Discover the simple ways you can make your family history come alive for your grandkids
(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.)
"Quickly, you two; sit down before the train gets going. Oh, wait.. I can hear the horn.. now, we'll be off. At least it's a smooth ride, not like the rattle and chug of the old steam engines."
"What! You had steam trains when you were a kid? No way!" ... Sigh... sometimes I feel very old! :)
I looked at my grandkids and smiled.
"Well.. yes, for a while before they changed over to rail-motors. That was before the electric ones we're enjoying today. "
The kids were wild with excitement. "I would so love to have been a kid then. It would have been so cool to go on the steam engine."
"Actually, it was pretty hot- no air-conditioning. I remember how your great-grandpa would dust off the seats before we sat down in the carriage so that we didn't get dirty. The seats were often covered in dust and soot from the engine."
"Did you take any photos? Can I see them when we get home?"
I laughed. "Well, we did have cameras but nothing like your iPhone ones. Yes, I do have some photos, though, at home. Remind me to show them to you."
'The greatest legacy we can leave our children is happy memories.'
One of the best parts of being a grandparent is sharing your family history and heritage with your grandkids. Grandkids like hearing stories about your life before they came along, especially if their parents are included.
Here are some fun ways for grandparents to share history with grandchildren.
1. Write a Book
There are many stories you can share in a book. The best way to prevent readers becoming overwhelmed is to focus on sharing a specific story with each book. It might be a book about your life up until today, or it might be a book about the family tree; maybe you could write about the comparison in your and your grandkids' schooling styles or technologies. It's up to you, and you don't have to do just one. You could write separate books such as "The Day You Were Born", "How Grandpa and I Got Married", and more.
Another fun way to write your family's history, your legacy, is to create a book of family recipes with information and anecdotes of special events, fun times together and even funny family quotes- wonderful memories of shared family mealtimes.
How about writing a family history book as a family legacy journal. A family journal serves a special purpose. It provides a more personal opportunity to journal about your life, your grandchildren, the quality time you spend with them and your family, faith and life lessons you've learned, and the ways you seek to build a legacy of faith for your kids.
If you sign up to Robin Grunder's newsletter, you can access her "Legacy of Faith Journaling PromptsTwenty-five Days to Writing Your Story of Faith." with prompts for writing your own legacy journal.
2. Make a Video
If you are more comfortable recording a video of the story, try that. You can usually record a video using the software right on your computer, tablet, or cell phone. You can then send it to them via email or via a private Facebook group, or share through file-sharing software like Google Drive or Dropbox. Again, stick to one story at a time to keep them short and to the point.
I really enjoy using the Animoto online program for creating videos. So much is provided for you: movie sizes and styles, backgrounds, transitions, background music. You can upload and use either photos or movie clips and add titles and quotes. It's a lot of fun. You can create a short movie with a free account or pay a bit extra for more features. Check out the most popular Animoto styles for home movies.
3. Make a Family Photo Album
A really great way to connect your grandchildren to their history is to create a family photo album that is accessible online. Arrange it by name, event, and by year. In this way, you may have duplicates, but it will be easier for them to find the photos they are interested in at that time.
MixBook do this really easily and well. Beautiful photo books become treasured keepsakes that are perfect to give as gifts or purely to grace your own coffee table or bookcase. It's pretty much straightforward but if you need more detailed instructions, check out this page.
4. Create a Family Calendar
A different idea to connect with family history is to create a family calendar with everyone's birth dates, death dates, wedding dates, and other important dates recorded for the past and the future. You might like to create your own calendar today with Google Calendar and Gmail.
Again, the other great option that I enjoy using is MixBook. It really is a great place to start when you're thinking about a family calendar. Their designs are amazing and the finished result is everything you'd want in a quality product. And.. it's really easy to use.
Start by choosing your calendar design (and there are heaps), then upload your photos (as feature images or to add to individual calendar dates) and then add details about important family days and dates to remember. Stickers can also be added as special highlights or decorative details.
Creating this type of personalised calendar is not only a wonderful tool, it’s a great way to connect as a family. You’ll all literally be “on the same page,” and you’ll come to rely on the family calendar.
If you decide to give copies as gifts, you’ll likely find that friends and family members will be delighted to discover and share those special family dates and memories– and you’ll realise that yet another meaningful family tradition has been created.
5. Create a Family Tree
It's interesting for kids and families to look at family trees and trace their origins. This can be harder depending on your situation if there are divorces, adoptions, and so forth, but it is a great way to show your grandchild where they fit in with the family history by looking at a family tree image. There is a lot of software now to help such as FamilyTreeBuilder or FamilyTreeMagazine.
And, there are free sites like FamilyTreeNow that will help you create a simple FamilyTree or sites that will create amazing depictions of your family ancestry like MyHeritage. Some of these sites will also encourage you to dig deeper into your family's past which is intriguing but generally involves a cost factor.
Just keep that in mind and decide beforehand whether you will stick with the free options or pay for more depth and information.
