Archive for January, 2011

The 100th Day of School

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Last year in January my granddaughters shared with me the excitement that was taking place in their classrooms (kindergarten and first grade).  They were getting ready to celebrate a big event in their schools.  I looked at the calendar – too early for Valentine’s Day or Presidents’ Day. 

It was the 100th Day of School!  I confessed that I had never heard of it.  I said, “Your daddy’s class didn’t do that.”  They looked amazed.

The 100th Day of School is now celebrated in classrooms throughout the United States and Canada.  It is a milestone that marks the half way point of the school year – 100 days of  class are over.  Children, of course, love special days and the preparations to get ready for them.  Teachers make this a learning event.

Classes have fun with the number 100.  The younger children get a chance to see and understand exactly what 100 is.  They stack up 100 blocks or put 100 hearts on the chalkboard.  They then see 100 is big; it is a lot of blocks or hearts.  They have been in school 100 days.  That is a lot of days and a big accomplishment for them.

Teachers provide a variety of classroom activities involving 100.  Sh, sh, everyone sits in his/her chair and doesn’t speak for 100 seconds!  Or they might string 100 beads or Cheerios.

In art they might draw pictures of what they will look like in 100 years.  They can make a group mural with 100 flowers or 100 bugs or 100 worms.

On the playground or in the gymnasium they can see how far they can run in 100 seconds or if they can hop on one foot for 100  seconds.

Some classes work on a project together such as bringing in 100 cans of food for a food pantry.  Each day as the special day approaches the class counts the cans and determines how many more cans they need to reach 100.   

And maybe the best part is the party on the 100th Day of School.  It often is a chance to eat 100 of something – Cheerios or M&M’s or a mix of other treats.

If your grandchild is talking about the 100th Day of School celebration, you might want to read with them one of these books that could be available at your public library:

Jake’s 100th Day of School by Lester L. Laminack

Emily’s First 100 Days of School by Rosemary Wells

Fancy Nancy The 100th Day of School by Jane O’Connor

Thanks for visiting. 

By the way an apology for a slip of the finger in my last post about Groundhog Day and postcards.  The website for the postcards is www.zazzle.com.  I have corrected it in the post. 

In a few days you will be able to see the Valentine tree that my granddaughter and grandson and I made.

Groundhog Day in the Mailbox

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

I want to put something in my grandchildren’s mailboxes for Groundhog Day.

Well, what do I know about Groundhog Day?  I admit – very little, except the date, February 2.  Off to the library went I.  I found the most delightful book, The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun, by Wendie Old.  The book, designed for 9-12 year olds, provided just the information that I could use for Groundhog Day in the Mailbox.

Facts about Groundhog Day –

Groundhogs are also known as woodchucks, marmots, and whistle pigs.  Whistle pigs?  This creature makes a shrill sound (whistle) when warning others of danger.

Groundhogs live in multi-room burrows that they dig underground.  They hibernate each winter from November to March.  In order to survive while sleeping through these months without eating, they stuff themselves at the end of the summer with food and are so fat that they can hardly walk into their burrows for hibernation.  They curl up into a tight ball and hibernate living off their fat.

When a groundhog is not hibernating, something in the brain causes the groundhog to awaken about 7:00AM each morning.

We all know about Punxsutawney Phil who awakens at 7:00AM on February 2 on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, PA.  What most folks don’t know is that Phil is taken from his burrow and placed in the burrow on Gobbler’s Knob a few days before February 2.  The burrow is electrically heated.  The heat wakes Phil so that he feels like waking up and can emerge on 2/02 to see his shadow or not see his shadow.

Groundhog Jokes -

What is a laughing groundhog called?  A grinhog

How do groundhogs smell?  With their noses

What’s a groundhog’s favorite food?  Burrow-itos.

What does a groundhog call his father’s father?  Grandhog

What goes into the mail -

I shall put one of the facts I learned from the book (grandma, the teacher) and one of the groundhog jokes from the book on a Groundhog Day post card.

