Thanksgiving theatrics: Family fun galore courtesy What Happens at Grandma's

Thanksgiving theatrics: Family fun galore courtesy What Happens at Grandma's

My friend Grandma Joyce from What Happens at Grandma's has done it again: crafted a creative and clever holiday activity for kids! This time it's for Thanksgiving, and this time it's unique among Thanksgiving arts and crafts found online because it's performance art — a three-act play for grandkids to perform for friends and family on Turkey Day. Thank you for sharing, Joyce!

The kids don't know it yet, but they're going to superstar in a post-dinner Thanksgiving play at grandma's this year. Considering their love of theatrics, I'm confident they'll gobble up this opportunity right along with savory sweet potatoes served on the rapidly approaching family day of thankful...

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On adult children: Learning the boundaries of communication (guest post)

Dear readers: This guest post was written by my grandma friend and fellow GRANDparent Network member Donne Davis of GaGa Sisterhood. Thank you so much for sharing this wisdom on the tricky-at-times relationship between parents and their adult children, Donne.

mother and adult daughter

When it comes to communicating with your adult children, where do you get stuck? I posed this question to the 25 GaGas attending our January 15 meeting and added, is it around discipline, visitation, values or boundaries?

All of the above, and more, they answered. One member said: “All I have to do is open my mouth and my son misinterprets what I’m saying.” Another joked: “OMG! Just asking ‘how are you’ can trigger...

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What moms want from grandparents (guest post)

Dear readers: Tis the season of giving, and one of the best gifts you can give — all year long — is understanding. Here, my friend and fellow GRANDparent Network member Donne Davis of GaGa Sisterhood offers insight to help us grandparents better understand the mothers of our beloved grandkiddos and what they most want from us in our grand role.

What Moms Want from Grandparents

grandmothers, mother, daughter

As I was writing my book, When Being a Grandma Isn’t So Grand: 4 Keys to L.O.V.E. Your Grandchild’s Parents, I realized that in order to help us grandmas improve our relationship with our grandchild’s parents — especially their mothers — we need to hear what moms have to say about the grandparent relationship.

I surveyed over 50 moms and asked them what they want from the grandparents. Many moms...

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Creating kindness in your life (Guest post)

Dear readers: This guest post was written by Kay and Leslie of GrandparentsLink, my fellow members in the GRANDparent Network. Considering the lack of kindness and compassion across our country the last far too many months thanks to the hostile political climate and anxiety following the election, the wisdom Kay and Leslie offer here is particularly worthy of reading, sharing, putting into practice.


Creating kindness in your life

As grandparents, we want to inspire our grandchildren, and one of the best ways to do this is by "doing" simple acts of kindness. The old adage about "setting an example" certainly...

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The hero of the holidays: 4 ways to bring family together

Dear readers: I've flown to the desert to be with my grandsons for a few days! As I play hooky, I'd like to share with you this helpful holiday-themed guest post from author and speaker Margery Leveen Sher.

heart ornament

The hero of the holidays: 4 ways to bring family together

Ah, the holidays are upon us. What does it bring to your mind? Catching up with relatives you haven’t seen for a while? Gorging on turkey and treasured, old family recipes? Enjoying...

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Grandparents: Inspire grandchildren to create their own adventures

Dear readers: I am away from the computer and in the desert watching my grandsons, so today I'm sharing with you these smart suggestions for summer fun from StatePoint Media.

Getting kids to be more active and motivated for outdoor adventure can be a challenge in today's world of cool technology. With so many compelling reasons to stay indoors—like game systems, smartphones, and streaming video—how do you convince your grandchildren that the great outdoors is, well, great?

kids playing outside

Here are a few ideas to inspire outdoor play—and even to use their love of technology to...

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GRAND guest post: 6 tips to keep grandchildren reading all summer

Dear readers: This article originally appeared on the GRAND Magazine website, one of my partners in providing grandparents with quality information and inspiration. I publish it here with their permission.

grandma and grandson reading together

Parents and grandparents are the child’s first and foremost teachers. They play an important role in teaching children to read and—maybe just as importantly—to love reading. Now that summer...

