Archive for the ‘misc’ Category

Closing the Mailbox

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Grandma in the Mailbox made its debut in January 2011.  My goal was to share ideas for making times with grandchildren special for them and for the reader whether it be a grandma, a mother, or a friend.

I have enjoyed over the months talking about Grandma’s library, the playroom, Grandma Camp, cousin play dates and crafts we have made and games we have played, books we read and the times we spent together.  I liked to share recipes that always received “thumbs up” when I served them to my grandchildren.

I hope that I have given some ideas and maybe some inspiration to others on making memories with their grandchildren.

After publishing 95 posts over these 21 months, I have decided that it is time to close Grandma in the Mailbox.  The blog will still remain on-line if you want to check out a past entry or recipe.

To my grandchildren I’ll still remain Grandma in the Mailbox.  I already have purchased the Halloween and Thanksgiving postcards that I’ll send to them. We’ll still have cousin play dates and sleepovers and fun times.

I have often said that I thought on those forms that ask your occupational status, there should be a box to check that said Grandparent.  I have had many occupations from teacher to office manager to human resources rep, but the best job I have ever had is GRANDMOTHER.  The compensation is hugs and smiles and lots of love.  Can’t be beat.

Thank you, faithful readers, for your visits and your kind and thoughtful comments.

Putting Memories Together

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

I have talked about Grandma Camp – the activities and the adventures and the fun.  I like to  put together a memory album for my grandchildren so that they can look over what we did and years from now remember the fun.  Actually my grandson usually pulls out the albums from the previous years each June before we have our first camp.  He looks at what we did and decides what he wants to do all over again.

I have just completed an album for my grandchildren who live 20 minutes away.  We had two camp sessions during the summer so there were  many photos to put together for the album.  Having put albums together for the past three years for all the grandchildren, I have learned a little something about photo albums.  I search out albums for 4 X 6 photos.  I like the ones with sleeves to slip the photos in.  They seem to be made in two capacities – 60 and 160.  Gr, rr 60 is not enough, and 160 is too many.  Live with it, Grandma.

First of all, I spread the photos out and select the ones that I want to use in the album.

I cut out 4 X 6 rectangles of colored paper to slip into the album to serve as fillers and to hold blurbs that describe the photos.

Then to put the album together.  I laid it out in chronological order and composed some descriptions to accompany the photos.



I enjoyed reliving the Grandma Camps as I put the photos into the album.  I remember some of the  fun times and hilarious comments of my grandchildren.

And finally I selected a little photo to slip into the cover.  A photo of the three of us.  And here is the finished product.

Thank you for visiting Grandma in the Mailbox.  Next week I’ll have a delicious cookie recipe to share with you.  It is a recipe that can alsoeasily be turned into a vegan version or a gluten-free version.  I hope that you stop back again for another visit.


Who Lives Here?

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

When my10 year old granddaughter was just about two years old, I had an idea for a book that I would make for her.  Who Lives Here? I wanted a book that would help her to learn to recognize the homes of her grandparents and aunt and uncle and cousin.  A learning moment as she and her mommy or daddy looked at the book with her.

I accumulated photos of the houses of  the various relatives.  Then armed with scrap booking papers and card stock, I started assembling the little book.  I also purchased laminating sheets and some comb binders.  At that time I was still working and luckily was able to avail myself to a laminator and a comb binder/punch in the office.  Those items made the project easier to do and the end product much more attractive.

First, there was a dedication to my granddaughter using one of her princess photos.

Then I laid out the pages using printed scrap book paper and coordinating cover stock.  I laminated the photos so that my granddaughter could touch the pages and not leave sticky finger prints behind.  Yes, sometimes there are sticky fingers.

On this page I inserted a photo of her younger cousin as a clue since she had never seen the home of her aunt and uncle and cousin.

Of course, I had to have a photo of my house for her to see.

On the remaining pages I included a photo of her home and photos of all the other grandparents’ homes.

On heavier card stock I set up the title page and the back cover.  I punched all the pages with the binder punch and bound them together.  And, voila – Who Lives Here? was finished.

