Were you aware there's a new term out there? Yes, it's "gramping," and it means grandparents camping with their grandchildren. Not sure I like the word--but I sure like the concept! And it's SPRING, y'all! Let's go GRAMPING!
Last spring my friend Gail went camping with her grandchildren. They did the cutest, kid-friendly activities (see above photo for a sample--playing with glow-in-the-dark balloons), so I HAD to ask her to share this experience in my blog. Here's Gail~
"Growing up as a young family, my daughter, my husband, and I enjoyed camping. We started our tent camp outings at state parks because as rookies, we felt safe and comfortable. We love running water, electricity and restrooms! Camping afforded us the opportunity to slow down, unwind and get reacquainted. Other benefits that my family of three enjoyed: being outside, learning about nature, and playing together. Bottom line--we were making memories. Now. . .fast forward a few decades. . .
I had the pleasure of tagging along with my daughter, my two grandchildren, and a group of friends on an overnight campout last March. It was the first time in many years that we had 'tent' camped. My grands were only two and four years old on their inaugural camping trip, and we all had a blast!
More from Gail~
"A lot of fun was packed into two days and one very cold night tent camping at Lake Georgetown. One of the biggest 'hits' of the weekend was the glow-in-the-dark balloons, bracelets and sticks. This was not my idea, but it was a good one. A friend got them at Walmart (probably a seasonal item). Here's the list of things we did:
You get the idea--we simply enjoyed each other's company. And the best part? MAKING MEMORIES, of course!"
I'm guessing all you need to go gramping is a weekend. That's probably all the little guys can handle, and I'm guessing that may be all the grandparents can handle as well. But what fun! Let's all give camping with our grands a try. And as I always say, if you've already gone on camping trips with your grandchildren, please share activities and PHOTOS. We'd love to see them!
Happy Spring, Everybody!
P. S. And thanks, Gail, for this fun blog post!
Final note: All butterflies captured were gently released back to nature.
How about preparing a special Valentine dinner and involving your grandkids? What could be better.
Last year I did exactly this with my eight, ten, and twelve-year-old grandkids. Yes, I could have taken them shopping and let them pick out small gifts for their parents. But we all know that the best gift you can give is yourself--or at least your labor and your time. I wanted that lesson further instilled in my grandchildren. So I suggested we cook a special meal for their parents.
I think the seed of this idea was planted many years ago. I traveled to California with my sister and her young family to visit her in-laws. My brother-in-law's mother was a jewel--we all called her Grandmother Mabel...or at least I did. Now mind you, I was only about 12 or 13 at the time, but I remember Grandmother Mabel giving my sister some marital advice. Not sure what prompted this exchange, but I've never forgotten what she told my sister. She said, "You should sometimes eat by candlelight for your evening meal. I've even put up my folding table by the fireplace and covered it with my best tablecloth and set up two candles. That will really put romance back in your marriage." Here's a chuckle for you, my sister does not remember this, but I DO! And it's served me well over the years.
I mostly did it on our anniversary or on Valentine's Day. And even after the kids came, I still did it! You'd be surprised how excited the little guys get when they see Dad's car pull into the driveway and we dim the lights and light the candles! And another funny benefit of this? They tend to whisper at dinner and use their best manners.
Now. . . back to that special Valentine's dinner~
I picked the kids up early on a Saturday. We had a lot to do. I had already done the grocery shopping, but we headed to the craft store to pick up decorations. We wanted to do this dinner up right. The girls picked out everything. When we got home, we made paper flowers and hung up all our sweetheart decorations. Then we hit the kitchen to prepare our meal. Poppa and grandson were in charge of grilling the steak. The girls and I made a vegetable tian (recipe below) and salad. And I had made the cake the night before, so all they had to do was ice and decorate it with a Valentine theme. They even wanted to make their very own fruit punch--a concoction they had invented one day at their house~can't remember the recipe exactly but it included strawberries and lemons.
Before their parents arrived, we finished setting the table. I even let them pick out the dinner music. We dimmed the lights and lit the candles. I did make one purchase--we stopped by the grocery store and picked out a rose for their mother. The kids presented that to her as they greeted her at the door.
Next came the COOKING! Such a great bonding time with the granddaughters. (As I said earlier, Poppa and grandson were out back grilling steaks and playing darts. Sure wish I had pictures of that, but alas, I don't.) I've seen many of your Facebook posts--cooking meals with your grandchildren, whether it be Thanksgiving or Christmas or some other holiday meal. So you know the joy of cooking with your grandchild.
Cooking with the grands!
