Posts Tagged ‘Granddaughter’

Dear Readers,

Reading a book with a grandchild is one of life’s greatest pleasures!  At least it is in my life.  When Emily selects a book and asks “Mimi, will you read this to me?”, my heart sings.  I’m overwhelmed with love when she climbs into my lap and snuggles against me, ready for the story to begin.  The intimacy continues as we experience and enjoy the story together.

I have also found that some books are better written for and received by toddlers than others.  There are so many children’s books available that it is difficult to know what’s worthwhile and what isn’t.

My daughter-in-law introduced me to a book that is an excellent guide for choosing children’s books.  It is the “Read-Aloud Handbook” by Jim Trelease.  It contains a list of books called the “Treasury of Read-Alouds” which includes the title, author, number of pages, publisher, year published and the age group the book is suitable for.  A one paragraph synopsis of the story is also included.  This treasury categorizes the books into wordless books, predictable books, poetry and fairy and folk tales.

A predictable book is one in which a certain phrase or sentence is repeated enough as to become predictable for the young reader.  A good example is “The Very Busy Spider”  by Eric Carle.  The sentence “The spider didn’t answer.  She was very busy spinning her web”, appears on every other page.

The handbook gives answers to questions such as “What is the purpose of fairy tales?”, “Why do they want to read the same book over and over?”, “Won’t a video do my child as much good as a picture book?”, and when it’s obvious you’ve made a poor choice of a book, “Is it okay to abandon it or parts of it and move on?”.  The author’s answers utilize the results of various studies conducted on children and reading and his own personal experience.

Before purchasing books for Christmas gift-giving, why not check out this handbook for suitable ideas?  After all, reading aloud is a win-win situation for both the reader and the child being read to.  In addition, this activity creates loving memories that last a lifetime.

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

My granddaughter is enrolled in a music appreciation class for toddlers.  I had the privilege of accompanying her to this class.  About 10 toddlers marched and danced to songs like “Old King Cole”, “This Little Light of Mine”, and “Mississippi Cats”.  Their teacher played the folk song “Shenandoah” on the piano as the little ones rested in their mothers’ laps.

This class reminded me what a big part music plays in our lives.  There are lullabies, school songs, wedding music and yes, even funeral music.  These toddlers are just beginning their journey of making musical memories.

Let me tell you of a few musical memories in my life.  I remember being rocked by my Mom as she sang “I’d walk a million miles for one of your smiles”, a line from Al Jolson’s song “Mammy” written in the 1920’s.  My Dad had a great tenor voice and he and I sang “Sentimental Journey” and “Buttons and Bows” for family and friends.

As a first grader, I sang “The teensy weensy spider climbed up the water spout . . .” and learned the accompanying hand gestures showing a spider climbing up.  In the fifth grade, Mrs. Webber, our choir director, taught us traditional Christmas carols to sing for our debut at the  5 A.M. Christmas mass.  As part of our family tradition, Dad led us in singing “Silent Night” at the completion of decorating the Christmas tree.

All the angst and joy of my teen years are relived every time I hear the songs of Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly and Little Richard.  I was 18 years old driving my car on a Sunday afternoon in January the first time I heard the Beatles sing “I Want To Hold Your Hand”!  Selected the theme from Romeo and Juliet to be played right before my wedding march down the aisle.

“Amazing Grace” was sung at Mom’s funeral and I’m reminded of her whenever it is played.  Tears still well up in my eyes, when I sing “On Eagles’ Wings” at mass.  My Dad loved that song and sang it with gusto.  For that reason, it was featured at his funeral mass.

My son loved being sung to sleep every night as a toddler.  His songs of choice were 2 lullabies:  “TooRaLooRaLooRal” (an Irish lullaby) and Brahms’ lullaby sung in German.  Found myself singing these same two tunes to his daughter the other night.

I’m glad Emily is learning to enjoy music.  It’s such a big part of our lives.  In happy times, momentous times and sad times, music is a way to give meaning to our feelings.  Emily, you are just beginning your life’s journey and I’m glad you’ll soon learn music can be your faithful companion along the way.

