Friday, September 22, 2017

Five Essential Oil Organizers {to help organize your life}

My essential oil bottles live in a wire basket from the Target $1 section...and then one on the window sill, one in the medicine cabinet, and a few in another old cosmetic bag from the clearance section of Old Navy. Sound familiar? The conversation, "where's such-and-such oil?" comes with the answer, "check the med cabinet, or the bathroom cupboard, or above the sink - oh, you know what? It's in my jacket pocket in the closet." Confusion and frustration ensue.

In a quest to be more organized, a new essential oil organizer is on my list. Some very creative individuals are creating super pretty and functional oil organizers, and I think I might - no, I know that I need (want) one.

This wooden storage case holds up to 59 bottles and comes with some bonuses, too. At only $29.99 plus free shipping, with almost all 5 star reviews, this is my top contender for at-home organization. If the budget allows, you could splurge for a $50 model with even more bells and whistles.

(photo from reviewer Gina Karol) 

This round organizer would be cute enough to leave out on the counter. It holds 37 of the 15mL or smaller bottles and is made of raw wood. The picture isn't very clear on the site, but the customer photos in the reviews are clearer so you can see what it looks like up close. 

Ugh, I love Liberty of London fabrics! Sew Grown makes these dainty, beautiful cases that fit 8 roller bottles. 

Hytek Gear essential oil case looks sturdy with nice neutral fabric. This would be better for longer travel, as it fits 30 bottles of multiple sizes. It's a great price, too. 

I love the design on the inside of this stained pine box. The reviews are high, and it can hold 69 bottles! Another option for at-home storage. There are a few smaller versions, too. 

BONUS!  This isn't just an essential oil organizer, it's also a diffuser case! Handmade by Baggage and Co., this pretty case comes with pockets for 8 oils on the inside AND the diffuser to boot! Everyone can use another diffuser, right?

Here are my top five. Which is your favorite? How do you organize your oils?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Our Kid-Friendly Glacier National Park Itinerary {Adventures in Family Camping: Part 4}

We planned. We packed. Now it was time to load it all up and hit the road!

Coming from Oregon we'd be driving for around 10 hours. It could have been done in one drive but we decided to split it up into two days and stay one night in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The next day, we hit the road in the morning and pulled into Glacier Campground in West Glacier (with a pit-stop for Huckleberry milkshakes along the way and for new sleeping bags in Kalispell) later that afternoon. The next morning, Andy drove into the Park at 7AM and found a campsite for us in the Apgar Campground. We made it! Commence GNP Itinerary!

A few notes: 
  • This was our itinerary with two 6-year-olds and a 3-year-old. Their endurance is limited and it would have been easy to try to cram in a lot of hikes and trips. But, we want these kinds of trips to be a) enjoyable in their memories and b) sustainable for us as parents. So we majorly downgraded our expectations and as someone who normally plans out itineraries to the hilt, it was the best thing for our family! 
  • If you have small kids, plan for a "camp day" in between day trips. We found that the every-other-day schedule worked beautifully for us. 
  • There are a lot of itinerary ideas online. Take what you like and make it your own! We barely scratched the surface of Glacier National Park and our trip back next time will most likely be a totally different experience. 

Our Kid-Friendly Glacier National Park Itinerary

Day 1 - Settle In and Explore Apgar

Settle into camp. Walk to Apgar Village (.2 miles) to check out the lake and the grocery/ice cream situation. Get huckleberry ice cream at Eddy's and walk down to the lake shore. The view from McDonald Lake is beautiful and the water is crystal clear and that glacial water is COLD! Walk back to camp and eat dinner, then walk over to the Apgar Ampitheater for a ranger talk. Get your Junior Ranger booklets to complete and turn in for your badges in the next few days and learn about the geological history of Glacier that led it to be designated a World Heritage Site! 

Day 2 - Trail of the Cedars/Lake Day

Trail of the Cedars. Go early, if you can, to find parking. We went late and it took us a while to park. It's a congested area with all the hike entrances and the Avalanche Campground. Don't forget snacks. If energy levels are good, continue on from the Trail of the Cedars and do the Avalanche Lake hike. 

Come back to camp and gather swim stuff and head to the Lake. Go to the Day Visitors area of Apgar for more shoreline space. We brought an inflatable SUP and it works perfectly. Walk back to camp for dinner and IF spirits are good, head to the Apgar Visitor Center parking lot for astronomy viewing with volunteer astronomers. 

