Can you smell it? The pungent smell of firewood burning with marshmallows toasting. The spicy aroma of cinnamon. The sweet yet tart fragrance of apples. The sweet creamy buttery scent of caramel. And of course, everything pumpkin! Are you as excited as I am that we are entering the beautiful season of fall?
We were blessed with a volunteer pumpkin harvest of mini pumpkins this year. The result of leaving our pumpkins around a little too long last year. So while I hate to admit I was negligent in cleaning up my fall decor in a decent amount of time, I am now excited that I did so. However, I now am nervous that our little beauties will rot before the end of this season. Interestingly enough, I mistakenly came upon an article regarding preserving pumpkins and gourds.
I am loving this new blogging journey so much! Not only because I love to write, but also because I am meeting so many others on the same journey. Many of these women are young moms. Yes, that part of my life has passed, but isn’t it still our responsibility to encourage the next generation? Not only in this crazy year of 2020, but always because it is important that we raise good humans!
I recently have read several other blogs about ideas for raising kids who are kind to others. I especially loved this post by “Simply Snapping” that is cleverly titled, “Raising Kids Who Aren’t Jerks!” Catchy isn’t it? Read this great idea which includes a great interactive calendar for kids! She walks through daily ideas of how to help kids focus on kindess. A wonderful interactive calendar for kids is also included for you to print off and have your children follow along with to promote kindness in various ways….clever!!!
Teaching kids to be kind gets tricky when they are with a group of friends. They know how they should act, but peer pressure kicks in. If we teach our children that it is brave to be kind, it can make them feel better about their choices. Everyone likes to feel brave!
It’s Brave to Be Kind by Natasha Daniels~
There are a lot of wonderful books out there to help reinforce kindness in our children. This inspirational book includes a story as well as activites! Click here to get your copy of “It’s Brave to Be Kind”. As we all know, this is a year with a lot of hatred being spewed everywhere we look. It seems to be especially important in these times to help our children understand how important empathy and friendliness are. These are the things I love about this book:
The character is a little girl who meets someone different from her and learns to be kind, even when others aren’t.
Activities are included to reinforce how to be kind to others
Tips are provided to use both the story and activities to learn skills of kindness and empathy
Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler by Margery Cuyler
Another great book that helps kids understand that they really can make a difference! Mrs. Ruler challenges each student to complete five acts of kindness. It takes some time for some of the students to join in, but soon the entire class is filling the bulletin board with all of their good deeds. Whether doing helpful tasks within their own homes or reaching outside of the home to help those in need, the kids quickly learn that each deed makes the world a better place! Get your copy of this wonderful book here!
These are just a couple of the books I like among the many, many options out there. I believe we need to make a concentrated effort to continue to reinforce these ideas to our children from an early age. In fact, with our current situation in the world creating more depression, sadness and anger, I am focusing on it even more than normal. I have created a new Pinterest board named Raising Good Humans that I will be continually adding to as I see more great ideas. I hope you will check them out. Click here for more ideas on spreading kindness one step at a time!
As Ellen always says, “Be kind to one another!” Hugs to all!
Birthdays are a big deal! It has always been important to me that our children felt extra special on their birthday. I began decorating the kid’s bedroom doors early on so that their special day began with a smile. Back then this mostly consisted of streamers and/or balloons. (If only I had access to Pinterest in my early motherhood years!!!) Now there are so many creative ideas to making a Birthday Door!
I waited until the kids would fall asleep. Those who know me understand that this could be an issue at times….I decompress quickly as the evening rolls around. I would then tape long streamers from the top of the door frame down to the floor. I would usually use 2 or 3 different colors, depending on their favorite at the time. I then would run the streamers across from one side of the wall to the other in the hallway. These would be at different heights giving them no choice but to crawl through or over them to get out of their room and down for breakfast. In spite of how tired I may have been, I am so glad that I continued this tradition with our children. As they got older, it became more apparent at how much they loved this!
