Saturday, April 30, 2016

What Does a Grandma Need to Do?

So, what exactly is it a grandma needs to do? Well, of course we need to make cookies, give hugs, kisses and snuggle with our grandchildren - these are "givens", but what else is it a grandma needs to do?

A grandma needs to know her grandchildren, so she can tell if they are sad, afraid, concerned or something is on their mind. A grandma needs to be able to share God's Word with her grandchildren to help them better understand "life" as they go through it and how God cares about and loves them. A grandma needs to be a prayer warrior - praying for her grandchildren in the good times and the challenging and difficult times as well.

These are just a few of the things a grandma needs to do, but they are all essential parts of being a grandma. Spend some time today praying for your grandchildren and ask God to help you be the grandma you need to be!

Friday, April 29, 2016

One of My Favorite Flowers . . .

I love Spring for many reasons . . . it is warmer, the leaves bud on the trees, it looks like "Dr. Seuss Land" all around with pink, purple and yellow trees (the flowers bloom on trees in the Spring covering them with so many colors - I think Dr. Seuss must have wrote and illustrated his books in the Spring!!!) and because one of my favorite flowers can be seen nearly every place I look! What is this favorite flower, you ask??? I'll tell you . . . it is the Dandelion!

Yes, I know - my oldest grandson and my husband were sure to let me know they are actually weeds, not flowers, but I still love them! 

I wrote about this the other day on the Legacy Coalition's facebook page . . . you'll find my post at this link. Please take a minute to check it out . . . you may find yourself laughing, and certainly smiling!

Enjoy!

Special Month of Birthday Giveaways Begins in Two Days on May 1, 2016!

In just two days I will begin celebrating the writing of grandma's cookie jar for five years with our Fifth Special Month of Birthday Giveaways by giving away one new on-line video game for tweens . . . The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance!

You still have time to enter this giveaway - you'll find all the details at this link. You'll also find my full review at the same link - please check it out and enter . . . who knows??? Maybe you will win!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Special Birthday Month Giveaway - Shutterfly 15oz Photo Mug!

For the past month I've been announcing giveaways for this year's Special Birthday Month of giveaways . . . one of my favorite times of the year! Today I'm announcing the 17th giveaway (I may end up with a couple more) and will be ready to hold the first giveaway in just three days! Yes, just three days!

But first, information about this giveaway . . . one of my favorites . . . for a personalized photo mug from Shutterfly! I am so happy to be able to announce this giveaway, because the mug I'm giving away is my favorite! I personally have a number of these mugs and love the size, color, weight and, of course, the photos on the mugs!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Jehoshaphat, "Vast" Armies & Trusting God to Be Faithful No Matter What We Face

Today's post is longer than most, but please take a minute or two to read it.

Do you have a favorite Bible Adventure? I do. While there are many accounts in the Bible which I love to read and study, I am truly fascinated and encouraged by the life of Jehoshaphat. Who is Jehoshaphat, you ask?


Well, allow me to give you a brief “family tree”. David was king of all Israel and Judah, and he was known as, “a man after God’s own heart”. He was not perfect and he did sin, but he repented and turned to God when he did, and focused on knowing and walking with God throughout his life. When David died, Solomon became king. Even though his father knew and walked with God, Solomon did not remain faithful to God; he allowed his many wives to lead him into worshiping false gods.

When Solomon died, the kingdom split and Judah was ruled by Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, who did not always follow God. But towards the end of his reign he humbled himself which pleased God. When Rehoboam died, his son Abijah become king; in 2 Chronicles 13 he said,

The Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken him. God is with us; he is our leader.”  

When Abijah died, his son Asa became king and in 2 Chronicles 14 it says he;

Did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God.”

In 2 Chronicles 15, God sent a message to King Asa. God told him;

The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.”

When Asa heard this, he took courage, and the Bible says he removed idols from the land and led the people in turning to God. Sadly, in the final years of his life, he did not seek God and died not being completely faithful to God.

This brings us to Jehoshaphat, the son of Asa and Great-great-great grandson of King David. 2 Chronicles 17:3-6 says;

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Special Birthday Month Giveaway - Cross Botanica Purple Orchid Pen

As I have mentioned a time or two - or maybe more - I like Cross pens! Over the years I have had the wonderful opportunity to review a number of their beautiful fountain pens. I noticed one of their new designs - the Botanica - and asked if it might be possible to receive one of their Selectip (rollerball, but could also be a ballpoint or highlighter) for give-away. Happily, they said, "Yes!" and sent a beautiful Botanica pen! I'm very happy today for the opportunity to let you know what I think of this pen and announce a give-away as well!

