Gramma in a Box: Fun food activities for faraway grandkids

Gramma in a Box: Fun food activities for faraway grandkids

Grandma Terry Chamberlin has come up with a pretty sweet subscription service for serving up grandma-style food activities from faraway. When three of Terry's grandchildren moved away from her, she began sending them boxes of cookies and treats to go along with their Skype sessions. She soon realized other grandmas just may want to do the same, and the Gramma in a Box subscription service—tagline Gramma does all the work. You have all the fun!—was born. 

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Delightful display: Custom canvas print from Canvas Factory (review and giveaway)

Delightful display: Custom canvas print from Canvas Factory (review and giveaway)

I'm one of those grandmas who displays lots and lots of photos of my loved ones. All around my house. For this post, I began counting the number of pictures I have placed here and there. And stopped thirty six. With the remainder of the main level plus the family room to go, I've chosen to just guesstimate here. I'm guessing there are fifty or so scattered about. On walls, bookcases, mantels, and more.

I delight in seeing my sweeties, old and young, in pictures. But with that many pictures to adore—and dust—I clearly don't need anymore.

Yet an offer to review—and give away! (more on that below)—a custom canvas print from Canvas Factory…

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Empower dear ones with the Let's Be Well Diabetes Box™

Empower dear ones with the Let's Be Well Diabetes Box™

This post sponsored by AARP and the American Diabetes Association.

My husband isn't normal. I guess a more accurate descriptor would be that he's an anomaly. See, my husband has peripheral neuropathy—numbness, tingling, pain, and worse in his feet. It's a condition most commonly due to diabetes. Yet my husband does not have diabetes, not even pre-diabetes. According to literally decades of blood tests seeking a diabetes-PN connection, there is no connection.

There are, though, chronic—and oh-so stubborn—foot wounds my husband regularly contends with, similar to the foot wounds folks with diabetes often experience. It's a confounding state, to say the least.

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Peonies from CommercialSilk.com (review)

Peonies from CommercialSilk.com (review)

Based on the lovely, amazing, productive, and responsible women my daughters have become, I'd have to say I'm pretty good at growing girls.*

Based on the colorless condition of my yard year 'round, though, I'd have to admit I'm no good at all when it comes to growing gardens or flowery sorts of stuff.

Which stinks because I'd like to be one of those people who display colorful cut flowers throughout my home. Sure, I could regularly purchase bouquets from the florist, plop them in a vase, and add water, but that gets expensive. And the flowers die — even for folks who have a natural knack with flowers.

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Family, 'Let's Talk' card game kicks off inter-generational conversation

My biggest missed opportunity was?

I'm grateful we've never had any ________ in the family.

What pop songs or album would you want to hear performed by a full orchestra?

I'd be willing to do ________ for a million dollars.

The teacher who turned on the brightest light for me?

Those enlightening questions are just a few of those friends and family not sitting at the little kid table will enjoy answering during dinner conversation this holiday season when the Family, Let's Talk card game is on hand.

family, let's talk card game

Family, Let's Talk is a deck of 412 cards...

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Review: 'Woody' child costume

Bubby loves the Toy Story movies. So when I was offered the opportunity to review for free any costume of my choosing from CostumeSuperCenter.com, of course I chose their "Woody Quality Child Toddler Costume" ($24.97) for Bubby to try out.

I included the free Woody costume with a couple other costume pieces (a fireman hat and a policeman hat) in the big-brother gift I presented Bubby when recently visiting him and his brand-new baby brother. I think the photos tell you better than I could what he thought of the selection from the online costume store's Toy Story Costumes offerings:

He likes it, he really likes it!

Of course, Gramma, PawDad, Mom and his aunties thought he was absolutely adorable. (It's not that Preston disagreed; he just wasn't there when Bubby first tried it on.)

What I love about the Woody costume: The soft, one-piece costume fit Bubby comfortably and wasn't too hot for the desert climate in which he lives. The colors were vibrant and the replication of the Woody character's outfit was accurate. It went perfectly with Bubby's stick horse (as would any of the other cowboy costumes available).

What I didn't love so much: Cowboys run and ride horses and sling guns like a master, all of which require extensive movement that caused Bubby's cowboy hat to fall off again and again. I commented that a string on it would have been helpful, but as Megan pointed out, that would likely be considered a choking hazard on a child's costume. Maybe a way to tighten the hat to fit a child's head would be preferable. Whatever the solution, a way to keep one's hat on would have been appreciated by the wee cowboy.

Bottom line: Bubby enjoyed the costume, regardless of the hat issue. Not only would it be an awesome Halloween costume, it's a great addition to a dress-up-and-pretend collection.

Review: Riding Dump Truck from HearthSong

Bubby loves trucks. And because GiGi, his paternal great-grandmother who babysits him each Friday, takes Bubby outside or to the window to watch the garbage men collect his trash each week, Bubby especially loves garbage trucks.

So when I approached HearthSong -- a company I've loved and patronized since Bubby's mom was Bubby's age -- to ask if I could review some of their products and they offered up the Riding Dump Truck, I jumped all over that.

HearthSong sent me the oversized truck, which I then sent to Bubby. And here, in photos, is his review:

Bubby posing with the Riding Dump Truck.Checking out the capacity of the mini dumpster.

The mini dumpster is the perfect size for Matchbox cars.Doing a Vanna White display of the rear cargo hold -- the spot Bubby puts Mom's large (size 10!) shoes for hauling around the home.Hopping on for a ride.Mastering the parallel parking skills ... and keeping it safe between rounds of riding.He loves it! He has a little trouble using his feet to push himself along because the width of the truck is a bit wider than Bubby's stance, but the truck is made for kids 3 and up and my Bubby is only coming up on the 2-year mark. So I'm sure his riding skills will improve. In the meantime, a little push from Mom or Dad is all he needs.

One thing that was a bit confusing -- for Bubby, his mom and me when I checked out the truck before shipping -- was figuring out how to make the lift work for the large dumpster on the back of the truck and the smaller one on the side. We couldn't figure out how to make the buckets lift and dump as you'd think they were meant to do. And there were no instructions included, on or in the box. Although, as Megan pointed out, the product is German made, so unless one of us could read German, it would have made no sense anyway.

Overall, Bubby loved the truck. He can't ride it well by himself yet, but that'll come as he gets closer to the age 3 recommendation on the box (age 4 on the website). In the meantime, he uses it to haul all his Matchbox trucks and cars and helicopters ... and his mom's shoes, too.

I was especially pleased with the fact that the truck was made of a heavy-duty plastic. It's tough and sturdy for all the play to come -- especially considering that it holds up to 100 pounds and it's gonna take Bubby a long time to reach that weight! -- but it was light, so shipping costs weren't exorbitant. Of course, grandmas looking to purchase one for a grandchild could always choose to have it shipped directly from HearthSong to the lucky recipient.

Visit HearthSong -- where their tagline is "Toys You'll Feel Good About Giving" -- for more information on the Riding Dump Truck ($59.98) and other nifty, creative toys.