway became even more so on our latest trip.  She would be off for hours playing with her new friends, organise her own snacks and drinks (she would ask first of course), assist with cooking and preparing dinner, make her own bed each morning, choose her clothes for the day based on the weather and put her washing away.  We promote it while we are away and then build on it once we are home.

4. Fun, fun, fun – it’s amazing how kids when given the opportunity can make their own fun without the needs of technology and toys.  Cubby house making, games, make-believe, riding bikes, exploring and taking walks, can open up a different world to our children….one that we knew well as we were growing up but sadly many don’t these days.

5. Family time and relaxation – there is nothing better than spending time together as a family.  Camping is awesome for this!  Sitting down at the dinner table each night eating together (which is a rarity in some homes), singing songs around a camp fire and telling stories.  Taking day trips and bike rides together, exploring unknown places, and sharing knowledge with your children.  Your children see you in a different light and you will see them differently too.

So these are my Top 5, I could easily add more.  What would you add from your experiences?  Do you camp?

Bel x

The time has come!

The time has come my dear friends and readers, to relocate to the new home for A Mums Reality.  Life at no.2 is now officially up and running, so come and join me over at my new home

http://lifeatno2.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/welcome-to-my-new-home/

make sure you put the new address into your bookmarks, or your Google Reader, or whatever you use to stay up to date!

Can’t wait to see you ALL over at my new home.

Bel x

3/52

A portrait of my child/children once a week for 52 weeks.

20130120-_DSC0079

You’re an outdoors girl at heart.  Rain, hail and shine, you love to escape into our backyard and make your own fun.  Yes you have toys, but I often find you making elaborate soups and potions, or sneaking a little rest in the hammock.

Make sure you pop on over and visit some others who are participating in the project, there are loads to choose from.  I am making an effort to comment on the first ten each week and any others that take my fancy.

Che and Fidel

Bel x

BIG NEWS!!!

As of today, things are starting to change around here…….A Mums Reality will soon be moving to a shiny new home called Life at no.2

With this big decision comes big change, and I don’t want to loose any of you along the way.  In most cases, it will just be a name change, but in some instances, it may also involve an address change.  Of course all the changes will be available on the new blog which I will share with you really soon, but as of today, my other social media spaces have changed.

  • If you follow me on Instagram, which is one of my favourite places to hang out, you can find me searching lifeatno2  Please note that my account is set to private and if you don’t have a profile picture or a decent description which tells me who you are or where you write, I may not add you.
  • Over on Pinterest everything is the same, just a slight address change.  Find me here!
  • The blog’s Facebook page has stayed at the same address for now, and there is just a name change.  Make sure you keep updated here as I will eventually create a whole new page with a new address to reflect my new bloggy home.
  • And over on Twitter there is a name and address change but everything else remains the same.

Thank you for your support while these changes take place.  Where possible I have tried to limit the impact to my readers and friends out there.  I value you all and appreciate you visiting here and my other social media spaces, so make sure you stay tuned and that you move with me!  I can’t wait to show you all my new space in the next few days and continue my writing journey.

Bel x

 

Party time, a Christmas Theme

A Christmas Eve party post, yes it’s late, but that’s what happens when you head off camping on Boxing Day and don’t return for nearly three weeks.  Christmas Eve is Hubby’s birthday, we never plan a party but it always seems to happen.  It used to be a VERY late one, with lots of drinking and no kids present at all, but how times change!  Most of the crowd leave by 9pm, to set out food for Santa and his Reindeer and tuck the littlies into bed.

This year I decided to make the party about the kids too, and keep them occupied a little.  I originally saw the amazing idea of a Reindeer Food Buffet over at Enjoying the Small Things which is one of my favorite places to visit (if you haven’t already paid her a visit, then you must, like now!).  Kelle has held her North Pole party the last two years and simply put is nothing short of amazing and magical!  Mine was unfortunately nothing like hers, but I had a crack and the kids loved every minute (even the big ones).

Before making anything, there needed to be some snacks, of the naughty kind of course!  A few things were of inspired by Pinterest, including choc-dipped candy canes, the teddy bear sleighs, as well as glasses of chocolate milk to wash everything down.

_DSC0149-2

_DSC0150-2

_DSC0152-2

And then there was the Reindeer Food Buffet itself.  Complete with jars to take home and scatter their personally made reindeer food on the front lawn.  Make sure you head over to here, to get Kelle’s labels, each explaining the ingredients and what they are for.  I set up the buffet using disposable tin-trays that housed all of the ingredients and then printed my own labels based on Kelle’s.  I had a couple of adults helping the younger kids while I took some photos.  Kids also took home a lolly bag of reindeer noses (I’m sure lots of you saw them on Pinterest over the festive season!).  Next year I’m sure they’ll all be fine doing it themselves (oh my god, did I just say next year?).

_DSC0183-2

_DSC0156-2

_DSC0157-2

_DSC0175-2

Although there was a bit of preparation involved, everything ran smoothly.  The kids loved the buffet and many of the adults were quite impressed and enjoyed watching the kids too.  Hubby loved the fact that his birthday wasn’t just about him, but about the upcoming arrival of Santa.

