Saturday, August 31, 2013

crafting with grandma - Chalkboard Placemats, Lunch Box Lids and Containers!

Chalkboard Place MatsIn keeping with the "back-to-school" theme today, I'm really happy to share with you an idea I found on Pinterest for making chalkboard placemats! What a fun and simple craft - one your grandchildren could help you make - which you can use at your house . . . and make extras to send home . . . so your grandchildren can practice writing or math or whatever while they wait for their meals, or wait to be excused from the table . . . or just for fun! Check this link for all the directions!

Free Back-to-School Printables

Here in Michigan - where I live - school starts in three days; the Tuesday after Labor Day. My sweet Josiah will be going to kindergarten . . . it doesn't seem possible he could actually be old enough for school! Those five years have truly flown by!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Today is Slinky Day!

Slinky DayAs if today being Toasted Marshmallow Day isn't enough reason to celebrate, today is also Slinky Day! WooHoo!!! So, let's look at a bit of the "history" of the "classic" toy, the Slinky. It was, "invented in the 1940's by Navy engineer and inventor, Richard James and proved to be an immediate hit; it sold out in just a few hours, quickly becoming one of our favorite toys." 

Today is Toasted Marshmallow Day!

Toasted Marshmallow Day
Toasted Marshmallow Day! Who knew such a day even existed??? I sure did not! At least until today! Most of us have memories of sitting by a campfire, roasting marshmallows. I like mine just a light, golden brown, but my hubby likes his as "burnt offerings"! How do you like your roasted marshmallow?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

grandma's movie review - Camp - I'm Giving One Away

"God can love us no matter what our situation." While this is a message all of us need to hear - and take to heart - children who are abused and in foster care most certainly need to hear it. I was invited to review the movie "Camp", so when I said I would, one was sent to me for free so I could watch it. While there are aspects of this movie which are difficult to watch - it is not a movie for young children and is rated PG-13 - it is a movie with a message of hope. And a movie which has a strong call to action.

Camp is about an abused boy who goes to a camp for abused children who are in foster care. One of the counselors is there to try and land a wealthy client; not because he cares about anyone other than himself. As these two go through the week at camp their lives are changed. The story of "Camp" is one which is based on real people and the challenge of the movie is one which calls us all to care about -  and help - children who are abused.

Royal Family Kids is a ministry which serves abused children - and which is portrayed in the movie Camp. I looked at their website and found the following disturbing statistics . . . 

Win the Ultimate Life Prize Package!

Do you live life to the fullest? Are you living "THE ULTIMATE LIFE"? How do you live an "ultimate life"? 
"Between the pressure of running a foundation started by his late grandfather, being sued by his greedy extended family, and seeing his beloved Alexia leave on an extended mission trip to Haiti, Jason Stevens' world is unraveling. But when Jason discovers a journal his grandfather began as a Depression-era lad, his writings transport Jason on an incredible rags-to-riches ride. With everything he loves hanging in the balance, Jason hopes he can discover The Ultimate Life.
Opening in theaters, THE ULTIMATE LIFE (the sequel to The Ultimate Gift) reminds us some things are worth more than money . . . with The Ultimate Life Blog App, take the quiz to find out if YOU are  truly living your life, or merely spending it! Read six great ways to start living the ultimate life NOW, as written by Jim Stovall, author of The Ultimate Life book. And watch the official trailer for this inspiring movie!"

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fun with Grandsons - Handprint Shirts

The other day when I was at the store with my hubby, he found a black t-shirt on clearance in Caleb's size, so we went ahead and bought it. Since I knew the boys were coming over for a couple days, I thought it might be fun to have them make handprint t-shirts, so I picked up another black t-shirt for Josiah and some fluorescent paints . . . since the shirts were black, I thought bright, florescent paints would be fun!

Fun with Grandsons - Making S'more Pops!

The last two days I spent with two, too-sweet-for-words grandsons (although I never am truly at a loss for words when it comes to telling how sweet they are :-)!) We had so much fun! One of the things we did was make s'more pops (you'll find how to make these at this link).

