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

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Tooth Fairy Fun

So your baby lost their first tooth?  (or getting ready to?)  This is a bittersweet moment for sure!!!  Usually there is a lot of hype leading up to the big event once the tooth gives it’s first wiggle.  Feelings of excitement and fear for the child.  Feelings of nostalgia for the parents.  Regardless of all the different emotions, it is time to dig in and decide on how your family will spread tooth fairy fun!

Of course, the first thought is to go with the traditional route of how the tooth fairy visited you when you were a child.  This is a perfect way to hand down family traditions.  Or maybe you have decided to switch it up a bit.  You’ve seen some fun new ideas you would like to try.   Whatever you decide to do, just remember that you have 19 more teeth to go!

This doesn’t mean you have to do exactly the same thing with each tooth.  I’m only suggesting that you remember that the tooth fairy fun you have with the first tooth will set the stage for the following ones.  Honestly, my biggest memory of those days was trying to make sure I had enough cash on hand for when it finally happened.

The Going Rate for the Tooth Fairy ~

Have you found yourself wondering, “What exactly is the going rate for teeth these days?”  You are not alone.  There are so many articles at your fingertips of what the popular price is for that little gem.  In fact, a new findings were just released by Delta Dental for 2020.  Read the Delta Dental current report here regarding the all time high giving for the tooth fairy!   The beauty of tooth fairy fun is that in the end, you get to decide how you want to move forward…You are the Boss!

Fun Tooth Fairy Ideas ~

With Addi recently losing her first tooth (actually first 2 teeth in the same day!), I had fun looking at some current trends.  As you are deciding what your family is going to do, check out these great ideas:

Fairy Antics ~

This AMAZING post by BuzzFeed is one of the best I have seen!  Here are some of the ideas they share:

You can also choose to put something other than money under their pillow as well.  These specialty pressed fairy pennies are something that all children will cherish for years to come.  Adorable Tooth Fairy Pressed Pennies…check them out!

Tooth Storage ~

Make or purchase a tooth pillow.  This is not only cute, but makes losing that tooth almost impossible.  If you have ever lost a tooth under the pillow you will understand this!  It’s VERY hard to not wake the child when you are frantically routing around under the pillow to find that small little tooth.  (Did I mention how SMALL those teeth are? 😬)

Tooth Fairy Books ~

As mentioned earlier, this event brings on many emotions.  Having some great books on hand is essential to helping your little one feel more of the excitement and less of the anxiety.

The Night Before the Tooth Fairy

Fancy Nancy and the Too-Loose Tooth

How to Catch the Tooth Fairy

The options are endless!  What is important is that you find a way to make this time-honored tradition a fun experience.  I will leave you with this funny youtube video by 3sAnimals.com of some very clever ideas in helping to get that little rascal out!  You will definitely find yourself laughing!  Let me know if you have any fun ideas or pictures to share!

Very clever tooth pulling videos on YouTube!

With Love ~

Mimi

Sampling Book Clubs for Kids – Round 2

The jury is still out on which book club subscription is The Best for kids.  In fact, what I am quickly learning is that there are many different positives to what each company has to offer.  My hope is that by detailing each one as my grandkids and I personally try them out, that you can then choose which one is the perfect one for YOUR family.  Basically, what is perfect for one family may not be perfect for the other.  However, I am positive there IS a perfect one for each and every one of you.   With all of that being said, please read on about our thoughts on sampling book clubs for kids – round 2!

Bookroo ~

This is the subscription we are currently subscribed to.  I chose the Picture Book Club for ages 3 to 6 as this choice perfectly fit the ages of my grandchildren.  We recently received our first shipment and were very excited to explore what books we had been sent.

WINNIE~

Bookroo includes a leaflet with the featured book for each month.  Winnie ~ The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-The-Pooh was this month’s selection.  I had NO clue there was a real bear who inspired this furry little guy that has been a part of almost every child’s life at some point.   Sally M. Walker is the author of this delightful story set during the time of WWII.

Addi and Max eagerly climbed up to listen to this tale of a bear named Winnie whose journey began through adoption by a vet on his way to WWII.  It is a wonderful story that I believe will become a favorite over time.  I shortened some of the paragraphs while reading to them as some were a bit long for their comprehension.  Even though we skimmed some pages, the kids were engrossed with the adventures of this cute little bear.

**SPOILER ALERTS** ~

A couple of fun facts about Winnie the Pooh that you may or may not have already known:

  • Winnie the Pooh is a GIRL
  • Christopher Robin really did exist
  • Winnie the Pooh was an American black bear
  • Christopher Robin’s father, A. A. Milne, was the original author of Winnie the Pooh

OLD MACDONALD HAD A TRUCK ~

What a fun twist to an old favorite!!!  Old MacDonald is on his farm….with an excavator, a front loader, a bulldozer….and more!  Lots of fun construction equipment in this story!

With a puuush push here, and a puuush push there, here a push, there a push, everywhere a puuuush push!  The kids love singing along to the new lyrics this story introduces.

