Friday, May 13, 2011

A TRUE PICTURE OF A CAMP G. & G.

I want you to have a true picture of what a Camp G. & G is like, so I thought I would share a letter I wrote to our oldest granddaughter one year when she was on a mission trip and couldn’t be with us.

Dear Carol,

We had one of the best weeks ever at Camp G. & G, but I missed you terribly. I hope you can be with us next year.

The families arrived on Tuesday night. Wednesday we went to the park, painted camp shirts, and swam. Thursday was a big day for we went on a field trip to Circle S Ranch near Greensburg. Everyone went except Karen, who had worked until 4 a.m. the night before. They took us around in an umbrella-wagon cart. They had exotic animals from many countries. The Polish hens were neat. Sarah asked, "Why are those chickens wearing those fancy hats?" They had white swans, black swans, deer from Austria, fish from China, ostriches, all kinds of unusual birds. The children got to feed them all. They showed them how to do it correctly.

I must tell you about the buffaloes--it had rained the night before and there were puddles in their pen. One of the buffalo took off at a romp and splashed James, Lainie, and me from head to toe! The tour guide said, "Welcome to the farm!" and handed me his bandana handkerchief. I wiped us all off.

James said, "I'm never coming back here again!" But he soon forgot his distress.  At the end, they gave all of us juice and animal crackers, plus a coloring book about the animals. There wasn't any charge, just a free will donation.

When we got home that afternoon, the children took naps, then swam in the beanpot pool. Justin came out with them, but kept saying they had to go in and get dressed for supper. He knew I had been cooking. I said, no, they could swim as long as they wanted. Earlier, John and the girls had gone to see Arabian horses at a friend’s farm. I had put a ham in the oven and made macaroni and cheese. I had asked Ellie and Leah to make a dessert, which they happily set about doing.

When Grandpa returned, he said I know you’ve started cooking, but Sue (at the downtown restaurant--this town is just one big happy family) found out Leah and Justin are both here. She wants to do something for their wedding. She wants us all to come up there for sandwiches. I said okay, that we would eat my food the next day. Sue is Korean and has taking Leah to heart because she is Asian-American too.

I had showered and curled my hair after the buffalo incident, but Grandma Colsher suggested I put on make-up. I asked if I didn't look okay without it, and she had replied that I looked better with it. The little girls put on the dresses I had made, and the boys wore their shirts too.  I just didn't get a picture of them wearing them. I was wearing shorts, but John suggested I dress up a little more. When I questioned why, he said, "Oh, you know Sue when she's having a party!" I did change into a slacks outfit.

Well, we all headed for the restaurant. When we passed by, it looked full. I said to Karen, I bet Sue asked the lunch bunch (the group that generally eats in the restaurant each day). When our entourage walked in, everyone began singing happy birthday to me!!! Grandpa had invited family and friends to an early celebration of my 60th birthday! I was so surprised. We had a super time and the food was delicious! I was TOTALLY surprised!!! I really believed that it was for Leah and Justin. Now everything everyone had said and done made sense--from Justin trying to get the kids out of the pool, to Grandma C. saying I needed make-up, and Grandpa trying to get me to dress-up.

Friday, we learned to dance the hula. I had to get out our Hawaiian pictures so Tommy could see that men dance the hula too. The pictures I had were of tribal chiefs with capes, bare torsos and grass skirts. He and James went and got the two capes (one red and the other black) that I'd bought long ago at the local variety store. Then they participated. Even Grandma Colsher got in the act and wore a hula skirt. We had a lot of fun and they all looked so cute. Grandpa videotaped it--and it's precious. We’ll be sure and show it to you.

Everyone was really tired, so Grandma, James, Lainie, Hannah, and Sarah took a nap. Aunt Karen and Abby were napping too. Hannah always sneaks out (which is ok) as soon as the little ones are asleep. After all, she's 8. Grandma promised them money for the variety store if they went to sleep. James said, "Are we really getting money for the store?"

Sarah said, "Yes, and I think it's a lot!"


Gary, Justin, and Tommy had gone to play golf with his dad. Debbie and Grandma Colsher went to Walmart to finish up Hannah's birthday shopping. When I got up, Hannah was all alone, but happy, in the living room. I asked her why she was alone. She showed me a note that said Grandpa had been kidnapped and the ransom was two dozen cookies. Leah and Ellie took Grandpa and went to see Spiderman II. They said they had to wake him up all during the movie because he was snoring.

All returned. The youngest and Grandma swam in the backyard, while Debbie fixed supper (pigs in a blanket--crescent rolls) and we made S'mores. After supper the little ones played soccer in the backyard and caught lightening bugs. Abby loves being outside and has had a ball at Camp G. & G.  James said he was glad Abby was born because she is so cute. She is hilarious and has fit right in. The way she loves shoes, we can tell she's going to work in a shoe store when she grows up. But I think she will be a shoe designer, or else marry a rich man and own a million pairs. James also told me I was as cuddly as an old dog, which is a compliment coming from a little boy. He wants to move closer and have Camp G. & G. every Wednesday, but he says they'd have to buy a farm. I asked him how they would get here every week and he told me they'd just ride their horse.
The older ones--Justin, Leah, Ellie, and Bryan Mc. took Grandpa and went to another movie in Greensburg. Grandma was invited, but too tired.

