19 June 2008

A Camp Out Giveaway

we are just weeks away from our traditional family Independence Day camp out reunion. last year we had a gaggle of girls & boys hunting for bugs by day and huddled around the fire by night. this year we will have even more faces glowing in the firelight. my whole, entire, crazy family will finally be together for the first time in what seems like forever. (the babe will be there too, cuddling inside his better than gortex womb tent.)

we're planning all sorts of fun adventures & delicious dining while in those beautiful mountains, but i (as candidate for favorite aunt) would love to be stocked with some tried + true activities, spook stories, fun treats and sit around the campfire games for when we're just too tired to move.

i am hosting a giveaway (a batch of homemade cookies or note cards or other goodie made with my own two hands) for a few of the best comments left below. please leave a comment by saturday, june 23rd. i would love some suggestions on your favorite summertime treats, family reunion entertainment and/or other outdoor tips. keep in mind, there will be 34 family members present at this reunion, ages 61 to 1. i can hardly wait. for now, i hope you'll enjoy my favorite selection of tinfoil dinner feasts with your own family!

{as always, thank you for the ongoing comments, feedback and fabulousness. i love the blogworld. and if you haven't voted yet, hop over to my sidebar and take part in this week's m. curious poll.}

{tent image from unknown source.}


Allie said...

hi marta!
i think your blog is excellent.
(and i graciously semi-replicated your father's day post for my dad, who was very appreciative, as i am to you!)
i'm actually getting ready to embark on my extended family week-long party (at the beach, not in the mountains, because i live in the mountains on a regular basis :). our number is 22, and our age range is 83 - 3. I know the joyous atmosphere this creates and I have the perfect game for you to bring to the camp fire.
It's called "Good Morning Judge." Have you heard of it? If not, I think you will love it. It brings endless squeals of laughter from every age group in our family.
Here's the skinny:

Everyone sits together without any real rhyme or reason. (Campfire is perfect, we usually just play on the deck by the ocean.)
One chosen player turns his/her back to the crowd. Another chosen player is deemed "pointer". The pointer silently points to different family members (or him/herself) who take turns saying the words "Good Morning Judge" in the craziest, most disguised voices possible. After each "Good Morning Judge" the player with her back turned tries to guess who was the speaker. (I wish I could demostrate the voices for you here, because we have come up with some really crazy ones, but I'm sure you guys won't have a problem with your own.)
Anyway, as long as the player guessing guesses the correct speaker, they get to remain the guesser.
Notes: It's totally appropriate for members of the crowd to silently move around the space so as to throw off the guesser who may try to use location of the voice to try to guess the correct speaker.
This game has become a tradition for us and makes me laugher harder than any other game ever has. It's really surprising and hilarious to see what your family members will come up with.
Also perfect because it requires no props, hardly any energy, and can be played with any number of people.

I hope you like it!
And thank you again so much for your blog, I love it.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, one of my favorite summer treats is a sweet chex mix. Most recipes call for coconut and almonds, but I find the best anecdote for kids is substituting m&ms. I also love water balloon volleyball! Great summer activities!!

--r said...

Our last all-family gathering we made banana smiles. You just slice into a banana (through the peel—leaving the peel on ) and stuff it full of mini-marshmellows and chocolate chips (or ANY chocolate bits). Then you wrap the whole business in foil and put around the edges of the fire (in the coals) until warm and gooey. You can eat it right out of the peel with a spoon, so there's not too much clean-up.

There was talk of putting peanut butter in with the marshmellows and chocolate, but I don't think anyone actually TRIED it, so...

Anywho, yummy-ummers, and a big hit with the fam.

Kristin Johnson said...

I love camping and have so many ideas to pass along! I'll have to come back and post more later, but quickly for now I have my favorite "campfire tin foil dinner" to add to the list!

A chicken breast, sliced into strips, add a cubed small potato, a few pats of butter, a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and the key ingredient is sprigs of the herbs of your choice, and lots of em! I particularly love rosemary and sage. Its all personal preference though! Put the butter pats on last, on top of the herb sprigs! Wrap it up!

ellen said...

What about a version of fear factor or a scavenger hunt? It would take some preparation but would be really fun.

KJ said...

How about Hide-n-Seek for all ages? Another version of the tin foil dinner:
salmon filets, butter, lemon pepper, salt,new potatoes (the little red ones, quartered), and frozen veggies? Cooked in the coals...

teriyaki chiken thighs (available in the freezer section) with frozen veggies wrapped in foil and cooked in the coals.

banana boats: slice an unpeeled banana lengthwise about 3/4 through. stuff the slit with any of the following: chocolate chips, marshmallows, coconut, peanuts, almonds, butterscotch chips. Wrap in foil and cook in coals until chocolate melts and banana is warm through!

