Saturday, July 19, 2008

Don't Poke the Baby!!!

This week was our first week of junior/junior high age kids at camp (going into 3rd grade-8th grade). I was definitely not prepared for the kids reaction to my baby. Up until now, we've had families & senior highers. Who thought Z was cute, but they also knew or had been taught the appropriate way to adore a baby. And not poke him.

Oh, yes, my little man has been poked, prodded, kissed, generally adored, and called all kinds of things this week. Yesterday afternoon, one little girl tried to stick her finger in his mouth to see his teeth. Thankfully, I got him away in time!

One evening, as I was leaving with Z in his stroller, a girls' cabin group was all gathered around him, oohing, aahing, poking, adoring...and one of the girls said "Oh, his fuzzy blond hair is so cute. He looks like a fuzzy monkey. Hey, widdle fuzzy monkey..." At which point all the rest of the girls looked at me to see if I would be mad that this girl just called my baby a monkey. I wasn't. It's better than him being called 'It', which also happened this week. "Oh, look at the baby. It's so cute. It's looking at me." It? Really?

There were also a couple little boys that would come up to me at random intervals during the week and say, "Whoa. That's a BIG baby. How old is he?" It was so funny. Like how little are babies supposed to be? I mean, come on, he's at like the 30th percentile for height AND weight, people! I can't keep him any littler! :)

I took him 'swimming' in the pond for the first time this week. It did not go swimmingly. Pardon the pun. Every time his feet would touch the (admittedly) cold water, he would cry. So then these two boys decided he just needed to be splashed. He did not appreciate the sentiment. And he cried. Every time they splashed him. So they finally stopped and decided to dance around and see if their antics would amuse him. They did not. We finally left after about 20 minutes of me standing in the water, holding him, and Z holding his feet up OUT of the water. Fun times. Maybe next year. (sigh)

So, I don't want to be rude to the campers, but really, do I say something, like, "Um, it's not really polite to poke someone else's baby..."? Or am I just being paranoid because, hello, 'first-time mom syndrome' and all. What would YOU do???

Monday, July 7, 2008


When you work and live in the camping ministry, your summers don't consist of lazy days lounging by the pool or relaxing in air-conditioned comfort. You don't get July 4th off to enjoy picnics with friends or fireworks by the lake. I admit, sometimes I'm just a wee bit envious of people who get to spend their summers with their families this way. But I'm not complaining...because our summer is made up of...

the sound of kids laughing and joking together as they head back to their cabins

the smell and crackle of the campfire as kids and families alike share how their lives have been changed over the last five days

afternoons at the pond, watching people get launched off of the Blob and listening to kids shout or scream as they come down the waterslide

the sound of voices being lifted up together to praise God in the chapel

three deliciously home-cooked meals per day, personally delivered by none other than my heroes, the Kitchen Staff.

uproarious laughter following some pretty dumb jokes or stunts (especially during junior high weeks)

sixteen-hour work days for some of the staff (twenty-four hour days for the counselors!)

tears at the amazing ways God works in campers' lives each week, as they get up in front of everyone on Saturday morning and make a public commitment to live for God

competitive shouts echoing across the camp as the kids play frequent camp games

hours of quality time with the t-shirt press (thankfully, I have an assistant this year- you're awesome, Jill!!)

the inevitable homesick campers

a sense of purpose as we realize we're fulfilling the ministry God has given us each day

relief as an exhausting summer camp season draws to a close

sadness as our fellow staff members, who we have grown closer to than we could have ever imagined, take off to lead their own separate lives again

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Most UN-Scientific Recipe Ever

Warning: if you are methodical, or like to know the exact amounts of ingredients to put in your recipes, you will probably get disgusted with the way I am sharing this recipe. If you are like me and just like to throw things together by look and taste (probably also the kind of person who gets somewhere by landmarks rather than by road signs), forge ahead and enjoy!

Chicken with Stewed Tomatoes & Mushrooms

This recipe sounds wierd, but is actually delicious. Think chicken with spaghetti sauce...sort of...but chunkier. I suppose this recipe is probably only going to be enjoyed by people who like tomatoes & mushrooms. But we love it, and it's SO easy. And it's so versatile- if you can find chicken, any kind of tomatoes & mushrooms in your cupboards (well, hopefully the chicken's in the fridge), you can make this recipe.

Ingredients- Oil, Chicken, Stewed Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Italian Seasoning (sometimes).

Incredibly Ambiguous & Possibly Confusing Directions:

Put some oil in your skillet. (Such scientific measurements, I know)

Brown your chicken (I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you could use diced chicken or whatever you like) Anyway- brown it in the oil for 5 minutes per side, or until the meat is white on the outside with some browning on each side.

Then add some stewed tomatoes. I stew & can my own with oregano & garlic salt, but the store-canned version should work just fine, too, although you may want to add some extra Italian seasoning, especially if you only have un-seasoned tomatoes on hand. Fresh tomatoes will work, too, if you add Italian seasoning and a little extra water, and just make sure you simmer them in the pan until they're soft.

At this point, also add your can of mushrooms. (I use one can for three chicken breasts.) As far as the amount of chicken & mushrooms you use, it just depends how many you want to have left to eat with your chicken, or if you want to put them on rice on the side.

After you've added your tomatoes & mushrooms, put a lid on your skillet, and let it simmer on medium-high heat for about 20 minutes. Check it every few minutes, to flip the chicken so it gets done all the way through, and also to make sure your stewed tomatoes aren't losing all their water- you may need to add water if this happens.

When your chicken's done all the way through, your recipe's done! I like to serve this with a baked or mashed potato, or with rice. If you try this recipe, let me know how it turns out! Need an easy recipe with five ingredients or less? Check out Shannon's place for more great ideas that work for us!