10 Keepsake Gift Ideas to Welcome a New Grandbaby

 

1.  Hope Chest or Memory Box

As a new parent, you remember the thrills and trials of baby’s first year. During this time, busy new parents can always use help keeping baby’s memories together. Giving a special box or chest to put these things in will keep mementoes safely stored and in one place.

2.  Photographs

Remember to take lots of photographs. Arrange for a few special shots, you holding baby, baby holding your finger, their little toes.  There are so many “new” creative shots I started a board  on  Pinterest you can check out. Do a little research so you can put together some very memorable shots you will treasure forever. These are the ones you will want to frame and have as “keepers”.

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3.  Plant a Flower or Tree

If you have the yard or garden, plant a flower or new tree for each new grandchild when they are born. It will always mean something to both of you as you watch the tree and your grandchild grow. It would be fun to take a photo of them next to the tree on every birthday.

4.  Time Capsule

Save the paper from the day baby is born, cards and letters of congratulations…these will be wonderful things for a time capsule or to give to Mom and Dad for baby’s memory box.

5.  First Gifts

Use this time to gift baby with a “first” gift, such as a silver first Christmas ornament, rocking horse, baby shoes or piece of jewelry such as a bracelet, charm or necklace. Gifts that can be used again are always special, such as a baby to bride or groom gift that can be part of a wedding, graduation or their first child.

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6.  Welcoming Home

If it suits the personality and needs of the new parents, do something to welcome baby home such as a yard banner, sign or wreath, luminaries, lots of fresh flowers, or a fridge stocked with prepared food.

7.  Little Impressions

Give a gift that will allow Mom and Dad to get baby’s handprints and footprints. Make sure to get an extra, so you can get these adorable impressions for yourself as well!

8.  Collectibles

Perhaps you have given a gift to a previous grandchild that would be a great tradition to continue. Ideas such as piggy banks, collectible figurines, embroidered or handmade blankets or bedding or the start to a college fund are all ideas to consider. Another idea would be to give each grandchild something special that belongs to you that you want to pass down to them.

9.  Something from Parent’s Babyhood

If you have a baby keepsake from your child who is now a parent, the birth of their child would be a wonderful time to pass it on. Perhaps you saved a baby outfit, birth announcement or other keepsake that could be beautifully framed and passed on.

10.  Letter for the future

Write a letter to the new grandbaby on the day they are born. Take all of those wonderful emotions and share them in a letter that will be treasured forever.

GMHEART-LIFESTYLE

What Grieving Mothers Want for Mother’s Day

What Grieving Mothers Want for Mother’s Day

These are some very observations on helping grieving moms get through Mother’s Day written by my friend Renee Wood of TheComfortCompany.net.

We don’t like to think that this day could be anything but joyous, but for many women it is a day to remember their lost love, whether it be a miscarriage or loss of a child. Just the other day I received an email from a customer, asking to be taken off the mailing list because the emails reminded her of her loss. This is for her and all the other mom’s who have a piece of their heart forever in Heaven.

TheComfortCompany.net Offers

10 Simple Ways to Help Moms Cope When Mother’s Day Hurts

Acknowledgement is what grieving mother’s want most for Mother’s Day, suggests a survey by www.thecomfortcompany.net, a website that specializes in meaningful sympathy gifts. The online survey asked “What can others do to ease your pain on Mother’s Day”. Over 80 percent of the 200 respondents answered, “Recognize that I am a mother”.

 

“While Mother’s Day is generally considered to be a day of celebration, for many women it is a day of pain and loss” says Renee Wood, former social worker and founder of The Comfort Company. “It’s important to remember those moms who have had a failed pregnancy or who have lost a child at any age.”

 

In response to the survey results, thecomfortcompany.net has issued a list of ten simple ways to reach out to a grieving mother on this difficult holiday.

