We bought a tent. Not just any tent. For a family of our size, it had to be a pretty big tent. So we found a 3 room, 12 person tent that has a flap that you can set an air conditioner up in! We also bought a tarp, a cooler, air mattresses, and a variety of flashlights , board games,and outdoor toys to take on our camping trips.
We were supposed to go the first weekend in May, but due to unseasonably cold temperatures we postponed our camping trip a week. Art took a whole day off on Friday which I was very glad so he could be home to help load up the van. It took several hours, but we finally got it all loaded up and ready to go. Setting up the tent was pretty easy, and it didn't take long to blow up the mattresses. We left the bags in the van because once all the mattresses were in there, there wasn't much room for anything else. About an hour after we got there, it started pouring down rain! But we hung out under the rain fly and after the storm passed, the weather was beautiful the whole rest of the week-end.
Some friends went up there with us and camped down the way a little bit. It was a lot of fun to have them with us! The men got to go off and do some fishing together while the women and children hung out, and the kids had friends to play with. A few things I forgot she remembered, and the one thing she forgot, I had. It worked out great!
For food, we took sandwich stuff, burgers, hot dogs, and chicken. To go with those I had potato salad, cole slaw, chips and dip, and veggies and dip. We took donuts and muffins for breakfast. We also ended up cooking some of the fish they caught.
Biggest difficulty tent camping was definitely the hike to the bathroom. That is one thing I miss about not having a motor home. It did get a little chilly at night too. We had a small space heater but the tent is so big it didn't warm it up at all. The people that camped across from us kept us up all night the first night. Literally. The even cheered and threw another party as the sun came up. A tent doesn't drown out the noise of others at all.
Art's boat motor blew up on him. He was close to the shore though and got it tied down. He started walking back to the site, but I was driving to go look for him because he had been gone for so long (he was just putting the boat in the water and bringing it to the site to tie it to a tree.) We put it back on the trailer and took it back to the site. He thinks he will be able to fix it, but for this trip, they fished off the bank.
We had a really good time though! Our site was right on the water so the could fish for hours (and did.) They heard about a really good cat fishing spot a short way down the road, so some of the children went with the men and fished there as well. Art caught 3 big catfish while they were there, and the children caught a variety of other smaller fish. Nicholas caught 24 fish in 2 days! 2 of the fish he got were 4 lb bass, and he caught a big alligator gar. Well his pole caught it. He had caught a fish that swallowed the hook and he put the pole on the bank and the fish back in the water because he couldn't get it off and we were loading up to go to the bathroom to shower and get ready for bed. When we got back he forgot about it. He got up the next morning and went out to fish and found the pole still sitting there. He picked up his pole and there was an alligator gar on the end of it! They are mean fish with sharp teeth and don't taste very good, so his daddy just cut the line and threw him back in the water.
We also rode bikes, played at the playground, and cooked over the camp fire. A few of the younger children waded in the water when the big kids were off fishing, but it was pretty cold! Next time we go it should be a little warmer. There were some great climbing trees behind our site and Christian and Anthony spent a lot of time in those trees. I did bring the laptop for the children to watch a movie at night before we went to sleep. I also brought my iPad so I could read and used it to occupy the children Sunday morning when we were getting ready to go.
The kids had a great time! Anthony was a little upset though, because Sunday was Mother's Day and we were camping. He said he wanted to make me breakfast in bed and bring me a card, but he couldn't cause we were camping (everybody saw awwwwwwwww how sweet!) Instead I got a Mother's Day muffin and coffee and a case for the iPad. He can make me breakfast in bed another day.
In a couple of weeks we have a cabin reserved at Lake Catherine. They have great affordable cabins and that will be our vacation for this year. A couple of weeks after that, we have another tent camping trip planned.