This Memorial Day weekend, we decided to keep things a little low-key. After hauling the family in the SUV for a 17-hour drive (each way) to Florida over Spring Break, our pocketbooks and our backs needed a little break. In search for ideas, I started browsing Pinterest and began thinking about things we had around the house that we could do. Then it came to me. Why not create our own campground? Project Backyard Camping Staycation was on!
The first thing we had to do was take inventory of our camping supplies. In my husband’s former life, he worked for a major outdoor products company. Even though we’re not big tent campers (the last time was in 2004), we have all the gear. After sifting through tents, air mattresses, sleeping bags and outdoor lanterns, we had everything we needed…except a portable grill!
Our large grill resides on our screened-in patio, which is upstairs. It can’t easily be brought downstairs and really, doesn’t work that well. So we loaded up the kid in the car and headed to Kmart in search of a small, portable grill. We used to have one (from the outdoor products company) but we used it so much that it eventually had to be tossed. It was perfect for tailgating, taking on a picnic or even using at home when we didn’t want to fire up our larger grill (or ran out of propane)! Before we set out on our shopping trip, I made sure to check out the Kmart Outdoor Living Catalog to see what our options were. I still had my weekly ad from Kmart so I knew what was on sale. You can see my full shopping experience in my Google+ album.
In order to have a successful backyard camping experience you have to have be prepared. The first thing you need to do is make sure you have activities for the kids so you can set up the campsite. With a two-year old, outdoor activities are easy. All you need is a hose and a sprinkler. Not only does your child think you’re the best thing since frozen yogurt (because sliced bread isn’t that impressive to them), the lawn also gets a much needed watering.
For the older kids (and adults) some different games are needed. One of our family favorites is corn hole. It doesn’t take much talent, not a lot of physical activity is required and anyone can play it. We also had darts but decided that was a little dangerous with a 2-year old. She has a wicked little throw but has terrible aim. I could just envision Wrigley or Rex getting a dart in the tail end.
So now that we had activities out of the way, we needed to make sure we enough food and beverages to get us through the night. On a camping trip you’d typically have a cooler full of beverages. It’s usually hot and sticky so when you start to settle down for the evening, nothing tastes better than an ice cold drink. Not wanting to clean out our regular cooler, I opted to go use our party cooler instead! I absolutely love this thing and it keeps the drinks nice and cold.
My husband was in charge cooking on the grill but I want it to be known that my daughter and I put it together! It took us less than five minutes and that’s including the time to run and get a screwdriver. :) It’s been a LONG time since we used a charcoal grill. We originally wanted to get a gas portable grill but unfortunately the grill we wanted was sold out. After looking at our options, we knew Weber had a great reputation in the grill industry and went with the Smokey Joe. Our menu was pretty simple: hot dogs, chip & dip, pasta salad and baked beans. Just like you would have at the campground.
One thing we didn’t plan well for was all the mosquitos. Citronella candles were burning but that no match for Arkansas mosquitos. We did take a “break” from our camping trip and went inside so we could assess the damage and change clothes. I came away with only 5-6 bites but my poor little girl had several on her arms and back. She wasn’t phased by them but the thought of her getting bitten was enough for us to decide the rest of activities would have to take place inside the tent. Poker anyone?
Even though the bugs got the best of us, we had an enjoyable backyard camping staycation and ended the night with the one thing necessary on any camping trip. Smores!
Grilling this week? Check out Kmart for a 4-burner Kenmore gas grill with side burner only $199.99! Kmart is also having a great deal on outdoor furniture and decor – 50% off this week! All details can be found in the Sunday circular!
I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. Regardless, all statements are my own and yours may differ.#CBias #SocialFabric