Halloween lanterns from paper cups~
I wrote about this craft in my October 2nd blog. I finally had time to create more of these lanterns with my grandson. We made several of the paper cup lanterns, and he took them home. I will repeat the address of that blog at the end of this one.
Eerie lights for the yard~
These are very simple, and I'll include the website at the end of my blog. The blogger suggests using empty paper towel rolls, but I just rolled up card stock. Unfortunately for these photos, I used white card stock, but I plan to use black card stock on Halloween.
As I said, these are just empty paper towel rolls, wherein you cut scary eyes. Then you insert those light sticks that you see at hobby stores. I had some leftover from the Fourth of July, so I used those. I had to fold them twice to get them in the roll, but they worked. I apologize for the quality of these photos, but it will help you get the idea. These will have to be made on Halloween as the lights only last a few hours.
This was another craft I did with my grandson. It's the same concept as a paper chain that we did in a previous blog. We made ours with 8 1/2 x 11 inch orange card stock as I thought it might stand up better than construction paper. You can either use this pumpkin for a table decoration or hang them up.
We cut the card stock in quarters creating chain pieces that measured 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches. Then we just taped them together forming a pumpkin. Again, I'll provide the website below.
Crafting with the grands~
As I always say, the main point of doing a craft with your kids or grandkids is mostly about that time you spend together. It's such a great time for conversation and laughs. But they'll also have something fun to take home and display at their house.
My previous blog about lanterns from paper cups:
Blog for making the spooky lights for yard:
Blog for the 3-D pumpkin:
Happy Halloween, everyone!
Share your autumn bliss with a friend or loved one!
I saw a meme the other day that said something like. . . the Amazon delivery truck, the adult version of the ice cream man. Isn't that the truth! Who doesn't like to get a package in the mail? And even more fun when you're not expecting it. Just a "care" package from a friend full of sweet surprises.
I've done a blog about sending Halloween treats to a young grandchild who lives in another city. How fun for a young one to get a package of Halloween treats from their grandparents. But who says you have to be a youngster to get something from grandmother? Do you have a grandchild away at college? Send them a care package! Do you have a niece or nephew in town? How about delivering them some pumpkin bread?
I love this season, and it puts me in the mood to share the joy!
I was looking for a new project, and decided I would send a package of autumn treats to a family member who loves this season as much as I do. So I was off to the store to see what I could find in the way of seasonal delights.
I started at the craft store to find any seasonal decor she might like for her home or classroom. Next stop was the drugstore to find some personal items that she might enjoy. Lastly it was off to the grocery store to find seasonal teas, coffees and candies she might like.
And that's it--an autumn-themed care package for a friend or family member. Make someone's day! I named my blog "Gigi's Seasonings" so season a grandchild or friend with some love. It's fun!
Previous blog about fall care packages if you need other ideas:
More art and craft ideas coming at you for the fall season!
As I've said many times in this blog, I love sitting down with my grandkids to create some art or make some craft. It's always a time of laughs, bonding and sharing a fun time. I don't know about you, but for me art class in elementary was such a great, stress-free time. I loved Miss Pyatt, and I loved being able to quietly talk to my friends and enjoy a time of creating.
So I checked on Pinterest and found some Halloween crafts that I think my grandson will enjoy, and then have some Halloween decor for his new home.
Here we go!
As you can see, this is a super easy project, but I think the small lanterns are so cute. I actually just drew the eyes and mouth on, but if that's too hard for my five-year-old grandson to deal with (since it's drawing on the rounded surface of the cup), I plan to just cut out the eyes and mouth for him to glue on.
I bought the white paper cups and LED tea lights at a craft store. The cups were called snack cups/bowls and they seemed to be a good size. You simple poke a hole where the nose should go and push the tea light through that.
On to the NEXT idea--remember paper chains? Usually we made them in elementary classes at Christmas time. These are super cute for this autumn holiday with various images providing a Halloween motif to the chain.
