It’s possible that I’ve gone a little overboard

LogoForCampNellieBlyWell! This has been a veritable whirlwind of a week. It was the official first week of summer, but since Minneapolis schools didn’t get out until Wednesday, we (I) decided to use this week for prep and start summer camp on the 10th. This would have been a great plan, full of fun times and relaxed summer days, except that I forgot I had jury duty, so Monday and Tuesday were full of scrambling around trying to set up childcare (thank god for good friends who are willing to take my kids last minute), and then serving on a jury (interesting, but not interesting enough to make up for the hassle) and I’m *still* technically on jury duty, but now I just have to call in twice a day and maybe I won’t have to go back in at all. And then Wednesday my kids decided to celebrate the first day of summer holidays by displaying every bad habit or quality they possess, all at the same time, loudly, in my face. So by the time I was done with all that, I felt like I was scrambling to get everything ready in time. Which is a stupid way to feel, given that the only person who is holding me accountable for having everything done “on time” is ME, and I could theoretically let myself off the hook, except that I don’t really have that ability so much at all.

Here are the things I am thankful for this week: Pinterest, Color Inkjet Printers, and Gluesticks. The past few days have been an orgy of downloading, printing and assembling various items to set up for our summer experience. Y’all, I am obsessed with free internet printables. Which, yes, I realize that was not even a word until, like, last week. But I have always been one of those people for whom shopping for school supplies was the highlight of the academic year, and there is so much great stuff out there! Sure, you have to spend hours sifting through crap to find it, but Forms! Calendars! Worksheets! Coloring pages! Charts! It’s all out there and it looks pretty and the time I spend finding and choosing it is almost made up for by the time I save in not having to create it myself!

The main areas I had planned for this summer camp thang were an Organization Station on the back door, an Information Station on the dining room wall, and a Global Station on the dining room buffet. Here’s a picture of the back door:

photo 4You’ll note the motivational posters up top, the dry-erase calendar in the middle, and (my favorite part, and the part that took the longest to set up BY FAR) the “Daily Must-Do Tasks” in a color-coded pocket chart. Color. Coded. Pocket chart. FUCK YEAH. I’ll essplain how that works later, but if everything goes as planned it will keep us on-track, active, mentally sharp and residing in a clean, organized house all summer.

… Yeah, I don’t really think that’s going to happen either. But a girl can dream, dammit, and ANYTHING would be an improvement over our current state of sloth.

Here’s the Information Station:

Information Station Every week, I’m making a one-page fact sheet on the country we’re studying. Since this coming week is on Japan, we’ve got some woodcut prints, some Noh theatre masks, some manga, some samurai and geisha images, and, of course, Hello Kitty. We also went to a cherry blossom festival this weekend, where the girls made flower wreaths and cherry blossom paintings, so those are on display as well. My inner dramaturg is LOVING the chance to make a new display every week, and I’m hoping the girls will get a visual sense for the country if nothing else.

Finally, we have the Global Station:

photo 5First of all, can I just say, GLOBES ARE FUCKING EXPENSIVE. I’ve been wanting to get one for a while, just because I think they’re good things to have around the house, and good god they cost a lot of money. I’d thought I could get a decent one for somewhere in the $20 range, but you have to pay over twice that to get anything that isn’t miniscule or made from plastic crap. (Fortunately this one was massively on sale, so I got a good one for cheap. Which, since not spending money was kind of the whole point of this camp thing, is good.) Also featured in this picture are the “passports,” which we will stamp every week as we visit new countries; the GeoCards I got for the girls to play with, and the boredom jar, which is a jelly jar filled with popsicle sticks, on which are written fun places that we want to go this summer, like “the Walker Sculpture Garden” or “Apple Valley Splash Pad” or “Dodge Nature Center.” So on the days we don’t have anything else planned and we’re getting fractious, we pick something out of the jar and go there.

This, plus the t-shirts I made featuring the logo at the top of the post (thanks, graphic-designer husband!), and the canvas backpacks I had the girls decorate and fill with special water bottles, notebooks, and waterproof seat pads, comprise the bulk of my camp preparation.  Also I ordered some books. And downloaded some music. So … yeeeeaaah. I may have gone a tiny bit overboard with the prep. But at least we’ll have plenty to do this week.

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