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"Sit up Straight and Eat your Vegetarian Dishes!"

Now that I am grown up with kids of my own, perhaps there was more to the free-for-all camping food than I thought. Perhaps Mom really did plan meals and we fell for the ploy of letting us "think" we were helping ourselves in between.

But my question for you is:

"How will kids ever eat vegetables if they keep calling them 'Vegetarian' dishes? They are just vegetables, people, vegetables, NOT vegetarian. Labels schmabels!"

Let me explain with a little "vegetarian" story of my own...

Bear Creek Lake State Park was our very first Virginia State Park in Central Virginia. We had our two daughters, two school-age friends of theirs and our young niece who was visiting from Washington State along for the week.

Unloading the groceries assembly line fashion. Everyone is part of the team when we go camping or to cabins at Virginia State Parks

Many hands make light work. Especially little hands! Everyone is part of the team when we go camping or to cabins at Virginia State Parks

Yes, this is Marissa. Everyone is part of the team when we go camping or to cabins at Virginia State Parks

No one was off the hook. Everyone is part of the team when we go camping or to cabins at Virginia State Parks

I soon discovered as the "camp cook" for this motley bunch of campers that one meal for everyone was not sufficient. For example, the simple meat-sauce spaghetti I had planned for had questions and comments like these:

"Is there sauce? I don't like sauce! I want to have my noodles plain with no sauce" 

"Are there vegetables, because I don't eat vegetables, they will make me throw up!"

"Can I just have the sauce without any cheese? My Mom says I shouldn't eat cheese it makes me hyper"

"I don't really like spaghetti can I just have a hot dog"

"I don't eat mac and cheese without hot dogs in it" (uh we are not having mac n cheese)

"I don't eat hot dogs without mac and cheese" (uh still, we are not having mac n cheese or hotdogs)

"I don't eat hot dogs in buns, only plain" (uh, no hot dogs, no buns, only spaghetti)

"My Mom says I can't have..."

You get the idea, right?

Well, being the Mom in charge, as well as the Chef of the House...

I immediately grasped the gravity of the situation. I was supposed to cook an a la carte meal for each child. This is what they were saying, right? They expected this. Well, if you know me, you know that was not going to happen! I was also on vacation, and a can opener with a can of pork n beans was pretty close to the top of my agenda that week!

Instead of tossing in the towel, however, I enlisted my usual "put them to work routine." This entails giving each child a task to do. When put together with the other's tasks, as a whole, it completes the meal. Then we all sit down together, as is the custom in our family, and enjoy a nice meal, one and all, the same meal. One child does not get a "special plate," everyone gets a special plate.

The final straw occurred as we were about to say the blessing...

There was the soft little angelic voice reminding me "I can't eat vegetables Aunt Shellie or I will throw up" by my sweet little kind-hearted adorable niece Marissa. Oh she was just sooooooo adorable saying that to her Aunt. She sat there staring back with those brown doe eyes, her statement made, and now wondering what I was going to do about it? 

She held onto this "throw up theory" until I shocked her by replying with "Hold that thought! I will go get my camera!" and "If you are going to throw up! I want a photo of that!"  

Fun at Virginia State Parks camping and cabins

Fun at Virginia State Parks camping and cabins

Fun at Virginia State Parks camping and cabins

Fun at Virginia State Parks camping and cabins

As you can see, I was not kidding, I really did take photos!

She got the attention she was after...and after all that hubbub she ate her "vegetarian dishes" ahem, vegetables, and didn't even throw up (or barf, as the other girls put it).

When her Mom, my sister Stefanie arrived to collect her, there she was, that cute little spunkster eating a plate of vegetables.

Her Mom said "What? How? Huh?"  

She turned to her Mother and said, and I quote "Oh I like them now Mom" and continued to eat.

These are camping memories at Virginia State Parks that are priceless. My niece is now in her teens and I will always cherish the memories of our very first state park vacation. Vegetarian dishes, not quite, they are simply veggies...and if awarded enough goofy encouragement and fun, they can be delicious! I have the photos to prove it!

Everyone is part of the team when we go camping or cabins at Virginia State Parks

Everyone is part of the team when we go camping or cabins at Virginia State Parks

Little spunky Marissa! She was quite the character as a little kid, and she still is!

Little spunky Marissa! She was quite the character as a little kid, and she still is!

Happy together! They had a blast and made a ton of memories that summer vacation at Bear Creek Lake State Park!

Happy together! They had a blast and made a ton of memories that summer vacation at Bear Creek Lake State Park

I hope you and your family can enjoy Virginia State Parks in 2014 just as much as we have! These fond memories are engraved forever upon our hearts. 


Published: 12/29/2013


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