A few weekends ago my husband was slated to be out of town and I wanted to do something fun and out of the ordinary with the kids.  I teased them about it all week telling them that I was planning something special for Friday night.  Every day they asked me for clues, but I was like a vault and wouldn’t cave.

I grew-up camping with my family most weekends.  I can’t even count the number of times I was dropped off at school on a Monday morning on the way home from a camping trip…trailer in tow.  I loved camping as a kid, minus the HUGE fear of wild animals that I still carry with me (snakes top the list and my fear of mountain lions keeps me from “off the beaten path” trails).  Camping as a child instilled in me a massive appreciation of and for nature.  While I now prefer a cabin to a tent (showers and comfy beds rule!), I will ALWAYS love the great outdoors.

My daughter has been begging to go camping and my son loves all things camping, dirt biking, and “manly,” so I knew he would love what I had in store for them.  I spent all morning Friday preparing for indoor camping.  The kids were thrilled to come home from school and see my son’s tent set-up in the living room along with all the fixings for gluten-free smores.

The kids roasted dinner on a stick and then after going on a “hike” around the neighborhood (purely to distract them from the smores for a little bit…didn’t work…the whole hike they asked when we could turn around and go home to roast the mallows), we went home and finally roasted those marshmallows. Since we did not have any gluten-free graham crackers on hand and also because I generally don’t like the GF version you can buy in stores (they are too crumbly and more importantly too processed), I made my Chewy Chocolate Brownie Cakes (click HERE for the recipe) and made them about 1/3 of the normal thickness.  Next time I am going to try and make them even thinner…more like the thickness of a true graham cracker.  They were an absolute hit.

On our way back home to roast the mallows we also got a call from my husband letting us know that work commitments were keeping him home.  Yay for us that we got to have our daddy home too!

The night was capped-off with a viewing of Ghostbusters II in the tent and then sleeping in the tent for my son and I.  My daughter prefers sleeping alone, so we set-up her little sleeping bag on a special camping bed I made right outside the tent.

What fun surprises do you plan for your little ones?  I’d love to hear your ideas because this time together is so precious…


Filed under Cake, Dessert, Events, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Recipes, Vacation, Vegan, Vegetarian


  1. Sirica

    So sweet, good job Mama!!!

  2. Fran johnson

    Love reading about how you’re passing along our family traditions to Fo and LI. What a fun mommy you are. Love you, mom

  3. how fun!!!!!!! love it! And I hope none of the sweets dripped on your fireplace ;)! xoxo

  4. That is an awesome idea, they must have loved it. Like the Graham cookie substitution.

  5. What a great and sweet memory for you family! Love it! I’ll have to check out that brownie cakes recipe.

  6. Loved reading about your indoor ‘camping’ tradition, and love the ‘thin’ brownie as a sub for GF graham crackers. Brownie S’Mores are genius! A new tradition!

  7. I wish I had gone “camping” indoors as a kid! We tried pitching a tent once in our backyard, which is pretty close… But much, much more uncomfortable. I think we all ended up wandering back inside to our beds before the night was through. 😉

  8. Oh my heavens, my stepkids will love this! My stepdaughter, in particular, could eat her weight in smores, so I’m sure this idea will go over well. Plus, they’re at that age (they’re both almost 12) where sleepover/slumber parties are getting more fun, so I’m sure this will provide for a lot of fun summer nights. Thank you!

  9. How fun! Those are the times they WILL remember. 🙂

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