Saturday, June 24, 2017

Grandma Camp 2017 - The "Big Kids"

I wonder every year if the "big kids" in my group of 10 will appreciate summer days at Grandma Camp. The boys, twin brothers, will be nine on August 29th. Cousin Brielle will be seven on the same day. Will Boy Scouts, soccer, Minecraft, gymnastics, and the lure of dozens and dozens of friends preempt their previous enthusiasm for spending time with me alone, crafting, baking, play-acting, and hiking in the woods? Apparently not! My most soul-satisfying moment of the year is when I'm told, "All they talk about lately is Grandma Camp!" Whew! Good for another round!

This is an overview of the fun we had together last week!

Over the course of winter, I pick and choose from a myriad of ideas spanning creative construction, nature appreciation, and "showmanship." The latter prepares us for the backyard talent production* we perform for ticket-buying parents at week's end. We're currently fascinated with magic, so a new treasure trove of tricks is enthusiastically greeted. Oh, the looks we love on faces in the audience when a deck of cards disappears before one's very eyes! Or, when lengths of rope are cut in half and then unfold intact! Yep! We know exactly how to make those things happen - and we're not telling! (Well, actually, grandma is! a later post - so your kids can wow an audience right outta their chairs like we do!)

The "big kids" never get tired of baking, so we gather 'bout the kitchen counter and take turns mixing and stirring and expertly cracking the eggs we need. Special requests are always honored; this year chocolate chip cookies filled that obligation - as well as patiently waiting tummies!

Our quarter acre backyard woods is an appropriate venue for exploring and seeking sights of scampering wildlife. This year we left tempting trays of treats in populated places and fired up a newly purchased trail camera to capture images of those mysterious creatures who only come out at night!*

I'm really most comfortable with artsy-craftsy stuff.* And not only do the "big kids" share my passion for creating, they adeptly grow the seed of an idea to grand and leafy proportions with very little help from me. My fondest Camp moments? Sitting alongside those intent young crafters, camera in hand, basking in reflected pride of jobs well done!

See those projects the "big kids" are holding? Glow-in-the-dark night lights! Clear plastic jars, craft moss, and a choice of ceramic wild animals (including dinosaurs) are basic ingredients. "Moon stones," stick-on stars, and spooky little aliens "light up" after a bit of time in the sun and accompany campers into their tents at day's end.

Brielle is enamored with this busy raccoon. His habitat includes moon stones, wood chips, and carefully selected pebbles gleaned from a hike out back.

Boys envision starlit extraterrestrial vignettes. An aura of mystery inhabits their jars. What goes on here? Where does this event take place? I'm really not sure. I did ask, but the answers were as ambiguous as those pairs of unsettling red eyes!

More to come! 
*Additional info on these topics in future posts, along with details on "Ladybug Camp" for a trio of four year old little ladies that includes a very successful woodland hunt for fairies!

Previous Grandma Camp series begin here:

2015 - Part One of an 8 part series on my very first Grandma Camp, including a hunt for zombies, night hikes, and lots of (hard earned!) tips on the art of hosting your own event.

2016 - It's Magic! Part one of a 2 part series featuring kid produced magic and puppet shows.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Face Painting, Anyone?

We can't take credit for this one.
Brielle became a parrot at Disney World's Animal Kingdom!

Before I begin my story, I need to set the stage. Brielle's neighborhood is adjacent to elementary school property. The streets teem with kids. They run freely all summer long, visiting from yard to yard, stopping to lunch whenever they see a mom on a porch with a tray of cold drinks and peanut butter sandwiches. Girls, boys, first graders through fifth - it's a happy life!

Brielle has always shown artistic promise. I babysat frequently in her earliest years, making sure she knew how to wield a paintbrush with aplomb. My effort has paid off. Coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit, my granddaughter has since taken up the trade of facial decor, sharing her skill freely with anyone who lines up when word goes out in the 'hood that "Bree is painting faces again!"

Twin cousins were premier customers on the day our little artist cracked open her crafty kit for the first time. Ava requested a cat design; Angeline, her fave - a giraffe. Brielle went to work. When the girls were dismissed, they raced to a mirror. Ava stared, and then declared, "That's not a cat!" Angeline just stared. In silence. But they assured that they'd be back again for more, and so, at that moment, a career was born.

