In so much as we say we will indulge our grands with anything they want, secretly we have limits. A pony? Sure! New shoes that their parents said are too pricey? Sure! Any book they want? Why, yes indeed!
Sugar, not so much.
Luckily for us, their parents are well-educated and informed. They know that sugar on little bodies is not a good thing. Sugar on little people makes parenting so much tougher.
Sugar causes inflammation. Sugar suppresses the immune system, a weak immune system is trouble. Sugar generates alertness, making bedtime difficult. On and on the list goes as to why we should all be serious about leaving out sugar.
My job? My job as Grandma Daleen is to love them and I show that by listening to them, sewing for them & baking treats and goodies for them.
One trick to being a good grandma is to indulge my little darlings without upsetting the parental apple cart. We think our grands are being raised extremely well. So proud of our adult children. We would like to respect their desire to raise healthy, well-adjusted young people.
However, I still want to bake fun, happy, silly treats for our grands. I think, just maybe, I figured out a wonderful solution.
I found a new cookie cutter, several actually. I only bought one to try. I loved the idea of controlling the ingredients, yet making the impression so deep on the cookie that no frosting is needed. Thus cutting down on sugar, yet still having a fun treat.
I searched for a recipe that wouldn’t spread too much. I didn’t want the shape of the cookie to get distorted. I played with the amount of sugar, so I used less. I must say this recipe turned out perfect, perfect, perfect for these types of cookies. Oh wait, maybe that is why they are called, “Simply Perfect Chocolate Sugar Cookies”?
I tossed the damp towel on the edge of the bathtub. A couple of hours later, it was still there.
Must only mean one thing………vacation is over. Here at home, there are no efficient maids that work behind the scenes. (to be clear, this is a picture of the hotel bathroom, not the master bath in our home )
This year to celebrate 35 years of being married, we chose to do something completely different. Certainly, different for us. In a surprising twist, two folks who don’t drink, smoke or gamble decided to go to Las Vegas, Nevada!
To spend time, in a glamorous suite, at the Venetian exploring a whole new world was most certainly different and quite an adventure.
It was a week of art, beauty, gardens, waterfalls, food, glorious food, treats and sunshine! We are so used to pouring rain and gray, it took a day or so for us to dry out and revel in the glorious rays of the sun.
Daily breakfast at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon restaurant had VACATION written all over it. Seriously folks. I want live in that restaurant. I want that floor. The service was extraordinary. The food was exemplary. If you order the French Toast it is little pillows of heaven served on the most exquisite marmalade you have ever had the pleasure of tasting. The coffee is perfect. Oh, and then as you are just about to leave……….wait for it………they bring you a “to-go” cup of coffee, already with the perfect amount of cream to take with you, to help you ease into the day. BLESS THEM and what they have created. Such extravagance.
The gondola ride was anniversary perfect. The music, the gondolier, the roses, the water, the perfect (faux) sky…… charming, every moment of it was charming and fun (I mean romantic).
Having my palm read has been a secret desire. I don’t know why I have never been brave enough. Vacation has a way of making you brave enough to try new things. I did it and it was super fun & silly & wonderful all mixed together. After she was done, I told her she was spot on and accurate about everything. (I wanted her to know she did a good job.) She said, “I know, it’s my job.” Really? How did she know I study one hour each morning? ummmm….
A daily treat of swimming and lounging by the garden pool, was so nice. Just hearing the waterfall and lollygagging for hours was dreamy.
We visited some beautiful gardens and wondered around until we found a glorious bakery. See? Vacation is DREAMY!!
Vacations allow us glorious time, somehow remind us we have permission to slowly walk through a garden and fill our spirits with saturated color and beauty. We walk slower, we take more time to gather goodness.
This Monday morning, our vacation envelope is empty.
Time to start saving and dreaming about our next adventure. I’ll wait for you to go get an envelope and pen. Saving and anticipating the next glorious adventure is wonderful. Write on the outside of the envelope where you want to go. Put a dollar in the envelope. Seriously, one dollar. Seed money.
