Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Grandma Shelley has Moved!

Grandma Shelley has moved to or

All of my content from Grandma's Modern Day Trunk of Treasures has been packed up and moved to my new addresses. I would love for you to come and check out my new place!

Grandma Shelley

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Grandma Shelley Interviewed by the LA Times?

Crazy but true! I was recently contacted by the LA Times about the grandkid camps I do for my grandchildren. They say it is a growing trend among grandparents and they wanted ME to share what my grandkid camps are all about.

I had a telephone interview yesterday and the journalist interviewing me asked some great questions. She was also very familiar with this blog where she can also pull information about my grandkid camps.

I LOVE being a grandma and I LOVE creating memories with my grandchildren. I also LOVE event planning! Creating, brainstorming, planning, organizing, and presenting any event is "my thing". I thrive in all of the little details and in all of the special little touches.

My Grandkid's camps and many of the other things I plan for my grandchildren and family provide an avenue to do what I love. When the events I plan include my children and grandchildren the joy I find in the process is greatly magnified.

I have been a grandma for nearly 10 years and the number of "events" that I have planned for my family and grandchildren is unknown. What is known is that I am very blessed with a very close family. They all support and participate in our family events. My grandchildren are not just cousins and my children are not just siblings, but they are also all very good friends which is very important to me too.

Being recognized by the outside world for what I refer to as my "Grandma Style" is a great feeling. What I do as a grandma comes very natural to me and I enjoy sharing with and maybe even inspiring other grandparents through this blog to find the same joy that I have found in being a grandma! I am thrilled when I learn that other grandparents have used my ideas to enrich the lives of their grandchildren and when they have created their very own memories with their grandchildren.

The article will be printed in the LA Times and on line this month. I will keep you posted!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Five Day Family Retreat in the Pines

I am happy to report that we have pulled off a very successful five day family retreat in the Pines. It all started with a well planned schedule and individual assignments that every family member had received well in advance. Some of the assignments included meal preparations and clean up, Thanksgiving Day food assignments, activities for the kids, evening activities for the entire group, evening treats, fire building assignments, quiet bedtime activities for the kids, and even household chores. Each adult was responsible for their household chores for the entire stay. It worked like a charm!

Some of the chores included: the trash, laundry, bathrooms, floors, keeping the water cooler filled with cold water, living room and kitchen pick up and cleaning, and the windows. With 18 little hands the windows needed frequent cleaning! We also had a couple of dads that arranged for our nighttime bedding needs and the morning bedding clean up for the kids. Our formal dining area served as a sleeping area for the older children by night and adult dining by day.

As the families began to roll in on Wednesday night our mountain home became filled with nine excited children and ten adults ready to share in some great family time. Bedrooms were assigned per family and space had been provided in the pantry and kitchen for their food and cooking supplies. I had a meal prepared for everyone and after dinner the kitchen became the hub for Thanksgiving baking.

To keep the children busy we had morning and afternoon activities scheduled each day. Each set of parents were assigned specific activity times. This gave the other parents 1 1/2 hours of kid free time both morning and afternoon. The adults did a wonderful job and they all arrived very prepared and very organized with projects and activities that the kids loved. (I will be posting pictures and sharing the projects and activities soon.)

On Thanksgiving day it was fun to all work together in the kitchen to prepare our Thanksgiving Feast. One of my daughters had the assignment to do the table decor. The adult table was beautiful and the kids table was fun and filled with fun activities for them to do before and after dinner. (I will post pics later.)

The next day we had a block of time scheduled for our individual families. Everyone left the cabin and went out to lunch and to do their own family activities. When one of the children was asked what they wanted to do during their family time he said; "Go out for a quick bite to eat and then back to the cabin!" It was very clear that we were doing something right!

A family activity was planned for each evening that both young and old could participate in. The kids loved playing games with the adults. On Friday evening after dinner a couple of the dads left with all of the kids on a car ride to go look for Elk. While they were gone the remaining adults worked to decorate the house for Christmas. When they returned we greeted them with a Ho...Ho....Ho....Merry Christmas. The inside of the house had been transformed to kick off our Lamont Family Ho....Ho....Ho...lidays. The house was lit up, and we had Christmas music playing. Papa and I had a small gift under the tree for each of the children. Each gift had a personal invitation to the "GrandKid's Christmas Day Camp" the next day.