Supplies included green, orange, white, and black construction paper. I also bought some wiggle-eyes at the craft store. I opted to staple each link in the chain; and I used markers for other details besides using the wiggle-eyes. My images included a black cat, a ghost, a jack-o'lantern, and Frankenstein's monster.
Again, when we finish this project, my grandson will be able to take them home and use to decorate his room or their entry hall.
Just a simple craft, but I think they are delightful. I'll provide the links to the websites where I got these ideas, as well as my blog from last Halloween with the instructions for the Halloween Chinese paper lanterns. Enjoy this time with your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews and perhaps even the neighborhood kids. It's a fun Halloween craft!
Chinese paper lanterns from last year's blog:
Ghostly lanterns from a paper cup:
Halloween paper chain:
A parting thought~
"Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children." Alex Haley
The lingering heat of summer got you down? News of the day has you a wee bit depressed? I've got the solution. Make a bucket list of things to do for fall and then do them!
I know most of us have a a mental list of things we want to do for fall--go to the church's fall festival or check out the local pumpkin patch. But this year, add to your list and DO THEM! There are some great autumn bucket lists online and I will provide you with some links at the end of this blog. Let's do this!
Here are some items I've gleaned from various websites. Some you can do with your grandchildren of course; that's what this blog is about. But most you can do on your own. Here's a sampling:
What's that you say? Your grands are older or don't live in town? There are still fun things to add to your list:
Make that autumn bucket list and see how many you can accomplish.
I've read that taking a much needed vacation or weekend trip adds points to your internal happiness meter. And I've also read that just PLANNING for that weekend or trip adds joy to your happiness bucket! I would think the same would hold true of creating a bucket list for fall. Just the writing down of all the items on your fall wish list would bring a smile to your face. But this year do as many of those items as you can!
Fall bucket list links:
Link to the recipe:
Looking for another fun craft idea to do with your grandkids? How about making prayer jars.
I saw this one on Pinterest and thought it was a great idea. And just like doing any craft at any time with your grandchildren, it really turns out to be a quiet, sharing time with them. In fact, my 5-year-old grandson was heard to mutter, "I love craft time with you." Now really....it doesn't get any better than that. And quite often those "teachable moments" come up as well.
As you can imagine, it's really a straight-up task. I don't think you need any instruction from me. It's basically a jar or cup, and the craft sticks for writing the names of the people you are praying for. The jars I saw on Pinterest were glass--I decided to forego that--didn't want anything that would break and cause an injury. In fact, it looks to me like the ones on Pinterest were created by recycling baby food jars, and we have none of those at our house. So it was off to the craft store to see what I could find.
Craft stores are always a good idea!
You can see we found some plain yet sturdy paper cups. They turned out to be fine for gluing on all our embellishments. You could paint them as well. And several came in a package so there was enough for all the grandkids and for any adults helping with the craft.
My grandson was at school, so I shopped alone. But if you can, have your grandkids join you so they can pick out exactly what they want on their cup/jar. Here are some things I found:
And there's more!
Of course my grandson went to get all his art supplies. He got out his markers which were great for adding names to the craft sticks.
Let the craft project begin!
Of course we had to brainstorm a list of all the people he wanted to include in his prayers each night. I made a list so he could copy the names on his craft sticks. And we were set to go!
I really recommend doing crafts with your grandkids.
It just seems to lend itself to sweet and meaningful conversations with your grandchild. More so than other activities like playing games or watching PBS Kids together.
Here is that blog with the cute prayer jars:
I leave you this week with these scriptures:
Never kept a travel journal? It's not too late to begin!
I never kept one either....until I retired and found the time. The time to both travel and to record my impressions. I'll repeat this quote from a writing institute I took years ago--"How can I know what I think until I see what I've written." Besides keeping a record of your travels, it's also an exercise in personal reflection. You learn a lot about yourself. And if your grandkids peek into your journal after you've gone, they'll learn much about you. So just do it!
