Monday, December 29, 2008

Sales Aplenty

I hit the stores today for the big after Christmas sales and got to stock up on yarn at super prices. I am an avid knitter and will be ready now for the many days of snowy weather here in the northeast. I will grab my needles and a cup of tea or cocoa and settle in. Hope you all have great plans for the New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Silver and Lavender

This is a new birthday card I made using a lavendar card, lavender flocked paper with silver embossing, silver ink, and stamps from Stampin' Up. It is accented with silver ribbon.

January Books For kids

As promised, here are some favorite books for kids that are perfect for January.

Winter Weather- "Snowsong Whistling" by Karne Lota illustrated by Elisa Kleven
This is a delightful rhyming book about a snowstorm and the illustrations are gorgeous. A wonderful book to read aloud to a child.

Polar Bears- "Big bear Little Bear" by David Bedford and Jane Chapman
An adventure story of a polar bear cub with a sweet ending.
- "The Three Snow Bears" by Jan Brett
This is similar to the three bears story but with polar bears instead of brown bears. As usual with a Jan Brett book, the illustrations are superb.

Coordinated art project:
This is a very simple art project to follow the reading of the polar bear books.
First, make a simple basic sketch of a polar bear body and head on white copy paper. (See illustration.)It doesn't need to be exact.
Second, slowly tear around your outline to make the furry effect.
Third, use a blue piece of construction paper or cardstock as a water background. Tear an simple iceberg shape from white copy paper and glue it onto the blue.
Fourth, glue the polar bear body onto the iceberg. Glue the head between the front legs as shown.
Fifth, use a black marker or crayon to make the small circle eyes, larger oval nose, and claws.

Friday, December 26, 2008

January Ideas

I have received a request to give a monthly activity for fun and learning. Since January weather can require lots of indoor time, it seemed like a great idea. As a retired elementary school teacher, I needed quite a variety of activities for the many indoor recesses we had during the winter months. So here are a few suggestions.

Science Theme: Birds
1-For younger kids, make some bird feeders out of pipe cleaners and Cheerios. Let them push Cheerios onto each pipe cleaner ( you may want to connect two together for extra length) and twist into different shapes (this is also a good way to teach geometric shapes like circle, triangle, square, rectangle, and rhombus.) An additional math connection would be to specify a number to go on each shape, for example: 7 on the circle, 12 on on triangle. For the older kids, let them decide how many of the 12 go on each side of the triangle (a basis for division). Choose shapes and numbers that are age appropriate. Place outside their bedroom window.
2- Make feeders out of pine cones covered with peanut butter and rolled in bird seed and corn meal. Hang with string in a nearby tree.
3- Bird Biscuits Recipe:
2 cups biscuit baking mix
1/2 cup cold water
2 Tbsp margarine
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
Preheat oven to 425F. Form a soft dough with baking mix & water. Roll out the dough to 3/4" thickness & cut it into shapes with cookie cutters. Using a straw, punch a hole in the top of each cookie. Melt the margarine & brush over dough. Sprinkle the seeds & nuts onto the dough and press it in FIRMLY with a fork. Bake for 15-20 min., or until light brown. When cool, thread brightly colored ribbon through the hole & hang in a tree.
Let the kids use a bird identification guide or the internet to name and record the different birds they see at their feeders. The older children can keep a graph for each month, and may be able to conclude which feeder attracts the most birds.
Please feel free to share your feedback.

Arts and crafts:
Homemade modeling dough: NOTE: This activity MUST be supervised by an adult.

2 cups of flour
1 cup of salt
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 tsp cream of tartar
2 cps water
food coloring

Measure flour, salt, cream of tartar into a large pot. Stir well. Add coloring to water in a measuring cup. Slowly add colored water to dry ingredients. Stir in oil. cook over low to medium flame, stirring always. A spatula works best. Stir until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and turn out onto work surface. Knead dough. It may be sticky to start. It will dry as it cools. Store in an airtight container.

Next week, I will begin recommending two books for each week. They will be ones that I have used and know that children love.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

White Christmas!

