Back in the Swing of things

Well, I’m back from a much needed vacation with my husband. My in-laws watched the kids (and 3 dogs!) so that my husband and I could escape the literal chaos that pervades our house on a daily basis. Soooo thankful for them!

We went to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and spent the last week camping and looking for animals. We were lucky enough to see 7 different wolves, which can be quite difficult. One was actually right on the road and it was within a few feet of our car. Amazing!

Here are few pics from the adventure!

Here are a few ways I prepped for the trip:

-We were going to be camping for multiple nights and wanted to make cooking dinner as easy as possible. So I threw together a few easy meals the night before we left and put them into air tight sealed bags. I froze them overnight and then we put them in the cooler.

It doesn’t look that appetizing when they are smashed into the bags, but we had mac & cheese, spaghetti & meatballs, and Shepard’s Pie. I used the Food Saver food sealer and I Love.This.Gadget.

I could do a whole post on this thing, but I’ll stick to why it’s great for preparing for a camping trip:

1) It sucks all of the air out so that the food lasts longer and I don’t have to be so worried about it in a cooler full of ice.

2) It is also waterproof so when the ice melts, the water isn’t seeping into our food. We have had way too many experiences of soggy sandwiches and water logged snacks to make the mistake of using regular bags or plastic containers again!

3) One of my favorite features of the bags is that you can boil them! That means we cooked dinner each night by placing one of the bags in boiling water. When the food was heated, we just opened and served. No cleanup at all. Awesome!

Back to camping preparations!

-We had a list of things to take and we started the list about 3 weeks before we left. That gave us plenty of time to think of random things we would otherwise forget. Then 2 days before the trip, we started packing. Having a well thought out list helps sooo much!

-We had several medium to large plastic bins to store all of our stuff, one for snacks, one for all other food and dishes, one for general camping supplies. By having a specific bin for each type of item, it made organizing easier throughout the whole trip.

-My in-laws were watching the kids, so we made sure to check in a couple times each day. We also let them know what campground and camp site # we were staying in. It’s always important to let at least someone know exactly where you will be when you’re traveling.

Those are just a couple things we did to prepare and it made the trip go so smoothly!

Now it’s back to the daily grind.

My day job has been extremely hectic since we’ve been back (with no signs of slowing!) and it’s taking me longer than usual to get back to square one with my unpacking. I’ve gotten the suitcase empty and put away, laundry done and pictures downloaded. But there are still 3 sleeping bags in the mudroom and some other stragglers that are still out and about. There is so much gear that can go along with camping and we want to clean everything completely before we put it away. I’m trying to keep my own tips in mind from my ‘After Vacation’ post, which you can read here.

However, I’m also trying to get the house back in shape. My new Cleaning Schedule is really helpful and I think I’ll be back on track soon.

But just when you think you’ll catch up with life, there’s more. This Thursday, I am taking the kids to Phoenix to see my parents, grandma and friends. It’s little O-Man’s first trip to AZ and it should be another interesting plane flight with the two boys. Since we got back from camping, I think both my husband and I have realized how LOUD our kids are. Not in a bad way, just normal crazy baby and toddler stuff. Compare that to the soft sounds of nature from a tent though, and our house feels like a circus!

More posts coming soon!

~Erin