Tuesday, August 28, 2012

CAMPING AT KOA IN SANTA PAULA

We had spent months planning our camping trip.  When it was finally ready the go, the girls were all so excited! 

We had a long drive up there.  With traffic and stopping for lunch, it took us about 3 hours to get there.

We finally made it and the girls were besides themselves with joy.


We explained to the girls that this camping trip was for them.  They were going to do everything.  They unpacked the cars, set up the tents, cooked, cleaned up, started fires.  All the fun and not so fun things about camping were up to them.

They got right to work, putting up their own tents.  I was so proud of these girls!  They did it all by themselves.  Those that were not sure what to do or how to get the tents up (each one was different), were helped by those girls that knew how to do it.

They didn't even ask the adults for help.  Way to go girls!


It was fun to see them figuring out how to do things on their own.  They were also proud when they got the job done without adult help.

They loved going into the tents once they were set up and getting all set up for the night.

We had no complaints about who slept with who.  Everyone got along great!

I loved our camping area.  We had two spots next to each other and we kept the cooking/food/craft area at the end.  It's where the two Easy Ups are.  Which, the girls put up alone too.

The fire ring and sitting area was at the other end.  We gathered there mostly at night.  We sang songs, roasted marshmallows, made pies over the coals and had a lot of laughs.


It was hot while we were there.  So the girls took a break before getting down to business of making dinner.

We went over all the "rules" of camping and keeping us all safe.

We used a camper chart.  The chart showed who was doing what job each day.  That way the girls all got to do everything and they always knew what job they were responsible for.

Our first night we had "walking Tacos".  Normally, you use a bag of Doritos and crumble them up in the bag.   They you add all the other goodies that go into a taco.  Things like, meat or beans, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and salsa.

We didn't have the small bags of Doritos to use.  So we made our "walking Tacos" in bowls.  They were very good!

All the girls loved the meals we had.  I think being outside and making it themselves always makes it taste better. 

Once dinner was over, Jesse and Trinity took a walk down to the sink area to check it out.  Along the way, they spotted this cook rock and we took a picture.

Then they loaded up all the dirty dishes and went back to wash them up.  We were lucky to have sinks with running water to wash the dishes.  Other wise, we would have had to set up at camp all the buckets and washed them there.

The dishes got much cleaner this way.


Even though only two girls had the job of dish washing, the other girls ended up coming down to talk to them and play around until they were finished.
There was a dry creek with three tree branches across it.  I was scared to let the girls walk over them, but I knew I should let them to boost their confidence and grow up just a little bit more.  So I took a deep breath, said a quick prayer and told them it was ok.

They were like pros!  It was me that was scared to cross over.  They were all fine.  Plus, it really wasn't very far if they fell any way.


The camp ground had a lot of fun things for the kids to do.  We took a trip over to the play ground area so the girls could play around a little bit.




They had a blast playing on the big air pillow.  It was like a trampoline. 

There was so much laughter coming from the pillow.  I had fun just watching them.

I don't know where they get their energy from. 

The girls were all so happy.  It was great to see such big smiles on everyone.

We started to get ready for our camp fire.  They were excited for night to come so we could get it going.

They got to do types of fires.  One was starting coals and one was starting the wood.  Everyone agreed the coals were easy because we made fire starters out of egg cartons, lint and wax. 

But, once the learned how to make the wood fire get going, that was easy too.

I loved the nights and sitting around the camp fire.  It was fun singing, telling stories and just talking.

I think they liked making the pies and roasting the marshmallows the most.

There was creek that the girls enjoyed cooling off in.

I think these girls are actually a bunch of fish. 

They love getting to swim!

I think if we would have let them sleep on rafts in the creek, they would have.

Though I can't blame them as it was super hot.

A perfect way to cool off and have a bit of exercise too.

They all used the close line we made too.

Maureen was going to teach everyone how to make macaroni and cheese over an open fire.  So, Liz got the coals ready.

Everyone agreed they loved macaroni and cheese and had worked up a nice hardy appetite.


We weren't going to make plain ol' mac and cheese though.  Everyone was going to get to make it how they wanted.  There was ham, cheese, veggies and lots of other things to put in there, if they wanted.



We all got our own pans and went to town on putting in all the yummy goodness in them.

It was fun to see what everyone put in their pans.

They were placed on top of the coals to cook.

To make sure they cooked all the way the way through and not just on the bottom, Diana and Jesse covered them with foil.  This way, the heat was captured and cooked both the top and bottom. 

This worked out perfectly.


The girls played games too.

This game was sort of like playing Twister.  A color and body part was called and they had to pick up the rings then hold it with the body part that was called.

Once a player had all four colors being held as called, they had to run or walk down the way to cross the finish line without dropping the rings.

It was so funny watching they try to do this.

They took turns being the callers too. 

Trinity and Diana had the job of making the brownies to be cooked in our cardboard oven.  They did a great job!

They came out yummy.  The brownies were cooked in a cardboard oven that was a box covered in foil.  Then hot coals were put inside.  Each coal equaled 25 degrees.  You put in enough coals to reach the temperature you need. 

Once the coals are in, we put a rack on top of some empty cans and the pans on top of the rack.  The box had a lid that we closed but left a little opening so the air could get in and feed the coals.

After the required time was up, we checked the brownies and they were cooked.

Everyone was amazed at how well the cardboard box worked like an oven.

We made tie dyed shirts.

Again, the sink came in handy.  We were lucky to have it as it made rinsing out the shirts much easier.

But of course, the highlight of the whole camping trip was getting to go zip lining.

We weren't sure if they would get to go or not because it was closed.  We found one of the workers and asked them when it would be opened and they were nice enough to open it just so the girls could go.

They all got in their gear and were so full of excitement and a bit of nerves.  Diana decided she didn't want to go.  She felt she would have more fun just watching the girls.

I think they all sort of questioned if they should go or not but the thrill of going won.

Then it was time.  The dare devils were about ready to take off and fly through the air over the tree tops.

Trinity had already gone before so she volunteered to go and show everyone how it was done.  Go Trinity!
Then it was Jesse's turn.  Hang on Jesse!!

Next, Cailyn went.  Hey Cailyn!!!  Look over here!!!  Look over here!!!

It was then time for Liz to go!  You're doing it Liz!  Yippee!

Verenice went by so fast, I wasn't able to get a picture of her.  But, we quickly got in our car and drove down to where the line ended. 

I heard yelling.  "Don't let go!  Hang on to it!".  I had no idea what was going on.  Then I saw, Verenice was stuck on the line.  She was to light to get all the way to the end.  Almost, but not fully.

So they were handing her a poll to hang on to so they could pull her in. 

She was so brave!  I would have been freaking out.  Not her.  What a trooper!

They all did great and couldn't stop talking about it!

We really had a great time.  All the girls said they had so much fun, learned a lot and got to do so much more then they dreamed they would do.

I'm really happy we got to go.

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