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Apr 8, 2015

Nature Based Art Projects For Kids

Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty

Rock Art: Draw a line or spiral with a long stick and collect rocks and pine cones - place on the line in a pattern. Show them a picture of “The spiral Jetty” by Robert Smithson.  

Camp Kitchen: Collect cooking gear from the thrift store, see if you can find items on small scale, find a flat rock, log or camp bench and draw in chalk a stove top (two circles with an “X”) Fill a pitcher of water and tell them to go to town making mud pies and cooking them. (keep mud away from where people walk).

Rock & Stick Art: Hunt for sticks and rocks then paint with washable tempera
Pine Cone Critters: Glue small rocks, sticks onto pine cones to make different figures. Tacky glue works best.

Hide & Seek an old stand by.

Bug Hunt with a bug jar.
Hopscotch: Use a long sticks to make squares in dirt & small rocks to throw.
Beading: $1 store good for this, I like using a tray or baking sheet to contain everything.
Journal: Glue, tape found leaves etc... and write about nature finds add photos later.
Photo Fun: Use disposable camera and let kids take any pictures they want or send them on a mission to take five Pict's. of brown things, fuzzy things etc...
Tree Hugging: Hug a tree and close your eyes tell me what the tree is saying. Write or draw your experience. Write a letter to the tree or an animal in your campground.

Leaf Mail: Find a fairly flat leaf and use paint or marker to write a few words on leaf and mail it. You can write things like "Fun Camping In Tahoe" or "Found This Leaf For You" or "Miss You, Love Ruth". Make sure to bring an envelope and stamp before you leave for your trip. 
Fairy House: Build a fairy house out of leaves, rocks, sticks and use or make a doll 3".
Alter Art: Decorate a special location on campsite with feathers, rocks, art etc...

Find It: Paint a rock and have as many players hide their rocks when no one is looking. Then send every player off to find a rock that they didn't paint
Treasure Hunt: Give your child a list of things to find, rock two inches in size, green leaf etc... and see how long it takes them to find them.

Camping Manors Game: How many pieces of trash can you collect on campsite esp. when you leave. 

A great resource for more ideas

Leaf Rub: Place leaf under paper and crayon/pencil rub over top of paper

Tribal Camp: Using non toxic face paint your child can face paint their own design and pretend they are setting up their own tribal camp, playing pretend activities like cooking, dancing and exploring.

Search & Find: Gather sticks as small round as your little finger and break into 5" pieces. Have one child or adult make arrow shapes to create a path to the person who is hiding or the "treasure" is hiding. Then ask a child or adult to fallow the clues to find the person/treasure. You can use rocks or leaves to do this as well.

Mono prints. Squirt paint on one page, then press a blank page to it for two pieces.


Nov 5, 2013

Fall List For Camping

Fall is a GREAT time to

  • Wash sleeping bags and bedding. Store in plastic bags or bins with lids to keep dust free.
  • Tidy up loose gear scattered in the garage or in the house from Summer. 
  • Look for sales on replacement gear. 
  • Put a jar aside to save money for next years gear purchase. 
  • Make a wish list for a Holiday Gift. 
  • Research locations for next years trips.

Sep 11, 2013

Fling an Acorn and CHUCK IT!


Look at all those acorns just lying around in the road, going to waste!
C’mon, join the fun!! It’s all the rage!!!
How do you do it?
By flinging every healthy hearty acorn you see off the road back into the woods!
It’s fun AND convenient!!
One of your far-flung acorns may grow into a tree someday thereby benefiting future generations or if not, it may make a squirrel, scrub jay or another critter happy! YUM!
So Join the Fun!! Send me some photos of you gleefully flinging and I will post them here!
Now get out there and get FLINGING!!!

Jun 28, 2013

Two Night Meal Plan - EASY EASY

Meal plan for dinner for two days. As always my goal is to have a high quality meal with less effort at the camp site so I can enjoy myself and deal with any issues with having small kids that might make cooking, cleaning and meal making a drag. The best way I know to do this is to pre cook as much as I can at home. 