I just returned from Girls Camp and the grand tradition in this area is roasting Starbursts...skewer as you would a marshmallow, roast in fire just until the outisde softens a bit and they start to slide on the skewer. Not bad! The girls go ape for it every year!

Sounds like you have a wonderful family weekend planned!

Hannah said...

My favorite thing that we do at our reunion is talk about memories of relatives. It has been my favorite thing since I was a kid. We all sit around the campfire and take turns sharing stories about how Grandma won a beauty contest or about Great-Grandpa in World War I. It brings them to life and helps children to see them as real people who lived REAL lives. I feel closer to my ancestors and it really brings a sense of unity to the family. Yes...it is a simple tradition, but it means so much more than playing in the river. (We do that too...)

gina bina said...

When my family stays outdoors, breakfast is the highlight! While either camping or backpacking, if we use eggs in the morning we always save just one of two for a traditional egg toss.
Two people start with one egg, tossing it back and forth. After each successful toss each person take one step back. And so on..
Over the years we've had some pretty amazing distance throws with eggs! It's a family favorite!

mary plus vince said...

one of my favorite around-the-campfire activities is roasting starburst candy! they are absolutely delisch! they get crispy on the outside, and goo-y on the inside, it is so yum yum yummy!

a favorite memory with that is a funny joke to play on people who have never roasted starbursts before... tell them they leave teh wrapper on while they roast it in the fire on their roasting stick... tell them when it is in the fire, it melts it off and is then safe to eat! people like to believe it, but of course you tell them the joke before they try to eat it! it always makes for good times!

star gazing is another fav camping activity... you can always see the stars winkling + twinkling brighter than ever in the beautiful mountains! and you can always count on shooting stars in the mountains!

have fun! tell my tent hi (your parents are borrowing it)! :D

Anonymous said...

There are these delicious tin foil Banana Boat treats that I learned how to make at camp that are so yum. It's never a campfire without them: Leave the peel on. Cut two parallel cuts lenth-wise on the "inside" of the banana peel. Open one end, so it can flap back closed when you roast. Cut a V-trench along the banana itself. Pile in the chocolate chips and the mini marshmallows. Close the flap. Wrap the whole thing in foil. Roast in fire. Take out and eat!

Anonymous said...

One game which we play indoors but would be fab for camping is Shadows. Indoors we string a sheet between two tall items of furniture (Must be above head height of tallest person) so outside I guess trees would work?

Then carefully line up either candles or camping torches behind the sheet. The idea is that the group split in to two teams. The Shadows and the Guessers.

The shadows have to pass between the lights and the sheet making funny actions, trying to disguise themselves with whatever props are to hand and the guessers try and work out who the shadow is. It is a super simple game but has us howling with laughter and can easily be played by my friends toddler and by a gentleman who has just celebrated his 80th birthday, so I think it fits the bill.

Lovely Lindsay said...

my favorite thing to do when we finally get everyone in our crazy family together is to just sit close. i love gathering everyones memories into one place and laughing and laughing and crying and loving.
thank you for your sweet blog. it makes me happy.
love, lindsay

Andrea said...

We have been camping so many times with large groups. I think the best trick I have recently learned is available at Sephora. I forget the exact name but it is a shampoo spray that will spruce of your hair in between showers. It works great for my own bangs and works wonders on my soon to be 3 year old too. It is the perfect accessory for camping and still looking your best.

Anonymous said...

my favorite camping treat is s'mores! but instead of of hershey's bars use reese's peanut butter cups...YUM!! i'll never go back!

have a fabulous time.


Jessica said...

Lots of colored pencils and paper so kids can draw the beautiful nature around them- or whatever they want.

Here's a site about kids & astronomy for doing some stargazing.

I think a scavenger hunt is a really fun idea.

I'll be posting a recipe real soon for peanut butter granola that would make a great trail mix combined with some pretzel bites and m&m's.

I love roasting ears of corn and potato packets over the campfire.

Hope you have lots of fun!

Tara said...

I've heard that ward off mosquitos, just keep a dryer sheet in your pocket. Mosquitos tend to like me a lot, so I'd keep a dryer sheet in every pocket I could find! ;)

As for campfire treats, I've heard that if you take 1 bag of apples and 1 bag of Snickers you have a good desert. Create a fun way for the kids to crush up all the snickers into itty bitty pieces and then have an adult slice up the apples. Put apples in a dish (maybe foil) and then pour the crushed snickers over them and "bake". I haven't tried it myself, but it sounds good. Serve with vanilla ice cream if possible.

