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

Tag: Family traditions

Flat Skelly Skeleton

Halloween shenanigans are in full swing…decorating the house, planning trick or treat costumes, fun at pumpkin patches, carving jack-o-lanterns, spooky crafts, fun snacks and more!  As a grandparent, I love to be as much a part of all this as possible, but realize it is not feasible to do so.  Flat Skelly Skeleton is here to help out with just that!

The Flat Stanley Project is an awesome project that our children were able to take part in back when they were in elementary school.  Have you been lucky enough to be a part of it as well?   The teacher provided a template of “Flat Stanley” for the kids to color.  The kids then mail him to various friends, family members or anyone of interest.  The recipient takes Stanley along with them for a day, taking pictures and writing about his visit.  Once done, they mail him back along with the pictures and journal notes.  It is a great literacy program that also teaches geography in a very fun way.

Flat Skelly Skeleton ~

Flat Skelly is similar to Flat Stanley.  This is a fun way for grandparents (or any friend or family member) to be a part of Halloween activities…even if they are not physically present.  I have made it super easy for you to print out the fun Flat Skelly Skeleton poem along with the Jointed Skeleton template. Then all you have to do is mail them to your favorite little ghoul(s).  They will be so excited to share all of their Halloween fun with you!

Flat Skelly Skeleton Poem ~

Click here for free download of Flat Skelly Poem

Jointed Skeleton Directions~

Click here for FREE printout of Flat Skelly Skeleton

 

I found this free skeleton printout by Preschoolactivities.us.  You can use the link next to the picture above to print out or go to their website with the skeleton coloring page Preschoolactivities.us skeleton coloring page.  There are also other free options on Pinterest if you wish to use a different image.  Print these on copy paper or card stock.

You have options regarding how you wish to mail these to the little ones.  You can leave the skeleton template in tact so that they can cut out the pieces or you can pre-cut and put the pieces, along with the brads, in an envelope.  The option you choose will depend mostly upon the age of the child you are sending to and whether they are skilled with scissors yet.

Whoever ends up cutting and putting the skeleton together will need these instructions ~

  1. Cut out each skeleton part
  2. Let your child color and decorate, if desired
  3. Insert small brads at each joint to make Skelly movable (see below for more information on brads)
  4. Tape a popsicle stick or cookie stick to back of the skeleton

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*Types of small brads to try ~

Brads are two pronged paper fastners that usually have some type of decorative top.  There are different sizes, so pay attention to the details.  The mini-sized ones may be the best option for Flat Skelly since he is a bit smaller printout.  Below are some fun varieties:

Mini-sized, multi-color brads

Assorted colors of brads ~

Halloween brads ~

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Once you introduce your children to the world of “brads” in crafting, the possibilities are endless.  They are such a versatile and inexpensive item to add to your craft baskets.  I even use them for scrapbooking!

There have been numerous spin offs of the original Flat Stanly that are so much fun to explore.  This project is a little different in that the child is receiving Flat Skelly instead of sending him to others.  They then have the responsibility to make sure pictures get taken and if of writing age, journaling about their fun experiences throughout the month of October.

You can take it a step further and get them a little “Flat Skelly Skeleton” journal to use for their journaling.  Here are some fun ideas:

Fun Vintage Style Skeleton Notebook

Dancing Skeleton Journal with blank pages

Wide Ruled Skeleton Journal

Sending Flat Skelly As A Package ~

If you live far away or like to send snail mail to the recepient of this awesome Halloween activity, here is what you will need to remember:

  • Skelly Skeleton Poem
  • Jointed Skelly Skeleton (or cut out pieces and put in envelop if sending to smaller children)
  • 8 brads
  • Popsicle or cake pop stick

Send it in a festive envelope.  I used a large manila envelope so there would be no fold creases.  Use stickers or color fun Halloween images on the outside.  What child would not be excited to receive this special delivery?

It’s no secret how much my family loves Halloween.  Even if you don’t love spooky things, you can enjoy Halloween with your kids.  To me, it is not just about the 31st….it’s a whole month of family fun!.  Whether it is as simple as coloring with your kids, crafting or making festive foods, you will create memories to last a lifetime.

Other Halloween Festivities to Check Out ~

Last year I shared some Halloween ideas:

Fun food ideas for Halloween!  Lots of fun ideas…including the infamous Feet Loaf!!!

Halloween Gingerbread Houses!  Buy a kit or make your own….it’s great fun either way!

You’ve Been Booed!!! 👻  This is an annual MUST in every neighborhood!

The month of October just really flies by way too quickly!  Don’t let these festive opportunities get away from you!  You may just find that you have more fun than your kids do!  Be sure to follow me if you aren’t already by entering your email…I promise you I won’t overfill your inbox….only good things coming and at good intervals!

