Thursday, September 22, 2016

We're Four! We're Six! We're Eight!

There's a bundle-o-birthdays for us this time of year. The oldest twins were eight on the 29th of August. They share that date with six year old cousin, Brielle. Close behind, in mid September, are twins Ava and Angeline. They're four this year. Whew! That's five/ninths of the total number of grandkids all bunched up into a busy two week period. We've got ourselves some celebrating to do!

Summer birthdays allow the major part of entertaining to be done in the backyard pool, so nobody's surprised when the guests of honor show up dripping wet!

What's lured the boys inside is a promise of cake, two of them - individualized to reflect their current obsession - Minecraft!

Mommy had them custom made locally. She's a pretty amazing party planner - as you shall soon see! - but cake decorating at this skill level is not a family talent!

Now that I'm accustomed to the interests of boys, I know that blowing things up and setting off bursts of fire will always bring a smile to their faces. This "number 8" sparkler certainly did the trick!

Little sisters celebrated next with family and a pair of close friends at an event that acknowledged their own special interest - animals! Ones to admire and pet and cuddle and feed and share with everybody - in their own backyard! 

Just another of mommy's amazing feats! This group of delightful critters is available for hire to visit parties. Goats! Bunnies! Piglets! Ducks! Chicks! Oh, and how about a curious llama to top everything off? These animals are expertly cared for, humanely transported, and sheltered at a rescue farm that hosts occasional open houses for the purpose of acquainting children with the joy of interacting respectfully with living creatures. Prompt and efficient, the service provides portable fencing, food, water, and tips on gently handling the animals!

Ava is a fan of feeding goats!

And grooming them!

I love this cute little chick! Oh, and the one in the pink dress, too!

Okay, Brielle, you're up next! This crafty little kid chose an art party with school classmates for her celebration -
and mommy really delivered!

Outdoor tables greeted ten little ladies. Each place setting was graced with a blank canvas, a colorful apron, paint brush, and palette.

It was my job to fill those palettes with acrylic paint - all the primary and secondary colors. I've seen what happens when black is an option for kids, so that one's noticeably absent today!

Total concentrated silence prevailed as the girls painted! Canvases sang with shining suns, fuzzy cats, brilliant rainbows, and charming self portraits!

With a final flourish of cake and ice cream, a handful of games, and a gift opening ceremony, Brielle officially became six years old!

On the way out, guests helped themselves to little paint buckets stuffed with cute candy and party favors!

Now, I'm not going to say that creating dream birthdays is an effortless experience. Each one is a creative challenge. What I am saying, however, is that "some people" who barely lifted a paw in the process didn't mind plopping down for a mid-party nap right next to the pile of gifts we thought he was guarding!

Oldest daughter, Mary Jo, found the darling sundresses for her twins, so I had to hurry up and copy from her in time for Bree's sixth birthday! Check out Tee With Sugar (Facebook page) for the cutest in custom design and the best in customer service! (Not a sponsored post.)

And, see what Mary Jo is up to right here, in her own blog full of cute parties and activities that keep two sets of twins entertained and happy every day of the year!

Monday, September 5, 2016


"We made rain sticks at grandma's!"

Summer tumbles in and out of the maze of months that comprise a lifetime. It rolls along merrily in the sun, spreading carefree joy until the bite of autumn snaps it up and tosses it aside. Now, many moons will pass until I see it again: a time when grandma isn't required to compete with school days and soccer balls. I recall an impish riddle from my own days in the classroom: "What are a teacher's three favorite things?" "June, July, and August!!" Today, those months remain a trio of grandma's favorite things! Wide open hours present rested, happy little faces on my doorstep. "Well, tumble right in, you chirpy little cherubs! We have lots and lots to do together beneath these sunny skies!"

"Grandma Camp" is summer's top priority, so I carefully negotiate the week with my three daughters. Once you're three, you're in! I've got a cozy tent waiting for you, a stack of puzzle books to keep you busy during "quiet time," and an agenda of fun that goes on and on, back-to-back, from morning light til sleepy night!

This year, our Dino Egg Hunt and double feature Magic! and Puppets! shows stole the spotlight during that week. But in between, the time was filled with crafty things to make and do.....

