Family Flix

Family movies, meaning G-rated, are hard to come by these days. And I for one am thankful that Disney-Pixar has filled the niche with some entertaining stuff that tickles the fancy of children and adults. The quality of storyline, animation and fun factor are superb and I believe if I had to choose a fav, I’d be hard press to do so.
If you’re a GRG (grandparent raising grandchild) give a click to this link
Pixar and check out the animated movies offered. Pixar is a Disney affiliate and going strong with incredilbe writers, animators and just plain fun flicks for families.
Ratatouilleratatouille2 and Finding Nemo are two we still replay and giggle ourselves silly over. Ratatouille is a tale of a French rat with a penchant for gourmet cooking and his trials in triumphs in becoming a renowned chef. Finding Nemo is an aquatic verison of the age old tale of an overprotective parent (a clownfish Dad) and an adventerous child, Nemo. Good stuff, both.
Take a trip to your local video store, or Redbox if there’s one nearby (a buck a DVD, can’t beat the price!) or if you’ve got a Netflix account zap those kid friendly movies into your queue and their delivered to your mailbox in just a couple days.
A massive bowl of buttered popcorn, blankets and pillows in front of the tube on a Friday night make for good family fun and laughs.
Compliments of Pixar. Enjoy.

Happy Sunday!

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Goop! Rainy day fun.

Homemade Goop: An Easy Craft Idea for Kidsgoop05

Ever hear, “I’m bored” as the rain pellets the windows and you’ve played every board game and card game at least three times? And it’s only 11:00 AM! Sound familiar? Well keep your kids busy with a homemade, easy craft idea called goop. For about two bucks and five minutes of your time, the kids will be singing your praises and laughing themselves silly. Grab the supplies on your next shopping trip and get ready to provide an easy craft for kids and adults alike.
Goop: the slick, snotty, slime putty for kids ages 5-70.

What You Need:

* 1/4 Cup of Cornstarch
* 4oz. White Glue
* 1/2 teaspoon Borax
* 1/4 cup warm water
* Liquid Food Coloring
* 2 Mixing Bowls
* Large Spoon
* The Camera

Step1

Get out one mixing bowl. Before you begin, instruct the kids that although this is a homemade recipe, it is for fun and play, NOT TO EAT.
Step2

Pour the cornstarch into the bowl. Have the kids sift with their fingers. (Although this is an easy craft activity, keep napkins or a towel close by in case of spills.)
Step3

Pour the glue into the bowl. Mix well. Once again, this can be a messy kids craft. My suggestion is to make homemade goop in the kitchen, not the living or dining room. You don’t want your homemade recipe on the couch a year from now.
Step4

Even though it’s a kids easy craft, food coloring scares some moms. Solution? Vinegar. You’ll see.
In a separate bowl, mix water food coloring and Borax. Mix until dissolved. Don’t worry about the food coloring, let the kids enjoy this easy craft. The idea of food coloring staining fingers sends some mothers into a panic. Don’t worry, a little vinegar will take it right off.

Step5

What an Easy Craft Idea for Kids~ Pour the two mixtures together. Stir for 3 minutes, even after you see the homemade goop forming. This is to make sure it’s mixed all the way through. Let the kids help with this, allowing them to feel the slime and see what’s going on. This is the fun and easy part of the craft that kids love.

Now…

Grab the camera and snap away. Kids will play with this fun goop for hours
Roll it, throw it, smash it, trash it, beat it, the possibilities are endless.
This is an easy fun idea for kids, yet so cheap.
Remind children, don’t eat the goop. (kinda like don’t eat the yellow snow!).

Have Fun!
Happy Thursday!

Wrinkles indicate where the smiles have been!

big_girl_panties

One thing I hear a lot when acquaintances and friends are told we’ve adopted our 7 yr old grandson is “oh well he’ll keep you young, that’s for sure!” I’ve always been one to feel age is a state of mind, a number, an attitude. Having to keep up with a 7 yr old boy doesn’t change that, though I admit when the Grand Prince needs lessons on his new bicycle this Spring, sans training wheels, it won’t be Nana who’s running along side; my knees will protest.

Our society is so obsessed with the aging process or better yet keeping it at bay for as long as possible. I figure at 56 I’ve earned every crease, creak, groan, sag,  gray hair -the ones not professionally colored- and age spot that graces my face and body. Gravity is what it is, said Mr. Newton, why fight it?  Our faces and bodies will never look as they did at 25. Have you seen women who’s cosmetic surgery  leaves them looking  like a cartoon character  because they are desperate to dive into the fountain of youth over and over? Oy! Not a pretty picture.