Since they had arrived I had a sign on my bedroom door that read "Grandma's Christmas Workshop, No kids allowed" There imaginations were going crazy with what I might have going on in my workshop. Within my workshop were all of the activities and the supplies needed for the day camp and the Christmas decor that we used to decorate the house.

On Saturday, after breakfast the parents got ready to go have some adult time in town. The kids watched the clock. They were anxious for both the parents to leave and for our Christmas Day Camp to start. (I will post this years camp schedule and activities later.) The day camp went well and we even had a very welcome surprise for all of us that added to the fun.

The Saturday evening bedtime activities included a reading of the Polar Express book in a dark room using only a flashlight to shine on the book. The following morning there were more activities for the kids and after lunch we had a viewing of the Polar Express movie. We served the children Popcorn and m&m's during the movie in fun Christmas bags.

Whiles the kids watched the movie one of my daughters had the assignment to prepare sack lunches for dinner. Preparations and packing were done by those families who were leaving that night. Following the movie all of the kids put on their pajamas and got ready to go on the Polar Express Train Ride. Our sack lunches were eaten before boarding the train. (My daughter had done some fun things in the lunches which I will share later.) All nineteen of us boarded the Polar Express that evening. The children were delighted to see the North Pole and to see Santa when he boarded the train. For the adults....seeing the children's joy filled us with joy too!

Although we see one another all of the time this retreat served as a family reunion of sorts. We all worked together well and everyone did their part so that everyone enjoyed their time together. Most importantly, quality time was spent together as a family, family bonds were strengthened, and lasting memories were created for all four generations that shared this special time together!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

First Snow of the Season

We had our first snow of the season at our home away from home in Flagstaff, Arizona. I have never lived where it snows so this is a very exciting first for me. I have already enjoyed the beauty of the Fall colors for the first time as Summer turned to Fall. Beautiful!

I missed this first snow fall in person but I am very anxious to get back up there and experience a real winter. My kids and grandkids are all anxious to get up there to play in the snow. I can't wait to share in the fun and in the wonderful memories we will create!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Global Warming Solution is in the Works

Last night while watching three of my grandsons, out of blue, my oldest grandson who is eight said; "Grandma, if no one has fixed global warming before I grow up I will fix it."

The solutions and the needed inventions are very clear in his very sharp mind. I can only imagine his frustrations sometimes....being in 3rd grade when he would probably much rather be in a research lab helping to save the planet!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Playing in Tents - A Kid Favorite!

Knowing that my grandchildren love to play in tents I just had to add these two small tents to my grandma bag of tricks for outdoor play! These small two man tents are perfect for children to play in. I purchased them at WalMart for just $20 each. They are easy to set up and simple to move around. They are small enough that they could be used for indoor play too.

The kids were indoors when it started to rain outside. They quickly ran out and sat the rainstorm out in their tents. The tents were a big hit and a great addition to my Trunk of Treasures!

String + Trees = One Big Web

This kid made web was created from over 1000 feet of yarn. The kids really enjoyed spinning their tangled green web through the forest. It was huge! It was a huge (temporary) string art craft project of sorts. The only rules I made were no knots and don't tie one another up in your web which I am sure was very tempting.

The follow up activity was to create a big ball of yarn as the web was removed. This web was done on private property. Caution would have to be taken if doing it on public lands. We would not want strangers to get caught in our web!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Just Being Silly

Just being silly and making her grandma laugh. Pure joy for both of us!

Outdoor Cooking of Sorts

This is a creative and fun activity that you can do when you are in the outdoors. I gave each of the girls a plastic plate and I asked them to use their imaginations to create a plate of food to serve me. They searched the forest floor and came up with some great meals.

We have a plate of spaghetti and meatballs with a side of salad, a hamburger and a side of fries, and a hearty serving of an all meat plate with chunks of beef and ribs.

