Saturday, April 28, 2012

Say It Saturday

I will be hosting a link up party, Say It Saturday, here every Saturday for grand parenting blogs. The link will be open for a few days so if you forget about it on Saturday, you can add it later. This is something new for Family Home and Life so please help me get the word out. Thanks!

If you are a grandparent and blog about it, you can add your link here every Saturday at Say It Saturday.

·         Please only link to a post about grand parenting on your blog, not to the home page.
·         Link that post back to Family Home and Life, just say so at the bottom of your post with a link
·         You may link up to 3 post, but please do not relink a post linked here previously
·         While you are here, check out other grand parenting blogs who linked up
·         We all love comments so please leave some comments here and on other linked up blogs
·         Consider following them in some way; your choice of social media or otherwise, we all want more followers!
·         No Etsy shops or giveaways please

Copyright© Family Home and Life 2012 All Rights Reserved

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Pretty List

Menu Planning helps your household run more smoothly. Having decided ahead of time what’s for dinner is a big time saver for me. It saves money too because I won’t need to get take out and usually meals made at home are healthier. When my days are hectic and full, if I haven’t planned out the week’s menu, I will probably be more stressed than ever figuring out what to have for dinner.
I make a list of the items I will need for each meal and shop for the week. Each morning, I remove frozen items needed for dinner from the freezer. (I make myself a reminder for each morning to do this)
I also keep a list of pantry items needed from the grocery that we are running low on.  It’s maddening and time consuming making extra trips to the store for one or two items. Grocery list and menu list are not always d├ęcor friendly. Here is one way to help with that.

Dry or wet erase markers on plates or platters that are hung on the wall work great! You can put your weeks menu on one too so all will know "what's for dinner?"

Copyright© Family Home and Life 2012 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I've Been Grilled!!!

I have had the pleasure to be a Grilled Grandma over at Grandma’s Briefs! And today is the day it is posting so get right over there and read it ok? Lisa has an amazing blog and I feel like we are becoming online friends just by reading her blog. Thanks Lisa for grilling me J


I also would like to let you know that I will be hosting a link up party, Say It Saturday, here every Saturday for grand parenting blogs. This is something new for Family Home and Life so please help me get the word out. Thanks!


If you are a grandparent and blog about it, you can add your link here every Saturday on Say It Saturday.

Copyright© Family Home and Life 2012 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Toddler Playmat

Here is a quick and easy play mat that folds into an attached pocket with a handle for carrying. It’s sort of a quillow; quilt pillow, but made as a play mat instead. Open, it is a rectangle about 35 inches by 43 inches finished.

I started with picking out the background fabric, and then found a fabric I liked for the road and purchased a yard of each. Thin batting or any fabric (I used flannel) added in the middle gives it more body and structure, but you don't need it. I purchased 1 1/2 yds for the backing. The strapping for the handle was 2/3 of a yard; but you could use leftover fabric to make your handle.

At home I sketched out a plan for the roadway and the buildings. I chose the easiest and fastest way I could think of to mark out the roads. I taped two pieces of chalk to a piece of plastic canvas (because it’s the first thing I saw when I was looking for something to use) that would hold them at the same distance apart so I could chalk my lines on to the fabric. It worked great!

I cut the roadway out, adjusted it on my background fabric and basted it on. I turned the edges of the roadway fabric under as I stitched; a zig zag stitch without turning it under would work too. Later I wished I had laid the roadway fabric onto the background fabric, stitched on the chalk lines then cut the excess away. That would have been really fast!

I looked through my fabrics and found pieces for the buildings, cut the shapes and stitched them into place as I went using a tight zig zag stitch. I added a blue satin for a pond, satin stitched lines for driveways, added bushes and trees, and a farmyard of sorts.

I cut my backing fabric down to 1 yard, and then stitched backing fabric and middle fabric together going around outside edges. Then from the leftover backing piece I cut a pocket 13 inches by 13 with seam allowance added; ½ inch on each side. You may want to use a double thickness of fabric for the pocket or reinforce it with interfacing for added strength since the handle will be attached to the pocket not the play mat.  Press the seam allowance down around the pocket, sew one edge over.

Stitch the pocket onto the backing fabric 12 inches in on each side of the 36 inch side (or centered), with the finished edge open to the outer edge of the play mat; double stitch for added strength.

For the handle, decide how long you want it to be, mine was about 16 inches, and sew it just inside the pocket opening onto the pocket about 2-3 inches in from the edges.

