Saturday, January 31, 2015

grandma's bookshelf - A Dozen Cousins - I'm Giving One Away!

I was recently invited to review a new book which sounded fun to me, so today I'm very happy to share my review with you, and a guest review by my grandson, Josiah!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Fun Printable Valentines . . . Paper Airplanes & Paper Dolls!

I remember Valentine's Day when I was a child . . . making a card box, choosing or making cards and giving them to everyone in my class. Children still do this today and there are no shortage of cards available for parents to buy for their children to give to their classmates. But, maybe it would be fun to give something unique; something special, something fun instead . . . printable paper airplanes and paper dolls!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Science, the Bible & Fun with Poppa & Grandma

For the past two years my grandsons have been going to my church on Wednesday nights to participate in the mid-week Children's Ministry. Last year Josiah took Karate and 
earned his yellow belt. This year he is doing science projects and learning "cool stuff". Caleb has a lot of fun in his "class" as well.

Next year there will not be a mid-week Children's Ministry at my church as we are starting a big building project - ultimately we will have an all-new Children's area. So, for the year there will be no mid-week Children's Ministry, I'm writing curriculum I'll use with the boys on Wednesdays. It is called, "Science, the Bible & Fun with Poppa & Grandma". Each week there will be a science project, Bible lesson (about angels in the Bible or children in the Bible) and two Minute-to-Win-It type games. There will also be crafts or baking projects or games or trips to the park or other fun options for the "fun" portion . . . although all of it will be fun! The boys will learn one verse each month and work on service projects as well. It will not be the same as being at church on Wednesday nights, but it will be a lot of fun for the year of the building project.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

just for fun - It is Blueberry Pancake Day!

Today, January 28th, is Blueberry Pancake Day! And, who doesn't enjoy a warm, tasty pancake . . . add blueberries and you have a very tasty way to start your day . . . or enjoy for lunch, supper or a snack! Blueberries make pancakes even more fun . . . and delicious.

While recipes for pancakes can be found in cookbooks as far back as the 1400's, blueberries are a relatively "new" addition. Blueberries are native to North America with Michigan leading the pack in growing the most - 87 million pounds in 2012! Maine is the state which grows the most wild blueberries - 91.1 million pounds in 2012 . . . whether wild or not, blueberries are growing in abundance here in the USA!

Blueberries are easy to add to your favorite pancake recipe . . . I used to use a mix for my pancakes, but then one time I made pancakes from scratch. The next time I used the mix, I couldn't hardly stand to eat them because compared to homemade, the mix tasted not so wonderful. So, now I always make my pancakes from scratch. My favorite recipe for pancakes is . . . 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

crafting with grandma - Crocheted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Yesterday I shared a crochet pattern I found on Pinterest for a cute doll. For those of you
- such as myself - who do not have granddaughters, while it is a cute pattern, it really is not one I'm going to make any time soon. However; I also found a pattern on Pinterest for crocheted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and these are something my grandsons would definitely enjoy!

Monday, January 26, 2015

crafting with grandma - Very Cute Crocheted Doll!

If I had a granddaughter, I'd absolutely make this doll . . . and a few friends as well! This little doll has to be one of the cutest crocheted dolls I've ever seen and the pattern is available for free!

I found the link on Pinterest; if you follow this link you'll find the pattern - you will be able to translate the pattern into english with the "translate" button!

American Girl Doll Give-Away - Where Have You Traveled?

When you were a child, did you go on trips or vacations with your family? What is the most interesting place you have traveled to? This year the Girl of the Year doll from American Girl travels to Paris, France in the story which comes with Grace. While in France she learns about herself and makes new friends!

On May 24, 2015 I am giving away one American Girl Doll and Paperback Book - Grace, the 2015 Girl of the Year doll away (USA only)! If you live in the USA, are over the age of 18 and would like to be included in the drawing for Grace - which will be on May 24, 2015 (during my Month of Birthday Give-Aways), please comment below to let me know where you have traveled! My family took vacations to the Great Smoky Mountains, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and spent summers at our house on a lake!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Making a Book with the Boys!

My grandsons spent Friday night at my house on a sleep-over, so Saturday morning I had a special project in mind for them. Both Josiah and Caleb love to make up stories with me. From time to time Josiah has turned one of his stories into a book for me; in fact, one of my favorite birthday presents ever was the book he made me titled - Super Josiah Saves Grandma from all the Robot Spiders in History!

