children · Grandparents

How Do You Fill A Grandchild’s Day?

Last week my daughter and son-in-law went out of town for a few days and they left their three year-old twin boys with me and my husband – known to the boys as “Gigi and Pappa.” This was super special for all of us because though the boys have spent a good deal of time at our house, they have never stayed overnight. I must admit that I was a little fearful about how this would all go down.  

  • Would they miss Mommy and Daddy and cry?  
  • Would we be able to keep them busy for three days?  
  • Would WE wear down before it was over?  
  • How would they do when darkness wrapped around their bedroom?  
  • Will they eat the food I prepare? 
  •  Will I run out of things to do?  
  • How will I maintain the structure they are used to?  

On and on the questions rolled in my head.  But I prayed and prepared much, and truly anticipated their time in our home.

I could be a typical grandparent and tell you how good they were, how they went to bed without any struggle, and that we all had so much fun…and that would all be true, but I must also admit that we got tired, and there were a couple times when there was  a bit of a struggle about who would be in control. There were several times I had to stop and pray with the boys. But in the end, Gigi and Pappa won, and each situation ended with smiles and happy hearts.

I’m no expert, for sure! I’m still learning, but today I’m writing this to encourage all grandmothers in two areas: 

  1. I want to remind you of the important role we play in our grandchildren’s lives and also our children’s lives!  We are to be a support. It’s so important that our children know we will uphold their rules and expectations in their absence.  If they’ve been working on immediate obedience and we allow the children to do what they want instead of what we ask, we’re doing both the children and their parents a huge disservice. We’re really making things harder for ourselves as well.  So, don’t cave in and be simply the doting grandmother, be a loving support in the training of those precious children.
  2. I also want to give a few ideas of things you can do with a young child that will fill their days with fun.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had a young child in my care for three days, so I gave it some real thought before they arrived so I would be ready.  I didn’t want there to be a time when we were trying to come up with ideas of something to do.  That spells disaster! 

    Now, on with the fun!!!
  • Let them help in the kitchen. Starting with the preparation of the meals to mixing up cookies, children love helping! My boys enjoyed helping to stir up the mac and cheese we had for lunch one day, adding the sauce and toppings to their homemade pizzas, and also setting the table.
  • Give them time for independent play. I had purchased a used set of wooden trains, planes and little village pieces and the boys enjoyed playing with them outside on our patio area. I was nearby, but I tried to encourage them to play together without my assistance.
  • Encourage time outside. I was always one of those moms who would send my girls outside to enjoy outside play. Whine as they might, they learned to love being outside, use their imaginations, and enjoy being outdoors. The fresh air and outdoor play also helps to tire little people out! The boys played in the swimming pool the Lord provided for us, “painted” with sponge brushes and a bucket of water, dug in the dirt of the raised beds, enjoyed wagon rides, played with sidewalk chalk, watered the garden, picked cherry tomatoes, and chased their shadows!
  • Make mealtime fun. I tried my best to make mealtime delicious and fun. The boys sat at the small table on our patio and ate some of their meals there while we sat on the patio furniture near them. I also tried to make foods I knew they liked. This isn’t the time to try new recipes or “weird” foods they have never tried.
  • Try to keep their normal routine. The boys are in bed by 7:00 when they’re home, so we did our best to follow suit. One night we forgot to sing, as they do with their mommy and daddy and one of the boys whimpered a little as we were tucking them in. He asked for a song, and of course we were happy to do that! His disposition immediately grew calm and he went right to sleep! Be sure to find out what their normal pattern is before bedtime. That little blanket, stuffed animal and bedtime story might be the key to helping ALL of you to get a good night’s rest!
  • Library books! Of course we know getting the books from the library can be a challenge right now, but I simply called in my list and picked them up! The boys enjoyed reading in the afternoon, and that quiet time was helpful for all of us!
  • Craft time – Most all children love using a glue stick! I had gotten The Pout Pout Fish (adorable book!) from the library, so we made a pout pout fish for our craft time.

Let me add one more important thought – in ALL the activities and talking you do with your grandchild, point them to Christ. Talk about the Lord. Pray with them over needs and burdens and cares. I have some special memories tucked in my heart regarding prayer times with the boys. Oh, how their faith in what God can do puts me to shame! What a joy to take them to the Throne of Grace!

I hope these ideas will get your creative juices flowing so you can enjoy a sweet time with your grandchildren. I was really thankful that when their parents came to get them, the boys said they wanted to stay longer! They went home, but I was thankful that our time together was special enough to make them want to come back, and that happened without breaking any of their home rules!

What ideas could you add to this list?

Refresh your time with your grandchildren by having fun and supporting their parents at the same time!

Here’s a post about helping your children become more independent, which is what we must be teaching them to do! Remember, you’re training them to become adults!

Work

Labor Day Activity

Doesn’t this picture ďepict what Labor Day is all about?! Today is a day to honor people who labor (and perhaps give them a day’s rest!)

I hope your day is restful. I pray that you will take time to recognize the goodness of God Who allows us the blessing of work. It is a gift.

See you here on Wednesday!

Denise

Kitchen Tips · Uncategorized

Easy Does It ~ In the Kitchen

Last month I began this series of Easy Does It. These are just tips and helpful ideas that have simplified my life and I think they’ll do the same for you!

This edition are all things regarding the kitchen. Who couldn’t use a little simplification there?!

  1. Paper products can roll out easier with this tip – The first tip is regarding the rolls of plastic wrap, waxed paper and foil that you probably use on a daily basis. Did you know there’s a built-in way to keep that roll from falling out of the box when you’re trying to pull off a piece? There is! I learned this little tip just a few years ago. I wondered if I’m the only one who hadn’t known about this!

