My Four Favourite Baby Carrier’s plus a Giveaway

My Four Favourite Baby Carrier's plus a Giveaway - Baby wearing is amazing! Having the best baby sling or baby carrier is important. Here are my top four favourite baby carriers plus a giveaway!

I am frequently asked what kind of carriers I like and which I recommend.   I have been thinking and working on My Four Favourite Baby Carrier’s for a year to be honest.  I want to preface this by saying that carriers are like bra’s, very personal to shop for.  Each carrier fits each woman differently, and they also fit the baby’s differently too.  I firmly believe you need to try out a lot of carriers to find the one that fits you best.

I have a pinched sciatic nerve, which gives me a lot of back trouble, I was not sure I would be able to babywear at all.  I started with some of the cheap and free ones (Infantino stretchy and soft structure, Seven Slings free pocket ones) and found even with a newborn they hurt my back and were not that comfortable.  It did not take me long to realize I needed a better carrier.  My local baby store lets you try out carriers (for free!) for a few days and I found it really helpful.  I tried out four carriers before I found one that didn’t hurt my back.  I found that the carriers with the crossed straps in the back were the easiest on my back.

Are you looking for the best baby sling?  There are tons of amazing ones out there, but I am going to introduce you to My Four Favourite Baby Carrier’s plus a Giveaway at the bottom of the post so stick around!

My Four Favourite Baby Carrier's plus a Giveaway - Baby wearing is amazing! Having the best baby sling or baby carrier is important. Here are my top four favourite baby carriers plus a giveaway!

Please ensure you are practicing safe baby wearing, here is a great site to remind you of some important safety rules while baby wearing.

My Four Favourite Baby Carriers

Wrapsody Water WrapWrapsody Water Wrap

Honestly, I cannot stress my love of this wrap enough.  I use it so much and for so many things!  Bee was not very tolerant of being on her own for long, even while I showered.  I heard of a wrap I could wear in the shower so she could shower with me.  I literally went out the next day to buy it.  This was a life changer!  I could have nice long showers with a baby all happy and close on me and shower every day.

I wear this wrap a lot in the water while camping.  It is REALLY hot in a tent and can be near impossible for baby to sleep.  I put baby in the carrier, put a hat on their head to protect and shade from the sun then go to the beach and hang out in the water for an hour so they can sleep in cool comfort.  It works amazing!  On vacation this summer this was Po’s main way of napping during the day, my sister would watch Bee playing in the sand and I chatted with friends and enjoyed the water.

I also used it a lot as a newborn stretchy wrap (like a Moby, Baby K’tan, or Maman Kangaroo).  I started wearing Po when he was a few days old in my Wrapsody.  It is super comfortable and worked so well for him to be snuggled up against me.

Hopefully I have convinced you of how awesome this wrap is!  You can use it as a newborn stretchy wrap, lightweight wrap easily stashed in your diaper bag, and for in the water for showering or hanging out at the beach.

Beco SoleilBeco Soleil

This is my favourite soft-structured carrier.  I prefer to wear it with the straps crossed, but I can wear it regular in the front or as a back carry too.

Po napped in here in a front carry for the first 6 months of his life while I worked.  It was super comfy for me and a lot cooler than a stretchy wrap for him (he was a hot baby) and gave me lots of room to get my arms around him to type.

I also use this while running errands as it is super easy to put on and put him in, I also used it for Salsa Babies (baby wearing Latin dancing), while cooking/baking, going for walks, watching Bee at the park, pretty much anywhere.

When Bee got older I loved having her in a back carry.  I had SPD while I was pregnant so I couldn’t carry Bee without having excruciating pain in my pelvis.   Not all stores have carts kids can ride in and using a stroller wasn’t always an option so a carrier worked great.  She was also happy being up high and seeing everything.  It was also much safer in parking lots, I could not chase after a toddler, she was a lot faster than I was and I was worried about her safety so being in a carrier made me more comfortable and her out of harms way.

Toddler TulaToddler Tula

When I had Po my hubby got me a Toddler Tula!  I was so excited!  I could tandem wear them both, which I do not do often as they are heavy.  I found the Beco Soleil was a little small on Bee at this stage so this was much comfier on both of us.