Take time to enjoy all the blessings of having a grandchild to enjoy at this wonderful time of the year. It is truly a wonder to see a child experience all the fun of the holiday season for the very first time. Take tons of pictures to remember each special activity. Happy Holidays to all!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Holidays

As the end of the year approaches quickly, I read down my long list of things left to do. Most become trivial when compared to time I will set aside to me with my granddaughter. Remember to spend some time with your little ones doing all the tasks that will become a lasting memory for them. Bake cookies and wrap presents with their help. It may transform a fifteen minute chore into an hour long event, but it's worth it! I remember baking with my children and still miss them now that I have to bake alone. The terrific thing is that I can look forward to making a mess with Emma Claire as soon as she is old enough to make a mess by stirring too fast and not watching where she pours. Don't forget to take those pictures for the scrapbook. I wish everyone a loving, peaceful holiday and a healthy, prosperous New Year.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Another Safety Recall

Nov. 20, 2008 -- Child Death and Near Strangulation Prompt Two CPSC Recalls of Window Blinds and Shades (source: Safe Kids Worldwide)

Today, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued two separate window covering recalls.

In response to the strangulation death of a 1-year-old child from Connecticut, the CPSC has recalled "IRIS" and "ALVINE" Roman blinds sold at IKEA between July 2005 through June 2008. The child was strangled by an exposed inner cord on the backside of the blinds. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled Roman Blinds and return them to any IKEA store to obtain a full refund. For further information, refer to the CPSC recall notice.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tips Before Shopping For Holiday Gifts

Shop CPSC Toy Safety Tips Before Shopping for Holiday Gifts

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The holidays are here and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has its list. Parents and gift buyers are encouraged to check it twice. Today, CPSC issued its annual holiday safety messages, joined by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Safe Kids Worldwide, to remind parents to be diligent when making holiday shopping choices.

"CPSC, CBP and industry activity has been with one goal in mind, to keep the toys our children play with the safest in the world" said Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. "Vigorous inspection of toys, testing and law enforcement have made toys the safest this season."

For 2007, the Commission has reports of 18 toy-related deaths and CPSC staff estimates that there were about 170,100 hospital emergency-room treated toy-related injuries to children under 15. Most of the deaths were associated with airway obstruction from small toys, drowning, or motor vehicle accidents during play. Most of the injuries were lacerations, contusion and abrasions; the head and face was the area most frequently affected.

The top 5 toy hazards:

* Scooters and other Riding Toys - Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be worn at all times and be sized to fit.

* Small Balls and other Toys with Small Parts - For children younger than age three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.

* Balloons - Children under eight yrs. can choke or suffocate on un-inflated or broken balloons. Keep un-inflated balloons from children. Discard broken balloons at once.

* Magnets - For children under age six, avoid building or play sets with small magnets. If magnets or pieces with magnets are swallowed, serious injuries and/or death can occur.

* Chargers and Adapters - Charging batteries should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to children.

Once the gifts are open:

* Immediately discard plastic wrappings on toys before they become dangerous play things.

* Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings.

* Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any device to prevent overcharging.

With the increased popularity of second-hand stores and on-line vendors, gift-givers should be especially vigilant to prevent the sale or purchase of hazardous products that have been recalled, banned or do not meet current safety standards. Before placing products in the second-hand market, check its recall status at Buyers should make sure their gifts do not include any of the recalled toys or children's products on CPSC's web site.

Also, at this web site, consumers can keep up-to-date on dangerous products by signing up to have recall announcements sent directly to their email account. Choose to receive all recall announcements or children's product recalls only. Consumers also can call CPSC's toll-free hotline at (800) 638-CPSC. For information about all types of recalls, visit

To see this release on CPSC's web site, please go to:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Keeping kids safe on Halloween

If you are fortunate enough to help your grandchild prepare for Halloween, you should take a look at the guidelines from SafeKids Worldwide. They have great tips for having a fun but safe Halloween night. Additionally, they list things to remember if you are out driving on that night. Being prepared and thoughtful planning can help your whole family enjoy this fun time.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Crib Recall

Is My Crib Safe?

