Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Look who is living in my pond!

Tonks can't even see him... can you see his little eyes......

Now my pond is not very big. Its like 5 feet across and 4 feet wide. At the most. We build it 10 years ago and put a pot of water lilies in there. The lilies were divided about 4 years ago, and I didn't know what to do with them, so I threw them back into my little pond. Now they fill my pond and give me pink flowers, all summer long. I think they like the crowded environment!

I think someone else enjoys a crowded environment.
About 4 years ago, we had a little frog show up half way through the summer and he visited once or twice a week.
The next summer, he showed up.. (probably not the same one) and spent most of the summer with us.
Last year... no frog.... not any time last summer. And believe me, I looked for him every day last summer.

But alas, this summer, our little frog (not the same one) arrived about early August. I watched for him, hoping he would.... and sure enough. When we first spotted him, he was so small.

He seemed to grow over night, because a few days later he was twice the size. Then, we figured out that he was really "they" because after a couple of days we say both frogs... very different sizes. Then one day, one appeared to be sick. He was a "Dill Pickle" color. I started to worry and wondered how much a Vet visit would cost for a sick frog!
But, lo and behold... a third frog had arrived... and he was a much lighter sage color (hence the Dill Pickle color)....crisis (and embarrassing Vet visit) averted!..
And that very same day.... frog number 4 showed up.... he was tiny... smaller than the first one.

We have so enjoyed our little frogs every day. They sit out on the rocks or on the lily pads and enjoy the sun, or they hang in the water.. doing nothing. They wander though the gardens eating bugs and hiding under flowers. I have been startled on more than one occasion as I water plants or pick weeds by a franticly leaping frog trying to get back to the pond.

Every day (actually, several times a day) we sit on the front door step and play "Where's Waldo" with the frogs in the pond. Its really hard to see them but I am somewhat of an expert now... sorry to brag! What is hard to do is take a picture close enough that has all 4 of them in the pic. Below is a pic with three (the fourth one hid as soon as I came too close).

This is the wee little one...
This is my big guy.....
Here are the other two... Dill Pickle and the second big one (he is a brighter green)....he is hiding in the leaves.. can you see him on the right!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Grammie Camp... the Last Day!

Well, before I talk about the last day... I forgot to mention that on Day 3 we also had a water balloon fight. The rules were simple.. you were not allowed to hit each other in the face (because that would cause tears), and you weren't allowed to get me or Gail wet.
Great plan, but I did a great job getting both Gail and I went, by filling the darn balloons with water. We used an funky attachment for the hose, and Gail and I sat in lawn chairs, while the girls played in the lake. After breaking several balloons by over filling them, we got a system down and I filled them perfectly. They lined the deck, and the girls figured out for themselves how they were going to toss them at each other.
Well, the damn things didn't break. Not sure why... but they bounced off of each other and broke on the ground. While this was somewhat disappointing, it did spur on a round of giggles every time they bounced. Jessica and Caleigh figured out a system by which they squeezed the balloons before tossing them.. and they had a 50 percent success rate doing that...

The end results were that everyone's balloons got thrown and busted (a lot of them over Grampie who was a sitting duck)... and there were no tears and a lot of giggles (especially when they filled the tops of their bathing suits with balloons and walked around with big knockers for a while, including the baby!!!)

During the evening of Day 3... we had spa night.. where we all took turns treating each other to spa treatments... Caleigh applied this face treatment that hardened onto the kids faces and hurt like heck when it came off... (we didn't know that was going to happen!!). Emily filed and buffed everyone's nails in preparation for Gail to apply the polish! I was the foot and leg (and hand and arm) masseuse, using the dregs of a bottle of Aveno Cream!
The morning of Day 4 started with the last round of Yoga, a great breakfast and the presenting of the Grammie Camp Badges that Gail made. She had each one of her girls sewing them onto their "I Spy" quilt.
Yes, all of Gail's grandkids can sew, with the except of the baby, and it won't be long, I can assure you!
Then it was on to "Art Show" set up. While some girls finished up the final stages of their projects, others made signs and helped set up the display. Gail drew the eyes on most of the creations, so they waiting in line for this big event.

Below is the display of animals, two extra tie dyed shirts (for Mitchell) and our flower topped pens.
Please meet Tarlick... who was created by Grace.
Meet "Flo", the blue whale with the giant smile, created by Caleigh.

Meet "Ellie" the Elephant... with her big lashy eyes... created by Jessica..

Next, is "Susan" the rainbow tailed fish.. created by Emily.... whom I called Susan for most of the week!
And finally, meet "Pennie" the pink pig.... created by Caitlyn....
Our string art was displayed on the cottage window for all to see. We put a piece of paper over the green string art, because it had feathers tied to it to make a dreamweaver. They were getting battered by the winds of the day! I forgot to take the paper off before I took the picture!

Our string balloon art swayed in the wind ...

After all the art was done and displayed, we packed up suitcases, cleaned up the bedrooms and prettied ourselves up for the camp group pictures... Aurora brushed my hair!!!

And the camp picture below shows how unique and beautiful our shirts turned out..

An amazing week. I feel so honoured to be a part of this fantastic family. We have already started planning next year's camp!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Grammie Camp Part 3

Well, the one thing I am good at is Treasure Hunts. I have done so many treasure hunts for my family, and I have had to do them all different... because its usually for the same people. This treasure hunt was for 6 girls and we had the whole cottage and property to use. We needed to have 20 clues... which would hold 5 pieces each.. of a 100 piece puzzle. Written on the back of the puzzle (which could only be read once it was put together) was more instructions on how to find the treasure... That is what we started with.... we ended up splitting the girls into two teams... with each team having a different color of triangle boxes. Each box held a clue to the next box... as well as the puzzle pieces... Lime Green Team and Hot Pink Team (left over paper from Michelle's wedding.. hee hee)
We sent them up the lane (more than once), to the fire pit, in the cottage , down by the lake, over by the canoes, Kids cottage, dance floor and even the spider infested shed!!!

