June 29th, 2018
Independence Day with the grandkids! And celebrate BIG! I don't know about you, but so much of what I do with my grandchildren is all about recreating and capturing favorite times from my own childhood. And certainly the 4th of July is no exception. My childhood 4th included a picnic to Thompson Park with my mama's fried chicken and potato salad, and ending with homemade ice cream! Night time festivities included fireworks at Dick Bivins Stadium and probably sometime during that day, a delicious, juicy slice of watermelon. My family knew how to do it up BIG!
I hate to tell you, but when my own kids were born, I kind of gave up on some of that. Certainly not the fireworks, but picnics during the day? Not so much. We lived in El Paso, and picnics in 100 degree heat were kind of out of the question.
In 1984 we moved to Austin, and shortly thereafter our third son was born. I am so grateful to the wonderful babysitter that I had for my youngest. I learned so much from Phyllis, not the least of which was making a celebration out of just about everything in life. Certainly she did the 4th of July up big and proper. Without a doubt, she shared the love of people and the love of life. Even though I'm a teacher, and didn't take my youngest to her in the summer, she called us up one summer day. She said they were having a neighborhood 4th of July parade and that I should bring Travis on his scooter and decorate it for the festival. So we did!
Fast forward to 2007...2008 and holidays with my grandchildren. I never forgot the fun of Phyllis' parades, and wanted to do that with my grands. Alas, we don't do a small neighborhood parade, but we do attend our town's 4th of July parade and it's great! There are bands, and floats, and veterans marching...the whole nine yards. And to capture that fun that we had with Phyllis, we simply decorated our little red wagons and went to the parade. We often met at a cafe for breakfast on the parade route enabling us to get there early to get a good viewing spot for the parade. We decorated our wagons on the parking lot, and then towed the kids over to view the parade.
Even though we don't decorate wagons anymore, we still go to the parade of course. If you're going to a parade this year, wear your patriotic best! Besides shirts and hats, there are patriotic tattoos and red, white and blue beads and jeweled stickers for faces! Do it up GRAND!
Don't forget the nighttime fireworks! You can decorate for that as well. Decorate those little red wagons and take the little grandkids to the light show. Going in your pickup truck? Decorate that as well. Just get some of those patriotic pillows from the patio or den and toss those in the back of the truck. And make a visit to your friendly neighborhood party supply store or a big box discount store and grab some decorations. You can't help but be inspired.
My favorite photo from a nighttime fireworks display:
But wait! There's more! Don't forget to decorate your house for the holiday......the grandkids always enjoy that. And don't forget to frame some of your favorite pictures from Independence Days past. You'll enjoy reliving those moments and your grandkids will too!
Happy 4th of July everyone! I know just about everyone does this holiday up in a fabulous way! I'm sure you have a lot more ideas than I have posted here. Please share! And maybe I've inspired you to add a new addition to your festivities.
And thank you, Phyllis, for being a special inspiration to me! This week's blog is for you!
"One flag, one land, one heart, one hand, one nation evermore!" Oliver Wendall Holmes
I'm closing down this blog for a while. How can I, in good conscience, write about happy celebrations with grandchildren, when this is going on in our country? My prayers for these children and their families.
Please look up addresses to write your congressmen. And there are marches for families in various cities across the US on June 30th. What more can we do?
My heart is breaking. . .
A Recap of Blogs from May and June
May 22nd Blog-Road Trips with the Grands
This blog included ideas for traveling with your grandchildren--specifically road trips. I gave some ideas for places to visit, and encouraged my readers to take a road trip with their young grandchildren even if it was to the next town. Some readers felt a need for tips on how to SURVIVE such a trip. I listed my tips below:
May 31st blog--Fun Questionnaire for Father's Day
A teacher friend shared the questionnaire, and I thought it would be great for Father's Day. I used it to interview my grands and then I used their answers and favorite family photos to make their dad a book. But you realize the questionnaire can be used for ANYONE--fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, and other family members. A friend even suggested doing it like a Family Feud game. Read out the questions and everyone writes their response privately. Give them a few seconds to respond, and then everyone shows their answer--even Dad. Perhaps you could get two points if you matched Dad and one point for matching someone else in the group.
