Did you know that September 13 is Grandparent's Day this year? It's a day dedicated to making time for your elders and showing them that they are truly appreciated for all that they have done. What better way to show them that you care than to make them homemade Grandparent's Day gifts?
Here are a few craft ideas that your kids will not only have fun with, but that their grandparent's will absolutely adore.
Image courtesy of Kimberlykv on Creative Commons
Play with Clay Sculpture
Having fun with art
Whether done at home or on a crafty outing, handled by a professional or managed by little hands, it is a great way to enjoy a couple hours of any day. Grandparents and grandchildren alike can enjoy in the fun that comes from making something from nothing. Turn it on a wheel to make a bowl, or create any number of characters and objects with a few simple tools. Many types of clay are able to be baked right in your home oven, so have some fun with Gram and Gramps and have something unique to show for it.
Tasty treats for all
Who doesn't love the taste of scrumptious baked goods? Whip out the cookbook, online recipes, or family tradition recipes and watch them have a ball. Have the camera ready to catch those once-in-a-lifetime moments on camera. Then stand back and let the grandparent's lead the way. The kids will love the opportunity to munch on snacks and everyone will have the chance to spend some quality time together!
If you don't have a highly functional kitchen, or maybe you have a different event that takes up most of the time, then you can always opt to have the kids give Grandparent's Day cookies as their gift. There are places online that allow you to order gifts for the special occasion. Easy and painlessly.
Paint Your Own Pottery
Keep their little hands busy
Speaking of clay, today there are many places that can now brag a "paint your own pottery" shop. These establishments dedicated to creating something personal and beautiful are a wonderful place to have some fun while being crafty. The clay object is already made for you. You just have to decorate it anyway you see fit. Another great thing about places like this is that they are usually located in areas where there are many shops and restaurants, so the fun can continue after the creations are complete.
Getting crafty and creative
Very inexpensive, but a whole lot of fun are finger-paints. These can be bought at a variety of craft supply stores and discount chains. For the younger grandchildren, they can be a wonderful solution for hours of fun with Grandma and Grandpa.
Image by Abbybatchelder on Flickr
In a rainbow of colors, they provide a myriad of options for creating beautiful works of art, while getting a little messy in the process.
Build an Airplane Kits
Planes, trains and automobiles
These kits have been around for ages, so Grandpa will be very familiar with them. When it comes time for Grandparent's Day and you want something to entertain the men- big and little- in your life, build your own airplane kits are built for creative fun followed by hours of flying in the sun.
The kits can start at just six dollars per plane. So, for a very small investment, you can provide hours of grandparent-related fun.
Not into planes? Try for cars, trains or trucks. If they don't have the dexterity or patience for this type of thing, maybe have the children give a classic gift set instead. Anything that they can build together and have fun will be more than enough entertainment for everyone.
Image by D'Arcy Norman on Flickr
Make Your Own Paper Dolls
Sugar and spice, and everything nice
This project, perfect for a grandmother and granddaughter, requires the use of a scanner, computer and printer. You will also need some inkjet-friendly magnetic sheets. These can be found for sale at a number of office supply stores and some discount chains.
Online, you can find a number of paper doll templates. Print your favorite on traditional copy paper, so you can use them as templates for creating your own doll and clothing designs. Once everyone has drawn out their own dolls and clothing, scan the images into the computer and reprint on the magnetic sheet. Cut them out and use them on the fridge as a fun and creative way to display photos or special papers.
Make Your Own Paper Dolls
Wrapping It Up
With a little creative spirit, Grandparent's Day can be a great time for all generations involved. The day is made to simply show them that you appreciate them and care about them. You can honor those who have had a special impact on your life and lives of your children in a way that ensures that another special memory is made.
Start planning today to prepare that special day for your kids and their grandparents, they'll both enjoy having time spent together and they'll cherish it for years to come.
Heading Off to College
Now is the time when many parents say goodbye to their once-tiny children as they move into a new chapter of their lives; college. Maybe the kids are staying close to home, or traveling far away; no matter which it is, they will still need some basic essentials to get through their new everyday routine.
It's easy to overlook items that you might think aren't important at the time. So pay attention, and you might be able to save yourself a few post move-in shopping trips.
