Listen to a grandmother share her YEARS of experience dealing with life's ups and downs.

A grandmother of 4 beautiful angels trying to talk about life, growing older, and maybe put a smile on your face.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Something we all do that maybe we shouldn't

I am going to confess something here to other grandparents to maybe keep them from making a mistake that could hurt not only your grandchildren but yourself.

We had planned a week long camping holiday with my son and his children last summer. All the planning was done and all we were waiting for was the big day to start the drive.

Plans changed not only the campground but the entire feeling for the vacation when my younger sister died from brain cancer.
We went to a campground closer to my son's home because it was easier than cancelling the trip for the little ones who really wouldn't have understood.

Things went ok and they knew that I would be sad sometimes and they really went out of their way to keep Grandma smiling. They were my sanity for the week.

Well one day during the trip my eldest grandson was acting in my view like a bit of a jerk and having a bad day myself I snapped at him.
He left our site and went back to theirs all alone and crying.
My son and his dad were just returning from fishing so I left the other two with them and went to find my grandson.
He was sitting at the picnic table reading a book. I sat down on the same side but not touching him and I apologized to him for snapping. I explained that it was too hot, the funeral was horrible and seeing all those people I didn't know just made me want to scream and I took it out on him and I was so sorry could he forgive me.
Now he is only 10 years old but he cares about people and truly tries to act proper.

But what is proper?

Some things he told me made me furious, for instance his dog that he had from age one had to be put to sleep a few months earlier. Some adult told him when he cried to grow up because it was just a dog.
To me that is just plain cruel. He saw that dog as his best friend. He also saw more of his dog than I did of my sister in that same 10 year span. I could cry and was actually told I should cry at the funeral but a little boy was not supposed to show the same emotion.

Another thing that came out was, everyone who knew his dad when he was a boy kept telling Sean how much he was like his dad. I for one was guilty as charged.

He said he loves his dad but he didn't want everybody to keep telling him how much he looked like him and how much he acted like him. Again guilty as charged.

We talked for about an hour and straightened out a lot of our feelings about life.

He was upset that he had spoiled my holiday by being a jerk.
I explained that he would never spoil my holiday no matter what, so being a jerk for an hour was nothing at all.
We ended up hugging and were best friends again.

It wasn't the most comfortable time for at least the first 15 min. but it was so worth the ending.

I guess what I am saying is treat each child as an individual.
They  are not the little carbon copies of your own children.

But most important, if you are in the wrong admit it to them.
If you can forgive them give them the chance to forgive you.
You will both feel much better after you clear the air.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A different type of post today.

Here is a story I wrote a number of years ago and I thought it might be nice to let others read it to help entertain themselves or their youngsters.
Missy Bear goes to the Party

Missy Bear was very excited. She had a nice hot shower and was getting ready to meet her friends at the party. She had put on her beautiful new cape with a hood to keep her warm for the long walk through the forest.

Missy was all set to go. She had a small flowered bag with a few snacks in it, just in case she wanted a picnic while on the way. Picking up her teddy bear dolly Blueberry, she tucked him under her arm and headed out.

It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and it made diamonds in the snow along the path. The birds were singing hello to each other, and to all the creatures that were out and about this beautiful day.
Missy Bear felt so alive that she started to sing along with them.
Missy was not the best of singers but that did not bother her or the birds. They sang just to hear the wonderful sounds join with the beautiful day, making them so happy.

Smiling she talked to Blueberry and told him all the things she saw. A pine tree with snow making it look like it had cotton balls on each branch. The mountain ash tree full of berries behind it. Two trees looked like one and the berries looked like tiny Christmas ornaments. She said it was Mother Natures very own Christmas tree.

She had to cross a stream with a pretty stone bridge. The stream wasn't frozen solid and the water laughed as it ran over the rocks along its banks. There were even a few tiny minnows swimming and playing. Missy wanted to play to, but she couldn't stop, there were places to go and things to do for the party with her friends.

