A Grandma's spin on crafts, games, recipes & lifestyle

Category: Fun w/ Mimi & Pappy (Page 2 of 2)

Grandparenting from a Distance

Being apart from your grandchildren is HARD! Brad and I  are so very lucky to have ours close to us, but they do love to travel. When they leave, I get major FOMO (fear of missing out!). When these occasions strike, I dig deeper to understand how grandparents that live apart from their littles keep their bonds strong. Technology definitely makes staying in touch much easier. However, I think you still need to make it fun!!!

 

MAKE THEM LAUGH~SHARE JOKES AND RIDDLES

One thing I added to my “Mimi Bag of Fun” just recently is telling jokes.  They have been vacationing, and I wanted to keep in touch with them daily without being overbearing.   I started texting a joke to them each day that our daughter could read to them whenever they had down time.  This allowed them time to discuss answers together.  It got to the point that if I didn’t send it in time, they were wanting to know where their daily joke was.

I have always enjoyed making children laugh.  Their laughter just fills your soul.       I used to send a joke a day in my kid’s lunchboxes.  I kept a joke book handy (but out of sight from the kids) in the kitchen.  I would mark off jokes as I used them to ensure not sending the joke more than once.  I did not include the answer on their lunch note.  This made for fun discussion when they got home from school.  The kids started discovering that their friends were waiting to hear the answer the next day at lunch.

Now I keep jokes and riddles organized on my Pinterest page.  You can look at my Pinterest board that includes jokes here:  Shelly’s Pinterest Board with Jokes

In fact, my sister is caring for her kids this week.  While talking on the phone, I shared one of my recent jokes with them.  They quickly retaliated with riddles that they love.  That interaction is what makes you the “fun” grandma!  They tend to remember those silly simple times.

FACETIME~

Isn’t this a great way to see your grandkids more often?  It is definitely a tech-savvy way to have great conversations with the children while seeing their faces.   While catching up on their latest favorites, you should also use this time to spice up the interaction.    Have you tried reading a book to them over the phone yet?  It’s a little harder to navigate while holding both the phone and the book, so I suggest you either set up a station where your phone/ipad is docked for hands free talking before facetiming or have someone help you.

I also plan to incorporate  MadLibs in the future.  My kids always loved MadLibs.  If you do this while using facetime, you can get their answers from them, and then read the story back to them.  It will definitely make for lots of laughter.

I recently found a very fun website which includes a ton of fun kid activities.  They have a lot of free printables, including some mad libs.  I certainly plan on utilizing their sources more often.  You should check it out too:  Fun Free Printables

SNAIL MAIL~

If you are a grandparent that lives farther away from your grandchildren, I certainly hope you use this method quite often.   In fact, I believe that even those grandparents that  live close should use snail mail as well.   I am not very good at this but plan to get better.  Do you remember when you would go to the mailbox and something was addressed to YOU?  I still remember that happy feeling.  Even though we have technology, kids are still the same.  They still love opening that mailbox and getting something addressed to them!

KEEP A CALENDAR~

I’m not just talking about recording birthdays.  Do you record special occasions they have coming up?  Are they invited to a birthday party?  Do they have a school event?  Do they play soccer/football/basketball/etc. every weekend?  Put those dates and times on your calendars.  If you can go to their events, GREAT!  If you can’t, GREAT!  You can still give them a call and ask them all about it!  This is fun for you, the grandchild, and your child (because your child will get a bit of a break!).

Keeping in touch can be difficult….but it is well worth the effort!

 

Should I Get a Pet?

Yes, yes…and YES!  In fact, don’t stop at one!  Drop everything you are doing…seriously….go out a get a pet!  You already have one?  Go get another one….add a new type of pet to your family.  Have you ever considered something other than a dog or cat?  Whenever I hear someone ask, “Should I get a pet?,” there is no hesitation in my answer.  The benefits of having family pets are truly amazing!

