Monday, October 31, 2016

Craft - Thankful Turkey Mobile

With Thanksgiving around the corner our focus tends to turn to being thankful. Today I'm happy to share a simple craft with you which you could make with your grandchildren to help them think about being thankful.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Christmas Giveaways for 2016 Begin in Two Days!!!

For the past month I've been reviewing items which would make great gifts for Christmas - and announcing a lot of fun giveaways! In just two days the giveaways begin with a fun Christmas find-it book! You'll find all the details about Ready, Set, Find Christmas at this link - you still have time to get in the drawing!

Please share this with the people you know - someone will win . . . maybe it will be you!

Christmas Review & Giveaway on November 30, 2016 - American Girl - WellieWishers Kendall Doll

Today I'm happy to share information about another of American Girl's new WellieWisher dolls and on November 30, 2016 I'm giving one WellieWishers Kendall Doll away . . . and once again, a little girl is going to be very happy to receive it!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Resources to Help You Pass on Your Faith - Science the Bible & Fun

For the past two days I've been reviewing resources you could use to pass on a heritage of faith to your grandchildren. Resources like these are tools to help you pass your faith and today I want to share one more resource with you - Science the Bible & FunThe goals of this book are to . . .

Christmas Review & Giveaway on November 29, 2016 - Peerless Fonderie 47 Collector's Edition Rollerball Pen

As I've mentioned, a time or two, I enjoy writing - especially with a nice pen. Cross sent me one of their new Peerless Fonderie 47 Collector’s Edition Rollerball Pen. This is no ordinary pen - as you'll see in a moment, and I'm very happy to be able to offer it as one of my special giveaways this year!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Resources to Help You Pass on Your Faith - Deeper In - Praying the Scriptures for the Children You Love

Yesterday I asked if you wanted to pass faith to your grandchildren, but didn't know what resources were available to help you and then shared with you information about a bookIt Is Impossible to Spoil Grandchildren, which you could read on your own or work through with friends in Sunday school classes and small groups.

Today I want to share another of three resources with you which you could use to help you pass faith to your grandchildren. (I'll share the other one tomorrow.) Today I'm happy to let you know about the second book . . . Deeper In 4 Grandparents & Parents, Too! Praying the Scriptures for the Children You Love - this book is available in two editions . . . the Old Testament Edition and the Psalms Edition. The goals of these books are . . .

Christmas Review & Giveaway on November 28, 2016 - American Girl WellieWisher Camille Doll

Each year, since I began writing grandma's cookie jar five years ago, each October I've reviewed items which make great gifts at Christmas and then throughout the month of November I gave away most of the things I reviewed. Each of those years American Girl sent me their new doll to review and give away. This year they sent me two of their new WellieWisher dolls and on November 28, 2016 I'm giving away their Wellie Wishers Camille Doll . . . and once again, a little girl is going to be very happy to receive it!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Resources to Help You Pass on Your Faith - It Is Impossible to Spoil Grandchildren

Have you been reading grandma's cookie jar and agree with me when I write about passing on a heritage of faith to your grandchildren, but are not sure where and how to begin? Do you have friends who are grandparents who also want to pass on their faith, but are also not sure where to begin? If so, would you and they like to work through a book together to learn how to pass on your faith? Or, even if you know how to pass on your faith, does the idea of a study/book you could work through on your own or with friends sound like a good idea to you? 

Well - the good news is there are resources available to help you - and your friends - pass your faith to your grandchildren! Today I want to share one of three resources with you. (I'll share the other two over the next two days.)

The first is a book which you could read/work through on your own or in a Sunday school class or small group. It Is Impossible to Spoil Grandchildren has ten chapters, each dealing with how to pass faith to your grandchildren such as . . .

Christmas Review & Giveaway on November 27, 2016 - The NIV Wonders of Creation Bible

So far in my 2016 Christmas Review & Giveaway I've written about the NIV Journal Bible for Girls and the NIV, Beautiful Word Bible. Both are designed to help you journal, take notes and even color in your Bible with the goal of helping the reader understand God's Word more. Both make wonderful Christmas gifts as well!

Today I'm very happy to share with you one more Bible, the NIV Wonders of Creation Bible.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

I Am Blessed & Oh, So Thankful!

As I write today, I'm sitting in my warm, dry home watching it rain outside. It is just 39 degrees out today, so I'm particualy thankful to be inside where it is warm and dry. As I look out the window I see brilliant colors, as here in West Michigan we are pretty much at peak color with the leaves changing color, for the most part. 

There is the sound of rain on a metal roof - a pleasant sound and I am reminded of how blessed I am. There are places in the world where people hear the sounds of battle. There are places in the world where people do not have shelter. Places where their biggest concern is the safety of their family.

