Those of you who have been following Circle of Food for a while know that each year I have “Camp Aunt Mary” where my nieces and nephew, whose busy schedules allow, come to stay with me for a week of fun. My 11-year old niece, Hannah, was the only one who came this year – so she got a lot of individualized attention. She left yesterday. Here is what we did, for those of you who may want ideas for what to do with your own munchkins.
Yoga. I had gone to a yoga instructor years ago who was quite extraordinary. Her name is Laurel. She looked like I Dream of Jeanie with long blonde hair and flowing pants (she still does). I wanted Hannah to be able to experience her and was able to locate her through Pam Smith, a friend of mine from my LAFF women’s group, who is into Yoga. We attended what was supposed to be a 2-hour class that ended up being almost 3-hours of pure bliss — all for only $7 ea.
She gave us lots of individualized attention. Along with the traditional chants and mantras and poses, she would give out other healthy lifestyle advice such as eating foods from lots of colors from the rainbow. You wonder how closely an 11-year old will listen and I was quite surprised when Hannah quoted her perfectly several days later during one of our meals that included lots of color.
Laurel let us ask her lots of questions. I asked her if she had ever read “Eat, Pray, Love“. She had. I asked her if she had experienced the same thing that the author had at that ashram in India. She HAD. Amazingly enough, she went on to say that she had actually studied at that ashram years earlier and the Yogi that the author studied under at that ashram had studied under the Yogi that Laurel had studied under. You can see a photo of Laurel and read more about her on her website http://home.earthlink.net/~dalamitoh/.
County Fair. Hannah’s parents (my brother and his wife) are not in the habit of going to county fairs, as we are, so as luck would have it, the Great Dark County Fair in Greenville Ohio had just started. We went on opening day and spent 6 hours there looking at everything from horseshoe pitching to horseback riding.
We saw a strange breed of white geese with billowy body feathers that looked like a fine puffy lady’s hat, an extensive horticulture display that included an entire peanut plant with the peanuts growing from the roots (Hannah never really knew where peanuts came from before this), giant field tractors that you can walk under without bending over, and the milking of cows with milking machines. The picture here shows a quilt (middle) that I particularly liked. It is made from fabric that is all stripes. I have done quilting, although on a much smaller scale, at Camp Aunt Mary in the past.
Watching a Court Hearing. This sounds a little strange, but if you know me, it is just the type of thing that I would want to experience. Anyway, we were taking a walk around Xenia Ohio, our county seat and happened to go by the county courthouse. We doubled back and we went in, thinking that we would tour the inside. The guard said that a hearing was going on for the biggest cocaine drug bust in Xenia’s history and it was open to the public. We decided to observe and stayed for probably 30 minutes! It was fascinating and Hannah was very attentive. When they took a break, we went to the courtroom next door and caught (just in time) the sentencing of an individual and saw the policeman handcuff them and take them away to jail. I couldn’t have planned this one more perfectly!
Hiking / Shopping. Nearby there is a wonderful little artsy town called Yellow Springs that is uniquely different. We shopped around looking for a youthful choker necklace that would fit on her tiny neck – no luck on the sizing, the smallest 16″ was not the look we were going for. Afterwards, we walked along the bikebath to pick up a nature trail at Glenn Helen Reserve that went along a cool, shaded path that followed a rocky creek and ended at a pretty 10-foot waterfall.
Cooking. Hannah likes to cook and I talked her through making Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread in my bread machine. (Yes, I STILL use is every week!)
Eating. We ate most of our meals at home. I was extremely proud of Hannah for really having excellent healthy eating habits. She would eat lots of vegetables and knew to leave off sauces and cheese to keep calories down. One meal that was particularly fun was when we made a huge “party tray” of fresh vegetables, fresh deli meats, pickles, and olives accompanied by our fresh bread made that morning.
Jogging. We went on a 4-mile jog in our neighborhood, along with my husband Jim. Hannah is very athletic as she is on a soccer team as well as other sports. It was a pleasure to watch her spring along like a deer with no effort at all. I took up the rear, but was able to keep up in my ploddy own way.
We did some other micellaneous things, but you get the idea. Lots of variety to create lots of memories for years to come.