Saturday, April 29, 2017

Birthday Month Giveaway on May 27, 2017 - Caring For Your Lion

I was recently invited by Sterling Children's Books to review a new title they were releasing . . . Caring for Your Lion. It looked and sounded cute, so I said, "Yes!". It arrived yesterday, when my three-year old grandson was hear and we ended up reading it about five times . . . in a row . . . with a great deal of laughing from my grandson! I'm very happy to share this book with you today!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Generations Quest . . . Launches in Three Days on May 1, 2017!

In three days, on May 1, 2017, Generations Quest will be launched! Today I'm very happy to share with you a "sneak peek" of sorts to let you know what Generations Quest is all about and how it will help the "generations" in your family and church!

Birthday Month Giveaway on May 25, 2017 - The Gadget Inventor Handbook

My grandsons love to build things with Legos. They love science and science projects tend to get their attention. They get excited about the idea of making things like robots and cook gadgets, so when I saw Sterling Children's Books was releasing a new book about building "gadgets", I knew I had to ask if it was available for review. Happily it was . . . and another copy is available for giveaway as well!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Birthday Month Giveaway on May 26, 2017 - Loon Plush Puppet

Over the years I've had the opportunity to review (and giveaway) many truly beautiful puppets from Folkmanis. They make the most amazing, plush, creative and lovely puppets you will find anywhere. Each year they add more creatures to their extensive line of puppets - and often send me some for review. This year, one of the puppets they sent is their new Loon puppet, and today I'm delighted to share it with you - and announce a giveaway as well!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Birthday Month Giveaway on May 23, 2017 - Hoot & Honk Just Can't Sleep

Ever since my grandsons were babies, they have enjoyed having books read to them - and now as they learn to read, they enjoy reading for themselves, too. So, when I was invited to review Hoot & Honk Just Can't Sleep, I was happy to say, "Yes!"

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

My Sweet Love

Yesterday when my three-year old grandson was at my house, he watched Pooh's Heffalump Movie. In the movie, Lumpy's mom rescues Roo and calls Roo, "Love". My grandson decided I should call him my, "Sweet Love"

Of course I'm very happy to do this as he absolutely is my, Sweet Love! I am a very, very happy and thankful grandma!

Birthday Month Giveaway on May 22, 2017 - Monopoly Game: Pokémon Johto Edition

My grandsons enjoy playing Monopoly and they enjoy collecting Pokemon cards, so a combination of Monopoly and Pokemon is sure to be a hit! When I saw USAopoly had just such a game, I asked them if it was available for review - they said it was, and another is available for me to give away as well! So, today I'm happy to let you know about this game from USAopoly - and their Super Mario Chess game as well.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Celestron FirstScope Telescope & a Birthday Month Giveaway of Their EclipSmart Deluxe Solar Observing & Imaging Kit on May 29, 2017

My grandsons are into science. They love science projects, they love to talk about sciency things, they enjoy watching science shows; basically they are extremely interested in all things science. 

One area of science which they find extremely interesting is space. My eight-year old grandson things it would be amazing to be able to travel to Mars. But, short of doing this he loves the opportunity to star-gaze. So, when I had the opportunity to receive and review a telescope from Celestron, I knew my grandsons were going to be thrilled!

Celestron sent me their FirstScope Telescope - a perfect first telescope - to try with my grandsons and then let you know all about it. I am still waiting for the opportunity to use it with my grandsons as pretty much every weekend they have been at my house since it arrived, it has been cloudy or someone has been sick. But, since I do not want to wait any longer to let you know about this telescope, I'm going to write about it today and then again when I can share with you what happens when my grandsons are able to give it a try.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Birthday Month Giveaway on May 21, 2017 - Big Little Hippo

One thing we all experience as grandparents and parents is how our grandchildren go through times when they are impatient to grow up; times when they do not want to be "little". This is the idea behind a new book from Sterling Children's Books, which they set me to review.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Your Grandchildren Will See Themselves As You Do!

