Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Camping with the Beavers - Part 4

We had a link camp planned for the Easter weekend. For those who don't know, a link camp is where the Beavers, Cubs (8-11 year-olds) and the Scouts (11-14 year-olds) all camp at the same place and over the course of the weekend, have intersecting activities.

Scouts basically cook their own food, so the kitchen just puts ingredients into a rubbermaid tote for them. One of the Scouts has celiac's disease (often called a wheat/gluten allergy, but it's technically not an allergy) but that child was on a trial of some sort and was supposed to be eating gluten, so I was told not to "worry" about it. The Cubs eat with the Beavers. For this camp, we had about 30 kids and 20 adults, and we were arriving Friday afternoon (Good Friday) and leaving just before lunch on Sunday.

The Scout leader had the idea that we should do a real Easter dinner at camp. He wanted a full turkey dinner with all the fixin's. I had visions of re-naming the kitchen "Sam 'n' Ella's Diner", as did the parent who runs the kitchen during our camps. Bone-in ham was the compromise.

Here's the menu I laid out for the camp:

Friday lunch - bring your own/eat before you come to camp

Friday PM Snack - same sort of deal as last camp - fruit and various drinks

Friday dinner
- chili with bagged salad and bread rolls. The chilli was a bean chilli that you add one can of tomato paste and optional is a pound of ground beef. The chili was surprisingly good, but unfortunately I don't have a packet to look up and link to. If I find it on-line I'll certainly post it. It was dairy and nut-free, and it came in a bag a little smaller than a VHS cassette (can I still use that as a size reference? maybe a 3.5" external hard drive is the new size benchmark). Best of all, it actually tasted pretty good. I got a sample of it from the Scout leader a week early, and prepared it for Andrew so it wasn't "strange food" at camp.

Friday mug-up - s'mores and hot chocolate just like last time (with chocolate rice milk for the allergic kids)

Saturday Breakfast - pancakes with sausages and the usual assortment of drinks. I made certain that the pancake mix was dairy free, and that the sausages didn't contain any dairy-based filler (some do you know!). There was only one margarine at the camp and I chose that (Fleishman's Lactose free), and the cooks made 2 batches of pancake batter; one with milk and one with the rice milk we'd made for Andrew. He likes sausages and pancakes with syrup, so that meal was a success.

Saturday Snack - fruit, juice boxes and raisins. Before someone launches into a tetra-pak rant, we were hiking in the park...actually geocaching in the park (GC1EQGM if you're curious)...and I don't really like the idea of putting juice into some of the canteens/water bottles these kids bring to camp. Not everyone brought a sealable container for drink for a start, and several were dollar-store specials, chosen more for the Pokemon on the bottle than any actual capability to hold liquid for an extended period of time.

Saturday Lunch - build your own sandwiches. I bought a bunch of cold cuts and several loaves of bread, more fruit and the usual drinks. Andrew likes brown bread (that's all we eat in the house, so we chose bread that was dairy free, and we got some Wonder+ bread or something like that for the kids that insist on white bread). We got a variety of cold cuts and cheese slices and so long as the cheese slices were kept away from the honey ham, I knew Andrew was fine.

Saturday Snack - same as before

Saturday Dinner - bone-in ham, Idahoan instant mashed potatoes (HEY! You try to convince a volunteer parent to peel, boil and then mash 45 potatoes), frozen mixed veg (peas, carrots and corn), fresh broccoli, and instant gravy (Bovril or Oxo as I recall). For desert, we had pies and ice cream (or Rice Dream for Andrew).

Saturday mugup - same as Friday

Sunday Breakfast - Eggo waffles and bacon

So that's basically the menu, but it didn't all go perfectly smoothly like last time. My wife and younger son came out for the day and were planning to leave after the campfire. I had asked her to come because when we leaders are running the program, we don't have much spare time to spend with our own kids at the camp. Seeing Andrew alone at the tables while I was instructing the group really hurt last camp, so I wanted her and Geoffrey to be there to keep Andrew company.

Saturday dinner, Andrew broke out in hives. I don't know what he had, but all we had was his epi-pen and no Benadryl. We usually give him Benadryl when he has that kind of reaction; there's no respiratory distress. If he's got breathing problems, then we go with the pen (so far, we haven't ever had to do that). My wife took Andrew and Geoffrey off to the pharmacy (about 2 km away) in her vehicle and bought the Benadryl and he was back to normal (a little hyper as Benadryl is apt to make Andrew), but back to normal for the campfire.

I entered a focused period of self-blame, during which time it dawned on me that I had forgotten Andrew's waffles. Eggo waffles have dairy in them, and he can't eat them. Fortunately, I did bring a couple of packets of his instant oatmeal...unscheduled change of menu for Andrew.

Silly Dad! How could you forget your kid's waffles! Waffles for breakfast on Monday when we get home...yeah that'll do it.

With Andrew back on-track we went to the campfire and everyone enjoyed it. Most of the Beavers left early because this time of year the sun doesn't set early enough to have a campfire much before 8:30, and most 5 and 6 year-olds can't stay up much past 9 or 9:15 when they've been playing hard all day at camp.

I mentioned the menu change for Andrew on Sunday and that was no problem for him. He actually perfers oatmeal to waffles I think, and he got the bacon anyway.

So, that was camping with the Beavers this year. We've got a field trip coming up with Kindergarten next week..get the Dairy Farm. Andrew's quite excited about it, and that's not entirely "excited" in the good sense. He's worried they're all going to milk a cow and then drink the milk or something. I've assured him that won't happen and that I will be there to make certain. We may need to read Cody the Allergic Cow a few times this weekend. We also have Allie the Allergic Elephant and Chad the Allergic Chipmunk, and I think my wife has reviewed these books previously here.


..WW.. said...
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Kristin, Cooking for Life said...
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wenat said...

I hate to micromanage comments, but please at least comment about the blog's content so I know you're reading it before you start trying to promote your product and link to it.

Jules said...

Thank you for sharing your story with the blogging world. It’s so great to have found support. I am new to this world of “kid allergies” and am having a hard time dealing with it emotionally. Any advice or kind words would be much appreciated at this time.