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Flashlights of Doom & Finding KittyKats!

Over the past few years I've shared some of the funny and sweet things Josiah has had to say . . . of course, as his grandma I think nearly everything he says is funny and sweet! So, today I thought it would be fun to share a couple of the funny and sweet things Caleb is saying! Caleb just turned two and apparently has decided he has lots of things to say!

Yesterday, he was walking around with a flashlight, shining it up on his face saying, "I have a flashlight of DOOOOOMMM!!!" I can assure you the thought this grandma had at seeing and hearing him had nothing to do with Doom!!! He even got his aunt laughing at that one!

Monday, August 26, 2013

grandma's bookshelf - Bash and the Pirate Pig - I'm Giving One Away!

I was recently invited to participate on a blog tour for a new book, Bash and the Pirate Pig  it sounded like a fun book, so I said I'd be delighted to review it (I was sent this book for free in exchange for my review, but my review is totally my own opinion!) I had no idea how delighted I - and my grandsons - would be by Bash and the Pirate Pig!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

grandma's cookbook - Ham & Cheese Pretzel Bites!

ham and cheese pretzel bitesMy sweet grandsons are going to be at my house for a couple days of fun, so when I was browsing on Pinterest and saw this recipe, I thought it sounded like a fun recipe to try with them! After all, what could be more fun than making home made ham and cheese  pretzel bites? :-)

Sweet Shane & His Noah's Ark Blanket!

My daughter-in-law, Jackie, took photos of sweet Shane and the Noah's Ark blanket I made for him, so I thought I'd share a couple of them with you . . . 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

grandma's cookbook - S'mores Pops!

My sweet grandsons, Josiah and Caleb, will be spending Sunday night, Monday, Monday night and Tuesday at my house for one last longer overnight before school begins! (Sweet little Shane is too little for sleepovers since he is only a couple weeks old!) I can hardly believe Josiah is old enough to go to school, but he will be off to kindergarten in a week, so he and Caleb will be spending a couple days with us, so fun will be had!

grandma's cookbook - Apple, Apple Pie!

apple pie dessert yum!You may be thinking I had a typo in my title for this post; after all, I did type, "apple" twice, but it is no typo! Fall is just around the corner and since I live in West Michigan; otherwise known as, "Apple Country", when Fall arrives my thoughts go to apples . . . apple cider, apple pie, apple muffins, caramel apples . . . well, you get it . . . apples!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Grandparents Day - Send Kisses!

Monday through Friday the alarm goes off in my house at 5:30 am - I get up and fix breakfast for my hubby, pack his lunch and then watch the morning news shows while I write my two blogs. Typically by the time I do all this I am actually awake! :-)

This morning on the Today Show they showed a great idea for a craft which you could make for someone special in your life - and if you are a parent who is reading this looking for a fun, simple idea for your children to make a great gift for their grandparents for Grandparents Day, take a look at this one!

Grandparent's Day . . . Bibles!

While I'm a grandma and write grandma's cookie jar "for" grandmas, I'm very happy there are many moms, dads, aunts, uncles and others who read my blog as well! So, since Grandparent's Day is Sunday September 8th, if you are looking for some ideas for the grandparents in your life . . . check these!

I have discovered, as we age our eyesight can change. I wear glasses and sincerely appreciate large print fonts! So, when I had the opportunity to review a couple large print Bibles from Zondervan which they sent me for free, I was very happy to do so!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Today is, "Be an Angel Day"!

Yes, today is, "Be an Angel Day". No, it does not mean you need to wear a white robe, wings and a halo! :-) Be an Angel Day is all about, "making the world a better place through acts of kindness, care and support! Put others before yourself and reach out to help those in need."

Since, "Be an Angel Day" is all about serving and helping others, every day should be, "Be an Angel Day"! Certainly we want to teach our grandchildren to be people who make the world a better place through acts of kindness, care and support! We want them to be people who put others first and help those in need. Of course, they are much more likely to be people like this if we are consistent in modeling this to them.