Finally, armed with 100 piece map of Canada puzzle, a few sticks of gum... they put the puzzle together... and flipped it (not an easy process on a picnic table!). The instructions were for someone to walk a certain amount of steps.... to about 5 different locations. Caitlin was our stepper... and she paced her way to the treasure.. finally. They needed to dig it up and it was an exciting moment when the dragged it back to the table to open... it was filled with movies, popcorn and licorice... ...we were watching movies tonight.. thats for sure!

Now while I was hiding all the clues for the treasure hunt.. Gail was in the cottage with all the girls. She was reading off a list of Scavenger Hunt items that they needed to find for the next day. The rules were that they could not gather any of the items.. or even show us any of them.. until after lunch the next day. This whole scavenger hunt was born on a whim.. the first day we had camp.. and Gail and I scribbled down several items we thought they would find o.k. with a few that would be impossible... so as she read them to the girls.. they were all a buzz when things like 100 clam shells and an elephant were announced and in total shock and terror when one of the items was a beehive... and another was a birds nest!!
Now, they had 24 hours to plan their attack on this list.... and they couldn't actually gather anything until tomorrow after lunch. (Remember, we are just making up stuff..here.. to drive them crazy!).
When lunch time came the next day... they were a buzz... working together.. handing out tasks for each of the girls to go get. Meanwhile they are telling us NOTHING... as the rules state!
We knew there was a bird nest under the canoe. It had been empty for a year, and all the girls knew about it too. They were totally creeped out.. and clarified with us.. over and over again that they actually had to have the birds nest.. not just show the judge where it was. We giggled to ourselves watching the determination on their faces... who is going under the canoe for the bird's nest!

The armed themselves with shovel and tray... and Emily and Grace were determined to get everything on the list.... so in they went.... and finally Grace put down the shovel and the tray and just grabbed the darn nest with her bare hands.... she was pretty darn proud and we were flabbergasted!!
They were stumped when it came to the "Elmo" bowl full of raspberries... but when we told them that Baby Aurora knew where the raspberries were... they were relieved, and off they ventured with Aurora .. up the lane to where Gail and I had picked gobs of berries for her the day before the kids came.
At the pre determined "judgement" time of 3:00.... the items were called off of the list, and the girls had to bring them... one at a time.. to Grampie for judging. Aurora deserted the gang and sat with Grampie to be part of the judging team. She mowed into the bowl FULL of raspberries and made short work of them.

One by one.. the items were presented.... and low and behold... the beehive... was even presented. It was an embroidered beehive on Jessica's Eye Spy quilt that Gail made her years ago. Toooooo funny.... Grampie was a tough judge.... hesitating on the Pine Cones when they were actually "spruce" cones. That made the girls hearts skip a beat (mine too actually).
The final item that was presented was the 100 clam shells. Grampie got right on his knees and count those shells about three times. Both Jess and Caleigh had a shell hidden in their hands ready to throw in, if they miscounted. We all held our breath while he re counted and then re sorted them and counted again!
Finally, after counting them again... he says 102! Well, I thought the girls would die!!!!! We all had a great laugh and they won their prize... two full size chocolate bars. One for now.. and one for tomorrow!! yipee....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Grammie Camp Part 2

A typical day at our Grammie Camp started with the baby waking up first. After a short snuggle in bed with Grammie and Grampie... Gail would sneak her upstairs to where 4 of the girls were snuggled in one room. They would play upstairs while Gail, Mert and I would sip our coffee and talk about the day. My Caleigh found herself between the grown ups and the kids, so most morning she would mingle with the grown ups over coffee... The girls would all tromp down the stairs for a pee.. and to read the schedule for the day.

The would cross off the items as we did them.. and talked about what was next. Once we finished our coffees... we would dawn our yoga pants and head out onto the deck for a round of stretches and bends.
We had more fun listening to the moans and complaints, while we tried to convince them that this was the best way to start your day! We even had this weird yoga music blasting while we posed! After 7 or 8 minutes, the music was turned off, and Dora songs were put on.. and we all danced to these silly tunes... amongst squeals of laughter and twirls.

We always had fun breakfasts and most of them were outside on the deck. The weather was spectacular!

Each day will filled with crafts..... like String Balloon Art !
We had to wrap yarn (dipped in paper mache goop) around a balloon.... and make sure they criss cross with each other. We hung them on our clothes line to dry all night. In the morning we popped our balloons and were left with funky string balls... Sadly, Jessie's balloon deflated in the night, and her strings dried all wonkie!

We learned how to do String Art using needles and cotton thread, cardstock and a big long list of numbers... What a fun project that the girls could work on when ever they felt like sitting and doing something quiet! My friend Debbie Walker gave me her whole school binder of patterns and all her cotton. The kids were very good at this and they took all the patterns home for later!. Thank you Debbie... I will be picking your brain for next year... that's for sure.

For most of our crafts, our hands got pretty messy... and we had a bucket of soapy water to rinse our hands. It got used a lot. I am not the only one who didn't like messy hands!
When things were just too hard for Aurora to do... Grampie kept her busy. Most of the time, though, we waited until she was napping to do the really hard stuff. She loved those balloons! Grampie could make them fly though the air... and she would fall into fits of giggles EVERY time.
Stay tuned for a little more..... like the treasure hunt... and the scavenger hunt... hee hee