It’s 6 days away folks…Shark Week 2020 airs from Sunday, August 9 to Sunday, August 16. I’m sure if you take a poll about people’s favorite animals you will rarely get the answer of shark. Then why is it that there is such a frenzy around shark week every year? Because they are fascinating creatures! The episodes are not only fascinating to watch, but the week as a whole becomes a flurry of themed food and crafts. Check out these fun shark games and crafts to make learning about sharks more exciting at your house.
Shark Alphabet Game:
As you can imagine, we are joining in on the fun! There are a vast amount of fun ideas out there! Check out this fun idea for toddlers and preschoolers! I love how they cut out fish in various colors and put letters on each one. What a fun way to work with letters for preschoolers while working with colors for toddlers….definitely a bonus when you can find an activity that reaches different age groups. Of course, you can also have the older kids spell different words before feeding the fish to the shark. Another benefit of this activity is the kids can jump in and help cut out the fish. Addi is loving learning how to cut right now.
Another fun idea is making sharks out of clothespins.
Supplies Needed ~
Acrylic paint – gray, red, blue, white
Hot glue or strong hold craft glue
Depending on age of your children, either paint ahead or have the children help paint the clothespin(s) in blue or gray. Acrylic paint dries pretty fast.
While clothespins are drying, cut out one dorsal fin, one tail fin and two pectoral fins for each shark.
Glue the fins in place with hot glue or strong craft glue. Once glue has dried, pain the fins to match the shark.
Squeeze open the shark mouth and paint red inside.
Cut shark teeth out of cardboard using zigzag pattern (or zigzag scissors if you have them.) Glue the teeth in place.
Glue eyes on top of clothespin.
As we prepare at our house for a week filled with shark excitement, I will be sharing all the fun ideas we find with you. If you have any great ideas, please be sure to share them in the comments at the end of this post!
Links for Shark games, puzzles and crafts below~
Paper House Productions: A fun new site I recently discovered. Check them out in this link. Once you are on their site, click on animals in the options at the left and you will find an Animal Match Up Game Set that includes and Ocean set . Bonus…it’s on sale right now!
This was a huge success! As I continue to search for the best indoor activities that are fun, yet inexpensive, for the grandkids, I occasionally hit upon a winner~Quiet Boxes! The best part is that everything pictured here, including the box, came from the Dollar Store.
Seriously, have you been to the Dollar Store recently? I took my time and perused the aisles looking for specific items that I knew each child would be interested in. With the ages of our two, I tried to keep the items pretty similar to keep jealousy at bay, yet still catering to their specific current “likes.”
These are the items I chose for each box:
Coloring book and box of crayons
Small pads of paper
Character cut out sets to color
I explained to the kids that these boxes were “only” for quiet time. When we want to play with these boxes, we must put all other toys away. Likewise, when we are done playing, we must put everything back into the box to be ready for the next time that we want time to ourselves. The kids quickly dug in, pulled EVERYTHING out, and forgot about everything else around them while they enjoyed their own “special” box. What’s even better, is that when we were ready for dinner, they put everything back. They are anxious to keep their box together.
I would like to point out that when I purchased the Colorforms I was super excited!!! Do you remember these? I saw these in the store and immediately traveled back to my childhood. I have memories of being so excited every time my mom would purchase a new set for me to play with. I told my husband about them and he looked at me like I was a crazy woman. I guess not everyone played with these when they were young. 🤷♀️ So of course, I did what every Mimi of the 21st century does and I jumped on to Amazon to see if I could find more. My goodness, there are so many:
These are a few of our favorites above. They cost a little more than the Dollar Store sets, but they are bigger sets, so still worth the price.
You can also build off of this idea and make “Busy Bags” for the children. This would be a great idea for times you take the kids somewhere that you know there may not be other toys or children for them to play with. Once again, when a child knows they have some special bag or box that is only theirs, you will be amazed how much they look forward to it.
Whether you are a parent or a grandparent, I think you will find this to be a very worthwhile project. Let me know if you try it out!
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.
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.
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
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!
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…
(for both the child and the pet 😉)
LEARNING TO SHARE…
EMPATHY & COMPASSION…
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!!!
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!
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:
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.
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!
This post and its photos may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you make a purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you!