Sunday, June 3, 2012

GC 2012!!!!!

Almost 5 months after camp, and I finally got some pictures!  I'll be moving this post shortly back to May where it belongs.  But in case you're interested, here's the girls camp post.

Gorham Scout Ranch near Santa Fe, Pojoaque, Nambe and Cundiyo.
I'm red shirt with red cape.
I was so blessed this year with girls camp!  I knew, having done this twice before, that it is incredibly stressful, that it can never be precise, and that with food there are a lot of things that can go wrong, people with special needs, etc. I went days not being able to sleep and having nightmares about things going wrong.  I practiced and planned for months about what should be served. We have gluten free people, dairy free people, vegetarians, you name it.  I don't plan around them, but try to have things at each meal that they can eat.  It's like a challenge to me, and I love it.

I LOVE making menu's.  I went through several before I decided. I have to think of it from every angle- like I wanted to do sliders one meal, because girls love anything mini, but realized that it would slow up the line too much to have each girl decorating their mini burgers with the toppings they wanted.  But I refuse to compromise on quality, and that's not always easy on a budget.  I HATE garbage cheap food.
Writing out my shopping list and color coding the different stores to buy everything from. 

The recipes.  I always think about what would happen if I broke my leg or had to leave camp suddenly for some reason?  I shouldn't be the only one who knows the plan.  I plan the menu on my own, and send it out to everyone before camp, and then put the recipes in order for each day, and the crew can see exactly what needs to be done, and what's coming up. 
Most importantly in preparing for girls camp, I knew I needed God's help. So I prayed every morning and night and made sure that no matter how tired I was I read my scriptures each night.
The accumulation of stuff begins at my house.
By the last week, there isn't a free spot left in the house.

I am happy to say, that it made a huge difference.  It was the best year at camp ever!

A double recipe of cinnamon rolls in each bowl.  I made 160 cinnamon rolls at home and froze them on cookie sheets and then popped the frozen dough spirals into huge ziplock bags and kept them frozen until the night before we needed them for breakfast.  Then I just had to set them out on buttered cookie sheets (huge ones, thankfully), cover with plastic wrap that had also been buttered, and then let them thaw and rise all night to put in the oven in the morning.  Thankfully they turned out perfect!  These are the types of things I practice at home first in the months leading up to girls camp.  I'd never done the whole freezing/thawing overnight thing.  I knew it would work, but I didn't know.  Ya know?
We have our old fridge in the garage.  When you plug it in, it stays the right temperature for about 3 days.  After that it starts to get warm.  But I only need it for the 1-2 days before camp when I start to make whatever food I can ahead of time.  Bags of sauce, the chopped up meat from 15 de-boned chickens, the beautiful roasts shredded in a homemade mushroom stroganoff sauce for beef stroganoff night.  Wow! I'm getting hungry!
Mixing up the dry ingredients for blueberry corn pancakes ahead of time so that I just have to add the wet ingredients up at camp.  I love prepping as much as I can at home, because then I can enjoy camp more and am not so stressed out in the kitchen.

Camp was soooo fun.  I got to hang out with so many wonderful people.  There were some minor problems due to the dumb ovens and cook surfaces, but everyone LOVED the food and told me so so much that they made me feel like a rock star.  And I didn't break my budget!

There was one day I'd rather not re-live.  It  was when we made 170 breakfast burritos on top of that day's breakfast, lunch and dinner.   We had to get them ready because we wouldn't have had time the next morning.  I was up and on my feet for about 20 hours straight (2:30am- 10pm).  My hands were raw from being burnt over a stove for so long, and used so roughly, and washed so frequently all day.

A huge thank you goes to my great kitchen crew.  I chose each one of them for different reasons and they were all perfect.  Susan and Cumorah had helped me the previous year, and President Blasure and I did the food for girls camp 4 years ago together.
President Blasure and Cumorah
They all worked their tails off.   Susan was on top of all the dishes because she can't stand having dirty dishes.  She is a super hard worker and tells me how wonderful I am pretty much non-stop so I'm trying to convince her to move in with me.  I mean, could you have a better assistant than that?  Plus, every time I say, "I can finish this up.  It'll only take 10 minutes. Go get some rest", she never leaves me. And what I thought would take 10 minutes takes an hour and I'm so always glad she stayed! 
Cumorah is super fast at everything she does and a grill master  She is only 20 so she was just barely at camp!  She has a lot of fun making mischief in the night with the other crazies, which makes it hard for her to show up at 5am in the morning to the kitchen, but she is fun to have around and makes up for it with her mad skills.  Pres B has the muscles and loud voice that I needed and makes the girls happy.