My sister tends to wear Bee in the Tula more than I do as when we go somewhere I wear Po while she wears Bee.  It makes going to festivals and events so much more convenient.  Although she can walk, sometimes she is tired and with large crowds we prefer to baby wear them both and zip through places, not to mention we don’t have to worry about escalators, elevators, rocky slopes, or tight quarters.

Want to find an awesome #babycarrier, love #babywearing, here are my top four plus a #giveaway Click To Tweet

 

Tula carrierTula

My final favourite carrier is the Standard Tula.  I didn’t get to wear this for long.  I had an amazing adventure with my son’s birth group in which we shared a Tula and it got shipped across Canada so everyone had a chance to wear their December 2014 baby in it.  You can check out my story on it here.  This is one of the most well-known brands and most popular so our group went with this Tula as the baby carrier, I only had it for two weeks (insert crying here) but I fell in love with the Tula and seriously debated getting a new pretty Tula in a fun print to enjoy with my son too.  It is similar to other soft-structure carriers too but super fun!

Have you considered baby-wearing? Here is a great site to check out on WHY you should babywear and how awesome it is.

Giveaway Time

I am super excited to announce I am doing a giveaway for a $50 USD gift card.  You can enter in the giveaway below, may the odds be ever in your favour!  We will be contacting the winner after the contest is over.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I love this baby wearing quote on Pinterest, “Food Spoils. Babies don’t. Hold her. Wear her. Breathe her in. Keep her close.  It goes too fast.”  You can never spoil a baby by loving and baby wearing them!

 

This giveaway is a partnership with Nakturnal, with a prize of a gift certificate to Diapers(dot)com

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My Four Favourite Baby Carrier's plus a Giveaway - Baby wearing is amazing! Having the best baby sling or baby carrier is important. Here are my top four favourite baby carriers plus a giveaway!

Camping Menu

EASY CAMPING MENU IDEAS - In need of an easy camping menu to make the most of your time outdoors? Tasty, easy and sure to get everyone eating? Check out these stand-byes.

Camping is so much fun but can be exhausting.  You want an easy camping menu that the kids will eat, minimal time to prepare, and not a lot of cooler space being used since it is at a premium while camping. It is the best time for good food, but with minimal amounts of effort!

These are my go-to meals to have on our camping menu that my kids actually eat.  I can prepare stuff  before we leave and easily grab extras in town to supplement as the cooler gets emptier so I can fill it again.  Pretty much tasty, easy meals, with minimal amounts of effort so we can spend more time chilling with friends, exploring nature, playing at the beach, or enjoying a campfire.

For breakfast we enjoy eating:

Banana MuffinsChocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins - FBYogurt, cereal, instant oatmeal, fruit, overnight oats premade at home and kept in the cooler.

We make muffins at home and pre-freeze them to stay fresh and keep the cooler cool.  It is such a great and easy breakfast or snack.  A staple of mine for sure when planning our camping menu.

If we feel like making more effort, then of course we do scrambled eggs and home fries, but it depends on our effort and cooler space. We also have to be mindful of keeping little hands away from the Coleman stove.  I look forward to making this next weekend camping though for breakfast.

For lunch we throw together:

Easy Lunch Quesadillas - IGUsually a modge-podge of things.  I pre-cut veggies for sandwiches and to dip in hummus or another veggie dip.  Hard boiled eggs, sliced cheese, crackers/pita/tortilla/buns.   I pre-make chickpea salad and/or egg salad sandwich filling for easy sandwiches.  Or we just stick to PB & J since it is easy and the kids love it.

Salsa & chips is a favourite too.  We may even eat it with leftovers from dinner (taco salad, chili, etc.).  My kids love black beans so that’s an easy thing to throw in with the salsa to eat.

One of my good friends always pre-makes quesadillas to bring camping and my kids swarm her like flies to get bites too.  Wrap them in tin foil, then toss in a zip lock bag to keep it out of the water at the bottom of the cooler.

Looking for some #easycampingmeals check out these favs #campingfood #campfirefood Click To Tweet

For dinner we enjoy:

Dinnertime we usually have everyone contribute stuff to make joint meals easier.  These are our favourites.

