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Entries in camp (3)


DIY: American Girl Beach Party Craft (not mine - but you knew that)

A few weeks ago we went to visit my neice and nephews. The Twofer were upstairs in my neice's room for quite a long time...with no yelling or refereeing on my part.

So of course I'm thinking...

something is wrong.

I went to check in on them and saw this...


Cue "ta-da" music.


An American Girl beach party scene like no other I'd seen before! It had everything from grass skirts to surfboards to little mini game of Connect 4!

It turns out my neice made all of it at American Girl camp. As I took a closer look I realized I could definitely help The Twofer make some of these...being the crafty crafters they are.

Cut some images out of the catalog, frame them, and voila! You have decorations for the walls and bookshelf.



Do your girls love the American Girl food? Mine can't get enough. How easy would it be to make your own with some modeling clay that you can either bake or let dry in the sun?



Find a cute little flamingo party cup, cut off the top, glue a piece of painted cardboard and you have yourself a perfect beach party table!


The key is to use bright, "beachy" colors and invest in some serious Michael's shopping. Choose one or two of these projects for a birthday party, or rainy day activity.  Or, if you are like my friend who runs her own camp (at home for her kids) you can plan to do the whole scene over a week.  Let me know so I can send The Twofer to your camp!



Fear of the port-o-potty, port-o-john, spot-o-pot, whatever you call that white box of smelly germs


First, let me just say this:

The photo alone makes me itch and want to bathe.
I HATE those things.
I would rather go in the woods, in a cup, ANYWHERE but in there.

My neuroses are kicking in BIG TIME because this week The Twofer are at Girl Scout Camp where all they have are THOSE THINGS!
They have NEVER, ever, ever used one. They are seven (7) <--- seven! And I have somewhat proudly kept them away. I just couldn't deal with it.
The smell, the pee everywhere, the thought of them falling in! Do you know where their underwear touches when they sit on a public toilet? It touches the very front part of the toilet where all the pee is! Do you know what that part is like in one of those white pee boxes?

Good God this is killing me just to write it.

If you are like me, here are a few tips for teaching your girl how to use a port-o-potty so that at least you can sleep at night.


1. Practice

Start working on the chosen 'stance' at home on your own toilet, then while you are out at the mall, then finally, in one of the real things.


2. Stance

My personal fave is the football stance which looks similar to this

image via The Free Dictionary
...except that the person is standing upright and the hand going out is holding onto the door and the foot going back is pressing on the back wall of the potty for balance.


For little girls, however, you are best sticking with the hover stance, or squat...
image via Strenua Strength and Vigor
where you hover over the potty seat and hold onto the door (or one hand on the toilet paper roll on the side) for balance.


3. Paper, and lots of it!

The Twofer have been taught the proper papering techniques for covering toilet seats. They are skilled in not just tearing off the right amount, but in layering it and covering the ENTIRE seat, even hanging off the edges a bit (especially in the front where their undies might touch) for maximum coverage.

4. Sanitizer - wipes, spray, gel, whatever you got

I'll be packing an arsenal of anti-bacterial stuff so they can wipe it down before they layer and squat. Will they actually use it? I have no idea, but in my own mind I will feel better. And that leads me to the 5th and final tip...

5. Trick your mind or Let it Go

All of the training and the precautions I can take are no guarantee The Twofer will incorporate any of them into their daily visit to the port-o-potty this week at camp. Also, I'm trying to 'coach' them with subtlty and not drama as I don't want them to adopt my fear of germs and other people's pee. The reality - I will show them the stance once (they've already said it's stupid), give them the wipes, and tell them at the very least to put down some TP on the seat cover.

Then I will close my eyes and ears and sing La la la la la because in the end, I have to let it go. As far as I know, no one died from sitting on someone else's pee.

{hold me}



My Summer Survival Guide for the part-time work-at-home parent

Because I don’t work full time, out of the office (because I do feel like I’m working full-time as in all the time!) I don’t like to pay for the Twofer to be in camp all day, every day. It’s expensive and I don’t need that much coverage. I have found a few part-time or half day camps and they will go there a few weeks this summer but not 5-days a week. Therefore I try to come up with a plan for the days they are at home and I’m at home trying to get work done. Here is what I have found to be helpful:

1. Join a pool

There will be days they just hang around in front of the TV for the morning. If the TV is the sitter for the day I will feel less guilty knowing we can go to the pool in the afternoon where they will get exercise and fresh air. Plus, my pool has Wi-Fi so I can bring my laptop and check email during adult-swim when the kids are not allowed in the pool

2. Start now scheduling weekly play dates

I'm already talking to friends in the neighborhood to see if we can trade-off having each other's kids on Thursdays. I'm going to talk to another friend about swapping afternoons where one of us can take all the kids to the pool for a few hours. On the days the play dates are at my house I may not a lot done, but my kids will be worn out and will play quietly after that. And I’ll know ahead of time the day I’ll have NO kids at my house and so I can schedule important calls and meetings on those dates.

3. Develop a schedule

The day is easier to handle when I know ahead of time when I plan to be working. I schedule it out the day before if not a week ahead.
Usually I do something like this:
8-9am breakfast
9-12 work
12-3pm break for lunch and play or pool time
3-5 work
5-8 dinner and bed routine
8-10 work

This is just a rough schedule I have so the kids know when I’ll be done and I set limits and make time for fun.

4. Break the day up into chucks

The best way to get work done with kids around you is to break the day up into smaller chunks of time. It’s much easier to come up with several activities that are each about an hour, than it is to look at 5-8 hours of time. I like to look at the day as morning, late morning, lunch, break, late afternoon, evening.

For example, my girls are still young and enjoy the 'homework' they get from school. I purchased a few work books and activity books with word games, math games, mazes, etc. that will keep them occupied for at least an hour each morning. Next I’ll suggest a board game they haven’t seen in a while. Then I’ll send them to the basement to explore their dolls and jump on the moonbounce. Finally I’ll have them come up and work on a craft that hopefully doesn’t require too much parental assistance. Last, but not least, the TV will go on for a half hour before lunch if I need it. I like to save the TV for the late afternoon whining or fighting that always happens when everyone is just a little too tired.

5. Utilize places with free Wi-Fi

The best thing is to schedule at least an hour outside of the house with the kids just for a change of scenery. So many places offer free wi-fi and our local library is my first choice. My kids love books so they will spend hours going through the shelves and playing with the puzzles. Other areas near me like downtown Rockville and Silver Spring have included a Wi-Fi signal in their redevelopment. And there’s always snuggling up in a booth at Panera Bread – me with my laptop, the girls with their coloring books.

What are you doing to survive and even enjoy the summer with your kids?