Camp gigi - quilt squares

Camp Gigi—Part One

Phyllis Lifestyle, People 32 Comments

Camp Gigi has just finished. It was a full week of having my granddaughter at our home with her best friend joining us for part of the week. Her brother was at his camp in the mountains, so it worked out perfectly for her to come to stay with us. Camp Gigi (what my grandchildren call me) is a week free of electronic devices, where creativity is the objective.

Our time together began with coloring quilt blocks for our Mrs. Noah Quilt. Each block features animals and the characters from the biblical story, including a really fun boat. This was originally intended to be appliquéd, but for an eight-year-old, that was way too complicated, so we opted for fabric pens and colored the blocks in cute patterns. We didn’t finish sewing it together, but that is for her next visit!

Camp gigi - slime making

A great awakening for me was making slime. Now, let me stop here and tell you that the makers of glue have masterminded a genius concept for kids making slime. I can tell you I have never bought school glue by the gallon before, but now I can check that one off. Believe it or not, we used almost the entire gallon. This modern replacement of modeling clay is made up of shaving cream, glue, glitter, baking soda, and contact lens solution. Wow, that alone was a weird thing to see. We manufactured bowls of this stuff and then filled plastic storage bags with our daily creation. I kept asking, “What do you do with this stuff?” only to get the same answer over and over— “You play with it.” Well OK, we’ll play with it, then.

Then, if that wasn’t enough, we bought even more slime because shimmer slime is different than regular slime. Oh, me, oh my. I am now educated in the world of slime.

One of my favorite things we did was make our notebooks. We took spiral-bound notebooks and ribbon remnants and tied a ribbon into every ring. The girls had so much fun making these wilds displays of color! I am unsure if they will pass school regulations, but they are fun to have and enjoy.

Camp gigi - notebook project

What else did I learn from the eight-year-old girls? They are smarter than me. They taught me how to use my cellphone in ways I never knew possible. I am now accomplished in making weird videos on my phone, if anyone needs a tutorial.

Despite the various devices we have at our fingertips, kids still love to create with their hands. All they really want is your time and attention. I will share the rest of my grandmother journey with you later.

P.S. Neal said he will have Camp Neal for our grandson whenever he can schedule him, and it won’t include slime making!

Tell me what you love to do with your grandchildren!

Comments 32

  1. I am a little behind on email. Loved your email. One of my best times with my two granddaughter s. One from my son and one from my daughter. They are a few years apart and this time bonded them. They are in college now and really wonderful young women. We had a great time. We laughed alot. I just think so fondly of that time.

  2. Your granddaughter and her friend look so happy and enjoying themselves at Camp GiGi. Thank You for this fun post.

  3. I remember my maternal grandmother teaching me to crochet. We would crochet edges on the handkerchiefs. Thank You for this interesting post.

  4. Instead of planting annuals in my big urns, I planted several dozen basil plants along with seeds in 2 others. When my granddaughter, Robyn, comes home from Rainbow Girls camp, we’ll have Mimi’s pesto making party and dinner. We can hardly wait.

  5. When I was a little girl, my cousin Marcia and I went to “Camp Aunt Edna” in the mountains of Potter County, Pennsylvania. It was the one time a year we got together as Marcia lived in Buffalo, NY. and I lived near Philadelphia. Aunt Edna was anything but creative (a school teacher of Latin and other languages), but she spent two weeks for many summers toting us around the county – swimming in natural lakes, picnics of “heaven knows what” as we made the food (she could not cook!), ice cream stops, climbing an outdoor fire tower (our parents would have died at the thought) visiting the Pa. Grand Canyon and Ice Mine, shopping in now-quaint and long-gone dime stores, and visiting her elderly friends and relatives. I will always recall being fascinated by an old lady shelling peas on her Victorian-style porch, and visiting another woman with a farm where my cousin fell in an old-fashioned “cow flop”, and the farmhand taught us to milk a cow. I felt very grown up when I was allowed to hire a local seamstress to make an outfit for my Revlon doll for fifty cents!! The thing I remember most is when Aunt Edna stopped by the road to cut herself a bouquet of Mountain Laurel – the Pa. state flower that is highly illegal to pick! Somehow she felt entitled. Aunt Edna made every daily adventure a mission, always things she had to do. As an illustrator, I probably could and should write a book about the antics of an old lady and two little girls – an aunt not too unlike Truman Capote’s aunt.

