Mar 142016

When the grandkids have days off from school for Easter vacation, it’s time to get busy on a craft at Camp Grandma.

Making catapults starting with popsicle sticks and hot glue teach engineering skills.  After studying all the pictures, they each created a different type of launching catapult. Many of the items used were scavenged from around the house like baggie clips, bottle caps, and plastic spoons.

Craft with bunny pen

Catapult with String Release
Materials needed:
– Popsicle Sticks
– Hot Glue
– Plastic Spoons
– Rubber bands
– Bottle Caps
– Masking Tape
– Corks
– Baggy Clips
– String
– Nails

The boys decided Easter themed bunnies and chicks would be fun to launch. No animals were harmed in the process. Their creative engineering added a Chicken Coop and Bunny Pen for keeping them safe when stored in the catapults. Grandma loved not having any sticky Easter candy or marshmallow mess to clean up.

Craft pompoms Animals

After the grandkids super glued pompoms together, they added feathers for tails and ears. Puffy paints on the eyes and mouths turned them into wild looking characters and prompted funny names like Humphrey, Puffy, and Smalls.

Catapult distance test
The animals needed a target and hitting an Easter basket proved very challenging.  This gave them an idea to see whose catapult sent their fuzzy animals the farthest. They spent the rest of the afternoon launching at targets outside on the lawn.  A distance of almost 20 feet made this Camp Grandma a success.

What Easter crafts are you planning when the kids are looking for ways to keep from getting bored during their school vacation holiday?

Mar 082016

Did you know there are opportunities for life as a Senior that are not available for the young whipper-snappers?  Life after 55+ years doesn’t have to be boring or expensive. These are some of the places I’ve found that offer senior discounts or are free.
Senior Discount

I’m sharing with you some of our favorite places in Utah, but this website will also show listings for your area.

Businesses rarely offer this information.  I would always ask if they give a discount, so you don’t miss out on these opportunities.
Restaurants: some that we enjoy locally and may consider 55+ years of age for a senior discount.
A & W Restaurant
Carl’s Jr.

Ski Hills: most of the ski resorts offer a senior discount, but you must show proof of age.  These are a few of our favorite places to ski with the family.

Brighton Ski Resort
Solitude Ski Resort
Snowbasin Resort

Retail: businesses that advertise their discounts, but may offer a better discount not age related.
Ace Hardware
Jo Ann’s Fabrics
Kohl’s Department Store
Rite Aid

Automotive: a few of the auto service businesses that are handy for a needed oil change.
Jiffy Lube
Midas Auto Service

The senior discount website lists many more categories like airlines, golf and other sports. I would recommend contacting a business to find out what you can save a few bucks on and when.
National and State Pass
State Parks – The “Utah Senior Adventure Pass” is valid for one year, starting from the month purchased. Eligibility for the pass is for seniors 62 years and older.

Our favorite State Park is Antelope Island and a great place to visit any time of the year.  Besides seeing where the buffalo (freely) roam, there is a sandy beach for the grandkids and the historical Garr Ranch to learn about ranching a century ago.

National Parks – An “America the Beautiful” pass is a lifetime pass for only $10.  This is a bargain worth purchasing.  We love visiting the national parks during the off-season as a perfect way to relax and take photos when it’s not so crowded.

Seniors on the go
There are 19 Salt Lake area Senior Centers that offer local tours for a small fee and also unique special events. This is a wonderful way to socialize, eat a meal, and learn new crafts from weekly classes and workshops.

My hubby and I have an HO Model Train Room that we manage at the Harman Senior Rec. Center.  Reminiscing about trains seniors rode or played with are a way to share fun stories.  Also, helping seniors who don’t have access to computers is one of the many opportunities for volunteering at the center.
Utah Cultural Celebration Center offers free admission to Summer and Winter concert series for everyone from July through December. Their art gallery and artifacts include traveling educational exhibits from the Smithsonian and local artist groups.  Some of our favorites are the Trees of Diversity and Face of Utah Sculpture annual exhibits.

Silver Sneakers
Health plans offer this program at no additional cost and is designed for all levels and abilities. SilverSneakers provides access to fitness equipment, group exercise classes, online education and a chance to meet other healthy seniors.
The locations are conveniently close by, so I don’t have to drive far to enjoy free classes at my local recreation center and my Curves Gym.

