Archive for June, 2013

Teaching Fire Safety with an Edible Fire

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Learning by doing not only applies to school but also to camping skills.  According to the people at a Seattle Fire Watch Company, it is easier to teach someone fire safety and building with items that are not flammable compared to trying to teach them how to build a fire when it is needed.  The following activity is great for the novice who has never built a fire, a primer to prepare individuals for a camping trip, and as a refresher course on fire safety.  While this activity is fun and games, possible life-threatening behaviors can be stopped during this learning process instead of being exhibited during a camping trip that can risk both human and animal life with just an unintended spark.

The supplies listed below are very open-end and can be a way of using up those leftover supplies of candy and snacks.  But when creating the edible fire, please follow Leave No Trace guidelines.  This means to only use items that you are going to reuse such as a mess kit, reusable silverware, and drinking cup.


Edible Fire Recipe

The ingredients below are broken down by area of use.

Safety Circle- plate, handkerchief, graham cracker, large cookie or lettuce leaf

Water Bucket-2 reusable cups filled with water, juice, sport drink or salad dressing

Fire Ring-mini and/or large marshmallows, jelly beans, chocolate covered peanut candy, ring or pop-shaped cereal or raisins

Rake-fork or finger

Shovel-spoon or gumdrop on pretzel stick

Match-toothpick, thin pretzel stick, licorice stick or candy corn on a toothpick

Tinder-shredded coconut, potato sticks, chow mein noodles, shredded lettuce and carrots, shredded cheese or broken up shredded wheat

Kindling-pretzel sticks, chow mein noodles or potatoes sticks

Fuel Logs-pretzels logs, bread sticks, tootsie rolls, carrot sticks, celery sticks or cheese puffs

Fire Starter-gum drops or chocolate kisses

Soil-hot chocolate mix or crumbled chocolate cookies and or brownies

Sparks or Small Fire-red hots, bite-sized pieces of red licorice, red sugar sprinkles, chopped tomatoes and/or red peppers  

Large Fire-red licorice ropes, candy corn or bacon bits

Optional ingredients toothpick (green sticks) and/or marshmallow ( mini marshmallow on a pretzel stick)

Creating your Edible Fire

  1. Those with long hair need to put their hair up in a ponytail or hat.  Long sleeves need to be buttoned up and shirttails need to be tucked in.  Everyone needs to be reminded not to allow loose clothing or hair to hang around the campfire whether you are building it or just enjoying it.
  2. Gather all the ingredients and decide where to build the fire.  Once that decision is made, remind everyone that a 5 foot space will need to be cleared.  In the edible fire this is represented by the safety circle.
  3. Next get the water buckets, shovel and rake together and place alongside the safety circle.
  4. Create your fire ring on your chosen safety circle.
  5.  Using the fuel logs, create an “A” or “V” shape with the open end facing the direction by which the wind is blowing.
  6. In one of the corners in the “A or V” described in step 5, create a teepee of tinder.
  7. To this teepee of tinder, add a fire starter and light with the match.
  8. Sprinkle with the sparks and/or small fire supplies.
  9. As the small fire grows, add kindling making sure to leave room for air.
  10. Add fuel logs and top with large fire ingredients.
  11. At the end of the fire building, do not forget to put the fire out.  This is done by tearing down the fire, exposing the coals.  Once that is done, smother the fire with the soil ingredients and top with liquid from the water buckets.  Stir and repeat until there is no heat coming off the fire and then cover with one more layer of soil.
  12. Now eat.

Learning how to properly and safely build a fire is an extremely important skill that everyone should know how to do.  Practicing fire building skills prior to your trip can be a fun and enjoyable experience for all.  It can educate those going on the trip on how to handle a fire, safety precautions, and what behavior is expected around the campfire.   As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, and when it comes to campfires this saying can mean the difference between life and death.

Oh My, Got to Camp Late, Slept in and Have to Cook Breakfast. What Can I Have? To the Rescue, Campfire Breakfast Burritos

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Every camper has been in that situation where you hike all-day to find that perfect camping spot.  But after the long hike the day before and sitting up camp, one does not want to have to cook a lot for breakfast.  What is the answer to this dilemma?  Well, the answer is to do your cooking before the camping trip and already have the breakfast prepared in your cooler or backpack and that is where the campfire breakfast burrito comes into play.