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Checkered Tulip and The Rest of the Story . . .

Do you have any flowers growing in your yard which give you a sense of happiness to see them in bloom? I live just 30 minutes from Holland, MI - home of the Tulip festival, and as you might imagine, tulips are a big deal in this area. Pretty much everyone around here has tulips which bloom in their flower gardens - even people like me who have the "black thumb of death" when it comes to growing plants!

Yes, even I have tulips growing in my little flower garden . . . and I'm being extremely "generous" to call this area of my yard a "garden"! Red tulips primarily, but sometimes yellow or white, too. I love all the tulips, but there is one special tulip we have which does not bloom every year. When it does we only get one or two blooms. This special tulip is the Checkered Tulip. It has a lovely red and white checkered pattern which covers the blooms and the blooms hang down - like a bell. I love the Checkered Tulip.

This past Friday my husband and I noticed we had one Checkered Tulip blooming - we were very happy!

Then, Saturday, while I was finishing up preparations for my mother's birthday dinner, I turned and saw sweet Caleb - his blue eyes twinkled and he had a smile from ear-to-ear, and . . . well, check this link for the "rest of the story" . . . although you might be correctly guessing what happened next!

Enjoy!

Special Birthday Month Giveaway on May 24, 2016 - LeapBand from LeapFrog!

Last year I was invited to review a few new LeapFrog products, and to thank me, they sent me a new LeapFrog LeapBand. Since my grandsons already had LeapBands, I thought it would be fun to save it for my Special Birthday Month of giveaways . . . so, today I'm very happy to let you know all about it!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Special Birthday Month Giveaway on May 5, 2016 - Orkin Summer Scientist Bug Catching Kit!

I was invited to share some mosquito beater fun with you and offer a fun giveaway, too, so this is an extra giveaway - just for the fun of it!

Summer is almost here - this of course means picnics, baseball games, barbecues, water wars in the yard and all the fun of enjoying the great outdoors with your family. There is, however; one thing no one likes about being outdoors . . . mosquitoes! They are not only a nuisance, but they potentially pose health risks as well. Fortunately, as Orkin says, they study the science of mosquitoes and other pests in order to help keep them out of our homes this summer.

To help you better prepare yourself and your family to fight the bite, Orkin presents the "Buzzer Beater" app, which features the "buzz" on mosquitoes. Test your own knowledge by taking the Buzzer Beater Quiz and enter a fun giveaway for one Orkin Summer Scientist Bug Catching Kit! This kit is fun for the whole family and includes . . . 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Special Birthday Month Giveaway on May 22, 2016 - The Okee Dokee Brothers - Can You Canoe?

As I've mentioned a time or two, I'm often invited to review books on my blog . . . and often allowed to hold a giveaway as well. Today is one such time! I was recently invited to take a look at a new book by the "Okee Dokee Brothers" . . . this book is a musical book . . . includes a CD with 12 songs . . . 12 silly songs children are sure to enjoy! I'm very happy to share this book with you today, and announce another giveaway as well!

The Most Powerful Post I've Ever Been Blessed to Read!

If the truth be told, when you are asked what you do to pass your faith on to your grandchildren, do you say something along the lines of, "I pray for them.", but sound like you are not really sure it is doing all that much to "just" pray? Do you struggle with praying? Do you truly see prayer as one of the, if not the, most powerful and important things you can do for your grandchildren?

If praying is something you may do, "half-heartedly" or even rarely or not at all, or even if you are a committed prayer warrior on behalf of your children and grandchildren, please take a moment to read the post Sherry Schumann wrote for the Legacy Coalition facebook page today. It is one of the - if the the - most powerful posts I've ever been blessed to read.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

grandma's chuckles - Brothers!

Today I'm thankful for how three sweet boys make my heart happy! One example of how they do this, is the way they make me laugh . . . yesterday we were talking about how God knew what He was doing when He created them and He knew they needed brothers. Josiah (age seven) said; "Yes, He knew sisters would probably be more annoying than brothers." To which Caleb (age four) said - with enthusiasm; "A sister would definitely be way more annoying than I would ever be!!!" Josiah looked skeptical. I will laugh about this for a very long time!