Image courtesy of SBA73 on Flickr
Getting Their Rest
Believe it or not, your child will need to take a break from studying at some point. When it's time to relax and refresh, it's important to have the necessary items to recharge and help your student excel while they're away.
To start, you'll want to make sure they have adequate bedding items (sheets, comforter, an extra pillow or two). Most of the time, college dorm mattresses are not very comfortable, so you may want to look into purchasing a eggshell-foam (or something similar) mattress pad. After all, they'll need their rest for those likely early freshman classes.
On move-in day, don't forget your tool kit! When you are setting up the bed (maybe it's a bunk, maybe it's a loft but you never know) you will likely need to tighten bolts, loosen bolts, or somehow set up a study sleeping area for your child. These tools are also essential for any last minute furniture you might be putting together.
Find Bedding in XL Twin
The Standard College Mattress Size
Make sure that when you are buying bedding that you know what size you are looking for. Most dorm mattresses measure in at an XL twin. Because this is the average size, you'll usually be able to find bedding in this exact size in a variety of colors and styles.
Finding College Bedding and Bath Essentials - Back to School Tips
When shopping for dorm room furniture, take into consideration the tiny size of the room. Usually the college will let you know the dimensions of the room so you will know what you're working with.
Furniture to consider:
- Futon or Small Couch
- Collapsible Chairs (butterfly chairs are great)
- Floor Rug (helpful for covering extension cords)
- Desk Chair (typically colleges supply desks for each dorm room)
Size Still Matters
Be sure that your child contacts their future roommate before you actually purchase any furniture or appliances, so that you know what you're responsible for bringing. And of course, don't forget a couple power strips.
Image by Mark.Seymour on Flickr
Appliances to consider:
- Small Mini-Fridge
- DVD Player
- Cable Cord and Extension Cord
This Isn't Rocket Science
This part you are probably more than familiar with. Notebooks, pens and pencils, highlighters, etc. So be prepared by bringing organizers and bookshelves to keep their school supplies organized.
Image courtesy of Cote on Flickr
Now here's the hard part; books. Your child will have a class list that will help you find what books you will need for each subject. Prepare to buy books before the actual move-in day because you'll find them much cheaper online on sites like Amazon or CampusBooks.com.
Take my word for it, books are extremely expensive every semester, and the costs really add up. So if you can get them cheaper somewhere else just by planning ahead; do it. Otherwise, if you must, purchase them at the school bookstore but be prepared to pay top price for them. Also, if you wait until the last minute to get your books, the used copies might be sold out and you will end up buying a brand new book for twice as much.
Computer or Laptop
Stay Connected and Keep It Convenient
Most kids these days bring their own personal computer or laptop into their dorm. This is where most of the paper writing, assignment reading, and test studying takes place. Generally speaking, a laptop has become more convenient for students to have in the dorms because then they can carry it to class with them and take notes or view the class powerpoints on their own screen.
Image by Pink Sherbet Photography
No need to get too fancy with the laptop, although you usually get what you pay for. It's safe to say that usually Dell, Gateway, HP and Apple have become well-known among the college kids. If you watch the sales in the paper or online, you'll most likely be able to get a better deal when you are ready to purchase a computer.
After School Snack Comeback
Just because they're in college doesn't mean they've outgrown the 'after-school snack' stage. Despite having a cafeteria plan, sometimes kids miss a meal due to meetings, class projects, class, or they're just too busy with other things. Keep in mind that the cafeteria is usually only open during set times and it's not always easy to make it there before they close. For this reason alone, it's good to stock your child up with some snacks to make sure that they don't miss too many meals. In the meantime, try to choose organic fruit or pack a healthy care package for your child.
Simple dorm food might include:
- Easy Mac
- Pretzels or Chips
- Granola Bars
- Ramen Noodles
- Bottled Water or a Water Purifier
- Sandwich Meat
Tips for Moving into Your College Dorm - Take it From the Experts
Keeping it Clean and Simple
Odds are not in your favor when it comes to dorm room closet space. Since your child will most likely want to bring the whole house plus the kitchen sink, you'll need to figure out a way to make the most of their temporary storage.