So many miraculous things happened to help me this year.  For instance, on one of my shopping trips I had my basket full and went to check out when I realized I'd left my wallet at home.  That never happens to me!  I had my kids with me and it was horrible.  We were so tired and just wanted to be done shopping!  It would take more than 1/2 hour to go home and come back again.  So I put back the frozen stuff and begged them to not let anyone touch my cart while I ran home for my wallet.  Suddenly my neighbor José showed up behind me, learned what was going on and paid my almost $200 dollar bill.  Can you believe that?!  I immediately went home and got the cash and paid him (well his wife Toni) back since he was just on a work break, but can you believe that?! 

Also Pat was out of town for the few days before I left for girls camp for Amanda's wedding and Rick's sealing.  I was thinking I was a fool for letting him go, but God worked that out too somehow and I was glad that he was able to go.  My kids are really wonderful helping out with caring for Leia and just understanding that I was needing to cook.   They'd make all their meals and everything! (And they got to watch more shows and play more video games than they had been allowed to in the whole year.)

Another miracle was that somehow we fit 10 coolers, and three shopping carts from Costco full of stuff into my van.  (Thank heavens for Pat meeting me at Costco just to pack me!  That's something I would not have been able to do alone.)  Someone was supposed to help me bring up stuff so I didn't have to take it all, but flaked and went to camp early, so my van was stacked to the ceiling and I could barely see out the windows.  There was quite a bit of worrying going on in the parking lot at Costco about whether or not we'd get it all to fit, and NOBODY wanted Pat and the kids to have to drive 4 hours up and back just to bring me what wouldn't fit! 
The kitchen.
Walk in fridge and freezer.
Getting the shelves organized.
Then for the 2 hour drive up there I had to drive SO slow.  For some reason I kept turning the wrong way, and even went down a street going the wrong way!  I guess I was just under a lot of stress because I'm usually not that ditzy.  Or maybe it was because I couldn't see out my windows.

Cumorah and Susan working.
I should mention that at camp the girls did zip lines, hiking, repelling, swimming, shooting, all sorts of games and songs and activities.  Most of it I wasn't a part of since I was in the kitchen, but I was near the crafts people and they did a superb job of coming up with crafts that even non-crafty people like me enjoyed.  The best part is they all were useful and taught the girls skills.

Friendship bracelets, necklaces, cards, a Christ block to display in their rooms.  And the girls each made a blanket for project Linus for which they had to learn the blanket stitch.  And aren't these temple lanterns wonderful? And my friend Julie got to come up and help with crafts for a couple days!

Temple Lanterns
Now, about the skits.  Every year I want to do a skit with just the kitchen crew, because I think it would be fun, but we're so exhausted that there's just no way.  But this year, I told myself that we were going to do it no matter what and I warned my crew and emailed them some ideas that I had.  Nothing much came of it though.

Then one night at closing ceremonies, I joined everyone outside, but having been up since 2:30am the exhaustion overwhelmed me and I just laid down on the rocks.  (It was so cold I couldn't sleep so I just went into the kitchen and started working).  By the end of the day I just couldn't stand anymore so sunk to my knees and then I laid down.  And since I don't mind laying on cement and other hard surfaces, I was so comfortable I was ready to sleep there forever.

People were a bit worried, but I assured them I was fine.  I really could have slept there happily.  But I mustered a bit more strength and just sang songs and participated with them while laying on the rocks.  It got to be quite funny, and kind of became a joke.  We were posing for a picture for the 100th year of girls camp, and I did get up for that.  I'm in the front row on the far right. But then I laid back down.