My daughter, Christy, calls me sometimes when Bree decides to hang her shingle. She vividly describes the unfolding scene, sending pictures as she speaks. We can barely contain ourselves. I hear the incessant chime of the doorbell, the chatter of girly voices. The word has gone out. "Bree is painting faces!" Mommy breathlessly apologizes, pausing to tend to two more standing on the porch. They'd like an appointment. They want to see Brielle.

I overhear each prospective client firmly questioned about parental permission before they line up to morph into a "tiger," or a "poodle" or a "polar bear." Not to worry. Brielle handles all of those requests, plus more!

Where moms and dads and grandmas-on-the-phone may see something else, the carefree magic of childhood is reflected in the "cats" and "clowns" reclaiming streets, sand boxes, and swing sets once each client is duly served.

I suppose the goal of the art of theatrical make up is to induce shock and awe. With that in mind, may I invite you to concur that my granddaughter has, indeed, dropped the mic in this pursuit?

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Folk Artist

I became a folk artist by default during the summer of my senior year in college. Student teaching would not commence unless I satisfied a single remaining academic credit hour. Sister Mary Lois O.P., esteemed professor and formidable ruling chair of the art department at the Catholic college I attended suggested an independent study agreement to fulfill my obligation. We met in early June, contracted, and went our separate ways. The path I took entertained a glorious summer of beaches, boyfriends, and bars - my last as a single, non-working girl.

On or about the first of August the party was over. I had two (2) weeks to produce a compendium of two (2) month's "Craft Work in America" research and two (2) representative studio originals. What followed was a desperate around-the-clock whirlwind of designing, fabric prep and constructing. I recruited help from mother and two sympathetic sisters, paying the latter to hook and stitch with me on an awkward little rug and a wall banner of many primitive patches. Grabbing sides, we'd feverishly attack, hoping to meet in the middle by the moment the clock struck midnight on Portfolio Day.

On that morning I slunk into Sister's office, laid the goodies on her desk and inwardly cowered in fear. "I don't think she's gonna buy this stuff!"

But I was wrong.

"Ohhh," Sister breathed, radiating an approving smile, "Folk Art!" I picked myself up off the floor, scrambled to recover and solemnly muttered, "Yes, Sister." (blessmefatherforIhavelied....a lot!) "I have indeed chosen Folk Art as my independent study topic."

Folk Art, they say, is characterized by its unschooled nature. It disregards the niceties of tedious things like formal/informal balance and spatial relationships, yet it still manages to please. Forgiving many things, it is, apparently, friendly to those in a hurry, to those in need of lessons in honesty, and to those suffering guilt wrought by a procrastinating nature. The genre also fondly welcomes those who simply enjoy immortalizing the creatures with whom they share their laps and the pillows on their beds. It is a means of expression that has, indeed, been forgiving and friendly to me. And today, many decades beyond our first awkward encounter, I enjoy being friendly right back to it!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Win 20 Books From Dover Publications!

Esteemed children's author, Emilie Buchwald, states, "Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." I'd expand that sentiment to include grandparents! My fondest "heaven on earth" moments find me rocking away, a cherub or two upon my lap, eyes glued to volumes shared. Fairy tale fiction, puzzles and poems, how-to, heroes, and history.....heeding Dr. Suess: "The more that you read, the more things you will know!"

I'm delighted to offer you a chance to win a collection of 20 books ($135 value) to share with the little ones in your life. Enter the Dover publication GRAND give away by clicking here before midnight on June 30, 2017. The winner will be notified by email on July 5, 2017 and also posted at GRAND magazine. 

Can't wait that long to see if you've won? Enjoy immediate savings of 25% on over 10,000 books when you visit Dover Publications today. Use code WJAG at checkout before September 30, 2017. I think you'll like the vast range of topics covering crafting, coloring, drawing, writing, reading, cooking, magic, and puzzles. A rich summer of "grandma-and-me" fun awaits within the pages of these books! (Reminds me of philosopher Voltaire: "Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do harm to the world!")

Since our founding in 1941, we’ve built our reputation by offering remarkable products at amazing prices. Everyone in the Dover family wants you to be delighted with your purchase. When you shop at Dover, you may do so with complete confidence. We stand behind every product we sell with our unconditional guarantee.
For immediate access to exclusive Dover offers and new titles, be sure to subscribe to our email newsletters.  It’s free to join and you can cancel at any time. We never share your name or information with third parties.
If you are unhappy with a product that you purchase from Dover Publications for any reason, simply tell us within 30 days, and we will replace it or provide you with a full refund for the purchase price.
Early Literacy – Why It’s So Important

It is critical to help young children be ready for school by working with them to develop early literacy and learning skills.  Because strong reading skills form the basis for learning in all subjects, it is important to identify those who struggle with reading as early as possible. Children who have been read to at home come to school with important early literacy skills.  They are prepared to learn to read and write. Children who have not had many experiences listening to books read aloud or talking about books typically start school with poor early literacy skills.

