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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Read through the Bible this year


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Tuesday's Grand Connection Thought

by Mary May Larmoyeux

Have you made any New Year's resolutions? Has your grandchild?

One of mine is to read through the entire Bible this year. Our pastor provided several plans for doing this; one is to read through the Bible in chronological order. That's what I'll follow.

If you are looking for different Bible reading plans, the English Standard Bible (ESV) has ten on its website that can be accessed in different formats (print, email, RSS, mobile, etc.). One is reading through the Bible in chronological order. You may want to check this out: http://www.esv.org/resources/reading-plans-devotions/

And, you might decide to encourage an older grandchild to read through the Bible with you. Wouldn't it be great to discuss what you learn together!  

Hope that 2014 brings many wonderful things to you and your family. No matter what happens, may we all remember these words from the Bible:

This is what God says, the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves, The God who summons horses and chariots and armies— they lie down and then can’t get up; they’re snuffed out like so many candles: “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands." (Isaiah 43:16-19, The Message)

Happy New Year!
Mary
www.marymaywrites.com
www.grandconnection.org

©  2013 by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.
Photo Courtesy of stock.xchng

Friday, December 27, 2013

Our New Year's Eve Tradition



Friday's Grand Connection Fun

by Mary May Larmoyeux

For years, Pops and I have made a list of our wishes, dreams, and prayer requests for the New Year. We put the list 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 various things, and ways that He said to us, No, or Wait.

We grandparents could encourage older grandchildren to begin this tradition. Then on December 31, 2014, we could call or e-mail the grandchildren, to see how God answered their “wish list" and to share how He answered ours.

Happy New Year,
Mary
www.marymaywrites.com


© 2008, 2013 by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Captivated


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Tuesday's Grand Connection Thought

by Mary May Larmoyeux

Christmas Day will soon be here. My mind is captivated with the picture of Jesus Christ, Almighty God, resting in a simple manger. The creator of all did not even have a real bed for his head. There were no stuffed animals, no Internet announcements, no blue balloons inscribed with “It’s a boy.”

But his birth did not go unnoticed.

We are told in Luke 2: 8-14: And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. …”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."


What a sight that must have been! Jesus Christ was born!

Merry Christmas,
Mary
www.marymaywrites.com
www.grandconnection.org


© 2008, 2013 by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.
Photo Credit: © Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Let's make Christmas Potpourri (non-edible)

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Friday's Grand Connection Fun
by Mary May Larmoyeux

It's hard to believe that Christmas will soon be here. Does your house smell like freshly cut cedar or simmering potpourri?

At this time of year I'm reminded of Helen Austin's recipe for
non- edible potpourri. It was in the 2012 holiday issue of the ezine Encouraging Women with Hearts for their Homes.

Helen wrote: Here's a recipe for a simmering potpourri you can use right on the stove top. Just keep the saucepan handle turned away from little hands and paws and your kitchen will smell like you've been baking for days!

HOLIDAY SIMMERING POTPOURRI

3 or 4 pieces of dried orange peel (see NOTE)
1 teaspoon cinnamon chunks (available in bulk at Whole Foods Market) OR 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
2 or 3 pieces of star anise (also available at Whole Foods)
1/4 - 1/2 cup whole fresh cranberries (optional)

NOTE: To dry orange peel, score an orange in quarters, then remove peel and as much of white pith as possible. (Add orange sections to a fruit salad.) Place on flat surface, such as the kitchen counter, for several days.

This is not edible.
Don't even use it to season cider or wine. If using cinnamon sticks, break up into 3 or 4 pieces. Then place contents in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover loosely (vent top of saucepan slightly). Add water as needed; don't let mixture dry out. Be sure to turn off the heat before you leave the house. The fragrance will remain for awhile.


Making Christmas potpourri with an older grand would be a fun activity. For those of us with out-of-town grands, we could e-mail their parents the recipe and talk on the cell phone with grands while he/she makes it (perhaps with their mom or dad).

Have a great weekend,
Mary
www.marymaywrites.com
http://grandconnection.blogspot.com


© 2012 by Mary May Larmoyeux.
Photo Credit: © Nicolás Batista/Dreamstime.com

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Scrawny Cedar Tree


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Tuesday's Grand Connection Thought

A few years ago high winds caused a huge Hackberry Tree on the side of our house to split right down the middle. After the wood was hauled away, a scrawny Cedar Tree remained. It actually looked like half of a small Cedar Tree because half of it had been pressed against the Hackberry, which stunted its growth.