So a couple days later, for skit night, the idea came to me, why not sing that Veggietales song 'Pirates Who Don't Do Anything'?  I mean I HAD been laying around.  The crew liked the idea, so we wrote some verses.  We all had our aprons and kitchen stuff in our hands.  And I rolled around on the ground like I was relaxing while they all lounged in camp chairs.  I did get up to sing my part, but rolled around relaxing during the rest.  Huge applause!  Everyone loved it!
Here's what we sang:

We are the Camp Cooks who don't do anything
We just stay at camp, and lay around
And if you ask us to do anything
We'll just tell you, we don't do anything!

(B)Well I'd rather be fishin' and I'd rather be sleepin'
(C)But I'm stuck here in the kitchen and can't have no fun at all!
(S)I refuse to do the dishes and I don't care what's for breakfast!
(B)I ain't gonna do nothin' at all!

We are the Camp Cooks who don't do anything
We just stay at camp, and lay around
And if you ask us to do anything
We'll just tell you, we don't do anything!

(Karisa's verse)
Well I don't care if you're hungry and I don't care if you're thirsty!
I'm just tryin' to get some rest and you can't have no snack at all!
So don't ask me what's for dinner cause I haven't even started!
I really just don't feel like it at all!

We are the Camp Cooks who don't do anything
We just stay at camp, and lay around
And if you ask us to do anything
We'll just tell you, we don't do anything!

Right here I'm helping Susan because she forgot her line, and then I rolled back onto my back and draped my arms all over.

What made it even more funny was when the stake did their skit in which they made fun of everyone in the stake, and the camp director played me.  Here she is below, rolling around on the ground with her mixing bowl yelling, "I don't do anything!", throughout the whole skit.

The whole thing was so funny I was dying laughing.  The fourth years are coming!  I have 60,000 feet of rope in my trunk!  Julie playing Andrea and Chantelle.  Andrea playing Lindsey.  It was so funny.  Here's Chantelle playing Cindra and telling the girls how to use a pinecone for deodorant and other helpful tips.
And here's Andrea playing Lindsey, and I love this picture because her mop hair matches Lindsey's perfectly!

Anyway, I just felt really happy because I felt like I finally did what I should have done which is to have fun, like I'd wanted to from the beginning.  And I know that that fun and happiness makes the girls and the whole spirit of camp better.  I know the girls SEE us and they take note, whether they know it or not, if we are happy.  It's not like I'd done it wrong before, I always did my very best.  There's just a learning curve and you get better at things as you go along, and especially as you learn to trust God.  And I finally fulfilled something in a blessing when I was set apart as camp cook 2 years prior so I felt a sense of completion.

Angel's girls.  They're the youth camp leaders and Angel had her hands full with them!

I joked with the leaders about who was going to be the camp cook next year so that they would know that I was done.  They all laughed.  I mean of course I would do it again if I was called.  It's one of the best jobs at camp.  But I definitely feel like I'm done.  At least for a good while.

I'm just really thankful to Eileen and the other leaders who were so organized and listened to the Spirit and made camp so wonderful for the girls.  They did such an outstanding job.  Whenever I felt sorry for my plight and all my hard work, I would see what they had to deal with and realize I had it easy.  To think of all the sacrifice from the leaders is overwhelming to me! 

These girls are from my ward group.  I love them!  And I made their flower hair things!
And all this in the hopes that the young women learn to have a testimony of their Savior.  To come through difficult times by relying on him.  That He will help them to make the right choices to have true joy.  They will not have easy lives.  Trying to be righteous in an increasingly evil world- is definitely not the easy path.  It often requires sacrificing something you love for something better to come.  Or for someone you love more.  After all, He loved us first.  It takes courage to follow Christ and see through the counterfeit happiness.  And to be an example of His love.  To love, when everyone else is trying to be hard, coarse, and rude, takes great strength.  It's something I will be working on my whole life. 
Making deviled eggs.  I thought not many people would want these, so I only made a half and egg per person, and then I got mobbed by people wanting more.  Apparently, other people love deviled eggs too.  We had these for lunch one day along with huge croque madame sandwiches, which is like French grilled cheese and ham sandwiches.  And fruit and vegetables.  Always tons of fresh fruit!

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