For shoes, find a vertical hanging shoe holder. This helps keep it out of the way, but it also utilizes the most of the empty space in the closet. They make a similar style for clothes as well, the only difference is that they are a little wider than the shoe organizer. Use this storage for bulky sweatshirts or sweatpants.
Image by Liz (perspicacious.org) on Flickr
Save space at the top or bottom where they can keep their clothes basket (since they likely won't want it sitting in the middle of the room). Another popular item for college dorm rooms is a laundry bag, which is another convenient item that they can even hang off the corner of their bed or stow away in their closet.
It Would Stink to Forget These... Literally
Community showers are going to be a new experience for your child so make sure that they are prepared for what's ahead. A spa caddy is an awesome invention for this occasion. They allow you to carry your shampoo, conditioner, soap, razor, etc. all in one place. That way it's a fast process with no thinking involved.
Image courtesy of Flickr's Stevendepolo
Don't forget to send some shower sandals along with them. With so many people sharing a shower, and build-up of who-knows-what on those floors, they'll be glad that they were prepared with a nice pair of shower sandals. Trust me.
Be sure to stock up on towels as well. Chances are, when it's them doing their own laundry, it won't get done as often. Make sure that they have plenty of towels to last them. One final item to consider is a bath robe. This makes things easier when coming in and out of the shower area without having to lug their clothes and other items.
Leave Them With a Piece of Home
Last but not least, don't forget to leave them with a little piece of home. This would also make as a nice housewarming gift. Pick a favorite family photo and a nice frame to put it in. Before you're ready to leave them in their new home, give them one last item to display. They'll appreciate the thoughtfulness and they'll cherish it later when the homesick feeling starts to sink in.
Once they're settled in for a week or two, remind them that you've always got their back by sending them a fresh fruit basket or cookie gifts. Your kids will enjoy the treats and it will remind them that their family will always be there for them.
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Cute As Can Bee Baby Shower
Not sure whether the new baby will be a boy or a girl? What will the baby "bee" is the perfect theme to choose for the shower. By incorporating either pink or blue in with the traditional black and yellow of a bumble bee, you'll have guests trying to figure out what baby will be well before Mommy's due date.
Here are a few ideas for invitations, decorations, party favors and more to get you on your way to throwing the best bee baby shower ever!
Bee Baby Shower Invitations
When it comes to shower invitations, there are usually several options and you'll want to choose the one that best fits your budget and theme. The pink invites shown below are fully customized invitations that are pre-printed with all of the shower details.
Of course, this type of invitation is more expensive than the write-in kind where you provide the details, but they'll save you lots of time in the long run. They are also quite adorable and fit in perfectly with a bee shower theme!
Pink Sweet as can Bee Baby Shower Supplies
Bee Baby Shower Decorations
Do some thinking about bees before you put these decorations together. Bee cutouts here and there are certainly a natural choice, but flowers of every shape and size as well as hives, beekeeper clothes if you can find them, or even old hive boxes are a good choice to help decorate. For the centerpiece, consider using a large circular container to add pink and blue cake pops in the shape of bees. They can double as food when your guests are ready to eat.
Bee Shower Decorations & Tableware
Here are some ideas for a bee themed party. This looks like it was for a birthday celebration, but it would also work for a baby shower.
Food & Cake Ideas
No baby shower would be complete without an adorable, delicious cake, and there are a number of different choices to consider. A cake in the shape of a beehive is probably a natural choice, and it’s fairly easy to do with a cake of several layers and plenty of icing. Another good choice, though, is to create a cupcake cake with a flower and a tiny bee on top of each cupcake. Other cute food choices might include a snack mix with Honeycombs cereal, or even pretzel rods dipped in pink or blue-tinted white chocolate and covered with bee stripes.
Bee Themed Shower Cake Ideas
How To Make A Bumble Bee Cake
Bee Cake Supplies from Amazon
Some supplies to help the DIY party planner. Cupcakes are the easiest route if you are making them yourself!
Add these to cupcakes for an easy-breezy dessert.
Send everyone home with a little treat!