Infant Deaths Prompt Largest Crib Recall in U.S. History (source: Safekids Worldwide)

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced the recall of more than 1.6 million Delta Enterprise Drop Side Cribs after the entrapment and suffocation deaths of two 8-month-old children.

Two different recalls have been issued for two different hazards: Missing Safety Pegs and Spring Peg Failure.

If you own a Delta Enterprise Drop Side Crib, Safe Kids strongly encourages you to read both recall notices.

You can also learn more by learn more by visiting Delta’s recall website at

Priceless Portraits

This past week I embarked on a fun adventure with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandbaby. It was our very first portrait appointment and we went filled with anticipation. Emma donned her little lamb costume and we waited for quite awhile for the photographer to be ready for us ( she was the only one working at the time) and we were concerned that Emma would get restless and hot in her outfit. When we were finally called into the studio, my son was asked to be the prop man. He was covered with a brown piece of fabric so that he could hold Emma, who is too young to sit up alone. My daughter-in-law and I proceeded to act out, sing, coo, and crawl around to evoke the big grin that we have seen many times on Emma's face. Nothing was out of the question. There were many different poses and we did manage to get some smiles after a few tries. I have to admit that in the beginning, her expression showed that she had no idea why we were all acting so strange. In the end, however, it was well worth it, since the pictures came out really well. They accurately portray the many and ever expanding emotions that a five month old experiences. We all ordered lots of prints and my favorite is already proudly displayed in my home. Every time I look at it, I not only marvel how adorable she is, but to what extent we will all go to capture each fleeting stage of development.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Important Safety Message

October 7, 2008

Fan in Room Seems to Cut Infants’ Risk of Crib Death


Sleeping in a room with a fan lowers a baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome by 72 percent, a new study has found.

The finding, published Monday in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, is the latest evidence to suggest that a baby’s sleep environment is a critical factor in the risk of SIDS, which is diagnosed when an infant’s sudden death cannot be explained by other factors.

The study was not designed to identify why fans make a difference, but researchers said they thought that by circulating air, fans lowered the risk of “rebreathing” exhaled carbon dioxide. That risk has been suggested as a reason the rate of SIDS is higher when children sleep on their stomach, in a soft bed or without a pacifier.

Since 1992 the rate of SIDS deaths has dropped by more than half, to about one death per 2,000 live births from 2.4 per 1,000. The decline is linked to a national “Back to Sleep” campaign that promotes putting babies on their back instead of their stomach, which has been shown to lower the risk of sudden death.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that parents avoid soft bedding, allow babies to use a pacifier and avoid overheating a baby’s room.

Despite the gains, SIDS continues to be the leading cause of death in babies under the age of 1, and researchers are looking for more measures to lower the risk.

The latest study compared 185 babies who had died of SIDS with 312 randomly selected babies and matched them by age, race, ethnic group and country of origin.

“Even though we don’t know why certain babies are more susceptible, sleeping environment matters,” said a co-author of the study, Dr. De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente’s division of research in Oakland, Calif.

Parents who worry that their child will be chilled by a fan should know that fans do not cool the air; they just move air around. A baby will feel a chill only if he or she is perspiring, doctors say.

Parents who use fans in a child’s room should make sure to take normal safety precautions, keeping cords out of the way and making sure the fan cannot be knocked down by a toddler or pet.

Dr. Li said the use of fans should not replace other sleeping strategies for lowering SIDS, like removing soft bedding and putting babies on their back. He noted that the gains shown in the study were an average for the whole group, including for babies whose care did not meet the guidelines. Still, even if a baby had a safe sleeping environment, the risk of SIDS was lowered by about 16 percent for those who had a fan in the room, although the trend was not statistically significant.

“If parents wanted to do more to reduce the baby’s SIDS risk,” he said, “they can add a fan.”

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Holiday Shopping Begins

Just received an email from SafeKids with a great toy buying guide. Now that the stores are starting their new toy advertising, its nice to have some safety guidelines to ensure a safe and happy holiday. You can go to the link I have posted and download this pocket guide to take with you as you shop. Since it is divided into age categories, you can make sure you are making wise choices.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Car Booster Seat Safety

Check out the article on CBS TV about their study on booster seats. Some are rated unacceptable. It is so important to keep updated on these issues that are matters of life and death. Here's the link - and look for the article titled "Is Your Child's Car Booster Seat Safe"? It quotes a report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Happy and Safe travels!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thiry years makes a difference!