So yesterday we worked on a new story - The Jiggly Oreo Monster! Josiah made up the story and he and Caleb illustrated it. The story involves a dragon which spits poison and a castle which is guarded by little oreos and poison lightning! In the end, the hungry dragon eats the Oreo monster king and the oreo guards! It is definitely a story written by boys!

Friday, January 23, 2015

just for fun - It is National Pie Day - Have Some Free Pie!

Yes, today; January 23, 2015 is National Pie Day! So, in honor of this tasty day, I thought I'd share some "pie facts" which I found on the American Pie Council website. Did you know . . . 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

crafting with grandma - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Slippers

Yesterday Josiah and Caleb spent time at my house. One of the things we talked about was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Josiah asked; "Grandma, have you ever watched the Turtles?" I said, "No." He asked; "Then why don't you like them?" I said, "Well, because while some girls may like the Turtles, I always thought; 'Why are the Turtles ninjas?' It didn't make sense to me and sounded silly. If I was a boy I probably would have thought they were cool, exciting and fun." To which Josiah said, "Definitely!!" Now Josiah thinks I need to spend time watching the Turtles with him so I can see how cool, exciting and fun they are; even though I am a girl!

So, last night when the boys were getting ready for bed, Josiah showed me how he could still wear the car slippers I made for him a couple years ago (I did make them kinda big). Then he asked if I would make him Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Slippers. Of course the answer is, "Yes!" 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Snow, Driving and My Day With the Sweet Boys!

It is Wednesday; otherwise known as, "the day I spend with the sweet boys"! So, this morning Dave drove to work and then I took the car to get the boys. The roads were not great and I particularly do not enjoy driving on icy roads. But, I drove like my car suggests - it is a Mercury Marque and looks like a car old people drive! Yes, I drove slow, but I got where I was going with no incidents!

Once the boys were buckled into the car I drove Josiah to school. He prayed for me that I wouldn't be afraid and the roads would be safe - isn't he so sweet!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

crafting with grandma - Crocheted Heart Strings

Valentine's Day is less than a month away, so if you are looking for a project you could make with your older granddaughters, check this pattern I found on Pinterest today for crocheted heart bracelets.

grandma's bookshelf - Bunny's First Spring - I'm Giving One Away!

I was recently invited to review a new storybook by Sally Lloyd-Jones; I thought it sounded like a sweet book so it was sent to me for review. Today since I'm looking forward to Spring, I'm happy to share with you, Bunny's First Spring. (This book releases the beginning of February.)

Monday, January 19, 2015

crafting with grandma - FREE Raggedy Ann & Andy Paper Dolls!

When I was young I loved Raggedy Ann & Andy! I also loved paper dolls, so this morning when I browsed on Pinterest and saw some Raggedy Ann & Andy paper dolls which you can download and print; I had to share them with you!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

grandma's cookbook - Chocolate, Chocolate-Chip, Peanut Butter, Sour Cream Cookies!

Sour Cream Chocolate Cookies RecipeJosiah and I were going to make cookies, so I asked him what kind of cookies we should make. He said, "Chocolate, chocolate-chip!" So, we sat down with my computer to find a recipe. I found one and read the ingredients to him and he said, "That's not the one we want." I thought it could work, but read the next one to him. He said, "Yes! This is the one. It has cocoa and the other one didn't. We need cocoa to make chocolate, chocolate-chip cookies!" He was right! I didn't think he paid all that close attention to the ingredients, but apparently he did! So we made the recipe he chose, with just a couple "tweaks" which I'm sharing with you. The cookies turned out quite delightful - after all, they have cocoa, chocolate-chips, peanut butter and sour cream in them, so how could they be anything but delightful? :-)

I "cut" the white baking chips, "halved" the butter called for in the recipe and substituted peanut butter plus I substituted 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour for 3/4 cup of flour. I also added 1/3 cup of baby oatmeal cereal - these substitutions are an effort to make my cooking - even my baking of cookies - slightly "better" for you. Yes, they are still cookies and yes, they do have butter, sugar and sour cream in them, but the cocoa, semi-sweet chocolate chips, peanut butter, white whole wheat flour and baby oatmeal are all good for you - plus I reduced the sugar by 1/4 cup, so when it comes to cookies, since these substitutions only make the cookies taste better, I say, "why not?!!!" :-) Have fun making these with your grandchildren!

