I live in the state that is nicknamed the “Mitten”. There is good reason for this, the obvious fact…Michigan is shaped like a mitten, and the not so obvious… the majority of the year we are wearing mittens. It gets cold here, really cold for a long time. Winter is by far our longest season. So some might ask, “Why do we live here at all?” The answer for me lies in what surrounds the mitten. The Great Lakes. We are surrounded by miles of sandy beaches, water you can’t see across, and sunsets that take your breath away.
When the snow melts we hurry outside and soak up sunshine. I always wish that I could capture the warm sunny air in a mason jar so that I could feel it again in the gray of winter. The best way that I know to fill up my soul with sunshine is to be right in the middle of nature and so we camp.
10 Skinny House lessons that camping has taught me:
It doesn’t matter where you are, it matters who you are with.
One of the great things about camping is that we often travel with family/friends. (My parents joined us on this adventure.)
We need way less than we think. Keep subtracting.
I tried really hard to pack “Skinny”, still when we got home I had a full box of unopened food and suitcases still full of unworn clothes. Next time I am going to pack even less. Less, less, less…
Travel light- 7 miles per gallon. Park next to your Mother…the beauty of borrowing.
As the gas milage dropped all the way down to 7 miles per gallon I couldn’t help but make a connection with my own life. When I am carrying around extra weight of unnecessary stuff it bogs me down.
Simplify-Bunk House to Hybrid.
We had a hard sided bunkhouse. It was perfect for little people who were still crying in the night and needing perfect quiet to sleep. Now my kids are big and in the theme of “Skinny House” we’ve gone shorter and lighter. I will always be one for “Glamping” and must have a full size fridge and a bathroom, but for us this was really downsizing. We hope to embrace greater freedom to explore with less weight to lug around.
Label…give everything a place to belong.
I prep as much as possible at home. I no longer have hanging wardrobe closets because of the downsizing of the camper. I was able to vertical fold everything I needed in labeled bins from the dollar store…it worked great! I also love to label my food containers with chalk markers.
Enjoy “Fantasy Shopping.”
There is an attitude on vacation that I let down my guard and shop a little more and live carefree. Instead, I enjoyed a lot of “fantasy shopping.” I would go into a shop and pick what I would buy if I were to buy something…it was a lot of fun. After exploring several t-shirt shops I carefully selected one zip up sweatshirt that I know will compliment my wardrobe and become a staple piece. Henrik had his eye on “Wolfie” all week, Grandpa and Grandma surprised him with it for his birthday. By selecting one carefully chosen treasure keeps it things special. I love the delight captured in his face in this photo.
Scream when you see a snake. Live with passion.
I had to include this one because I really did see a Rattlesnake! And yes, I did scream. Alexa and I were leaving the bathhouse when it slithered right in front of us. It was no ordinary snake, these are the things that great stories are made of.
Be an Explorer.
We chased after Henrik as he ran up the side of a hill. The view at the top was amazing. It was awesome to watch the wonder in the children as they explored what was around the next corner. I love their sense of adventure. And we found the best climbing tree!
Use less water.
We fill up with water on our way in and have 40 gallons to last us a week. It is a good reminder to be mindful of how we use our resources. I can wash dishes and brush teeth with a tiny bit of water compared to what I use at home.
My Mom has clear memories of her 8th Birthday in Ludington. She got a wallet for her birthday and friends all around the lake pitched in until she had $8.00! I grew up in Ludington (my grandparents had a cottage here and we often camped in the state park). Now my kids are sharing in the memories. Henrik celebrated his 8th birthday here this week.
Leave the house clean.
I find I get lots of team work when we are motivated to get out the door for vacation. I love the feeling when I first open the door after being away. There is that sigh of contentment that feels so good to be home. Being away is good, but I love coming home. I even had hydrangeas ready to cut when we got here. I know home is where the hydrangeas are.