Happy Haunting to all of you!

Mimi

 

Cooking Fun with Grandkids

I got the best phone call the other day!  Picking up my cell phone, I expected to hear my daughter on the other line.  To my surprise, it was my sassy six year old granddaughter, Addi.  Excitedly, she says, “Mimi, I’m making dinner tonight.  Would you like to join us?”  Are you kidding me?  Of course I do!  I’m not missing out on a night of cooking fun with the grandkids!

What was on the menu you ask?  We were served mini pot pies/shepherd’s pies and a strawberry rhubarb tart.  Wow!  It was delicious!

       

Let’s back up to Addi’s birthday earlier this year.  We always like to find one special “big” gift to get for the kids.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be big in size, but it needs to be extra special!  A lot of time is spent thinking and shopping for that perfect gift.  Addi has recently become fascinated with the kid’s cooking shows so ideas started formulating around that.

The Birthday Gift Idea ~

I have enjoyed watching various bakeoff shows with the grandkids.  Have you ever watched them?  Let me tell you, that they are nothing short of amazing.  I truly would have never realized that kids can cook as “professionally” as they do…even better than a lot of us adults!  Through this the birthday idea came to life!  Addi needed all of her own kitchen tools.

We have already done some cooking with Addi over the past couple of years, so I knew her passion for time in the kitchen wasn’t going anywhere.  After watching the different episodes of Chopped Junior and MasterChef Junior, we realized Addi was ready to step up her game a bit.

Now, first of all my thoughts went  to purchasing  Addi her very own kitchen prep and storage rolling cart.  I will admit that I spent time shopping for the best one.  I then realized I should probably chat with my daughter about this.  Afterall, this would take up a lot of space in the kitchen, and I had to admit to myself that it is her kitchen and not mine.  So I scaled my gift idea down a bit so that Lauren could keep her kitchen in tact.

Cooking Basket Gift Items ~

These are a win/win…Addi was able to cut food by herself and we felt safe with her doing so!

 One thing Lauren and I noticed, having the tongue out while cooking is a MUST for any great chef! 🤣

Cooking Fun with Grandkids ~

As you can see, we tried a variety of different kitchen gadgets.  This will definitely be a gift that we can add on to in the years to come.  Fostering a love of cooking in kids has so many benefits…to the kids as well as the adults.  The important thing to remember is it’s going to get messy…and that’s ok!  If kids become afraid to mess up they will lose the passion to learn.

In an earlier post, I wrote about a great recipe book software.  You create your own cookbook…family, church, neighborhood.. or whatever you choose.  The first book I created was Pappy on the Penarve…Check out my fun cookbook here!  My intention was to make an “Addi” cookbook next…epic fail!  However, I am still going to make it and include new recipes for her to try plus old ones that she has made with the family.  What fun memories!

Make time to have some cooking fun with the grandkids….you will be glad you did!

Enjoy!

Mimi

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Family Traditions

Family traditions are the glue that holds families together through the years.  As you are reading this, you may recall long-established customs or you may just be thinking about a new tradition you started with your immediate family.  Regardless of the number of years you have celebrated each one, the importance of family traditions is tantamount to strong family bonding.

Small Quiz ~ ✏

Do me a favor.  Take a few minutes to set everything aside…your phone, computer, tv, game, etc.  Sit quietly for a moment and think about what family traditions you celebrate.  Think first of the holidays.  Are there traditions you do with your children that possibly your parents did with you as a child?  Have you started new ones since you have become a parent?  Let’s go a step further….write those down.

Now, let’s think about seasonal traditions.  Activities that may not tie in exactly with a particular holiday.  Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…write those down too.  What about nightly family rituals, such as reading a book.  There may also be weekly or monthly family traditions, such as family game night, daddy dates, or family service days.  Let’s not forget birthdays!   Are you starting to recall more traditions than you even imagined?  We cling to traditions, sometimes when we don’t even realize it.

These events have been shown to strengthen family bonds and reinforce family values.  It warms my heart when my grandchildren will ask a question pertaining to a specific holiday.  For instance, we love to put on our pajamas, make popcorn and hot cocoa and pile in the car to drive around and look at Christmas lights.  We also always get Chinese takeout on the night we decorate our Christmas tree.  The grandchildren, now at ages 3 & 6, ask each year if we are going to do it again.  They remember and look forward to those special moments.

