Crafts and Christmas seem to go hand-in-hand~
I see my friends and family making decorations for the house. And if they are not doing that, they're busy making Christmas gifts for a homemade Christmas exchange. It's all good and it's all FUN!
For the past couple of years, I've tried to get together with my grandkids to make some Christmas ornaments. They are out a week at Thanksgiving, and that seems to be a great time to get together with them.
And we try to make it fun--maybe do lunch, then return home for dessert, hot chocolate and some crafting. I've tried to find homemade ornaments that would be easy, and be something that really would add to their tree. And we do it with an eye for saving them, so they can eventually add them to their own tree.
I found some this year that we could make which entailed decoupaging to thin wood plaques.
Here's a sample:
The supplies I had to purchase included some Christmas card stock papers, Mod Podge, beads for embellishment, and thin wooden plaques. From my own house I got out scissors, other embellishments I had on hand and old Christmas cards as well as a hot-glue gun.
Very basic instructions~
We simply chose a paper that we liked for the ornament, trimmed it to fit the wooden plaque, and coated the plaque with Mod Podge. I provide a link to the youtube video that shows how to do this below. Then we let it dry for 20-30 minutes and then hot-glued or decoupaged our chosen decorations. Easy, and it makes for a lovely afternoon of conversation while we are waiting for each coat to dry.
On the tree!
After I sent them home with the girls, I texted my granddaughter to send me pictures of them actually adorning their tree. She complied.
Also, please note: we included a label on the back with each girl's name and the date it was made. Then they can (hopefully) show their children and perhaps grandchildren. I can dream. (Insert chuckle here.)
Crafting with the kids and grandkids--nothing better!
Such a fun day or afternoon. You can made it as special as you want--pop popcorn, put on the Christmas music, make hot mulled cider or hot chocolate. Just another family tradition for your children to carry with them their whole life through.
Parting Christmas thoughts~
"Christmas now surrounds us, happiness is everywhere. Our hands are busy with many tasks as carols fill the air." Shirley Sallay
"Christmas gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect on the important things around us." David Cameron
Video demonstration for decoupaging:
My blog from last year about making Christmas ornaments out of cookie cutters:
Happy holy season no matter which holiday you celebrate. Good wishes to ALL!
"How did it get so late so soon. . .December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?" Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss was right! Here it is almost December. We need to get cracking on our December bucket list. The important thing is to add some things to your December list that you haven't done before. Makes for a very good life.
I like what Jim Rohn said, "We have two choices; we can make a living or we can design a life." Or as my sister Barbara always says, "Life is what you make it." So let's make December a fun and rewarding time.
Start with your list. . .
So many websites and blogs to help us create a list~
Here are a few ideas I found:
So many special cultural and holy events fall during this month. Of course we'll all be adding to our list based on the holy day we celebrate, whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa.
My list includes many items that are based on Christmas. But I'm thinking they could be adapted to any holiday celebration--especially winter holiday festivities.
Add to your Hanukkah bucket list and traditions~
Kwanzaa bucket list~
This relatively new observance for African-American families is rich with traditions, and activities to be done each night. Such a wonderful family celebration of heritage and history. It's difficult to think of what else could be added, but here's a couple of ideas:
Christmas bucket list~
"Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others MAKE it happen." Michael Jordan
Enjoy creating your December bucket list. Add some new items and traditions. You can make it happen!
Happy December to all!
Interview a relative this holiday season while you still have the chance!
How many of us have lamented that we didn't ask our mother this or our grandfather that? Curious what life was like for your daddy on the farm during the Great Depression? Or what it was like for your uncle serving in Vietnam? This holiday season....whether it be Thanksgiving or Christmas...sit down with those relatives and talk to them. And this year you might focus on the BIG EVENTS of our lifetime. It's important to get their firsthand knowledge and thoughts.
And not only that, get your kids and grandkids involved. Encourage them to sit down and visit with parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and ask them questions about the big events of their day, and what their "take" was/is on these happenings. It can make for very rich discussions and will help them add to their family story. That in turn will add to their own identity and self concept.
Start with the BIG EVENTS~
I sat down and came up with a list of what I considered the big events of our lifetime. I consider these events things that had an impact on our lives and our culture. And for sure our kids and grandkids will be studying these in school. How valuable to interview their relatives and get firsthand information.
More on the BIG EVENTS~
I'm thinking you might pick out a big event and be prepared to ask a relative about it. And that relative does not have to have participated in a civil rights protest march or been in the war, but they certainly witnessed such things and felt the effect of them. Ask them about it.
Or you can simply print out your list of what you consider the outstanding events of the last century or this century, and hand it to them. Let them speak about any of the happenings in that list.
And you won't just be learning firsthand accounts of these news events of the day~
You'll also be learning even more about your loved one. And let's not forget that for some of our elders with some memory loss, reminiscing can be hugely important.
Don't leave out some of the little-discussed major events~
Our kids might not know there was ever a time in our history (besides the Great Depression) where we experienced sugar rationing or gasoline shortages. They should know this.