Dorito SaladDorito salad, or walking tacos, or quinoa taco salad, all the same thing.  Perfect because like tacos everyone personalizes theirs so you get exactly what you want.  A great hit with the kids.

Crockpot Vegetarian Pasta SaucePasta is always super easy, especially if you throw together a salad to go on the side.  I make the pasta sauce in advance so it has some protein in it to make it more filling, but you can even just bring a jar of tomato sauce and use that.  Plain still tastes good!  Again, if pre-made I freeze it in zip lock bags to stay fresh until we eat it and also help keep the cooler cold.

We make frozen chili in advance too (again freeze in zip lock bags to stay fresh and keep the cooler cold).  We add whatever fits in the cooler and we have on hand, nacho chips, grated cheese, cut up avocados, sour cream, etc.  It is always a big hit and super filling.

Hobo Dinner IGOf course if you have a campfire you can roast veggie or meat hot dogs on it for a fun hands-on meal everyone is sure to enjoy.

If you start the campfire early enough you can always make foil dinners.   These are a favourite of ours while camping, but they take two hours to cook by the fire so make sure you start them early or plan for a late dinner.

 

Banana Boats - Try making these delicious camping desserts on the open fire, or at home for a camping feel. Easy to personalize and make vegan.Is it time for dessert yet?

If you have a campfire then you can make Banana boats for dessert!!  THE BEST CAMPING DESSERT!

 

 

EASY CAMPING MENU IDEAS - In need of an easy camping menu to make the most of your time outdoors? Tasty, easy and sure to get everyone eating? Check out these stand-byes.

What are your favourite go-to meals while camping?  Do you go for tasty or easy or both?

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EASY CAMPING MENU IDEAS - In need of an easy camping menu to make the most of your time outdoors? Tasty, easy and sure to get everyone eating? Check out these stand-byes.

Easy Lunch Quesadillas

Easy Lunch Quesadillas - I like EASY lunches my kids are guaranteed to eat.  Try out these easy lunch quesadillas your kids are sure to enjoy, plus you can make it ahead of time.

As most other moms, I like easy lunches!  But they have to be easy lunches my kids will eat, so these quesadillas are a staple in my house that I can make in advance and still be guaranteed that my kids will eat it.

Need an easy lunch?

I got the idea of these from a good friend of mine while camping, every summer she brings quesadillas as one of her camping lunches, and my kids always share them with her since they love them so much. This s a super easy lunch that you can make in advance, then wrap in foil or stick in a container for future lunches for work, school, picnics, or camping.

Try out these Quesadillas for an #easylunch the kids (and hubby) are sure to demolish! Click To Tweet

Quesadillas

Easy Lunch Quesadillas

Recipe Type: Mexican

Cuisine: Vegetarian

Author: Hil

Ingredients

  • Salsa
  • Black Beans
  • A pack of tortillas
  • Shredded cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Set your tortillas open on baking sheets.
  3. Scoop in a few spoonful’s of salsa, a handful of shredded cheese and a handful or two of black beans on one half of the tortilla.
  4. Close tortilla in half and repeat until your baking sheet is full (I tend to make two sheets full).
  5. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes, enough so the cheese melts but not so the tortilla starts to get crispy. You can even put a pot lid on top of the quesadillas to help keep them flat while cooking.
  6. Take the quesadillas out of the oven and let cool, wrap in foil or put in lunch containers for the week.

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What is one of your favourite lunches to make in advance?  Any tried and true recipes your kids are guaranteed to eat?

Easy Lunch Quesadillas - I like EASY lunches my kids are guaranteed to eat.  Try out these easy lunch quesadillas your kids are sure to enjoy, plus you can make it ahead of time.

Follow Raising Fairies and Knights’s board Vegetarian Yummys on Pinterest.

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Easy Lunch Quesadillas - I like EASY lunches my kids are guaranteed to eat.  Try out these easy lunch quesadillas your kids are sure to enjoy, plus you can make it ahead of time.

