Grandparent’s Guide to Handprinting Activities

A Grand-HAND in Time by Nikki Clemens A grandparent’s guide to fun and easy hand-printing activities  No matter how big or how small, no matter how youthful or how aged, hands are as unique as the people they belong to. Nothing is sweeter than seeing a newborn baby’s hands for the first time—ten fingers all perfectly formed and ready to take hold of life. Hands are an extension of human nature itself, whether it is a pair of little hands playing pat-a-cake, a high-five on the ball field, a mom waving to her child on the school bus or grandma’s hands planting flowers in the garden. We use our hands to work, play, communicate and express… handshakes, hugs, pats and high-fives!

Handprints are the perfect way to preserve a moment, celebrate a milestone or create a unique gift. A child’s handprint is the iconic image of both youth and joy, and a “stamp” in time that remains even as a child grows. In honor of the adoring ten fingers upon your hands, here are ten fun and easy handprint activities to share with your grandchild: 1. Holiday Hands You have undoubtedly seen or helped create the iconic Thanksgiving Day turkey hand, either drawn or painted with each finger serving as a brightly colored feather.

It’s time to think beyond the turkey! There are dozens of ideas for every holiday imaginable. A little paper and a little washable paint can lead to a lot of smiles! Here are a few ideas to last the whole year through!

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2. Handprint Placemat What better way to serve up your grandchild’s favorite food than on a personalized placemat? Take an oversized piece of construction paper and let your grandchild’s imagination run wild! Help him/her stamp the page with handprints, add photographs and hand-drawn pictures. Once the masterpiece is created, visit your local business supply store or copy center to have the placemat laminated for a keepsake that will last far longer than the food on your grandchild’s plate!

3. Keepsake Ornament to Celebrate the Newest Family Member

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  The Grandparent Gift Co. is proud to offer this keepsake Christmas ornament to celebrate baby’s first holiday season. Complete baby handprint ornament kit features 3.5×5 antique gold frame, gold stamp pad, green grosgrain ribbon, instructions, plus unforgettable keepsake poem written on the back.

4. Have a Hand in History Hand-printing projects aren’t just for the grandkids! Create a timeless treasure for your children and grandchildren to cherish. Purchase a canvas at a local craft store, dip your hands in some paint and create a masterpiece! Use special quotes, dates, and memories to personalize your one-of-a-kind canvas. Some ideas to accompany your hands (or your and grandpa’s hands side-by-side): “These hands will never let you go” “My hands may age with time, but my love for you lives on forever” “Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven.” Lamentations 3:41 “We joined hands 40 years ago, and never let go” (grandpa and grandma) “Four hands, two hearts, one love”(grandpa and grandma) You can also use handprints of you and a grandchild (grandchildren) side-by-side: “Who takes the child by the hand takes the grandmother (nana, nonna, etc) by the heart!” “You may hold my hand for but a short while, but you will always hold my heart.” “You hold my heart in the palm of your hand.” “Best grandkids, hands down!”

5. Bake Thumbprint Cookies Although cookies may not last as long as artwork, thumbprint cookies are a great way to personalize your baking experience with your grandchild!

  RECIPE FOR THUMBPRINT COOKIES: Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, whites and yolks separated and reserved
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/4 cups finely chopped nuts
  • 1/2 cup jam

Preparation: Beat butter until creamy. Gradually add sugar. Add egg yolks (reserving egg whites for later) and extract. Mix out 1 cup of flour and add salt to it. Gradually add to butter mixture. Add other cup of flour gradually. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or overnight. Also make sure reserved egg whites are covered and refrigerated, too. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Very lightly grease 2 cookie sheets. Set counter for the rolling process by setting out low-sided bowl with lightly beaten and reserved egg whites and another low-sided bowl for the nuts. Roll dough into 1 to 1-1/2 inch balls. Then roll each ball into egg white and then nuts. Place on cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Press thumb into each cookie before baking. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet. Move to wire racks for cooling. Press centers again with thumb. When cookies are almost cool, fill centers with jam or icing.

6. A Gift for Grandpa!

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The Grandparent Gift Co. makes gift-giving easy!  This 5 x 7 double tabletop frame has a space for your grandchild’s handprint and the perfect photo with grandpa! Now available personalized! Whether Papa, Pops or Grandpa, he will smile and give his grandchild a high five every time he sees this unique gift.

