Mother's Day is coming--how about writing a poem for a dear lady in your life and do it with your grandkids?
My granddaughters are huge fans of classic Hollywood musicals (probably thanks to their mother and her love for same). One of their favorites is "The Sound of Music." I just know they are able to sing the lyrics to every song on that soundtrack and have been able to since they were little-bitty. A favorite is "My Favorite Things." Since we are always looking for something to write in the way of a book, the girls decided we HAD to change the lyrics to fit their favorite things. We tried and tried on several occasions to no avail. A song about their favorites patterned after the song's lyrics just wouldn't come. Everytime we got together, we tried. Finally I told them since Christmas was coming, let's create a book based on the lyrics, but write it about their mother and her favorite things, and present it to her for Christmas. They agreed. And the words just poured out. They knew immediately their mother's favorite things, and we learned about lyrics, syllables, and extending our list with expressive adjectives and adverbs to make it fit the pattern. We had so much fun!
We did it for Christmas one year, but it would make a great Mother's Day gift.
Here's a sample of their writing just changing the lyrics to the song:
"Time with her family
Is first on her list,
Sweet Charlie has a place in her heart.
Nieces and nephews,
And sister and brother,
These are a few of her
We made a book, but of course you can do anything. Just a simple card is nice with their writing. What a treasure to get something written from your children just for YOU!
Of course you don't have to do a book. You can have your grandchildren make other items to show off their writing to their mother or family friend. The ideas are endless. They can write their poem or song or essay, and present it in a card or on pretty paper tied with ribbons.
You can use a favorite song for the writing. Just change the lyrics to fit your Mother's Day recipient. It could be one of your favorite songs or one of your grandkids' favorites. Poems work well, and so do Mother Goose rhymes. Acrostic poems like we did above is always a fun idea.
Who should receive the writing?
This list is endless--their mother of course, but also a favorite teacher, neighbor, their other grandmother, their great-grandmother, aunts, and school bus drivers. Any sweet lady that comes to their mind.
You've got time before Mother's Day! I tried to get this blog out in time for Mother's Day. That gives you a couple of weeks to get together with your grands and do some writing as well as some art work to embellish that writing. I think I've even given you time for a book.
Whatever you do, HAVE FUN! That's really what it's all about.
Until next week!
Painting rocks with the grands to spread good cheer and encouragement. What a great craft idea!
I get so many great ideas from my readers. I got this one from my good friend Tricia in Albuquerque. She knows I'm always looking for craft ideas to do with my grands, and she suggested this one. I think it's a great one.
If you're like me, I wanted to know exactly what this was. So I googled it (of course!), and this is what I found: The Kindness Rocks Project was created to spread inspiration and a moment of kindness for unsuspecting recipients through random inspirational rocks dropped along the way.The Kindness Rocks Project encourages people to create inspirational rocks and leave them for others to find. It's the idea behind The Kindness Rocks Project, a pay-it-forward service project created by life coach Megan Murphy in hopes of sparking joy in people's everyday lives. Anyone can participate.
I'll let Tricia tell the rest of her story:
"My first encounter with a painted rock was in Big Bear, California, when we took our newly purchased motor home to our local national forest campground for a trial run. After setting up our RV, I stepped down on the ground, and next to the step was a rock with smiling eyes. It was so unexpected, and my husband and I laughed so hard when we saw it. We took it with us when we broke camp. It stayed in the RV for several trips. Over a year later we moved from California to New Mexico, and went camping with our visiting daughter, our niece and her three children in the Pecos National Park in New Mexico. The kids saw the rock and wanted to know the story, so we told them how we found it. They also loved it so we decided to leave the rock for the next campers.
I have a dear friend who is an artist and a grandmother. She started painting rocks. She and her adorable four-year-old granddaughter (who usually is always dressed in a tutu) would take walks and hide the rocks. Then she would post pictures of their walks on Facebook. I loved the precious pictures of her grandchild in her tutu dropping her happiness rocks hither and yon.
I was reminded of our camping rock, so I googled rock painting and found #kindnessrock project. It described doing it just as we did with the camping rock! Hide painted rocks to make someone smile, keep it or hide it for someone else to find and enjoy. The Instagram post also said to post online when you found one. Next I went on Pinterest to get ideas. Of course, I will never live long enough to paint all that I posted to my Pinterest account!
I have now painted many rocks and enjoy being creative. My husband and I take them everywhere we go. It’s fun leaving them on ledges, top of trash cans and even on ground and curbs at restaurants, stores, etc. We gave some to our great nieces to hide in the park. We plan to take some with us when we go to California next month. This summer I’m planning a rock painting party for the kids.