Websites with interview questions to use~
My blog from last year about interviewing relatives during the holiday~
And one of my recent blogs about telling our ancestors' stories:
"If you don't know history, you don't know anything. You're like a leaf that doesn't know it's part of the tree." Michael Crichton
"Old men and women of the village are books of history and wisdom." African proverb
Another fun craft with the kids and grandkids~
I'm always looking for a craft to do with my grandkids, especially for holidays. I found this one online, and I'll provide the link at the end of this blog. I thought it was cute, and something that my six-year-old grandson could help me with. Then he would have a gift for his mother, teacher, and bus driver.
Once again it involved a trip to the craft store to get the silk leaves, small clay pots and raffia.
It also involved some wooden hearts--two sizes; and some wooden spoons. Remember those? They're like the wooden spoons that used to come with ice cream cups back in the day. And yes, they have them in the craft store.
Next? The painting!
That's where my grandson really had fun. And he added ideas of his own. The sample cup online wasn't painted, but he decided that painting the clay pot would make for a really colorful turkey. And I agreed. I like all his creative ideas.
Finished turkey cups~
I assembled them as it involved a hot glue gun and I didn't want him to burn his fingers. He was content with all the painting, and picking out the prettiest leaves for tail feathers.
The many uses of turkey cups~
We came up with a few things these cups could be used for:
It's always fun to do a craft with your grandchildren. And to be able to add their art work to the seasonal decor around their home or grandmother's home is especially nice. They beam with pride when telling others that they made it. And to be able to tell the teacher that they personally made the small gift brings them such satisfaction.
This blog is all about sharing ideas of things you do with your grandchildren. Please write and share any ideas you have that have worked in the past.
Happy Thanksgiving to ALL!
Website for turkey cups~
Have you ever done a progressive dinner at Thanksgiving? This may be the year to start!
Thanksgiving is wonderful--I think we can all agree on that. An old friend used to say she loved Thanksgiving more than Christmas as it was a great time to be with family centered around an awesome meal. No holiday shopping, no decorating the house, no fighting crowds and traffic in the malls and on the street. No, just that wonderful family time with good food and the counting of our blessings.
But sometimes it can be a bit much for one person to do. And while I know that most families have everyone bring something to the meal, a lot of the preparation falls on one person. How about shaking things up a bit and spreading out the hosting duties?
If you have family and friends in town that you always spend time with on this day, how about approaching them with this idea?
My niece here in town is fortunate enough to have all her grown children here. And she has a long-time friend that she always spends the holiday with. They got together and decided to have a progressive dinner. She reports that one daughter hosted the appetizer part of the feast, her other daughter had everyone over for salad in a jar, Tracy hosted the main event (the turkey of course!) and her friend Stacy had everyone over for dessert.
Yes, this eases the host's work for the day, but it's also just plain FUN! How wonderful to open your home to friends and family for part of this meal. Share the JOY! And what a wonderful experience for our children and grandchildren.
But wait! There's more!!
My niece has quite the extended family. Grandparents, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles from across the US. They arrive to Texas from Minnesota and California and places in between. How to get those people from one house to the next? Well, a hay ride of course!! Now that's a memory few grandkids could forget.
Travel from one part of the dinner to the next? A hay ride of course!
Now I agree, this is possible because they all live in close proximity to each other. And it did address the need for getting all their out-of-town guests from one house to the next. But what grand fun and what a memory!
If you decide to do this, check your local municipality for laws, ordinances and required permits. You could share the trailer rental with all involved. Tracy reports that as far as the hay, if you return it still in the bale and clean, you get your money back.
When I decided to showcase this idea in my blog, I asked my niece for photos. She sent tons of photos, but alas, no pictures of the set-up for the feast itself. We are fortunate to live in Houston where November weather is mild and perfect for outdoor eating. I managed to find a picture in my files of another Thanksgiving meal at Tracy's house. So here ya go. . .
Final thoughts on adding a new tradition~
I certainly don't have the ways and means to do such a Thanksgiving extravaganza. These two ladies, my niece and her best friend, have great decorating and party ideas. People come to them for their fabulous ideas, and we all consider them great party-planners. You can see by the above set table that it is an occasion to behold.
But it might be fun to add some aspect of this family feast to your Thanksgiving traditions. Perhaps the progressive dinner idea. That could be really fun. Or a hayride in the country at the end of the day at a local farm would be a treat for the kids. I share ideas simply to spur us all on to try new things or add a new tradition. And that's what my blog is all about--ideas for things that grandparents can do with grandchildren throughout the seasons of the year. And the Thanksgiving season is one of the best.
Thanksgiving season is the perfect time to start a gratitude journal.
In past Novembers, I've seen Facebook do what they billed as "Thirty Days of Gratitude," wherein members were encouraged to share on Facebook each day something they were grateful for. I've never participated, but it really is a good idea. I was reminded of the blessing of doing a gratitude or happiness journal by a friend. Her mother recently passed away, and she was reading her mother's happiness journal. Kathy had given her mother a journal one Christmas, and discovered the journal with her mother's things after she died. She was loving reading the journal, and learning even more about her mother.
