Tag: camping

Playing and Staying in Big Sur

ProjectRefinedLife.com
ProjectRefinedLife.com

Big Sur is one of the “must-see places” in  America and located on one of the most iconic road trips in our Country, Highway 1, a designated American National Scenic Byway. With approximately 85 curvy miles between San Simeon and Carmel, this stretch of highway hosts breath-taking views of both the mountains and the coast.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

You could definitely stay in the car and drive through Highway 1 and be awestruck by its beauty (I’ve done that) or you could spend some time there and enjoy it to the fullest. Big Sur has plenty to do for the outdoor enthusiast. From hiking, to waterfalls, to the purple sandy beaches –  Big Sur is amazing!

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

You can spend the day to discover Big Sur by stopping along the highway and visit places like Mc Way Falls, Pfeiffer Beach and the Bixby Creek Bridge. We wanted to go on some hikes, see the redwoods and feel the purple sand of the beaches in Big Sur.

AndrewMoleraBeach1We decided to camp in Big Sur and made our base at the Fernwood Resort. To make reservations you simply call them, that’s right – no internet reservations here. The friendly staff at Fernwood Resort, answers the phones (crazy right?) checks the dates your interested in and lets you know what’s available. Take note – campsites fill up quick as most of the campers I talked to while we were there book their camping spots a year in advance.

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Highway 1 is filled with gorgeous resorts, inns and camping spots along the way. The Fernwood Resort came as a recommendation to us and I’m glad we stayed here. We were fortunate enough to scoop up a couple of cancellations for our trip.

Fernwood16One the first night, we stayed at camp site #63 – This campsite is located along the river on the other side of the bridge after entering the campsite. My first thought upon pulling up to our campsite was that the space was small, beautiful but small. We got out, set up camp and realized there was plenty of space.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

As it turns out your campsite goes all the way down to the river, you can actually set up your tent near the river (just be careful if rain is in the forecast). Each campsite comes with a picnic table and a fire ring. All of the campsites along the river surprisingly have electricity and water and most importantly easy access to the river. You fall to sleep to the gentle sound of the river.

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FernwoodResort12
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The campsites located on the opposite side are set among the Redwood Trees but do not have electricity and water. The restrooms, free showers, a dishwashing area (with hot water) and a coin operated laundry area are all conveniently located to all of the campsites.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

As for our second night we moved to “primitive” Tent Cabin # 8 – which means a cabin with no electricity or bathroom. The Tent Cabins sleep 4 are also located along the river, have a picnic table and fire rings.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

The Tent Cabins do offer a little more privacy as they sit between the Redwood trees. Our girls loved playing inside the cabin while my husband and I prepared meals and sat around the campfire with the sound of the river below us.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

There are trails that leads down to the river from the tent cabin sites, my girls had a blast playing in the river.

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ProjectrefinedLife.com

The restrooms were a short walk from the Tent Cabins as well as private coin operated showers rooms. The downside for me was that the dishwashing station was located on the other side of the camp near the tent camping sites.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

Fernwood Resort also offers Adventure Tents (a Tent Cabin with electricty, a bed, night stand, lights and bedding), a Motor Lodge, Fully Furnished Cabins with bathrooms and kitchens, RV sites and group camping spots. If you arrive here and realize you forgot something, don’t worry – they’ve got you covered.

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FernwoodResort8

There is a very fully stocked market (which includes vegan and vegetarian options), a very fully stocked camping supply store, a restaurant with an outside patio with heaters and a ping pong table, an Ice Cream shop (that serves very healthy servings) and live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

A couple of things to consider – if were a camper, the camp sites are a little higher then your usually campsites (still far less than a motel room) and you can only get Wi-Fi service in the store/restaurant area, so be prepared to unplug during your stay.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

Both Pfeiffer Beach and Andrew Molera State Beach are located within 5-10 minutes from Fernwood Resort. Staying here gave us the the perfect opprtunity to explore Big Sur, see the Redwoods, play in the oceans purple sand, play in the river, relax by a campfire and of course  – make s’mores! How perfect is that!

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

Fernwood Resort has a gorgeous walking trail (great for the littles) a hiking trail and also happens to be home to one of the very rare “Albino” Redwood.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

I highly recommend Fernwood Resort, no matter what level of adventure your at. If your looking to stay in a room, relax in a cabin or rough it in a campsite, they have something for you. You can’t go wrong staying here while you while you discover this beautiful area of California.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

Happy exploring!

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Jetboil Flash

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ProjectRefinedLife.com
**This post does contain affiliate links in which ProjectRefinedLife does make a small commission should you choose to purchase an item, I appreciate you supporting my site. My reviews and opinions are 100% my own.**

On our recent trip to Yosemite National Park we were fortunate enough to snag up one night at Housekeeping Camp. I was thrilled to be able to stay inside the park, Not only would we save time and money staying here but It would give us the oppurtunity to do some camping during our stay.