I made a similar book for my other granddaughter.  Her book featured photos of people rather than homes.  It was entitled Who Am I? I included photos of her parents and grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles.  Also I included photos of the various families’ pets.

These were such fun projects for me.  They took a little time, but the happy, warm feeling I had when they were finished was well worth the time.  The granddaughters used them and then when they were followed by little brothers, the fellows could look through the books – often with the help of a big sister.

Thank you for stopping by Grandma in the Mailbox.  I hope that you stop again for another visit.  Next week I’ll talk about putting memories together.

The Grandma Gazette

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

There is a new newspaper in these parts.  It has no advertisements.  Circulation is limited – 4 grandchildren and 2 friends.

The Grandma Gazette debuted in March.  All of my grandchildren can now read.  I wanted to communicate with them.  They are  too young for email accounts.  I have a twitter account; they don’t.  I decided to write a newspaper for them.  I cover family news, cat news,  and I include riddles, of course.

I call it The Grandma Gazette. The masthead carries the paper’s motto – All the news that Grandma can remember.  My 10 year old granddaughter thinks this is really funny.  She is probably the only one who catches me in “senior moments.”

I set the newspaper up in Word using columns.  I have a header for the date and masthead information and a footer for the pagination.  Below is a sample page from the first edition. (Sorry about the small size, but – well, that was all I could get to paste into the blog.  If you click on the thumbnail, you’ll get a larger version you can read.)


In June the newspaper talked about softball.  All the grandchildren play so I included photos of each of them at one of their games.  In August my 10 year old granddaughter celebrated her 10th birthday so there were various photos of her all the way back to year #1.  Her grandfather also celebrated a birthday in August, and I was able to get some photos of him taken when he was the age of the grandchildren.  They had never seen those, and they were surprised to learn that Grandpa was just like them – he played with his sister, his grandma baked treats for him, and he got into trouble sometimes.

September’s issue which has not yet come off the presses will be about school.  I’ll include photos of the schools that they each attend since the children who live 20 minutes away and the children who live 3 hours away have never seen each other’s schools.   I also plan to have a photo of the elementary school that I attended and my first grade photo – Grandma with her long braids.

In October there will be another birthday to celebrate  with photos of the birthday girls and maybe even a photo of  Halloween costumes they have worn in the past.   November brings another family birthday to celebrate.  Of course, December will have a Christmas issue with photos of my Christmas tree and Snow Village and a memory or two from past Christmas celebrations.

I print the newspapers out so that each grandchild gets a copy.  With the help of the parents the newspaper often magically appears on the front porch outside the door – delivered just as the local “big people’s” newspaper  is delivered.

This is so much fun for me.  I just love  putting together The Grandma Gazette. My grandchildren love receiving the newspaper.

My grandchildren who live 20 minutes away have both tried their hand at their own newspapers using Mom’s desktop computer.  It was fun helping them with the spelling as they each worked on their first issue.

Thank you for stopping by Grandma in the Mailbox.  I hope that you stop by again for another visit.


Wild about Parks Quest

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

My grandchildren love scavenger hunts and treasure hunts.  We always have one as part of Grandma Camp when they visit me.

This summer we used our detective skills in a program offered by the Urbana, IL Park District –  Parks Quest.

Wild About Parks Quest is a letterboxing event that celebrates the Urbana Park District’s many parks and facilities.  Letterboxing can be compared with a treasure hunt – where the treasure is a hidden box and the map is a set of clues used to find the box.

To learn more about this intriguing pastime, letterboxing, you can check out this website: You can click on the map to find letterboxes that are hidden in your city.

Back to Parks Quest.  To become a quester you need a clue booklet.  These can be picked up at the Urbana Park District office or can be downloaded from their website.  You use this clue booklet to find each letterbox.

For example, at one park  you are told to follow the path into the Gazebo and take a seat on one of the benches.  You then read about the large oak tree nearby with a plaque telling how old the tree is.  Reading on, you are asked to look for one tree that is not like the rest.  This tree has blue leaves or needles.  Search below the needles on the south side of the tree and there is the park’s letter box.