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Encourage grandkids to learn more about science and nature during playtime

Dear readers: As I mentioned yesterday, I'm off playing in the desert with my grandsons. In light of that, I offer you here a guest post of sorts — playtime suggestions courtesy StatePoint Media.

dinosaur toys

Have any budding scientists in your family? If your grandchildren are fascinated by nature, dinosaurs, and other cool science subjects, you can help foster their interests by turbo-charging their playtime to fit their favorite topics.

"Learning is not just for the classroom or a formal setting," says Dr. Lise Eliot, early childhood...

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8 types of mothers-in-law kept out of the loop by their children (Guest post)

Dear readers: Please enjoy this guest post from Miriam Hendeles of Bubby Joys and Oys, who offered to share her thoughts (and photos) while I'm away at the Life@50+ conference in Boston.
Thank you, Miriam! ~Lisa

Miriam's grandsons

You're a well-meaning grandmother, not a demanding bully who gives your adult kids...

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Grandparents' guide to traveling with grandkids

Dear readers: This is a guest post from travel expert Kendra Thornton, written just for Grandma's Briefs readers. Enjoy!

travel with grandkids

Taking a trip with your grandchildren can be a great experience for you and your grandkids — a time away from Mom and Dad to laugh, play and explore. Being prepared for your trip in addition to any possible hiccups will maximize the fun and limit the stress. The first step? Start planning well in advance to ensure you have everything you need to make your trip with your grandchildren their best one yet!

car with grandmaEntertainment
A lot of kids have their favorite electronic devises with them at all times. Although you certainly do not want to spend your trip watching them play Nintendo, you also don’t want to be bombarded with the dreaded "Are we there yet's." Before you leave, sit down with your grandkids and their parents to make sure you are all on the same page.

Having a DVD player, iPad or tablet can certainly provide hours of entertainment for the transportation aspect of your trip and keep younger children well occupied. If you are leaving the United States, think about investing in a portable DVD player. Since the compatibility of DVDs changes from country to country, you want to make sure you’re all set to play your grandchildren’s favorite bedtime show.

Bring snacks
Kids will want to eat on schedule, whether you are mid-flight or headed down the interstate in your car. It is unlikely that you will be hungry as often as they are, and it can be hassle to stop and eat every time a tummy grumbles. Bring along some of their regular snacks or baby food to keep their stomachs happy during the trip.

For babies and younger toddlers, make sure not to introduce too many new foods during the trip so that if there is an adverse reaction to the food you will be able to pinpoint it. This will hopefully limit any frantic phone calls home as well.

beach with baby

Pre-register and research your reservations
Being stuck in a long waiting line for a car rental or arriving to find your check-in time has been pushed way back at your hotel can make a trip with kids stressful. Make sure that you take the time to make reservations beforehand, and register for a rental car online or over the phone before you leave home.

Most of us are already in the practice of solidifying reservations, but what do you know about the reservation you’ve chosen? Do your due diligence before booking by using a local travel agent or online review. When my family booked a trip to the Island state, it was great to be able to read through reviews of Honolulu’s best hotels to find the one that fit our budget and amenity requirements.

Essential documents
Unless you are listed as your grandchild’s legal guardian, you will want to have documentation stating that their parents have consented to the trip. Although this will be less of a problem for those traveling by car, having a letter of parental consent — ideally notarized — will prevent any hang-ups with law enforcement or customs. This applies to children traveling internationally with only one parent as well.

If you have special circumstances that make this consent form difficult to obtain, make sure to get in touch with the U.S. Customs office as soon as possible and bring a printout of all documented correspondence with you.

boy with binoculars

Dealing with sickness
Although we all hope our vacations go on without a hitch, sometimes we all need a little medical attention. Whether it be a scraped knee or a necessary visit to the local doctor, you want to make sure you’re prepared. Things like motion sickness are common during car rides, boat rides and flights. Hold small children during take off and try to make sure they have plenty of fresh air by rolling down windows slightly or pointing the air vents at the child.

Bring a first aid kit as well as an extra set of clothes within easy reach for quick cleanups. I find that decorated band-aids have magical healing powers to get kids back up and playing faster than generic. Also make sure to have a copy of their insurance cards on file at all times in case you need to make a quick doctors visit.