Tomorrow, we are swimming in the a.m., then having Hannah's birthday party. We're having pizza and strombolis from Pizzalicious. Debbie has made a Barbie doll cake for Hannah. After the party--the serious shoppers are off to the variety store!

On our last night together as a family, we got on a nostalgia kick and were going through the cedar chest and searching for old mementoes of the kids' childhood. The kids were exhausted and no one went to bed until 1 p.m. I will have lots of pictures to show you when you get home.

Write when you can. Your mom says you are having a good time and doing well. You’re in our thoughts and prayers.

Love you, Grandma, and Grandpa too!





Monday, May 9, 2011

A Western Theme and a Cooking Camp

CAMPING with A WESTERN THEME
We've covered a camp with a Patriotic Theme, but today let's consider a Western Theme.  As I mentioned yesterday, the first step is to plan ahead, then order supplies, or look for them on a sales table. Next,  it's time to send out your invitations.  If you
are going to go with a western theme, cowboy hats and bandanas are a must.  Along with western crafts, you'll want to watch some movies about horses, and even visit a local horse farm.

I ordered my shirts for this year locally for I got a good deal on them. I chose a beige with a rope lasso design and the caption was "Y'all come!" I ordered plenty so that Great-Grandma down to the littlest tyke could have them.  We did the usual outside activities such as the backyard swimming pool, and hikes, but the big finale of the week was a hot dog roast complete with a hayride.  Needless to say, everyone really enjoyed this gathering.

Another camp we did was a Kid'sCooking Party.
                                                                                                         
SAMPLE INVITATION
You are invited
to CAMP G & G 2008
Kid’s Cooking Party
Location: Grandma & Grandpa Teitsort’s
Rainbow Cottage
In Valley Nook
(bottom of the hill)
Date: July 30, August 1, 2, 3
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Parents are invited to attend our Sunday Luncheon



After discussing it with the grandkids, they decided they wanted to have a Cooking Party.  They had a lot of fun with this.  After doing my pre-planning, I sent out my invitation.  I was able to find the aprons and paints in a local craft department.  They had great fun decorating them.  I couldn't find the hats, or at least, not affordable ones.  Thus, I cut paper bands to fit their heads, then used tissue paper to make the bouffant part.  Of course we had to watch the movie, Ratatouille.

I guided the children in their selections of recipes.
We made everything from tacos to deserts.  I divided them into teams and they learned to work together.  We even had a cookie bake-off.  One of the highlights of the week was playing like they were doing their own show on a food network.  Of course, they had to sample as they worked.  In addition to the daily cooking lessons, they did the usual crafts, playing outside, swimming, and hikes.  On Sunday, the children showed off what they learned by preparing lunch for the adults.   I'll have to admit, this camp was more fun than I had anticipated.  They really took their jobs seriously.

Turn in for the next posts on some other themes.  I hope our ideas will spark some for you.  Happy Grandparenting!!!    


Saturday, May 7, 2011

PLANNING A CAMP G & G

                                                                        
Camp G &G (Camp Grandpa &Grandma) began for our family when our daughter's family moved several states away and our son lived an hour away.  I wanted the grandkids to know what it was like visiting grandma & grandpa's.  I wanted them to know their cousins, and I wanted to spend quality time with them.  Thus, Camp G & G became a yearly event that grandkids and adults looked forward to.

Through the years we've had many themes.  Over the next few weeks, I want to share some of the themes and activities we have done.  Hopefully, you'll be able to glean some of my ideas, and add some of your to make your Camp G & G truly yours.

Weeks before their scheduled arrival, I would send invitations going along with our theme.  I always made their camp week, the week Mom and Dad could get away. Then I would order supplies from a party supply catalog like Oriental Trading, keeping with our theme.  Dollar Tree is also a great place to find supplies. There are so many inexpensive items to choose fun.  We generally tried to have matching cups and plates for the kids to keep, plus we selected plenty of craft kits to keep the kids busy  Most years, we would paint shirts, but this particular year, I purchased them for it was close to the 4th of July and were available.  It's a perfect time for a patriotic theme when Camp G & G falls close to the 4th, then the entire family can enjoy "FIREWORKS!" together. 

When you're ordering your supplies, remember, camp just wouldn't be camp without some of these:  Bubbles, crafts, hikes/walks, picnics, S'mores, and a hot dog roast.

When the time drew near for their arrival, I would stock up on plenty of movies and books for their quiet time.  I always tried to balance out the day with craft projects, lunch, a hike, storytime, dinner, outside games, baths, and a movie to wind down before bedtime.  

Plans were set, supplies were in, and then a week of happiness!  True, I would be tired by week's end, but it was a good tired.  I always invited and encouraged the moms, great-grandma, and the older grandkids to be my assistants.  That's what it's all about family togetherness!

Be watching for my next post on a Western Hoedown theme.