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We moved around a lot when I was a kid. In fact, I moved six times before I was eight-years-old. After that it slowed down and we ended up living in Las Vegas for seven years; the string broken by a year in Montgomery, Alabama. Summer camp was not a thing. I was either moving or in the desert. Not that I was complaining. If given the chance, my anxiety would have had me firmly entrenched in my bed as an alternative. One of my regrets is never having the courage to go. It looked like fun and, of course, I love the aesthetic.

In fact, there is a camp for grown-ups in Wisconsin that I am obsessed with: Camp Wandawega. They have nailed the perfect brand for what looks like an amazing experience. It’s currently on my bucket list. Take a look and start planning your next trip. Not far from Chicago, it would make a great mini-vacation.

In lieu of summer camp for adults and to prepare you and your kiddos for their own amazing camp experience, our stores have decided to spend July bringing a dose of camp to Old Town. We’re calling it Camp Stone Soup! “Why Stone Soup?” you ask. This year, we gathered our three stores under one roof: Stone Soup Holding Co. It’s not sexy or terribly exciting, but it’s a way for us to organize and make sense. If you know the story of Stone Soup, then you know it’s about people coming together, contributing a little to build something big that we all can share. It feels fitting for us.

This is our inaugural Camp Stone Soup. If it is well-received, then we hope to build on it next year. To start out small here is what we have planned…

Make Your Own Camp Care Packages, July 1-31: At Pippin Toy Co. we have what your kiddos need for camp. Whether it’s to get them prepared or to send a little love to camp, we have a ton of supplies. I consulted my children (who did go to camp), and many others to find out what they needed. Overwhelmingly it was crafts, bandanas, and cards. Check! We got those as well as easily packable goodies like games, flashlights, mosquito repellant, stickers, stationery for letters home, and so much more. Stop in to pick what you want to go in your care package today! Don’t forget the camp mailing address because we will ship it to your camper for just $5!!

Camp (Self) Care Package Party, July 11: Your kiddos are headed to camp for a week and that means you’re childless (or child-fewer) for a week, maybe more. That means you get to pamper yourself and do what you want. To help make the most of your time away from your little people, we are having a Camp (Self) Care Package party. From 7pm-9pm, join us for a little pre-pampering. We will have cocktails and small bites, and 20% off all apothecary items. Tickets are $15. Each reservation gets a summer-ready woven tote (regularly a $30 value) that you can use to fill up with all the things you need to make your week while children are at camp memorable!

Reptile Petting Zoo, July 14: Camp would not be complete without wild animals. We are excited to host My Reptile Guys at Pippin Toy Co. from 11am to 12:45pm on July 14. There will be eight types of reptiles to meet, pet, and learn about. See you there!

Summer Camp Craft Crawl, July 19 - 21: Camp is not camp without arts and crafts. They are the key ingredient to a successful camp experience. To honor every God’s Eye, pinch pot, and tie dye ever made at camp we are having a Summer Camp Craft Crawl. Similar to everyone’s favorite Makers Mile, each store will have a fun craft for kids 8 to 99 to make. Tickets are $30 and they get you a DIY block printed bandana at Penny Post, friendship bracelets to add to your Taylor Swift concert stack at Pippin Toy Co., and S’mores in a jar at Red Barn Mercantile. Each crafter must have a ticket. With each craft comes a little something for your camping pleasure. Collect all three and you’ll be ready for your next campout!

Buy Three, Get One Free: Camp Craft Cocktails + Tasting, July 20 - 27: We’re big fans of Camp Craft Cocktails. They are fun as a gift or for a full party. Simply steep the dried ingredients in a clear alcohol for three days and then create your own cocktail concoction. You can do this twice and it makes up to 16 drinks. Depending on your pour of course! Since it has camp in the name it was a no brainer to highlight these little beauties. For the week, buy three and get a fourth free and then join us for a tasting of some of our favorite flavors on July 27. We think it's a great way to end Stone Soup summer camp!

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