As the buzz over the technology revolution is settling down and becoming less of a novelty, the past couple of years have seen a resurgence of vintage, or traditional pastimes. The world keeps spinning faster, and everyone’s eyes seem to be opening to the need for relaxation. Gone are the days of the glorification of “busy”. They are being replaced with the art of slow living.
One of the most popular vintage pastimes that’s resurfaced seems to be whittling. What do you think of when you picture whittling? Perhaps what pops up in your head is an old man in a rocking chair on a front porch, carving a piece of wood, with an ice-cold beverage nearby. His grandson sits in a chair next to him whittling his own stick of wood, keeping up a steady stream of chatter. As the sun sinks lower in the sky, their wood pieces start to come to life. The scene is idyllic, peaceful, and relaxing.
The history of whittling really begins in early Americana. With only the use of a pocket knife and good, soft wood; crafty folks could whittle just about anything. A couple of main things that have changed with the pastime since then is the quality of the knives and the selection of specialty blade shapes available. The craft has become easier and more enjoyable than ever before.
What are you waiting for? Throw away your worries for a moment so you can sit back and relax while creating something beautiful. Spend some quality time with someone you love. Connect with the past while living fully in the present. There’s a reason this pastime is coming back, and I think if you give it a try you just might become an advocate of the art of slow living.
Tired of the same old hot dogs? We are too. These scrumptious pizza rolls are a perfect way to switch things up on your next adventure! Made with store-bought pizza dough, they are easy, but you can customize them to your own taste. Best of all, kids LOVE to eat these, so there will be no leftovers to worry about when dinner is done.
-canned pizza dough (found in the refrigerated section)
-your favorite toppings
-italian seasoning, salt, and pepper
Roll out your pizza dough to form a rectangle. Spread pizza sauce over the rectangle of dough. Cover with cheese followed by any additional toppings you would like. Sprinkle seasonings lightly, then roll pizza to form a log. Tuck the edges in and wrap in thick foil. Place in the freezer until your adventure. Store in your cooler and set out until almost thawed. To cook, place foil log on fire pit. Cook for about 15 minutes then flip over and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes. Slice up and enjoy!
It’s that simple, and that easy! After that, all you have to do is enjoy every bite.
Camping is about more than just getting away for the weekend. It’s a chance to reconnect with ourselves, our families and the outdoors. When the world around us is opened up to the outdoors and closed off to normal daily pressures and obligations, magical things happen. We relax. We learn to appreciate the simple things. We reset ourselves for our busy lives at home (think Ctrl+Alt+Delete), and we establish deeper bonds with the people we are with. If all that wasn’t enough to get you in the camping mood, here’s four great reasons why families the world over should head outdoors this summer for a weekend camping adventure.
Learn to Unplug – In a world where most all of us are plugged in constantly, it can be a bit difficult to go without a device of some sort for very long. Camping, especially in a rural area, can help to shift our focus from our devices to the world around us. Plus, if you’re in a remote area and don’t have reception or electricity, then you will literally be “unplugged”. At first, it may be painful, but before you know it, you’ll find the family visiting more, laughing more, interacting more, and paying much closer attention to the world around them.
I once spent eight days whitewater rafting through the Grand Canyon. There were no devices, electricity, or modern conveniences for a hundred miles in either direction. At first I worried about missing work emails or important phone calls. After 24 hours, I forgot all about them. After eight days, I dreaded having to go back and check any of them. For the first time in my adult life, I was able to fully immerse myself in my surroundings and live fully in the moment. It affected me deeply, and to this day I long for that feeling again. This is coming from a girl who has practically every device Apple ever sold, so when I write about the importance of unplugging, I write about it from experience.
Learn Some Basic Outdoor Survival Skills – Ok let’s be honest here. Most kids (and adults) today don’t know how to find their way with a compass, light a fire, or build a shelter. And that’s fine. We don’t really need to. That being said, none of those things are bad skills to have, and a weekend camping is the perfect time to practice some of them. After all, you can’t make s’mores without the fire, so take some time to teach the kids some basic outdoor skills. They’ll have fun, they’ll learn something, and they’ll feel a sense of accomplishment.
