Archives for August 2013

More Grandbaby Photos

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I’ve been holding onto these for awhile…finally getting them posted. A few of them turned out dark.

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With Aunt Mary – And She Is Named After Her Too, Cheyanne Mary 🙂 (middle name)

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Grandma was trying to get a pic with all 3 of us!!!

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livelaughlove

Kids and Gardening

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Since I was very young I remember my mom and grandmothers having gardens. They would grow flowers and vegetables. My mom would often ask us what kind of vegetable we wanted to plant and raise all on our own. She would help us of course but we would be responsible for planting, feeding, and watering. It was so exciting to watch those vegetables grow! My favorite was especially exciting since I always picked corn and it got so tall. It was taller than I was at that age. Many times my corn would fail but it was still so much fun to raise. Another favorite of mine is tomatoes and I have had my ups and down there over the years but I keep trying still.

There is just something about working in the garden with your children that brings you closer together. Just time spent doing something mutually gratifying tends to bring families closer. I know that in my family, even if we are just working to trim hedges, mow, weed, or whatever, if we do it as a family it makes it easier and more enjoyable. We all share in the appreciation of how our lawn or garden looks and enjoy showing off our harvest. Kids have always been amazed by a sprouting seed. Probably every one of us has planted a seed in a cup in Kindergarten or First grade.

Remember?

My mom babysat my children when they were small and they would take walks or hikes and discuss the names of trees, flowers, and plants in the area. My kids even learned the names of the different grasses and how they grew in our neck of the woods. I was often shocked by one or both of my children when they spotted a flower and told me what it was. My mother was always teaching them every thing she knew as they walked along. She loves the out of doors and gardening; she loves a well manicured yard. She expressed this to them as they would walk the neighborhood. Sometimes it would backfire on her when they were little.

You know how kids blurt things out, “Grandma, they sure need to mow their lawn!”

Both my daughter and my son have a love for
flowers and beautiful landscaping
now that they are older. My son has taken a special interest in landscaping lately, he is twenty-one. He has been surprising me with his skills. This year he has planted a vegetable garden in the back yard, along with a cumquat tree (which he loved as a child), and brought in some mosquito repelling plants as well. He went to his aunt’s house the other day and came home with a small Golden Rain tree that he saw in her yard, she had several of them so she let him pull it up. We did not think it was going to make because it looked dead as a doornail but yesterday he took me out and showed me that it had new growth. It was alive!

His vegetables are doing really well; he has tomatoes, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, strawberries, green onion, potatoes, and even some corn. He has one cherry tomato plant and it has been producing tomatoes regularly and they have a really great flavor. He is learning more and more about fertilization methods and really taking responsibility for his garden. His chickens like it too….yep, chickens. He brought home four chicks about eight weeks ago and now there are three very large hens and a rooster! The latter of which we have to bring in the house every night because he is cocka-ing but not yet doodling, it is quite funny actually but also quite loud!

Okay, back to gardening. Over this past summer it got really hot here in Texas and a nice large tree we had out front died and I was heart broken. After awhile my son cut it down and got rid of the stump and we had nothing. He has since planted a couple of banana trees which I did not think I was going to like but so far so good and he added some pretty spring flowers around the base and it really set it off. We have had two rose bushes in the front yard for quite some time that would give us an occasional bloom, one with an exquisite smell and beauty, and the other just a beautiful rose. Somehow my son, who has little interest in anything but his truck and computers, got these things to bloom like crazy!


He also went out and purchased some black mulch which I was puzzled about when I first saw him bring it home. But when he got through lining our Crape Myrtle bushes, roses, and Gardenia plants along with the perennials he planted our yard was gorgeous! We even have had requests on who did our landscaping! He has also been laying sod and getting rid of the Dollarweed, Crab Grass, and other unwanted weeds. He does get a bit overzealous when he fertilizes, we have a few burnt places in the yard, but overall he has done a spectacular job and I am quite proud.

As you can see when you give your grandchildren a love for gardening when they are small it carries over into their adult life. My daughter is a writer and does not have as much time as my son does because he is in college but she too loves plants and knows just about every one by name. She helped my son when he was building his raised garden beds and his two story chicken coop. I know chickens are not gardening but when you give a child a love for the outdoors and growing things from seed it pretty much automatically turns into a love for growing other things.

