Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Boat Show

In my dreams, I'm the grandma who inspires primal summertime creativity, eschewing modern day materialism for the satisfaction of toys hand woven from grass and backyard sticks. My grandkids are sent into the woods to play and return with games fueled by handfuls of pebbles and unbridled imagination. When Nobel Prize day arrives, I humbly nod in acknowledgement of being the woman who encouraged it all.....

Reality began with a plastic pool on the first warm, sunny day of the year. It was accompanied by an online search for RC cabin cruisers and submarines, snapping sharks and whistling whales.....

I met in the middle, settling for folded paper boats and optimistic hope that future days will bring to mind the simple joy of making fun from what we have at hand. I learned a lot that day - about myself, mostly. Expressions of grandmotherly love are best served in segments of time spent with children, and not in premium packages plopped soundly on the porch.

Our Boat Show lasted for nearly an hour. Paper vessels, both masted and not, raced and sank and dipped and curved in a dozen inches of sparkling water. Concentrated fervor punctuated with frequent smiles and shouts of joy reflected back. Just beyond that little trio, grandma sat in serene "no-batteries-required" contentment, folding boats to meet demand.......

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Time Out For Treats!

We made cookbooks for our mommies for Mother's Day! Not ordinary ones, of course! Who needs another one of those? The ones we made have pictures of us cute grandkiddies plastered all over the pages and the only recipes we included are ones we've made ourselves, here at grandma's, over the past year.

If you think baking is as fun as a pair of cute little monkeys, you came to the right place!

We also personalized with comments and inside jokes so there's no doubt who the authors are! Let me give you a few examples of that. We all know that once Sae commandeers the hand mixer he won't give it up easily! Thoroughly enjoys envisioning himself as a big-time rough and tough cement truck operator. Our instructions caution you about that hazard. And they correct bloopers, too. Yes, you read that correctly. Bloopers. In other peoples' cookbooks. That photo of the banana, along with Bree's favorite, "That don't go there!" quote is an example of some of the cautionary no-nos we feature. Goofy old recipe! Never mentioned peeling your bananas before you toss!

Our project has a nice scrapbooky feeling too - lots of bright colors and prints to set off each theme - like this monkey background and the page tabs that make it easy to find things. Yep, we thought of it all - including hand prints on the back covers that serve as seals of approval - "These recipes were made with my own little hands." Now what mommy's heart wouldn't melt right along with a stick of unsalted butter at that feature?

For a 12 page cookbook, front and back covers included, accordion fold an 8.5" x 12" sheet of scrapbook paper into 1/2" increments along the shorter side. Use a straightedge and folding tool for best results. This will be the spine.

Design pages on cardstock and/or scrapbook paper cut to 5.5" x 8.5" When complete, glue inside vertical edges to the pleats in the spine as shown.

We really liked the way our books turned out using this easy - and inexpensive - binding method. Father's Day gift books are in the works too. However, since the daddies in this family are better at eating cookies than making them, they will receive art collections instead of recipes. Wait'll you see the boys' books! They sport reference tabs for "monsters," for "race cars" and "dinosaurs," and we're working on covers with artists in jaunty little berets. Sooo much talent between the pages of our gift books for daddy! Promise you'll come back to see them?

Thanks for stopping by today, all you nice people! Happy (Grand) Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

That's a Wrap!

One of the most enjoyable things about being a grandma is conspiring with the kids to make gifts for their parents. Especially for Mother's Day. Most daddies are good at taking the kids out to buy something nice, but it's the rare one who can handle sitting down with them to make a coveted gift that will end up being a lifelong treasure. That's where grandmas shine!

But what to make? Lots of cute ideas out there these days! I have found a favorite spot for gathering ones I don't concoct myself. Ever stopped by Grandma Ideas? Oh my. She didn't just pull that blog name out of an idle dictionary. This author means what she says and invites you to come on over and poke around for lots and lots of fun things to do. (Young mommies welcome too! We both enjoy having you as readers!)

I love how Nina's suggestions cover home made gifts, activities for all of the holidays, and plenty of ordinary times in between. You'll find a wide range - ones requiring the quickest prep, such as cute print-color-and-cut project pages for Easter, to those needing a bit more in materials and supervision like home made puffy paint pictures (cute grandparent gifts!). And easy and awesome glow jars would be fun presents to give to siblings. There are crafts for older kids too. How about a set of 3-D snowflakes for parents at Christmas?  Space to work, paper and basic instruction provided at grandma's house are all you'd have to add.

And Nina offers cute games to play - both inside and out - during present-making breaks. Like this clever ball toss game and a wonderful masking tape road system idea. She'll also direct you to clear, easy instructions for lots of outside summer fun. I love the pop bottle sprinkler and I think kids would, too!

Yikes. At this point I wonder if I shouldn't just copy and paste that entire blog! Everything I see there is a real "keeper!" Recipes, too. Just a few, but quality over quantity. Ones that rate in kid appeal - perfect and practical to make and enjoy at grandma' the peanut butter cheese ball. Yum! We're making that one for sure next time!

And finally! If you aspire to share top tech-learning-fun-and-games with the kids in your life, well that's all well researched and nicely covered at Grandma Ideas too. "Digi-Gram" specializes in that area and if you think everything else on her site is cool - wait'll you see the fantastic resources she digs up and shares on a regular basis! A real trove of treasure lies buried at Grandma Ideas for each and every holiday, gifting occasion - and plenty - waaaaay plenty! -  of ordinary times in between!

My favorite gifts are always ones that can be used. I don't have a problem with the population of shelf-sitters that I've acquired over the decades I was a mommy. But things that were useful did make an impact because they didn't need to be dusted, arranged, or, at our house, protected from nosy cats! One of two things I'm helping my grandkids make this year is a super-practical, consumable item that I think will be enthusiastically welcomed not only by mom on her day, but a month later when it's daddy's turn to open gifts and be celebrated! Now what could that item be? Curious?

We made wrapping paper kits! That's right! How simple can you get? Or practical? I gave each child a thin 18" x 24" piece of white paper and a set of potato halves, tempera paint, and markers. They printed away, drawing features when dry, resulting in happy pages that crawled with personable bugs! All that remained was for grandma to match a coordinating sheet of tissue, roll them up together, tie with reusable ribbon, and attach a name tag punched from smaller water colored odds and ends. So how about that for user-friendliness? Mommy won't even have to unwrap her gift until the night before Father's Day, she won't need to buy paper, and daddy will be delighted to see what's not only inside his gift, but OUTSIDE as well! If carefully unwrapped, favorite sections can be saved and popped into frames for both parents to enjoy for years ahead....the ultimate gift that keeps on giving!

And that's a wrap!