Bookroo recommendation ~

We LOVED the selection of books so much that we are going to keep this subscription for another month before sampling another book club subscription.  The quality of books are fantastic and the selection was well rounded.  I think a key component to a great book for kids (next to the story itself) is the illustrations.  Both of these books were filled with fun pictures that made the book more enticing to read.

I am very happy to add these to Mimi’s book basket and later to the bookshelf.  Yes, I keep a basket of current books in a basket in the living room for easy access.  It is amazing how quickly the kids run to that basket to select which book they want to read.  When it gets full or a new holiday comes along, the older books go to the bookshelf and the basket gets filled with a new fun selection.

Sampling Book Clubs for Kids ~

The first subscription book club we had was Owl Posts for Kids.  It was also a great book club that the kids looked forward to.  Read about Owl Post Books and other kid’s book subscription boxes we are going to sample here!!!  We received books from them for about 6 months.  There are several posts that I shared on the various books and crafts we received.  You can check out the fun we had with them below!

Check out the books and crafts received by Owl Post Books here!

We are looking forward to trying to help your family choose the perfect book club for you.  Reading is such an integral part of learning and family time.  Book club subscriptions make that family time much easier.  Please share your experiences in the comments at the bottom of this post or your thoughts on Sampling Book Clubs for Kids ~ Part 2!

 

Celebrate Valentine’s Day…All Year Long!

The holiday of love….a sentiment we all need much more of in our lives!  A day we go out of our way to let our loved ones know how special they are.   It doesn’t have to be monumental acts, just small intentional acts of love shown more often throughout the year.  So if it all makes us feel so good, why shouldn’t we focus on these activities more often.  Why not celebrate Valentine’s Day…all year long!

I follow a great blog, Messy Joyful Journey, and her recent post had several amazing ideas that I want to share with you as well.  (Check out Messy Joyful Journey blog here…you will love it!).

Love Note Journals ~

Oh…my…gosh!  I absolutely love this idea!  Journaling of any type is always a good thing.  In fact, I wrote earlier about Memory Journals.  Do you remember that post?  Read more about Memory Journals by clicking here!  These are journals you write to to your kids over the years.

A Love note journal is shared with your spouse or partner.  It is the writing back and forth between the two of you over the years.  You are going to love this love note journal post by Messy Joyful Journey…check it out here!  How wonderful to have a beautiful journal filled with special messages to pick up and read any time you need an extra dose of love!

Cook Together ~

Do you both love to cook?  Then why not plan more nights of cooking together?  It can be as simple or as complicated as you want, just do it together.  There are some fun cookbooks out there like this one ➡➡➡Get your own copy of Date Night Dinners right here!!!

If you don’t like to cook, then order in but create a fun setting with candles and eat in the living room!  Or order several items and do a taste test, while blindfolded!!!

Pottery Adventures ~

We ALL LOVE that scene from Ghost with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, am I right?  (Please don’t tell me you have never seen it!!!)  So, why, if we all LOVE it have we not planned a pottery night with our loved one?  It may not be quite as romantic as that scene in the movie, but it will still be something fun and different.  Then you can head home and watch the movie together!

Dance Together ~

I’m not talking about the typical type of dancing you may already do together.  Learn a new type of dance…take classes together.  Sorry, but I have to reference another movie.  Have you watched Shall We Dance with Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez, and Susan Sarandon?    In fact, there are numerous movies out there where couples learn different style of dancing…and it’s just romantic!

Speaking of dancing…when is the last time that the two of you danced in the rain????

Adventure Challenger – Couples Edition ~

Another fantastic idea shared by Carrie from Messy Joyful Journey.  You need to add some new and different excitement to your life?  Then look no further…well maybe click one more time right here➡➡➡More fun from Messy Joyful Journey…click here and scroll down a bit to read more about the Adventure Challenge!  A book full of mystery date adventures….need I say more?

Picnic Anyone? ~

Rain or shine…pack up a picnic basket, spread out that blanket and share some good food and wine!  Setting the scene is important.  Otherwise, it’s just another day!  In fact, this is a fun idea that you should definitely do more than once a year!  Put together a basket you already have or go all out on a romantic fancy one with all the fixins’!

The Perfect Picnic Basket for Two is right here!!!

Camp Together ~

Don’t get too crazy on me until you have read the whole section here!  Maybe you don’t have much (or any) camping gear.  If that is the case, then camp in your backyard.  This allows easy access to things you need!  Once again, these ideas are not supposed to break the bank.  The whole intention is to step out of your comfort zone and add some variety to your life with your mate!

You will need a tent, but you can truly get one very inexpensive.  Who knows?  You may love it and find yourselves planning more camping dates!

Tent for 2 – Easy Setup – Get yours here!!!

Maybe you have some great ideas to add?!?!  Please share them in the comments below…I would love to add them to this post!  Let’s face it, it’s 2021…the year we have all decided has GOT to be better than last!  So spread the love and celebrate Valentine’s Day…ALL YEAR LONG!

 

Zany Bookmark DIY Fun

You need to try these little gems!  Kids not only like to get Valentines, but they love to give them as well!  They will be filled with such pride as they help with everything from the design to the fun tassel finish.  Everyone will love being a part of this zany bookmark DIY fun!

