Calling all grandparents! Are your grandchildren visiting for spring break? It's a good time to embrace the principles of hygge!*
I always think of hygge as a winter time occupation. Something the Danish people came up with to get through those dark, cold winter months up north. But it's a year-long philosophy and to me, it's about embracing whatever season you're in. And in doing my research for this blog, I've come to realize it's what we're all told to do time and time again--live in the moment. Enjoy "the NOW."
Actually when you see the list of hygge suggestions for spring, you'll realize that you've been observing most of the items in the list for a long time. Things like spring cleaning, planting flowers in your garden, getting outside more, and so on. My mother was a whirling dervish in the spring, throwing open those windows, cleaning house, and putting away our winter clothes. I'm betting we all continue those traditions. But I've culled the internet and found a few more spring time things to add to our lists.
Components of Hygge for Spring
Here are a few I was able to find. I'll post some of the websites that I visited about hygge for spring. There are some great ones. Here are a few spring components that I found:
You get the idea! Go forth and add some components of hygge to your spring!
Spring is almost here! Hope this week's blog has inspired you to get ready for it. I know when I visited some of the websites posted here, I was inspired. And you can't walk into most big box grocery stores without being confronted with bedding plants and beautiful flowers in the floral section. Grab a bouquet for your house--it will really lift your spirits and get you out of the winter doldrums!
Great spring hygge websites and blogs:
“We cannot stop the winter or the summer from coming. We cannot stop the spring or the fall or make them other than they are. They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse. But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives.” – Gary Zukav
*Definition of hygge (pronounced hue-guh)-A Danish word used to describe the feeling of coziness whether alone or with friends, that one tries to create and capture. Components include decor to embrace this feeling, as well as foods and anything that will enhance relationships with friends and family.
Every generation has witnessed some unique and historic events in this world. We should tell those stories to our children and grandchildren.
It happened again. I was talking to a friend and they said something like. . .I wished I'd asked my dad about Vietnam and his time in the army. We all lament not asking our parents, grandparents and other relatives about BIG world events. Don't wait for someone to ask you. Tell your stories and eyewitness accounts now.
In a previous blog, I suggested to my readers to brainstorm a list of world events you have lived through. Write down all the things that pierce your brain as far as historical events you have witnessed--everything from the JFK assassination to the one I'm writing about today, Beatlemania and the British invasion. I think that was truly unique to our culture and one worth sharing. And besides, all the stories you record do not have to be serious. Writing about this one is a fun one! And it will give your children and grandchildren a glimpse into your teen years.
I started by going to the library to do some research. I got this picture from a great book on the subject by Bob Spitz--Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! The Beatles, Beatlemania, and the Music That Changed the World.
I decided to do my essays on historical events of my day, by patterning them after the old (really old) television show of the 1960's called "You Are There." I think there was also a show called "Eyewitness to History." (These were shows wherein the producers recreated events from history, such as the signing of the Declaration of Independence.) Both of those titles would work, and I've actually used them interchangeably in my accounts. Of course I changed the name to "I Was There."
I'm making mini-books for my essays about my life and times, but you could certainly simply add your eyewitness accounts to your journal. Or you could have some fun with this subject and go buy a gorgeous new journal from your friendly, neighborhood bookstore and record your eyewitness-to-history stories in there. You might design a pretty cover page and just hand-write your stories in that journal.
Meanwhile, back to the Beatles!
I chose to document this bit of history for my kids and grandkids as I found it (and still find it) truly phenomenal. I witnessed their first American performance on the Ed Sullivan Show just as many of my generation did. I was fascinated by the hysteria that accompanied that group all over the world. I wanted to capture that on paper.
I'm recording my "Eyewitness to History" stories in little 4 1/2 by 6 inch mini-books made from a single sheet of 12x18 inch paper. I've written about these little mini-books before, and you can certainly write me if you'd like those instructions. I'm also adding these little mini-books to a big box that I'm filling with my stories.
