Play Right: Celebrate Summer with a Backyard Camping Trip

If you don’t have the time or funds for a weeklong vacation, you can still celebrate your favorite outdoor traditions with a backyard camping trip! Pitch your tent in the grass, bring out pillows and sleeping bags, and enjoy all the fun of a summer adventure without the added stress of a long-distance vacation. 

1. Take Your Tent Up A Notch

 

Get Your Kids In On The Fun

Before the big day, have your kids make their own decorations to turn your backyard into a camping destination. From outdoors-themed coloring pages to wreaths, birdhouses to hand-painted tiki torches, these creations will give your kids the added fun of seeing their hard work transform your home into a state park.  

 

Light It Up

For some extra decorations, string lights and quirky battery-operated lights bring a gentle, warm glow to every summer evening. If your backyard has wall outlets, you can break out your holiday lights. For a fun DIY project, fill Mason jars or brightly colored plastic containers with battery-operated string lights. These can then be placed in the tent or around the backyard for a colorful evening glow! 

 

Tent Games

Turn your tent into a game room with your favorite board games, or make up your own! (Pro tip: this is a great activity for a rainy day!) When it gets dark, use lanterns or flashlights to create shadow puppets on the walls of the tent. For an educational twist, invest in a constellation lamp or tapestry and teach your kids to read the stars.   We love The Night Sky by local educator and author Garrick Pfaffmann .

 

2. Kid-Friendly Campfire Recipes

 

Breakfast: Tin Foil Egg Boats

These tin foil breakfasts are perfect for picky eaters and adventurous foodies alike. Shape two pieces of tin foil into a “boat” and a lid. Fill the boat with whisked eggs, chopped veggies, pre-cooked bacon, or your other favorite proteins. Then, carefully fold the tin foil lids over the boats to make closed, football-shaped containers. Cook these on a grill or stick with a marshmallow spear to roast over an open fire. After 5-10 minutes, the eggs and mix-ins will be perfectly cooked. Top with shredded cheese, salsa, or sour cream and dig in! 

 

Lunch & Dinner: Campfire Meals   

Cooking over a campfire adds a new layer of smoky flavor to every meal. Did you know baked potatoes can be an entire delicious, nutritious meal? Scrub and salt your potatoes, wrap in tin foil, and place directly in the coals of your campfire. Let roast for 45 minutes, then set aside to cool. When they’re ready to eat, add your favorite toppings — your kids can mix and match healthy favorites like broccoli, olives, scallions, salsa, and cheese — and dig in! For a cheesier twist, you can make grilled cheese or quesadillas over the fire. Our kids love adding mushrooms, roasted peppers, onions, tomatoes, and other veggies to make unique grilled cheese masterpieces!

 

Dessert: S’more Healthy S’mores

Who said s’mores had to be unhealthy? You can add a fresh component to this campfire favorite by swapping your Graham crackers for sliced strawberries or bananas, then topping with mini marshmallows and low-sugar dark chocolate. For a pop of protein, add a handful of chopped nuts. If your kids are fans of ooey-gooey deliciousness (who isn’t?), build tin foil boats like you did at breakfast and fill with your favorite dessert toppings. You can roast these over the fire just like roasting marshmallows, and enjoy a delicious, sticky dessert! 

3. Turn Your Backyard Into A State Park

 

Flora & Fauna Scavenger Hunt

For an educational afternoon activity, look up your state’s common wildlife and indigenous plants. Locate these in your own backyard (or hide handmade versions if your backyard isn’t super green), then make a scavenger hunt for your kids to complete. Spend the afternoon identifying these plants, bugs, and birds, and learning fun facts about them! 

 

Summer Olympics

It may be an off year for the Olympics, but that doesn’t have to be the case at your house! Turn your backyard into a sports extravaganza with your favorite summer games, like horseshoes, cornhole, and lawn darts. Do your kids have a competitive streak? Plan a full afternoon of games and competitions, with points for the winners. At the end of the day, decorate each other’s medals and give awards like “Best Concentration Face” and “Most Enthusiasm.” Hold a medal ceremony and celebrate! 

 

Bedtime Storytelling Contest

When it’s time for bed, you can use the day’s activities to inspire a bedtime storytelling contest. Alternatively, you can use familiar fairy tales and swap out the main characters for members of your family or your kids’ friends. Climb into your favorite jammies and take turns telling stories with different categories — scary, funny, mysterious — and vote on the winners.

 

As a mom and business owner living in the Colorado mountains, I have access to tons of great camping and wilderness opportunities.  But my entire life I’ve loved spending time right at home in my backyard: big, small, rural, urban, sandy, grassy, or rocky.   There’s nothing better than grilling out, making a fire, enjoying your garden or native plants, kicking or throwing a ball, a round of quoits or corn hole, and loving whatever makes your home special.   And what excitement for the kids, just to set up a tent in the yard and sleep outside.   Let’s face it, Summer can be short, but sweet, so make the most of it, even if it’s just right outside your doorstep!

