Thursday, December 30, 2021

Holiday Vacation Traditions

Every year during Christmas vacation, my grandson spends one night with us for a sleepover. I am a person who loves, makes and follows traditions. I think these become important parts of our children's and grandchildren's lives. They create memories that sometimes span even more generations. I have made Christmas cookies with my children and now my grandchildren with a recipe that was my father's family recipe. That is definitely part of the fun. That recipe may not survive but somehow, I think baking cookies during the Christmas season will.

Anyway, Christmas is over.  My grandson is 12. Star Wars and Harry Potter LEGO sets are in as well as even more electronics than he already has.  But tradition persists.  So along with tacos, cookies, brownies, banana split ice cream - everyone knows that a Grandma's kitchen is always well stocked and open - there is room a a holiday vacation tradition.

I have taken out of yearly storage two puzzles that we have been doing as part of our holiday tradition during my grandson's holiday sleepovers.

When we first did this 400 pieces family puzzle in 2017 my husband and grandson worked on it slowly savoring a jigsaw puzzle as it was meant to be.  Here is Zach with the complete puzzle in 2018.

This week was a different matter.  Zach still wanted to do the puzzle but this time he wanted to see how quickly it could be done - so fast it was.  I snapped this picture just as Zach and Pop raced to the finish line.

How much of a tradition is this?  Looking back even further Zach and his Pop had fun with this 64 pieces "Snowman's Band" puzzle from eeboo.  Zach and I did this one too - his choice and we completed it in a few minutes - but did we have fun doing it - Yes!!!!

Completing the same puzzle every year is a fine tradition and I highly recommend it.  You may have a different one, but I strongly recommend starting and maintaining traditions. Perhaps yours will be LEGOs.  As our grandchildren get older - and we do too - it is good to have things you can enjoy doing together.  They don't have to be big or expensive - they just have to be together.

Here are some recommendations for items available on Amazon.  I highly recommend the puzzles from eeboo - they are high quality and great to do over and over.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Parenting Advice from a 7 Year Old

This Ted talk by 7 year old Molly blew me away. Such good advice - especially today with so many distractions. Check it out now:

Monday, June 14, 2021

Why? Oh Why? Oh Why?

Little Kids First Big Book of Why 
and for older kids, 
Why? Over 1,111 Answers to Everything 

Today I want to tell you about two hardcover books published by National Geographic Kids. Childhood is full of wonders and it is sure nice to have a reference around for some of the answers. These books are filled with beautiful, playful illustrations. They are perfect for a child or grandparent’s ready reference library to answer all sorts of questions that life brings to us.

Summertime is upon us and it is a wonderful time for these discussions when they aren't school related.  Enjoy!

Little Kids First Big Book of Why 
Seriously, All little kids are curious and have lots of Why questions. Often parents and grandparents are stumped and hard pressed to come up with an answer. I know that I hate the thought of giving a wrong answer even though I just don’t know why. And that is why we should all have this book on hand. The questions – and the answer that is understandable for a Little Kid - for lots of questions are all here and each has a big beautiful picture to illustrate the subject. 

There are over 70 questions answered organized into four categories: 
  • Amazing Me 
  • Animals All Around 
  • How Things Work 
  • Wonders of the World
The picture oriented index allows a pre-reader to choose the topic of interest.  Here is my grandson pointing to the solar system:

 My five year old grandson is super interested in the solar system and so the pages on the planets, stars and the moon were his favorites. And Grandpa thoroughly enjoyed exploring these topics with him. Here are some of my favorite pictures of them exploring these pages together.


Why? Over 1,111 Answers to Everything 

This book is geared for kids ages 8 – 12. The topics, illustrations and answers are geared for them. A look at the index page shows the wide variety of topics included. I took a great picture of my 11 year old grandson enjoying this book but he was mortified and made me delete it.  I am sure you can all identify with that.

These two pages about Zits are a good example.

