Alpha+Mom post,  artsy fartsy,  Family Matters,  Niece-com-poops

Craft Camp at Auntie’s


My niece, Rapunzel, has been staying with us for a week. She calls it “Auntie Boot Camp” because a long time ago I told her she could come visit me for a week if she’d let me school some manners into her. It was a joke, mostly, because she has this terrible habit of burping loudly and then sweetly saying “excuse me” as if young ladies burp like monsters all the time.

I don’t know, maybe burping is totally normal for 11-year-olds, but it drives me crazy because then Bug wants to copy her. Next thing you know I have a chorus of burp blasts and little excuse me‘s echoing around my living room. Personally, I think it’s gross.


Thankfully, aside from the burping, Rapunzel is a delightful tween and hardly needs boot camp for manners. She’s actually quite a help around the house and with Bug. She’s just old enough to go run errands without me having to worry that she’ll get lost between here and the neighbor’s house, yet still young enough to still enjoy a good swing in the park. We’ve been having a great time.

Stealth Crafts Camp

In fact, today I organized a craft camp with some friends and the kids I babysit. There were seven kids total. CRAZAY, I know! I couldn’t have done it without some key older mom friends (Hi Jen!), my super-fun artist neighbor (Hi Deb!) and my niece who loves crafts (What up, Rapunzel).

We had to do the craft at my friend Deb’s house because it is hotter than Hades in my house in the summer, and I do not have a yard in which to make messes. My friend Deb has a shady covered carport and that’s where we set up. It was great.

We made seashell mosaics. (A step-by-step post will be up at Alpha Mom tomorrow.) It wasn’t a crazy original craft but it was definitely a crowd-pleaser. Simple, fun, and a bit messy—perfect for bored kids on a long summer afternoon. I recommend it!

girl vs. ocean

off to collect shells

I think Rapunzel will go home with lots of memories of good times. We’ve kept her plenty busy so far and the week is only half over. Between trips to the beach to collect shells, our traditional breakfast of doughnuts on the lifeguard tower and a day of errands all over the place to collect supplies for my craft camp, we’re really packing it in.

Hej da!

Apparently we’re burning lots of calories while we pack it in because tweenagers can EAT!!! I knew I’d have to stock up on lots of extra fruit and snacks, but I had no idea she would be a bottomless pit. She eats a regular adult-sized portion of dinner, then has dessert, then goes back for seconds of dinner and then has some fruit…after that I had to cut her off, because sheesh! She’s going to eat me out of house and home. I’m glad Bug is only three. I’m sooooo not ready for a teenager.

But it’s been fun. Definitely fun for a week.


  • gingermog

    Ooo I’m glad to hear you had fun doing a group crafty project. Sounds like fun.

    Rapunzel is probably going to go through a massive growth spurt soon. I remember the amount for food I used to get through when I visited my aunties, who were very liberal with their cakes. If you think one tween girl can eat loads try having 3 nephews land on you for the weekend :)

  • HoustonGurly

    My 11-year-old eats a ton, too! I figure she’s just in a growth spurt. I just make sure it’s not ‘mindless eating’. You know: stuffing her face in front of the TV. :)

  • Clover

    My mother was thoughtful enough to have a baby when I was 19, so I have a sister that’s 11! She just spent a week here, and, like you say, it’s a great age! She’s young enough that she can still spend hours playing with the kids, but she’s also responsible. Second the bottomless pit phenomenon, though!

  • Mrs. Wilson

    My 8-year-old is also a bottomless pit. She’s so thin that I need to pull those re-sizer elastics as tight as they can go so that her pants will stay up, yet she eats and eats and eats. I wish I had her metabolism.

    Looks like you’re having an AMAZING week with your niece! I like having older kids around once in a whiel to keep my kids occupied, but it’s always nice to go back to “normal” when they go home as well.

  • Marilyn

    You’re such a good Auntie. She’s getting so big! Eleven! (My youngest niece is 11, too…and she’s growing like a WEED. The tween thing is sorta freaking me out.) :)

  • BeachMama

    What a wonderful crafty idea, I am sure all seven of the kids loved it.

    And Rapunzel must love Aunties Boot Camp if she keeps coming back for more. And if my little girl eats any more than she does now when she is older, I will have to go back to work.

  • Clownfish

    Hey B, Great photo of R&B at the top of the post (I too liked the way you cropped it). Deserving of a frame!