Fort Building....the next generation!

It is so much fun to watch the next generation do the same things that their parents did as children. The grandkids worked long and hard to collect the wood and rocks they needed to create their fort. The children were very proud of the huge building materials that they had found and hauled to their building site.

The parents however thought it looked more like a fire danger since the "Fort" looked a lot like a huge bonfire ready to be lit. Don't tell the kids!

Checking Out the Big Outdoors

This little guy wonders around nonstop checking out checking out his new surroundings on his recent visit to Flagstaff. He loves chasing the lizards, chipmunks, and squirrels. He also keeps his eyes on the bigger kids and takes it all in. He is as very happy camper when he is playing outdoors at his grandma and Papa's house in the forest.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Down Time .... A real rarity at the cabin in Flagstaff

Climbing trees, a hike to the pond, carrying piles of bones back to the house, chasing Squirrels, building forts, taking down a pine tree, riding bikes, and everything else they had spent their day doing looks to have been exhausting.

After enjoying some afternoon TV and a short rest they were ready to go again!

Monday, September 28, 2009

No Front Teeth ... and Couldn't Feel any Cuter!

"Don't I look cute without my teeth Grandma?" She was very surprised to learn that even Grandma had lost her two front teeth many years ago!

A Beautiful Display of Teamwork!

It was so much fun watching the grandkids working together to get this tree down. You should have heard all of the commands and suggestions that they were yelling out to one another. A lot of muscle, cooperation, and an enormous amount of energy was put into this challenging feat of determination. For was a beautiful display of teamwork!

Monkeys or Grandkids?

I won't kid you . . . . this very loved activity makes me very, very nervous. When these granddaughters visit there is no keeping them out of the Pine Trees! They are on the ground one second and the next they are yelling out; "Grandma, look at me!" I look up and they are half way up a Pine Tree.

The younger kids just look up in awe, wishing they too could be up there. These are very well rounded and very active girls. They are as happy climbing a Pine Tree as they are all decked out in a frilly dance costume covered in sequins with their hair and make up done for a Pink Carpet Premier!

Their Teachers Would be Very Proud

The cousins are out of school for the weekend. They and their parents came for a weekend visit to the cabin. The oldest cousin who is nine was the pretend teacher and she turned the back patio into a classroom and school was in session. They worked hard on their assignments and then played hard on on their very frequent recesses climbing trees and building forts.

I love seeing my grandchildren playing together as cousins and good friends!

Our Littlest Mountain Guest

This little guy (my youngest grandchild) stays busy and on the move checking things out when he visits us in Flagstaff. He loves being outdoors and seeing all of the forest animals scurrying around the yard. He has discovered the bunny's hiding place and he loves seeing the bunny run away when he heads that way. He likes to chase the Squirrels and Chipmunks and watch the birds eating from their feeders. He is ALL boy and his clothes and shoes prove it when it is time to come in to the cabin.

Butterfly Crafts

My grandsons were great sports with this cabin craft. I had purchased two craft kits to have on hand to help keep the grand kids busy when they visited. They were both glitter art kits. I had purchased one of birds for the boys and one of butterflies for the girls visit. Well on the boys visit I could not find the bird kit that I had purchased for them. They willingly and beautifully completed the butterfly project. Being the boys they are they would not touch the pink glitter that the kit included! They insisted that they were making all boy butterflies. They were very proud of their artwork and they were as tickled as they could be to be doing crafts with their grandma.....even if they were butterflies!

The birds have still not turned up. I know they are hidden somewhere in the house to stay safely hidden as a surprise for the boys. I will be the surprised one now when I finally happen upon them!

An Adventure through the Meadow

Papa and I had been living across from this meadow and pond for a few weeks without ever going to check it out. We had no idea what exciting things we would discover when we headed out on this adventure with our three young grandsons and their parents.