Missy had walked for a long time and was starting to get tired and hungry, so she looked for a nice spot to take a break. Blueberry was looking as well and pretty soon they saw an opening off the path where there was a holly bush and a fallen tree for her to sit on.

 She told Blueberry that the holly would look really nice in bowls at the party. She sat down, had a sandwich and when she was done she opened the pretty bag and put in a lot of holly branches. Then she and Blueberry continued on their way. Missy kept talking to Blueberry telling him about the party.

Granny and Grampa bear were having the party so all the little bears could get together and have some fun during the long cold winter.
Cindy Lou, George and Joe were going to be there. Even cousins Mary and Marsha were coming from the next forest over. Jessie, and Brutus and Bruno were also expected. Missy had never met some of the bears that were invited and she was looking forward to seeing everyone. The more she talked about the party the faster she walked.

There was to be dancing with music by the BooBop Jazz Bears. Missy didn't know how Granny and Grampa got the most popular group to come to their party but she was glad they did.

All the adult bears were bringing food so it was to be a big potluck dinner. Those were the best kind of meals; since everyone always made their best and favourite food. Once they were done eating they'd all be really fat.
The walk went by so fast that when she stopped for breath she realized that Granny and Grandpa's house was just around the corner. She started running when she saw the yard, it was full of bikes and sleds and bears, she just could wait to get there. .

The littlest ones were making snow bears and snow forts. The older ones were having a snowball fight. Everyone was laughing and having a really good time.

As Missy go to the yard everyone ran up to hug her. It was like coming home after a long trip. Granny was standing in the doorway and Missy went in with her to help arrange the holly branches around the room and the fireplace.

The big dining room was full of tables, chairs and food. The living room and parlour were opened up together and the Jazz band was warming up.

Missy saw Sue her special friend from school, they went outside to see what was going on and to talk. They walked out to the barn and watched the horses who were inside where it was warm. It would be too cold for them to stay outside until the party was over.

Sue told Missy that her family was going to go on a holiday to the mountains for two weeks. She was going to learn how to ski.
Missy thought that would be so much fun and wished she could go too. But she knew she couldn’t since she had promised Mrs. Bruno she would baby sit her young twins while Mrs. Bruno was at work. Missy was saving up her money for a really nice present for her granny's birthday. She had almost enough, with the babysitting she would be able to pick it up really soon.

It was time to go back into the house as the band had started playing and they could hear people starting to dance. So they held hands and ran towards the door.

Monday, January 16, 2012

What to do in the winter

For those of you living in an area of the world where sunny warm days are the norm for most of the year getting children outside is not a great hardship.
But for those who like me live where in the winter we have at least 3' of snow and minus 20F it takes a bit more ingenuity to get them enthused about leaving the warm house.
Heck it takes a lot to convince  us to get out of the house and we have definite things to do out there. Like grocery shopping.
First you have to convince them that you would really like a snowman standing in the yard.
Then get the snowsuits and touques on find the mittens and boots.
Remember to make sure they have all gone to the bathroom before you get all the outside gear on.

When you get outside start on the snowman but also have other things to do.
Our front yard has about 12' of flat area and then a slope that goes down to the road of about 70' so it makes a good area to go sliding. There is  a row of trees and a large bank left by snow plows so little chance of them sliding out onto the road.

My grandson one year said but we don't have a sled. Not a major problem.
I had him sit down in the snow and gave him a push. Nylon snowsuits are very slippery and make great sleds in a pinch.

So now you have been out for about 20 minutes and you are exhausted and cold but they want to stay out longer.
So 15 minutes later you start with the treats inside. Would you like some hot chocolate, no response so you up the anti. We can have peanut butter cookies and hot chocolate with marshmallows in it.
Aren't you cold yet?  Grandma is kind of cold so can we go in and come out later?
After another 10 minutes and being told by the children you love dearly that only old people get cold, you say times up we are going in. After all you are in charge here. Right?

