Surprise your grandchildren with some Valentine treats, and make it educational while you're at it! Everyone enjoys getting Valentines. And we can sneak some educational gifts into the treat bag! It's all fun! And since you're surprising your grandchildren with some St. Valentine's Day goodies, gift their parents too!
The seed of this idea may have started with my own mother. Once when I was in junior high school, she came home with two of those beautiful boxes full of chocolates for my brother and me. I remember what a delightful surprise that was. It actually made me laugh as I thought at the time, it's usually something you get from a sweetheart. It was just so fun to have my own box and to pick out any of the chocolates I wanted. And who hasn't coveted those beautiful boxes in the Five and Dime or the local drugstore. It really was a treat
Try to recreate that childhood memory!
I'm always about trying to recreate a favorite childhood memory for my own grandchildren. But the school teacher in me wanted to gift something beyond just candy--something educational but still fun for them! When my grands were little, I used the day to give them various things. I often filled a bag full of treats for them: books about Valentine's Day, tee-shirts with a Valentine theme, CDs with a collection of favorite children's songs, and maybe a wee bit of candy. I often filled the bag and put it at their door to greet them when they returned home from school--there's something about that element of surprise. And for grands not in town, a care package with the same items would arrive in the mail. I have fun filling the bag.
I haven't done such a bag in a while--my grands are getting older and they're not about cute Valentine tees with the printed words, "Daddy's Little Sweetheart," or other such juvenile embellishments. I'm thinking no one buys CDs anymore and they'd rather pick out their own music and books, thank you very much.
But I'm doing it again this year and here's what I came up with:
For my five-year-old~
And for my older grands:
You don't have to spend a lot of money. I kept it very simple. For my 14-year-old, I just got a box of daily basketball trivia and a bag of his favorite candy. For my granddaughters, I got them items for their desk and journal writing as well as bags of their favorite candy. Everyone should get a sweet treat on this day.
And as I previously stated, I want to get something for my daughter-in-law and my two sons. I'm thinking along these lines:
I just need to pack it in a pretty bag and place it at their door on Valentine's Day while they're all gone to work and school. It should be a nice Valentine surprise.
As I always say, this is fun for grandparents too--the giving that is. If you've got the winter blues, it gets you out of the house and shopping at a local mall. Who wants to always be sitting at home. These are the ages of my grandchildren, but I know many of you have college-age kids. They would really enjoy a care package with some Valentine treats. Just have some fun!
I'll close with these favorite quotations:
"You always gain by giving love." Reese Witherspoon
"All you need is love, But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." Charles M. Schulz
Looking for a new idea for a loved one for Valentine's Day? I think this one is rather fun! Give them a jar full of memories.
I saw this on the old Oprah show several years ago. It's really simple and straightforward. Just get a pretty jar or dish and write memories of that person on little slips of paper. You can do this for parents, your kids or grandkids, a dear friend, your spouse...the list goes on and on.
When I saw this on Oprah's show, I shared it with a friend. She had seen the same show too. We both decided to do this for our husbands for Valentine's Day. I believe she even did one for her mother. We had fun sharing our ideas.
Just go to the shops you enjoy to pick out a vase or dish or basket. Something that would match their decor or that they would like. I even looked at some candle holders--that way after the holiday and all the reading of memories, you can use it for candles. Sometimes vases just get put up in the closet and forgotten. Use a vessel that you (or the recipient) might use--like a candle holder or a big coffee mug.
Once you've got your jar or vase, then write your memories on slips of paper and place inside. The memories are strictly up to you. They can be anything. Writing for your spouse or significant other? Write how you met, what you love about her, trips you've taken, how they've been supportive....you get the idea. Writing for a grandchild? Memories of their birth, fun things you've done together and silly things they've said.
And single slips of paper are fun, but it might be even more creative to put a ribbon on each so they have to pull them out. Or put them on a decorative straw or pencil.
You could even put some chocolate kisses or other candies in the dish. And you might also forget the vase and put your memories in balloons. A friend did my blog back in June. She shared how she and her siblings did "thanks for the memories" for their dad. They put their good thoughts and memories in balloons, and he had to pop each and read them. How fun to do for Valentine's Day too.
On another note:
I really think when I saw this Oprah show, it was actually about doing a memory jar for someone you might be estranged from. It's a way to attempt to heal a broken relationship. It's one of those exercises that helps the giver as well as the memory jar recipient. So there's no time like Valentine's to create and give such a jar. You never know the healing it can bring until you try it.
I just think Valentine's Day is a day to be a kid again and have some fun with this holiday. It's a February holiday that can bring you out of your winter funk. A memory jar--give it a try!