Here's that questionnaire again. And don't forget you can write me for a copy. Just use my contact page.
June 8th blog-Gardening with the Grandkids
My husband wrote this blog. He's an avid gardener. Some of my readers may not be so aggressive in that pursuit. A friend shared that she had started "straw bale" gardening. Much easier (I'm guessing) than regular, full-blown gardening.
Here's a website about it: www.gardeners.com/how-to/straw-bale-gardens/8882.html
June 12th blog-Balloon Surprise for Dad (or Granddad)
This was a good one from a young friend. She and her siblings had done if for her father. Yesterday was Father's Day, and my family did it for their Poppa.
Just a reminder that this balloon fun can be for anyone--mothers, grandmothers, dads and grandfathers, friends and family. And not just for Father's Day or Mother's Day, but birthdays and anniversaries as well. How fun for a young couple celebrating their 25th for one of them to have 25 balloons with a memory inside for their wife or husband. I think it's a very fun idea, and want to thank Lizzy once again for sharing.
So that's a recap of the past few weeks. I like to do that occasionally as my readers add their ideas, or else need clarification. And don't forget the Fourth of July holiday happening in a couple of weeks. Would love to hear your ideas on how you celebrate the day. Also share any crafts you do with your grands, and recipes that are family favorites.
Until next week. . .
Summer is the annual permission slip to be lazy. To do nothing and have it count for something. To lie in the grass and count the stars. To sit on a branch and study the clouds. Regina Brett
Fun Father's Day Idea
Looking for a fun Father's Day idea? One that doesn't involve a lot of time and effort? But one that is exceedingly meaningful? Then look no further.
I get ideas for my blog from many sources--often from friends posting celebrations on Facebook or Instagram. This one came from Instagram. I have a dear childhood friend--for goodness' sake, we've been friends for over 60 years! So of course I've come to know her children and grandchildren. My friend has a zest for new adventures, never meets a stranger, and is always up for celebrating life! And her children and grandchildren got that gene. So when I saw this idea posted by her granddaughter, I knew I had to share it on my blog. And this one's for ANYONE--children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, young and old, and everyone in between. It involves sweet memories, balloons, daddies, granddads, and balloons--did I say that already?
Here--I'll let Lizzy tell you:
I know everyone thinks they have the coolest dad, and I’m sure they do, but none compare to mine! A couple of years ago my siblings and I decided we wanted to do something unique for our dad for Father’s Day. We did some brainstorming and came up with this balloon idea! My brother, sister and I all came up with 5-10 memories and quotes about our dad. We put them inside the balloons and blew them up! We surprised him with a room full of balloons, We gathered around while he popped and read the contents. My dad still to this day talks about this Father’s Day, and how much he enjoyed popping the balloons and reading the memories with all of us.
Now come on, readers! Isn't that the cutest idea ever? And I'm sure they wrote down memories and thoughts that they might not otherwise have shared with their dad. I had to write about it in my blog.
I'm sure you get the idea. Get together with those kids or grandkids and get started. You've got time before Father's Day. And save this idea. You can use it for Mother's Day too, and anyone's birthday.
In Poppa's Garden
Do you garden? Planning to start a garden so you can grow your own organic vegetables? Then please! Include those grandkids!
My husband is the gardener in our family. He loves it, and I love to reap the benefits. On any given day, you can often find me tripping out to the garden to pick my breakfast--that is to say, to get some wonderful, healthy greens for my morning smoothie. But I'm not the only one who enjoys it--our grands do too. And not just for the fruits and veggies--it's a magical place and great for hiding.