Well,I experienced my first full day of babysitting. My son was at work and my daughter-in-law was volunteering at the Steven Siller commemorative race in New York City. The night before my assignment, I made bottles, checked the diaper and formula supply did laundry and set out books and toys. When the big day arrived, I needed to be at my son and daughter-in-law's house by 7 am. I stopped at DD to get my coffee and bagel so that I could have my breakfast while I was waiting for five month old, Emma to wake up. She usually wakes up around 7:30 so I thought I would start the day on schedule. So much for plans. She was already awake when I walked through the door! She must have been anticipating our day together also. After changing, feeding and packing up--quite a feat in and of itself, I began my first of several trips to bring supplies to my car. It's a good thing I have a SUV because I needed lots of room. When we got to my house, which is only five minutes away, I reversed the process and was already tired after bringing the last few things into the house. Then it was all a blurr. We played, sang songs, toured the house, read books, rocked, swayed, supervised tummy- time, bounced, stretched, shook rattles and squeaked toys, wiped chins, soothed, fed cereal and applesauce, wiped furniture, accumulated lots of laundry items, and prayed for a full nap time. I ate my breakfast and hit the rest room at 9:30 and gathered up the necessary items for the rest of the day. All was repeated in the afternoon and I started checking my watch in anticipation for the afternoon nap. Since she is teething and not sleeping well at night, I wanted her to rest well during the day. When I fed her her bottle in the afternoon and we cuddled together in my rocking chair, I found myself holding her through her hour nap and just watching her sleep. She really is a little miracle. When my son arrived at five pm, I have to say I was exhausted. As they left to go home, I realized that I had not planned for dinner. Oh well, it's been thirty years since I have had to take care on an baby and a house. I don't know how I did it. I enjoyed my day with my little cutie pie and I even lived to write about it. I'll go to bed earlier next time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


This past weekend I went to Bristol, Rhode Island to attend my niece's wedding. Besides seeing her married to a great guy, I was so delighted to see many members of my family that I don't see very often. Since we live at a distance from one another, my two sisters and I were happy to be able to spend time together and to share stories of grand parenting. Each of us had one of our grandchildren there, so it was fun to watch them and since my granddaughter was the youngest at four months old, I enjoyed being reminded of the stages that were sill to come. My sister Carol had her 3 1/2 yr. old there. He was very well behave because his mother made sure to tell him what to expect at the ceremony and reception so that his behavior was appropriate. He was happy to have play time but was also able to sit still and not talk during the quiet times too. He told me all about "school" and was really funny. My other sister, Marion had her 2 yr. old with her. He is very friendly and was thrilled to have the DJ play his favorite song during the reception. It was about a chicken in the kitchen and many adults were happy to be doing the dance with him. Hey, I've seen many adults looks sillier doing their own dances! One of the highlights was having the photographer take a picture of all three of us sitting together with our grandchildren on our laps. It will be a special picture of each of us and especially for our ninety-five year old mother who was not able to make the trip from Florida. She will get to see us all together. There was one grandchild who was unable to be with us and another baby to be born next April. Hopefully, we can all get together again next year and get a picture of all eight of us. I never want to take these visits for granted. They are really the best of times.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I need to practice!

