Two times a year, my dad rallys up the family for a fishing trip at Lake Avery in Meeker, just outside of Rifle, CO. That usually includes my Aunt and Uncle, my lone two cousins, my brothers and sister and my nephew. I remember going to that lake with my grandpa (on my dad’s side) when I was little, and him teaching us how to fish. The highlight of those trips though was running into anyone my grandpa knew at the lake and being able to tell them “I outfished my grandpa”.  It happened only a few times. 
Now, camping for either sides of my family doesn’t include roughing it.  No tents, sleeping bags, or even coolers (unless you’re taking beer to the lake). Nope. As Levi would call it, we go”cabining”. We stay in cabins at Lake Avery, but for a family with 3 little ones, I have no complaints about it. Getting a family of 5 packed and ready to go for a 4 day camping trip takes some skill. We went up to my dad’s house for the day and I felt like we brought half our home with us. I’m getting better at it though, as semi annual trips to our cabin in Jefferson, CO helps me figure out what we need, and what we can leave behind for a few days. And I’m getting better at bringing fun outdoorsy things for kids to do in the middle of the woods. Spending time at the lake with kids was not as stressful as I anticipated it to be. The kids and I played on the dock and got our feet wet. Around us, there were several other families and kids using their gear: kyacks, paddle boats and inner tubes. I looked at Levi and we both exclaimed “this is what camping life should be like!” Neither of us really like fishing, but agree our kids need to know how to do it . But the lake fun is what we are all about. Well, that and hiking, 4-wheeling and good eating.

noah made a person out of grass
Now what’s a camping blog without a camping menu!!?? 

This, by far, is the funnest part for me (surprised??), coming up with a menu and having to prep and cook most of it before we leave. What does a (mostly whole food eating) family of 5 bring for a 4 day camping trip?? I try to make it easy on myself for breakfast and lunch and make 2 pans of quinoa breakfast bars and bring a few loaves of bread, almond butter and honey for lunch. Simple! I love breakfast bars for breakfast. One pan can feed us for a couple of days and all you need is 30 seconds warmed in the microwave and bam, breakfast is served. They’re loaded with lots of yummy and nutritious things my kids need to start their morning. I make them a lot during the school year.

quinoa breakfast bars and a cup of coffee…perfect breakfast!
my view for breakfast…simply amazing

Dinners were simple. The first night, I pre made a pasta dish: bow tie noodles with summer veggies and marinara sauce. Mixed it all together and put it in a tin pan, popped it in the oven for dinner when we got to the cabin. The next night’s dinner, my dad usually makes hobos for everyone the second night of the trip, and my aunt Janet introduced us to foil dinners. Being the one who chooses not to eat meat, I opted to try the foil dinners. Having never made them before, I brought a variety of foods to put in the foil that you then placeover coals to cook: red potatoes, bell peppers, black beans, mushrooms, jalepenos, kale, red cabbage, broccoli and bbq sauce. They were so yummy!

foil dinners cooking on the ground using coals

 Our last night camping  we grilled hamburgers. I’ve mentioned before that Levi loves my salsa, well he also loves my hamburgers. So every camping trip, we grill some juicy, mouth watering burgers. And for those who don’t know me, a good burger, is my guilty pleasure. Oh my goodness. 

 Snacks are where most of my attention goes, as that’s what gets eaten the most. Out on the lake or on a hike, my kids snack all day long! And I try to pack as much fresh fruits and veggies as I can. Here’s a list of what I put in my cooler: 

  • Bananas
  • Watermelon
  • Kale and red cabbage for salad
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Cherries
  • Bell peppers
  • Apples


I chopped and prepped all the fruits and veggies before we left so it’s easier to eat. And I did all of this while studying for my first lab exams, packing and taking care of 3 kids. Wow it was a busy week! But always worth the prep time and work when you get up to the mountains and all the work is done. All that’s left is playing with 3 kids, maybe some fishing, hiking and good fellowship around a campfire. And how can you go camping without some not so good for you, processed boxed snacks….I think it’s a law you have to eat at least one thing that’s bad for you while camping (Levi would argue the number should be higher). My dad’s wife gave us a HUGE bag of organic cheese puffs….I mean look at this thing!! 

The kids and Levi surely enjoyed those. I also bought some cheese crackers and made some salsa for chips and salsa. I also love a good pasta salad. I will usually eat whatever pasta salad is at a summer potluck. I think it’s the dressing that gets me… 🙂 I made a good sized pasta salad to accompany sandwiches and hamburgers, plus it’s just another opportunity to sneak veggies into my kids’ food! I made a home made vegan ranch dressing/dip. That recipe was given to me by my amazing sister in law, and have posted it in my recipes page. It’s amazing if you want an alternative to the ranch dressing you buy at the supermarket, especially if you want to stay away from oils and dairy. 


 And last but not least….s’mores. Every camping trip needs s’mores. Nothing more needs to be said there 😉

We also celebrated my nephew’s 5th birthday! His name is Riley and he’s about five months younger than Noah. I offered to make his birthday cake, and my sister said he would like a Paw Patrol Birthday cake. Having never seen Paw Patrol, I was thrown for a loop, but I wanted to make it special for him. Turning 5 is a big deal! So I made him a strawberry cake with strawberry butter cream frosting. I made the cake before we left Parker, and the frosted it the day of the party. I ordered an edible icing picture and it had the whole Paw Patrol gang! I thought it turned out pretty good. 


Fishing, all in all was successful. I think the final count was somewhere in the high teens for the amount of fish caught. Not too shabby! We didn’t catch any though. We let the kids play in the lake and went for small hikes, as well as good old fashioned play (aka just running up and down hills). Noah did go for a ride in the fishing boat and fished with his grandpa for a bit. He cannot however, say that he outfished his grandpa…at least this trip. 

The kids were pretty wiped out after 3 full days of non stop play. And I think either Noah forgot to eat on the trip or he’s growing because he did nothing but eat all the way home. 

All of my fruits and veggies were eaten and salsa and chips too. We took home a pretty empty cooler, which I think is a very good sign of a good camping trip…well I guess my dad would argue a good sign would be taking home a cooler full of trout. Maybe next trip! 

Until next time….

Have a fabulous Day!