I wanted to cut down the struggling tree because it looked so pitiful, but Pops assured me that it would fill out over time. Sure enough, his prediction has proven true. The Cedar has now almost completely filled out. What once was bare now has new life.

Pops and I refer to the cedar as our “restoration tree." It’s a reminder that God makes all things new. In fact, restoration is at the heart of the gospel and is the message of Jesus Christ at Christmas (1 Timothy 1:15).

Your family may know the heartache of divorce. You may be separated from your grandchildren or other loved ones during the Christmas holidays. Or, you may have lost a family member this year and now feel their absence so deeply. I know it’s hard and hope that you will find comfort in Isaiah 43:19:

“Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.”

Nothing is impossible with God. He is in the business of making all things new. If we look to Him when walking through our wilderness, we will find refreshing springs, hope, and the promise of a better tomorrow.

Hope:  the message of Jesus Christ. The message of Christmas! (Luke 2:10-12)

He is able,
Mary
www.grandconnection.org
http://www.marymaywrites.com/



© 2009 by Mary May Larmoyeux.All rights reserved.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Let's make a salt dough Nativity set




Friday's Grand Connection Thought

A very long time ago I bought a handmade ceramic Nativity set. Every year when I unpack it, it feels like an old friend who has come back home. I remember long ago when our sons' small hands touched the figures and placed them in the Christmas-tree shaped manger. And I remember how they would secretly place pieces of pine straw in the manger, to fill Baby Jesus' bed on Christmas Day.

One of our now grown children made a simple wooden Nativity set when he was in elementary school. When I look at it today, I have to ask myself, "How could time go by so quickly?"

But one of my favorite Nativity sets was made this year by two of our grands. I saw it sitting in their kitchen windowsill when I went to see them last weekend (see picture). Their mom had helped them make it out of salt dough. You might want to make a Nativity like this with your own grandchildren.

Do you have a Nativity in your home that brings back special memories. Have you ever made a Nativity set yourself?

Salt Dough Recipe (from www.squidoo.com)

Blend 2 cups plain flour and 2 cups fine table salt in a bowl.

Mix 1 tbsp vegetable oil with 1 cup lukewarm water.

Add 1 tbsp wallpaper paste.

(The wallpaper paste is optional...you can also substitute it with white wood glue.)

Stir well.

Add liquid to dry ingredients, stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon (or use your hands) to form dough. Turn out the dough on to your work surface until it is smooth and pliable. The dough should be reasonably firm so that the models keep their shape ... and when you are done, get ready for play time!

Keep the salt dough covered in a plastic container or a plastic bag while you are working to prevent it from drying out. Salt dough can easily be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.

Notes: If the dough appears to be dry, you can add a little water or if it sticks to your hands, add a little more flour. Also, you can use egg white or water to attach different parts to each other. Use a small brush to make it easier.

Roll tinfoil into balls or shapes as desired, cover with the salt dough and finish shaping. This will speed up baking/drying time and prevent shrinkage as well as big cracks in the salt dough models.

Have a great weekend,
Mary
www.marymaywrites.com
www.grandconnection.org

© 2011 by Mary May Larmoyeux.
Photo © 2011 by Mary May Larmoyeux.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

An unexpected winter storm

Friday's Grand Connection Fun
by Mary May Larmoyeux

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Arkansas was recently hit with an unexpected winter storm. It reminded me of the one that arrived last year on Christmas Day; we had more than a foot of snow then at our house!

There are only a few children on the street where we now live—not like it was 10 or 15 years ago. Once upon a time, snowflakes meant snowmen in the our front yard, boys and girls having snowball fights, and sleds soaring down the hill.

Those days there was hot chocolate ... wet shoes and mittens and hats everywhere ... and, of course, lots of pictures! (Can you relate?)

As I watched flakes of snow fall and ice accumulate on the trees last weekend, I wondered if our nearby grands were having fun.

Last year they made not only a snow man, but also a snow woman, and a snow child. Picturing their snow family, I can't help but smile and imagine the wet shoes and mittens and hats in their house ... the hot chocolate ... and pictures—lots of pictures.

Have you had a recent winter storm at your house? How did you capture the memories?