It’s called midlife for a reason. Our youth is gone, but our living is not and there’s lots more to come. In fact the wisdom garnered over the years far outweighs the fleeting  pleasures of youth. My Dad always said, “oh to be 22 and know what I do now!” Of course I didn’t ‘get’ it until I was much older but truer words were never spoken. However, if we could have that we’d miss out on learning to live, making the necessary mistakes and gaining the wisdom over the years that ushers us into the magnificent creatures we are at 50 or 60 or 70 and beyond.

Could you, at 25 or 35 wear crazy hats or stripes and plaids or sweat pants to the supermarket and not bat an eye or cause eyebrows to raise? Could you at 25 or 35 wile away the day just reading, sipping tea, take a long walk, paint a watercolor, play with the cats all while the laundry was piled high and the dust bunnies were running rampant? Could you, at 25 or 35 have a second helping of dessert just because or relive memories of those wild escapades and travels in your younger days? I’d say the latter was unlikely since you’d probably have had those experiences as a child…with your parents overseeing them all!

Bette Davis is quoted as saying “Old age is no place for sissies”.  If we’re spending time trying to recapture what once was we’ll never enjoy the experience of that which seasons us for the second half of  life.  I know I’m going to enjoy the next phase in life’s journey without a care for or a look back  toward the ‘old days’. I’m too busy living life in the ‘not so fast lane’. And it suits me just fine.

Happy Tuesday, all you Big Girls!

Snow Day Mondays

winter-09-016Snow days are the best. Kids cheer when the announcement comes  and so do we who are so lucky as to be employed in an arena where snow days are possible. And snow days on Monday are the bomb! An instant three day weekend; a shortened work week. Ah such bliss in the midst of snow, freezing temperatures and Spring too far off in the distance for my taste, despite having put February behind us. And today, March came in like a lion.

Snow days bring no schedules to follow, no deadlines to meet, no work to get done.  I suppose one could clean the bathtub or rearrange the linen closet but why waste a good snow day on that! How about lazing on the couch with the leftover Sunday Globe? In your pj’s? All day?  Playing Scrabble online…for hours? Flipping through old family photo albums? Baking cookies? (diet be damned) Sipping plum tea with a biscotti on the side? Watching the kids pummeling each other with snowballs? How about any and all of the above?

Oh and did I mention the Spouse shoveled us out so I didn’t even have to go outside and brave the very elements that offered up an extra day of rest.

I’m a lucky woman. Yes siree.

Happy snow day Monday all!

Time is not on my side


Contrary to the lyrics of the Rolling Stones hit, “time is on my side, yes it is”, there are many days when I wish for 28 hours instead of 24.
Here’s the schedule for the end of our day, not even factoring in the eight plus hours prior.  Bet there’s a familiar them here for you as well.

After a full workday, I pick up the Grand Prince from after school care, which for me is in the same building I’m employed. That’s a huge plus. Next it’s off to run a few errands, maybe pick up something from the market. If it’s not a karate class day or a tennis lesson then we finish up and head home. Upon arriving we greet the menage of animals and then doff the winter attire to appropriate places and tackle the backpack. Homework, notices from school, permission slips, all to be signed, read or filed on the fridge. Next it’s homework and a snack. I’m very fortunate he’s a conscientious kid and one who enjoys learning, so there’s very little balking about getting homework done. The GP is very on target about snacks too and what’s okay and what’s ‘are you kidding me before dinner!?” sort of snacks.
I start tossing in a load of laundry or swapping one to the dryer while answering questions about spelling, grammar or math (Gods, I hate the math part and beg for the Spouse to handle that. Yes, I’m math phobic). Usually the Spouse is home before me and starts dinner. I’m in love with him all over again every day for that!. While dinner cooks, the GP must do 15 to 20 minutes of silent reading and I get the same time to check email, scan the newspaper, sort the mail and reconnect with the Spouse to share the days events. Multitasking? Parents have done it for decades without a fancy title.
After we share dinner and discussions of our day, it’s time for cleanup, load the dishwasher and a shower for the Prince. While the grandson sings in the shower, I get clothes ready for the next day and pack lunches and/or snacks and remind him over the din of singing and splashing to make sure homework is safely tucked in the backpack.
Toothbrushing and pajamas come next, a little television and/or snuggle time and in a blink of an eye, the clock strikes eight and it’s up to bed and a story. I have managed a few breaths in between. I love you’s are exchanged as are hugs and sweet dreams wishes. All within a three hour time span. Whew!
When coworkers at our lunch table excitedly rehash their favorite episodes of Scrubs, CSI:Miami or Law and Order I nod, smile and listen; totally and blissfully clueless.

I’m asleep by 9:30.

Happy Thursday!

