At first, I was thinking we would have a remote Camp Nana. There is only going to be a few more years (if that) left of this tradition and I was really hoping the pandemic would not spoil yet another family event. Since the grand kids had been mostly quarantined and I had most definitely been mostly quarantined for the prior 2 plus months, we decided that we could hold Camp Nana at my home with no field trips. Never mind that. We have plenty of fun things to do. We have a clubhouse. We have a kitchen and plenty of crafting supplies. We have Pinterest. And we mostly have the imaginations of a 10, 7 and 5 year old. What else do we need?

So, the invitations went out in 4 little bags with a new Camp Shirt on their front doors. And here we are. 4 kids ages 10 to 1 – ready to be entertained. Max’s first responsibility as a Junior Counselor (yes – he has been promoted!) was to take everyone’s temperature. He was very good about cleaning the thermometer after each reading. He is growing up way too fast!

We also began rehearsals on our end of camp performance which I cannot disclose as we keep it super secret until the big day on which the parents and grand parents already have a good idea because those campers cannot keep a secret! Nonetheless, we pretend like it is still a secret.

A few photos from some of our first camp days activities…

They made a cover for their journal to write notes about each camp day. They painted and waited for the covers to dry before decorating. Nana laminated the covers when finished.

Time for the Junior Counselor to present story time while Nana prepared a light lunch for the campers. Ginny brought some books to share for the first camp day.


After lunch, Nolan left camp for a well deserved nap in his own bed, while the other three campers designed and wrote Thank You cards to some first responders and essential workers.

Time for a bit of baking. I had not really prepared for this, so we ended up using prepared cookie dough and made enough chocolate chip cookies to snack on and send home with the campers.

Afterwards we practiced our super secret performance and I think we are off to a good start!

To wind down the busy day, we took in a bit of Boss Baby. Listening to the kids laugh always make my day!

Camp Nana

Ginny is making her way to Portland to visit her childhood friends and family, so Camp Nana was down one person. And her smiling face was missed.

Max and Abby began the day by making their own wind chimes. We used mini pie tins (thanks, Pat) from a family dinner dessert, as the top piece. Holes were poked in the tin and in the center… a cute old bell. Hollow little tubes were added and various accouterments such as old keys and some moon charms until the chimes were just right in sound and sight.

Unfortunately, I did not think to snap a photo while we were working on them, Kerri did get a couple photo of the chimes which found a new home from the eave of their patio cover.

We barely had time to run a couple of rehearsals for our end of summer program (cloaked in secrecy as always) until the kids had to leave for karate. But, before our time was up, we managed to conjure up a very tasty lemon supreme cake topped with the family favorite French white icing for Max and Abby to contribute to their dinner time.

Camp Nana 2019 Ready, Set, GO!

The three campers (known as Nana’s Camp Squad) all have many summer activities this year.  We are squeezing in mini-camp sessions as we navigate through swimming, gymnastics, dance, karate and summer travel.  And today was our kick-off with a morning movie of HOP at our new favorite Galaxy Luxury Theater on the far east side of town.

EB’s destiny was to take over the role of the Easter Bunny, as had been his father’s and his father’s before him.  But his heart was set on becoming a drummer instead. And I have to admit, he was darned good at it!  In fact, the most enjoyable parts of this movie for me, were the drumming scenes.  Image result for hop the movie EB drumming with the blind singers

The campers were invited to bring their own bunnies along to enjoy the movie with us.  Ginny and Abby stuck their bunny’s butts in the cup holders and would every once in a while “feed” the bunnies a kernel of popcorn or a skittles candy.

(Max had his bunny, Chocolate,  in a “sleeping bag” while Abby’s bunny, Strawberry, and Ginny’s namesake bunny, Ginny, were more of the come as you are dress code.)  Once in a while, Ginny would lean over and give me a short explanation of why the mouse did this or the chick did that.  It made for a very sweet and enjoyable morning.

Ginny was off to gymnastics with mommy and baby brother, so Max and Abby and I headed over to McDonalds to get some energy expended and a few calories under our belts. 

