Saturday, February 18, 2012

Once Upon a Time....

I have a confession to make--I LOVE picture books. I enjoy reading them out loud and to myself in the book store. I like to read aloud to a crowd or share them with just one little one on my lap. I love the art, the phrases, the words, the rhythm of a good picture book.
And sometimes I even like the message. If it doesn't take itself to seriously.

So in today's blog I want to take just a second to share with you a few of my very favorite picture books for kids. I'll start with books for babies and work my way up to older pre-schoolers. Although I must say kids of all ages enjoy a good picture book.

HUG by Jez Alborough is my all time favorite for baby books. It comes as a board book, a BIG board book and a picture book. Even very young children easily understand and emphasize with little Bobo as he searches for a "HUG." With only 3 words used in the entire book, the child will be "reading" it to you before long. ( Birth -- ??)

Miffy at the Zoo by Dick Bruna is a family favorite. A simple story of Dad taking his daughter to the zoo, kids love the animals and will relate to Miffy as she enjoys her trip. Miffy is also a series.(1-4)

Love many of Sandra Boynton's board books but Pajama Time is my favorite. However, you must read it properly. Sandra's books are very rhythmic--more like leading a cheer than reading a book. "The moon is UP and it's getting LATE, so let's get ready to CEL-a-brate, It's PAJAMA TIME!" Lots of fun for the reader and the listener. (1-??)

A new favorite with my grandkids (3 and up) has been
Judy Schachner's Skippyjon Jones series, especially Lost in Spice. Skippyjon is a Siamese kitten who likes to pretend he is a chihuahua to hilarious results. With Mama June Bug Jones, Skippyjon's three sisters, Jezebel, Jillyboo, and Ju Ju Bee, the funny phrases ("Mr. Kitten Britches" & "We're making Tuna Poodle Casserole") and Skippyjon's antics we giggled and laughed our way through the stories. (3 and up.)

My daughter-in-law, Shannon introduced me to Agate by Joy Morgan Dey last weekend at my son's house in MN. It is a sweet story, but the art work just blew me away. If you love to share beauty with your children and a meaningful story about how every one of us has a special place in this world this is a wonderful way to do it. A book that is equally beautiful in it's message and art. (4 and up.)

By the way, I keep most of these books close to the computer so that when I'm Skypeing with my grandchildren I can quickly fill any request to "Read me a story, Grammy!"

Please comment and add your own favorite
children's book.
I'm always on the lookout for a new favorite picture book.

Meanwhile, Happy Reading!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

If a picture is worth 1,000 words...

...then Shutterfly is a million dollar deal for grandparents.

I am finally writing my LONG overdue post about the joys of using Shutterfly, my very favorite photo sharing website. On Shutterfly you can store your priceless photos, make Share Pages on any subject you wish, make books and more, all for free! For every project you make, Shutterfly provides a link for you to send to anyone you wish. You can even upload your address book and they will send an invitation for you. What could be easier?

All of these wonderful features I've mentioned so far are all available only online. But Shutterfly will also print your pictures for you, help you make wonderful, one-of-a kind books, cards and gifts with your pictures for prices that compare favorably with every other photo sharing business I've checked, whether online or in a regular discount or drug store. And I almost forgot to mention the amazing sales they have. Most of the time when I purchase something I am able to get a thirty to fifty percent discount and almost always shipping is free for orders over $30. Shutterfly will also allow you to make books and cards and share them online at no charge.

After a visit in January, 2010 to 18 month-old Maggie, living in CA at the time, I made a heavy-duty, spiral bound Shutterfly "snap book" of the pictures I took adding my own text. Would you believe she memorized it and at 3 1/2 loves to "read" it to her baby brother?

So far this year I've made a book for our family reunion/vacation on the shores of Lake Michigan, a book for my son's family (plus one for me) with photos of three years at the Minnesota Renassiance Festival and a book for my grandson and I at The Great Train Festival, in Rock Island, IL. Some of my books are pictured here. As you can see, there are different sizes and you can even get paperback versions. The heavy-duty "snap book" is on the lower left hand corner.

Even though I enjoy buying their products I think my favorite Shutterfly feature is the Share Site where you can post photos of whatever subject you want. For the past few years I've made a sort of family yearbook on my Share Sites. I've also used it as a Christmas letter to friends and family, sending the link online for no charge. When I send a card or letter through the mail, I can include the link and anyone who would like to see more of what we were up to can visit the FREE share site. Love it!
(And if you'd like to see what I'm talking about, here's the link:

In the interest of full disclosure I'd like to tell you that there was a special $10 off my next order on Shutterfly if I would embed the code of my latest project, Valentine cards. I'm planning to include them in our annual family letter, since I missed Christmas. But let me also point out that everyone I know also received a code good for $20 off any order as a thank you gift from the Shutterfly company. I wish all the merchants I do business with would be so generous.

Why not begin your Shutterfly adventure today at Just imagine all the ways you could start connecting through photos with your precious grandchildren.

To see the lovely cards I'm sending out as my "Valentine" this year, click the link below

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Creating Memories

This weekend we head up to Minnesota to see Mr. E and Miss N, our grandkids who live up there.  On Saturday we'll be headed to Shakopee for The Minnesota Renaissance Festival (  I can hardly wait.