Yesterday I shared a link to a clip from the final session at a grandparenting conference where I spoke last May - today I'm sharing one more clip with you. In this clip I share how our grandchildren will see themselves the way we see them . . . do you see them as gifts from the hand of God, for whom you are ever so thankful?

You will find this clip at the following link - please share it with the grandparents you know!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Help Your Grandchildren Learn to Look for God's "Fingerprints" In Their Lives!

Almost a year ago I was the closing speaker at a grandparenting conference outside of Minneapolis, MN. I spoke for the Legacy Coalition about passing faith to our grandchildren and want to share with you a couple "clips" from my presentation - today and tomorrow. 

In this clip I talk about what it means to help our grandchildren learn to watch for and see God's "fingerprints" in their lives. You will find it at this link. Please share this with the grandparents you know.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Generations Quest - Official Launch on May 1, 2017!

For the past month I've been talking about Generations Quest and today I'm happy to announce our official launch will be on May 1, 2017! Generations Quest is a resource which will allow the generations in your family - grandparents, parents and children of all ages - to connect together as they read the Bible together each day! 

How will this work, you ask? Each day there is a specific verse or two for children, parents and grandparents to read and a question to think about. Then at least twice a month grandparents will connect with their grandchildren - in person, over the phone or using tech - to talk about what they all have been reading and learning. Parents are welcome to do the same as often as they like - even daily at meals, perhaps.

There is one thing which God has promised will accomplish what He has planed for it to accomplish and this one thing is His Word. So, if we are able to get our families to read God's Word, then we will be equipping the children we love to stand against the things in this world which will side-track and derail their lives. Generations Quest will give you the tools you need to do this - no matter the age of your grandchildren or their location.

So, stay tuned! May 1st will be the official launch!

Birthday Month Giveaway on May 17, 2017 - Elly and the Smelly Sneaker

I was recently invited to review a book with a new "take" on the old fairy tale of Cinderella - with a bit of baseball thrown in! Sounded fun, so today I'm happy to share with what I think of Elly and the Smelly Sneaker.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

My Favorite Flower & Reminders of How God Treasures Our Prayers!

Everywhere I look I can see one of my favorite flowers blooming . . . this flower is bright, sunny and a lovely shade of yellow . . . and it is known as the Dandelion!

I know. Your reaction is likely similar to my grandson Josiah's reaction. He told me Dandelions are weeds, not flowers, but I told him I still loved them anyway! Within minutes of hearing this conversation, my grandson Caleb brought me a handful of these yellow flower-weeds!

I am certain I'll be receiving many, many more handfuls of Dandelions throughout the summer!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Birthday Month Giveaway on May 20, 2017 - Your Choice of One of Five Cross Pens!

Once again I have the opportunity to review several lovely pens from Cross . . . and announce a giveaway, but this time whoever wins this drawing will be able to choose one pen they want from the five pens I review! Sounds like fun for sure!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Birthday Month Giveaway on May 12, 2017 - Toward a Secret Sky

I was recently invited to review a new novel about a 17 year old orphan who goes to live with her grandparents in Scotland . . . and discovers a world where angels and demons are real . . . and right around her.

Sounded interesting, so I said I'd review it . .  

Sunday, April 16, 2017

God's Gift to Us & A Prayer for My Children & Grandchildren

Life! The gift God gives us through Jesus' death and resurrection. No longer do we have to try to pay for our sins by keeping a list of rules none of us is truly able to keep. No longer do we have to try to find ways to earn our salvation. God offers it as a gift! His grace changes everything!

This is the essence of the message we as grandparents want to pass on to our grandchildren. If we accomplish much in our lives, but do not let them know about God's grace which is available because of Jesus' death and resurrection, we will have missed the most important thing of all.