Creature Comforts


Winter days are short. Winter nights are long. Even though the days grow longer now that we’re beyond the winter solstice, I’m not convinced summer is all that close just because it’s no longer getting dark at 4:30PM. Why is this of importance? I equate dark, cold and winter with keeping warm and cozy. Warm and cozy means comfort food. Comfort food means anything that immediately bypasses the digestive system and settles right into the thighs and hips with a resounding “I’m home!”
Stews, casseroles, apple pies, toll house cookies, mac and cheese..well, anything with melted cheese. The aromas that permeate our house on a cold winter’s evening are enough to bring a content audible sigh and send me running for my Snuggie. Yes, I bought one..two in fact.
The Grand Prince is a creature of comfort too. He devours carbs like a starving man, strokes fleece and flannel like a well loved feline and has his own Snuggie! So sue me, I bought the second one for him. Give him a bowl of mac and cheese, a fresh from the dryer pair of pj’s and permission to snuggle down in the living room with both and he’s in heaven.
I guess I’m taking the long road to simply say that we sometimes overlook the small things in every day living that give us that warm belly feeling that children revel in so easily. Life with my grandson has taught me to pause and relish the first sip of morning coffee on a frosty morning. To laugh and enjoy the lengthy process of cooking anything with a seven year old. To count blessings when it’s far easier to complain. To remember how quickly a child grows and the regret we feel when we ‘wish we had’. To cherish the love of family and friends and to never take either for granted. To be thankful for a warm house, a secure job and money to pay the bills.

And yes, to buy a Snuggie or two just because we want it.

Grandparents Day is Every Day


The second Sunday of each September is Grandparents Day. A day to celebrate the special bond and role that grandparents hold in the tapestry called family. For some of us that celebration takes on a new and different meaning each day the sun rises. We are custodial caretakers of our grandchildren.

Raising a grandchild is hardly an enigma these days. It’s an unfortunate, stark reality. Unfortunate in that, for a myriad of reasons, children have to leave their parent’s care, most times under duress, tears and confusion and move in with their grandparents or other kinship caretakers. Drug addiction, mental illness, alcoholism, domestic violence are but some of the reasons a grandparent may suddenly be thrust into the position of taking their child’s child to avoid the alternative; foster care. I’ve yet to meet a grandparent, when faced with the choice, chooses the alternative. Those that do, I can only imagine, may live with anguish, guilt and fear after making the decision to place a child of their heart into a bureaucratic foster care system. I do not envy them nor pass judgment upon them.

There are approximately 3.7 million children in the U.S being raised by grandparents according to the Census Bureau’s 2006 American Community Survey, a 30 percent jump since 1990. Grandparents finding themselves in a care giving role once more are often unaware of any available resources in their state to support them and their grandchildren as they adjust to their new lifestyles. It can be a tough road alone and at a stage in your life you hadn’t planned on.

The word adjustment seems a little meager to me. Just when you started to plan a life for yourself and your spouse; just as the nest started feeling so much less empty and ever more filled with the dreams and plans envisioned decades prior. Often without warning you find yourself in the midst of a crisis with your child AND your grandchild at center stage. You become the entire supporting cast.

As the dust settles and the day to day routines are established in your new roles, the emotions unravel from that safe knot you’ve tied them in so deep within the pit of your stomach.
Anger and hurt at your own child for not living up to the dream of the person you had hoped would grow to become a responsible adult and parent.
Bitterness and resentment at a system that does not provide enough of anything for grandparents and families willing to take a child that might well have been placed on the backs of the state’s taxpayers.
Sorrow and grief for the life you had mapped out in that long awaited unspoken reward when the children you bore left to make a life of their own and you got one too.
Anxiety and worry over the financial, emotional and physical demands embodied in raising another human being at an age when mind, body and spirit are no longer energizer bunny ready.

Each emotion is true and real and so very normal. That’s the hard part, the acceptance of it all. The passage of time helps. Reaching out to family and friends is a must. Finding the community resources available to you is essential. Coming to the realization that life doesn’t always agree with your plan, no matter how well you orchestrated everything you could for the desired outcome, is crucial.

We made a choice to embrace this child and give him what our child could not. There’s not enough time or where with all to wallow in the sea of emotion that seems, at times, to drag us under. He deserves better from us. And the joy he brings to our home and family is immeasurable. He brings with him a life gift unexpected but full of new hopes, new dreams and unending possibilities.

Friends or acquaintances who learn of our second round parenting say we have a place awaiting in heaven for doing what they think they never could.
My usual reply is very simple.
“We are all ready very blessed in too many ways to list. We didn’t do this for a reservation in heaven. The big Guy sorta knew the outcome of this one before we did.”

And then I ask, “If it were your grandchild (insert name here), wouldn’t you do the same?”

I almost always get a thoughtful pause, a nod and gentle knowing smile in return.

Happy Grandparents Day…everyday!