Housekeeping Camp allows you to camp while having access to a bed, electricity and a light both inside and outside your tent and the ability to cook and have your meals in your private camp site patio. Staying here was afforadable while giving us a sense of adventure. This also gave me the perfect opportunity to reallocated the money we saved on a staying at a hotel and buying breakfast to add some items to our camping kitchen.

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Projectrefinedlife.com

My main concern was saving space, I decided I didn’t want to take along our regular camping stove since I knew that at best I would only be able to make one make one meal upon arrival that night and one meal in the morning. My plan was to take a smaller cooler and a smaller cooktop. I considered purchasing a single burner camp stove but again – buying something compact was my main concern.

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Projecctrefinedlife.com

I visited my favorite store, REI for some insight and ideas. I talked to one of the always helpful and knowledgable REI associates, he suggested this amazing little cooking stove. It packs up small, sets up easilty and I could fit in my backpack if needed. You never know when I might decide to do a backpacking trip along the Pacific Crest Trail.

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Projectrefinedlife.com

After discussing our needs with the REI associate I was sold on the Jetboil Flash. This little stove comes with everything you need to boil water fast in a very small package. The sales associate said he had even cooked hot dogs in it! I could easily see how this stove would be a great addition to our camping kitchen items.

The Jetboil Flash has some additional items you can purchase to make your Jetboil Flash even more versatile. The Jetboil Pot Support allows you to use with the stove with the Jetboil Flux Coffee Press, Jetboil Flux Pot or the Jetboil Flux Pan. The Jetboil Pot Support also gives you the option of using your regular camping pots and pans with it.

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Projectrefinedlife.com

Shortly after arriving at Housekeeping Camp, I was able to pull out my Jetboil Flash boil some water, get my girls some hot cocoa and our Freeze Dried dinner ready in a flash (pun intented). At breakfast time, I used it to boil water for our coffee, hot cocoa and again our delicious Freeze Dried breakfast.

Okay, so our regular food is better but the dehydrated food was good. It saved us money, space, time and I didn’t have to wash any pots or pans. You could easily take along some prepackaged homemade oatmeal packets and use the boiled water to make some oatmeal.

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Projectrefinedlife.com

I have read that  both the Jetboil Flash Pot Support and the coffee press are highly recommend, two items I just might consider getting for our future camping trips. The stove comes with a an adjustable flame level and an igniter so there’s no need for matches.  The Jet Boil Flash is simple to put together, use, take apart and store.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

I boiled 2 cups of water in about 1.30 minutes. The side of the Jetboil Flash has flames which turn a bright yellow when the water is boiling (reviewers said it turns red but my water was ready at yellow).

I can easily see how having this in addition to my regular camping stove can help to make some quick cocoa and coffee while I cook breakfast while camping or when I don’t want to take our regular camping stove. At $99.95 I can say that the Jetboil Flash  is well a made compact cooking stove that I can highly recommend. I gladly give it 5 stars!

Image courtesy of http://cliparts.co/five-stars
Image courtesy of http://cliparts.co/five-stars
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August 10th is National S’mores Day!!!

HershySmores

Image from Hersheys.com

 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A s’more (sometimes spelled smore) is a traditional night time campfire treat popular in the United States and Canada, consisting of a roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two pieces of graham cracker.[1] National S’mores Day is celebrated yearly on August 10 in the United States.

S’more appears to be a contraction of the phrase “some more”. The first recorded version of the recipe can be found in the publication Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts of 1927. Although the exact origin is unclear, reports on the group as early in 1925 describe them. Merriam-Webster marks 1974 as the first use of S’more, though recipes for “Some Mores” are in various Girl Scout publications until at least 1973.

Since the Girl Scouts popularized S’mores, it has been a long standing communal tradition around the campfire. No Campfire in site, not to worry – you can make them in the microwave. People have S’more’s dessert tables at dinner parties. Some people skip the food and have S’more parties. A couple of months ago, my local Girl Scout Council staff had a S’more’s competition. That’s a tasty competition.

Go and get your ingredients and get ready to celebrate National S’more’s day with your family.

Here’s the basic S’mores recipe from Hersheys.com

Ingredients

  • 4 marshmallows
  • 4 graham crackers, broken into halves
  • 2 (1.55 oz. each) HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate Bars, broken into halves

    Directions

    Place 1 graham cracker half on paper towel; top with chocolate bar half and marshmallow. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) in 10 second intervals until marshmallow puffs. Immediately top with remaining graham cracker half; gently press together. Repeat for each serving; serve immediately. 4 servings.

