Saturday, July 31, 2010

Camping Checklist

Going camping? I couldn’t survive without my lists.

{Basic Shelter}

Extra stakes
Small carpet (something to have outside your tent door to wipe off your feet)
Sleeping Bags
Extra blanket


Bath Towels (I need 2 - 1 for my hair)
Shampoo & Conditioner (My hair would be impossible to brush out without conditioner. If you’re camping with your partner, I recommend leaving your big bottles at home. Instead, get a few travel sized shampoos, that way you can hit the showers at the same time.)
Toothbrush (To keep our toothbrushes clean, we keep the heads of them in empty film containers. All we did was cut a “+” into the cap so we can push the handle part through. Then, just snap the container on over the brush.)
Toothpaste (Again, if you’re going with your partner, I recommend picking up travel toothpastes so you each have one to take to the bathrooms.)
Toilet Paper (Most of my friends are guys – trust me, bring toilet paper. Even if you have bathrooms at your campsite, you never know where you might wander off to; bathrooms aren’t always available. Be prepared.)
Light makeup (Keep it simple while camping. I usually just stick with tinted moisturizer and waterproof mascara.)
Sunscreen (I bring SPF 45 for my face and shoulders – no matter how dark I am.)
Bug Spray (LOTS!)
Lip Balm
Beach Towel (If you’re going to be swimming)
Dirty Laundry Bag (You won’t want these clothes near your clean ones!)
Shower Basket/Caddy (We always have a hard time hauling everything to the camp bathrooms – a basket is a must next time.)
Extra Hair Ties (I ALWAYS keep an extra one on my wrist when I’m camping. What would I do if I was pulling my hair back and my only hair tie snapped on me?!)
Bobby Pins (You won’t want sweaty hair in your face.)


Sneakers (I usually wear flip flops, but I turn to sneakers when I’m sick of my feet getting dirty. You’ll need them anyways if you do any hiking or go on any long walks.)
Extra socks (Just do it.)
Hat (A hat comes in handy when you don’t want to do your hair or for the end of the day when the elements have had their way with your hair.)
Bandana (Ditto. Matt’s mom and brother found some really cool ones at REI that have bug repellent in the material. It seemed to work for me, and the repellent lasts through 70 washings!)
Sweatshirt (Something you can throw over your clothes at night)
Swim Suit
Clothes for x number of days
Clothes for x number of nights (Things will happen – you’ll get wet, you’ll get dirty, you’ll get cold, and you’ll want to change.)
Pajamas (You can re-wear these, so don’t overdo it.)


Some people like to go nuts with cooking while camping. Not us; Matt and I like to keep it simple. We stick to cereal in the morning, sandwiches for lunch, and burgers/dogs for dinner. Bagels and cream cheese are also good for a quick and easy breakfast.

Lunch meat
Sliced Cheese
Hot Dogs
Hamburger Buns
Hot Dog Buns
Clif Bars (These are magical and oh so delicious! My favorite is the cool mint chocolate.)
Drinks (Freeze bottled water before you go. You can use them to keep your food cold, then, of course, for drinks.)
Paper Towels
Trash Bags (Reuse those awful plastic grocery sacks that cashiers put your goods in even when you say you don't need a bag.)
Sandwich Bags
Grill (unless you’re cooking over a fire)

Matt likes to bring beer, and I bring stuff for mixed drinks.


Extra Batteries
First Aid Kit
Pocket Knife
Rope/Clothes Line

Clothes Pins (You'll find these handy for clothes as well as for food - chip bags, cereal bags, etc.)
Playing Cards
Duct Tape
Hand Wipes

Also, if your campsite has picnic tables, a vinyl table cloth would be helpful. It would allow for an easily washable surface for crafts : ) I made my niece's fabric banner while in the passenger seat of the car. Working on something like that outside at a big table would be wonderful!

Phew! So it looks like a lot, but I like to be comfortable. Do you bring anything else? Any cool camping tips/suggestions?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Pine River {Day 5}

Time to go home. We all agreed that it was a blast, but we were excited to get out of there and get into our own beds. 5 days was perfect for this kind of trip – any longer and we’d spoil it.

I highly recommend this trip to anyone in the Illinois/Indiana/Michigan/Ohio area. Our campground was fantastic. Our campsite comfortably fit 2 big tents, a trailer, the Jeep, a fire pit, a grill, and two picnic tables, and we still had room for another tent. All of the sites were well maintained, showers were always hot, and the bathrooms were always clean (even after the Friday night party). The camp office had a friendly staff and little things like snacks, drinks, toilet paper, dry bags, ice, etc, and they had a huge barn full of firewood for sale. Two thumbs up for Coolwater Campground!