So, what are you thankful for on this day? When you think about your grandchildren, how do they make your heart happy? How do they make you laugh?

Grandchildren are certainly a gift and my three sweet boys make my heart happy for sure!
#GrandThanks

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Special Birthday Month Giveaway - May 20, 2016 - Wonky!

Now, after reading the title for this post, you may be wondering what a "Wonky" is . . . I'm very happy to say, it is a game which will have you and your grandchildren laughing and playing it again and again! Wonky is from USAopoly and is a game which mixes a bit of Uno and Jenga for a lot of fun! And, not only am I reviewing it today, but I'm also giving one away!

Water-Wars!

Saturday was a warm day here in West Michigan - we almost made it to 80 degrees! So, what do my grandsons want to do when it is a warm, sunny day and they are at grandma's house? 

Play in the water! And, not just play in the water, but use the new squirt guns their daddy got them to make sure grandma "played" in the water, too!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Legacy Grandparenting Summit!

For the past five years I've been writing about being grandparents who pass on a heritage of faith to our grandchildren. This past Summer I was invited to be part of a new ministry . . . the Legacy Coalition - Grandparenting Matters. Our vision is to engage, equip and encourage grandparents to pass their faith to their grandchildren and to help churches do the same with the grandparents in their ministries.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Fun & Important Conversations

I love spending time with my grandsons. I love to read books with them. I love to write and illustrate our own books! I love to snuggle them in my lap . . . especially when all three climb into my lap! Yes, all three of them . . . while it is crowded, I most certainly have a, "lap full of love" when they all are in my lap! I know these boys are growing up and it won't be long before I'll have to be happy with them sitting next to me, so for now I treasure when I have a, "lap full of love"!

I love working on science projects, and love playing in the yard with the boys . . . even when I'm the "target" for their squirt guns! I love making cookies with my sweet boys and truly, this list could go on and on of the things I love to do with my three sweet boys!

Special Birthday Month Giveaway on May 18, 2016 - Little Mermaid LeapFrog LeapPad Game

Over the past several years I have been invited by LeapFrog to participate in their blogger review program. Most of their reviewers are moms, so having a grandma review and write for them, apparently is something they like - and so do my grandsons as they very much enjoy the opportunity to review new LeapFrog product!

This past Fall I was invited to participate in their LeapPad Epic release and review (I gave one away this past Christmas!) and so, along with the Epic - which they sent to me for review - they also sent a box of "goodies" . . . today's giveaway is one of the items in this box. 

I'm very happy to be able to make it one of my Birthday month giveaways, because as my grandsons have helped with LeapFrog reviews, I've been able to see first-hand how they have learned many things by playing LeapFrog games. It is not uncommon for my grandsons to know something I do not expect them to know and when I ask them where they learned this thing, they tell me, "on my LeapPad". For example, little Caleb (four years old) has learned many shapes on his LeapPad games - more than even the teachers in his preschool know. On his last parent/teacher review, his teachers told his parents how they were so amazed with the many shapes he knows! Both Josiah and Caleb have had head starts in math and reading skills, because of the games they have played on their LeapPads. I am, "sold" on the value of LeapPad games because I've been able to see how my grandsons have benefited from them.

So, today I'm very happy to let you know about a LeapPad game which will help your grandchildren with their math skills . . . 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Special Birthday Giveaway On May 16, 2016 - Cottonmouth and the End

I am often invited to participate in book reviews and blog tours when new books are released. Many, if not most of these are wonderful books which families will certainly enjoy and which I am honored, delighted and happy to share with you all.

A year ago I was invited to participate in one such book review/blog tour and shared with you how these books were unlike anything I've ever read. The artwork in them is nothing short of amazing and the way it is used is unexpected and unique; really draws you into the story. The story itself is engaging, emotional and one which leaves you (or at least me) not sure what will happen next and hardly able to wait to read and discover what does happens next. These books are amazing for these reasons, but even more so because of the message which is woven throughout the story.


What are the books? The Cottonmouth Series from C.S. Fritz. Please allow me to share these books with you. Today I'll give an overview of the three and then and let you know about a giveaway for Cottonmouth and the End. Trust me, this set of three books is one where you will absolutely want to read all three.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Unlimited Free Prints From Shutterfly!

This morning when I woke up I had an email in my in-box from Shutterfly. Since I tend to be happy with pretty much everything I order from them, I took the time to open and read the email - most advertising I just delete without reading. 

