Monthly Archives: June 2011

All Things Watermelon

Learn how to make fun watermelon carvings.

I have always been impressed when I have seen watermelon carved into delightful centerpieces — like this dinosaur.  Imagine my delight when I stumbled across the National Watermelon Promotional Board website.  Their purpose is to increase the demand for fresh watermelon.

Huzzah!  I can totally support them in their endeavors.

They have delightful pictures (and directions) on how to make watermelon carvings like a submarine, a ‘lips and love’ basket (I love the big lips!), a pig, a turtle, a treasure chest, and even a hedgehog.  (My youngest son would really like this hedgehog!)

They also have recipes like a watermelon pizza supreme, watermelon in a blanket (like pigs in a blanket), frosted watermelon, and watermelon walnut bagel spread.  They all look and sound so yummy!

Their site makes me want to carve a melon and make some watermelon treats.  Right now!!

If you have older grandchildren, you could have a watermelon carving contest with them.  You can show them some of the ideas from this site.   Or they could brainstorm and come up with their own idea.  You could give prizes for the most creative, intricate, funny, or scary.  Be sure to take pictures of their end product.  Then, make some of the watermelon recipes with the left over scraps — or from extra melons.

August 3rd is National Watermelon Day.  You can start preparing for it now by practicing your carving and cooking skills.

You could also make a whole day of watermelon activities:

What watermelon activities have you done with your grandchildren?

Even More 4th of July Ideas for Grandchildren

Isn’t it amazing how many holiday ideas you can find on the Internet?  (Isn’t it amazing how much time I can waste spend searching for ideas?)  What drab lives we lived before the Internet came along.

Here’s round three of even more 4th of July ideas of activities you can do with your grandchildren.

When you are finished making your crafts, make this yummy All American Dessert.  Your grandchildren will gobble it down in one sitting.  (Much to their mother’s dismay!)  Word on the street has it that you might want to use more Cool Whip than the recipe calls for.


More 4th of July Activities for Grandchildren

The 4th of July.

You can never have too many ideas of things to do and things to make that are patriotic. (I was patriotic LONG before it was cool or in to be patriotic!)

And, there isn’t anything more fun than to make patriotic things with your grandchildren.

Here is a list that includes printable and craft activities.  There are ideas for grandchildren of all ages.

You might also want to check out my post of other 4th of July activities.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Edible Fourth of July Activities for Grandchildren

The 4th of July is just a blink away.

This is always a fun time to have family picnics and get togethers. It’s a time for watermelon, Popsicles, and homemade ice cream.

If you’ll be having grandchildren over (or you’re going to their home), here are some ‘patriotic’ edible treats that would be fun to make with — or for — them.

Most of these recipes are fairly easy and could be made by neophyte cooks (with a little help from grandma of course!).

You could also make Rice Krispie treats, topped with red, white and blue sprinkles, and cut out using a star-shaped cookie cutter.  You could also dip them in white melted dipping chocolate before adding the sprinkles.  Yum.

What fun foods do you make for the 4th of July?


Soap Carving Revisted

As I check the statistics on my site, I am sad to announce that my soap carving post, which has had the most hits and is the subject of the most searches on my site, has been replaced.  A moment of silence please. (Remeber the first set of patterns and the second set of patterns?)

Hits on my Cake in a Cup post has left my soap carving post in the dust.  It now has twice as many hits.  I guess grandkids must like fun and easy snacks instead of slicing and dicing up their fingers . . .

I have recently come across more fabulous information for soap carving.  Here are pictures of carving examples on the Ivory site.  (Look at the bottom of the page where it talks about the Statue of Liberty and a pig that was carved out of soap.)

Ivory has posted carving directions that are useful.

They have directions for making your own special holiday bar of soap.  Since the 4th of July will soon be here, you could make a star shaped bar of soap.

There are also directions for a sailboat regatta activity that would be fun to dowith your grandchildren in a child’s wading pool on a hot summer day.

This site has directions for carving a cute Scottie dog.

Here’s hoping you have some clean fun carving soap with your grandchildren!


Ladybugs Galore

I have a deep philosophical question.  Deeper than asking about the meaning of life, or why we are here on earth, or where we go after our death.  My question is deep.  Real deep.  Ready for it?  Okay.  Here goes.

Why in the world are there so many uber creative people with creativity oozing from every pore and my creativity is as plentiful as water and shade in Death Valley?  In the middle of the day?  In the middle of July?  Huh?  Will you answer me that?

I see you are speechless.  Me, too.

Amanda is one of those uber creative women.  And one of her loves is creating lady bug crafts — which I was smitten with as soon as I saw them.  You will be, too! (Thank you, Amanda, for letting me use the picture of your cutie bugs for my posting!  Not only is she creative, she is also gracious for sharing this picture.)

My favorite ladybug craft is the twirling paper ladybugs.  This would be a great activity to do with your grandchildren.

(We pause here for a station identification.  Recently, I realized that I use the word ‘great’ alot.  Like 596,4029.2 times within the last three posts that I’ve written.  Well, maybe not THAT many . . . But almost. I really must flee to the arms of Roget’s Thesaurus to find a replacement.  Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.)

These neat-o keen-o bugs are easy to make and would delight any grandchild.  They are also cheap.  Cheap is nice and, when combined with easy, it makes for a winner of an activity.  (Winner — how’s that for replacing the word ‘great?’)

Lest you get complacent with just one mere ladybug activity, you’ve just GOT to check out the others.  Sheesh, you could take a whole week and make a gaggle of these li’l darlin’s and have them all over your house.  (If your grandchildren live far away from you, you could send the materials and directions for the activities to your grandchildren.  That would give them lots of fun to do now that school is out for the summer.)