This week as you continue to think about, and thank God for Jesus' resurrection and the life it brings us, make time to talk with your grandchildren - no matter their age - about how God's grace brought you real life!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Birthday Month Giveaway on May 10, 2017 - World's Smallest 1000 Piece Puzzle - Good Neighbor

Next month - the month of May - is grandma's cookie jar's special Birthday Month of giveaways! I began writing this blog, six years ago in May - yes, six years ago! So, each year in the month of May I celebrate by holding a special month of giveaways! So far I've announced nine giveaways for this year and today I have another to share with you.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Shane's Important Things

I have three sweet boys on their way to my house - two of whom do not feel well, so since it looks like today will be busy, I wanted to get a quick post up before they arrive. Yesterday just Shane (three years old) was here, and I had the opportunity to learn about something which matters a lot to him.

At my house we have a little crib which has been where Shane sleeps when he is here. It is also where he puts the things which matter to him the most . . . his Corgie toy is in his crib. His big basset hound plush toy is in his crib. A transformer toy is in his crib. His pillow with photos of his family on it is in his crib. His yellow blanket is in his crib. His blanket with photos of our family on it is in his crib. And now, his own, real Bible is in his crib.

Yesterday we were talking about the Bible and he asked if he could have a real Bible. I happened to have one I was saving for him, so I went and got it. He happily looked through it and held it for awhile. Then we got busy and I didn't think about it . . . until I went to bed and looked in his crib. There, with his other important things, was his Bible - carefully placed on his photo blanket.

Apparently his own, real Bible is important to Shane. It is my prayer as he grows older it will always be one of his, "important things"!

I am a happy grandma!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Connect the Generations & God's Word - No Matter The Ages and Distance!

If you have been reading grandma's cookie jar for very long, you know passing on a heritage faith to my grandsons is something I care very, very much about. I want my grandsons to grow to be boys, then teens and one day young men who love, know and walk with God, faithfully, with all their heart.

This is the reason I am writing a resource I am using with my grandsons . . . and which you will be able to use with the children you love, as well! Generations Quest is a tool which will allow you, and the generations which follow you, to connect throughout a month over what matters . . . understanding and living God's Word!

Grandparents, parents and children of all ages - preschool through college age - will all read (or have read to them) one to five verses a day with a simple question to help them think about the verses they read. Families will be able to talk about what they all are reading and learning together

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Birthday Month Giveaway on May 7, 2017 - Code Your Own Games!

Sorry this post is going up so late today, but I had a busy day with my three, sweet grandsons! A high-point of the day, for me, was when Caleb told me he would NEVER be tired of seeing my face! I will be happy forever!

But, anyway, back to today's post! I wanted to share with you another fun book from Sterling Children's Books which will help the children you love learn to code!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Birthday Month Giveaway on May 3, 2017 - Sea Lion Pup Puppet

I'm very happy to share with you today a special puppet from Folkmanis which they sent me to review and give away . . . their Sea Lion Pup!

Monday, April 10, 2017

From One Generation to the Next

I have always found a reading of the Old Testament to be exciting . . . and
heartbreaking. You have real people and how their real lives were impacted and changed when they came to know and walk with God; such as David. He went from being a lowly shepherd boy to being the King of Israel. Yes, there were a lot of years between the two, but he knew and walked with God; even as a young teen . . . so much so he was able to trust God to fight for him when facing a giant none of the older soldiers in the army were willing to fight . . . they just ran and hid! He knew, walked with and trusted God to keep him through the years when he was being chased by Saul. Yes, he made some really horrible choices over the years, but when faced with his sin he turned from it and asked God for forgiveness and grace. He wrote the Psalms and modeled for us, even today – how to talk with God as well as how to worship and praise Him!Yet, in spite of the amazing way David knew and walked with God, his children did not follow and share in his love for God. This is the heartbreaking part. If you spend time looking at the kings of Israel and Judah, some followed God and then in a generation or two they turned their backs on God. If you read Psalm 78 you see how over and over the Israelites walked with God and then forgot Him. Something bad happened and they turned back to God and then in a generation or two they forgot Him again.