He can not wait for them to start laying and neither can I

Here are some grand parenting tips for you: If you do not have a large yard you can start your grandkids off by growing plants and vegetables indoors. You can read books about gardening to your grandkids. When they are small you can pretty much read anything to your grandchildren because they just love to hear your voice. Teach them the names of flowers, plants, and vegetables and how to care for them. Take them on nature walks and show them the different kinds of plants. If you do not know the names yourself you can buya book and you can look them up together. Even if you do not have a bent towards growing plants, flowers, and vegetables you never know how it may help your grandchild. They may excel in this area and it is a very healthy way to spend time, especially as a young person.

Little did I know that when my mother was teaching my children all about gardening that one of my children would grow up with a heart for making all things beautiful.

Author Bio

Nancy Parker is a regular contributor to www.enannysource.com, and she loves to write about wide range of subjects like health, Parenting, Child Care, Babysitting, nanny background check tips etc. You can reach her @ nancy.parker015 @ gmail.com

My Star – Story Of a Rescued Kitty

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Being the animal lover that I am…and I love cats, I wanted to share this with you 🙂

I found this touching story in my inbox this morning!

From
Alicia – Sarasota, FL

I really didn’t want a cat at the time after loosing my Pristine 2 years earlier but a friend of mine was going to look at some kittens that were advertised on Craigslist and I guess when she got there she called me. I could tell that she was frantic and she begged me to go take a look at the kittens. My husband and I drove 30 minutes to Ellenton where the kittens were located and took a look.

While all the other kittens were playing and having fun there was this small grey tabby who was very thin and off by herself.

The lady insisted that I didn’t want her due to the fact that she was a loner, but the little girl stole my heart


I went over and wiggled my finger at her and she flopped on her back giving me her belly. That was it she was coming home with me and my husband agreed. After a few days and a vet check Starla’s personality came out.

She was feisty, playful, and loved sitting on my shoulder while we were in the car

There was never a dull moment with her, especially now. Despite the 4 times we moved and me having my hours cut back Star has been there through it all rolling around chasing her tail, attacking me from under the blankets, curling up with me at night, chewing me out if I stayed out to late or I am not in bed when she is ready to go to bed, and flopping on her back for belly rubs.

I honestly do not know what I would do if Starla wasn’t in my life. 🙂

She is my best friend and entertainer

I love you my little Star!

Alicia
Sarasota, FL

Copyright © The Animal Rescue Site.greatergood.com :: Grandma’s Home Blogger Place :: All Rights Reserved

The Basics That Children Learn In Grade School – Is Home Schooling a Better Option For Your Lifestyle?

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When I started to write this blog post, I had no thoughts about discussing homeschooling. It just goes to show you that a blog post can change gears in a blink of an eye while writing. lol 😉

What does a child basically learn in the first few years of grade school? Is it worth it to send them off to a public school? Would your child be better off if they were homeschooled?

Homeschooling certainly has been in my thoughts while imagining our grandchildren starting a public school. A public school is not painting a pretty picture in my eyes; I can tell you that for sure! In today’s day and age, there is a growing population of children that ARE being homeschooled; and with very good reason.

This world has been turned up on its head with what’s been going on in the schools today…and not only schools. These type of crimes are going on all around us; literally everywhere! Kidnappings, shootings; and a whole slew of other things that I dare not mention here on the blog. It’s enough to make you vomit at the sheer thought of all the madness!

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In hindsight, I remember so vividly when my son got on the bus the first day of school. I just didn’t feel like a good Mom while walking back up our l-o-n-g drive way after the school bus drove away. By the time I got back up to the house, the tears were falling like the rain on a profoundly cloudy day.

I was so worried he would be bullied just like I was in school…I mean he was so little at tender, school-age. I wanted to drive our son to school myself.

However, he was thrilled with excitement about getting on that big yellow bus!

Of course, that’s all he saw was that big bus, and not the big picture that Mom was looking at! LOL

Life royally sucked that day! I felt bad as a parent and a Mom for not taking him (at least the first day). Life would certainly be a whole lot better if bullying was the ONLY thing to be concerned about today. Now, we worry if our children will be returned to us at the end of any given day!

