Sunday, April 19, 2015

The News - whether you want it or not!

Iggy has a nose for the news - not just catnip! 

I still cringe when I think of it - the single issue, hand printed neighborhood newspaper published by me and my sisters. It headlined, "Meen People Who Woodn't Buy From Us!!" Fund raising merchandise was foisted upon us by the good sisters of our elementary school with a frequency that made neighbors audibly groan at the glimpse of a pleated plaid skirt on the front porches of their homes. Our edition painstakingly carbon copied addresses of the latest round of non-buying offenders. Mother read our "news" with a bemused expression; she would have been mortified to know that carefully folded copies were left on the doorsteps of every house in our territory. Beneath the fold was my crayoned illustration of "Spooky," Mrs. Shold's new kitten. The accompanying story welcomed him warmly into the neighborhood. And so there it was - in one tidy issue - "all the to print!"

Today, our family newspaper doesn't call out "meen people." Its main function is to serve as a "time's-running-out" educational experience for grandchildren, mainly because printed versions of daily news will probably be something that my great grandchildren view only behind glass museum cases. "Poor great grandma," they'll likely sigh, "she had to turn those clumsy, big and inky pages all by hand!"

We're starting out slowly - one or two-pagers on a sporadic schedule. Brielle's masthead was voted the best, so we'll use it for now. Each issue has dedicated space for the latest flashes from each of our four individual families. The kids brainstorm ideas and dictate stories to fill it and are encouraged to be alert for report-able breaking news. For now, it's grandma who cobbles everything together, adding photos as needed. I'm also setting the layout, printing final editions and handling distribution. The long term goal, of course, is to hand these tasks over to the kids. My vision is that of an enthusiastic team of cousins honing a multitude of  journalistic skills: observing, interviewing, composing, editing, designing, illustrating, photographing, typesetting, printing and distributing. Most of the latter will probably be done electronically, but I'm an old fashioned, traditional soul. I want to find my copies outside, on my doorstep, the same way I delivered my first effort to a chagrined audience some 55-ish years ago!

Monday, April 6, 2015


Family Easter action begins with a Saturday evening egg dying party at Aunt Christy's!

Egg-hausted! But still hoppin' around happy! Easter was a blast again this year and that's owed to seven lively little grand-bunnies. We adults wouldn't have any fun if left unbothered to leisurely savor our flutes of Raspberry Royale before seating to an introductory course of steaming vichyssoise and crisp arugula! The near silence of serene sipping and nibbling would be deafening!

Our kids' table is clustered with munchkins - efficient ones! They graze off the top of plated luncheon croissants, sample a sip or two of  "bunny milk" and report fueled for egg huntin' action. They know baskets are hiding and family games await. Eating is for every day. Today is Easter and they're here for egg-citement!

"YOU get a bunny! YOU get a bunny! EVERY-BUNNY gets a pet bunny!" 

But hold on a sec, you cuddly lil chickaroos! It's traditional to start with a game for mommies and daddies. I've printed 50 corny-cute Easter Bunny jokes at Lisa's "Grandma's Briefs" blog, dividing them between six adults, cutting questions from answers.

Lots of intense concentration on both sides of the table as competitors vie to match candidates such as "How do you catch the Easter bunny?" with "Hide in a bush and make a noise like a carrot!" I just love the way these "big kids" are such great sports about playing any old crazy game I come up with - and how serious they are about winning them!

The idea, of course, is to be the first to unscramble each joke to win a prize. I throw a few extra answers into each envelope too, just to make it interesting. (And if honoring April Fool's Day at the same time appeals to you, supply a "fun set" to a "well deserving" player that has no matching answers.) Hilarious!

A game like the next is often referred to as an "ice-breaker." Ha! We're all bouncing off the walls by now. No pouting party poopers here! Everybunny gets a puzzle piece and a mad scramble ensues to find the two matching peeps who will make the cracked egg whole again. First team reporting in wins candy! But when no one's looking, grandma sneaks some over to the kids on the other three teams too!

Cut eggs from scrapbook paper and back up with lightweight cardboard. Use the same weight cardboard for racing rabbits, described below.

We move outside next. There's a relay waiting for us! Twelve adults and kids will be participating, so we'll field three teams. Names are pulled to form each one; two adults, one kid from the 4-6 year range and one "mascot" from the three little ladies in the 2 year group. Four tasks await. Each team strategically nominates its best bunny for each of them.

Rabbit Race! Run, bunny, run! Long lengths of yarn tied to tree trunks make perfect race paths for cardboard critters. There's a whole lotta wiggling going on!

Egg Hunt! As soon as bunny hits the goal, a second team member scurries into the woods to find three plastic eggs - one of each color. They are handed to teammate #3 for the next leg.

Egg Toss! Stand behind the line and toss each egg into a matching color basket! Quick, like a bunny! You're almost done!

Bunny Hop! Grab your team's little finisher and plant a pair of bunny ears on her head. Hand her a basket and cheer her on while she hops over to grandma to declare her team WINNERS!

Lots of congratulatory high-fiving ensues, but we're still not done! We turn the kids loose in the woods for our annual egg hunt, an event that we enjoy more than the kids do, I think. It "cracks us up" to watch the littlest ones find one egg and delightedly call it a day. We are touched to observe how considerate "the big kids" are of their younger siblings and cousins. They help them hunt, or else they share their own finds. Heartwarming!

Ladylike Angeline filled her bucket with eggs that were only pink or violet...........!

........Twin sissy was pleased with any color she found!

Kindness doesn't end there, though. The bright colored yarn we used in our relay is cut up into manageable strips and divided between the children. Grandma gets some too! We'll leave these out for birds who've begun to shop for nesting material, hoping that a feathered mother will find something to her liking. Then we'll watch treetops later on this spring for a glimpse of our contribution.

We return inside to open gifts from grandma and grandpa. This year, it's kites all around! Menacing black sharks for the boys and fluttering butterflies for the girls. Those look inviting, but we're too egg-hunted out and stuffed full of chocolate to even think of giving them a whirl right now - something grandma's secretly grateful for!

Air walker pet bunny balloons are found here on page 11.