7. Grandma’s Wall of Fame Single handprints displayed in frames in a family room or study can be a timeless tradition at grandma’s house! Pick a time each year, albeit your grandchild’s birthday, Christmas, first day of school, etc. and build a wall of handprints! Be sure they are dated so you can see how much your grandchildren have grown! If you have a basement or garage wall that needs some grandparent loving, let your grandchildren take over with handprints and messages to you.

  8. Create a Stepping Stone

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  Stepping stones are a great way to add love to your garden or patio. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make a mosaic stepping stone like the one pictured above: Purchase mosaic tiles in desired colors from a craft store and purchase concrete mix like “Quikrete”, a just-add-water powdered mixture, from a hardware store. 1. Follow the concrete mixture directions and stir in a bucket until it has the consistency of cake batter. 2. Slowly pour the mixture into a platter bottom or pie tin. Shake the mold to remove all air bubbles and let the concrete sit for approximately one hour. 3. Help your grandchild press his/her hand into the cement mixture. Have a wet cloth nearby to remove excess cement. 4. Let your grandchild place the mosaic tiles in the desired position, pressing slightly to secure. 5. Once your grandchild is happy with the design, let the stone cure for a couple of days before removing the mold. 6. Enjoy your grandchild’s stepping stone for years to come.

9. A Family Tree

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  Invite the entire family to get involved in the hand-printing fun by creating a family tree! To create this timeless treasure, there are endless possibilities —construction paper cut-out hands, painted hands on canvas, quotes, dates, family names, birthdates…Make your family tree as genuine and unique as your family itself.

10.  Crafty Cut-Outs What a fun and unique way to show off hands, no matter how big or how small! Visit your local craft store and have your grandchild pick out his or her favorite pattern on paper or fabric. Next, trace and cut out hand shapes Put your fabric handprints on a blanket, quilt, apron, tree shirt or t-shirts.Put your paper cut outs in a frame, scrapbook or photo album for lasting keepsakes.

Grandparent’s Day Idea: Grandkids Party

What could be better, joining forces (grandparents and grandkids) with no enemy in sight (parents). Said with good humor and a touch of sarcasm, but seriously, putting grandkids and grandparents together for a party, what could me more fun! And parents get to benefit with a few hours or perhaps days, off.

If you live near your grandchildren and can schedule time together on Grandparent’s Day, it might become an annual event, by very popular demand. If you don’t live near your grandchildren, perhaps a summer date would be possible. How about a day or evening set aside during a summer family vacation where only grandparents and grandchildren are allowed.

Here are 10 ideas to help you put together a memorable event. Adjust the ideas up or down based on your energy, budget, interest, time, and age and number of grandkids.

 

1. Be the hostess! Host the grandkids at your home, if there is room for all of them. There’s no place like Grandma and Grandpas! Focus on what the grandkids love about coming to visit you. Do you have a great attic to explore, a big yard, a pool, farm animals or an ultra modern condo?  Make it a few hour party or how about a sleepover? A day camp? Or a weekend getaway?

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2. A sure way to grandkids’ hearts are through their stomachs. How about letting each request their favorite dish and invite them over for a home cooked meal. The collection of favorite recipe requests might look something like this… strawberry pretzel salad, macaroni and cheese, chocolate chip pancakes and meatloaf! If they are family recipes you would like to pass down, use this opportunity to teach and share.

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3. If your grandkids are older and it is getting tougher to think of things to do sans eye rolls, consider taking them out to dinner, attending a sporting event or participating in one. If you are fit and active, how about a Fun Run, golf tournament or fall hike. Consider participating in an annual charitable activity such as a walk, local area park clean-up, a Habitat for Humanity project or even a mission trip.

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4. If the grandkids are old enough, let them plan or help plan the party. Older kids may surprise you with their creativity and organizational skills. Perhaps they can rotate helping you or rotate the task by family. As they say, half the fun is getting there. Planning and preparing together makes memories, maybe even more so than the doing.

5. Create a t-shirt or small souvenir or keepsake each child can take home to remember the “party”. Perhaps you create a unique invitation each year which serves as a memento, or you plan a craft to take home. Consider following  up after the party with a handwritten thank you note for coming. Tell them how special they are and how much fun you had together. Thank you notes may even be returned in kind. Kids love traditions, be consistent and it will be memorable.

6. Make it a memory by taking a special photograph. There are great, creative photo ideas out there. For instance you can have them hold a frame or chalk board with the year or a message on it.  Another idea is to have each grandchild wear a shirt or hold up a sign with their name or birth order on it. Fun, relaxed photos showcasing their personalities tell the story of how much fun the “party” has been. These photos will be keepers and fodder for your brag book or Facebook page. Creating a photo wall in your home or an album for each event, will ensure lasting memories.