The Pima County Public Libraries are all giving away one free book to any teen or child stopping by this week, to encourage summer reading.  Max and Abby need no encouragement as they have their noses in a book often; but hey, who doesn’t love a free book?  They perused the books and made their choices and began reading their new material while walking out of the library door.  I had to remind them that reading while walking could be dangerous!  They took a minute to strike a library pose before departing the area.

Home for some quiet time and a game of Uno Attack while I gear up for a fun project on another Camp Nana day!


my 2018

Besides my accounting business, making custom lamp shades & junk journals, there has been time spent with grandchildren & family & friends. Emails, Facebook & Skype have become the way of staying in touch.  A beautiful Tucson spring brought my Annual Easter celebration.  I enjoyed the company of family, extended family & friends and the photo booth area with the obligatory bunny ears & lots of food & drink.  A face painter joined the party – a huge hit with the younger ones.  For Mother’s Day, and in the company of the Mundle ladies, I enjoyed a day of pampering, courtesy of Jeffry at the most gorgeous resort & spa.  A week later, I finally got my cast off my leg after 7 long months of weekly visits to  the wound clinic.  In no time, it was Summer, and I hosted Camp Nana for Max,  Abby & their cousin, Ginny.  We planted veggies (which didn’t survive the Tucson heat), painted ladybugs on rocks & rehearsed for our Camp Finale.  In a few days, I will join the Mundles & more for Thanksgiving dinner. In December,  after a family trip to the North Pole (well, sort of), the 5 Arizona Gardners will join the 3 Virginia Gardners for a family Christmas in Leesburg.

It has been three years now of living on my own.  It is a strange place – this land of widowhood.  But, with the love and support of friends & family, I put one foot in front of another & take life head on,  one day at a time.   I will never get used to not being “us”, but I enjoy what I have now, looking toward 2019 & a spring vacation in Italy with my sister and other adventures that may come my way.

Week 4 Camp Nana 2018

Today we learned all about Ladybugs.  Who knew they came in other colors besides red?  Some are yellow and others are orange.   The more common Ladybug is red with 7 black dots.  There is even an orange one with white stripes and another orange with white dots!

Did you know that a ladybug lives 2-3 years AND they actually play dead to protect themselves from predators.

After making garden ladybugs out of rocks.  We left them to dry before Nana sprayed them with an outdoor clear sealant.  Now there are three yards with cute little garden critters.

Then we played a game using the letters from LADYBUG,  All three of them came up with answers (sometimes with a bit of help) to:

L – If I were a Ladybug, my favorite place to play would be … (MAX – Lake Kalabonga; ABBY – Lily pad; Ginny – Lawn)

A – My name would be … (Alexander; Abby Jr; Abby)

D – My favorite food would be … (Durrito chips; Daffodil; Daisy)


Y – I would make a friend named … (Yelda Jr; Ybbythd; Yoo Hoo)

B – My friend and I would play … (mini-Basketball;  Bug and Seek;  Baseball)

U – I would hide under this to keep me from the rain … (Umbrella aka mini-leaf; Umbrella; Umbrella)

G – I would travel to … (ground; Grand Canyon; Grandpa’s)

It was such a messy fun day!  Who doesn’t love a cute Lady Bug?

camp nana – all about me


all about Me

We learned about each other today.  Paper people shapes were glued to some white cardstock paper.  We made the paper people to look like us.  Max decided he would dress himself as Captain Underpants while Abigail and Ginny took a more conventional approach.  Abby used yellow feathers for her blond hair.  Max drew his short blond hair with crayons.  Ginny dressed herself in a ruffled shirt and Abby made an entire outfit coordinated right down to the boots.

Then, we made notes all over the paper background about what food we like to eat or what color was our favorite.  We wrote what made us happy and also what made us sad.  That is how we learn about each other.

About Me

We learned about each other today.  Paper people shapes were glued to some white cardstock paper.  We made the paper people to look like us.  Max decided he would dress himself as Captain Underpants while Abigail and Ginny took a more conventional approach.  Abby used yellow feathers for her blond hair.  Max drew his short blond hair with crayons.  Ginny dressed herself in a ruffled shirt and Abby made an entire outfit coordinated right down to the boots.

