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Grandkids

A Baby Shower for Grandma

Babies, Grandkids By November 4, 2015 Tags: , 2 Comments

A grandbaby shower? I had never heard of anything like this, until recently. But let me tell you, I think I’m a fan.

Once my two boys were older, past toddlerhood, I got rid of my baby stuff. I either gave it away to new parents or tossed it because it was worn out. Even cherished items that made it into late childhood (or early teen-dom – sorry Nate) like a favorite blanket, can only be stitched together so many times before it has to be pitched. So when my first grandchild was on the way, my house was void of ANY kind of baby stuff and had been for almost two decades. Was I worried? Was I concerned? Did I give it much thought? Nope.

Then came the baby shower for my first grandchild. My son and daughter-in-law surprised me with a portable crib to keep at my house. My good friend presented me with my very own diaper cake, which included all kinds of baby goodies. It was so thoughtful, but all the while I was thinking, where I was going to store this stuff? Well, in the last three years, I have used up the diapers, plus more, and all the other fun stuff that was included in the diaper cake. I know exactly how to open and close the crib quickly and efficiently, since I have done it more times than I can remember. Actually, most of the time it stays open and ready in the guestroom. I have also added to my own baby equipment collection.

These are some of the helpful items I have purchased for my house: a jumper (a swing that hangs from the door jam – a great invention), a car seat, a high chair, a few baby clothes to keep on hand, sippy cups (a must), some small blankets, a toy chest and of course toys. My husband’s favorite purchase is a handful of extra-large (for whatever age they are at the time) plain white tee shirts. Anytime he feeds them he just pulls one over the top of their clothes and removes it when he is done. No muss, no fuss and the babies outfit remains clean. It’s like a baby body bib.

Do I recommend throwing a grandbaby shower for the new grandparent in your life? Absolutely! It would be fun and very much appreciated.

What baby supplies do you suggest for new grandparents?

please note: the product links in this post are affiliate links for products that I actually use and recommend.

Photo credit: handmade charm by ScrapheartGifts. You can find this beautiful charm at their Etsy store.

 

 

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How to Make a Treasure Box for Your Grandkids

Grandkids, Toddlers By November 2, 2015 Tags: , 2 Comments

My sister-in-law shared with me that her 2 ½ year old granddaughter cries for her mom whenever she is dropped off at her house. I suggested she make her a special treasure box. The contents of this box can only be explored while she is visiting Nana. Therefore, my sister-in-law must resist the urge to let her granddaughter take the box or its contents with her when she leaves. I made one of these for my two year old granddaughter and she makes a bee-line for it whenever she visits. So what’s in the box? I am glad you asked.

I use an ordinary shoe box. But any box with a lid will do. I fill it with age appropriate odds and ends that I think she will like. I avoid anything like small balls, marbles, balloons or anything with small parts that could be swallowed. Here is a website if you need guidance on choking hazards.resize-Box pic 1

My granddaughter loves stickers so I buy stickers books at a local craft store for $1. They have 6 or 8 sheets of stickers, a great value for a sticker hungry toddler. However, I just put one sheet of stickers at a time in the box. I hide the other sheets, otherwise she would empty the entire book of stickers in one sitting! She puts them on half sheets of colorful paper that I also include in the box, but they sometimes end up on her clothes and cheeks.  What you fill the box with is completely up to you and the personality of your grandchild. I do switch out items and add to the contents of the box occasionally to keep it fresh. Most of the stuff in this box was free or recycled.

Her current treasure box has:

  • Hard colorful bangles (got a bunch for a dollar at Walmart in the holiday isle)
  • Empty Altoids cans
  • Old gift cards (they fit in the Altoids can)
  • Hair ties (buy a big pack of the larger ones , but just add a few to the box)
  • Book marks (free from library or educational event or make your own)
  • Mardi Gras necklaces (only if your grandchild won’t break them or suck on them. The girls usually like to wear them)
  • Sheets of stickers (I buy at craft store for a dollar)
  • Folded pieces of paper (like computer paper – I choose a color)
  • Coffee cup sleeves (I have these left over when I buy “to go” cups for the house)
  • Paint card color samples (home store –from my last paining project – when I was choosing colors)
  • Brochures with fold out pages (pick up the ones with interesting pictures)
  • Small maps (can usually find these at tourist type restaurants)
  • Fat crayons (I don’t do markers)
  • Plastic spoons (heavy duty)
  • Small cars and trucks (like Hot Wheels)
  • Old cordless mouse with a wheel (battery removed)
  • Rubber duck
  • Zippered pencil pouch
  • Large plastic scoops
  • Plastic shovel (part of a summer bucket/shovel set)
  • Large coin purse with lots of zippers
  • Long, thick piece of rope tied at both end

What do you keep a two year old busy at your house?

