Happy Camper

This past weekend we decided to plan a small weekend getaway.

We were looking for something close to home, but still something that made us feel like we had escaped reality for a little while.

Luckily the Uniontown KOA is pretty close and was the perfect fit for us.

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We rented a a cabin for the weekend that had a large bed in the main room and a bunk house off to the side with a sliding door that could be closed or kept open.

On Friday it unfortunately rained all night and we weren’t able to cook out. So we went out to eat and then stopped at a restaurant and then went to get groceries for the rest of the weekend.

Saturday morning it started of a little cloudy but turned into a beautiful day.

We started off the morning making pancakes on the fire pit, However, we just couldn’t get the logs to catch fire so we decided to move the griddle to to the grill to finish everything.

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They actually turned out really well after we got the hang of how long we had to cook them. Even Lily enjoyed her plain pancakes that were made before I added the blueberries.

One of Lily’s favorite things was the playground that was in the campground. She made several trips throughout our trip to the playground where she would spend so much time exploring everything and just enjoying the finally beautiful weather.

After paying a visit to the camp’s gift shop and purchasing a little disk of wax with wood shavings, the fire started right up.

Luckily we were able to make our dinner of veggie dogs with crescent rolls, foil pack veggies and grilled cheese for Lily right over the campfire. It was delicious and I am so happy we were able to do that.

Afterwards we made s’mores which Lily just enjoyed eating the graham crackers with chocolate.

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It was the end of a perfect day.

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The next day we woke up to a beautiful morning and ate breakfast before we left to join our mothers for a great Mother’s Day meal later in the day. 

Breakfast was made on the grill again that included oatmeal and cinnamon rolls.

We had a wonderful weekend and we can’t wait to do it again sometime soon.

How did you spend your Mother’s Day weekend? Leave your comments below.

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“Daddy, Can I Stand Near the Crocodile?”

This past Saturday the weather was so depressing. It was raining, cold for May and just a horrible day.

Luckily, we had some fun activities planned for the day.

The first stop we made was to the huge Cabella’s store in Wheeling, W.V.

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When we walked in I didn’t realize that there would be a bunch of animal dioramas and an aquarium.

Lily loved looking at the aquarium the best. She thought that the fish were swimming over to say hi to her. She loved them so much she just had to have a stuffed rainbow trout.

We were also really into all the different animal displays and wanted our picture taken near the crocodile. She was really upset that she couldn’t get closer the crocodile.

Our main goal was to get some stuff for our upcoming camping trip. We grabbed a wire cook top and a griddle we could put over the fire and a few other odds and ends.

Lily also got a Mickey Mouse fishing pole that came with some foam fish and a foam fish hook that she has been using in the house, but can also use it to fish in her Nana and Papa’s pool this summer.

We are not hunters or fishers, in fact as I have mentioned before, we are both vegetarians. But, I can still appreciate all of the great camping options that Cabella’s has to offer and the fact that they are very serious about conservation.

After a long day I think we were rather tuckered out.

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Where is some place that you have never gone before but were happy that you tried it out? Leave your comments below.

Nature Calls

Every once in awhile you just have to get away. You need a break from the day-to-day grind of mundane tasks.

Since it has been awhile since we have had a mini-vacation we decided to go camping for a weekend.

If you have read my previous post reviewing Old Millstream Campground you will know that I am a little timid when it comes to the great outdoors.

So we decided to stick with familiar territory and rent a cabin for a few days at a local campground. This way we won’t spend a lot of time driving to our destination and will be able to be close to home as well.

Since we are going to be leaving in a few weeks I have been trying to accumulate ideas and lists for what we need and things we can do while we are at the cabin.

Being that we aren’t going to be that far away, I have imposed a one backpack per person rule. (Lily will get two one with stuff she needs and the other one for fun stuff.) But, this makes me think that I am going to forget something. Luckily, there is a Walmart and grocery store close by.

I came across this really great website/blog called Beyond the Tent and they have this really great simple camping check list.