Holidays ~

There are numerous holidays:  Federal, State, Religious, Observance, and Sports.  There is a list below that includes some of the more known holidays here in the states, but it is certainly not all encompassing.   The important thing to remember about family traditions is quality over quantity.  It is so much fun to create reasons to celebrate, but don’t overwhelm yourself or your family.  There is nothing more depressing than a child that is let down because a parent doesn’t follow through.  So keep old traditions and maybe start a few new ones too!

  • New Year’s Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • Easter
  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Fourth of July
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  • New Year’s Eve

Nightly or Weekly ~

Here are some ideas of activities the family can do nightly or once a week:

  • Reading a book together
  • Family game night
  • Pizza night, taco night, Italian night (you get the drift)
  • Evening walk or Sunday walk
  • Sunday special breakfast
  • Movie night
  • Family meals together…a tough one but oh so worth it!
  • Making a story up together…one person start and give a few sentences then another person takes over, etc.
  • Highs & Lows – every morning or evening have everyone tell the best and worst part of their day

Take the read aloud family challenge – such a cool idea! ➡➡Check out this fun Family Read Aloud 100 Book Challenge with journal!

Monthly ~

Here are some ideas of activities the family can do together monthly.  Choose one day of each month and plan your activity.  Whether you do the same activity monthly or change it, start with the day and get it on the calendar!  This gives everyone something to look forward to and also helps with planning.  Stick to it!!!  This is what makes it a tradition!

  • Hiking at different parks each month
  • Zoo/Museum/Sporting Event/Play or Muscial – plan something like this for each month
  • Family service project – Work together on a monthly plan of where you can help out in the community
  • Movie Night – this is also listed in weekly, but maybe you need to spread it out more
  • Cook together as a family
  • Game Night – this is also listed in weekly, but maybe you need to spread it out more
  • Mommy & Daddy date night – let each child have special time with the parents

Random ~

  • Journal – keep a family journal somewhere for everyone to write in when they have something they need to talk about
  • Back to school day – make it special every year
  • Hooky day – everyone gets a day off for crazy fun family time

Check out this fun Family Journal with prompts that make it easy for the whole family to use ➡➡Check out the Creative Family Journal with writing prompts here!!!

This is a very small list of ideas.  Once again, choose what is most important to your family and follow through.  There is no need to have so many traditions that you are overwhelmed.  They are meant to be special times bonding the family together.

They can be simple.  Lauren loves going to the her grandparent’s place at the lake.  The kids know they are going to get on the golf cart and zoom all over.  It is something they look foward to every time.  They then head to the lake shore and take pictures.  How fun it has been to see the kid’s growth over these last few years with the same background.  Similar to using a yardstick to measure children’s annual growth on a wall.

In October, my mother puts out a large light up pumpkin.  It seems like that pumpkin has been around FOREVER!  However, the kids love to have their picture taken with Grandma every year.  Likewise, when our children were small we would take the same picture of all of the grandchildren at Easter around the same tree at their Grandma’s!  It’s a small thing, but it’s tradition!

               

Another fun tradition is to make food to match the color of the current holiday.  You can be as simple or creative as you like.  Believe me, the kids will have a LOT of fun with this.  I will be honest though, sometimes they turn out as a flop…these things happen.  Probably the worst one my kids remember is green oatmeal for St. Patrick’s Day…it looked just like vomit.  We laughed so hard!

     

Birthdays ~

Birthdays are a pretty big deal in our family.  The birthday person wakes up to a decorated bedroom door  (Check out the Birthday door idea by clicking here!), gets to choose what type of cake and dinner and also gets to choose the activity.  Deciding on the activity is the best part for me…yes, we still do it as adults!  I absolutely love to find different things to do as a family each year.  Bowling, paddle boats on the canal or hiking to lunch on the Monon have been some of my favorites.  As long as we are together, I am happy.  Now, for those of you who know Brad, it is a different story.   Nothing makes him happier than all being on the deck and him grilling!  That’s nice and relaxing too!

Schedules are hectic….times are crazy!  However, this is one thing you can make a point to do with your family.  Sometimes we simply forget about the importance of family traditions….but our kids don’t!  I hope you will share some of your family traditions below!

Hugs – Mimi

 

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

Pappy Got Boo-Booed! 🤣

One of my favorite annual Halloween memories is our house getting “Booed.”  The doorbell rings…the kids run to see who it is…instead of a person they find delicious Halloween treats festively displayed on the doorstep.  Quickly, everyone darts outside to see if they can catch a glimpse of who has left this Boo-tiful gift for them.  Sadly, those years have faded into the past for us.  But wait….we may be getting older but that doesn’t mean we can’t still take part in this Halloween fun!   So this year…Pappy got Boo-Booed!

You’ve Been Booed!