Bel x

2/52

 

124

Stealing a moment, just the two of us on the last week of our camping holiday.  You are only four, but sometimes everyone, even myself forgets that you still have so much growing to do.  This photo reminds me of how small you are in this big world of ours, how far you have come and how far I know you can go. (Taken with my iphone, as was last weeks)

Think I may stick with black and white images for this project, but I will see where the wind takes me I guess.  Over 300 people are joining in, make sure you pop over and visit some.  I’m going to try and visit the first ten every week, not only is it a great way to see the beautiful images being created, but often you can find some great new reads out there in blog land.

Che and Fidel

Bel x

Self Portrait Maternity – 31 weeks

Today we ended our camping trip, packed up the caravan and headed home after two and a half relaxing weeks! I almost forgot today’s post but remember while sitting here waiting to see my Doctor for my check up (my appointment was at 5pm and it is now 8pm and I’m still waiting). So I ducked off to the loo and used the mirror to take today’s selfie, very classy indeed!

20130111-195857.jpg
I’m still so very relaxed after our time away, relaxing has meant my pelvis feels pretty good and my ankles haven’t been swelling that much, which is great considering the hot weather!

Bubba V continues to sit mostly on my right side, making sitting sometimes a little uncomfortable. I’m still loving all the movements and watching them but have noticed the nightly ones have changed times. I used to get movement around 9:30pm and then again at 11:30pm and 2:30 but now I get a big dies around 10:30. I wonder if these will end up being feed times, which I’d what happened with Phoebe?

20130111-200243.jpg
Names may have been sorted and we are talking more about the details of Bubba V’s arrival, like where will Phoebe go, will we travel at Easter like we normally do and the nursery preparation.

This week has slid by casually, my health has been good (apart from a migraine over the stinking hot days) and the weather has been much kinder. I’m daydreaming more and thinking less, which makes relaxing all the more easier.

Bel x

Life’s not just a beach

Unfortunately life is not always a beach, yep, you read it here! After nearly three weeks of camping, the reality of this begins to set in. Life isn’t all beaches, warm summers days, thongs and lounging around in bathers. Nor is it endless late dinners and bed times or lazy sleep-ins.

20130108-173332.jpg
My biggest focus when we get home is our night time routine, which has been seriously lacking for months now. A combination of Hubby working late, even later dinners and bedtimes, as well as daylight savings and warm nights, has meant our night time routine was long ago thrown out the window.

With Bubba V due to arrive in a couple of months and Phoebe to start four year old kinder in a few weeks, I want to get us back into some sort of routine and have it down pat, stat!

I want to cook more dinners or at the very least get the preparation done so that our dinners can be at a reasonable time (let’s see if Hubby will let go of this a little). I want to have bags packed, clothes out and lunches made for the next day, a flexible dinner time, bath time as well as a set bed time for Phoebe.

I’m not sure if I’m setting the bar too high or not? Hubby seems to be on board, but I know I’m going to have to put the pressure on sometimes.

So what I want to know is, do you have a night time routine? What are the main things you concentrate on and what would be your tips?

Bel

1/52 Photo a week

A portrait a week of my child and eventually children each Sunday, what a beautiful keepsake. Joining in and linking up with the beautiful blog of Jodi.Jodi

20130106-194056.jpg
Watching Phoebe play with friends. I love doing this from a distance, listening to her wonderfully made up games and imagination.

Bel x

Self Portrait Maternity – 30 weeks

30 weeks! The count down is on! Today I’m sitting outside our caravan on a 40 degree day, today I finally know what all those women meant when they said they struggled over summer being pregnant. Today there is no relief, the sun is beating down hot and we have a big northerly gusts bringing more hot air. I’m a tad grumpy, I have a headache and to move is such a bloody effort.

Move I will for a few things only, drinks (although hubby has been awesome and will bring them to me. To walk to the toilet block, which thankfully is across the road but still a huge effort on a day like today (and believe me, there are lots of trips due to the amount of liquid I’m consuming!). I just also came back from the beach which was ah-mazing, but walking back up the dunes with my pelvis was a task! Luckily we have a portable shower hooked up to the hose that we run instead of going to the beach, this has seriously been my saving grace!

20130104-110959.jpg
I’m loving spending my days in all my dresses from Bali that Hubby’s sister bought for me and my jeans west shorts. Summery drinks like lemon lime bitters, agrum blood orange and of course orange crush cordial. I’ve demolished a block of top deck chocolate in two days, which I will need to replace sneakily too!

20130104-111818.jpg
I’ve been the most relaxed I have been in ages. Although I’ve been going to bed late, I’m sleeping well and almost through the night. I’ve read a book and onto my second and take every chance to put my feet up. I’ve also been having a nap most afternoons with Phoebe which I love!

Names are being thrown around, most of mine are rejected and laughed at but I think we are making progress. When we get home, I will begin setting up Bubba V’s room, how exciting!

Bel x