How to Make Home More Campy So Your Kids Will Feel More at Home

IMG_5680The other day I wrote about being homesick and back-homesick. Yes, I coined the last one, so I’ll expect royalties if you use it.  Basically, it’s the feeling campers have when they return home and it feels weird to be normal.

As a parent, we want you to be back-homesick because it means you had a great summer and the fortune it cost us to send you to camp would NOT have been better spent on a family vacation or a fall wardrobe. That said, as parents it’s also pretty annoying that you’re not more excited to see us and be back home. Well, as someone who spent the summer at camp and has now experienced both sides of this phenomenon, I feel confident that a couple tweaks to your home will be the difference between mopey kid — and kid who barely notices they’ve left camp.

Look we all spent a lot of time and money, making camp more homey – we sent, great sheets, a soft rug, a cushy chair (which they don’t need) for bonfires, plush towels, their favorite pillows, stuff to decorate the walls, fans for comfort, pictures of us … But I’m gonna teach you the tough part — How to make home more Campy:

1. Start by taking all their electronics and tech items. If they want to text a friend they’ll have to write it in a letter. They’ll complain a little, but deep down they love to be disconnected.

2. Tell them they can only drink sodas from the vending machine. If you don’t have a vending machine. Act as one … take a dollar each time they want a soda, but only give them a soda 2 out of every 4 times they pay you … and 1 of those times give them the wrong soda … that’s about right.

3. Make them write letters to you about their day in order to eat dinner. They love that!

4. Don’t allow your daughters to wear any jewelry they couldn’t make themselves.

5. Make a fancy chore/job wheel and turn it each morning. Make sure everyone else slacks on their chores, so that your child feels like the only one REALLY doing his/her job — don’t forget to fail him/her during inspection.

6. To wake them up in the morning, do not gently nudge, tickle or kiss them. Blare Reveille in their ears and follow that by speaking into a bullhorn while announcing what’s on tap for their day.

7. When they’re sleeping, close off all the ac/heat to their rooms — open their windows and maybe drip some honey or juice on them to ensure the maximum amount of mosquito bites by morning. Trust me, they’ll thank you for it.

8. Serve all their meals buffet style and make sure there isn’t a single item on the buffet that they truly enjoy. If you do cook something they like, eat most of it before allowing them to the table and fight them over the last piece. This will feel normal.

9. Have your kids crochet you a potholder at least twice/week.

10. Allow them to snack on whatever crap they want … with the stipulation that it’s a month old and that they must keep the packages opened and stashed under their beds, behind their drawers etc. Campers know that Cheez-Its taste best when fished out from a mattress.

11. Cheer for them at random times for doing random things … like, if they’re in the bathroom, bust in with “push it out shove it out way out” nothing says “I love you” like an impromptu cheer… they’ll beg for more.

12. Make sure their bathrooms are flooded with a brownish cesspool of water at all times. (Put them on anti-biotics.)

13. Draw things on their face while they sleep — in sharpie.

14. Run all the water in your house for large (but varying) increments of time before your child takes a bath or shower — they’re used to bathing without knowing how long they’ll have.

15. If you child still takes baths, make sure to throw in some dirt along with fish that nibble and snapping turtles, then tell him/her to try not to touch the bottom.

16. After you wash their clothes, make sure that at least 10% of the items are ruined, 10% are lost and 10% belong to someone else.

17. Also, do not, I repeat do not fold any of their clothes! Roll them into balls while damp and throw them around their rooms haphazardly. That’s how they like it.

18. Do not let them listen to the real words to any songs!

19. If you have a boy and a girl, tell them they get in trouble if they go into the other one’s side of the house.

20. Call them to meals in a staggered fashion and claim it’s too crowded for the whole family to eat together.

21. Any gifts or new items should be mailed in the form of a care package. Tell them it’s coming weeks before it actually arrives and when it does — inspect it and remove half the stuff, claiming it’s contraband.