We rented our boats from Horina Canoe & Kayak Rental. This crew was great! A tandem kayak for three days was only about $100. So, two people - $50 each. Not bad! The owners/staff was incredibly friendly. The owner greeted Matt by name everyday! Horina’s took care of our transportation, too. So, for example, Horina’s would follow us to Point B, where we drop off the Jeep. Then we’d get in their vehicle, with the boats, and they drive us to Point A. So, we were able to end our runs right at our vehicle. All included in the $100! Two thumbs up for Horina Canoe & Kayak Rental!

The first day was rough because we were all inexperienced, but we caught on quickly and had a blast! We want to make this an annual trip with all of our friends. Maybe next year we can get more people to go. I can’t wait!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pine River {Day 4}

Saturday was our last day on the river. Again, we were excited and even more prepared. The river was packed! It seemed like everyone in Michigan was on the Pine at the same time. Good thing we had two days of practice! Add people to the list of obstacles! It was fun though. The people who go every year and know the river know the good spots to stop. Sometimes we would stop at a beach were another group was, and it was obvious why they stopped where they did. There's usually a huge rock, sharp turn, or tree in the water where they stop...where most newbies dump or run straight into the trees (or where they dumped themselves). People just hang out on these beaches and holler at the boats going by, trying to get them to mess up. (This is all in good fun though - most people aren't mean.)

With so many people on the river all going to the same place, we got to know certain groups. Matt and I became known for how in sync, in tune, and happy together we were. (This made me SO happy!) Our friends in the canoe, well, they became known as the hat boat. Three grown men in a canoe, two wearing safari hats and one wearing a black fedora, what did they expect?

At one of our stops we were told that everyone stops a particular dune down the river. Wow! They weren't kidding! We came around a bend, saw a huge dune, and then had to maneuver through piles and piles and piles of canoes and kayaks. EVERYONE stopped there. The dune was HUGE and all the first-timers had to climb it. The crowd went wild every time someone did back flips all the way down and cheered to motivate people on the long way up. It was a ROUGH climb! My legs hurt so bad, and it wasn't easy to keep sand out of my drink. There are trees and shade at the top, so a lot of the people just sit and hang out up there for a bit. It was a good time, but I’m SO glad that’s the last time I have to climb that thing! {more to come}

P.S. Sorry for not having pictures – this was a water trip – no camera on board ; )

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pine River {Day 3}

Friday morning we were up and excited to give it another shot. Friday's run was the shortest, with an estimated time of 3 hours. Perfect! Now that we knew what to expect, we packed food, more drinks, and we all made sure to soak ourselves in bug spray and sunscreen. We were prepared and man did it pay off. It was such a great day! After Thursday's kayaking boot camp, I was much better in the boat, so I was able to relax, and I had a fantastic time chatting away with Matt while we floated down the scenic river. (attitude flip, huh?) The boys in the canoe were working better together, too, and didn't dump. Because we were prepared with plenty of sandwiches and drinks, and because we knew it wasn't going to be a long day, we took our time and stopped at several little beaches along the way. We ate, drank, skipped rocks, and all was good. To top it all off, Friday is the big night at the campground. Everyone comes out and hangs out till they drop. After such a long, wonderful day in the hot sun, I didn't last very long. Matt walked me to the tent and I was out. {more to come}

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pine River {Day 2}

Thursday morning we took hot showers and headed to Horina's where our boats were waiting for us. Matt and I got a tandem kayak, and the other 3 shared a canoe. Into the river we went.

My only prior kayaking experience was the weekend before when Matt took me out on the St. Joseph River to get a feel for what it's like...I was in for an hour...maybe. So, needless to say, I was a little nervous about the Pine. Turns out the Pine is, aside from being a river of water, NOTHING like St. Joe. It's really narrow, with lots of twists and turns, and there were SO MANY obstacles in the water - trees, rocks, rapids...The first day was really rough. Our friends in the canoe tipped over! I spent most of this run screaming, yelling "uh oh!" and hollering at Matt – “Are you paying attention?! Do you see that?! What do I do?!” It was suddenly clear to me why they’re called “divorce boats.” After 5 or 6 hours of this, we were hungry, tired, and on edge. We made it back to camp, ate, and well, I don't remember much else from that night. Note to self: bring a journal next time! {More to come}

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pine River {Day 1}

I've been on hiatus from the blogging world...I've been doing some great things, with great people, and it's been keeping me pretty busy. I miss you all dearly : )

Obviously, I enjoy doing all of the things I love to do, but I like to do so much! How do I fit it all in the short time I have? I haven’t been crafting as much as I’d like to, but I have another custom order being worked out (more CD envelopes), and I’m SO EXCITED to get started! This is going to be great!

So what have I been up to?

We just returned from a five day camping trip up at Pine River, near Cadillac, Michigan. Talk about an amazing experience!! 5 of us packed a trailer and stuffed ourselves into the Jeep for a 4 hour road trip. We got to Coolwater Campground, set up our home away from home, and the party started. {more to come}