I find this frightening. I love God! I want to know and walk with Him  I want my children and grandchildren and future generations, should Jesus tarry, to continue to know, love and walk with God. I do not want them to forget Him. It only takes a casual glance at the evening news to know our world is broken because it has forgotten God. It is heartbreaking.

So how can we make a difference? I think part of the answer – because clearly it is not a simple answer – is to look at the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve had everything; and it was perfect! They actually walked physically with God in the cool of the evening, every evening. Yet, they were still deceived. They had to know God loved them and yet they were willing to consider the question Satan asked; was God keeping something good from them? Did God really love them? When we doubt God’s love for us we are much more likely to question what He has clearly told us and try to make it “fit” in the “world-view” of the day in which we live. No matter how much Satan tells us doing so will bring us freedom and happiness, the truth is it only brings pain, sorrow, death and brokenness.

When Jesus was tempted by Satan, He chose to hold on to God’s Word. I think this is where the answer is found. We need to hold on to what God has said. We need to help our children and grandchildren do this as well. We need to equip the children and families in our ministries to do the same. So, what has God said? Clearly a lot of things, but for me I will hold on to the following:

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Showing Real Intentional Love - A Prayer for My Grandchildren

As grandma, there isn’t anything more important to me than for my grandsons to grow to be men who know and love Jesus. This world can be a scary place; it seems evil is laughed at, discounted and accepted like it has not been before . . . at least in my lifetime. As I think about the things I want to pray for my grandsons, I think about the things Jesus prayed for His disciples, and for all of us, recorded in John 17.
Jesus prayed His disciples would be protected by the power of God’s name so none of them would be lost He did not ask God to take them out of the world, but to protect them from the evil one, so they – and we – will have unity and the world will believe.
I believe there is good reason to pray these same things for my grandsons; and this is my prayer based on John 17:6-21 . . .

Friday, April 7, 2017

My Top Five Reasons I Listen to My Grandsons

Yesterday when the boys were here at my house they were watching a children's show and the topic of not being listened to came up (it was the "title" of the episode). I asked Josiah if he felt that way sometimes and he said; "Yes. Well, except for you, grandma, because you always listen to us." 

As adults it is far too easy to be busy with the things we are doing or with our tech and just not listen to children. Children do tend to talk a lot and it is not always "earth-shattering" things they have to say; but when it comes to my grandsons, I feel like if it is important to them and they want to tell me, I want to hear it! I'm so glad Josiah has noticed this!

So, as I thought about this conversation, I came up with five reasons I listen to my grandsons and today I'm sharing them with you. They are . . . 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Shutterfly Fleece Photo Blanket - I'm Giving One Away on May 30, 2017

I recently had the opportunity to review something warm and wonderful from Shutterfly - their fleece blanket! Just being a fleece blanket - since I live in the chilly state of Michigan (it is 38 out today), is enough reason to think of it as, "warm and wonderful", but since it is from Shutterfly, this means there is at least one photo on it of people I love . . . and in this case, there are 12 photos on it! Yes, it absolutely is wonderful!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

My Top Seven Reasons for Enjoying the Butterflies are Blooming at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Last month I posted about how if you live in, or near, Grand Rapids, MI, you are most certainly familiar with Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park and wrote about their amazing Butterflies are Blooming Exhibit. Yesterday we went to see it for ourselves, so today I want to share with you a few reasons why this is a not-to-miss experience for you and the children you love!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Do Your Ears Hang Low? and a Special Giveaway on May 31, 2017!

I love basset hounds. I love everything about how they look - what's not to love with those long, beautiful ears, saggy, baggy skin, deep, mournful eyes, gentle, loving personality and the most melodic of howls!!! Yes, I love basset hounds. 