22. Never wash their water bottles, just let them fester in the hot sun and refill them every morning. (Put them on anti-biotics.)

23. Steal a pair of their underwear while they’re sleeping and make all their friends stare at it.

24. Never let them leave a table without fighting over who has to bus it. Even in restaurants  — tell the waiters/busboys to “back off,”  whichever child loses has “got this.”

25. Wake them in the middle of the night by hovering over them and screaming “We’ve got spirit yes we do…” when they groggily respond, goad them by announcing “We’ve got the most!” and then run out of the room.

PS — You should probably put your kids on anti-biotics.


~ Jenny From the Bunk at Camp Lenox  Blog


I’m Back I’m Back, But I Forgot How to Be Normal

Day 32 Things I Invented in Camp Out of Necessity 

Day 31 Along Came A Spider…

Day 25 I Did Not Think This Through 

Jenny From the Bunk is BACK From Summer Camp – But Forgot How to Live in The Real World

goodbye camp pic

I’m Back I’m Back I’m Back!!! In case you didn’t hear, I’m back from my summer at Camp Lenox. I have so much to catch you guys up on, first of all, being home kinda sucks…

Yep, this summer I’ve gotten to feel both homesickness and “back-home sickness,” and they’re oddly similar. When I was at summer camp, and there was downtime, a rainy day, a rest hour, a cancelled period … the locomotive (that is camp) went from careening around bends to simply chugging along. During those times, I missed my hubby, my coffee, my bed, hot water …

Coming back home from summer camp is not so different, except it’s worse … that same freight train doesn’t slow to a chug, it screeches to a halt. Continue reading

You Helped Me Go Glamping This Summer

Dear Readers,


Remember when you guys awesomely tweeted and put up Facebook requests to #SaveJennySendKeurig? Well, it actually worked and that means you guys made a difference. Sure, you could’ve volunteered at a homeless shelter or served food at a soup kitchen, and I bet that woulda felt great. But if you didn’t, I’m just saying, please take a moment to be proud of yourselves because you made a huge difference in my summer.

I had been suffering from major headaches, groggy mornings, and snappy AM syndrome. That is when you literally bite someone’s head off for simply smiling, asking a question, or saying hello. It’s not pretty. Also, it’s probably not a good condition to have around children.

Plus, I’d like to reiterate what I’ve had to endure until now. This was no glamping trip. You probably can’t empathize because the stuff I’m about to discuss is hard to put on paper, let alone imagine, but do you know how truly difficult it is to watch a glorious sunrise over a breathtaking lake while drinking a crappy cup of coffee?

I doubt it.

Do you know how tough it is to endure slightly uncomfortable chronic headaches that hit around noon as I’m hiking to a resplendent waterfall, tie-dying an awesome tee shirt, taking a relaxing yoga class with awesome kids, or learning how to spin like a DJ?

I don’t think so.

What about how truly heartbreaking it is to feel tired at around 2 and be forced to take a siesta during rest hour? I don’t think you could really sympathize until you see me resting snuggly in my bed, having a camp nurse rub my temples and tell me, it’ll be alright.

Well, do your best because …

I was forced for like nearly a month to do these things, it in many ways reminds me of The Shawshank Redemption (well mostly because the coffee tasted like sewer water, but also because I like to fill my pockets with sands and slowly release it out my pant legs).

Then this happened …


The last couple weeks have been magical and you made that magic happen, cheers!




Dear Readers – Day 32 – Things Invented at Camp Out of Necessity

Dear Readers (Day 32 at Camp Lenox),

dance night

Brilliant things I invented out of necessity: SO, we just had a DJ at camp. Honestly, I love dancing. You know who does not love me dancing? Most kids that are the age of campers. There’s that factor … and also, I was in my Uggs and a sweatshirt, but I was not going to let those things be setbacks. No, I danced with my favorite counselors and campers.  I showed my skillz, I raised the roof, did the hip hop modified Cabbage Patch I’ve been working on, threw out a retro running man… Oh yeah, I did my best moves, but I realized my moves, which I thought were pretty darn fly (using those terms to describe them is a sign that they are anything but), were not by comparison.

