Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Camp Experience

...lead to a whole lot of sunburn!

And also a lot of fun.  Camp was very enjoyable, besides the HUMONGOUS hills, and terrible shower conditions.  I did end up in the same room with my two friends, (Ruby and Abigail) who came along with me, but not in all the same classes.  I got two of the classes I wanted, STOMP and Gardening.  But sadly, I didn't get the High Ropes Course, and neither did Ruby or Abigail.  The last class I got was Outdoor Living Skills, which was great, but it was still upsetting that I didn't get the High Ropes Course. 

To help you understand my camp experience, I'll show you my schedule.

7:00 - 7:30  Rise and Shine/Clean Rooms
7:45 - 8:30  Breakfast
8:30 - 8:45  Flag Raising/Announcements
9:00 - 9:45  Class 1 (STOMP)
10:00 - 10:45  Class 2 (Gardening)
11:00 - 11:45  Class 3 (Outdoor Living Skills)
12:00 - 12:45  Lunch
12:45 - 1:15  Fun Time
1:30- 2:00  Pack Meeting
2:15 - 3:00  Rest Time
3:00  Meet at Fairfax Shelter
3:15 - 5:15  Recreation/Swim
5:30 - 5:45  Change for Dinner
5:45 - 6:00  Flag Lowering
6:00 - 7:00  Dinner
7:00 - 8:45  Evening Activity/Snack
8:45 - 9:45  Campfire
10:00  Dorm Meeting
10:30 - 11:00  Prepare for bed
11:00  Lights Out!

As you can see, the days were PACKED.  We were always doing something.  

About the 7:00 Rise and Shine.  The first night, my friends and I all headed to the showers so we wouldn't need to take a shower in the morning.  It turns out that we were all sleeping in a lodge with about 50 or so other girls.  And we only had 8 showers.  That means there was always a HUGE line to get into the bathroom.  So we ran in real fast and grabbed a shower before it was taken.  And that was one of the worst experiences I had all week.  The showers were tiny, and they were all crammed together real close.  Second, the shower curtains did not reach all the way across the entryway, so you were always worried that someone would catch a peek of nude flesh.  Third, there was nowhere to hang your clothes and towel.  The only thing they had in between the 4 showers was a cheap plastic table to put your stuff on.  It was enough room for one person, but not enough for four.  Therefore, there was a lot of pushing and shoving, and when your shower was over, you would find your clothes lying on the ground next to the table, soaking wet.  And last but not least, there was a whole line of girls shouting at you to hurry up the whole time you're in there.  So my first night was horrible.  To avoid that problem, the next day I set my alarm clock for 5:30 in the morning, hoping that no one would be up that early; so we could actually get some privacy. The next morning, Abigail, Ruby and I all snuck out of our room and took a shower real quick.  And that worked!  So for the rest of the week we did the same thing, which REALLY annoyed the rest of our roommates. 

Our classes took up the whole morning, but I got some good ones.  The STOMP class was pretty good.  We ended up with an okay rhythm in the end to perform in front of the camp, but the other classes were MUCH better.  Ours was just music, but some of the other classes made skits, and stuff like that.
Gardening was awesome!  I learned a lot, and got to see a couple Garter snakes.  We helped to weed, plant, and harvest the small garden, then started to build a separate garden next to it.  There was a lot of variety in the small garden.  I got to try black pepper for the first time, and had some yummy tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, and squash.  The only problem I had with the Gardening class was the walk there.  The classes were very spread out over the whole campus, and let me tell you, this was a PRETTY BIG campus.  The STOMP class was not very far from my lodge, and it was even closer from breakfast, so I didn't have to walk very far.  But Gardening was ALL the way back to the entrance, which was a VERY long walk.  I was so glad they gave us fifteen minutes in between classes, because I needed every extra minute.  But the walk back was even worse.  To get to Outdoor Living Skills, I had to walk up a HUGE hill.  I was literally PANTING by the time I got up that hill.  To help you imagine this hill, I'll share with you that when mom was driving up the hill on the last day to pick us up, she said even the car was having trouble climbing that hill.
And last but not least, OLS.  This class was very interesting.  I learned a lot about what to do when lost in the forest.  The one tip that I will always remember is to always have an emergency stash of chocolate with you. :) Apparently it does some scientific thing in your body that helps you to keep a Positive Mental Attitude.

