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.