Duets

I experienced a delightful concert the other night. A granddaughter was in her first piano recital. She’s seven. I was so pleased and proud. I was also surprised because the two pieces she chose were duets with her teacher. reeseThat’s not an easy feat. I know. I’ve been there. More about that in a moment. . .

As I sat there watching her work those keys, I couldn’t help but remember another (probably the last) piano recital I attended. A junior member of our family at the time, maybe a bit older than my granddaughter is now, was preparing for a recital. The deal was the students were to play a piece for memory. Somehow the memory part wasn’t accomplished so she prepared a tiny “cheat sheet.” I’m not sure the teacher was aware of this before time and she obviously was not going to address it at that moment so up to the piano this gal went. She placed the little card, probably not bigger than a postcard, onto the music rack and began to play. She looked so pretty and so proper until   . . . the postcard fell to the ground underneath the piano. As all “professionals” know, the show must go on! So she kept playing, over and over, the same part until, not knowing how to end it, she just stopped.

I’m pretty sure I wasn’t laughing that day, but it really strikes me funny now. I brought it up to her recently and, yes, she remembered it all too well.

Back to my granddaughter playing duets with her teacher – I was so impressed because, as a child myself, I took nine years of piano lessons! It was NOT fun! My brother also took duet booklessons and my teacher had the idea that he and I should play duets. NOT a good idea. He was 20 months older than me and had an IQ way above mine – or so he always told me. He was the methodical legalistic one. I was the “play without rules” type. My mother cringed every time we sat on that dang piano bench together. She wasn’t the only one. My brother would count to the beat and I would “play with feeling”. Finally my mother put a stop to it as our practice sessions were more than she could handle. I will be forever grateful.

So seeing my granddaughter playing sweet duets with her teacher? I was happy because I was pretty sure she played with feeling. 😊

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a GRAND idea #18

Sometimes it’s quite the challenge to find an activity for a variety of ages of the youngsters. Recently I had four of the GRANDkiddos over to the house – ages 12, 10, 8 and 5.

Fortunately I came up with an idea that all four were enthusiastic about.

We started with small clay flower pots. (I had some spares as years ago I used them in a home business.)Then we went shopping – to Michael’s! 🙂 Each child was allowed to pick one color from the variety of acrylic paint choices. Acrylic is a good choice for this project as it easily washes off little hands and holds up quite well on the flowerpots themselves. I bought a few other colors for details and a variety of paint brushes.

flowerpots 2                flowerpots5

We settled in to paint.flowerpots 3

First painting the outside, we then placed on deck to dry. Since it was 90 degrees out, it didn’t take long, but I had an old Disney movie on to fill the lag time. Then the inside was painted. Finally the individual creativity took over. How fun to see their personalities appear through their paint choices! Lastly we sprayed a clear coat sealer on the finished projects and went shopping.

flowerpots 5

This time we went to a nursery and shopped for plants. This too was a kick as each GRANDkiddo took quite a while making up their minds. Many plants were picked up, then put back, then picked up again, then swapped for another. We also purchased some bases for the pots.flowerpots 4Home again, Hubby graciously helped plant each into the appropriate pot. And voila!flowerpots 1The GRANDkiddos wanted to paint the bases too so I sent them home with the base color for each to finish another day. I sure hope they are watering them!  They were so proud, and so was I. ❤

a GRAND idea #17

560156_10150716998757080_505957079_9498911_1860234155_nIt’s the time of year – for the kids and GRAND kids at least – for Easter Baskets. While we take every opportunity to instill the real reason for Easter – Jesus’ Resurrection, we always enjoy another reason to have fun with the grandkiddos!

It’s become a tradition – the Easter Egg Hunt at our house for the little ones.

I always have my own Easter baskets kept at my house for each. The baskets stay at my house! One year I deviated from the usual basket and supplied each with a bucket and shovel instead. Those went home with the kiddos. Then subsequent years, I used the baskets again but as each new GRANDkiddo was born and added to the mix, their first Easter basket at my house was always a bucket and shovel.

Easter 2009 002

As for the hunt itself, I try a different plan each year. Early on, it was simply “grab your basket and a parent and go hunt.” They were quite little at the time and needed the extra help. One year, as the sweeties were not of the “reading” age yet, I cut out and pasted a GRANDkiddo picture on each and every plastic egg, indicating “if it’s got your pic, it’s your egg!” Another year I color-coordinated the egg with the child, i.e., Cooper found all the blue ones, Riley got purple, etc. And a different time, it was different designed eggs.

One point I’m always consistent on is that each child has the same amount of eggs at the end!

Last year was a bit more elaborate: it was a scavenger hunt of sorts. I was tired of contributing candy to minors so in lieu of, I purchased bigger gifts. Each child was handed an egg with a picture inside. It was a picture of somewhere in the house. Each one had a different list. As they studied the picture and then went in search of the egg and on and on, they all eventually ended up at Gigi’s chair. Gigi (my mother and their great-grandmother) had the final clue – where to find the BIG gift. (I’ll use any excuse to buy stuff for the GRANDkiddos!) 🙂

This year, Cooper requested we go back to the color-coordinated eggs. I think the scavenger hunt was a bit too thought-provoking. I may go back to candy in the eggs also! 🙂

We’ve done inside and/or outside hunts, with the weather in control. I am hopeful that this year it’ll be an outside hunt!

