Sometime back in the spring I had an idea for summer fun for the kids: invite all of the cousins from both sides of the family that are over 5 years of age for three or four days of camp-style fun at our house. Auntie Jan would play the role of head counselor of fun and the kids would be treated to days of unlimited popsicles, movies, swimming, outdoor escapades, and a project to work on – a talent show to perform for the parents upon pick up - for the duration of the camp.
Last week, we had five kids come to “camp” and it lasted for two nights and three days. We still have a handful of little ones in the family, who are now anxiously waiting for their turn to come, and by the time the youngest of the lot is old enough, Ben will be seventeen and we’ll have ten kids here to make some summer memories with us.
As I learned last week, the key to a successful endeavor like this is to have a plan. I created an itinerary for each morning, afternoon, and evening that the kids were with us, and kept the ideas a secret from all of them – including my own kids - which made even the most mundane activity seem just a little more fun.
I emailed the itinerary to my brother/sisters-in-law with a list of what they needed to pack; I planned for sleeping arrangements and dug out the air mattresses and extra pillows; and I made a list of the all-age movies available on Netflix in case it decided to rain. Rob bought 200 freezies (200!), I filled the freezer with a few things for dinner to make getting it on the table a little easier, and purchased a set of coloured plates and cups for each kid in attendance. Everyone was assigned a colour so there were no questions as to which drink belonged to who when someone came running to the kitchen to see a collection of cups on counter.
We had airplane-throwing competitions – the winners were exempt from post-dinner cleaning – outings for frozen yogurt after a late day swim, a trip to the movie theater, water fights, video games, and lots of Lego building. We also managed to celebrate our cat and dog’s birthday since both fell within the time the cousins were with us.
Trailer Mac and Cheese
This recipe is adapted from the adorable new book The Mac and Cheese Cookbook. There is a standard recipe for Mac and Cheese in the book, but I say use the one you’re most familiar with and follow the directions below.
- 1 recipe mac and cheese
- 2 cups sliced hotdogs
- 2 cups crumbled plain potato chips
Prepare the mac and cheese as per your recipe’s directions stirring the hot dog slices into the pot with the cheese sauce.
Pour the pasta into a buttered 9” x 13” baking dish and cover with the crumbled potato chips.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crispy.