Then, we made notes all over the paper background about what food we like to eat or what color was our favorite.  We wrote what made us happy and also what made us sad.  That is how we learn about each other.

Before Ginny arrived for camp, Max and Abby donned their Camp Nana aprons and made some yummy banana nut muffins that we sent to the swim meet that evening.  They squished up bananas and mixed the other ingredients.  Abby was in charge of locking and unlocking the big mixer while Max controlled the mixing speed.  They took their time and lifted the mixer up several times to scoop any unmixed ingredients from the bottom and sides of the large silver mixing bowl.  Down the mixer would go.  Abby would do her job and would loudly state “LOCKED!”  Max would then turn the mixer to the proper speed.  They alternated the muffin liners by color and took care in filling them with very little spills.  Abby ran back and forth from playing to the oven to check the progress.Image result for tap shoes

After cleanup, we practiced a bit for our dance review and had story time and play time.  It was a fun and productive day!Image result for tap shoesImage result for Storytime

Image result for Storytime


camp nana – over the rainbow

Connor was our special visitor for our first day of camp 2017.  Off to a busy start creating beautiful rainbows from bits of tissue paper and lots of glue.  Max handled his own gluing and dutifully assisted Abby & Connor with dots of glue where needed. 20170601_123857-1.jpg

Max decided on a miss-mash of colors in the shape of a rainbow, taking creative license.  20170602_144732Connor took a more abstract approach to his canvas (paper) of work. 18871631_10209221513085627_783146094_n

Ginny went minimalist while Abby was precise and exact.  20170602_14475520170602_144809All in all, a succesful gallery of color, giggles and glue.  And keeping with our theme, our quiet reading time was HOW THE CRAYONS SAVED THE RAINBOWS.20170531_141210

Since Ginny attended camp after her nap time, she missed story time.  When she arrived, Maxwell picked up the book and got her a pillow and read her the entire book.  At one point,Abby and Ginny were giggling, and I overheard Max … “do you want me to keep reading the story or do you want me to put the book up and you can keep talking”.  They chose the book.

What should little campers snack on during a rainbow of a day?  Well, a rainbow of fruit, of course (with a couple of other food groups as well)  Strawberries, cheese, pineapple, cucumber slices, crunch berries, black berries and marshmallow clouds.  It was quite the success!20170601_114713

Have you ever painted with spaghetti?  Well, we did.  And the results were nothing short of spectacular.  After cooking and cooling the spaghetti, I placed it on a dish in the middle of the kids table.  I then got busy setting up 4 plates with 2 colors of paint each, and when I returned to the table with the paint plates, there sat a tiny Ginny with a single spaghetti noodle hanging out of the corner of her mouth.  But once she saw the idea, she was ready to go.  Just in case, I did give her a little plate of noodles so that if she was inclined to grab another bite, she had un-painted pasta at the ready.



The rest of the first camp day, was filled with music, legos and a short walk to find items in the neighborhood to make up the colors of the rainbow.  20170601_123814

After camp, loaded up my new pink Nana chair and headed off to watch Maxwell compete with his Indian Ridge Swim Team, where he took 3rd in the backstroke and the butterfly.  He literally has never done the butterfly before, so his coach had him go underwater and watch another swimmer and that was his training.  Off he went and was quite impressive for the first time.  Looking forward to many more swim meets.


photo stolen from  courtesy of Megan Mundle.

Camp Nana 2017 Kickoff

Tomorrow begins the 5th year of Camp Nana in Tucson, formerly known as Camp Grandma in Leesburg for 2 years.  It will be a short day, but for three and a half hours this tiny house will be filled with laughing and talking and some  “he took my paper and she knew I was going to use that one!”.  It will be loud and full of questions and quiet storytime and messy.  Connor, Ginny, Max and Abby will participate in all things rainbows.

Rainbow art.  Rainbow reading.  Rainbow  snack.  Maybe some rainbow songs, if there is time.

And then, just as fast as camp noisy began, 3 of the little ones will be whisked away to a swim meet … another will return to his Vail family and there will be scarcely a trace of the afternoon, save for tissue paper pieces floating around; sticky glue residue on the tables and chairs and bits of snacks abandoned on little plates and something squished on the floor over there.  Hmmm.

