Has this been a scorcher of a summer or what! I've searched the web for ideas to endure the rest of this season. I'll share them with you. We can get through this!
In previous blogs as the seasons have changed, I have written bucket lists for each season and shared them here. But this bucket list is rather different. It's how to transition from this summer's oppressive heat into the cool of the fall--it will happen. So here's my "Beat the Heat" bucket list or "How to Survive Till Autumn."
Ideas of things to do RIGHT NOW!
And while we're talking about freshening the air in your late August home, how about a bouquet of fresh flowers for the house. If you've got the summer doldrums from weeks of triple-digit heat, nothing can cheer you like adding a bouquet of cheery flowers to your home!
Two more items to add to your end-of-summer survival plan,
Things to do to prepare for the eventual arrival of fall:
I think that should about cover it! Hopefully I've given you some ideas for things to do to beat the heat. We all could use some tips that we can employ in the cool of our homes that can help us survive this record-setting summer of high temps. As I always say, none of these are my ideas. I just surf the internet or Pinterest to get ideas. And here's hoping these ideas have put you in mind for AUTUMN. It's going to happen. Maybe if I start preparing, it will come sooner!
Happy end-of-summer to all!
Website for a local farmers' market:
Displaying Photos for a Special Event~
My oldest grandson recently graduated high school. His parents were giving him a graduation party. I wanted to help with the decorations. As is my mode of operation, I visited Pinterest for photo display ideas. That site had a lot of ideas. One that caught my eye was displaying streamers of photos on a staircase. I decided that was the display for me as my son and daughter-in-law's home had a staircase that would be accessible to all the guests to the party.
I wanted lifetime and school representations for Ryan. I went through my photo file on my computer and chose the ones I wanted and started printing them. I chose ribbons in his school colors and matted the photos on silver card stock. I printed each photo out in the 5x7 size. I wanted them big enough for all to see.
I also printed up some appropriate graduation and inspiration quotes. I liked how it came out, and I got a lot of compliments on it. This display wasn't my idea. I copied someone else's wonderful idea. I just share with you as you might want to do this as well.
Display photos on a poster board and place on an easel~
When surfing through Pinterest, I also saw some photo displays posted on an easel. Since I am the owner of an easel which we use for playing games with a big group, such as "Pictionary" or "Win, Lose, and Draw," I knew that would also work for a display. My grandson is going to Texas A&M, so my daughter-in-law asked me to save all the photos I had of Ryan in an Aggie shirt or cap. She considered making a presentation of the pictures too. I told her I had an easel that was perfect. I had fun creating that one too! Just another idea I share with you that you might be able to use for a milestone birthday or anniversary.
The sharing of ideas~
I'm all about sharing any ideas I find as I surf the web. Perhaps by my sharing, you might think of something you might do. Especially if you have a big celebration coming up. This idea could be used for a birthday party, a graduation party like I did, an anniversary, a milestone birthday like 75, 80 or 85. It could be used for a retirement party, a child's birthday party, and even a wedding or rehearsal dinner.
I've posted links below for other great exhibit ideas. Photos can be displayed in a hoola hoop, a large embroidery hoop, on a wooden pallet, or simply posted on a wall in the shape of the birthday or anniversary number. I've even seen them attached to helium-filled balloons.
I hope I've shared some ideas that you can use. You can simply google for ideas. I noticed there are even websites that will create the display board for you. All you have to do is send in the photos. I'm guessing the printing and copy businesses in your hometown will even do it. It's just an idea that can make that graduation or anniversary party really special.
Calling all grandparents! You're never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. I love that quote from C.S.Lewis. And it certainly applies to writing resolutions. This year I'll be 76! Yowzers! I don't know how that happened. But come January, I still think about resolutions, and what changes I need to make. Or what I need to ADD to my happiness bucket. It's not always about making changes. It can also be about setting new goals or adding something new to your life that might enhance it.
I know we're well into January now, and perhaps you think the time for making resolutions is over. But I don't think so. I actually think it's never too late to make a resolution. And I'm even of the opinion that perhaps we should write our winter resolutions, and our spring resolutions (Spring actually is a great time for new starts and new goals.), and summer resolutions--you get the idea.
As I usually do, I checked the Internet for new ideas for writing resolutions. And I'm sure you noticed and probably read, ideas for resolutions in January newspapers and magazines. There's a wealth of information and self-improvement ideas out there. Or perhaps you had a health scare last year. You are probably approaching this new year with a goal to improving your diet or your exercise regimen. We all do that, and we all realize we need to do that. Sometimes it helps to read how other people have succeeded in making changes.