I do not take the safety of my family for granted, I know the boys are at school and after school they will be home, in their warm, dry house with parents who love and care for them. Yes, I am most blessed.

Christmas Review & Giveaway on November 26, 2016 - Nefarious, the Mad Scientist Game

When I was a child there were a couple things we could always know we would receive for Christmas . . . books, clothes and at least one board game. Yes, this was "pre-electronic games", but board games were always something we received for Christmas . . . at least for those years we were in elementary school. Board games were a good way to get us playing together as a family . . . they still are today; even with the popularity of electronic games.

So, today I'm very happy to share with you a new board game from USAopoly, which they sent me for review, and to announce another giveaway!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Christmas Review & Giveaway on November 25, 2016 - i See Me Personalized Book

I was recently invited to review the new i See Me! Personalized Birthday book and am happy to share it with you today! If you are not familiar with i See Me! Personalized Books, let me say, they have a wide variety of books from which you may choose, then upload a photo of a child you love and the book will be printed with them "in" the story giving you not only a wonderful story, but a book where the child you love is the "star" of the story!

Monday, October 24, 2016

"Because My Grandma LOVES Them!"

I live on an acre, out in the country, in West Michigan, in the farmhouse my grandparents built back in the 1920's. In my front and side yard are six very large maple trees. In my back yard, behind the double-stall garage is the most enormous maple tree I've ever seen - it reaches far above the roof of the garage and spans beyond the sides of the garage - on both sides! It is enormous! We also have one very, very tall sycamore tree, three birch trees and several other trees - including about a dozen pine trees.

These trees provide wonderful shade for my house and yard throughout the summer and are just beautiful as their leaves change colors in the fall - lots of bright yellows, some oranges and a truly incredible red! 

They also have millions . . . yes millions of leaves (my husband is VERY thankful for his tractor and leaf bagger!!!)

So, why do I mention all these trees and leaves? Because Caleb, my five year old grandson, is absolutely CONVINCED his grandma (me) loves leaves. Wait. Did I say, "loves"? I would more accurately have reflected his opinion to have said; "LOVES!!!" Since he LOVES his grandma (me) and he is certain I LOVE leaves, he often comes running into my house holding a leaf . . . and since it is Fall, and the leaves are steadily falling off the trees, there are currently no shortage of leaves for him to bring to me! My husband (Caleb's Poppa) asked him the other day why he was bringing me a leaf, and Caleb said; "Because my grandma LOVES them!"

Christmas Review & Giveaway on November 24, 2016 - 15oz Photo Mug from Shutterfly

For the past month I've been announcing giveaways for this year's Christmas Reviews and Giveaways . . . one of my favorite times of the year! Today I'm announcing the 17th giveaway (I have a couple more to announce) and will be ready to hold the first giveaway in just a week!

But first, information about this giveaway . . . one of my favorites . . . 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!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Celebrate! The Most Important Decision Ever!

Oh yes! Yesterday there was some serious celebrating going on in Heaven because yesterday my dear, sweet grandson, Caleb, "became part of God's family!" There are moments in your lifetime which stand out in your memory as times you'll never forget . . . well, this moment is one I'll never forget! We were talking about what it takes to get to Heaven (saying Jesus is Lord, admitting you believe God raised Jesus from the dead and asking Him to forgive you) and Caleb, with a huge smile on his face, said he wanted to do them all - and did! We talked about what it means to say Jesus is Lord (it is saying He is the Boss of your life and you will obey Him) and Caleb said he understood and wanted Jesus to be his Boss!

Christmas Review & Giveaway November 23, 2016 - NIV Journal Bible for Girls

The other day I shared my review of the new Beautiful Word Bible and said; "I absolutely believe Bibles make amazing gifts - any time of the year, but especially for Christmas." After seeing the new NIV Journal Bible for Girls from Zonderkidz, I believe this even more!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Christmas Review & Giveaway - RISK®: Star Trek™ 50th Anniversary Edition

Many of us remember the original game of RISK from our childhood . . . where world domination was the goal and you had to develop a strategy to out-think and out-maneuver your opponent to achieve your goal. Well, USAopoly has a new "take" on the old game of RISK - this time it is Risk Star Trek 50th Anniversary Edition and if you - or someone on your gift list - is a fan of Star Trek and Risk, this is a great idea for them!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Christmas Review & Giveaway November 21, 2016 - Cross Captain America Pen

I love to write. I especially love to write with a nice pen, and the pen I'm writing about today, is definitely a nice pen! Cross sent me their Cross Marvel Century II Captain America Rollerball Pen for review and to give away and it will definitely make someone on your Christmas gift list quite happy!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Christmas Review & Giveaway on November 20, 2016 - Christmas Love Letters from God

I was recently invited by ZonderKidz to review a new book in the Love Letters from God series by Glenys Nellist . . . this time, Christmas Love Letters from God. I'm happy to say it is a delight and I'm thrilled to be able to also make one available for giveaway!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Your Thanksgiving Inventory . . .