After all the classes were done, we had lunch.  I'd always heard that camp food tasted horrible, but I thought everyone was just exaggerating.  They weren't.  For dinner on the first night, they had chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes.  I didn't really think they could mess up chicken nuggets, so I grabbed one and took a big bite.  It was still frozen in the middle!  (Okay, now I'm exaggerating.  It wasn't actually FROZEN, it was just cold.  But still.)  But breakfast was always the worst.  The second day we had cold french toast sticks and bacon.  At least they didn't mess up the bacon!  And one day we got sausages for breakfast.  I like sausage, and always will.  Just not THOSE sausages.  I can't even describe how bad they were.  They didn't even stay in one piece.  They kind of crumbled apart when you picked them up.  But there was one good lunch.  We had chicken burritos with some spiced potatoes.  The chicken was wonderfully marinated, and the potatoes were AMAZING.  That was a good day.  But other than that, the food was awful.

You wanna know what "Fun Time" was, don't you?  Not fun, that's what it was.  Basically it was like a health class.  They made us do all these stupid games having to do with eating healthy.  I kind of just stayed out of the way the whole time...

Then there was the pack meetings.  Each person was assigned a pack, and during the evening activities you would all travel together.  Ruby and Abigail got assigned to the Eagle pack, while I was stuck in the Bobcats.  So I didn't see much of them during the evening.  The pack meetings were just basically a time to make a song to present at the campfire that night, or something like that.  I didn't know anyone in my pack, and I worked hard trying to make friends.  I failed.  So the pack meetings were okay, I just wish I knew more people.

Rec was probably my favorite activity at camp.  There you could do anything.  Play sports, make crafts, talk, etc.  I used my time learning to make friendship bracelets.  I made two in total, but have been also working on them at home and in the car now.  There were lots of beads and string, so I even got time to decorate my name tag.  Swim was, well, you know, swimming.  We had an hour to swim at the pool, and I passed the test the first day, but never actually swam the rest of the week.  We didn't have a lot of time after swimming to change before dinner, so I couldn't take a shower.  Therefore my hair would be all tangled.  So I skipped the swimming and sat on the benches and worked on my bracelets.

The Evening Activities were something we did with our packs.  Sunday night was the Amazing Race where we had to use clues to find certain checkpoints.  Monday was the carnival where we played games the counselors made up and earned points for our Packs, and tried to see which pack would have the most points at the end.  Tuesday was the Pool Party/Land Olympics where we hung out at the pool and played some weird games.  And Wednesday was the Dance/Movie Night.  Ruby and I went to the dance where we sang along to Justin Bieber and the Black Eyed Peas.  There was a disco ball and everything.  That was probably the most fun activity.

At the campfire, everyone sat on the wooden bleachers and held a meeting around the campfire.  (The fun kind of meeting.)  There were skits the packs led, which were basically meant to tease the other packs, and we sang songs.  

And that was the end of our day!  We were all really tired by the end, so the 11 o' clock bedtime was no problem for me.  All in all, camp was great, and I'm really glad I went.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Camp? What's that?

This summer, for the first time in my existence, I will be going to summer camp. I've done day camps and stuff like that, but this year, I will go to an overnight camp for almost an entire week.  (Sunday through Thursday.)
The camp I'm going to is called "4-H Junior Camp."  I am really excited about this camp for 2 main reasons:
1 - We will be sleeping in dormitories, instead of tents, which have AIR CONDITIONING!!!
and 2 - There will be SHOWERS!
And believe me, I have two brothers who just finished Boy Scout Camp, and I have heard SEVERAL times that this is not a "REAL" camp.  Yeah, we're not sleeping in tents, we don't have to hang up our food in trees to keep the bears away, and we are allowed to stay sanitary... but it's STILL camping.

campingpresent participle of camp (Verb)