Day 3 - Camp Day

Spend the day close to the campsite. Go to a Junior Ranger talk at the Apgar Nature Center and get your Junior Ranger badges which will be pinned to the kids' clothing each morning from here on out. Maybe get some rest/naps in, if you're lucky. Bedtimes are late here as the sun is still shining until at least 9pm. Take a picnic dinner down to the lake for more swimming/SUP. 

Day 4 - Bowman Lake/Polebridge

Pack up early and head out to Bowman Lake and the town of Polebridge. The "town" is an off-grid collection of buildings: mercantile/bakery and a saloon built in the early 1900s, with cold beer in mason jars, a selection of groceries, and food.

If Polebridge is busy, head to Bowman Lake first. The lake is up a 6 mile dirt and rock road, and you might see a bear on the road! You'll drive into the Bowman Lake Campground and find day parking. Walk down to the lake and gasp at the stunning views. There are not very many people here and it's very peaceful. The only downside to Bowman over Lake McDonald on the kid-friendly perspective is the biting flies that hang out on the shoreline. They aren't terrible, but just annoying. Enjoy the water and maybe take a short hike along the North side of the lake. Come back to Polebridge and purchase some pastries from the Mercantile, making sure to get a few huckleberry bear claws for breakfast. Between the Mercantile and Northern Lights Saloon is a sand volleyball court and some kids play structures that the kids can dig in/climb around on while you sit out on a picnic bench under the saloon's shady trees and enjoy a cold Montana-brewed beer.

On the way back to camp, if you're hungry and don't want to make dinner, stop for BBQ at Home Ranch Bottoms. It's a very small restaurant serving locals and some tourists with filling food and deliciously smoked BBQ. Hear locals talk about the effect of the wolves coming back and feel conflicted. Remember that there are no simple answers when humans and animals co-exist.  

Day 5 - Camp Day/Laundry Day

After a busy day trip, this morning is relaxed and you toss around ideas for the day. In our case, you may have had one child who had a nighttime accident two nights in a row and you need to find a laundromat to wash sleeping bags and throw in all the clothes, towels, etc. to wash, too. In this case, pile into the car and drive into West Glacier to ask at the KOA (you have to be staying to use facilities), then find a frightening place in Coram that is a definite NO, then finally find one in Hungry Horse. Load your clothes into three triple-load washers and then walk to the adjoined grocery store to find cheap cast iron pans and groceries that you'll probably need. 

Find a distillery on the way back to West Glacier and get some small-batch whiskey and vodka. You deserve it! Get back to camp late but load everyone up and drive down to the lake anyways for an evening swim/paddle. Dinner is quick and bedtime is needed. Make a much-deserved cocktail with your local liquor. 

Day 6 - Going To The Sun Road and Many Glacier/Swiftcurrent Lake

Finally getting to do the Going to The Sun Road! Head out as early as you can (in this case it was STILL 10:30am before we got out of camp) and hope to get to Many Glacier for a hike and to see if there are any campsites available in case you decide to move over to the east side. 

The Sun Road is breathtaking and beyond words - a bucket list experience. It's nerve-wracking, too. The narrow roads climb high and the going can be slow. The road was completed in 1933 and its history is fascinating. Stop out at a few vista points and hope for parking at Logan Pass Visitor Center. If there is no parking, keep going. Change plans to do one of the hikes that starts at Logan and postpone it for another day. Cross the Continental Divide and see the immediate shift in the landscape.

Come out at St. Mary, leave the Park for a few miles, and circle back in at the Many Glacier entrance. Here, the Park is much drier with a more "Wild West" feel to it. It is supposedly the "remote" area of the park but note how many people are here - it's crowded! The scoop from a reputable source says there are less amenities in Many Glacier but the hiking is better. The Many Glacier campground hosts say it is fairly impossible to get a campsite here unless you've reserved, and they start handing out first-come, first-serve numbers at 7am. Abandon plan to move to this side of the park and decide Apgar is treating the family well. Next time! 