Let’s Discuss What is Actually Taught in Grade School

* Motor Skills – Jump roping, hopscotch and throwing a ball around will for sure teach your child (for the most part) proper motor skills. I realize there is a bit more to it than the 3 things I’ve listed above; however, I think mommies and daddies could handle those tasks, and choose to homeschool.

* Socialization – In order to learn to socialize and get along with others, there needs to be other children around. That issue could be solved fairly easily with trade-off-neighborhood-homeschooling days. There comes a time in every person’s life where they’ll have to connect and make friends where Mom and Dad are not around. It’s called, “Independent Socialization.” Everyone needs to learn to get along with everyone, make friends, and just generally “make their own way” through life. It’s much better for everyone involved if each person learns proper socialization skills and also, properly apply them.

* Manners – Same thing with proper manners; this could be taught by mommies and daddies or perhaps an aunt or uncle, or even grandparents. It’s almost like “socialization;” however, people need to learn to be polite and peaceful with everyone they come in contact with, and not just with friends. Learn to say, “thank you” and “please,” and so forth.

*Self Esteem – Self esteem is taught from a very early age…from infancy even. When your baby takes his fist step or roles over, clap and praise them for it! Learn to praise your children for every single thing that they do or accomplish. Children need this praise and feedback from their parents or guardians in order to feel like they are acceptable and they are also a good child. They need this acceptance from YOU!

* Compassion for Others – We all learn to have respect and compassion for other human beings. Let’s face it, we all want to be treated fairly, correct? We should be taught to treat others like WE would like to be treated ourselves. We are all humans, and we all like to be liked, and treated with compassion.

Kindness is needed as well

For Example: If you saw someone out in the cold without a coat, wouldn’t you want that person to be warm? If you had a coat that you were not wearing, it’s a kind gesture to let them wear the coat. This is also just plain compassion for another person, other than ourselves.

* The Basics in Math and English – We all need to learn the basics of math and english. English is required so we can all communicate with each other without difficulty. If you come from a background where you don’t speak English, you should learn it. Same with other languages. If you surrounded yourself with people that only spoke Spanish, then yes…learn Spanish so you can communicate freely.

The basics of math is required in life as well; whether or not we don’t like to think so. Counting money and purchasing both involve math. Basic ingredients in a recipe even involves math to measure out each ingredient properly. We are always counting, aren’t we? How old we are, how much medicine we take, how many flowers to plant in our yards, how many pairs of jeans or socks we have, and even sheep we count when we can’t sleep. lol

So see; math IS definitely required with living. I think we’ve all heard this: “Why are we taught math in school? We don’t need it or use it.” We use math every single day of the week, so we all must learn at least the basics!

If you intend on homeschooling, it is highly suggested that you take courses in math and English; as when your children approach 5th or 6th grade, your children’s needs go beyond just the basics.

Unless you are a whiz at both. 😉

* History and Science – History and science are 2 other requirements for schooling and learning. I skimmed by with both! LOL…I wasn’t the least bit interested in either one. Taking courses with these is firmly a suggestion. However, if you are a genius as with math and English, then you have no worries. lol

* Physical Education – Yes, PE is a bit more than just motor skills that I’ve mentioned above. PE teaches us about being healthy and active while enjoying life. However, it could be and IS taught at home. In PE, we learn to play sports games. Soft ball, volleyball, soccer and even square dancing…which I hated! lol Oh and tumbling I hated that with the passion!

As parents or guardians, we all have the ability to teach at least the basics of all these elements to our children, (for the most part). However, if you are mentally impaired, of course that is the exception.

Homeschooling is indeed an invaluable option. It’s all a personal preference on how our lifestyles are and what we choose to be acceptable and doable. If you desire to homeschool your children, you have technology to thank for looking up all kinds of information and tutorials with teaching.