Getting your Freedom Back as a Mom

Getting Your freedom back as a mom - ig

This past week I had the amazing experience to go camping with my two wonderful children (3 and 1.5 years old), my sister, friends, and other acquaintances at an awesome festival we visit each year.  It is an amazing experience, the only place I go where I can really feel the “village” still has an effect.  Everyone helps to look after each other’s kids (even the child-less adults are moms for the week), we don’t wear shoes and get to run wild in nature hearing bands, attending workshops,  doing crafts at Munchkinland for the kids, swimming daily, and playing at the park.

I have been attending this festival every year for about eight or nine years.  I did it last year with a 2 year old and seven month old baby, and honestly it was hell.  Trying to juggle the two of them (even with help) was awful.  I was an emotional wreak and broke down more than once.  Trying to get the two of them to cooperate for naps and bedtime was just awful, after last year where it was seriously challenging and hard I knew no matter what this year could not be as bad!

This year was a JOY!  My children were amazing!  My daughter was at the age where she could be independent and play on her own while I put her brother down for a nap.  My son LOVED exploring nature and had a blast studying plants and wandering around enjoying his freedom.  They visited friends at neighbouring campsites and I didn’t even have to worry as it was only 10 feet away!

Last year I felt so tied down, I couldn’t attend any workshops, go to any of the nightlife activity since I had to be at the tent with the kids, and my emotions were so raw from trying to juggle a baby and a cranky toddler.  I was thrilled with how different this year was.  Yes they are still children and have their moments, but it was great to see everyone playing nicely (for the most part!) together, both kids had friends their age there from some of my BFF’s so we had two 3-year-olds, 2 1.5-year-olds and other kids around those ages who popped in and out regularly to play.  That combined with the five adults to look after them and back each other up was great.

13872712_10155161292169478_4642200756022411313_nAlthough I still couldn’t make it to any workshops or nightlife this year, I didn’t mind as much, I still got to leave the site with the kids and check out the vendors, and the swimming, that is what gave me my freedom back.  Moms, have you heard of a PUDDLE JUMPER??  It is a LIFESAVER!  I used to have to hold my kids in the water, neither are big enough to swim on their own, then we discovered the puddle jumper, and my life has changed forever.

 

I always loved to swim, I was a fish and loved to be underwater all the time, with kids, you can’t really do that, I was really limited since I am always with my kids, and although I still loved swimming and went in the water, I mostly stayed at waist height playing with the kids.

You give up so much as a mom, get your #freedomback! Click To Tweet

13659164_10155161293509478_3227132755319959401_nFast forward back to the camping festival, with both kids in puddle jumpers, I got to SWIM!!  We swam out to the floating dock every day, my kids love to swim and I was thrilled they would go on an adventure with me to the floating dock.  In case you are panicking, there was at least one adult per kid and we were always close to the kids swimming, even in their pudde jumpers.  Once at the floating dock we all climbed on board, my daughter was content to sit on the dock and count for people jumping off, but my son (18 month old) LOVED to jump off the floating dock, sometimes into my arms sometimes nowhere near me.  It was amazing.  I loved to see my kids have so much fun and for me, I got a little freedom back this week.  It may not seem like much, but to someone who loves swimming (and doing anything really on yor own) once you have kids, you realize you have to give up stuff you never even considered before (like going swimming underwater with no child in your arms).  If there is a way to give you back some of your freedom easily, then go for it!

For me it was a simple puddle jumper (you can buy it at Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire, Amazon, or we got one free from our local buy nothing group) that helped me get some freedom back.  Now my kids could swim WITH me instead of on me, so we were all comfortable going deeper and could do so safely.

Maybe next year I will make it to a workshop, maybe I will get to swim to the dock alone, maybe I can hit up a concert or fire pit and dancing or other night life, for now I am content to be near my kids and satisfied they are safe and happy, but when they are ready for more independence I cannot wait to get back some of mine!

 

What is one thing you didn’t expect you would have to give up when you became a parent.  Comment below!

Please do not forget to share this post with others!

Getting Your freedom back as a mom - pt

 

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Camping Hacks

Camping Hacks - Going camping is so much fun! But challenging with young kids. Try these Camping Hacks with kids to make your life easier and camping more fun!

 

Do you like to go camping with your kids?  I sure do! Although we always have a blast, I have picked up some tricks over the years to make our trip more enjoyable and comfortable. Here are some of my favourite hacks while camping with my kids.