6. Create a family website
Although the thought of setting up a family website may initially sound really daunting, it's not as difficult as you might imagine. And... there are some really good reasons why this can be a wonderful way to remember, reflect and share your family history- family traditions, activities and memories.
Interested in using this tool to build and share your family's history? Take a few moments to read a bit more here about just how a website for your family can be a really meaningful tool.
But there are other ways to go about setting up a website for your family. An online/app family journal is a more simple option and it won't take much time at all to set up.
Don’t let the good times slip away: build memories that can be easily shared with an online/app family journal like Cozi to quickly capture and share stories and family photos. A Cozi calendar app can be shared with the whole family.
The included journal feature allows you to keep memories of vacations, holidays, perfect spelling tests, amazing soccer goals, and fabulous family trips. Take a few moments to check it out.
7. Plan Trips to Discover Your Heritage
This final suggestion is certainly a lot of fun but it may be more difficult financially to achieve. A fun way to talk about and discover history to share with grandchildren is to plan heritage-themed vacations and trips. For example, if your family comes from Ireland, why not travel where everyone came from? If your great-great-grandparents met in Paris during the war, go to Paris and walk on the same streets they did.
It certainly would be heaps of fun and an amazing way to share your family background and history. But it may take a lot of saving and planning. Still, it's certainly worth considering. And if the cost of travel is beyond you and your family, the internet provides amazing resources to access photos, maps, images and movie clips to share with your grandkids.
The more you can pass on family history to your grandchildren, the more connected your grandkids will feel to their heritage. Being connected to the past is a great way to ensure that the future is better than the past, and it can all happen through stories.
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.
If your grandkids’ dad is about to have his birthday, they will no doubt be just as excited as he is. Kids can often get very excited about upcoming events and special occasions even if they aren’t going to be the center of attention.
Just being involved is enough to make them really enjoy themselves! And they will certainly want to play a big part in organizing their Dad’s big day! Want to help your grandkids plan the perfect day? Here are some cool ways they might want to help.
To Surprise Or Not To Surprise
Do they like the idea of surprising their father with his birthday celebrations? If so, they need to promise that they won’t let the secret out of the bag before the day comes. So, it’s important that they understand that they can’t say a word to anyone if you go for a surprise birthday celebration. If they don’t think they will be able to keep it a secret, it might be best to simply tell their father outright.
Think About What Their Dad Will Want To Do
How will their Dad like to celebrate his birthday? Your children will certainly be eager to decide on something cool for their father! You should talk about whether something laidback such as a tea party at home would be the best option. Or, if their father is celebrating a milestone birthday, how about organizing a bigger party in a bigger venue so that you can invite all his relatives and friends?
Presents And Gifts
Your grandkids will probably already have an idea about the type of gifts they want to get their Dad. But you will probably get the final say, as some of their ideas might be expensive or just impossible! Are they struggling to come up with gift ideas? There are some online sites that are full of ideas for gifts for the man who has everything. If they don’t help you think of something, you could get the kids to just ask him what he would like. After all, he will know better than anyone!
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When you look back on your childhood, your birthdays are sure to be some of your fondest memories. As a kid, there’s nothing better than your own special day: presents, friends, games and plenty of sweet treats! When you become a parent or grandparent, you get to enjoy the magic of birthdays all over again with the little ones in your life, and naturally, you’ll want to make these days as special as possible for them. So if you’re looking to throw an incredible birthday party, here are some ideas to consider!
Invite Their Friends
Having lots of friends to play with and enjoy the day with them will make the day extra memorable. As well as the children in your family, you could send invites to the children in their class at school or preschool. If it’s the first birthday party you’ve thrown, you might want to consider limiting the number of children to make it a little less stressful. So this is something to work out in the planning stages.
Set a Theme
Themed parties are so much fun. It could be based on the child’s favourite book, superhero, tv show or something else. From there your little guests have the option of dressing up, and you can match the decor and even the food to the theme! There are lots of ideas online for different themes if you’re stuck for ideas, or you could have a chat with the child ahead of time and discuss the things they’re currently loving.
Hire Some Inflatables
There are few things that are more fun to a child than giant inflatables! There are companies online that make hiring a jumping castle easy, you can also get interactive inflatable games, slides and inflatable carnival games! It’s certainly a way to make the party memorable- there will be no hint of boredom with something like this to occupy them.
Hire an Entertainer
Depending on the age of the child it could be a character meet (perfect for tying in with the theme of the party!) a magician, balloon modeling or just someone offering face painting throughout the day. Have a think about what the children would most enjoy based on their age and interests.
Play Party Games
Pass the parcel, musical chairs and pin the tail on the donkey are all favourites we remember from our own childhood. You could dedicate an hour of the party to fun party games, where exciting prizes can be won.
Think About Food
It’s no secret that kids are fussy eaters, so catering for a child’s birthday party can be stressful. Buffet style lunches are an easy option, as you can put out lots of different things and they can choose what they want. Go with firm favourites- sandwiches, chips, sausage rolls, mini pizzas and cupcakes. You could even consider hiring an ice cream machine or a chocolate fountain! You may also want to consider some healthier options too, pots of hummus with cut up veggies and fruit skewers work well. Pinterest has tons of great ideas on how you can display different food items so you can make the buffet table look really impressive.