Find the Many Glacier Campground picnic area and have lunch before heading out on the hike around Swiftcurrent Lake and the Swiftcurrent Nature Trail. The trail is 3 miles long, which is the perfect length for the kids' stamina. If your energy level is higher and there is enough time, veering off to the Grinnell Glacier hike would be a highlight experience. Another time. Remember the Boba carrier this time and put the 3-year-old up to see if she'll nap. She does! Enjoy the beautiful hike around the lake and end at the century-old Many Glacier lodge for an ice cream sandwich stop. Continue to circle around to the picnic area and realize you're going to be getting back to camp really late. Decide to embrace the journey and instead of going home on the Sun Road, head outside of the Park to East Glacier to Serrano's Mexican Restaurant for dinner and margaritas. East Glacier deserves some more exploring next time, too, because there won't be time to head to the Two Medicine area until next visit. Drive the LOOOONG way home around the South end of the park and drive back in with enough time to put everyone in bed. 

Day 7 - Camp Day

After such a long but fun day yesterday, it's time for another camp day. Enjoy your breakfast and coffee around the campsite and let the kids play. Walk up the Nature Center for a Jr. Ranger talk and ask for a replacement badge because someone already lost theirs. Get ice cream at Eddy's in Apgar Village. Scoot into West Glacier to Glacier Guides to reserve a Scenic Float Trip for the next morning. Relaxing dinner and bedtime and a camp cocktail. 

Day 8 - Scenic Float with Glacier Guides

A Scenic Float with Glacier Guides can be done by all ages, which is perfect for the small children. In the morning, get to the Guides headquarters at the appropriate time and ride a big blue school bus to the Flathead River launch. Your kids will think the bus ride is the best part of the adventure. Your guide will row you down a gentle section of the river while chatting about Glacier, wildlife, river life, etc. There are 3 "rapids" just bumpy enough to get the kids excited and there are quite a few calm spots to jump out into the frigid water and swim. If you're lucky, see a bald eagle. Enjoy the rainbow-colored rocks of the Flathead and take a deep breath. After the float, hit the burrito food truck Wandering Gringos on the way back and realize how massive these burritos are. Save them for dinner. 

Back at camp, either relax or head to the lake before going to another Ranger Talk at the amphitheater. After the talk it takes a long time to get everyone settled as they're becoming adjusted to the new later bedtime. No one blames you if you fall asleep with the kids! 

Day 9 - Junior Ranger Hike

Eat a quick breakfast with your late risers and send an adult to the Apgar Visitor Center to get the free tickets for the Star Party tomorrow night - they'll only hand out as many as the parking lot can hold. Hustle up to the Apgar Nature Center for the Jr. Ranger Hike with one of the rangers. With 10-12 kids, hike along Lower McDonald Creek, stop at a beaver dam, do a nature scavenger hunt, and try to help your kids use all their senses in the 1.5 hour hike. The kids will be in awe of the ranger and shy at first, but by the end of the hour, they'll want to hold her hand and tell her everything about their lives. Circle back around through Apgar Village and either eat lunch there or back at camp. Relax in camp and go for an early evening swim before an early bedtime because tomorrow night is the Logan Pass Star Party and it's going to be a late night. 

Day 10 - Hidden Lake Overlook / Logan Pass Star Party

This is the last day in camp! Time to tie up loose ends. If your kids wake up early and the day stretches wide before you, take the beautiful drive back to Polebridge for pastries and to buy cool souvenir hats and stuffed animals because the shops in the Park all have the same merchandise and none of it is catching your fancy. On the way back, circle through West Glacier to the distillery and get more whiskey and vodka. You're definitely taking some home with you! 

Pack up parts of camp that you can for the early departure tomorrow morning. Get on the road to Logan Pass for the Star Party around 3pm or 4pm. Plan to do the Hidden Lake Overlook hike before the Logan Pass Star Party starts and be SO GLAD that you did. This hike is gorgeous! See mountain goats congregating on the boardwalk paths up by the lake. They are walking right by you and the kids think it might be fun to chase them. Nope! Don't do that. They're close but still wild. 

Come back down to Logan Pass and make dinner out of the back of the car. Bundle everyone up as the temperature is dropping. Walk up to the Center to get a seat along the rock walls to watch the Astronomer presentation before taking a look through 10-12 mega telescopes. When darkness falls, around 11pm, be astounded at the Milky Way while the kids want to go back to the car and go to sleep. Take shifts with the two adults still awake - one at the car looking at the stars, the other walking around looking through the telescopes. See the moon, star clusters, nebulas, and the andromeda galaxy. Stay in the parking lot until midnight and make your way back down the Going to the Sun Road in the middle of the night which is it's own experience. Everyone stays asleep as you put them in their sleeping bags. 

Day 11 - Ready to go! 