Items Needed:

  • Photographs
  • Scissors
  • String, Yarn, Ribbon, Embroidery Floss
  • Thermal Laminating Pouches
    • (you can use contact paper, but this post is about laminating.  I have not used the contact paper, but have read articles about it)
  • Empty Toilet Paper Roll
  • Optional – Laminating Machine
  • Optional – Print Shop Program

Cut Out Photo Bookmark ~

The most fun to making this one is the photo session itself.  Have the children pose in funny ways with their hands up in the air.  Tell them to pretend they are hanging on to a tree limb or rope.  They can put both hands up or just one.  Encourage them to hold their legs in various ways as if they are suspended in the air.  It is also fun to have them make silly expressions.  This makes the final product so much more fun!

Traditional Style Bookmark ~

You can have just as much fun creating the more traditional style of bookmark.  I love to use The Printshop program to create fun backgrounds and wording.  We had fun with the Valentine sayings and created this one saying “Bee Mine” with a little yellow bee fluttering across the top of the heart.

Once your photo session is over or you have selected from photos you have already taken, you will need to print them.  You can also have them printed at your nearest photo store if you prefer.  I like to print them myself so I can play with the sizing of the photograph. *If you are doing the detailed cutout type, you will want to be sure they are printed large enough to cut a hole in for the tassel.   I love to use my print shop program for that.

Print out all photos you are wanting to use first, then laminate them.  By doing this you can fit as many pictures as possible into the laminating pouch to alleviate excess waste.  I love having a laminating machine.  It comes in handy for so many different projects and they are very inexpensive.  Get your own laminating machine here for only $21.99.

Of course, you will need laminating sheets as well.  I love the pouches.  I found mine at the local craft store, but they do have them online as well.  Get a pack of 100 thermal laminating pouches for only $14.10!!!  I have discovered that buying the larger packs is way more cost efficient.  Plus, it is always good to have them on hand whenever you need them.

         

Once they are laminated, the cutting process can begin.  The children can help with this step as well, however, if they are younger you may want to do the more detailed cutting.  If you have chosen to make the more traditional square ones, you can have the children cut those out with more ease.

Of course, you can spread the love and add your favorite furry friend to the bookmarks as well!

Making Tassels ~

This is where that used toilet paper roll comes in.  Cut the toilet paper roll in half for easier tassel making.  Start wrapping your yarn or embroidery thread around the roll.  Continue wrapping until you get to the desired size.  I wrap mine about 15 to 20 times.  This is another fun activity for the kids to get involved in.

Gently ease the wrapped yarn off of the roll.  Tie a small piece of the same colored yarn (or get artsy and use a different color) around the wrapped yarn about 1/4″ down from the top and tie tightly.  This creates the top of the tassel.  Then cut horizontally across the looped bottom portion to create the dangling tassel part.

As you can see, the yarn creates a poofier (is that even a word???) tassel, while embroidery floss makes a more sleek tassel.  I suggest experimenting with both to see which style you prefer more.

The sky is the limit with this zany bookmark DIY fun…from the photos, to the sayings, to the tassels.  If you don’t have a program to create fun artwork, use old greeting cards or images from magazines.  You can also use various sizes of sticker letters.  Paper House Productions has tons of fun stickers….you really need to check them out!  Check out the HUGE variety of stickers from Paper House Productions here!!!   Here are some fun sayings you can use:

  • You are my fav❤rite person!
  • No bones about it, you are top dog!
  • You are beary special!
  • Bee mine!
  • You’re toadally awesome!
  • Hugs!
  • You’re a purrrfect friend!
  • You shine!
  • Sending you hogs & kisses!
  • I’m so hoppy you are my friend!
  • You have my heart Valentine!
  • Valentine you are out of this world!
  • You’re #1 in my book!
  • I’ve got my eye on you Valentine!
  • You are so cool Valentine!

Go gather your materials and get started on the fun….Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!

Hugs~

Shelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sampling Book Clubs for Kids

If you have been following me, you have read my posts about Owl Post Books.  This has been my first experience in participating in a book club for my grandchildren.  We have thoroughly enjoyed it!  The mystery of discovering what new books and crafts are inside are fun for kids and adults alike.  So a thought hit me…let’s give other subscription boxes a try to see which one we like best.  The idea of sampling book clubs for kids was born and we are ready to embark upon this journey!

As I sample each club, I will update this post to give an honest review…from a Mimi point of view as well as from an Addi & Max point of view.  I hope as we try each one you can all decide which one you may want to try.  As always, if you have tried one or more out, PLEASE let me know in the comments at the bottom of this post.

Book Clubs for Kids ~

Owl Post Books ~

Let’s start with the box ~ even the box is a fun part of this subscription.  Each month is a different theme and the images are very detailed allowing for a fun coloring experience.  Look at this month’s cute animal theme…and it is on front and back of the box.  Of course, this box can also be used as a fun storage device as well!

There are two options to choose from when starting in this fun club.

  • Reader’s Imagination Mini ~ This one features one specially selected book and craft each month for $14.99
  • Reader’s Imagination Box ~ This one features 3 specially selected books and one craft each month for $32.99

It also breaks down into different age groups.