Pillow case 1

This may seem like an odd hack, but after a week camping it was useful to me and other campers thought it was neat so I thought I would share it.  Instead of changing your pillow case before camping, bring the clean pillow case in your luggage, change it after your tent is set up.  I found my pillows got super dirty in the car and sitting on the ground or picnic table during unloading.  It is much better to change it once in the tent for a clean pillow.  Then use the dirty case as a laundry bag, put all your dirty clothes in there during the trip so it is easy to cart home and take straight to the washing machine to be cleaned.

Pump soap & solar shower

This was my sister’s genious idea, combined with my soap.  Bring a solar shower with you.  It is only like $10-15 at Wal-Mart, a great investment if you camp a lot and also good for showers while camping.  Fill it with water and hang it from a tree, put some soap near by, I just brought regular pump soap, it is easier than a bar and can sit at the bottom of the tree on the ground.  After using the outhouse or port-a-potty or bush you can easily wash your hands afterwards!  My three-year-old could manage to wash her own hands, which made our life much easier. Great to wash your hands after playing in the dirt, questionable beach water, and before meals.  A simple cleanliness station, which makes you feel MUCH better camping.

Potty

My daughter can go to the toilet herself at home, but at three I don’t want her traipsing to the port-a-potty on her own and they are pretty nasty.  We bring her potty with us, I take out the center (for catching the poop and pee) and she can easily bush pee on her potty independently without needing us to run her to the camp bathrooms.  With the hand washing station above she can wash her hands afterwards on her own too.  Being able to have your child go to the bathroom independently is a great blessing while camping as it saves you time and effort.  She knew when she had to go poop to tell us and we would take her to the port-a-potty, no one wants to clean that up out of the grass!

Wagon 1

This one is depending on the ages of your kids.  We have a pop-up wagon that is AMAZING.  It can be used to help cart all your camping gear to your tent, store stuff at the site, help you transport kids around the site easily, hold all your beach toys, towels, water bottles etc. while going to the beach, and if you have to walk to your car help transport groceries from your car and/or kids to the car for errands into town.

Thermal BagI brought an extra thermal bag (I LOVE my Thirty-One thermals!) on the way up for drinks and veggies that didn’t fit in the cooler.  Once they did I used the bag for ice runs to keep the ice solid longer.  It worked great!  Driving to town and back plus walking to and from the parking lot meant at least 10-20 minutes that the ice was out of the freezer before going in the cooler.  A thermal bag to transport makes a difference and it is cold carrying it against your body so some extra protection between you and the ice feels better too.

Sarong fence

This one is great for close camping quarters and festivals.  Use those clothes lines like a fence. Bring string/rope to tie up around the perimeter of your camping area (also a great way to mark off your area so no one comes camping in it during festivals) then bring old curtains, sheets, sarongs, and clothes pins.  Pin them up on the clothes lines around the camp, it’s pretty, and you get more privacy!

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Have outside and inside bags

In a week camping we did not let one single mosquito into our ten (and let me assure you there were tons!).  I have a three and one and a half year old so that is saying something.  Trips into the tent are kept to a minimum and usually reserved for nap times and bed time.  I have a bin outside the tent with stuff we need regular access to like sunscreen, bug repellent, toothbrushes, hats, bathing suits, and flashlights.  Stuff is easier to access outside and you keep the bugs out of your tent with minimal trips.

 

Solar Lights

These are awesome and cheap.  You can take ones from your yard, or pick some up at Dollarama before you go.  Stick them out in the sun during the day to charge, then at night you can put them around your seating area and/or the edges of your tent so you can see where the tripping spots are.  It is great for checking on sleeping kids too, enough light to see them and like a nightlight, without having to flash your flashlight at them and wake them up.

 

Don’t forget to bring a flashlight too! Check out these cool flashlights, every camper needs a good flashlight.

 

Camping Hacks - Going camping is so much fun! But challenging with young kids. Try these Camping Hacks with kids to make your life easier and camping more fun!

What are your camping hacks?  What makes your life easier while camping?

Camping with little ones? Try these hacks to make camping easier. Click To Tweet




Camping Hacks - Going camping is so much fun! But challenging with young kids. Try these Camping Hacks with kids to make your life easier and camping more fun!

