Monday, February 16, 2009

Craft Stick Animal Puppets

This is a very simple craft to do with kids. I used craft sticks, construction paper, string, buttons, crayons,  googly eyes, and pompoms to create different animals. The only tools needed are kid safe scissors and a glue stick.

Once they are done you can create stories with the children using their new animal puppets.

A Day with Grandma and Papa

One of our grandson's has really been wanting to spend a day with us without his baby brother. He had a day off of school today for President's Day so I had arranged about a week ago for him to come and spend the day with us until bedtime. He arrived with great excitement and wanted to start our day doing some crafts. So, that is exactly what we did. We went to my grandkids craft drawers and pulled out some supplies to create a project. We decided to create some craft stick animal puppets.

We worked on our crafts until it was time to go to lunch. The restaurant of his choice was the "star" place. Carl's Jr. where he loves their star chicken nugget kids meal! After lunch we went to see the movie  "Hotel for Dogs". He loved it. We then went and spent about an hour walking around PetSmart looking at all of the fish, birds, reptiles, cats, and rodents!

We then headed for a local water machine to fill our water bottle. He was thrilled to help his papa put in the quarters and fill the bottle. Right next door was a new donut place. I asked him if he liked donuts? I know that he loves donuts. His eyes lit up and he squealed a big yes!  He searched the entire donut case before making his final selection. We sat  in the donut shop and enjoyed our donuts together while having some great conversation.

He was anxious to get back home and work on our craft project again. We had a bit of outdoor play time then back to crafts. His boy cousins dropped by and they had a great time playing together outdoors until dinner time. 

His choice for dinner was "sucky noodles",  which is ramen soup  on his favorite plate at grandma's house and a cup of chocolate milk. After dinner he hit the shower and papa helped dry him off and get on his pajamas. He finally finished up his craft project just in time to leave for home so he could be home in time for a school night bedtime.

When he got home he told his mommy and daddy all about his day. Papa and I got a big hug and thank you as we left.  We know that this day meant a lot to the little guy and us ..... we had a really great day too!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Gift From My Valentine

My Valentine and I have been married for nearly thirty-four years. My bridal bouquet was made of yellow roses (my favorite) and since then he has always remembered that despite the holiday or occasion it's yellow roses that I love to receive. Thank you my sweet Valentine!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

My Valentine goodies and cards are ready to be delivered. I had a great time baking mini cupcakes in Valentine wrappers, whipping up a batch of delicious butter cream icing, and hand frosting and decorating a bakers dozen for each of my grown children and their families.

Once the icing was set I wrapped them in festive pink cellophane and tied them with a Valentine ribbon for a fun presentation. The Valentine cards have been sealed and I have prepared  a cute heart shaped container with a few candies inside for each of my grandchildren. 

My gifts aren't much but a little something extra to say  "I Love You" this Valentine's Day.

A BIG Valentine Surprise!

I promise this was NO set up. Just before I left on my trip I posted about "Heart Attacking" someone for Valentine's Day. Papa and I found a very happy surprise waiting for us when we returned home from our trip.

Our first clue was a long hallway that leads to our bedroom was scattered with hearts. Our bedroom door and doorknob, the bedroom walls, furniture, lamps, shutters, bathroom walls, shower walls, mirrors, my bathtub, and even the toilet were all covered in hearts of  all sizes and Valentine colors. Precious personal notes had been written by our nine little Valentines to let their grandma and papa know how much we are loved.

The welcome home surprise brought a big smile to our faces. I laughed and smiled as I read their little notes and as I pictured them in my mind choosing all of the very creative spots they had chosen to stick their hundreds of handmade hearts. 

They were all very excited to hear about our surprise and how much we enjoyed it. They all asked if we saw this one and that one that they had carefully chosen to place. They had been anticipating our return and reaction for a couple of days. Today when we all spoke after school it was very clear that they had had a lot of fun creating this very special Valentine memory for Papa and I!

It is indeed a "Heart Attack" that we will long remember as a very special time. 

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Heart Attack Someone for Valentine's Day

This is a fun thing to do anytime of the year to let someone know that they are appreciated and loved. It could be a big surprise for your grandchildren or you could help your grandchildren do it for someone else.

You first cut out dozens of hearts out of colored construction paper in all different sizes. You can have a color theme or you can use all of the colors of the rainbow! 

To "Heart Attack" someone you take all of the paper hearts and cover the space while the receiving person is away. You could do the bedroom of a child, the bedroom door of a child,  a front door to a home, or a garage door. It could even be Dad's office, Grandpa's shop, or the inside of a car.  The options are probably endless. One of my granddaughters once "heart attacked" my husbands bathroom vanity and mirror area as a surprise for him when he returned from a long day at work. It looked adorable and imagine her Papa's surprise!

You can write little notes of appreciation and love on some of the hearts too. This is a really neat thing to both give and receive. So why not give it a try this Valentines' Day?

Hint: Use the blue painters tape to hang the paper hearts. It won't damage paint, furniture, fabrics, or finishes.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

For My Nine Little Valentine's

I have hand selected a Valentine for each of my grandchildren. I plan to take them with me this week on my trip and use some of my driving time to handwrite each of them a personal note.
Some of them are duplicates this year because I thought they were so cute....but never duplicates to siblings!

I sure love my nine little Valentine's!   I'm a very blessed grandma.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Grandma Shelley is Headed to Hollywood

My husband and I just pulled together what we think is going to be a really fun trip. It is something we have never done before. After being unsuccessful at getting a last minute cruise we had hoped for, we decided to head to Hollywood for some Television show tapings. After doing some research on the Internet we have tickets to three shows. 