Happy Resurrection Day to you and your GRANDkiddos!

sunset Florida

 

a GRAND idea #16

It’s nearing the end of winter. It’s a grey, dull, dreary day. The kids are whining, complaining and tearing the house apart out of sheer boredom.

Here’s an idea:  call GRANDma! 🙂

Last week I picked up the five-year old GRANDdaughter and we headed for Sam’s.

Why? Sam’s has a car wash!car wash 5

car wash 6

After pumping a limited amount of gas at the pump, I added on “car wash” for $6.00. SIX DOLLARS! Pretty cheap and easy idea – my fav – to entertain the troops.

It was fun! First thing – off came the seat belt and she bounded from back seat to front seat to hatch back and around again. We made sure the windows were closed and the sunroof was showing and we watched with glee as the water and then the soap and the extra waxy stuff was applied. And we shrieked as the car shuddered when the dryer was doing it’s thing. And we saw the light at the end of the tunnel.car wash 2

Afterward, she was happy; I was happy and the car was happy! 🙂 After school is out, I’ll have to bring the other grandkiddos!

a GRAND idea #12

PJ ornament 2Homemade ornaments have been the rage as long as there have been Christmas trees to be adorned. One’s creativity knows no bounds. Some of the sample pics on this post from my own tree date back to the 1930’s (compliments of Hubby’s mother). No two alike!

Just look at your tree!  You know you have some! They are precious; priceless!

My mother needle-pointed ornaments each year for my kids, with the idea that when they grew up and left home, they would have something familiar to put on their own tree.

I always loved that idea but my persona is quick-easy-cheap. I’m not a patient person!

With the first grandchild, I attempted homemade. But as the grand-kiddos multiplied over the years, I came up with a new idea: Each year I find photo ornaments and place a current pic in each, making sure to name and date the back, and hand them out.

It’s fun to look for different photo ornaments each year. I find Hobby Lobby to have great deals and Kohls is not far behind. Of course one can get pretty elaborate but knowing they will be in the hands of little ones, I tend to keep it pretty practical.

 

The kiddos love and look forward to them and it’s fun for the parents to see the changes over the years.

And me? My job is done! 🙂

This years project:PJ ornament 2014

a GRAND idea #8

cookies1It’s always good to have something quick on hand if the kiddo’s drop in or if you’re off to babysit one or more. The other day a couple of my favs showed up for a brief visit and I pulled out some Pillsbury Slice and Bake cookies. Easy. Since they were the peanut butter variety, both got to do that criss cross fork thing that we all do with peanut butter cookies. (Why do we do that, by the way?)

Anyway, after they baked – and it was a quick 10 minutes – we let them cool for a bit. Then the extra fun part – topping them with Hershey’s dark chocolate Kisses. Of course any flavor would do, but my preference is dark chocolate and no one complained. 🙂cookies2

It doesn’t make a whole lot but there were just enough to taste and leave some for me and hubby and send some home with the grandkiddos.  A quick and easy success all around! And another memory made!cookies3

a GRAND idea #6

adventure storiesSometimes a GRAND idea is not necessarily doing something with the grandkids, but instead, doing something for the grandkids. Last Christmas I wrote two storybooks for some of the kiddos about them.

I know, I know, it’s barely November and you don’t want to hear about Christmas yet. BUT, if you plan on taking on a project like this, NOW is the time to start.

I came upon Storyjumper.com and it was a great find. You can upload your own pictures or use their graphics or combine both, which I did. It was great fun and so well received that I’m starting on this year’s stories. Actually last years books were a surprise and they were so well received that the kiddo’s pretty much have requested me to do it again.  Something about seeing themselves, not to mention hearing themselves, in an actual book was quite special for them.

Hopefully you can see the finished projects by clicking on these links.

http://www.storyjumper.com/book/index/12030642

http://www.storyjumper.com/book/index/12030792

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a GRAND idea #1

A GRAND Idea1Periodically I plan to post craft and activity ideas that I have used with my own young GRANDchildren. Nothing fancy, nothing difficult.  I don’t claim any as my own original creations nor can I remember where I managed to find all the various ideas, but thought maybe others could have fun with my findings.  Most will be on the cheap if not free, easy and hopefully non-messy – just the way I like it!  All have been tested and proven to be thoroughly enjoyed by my grandchildren! 🙂

GRANDparenting is the very best job in the world!

But it’s one where we (the GRANDparents) need to stay at least a step ahead of the youngsters – no matter what the age – theirs as well as ours.  So it’s always good to have a random idea tucked away!  On a side note, my credentials:  I am the GRANDmother to eight, and stepGRANDmother to six.  Ages range from one year old up to 33 yrs. old.

When I first became a GRANDmother, I took stock of myself and felt shortchanged on the talent side.  Therefore, I determined to be the “fun” one!

My first GRAND idea is quite timely as we are welcoming October.  It is quick, fun and easy for all ages and creativity levels.

Dyed eggs are not just for Easter!pumpkin eggs 2

Simply hard boil eggs then dye orange, using equal food coloring drops of red and yellow.  Let dry, and distribute permanent black marker pens to all GRANDchildren within range.  There is no wrong way to do this.  A couple of pictures for motivation  or examples from the parents or GRANDparents on hand should do the trick.  And voila!  Be sure to have a couple extra markers on hand for those eager parents and additional Grandparents. 🙂  And don’t forget to refrigerate the cooked eggs.

Enjoy and Happy October.   Keep watching for another October idea next week!

(Feel free to shoot me your suggestions and if I post them at a later date, I’ll be sure to give you credit.)