Everything was discovered with so much excitement. There were several piles of animal bones, some complete skeletons. You can only imagine the thrill of their grizzly finds. They discovered bedding areas of large animals. We guessed probably the beds of deer or elk. The ponds edge was filled with thousands of growing cat tails which they harvested as a souvenir. A big highlight for these three boys was finding a decaying Racoon at the waters edge.

The boy's daddy and their Papa taught the boys how to skip rocks and each tried to outdo one another by creating big splashes tossing bigger and bigger stones into the pond. It was a beautiful day for such an adventure. Discovering the meadow and the pond through the eyes of our grandsons was an absolute gift.

Papa Sharing Big Boy Toys

This was a very exciting activity for our three grandsons who were visiting us in Flagstaff. Their Papa had a water trailer at the house with a fireman hose attached. Papa gave them each a turn at holding and running the powerful water hose. A very simple everyday thing for their sharing it with his grandsons.... created what will be a long remembered memory.

Helping Papa with Cabin Chores

Three of our grandsons each had a turn getting to climb the ladder and helping their Papa fill the bird feeders on a recent visit to Flagstaff. It was also watering day for the plants. The watering pan for the animals was also cleaned and filled with fresh water.

They had way too much fun with their Papa to even know that they were helping with the chores!

Yummy Fireside Treats

All of my grandchildren love helping to build a camp fire. It is a must do (and a well supervised) activity when they come to visit us in the mountains. This night we roasted marshmallows and the kids made S'mores for their treat. The adults enjoyed a really yummy pineapple upside down cake that my daughter and her husband baked in their dutch oven. It was perfectly baked and sooooo good!

Hello, Mama Bear

Let me introduce you to Mama Bear and her baby. This life size bear is part of the decor in our temporary mountain home. She stands right next to a bank of windows on the back of the house and next to one of the patio doors. It took me the longest time to get used to her standing there. She frightened me for weeks when I would catch a glimpse of her when I was home alone.

I have since made friends with her and I now greet her every time I enter the house alone. (Not to worry.....I know I'm being silly.) My youngest grandson has made friends with her too. On his last visit he entered the house and the first thing he did was give the bear and her baby a huge smile like he was visiting a dear old friend. He waved and waved to the bear and kept telling her hi! He was a bit puzzled and very disappointed that the bear was not sharing in his excitement of seeing one another again.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Home Away from Home

Well here it is... our home away from home. This has been home for the last six weeks or so and it will be our home until my husbands job on the Navajo Nation is complete. It is a beautiful four bedroom home nestled among the Pines of Flagstaff, Arizona. Our view just beyond the Pines in the front is a very large meadow with a large pond. The backyard is a wildlife playground. The lot backs up to National Forest. At the end of our lane, just right of the house is an additional two car carriage house with an apartment above. The property also has a large fire ring for building big bonfires. It is a great place to do dutch oven cooking and the roasting of marshmallows for some really tasty s'mores.

All of the living spaces have large uncovered windows to invite the natural light and the beauty of the outdoors in. The breakfast nook in the back of the house overlooks two bird feeders and a bird bath. We have Squirrels, Chipmunks, lizards, and a wide variety of birds who have parties just outside our windows all day long! A couple of my favorite wildlife guests are a pair of large Jay Birds. They are bright blue with a black crown on the top of their heads.

The homes interior is beautiful and fully furnished. I only added a few items to the fireplace mantle to make it feel a bit more like home. The home also has a baby grand piano which has given me an opportunity to brush up on my very rusty piano skills. Just this past week a skunk was spotted hiding under our front walkway. All I could think of is the amount of times I have swept that front walk with the skunk probably being just inches from me!!!!

My very favorite guests are the two legged variety that come up from the valley to visit. Our children and grandchildren have been frequent visitors and it is they who have turned this home away from home and it's furnishings into a real home for us!

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Very Spoiled Grandma!

I have quickly realized what a spoiled Grandma I am! This is just day twelve of me being a long distance grandma and I am not very good at it at all. My husbands work has taken us just three hours away from all of our children and grandchildren for a few months.

