Camp Grandma’s – 7/29/07 to 8/5/07

By Sandi Hannig



Sunday, July 29: We went to Scott & Tammy’s to celebrate Julia’s 5th and Will’s 11th birthday. After the gifts were opened and the cakes eaten, Grandpa and I left with Joe, Wes, Daniel and Will. On the way home, I read them the camp rules, the planned activities, and we talked about so many things. New activities this year include going to Big Bone Lick State Park to see the buffalo herd, going to Georgetown to attend the Bengals Training Camp, and one new independent living skill—I told them they would plan a dinner. One would be responsible for the salad, one the meat, one the vegetable, and one the dessert. They would make a grocery list, purchase the needed items from Kroger’s for no more than $25.00, and cook and serve the meal! I was waiting for them to poke fun at me but they all seemed very enthusiastic about it!


Camp started off on a wonderful note when we were discussing riding the go-karts at Eastgate Adventure. Will has never been tall enough to drive. When I said that I hoped Will would be tall enough this year, Daniel said that if Will wasn’t tall enough to drive, he wouldn’t drive either. Then Joe & Wes agreed too. What great guys!


When we got home around 7, they went through their bags of goodies, made trades and looked at all the books and stuff I had laid out on the table. They took the ‘flatball’ outside to toss around while we fixed some hot dogs and fruit. A flatball is a Frisbee-like item that reshapes itself into a ball.


We (minus Grandpa) headed up to Beech Acres Park for the Anderson Township Days (Fireman’s) Festival. We found Aunt Jill and her friends, walked around for a while, and the boys went on their own for some rides. Later some of them played the Big Six & other ‘games of chance’ and they all won some money.


We found a good spot to sit and watch the band play while we waited for the fireworks to start at 10. I had a message from Katie and called her to tell her where we were. Joe & Wes found her and Chris so they joined us to watch the fireworks. While the Rossi fireworks were going off, Will said to me, “I have a new logo for Camp Grandma’s—Camp Grandma’s makes everything magical!” Love that boy!


Monday, July 30: Will’s 11th birthday! What a day! We started off with their favorite breakfast of blueberry pancakes, link sausages and chocolate milk around 10. Since they wanted to have lunch at CiCi’s Pizza, we spent the morning playing chess, checkers, computer, etc. We also did three of our survivor games: Word Search, push-ups (fastest time you can do the number equal to your age), and standing on one foot with your eyes closed. Daniel and Joe lasted a really long time on that one. The boys also spent time planning their dinner menu. Sounds like they have it under control. We’ll probably do this Friday or Saturday. I baked a chocolate cake (with chocolate chips) for Will’s birthday.


We headed out for a few errands. First stop was the bank at Kroger’s to cash in ‘lots’ of quarters Grandpa had rolled. They were blacktopping the parking lot and we got stuck behind some trucks with no place to go. Finally, one moved and we had to drive completely around the back of the shopping complex. I added this here because it was kind of hilarious and the boys will remember it! Then we stopped at Target to get three larger t-shirts to paint. (The ones I bought were not big enough—only Will’s fit). Will bought a Spiderman toy. We ran home to drop off Grandpa’s money as I didn’t want to carry it with me.


We finally headed to CiCi’s. The age for a child’s meal is 10 and under and the boys wanted me to pass Will off as 10. I told the man I was ordering for 5 adults but that Will had just turned 11 today. He said that’s okay, I’ll only charge you kid’s prices for all four kids! Everything was delicious (and cheaper!)


Finally we got to Eastgate Adventures and the big test. It looked to us like Will was tall enough to drive a go-kart. He was so excited. They kind of questioned him but then let him pass. He was in heaven. He was last so he was just tooling along. But then Wes got stuck and the guy had to get him started again. Will was ahead of him and then the race was on! Will sure was happy he got to drive!


We then headed to our famous Putt-Putt golf contest. It was a tight game, with Wes and Daniel tying (59), Joe next (60) and then Will (66). Par was 46 and they could not take more than double par. On the 19th hole, neither Wes nor Daniel sunk the ball to break the tie so they split the points.