Vacation fills our pitcher. We owe it to ourselves to dream and anticipate and plan. Then once on vacation, the sun feels warmer, the coffee is richer, the pool more relaxing, the desserts are more decadent (I forgot to tell you all about the glorious, thick, creamy dreamy Tiramisu dessert that we had made right at our table……..ah……) oh, and did I mention the shared tangy, Lemon Gelato?
Taking the time to plan a 35th anniversary vacation, reminds us to celebrate what a really good marriage we have. Yes, my friend, celebrating marriage is THAT important. By making an effort to celebrate anniversary 4 or 17, those celebrations most certainly help you get to number 35. By celebrating number 35 it helps you get to number 47 and so on……
Here’s to great marriages, amazing experiences and wonderful breakfasts in French restaurants!
All grandgirlies turning five years old, NEED a tooth fairy pillow.
I embroidered this sweet pillow with a fairy and she has a bit of sparkle to her magical wings. I chose happy fabric to sew with and of course added snazzy buttons and ribbons.
For the picture, I tucked in some money. However, I am not the tooth fairy, so it only comes with a lucky penny slipped into the pocket. (side note, Papa Bruce “helps” with the magic by collecting dollar coins and sharing.)
Oh, and one other secret bit of magic. I sent a little, tiny fairy door to the parents (wrapped in brown paper of course). One night when the girls are fast asleep, the parents will hide and “install” the fairy door and dust the step with glitter to be “discovered” at some time or another.
Grands bring out the magic in all of us.
Hope you choose to be the magician in someone’ s life.
Grandma Daleen, “I would like a cooking apron for my birthday, please.”
Makes my heart sing and then:
Rub hands together in anticipation.
Go to fabric store and find “owl” fabric.
Prepare a large and wonderful cup of coffee.
Turn on the light & plug in the string of flying pig lights in the sewing room & turn on sewing machine.
Give the dog a cookie and say to her, “let’s get this done”.
When a perfect grandgirlie is about to turn 5 years old, this Grandma’s need to jump into action.
Early this morning, a box was mailed several states away. Oodles of wrapped birthday surprises. A little gift for her sister as well.
Mr. Right said, hey, I never got a gift when it was my brother or sisters birthday. I said, you never had a Grandma like me!!!
Does the owl apron have a jingle bell sewn inside you ask? OF COURSE it has a jingle bell. Makes little chefs want to twirl, jump, hop & twist to see if they can make the bell jingle. Does it have a jingle bell? Such a silly question.
What comes with apron you ask? Um, (felt) food of course. A chef has to be able to cook and prepare all sorts of goodies.
This gift comes complete with Sushi, pancakes, eggs, a donut, peanut butter and jelly on toast, 3 kinds of pasta and an ice cream sandwich.
The perfect feast for a Birthday girl!
Tomorrow, I’ll share the tooth fairy pillow I sewed for her as well.
When this grandma “get’s the call” she rolls up her sleeves and gets to work.
While in line, to buy forgotten yellow yarn for a chicken beak, I spoke to the lady behind me. (Wow, never thought I would type that sentence. To be clear, the yarn for a chicken beak, not talking to a lady.)
In her arms, she juggled several rose, pale & hot pink skeins of yarn. Draped over her arm was the beginning of a pink crocheted afghan. I asked her what she was making. She said her Great, Granddaughter wanted a pink, pink, pink blanket. So, how could she say no?
Grinning ear to ear, I told her I had two granddaughters & one grandson. Then I shyly said, I am learning to crochet. I asked her how long she has been crocheting and she smiled and said, “forever”. Next, I asked her, who taught you? She couldn’t remember, however everyone crocheted around her so it was probably lots of people.