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Campfire Craft

Campfire Craft - Camping is so much fun! Why not recreate the magic of a campfire with this adorable little campfire craft. Great for toddlers.

We just love camping!  I am always looking for camping related crafts to do with Bee and while trying to brainstorm I thought of this adorable little campfire craft.

I love doing cute little crafts with my toddler.  Granted she can’t do a lot and I end up doing the bulk of it, but we still enjoy ourselves and she works on different important skills while we do it.  Plus we get a little quality time together.

As a former Spark leader (youngest branch of Girl Guides, the five and six-year-olds) I know that fun foam can be used to make pretty much any craft, so I hit up Dollarama to grab some fun foam in multi-colours and popsicle sticks.

 

I grabbed a green piece of foam to represent grass, but you could use any colour, blue for sky, brown for the dirt, white, whatever.  I cut out some flames in yellow and red.

Next I had Bee practice her gluing skills by using a paint brush to paint the glue on, then we glued the popsicle sticks on.  After that we glued the flames on, and voila!  a perfect age appropriate camping craft!  Now, after she went down for her nap I used a glue gun to re-glue the pieces so it was more durable.

Fun foam makes awesome crafts! Try out this cute little fun foam and popsicle stick campfire… Click To Tweet

You could make little people to sit around the campfire, logs, marshmallow or hot dogs roasting on sticks, whatever! This was all the time I got for crafts today so this was the best I could do.

Campfire Craft - Camping is so much fun! Why not recreate the magic of a campfire with this adorable little campfire craft. Great for toddlers.

What is your favourite camping-related craft?  Please comment below and don’t forget to share this craft so other’s can try it out too.

 

Five Friday Favourites #4 – Travelling

Countries & Vacations

I am participating in a challenge this month called September Sapphire Even Day Blog Challenge.  We are given topics to blog about and I want to participate to try and challenge myself to become a better blogger, and also write about more diverse topics.  This week the topic is expedition, writing about fabulous places we have travelled to, either locally or far away.

Travelling is one of my passions.  I LOVE travelling.  I have had the travelling bug since I was young and start to get itchy to travel somewhere at least once a year.  Unfortunately I have been pregnant twice in the past three years and with a baby and toddler travelling just is not a priority or as practical.  I miss it though and long for the days when I can start back up and go on lots of adventures with my little family.

Here are my Five Friday Favourite places to travel/ trips that I have been on:

1. Scotland

DSC03909

On the ferry, sad to be leaving Arran

Fitting since this month is also my anniversary with Thor, we went to Scotland on our honeymoon.  I have always wanted to go to Scotland.  I LOVE everything Scottish, the accents, the fudge, scotch, Jamie Fraser, my Scottish heritage (however far back it may be), Arron, Highland Cows, standing stones, castle ruins, The Outlander series (which inspired a lot of stops on our honeymoon), there are just so many things I love about Scotland.  If I had to jump on a plane tomorrow, I would go to Scotland.

2.  Mexico 

IMG_9024

Kayaking down a waterfall backwards

I really like Mexico.  I have been there three times and if I wanted to go someplace hot, this would be my first destination to consider.  I did the all-inclusive beach vacation trip with my family in high school and much prefer the last trip there with my dad to kayak.  We went on an amazing trip kayaking rivers and waterfalls and it was a fabulous way to really experience the culture and immerse yourself in it.  I also have always liked Mexican food, who wouldn’t?!?

3.  Malawi (Africa)

June 18th (10)

One of the orphans, Deborah, who truly stole my heart

This trip is so hard to describe.   It really was a trip of self-discovery.  My sister had started a charity when she was a teenager fundraising for various purposes in Malawi, Africa.  I got the chance to go with her on her fifth trip there to check on some of their projects and help out a bit.  I went with her to a small village in Malawi where we lived with nuns and taught school at their Kindergarten class for orphans (children aged 3-8 years old). 

Kan (1)

My sister and I getting ready for a hike to visit a remote school not accessible by roads.

I plan to do a post about my trip eventually,  it was a fantastic experience and I would love to share it .  You have no idea what life is like there and what people live like until you see it first hand.  Travelling on weekends to visit various projects taught me a lot about their culture.  We both grew so attached to the students and found it had leaving them.