There are so many opportunities as a senior for learning, exercising or just being entertained.  I’m interested in learning what other ways you have found to save money through your senior discounts or other freebies.

Jan 142016

Snow balls that don’t freeze fingers?  Sometimes winter fun needs to be brought indoors at Camp Grandma.

In the 1960’s, my husband and I bought wooden skis and leather boots that were aptly nicknamed “ankle busters.” Newlyweds learning a winter sport with friends in Green Bay, Wisconsin evolved into three generations of skiers heading for the mountains in Utah.  The skis are now fiberglass and the boots mold comfortably to your legs.  Our skulls are also well protected with padded helmets and stylish goggles that don’t frost up.

When the weather won’t cooperate, it’s time for Camp Grandma and some fun indoor science projects.  Let’s make snow balls that won’t melt or freeze cute little fingers.
Snow Ball Craft Ingredients

-Body Lotion, 20 ounce bottle

-Corn Starch, 16 ounce box

-Peppermint Extract

-Large mixing bowl

Pour the corn starch into a large bowl and add half the bottle of lotion.  The peppermint extract gives a nice smell, but isn’t necessary.

This is where stiring and squishing comes in. Keep adding lotion to the mixture until the dough is moldable.

Your hands will thank you for this softest snow ball making project ever.   It’s time to add button eyes, sticks, and anything else that a snowman needs to wear. Store the dough in zip lock bags for future play times. Add some lotion if it becomes too dry.

Our next science project involves snow ball dough that creates foaming bubbles and erupts like volcanos.
Snow Ball Shaving Cream Ingredients


-Baking Soda, large box

-Shaving Cream, approximately 1/2 can needed


-Vinegar, large bottle

-Koolaid, packets

Pour the entire box of baking soda into a large bowl.  The kids will love squirting shaving cream, that mostly ends up in the bowl and then squishing to mix and mold.

Place the snow balls on a plastic plate or tray that has sides, to keep the liquid from spilling.  Spray or pour vinegar on the baking soda mixture to create your own erupting and foaming bubbles.

The snow balls will look really cool by sprinkling blue Koolaid powder and glitter over them. This works better than food coloring, since it won’t stain little fingers.  Keep adding more vinegar onto the baking soda mixture and the fun lasts until the vinegar is gone.

I bought all these ingredients at the dollar store, for a day of very inexpensive science fun.  Is making snow that won’t freeze messy?  Absolutely!  I just made sure the grandkids washed up before receiving my Camp Grandma hugs.

Nov 102015

A Thanksgiving craft at Camp Grandma needs turkeys, catapults, and some crazy flying action.   The grandsons wanted to make colorful turkeys, and pompoms were perfect for this craft.  After the grandkids super glued pompoms together, they added feathers for tails.

turkey pompoms craft 1turkey pompoms Craft 2




The eyes, beaks and waddles made some cute, crazy and wild looking turkeys with the help of puffy paints. The biggest turkey got the name Humpfrey, and Nate hoped it would fly the farthest.

turkey pompoms craft 3Turkeys ready to launch





Boys like to launch things, and catapults seemed like the perfect way to see how far our turkeys could fly.

Catapult Craft 1Catapult Craft 2

Materials needed:
– Popsicle  Sticks
– Hot Glue
– Plastic Spoons
– Rubber bands
– Bottle Caps
– Masking Tape
– Corks
– Baggy Clips
– String
– Nails

With pictures for ideas, they each designed their own catapults, starting with popsicle sticks hot glued or taped together.

Fort Craft 1
Their creative engineering ideas included a Turkey Tree House and a Turkey Pen attached to the catapults.

Catapult with clip corksCatapult Craft Simple Design 1

Catapult with spoonCatapult Craft Tree House side








Catapult Craft String Release 1




The turkeys need a target and the pilgrims are waiting for their Thanksgiving turkey dinners.  Pretzels were glued with a thick mortar made from flour and water onto a cardboard box.  Hot glue added strength to the fence and turkey pen.

Fort Craft 3Fort with Pilgrims Target

Luckily, the boys are becoming more adept at using hot glue.  They wore finger guards, but the back of one little hand needed some bagged ice for a few minutes.

What Thanksgiving crafts are you planning for this holiday?

Jan 082015

Did you ever receive a book that you just couldn’t set down?  This inspiring travel guide, 100 Places in the USA Every Woman Should Go, is written by Sophia Dembling.  She weaves over 100 enticing tales involving remarkable women that helped shape America’s history.

