Gramma goes tubing

Gramma goes tubing

Despite having been born in Minnesota and living in the Land of 10,000 Lakes the first decade of my life, I'm not big on water sports. To any degree. I still don't know how to swim... even after having swim lessons as a child and again at 40 years old.

I'm not deathly afraid of water, but I certainly don't seek out splishy-splashy fun in water over my head. Not even water up to my chest, to be honest.

So it should come as no surprise that I've never whiled away hours in an inner tube on a lake. Nor have I engaged in tubingโ€ฆ

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Throwback Thursday: Sponge bombs for summer fun

Throwback Thursday: Sponge bombs for summer fun

This #TBT feature originally published on Grandma's Briefs April 14, 2015โ€”when Brayden was two months away from 7 and Camden soon to turn 4. Thank you for reading my rerun!

Super simple, sloppy, summer fun!


  • Basic rectangular household sponges in various colors (two per sponge bomb)

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Spring activities for kids! Plus GRAND Social No. 248 link party for grandparents

Spring activities for kids!

Today is the first day of spring! Yay!

Need some ideas for spring activities with kids? Here are 10 suggestions for sharing with the grand youngsters. Though the video says the fun is for preschoolers, I think kids up to age 10 would certainly appreciate and enjoy most of them, too.

Have fun! May spring 2017...

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Grand desert hike

I'm not typically up for going on hikes with my grandsons when I visit their place, though hiking is one of the family's favorite activities. It's usually so stinkin' hot in the desert that heading out for supposed fun in the sun among cactuses is far from my idea of a grand time.

The other day, though, the desert weather was uncharacteristically mild and suited to Gramma's liking, thus perfect for hitting the trails with Mac, Jak, and their mommy.

hiking with grandsons

The hike was rather short due to...

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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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Grandma kicks the can: Old-time games to teach grandchildren

Remember the long summer days spent outdoors as a child? Riding bikes, exploring the neighborhood, bonding with buddies and doing a whole bunch of nothing — which meant everything at the time? And playing games… Oh, the games!

kids playing outside statue

Today’s kids — meaning our grandkids — likely have...

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Forecast calls for fun: Getting grandkids outdoors no matter the weather

Today I return home from the Lifesavers Conference. Tomorrow I leave to spend 10 days (woo-hoo!) with my grandsons.

My busy schedule of late makes it a little tough to write new content to share with you each day. Have no fear, though, as I've procured some goodies to share with you now and again during my time in the desert, with fits and spurts of some original stuff (photos of Bubby and Mac, for sure!) along the way.

Today it's this: Tips from the National Wildlife Federation for getting the grandkids outside — regardless of the erratic springtime weather.

Forecast Calls for Fun
(courtesy of Family Features)

Grandparent often keep a running list of rainy day activities, crafts and games to keep grandkids indoors when the forecast is soggy. But if your grandchildren have never dodged rain drops, built a snowman or enjoyed a lazy summer afternoon outside, they're missing out on something wonderful.

Weather was cited as the biggest barrier to getting kids outdoors by 61 percent of parents recently surveyed by the National Wildlife Federation. But the outdoor activities kids love, such as running, jumping, climbing, playing games with friends and taking nature walks, are a great strategy for keeping children healthy and happy.

“Children are safe to play outside in most kinds of weather barring the extremes,” said Lindsay Legendre, manager of the National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There movement. “Regular outdoor play is so important to kids’ healthy development and a little rain shouldn’t stop them from being out there. Parents might enjoy puddle jumping again themselves.”

Bring on the Rain. Rain can sometimes be blamed for causing children to catch colds or flu, particularly when their hair or feet get wet. However, rain cannot make you sick. Dress children in waterproof hats, boots and raincoats to keep kids from getting too soggy. If storm conditions develop, get out of any body of water and seek shelter in a nearby building. Prepare for mud and splashes in advance by keeping a heavy mat and dry towels by the front door.

How Hot is too Hot? When temperatures climb, make sure to have plenty of water available and take precautions, such as applying sunscreen and wearing loose clothing that is light in color. Try to schedule outdoor time during the early morning and evening, which are often the coolest part of the day.

Allergies. In many areas, seasonal allergies are another challenge for parents to contend with in regard to outdoor play. Experts say, in addition to any allergy medications recommended by their pediatrician, there are steps you can take to help allergic kids enjoy the outdoors:

  • Encourage kids to go outside in the early morning and evening when pollen counts are lower.
  • Cool shades or sunglasses can prevent allergens from entering their eyes.
  • Have them shower and wash their hair once they come back in.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside. Many grandparents are reluctant to send kids outside when temperatures drop. The American Academy of Pediatrics urges adults to dress kids in several thin layers to keep them dry and warm, including warm coats, boots, gloves and hats. It’s also important to set reasonable time limits on outdoor play and have children come inside periodically to warm up. And don’t forget the sunscreen, as sunlight, especially reflecting off snow, can cause burns.