  1. Live for a time in a camp, tent, or camper, as when on vacation.
  2. (of a man) Behave in an ostentatiously effeminate way: "he camped it up a bit for the cameras".
See, I don't HAVE to sleep in a tent to be considered a camper.  And, I am on vacation.  There will still  be small chores, but I will be hanging out with friends, getting nothing done, and (hopefully) having a good time.  So yes, I will be a qualified camper.
In this camp, you get to sign up for 3 different classes to do during the day.  I signed up for a high ropes course, gardening, and a percussion type thing.
The high ropes course is for rock wall climbing, and stuff like that.  I really want to do the gardening class because here in our little town home, we are not very successful with planting.  Well, my mom is.  She is growing two tomato plants and a fig tree, but I want to REALLY garden.  And it's always really hot here in VA, so most of the time, I don't even try.  The percussion class is for making instruments out of common household items.  The best part is that you get to come up with a song to play at the last campfire, in front of everybody - so hopefully we'll come up with something good.
I'm not exactly sure if I will get these classes.  It really depends if I turned my forms in soon enough.  I'm sure that a lot of people will want to do the high ropes course, so I'm really hoping I'll get that one.
This week I started packing for camp, and believe it or not, I don't have a lot of camping clothes.  I couldn't imagine wearing any of my clothes to camp, because I would be screaming the whole time, "No!  This shirt cost me ___ BUCKS!  Keep that water and mud and WHATEVER that stuff is AWAY from me!!!" 
We don't really have the money to go and buy a whole new wardrobe for me, so my mom took me to a thrift store.  Usually, I hate thrift stores.  There is always a lot of weird/creepy stuff in there, so most of the time I try and stay as far away from there as I can.  But mom took me to a really nice shop, where all the clothes were completely organized into sections.  This meant that I didn't have to sort through everything, which saved me a lot of time.  I came home with a lot of nice stuff, which were perfect for camping, but still had a little style.  I even found some brand name stuff that looked like they hadn't even been used.  Mom and I spent a total of 50 some dollars, which originally would have been about 80 if it wasn't a discount day.  With 50 dollars, I could only buy about 2 or 3 things at some of my favorite stores, but at this thrift store, I got about 11.  I was so happy!!!  (Plus, mom got some really nice stuff, too.)  I wouldn't be surprised if I shopped there again.
So now I'm all set for camp, and am really excited!  Two of my other friends are also going, which keeps me from worrying about not making any friends.
Okay.  I've probably talked enough now.   Thank you for listening.  ;)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day 7 - Crustless Chicken Pot Pie

2 tablespoons olive oil
1  1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 3), cut into 1-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dry white wine
1 1/2 cups water
2 celery stalks, chopped
1  green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

First, heat the olive oil in a large skillet, and then add the chicken pieces.  Cook until they are a light tan color.
Then add the garlic and cook for about 3 more minutes.  Next, sprinkle the chicken pieces with the salt and pepper.  Cook another full minute, and then add wine and water.

Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until cooked completely.  This should take about about 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, and blanch the celery and green peppers until soft.  Drain and discard the liquid.

After the chicken is done cooking, drain it, keeping 1/2 cup of the liquid.
Mix the chicken, vegetables, and leftover liquid together, and pour into a pie pan.  Then sprinkle with cheddar cheese and bake for 20 minutes.


Mom - It was yummy, but I sure do miss the crust.
Dad - It was pretty good, but it needs a little more.  (Like the crust.)


For dessert we had 2 scoops of some "Carb Smart" vanilla ice cream.

Day 6 - Curried-Basil Chicken

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large boneless skinless chicken breast halves
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
1 garlic clove chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
2 tablespoons dried basil
4 large romaine lettuce leaves

Heat olive oil in a large skillet, and add chicken.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook or about 3 minutes.
Next add the garlic and cook for about 30 more seconds.
Add in 1/4 cup of cream and 2 tablespoons water.  Lower the heat to medium strength, cover, and let it simmer for about 6 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Lay the chicken on a plate, and set aside.
Add the remaining cream and curry powder.  Bring to a simmer.
Add basil, salt and pepper.

Put the chicken pieces on the lettuce leaves,  pour the sauce over top and serve.


Mom - LOVE the curry and basil seasoning.
Dad - The flavor of the sauce had a nice flavor.


