(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.)
I don't know about you, but I grew up reading fairy tales- stories of adventure, daring exploits and impossible quests. Einstein once wrote, 'If you want your children to be intelligent read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, the nread them more fairy tales.'
How much better for your kids or grandkids to create their own fairytale adventures than if they had their own fairy garden.
Now, I've seen a lot of wonderful fairy gardens that others have created. They look great! There are even fairy garden kits you can buy to make a beautiful garden that would be a perfect setting for a fairy tale adventure.
But I'm not great with gardening. So I wanted a garden that would be easy to create, easy to maintain.. and one that I could keep indoors. So... when I saw a listed Workshop with Botancials by Bella about making a terrarium in an afternoon, I thought this would be great for my indoor garden. The course was a lot of fun. and yes, I was happy with the results. So I'm sharing the technique with you so that you can have much fun making your own fairy garden as I did and sharing it with your kids or grandkids. (I hope my workshop expert thinks with my tutorial adequately explains the process!) If you want to do a workshop yourself, I can certainly recommend Botanicals by Bella- she runs a lot of different and interesting project workshops. ;)
Here's how to make your own indoor fairy garden
1. Create layers in your fairy garden using the different types of materials- sand, pebbles, sphagnum moss. Not only does this look great in your terrarium, it has a practical purpose in draining the soil while providing the nutrients for growth.
Begin with the clean river sand. Don't use sand from the beach as this will contain salt.
Add handfuls of sand to your container and press firmly into place. Build up the sand more around the edge of the container and up the side a little. Try and keep a circular hollow area in the base of the container as this is where you will add some handfuls of potting mix. Add extra sand and potting mix until this layer is level. Just ensure that the potting mix remains in the centre. You don't want to see it from the sides.
Now, add some more sand on top of the potting mix and continue to press down firmly.
Now.. add a wide ring of pebbles around the edge. Bring the thickness up to about 5cm depending on the size of your container. Fill the centre of this layer with dampened sphagnum moss.
2. Add some height and landscaping to your garden.
Add more handfuls of sand to the centre of your gardening bring it up a bit in height towards the back of your garden. Choose 2or 3 large smooth rocks and place them towards the back of the garden, too. Use your green moss and push gently into place behind the rocks and down and sides a little.
3. Plant some foliage- green moss and mini ferns are good choices
Use your finger to push a hole into the sand behind the rocks. Gently push a mini fern into the hole. Add some extra sand around the fern if needed. Add a couple more terrarium plants to your garden. Think about the size of these plants and place the bigger ones towards the back and low growing plants at the front.
4. Include foreground features- pebbles and green moss
Think about the front of your garden. Choose 2 different types of pebbles and add them in the garden to create areas of interest. You maight like to use some to make a garden path or another area. Extra green moss can be placed in the foreground too for more interest.
5. Add your fairy garden accessories
You'll find plenty of options and choices to include in your inddor fairy garden. There are cute little stools and chairs, bright coloured toadstools even fairy cottages. But you can even make these little accents. I've include a number of links on my Pinterest board to help you make your own, if you wish.
creating Keep extra fairy garden accents and replace them regularly especially if your grandkids are visiting. They will love looking for the changes and new accessories in this mini fairy garden and I'm sure they will create special stories and fairy garden adventures.
This terrarium fairy garden is relatively easy to care for. First, find a position indoors that is bright and airy but will not be in full sunshine. Although the terrarium needs to be kept moist, too much water is as damaging as not enough. If you think there may be too much moisture, hold the container above your head and check the condition of the sand/potting mix in the base.
When it needs more moisture, use a spray bottle. I find the garden is happier if I spray the garden every 2-3 days with a fine misting.
If you run into trouble or need some more maintenance tips, check out the Terrarium Survival Guide from Botanicals by Bella.
Give it a try yourself. I think you'll enjoy making your garden and creating family fun with your kids or grandkids. I know they will love to play with your fairy garden and create exciting adventures.
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, or I don't think you'll love it, it won't appear on my blog.
(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.)
"That's it! I've put it off long enough! I'm cleaning out the cupboard."
Yep.. that was me last week and I started well, filled with enthusiasm. That was, until I pulled out some of the old scrapbook photo albums that I'd worked on when the kids were small. Ahh.. can you believe how little they were?
So, of course, I had to sit down and go through all of them. Did you get hooked on the scrapbooking craze? Or maybe you still enjoy it? I love it, but it's soooo time-consuming.
But there's something special about taking out a photo book, turning the pages with someone else, reliving the moments and sharing the fun and laughter together.