 

1. Recognize that they are a mother

Offer a hug and a “Happy Mother’s Day”. Send a card to let them know you remember they are a mother even though their child is not with them physically.

 

2. Acknowledge they have had a loss

Express the message, “I know this might be a difficult day for you. I want you to know that I am thinking about you.”

Rememberme. The Orange Slice: The Grandparent Gift Co.

3. Use their child’s name in conversation

One mother responded, “People rarely speak his name anymore, but when they do it’s like music to my ears”.

 

4. Plant a living memorial

A tree or rose bush, like memories, will grow in beauty as the years pass.

 

5. Visit the grave site

Many mothers felt that it was “extremely thoughtful” when others visited their child’s grave site and left flowers or a small pebble near the headstone.

 

6. Light a candle

Let the mother know you will light a candle in memory of their child on Mother’s Day.

Baby Memorial Gift: Orange Slice, The Grandparent Gift co.

7. Share a memory or pictures of the child

Give the gift of a memory. One mother wrote that the “greatest gift you can give is a heart felt letter about my child and a favorite memory with them”.

 

8. Send a gift of remembrance

Many mothers felt a small gift would be comforting. Suggestions included: an angel statue, jewelry, a picture frame, a library book or toy donation in the child’s name or anything personalized.

Baby Heaven Infant Loss Gift

 

9. Don’t try to minimize the loss

Avoid using any clichés that attempt to explain the death of a child. (“God needed another angel.”) Secondly, don’t try to find anything positive about the loss (“You still have two healthy children”).

 

10. Encourage Self-Care

Self-care is an important aspect of the “healing the mind and spirit effort” according to several mothers. Encourage a grieving mother to take care of herself. Give her a gift certificate to a day spa or any place where she can be pampered.

 

What have you done to comfort a friend who has lost a child?

 

Visit- www.comfortcompany.net for bereavement gifts

Visit www.grandparentgiftcompany.com

 

©2007 The Comfort Company. All Rights Reserved.  May be reprinted with permission and credit to: www.thecomfortcompany.net

10 Ideas for Putting Thoughtfulness in Everyday

It’s a hot summer day and the swim moms are standing under the umbrellas as we do each morning, watching our kids lap it. Some days the conversation is lively, other days intense, and some days there is NO conversation. This seems to be the way it goes when you are in the throws of the activity phase of raising children.

Moms and dads always running, competing for the “busiest schedule trophy”, to longing for a few minutes to stop and smell the roses, to just too darn tired to speak.

It was one of those, “I wish I could stop and smell the roses moments” that I remember a friend’s reflection that stopped me. With coffee mug, keys and phone in hand, on a short break from running her very busy “Mom” taxi service, she lamented that one day…yes one day, she hoped to have the time to be thoughtful again.

I thought, must we really wait? How old will I be when I stop running? What about all those years, and all those chances I would have missed?

I didn’t make a plan for being more thoughtful at the time, but I tucked her reflections away. They weren’t far away, as I figuratively put them in my back pocket. I would take them out occasionally, like an old school note, read them and fold them back up and tuck them away again.

It was several years later that I took them out (again figuratively!)…ironed them like a wrinkled shirt and decided to put them on.

I decided to make thoughtfulness a part of my life. A conscious part of who I wanted to be. I didn’t think it would take much extra time and the benefit would be huge. Not only for me, my heart…my soul, but for my family too. Don’t get me wrong, I am far, far from perfect and not always thoughtful, but finding time in my head (more than hours on the clock), I have started weaving thoughtfulness into my every day.

Here are 10 tips and ideas to help you move to a more thoughtful place:

1. Work on your mind. Thoughtfulness is really finding a bit of “mind” time. Making a conscious effort and becoming aware of what others are experiencing. Ask yourself the question each day, “what have I done today?” or “what will I do today to make a difference?”

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2. Put thoughtfulness on your to-do list. Write it down. You don’t have to know exactly what it will be at that moment, but writing it down makes you aware and more likely to take an opportunity to be kind.