  • Ages 0-3
  • Ages 4-7
  • Ages 8-11

Click here to check out their website➡➡ Owl Post Books.  Depending on when  you go to their website, you may see an option for Young Adult (YA), however, this option is being discontinued.

Overall, our experience with Owl Post Books has been a very good one.  In fact, Addi just recently realized that we did this month’s craft without her and was NOT happy with Mimi.  The book choices have been loved by both kids and they have lots of fun coloring the box.  We highly recommend this monthly book club.

I have shared some earlier reviews of Owl Post Books here:  Read more about the fun we have had with Owl Post Books by clicking here!

They offer 10% off for teachers and you can cancel at any time.  Please check their FAQ page for details.

Bookroo ~

I am placing my first order for Bookroo today.  I have been researching this company quite a bit and it gets great reviews.  I am very anxious to see the type of books we receive.  The reviews all say that the choice of books is phenomenal!   Following is what I have read in my research about this fun book club subscription.

They offer options of prepay or month to month.  Both options are at a discounted rate of up to 50% off of retail value, however, the prepay offers an even deeper discount.  There are 3 options of age groups to choose from.

  • Board Book Club ~ Ages 0-3 ~ You receive 3 board books each month.  The books typically have 8 – 14 pages.
  • Picture Book Club ~ Ages 3-6 ~ You receive 2 hard cover books each month.  The books typically have 32-40 pages.
  • Chapter Book Club ~ Ages 7-10 ~ You receive 2 chapter books each month.  The books typically have 120-280 pages.

They offer a flexible delivery schedule which I personally love.  I like to have the books delivered here so the kids have something to look forward to.  Since they are not here all the time, I can choose a time for delivery that I know they are typically here.  Part of the fun is checking in the mailbox to see if there is something in there for you, right?  They also have a cancel at anytime policy, but as always you should check their FAQ page on their website.

Join me in trying this one out with the 15% coupon below…

Give the gift of reading all year round! Get 15% off today at bookroo.com

Lillypost ~

This one is also on my list as it, too, gets great reviews.  Bonus...you also are helping others with each box you receive!  Their website states:  Pick your box, choose a plan, delight your little one and give back!  How cool is that???  For each box shipped, a book donation to a child in need is given!  You and your child are helping others while still enjoying great books!

Kids Reveal Box ~

Another one that looks great and allows you to help others!  Their website states:  Choose your box, choose your plan, excite the kids and give back.  This club also includes an interactive box that the books are shipped in.  We definitely have added this one to the “must try” list.

Amazon Prime Book Box ~

Of course, we have to add Amazon Prime because I just love everything prime!  They have so many different options that it would be impossible to list them all.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Do you remember Highlights books?? Now you can have them delivered monthly…check it out here!

My First Reading Club – for ages 0-2 ~ Check out their adorable monthly selections here!

I Can Read – Kids Book Club Subscription for Ages 0 – 12 can be checked out here!

I have only touched the tip of the iceberg with my list of options.  As we continue to hear about more subscription boxes for kids, I will be sure to update this post.  I think the grandkids and I are going to have a lot of fun sampling book clubs for kids!

*Note ~ Through my blogging experience, I continue to partner up with different companies that have products/services I love to share with others.  As stated on my site, there are times I earn a commission and times I do not.  Please know any earnings I do make never affect the prices of my readers.   In fact, I am always trying to look for the best value to share with you and just love to find new fun goodies.  If you do see items you like, I hope you will click through and check them out!

 

 

Mother-Daughter Bucket List

Give me a show of hands for those who LOVE spending time with their daughter(s)!  🙋‍♀️  Whether we are sitting with a cup of warm coffee or a glass of chilled wine, my heart soars every time I get time with my girls to just chat.  However, we also go on a lot of fun escapades as well.  We are continuously looking for new adventures.  This led me to create a mother-daughter bucket list.

Now, I must admit that I am the boring one of the group as I don’t particularly care to travel far.  I wish I did, but it just gives me anxiety.  While I am being so open, I will tell you that most of my anxiety comes from packing a suitcase.  Yes, I am that silly!  Luckily, I have amazing daughters that realize this and are just fine with more locally based activities…or ones that are within driving distance.

Bucket List ~

Most people are aware that a bucket list is a list of things you wish to do or accomplish during their lifetime.   I would venture to guess that it became more popular after the wonderful movie The Bucket List.  You have seen this great movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, right?   Of course, in the movie both characters were terminally ill and went on very big adventures before passing.

When you research, you see so many extravagant titles such as 50 Amazing things to do before you die, or 100 Unique bucket list ideas that will change your life.  Those tend to be the ones I read first…and you probably do too.  They are filled with great ideas…some that I have truly never heard of but am still fascinated by.  However, my bucket list isn’t quite that extravagant.