For the last few years, there have been a ton of articles about decluttering your house. And that is often one of many people's resolutions. Perhaps it's because we've taken our Christmas trees down, cleaned the house, and prepared for the new year, the new start. So I noticed a lot of blogs about decluttering and organizing. I'll share those sites at the end of my blog.
Maybe you had some misfortune this past year. You see a need for changes to help you get through that difficult time. My sweet daughter-in-law gave me Joanna Gaines' book, The Stories We Tell, and in it Joanna describes prejudice she experienced as a young girl. But then she said this, "I wouldn't have to change my life completely. I only needed to learn how to HOLD it all differently." I love that. We all probably need to learn how to hold our grief differently. I think we need to use it to inform our future decisions. Like the quote above says, we need to make changes based on that misfortune, so don't just throw it all away. Use it.
Another thing I noticed in my research about resolutions, is there seems to be a new way to do it. Oftentimes, articles encourage you to choose just one area to write resolutions about. Be more focused and more specific. For example, as I mentioned above, write resolutions about decluttering your home. Or just focus on self-care or self improvement. This one would seem to be for mothers of young children--resolutions about ways to simplify your life.
I found one blog that was based on a weekly challenge; for example, a week giving up sugar, or a week wherein you're a tourist in your own town; a week of writing handwritten notes to family and friends. I liked that one.
And there was one that was called "365 Days" with a resolution for each day of the year. Examples, buy flowers for someone, learn 10 Korean words, listen to a TED Talk, and make a list of all the things you're grateful for.
I hope you've gotten some ideas for writing resolutions, and perhaps for writing them in a NEW way. And don't forget to write resolutions for your relationships. We all could stand to improve on those. Something as simple as paying your partner a compliment a day, or give the people in your life five hugs a day. My grandson shoots for getting 35 per day--he always makes me laugh.
And here are some websites that might inspire you:
Happy 2023 everyone. With our writing of resolutions, perhaps this will be our best year ever!
It's the time of year when I get together with my granddaughters and we make Christmas ornaments. But it's a fun and fairly quick activity to do with friends and other family members. Invite some friends over for lunch and a crafting party. Or if you are looking for something crafty to do by yourself, these just might fill the bill. I also think they would make a great "Secret Santa" gift if you participate in such things. We've got time.
Get yourself to the craft store and get yourself some wooden beads for this one. Wooden beads are everywhere this year--very trendy. I've seen them in wooden bead garlands for your table or tree. Seems to me they are used a lot in the farmhouse-look decor. The one I saw on Pinterest used the beads on a hanger for the ornament itself.
It's pretty straightforward, as you can see. We just decoupaged a graphic on the wooden squares using Mod Podge. We festooned with ribbon, bells, twine for hangers, and of course those wooden beads. It was fun. My grands joined me again this year, and we invited their cousins--all very creative girls. Just another holiday tradition that I share with you.
If you don't have your grandchildren in town, get together with friends and create these easy ornaments. Such a wonderful time of year to be with friends. And a great time of year to get your creativity and imagination going. I'm thinking about making one for my sister. I plan to use some old childhood photos of us. Should be fun.
It's the most wonderful time of the year! Enjoy!
More blogs on ornament making:
Try something new for Thanksgiving this year! Read on and I'll tell you how.
I recently saw Ina Garten on "60 Minutes". She has a cooking show on the Food Network. When she was interviewed, she said something to the effect that if you're not having fun with your cooking and entertaining, then why do it? I agree. As another old commercial used to say, "You only go around once in life. You gotta grab for all the gusto when you can." Anyway, something to that effect, but I so agree. Put a little spark in your Thanksgiving get-together. Maybe these suggestions can help.
The first one I'm going to try this year is this questionnaire. I got this from a blog--the link is at the end of my blog. I have rarely had an original idea--I get my ideas from everywhere. And these days, there's a wealth of information and ideas on the internet. One only has to go exploring. I intend to put this questionnaire at everyone's place setting. Instead of the usual round-robin of everyone telling something they're grateful for, they have to fill out this brief questionnaire. Then they share one or two items or the entire list. This list delves a little deeper than the usual items one might think of. And I think that's a good thing. And I like the sharing with your family and friends.
This you wouldn't have to do. I'm just adding it here as we keep a "Big Book of Thanksgiving." In that book, I write what everyone said regarding their statements of gratitude. Then I add it to this scrapbook I keep it solely on Thanksgiving each year. I've been doing it since my grandkids were little. Every year we get it out, and Poppa reads the list from the previous year. As I said, this is just our tradition.