I was so happy to do some babysitting the other night. My son and daughter-in-law had to make arrangements for the christening, so I volunteered to get Emma to sleep. She has established a great nighttime routine- the 4 B's- including, bath, book, bottle and then bed. When I got there she had already gotten the bath and book so my job was pajamas, bottle and then bed. I had done this once before with her and all was well so I was confident! The jammies went on fine, and I had the bottle ready. I quietly went into the master bedroom and sat on bed with the lights off. Emma was happy to get her bottle and I settled in with her. Before very long, the bottle was empty and I was thinking that she really must have been hungry since it went down really quickly!! I prepared to put her into her bassinet when I realized that she felt wet. After a full examination, it appeared the the front and back of her pajamas were wet. The bottle had apparently leaked and she did not get to drink her full amount. I debated whether I should take her back into her room and change her there, but after full consideration, I didn't want her disturbed and back into a bright room when she was pretty relaxed and sleepy. I quickly ran to warm another bottled, dashed in to find another pair of sleepers and then proceeded to change her IN THE DARK! I was thinking to myself that I had done this hundreds of times with my own children, and really how hard can it be?? So I gently took off the wet pajama when clung to her as if it had a life of its own. I laid her on top of the new one and tried to dress her in a soothing way. Her arms, which were very lax at this point, worked their way into each sleeve and I started snapping at the neck. So far so good, I thought. Then I reached the dreaded crotch! I had much more difficulty pairing up the snaps around the legs and crotch. I had to try several times and always managed to wind up with ones that didn't seem to go together. At last, I did get it together, and gave her the new bottle, after having checked the top several times. She finished half of the second bottle and went to sleep. I confessed to her parents what had happened when they got home and I promised I would get better about my grand parenting skills. The next day I asked how the rest of the night fared, and Suzy, my daughter-in-law, said she did wake up and took the rest of bottle number two after I had gone. She said that she also had experienced the leaking problem since that night and found it to be a loosened nipple. So now we both check before we begin...every time! I guess I have gotten rusty and will get better with practice. Thank goodness babies are forgiving.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


It is amazing to me that a small three month old baby, now weighing only 15 pounds, needs seemingly several hundred pounds of furniture! I guess I had forgotten how much "stuff" we had when my kids were babies. Besides what my son and daughter-in-law have at their apartment, there is a ever growing array of items at my house. Because I am so lucky to have her visit often, I need quite a few things to keep her happy. We all know it is Grandma duty to see that the grandchildren are always happy. I started with the car seat base and then the "family bassinet" which need some tuning up but provides a great place for changing diapers. I have a case of diapers and one of wipes sitting under it ( sure don't want to run out of those ). Next came the "happy chair" or bouncy seat which vibrates. I'm not exactly sure which prenatal experience that is supposed to replicate, but she does seem happy in it especially with the music playing and the toys swinging overhead. It's great to take out on the deck also so we can get some fresh air. That isn't too large but didn't really supply a good place to nap. So, once again, I did the " go to town to stock up on supplies" run to Babies R Us and purchased a swing. The old one which I had for my kids needed periodic cranking up and caused such a terrible racket that any baby would be wide awake when you were done. The new ones however, are electric ( now why didn't I think of that ) and so I can keep it plugged in and swinging for the entire nap with nature sounds playing softly in the background. The only sounds my children heard was the dog barking. It also has great padding and head support ( no more rolling up blankets ) and is just prettier. So I brought it home and placed that in the living room. It takes up more space than I expected but it is a life-saver. Now, we are transitioning to napping in a crib. So I went to my attic storage area and looked for my children's crib. After speaking with my daughter, a lobbyist for SafeKids Worldwide in Washington DC, ( ) I made sure to measure the slats of the crib to make sure it was safe ( if a soda can fits through, it isn't) and I checked the metal brackets that allow the side to go up and down. Now I just need to find a place it fits! Considering that I refurnished one of my children's room as a guest room, and one as a sewing/scrapbooking room, I have no room for a crib. My family has volunteered to help me rearrange so that it will all fit. I also know that bumpers, toys and blankets are no longer allowed in her crib and that she must be put to sleep on her back. Boy, new grandma's have a lot to learn. Thank God we have our children to teach us!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

First Day

Today is the first day for my blog. I am looking forward to recording and sharing the joys and trials of being a first time grandmother. I know that there are lots of other grandparents and caregivers who have wonderful ideas and experiences to share. As my precious little granddaughter Emma Claire grows, I'm sure that she will teach me a lot too. Many things have changes since I had my children ( my son is 31 and my daughter is 27 ) but I already see that some things have stayed the same. I know that the road ahead with be filled with tons of smiles and tears of joy and I am happy that I can record them all right here.