Both of these books are available at Amazon.  Check them out here:

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Monday, May 3, 2021

Grandparents and Dads – Are the Kids Ready for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is this Sunday. Dads and grandparents here is something fun and simple that you can do with younger kids so that they have a present for Mom. This is actually important if your kids are not in in-person school where they probably would have been preparing cards and art work to give to Mom on Sunday morning. 

This is a tested project. I did it with my grandkids on Saturday. Buy some simple craft supplies and let the kids design their own creations. You don’t have to have them follow directions for a specific project just let them do their own thing. Here are the art supplies that I bought at Michael’s. When my grandkids (ages 4 and 5) visited, I opened everything onto the kitchen table and let them decide what they would make for their Mom for Mother’s Day. Sorry - I forgot to take pictures of the final products before the brought them home. Dad will keep them safely until Mother’s Day. 

Each child started with a piece of felt and created their own artwork. They used the foam – peel to stick backed - letters to write their names and to Mom. My granddaughter used mostly the foam stickers to create an outdoor scene but my grandson went for multimedia with foam flowers, markers for stems and an artificial flower and leaves for the 3D effect. Separately he wrote messages on the colored sticks that I am sure his Mom will enjoy. 

This project had a bunch of positives: 
• It was a fun and fairly quiet activity. 
• It didn’t require excessive grandparent physical energy. 
• The cleanup was easy. 
• The final products were creative and cute. 
• Mom will appreciate the homemade – yet not meant to be kept and used - gift. 

For older kids, there’s the classic Mother’s Day gift. Work gift cards for Mom and she can use for the kids to do vacuuming, the dishes or other chores. Moms love getting these even if they don’t turn them all in. 
Happy Mother’s Day to all you grandmothers too.

Please share your ideas in the comments.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Sunday, February 14, 2021

The First-Time Grandmother's Journal


The First-Time Grandmother’s Journal by Lisa Carpenter

The First-Time Grandmother's Journal by Lisa Carpenter

One of the greatest joys in life is becoming a grandparent for the first time  While you are still a grandmother-to-be, it is a good time to plan for the wonder of it all.  For most of us there is this long space of time between when our now grown kids were kids themselves and when we have babies and young children – now as grandchildren in our lives again.  We are more than ready.  We can’t wait.  What to do??

The First-Time Grandmother's Journal is an excellent resource to plan, reflect and record your experience.  The first part of the journal is for before the baby is born and the second part is for the first year of your grandchild’s life. Some pages have thoughtful notes of advice to guide you on your new journey as a grandmother.  Many pages are setup for journaling – the old fashioned way with an actual pen in your hand – and just have a topic and brief prompts for that topic and lots of space for you to write  - your plan, hopes, experiences, reflections and whatever you want. 


This will be a recording of your personal legacy as a grandmother.  Perhaps you will read it each future time you become a grandmother.  You will smile and reflect on how many of same feelings you have, what you have learned and how each time you become a grandmother it is a whole new experience because each child is unique and each human relationship is unique. One baby wants to snuggle and be held and another does not.  One toddler likes to cuddle up and listen as you read five books.  The other toddler just wants to run and jump and won’t stand still.  Whatever you experience – adapt and enjoy!  In fact this journal is excellent for each time you become a grandmother – not only the first time.

The First Time Grandmother’s Journal is an excellent companion as you journey along from learning that you will be a grandmother to being one.  It is an excellent gift for the Grandmother-to-Be.  I always bring along a small grandmother gift to baby showers and this will now be my go to gift for new grandmothers. 

I strongly recommend that you check out Grandma’s Briefs, Lisa Carpenter’s excellent grandmother blog.  It is the best grandma blog available.  You can order The First Time Grandmother’s Journal at amazon.  See the link below.

Full disclosure:  I received a free review copy of this book. I did not receive compensation for this review and I was under no obligation to provide a review.  This review is my honest opinion.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Why Doesn't my Grandchild Zip his Jacket?

I had never heard of “Brown Fat” until recently but apparently it is a real thing. Of course, I have observed many times kids in very cold weather tossing their hats, gloves and jackets. Even when we tell them to put that jacket back on because we don’t want them to get sick they are reluctant to do so. Why is that? Is it just because they are constantly moving? Apparently not. 