I only had to go five days before seeing a set of my kids and four of my nine grandkids who came for a weekend visit. I was thrilled to see them and we had a wonderful time together. When it was time for them to go you would have thought they must live on the other side of the world from my emotional state when having to say my good-byes! My sadness started up when it got within a couple of hours of their planned departure. I held it together until it was time for them to load up in the car. It was then that the tears began to flow and my heart was breaking that I was not going to see them for a while.

I held up in my bedroom to try to gain composure so not to upset the kids. They all came in one at a time to say good-bye to their sobbing grandma. They had me laughing and crying at the same time. I realized how silly it was to be feeling so sad but the tears continued to flow and my heart continued to be break.

It has now been just five days since they left and I will be seeing another set of kids and three grandsons tomorrow who are coming for an overnight visit. I have been already been trying to prepare myself for their departure. Since I am still tearing up when I think about my first set leaving just five days ago I think I will be better off talking to my grandsons ahead of time to let them know that my tears (that I'm sure will come) when it is time to go is because I love them so much and that I will miss seeing them until next time.

I already know that once they leave I will only have another five days before I will get to see another set of my kids and two more grandsons who will be spending a few days with us.

As you can see I am a very spoiled grandma. I am also a very blessed grandma who loves living close to her children and grandchildren!

Most importantly, I have gained enormous empathy for ALL long distance grandmas in a very short period of time. I have also wondered several times this week if my own mother who is now in her late eighties has ever felt this way. I have always just assumed she was thankful for the peace and quiet she was left with when we left with our young family. I wonder now if I assumed surprise, that makes me ( a very homesick grandma) shed tears too!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pop Star Treats Inc.

Early Saturday morning we received a knock on the door. To our surprise we opened the door to find our nine year old granddaughter who lives right down the street and her friend who was spending the weekend with her.

We were greeted with a well rehearsed sales pitch. They had created a sign reading "Pop Star Treats", a product and price sheet, and a folded up cutout from a Halloween Costume catalog of two Pop Star costumes that she and her friend wanted to earn the money to buy . Their presentation of the cupcakes and their sales pitch were both adorable.

They had spent the day before baking up a storm and they had a WAGON FULL of cupcakes for sale! They had also made mini cupcakes on picks as free samples for their potential customers. They were confident that just one bite of their tasty free samples would greatly sweeten their revenues!

We were thrilled to be their first cupcake customers. Later in the day they hit us up for a car wash, and even later in the day they hit us up for some housework. Each time they returned they had a bit more cash in their tightly clinched fists. When they left our house in the late afternoon they had earned a total of $54! Not bad for a days work at 9 years old.

Creative, hardworking, and adorable are just a few of the words I will think of with this precious memory!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


All of the school age cousins peeking out of McDonald's Playland. I thought they might enjoy the play time as cousins with Papa and I. They ended up LOVING it! Simple things, great times, precious memories. What a wonderful gift for both grandchildren and grandparents!

Grandkid's Back to School Party Favors

Pencil boxes (with their names printed on them) filled with a few school supplies were the party favor for this years Grandkid's Back to School Party. The items included new pencils, erasers, a pencil sharpener, a bottle of glue, some stickers, a back pack package of Kleenex, a box of crayons, and some sweet treats.

Before the party started I had a list of rules. (much like you would see in a classroom.) Each child's name was listed and there was a box to check off for each task or rule. The number of tasks or rules matched the number of things inside the gift boxes.

I showed them the boxes at the beginning of the party and we talked about the rules. I explained to them that broken rules would result in a loss of an item or items (of their choice) from the gift boxes.

With Papa and I being so outnumbered and with an outing planned we needed an incentive to help us. Some of the items included following directions the first time they were asked, no fighting, buckling up in the car, being helpful, staying with our group in the parking lot and in McDonald's, eating good, cleaning up, and participating in all of the games and activities. The incentive plan worked like magic. They were quick to remind one another of their potential loss or losses. At the end of the party everyone had earned their complete gift boxes!

The box had to be packed just right to get it all in there. They all loved going through their gift boxes and then the challenge of getting everything packed back in. I was so proud of them as they worked together, assisting one another to get their gift boxes filled again.