 

Many of us already know some of the top benefits of growing up with pets.  Seriously, look at this picture.  PURE JOY AND HAPPINESS!  Studies show that growing up with pets creates:

HIGHER SELF ESTEEM…

PATIENCE…

   (for both the child and the pet 😉)

LEARNING TO SHARE…
EMPATHY & COMPASSION…

RESPONSIBILITY…

THE MANY BENEFITS OF PETS~

However, there are so many other benefits as well.  I constantly am reading about “screen time” rules.  There are many learning opportunities with technology today, but kids also need to get outside.  Time spent playing outside increases exponentially when they have the opportunity to play with their furry friends.

Which then leads to very interesting, yet fun bath times….

ADDITIONAL BENEFITS OF HAVING A PET~

Owning a furry friend also provides many life lessons.  Lessons of birth, sickness and unfortunately death.  These are not subjects we choose to talk about, however, they are a fact of life, and we must all teach our children how to deal with each one.  They watch and learn from us when dealing with each of these situations.

Along with these lessons are ones more in the way of biology.  What is the purpose of whiskers?  How does a snake digest it’s food?  If my pet is very small, like a goldfish, does it still have a heart?  Why doesn’t a dog have to blow it’s nose?  Does a cat really have 9 lives?  How do birds sleep?  How do you know if your hamster is a boy or a girl?  So many learning opportunities here!!!

Another big topic is bullying.  There is a myriad of articles out there explaining why having a pet helps curb bullying.  This personal story discusses how having a pet helped out.  Not only does she explain how her dog was a great companion, but it also gives examples of how animals (of all types) can be a benefit to children, even  if you are not allowed to have pets in your current living situation:  https://www.ourfamilyworld.com/bullying-and-cyberbullying/bullying-prevention-bullying-and-cyberbullying/pet-stop-bullying-boost-self-esteem/

TYPES OF PETS~

I urge you to consider letting your child raise different types of pets.  Many people do not think of any companions besides a dog or cat.  This is a great read on the types and benefits of other options available to us:  https://www.healthline.com/health/best-pets-for-kids#brine-shrimp .  Of course, all pets have different types of care you need to consider.  Not all of these animals/reptiles are cuddly yet they can still be good companions.

Have you considered any of these options?  Fish, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, birds, turtles, lizards, frogs, geckos, rats…yes rats!  Explore your options!

SO…SHOULD I GET A PET?

Once again, YES!  More than anything, pets help teach a child about unconditional love.  A love that every child should receive and give!

Ground Rules for Grandparents!

IMPORTANT GROUND RULES FOR GRANDPARENTS ~ MAKE SURE YOU READ TO THE END!!!

 

This says it all, right?  When the grandchildren are at Grandma and Grandpa’s house,  there are no rules for Grandparents.  I believe in earlier decades this was the case.  Maybe it’s because families tended to live closer to each other, and the generations were more inclined to raise the kids the way they themselves had been raised.  I’m going to put it out there….I miss those days.  They just seemed simple and there weren’t so many rules.

Brad and I are very lucky.   Our daughter and son-in-law are raising their children much like we raised her.  We had rules–but they weren’t stringent.  We have always had the belief if you teach your kids to have respect, they will stay within the boundaries you set more often than if you try to raise them with an iron fist.  RESPECT – for elders, for your parents, for siblings, for those less fortunate, for those more fortunate, for animals.

That being said, when Lauren does express an opinion on something she would like us to do while we have the kids, we try our hardest to follow those rules.  I’m not even going to say we do a perfect job of it, but we respect her as a mother enough that we usually succeed.  A prime example is when she asks us to serve them more water than juices.  I do a fairly good job of it.  But have you seen these faces?

They melt my heart every…single…time!  I know every grandparent feels this way about their grandkids as well.  So darnit, sometimes it’s just hard to not say yes to everything!  So here are rules we certainly try to abide by.

RULES TO FOLLOW:

2.  Have Essentials Stocked ~ Load that fridge up with all of their favorites!

3.  Make Life Easier on Your Own Children When They Visit ~ Look for fun ways to help get the grandkids to eat their veggies or have the grandchildren help clean up.  This will help ease stress on your children so they can relax and enjoy the visit too.

4.  Have Lots of Books & Games ~ It doesn’t matter if they are old games you have saved or new ones you purchased…just have them handy.  But don’t just HAVE them….play them!

