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Cookie Decorating With a Pre-Schooler

Grandkids By December 14, 2016 Tags: 2 Comments

We had our 8th annual Cookie Baking Day last weekend.  This is what the event is called because of how it started but actually we don’t do any baking on the day.  It is more of a cookie decorating/cookie exchange party.  It’s an all day event.  This year we had 11 women and one 3 year old in attendance.   cookiedec-resized

My granddaughter attended last year but this time she added quite a bit more fun and personality.  She took her job (as a cookie decorator) very seriously, attacking the decorating with enthusiasm.  She crafted lovely 3-D creations. I think she out decorated all of us.  Her box was full by the time we were done.  We decorated for almost 4 hours and she hung in there with us to the end.

While we iced and sprinkled she entertained us with stories of her classmates, critiques on our finished cookies and she conducted a quiz on what our favorite toy was.  And of course, we discussed princesses…in depth.  It was a lot of fun.cookiedec7-resized

Here are a few of her cookie creations.

Merry Christmas!cookiedec5-resizedcookiedec4-resized

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The Calculator Phone

Grandkids By September 18, 2016 Tags: , 4 Comments

I watched my two granddaughters over the weekend.  In preparation for their visit, I picked up a couple of cheap calculators.  They were identical so I distinguished them with a drawing on the back. This way they each knew which calculator was theirs.  It actually helped prevent fights.

Immediately the 18 month old got “on the phone”.  I have no idea who she was talking to but she spent quite a bit of time with them.  I believe the three year old was texting, although I am sure I heard her take a call as well.

The funniest thing they did was insist on taking them with us to the zoo.  I figured it wasn’t worth the fight so I tossed them into the bag with the snacks and water.  I took a few pictures of the kids and the animals.  Next thing I know the oldest is digging though the bag – what is she looking for?  Her phone! She begins taking pictures of her surroundings or maybe she was taking video – I’m not sure. phone5a

Once the youngest was released from her stroller (because I wanted them to walk and get tired) she found her calculator and began snapping pictures as well.  Very enthusiastically, I might add. phone2a

phone3aIn the evening I asked my son what the time was.  My oldest granddaughter jumped up, found her calculator (to get the time) but then announced, it was out of charge!  Honestly, we were having a hard time not cracking up.  Then she found a short rope and said she would charge it when she went to bed.  Oh. My. Goodness.phone6a

So much fun from two cheap little calculators!

 

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Growing Tomatoes for the Grandkids

Grandkids By August 14, 2016 Tags: , , , 5 Comments

I like growing tomatoes.  It is exciting to watch the blooms turn into fruit and then the green fruit ripen.  I also like growing enough tomatoes to give some away.  However, the best thing is when my granddaughters come to visit and they pick and eat the fruit right from the vine.  I plant beef steak tomatoes for my husband but I plant bite sized cherry tomatoes for the grands.  In the winter, when I plan out the garden, I always have the cherry tomatoes on the outside – it makes it easier for little arms to reach them.tomato-picking3a

Last week my 3 year old granddaughter came by for a visit.  I purposely did not pick any tomatoes for several days so there would be some red, juicy ripe ones left on the vines.  She was very excited and fished around through the green leaves looking for the prize.  It looked like a summer Easter egg hunt.  She was popping them in her mouth and eating them as fast as she could find them.  You would have thought it was candy!  This is the positive side of not using any kind of pesticides or chemicals in my garden.  The fresh picked tomatoes can be eaten right from the source.tomato-picking5a

This is the second year she has feasted on tomatoes from my garden.  I did the same thing fifty years ago in my grandmother’s tomato patch.  I hope it registers a warm memory for her to retrieve some day when she is a grandmother.tomato-picking2a

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I Want Sprinkles

Grandkids, Toddlers By July 24, 2016 Tags: , , , 4 Comments

Our three year old granddaughter was visiting us last weekend.  Saturday it was very hot.  She had woken up especially early that morning, so she ended up taking a mid-morning nap.  When she got up I suggested we get some soft serve ice cream at McD’s. I’m not a big ice cream fan but I was looking for some serious air-conditioning time.  My suggestion was met with enthusiasm from both the granddaughter and her grandpa.