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Photo courtesy of Beyondthetent.com

Our cabin also comes with a fire ring and grill so we are trying to find some different recipes to follow  that utilize our cast iron skillet and a griddle.

I am thinking campfire griddle cakes for breakfast and some kind of veggie foil packet for dinner, but I am still open to trying some different things.

The thing about us is that both Kev and I are vegetarians (Lily isn’t) so we are looking for some recipes that are sans meat.

While I didn’t find a lot of interesting Youtube videos about specifically vegetarian camping (minus the one included below), but there were a few interesting vegan camping videos like the one below.

Do you have any tired and true camping recipes. Feel free to share them below in the comments.

Finding Fun in the Simple Things

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Having access to the Internet is both a blessing and a curse at the same time.

While you are able to find plenty of suggestions on how to make the perfect birthday party for your one year old, it can also hurt because you don’t think that you can ever measure up to what you see on the screen.

Being a parent is hard enough you don’t need this added pressure of unrealistic expectations to add to it.

It was a year ago that I read an article about how this mother wanted to have a “1970s Summer.”

This meant more time outside and allowing kids to just be kids.

Like letting children get all sticky sweet from sugar loaded Popsicles minus the organic and no sugar added variety.

Letting them stay up too late to go outside and catch lightening bugs and camp in the backyard.

We started to do this last year by enjoying smores by the fire pit and doing indoor camping and letting her eat too much ice cream.

We plan on doing this again this year.

So when I was on Pinterest, ironic, isn’t it, I found a lot of places that had lists of things to do over the summer with your children.

Here is a list that I really like from Natural Beach Living.

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What ideas do you have for spending the summer with your little Mousekatots? Leave your comments below.

Smokey the Square

If there is something that a lot of people know about me is that I am not outdoorsy.

Actually, that might be putting it lightly. I hate bugs. I am terrified of snakes and I think bears are lurking around every corner just waiting to eat me like a tasty cake.

In actually, in my deep down, I know that these things are very least likely to be a threat to me, so I am trying my best to step out of my comfort zone again and try to go my version of camping.

We recently booked a stay for a weekend at a local campground next month. We booked a cabin with a bathroom because I am still not that adventurous when it comes to camping.

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Our first attempt at indoor camping.

Last fall we had our first foray into camping when we stayed in a cabin at Old Mill Stream Campground in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

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Located right next to an adorable family amusement park, Dutch Wonderland, Old Mill Stream is a smaller campground but is big on charm.

The cabins are really clean and spacious and were a perfect option for our very excited toddler.

There was a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and dining area with a futon and lots of space.

Outside each cabin had a grill, fire ring and picnic table.

My only complaint, which is really minor, was that there wasn’t a TV in the bedroom. For a person that needs to have the TV on to sleep it was a little of an inconvenience. We were able to hook up our tablets and stream Netflix overnight, so it ended up working out alright.

However, the scenery couldn’t be beat with a sweet little creek running behind the campground, to pie deliveries by the Amish, to receiving a discount at the neighboring amusement park.

In addition to the cabins there are RV hook ups, tent camping sites and you can even spend the night in a tepee.

OldMillStream2 I would highly recommend this campsite for those both experienced in camping as well novices.

The setting is peaceful and the coziness of the campground makes you remember the simple summer pleasures.

Do you and your family go camping? If so, what do you look for in a campground? Leave your comments below.

Bringing the Outside In

In our neck of the woods we were dumped (or blessed depending on how you look at it) with a bunch of snow. (I am not a big fan of the snow and I constantly threaten to move to Florida to avoid our harsh winters.)

Since we are stuck inside, we had the opportunity to use one of our new Christmas presents: an indoor smore maker.

Thanks to my Dad who picked it out for us, we received this really cute smore maker from the company nostalgia.

The maker is composed of a metal section that has a coil that heats when you plug it in. There is a protective grate over the coil that will prevent you from getting burned on the coil directly, but the top of the grate does get hot so you will want to watch your Mousekatots around the actual maker.