But, I must say, I do come by my love for the basset hound, "honestly" as my ancestors were friends with LaFayette and they came with him to help George Washington fight the British. One of the gifts LaFayette brought Washington was a basset hound - probably the first basset in America!

When my husband and I were first married, almost 36 years ago, we got a basset hound - Mindy. She was our "baby" until we had our fist child, at which point Mindy instantly became a "mother-hen". She watched over our children and was completely gentle with them - good thing, because once when Tiffany was two, she discovered Mindy had a tongue. Which of course meant she had to reach into Mindy's mouth to pull her tongue out to get a better look at it. I watched this from across the room and was confident Tiffany would be bit before I could get to her, but Mindy just shook her head to regain control of her tongue, harrumphed, as only a basset hound is able to do so, and walked away with a look in her face which said, "Children!!!" Yes, Mindy was completely gentle!

Then about ten years later we got our next basset hound - Giggles. Giggles was not a mother hen but by then our children were older. Giggles was the baby of the family and she knew it! She was spunky and sweet as could be.

Now our daughter has a basset hound she rescued - Rosie is absolutely sweet and the most loyal dog I've ever seen! And sometimes she howls in her sleep - one of the funniest things I've ever heard or been able to see!

At any rate, we love basset hounds in this house, so when I saw Sterling Children's Books had a new title set to the old song, "Do Your Ears Hang Low?" I had to see if it was available for review. Happily it was and is also available for me to give one away as well!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Get Ready to Make a Difference in Your Family with Generations Quest!

When you look at the world in which we live, do you wonder how the children you love will be able to maneuver around and through the many, “land-mines” which surround them? Do you wonder how they will be able to grow up as children, then teens and eventually adults who love, know and walk with God, when everything around them seems to be focused upon keeping them from doing so? Do you feel concerned when you think about how these children, who you love with all your heart, will ever make the choice to turn their backs on the values and temptations of the world and instead make the choice to hold firmly to God?

As a mom and grandma, these are things I’m concerned about for my adult children and grandchildren. I look at the world in which we live and wonder how much it is like the world was in the days of Noah where we read in Genesis 6:5; “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

When I watch the evening news I seriously wonder if our world is like Noah’s world. I want my adult children and grandchildren to make the choices Noah made, so when God looks at them He sees people who choose to walk faithfully with Him.

I believe this is possible. And, I believe we, as grandparents (and parents) are able to help equip the children we love so they are able to make the choice to walk faithfully with God. I believe the “key” is found in God’s Word. Look at what we know to be true about God’s Word . . .

Sunday, April 2, 2017

found: Psalm 23 - Giveaway on May 1, 2017

I posted this review some time ago, but wanted to post it again to remind you of the upcoming giveaway. This book is truly excellent - a "must" for all grandparent's home "library" - and I'm giving one copy away!

Almost six years ago I began writing a little blog . . . I wanted to share fun things to do with the children you love as well as share how to pass on a heritage of faith to them. For almost six years now I’ve been sharing crafts, recipes, book reviews and ideas for passing faith; how to pray for and with the children you love and how to open God’s Word and engage the children you love in learning how they can know and walk with Jesus.

I’ve also been blessed to be able to review books, toys, pens, and so much more . . . and give many of them away as well! While I have giveaways all year long, my two big giveaways are during the month of November with my Christmas reviews and giveaways (typically I give away 20 – 24 items) and the month of May with my Birthday Month of Giveaways (grandma’s cookie jar began on May 9, 2011). I love being able to give things away, so I enjoy the giveaways!

I have begun the work of lining up items for my Birthday Month of Giveaways – items which work well for Mother’s Day, Graduation, Children’s Day (yes, it is a real holiday the second Sunday in June each year) and Father’s Day. Typically I begin to announce the giveaways in April with the drawings in May, but this year I have a couple items I’ve just received for review which would be wonderful to include in the Birthday Month of Giveaways, so today I’m happy to let you know about one of them . . .