I Have a Winner!

I'm happy to say Teresa Holmgren is the winner in my The Broken Window book give-away (You'll find the review at this link.) Thank you Teresa for reading grandma's cookie jar and thank you Christa for sending one copy for me to read and for making another available for me to give away!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Today is Senior Citizen's Day!

While some grandma's are senior citizens, others of us, are not . . . yet! However; since today is Senior Citizen's Day, it is a great day to stop and involve your grandchildren in doing something kind for an elderly neighbor, relative or person you know! Consider one of the following ideas . . . 

grandma's bookshelf - Rufus Goes to School - I'm Giving One Away!

My sweet grandson Josiah begins kindergarten in a week . . . it is so hard to believe he is nearly five and off to school - the years have flown by for sure! So, when Sterling asked me if I'd be willing to review a new book which was a fun back-to-school read about a little pig who wanted to go to school and give my own opinion of it, I said I'd be delighted to do so! After all, what could be more fun than a pig who wants to go to school? :-)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

LeapPad Ultra Give-Away in a Month!

LeapPads have been around for a few years now, but with the release of the new LeapPad Ultra, LeapFrog has completely "re-written" the book for what a notepad for children can do! They sent me two so I could review them and you'll find my review at this link . . . and they are making one available for me to give away . . . you'll find the specifics for the give-away at the link above, too, so if you have a grandchild/child who is four to nine years old, definitely join in the fun of this great give-away!

grandma's cookie jar . . . Some of the Fun Stuff!

I truly enjoy writing grandma's cookie jar! I love the opportunity it blesses me with of getting to know those of you who take the time to read it . . . thank you for making grandma's cookie jar part of your day! I am honored and humbled to know so many of you read my blog! :-)

I love finding new recipes, crafts, science projects, silly holidays, fun facts and little bits of this and that to share with you all! :-)

But one of the fun things about grandma's cookie jar is the give-aways! I LOVE to give things away! As you know, I have give-aways all year long, but each year for the month of May we celebrate grandma's cookie jar's "birthday" with a month of special give-aways and the month of November we celebrate Christmas with my Special Month of Holiday Give-aways! So . . . with November just three months away, I'm busy "rounding up" some special give-aways! I'm happy to say this November will be filled with some give-aways which definitely qualify as "fun"!!! :-) (And yes, the "clip art" on this post give you just a "sneak peek" at a one of the fun give-aways which we will have in November!)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Baked Donuts!!!

Baked Doughnuts Recipe - ZipList
Okay, today is not "Donuts Day", but I think every day should be! I really do LOVE donuts . . . but, since they are not particularly good for me, I rarely eat them. However; with this new recipe I found on Pinterest, I may start eating them more often - still not a lot, but more often! After all, baked donuts can't be that terribly bad for me . . . can they? :-)

Raising Boys by Design

If you have been reading grandma's cookie jar for very long, you likely know I have three grandsons . . . so, when I was given the opportunity to review a new book, Raising Boys by Design, well, it sounded like an interesting - and timely - book! WaterBrook sent me one to review for free; so this is my opinion . . . 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

It's National Friendship Week!

This week is National Friendship Week - so, as you think about friendship, take time to be thankful for the friends you have, look around you to see if there is anyone you know who needs a friend and encourage your grandchildren to do the same!

Check the free ecards which you can send to your friends at this link and take some time this week to surprise your friends with an ecard! They have great cards your grandchildren could send to their friends, too, so make time this week to help your grandchildren choose a card to send to their friends, too!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Please Vote for at ease!

In this day of internet photo contests, you may find yourself often being asked to vote for a particular photo. While I do not often do this, today I'd like to ask you to consider voting for a photo of a cougar - "at ease" was taken by Hannah Troupe when she was just 16 years old. Hannah just graduated from high school - she has two younger brothers with special needs and has helped her parents care for them for years so it would be lovely for her to win this contest! 

Say, "Thank You" for FREE from Shutterfly!

