Tuesday, December 31, 2013

crafting with grandma - Christmas Break Fun!

Josiah and Caleb are spending part of Josiah's Christmas break at my house . . . one of my best Christmas Gifts Ever . . . spending time with my sweet grandsons! So, as I thought about what we might do while they are here, I looked back at what I posted last year on grandma's cookie jar for some ideas. I found the following post which I'm going to do with the boys and thought I'd go ahead and share it again with you! Enjoy!

Fun New Year's Craft Ideas!

Kellicrowe time capsule jarsAs 2013 comes to an end and 2014 begins, if you are looking for a few fun craft ideas which you can enjoy with your grandchildren, take a look at these ideas I found on Pinterest . . . 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Top Posts for 2013 - I'm Starting an Afghan for My New Grandbaby Boy!

One of my posts from this past year which had the most page-views was the following post about the blankets I made my grandsons when they were born. I'm happy to share it with you again today . . .

When I learned I was going to be a grandma for the first time, I got to work making an afghan covered with little sheep for my sweet grandbaby boy! When I received the amazing news I was going to have another grandbaby boy, of course I made another afghan; this time a sampler square afghan with a hippo family on it!

So, of course, as I look forward to the arrival of my third grandbaby boy, I've been trying to decide what afghan to make for this sweet little boy. I debated between a couple different afghans I found on Pinterest (you'll find the post where I showed those at this link) and then I found another afghan . . . this is the one I'm making! I plan to make the sky a light blue and the dove white. I'll also make the giraffe a yellow/tan color and the ark in browns, but I really love this afghan! I love the colors and the creatures . . . it will be fun to make for sure! I'm beginning the afghan today as this sweet grandbaby boy is due to make his arrival in August!!!! I'll post a photo when the afghan is finished!

I Corinthians 13 for Grandmas - and Moms - in 2014

Earlier this year I shared things with you which I found in the NIV Mom's Devotional Bible; today I'm sharing another - a Mom's (or Grandma's) Version of I Corinthians 13!

"Thought I lecture and harp at my children and have not love, I will be background noise to rebellious thoughts.  And though I wisely warn them not to use the street as a playground, or they'll be killed; and though I patiently explain why snails live in mobile homes, and I give endless answers to life's other mysteries; and though I have faith which can remove mountains of ignorance - yet never hug my children - I have taught nothing.

And though I slave over a steaming stove with balanced diets and complicated recipes and even burn my fingers - yet never smile as I serve - I have not really fed them.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

grandma's bookshelf - Snow Dance . . . I'm Giving One Away!

There are a few authors who have works which have endured through the years; Beatrix Potter, Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle are just a few whose names we recognize. Another is Richard Scarry who, according to wikipedia, has sold over 200 million copies of his books around the world! 

So, when I was given the opportunity to review a couple of new books from the Richard Scarry's Great Big Schoolhouse series of readers for children, I was delighted to do so. Today I'm happy to share the first one with you . . . and announce a give-away as well!

Just for Fun . . . New Year's Fun Facts!

New Year's Day is just around the corner, so I thought it would be fun to look on-line and see if I could find any interesting, surprising and fun New Year's facts to share with you . . . look what I found . . . 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Just for Fun - National Chocolate Candy Day!

0a3It has been a busy week for me . . . finishing up projects for Christmas, celebrating Christmas with my family and having two sweet boys over for two nights and three days of fun! Busy for sure, but wonderful in every way!

So, today I thought I'd take a look on-line and see if December 28th was a "special" day . . . and I'm happy to say, it is! Today is, "National Chocolate Candy Day"! Now this is a day to celebrate for sure!

Top Posts for 2013 - LeapPad Ultra Offers Unique Benefits & a Give-Away!