And as I drag the vacuum out, I will take another look around and picture the sticky fingers and messy faces and as though time had never even passed – I will hear his voice in my mind saying “good job, honey”.





Camp Nana Kick-Off 2016

Max and Abby were raring to go at 8:30!  They were delighted with new Camp Nana shirts as we sat down to paint and design birdhouses.  Of course they each had to have their own paper plate with chosen dots of paints.  Abby chose mostly pastels while Max goes for the bright and vibrant colors.  The birdhouses are left alone to dry while O Canada Papa picks Abby up for her swim lesson.  Max plays with Legos until she returns.  They have carefully chosen some dried leaves from the back yard to adorn their birdhouses because “sometimes the birdhouses will be in the trees and leaves always die so new ones can grow and then the old leaves stick to the birdhouses and the birds don’t care”.   After adding the leaves to the roofs and a couple of birdies move in to each house, the glue is drying – on to the next project …

20160602_084609 20160602_084831






With some rolls and deli meats and cheeses in front of them, Max and Abby are left to make their own lunches.  Listening to their chatter always brightens my day – no matter the content.

 “Abby, why did you break my giant chip?  Why, Abby.  Why?”

 “Oh Maxie.  It’s just a chip.” (insert heavy sigh)20160602_112856 20160602_112845









to be continued …

(… later that day …)

Max wants a nap.  It is Abby’s nap time anyway, so i put them both in my bed.  Abby is caught dancing around on the bed several times while Max just lays in the same position and place).  Max says he cannot sleep there.  I tell him he can lie on the sofa while I work.  From the bedroom, I hear the soft sobs of a 3-year-old, and I cannot let that pass.  “Why are you crying, Abby?”  The response breaks my heart and nearly brings me to tears.  “Brover left me and I want to cuddle with him while I nap.  He is my best friend ever.”  I then query Max on whether he might like to give this another chance.  He flatly states “no, thank you.”  Abby looks and me and softly asks if Max said no. and I barely nod my head.  The tears come easily as she literally falls into my arms.  What choice do I have but to carry her to the sofa to nap near her brother.

In the meantime, the birdhouses are dry and ready for their first showing to the awaiting public.  And so, without further adieu, I give you …THE BIRDHOUSE(S).

20160602_134228 20160602_134235 20160602_13424320160602_134249

Camp NANA 2015 – Week 2

page 1
Such a soggy and humid day in Tucson, forced us to stay indoors. We had frozen rolls to get ready for family dinner, so that seemed like a good place to start! Maxwell is meticulous about lining the frozen dough balls just so. Abby, being only two, couldn’t grasp the concept that these little frozen rounds would need space to grow. Max would roll his eyes as he calmly re-arranged the rolls when Abby turned away.

page 2
While Abby busied herself with her toys, Max and I got busy making the mini-pumpkin pie cups – bite sized treats that he later topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream. He never seems to tire of cooking. He is imaginative and will probably give Tom Colicchio a run for his money in a few years.

page 3
Following heart-shaped pb&j’s for lunch, we indulged in a little music time, conducted by Abby. She glances around to make certain that we all have an instrument and that we are all singing the same song and at the same time. The campers were so tired, they fell asleep at 1:30 until 4:30!

page 4 Family dinner followed shortly after the end of the nap when mommy and daddy arrived. This is always a noisy and a bit chaotic time, until Kerri has Max begin the dinner time question to each person at the table “What was your favorite part of the Day?” It is Max’s responsibility to decide who answers first, second and so on. He takes this seriously and seems quite interested in the response.

Another successful Camp Nana Tuesday!