Then she asked me, who taught you? I said, You Tube. (I had to explain briefly about the computer site You-Tube and taking lessons.) She said learning the computer is way harder than learning to crochet. She says she gets messages from her grandchildren on the computer everyday, so it was worth learning to use the darn thing. haha
She made me feel like I am tied to a really good group. People who have grands. People who make things for others. People who like to keep learning. She lifted my spirits & offered encouragement.
My daughter in law, asked me to make a couple of hats for her friends’ preemie babies. Wow! Pretty nice of her to think I could do that. Did she forget I am a beginner? I gotta tell ya, having someone think you are capable is pretty spirit lifting & encouraging. Then when you get to see a picture of the little tiny babies actually WEARING the hats I made……..well, that just elevated my spirits into the stratosphere!
A friend shared a picture of a crocheted apron with several pockets. He thought of me collecting eggs and learning to crochet. Simultaneously, the gesture made me giggle & happy. His thinking was, hey, I bet she would get a kick out of this? (even though I have only collected one egg in ages and I have no idea if I could even crochet an apron) I adore that he already thinks I can. Lifted my spirits & offered a pocket full of encouragement. (get it? the pockets on an apron )
Never once did You-Tube mention that if you learn to crochet your spirits will be lifted and you find all kinds of encouragement.
Yesterday, while opening the mail, out fell a card addressed to me. yippee! I carefully opened the envelope and what did I find? The sweetest, photo card. I had made a crocheted hat for a darling little girl in Pennsylvania. (Her parents) She sent me the most adorable thank you card with a picture of her wearing the hat I made!!! Pretty as a shiny new penny! Gosh, my spirit soared and well, I am still walking on cloud 9.
Who knew learning to tie some yarn into different patterns of knots would encourage my spirit so much?
A friend sent me a text early this Sunday morning:
Sparkle of the Day
“Our Lord has made the best gifts the most common.”
Oh, that’s not only sparkly but so juicy.
I’m going to savor that all day long.
..the most common…..
a cup of coffee
warm, fluffy socks
small project bag
Here’s a thought, a common bag. I use it every single day, sometimes, several times a day. Very common in my world.
100% cotton fabric, one zipper, two buttons, nothing too flashy, just a bag to store my current project in while I am not working on it. Takes me about 45 minutes to sew one. Easy, common. Actually, I have sewed and given so many, I have lost count.
I have sewed them for college kiddos. I have made them for make up bags, travel bags, zipper bags full of birthday goodies, bag to take to the hospital, bags to hold crochet hooks, bags to hold a sleeping mask and lavender and on the list goes. All made and given as gifts.
I have not made one for myself. Seriously? No. I have not taken the time to sew one of these beauties for myself.
One night, as I sat and worked on a project. I thought… why on earth are you still using a zip lock PLASTIC bag for your supplies? I guess I am like everyone else, we get so comfortable using and seeing something day after day, we forget to “see” where we need to make some changes.
**********Side note: If you want to skip the next few paragraphs where I talk about bisphenol A and how it is one reason I became so sick, I totally understand. Life is messy and you don’t always want to be reminded of the messy. I will insert a picture of a cute puppy so you can skip down to the part about sewing & happy & common sense.
In the last four years, among 101 other things, one thing we have had to eliminate in our life is plastic (read that as bisphenol A) . BPA is a weak synthetic estrogen and is one of the things that caused me to be diagnosed with “that which will not be named”.
Sounds easy enough. Just don’t use it. Simple.
The following is sarcasm: “What? Me? Oh, we stopped using all plastic. We store our ketchup and mustard in clay pots in the basement. No, we don’t own a refrigerator that is made with plastic. What do we brush our teeth with, you ask? We use a hand carved, with a wooden handle and boar bristle toothbrushes.”
Really? Good for you! That is tricky, hard and all-encompassing. We are still trying to get rid of as much as possible.
Roll up your cotton sleeves and let’s do this!