Well . . . 2013 is winding down and 2014 is almost here, so I thought it would be fun to take a look at a few of my most-read posts from 2013. The third most read post last year is one where I reviewed the new LeapPad Ultra . . . I'm re-posting it here for you to take another look today . . . or see it if you happened it miss it! (I did give away a LeapPad Ultra when I originally posted about it, but, I am NOT giving one away now)

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 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, December 27, 2013

Just For Fun - Today is Make Paper Snowflakes Day!

Yes, today is, "Make Paper Snowflakes Day"! Where I live in Michigan we have no shortage of the real kind outside - lots and lots and lots of snowflakes, but since today is,  "Make Paper Snowflakes Day", I thought I'd share some real photos of real snowflakes with you and some ideas for making some of your own paper snowflakes!

Mircrophotograph of snowflake Mircrophotograph of snowflake First for the real photos of snowflakes. I found these photos by Alexey Kljatov at a site which I wanted to share with you, but the site has links to extremely inappropriate sites. (You can look it up on google, by typing in micro snowflake pictures, but use extreme caution if you decide to check it out to see more photos.) When I see photos like this, I am left in even greater awe for God! He is the Master Designer! Amazing and beautiful do not even begin to describe these snowflakes!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Our "Gifts" to Jesus!

I hope you all had a wonderful time celebrating Christmas with your family! I had so much fun celebrating with my family! The boys were excited to receive their gifts, spent the night last night and we are having more fun today!

Last night when we had our Christmas dinner, we talked about how Christmas is the day we celebrate Jesus' birthday, but we end up getting the presents. We talked about what kind of present we can give Jesus and decided on Josiah focusing on obeying his parents quickly and happily as this would be a great present he could give to Jesus!

I'm going to focus this year on trusting Jesus more rather than worrying about things - this is a great present I can give Him! What about you? What will your "gift" to Jesus be?


Happy Day After Christmas!

I hope you all had a wonderful time celebrating Christmas with your families. As you go through today remember; "Even when Christmas is over the Light of the World is still here!"

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

It is Christmas!

Christmas star decoration with blue background and Jesus is the reason for the season lettering clip art of manger pictureIt is Christmas - while we did our main "celebrating" with family last night, today I'm fixing a ham in the slow-cooker and all the fixings to go with it. All the celebrating is fun; something I look forward to each year, but the most important thing is taking time to thank God for the reason we are able to celebrate . . . the birth of Jesus!

If you know Jesus, then I'm sure you'll be celebrating one of the most important happenings in all of history, too! If you do not yet know Him, I pray this year you will come to know Him Who loves you so much, He was willing to leave Heaven, be born as a tiny baby in a stable and ultimately grow up and give His life on a cross so we can be forgiven! Talk about the best Gift ever!!!

Merry Christmas everyone, and thank you for reading my blog!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Second Blanket Finished!

WooHoo! I've finished Caleb's blanket . . . unless he wants me to add more spaceships and
aliens or stars! So, I thought I'd post a photo of it for you to see! The blanket has rows of colored stripes at the top and bottom and black "space" where there is a rocket with Caleb and Gimli in it and a spaceship with an alien! I added a star and a heart to the blanket as well!

It is warm - I used two strands of yarn to give color, texture and warmth - I used a variety of different black yarns for the "space" part - and just double crocheted each row until the blanket was about the same size as the one I made for Josiah. This blanket is made with love and prayers . . . I tend to pray for the people I'm making things for as I make them!

Tomorrow when the boys are at my house, they will be able to open their blankets; since they both like sleeping with their baby blankets I made for them when they were born (which are both fairly small for them now) I'm hoping they will be happy to see these bigger blankets which they will be able to snuggle in for years to come!

Christmas in a Nutshell

On grandma's cookie jar you have been able to find ideas for Christmas: crafts, recipes, gifts as well as a number of fun give-aways and reviews. It doesn't take more than a quick look at grandma's cookie jar to know I LOVE Christmas and look forward all year to celebrating it with my family! But, along with the "fun" of Christmas; crafts, cooking, celebrating - I also want to take a moment to point to the, "reason for the season" . . . Jesus.