This is a sponsored post by Dover publications.

Monday, May 1, 2017


The stroke of a brush, a flourish of glitter, or a generous dollop of glue are often able solvers of life's little day-to-day dilemmas. For those that defy solution, try a crafty grandkid's finger on the control button of a spray paint can! Problems? Now you see them, now you don't!

Six year old Brielle was excited to participate in the annual Art Show sponsored by her elementary school. Kids were invited to submit an original piece - their own work - for judging by family, friends, and other students. Bree's idea was to create a cardboard sculpture of her beloved kitty, Hudson. We exchanged a knowing wink; there'd be spray paint involved, and she's had plenty of practice at grandma's! (Moms and dads, generally, are not fans of turning kids loose at home, armed with cans of "Fire Engine Red" or "Knock 'Em Dead Purple!")

And, since this grandma has never met a cardboard box or wrapping paper tube she didn't deem worthy of saving, Bree was able to pick and chose feline body parts from an ample basement stash. She liked a pair of giant wiggle eyes and a pink foam heart, too. From there, it was back home, to the kitchen table, to get busy!

Pointy ears, cardboard legs, cotton ball paws, and a generous sweep of glitter had Hudson's mirror image glowing with glossy glamour atop a generously applied orange coat. With a swish of his pipe cleaner-pom pom tail, he was ready to go!

Patiently waiting in line to register, this pair purred with anticipation!

Hudson had an assigned number and a place on the judging tables along with 158 other entries! Here he is, standing proudly on his cotton ball paws in the K-2nd grade division!

Art patrons milled about the crowded gym, admiring, commenting, voting....moms, dads, siblings - and grandparents. Lots of grandparents! - some "attending" from miles away, viewing the show via FaceTime, others taken directly by hand, proudly steered to wrinkly-cornered paintings, wobbly-stacked sculptures...."Here it is, grandma! You can vote for me!" We exchanged fond, indulgent smiles, those other grandmas and I. It's secret "Grandparent Code," you know - our own are always cutest, always best, but we graciously celebrate one another too, fellow travelers on the same road, savoring the status we've earned along the way.

And no, Hudson didn't return home adorned in best-of-show splendor. Some days, there are more ways to win than just the obvious ones..... 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Chicks on a Bonnet!

If you're a grandma, you likely recall the hat wearing era of the 1950s. To venture forth those years without one plopped atop the head was a fashion crime akin to leaving home bereft of shoes! Netted, jeweled, satin, velvet, pinned, and feathered - both mother and grandmother had hats galore, and I ached to reach the age where I could sport my own.

There was, however, an annual hat wearer's holiday inclusive of the youngest among us, and that, of course, was Easter. Arriving brimmed and be-ribboned for early morning Mass, my sisters and I primly perched upon our pews, peeking furtive glances at the finery amidst us. Oh, the records set those days in sins of pride and envy inside that holy place!

But I like hats, I will not lie, and hate to see them ousted!

Want to make a really, really cute one?

My fanciful salute to vintage years is a thrifty one as well. Basic hats hail from Dollar Tree! To those you'll add:

glittery eggs
pastel feathers*
paper basket filler* (1.5 oz. decorates 4)
eyelet or lace trim (hat diameter x 3.14")
pastel ribbon (3" wired preferred)
sparkly tulle roll (6" wide)
a flock of fuzzy chicks
hot glue gun

*also from Dollar Tree

1. Flip hat upside down and glue eyelet or lace trim all around edge of circumference. Flip it back and hot glue basket filler all around base of dome as shown, far right.

2. Tie ribbon into a generous bow. Make it a double by layering an equal length of tulle beneath. Glue the bow to hat as shown.

3. Cluster eggs in three equally spaced areas. Glue them down, adding feathers and chicks.

When my little ladies arrive for Easter dinner, I'll greet them with a hat, a cuddly stuffed bunny, and an escort to the kids' a chick, there a chick, everywhere a cute lil chick a-chirpin'!
This original design, like all blog content, is intended for personal use only. Copyright 2017. 
All rights reserved. Thank you! 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Wee Woven Baskets

Bunnies aren't the only cute things bopping about here during the Easter season! It's traditional for kids to gather at grandma's for a holiday workshop preceding the big day. We make party favors and gifts for mommy and daddy. I find that well appreciated because those basket-fillers-in-chief are often overlooked in the annual scramble to make the E.B. look good!