Bee Baby Shower Games
While there are lots of traditional games you can play at a baby shower with any theme, there are some bee themed games you can incorporate into this one. Create a hive by wrapping a dome shaped drink container with yellow yarn. Inform your guests that you’ve filled it with pink and blue “bees” (which will really be jelly beans). The guest who comes the closest to choosing the right number of each wins a prize. Use the jelly beans on your food table later. You could also offer a bee quiz.
Ask things like how many different species of bee exist, where are the only two places on the planet where they’re not found, and the like. The person with the most correct answers wins. Ask each person to list as many bee themed words as they can think of in two minutes. Answers might be things like pollinate, hive, queen, nectar, honey, and more. The person with the most words in the time frame is the winner.
Bee Baby Shower Bingo Game
Bee Baby Shower Gift Ideas
Shop online and you'll be able to find all kinds of unique gifts such as clothing, hooded towels, bibs and more all with a bee motif. The cute gift above is available from All About Gifts & Baskets.
Cute As Can Bee Baby Gifts
Any of these adorable gifts would work for a boy or a girl!
Bee Themed Favor Ideas
There are several ways to thank guests for coming to your shower with this theme. You could certainly get small jars of honey from a local producer. Tie a note around each one that says “Thanks for BEEing Here!” You could also consider a Burt’s Bees product gift pack for each guest. Bee or hive shaped sugar cookies are another idea. Honey sticks, beeswax or honeycomb-shaped candles or soaps are also a good idea.
Cool Summer Treats
Inviting kids into the kitchen to make their own snacks and meals can spark a lifelong interest in cooking! A fun child birthday gift is an apron and some kid-sized cooking utensils made just for them!
Below I've included a few of my favorite summer treat recipes. Ice Pops and Smoothies are fun summer treats that kids can help make. Fruits and yogurts make them refreshing and healthy too! This summer whip up some cool and refreshing snacks while enjoying time together preparing them.
Strawberry Lemonade Ice Pops
It would be hard to find a kid that didn't love ice pops! Making your own is easy. You can purchase ice pop molds, or make your own in small paper cups or even ice cube trays.
- 1 (12 ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate
- 3 cups cold water
- 1 (16 ounce) package frozen sliced strawberries
In a large pitcher, stir together the lemonade concentrate and water. Place strawberries into the container of a blender, and puree until smooth. Pour in some of the lemonade if necessary to help with blending. Stir strawberry puree into the lemonade. Pour into molds, and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.
Summer Fruit Kabobs
For your next trip to the beach, pack these easy to make fruit kabobs into your cooler for something healthy to munch on. Kids love "building" their very own fruit creation! Summer is a great time to find healthy, organic fruit at your local farmer's market.
What You Need:
- Assorted fruit pieces of your choice (choose from the following): watermelon, strawberries, grapes, pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew
- Deli Turkey, cubed
- Cheddar Cheese, cubed
- Wooden Skewers
Alternate fruits, meats and cheeses on the wooden skewers and enjoy!
Fancy Fun Fruit Kabobs with Philly Hot Fudge Sauce
Banana Split Brownie Pizza
Gourmet desserts are sure to impress, and here's one that's easy to make and looks great! Kids will love cutting up this "pizza" and serving a slice to each family member.
Photo Credit: Mom Spark
- 1 (20-ounce) box fudge brownie mix (recommended: Duncan Hines)
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 banana, sliced
- 1 cup fresh strawberries sliced
- Maraschino cherries
- 1 cup chopped nuts
- Chocolate syrup, for drizzling
- Whipped cream
- Mint, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Foil line and Grease a 15-inch pizza pan.
2. Prepare brownie mix according to directions on box. Pour onto prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until done. Remove from oven and cool.
3. Beat cream cheese while adding pineapple and sugar together in a bowl. Spread mixture over brownie crust. Arrange banana, strawberry slices, marshmallows, and cherries over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with nuts and coconut. Drizzle with chocolate syrup. Add whipped cream on top and mint for garnish. To serve, slice as you would a pizza and enjoy!
Smoothie Recipes Galore!
Throw in some yogurt, fruit, juices and more to create a delicious and refreshing drink that will keep your energy up for all those fun summer activities! Head out to the garden or local farmer's market and fill up your fruit basket, then click the links below for great smoothie recipes.