Now, I realize not all of you who read grandma's cookie jar share my faith in Jesus, and I do not want to offend you or sound as if I'm "pushing" my "religion" on you. However; while all the "fun" of Christmas is, well . . . fun, there is so much more to Christmas!

The main reason I write grandma's cookie jar is to help provide ideas of ways to pass on a heritage of faith to our grandchildren. For me there is nothing more important than to know my grandsons love Jesus and will grow up to be men who love God! I am very intentional about pointing my grandsons to Jesus in the big things as well as the small things of everyday life.

So, when Christmas comes each year, it is very important to me to be sure along with the "fun", I am intentional about engaging my grandsons in the most important part of Christmas; worshipping and thanking God for the amazing Gift He gave us; Jesus!

Monday, December 23, 2013

grandma's cookbook - Homemade Orange Lollipops!

Homemade Pomegranate-Lime Lollipops from CookingChannelTV.com  -  Recipe
As I've mentioned before, my grandsons definitely are "fans" of lollipops; however; it can be very difficult to find some which are free of things like Red #40, so I've been making homemade lollipops for them. I wanted to find a new recipe to fix for them, so I looked on Pinterest and found a recipe for Homemade Pomegranate Lime Lollipops - since I do not have any pomegranate juice, I thought I'd use orange juice instead!

Just For Fun - More Christmas Fun Facts!

Christmas is just two days away, so I thought it would be fun to look up and share some more Christmas "fun facts" which you could share with your family and friends as you celebrate Christmas! Did you know . . . 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Family Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Dinner!

Christmas Eve my family (my parents, siblings and their families and my family) all get together at my parent's house for a meal and white elephant gifts! It is a fun time together! I'm bringing my home-made squash rolls, deli meat, pigs-in-the-blanket and peanutbutter-oatmeal cookies (all dairy-free)! I made non-dairy chocolate lollipops for my brothers and their families and will be making homemade orange lollipops tomorrow for them as well. I'll add in a melted snowman ornament for a gift for each of my brothers and their families!

Christmas day my daughter, son and his family will all be here - we will exchange gifts and have dinner together; I'm fixing a ham, baked potatoes, more squash rolls, corn-on-the-cob and chocolate cake . . . thank you Constance Waid for the non-dairy chocolate cake recipe (I'm sharing it below)!

So, how are you celebrating Christmas? Do you get together with your family? What does your Christmas menu look like? 

One Blanket Down . . .

For the past couple months I've been crocheting every chance I get. Why, you ask? Because I've been making blankets for Josiah and Caleb for Christmas! Josiah's blanket is finished . . . unless he wants more one-eyed monsters or trucks or boys on it! Since they will be spending a few days at my house, if he wants more of any of these, I'll make them and add them to his blanket while he is here!

His blanket has a sun in the sky - and I'm adding a heart to the bottom corner. It is a really simple pattern - I just double crocheted in a simple zig-zag pattern as wide as I wanted it and then until it was as tall as I wanted it. I used two strands of yarn to make it a heavy, warm blanket . . . we do live in Michigan! I changed yarn throughout as I used up what I had. I did this to give it colors and textures and make it more interesting and fun! After I had the blanket the size I wanted, I double crochted around for a few rows to add more color and then reverse single crocheted around the edge for the final edging. Very simple blanket; but it did take some time to make! I crocheted "free-style" to make the sun, truck, one-eyed monster, boy (Josiah) and puppy (Gimli).  

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Just for Fun - Interesting Christmas Trivia!

With Christmas only four days away, I thought it would be fun to share a bit of Christmas trivia with you! Did you know . . . 

crafting with grandma - Melted Snowman Ornaments!

A few months ago I posted about making a melted snowman ornament, I said it is a; "fun, simple ornament which you could involve your grandchildren in making - they could give them to teachers, coaches, neighbors . . . to anyone for whom they need to have a nice, little gift!"