Surrounding the maker is a lazy Susan that has four compartments to hold your graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows.

The kit also comes with four marshmallow roasting forks, which I wish would have been a little longer, but they still work great.

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Sorry about the grainy photos. The lighting wasn’t the greatest. You can see that we have this sitting on our large ottoman with a beach towel over it to prevent any spills. 

The smore maker really puts a nice crust on the marshmallow. However, if you are a fan of letting your marshmallow catch on fire and then blow it out, this won’t achieve that level of doneness. (That will only happen with an open flame which can be super dangerous in the house.)

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I also highly recommend that you buy the flat marshmallows that are made for smores. They fit nicely on the grahm cracker and smoosh really nice when they are toasted.

The end result is a nice and gooey smore.

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Terribly blurry photo, but you get the idea.

I would highly recommend this smore maker. It is a lot of fun for the family it really makes a nice and cozy treat for everyone to enjoy.

Do you and your family have any cozy treats that you like to make or enjoy when it is cold outside? Leave your comments below.

All opinions in this review are mine. I was not compensated for them in any manner. 

 

 

Weekend Getaway: See What’s Jammin’

Last weekend we had the chance to go away on a much needed long weekend to one of our favorite getaway locations: Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Since I have been little we have been making an annual, sometimes semi-annual, pilgrimage to the land of the Amish and shoofly pie.

One of our go-to locations has been Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse, Pennsylvania.

 

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We love Yummie. Lily was a little unsure of him.

Situated along about two blocks, Kitchen Kettle is an adorable village that features a variety of shops carrying everything from Brighton jewelry, specialty meats and cheeses, cowboy boots, kitchen gadgets and more.

Our favorite place in the village is called The Jam & Relish Kitchen.

 

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Get to jammin’.

There is no way to be confused as to what is sold in this store. The name says it all.

Anything that can be jammed, picked, marinated and jarred could be found inside of this delicious business.

 

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Jars as far as the eye can see.

One of the best perks of the store is that you can taste it before you buy it. Free samples of everything from salsa to pickles to the Pennsylvania Dutch delicacy, Chow Chow can be spread on a provided cracker, tortilla chip or poked with a toothpick.

 

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Hot pepper jelly is my absolute favorite. I made sure that I stocked up!

Prices are reasonable and you can get a variety of sizes in everything from a “I just want a little taste” size to “I gotta have it by the truckload” size.

 

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Even Lily enjoyed sharing with Daddy!

If you have the opportunity to visit Kitchen Kettle I highly recommend stopping by. If you can’t make it out, you can also shop online.

What would you be tempted to try at the Jam & Relish Kitchen? Leave your comments below.

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Packing Trick Makes the Process Easy

We just got back from a wonderful weekend away in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where we were able to do a little camping, spend time at an amusement park and to stop at a few of our favorite shops.

But, before we could leave, we had to do the major chore of packing.

I know a lot of people hate to pack, but honestly I don’t really mind it all that much.

Part of the reason for that might be because of a system I have when it comes to packing our Mousekatot’s suitcase.

One of the biggest tips I share in “Mousekatots” is to gather all your kids’ clothes together and sort them into piles based on the day. For example, since we were going to be gone Saturday and Sunday, I made sure I had outfits together for those two days, plus a backup outfit (you know how it is), two pairs of pajamas, swim gear and some clothes for the campfire (i.e. long sleeves and pants).

 

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Sorting clothes into piles based on outfits makes packing a breeze.

When you have your pile, you need to also include any underwear, hair accessories, socks, etc. for that day.

Once you have your piles all sorted out then it is time to get out my favorite travel accessory, gallon sized, storage bags. (Make sure you choose the bags that have the zipper on the top to make your life easier.)

 

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Fool-proof outfit planning.

Take your bags and write on them, in sharpie, either the day the outfit corresponds to or the purpose of the outfit (pajamas, swimming, campfire).

This way, whoever is helping you get the Mousekatot ready for the day will know what they are to wear. Just toss them the bag and let them get to work.

