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When you’re a dad, you do things you often would never admit to. You play dress up with your daughter, you put on makeup, you let her paint your toes with bright red nail polish that won’t come off for weeks. Dads love our kids, and we’d do almost anything for them. My daughter is four years old and bless her heart, but she’s been mad at Queen Elsa for a while because it’s been cold and snowy for MONTHS. She’s an outdoors kinda girl much like her dad. She loves to run around and sing ‘Let It Go’ and other songs from the princess movies she’s watched. She helps her mom in the garden and loves to sit outside and have a drink and think she is a ‘big girl’ as daddy works on Saturdays.
Recently I’ve been working more and I’ve been traveling and I can always tell when Hannah is missing me because she becomes attached. She wants to sit with me, lay down with me, snuggle with me, all the things a little girl does with dad. Last week I asked her what she wanted to do this summer and she came back with 4 things, of course holding only 3 fingers up. Beach, Disney Castle, Beach, and Camping. My wife perked up immediately and said, ‘CAMPING?! Where did you get that idea?’ Well who knew that the cartoon characters camp these days and she got it in her head that camping is fun! My wife on the other hand is NOT a big camper. It’s hot, there are bugs, no air conditioning…….hello! that’s what makes camping FUN! The outdoors, the wild, the tree’s rustling, enjoying nature and the outdoor experience.
So I knew I was going to have to compromise. I thought, what if I set up a tent in the back yard. Talk about #URBANCAMPING lol! My wife could share on Facebook but go inside and relax, while I could simply run the extension cord to the tent and charge my iPhone. Plus having the amenities of a kitchen 20 feet away can’t hurt right? So I asked my daughter Hannah if she wanted to go camping? The reaction I got was one of joy and jubilation. “REALLY REALLY Dada?! Oh boy, can we do it today?!” Those of you parents know the excitement of your little ones are one of lives little treasures. She jumped up and down, screamed and then realized (like the beautiful woman she is) she had to PACK!!! Barbie’s, toys, covers, pillows, they ALL needed to go outside and we hadn’t even been to Walmart to buy the tent yet!!
I get to Walmart and they have a great Sports & Leisure section filled with anything a guy could want. In doing this shopping experience, I learned a few things about tents. First not all of them are the same, and as a guy (who rarely reads directions) I want something that is easy to set up and tear down. I purchased the 6 Person Instant Cabin Tent from Ozark Trail. It’s says that assembly is possible in 60 seconds, but in my experience in camping I was extremely doubtful that a camping novice and a 4 year old could put a tent in 60 seconds. We buy the tent along with some Jet Puffed Marshmallows and Honey Maid Graham Crackers and headed home. Hannah couldn’t wait till I pulled up, she ran around the side of the house with a bounce in her step…..and in about 90 seconds I had the tent up. Seriously. It was so fast I couldn’t believe it. It probably would have been a minute or less but I had a four year old that was ‘helping.’ We put the stakes in the ground.
That’s a little deceptive…I’ll show you what it really looked like. Perspective really is everything isn’t it!
I literally couldn’t believe the tent was up so fast. Hannah on the other hand was fully prepared for camping.
Toys, blankets, covers, night light. Oh yes, we were ready. So if you are a little curious (or skeptical) on how this tent really works, let me explain how it literally pops up so fast. The black poles on the side that you see extend. They also have joints, so they can fold or bend. So you literally can set up the tent in a minute and tear in down just as fast.
As you can see from the picture it’s HUGE inside. It has enough space to hold 2 queen size mattresses and at 5’10” I could stand up straight in the tent. I was completely impressed. Hannah giggling the entire time proceeded to take her entire room and just move into the tent.
I grabbed our Igloo cooler, filled it with juice boxes, water, a few sodas and ice and we were set….except for one thing. S’mores! But S’mores can get boring so while we enjoyed them via the microwave, I had something else in mind.
They are called Rocky Road Bars. They are super easy to transport to the camp site and can be done ahead! So while you can enjoy roasting those yummy Jet Puffed Marshmallows you can also snack on these bars any time you want, no fire required!
They have a rich chocolate feel, almost like a brownie, but we are using some crushed up Honey Maid Graham Crackers. It really gives it a lighter feel and with the almonds it adds a really nice crunch. I couldn’t keep my hands off of them….and Hannah thought it was so special to have two desserts! I added a little melted marshmallows (and a pinch of butter) and drizzled some on top. Yea. I know you wanna bite!
All in all this was a fun experience. At 10:30pm, Hannah and I are cuddled together and she hears some coyotes, gets scared and we head into the house. We tried! Backyard camping……it’s not something every dad does, but I’m proud to say I did. Thanks Ozark Tents for letting me experience something with my daughter that I’ll never forget. She continues to beg for me to set the tent up again…..at least it only takes 60 seconds!
If you are going camping this season, head to Walmart and pick up this amazing 6 Person Instant Cabin Tent from Ozark Trail. It will make you life easier so you can enjoy the great outdoors.
- ½ cup butter
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1¼ cup flour
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- ¼ cup of cocoa powder
- 1 cup of mini marshmallows
- 2oz slivered almonds
- Cream butter and sugar.
- Add remaining ingredients in order, mixing between each.
- Save the marshmallows, almonds and chips to last and gently folding.
- Place in an 8½x11 pan. Put into a 350 degree oven for 15-20min.
- Depending on desired doneness.