After posting our family video here and on Instagram, I got a lot of questions about what we were cooking. Let me fill you in today!

Chris, an Eagle Scout, grew up camping. Somewhere along the way during his scouting days he learned to make what affectionately call ‘camping cobbler’. It is the easiest recipe, which makes it perfect for campfire nights. Really – it is ridiculously simple. We eat it every time we go camping. Most often we camp in cooler temps, so hot cobbler after a day outside is just so yummy. We usually eat it after the sun has gone down and we are gathered around the campfire in the dark. Food memories are apparently among our strongest and I have so many memories of different camping trips with friends, family and camping cobbler.

You need 3 ingredients:

1 can of fruit pie filling (cherry, blueberry, blackberry…whatever you like most)

1 box of yellow cake mix (you will only use 1/2 of the cake mix)

1 stick of butter (you don’t need the whole stick, about 3/4 of it)

To make the cobbler, we use a dutch oven. Dump the fruit filling in the dutch oven. Pour about half of the cake mix on top of the fruit (so it is above 3/4″ about the fruit), slice butter in thin slices and cover the top of the cake mix. Put the lid on your dutch oven, cover with coals and let it cook for about 20 minutes or until the fruit is bubbly and the butter melted.

Sometimes the cake mix doesn’t get entirely cooked in the butter, but it is good regardless.

The photos below are by Shannon Phillips of Imago Vita Photography. I just put our fruit filling and cake mix in prettier containers for the sake of pictures. Typically, when we eat camping cobbler we are actually camping…in dirty clothes, baseball hats, and unwashed hair….this is our pretty pretend camping with dresses and doilies and mason jars of fruit!


Shannon left before the cobbler was finished and we devoured it without taking any pictures. Then you guys asked what we had made. Poor us. We had to make it again so I take one shot of the finished cobbler…

7.15cobbler-20It would be so good with ice cream too. Ice cream and camping can be a challenge, but if you can make that happen – I highly recommend it. We make this after everyone has finished with dinner and the campfire is still hot. Being married to an Eagle Scout has some pretty great perks:)

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  • Lisa - That looks amazing! Thanks for sharing!

    Greetings and a lovely day from Germany,


  • Southern Gal - Poor you. 😉 It looks amazing!

  • Amy - We also have cobbler every camping trip and sometimes just in the back yard. :) My husband was an Eagle Scout too. Crazy! Most camping stores have a ice cream making ball you can toss around. Perfect for your kids to make while you wait for the cobbler to finish. It doesn’t make an enormous amount of ice cream but it’s perfect with cobbler. It’s called the YayLabs! Play and Freeze Ice Cream Ball.
    Fabulous pictures! Thanks for sharing.

  • Amanda - we make this all the time! our favorite is a can of diced peaches with a spice cake mix! YUM!! 😀

  • Vicki I - We make the same cobbler when we are camping and our two sons are both Eagle Scouts!!!

  • Kimberly - I would LOVE to know more about your cooking while camping ideas!
    Thanks for this follow-up post.

  • Kaytie - My husband’s an eagle scout too and his favorite thing to make while camping is cobbler! We use a big jar of peaches vs. pie filling and it’s delicious. I love that my family will have these camping food memories too! :)

  • Amy - We call this “dump cake”! We make it in the oven and “dump” two cans of fruit cocktail (or whatever fruit you want) in a 11×13 baking pan, dump the cake mix on the top and then add the butter and bake it. And we ALWAYS have it on ice cream. We will have to try it when we go camping – thanks!

  • ashley jensen - I made this a few years back using wild blackberries I picked out near the Illinois river. So so good!

  • J - The pictures where Chris is playing the guitar are cracking. me. up! The expressions on your kids’ faces are priceless.

  • Amy Cornwell - Yummy! This looks fantastic.

