Monday, August 14, 2017
Grandma Campers are, by their very nature, explorers! They like to know stuff. Probing, seeking, speculating...."What is that made of, grandma?" "What would happen if we did it this way instead?" Encouraging and rewarding curiosity is the most challenging - and best! - part of this annual summer experience for me!
Last year, we brought home ladybug shaped rocks, painted them, wiggle-eyed them, and secreted them in neighborhood flower beds and mail boxes under the spine-tingling cover of night. How many would still be there the following evening? Anxious with excitement, we had our answers when we ventured back to see!
But our backyard wooded lot consistently holds the best source of adventure and discovery. We've filled cardboard tubes with peanut butter and added a clever method for detecting critters who might enter for a nibble. Oh, they were there, all right, we learned the next morning, but speculation over what they looked like has hung in the air for over a year! Tiny footprints left behind are simply not enough!
We need to know, "Who goes there?"
Daylight hours capture full color images (both video and still shots - audio, too!) of scampering squirrels and chipmunks. An occasional blue jay will swoop down to snatch a peanut. But our best mysteries are solved in the morning after all night monitoring. That's how we discovered our inquisitive raccoon guest. He's one of the wood dwellers who only come out at night!
"Hey lady! We're out of peanuts again!"
But I might add some manufactured drama of my own when the kids get a bit older. We'll set the camera right around Halloween. Under cover of late, late night, wearing a spooky skeletal mask, I'll peer into the lens, grunt menacingly, and shake the camera vigorously before the screen goes blank! "Who goes there?" you ask? I don't think the kids are gonna want to know!
Find the battery operated XIKEZAN trail camera (and required memory card) I've been happy with in my Amazon gift shop on page 14. It's a handy 3.5" x 5" easy-to-set-up and use, water proof, motion activated device with instantly view-able images to download to a computer or television set.
The classic Reader's Digest North American Wildlife Guide is also here, on page 15.
This is the fourth post in a series of 2017 Grandma Camp highlights that begins here. Enjoy!
Saturday, July 29, 2017
Our second annual Ladybug Camp hosted twin sisters, Ava and Angeline, with cousin Kaylee. This four year old trio enjoyed a multi day, overnight affair busy with crafting, baking, play-acting, and exploring. On day two, we ventured into a magical wooded realm - the place where fairies flutter!
Angeline and Kaylee cradle their new friends.
Judy, made my dream of today's event even more special. She sent me the tiny tea set pictured here. Her own granddaughter had reached the teenage years, and it was time for pretty vintage pieces to find another home, one where younger girls would take their turn pouring magic tea to serve in teeny tiny portions. This was the perfect occasion to introduce our gift. Thank you, Judy!
My friend, Judy, a master gardener, blogs about beauty in nature, in fabric, and of charming places both near and far at New England Garden and Thread. She is also a fan of fairies. Her 2012 Fairy House Tour is one of my favorite posts ever!
Fairy dolls are easily made from wooden peg bases found at craft stores. Dress them in petals pulled from silk flowers.
*The three Cicely Mary Barker pop-up fairy books I purchased for my granddaughters can be found on page 14 of my Amazon Gift Shop. Fairy sticker books found on the same page kept my little ladies busy during "quiet time."
This is part 3 of my Grandma Camp 2017 series. It begins right here.
Sunday, July 16, 2017
The best part about performing at our week's end magic show is that we know things mommy and daddy don't! We love to see jaws drop in the audience, followed by the inevitable "How did you do that?" Kids usually don't tell though, responding only with smug, impish grins!
But I don't mind sharing tricks of the trade with other grandmothers. I've experienced the fun and camaraderie of introducing, practicing, and performing a variety of easy to do acts that I've gleaned from several sources: a delightful online site, a purchased kids' magic set, and a goofy idea of my own that resulted in an unsolved mystery!
Got your ticket? Good! Take a seat and enjoy the show!
I love my free subscription to "Magic Tricks For Kids." It's where you'll find this trick demonstrated step by step - and dozens more to choose from!
"Bree! What are you doing?" One of the twins approaches her in the act of breaking an egg. "Making cookies!" she casually replies. No hanky-panky is suspected when the other twin follows up with, "Need any help?" "Sure," she answers. "I want these eggs cracked!" But no one cracks up more than the little tricksters who reach into the carton, grabbing three to toss to the audience! "Here, dad! Help us out!" they shout as rubber eggs go flying toward a ducking audience! 😲
* an online toy retailer. But I've been the victim of a mysterious disappearing act myself! I have yet to locate the third egg after our show. Looked everywhere! It's gone! But unlike our other tricks, there's no explanation for this one! Poof! Real magic!
The easiest way to conjure up a repertoire of cool performance tricks is to buy a kit designed for kids. I did this last year, relying solely on the nifty eye foolers in a great Melissa and Doug set.** But this year I found another one I like!*** "Spectacular Magic Show" is less than $20 and packs 100 cool ideas into a box that also contains an instruction book plus a fun CD that clearly demonstrates them all - plus more!
