Explore OK {Greenleaf State Park}

Last October we took Little One on her first tent camping trip. The day began perfectly. Chopping wood for the fire, toys on a blanket, kids running crazy – wild and free. I’m not a fan of cold weather or layers, but I do look forward to seeing her in this hat again soon!


So that first camping trip started well. Then FireCracker found MY candy corn. I am not a candy person, but candy corn is a different story. I know it is all kinds of terrible for me, you don’t need to tell me that. I digress. Despite lots of firm warnings, FireCracker kept sneaking into my candy corn. Long story, short….we finally got everyone snuggled down for the night. A big accomplishment with five kids in a tent. Then, all that candy corn FireCracker ate made a reappearance. All over everything. I packed up three kids and headed home. Chris and two of the boys chose to stay behind in the tent.

Little One’s first tent camping trip did not go so well.

In fact, afterwards I told Chris I was done with tent camping and we would have to buy an RV before I did that again.

Time passed and I forgot. I only remembered all my fond camping memories and how much I really do love the conversations that happen by the campfire and in the tent.

So last week, we packed up for a very short camping trip. I realized again how much I missed our tent. And how much I really love photography, especially with my dslr.


It was just what we all needed. While we were all starting to snuggle into sleeping bags, our 7 year old said, “This is my favorite part of camping! We all sleep together.” We stayed up telling them the long version of how Chris and I met, fell in love and got married. They could listen to those stories a million times, always wanting to learn a new detail.

Camping is a lot of work for me…and for Chris. It takes a lot of effort to plan, pack, set up camp, etc. But I’ll do it a million times more. There is just something special that happens in our family when we get away from home, away from the world, and experience the very simple joys of camping.

I still wouldn’t mind an RV though.


Here is my Embrace the Camera challenge picture from yesterday. Click here to read more about this week’s challenge.

Everyday moment: the act of juggling homeschooling 4 kids


Todayโ€™s Prompt: CREATIVE (includes you in it)

Friday’s Prompt: FACES (including yours)

Please join us on Instagram by using the hashtag #embracethecamera (just type that in your photo description and it will add it to the large collection of photos by others). If you share on your blog, weโ€™d love for you to leave a link in the comment section here.

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  • Jen W - I’ve been reading your blog for some time now. I check everyday to see if there’s been a new post, it’s always such an uplifting read. I know you’re not the perfect family…no family is. But the love you feel for each other and our Christ just shines though anyway. So thanks for sharing a bit of yourself and your family with strangers. It has made me a better person, I think.

  • danielle - We have been to Greenleaf to hike several times. It is a nice park, I regonize many spots in your pics. We bought a popup. It was used and a great deal! I love how it makes me want to curl up and stay in a place forever. Here is my post for todays challenge, http://daniellehuddlestonphotography.com/creative/.

  • Jacci - Oh… So precious, Ashley. Firecracker attending to Little One just melted my heart ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jenny L. - You should get a pop-up camper. Getting off the ground makes all the difference. They are more work than a hard-side pull-behind camper but I think they are more fun with little kids because they are still kind of like a tent. We camped in a pop-up with our kids for 15 years and I wouldn’t trade those days for the world. You can get a pretty good deal on a used pop-up and they are easy to tow. It is also nice to be able to keep things packed in the camper so you don’t have to get so much together when it is time to go. My hat is off to you – 5 kids camping is a lot of work!

  • Seamingly Sarah - Haha! I’m the exact same way. I LOVE candy corn. My old boss use to joke that they never made new candy corn, just kept recycling the stuff people ate. =) I don’t care though, it’s my vice. We also go camping with our little ones. So far we’ve done it 4 times I think. Each year gets a little bit better, but each time we do it I remember how hard it is. Packing, whining….But I’m glad we do it. And I wouldn’t mind an RV either! =)

  • Kathy A - Love how Firecracker is so attentive to Little One. So very cute! I too grew up camping but as an adult gave it up because both times we went tent camping with the children it rained. And I agree…a lot of work for the parents. But the memories….would not give them up for anything! Wish I hadn’t given up ๐Ÿ™‚

  • barbara - You are so brave!! Is all I have to say!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • ashley jensen - I love tent camping and have had my fair share of it growing up and as an adult. We have a loveley gigantic tent we rarely use but we now have a small RV. We sleep so much better while camping (even in the tent) because we are just away from it all, the house work, phone calls, internet (though some places we still get it). It’s the only time we take naps and just be. We are going to Robbers cave next week for their fall festival and we are all so excited about it!

