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Its an Inside Campout Party!


The week after the Christmas holidays is always such a crazy hectic time for us. The kids return to school and struggle getting back on schedule. I, too, have a hard time setting that alarm clock and not just sleeping in. The week is exhausting physically and mentally. The weekend can not get here fast enough! I'm sure most of you can relate, right?!
To top off that exhausting week, my husband has an annual overnight trip out of town. The first year that this came up, the kids were devastated, as was I! After the week we just had, I have to handle the weekend by myself, too?! 

Now, my kids are in tears (and I am close!) and I need to get back in control quick. So, I asked was there anything special that they would like to do while Daddy is gone. They both light up, stop the tears, and reply enthusiastically, "Camping!"

Really?! I mean, REALLY?!

First off, it's the 2nd week of January and my toes haven't thawed out since Christmas because of the cold. 


Secondly, I'm not exactly the rustic, sleep-on-the-ground-with-the-bugs, pitch a tent, pee in the bush, adventurous type of Mama. Come on, I have to have indoor plumbing, at the very least!

Third, and lastly, I think the kids most definitely went for the shock factor here. They knew I was at the end of my rope and decided to take the kill shot (yes, I did just describe my kids as lethal, cunning little ninjas. Have you met my kids?!)
Now, at this point, 2 very important things happened that had a chain reaction for years to come.
  1. I immediately went into my creative Mama beast mode and hatched a brilliant plan, if I do say so myself. 
  2. My dear brave, not rationally thinking husband burst out laughing and replied, "Mama can't go camping!"  That's right. The love of my life...the father of my children...just told me I couldn't do it.

I'm not exactly sure what happened in the next few seconds, but apparently, flames must have appeared above my head and my eyes shot out little balls of fire that can burn into your soul. I say this because all laughing and crying stopped cold, as my husband and children backed away slowly. 


Then I smiled. I never really realized how much power a perfectly timed smile can have until that very moment. As my husband started stammering apologies, excuses, and rationalizing his words while sweating bullets, I just said "Nevermind all that, we are going camping!" Their jaws all dropped. Now, it was my turn to enjoy their shocked faces. I had become the Mama Ninja!
As I said earlier, two chain reactions happened because of that conversation right then and there. I'm sure you have already guessed one. My husband never ever ever attempted to laugh at me again or say the words "You can't do that" (at least not within firing range of my little balls of fury!) The other being, our Annual Inside Campout Party!


Our tradition started from a simple  business trip and my trying to cheer up two sad and crying children. But it could be perfect for a girl's slumber party, an all boy sleepover, or just a spur of the moment idea to brighten your kids faces. Raining? Don't want to pee in bushes? You don't have to! That's right, have a camp out right in your living room! Enjoy all the campout fun while basking in the glory of electricity and indoor plumbing! My kids and I loved this so much, that it is now an honored tradition in our family! And here's how you can make it yours!

With any camping trip, there are necessities, right? A good tent, sleeping bags, fire, s'mores, singing, and story telling just to name a few. All of these are easily adapted for indoors! Here's what you need to get started!

Tent:
Now the kids love this part, and it's so easy! Gather extra sheets, tablecloths, pillows, and blankets into your designated camp site, aka the living room or den. Move the furniture just a bit or bring in some chairs or side tables and place them where they are needed. Then let the kids build their own forts! We have had one really big one or 2 connected by a tunnel, or even different ones for various activities. My son loves having one just for coloring and reading! My daughter's can get eloborate with tunnels, and cat doors, and hideaways!

Lauren and I goofing around
One of our smaller "tents"


Flashlights or lanterns:
Both kids have their own lights for their own spaces. I usually turn the lights off just leaving a few lamps on low and have a fire going in the fireplace.



*Extra tip* 
Not everyone has a fireplace, but if you cover the lamps with a thin red pillowcase, t-shirt, or tablecloth, it will give the room a fire-like glow!

Sleeping bags:
The first time we did this, I went and bought sleeping bags for both kids and they have come in tremendously handy through the years! I prefer the water resistant ones for the neverending amount of spills to come and they are fairly inexpensive!


Activities:
Now, I think that just my mere presence, witty banter, and melodic voice is all the entertainment that one should need. However, for some strange reason my kids get tired of hearing me?! There's an easy solution to this. We just celebrated Christmas, so there are usually plenty of coloring books, games, movies, a radio, books to read, and toys to sleep with.


Food:
Oh yes, my favorite part! Let's eat! Through the years, we have tried all our camping favorites...hamburgers, hotdogs, homemade pizza, grill pack cheesy fries, nachos, walking tacos, or corn dogs! I usually have plenty of snacks on hand, like cookies or chips, and don't forget the s'mores!

Hot chocolate (extra marshmallows and whipped cream, please!) is a must for the night!

 I always plan for a special dessert for the occasion. S'mores brownies, cupcakes, cookie sandwiches, or this year, we had ice cream sundaes!


I know what you are thinking, where are the healthy veggies or fruits?! Well, this is a party right? Let the kids indulge once in a while! You can make all the veggie goodness you want...tomorrow!


We always have our party on a Friday night, since that is the day that Barry has to leave. Which works out great because the kids can stay up late and sleep in Saturday morning. When things start to settle down, we climb in our sleeping bags and put in a favorite movie. This year, they chose Ice Age. And they are both out like a light before that squirrel loses his nut for the third time!

And to round out our Indoor Campout Party, the next morning we have a lazy day brunch. Maybe some breakfast burritos, waffles, or cinnamon rolls.

So, there you have it, our Indoor Campout Party.  Simple. Cheap. And memorable. The perfect opportunity to discover your inner Mama Ninja. The perfect opportunity to make memories that your children (and you) will cherish a lifetime.

Want to know more about my chaos?!
Read my Welcome post and find out why it is so blessed!

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