What would summer be without a little dirt? This delicious snack looks dirty, but is oh so good!
- Oreo Cookies (Crushed Regular, Double Stuff or Chocolate Covered Oreos)
- Chocolate pudding (make it ahead of time)
- Cool Whip
- Gummy Worms
1. In a dish or your choice (plastic cups, or even a small, clean sand pail) layer crushed Oreo cookies, chocolate pudding, and Cool Whip.
2. Top with crushed cookies and place gummy worms on the top!
Alternative: If you want sand instead of dirt use any vanilla sandwich cookie, vanilla pudding and Cool Whip. Add gummy whales or eels or chocolate sea shells for a beach theme!
Feel Better Ideas
If you have a loved one or friend who has just had surgery, you'll want to send a sentiment of your concern and well wishes. This can be a card or if you prefer, a get well gift.
In some cases, you may want to send both. Sometimes, however, you don't know what to send and can worry that you'll send the wrong thing. Here are some ideas on what you can gift a post-surgical patient with.
Image by littledebbie11 on Flickr
Sending flowers is usually appropriate. Unless the patient is in the Intensive Care Unit, it's usually fine to send a vase of flowers. Don't send long stemmed roses or stemmed flowers that will need a vase which may be in short supply at a hospital. Send an arrangement that is already put together in a nice vase.
Try not to send an over-sized arrangement as the person will have to get it home somehow and may have other bouquets to take home as well. Always check with the nursing staff if you are at all uncertain as to whether your gift of flowers is acceptable for the patient's condition. There are sometimes restrictions on certain hospital floors.
Not sure what flowers to send? Or maybe the patient is allergic to certain ones. In that case, why not send a get well cookie bouquet? It's a great way to send them something unique.
Or No Sweets
Avoid sending candy or chocolate gifts. A person who has just come out of surgery is not in the mood for sugary treats.
Image by nataliej on Flickr
However, sometimes if extended family stays with the patient for long periods of time, it can be a nice idea to have candies or sweet items for them to snack on. It's your call, just use your judgment off of how well you know the patient and family.
Make Hot Chocolate - As a Get Well Gift
Fake or Real
If you are going to the hospital, you can bring an arrangement of pretty silk flowers or a plant. These differ from the traditional flower arrangement in that they last much longer. The silk arrangement is ideal because it will travel well to their home after they leave the hospital and it will last forever. There's no danger of it spilling over or getting damaged in transit.
Image by GreenScaper on Flickr
A plant is a nice idea for much the same reason. It is more permanent than fresh flowers, requires little care, and will look lovely longer. It's also easier to transport than a vase full of flowers. Choose a plant that's easy to keep alive under normal household conditions.
Avoid anything like an iris or specialized plant that requires frequent attention. The last thing your recipient may want to do is worry about a plant dying.
Comfy Hospital Wear
Comfort is Key
If you are going to the hospital, you can also bring over a nice bed jacket for a lady who wants a little modesty during her hospital stay. She may not want to receive visitors in her hospital gown and a short bed jacket is perfect for the situation.
Beyond that, why not bring some comfy slippers, or a colorful blanket. Something to spruce up how they are feeling and to take a step away from the hospital 'standard' wear.
Surprise Them With Soup - Homestyle Cookin'
For the reader in your life, you can bring books or magazines. Try to pick something they'd like but that isn't too deep or on a heavy subject. Keep it light.
If you know he loves car magazines, or she loves fashions, by all means bring them a stack of the current issues. You can also throw some crossword puzzles or Sudoku books into the get well gift basket for some extra time killers.
Image by Linh H. Nguyen on Flickr
More Great Get Well Gift Ideas
- Get Well Gift Baskets
We offer a wide range of get well gift baskets for you to choose from so send some love to a friend or family member who is under the weather today.
Visiting & Staying
Etiquette for Visitors
If you're visiting a post-operative patient, remember that they will tire quickly so limit your visit. They may be too polite (or drugged) to tell you that they want and need their rest. Keep it short and sincere and then make your exit. The last thing a hospital patient wants to do is entertain.
And if you arrive when other visitors are there, wait in the hall so that the patient isn't bombarded with several visitors at once.
Image by vissago on Flickr