Oh, yes we did: Bracelets with boys

Oh, yes we did: Bracelets with boys

This past weekend, Jim and I kicked off fall with a quick visit to see our grandsons in the desert, as I’d mentioned here was on the calendar. During the visit, I did indeed make bracelets with the boys, just as Declan had requested.

Thing is, despite his enthusiasm upon seeing the paracord bracelet kit I’d brought in my Grandma Bag, Declan bowed out of the bracelet making in mere minutes. Which worked out for the best as bracelet-making was quite a feat for a five-year-old. Well, a feat for this grandma — who’s 10 times that and more — as well.

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Gramma learns a lesson: boys and bracelets

Gramma learns a lesson: boys and bracelets

My long-distance grandsons have what they call “the home phone,” an iPhone Brayden, Camden, and Declan all have equal access to for communicating with friends and family (approved by Mom and Dad).

Occasionally my phone dings and pings over and over as I get a flood of gifs and goofy emojis texted from “the home phone.” As my grandsons don’t indicate who it is doing the texting, I have to guess according to what the message contains. If text is included, it’s typically Brayden …

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Three's a charm: Egg ideas for Easter

easter eggs

Facebook used to be the go-to spot for socializing with friends and family near and far. It's still that a smidgen. More so, though, it's become a video library of sorts that rivals Pinterest in the aggregation of craft and cooking content.

Video content to recently pass through my Facebook stream that appealed to my inner Easter craft-y gal — inner because I have yet to even set out a single bunny or egg around my house or devise the Easter meal menu — included these fun egg how-tos.

As I have no doubt whatsoever I won't be doing any of these this year but don't want my appreciation for them to go to waste, I shall now share them with you. Perhaps...

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How to make a marshmallow shooter

Marshmallows and kids go together. Marshmallows and kids and homemade shooters for flinging the marshmallows soaring off into the stratosphere go together even better.

Here's how to make your very own marshmallow shooter to share — or not share — with the kids:

marshmallow shooter 

What you need:

• Disposable party cup, one per shooter, with the bottom third carefully cut off by an adult

• Balloons, one per shooter plus a few spares, just in case

• Mini marshmallows (Regular size might work, too, but I can't vouch for that)

marshmallow shooter supplies

What you do:

Carefully cut off about 1/8-inch from the rounded end of a balloon. Stretch that cut end of the balloon over the rim off the party cup (not the cut-off end), covering the entire opening of the cup and stretching to allow about 1/2-inch of the balloon to extend up the side of the cup, all the way around.

Roll up the cut edge of the balloon ever so slightly all the way around the cup, to ensure the lip of the cup will grab any edges that threaten to slip off, keeping the balloon secure in place. Then tie the opening of the balloon just as you typically would with an inflated balloon.

Your cup/shooter should look like this:

marshmallow shooters

From there, the fun begins:

First, load the shooter with one marshmallow.

marshmallow shooter

Ensure the marshmallow is centered over the tie...

marshmallow shooter

Then pull back the tied end slightly for the marshmallow to fall into the indention.

marshmallow shooter

Aim your shooter in the direction you want the marshmallow to fly.

aiming marshmallow shooter

Then pull back even farther on the balloon, making sure your hands are closer to the rim than to the cut edge of the cup (because it's sturdier on the rim end and won't crush the cup). Also be sure to r e a l l y concentrate...

marshmallow shooter aim

Then let go and watch her fly!

shooting marshmallow shooter

Or not fly... at least not at first.

With a little practice, aiming and shooting the marshmallow long distances comes easily. Bubby and I were eventually skilled enough at it to compete with one another to see who could shoot the marshmallow all the way across the yard and over the fence (into the wash, not the neighbor's yard).

We tried shooting Cheerios and tiny craft pom-poms, too. We did the pom-poms indoors so as to not litter. The pom-poms didn't work so well. The Cheerios, though, were a smashing success — especially when we tried them indoors and they burst into pieces upon hitting the vaulted ceiling. (Don't tell Megan.)