My previous post featured our fuzzy yarn bunnies. After dinner on Easter Sunday, the kids will step up and teach mom and dad how to make their own palm size pets. Once those are complete, the teaching team will hand out these colorful "woven" paper baskets. Plenty of room inside for candy and a newly crafted critter!

Use brightly colored craft paper and paper punched accents to make these 8" baskets (4" without handle). Besides that, you'll need only a ruler, pencil, scissors, and glue. 

To make each basket:

1. Measure and cut paper strips:

1 - 11.5" x 3/4" (handle)
1 - 11.5" x 1" (horizontal strip)
5 - 8.5" x 1" (woven strips)

2. Lay the horizontal strip face down and glue all 5 woven strips to it, side by side, also face down. When you flip it right side up, it will look like the sample in blue.

3. Lay the piece reverse side up, as shown in purple, and match the end of strip #1 to horizontal strip as shown. Glue it down.

4. Continue matching and gluing - second strip will line up next to first glued one. This is how it will look in progress.

5. Basket forms as strips continue to be glued in place. Attach all 5, then glue horizontal strip ends together to complete. Glue handle in place.

6. Decorate baskets with paper punched shapes.

Please note that baskets won't stand alone unless you crease strips at bottom.

Experiment with various lengths and widths to make baskets of different sizes. I'm going to try making teeny tiny ones for the fairy party in the woods we'll be enjoying during Grandma Camp week!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Bunny Business!

Around here, the business of bunny building is a serious one. We need those little critters to decorate our kids' table for Easter Sunday dinner. We also need an appealing "make it and take it" to teach to mommies and daddies that day - one that will yield an even bigger bunch of bunnies - and miles of fond smiles in the years ahead each time they reemerge from springtime storage bins!

Hand wound yarn bunny making isn't new. I fended off my own pet cats ages ago while mother taught me how to wind and snip and glue. The floppy, fuzzy, felt-eared, button-eyed results delighted me in those early years, well before aisles of wiggle eyed choices and wee ribbon spools popped up a hop away from the crafty kids of today, making this project easier and cuter than ever!

I'm excited to sponsor an advance "grandkids only" workshop to practice our crafting and sharing skills. The parents we'll instruct a week or so later won't have to worry about a thing, especially counting to "100 wraps" by themselves - we've got one little lady who just perfected that art and will be "hoppy" to take the lead! All that'll be left for grandma to do is ready the supplies and be on hand to coach from the sidelines when the business of bunny building opens its doors!

Here's my palm-sized version of easy-to-make, easy-to-teach fun!

For each 4" x 4" bunny, you'll need:
  • Yarn, white or pastel. Lily Sugar 'n Cream preferred
  • Felt scraps, white and pink for ears
  • Pom pom, pink, 1/2" (1) for nose
  • Pom poms, white, 1" (3) for tail and front paws
  • Wiggle eyes, 15 mm (2) 
  • Ribbon, pastel, 3.75" wide x 8" long
  • Foam board or cardboard:           
    • 2.5" x 10" (1) for body template            
    • 1.5" x 8" (1) for head template
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Craft glue or hot glue gun                                           
1. Mark a 1.5" area near top of head template as shown. Wrap yarn around board 100 times, keeping it all between those lines.
2. Cut a 6" length of yarn, slip wrapped yarn off template, and pinch tightly at center. Tie yarn tightly at center to hold. (see photo)
3. Cut all loops open, yielding a 1.5" pom pom. Fluff it up and trim until round. 
4. Glue eyes and nose to center front for face.
5. Cut two 1" x 2" pieces of white felt for ears. Cut two 1/2" x 1.75" pieces of pink felt. Trim the white pieces so they are rounded at top and slightly taper towards bottom. Trim the pink pieces the same way. 
6. Place pink pieces, centered, on top of white and glue together.
7. Separate yarn at top of head and glue ears inside.
8. Mark a 2.5" area near top of body template as shown. Wrap yarn around board 100 times, keeping it all between those lines.

9. Repeat steps 2 and 3, yielding a 2.5" pom pom
for body.
10. Glue head to body.
11. Glue a 1" white pom pom to lower center back for tail. Glue two 1" white pom poms side by side below head for front paws.
12. Tie ribbon into a bow and glue to side of head.