This past weekend my sister and brother-in-law hosted their first Backyard Gardening Workshop. I’m so proud of them. It was incredible to watch them in their element. They compliment each other in the best ways. Eric has so much knowledge and passion for gardening, perma-culture and sustainability. Lesley brings beauty, design, practical advice and wisdom on how to make your garden come alive. And she makes a killer salad. My ‘job’ was just to do whatever Lesley and Eric might need. I probably created that job because I wanted to come. Sisters do that.

The day started with donuts from Livi Lee’s. Since my ‘job’ was behind the scenes, I pretty much walked past the donut table over and over all morning. Grabbing one donut hole at a time. No shame in my donut game. I also helped decorate. That is a fancy description for ‘I loaded my car with all my random stuff and spread it around Lesley’s yard’. Thankfully, West Elm Tulsa provided a bunch of gorgeous decor to add.

So many things about the day I want to etch in my memory. The highlight was at the very beginning. Eric began with introductions and sharing their journey into gardening. As I watched the two of them I thought about how much my grandma and grandpa would have loved to hear them. My grandma would would have just sat back and watched it all, probably a bit surprised. I’m guessing my grandpa would have interrupted Eric a few times – secretly so proud of Lesley and Eric for passing down his gardening legacy. As I imagined my grandparents there, Eric began talking about his memories of watching my boys in the garden with my grandpa. And I was done. It couldn’t pay attention the rest of the day after that…back to the donut table.

I’m sure Lesley will share pictures and details for the workshop. Here are just a few phone shots I took during the day:


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  • grandma - Very proud of all of you and the joys you bring to our lives.We love you all very much

  • Jenn - such a pretty day.

  • Diana - Hahaha at making your own job to be able to go. Definitely have done that before to my sisters. It’s our job to make our own!

  • Sarah Z - Love the pictures….did you create a custom template to put all those pics together? I’d love to know how you did it…Photoshop?

  • AshleyAnn - Sarah – I re-sized the images in Photoshop. Then I opened one, copied the layer, deleted the original background layer, increased the canvas size to fit them all, moved my first image to the top left corner and just placed the rest onto the new ‘canvas’. If that makes sense! There are grid templates available from different shops, but it is pretty fast and easy to do it that way.

  • Sarah Z - Thanks for the reply…and for the step-by-step! :-) It DOES make sense. Thanks for all that you continue to share. I join the many who feel like I know you even though I only know you through your online presence. Even though I’m not a wife and don’t have kids, I have learned so much from you – about loving your Savior, family, loving on others, and being creative, to name a few!!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh that is just awesome. Love it.

Thank you so much for the comments on the film Amy shot of our family. I’ve watched it over and over again. Such a gift for our family. While Amy was filming, our other friend Shannon was capturing us through photography. Shannon has walked beside us as our family has grown, as my business has changed, as I’ve ventured into homeschooling. She and Amy are rare and beautiful gifts in my life.

Last week Shannon sent over a link for me to view our pictures. I’ve been so anxious for these! Our original plan including camping at the lake, but too much rain flooded many Oklahoma lake campsites. Instead, I decorated our trailer (goodies I had on hand and goodies from Shop Sweet Lulu) and we just hung out. I only wanted a couple ‘look at the camera and smile’ shots…the rest just us being us. My goofy crew – there was a lot of photo bombing, popcorn throwing, 7 year old dance moves and general chaos. Basically, just normal life but with a much cuter trailer in the background! And no basketball shorts.

7.15ImagoVita-01My grandpa’s garden chair. “Weeds” from the side of the road out front. My favorite cookies.7.15ImagoVita-027.15ImagoVita-047.15ImagoVita-057.15ImagoVita-067.15ImagoVita-077.15ImagoVita-08Her favorite thing in the whole wide world is when her brothers give her hugs and kisses. It is not their favorite thing in the whole wide world. I promised them each a Dutch Baby pancake.7.15ImagoVita-107.15ImagoVita-117.15ImagoVita-127.15ImagoVita-13I spend a significant amount of time behind my camera. My kids will have lots of memories of growing up in the home of a photographer. However, I have hardly any pictures of me actually taking a photo. I asked Shannon to capture a few shots of me doing what I often do – photographing my kids.7.15ImagoVita-147.15ImagoVita-15My seven year old has some killer dance moves. He is all kinds of awesome.7.15ImagoVita-16This is his ‘call me’ photo bomb….I keep telling myself it is a phase. He went through a ‘Lightning McQueen’ phase. And then there was the ‘goofy grin’ phase. This is the ‘call me photo bomb’ phase. It is documented well like the rest!7.15ImagoVita-17