Fun Activities Close to Home ~

  1. Haunted Indianapolis Ghost Walk ~ Those of you who know me are not surprised that this is on the top of my list.  Of course, my daughters share the love of everything scary as well!  Going on a chilly October evening to hear of local haunts while also catching up on local history sounds fabulous!  I would love to hear your reviews if you have done this.  If you have not yet, check it out here … Check out the Haunted Indianapolis Ghost Walk here!
  2. Walk the Entire Monon Trail ~ We have walked portions of it, but have never in its entirety.  It has been improved upon over the years with so many fun stops along the way.  Exercising, Dining and Shopping….sign me up!
  3. Drive on Gravity Hill ~ Another fun thing to do with my girls in Mooresville, Indiana.  Rumor has it that if you put your car in neutral at the “bottom” of the hill, the hill will start to pull it up – in the wrong direction.  Have you heard of it?
  4. Wine & Canvas ~ Surprisingly, we have not yet done this…but we will!  There are so many different options out there now and they all look great.  Does anyone have a favorite they want to recommend?
  5. Go to a Drive-In Movie ~ This was one of my favorite memories as a child and I would love to share the experience with my children and grandchildren!
  6. Go on a Wine Tour ~ Need I say more about this…doesn’t everyone love wine tours?
  7. Ride on a Brew Bus ~ My kids have done this, but I haven’t gotten to experience it yet!
  8. Newfields Winter Lights ~ The pictures I see look amazing and I can’t wait to experience it with my family.
  9. See the Mind Tripping Show ~ A comedy with a psychological twist!
  10. Weekend at Brown County AND Story Inn ~ Hiking, shopping and an overnight in the legendary Blue Room at Story Inn…😨👻
  11. Murder Mystery Dinner ~ We have participated in a murder mystery dinner at a restaurant and it was fun but not quite what I was expecting.  Since then I have always said I would host one at home.  I have looked at many over the last couple of years and have finally decided on this Mardi Gras Mystery.  I think it will be fun to dress up and play this one out.  You can check it out here ➡Murder at Mardi Gras – Host Your Own Murder Mystery Dinner Party

Fun Activities With a Light Drive ~

  1. Salem, Massachcusetts ~ Ok, Ok….so this one will need a flight instead of a drive…the girls and I want to go here so bad that I will give in and fly for this one!  We are going to need several days to explore all of the “witchy” areas!
  2. Indiana Dunes ~ a fun weekend of hiking, biking, dining and exploring will be in store for this fun trip!
  3. Midwest Antiquing ~ There are several fun day/weekend trip plans available to hit all of the local antique shops.
  4. Run, Scream, Run ~   We love 5K’s but so far we have only done local runs.  A 5K/10K run in Michigan with yes, you guessed it, some scary fun added in!

As you see, the non-local mother-daughter bucket list is smaller, but hey, I am  very open to suggestions.  Basically, I just want to do more fun things with the family.  Many times these events are done more with the girls because we have a hard time pulling the guys away from their sports.  Of course, finding activities with the grandkids is just an extra bonus.

Over the last several years, the girls and I have done many fun things together…at home and away from home.   The times we don’t feel like getting out we still enjoy family game nights, cooking together, and watching movies or binge watching the latest drama series, working on puzzles and walking.  So, as stated earlier, the bucket list doesn’t always have to be extravagant.  I just feel very blessed to get every moment I do with these two beautiful girls that I am lucky enough to call my daughters…and my best friends!

 

Do you have a mother-daughter bucket list?  Let me know what is on yours!

Hope to hear from you soon…..with love, Shelly (Mimi)

Social Media Fasting

I’m sitting here literally laughing at myself as I just typed the title of this post.  I have been diligently working and learning all about blogging….and I LOVE it!  As you all know, blogging is all about writing about what you love and sharing it with others.  In order to share, you have to make yourself known…and this of course mostly happens through social media.  So WHY am I writing an article about Social Media Fasting???

As much as I truly love technology and everything social media, I also love everything family!  I have had many debates with others over the years about the positives vs. the negatives of social media.  Both sides have very valid points, but for me it’s a good thing.  I have reconnected with so many people I had lost touch with…followed family fun of others…enjoyed seeing pictures…celebrated milestones with my children’s friends that have grown up and started work and now have families of their own.  This list goes on and on.

WHY???

However, I do think taking a break from social media…short, intermittent breaks….can bring many positives into your world.  Try this for 24 hours.  Then try it once a week or once a month.  I’m betting you will be very surprised.  I just finished a 24-hour fast from social media and game apps.  I surrounded myself with blank paper and books.  Every time I went to pick up my phone to check the latest updates, I set it down and picked up a book or paper instead.  Those books were about prayer and positive writings.  I then prayed after I read each time.

I have been following a local family that has gone through a great tragedy with their children.  I tried this fasting upon the request from a large following that asked everyone to give up something and pray in return for the family.  I am a strong believer in the power of prayer, but I have gained more from this than what I expected.  You, too, can follow this family on Facebook ~ Light for Levi and Lainey.

What I Gained From Social Media Fasting ~

  • More time in prayer, not only for this very precious family, but for my own!
  • Relaxation – my brain relaxed!
  • Sleep – Ahhhh, this was amazing and I’m assuming it was because of the above bullet point!
  • Time to read – something I love but tend to put off to play “just one more game!”
  • More time to communicate with my family….talking and LISTENING!  I have been working on listening lately.  Really listening.  My mind is so often moving on to the next thing that I have realized I do listen, but I’m not always fully “hearing”…or my head is buried in my phone too much to listen intently.