Manners MentorThank You CardsIn far too many cases, "Thank you" seems to be something people just do not take the time to say any more. But, as Maralee McKee the Manners Mentor says, "As moms, it’s our honor and responsibility to teach our children everything they’ll need to eventually thrive on their own. Expressing gratitude is a vital life skill, and the overflow of gratitude is joy." (This applies to grandma's, too! And, you will find Maralee's full post at this link.) 

There are so many ways to say, "thank you", but when you can do it in a special, unique way and for FREE, well, what's not to love about this? I'm very happy to let you know about a special, FREE offer from Shutterfly which will help you say, "thank you" . . . 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Today is Tell a Joke Day!

Yes, today is, "Tell a Joke Day", since I'm from Michigan, I thought I'd share with you Jeff Foxworthy's, "You Might Live in Michigan If . . . " joke with you . . . get ready to laugh!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I Have a Winner!

Kids Music DVDI'm happy to say Lori Layne is the winner in my Go Fish Kids Music DVD give-away! (You'll find the review at this link) Thank you Lori for reading grandma's cookie jar and thank you Go Fish for sending one for me to review and an additional one for me to give away!

It is, "Eat Dessert First Month"!

When I grew up I was told by my parents - as you likely were told by your parents, too - to eat our meal before I was able to have dessert. As a child I thought it would be fun to have dessert first, but as a parent I dutifully told my children they had to eat their meal before they were able to have their dessert, too! But today I learned the month of August is actually, "Eat Dessert First Month"!!! WooHoo! Sounds like fun!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Today is National Creamsicle Day and a Recipe for Creamsicle Pie!

Who knew such a day even existed, but since it does, why not celebrate it??? :-) I like creamsicles - after all, what isn't there to like about a bit of ice cream covered with a popsicle? I especially find the root beer float creamsicles from Schwans to be particularly enjoyable, but it is hard to go wrong with any flavor of creamsicle!

grandma's bookshelf - The Broken Window - I'm Giving One Away!

This past March I reviewed the book, The Blue Door by Christa Kinde. I said, "When it comes to books; particularly novels, for older elementary children and young teens, it can be a tremendous challenge to find anything they will be engaged by and which you still want them to read. Far too often there is a lot of garbage out there for this age to read. So what options do you have to give them stories which are well written? Stories which will capture their imagination? Stories which they will want to read? Stories which will challenge and encourage their walk with God - which of course, is the most important thing?

Well, I'm absolutely delighted to share a new series of books with you! First of all, please allow me to "introduce" you to the author; Christa Kinde. I need to let you know, I know Christa. I worked for her husband for a few years and attended the same church as they did. I can assure you Christa is a genuine lady who loves God and her family; she is a delight to know! Christa has a gift for putting a smile on your face - she so often seems to have one on her own. She is the kind of friend we all hope to be blessed with; and who we want to be to others as well. So, when I had the opportunity to review her book I was very happy to do so!"

Today, I'm delighted to let you know book three in her Threshold Series, The Broken Window  is about to release; Christa sent me one to review and is making an autographed copy available for me to give away! In the Broken Window, Prissy Pomeroy is getting ready to celebrate Christmas, finds herself challenged to be a friend to Ransom, has her eyes opened even more to the spiritual warfare which is going on around her and experiences a loss of friendship when others gossip about her. I appreciate how Christa wove in a clear presentation of the Gospel in this story and crafted a story which has a very real situation many young teens find themselves in as they navigate the difficulties of relationships at school.  Christa has Prissy growing in her walk as she begins to understand the power of prayer and Ransom makes a most important decision - there is a lot going on in The Broken Window so you can be sure whoever reads it will not be able to put it down as they re-enter the world of the Threshold Series where a young girl finds she is neighbors with real angels! As I said before; "Children will be challenged and encouraged as this book deals with family, friends, peer pressure, temptation, betrayal, choices, who they are and helps children get an idea of Who God really is! The Broken Window will leave children - and adults looking forward to the release of The Garden Gate so they can find out what happens next!" I for one, can not wait to see how the series ends - January 2014 seems a very long way away! The good thing about the time between now and then, is if you have not yet read the entire series, you have the time to do so! (By the way, the Threshold Series would make a wonderful Christmas gift for your grandchildren 11 years old and up!)