  • Bunnies are not toys for kids under 3 due to small parts. 
  • This is not a sponsored post. I personally like the texture of this yarn but you can use any brand you prefer, of course! 

This original design, like all blog content, is intended for personal use only. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Thank you!            

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Picture This!

Picture this: 

You. Sending an email. Typing an address. 

This one, for example:

Now, paste in a picture. Any picture. One from your phone. Or desktop. A favorite. Or not. Now send. Now wait. One minute. Two. Maybe three. Four or five at most.......

and then it happens.....

OMG, you gotta see this! 

Go ahead! Try it! I'll wait!.....

So, what do you think?

Me? I was amazed! Pictures, you see, are all I really want as gifts. Even those I give myself. My "grandma closets" bulge with tablecloths and Tupperware and trinkets. But hand me photos of those I love and you envelop me with the best of all I'll ever need.

But wait! I want convenience, too. "One stop shopping," if you will. Show me my pictures before I buy, prettied up in frames. A choice of frames. And sizes. All while here, at home. Not standing in line with a clutter of coupons while my ice cream melts in the car. Let me wander about here, in fuzzy slippers, measuring, of wine in hand, a cat or two upon my lap..... 

And when I click to buy, I want my goodies fast! Hmmm. How about 72 hours fast? Can you do that? Really? YOU CAN?

And they did!

Ava is part two of our twin sissy duet. I chose "Magneto FlipFrames" for the girls. Heavyweight card mounted photos will easily "flip" to new shots "if" grandma ever finds cuter faces!

When daddy opens this one on Father's Day, he'll have not only a "Moderna Metal" portrait of himself and Brielle, but a lasting memory of the evening he escorted his little princess to the Father-Daughter Valentine dance! 

Since he'll be adding a fifth family member by the time Father's Day rolls around, we'll give this daddy his "Aurora Glass" portrait early. Perfect for his desk at work - in celebration of his new promotion!

There are other frame styles, too! Ones you'll enjoy mixing and matching with photos currently held hostage within the gloomy confines of your phone! I liked seeing my own fly free for the first time. You will too!

This is a sponsored post. I have been compensated with sample products and a sales commission for promoting my honest opinion of photoandgo®express

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

TMI - For Grandmothers!

My personal source of unfiltered info! From this chatty pair I've learned where
mommy hides the birthday gifts, which brother doesn't pick up his dirty socks,
and the identity of the kitty who licked the cupcake frosting! 

TMI. That slangy acronym doesn't enjoy a friendly connotation - often with good reason. I've had "too much information" served to me in the form of a grandchild's graphic description of dismembered insects embedded in a pet's slimy hairball. Then there was that earful in the grocery store line last week - a teen age couple's vivid lament over plans gone awry when mom and dad came home early and "spoiled all the fun."

TMI masterpieces? In those unsettling instances? Clearly!

But I navigate daily life as a grandmother without cause for limiting the amount or depth of information I absorb on topics related to the nurturing of successful family relationships. There's no such thing as TMI in my pursuit of a well built nest feathered with respect, affirmation, and stability for all of us - adult children included. The skills I need to accomplish that formidable task don't always come free, rising to the occasion by instinct! I'm constantly on alert for a quick injection of tips, encouragement, and "Grandma TMI." Some of it I find useful, some I discard. But what a wealth of choice abounds when one knows exactly where to look!

My personal niche is fun - crafts and puppets and baking and scavenger hunts - but what good would it do to stuff closets with glitter and glue sticks if grandkids didn't come to play because mommy can't get along with grandma?.....

Advice from grandma bloggers to the rescue!

Sometimes the key to a solid relationship isn't just "communication." That's too often practiced as one-sided yabbering on disappointments, needs, and suggestions. There's "listening," too, says Lisa at Grandma's Briefs, acknowledging the adage that we're gifted with "two mouth" for a purpose! "I Say That Shutting Up is Hard to Do" woke me up in more than a few ways. It might be time to curb my voracious appetite for dispensing, and settle into....well, shutting up and listening!

Exchanging thoughts and feelings with adult children for the purpose of mutual understanding can be a "delicate dance," says Donne Davis of The GaGa Sisterhood. Drawing from the expertise of a panel of respected professionals, Davis offers a compelling case for relying on an arsenal of "sensitivity, empathy, patience, and a lot of practice" to build an emotionally safe place anchored with shared trust. I like the definitive check-off summary of usable strategies - no blah-blah-blah ambiguous meanderings here, at Learning the Boundaries of Communication!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Snowflake Celebration!