It turns out that kids have more brown fat than adults. Unlike regular old white fat, which stores calories, mitochondria-packed brown-fat cells burn energy and produce heat. And it is activated by cold! This actually happens for adults too – we have some brown fat too. Having you ever been out in freezing temperatures shoveling snow and actually began to feel too hot with the clothing you have put on for the very reason to keep you warm? I certainly have. It is probably because you are activating your brown fat. 

Just this morning my grandson and I were shoveling snow together. He was at our house for a sleepover because his school is on winter break. He headed out with an open jacket and although I suggested that he zip it up he ignored that advice. I was, of course, bundled up. He was fine and not bothered by the cold weather at all. I stayed bundled up but was quite warm when I took my jacket off inside. I think we were both burning some brown fat and thus stayed warm with different amounts of layering. 

Zach may have been burning some brown fat, but he was happy to have the grandma version of hot chocolate – topped with Redi-Whip AND marshmallows! I had some Twinings red rooibis tea - no Redi Whip or marshmallows needed. 

Moral of the story – don’t get too worried about that hatless, open jacket grandchild. Perhaps let them just enjoy the cold their way.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Saturday, December 19, 2020


Jabuka! It can sometimes be hard to find things to do with an older grandchild that you both enjoy. During this pandemic time, I have really tried to find non-screen things we can do together. We can all benefit from this human interaction and break from the screen. It has been a while since I made recommendations for the grandkids on this blog but I am happy to introduce you to Jabuka today. Jabuka is a new coffee bean word game that is perfect for a holiday gift or long cold winter days. My grandson and I played it for the first time this afternoon and we both really enjoyed it. Besides making words from the beans, it has a lively action pace. It will be enjoyed by older kids and adults alike and makes a great intergenerational game. I will be playing with my grandson and my husband. If I am lucky it will be Girls Rule! However, having just played one game I learned that my grandson has a good vocabulary and he is a good speller. No wonder he is getting good grades in literacy. We used to call that subject English – in case you don’t know grandparents. 

Players spill the beans and start making words. No turn taking. Announce your word before making it. Make words and steal words at the same time from other players with clever word scrambles and adding letters. There is a twist – some letters can be used to make multiple letters. For instance an E is also a M or W. C can also be an u or an n. When you first spill the beans, some land face down, and latter get flipped 2 at a time so that new letters are available to make words. Play. Repeat. Count beans when the last 2 are filled. The player with the most beans that make words wins! 

Jabuka has been winning some impressive awards too. Jabuka received the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2020 and the 2020 PAL (Play On Words) Award, Best Game of the Year Award from Creative Play Magazine, Moms Choice Gold Award, ASTRA Top Toy of the Year Finalist, and the National Parenting Publications of America Winner.

At under $20 this is a good anytime gift.  Get it now for winter break afternoons.  Goes well with coffee, tea and hot cocoa. You can order Jabuka on Amazon.  Just click below:

Sunday, October 25, 2020

The World Needs More Purple People

This summer I attended a virtual event – BabyBoom and I received a big box of samples. In the box were two beautiful books published by Random House and today I am sharing my opinion about the World Needs More Purple People by Kristen Bell and Benjamin Hart. 

First let me say that I am certainly not the only one who enjoyed this book . It is a #1 New York Times Best Seller and with over 4000 reviews on Amazon it is rated five stars. That’s a wow in case you didn’t know it.  
One of my favorite things about this book is that grandparents are well featured – and not just as tottering old people.
The other illustrations highlight fun and inclusiveness throughout the book.

The book is a joyful, colorful well illustrated romp about the things that make us better humans. This illustration at the end of the book that wraps up the messages also is a great “word description" that accompany the great illustrations.

Final comment - If your grandchild's favorite color is purple, this book is a must!