Thanksgiving is just around the corner . . . so today, this post about being thankful is for you and is for fun! Are we truly thankful people? Do we get so "caught up" in the busyness of life we don't spend time "taking inventory" about all of God's many, many blessings in our lives?  Take a moment to watch this skit about "Your Thanksgiving Inventory" from the skitguys - it is sure to bring a smile to your face . . .

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Monday, October 17, 2016

Christmas Review & Giveaway - NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible

I think giving a Bible as a Christmas gift is not only a great idea, but it makes for a truly meaningful gift which they will use every day. And, if the person on your gift list is someone who enjoys coloring . . . especially a teen or adult who has taken up coloring, the NIV, Beautiful Word Bible, which Zondervan sent me for review, makes the perfect gift!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Few Thoughts About the Upcoming Election . . .

As a person, daughter, sister, wife, mom, mother-in-law and grandma I find this election cycle so very disappointing and discouraging. Both parties put up candidates who are utterly flawed and who seem to be completely lacking in character. One has a person who has said many despicable things about women, people from other countries/faiths and anyone who speaks up against him. The other appears to be able to be "bought" and seems to be unable to tell the truth and take responsibility for her bad choices. Both completely lack character. Neither are people I can hold up before my grandsons as "good examples" - as I would like to be able to do with the president of our country.

Both parties spew hate - one says the other party is her “enemy” and calls those who vote for their opponent "deplorable" . . . while I did not vote for him in the primaries, I know and love people who did and they are absolutely NOT deplorable. The other calls people names, mocks them, seems unable/unwilling to show self-control and basically acts like a school-yard bully to anyone who says something he does not like. After the election in November, one of these people will be president – how will they possibly be the president for all the people, when they have both alienated about half the country with their hate? Will this hate impact my grandsons? If so, how? I want them to be people who are characterized and motivated by love for others and grace, not hate.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Christmas Review & Giveaway - Pelican Puppet from Folkmanis

One of the many things I love about Folkmanis puppets is the variety of puppets they offer - and they continue to release new puppets every year! Who would have thought a pelican would make a fun puppet, but after seeing Folkmanis' Pelican Puppet, I have to say, this is a great puppet! It is plush, surprising and fun . . . and I'm very happy to say, it is part of my 2016 Christmas Giveaways!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Phantom of the Opera - Coming to a Theater Near You!

Do you have a favorite opera? One where you find yourself singing the songs and story captures your attention? I have personally never been a big opera "fan", but I have enjoyed a few operas . . . in the movie versions!

So, when I was recently invited to write about an opera - one I've seen and enjoyed, and offered review tickets as well, I was happy to write about it for you today. What is this opera, you ask? The Phantom of the Opera.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Christmas Review & Giveaway on November 12, 2016 - The Bot That Scott Built

I initially reviewed and held a giveaway for The Bot That Scott Built last month, but since the winner did not get their address to me so the book could be sent, I decided to add it to my Christmas giveaways - it is a fun book for any child, but especially those who like robots, to find under the tree! So, today I'm sharing my review with you again as you have another opportunity to win this fun book!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Praying for the Ones We Love!

This week I'm praying through Psalm 55:16-23 for my children/grandchildren. This is a truly powerful passage; take a look . . . 
As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me.
Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.
He rescues me unharmed
 from the battle waged against me,
even though many oppose me.

God, who is enthroned from of old, 
who does not change—
he will hear them and humble them, because they have no fear of God.
                                        My companion attacks his friends; he violates his covenant. His talk is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords.                                       Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. But you, God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of decay;  the bloodthirsty and deceitful will not live out half their days.  But as for me, I trust in you.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Christmas Giveaway - November 10, 2016 - Jump Ship! CardVentures Game

When my children were young they enjoyed reading the, "choose-your-own-ending" type books. They were fun because not only did they get to read a fun story, but depending on the choices they made as they read it, each time they read the book, the story could be entirely different.

This, "choose-your-own-ending" idea is the basis for a new set of card games from GameWright, which I was invited to review!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

grandma's cookbook - Butternut Squash Bread!

The other day my daughter-in-law gave me a beautiful butternut squash, so I decided to look for a recipe I could use it in to make bread in my bread machine. After looking at several, I settled on one, which I have to say made the most amazing bread!!! My grandsons gave it big thumbs up!!! 