Before we left I asked if she wanted an ice cream Sunday, maybe hot fudge? She replied, “I want sprinkles”.  Ok… I asked it a different way. “Would you like chocolate or vanilla ice cream?”  Her response, “I want sprinkles”.  Message received.  No matter what, sprinkles needed to be involved.  I wasn’t sure if McDonalds had sprinkles, so I rummaged through my cabinet and found a bottle…just in case.  I tossed it into my purse.  I figured I could put them on the ice cream myself and she would be none the wiser. Off we went.

Everyone must have had the same idea (air-conditioning) because it was crowded.  I sent the two of them to find a table, while I waited in line. I ordered a cup of vanilla soft serve, inquired about sprinkles (they don’t have any) and waited for my order. Then, while at the counter,  I quickly and discretely pulled out my bottle of sprinkles and generously added them on top.  If anyone saw me they didn’t comment. I was pretty happy with my stealthy secret agent skills.  sprinkles-resized

The sprinkle topped ice cream was well received. She ate all the sprinkles and a little bit of the ice cream before she declared she was done.  After cleaning up her hands and face, she wanted a mint from my Altoids can. Since grandpa and I were not finished yet and I wanted to keep her entertained for a few more minutes, I told her to look for it in my purse.  She loves digging though my purse!  I heard a gasp and she produced the small jar of sprinkles I had brought with me.

She looked at me with a shocked expression and said, “Why do you have the sprinkles?!”

Busted!

Moral of the story: Never try to outsmart a three year old.

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Making Memories

Grandkids By July 17, 2016 Tags: , , , 7 Comments

When I was little my grandmother lived on a large piece of land, probably more than a half-acre with lots of trees and vegetation.  Running along one of the property fences were blackberry bushes.  I am not sure if she planted them or they were there when she moved in. When the berries were ripe, we were out there picking them.  With four grandchildren picking and eating they were gone in a matter of days.  My grandmother didn’t care, she knew we liked them.  It is a nice memory of summers at grandma’s house.raspberry-picking-edit

At my house I have a huge raspberry bush.  Last week the berries started to ripen.  I was excited about it, so I arranged for my grandchildren to come over for lunch.  Afterwards, grandpa took them both out to the bush and picked the ones that were ripe.

It is a very prickly bush but the berries are delicious and worth the peril to obtain them.  My oldest granddaughter picked them last year and was excited when I told her some of the berries were ready to eat.  The youngest one doesn’t quite understand the difference between a ripe berry and everything else.  She still wanted to participate, so she kept picking the unripen fruit.  This time next year they will both be picking and eating the raspberries…along with grandpa.

Hopefully, they too will have warm memories of picking and eating berries in the summer at grandma’s house. 🙂

 

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The Cleaning Bug

Grandkids By May 29, 2016 Tags: , 24 Comments

A Cleaner or not a Cleaner – That is the Question

If you google the word cleaner the definition is a person who cleans something.  In this post it does not mean a hit man or someone who removes evidence from a crime scene. You can probably tell…I raised boys.

My question is – are you made into a cleaner or are you just born that way? I suppose I never really considered the question before.  I thought all kids had to be trained (forever) in order for them to pick up their stuff, put things away, clean up their mess and wipe up that spill!

My kids were NOT natural cleaners. In order to get that result out of them, force had to be applied one way or another.   I spent over eighteen years, nagging, guilting, bribing and grounding.  The results were not always stellar.

My three year old granddaughter on the other hand LIKES to clean.  She always has – well, at least since she could walk.  For example, when she was 18 months old, as discipline for her actions, her mom had her pick up every single kernel of corn that she purposely tossed on the floor, from her high chair and deposit it into the garbage can.  She dutifully and without complaint picked up every kernel of corn (one at a time) toddled from the dining room, through the kitchen and to the garbage.  Like 25 times.  I think she enjoyed it.  I was amazed…with my granddaughter AND with my daughter-in-law’s patience.  I probably would have let her make three trips, administered praise and swept up the rest.  Possibly this is why it took me forever to train my kids!cleaning2

When she was two, my husband was at the dining room table working on his laptop, my granddaughter found the swisher broom and began happily cleaning the floor behind him, while singing twinkle, twinkle little star at the top of her lungs.  It was a sight, I wish I would have recorded it.  She was in her element.