5.  Keep Toiletries and Personal Items Stocked ~ Keep a toothbrush for each child, baby soap and shampoo, fun bath towels, swimming suits if there is an opportunity for swimming, detangler spray (a must for my baby girl), vitamins, baby medicines like Tylenol or cough syrup, extra diapers and wipes and pajamas.

6.  DVD’s & VHS Tapes ~  Yes, I actually said VHS.  Did your kids have a lot of favorite movies on tape?  You can be sure your grandchildren will LOVE watching what their parents used to enjoy!

7.  Stock Up on Fun Kitchen Ware ~  They all love to eat and drink from a fun plate with their favorite characters.  Not to mention, sippy cups that don’t leak which will save a lot of stress from spills.  We also really love these fun drinks.  I personally think they are a tad expensive to buy new ones all of the time so we get a few favorites and then wash them out and reuse them a while.  (These make it more fun to drink that water mom demands 😉) :

                                                                 

Aren’t these so fun?  And these are just a few examples of the options available.  You can pretty much get whatever their favorite character is at the moment.  Most stores carry them, but there are usually more options on Amazon.   You can use the link below to have them shipped to you:

good2grow Paw Patrol Collector 100% Apple Juice, 6-pack of 6-Ounce Spill Proof Character Top Bottles, Non-GMO with no Sugar Added and Excellent Source of Vitamin C (Character Tops May Vary)

In Closing:

Did you think I forgot Rule #1???  I would NEVER forget Rule #1,  and I don’t think you will either

RULE #1 ~ LOVE AND HUG ON THOSE GRANDBABIES EVERY SINGLE CHANCE YOU GET!  Aferall, love is the greatest of all things!

 

 

Tie Breaker ~ Grandbaby #3 ~ Boy or Girl?

The secret is out!  Grandbaby #3 is on it’s way to becoming a part of our little family, and it is due to enter the world on January 1, 2021.  I’m not sure who is more excited…Mom and Dad or Mimi and Pappy.

As you add children to your family, you originally wonder how can I possibly have more love for another child when my heart is so full already.  You quickly discover that the love inside of you grows as each child is born.  Then you become a Grandma, and it continues to grow even more.  Isn’t God amazing?  He takes this little organ in your body and somehow makes room for it to expand more and more.

Is it a boy or is it a girl?  It’s so exciting to have that discussion in the early months of the pregnancy, but as it turns out we soon realize it doesn’t matter…it is just another blessing!  Now, you can ask Addi & Max what they think and you get a totally different perspective.  They DO have very definite opinions of having another brother or sister.

Though this is Lauren’s third baby…and she CLEARLY knows about all of the pregnancy woes, somehow I still find it completely necessary to constantly instruct her about what she should and should not be doing to take care of this little bundle of joy.  “Don’t lift that Lauren–Lauren, you do know you should be careful in this heat–Lauren, are you staying hydrated–Lauren, get sleep whenever you can!”–and on and on I go.  What I love about Lauren during all of this craziness is that she stays level headed and just says, “Ok mom,” when I know sometimes she would love to just yell, “I GOT THIS…I’M NO LONGER A ROOKIE AT THIS PREGNANCY THING!”  That’s my girl…an amazing daughter and an amazing mom!

So now we are at the stage of what do we still have around the house for when they visit, and what do we need to buy?  We try to have as many items as possible at our house so they don’t have to carry all of the baby seats, high chair, baby toys, bibs, formula, baby food, etc. with them every time they come to visit.  *Note to new grandparents, this ensures they will come to visit more when you make this process easier! 😉

Interestingly enough, we never made that jump to buying a crib, which I am shocked we haven’t done.  Instead, we use the Pack ‘N Play, and this has truly turned out to be a good substitute.

But as we all know, baby products just keep getting better with time, so I am currently researching to see just what I need to add to the “Mimi arsenal of baby gadgets.”  One item I am completely impressed with is the Binxy Baby Shopping Cart Hammock.  Wow, does this make life much easier.  There is room for baby and yet still room for groceries…AMAZING!

So when you offer to give the new mom some quiet time and you take the kids, little junior (or little princess) included, for an outing…Voila!  You will never look at shopping with a baby the same way!  Plenty of room for groceries AND all of those little toys that the other grandkids sneak into the cart.