  • Paper plate ladybugs (The ones pictured above.)
  • Ladybug rocks (If you need rocks, let me know.  I’d be happy to send you some — straight out of my flower garden!)
  • Plastic lid ladybugs (Start saving the plastic lids off milk jugs, et. al.)
  • Ladybug hat (Be sure to take pictures of your grand kiddos wearing their hat!)
  • Recycled ladybug jar (Filled with candy a healthy treat, this jar will be a hit for a grandchild to take home.

You could make sugar cookie ladybugs, paint a ladybug on a t-shirt or apron, or make a construction paper ladybug bookmark.  You could draw a ladybug on a popcicle stick to put in a potted plant.

What other ladybug crafts have you done with your grandchildren?

It’s In The Bag

On Sunday evenings when I was growing up, we’d pop a big batch of popcorn and watch the Sunday Night Movie. I loved the movies. I loved popcorn.

Now, on many Friday nights my husband and I will rent a movie from Red Box, pop some kettle corn in the microwave, and watch the movie. One or two things have changed a wee bit but I still love popcorn!

So, when I saw the directions to make a special bag for popcorn, I was delighted!  What a fun activity to do with grandchildren.  Make the bag.  Make some popcorn. And then watch a movie.

Since it is summertime, show the movie outdoors if at all possible.  If you have access to a projector, simply hook up your computer to the projector and project the movie onto a white sheet that is hanging on the side of your house or from the roof of your patio. (Our youngest son did that for his friends and they had great fun.) If you have an older TV set and a portable DVD player, set them up outside.  Be sure that you have plenty of blankets to snuggle up in because your grand chickabiddies could get rather chilly as the night wears on. (Well, it gets chilly in the nights where I live!)

If you don’t have what it takes to show a movie outdoors, your family room will work just fine!

In case you want to make the evening a little more memorable, make some specialty popcorn.

  • has some yummy recipes to try.  Brown Sugar Lolli-Pops is tops on my list!
  • Try making this popcorn cake.
  • Give this Cinnamon popcorn a whirl.
  • Make some Movie Theater Floor popcorn. (What an odd name . . . whoever came up with it probably thought of all of the candy that is spilled onto the floor in the movie theater after a show because this recipe calls for a variety of candy.)
  • Doesn’t Almond Toffee Popcorn sound divine??  (You can find tons of popcorn recipes here.)  Try out some of these new recipes with your budding sous chef grandchildren.

What fun recipes do you have for popcorn?


Take a Photo Walk with a Child

Need something different to do with your kids? Take a photo walk with them.I daresay that most of the grandchildren of today have a digital camera — or at least has access to one. Especially if it’s on a smart phone!

Which provides a perfect activity that you can have with older grandchildren.

When that tween or teen grandchild comes for a visit or when you visit them, go for a photo walk.

What is a photo walk? It’s simply a walk around your neighborhood, downtown, or an intriguing part of your city.

It’s simply taking pictures of what you see while you are out walking. Pictures of something you find interesting. Or that’s pretty. Or that’s wacko-off-the-wall. Whatever.

Here are some tips for your walk.

  1. Saunter. Don’t rush. Take your time so you can find interesting things to photograph.
  2. Look all around. Look up. Look down. Turn around and look at where you came from to get a different viewpoint of what you see.
  3. Watch the distance covered and the time.  Remember, you’ll have to walk back home. You don’t want your fun time to end on a sour note because your grandchild was exhausted by the time you arrived home.
  4. Take water. When a grandchild is thirsty, all she can think about is getting a drink. You won’t be able to ‘be in the moment’ and enjoy the time taking pictures if you are thirsty.
  5. Wear comfortable shoes. This isn’t the time for spikey high heels on granddaughters. If your feet hurt, your eyes won’t see the great things to photograph.
  6. Rest often. Be sure to sit down to rest your feet. Resting your feet while getting an ice cream cone or sundae is a good idea.

But I don’t know anything about photography, you lament.

Not to worry.  This is more about spending time together doing something enjoyable rather than taking stellar photos.  However, reading up a little on composition will give you a few simple basic rules. Then, armed with this knowledge, seek out opportunities on your photo walk to use the rules.

  1. 10 Top Photography Composition Rules is a good place to start and it has great examples.
  2. Composition 101 covers some of the basic information, too.  What I like about this site is that it shows a scene and then shows how to get a better picture using the composition rules.  (What I don’t like about the page is that it is on a black backgroud which makes it difficult to read the text.  But the pictures are great.)
  3. Learn Photo Composition has great examples of disappearing lines into corners, using ‘S’ curves, and a photo of a deep, vibrant rainbow.

What will you do with your photos when you get back home?

  1. Make a movie. With Windows Live Movie Maker on a Windows machine (that comes with a Windows machine or as a free download) or iMovie on a Mac, you can turn your photos into a movie.
  2. Print them. Select some of your favorites to print — and possible frame. You could also put them on your fridge.
  3. Put in a photo album. Get a special photo album to put your pictures in. Take a photo walk in the fall and put those pictures in, too. It’s great fun to remember your fun walk together and to see how your photography skills have improved over time.
  4. Share. E-mail them to the other cousins. Create an electronic newsletter to send to family members who live far away.
  5. Blog. Post some to your blog. (If you don’t have one, it is very easy to create one with WordPress or Blogger. Both are free.)

What photography rule is demonstrated in the picture at the beginning of my post?