What I Expect to Gain Long Term ~

I am setting a date on my calendar to do a 24-hour fast each month.  Eventually it may be each week, but I want to take it slow so I can make it stick.  I have no intention of giving up social media…I love it too much!  Just taking time once a month to make myself enjoy the other things in life I have put on the back burner.  Once you start letting those other important elements back into your life, you may find how much you miss them.

What to Do While Fasting ~

  • Read!  Read passages in the Bible, self help books or that novel you have been wanting to dig in to!  Did you know that you can do a quick search on Amazon of New York Times current best sellers….it doesn’t get any easier than that!!!  I’ve put a quick link in for you here to check it out:    New York Times Best Sellers
  • Write!  Jot down what is in your head, write poetry, write a letter (remember snail mail???), write a story…just write!  I love to have loads of different pens and paper available for this.  I have recently become an affiliate of a couple of really cool stationery companies..I hope you will check them out!
  • Yoga!  Whether you have done yoga before or not, it is something everyone should look into.  So take that social media break and spend some time stretching and destressing!  I wrote about this in an earlier blog post.  You can do yoga as a family too…Yoga with Meddy Teddy!
  • Get Outdoors!  There is nothing like fresh air…whether it’s hot or cold!  Take a walk, do some yard work or just sit and get some natural vitamin D.  Leave the phone inside for a bit!
  • Cook!   Ok…you can use your phone but ONLY if it is to look up a recipe…don’t cheat….no social media or games!
  • Pray and Meditate!  It’s just good for your soul!  Mark 10:27 ~ All things are possible with God!
  • Call Someone!  Reach out and catch up with a friend or family member.

Whether it is something from the list above or another favorite hobby, try a little social media fasting and see what a mere 24 hours can do.  Seriously, 24 hours doesn’t seem like a long time but I know I sure was amazed by it!  I slept better and woke up with a fantastic start to my day feeling good about what I had read the night before!

It’s Time for A Challenge!

Are you up for it?  Subscribe to my page and work along with me!  Let’s do a 24 hour challenge once a week for the next 4 weeks.  #SMFChallengewithMimi.  Respond in the comments or click on the subscribe button (at the right on desktop or at the bottom of the blog on phone) so we can support each other.  What are you waiting for????

Loving Life ~ Shelly (Mimi)

 

Valentine’s Day Family Fun

Valentine’s Day ~ The celebration of romance and love!  My dad always said it was another Hallmark holiday…😂!  As a child, it is such a fun day to share Valentine’s cards and specialty candies with your friends.  But it can be so much more than that.  Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I have always loved this holiday and I still do.  For us it evolved into a special time to have some Valentine’s Day family fun!

If your children are of school age, you are probably already working ahead with them to create their decorated box or bag to collect their precious valentines in.  IF, due to Covid this year, you don’t get to do this at school, take the time to still make one for home.  Ask family members to send valentines to fill their goody box!  While in the planning process, why not make a special breakfast to start their day out right?

Valentine’s Day Breakfast ~

Mornings are hectic, I know!  But with just a little planning, it doesn’t take much to make breakfast special for this day!   Over the years, we have added food coloring to different food dishes to match the theme of the holiday…some have been great…and some not so much! For example, I urge you to NOT make green oatmeal on St. Patrick’s Day…I promise…it does not go over well!

Last year, Lauren got pretty creative with her breakfast ideas for the kids.  Suffice it to say that they LOVED it!  It consisted of red, heart shaped pancakes with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.

They also had some festive strawberry milk.  She made a batch of strawberry milk ahead of time and poured it into heart-shaped ice cube trays.  When it was time for breakfast, they popped those ice cubes into a plain glass of milk….and voila!

There was a little planning ahead time.  Not too time consuming but oh so fun!  Next, let’s get to work on how we are going to present their Valentine goodies!  Need those fun ice cube trays….Get this 24-cube silicone heart mold by Wilton!  The trays can be used for ice cubes, gelatin, baking and candy molds!

Some other fun food ideas are:

Valentine Fruit Wands by afewshortcuts.com ~ This is an oh so easy yet festive snack recipe the kids will definitely love!

Valentine Grazing Board by ediblecrafts.craftgossip.com ~ Shove the diet aside for one day because you are going to love this Valentine’s Day grazing board!  yum!

Valentine Candy Poster ~

For many years, I would make a valentine candy poster for the kids.  It is such a fun way to give them their Valentine goodies.  It warms my heart that Lauren has continued this tradition.  They are so much fun to make and even more fun to receive.

I think it is easiest if you buy your candy first before making your Valentine poem.  Of course, you will want to try to work in their favorites.  This way you know what candy names you are working with to create the clever wording needed to make your poem work.

Types of Candy with Sample Sayings ~

Please don’t

You are  Extra Sugarfree Bubble Gum Slim Pack - 10 / Boxspecial

I love you to Image result for Reeses pieces

I wouldn’t trade you for Image result for 100 Grand bar

You are the best kid in the See the source image

Sending you hugs & Hershey's Kisses - 1 piece

This Valentine’s Day is going to be a Image result for Whoppersof a day!

