Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Grandparenting Book Review: "Unconditional Love"

This is a sponsored post for which I have been compensated with a free product sample 
                                           in exchange for my honest review.

I try to be the perfect grandparent. Encouraging comments from my three daughters (mothers to the ten most wonderful children alive 😊) uplift me, and I greedily soak them up. But there's always room for improved behavior, frank and fresh perspective, and honest camaraderie with other women who harbor the same self doubts that occasionally plague me. Do I do enough for my family? Too much? Do the children recognize my respect for rules and limits set by their parents? Does my behavior model charitable morality? Will I be remembered well? Am I part of a problem or a welcomed solution to it?

What a treasury of experiences, ideas, and answers I found in Jane Isay's easy-to-read, hard-to-put-down volume, Unconditional Love - A guide to navigating the joys and challenges of being a grandparent today.

Drawn in from page one by Jane's warm, accepting style, I read for validation in areas I find myself excelling. "How to Lure Them Back Home, and Why" found me patting myself on the back for installing an in-house cousins' lending library and opening my doors to "Grandma's Drop-In Crafts Days." On page 133, I smiled at the way "Kimberly's" in-laws made their (several hours away!) home a welcoming weekend magnet for the two-career parents of their first grandchild. Creative solutions are out there, and this book is full of them! Long distance grandparenting is a common reality these days (four of my own currently live states away) and that's adequately addressed with tips on coping both during and in-between visits.

The side of being a practical asset to the family from newborn arrival through distant teenage years, to the "coming back" phase is gracefully coupled with the unique impact grandparents can have on a child's emotional and spiritual growth. I need to work on this area. Jane encourages me to share myself via childhood memories - tales from the days of corded party-line telephones, clunky metal strap-on skates, black and white television, and the vivid image of mom pinning laundry to a backyard clothesline. "Children are stronger and more self-reliant when they are nested in their family history..." declares Jane on page 75, commencing a chapter full of suggestions for arming grandchildren with a rich sense of belonging to those whom they love.

I left Unconditional Love with suggestions, solutions, and a group of understanding friends. The many grandmother interviewees quoted by Jane travel the same road I do now. Our problems, concerns, triumphs, and successes may be unique to each family, but the hoped for outcome is universal. We wish to contribute value to a generation of confident, happily fulfilled children who will someday look back at us as ideal models for the nurture of their own grandchildren!

Find Jane Isay's Unconditional Love, published 2018 by HarperCollins, at the following vendors:
Barnes and Noble
Powell's Books

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Canvas Factory Give Away!

This is a sponsored post for which I have been compensated with a free product sample 
                                                and a give away prize for my readers.

I learn "what's cool" from my adult children. If it wasn't for them, I'd still be waiting on dial up net service and looking for a photo lab to develop my pictures! The kids live life streamlined, fast paced, and convenient; they're where I go for info on all the newest trends.

One of the latest, it seems, is canvas print decor. Time and money invested in matting and heavy glass framing is no longer relevant, they say. "We like the modern, lightweight, and far less expensive practicality of canvas for displaying our cherished images."

And so, I was delighted to test this convenience with a 16" x 20" product sample offered me from Canvas Factory - the same gift you'll receive if you're the winner of my give away! 

My experience began with a photo choice from among those presented by my youngest daughter and her husband. We agreed on this touching sunset maternity shot, and then I was on my own to place my order!

I'd rate the process fast and simple, with several choices - but not so many to leave my "grandma head" a-spinning! (I appreciated that!) Load your print and choose a finished product size. 20" x 16" accommodated my horizontal image - one that showed up on the screen immediately in all its perfect beauty! You'll move on to choose a "wrap style" next - I opted for the "gallery wrap" - seen above with the image continuing around all four edges. I passed on "adding text" but will try that exciting addition next time around! You're pretty much done after that - leaving it now to the experts at Canvas Factory who came across for me in a stellar way. Here's what happened!....

I originally submitted a photo lifted from my daughter's Face Book page (social media website images not recommended.) Canvas Factory customer service immediately advised me that my print would appear blurry if I proceeded. They gave me the courtesy of time and advice to amend my order with a JPEG version, responding immediately to emails. My affection for this company extends beyond the quality product I received because of this incident. Another company might have just carelessly slopped through and told me later, "Well, that's what you ordered, lady!" 😝

Our canvas print arrived about a week later, with status emails accompanying each and every step. It is beautiful. Colors are vibrant, image is crisp - all finished to perfection with carefully mitered corners, smooth cardboard backing, and two sturdy hanging clips. It's trendy, lightweight, and practical. I love it!

Your turn now! Leave a comment. Tell me anything you want - from the place you get your own "what's cool" info, to the person, pet, place, or thing you'd showcase in a Canvas Factory print. I'll randomly choose one reply on May 1st, 2018, announce it here, and request your email address for delivery of your prize. Good luck!

Open to residents of U.S.A. and Canada only.

Update May 1, 2018:
Thank you to all who entered this give away.
Our winner is JACKIE
Please contact me by email so I can get your prize to you as soon as possible! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Easter Sunday Bunny Business!

We're having a puppet show after Easter dinner, but this time it wasn't my idea! The most rewarding moments in a grandma's life are appeals for a repeat of something fun done in the past. The one that sent me scrambling for today's feature came from Brielle a few weeks back: "Grandma, are we going to have an Easter play for all of us cousins like we did at Thanksgiving?"

What else was there to say?.....

"Of course we are, you sweet little bunnykins!"

I sought inspiration via an online search for something light, happy and easily understood by a younger audience, but alas, found not a rabbit hole to tumble into! That, coupled with a serious bout of mental bunny block, led me to reach for a classic child's book, one with a story suited for telling with a handful of simple paper puppets.

We're going to perform The Runaway Bunny, the endearing 1942 classic by Margaret Wise Brown who also penned Goodnight Moon.

A pair of large cardboard boxes, stacked, taped, cut, and decorated will serve as a puppet theater. Kids will sit behind the screen and manipulate characters mounted on sticks. Parents and young siblings will hear the story of Little Bunny who decided to run away, taunting his ever-patient mother with plans to become "a fish in a trout stream, a crocus in a hidden garden," and even "a rock up high on a mountain top." Mother Bunny vows to thwart his escape by doggedly pursuing him as a fisherman, a gardener, a mountain climber and more, until Little Bunny has no choice but to "just stay where I am and be your little bunny!"

Puppets from left to right:
rock on the mountain top
Mother Bunny fishing
blowing wind
Pictured at top:
Little Bunny
Mother Bunny

If you're not familiar with the book, You Tube narrations abound. This one, by Grandma Annii, is my favorite!

The Runaway Bunny tale is also suitable for family Mother's Day entertainment!

These original designs, like all blog material, are for personal use only. Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. Thank you!