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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

{guest blogger} DIY summer camp

Do I have a treat for you today!! I am so excited to introduce you to my friend Courtney.  She is simply amazing, and you're going to find out one of the reasons why as you read this post.   When I heard about the summer camp she did for her kids, I knew I wanted her to share her ideas with not only me, but all of you.

Thanks Kierste for inviting me to your blog! My name is Courtney and I am a stay at home mom to five kids (including a set of triplet girls) as well as a non-practicing CPA.
As we were planning out our summer I wanted to provide some fun experiences for my kids but was overwhelmed at the costs. Because our older son was attending some sports camps, I wanted our girls to be able to attend camp too but didn't want to spend $400-$500. Plus, my girls are only 7 and wanted more of a craft/play experience than anything. My husband suggested I have a camp for them, and this was the beginning of Camp Courtney is Crazy.

The first thing I did in designing the camp was to pick a theme. I considered picking different countries or holidays but in the end chose children's books.

The following is a summary of the activities and treats for each day.

Monday - Fancy Nancy books
(including Explorer Extraordinaire and Bonjour Butterfly)

Activities: Decorate flower pots with mod podge and tissue paper, start our butterfly collages by painting the canvases and watercolor paper, swimming and planting flowers

Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwiches and build-your-own fruit skewers

Dessert: Parfaits (that's fancy for ice cream sundaes)

Tuesday - If You Give a Moose a Muffin

Activities: Make blackberry freezer jam, weave potholders, make sock puppets and swimming

Lunch: Quesadillas, apples and grapes

Dessert: We made cinnamon and chocolate chip muffins

Thursday - Pinkalicious

Activities: Finish the butterfly collages, create butterfly water color project, make silly putty, and swimming

Lunch: Green grapes, green apples, green salad and mini pizzas made by the girls out of refrigerator biscuits

Dessert: Decorate your own pink cupcakes

Friday - Little House on the Prairie series, Kirsten American Girl and Mormon Pioneer stories

Activities: Pioneer Treasure Hunt (the prize was aprons made out of ticking fabric), make butter in a baby food jar, make handkerchief dolls, watermelon seed spitting, and swimming

Lunch: Watermelon slices, hot dogs, buffalo chips (I hid chips with a picture of a buffalo on them in the backyard and the girls had to find them) and cornbread we made earlier in the morning

Dessert: S'mores (luckily we have a firepit for roasting marshmallows)

A couple of other things:

Camp T-shirts

My friend, Nanette, owns Aliso Print and designed and printed shirts for me. They were very affordable and made the camp feel a bit more official! Plus, I think my girls wore theirs almost every day.

Camp Schedule - 10am to 2pm
- Introduction of the theme
- Craft /Activity 1
- Break
- Craft /Activity 2
- Lunch
- Swimming
- Dessert
- Final Craft / Activity

Last Thoughts

At the last minute I had my husband get the Wii ready as well as our favorite game Just Dance 2. This was a great activity for transition times when I was busy cleaning up or setting up for the next activity. Plus, four girls could play at a time which cut down on disagreements.
I had initially planned to have the camp for 5 days, 3 hours each day. Once I realized I had another commitment on Wednesday, I switched to 4 days, 4 hours each day. Monday seemed really long to me but in the end I think it worked out well, and the parents loved getting a bigger chunk of time. I loved having Wednesday off to regroup midweek.
I had 10 children total - my four youngest and six friends. The number was manageable but I think if I had any more I would need extra help. My friends still think I'm crazy for having the camp (hence the camp name) but I am already thinking about next year. Each night as I would tuck my girls into bed they would thank me for having it and ask what we were doing the next day. So in the end, they got the camp experience they wanted and I didn't have to spend $500 to get it. Plus, I had a fun and memorable week with my girls and their friends.

See, I told you!  Isn't she awesome? Thank you SO much Courtney for being here today.  I absolutely love all of your ideas, and appreciate you sharing them with all of us.



Blogger ArtsyMommaChic said...

How cool is all of that!!??!! I don't even know where to begin, so I will just say: AWESOME!!!

July 26, 2011 at 10:12 AM  
Blogger Kristy said...