BINXY BABY Shopping Cart Hammock | The Original | Holds All Car Seat Models | Ergonomic Infant Carrier + Positioner

I’ve provided the link above for you to check it out….something compact to keep in your car and have whenever needed.

It is fun to see what new, trendy items are out there, so I will continue the search and share any fun products I learn of.  After all, us grandparents need to stay in the know!

 

 

Secret Treasures

Evidently there is some secret character that comes and drops coins in the landscape when Addi and Max come to visit.  Even more curious is that it seems they all are found in the general vicinity of Pappy’s grilling area….hmmm!

When the kids first get to our house, there is flurry of activity with very important decisions regarding snacks, drinks, and what toys they want to play with.  Meanwhile, Pappy will scurry off outside to start the firepit and grill for the evening.

Once all decisions have been made, we all head outside, with little hands full of all the goodies they have collected inside.  However, even better treasures await them outside.  Pappy announces, “Addi, Max~get over here quick!  It looks like secret treasures have been left yet again.

They run over by Pappy, already forgetting those items that were oh so important just a few minutes ago…and the search begins!  Quickly, Addi eyes some silver and copper coins (she is the master egg hunter just like her mother!).

However, they know there are still more goods to uncover in the rocky path, so they continue on~each trying to find the most coins to add to their piggy banks (or pockets if we are discussing Max).

This continues on until the every inch of the area has been combed.  They make sure to put their new finds in their own secret areas to save away for a rainy day.  Leave it to Pappy, he has always been the one to help us all understand the importance of saving….all while making it fun!

                               

 

Memory Journals

“Memory Journals you ask?  I have baby books that I many times struggle getting everything recorded in!”

I agree…while the idea of writing down all of the memories is a terrific idea…sometimes it is hard enough just doing life!  However, keeping a journal by the side of your bed makes it easier to keep up with.  Maybe you can set a goal to try to write in it weekly…monthly…or quarterly.  Capturing some of the precious moments is better than none at all.

How many times have you chuckled softly to yourself when your child says something funny….or maybe even a little naughty (like a cuss word), but it just sounded so cute!  You try to recall that moment (that you thought you would NEVER forget) just a couple of days later….and it has vanished into that vast dark hole in your head that is trying to keep up with everyone’s schedules and activities.

I kept a journal for each of my children.  Sometimes I would journal regularly and then forget for awhile and start back up a couple of months later.  I wrote funny things they said, cute things they did, and times they were mad and were going to run away or threw them selves down in the middle of the mall.  I also described their Halloween outfits each year (those really start running together after years pass).   I wrote of special memories with a friend or family member (i.e. how we would go to “little” Grandma’s house after Halloween and let her empty our coveted goodies in the middle of the floor and let her pick out her favorites).   I added memories of their school involvement and much, much more.

However, I also wrote about the times that I was frustrated as a mother….no one really likes to talk about that~to admit that there are times you are so frustrated that it makes you feel like a bad mom.   The times you need to count to 100 instead of just 10.  It’s important to know that it is normal to feel overwhelmed…and more importantly to not  feel guilty about this.   I want them to read their journals when they have their families and understand you do get overwhelmed, but it doesn’t mean you love your children any less.

I had planned on starting “Mimi” journals early on and failed.  However, as stated earlier, some memories are better than none.  These grandchildren amaze us every day.  In fact, I wish I had a nickel for every time I call Brad at work to tell him something funny the kids have said or done.  So I have now started a journal for Addi & Max.  I plan on trying to write in it more often….this brain is more forgetful now than it was in my younger years.  It’s important to me that they know how very much I cherish being their Mimi!

         

 

Wildlife Feeders

Anyone who knows Mimi knows my love for all animals.  This is something our daughter is instilling in her kids as well.  I truly believe children who are taught to love and care for animals carry that on into how they act with their friends.

This fun little craft requires only 2 items:  pipe cleaners and cheerios.  What a fun activity that benefits wildlife.

   

Start out by making a loop at the end of your pipe cleaner.  Addi & Max had fun trying to slide the cheerios that were stuck together in different formations onto the pipe cleaners without breaking them.  Addi also used her creative side and decided to start forming the pipe cleaners in different shapes.

