The book slowly opens and two small people snuggle close and peer at the opened page.
“Start, Nan,” encourages Dakotah impatiently. Her sister just blinks her big, dark eyes and waits quietly. I smile. “Rosie the hen went for a walk.” The small heads bend closer and look intently at the picture on the page.
I love picture storybooks. I think that most people do, not only kids. I love the small number of carefully chosen words, condensed language, that create a simple story that draws in the reader. I love the wonderful illustrations that add so much to the narrative and provide feelings, atmosphere and humour without a word.
‘Rosie’s Walk’ is certainly one of my favourites along with many others: Hairy Maclary, Where is the Green Sheep? Edwina the Emu, Harriet You'll Drive Me Wild and many others.
It’s helpful that some of these wonderful picture storybooks, like ‘You’re in the Wrong Book’ are now available at iTunes as storybook apps.
But what about Bible and faith-based picture storybooks? Well.. you'll be pleased to know that there is a growing range- take the books by Dennis Jones for an impressive start.
I really love the Bible picture storybooks by Dennis Jones. The ‘See With Me Bible’(prequel to the ‘Read With Me Bible’ series) is lovely. The Bible stories are told entirely with pictures. The expressions on the faces of the characters are a more graphic portrayal of their feelings than any words. Children love them. So do I.
I've spent many hours with my grandchildren looking at the pictures and telling the stories. As they've grown older, they tell me the stories.
I particularly love the story of the Lost Sheep. His character, emotions and personality shine through the each page.
For my older grandchildren, I've now downloaded the Bible picture storybook apps by Dennis Jones. The first, Trouble! On the Road retells the story of the Good Samaritan, with some delightful animations. Joop is travelling to the annual Jericho Arts and Crafts Fair to sell his handmade birdhouses.
There are two versions to choose once you open the app: Read to Me or Read it to Myself. There are colouring pages, too, to involve the kids after the story has been read.
Read it.. I'm sure you'll enjoy every page.
Three children, all married, seven grandchildren and a large extended family add up to a calendar filled with birthday celebrations. I am very glad that I have moved beyond the stage of planning and running children's birthday parties.
Birthday party fun
Yes, they're fun but wow.. they're exhausting! And, much as I love Pinterest, the overload of beautifully presented party images are a lot to live up to.
As a grandma I have found that, although I don't organise the kids' birthday parties, I'm often asked if I could bring along a little something to add to the party table. And these days, a plate of fairy bread just doesn't cut it. (Again.. thanks, Pinterest!)
Feeling Fruity Printables
So... I was delighted when TinyMe created their Feeling Fruity party printables. The range includes fruity baskets, garland, cone wrappers, toppers and tags. Yes, they're wonderful for anyone organising a fruit-themed party. The range also includes some lovely customisable invitations.
They're also wonderful for anyone, like me, needing a special party-style plate of food. The printables make it so easy! It's even easy enough for the kids to create.
And the result???.... you'll be pleased to know that the tray of fruity edibles disappeared very quickly.
Sunshine, warmth, blue skies... beautiful weather for fun in the outdoors. Enjoying the outdoors with kids doesn't have to be a daunting all-day activity. But sometimes it's difficult to encourage the kids outside and away from the screens.
Encourage even the most reticent nature walker outdoors with the thrill of a scavenger hunt. It won't take much preparation time for you but will definitely provide loads of fun for your grandkids. Start with a scavenger hunt list. You can always create your own but why reinvent the wheel when there are great ideas already done for you?
Make a list
Take this list from Chrissy Taylor, for example. Print the list, laminate it for durability and so that you can reuse it. If you have small children, your list make have to be in picture-form.
Backyard, beach or bush
Your scavenger hunt can be held in your own backyard, at the beach, at a park or, if you're very adventurous, you could take them all for a bushwalk. Come prepared. Hand each child: a bag to collect the found items, the laminated list, a whiteboard marker (use on the laminated list) and a rations pack. (They're always hungry and a trail mix should keep them happy. Don't forget some water.)
Create a nature light
The fun needn't end once you're home again. Create a beautiful nature light with the kids as a colourful reminder of your day out in the great outdoors.
* glass jar or container
* small battery operated tea light
* items collected from your scavenger hunt and walk
* small stickers
1. Carefully arrange all the items from your adventures outdoors in the glass jar.
2. Nestle the tea light amongst the items in the jar.
3. Add some small stickers or decorative tape to the outside of the glass container... and you're done.
The nature jar looks equally attractive whether it's filled with leaves, pebbles, sticks and flowers or with items from the beach- shells, sand, seaweed and driftwood.
Use the day's activities to generate some discussion and to talk about God's creation, made for us to enjoy.
Maybe it's the cold weather. Maybe it's the kids home now on school holidays. Maybe it's the inspiration from a recent cookbook sale. Whatever the reason, I seem to be spending more time in the kitchen. And the kids have loved it.
I recently bought a copy of the Australian Women's Weekly Cookiescookbook. The title grates a little.. Australians cook biscuits, not cookies. But the book itself is beautiful- not a big book but with beautiful layouts and wonderful photos. The front cover has a lovely, almost honeycomb, texture.
Mish Mash Cookies The biscuit.. sorry, cookie.. recipes have been grouped into 4 categories: kids, cafe, holidays, occasions. Naturally, I began with the kids' cookies. And the Mish Mash cookies are a lot of fun. They are so easy that the kids can help you make them. They'll only take about 15 minutes to complete.
Directions: Melt the milk chocolate and spoon 1/2 teaspoonfuls into 6cm circles onto baking paper. Before the chocolate circles can set, gently push 2 tiny teddy biscuits, 2 mini Oreos, a couple of mini pretzels and a few caramel chocolate buds into the melted chocolate.
Yep.. that's it! You could vary the biscuits by substituting white chocolate or even popping a couple of M&Ms for colour.
Once the chocolate has set, carefully peel the biscuits off the baking paper and pack into air-tight containers.
I packaged up the biscuits into small white boxes labelled with my Grandma's bakery stickers (you can find the download here) .. one box for each grandchild and included a little gift tag. See below.. A free download of the gift tags is included at the bottom of the article.
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.