Learning the value of keeping a travel log~
Years ago when my husband taught in high school, we had the opportunity to travel abroad. He became a chaperone with Foreign Study League, a travel/study tour group for high school students. We traveled with a counselor from the high school where he taught. She had taken high school students to Europe for several years. She always kept a journal, and encouraged us to do the same. And not just for personal reasons; she said she recorded favorite restaurants and museums and shops so she would know which places she wanted to return when she went back to that country. I've never forgotten that lesson. And I've been able to see the value now.....in the age of Facebook. When my Facebook friends travel, I notice that other Facebook friends often ask--what are good restaurants? What tours are good? So keeping a travel diary has practical implications as well as personal reflections and self-discovery.
Some items you can include in a travel journal:
I always do research for my blog, and this week was no exception. Some people really jazz up their journals. Some of them I found online almost look like a smash book! They are full of sketches, fun clip art, personal photos, stickers, small keepsakes, postcards, and tour itineraries. They are just plain FUN! Fun to create and fun for others to read! To my way of thinking, it's like living the travel experience at least three times: 1) the real time travel; 2) the recording of it at the end of the day or when you return home; 3) the reading of it after you've got it all in your journal.
One gal whose travel journal was pictured online said she takes all her stickers with her when she travels, as well as various colored pens. I'm not so industrious, but I have come to discover that at the end of the day when I'm back on ship or back in the cabin in the woods, it's a perfect time to record events in my journal. And I can embellish it when I get back home.
Add the travel stickers to your journal before you leave home.
That works too, especially if you record just basic things like a list of restaurants or museums that you visit.
A favorite section of my journal~
Another section of my journal that I often include is, "I want to remember." This came about when my husband and I were in Atlanta. We were riding the MARTA from the airport to downtown Atlanta to do some shopping. A sweet grandmother-type and what appeared to be her grandson got on our car. They sat in front of us, and she patiently told him about all the sights they were seeing from the train. She would say things like, "That's where your daddy went to school." Or, "That's the factory where your grandpa worked." I loved her descriptions for her grandson--it just really touched my heart. It might seem a trivial thing to you, but I wrote about it in my travel journal. I've never forgotten it.
And don't forget to add favorite photos when you get home--those are really treasures.
When I travel with my grands, I'm always sure to include a photo or two. One such experience is when I took them to an outdoor musical in Palo Duro Canyon in my home state. As luck would have it, a favorite aunt was able to join us. For sure I've included that picture in my journal.
Grandparents and grandkids! I really recommend keeping a travel journal. A narrative of your day is fine and very important. But embellishing it with some of the items above makes it really fun, and a delightful project after you get home! Try it!
Favorite travel quotes:
"Stop worrying about potholes in the road and enjoy the journey." Babe Heffman
It is not the destination where you end up, but the mishaps and memories you create along the way. Unknown
Fun blog with ideas for creating a power-packed travel journal:
Yes, taking five minutes each day to write 3-5 things that made us happy can make a difference in our attitude. And in our life!
I wrote a blog recently about mantras to help you out when you're experiencing a difficult moment. I added some thoughts on happiness journals as well, and I realized I could probably do an entire blog about happiness journals, so here we go!
I had decided earlier in my blog-writing history to write about happiness journals, but thought that probably wasn't necessary.......most of my readers are grandparents and people of a "certain age." We're in our golden years and conventional wisdom tells us, that means our "happy" years. But that's not always the case. Even those of us who consider ourselves happy and content, have times of distress, worry and depression. We miss our children, our grandchildren, old friends. We have health issues that bring about distress and anxiety. Those bad knees or arthritic hips make us downhearted. The list goes on and on. Even when you're going through a difficult situation, you can find small moments of happiness and gratitude. My friend always reminds me that the Apostle Paul when he was emprisoned looked for things that brought him happiness. And we've all read about Nelson Mandela who was in prison for 27 years in South Africa found joy in his jail cell.
The old adage says, "Bloom where you are planted!" So let's do this.