Now this little foray into the cold has taken about 2 hours, you are tired cold and think you will never get warm and you still have to get out the cookies and hot chocolate.
At times like this just remember they are going home in a few days make it bearable.

You can sit and remember the visit while you watch the snow storm outside your window while you sit in your easy chair with the cat curled up on your lap.
Missing them as much as you do most of the time can be put off for a few days while you enjoy the memories and attempt to get warm again.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A few simple recipes and a few ideas to help with meals.

We all want to spend time with our guests no matter the age, instead of spending lots of time in the kitchen.
Here are some simple things to do to get you out of the kitchen and into the fun stuff.

Pancakes for breakfast can be a fast and easy meal.
Make your pancake batter from scratch or a mix as you normally do.
Now instead of frying them on the stove pour the batter into an edged cookie sheet.
You can sprinkle the top with fresh fruit or bacon and shredded ham and you know it will be in all the pancakes evenly.
Bake them at 375 for about 15 minutes to make sure they brown a bit on the top.
They will puff up a bit and that incorporates the berries into the cake.
When done simply cut them into nice size pieces serve with any topping you like.
You will be out of the kitchen while they bake and the mixing and prep time is 5 min.

Here is one for cooking bacon. Not faster to cook but easier on the clean up.
Put bacon in a single layer on a tin foil covered cookie sheet.
Cook in a 375 -400 degree oven and bake until crispy.
No spatters on stove and you have freed up about 10 minutes to do other things.
The bacon isn't all curled up so it makes nice sandwiches especially toasted bacon and tomatoe ones.

When you know you are having company for say a week before they arrive make up a pot of potatoes and another of  macaroni. Keep these in the fridge and you can quickly make up potatoe salad or use them for homefries for a breakfast.
The macaroni can be made for macaroni salad or into macaroni and cheese casserole.
Quick and easy as you don't have to wait to cook it and then cool it before you can use them.
Do the same with rice and it can be part of a chinese meal or added to a soup.
Fried rice is better with day old rice. Less moisture and it absorbs the flavours better.
One dish for the meal is almost ready before you start.

Now I am sure that everyone has heard of sloppy joes.
Here is a different recipe with no tomatoe sauce.
Brown the hamburger in a skillet and when browned add a can of mushroom soup. Just half a can of water.
Mix this and lay out the bottom half of the buns in a shallow roaster. Put the meat mixture on the buns add the tops cover the pan with tin foil after you have used up all the meat even putting it on the top of the sandwiches. Turn oven to 350 and bake for about 10 min. This is just to let the steam warm the buns really.
Serve it with what ever you like but french fries go great with youngsters.
Messy as all get out but a great meal. Ketchup is the only topping you really need. But a lot of napkins is a good idea.

So when feeding youngsters think back to what you and your own children enjoyed. Add a few changes and go for it.
Children never really change so what yours liked will probably be a hit.
If you have any you would care to share please feel free to add them in the comments box.

Sometimes you have to be creative.

What do you serve for meals when you are alone with your grandchildren for a visit of a few days?
If you are like me, you want to make the meals for the most part healthy. But you also want the children to enjoy fun food at the same time. Easy is a definite plus and no hassles are a must.
Hassles could be Sean wants hot dogs, Mia wants a hamburger and Cameron wants a peanut butter sandwich. Mom and dad even though they are not there, want nutritious.

What is a grandma to do?

One idea would be to print out a menu and let each child pick from that what is to be lunch and supper.
If it can all be done on the bbq set it up and cook 2 hot dogs a couple burgers. For the peanut butter lover you could comprimise and make some peanut butter cookies for desert along with ice cream.

A bag of potato chips and a burger or hot dog with pickles and carrot sticks is quite a respectable meal.

Another meal choice could be individual pizzas. Use an english muffin or flat bread crust, put on the sauce and let each child choose what toppings to put on their own pizza.