Not much snow here this winter. That's good, I suppose, if you're grandpa-in-charge-of-driveway-shoveling. Not so much if you're grandma-in-charge-of-winter-exploring. I'd looked forward to company for tracking freshly pressed deer, squirrel, rabbit, and raccoon prints in our back yard woods. The kids and I would photograph them on sleepover Saturday mornings, examining their size and shape, speculating stride. Back inside, we'd page through nature volumes until we found the perfect match. We'd know who'd ventured out there late last night, while we snugly slept inside!

But no sumptuous banks of outdoor wintry white awaited our curiosity this year. If we desired a Celebration of Snowflakes, it was up to us to stage it for ourselves. We met that challenge with a Christmas break afternoon of indoor fun, allowing grandma to supply people built of snow and the dizzying cascade of flakes that Mother Nature denied us!

Brielle's pillow (shown above) melted only the hearts of her parents when she brought home this happy little snow lady! Starting with a 10" x 15" rectangle of white fabric sketched with a simple body shape, kids painted features (and GIANT hearts!) in acrylic. Finishing work is always done in grandma's workshop. That's where a sandwich of batting and backing allows for light outline quilting, and button eye and applique nose accents. Eyelet trim gave this gal an extra boost of feminine fluffiness. Then she was stuffed, dated, be-ribboned, and delivered!

Our Celebration included lunch, hot chocolate, sugar cookie baking, and a session of paper snowflake cutting as well. My little guests strung a garland of one-of-a-kind shapes to take home for festive draping, spreading a blizzard of fun for all of us!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Handy Little Love Bugs!

They say that grandchildren leave a trail of footprints across the heart. True. But I also like them painted, printed, framed, and hanging on my wall! Turkeys, snowmen, bats, and ghosts - busy fingers, tiny toes!

Reasons abound for making this happy art. The primary one, I think, is that one year will eventually be the last a Valentine's Day "love bug" is small enough to fit within a frame. It's smart to seize each moment while one can, freezing it to last. The craft is easy, too - basically a paint and plop project - that's it! Also appreciated is a selection of inexpensive frames at the three major craft chains, some for as little as three dollars. Trace and cut your own festive mat from scrapbook paper to yield one-of-a-kind gourmet results - and don't forget to date your print before framing!

My infestation of love bugs will be "handed out :)" to parents this year. They'll unwrap these flighty little critters sporting glittery foam heart wings and paper punched eyes. A few simple fine point pen strokes add enough "insect-ery" to induce itching with excitement over how much fun it will be to enjoy them again and again in the years ahead!

I borrowed the little hands of grandkids to make these gifts, but came across a variation of this craft that delighted me. Lisa, at Grandma's Briefs, used a clever slight of hand to flip this idea, making it suitable as a gift from grandma and grandpa to a grandchild! Here's where you'll find a touch of heartfelt loving that you may want to try yourself. Thanks, Lisa!

And one more thing!

Classroom Valentine's Day parties are standard in every elementary school. All three of my daughters are room mothers, planning treats, crafts, and games for these events. I've discovered a way for grandma to share in the fun (without re-experiencing the "been-there-done-that" crowded, noisy chaos of my own years of service!) I'll be sending a trio of "estimating jars" filled with candy and a few small toys to challenge classmates. They'll try to win them by guessing the correct amount of goodies tucked inside. There's a fourth jar in each set, too, but those recipients won't need to worry their cute little heads over the winning number, because, well....."grandchildren!" :)

If you decide to use this idea, (favored by teachers!):
  • fill plastic jars only (I used 32 oz. ones from Just Artifacts, an online party supply source)
  • check for classmate food allergies
  • use wrapped candy
  • visit Dollar Tree for cute small toys (bracelets, whistles, paddle ball sets)
  • make the amount of items age appropriate - for example, jars offered to first graders should total 30 - 50 items at most (even then, you're likely to get guesses in the "TEN MILLION!" range! :) - sure wish I could conjure up that amount of enthusiasm!)

And, finally......if you'd like to include some corny-cute kids' Valentine jokes with your card sending/gift giving, you'll find 28 of them here, also at Grandma's Briefs, the source of this little closing gem:

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Sherwood, who?
Sherwood love to be your valentine!