Another benefit of having everything in bags is that it packs easily in the suitcase, and doesn’t shift too much during travel. Just make sure that you press all the air out of the bag before your pile them in the suitcase.

 

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It might not look like it, but it all fit in the suitcase, I swear!

I know this might seem a little wasteful to use all of these plastic bags, but I end up saving them and using them for the next trip. I just keep them out of reach of Lily so she can’t hurt herself.

What tips do you have for making packing for a weekend getaway a little easier? Share them in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

Tot Five: Unique Accomadations for your Mousekatot

The wonderful thing about Walt Disney World is that around every corner there is magic. From the towel animals that are on the beds from mousekeeping to the fun buttons they give you to wear that show you are celebrating a special occasion.

The Walt Disney Company has even added an extra dose of pixie dust to offer unique lodging experiences that Mousekatots are sure to enjoy.

Today’s Tot Five will look at five of the most unique accommodations that the Walt Disney World Resort has to offer.

1. Royal Guest Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside

These rooms are fit for a princess. Every little detail, down to the carpet that resembles The Carpet from “Aladdin” has been thought about and included in the room.

The story is the room features mementos that Princess Tiana’s princess friends left behind.

The bathroom faucets are shaped like genie lamps from “Aladdin” and the bench resembles the dog that was turned into a footstool in “Beauty and the Beast.”

Scroll style artwork adorns the walls while plush red chairs look like they belong in the dining hall of a storybook. The linens look like they are made from rich dark blue tapestry that has fringe around the edges.

But, the most impressive and unique aspect are the headboards of the beds that feature a beautiful scene of the bayou complete with a sparkling fireworks light show and glittering lightening bugs in the foreground.

All the rooms are equipped with two queen beds and are unable to accommodate extra roll-away beds.

One of the major complaints that I have read is the location of these rooms to the food court and closest bus stop. According to TouringPlans.com, the walk takes about five to 10 minutes to each of these destinations depending how fast you walk.

There is an elevated cost for these particular rooms compared to the rest of the rooms at Riverside.

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Photo courtesy of InsidetheMagic.net

 

2. Pirate themed rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort

For those who are more fans of pirates than princesses, special rooms located at the Caribbean Beach Resort offer people the chance to sleep in their very own pirate ship.

The rooms feature beds shaped like pirate ships complete with twin lanterns and a mast at the back of the bed, curtains with the Jolly Roger emblazoned on them, carpet made to look like wooden planks and chest of drawers that look like cargo crates.

A lot of people like the theming, but say it can be a little over the top if you are not into it. However, this theme sounds like it will be the perfect fit for your swashbuckling Mousekatot.

Just like with the Royal Guest Rooms, the pirate themed rooms are located rather far from Old Port Royale, which is the hub for food and other amenities.

These themed rooms also cost an additional fee to stay.

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Photo courtesy of DisneyCaribbeanBeach.com

 

3. Camping at Fort Wilderness

If you read my article yesterday all about the accommodations at Fort Wilderness, then you will know all about the various camping options including bringing your own RV, staying in one of Disney’s cabins or pitching your own tent.

The opportunity to experience wildlife, sleep under the stars and share stories around a campfire might be the perfect place for your Mousekatot to log some sweet dreams.

It would definitely be a unique experience for the entire family.

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Photo courtesy of RV.net

4. The Treehouses at Saratoga Springs Resort

 

What Mouekatot wouldn’t love to sleep in a treehouse?

Luckily, the Walt Disney Resort has created 60, three bedroom treehouses in the wooded area of the resort and are surrounded by the Lake Buena Vista Golf Course and a water way that flows into the Village Lake.

Each of the treehouses can sleep nine people and run about $130 to $230 more per night compared to similar two-bedroom villas. However, each villa comes with it’s own deck, charcoal grill and share a small pool and spa for just the treehouses. There are also two bus stops that service the treehouses.

