Welcome to a place where we can share ideas about grandparenting, especially ways to pass spiritual values and family stories to the next generation.

Mary is the co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild's Heart.
Visit www.legacyconnection.org
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Co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild's Heart

Friday, June 27, 2008

Paper Dolls and Flannel Board Fun

Friday's Fun

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was play with paper dolls at my grandmother’s house. She would roll out big sheets of brown paper and encourage me to design a special house for the dolls.

My Nana would give me a Sears Catalog and a pair of scissors. I would cut out furniture and decorations for the paper house, and would glue the items in place on the brown paper. I remember this as being so much fun!

Today, you can buy paper dolls at specialty toy stores or print off online patterns. If you google “paper dolls” you’ll be amazed at all of the available links such as this one: http://familycrafts.about.com/od/paperdolls/tp/paperdolls.htm

Even though they don’t print the huge Sears Catalog anymore, the Sunday papers are filled with furniture store inserts that could be transformed into a child’s imaginary house on large sheets of white or brown paper or cardboard.

You may want to make or purchase a felt kit for your grand. You can find some wonderful ones at http://www.thefeltsource.com/ (dollhouse flannel board scenes, flannel board dolls, and kits such as “Trucks, and Trains, and Planes”).

If you have older grandchildren, help them show younger brothers and sisters (or younger neighbors, cousins, etc.) how to make a paper doll house or play with a felt kit.

Did you ever play with paper dolls or make them for your grandkids? Have you played with a grad using a flannel board kit?

He is able,

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Praying Grandparents

Tuesday's Thought

When I look at the world today, I realize how important it is to regularly pray for our grandkids. Only God knows the challenges they will face in tomorrow’s world.

I’ve begun a prayer notebook to help me be intentional about praying for each of our grands on a regular basis. Since we have five grandkids, I pray specifically for each child one day of the week (Monday, Tuesday, etc.) and record specific prayer requests and Bible verses in a three-ring spiral notebook. It has five sections (one section for each of the grands).

There are many wonderful books on prayer. Two that I enjoy using are While They Were Sleeping: 12 Character Traits for Moms to Pray and A Grandmother’s Guide to Praying for Her Family.

While They Were Sleeping gives specific verses to pray for the following character traits: kindness, humility, teachability, forgiveness, obedience, discernment, purity, responsibility, courage, servanthood, contentment, endurance.

A Grandmother's Guide to Praying for her Family has 260 very short devotions--each beginning with a Bible verse and ending with a prayer.

God honors prayers—I’ve seen this in my own life and imagine that you have too. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray without ceasing.

What a privilege it is to pray for our grands. It’s a gift that money can’t buy. One that will affect not only their lives today, but also their future.

He is able,

Friday, June 20, 2008

BOZ, the "green bear next door"

Friday's Fun

Have you ever heard of BOZ? Well, he’s the “green bear next door.” If you visit http://www.bozthebearnextdoor.com/ you’ll understand what I mean.

The BOZ website has game ideas, tips from FamilyLife and MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), coloring pages, and much more.

Sometimes I’ve printed off the coloring sheets and mailed them to out-of-town grands and enclosed a self-addressed, stamped envelope. The envelope was for the grandkids to return colored pictures to display on Pops’ and my refrigerator.

Our grandchildren love the BOZ DVDs. Their favorite is “Thank You God For … Bananas, Bubbles and Busy Bodies.” When the grands spend the night I often hear one say “I want to be ‘squeaky clean.’” Yep—that’s right out of this DVD.

Do you have any website/s that you could recommend for grandparents? Please share in a comment or e-mail me at mary@marymaywrites.com and I'll pass your suggestion on.

He is able,

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tell the Grandkids What God Has Done

Tuesday's Thought

As a friend and I recently ate lunch together, we talked about passing down family stories. She referred to a passage in Psalms 78 that tells about the importance of sharing spiritual stories.

Psalm 78:4 (NIV) says: “We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.”

The Bible paraphrase The Message says it this way (verses 1-4): “ … I'll let you in on the sweet old truths, stories we heard from our fathers, counsel we learned at our mother's knee. We're not keeping this to ourselves, we're passing it along to the next generation—God's fame and fortune, the marvelous things he has done.”

It is up to us to pass on family stories—especially ones about God intervening in our lives and homes. We can share these stories with the grands while washing dishes together, taking a relaxing walk, or going on a drive. We can record our stories and burn them on CDs, or write them down in notebooks. … We can even do something really simple—jot them down in our Bibles.

For years I've jotted down things I want to remember in my Bible—births, weddings, deaths. Memories such as,“God protected Chris from a terrible wreck when he did a 360 degree turn on a wet freeway and ended up in a ditch,” “God protected Jim when a car burst into flames 3-4 feet from a propane tank by his office,” “God protected John and Bre when they had a gas leak in their house,” and on, and on, and on.

As I’ve once again read the countless ways God has protected and led our family, I’m reminded that He can be trusted for the future.

I have to agree with the Psalmist, “He has done marvelous things!” Things that I want to remember. Things I want my grandchildren to remember.

He is able,

Friday, June 13, 2008

Birthday Letters

Friday Fun

Last week we celebrated the first birthday of one of our grandkids. In the past year he’s grown from a helpless infant to a toddler who walks everywhere. (Yes, he started walking when he was 10 months old!)

About a year or so ago Pops and I started a new tradition with the grands—writing each of them a birthday letter. I read this idea somewhere—I think in the Littauers’ book Making the Blueplate Special. I thought it was a great, very doable idea.

It’s been fun for Pops and me to share in our letters memories of the actual “birth day.” We’ve also included memories during the year and a Bible verse that reminds us of the particular child or a Bible verse that we’ll be praying for that child.