I told you in a recent blog that a friend had told me about happiness journals. Then I saw Shawn Achor on a talk show telling about the same thing, and I was sold on the concept. Shawn is a teaching assistant at Harvard University and taught a course on happiness. He's also written numerous books on the subject including, The Happiness Advantage and The Happiness Project. I'll link some websites at the end of my blog. Shawn says keeping such a journal on happiness or gratitude for a month actually rewires the brain. It resets it to look for small moments that bring you joy. And as we've heard over and over, gratitude in small things is the key to happiness.
So it's pretty straightforward. Just find a little journal or notebook and start recording those things. And really, they are tiny little things........not necessarily big moments like a birthday party, but small things, like the smell of popcorn popping in the microwave.
Don't want to go to all the trouble of having a journal set aside for "moments of gratitude"? Then just add some pages to your date book.
Yes, I still keep a paper calendar or date book. I like the idea of writing things down in a date book and checking it each day. I realize there are phone apps, but I still like the act of writing things down on paper. So since I still have an appointment with my calendar first thing in the morning and the last thing in the evening, I used some of the extra pages for writing things that made me happy. Here, I'll let you take a look:
I took photos of things that make me happy, so that you can see they are very simple things. Just some small moments that can really lift your mood on a down day.
But wait! There's more!!
You can even get online, and Google "gratitude journals," and find writing prompts that can help you along in your happiness quest. Here are some sample questions:
I love gratitude journals. They just help you to refocus on the things that are really important. Writing your small blessings can reduce stress and help you to live in the moment. It can lift your mood on a down day, or even when you're going through really difficult times. Even during those times you can find something to be grateful for.
Want to read more about them? Try this article from the Huffington Post:
I'll end today's blog with one of my favorite things I'm grateful for: SUNSETS! Being a west Texas gal, from the home of the world's most glorious sunsets, I love them. I always try to make each list of my five happy things unique and try not to repeat, but sunsets make my list more times than I can count. Here's one from my sweet niece, Lisa~
Yes, as parents and grandparents, we can help our kids deal with bullies. And it's that important.
When I left the teaching profession back in 2006, conventional wisdom contained a shift in thinking about this difficult subject. The move was from counseling kids to not bully to HOW NOT TO BE A VICTIM. Psychologists and others were telling us that in actuality, it wasn't bullies who were the instigators of mass shootings, but VICTIMS--people who were marginalized by society. And we see that over and over again in today's news.
So this is just another way parents and grandparents can help--and help we must!
I culled articles, books, and blogs on the internet to find suggestions. I've listed some here:
How NOT to Be a Victim of Bullying!
My added thoughts~
I write this blog primarily for grandparents, but I'm hopeful that my friends who are young parents will also take to heart the information in this blog. In the list above, probably the #1 that grandparents are good at is helping your grandchild have good self esteem. We grandparents are good at telling our grands how special they are, how smart they are, how beautiful they are......and the list goes on and on. The only thing I would add is to be specific with your praise. For example, if they always help you when they come over, tell them how much you appreciate that. Say something like, "I am really grateful to have such a fabulous grandson who is always willing to help me when I ask." That way it's not hollow praise. They are learning the traits they have that are special and valuable. You might tell them they are great problem-solvers or have wonderful manners and are respectful which you appreciate. All of these specific compliments help them to realize they ARE special and valued. When they have good self-esteem, they usually think enough of themselves so as not to give in to peer-pressure or bullying. And although I addressed this comment to grandparents, of course parents, aunts, uncles and older siblings can heed this advice too, and build each other up! Let's help our kids out.
Also remember that bullying is not always someone that wants to harm them physically. Most times it's just those "mean girls," or someone who is making fun of them. Those are the sorts of things that really hurt. Help them to deal with that. All the suggestions on this list apply to bullies who use hurtful words.
I don't know about you grandparents or parents, but oftentimes it's helpful to me to have a checklist of things I can do to help my sweet grandchildren navigate this big world. I sure hope this list has helped you, and please let me know of other techniques you have tried.
