Clayton Lake SP + Tent Camping With an INFANT

SO.. My brave sister and I (along with husbands, grandparents, and a very helpful aunt, took my 3 month old (Dax) and his then-8 month old cousin on the trip of a lifetime (only because we thought we were the only ones crazy enough to take infants on a full-blown tent camping adventure.) Turns out, lots of people do it but you still feel accomplished when it is all over. So, without further ado, I would like to offer some advice and pointers on surviving the unthinkable (tent camping) with an infant and give a very brief (because we were there only as a night/day stop on our way to Grand Mesa National Forest, CO) review of Clayton Lake State Park in New Mexico. First, pictures:


The Packing List for Tent Camping with Babies:

  1. Diapers (cloth + disposable)
  2. Extra formula and food
  3. Approx 2 billion onesies
  4. Cold weather pajamas
  5. Pack ‘n’ Play
  6. Waterproof, reversible picnic blanket
  7. Trash bags/ store bags for trash + diapers
  8. Mosquito netting (or shelter)
  9. Baby bug spray + sunscreen
  10. Sayman Salve
  11. First aid kit
  12. Baby tylenol/ advil
  13. Hats + cold weather gear (if going to cold-weather climate)
  14. Galvanized tub (can be used for bathing, holding tableware, ice, etc… Very useful
  15. Ice chest
  16. Clean water in jugs for bottles
  17. Portable Bottle Sanitizer (boiled water works also but these are amazing)
  18. Bottles, pacifiers, sippy cups (if appropriate)
  19. Stroller/backpack for carrying child
  20. Blankets
  21. Portable fans
  22. Bottle warmer

*If you think baby MIGHT need it- take it.

The most challenging thing about this trip was the car ride. We made frequent stops and got the babies out to “stretch their legs.” It is very doable, very fun, and totally worth it.

Now, Clayton Lake State Park:

Fish jumping out of the water in the early morning hours, birds singing, absolute stillness… That is literally what you can expect when you camp at Clayton Lake State Park. The view we had when we woke up was amazing- it literally took my breath away. We stayed mid-summer and there were a few people there but we had our pick of spots. It is pretty far away from any towns but that is definitely a good thing. I wish we had had more time here but we had just enough to inspire us to plan a trip again next summer. Keep wandering!



My Meal Prep Method + Delicious Chia Pudding

People often ask me how I ‘meal prep’ for the week. Easy! #MealPrepSunday

Yesterday I bought (for meal prep purposes):

6 Chicken breasts
1 package frozen corn
1 package frozen broccoli
1 Canister of chia seeds
1 bag of flax seed
1 box of strawberries
1 box of blueberries
1 box of blackberries
1 package of lower-sodium taco seasoning
2 bell peppers

I already had:
almond milk
1 onion
garlic salt
olive oil
smoothie packets (I’ll post my smoothie method soon.)
whole wheat tortillas

First, I grilled 4 of my chicken breasts on an indoor grill. I sprinkled with garlic salt and drizzled with olive oil. I sautéed the rest of the chicken breasts with taco seasoning, bell peppers, and onion for fajitas. Next, I spread the frozen veggies out on two baking pans, drizzled in salt, and baked them at 400 for about 10 minutes, or until tenderness is achieved. I boxed and bagged all of this (except the fajita meat- I never pre-make fajitas, it causes the tortillas to be soggy) and placed it all in the fridge. Lunch meal prep was done!

Next, I spooned some chia seeds (5 tbsp in each container) into 3 different containers. I added blueberries and blackberries to the containers and then covered with almond milk. I also added a tbsp of vanilla. Chia seeds are so easy because you add liquid and stick them in the fridge. They set overnight and are delicious in the morning. I also did the same method with some rolled oats. (My husband drinks ensure shakes in the morning so I did not have to meal prep for his breakfast. However, I did make him lunches.)

This is a cheap and easy way to eat clean during the week!


First Day of Winter!

Winter Vegetable Soup



We made this tonight and it was delicious! Original recipe from Cooking Light but I’ve added my tweaks.

1 tsp Olive Oil (I did two)
2 oz Pancetta, chopped (I used regular bacon)
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced (I used garlic from a jar and did 1.5 tblsp)
2 cups cubed, peeled, acorn squash
2 cups diced, peeled red potato (I had to use a white potato)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped (I used italian-style diced)
2 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium, fat free chicken broth
4 cups chopped kale
1 15.5 oz Navy beans

In pan, heat olive oil. Add bacon and sautee. Add onion and garlic. Sautee for 2-3 minutes. Add everything from acorn squash to thyme. Sautee for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, fat free chicken broth, and navy beans. Bring to a boil and then add kale. Lower heat and simmer until kale, carrots, and potatoes are tender.