A few weeks ago she found my stash of Clorox wipes.  She decided she desperately needed to clean the floor in the bathroom and her potty chair (both were already clean)!  There really was no stopping her, she was on a mission.  I let her finish, restricting her to how many wipes she could actually use and then washed her up when she was done.  I really think I missed it for Christmas, I should have by-passed the toys and just bought her an economy pack of cleaning wipes. She would have been thrilled.

The cleaning bug doesn’t seem to carry over to keeping the caps on markers though, which is one of my pet peeves.

I have already informed her parents that I plan to take full advance of her love of cleaning when she is old enough to earn money for chores.

So what do you think?  Are cleaners made or just plain born that way?

 

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Hungry Baby to Happy Baby

Babies, Grandkids By April 24, 2016 18 Comments

How do two men feed a hungry baby?

My daughter-in-law and I went out of town for a conference last weekend.  This left my son to watch the kids (a one year old and three year old).  Usually it is my son who goes out of town for work and my daughter-in-law is left to manage the kids alone.  She is used to it – he is not.  This is how the story went….

We left on Thursday and by Saturday my son had arrived at my house with the kids in tow, to find grandpa.  I had innocently asked my daughter-in-law what everyone was doing – she responded that they were at my house. A little surprised, I asked ‘why?’  She responded (with a smirk, I might add), ‘he needed back up!’  What mom or grandma wouldn’t grin at that one?  And I did.

As soon as I arrived home my husband informed me how much my youngest granddaughter likes rice.  Apparently, dad and grandpa had decided to order Chinese for dinner.  You didn’t think they were going to cook – after watching the kids all day?!  I probably mumbled something like ‘oh?’.  Then he promptly pulled out his phone to show me pictures.  This surprised me because grandpa doesn’t usually take pictures AND there was an accompanying video!  I looked though the pictures, tilting my head sideways a little as I am trying to comprehend what I am looking at.  resized-eating rice4My youngest granddaughter is sitting in the middle of the table surrounded by rice, some on the table and some on her clothes.  Then it dawned on me.  I looked at him, a little surprised and asked, ‘you sat her in the middle of the table to feed her?’.  I am sure you already know the answer, it was a pleased, ‘yes’.  My son and husband sat down at the table to eat and instead of pulling out the high chair (yes, we do own one) they just sat her in the middle of the table to feed her and I don’t mean with a spoon.   However, she does seem to be having a good time.

My husband looked so cute telling me the story and showing me the pictures.  I just smiled and said ‘it looks like that worked’.  My granddaughter was feed and the mess was cleaned up before I got home. What else is there to say?resized-eating rice

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My Granddaughters Finger Polish

Grandkids, Toddlers By April 14, 2016 24 Comments

My three year old granddaughter came home from daycare (called school) and burst into the bedroom where her mom was folding laundry.  “I need fingernail polish!” she declares.  My daughter-in-law replies, “What do you mean?”  She excitedly explains, another little girl at her school has painted fingernails and now my granddaughter wants GREEN fingernail polish.   My daughter-in-law informed her that she doesn’t have green fingernail polish and she will have to discuss it with daddy.  The answer satisfied my granddaughter and it was assumed the topic was closed (hopefully for quite a while).  It wasn’t.

Long story short, several days later my granddaughter did a few chores to earn her fingernail polish.  They went shopping and found a “kid friendly polish” in blue and pink, which included (much to my dismay) a dispenser with teeny, tiny little sparkles to attach to the polish.  This happened on the way to grandma’s house.  Grandma DID NOT know anything about it.

My granddaughter runs into my house, precious package in hand, telling me ‘WE’ are going to paint her finger nails. Oh!  Meanwhile her parents drop and run (they have a dinner date—chickens).  I raised two boys, they never asked me to paint their nails (braid their hair or dress and undress a baby doll for that matter), so this is a new experience for me.  However, I am  honored that I get to be the first one to apply polish (shiny blue) to my granddaughter’s nails.