For dessert I used one of those Jell-O mixes for the dessert Temptations, Boston Creme Pie flavor.  It was VERY good.  It wasn't a sugar free dessert, but didn't have THAT much sugar.  And plus, it's Friday night.  You gotta get a little crazy.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 5 - Beefy Cream Cheese Roll-Ups

1/2 pound leftover cooked steak, rib roast, or other lean beef, cut into strips
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon chopped pitted green olives
1/2 tablespoon chopped pitted black olives
1/4 teaspoon dried sweet basil
ground black pepper to taste
8 large lettuce leaves (I used more like 16 leaves)
chopped fresh chives

I changed the order of this recipe around a little, so I'll just tell you how I did it.

First, mix together the mustard, cream cheese, salt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, olives, basil, pepper, and chives until smooth.

Divide the mixture into 8 parts, and spread on the lettuce leaves.
Then, lay down a meat strip or two.
And then roll up the lettuce leaf.  (Or just lay another one on top, like I did.)

Do the same with the rest of the lettuce leaves.

Mom - I LOVED the steak.  And it was a very nice, fresh way to present the steak.
Dad -  The sauce was really good, and all the different flavors went well together.


For dessert I served some sugar free strawberry jello that I made earlier today.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 4 - Cabbage Rolls with Turkey-Cheese Stuffing

1 head savoy cabbage
1 pound ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon sage, crumbled
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup dices mozzarella (I used shredded)
6 bacon slices

And before any of you guys ask, I did not make Greek Salad today like I said I would because dad was complaining about eating salads all the time and that he wanted some real meat.  So I changed the recipe and made something different so dad could have some "real meat."

Peel twelve leaves off the cabbage.  ( I had a little bit of trouble with this, as the cabbage leaves were so intertwined that I couldn't peel off the leaves with out tearing.  I think I got one leaf off okay before I got frustrated and started madly attacking the cabbage head and ripped it to pieces.)

After my temper tantrum with the cabbage, I blanched each leaf (or part of leaf) for 1 minute and then set aside.

 Next, I combined the ground turkey, egg, 2 tablespoons of water, sage and parsley.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and then divide the turkey stuff into 12 parts, and form into "ovalish" shapes.
Then, lay a turkey oval on top of a cabbage leaf with some cheese, fold in the sides, and roll up.  (Since I didn't have any good sized cabbage leaves, I just laid the turkey on top and left it like that without rolling it up.)

Then, lay the somewhat cabbage rolls with turkey-cheese stuffing in a shallow baking dish (I had to use three dishes), and pour the remaining water over top of them.
Precook the bacon very lightly.  Then cut each strip in half and lay over the cabbage rolls.

Bake the rolls for 30 minutes, and baste twice (which I didn't do ;), until all cooked.


( I really like it with salsa, while mom and dad prefer it with hummus.)

Mom - I really enjoyed the cabbage, it had really nice flavor - wait no, it had no flavor.  But it was good.
Dad - Nice tender cabbage, and good flavor throughout the whole thing.


For dessert I served some sugar-free chocolate pudding I had made earlier in the day.  It was really good, especially since it had no sugar.  It didn't leave an after taste, and was really rich.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 3 - BLT Soup

4 slices smoked bacon (I suggest doubling it :)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 quart chicken broth
1 medium tomato, diced
Chopped or shredded romaine or arugula
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used 3/4 cup)
Salt and pepper to your taste

Fry the bacon crisp, and crumble when cool (leave some big chunks in there so someone might get a tasty surprise.)  Set aside.

In a soup pot melt the butter, and saute (again, pretend there's and accent mark there) the onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic.

Afterwards, pour in the chicken broth.

And bring to a boil.
Later, lower the heat and let the soup simmer for about 10 minutes.

After simmering, add the tomato, romaine, crumbled bacon, and cream.  Mix well, and then serve right away.  Top with as much salt and pepper as you like.

Mom - "Nice flavor and very colorful.  It's like a party in a bowl!"
Dad - "I thought it was very nice and tasty.  It was an excellent soup, and went with the salad nicely."


Sorry guys.  I got lazy today and just served some Popsicles I found while shopping that had a surprisingly low amount of sugar and carbs.  :(  The Popsicles weren't near as pretty as they were on the front though, because it looks like someone took the box out of the freezer, and then decided they didn't want it and set it down someplace else.  Then an employee probably found it and put it back in the freezer, but not soon enough to stop them from melting.  So I just scraped the frozen Popsicle into a bowl, and tried to make it look pleasant.