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

Tag: Grandchildren (Page 2 of 3)

Should I Get a Pet?

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

 

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

HIGHER SELF ESTEEM…

PATIENCE…

   (for both the child and the pet 😉)

LEARNING TO SHARE…
EMPATHY & COMPASSION…

RESPONSIBILITY…

THE MANY BENEFITS OF PETS~

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

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

ADDITIONAL BENEFITS OF HAVING A PET~

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

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

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

TYPES OF PETS~

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

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

SO…SHOULD I GET A PET?

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

Pineapple Upside Down Cake – Family Recipe

 

I am sharing with you our family recipe for Pineapple Upside Down Cake.  It’s not much different than many recipes I have seen over the years.  However, there are a couple of different ingredients that make this cake FANTASTIC!  Seriously, loved by everyone who eats it!  My own son always states, “How is it that I don’t really care for pineapple, yet I LOVE this cake?!”

Step by Step Instructions~With pictures:

The directions in recipe format are included below, but I wanted to share step by step pictures.  I think making a pineapple upside down cake for the first time (or if you don’t make it very often) can be a very intimidating recipe.  It actually is much easier than most people think!

Start out preheating your oven to 350 degrees.  Put a stick of butter in your 9 X 13 pan.  Put in oven (you can do this while preheating) to melt.

While the butter is melting, I open the can of pineapple slices and strain over a bowl to reserve the juice for later.  Let that sit while you are completing the next steps so it has time to drain sufficiently.

When the butter is completely melted, remove it from the oven.

Next, pour the brown sugar evenly over the melted butter.  The recipe calls for about 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar.  I play with this a little.  I tend to use a bit more to make a thicker topping.

                                                                                                       

Now you will add the pineapple slices on top of the brown sugar mixture.  If you want the cake to look more uniform, I would suggest using six pineapple slices.  When making it just for my family I go ahead and cut the other slices in half to add them to the cake as well (this just doesn’t look as pretty if you do this, but gives your more pineapple.)

After placing the pineapple rings on the mixture, open the can of crushed pineapples and strain them over the same bowl.  Once again, you are reserving this juice for later in the recipe.

While the crushed pineapple is draining, you will want to place cherries in the middle of the rings.  ***Remember to place the cherries upside down so that when you turn the cake over it will look prettier to see the tops of the cherries.

Now it is time to add the crushed pineapple in all of the areas that are still exposed with the brown sugar and butter mixture.

Next you will blend the cake mix.  (you can start this step earlier if you wish to have it blending while you are working on the topping.  This will just depend on what method you use for mixing.)  When I first started making this recipe (which was handed down by mom–which was handed down by her mom….you get the picture), I did not have a mixer.  Thus, when I first began I followed the recipe directions in this order.

I use a yellow cake mix.  You can make it from scratch, but seriously, you do not need to.  If you follow these next steps, you will have a very moist cake that tastes delicious!

Follow the instructions on the back of the cake box  ***EXCEPT***, substitute the reserved pineapple juice in place of the water.  I laugh at this point, because my first time making pineapple upside down cake was a disaster.  My mother told me to substitute the pineapple juice … so I did.  However, I substituted it for the oil….not a good turnout!   You still need oil!!!

                                                                             

After blending according to the directions on the box, you will layer the cake mix over the topping mixture.

Once you have poured all of the cake batter over the topping, you will bake at 350 degrees for 35-50 minutes.  I understand that this is a very large amount of a time gap for baking.  I initially set the timer for 35 minutes.  This cake always takes longer than a simple cake mix.  I then check it at 35 minutes (with the toothpick test) and then reset the timer at 5 minute intervals.  PLEASE DON’T FORGET TO SET YOUR TIME EACH TIME YOU RESET!  You have put a lot of work into this cake, so be careful to continue setting the timer.

Once the cake is done baking, remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes.  While it is cooling, you need to get a long cake plate, cookie sheet or large tray in which to invert the cake on.  In my example today, I covered mine in foil, as I was traveling with it and wanted to be able to secure it well for travel.  I prefer to not use a foil liner as it is not as pretty.

When you are ready to turn the cake over, place your large tray over the top of the cake.

Carefully turn the cake over, while holding on to the tray underneath to flip.

 

Next, you will carefully lift the cake dish from the top of the cake  You may need to let it sit for a minute for all of the topping to drop from the cake pan to the serving dish.  I then use a butter knife to place gently under one edge of the cake pan to help lift the cake pan up and away from the cake.

                                         

And there you have it!!!  A wonderful cake that has been a family favorite for years.  It even makes it onto the birthday list many times!

Once you have tried this recipe, let me know how yours turns out!

 

 

 

Ground Rules for Grandparents!

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

 

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

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

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

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

RULES TO FOLLOW:

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                 

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

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

In Closing:

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

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

 

 

4th of July Fun – Keeping it Simple

It’s the eve of July 4th.  If you are a planner, then you have your menu and activities laid out for the family celebration.  However, if you are more of an impromptu person like myself, you are frantically searching through Pinterest and other websites for new and exciting ideas.  I always feel like I have to find the latest and greatest ideas that surface each year.  It’s great to add new and exciting ideas to family events.  But as I get older, I many times ask myself, “What is wrong with some of the simpler foods and activities that we have always had through the years?”