Kendra Thornton Kendra Thornton is a travel expert, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of three. She is a long-time travel advocate who has been packing her bags and traveling the world since she was three months old!


Today's question:

What are your travel plans for this summer?

5 reasons why grandkids love Grandma

Today I'm pleased to share with you a guest post highlighting a point of view from the other side of grandmotherhood.

Guest post by Sara Dawkins, written especially for Grandma's Briefs readers

As a grandchild and great grandchild, I have been blessed to know my grandma and two great-grandmothers on a deeper level than most. As a grandmother you may think that we grandchildren love you for your never-ending candy supply and your gift-giving ability, but believe it or not there is more. When I was younger there were a handful of things that kept me loving my grandmother, and as an older grandchild I whole-heartedly still adore the following things:

Your smell: This may seem weird at first sight (or scent) but you have a smell. Whether it is the same perfume that grandfather has been giving to you on your birthday for the past the twenty-eight years or your Dial hand soap, we love it. It is amazing how much scent can stir up memories and feelings. Stick to what you are doing and don’t change!

Holidays: The colors, the music, the smells, the laughter, the cookies, and the food! Spending the holidays with grandmother is like living in a movie. Every December, grandchildren get excited and giggly at the thought of spending time with you in your kitchen or eating at the family table.

Your hugs: There is something different about a grandmother’s hug. Your hug seems softer but stronger, warm and safe. A grandmother’s hug is usually paired with a quick swaying movement and followed with some sort of adoration for us. Never underestimate the power of a grandmother’s hug.

Your jewelry: Oh my! As I child I could spend hours rifling through Grandma’s jewelry box. A granddaughter trying on her grandmother’s jewelry for the first time is the moment when a little girl realizes she wants to grow up and be a grandmother with tons of necklaces and bracelets. Playing dress up is a must!

Your kitchen: Grandmothers are the masters of their kitchens. Watching grandma gracefully hurry from the stove to the fridge and back is almost an art form. Not to mention the finished products you whip up in no time. King Ranch Chicken. My grandmother would stomp her foot if she knew that was my favorite dish she cooked. Cooking side by side with your grandmother is one of the most memorable moments of any child’s life.

So as a professional grandchild, I would like to say this: Grandmothers, we love and adore you as much as you love and adore us. Keep that cookie jar full and those arms open.

Author Bio
Sara is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor of a nanny agency. Learn more about her here.

Have you voted? If you liked this post—and Grandma's Briefs in general—please vote for Grandma's Briefs in the Favorite Grandparent Blog poll. Vote once per day per email address through March 21. Thank you!

Today's question:

Why did/do you love your grandma(s)?

Grilling the guest

I once was approached by a woman I'd never met, online or off, who asked if she could write a guest post for Grandma's Briefs. Other than a guest-post trading stint featured as part of a SITS activity, I had never published guest posts here. Funny thing was, I was swamped and in desperate need of help. So I said yes, Grandtravel was published, and a stranger named Mary had saved the day. End of story.

Or so I thought.

Not too long ago, I was contacted again by Mary, with an idea for another post, wondering if I might want to publish it. Again, she had come along at exactly the right time, exactly when I needed her. I published Grandparents can be fun AND consistent, and once more, Mary — now no longer a stranger — saved the day.

That's still not the end of the story, though.

The rest of the story is that the guest-post-writing stranger named Mary, the woman who saved my butt the this week's Grilled Grandma.

You've read her articles on grandparenting (and if not, go ahead, read them, then come back). Now it's time to read about her. Please give it up—meaning the clicks and the comments—for Grilled Grandma: Mary, an online angel who somehow magically knew I needed her, even before I knew that I did.

Now that, dear readers, is the end of the story. At least for now.

Call for guest posts: I'd like to throw a guest post or two into the mix during the time I'm away meeting my new grandson. If you would like to submit a 300- to 600-word post on any grandparenting topic (no ads or promotions, please), please e-mail it to me by Tuesday, June 14 for consideration and possible inclusion. Openings are limited, but I hope to fit in a few. Thank you!

Today's question:

When has a stranger made a difference in your life?