This week my family and I treated ourselves to a spur-of-the-moment camping trip to Leo Carrillo Campground in the wilds (sort-of) of Malibu. It’s hard to do anything last-minute involving kids, but the gorgeous weather, fresh air and the promise of smores by the fire were too hard to resist.
We cruised up to the camp and rolled out the tents on a perfectly hot and sunny afternoon. After making up the beds (I may or may not have brought ALL of my bedding from home including the featherbed), and after being laughed by my sisters for buying such an enormous tent (don’t you start, I love it!), my sisters and I uncorked the whiskey and toasted our clever selves for thinking of such a wonderful place for a mini-break.
The rest of the day we spent entertaining the kids: befriending squirrels, climbing trees, watching the tadpoles in the river, finger-painting, building fires and reading books. Henry, maybe not surprisingly, is SUCH a good camper – happy, playful, curious and helpful. Actually, I think he’s more at home outdoors than in.
Vivienne, however, in true sibling style, was nothing like her brother. When it came time to put the little ones to bed, Vivi refused. And refused. And refused. I rocked her. I cuddled her. I sang to her. But this kid did not want to go to sleep and pretty soon the entire campground knew it.
Exhausted and frustrated, I ended up leaving sleeping Henry with the rest of the family and driving home with her at midnight, where she snoozed happily the rest of the night in her crib. The next morning, not to be discouraged, I headed back up the coast to rejoin the others and enjoy the day, just in time to eat the breakfast I had prepared in advance. On family trips, I usually volunteer to be the meal planner, and I have to say, this time I nailed it.
Behold, the perfect camping breakfast: the campfire breakfast burrito! I made them at home before we left and we just popped them on the grill for a few minutes to toast them up. They’re ridiculously simple to make — just toss some scrambled eggs, shredded white cheddar, spicy-crispy potatoes, and chives in a large flour tortilla wrapped in tin foil and you’re done. After a tiring night, a good breakfast and a strong cup of tea was exactly what I needed.
The second day we spent entirely at the beach, which we had almost entirely to ourselves. The kids ran wild on endless stretches of beach with salt in their hair and sand in their toes, building castles, collecting shells and looking for dolphins.
As the sun sank down we returned to the camp, rebuilt our fire and grilled up some fresh fish and veggies. And after dinner, I tucked a very-tired Henry into bed next to his Opa and headed back to Topanga with my sweet, but stubborn little Vivi. When the family brought Henry back home the next morning, he was full of excitement and stories about camping. Despite Vivi’s hatred for tents, I have to say, it was all worth it for me to see Henry’s eyes light up when he told me how much fun he had. I’m not sure what I’ll do in the future about Vivi, but I’ve already booked another trip for October, so I have a few months to figure it out. If you have any camping hacks, tips or tricks I’d love to know! Share yours below.