Although some may want to handwrite birthday letters, I type ours on the computer. I include special pictures in the body of the letter, and print the letter in color.

Pops and I not only give each grandchild his/her birthday letter, but also keep a copy into a notebook that we’ll give the grandchild when he/she is 18 or 21. (How I wish I could open up a notebook and read 18 or 21 letters from my grandparents.)

What do you do to make special memories on your grandchildren’s birthdays? How did your grandparents remember your birthday? Please share in a comment.

If you'd like me to put your idea in a comment for you, just send it in an e-mail to mary@marymaywrites.com. (Please let me know how you want your comment signed--first name, no name, nickname, etc.)

He is able,

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Perceptions of a Generation

Tuesday's Thought (June 10, 2008)

When I was telling a Bible story this past Sunday to a group of 3-5 year-old children, I was reminded of how perceptions change with every generation.

Before telling about Ruth gathering grain to make bread (Ruth 2:1-23), I asked the kids if the people living in that time could buy bread from a grocery store. “Yes,” they said and nodded their heads in agreement.

Ummm, I thought, we’ve got to cover a few basics before beginning this story.

The group of 3-5 year olds couldn't imagine a time without grocery stores. And guess what? As a child, I couldn’t envision a world without cars and trucks. And today’s kids won’t be able to imagine life without computers and cell phones.

As grandparents, I think it’s important for us to help the next generation understand how the world has changed over the years … and is still changing. And that means helping our grands understand what the world was like for our grandparents, parents, and us—telling stories about our lives.

When my grandkids come over this week, I think I’ll hold up a loaf of bread and ask them if grocery stores have always existed.

You know, it might be fun to do something I haven’t done in years and years—get out my great-grandmother’s recipe for homemade bread and bake a few loaves.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Making Memories in the Kitchen

Friday’s Fun (June 6, 2008)

What do you remember about your grandmother? The touch of her hand, the sound of her voice ... the smell of homemade cookies?

I remember how my Nana made miniature cakes for the grandkids when she made regular cakes. My brother, sisters, and I felt so special!

You know, it’s easy to help a child feel special.

Last weekend, two of Jim and my grands spent the weekend. The oldest asked for pancakes for breakfast … and not just any pancakes. She wanted heart-shaped pancakes.

Ummmm …. I thought. How can we do that?
I don’t have a heart-shaped pancake mold. And then it came to me. Just cook the pancakes and then cut them out with heart-shaped cookie cutters. Easy! Worked great and she felt special! We also made star-shaped pancakes and served the pancakes on the pink plate, our "special plate."

By the way, our 3-year-old granddaughter and I made two batches of the Oatmeal Trail Mix that I mentioned last week (both with and without nuts). They were so good! In case you didn’t click on the link to this National Wildlife Federation recipe, I'll copy the recipe below. It's a keeper!

Oatmeal Trail Mix

from http://www.nwf.org/backyardcampout/recipes.cfm#mix


1-1/4 Cups of Oats (or combination of Oats, Bran, and Wheat Germ)
3/4 Cup of powdered milk
1 T Plain gelatin
1 Cup of dates, apricots, or other dried fruit, chopped
1/2 Cup of raisins
3/4 Cup of chopped nuts and sunflower seeds
6 T Honey
1/4 t Grated orange or lemon peel
4 T Water

Preparation: Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix honey, water and citrus peel. Combine second mixture with the first. Knead with hands until thoroughly mixed. Press into a baking pan to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Bake at 150 degrees for about 6 hours. Don't let it brown! It burns easily. Cut into bars 1" x 2" or larger, wrap in wax paper. Store in a cool place until needed. May be eaten in bar form or crumbled in water or milk as a breakfast cereal.

What special ways have you made memories in the kitchen with your grandkids?

He is able,


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Grandkids are uniquely packaged: What to do about sibling rivalry

Tuesday's Thought

One of my friends, Laurie, said in a blog comment that each of her six grandkids is a completely unique person. If you have more than one grandchild, I'm sure that you can agree.

I was reminded of this when our three-year-old granddaughter recently drew a picture of her family. Although she seems to be very fond of her little brother, and she’s pretty good about sharing toys with him, her family picture had just her parents and her—no baby brother.

Our five-year-old granddaughter, on the other hand, loves being a big sister. She’s always talking about how she helps her mom with the baby. She loves to read to little sister, swing her, and sing her sweet songs.

Her three-year-old cousin explained to me that the reason baby brother wasn't in her crayon-colored picture was because she just wanted to be in the picture with her mom and dad.

Ummmm. Reminds me of my older sister when I was born. She said that she was the “Princess” until I arrived on the scene and spoiled her royal court.

But again, doesn't every child need some one-on-one time? Maybe our three-year-old granddaughter just needs a little special time with Mom and Dad — and Nana and Pops.

Now, Jim and I had all of this sibling rivalry stuff figured out when our second son was born. Someone had told us to send a present home to our oldest child (from the new baby) when his brother arrived.

So, we followed this advice and gave our oldest a brand new basketball. Big brother was excited! And weren’t we smart!

Until little brother left the hospital, that is.

I’ll always remember the day when little brother came home from the hospital. We put the little fellow on a baby blanket in the family room and his big brother walked in with his basketball—he was ready to play. ... And baby brother couldn’t even roll over yet.

Big brother looked at us with his beautiful blue eyes and asked, “What kind of baby is this any way?”

Guess he was ready for an afternoon of pick-up basketball.

What funny stories do you have about the differences in your grandkids? How have you encouraged a gradchild to welcome a new baby into his/her home? How have you helped an older grandchild feel special?

He is able,