I was up for this – I did the fingers in blue and the toes in pink.  Although, I never realized how small her nails were, I think the brush was bigger than they were.  My usually energetic granddaughter was very patient and sat still as I carefully applied the paint.  A miracle in my book, she even let it dry.  I was actually kind of excited and I thought I did a great job.fingerpolish1 THEN – she said it was her turn.  What do you mean?  She proceeded to paint the tops of her fingers with the blue polish.  Very carefully, I might add – keeping her fingers stiff and separated so it could dry properly.  Over the next hour she kept looking at her hands, admiring her work! You got to love it.

Fortunately or unfortunately, it all washed off in the bath that night, expect for one blue finger nail and one pink toe nail.  Which she proudly showed everyone the next day.fingerpolish2

My conclusion is that my granddaughter interpreted Finger NAIL polish to mean FINGER nail POLISH.  She is probably reasoning the girl at school didn’t have a clue what she was doing because she only did half the job (just her nails)!

And yes, I did text a picture of the blue fingers to the parents while they were at dinner, as a comment on -“What were you thinking?!”fingerpolish3

 

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Best Grandpa Ever!

Grandkids, Toddlers By April 3, 2016 25 Comments

For our granddaughters third birthday we decided to get her a play kitchen.  I did some research, read reviews, chose one and then got my DIL’s approval before buying it (I learned my lesson with Dora).   The box arrived via UPS on a snowy morning. kitchen5I felt bad for the UPS guy, so I met him on the porch to retrieve the package.  He told me it weighed 70 something pounds (wow) and insisted on setting it inside for me.  He was probably afraid I would drop it! It was very nice of him though.  I had read online that assembly was taking up to 5 hours. Humph…I figured my hubby (grandpa) could do it in 2 hours or less.  Still, I had a tiny nagging feeling (you know the kind you get sometimes but choose to ignore), I decided we should allow a little extra time and assemble it on a Sunday afternoon. I say “we and us” very loosely because my husband was the one putting it together.

Armed with a handful of tools and a box cutter, he opened the box.  There were SO MANY PIECES and SO MUCH HARDWARE. Oops, I may have under estimated the time involved to put it together.  Grandpa is a trooper and got to work right away, hardly a grumble.  An hour passes, another hour passes….he hasn’t even gotten to the main frame yet.  It was like building IKEA furniture, only on steroids – page after page of instructional illustrations.   Right after hour 3 he was ready to assemble the carcass.  This is when I decided to give him a hand.  He was very gracious when, in my over enthusiasm to be finished, I accidentalkitchen4y flipped a page ahead, which caused me to put something together out of order. The graciousness came in because he had to disassemble what I had done in order to fix it and continue the build. Sigh….  After that, I just handed him the hardware he asked for.  Hour 4 ½, the kitchen is finished, moved into place and adorable.kitchen3

My granddaughter only saw the kitchen partially done before she went to a friend’s birthday party.  She did seem excited.  When she returned home, the kitchen was done but we had already left.  Bummer, right?kitchen2

I was told she took one look at her new kitchen, picked up the play phone (hanging on the wall in her new kitchen) called her grandpa and told him “thank you for my kitchen”.  Awwww…that was worth it.

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I Love Easter but Hate the Grass

Grandkids, Toddlers By March 24, 2016 Tags: , 19 Comments

I admit it…I hate Easter grass.  You know, the pink, blue, green and yellow shredded plastic piles added to Easter baskets for filler and cushion.  I have refused to buy it for decades.   The thought of it wrapped around the inside my vacuum cleaner, causing it to grind to a stop, makes me cringe. When I start one of these rants, most people just nod and smile like I am a little crazy or their eyes start darting around looking for a means to escape.  Actually, I have the same feeling regarding the silver icicles that hang on Christmas trees.  Trimming the Christmas tree sounds so romantic, until you are still finding pieces of tinsel in March……just in time for Easter grass to take over!  It is like a conspiracy.

Still, I wanted to do something Easter basket like for my granddaughters.  They are not allowed to eat a lot of candy, unlike my childhood where we gorged on Easter basket candy for days.  Hmmm.  After giving it some thought, I came up with a simple and acceptable solution. easter2

I found some Easter themed gift bags and decided to fill them with cute socks (always needed), small cans of Play Dough (they love it), and plastic Easter eggs filled with colorful gold fish (yummy).  Not a chocolate egg or bunny in sight.  They turned out nice and I am sure they will be well received.easter3easter4

Have a Happy Easter sans the grass!

 

 

 

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