Notes from Camp Cheapo- Day 2, Season 2

It’s Camp Cheapo Week! You can read Day 1 here


Oh man, I really winged it today. No morning trip to the store, no laying out of equipment, and no idea what we’d be doing. But when the clock struck noon and the garage doors went up, it was GO time! I suspect this is how badass rock bands put on a show.

First up, water balloon basketball. The idea was to gently put a balloon filled with water (not to be confused with a water balloon) in the basketball net, which I had previously tied at the bottom to keep the balloon from falling out. Then one person would stand under the net while everyone else took free shots. Problem was, the damn balloon wouldn’t pop!

Someone suggested throwing darts at the balloon. Not surprisingly, the thought had crossed my mind too, until I remembered that throwing darts above another person’s head probably wasn’t a good idea. The fact that I even entertained this idea makes me think I might need a supervisor to supervise my supervision.

We disappointingly moved on to “Indestructible Bubbles”, made with water, dish soap, corn syrup, and love.

I would say that the adjective “Indestructible” is a huge exaggeration. These were more like “Hold Me Gently” bubbles. I’m guessing it was the love that weakened them.


Next up was a cleverly disguised bath that I like to call “Bubble Pool Relays”.

Instruction: You’ll want to fill a baby pool with dish soap, then throw about 100 small plastic toys in there. Have the children divide into two relay teams. At the whistle, the first pair have 15 seconds to fish out as many toys as they can with their feet, the next pair can use their hands, the next use their elbows, etc. Keep cycling through this until they’re all clean from head to toe.


*note: while they’re drying off, take the opportunity to shave your legs.


Before heading to the pool, we concluded our backyard fun with the awesome Dunk Bucket. They said something about not wanting to do it, but damn it, do you know how long it took me to make that?!!! I’m filling it with snow this winter.

And at the end of the day, this awesomeness happened…

That’s right, sleeping across the couch at 5pm!

READ Camp Cheapo, Day 3

Notes from Camp Cheapo- Day 1, Season 2

Camp Cheapo is my attempt to inexpensively bond with my kids and their friends, while looking like an awesome and attentive parent for at least one week of every year. This is that week. Check out more Camp Cheapo activities under the “categories” button on my sidebar.


The day started with my kids verbally bitch slapping each other in the backseat of the car, as we rode to the dollar store for last minute supplies. You see, we at Camp Cheapo believe that preparation and planning stifles creativity and almost always leads to disappointment. In fact, our camp flag is a picture of a pigeon carrying away a pair of shorts, with our motto “Flying by the Seat of our Pants” written underneath. Oh, and the pigeon is crapping on someone’s car, because our other motto is “Shit Happens”.

After, leaving the Dollar store,

“Hey mom, how much is this?”
“A dollar.”
“What about this?”
” A dollar.”
“There’s no price tag on this one.”

we returned home with our goods.

The neighbor kids showed up as soon as Camp Cheapo’s garage doors opened…at noon*.

*Camps that start in the morning are stupid. Your kids aren’t even on your nerves yet. Honestly, they take a while to warm up, like cold-blooded lizards in the desert.


Our first activity was the dunk bucket!

That’s right, homemade and rigged by my own little noggin! You want the blue prints? Well, they’re right here, my friend (tapping my forehead), and it’s all boggled to hell. I think I’d be the worst scientist ever.

“Why yes, I did find a cure for Polio. But I made my cryptic lab notes on the back of an old grocery receipt, then, having no scrap paper left, used that receipt to throw away my chewing gum. Chewing gum flavor doesn’t last nearly as long as it should.” – Me, as a scientist.


Next up, the shaving cream fight!

Learning from last year, I made sure to reiterate the importance of not spraying the shaving cream in our eyes. I heard crying about an all-over skin burning sensation, but not a whimper about the eyes. I consider that a success.

After hosing off, we moved on to the “First Team to Get All Their Cheese Curls to Stick to Their Partner’s Head Wins” game. I know, it needs a shorter name.

