City Camping

This might be called backyard camping if we had a backyard. What we have is a small balcony with sounds of traffic, airplanes, and neighbors walking their dogs.

I love nature. Blue sky, leaves and foliage.

But what I love is the beauty of nature, not going “back to nature.” Sleeping on the harsh ground, chigger bites, and peeing in the woods? No thanks.

Soft pillows and hot baths? Yes, please.

Last week we set up a tent on the balcony with every fluffy blanket, pillow, and feather duvet we could find. Provisions from the fridge. Countless books and toys.

While we didn’t have bears, we did see a hawk come perch on our flower basket to eat her snack lunch. It was wild. And also gross.


Tom found a spot near the stuffed animal friends. There was just enough room for the four of us, plus everything Lane owned. We waited for them to go to sleep.

Once the kids fell asleep, we moved them inside since it was BPT (big people time).

Every once in a while the noise would quiet. We didn’t hear the traffic. The neighbors would stay inside. We talked about the times we used to stay up late when we were dating.

And the next morning, we started it all again.

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. That sounds wonderful!

    Katie @ goodLife {eats}´s last post…MixMyGranola – Take 2

  2. I LOVED this. Especially camping in Dallas. Too cool! I’m also SO excited to see another person using Bumgenius diapers. I use those too!

    Tara´s last post…Today is World Vegetarian Day!

  3. Awww! Too much fun. We had the same kind of hawk (a sharpshin, I believe) visit our fence next to the birdfeeder. He was looking for lunch. Our yard must be on his route, as we see him about once a week, scouting out a tasty morsel. We’re just north of you…enjoy the upcoming cooler weather…Fall!

  4. Almost makes me wish I lived in the city … nah! But you sure are making the most of what you have. Good job girlfriend :) If you ever want to visit Missouri, you can camp for real in our back yard :) You would be welcome anytime :)

    Lisa´s last post…Harvest

  5. Looooooooooove this!! Such a wonderful idea. I wish I had thought of it when we lived in an apartment.

    (I see the bumGenius on Baby Brother. TOO SWEET! Are you liking those?)

    Megan at Simple Kids´s last post…Simple Kids Community Book Talk: Free-Range Kids

  6. That’s the most charming oasis I have seen in a long time. Beautiful! (And Tom’s shoes are rockin!)

    Meg´s last post…Music Lifts My Spirit

  7. Oh, my goodness! This was a delight to read and imagine. We’ve temporarily relocated from a small town to a city suburb and this gives me some creative ideas on how to make the best of it. :) Thank you! I love it!

  8. What a wonderful story and a wonderful memory for your children. Thank you for sharing it with all of us!

  9. Awesome Idea! That looks like so much fun! We used to set up the tent in the front yard when I was a kid and we have so many great memories. Your children will too :)

  10. What a great idea! Fun times for no money. I used to go camping all the time in Michigan and since moving to Tennessee I haven’t gone because of the heat. I too noticed the bumGenius diaper. We love cloth at our house. I just wish we were better at reaching for it rather than the disposables.

    Tara´s last post…Oh, I forgot I had a blog ;)

  11. This is so brilliant – a spot for everyone!!! I just love it!!! As for that mighty bird, awesome!!!

    se7en´s last post…Introducing Hood #8…

  12. She’ll cherish those memories, so will you. Great idea!

    Andrea @ The Train To Crazy´s last post…A Winner!

  13. Sandra Gonzales says:

    “plus everything Lane owned”

    I remember I used to take all my books and toys outside with me. Fun times. That was 29 yrs ago and I still remember.

  14. The picture of the hawk is INCREDIBLE! And the memories you’ve given your kids are the type that they’ll remember even when they’re our ages, proving once again that it’s the little things that matter the most.

  15. How sweet! We have been hemming and hawing about whether to take the kids (2 and 5 months) camping, and this seems like a lovely compromise. I’m already imagining how we can transform our deck into a camping oasis. :-)

    Adele´s last post…Nothing Extraordinary

  16. Oooh! You said you got a picture, but you didn’t say you got a really GOOD picture of him! That’s really cool. Wonder why he wanted to eat in your flower box?

  17. Very cool. This is a perfect idea. If I move into a place with a deck I will remember to do this with my children.

    natalyn´s last post…photog challenge, day 5.

  18. Wow! This is a wonderful way to reinvent and cherish where you are. My daughter received a ladybug tent for her birthday, one year. We have camped indoors many times. One of her favorite memories that she asks to so again and again is to take it into the front yard at night and sit with flashlights and listen to the night and look at the stars. But, then…we come back to our own safe beds for sweet dreams.

    That’s the kind of camping I like!

    I really enjoy reading your posts. I have been a visitor for some time. Thank you for your inspiring ideas.

    Elizabeth Davis´s last post…Making Grape Jelly

  19. What a great idea and what a wonderful mom you are!
    I’m wracking my brain trying to think of a place to do that here at my home.
    Such great memories you created!

    Amy Bowman at New Nostalgia´s last post…Fudgy Buttons

  20. What a great camp out! :) We haven’t camped out in our yard yet, but we do have lots of picnics, bonfires, nature walks and the like. We are blessed to have a yard that backs up to a beautiful wooded area.

    Steph @ Problem Solvin Mom´s last post…Happy Happy Day Cake

  21. Your children are blessed for having such great, inventive, creative and loving parents. I love how you take simple day to day activities and turn them into life long lasting memories. Great blog!!

    don_mae´s last post…When Is GOSSIP Good?

  22. What kind of diapers do you have on Tom?

    Sally Parrott Ashbrook´s last post…And Just Like That

  23. What a great idea!

    Mchelle Traudt´s last post…“Captivating” by John & Stasi Eldredge

  24. What a great idea! Proof that you don’t need a backyard or a tent to camp outdoors.

    Mchelle Traudt´s last post…“Captivating” by John & Stasi Eldredge

  25. Now that is MY kinda camping!!!!!!

    Nikowa@KHA´s last post…A poem God wanted me to see

  26. I just love that you can find joy in the little things in life. When I think that there is nothing to do, I think “What would Rachel do?” :D

  27. I love this idea! You are so creative. And Tom is getting so big and handsome!! (They change so fast!!)

    mrs. e´s last post…October Cool Down

  28. This sounds like great fun. It makes me think that sometime in the middle of blustery weather I could help my girls set up a “tent” under our bsmt. ping-pong table, complete with flashlights, cozy blankets and snacks and let them have hours of play under there.

  29. Wow…I can’t believe that hawk landed right there on your balcony! What an amazing sight to see! They’re one of my favorite birds… And baby Tom is very CUTE!

    Michelle´s last post…The day that got away.

  30. I agree, that photo of the hawk is INCREDIBLE. I love the urban/outdoor fusion!

    AlizaEss´s last post…Baltimore DIY in the Media

  31. All the enjoyment of the outdoors AND the conveniences of home. Great idea. I bet Lane loved it.

    Nancy´s last post…ghosts & goblins dancing all around

  32. Oh I love this idea of balcony-camping! I think that’s something all of us ought to do more often. Or even just taking a blanket down to the park for an afternoon. That’s one of my favorite things to do!

    Elizabeth Carmen´s last post…an introduction.