3. Purchase note cards and stamps. Leave them in places where you find you often have downtime. I think a great place is in the car. How many times during the week do you wait in a carpool line or at a child’s event or at a doctor’s appointment? Keep a list of friends/family with you so you can address and mail them. I love the art of letter writing, but if time is tight and letters are not your thing, send a caring email or text.

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4. Set aside a very specific time each week to do something thoughtful. Perhaps it is Wednesday mornings for 15 minutes, you reach out to friends, family or neighbors you noticed needed a little extra kindness that week.

5. Gather like-minded friends and form an informal group. Trade off and schedule to do something kind each month. Volunteer at a shelter, make a meal for a firehouse, help a local family in need, pick up trash at a local park…

6. When you cook or bake, make a double batch. Give it away, or freeze it and when the opportunity presents itself you will have something from the heart ready to give.

7. When you see items on sale or clearance that would make a great little gifts of kindness, stock up and stock away. Again having items on hand takes the “work” out of being kind. Good suggestions would be note cards, cards, candles, small frames, healthy snacks or foods, gift cards, teas and coffees.

8. Save magazines or articles you think a friend or family member would be interested in. Attach a kind note and deliver to them. If you have finished reading a great book, pass it on to someone else who would enjoy.

9. When you are out doing errands and just living your life, make a conscious effort to thank those who do a good job or share a positive thought you might have in your head, but never thought to share…ie.. “you seem to really love your job, you make it nice to shop here.” Hold the door, help a senior with their groceries, slip a few quarters in the gumball or drink machine, some other simple daily kindnesses.

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10. What are you good at? What do you love doing? Are you a photographer, an artist, an exercise or diet enthusiast, a gardener or pet lover? Use your passion and skills to help others, when it is something that comes naturally to you, it makes it easier to do.

I would  love to hear your ideas and stories- it is only through others that we become our best selves, so please share.

Until next time-

Teri

 

Great Birthday Gift Idea: Letter of the Month

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This is a photograph of my grandma and my daughter. I’ll admit it is a little dated. Grandma was only 95 years young in this photo, today she is nearing 99. We have been officially celebrating her birthday with a big family party every 5 years. We began the tradition on her 80th birthday and we are looking forward to next year’s 100 year celebration. My Grandma is amazing. She lives in a retirement home  in the independent living apartments. She dresses beautifully every day, gets her hair done weekly, continues to write letters and carry on meaningful conversations.  She would lament her eyes, ears and knees don’t work as well as they once did, but we should be so blessed.

When it comes to planning a milestone birthday party , the hall, the cake, the invites, the menu….those are fairly easy decisions. For me, the only thing on the to-do list that is difficult to cross off with a feeling of total satisfaction- is the gift. I think over the years we have done a pretty good job at coming up with sentimental and meaning gifts, but at 95 we were stuck. We had run out of “things” we could happily give. For her birthdays and holidays I rotate through a list of gifts, sometimes selecting stationery, other times soaps and lotions, or occasionally a new over-the-head necklace. For 95, I wasn’t happy giving the usual suspects.

I gave myself some thinking time. I do my best thinking in unplanned moments and some of my greatest ideas have come in the shower, to the hum of a blow dryer, or in the car on a rare solo drive. This time I happened to be working in the yard. It was late winter or early spring (sometimes the two blend together here in the south!) and I was tending a flower bed. I was thinking Grandma loved flowers and perhaps there was an idea there somewhere. And then my mind wandered back to a program I had seen on television not long before. It was a documentary on the traits of centenarians. It featured several centenarians from around the world. They analyzed their lifestyle, diet, attitudes etc… There was one man from California, I believe he was still a practicing heart surgeon, who said he liked to hang out with young people, because they kept him young. He used the old crab in a bucket example of what happens as we age. He didn’t like to talk to old people because the complaining got him down, just like crabs in a bucket. One crawls up and the others pull him down.