Camp Nana 2015 – Week ONE

2015 06 02 A 2015 06 02 B

 The first day of Camp Nana 2015 seemed to be a success.  I was met at the front door by two fresh scrubbed campers, attired in their brand new Camp Nana shirts!  Lookin’ sharp. We began with a little T-Ball.  While Abby was consport-boys-02tent to hit the T-Ball spring stand with the bat and watching the ball fall gently to the ground. while Max – well, Max was a natural.  He took his place at the T-Ball stand, and batting left-handed, knocked nearly every ball out of the park.  That is not a metaphor, but a fact.  Nana had to chase every ball down as both grandchildren stood by and cheered me on … “Get the ball, Nana!  Get it.”  Apparently watching Nana zigzagging all over the little park exhausted the 2-year-old Abigail and 5-year-old Maxwell.  So much so that they had to return home for a cooling down Popsicle break at Max & Abby’s little diner!  It was so cute to watch Abby pull her pink chair up to the outdoor dining bar and chatter back and forth with her brother.

Then it was time to begin our baking lesson.  Do you really know just howdough abby difficult it is to keep little fingers from swiping through the batter for just a taste?  Max took charge of the whisk and the duty of mixing, while Abby delighted in dumping in the oil and water and eggs.  They took turns helping to spoon the batter into the mini cake loaf pans.  Max busied himself with coloring while Abby darted back and forth to check the progress of the mini-cakes through the oven glass.

The room was filled with constant chatter and then … complete silence.  Ahhhhh.  Lunchtime.  Nothing but the slurping of milk and crunching of crackers and once in a little while … “Brudder.  You don’t want your cheese?  I have it?”  Topping it off with a banana and they are good to go!

Next, we settle in to create a diorama.

coloring max

di·o·ram·a     noun

a model representing a scene with three-dimensional figures

Lightweight wood shadow box frames and some 3-D zoo animals were lined up and ready to go.  Max took great care in painting his diorama.  Lovely blue skies over lush green fields and dirt below where the animals will walk.  His fence was painted green to blend in with the grassy meadow.  He decided that the monkey should be climbing in the tree and the giraffe should be eating leaves of the tree.  Abby, however, had a more abstract approach.  She painted the entire inside of the diorama blue and then a touch of brown in the mix, happily stating “I made a waterfall.”  She was thrilled with the result, and that is all that matters.

The campers were getting a little tired and were ready for a nap.  Max climbed in the bed and immediately closed his eyes and just wanted to sleep.  Abby was less interested in sleep, even though her perfect blue eyes were droopy and tired.  Max didn’t make a peep.  However, I heard what I thought was a quacking duck, and walked in the bedroom to see Abby sitting on her knees with her head bent down close to Max’s face while a very loud and raspy “QUACK QUACK QUACK” yelled from her mouth.  I stood there until she noticed me.  She immediately squinted her eyes tightly shut and  made her way back to the pillow.

After nap time, we enjoyed reading the new books and playing with the stickers that came with the books.  Mommy and Daddy joined us for Family Dinner and a little playtime.  Great first camp day!

Camp Nana Week 7

Our Camp day began with a bowl of cereal, washing hands and faces and off to Bookman’s on East Grant Road.  For you non-Tucson residents, Bookmans, officially known as Bookmans Entertainment Exchange, is the largest used book retailer based in Arizona. It was founded in 1976 by Bob Oldfather, who is the current president of the company.  There are now several Bookman stores selling high quality used books, sporting goods, musical instruments – you name it. This particular location has a kid’s Friday morning StoryTime session.  They call it StoryTime, but it is so much more.  Off we go!

2294226_FLHalcJxEnBOf9rtITMHTY0IPm7loU9wWPBpFox00b0These kids love books.  Even Abby, not yet 2 years old, will grab a book and sit by herself and carefully turn the pages and scan intently at the words and illustrations.  Once in a while you hear a delightful squeal as she finds something particularly interesting.  It really is a site to see.

Max was very excited when we reached our destination.  “I think my mommy taked me here, afore.”  He is most likely correct, as Kerri has a love for books like I have never seen before.  We make our way back to the “community room” complete with audience seating for probably 30.  Some long tables off to the side are covered in paper plates, crayons, paints, kid friendly scissors, stickers, pipe cleaners, glitter and lots more.  In the back corner of the room on a smaller area, is a cart with juice for the kids when they are ready.