 

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Photo courtesy of TouringPlans.com

5. The Bungalows at Polynesian Resort Village

 

If you have about $2,000 per night to spend on a hotel room, then you might want to consider staying at one of the breathtaking bungalows at the Polynesian Resort Village.

There are 20 of these Bora Bora Bungalows that have two bedrooms and can sleep about eight people with about 1650 square feet and an additional 300 square foot deck that offers views of the Magic Kingdom.

These bungalows might be the most expensive places to stay on property, but they may also be the most beautiful and unique.

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Photo courtesy of WDWHelp.com

 

Which one of these unique accommodations do you think your Mousekatot would like best? Leave your comments below.

Roughing it?

If you saw one of my recent posts, you would have seen that our family is starting to dip our toe into the world of camping. (This is a big step for someone who squeals and runs away whenever a bug is near.)

Because of this I have become obsessed with Walt Disney Resort’s Fort Wilderness and the prospect of camping there sometime. So now seemed like the best time to take a little more in-depth look at the resort and what it means for your Mousekatot.

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History

The resort opened in November 1971, a little more than a month after the opening of the Contemporary Resort and Polynesian Village.

It is considered in the Magic Kingdom Resort loop and is adjacent to Bay Lake, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and the abandoned waterpark, River Country.

The Feel of the Resort

The resort is designed with a rustic feel in mind. It is so expansive it has its own internal bus system to take you to various spots inside of the resort.

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Photo courtesy of WDWinfo.com
Accommodation Options

The resort has three major ways of staying on property.

The first is tent camping. People can bring their own supplies and tent and pitch it right on property. But this is still not completely roughing it. Each campsite comes equipped with a sandy area for the tent, a concrete pad for a car, water and hose and electricity.

The second option is for people who have RV or trailer campers. Disney allows people to choose from a variety of options for this campsite including complete hookups or none. For those who want to stay in an RV, but don’t own one, there are a few companies that will rent you one for the week and have it ready and waiting for your arrival.

The third option is to rent a cabin. Disney offers adorable cabins that are perfect for larger families. They come equipped with a complete kitchen and gas grill.

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Photo courtesy of 1923mainstreet.com

Dining Options

Fort Wilderness is host of some of the most popular dining options within the resort including two different dinner shows, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ and Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review. This is also home of the Trails End Restaurant.

Your little Mousekatot would love to attend Mickey’s Backyard BBQ and meet with Mickey and some of his pals at this special character breakfast. This dining experience requires two table service credits if you are on the dining plan.

Also, if your Mousekatot is on the loud side and you are concerned about them being too noisy at a restaurant, Trails End is the perfect place. For those that want to get in on the act, the meal is almost a show in itself that requires loud and silly audience participation.

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Photo courtesy of diningatdisney.com
Options for Fun

There are several options that make Fort Wilderness a perfect fit for a family with a younger child.

The first is the Campfire Sing-Along with Chip ‘n’ Dale where a wonderful cast member leads an old fashioned campfire sing-along, complete with s’mores, that include a special appearance with the two world famous chipmunks. Following the sing-along there is a movie shown on a screen under the stars.

While this event is free to anyone, it is a lot more convient to attend if you are already staying on the property.

Also, you will want to head to the fort’s beach and look out for the Electric Water Pageant that takes place on Bay Lake.

There are also two playgrounds, for your tot to burn out some energy, and two swimming pools. In addition, there are recreation activities that might be found at traditional campgrounds including fishing, horseback riding, canoes, kayaks, bikes and more.

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort
Campsites all decked out

One of the things that makes the resort so special is that people really go all out to decorate their site around the holidays. It is pretty common place to see intricate Halloween and Christmas decorations around the campsite.

The best way to take it all in is to rent a golf cart ($62 per day) and drive around to see all the different displays at night.

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Photo courtesy of AllEars.net
If you are curious about what Fort Wilderness has to offer, take a boat over from the Magic Kingdom and check it out. Schedule either a dinner or a visit to the campfire to see if the resort is for you.

Would you ever consider camping at Walt Disney Resort? Leave your response in the comments below.