Tag Archives: Pymatuning

A Happy Camper


I’m back!

I have been off-grid for a week and a half and now find myself with the arduous task of trying to catch up with many long overdue blog posts.

The girls and I spent the last week in the woods with 120 other teenage girls and leaders from church, at our annual Girls’ Camp week. (More on that in a future post)

But prior to leaving last Monday for Girls’ Camp we went camping as a family for the weekend on our skoolie’s maiden voyage.

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The start date of our cross country adventure in our converted school bus is quickly approaching and the goal is to get a few practice trips under our belt before we leave. The weekend before we left for Girls’ Camp happened to be free so we joined up with the Holt family and the Hudak family for a weekend camping trip to Pymatuning State Park.

The kids eagerly pitched in to help pack and prepare the bus for take-off.

The bulk of the work inside the bus is completed (with the exception of a few more cabinet doors that need hung.) Painting the outside of the bus is the next big project on the to-do list, but everything that was needed to be completed prior to taking it out on the road was done so we were clear to roll!

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The littles were vibrating with excited energy as we headed down the driveway on our first skoolie adventure!

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The ride there was a lot of fun with this as my view:

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The girls even bravely took turns at the wheel:

When we arrived we quickly got set up. It is crazy how much easier it is to “set up camp” this way than our traditional means of tent camping. Camp chairs were set up while the bus was hooked up to electric, sewer and water.

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I was able to get dinner cooking in the crock pot while Toby got us set up for the weekend. I must admit that after a weekend of camping with air conditioning, a fridge, running water, and my own toilet I can see how easy it would be to get soft and lose our camping edge. I felt a bit guilty and spoiled by the ease of the weekend!

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We had a wonderful weekend getaway. It was fun camping with friends and the kids loved having buddies around to go off exploring with.

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Our days were spent swimming:

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The only catch of the day 🙂


Going on walks around the campground:

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Making memories around the fire:

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And relaxing with family and friends.

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It was a lovely break from a busy June and a perfect lead-in to a week of camping with all my favorite young women! We all went home feeling rested and renewed…

Thanks in part to luxurious sleeping conditions 😉

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As we were leaving camp we made a quick stop at the Spillway to feed the carp. The Spillway is one of those traditions that has gone hand in hand with Pymatuning camping from our very first camping trip there with friends years ago.

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The carp there are so abundant and condensed that the ducks literally walk across their backs.

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The kids all got a kick out of tossing our leftover bread into the water and watching the fish flop and wrestle over the falling pieces of stale bread.

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I can’t decided if I am more fascinated or grossed out by the experience…

but either way,

it is an experience!!

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It was a lovely weekend with the people I love most,

and a perfect kickoff for many future adventures in our home-grown,  skoolie bungalow!


Happy Campers!


This past week was our final week of vacation before school resumes. We spent the week relaxing in a cabin on a lake in the company of dear friends. It was a wonderful way to usher out summer.

Inside our cabin at Pymatuning Lake.

Inside our cabin at Pymatuning Lake.

Check-in was last Friday. Our morning was spent packing a week’s worth of food, clothing, bedding, kitchen supplies, fishing gear, beach toys and all the other “necessities.” By afternoon we were ready to head out. The drive was an easy one. When we arrived the other family that we were camping with were already there and settled in. We were pleasantly surprised at how large the cabin was. With the help of many hands we quickly unloaded our trailer full of camping supplies.

The cabin had two bedrooms. One room had a queen sized bed and the other had two sets of bunk beds. We slept in the bunk bed room with our two youngest boys. Outside the cabin we set up two tents. There was a girl tent and a boy tent for the older kids.

Our bedroom.

Our bedroom.

Friday night was spent getting settled.

On Saturday we rented a pontoon boat for the day. The kids all enjoyed cruising the lake and some even did a little fishing from the boat.

The first group to go out "cruising."

The first group to go out “cruising.”

Capt. Ozzie

Capt. Ozzie

Tyler fishing

Tyler fishing

Sunday was Miss Tatum’s 13th birthday so the girls woke up early to decorate the cabin before Tatum woke up.


Molly and Tatum...best buddies!

Molly and Tatum…best buddies!

Other fun activities during our week-long vacation included a day at Conneaut Lake Park. We packed a picnic lunch and took the kids to this historic amusement park for the day. The park, which is in the process of being revitalized, had about eight rides up and going for the public to enjoy. One of their most famous attractions is Blue Streak, a wooden roller coaster. The kids all had their “favorites” but my personal favorite was the antique carousel. It was a work of art. The park’s vintage ambiance made for a lot of fun photo ops.


Gracie on the carousel.




Another family from our home school co-op came up with her family to camp for a few days. Another co-op mom  joined us one day for a day at the beach. It was fun to catch up with friends that we hadn’t seen for a while and the kids enjoyed some fun in the water.

Ozzie and Saga

Ozzie and Saga


Ozzie enjoying the water.

Ozzie enjoying the water.

Gracie's alter ego...Super Grace.

Gracie’s alter ego…Super Grace.


Grace and her best friend, Olivia.

Grace and her best friend, Olivia.

Photo bombed by Molly.

Photo bombed by Molly.

And of course a week at Pymatuning State Park wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the spillway to feed the carp. As gross as my older girls find this excursion I knew the little boys would love the experience of feeding bread to the carp…I was right. Both boys got a kick out of the wall to wall carp that gather at the mouth of the spillway. The carp population is so dense that the ducks simply walk across their backs to get to the falling pieces of bread. It is quite the sight to see!

The carp at the spillway.

The carp at the spillway.



My beautiful kiddos. 🙂

It was a wonderful week spent with wonderful friends. It was a perfect way to end summer. Next week school begins and summer comes to a close.

PS- Today we celebrate Tyler turning 8. Happy birthday little boy! You bring us so much joy!!

(More on his special day later…)IMG_8706