At the end of each box, you’ll see the lock tabs. Simply push them in. They will go into the cardboard roll and hold it in place. No more foil rolling across the kitchen floor!

2. Skinning Tomatoes is a snap – If you have tomatoes to can or freeze as spaghetti sauce of salsa, there’s a super easy way to skin them and to do a huge batch at one time! Simply put them on a baking sheet after they’ve been washed and dried. Then place them under a broiler for about 4-5 minutes or until the skins begin to wrinkle. Remove from the oven and the skin will pull off when you pinch it between your fingers. Let them cool slightly so you can touch them. This was such a help to me recently when I canned salsa!

3. Preserving Bananas for baking is a cinch – We love all things banana at our house! Baked oatmeal with bananas, Banana Bread or this Banana Cake are delicious examples! But these recipes all even better with over-ripe bananas. They’re so sweet! Because I can’t always keep them on hand, I go to the produce section of our grocery store and head to the reduced produce section. They have the “ugly bananas” wrapped together or in a bag for sale at a reduced price. I take them home, peel them and place two bananas into small Ziplock bags and toss them into the freezer. When I’m ready to make one of my banana recipes, I thaw it in the microwave and I’m ready to bake!

4. Freezing Popped Popcorn is genius – My favorite nighttime snack is popcorn. We recently found Smart Food Popcorn at the grocery store and fell in love with its White Cheddar flavor. It’s absolutely additive in my opinion! (If you haven’t had it, you must try it!) One day while walking through Sam’s Club we found a giant bag for nearly the same price we were paying for half that size at the grocery store!

But even with our love for it, it would go stale once the bag was opened. Then I discovered you can freeze it! The popcorn never actually freezes, it just keeps out the moisture so it stays fresh. We can go get a bag out of the freezer and pour it into our bowl and eat it immediately! It’s as fresh as when we opened the bag!

I hope these simple tips will help things to roll a little easier in your kitchen! (Pun intended!) Tell me: Did you know about the lock tab on the foil and plastic wrap boxes?
What’s your best tip for simplifying life in the kitchen?

Have a wonderful weekend and be refreshed by being under the preaching of God’s Word!

death · Eternity

Death Is Not the End

Another birthday is approaching. Hmmmm, another year older. I’m pushing closer to the day when this life will be over. I could let myself get down about that, but then I let my mind remember that death is not the end for me! Let me share an illustration regarding this that the Lord recently made clear to me.

One of my daily summer tasks is to water the flower boxes in my upstairs windows. If I fail to get this chore done, it’s very obvious! When I look out the window, the poor impatiens are so withered it seems they will never revive. But I pour the cool water over their droopy heads with hopes they’ll perk back up. A few hours later when I take a peek at them, no longer are they parched! They’re plumped back up and showing off their glorious colors!

I love how God uses nature to remind us of Truth. I Peter 1, His Word says,

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

When I look at those droopy blooms, I remember that flesh (people) are like the grass, which refers to all grass, flowers and herbs – they wither, meaning we will die. Each birthday reminds us that not only are we a year older, but we’re a year weaker, a year closer to death. The “glory of man” is the things that we might boast in – our strength, our wealth, our wisdom, our position. It might look great at the moment, but that glory will also fall away at some point. But there is good news that follows this truth!

But the Word of the Lord endures forever! Peter reminds us that this is the Word by which we heard the Gospel! It came through the eternal Scriptures, the Words that will be true forever. This is a beautiful reminder that this also means our salvation that came through the Gospel will also be eternal. There’s no need to worry and wonder if I’m saved forever. We literally have God’s Word on it!

Let’s get a mental picture using my flower boxes again. When I water them, they “come back to life” so to speak. When you and I trust Christ as our Savior because we’ve heard the Gospel (that Jesus came, died for us and rose again, and we receive His gift of eternal life), though our flesh may die, we will live forever. Picture that water (the Gospel of the Word of God) being poured over us, reviving our dead bodies and translating us to heaven! We’ll be more alive there than we ever were here!

When you water your droopy flowers, I trust you’ll be able to rejoice in the fact that if you have received Christ, you will fade from this life, but you’ll live gloriously forever because of the eternal Word that gave you the Gospel!

If you don’t have this solid hope, I’d love for you to read this post or this one that tells you how you can be saved. If you are a believer, who could you “water” with this Truth today? There are people all around us who are dying that need this hope!

dinner in 30 minutes · Main entree

Transform Any Meat With This Sauce!

My husband LOVES sauces on his entrees’! However, because we’re trying to cut back on calories and watch our diets, adding a sauce seemed out of the question.

But I was Wrong!!

I found the easiest, tastiest sauce that was delicious on our pork chops (which can be dry without something!).
This sauce would also be fantastic on chicken or salmon! Instead of heavy cream, it is made with chicken broth and reduced-fat sour cream, making it much lighter!

Here’s the simple list of ingredients and recipe:

Mustard Sauce

1/4 stp salt
1/4 tsp eppper,
1 tsp oil
1/3 Cup fat-free chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped shallots
2 Tbl water
1 Tbl, coarse grain mustard
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 Tbl. chives, chopped, optional

  1. Sprinkle meat with salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add meat and cook until browned and cooked through. Transfer to plate to keep warm.
  2. Add broth and shallots to skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring often and scraping browned bits from bottom of skillet, until shallots are tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove skillet from heat; stir in water, mustard, sour cream and remaining 1/8 tsp pepper. Spoon mustard sauce over meat; garnish with chives, if desired.

You need to add this recipe to your files when you want to dress up a plain piece of meat into something really special!

What extra something do you wish you could enjoy more frequently with your dinner?

With love from my country kitchen,