Last fall was the first time we had attended with our grandkids (ages 4 & 2 then) and we wondered if they might be too young.  Silly Grammy!  It was one big land of enchantment for them, a feast for the eyes as they gazed in wonder at queens, kings, knights, fairies, horses, glass-blowers and much, much more than I have mentioned here.

Having been to the festival several years ago, I remembered seeing a lovely fairy named Twig there and wondered if she would be there last year.  So I used my trusted friend "Google" and sure enough, Twig was slated to be at the fair.  In fact, we even found Twig on Facebook.

I showed my grandson, Mr E who immediately fell in love.  We had to email Twig to tell her we were coming and would be looking for her the next day.  I was quite pleased to get a reply from her that very evening.

As soon as we arrived the next morning, the hunt for Twig began.  All through the day, about every half-hour or so,  Mr. E would ask me where Twig was, did I think we'd find her and so on.  We found the Blue Fairy, who gave the kids lovely colored stones (which they still have), a fairy who sprinkled them with pixie dust and even a faun, but no Twig.

Finally as the shadows were getting longer and we were beginning to despair of ever finding Twig, we looked up and there she was!  E shyly went up to her and told her of his quest to find her.  She communicated beautifully with him and his sister with her lute and her lovely face.  E was delighted and so were we all.  Of course, I took a picture of Twig and E to preserve that precious memory.  Little boys are only four once and that look of amazement fades all too quickly for this Grammy. 

Making memories of something special you do together isn't terribly hard but the event becomes even more special when you give yourself and your grandchildren something to look forward to.  I recently read that people are actually happier when planning their vacation, than they are when they are ON the vacation. So let's get those grands excited about Grandpa coming!

So next time you have a chance to visit your grandkids,  talk about the visit before hand, tell them what you plan to do with them, what books you'll read and if you're looking forward to building Legos or playing Barbies with them.  It's one easy thing to do to easy those moments when you first get there and they may be a little shy.

And don't forget to bring the camera.  But I'll save that post for another day!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tech-Know Grammy Deal of the Week

Though she sometimes feels like it, Tech-Know Grammy did not live through the 1929 "Great Depression."  However, with today's economy, I'm sometimes afeared I'm gonna wind up selling apples on the street corner.  Although we're not yet putting newspapers in our shoes or standing in the bread lines,  I'm always lookin' for ways to get more for less and save some cash. Don't know about y'all but my very favorite price is "FREE."   One thing I plan to do is share all my penny-pinchin' secrets with all y'all so we can save those pennies for a trip to see the grands!

This week my daughter shared a great deal with me from a web site called "A Story Before Bed."

For a limited time (according to the web site) you can choose a book and record yourself reading it to you grandson or daughter or just about anybody, I reckon.  You must have a web cam hooked up to your computer.  If you have one of them there fancy laptops, you most likely have one built right in to it.  If you have a regular desk top, you can purchase a small web cam for a small price that will work just fine. 

When you've got the web cam ready to go, you click on the web address in purple above and register for an account.  (That takes longer than making the book.)  They will pretty much tell you what to do from there. (I realized after we made our book I shouldda been taking a movie of us doin' it, but maybe we'll try to do a second one for you sometime soon.  I'll try to get a video of this up on YouTube soon.)

After you record the book, you can put on on your Facebook profile page or on your young 'un's porfiles iffin they have one.  You can also send it to their iPad, iPhone iffin they got one of them fancy things.  Otherwise, just a plain, ole link on email will take 'em right to the page where the kiddos can see your smilin' face and hear Grandma read a nice bedtime story.

If you don't have time to make a book right now, you can even sign up on the web site to be reminded to come back and make one later.  That's what I did.

Just so's ya know, the free stories are mostly for the pre-school set, no "Hunger Games" here...yet.

Iffin any of y'all  are itchin' to see me and Papa's rendition of "Itsy, Bitsy Spider" ya can wander over to my Facebook page and take a gander-- Link below:!/pages/Tech-Know-Grammy/211405318918235.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tech-Know Grammy

Welcome to"Tech-know Grammy: Long-distance Grandparenting in the Digital Age”

My Mission: To teach technically challenged grandparents (like me) how to be a real presence in the daily life of your far-away grandchildren no matter what their ages.

It’s great to be a grandparent, isn’t it? Many of us could hardly wait for our kids to have kids. Kids we could play with and spoil and then send home at the end of the night.

But something happened on the way to the sainted grandparent status—somebody moved. It might be you, it might be your children, in our increasingly mobile society not only are our families living in different cities, frequently we are not even in the same state or country.

But that doesn’t mean you have to be a stranger to your grandkids. In today’s technical society there are dozens of ways to reach out to your grandkids. With a little effort, a little learning and a lot of patience, you can learn how to stay connected and close, and let them know and experience the special love that only exists between the “grands.”

Whether your grandchildren live across the street or across the world, this timely tool box contains the keys you’re longing for to create a loving and continuous communication with your long-distance grandchild.

So what are you waiting for? Plug-in, turn-on, tune-in (as we said in the 60’s) and let’s get SKYPE-ing, Tweeting, friending and connecting with the newest generation.

My prayer and my passion:

“Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me.” Psalm 71:18