What better way to read her comments about ski resorts than while stopping near Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort, on Utah’s Alpine Loop scenic roadway.  If you were expecting to see me sharing this chapter with Bob, well – not on this trip. Our on-going joke is that everyone has personally seen him, except me.
Honeymoon Camper for two on Route 66
Our first camper was perfect for traveling across country with our 1964 Pontiac convertible. Those were the days of driving down Route 66 on a tank of gas for less than a dollar a gallon.  You can see why this camper was descriptively named the “Honeymoon Special.”

We can relate to Sophia’s statement, that you know America is a big hunk of land when driving from sea to shining sea. We’ve visited many parks and landmarks mentioned in her book, but now she’s given us quite a few more places to check off on our bucket travel list.

Dead Horse Point State Park
Mentioned in her book is Utah’s Dead Horse Point State Park.  You can view, but please not do, a Thelma and Louise moment where their final drive over the cliff was filmed.  This is also a very tragic view of where wild horses were corralled. They could see the water, but would plunge to their death in desperation to reach it.

Utah scenic roads
Pioneer women had to be as tough as men to travel on the wagon trains that brought them out west.  Sophia notes that there aren’t many museums dedicated specifically to women.

Her book still has something for everyone and plenty of gal loving trivia about the USA.  She describes museums dedicated to women pilots, brothels, Salem witches and artists. I can relate to her descriptive trivia and history about shopping malls, where we have all done the “shoppers death march” laden down with purchases.
HO Scale Train Room

My husband and I manage an HO scale train room.  You are always invited to see how we have depicted some scenic travels on our trains. This is where you may find me re-reading her travel guide for help in planning our next trip across the USA.

Since travel maps were replaced with a GPS, I hope you will share what is now your favorite travel planning guide.

Sep 092014

‘OPA’ is a lover’s Greek Word for expressing joy, but also flexible enough to use anytime you just feel like saying hi, hey, or oops.
Greek Festival Salt Lake City #RetireForTheFunOfIt
The Greek Festival in Salt Lake City is a three day event that celebrates their culture, traditions, and heritage, but we go for the Greek food and dancing.  We joined over 50,000 people that attended their 39th annual celebration of being Philhellenes – lovers of all things Greek!
Greek Dancers #festival #RetireForTheFunOfIt
Are you old enough to remember the movie, Zorba the Greek? Naturally this is a popular favorite and I can’t help but hum along when they perform this dance.
Greek Traditional Dance #RetireForTheFunOfIt
Each dance tells a story passed down through generations about ancient wars, courtship, or physical prowess.  The ancient Zembekikos dance, involves trying not to knock over a glass set on the floor. If the dancer succeeds, he can drink what wasn’t spilled from the glass.
Greek Traditional Dance #RetireForTheFunOfIt
The Mihanikos, tells a story about how the dancer remembers his youth and love of sponge diving off the Aegean Island Kalymnos. It begins with a fast, high-spirited beat and then slows down as the dancer needs a cane. The sponge divers became crippled due to the “bends disease” from years of diving, and is retold in this dancers story.
Greek Hellenic Museum #RetireForTheFunOfIt
The Hellenic Cultural Museum has gathered its people’s life stories in photos, clothing and many personal artifacts. Greek immigrants came to Salt Lake City in the early 1900’s when mining and railroading were booming industries.

Young sons were sent off to America, where there were plenty of jobs. The hope was for their sons to make enough money, so they could return in a few years. The mining casualties tell a tragic story of families still living in Greece and unable to personally bury their sons.
Greek Coffee #RetireForTheFunOfIt
Greek coffee is an artistic production in itself. In a briki pot, he adds 2 teaspoons of Greek (or Turkish) coffee, a cup of water and then stirs in 2 teaspoons of sugar.

He explained how the coffee is slowly heated up until the surface starts to tremble. Once it starts foaming, he lifts the briki slightly from the heat until the foam settles and then is put back on the fire to let it start foaming again.

He said this step is very important to getting a good cup of coffee. He advised us to sip the coffee slowly to enjoy the robust flavor. Considering how hot this drink is, sipping is the only safe way to enjoy it. Drinking the coffee grounds at the bottom of the cup is really gross and not advised.

I found a Zumba coin scarf in their shopping center and felt this justified eating a Baklava dessert.  We learned more about the Greek faith from the guides inside the church. This stained glass window depicting the resurrection was colorfully striking in the afternoon sun.  