Learn to Communicate – I don’t mean proper english sentence structure here. I mean talk, visit, and just plain old communicate. When we’re home during our busy everyday lives, we get caught up in the details of the day. Removing ourselves from our everyday lives gives us the chance to talk about other things. Evening campfires and afternoon hikes are a great time to do this. Visit about family history, cool stories from when you were young, or their dreams and goals when they grown up. Whatever it is, try to steer the conversation away from everyday tasks and burdens of home life. Those details will be waiting when you get home. You can talk about them then.
Learn Personal Responsibility – When we are camping, we usually have limited resources. This forces us to be aware of what we consume and what we throw away. We also have to deal with all of our trash and mess. We can’t leave our campsite messy and full of garbage when we are done. This forces us to be learn to respect our surroundings and keep our area clean. We also can’t leave food out (think bears) and our tents or camper doors wide open (think bugs). This forces everyone to immediately clean up after ourselves and take some personal responsibility. It’s a small thing, but if we carefully mention it and talk about it with our children, it can have a big impact on their behavior that can carry through to everyday home life.
Camping season is upon us. Whether you’re planning a wilderness camping adventure or a simple backyard campout, cooking over the campfire is one of the best parts of camping. Combine a campfire and popcorn, and now you’re talking our language! Campfire popcorn is not only a delicious snack, it’s also a blast to make over a fire while enjoying the outdoors.
-Sugar (optional) * Be sure to use appropriate caution and abide by campground rules while building the fire.
Step 1. Build your campfire in clear area away from trees and buildings. Allow the fire to burn until hot embers form.
Step 2. Cut foil into 18 to 20-inches long pieces.
Step 3. Add a handful of popcorn on top of each piece of foil.
Step 4. Add a teaspoon of vegetable oil to each piece of foil.
Step 5. Fold the foil in half and then twist the sides to seal.
Step 6. Attach the foil pouch to a long stick.
Step 7. Place the pouches over or slightly above the coals of your campfire.
Step 8. Listen and wait for the popcorn kernels to start popping.
Step 9. Remove the foil packets once you do not hear any more popping inside the foil packets. Be careful when opening the pouch as it will be very hot and steamy inside.
Step 10. Season the popcorn with butter and salt. Sugar is optional.
Step 11. You’re finished! Enjoy your campfire popcorn.
Are you from the generation that remembers when a stick became a sword, a pile of blankets became a fort, and an afternoon outside meant an epic adventure to far distant places? If you are, it can be hard to stomach the constant need for technology that today’s youth seem to have. It can be disheartening to see a 12 year old curled up on the couch with his iPod in hand and headphones in his ears on a gorgeous and sunny summer afternoon. Even more disheartening is when you wrench the headphones from his ears and tell him to go outside and play, and the response you get is, “Outside? Now? It’s so boring out there!”
A 2010 Kaiser Foundation Study found that children and teens are, on average, spending seven hours and 58 minutes on entertainment media each day. That’s over 53 hours a week! The truth is, technology is here to stay and your kids love of it isn’t going to dim anytime soon. But, fear not weary parents – we have some ideas on how to break that reliance and expose your children to the dreaded “outdoors”.
A weekend of family camping is at the top of our technology-busting list, and for good reason. By taking the kids away from their electronic habitat, you’re removing them from their familiar routine. Over the course of your camping adventure, they’ll be able to focus on exploring the world around them and getting hands-on with nature. Since children tend to be curious creatures who bore easily (especially when they reach teenager status), you can play upon that personality trait to get them outside, get them moving, and keep them happy.
One of the greatest and lasting rewards of a weekend of camping is the memories that your family will carry with them forever. My family used to do quite a bit of summertime camping, and many decades later (but not too many), those camping weekends form some of my fondest childhood memories. Now that I’m a mom of teenage boys, it puts a smile in my heart when my boys run out the door with their hammocks, backpacks, and fishing poles for a day of adventure.
If you aren’t a camping type of family, then you can still encourage (or in my case “trick”) your children into spending more time outdoors and away from their X-Box. All it took for our family was for our boys and their friends to get a couple of hammocks. Before I knew it, they were heading out to the lake or the local bluff with not only their hammocks, but fishing poles, backpacking equipment, and even assorted survival gear. Of course, they bring their phones and iPods along and text me pictures, but that’s the kind of technology I DON’T mind!