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

Tag: Grandchildren (Page 1 of 3)

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

 

Pen Pal Fun With Grandkids

I walked out to retrieve our mail today expecting the usual advertisements and bills.  However, as I opened the mailbox, my eyes went straight to a different piece of mail.  There was a long white envelope addressed to Mimi & Pappy.  Well,  that sure did bring a quick smile to my face!  As I began to open the letter, I had an epiphany.  It is time to start having some pen pal fun with the grandkids!

In July, I wrote this post about Grandparenting from a Distance and in that article I discussed snail mail with the grandkids.  In fact, I even admitted then that I am not very good at it but want to get better.  Well, NOW is the time to start having some fun with the snail mail and pen pals!

Letters From The Grandkids ~

This particular mail was from Max.  He drew us pictures and wanted to send them to us.  Now, keep in mind that we are very lucky grandparents that get to see the kids several times a week.  However, this should not keep anyone from sending fun letters, cards, games, jokes, etc. to the grandkids.  As we all know, everyone likes to receive a special piece of mail.  It gives you the same feeling you get when opening gifts at Christmas.  Someone took the time to personally acknowledge you.

I actually keep a folder in my office of artwork and letters they have written for us.  Each one gets labeled with their name and date on the back of the pages so they can see how their writing and picture drawing improves over time.  I also pull them out once in a while just to enjoy the love they share in each page they create for us.

Pen Pal:  A person with whom one keeps up an exchange of letters, USUALLY someone that is so far away that a personal meeting is unlikely.

Benefits of Pen Pal Fun With Grandkids ~

  • Create a close connection
  • Allows opportunity to praise the children’s artwork and writing = boosts self confidence
  • Long-lasting memories
  • Teaches correspondence skills – stamps, addressing envelopes, proper writing etiquette over time
  • Patience – in this world of everything at our fingertips, it is good for them to learn the anticipation of “waiting for something good to come.”
  • Fosters creativity
  • Improves penmanship

Fun Snail Mail Ideas ~

  • Pre-stamp and address some fun post cards and give them as a gift to your grandchildren.  This way they can correspond with you any time they want.
  • If they are old enough to practice envelope format, then give them a blank notebook/stationery and envelopes.

Include some small item with your letter to them:

  • An old picture of you
  • A picture of the two of you together
  • Several charms – one at a time so they can make a bracelet or keychain once all are sent
  • A fun drawing
  • A coloring page
  • A seek and find page – I have always loved the Highlight brand but you can also find a lot of free ones to download on Pinterest! – I especially love this Highlights Back to School Version!

  • Bookmark
  • Ask a question and tell them to reply with their answer in a letter back to you
  •  Origami
  •  Stickers
  • Send a small puzzle a few pieces at a time
  • Cut the letter in large pieces so they have to put together like a puzzle
  • Write the letter in coded ink and send special pen for them to uncover the message.  I LOVE this Invisible Ink Spy Pen set…kids will too!

  • Bible verse – you can write them yourself in your letter or use something like this fun book to send in your letter – Fun Bible Memory Book for Kids

  • Send a Hug!  – I love this idea by Becca of Who-arted.com
  • Start a Write Me Back! – Jennie Moraitis describes this fun idea in her littlegirldesigns.com blog
  • Write a letter on a deflated balloon for them to blow up and read
  • Make an origami fortune teller – We love to create our own but if you struggle in this department, here is an easy fortune teller (or cootie catcher as we used to call them) book with templates – Origami Fortune Teller Booklet with pre-printed and blank templates!

  • Create a family quiz – it would be fun do do this annually and save to look back at their answers later!

These are just a few fun ideas.  Once you get started I am sure more fun ideas will come your way.  These ideas are simple ones that can be included in a small envelope.  It is also fun, of course, to send a small gift once in awhile.  However, the bigger importance here is trying to foster a fun relationship with your grandchildren with money not being the focal point.

Keep in mind, too, that it doesn’t matter if you live far away or in the same town.  It still can be such a fun activity between grandparents and grandchildren.  As I am sitting here writing this, I am getting so excited about all the fun ideas that are forming in my head.  I am truly looking forward to having some pen pal fun with my grandkids!  (And don’t you think for a second that I won’t be involving Pappy in this fun adventure as well! 😉)

Happy letter writing to you ~

Mimi

 

 

Blackberry Festival Family Date Night

Are you trying to squeeze the last bit of family fun into the remaining days of summer?  Why not plan a family date night?  Our family headed out to Wild Blackberry Farms for the inaugural Blackberry Festival.   While it can be difficult (but oh so worth it!) to find a night that works in everyone’s schedule, this was so worth the planning of our Blackberry Festival family date night!

I’ve had many people ask me how we knew about this particular festival.  I agree that it is hard to know about every fun event around you, but it led me to look into festival informational sites.  Each state has many local resources, but I also found a couple of sites that you can search all 50 states….