Wednesday I bought clear ornaments, white glitter, tiny black pompoms and orange felt so Josiah and Caleb could make melted snowman ornaments for their teachers at church - and school for Josiah. Both boys had so much fun helping to pour the glitter into the ornaments and then adding the pompom eyes and felt nose to each ornament! The finished projects turned out very cute!

Friday, December 20, 2013

FREE Hobbit App!!!

At my house there are times when certain words or phrases result in additional phrases being said; such as - "Potatoes! Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew!" or "You Shall Not Pass!!!" At this house we are definitely what you could call, "fans" of Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit! We have been looking forward to the release of the Hobbit 2, so when I received an email announcing a FREE Hobbit app from Harper Collins, I knew a couple things had to happen . . . 

I Have a Winner!

I'm happy to announce Rachel Foland is the winner of the Cola Can Giraffe! (You'll find the review at this link.) Thank you Rachel for reading grandma's cookie jar (please message me your address by December 27, 2013 so I can get it to you) and thank you Signals for making it available for me to give away!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

FREE Book Downloads, FREE Story & a Give-Away!

If you have been reading grandma's cookie jar for awhile, you probably remember the reviews I wrote about a series of books by Christa Kinde; The Threshold Series . . . The Blue DoorThe Hidden Deep and The Broken Window. 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. It seems like most of the books for them have a lot of vampires, zombies, dark magic, violence, sex and stories designed to scare the kids. I, for one, do not want my grandchildren to read those books. 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! 

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!
I also let you know about a wonderful gift Christa made available for FREE to all her readers, a FREE download of her e-book, Angels All Around! I said, "In this book Christa continues to weave a story which will capture your attention and draw you in to the lives of the characters she brings to life in her other books! The illustrations are lovely and the story is exciting; be sure to download your copy and share it with the people you know!" (You'll find the download at this link)

Today I'm very happy to let you know about another FREE gift from Christa, just in time for Christmas; another e-book - Angels in Harmony! Zonderkidz has this to say about it; "An illustrated companion to the Threshold Series by Christa Kinde. Angels have always served in pairs, but Baird is sure there must be some mistake when Kester shows up on his doorstep. The vividly energetic redhead couldn't have been more different from his genteel new apprentice. Yet their rocky beginnings give way to a unique balance, proving friendship can flourish in the unlikeliest of places, given time, trust and the Twelve days of Christmas." You'll find the download available at this link - and remember, it is FREE! A gift from Christa to you!

Both of these e-books are FREE and make wonderful gifts for grandchildren! But these two FREE e-books are not the only gift Christa is giving you! There are more . . .

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Chistmas Traditions!

This is the time of year when we tend to think about family and traditions when we
celebrate; more so than at other times of the year. Many of our traditions are similar; most of us likely put up a Christmas tree, decorate, have specific times when you get together with friends and family to celebrate, make special foods, go caroling . . . the list certainly goes on from there!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Gifts!

It is almost Christmas! There are only eight days until Christmas and I'm almost finished with my shopping and am finishing up the gifts I'm making! This year I ordered several gifts for people on my list from Snapfish - photo gifts are such personal, wonderful gifts!

I'm also making a few things as well! The Agent Perry the Platypus hats have already been given to my grandsons - and their parents, the Minion hats are completed and I have just a few rows to go on the the blanket I'm making for Caleb. Josiah's blanket is made, so when I finish Caleb's then I'll be busy crocheting one-eyed monsters and cars to add to Josiah's blanket and aliens and spaceships for Caleb's. I'll also crochet super-hero boys and their dog Gimli for both blankets and of course, hearts! I'll post photos - hopefully by Monday!

I have a few other items I found specifically for Tiffany, Dave and Jackie, but am still waiting for my hubby to give me some idea of what he would like!

What about you? Do you have your shopping completed? Did you buy or make gifts this year . . . or a mix of the two?