As a family, we regularly upload family photos to TinyBeans as a safe way to share digital family memories with our family. But my parents can't remember how to log-in or forget to check it and so miss the beautiful memories that are regularly uploaded. A photobook is a better option for them.
I have made some photobooks from other sources. But, in the most part, they're simply a book of photos without much option for placing and presenting the photos in a way that I like.
Now, I've discovered MixBook. The photobooks created with this program are wonderful! I can change the backgrounds, alter how many photos are presented per page, add embellishments like scrapbooking... even produce a book in a night if I need a book quickly. Since it's all online, I just use my computer, or create a photo book with my iPad while relaxing and watching the TV.
The completed book is printed and delivered to the door. And they make wonderful gifts- just think how thrilled your mother or father would be to receive one of these special books filled with memories.
So... check out the simple instructions below.. and start!
Share wonderful family memories together as you read through your photo-books.
Why bother... I have my photos on iCloud
So perhaps, I'm guessing you're wondering just why you should go to the trouble to creating a photo-book. After all, you have all your photos, your memories on your computer, your smartphone or iCloud.
Well, yes ... but just consider: sure, you have all those wonderful photos on your computer. But, not only are they taking up a big hunk of memory, they are also hard to view together as a family.
And... it's so fun and simple to do. You'll feel like a professional when you see the results.
A family heirloom
A photo-book is an unique picture of your family and the 'moments that matter' in your lives. Whether young or old, everyone will enjoy looking through this special book.
Create one as a gift
These photo-books are so beautiful, you'll want to make and give them as gifts- if you can bring yourself to part with them. They'd make a treasured Mother's or Father's Day gift. Send one to family who live overseas. Make a special book to mark milestones within your family or your kids' lives.
Share the memories
Everyone will enjoy reliving the fun times and remembering those special family moments as they look through these beautiful books.
So... let's get started..
You'll need to create an account.
Your first order will be 50% off as a special promotion from AtGrandmasPlace so use the promotion link to access MixPhoto. Then, sign up to start your first photo book creation.
Choose the photo book option
Although there are many wonderful projects to try later, you just need to select the 'Photo Books' option to start your first photo creation.
Choices, choices and more choices ..
Now comes the fun part. There are lots of different styles, sizes and themes of photo books. Think about what you really want for your book and who it will be for and choose according. For example, there are lovely softcover photo-books that would be a great gift idea for mothers or grandmothers. You might prefer a square shape for your book especially if you're going to include a lot of your Instagram images.
The themes and page layouts are wonderful. In fact, there are over 370 different themes to choose from for your photo book. And so many of the themes have scrapbook-like accents that really add appeal to your pages,
You can change the page layouts or the number of photos displayed on each page, add stickers, change the backgrounds and more.. Each photo book truly is your own unique creation.
Simple drag and drop format
The format is simple - upload your photos from your computer, or device. Then just choose the photo you need, then drag, and drop the photos or stickers to your page. Position and resize them until you’re happy with the arrangement.
Not happy with the layout? Click on 'layouts' and choose a different layout or different number of photos for the page.
And yes, additional text can be added in any page.
And, if you're really busy and need to create a stunning photo book in a hurry (like, in a night), just choose the instant insert feature.
It is really sooo simple. But more than that- it allows you to be as creative as you want and add as little or as many stickers and accents as you'd like for your book. You don't need to buy the stickers. You don't need to search for scrapbooking papers. There's no need to do any cutting or sticking.
And the competed book will then be posted to your address.
Start your own treasured piece of family memories now.
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.
You are probably looking for various ways to keep your children busy but at the same time, you want these activities not to cause a gigantic mess? Say no more.
(Guest post-- Alex Farley)
Most parents are feeling worried whether they would be able to clean the mess after a craft project, for example. I know out of a personal experience that there are many fun activities which often turn into an apocalypse.
No matter how many times you tell your kids to be careful, your words go in at one ear, out at the other. Kids will be kids. I am here to share with you a number of tips which I hope to come in handy. Roll up your sleeves.
Take the fun activities outside
If the weather allows it, there is no better place to play than outdoors. My kids can spend hours playing in the sandbox, for an example. I love this option because when they are done playing, it is so much easier to clean after them. Even if it is a craft project, it takes me a couple of minutes to clean up. Of course, it depends on the activity but can you imagine what it could be if the kids play with sand or water inside?
