Grandma Ideas Link Party 2

Welcome to my second link party! It’s amazing how time flies and here it is time once again for another link party.

Come join in the fun — and tell your friends. The more the merrier!

Grandma Ideas Sharing Time Link Party

Here is how my link party works:

  • Link directly to a specific post – not to your blog’s homepage.
  • Please do not add links to contests, giveaways, other link parties, or Etsy sites.
  • Share anything family-friendly – crafts, recipes, DIY projects, games, books, holiday ideas, technology, etc..
  • Visit other links at the party – and leave a comment. (Everyone loves comments.)
  • Adding a mention such as “This post linked to Grandma Ideas Link Party” in your linked post is appreciated.

Grandma Ideas Sharing Time Link Party accepts posts through midnight on Friday evening Mountain Standard Time. Please come back to see links added after your first visit.

Thank you for participating in my link party!

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Home for Dinner

Home for Dinner by Anne Fishel is a great book for having mealtimes together as families.

One of my fond memories of family mealtime is when our oldest son was in junior high school. Reading to my children was very important to me. During grade school, I read to my kids — and they read to me — on most school nights.

When our oldest entered junior high, life after school was crazy. It seemed like everybody was going 100 different directions. Soccer games. Piano lessons. Homework. I struggled to find time to read to the kids. I felt grateful just to get them to do their homework.

One day, I had an idea! Why not read to my kids at breakfast? What a wonderful solution.

So instead of eating breakfast, I read to my family. Our kids and even my husband would linger a little longer listening to me read. I loved it!

Then, came high school and marching band — which was held before school. The younger kids refused to get up at the unearthly hour to have breakfast with their older brother. That eliminated reading to my kids at breakfast. Sigh.

Eating meals together as a family has been very important to me. We ate as a family as I was growing up. (I loved it when my mom made spaghetti!) As a parent, it was important for my family to eat together. So, I was very interested when I read the book Home for Dinner by Anne K. Fishel. What a great book!

Is your family crazy busy? Do you rarely eat together as a family? On those rare days that you do eat together, is there bickering, tension, and complaining about food? If so, this book is for you!

Fishel provides compelling research data that supports eating meals together as a family. Here are some interesting tidbits:

  • Regular family meals have been shown to lower obesity rates in children.
  • Dinner conversation boosts children’s vocabulary far more than reading to them. (I guess I should have been talking to my kids at breakfast instead of reading to them!)
  • Adolescents who ate dinner with their family 5 to 7 times a week were twice as likely to get A’s in school than those who ate with their families fewer than 3 times a week.
  • Children who ate meals with their family had better mental health.
  • Teens who ate dinner with their parents consumed more fruits and vegetables and fewer fried foods and soft drinks.
  • Research showed that there were lower rates of substance abuse, pregnancy, and depression in children who ate meals with their families.

Those are some powerful reasons to pull your family together to eat dinner!

Fishel addresses all of the issues surrounding family mealtimes — lack of time, picky eaters, contention, busy schedules. You name it, she discusses it.

One of the fun things about the book is that there are recipes sprinkled throughout. Fishel includes recipes for empanadas, fajitas, berries and cream, fish tacos, lasagna, guacamole, and muffins. I’ve got to try them all!

Fishel also shares lots of stories. One was especially poignant to me. A single mother of three went to Fishel for parenting advice. During the therapy, Fishel asked the woman to describe family mealtimes. The woman refused and for months couldn’t talk about it. When she did open up, she shared her traumatic experience.

The woman’s mother drank wine all day long. (So the unspoken message here was that she was drunk when dinnertime arrived.) For some unknown reason, her parents singled this woman out from her 3 siblings. The woman had to sit at the dinner table and watch everybody eat but she wasn’t allowed to eat anything. How awful! That certainly did not create a strong family tie.

Fishel pulls the data, the stories, and her experience to dish up (pun intended) a book full of suggestions on how to make mealtime a time to increase family happiness and connectedness. I recommend that you buy one for each of your children — and one for you. It’s a great motivation for families to eat together.

This book is a must-have for every family! You can find Home for Dinner on for $12.60 in paperback or $9.99 for a Kindle version.

As a grandparent, you are a step removed from your grandchildren’s mealtime. However, a few ideas popped into my head as I read this book. Here are some ideas that grandparents can do:

  • Take a cooking class with a grandchild.
  • Make sure you include grandchildren in fixing meals when they come to your home.
  • Establish a cooking/baking tradition — making sugar cookies for Valentine’s Day, making gingerbread houses at Christmas, fixing a healthy salad for the 4th of July.
  • Give your grandchild cooking items that he could use at home — a special spoon for serving a salad, a special oven mitt to get hot things out of the oven, a spatula that can withstand high temperatures.
  • Spend time searching together online for recipes. Then, make the dish together.
  • Invite a grandchild for dinner for her birthday (with you and grandpa) where the grandchild selects the menu and helps to prepare one of the dishes.
  • When eating meals with a grandchild, be prepared with interesting topics to introduce into the conversation. Make conversation fun, light, and entertaining.

(Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book to review. However, that did not influence my opnion of it in any way.)

P.S. Remember that I am having a link party on my site on Wednesday through Friday evening. You are invited to join in the fun and post your link.

A Fun Novel About Self Defense in Middle School

Here is a wonderful book that will help  girls navigate the turmoil of middle school.    GranmdaIdeas.comMiddle school and junior high school are rough, rough years for kids.


It seems that there are always issues with friends, with your face breaking out in zits, with feelings of insecurity.

Boy, howdy, I’m glad those days are long gone.

Gaby and The Best Middle School Self-Defense Book Ever by Linda Elkin is a delightful book that covers the woes and angst that girls face during those middle school years.

As Gaby, the main character in the book, starts the seventh grade, her two best friends dump her. Gaby doesn’t know why.

Then, she is assigned a huge term project where she has to write a non-fiction book on any topic. To top it all off, Lily, a VERY unpopular girl, wants to spend a lot of time with her. Blech!

Gaby’s beside herself. “Poor defenseless kids as young as ten years old are sent off into the cold cruel world of middleschoolness,” she moans.

As she navigates her way through seventh grade, Gaby decides she likes Lily. Gaby is grateful for Lily’s help on the term project. Together, they decide to write a self help book about the problems that students face in middle school.

They write a chapter on overcoming shyness, on winning and making friends, on being bullied, on problems with parents, on dealing with school stress, and on how to get someone to like you.

By the end of the book, Gaby and Lily have completed their term project, they’ve come to terms with their friendship, and life is looking good for them.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It has a cute story — one that will appeal to probably every 7th grade girl because they are either currently experiencing the same issues or will face them sometime during their middle school and junior high school years.

The author seamlessly weaves good advice into the plot. The reader learns ways to solve problems that they will face in middle school all the while they are enjoying a good story. Kudos to Linda Elkin!

Do you have a granddaughter that is in middle school — or will soon be in middle school? I highly recommend that you give this book to her. She will identify with Gaby and Lily. She will enjoy the plot. And in the process, she will learn some tips and tricks on issues that will face her at school. By the end of the book, she will have confidence that she can face and conquer those pesky issues.

You can find this book on for under $9 in paperback or $3.00 for a Kindle version.

I highly recommend this book! And, I highly recommend that you, too, read the book. That way, you can discuss it with your granddaughter and see if she is facing some of the same problems. And maybe together, you can find solutions to them.

Just a reminder that I will have a link party here every Wednesday through Friday evening. I would love it if you would stop by and add your link to the party!

(Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book to review. However, it did not influence my opinion of it in any way. And, I do not make any money if you purchase the book.)

Make a Name Snowman

We have had a very snow-challenged winter so far. We had a beautiful storm on Christmas Day and that was wonderful. But we really haven’t had any since then. (Secretly, I’m quite happy about that . . .)

To bring a little winter into your activities with your grandchildren, you could make some no sew snowballs (say THAT seven times!) and have an indoor snowball fight.

Or you could make these easy-peasy name snowmen with your grandchildren. It will probably take you more time to round up the needed materials than to make the snowman!

Here are the materials that you need:

white cardstock paper
glue stick
crayons or markers

Print up my snowman pattern and my hat pattern.

Make sure you print a circle for every letter in your grandchild’s name. Cut the circles and hat out. Have your grandchild write one letter of her name per circle.

Glue the circles together to make a snowman making sure to glue them in the correct order to spell her name.

Glue on the hat. Draw a face on your snowman. And you are done.

My grandchildren were so fast at making theirs that by the time I got my camera out, they were finished with their snowman.

Have fun making name snowmen with your kids.


Have fun making name snowmen with your kids.

Have fun making name snowmen with your kids.

Now, let me share two little things that I learned.

First, I had some glow-in-the-dark crayons. Left over from when my kids were little. That was one or two days ago. Those were the crayons that my grandchildren wanted to use. So they did.

However! However, when they took their snowman into the dark to see the glowing letters of their names, the letters didn’t glow. I wonder if the ‘glow’ somehow might have faded out over the years

So. So, if you have glow in the dark crayons, make sure they are relatively new. As in newer than 20 years old . . .

Second little thing that I learned. The grandchild who has a name with less letters will have a shorter snowman. That grandchild might get his knickers in a twist because his snowman isn’t as tall as his cousin’s snowman. Even though you explain why, said grandchild still might not be happy. To cheer up the little sad face, give him some extra circles to glue on.

Hope you have fun making a name snowman!

Oh. I will be having a link party here every week on Wednesdays through Friday evenings. Please pop in on Wednesday and take a moment to add your link to the party — and invite your friends to add their link, too. The more the merrier!