Of course, I am early, so Max and Abby find a seat in the front row while I sit off to the side to not block little ones sitting behind me.  As soon as storytime begins, all is quiet.   In the first of several stories, Papa Chicken agrees to read a bedtime story to Little Red Chicken, but only if he promises NOT to interrupt.  As Papa Chicken begins to read the book, Little Red Chicken chimes in with his imaginative contributions to the story.  This continues throughout the book and as the kids caught on, laughter followed each interruption.

IMAG0464After a few more entertaining stories, time for some tunes! Before the hostess played songs on her guitar, she would announce each title.

Does everyone know the Wheels on the Bus?

MAX:  oh, I know this song.  

I know’d this song for a long long time.

music3 copy

music4 copy music5 copy

Good job, everyone! How about the Itsy Bitsy Spider?

MAX:  omusic5 copyh, my mommy teached me this song and she teached Abby too, but she can’t really do it very well.

music6 copy

Wow! You are all really good singers. How about You Are My Sunshine?

thCAIGJ0P4MAX:  oh, I know that one.  That is mommy’s favorite!    


music5 copyOkay, before we do some crafts, let’s try My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.

MAX: (sporting a sad little frowny face)  I don’t know that song,  I don’t know the words.  I haven’t heard that song a’fore.  Nobody teached me that and I can’t read words yet.

(music and singing begin, and as the music and singing fill the air, one little voice stands out.  Because he thinks that the hostess maybe did not hear him, Max removes himself from his chair and stands maybe a foot away from the singing hostess.  All the while the music plays on,) 

MAX:  I don’t know these words.  I can’t sing this song.  Nobody teached me that song a’fore.

The song ends.  Max politely tells the hostess “Thank You” and returns to his seat before heading over to the craft table where we shall magically turn a paper plate into a beautiful, custom-made butterfly.


After an exhausting morning, it was a very quiet ride home to have lunch.IMAG0472
After a nice lunch and an almost two-hour nap (them – not me) it was time for Poppa to read some of the new books from our excursion to Bookman’s. Abby had to have the giant storybook that I made so she could sit inside of it. A little toy time to take up the rest of our camp day.

Camp Nana Week 6

Started off bright and early with a Junket Joyride to Pantano Riding Stables.  Always a good thing to visit the horses and their world for an hour or so.

pantano_menu_items_bluebgAbby was a little stand-offish at the beginning while Max acted as though the horses were his best buddies from years (all 4 of them) gone by.

He especially liked the miniature pony and made several remarks such as “boy, that Chester sure did like me!”.  And he wasn’t wrong.

Chester would follow Max as we walked by and at one time, even put his hoof up on the corral rail as though he was having a good old-fashioned chat with Max.




Max made certain that all horses wanting his attention did not go unnoticed.  He was always ready with an open hand and a pet on the nose.

020 (2)

Most of the horses were wearing the mesh masks to protect their eyes from flies and mosquitoes and diseases of the eyes from such and from the Tucson sun’s harsh rays.  They can see through them and it seems they are not the least bit bothered by the masks.  On the other hand, Max was concerned at first thinking it was some type of blindfold.


024 (2)

 Max, being a bit disgusted by the smell at first, pinched his nose shut for some relief.




We watched a couple of the horses get their morning baths.  This one kept wanting to drink the water instead of getting rinsed and

Abby and Max giggled openly watching the horse raise his head to sneak a little drink.





030 (2)



Abby, hold my hand.


Okay, then hold just my finger.

totay, brudder. you’re welcome, brudder.

026 (2)

025Hey!  There’s a horse in here!!

024Taking a little breather from the heat and long walk!

021 (2).An independent little wrangler insists on seeing the sights without holding anyone’s hand.


Meanwhile, Maxwell maps our route so that we don’t miss anything.

IMAG0428 IMAG0429

Culinary Corner brought us back home on the range to a hearty lunch of hot dogs and mac ‘n cheese.

By the way, Abby is not in pain.  She is saying “cheeeeeeese” for the camera.

The kids helped make lunch.  Abby placed each hot dog on the giant crescent rolls and Max rolled them up to make a bun!




A little trip down Artist Avenueis a great place to relax and unwind from such a busy morning.


Abby takes charge of her own Camp Nana adventure, by rearranging my wallet!

Today’s Max-ism:   Max “needed” a baggie to take home some art, etc.