Sweet dreams! ~ Nicole

 

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Sleep Tight: Father’s Day Gift-giving Ideas to Give Dad a Break

Harry Connick, Jr. has been quoted as saying, “My Dad is my hero.” Father’s Day is the perfect time to honor that special hero in your New Jammies kids’ lives by helping Dad relax and enjoy summer. These gift-giving ideas take the stress out of shopping to make Dad’s Day a breeze.

Grill Master
At New Jammies, we love the Slow Cooking Movement and the process of smoking foods. Who doesn’t enjoy a leisurely long day for Dad to prepare a meal for his family while he sips on sweet tea or a cold ginger beer?

It’s no secret many dads take barbecuing to an extremely personal level each summer, finding zen in the practice of smoking meats and slow-roasting vegetables to perfection. For the griller in your father, head to your local Target store, or shop online at target.com, for The Charcoal Companion Stuffed Burger Recipe Book, “the ultimate, one-of-a-kind collection of the most delicious and unique stuffed burger recipe.” Accompanying this Father’s Day-friendly book is the inventive Stuff-A-Burger Press that creates stuffed burgers with tender and tasty toppings on the inside. If ordered online and shipped fast, the book and press combo can come gift-wrapped and you’ll receive 20% off (sale price $13.59, reg $16.99).

This Turkey Burger Stuffed with Zucchini and Mushrooms recipe from sparkrecipes.com keeps Dad healthy by providing two servings of vegetables per thick, juicy patty. Ground turkey breast is leaner than beef, and the diced veggies in the meat help keep it moist. Use the grill in the recipe for the summer months.

The Gardner & the GrillHelp Dad up his expert griller game with some great grilled veggie centers and sides using the The Gardener & the Grill: The Bounty of the Garden Meets the Sizzle of the Grill guide. The book, available on amazon.com, is described as the complete grilling companion for gardeners, seasonal eaters and “flexitarians” everywhere, and anyone enamored of the powers of the grill—not just during the summer months, but all year long.

To add some extra flavor to Dad’s grilled veggies and burgers, or any dish, try Fire & Flavor’s all-natural, sweet and smoky Apple Wood Smoking Chips for gas or charcoal grills. They’re made in the good ol’ USA and perfect for beef, chicken, seafood and pork.

A Toast to Dad
Help Dad take a load off and unwind after grilling up dinner with a custom cocktail made with care. The Black Cherry Bourbon Soda from farmgirlgourmet.com, found on Pinterest, features a summery fruit treat and premium bourbon. Black cherries are used to infuse bourbon for the ultimate cherry soda. Cherry Bourbon can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Black CherriesIngredients
1 cup bourbon, such as Eagle Rare or Maker’s Mark
3/4 cup packed golden brown sugar
2 cups whole fresh black cherries, stems left on and pitted
16 ounces (2 cups) soda water

Instructions
Add the bourbon and brown sugar to a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until hot. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Pack cherries into a small jar and pour the hot liquid over; press gently on the cherries to make sure they are submerged. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 week or up to 1 month.
To prepare sodas: Fill four 12-ounce rocks glasses with ice, add 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cherry-infused bourbon to each glass and top with about 4 ounces soda water each. Garnish with 2 or 3 whole cherries soaked in bourbon (the longer they soak, the stronger they taste and can be enjoyed separately). Serve immediately.

Superman Two-piece Sleep SetSuper Dad
Rest comes easy for the super dad when he’s kicking back in PJs. Ideal for a fun Father’s Day gift idea, the Superman Two-piece Sleep Set in gray, available at Kohl’s stores and online at kohls.com helps dad be the man of steel while being a hero around the house. The set, on sale for $20 when originally $50, includes a short-sleeved crewneck tee and drawstring elastic waistband, button-fly lounge pants for extra comfort.

Yoga for MenLet’s Get Physical
Dad can test his strength and stamina at home and learn how yoga can improve his sleep, breathing and overall health with the Yoga for Men DVD, designed specifically for men by men, available on amazon.com. The 50-minute Yoga for Men routine can help Dad build strength and tone, achieve a great total body workout and help in the recovery from a sports related injury. Created and presented by Jake Panasevish, a certified vinyasa yoga teacher with more than 400 hours of training, Yoga for Men is based on his personal experiences overcoming sports related injuries and the overall goal of achieving excellent physical condition.

Bose Bluetooth SpeakerMusic Man
For music-loving fathers who love to listen to tunes on the go, amazon.com offers the Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker. Its sleek, ultra-compact design fits in the palm of Dad’s hand. He will enjoy full, natural sound for music, videos or games. Best of all, the speaker connects wirelessly to a smartphone, tablet or other Bluetooth device. Its advanced audio performance delivers a full-range listening experience and is Bose’s most compact, portable speaker. It features a rechargeable battery to play up to 7 hours for optional music listening while on a trip, working out or relaxing around the house. Shop online at amazon.com to receive 10% off (list price: $199, with deal: $179) and fast, free shipping delivered by Dad’s Day.