Yes, I have Groundhog Day post cards.

I found these fun cards at www.zazzle.com, a terrific website with an amazing assortment of picture postcards for children.

Here are a few other cards from Dazzle that I’ll be mailing in future months.

All set for Groundhog Day.  I hope he tells us that spring is just around the corner.

Thanks for visiting.  Have you heard your grandchildren talk about the 100th Day of School celebration?  It was new to me so I did some research. Stop by again.  I’ll share what I learned.

A Grandma/Granddaughter Sleepover

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

My granddaughter asked if she could have a sleepover with me – without her little brother.  I agreed so we made a date.

By the way my oldest granddaughter told me that they are called “overs,” not “sleepovers” because no one sleeps.  This grandma needs her sleep.

My granddaughter arrived for the sleepover, but not alone.

She was accompanied by Lanie, Hannah, Bitty Baby, Joseph and Mary, her American Girl family.

The sleepover checklist included:  food, a movie, crafts and fun.

My granddaughter said that she wanted to cook dinner with me instead of going out or picking something up.  Knowing what this young lass likes, I knew that mac ‘n cheese was  going to be on the menu.  It is a good thing that the American Girl dolls don’t eat because this tiny granddaughter can really put away the mac ’n cheese.  For dessert we had fresh strawberries with whipped cream.  Lesson for grandma:  watch out when a 6 year old wants to squirt whipped cream on her strawberries.  We had to pause before we ate to clean the whipped cream off the table, off the floor, off her face, and out of her bangs – laughing as we did.

The movie she selected was Tinkerbell.  I requested it from the library and we were all set.

My granddaughter loves to draw and paint.  She always requests more craft time when she visits my house.

We started off with paint pens, glitter glue and pasta. 

Using wagon wheel pasta and elbow macaroni, she made this picture with flowers, a cat, a tree, rainbow, and clouds.

A pastoral scene with a lady bug.  She battled the glitter glue with this picture.  Memo to Grandma:  Buy fresh glitter glue before the next craft session.

The next craft project came from www.thismamamakesstuff.com.  Using scraps of fabric and ribbon and trim, we made clothes for dolls.  The September 17 2010 post at this website provided doll patterns that could be downloaded onto card stock.  I put together a tub of scraps of fabric, ribbons, and trims.  My granddaughter designed outfits for the dolls by cutting the fabric and using photo sticker squares to dress the dolls.  When she was finished, she had a family –  father, daughter, and mother.

Like all little girls I know,  my granddaughter likes to play school.  I have a magnetic chalkboard in the playroom that all the grandchildren have fun drawing on and putting magnetic letters, numbers, and animals upon.

Today it was the school room and my granddaughter was the teacher.  The students were all of the American Girl dolls, a bag of stuffed animals that she had arranged in rows on the floor, and me.  We practiced counting and the teacher asked us some addition problems.  Then there was the unexpected – never happened in my playroom school before, the teacher said that we were having a fire drill.  She made a whooping alarm sound and we had to gather all the dolls and stuffed animals and exit the room and the school and go to the church next door.  In this case the church next door was my hallway. 

Soon the all-clear was sounded and we went back into the classroom only to hear the footsteps of mommy, daddy, and little brother coming in to end our sleepover.

What a fun time!

Thanks for stopping by.  Groundhog Day is coming and I am getting a mailing ready to go into the mailbox for each grandchild.  Stop by soon to check this out.

Play date with the Snow Village

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

In 1978 my mother gave me a Department 56 Snow Village house for Christmas. It was the Nantucket.  I loved it.  Each year at Christmas someone in the family would add a house or a shop to my village.  And then the ceramic figures were added – Children in the Band, Angels in the Snow, Christmas Visit to the Florist and many more.  I enjoyed displaying the village each year at Christmas. 