To paint rocks it’s best to get lighter colored, non-porous as possible, smooth rocks. Wash rock with soap and water and let dry. Acrylic paint is best. After painting the rocks, let dry completely and then spray or brush with a clear sealant or even Mod Podge matte-mat. Rocks dry pretty fast. If painting a rock a solid color, let it dry completely. Then you can write or paint over it. Permanent markers also work well on rocks that have been painted first and are great for lettering or finer lines!
Last words from Tricia:
"It is really fun to do and as with any craft, it gets those creative juices flowing. There is a calmness that comes over you when you're painting. Lastly it gives you a sense of accomplishment."
Final words from Gigi: Doesn't this sound like a GREAT idea? I love it. I plan to do it with my grands as well in a couple of months when they are out for summer. And Tricia and I share it with YOU!
Thanks so much to my friend and fellow high school classmate, Tricia! Our team was the Rebels, and we consider ourselves, "Rebel girls with a cause!" Join us!
You can do a search for Kindness Rock Project on Facebook and Instagram. And here's a website:
Take advantage of the beautiful spring weather and take your grandchild on a photo expedition! Here in Texas, we really have to take advantage of the cool spring weather to do such activities. So get going!
I realize I am so richly blessed to live in the same town as three of my grandchildren. So when they were toddlers, I could spend a great deal of time with them. Of course they came to my house, and we just played the usual grandparent-grandchild games around the house. But to mix things up, I like to take them out into the community--going to the park, the children's museum, the mall, and the library. All very fun, but sometimes you just have to mix it up a bit. I've written about this before. My sweet daughter-in-law suggested I get my grandson a Fisher-Price camera--easily managed by a young child. So I had to plan a day around that! I came up with a photo safari. Alas, no animals to be photographed, but plenty of other things to photo-snap!
Now I don't even think you would need to buy a special kid-friendly camera--most kids under five can manage a cell phone very well. So if you've got one, you're set to go. Just pick up your grandchild for a day of fun!
I've previously written about my granddaughters and their photography books. One used her pictures from her photo safari to create the book, "Goodnight My Town," for her little sister. It was patterned after Margaret Wise Brown's book, "Goodnight Moon." My other granddaughter used her pictures to create her book, "The ABC's of Our Town." You can see with these two books, we had to take Stephen Covey's advice and begin with the end in mind. That is to say before we started out picture taking, we had to have in mind WHAT we would be photographing. With my first grandchild, it was more random and free-flowing. He just snapped what pleased him.
After we completed a day of snapping pictures, I wanted to create something tangible for him that he could relive the day and his photography skills. I decided we really needed to publish his pictures. And add more to it! So we did another day of taking photos of community sights around our town. I remember we stopped once on our quest, and discussed what we should photograph next. One of us proposed taking pictures of people. I thought that was a great idea. I knew he and his mother often visited the firehouse in their neighborhood--he loved visiting with the firefighters. We could stop by there and get their pictures. As we went about this new challenge, my grandson said to me, "You know, Gigi, we're taking pictures of nouns." That statement thrilled this old teacher's heart, and that became the name of his book, "The People, Places, Things of My Town."
I was fascinated by the way my grandson saw rhythms and patterns in nature. The above photos have not been edited by me. He would zoom in and refocus again and again until he got the shot just like he wanted it in his viewfinder. I learned a lot about him that day--who knew!?
If you decide to be a little more focused than we were when we first started out, you can brainstorm all the PLACES you want to photograph: the grocery store, the library, tall buildings downtown, bridges and overpasses. Yep, we even took a picture of an overpass--those columns that hold them up are quite impressive. For PEOPLE you can include people your child sees on a daily/weekly basis--their teacher, the librarian, firefighters, policemen, bus drivers, etc. And then for THINGS, the sky's the limit--we mostly included pretty plants that were blooming in the spring in our area.
All three of my grandchildren who live here in town have published books of their photographs. I made sure I printed one for them to keep, and one we donated to their school's library. We made an appointment with the librarian to deliver the books, and she barcoded them and everything!
If you have older grands, I'm thinking this would count as a photography badge in Scouts.
And if your grands don't live in town? Have them text you pictures that they take, and print them out in a photography book.
That's it! Take advantage of this beautiful spring weather (okay, okay.......spring is late this year....but when we do have spring.....) and go out with your grandchild on a photo safari! The rewards are endless. Have fun!