That is how I, (out of necessity) thought up the most brilliant dancing style and I’m pretty sure if I hone it and put it on DVD I’ll be able to sell it to the masses and ensure they’ll be a hit at every upcoming camp dance, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Sweet 16, and school prom they chaperone.

I’m calling it Dance Magic or maybe Abraca-dancing (not sure yet, so refrain from using either as I’m copyrighting the terms as I write this). Anyway, Abraca-Dancing will be irresistible and anyone who is proficient at it, will be da’ bomb, yo.

Let me explain with a couple scenarios:

1. You’re kickin’ your fly moves to some song and you only know the chorus, but all the kids know every word. That’s OK, you should be proud, at least you know the chorus, but to be accepted, you’ll probably want to distract others from your obvious missed word mouthing. This is a great time to reach across the little dance circle you’re in and mouth, “Oh snap … is that a penny behind your ear?” then (while moving rhythmically, you pull out a coin and show the other dancers).  “Whaaaaat?” Throw a made up gang sign and you’re a magical rockstar.

2. Say Talk Dirty to Me comes on (not the one we all know and love by Poison — I kinda had a thing for C.C. DeVille) and everyone starts to do some weird slide based maneuver that you just can’t pick up: You look across to your fellow dancers and point to your pocket where a bit of a handkerchief is poking out. You nod your head to the beat while pointing to it, as if to say, “It’s yours… go ahead grab it.” (I mean what teen/young adult would turn down a handkerchief?) Then they’d pull it and it would just keep going — one tied to the next, to the next and so on. You could add some cool backing up step, to imply your body is down for the party, but your face would be all business with an expression that says “What the hell is happening here? Does it ever end? Even I am amazed!” (selling it is key). Then finally, they’d get to the end … as the song also came to an end: embarrassing moment averted, awesomeness revealed.

3. Now, let’s say everyone is twerking. Maybe you can twerk, maybe you can’t, but it doesn’t matter because you’re not about to twerk with a bunch of kids 10-20 years your junior. It’s gross. You may not think it’s gross, but they’ll think so. And being gross is what people will use Abraca-dancing to avoid. This is the time to pull out the big guns because your grossness will be trumped by the sheer embarrassment you’ll feel, caught in the middle of kids twerking.

You will not only want to deflect from the twerking, you’ll want to stop it all together.  Reach down to your toes, as if you’re about to twerk and come up with a fake bouquet. Then (while showing it rhythmically to the crowd), tap it on another dancer, cup your hand around it and turn it into a dove. Then open your hands and let if fly away. Do this over and over — tap, dove, set free, tap, dove … until the song ends. Note: You’ll wanna have 12-14 doves handy.

Of course, if none of these work, you can always make yourself disappear.


~ Jenny From the Bunk


Day 31 Along Came A Spider…

Day 25 I Did Not Think This Through

Day 18 Did I Pass the Swim Test 

Day 17 Who Knew the Great Outdoors Were So Buggy, I mean, Lovely? 


Day 25 I Did Not Think This Through

Day 18 Did I Pass the Swim Test 

Day 17 Who Knew the Great Outdoors Were So Buggy, I mean, Lovely? 

- See more at:


Day 25 I Did Not Think This Through

Day 18 Did I Pass the Swim Test 

Day 17 Who Knew the Great Outdoors Were So Buggy, I mean, Lovely? 

- See more at:


Day 25 I Did Not Think This Through

Day 18 Did I Pass the Swim Test 

Day 17 Who Knew the Great Outdoors Were So Buggy, I mean, Lovely? 

- See more at:


Day 25 I Did Not Think This Through

Day 18 Did I Pass the Swim Test 

Day 17 Who Knew the Great Outdoors Were So Buggy, I mean, Lovely? 