Great ideas!! I will be doing this when my little one gets just a little bit older. My friends in high school used to say they would send their kids to me in the summer...and call it Kristy Kamp!! So I've got my name and now I have some ideas!!

July 26, 2011 at 11:36 AM  
Blogger Rachel W K said...

I can't believe it! That is an amazing idea, I'm sure all the kids loved it... and they got to sleep in their own beds each night too! It certainly does sound like a lot of work, but seems totally worth it. Love the children's book theme as well. Thanks for sharing with us!

-rachel w k

July 26, 2011 at 1:02 PM  
Blogger The Allen Family said...

Wow!! Simply amazing!! I am totally going to try something like this when I don't have a nursing baby.

July 26, 2011 at 1:23 PM  
Blogger mrs. c said...

What a great mom you are! You know that your kids and their friends will ALWAYS remember this wonderful camp experience. I love your butterfly activities, I am planning to do an art camp at my school this year and I am going to do this. I enjoy reading your blog so much, keep up the great work!

July 26, 2011 at 1:43 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Court! I'm so impressed and amazed how well you pulled that off. I'm also a little sad that we don't live anywhere near you cause Hallie would have loved that! I think I may have signed up for a day of something like that, but 4 days, you're definitely crazy, but looks like a crazy success to me!

July 26, 2011 at 3:38 PM  
Blogger Katie Richardson said...

Courtney, you are absolutely fabulous. I like to think that when we are not swimming in money that we are then forced to be creative. I think the girls probably had more fun at Crazy Courtney camp than they would have at any other camp. Way to step up to the plate and be Super Mom!

July 26, 2011 at 4:04 PM  
Blogger Drama queens mum (Kimberly) said...

So much fun.

July 26, 2011 at 4:28 PM  
Blogger Yvonne said...

That is so amazing. Way to go, Courtney. Love using the books for themes. I think they probably had a better time than they would at any other camp. You deserve a big pat on the back.

July 26, 2011 at 5:01 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

This is so up my alley! Next year she should charge the other kids so she can send hers to camp when they're a little older!

July 26, 2011 at 10:00 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

I absolutely love this! Where does your friend blog? I think this is just a fabulous idea! ;)

July 27, 2011 at 12:00 AM  
Blogger Tracy said...

You are a wonderful mum! Thank you for sharing the ideas, I can't wait until my kids are old enough for me to run a camp for them :-) You really encouraged me during my own time of stay-at-home-motherhood. It's nice to know that there are other ladies out there who enjoy being mums and have fun with it!

July 27, 2011 at 5:54 AM  
Blogger Mod Podge Amy said...

Courtney's looks so fun! What great activities. And triplets - she's amazing. :D

July 27, 2011 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

What a fun and special Mommy you are. You planned a thoughtful camp experience not only for your girls, but for other friends. I'm guessing that you had as much fun as the girls did and that in the cold winter months, you'll all have a great time looking back on those special memories. This may sound silly, but I'm very proud of you for putting forth the effort. Your daughters are blessed to have you.

July 27, 2011 at 11:54 AM  
Blogger Nettie said...

Wow, Courtney! I wish we lived close enough to send my girls. What great memories you made for your daughters!

July 28, 2011 at 6:34 AM  
Blogger Valorie said...

You rock, Courtney!! I miss those days with my kids and endless summer crafting, swimming, and day trips. You have shown that making memories isn't about $$, it's about creative spirit and time! Well done! You've inspired us all. V

July 28, 2011 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger bluestocking mama said...

how wonderful, courtney!

thanks for all of the details! i really want to do this next year, so i might be picking your brain again next spring.

July 28, 2011 at 4:44 PM  
Blogger Swimmingmom said...

I just love Courtney! What a great way to keep her children active, engaged and learning during the summer. Fun idea. The butterfly paintings are gorgeous!

July 28, 2011 at 10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How cool are you? You are the mom I wish I was.

July 31, 2011 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger Jillian said...

I love it! My triplets (GGB) are turning 7 next month, and I bet they'd love to do this during the summer sometime. :)

April 24, 2012 at 1:08 AM  

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