Camp Taul

Aaaah. Summer.  Now is the time kids start day-dreaming of sleeping in late, lazily channel surfing, and generally spending a couple of months of downtime swimming, biking, sleeping, and nowadays, surfing the Web and texting.

Adrian groaned when I said, “Guess what?  It’s time for Camp Taul”.  The kids hate my cheerleading, but then again, I use our uncommon last name for all kinds of taul-centric ideas.  Taularant, Taul Tales, if I ever open a store.  “Taul Trio” is how I sign Christmas cards and imagine our singing group’s name if we miraculously wake up with singing talent one day.

Camp Taul means, “Hey!  I understand what it’s like to be a teenager and I think you deserve a break.  You can get up late, lounge around and watch cable, eat breakfast for lunch, scratch your crotch and whatever else you want to do, as long as two hours a day are spent working on a project.  It can be a fun project – heck, I hope it’s a fun project, but you have to work toward something.  You must have a goal and you must show me progress daily.”

Over the past couple of years, as Camp Taul has evolved from tweens to full-fledged attitudinal teenagers, Paige and Adrian have tried painting on canvas, detailed paint-by-number kits, latchhook rugs, knitting, building a mechanical animal, epoxy necklaces, making jewelry and earrings, grown-up coloring books, and god knows what else.  We get our ideas from craft stores, Maker Faire, Martha Stewart Living magazine, flyers from Whole Foods, festivals and any and all kinds of notices.

And if there’s one thing I can say about me, it’s that I am RESOURCEFUL. I once found a free 4-week environmental restoration camp that paid in college scholarship funds.

And here we are…another summer just around a 2-week corner.

At Maker Faire, I found miniature 3D paper puzzles of the world’s most famous architectural attractions.   But the seller said the hardest one would only take 3 hours.  So, that’s good for one day.  Only 8 more weeks to go!  We hit the mother lode just around the bend, however, with card-making.  Not scrapbooking!  I will jump through this PC and hurt you!  We talked to the owner who runs her own stamp-making design studio.  We spent twenty minutes picking out 6 or 7 stamps and 3 or 4 inks, talking to the owner about colors and markers or colored pencils and different techniques.  Then we stopped on the way home and bought some quality watercolor paints too.

I immediately started having Etsy-inspired visions of my daughters’ handmade cards which we could start selling to her schoolmates and go on from there!  I could quit my job and go into business with my daughters, converting the back room into a studio.  God knows I love paper products!

I believe angels were singing as we paid and readied to leave the faire.  There was no need to find other projects, other activities; we were satisfied that this would consume the summer!  (One of Camp Taul’s rules is that the projects we get can’t be started until summer break begins, so the novelty doesn’t wear off before summer has even begun.)

This year, school is helping me out because Paige has AP English homework to read 4 books and write papers on each.  Adrian has committed to AP Art, where she has 20 sketches and 10 project assignments to get done over the summer.  I”m halfway there!

I think, that with the freedom of a blank card, some paint and a young and boundless imagination, Camp Taul is set for the summer.

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