Recently, we took our first family camping trip with our 9 month old baby, Everett. We weren’t sure if he’d enjoy his first camping experience, so we decided to camp for one night at Thomas Woods Campsite, less than an hour from our home. Thomas Woods is in the Marengo Ridge Conservation Area in Marengo, IL. If you’re looking to camp somewhere scenic and close to the Chicago area, I’d highly recommend Thomas Woods.
Marengo Ridge is just over 800 acres with five miles of hiking trails. Thomas Woods campground offers both car camping and hike in sites. On the early May weekend we camped there were only a handful of sites taken. We chose site 39, but there wasn’t a bad site in the campground.
We had a hard time keeping Everett on the blanket we laid out for him. At this age he just loves to explore and hates being confined (getting him into his car seat is a challenge). Everett spent a lot of time crawling around on the soft moss that covered the ground. He had a blast playing with the rocks, sticks and pinecones scattered about our site.
We took a couple hikes and spotted a good variety of early spring flowers. There were a few lookout points with sweeping views of the grasslands and surrounding farms.
Everett loves to raise his hands to show us that he’s “so big!” We brought along our clip-on high chair and tray, which worked well with the picnic bench at mealtimes.
To our surprise, Everett slept better in our tent than he does in his crib at home. I guess he liked being snuggled up between us in our double sleeping bag.
We packed light for this camping trip and managed to fit all our essentials plus our pup Lacy in my Jetta Sportwagen. We did bring our huge sleeping pads to make sure that Everett got a good night’s sleep. We kept our meals simple as well. We made veggie quesadillas in our pie iron for dinner and egg and cheese sandwiches for breakfast.
Judging by his smiles, I think Everett had a great time. We’re looking forward to our next family camping experience.
- Thomas Woods Campsite website
- Location: 3100 IL-23, Marengo, IL 60152
- Reservations: Call (815) 338-6223, ext. 1200 by 11 am on the Thursday before you camp, or register with the camp host when you arrive.
- Camping fees:
Non-Electric Site: $10 Residents / $15 Non-Residents
Electric RV Only Site: $20 Residents / $30 Non-Residents
Holiday weekend surcharge: $2 Residents; $5 Non-Residents
- Firewood: No outside firewood permitted. Good quality firewood available on-site for $5 a bundle.
- Things to know: Dogs are welcome, though it is not mentioned on the website.
We’re just a few days away from our little boy’s arrival, so I thought I’d share a few photos of our nursery.
I created the camping nursery art using recreational signs from the Federal Highway Administration. You can download the nursery art here:
Free Printable Camping Themed Nursery Art
Whenever I walk by the nursery, I’m always tempted to sit in the chair. It’s the most comfortable seat in our house, and it has a great view of the treetops outside.
The baby blocks have the Greek alphabet on them. My husband Billy is half Greek, and we traveled to Greece on our honeymoon.
I fell in love with the painted wooden paddles from Norquay Co., but they were way out of my budget. Instead, my mom painted some inexpensive wooden paddles.
My dad made the book ledges. We’ll always have good books nearby for story time.
I chose a simple white crib and a few colorful fitted sheets.
The bird mobile is made of lightweight cardboard, so even the slightest breeze causes it to move.
I hope you enjoyed this tour of our nursery. We can’t wait for our little guy to arrive.
Note: I purchased a number of items at the Land of Nod Outlet in Naperville, IL. The outlet is definitely worth checking out if you live in the area.
Paint color: Benjamin Moore Robin’s Nest
Dresser: Land of Nod Jenny Lind Dresser
Changing pad: Keekaroo Peanut Diaper Changer
Chevron bag: Planet Wise Wet Diaper Bag
Wall art: Printable Camp Themed Nursery Art, printed through Bay Photo
Frames: Target Single Image Frame
Chair: McCreary Modern Dylan Swivel Glider
Blanket: Land of Nod Favorite Sweats Blanket
Rug: Land of Nod Candy Dot Rug
Blocks: Uncle Goose Greek Alphabet Wooden Blocks
Stacking toy: Plan Toys Cone Sorting
Storage tote: 3 Sprouts Storage Caddy, Beaver
Paddles: DIY using paddles from Gander Mtn. and paint samples from Lowe’s
Crib: El Greco Straight-Up Crib
Fitted sheet: Land of Nod Field Guide Crib Fitted Sheet
Mobile: Land of Nod Balancing Birds Mobile
Book Ledges: similar here
Billy and I just celebrated our second anniversary with a camping trip to Blackhawk Memorial Park in the driftless area of Southwest Wisconsin near the town of Woodford. This is the third time we’ve camped at Blackhawk. It’s the perfect place to find an inexpensive last-minute campsite, even on a holiday weekend.
We pitched our tent on campsite #19, across the Pecatonica river from some cows. At night we saw a few shooting stars that we later found out were part of the Camelopardalids meteor shower.
I’m in the last trimester of my pregnancy, so we did less hiking than usual. We hiked around New Glarus Woods State Park, and then had ice cream nearby at Kennedy’s Ice Cream & Grill.
We used our pie iron to make cornbread, pizza pockets and sausage cheddar biscuits. We also made a veggie breakfast scramble and walking tacos. Can you tell that I have a big appetite lately? I’ll post the recipes soon.
Shortly before our trip, the folks at Coast sent me a free HP550 flashlight to try.
This particular LED flashlight is very bright, making even a dark night seem like daylight. Seriously, use caution and don’t shine it in anyone’s eyes! The HP550 has two brightness settings and an easy to adjust slide focus.
We compared the the HP550 to our Maglite LED flashlight. The HP550 is smaller, 9 ounces lighter and significantly brighter than the Maglite.
The Coast HP550 is available at Walmart for around $60, or enter below to win the one we tested. Good luck and happy camping!
a Rafflecopter giveaway