To my   Sweetarts - 1.8 Oz Roll

You are A--zing!

You’re no!

You Skor - 1.4 Oz Baran A!

These are just a few examples of how you can create your own personalized Valentine’s poem.  There are so many clever sayings you can create with the names of the candy in it.  In fact, it is not only fun to make one for the kids but have fun and make one for your honey too!

Valentine’s Day Family Fun Continues ~

Now you weren’t planning on just handing these works of art to the kiddos, were you????  Of course not!  They need to work to get their special treats!  After all, you put a lot of time into making that Valentine poster for them.  So how do you suggest we do that?  Glad you asked!  Have you ever played the Yarn Scavenger Hunt game?

Items Needed for the Yarn Scavenger Hunt ~

1 color of yarn for each person playing

A room that has items to crawl under and over

Not too bad, right?  You will start off by choosing one color for each child and tying one end of each ball of yarn to something in the room.  This will be the starting point.  You can start everyone off at the same point or in different areas.  Weave the yarn over couches, under chairs, around tables.  Safety is key, but you want them crawling over and under as much as possible….even over each other at times when their yarns cross each other.

They will collect the yarn as they go in an effort to get to the end and ultimately to their Valentine candy!  For such a simple game, you will enjoy watching the children laugh hysterically as they race to get to the end.

Of course, once they get to the end of their yarn, they will be gifted with their candy poem poster.

You can also have fun decorating cookies in fun Valentine’s Day shapes.  Although the cookie and icing recipe I shared in an earlier post was for Christmas, you can still refer back to it for the recipes.  Click here to find the cookie recipe and icing for your Valentine’s Day cookies!  Making cookies is always a fun festive idea!

Whatever you choose to do to make this day special….be sure to have a full day of Valentine’s Day Family Fun!!!!

Love ~ Shelly

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade Sausage with Fennel

Pappy on the Penarve is at it again….this time making homemade sausage with fennel….AH…MAZING!!!!!  He has been perfecting this recipe for quite some time, and the end result is worth all of the work.  Let me tell you, there are quite a few steps to the end result…but oh is it worth it!!  That being said, it would be a great idea to purchase quite a bit of meat to work with so you can store some for later!  By doing this, it makes the time spent making this delicious sausage even more worthwhile!

In our recipe a KitchenAid mixer with the meat grinder attachment is used.  I absolutely love my KitchenAid and use it for so many different recipes.  Check out the Black Storm KitchenAid Professional Series Mixer ~ it is a FANTASTIC addition to any kitchen!

There are, of course, other great meat grinder options:

This electric meat grinder gets great reviews…check it out here!

This manual meat grinder has a suction base and gets great reviews…check it out here!

These grinders work for so much more than just making sausage.  I grew up with my mom making homemade ham salad.  We still put in requests for her secret recipe to this day!  Yes, I said secret!  And yes, that recipe will be coming soon so stay tuned!

Back to the Homemade Sausage with Fennel ~

As stated earlier, buy the pork shoulder butt in bulk.  When we find it on sale, we go hog wild….yes, pun intended! 🤣  The savings you will notice will astound you!

What you will need ~

  • The fattest pork shoulder/butt you can find…seriously buy that fatty stuff!
  • Fennel seed – if you are like Brad (Pappy), you will want an abundance of this!
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
  • Red Wine or cooking wine (we used a nice Cab)
Step 1 ~

Cut the pork shoulder/butt into chunks for grinding and place in a disposable foil pan.

Step 2 ~

Cover the meat with foil and move to the freezer to get to a cold state.  This helps the grinding process go much smoother.  Brad kept it in the freezer for about 1 hour.

Step 3 ~

Grind the meat chunks.

Step 4 ~

Generously season the ground pork shoulder/butt.

Step 5 ~

*After completely blending, make 1 or 2 small patties.  Fry these patties for tasting.  This is an important step before moving on!  This will enable you to decide if it is seasoned to your liking.  If you are preparing meat to store for later use, you will want to be sure you are happy with the flavor.

Step 6 ~

Add additional seasoning if you prefer.  Cover ground meat and place back in freezer for about an hour.

Step 7 ~

Remove from freezer and prepare your mixer for the final prep stage of your homemade sausage with fennel.  *If you don’t have a mixer with sausage stuffer capabilities, you can make it into patties.  We actually prefer to make different types of sausages for various serving options.  When using the sausage stuffer, it is helpful to watch videos first to aid in the process.  I have provided a link from KitchenAid.com right here ~  Use this handy link from KitchenAid to view how to use the sausage stuffer attachment!

If you are making into patties, there are many options on that process.  I prefer rolling the sausage out and using a glass or biscuit cutter to be the best option for more uniform patties.  However, sometimes we just form them with our hands as we did in the picture above.  If you choose to roll out it, there are different methods, I like the method that HappyMoneySaver.com uses here ~  Happy Money Saver describes the rolling out and cutting process in detail here!