A peek inside my book on the Beatles~
Please understand. I'm not trying to impress you with my creativity. I've never had an original idea in my life. I copy, copy, copy. I've read so many articles about the importance of sharing our stories for our children. I so want to encourage my other grandparent readers to do this. I got the idea for mini-books from friends--one who is a teacher and one who makes the most beautiful greeting cards and mini-books of inspiration. I decided to combine those two ideas and capture my memories in mini-books. I share simply because it might inspire you, my readers, as well.
Go forth and write your stories! Hey, our winter seems to be hanging on for a bit longer. This is a nice project for those long winter days. And if you are like me, you read where we should be writing our stories for generations to come, but WHERE TO START? Telling our stories is all well and good, but difficult to do. Thinking in terms of historical events seemed to help me. And as I said in my opening paragraph above, we all lament not asking our parents and grandparents about certain events that they witnessed. Let's not let that happen to us.
"The best loved stories are not from books or films, but those from our own families." Jayne McGarvey
Spreading good cheer with kindness rocks and do it with your grandkids. I've written about kindness rocks before. I love the concept: leaving a message on a rock for someone to find on their walk. So the purpose of this blog today is twofold--create some kindness rocks and do it with your grandchildren. You can either paint kindness rocks with them or just paint them yourself and have your grandchildren help you hide them around the neighborhood. And we have an extra day this year--it's LEAP YEAR! So celebrate Leap Day this year by hiding messages of goodwill and encouragement for others to find and be cheered.
The concept of Kindness Rocks~
The Kindness Rock Project was started by Megan Murphy. She was missing her deceased parents and on her walks along the beach, she would often look for signs that they were watching over her from above. She would look for seashells, pretty rocks, and sea glass. She felt comforted by what she found. She considered that others probably do the same on their walks. So one day on a lark, before she left the house on her daily walk, she grabbed a marker and wrote some short messages on some rocks she had collected.
My thoughts on kindness rocks~
I was recently with a family member when he got some bad news. He left the house saying, "I just need to go for a walk." That spurred me to create some kindness rocks once again. Now I realize the odds of someone going for a walk to clear their head and finding one of my kindness rocks might be pretty slim, but you never know. Anytime someone is out in nature and taking a walk might just need that little spark or a word of encouragement. Or they might pass it on to someone who does.
Rocks with a Leap Day/Leap Year theme~
I often paint rocks with a seasonal theme--Christmas, Halloween, St. Patrick's Day. This month I painted rocks with a leap year theme--it just might be the time someone needs some extra encouragement, so I painted rocks with the "take a LEAP," idea. Maybe it would encourage someone to try something or change something. Anyway, that's what I did.
We need SPRING!
While I was in my craft room painting kindness rocks, I also began painting rocks to welcome spring. It's been a long, cold winter, so even though it's not spring yet, people might need to find a sign of spring on their walk. Why not on a rock?
Leap Day with the grands~
This kindness rock project all started when my grandson and I were looking for ideas on how to celebrate Leap Day. As always, one only has to google something like, "Leap Day activities with the kids. . . " And you can do the same. I found things like:
One final appeal!
I've written before about all the blessings of painting kindness rocks. It makes you feel good to spread some good cheer and words of inspiration around your town and neighborhood. But it's also fun for the painter when you're involved in the act of painting. As so many of you already know, when you're working on your hobbies and crafts, it makes you forget your troubles and focus on your creation. It's good for us! As our mothers always told us, busy hands are happy hands. So if you're looking for an additional hobby, I recommend painting kindness rocks.
Website about the Kindness Rock Project~
Previous blogs about kindness rocks~
So that your grandkids know their great-grandmother, make a book of remembrance.
You've read articles online and in magazines and newspapers how you should share the stories of your parents, but it seems such a huge ordeal--you don't really know how to tackle that. Where to start?
I thought the same thing, but perhaps we should just break it down into something smaller, something we can tackle. A friend and I came up with these subjects that can make it easier. And what a treasure our children and grandchildren will have when you present it to them.