This email was about a special free app from Shutterfly which will let you receive unlimited free 4x6 and 4x4 prints through your phone! (You do have to pay shipping.)

So, if you tend to like to take photos of your sweet grandchildren, then this may be an app worth checking out . . . the offer is for a limited time only. You'll find the details at this link.

Enjoy!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Special Birthday Month Giveaway - When Calls The Heart: Heart And Home and When Calls The Heart: Trials Of The Heart DVDs

Over the past couple years I've had the opportunity to review dvds from a Hallmark Channel program . . . When Calls the Heart. This series is inspired by the popular books of the same name by Janette Oke. Today I'm happy for the opportunity to reviewe two more which were sent to me for review and to give away!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Watching for God's Fingerprints = a Thankful Life!

A few days ago I wrote about living a thankful life. I am committed to being a thankful grandma - today I'm ever so thankful God answers prayer and my grandsons are able to see and experience how He does this! We have been praying for specific things and as God answers - which He has been, the boys and I talk about these answers and spend time thanking Him for His answers!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Special Birthday Month Giveaway - May 12, 2016 - FavePix Book from Shutterfly!

Over the years, this grandma has become a big fan of Shutterfly! I LOVE ordering items with photos of my family . . . my three sweet rascal grandsons do show up on many, many items! Along with having photos, mugs, magnets, notebooks, pillows and more with photos of my family on them, I love the quality. Very few of the items I've ordered from Shutterfly have arrived leaving me disappointed. The couple times a photo was scratched or too dark, an email to Shutterfly had them sending me a new item immediately. Their customer service is second to none and their quality of products is excellent.

Yes, I'm a definite fan of Shutterfly! So, when I was invited yesterday to try a new service/product they have for free in exchange for my review - and found out I could give one away as well, I happily said, "Yes!"

What is this new service/product? It is called, "FavePix" and is described as; "Turn your Instagram posts into a photo album as unique as your feed in five minutes or less." Sounds pretty great to me!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Special Birthday Month Giveaway - May 10, 2016 - Little One, God Made You Special

I have long been a fan of books for children . . . what could be better than a story which is well-told with colorful pictures??? So, when Zonderkidz invited me to review one of their new books for children, I was very happy to say, "Yes!". Today I'm sharing the book Little One, God Made You Special . . . just the title alone is enough to make me like this book . . . and announce a giveaway, too!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Special Birthday Month Giveaway on May 1, 2016 - The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance Video Game

I was recently invited to review a new on-line video game for tweens . . . and have the opportunity to give one away as well, so thinking my grandson might enjoy trying the game out, I agreed. Today I'm very happy to share with you about this game - The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance!

I Will Live a Thankful Life - Thank You, God for My Healthy Grandsons

Yesterday the pastor at my church preached about how thankfulness is the key to a life which glorifies God (you will be able to see/hear it at this link if you want - it should post in a day or two - http://calvarygr.org/sermons-resources/) . . . so, I'm going to try to focus on living a truly thankful life. 

I have ever so much to be thankful for and will start today by being thankful for the health of my grandsons. I'm especially aware of this today with the son of a friend from church having a seriously major surgery, as I write this, in Cincinnati. (You will be able to read about all the specifics of his surgeries at this link - http://lessonsfrommatthew.com/…/03/06/our-journey-gets-lon…/)

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Tasty & Fun Science Projects!

Yesterday when my grandsons were at my house we did a fun science experiment where you put a little milk in a bowl, then in the center of the dish, you put drops of food coloring. In the middle of the drops, you take a swab, which you dipped in dish soap, and just touch the top of the milk. When your grandchildren do this - the food coloring will "erupt" into "fireworks" of color!

It is a lot of fun and gave us an opportunity to talk about praising God together!

So, today when I browsed Pinterest I found a link for food science projects . . . such as making your own raisins, using lemons as a battery, making your own butter . . . and fourteen more! 

You'll find them all at this link . . . enjoy!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Cherish An Antique Day and Passing on a Heritage

When you think back on your grandparents, do you have memories of times spent with them? Are there aromas and tastes you recall? Are there things which once belonged to them and now are small bits of your heritage? Today is, "Cherish An Antique Day", which made me think about a couple "antiques" I have . . . or at least a couple family "treasures" which originally belonged to my grandmothers. These items may not really be "antiques" or "treasures", but I am thankful to have them.

