The preparation has begun … *cue minor chord music* …
We are going camping for Father’s day next weekend.
Yes, I’m taking seven children, and the husband camping. No, I’ve not been camping since I was a kid.
Like, a little kid. Like, 6.
But, husband and Bennett went camping with his Boy Scout troop last fall and had a great time. Were there things he would have done differently? Yes. Things he learned? Absolutely. Things like, bring a rake to clean the ground before you set up your tent. Hearing him describe crawling in to his tent at night and having his knee connect with a rock, makes me laugh. Not because he was in pain, but because he reenacts the fetal position wailing for me, so I laugh.
Today, I bought a cot, three air pads, five sleeping bags and a 6-person tent. We have a 3-person tent already. Well, it’s more like a 2 person tent, but husband and Ben and Mary count as 2 people. The girls and I will sleep in the other tent. I get the cot, they get the air pad things. It’s my one demand.
I’ve been scouring Pinterest for the best tricks and ideas, and there are some great ones. Things like:
- Freeze marinated meat before you leave, then it will thaw slowly and you don’t have to worry about keeping it cold.
- Keep spices in Tic Tac containers (how cool is that?).
- Fill up an empty (but not yet rinsed out) laundry detergent bottle, the kind with the spigot thing, with water for a hand washing station.
- Make pancake batter at home and put it in plastic bags. Cut off one of the corners of the bag a la icing style when you are ready to make pancakes.
The number one thing I’ve seen though, is plan the meals, organize them, and have them packed together. One, this helps from rooting around in the cooler looking for stuff, and two, its keeps you from forgetting stuff. I think it would really help to pack the cooler from the last day on bottom to the first day on top. Another mom made the sandwiches for the first day at home. They got to the campsite, made the fire, threw the sandwiches on to cook while they set up camp.
This kind of stuff makes me excited. I love organizing and good ideas!
Now, today is Thursday, we don’t leave until a week from tomorrow, and I bet you it will take me that long to do it …
First thing though? Plan the meals and I’m pretty sure I know what our first meal will be. We cook it on the grill at home, so it will be perfect there. I was watching Food Network one night and Guy Fieri made this. I’ve changed it, morphed it, adjusted it, but basically its the same. We call it simply, The Chicken Sandwich.
The Chicken Sandwich
1 loaf of big, fat French bread (or two in the case of my family)
1 rotisserie chicken, pulled
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 bell pepper (any color) sliced thinly
1 jalepeno, minced
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 block of cream cheese, softened
parsley, rough chop
salt and pepper
Heavy duty tin foil
Lay out a big sheet of tin foil on the counter and drizzle oil on it. Layer the ingredients as follows: onions, peppers (both kinds), chicken, mozzarella, salt and pepper. Break up the cream cheese with your fingers and “dot” it around. Sprinkle the whole thing with parmesan and parsley. Fold the foil up and seal it on all sides, tightly.
Toss onto grill and cook for about 5 minutes, turn and cook the other side.
Toast bread (whole) for just a few minutes to get warm. Slice bread in half lengthwise, but not all the way through. Scoop out the now gooey, cheesy, chicken and vegetables from the foil (be careful! it’s hot!) and schmear all over the bread. Fold the top back on, slice and serve!
For Lucy, I make a variation because she doesn’t eat meat. I make hers exactly the same way except I take out the chicken and add mushrooms and spinach.
It’s a fabulous meal.
Please, if you have any advice about camping, LET ME KNOW in the comments! I need advice. Lots of advice.