A Tribute to a Beloved Grandma- My Source of Spring

Written by Hannah Henthorne…amazing daughter, accomplished student, avid runner, food nut, and blogger extraordinaire…

It is in those first few days of Spring that I think about her most. I’ve never given much thought to this seemingly strange occurrence; for there is no tangible reason I should think of her during this time. My grandmother was of a rare kind, increasingly difficult to come by these days. As most grandmas are, she loved her grandchildren and family endlessly. That love evident in the genuine smile and words she emitted when around us. She radiated warmth.

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As the years progressed, her health deteriorated, but her spirit for the simplicity of life around her blossomed. I looked forward to sleepovers at Grandma’s, but not because she spoiled me with gifts or took me to dinner at a restaurant that mom and dad never did. Instead, we stayed in. Comforted not by television, but by board games and laughter around grandma’s four person oak table. Standing in her retro orange-carpeted kitchen as she diligently taught my young and wandering mind the kitchen basics. Using windowsill herbs and garden fresh vegetables to teach me the best stuff comes from a bit of patience and a genetic green thumb.

One instance in particular stands out in my mind when I reach to recall a memory of her. It was the end of the night at one of those sleepovers; time for bed. We trekked up the stairs together, and began performing my pre sleep rituals. Grandma never left my side. I jumped in bed with as much energy as I could feign, telling grandma I wasn’t tired yet. She sat by my side a few minutes, tucking the blanket in on either side of my body, securing me in a sleep cocoon. Thinking back to that moment now, I felt as secure in that bed, warm and worry-free, as I do with the memory of her today. For it was that mere gesture of protection and love that defined her whole being.

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But that is not the memory I conjure up. It is what happened immediately after, as she was leaving my room. Just before she closed the door, I remembered to call out the words, “I love you.” I wasn’t sure if she heard, but I wanted to say it anyway, as a way to seal this perfect night. My answer was received as I heard the door quietly creak back open and the comforting sound of grandma’s voice reply, “I’ve been waiting all day to hear those words, I love you too.”

It is that simple yet slam-packed sentimental statement that has stayed with me all these years. Not only the memory of this moment but the moral as well. I learned the power of words, the power and rarity of pure love. This sentiment, something I thought Grandma knew, was enough to make her day as well as mine.

I’d like to think this moment we shared resonated with her as it did with me, for I lacked the courage to bring it up in person to her, out of fear it was a dream.

This memory gives me promise. It gives me hope during moments of doubt. Promise that souls like Grandma’s do exist in this increasingly insensitive world, and hope that I can one day grow to be the gentle, graceful woman she was.

It is the culmination of Grandma’s most gracious traits—her warmth, her ability to make a flower sprout from the smallest of seeds, and most importantly, the promise and hope she emitted—that have helped me conclude that she is my Spring. Her attributes are synonymous, if not identical, to the characteristics of springtime.

My winter can be warm if I so desire. All I have to do is think back to that night at Grandma’s, her smile, her hands, and the snow brightens to fresh grass; the crisp air no longer burns but warms my cheeks. All from the comfort of knowing Spring—and Grandma—is never too far away.

Written by Hannah Henthorne…amazing daughter, accomplished student, avid runner, food nut, and blogger extraordinaire…

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

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