I feel for grandparents with out-of-state grandchildren and know it adds to the struggle of remaining connected. I am so thankful that all of my grandkids live within 20 minutes of my house. It has made having "Camp Nanabanana" very easy since they are all in close proximity.
Then a pandemic happened. At first, we meet with just one set of grandkids at a time and only outside. It wasn't quite the same, since being in a large, loud group of your cousins is sort of the hallmark of my camp. Still, I was able to do some small, limited projects with one or two grandkids at a time.
Then, the rates of infection started increasing. The weather turned from sweater weather to downright need-a-down-coat-cold. We no longer felt safe being together, even at responsible social distances and sporting the latest fashion accessory, masks.
My husband, Chuck, said, "There is light at the end of the tunnel but unfortunately it's a long, treacherous trip".
As we await our turn to receive the vaccine, I started wondering how I could stay connected with my grandchildren through the coming long, tough winter. I decided to go online.
If you have not heard of "Zoom" then you need to familiarize yourself with this product. It is a way to tie multiple people into a group meeting. It's facetime on steroids. Zoom offers free sessions for families though I opted to pay a monthly fee in order to have unlimited time.
Remember the opening of the old TV show "Brady Bunch"? It was my favorite show as a kid. It's very hard for me to conceive that my childhood crush, "Greg Brady", is now 66 years old. In the opening credits (and I know you are silently singing the theme song in your head), each person was in their own little box, twisting around to look at the other members of the family. Apparently, that was a prophecy fulfilled in 2020.
While Zoom is not perfect, it's a step above loneliness. Sometimes you have to make the best of a bad situation. Perhaps that is what we can teach our grandchildren during this time. How to survive with a smile. How to stay positive and peaceful. How to be content in a chaotic world. How to find joy amid trials.
Online Camp Nanabanana took more than the usual pre-planning. I had to find a project conductive to doing online and purchase all the necessary ingredients and equipment. I had to deliver packages of ingredients to doorsteps.
Since I am not venturing out in the world currently, I ordered my products online through Amazon. I had to order far enough in advance to ensure they would arrive prior to the day set for "Camp". The two primary items I ordered were dog bone shaped cookie cutters and small rolling pins. I would also recommend a pastry mat if you do not already own one. Below are affiliate links to the products I used. If you purchase these items through my link, I make a small commission.
Our family are for the most part "dog people", I had settled on making dog biscuits as our project. Dog biscuits are extremely easy to make and a lot of fun.
I put all the dry ingredients in one gallon size baggie and the wet ingredients in a smaller pint size baggie and stapled the two together with the recipe. I had stipulated they would need to provide eggs because they seemed a little precarious to transport and well, most people have eggs on hand.
The website where I found my dog biscuit inspiration recipe used mild obscenity in it's name so I will let you decide whether to visit the site. I'm a Nana. I don't use profanity or find it cute when children use profanity. I hope I can pass those values along to my grandchildren. Others may find this old-fashioned or quaint but I view it as a moral choice. You may feel differently. We all pass along our own set of values.
In the large gallon baggie, I placed:
2.5 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
half a cup of oatmeal
In the smaller baggie, I placed:
half a can of canned pumpkin (about a cup)
a big spoon of peanut butter (about a third of a cup)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
That's it. Dump all the ingredients in a bowl, add a couple of eggs and mix into a dough. Roll it out to the thickness you prefer. Since I added baking powder, they raised slightly. Cut out the biscuits and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. The recipe made a surprising amount of biscuits, somewhere in the neighborhood of 70.
I led the kids through the steps and they were able to watch me and follow along. Parents of the younger kids helped but those over 8 made their own dog biscuits without adult help.
If you don't have canned pumpkin, I think pureed baby food or mashed banana would work as well as pumpkin. While I added oats, raisins or other dried fruits would also be a nice addition. If your dog has a sweet tooth, add a little honey. If she is a gourmet, maybe a little salt and beef bouillon. If it's a little too wet, add more flour. Too dry, add a little water or another egg. They are dog cookies...I don't think you can go wrong.
Dogs are not that picky. Think about it, they eat dog food pellets and road kill. Almost anything you make is probably a taste sensation in comparison to their normal diet.
Store the biscuits in baggies or a mason jar with a lid. They should last a long time.
If you enjoyed this project, visit my home page and download my eBook, "Camp Nanabanana: A Grandma's Guide to Inexpensive, Fun Projects" found at www.campnanabanana.com/
Check back often for other upcoming fun projects!