To begin the process, you will need a cutting board, sharp knife, a mixing bowl, three large spoons, large saucepan, two large skillets and a large roll of aluminum foil.  Once you have these supplies lined up the next step is to get your ingredients.  Keep in mind that this is a general list and can be changed according to your breakfast preferences.



16 eggs

1 lb ground sausage

1 yellow onion

3 cloves garlic

Olive oil

Butter or margarine

6 medium potatoes

2 cups shredded cheese

3 Tablespoons chopped parsley

4 green onions

Salt and pepper

8 or 9 large, flour tortilla shells

Salsa and/or hot sauce


  1. Chop yellow onion and garlic.  Place 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet and heat.  Once the oil has become hot, add yellow onion and garlic.  Cook until onion is clear and the garlic is fragrant. 
  2. Once the onion and garlic has cooked, add sausage and break up with spoon.  Cook until the sausage is cooked thoroughly.
  3. While the sausage is cooking, chop the potatoes and place in a saucepan.  Fill with water and bring to a boil.  Cook until the potatoes are soft.  Keep in mind that the potatoes can be with or without skin.
  4. As the potatoes cook, break open the eggs and place in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Once all the eggs are in the bowl beat until all the yolks are broke and thoroughly mixed.
  6. Place 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine in a large skillet and heat up.  Once the butter has melted, pour the eggs into the skillet and cook until done.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. After the eggs are done, combine the potatoes, eggs, and sausage mixture.  To this add shredded cheese, chopped green onions and parsley.
  9. Unroll the foil and cut into sections that will hold the rolled up flour shells.
  10. Now lay down a flour shell on one sheet of foil and fill with several spoonfuls of mixture.
  11. Rollup the tortilla shell and wrap tightly in the foil.
  12. Place in freezer and repeat with the remaining shells.

These breakfast burritos should be one of the last things you pack before you leave for your trip.  They are easily kept in a cooler but if you double wrap them in foil, they can keep in a backpack.  Just make sure to eat them the next morning.

When that morning arrives, simply build a fire and place the breakfast burritos on a rack above the fire or alongside the fire.  Your goal is just to warm the food since it is already cooked. 

While that is going on, prepare your coffee, tea or hot chocolate and sit down and enjoy the fire.   Knowing that breakfast will be done in few or when the smell of coffee whiffs through the air to wake up those left in slumber is worth a the extra effort you put in at home.

How to Make a Peanut Butter Jar Camp Light

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Long ago, when my children were very young I devised a lantern that felt was safe for a toddler to carry.  While I knew that this lantern could not cause any harm compared to a kerosene lamp, we treated it with the up most respect.  In this way, I was preparing my kids for the day that they would carry a “lit” lantern.

Below are the general directions for this lantern but do not hesitate to tweak it to make it your own.

Supplies needed

2 identical sized peanut butter jars with lid

Wax paper


Glue stick


Drill with small bit

Cording such as rope or leather

Hot glue gun with glue

Utility knife


Battery operated light that resembles a flame



  1. Clean out one jar removing any wrappers and peanut butter inside.
  2. Trace a pattern of the outside of one of the jars making sure to a add ¼ inch and cut out.  Repeat two more times.
  3. Glue the layers together with a glue stick.
  4. Tape the ends of this wax paper tube together and place inside one of the jars.
  5. Now drill a hole on the inside rim of one of the lids.  Repeat directly across from this hole.
  6. Run cording such as rope, or even leather threw each hole and tie-off ends.
  7. In the second lid, drill a large hole.  This will be for the on/off switch of the light.  If excess plastic is left, cut away with a utility knife.
  8. Line up the on/off switch with the hole and trace the outline of the light.
  9. Apply hot glue to this outlined area and place the light on top.  Again, make sure the on/off switch is lined up with the hole before securing down.
  10. Secure on the lid with the light attached to the top of the jar.
  11. Place the lid on a table and hot glue the other lid with the handle to the bottom of the jar.
  12. Turn on and enjoy.

Optional additions to this basic design include creating flames.  This is done by cutting out plastic food wrap that is colored red, orange, and yellow.  If you choose to add flames, consider shopping for the colors during the holidays.  Red can be found during December while orange and yellow appear in the fall and spring.

Once you have the plastic, cut out flame shapes and wedge between the wax paper layers.  Make sure that all the layers are securely glued down before placing inside the jar.  Also, make sure the flames are located on the end where the battery will go not on the top.

Making a peanut butter camp light is a great repurpose activity that is fun and can provide that teaching moment that is safe and functional.