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 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!

©  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,

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

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


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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,

© 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!


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,

© 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,

© 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,

© 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,

© 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,

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,

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