We stopped at Cappel’s on the way home. Will bought a lighter that squirts water, a fake cigar, and disappearing ink. Wes bought popper balls. We headed home after 4 and chilled out. They did take a walk around the block with Grandpa. Will had picked out the dinner menu—chicken pretzels, fries, corn-on-the-cob, and fruit salad. After dishes, we headed outside until Aunt Jill and then Katie arrived. It was time for two more survivor games. The first was the most important since it was worth 7 points. They boys had been asked about three weeks prior to camp, to create an invention! They were great! Will was first. He had created a board game based on a computer game called Rune Scape. He had made the board and the play cards. Joe created the Exhaust-O, a filter for a car’s exhaust pipe to minimize the fumes. Daniel was next with an I-Projector, which projects videos on a wall. Wes was last and had us in stitches! He had made his ‘invention prototype’ out of cigar boxes made to represent two floors of a home. It was for people who are not ‘morning people.’ When your alarm goes off, your bed flips you out of bed, into the shower a floor below. After you shower, you slide down the ‘bat-pole’ slipping into your clothes as you slide down. You then go up an escalator to your front door! We were laughing so hard. After their presentations, the judges got together to discuss the inventions. It ended up with Wes last, then Daniel, Joe, and Will was the winner.


They decided to go ahead and do their ‘dance-off’ contest too. Will was first and mostly did gymnastics with little dancing. Joe was next and just kind of moved for about 30 seconds. Then Daniel started dancing to “Can’t Touch This” but only lasted a short time too. Then Wes danced to the entire song. Wes was the winner with Will second, Daniel third and Joe last.


We lit the candles, sang to Will, and then ate cake and ice cream. After they left, we just chilled.


Tuesday, July 31: The boys started out by weighing themselves. Joe-118; Wes-105; Daniel-95; and Will-74. They want to see how much they gain! After eating cereal for breakfast, they showered and then we headed out the door by 10:00. First stop was Big Bone Lick State Park. After parking the car, we walked for about half a mile to see the herd of buffalo. They took lots of pictures. We stopped at the museum and gift shop where they got arrowheads.


We went to Wendy’s for lunch. Joe got filled up on the ‘Baconator!’ We then drove over an hour to Georgetown, Kentucky to the Bengals’ Training Camp. We got there around 2:00 and the session didn’t start until 3:00. But people were lined up where the players would be coming through. Many of the coaches stopped to sign autographs but we were told that the players didn’t sign until after practice. It was so hot (mid 90’s) and not much shade. Grandpa and Will sat in the car most of the time until 4:45. Many of the players stopped to sign their books. They each got about a dozen autographs. Carson Palmer and Marvin Lewis did not sign any autographs but I think all the boys had a great time. One player did get injured during the training and had to leave in an ambulance.


Got back to Anderson Township around 6:30 and went to the library to get some movies. Then Daniel filled our gas tank before we headed to Skyline for dinner. We got home around 8:00 and pretty much chilled.


Wednesday, August 1: I ran up and got donuts from Servatti’s. We left for Coney Island around 10:30 since the rides didn’t open until 11:00. This is the day that the boys picked for Coney since the Vans Warp Tour was playing at Riverbend from noon until 8:00 pm. They rode many rides including the Dodgems, giant slide, and the paddleboats. Around 1:00 we headed for Sunlite Pool! The waterslides got a workout from Joe, Wes, and Daniel. Will mostly enjoyed the raft! They stopped long enough to eat a pepperoni pizza for lunch. We headed home around 4:00 and got showered. Dinner was Honey baked ham, macaroni & cheese, and corn on the cob. After dinner, the boys started painting their t-shirts. So far, they are absolutely awesome! They enjoyed some ice cream treats around 8:00. I think they were just killing time until dark.


Around 9:00, they went outside to do some ‘fireworks.’ Daniel suggested they put their smoke bombs in a large plastic container with a lid, which they did. It was quite creative. They would light them and shut the lid. When they opened it, colored smoke would pour out of it! They also had poppers (which they kept setting fire to) and sparklers—you’re never too old for sparklers! Carolyn joined us. We made quite a mess but a good time was had by all.


After cleaning up, they watched TV and movies and actually went to bed before midnight.