But wait! There's more! In my search on Pinterest, I also found "Conversation Starters" for your Thanksgiving table. I know these are often printed on individual cards and everyone takes one when it's your turn. I'm doing a variation of that, and asking each person only two questions, and everyone gets the same two questions: "What do you admire about the person on your left?" And the second question is, "Why is the person on your right important to you?" We have a family tradition of passing the Navajo talking stick around, and when it comes to you, you have to name something you are grateful for. This year I've added those two questions to our talking stick, so when the stick comes to you, you answer those questions about people on your left and right.
It's such a wonderful holiday--a time to count our blessings if you will. And yes, often people express gratitude for their family, but here's a chance with those two questions to be more specific in your love and gratitude. I've done such table talk before and my daughter-in-law does it fairly routinely at their dinner table. It's such a great bonding time, and a time to learn about and appreciate each other.
And there you have it! Two more ideas for customs to add to your Thanksgiving celebration. The little kids can do this too. Even if they can't write on their cards, an adult can read the questions to them and they can respond. What little kid wouldn't like to tell their grandma that they love their hugs. And what grandma wouldn't want to hear that! It's all good. Just adds to your many, many blessings. Give it a try! And happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
Blog with a Thanksgiving questionnaire:
Blog with conversation starters:
Blog with Thanksgiving table talk:
My blog about our "Big Book of Thanksgiving."
I'm always looking for ideas for what to do with all those photos on my cell phone. I've done blogs about it before, and there are some great ideas out there. This week I found creating luminarias with your photos. I like this idea for my fall decor, and also to send these photos to my mother-in-law and my grands' great-grandmother. I think she will enjoy them as well.
I decided on an autumn theme. I like to send her a fall-inspired care package. And she loves photos of her grands. What grandparent doesn't? So here is my step-by-step routine:
And that's it! Cut out those photos that you ran off on the vellum, and using Mod Podge, glue them on the glass candle holder. Easy as can be. Because they are Halloween photos, I think the luminaria idea is a good one, and lends itself to these spooky Halloween photos.
But wait! There's more! My grandson and I have been using those cell phone photos for note cards. They are a great use for them as well. My daughter-in-law used to use them for note cards and thank-you cards. I've started using those photos as well. As I said, my grands' great-grandmother always loves photos and notes and letters, so we combined those two ideas. Perhaps you can too. Here are two examples:
And there you have it, grandparents! Ideas using all those photos on your phone. We've got to use them for something! Note cards and lumininarias are great ideas. If you have other ideas, please send them to me. I love to share. That's what it's all about.......live and learn and pass it on.
Until next week!
It happened again. I was doing research on family histories, and discovered an online article about writing a brief history on a piece of furniture and taping it to the bottom of that piece or in a drawer. I thought this was such a good idea and wanted to share with my readers.
I'm sure it's happened to you. You have guests in your home, and they ask about a piece of art or furniture and you relate the story behind it. Or you tell your grandkids those stories. And we've all visited a friend's home and they delighted in telling you where they got the painting or that their grandfather made that particular piece of furniture. This article said to just write a brief history of that piece and tape it to the back Why let those stories get lost? Besides, can't you just hear the conversation of your kids and grandkids as they go through your things after you're gone? Why did mother save this? If there is a history stapled to the back, they will know. They may still give it to Goodwill, but at least you shared the history or sentimental value.
I'm sorry to be so simplistic in my descriptions, but I'm a visual learner and it's easier if I can SEE what one is talking about. I approach this blog the same way. So here is a pictorial description.
And there you have it. Whether your children and grandchildren actually keep the art or furniture, at least they will know the history. Another way to go if you don't want to damage the piece by stapling or taping a tag in it or on it, is to take a picture of it, and place it, along with the brief history, in a binder. That might be much easier. A friend told me that she was taking a photo of her jewelry and other pieces to be passed down and putting the name of the recipient. If you've had any kin request a piece, that's another thing to include in your photo binder.
Lastly, humor me on this one. When my mother passed, and we went through her house, my brother requested her sewing machine. It's an electric sewing machine and certainly not an antique, so we wondered why he wanted it. It was because that was his favorite place to do his homework growing up. So it reminded him of home and his mom.
I still have the chair that went to my middle son's bedroom furniture and desk. And yes, that's where he did his homework....sitting in that chair at his desk. So indeed, I'm putting the history on an index card under that chair. You just never know. Someday one of his kids might want it and tell their kids, that's where your granddad did his homework.
