Camping with Kids: Simple Living Way

We had been eagerly waiting until the boys were a certain age before we went camping. This past fall seemed like the perfect time! When we went camping they were almost 7 and 5 years old and big helpers when it came to carrying bags, making their own food, etc.

I knew I wanted to make it simple, so we could repeat it again each year- make a list, shop, pack, go! It turned out much better than we ever thought and now I think we could of even done a younger age.

We went for 2 nights about 3 hours away to a camping site right in the mountains. It is beautiful and a cute little mountain town. We even heard a coyote howl the first night! The boys loved making a campfire each morning and evening, reading a book and making countless s'mores & hot dogs.

Here is a little checklist of what we took with us:

+ 2 mattress pads  (a lifesaver to put under our sleeping bags!)
+ 4 person tent
+ sleeping bags
+ camp stove with propane (these work amazing!)
+ utensils (next year our goal is to buy some just for camping)
+ trash bags
+ water (we left it in the car to refill)
+ matches
+ soap & hand sanitizer
+ paper towels
+ cloth napkins
+ lantern
+ first aid kit
+ a cooler (next year we plan to pack it with dry ice- way better way to do it!)
+ folding chairs
+ 2 towels (one to wipe our feet before stepping into tent, the other to lay our cookware on)
+ cookware (we took a pan, 2 cooking utensils and a mixing bowl)
+ tablecloth for table
+ tablecloth for under tent

Our meals we packed were pretty simple- eggs & bacon, pancake mix, shrimp, hot dogs, lunch meat & snacks. We made some sweet memories for our first camping trip and truly can't wait to return this next fall for our next! Have you been camping with little ones? 

The big 5! {interview with a five year old}

Last night while wrapping birthday presents and talking with Josh, we did a little trip down memory lane. We both can't believe our littlest man is 5 today...seems too big, too fast! We both used to talk about when the boys are 6 and 4 we will do this...when they are 7 and 5 we could go here! 

Now we are halfway to 10 years old and it truly has been a special gift to be their mama.

Ian Luke Dawson, you are a sensitive, caring little man who is sometimes shy but then isn't afraid to rummage through other people's fridges to find food. You look up to your brother and love all the things and toys he does. You are now a whole hand!! Happy Birthday little man.

If you didn't catch his first interview from last year, you can read it here. Now onto one of my favorite parts of their birthday!

What is your favorite color? Red and Pink

What is your favorite toy? Lightning Mcqueen

What is your favorite fruit? Bananas

What is your favorite tv show? Octonauts

What is your favorite thing to eat? M&M yogurt, like the ones Daddy gets

What is your favorite shirt? Buzz lightyear shirt

What is your favorite game? Uno

What is your favorite snack? Pop tarts

What is your favorite animal? Dogs

What is your favorite song? The song you like with the girl and boy singing (Closer)

What is your favorite book? Corduroy's Christmas

What is your favorite cereal? The cookie cereal

What is your favorite drink? Soda

What is your favorite holiday? Easter

Who is your best friend? Ben

What do you like to do outside? Play race cars

What do you like to take to bed with you? Doggie

What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Roadrunner's pizza! (It's a local pizza place)

What do you want to be when you grow up? Fireman

What color are your eyes? Brown as a meatball

What color is your hair? Brown as a brownie

Then he was 7: an interview

Ever since Ben was 4 I've been interviewing him. I've loved to see how some of his answers completely change each year and how some stay the same. I highly recommend a mini interview with your kiddos once they've reached the talking stage. It's simple, cute and makes you notice the small things in life. You can catch the previous interviews from four, five and six.

What is your favorite color? Black 

What is your favorite toy? Batman 

What is your favorite fruit? an apple

What is your favorite tv show? Wild Kratts

What is your favorite thing to eat? Garlic knots ( from our local pizza place)

What is your favorite shirt? The one with blue stripes and a horse logo on it 

What is your favorite game?  Monster Laundry

What is your favorite snack? Bread with butter

What is your favorite animal? Polar bear

What is your favorite song? JT (this one)

What is your favorite book? Super friends 

What is your favorite cereal? Honey nut cheerios

What is your favorite drink? chocolate milk 

What is your favorite holiday? Christmas

Who is your best friend? Jerusha

What do you like to do outside? playing superheroes

What do you like to take to bed with you? my Batman toy

What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Extra cheese pizza

What do you want to be when you grow up? dump truck guy

What color are your eyes? brown

What color is your hair?  brown

Setting an Authentic Vision & Tone in Your Home

When I started blogging almost five years ago, I had one main purpose. I wanted to shine through with my writing. I wanted to be authentic, and show other mamas how authentic motherhood starts in the heart and in the home.

The definition of authenticity is saying something and actually doing it. It's having a purpose, it's being real. 

Truly friend, you set the tone in your home. There is the funny, silly quote if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. 

But there is so so much truth wrapped in this quote. Martha Peace says in one of her books:

The wife and mother who views life as a "cross to bear" influences the others in the home to think the same way. She easily robs everyone else of joy and like the yeast in the bread she bakes, her ungodly attitudes spread to everyone else. 

This is such a hard truth to swallow. God gave us a beautiful role to encompass.....

Sharing more over on Motherhood Inspired this month and I would love for you to hop over and check it out! 

#1 item to have in your car

This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Ever since having my oldest son almost seven years ago I've become more and more conscious of what we eat and use- especially when it comes to everyday items! One item that I've been buying ever since I became a mama is wipes. Honestly, what mom would ever stop using them? 

We use them for EVERYTHING- wiping hands after eating if out and about, wiping down counters and even giving a few to the boys to wipe down the back of the car or clean the counters in their bathroom! They are easy on the go and a great item to keep in the kitchen or bathroom too. 

So I was SO excited to find a company that makes non toxic, fragrance and alcohol free and natural baby wipes. They are stronger and thicker wet wipes suitable to use on your newborn to even you! 

They are pure and gentle made up of only 2 ingredients! Water and fruit extract. Now you might be wondering- do they actually get the job done? Yes! After my kiddos had a donut one weekend these wipes were easy to use and got the job done. 

It's so hard to go to the store and wonder which item to pick up for our little ones so I was so excited to find WaterWipes and know I'm guaranteed an honest company making chemical free wipes. 

Now you can find WaterWipes fully stocked at your local Walgreens. These are durable and effective without containing any of the potentially harmful chemicals that may be found in other baby wipes, WaterWipes proves a safer, natural option for your kiddos. 

You can check out more on their site and find your local Walgreens here. 

You can grab the 4 pack of wipes for $14.99 at Walgreens. You can keep one in the car, in your kitchen, bathroom and an extra for when you run out! 

WaterWipes Walgreens Giveaway I-C will randomly select winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes (5 winners).