Okay, all you retirees out there who may or may not be grandparents! I've got another craft idea for you. Hey! It's a good way to pass the time because you're either snowed in or you simply don't want to get out in the bone-chilling cold.
What is it? Making prayer boxes! And then you have an item you can pass on to a friend or family member who might be going through a difficult time.
All you need are some empty Altoid boxes, some washi tape or paints, ribbons, buttons, lace, and other embellishments. Oh, and don't forget your hot glue gun. I've posted some websites below if you like more detailed instructions.
And that really is all there is to it. I actually just found some prayer boxes on Pinterest that I liked and copied them, more or less. I will tell you that I bought some pretty scrapbook paper at the craft store, and proceeded to simply decoupage the paper after I traced a pattern from the tin. But that didn't work; it came right off after it dried. I'm guessing the smooth tin top needed to be sanded a bit so it would take the glue. So I ended up just using a combination of double-sided tape and hot glue. That's what I used for the top. I used washi tape for the sides. Washi tape comes in so many cool patterns and colors.
Finally, you glue the sweet sentiment inside the lid, include some paper you've cut for the recipient to write their prayer, and a small pen. I found those pens, small enough for an Altoid box, at a party supply store in the party favors section. Viola! You have a sweet gift to give someone to let them know you're praying WITH them.
You could even tuck in a small verse about prayer if you wanted. There's this one from the Bible:
"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou has shut thy door, pray to thy
Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."
These thoughts from Kahil Gibran:
"You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance. For what is prayer but the expansion of yourself into the living ether?"
And since I made a box with a Native American theme, I share some of their prayers:
"As I walk, as I walk, the universe is walking with me. In beauty it walks before me. In beauty it walks behind me; in beauty it walks below me. In beauty it walks above me. Beauty is on every side. As I walk, I walk with Beauty." Traditional Navajo prayer
And this one from the Cherokee:
"May the warm winds of Heaven blow softly upon your house. May the Great Spirit bless all who enter there. May your moccasins make happy tracks in many snows. And may the Rainbow always touch your shoulder."
I share this craft with you. I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for craft ideas, and ones that might lift someone. After all, we're just walking each other home.
I close my blog this week with 1 Thessalonians 4:11~
"Aspire to live a quiet life, to mind your own affairs and to work with your hands."
Prayer boxes ideas:
I'm sure you've all seen the above quote and others like them. I feel the same way about family photos. Why have them hidden away in an old box or scrapbook? Get them out--enjoy them NOW!
I know most of us have a lifetime of photos hidden away in a box in the attic. Or if you're like my husband, you've meticulously documented them all in scrapbooks. But honestly, who looks at them? And they're fun and interesting and educational. Get them out and I'll show you what to do.
Simply go through your boxes or scrapbooks and find some photos that your friends and family would enjoy. Get old ones, new ones, funny ones, outtakes and goof-ups. Vacation shots, old school photos, scenery and portraits. Anything and everything. And if you're worried about oily fingers handling them, then simply make a copy and then display the copies. Change them out periodically. Just put them in a pretty dish or basket and set them out. There's something about them being in a bowl that even friends visiting will pick up and look at them. It's a great conversation starter with friends and family. And always good for some laughs.
You get the idea. Just some random pictures through the years.
Next you'll need a pretty container. First shop your house (as they say on HGTV). You'll probably find a pretty tray or basket in which to display your old photos. If not, go window shopping like I did at a home goods store:
And that's it! Why on earth should those precious photos be up in the attic or on some shelf in a scrapbook? Display them this way for all to see. And what great conversation starters, as well as a way to share your family history.
And here's another idea. My sister thought of this one. A few years ago when she and my brother-in-law moved from their large family home to a garden home, she was dismayed as to what to do with all those family photos that they had accumulated over the years. She came up with a plan to go through them and divvy them up between her son and daughter.....paying attention to the ones her daughter would like and the ones her son and his family would cherish. Then she decided that the way to give them to each, was to put them in a pretty wooden box. I never saw what she used, but on my window shopping trip, I found some fabulous wooden boxes and small chests. Take a look:
Again, sharing old treasured family photos--two plans:
"What I like about photographs is they capture a moment that's gone forever..." Karl Lagerfeld
"Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film, you have captured forever...it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything." Aaron Siskind
Do you know about hygge? It’s a wonderful concept of home and hearth with principles to use throughout the seasons, but the concepts of hygge really enhance the winter season. The ideas have been around a while here in the United States, but it seems I’m always late to the party. I share with you in case you’re not familiar with this concept. It’s a good one!
