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

Tag: kids (Page 1 of 2)

Why Kids STILL Love Action Figures

I marvel at the different types of toys available for kids.  Let’s face it, there are some pretty amazing toys out there.  However, kids are the same today as they have always been…and kids STILL love action figures.  They are a pretty basic toy compared to what we normally see at the top of their wish lists, but if you put a set of action figures in front of a kid, I’m guessing 9 times out of 10 you will see their imagination flourish.

Kids also love sports.  What do you get when you merge action figures and sports?  You get sports action figures of course!  Kaskey Kids sent me a set of their Soccer Guys to give an honest review.  You already know I am all about finding awesome toys, books and crafts for my grandkids and this one did NOT disappoint!

The set includes two full teams, a referee, goals, ball, playing “field” and great storage container (with a handle for easy carrying…some times it’s the small things that make all the difference).   Our Max is a very busy guy who loves action.  This set has been awesome while we are at big sister’s soccer games.

KASKEY KIDS SOCCER SET ~

They have a variety of different sports available:

  • Soccer Guys and Girls Sets
  • Basketball Guys Set
  • Football Guys Set
  • Hockey Guys Set
  • Baseball Guys Set

Kids Using Imagination ~

Playing with action figures is a great way for kids to use their imagination.  Kids have to give a voice to each of the characters and decide how the scene is going to play out.  Without realizing it, they are learning about winning and losing as they are responsible for both sides in these sport sets.

I know I may ruffle a few feathers, but I am not a big fan of the idea that kids should always win.  While I want nothing more than for all children to be happy, I will always believe it is very important for kids to learn how to handle every situation they are going to face throughout life.  So how cool that they can accomplish this during play?!?!

Adding Another Player ~

Whether it’s a friend, sibling or parent, adding in other players is also a lot of fun.  As a parent, it is a great idea to let the child lead how the play is going to take place as then this helps the child learn some leadership skills.  However, when another child is playing it will most likely not go the same way.  Of course, this is yet another great learning opportunity for all kids involved here as well.

Someone can be the referee while others are the players.  They can choose their team names or for that matter, choose the player’s name.  As kids get a little older, you can even add in a scoreboard.  Why not add in some geography lessons and let the kids decide what country their team is from.  The ideas are endless when you use your imagination!

Toys On The Go ~

How many different events do you go to throughout the year that you need “on the go” toys to entertain younger siblings.  Soccer has just started up for my grandchildren, so there is no doubt these sets will go a long way with the family activities.  Do you do a lot of tailgating?  Maybe planning a trip to the beach?  Does an older child have some extra-curricular classes they go to weekly that you want to watch but are always entertaining the younger ones so you miss out?

Maybe you want to plan just certain times that they get this set out.  I wrote about quiet boxes a while back.  Put special toys and activities in a box that they only get to play with during quiet time.  If certain toys are only available at special times, that makes them desired even more.  Check out my earlier post on how awesome QUIET BOXES FOR KIDS are!  I keep quiet activity boxes for Addi and Max in our office and replenish items in there every once in awhile.

Variety of Sets Available ~

As mentioned earlier, they have several sports available.  There are also smaller tower packs that are a great package topper, party favor or even nice for a cake topper set.  The newest set is a Football Single Pack in Pink.  Kaskey Kids is donating 10% of the proceeds from this pink pack to support the Boys & Grils Clubs of America.  Getting great toys while also helping out important causes is a definite Win-Win!

Check out their website, not only for the fun sport sets that they have, but they also have a Kid’s Corner tab with “Good Reads” and “Party Ideas.”  I can tell you that Mimi has absolutely fallen in love with this company.  For those of you who have kids that I love to buy for….don’t be surprised when your sweet babe receives one of these cool sets! 😉

Check out Kaskey Kids Website HERE!!!!!

With Love~

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

 

 

 

 

Summer Bookworm Programs for Kids

Reading should NOT be a “chore” for kids!  Instead, books should open up a world of adventure.  When reading, your child may sail the ocean and dig treasures with those pesky pirates.  Perhaps they will dress in fancy dresses and dine on french pastries with Fancy Nancy.  Maybe they prefer to dress in scuba gear and do some deep sea diving to discover all of the unusual fish and corals.  How else can children do so many things in one day, one week, one summer?  It’s looking like we need to look into summer bookworm programs for kids!

Summer reading programs not only entice children to keep reading, but they offer different awards for their achievements.  While we may not want to admit it, everyone has discovered that bribery is a great motivator for kids.  Ok, maybe it’s not bribery, but it is a great way of rewarding them for setting goals and reaching them.  I’ve compiled a list of programs…and what’s even better is that they are free!

 Wait a minute….did you say FREE????