"I just love hanging out with good company on a great, fun golf course." Rich Eisen
Share your hobby! Especially with your grandchildren--what could be better!
In my blog, I've stressed time and time again to share what you love with your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Everything from camping, to cooking, to hobbies such as quilting. It occurred to me recently that my husband shares his love of golf with his grandchildren, so it was certainly appropriate that I ask him to write this week's blog. And wonder of wonders, it's Masters (golf) weekend!
"One of the greatest pleasures I have in life is playing golf with my oldest grandson. My experience playing with young, enthusiastic kids began with my youngest son. He became a competitive golfer during his middle school years, and it was always fun to watch him play. But what was even more enjoyable was playing golf with him. Someone had to take him to play golf, so he could practice, and that someone was ME! What I discovered is that you are not competing with each other, but discussing the finer points of the game. And what I remember the most about golf time with my son were the conversations we had in the golf cart and on the course. We continued that all through high school, and I really missed it once he was off to college.
"Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening--and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented." Arnold Palmer
So fast forward to the birth of my grandson. I had to wait six or seven years to take him out on the golf course, but it came to pass. He was always busy playing soccer, baseball and basketball, but I knew I had to get him on the golf course, and I wanted to be his first coach. Hitting the greens is low-impact exercise for me, and it allows me to spend quality time with him. When you're out on the golf course with your grandson, you can ask him questions or talk serious issues. It can build a sense of loving trust and enhance the relationship. The two of you are not competing on the same level--you are teaching and coaching the game at THEIR level. It's really relaxing for me, it's really fun, and I get a kick out of playing with my grandson. And I just thoroughly enjoy the conversations we have.
"Success in golf depends less on strength of body than upon strength of mind and character." Arnold Palmer
In starting out, it is not advisable to book a tee time on a weekend morning, or at least not if you plan to go to a golf course that is booked by many other golfers. Find time on a weekday afternoon when the course is less busy--that helps with your sanity. You have to have patience teaching a young person how to play golf, and you sure don't need someone rushing you--even though most golfers understand and appreciate what you are doing. Trust me, there's nothing fun about watching your grandson hit four consecutive shots in the pond while some cranky golfer stands with his hands on his hips on the fairway. I'm a firm believer that kids need to have a general respect for pace of play even at a young age, but you're setting yourself up for disaster if you don't allow for the occasional delay.
Part of the fun of golf for kids is the equipment that comes with it--from ball markers, tees, the sleeve of balls, and a towel. All with an A&M logo! (Okay, okay...whatever would be their favorite motif or logo--ours happens to be A&M.) And of course you need a set of starter clubs. And good luck with that if your grandson is left-handed. Of course we also bought an Aggie hat and shirt. For some reason my grandson became really concerned about his shirt--was it really a golf shirt or a tennis shirt? Believe me--he was ready and dressed to play golf, and he had all the tools he needed--until he began to watch golf commercials on TV.
"The only time my prayers are never answered is on the golf course." Billy Graham
As a golfer, you may be a walker because you feel like that's the way the game should be played. But a golf cart to kids is like a cross country ride on a small jeep. Rent the golf cart, at least occasionally, as it is conducive for having some deep conversations on the course--such as the design of the houses on the golf course, why the 7th grade A-team in basketball is so much taller that the B-team, the endless drama often imposed by younger sisters, and other important topics. It also cuts down on fatigue that could occur when walking and having to carry a bag. I have to share that this can create a problem as well. Just this week, my grandson competed in his first tournament. No golf cart allowed. My grandson had never walked a course before. It was two days before the tournament. Quick trip to a golf course--late in the evening of course. We had to walk nine holes of golf carrying a bag--even me. And all of a sudden (for my grandson), it appears golf is not as much fun as it used to be. But he got his second wind, and came through with flying colors. When I asked what he learned after walking nine holes? "I am tired, and I am going to see how many clubs I can do without." Good thinking!
There is nothing noble about forcing your kid to play the same yardage as you. At the beginning I would have Ryan drop a ball several yards in front of the red tee. It makes the course manageable for a youngster, and allows them to experience at least some positive reinforcement before they discover how miserable this game can be. Later he decided he wanted to tee off from the red tees. By 7th grade he was teeing off from the white tees--same as me. Then there were the times he just had to hit a ball OVER the pond--again and again. But he eventually started to get the ball over those ponds--proud moments indeed.