But that's not all! Bree's cousin stepped up and announced he's got something even better to show! His glass of water met a few drops of food coloring secreted inside the can, and the audience gasped when he poured out GREEN PAINT instead of clear liquid!
I see a future for this one at restaurants where restless grandchildren are given crayons to keep them busy before meals arrive. Tell grandpa to scrape off a bit of wax while the crayon is behind his back. He can briefly glimpse at it as he flourishes his hand forward to pronounce the correct color!
And then there was Ava! Pictured at top, this little gal has been a fan of magic ever since last year's show when her brothers pulled stuffed bunnies from hats to present to their little sisters. She frequently duplicates this trick at home with toy tigers and Barbie dolls, waving her wand with a pronunciation of "abracadabra!" that she alone has perfected. This year, the right thing to do was give Ava the stage to conclude with her delightful act. She loved every second, and so did we!
Here's part 1 of this year's Grandma Camp series!
This is not a sponsored post. I just enjoy sharing the success I've had with good products. However, a few of the items I've shown here are available in my Amazon gift shop.
*Hearthsong carries sets of 3 rubber eggs. The company sells many creative toys and stands by their products with excellent customer service!
**This Melissa and Doug magic set can be found on page 13 of my Amazon gift shop.
***This Ideal magic set can be found on page 14 of my Amazon gift shop.
Sunday, July 9, 2017
Independence Day 2017 came in with a BANG for our family! At 8:50 A.M. my tenth grandchild - and sixth grandson - was born. He arrived 19.5" long, weighing a cuddly 6 pounds, 12 ounces.
I've got lots planned for little Tyler when he's old enough to handle a paintbrush, but for right now, I'm heeding wise grandparent advice. What mommy and daddy need most is not another bib emblazoned with "If you think I'm cute, you should see my grandpa!" (groan!) What they do need, strictly in this order, is:
So, grandpa and I have been cooking and babysitting and just enjoying the euphoria that comes along with every beautiful new birth that enters the life of any grandparent! (And you people know who you are!)
Monday, July 3, 2017
This is a sponsored post for which I have been compensated.
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Saturday, June 24, 2017
I wonder every year if the "big kids" in my group of 10 will appreciate summer days at Grandma Camp. The boys, twin brothers, will be nine on August 29th. Cousin Brielle will be seven on the same day. Will Boy Scouts, soccer, Minecraft, gymnastics, and the lure of dozens and dozens of friends preempt their previous enthusiasm for spending time with me alone, crafting, baking, play-acting, and hiking in the woods? Apparently not! My most soul-satisfying moment of the year is when I'm told, "All they talk about lately is Grandma Camp!" Whew! Good for another round!
This is an overview of the fun we had together last week!
* we perform for ticket-buying parents at week's end. We're currently fascinated with magic, so a new treasure trove of tricks is enthusiastically greeted. Oh, the looks we love on faces in the audience when a deck of cards disappears before one's very eyes! Or, when lengths of rope are cut in half and then unfold intact! Yep! We know exactly how to make those things happen - and we're not telling! (Well, actually, grandma is!....in a later post - so your kids can wow an audience right outta their chairs like we do!)
The "big kids" never get tired of baking, so we gather 'bout the kitchen counter and take turns mixing and stirring and expertly cracking the eggs we need. Special requests are always honored; this year chocolate chip cookies filled that obligation - as well as patiently waiting tummies!
* And not only do the "big kids" share my passion for creating, they adeptly grow the seed of an idea to grand and leafy proportions with very little help from me. My fondest Camp moments? Sitting alongside those intent young crafters, camera in hand, basking in reflected pride of jobs well done!
their tents at day's end.
More to come!
*Additional info on these topics in future posts, along with details on "Ladybug Camp" for a trio of four year old little ladies that includes a very successful woodland hunt for fairies!
Previous Grandma Camp series begin here:
2015 - Part One of an 8 part series on my very first Grandma Camp, including a hunt for zombies, night hikes, and lots of (hard earned!) tips on the art of hosting your own event.
2016 - It's Magic! Part one of a 2 part series featuring kid produced magic and puppet shows.
Thursday, June 1, 2017
|We can't take credit for this one.|
Brielle became a parrot at Disney World's Animal Kingdom!
Before I begin my story, I need to set the stage. Brielle's neighborhood is adjacent to elementary school property. The streets teem with kids. They run freely all summer long, visiting from yard to yard, stopping to lunch whenever they see a mom on a porch with a tray of cold drinks and peanut butter sandwiches. Girls, boys, first graders through fifth - it's a happy life!
Twin cousins were premier customers on the day our little artist cracked open her crafty kit for the first time. Ava requested a cat design; Angeline, her fave - a giraffe. Brielle went to work. When the girls were dismissed, they raced to a mirror. Ava stared, and then declared, "That's not a cat!" Angeline just stared. In silence. But they assured that they'd be back again for more, and so, at that moment, a career was born.