 

Freezing Homemade Sausage with Fennel ~

We love the Food Saver Vacuum Sealer for so many freezer foods.  It does such a great job protecting food from air and freezer burn.  It is also ideal for food prep.  You can double so many of your recipes and save half of them for later, making busy nights or lunch time woes a cinch!    Get your own Food Saver Vacuum Sealer here…you will love it!

Like so many kitchen gadgets, you may ask yourself, “Will I really use this?”  From experience, this is one gadget we are very happy to have and we find ourselves using it often.

We will use this sausage for breakfast and dinner ideas.  Our favorite is grilled sausage with peppers and onion served with a side of rice.  However, we will definitely be looking for new fun ideas to use this yummy sausage as well.

 

Meal prep has become widely popular for busy families and lunch preparation.  This homemade sausage with fennel is an ideal recipe for just that!  Not to mention the savings you will see.  For this recipe we bought almost 10 pounds of pork for $9.  Seriously $9!  The amount of sausage links it yields (depending on how big you choose to make each one) is phenomenal!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!  Let us know in the comments below!  Also, follow MimiBlog with the link and you can stay up to date with all the great recipes!

Have a great week!

 

Bring Back E.T.~Imagination and Role Playing

I wish I could tell you how many people comment, “Bring back E.T.!” whenever we post a picture of Max in his E.T. mask!  There was a short span of time that EVERYTHING he did was done with that big E.T. head.  One only has to be around him for a short period of time before he has you engrossed in his imagination and role playing.  While we are all laughing with delight at his antics, we never stop to think of the many benefits there are to children when playing dress up.

Have you ever been told, “Maybe you should try walking in my shoes for a bit?”  I’m sure almost everyone has either heard that phrase at one time or possibly even said it.  This is a person wanting you to understand what their life or situation is like…a person asking for empathy.  When a child engages in role playing, they are doing just that.  Whether it be dressing up like mommy and daddy, a superhero, a princess, or even E.T., they are “walking in their shoes,” and without realizing it, learning empathy.

Sure, it’s fun to pretend they can fly like a superhero or swim like a mermaid.  However, they have also watched this person in action and are now trying to mimic them…or walk in their shoes.  The process of watching…remembering…then mimicking is building brain power without them even realizing it!

Dress Up Box ~

A dress up box was always available to our kids when they were growing up.  It was filled with costumes and accessories.  We would go to a Hawaiian themed party and the plastic leis would make it to the box.  We would celebrate New Year’s Eve and the party hats, horns and boas would be added to the box.  Old party dresses and high heels….you got the idea!

What I wish I would have done differently is to add their Halloween costumes to the box.  I tended to put those back in case someone else wanted to wear it the next Halloween.  My daughter, Lauren, keeps costumes out for them to enjoy all year long.  This is how we ended up with the wonderful days of Max and E.T.

Eating with E.T.

Playing Outside with E.T.

 

Shopping with E.T.

Brushing Teeth with E.T.

Yes, Taking a Bath with E.T.

Going to Bed with E.T.

You hardly saw Max during those days that he did not have that E.T. head on.  He would sometimes wear the whole costume, but most often he just wore the head.  There were even days that he shared it with others!

Are you thinking to yourself, “Man, I have got to get one of these adorable E.T. costumes for my kids?”  Don’t you worry, I got your back!  Order your own cool E.T. costume right here!  As stated earlier, your kids can dress up all…year…long!

My other thought here is that if you let your children dress up whenever they want it builds a sense of self confidence.  As I watched our three children grow through the different stages, it was very important to me that they learned to be kind and to have self confidence.  I put these two together because I believe they go hand in hand.  The times I would see them at their lowest in self-confidence is when they were  being picked on by others.  Therefore, it was also important to use those times to enforce why being kind is so important.

With that being said, Brad and I completely believe that Max is not going to suffer in the self-confidence area!  Whether he is E.T (where he just always looks so adorable), The Hulk (where he very dramatically transforms from self to Hulk with LOTS of noise), Spider Man (where he covers you with webs with a twist of his magical hand), or Mr. Freeze (where he freezes you and you MUST stay frozen until he unfreezes you!) he truly believes he IS those characters!

Themed Play & Crafts ~

Lauren does a fantastic job of taking their current interests and turning them into fun activities filled with themed crafts and foods.  I wrote about the alien theme when I first started blogging.  It is a small entry, but the pics are cute.  You can check the alien themed blog here!!!

I have since learned it is helpful to include directions for the crafts and food.  I searched Pinterest for some help on how to make the spaceship and found this great pin.  Zygote Brown Designs describes in detail how to make a spaceship!

Where is Your Dress Up Box? ~

Playing dress up is SO MUCH MORE than just a fun way to keep the kids occupied.  It stirs their imagination and aids in their emotional development.  So if you haven’t done so yet, go create that box of imagination for them.

It can be a bigger, dual purpose box like this!

It can be a pretty basket like this!

Regardless of what you use, you won’t regret making this an option for your kids.  You, too, can bring back E.T. and spark their imagination and role playing.  They can enjoy this for years!  And who knows, when you become a Mimi, you may find yourself dragging it back out again! 😉

 

 

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