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granddaughter | granddaughter – A Grand Journey
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Making Memories on Purpose

Family By September 4, 2016 Tags: , , 8 Comments

My mother-in-law came for a visit recently.  This was her second visit since our latest granddaughter was born.  She is called Gigi by her great grandchildren. She has to travel two thousand miles to get here so her visits are infrequent.  My oldest granddaughter loves Gigi, even though they have only spent a handful of times tree-resized

I don’t remember my great-grandmother (my mother’s grandmother).  All pictures, only black and white, portrayed her as severe looking.  That could have been the popular pose of the time but the stories I hear about her agree with the pictures!  Yikes.  Even though she was alive for several years after I was born, there are no pictures of her holding me or even with us together.  That is not the kind of memory I wanted my granddaughters to have.mack and gigi-resized

Before Gigi arrived I made a plan to have her spend some quality time with them. Last year the oldest one was 2 1/2, we went apple picking, feed the ducks and had a picnic.  This year I arranged to take both of them but on separate days so they could enjoy Gigi without competition.  It worked out well.  I planned a visit to the beach, lunch and shopping.  Both the girls and Gigi enjoyed it.

I made sure to take pictures, then I framed one so they could put it on shelf in their room. I feel like I am documenting history.  Today it might not mean much to them or their parents but when they are much older they may treasure a photograph of them and their great grandmother. I would have (especially if she was smiling!).grandkids-resized




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







Confessions of a Reformed Play Dough Maker

Grandkids, Toddlers By January 10, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , 7 Comments

Another Grandma Lesson

I admit it.  I don’t “do” play dough. As a grandmother, you might have thought I had a wonderful recipe to create this colorful, mushy stuff.  Obviously, after years of lovingly making it for my children and now my grandchildren, the recipe would be perfect. Wrong!  I never let my kids play with it (yes, I feel a little guilty…now).   But, in my defense, when my kids were kids, there wasn’t Pinterest, Google or even the internet. I didn’t  know play dough could be made from scratch. I always thought it had to be purchased from the store.

I felt, at the time, like I had good reasons for not letting them play with it. Of course, stunting their fun or creativity was not among them. Although, in today’s language, I would not be participating in an activity that could help develop their fine motor skills and tactile perception. Which sounds much worse. Honestly, I simply didn’t want to scrape it off the floor and table, pick it out of the carpet (we had shaggier carpet then) or scrub it off the couch.  Plus, my youngest put everything in his mouth.  He used to carry small Legos between his lower lip and teeth, like a kangaroo pouch. Yikes.  Much to my dismay, he didn’t break this habit until he was 4 or 5 years old.

My granddaughter is allowed to play with play dough at her house (great big sigh). Yes, the colorful kind that comes in cute, small tubs.  I suspiciously watch her play with it, time after time, when I visit their home.  I look around, noticing if any is smeared on the walls or permanently stuck to the floor and furniture.  It wasn’t.  Her worst offense was not putting the lid back on the canister. Pinterest taunts me with Pins on the “the best play dough recipe – EVER” or “I made scented play dough for my kids”.  All good moms and yes, grandmom’s, make their own play dough, don’t you know. Ugh.

The pressure was on and I finally caved.  The next time my granddaughter was over for the weekend, I made my very first batch of play dough.  It did result in a wonderful neon green and a beautiful color blue thanks to Wilton.


Here is the recipe I used (adapted from several I looked at):

Play dough

  • 2 ½ cups of flourresized-playdough6
  • ½ cup salt
  • 3 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbs. cream of tartar
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • Food coloring

Combine flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large bowl.  Make a well or dent in the center. Pour in boiling water. Mix. Put on the cutting board and knead until smooth.  Put the dough in a gallon zip lock bag and add food coloring.  Knead in the food coloring while it is in the bag (this will keep your hands from getting stained). Open bag and let it cool.  Store in the refrigerator.playdough3

I also purchased a bag of cookie cutters from the dollar store and gave her some plastic knives and forks to use.resized-playdough2

Come to find out, my granddaughter is very good at keeping the play dough on the table, nothing much hits the floor.


I laugh and poke fun at myself for being so concerned about cleaning up play dough.  There is a different perceptive that you gain with grandchildren.  I think it may be a type of calm that is acquired though years of living life. I am now less concerned about a messy hand grabbing my shirt, a runny nose, wiped on my shoulder at lightning speed (before I can grab a tissue) and hearing cheerios crunch under my feet, as I walk through the room.  All things I would have been annoyed about a couple of decades earlier.

The grandma lesson I learned though play dough: Relax! Most things can be washed, wiped or vacuumed – it is just not that big of a deal. They will remember the time spent with you, not how neat and tidy the house is.  Sit down, have some fun, get creative and squish that dough.

I am now a reformed play dough maker. And, yes, I WILL make it again – possibly even scented!

This post is linked to GRAND Social, Over the Moon Link Party, 

Let’s Be Friend’s Blog Hop , Nanahood Blog Hop

Wordless Wednesdays, 

Creative Muster

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop

Welcome Home Wednesdays


4 Places to Find Cheap Kids Books

Babies, Elementary, Grandkids, Toddlers By November 18, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , 5 Comments

My granddaughter loves books.  This is something I am very happy to encourage. However, most of the children’s books in my house didn’t make it to my kids adulthood.  They were either a favorite, which meant the cover fell off and the pages fell out or they were torn and tattered by less than careful offspring.  So, I needed to restock my house with children’s books.  Being the dutiful, but frugal grandma that I am, I set out to find some bargain books for my granddaughter.

These are my top stops when looking for inexpensive children’s books.

  • Tag sales (also known as Garage Sales) – you can find some good buys, but it can be time consuming. Unless of course, you are a tag sale junkie, in which case you will love the hunt!
  • Thrift stores – places like Goodwill and Savers usually have a stock of kids’ books at very reasonable prices.
  • Dollar stores – this is especially good for baby cardboard books which usually come packaged 2 or 3 for a dollar
  • The local library – this is my absolute favorite and my ‘go to’ place for used children’s books.  Many town libraries have an annual book sale and you can pick up a large stack of children’s books for a couple of dollars.  My library has a permanent sale. You choose books from the shelves set up in the corner and then deposit your quarters or dollars into the can hanging on the wall. It’s fun to sort through their assortment every few weeks to see if you can find a gem or two.resize-books

I have acquired a nice selection, from books on dump trucks and airplanes to Sesame Street and Winnie the Pooh.  Occasionally my granddaughter is allowed to “check out” books from grandma’s house and take them home. But she has to remember to bring them back.  Her mom helps with that.


Do you keep a stash of children’s books at your house?

This post linked to Over the Moon Link Up at, Let’s Be Friends Blog Hop at, the Blog Hop at, Welcome Home Wednesdays at, Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop at


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?