Okay, no more plastic ice-cube trays. No more plastic shower curtain liners. Toss all the plastic storage containers. Plastic measuring spoons. Plastic container your laundry soap is stored in, next to your plastic laundry basket. Plastic silverware on a picnic. Plastic yarn needle. Toss those disposable diapers of your grandchildren. My cell phone has a plastic case. Does your organic make up come in a plastic container? Plastic scoop I used to measure out chicken feed. Plastic tape measure (my grandma had a cloth one.) I use a plastic ruler to measure fabric. Plastic containers my spring plants were grown in. Plastic bag I use to buy/measure out my bulk food. Plastic on my sneakers. Plastic container my coffee beans are ground in. The useful plastic zip bags we use to store everything in……
…. I am pausing to take a DEEP CLEANSING BREATH.
I am sure you are thinking about a thousand and one other pieces of plastic that I didn’t mention. Oh, she forgot…..
Depending on where you live and work, you’re likely to be exposed to many plastic products every day. Food and beverage containers, some disposable plates, and toiletry bottles are all plastic and all are made from chemicals. Research suggests that all plastics may leach chemicals if they’re scratched or heated. Research also strongly suggests that at certain exposure levels, some of the chemicals in these products, such as bisphenol A (BPA), may cause cancer in people.
enough, if you want to learn more , I am sure you know how to use Google. Just type in why/how bisphenol A…aka… BPA causes cancer.
***********For no reason at all, except that puppies are adorable, here is the promised photo of an impossibly cute puppy.
Hi, I am glad you found the cute puppy.
One more time, Sparkle of the Day,
“Our Lord has made the best gifts the most common.”
A picture of a puppy on verdant grass. Common
Beautiful brown puppy eyes. Common
Common sense. Sewing a useful cotton bag.
I used my noodle and I sewed myself a pretty project bag out of 100% cotton fabric. (yes, I know the zipper and buttons are plastic…..progress not perfection)
I just finished a wonderful book, “the happiness dare” by Jennifer Dukes Lee.
Actually, I worked my way through the book with a friend and we compared our answers/had discussions at the end of each chapter. It’s the kind of book you write in the margins, underline sentences, draw arrows on the side of the page, dog ear the corners, write out your answers……… you work, you learn so much, you re-read paragraphs to understand every sentence. My paperback edition is a bit rough-looking after a few weeks of love/use.
I highly recommend this gem of paper and ink. Jennifer has common sense, a splash of humor and as a follower of Christ, offers up a perspective that is doable, most helpful and at the same time, she somehow makes you feel like she is talking directly to you.
Working your way through this book is both insightful and encouraging. I think of myself as a person who seeks the happy. I look for it. However, oh yeah, as you can tell by my lack of blog posts, I have stumbled lately with finding that sweet spot of happy.
This thing we call life has a way of tossing in some tricky times, situations and events that are not so happy.
page 259….. Jennifer writes…..” Believe me, I know that there are days when happiness seems like an awful lot of work………….But those are the days when happiness is absolutely worth the work – even if it’s hard. Because sometimes happiness is what will save us. ”
Did you catch that? Let me take a moment and stencil that on my wall. Oh yeah, you KNOW I am going to paint that somewhere in our house.
Happiness is what will save us.
Currently our Spring weather is more like a lion than a lamb. We have pouring rain, dark ominous clouds, 40* and a wind that is blowing plastic sacks around the neighborhood.
I needed to find some spring. I went to a local nursery and bought some. When I paid for my purchase, I said to the cashier, thanks for selling spring. She laughed.
Then I did something that really made me happy. I bought a door.
A little, tiny, 4 inch fairy door. I want to welcome sweet, charming, happy fairies into our home.
When the grands come to visit, I want them to stumble upon a little tiny door that is hidden, just enough to feel special. I want them to find a tiny bit of glitter sprinkled on the miniature stone step. Makes me happy to think about.
Some how day dreaming about what’s behind that fairy door makes me happy.
Crocheting a new baby owl hat makes me happy. Sewing an apron for a birthday girl makes me happy. Hiding a sweet love card in Mr. Right’s suitcase makes me happy. Buying fluffy, white towels makes me happy.