Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Wisdom From Grandmothers

Mother with my maternal grandparents c. 1920 -  the roots of my own grandmotherly wisdom   

Grandmothers impart wisdom. It's what we do. And all you need to do is ask for a serving of it. We're so generous, in fact, that some of us (Who, me?) might even throw in an occasional freebie - sage advice you didn't ask for! In any event, we've got it, you need it, and we're willing to surrender it. We've been around awhile, you know, so most of this gurgling font of knowledge comes from simply having lived longer than you have. We've been in love, seen prayers answered, argued with neighbors....We know how to roast a turkey, where to plant tulip bulbs, and when to stay and fight or simply let it go. Ask us for examples of  "this too shall pass," and we'll keep you here for a week, raptly perched at the edge of your seat, hungry to hear more and more and more.....

Now, I'm not saying you won't find an occasional missing page in the encyclopedia of life commonly known as "wisdom from grandma." Alas, those do exist. And where do I go when I need a patching and mending of the gaping holes in my own fabric of information, inspiration, and encouragement? Well, to other grandmothers, of course! And more specifically, to other grandmothers who blog!

Its been my pleasure to be included in a bond of grandmother bloggers who contribute toward a goal of strengthening families through a sharing of information and ideas. Each author named below is a fellow proud member of the GRANDparent network.

1. Most women want to be included when a grandchild enters the family. Some step into their roles effortlessly. Gracefully. They instinctively know how to behave as a "solution" rather than a "problem." "Problems" think only of themselves: "Why doesn't anyone ever call meeee to see the baby?" "Solutions" take advice from this post written by GaGa Sisterhood's Donne Davis:"What Moms Want From Grandparents." My own two favorites from this engaging list? "Be active and present" and "Offer help whenever possible."

2. It made sense to me, a college art student, to learn that Roman senators sought to appear experienced and wise by insisting wrinkles be carved into their marble busts. Leslie Zinberg and Kay Ziplow, bloggers at GrandparentLink, astutely note that aging today doesn't enjoy the same prestige it once did - but that doesn't have to slow you down or initiate a "poor old me" attitude.

Wise women embrace this stage of life, heeding advice to "get rid of anyone who uses the words: can't, never, or won't!" This essay, "Where Did That Little Gray Hair Come From?" will make you want to toss your figurative cane aside and jump right back into life!

3. Grumpy people. Ugh! Stay away from me! Don't those culprits know that "happiness is within your reach?" Don't they know that Susan "Honey" Good has penned a treasury of tips that will guide you to "Be Happy Now in 3 Simple Steps"Here's a honey of a treatise on how some people might just be born happy, while others may have to work at it. To this excellent advice, I add a well practiced tip of my own: "Make a two-column list of what's good in your life versus what's bad. Come back and show me only if the bad stuff is lengthier than the good." I've counseled this one to whiners for years and have yet to see a returnee - myself included!

4. It didn't occur to me that I serve as the matriarch of my family until I was asked for a short blurb on why I blog. That answer described my wish to help other grandmothers establish their homes as welcoming havens of comfort, safety, love, affirmation, and infectious joy for the entire extended family. Teresa Kindred, who blogs at Nanahood, acknowledges her own role in this lighthearted, warmhearted approach: "Being the Family Matriarch Isn't All It's Cracked Up To Be." Here's where you'll delight in the classy way she wears her crown!

5. This final one is so good that it won a well deserved award for its humor! It's funny, of course - but really not funny in a way, too. Confused? Well, that's the way it feels some days to be a grandma. Are you still you? Or are you now somebody else? Unravel the mystery here, at Lisa Carpenter's Grandma's Briefs, where "The Grandma In A Box" resides, beckoning you to return again and again, like I do, for multiple re-readings of this splendidly sympathetic and thought-provoking essay!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

What Your Grandchildren Really Want This Holiday Season

I remember well my first piece of personal mail. Age of seven, I believe. Mother had subscribed me to a kids' nature newsletter - four pages, black and white, on smudgy newsprint. I held it in my hands and carefully studied the label. My name. My address. All mine! I took it to my room to read. Once. Twice. And then again. I stored this first issue, and each subsequent one, in a shoe box wrapped in pink birthday paper.

Years later, I made sure my own three daughters had subscriptions to kids' magazines so they could experience that same feeling of prideful ownership. A few years back, I repeated the gesture, this time on behalf of grandchildren. One of my choices was Cricket magazine. Issues arrived faithfully, along with calls of gratitude that triggered revisits to the memory of myself, staring in youthful disbelief at the postal label that bore not only my name and address, but the message that I was important enough to be acknowledged with mail of my own......

Here’s a gift your grandchildren will treasure all year long – Cricket.

As the holidays creep up on us, the question of what to get for the grandkids for holiday gifts becomes less of an activity in speculation and more of a nagging feeling. Many kids have so many toys that their parents actively campaign against receiving more of them. And giving gift cards or money just doesn't seem very festive. What's a grandparent to do? 

How about the gift of reading?

Books always make great gifts and your local bookseller will have excellent suggestions for your grandchildren, no matter what their ages or reading levels. But, if you want something just a little more special, a gift that keeps on giving, try a magazine subscription. With the gift of a magazine, your grandchild will receive a reminder of your love all year long as each issue lands in their mailbox. 

Once you settle on a magazine as the perfect gift, you have a lot of choices, so here are some guidelines to help you cut through the noise and discover a magazine with the exact qualities your grandchildren will love. 


First, let's start with what makes a great magazine. Just like great picture books, the best magazines contain 5 key characteristics:
  • Beautiful illustrations
  • Well-drawn characters that kids can relate to
  • Stories with substance
  • Re-readability
  • No advertisements
Most magazines will contain one or two of these attributes but fall short in other ways. For example, a magazine that has no ads may lack lovable characters or beautiful illustrations. If you do your research, you'll discover that very few magazines combine all of these attributes into one product. Some of the few that do are Cricket Media's "Bug Magazines": BABYBUG, LADYBUG, SPIDER, CRICKET, and CICADA.


For more than 25 years, BABYBUG has provided babies and toddlers with high quality stories and poems specifically selected for this age group combined with beautiful illustrations. LADYBUG is perfect for preschoolers with its beautiful illustrations and lovable characters. SPIDER is made specifically for emerging readers, giving them the chance to read both on their own and with a parent (or grandparent). CRICKET, the flagship publication for 9 to 14-year-olds, has been recognized for its high-quality stories and artwork for more than 40 years. In fact, your kids probably grew up reading CRICKET! And CICADA, for teens ages 15 and up, is perfect for older teens with its contemporary illustrations and stories today's teens will relate to.

So, now you know what makes a great magazine and you are well on the way to finishing your holiday shopping. Your grandchildren (and their parents) will thank you every time a new issue lands in their mailbox. To make sure your grandkids don't miss an issue, subscribe to BABYBUG, LADYBUG, SPIDER, CRICKET, or CICADA at Cricket Media/GRAND.

This is a sponsored post for which I have been compensated by Cricket Media.