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.
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Co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild's Heart

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Facebook Nana

Tuesday’s Thought

Wonders never cease. I did it! I’m now on Facebook (an Internet social network, www.facebook.com). Why? Because I want to stay in touch with a grown son who speaks “Facebook.”

Years ago this same son really wanted to communicate with his grandmother by e-mail. My sister and I bought Mother an e-machine and paid for the monthly Internet cost. But Mom said she was too old to learn all of the new technology, and the e-machine was returned.

That was about 10 years ago. Ten years filled with graduations, and dating, and weddings, and the birth of Mom’s great-grandbabies.

I dearly love my mom, but I made a note to self when she didn’t learn how to use e-mail: “Be uncomfortable. Learn new technology if that’s what it takes to stay in touch with loved ones.”

It’s so easy to send e-mails—once you learn how to do it. And after my son taught me how to use Facebook, I realized that it’s also really easy to use. My fears were unfounded, as were Mom’s a decade ago.

If you have electronically savvy grandchildren, ask them what is the best way to communicate with them—by e-mail, Facebook, or by cell phone. They’ll likely be thrilled if you ask them to teach you how to use today’s technology. Especially when they realize that you want to connect with their hearts.

He is able,

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Friday, December 26, 2008

A New Year's Eve Tradition

Tuesday's Grand Connection Thought

For years, Pops and I have made a list of our wishes, dreams, and prayer requests for the New Year. We put it in an envelope marked “read December 31, _____” and pack the envelope away with the Christmas ornaments.

On New Year’s Eve of the following year, we read whatever we wrote. It’s always amazing to see ways that God answered, and didn’t answer, various things.

We could encourage older grandchildren to begin this tradition with us. We could call or e-mail them next New Year’s Eve and see how God answered their “wish list" and share how He answered ours.

Happy New Year,
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© 2008 by Mary May Larmoyeux.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Let’s Make Salt Dough Ornaments

Friday's Fun

In our family’s Christmas ornament collection are a few remaining relics from my childhood—handmade salt dough ornaments. I remember using cookie cutters to form some shapes and then I made others ... Well, let’s just say they’re definitely original.

The November issue of Family Fun magazine has pictures of salt dough ornaments in the shape of “family faces.” What a creative idea!

Since Pops and I will have a four-year-old grandchild with us this weekend, I thought it would be fun to make a few ornaments together.

Here’s the basic recipe:

Salt Dough Ornaments
(not edible)

2 cups regular flour
1 cup regular salt
3/4 cup warm water

· Combine flour and salt.
· Add water.
· Knead until smooth.
· Shape ornaments
(You may want to roll out the dough and use cookie-cutters to cut various shapes.)
· Bake in 275 degree oven on foil-lined cookie sheet for two hours.
· Cool completely.
· Decorate with acrylic paints.
· When the ornaments are dry, seal with a coat of varnish or Mod Podge ®.
(You can purchase Mod Podge at a craft store.)

If you don’t want to use acrylic paints, you could add food coloring.

Here are just a few links to various salt dough recipes on the Internet:

Holiday Project: Salt Dough Cookie Ornaments

How to make salt dough ornaments

Microwave salt dough ornaments

Stamped Dough Ornaments

Have fun!

He is able,

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Memories from a Christmas Tree

Tuesday’s Thought

As Jim and I decorated the Christmas tree this past weekend, we were reminded of how time flies by. We pulled out ornaments from yesteryear and saw some small handmade decorations adorned with pictures of little boys and girls who are now grown … and have Christmas trees and children of their own.

Dated satin balls are hanging on our tree. Jim's parents gave them to us when each of our children were born. There’s a construction-paper star covered in glitter that dangles from a red ribbon. And a paper angel, that must be two decades old, faithfully crowns our tree. It’s surrounded by various cross ornaments and miniature nativities that remind us of the real meaning of Christmas.

Resting on the tree skirt is an ornament of the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans. My brother and his wife gave it to us a very long time ago. Who would have guessed that the New Orleans they knew then would not exist today. As I held the small replica I was reminded that things don’t stay the same … that it’s important to value today, because tomorrow is not promised.