Have a great week,
Mary
www.marymaywrites.com
www.grandconnection.org

© by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.
Photo © Lloydmp / Dreamstime.com

Friday, December 6, 2013

Let's make some Christmas ornaments


Friday's Grand Connection Fun
by Mary May Larmoyeux

Last weekend two of our grandkids stayed with Pops and me. On Saturday they helped us decorate the Christmas tree... and they were actually a big help. I was amazed!

As I sat on the floor and gave ornaments to the grands, my mind wandered back to my childhood. We always had our Christmas tree in the living room. Mom would sit on the couch, add hooks to the ornaments, and then hand them to my brother, three sisters, and me. Dad's specialty was hanging the lights and helping us place the long, silver icicles on the tree—one by one.

Pops told me that his family just threw the icicles on their Christmas tree. I think that's because there were just two kids in his family. With five kids, my parents must have wanted decorating the tree to occupy us kids for as longgggg as possible.

As the grands decorated the tree last Saturday, I spotted ornaments that their dad and uncle had made long ago. There were pictures of little boys with big smiles, immortalized in plastic. Toothpicks framed parts of old Christmas cards, and small wooden wreaths hung that were touched by little hands. I couldn't help but smile.

There's just something about Christmas. It brings us back to what's really important: our faith and family and friendships.

For today's Friday's Fun idea, I thought I'd explain how to make some of those little toothpick ornaments that are now hanging on our tree. They are very easy to make!

First, cut some old Christmas cards into a shape similar to a small house (see above picture). Then glue two or three layers of toothpicks along the perimeter, making a "frame." After this dries, slip a hook or paperclip through the toothpicks and the masterpieces are ready to be hung on the Christmas tree. Grandkids could date and sign the back of these handmade ornaments, making one more memory, for one more Christmas Day.

What childhood memories do you have of decorating your Christmas tree? Are you continuing (or beginning) any Christmas decorating traditions with your grandkids?

Have a great weekend,
Mary
www.marymaywrites.com
www.grandconnection.org

You may want to read: Making Gingerbread Houses

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Post and picture © 2009 by Mary May Larmoyeux.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas is for Sharing and Loving


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Tuesday's Grand Connection Thought
by Mary May Larmoyeux

This past weekend Pops and I babysat for two of our grandkids. The oldest, who just turned six, was busy making Christmas gifts for her family.

Our little grand told Pops and me that Christmas is for sharing and loving. How true! I'm reminded of these stanzas from a poem written by Leona Vaughn:

Oftentimes our minds are so filled with thoughts
Of the gifts we give or we get,
We sometimes forget to thank Our Lord above,
For giving the greatest gift yet.


We can help our grandchildren concentrate on the real meaning of Christmas by talking with them about the names of Jesus. Author and speaker Kay Arthur focuses on the following four in her article The Wonderful Names of Christ:

The Good Shepherd: "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep."    —John 10:11 (New American Standard Bible)

The True Vine:  "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing."    —John 15:5 (NASB)

The Light of the World: "Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.'"  
                                           —John 8:12 (King James Version)

The Bright Morning Star: "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am … the bright morning star."    —Revelation 22:16 (NASB)

And of course, there is Luke 2:11: "For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

What other names for Jesus Christ are especially meaningful to you?

May we never lose the true wonder of Christmas. May we always remember that Christmas is for sharing and loving!

He is able,
Mary
www.marymaywrites.com
www.grandconnection.org

© by Mary May Larmoyeux.
Photo Credit: © U.S. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration

Friday, November 29, 2013

What the grandkids are thankful for


Friday's Grand Connection Fun
by Mary May Larmoyeux


Hope that you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Pops and I spent it with some of our grandchildren.

We had a great time using Untie Your Story napkin ties from Ever Thine  Home (www.everthinehome.com).  Each one is imprinted with a question, and we had fun answering the different questions after we finished our Thanksgiving meal.  

We also had our annual Thanksgiving tree, and the grandkids did a wonderful job decorating it. What was designed to be a small gumdrop tree held construction-paper leaves that the kids had made.  Everyone wrote things they are thankful for on the front of the leaves and jotted their names on the back.   

One by one we picked each colored leaf from our Thanksgiving tree and read what someone was grateful for. Then we guessed who wrote it. Whoever guessed the right person got to pick the next leaf from the tree and read that blessing out loud. 