We've had a garden most of our married life. My husband was raised by a wonderful father who always planted a garden for their family--and it was enough to supply them most of the year. So I think it was in his blood--for sure it was only natural for him to always find a space in our yard to grow a garden. And to give his kids and grandkids the experience.
But I really should let him tell it. Here's Alan~
"When our three grandchildren come over to our house, one of the first things they do is check out the garden. I don’t have to go with them—I trust them in knowing what vegetables can be picked and which veggies are not ready for harvesting. They know exactly how to scratch the surface of the ground to see if a carrot is ready or look carefully at a strawberry to check its redness. This was not always the case. When younger, one grandkid pulled most of the carrots out of the ground looking for one that could be eaten—there were none. Another pulled several large radishes out of the ground, but was not going to eat them. But not so today—they know exactly how to determine when a vegetable is ready. And they know exactly what do with the parts not eaten—put them in the compost bin. One of my greatest joys was teaching my grandkids how to grow a garden. I wanted to introduce them to the “fun” of working in the garden and growing vegetables and seeing where some of their food is grown. Many kids only see vegetables in the grocery store or when they sit down and eat. In the garden, there are many lessons that can be taught.
They eventually learned the technique for checking for readiness to be picked. These carrots were delicious.
Beginning the garden~
When the kids were much younger, I would invite them over to help with planting the garden. My oldest grandson got in on the ground level (no pun intended) and helped me when I first laid out the garden. As more grandkids were added to our family, I would invite them over to help with planting the garden. First, we would decide where we were going to plant seeds and set out young plants. We would add compost to the raised beds while I explained the importance of good ingredients needed in the garden soil. This was a good biology lesson in how organic matter breaks down into needed food for the plants. We then tilled the soil and smoothed it out and then determined the length of the rows for the seeds. We checked the seed packages for planting depth and distance between the seeds. In transplanting young plants, they learned how to dig the holes and carefully set the plant. And of course, what a treat it was to get their hands dirty!
As the garden plants began to grow, the kids were taught how to recognize weeds from the vegetable plants, and the importance of removing the weeds, so they would not take away needed water and nutrition from the vegetables. As the plants matured, the kids were taught how to determine when the vegetables were ready, how to harvest them, and how to utilize the compost bin to toss parts of the vegetable not used. As your grandkids tend the garden, and watch it grow, they will see firsthand how their efforts lead to vegetables they like to eat. Children develop new skills and learn about science and nature from growing their own food.
They eventually learned to pick only what they would actually eat. And they seemed to enjoy washing the vegetables outside under the garden hose (less mess in the kitchen). They also wanted to know why I planted marigolds in the garden--they stated and rightly so, you can't eat marigolds. They learned a valuable lesson on how some plants, such as marigolds, can deter insects. And they learned about composting~-even when my wife is cooking with veggies from the store, if our grandkids are in the kitchen, they will ask if they can take the raw scraps to the compost pile!
Gardening can seem like magic to children--planting seeds, watching them grow and then harvesting what they planted. Obviously, patience must be taught. Gardening also teaches responsibility. Working in a garden, a child can experience the satisfaction that comes from caring for something over time. And the greatest blessing of all? Involving them in planting, composting, weeding, and watering offers a wonderful opportunity to spend time together. And isn't that what life is all about?
Enchanted garden? Yes. I love our garden, and I love my husband for sharing his gardening experience in my blog this week. It really is an enchanted place. It's like a secret garden for our grandkids. I've watched them when they were little run and hide in there. It's just a small plot behind our garage, but I can imagine to younger kids, it seems pretty big. Just another wonderful custom and experience to share with our grandkids. If you don't have a garden, perhaps this will be inspiration to start one. And please share any gardening experiences you have. Even if it's just going to your grandparents' home in the country in those days of yore. Wonderful memories!
I wasn't kidding about picking greens from the garden in the morning. Here I am in our winter garden when spinach, kale and other greens do their best.
"The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul." --Alfred Austin
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!