Camp is mostly packed up and around 8am, hopeful campers will begin driving through the campground to ask you if you're leaving. Someone reserves your spot and you quickly take down the camper and get everyone strapped in. Say goodbye to Apgar, to Lake McDonald, and to Glacier National Park. This place has been so good to your family! You'll be back. You only scratched the surface. You're already planning for your next trip back to Glacier, where you'll spend more time in Many Glacier, Two Medicine, and will not forget the passports so you can visit the Waterton-Glacier sister park in Canada. 

Building Your Own Itinerary Resources:

Monday, September 4, 2017

Visionary Vitamin: Ritual Multivitamin Review

As a busy mother of three I'm not always good at self-care. Sure, I have a whole cupboard in my kitchen full of herbal, homeopathic, and natural supplements and remedies. And I use them often for my kids and husband. But not very often for me!

Last year I saw an N.D. for serious fatigue and depression that was still lingering after seeking intensive care for my brain injury. I slept 10+ hours per night and had scary depressive thoughts during certain times in my cycle. I could almost time them by looking at the calendar. It was really frustrating! I did a saliva adrenal test and some blood testing and found out that my adrenals were tanked and I had symptoms of PCOS. Rather than going for a full on "diagnosis," the doctor and decided to pursue natural treatments to see if we could resolve my symptoms.

Besides taking adrenal support supplementation and finding ways to incorporate healthier habits into my day, I also was on the hunt for a really great multivitamin - and I am a multivitamin skeptic. Then I promptly forgot. Funny how that happens.

In comes Ritual. I really liked their list of ingredients and intrigued by their company (see: This Mom-Owned Vitamin Company Just Raised 10.5 Million in Funding). Ritual was kind enough to send me a month's supply to see for myself and to share the love (if I do indeed love them!)

photo: Ritual

The verdict so far?

I really like this vitamin.

I like:

- Low dosages. I'm not scared of the amount, thinking "should I be taking this much?" I also have major tummy sensitivity with any high-dosage vitamins. Zinc flu, anyone? I have not had one upset stomach on Ritual and I have been taking them in the morning.

- Cost. At $30 per month, this is comparable - or even less - to what I would pay getting a random multi at Whole Foods or Natural Grocers. Plus, they ship it to me!

- Simple ingredients and transparency. Vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, sugar-free, and dairy-free. Yes! These vitamins are literally transparent. You can see exactly what's inside, their supply chain is traceable, and their website is incredibly informative.

- The scent/taste! Ok, so it is a vitamin you swallow (and it goes down easily), but it's special because it has a scent and hint of peppermint due to the peppermint essential oil. I love this! The bottle also says it contains natural vanilla flavor, which I haven't tasted, but I appreciate this little "touch".

I'll report back in a few weeks. Meanwhile, check out Ritual for yourselves!

(Ritual sent me a month's supply of vitamins but all opinions are my own. I am also a new Ritual affiliate.)

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Packing for a Family Camping Trip (Adventures in Family Camping: Part 3)

Packing for Camping

Now that we had our campsite "secured" (read here), it was time to PACK.

This trip is the longest we've been on as a family, and besides from a 2-night camping trip with very ill children (fail), this is the very first time we've all camped together. What could go wrong on a 13 day trip? Turns out, not much! In hindsight, we did pretty awesome at packing, which is a point of pride for me because I usually forget quite a lot.

Perusing Pinterest for camping hacks and checklists offered up a wealth of posts and articles. The most attractive was the "bin system". I tweaked it to cater to our family's needs, as we wouldn't be tent camping because we have the tent trailer. My mom emailed me a "master list" that my uncle had put together over the years, plus I also used the checklist from my favorite Down & Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids book and the very adorable and helpful Camp Sunset that I borrowed from my neighbor (affiliate links, love both these books.)

So, here's the thing. I never knew it cost so much to prepare to sit in the woods! Simplistic, but it felt like we had nothing. We had a trailer, and a propane stove, and a few odds and ends. Being that we were on a budget, I also couldn't spend a lot. Being as low-waste as possible was also a high priority so I went through what we had in our kitchen that we could use as opposed to purchasing a new item.

Caveats to this list:

1) We have a tent trailer, so things you'll need for setting up a tent aren't lists. We also did not need air mattresses or sleeping pads, which i'm guessing you'll want if sleeping on the hard ground.