- See more at:


Day 25 I Did Not Think This Through

Day 18 Did I Pass the Swim Test 

Day 17 Who Knew the Great Outdoors Were So Buggy, I mean, Lovely? 

- See more at:

Dear Readers – Day 31 – Along Came a Spider and I Ran Away From Home

Dear Readers (Day 31 at Camp Lenox),

spider chartThis is one of those stories that I have to share, but I really don’t know if it will translate … I’m hoping you’re amused by the comedy of errors that ensued. If not, you clearly have no real sense of humor and should not be reading this blog (I will never take the blame, ever).

That said, I’m still at camp. I had gotten to the point where I was feeling OK, even comfortable, in my cabin and then this happened. Last night, I had a visitor. He was hairy and aggressive and uninvited. I tried to slap him with my shoe, which is how I handle all unwanted guests. That’s a warning to you, don’t visit unannounced.

So, this visitor was lightning fast and also really large. I’m not one to tell a fish story, in fact, I have a tendency to actually downplay details. Therefore, when I say this intruder was the size of a small dog, it may have actually been the size of a small child. Actually, I’m pretty sure I missed contact the first time because I wasn’t sure if it was a camper — and I was a bit hesitant to whack a child with my shoe.

Now, I should also inform you that I’d been on OD and it was about 130 AM. In case you didn’t realize, I share a foyer with a senior administrator, Tim (remember the area where the AC unit is that leads to two closed doors?). The second I heard the main door open I yelled his name and sent him through the roof. I don’t think he was expecting someone to scream as he entered. I explained that there was an interloper the size of a softball and it was multicolored and had some weird pattern on its back and it was probably going to kill me … or at the very least make me some kind of radioactive superhero. Continue reading

Dear Readers – Day 25 at Camp Lenox – I Did NOT Think This Through

Dear Readers (Day 25-30ish at Camp Lenox),

Day 25 at Camp Lenox... I did NOT think this through!

Last night was my first night sleeping at Camp Lenox, I know I asked for it. I was staying in the creepy Mom Sorority House and yes, I wanted to move and be in the thick of things. Sure, the Mom House basement looked like the set of American Horror Story. Sure, I complained about the crooked walls, creaky floors and chipping paint, but that was child’s play compared to this. Actually, camp is child’s play and the Sorority house was cushy Mom’s Play, but I think you get the point.

That said, I let you guys pick my room on Facebook and you picked option 2:  (The “spacious” 1 Bedroom/ 1 Bath with my own bathroom, limited access to AC and a gross mattress — that had this label on it… Continue reading

The Best or Worst Ideas For Your Letters to Camp – Not Sure Which

tumbleweedDear Readers (Day 19 – 24 at Camp Lenox),

As we all know, the best ideas are generated during periods of total and utter boredom. Also, in the shower but there’s never anything to write with so, I imagine lots of great inventions are washed down the drain. Like time machines and renewable toxic waste…

Well, this is one of those brilliant ideas that I dreamed up and had the good fortune to get on paper. PHEW.

BTW, someone needs to invent a pad and pen that you can write with in the shower…

With the advent of camp emails and bunk notesit’s never been easier to keep in constant contact with your camper. Unfortunately, it’s you contacting them and not so much them contacting you. I should know, spending this summer at camp, I realize that my own great intentions to write letters were squashed by one of my other great intentions —  to enjoy camp. Yes, speaking in your camper’s defense, camp is tiring and non-stop, and like being on a constant roller coaster — the last thing anyone wants to do is screech all that fun/energy to a halt to write an update. Also, so much happens in a day that when anyone does sit down to write it’s almost daunting to try to recap, hence the one liners: “Camp is fun.”  

That said, I get the plight of the parent as well. Unless you’re rock climbing, getting up on water skis for the first time, tipping canoes, having bonfires, talent shows or raucous games of Name That Tune around the house, the whole we write you and get nothing in return is an oxymoronic phenomenon. Continue reading