7. If you prefer to get up and go, then go somewhere! Consider a ball game, girlie manicures and pedicures, go karts, an amusement park, a picnic lunch, rafting, biking or fishing. Perhaps there is a popular local festival or concert to attend. If you live close to where you grew up or spent many years as an adult, a trip down memory lane would be a wonderful way to share your life with your grandchildren. Plan to take tons of photos and videos, and answer all their curious questions about what life was like in the “ole days”.

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8. If hosting a party at your place, themed parties can be a ton of fun. Many websites offer fabulous ideas to help with games, food and more. Look for age appropriate themes. If you have a wide range of ages, you may want to consider splitting up, with babies/toddlers together and the “big” kids, so you won’t pull your hair out!

9. If you were born with the creative gene, devising a treasure hunt or mystery is always fun and memorable. Clues placed around the house or yard or taken to the mall or local downtown area, really get kids of all ages excited to unravel the mystery or find the hidden treasure.

10. Plan to make something together. When grandkids are young, simple crafts, chalk drawings, handprints and silhouettes are priceless. As they get older, building a fort, tree house or play area, planting a garden or decorating a playroom are projects you can work on together and enjoy together for years to come.

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Whatever you choose to do, make it memorable! Please share your ideas or details of your day… Teri

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest for more creative family ideas.

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.

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Happy Mother’s Day Princess Grandma

I wanted to share one of my favorite Mother’s Day Posts- lovin’ those Grandmas!

I was expecting my first child at 34. We had tried for nearly 5 years to start a family and many emotions from this time are still very real. But they are greatly overshadowed by my first emotions of motherhood.

I still vividly recall the first 5 am morning, when the night nurse roused me out of bed after a late-night c-section. ”You have to get moving” she said. Believe it or not, I was ready!

All I wanted to do was hold my baby. With her help, I eased into the chair next to my hospital bed. For two hours, I awkwardly, yet lovingly held my new baby.

I could not take my eyes off of him.

No longer concerned with my exhaustion, pain, or hunger, I was solely focused on my joy.

This year I celebrate my 16th year as a mother, having added another three sweet babies along the way. I often think, “Did my mother feel this way about me?”. Certainly I felt it with all of my children.

Each time I was filled with awe at creating a new life. I also realized there was not a finite amount of love to go around.

Each successive child was not left with a smaller piece of the pie. No, instead, I learned that a mother’s love does not have boundaries and seating is not limited.

A mother’s love truly was infinite– amazing.

This Mother’s Day I take a little extra time to reflect on my mother and how her infinite love for me, not only shaped my childhood, but how it has continued to shape me, as I became Mommy and she became Grandma.

Not only does she love me, but she deeply loves the little people I made.

They are a part of her too.

Over the past ten years, my Mom certainly has done it all, and without complaint. I would actually say she has relished it.

She has made being a Grandma her profession and she is REALLY good at it.

The other day I asked my 3 year-old daughter what she wanted to be when she grew up. She quickly declared, (thanks to great retail marketing)- a princess would suit her.

When I informed her there weren’t going to be too many princess jobs available, she reconsidered. She sat still for a moment, then her little eyes lit up with one of those “ah-ha” moments.

I want to be a “Gramma!” she exclaimed.

She was quite confident her second choice was a winner. For although she doesn’t know any real princesses, she does know a Grandma, and she is real. In the eyes of a three year-old, the life of a Grandma seems comparable to those of a storybook princess. So maybe Grandma doesn’t dress in a beautiful gown and bejeweled crown.

And perhaps, although some Grandpas’ would argue, even come with a handsome prince on her arm. But Grandma does possess all the magic and wonder of a princess.

Perhaps it is the constant smile, the giggles, or the willingness to read stories and play games well past her Mother’s tolerance. Perhaps it is the unconditional hugs and kisses and little presents that appear when Grandma is around. Maybe just spending time with Grandma is like a fairy tale with an always happy ending.

And so Mom, this Mother’s Day, it appears that becoming a Grandma is the happy ending (or beginning) to all the years and all the love. For not only in the eyes of a 3-year old, but her forty-something mother as well, you have officially risen to the place of Princess in our family.

A mother’s infinite generous love can make fairy tales come true.

So an extended “Happy Mother’s Day” to Princess Grandmas everywhere who too deserve the royal treatment for all the fairy tale days they have written and all those they have yet to write.

To all  the Princesses- Happy Mother’s Day!

till next time- Teri

Life Lessons Radio: Our Beginnings!

