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Jul 12 2012

Camping with My Kids & A Whole Bunch of Jam Bands

By at 4:23 pm

mountain jam festivalEarlier this year, I cooked up a plan for my family to camp out at Mountain Jam, a weekend-long music festival. My husband and I love live jam band music–it is one of the experiences which bonded us in our early days together. But family life is busy, and we don’t go to many shows. Our children knew about our passion for music and for outdoorsy fun. So, in June, with all three kids finally potty trained, we headed for Hunter Mountain Ski Resort with the whole family.

I was not sure how we would manage to keep the crew happy while roughing it on the mountain with thousands of hipped-out music lovers. Even the expense was hard to justify; a quick calculation revealed that suspending our housecleaning help could cover the cost. I was prepared to mop and scrub for a few months if my family was willing to join the jam! Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 26 2011

Friday Night: Camping Out Shabbat Style

By at 9:42 am

camping tentI didn’t grow up in a camping family. Don’t worry, we traveled plenty to see family and important sites in the U.S. and abroad. But “let’s pitch our tent over there” are not words that I ever heard. My tent camping experiences come mostly from trips during and after college. However, when my husband and I got engaged we decided one of the places we had to register was REI, for all of the future camping trips we would be taking with our future kids.

Our first camping trip as a family was one night spent on a windy Sonoma, CA beach with our 13-month-old not quite yet walking daughter. We brought Shabbat candles, a bottle of grape juice and a big fresh challah, and had a nice Friday night dinner al fresco. At that time we didn’t celebrate Shabbat as regularly as we do now, but somehow it seemed to be the right thing for camping. Now that toddler is a three-and-a-half-year-old synagogue pre-school student who is so in tune with what she learns at home and at school about Judaism. She is the one who gets her kippah out at 3pm on Friday in anticipation of Shabbat. And she is the one who is really teaching us the meaning of giving charity, as she is a little obsessed with putting every coin she finds into one of her various tzedakah boxes.

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