Here are some areas wherein you could create a book about your mom, and I'm betting you can come up with even more:
I opted for a book of my mother's advice and folksy sayings. And what's fun about doing this one is you can ask your siblings and various family members about the advice or old adages that your mother shared with them. The whole process is fun!
Once you've collected her bits of advice, then just look for photos of her and add that to your book. The thing about about doing such a book is that it's not overwhelming. It's as easy as putting a piece of her advice on a page and perhaps a picture of her to go with it. But what a treasure your family will have, and they will learn much about her just reading her wisdom.
And that's it! How easy is that?
If you do a book of her recipes, you can still intersperse photos or pieces of advice in the book.
Showing off her crocheting in a book would make her so proud. She worked hard on all those creations. The same is true of her paintings; snap a picture with your cell phone and give some background on the paintings. Makes for a lovely coffee table book, but more importantly, a treasure for her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
This is a nice project for these cold winter days. Give it a try. And if you've done a book about your mother or grandmother (or father or grandfather), please share with me, and I promise to share on my blog. We're all looking for ideas.
Here's a blog about a recipe book that my sister-in-law did with recipes from her and her children's grandmother. What a gem she presented to her kids one Christmas.
Happy Valentine's Day to all! Spread the love!! And you know, you can do it with a book. . .just saying. (Insert chuckle here.)
Interested in creating a book? Just google online book-making sites. There are numerous ones to choose from, or you can write me for my recommendations. Good luck!
To learn about the Chinese New Year, do a craft with the kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids! And what could be more fun than a Chinese paper dragon! That's what we did.
Really no instruction from me. It's so easy to get online and find instructions for Chinese paper dragon masks or instructions for the entire paper dragon that you so often see in the Chinese New Year parades.
So get out your supplies that you might have around the house (especially for when your grandkids visit) or get yourself to the craft store. We got out crepe paper (for streamers), construction paper, crayons and markers, scissors and paper plates. We also printed up some masks for ideas on how to design our dragon mask.
How about a parade?
I consider that I have two sets of grandkids. I have one set that are now teens and preteens. My youngest is six years old, so now I'm doing a lot of the activities I did when my first set of grandkids were toddlers. When they were little, we did the entire dragon and went to the park to parade around under the cover of our paper dragon. That's fun too. So if you can get a group together, I recommended that. My youngest comes after school, so we just did a mask. He had fun with that too.
And that's it!
As I always tell you, doing a craft with the young ones is always so rewarding. It's a great one-on-one time when you can really talk. And it's always important to share other cultures and traditions. Makes for a more well-rounded child.
And because the Chinese New Year is in February, it helps alleviate the winter blues! It's just something fun to do with your kids.
Here are some youtube videos you and your grandchild might want to watch together:
Last week's blog was written by a friend who took a once-in-a-lifetime trip to France and the British Isles with her children and grandchildren. Be sure to check out last week's post if you missed it, as it had lots of tips and advice for making such a trip with three generations.
This week I'm including the family's reflections of that trip. Judye had sent me the impressions of various family members of that journey. You can judge for yourselves if such a trip would be worthwhile for you and your family. I'm voting, "YES!"
Learning about the many Celtic myths surrounding the Irish countryside was one of the most amazing parts of my trip.
It’s fascinating how the Irish population explains such phenomena as the natural rock formation, known as the Giant’s Causeway as being the result of an ancient war between the rival giants, where the giant named Finn McCool enraged the other to the point of destroying a stone bridge.
We also beheld a castle where Cuchulain is said to have lived after slaying a vicious hound and earning the honor of the local chieftan.
We saw rock formations said to have been caused by Oisin where he had apparently demonstrated his strength after he fell in love with a spirit of death and became the strongest man in all of Ireland.
In Ireland, the number of people who believe these stories even in the modern day is astounding.
The abstract knowledge of these stories’ existence would have been marvelous enough, but that awareness was reinforced by many sights witnessed throughout the trip.