Friday, January 16, 2015

grandma's cookbook - Simple and Tasty Lasagna

As I thought about what I was going to write today, I decided I'd share one of my favorite recipes with you! Many people have their favorite go-to recipe for lasagna . . . some are very simple and others are not, but for many of us, lasagna is one of our favorite "comfort" foods! As the winter wears on, lasagna is a wonderful dish to make . . . while you are at it, double the recipe and make two as it is always better as leftovers! Try this recipe the next time you make lasagna -

Thursday, January 15, 2015

American Girl Doll and Paperback Book - Grace, the 2015 Girl of the Year - I'm Giving One Away!

When you were ten, did you look forward to summer vacation? Did you make plans for your summer, or just relax and see what the summer held for you? Well, Grace, the Girl of the Year Doll for 2015 from American Girl, is a planner and she was busy making plans for the summer when something happens and her plans end up changing! 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

American Girl Doll Girl of the Year Dolls!

Yesterday I received an email from my contact at American Girl and she said they would
send me the 2015 Girl of the Year Doll! When she arrives I'll write and post my review, but today I want to think about the Girl of the Year Dolls.

So, let's begin with a little background on the Girl of the Year Dolls. Girl of the Year dolls are limited editions - only available for one year. They always feature a girl from today and she is about ten years old. The doll comes with a book which tells the "story" of the "girl" and how she overcame a problem, helped others and/or learned something. Grace, the doll for this year, is the 14th doll in the collection.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Grace is On Her Way!

Stay tuned as in a few days I'll be posting my review for the American Girl Doll Girl of the Year 2015 - Grace . . . and announcing a give-away as well!

Just thought you might like to know!

Don't Waste the Time!

The other day when the boys were over to my house I was able to notice several things. First of all, Josiah is growing up. He was six in September and as the oldest, he seems to take some "responsibility" for watching out for his littlest brother, Shane. When Shane gets into something, Josiah will tell him, "no, no" and then wrap his arms around Shane from behind with his arms going under Shane's arms and just pick him up and "pack" him to a different location to "relocate" him! Shane gets a grin on his face which has a bit of mischief to it, but does not yell or kick or even really protest.

Caleb, the one in the middle, is not big enough at three to pack Shane, who is one, very far, but he does tend to keep an eye out to be sure Shane has a toy. Now, if Caleb decides it is a pretty good toy and he actually wants it, he will give Shane something else and "swap" . . . whether Shane was really interested in "swapping" or not!

Monday, January 12, 2015

More Fun Ideas for Outdoor Fun!

The other day I wrote about simple and fun ideas for outdoor parties and today I have
another idea for you! This time for building a maze!  I love mazes! I remember one year in middle school we got to build mazes in an empty classroom for children to try and find their way through! It was so much fun!

I think building a simple maze outside could be a fun part of an outdoor summer party! I found the link for the maze info on Pinterest; if you follow this link, you'll find everything you need to know about building a maze. I just suggest making your maze appropriate to the age of child who will be finding their way through!


Free Paper Dolls!

When I began writing grandma's cookie jar, it was my intent to write at least one post each day. However, this past week I've been ill and have missed some days. So, today I'm definitely writing something!

So, this morning when I was browsing on Pinterest I saw something which I will not make use of - since I have grandsons - but, if you have granddaughters, you may find it something you will really like. Follow this link and you'll find printables for these cute paper dolls which you can download, print then cut out for your granddaughters to enjoy!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Fun Ideas for Outdoor Fun!

I was browsing on Pinterest today and found a site with some amazing, simple and absolutely fun ideas for an outdoor party! While clearly we would not try any of these on a day like today here in Michigan - we probably received more than a foot of snow last night! - they could be fun ideas for this summer or for birthday parties!

Follow this link and you'll find 33 fun outdoor ideas . . . which do you like the best? I really like the giant kerplunk game, the DIY water wall, the backyard obstacle course and I love the nature scavenger hunt!

Lots of fun ideas for when winter is over!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Technology Helps!

I've been ill for the past few days, so yesterday which is normally known as, "Time with my Sweet Boys day" I did not get to spend time with my sweet boys. But, their momma had them "face-time" me, so I was able to see and talk with them!!!