I served with regular french bread. As far as wine pairing goes, I would go with a Pinot Noir (red) but I can also see an argument for a light white wine. Either way, WINE!


{she's as bright as the dallas sky}

My little sister is a senior. Congratulations, Allie, and Axe ‘Em Jacks!


{she’s as bright as the dallas sky}


The Ultimate Tent-Camping Packing List


ImagePhoto from www.colourbox.com

If you are anything like me, when you pack you do it categorically, crossing things off the list as you go. This is how I have compiled the single-greatest list for tent-camping. If you are backpacking, I suggest condensing this list even further. This list is meant for people like me: semi-experienced-tent-campers-who-want-to-rough-it-but-not-really.

We manage to fit all of these items into one large tote (Walmart, $6.)


1 Skillet
1 Small sauce pan
1 Spatula
1 Pair of Tongs
1 can of Pam Cooking Spray
2 Plates (plastic)
2 Rolls of Napkins
10 Garbage sacks (aka Walmart Sacks)
1 Tablecloth
2 bags of charcoal
1 Salt and 1 Pepper shaker
2 lighters
1 Coleman stove
1 box of matches
1 roll of tinfoil
1 box of sandwhich baggies
1 roll of plastic wrap
1 oven mitt
2 mugs
1 case of folgers coffee
1 old coffee pot
1 bag of coffee filters
1 Tony Sachere’s Cajun Seasoning
1 Natures Seasoning
1 Vegetable Oil (for frying)
1 dawn dish soap
1 set of rags

We leave everything we can in the tub for pick-up-and-go convenience.


1 Coleman Stove
1 Small (beach-size) grill
1 Clothesline
2 tanks of propane (small, for stove)
1 case of liquid fire starter
1 Tarp
1 small tub for washing dishes
1 small tub to put water in in the morning to heat for ‘baths’
Stack those two together, no lids necessary
Sleeping bags
pads (for under sleeping bag)
Ice chest
Roasting spikes

Basic food items:

Water bottles or jugs
Granola bars (cliff bars or Bare Naked bars)
Candies (for cases of low blood sugar or quick-energy needs)
Water purifying tablets
Tortillas (they go with everything)
Peanut Butter or Almond Butter

Basic Clothing:

Rain slicker
Light Jacket
Heavier jacket
Sun shades
Reflective Gear (in case of emergency)

Personal Care (including first aid kit):

Athletic tape
Pre Wrap
Anti Histamine
Itch Cream
Aloe Vera
Eye drops
Ankle brace
Wrist brace
Migraine medicine
Lip balm
Baby wipes
Wisps (for teeth)
Pepto Bismol tablets
Epi Pen
Bug repellent

backpack for hiking
battery-operated fan





Friday Night Lights


A show that probably didn’t mean anything to anyone who wasn’t from Texas. Growing up down here changes the way you think about Friday night in the fall. Will the boys win? Will they lose? I know this is a travel blog, but travel is about experiencing other cultures, right? Texas football is a culture within a culture. Whether it is the high school game on Friday night that the whole town shows up to or the college game on Saturday that you budget money out of your paycheck to pay for as often as possible. Game day is holy. Game day means friends and family whether you are tailgating or having a watch party at home.

Friday Night Lights described how we felt during those months that the boys put on shoulder pads and helmets. We watched the weather go from steamy to frigid, and sometimes back to steamy, depending on how Mother Nature was feeling. We sit in the stands and grit our teeth, call plays, tell the defense something that the coaches have hopefully already told them. At halftime we listen to the band, we watch the dancers perform a kick routine, and then cheer the boys to victory or feel our hearts break for them as they lose.

Because that’s what happens when we lose. Our hearts break. We invest so much into the game, we believe so much in our boys, that we feel like we’re down on the field with them when the time runs out. No matter if they are our own or not.

Football in Texas is going back to your hometown on a Friday night and reliving it all. It’s gameday in Aggieland and wearing your finest maroon and boots. It’s tailgating in the backyard of the place mom and dad, and eventually you and your sisters went to college. It’s the fellowship with other fans, because it’s a holy day. Football in Texas is religion, and we believe.