Rita once asked in a Grand Connection comment what our grandkids wrote on their Thanksgiving tree leaves. Here's a partial list of what they said this year (in no particular order):

  • Family
  • My teacher
  • God
  • Plants
  • Donuts
  • Life
  • Jesus
  • My dog
  • Friends
  • Food
  • Books
  • Creation
  • My turtle
  • Love 

What was your favorite Thanksgiving memory this year? Why not send your grandkids an email or text, and share it with them? Then ask them to share their favorite Thanksgiving memory with you.

Have a great weekend,
Mary
www.marymaywrites.com
www.grandconnection.org

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post and picture copyright © 2013 by Mary May Larmoyeux.All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Why should I be thankful?


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Tuesday's Grand Connection Thought
by Mary May Larmoyeux

This Thursday, our family and most Americans, will celebrate Thanksgiving. It's a day when we will recall the many blessings that God has given us throughout the year.

According to History.com: "In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. ... It wasn't until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November."

For many people, 2013 was a really tough year. Perhaps you lost a loved one or suffered great damage from a natural disaster. Or, maybe you are struggling to just make ends meet during this holiday season.

It's easy for me to thank God when things are going well. But when the challenges of life come, I often ask "Why?"  My question should really be "Who?" Who can I trust in the good and bad times of life? Who never changes ... is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8)?

Of course, there's only one answer:  God.

My prayer for Pops and me, our children, and grandchildren is that we will be people of gratitudeno matter what happens in our lives.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
                      (1 Chronicles 16:34)
Happy Thanksgiving,
Mary

Photo and post © by Mary May Larmoyeux.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Tree of Thanks

Friday's Grand Connection Fun
by Mary May Larmoyeux


For the first time last year, we had our "Thanksgiving tree." It’s a small plastic tree; gumdrops or pieces of cheese are supposed to be attached to its branches.

But instead of cheese or gumdrops, our little tree is covered with small notes of thanks to God for what He has done during the year. Jim and I, the kids, and grandkids periodically jot down things we’re thankful for on small cards and attach them to the tree. The cards are simple to make: just cut some index cards into small rectangles, hole-punch each one, and attach them to the branches with clips or pieces of ribbon.

Once again, we'll read the notes of gratitude when the family is together on Thanksgiving Day.

Two of the grands were at the house earlier this week when we put the little tree up on the kitchen counter. Last year our now four-year-old granddaughter would tell me what she's thankful for, and I'd I write it on her card. But this year, she wrote her notes of appreciation "all by herself."

If you don't have a gumdrop/cheese tree, you could make your own Thanksgiving tree out of some twigs. Also, small notes of appreciation could be dropped into a jar of gratitude instead of hung on a little tree.

How have you kept "thanks" in Thanksgiving?

Have a great weekend,
Mary
www.marymaywrites.com
www.grandconnection.org



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© 2009 by Mary May Larmoyeux.
Photo © 2008 by Mary May Larmoyeux.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Writing your family stories: let the journey begin


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Tuesday's Grand Connection Thought

by Mary May Larmoyeux

When Carnegie Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, was razed almost 50 years ago, Carl Martin picked up 16 limestone drums and loaded them into his pickup truck. According to the January 24, 2009, issue of The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 45 years later, those same 16 drums are back in their original formation of four columns (four drums per column). 

They now proudly stand in front of the Main Library in Little Rock because the Martin family donated them to the library. “If you had to buy those drums, Bobby Roberts (the library system’s director) said, “they’d cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to get.”

Well, who would have guessed in 1964 that 16 discarded drums (considered debris by most) would one day be prized treasures?

This story made me think of my legacy and reminds me of the importance of passing down the “pillars” of family history. I'm finally starting to  write down the stories that portray the character, values, and faith of Pops' and my grandkids’ forefathers. After all, I don’t want the "columns" of our family to be forgotten ... buried in my mind for decades, if not forever.

Have you written down your family stories? Whether you have or haven't, you may want to visit the StoryWriting Studio blog. I'm now posting on it on Fridays.

Last Friday I began to write about how we can tell our personal stories. As I blog about this, I am going to be creating a book of family stories for Pops' and my legacy.

Want to join me in a story-writing journey? Then go to the StoryWriting Studio post How to begin to tell your personal stories.  And please tell your friends about this. Thanks!