Thursday, August 2: It was going to be another scorcher (mid 90’s) so we did not play any outside activities. We had French toast and sausage patties for breakfast and they then walked with Grandpa around the block. I watered the lawn and started laundry (seven loads!) The boys played on the computer and watched TV for a while. I then interviewed them separately about what they liked most about Grandpa, their Mom, and their Dad. Here are their answers:


What they liked best about Grandpa:


-                     He’s funny. Caring and giving. He gives me books and movies.

-                     He’s funny, hilarious! Nice. Caring.

-                     His hilarious jokes. He’s my grandpa!

-                     I really like to hang out with him because he’s so nice, one of the nicest person’s I’ve ever met and he’s pretty funny.


What they liked best about their Mom, Kindra:

-                     She is smart, helpful, and caring.

-                     She is smart, kind and caring.


What they liked best about their Dad, Brent:

-                     He is hard working, nice, and caring.

-                     His occasional hilarious jokes, he teaches you life skills that you will need.


What they liked best about their Mom, Tammy:

-                     She always does what’s best for me and I appreciate it and will in the future.

-                     She knows how to work her job, and she makes rules for our own good.


What they like best about their Dad, Scott:

-                     He’s funny. We get along well, like friends.

-                     He is fun to hang out with because we do art projects together. He is funny!


We then played two survivor games at the kitchen table. The first one was the Ohio Bingo game we had played last year. The first one to get three bingos would be the winner. After that, each one would have to win three games to come in second and third. Daniel won three games first, followed by Wes, then Will. Joe never won a game! But, he made a terrific comeback when we did state identification flash cards. Joe named most of states, followed by Wes, Daniel and Will.


They then headed to the basement to work on their t-shirts (mostly paint the back). I figured it was a good time to conduct the pinball tournament. They play four games and the highest total wins. Joe was first and was doing well when his knee hit the reset button! He started over and scored 925,980. Will followed and it seemed his score of 1,669,930 would be hard to beat but Wes took the challenge and scored 2,221,980. Before Daniel could play, they had to leave to get haircuts.


After Terry cut their hair, Grandpa took them to BW3 (Buffalo Wings) and bought 100 wings! They brought home what they couldn’t eat. We then let Daniel do his pinball games and it must have worked for him because he won! He scored 2,303,070.


Later in the evening, before dark, we had two more contests—the football toss (which Wes won) and the bean bag toss (which Daniel won). They watched TV and played on the computer and ate ice cream! Joe & Wes watched Bourne Identity.


Friday, August 3: Some ate cereal and some at Toaster Strudel for breakfast. We then headed out on some errands. Grandpa was looking for Bourne Supremacy so they could watch it before going to see Bourne Ultimatum Saturday. We stopped at two places with no luck (but Grandpa found it later by calling Blockbuster’s in Mt. Washington. We then hit Kroger’s around 11:00. The team members all had their assignments—Wes used the calculator, Joe picked up the groceries, Daniel pushed the cart, and Will handled the shopping list. After buying chicken, tossed salad ingredients, potatoes, and dessert, Wes calculated that they had a few dollars to spare. They had seen the wine ‘sparklers’ (juice) so they purchased a bottle of that for dinner also. Their total came to $23.50! We gave their change to Grandpa because they want him to buy corn-on-the-cob tomorrow for the dinner.


We put groceries away and then waited for Zak to visit (he had just gotten home from Nigeria, Africa, doing missionary work). His DVD of pictures didn’t work but we sat in the living room enthralled with his stories. What an awesome adventure! We had lunch (leftover wings and grilled cheese) and talked some more. Zak left around 2:30.


We left soon after that and our first stop was Summit School playground for our basketball contest (who can shoot the most baskets in ten tries). Daniel won, followed by Will! They then decided to use their scores at Scallywag Tag (laser game) as a Survivor contest. After two games, the winner was Wes. We then headed to the Eastgate area to check out the batting cages. This was not a contest but the boys did have fun. They each took two turns in the cage, even Will. He did quite well during his second trip to the cages. We headed home by dinner time. Wes wanted to watch the video tape I had made of their inventions and dance contests so I fixed dinner while they watched. We had leftover chicken pretzels, ham, fries, and lots of cold side dishes.


