Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Iron Chef Cub Scouts

Here's what we were doing last week.  Evan got to go to cub scout camp and I said I would teach at cub scout camp- the Iron Chef requirement for Webelos.  Evan got to build forts, shoot BB guns and arrows, and learn about a lot of merit badges or whatever they're called.  He loved camp!  I wish I had gotten pictures of him and the scouts at camp.  So sad.

Dallas was at his camp (NYLT staff- which he loved) and he's usually a great helper to me, but since he was gone I was so pleased at how much Sam and Evan stepped up.  Evan did about 70% of the home preparation and Sam about 30%, but then Sam was my assistant all week!  

I collected store adds and spent a night cutting out food pictures and then thanks to Jenae who lent me laminating sheets- got them all laminated and cut out.  Evan and Sam did a lot of this.  Then thanks to Glenn's suggestion, we put velcro dots (bought at Walmart) on the backs of them, and they stuck perfectly to my large flannel board!  
Day 1: The boys had to learn about nutrition and budgeting, and then with a budget of $2.00 per person in their family they had to plan a meal that was well-balanced and affordable.  Then they went "shopping" on my flannel board to find the ingredients.  I loved hearing comments like, "Ahh! I can't afford steak!", and, "I'm already over-budget!"  I told them now you know what it's like for your parents :)


Once they had a stack of flannel board items they took them to Sam who had an old accounting machine to ring them up.  Then they brought the receipt back to me and I verified that they had a balanced meal and stayed in budget.  Some had to go back to the board and replace the steak for a cheaper protein like beans. Some went back again and again because they had so much fun making meals and then checking how they did on the budget!  Success!  Oh, and I started off the lesson giving them all a taste of jicama covered in lime juice.  Explaining what it was, where it came from, how it looked, etc. ... encouraging them to be brave and try it.

My chair in the woods.
 Day 2: This day was a killer.  For weeks I had to collect tuna cans and big #10 cans; thirty-four each.  Then Evan cut me a ton of cardboard strips that got curled up in the tuna cans (thanks to Sister Ellibee for the cutter).  Then we bought 10lbs of wax, melted it in a double boiler, and poured it into the tuna cans with cardboard.  This makes a burner.  We bought lots of matches for them to light them.

Then we had to cut 34 of these big #10 cans like so to place over the tuna can burners.  Our hands were so sore from cutting metal!  Without the boys and Pat I never would have finished this.

I bought lots of cheap small wooden spoons and oil spray like Pam, and once they got a good fire lit, they each got to cook and egg on their burners!  The one thing we didn't anticipate was that the eggs would take off if the can wasn't perfectly level.  (Thanks to Sister Zipperian for running home to bring me more eggs!)  I had brought a lot of pavers from home (square concrete stepping stones) for them to do it on, but we were on a hill so by the end of the day the hill was covered with eggs.  But eventually, using rocks and sticks, we got everything level and most boys cooked an egg successfully.  I had miniature (street taco) tortillas and salsa for them to eat it on and they loved it.  They were so proud of themselves- learning how to use matches and not get burned- and thought it was so delicious.  Then I taught them to put out the fires.  One boy even went home and made his own stove and burner and cooked his family bacon and eggs that night (I found out later).  If nothing else, I think the boys will be more eager to cook.  Some had never been allowed to use matches, never cracked and egg or scrambled it, and some had never had an egg in a tortilla!  (Someone needs to tell their parents they live in New Mexico!)  Anyway, this day was a lot of hard work hauling lots of stuff up on the hill where I teach like buckets of water for emergencies etc.  When the day was over, I had all those cans to take home! We had to take them to the transfer station and pay $5 to recycle.

Day 3: I had the boys taste a cucumber slice from a salad that I had on ice.  I talked about how they make pickles out of cucumbers and how they can help at home by making a salad out of cucumbers!  The cucumber salad they tasted was dressed with vinegar, salt, sugar, and dill (kind of Asian).  They loved it!  I know that the more senses you engage when you teach, the more interesting it is to people, so even though this wasn't part of the lesson that day, I wanted them to experience another food tasting.

Then they made teepee fires and log cabin fires (ways of arranging sticks).  I taught them how to do both kind, and had them practice, and then gave them matches and let them go.  They searched the forest for the sticks and kindling and I had them use very small sticks like pencil-thickness.  They did great.  But man did I feel terrified.  Some of the classes had 8-9 kids and they didn't let me spread them out, they all had to be around the fire-pit so some kids almost got burned just because of being so close!  It was scary and I inhaled way too much smoke teaching all day.  It went great, and no one got burned and I taught them to safely put out their fires.  They, of course, loved it.  I was glad no mothers had to punch my lights out.  I was just teaching the lessons I was given!  This is what scouts is!

That night I got an awful sore throat, which I later learned was strep, but I wonder if it had to do with talking all day (at a much louder volume than normal), or if it had to do with the smoke inhalation, or if a kid just gave me strep.  Who knows?  Can you get strep from just stress?

Day 4: The day I realize day-camp is at least one day too long.  I'm exhausted and my throat is killing me, but I have to finish.  At least there's no fires today!  They need a bigger pavilion or more covered areas! Anyway, last day, all we had to do was make arm-pit fudge and walking tacos.  So I bought and prepared the ingredients and they made them.  These are easy and yummy camp recipes that you can look up online.  For the tacos you just crush the chips up a bit in their bag and then add the other taco ingredients to the bag and give them a plastic spoon to eat it with.  No dishes!  I used homemade beans and no cheese to try and stay in my budget better and for safety (food poisoning with meat sitting out all day- I make my beans vegan).  So we just added beans, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream in a squeeze bottle to the chips.  The boys thought it was great!  A few just wanted to each the chips though.  I encouraged as much as I could for them to be adventurous and try something new, and they mostly did.  Sam had to do a lot of the teaching that last day because I was trying not to talk. 

I told the boys that when they get into boy scouts and go on campouts and their leaders ask them what they want to eat they will have some great ideas!  Iron Chef Completion! (well I think they have to keep a food journal for one week, but I can't do that for them).  At their next Pack Nights these boys will earn this achievement!

Leia and Charles were there each day in  kids camp- taught by Sister Bentley who is wonderful and it was all only about 20 yards away from me so I could see them and check on them- take them to the bathroom, make sure they were drinking water, etc.   Since Charles could see me, he left his kids camp often to come to me.  I would shoo him back as much as I could though because I couldn't watch him and the fire and stuff.  Leia loves all her camp teachers and couldn't get there fast enough.  They do neat projects, crafts, songs, games, and stories all day.  She tripped and fell down a lot though and was the most frequent visitor to the camp nurse.  Luckily nothing serious.  I loved when they would play roller coaster with the kids and the kids would scream on the imaginary downhill parts.  Or when it rained spiders (fake spiders) and the kids all screamed and had a great time acting scared.

As soon as my last class ended I hastily packed up, checked Leia and Charles out of kids camp with very little patience and left day camp missing all the skits and family luncheon because I was in so much throat pain.  I drove to Sonic and got a milkshake and it helped for about 15 minutes.  By the time I drove back to camp Sam and Evan were done and came out to the car and we went home as fast as we could.  You get so dehydrated at day camp and the bathrooms are far away- and my throat!  It's been a long weekend recovering, but I got antibiotics on Sunday and they finally kicked in on Monday, and I'm feelin' better!

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