My team won! Though it was partially by default. Ana’s team was disqualified for eating their Cheese Curls with a side of Sensitive Skin shaving cream dipping sauce. By the way, this activity was inspired by a pin on my Camp Cheapo Pinterest board. I say “inspired” because I never actually read the direction.


Next, we made an unexpected discovery! Did you know that if you put your hose setting on “jet” and lock it in, you can hold it like this…

and do the limbo!

Then you lose control and it whips around like a demon until it knocks a kid out. I told Collin that “seeing double” just means there’s more in the world to love!


Finally, we ended the day by packing in the car and heading over to the neighborhood pool. I sat in my chair and relied on good old-fashioned Parasite Parenting to do my work.

I was nice and relaxed until I looked on the ground and saw these shorts. They belonged to some teenage girl sitting next to me…

and then Ana came over and threw her pool toys down…


And now they reside in a garbage dump on the other side of town, as should the shorts.


READ Camp Cheapo, Day 2


Free Advice Friday! Dear Kim, Summer is here…what the hell am I going to do with my kids?


Dear Kim,

My kids are getting out of school soon,any helpful advice or ideas for kids’ summer fun? I have 2 boys and 1 girl, and they’re very active!


Brenda in Bored, USA

P.S. – We don’t have much family around so that’s not an option.


Dear Brenda,

You certainly have come to the right place!

I don’t know how long you’ve been reading my blog, but last year I set out on a personal mission to entertain my kids (and consequently the neighbors’ kids) for a entire week! That’s right Brenda, I single handedly created activities for 5 children and actually interacted with them for 5 full days, between the hours of noon-ish & 2pm. I called our program Camp Cheapo. Our mascot was a Toyota hubcap we found while on our Starbucks sponsored nature walk. We named him Rusty.

If you want to know more about Camp Cheapo, kindly look on my left sidebar (<—-) and you’ll see a category box. Simply select “notes from Camp Cheapo” and you can read all about my successes and failures in great detail. But for the purpose of today’s post, I’m going to highlight some of our favorite activities, along with some changes I’ll be implementing this year.

Brenda, what I failed to recognize last summer was a child’s need for predictability and routine – my “Sooo, what do you guys want to do now?” itinerary resulted in some poor decisions:

So this year’s Camp Cheapo schedule is going to be well planned and look something like this (feel free to print this out):

9:oo am – Breakfast Scavenger Hunt (minus the clues) – make your children a large breakfast and hide it around the house (ex. bacon in the shower, Pop Tart in the toy box, etc.) While they’re searching for food, you can enjoy your coffee.

10:00 am – Visit Walmart and the Dollar Store for all of your supplies. No need to get dressed just yet.

12:00 pm – (That’s right, it’s noon already. What? You really think you can get your kids to the store and back before noon?) Return home and get everyone dressed in crappy clothes or swimsuits.

Noon-ish – Have your children gather their friends ( I recommend no more than 5 children for every 1 adult…more than that and you’re their bitch).

12:30 pm – (insert messy activities here) ideas include:


BODY PAINTING (I think she painted her legs to match her mood)





SHAVING CREAM FIGHT (*note: Menthol really burns the eyes…but it smells the best)


GUMMY WORM RETRIEVAL CONTEST (you will want to barf)



PRETEND LAWN PEEING (the boys came up with this one)

WATER BALLOON FIGHT (warning: it’ll take you hours to fill them and only seconds to use them. It’s as rewarding as making a gourmet dinner for your dog)



12:45 pm – take them to the neighborhood pool, put a life vest on the non-swimmers, and tell them to meet you at the car at 2pm (or later if they let you read your Vogue)

Brenda, I hope I’ve given you some ideas, though they’ll probably only last you about an hour. But don’t despair, I’m currently collecting ideas on my Pinterest board, cleverly titled “Camp Cheapo”. If you have an account you can follow me by clicking here.

Additionally, my friend Leslie over at In The Powder Room has a few brilliant ideas that she’s developing (child laborish, shhh), I suggest you check her out too!

Have a great summer and whatever you do DON”T go camping…unless it’s in an air conditioned cabin with a minibar, coffee maker, and sign that says “Embassy Suites”.


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