Of course, there is always the option of hiring a private teacher; again, personal preference. Your children WOULD be safer learning at home rather than in a public school. It’s a personal choice. A choice that more parents are considering as a safe way to educate their kids with peace of mind. 🙂

I would love to hear your thoughts and tips about homeschooling!

livelaughlove

Copyright © Tammy Embrich :: Grandma’s Home Blogger Place :: All Rights Reserved

Saving Money Cooking for a Group

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This of course applies to grandparents as well. 😉

As a parent, I know just how much kids, especially teens, can eat. It seems like they are forever standing in front of the refrigerator and moaning about how there is ‘nothing’ to eat. After many years of trying to please them and always having snacks on hand, I realized something. All this snacking was wasting a lot of money and made them less likely to eat the meals we prepared for dinner.

While a snack every once in a while is fine, eating snacks all day long can get expensive fast. That is why my family has decided to limit snacks and focus on eating healthy home cooked meals. However as the economy has struggled so has my family. We are all trying to stretch the budget in various ways, and one of the ways we have discovered to be very effective is to stretch our dinners.

Here are some of the ways we make our food go further:

Using healthy fillers – Many times when you cook a recipe it can easily be stretched by adding fillers. Fillers are cheaper foods that can be added to a recipe without affected the flavor. Things like rice, potatoes, oatmeal, bread crumbs, beans, tofu, and even some vegetables can be added to dishes to make the meal go further. When I cook hamburgers, for example, I often make the meat go further by adding in some oatmeal. Not only does it give the burgers a great texture but it is also more filling, healthier, and enables me to make more burgers for later use. When I make shepherd’s pie or other casserole dishes I often add nutrition and make it go further by tossing in diced carrots, chopped onions, sliced green beans or peas. I also serve meals with a salad and other healthy and inexpensive side dishes. This allows us to fill up on those things and just eat a small amount of the main dish or meat. Items like baked potatoes and rice are a hit on everyone’s list and are very cheap and easy to make. Even bread can be served alongside meals to fill up hungry teens.

Making one pot meals – As I said, I cook a lot of casseroles. I love those meals because you can throw everything together and cook it all at once. You can also clean up very easily. One pot meals are easy to stretch by adding in extra veggies and filler and cutting down on meat. For example, I love to make a Mexican casserole that is full of flavor and yet only uses one pound of hamburger to feed up to eight hungry people. In addition, I add black beans, tortilla strips and veggies to make the meal stretch without having to use extra meat. One pot meals also help our electric bill. Instead of cooking three things on the stove and one in the oven I can just bake everything at once and be done with it. On hot days, I will even use a slow cooker to reduce energy use and heat buildup in the home while cooking. It is very easy to toss everything in before I go to work and have a tasty meal when I get home.

Cooking several meals at a time – Another way to stretch our food we discovered was to cook several meals at once. For example, we often buy a whole chicken, which is much cheaper than just the parts, and cook it. Then we separate the cooked chicken into baggies for separate meals. One can be for chicken enchiladas, the next for chicken salad, and the next for chicken casserole. By cooking and separating the meat ahead of time, we can complete our meals faster and use less meat in the process. We can even mix up two casseroles at once. It is just as easy to double a recipe and then freeze half as it is to make a single batch. Then later on you have a meal ready to go instead of being tired and ordering a pizza.

Reducing portions – Speaking of reducing the amount of meat in a recipe, you also need to keep in mind what proper meal proportions are. The majority of your meal should not be meat. It is not only expensive to eat that way, but it is also unhealthy. Instead focus on filling your plate with fruits, vegetables and healthy grains. Many times we feel like we are not full until we are stuffed. However, that is not a good way to measure satisfaction. Try to limit your family’s portion sizes and it will save you money and keep them healthy. You can also substitute healthy and inexpensive items like fruit or pudding for dessert instead of expensive pastries or fatty ice cream.

Keeping it simple – As you can see, even dessert can be a simple and yet fulfilling experience. By keeping the food you eat every simple you can reduce the amount of fat and sugar that goes into it and also how much it costs. While it may seem fun to cook with exotic ingredients you will find that it is a strain on your budget. Instead, substitute in simple foods that are inexpensive as well. A plain baked potato can be turned into a gourmet meal with just a few healthy additions like green onion. Rice has a variety of ways it can be prepared for a healthy meal. You do not need to have five courses for dinner either. Try to limit the amount of food you serve so that everyone just has enough to be satisfied. It may take some experimentation, but you can find a method that works for your family. This not only reduces the amount of money you spend preparing food, but it also reduces the food you waste through uneaten leftovers.