Blackberry Festival Family Date Night Activities ~

U-Pick Blackberries ~

This particular festival was a smaller fare, but not short on fun family activities.  We started out with the U-pick blackberries.  I wasn’t sure how much the younger ones would enjoy this part, but they loved it!  We had a quick lesson on which berries were ready to pick and everyone headed out with their buckets.  They had so much fun searching the rows for the ripest berries!  Also important here is that it kept them entertained for quite a long time!

What was even better was they could pick down low on their own while also enjoying a little help up from the family members.

Face Painting ~

This is the part of the festival that the littles were looking forward to the most.  In fact, it was so much fun that kids AND adults got in on the fun.  Aunt Karleigh and Pappy had their faces painted to match the kids, which made them so happy!

Food Trucks, Family Games, Petting Zoo, Photo Opps ~

Whether you are on a diet or not, you HAVE to eat the festival food!  Am I right?   So many yummy choices from lemon shakeups to bbq sandwiches of all kinds!  Of course, if you look closely at this picture you will see that some blackberries were definitely enjoyed along the way as well!

Other Family Date Night Ideas ~

While I definitely recommend festivals for a fun family date night, don’t let that keep you from planning other fun activities.  Plan a family date night once a month.  This a routine that will defnitely help to forge strong family bonds.  **On these special nights, be sure to put those phones out of place and concentrate on the family unit!

Family Date Night Ideas ~
  • Park Hopping – take a bit of time to map out local parks and go to several of them in one day.  It’s so much fun to see what equipment each park has to offer and discover which is each child’s favorite.
  • Splash Party – Put those bathing suits on…you too parents…and have some good old water fun.  Have plenty of squirt guns, water balloons, maybe a slip and slide and a small kids pool (for both swimming and refilling those water guns) on hand.
  • Bowling – Have you done this in a while?  For some reason we had ventured away from bowling and recently got back to it….the kids LOVE to bowl!
  • Scavenger Hunt – You can plan a scavenger hunt in your own house or yard or better yet, break off into teams and run around the neighborhood looking for items.
  • Glow in the Dark Fun – Purchase some glow sticks and glow jewelry (they almost always have them at the Dollar Store) and turn out all the lights for some fun family glow in the dark fun!  Add in some dancing or hide and seek!
  • Backyard Movies – There is a large assortment of video projectors available.  I do suggest going ahead and purchasing one with a screen as well.  I tried the cheaper route at first and tried to use a white sheet…the image wasn’t sharp enough with that.  Check out this video projector with screen for outdoor family fun!

  • Family Cooking – Plan, Cook and Eat the meal together.  Be sure to let the little ones help with the cooking…they will love it.  For extra fun, add some fun candles and pick some flowers from the yard for a beautifully set table.
  • Dance Party – You guys, this is a win-win here!  Not only will there be lots of giggles, but it’s a good workout too!
  • Family Puzzle – My all-time favorite puzzles are the ones that have different size pieces so everyone can take part in the puzzle.  Check out this fun family puzzle with small, medium, and large sized pieces! 

  •  Family Room Sleepover – Gather ALL of the blankets and pillows and make a big living room fort…but you also ALL have to sleep in it!  Have fun!

These are just a few fun ideas to create family fun.  The most important part of all of it is that everyone engages, you add in some good munchies and put down those phones.  Have some laugh until your belly aches fun with those kids!

Back To Those Yummy Blackberries ~

The fun continues as we decide what yummy recipes we are going to make with our buckets of blackberries.  Of course, we head straight to Pinterest!  Wow!  Seriously, do a quick search on blackberry recipes!  How do you decide on what you want to make?  I think I may have to figure out how to succesfully plant our own blackberry patch because I want to make SO MANY of these recipes!

This time around we are going with the Old Fashioned Blackberry Cobbler.  I prefer the cobblers where you cook the berries like this recipe from Saving Room for Dessert…Old Fasioned Blackberry Cobbler by Saving Room for Dessert.  I will be sure to let you know how it turns out!

Cheeres to each of you enjoying the rest of your summer and some good family fun!

From Our Family to Yours ~

~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!

 

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!

 

 

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! 😉

 

 

Grilled Caramelized Onion, Apple and Canadian Bacon Flatbread

When it comes to pizza and flatbread, Pappy and I definitely have different opinions on which ingredients make a great pizza.  Traditional toppings are wonderful, but sometimes I like to get adventurous.  Sunday was a perfect day for grilling pizzas with Pappy on the Penarve.  The weather was crisp, the tv was roaring with football games and fun ideas were rolling through our heads of our upcoming creations.  My final outcome was grilled caramelized onion, apple and Canadian bacon flatbread…..AHHHmazing!!!!

The wonderful thing about flatbread pizza is that everyone can create their own masterpiece.  They are just the right size for one…or two if you decide to share.  However, the only one I was sharing my grilled caramelized onion flatbread with was a nice glass of Chardonnay!

THIS RECIPE IS SO VERSATILE!!!

Caramelizing onions is a must for this yummy recipe.  However, you may wish to alter the recipe a bit after you prepare the onions.  Maybe you wish to use only onions and no fruit.  Apples were used in this recipe, but peaches or pears would be just as delicious.  The trick is that whatever you choose to add in, you must cook them over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes to get the caramelizing to take place.

