Week 1 of Day Camps 2013 is just about to draw to a close. Only one of our five Teams held a Friday Closing Service this week so all the others are gearing up for an insanely busy day tomorrow as they lead Closing Services, pack up the final supplies, pile into cars and vans, pile out of cars and vans, haul luggage and supplies into new locations, hold set-up meetings, be introduced to new billets and fall exhausted into new beds, probably stressing about how “Day 1” is going to go on Monday morning! Whew!! It makes fielding a thousand phone calls and emails at “home base” seem like a breeze!
       As always the friendly rivalry among Team leaders for the “Chicken Awards” is well underway. This has probably been explained before but… as Mother Hen I do tend to stress out until I have heard from the whole “brood” and all the chickens are accounted for. Thus the first chicken, aka Team Leader, to call in is the “Golden Chicken” and so on down the line to the last, or “Paper” Chicken.No one wants to be the Paper Chicken as that usually comes with a “ where have you been????” from me!
     Week 1 has gone pretty smoothly. Attendance has been excellent at all the Camps, ranging from the high “teens” to over 40. Weather too has been decent with only a few showers in most places.

   The five Teams are beginning to shake down within their small groupings. Yes, there have been some personality conflicts but we have talked and prayed through them and I hope everyone is putting into practice some of the things they learnt in the Team Dynamics and Interpersonal Skills  Workshops as they face these real-life situations!

    I have heard that the whole flock of Lambs is being very well fed with regular contributions of  sandwich bags full of fresh grass! A few more photos have been sent in with the promise of more to come.
 Catching up on the home front has not proved to be quite as easy as I had hoped since there has been a constant stream of (very welcome!!) visitors. It is a bit hard to keep up with things like Invoices and Receipts while dispensing various forms of refreshment to expected and unexpected drop ins.!

    One of my unexpected visitors proved a huge help on Wednesday afternoon as I was prepping dinner for nine! Sophie washed and chopped veggies, grated cheese, split pita breads  and picked fresh herbs in the pouring rain while telling me about her recent adventures on a school trip to Ecuador!

The subsequent dinner for Team 1 went well, despite several calls from Team Leaders as we were eating. It was a real blessing that my 2 overnight supervisors from the Retreat were also present as they kept the conversation flowing when I needed to duck out and answer the calls.
After dinner we had an excellent debriefing meeting and came up with some fresh ideas and suggestions which will make next year’s Retreat even better, God- Willing.

     …….And the contractor sent someone to fix up all the damaged paintwork, Hallelujah! Of course there is still the walkway siding to be installed but you can’t have everything.
    The lilies are blooming in the garden, and I’ve managed to keep up with weeding and mowing, in-between other activities, which have included daily visits to feed and cuddle with a friend’s two cats.

     Part of my mind is also occupied with planning menus for the Senior Youth Camp Staff Pre-Camp for which I am cook. The Staff is also having a meeting here next Sunday for which I’m doing dinner and of course it happens to be the day I’m scheduled on lunch duty at church so it looks as if the coming week will include a couple of kitchen marathons.

     When Pippa visited yesterday to finally pick up Tighe’s much belated birthday gift I served some Orange Muffins. She asked “is the recipe on the Blog?” Well it is now!

                                       Double Orange Muffins

1 cup margarine or butter            

1 ½ cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups milk combined with1 tsp lemon juice
4 ¾ cups unbleached flour
2 tsp each, baking powder & baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. grated orange zest
1 cup Seville orange marmalade

Preheat oven to 350F. and line 28 muffin cups with parchment liners.
In a large bowl beat the margarine with 1 ¼ cups sugar until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well. Add sour milk and mix.In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Add to the egg mixture, batter will be stiff. Stir in the zest and marmalade. Using a 1/3 cup ice cream scoop, fill the muffin cups.

With the remaining ¼ cup of sugar, sprinkle  approx. i teaspoonful on each muffin.
 Bake for 15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on racks. Delicious served with cream cheese. These freeze very well too!