We are a one-TV family. It’s something my husband and I agreed on years and years ago, because, in a nutshell, it’s sharing, and we believe having everyone holed up in their own areas ultimately is not good when families only have so much time to spend all together. Now, don’t get me wrong: we have computers that do sometimes, for the sake of peace make do in lieu of a TV (or two… or three), but in the evenings we always watch something together. I don’t know if it’s because all the things that would have classified as “family” television back in the day, and which the big 3 would have had as a family hour are now on Nickelodeon or Disney (Good Luck Charlie would totally have been an 8 p.m. “Full House”-style show)… but for whatever reason, there’s not a lot of scripted TV for families to watch together anymore, unless you’re pretty cavalier about bawdy jokes and language. SOOOO, we watch a lot of Discovery Channel, History, Science Channel, etc.
This is how you end up with a 6 year-old who wants to pan gold. Gold Rush inspired 2 years of begging to go looking for gold. Which inspired us to try to find a place in gold country to camp, and yes… pan for gold. Which led me to what seemed like 15 thousand hours of research to find just the right place for us.
Coloma Resort is what I found, and I can’t even say how I came across it. However, I sure am glad I did. It’s privately owned, but right across the road and river from Marshall Gold Discovery State Park, where the gold rush began when Marshall and his buddy Sutter found something interesting in the water near the mill they were building.
Plus the business of camping: the cooking! When we camped as a DINKy couple, menus were not given much thought. Funny thing is, kids expect to be fed really often. I’m becoming pretty decent at planning the menus and prepping the food before. This trip we had:
Thurs Dinner: Korean Ribs and wild rice blend (those cheesy heat and serve packets of rice are dubious for home consumption but perfect for camping), hot dogs for boys because they don’t know what they’re missing on the ribs.
Friday breakfast: eggs, sausage, toast, fruit, juice, milk
Friday lunch: hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, carrots, yogurt
Friday dinner: tacos/burritos, mexican rice, refried beans, chips & guac, s’mores
Saturday breakfast: breakfast burritos with home fries/eggs/leftover taco meat & fixings, toast, bacon
Saturday lunch: hot dogs, burgers, carrots w/last of guac
Saturday dinner: barbecue chicken, beans (Carter ran around with a chicken leg in each hand like a wild man)
Sunday breakfast: pancakes, bacon, fruit, and cinnamon rolls in the pie iron WORKED GREAT
plus: snacks, snacks, snacks, and always coffee for the grownups in the morning
I’ve learned to cook what makes sense or is messy at home, then freeze it flat in a freezer bag, like the taco meat and home fries. I also marinate and freeze the chicken legs so they’re easier to keep cold, and also serve as ice in the cooler. In fact, I freeze everything this side of milk and eggs. Normally I think precooked bacon or “just add water and shake” pancake batter is the epitome of laziness, but, like the precooked rice packets, they’re really handy for camping. And, I protect my well-seasoned cast iron pan with my life (not really, but it is nice to have a pan you can truly wipe clean with a paper towel when buckets of soapy water would be a drag to deal with). At this time I still use a lot of disposable plates, cups, and utensils. Someday I’d like to go greener on that aspect, but for now I’m letting it slide in the name of sanity for myself.
I know that was a lot on what we ate, but as the person who spent hours and hours on it, I think I am allowed a little jabbering. We don’t go camping just to eat, but boy does everyone do that with gusto after long days outside playing, playing, playing.
We really enjoyed our time in Coloma, and still have so much to do next time we go, probably next summer. Now we have about a month and a half until the next family camping adventure, up north next time. I’m so glad we’re a camping family now; it took us nearly a decade to get back to it, but better late than never!