The flavors mixed very well with Canadian bacon, but maybe you prefer no meat….it would still be fantastic!

While the onion mixture is cooking, you will need to prepare your flatbread. Brush it with a thin layer of olive oil then layer fig spread over the top of the oil.  Add the caramelized onion mixture on top of the fig glaze.  Top with fresh spinach or other greens of your choice.  Next will be your choice of cheese.  We prepared this with blue cheese.  Goat cheese, brie or feta would work wonderfully as well.  Lastly, top it off with some toasted walnuts and dried cherries.

IT’S TIME TO GRILL ~

Slide a pizza board or pizza peel under the flatbread to transfer to the grill.  If you do not have a pizza peel, it’s a good idea to add it to your cooking arsenal….once you taste these babies you are definitely going to be making more.  Here is a link to one of my favorites.   I absolutely love this pizza peel with a foldable handle for easy storage!

Once you have transferred the flatbread to the grill, close the cover and grill for 8 to 10 minutes.  Check on it after 5 minutes to decide the correct amount of time for the level of crispiness you prefer.  Then top it off with balsamic glaze….perfection!

KID FRIENDLY~

Now you are looking at me like I am crazy!  Kid friendly you ask?  What child likes blue cheese?  Well, I know there are some kids out there that do eat different cheeses, but if they don’t, substitute mozzarella.  Easy peasy!

The really cool thing about flatbread pizzas, is you can have a small layout of different toppings and let everyone make their own.  Psst…..kids are more apt to eat their dinner when they take part in the process of preparation.  So let them dig in and have fun!!!!

 

Get Outside!

Well hello weekend….and what a beautiful weekend it is!  What is on your agenda?  Laundry, housework, cleaning the garage, paying bills?  Put all of these chores aside, if only for a while, and get outside!!!

It’s Good For Your Health!

Everyone “knows” it’s good for your health to get outside.   Why is it that so often we simply “forget” just how good it actually is for us?

  • Vitamin D boosts your mood AND your immune system
  • Nature helps lower cortisol levels and reduce stress
  • Natural environments improve mood
  • Nature helps improve memory and attention
  • Fresh air increases your energy level

It’s Good For Your Family!

Whether you plan a day trip or a weekend getaway, hiking creates wonderful family memories for years to come.  It’s just a bonus that it also provides so many health benefits.  Sit and think for a moment…how long has it been since you decided to do an impromptu family fun day?   The unplanned activities are many times some of the best!

Do you find yourself always going to the same one or two parks?  I am sad to admit that we have not taken advantage of all of the amazing places available to us, some less than a half hour away!  I don’t know if I would call it a bucket list, but I decided that our family needs to branch out and try some new spots.  Included below is a small list of some of the parks of various sizes that have hiking trails as well as other amenities.

  1. Broad Ripple Park
  2. Brookside Park
  3. Brown County State Park
  4. Clifty Falls
  5. Eagle Creek
  6. Fort Harrison State Park
  7. Holliday Park
  8. Indiana Dunes State Park
  9. McCormick’s Creek
  10. Mounds State Park
  11. Pokagon State Park
  12. Shades Park
  13. Spring Mills Sate Park
  14. Turkey Run State Park

Let’s Talk Food!

I absolutely love the ideas that sweetcharli.com shares here…Creative picnic lunch ideas….CLICK HERE!

  Sandwich kebobs, apple sandwiches and banana rollups…sounds delish!

Lilluna.com also has some fun and healthy ideas…Check out these easy picnic lunch ideas!

Lots of protein and veggies!

Extra Activities For When You Get Outside!

Hiking and picnicking definitely make for a fun-filled day, but since we are on a roll, let’s add some extra fun.  Why not add in a little scavenger hunt for the kids?  Print out as many copies as you need of the activity sheet I created to help enjoy the day further.   Download and print outdoor scavenger hunt!

So get outside…and don’t forget to take pictures of this fun-filled day!  I would love for you to share other parks your family goes to so we can add them to the list!  Happy Weekend!!!!

Grandparent’s Day- September 13, 2020

 

Celebrating Grandparent’s Day!

Are you a plan ahead kind of person or last minute kind of person?  I will admit, I am more of a last minute person myself.  However, I am more of an online shopper, and I think we all know that shipping lately has been much slower than normal.  With that being said, Grandparent’s Day is 3 weeks away.

Crafting Ideas ~

There are so many different ideas for recognizing your favorite Mimi & Pappy…ooops, I mean Grandma & Grandpa! 😉  I personally love hand-made cards and crafts.  It’s a great way for the kiddos to put some thought and love into letting their grandparents know how special they are to them.

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Quiet Boxes for Kids

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
  • Stickers
  • Puzzles
  • Spinning tops
  • Character cut out sets to color
  • Candy
  • Colorforms
  • Army men
  • Unicorn figurines

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:

Colorforms Pet Set

Colorforms Paw Patrol

Colorforms Frozen

Colorforms Toy Story

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!

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