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Thursday
Nov122015

Palomar Mountain Observatory | Camping with Kids

In September we packed up the car and headed up to Palomar Mountain Observatory Campground. Every few months amateur astronomers hold "Star Parties" at this campground and when the sun goes down, their telescopes are up, and available for anyone who'd like to stop by and take a peak at the universe.

We had no idea if the kids would stay awake late enough into the night to actually be able to see any stars, but even if we missed the party, camping with our family is always worth a trip.

We stayed in spot 29 which is, randomly, my favorite number. The girls were thrilled by this.

During the day we took long walks circling the campground and exploring nature, different walking paths, and the mini-amphitheater provided for educational meet-ups.

This image series demonstrates Lyra to a T:

Me to Lyra: "Lyra, don't touch those. You'll get sticky sap all over your fingers."

Lyra to me: "Touch what, mom? Touch these?"

"Nothing to see here, mom. I touched nothing."

And then she is off to a giant pile of leaves on the hill next to her.

If you know me and Eric, you know we eat fairly clean; camping is an exception. I love making comfort food when we are out in the woods.

And there's coffee. Always coffee. We each have a West Marine stainless steel, insulated coffee mug, and a stainless steel Frieling French Press, so we just bring those along. Why have a camping set and a home set? Keeping things streamlined is the name of the game.

My latest decadence is pouring a bit of Baileys into a mason jar and dipping roasted marshmallows in to create an explosion of heaven in your mouth.

(Yes - :sigh: - adults only, do you even really need to ask?)

Plus, a nip of Baileys in your coffee in the morning isn't the worst thing in the world...

Eric and I try to split being in charge of meals while we are out. I love a man who cooks. A buff man who cooks is even better.

Growing up in Alaska, I spent a lot of time in the woods and a lot of time learning survival skills. When we take the girls to these very tame car camping spots I still try to teach survival skills throughout the day.

We collect kindling and practice different techniques for starting fires and discuss and demonstrate fire safety.

Of course collecting kindling is also a great time to talk about local flora and what to look out for!

Is this poison oak?

Or is this? (Or are they both?)

When we explore we talk about orienteering and situational awareness.

Where is our campsite from here? Can you show us how to get there?

What do you do if you get lost? Who is a good person to ask for help?

Where is a good place to shelter if you need to? What could you use to keep warm?

Children wake up talking and don't stop until they fall asleep at night, but we try to talk too. We are constantly trying to pour our knowledge into them, giving them as much as we can, while we can.

After the learning and exploring, a mid-day nap is always a great idea.

And once naps are done? Performances!

Per the kids' requests, we each took turns giving performances. Here is one of Lyra's:

This child adores animals, of all kinds. If we ever end up with a pet (and this possibility is next to ZERO,) it will be via persuasion from Lyra.

Thanks to Dan and X who came out to join us for the weekend. We hope to be back out camping soon.

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