This is good because you get to talk with them as they make them up, and they can even make one for you. Who knows you might like mustard and pepperoni as a change. You are also teaching them to choose things that taste good to them yet are also healthy, and how to make a meal. When they get older they can do it entirely without supervision.

As an older and wiser person, you know that there will be times when they will just say I don't know. When that happens every suggestion from you will get a ho hum response. So be prepared.

Have an emergency kit in the freezer.

This could be a package of chicken nuggets, tater tots or french fries. Fish sticks are also good if they do not have an aversion to fish like some people do. Hard to disguise fish no matter the packaging. Weiners and frozen burgers are also good.

Actually any food that can be eaten with the fingers are great for children.

They also like anything they can dip. So fresh vegetables and fruit, cut up finger size with a fancy dip or salad dressing is good for a snack or for a meal.

You could try introducing new foods to them. My go to line for new foods is "did you know your dad and uncle Dan really liked this when they were little."  another is "Your dad loved this, but your Uncle Dan never did. So try it and let me know who is right."  Most little ones enjoy doing things their parents did when they were the same age. What better place to learn about things like that than at grampa and grandmas.

One visit all three of my eldest grandchildren wanted french toast that you could dip. A fairly new product, totally new to me and the small town we live in. So new in fact that the stores didn't have any.

So I decided to try making it from scratch. Not a huge success because it wouldn't crisp up enough for good dripping. After the attempt we all decided that pancakes were a better idea for the next day.

If you're making pancakes, make coin size ones. These can be picked up and dipped and giving 4 little ones is better than really big ones. Save the leftovers and put peanut butter or honey on them later for a cold snack.

Now you have a few ideas that may help with the feeding of your little visitors, but keep in mind that there will be meals that just do not go over well.

Don't panic! they are there for a week or two and they will not starve or die of malnutrition.This is a holiday and they want to have fun and so do you. So relax and if a couple meals get sent to the leftovers for later, big deal.

Just have good snacks for when they are hungry. Peanut butter, kraft dinner hot dogs are also good for a meal or two. Canned pasta in funny shapes seem to be tasty to youngsters. So have them on hand for those picky meal times.

Keep it fun for all of you and enjoy your visitors you are grampa and grandma so you don't have to enforce all the rules.

That is one of the main rules for being grandma.

Friday, January 6, 2012

What does Grandma Know?

The title sort of says it all.

Grandma's think they know it all and like to have bragging rights on how well their children have done and what geniuses their grandchildren are. All because of what grandma knows.

But in reality, are the things we know out of date or just plain silly in today's society?

Are we simply making life difficult for our children's spouses?

When we talk about making play dough to our grandchildren and they think it would be great to do, does this make life more chore filled for our DIL's who can go to the store and buy all sorts of colours and gadgets to go with the play dough? I think in a way that we are.

With schedules filled with work, housekeeping, laundry and activities for the child, who has time to stand over the pot on the stove making play dough when they should be making dinner.

It does not last as long as the commercial stuff and when it gets into a rug it is there for all time as a reminder as to why we stopped making it. We remember the good things but memory is selective and the bad times never seem to be so bad. Blue hard lumps in a grey carpet just don't seem so bad 20 years down the road.

When we think we have found the perfect gift for our darlings, we must be careful. I think back to that great Christmas gift Uncle Ken bought my sons many years ago.

I remember the fun we had walking on the furniture for 2 weeks while a 6’ long 4’ wide 3’ tall G.I. Joe aircraft carrier was sitting in the middle of the living room floor, because we had no place large enough to hold it. There was also a Christmas tree, presents and several extra people the entire Christmas season.

Maybe just maybe the large Barbie house that takes up ¾ of your granddaughter’s room is not such a good idea.

I guess the first piece of advice from Grandma Knows would be to think back on gifts you liked for your children from their grandparents. As well as the gifts they liked, but you hated for whatever reason and give accordingly.

Laughing and happy grandchildren are great, but continued love of your children is also important.