It is hard to get a block of time to organize the entire camper. I decided to break it up into chunks this year. I doubt I’ll ever have an entire day to accomplish that task, so I though I’d get started really early to make sure it was done before I wanted to go, thus hopefully alleviating stress at the time.
I went out there and looked through the freezer a few days ago. I was amazed at what had migrated into it. I removed a bag of rolls, probably leftover from Thanksgiving or Christmas, some cranberries (?), and a few other items. I noticed some of our daughter’s food items lurking in there, as well. I’ve told her they have to go soon. The fridge was relatively empty, save for a few extra eggs and cheese, that are in there for lack of space in the kitchen fridge. I won’t stock the fridge until right before we go camping. But, the freezer is a different story. I plan to put a few packages of hamburger, bacon, sausage, etc. in there. It keeps as well there as in any other freezer, so it’s a way I can pre-plan.
I usually make a casserole or spaghetti sauce and freeze for easy cooking on rainy camping nights when we don’t want to cook over a fire. I can thaw, and pop into the mini oven we have in the camper. I put the casserole(s) into dishes and pans from the camper, so they fit into the oven, and I can just put them away out there after we eat the casserole. Close to the time of the camping trip, I make a few food items like potato salad, or cooked chicken or a casserole and put the prepared items in the fridge for the first night, when we are busy setting up and have no time to cook. We have a really aversion to trying to get fast food for the kids while pulling a camper–too hard, so it’s nice to say “dinner’s in the fridge, no need to stop.” If we are going to be on the road a lot, I pack a lunch and put it in a cooler right inside the door to the camper, so we can reach in, grab it, and hand out sandwiches, etc. without even having to put the steps down.
Today, I went through some of the food cupboards. Remember, we lived in the camper all summer last year, so I had quite a bit of food in there. A lot of it was partial packages, as I was cooking in there daily last summer.
I always keep the camper cupboards well-stocked. When we are camping, we may eat out occasionally as a vacation treat, but most of the time we cook at the camper. Sometimes, we camp a long ways from restaurants, but not always. Unfortunately, much restaurant food makes me extremely sick, due to my several gluten intolerance. We like our own cooking way too much anyway, and I feel so much better eating our food, so we cook, even when we are camping in a populated area like the coast. It also saves money. We often experiment with different campfire cooking recipes, especially Rob, and tend to have more big breakfasts with things like bacon, fried potatoes and pancakes. So, I stock spices, and ingredients for many recipes and take lots of food.
During this past winter, we occasionally went out to the camper, looking for an ingredient or two for a recipe, so I wasn’t sure what was in there anymore. It was time to sort it out! I do try to organize the cupboards in the late winter every year, anyway, to keep things fresh and to know what I have and don’t have, but this year it was critical.
I pulled partial packages of things out. I made cookies with all the bits of chocolate chips and M and M’s I found. I found an empty sugar container and filled it. I saw I did not have marshmallows. The syrup is almost gone, as is the pan spray, and so it went. A couple of things had spilled or leaked slightly. I wiped them up. I am making a list of what is needed and will slip a few items onto my grocery list each time I go so I won’t cost me a fortune to re-stock at any one time. I’ve already slipped a case of water, some cookies I got for free from Fred Meyers Friday Freebies, and some chips.
After I sort out and re-stock the cupboards, I will go through the entertainment cupboard. I like to keep books, games, toys and craft kits in there, especially for Patsy, as she is still young enough to want things to do to keep her busy. She likes to embroider dish towels, so I’ll make sure there are some of those kind of supplies in there as well. I will sort out the DVDs as well to make sure there’s plenty of interesting movies for times when I want a nap.
I will make sure the bathroom supplies are stocked. I robbed shampoo and conditioner from there during the winter, as well as body wash, etc. I will make sure there are enough old towels out there, that too many have not been pilfered during the winter.
We will also make the beds with clean sheets. The camper was used as a guest house a couple of times, so sheets need to be replaced on the bed because they were used and washed.
I always keep a sewing machine in the camper. I will make sure I have a sewing project or 2, either a garment for one of the girls or a quilting project. My daily life is so busy that I often quilt ONLY while camping. Sad, but true, so I make sure I have supplies in the camper, because I really enjoy it. It’s the main reason why I finish so few projects. When you only work on them a couple of times per year–well, you don’t finish very fast. I also like handwork like embroidery or crocheting, so I make sure I have a project or 2 along. I will visit the library before we go each time and stock up on reading materials.
Rob will fill the lower outside compartments with fishing poles and supplies, crab traps, and cast iron cooking kettles and supplies such as charcoal. Bait will be purchased when we actually go camping. He will make sure all the mechanical things are working well, such as the water heater, tires, jacks, etc. He is also in charge of the outside kitchen, and we will need to go through it once we get to the campsite. Where we have it parked, we cannot open it up properly, but I know it’s pretty messy in there from last summer. We love that feature and used it a lot last summer.
As we finish sorting and renewing our supplies over the next few weeks, we will hopefully be able to take a moment and remember the wonderful summer we had last year. This year, we hope to clam, crab, fish, hike, play and walk on the beach, and visit the mountains. Since Rob’s job ended up being with the school system, he has the summer off. I do not, but do have flexibility with my job, as I am a personal support worker for my DD service niece and nephew. There are some times when they are going on vacation with their family, so I’m free then. Also, I can take them with us if we want to go camping for a couple of days when I’m supposed to be working. It will be a great experience for them as well, and fun for all. Part of what I do when I am working with them is help them have new experiences, grow and develop as people, gain life skills, etc., and I can do that while camping, fishing, crabbing, etc. In-between camping trips, we hope to grow a big garden, can and freeze the produce, and participate in several church activities for both the kids and ourselves. It’s shaping up to be a great summer!