When the grandchildren arrived, they were intrigued by the houses and the little ceramic people.   I hovered as they touched and picked  up the figurines.  I could envision the fragile items falling onto the hardwood floor and into dozens of pieces and the tears that would result. (The grandchildren’s tears, not mine.) 

The children wanted to play pretend with the people.  You can’t play pretend if you can’t move the Coca Cola truck or the newspaper boy. 

A light bulb came on.  An idea.  I put away the ceramic figurines.  I purchased PlayMobile add-on people.  These little people are unbreakable and just the right size.  We have Christmas figures of Santa and a snowman.  For the un-Christmas season I added a bird feeder, a school band,  a crossing guard and many more assorted people.  A small Thomas the Tank Engine layout runs in front of the train station in the shopping area (not pictured).  Hot Wheels cars run up and down the streets that the children design in the village.

The children like to “assign” various houses to their family and their cousins and grandparents.  For some unknown reason my house is usually the Snowy Hills Hospital.  They even designate a house for their friend Noah to live in.

A Snow Village evokes nostalgic memories, but when you hear your grandchildren talking about going over to Noah’s house or to Starbucks for a scone as they play with the Play Mobile characters, it becomes a dynamic, living playscape.

Now the Snow Village goes up on November 1 and stays up until February 1.  At Christmas my grandson reminded me not to take the village down until he could play with it one more time.  We had a Snow Village play date last weekend. 

Thanks for stopping by.  Check out Grandma in the Mailbox next week for the crafts and food and fun from a grandma/granddaughter sleepover.

Here’s a riddle from Grandma

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Christmas was so much fun with my grandchildren.  They are now home again, in school again.  I decided to send them each a notecard and to tell them how much fun Christmas was. 

When I send them cards, I like to use designs that are children oriented.  I have found that Tuesday Morning frequently has small packets of notecards that are just perfect. 

In each card I included a couple of riddles chosen for the special interests of each child.

For the girls who like soccer:

Why did the soccer ball quit the team?  It was tired of being kicked around.

Why was Cinderella such a bad soccer player?  She ran away from the ball.

For my grandson who likes dinosaurs:

Why did the dinosaur paint its toe nails red?  So it could hide in the apple tree.

Why are dinosaurs big, green, and scaly?  Because if they were small and fuzzy and white, they’d be bunny rabbits.

For the grandson who likes trains and animals:

What do you call a train that sneezes?  Achoo-choo train.

What do you call a cat who eats lemons?  A sourpuss.

I have found that a really good website for finding riddles is www.kaboose.com.  You can search for jokes and riddles by subject.

Have fun.

Welcome to Grandma in the Mailbox

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

I am Grandma to two little ones who live 20 minutes away and to two little ones who live 3 hours away.  In order to stay close to them when physically we are apart, I have become Grandma in the Mailbox.  Hmm, maybe I should have a tee shirt made with a capital G and a mailbox on it for my super heroine identity.  Just kidding.

Remember when you were young and a letter would appear in the mail box with your name on it?  Wasn’t that neat and exciting?  It still is for children.  My five year old grandson was helping get the mail this morning and looked at an envelope and yelled, “This has MY name on it.”  He ran into the house to open it.

It was a notecard from me.  I send to my grandchildren every few weeks a note card filled with fun – jokes or riddles or puzzles.  Sometimes I mail special picture postcards that I have selected for them.

If you are looking for some riddles or games or fun to tuck into a letter to mail to  your grandchild, you’ll find them here.

The children and I often get together for cousin play dates or Grandma Camp or Grandma School.  We always have fun activities – crafts, scavenger hunts, dress-up days, cooking time.  Some learning is also tucked in.  (I was a teacher so I always have a lesson plan in my head.)

We are making memories.  Some day they might say, “Remember when we used to … at Grandma’s house?”

I’ll share my ideas for making times with your grandchildren special for them and for you.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope that you return often.