Saturday, July 23, 2011

Beachy Things

Image by jjpacres via Flickr

Do you have a beach themed event coming up? Beach Party. Carribean Get-Away. Sun, Sand, and Silly. Tropical Island Vacation. Tiki Week. Oh there are so many ways to get a nice ocean theme going in our facilities. And it's so nice to hear our residents reminisce about beach trips when they were kids. Here is an article written in the Savannah Morning News on July 5th  in which a woman named Jeri Gale remembers going to Tybee Island in Georgia as a child during the 1950's. As I read the article it occurred to me that this could be part of a program on reminiscing. One person could read the questions as the interviewer and another could read the part of Jeri as she remembers back to those sunny hot days. Music, costumes, props... what a nice "skit" this would make.

Image via Two Barking Dogs

If you do an image search under Google (or whatever) for old beach postcards, 1940's bathing beauties, vintage swimsuits, etc, you can find countless pictures to share in a discussion group as prompts. Maybe compare swimsuits then and now (careful!!) or discuss the history of a nearby beach, if you're lucky enough to be nearby a beach.

Image via BaySider

Start with a remembrance of your own. I remember a trip to Bodega Bay in California once when I was a teenager with my Grandmother and Great Aunt and Uncle- what a hoot those guys were! We camped in Doran Park, way out on the spit and explored all over the harbor. Of course we visited all of the places were The Birds was filmed and also took in the big craft show that was going on that weekend. At one point, we went out to the end of Doran Beach Road and climbed out on the jetties that stuck out into the little bay where the boats traveled into the Harbor. After watching the otters frolic for a little while, I started pulling starfish off of the rocks. I don't think I was supposed to do that but my Gra'ma and Aunt Eva were never ones to let something like "the law" get in the way of a good time so we collected several. To this day I think of that wonderfully sunny fun day when I see starfish.

Photo by snoozums via Flickr

You can make a sand search box fairly inexpensively with a large flat plastic storage box (the kind used for under bed storage) and play sand. Keep in mind that these can get a bit heavy- I used a 50 pound bag from Lowes for some ridiculous price like $3.00. Then scavenge around for smallish items to bury in the sand: sea shells, marbles, spoons, thimbles, little plastic kids toys, plastic figurines, coins, whatever treasures you can find. There are endless ways to use this as an activity. Name a specific item to find, have the resident tell a story or just any old thing related to the first item they find, award points or prizes for each item found to be used in the facility store or as Bingo Bucks. You could make up a running story about the beach. Start with an opening sentence or scene, such as, "As a child, young Sally Marble visited her Aunt Tootie every summer at Wanna Swim Beach. Her favorite pastime was strolling the water's edge each evening with Uncle Hootch and his metal detector." You can really set up the scene or just go with one sentence. Each participant searches through the sand and continues the story based upon whatever item they uncover. This is where really crazy items like a plastic unicorn are fun! Make sure you have someone to record the story.

Photo by Your Secret Admiral via Flickr

You could also have a discussion about exotic beaches in fantastic locations. Again, fire up Google and do an image search for world's most exotic beaches, most beautiful beaches, private beach retreats, or anything similar. The results will make you want to grab your sunscreen and passport.

Image via WoWNesia

Image via Trip Advisor

Image via Tourist Eye

Tourist Eye has some really beautiful photos and descriptions of what they consider the most unusual beaches in the world, including the red sand beach shown above in Hawaii. This link to Explorra has their list of ten unusual beaches. Due to copyright laws, I cannot gather these photos together for you to download and print. Unless I actually travelled to each location and took photos of my own. Hmmmm...

Image via Past Presented

Finally- check back in a couple for days for a fun craft to go along with your beachy/ocean themed activities. If your residents are going to be sun chasers, they'll need some fun and easy sun catchers. So that's what I'm working on for you. Sneak peek below .....

What have you done in your facility for beach-themed activities? Did y'all travel to a new beach every day for a week? Did you build your own beach? Did you use Sand Dough to make sandcastles? I would love to hear your beachy escape ideas.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Flashy, Classy, Artsy

Photo by Frank Winters via Robin Troy's Fine art Journal

Today you will meet a fabulous woman named Ilona Royce Smithkin. Ilona is an artist and a performer and a woman who is totally comfortable with her gentle extravagant life. Ilona is 91 years old.

I initially came across Ms. Smithkin while perusing Advanced Style, Ari Seth Cohen's beautiful blog about stylish and creative elders. As he says, personal style advances with age. Well, as you can see from the video below, today's amazing senior most likely had advanced style long before she reached her ninth decade. A lifelong artist and teacher, playful, energetic, and creative, Ms. Smithkin also has a quiet, reflective aspect to her personality. Having survived the Nazi regime in her native Poland during WWII, Ms Smithkin sees her life clearly, warts and all, and has determined that she will not be defeated by life but rather will celebrate life, warts and all.

Kind of makes you feel like adding some color to your life, doesn't she?

Do you have an amazing senior that you would like to tell us about? Zip me an email and we'll see what we can get worked out.

Thanks for visiting and please do stop by again.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mock Sangria

OK, this is a little bit off the topic of creativity and self-expression, but on the other hand we as Activity Directors are always looking for creative ways to jazz up our programs and events. Besides, this is my blog and I can post what I want to !!! Yippee, sangria it is!!

I was reading some posts on the Activity Director Community Board the other day about mock-tail recipes and it got me to thinking about the Mexican Fiesta we're going to be having next month on our unit. And sure enough, I picked up a magazine at the grocery store only to find a recipe for Mock Sangria. Maybe some of you aren't wine drinkers but sanagria is a wine punch from Spain and Portugal made with young, inexpensive red wine, a variety of fruits, a little bit of sweetener, some Bandy or Triple Sec and here in the States in particular Sprite or some other type of seltzer. Of course there are hundreds of variations and sangria has some to be associated with Mexico as well. Anyway, here is the Mock Sangria from Southern Favorites magazine. I gave it a test run and think you'll find it a nice addition to your next Mexican-themed event. This recipe makes four and a half quarts.

1 (46-ounce) bottle of grape juice
1 (12-ounce) can frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
2 cups of orange juice
2 lemons, juiced
1 (2-liter) bottle lemon-lime carbonated beverage, chilled
Garnish: sliced lemons, oranges, limes

In a large bowl, combine first four ingredients; refrigerate. Just before serving, stir in the lemon-lime beverage. Add the fruit to garnish. Serve over ice.

Note: I used 1/4 cup lemon juice instead of juicing two lemons- call me lazy but there you have it. Also, look for sugar-free juices and carbonated beverage for your diabetic residents.

And I bet this would make a nice frozen treat, maybe popsicles!

OK- that's it. Have fun.