Our guide, Allen would explain to us that there were many Hawthorne trees that farmers deliberately left standing in the center of their field, because of their fear of retaliation by the “fey-folk” said to inhabit them.
Every story felt more tangible because it was punctuated by the amazing views we were able to absorb throughout the course of our vacation.
I will always remember The Book of Kells and The Giant’s Causeway and I will always carry stories of Finn McCool, Cuchulain, and Oisin with me wherever I go.
My favorite part of the trip was our boat tour in Cobh, Ireland. We all went out on a small motorboat through Cobh Harbour and around the little surrounding archipelago. Our tour guide gave us the historical background of our surroundings and took us around the islands to see the wildlife – he even pulled a moon jellyfish out of the water so we could get a closer look. He then took us to the nearby village of Crosshaven, where he lived, to get Irish coffees in a local pub. He was a great tour guide, really convivial and the sights on our boat ride were breathtaking. It was a perfect intergenerational activity because the boat tour eliminated the difference in physical ability between family members, and we got to spend quality time with one another while also exploring Ireland.
I remember that the paintings all hung like big square eyeballs, and I remember that we looked up at all the ones we recognized and some we didn't and they all looked back down. We stood like broken columns, but they stared at us like we were made of fluted Ionic concrete, or something else that's so old we all might be its grandchildren, and they stared with a gaze like Greek fire, but not as hot, or like Hellenic steel, but not as strong. I remember that there was something archaic amidst us and the paintings, something that we never knew and the paintings had forgotten because it had passed it down to too many generations. Each big square eyelid closed heavier over the painting the more we looked, and it waited long to be revived the way that all art must. I remember thinking I was lucky that whatever museum this is, has so many centuries of these things, from artists whose names you hear your parents say, or their students, or their students' students. That's our reason to be here. But not everyone's, because sometimes the best part of a museum is watching other people, and our grandparents stood quietly like armless statues and looked at us the same way the paintings did.
And lastly, the grandfather's musings:
My experience on this trip can be described with three main elements. First, there was the raw awe- inspiring experience of seeing in person artistic masterpieces, historical relics and cultural icons that one has read about and studied, but never really expected to be able to see.
Secondly, there was for me special significance in our day trip to Achnacarry, the historical site of the Cameron Clan and home to the current Lochiel, Donald Cameron, Chief of the Clan, who invited us into his home and gave us a personal tour. My Mother gave me the name Donald Cameron and always told me is was a special name. For nearly 300 years, a Donald Cameron has been the Chief of the Cameron Clan. Standing on that land, visiting the little Cameron Museum, seeing and hearing the sense of history and family pride, I began to really appreciate what that connection to one's family history really means.
And finally, being able to watch my grandchildren and see their interest and excitement as they explored and learned and grew in their appreciation for the unique qualities as well as the commonalities of the different countries and cultures we visited was perhaps my most treasured experience from our trip. While we each got to choose the day excursions that we wanted that also meant that we had a variety of experiences to share when we returned back to our cruise ship each evening. And it is the sharing and retelling of our experience that really binds us all together.
I'm so appreciative of this family taking the time to write about their fabulous trip and sharing on this blog. I know I'm inspired to take our grandchildren to my husband's ancestral home in Scotland. Sending much gratitude to Judye and her husband, and their daughter, Arlette, and Judye's three grandchildren. Thanks again!
Last week's blog with all the great travel tips and planning--
Planning a trip abroad for three generations. It can be done!
Last summer a sweet Facebook friend posted pictures of her family's trip to France and England. Because this blog is (mostly) for grandparents, I'm always on the lookout for things exactly like this to share with my readers. How did they go about this? How did they carve out the time? How did they know what excursions to plan? How did they include everyone's wants and needs? My questions were endless. I also wanted to know what they considered the blessings and benefits of such an endeavor because, after all, that's really what it is all about.
I asked Judye if she would write my blog about the experience, and she did me one better. Besides letting me in on the back details, when she got together with her grandkids this Christmas, she asked them to write about their experiences, and they complied! What a friend! And what a family!