April 1st I wrote about them on the Legacy Coalition Facebook page and how they "connect" with passing on a heritage. I said; "Passing on a heritage involves retelling the family history; telling about the time when you went fishing with your grandpa and then had a fish fry with the day's catch! It is talking about the times when you all went on a vacation together and the car with your grandparents and little brothers missed the exit and they got lost! (On Mother's Day, no less!) It is about sharing a recipe for the most delicious rolls your grandma used to make, and now you are the grandma, you make them for your grandchildren!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Special Birthday Month Giveaway on May 8, 2016 - Wonders of Creation Coloring Book

Over the past few years there has been a return, a resurgency of sorts, to the activity of our childhood . . . coloring. But the coloring books adults use now, are not the coloring books of our childhood. These coloring books have lots of detail and give us the opportunity to express ourselves, relax and enjoy the simple act of coloring.

So, when Zondervan invited me to take a look at a new coloring book which they were releasing, I said, "Yes!". They sent me Wonders of Creation: Illustrations to Color and Inspire to review . . . and are making another available for me to give away!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Spring Break & My Sweet Boys!

My three grandsons have been spending the past few days at my house . . . it is Spring break and what better time for extra sleep-overs?!

We have played new games . . . two of which I can now review and announce giveaways for . . . read books, made homemade donuts, played outside, talked about God's great love for us and how it never ends and just enjoyed being together! I love Spring break!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Becoming Grandma

Yesterday morning I caught the beginning of an interview of Leslie Stahl on the CBS morning show - she just released a book; Becoming Grandma: The Joys and Science of the New Grandparenting. Yes, it is about how, as she says; "there is no down-side to being a grandma". Of course this captured my attention, but as my grandsons were arriving, I only caught the beginning of the interview.

Today I've spent some time on-line looking at reviews of the book - which I'm happy to share with you . . . AARP is at this link, the Parade review at this link, and the video link for CBS This Morning is at this link.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

crafting with grandma - Giant Paper Stars

Yesterday my sister "tagged" me on Facebook with a video link showing how to make the most amazing, giant, "puffy" stars using just paper bags, scissors and a glue stick! These stars are so cool . . . I'm going to have to get some of these flat paper bags - in several sizes, so my grandsons can make them! They are cool enough I think even boys will like making these!

Follow this link and you'll see a video with step-by-step directions . . . it looks pretty simple.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Special Birthday Month Giveaway on May 6, 2016 - LeapTV Frozen Game

LeapFrog sent me a number of their games and apps for me to check out with my grandsons in exchange for me writing my reviews of these items. One of them was a new game for the LeapTV which my grandsons tried, so I could let you know about it . . . and announce a giveaway for another one.

I'm going to share with you the new LeapFrog LeapTV Frozen game today . . .

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Tasters Welcome!

Yesterday I wrote on the Legacy Coalition Facebook page about the wall by the entry to my kitchen and how there is a sign which says; "Grandma's Kitchen - Tasters Welcome!" My grandsons believe this sign . . . especially when I'm baking homemade cookies!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Special Birthday Month Giveaway on May 4, 2016 - Leopard Shark Puppet!

In a month and a few days grandma's cookie jar will be five years old! It is hard to believe I've been writing this blog for five years now, but apparently I have! So, this means it is time to celebrate! I love celebrating birthdays and the most fun way to celebrate grandma's cookie jar's birthday, is by giving some fun gifts away! I'd love to have enough items to give something to everyone, but while I do not have 1200 + items, I do have 14 or so, which means I'll get to give something away every other day for the month of May! And, who knows??? Maybe I'll round up a few more items to give away, too!

So much fun!!! 

I'm very happy to announce a fun prize . . . a plush, Leopard Shark puppet from Folkmanis! They are one of my favorite toy manufacturers as they make the most amazing puppets which are so plush and huggable - they are great stuffed toys, too! 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Remember What Truly Matters

It is all so easy for life to become busy; too easy. We have family, work, church, places where we volunteer and the list goes on. All of these require time from us and there is only so much time in a day. It is easy for us to be so focused on these things; things which are important, yet we end up losing sight of those things which truly matter.

As grandmas, we all know how very fast children grow up. It is easy when we are moms; especially when our children are young, for us to feel tired, worn out and like our children will never grow up. But they do. And they grow up quickly. We grandmas know this, because our children grew up; quickly.

So, as we are blessed with the opportunity to spend time with our grandchildren, remember how fast they grow up and keep our focus on what truly matters; having them grow to be people who know and love God.