“Kids should get at least 60 minutes of exercise every day, and it’s great if they can do so outside for the fresh air and more room to play,” said Dr. Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician and author of Heading Home with Your Newborn.

For more tips and advice on getting kids outside, visit and For more National Wildlife Federation news, visit:

Main photo courtesy of Getty Images

Today's question:

What are your memories of outdoor springtime fun as a child?

Fun at the park

As much of the country is shivering about now—perhaps even experiencing snow fluttering about to one degree or another—I thought I'd warm you up a bit with some (semi) warm shots of what my grandsons and I did on our last afternoon together in the desert on Tuesday.

Fun at the park with Bubby and Mac:

There was no one there to capture a picture or two of the three of us sliding down the twirly slide together in what we dubbed "the Gramma Train Slide," but you can imagine it was lots of fun for all three of us. You also can imagine Mac saying "gain!" after each time, in hopes we'd board the Gramma train another time or two.

It was a delightful way to end my stay in the desert.

(Note: Because the slide show crops my photos a little funny, you're welcome to view the original pictures—plus a shot of the boys' reaction when a park caretaker arrived on his riding lawnmower—in my Brag Book, if you'd like.)

Today's Christmas-y question:

Which Christmas song's lyrics have you memorized better than any other?

5 ideas for autumn walks with kids

With the arrival of fall, the temperatures finally lowered to a bearable range in the desert, where I'm currently visiting my grandsons. When I visited in the summer, triple-digit temps kept us indoors. Now, though, pleasant weather beckons us outdoors, and walks are a great way to enjoy the season.

Here are a few ideas for autumn walks, several of which I hope to take with Bubby and Mac before I head back home to the mountains.

Halloween decoration tour. This one we did yesterday. Bubby took the lead in showing Gramma the most festive and fun—and sometimes scary—homes in his neighborhood. We saw everything from simple Jack-o-Lanterns to silly cemeteries, hanging (and some buried) skeletons and witches and more. In true tour-director fashion, Bubby ended the walk by declaring the last stop on the route the winner of the Best Decoration contest and posed for a photo with Mac in front of their favorite.

Penny walk. First, a word of warning: Don't try this not at home, for you just may end up lost if traversing an unfamiliar neighborhood. As you venture off, use a penny toss to determine your route by declaring a toss for heads being a left turn, a toss for tails being right. At each street corner, toss the coin again to decide which way to go. Once you've tossed and turned time and again, you may need to toss once more (or off and on throughout the walk) to decide whether to head back home or continue on.

Alphabet walk. Print the alphabet, A to Z, down a piece of paper, then cross off each letter as you see things starting with that letter. A is for airpline, animal, ant. B is for blue sky, bike, buildings. C is for car, cat, cactus. And so forth. With 26 letters to mark off the list, this walk requires plenty of time—and creative thinking for a handful of letters, such as Z, X, K and Q.

Picture-taking walk. This one was our original plan when we set out for our walk yesterday, as Bubby received a nifty digital camera for kids from Aunt Brianna for his birthday a few months ago. Dead batteries in Bubby's camera led us to opt for Plan B—the Halloween decoration tour instead. As long as batteries are charged, though, budding photographers of all ages will enjoy heading out with camera in hand to capture pics befitting a designated category. Ideal themes for fall are leaves, animals, signs of weather (clouds, blowing trees, etc) bugs, and more. And, of course, Halloween decor, too.

Do you hear what I hear? Going for a walk typically means looking about and taking in the sights. Add a twist to your outing by keeping track of all the sounds you hear while out and about, too. With big sounds like trucks, sirens, dogs barking and motorcycles, down to lower volume beauties including wind chimes, bees buzzing and leaves rustling, there's no shortage of audible delights on an autumn adventure.

Today's question:

What do you most enjoy about autumn walks?

The Saturday Post: Get outside and play edition

Unbelievably, this weekend (already!) serves as the official kick-off to summer. Time to fire up the grill and enjoy some fun in the sun.

If your options for outdoor fun are lacking, especially when it comes to things to do with the kids—grand or otherwise—check out these cool and creative ideas from the Toy Industry Association:

My favorite has to be the 3-D sidewalk chalk. I'll be picking up some of that, for sure, before Bubby and Baby Mac visit Gramma's in a couple weeks. Maybe the mega bubble blower, too.

For more toy ideas—including prices on the items mentioned in the video—visit

May your Memorial Day Weekend be loads of fun—and warmer than it appears to have been for the women in that video!

Today's question:

What's your favorite way to have fun in the sun, with or without kids?