When Grandma Camp is over, there are always many tears . . .sometimes even mine! I don’t know if the tears are from being sad that the kids are leaving, total relief from the stress of being in charge of 10 kids, or because of pure exhaustion. But, whatever the reason, I can’t deny that the experiences we have each summer create THE most awesome Grandma Camp memories.
So, Now That Grandma Camp is over. . .
We have some suggestions to help you preserve those sweet Grandma Camp memories, recover from the fun of camp, and be more prepared for next year.
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Ugh! I don’t like saying this phrase any more than the kids like hearing it! Cleaning up can seem a bit daunting depending on how long your camp was and how much cleaning was done during camp.
The “Camp Box”
One of the best things that I do at the end of each camp is to get out the “camp box.” I suggest that you find a box that fits all the camp stuff that you’re going to re-use year after year. I personally like the collapsible boxes so they can fold down when there is nothing in them.
For me, I store the welcome banner, camp songbooks, kitchen helper badges, flag ceremony cards, and any neutral décor – like tablecloths – in the box. That way, it’s all together and I don’t have hunt around the basement to gather everything up again next year.
Return Un-used Items
I also gather up everything that wasn’t used that can be returned. I put those things in a large bag along with the receipts and put them in my car. Then as I’m out and about in the coming week, I can stop by the store(s) and make the returns.
Hire Some Cleaning Help
If the thought of going back through your house to clean the whole thing is making you physically sick, then maybe you should get some help. If you can afford to have a service come in and make a quick afternoon of recovering the house, then I say to go for it!
However, if you’re like me, that’s a bit out of reach even for just a one-time job. But, maybe hiring the teenager next door to come help for a few hours could be just the ticket to getting the house back in shape quickly.
Rest & Re-Group
You are going to need some down time, even if it’s just for a few hours. . .but I suggest at least a day.
Take an Extra Workday Off
If you’ve taken time off from your job, make sure you schedule in an extra day off. (That’s actually harder when you work from home than when you go somewhere else for your job. Trust me. . .I know!)
Do a Little Something for YOU!
Use that extra day off to do something just for you. I suggest a massage or spa day, a day with friends (you’ll need a bit of grown up girl bonding time at this point – 😉), maybe a movie afternoon or take in some shopping. Whatever you do to practice a little self-care, will go a long way about now.
Preserve Your Grandma Camp Memories
This is the fun part! You had such an awesome time with the grandkids. . .so what can you do to capture those memories? Here are a few suggestions to keep the good times rolling:
Create a Photo Book
Creating a photo book is easier than ever these days! You can upload those pictures to an online site and create a few different ways to keep those memories displayed throughout the year – photobooks, calendars, or even home décor items.
Create Scrapbook Pages
If you are a scrapbooker, you probably already have tools and products galore to create fun and memorable scrapbook pages to preserve those Grandma Camp memories. However, if you do like the thought of scrapbooking but don’t have all the tools and supplies, then you might enjoy digital scrapbooking.
There are several sites out there that will help you create those digital scrapbook pages, but the one I have used is Canva.com. It’s SUPER easy! Literally, it only took me 15 minutes to do these 4 pages – upload the photos and plop them into an already existing layout. Easy peasy!!
Preserving those Grandma Camp memories can be as easy as simply putting all the pictures onto a DVD or CD. Many of the places that still print out photos – Walmart, Walgreens, Costco, etc. – will do this service for you. Or if your confident in your own abilities, you can do it yourself! Put them in a pretty little sleeve and you’ve got a great gift idea!!
Journal the Grandma Camp Memories
This is something that I haven’t done yet but am doing this year. I got this idea when my DIL gave me a grandmother’s journal for Mother’s Day. She had all the kids write in my journal about their favorite thing to do with me. So, this year, I had all the kids write their favorite memories in a camp journal. This is done in their own handwriting with the year and their age. I may go back and add pictures into the journal also. Easy to do and yet the memories are in the kids’ own words. Of course,. . .don’t forget to add your own memories in there as well!
Evaluate Your Grandma Camp
Don’t miss this step and do it as soon as you can after camp is done.
Talk to the kids about what they did and didn’t like about camp. Most likely they loved everything and just enjoyed having the time with you and away from their parents. However, you may gleen some little nuggets of info about how to improve things from them.
Talk to the parents also. Some of them may have suggestions about how to time things better or adjust the menu to suit their kids. I know my children (the parents) would just like me to make it longer!! They really enjoy the break.
Obviously, you will have some great insight into what you could do better or what worked really well. However, at our age, we can’t wait a whole year and expect that we are going to remember those things with crystal clarity. So. . .write it down. . .NOW!! It doesn’t have to be lengthy, just include a short note about what you want to remember to do or not to do next year.
It’s always good to have a plan and think ahead. It makes your life sooooo much easier!
Get Excited About Next Year
Get excited about holding your camp next year! Chances are that you may be tired and don’t want to think about it, but. . .if I can give you my very best advice, it would be. . .DO IT! There are some real benefits to starting to think about it now.
Think About the Venue
This is the biggest decision that you need to make each year and sometimes it will take a year’s planning to pull it off. For instance, this past year, Papa and I decided to do some upgrades in the house but knew that we would need to make sure we were done before camp.
You may also want to rent a facility, campground, or travel somewhere. This is not something that you can usually do on a whim. It will take planning and possibly you will need to make a reservation to save your spot. So, give it some thought in case you need to start working on it now.
Plan a Theme
This is not something that you need to go all out and have everything planned right now. However, if you have an idea, you can keep your eyes open for ideas and shop sales on the things you think you may want to have. I decided early on that we were going to do a Harry Potter theme. Well, let me tell you, I couldn’t help but notice all things HP everywhere I went. As a matter of fact, I got some screaming good deals on things on Black Friday! Such a great win!!
On to Next Year. . .and More Grandma Camp Memories!
So, whether the end of camp makes you laugh, cry or simply collapse in an exhausted heap, don’t forget to gather your thoughts and those precious Grandma Camp memories. Because making memories is THE most important part of all of this!
I promise that you won’t regret doing a bit of an evaluation about what you want to keep and what you want to scrap. And. . .you might as well use some of these precious memories to create gifts and keepsakes for your family.
Cookies & Milk for Everyone!