Tuesday, February 28, 2012

They Can Do It!

The morning started off a little quieter than usual. Itty Bitty was the first to arrive. I met dad at the door and went to say hello to Anne waiting in the truck on her way to school while dad took Itty Bitty out of her car seat. Anne was holding up a new dress mom had bought for her. She showed me the safety pins mom had placed on the sleeves and then told me she needed me to sew it up for her. She would need the dress tonight for the daddy daughter dance. “Will do” I told her and after a kiss and good bye hug , dad handed me Itty Bitty, and off dad went to drop Anne at school on his way to work.
I played with Itty Bitty while waiting for the second little one to arrive, Reese, almost three years old. I heard mom parking at my side door and holding Itty Bitty I went outside to say hello to Grace who was waiting in mom’s car on her way to school. She was excited to show me her new movie that she was watching on the cars DVD player. Now holding Itty Bitty and taking Bella with me back into the house I said good bye, “hope your day is good”, to my daughter who is a teacher at Grace’s school.
With my two loves back inside I started to make breakfast. The kids are very fond of ‘gramma’s oatmeal’ and won’t eat at home if they know they are coming here. Later when her mom calls to check on her she asks me what I do to the oatmeal that all the kids love it so much. Well, it’s nothing spectacular I tell her. But I do use the old fashion kind rather than the instant or quick cooking. Old Fashioned cooks in the same amount of time as the other kinds in the microwave. I don’t care for the texture of the other ones myself; it makes me gag. So maybe that is the secret we decide.
Breakfast is almost over and I am putting Itty Bitty down by the toys; when I turn back to the kitchen I see that there is a huge mess of oatmeal and peaches all around the table. How could one child make such a mess in a mere minute? Oh well I think, and I start to clean it up.

We are waiting for the third child to arrive when I notice Itty Bitty has a runny nose. I grab a tissue and make a plan of attack. Itty Bitty hates having her nose wiped like nothing or nobody else. There’s knocking on the side door, and May, three yrs old has arrived. The girls giggle and hug each other before tearing off to play. Mom has been called off work today so she will be keeping Itty Bitty’s baby cousin with her. I tell her to enjoy her time with him.
Soon it is time for Itty Bitty’s bottle and nap. I check on the girls in the playroom. They are playing calmly and quietly, so I take my time with Itty Bitty enjoying having these moments with her. Then with her sleeping in the pack n play in my room, I ease the door closed and then go peek into the playroom.  It’s very cleaned up looking in there. Both girls are looking at me with a big silly grin on their faces. Huh oh, I’m sensing trouble. I start really looking at the room and notice that the bookshelf is missing all its books and all the stuffed toys. The toy kitchen is cleared of all dishes and plastic food. The blanket chest is open with not one blanket is in it.

But the 3 expanding tunnels however are all standing on end in the middle of the room. (These tunnels are great by the way; anyone with kids should have these. They entertain the kids and help them use up excess energy then collapse to almost nothing for storage)

I looked into the tunnels and found that the girls have emptied every drawer, shelf, and tub they could find and threw it all into the three tunnels! Every toy in the room, movie, doll and dress up item they could find was in there! A look at their faces proved to show that they were also very proud of themselves! Well, I told them they had completed an incredible accomplishment filling those tunnels. Now they need to see how fast they could empty them by putting everything away.
They looked at me in astonishment, I heard things like ‘I will later’, and ‘I’m too tired right now’, or  ‘I don’t know where it goes’. But I calmly sat right there in the room with them, watching and supervised the putting away of every single thing. Yes, I occasionally helped. I gave them great encouragement, I was firm, not at all mean about it. I didn’t raise my voice but I did keep assuring them that they could do the job. After all they put it all in the tunnel; they could take it out too. There would be a big reward for working together I assured them, and I kept my word right after with Popsicles  Of course nothing is very organized or straight on the shelves or in the drawers. The dress up clothes are not fold but wadded and stuffed in the dresser drawers, along with all the doll stuff. But, the lesson was to work together and clean up and they did it.

It’s amazing what a child can do in just a few minutes. They are capable of so much more than we give them credit for or allow them to do. Try your kids and see what they can accomplish. Please talk to them with respect and as if you have complete faith in their ability to do the task at hand. Give good step by step instructions patiently. See what they can surprise you with.

Have you had an experience like this with your grandkids? If it ended in a way that you and the kids are proud of, I would like to hear about it!

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

I Won at Grandma Ideas!

Nina at Grandma Ideas had a giveaway for the book Silly Frilly Grandma Tilly by Laurie A. Jacobs . I entered and won! I love it, and so do the grand kids. We didn't waste any time at all sitting down to read it. Check out Nina's blog, it's full of great ideas for things to do with the kids.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Easy Art Project

Want an easy art project for the kids? It’s a messy one I will warn you! But it’s almost fool proof for getting a really nice finished piece of art even for the little ones.
I have found my 2 ,3 and 4 yr olds really like to squeeze glue out from the bottle and watch it pour all over their paper.

They aren’t so interested in actually gluing anything onto the wet glue; they are just fascinated with watching it pour out.

So, I let them squeeze to their hearts content. But since I don’t want them to waste the glue, we fold the paper over and squish the glue around then open the paper back up. We try not to make a hard fold so there won't be a big crease in the paper.

With the paper opened up, sprinkle it liberally with glitter. Shake the excess glitter off and you have a beautiful piece the kids will really be proud of!