Make sure to cover the play area
Trust me, the best way to accomplish mess-free crafting is to cover the entire area where your kids play. For instance, you can cover it with a blanket or a shower curtain. There is another plus- you can easily toss the blanket in the washing machine, or wipe down the shower curtain when the play is over.
Take advantage of the bathtub
If the weather does not allow outdoor activities, my children are used to be playing… in the bath. No, I am not kidding. Initially, I thought it was ridiculous but I got sick and tired of the mess so I had to take action. Because I am the only one who deals with the housework, I took matters into my own hands.
Since that moment, my kids use the bath as a vessel. To be honest, it is the ideal playground for messy kids because the bathtub contains all the mess. Once they are done crafting or playing, I just run the water till the mess is gone. You should definitely try it!
Washable art supplies
Have you thought about replacing the art supplies with washable ones? If you want to keep your children’s clothes from getting stained, you should take my advice. Since my kids use only washable art supplies, I can easily wash their clothes without me having to worry whether the stains would come out or not.
Limit the materials for a mess free crafting
In the very beginning, I did not think that this trick could actually turn out to be efficient. But still, I decided to try it out. I gave my children materials in small amounts. They love drawing and crafting a lot. So I provide them with a small amount of paint, and I do not add more till the first supply is completely gone. This trick does minimise the mess because kids do no romp about.
The ugly truth is that no matter how many times you tell your kids to be more careful, no matter what kinds of measures you take, there will be always a mess in the presence of kids. Anyway, if you are concerned about the mess you have to clean instead of enjoying your time with your kids, you deprive yourselves of the fun. :)
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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,.
DISCLOSURE: I may be an affiliate for products that I recommend or link to. If you purchase those items through my links I will earn a commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. In fact, ofttimes, I'm able to negotiate a lower rate (or bonuses) not available elsewhere.
Plus, when you order through my links, it helps me to continue to offer you lots of free stuff.
Thank you, in advance, for your support.
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.
This updated article 'Creating a New Christmas tradition' was previously published November, 2014.
"Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time." -- Laura Ingalls Wilder
Christmas, for most families, is a time of family traditions.
What Christmas traditions does your family hold to and treasure?
When my children were young, our Christmas traditions involved bright Christmas carols playing while decorating the tree, setting up the nativity scene, the advent calendar activities and daily Bible readings, the train trip to the city to view the department stores' animated displays, Christmas in Story & Song at our church and more.
Yes, it was a busy time but, in many ways, it was simple and unhurried. And the emphasis was definitely on the birth of the Saviour.
But times have changed and my kids are grown.
Fun Family Christmas Traditions
Now, as a grandparent, the traditions of Christmas are just a bit quieter. Maybe you're the same. Maybe you're looking forward to celebrating Christmas with a bevy of grandchildren. Hey, there's no reason why your time with your grandkids now can't be every bit as memorable and meaningful as when life was bursting at the seams with Christmas excitement and activity.
But how? What can I do?
But I guess you're wondering how, amongst all the frenetic activity of Christmas can you, as a grandparent, create a family tradition that will emphasise the real message of Christmas?
I was asking myself the same question when I happened to watch the latest clip from the SkitGuys...You can watch it below or via the link: see here.
The Search for the Saviour
The idea is simple: hide the Baby Jesus from your nativity scene and create a set of clues to help your grandchildren find the Saviour. Tailor your clues to the age of your grandchildren. If they're quite small, draw pictures with hints of where to look. Add some simple directional signs- large cards with printed arrows or footprints. Provide more cryptic clues for older kids or use Scripture verses for added levels of difficulty.
But, don't stop there...
Read the Christmas story together
Once your grandkids have found the Saviour, read one of the many wonderful storybooks of the Christmas story. Here's a couple of suggestions with links to where you can find them.
* Read Aloud Bible Stories Vol 3. Award-winning publication for young children filled with simple stories with big illustrations.
*The Jesus Storybook Bible.... where every story whispers His name.
*Jed And Roy McCoy.. One of the Lost Sheep series. A Bible storybook that the whole family will enjoy.
* If you're Missing Baby Jesus.. A true story that will unwrap the warmth of the real meaning of
Also, check out the review of Friends with God StoryBible. I think you and your grandkids will enjoy it.
You may be wondering about other tradition-building Christmas fun
Well, how about
There are so many other fun family ideas for building Christmas traditions.
If you're looking for other ideas, download and use this Christmas activity checklist.
Begin a new tradition this year with your grandkids that is not only fun, but places the focus on the real meaning of the festive season.
If you're looking for even more ideas, download and use this Christmas activity checklist to make more moments that matter for your family.
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.