3 Frugal Gifts For Your College Bound Grandchild -Guest Post


So your grandchild will be going to college in the fall. While you want to send him or her off with a neat (but most importantly useful) gift to use while in school, you’re a tad strapped for cash. But no worries, the items college students need the most (aside from a laptop) are typically inexpensive. For a few frugal gift suggestions, continue reading below.



Daily Planner

Your grandchild won’t thank you enough if you send him or her off with a daily planner. These small booklets are sure to help keep your grandchild stay organized to the max. Not only do they help him or her remember important project and test dates, but it can also be used to help remember other important dates as well like birthdays, other social gatherings, and bill due-dates. They’re also great for creating shopping and grocery lists—after all, sometimes students don’t remember what they need until they’re in the middle of a lecture. They’ll need to be able to write it down immediately or they’ll forget. You can either purchase an inexpensive one or if you’re feeling really creative (and frugal) make one from scratch.

Coffee Thermos/ Reusable Water Bottle

Caffeine is typically a huge part of any college student’s lifestyle—they drink it so that they’re wake in time for their 8 a.m. class and use it to endure late-night study sessions. But typically students are on the go and don’t actually have time to sit down and drink a nice hot cup. Instead, they need something that can make their coffee portable. That’s why a coffee thermos for your coffee drinking grandchild is one of the best gifts you can buy— and sold for $10 at most stores, it’s quite a bargain gift. If you want to help keep your grandchild hydrated as well you might want to add a reusable water bottle too—they take it on campus or to the gym etc.

Laundry Gift Basket

Last but not least, one of the most useful gifts your grandchild can appreciate is a laundry gift basket—you can add laundry detergent, dryer sheets, perhaps even a roll of quarters. If you want to be more economically savvy about the whole situation, you can definitely make a huge batch of DIY laundry soap and store some in a jar for your grandchild and keep the rest for personal use. You can also make some DIY cleaners if you want—college students need to keep their dorms and apartments cleaned too.

Of course these are only a few suggestions. Does anyone have any more?

Lauren Bailey is a freelance blogger who loves writing about education, new technology, lifestyle and health. As an education writer, she works to research and provide information for those comparing the best online colleges and courses and welcomes comments and questions via email at blauren 99 @gmail.com.

Connecting with your College-aged Grandchild – Guest Post







Most teenagers spend their high school years anticipating graduation and the independence that will follow. As much as teens would like to stand alone in their college years, students are more successful in college if they have a strong support system at home.

You, as a grandparent, are so important to the development of your grandchild’s values and goals. Your relationship with your grandchild, at any age, can help establish his or her sense of self, of roots and of tradition.

Members of Generation Y or the Millennial generation are great at connecting with other people. This probably doesn’t surprise you, especially if you’ve witnessed how much time they spend on their phones. (Not even talking! Just staring at a screen!) However, studies also show that because this generation spends so much time breaking down boundaries to connect with others, these kids don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what defines them.

They are receiving an overwhelming amount of messages: from television and the Internet, their friends and their professors. Every day, college-aged kids wade through thousands of different lifestyle options, and they need your support. They may not know it, but they do!
They need structure, and they need values they can depend on.

College is a process of maturation, a coming-of-age stage that demands a lot of independence. Your grandchild is growing into an adult, and this is the time for you to begin relating to him or her as an adult. This is a great time to become a mentor, to share stories to establish mutual respect. Honesty is important. Remind them that you’ve lived at their age. Undoubtedly you’ve made some mistakes, but you have had years to reflect and grow. Passing along wisdom is one of the greatest gifts you can offer a child.

The tough part is getting them to pay attention. When trying to connect with a college-aged student across a distance (via phone, mail or e-mail) think of how you would approach a distracted child. I recommend giving them something small to consider, something that doesn’t demand a lot of effort, but still prompts them to consider their roots and their future. Sharing is the key.

For example, you could send your college-aged student a snack pack full of goodies, and that’s very thoughtful; but you could also send them a pack of blank “Thank You” cards and a sheet of stamps with a suggestion such as, “If you forget those who have helped you, they may have forgotten you when you need help again. Gratitude is always remembered and appreciated. I’m sure your professors would enjoy hearing how they’ve helped you this semester.”

Because we are older, we have spent more time as “Givers,” and we understand the value of Thank You notes more than a young person could. It is never too early or too late to teach a child the value of a formal expression of gratitude, and by encouraging your grandchild to send a Thank You card, you are also encouraging him to form healthy relationships with other mentors. Sending items or sharing personal stories is a great way to connect with a student during his busy schedule.

When your grandchildren are in your home, do not hesitate to recruit them on a project. Building and making things together is an essential part of establishing roots. Who else can teach your granddaughter to quilt or bake an apple pie? Who else can teach your grandson to split wood or build a fence? Who else can teach the patience and hard work of gardening?