Jill had invited us over for cake for Katie’s 18th birthday after dinner. On our way, we dropped off the movies at the library. They had just gotten home from dinner and Katie looked gorgeous! We sang, gave gifts, and ate ice cream cake! We visited for a while and then headed home so the boys could watch Bourne Supremacy which Grandpa had picked up earlier. They also spent the next two days painting a t-shirt for Julia.


Saturday, August 4: They must have been tired because most of they slept in until almost 11:00. The boys had selected both Krispy Kreme donuts and Entemann’s Pop ‘ems from Kroger’s so they dove right in! Will baked the Milk Chocolate Brownies for dessert and did a great job!


We left for the movies around 12:30. Joe & Grandpa saw the Bourne Ultimatum and the rest of us saw The Simpsons Movie. We stuffed ourselves with popcorn and candy and pop. Everyone enjoyed their movies!


We got home around 4:00 and started playing Texas Hold ‘em as a survivor game but decided that the outcome would not affect the scores they already had. So they each ‘did their own thing!’ Will actually found his Game Boy under a bed that he had left here the last time. Daniel and I worked on a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle. Wes and Joe continued work on their Roller Coaster computer game.


Then—it was time to prepare the ‘Dinner of the Week!’ We started by having Wes and Daniel set the table. They used a tablecloth, the ‘good dishes’, cloth napkins, and wine glasses! Joe was next, preparing his ‘Chicken Fried Chicken.’ This recipe that he found on the Internet, involved creating a mixture of Saltine crackers, flour, potato flakes, and spices. Then he had to dip the boneless chicken breasts in eggs, put them in the mixture, and then fry them in salad oil. He had to turn them often and they turned out delicious! Then Wes started preparing his potatoes at the same time Daniel prepared the salad. Wes had purchased two boxes of Betty Crocker potatoes (Roasted Garlic and Butter & Herb) so he combined one envelope from each. Daniel had bought broccoli & onions as extras for the salad plus two bags of lettuce mixture. I had told him that I had everything else. He chopped the onions smaller, added bacon bits, croutons, cheese, and almond slivers to the salad. He peeled and cut up two hard boiled eggs but kept them in a separate dish, as well as tomatoes. They all helped shuck the corn.


Daniel poured the wine and dinner was served. What a meal! Everything was delicious! We added powdered sugar to the brownies and served them for dessert. Joe and Will carried over the dishes and Grandpa did them. They were all very proud of what they accomplished!


Following this fabulous dinner, we had our award ceremony. They pretty much guessed their standings but the winners were:


                        Daniel   -           1st

                        Wes     -           2nd

                        Joe       -           3rd

                        Will      -           Honorable Mention


As always, they give me back their ribbons so I can put them in their albums, along with this journal, pictures, and souvenirs.  They spent the rest of the evening just hanging out together. They decided to camp out in the family room together since it was the last night of camp. During the week, Joe and Wes were partners and Daniel and Will were partners. Both pairs took turns sleeping in the guest room and in the living or family room.


Sunday, August 5: Around 10:00, we enjoyed our final breakfast of Camp Grandma’s 2007! I fixed their favorite breakfast: Blueberry pancakes, bacon, link sausage, and eggs. They each showered and then gathered their dirty clothes and towels so I could do their laundry. They had their ‘weigh-in’ and here are the results: Joe and Will each gained one pound, Wes stayed the same, and Daniel….. gained four pounds!!!


They took another walk with Grandpa. Wes arrived home first and said he cut through the yard because it was starting to rain. Although they teased him, he got the last laugh as the rest of them came home soaking wet!


I videotaped quick interviews with them, asking what they liked best about Camp Grandma’s. Will was first and said, “I waited all year for Camp Grandma’s and now it’s over!” Overall, they mentioned the Bengals Training Camp, painting their t-shirts, and doing the dinner.


They packed up all their belongings and goodies and we just hung out until it was time to head out around 2:00 to go to Brent and Kindra’s for a cookout. On the way there, we discussed ideas for next year. They voted for a Talent Show instead of just a singing or dancing contest. Joe wants to do the batting cages as a survivor game. This one is still up for discussion.


Each year gets better and better. The boys get along so well, are cooperative, show their appreciation, and are just plain fun to be around! As always, I had just as much fun as they did!