Using a fun greeting like Opa brings an unexpected smile. Do you have a favorite greeting?

Sep 042014

It may be called “Oktoberfest,” but this 200 year old celebration always starts before October in Utah since beer and snowy weather just aren’t a party mix.
Oktoberfest #RetireForTheFunOfIt

Oktoberfest has inspired imitation around the world of what began as a wedding celebration in Munich, Bavaria, on October 12th, 1810.
SnowBird Alphorn Oktoberfest

Our weather in Utah can be very unpredictable, so we begin Oktoberfest in late August. To hold true to tradition, the festival held since 1973 ends on the first weekend of October.
SnowBird Oktoberfest Tram

At the Snowbird Ski Resort, you can hear the Alphorns echoing from the top of the mountain. Or ride with them on the tram and watch the Salzburg Echo Polka Band “on top of the world.”
SnowBird Alphorns Oktoberfest

SnowBird Ski Resort’s Oktoberfest draws over 60,000 people and this year’s festival was almost cancelled, rather than be a beer-free event. The state liquor board caused quite an uproar when they decided that alcohol licenses were meant for non-profit, charitable events, and not for attractions aimed at turning a profit.

In case you live under a rock, you may not be aware of Utah’s unique liquor laws.  Supporters vigorously insisted that the festival isn’t just about beer, but celebrates food, folk dancing and many other family activities. The board backed down and allowed the alcohol license by declaring the festival “a valuable community event.”

Our grandkids get to try the alpine slide, mountain flyer, and rope course, while we shop in Der Marktplatz and watch yo-yo man do his tricks. Then we finish the day eating some authentic Bavarian bratwurst, sauerkraut and apple strudel.

SnowBird Oktoberfest Song
The beer keg was ceremoniously tapped and the Oktoberfest tradition lives on for another year.

View From Top of the World #RetireForTheFunOfit

Our grandsons are enjoying the view from Hidden Peak above the Snowbird Ski Resort. That’s Salt Lake City in the background and in winter, our little downhill skiers have only a ten minute ride to one of the world class ski resorts.   Can you tell why we love living here?

Aug 262014

My daughter and I added some ghostly history to our travel adventures through Scotland. We walked into the haunted underground caverns of Mary King’s Close.
Edinburgh Scotland CloseA Close is the Scottish term for alleyways which, trust me, have long flights of stairs and very steep steps.

The Old Fishmarket Close was historically described as a narrow stinking ravine that sold poultry and fish. It is now home to upscale apartments and restaurants.

Other Closes were named after their best known inhabitants like Mary King.

Very tall buildings were built and crammed together to house the rapidly growing population.

Shoes worn in 1500s #retireforthefunofit #museum #shoes

Shoes used for walking above sewage in the streets

This deliberate lack of space was so Edinburgh could be enclosed within its city walls as a means of protection. The poorest lived on levels that were at the highest risk for collapsing.
Cameras weren’t allowed as we entered an underground site that was unearthed from the 17th century.

Our guide grossed us out when he explained that a family of 15 people shared a small room. Smelly animal fat was burned to add some light in this windowless living space.
Plague Doctor #retirefortheFunofit #Black Plague #doctor
There was no sewer system, so the bathroom was a pail set off in a corner. The youngest child was usually the potty pail dumper and poured out onto the street.

The doctor devised a garment consisting of leather from head to toe, since no one knew it was fleas from infected rats that were spreading the plague.

He wore a bizarre bird-shaped mask with a beak filled with herbs to help protect him from the disease and smells. He unwittingly survived the plague because the leather kept the fleas from biting him.

His bedside manners consisted of slicing off the top of the victim’s sore and jamming a red-hot poker into the wound to cauterize it.

Mary Kings Close #RetirefortheFunofit

Photo credit:The Continnuum Group

As moms, the family depicting this horrible scene made me and Lisa cringe. We all screamed when the guide threw a rubber rat onto the floor in front of us.

Next we entered a room where dolls and stuffed animals were stacked for their most famous ghost, little Sarah. Her family left her behind when she became ill with the plague. She appears (although fortunately not to us) to be looking for a lost toy.
We wandered up and down dimly lit passageways, walking over dirt floors and past rooms where people worked and lived.