  • Shana Norris - That same thing happens to me: I remember the good things about camping in retrospect and not the bad! And I love love love candy corn. Just yesterday, my husband – who hates it, but loves candy in general – was making fun of me – who doesn’t like candy in general, but loves candy corn – because I could NOT stop eating it!

    Visiting from Blog Love Day.

  • Kristin S - That shot of Little One looking at her daddy. Nothing like it.

  • Dana - Gorgeous memories captured with your camera! And such fun memories made for the kids! My kids always loved it when the power went out (kind of like camping at home!) I have never regretted the hard work that it takes to plan quality family time…nope never once regretted it! You are an awesome mom!

  • Sarah - I get the best pictures of my kids while camping. I love taking the DSLR.

  • Kelly - the grass is always greener ๐Ÿ˜‰ we had an RV for 3 years and although it is wonderful for the heater (camping in MT) I’m excited to get back to tent camping and the simplicity of it and less set up.

  • Lisa - Such beautiful photos and thoughts…oh candy corn, one of my favorites too yet I can only have 2-3 pieces at a time. I wonder if Firecracker doesn’t like it anymore since it made her sick, poor thing.

    Linking up for embrace the camera, love seeing all these photos on IG too. :))


  • noel miller - So brave! I grew up camping and even though we plan on having a big family, I hope to give my kids the same experience. We might try to snag a pop-up, though. At least for mama and papa and the littlest ones to sleep in ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Diana - LOVE camping for the same reason. It is a lot of work, more with now with a baby, but the memories are definitely worth it.

  • Eva - I guess it’s hard to stash your loot when all in the same tent. lol Candy corns sure are scrumptious and a bit addicting. Sorry Little One’s first experience didn’t go down in the books as high up there on the bliss factor. We recently purchased a travel trailer and couldn’t be more pleased. It’s not quite “all in one tent” kinda cozy, but we still get to wake up and go to sleep so close to one another. And we just love being together that much. It’s a lot of work to organize and get there and back, but the memories made are PRICELESS! So are these photos of your second go round with Little One.

  • Jessica P - Such great pictures! Two faves: Little One looking up at Chris and Big Brother sitting on the dock. They are all just gorgeous.

  • Katie - How do you make smoothies when camping?? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • AshleyAnn - Katie – you make them at home and fill empty milk jugs full of them…then pack on ice. A cooler full :/

  • Stoich91 - So cool!!!

  • Erica - Awww, I miss camping. I got thrown up on by a baby on our first family camping trip too and have been to scared to attempt it again but your pictures showing so much fun and carefree spirits may convince me to try again.

  • Cassi - On your camping trips do you Geocache with the kids? I bet they would love it. Our 10 year has loved it for years and it takes you to some many interesting finds in nature. I agree to there is something about camping that is blessing to a family

  • Natalie - Hi! Is there a way to make a list ahead of time of what each prompt will be, or do we have to look everyday? (like the photo a day challenge types of things?). I feel like it is more doable this way. I wanted to see if it has already been done and I am just missing it. Thanks!

  • Marissa - I was greatly inspired by this project, thank you! Here’s a link to my blog post about it, http://lassoinglight.blogspot.com/2013/10/embrace-camera-and-challenge.html!

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Mama camping trip!!! I can fit a few in my airstream. We can eat cereal bars all weekend and not have to worry about cooking or packing a ton of stuff. We can even read! Or meditate! Or sleep!!! You think on it…; )

  • Rebecca - Yes to camping, the work, the beauty and the messy perfection of it all. ๐Ÿ™‚