As the summer months continue and the weather stays warm and sunny, it is easy to fill our days with lots of activities and fun events. These enjoyable times inevitably lead to treasured moments that you want to remember forever. Here’s how to create and keep important family memories.
Take photos and share them
It is common these days – when mobile phones and digital cameras abound – to take tens or even hundreds of pictures of your children and grandchildren in a single day. Most of the time these adorable shots do nothing, go nowhere and are seen by nobody. While not everyone on Facebook wants to see hundreds of nearly identical photos of your grandchild on the swings at the park, their parents might. Create a private Instagram account and only give access to those who are interested in seeing all the exposures from the digital roll of film you’ve taken. If social media isn’t your thing, buy a digital photo frame so you can display all your pictures in your home.
Turn little memories into meaningful stories
Some of the best memories in life turn into stories that you tell over and over again. Remember that time Dad’s shorts got caught on the boat or the day Jimmy accidentally fed his ice cream to a seagull? Make story time easier by immortalizing the most meaningful of your personal stories into a self-published book. Combine the narrative with pictures of the actual event to bring your book to life. The beautifully printed stories about your time together will make great gifts to give to grandchildren on important birthdays or special occasions.
Use throwaway mementos to create lasting souvenirs
Scrapbooking is an amazing and creative way to preserve memories. As easy or complex as you want, scrapbooks are the answer for how to keep all those ticket stubs or brochures that you don’t know what to do with but just can’t bring yourself to throw away. To save money on supplies, visit your local craft store website for coupons and savings then go online to find ideas and templates and start getting creative.
Store your memories in a safe place
It is really important to store your memories safely. Think about the risks in your home and plan ways to keep them safe. Get a fireproof safe or a waterproof plastic container or keep your precious knickknacks on the top shelf. If you’re big on memories but short on space, consider getting a storage unit to keep all your books, photos or memorabilia. Your local movers will have a range of home storage solutions to keep you
Making and keeping treasured memories is a meaningful part of the time we spend with our loved ones. The first steps, the graduations and the weddings - you and your loved ones will appreciate having the chronicles of your days stored for future moments. No matter how you choose to store your family’s memories, make sure you keep them safe – because they can’t always be recovered.
Anyone of us can struggle to buy gifts for friends or loved ones. Especially family. For some of them, you may know exactly what they will love, while others may prove harder to buy for.
However with Christmas, birthdays and other celebrations during the year, there always seems to be an opportunity to buy gifts, and the grandparents can often be the trickiest. It can get a little monotonous. With that in mind, I thought I would share with you some ideas that could work for those special people in your life. I hope it offers you some inspiration in that time of need.
Planners and Diaries
Most people, especially women, love stationery. So a planner or a diary could be a perfect choice. Thankfully you can buy these at any time of the year, and people can use them straight away. However, they tend to be a solid choice for Christmas with the impending new year. Planners and diaries are so much more than having a place to write appointments these days. Some have advanced note sections that allow you to plan your meals, keep a list of contacts and even keep track of how many glasses of water you drink. This can especially work for grandparents because as you do get a little older, you can become more forgetful.
A planner isn’t just specific to dates and a diary format. These days you can buy planners that will work for anything. If the person you are buying for loves to cook, then you can buy them a planner where they can record their recipes. The options are endless, and you are sure to find something that fits the personality of the person you want to buy a gift for.
Something to ignite a hobby or passion
As we get older, we do tend to have a little more time on our hands, and many grandparents will take up hobbies to socialize as well as exercise. Golf tends to be really popular as it has a slower and relaxed pace while still requiring skill and brainpower. This is why a gift to ignite such passions could be ideal for any grandparents in your life. Golf, for example, could mean a new set of golf clubs, a golf rangefinder bushnell brand could be something a little more technical, or even a membership to a prestigious golfing club. Meaning everyone can get involved. Other things to consider would be other sports, gym membership or even crafting hobbies.
A lot of people like something personalized. It shows thought and effort. This type of gift gives you a broader scope on what you can get. You might want to keep things simple or have something more personal engraved on something. Jewelry is always a popular option when it comes to getting something personalized. However, you may want to consider something more quirky like engraved glassware. There are plenty of websites online that offer unique gift choices that could turn out perfect for the person you need to buy for. However, one of the best unique gifts you can get personalized is something you have made up with grandchildren. Pictures of them, perhaps artwork with hand or foot prints. These things can be some of the best, and special presents received, and often have a fraction of the cost from others.
Many people love a bit of pampering. Men included. So buying some pampering essentials could make a great gift idea for the grandparents in your life. You could choose to buy a set in their favorite brand. Or create your own hamper. Try and include every element to the ultimate pampering session. So consider things like essential oils and candles, bath soaks, and face masks. You may even want to include a miniature bottle of wine or box of chocolates.