We all have these stories. Perhaps something you and your husband purchased on your honeymoon. What a treasure. My sister still has the dining table and chairs that she and her husband bought early on in their marriage--I think they had it on layaway, and it was such a treat when they could finally bring it home. What you write about doesn't have to be an antique--just that it has a history to you and your family. Share those stories.
"This was something sure to be crammed with warm secrets, like an antique clock built when peace filled the world." Haruki Murakami
Last week I wrote about different ideas for journals besides, "Dear Diary." In exploring journal topics, I discovered "doodling journals." I've also been toying around with Nataly Kogan's idea for a "Morning Bliss Practice." She describes it as setting aside 15-20 minutes each morning for something artistic--even if you think you're not artistic. That's not the point; the point is rather just some time of zen. I realized these two ideas can come together--a doodling journal that you grab in the morning to just draw and doodle away. And what better place than in a journal. Kogan got her idea from Joseph Campbell's idea of a Bliss Station, which he describes as a time or place that's just your own--a place where you can shut out the world. So there you have it--a SMASH UP of those two ideas. A quiet place where you can go and doodle in a journal.
*Joseph Campbell describes a bliss station in his book, The Power of Myth. He says, "You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen." I'm thinking that one might ascertain that he was talking about writing, but I like Nataly Kogan's idea wherein she says, "Give yourself 20 minutes. Do something your inner most being feels is blissful, joyful." She further adds, "I love thinking about this as a practice. Something you intentionally do every day."
I happen to think this is a great idea for ANYBODY--not just writers or artists. When the news of this old world is so unsettling, we all need this quiet time and place. And a zen practice, whether it be crocheting, knitting, quilting, sewing, sketching, and yes, even doodling.
I think I discovered this idea of a bliss station during the pandemic. We were home-schooling our grandson, and I knew the importance of inserting music and art into our day. Adney loved the quiet art time, whether he was drawing or coloring one of the above coloring books. They are not the traditional coloring books of our youth--they are more like the adult coloring books you see today, but with pictures that appeal to kids. We BOTH looked forward to what we called our art time.
But wait! There's more. I also have something else you can put in your doodling journal. Zentangles! I discovered zentangles on Pinterest. My friends were pinning a lot of zentangle patterns, and I was intrigued. So I went exploring. I just copy various zentangle patterns from miscellaneous websites, but you can do a search on youtube and there are videos on there that will give you step by step instructions. I don't actually have a doodling notebook (but I may start one), but I draw my zentangles in my prayer book. I use them to embellish my prayer requests and favorite verses. Just drawing them is a prayer or meditation in themselves. Zentangles might be the way you'd rather go, than a color book.
And there you have it! A SMASH UP of two ideas I've seen recently--a doodling journal and a morning bliss station. This old world doesn't seem to be getting simpler. It's getting more and more complicated and more stressful--even for us retirees. I think we all need a bliss station and a doodling journal. These two can help in these difficult times.
Please note: The idea for a morning bliss practice came from Nataly Kogan. I follow her on Instagram. Here is her website as well:
Have a lot of empty journals around your house that were gifts from friends and family? What to do with those?
I was on Pinterest and a title of a blog crossed my feed: "Empty Journals Cluttering Your House--Fill Them Up with These 30 Ideas." It was from the "Learning to Be Free" blog, and I'll include the link at the end of my blog. It's a good one for ideas. I'm afraid I'm one of those people who has a TON of journals, and over the years, I've found a use for every one of them.
First the list that I culled from the previously mentioned blog and other blogs on the internet:
"Things I Learned Today" journal~
What is it that meme that's going around says? Something like....you're never too old to dream a new dream or make a new plan. I would add, it's never too late to learn something new. I like this idea for a journal. At the end of the day, one could write at least one new thing you learned. My husband and I recently retired our CD player and got a Sonos. Needless to say, we had a lot to learn about that. But it's good for us--gets our brain cells clicking. And just like starting a gratitude journal, when you have such a journal, it makes you consider all the things that made you happy on any given day. I would think the same thing would be true of a "What I Learned Today" journal. It makes you stop and think about something you learned that day.
"Travel Plans" journal~
This is a little different from a travel journal wherein you record your experiences when traveling. This is actually all the plans--where you want to go, list of hotels, airline ticket costs, what to pack, weather forecasts, etc. I read once that even just PLANNING a trip tickles the happiness part of your brain--even if you never get to go. Just the planning can be worlds of fun. We should all try this.