Roxy, the family dog, had a great time gobbling up all the marshmallows and Cheerios, both inside and out. And call me a bad grandma if you must, but Mac nabbed a fair share of the misfires, as well, picking them up and popping them into his mouth as quickly as we could fire them off. Hey, it kept him busy while his big brother — and his grandma — got the hang of shooting the marshmallows and more over the fence and out of the park.

marshmallow shooter trio

Today's question:

When did you last blow up a balloon? Or eat a marshmallow?

Yesterday at Gramma's: Up, up and away

Mac and Bubby, ready for take-off in the Squeak Soda Shop balloon—though clearly a bit anxious about what will take place once the coins are dropped in the slot.

Note: While my grandsons are in town, posts will be short on text and long on photos, with the exception of Monday's GRAND Social linky and Wednesday's Grilled Grandma, which will be featured as always.

Today's question:

Hot air balloon ride, bungee jump, or sky dive—which have you done and which would you like to do?

Yesterday at Gramma's: First things first

Hunting for treasure—aka coins PawDad buries in the sand—has always been one of Bubby's favorite things to do at Gramma and PawDad's house. So when I picked up Megan and the boys at the airport yesterday, Bubby's first request was to hunt for treasure when we got home.

Which is exactly what Bubby and Mac did.

Today's question:

When did you last play in sand, whether in a sandbox, at the beach or elsewhere?

National Humor Month: Giggles and grins for kids

April is National Humor Month. Don't let it end without getting in a few giggles, grins, and groans with the grandkids.

Here are a few to get things started:

What does a baby ear of corn call its father?
Pop Corn.

Why are movie stars cool?
Because they have so many fans.

How many months have 28 days?
All of them.

Two snowmen are standing in a meadow. One snowman turns to the other and says, "Do you smell carrots?"

What is the strongest bird?
A crane.

On which side does a leopard have the most spots?
On the outside.

What did the hat say to the hat rack?
“You stay here. I’ll go on ahead.”

How do you find a lost rabbit?
Easy. Just make a sound like a carrot.

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Donut who?
Donut ask me any more silly questions.

What kind of tree fits in your hand?
A palm tree.

What did the farmer say when he lost his tractor?
“Where’s my tractor?”

How many letters are there in the alphabet?

What is the difference between here and there?
The letter T.

What did the bad chicken lay?
A deviled egg.

Why did the students eat their homework?
Because their teacher said it was a piece of cake.

Why does a flamingo lift up one leg?
Because if he lifted up both legs he would fall over.

Where can everyone always find money when they look for it?
In the dictionary.

Why do male deer need braces?
Because they have buck teeth.

What kind of hair do oceans have?

What kind of car does Mickey Mouse's wife drive?
A Minnie van.

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Mayor who?
Mayor days be filled with love and laughter.

Today's fill-in-the-blank:

The last person I shared a joke with was _______________.

Pine cones, pain, and peanut butter

I mentioned in yesterday's post that the book Grandma's Bag of Tricks: Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars is a great boredom-busting book. It's also an awesome need-a-mellow-activity-while-recovering-from-tonsil-and-adenoid-surgery book. I can vouch for that because that's exactly what it offered up for my recent visit to see Bubby while he healed from his surgery.

The mellow activity I chose to do with Bubby was to make a pine cone bird feeder, using the pine cones I packed away in my Grandma Bag for the trip. (I lugged them along because while I have far too many pine cones in my yard in the mountains, they're nowhere to be found in Bubby's yard in the desert and he didn't even know what pine cones are.)

This is how the activity went:

First you take the pine cones ...

Then you add a wire to the top and coat them with peanut butter:

You taste the peanut butter, of course:

Then you spread a little more on the pine cone:

You roll your coated pine cone in birdseed:

And realize too late that tasting the seed probably wasn't such a good idea:

You finish the feeder:

And take a break because your throat hurts so cuss bad (maybe as much from swallowing peanut butter and seeds as from the T&A surgery):

Next, you hang your completed bird feeder in the yard:

And smile so proud for a job well done:

Then you sit back and wait for birds to arrive. Or for a dog, enticed by the scent of peanut butter, to nab the low-hanging fruit and gobble it down within a day of being hung. Which Roxy did. Twice.

