Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Officially, 2011's camp doesn't begin until tomorrow, Thursday, July 21st.  However, our first activity is a 10 a.m. sightseeing cruise, requiring the children to get up around 8 a.m.  The thought of dragging their behinds out of bed, coaxing them into clothes, getting food down their gullets, and then attempting to unveil the camp details seemed as appealing as a colonoscopy.  Thus, we have this evening's kick-off.

I knew going in that my theme of earning patches was going to be met with little enthusiasm.  I was right.  Their faces fell.  It's my fault, of course, for having gone overboard in previous years and despite my frequent warnings the last couple weeks that this year's camp was going to be simplified, I could tell there was extreme disappointment.  There were also those rumblings from overindulged kids that make my blood pressure shoot up and expletives fly out of my mouth, so it took great restraint to simply do my presentation.

Official camp sign, theme explanation, and banners.

Uncle Chester provided the banners the kids will use for their patches.  She used squares of felt, then sewed binding to the top and bottom, making a space in the top for a dowel in case they want to hang them in their rooms.  The Warden, on the other hand, has a vest all prepared for herself.  Years ago I made a "cleaning vest", the idea being that you store your cleaning supplies in the pockets and such and then you could swiftly move around the house scrubbing.  I used it for one week and then it was abandoned to the back of my closet.  Who knew it would come in handy some day?

The first day's patches.
Each patch has a separate write-up detailing the activities they will be doing, as well as historical information or other details if relevant.  I unveiled the first patch:  Arts & Crafts.  It will be in three parts, with part one being done today.  Let's just say the look on my offspring's faces wasn't one of glee.  The Professor hates crafts and Foghorn, my artist, claimed she hated them as well.  When I threatened to cancel camp right then and there, they relented.

Craft #1 was to make "mystery braid" leather bracelets from a kit snagged at Hobby Lobby for 50% off.  I had wisely made one ahead of time last night, as the instructions left something to be desired.  I could blame it on the fact that the bracelets were made in China and something was obviously lost in the translation.  Their photo illustrations made Ikea's furniture instructions look clear as crystal.  Despite my familiarity with the process, I struggled to get the process across to my children.  The Professor isn't the most dextrous of children and Foghorn is still a little young and knows nothing about braiding, an essential skill for this project.  I then gave them erroneous directions a couple times thanks to those hieroglyphic-like instructions.  After much snarling and Sydney's repeated lament of, "I think this was a really bad idea" we got the bracelets made.  I thought they were quite neat.

The Inmates did not.  They quickly declared them "itchy" and "uncomfortable" and they landed on the piano.  I breathed deeply and tried to keep my inner Rahm Emanuel from emerging.  Foghorn started yelling for us to earn the science patch, which was briefly mentioned as one of the upcoming events in my kick-off presentation.  I exhaled, resisted my Rahm-urge to let loose with a string of obscenities, and got the write-up for the science patch.

Foghorn was very excited...until she found out it dealt with solar energy.  Then she began to whine about that.  Given her tendency to talk about blowing people up, usually with glassy eyes and a dreamy smile, I think she was imagining something with chemicals and test tubes.  I have no intention of giving anything so lethal to a girl who spent one happy Sunday at my mother's making people out of paper and the executing them with Uncle Chester's heavy duty paper cutter.

The solar kit had six options and the kids quickly decided on making the solar puppy.  I underestimated just how complicated the kit would be.  It involved actual wires and assembly of a gear box and for someone as scientifically-challenged as The Warden, it was quite a feat.  The Professor is more scientifically inclined, but his lack of dexterity meant I did most of the wiring, so there's a chance this puppy may catch fire when it's tested.  We gave Foghorn a few of the easier jobs like detaching the needed plastic pieces from the card.  By the time we finally got the sucker together the sun was down and we couldn't test the thing.  Since we're having a heatwave and the temperature will be close to 100 tomorrow, I figure we'll have plenty of time to try it out.  They're very excited, although I think Foghorn is expecting a barking, walking robot.  I think maybe the thing wags its tail when the sun hits it.  At least they had more fun than braiding the bracelets.

The kids quickly disappeared to watch a 3D video of their father's in the bedroom.  I took the opportunity to admire my bracelet.  In fact, I decided I liked it so much I grabbed the package and made myself one in each color.  So there, Inmates.

I caught a glimpse of our dog, St. Jimmi, chewing on what I thought was a Nylabone...until I looked closer.  While we had been busily experimenting with solar power, she had been cheerfully chewing up the cat's new harness.  She so belongs in this family.

St. Jimmi and the defunct cat harness.  I think the cat paid her to do this.

Note:  As camp progresses, I intend to link to separate blog posts giving specific details of products used, locations visited, etc., for the benefit of anyone with a Kamikaze personality who might be thinking of putting together a camp for her own children.

You might also be interested in:

Camp Gonnawanna

Meet the Inmates -- The Professor

Meet the Inmates -- Foghorn

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, it sounds like things got off to a great start!