I'm very happy to say, not only did Christa send me one copy of her book to review, but she is making another available for me to give away . . . and she will personally autograph it as well! (USA only) If you'd like to be in the drawing for The Broken Window, which will be on August 22, 2013,  please comment below to let me know if you have followed on Google+, Google Friend Connect, followed by liking on facebook with the tab at this link (not just liking the post) and/or have followed grandma's cookie jar by email. For each of these which you have done you will receive one entry. In addition, if you "share" this post, you'll receive an additional entry (please let me know if you share). This will help me be able to draw names from among people who would like to win The Broken Window and it gives you several ways to enter the give-away!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

crafting with grandma - Sharpie Coasters

Sharpie tiles - I firmly believe every day you spend with a grandchild is a grandparent's day filled with the best "gift" of all - time with a grandchild - September 8, 2013 is the "official" date for Grandparent's Day this year. Since I know many of my readers are moms and dads, I thought it would be fun for the next couple weeks to share ideas of fun projects you might have your children work on so they can give them to their grandparents on Grandparent's Day. As I looked for these ideas, I found a fun one on Pinterest for Sharpie Coasters!

grandma's bookshelf - Rumble! Zap! Pow! You Can Get a Copy, Too!

A couple weeks ago I posted about one of the ways I get so many books to review and how you can get free books, too - from Tyndale Rewards. (You'll find the details - and a code to join - at this link) So, today I want to share a review with you of a book I received from Tyndale Rewards . . . all I had to do was open an account, answer a few questions and then look through the available titles list for a book I had enough points for. (You receive points from really simple things: sharing your birth date, having a friend join the program, taking a survey - really simple things.)

Monday, August 12, 2013

VeggieTales MacLarry and the Stinky Cheese Battle!

I had planned to share my review of the new Veggie Tale, Maclarry & Stinky Cheese Battle a week ago, but with the arrival of sweet little Shane, my review was delayed. I am very delighted to let you know about this new Veggie story which Big Idea sent to me for free to review! Get ready to laugh!

I Have a Winner!

I'm happy to announce degood is the winner in my How to Make Friends and Monsters give-away! (You'll find the review at this link) Thank you degood for reading grandma's cookie jar (please message me your address by August 19, 2013 so I can have it sent to you) and thank you Zonderkidz for sending a book for me to review and for making another available for me to give away!

grandma's bookshelf - We Go Together! - I'm Giving One Away!

I've shared quite a few books with you over the summer, but I've been sharing this one for until my third grandson made his appearance! The book is cute and a fun one to read when you are snuggling with your sweet little grandchildren - and not only did Sterling Children's Books send me one for free to review, but they are making another available for me to give away!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Today is Son and Daughter Day!

Again, I believe every day should be son and daughter day: a day where we, "spend  time with our children. After all, our sons and daughters are the joy of our lives. I hope everyone reading this has the opportunity in their life to see these joys born and raised happily, and successfully. 

It is National Smile Week!

A heart, jumping up and down while smiling in loveYes, today is the start of National Smile Week! While I personally think every week should be a "smile" week, let's make a point of celebrating this "national" week, but being intentional about smiling! 

So, what do we have to smile about? Well, I have so much to smile about, including . . .

Saturday, August 10, 2013

International Forgiveness Day

Last Sunday was International Forgiveness Day . . . personally, I think every day, every moment should be forgiveness days. When we hold on to a hurt, offense or something which upset us, we not only hurt ourselves, but we hurt others because a spirit of unforgiveness is one of the most damaging thing to generations of a family. When a parent or grandparent is unforgiving, children see this example and become people who do not forgive continuing this pattern of pain for another generation.

LeapPad Ultra Offers Unique Benefits & a Give-Away!