2) We are camping in bear country. Camp has to clean of any food, food scraps, dishwater, handwashing water, or scented toiletries EVERY time we leave. Kitchen gear is kept to the minimum.

3) I wanted to be as low-waste as possible, so we didn't buy any disposable dishware or utensils. You might want these, though! I actually ended up just bringing our daily Fiestaware dishware and figured if one broke, it was high time because we've had them for 10 years and not lost one yet. None broke!

I bought 2 heavy-duty bins from Costco and emptied out 3 rubbermaids that we had at home. I printed out my lists, divided by box, and taped each list to the top of the appropriate lid.

Links shown below take you to the actual product I personally purchased on Amazon. Bless that 2-day shipping!

Bin 1: Campground Box

Safety whistles
First Aid Kit
Bear Spray - get the one with the holster to keep it close
Headlamps - one for ea. person
Solar Lantern
Pocket Knife
Bungee Cords
Duct Tape
Emergency Blankets
Big bucket with lid for wastewater - this was a last minute grab at our house and it ended up being ESSENTIAL. Grab one at a hardware store.

Bin 2: Kitchen Box

Foldable Dish Bin for washing/rinsing dishes (I bought this one. I'll buy this one next, though.)
Biodegradable Dish Soap (Dr. Bronner's or I hear Dawn is biodegradable, too)
Dish Towels
Dish Gloves
Hand santizer
Chainmail Scrubber for cast iron pan
Trash bags
Paper Towels
Plastic Container w/spigot for handwashing
Pot holders
Stove Fuel
Cast iron pan(s)
Pasta Pot
Tea pot (or just use the pasta pot)
Cooking utensils
Cutting board
Tin Foil
Biodegradable Soap
Broom & Dustpan
Serrated Knife
Kitchen knife
Kitchen scissors
Vegetable Peeler
Can opener
Collapsible colander
Collapsible Mixing Bowl
Tablecloth w/fasteners
Coffee Gear
Camp mugs
Reusable plastic cups
Plates & Bowls
Silverware (1 set per member)
1 box Ziploc bags
Marshmallow forks

Bin 3: Kid's Box

Art & Coloring Supplies
Velcro Paddles & Ball
Canteens (a present from Grammy and a huge hit with the girls!)
Coleman Kids Nature & Adventure Sets: Binoculars, magnifying glass, etc. (also a gift and very popular with my kids)
Sunglasses & Sunhats
Swimsuits & Rashguards

Bin 4: Toiletries

Baby Wipes
Natural Bug Spray
Toilet paper
SPF lip balm
Biodegradable liquid soap (Dr. Bronner's)
Hard soap in soap container
Toiletries for each
Hand sanitizer

Bin 5: Dry Foods

All the dry foods we organized in this bin. And I was actually pleasantly surprised (ok, shocked) that we forecasted pretty well as to what foods we'd need. Besides traveling, we only ate out twice! when we were staying in Glacier. That's pretty good for us!

Duffel Bag:
Sheets, Pillowcases, Extra Blankets
(If you are tent camping, you could put all this in a bin.)

Propane Stove
Camp Table - super handy!
Camp Chairs
Sun Tent/play tent
Bikes & Helmets
Inflatable Standup Paddlboard (This is ours, we LOVE it!)
Kids' Sleeping Bags

This list served our family beautifully. Sure, there are ways we will tweak, add to, and subtract from it in the future. For sure, I've got a camping wish list going. But for our first outing together for two whole weeks, we barely needed to buy anything, besides new sleeping bags for the girls in Kalispell and new ice every day. Good job us!

What did I miss? I'm sure quite a bit. I'd love to know your list must-haves, too!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Finding a Campsite in Glacier National Park (Adventures in Family Camping: Part 2)

Finding a Campsite

After we settled on heading to Glacier National Park we had to assess the campsite issue. Due to our lack of early planning, we couldn't find any open reservations and would have to take our chances on the first-come, first-serve sites. Due to the fact that Glacier is estimating another record-shattering number of visits this year, I was more than a little nervous that we would be out of luck.

Taking a gamble on the campsites was feeling stressful for both of us - what if we drive 10 hours only to find that there is nowhere for us to stay? Luckily, the National Parks has a real-time campground status website that shows each campground and what time it filled up that day. Then you can click on a specific campground icon and find out detailed and pertinent info you'd need to know.

This was really helpful for me as this would be our first visit to Glacier, and you can look at a map as much as you want (and I did, I practically memorized it) but you still don't really know what it will be like until you get there.