 

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A Generation of Healthier Kids

Grandkids, Teens, Toddlers, Tweens By October 29, 2015 Tags: , , 4 Comments

On my way to Yahoo mail this morning – yes, I still use Yahoo mail, yes, I know this “dates me” (not in a good way) and yes, I know, I can have it forwarded to my Gmail– anyway, I stopped to read a post on Yahoo Parenting.

I quickly scanned the article, which was basically about a dad wanting to raise his kids better than how he was raised. He went on to explain that growing up he wasn’t given healthy food or encouraged to exercise. Wow! That caught my attention.

My two boys are physically strong, hardworking and healthy. I fed my kids a variety of foods growing up, probably a mixture of healthy and not so healthy (definitely by today’s standards). They like fruits and vegetables but they also like ice cream, breaded mozzarella sticks and loaded fries. They played some sports, swam in the summer and skied in the winter. But, as adults they struggle with their weight.

Looking back, I realize that I should have instilled in them a stronger desire to exercise daily. I shouldn’t have had chips and soda in the house all the time and I probably should have encouraged them to drink more water. I know more now than I did 30 years ago.

But it’s not too late. I can take my decades of experience and use it for good. As grandparents we get a fresh start, a clean slate. We can keep healthier food in the cupboard and have fresh fruits and vegetables within easy reach. We can exercise regularly, get ourselves in better shape and make wise food choices. We can become an example to follow for our kids and our grandkids. We can be a good influence, helping to create a healthier generation and have a long term, healthy impact on our grandkids. The choice is ours.

Have you decided to make positive lifestyle choices that will impact your grandkids? Let’s hear it.

This post is linked to the GRAND Social

 

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Do You Hear What I Hear?

Grandkids, Toddlers By September 22, 2015 Tags: , , No Comments

My two-year old granddaughter enjoys eating popsicles while sitting on an old wooden table in my yard.  Our mini-tradition of lounging outdoors, while eating frozen sticks of goodness, started to avoid getting sticky popsicle juice all over my kitchen chairs, the table, the floor, and yes, the rest of the house.  She likes to get up and move around, not quite understanding that she is dripping stuff everywhere!  However, she does understand that I want popsicles eaten outside.

She likes me to sit on the wooden table with her while she attacks her frozen treat. As she licks and slurps away, we talk.  This is the best part.  She asks me what different sounds are.  I have to listen carefully because I take all these noises in stride and they don’t even register with me anymore.  I live on a moderately busy street, close to the beach, with noisy trucks, airplanes flying overhead and loud chipping birds.  She lives in a wooded area that is much quieter, so my “city” sounds are interesting to her.

‘What’s that noise?’, she asks.  ‘A motorcycle”, I respond.  ‘A motorcycle’, she repeats.  ‘What’s that noise? ‘, she asks again. ‘That is a cooing pigeon.  Do you see it up on the wire?’, I point to where it is perched.  She searches until she finds it and then repeats, ‘that’s a pigeon’.  Then I turn the tables on her and ask her the questions.  ‘What’s that noise?’ I question, as a loud truck bumps past.  ‘A truck!’, she answers, as she beams up at me with a huge grin. We go back and forth like this until she gets the very last bit from the popsicle stick.  Then we are done, the moment passes and she is off to her next activity.

I look forward to these outdoor sessions and I think she does too.  It gives us a slice of time, when both of us are just hanging out together. Our focus is on identifying the noises and discussing the world around us.  It is a great teaching time and a great bonding time.

I always make sure I have a stock of popsicles ready in the freezer….just in case.

How do you spend special time with your grandchild?