What is hygge? (Pronouced hoo-gah) It is a Danish term used to describe an ambience that one creates in their home of calmness and coziness and peace. It is about enjoying the warmth of your home and family and immersing yourself in the smaller things in life--a warm fire, ambient lighting, good food. In the winter it can be about grabbing a good book, snuggling up with a warm quilt and simply enjoying some "you" time.
Components of hygge:
Once I learn a new concept, I'm all about sharing it. I love hygge, and decided to make it a theme for a care package for my sweet sister-in-law. She goes above and beyond helping others. She's incredible and one of those people you tend to take for granted. I decided enough of that--I was going to send her a little box of hygge simply to show her I care and am grateful for all she does.
Here's what I put in her box of HYGGE:
You know those summertime pictures people post on Facebook? You know the ones I mean--the photos of their feet positioned on a deck or lounge chair by the pool or beach with a tropical drink in hand. That picture! Well, my hygge friends and I post our hyggelig pictures--warm mug in hand, wrapped in a warm blanket with our cozy sock-clad feet showing. I asked Donna to do the same. Here's her picture after she got her package. She's a good sport!
And there you have it! The concept of hygge. And if you already know about this Danish idea, then by all means, share. Another component of wintertime hygge is to invite family and friends over for a hearty meal. Share this Danish tradition! It will make you feel all warm and cozy inside!
Looking for a community service project to get the New Year off on a good start? How about making activity packets for children at the hospital? And if you can schedule a time to do it with your grandkids, even better!
This all came about when my granddaughter ended up in the emergency room a few years ago with what the doctor suspected was appendicitis. She was in the ER for tests. She was one scared eight-year-old. As she waited for various tests, the nurses brought her an activity packet. Her mother reported that this had really saved the day for them both!
When I heard their story, I knew I had to get involved creating such packets. I volunteer at the same hospital, so checked with the Children's Life facilitator asking her what they liked to see in such packets. I was set to go!
As you can see, it's a pretty straightforward procedure. Just check with your local hospital to see their needs and all the do's and don'ts. I aim for my packets to be for the 5-10 age group. I went to a party supply store to find party favors that would be appropriate for such a packet. They have small packages of crayons, notepads, and even little activity books. My granddaughter reported having fun with pipe-cleaners, creating various items with those. The other items I just got online to find. It's probably easier for you just to peek inside our packets:
This is certainly a project we grandparents can do on our own. But I started my latest packets just a couple of weeks ago, and it worked out where my grands were on a long holiday break, so they came over one day to help me get the supplies ready and to stuff the packets. It's always fun with those two.
And that's it!
Besides helping me ready the supplies, the girls also acted as my guinea pigs, especially with the pipe cleaners. I wanted to see if they could actually create something with the pipe cleaners by just looking at the picture. It seemed to work.
We packed up all supplies and instructions, and got everything ready for delivery. I think it's a fun project and one that might help out a scared child that finds herself in the hospital emergency room or in the hospital for a brief procedure. There's always that wait time that is hard for kids and parents to deal with.
"Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others." Brian Tracy
"You have not lived today until you have helped someone who can never repay you."
Websites for packet ideas:
The love goggles:
Besides doing this on your own or involving your grandkids, you could do it as a group project. When I first approached the Children's Life coordinator at the hospital, she said she had just received a delivery of fun packets from the Junior League. So how about doing it with your book club or bunco group or Bible study friends. The little guys could do it with their Scout troops. The ideas are endless, and it fulfills a real need.
Happy New Year. Here's hoping 2019 is
our best year ever!
Start the new year off right--journal with your granddaughter.
I've never done much journaling until I retired. I did journal with my students when we had quiet journal writing time in class. I always enjoyed that. But that "grab your journal at the end of the day and write about your day" kind of writing--not so much. I found it boring. It was always the same old, same old--"I got up and drank my coffee, went to the grocery store, prepared dinner..." You get the idea. Not very exciting and certainly nothing to look forward to writing or reading. But then my friend suggested a happiness journal, and that was fun. And something I looked forward to. I'm sure you've heard of them--the premise is to write a list of five things that brought you happiness that day. Easy-peasy and it fills you with gratitude. That got me exploring other journals. I looked online and I now have a gratitude journal, an "I want to remember" journal, a prayer journal, a bird journal and on and on. I even keep a menu journal.
One day my granddaughter and I were talking about journal writing and she commented that she often couldn't think of anything to write about at the end of her day. I told her I had the same trouble, but that I had found some great prompts for journal writing online. I sent them to her. Then we started sharing with each other what we had written. We did this all through emails and texts. It was fun!