It has been a while since we were in front of a camera other than mine. I have so many thoughts and emotions about how our family has changed in the last three years. Too many to put into intelligible words. So for now…this is us. Three years as a family of 7. Three years of growing, laughing, crying and healing. Three years of change and leaps of faith not knowing where we’d land. Looking at these, I see we landed in a pretty great place. Thank you Shannon!

Shannon (Imago Vita Photography) offers a few family sessions each year….you have to be quick to contact her and book her!

My Sources:

Balloons, glass jars, straws, yellow streamers, napkins, popcorn bags – Shop Sweet Lulu

Cookies – my favorites from Merritt’s Bakery

Happy Camper green t-shirt –  Honey Bee Tees

Little One’s dress – my mom made this for Firecracker’s 2 year old pictures

Firecracker’s dress – Target


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  • Tiffany - What a beautiful place you have made for your family to relax and enjoy eachother:) Did you make your white top? If not, will you tell us where you found that as well? Thank you!

  • Carol Van Boening - SO PRECIOUS!! What beautiful memories!

  • Jenn - these are so great. i love every bit of it
    my almost 8 year olds phase is to hold up his two fingers in a peace sign in pictures. like almost all of the pictures. :)

  • Anna - I LOVE these! So beautiful and inspiring:-) My boys just photobomb with the craziest faces they can make, and I SO SO understand the basketball shorts!

  • Alice H - Love all of these! The video was great too.
    Did you ever recreate the picture with the empty chair? I can’t remember if you did or not.

  • Carrie - I might have to start doing the ‘call me photo bomb’. :) Hilarious.

  • AshleyAnn - Tiffany – it is a dress from Target!

  • AshleyAnn - Alice – We didn’t. We had great intentions to do that, but it just never worked out. Maybe one day :)

  • cathy - Shannon, I am not sure how I found your blog other than the hand of God. It is BEAUTIFUL, words, photos, e v e r y thing! LOVE.
    Read about Morning star, the Love Project, turned me inside out.
    How can I help???????????
    Thanks for the inspiration, sweet stories and precious words!

  • Emily - What is it with boys and basketball shorts? My sons would live in them if I let them!

    This is a great series — are you going to frame and hang any? I’m curious how you display portraits…it’s one of those things I struggle with in my own home.

  • suzy - Wonderful pictures! Your family is so amazing, and thanks for sharing your life with us!

  • Elizabeth Highsmith - So much joyous life and the video made my heart happy! This is an odd ball question, As much as you all enjoy the outdoors do you not have Mosquitos in Ok or do you spray? They’re miserable in GA or they just love me. I’m always curious with those who spend loads of time outdoors.

  • AshleyAnn - Thank you Cathy – here is a link for one way to help The Love Project

  • AshleyAnn - Elizabeth – we do have mosquitos…not sure how they compare to GA. We are usually in areas of low grass and they aren’t too bad at our house. I think the chicken help. If we are in areas with tall grass and lots of mosquitos, we use bug spray/oils or candles.

  • Sarah - These are so fun! I wish we had a trailer like this instead of the crappy double wide we’ve got now. It’s not as pretty in my pictures. :(

    So glad to have found your blog!


  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Those are the BEST cookies!

    Last time I was there, I drove to Merritt’s Bakery and the location that I knew about was closed. I was so sad. I’m so excited to know they have other locations!

    When we would stay with Brian’s grandma, the kids and I would wake up early and drive to Merritt’s and get donuts and cookies for everyone. So many good memories.