We're just walking each other home. . .
Information on the "Buddy Bench Project"~
An easy checklist for kids:
Closing thought from Henry James~
"Three things in human life that are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is be kind."
Quick strategies for dealing with modern-day stress and anxiety:
We all suffer from this from time to time--even us grand folks and retirees. Yes, even those of us who have a record of life experience, and know that these moments of anxiousness or difficult days will pass. Today I'm writing for us and our younger friends who are going through times of stress.
I'm seeing more and more articles in the news and online about how to deal with this 21st century world. In my blog from May of this year, I wrote this and shared a quote:
"I saw this on a Facebook page I follow called, The Daily Positive: 'The world we live in IS changing faster than our minds have evolved to handle. And we are all getting to learn how to be more conscious and careful than ever before as to how we learn to manage our emotions and train our minds to handle all this energy it's taking on.' Tara Wagner" (See link at the end of this blog.)
Schools and even entire communities are meditating and doing yoga together to address this need!
There was an article in the Houston Chronicle recently sharing quick techniques to increase one's positivity now. I'll link the article below. In the meantime, I'll share two key points--using a mantra to get through the difficult time/moment, and writing a happiness journal.
Having a mantra is easy and most of you have been doing this for years. You either repeat a Bible verse, song lyric or just a phrase you heard from your mother or grandmother. I have a friend who came up with her own, "Right now, it's like this." She said by adding the "right now," it reminds her that nothing is permanent--even a difficult situation will pass.
So here we go. Here are some mantras I've gathered from friends, family and online. Maybe you can adopt one of these or come up with your own.
Kids use mantras too!
I've had my five-year-old grandson with me this summer, and of course that means watching some of the great children's programing on PBS. More than one show gives kids tips on dealing with various difficulties and gave examples of mantras that they could repeat when they are having a difficult time. I talked with my grandson about this and we tried to come up with mantras. For some reason, most of ours involved nursery rhymes, but hey! Whatever works!
This is a blog for grandparents, so my fellow grandparents, we can help our grands out with this.
My friend Kathy, told me about this one several years ago. I consider myself a fairly happy and positive person, but even this small strategy helped me out. We've heard it time and time again, that in reality, the key to happiness is gratitude, Consequently, these are also called gratitude journals. Another oh-so-simple technique that can make such a big difference in your life.
Live and learn and pass it on!
I do this blog simply to share ideas. I never have come up with these things on my own. They are usually ideas that friends and family have shared with me, or something I've read about that I think others might like as well. Check out these articles and websites:
The article from the Houston Chronicle~
"Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom." James Allen
Sending a friend or family member a care package!
I recently had a friend make a hospital visit with the usual recovery time of six weeks after she gets out. I knew she needed a care package. Someone sent me a "Box of Sunshine" years ago after a hospital stay, so since then, I've tried to pass this sweet custom on. I remember how fun it was to open the package of small little trinkets and favors--really made my day.
So here we go--it's really easy to do. I'm partial to finding items with a "sunshine" color, but you certainly don't have to do that. I just happen to find it fun to find items that fit in with my "sunshine" theme.
You can find lists online or on Pinterest. You can brainstorm your own ideas for items and then go shopping. Or simply walk through a pharmacy or craft store and grab those items you think would be appropriate.
And that's it!
They even have websites where you can order a box of sunshine already prepared, but I like creating my own. That's half the fun! And you can personalize it with items you know your recipient would like.
My friend lives out of town, so I used a box and mailed it. But if your friend is in town, you can use something else--maybe a sweet basket that they can use later. Or even a pretty gift bag. Let your imagination run wild.
With the recent events in our country, it's nice to walk away from the horrible news of the day, all the sad thoughts swirling in your head, and do something for someone else. You might even have a friend who's simply down in the dumps. Take her a box of sunshine! This whole world needs a box of SUNSHINE. Good for the recipient as well as the giver!
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!