If you are not familiar with this FUN Halloween tradition, below are images of the 2 documents needed to carry out the plan:

 

There are a lot of fun images you can find on the internet but many you have to pay for.  I created these images and have included the link to download for free:

Once you read the page labeled You’ve Been Boo-ed, you will understand what all you need to do.  Basically, you need to print out 2 copies of each of these pages, put 2 goody baskets together and choose who your phantom will visit!  It’s that easy.  When you get visited by the phantom, then you need to put your copy of the We’ve been Boo-ed! page in your front window.

Now, you are probably wondering why this is titled Pappy got boo-booed!  As stated earlier, our days of enjoying this activity with our kids is long gone.  Enter our grandchildren!  I must say that I had not initially thought of doing this for Addi and Max until our daughter, Lauren, asked us to do so.  Our other daughter, Karleigh and I were the phantoms last year.  This year I asked Pappy to help out!

We made a grand plan of how to deliver the goodies to our grandchildren without getting caught.  Let me tell you, if you have seen their house, you understand this is no easy feat.  It’s guarded like Fort Knox, hard to get in and out of and windows galore.  Need I remind you that we are now 50+!!!  But we are old athletes.  We can do this!  Right????

Pappy Got Boo-Booed!

So, we park far away and decide to tackle this feat on foot.  We trek to the front porch, crawl under the windows, ease up to the door, place the goodies on the step, knock and run!!!  WELL, Pappy steps in some mud and sprawls face first onto the sidewalk.  Amid concern (well, a little anyway) and much laughter, he rolls like the young quarterback he once was and hightails it out of there!  We made it safely to our hiding place.

Did I mention our son-in-law got home while all this was going on.  I wish you could have seen the confused look on his face.  We wait for what we believe is a good amount of time to trek back to our truck and head home.  Both winded and standing by our get away vehicle, Brad looks over at me sheepishly and states, “I don’t have my keys!”

Seriously?  We have to go back to the scene and retrieve said keys from somewhere in the mud!  Yes, our son-in-law is still sitting in his truck as Brad creeps back by and searches for the lost set of keys.  Do you wonder what he is thinking about his in-laws???

We finally escaped, unseen by the grandkids I might add!  However, as you guessed, Pappy did not remain unscathed by this little incident.  YES, he got a Boo Boo!

Suffice it to say, we are adding new “You’ve Been Boo-ed” memories to our family photo albums.  I just wish I had taken my camera on this little escapade to capture Mimi and Pappy to add to the photo album along with these cuties!

It is now late in October, but if you have never done this before, please remember this for next year and add it to your Halloween family traditions.  Hopefully, you like the fun images I created and will use those next time!

Happy Halloween!

 

Birthday Door

 

CELEBRATE WITH A BIRTHDAY DOOR!

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!

Continue reading

Family Fun on the 4th of July

July 4th is right around the corner–it’s time to get the grills cleaned and find all of your red, white & blue apparel!  Let’s have some family fun this 4th of July!

We, like most families, always get together to celebrate Independence Day!  Recipes, new and old are made, fireworks are purchased, and fun family crafts are decided upon.  As I get older though, I realize I may not have done a great job instilling in my children “why” we celebrate this great day.  Don’t get me wrong, they knew the importance of the day, I just don’t think I took the opportunity to teach some historical facts like I could have.  If I had it to do over, I would have used this time to create fun ways to teach the kids more about our history.  This is truly a great time to have family fun AND teach some history about why we are celebrating.

Did You Know???
    1. Two of our presidents (who also were signatories of the Declaration of Independence), died on July 4, 1826.  Literally the same year!!!  Do you know which presidents they are?
    2. Another president (who was not a signatory of the Declaration of Independence) died on July 4, 1831.
    3. We also have a president who was born July 4, 1872.

Do you know the answers?  Follow this link to check your knowledge:  https://mimiblog.org/2020/06/30/fun-facts-page/

 

Sooo, how did you do?          Don’t get upset if you didn’t know all of them.  I must admit that I learned some new facts today too.  See, I told you I should have taken the time when my kids were younger…I guess you are never to old!

July 4, 2020

So what’s in store for this year?  We have decided to do some tie dye shirts now that the kids are getting a little older.  I’m sure it will be messy, but it will be fun.  After all, that is  what makes good memories.  This is the tutorial (by Happiness is Homemade) that I am going to follow.  I did not create this pin, but I like the way it walks you through step by step if you have not tie dyed before:  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/730709108282309018/

I am also including this link (by Leigha Doran) as I love the way this one turned out (this is an image only pin):  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/730709108282308707/

The girls and I are working on the rest of the details….I will share them with you when they are finalized.  Until then, I hope you are inspired to add some new fun to your family celebration, and I look forward to hearing about your ideas!

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