I'm not the gardener in my family. I don't keep such a journal. But my husband is a gardener and keeps a gardening journal and a record of everything he plants, where he planted it in any given year, and when to plant. I'm sure all you gardeners out there keep such a journal.
More ideas for journals.
I'll share my list of journals I keep. I do this because there might be some things in my list you haven't thought about. I used to keep a notebook by my computer to jot down anything I wanted to remember, such as a recipe or prayer request. I told a friend that I sincerely wanted to say a prayer for any friends who requested such, but that the request would get lost in my notebook and I would forget. She told me that she kept a journal specifically for prayer requests. That way she could always find the request. So that's what I do now. And for that reason I share my list of journals--perhaps it will give you an idea for a journal just as Beth's suggestion helped me. Live and learn and pass it on, I always say. :)
Random thoughts on my journals~
Memory journal? I actually don't keep a memory journal. I simply have a section of my date book called, "I want to remember..." It's just a list, and I might add something I want to remember such as something one of my grandkids said or did, a lunch date, a celebration, a news item. You know the drill and I'm sure it's happened to you. You'll relate something that your kid or grandkid said, and someone invariably says, "You should write that down." In a memory journal, you can!
Bird journal? I have a backyard bird feeder and I like watching the birds who visit. My friend gave me a journal one year, and apologized, saying something like....I'm afraid I always give you journals. A pretty goldfinch visited my feeder, and I thought.....that's it! I'll use the journal Kathy just sent me to record observances and pictures of my birds.
Favorite quotes journal? I use it to share favorite quotes with friends, either in correspondence or birthday cards.
Gratitude journal? Once again, I don't actually keep such a journal. It is a section of my datebook that I've written the phrase, "I am thankful for." It's just in list form and I can turn to that section and jot down something I'm grateful for on any given day.
A Book of Suggestions? I didn't mention this in my list of journals, and I really don't keep such a journal, although lately I'm feeling a need to do so. Right now it's a section of my daily journal, and in that section I can record books friends have recommended or movies, TV shows, and music.
Books, journals, diaries, lists--they put order in your life. As I always say, this is a blog for grandparents. We've all come to that time in our life where we are very reflective on our lives, A journal is a great place to record those thoughts. We've also come to a time where our short-term memory is not what it was. Keeping lists in an organized fashion and where you can find them is a good idea.
I hope this blog this week gives you some ideas or inspires you to keep a journal.
Until next week, happy grandparenting!
Blogs with ideas for journals:
Blogs I've written about journaling:
Last week's blog was about telling your family's stories, recording them in a mini-book format, and then putting all those little books in a box. A box of family history if you will. Another way to go is simply a scrapbook. The books are readily available in stores or online, and there are tons of clipart and stickers to jazz up those books as well.
While I am doing a box of family stories, I am also doing a scrapbook of my life. It's just about me, and my life experiences. So I thought taking a peek inside my scrapbook might inspire you to do a scrapbook about yourself or about all those rich family stories from the past. Sometimes when you see what someone else has done, you realize that you can do that too! And rest assured, I know most of your books will be ever so much better than mine. I'm just not that creative. But let's proceed!
Before I continue by showing you examples, I would just like to appeal to you again to tell your stories. Doesn't matter how much you know, just seeing their family portrait or their wedding photo makes those ancestors come alive for your kids and grandkids. Online I saw a scrapbook of old family photos, and the creator had simply put 'before' and 'after' pictures on that page. Perhaps you have a old photo of your grandmother as a baby. On the same page, you can post a current picture of her. Title the photos, "Then and Now." It's all about making those old photos and people in a box come alive! So here we go!
Don't forget to include artifacts or documents if you've got them. My husband has a ton of documents and printed memorabilia in his scrapbook on his family. He has deeds, receipts, loan applications, old schoolbooks and church songbooks. He even has the menu from the ship that his parents sailed on from England to America! If you've got such things, put them in your scrapbook.
And ESSAYS! Don't forget to include a short essay or bio on any family member you place in your book. Future generations will want to read about them. Include anything and everything to make that person come alive!
And that's it! In a former blog, I posted a photo of a friend and her daughters and granddaughters poring over their grandmother's box of memorabilia. You could sense their great interest even from the photograph. I'm sure you've had this experience when looking at old-time family photos. You'll hear people say things like, "Look how handsome he was." Or, "Wow! She looks just like Aunt Martha!" Simply looking at the photos with their names and relationships makes those people come alive to the generations.
And creating a scrapbook is such a great hobby! If you're looking for a new hobby, this is a great one. Until next week, stay cool and collected!
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!