I'm sure you've all been able to cook with your grandchildren some time or another. And I know you'll agree, it's the best of fun! Share any fun times you've had cooking with your grandchildren or nieces and nephews. I love to hear your stories. And Valentine's Day is almost upon us. Share any fun things you've done with your grandchildren. Just go to my "Contact" page.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Link to recipe:
Getting out into this big, beautiful world!
My November 25th blog was about my niece's family participating in our local Turkey Trot. I had remembered seeing a Facebook friend's posting about a bike ride she took with her husband and grandson over a charmingly lighted bridge. I asked her to contribute that experience to the theme I had going--grandparents getting out and exercising with their grandchildren. Alas, I caught her on a road trip to spend Thanksgiving with her family. But she didn't forget, and I found these charming pictures and the details in my mail today.
"My grandchildren are all in their late teens now. I am always on the lookout for activities that we can share and enjoy together. My youngest grandson lives on a mountain, and had never learned how to ride a bicycle. A couple of summers ago, we decided that bike-riding time had arrived! The learning process was somewhat painful and frustrating, so I promised him that when he could ride the bike, we would ride across the Trestle Bridge at night.
The day arrived. We packed drinks and snacks and traveled to Madrid, Iowa where the bridge is located. We rode across the bridge at dusk, and then had a little picnic as we watched the sunset. When night had fallen and the bridge was lit up, we rode back through this magical tunnel. He was so proud of his accomplishment, and the lights on the bridge just seemed to make it a grand celebration!"
I haven't forgot that challenge I issued on November 25th. Let's get out there and do something physical with our grands this holiday season: ice skating, a walk in the snow, bike rides, Jingle Bell Run, or a simple walk in the park.
Until next week. . .
Oh, and thank you, Judye for your contribution!
A GRAND Thanksgiving Tradition~
How many of you do the turkey trot on Thanksgiving day?
My niece and her family participate every year! She's been doing it for several years. It began with her own kids, and now she and her husband are continuing it with their grands. What could be better.
By the way, she's the very very young looking grandmother...third from the left!
I asked her for her thoughts on this family tradition and here's what she said:
"The Turkey Trot has been one of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions for years. This tradition started with our kids, and now the custom is continuing with our kids and our grandkids! No matter if it is freezing or raining outside, our crew all gets up and goes! There is no better way to start the Thanksgiving weekend than walking with the ones you love and seeing lots of old friends!"
And on to December and the next holiday!
You may be wondering why I'm posting about the Turkey Trot now that Thanksgiving is over? Well, there are other 5Ks and Kids' 1Ks for families. I know the Jingle Bell Run is coming up in a lot of communities in December. I'll do it if you'll do it!
Seriously, getting outside and taking a walk is the best exercise! This is a blog for and about grandparents (and parents too!), and one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves and our children and grandchildren is to TAKE CARE OF OUR HEALTH! I have a sweet childhood friend whose mother always told her that she was the one who had to take care of her health--nobody else can do it! Simple words and a no-brainer, but I think it really is a basic truth. During this holiday season, let's take care of ourselves! To your health!
Get out in nature after the feasting!
Are you and yours one of those families that take a walk after you finish stuffing yourselves? Isn't that a great way to make room for dessert!
And what kid doesn't like to explore and collect things in nature on that walk? Give the grands (and others too!) a sack for their treasured collection. It's fun to have something to collect your items in and a friendly competition can develop between cousins. Here are some beautiful items collected by my grandson years ago:
Nature Scavenger Hunt~
Another thing we've done is to have a nature scavenger hunt. This works well with the older kids. Last year we went camping over the Thanksgiving holiday. I prepared for this activity before we left. I ran off a list of things in nature that I was pretty sure the kids would be able to find in our area. Then I purchased some brown paper lunch bags (Remember those?) and got enough pencils for everyone. On one of our hikes, I gave everyone a paper bag for collections, a scavenger list and a pencil and we WERE OFF! I even awarded prizes. Fun day!
But wait! There's more!
Want to take that trip in nature BEFORE the big day? That works too. A couple of years ago, we had dinner with our son and daughter-in-law. She had taken the kids on a nature walk, and they collected natural items for table decorations. They were beautiful tables. Take a look:
Collected items from walk can be used to make a nature collage. Or here's a pin from Pinterest where the kids cut the middle out of a paper plate to make a wreath and glued their collected items on there (especially works well with just dried leaves):
Links friends have shared for this holiday. This one is about T-giving games for families:
And this one for kids' tables at the dinner:
Step out in nature sometime during the holidays and take those sweet grands with you. They will love it. And you'll be surprised what you can find in nature on a simple walk to the park.
"Enjoy yourself--it's later than you think!" Chinese Proverb
By the way, if you need a list of items for the nature walk, you can write me using my contact page, and I'll send you one. Or, like anything else these days, you can find one on Google or Pinterest! Have fun!
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!