Have fun on your camping trip! It sounds lovely!

kribss said...

not for the little ones but a bubble gum blowing contest and an egg toss contest. yep a real uncooked egg. (got it off a show on tlc)

Sherrie said...

My favourite campfire recipe is to take a giant Spanish onion, slice it in half and remove some of the inner layers, so you have a spherical shell. Stuff it with a chicken breast and whatever seasoning you prefer, and let it cook on the coals for awhile. The onion gets sweet and soft and mellow, while the chicken takes on a bit of the onion flavour and is unbelievabably moist. Heavenly, especially after a long swim or paddle!

the mama monster said...

we love doing homemade scones with all the topping you can think of! no stinky frying smell in the house and they taste even better when made outdoors.

Dansie Family said...

i love the dutch oven. you can make breakfast, dinner, and dessert in them. they are camping to me. dutch oven pizza is good: crescent rolls on the bottom, and all your favorite toppings on the top. dutch oven cobbler is a must have - with a cake mix or from scratch. even better with home canned fruit. adn my favorite dutch oven meal, cheesy chicken with potatoes, bacon and peppers. Fry up the bacon, throw in chicken tenderloins, and thinly sliced potatoes with thinly sliced onions and carrots. Season generously with lawry's. Bake until almost done, top with peppers and lots of cheese. put the lid on until all the cheese seeps through all the layers. have fun.

KR said...

unfortunately i dont have many experiences with camping aside from once when i was ten for 2 days and then once right after i got married. It rained the entire time, we got soaked (and laughed the entire time), had to roast our marshmallows on a burning roll of TP that we'd brought with us (all our wood was soaked), and ate about 400 packages of little Debbie products. Roughing it? hmm. LOL.

I did want to let you know though, about a giveaway going on over at my blog too. If you have a chance swing on by. It lasts until midnight on Thursday (tonight!). :)

Kristin :)


Ellen said...

My favorite campfire activity was doing skits!

I remember my older cousins gathering up all the kids to present an entire evening of skits!

We all broke up into groups to plan them out... and then after dinner we all gathered in front of the campfire to present them to our parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents... and the other kids.

You can find many of the ones we used to perform right here:


Of course, we performed them so they weren't so "scouty"

My favorites were:

JC Penney
Soap and Water
Comb Your Hair

and many more.

Click through and you'll find a bunch.

Print them out... and help the kids practice.

It's loads of fun!

ikkinlala said...

Most of our favourite activities are not sitting around the campfire things because when we're at the campfire we're usually either eating or swatting mosquitoes, although sometimes we have sing-alongs. We often play bocce or croquet (croquet is even more fun if you add obstacles like a piece of pipe or a ramp to the course).

As for treats, one of our favourites is bread on a stick. You just take some bread dough (we don't have a favourite recipe - we've used several different recipes in the past) and wind it around sticks to hold over the campfire. Then when you take it off the stick you fill the hole with butter and jam.

Ashley Thalman said...

have you seen the latest issue of Ready Made Magazine? There are some really amazing tips and cool gear ideas...

UmmIbraahim said...

Hi there, myfavorite family reunion activities are badminton, volley ball and soft ball. Badminton has to be my favorite though. Another activity that I found quite fun as a child was blind folded pudding eating game, you will need disposable plastic table cloths, bandanas for blind folds, pudding, spoons and chair to sit in. You then have two people sit down and they both have to feed each other pudding, you can time each team for a minute or more, we would time each othe r2 minutes and the winning team would get a prize. If it is hot on the day of your reunion you can get a banzai water ball it is only 6 dollars at lakesideconnection.com. I hope you like the ideas the blind fold pudding eating contest is really fun and you can get really funny photos from that game.

Travelin'Oma said...

These are fabulous ideas! I hope (as favorite aunt candidate) that you're doing them all! I'll be in charge of the banana boats and the Peanut butter cup s'mores. I can't wait! And I ❤ the tent picture.

christine said...

I love every type of melon. I usually like to use a melon baller cause they look way cooler. I like to put all the different colors into one of those tall icecream sundae dishes. If you can't bring the dishes any old bowl will do.

One of my favorites for the summer as well and its uber healthy is take blueberries, raspberries and blackberries (summer fruits) and top ONE scoop of icecream on the top (usually vanilla). Its divine.