Air dry clay is lots of fun. One day our tray of curious critters stand pale as ghosts......

...and the next, they knock you out with personality plus!

Younger kiddoes enjoy a session of basic shape animal building. If you're a manic paper punch collector like I am, this project is a simple matter of punch, glue, and go!

For one Dollar Tree dollar - just one! - you can sink your elbows into the satisfying sensation of shaving cream! (No, this activity doesn't "make" anything - except a moment's well deserved rest for grandma in between adventures!)

We "tumbleweeders" nature-walked for palm sized rocks to paint. After dark, our "Ladybug Launch" secretly re-homed them into neighborhood flower beds and Press boxes!

I don't blame parents for not relishing the sport of "night hiking," but it's a must-do at grandma's sleepovers! We grab our lanterns and follow our noses into the dark, just to see whatever we see!

My recent discovery of step-by-step cooking lessons for kids at "Grandma Honey's House" blog has inspired me to add kitchen skills to the list of things I want my grandchildren to experience with me. Here, Angeline lines a tin in preparation for one of "Grandma Honey's" breakfast recipes.

I want to teach my grandchildren to sew, as well, but had no idea where to begin. Then I stumbled upon the same quality content and style of guidance that Grandma Honey provides in her area of expertise! How nice to have everything all laid out for those of us who are eager to instruct, but need lesson plans that organize skills into sessions that produce appealing, easy-to-make end products that entice kids to return for more. Check out Ana's complete and masterfully written tutorial for offering a (machine) sewing camp of your own at The Lost Apron blog. (note: this blog no longer being published...sorry!) 

Thank you, Pamela and Ana, for adding muffin tins and spools of thread to this grandma's inventory of grandchild enrichment experience ingredients!

You people have six cats in there? SIX??!"
I drew the tumbleweed metaphor from personal observation and the cooperation of my six (6!) cats. A recent, pleasant wine-sipping evening found me enraptured with a busy, hard working little hairball that resembled every feature but size of the menacing monsters that roll the American west. All it needed was open space, the gentle twirl of an overhead fan, and a worthy supply of cat hair to keep it growing and growing and growing......I sipped and I pondered: "How large could this carefree little spirit actually get if left alone to thrive?" But then, as abruptly as the aforementioned "bite of autumn," came grandpa, trusty portable vac in tow. With his cry of, "What?! Not another one of these?!" both summer 2016, and the seed of my tumbleweed reverie faded to a nostalgic end.

I hope it was less traumatic for you!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Something GRAND For You!

I have a personal reason for enthusiastically promoting the current issue of online grandparent lifestyle magazine, GRAND. I'm included in its energetic pages - several times! Honored? Humbled? Grateful? Excited? Anxious to share?

YES! All of the above!

Each year, GRAND editorial director, Christine Crosby, acknowledges the success of this publication by selecting a number of "best websites/blogs for grandparents." This time around, in honor of one dozen years, there are twelve of us! I think you'll enjoy browsing the list and visiting those that capture your interest! Find them all on pages 10 - 11.

In addition, I've had the honor of being invited to write about the crafty fun I have with my own grandchildren. My feature, on page 28, joins informative articles of interest to grandparents that cover topics of health, technology, finance, travel, relationships, pet ownership, fashion, science, and FUN! Articles are succinct and accented with engaging pictures. No tedious droning here! I don't have time for that* - and neither do you!

*I only have time for making rain sticks with Kaylee and Brielle!

Want to take a look?

In honor of upcoming National Grandparents Day, September 11, 2016, I'm authorized to offer my readers a free, one year online subscription to GRAND Lifestyle Magazine. It's a $12 value that expires on October 31, 2016. Click on this link, type in your first name and email address, and watch your inbox for bimonthly issues (the current one will pop up immediately!). That's all! No credit cards, SSNs, passwords that never work, "username-already-takens" or other annoying stuff that most sites plague us with! I promise!

Welcome, GRAND grandparents!

This is not a sponsored post. I receive no compensation for promoting subscriptions to GRAND Lifestyle Magazine.