Once we had several done we went out to hang them.  It’s best to hang them on branches that have others close by for birds (or other wildlife) to munch on more easily.

           

Now we get to sit and anxiously wait for those birds to find them and start feasting!

Let’s Dance!

Dance:  the movement of the body in a rhythmic way, usually to music and within a given space, for the purpose of expressing an idea or emotion, releasing energy, or simply taking delight in the movement itself.

How long has it been since you danced?  Really danced–letting go of all stress and just taking delight in the movement itself?  For Brad and I as a couple it has been a while.  We used to love dancing!  We would go every single weekend when we were dating.  When I sit and reminisce about those days I am filled with pure joy!  So why did we stop?  Life got in the way I suppose.

Enter Addi & Max….they have brought that fun back into our lives!  Every time we have an overnight–after dinner is done, one of the kids yells “Alexa, play <insert their favorite song of the moment>, and we all dance around the kitchen like crazy.  Thus the sign that is now a focal point in our kitchen.  We play new music that they are obsessed with and then we play old music that Brad and I are obsessed with…and we abandon all cares and just have FUN!

           

 

 

 

When the evening is over and jammies are put on and teeth are brushed, we snuggle in with movies.  Only to wake up and…..DANCE AGAIN!  Isn’t it amazing that with all the toys and gadgets out there, that you can have so much fun just dancing.

            

It is a must that all members of the family join in on this family fun!  Afterall, this is a great activity that is sure to bring smiles but also is a great form of keeping active with the whole family.  More fun can be added in with the addition of this awesome game…. Check out this entertaining family dance game!  This will be sure to have the kid’s often saying, “let’s dance!”

I ask again, how long has it been since you danced?

I Spy – Dig In

I Spy Dig In, The Great Game of Frantic Finding, Fast Paced Color & Shape Identification Game For Kids

Man, was I excited when I came across this awesome game!!!  Are your kiddos fans of  I Spy?  Our family loves everything I Spy!

What I have discovered is so great about this game is that you can alter the rules for all age groups.  My 2 grandchildren’s ages are quite a challenge when trying to find something that both kids will enjoy.  We have come up with many different versions of rules to make everyone happy.  You can play with or without the timer, depending on the ages.

However, the game cards included do come with different playing levels as well.  If I am honest, I must say I have yet to conquer the challenging side of the cards within the allotted time….so this game should last us awhile!

Click on the green link above to go straight to Amazon and order yours today….you will NOT regret adding this one to your game closet.

Update – December 18, 2020

While we continue to have so much fun with the I Spy Dig In game, we have since discovered I Spy Eagle Eye.  Check out the I Spy Eagle Eye game here!!!  In this fast paced game, you race to be the first one to find all of the items on your card and ring the bell to share your victory!  Just like the I Spy Dig In game, this can also be played with different ages which is a huge plus in my book.

There are so many references to how I Spy type games can boost both memory and visual learning in kids.  One such article is from Scholastic, which I am sure we all agree is a leading source in learning.  Read more about the I Spy Book benefits as cited by Scholastic.  This is a great read about why I Spy books and games are so beneficial for your kids.  Even better is that teachers agree!!!

Any time you can pair learning with fun it is a win-win!  In fact, I enjoy sometimes just sitting back and watching the gears turning in their heads as they are making decisions and manipulating the game boards.  Not to mention the big smiles on their faces when they complete their task!

I Spy Printables ~

This is another excellent way to bring more search & find fun to your kids.  You can find so many fun options on Pinterest, like the ones I discovered here by “And Next Comes L.”  They offer you over 100 pages of I spy printables with an array of different fun themes.   Loads of free I Spy printables by And Next Comes L.  As they suggest in their article, these come in handy for different times, such as while you are preparing dinner or when you need quiet time.

You can also get creative and make your own as I did here ➡➡Scroll down here for a fun shark I Spy!  It is just so worthwhile to find as many I Spy sources as possible for continued learning and fun!  As stated earlier in this post, we have always been big fans of search and find games and books.  While I still believe I Spy Dig In is a must have, it is also worthwhile to check out all of the other options out there as well!

Keep Searching…and keep having fun!

 

 

 

 

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