Glacier National Park Campsites

The other issue was that we would be towing the tent trailer, so the primitive and hike-in spots weren't an option. We also wanted a campsite that would be convenient to some amenities - we'd need ice for the coolers every day - and was more centrally located so we wouldn't have to spend unnecessary time driving to and from for day hikes and other trips.

The campgrounds in Glacier that can accommodate a trailer are: Apgar, Fish Creek, Avalanche, St. Mary, Many Glacier, and Two Medicine (Technically, Bowman Lake doesn't "allow" towed vehicles because it's a long dirt road, but we did see a tent trailer and a little camper up there! So you could take your chances). 

Since we'd be coming to Glacier from the West, we decided to start the trip out in the west side of the park. This meant our options were Apgar, Fish Creek, Sprague Creek, and possibly even Avalanche. 

After looking at all the campground photos I could find online, Apgar looked like it would be the best fit for our family. It is walking distance to Apgar Village and Lake McDonald, so we wouldn't have to drive if we wanted a day close to home. Ice, ice cream, and the Nature Center with ranger talks would also be walking distance. 

To get to the campsite in time to get a spot, we'd stay outside the park the night before and Andy would get up bright and early and head in to secure a site. 

(Spoiler: While there, we made a point to visit almost every campground we could get to and we were both ultimately super pleased with Apgar as our choice.) 

GNP Campgrounds - the National Parks Service and for making SOME camp reservations in advance. Some of the campgrounds above are only first-come, first-serve. Again, you can check the status of all Glacier campgrounds HERE, updated daily.

Campground Options Outside the Park

There are quite a few campgrounds outside of the park that would a good option to a) stay at the night before, as we planned to do and b) stay at your entire trip to avoid vying for a spot. This means a bit more driving, though.

Glacier Campground  

We were lucky enough to get a campsite at Glacier Campground a few miles outside the park and it was the LAST one available. You have to call them, too, no email. I'll post more about this campground but it was a lovely spot with a great cafe and a playground, and cheaper than the KOA. We'd definitely stay there again.

KOA West Glacier

I looked here too but it was fully booked and it was more pricey than we were looking for. We did visit this campground on our hunt for a laundromat after Dylan had some nightly accidents (more great memories!) but you have to be staying here to use their facilities. It's very clean with a pool, ice cream shop, laundromat - everything you'd expect from a top-notch KOA.

Did I forget anything? Let me know in the comments!

Next up: Packing for a 2-week camping trip with a family of five (are we crazy? we might be!) 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Adventures in Family Camping (Part 1)

Our only family camping history consists of a two-night trip up to Lost Lake two years ago, and we had to leave early because all three of the girls were very sick and just continued to get sicker. It had its fun moments but it was mostly we need a little redemption.

So when the life/school/work planets aligned to give us almost a month of free schedules this summer, we decided to go on a big camping trip in our new (to us) tent trailer and really see if we can make this "we're a camping family" thing happen.

I have always loved to camp but it's been pre-children. When it comes to executing a successful camping trip with small people and making sure we have all our ducks in a row, I'm a complete novice with a tendency towards disorganization and forgetfulness. Thank God for checklists.

The Tent Trailer: 

Our little tent trailer is a 2004 Tucson in great condition. My dad found it through a neighbor and we caught it before it went up on Craigslist. The trailer pops out to a full on one side and twin on the other, and the little kitchen setup has a propane stove and a hand pump sink, plus a little furnace. The canvas and upholstery is all in good shape, although I'd love to eventually cover at least the upholstery. It runs on propane, electricity, or battery. We also asked the girls to name the little trailer but we haven't come up with a suitable moniker beyond Disney princess name suggestions. Best of all, it can be towed by our Subaru Outback!

The Itinerary: 

We live in an stunningly beautiful area of the U.S.: The Pacific Northwest! Having our jumping off point of Portland makes it relatively easy to go anywhere. We have Washington and the Puget Sound area to the North, the high desert and prairie of Oregon to the East, Redwoods and abundant mountain lakes to the South, and the rugged coastline of the West.

It's been hard to pin down where we want to go (and to make sure I don't overload our itinerary as is my habit). I reserved a campsite in northern Washington but Glacier National Park in Montana was calling my name. I ran the idea by Andy and we cancelled the reservation and decided to take our chances with the first-come, first-serve system at the Glacier campgrounds.

{This is Part 1 of our Family Camping series}

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