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Flying with a Toddler

Grandkids, Toddlers By September 15, 2015 Tags: , , 3 Comments

We recently flew with our active two-year old granddaughter.  It was a fairly short flight, only an hour and a half. In order to avoid or at least lessen any toddler melt downs, we did some prep work.resized_bento_box

My granddaughter is a morning person, she wakes up hungry and ready to go.  Since we had to leave the house at 4:30 am, to get to the airport, I prepared some food for her the night before.  I made up a toddler “bento box” for the airplane and a baggie of grapes for the car ride.

I picked up a square plastic sandwich container, I found them on sale for $.50.  I treated these as disposable containers.  Once we reached our destination I threw it away, along with any uneaten contents. However, you could save it for future use by tossing the remaining food and washing it out.  In the box I put two peeled and sliced hard boiled eggs, wrapped individually in plastic wrap, a cheese stick, a tube of yogurt and some grapes.  We gave it to her once the plane was in the air, it kept her busy the first part of the trip. esized_craft_bag

I also put together two activity bags, one for the flight there and one packed in my luggage, for the return home.  In a quart size bag I put a small notebook, some stickers, a few crayons, a container of cards (like Go Fish or Shapes from the dollar store) and a small book.  This kept her busy the second part of the flight.

resized_on_airplaneOn the plane, we talked about the sounds of the engine, the overhead buttons for the lights and air and we held her hand on take-off and landing. Things went smooth, we only experienced a little bit of grumbling, despite sitting on the tarmac for 45 minutes after landing, waiting for our gate to open up!  Well, you can’t plan for everything.

Have you taken a toddler on an airplane?  What worked for you?

This post linked to the GRAND Social over at Grandma’s Briefs, Treasure-Box-Tuesdays over at Memories by the Mile and Creative Muster at Fluster Buster

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The Wooden Rocking Horse

Grandkids, Toddlers By September 10, 2015 No Comments

Thirty years ago, for my sons first birthday, my husband made him a wooden rocking horse.   We copied the pattern from a rocking horse his cousin had purchased for their children. Since money was tight and my husband was a weekend woodworker, we decided he could make it for a fraction of the cost of buying one.

He was working away, all was going as planned, the horse was almost done until… my husband sliced his hand open with a chisel. Eighty dollars (emergency room costs, thirty years ago) and eight stiches later, the resulting rocking horse ended up costing much more than what we would have originally spent to purchase it.  Big sigh! However, my young son did get hours of enjoyment from the horse and we got a great story. We decided we could pass down the tale, hopefully along with the rocking horse.

Fast forward to today. A few months back I remembered the rocking horse, which has lived in the attic for many years. I pulled it out of its hiding place (actually, I made my son go and haul it down) dusted it off and looked it over.  It was dirty and stained because I had never refinished it properly.  It was put into use right away and back then, unknowingly, I left it natural, with no protection.  However, it did survive, seemed very sturdy and the chips and cracks just add character.

I took it outside and gave it a good sanding and a couple coats of paint.  Once I was satisfied (and tired of painting), I set it in the dining room and waited for my two year old granddaughter to visit.  I figured the worst case scenario would be that I could use it as decoration in my living room.

To my delight she loved the rocking horse.  She regularly rocks on it, next to a giant, leafy avocado tree that occasionally brushes against her hair. She rocks and she sings. One day, when she is an adult, I think she will pull up happy memories of riding her pony though the leafy, green forest.  She will remember it warmly and with a smile.   Only we will know that it was really just a thirty year old, chipped and scared, blue wooden rocking horse that she rode at grandma’s house.

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The Wonders of the Dollar Store

Grandkids, Toddlers By September 2, 2015 No Comments

I guess it has been years since I have ventured into a dollar store.  The first and last time I shopped in one they didn’t have what I needed, so I left unimpressed.  Recently, I tried again.  I was looking for some inexpensive items to take on an airplane trip with my oldest granddaughter (who is almost 2 ½).  I found what I was looking for and a whole lot more.

If you plan a visit to your local dollar store to restock grandma supplies, I suggest you bypass the toy isle, with the cheap toys that will only be looked at once and tossed to the side or broken immediately.  Proceed to the education section.  Here I found a variety of thick coloring books that feature popular characters from Disney and Sesame Street. They had cardboard books for the babies and paperback and picture books for the older grands, those who no longer eat books. They also had educational workbooks like alphabet and number practice if your grandkids are ready for that. I found a variety of puzzles and educational tools for preschoolers on up. I also came across some craft kits that would be prefect for younger kids or tweens.  They have big boxes of crayons and large packages of markers. It is the frugal grandma’s paradise.