    OUTDOOR S’MORES: Place 1/2 of HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate Bar (1.55 oz.) on graham cracker half. Carefully toast marshmallow over grill or campfire (supervise the kids if they’re doing this); place over chocolate. Top with second graham cracker half; gently press together.

    For some interesting takes on S’more’s check out my S’more’s Pinterest page .

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    The Controversial Girl Scout Barbie Doll

    The new Girl Scout Barbie is due to roll out in stores this week. Consumer groups, as well as some people involved with Girl Scouts, are pushing back against it. Last year, a “Barbie, I can be anything” fun patch for Daisies and Brownies came out. Which created some very mixed feelings.

    The requirements for this fun patch are that the girls complete a booklet to match up their character traits with the careers they’re best suited for. The girls then come up with an idea for a Girl Scout badge and possible real world applications. It really is a great fun patch, but my troop has not worked on this “fun” patch as my troop’s focus has been in earning official Girl Scout Badges and Journey’s.

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    Some believe that this is not a good match or model for our girl scouts, saying this Barbie undermines the Girl Scouts mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character. Others believe this is a great way to get girls interested in Girls Scouts.

    In a clip from the Today Show, one Mom said “I think if girls didn’t identify with Barbie, it might create a problem for us as parents, but girls love them. They represent what they love, it’s a win-win.”

     In March, Ana Marie Chavez, CEO of GSUSA told Parade magazine “I see girls lobbying town hall to build a safer crosswalk for their elementary school. My world, when I was a kid, was my backyard. Their world is the globe”. “We are tying the fun girls have playing with Barbie to an opportunity to gain insight into the careers of today and tomorrow, through patches and discovery along the way,”

    I looked up all of Barbie’s careers on Wikipedia, she’s been portrayed as everything from a babysitter, a teacher, a pilot, a military officer, an Ambassador for World Peace, a  Scientist, to a Computer Engineer.

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    Upon seeing a picture of the Girl Scout Barbie, my initial thought was “why couldn’t they have made her a troop leader (since she’s obviously an adult) and made younger Barbie dolls as the girl scouts (her troop) and what’s with all the pink?” However, when I showed my daughter a picture of Girl Scout Barbie, she said “oh, that’s neat”.  So, Girl Scout Barbie is obviously Girl Scout approved. Just like the Girl Scout Build-a-Bear. Maybe it’s just a feeling of being represented in the world.

    I am not going to sit here a bash on Girl Scout Barbie or GSUSA for this partnership. I don’t think my 7 year old wants to grow up and be Barbie any more then she wants to grow up and be a Build-a-bear. However, I do believe that the mere thought of  Barbie brings to mind a definite stereotype that Girl Scouts volunteers work so hard to overcome.

    It is just a toy but I do wish that GSUSA could work up a partnership to endorse other types of toys: explorer toys, scientist toys, detective toys, how about some veterinarian toys or….. camping toys.  I think those types of toys would better represent some of what Girl Scouts do at the Daisy, Brownie and Junior levels (the target audience for Barbies). It would also sit so much better with the volunteers that guide the Girl Scout programming and consumer groups alike. on the flip side,  If my daughter wants a Girl Scout Barbie, that’s fine with me.

    I must say this again, I am not trying to bash on the Girl Scout Barbie or GSUSA. I love Girl Scouts. I love the program and everything it does for our girls. I love the overall message it sends. I am not going to let a Barbie get in the way of my overall thoughts of such an important part of my girls life. I am proud to represent Girl Scouts by being a volunteer for my service unit and to be a Troop Leader. Girl Scouting helps more then the girls involved, it helps the adults involved as well. By the way, Barbie, I love the handbag.

    What are your feelings and thoughts are on this partnership and the possible image it creates?

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    Join the Great American Backyard Campout

    Great_american_campout

    The 10th annual Great American Backyard Campout is Saturday, June 28. National Wildlife Federation is encouraging people to camp outside on June 28th, or a night of your choice.

    National Wildlife Federation’s Board of Directors and other friends have offered to donate $2 in support of NWF’s wildlife conservation work for every person that participates in this year’s Campout— up to $400,000! You can register at the NWF site. You can camp in your backyard, balcony or a campground. They also provide a Campsite Finder  which offers you the chance to join other camping teams. National Wildlife Federation hopes to connect more people and families with being in the great outdoors.

    National Wildlife Federation also has some Camping Tips, games, songs, stories and recipes on their website.

    As a Girl Scout leader I must ask that you please don’t forgoet the s’mores. Did you know that s’mores first appeared in the 1927 Girl Scout Handbook, Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts. 

    I”ll  keep you up to date on our upcoming camping plans and recipes. We just recently acquired some great camping equipment and I can’t wait to use it.

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