    Nearly seventy years later, my cousin and I laugh about and remember our antics with Aunt Edna. I was a bridesmaid in Marcia’s wedding, an invitation that I will always cherish. We still write and talk although we are miles apart.

    I just hosted my own camp for my three grandchildren. I can cook so we planned and prepared our daily menus, attended Hotel Transylvania 3 in a fabulous old restored movie theatre from my generation, cashed in nearly $100 in a coin machine at the bank (quite a fascination for them and money they can divide and spend on our seaside vacation in August). Among other things, we visited our local thrift shop filled with “treasures” they love to seek and buy, as well as a used book store. We made lots of bubbles scrubbing my lawn furniture – a chore to me, fun for them. I could go on. It is a lesson to all of us how important these visits are and the memories they create. Now, if we could just put down those cell phones and other devices!!

    Thanks for the ideas that everyone had for activities. All sound great, but not too sure about that “slime”……

    1. Oh, please do write that book of Adventures with Aunt Edna! I love to read those type of stories to our young friends (ages 2 & 5). I put lots of flair into the readings… and we laugh and have a great time. These friends are now developing a love for stories that hopefully will last a lifetime and maybe inspire them to write about their own adventures (or “imagined adventures”).

  6. This was my 3rd year holding Sewing/Cousins Camp. I started it for my granddaughters and nieces . The cousins love getting together! We have a sewing project, this year was making shorts and tye dye shirts. They help with chores and food prep and we take daily trips to go swimming, go play in mountain streams, watch plays in our downtown park, and trips to used bookstores (a favorite). They are at my house all week. It’s great fun, totally exhausting for this grandma, and so many memories. I had 8 girls this year, ages 6-13. Every year they leave they ask if I would do this for 2 weeks! Guess it’s a hit!

  7. At camp Mimi, my granddaughter and I paint on canvas with acrylic paints. We have our easels and brushes and a random still-life for our muse. I also taught her how to knit a simple scarf and she took to it like a pro. We have a lot of fun together!

  8. I’m looking forward to hosting “Camp Mimi”, but not just yet – – – you see, I just found out that I’m going to be a grandmother next March!!! My younger daughter is only 8 weeks along, but she couldn’t wait to tell me before announcing it to the rest of the world! I am actually “Mimi” to 8 step-grandchildren, ranging in age from 4 to 22, but this will be the first baby in my family . . . and I am over-the-moon with happiness! I will definitely be looking to you for inspiration, Phyllis! Thank you for sharing your “real-life” adventures with all of us. xoxoxo

  9. I am having Camp Oma at my house this week and next. Yes, slime is on the agenda. We are taking ourselves and her skateboard to the park today. There are brownies to be made, marshmallows to be roasted at the fire pit, cardboard projects (her favorite), and many other things. How God has blessed all of us with these precious grandchildren.

  10. My Camp is “Camp Mema,” and it is a daily camp, because our three year old grandsons Drew & Graham ( cousins) live within 3 minutes of Mema’s house. They sometimes drop in for 20 minutes OR stay all day! We play with play dough, play kickball, do, dress in our smocks and paint, have snacks, build with blocks, and construct train tracks that stretch across the den floor. When they tire of “Camp Mema,” they climb on their electric John Deere tractors and go home, escorted by Mema, of course!

  11. My two grandchildren Helena and Henry go different weeks. Boys week & Girls week at Bible Camp its held for 4 days in Idaho.
    We send them boxes of goodies during their times at Bible Camp. They have a mail call
    at camp so its encouraged. We have sent them stuffed teddy bears with “Jesus loves You” stitched on the bottom of the Bears foot, we also mail them candy and Christian book stories. This year we also sent them Bible word search games and colorful pens and journals to write down their memories, swim ware and flipflops. I attended Vacation Bible camp when I was young and I have great memories of that time and I am so happy that they love going this is their 3rd year of horse back riding, canoeing, swimming, hiking, friendships and most of all Bible study times by the campfire with some awesome friends and teachers.
    Grandchildren are truly a gift that’s words cannot convey, just awesome! We love them
    and feel blessed. Happy to share your blog. California Carmel

  12. Enjoy Camp Gigi now. We sponsored Lovey (me) and Sugar (my husband) Camp for many summers. We cooked, made special crafts, went to movies of their choice and visited many Georgia places on “field trips.” They also helped plan what they wanted to have for each meal. Now they are older…15 and 11. They are much busier with their friends, camps and activities. I am still hoping they will come for a few days befor their school starts in mid August.