Nana, where are those bags with the zippers?

In that little cabinet Max. Just grab one of the boxes.  There are big ones and little ones.   (After too long of a silence, I make my way to the kitchen to find about 60 sandwich sized baggies on the floor and Max is still sitting on the rug, pulling each bag out one by one and stacking them, making a lovely pile of clear bags.)  Max, what are you doing?

Looking for the bigger ones.  I figure that they must be at the back of the bag because the little ones are “afront”.

Oh, Max.  the big ones are in their own box.  Now, you need to pick all the small bags up and put them back in the box and then I will get you a large baggie.

Can’t you just do it, Nana?  You’re the one who advised me!

Closing out another fun day at Camp Nana 2014.

Camp Nana Week 3

JOYRIDE JUNKET & LETTERS LANE Our busy camp day began with a field trip to Jesse Owen’s Park with colorful bags labeled A B C to search for items from the Friday Farmer’s Market that began with those letters. Max, what do you see that begins with an A? Tomato? No, not tomato.  What sounds like a a a (Nana makes the a short vowel sound). Well, I was going to say apple first, but I only saw tomatoes! What can I say – the kid was right.  Apples are not in season here, but we did find some apple chips and apricot jam and broccoli and beans and cauliflower and two baby carrots with, much to Abby and Max’s delight, still had the little soft greens attached.  Bags in hand, we headed for the car and a quick (not so much) trip to the grocery store to pick up items for dinner. Max and Abby insisted on the cart with a car attached to the front.  It took me a while to realize that every time another shopper stopped in front of us, the toy car horn would make a series of HONK HONK HONK HONK HONK until the nice shoppers moved from in front of our cart!  I quietly explained to the sweet children that it was not very nice to honk at people because they were just shopping for their dinner as well and probably did not realize that they were in our way.  Max calmly stated that it was also not nice to block people and also not nice to say “outta the way…outta the way”.  Once again, right on both counts.  So, if I were keeping track;  image With a big old “L” on my forehead, I head for home with the toddlers in an effort to escape my shame.  Once home, a new project. ARTIST AVENUE Painters paper is taped to the floor and long white cardboard strips are laid out nicely on top of the protective paper.  Max helped to pour out washable finger paints in different areas of the paper.  Abby’s turn first … I painted different colors on the bottom of her feet and helped her press er, smear her footprints on the white cardboard.  Camp Nana Tip:  try not to use cardboard that is on the shiny side as it smears rather easily.   ]Max was next, and after a practice run, ended up with footprints of every color!  After the projects dried, Max thought of things he and Abby use their feet for while Nana wrote them next to the prints.  He was very particular about coming up with different suggestions for Abby and him.  He is such a creative and smart little guy! CULINARY CORNER Although was not too creative this week, Max enjoyed spacing the cookie dough just so and making certain that all the dough balls were approximately the same size.  He was also quite accurate on telling me when the oven temperature reached 350 and was ready to bake treats to be enjoyed at a later, cooled down, time. IMAG0315           IMAG0317


Lunch time. A little rest time. A little STORYTOWN time with Biscuit, the dog.


When the sun moved from the play yard, out came the bright pink pool and the towels.  After the pool was adequately filled, Max climbed up on the bench (a grownup bench for Nana and Poppa to observe water play) and the next thing I hear is cannonballlllll and since the bench is only a foot from the pool, and Nana was on the bench … well, I guess you can surmise the results.  Later, I was sitting by the pool on the lawn picking up some toys for Abby to play with.  Max has a little rubber fishy in his hand and a twinkle in his eye as he coaxed me “Nana, just lean over here a little bit”.  And with that, I receive a long stream of water squirting from the fishy mouth directly to my face.  As I holler and try to block the stream with my hands, I hear a belly laughing grandson.  Time for Nana to dry off and get out of this danger zone. Soon, we are dry and in fresh clothing and indulge in a bit of play dough time around the kiddie table.  We relax with books and a little Zoodles and some good all around quiet time until daddy Jeffry arrives.  Just another wonderful day at Camp Nana.