If you use a flexible cutting mat under your project, all the excess glitter can be saved and returned to the jar.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Child’s Apron

Children’s aprons are very easy to make and you can have a lot of fun decorating them any way you like. Here is how I made an apron for my granddaughter. It fits about a size 3-4 very well but you can adjust size to your child easily.

This apron can be made reversible if you choose to, just use any fabric you like as the lining.

You need two pieces of fabric, one for apron front and one for a lining. (You can buy 2 ‘fat quarters’ at fabric stores, they are 18 by 18 inches) Cut each piece down to 16 ½ inches square. And a small square for a pocket that cordinates or matches.

At the top edge of your apron measure from outside edge in towards middle 5 inches on each side. Mark with a pin.  

On the top outside edge measure down 6 inches from the top along the side on each side and mark with a pin. You will then cut from the pin at the top edge to the side edge pin on the fabric in a straight line. Repeat on second fabric piece.

To make a pocket cut a square of fabric about 5-6 inches or any size you would like. Hem the top edge and press under a ¼ inch around the other 3 sides. Place  the pocket on the apron front on the right side of the fabric and pin it down. I lined my pocket top up with the point where the back ties are attached. Stitch pocket to apron front. If you are making it reversible, repeat with a pocket on the second piece of fabric.

I used a purchased binding as ties for my apron. I cut 2 pieces 18 inches long for the ties on the back, and 2 pieces 15 inches long for the ties around the neck. Place the ties about a1/2 inch in from the edge and stitch in place.

 I used tape to hold the ties in place during stitching but you can pin them if you like.

Place both apron front and lining right sides together with edges lined up, pin and stitch leaving an opening for turning at the bottom.  I reverse stitched over the ties to make them really secure.

Turn your apron right side out, press and then stitch around outside edges to finish and close the opening. I also stitched the binding edge closed.

And here it is, my model is a size 3 so there is room to grow.

Linked at Made by You Monday at Skip to my Lou and Under the Table and Dreaming.

*Join me for my new link up party, Wow Us Wednesdays.*

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sweet & Sour Cucumber Summer Salad

I don't like cucumbers, and I am not a big fan of pickles. But this Cucumber Salad is just perfect and I love it! It is super easy and is best made the night before though you can serve after an hour in the fridge.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Foster Grandparents Program

I just learned about a program over at Grandparents Guide at About.com that I have not heard of before. It sounds wonderful and I’m sure there is a huge need. It’s called the Foster Grandparents Program, a government program to connect seniors to kids who need them. Sometimes, if you qualify, you can even receive income from helping these kids.
Here’s another link to learn more. If you want to sign up to help, well, this link hopefully will get you to a page with your states contact info. It seems to me it's a lot harder than it should be to find out how to sign up and volunteer. I finally got to the state offices page, after clicking link after link, and called my states number (Arizona) only to find out there is currently no funding here for this program through a recording. I randomly called a few other states just to see what other info I could find about the Foster Grandparent Program and only found recordings to leave a message. So, you will need to leave a message and wait to have someone get back to you. Good luck with your state!

Kids need grandparents who help! I am curious if any of you reading this have participated in this program. I would love to hear about your experience. Email me or leave a comment please if you have or know someone who did. Thanks!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tea Party at Gramma’s

I was planning a January Family Day and trying to find a day that all could attend. It just wasn’t working, but I did find a day that all the women of the family could attend.

So I quickly changed my plans for Family Day and decided to make it a Tea Party, perfect for the ladies and kids!

Oh the looks on the kids faces when they saw the table set for them! No disposable plates or kid friendly dishes but real china! Cloth napkins, tiny seafood forks, aka, 'princess forks'! Of course, I do not have tile floors so breaking dishes is not a big issue for me. Yes we had some spills, but we hardly noticed.

For a successful Tea Party you need: Tea (or kid friendly substitutes), fancy clothes (funny headwear is always a hit), fancy table settings, and fancy food!

I put on an old formal outfit from my closet, and rummaged around in my sewing room finding a length of matching fabric to wind around my head for a hat. Safety pins secured some flowers to it. Don't I look silly?! The kids loved my hat!
I have been collecting table items from thrift stores for such an occasion as this so I could set a fancy table. I have a couple of kid sized folding tables, and we set them up in my kitchen space. Lacy table cloths added just the right touch.

The food, super easy, bright colors, all in small pieces. I served cucumber salad, marinated sweet carrots, fruit salad, cheese and crackers, ham and cheese sandwiches (cut in quarters with the crust cut off of course), PB and J sandwiches (also quartered with crust removed), cookies, and tiny cupcakes. The kids ‘tea’ was a pineapple fruit punch poured from real tea pots.

This of course was a day planned with silliness and fun for the kids in mind. See her princess head band and bracelet? I'll tell you how I made it coming up.

It was such a wonderful time!

Friday, February 3, 2012

If You Have a Daughter.....

This is just the most beautiful photo! This little girl is wearing her mothers wedding dress! One of the best reuses I've seen for a wedding dress too :) I hope all my grand daughters mommy's will do this for them. And give me a copy of the photo too!

This photo was used with permission from Tamara. This little girl is her daughter in Tamara's own wedding dress. She was also the photographer. Her blog address is http://fromthetreetop.com/blog/. She has some amazing photos!

*Join me in June 2012 for my new link up party, Wow Us Wednesdays.*