Games don't have any ideas sorry for that range of ages. I always personally like playing my guitar round the fire.

Michelle said...

Why not do a human scavenger hunt for the kiddos? Have all of the adults write a few fun (and little known) facts about themselves. Create a list and have the kiddos find the person who graduated early, is double jointed, was a pro ball player or who almost joined the circus? It really promotes interaction and conversation between people and the prep time is really minimal, just collecting the facts and putting them on paper.

Thanks for the fantastic daily blog read m!

Anonymous said...

Recently my favorite food to serve at family & friend functions is fruit skewers. They are so easy to do if you plan it right.

Supplies & Ingredients:
*Strawberries (sometimes dipped in chocolate if time allows)
*big pink marshmallows
*stiff foam
*a pail, vase, or other fun container
*filler (crumpled tissue paper)

I prepare all my fruit the night before, cutting & cleaning.
Place foam in your container, cover with filler.
Then the day of the event you put 1-4 pieces of fruit on each skewer, don't let the point of the skewer show through the top piece of fruit.
Poke the skewers into the foam to form a fun & edible fruit arrangement!

Super easy and your guests will love it! And it's healthy, bonus!

love.boxes said...

bread pudding with homemade cinnamon ice cream on top.

Miss Five said...

I'm not sure how high-tech your camping will be, but a talent show is always a big hit. Most people initially shy away from throwing their act on the program - which is when you simply ask them "To which Beach Boys song do you want to lip sync?" Lip syncing is my absolute favorite because it's low impact: you don't have to be a great singer but knowing the words can help. Seeing what people do for moves or choreography is the best. And really - any summer songs are great for a camping lip sync program.

When it comes to food - there must be 'Lil Smokies at breakfast...must. So easy to cook and de-lish! Just heat 'em in a pan and voila!

For a campfire roasting treat: Shaggy Dogs. Toast a mallow as usual, but prepare a chocolate dipping sauce (could be fondue style or a dip) - dip the mallow in the chocolate, then roll that beauty in coconut. Because nothing is better than sleeping in a tent with a sugar coma!

Happy Reunion!

Karen said...

When i was young and on camping trips with Grandma and Grandpa, my grandma would always send us on very grand treasure hunts. we would go all over the campground and at the end we would always be suprised with homemade dolls for the girls and squirt guns for the boys.
We recently did a treasure hunt for our two little nephews (4 and 2) it was a hit.

Diana said...

One idea that I love when going camping for a night or two is to freeze yogurt, it fun and so vesatile. Gogurt works great because they come in fun flavors and are long and cylindrical -easy clean up and they are self contained. They also work great as a form of ice in your cooler, to keep other goodies cold, they are easy and a healthy snack (it's hard to pack milk and keep it chilly cold) The Gogurts are great form of dairy that can be used for breakfast with granola, as a snack, as a popsicle, dessert. Have fun camping with all your family :)

Diana said...

One idea that I love when going camping for a night or two is to freeze yogurt, it fun and so vesatile. Gogurt works great because they come in fun flavors and are long and cylindrical -easy clean up and they are self contained. They also work great as a form of ice in your cooler, to keep other goodies cold, they are easy and a healthy snack (it's hard to pack milk and keep it chilly cold) The Gogurts are great form of dairy that can be used for breakfast with granola, as a snack, as a popsicle, dessert. Have fun camping with all your family :)

marla said...

ahh, some great ideas here! i am trying the banana boats, without a doubt. my family also has a 4th campout reunion. from ages 4 months - 90, there are over 100 of us! our family tradition games include an egg toss - [kids first, then adults - so cute to watch the kiddos!], a cherry pit spitting contest [my uncle grows cherries], and a frog hopping contest [it's at the pond, so the kids can catch their own frogs].
yummy smothered smores recipe:
roast your marshmallow til it's golden brown. roll it in chocolate syrup, then roll in topping[s] of choice [crushed reese's, peanut butter chips, coconut, almonds, etc]

christine said...

oh, sorry i forgot that you can totally change the fruit and icecream thing i mentioned above to fit w/your likes. one thing that might be cool with your 4th of july theme is do strawberries, blueberries and bananas and top it with a scoop of vanilla icecream--thus red, white and blue in your bowl. :)

Anonymous said...

croquet was always a summer family fun fave. especially when no one really remembers the rules.

Marla said...

I love campfires and roasting marshmallows (but not a big fan of smores). I am dying to try a recipe I saw over at the Pioneer Woman Cooks...http://thepioneerwoman.com/#tab2
marshmallows, peanut butter & ritz crackers...that has to be good!

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