  13. WHat blessings you are to each other – Gigi and Grandaughters ! THey will always remember the time you spent with them, whatever you were creating ! priceless !

  14. What fun!How lucky you both are to have each other. I am 58 now but still remember all the fun I had with my grandmother and grandfather!! And thank you for the tutorial on slime. We will be having of our great-nephews and great-niece over soon, so this will definitely come in handy!

  15. Phyllis, those wonderful and cherished memories with your grands inspire and are forever. You are an inspiration to me as well. I was just thinking today how much I look forward to the Fall issue of “Victoria” magazine with my morning tea on the back porch. Your creativity has blessed and blesses me ongoing – thank you.

    For the next grands visit I found some other recipes for slime that might interest all of you and are more “user friendly”:

  16. All I can say is, what a fun Gigi you are! The girls will have wonderful memories and I’m sure will tell their friends how special Gigi is.

  17. How quickly the time goes by…making memories! Though we have a pool and the kids love swimming in it, they love going to the creek even more. The creeks in our area are crystal clear and very cold. I grew up going to Buffalo Creek where we went down big stone steps…from our Granddad Divine’s backyard…and we would forget about everything else as we spent the day in that creek. It would take your breath away at first…it was so cold…but oh it was so refreshing and so much fun playing with my siblings and cousins. I love it that our Greats just spontaneously do some of the same things that we did so many years ago…such as hunting crawdids under the rocks, saving rocks that have special colors &/or shapes, splashing each other, letting the current take them downstream, and many more things that just ‘while away’ summer days. Precious memories in the making to be recorded in their journals to take home. They don’t always want to take the time to do this but as a retired elementary teacher…and having a mother that journaled and wanted her children to, also…I’ve learned what a treasure it is to pull these out many years later…as well as the photos (ours were mostly black & white)…and wander down those steps to the creek again, enjoying the mesmerizing flow of creek water where everything else just ‘drops away’ for the day. I wish every child had the opportunity to spend a day at the creek. I know they would have something to share at bedtime prayer time that they were thankful for that day. :o) Thank you for sharing with us this sweet and precious time with your granddaughter and her friend. I know they made wonderful memories to last a lifetime. May God bless you all with many more!

  18. Phyllis, what beautiful memories with the two girls. What a fun Gigi you are, making slime. I had my two year old granddaughter today and we had the most fun. Love these special moments!

  19. Great memories of your camp. I am having Camp SuSu in two weeks for one of my Grands. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I am not close to being a grandmother just yet. I have a 21 and 16 year old but I have decided that my grandmother name is going to be SuSu too! I hope I get to have grandmother camps too one day! What a fun story!

  20. What an adorable story … I love all the artsy things you did. But mostly I loved how you journaled it all for us !!! Thanks Gigi 🙂

  21. Amelia is begging to go back to Camp Gigi! I’m afraid she will brag to Hays so much and make him insanely jealous. She truly had the best time and it was such a nice break from technology and an entre into so many lost creative arts! You didn’t mention that you also taught her at least two songs on the piano and several baking recipes…. and so much more. So grateful to have such a loving and creative genius as a mother in law. We hit the jackpot with Gigi!!!!

    1. Thank you sweet Katie for your lovely comments. It was a glorious week. We are all blessed to have these kids in our lives. Love you.

  22. How wonderful to have a week with your granddaughters. I’m sure the memories that were created will be with them a lifetime. You sound like a wonderful Grammie!!!

  23. Oh! How fun! I am sure that the girls {and Gigi} had a wonderful time. We are about to have camp “Oma” at our house, in the beginning of August, after our youngest daughter gets married,

    I’m not sure if slime will be on the program, but lots of making things together, and doing all sorts of other wonderful things will be, including a devotional for young girls that I hope my two will love to read with me. Happy camping!

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