Gigi Camp

“And the songbird is singing like she knows the score…”

Fleetwood Mac

Gigi camp has just concluded and Gigi is… exhausted!

The first Gigi camp occured when Wyatt was only 3 years old and I took him down for the Keys for what was to be a week-long camp. I quickly realized a full week with a three-year-old was way too ambitious and decided the new rule of thumb should be one day for each year of my grandson’s life. Thus, Gigi camp this year should have been only five days long, but I went the Full Monty and played camp counselor for a week!

Under normal circumstances, this would have been a lot to handle, but as it turns out, I hurt my knee and caught a cold, so I was not in my prime Super Gigi condition! But I soldiered through and had Wyatt from Sunday- where I had the family over for Spaghetti Sunday- through the following Sunday.

Gigi Camp is sacred. A period of time devoted soley to my grandson, with activities, field trips, art projects, French lessons and science experiments scheduled. During this week- my life as I know it- is put on hold. That means: no meetings, tennis matches, meditating, yoga, work-outs, long walks, happy hours, answering e-mails, reading the paper, Instagramming, writing reviews for Yelp, talking on the phone, journaling, blogging, writing or watching murder mysteries for me. I did watch Jeopardy with Wyatt, but I consider this educational, right?

If there was one activity we did more than any other, during this version of Gigi camp, it would have to be swimming. As any parent (or grandparent knows) this is the perfect activity for wearing an active child out, so they go sleep early and sleep well. We swam in my backyard pool, at Riviera’s pool (with lunch with Courtney and Liam), at the pool at the Sanctuary down in Key Largo and (most fun of all! ) out on the boat, in the bay. With noodles and water guns.

Field trips included: Pinecrest Gardens playground, the Library to get new books, Riviera Country Club for swimming with Liam and lunch and to Target, where Wyatt and I got t-shirts to tie-dye. Wyatt also got to pick out a toy, actually two- a voice changer and a Super Soaker water gun. The tie dye was my favorite art activity and Wyatt was totally hands-on. He picked the colors, designs and squirted the dye onto the t-shirts himself. At one point, he had a plastic dye tube in each hand and was free form squirting the dye over the shirt- very Jackson Pollack! After this, I put the t-shirts in a plastic container and into the microwave to “cook”. That’s right! These tie-dye shirts didn’t need to go into the washing machine, but set in the microwave. Kind of ingenious and a lot quicker than the washing machine method.

On Wednesday, I exchanged Wyatt for his little brother Phoenix (3 months old), so his parents could have a day alone with him. On that day, I made a Black Pepper Tofu dish from the cookbook Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, NYT food writer and Vegetable guru. I’ve been trying to eat more plant-based meals and this one was delicious, but after frying tofu in oil and sauteeing it in butter, it didn’t seem like the HEALTHIEST meal. When Wyatt walked into my living room at 8 pm that night eating an ice cream Sundae, I asked his parents to take him for the night, as I didn’t want to deal with the sugar crash. I needed a good night’s sleep.

Because sleeping with Wyatt does not translate into restful slumber He sleeps between Zeke and I and, while he starts out vertical, he ends up horizontal, forming a cross bar to our vertical H. Zeke gets kicked in the head, I get squeezed to the edge of the bed, hanging on for dear life. It is not fun! Also, Wyatt is like a heat-seeking missile, so, by the morning, he has attached himself to me for snuggling. And, like Great Garbo- “I vant to be alone” when I sleep, I like to sleep unencombered by another life form. It should just be me and my weighted blanket, for prime snoozing. Serenity now!

Our meals were whatever was easy and quick. Every morning Wyatt had the same menu of Apple Juice and Milk in a sippy cup (I know it sounds disgusting, but he loves it) and Chocolate Chip pancakes with syrup, served on a breakfast tray in my bedroom. Yes, he is spoiled by his Gigi! Dinner was sushi one night, Spaghettios often and, my favorite meal of the week, grilled shrimp. Zeke found a recipe for a marinade in a magazine called Table from the Florida Keys and it was delicious. The marinade, shown below, hit all the right notes- sweet, salty and spicy- and you could really taste it on the skewered shrimp. I served it with rice, the Black Pepper tofu and sliced watermelon. Delicious!

Wyatt and I drove down to the Keys Friday around lunchtime and, both of us exhausted, were couch potatoes, coloring and watching T.V. Zeke came later and we went to dinner at nearby Skipper’s (they have a great kid’s menu) and then back home to watch Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. A.J. and Phoenix came down Saturday to join us for their first time out on our boat- ‘Bout Time. We had lunch at Bayside Grille and took a little joy ride out in the bay afterwards. Unfortunately, Wyatt wanted to go “Faster, faster!” on the boat and with sweet, little Phoenix, we needed to go slower, slower.

Gigi Camp went out with a bang on Sunday, as we took the boat out for one last spin. We anchored, floated on noodles and went swimming in Buttonwood Bay. Wyatt brought all his water guns and we had a water gun fight, while listening to Sweet Home Alabama on the boat radio. We dried off, then we headed back to our unit, where Wyatt got his wish to go “Faster, faster!” Then, we drove back home from the Keys, where Wyatt fell asleep in the car (yea!). Shortly afterward (although none too soon) his Mom came to pick him up and Gigi camp came to an end. Wyatt gave me a little hug goodbye. A.J. gave me a BIG hug. “Thank you Mom!” she said.

I have to say, this is the best Gigi Camp ever.


Said one night before bed. When I asked him his favorite part of Gigi camp, he said “The apple juice and milk and the TV watching.”

“Really? What about the boat? And swimming in the ocean?” I asked.

“Oh yes. Totally the boat!” he answered.

And I love you, I love you, I love you, like never before.

Fleetwood Mac

Spicy Cilantro Lime Marinade

Recipe by gleeguilfordCourse: Uncategorized


Prep time


Cooking timeminutes

For Seafood and Chicken


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 cup lime juice

  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)

  • 2 minced garlic cloves

  • 1/4 cup cilantro

  • 3 TBL brown sugar

  • 1/3 cup honey

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 TBL red pepper flakes

  • 1/4 tsp cumin


  • Mix all ingredients, then process in the blender or food processor for uniform consistency.
  • Place shrimp, seafood or chicken and marinate 15 minutes to 1 hour. For seafood, less time because the lime juice may “cook” it prematurely.
  • Grill according to the protein.
  • Serve with lime wedges.


  • If cilantro is not your thing, simply omit and create a spicy, lime, garlic marinade instead.

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: