Previously published on My Grandma's Place May 13, 2017
“Guess what, Nan? We’re coming to stay at your place..It’s so exciting !”
“I know, I know. I can hardly wait.”
Following hard on the heels of the pleasure and excitement I felt at my granddaughter’s words was the thought, ‘How am I going to make this visit special?’ ‘What can I do that will create lasting memories?’
(Yep… affiliate links are included which means that, at no additional cost to you, if you buy through me I get some coffee money …though not enough for the raisin toast as well. Full disclosure listed below.)
If, like me, you’ve gone with the whole down-sizing your home you might not have too much space for full-on, energetic kids. Don’t panic! Regardless of the size of your home, or whether it sits on acres of land or has a postage-sized patio, you can still plan non-stop adventures and fun for your pint-sized visitors.
Choose any of the suggestions below to create a shared time with your grandkids that everyone will long remember. Simple activities shared together can become real ‘moments that matter’ in the memories of your grandkids.
When do your grandkids plan to arrive?
Are they going to stay for just one night or more?
Will they arrive morning or afternoon?
No matter how long they plan to stay, you'll find plenty of fun ideas to keep them busy and happy.
So, let's begin with some morning activities.
After dinner fun
The fun doesn’t have to stop just because it’s getting dark and almost time for bed. Check out these ideas:
Where are they going to sleep?
If you have a spare bedroom with sufficient beds, that’s great. If not, inflatable mattresses on the floor can be lots of fun. Add plenty of soft pillows and covers.
A small tent is another option and you can position it inside or on your patio or decking. I’ve found that most kids creep back inside after about an hour of outdoor camping so be prepared.
Don’t feel that you have to attempt everything on the list. Choose those suggestions that appeal to you or your grandkids.
Although these are simple ideas that don’t take too much preparation or planning, you’ll find that they are ‘moments that matter.’ Your grandkids will talk about this time with you often and with enjoyment. And I hope you’ll enjoy their visit, too.
Oh.. and don't forget to take photos!
A free checklist is available to download below…
Your checklist to preparing a wonderful sleepover. Just click on the image to download,.
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Plus, when you order through my links, it helps me to continue to offer you lots of free stuff.
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This article was first posted earlier: 30/10/2014
The first thing my grandsons do once they leap from the car is check the letterbox; although these days, there's very little to be found there other than advertising leaflets. But there's something exciting about opening the letterbox and peeking inside that never seems to dim.
Snail mail for kids
Regardless of age, finding something in the letterbox personally addressed is a wonderful way to connect with your grandchildren and build memories. Yes, email is faster with little expense, but snail mail has its own appeal.
Continuing a tradition
My father used to send regular notes and cards to my children when they were young and they would dance around with excitement.
He'd often add little pen-drawn illustrations on the envelopes and include cryptic addressee titles along with the formal address. We'd frequently find missives addressed to 'The Moby Dick fisherman' (after my son caught his first fish) or perhaps 'Australia's best chef' (my daughter had baked a cake), and other interesting titles.
The letters created plenty of comment and discussion with our postman. too.
Create your own snail mail fun with your kids or grandkids.
So now, as a grandma, I try to send my own whimsical notes and letters to my grandchildren.
When I visit with them, they often drag out the old letters or cards I've sent them and ask me to read the inside messages to them again. They really do treasure those simple letters I post to them.
Sometimes, I try to slip some stickers inside the envelope as an extra highlight. The letters are more highly anticipated than ever by my oldest grand-daughter since she's taken up philately. You can find plenty of resources for kids for stamp collecting. You can even create and order your own stamps. How much fun would that create for your grandkids to find their own photo on the stamp?
Even if you don't want to go to those lengths you can decorate the envelopes a bit.
I try and use the most beautiful stamps when I post cards to Rachael. And stationery packs for kids usually include some wonderful envelopes.. like the ones listed below. You can find them on the AtGrandma'sPlace online store.
Get your copy of these exciting stationery packs for kids
Each kit contains 3 different styles of stationery: a page for those kids who cannot write sentences yet. They can draw something special and then write their name at the bottom; there is a page designed with a small number of lines for kids who are learning to write but might be overwhelmed by a lot of lines to complete; and there is a full page of lines for writing but still some fun characters on the stationery page.
There are some fun cards. There are some monster lined envelopes. And there are some Monster Mail Munchers that can be slipped onto the top or corner of a page of stationery or even a book as a bookmark. The kits can be downloaded or ordered as a complete kit that comes in a plastic kit with some additional fun items- stickers and pencils.
So... what do you need to create exciting letters that will keep your grandkids eagerly watching for mail?
* fun cards and stationery.You can buy some or download and print your own. Check out more examples here.
* Try embellishing the envelopes with quirky designs or images or use stickers. They can be quite simple and your grandchildren will still love them.
* Some stickers are also great to include in your letters or vouchers that your grandkids would enjoy using.
* Be creative in how you write your messages. It doesn't have to be a long note but make it relevant. Send a card when you know they've had a rough week or been sick. Send a funny card when they've done something special or perhaps they're worried about something at school. They will love knowing that you've been thinking of them.
BONUS... make your own letterbox.
Download the template from TinyMe. Print and send the pieces to your grandkids or set it up ready for their next visit!
Download, print and create your own mailbox. Set it up ready for their them and watch their reactions.
Pop some letters in the letterbox for them to find when they arrive. And, you could prepare some stationery for them to use and then post in the letterbox for themselves. You'll also find full instructions for creating this set at TinyMe.
Enjoy yourself with these great resources and build some memories with your grandkids.
How you can improve your whole day with these 21 simple techniques.
(Yep... affiliate links are included which means, if you buy through me, I get some coffee money ... though not enough for the raisin toast as well. Full disclosure listed below.)
'Can you believe it? It's morning already! I don't care if it's a beautiful day- I just want to stay in bed and sleep.'
I admit it. There are some days when I can barely drag myself out of bed, especially if I've had a late night. But you know.. whether you're a morning person or not, there are simple techniques that you use to help your day start well.
More than that.. you'll discover that your whole day is lighter and brighter.
Look, I know what you're thinking: you don't have time. And what happens if your kids have already bounded into bed with you and tried to pry open your eyes? How can you complete any of these simple habits to improve your day?
Well, include the kids in some of these activities. They'll enjoy it, too.
And you don't have to include every tip. Some of these simple activities will encourage a more positive outlook. You'll feel more cheerful right from the start. Some ideas will promote good health, so they're worth doing, too. It won't take long.
And then there are other techniques that will promote greater productivity. You'll accomplish more. So, you choose. Take a look. Decide just what you can manage to work into your morning routine and discover the difference. Oh, and download and print the free cheatsheet. If you pin it on your noticeboard or fridge you can remind yourself to make some simple changes to your morning routine that will brighten your whole day.
Try it... get every morning off to a great start. Remember, your first actions set the tone for all the hours ahead of you. Welcome more happiness, health, and productivity into your day with these simple habits.
Morning Habits that Promote a Positive Outlook
1. Pause for prayer & meditation.
Take a moment to pray even before your feet hit the floor. Take time to learn, recite and focus on a Bible verse or meaningful quote.
Read a Bible verse or passage and use this as a starting point for your prayer and praise. If you feel a little uncertain to begin with, you can use others' prayers until you feel more comfortable using your own words. Find more inspiration in the clips below.
2. Breathe deeply.
Abdominal breathing encourages relaxation and peace. Inhale through your nose, and exhale fully. Try starting the day with 10 deep breaths.
Experts tell us that breathing deeply improves your health and helps you handle stress more effectively. You can do this anytime through the day but you can begin your morning breathing deeply before you even get up. (If your kids have joined you in bed, they will enjoy breathing deeply, too, and it's a good habit for them to learn. Ask them to 'take deep breaths like they've been running a long distance,' or 'Breathe like daddy does when he's asleep.'
3. Bask in sunlight.
Exposure to light stimulates our brains. Open a window or head outside. You don't need to linger outside for too long, especially if you're rushing. Just a couple of minutes will improve your outlook and provide other benefits.
Adding a bit of light exposure to sunshine first thing in the morning can even help you sleep better at night- think, serotonin, cortisol and melatonin.
4. List your blessings.
Express thanks for the best things in your life. Include your loved ones, talents, and experiences.
Taking time to think of those blessings will brighten your whole day. Writing down those thoughts in a daily journal (digital or notebook) is a great way to remember them.
5. Give yourself something to look forward to.
Lift your spirits by thinking about something you're going to enjoy later.
You might like to just meet someone for coffee, go for a walk along the beach, head to the library or give yourself a manicure. Whatever you choose, make sure it's enjoyable - something to boost your morale, a real treat.
6. Listen to upbeat music.
Put together a cheerful soundtrack. It could be classical, country, hip hop, or any other kind of music you like.
The benefits of listening to music have been well-researched. Quite apart from the enjoyment of listening to your favourite tracks on Spotify, music has been found to reduce depression and elevate your mood. It also helps you relax, strengthens any learning you're engaged in, reduces pain and more.
Studies show that people tend to smile less as they age. Reverse the trend by beaming at yourself in the mirror. And.. there are benefits to smiling. Sure, it makes others feel better but it helps you, too. Smiling self medicates and heals.
8. Give to others.
Serving others is the most reliable path to happiness. Pray for someone in need or plan a good deed you can do today.
Morning Habits to Promote Good Health
9. Move around.
Fight stiffness with a few minutes of aerobics and gentle stretching. Try sun salutations or walking in place. Taking a brisk walk outdoors is a great option especially if you can walk with a friend. Or, there are simple exercises that you can complete at home that will make you feel great all day. Or.. you can download an exercise app that can help you exercise.
10. Drink water.
Rehydrate before your morning cup of coffee. Keep some drinking water on your nightstand. I like to start the day with a glass of water with lemon juice. If you're not particularly excited about the taste of water (and I feel a bit the same) you might like to consider infused water- add some fruit to a jug of water and taste the difference.
11. Perform a self exam.
Showering is an ideal opportunity for self exams for skin and breast cancer. This may save your life. Don't know how? That's ok... Learn how with these 5 simple steps.
12. Design a spa experience.
Pamper yourself with luxury bath products. Splash on an invigorating grapefruit scented bath gel, or treat the dry skin on your heels and elbows with a special lotion. You don't have to spend a lot of money on bath products, either. Make your own using simple household ingredients. And everyone is excited about the benefits of coconut oil. Actually, sunflower oil is pretty good, too. I like to run some into my feet and legs first thing in the morning.
13. Massage your scalp.
Rub your scalp while you shampoo. Massages defuse stress and increase blood flow.
14. Spread your toes.
Your feet are probably going to spend most of the day trapped inside shoes. While you're still barefoot, wiggle your toes. It will increase your balance and help your posture. So.. you think this isn't a big deal? Well, actually, it is... there's even a Wriggle your Toes Day- August 6.
Morning Habits to Promote Productivity
15. Strategise like a boss.
Plan your itinerary. You'll tackle your tasks more efficiently and free up more time to devote to your priorities. It's even easier if you do this the night before.Use a planner to help keep track of all your appointments and tasks for the day.
16. Check the news.
Stay in touch with what's going on in the world. Watch the news, listen to the radio, or buy a newspaper. Then, you'll have something more than just the weather to talk about at the office.
17. Read something enriching.
Pick up a book of inspirational quotes or brush up on world history. Learn something new every day. Why not start by check out some of the book reviews here on Coffee Stories.
18. Complete one task.
Score an easy victory that will create momentum. Clean the outside of your refrigerator door or pay your credit card bill.
19. Review your calendar.
Similarly, scan your appointments. Once you see how much free time you have, you can decide how to use it. You'll be able to focus on projects that you can realistically manage.
20. Check messages.
Look over emails, calls, and texts. You'll feel reassured knowing what you have to deal with. Take care of any urgent business.
21. Skip the snooze button.
Streamline your morning by waking up only one time. You'll feel more alert and less rushed. If you often have trouble getting up, go to bed an hour earlier.
Put the minutes before breakfast to good use. Develop habits that will brighten your days and help you to become more successful.
Disclosure: At Grandma's Place is committed to high standards of integrity and quality. I do not promote any brand I do not believe meets these standards, and I only promote brands I would purchase myself. If I don't love it, and don't think you'll love it, it won't appear on my blog.
Having a large family is both a blessing and a burden. You have many children all of whom has a little piece of your soul in them, and you enjoy living with the partner you fell in love with. Sooner or later those fairytale charms will begin to wear off, and the slow monotony of life will take over.
In order to life comfortably with such a large household, your finances have to be ship shape. Even more so than regular families that can afford to go on holiday every year as both mother and father are working, and their children’s lifestyles don’t cost a lot. Even living modestly when you have upwards of three children can become a task that requires some serious thinking.
Averaging out and maintaining an even keel can be difficult at times but in the end, if you have a roof over your head, plenty to eat and you’re physically comfortable it's all worth it. On the other hand, have you ever thought about the standard of your family enjoyment? Do your lifestyle choices have to suffer to make sure your finances break even?
Winters are a challenge to relish
This time of year, winter has well and truly set in. The snow, frost and ice own everything they touch. Human beings are merely bit-part players in nature’s vice grip. A large family means more of everything, and that’s certainly true when it comes to clothing. Pushing your weekly budget to the limit will be the need to buy winter coats for growing children who have made their previous coats obsolete, buying proper shoes that won’t cause slipping, gloves and mittens to keep the extremities warm too.
Everyone in the household is inevitably going to eat more too, the cold will force your calorie intake to jump by 500 to 1000. If this is particularly difficult for you with your finances in the state they are, you could apply for a personal loan with a cosigner. Both you and your wife or husband make for a far better proposition to the banks as you’re both working and have stable incomes.
Usually, because of this, you can borrow a large amount with a longer term repayment scheme. You might also be given the possibility of not putting up your assets as collateral.
Photo by Pixabay
The kids’ activities quality
It's vital that your children have something they’re into, other than games on their technology products. Whether your child plays soccer, has swimming lessons, takes dancing lessons, is learning an instrument or anything else of this nature, paying for it is one thing.
However, making sure they are experiencing these activities to a good or high-quality matters in the money you spend. The better equipment allows more options for the children. No one wants their child to be that one embarrassing player on the field that has shoes with holes in them or protective gear that is too small.
The best way to keep your family standards from falling in this department is to know the brands. Shop around for the best deal and focus on products that are specifically made for children. Downsizing or smaller products that were originally designed for larger people will feel uncomfortable. Do a little digging and search for the best materials used in high-quality gear and mix and match with the price and style of the products you want for your children.
It takes a savvy shopping parent to find good deals that balance both quality and price. Never skimp on your children’s activities, they won’t forget the time, effort and financial investment you put into them when they grow up. A large family does come with its challenges, but there’s always financial avenues you can explore to help you through a wintery ice patch.
I was looking through our family photos recently... Sigh.. Where did the years go? How did our kids grow up so quickly? Those were fun times and I'm so glad we took time for family outings, adventures and moments that matter. We built unforgettable memories into our lives. But I noticed that, almost without fail, we finished our adventures with ice-cream.
(Yep... affiliate links are included which means, if you buy through me, I get some coffee money ... though not enough for the raisin toast as well. Full disclosure listed below.)
Sure, it was messy.
I loved and laughed at the photos of our kids standing with ice-cream dripping to the elbow or the ones of the scoop of ice-cream spattered on the ground. Yes.. you're right. Not so much fun- and the dismay on the kids' faces was tragic.. but humorous, too.
We all love ice-cream but I've noticed that, with so many on restrictive diets or watching their weight, we haven't been enjoying ice-cream as we used to. The good news is that ice-cream has become healthy! Yes, truly!
And sure.. you may have noticed a growing number of healthy choice ice-creams in the supermarkets but it's even better to make your own. And it means that you can include your favourite flavours, and avoid anything that is a health issue for you and your family.
Take gluten for instance. I'd almost given up on ice-cream. It's included in so many commercially produced ice-cream and I can't handle gluten. But there are wonderful recipes available now that do not included gluten..or dairy. And the recipes are soooo easy.
So.... how do you begin to make your own healthy ice-creams?
Start with frozen fruit.
Strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and banana make great frozen fruit choices when you’re making a healthy smooth ice-cream. Put them in your blender along with a little nut milk or coconut cream. Alternatively, use a bit of coconut yogurt and either enough ripe fruit to sweeten the smoothie or a little natural sweetener like agave, honey, or maple syrup. Blend it all up, going light on the nut milk and adding just enough to get the consistency you like.
Use a recipe book or create your own favourite natural ice-cream recipes
Frozen banana blended with milk and a little vanilla extract tastes and feels very much like vanilla ice cream. It’s a great base for any ice-cream or even a thick shake. Add some other frozen fruits like strawberry, peaches, and even pineapple for a delicious treat.
Of course you don’t have to stick to only fruit. Avocado is a surprisingly tasty and nutritious addition to any ice-cream. It works well with organic cacao powder and, with a bit of natural sweeter, will give you that creamy, smooth flavour and texture.
Don't stop there... add other dairy-free ingredients.
Adding peanut butter also gives a lot of body and a smooth texture to your ice-cream. If you like a good peanut butter chocolate ice-cream, use the suggestions above, but add a spoon of peanut butter to the mix before you blend it all up. Chopped nuts add texture and a lovely flavour or you might like to stir through gluten-free biscuits, ginger, vanilla or even chocolate chip, broken into small pieces. Margie Broadhead creates a gluten-free cookie dough and adds it to a healthy peanut butter ice-cream in her book, Nice Cream. Mmmm... delicious!
Ice is another great addition to any ice-cream that will thicken it up and give it that ice cream feel without any added calories. Play around with how much ice you add to your blender, and make sure you have a blender that can handle grinding down and blending in ice cubes. Go easy on the liquids and keep blending. For a thick, creamy ice-cream, you need a lot less liquid than you may think.
Pour it into your ice-cream tub and refreeze. Or you might like to pour the ice-cream into individual moulds for the kids. Above all, have fun, blend away, and create some yummy frozen treats.
Oh... and remember to take the ice-cream from the freezer about 20 minutes before you need it so that it's easy to scoop out and serve.
Now if you'd like a bit of added help, check out the videos below.
You'll find more ideas and step by step instructions in this Best Collection: Natural Ice-creams and How to Make Them.
I hope you enjoy them.... and try them yourself. You'll find that they are incredibly easy.. and incredibly delicious.
Disclosure: At Grandma's Place is committed to high standards of integrity and quality. I do not promote any brand I do not believe meets these standards, and I only promote brands I would purchase myself.
If I don't love it, and don't think you'll love it, it won't appear on my blog.
When it comes to living your life, it’s much nicer to experience it without the stress of debt to keep up with! Many find it difficult to get out of debt, and it’s usually for the same reason that they’re in it!
You can never secure your financial future, you never know what might come up, and you’ll have to pay for. If you accept a loan when you have a job, you do it expecting to be able to pay it back; but there’s no way you can guarantee your spot there for the duration of the payments!
There are ways to prevent these issues; you just need to make sure you’re committed to it if you want to make a big enough splash.
Your first step should be making sure you’re not wasting a single penny. When you’re in and out of debt, there are always better ways to spend the money on something that you could get cheaper. If you’re struggling with your balance, there’s no reason to expect the finer things.
It’s sad, but you should be prepared to give some of these commodities up! That doesn’t necessarily mean going without, but going for the cheaper option should at least be considered. If you take groceries for example; many people usually opt for the brand products due to their reputable quality. It’s a completely reasonable incentive, but are the generic brands so inedible? When it comes to it, you could cut your costs down to more than half if you aim to get the cheaper products!
It might not seem like much in each purchase, but it soon adds up!
There are many professionals you could see if you think you can’t get out of the debt situation on your lonesome. You just need to make sure you do a fair bit of research, as some deals aren’t for everyone, and you want to be out of debt as soon as possible.
This applies even more so when you’re already building interest; the sooner you get it sorted, the less money you’ll be losing out on. Looking into debt relief companies can provide you with an array of options, any of which might suit you perfectly.
Whether you’re looking for ways to make your debt more comfortable, or maybe just looking for financial advice, there are options out there for everyone. So don’t feel like giving up is the only choice for you!
Getting ahead with your cash is the best thing you can do. Each week you can see how much further you can stretch your paycheck. This way the sacrifices won’t feel so strong, and you’ll have some money for yourself, too. While it might not be much, some find themselves crippled by their debt and are unable to afford anything that they would like.
Some people may even sink further than they can handle, meaning the debt can become inescapable; which essentially makes any goals invalid. You don’t have to reach that point!
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.