Yesterday I wrote about some of the things I like the most about the new LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra today I want to let you know about some of the wonderful new features which help this LeapPad to stand out from all the other options on the market for touch learning pads for children.

One of the most surprising features on this new LeapPad is the way it allows children to explore the internet with a 100% secure web browser. LeapFrog says, "Only LeapPad Ultra has LeapSearch powered by Zui. Children can use LeapSearch to browse age-appropriate videos, images and sites from the web which have been reviewed and approved by LeapFrog's Learning Team and in a safe walled-off environment. The Wi-Fi access also allows parents to easily purchase and download content to their child's LeapPad Ultra and offers kid-sae peer-to-peer play across devices using Wi-Fi where two or more LeapPad Ultra tablets connect locally."

This is just cool! Not only is the LeapPad Ultra a learning tablet with a wealth of apps, games and eBooks, but since children can connect to the web with the secure LeapSearch, it opens up a whole new "world" of learning possibilities! There are literally dozens of categories for kids to discover, such as sports, arts and crafts, animals and the one my grandson explored on robots! There is nothing else like this which provides a completely secure opportunity for children to explore the web and learn! Very cool!

Friday, August 9, 2013

LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra - I'm Giving One Away!

I am very happy for the opportunity to let you know about the new LeapPad Ultra which LeapFrog sent me for free to review. They asked for me to give my honest opinion and this is something which is really easy for me to do! This past Christmas we bought Josiah a LeapPad - and he LOVES it! I was really impressed with everything the LeapPad could do, but I have to say, LeapFrog has taken the LeapPad to a completely new level with their new LeapPad Ultra!

LeapFrog says, "Built for children, inside ad out, LeapPad Ultra is the 100% kid-perfect tablet with a 7" hi-res screen, Wi-Fi and instant access to a best-selling library of 800+ educational games, eBooks, videos, music and more developed or approved by leading educators and designed by game experts. LeapPad Ultra has a sleek, new look and is packed with exciting features:

  • Front and back camera and video recorder
  • MP3 player
  • Rechargeable battery for up to 9 hours of uninterrupted play
  • AC adapter
  • 8GB for storage and apps
LeapPad Ultra offers Wi-Fi with a kid-safe web browser which allows children to only access high-quality, age-appropriate content, pre-screened by LeapFrog's learning team."

I know when a company writes about their products, they are going to put them in the best light possible, but I can honestly say the LeapPad Ultra lives up to the "hype"! There is so much to tell you about . . . more than I want to put in just one post, so I'll let you know about some of the things on LeapPad Ultra I especially like and then finish up my review tomorrow with more of the details about all the new features!


As I mentioned earlier, Shane has arrived!!!! I have a photo his parents sent which I'll share with you . . . of course I believe he is absolutely adorable! Shane weighs 6lbs 10oz and is 19 inches long.

WooHoo Shane Has Arrived & a LeapPad Give-Away!

Yes, my third grandson, Shane, made his arrival at 1:07 this morning!!! And I will be announcing an amazing give-away of a new LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra later today . . . so, stay tunned! I will be making a trip to the hospital to meet Shane and I need to review the LeapPad Ultras which are arriving anytime, so after I get home this afternoon I will be posting all the details!

So . . . please check back later today!!! (Hopefully I'll also have a photo of sweet Shane to share, too!) :-)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Today is National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Day!"

I hope you had a nice laugh reading the title for this post! I had to share this day to "celebrate" with you because it just sounds so silly! I'm not personally a fan of zucchini, so my neighbors have nothing to "fear" from me when it comes to sneaking zucchini onto their porches! Plus, when it comes to growing things I have the "black thumb of death" and my children "banned" me from "torturing" any more plants - otherwise known as attempting to grow some! They said it was "cruel and inhumane treatment" of the plants whenever I tried to grow any!

I Have a Winner!

I'm happy to announce Carmen Van Deursen is the winner in my Cinderella give-away! (You'll find the review at this link.) Thank you Carmen for reading grandma's cookie jar and thank you Candlewick Press for sending it for me to review and give away!