Heather says:

What do you get when you combine: a breezy Sunday afternoon, seven children eight and younger, a backyard, a fire-pit, marshmallows, graham crackers, and HERSHEY’s Milk Chocolate Bars?

You get an afternoon of memories I’ll hold onto for years to come.

Things have been crazy for months. I feel as though I’ve been running at full tilt and getting nowhere. Combine that feeling with the overwhelming societal pressure to turn even small milestones into spectacular events and you have a recipe for crazy. I was recently musing about this on Home-Ec101’s Facebook Fanpage:

I’ve been mulling over a post on how everything doesn’t have to be a spectacular event to be enjoyable. Thoughts?

Your responses:

  • Tammy Maltese Munson sometimes its just the little things (and the simple ) : )
  • Loretta Andrade absolutly, sometimes its the the simplest things that are best.
  • Liz DeLoach Of course not – in fact, spectacular everything feels contrived and frankly exhausting after a while. Low key is great.
  • Jennifer Schreiber Stop mulling and write it! Life isn’t about being spectacular, its about being able to enjoy what you have at the time. 🙂 (My 2 cents!)
  • Janet Edens Conover without the small, there is no spectacular
  • Sandee Hill I think it sounds like something we all need to hear!
  • Zoe Hayduk-Sloan If everything is spectacular all the time; spectacular becomes simply ordinary.
  • Money & Faith in Motion Simple pleasures are underrated; we’re all so overwhelmed by the fast-paced, high-tech world we live in. Simple things like roasting hot dogs over a campfire, taking a walk with a friend, putting a bouquet of flowers from your garden in a Mason jar on your kitchen counter – none of these are spectacular, but they sure are good, refreshing ways to lift your spirits.
  • Longaberger Lifestyle Reminds me of the Nester’s quote, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”

So here I was debating over what I’m going to do with the children this summer that wouldn’t drive myself crazy, but still ensure they had fun. And then, because life is full of serendipitous surprises, I was contacted on behalf of Hershey’s to participate in their CAMP BONDFIRE* promotion and encourage you to IGNITE SUMMER MEMORIES.

Immediately there was the temptation to create THE BEST EVENT EVAR! I immediately began brainstorming ways to impress the HERSHEY’s account reps, how could I put together the best event ever by their deadline? I wandered outside and looked at the fire-pit (the bottom had rusted out and it needs to go to the dump), then I looked at my calendar (I had to work at the pub every day up to the deadline). I also realized that sleep ranks pretty high up on my list of priorities -it keeps me from ending up on the evening news in an unflattering way, at least that’s how I justify my need.

I took a deep breath and decided that A) I needed to call on the help of friends and B) this was the perfect way to illustrate the importance of simple pleasures.

I contacted and imposed on good friends -who have a functional fire-pit and cute kids, these friends contacted other mutual friends who also have cute kids. A quick check of the weather showed that the following Sunday looked okay and we were all available. I promised to bring all of the Smores fixings and my undying gratitude for the use of their yard and children.

What happened you ask?

The kids hammed it up, just as I hoped they would, involved in pure, innocent fun.

As for the adults, we relaxed as much as possible in the presence of small children and flammable materials.

Which despite all appearances to the contrary, turned into the most relaxing few hours I have had in months.

No one went to the ER.

My boys learned how to split wood -household rule, you have to split wood if you want to feed the fire. (They weren’t about to be shown up by my friend’s daughter, after all.)

And after the excitement of the campfire?

Came the smores themselves. Can you get any simpler? It’s just graham crackers, marshmallows (we like the gigantic ones), and HERSHEY’s Milk Chocolate Bars.

So, how can you IGNITE SUMMER MEMORIES without a huge hassle?

  1. Relax, it’s a campfire cookout, not a debutante ball. No one is going to judge the event by the brand of juice or turn up their nose if the lemonade is store-bought instead of homemade.
  2. Let the kids help. Younger children can gather sticks to use as tinder.
  3. Teach the kids proper marshmallow roasting technique. Remember to teach kids that coals cook and fire burns.
  4. Use common sense precautions, children, especially, should always wear shoes near a fire, nothing will ruin an evening like a trip to the emergency room.
  5. Take a deep breath, messy and sticky kids are happy kids. Let them rinse off in the hose, just have plenty of towels ready to go.

Head over to HERSHEY’s CAMP BONDFIRE**on Facebook for more tips and ideas every week this summer. You’ll meet some pretty cool people like Emily from TheMotherhood. Don’t forget to become a camper, because each week one lucky camper will win a fire-pit. (I wish I were eligible, then I could stop imposing on my friends).

Have fun!

This post was sponsored. All opinions and memories are my own.

*Yes, the term makes me giggle, internally I will always be 12.
**Yes, still giggling, what of it?



  1. Diane on May 30, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    And just think, all that fun did not require cute printables, pedestal plates, fancy matching straws and paper products.  Yes, I love seeing a well-decorated event.  But the real fun comes in the relationships and the activity.  I always say that food tastes better when it is well presented.  But who needs a presentation to make s’mores taste any better!  😀  I think there was a lot of “bonding” going on around that fire.  My fingers are crossed that Hershey execs will be so impressed with your homespun take that they gift you with a firepit!!  Yep…the Nester is right again!!  Maybe we should change it to, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be fun.”  (and yummy!) 

  2. therebelchick on May 30, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    You just made me really hungry for S’mores!

  3. MicheleChestnut on May 30, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Oh I grew up close to Hershey Park and Smores were the highlights every summer. I try to do that for my children too! And awesome photos!

  4. Nessaaw on May 30, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    The pictures turned out great! And I agree, many of our best memories are times that we didnt plan a thing, and just rolled with the day!  I agree, most kids are pretty cute, but your daughter has got to be ranked up there towards the top of the cute list!  🙂

    • HeatherSolos on May 30, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      @nessaw If I were in charge of picking the winners you would totally be moved to the top of the list, but alas I’m not.  I’ll just tuck that compliment away for later when she’s being a stinker.

  5. Monique on May 30, 2012 at 10:59 am

    We used 1/s the squares. But your party looks like it was a lot more fun that ours! Glad you had a good time.

    • HeatherSolos on May 30, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      Normally I use a half a bar and one graham cracker, broken in half per smore. I just thought with the gigantic marshmallows the pics would turn out better if I didn’t have the kids breaking up the crackers. And all the credit goes to the hosts and their generosity, all I did was supply a little over 3/7s of the children, the Smores supplies, and Capri Suns (I figured the damage was already done nutritionally why even pretend to salvage it that day) 😉

  6. imabug on May 30, 2012 at 10:01 am

    so much fun 🙂
    when i was that age, my summers were filled with board games, bike riding, hide and seek until 11PM (because at 11PM it’s still light out in Edmonton) and lego build sessions. Later it was the occasional camping trip and weekend D&D sessions.
    it was always the simpler things i had most fun with. big production events like weddings and receptions my parents would drag me to were the least fun.

    • HeatherSolos on May 30, 2012 at 2:07 pm

       @imabug I am a huge believer in unstructured time. I think kids need time to get into mild forms of mischief and time to shape their world and their view of it. All of the great coming of age movies and books rarely involve the adults forcing themselves into the child’s world. 

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