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

This summer Papa (my granddaughter’s name for her grandfather) and I had the privilege of spending nearly every Tuesday morning with our granddaughter.

We participated in quite a few fun activities.  Among them was a visit to the local science museum where the highlight was a room full of butterflies.  Watching the amazement of a toddler viewing hundreds of butterflies in a confined area was pure joy.

On other Tuesdays, we ventured to the public library’s toddler reading program.  Each week the program concentrated on a particular theme, such as a birthday party one week and gardening the next.  Three books would be read by the librarian along with guessing games and a weekly march around the room to lively music.  Our two-year-old was a little reserved, sitting on Mimi’s lap during the readings but eagerly parading around holding onto Papa’s and my hands.  Part of our library routine was to pick out a book from the open shelves and read it before we left.  Papa found a book about “stinky clothes” which she absolutely adored.

But the outing on this past Tuesday was the best of the summer.  After driving to Pullen Park, a great place for toddlers, we immediately headed for the ticket counter.  Our granddaughter heard the music from the old calliope and headed straight for the big, inviting carousel.  Papa stepped on to place her on the saddle of a horse of her choosing that rose up and down.  I watched behind the fence and waved each time she circled around.  Seeing my little granddaughter waving and riding the carousel horse with such delight, made my heart dance.  It reminded me of my own childhood and the thrill of waving to my Mom and aunts each time I passed by them.  I even saw her look up at the mechanism above the horse that makes it move.  I did that very same thing, watching the poles go up and down, trying to figure out how they worked.

We also took a train ride around the park.  On the next ride, our little girl navigated the small boats in the water, ringing the bell and waving each time she floated by.  Then there was a picnic lunch of cantaloupe, blueberries and a peanut butter sandwich, all consumed under the cooling shade of a large tree.  After lunch, it was time to head home for an afternoon nap.

The entire morning was great but the best part was watching “a little girl on a carousel” and realizing that she had discovered the magic it held, not just for today but for years to come!

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Emily,

Papa and I want to wish you a very happy second birthday.  You are our special little sweetheart.

These past two years we have had the privilege of watching you grow, observe and learn.  We have enjoyed sharing with you the excitement of new experiences and learning new things.  It’s a gift to be reminded of how a child views the world.  You make us feel young again!

There’s no better feeling in this world than when you run into our waiting arms with a big hug and kiss!

Papa and I love you very much!  May God bless you each and every day of your life!  And remember to always

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

I know quite a few mothers who are very interested in providing the healthiest food they can for their toddlers.  They want to make sure their toddlers form the best eating habits early.  It is with this thought in mind that I baked these cupcakes for my granddaughter’s first birthday.  They are extremely healthy and taste pretty darn good!

Oatmeal Cupcakes

1/2 cup applesauce

1/4 cup honey

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

3 cups regular whole oats

1/2 cup fresh, dried or frozen fruit (I’ve used peaches, blueberries or pitted fresh cherries)

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients; mixing well.  Place batter in foil baking cups in cupcake pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Makes 12 cupcakes.

These cupcakes taste a little like granola and can be frozen.  Put a birthday candle into each cupcake and you are all set for a healthy birthday treat for your toddler.

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Believe it or not, one of my granddaughter’s favorite new words is “applesauce”!  So this recipe is in her honor.

Chunky Applesauce:

About 2 hours before serving or early in the day, peel, core, and cut up 6 medium-sized cooking apples.  In 3 qt. saucepan over high heat, heat apples and ½ cup water to boiling.  Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender.  Stir in 1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. Let cool.  Cover and refrigerate.  Makes about 3 cups.  About 115 calories per ½ cup.

Mimi’s Tip:  I like to try different types of apples or even mix different varieties in the same batch.  You can also reduce sugar if apples are real sweet.  Buy an apple that will stand up to cooking and not get too mushy.  Macintosh apples aren’t good for this recipe.

 Remember:  An apple a day keeps the doctor away!!!

 Keep smilin’!




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