Have a wonderful week,
Mary
http://www.marymaywrites.com/
www.grandconnection.org


Copyright  © 2013 by Mary May Larmoyeux. All right reserved.
Picture © Pavel Losevsky © dreamstime.com

Friday, November 15, 2013

10 Ideas for keeping thanks in Thanksgiving



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Friday's Grand Connection Fun

by Mary May Larmoyeux

Thanksgiving will soon be here. The following 10 ideas could help us be more grateful in this season of thanks.

1. Begin a “jar of thanks.” Ask each person in the family to regularly jot down on slips of paper things they are thankful for—dropping them in the “jar of thanks.” On Thanksgiving Day read the slips of paper, and thank God together for His many blessings.

2. As a family, choose a charitable organization to support together financially. Brainstorm ways that the children/grandchildren can earn money for this. Give up drinking cold drinks or eating out, and add the money saved to the donation fund.

3. On or before Thanksgiving Day, serve as a family in some type of soup kitchen. You will not only be helping others, but will also have a great opportunity to talk to the kids/grandkids about the less fortunate.

4. Memorize Bible verses about being thankful and discuss them as a family. Example: After reciting Philippians 1:3 (“I thank my God every time I remember you.”), tell loved ones why you thank God for them.

 
5. As a family talk about the blessing of good health. Then “adopt” someone who does not have this blessing—rake their leaves, wash their car, go grocery shopping for them.

6. Before going to bed on Thanksgiving Day, thank Jesus for coming to Earth as our Redeemer. “My llips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you—I, whom you have redeemed.” (Psalm 71:23)

7. Make a Thanksgiving Tree. All you need is a small artificial tree, some note cards (cut in thirds), and ornament hooks. During the days leading up to Thanksgiving, encourage family members to jot down on the note cards things they are thankful for. Punch a hole in each card and hang it on the tree. Read all of the cards as a family on Thanksgiving Day.

 
8. Participate in your community’s collection of food items for the needy during Christmas. Take your children to the grocery store and let them shop for the items your family will contribute. Ask for your children’s help in packing the box.

9. After you pray with your kids before they go to bed, ask them to share how God had blessed them that day.

10. Keep a “thanksgiving notebook” in which family members regularly jot down ways God has blessed them. Periodically read the list as a family and have a time of family prayer—thanking God for specific blessings.


Have a great weekend,
Mary
http://www.marymaywrites.com/
www.grandconnection.org


Photo and post © by Mary May Larmoyeux. All right reserved.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How did Veterans Day begin?

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Tuesday's Grand Connection Thought

by Mary May Larmoyeux

Yesterday we celebrated Veterans Day. Did you ever wonder how it began?

According to History.com:  "On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War, then known as the Great War. Commemorated as Armistice Day beginning the following year, November 11th became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars."

Because of  courageous men like my grandfather, dad, and father-in-law, we are a free nation today. But that freedom is not guaranteed for tomorrow. I'm reminded of a quote by Dwight Eisenhower, "In the final choice a soldier's pack is not so heavy as a prisoner's chains."


One of the most interesting people I have ever met was Retired Lt. Colonel Roy Kaden. He flew a top secret mission in the 1950s; his family did not know about this until 50 years later. Like to know more? Read "Just Another Day for an American Hero." You and your grandchild might want to read this together, or you could e-mail or text your grandchild the link.

How did your family celebrate Veterans Day? How can we honor our veterans every day?

Have a great week!
Mary
www.marymaywrites.com
www.grandconnection.org

Photo and Post © 2013 Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Making Gingerbread Houses



Friday's Grand Connection Fun
by Mary May Larmoyeux

Even though the fall wreath is on the front door, it's time to be thinking about making gingerbread houses. With seven grandchildren, it takes me a while to make all of the houses that our growing family will soon decorate. 

For more than two decades, our family has had a wonderful time making gingerbread houses before Christmas! Has your family made gingerbread houses during the holidays?

I use the following recipe, adapted from one printed years ago in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.  (See pictures of actual preparation.)

Gingerbread House Template

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 the Snow Frosting 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.

The tradition of making gingerbread houses has been great fun for our family and has has created some wonderful memories.

What are some of the things that your family has done to make Christmas memories?