These can often be the most thoughtful gifts to get someone, especially if you decide to make a hamper up yourself. Alternatively, some of the most popular brands and skincare specialists will offer up gift hampers, especially around Christmas time, which tends to include an array of products with a similar scent. Perfect if you know what their favorite is.
Let's get technical
Some people avoid buying technical gifts for older people as they feel perhaps they may not get on with the advanced technology, but this can be a foolish thing to believe. Many older people love to be involved with new technical gadgets, especially as their grandkids could be obsessed with the iPad or taking pictures. Having their own gadgets to use could help them when taking care of the children, or even capturing their own memories like video and pictures on tablets like iPads or even on their smartphones.
Sometimes you need to be simple with your gift choices. Especially around busy gift purchasing times like Christmas. This is when it’s worth considering giving a gift or store card. You can often obtain one from a store they will love, and this enables them to choose something they want, rather than you having to guess what they may like. Gift cards can be perceived as an easy way out, but I think they are a great gift choice. It enables you to allow your grandparents to choose exactly what they want and shows you know them well by picking the store they love.
Pajamas and loungewear
Finally, you can’t go wrong with a set of pajamas or loungewear like a warm cuddly dressing gown. Maybe even throwing in a pair of slippers or bed socks to match. There are so many gorgeous options available that you’d struggle to pick out just one set. For many, it’s best to stick with a theme or something they are interested in. These days you can choose for a traditional set with shirt and pants, or even a nightdress if that is what they prefer. You can get them in an array of colors or designs, so you are bound to find something they will like.
I hope this provides you with some gift inspiration for the grandparents in your life.
If your best friend called you to tell you that they were going to be spending the next week away on a retreat, this may conjure up images of a room full of hippy-esque folk with unkempt hair, sat cross-legged amongst glowing crystals and freshly lit sandalwood scented incense sticks in a meditative trance.
You may insist that she doesn’t put down the phone and keep talking to you as you race around to her place to try and shake some sense into her.
A scene like this would be fitting as a satirical comedy sketch, but it bears little resemblance of what retreats have to offer people into today’s fast paced world of technology, social media, and advertising.
Retreats, as their very name suggests, are places where anybody can go to escape and retreat from life for a little bit, whether this is a weekend, a week or a month.
There is no induced vow of silence, speaking in tongues, passing of a talking stick around a campfire or a week long diet of wheatgrass and seaweed. Retreats are places to meet like minded people who are eager to get back to basics and reconnect with themselves and the natural world around them. These people aren’t hippies or new age converts. They are teachers, business people, professionals and busy moms.
There are many different types of retreat, but all have a common purpose, and that is to dedicate time to self-reflection, calmness and re-energizing oneself.
Some retreats will focus more on the mind and others on physical well-being whereas some may consider a more religious pathway to a sense of inner peace. A church retreat venue would be apt for those who are looking for a deeper spiritual journey on their retreat to develop their relationship with God.
Whatever the reasons for you venturing to a retreat, you will be supported on your journey by those individuals who dedicate their time to running the retreat. They will prompt your thinking and pose questions to encourage your inner reflection.
Retreat often sounds like a solitary jaunt.
However, the communal aspect of retreat, with shared dining experiences, socializing and sleeping means you may be more vocal during your weekend, week or month away than you ever are in your day to day life.
Healthy eating, detoxing and cleansing are aspects of rejuvenation that all retreats share.
You may spend your days chatting with fellow retreaters or taking time out for yourself going on long walks, resting and contemplating. There will be instructor led sessions on relaxation techniques, yoga or mindfulness. These are skills that you can then apply to your life outside of the retreat to enhance your well-being.
Retreats are no longer seen as niche and are becoming more and more mainstream as our lives become ever more demanding.
The stresses of work life, the worries of family life and the pressures of keeping up appearances have made going on a retreat an excellent option for many people who want to focus on their health and well-being, returning to their lives renewed and refreshed.
It’s that time of year again when our grandbabies are finishing up class. In fact, they are wrapping up for summer by doing exams and getting reports. And it can leave us feeling proud as punch when we see how well they have done during the last school year.
In fact, it makes us want to surprise them with something to show how proud we are of their hard work. And thankfully, there are some things you can get them. In fact, here are some ideas of how you can show your grandchildren you are proud of their school success.
Bake them a well done cake
There’s nothing better than grandparents cooking. In fact, if you think back to when you were little, you loved having some baked goods when you went to see your grandma and grandad. Therefore, if you want to show them how proud you are, it’s time to bake them a delicious celebratory cake.
You can look on http://www.marthastewart.com/274319/easy-cake-recipes to find their favorite flavor. For instance, opt for chocolate if they have a sweet tooth, or you could go for a traditional sponge and jam if this will take their fancy.
You can then decorate it with icing which says ‘well done’ to show your little one how proud you are of them. They will be delighted when they see the cake. And you can then let them take it home to share with their friends!