So I put those ideas together. If you've never done a happiness or gratitude journal, November is the perfect month to start. And to remind you to also think about posterity. Family members will one day enjoy reading your journal, just as my friend is doing now.
Gratitude journals revisited~
During this month, I would encourage you to start a gratitude journal. It can also be called a happiness journal because, as social scientists tell us, gratitude is the KEY to happiness. And if you have done one in the past, but have discontinued it, I would encourage you to start it again. Not to sound corny, but it is the spark that reignites the fire in your soul.
All you have to do is keep a little journal specifically for writing 3-5 things that make you smile on any given day. Or simply add those things to your journal or day book.
Bookmarks with ideas and writing prompts~
Last year to encourage my granddaughters to write in their journals and to give them ideas of things they could write about, I made them bookmarks with writing prompts. These writing prompts will also work in a happiness journal. Sometimes when you are filling in the blanks, it helps you take stock of things you're grateful for. Here are my bookmarks. You can either print them out to insert in your journal, or simply write down these ideas.
Gratitude journals can be the key to getting through a difficult time~
Last night I was fortunate to go see a former high school classmate at a local entertainment venue. (I know--how fun was that!) He shared a song he had written with the Eagles' Don Henley. They had both broken up with girlfriends and were feeling pretty low. Times were also difficult in our country. They wrote a song together, and this gentleman told the crowd, "Our country is going through difficult times again. Sometimes it helps to focus on the good and to create something--get your mind off the hard times." I found it interesting that I'm not the only one who turns to writing, creating and refocusing on the good during such times. So if you're going through a difficult time, all the more reason to start a gratitude journal. Try it for thirty days--the whole month of November, and see what a change it can bring in your life.
Happy Thanksgiving season to all! And please feel free to share my blog with others.
More ancestor stories~
Since I've come to this time of my life (Read: Grandparent), I've come to realize the importance of sharing my story and our family's story with my grandchildren. And as I read assorted books about various times in history, I realized my children and grandchildren should know, not just about the routine facts of their ancestors' lives, but how those people played a part in the BIG EVENTS of our time. So I set out to write about exactly that for my kids.
Two ideas that came together~
And as always seems to happen, I got a sweet mini-book in the mail from a dear friend. I was going through a sad time, and she sent me a tiny book of scriptures, inspiring quotations and assorted sentiments. There you have it--a convergence of two ideas! Love when that happens. I was unsure in what format I wanted to share with my grandkids this wee bit of family history, and I realized I could do it with a mini-book.
Step #1--Deciding on a world event~
This step was easy. Since my generation of Baby Boomers are the children of the Greatest Generation, I had to start there. World War II is probably the biggest event of the last century, so this is the first event that my parents played a part in that I would share with my grandchildren. I think it's very important for my grands to see and know that their great-grandparents played a part in this war.
Step #2--What format to use for the sharing?
As I said, I received a mini book from a sweet friend, so this seemed the perfect way to go.
Step #3--Gather any pictures you may have of the grandfathers~
If you have pictures of the relatives from World War II, that would be great. Use those! I unfortunately did not have any photos of my step-dad from the war, so I just used the pictures I had. It doesn't really matter, you want your grandchildren to see photos of those people. I love this quote from Raquel Cepeda, "When we illuminate the road back to our ancestors, they have a way of reaching out, of manifesting themselves...sometimes even physically." I want my grandchildren to see photos of those dear people.....to look into their eyes. Even if it's just an old photo.
Step #4--Get the information on the BIG EVENT~
This will be very brief as this is a mini book. My book turned out to be 4 1/2x6 inches, so you can see, the information had to be brief. And my father served in the Navy so I narrowed my focus about him to the Pacific Theater, and even narrowed the focus again to where he was stationed and what his job was. The same with my father-in-law; he was stationed in England, so I wrote the background information on him to include the European Theater and his job there. And as my friend Kathy reminded me--they will study this part in school. No need to give extensive background.
Step #5--THE FUN PART! Creating the book~
My friend's book was constructed from a 12x12 inch piece of scrapbook paper; when folded it makes a 3x3 inch book. I'll include the youtube video for creating this at the end of my blog. I really need to get her to guest-blog for me about her hobby--creating cards and mini-books, but I digress. As I said, her book was too small for this project. I opted for a bigger book that we used to make in school. It's made from a 12x18 inch piece of construction paper making a 4 1/2x6 inch book. I'll include a website with instruction for that too. I also trotted off to my friendly local craft store and got scrapbook paper that I considered appropriate for my World War II motif, as well as stickers about the army and Navy. I really consider this the fun part.
Viola! The finished product~
No more step-by-step from me. I think you'll get the idea from seeing pictures. I also used clip-art from my computer programs, so there's that. Just have fun with it.
So there you have it!
If you're like me, you know you need to tell the stories of your parents and grandparents, but it seems such a daunting task. I finally was able to write something about these wonderful people when I thought in terms of historical events. I think that's probably what people want to read--not so much about their day-to-day lives, but what they did in BIG important matters. If you're trying to write about your parents, give this focus a try. It helped me!
Websites with instructions for folding the mini books:
And the smaller book:
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
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!