Have a great weekend,
Mary
http://www.marymaywrites.com/
http://grandconnection.blogspot.com
StoryWriting Studio


Photo and article © 2009 by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Thanksgiving idea to keep the main thing the main thing


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Tuesday's Grand Connection Thought

by Mary May Larmoyeux

As I was thumbing through the newspaper yesterday, I couldn't help but notice all of the advertisements that are already out for Christmas. And, of course, it's still weeks before Thanksgiving!

Seeing those ads made me take a deep breath. "I've got to remember what really matters this holiday season," I said to myself.

Breath in ... breath out.

But keeping the main thing the main thing isn't always easy for me.  What about you?

Well, today I had the privilege of visiting with some bloggers from around Arkansas at FamilyLife; Barbara Rainey gave us some great ideas for keeping the main thing the main thing. She told the group about some of the beautiful resources that she has been creating for a new line of FamilyLife products, Ever Thine Home (everthinehome.com).

I'm really looking forward to using the Untie Your Story napkin ties on our table this Thanksgiving. The frayed edges give them a vintage feel, but what I really like are the different questions imprinted on each tie to encourage some great conversations.

To me, the holidays are great reminders of what matters most—faith and family and friends. And as a grandmother, I want to create customs that can be passed down from generation to generation. I hope that using the Untie Your Story questions will be an ongoing tradition for our family.

Another favorite tradition in our home is making gingerbread houses. It's really one of the highlights of the year for the grandkids. I'll share the recipe for this on Friday. It's a little bit of trouble, but well worth it!

What is something that you do during the holidays to help keep your focus on what really matters?

And what is one of your favorite Thanksgiving or Christmas traditions? 

Have a great week!

He is able,
Mary
http://www.marymaywrites.com/

© 2013 Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.

Friday, October 18, 2013

10 ways to remember the day a grandchild is born


by Mary May Larmoyeux

Can you identify this snake? Well, if you’re a grandparent, you might just think “boy in the house!”  Yes, it’s a plastic snake.  And, yes, we’ve had a boy in the house.

Our six-year-old grandson and his two sisters have been spending the last few days with Pops and me. That’s because they have a brand new baby sister! Our grandson came with his basketball, plastic snake, and lots of imagination.

I asked our grandson and his big sister to write down what they thought about the new baby. He printed that she was “so cyout [cute]“… and that she”looks like a “cimunk [chipmunk].” Big sis, on the other hand wrote in cursive, “… For the first time in my life I saw my baby sister, and she saw me. I held her and she stopped crying …”

Our little grandson and his big sister have actually begun to capture memories of their baby sister’s birth. I did a few things too: took a picture of the morning fog that day and bought a newspaper. (Maybe she’ll want to know about the weather … and what was going on in the world when she took her first breath.)

I think it’s important for us to be intentional about capturing our family stories. Here are ten ways to remember the day a precious grandchild was born:

1. Write down the thoughts and feelings that you had when you first held your grandchild. And describe what happened on the day he was born.

2. Jot down the child’s full name and date of birth in your Bible, along with a favorite Scripture that you will pray for her life.

3. Buy a newspaper so one day you can show your legacy what was going on in the world when he was welcomed into the world.

4. Ask your grandchild's mom if you can have a pair of the baby's first booties (when they are too small for the child). Then frame them with some pictures from your gradchild's “birth-day.”

5. If you live away from loved ones, take advantage of today’s technology—use Skype or Face Time to connect.

6. Plant a tree in your yard, and take a picture when you do this. (Someday you can show this to your child/grandchild).

7. If your grandchild has siblings, ask Mom or Dad to video the first time they meet their new brother or sister. Later watch this video with the siblings and ask them what they think about the new addition.

8. Write the baby a “birth-day” letter, including their dreams for the child.

9. Take a picture of the hospital or home where the baby was born. Jot down the name of the doctor or mid-wife who delivered him.

10. On your grandchild’s first birthday, give him a letter recalling the first day of her life. (Of course, this will be put in her baby book.)

What ideas to you have for capturing the day a precious grandchild was born?

Photo and post Copyright © 2013 by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Lessons learned by a grandmother



Tuesday's Grand Connection Thought



Why do you enjoy being a grandparent? 

I love spending time with Pops' and my legacy and realizing that they will represent Christ in a world that we will never see. And when I look into their eyes and watch them create, and dream, and work, I think of my parents and grandparents and ponder how quickly time goes by.