I am often asked how I stared my business.

Where did the idea come from?

How did you know what to do to get started?

How do you continue to know what to do?

The honest answer is “I don’t know!” I do know where the idea came from. A moment 24 years ago, when my Mom was swooning over her first grandchild, and I told her she should open a store and call it “Grandma’s House” and have it filled with wonderful grandma things.

But the rest, it is one step at a time and it has been a lot of steps… 18 years worth of steps and missteps. All marching to the same goal, filling a “store” with wonderful things, not always for grandma, but certainly things a grandmother would love for her family.

I have found over the years, the path becomes less overgrown and clear when following a calling or a passion, it ignites energy, becomes contagious and makes you purposeful. When you lose the passion, you lose your direction and momentum. You look to others to get you back on track. But sometimes like a well-intentioned GPS, you still veer off course!

If you have, or thinking of starting your own business. Take your passion and move it forward a little each day..one step at a time.

I recently had the chance to talk about how I started my business and some of the ideas and inspirations that have given us some staying power. I was interviewed by Rick with Gracefully Yours who has a radio show called Life Lessons Radio.

It was a great conversation and it gave me a chance to reflect on the path I have taken and how many changes have happened over the course of nearly 20 years in business.

You can hear the interview at:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lifelessonsnetwork/2013/03/11/teri-harrison-of-grandparent-gift-company-shares-her-lessons

Signing off-

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!

A Few Thoughts on Grandkids

I write a lot about grandkids and have for over 18 years. It is not that I am a grandparent myself, but that I am a grandchild and a great observer of my parents and grandparents. Here are a few thoughts about the special relationship between the generations.

Lessons from Grandkids… a few life observations…

That old on the outside, can still be young on the inside.

Never say “no” to seconds.

It’s OK to eat a little dirt occasionally.

The best gifts are hand drawn and heart spoken.

Simple walks make great moments.

A grandparent’s heart has super human powers.

It’s how we look at life…A dandelion is a flower.

Puddles never have no swimming signs.

Fingerprints on glass are stains on the heart.

“Why” is a perfectly good question.

Grandkids are like dessert, saving the best for last.

Naps are good for your mood at any age.

Comments about body parts aren’t mean, just honest observations.

The best compliment is grandkids fighting over your lap or your hand.

The Joy of Parenting: Discovering Love is Infinity…

With Valentine’s Day in the air, hearts and love are everywhere.

I was working our annual tradeshow booth recently, and as I have come to experience, grandparent love is always in the air.

So many customers are grandparents, and each has heartwarming stories about their grandparenting experience. I heard about a playroom being designed with a lollipop theme, receiving pregnancy news over the holidays, and plans for an upcoming grandchild sleepover they couldn’t wait to get home to.

As I happily nod and listen to the glowing stories and unabashed happiness, I thought, what is it that grandparents have? Why at this time in life does everything seem so much “lovelier”. I thought back to my own experience as a new Mom to understand.

As a new mother, I was stunned…no, blown away by the love I felt for my first child. What an “ah-ha” moment in life. Did my mother feel this way about me? Was that why she was always interested in where I was, keeping in touch, wanting to make sure I was ok? Was that the reason she often said, “We are doing this because we love you?’

Was love the reason she cried when I moved across the country, and without reserve spent months away from home to help care for me and my newborn twins?

OK, now I get it…I mean I really get it.

When I was pregnant with my second child, I had the same thoughts many Moms having their second child have. You question how you could possibly love another child as much as the first. It is so big, so awesome, so consuming, is it possible to feel that for another? And how about another and another?
But motherhood is amazing because the answer is simply and easily answered -YES.

That’s it.

The second arrives and you are again blown away. Your heart doesn’t say, “Sorry that’s enough, you’ve given all the love you have. If anyone wants more, they will have to share.” No in fact, your heart grows.

The challenge in mothering is as your children get older convincing them of this. They endlessly vie for your time and attention. They measure your love like slicing the last remaining piece of cake in perfectly equal portions.

They are unaware although your time is finite, your love is not.

The heart is not something to divvy out in equal portions. When they say a child is always a part of you, I think what they mean is you have a unique heart inside you for each of them.

And so I see the magic of grandparents. Grandparents have been through parenthood and know without a doubt, with 100% certainty that they can love without condition, because they learned love is infinity.

They get it.

There is no time needed to figure things out, it was done long ago. Grandparents are joyful and giving because they understand loves mystery and when given a second chance they fill the air with love just like Valentine’s Day.