Got the winter blues? Get out into the community and take your grands with you!
Actually it's not just the winter blues I have. It's the news of the day that's adding to my distress.. Our hearts are aching. You want to do something, but not sure what. Hanging out with your grandchildren is a wonderful start, and doing something for others really helps. Don't sit in your house and mourn.
My grandkids and I get together periodically for some community service, either taking small gifts to a local nursing home or baking cookies for our local fire stations or police departments. I actually got this idea from my daughter-in-law. She's all about teaching her children from a very young age to serve and show gratitude to service members in our community. Her first born loved firefighters (as most little boys do), so they would often stop by the station to visit with the men and women. And oftentimes, they baked cookies first and would take them to their new found friends.
Sadly my desire to show appreciation to police and firefighters was kickstarted by a wave of police officers being killed. My sweet great niece hosted a community party for police officers to show our deep gratitude to them. We also got together and made goodie bags for each. That got me started taking treats by on a regular basis. And as always, I often involve my grandchildren.
Really not much to tell or explain. I invited my grandchildren over to spend the night* and bake cookies. We decided to supplement our baked cookies by going to a local grocery store and purchasing more sweet treats and savory munchies.
And so it goes! A trip to the store for more treats. The girls went with me. And then it was back home to pack everything up in an attractive bag and add some thank-you cards. Then we were off to the fire station.
Final thoughts and "this-n-that"~
*If you've never invited your grandkids over for a slumber party, you really need to try that. It makes you young again. It takes you back to those thrilling days of your youth when sleepovers and slumber parties were the best things happenin'. Playing beauty shop, making fudge, and dancing to the Beatles simply can't be beat. And the laughs and giggles--beyond compare.
And that big ol' smile across your face when you've done something for others--you can't put a price tag on that.
One more giggle~ It's about my youngest grandson who lives in Dallas. My blog last week was about his visits. He was visiting once, and we took treats to the local fire station. He grabbed the fireman's hat out of the costume box before we left the house. He was about three at the time, and when we got to the fire station, he refused to wear the red fireman's hat even though it was his idea to bring it.. When his cousins asked why, he said he was afraid the firefighters would recruit him and expect him to go with them on their next emergency. So there you go--out of the mouths of babes.
If you've done some kind of community service with your grandkids, please share. I get more ideas from my readers! And if you were in a deep blue funk like me due to a recent event in Florida, try either hanging out with your grands or nieces and nephews, or doing some community service. It does help. Until next week!
I'm beginning to think I should change the focus of my blog, as I write so much about making books. I guess it's my background as a teacher--always encouraging my students to read and to write. And I do the same with my grands. Let's make a book!
My youngest son is a single dad. He lives about 200 miles away, and when it's his weekend to have his son, he often brings him down here to see us, his grandparents. It occurred to me that my youngest grandson needed a keepsake to capture those times with his dad, and to read when his dad wasn't around. So yes, I made ANOTHER BOOK.
"Perhaps host and guest is really the happiest relation for father and son."~Evelyn Waugh
The procedure is the same as I've described in other blogs about making books. Scan the pictures and/or download to a file on your computer. Go to a book-making website and begin creating. I tried to pick clipart that had a juvenile theme.
"Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son." ~George Lucas.
That's it! As a grandparent, I just feel we should nurture all relationships that involve our children and our grandchildren. That's the main focus of this blog--that important grandparent role we play. And you don't have to make a book or scrapbook just for a single dad--ANY dad would be thrilled to have such a book.
"No love is greater than that of a father for his son."~ Dan Brown
Websites for making books:
Valentine's Day--a great time to tell your love story! If you don't tell it, who will?
Recently two young women and sweet friends of mine shared their love story, and I loved it. I was inspired. If they could do it, so could I.
When my great-niece got all her wedding pictures from the photographer, she immediately created wedding books published at an online photo book site. She made several copies and gave them to various family members. What a wonderful keepsake for herself and her children. Don't you know her young kids love perusing that book.
As I said, when I saw C-Jaye's book, I was inspired to do my own. I had my wedding photos, but they were in an album that was coming apart. Better to put them in a book like my niece did, preserving and sharing with this generation and future generations.
My husband and I had those wedding photos as well as a few pictures from our honeymoon. We also collected keepsakes on our trip such as ticket stubs, matchbook covers and postcards. I scanned all those to put in my book as well. When I began assembling the book, I discovered more history that I hadn't even thought about. Take a look--
We were just two poor college students who really didn't have any money to take a trip. But we did have the money to go to San Antonio for the 1968 world's fair--Hemisfair. Our first night was spent in Lubbock, and we snagged the postcard from the hotel room. This is a history lesson of the 1960's in and of itself. Take a look at the decor for starters. I'm sure my female friends will take note of the huge hairdos. Look at the bellhop and how he's dressed. Notice the cash register. See the boxes for keys behind the counter? And the tobacco case as you enter the dining room. This postcard simply fascinated me, and what a bonus history lesson for my children and grandchildren. It's a snapshot of the 1960's with plenty of social commentary as well.