So, what did I buy that day?  A package containing two books featuring Elmo (a favorite), three sets of playing cards (one package), a Winnie the Pooh coloring book, pipe cleaners, a small, blue Elmo water bottle and large package of stickers.

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Grand total: $6.36

Ding, ding, ding!  We have a winner.

What treasures have you found at the dollar store?

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6 Tips for a Smoother Toddler Bedtime

Grandkids, Toddlers By August 28, 2015 4 Comments

My two year old granddaughter was staying overnight a few weekends ago. All was going well, until it was time for bed. Even though she was showing the standard signs of fatigue (a slowdown in activity level and eye wiping with the back of the hand), she insisted she wasn’t tired and DID NOT want to go to bed. We put her to bed anyway. What ensued was an extended period of coaxing, singing, talking and stroking of her back, on my part, in an attempt to get her to sleep. She lovingly responded to my efforts with whining, crying and yelling. My rusty toddler parenting skills were challenged. After an emotionally exhausting hour went by, she finally went to sleep.

Not looking forward to this type of episode repeating itself, at least not on a regular basis, I decided to do a little research on managing over tired toddlers. I found out a few errors we had made and some tips to help make bed time easier to manage.

  • Start the transition to bedtime 30 to 45 minutes before it’s actually time to go to sleep.
  • No video watching (if you allow that) including educational type videos like Sesame Street before bedtime.
  • Give them a nice warm bubble bath. Wash them up and then let them play for a few minutes. This doesn’t have to take all night, allow 10 minutes to splash around.
  • Put them in their pajamas. Having designated PJ’s for sleeping also helps to signal that it is almost time for bed.
  • Snuggle on a chair or the couch and read them a book or two. Let them pick out a couple short ones to read. If they don’t like to “snuggle” then let them sit quietly and look at a few books. Give them a specific limit, for example, this is the last book or five more minutes.
  • Have everything ready in their bed (crib) like a stuffed animal they may sleep with or their favorite blanket. Dashing around looking for these items last minute could mess with the calm atmosphere you are trying to create.

I had an opportunity to try out these steps recently. I am happy to report that they worked. I had great success getting her to go to bed and to fall asleep right away. No fuss, no yelling or crying.

I am sure there are more great tips out there to get a toddler to sleep without a fight. Let us know what they are.

**This post linked to the GRAND Social

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My Best Summer Investment

Grandkids By August 28, 2015 Tags: , , No Comments

The weather was getting warmer and  I wanted to purchase a kiddie pool for my granddaughters. I was looking for something small and shallow, since they are both still little. My first thought was to get a small, hard plastic pool. You know, the blue ones that you shove in your trunk, bending it ever so slightly to make it fit or strap it to the top of your car. They only last one summer, they crack, don’t hold water anymore and you start again next year. That was fine with me, I planned to put it out for garbage pick-up, come September.

Off I went to the store with my youngest, who drove, because he has a larger trunk than I do. We walked the entire store trying to find the hard plastic kiddie pools. There was none to be found. What we did find were a variety of boxed blow up pools. I was hesitant, but my son assured me we could use the compressor at the house to blow it up. Since apparently I had no other choice, I selected a small one that measured 4 feet wide by 10 inches high and we left.

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This turned out to be the best $10 purchase I have made in a long while. It was fairly easy to blow up (although it has 3 separate values – my gosh). I wasn’t too out of breath when I was done. There was no one around to work the compressor at the time! There is even a valve to blow up the floor of the pool making it nice and cushy. I turned the water hose on low and let her help me fill it. Playing with the water and the hose was part of the whole fun pool experience. I only filled it half way with water so when she sat down it went a little above her waist. She has played in the pool five times already. When she is not visiting grandma, it deflates and packs away. We have received hours of entertainment and lots of outdoor exercise for a few dollars. This was definitely a great idea and a worthwhile purchase. And …if it doesn’t make it – I will happily buy another one next year.

What type of kiddie pools do you recommend?

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