Get them a special keepsake
You can also celebrate your little one’s success at school by getting them something to keep. After all, they can look back at it over the years to remind them of their journey in education.
It might be that you go for a special pen or pencil. After all, you can get it personalized with the date, so they always remember why they got their special gift.
Or you might even want to get them a scroll which highlights their achievement in the last year. And a t-shirt would also be a nice idea which you can get personalized from sites like www.ZoeysPersonalizedGifts.com. You can then get something along the lines of completing preschool or kindergarten on the top.
And they can even wear it for a couple of months to show off to their friends, before putting it away for safe keeping!
Take them for a day out
If you have several grandchildren, it can be difficult to spend any time with them on a one to one basis. After all, you are likely to have their siblings at the same time.
But if you want to show them how proud you are of their school success, you should take them for a day out just the three of you. You might take her out to the park for the day. Or you could even go to a theme park or beach so they can have some fun.
It’s a great way to reward them for their hard work during the school year! And it can be lovely to get some special time with your grandchild; you can even end the day with a sleepover!
And if you need to keep your grandchild busy during summer, check out my blog for ideas such as putting on a teddy bears’ picnic!
'Where flowers bloom so does hope.' - Ladybird Johnson
I remember, as a child, being sent out into the garden to find a flower or two for our kitchen table. We had a large garden and there was usually an hibiscus, perhaps some frangipani or, even better, a rose. The flowers generally needed replacing every couple of days since neither frangipani nor hibiscus are long-living. But I loved to search for a bright blossoms.
It added such a cheerful accent to the kitchen table. The whole day seemed brighter.
Brighten your home and create a positive mood at the same time
One of the easiest ways to brighten up your home is by decorating with flowers. If you have a garden, then you might consider planting flowers that you can cut and bring indoors. By planting flowers that bloom all season long you can easily decorate with them until the cold hits in autumn.
Not only do flowers look bright and cheerful, they have been found to have a positive effect on people's moods. One study (Rutgers, University of New Jersey) found that flowers produce both an immediate and long term uplift in mood- happiness, less depression, higher sense of life satisfaction.
Further studies found that those who dined at restaurants where fresh flowers decorated the tables seemed in better moods. An increase in cognitive performance has been observed in offices with flowers and plants. The bright blooms seem to chase away anxieties and the blues.
Another behavioral research study conducted by Nancy Etcoff, found that... 'the morning blahs, it turns out, is a real phenomenon'. The study also found that those who began their day with positive moods – happiness, friendliness and warmth, for example – continued to be cheerful and positive through most of the day. Etcoff adds, “Interestingly, when we placed a small bouquet of flowers into their morning routines, people perked up.”
What better way, then, to introduce a quality, cheerful tone and ambiance to your homelife than with a simple bouquet of flowers. Here's how.....
Flower arrangement tips and ideas for beginners
*Before you begin, trim on the diagonal the stems of your flowers before arranging them. It will allow the flowers to drink up plenty of water. (If your roses are a bit limp, trim the stems and plunge into a deep bucket of water up to their heads and even over. Some flowers, like roses, will absorb water through their petals.)
*Remove any leaves that will be below the water line. This will prevent the leaves rotting.
*If you're using flowers with long stems in a tall vase, ensure that the container has a heavy base. (You don't want it toppling over.) The finished height of the arrangement should be roughly 1 1/2 times the height of the container.
*As a rule of thumb, use an odd number of main flowers in your arrangement.. it's not so important for smaller, filler flowers. This will result in an arrangement that looks balanced, more appealing to the eye.
*And your flower arrangements don't have to be huge. A lovely bowl of flowers can be just as pleasing as a large vase arrangement.
*Don't cut your stems of flowers and foliage too long. Consider the height of your arrangement.
*Yes, foliage is important. But you can use what you find in your garden. Begin with small leaved greenery until you become more confident. Simple asparagus fern, spinning gum or callistemon work well and even herbs like rosemary would be fine.
*Use the containers you already own.. you can create some truly beautiful arrangements in a teacup.
Small bowls work well as do teapots, jugs, small watering cans or even large shells.
If you're using a container with not much height, it will probably be best to use some florist foam (Oasis.) Just cut off a piece to fit your container, soak for about 15 minutes. Then push it firmly into your container. Arrange your flowers by pushing them firmly into the florist foam. You will find that you can cut the stems of your flowers and foliage a little shorter when using the foam since you push the stems roughly halfway into the foam to secure in place.
Use flowers from your garden
Decorating with flowers doesn’t have to be expensive. Try looking around your garden and use what you see growing. You don't need a lot of flowers to make a beautiful home accent. For example, do you grow agapanthus? Pick one stem and add it to a container so that the bloom forms a dome at the top of your container. Now, pop some foliage stems and a couple of other flowers between the agapanthus flowerlets and you're done.. easy.