Now you need to fold the mat up to find the correct placement of the loop the handle goes through. (figure B & C)  With pocket side on the bottom, fold mat into thirds. Fold pocket up, then fold opposite end over three times and stuff into pocket. Smooth out where needed. Where the handle meets the top fold is where you need to sew the loop the handle will go through. Mark placement (figure D), unfold and sew loop flat, about 6-7 inches long, onto the back of the mat.
Place the backing and the finished play surface, right sides together, (figure A above) and stitch around all sides leaving an opening for turning at the pocket area. Turn right side out through opening, press and stitch around outside edge to secure. Close up opening by machine or hand. You can hand stitch in a couple of places through all layers to keep them stable, or even do a little quilting if you like. I was in a hurry :)

The pocket can also be used as a carry bag for the toy cars.
*Join me on Wednesdays for Wow Us Wednesday*
Copyright© Family Home and Life 2012 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Hunt Continues

Easter may be over but the egg hiding still goes on at Gramma’s house! Kids love to hide eggs and find them. Every year after Easter for weeks, we continue to hide eggs, the plastic ones of course. Usually I am the one to hide them and the kids find them. Doll strollers work great for hunting down those eggs too.

Most Easter egg hunts these days consist of eggs being thrown out on a lawn and then the kids make a dash for it gathering all they can collect. And they are full of candy and stuff. In my day eggs, real eggs, were hidden and a hunt for them took some time. We learned about patience and sticking with a task for the pay off of only the found egg. Often clues and directions were given by saying “Your getting warmer, your burning hot!” when we were close to an egg,  or “Your cooling off, nope your way cold now”  when you went in the wrong direction.

One good thing about being a grandparent is the patience to hide those eggs over and over and over……your grand kids will love you for it! Mine do, and they love when I tell them, “Your getting warmer!”

Copyright© Family Home and Life 2012 All Rights Reserved

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hobby Lobby Love!

I love Hobby Lobby! It’s a great one stop place for so many things I need for my crafts and sewing projects. I get their weekly coupons in my email. And I just found out something really great about that. If you forget your coupon at home? All you have to do is pull it up on your phone and show it to them at check out. You’re good to go with your discount then. I love that! Thanks Hobby Lobby! Sign up for your weekly coupon (usually 40% off) here if you don’t get one already. Or go to their site to print a coupon.

Copyright© Family Home and Life 2012 All Rights Reserved

Friday, April 13, 2012

Senior Homes, Online Resource

A few years ago, a close friend of mine found herself making some very tough decisions. Her mother was at a place in her life where she needed some looking after, and needed to move out of her home of many years. There was a need to quickly find a place for her to live and how do you do that with peace of mind knowing that you have chosen the right place? I remember the hours she spent on the phone and driving to different locations to visit care facilities. Then the agony of taking her mom with her to see the ones she had picked and the look of fear on her moms face as she questioned the validity of the staff’s friendliness and if she really needed to move at all. Yes, times like this are trying.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could predict our futures, the physical and mental places we will be years down the road? Wouldn’t it be great if we were responsible, planning people who are well prepared for our futures so our loved ones won’t have to do it for us? I hope that if and when the time comes that I can no longer be on my own, I can graciously let go and realize I’ve had my time, and accept with peace and grace that this too is part of my continuing story. I hope to be prepared for that future as much as possible.

If you or a family member is at a place where it might be time for a change, don’t wait until the last minute when communication may have become impossible. Have that conversation; get it all out in the open. You need to know all the resources available to help you make the right decisions. Sometimes gathering information gives you answers to important questions you hadn’t thought to ask. There are Internet resources available to you and this is any easy way to research in comfort at your computer.

Senior Homes is one such online directory resource that can help with all kinds of information about senior housing or senior care in your area. There are many articles you can read there about  assisted living facilities, 55 and over communities, retirement homes, nursing homes, convalescent care, hospice, memory care, adult day care and the list goes on and on. At Senior Homes there are checklists for your search, possible sources for funds to pay for assisted living, a list of FAQ, anything you might want you will find on this site.

They also have advice on how to start a conversation about assisted care with your loved one. If you prefer to talk to a person, a phone number is listed so you can call them. At the bottom of their website page, you will see a tab for their blog*, which has several new articles every week. Even if you don’t have a parent who needs this help, how about for yourself? Get prepared for your future; don’t leave these important decisions for someone else.

*The opinions are my own; I have not been compensated for this post.
Copyright© Family Home and Life 2012 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Carrot Cake Recipe

Over Easter weekend I made Carrot Cake cupcakes for the kids. This is a recipe I've had for years and I have made small changes to it every now and then. It's a little healthier version of most Carrot Cake recipes; it's lighter on sugar and oil. I forgot to take any pictures while I was making the cupcakes or of the finished product because I was in such a hurry. Here is a picture of the kids eating them though!

Click HERE for a printable recipe.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese frosting

1 3/4 c flour
2/3 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Mix together in a bowl.