I'll share with you the prompts that got us both started on journaling more often and sharing with each other:
Added bonus? A great bonding time with your grandchildren!
Besides sharing our responses to the above questionnaires via text or emails, I enjoyed talking to her about her writing when I visited with her at her house. She would often drag me up to her room to show me what she had recently written. I loved it!
And if you have a grandchild that is a reluctant writer, those one word prompts are great. And making a list seems infinitely easier than trying to come up with a paragraph or two about your day--ugh. And it's the reflecting about your day that is important. And oftentimes, one of your answers in the list enables you to write about a specific happening that you wouldn't have otherwise remembered.
A new plan for 2019. . .
As always happens, my oldest granddaughter and I got caught up in the daily happenings of our life, and have been neglectful as far as sharing our journal. But I plan to crank it up again in this new year. And hopefully involve both my granddaughters. I've been reading that one should journal as you close out one year and begin a new one. Here, I'll show you what I mean--
Questions for both you and your granddaughter:
My reasons for sharing this with other grandparents are twofold. First, as I previously stated, it's a great bonding time for you and your grandkids. And as we start 2019, it's also a good time to suggest to your grandchildren that they reflect on their past year, and set some goals for the coming year. I also read where it's important for grandparents to check with their grandchildren to see how they're doing in achieving their new goals that they set for themselves. After all, that's what we're all about--being important role models and mentors in their lives.
And second of all, my fellow grandparents, we need to be about journaling ourselves. If you've never journaled, it's not too late to start. And how fun for your grandchildren to read when you depart this earthly home. They'll get to know you even more! And WE'RE NEVER TOO OLD TO MAKE NEW GOALS FOR OURSELVES! No matter the age, it's never too late to start something new, learn a new skill, have some changes you want to make for the new year. We can do this.
Lastly, if you've ever journaled with your grandchildren, please share. And I'll share with my readers. I love hearing from you.
I'll end with this quote from Robin S. Sharma:
"Writing in a journal reminds you of your goals and of your learning in life. It offers a place where you can hold a deliberate, thoughtful conversation with yourself."
And this one you can share with your grandkids:
"It allows me to get things out of my head and work them out in a way that feels safe." Emma Watson
Yes, of course you can do this with grandsons. I have two grandsons--a 14 year-old and a 5-year-old. Trust me when I tell you that I'm not sure how journaling with me would go over with the 14 year old. And my 5-year-old is not writing yet. He's still in the pre-writing stage. I do know that he and his daddy replay his day at bedtime. My son often asks him some of these same questions: What did you do that was fun? What are you proud of? Things like that. Any way you can get your grandchildren to reflect on their day/week/year is a good thing--whether it's shared journal writing or in conversations.
Here's another little bit of fun Christmas chicanery. You put a Christmas treat in a stocking, and deliver to a friend or neighbor. I like the element of surprise to it, but that can be hard to pull off. It's like being "booed" at Halloween, but you can, if possible, pass it on. Here, I'll show you the card that accompanies the treat. It explains it better than I can. By the way, I got this idea from Strong Armor blogspot. I share the link for this blog at the end of my blog:
And that's all there is to it. I made some cranberry bread and got some gourmet coffee pods and spice tea bags. I tucked those away in a Christmas stocking along with the above tag, and I was off to deliver some Christmas cheer.
And that's it! It's really that simple. Why is it that when you do something like this, YOU (the giver) end up feeling all warm and fuzzy inside? It's almost a selfish thing. My sister called me that evening as she was enjoying a slice of cranberry bread and a cup of hot tea. She said that she wanted me to know how wonderful it made her feel to know that I thought of her, took the time to make her a treat and then sit and visit with her. I see these ideas on Pinterest and stash them away. Perhaps you do too. But this is one idea I think is well worth the little bit of time to achieve. Try it--you'll like it! Spread some holiday cheer!
The blogspot where I got this idea:
One final note: Check out that tall lanky Santa in the first picture. My sister and brother-in-law made that out of cedar fence boards years ago. Isn't he cute? I think she could do a "how-to" blog on the making of that Santa.
As I wrote this blog, I heard from my niece. I had delivered her a SOCK yesterday too. She loaded up her stocking and took it to her neighbor today. She sent me a picture of her items she had placed in her stocking. I love it! We just keep stirring the pot!!
Merry Christmas, everyone and happy HOLY days!
Spreading Christmas cheer to people around your town!
I've written about kindness rocks before, but in case you missed it, here's the premise from the originator of this idea, Megan Murphy. I got this description and quote from Megan Zander's blog about Kindness Rocks. There's a link to her blog at the end of my blog.