Begin now and plant some flowers that you can use later in your home arrangements. Download the FREE guide to easy to grow and easy to use flowers for arrangements.
why not try to involve your kids and encourage them to help out in your flower garden? They'll love to water the growing plants and pick the flowers as they bloom. You can even grow flowers that kids can eat. Make smoothies for your kids and they can sprinkle the top with nuts, seeds, muesli and ..... petals. (Violas, nasturtium, calendula and rose petals to name just a few..)
Don't forget to add some foliage
To add some flare to your floral arrangements don’t forget to use some of the leaves that grow with your flowers.
Hosta leaves help add a wonderful touch of green to indoor flower arrangements too. You probably have a variety of grasses growing in your garden and these can be used to make your dinner settings stand out. Simply use a grass such as maiden grass of about 20cm long and tie around your cutlery and fasten with a knot. To add color to your setting pick a small handful of pansies or daises and tie them into a bouquet as well.
Maiden grass dries extremely well and will keep for up to one year so you can easily reuse them over and over again. If you find the grass is getting a little brittle then spray very lightly with a little hair gel. Works wonderfully!
Creating Bouquet Arrangements
Top floral designers are experimenting with creating tiered bouquets for the home and you can easily accomplish this, too.
All you need for your tiered bouquet are two glass bowls which can be stacked on top of each other.
Then simply fill with a mixture of small and large seasonal flowers. For example, in the spring you can mix pansies and nemesia or forget-me-nots and use larger flowers such as columbine and violas. In the sample one above, I used button chrysanthemums and baby's breath.
First start by stacking your pedestal bowl on top of the larger one and then add water to both bowls. Use smaller blossoms for the base of the bowls and press the stems into the water. Then take your larger blossoms and cut the stems so they fit inside the bowl, simply insert these blossoms throughout your flower bouquet.
If you don’t have a pedestal-type bowl you can use small individual glass bowls and place them around your home. If you are having dinner guests, you could place small flower arrangements at their place setting.
Other simple ideas
Peonies, hibiscus or frangipani look wonderful floating in a small bowl of water. To keep the peony above the water, place a small ball of bubble wrap underneath it for support. Use grasses or leaves to add a touch of green to the bowl.
Check out some of the other simple floral arrangement ideas below.
'Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers.
Download this FREE guide to find easy-to-grow flowers for your own garden and easy-to-arrange flowers and start creating a cheerful, warm home atmosphere.
Trying to find unique and interesting gifts can often be a very big challenge. A lot of people want to give presents which have great meaning. But, they also want it to be something personal and thoughtful.
With all of the options out there, this gets even harder. It doesn’t have to be this way, though.
Instead of focusing on finding the best gifts, you could focus on making them. This sort of aim will take some time to achieve. But, with the help of this post, you should have the building blocks to get started with it.
It’s just a matter of time until you can start to give gifts which you’ve made yourself.
You probably already have a couple of skills or interests which will fall quite nicely into this sort of work. If you don’t, there’s no need to worry; you can still start to learn something new.
Like any hobby, there will be some gear you have to buy. This will depend on the activity you’ve chosen, as well as they things you’d like to make. For example, if you have an interest in making clothing, a sewing machine would make your work a lot of faster.
But, you’d want to use websites like http://sewingmachinejudge.com/ to help you find the very best options. When you make a big purchase like this, it’s important to make sure that you’re getting the best value for money. Otherwise, you may end up having to spend more money in the future.
Of course, you won’t have a great time using the tools you buy if you have no idea of how to use them, though. Learning the skills you will need to make gifts for your friends and family is the most time-consuming part of this effort.
It might take several months of working before you can consider yourself good enough to give away your creations. But, you can always get some help to make this stage faster. In most places, you’ll be able to find classes to help you with the most common hobbies and interests.
If you’re interests are less common, though, you might have to use sites like www.youtube.com to help you out. Sites like this are filled with informative videos which can help you to master a new skill very quickly. And, they’re posted by other users, so you have the chance to ask questions.
Now, with the skills and tools you need under your belt, you’re ready to start working on some gifts. A lot of people will struggle at this stage.
But, you can use some simple rules to help you. For example, you should already know your recipients' color preferences. This gives you the chance to capture the hues and shades which they love, without having to do loads of research about them.
Along with this, you can also think about the items they already love to use. Taking the qualities they like from items like clothing and ornaments is a great way to come up with inspiration.
Hopefully, this will give you the inspiration you need to stop spending money on your gifts. Most people really appreciate a handmade gift much more than something bought in a store.
This sort of effort shows that you care about someone. By putting the time in, you will be working a lot harder than simply buying them something.
Life as a grandma.. it's no 'quiet, restful days in the rocking-chair'. It's filled with activity, excitement and lots of family fun. Please share it with me.