In separate large bowl beat together well with a mixer:
1 cup sugar, white or brown
1/4 cup oil 
2 eggs

Stir into wet mixture:
3 cups of freshly grated carrots [apx.1 lb., grate them yourself, do not use pre grated from the store, they are too dry and coarse]
1 cup of raisins
1/2 c buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
1 c [1  8 oz can] of crushed pineapple, (do not drain)
Mix well and add into flour mixture, stirring to combine.  Pour into buttered 13x9 in pan, bake at 350 for 30 min or until tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a rack then frost.
*You can add 1 cup of nuts if you like. Over cooking will make the cake dry.
Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
½ stick of butter* at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp of lemon juice

Beat together until light and creamy.  Add 1 cup at a time of
16 oz powdered sugar (or more if you like)
Spread on cooled cake
*I always use real butter

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

Copyright© Family Home and Life 2012 All Rights Reserved

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easy Easter Gift

Here’s the Easter project I made for the grand kids. It’s simple, easy, and inexpensive. I need all three of those ingredients! It may not seem like enough of a gift, but with all the other candy and toys they will receive, I doubt they even think about that. I think it’s a gift they will remember for years too. Let me show you what I made.

I took small plastic pails that came with a shovel, placed a baggie full of sand in it, placed the shovel in the pail, then covered it all with Easter grass.

making a seed packet template

I made little seed packets and put a dozen or so popcorn kernels in each before sealing with craft glue. I printed labels that said lollipop seeds to go on the packets.  

I went to The Graphics Fairy and found a vintage image I liked, printed it then pasted it on to card stock and attached it to the pail.
Planting directions on the back of the card read, “Pour sand into pail and then push seeds into the sand. Cover with Easter grass and wait one or two nights and in the morning you will find that lollipops have grown. Pick them and enjoy!”

I will discreetly give mom and dad the lollipops that will be “growing” overnight in the pails.

So much fun! Now I need to go make 12 more!
This idea came to me after seeing an idea for planting jelly beans in your lawn and then having a crop of lollipops magically grow overnight. ( I searched for the link to give you but couldn't find it and it seems there are a lot of bloggers doing similar versions of this idea now) Since I don't have a lawn but wanted to implement this idea I came up with the pails to plant in, and then they can reuse them for play later.

Copyright© Family Home and Life 2012 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Survived!

Dusk is falling and I am just starting supper. I hear a whoop! And then they descend on us in the blink of an eye, first one bunch then another; the wild natives that live nearby!  A less ‘seasoned’ person would probably feel fear right now. I know I’m in for a wild ride, but fear does not grip my heart as I think over my battle plan. The largest of the tribe is clearly the leader as the others all seem to take the direction from this one. Around and around they go, there’s no chance to move from my present location to safety now as they have me trapped with my back to the stove.
I try to speak loudly to them hoping they will listen to reason. What do they want? I cannot tell as they continue the whopping and.… giggling? I turn back to my cooking; maybe feeding them would bring about a desired behavior so that once again peace may reign. I put down heaping plates of food and drink on the table and attempt to get across to them my meaning; come eat, be filled.

Once they understand what I am telling them they sit in front of their plates and begin eating with such abandon I wonder when the last time they saw food was. The whooping begins again and I try to speak loudly enough hoping they will understand and calm down again. I don’t think they understand English because they don’t respond at all. My energy is draining away, the stamina I once knew as a younger person is gone. I am getting up in years.

Quickly a plan comes to mind and I begin to put it into action. I am moving as slowly as possible so as not to arouse suspicion. My intentions have not been detected yet as I slowly take the top off the ice cream bucket.  Now with all the energy I can muster on a Friday night, I say “who wants ice cream after dinner?” Their heads jerk towards me and I know without a doubt that they understood every syllable! “Me!” they cry loudly over and over again as I begin to scoop heaping spoonfuls into ready bowls. 

After their fill of ice cream and more whooping and running for a while, I coax them toward the bathroom and make motions toward waiting tooth brushes and wash cloths (talking is doing no good at all), again there seems to be a lack of understanding. I know one wrong move on my part could cause them to make a break for it and the whooping and running will begin again. I must use all the stealth and expertise of my many years of training for this maneuver to be successful.

At last pj’s are on their little bodies and pillows on the floor are being fluffed and prodded into just the right comfyness; it seems they are beginning to bend under my skillful command. A movie is in the DVD player ready to go. They fuss just a little with each other because “someone’s foot is touching me” but I can tell their heart is just not into it.

All is saved just in the nick of time as I hear my reinforcements parking out in the driveway. I am so relieved and glad I stood my ground and didn’t flee my post. Yes I have earned my good standing with hard work and careful planning.  It was a good mission; I am exhausted but very fulfilled and happy with my performance. Oh yes, there will be more of these wild native outbreaks I’m sure, you can count on it. I’ll keep a close watch and be ready!

Somethimes after visits like this I feel rather proud of myself. It takes a lot of energy, fast thinking, patience, and a sense of humor to survive times like this with the grandkids and want them to come back soon for more. If you have had a fun and crazy visit with your grandkids, I would love to hear about! Send me an email to

I linked this post at GRAND Social at Grandma's Briefs.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Photo Contest

Sharon at Hobbies on a Budget invited me to enter a photo in her Spring Flower Photo Contest. I did, and I need your vote to win! Click here to vote for me, I’m #15. Thanks Sharon!
Currently, I'm in 5th place; Voting started April 1!

Copyright© Family Home and Life 2012 All Rights Reserved