August 4, 2012

Indoor Camping - Mother Daughter Bonding

Lately I have been suffering from work induced mommy guilt, most notably when Kayla asked me if I was coming on her next field trip since "Sophia's mommy went last time but my mommy didn't go."  Cue the knife stabbing my heart!

So, a couple weeks ago when my husband let me know that he was heading off on a business trip to Las Vegas for the weekend, I decided to embrace the window of girly solitude and give Kayla some much needed special bonding time...with her mommy who didn't go on the field trip.

I decided that we should go indoor camping and Kayla wholeheartedly agreed.  I admit I built it up for a few days before our adventure was to take place and she was ridiculously excited when I picked her up Friday afternoon from school and we walked in the door to this campsite.

indoor camping, bonding with smores,eric carla tent, very hungry caterpillar tent

Yep, I chickened out on the whole backyard experience because Kayla is only 3 and this would be her first time sleeping anywhere but a bed so I figured the living room was a good transition to outside, which I think we'll do next summer.  We have a 2 man tent waiting in the shed but I thought this The Very Hungry Caterpillar tent would be really exciting for a 3 year old.

My agenda included bug catching, pizza eating, s'mores making, a bath somewhere in there and a phone call with daddy before bed.  We started off with bug catching and Kayla was pretty excited about her new bug net - a Target clearance section find.   She hunted for bugs for a long time, there weren't too many to catch but her imagination got going and she started picking little clovers, sticking them in her net and telling me she caught green butterflies.

indoor camping, bonding with smores,eric carla tent, very hungry caterpillar tent

As you might know I'm usually a bit of a health nut when it comes to Kayla and am always trying to fill up plates with as many fruits and veggies and lean proteins as possible.   Tonight however, was special and Kayla's request had been to eat pizza in the tent.  I got these cute ZooPals plates and cups which upped the fun factor and of course Kayla loved that I ate off of them too.


After a bubble bath and some pajamas we got ready for the main event - s'more making.  Kayla had never had a s'more before but it took her all of 15 seconds to learn the recipe and there was a lot of enthusiastic chatter about the ingredients.  She also had to sample the marshmallows as I was getting everything out...shocking, right?

smores, indoor camping, bonding with smokes,indoor camping with preschooler toddler

What was even more exciting than being told she would be eating s'mores was that she was given a stick to wield, another thing which normally would cause me to sound like my mother and spew words of caution about poking an eye out but I cut the pointy tips off the skewers with a clean wire cutter and let Kayla be my assistant and pass me the marshmallows while I roasted them on the back burner as far away from her as possible.

smores, indoor camping, bonding with smokes,indoor camping with preschooler toddler

Being the great camper that she is Kayla was also game to help eat the extra Hershey's bar pieces that were left over when I miscalculated the chocolate to marshmallow proportions (1 marshmallow: 2 chocolate squares does it just right)  She liked smushing the graham crackers down on top of the marshmallows and watching them squeeze out the sides.

smores, indoor camping, bonding with smokes,indoor camping with preschooler toddler


Then of course, the best part of the entire evening in the eyes of a 3 year old (and a 30ish year old) was sitting together in the tent eating the extra special treat we made together.  I've never seen my child so intensely focused on eating anything before!

indoor camping, bonding with smores,eric carla tent, very hungry caterpillar tent

With his sniffer going totally nuts smelling the s'mores, this guy right here felt pretty left out while we were eating and I'm not going to lie when he flashed me this look I was tempted to give in and let him join in.


Since daddy is usually the one who provides the sweet treats (I know this because I recently found the secret stash of lollipops in his car armrest) Kayla was super excited to give him the play by play of the entire evening and let him know that mommy let her eat chocolate and marshmallows.

indoor camping, bonding with smores,eric carla tent, very hungry caterpillar tent

Shortly after this phone call there was toothbrushing, a nice cuddle and I dragged the blankets out from the master bedroom to sleep on the floor right next to the tent.  My heart melted when shortly before she fell asleep Kayla said "Mommy thank you for going camping.  I love camping."

And of course, I went on her next field trip...

In case you're wondering where you can find that super cute The Very Hungry Caterpillar Tent, it's available right here: World of Eric Carle Tent, it's the perfect size to fit a toddler bed size quilt on the floor for a comfy camping experience.  It also has plenty of openings and mesh panels to keep it from getting too hot and has very quickly become a family favorite.
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