4.  Hawaii

girls @ waimei canyon

My mum, me & sister at Waimei Canyon

This was a fabulous trip I went on with my family in my last year of high school.  Hawaii is such an amazing place to go.  The culture is so rich and there is so much to see and do.  My favourite island was Kawaii, it was so beautiful.  I may be biased though because I got a chance to see the famous waterfall from Jurassic Park and the waterfall at Hanalei where Puff the Magic Dragon is said to live.  Even a serious injury at the end of trip requiring me to travel home in a wheelchair did not mar my enjoyment of Hawaii!

5. Florida 

Disney World first time the girls

My first trip to Disney World with my family, cousins, and Granny

I am a Disney girl at heart!  I could never go to Disney World enough.  I went a few times with my family throughout my childhood and I am eagerly awaiting the chance to go again and introduce my kids to the fantastic world of Disney.  Plus I have not had a chance to go to Animal Kingdom yet or the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (yes I know it is not Disney, but I am also a HP fanatic as well and have been dying to go since they announced they were planning to build the park almost a decade ago).

Five Friday Favourites 1

If you could jump on a plane tomorrow where would you visit?  What are your top five vacation spots/trips you have been on?

Indoor Campfire

Indoor Campfire - Ever wanted to roast s'mores but don't have a fire pit? Try this easy Indoor Campfire, perfect for sleepovers, Girl Guides, Scouts, Date Nights, and more!

Roasting marshmallows is so much fun!  A standard of childhood, camping, girl guides and lots more.  But not everyone has access to a traditional campfire to roast their marshmallows and can miss out on this amazing tradition.  I was a Spark leader for 13 years before I took a break when my kids were born and this was a fantastic way to have a “campfire” at sleepovers where we could roast marshmallows, make s’mores, and sing songs, still getting a campfire feel.  The girls all loved it and proudly told their parents the next morning they had a real campfire inside, to which I had to explain to the parents with a confused look on their face what we actually did.

DSC_0069The secret, tea lights!  It is a great safe way to have a campfire inside.  Of course it is still fire, so please take safety precautions.  We always have a cup or bucket of water around just in case and ensure we have extra hair ties to tie back all long hair. 

Materials needed:

  • baking sheet covered in tin foil
  • glass or bucket of water
  • a bunch of tea lights
  • skewers (like for kabobs)
  • lighter/matches
  • marshmallows (small or regular size)
  • digestive cookies with chocolate on one side (melts easier than a bar with graham crackers and is easier to manage for little hands)

Method:

  • Light tea lights and place them on baking sheet (wax will spill so this protects your floors).
  • Place marshmallows on skewers and hold above flame (careful not to get wax on them) rotating to cook evenly and not let it burn.  This will take a long time so be patient (or help kids be patient). 
  • Once marshmallow is cooked to your satisfaction (or you just want to eat it) put it between the digestive cookies and hopefully the chocolate will melt if your marshmallow was cooked enough. 
  • Sing some campfire songs while you roast marshmallows and enjoy your treat.

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This is a great activity to do at sleepovers or Girl Guide & Scout camp.  Enjoy and take lots of pictures!

Indoor Campfire - Ever wanted to roast s'mores but don't have a fire pit? Try this easy Indoor Campfire, perfect for sleepovers, Girl Guides, Scouts, Date Nights, and more!

Do you have any favourite treats for summer time?

Thanks for reading and please share with anyone you think would like to know about bringing a campfire feel inside to roast s’mores.

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Indoor Campfire - Ever wanted to roast s'mores but don't have a fire pit? Try this easy Indoor Campfire, perfect for sleepovers, Girl Guides, Scouts, Date Nights, and more!

Banana Boats

Banana Boats - Try making these delicious camping desserts on the open fire, or at home for a camping feel.  Easy to personalize and make vegan. 

This is a dessert I associate with camping, Girl Guides, and my childhood.  It brings back fond memories of hanging out around a campfire and singing my favourite songs while enjoying a nice gooey treat.

 

This is typically wrapped in foil and cooked at the campfire (not in the fire but in the fire pit off to the side so it cooks) or in the oven too.