Don’t we all love a good barbecue with hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob and watermelon?  Does anyone ever play bocce ball and frisbee anymore?  Remember when we ran through sprinklers after eating big slices of watermelon and having seed spitting contests?    We giggled and laughed, and our parents loved it because because our sticky faces and bodies got cleaned up a bit during the process.  Good memories indeed!

Then everyone puts on the bug spray, grabs their blankets and sits down for the fireworks show!

Unfortunately, many of the fireworks have been cancelled this year due to Coronavirus.  However, this does not have to keep you from celebrating this very special day.  Great memories are made with or without fireworks!

READ THE FOLLOWING AND REMEMBER ABOUT KEEPING IT SIMPLE~

This poem, which was written by Patrick Hall,  went around the internet in a frenzy when the Coronavirus first entered our lives.  Whether you have read it already or not, take a minute to read and absorb:

 

 

My wish for everyone is while we are all going about creating new 4th of July traditions, take some time to enjoy the simple fun of the old family fun.  Take some frisbees to your family gathering.  Teach the little ones to play jacks.  Have a coloring contest.  Throw up a net and play badminton.  Have a water balloon fight!  Play ring toss.  Play Patriotic bingo~who doesn’t love a good game of Bingo?

FREE 4th of JULY COLORING PAGE LINK~

There are many wonderful links on Pinterest for free coloring pages.  Here is an example from chrissiegrace.blogspot.com:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/158540849356925077/

 

Maybe you can quiz everyone on their knowledge of the lyrics in The Star Spangled Banner….😉   Here is a little cheat sheet for ya:

I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July!

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!

Favorite Books to Read to Kids

I LOVE READING!

I love reading to my grandchildren, I love reading to myself, I love reading to anyone who will listen!  Reading takes you anywhere you want to be.  In fact, I am known in my family for not enjoying travel very much.  I believe that is because books take me anywhere I want to be while allowing me to stay put  in my own home.  (Plus I don’t have to face that daunting task of packing–yuk!)

There is nothing better than snuggling with the grandkids and listening to them laugh.  You know the kind of laugh I am talking about…that deep down from the belly laugh.  I bet you are smiling right now just thinking about it!

There are so many great books out there, however, I have 3 favorites that I truly enjoy reading to the children.  None of them are particularly new books….just tried and true favorites!  These books require interaction and crazy voices, which make the reading experience even more fun.  They are outlined below (along with a link to check them out):

  1. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury & MIchael Rosen – This fun book takes you through several different landscapes all while searching for a bear.  Do they find a bear?  I will leave that for you to find out, but I will tell you it sure is a lot of fun to make all of the landscape noises (stomping through mud and swishing through tall grass)  with the little ones as you journey through the pages.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Classic Board Books)       

 

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2.  The Monster at the End of This Book  by Jon Stone & Michael Smollin – Who doesn’t love Sesame Street characters?  This book completely engages the children by trying to keep you from getting to the end of the book.  The children laugh with delight as they try to quickly turn the pages….even though Grover tries his hardest to stop them!

The Monster at the End of This Book     

 

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3.  Tickle Monster by Josie Bissett – You must buy this one as the kit….it is a MUST!  You wear the fluffy mitts and do lots of tickling as you venture through the pages.  Talk about deep belly laughs!  This one also makes a wonderful gift.

Tickle Monster Laughter Kit — Includes the Tickle Monster book and fluffy mitts for reading aloud and tickling!

 

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If you haven’t already discovered these books, I think they would be a great addition to your bookshelves.  I would also love to hear of any books you recommend as well.

Happy Reading!!!!

 

 

 

 

Let’s Go Camping!

Do you have a favorite camping story?  Maybe you have a story that you would consider more of a camping nightmare?  Regardless of whether it is good or bad~ if you have ever been camping with your family, you have some wonderful memories!

My family grew up camping…every….single….weekend!  You don’t see families camping  as much these days.  Sports and other summer activities have become more popular and occupy most of the summer days.  While I love all of these options for kids today, I sure do miss the family togetherness of a good ‘ole camping trip!

Well, if you are one of those families that has a summer calendar jam packed with summer camps, sports, and family vacations, maybe you can plan a “camping day” with your kiddos like my daughter did.

How to Create Your Own Camping Site:

She set up the kid’s tent along with their camping chairs, added a couple of logs with a battery operated candle nestled in them to create the “fire” and engaged the kids in their own camping experience….right in the middle of their living room!

They enjoyed s’mores (which she toasted over a candle)  and drinking juice from their own canteens.   Their Chuckwagon meal consisted of a frozen breakfast bowl set in a tin tray for the “camping look.”

The kids also enjoyed making their own binoculars (with a little help from mom.)  These were made from toilet paper rolls, construction paper, yarn and a little glue (the glue is definitely where help from mom comes in.)

You can even have a supply of stickers and crayons so they can decorate them to their liking (this can even help with arguments of which ones belong to whom!)

So why not have a little “camping” fun with your kids or grandkids.  A camper or tent is not in your future?  No problem!   Traveling to a lake or mountain does not fit in your calendar?  No problem!   You don’t even have to buy coolers and fill them with all the camping necessities.  You can still give your children the camping experience by setting up a fun-filled day right at your own home!

Tie Breaker ~ Grandbaby #3 ~ Boy or Girl?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Secret Treasures

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

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

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

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

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

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

                               

 

Memory Journals

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

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

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

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

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

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

         

 

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