So here it is for you to savor and decide if you want to engage in such a trip with your children and grandchildren. Judye and her daughter Arlette have given us some good tips. I'll start with them:
From the grandmother, Judye~
More tips from Judye:
Tips from Judye's daughter, Arlette: (The middle generation represented here; also called "the mom")
Choosing a trip:
I started by asking my parents what are their “bucket list” trips. They have lots domestic travel wish trips, but I thought I could help most by planning international travel, as they haven’t done that in a while and one of my kids and my nephew haven’t either. So planning and implementing an international trip would help both the younger and older generation. My parents’ wish list included: Alaska, Hawaii, and Scotland/Ireland. I chose to think about planning Scotland/Ireland, and I started planning a full 18 months ahead of time. I thought about, since family member has memory and accessibility challenges, ways to travel easily. I looked at guided tours where they move your luggage, “hopper” tours where you are on your own but they help move you from city to city/country to country and cruises. We chose a cruise because you return to same the room every night, and can see the most places. We traveled on the Princess Cruises 11-day British Isles cruise as it seemed like the best deal for the most locations.
Getting buy-in from multiple families/generations:
I asked everyone if they were interested.I made sure to accurately describe the type of trip it would be. For example, my daughter, in her late teens, loves live music and nightlife, but we would have to be back on ship most times by 6pm or sometimes 9 pm. I made sure she understood that before she committed. But I suggested she think of it as an “appetizer” or tasting menu--she could experience a bit of many places and decide where to go back. My brother and sister-in-law travel frequently for work and weren’t interested in an 11 day cruise. But they were interested in meeting us at the beginning or end of the trip! So we extended our start of the trip in Paris, and had a fabulous three day weekend with them. Sometimes you can do part of a trip together and some generations can keep traveling or go home.
Communicating to plan:
I found that teens/20somethings respond to text messages the best. So once we had our group, we texted to plan the trip. When we had everyone together for a holiday, we chose excursions on the website. Each family booked their own vacation, but we did it through the same cruise travel agent. We purchased plane tickets through the cruiseline so they would help us get to and from airports and help with missed connections.
Leave room for different generations/people to do different things and take time to tailor
We made people aware of what the excursions were. It is fun to do different things sometimes, and then come back together for dinner and talk about your adventures! In Inverness, we didn’t choose any of the day-trips offered. I contacted the Visitor’s Center by email and asked for recommendations on tour guides for personalized day trips, and we planned a personalized tour of Cameron Clan lands in Scotland. I was nervous about a personalized tour, but it turned out to be one of the best days, and was actually less expensive than some of the other excursions! We saw the flag flown by the Cameron clan at Culloden, and saw the house lived in for three generations by our ancestors, and unexpectedly met the Lochiel—the head of the Cameron Clan. We made amazing memories!
Note from this blogger:
I think these are great tips! I want to thank Judye and her daughter for providing us with such great ideas about how to go about such a trip.
Please note, next week we hear from the grandkids with their reflections. And grandfather too! If that doesn't inspire you to plan such a trip with your kids and grandkids, I don't know what will! Thanks again to Judye and her family!
Do you have some treasures you want to pass down to your children and grandchildren? How about decoupaging a box?
In previous blogs I wrote about telling stories that have been passed down about your ancestors. Your children need to hear those stories. I chose to do it with little mini-books. Pinterest is full of ideas about those little books, and I wanted to give them a try. I had so much fun, I wanted to pass that idea on here in my blog.
But I needed something to keep those little books in. There are tons of decorative boxes that you can get in craft stores. But I needed one wherein I could try my hand at decoupaging. Also I wanted to personalize it. In my search for the perfect box, I found a "Santa" box at my local craft store that looks like a big book. I decided that was perfect.
Finding the perfect box!
After I found the box that fit my needs, I got out my Mod Podge and started decoupaging. I put the youtube video that includes directions at the end of this blog. I simply used scrapbook paper and card stock that I deemed appropriate for my box. I was set to go!