I typically am blessed to spend lots of time with my sweet boys, but if you do not live close enough to your grandchildren to spend lots of time with them, face-time is a wonderful thing! True, it is not the same as seeing them in person and hugging your sweet grandchildren, but it does let you see their sweet faces while you talk to them!

Technology can be challenging to keep balanced, but I have to say I really like some of it!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Winter Fun - Frozen Ice Balloons!

As I said yesterday, it is finally getting cold enough for some special winter activities . . . yes, here in Michigan it typically is cold enough months ago, but I'm not complaining since I prefer warmer winters! But, I do have a fun idea I found on Pinterest which required colder outdoor temps, so now I'm looking forward to the opportunity to try it with the boys!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Winter Fun - Icy Sun Catchers!

As I wrote yesterday, winter has arrived in West Michigan! It is cold and snowy and cold! So, as I browsed Pinterest this morning I noticed the perfect activity for my grandsons the next time they are at my house . . . we will make Icy Sun Catchers!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Cold - Snowy - Built-in Map & Cherry Pits!

I live in West Michigan and for December, while typically we experience plenty of snow, this past December we did not receive snow - possibly a few flakes in the air, but nothing which accumulated . . . and in West Michigan, the accumulating type is the only type which counts!

However; January is a completely different story! We have received . . . and are continuing to receive snow which is accumulating! Not only are we receiving the type of snow which "counts", but it is cold . . . another thing winters in Michigan are known for!

As I was browsing on Pinterest this morning, I saw a link for info on making your own hand-warmers . . . and one comment on the link suggested using Cherry Pits for filler in hand-warmers. Well, as I mentioned a few times already, I live in West Michigan, and along with being known for snowy and cold winters, we are also known as the Cherry Capital of the World as the Traverse City area is surrounded by cherry orchards! Where is Traverse City, you might ask? Well, hold up your left hand so the back of your hand is facing you. Look at the area around the tip of your pinky finger . . . this is where Traverse City is (for those of you who are confused by this, the back of your left hand is basically the same as the shape of the state of Michigan . . . we Michiganders have a "built-in" map!)

crafting with grandma - Button Ornaments!

Yes, I know we just celebrated Christmas and I realize it may be a "tad bit" early to start thinking about making Christmas ornaments for 2015, but as I browsed on Pinterest this morning I saw a cute idea for ornaments which I think my grandsons will enjoy making next year for their teachers . . . and parents and grandparents! 

This idea involves making Christmas trees out of buttons - which I have noticed before, but also snowmen, which was something new - at least for me! So, I now have almost a year to watch for sales on buttons, because I will need a lot of buttons! Which is why I'm sharing this idea with you today!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Time for Memories!

So, Christmas Break 2014/2015 is nearly over. My grandsons spent two nights and days at my house last week and are just heading home from their second sleepover this week. It has been a busy, but wonderful time with the boys.

Last week the boys had fun taking pictures of their sleeping baby brother - he fell asleep at the table! Definitely cute! We had fun taking pictures of them wearing their one-eyed monster hats I made for them for Christmas! Again, definitely cute!

We had some great talks about what Christmas is really all about and about how very much God loves and delights in them - even more than grandma does and grandma does a whole lot for sure!

I'm looking forward to 2015 and watching these three sweet boys continue to grow!

Friday, January 2, 2015

I Have a Winner!

I'm happy to say Carmen is the winner in my I Love You Near and Far give-away! (You'll find the review at this link.) Thank you Carmen for reading grandma's cookie jar (Please email me your address - - by January 9, 2015, so I can have it sent to you) and thank you Sterling Children's Books for sending one for me to review and for making another available for me to give away!

A Prayer for 2015!

Happy New Year, everyone! I'm not big on New Year's resolutions, but I am all for setting goals. As you look at 2015, consider the following questions -
  • What are some of the goals you have for your own walk with God? 
  • What are some of your goals you have for your family? 
Take some time today to consider these questions because they all connect. The relationship you have with God will determine and greatly affect the relationship with your family which will affect all of your other relationships. Consider making this your prayer for 2015 -

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014′s Blessings?

Can you believe it? 2014 is part of the history books. As 2015 begins, it can be so easy to be so focused on the things we are planning for 2015 we forget to take time to thank God for His many blessings - big and small - from 2014. So, let’s take some time to remember the blessings we experienced throughout 2014. Consider the following . . .