One of the most fun things to do with children during school holidays is a picnic.
If the weather is good, not only can you put together a basket with the perfect fluffy blanket, but you can get the kids involved in all the preparations. This will then elevate your standard picnic to a Teddy Bears’ Picnic, and that is simple fun that gets everyone together.
You don’t have to lay on a whole party, though, even though the Teddy Bears’ picnic is a popular birthday party theme. Inviting a few neighbourhood friends or school friends over the holidays can be so much fun!
Lazy summer days full of sunshine and dandelion clocks are the perfect time to have your first Teddy Bears’ picnic, and here’s how you can make the most of it.
Finding things to do over the school breaks can be easy if you are inventive about it. Children love to be outdoors in the sunshine, having a picnic is a pure novelty so incorporating both things together make for an exciting and happy afternoon all round. Be excited about the upcoming school summer break and everyone else will be, too!
Christmas has definitely become commercial and so many people get caught up in trying to find that perfect gift. Buying Christmas gifts can be stressful, especially when you are uncertain of what gifts to buy.
Just going shopping at your local shopping centre provides you with countless gift ideas, the problem is, which to choose. Although there are so many gift ideas that could potentially be the ‘perfect gift’, it is still difficult to make that decision. Of course, it is important to buy a wonderful gift for everyone on your Christmas shopping list. But if you are faced with countless options, you do have an alternative solution.
Christmas gift baskets have become very popular and they are an excellent way of giving someone a variety of gifts. You can even give a gift basket to an entire family, with something for everyone inside.
I like to include fresh flowers in my gift baskets. They add a fresh, soft touch to the designed basket. If you don't like the idea of flowers for someone, you might like to consider including a potted plant or some herbs.
Pre-made Christmas gift baskets are a quick solution, but if you have some time on your hands go one step further. Make your own personalized gift basket. This shows thought and caring on your part and your recipient will just love that you went to all that extra effort.
You can put all types of gifts into your basket from foods, to bath products to hobby and craft supplies. If the person loves cooking why not include some bread, along with recipes, different spices and some kitchen gadgets.
A gardener would enjoy a basket of gardening supplies, possibly a subscription to a garden magazine with seeds and gardening gloves.
Any small spaces in your customized gift basket can be filled with small items. This is where your stocking-stuffer ideas come in. Add pens, socks, chocolates and even a gift card inside. A personalized Christmas decoration is another great idea. They can hang it on their tree for years to come.
If you decide to purchase a Christmas gift basket this year, it can be done at many online specialty stores or even locally in your hometown. Once you start looking for gift basket ideas you will be amazed at how much selection there is. You might just possibly decide to go with Christmas gift baskets every year.
So.... how do you do it? How do you make your own? It's more than just filling a basket with small gifts.
Here's what you'll need:
You’ll need supplies to both make the floral arrangement and fill the basket.
The following slideshow will walk you through the process for creating an amazing gift basket for Chirstmas or anytime you need a special gift or presentation.
The Kitchens food precinct (a new urban marketplace close to my home) has just opened with all the bustle and fanfare that a major shopping centre manages to produce.
So, I found myself a quiet corner, ordered a gingerbread latte and a plate of veggie chips, and settled back to proof-read the latest issue of At My Place magazine.
So, what's all this about the latest magazine issue?
The food was delicious- all plant sourced and gluten free. My single serve of hot chips was enough for 2 or 3 people and arrived on a lovely wooden platter. Yes, it was a lovely spot to relax, watch the excited activity below, and read the magazine.
It's been quite a while since the last magazine issue. I've had to rethink the preparation and presentation of the magazine. And then I found myself in the midst of exciting family upheaval- births, relocation, new jobs and helping to care for grandkids in the process.
So... here's the run-down about the magazine.
What's included in this issue?
This issue is a little longer than the previous issue which, I think, was a little light on content. I've tried to include just enough to keep the reader busy while.... well, enjoying a gingerbread latte, perhaps, and a plate of chips. (You'll have to join me next time.)
This issue also has a touch of the holiday season since everyone has become very aware of the weeks flitting past. So, you'll find recipes, ideas to welcome and delight friends and visitors throughout the holiday season, healthy desserts (yes, chocolate is included), book reviews and more.
If you're looking for even more ideas for the holiday season, you'll find some helpful articles posted here on the At Grandma's Place website soon. And... there will be other ideas At Grandma's Place FB page and Instagram, too.
If you haven't checked out and 'liked' these pages, take a moment to do that now so you don't miss anything.
So... how can you get your FREE copy of the latest issue of At My Place?
Well, if you're a part of At Grandma's Place newsletter, you'll receive your copy in your Inbox soon. (Sign up here if you'd like a copy sent to you.) You can also download a copy HERE.
Or, you can read an online version here.
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.