Don't forget to teach the basic decorum of golf. Everything from when it is your turn to hit, not talking while someone else is hitting, repair the ground you play on. And then there are kid-friendly rules: pretend you're a gardener when raking out the sand traps, stop by the streams and ponds to explore, enjoy the wildlife you encounter on the course. Just remember you want to be careful what you say because you don't want them to think this game is really very strict--IT IS--but it does not have to be to a young kid.
"The object of golf is not just to win. It is to play like a gentleman, and win." Phil Mickelson
I would encourage all grandparents who are golfers to share the game with their grandkids. My oldest grandson competed in his first tourney this week, and what a tremendous amount of enjoyment and satisfaction for me. And yesterday I bought a starter set of clubs for my youngest grandson--he's four. I can't wait! In the words of Yogi Berra: 'I enjoy now doing what I do...playing golf, relaxing a little, enjoying life.' I would only add--enjoying life with my grandchildren!"
A special thank you to my husband for writing this week's blog about sharing his hobby with his grandkids!
Please write about your experiences sharing your hobby with your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews. I love to hear, and I always share.
Happy spring! Until next week!
Recording family history and traditions~
It's the Monday after Easter as I write this. I'm sure, like many of you, my heart is full. Full because of the meaning of this holiday for Christians, and full because of time spent with beloved family at this time. And just like many of you, I'm looking at the sweet pictures from the weekend on my cell phone or camera.
If you're taking it easy this week after the rush of the holiday, I would like to encourage you to take some time to RECORD your memories and pictures of the holiday for your kids, grandkids, and great-grand kids. You can do it in a published book like I have, or a scrapbook or a journal. There's even a new term for a scrapbook--a SMASH book. It's much more haphazard and random. Not so formal and neat as a scrapbook and you can "smash" anything into it: photos, a pressing of the Easter corsage you got from your family, tickets stubs from the zoo or other springtime activity, brief essays of current holidays and holiday memories of your youth. There are no rules and regulations for a smash book, and to my way of thinking, that makes it even more fun.
The important thing is to record your family customs and traditions.
Why traditions are important~
I've addressed this subject before in this blog. After all, that's what this blog is about--sharing family customs through the SEASONS of the year. In November I discussed why I think it's important, and I quoted a favorite book, The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More, by Bruce Feiler. I quoted him then, "The more children know about their family's history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives and the higher their self-esteem." He explained that it gives them a sense of traditions and helps them realize they are part of something bigger than themselves.
Traditions are stories, beliefs, rituals and customs that are passed from one generation to the next. On Easter and other holidays, children can observe the goings-on around them and participate in them. They know that dyeing eggs, going to Easter egg hunts, going to church, big family dinners are all a part of the customs of their families. But why not record all that so they can revisit those days of their childhood over and over, and eventually share with their children and grandchildren? That's what I've opted to do by self-publishing my Easter books pictured throughout today's blog.
More thoughts on holiday customs~
And with Easter, it's not just about sharing our springtime customs and fun; for many families, it's about sharing our faith. This is a time we can witness to our children and grandchildren, share the value of our beliefs, and model it by worshiping at church, and coming together as a family. Another very important reason to document this for posterity.
One thing we don't often think about, but coming together as a family for small events or BIG events, adds to our children's sense of security. If your family eats together each night, that small event brings comfort to kids. They KNOW they will be with family and can discuss things of importance to them. It's the same with big celebrations--kids KNOW they will be going to gramma's for Christmas, or there will be a big family dinner on Easter. There's a comfort to that. It's important to have a few constants in your life--especially in our crazy, fast-paced world.
Again, the reasons for having family customs and traditions are myriad, everything from providing a strong sense of self to family members, to strengthening the family bonds, to offering a feeling of security.
It gives us a sense of connection. It ties us to family that came before, and it ties us to future generations, especially if we save our customs in some physical way and not just word-of-mouth. Paste those beloved pictures in a scrapbook, or write about them in your journal. It really is that important. I saved this quote in my quote folder from David Dawson Humes. It sums up this blog so well: "Family traditions are physical representations of our place in a never-ending story that includes everyone we've ever loved, and everybody they've ever loved, and so on. Observing and preserving tradition, and teaching it to our children, grounds us all in an ongoing project that will last far beyond our own short time on Earth."
So do it--sit down right now while it's all fresh in your mind, and preserve those family Easter customs and memories!
Great article from the Huffington Post:
Coming next week~
I have another guest blogger! It's my husband!! Our grandson just made the golf team, and it got me to thinking that Poppa needs to share the importance of grandfathers sharing their hobbies with their grands. Alan and our grandson have played golf together for years. So watch for that blog!
Happy SPRING everyone--go forth and spread the love!
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!