Letter from Camp Mom

It’s been a busy week here during Spring Break.  We here at Camp Mom like to encourage our campers to plan out their own activities, and these kids have really risen to the occasion.  I can’t tell you how many times the front screen door has banged shut as they run in and out of the house, riding bikes and playing basketball in the front yard.  They’ve also chased Louie in the backyard until he was so tired that he abandoned them for the Camp Counselors (My husband S and me).

Like any good camp, we’ve had arts and crafts time.  E, in particular, wanted to set up a paint-by-numbers set that her uncle gave her at Christmas.  I think we’ll hang the finished painting in her room.

We’ve also had a lot of music this time around in Camp Mom.  The kids have been banging away on our piano which we scored on Freecycle last year.  I won’t even tell you how we moved that thing (let’s just say it involved a U-Haul and a prayer), but I will tell you that it lives in our foyer because it’s too heavy for me to help my husband move it anywhere else in the house.  I’ve decided I love it there.  None of us have had any lessons on it — so we’re messing around with this book:

The kids have also had marathon sessions of building Legos and playing Settlers of Catan along with its expansion packs.  If you’ve never played it, it seems a lot like the game Risk except that you’re building settlements with your resources.  I usually walk by just as intense negotiations for wood or sheep break out among the three players, followed by the plaintive cry of “That’s not fair!”  I’ve heard a lot of “not fair” this week.

Usually when someone starting lamenting the injustice of it all, I break out the food challenges.

1.  Make cupcakes.

Yeah, there was a full rack of cupcakes here, and then I went to find the camera.  When I came back, several were missing and the kids were noticeably in a better mood.

2.  Make pie.  (You’ll notice that a lot of the food activities tend to have sugar as their main ingredient.  Funny that.  Someone should talk to the Camp nutritionist.)  We had pie filling in the freezer from last fall’s Great Apple Picking at Springhope Farm in Michigan.  Last September, we picked oodles of apples and then I spent a couple of days peeling and slicing them into a cinnamon-nutmeg-sugar base.  I packaged them up in gallon-size freezer bags and, voila!  Homemade pie filling in March!

E and I took charge of this activity.  She helped me make the crust.  She knows that if she’s very patient, I’ll let her play with the excess dough.

We had to put a drip-pan in the oven for when the juices explode out of the pie.  I’m not very good at sealing the edges, so I compensate with pans and foil.  And soon…. PIE!

3.  Create a “Fear Factor” type challenge — can you drink green plant juice??

We picked this up from Trader Joe’s.  It’s a combination of spinach, broccoli, and other green things.  Looks like sludge, doesn’t it?  Yum.

They also add in a ton of fruit juice to make it palatable.  Oddly, this grayish-green drink tastes a lot like peach juice.  M loved drinking it to gross out his sister.  C and E tasted it and gagged.  Fun times.

So with all this going on, I thought things were running pretty smoothly at Camp Mom.  I mean, everyone seemed busy and there weren’t too many bouts of bickering.  And then E asked me what she should do next.

“How about writing a story about yourself?” I suggested.

She ran off and returned with a slip of paper that read:  “Once there was a girl named E, and she was bored.  The End.”

So much for the best-laid plans here at Camp Mom.  Can’t wait to see how we fare in the summer version.

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About thethingaboutjoan

Mom of three who knits a little, bakes a lot, crafts a bit and blogs about it all.
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5 Responses to Letter from Camp Mom

  1. Michelle's Cookie-Cutter Blog says:

    What a fantastic idea about freezing already prepared pie filling! I also love the idea of bringing in “challenges”. You should compile a list of the challenges you’ve used and then, for those of us who can’t think of any activities when that crankiness arrives, can reference your list!

    • The only trick with the frozen pie filling is that it’s extra juicy when it thaws out, so the pie has a tendency to run over in the oven. Still, my husband and kids love apple pie, so it’s nice to have the filling ready to go anytime.

      Great idea about compiling the list of challenges! Anything to stave off the crankiness…. :) Thanks!

      • Michelle's Cookie-Cutter Blog says:

        Thanks for the extra tip on the juiciness! Will keep an eye out for that if/when I whip up a batch of pie filling :)

  2. alenamurguia says:

    Well timed as I prepare for “camp” next week. I love the “Fear Factor” challenge. Maybe we’ll try that right after the “Who can go the longest without speaking game.” That’s always a winner in my book.

  3. Micha says:

    I was going to say also what a great idea it is to freeze the pie filling…you weren’t kidding when you said you freeze everything! :P And I’m in agreement that cupcakes make everything better…

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