First on our agenda is The Price is Right. I tried to talk my husband into making ourselves shirts that read "Oldie-weds....Newly-retired" to wear to the show.  No such luck! We have had fun talking about what we would like to win on the show and playing the game of would you rather win this or that questions. I learned he would rather win a new truck over a long romantic trip!

 The following day we are going to the taping of the sitcom Gary Unmarried. We have never seen the show so I hope it is appropriate and funny.  The  following day....can you believe it? Dr. Phil!  Who would of thought I would ever get my husband to the Dr. Phil show. I guess it helps that he won't be on stage. We may also be able to squeeze in the Tonight Show one of the nights.

We lined up hotels using Hotwire to get great deals  and we "mapped quested" some of the restaurants we want to eat at.  It is amazing what you can do from your home computer these days!

Talk about spontaneous....We'll be in Hollywood with about 48 hours notice. Sooooo not like us, but very exciting!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Collecting Ideas for My Next Grandkids Camp Out

To keep a favorite tradition going I am in the creative stage of planning my next grandkids camp out. It usually happens in April before it gets too hot to sleep outdoors. I have been on the look out for fun activities and a new camping or outdoor skill of some sort to  teach as part of our time together.

We have a few things that we keep each year as part of the tradition. Those include a night hike, roasting s'mores (over our gas bbq), helping Papa put up the tent, creating personal hand washing stations,  and making their own foil dinners that we cook in the indoor oven. 

I would like to add dutch oven cooking but that would require a very watchful eye to keep all of my little campers safe from the hot coals. Perhaps, my new camping skill could be fire safety & dutch oven cooking.  I'm just wondering if I'm brave enough to give that a try.

The camp out starts in the early afternoon on a Friday once all of the kids are home from school. The kids then go home late the following morning usually for a much needed nap. Please share your ideas on any craft, activity, or cooking idea that would work for a camp out.  I would love to hear your ideas!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Made From Scratch Pasta Dish

What shall I call my creation?  "Garlic Bow Tie Chicken Alfredo" How does that sound?
I have to say it turned out delicious and it could easily rival any dish at the Olive Garden!

My entire life as a homemaker I have shopped the grocery ads weekly and then I plan meals around what I have on hand. This practice has always served us well and we have eaten very well over the years on a modest grocery budget. This night was no exception. I wanted to find another way to fix chicken. So, looking through my pantry and in my produce drawers I came up with this combination and it really worked well. Three of us ate at home and we had leftovers the next. That was six meals  for probably under five or six dollars. ( a $90 dollar value at Olive Garden.)

Because it was my first time and from scratch I don't have an exact recipe to share. I can only tell you my process and ingredients. I cooked my 1 pound box of bow tie pasta as directed. I cut up zuchinni, red pepper, carrots, spinach and three boneless skinless chicken breasts. I sauteed the vegetables (except spinach) in a small amount of olive oil just until tender crisp. I then added the chicken strips, stirring and turning for a quick cook. I then added the spinach and cooked until just a bit wilted. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Sauce: One stick butter, minced garlic, flour, and four cups milk to make a garlic white sauce. Once thickened season with a tablespoon of chicken bouillon, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and lots of parmesan cheese (I used canned).

The first night I put the drained hot pasta on the plate, topped with the chicken vegetable mix, then topped with the sauce and sprinkled it with more parmesan cheese. It was a beautiful presentation!

For leftovers the next night, I combined it all together in a skillet and heated it through. It was just as good but not quite as pretty. 

The photo is of the leftovers the second night. I didn't know yet on the first night that it was photo and blog worthy until we had all cleaned our plates!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Grandmas Box

I heard a great idea this morning when reading another blog that I thought I would pass on. Another grandma shared that she has a "grandma box" where she keeps many of the things her grandchildren give her such as rocks, drawings, school programs that we attend, cards, and all of the little odds and end things (treasures) that they give us. I know we all make a fuss over these things when they are presented and maybe display them on our fridge or bulletin boards.

This grandma who shared her idea of the "grandma box" is thinking about making a strong impact on her grandchildren even after she is gone. She wants the box to be found by her family after her passing. She wants the things in the box to show the love she has for her grandchildren and the importance they were in her life. She also hopes that the box will bring back many memories of the time they shared here on earth.

Stay tuned: I will be creating my own "grandma box". I think it is a wonderful idea.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Blueberries "A New Favorite Thing"

A few months ago I added blueberries to my diet. I eat at least one half cup a day. I love them on a bowl of cold whole grain cereal or mixed into a bowl of hot whole grain cereal. Both ways are absolutely delicious and I know I am doing something really good for my body and brain! 

I decided to add them to my diet after my mother was diagnosed with dementia. In my reading on dementia I learned that they are a super food for the brain and that they have even been shown to repair brain damage. So, I added them to my diet as a preventive measure since the threat of dementia is now in my genes. Who knew I would fall in love with them!

I buy them frozen from Costco. They are a great deal compared to fresh in my local grocery stores (5 pound bag for just over $10). On my cold cereal I pour them on frozen. They thaw quickly and they make the milk very cold and oh so yummy. When I add them to my hot cereal I warm them up first in the microwave so that my cereal stays nice and hot. 

Do you have any other healthy ways to add blueberries to your diet?

Blueberries are in fact "a new favorite thing!"

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Forbidden Love

Our male inside kitten Izzy ( a very large 7 month old) has been receiving a nightly visitor. She sits outdoors looking as pretty as she can just hoping he could join her outdoors for a bit of romance. I'm sure Izzy would love to join her but it is a forbidden love. We as cat owners don't want to be responsible for adding to the cat population and Izzy's mother (who is half the size of her kitten) strongly agrees with us. She is sitting right behind him on one of the chairs growling her disapproval of the nightly interest in her baby boy!