"Megan Murphy says the overall idea behind the project is simple. 'One rock, one person,' she explains. 'If a message hits a person at the right time, or they join and they do it in their community and they drop a message that hits somebody when they need it, it’s like a huge connection. It’s what our world needs right now.'"
You simply write a message on a rock with a Sharpie, and drop it along your hiking trail or a public park. It might just be a message someone needs to hear, or at the very least, simply makes them smile. And what better time to do this than at Christmas!
Rocks from my BLUE period:
Rocks with a Christian motif:
Share, share, share!
I copied every one of these from Pinterest. I post for you so that you may copy as well. And I'm a member of a sisterhood of kindness rock painters. We share ideas all the time. I would like to share these beautiful and clever ideas with you from my friends in the Dallas/Fort Worth area as well as Albuquerque:
Sweet messages on rocks:
As I always say, this blog is for and about grandparenting through the seasons. Please share your ideas and most definitely, feel free to copy the above rocks. That's why I posted them. Painting kindness rocks is such a fun endeavor. You can do it with your free time, and you can certainly do it with your grandchildren. It's a great time of fun--painting and delivering the rocks.
I know most of my sweet readers give gifts, not just to their family, but to friends and people that cross your path in your daily life--your newspaper delivery person, your mailman, your barber or hairstylist and others. How fun with Christmas kindness rocks to reach out to strangers around town with a Christmas wish too.
You don't have to take my word for it about the joys of kindness rocks. Here are words from my fellow rock-painters:
"I think...or I would like to think...I put a smile on someone's face, and that makes me happy. I always hope I touch their heart a little..." ~Beth
"When I paint a Christmas wish rock and hide it, it makes me happy knowing that I am sharing the joy and love of the birth of Christ my Savior and hopefully bringing a smile to the finder to pass on to someone else." ~Tricia
Website about Kindness Rocks:
Christmas cookie cutters, ribbons, fake pearls and gemstones, pretty papers, silver bottle caps, sweet granddaughters and a heaping helping of love equals a great craft idea and a good deal of family fun! Get together with your grandchildren for a Christmas craft and a wonderful bonding time.
What you'll need for the ornaments pictured above:
I actually found this craft on Pinterest, but there were no step-by-step instructions. Hence, we just looked at the pictures and decided for ourselves how to do it. I know you can figure that out as well, but here goes.
After I bought all the supplies, and gathered my granddaughters around the table, we proceeded. We traced the ornament on our chosen paper, and before we cut, we added a line around the tracing where we actually cut. The first tracing that exactly matched the ornament, we used for the glue line. We didn't care if the backing paper was a tiny bit bigger than the actual ornament--it still looked very good. On the foil paper, we used the white school glue. We tried that on the thinner papers, but it left the ornament too wet. That's when we went to the glue gun. My granddaughters, ages 10 and 12, did great with the glue gun, so there were no worries there. I guess all the ornaments could actually be done with the glue gun. We let them dry and harden, and then added the pretty baubles to add to the festive feel of a traditional Christmas ornament. Before the girls came over, my husband took the cookie cutters to his shop and cut the holes for the ribbon. After we glued in the gemstones, we tied ribbons and we were done. I asked the girls to add their names on the back along with the year. Hopefully the decorations might last for them to eventually put on their own tree!
One more added note, some of the foil paper was really heavy, so one of my granddaughters just traced the cookie cutter shapes and cut it out to put on her mother's tree without the cookie cutter--those turned out good as well.
Delivering the ornaments to their parents!
We put the ornaments in a box stuffed with blue tissue paper and delivered to their parents. Alas, their mother wasn't home, but my sweet Emma filmed the presentation for me when her mother got home. I have the best grandkids!
Hanging on the family Christmas tree~
Until I got over to their house to see for myself, my granddaughter sent me pictures of their finished creations hanging on their tree.
I think the ornaments are super easy to make. And they're pretty classy looking what with all the silver and rhinestone decorations. My granddaughters just looked at the sample pictures and ran with it. As I said, I hope the ornaments last until they have a tree of their own. Who knows? I love the bonding time that working on a craft creates for me and my granddaughters. For some reason, time spent crafting or cooking together just makes for some sweet conversations.
I know many of you have made Christmas decorations with your grandkids starting when they were small. And what grandparent (and parent) doesn't have their children's homemade ornaments that they place lovingly on their tree year after year. Please share any ideas or times you've spent Christmas-crafting with your grands. And if you decide to try this one, please share photos of that too.
Here's another craft with the grandkids that I blogged about last year. It's a good one too, and one I got from a friend:
Happy Christmas season from Gigi of Gigi's Seasonings!
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!