You can order this book at Amazon here: 

Monday, October 19, 2020

Halloween in Pandemic Times

Just like celebrating everything else this year, Halloween will be quite different than usual. This is the first big holiday that is very kid centric and there is a wide variety of opinions on what is okay. In many areas trick or treating and parties are completely out. There are still some "normal" things happening but under the "new normal" rules. All of this is tough for parents to navigate - and also for grandparents. Here's the first rule - support whatever plan the parents plan to follow and see where you can fit in. 

Maybe pumpkin picking with a hayride didn't work out this year so take a look at some of the other opportunities. There are parades, Jack-O-Lantern and other Halloween drive by opportunities. There are some 25% full hayrides and reservation only corn mazes. Our local nursery always has a small live farm animal area this time of year and young grandchildren can take a nearby short, uncrowded visit. This year our town is having a home Halloween decoration contest and this will provide a fun at home Halloween activity. The good thing about all of these activities is that they are outdoors. If you are able to quarantine with your grandchildren consider baking something special to celebrate Halloween - candy apples or pumpkin cookies sound like a good Halloween treat.

What about trick or treating. That is certainly more complicated and will vary depending on where you live. In our town we can have it, but no common bowls and you must have social distancing. I am thinking about setting out a table at the end of our driveway with small individual bags pre-filled. I know there will be less kids than the huge number our block usually attracts. I don't know what any of our neighbors plan to do and I am undecided. One thing is for sure - it is not too early to think about it. 

None of my grandchildren will be trick or treating but they all have costumes ready to go. There will be Halloween pictures! The little ones will go on a plastic egg filled Halloween hunt in their backyard. My older grandson can expect to find a bag behind each of five doors. Three of them will have his favorite candy and two of them will have a small non-candy gift. I have books - one a traditional one I have read with my older grandson for several years and one I am ready to pass along to my young grandchildren. I am lucky enough to be able to see my grandchildren during the pandemic and have had some school assistance responsibilities too. 

Normally I follow the Teal Pumpkin plan and offer some nonfood options. If I do trick or treating, there will be nonfood options on my table. Playdoh, stickers and Halloween pencils will be choices. But they will be in separate clear bags. 

What are your plans? Please let us know.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

100 Ways to Be Thankful Plus a Giveaway

I am delighted to recommend 100 Ways to be Thankful by Lisa Gerry.  This National Geographic for Kids publication is aimed at middle school age kids. 

I like this book on many levels. November is a perfect time to think and talk about being thankful.  This can be hard to do with middle school age kids but this book presents the topic in a way that will connect with them. There are literally 100 great ideas on ways to be thankful and each one is presented in a crisp, colorful summary.  The best way to show you what I mean is with pictures of some of the pages.

Some of the ideas deal with attributes like curiosity, and imagination.  

Some honor interests in subjects like science and art. 


Some encourage kids to appreciate family and friends.

My favorites ideas are those that encourage actions like volunteering, introducing yourself to new kids, and practicing random acts of kindness.

Like many middle school age boys, reading is not a favorite pastime for my grandson.  One of the many things I like about 100 Ways to be Thankful is that each idea has a brief summary and it doesn’t require a lot of reading to “get it.”  This may be an excellent resource for writing a required paper too.

I am very happy to be able to offer a copy of this book as a giveaway compliments of National Geographic.  Also you can order a copy at Amazon  - it is quite a bargain!  Just click on the icon below to go directly to Amazon.

Giveaway Details

One lucky winner will receive a copy of 100 Ways to Be Thankful.

It is easy to enter and there are two ways. Both ways count as an entry so you get two entries if you do both.  I need to be able to contact you if you win. If you enter -  email me with your email address at  I will not use your email address for anything except to notify you if you win.  Grandmother’s Honor.
Two ways to win:
Leave a comment here on the blog
Like The Grandma Chronicles facebook page - click here
You can have two entries by doing both.  Deadline to enter: November 17, 2019 at midnight. This item can be sent to US addresses only.
Full Disclosure:  This review is my own objective opinion.  I did not get paid to write this review.  I did receive a copy of the book in order to complete the review.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter