posted in Products & Prizes
Packing, packing, packing — that’s what our Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday felt like last week. We unpacked and repacked our tent-trailer since we hadn’t used it in almost 2 years. Everything needed a good cleaning.
Our little tent-trailer all set up like a little playhouse as my 3-year-old termed it.
Then we packed up clothing, toiletry items, kitchen gear, camp food, flashlights, and oh so much kid gear. We car camp so we can bring the extra conveniences as long as there is room in the truck bed. So, we packed it all in, unsure of what we’d use, but certain we wanted it available (even if we were only camping a hour from our home). By 7 (yes, 7 p.m.!) we were off to meet our friends at the campground.
Daddy and daughter time around the campfire. Priceless
We were greeted by a chorus of children yelling “Vivianne!” when we arrived. After the trailer was backed into place, she quickly left us to join the other kiddos ranging from ages 3 to 9. They played ALL weekend long, napped hard, slept through the night — it was glorious.
My husband, younger daughter, and I joined the other families already gathered around the fire pit with the small children, 1 to 2 years old. These are the hard camping years, when you want your young one to explore and learn, yet keep them safe at the same time.
We all struggled at one point or another with our younger kids between nap schedules, the varied crawling/walking stages, and the tendency to put everything in their mouths. Here is some of the gear I found that helped contain, entertain and lull our littles to sleep this weekend.
This is not something we just use for camping. The Graco Pack ‘n Play Sportyard is such a convenient item that it gets taken lots of places and is currently being used in our living room. Some of the reasons it’s so great to take camping: It is super easy to set-up, it has a waterproof bottom, and it has a canopy to protect babies from the sun. It is also collapses easily and packs into a convenient shoulder bag for easy transport. (Amazon, $171.23)
Here is my little girl enjoying her play yard. It was so nice to have a comfy spot for her to read books and play with the few toys we bought while we were packing up to leave, making dinner, etc.
We used the KidCo Dine Pod portable highchair during our camping trip. The DinePod was a nice height so we could push it right up to the table. The one problem we had is that our daughter kept standing up on the raised section in the middle to swipe things off my plate. It has a buckle and I’m pretty sure she would have fallen out if we hadn’t used it. It was easy to set up, lightweight and had a wide base so even though my daughter stood up, it never tipped over. (Amazon, $49.95)
Here is my daughter polishing off mamma’s corn-on-the-cob. A tray attachment would have been nice so we could put some items right in front of her to gobble down.
So, small mommy confession here. My 1-year-old started our camping trip with a mild case of conjunctivitis (pinkeye). I warned my fellow campers when we arrived and used breastmilk (surprisingly effective) and thorough handwashing to clear it up. One thing that may have prevented the incident in the first place is a SnoofyBee 3-in-1 changer. It is designed to create a barrier between the baby and their curious little fingers inching towards that diaper mess. (Amazon, $29.99)
Here is my sweet girl needing a major diaper change. I handed her a small toy, which kept her occupied and wiggle free while taking care of that 5-wipe mess. The changing pad creates a cone-shaped barrier, but also packs up into a convenient little bag. She did not try to wriggle away when I put this on her, which has been such a problem every since she learned to flip herself over.
This is kind of an expensive item to buy for camping so I’m not going to suggest that. But, it’s been a helpful tool around our house. It serves multiple purposes (transitioning baby out of our bed, TV lounger for 3-year-old, toddler bed transition). I thought it would be helpful in creating a barrier between my daughters so they could both get some sleep at night in our tent-trailer. It worked wonderfully for that purpose. (DockATot, $290)
As soon as I walked into the campsite the subject of sleep was brought up amongst us mommas. One friend said it took her 2 hours to get her 2-year-old down for her nap only to have her sleep for 45 minutes. She looked weary, but I had a solution: The Marpac Hushh for Baby Portable White Noise Sound Machine. It’s a travel-size sound machine with a number of volume settings, and a nightlight. It can run for about 8 hours on a full charge. (Amazon. $34.95)
We both used the Hushh sound machine; it drowned out children laughing, yelling, crying, dogs barking, neighboring campsites with their obnoxiously loud music (some even brought strobe lights!). We would have liked a sleep timer so we didn’t waste necessary battery life. Since we were dry-camping (no electricity) being able to charge items isn’t always an option. But this little machine took care of both of our kiddos so I’d say it was worth the investment.
Having a video camera and monitor help me relax while my children are sleeping. Period. So, I spent hours trying to find a video camera that took batteries so I could use it when camping. The Levana Jena Baby Video Monitor has a camera that runs off of 4 AAA batteries. Most cameras just plug into a wall, but this has the ability to run off of batteries too. I am not sure how long the camera runs with batteries, but we did not use them up and my daughter took 3 2-hour-long naps. The monitor has an 8-hour battery life (12 on peep mode) and that was enough battery life without needing to recharge it while camping for 3 days. (MyLevana, $79.99)
Being able to see Evie on the monitor let me relax and enjoy time around the campfire and a card game or two. I was able to check in on her without disturbing her slumber. I even caught her crawling on the bed (twice) after she woke up. Falling off the bed would not have been good. I was thankful to have this peace-of-mind.
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