But wait! there's more!!
As we crossed the state, we also stopped in Houston. More history for future generations. Parking for 50 cents--imagine that. And the Astrodome was brand new. We couldn't wait to take the tour. As I said, I was just trying to make a photo book of our wedding celebration and honeymoon. Who knew it would also be a glimpse into 1960 Americana.
More ways to do your story~
My other young friend, Sara, is writing her love story for her children. She put excerpts from her essay in her blog, so I was able to read her sweet story.
So if you don't have photos of your courtship, wedding or honeymoon, simply write your story. How I would love to have my grandmother's story of her courtship written in her own hand. What a treasure that would be.
And still more! An oral history...
My daughter-in-law and son met on a hiking trip with a church group. They were leaders/counselors of the group of young people. They traveled to Colorado and besides falling in love with my son, Lisa fell in love with the Colorado Rockies and the beautiful aspen trees. She saved the terrain maps of the trip, and framed them after she and my son were married. Because she was so enamored of those beautiful trees, when they took a family vacation to Colorado, she took pictures of the aspens. Then her sister enlarged one of the photos poster-size, mounted it on canvas, and enhanced the painting further with oil paints. It's beautiful, and hangs over their fireplace. And she can tell the story over and over.....to her children as well as any guests in her home who ask. I can imagine her young children request, "Tell us the story, Mommy, about how you and Daddy met. Tell us again." Well, I'm a dreamer. It probably doesn't happen, but it sounds good in this blog. (Insert chuckle here.) Seriously, oral history is pretty special, so if you have any artifacts or heirlooms from your younger days, tell your grandkids the story behind them!
So there you have it. Three ways to tell your story: 1) You can tell it in pictures; 2) You can write it and share; or 3) You can gather your grandkids around and tell them the story.
How about preparing a special Valentine dinner and involving your grandkids? What could be better.
Last year I did exactly this with my eight, ten, and twelve-year-old grandkids. Yes, I could have taken them shopping and let them pick out small gifts for their parents. But we all know that the best gift you can give is yourself--or at least your labor and your time. I wanted that lesson further instilled in my grandchildren. So I suggested we cook a special meal for their parents.
I think the seed of this idea was planted many years ago. I traveled to California with my sister and her young family to visit her in-laws. My brother-in-law's mother was a jewel--we all called her Grandmother Mabel...or at least I did. Now mind you, I was only about 12 or 13 at the time, but I remember Grandmother Mabel giving my sister some marital advice. Not sure what prompted this exchange, but I've never forgotten what she told my sister. She said, "You should sometimes eat by candlelight for your evening meal. I've even put up my folding table by the fireplace and covered it with my best tablecloth and set up two candles. That will really put romance back in your marriage." Here's a chuckle for you, my sister does not remember this, but I DO! And it's served me well over the years.
I mostly did it on our anniversary or on Valentine's Day. And even after the kids came, I still did it! You'd be surprised how excited the little guys get when they see Dad's car pull into the driveway and we dim the lights and light the candles! And another funny benefit of this? They tend to whisper at dinner and use their best manners.
Now. . . back to that special Valentine's dinner~
I picked the kids up early on a Saturday. We had a lot to do. I had already done the grocery shopping, but we headed to the craft store to pick up decorations. We wanted to do this dinner up right. The girls picked out everything. When we got home, we made paper flowers and hung up all our sweetheart decorations. Then we hit the kitchen to prepare our meal. Poppa and grandson were in charge of grilling the steak. The girls and I made a vegetable tian (recipe below) and salad. And I had made the cake the night before, so all they had to do was ice and decorate it with a Valentine theme. They even wanted to make their very own fruit punch--a concoction they had invented one day at their house~can't remember the recipe exactly but it included strawberries and lemons.
Before their parents arrived, we finished setting the table. I even let them pick out the dinner music. We dimmed the lights and lit the candles. I did make one purchase--we stopped by the grocery store and picked out a rose for their mother. The kids presented that to her as they greeted her at the door.
Next came the COOKING! Such a great bonding time with the granddaughters. (As I said earlier, Poppa and grandson were out back grilling steaks and playing darts. Sure wish I had pictures of that, but alas, I don't.) I've seen many of your Facebook posts--cooking meals with your grandchildren, whether it be Thanksgiving or Christmas or some other holiday meal. So you know the joy of cooking with your grandchild.
Cooking with the grands!
I'm sure you've all been able to cook with your grandchildren some time or another. And I know you'll agree, it's the best of fun! Share any fun times you've had cooking with your grandchildren or nieces and nephews. I love to hear your stories. And Valentine's Day is almost upon us. Share any fun things you've done with your grandchildren. Just go to my "Contact" page.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Link to recipe:
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!