So you complete the process all over again (thankful that Gramma brought spare pine cones and seed) and hang your new feeder up for the birds ... only this time you hang it high enough that Roxy can't reach it.

Today's question:

What is your latest project, completed or still in progress?

5 books and boredom busters

Summer will soon be in full swing, which means grandmas, moms, aunts and others will likely have more time with the kids. And likely more time for kids to complain of being bored. That also means, though, that you have more opportunities to wow the wee ones and combat those unnerving "I'm bored" complaints.

Here are a few ideas for preventing the boredom blues, featuring one of my favorite things: books. Try them out on your summer charges, let me know how it goes, and feel free to share in the comments any boredom busters you might have up your sleeve.

Book: Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Dusky Rinker. Cement Mixer, Excavator, Dump Truck and more all work oh-so hard during the day then tuck themselves in at night, resting up for the next day's work. Bubby loved this picture book featuring some of his all-time favorite trucks.

Boredom buster: Take a trip to a nearby construction site to watch (from afar) the work vehicles doing their jobs. Younger kids may want to bring along their toy trucks of a similar sort; older kids may enjoy having a pair of binoculars on hand to get an up-close look at the action.

Book: There's a Dragon in the Library by Dianne de Las Casas. This clever tale tells of Max and his visions of a dragon during story time at the library. Is there really a dragon in the library or is it just his imagination? And how can he convince Mom, the librarians and Officer Riley that there really is a dragon in the library.

Boredom buster: Head to the library, of course, and seek out books about dragons, along with any others of interest to youngsters in tow. While there — or, better yet, before going — find out what activities are lined up at the library, where summer programs for kids are often a highlight of summer. They sure were for my girls when they were young.

Book: Amazon Alphabet by Johnette Downing. This colorful adventure takes kids of all ages from A to Z through the Amazon, introducing familiar folk such as frogs and jaguars, as well as the unfamiliar including the caiman and quetzal. Facts and features accompany each alphabetic selection.

Boredom buster: Zoo time! Many zoos have an Amazon Rainforest feature where kids can enjoy an A-to-Z scavenger hunt of things featured in the book. If your local zoo doesn't have such an exhibit, enjoy an A-to-Z hunt of other animals. If schedules, weather, or budgets nix a zoo visit, use the pictures in the book as inspiration for drawing Amazon animals for creating your own rainforest in your backyard or home.

Book: Grandma's Bag of Tricks: Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars by Sharon Lovejoy. This book truly isn't just for grandma's as it comes in quite handy for anyone looking for activities for kids. With an older child, peruse the awesome options for fun, from restaurant night at home, to pinecone bird feeders, to fairy tea parties, tin-can bands and more. For little ones, pick and choose any of the many perfect for toddlers.

Boredom buster: Not too hard to figure this one out as there are more than 130 activities to choose from. The hard part is making a choice. Consider having the child make a list of the ones you want to tackle together throughout the summer or a visit. 

Book: Meet Einstein by Mariela Kleiner. This book may be designated as for youngsters ages 2-4, but it's a safe bet that older kids will appreciate the straightforward introduction to one of the all-time great scientists. In addition to the story, the inside front and back covers include a pictorial rundown of all the tools needed for scientific exploration: goggles, beakers, nets for catching butterflies, gloves to "protect my fingers from sticky and icky things," and more.

Boredom buster: The book outlines some of Einstein's great scientific discoveries related to light and gravity. Come up with a few experiments involving light — using flashlights, lightbulbs, fire, rainbows — and gravity — any manner of things that go up then come down (spills, jumping in the air) or go up but don't come down (balloons, kites). As the book notes, even preschoolers can grasp the concepts of light and gravity. "Help them make the connection in everything they see and do, and teach them that science is all around them."

Good to know: Clicking on the book covers will provide more information on the books. They are NOT affiliate links, and I earn nothing by you clicking on them. And in the interest of full disclosure, I purchased the Toad Cottages and Construction Site books myself; the others were sent to me for free by the publishers, with no obligation to review or write about them and no compensation for doing so.

Today's question:

Fill in the blank: When I get bored, I ___________________.