Stephen, dressed as a merchant, gave drama and realism that made us feel like eyewitnesses to what were the best and worst of times on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

Be sure to make your reservations in advance for this popular historical tour that Lisa and I highly recommend.

Aug 192014

We ate dog food at Camp Grandma today. I would never ask the grandsons to taste test doggie treats, unless we made them ourselves.

Why did we make dog food? We have grand-dogs that need spoiling. Our grandsons love making cookie cutter shaped cookies, thus Camp Grandma was all about making doggie treat cookies for the grand-dogs.

I looked for the healthiest doggie snack ingredients, and this is what I found….pumpkin puree is bursting with vitamins, beta carotene and fiber. Besides being low in calories, it will help a tummy-aching dog settle its stomach. Eggs are a protein that keeps their fur coats looking shiny and molasses has vitamins, minerals and helps relieve stiffness from arthritis.
Camp Grandma Dog Treat #cookie #treat

The grandsons tasted the doggie treats and declared them rather bland and needing some frosting!

To make this cookie baking venture successful, a batch of sugar cookie dough came to the rescue.

The boys went to work and rolled, cut, baked and then snacked on frosted cookie treats made just for them.

As you can see, Copper loves attention and doggie treats. The grandson’s research proved it was a hands (or paws) down decision….the homemade treats were his new favorite. Their research may be a bit faulty though, since Copper also loves smelly socks.


5.0 from 10 reviews
Treats for Dogs
Recipe type: Snack or Treat
Serves: 30-40
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
A healthy doggie treat with no preservatives or added sugar, but lots of vitamins and minerals for your pet.
  • ½ Cup Pumpkin Puree (not pie filling)
  • 2 Tablespoons Molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Water
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2½ Cups Flour (all-purpose or whole wheat)
  • 3 Tablespoons Dry Milk
  • ½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, add pumpkin puree, molasses, oil, water and eggs and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, dry milk, and baking soda.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix into dough.
  5. Add more water to the dough if needed, but dough should be dry and stiff, not sticky.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to ¼ inch thick.
  7. Cut with a cookie cutter.
  8. Place cookies on non-stick cookie sheet about 1 inch apart.
  9. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
  10. Let cool on cooling racks.
  11. Makes 30-40 cookies.
Aug 112014

Visually stroll with us down this colorful brick pathway to the patio of an elegant French-style chateau restaurant. We didn’t have to travel to France for Sunday Brunch with our family.

#La Caille, #swans, #RetirefortheFunofitA summer morning is the perfect time to enjoy blue skies, picturesque mountains in the background, and graceful swans.
#La Caille #brunch #RetirefortheFunofit
Although the restaurant’s patio was filled with guests, our dining area was secluded for a perfect family brunch experience. The gazebo has grapevines intertwined on the metal work to create a natural privacy. We were surrounded by fragrant trees, a water fountain and wandering peacock families.

We didn’t think we were that hungry, but we devoured the warm croissants and appetizers that were served while our food was being made. The boys were kept busy with pictures to color that they turned into cards of birthday wishes for Grandpa Lee.

The children’s menu had the boy’s favorite – French toast with Chantilly cream, bacon and fresh berries. Our waitress offered suggestions on menu choices and the staff was quick to refill our water glasses. The waiter brought our meals at the perfect temperature, while entertaining the children with funny comments. I love trying something different, and the salmon with asparagus omelet was uniquely delicious. You could tell everyone was delighted with their food, when the discussions turned to how much they were enjoying their selections. I’ve included the menu to tease your taste buds.

The grapes in the vineyard weren’t ready for harvesting yet, but the boys noted that the wine cellar certainly wasn’t empty.

After brunch, we leisurely wandered down the walkways and stopped on bridges to enjoy the clear water flowing down from the mountains. The fragrant topiaries add a fantasy setting to the 20 acres of gardens surrounding La Caille, where ducks, geese and peacocks roam freely.

This fairytale setting made our daughter and son-in-law’s wedding so uniquely memorable five years ago. Our Sunday Brunch was a perfect excuse to celebrate their anniversary. One special remembrance was of our grand-daughter making sure she only dropped three flower petals on each step, to lead us to the wedding ceremony.
#La Caille #Restaurant #RetirefortheFunofit
Although we didn’t stay at La Caille until dusk, I couldn’t resist sharing this picture from our daughter’s wedding. I wanted to leave you with this idyllic setting as the final page of our picture-perfect anniversary story. Where is your favorite restaurant?

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