My Grandma had lived in her own home until shortly before her 95th birthday. She decided it was time to move to a smaller apartment and away from some of the chores and hardships in caring for your own home. My fear for her was changing her environment, although there would be more people around, would be like crabs in a bucket. At 95 she was probably one of the oldest residents at the center, but being around 80 year olds didn’t constitute hanging out with young people! I wanted to make sure she was still engaged and connected, so the letter of the month gift was born.

The concept was simple- gather family and friends and send them a reminder email once a month to mail something to Grandma…a card, a letter, photographs of the kids, artwork from the kids…anything she could open and touch.  A full mailbox gives you bragging rights at the senior home too. I thought if I could get a list of relatives you could do this for a year, Grandma would stay positive and connected. When I told her about the gift, she had tears in her eyes.

As the months progressed I realized there was a benefit to my gift I had not anticipated. For the cards, letters and photos she was receiving, she was writing back. She was finding meaning, purpose and an activity to keep her mind engaged, her spirits up and her heart connected. At the end of that year, I thought “why stop now?” and I continue to send out a reminder every month. She may not receive letters daily, but I know her mailbox is fuller because of them. I will continue sending them as long as she is celebrating birthdays. Which brings me to next year…what gift would be suitable for a 100 year birthday party? Believe it or not, I have an idea, a really great idea I got in the shower…so stay tuned!

10 Great Valentine’s Gift Ideas for Family

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, are you looking for great Valentine’s Day gift ideas for your family? Take a look at this 10 ideas from the heart. Isn’t that what it is all about?

 

10  GREAT Valentine’s Day Gift ideas for Family

 

  1. Make an “I love you” book. Purchase a blank album or journal. Fill the pages with reasons that person is loved. For example:  I love your chocolate cake, or I love it when we watch movies together.  Include pictures, drawings or other personal touches to make it special for the recipient.
  2.  For gifts such as candles, jewelry, flowers, chocolate etc., add your own special touching message, so they remember the gift came from you. Tie the gift and a meaningful message together. If you give candles, add a note that tells them you light up your life and every time they use the candle to think of how special they are to you. For candy, tell them how they sweeten your life.
  3. Schedule a meal to have together and fill it with love. Heart-shaped pancakes or sandwiches. Think red…strawberries, tomatoes, pomegranate etc… to add lots of color. There are all kinds of websites with yummy, wonderful and attractive Valentines recipes to use as well.
  4. Honor the recipient by having one of their favorite sayings or mottos put on something they will see everyday such as a wall plaque, magnet, coffee mug or frame.
  5. Schedule a time to get together and do a few good deeds for others. A day or week planned with a few special “giving back” deeds, will fill your family members hearts with good feelings.
  6. If older family members need help with their home or with everyday  chores, show up at their home for a work day. Nothing says I love you more than the gift of your time.
  7. If you have long-distance family members, nothing says it better than pictures or video. For still shots, take a photograph of children holding a heart, wearing a heart t-shirt etc.For video, kids can sing a song, shout I love you, put on a play..use your imagination!
  8. Don’t buy your Valentine’s Day cards this year- make them- however cute, messy and imperfect they are, your heart will shine through. For an extra touch, frame them as a “work of heart”. When wrapping gifts, use kids artwork or print out a special photograph of the recipient and use it as a gift tag.
  9. Start a Valentine’s Day gift journal that you can record in each year. Note the year and list all the things you are grateful for and all the things you love. Perhaps even a great way to start keeping a daily journal of positive, loving thoughts.
  10. Make a plan to give everyone in your family your sincere attention and interest. Give hugs, really listen, write a little love note and be gracious to each other in the name of family and love. These gifts are free, but have the most value.

For great Valentines’ gifts that will meet your budget and time constraints, but still send an unquestioned message of love, visit www.grandparentgiftco.com for sweet gifts for your family.