Camp Nana Week 2

1 2 3
Started off with Culinary Corner fresh fruit popsicles,  constructed and some deconstructed, while tiny little fingers helped themselves to a snack.  Of course the project was peppered with “Abigail … no.  This is not to eat!” resulting in high-pitched screams from a not yet 2-year-old.  It wouldn’t be Camp Nana without a little drama.  Max takes some time to scoot a little bench over to the refrigerator, climbs and stands atop and checks out the progress of the fruit pops.

Designated screen time followed with Chuggington.  Maxwell watches intently while Abby watches, then colors in her coloring book, then gets a book, watches another minute and retreats to the bookshelf to read.  Nana has time to regroup!

We move on to Artist Avenue and begin our top secret project for Father’s Day.  Final project will be published after Father’s Day.  Let’s just say it involved a lot of paper and glue and washcloths and paper towels.  Max says he is exhausted when we finish.  Kid can’t hang with Nana.

The kids make their way to the camp table (their outdoor picnic table with a big umbrella moved to the inside of the house for June and July Camp time) for some quiet coloring time while Nana prepares lunch of pb&j (Smuckers crustless), salad, a few chips, strawberries and milk.  Max completed his lunch in record time while Abby strays from the table and has to be coaxed back,  Max reminds her that he is learning pre-K rules and in pre-K, if you leave the table, you are done with the lunch.  Abby looks up at him, grabs a chip and leaves the table and then Nana picks her up and places her back on the bench.  Max heaves a heavy sigh, realizing his advice has gone unheeded.

After lunch clean-up, we journey to Imagination Station where we are going to write our very own storybook.  Nana’s contributions are in black type, Maxwell’s in green type and Abby’s in pink.


Abby naps while Maxwell indulges in a bit of well deserved Zoodles on my phone.  Zoodles time expires, so Max and I play SNAP – a card game where, despite my quick instincts, they cannot compare to Maxwell’s unique interpretation of the rules.  As a result, I lose 26 to 14.  Hanging my head in shame, I gather up what is left of my dignity and go outdoors to fill up the swimming pool.  When Abby awakens, we are off to Wet & Wonderful Water Play.   For an hour, giggles and splashes and blowing bubbles fill the air.  Best noise ever.  Nothing like toddler giggles to make you realize what is really important in life.

This is where I am meant to be.  In this home.  In these circumstances.  Right here with my jeans now soaked from splashes and my heart so filled with the love of these two toddlers.  It was a good Camp Nana day.  A very good day indeed.

P.S.  As promised, here is the Father’s Day gift Max and Abby made for their daddy.  Abby was quite good at tearing up the papers and Max excelled at gluing, sticking on the letters, and writing his name!

IMAG0313 IMAG0312


Camp Nana 2014 …

Max and Abby’s Summer Camp Nana 2014 begins next week.  One day every week in June and July will be dedicated to Camp Nana.  This year will be a bit more structured than the past years.  We will participate in 3 activities each camp day which will leave time for naps and lunches and relaxing time.


CAMP NANA 1 2014


IMAGINATION STATION will allow the kids to help write a story, dress up as a character, or take an imaginary trip!

STORY TOWN will be a great winding down activity with reading stories and relaxing.

JUNKET JOYRIDES  will be time for a “field trip”.  A trip to Pantano Stables to visit with the equine residents.  Or maybe a ride on the train at the Reid Park Zoo after visiting the animals.  Lots of places to choose from in Tucson.

SPLISH SPLASH water play in a kiddie pool.  Fishing for magnetic fishes and just some good old-fashioned splashing around.

ARTIST AVENUE will be the place for finger painting, coloring, clay molding and making fun stuff.

In the CULINARY CORNER, the kids will make family and kid friendly creations.  They may even make a dinner (with Nana’s help) for the family.

TINY TUNES will be the time for Music.  Dancing and singing and playing instruments and even making up a new song will be included.

Camp Nana T-Shirts have been ordered and are on their way – hopefully before the first day of camp!  I am collecting character and fun dress up clothes … New finger paints and Play-Dough and a large roll of crisp art paper are waiting.  Tambourines and a xylophone and some mini-recorders are ready for music making.

Off to Hobby Lobby in the morning for more supplies!