Grandchildren help me realize that we are not promised tomorrow, or even today. Actually, all we have is each moment in our journey of life.

I love what Jean May e-mailed me about being a grandmother:

Grandparenting gives unending pleasure that would be impossible to cover in a few words. …

It means so much to hear that little or not so little voice on the phone calling to tell me of something special that happened at school that day or asking about something that happened in the "old days."

Grandparenting has taught me patience, understanding, and appreciation for my parents and grandparents. So much has become crystal clear to me now. I know my role in my grandchildren's lives is an important piece of their life's puzzle, and they're an important piece in mine.

Everyone has heard that "grandchildren are the reward for having children!" That doesn't quite say it for me. I think grandchildren are a taste of the unconditional love the Father has for us all.


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

Have a great week!

He is able,
Mary
http://www.marymaywrites.com/

© 2013 Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Donut Dates



Friday’s Grand Connection Fun
by Mary May Larmoyeux

A fun thing that Pops and I have done with our grands is to take them on a “donut date”—right to the donut factory itself, so to speak—Krispy Kreme.

There’s a Krispy Kreme not too far from where we used to live. I think that the grandkids and I enjoyed watching the donuts being made even more than eating them. Well … almost.

What could be better than a piping hot glazed donut—especially one with all of the calories removed? Of course, there are not just plain donuts. There’s a counter-display filled with donuts of different sizes and shapes—chocolate covered with sprinkles, strawberry filled, cinnamon apple ...

When we took some of our grands to get donuts one fall, did they just want glazed donuts? No, they wanted pumpkin donuts. Guess what? They got pumpkin donuts.

Pops and I have brought the camera with us for our "donut date with the grands." We've snapped some great pictures and captured some great memories. Recently, our oldest granddaughter and I  made an out-of-town trip to see my mom. Guess where we ate breakfast? Dunkin Donuts!

Perhaps one day, when Pops and I are no longer on this earth, our grands will be eating donuts with their kids and they’ll say, “I remember when our grandparents took us to the donut shop.” And later they might even take out a tattered scrapbook and point to an old picture—a picture of us enjoying a Saturday morning with our legacy. Yep, eating pumpkin donuts.

Do you take your grands on donut dates?

If they live out of town, you could mail them a gift card to a donut store. And you could ask the grandkids' parents to snap a picture of them eating donuts and e-mail it to you. You might respond by e-mail with your own memories of eating donuts.

He is able,
Mary
http://www.marymaywrites.com/
http://grandconnection.blogspot.com/

Article and Photo © Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.
 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A grandmother's perspective on life




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Tuesday's Grand Connection Thought

by Mary May Larmoyeux

Have you ever wondered "What's going on with our world?"  I sure have. I'm going to date myself, but I remember a time when it wasn't polite to say "pregnant" in public. Now, that seems like centuries ago, doesn't it?

Has our world forgotten who made it? How many today really believe the words of Isaiah 40:28, "Do you not know?  Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth." 

A couple of Christmases ago, Pops and I bought a puzzle cube for our grandkids to play with. Looking at it today reminds me of what happens when we try to get around a designer's design. The cube had a Christmas picture of Charlie Brown and Snoopy.  When someone put the picture together, everything fit together nicely.

Well, one of our grandkids had a stroke of genius. She discovered that the pictures were not painted on the individual squares; they were made with stickers. One day when the picture was scrambled, she decided to pull off the stickers and form the correct picture herselfa much easier thing to do. And, I might add, when she finished the first time it looked just like the accurately completed puzzle.

But there was a problem. If the cube was turned, the picture was a mess. So when that happened, she and other grandkids tried to put it together again. Some of the kids put stickers on top of stickers. Quite frankly, now the Christmas photo cube is useless.

As a grandmother whose life is centered on Jesus Christ, I'm reminded of Who is holding this crazy world together, even now.  Colossians 1:16-18 says: " For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy."

When the older grandkids come over, I want to show them what once used to be a fun puzzle cube and compare it to the choices they will have in life. They can either follow the Designer's pattern, or choose some shortcuts that might have temporary satisfaction (with possible life-changing results).

The choice is theirs. Pops and I pray that they will choose wisely.

Have a great week,
Mary
Mary May Larmoyeux



Post and photo © 2013 Mary Mary Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.