It is really easy to make and even your little toddler can help assemble it and feel included.

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Ingredients:

  • Banana in peel
  • Marshmallows (regular or vegan marshmallows if you are like me and do not eat gelatin), the smaller variety are the easiest but both will work.
  • Chocolate – in the form of chips, bar, etc.  We have made it with mint aero, mini peanut butter cups, regular chocolate chips or jersey milk bars.
  • Tin foil, a sharp knife, forks, tongs, oven mitts.

Making banana boats

Method:

  • Cut a strip down the banana lengthwise, not all the way through the banana, about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way through, leaving a cm or two at the top and bottom not cut.
  • Stuff the banana with chocolate and marshmallows.
  • Wrap it in tin foil.
  • Add it to the oven or campfire to melt/cook.  How long will depend on your fire, use the tongs and oven mitts to transfer it in and out of the fire pit to check on it.
  • Once cooked to your satisfaction enjoy right in the tin foil with a fork!

Try out this awesome camping dessert, make BANANA BOATS at home or on a fire! Click To Tweet

What is your favourite camping dessert to share?

 

Camping Activities

Camping Activities

Bee knows we are going camping and is excited to sleep in her sleeping bag, but does not remember camping last year or what happens when we camp.  She asks on a daily basis for her friends who are going camping with her.

I thought we could do some activities to remind her and get her excited about going camping again.

 

Campfire Handprint

Campfire Craft

Handprint campfire

 

First up we did a campfire craft.  She is fully understanding of campfires and thought it was fun making the flames.  I used regular construction paper, used brown to make the logs and had her help me glue them on.  Then mixed some yellow and red paint on a plate and had her stick her hand in and cover it in paint, then make three handprints for the flames.  It was a hit!

 

Toilet Paper Flashlight

Flashlight Craft

Flashlight toilet paper roll

 

We painted the toilet paper rolls after she finished her campfire and let them dry overnight to finish another day.  Next session we took red, yellow, and orange tissue paper scrunched it up (I taped the end to keep it together) and taped it in the toilet paper roll.  Bee loved it, but destroyed it literally five minutes later.

 

Pretend Camping Play

Playing with a tent

Pretend tent play

 

My sister lucked out and got an old sample model of a tent that they sell in stores (perfect replica of a real tent, just tiny) so we pretended camping with that.  Took some little people dolls, put them in socks as their sleeping bag and practiced getting in and out of the tent (shutting the door quickly so the bugs don’t get in) and letting her free play.

 

Pretend Campfire Play

Campfire Play

Campfire fun

 

I was so excited at a Discovery Toys party in the spring when I spotted this find.  A toy set that includes a lantern, campfire (logs and flames), s’mores kit (2 crackers, marshmallow, and chocolate) and a hot dog (or veggie dog for us vegetarians) and a stick which clicks onto the marshmallow and veggie dog to pretend roast over the fire.  Po loves eating all the pieces while we play.

It was a great oppourtunity to talk about campfire safety with Bee and what to do if her marshmallow catches fire.  Hint: it’s not screach and wave it around, that’s how you burn a fellow camper in the eye, which actually did happen to a 5-year-old Spark of mine one year at camp, she was ok, but it really hurt.

We set up a bunch of stuffed animals and dolls and had a nice campfire practicing roasting things and making s’mores.  For any vegans or vegetarian’s avoiding gelatin (like me) you can buy vegan marshmallows at most natural food stores and they are delicious.  Just be careful not to share as the other’s will eat them all and you will be left with no more marshmallows for roasting.

 

S’More Craft

S'More Craft

 

I cut out some pieces of construction paper in the shape of chocolate, marshmallow, and crackers.  I got Bee to paint the glue on the back and help me put it on some construction paper.    Then we coloured some faces on them.  She is getting to be a S’more expert.

 

Camping themed books

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Reading camping books

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We had some camping books already that I had been collecting but also grabbed a few more so we could get in the camping mood.

Campfire Craft

Taking your WEE one's camping? Try some of these activities to get them in the mood! Click To Tweet

We also skipped bath tonight to get in the camping spirit of being dirty all the time and we have been having our lunch a lot outside in the grass picnic-style.

What are your favourite camping-related activities to do with the kids before you leave?

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