Note the papier-mache box above that I also found. One could really get creative with such a box. You could even use paints. Whatever...just have fun. If you're looking for a "New Year's" craft, I think this fills the bill.
And you don't have to use it for ancestor stories as I am doing. It would be great for favorite family photos, essays about your children and grandchildren, or essays about those ancestors--you don't have to create a mini-book.
I've heard of grandparents writing a letter to their grandchildren to be read upon the grandparents' passing. These little boxes would be perfect to house those letters. The ideas are endless.
I plan to include more mini-books to this collection.
Previous blogs about writing ancestor stories:
Youtube video on how to decoupage:
Websites for making mini-books:
I'll end with a quote from previous blogs. I simply love it:
"I am bound to them, though I cannot look into their eyes or hear their voices. I honor their history. I cherish their lives. I will tell their story. I will remember them." Author unknown.
We've done bucket lists for autumn, for November, and December. We're on a roll--let's do a bucket list for winter!
I know, I know. Some of you HATE winter. You despise the cold and well, you hate the cold. I get that, honest I do, But instead of being in a snit for a couple of cold months, how about embracing it for a change? They say it's a great time for humankind to take a break and retreat. . . replenish. So this year, maybe one of your New Year's resolutions can be to try to enjoy winter.
Now I myself LOVE winter. I love snuggling by the fireplace, reading a book or watching the bowl games with my hubby. I just love it. I love the clothes, from bulky sweaters, to leather boots, I love winter scarves, and warm socks. I love cold weather--a great excuse to stay home and stay warm, and maybe do a bit of baking. I love it!
So let's proceed with our bucket list for the lovers of winter as well as the haters. Maybe the latter can find something they love about it this year.
This is what I found!
I've culled the internet and Pinterest, looking for a "Winter Bucket List," and these are some of the items I found:
But wait! There's more!!
There you have it! Ideas for your winter bucket list!
Embrace the season. Have some fun. Do something this winter you haven't done before! You only live once. I quoted Michael Jordan in a previous blog about bucket lists, and I'll do it again: "Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen." I like that! Enjoy the next two-three months. And please share with me any other ideas you have for a winter bucket list.
* I got this recipe from my sister Barbara. It's great for winter afternoon tea or coffee. Such a nice winter's day treat:
Party Games, some new, some old!
New Year's Eve or even New Year's Day is a great time to get together with family. All the obligations are over; now is the time for some fun. Here in the South we get together to eat certain foods, particularly black-eyed peas. But chips and dips and college bowl games are the order of the day as well. And it's always fun to play some games.
Besides the usual games your family might play, here are some you could add.
New Year Scattergories~
Played like "Scattergories" of course, but I've added these questions that pertain to the holiday. See your "Scattergories" game box for the rules. If you have younger children, put them with an adult so they can play too. This is fun for everyone.
Just print this game sheet out so everyone has a copy. Check your Scattergories game box for rules or get online. But basically you roll the dice with the letters of the alphabet on it. Let's say someone rolls a "D". Then everyone writes the name of a winter sport that starts with "D". (Perhaps "downhill.") Then continue down the list. A song title or lyric that starts with "D," and so on down the list all starting with a "D" on the first game. You set the timer, and then stop when the timekeeper announces. Points are given if you are the only one who had an answer that no one else thought of or wrote. I'll post the website with the rules.
Do You Know Me?
The next one I call, "Do You Know Me?" Pass out slips of paper and pencils. Someone is the reader. The reader reads the question and everyone responds writing their answers on their slip of paper. Papers are then turned in to the reader. The reader reads the responses. Everyone else tries to guess who said that. Points are given to the person/persons who correctly guesses who said that. On the next question, assign a different reader so everyone has a chance. After all rounds, the person with the most correct guesses wins.
Here are some sample questions. Party-goers can also come up with questions of their own to submit.
Happy New Year to all my blog readers! May your 2020 be happy and bright with a year full of blessings. And stay safe this New Year's Eve.
Website with Scattergories rules: www.wikihow.com/Play-Scattergories
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!