Types of Summer Bookworm Programs for Kids ~

Pizza Hut’s Book-It Program ~

It’s super easy to sign up for this fun program.  Set reading goals and once reached head on over to Pizza Hut for some FREE pizza!  Click here for easy access to register for the Pizza Hut Summer Reading Program…..  You will have 3 options to register:

  1. Homeschool parent for kids ages 4 to 12
  2. Enroll classs from PreK to 6th grade for public, private or charter school
  3. Parent of student(s) grades PreK to 6th

Once you are registered, there is a plethora of free resources such as activities, printables and reading trackers.  Seriously, this program is amazing and this Mimi thinks you would be crazy to not take advantage of all the stuff they have to offer.  We are all signed up in our family and just waiting for June 1 to roll around so we can get started!

Public Library Program ~

There are so many wonderful things about this program that has been around for…ever!  Let’s put it this way, I’m a Mimi and I enrolled my kids in this program every year when they were young.  You do the math!  😳

The INDYPL program is open to any resdient of Marion County and once again it is FREE!  (If you live outside of Indiana, be sure to look up fun programs at your local library!)  It runs from June 7, 2021 to July 31, 2021 and they provide 3 easy ways to register and track reading time of kids AND adults.  Yes, I said adults!  They offer special offerings for us big kids too!  How awesome is that?  Here are the options for registering:

  1. Create an account on Beanstack through the Apple App or Google Play Store
  2. Use the Beanstack website to register.  The link to Beanstack is right here….what are you waiting for?
  3. Sign up at your local IndyPL branch

Once you are registered for this summer bookworm program for kids (& adults), start reading and tracking the time of books read.  Older kids and adults who read to younger kids get credit for those minutes to.  The library even provides a colorful tracker that you can pick up at the library or download for free and print yourself.  They are offering a fun Discovery Bag…go check them out to learn more!

Barnes & Noble Program ~

Kids in grades 1 through 6 enroll in this program to earn free books!  A total of eight books need to be read to complete this awesome program.  The books can be borrowed or purchased.  Once they have finished reading each book, they are asked to write about their favorite part in the Reading Journal that Barnes & Noble provides.  Bring the completed journal into Barnes & Noble between July 1 and August 31, 2021 to choose a free book from the list provided.  Here is a convenient link to Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program!

Scholastic Summer Reading Program ~

Get started with this super exciting program by registering with Home Base.  Here is an easy link to the Home Base page for Scholastic!  I will say that it took me a few minutes to move around the Scholastic website to completely understand their program…but it is going to be so worth it.  I highly suggest you watch the short informative videos.  Once your child has registered with a fun avatar name he/she will be ready to go.

This program has really been updated to coincide with how our children learn today.  They can add to their own personal avatar by reading more books…I truly believe the kids will LOVE this program.  An added incentive is all of the fun games and reading they can do on site and watch their characters come to life.  I seriously think this is going to be an excellent reading source this summer!

Other Summer Programs ~

While researching all of these fun options, I have come across several others that I am still waiting to see if they are going to do a summer program this year.  They may or may not be available in your area, but if you are familiar with them, check them out.  I was surprised to see a bank offers a program for the kids.  This particular bank doesn’t exist in my area, but it helped me to realize I should check out others around me to see if they too have something available.  A list is provided for you so that you can look into them as well:

  • Books-A-Million
  • Tails & Tales
  • TD Bank
  • Lifeway
  • Half Price Books
  • Chuck E Cheese
  • H-E-Buddy
  • Amazon

I am sure there are many more than what I have shared, so now that you know there are so many options available, I hope you will check out some of the programs I have written about or look into what is available in your community.

What I have also discovered from my research is that summer bookworm programs for kids have gone above and beyond from when my kids were young.  Not only are they offering incentives for reading, but they now also offer so many other amazing resources.  They have done a lot of the legwork to make reading fun for your kids….so take advantage of all the FREE resources they are offering!

Happy reading!

Mimi

 

 

 

Meet Meddy Teddy ~ Meditation for Kids!

I AM BEYOND EXCITED TO HAVE DISCOVERED THIS AMAZING AND ADORABLE FLUFFY FRIEND!!!!!  We all strive to raise happy and healthy children.  Likewise, we all struggle with these very things at times as well.   Every parent witnesses tantrums, stress, and anxiety that we so desperately seek to alleviate for our kids, as well as for our own sanity!  Meet Meddy Teddy to help your kids with meditation and yoga!

MEET MEDDY TEDDY ~ YOGA & MEDITATION BEAR

***Coupon code down below ⬇⬇⬇

                         

This cute little guy is 100% poseable.  As your children learn different poses, they can mimic the same poses on Meddy Teddy.  He’s a perfect little yoga buddy with a great big heart!

BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS MEDITATION FOR KIDS~

  • Improves academic performance, learning & memory
  • Reduces anger & anxiety
  • Increases self-esteem
  • Fosters calmness & compassion
  • Improves self control
  • Boosts confidence
  • Enhances focus
  • Increases social skills

 

Do you now or have you ever done Yoga and/or meditation?  Can  you remember the benefits you received from it…or are still receiving?  Studies show that the earlier you introduce this concept to children the better the benefits.  Children actually have a natural feel for it because their minds are not yet biased or stressed with all of the things we adults deal with.  Now more than ever is a great time for extra help on raising happy and compassionate kiddos.

Code:  Mimi15

Use this link to check out Meddy’s website…..Meddy Teddy – the Original Yoga Bear!  Even better, use this code for 15% off!!!

This code expires Wednesday, September 30 ….SO ACT FAST!

Accessories & Free Yoga Classes ~

Of course there are accessories too….you knew that was coming right?  But a yoga mat and yoga clothes????  How adorable.  EVEN BETTER THOUGH..they provide a schedule on their website for FREE YOGA CLASSES!  Here is the link…..  FREE Yoga classes! All Times PST – perfect for kids of all ages (and adults too!)

This is updated monthly with available class times.  BUT WAIT….. They also provide FREE “Meddytations” to help calm and relax your kiddos!  Seriously, I am so loving EVERYTHING about this adorable guy and all he has to offer.

Mimi’s Favorite Toy of 2020 ~

Are you feeling as obsessed as I am with this little guy and all of the fun and benefits he offers?  I actually placed my order today (with that awesome code MIMI15) for Addi and Max.  Without a doubt, they will love him!   I also can’t wait to see how it helps Lauren with bedtime routines.  Updates coming soon…..

Until then….Namaste! 🧘‍♀️

 

 

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!

Grandparenting from a Distance

Being apart from your grandchildren is HARD! Brad and I  are so very lucky to have ours close to us, but they do love to travel. When they leave, I get major FOMO (fear of missing out!). When these occasions strike, I dig deeper to understand how grandparents that live apart from their littles keep their bonds strong. Technology definitely makes staying in touch much easier. However, I think you still need to make it fun!!!

 

MAKE THEM LAUGH~SHARE JOKES AND RIDDLES

One thing I added to my “Mimi Bag of Fun” just recently is telling jokes.  They have been vacationing, and I wanted to keep in touch with them daily without being overbearing.   I started texting a joke to them each day that our daughter could read to them whenever they had down time.  This allowed them time to discuss answers together.  It got to the point that if I didn’t send it in time, they were wanting to know where their daily joke was.

I have always enjoyed making children laugh.  Their laughter just fills your soul.       I used to send a joke a day in my kid’s lunchboxes.  I kept a joke book handy (but out of sight from the kids) in the kitchen.  I would mark off jokes as I used them to ensure not sending the joke more than once.  I did not include the answer on their lunch note.  This made for fun discussion when they got home from school.  The kids started discovering that their friends were waiting to hear the answer the next day at lunch.

Now I keep jokes and riddles organized on my Pinterest page.  You can look at my Pinterest board that includes jokes here:  Shelly’s Pinterest Board with Jokes

In fact, my sister is caring for her kids this week.  While talking on the phone, I shared one of my recent jokes with them.  They quickly retaliated with riddles that they love.  That interaction is what makes you the “fun” grandma!  They tend to remember those silly simple times.

FACETIME~

Isn’t this a great way to see your grandkids more often?  It is definitely a tech-savvy way to have great conversations with the children while seeing their faces.   While catching up on their latest favorites, you should also use this time to spice up the interaction.    Have you tried reading a book to them over the phone yet?  It’s a little harder to navigate while holding both the phone and the book, so I suggest you either set up a station where your phone/ipad is docked for hands free talking before facetiming or have someone help you.

I also plan to incorporate  MadLibs in the future.  My kids always loved MadLibs.  If you do this while using facetime, you can get their answers from them, and then read the story back to them.  It will definitely make for lots of laughter.

I recently found a very fun website which includes a ton of fun kid activities.  They have a lot of free printables, including some mad libs.  I certainly plan on utilizing their sources more often.  You should check it out too:  Fun Free Printables

SNAIL MAIL~

If you are a grandparent that lives farther away from your grandchildren, I certainly hope you use this method quite often.   In fact, I believe that even those grandparents that  live close should use snail mail as well.   I am not very good at this but plan to get better.  Do you remember when you would go to the mailbox and something was addressed to YOU?  I still remember that happy feeling.  Even though we have technology, kids are still the same.  They still love opening that mailbox and getting something addressed to them!

KEEP A CALENDAR~

I’m not just talking about recording birthdays.  Do you record special occasions they have coming up?  Are they invited to a birthday party?  Do they have a school event?  Do they play soccer/football/basketball/etc. every weekend?  Put those dates and times on your calendars.  If you can go to their events, GREAT!  If you can’t, GREAT!  You can still give them a call and ask them all about it!  This is fun for you, the grandchild, and your child (because your child will get a bit of a break!).

Keeping in touch can be difficult….but it is well worth the effort!

 

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!

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