Ask them hard questions about their schoolwork and their future, but only when you’re face-to-face. This will require them to focus and will make it difficult for them to evade the question. If they get frustrated, give them space. Later, ask them what was upsetting about the question. Listen and then ask if you can help. Even if you can’t help solve the problem, just knowing about the problem can be supportive.

E-mails and even Facebook updates are a great way to connect with college students. Never forget that your grandchildren are being pulled in many different directions right now, and they may give you the attention or respect your actions merit. Be generous and forgiving, and be consistent. You may have to make a lot of effort to reach them, but later, when they reach the next level of adulthood, they will appreciate it.

Also, your grandchild’s relationship with you could give him an edge in the workplace. There is rising tension between younger and older generations, and if your grandchild has a healthy respect for tradition and the older generations, he could adapt more easily to today’s work environment.


This guest post comes courtesy of Mariana Ashley, a freelance writer who offers online colleges advice throughout the interwebs, and welcomes responses at mariana.ashley031@gmail.com.

The Best Apps for Grandparents – Guest Post



5 pieces of technology especially for Nona and Papa


No, grandpa, a smart phone is not a phone with a bow tie! It’s a small computer with calling and texting capabilities—but you were just pulling my leg like you always do…


If your grandparents are like mine, they were lined up at the Apple store for the newest 4S launch! I’m not kidding one bit, and it surprised me how open my elderly Nona and Papa were to technology—especially when I told them that I could make free long-distance calls and do the NY Times crossword puzzles on mine. It’s true; apps offer a lot for grandparents—be they designed for games, music, keeping in touch with loved ones, spoiling the grandkids, and even excelling at a hobby, like baking.


There are thousands of apps available for download, but don’t trust me, trust the experts! Here are my grandparent’s favorite smart phone apps:


1 My Convert Lite (Free – for iPhone)


If you grandma makes the meanest apple pie this side of the boarder like mine does, then she probably spends a lot of time baking goodies for the grandkids in her kitchen. As much as my grandma likes unveiling a trusted favorite—such as coconut cream pie or her famous caramel brownies—she also likes the challenge of making new desserts for special occasions and holidays. The trouble with baking a new recipe is that it’s not stored in the memory and she must rely on a recipe that often calls for measurement conversions for ingredients like flour, milk, sugar, baking soda, etc. That’s why she uses the myConvert Lite app for various cooking conversions (i.e., mass, weight, time and temperature).


2 NYTimes Crosswords (Free – for iPhone)


My grandfather does the NY Times every morning while he enjoys his coffee and toast with jam. The only difference from a few years ago is that he now does it using his mobile phone. This app features over 6,000 classic crossword puzzles from The New York Times archive, as well as the same daily puzzles that are printed in the print newspaper. He even competes with his friends using the online leader boards. All archived puzzles are free, and if you can’t live without the new, daily crossword, you can subscribe (after your one-week free trail expires) to keep receiving your daily puzzle on your smart phone. The coolest thing about this app is the settings—choose to write your answers using the pen or pencil tool (which both look genuine), and solve your puzzles on the grid or directly from the clue’s list. And if you’re really stuck, you can even get a little hint from the related clues.


3. TuneIn Radio (Free – for Android & iPhone)


If you’re jonesing for some Frank Sinatra or Louis Armstrong, you can always find the right tunes on TuneIn Radio. This app offers live feeds from over 50,000 radio stations from all over the world—including news, sports, talk radio, and your favorite classic music. This app even lets you pause, rewind, and fast forward mid-song within the last 30 minutes of streaming. And you can record the game to play back later if the grandkids come to visit mid-inning. That way you don’t miss a thing!


4. Skype (Free – for Android & iPhone)


Now when my grandfather found out that he could call me in Texas from New York for free—he almost fell off his recliner! Now he uses the Skype app to phone me for free every single Sunday afternoon. The Skype app is ideal for grandparents and elderly folks on a budget for free long-distance calling worldwide. Plus, if you separated by a great distance it’s great to use the video calling feature to see how big the grandkids are getting between visits. Just get a web cam for your computer or laptop and you’re good to go!


5. Baby Tips for Grandparents ($4.99 – for iPhone)


You might have done it once, twice, or even three times in your twenties…but caring for a baby in your senior years is a whole different story. The Baby Tips for Grandparents app helps grandparents support their children and grandchildren with loving guidance and tips. Sometimes sitting back and letting your son or daughter do it their way is difficult and it’s hard not to jump in and take over. However, the advice that this app provides will help you flourish in your new role as grandparent, providing support from a respectful distance as you welcome a new generation into your family fold.


Bio: Jane Johnson is a writer for GoingCellular, a popular site that provides cell phone related news and commentary. It also provides reviews on everything from the latest top Android phones, right down to the services offered by the popular cellphone service providers.