So, today I'm happy to share it with you - along with the few changes I made to the recipe. You'll find the recipe at this link and I changed it in the following ways . . . 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Christmas Review & Giveaway - November 8, 2016 - The Lord's Prayer book

I was recently invited by Zonderkidz to review one of their new releases - The Lord's Prayer: Words of Hope and Happiness by Rick Warren. While I have reviewed no shortage of children's books on the Lord's Prayer over the years, I liked the photo of the cover and decided to check it out. I'm oh so glad I did! It is excellent, and while geared for children, adults will get much out of it as well. I'm very happy to share it with you today . . . 

Friday, October 7, 2016

grandma's cookbook - Pumpkin Pie Sugar Cookies

I was browsing on Pinterest this morning and found what looks like a fun, simple and most important - tasty recipe for mini pumpkin pies . . . made in muffin pans with sugar cookie crusts! Now, doesn't this just sound delicious?!

You'll find the directions and ingredients at this link - although I think I'd skip the cream cheese and instead of canned pumpkin use pumpkin pie filling. Either way, these little mini-pies look like a fun project to make with grandchildren and then give to neighbors, shut-ins or take to a family event! 

Or, just enjoy together, of course!


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Christmas Review & Giveaway - November 6, 2016 - Sniffing Rabbit Puppet from Folkmanis

A couple days ago a box arrived at my house with several beautiful, soft, snuggly, plush puppets from Folkmanis . . . most of which will be giveaways or go to my grandson's school classes! So, today I'm delighted to start my review of these with you by reviewing their Sniffing Rabbit Hand Puppet/Plush. . . and announcing a giveaway for it as well!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

2016 Christmas Review & Giveaway is Off to a Good Start!

Our 2016 Christmas Review & Giveaway is well underway! So far I've announced the drawings for two of the new WellieWisher dolls from American Girl, two books and four Family Pack of tickets to the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Christmas & Holiday Traditions. Fun prizes for sure!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Christmas Review & Giveaway - November 4, 2016 - Even Superheros Have Bad Days

I have three grandsons, which means along with pretending about aliens, monsters and investigating bugs, we have lots of talk about superheros! So, when Sterling Children's Books asked me to review one of their new books and the title was, Even Superheroes Have Bad Days, I knew I wanted to see it for sure! My grandsons enjoyed the story and I am happy to share with you about it today . . . as well as to announce a giveaway, too!

Monday, October 3, 2016

2016 Christmas Review & Giveaway - November 1, 2016 - Ready, Set, Find Christmas!

It seems appropriate to kick off my Month of Christmas Giveaways with a giveaway on November 1, 2016 of a book about Christmas! I'm very happy to share one such book with you today which was sent to me to review by Zonderkidz.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Praying for Your Family to Experience How God is Their Refuge & Strength

I have been praying through the Psalms for my family this year - this coming week I'm praying from Psalm 46:1-11 . . . 
God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
    God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
    he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
    how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
    he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
I have experienced over the past few days how God does answer prayer. How He is our help and how He is with us! So, I'm happy to say, praying for our grandchildren is one of the most powerful things we can do as grandparents! 

As you go through this week consider praying this prayer for your grandchildren (take from Deeper In 4 Grandparents & Parents, Too! Praying the Scriptures for the Children You Love - Psalms Edition)

Christmas Review & Giveaway - November 2, 2016 Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Christmas & Hoilday Traditions Tickets

I know this giveaway will not be one every reader is able to participate in as you pretty much need to live in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, possibly Illinois, or be planning to visit these places between November 22, 2016 and January 8, 2017, but this is a wonderful giveaway and an opportunity for four families - yes four families to enjoy an incredible experience!
Each year Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, MI, puts on a wonderful opportunity for you to experience Holiday Traditions from around the world. I have not personally had the opportunity to experience Christmas and Holiday Traditions at Meijer Garden, but will be going this year the beginning of December. When I go I will write about my experience, but today, to help you get a glimpse of what this is all about, I'm sharing with you how Meijer Gardens describes their Christmas and Holiday Traditions.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

2016 Christmas Review & Giveaway - American Girl WellieWisher Dolls

It is October 1, 2016 and time for me to start my 2016 Christmas gift review and giveaway! The first two things I'm giving away are from American Girl - their new WellieWisher dolls! What is a "WellieWisher doll" you ask? Well, it is an adorable new line of dolls with a focus on friendships!

American Girl describes the WellieWishers as . . . "Meet the WellieWishers, a sweet and silly group of girls who each have the same big, bright wish: to be a good friend. Explore their world as they step into colorful garden boots and get ready for stomping in mud puddles, putting on shows, and helping friendships grow."