Eating seasonally – When you think about making your meals and you are looking to reduce your costs you should think about eating seasonally. This means that you plan your meals around the foods that are available in your area at this time. Things like pumpkins are on sale in the fall and strawberries in summer. By planning your meals around what is on sale and what is grown locally, you can save a lot of money and help the environment by reducing transportation costs. Seasonal food also tastes better and is generally fresher and better for you than foods that are shipped half way around the world.

Meal planning – One thing that has been a lifesaver for my family is meal planning. Instead of being tired and hungry when we got home from work and then trying to throw something together, my spouse and I started to plan our meals ahead of time. By looking at what is on sale at the store, what is seasonal, and what our family enjoys we have been able to set up a weekly meal plan. Every week we decide what we want to eat. We look up recipes and write down the items that we will need. This has also limited unnecessary trips to the store.

Spending an hour or two on the weekends chopping and cooking saves us tons of time when preparing meals later in the week. We also do not throw in unhealthy frozen meals or spend money on fast food because we are too tired to think of something to make. We can just come home and have the recipe right there and the ingredients all ready to go.

As you can see there are many benefits to stretching your cooking. It doesn’t matter if you are cooking for two or for eight, the same idea stands. You can make food go much further if you plan ahead and eat in proper proportions.

Author Bio:

Ken holds a master’s in business leadership from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College. As president of morningsidenannies.com, Ken’s focus is helping Houston-based parents find the right childcare provider for their family. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his three children and his wife.

Planning a Daytrip With Your Grandkids: How to Choose a Museum

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Some Good Grandparenting Tips

When you’ve got the grandkids for the weekend, you want to spend quality time with them, and taking them to a museum is a great way to do that. But not all museums were designed with kids in mind – pick the wrong one, and you could have some grouchy grandchildren.
Following is some advice about how to choose a museum your grandchildren will enjoy visiting.

Understand their interests

Children explore their world with their hands, so find a museum that offers hands-on activities. And remember that children of different ages will be interested in different things. For example, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has a hands-on fabrication lab – the “Wanger Family Fab Lab” that offers different workshops to appeal to different age groups. Whereas teens enjoy the 60-minute 3D printing workshop, 8-year-olds are probably better suited to the 20-minute sticker-design course.

Static History vs. Living History

Museums can help children learn about history, but only if information is presented in a way that appeals to kids. Which would your grandchildren find more interesting: A butter churn, with a sign that describes how butter used to be made, or an actor dressed in colonial attire, using the butter churn and explaining how it works? Children will almost always be more interested in a living history museum than a history museum that features stationary objects behind glass windows. And at sites like the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Oklahoma, or the Pioneer Arizona Living History Museum, children can wander through re-creations of authentic old villages.

Best Bet: Children’s Museums

You can find museums across the United States that were designed specifically for children. Characterized by colorful, wide open spaces and plenty of hands-on experiences, children’s museums can keep kids entertained for hours. Some of these museums have so much to offer, they can’t be adequately explored in a single day, but they make great destinations for weekend excursions.

Regularly ranking among the top museums in the U.S. – and by far the largest – the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has a dinosaur exhibit called “The Dinosphere,” that allows kids to participate in fossil digs and see full-scale replicas of dinosaurs. You’d definitely need two days to cover the Dinosphere and the rest of the museum.

Plan Together

You may be perfectly content to stroll the halls of a museum for hours on end, but kids have shorter attention spans – and shorter legs – so you’ll need to plan your trip to accommodate them.

Once you’ve found a museum to take your grandchildren to, ask them to help you plan the trip. You can look at the museum’s website together and determine what exhibits they’d like to see, or what activities they’d like to do.

When you plan in advance, you’re less likely to get tangled up in fussy debates at the museum about how to spend your time. As you plan, look for nearby eateries where you can take the grandkids for lunch. (Many museums have cafes, but they tend to be a little pricy).

Finally, remember that everyone – yourself included – should wear comfortable walking shoes, because nothing ruins a day at the museum quite like aching or blistered feet!

Danielle has visited many museums throughout the U.S. that have helped her learn more about the country and its past – from the unconquered and unconquerable people of the Chickasaw Nation, to the evolution of NASA’s space program.