Bake quesadillas on 350 in oven till cheese is soft, they can finish cooking at camp, you only need them to stick together.

  • Pre grilled chicken marinated in ranch dressing and cilantro herbs. Cut up and heated on site.
  • Pre cooked quesadilla in small corn tortillas, wrapped in foil and reheated to perfection.
  • Can of black beans.
  • Pico de gallo pre-made from grocery store.
  • Avocados
  • Sour cream
  • Chips and salsa
  • Margaritas


Mix with seasoning, bake on 400 to brown then turn down to 350 till fully cooked, then freeze. They will continue to cook when added to sauce at campsite. A slow warm in sauce first will moisten the meatballs and allow the seasoning to impart the sauce.

  • Pre baked meatballs - highly seasoned
  • Jar of sauce or two
  • Pasta
  • Salad
  • Bread with olive oil dip
  • Wine
Seasoning the meatballs is important because it will up-class the jar sauce. I also add bread crumbs, egg, to a meatloaf mix they sell at our meat counter. Use any meat.

For details on these meals comment and I will reply. Substitute with your favorites and enjoy your Camping in Style. 

Jun 19, 2013

Sierra Buttes to the Lakes Basin Campground

For a great family friendly activity, pack up the kids, the vintage camping trailer and head north of Nevada City, through the picturesque town of Downieville and Sierra City and turn left at the general store of Bassetts and follow the winding road up past the amazing look out to the Sierra Buttes to the Lakes Basin Campground.

The campground is centrally located for hikes, fishing and adventures on any one of the neighboring lakes.  We brought along an inflatable kayak and took turns paddling around Gold Lake.  The fish were hoping every which way, so the boys enjoyed the opportunity to practice the sport of fishing.

If water sports aren't what you're interested, try one of the many hikes in the area, options for all levels.  For a great morning activity hike out the Grassy Lake Trail up to the Long Lake Trail and reward yourself with a refreshing dip at the end.

When you pack your camping goodies, don't forget your local wine, smores supplies and your insect repellent.
The Outside Inn is our (Nevada City) warm and friendly place to stay where ANY activity you could ever be able to do will be posted on the above their blog link or curated by the Outside Inn when you stay there. Tell them Ruth sent you. 
Sincerely Nevada County is an awesome place to visit!!!  

Jun 16, 2013

Camping With Young Kids Part 1

I’m a Mom in my late 40’s with a daughter who is eight. I started camping with ADR when she was 3 months old. ADR tends to like calm environments and up to the age of four she was rather fussy and clingy. Now she is eight and she loves camping, but it didn't start out that way. 

This post is about camping with young kids as I see it. Simply edit the information based on your needs. 

Basically I feel camping is a highly rewarding and educational activity for children. The more you like it the more they will too. I love camping with ADR so much and she has taken to it with much interest and enthusiasm. But it didn’t start out that way………………….


Start with these questions?  
1- Know your child regardless of what others say about "Camping With Kids".

2- How many people are you camping with that will be helpfull?

3- How comfortable is your child outside or in new environments?

4- Does you child get overwhelmed or over stimulated by new people, things or locations? 

5- How comfortable do you feel when you’re in public with an upset child? 

6- How did you feel about camping when you were a kid? 

7- How do you feel about camping now? 

8- Can you throw caution to the wind and have an adventure?
9- How many kids or dogs will you be keeping track of? 

10- How patient are you?
LASTLY- If your only job is to watch your child would you be comfortable with that while watching others tend to the camping tasks?

Answering these questions can give you a good idea on what your up against. They can also bring awareness to places you may need to be more patient with yourself and others. If your camping with a group of thoughtful helpers then you will be fine. If your a type A personality like myself with no helpers you may have to be creative with how you approach your trip - and yes that is why I started this blog.

Part 2 to fallow