When Jim and I hung the silver icicles, I remembered my own dad telling us kids to hang them one by one—no “throwing” of icicles allowed. (How I’d love to see Dad today!)

And with each handmade stocking, I recalled a yesterday when our house was filled with the sounds of children 24-7.

Ah … Christmas! It’s filled with so many hopes and dreams. And it overflows with sweet memories of times … and places … and people … who will always live in our hearts.

He is able,

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Let's Make a Gingerbread House

Friday’s Fun

For almost two decades, our family has made gingerbread houses during the Christmas holidays. We have a great time doing this!

I use the following recipe, adapted from one printed years ago in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Basic Corn Syrup Gingerbread Dough

9 cups unsifted flour
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind (optional)
One and one-half tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups light corn syrup
One and one-half cups light brown sugar firmly packed
One and one-fourth cups butter or margarine

Combine flour, lemon rind, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a large bowl. Stir together corn syrup, brown sugar and butter in a 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until butter is melted and ingredients are well mixed. Pour liquid mixture into flour mixture and stir until blended.

Form dough into a ball and knead until smooth and pliable. Roll out dough and cut into 1/4" thickness, using a lightly floured rolling pin. Cut out desired shapes for houses and gingerbread men. We cut out a cardboard pattern with three shapes (cut two of each shape):

roof—5 1/4" x 3 1/2"

side—4 1/4" x 3 1/2"

and peaked side 2 3/4" x 3 1/2" with triangle on top. The peak of the triangle is 4 1/2" from the base of the rectangle it sits on.

You can make the houses as large or small as you like. The above recipe will make two small gingerbread houses and a few gingerbread men (use cookie cutters for them).

Put shapes on cookie sheets that have been sprayed or greased lightly with Crisco (or something similar). Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until shapes are firm and lightly browned. Cool shapes completely on racks before assembling.

Snow Frosting

3 egg whites (if possible, at room temperature)
1 pound box confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon cream of tartar

Place the above ingredients in a large bowl and beat at medium or high speed until stiff (approximately 5 minutes). Cover with damp cloth.

Makes about 2 cups.

Use this to glue houses together, attach decorations and make icicles. After building house, allow frosting to dry at least one hour before decorating. I allow the houses to dry overnight. To see more pictures of the gingerbread house assembly, visit www.marymaywrites.com.

It’s so fun for Pops and me to watch the grandkids make gingerbread houses now—brings back great memories while making some new ones.

Hope that you and your family will be able to make a gingerbread house together.

He is able,

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Baton of Legacy

Tuesday’s Thought

Everyone who submits a comment (or e-mail) from October 21-December 5 will be entered into a drawing. The winner will receive a copy of While They Were Sleeping: 12 Character Traits for Moms [Grandmoms] to Pray and “What God Wants for Christmas.” I’ll draw a name on December 6 and will announce the winner’s name in the December 8 blog.

As our family was enjoying turkey and dressing last Thursday, I recalled a Thanksgiving Day about 15 years ago. My mom and dad were visiting for the holidays and our sons were in school.

We were sharing our blessings and my dad said he was thankful that he had a good wife. Mom couldn’t understand him. “What?” she asked. “You want a new wife?”

We leaned back in our chairs and laughed, and a Thanksgiving memory was etched on our hearts.

When I think of Mom and Dad, I can still see them holding hands (even after being married for 50 years) and kneeling side-by-side at the foot of their bed to pray. I can see Mom wipe a tear from her eyes and can hear her say, “I still miss him [my dad] so much."

Flash forward to Thanksgiving 2008— Our sons, their wives, and our five grandchildren are gathered around our table with Pops and me. My dad is in heaven and Mom can’t travel any more. Life has changed, but Mom and Dad's legacy of devotion to one another, love of family, and devotion to God has not.

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

Jim and I are now the grandparents. The baton of legacy is in our hands. It is up to us to tell the next generation.

He is able,

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