My granddaughter agreed to be the one to shimmy under the big blue spruce.

Out she came with the letter box in her hand.

My grandchildren opened the letterbox and took out the stamp.  They inked it up and stamped their Quest Clue Book to show they had found the treasure.  Then they signed the notebook with our names and the date to show when we found the letter box.  Finally it is really important to put the letterbox back where you found it so it will be ready for the next quester to find.  Yes, my granddaughter had to shimmy back under the blue spruce.

“Let’s go to another park, Grandma.”  SO we did.

In some of the parks the letterbox was hidden in a hollow of a tree.  My grandson considered for some time if he wanted to plunge his hand in for the letter box.  He was wondering what besides the letterbox might be in that hole.  We found no wild critters.

Off to another park and then another.

Time out.  It was hot and we were tired and needed a break.

No better way to cool off than with a yummy dip (or two) of ice cream.  As we sat eating, we looked at the booklet planning our next park.  Guess what – there was one right across the street from the ice cream shop.  When we finished, we headed over to look for another letterbox.

The most difficult quest required us to walk on a trail through a park with many gardens.  In each garden we were instructed to find a letter.  The letter was put into numbered blanks in our book.  When completed we would have the title of a sculpture in the park.  The letterbox was behind that sculpture under a flat rock in the brush.

My granddaughter was filling in the blanks so we could find that elusive letterbox.

We explored eight parks and have eight stamps in our Park Quest book.  However, the children were a little unhappy.  The car was packed and it was time for them to head home.  I promised that when they come for another visit, we’ll explore more parks.  I did add that it might be cold weather when they return.  ”We’ll bring boots and gloves and warm jackets, Grandma.  Can we do it?  Can we do it?”

I called the Park District and verified that the letterboxes are left out all year around so yes, we can go out even in the snow – and that might be really fun – to look for the treasures.  I was also told that the Park District sends someone out every few weeks to check on the letterboxes so there will be no missing boxes.

When Daddy asked the children if they had fun doing Parks Quest, I saw two smiles and two thumbs up.

Thank you for stopping by Grandma in the Mailbox.  Next week a recipe for some yummy cookies that have chunks of peanut butter cups in them.  Hope you stop by to visit again.


“It’s a beautiful day for a ball game.”

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

This was the theme song played before Chicago Cubs baseball games years ago.  Of course, Ernie Banks added, “It’s a beautiful day for a ball game.  Let’s play two.”

Indeed last Thursday was a beautiful day for a ball game.  The temperature was in the low 80′s.  The wind was minimal, and our seats were in the shade.

My grandchildren who live 3 hours away and their daddy and I were all set for baseball.  My grandson was wearing the Cub shirt his daddy bought him last year at the ball park.  He added a Cub hat for a perfect outfit.  My granddaughter wanted a Cub shirt and had declared that Alfonso Soriano was her favorite Cub.  We looked and looked – vendor to vendor – shop to shop – and no one had a Sori shirt in youth sizes.  We decided to look after the game.

As we emerged from the tunnel to go to our seats, a roar went up from the crowd.  I asked the children if that cheer was for us, but no.  It was for the Cubs who were taking the field.

On the drive to Chicago my granddaughter had asked about keeping score at a game.  Her daddy explained the numbering system to her.

If keeping score in a baseball game is a mystery to you, here is a short lesson from Major League Baseball.

In new ball parks like Busch the scoring is flashed on the score board after a play.  Wrigley has a classic scoreboard with scores being hand turned by fellows inside the scoreboard.  No fancy scoring assistance there – except for the H or E to indicate hit or error.

Daddy told my granddaughter that Grandma was the score keeper in the family.  Yes, I have kept score at many a game.  I love to buy the “official” score card that comes with a Cub pencil.

During the first two innings my granddaughter ate her chicken fingers, and I served as scribe writing down the 1-3 or the 6-4-3 or the K’s as she directed.  She was doing a super job figuring out the numbers for the positions.  I was impressed.

In the 3rd inning she took the pencil and off she went scoring the remainder of the game.  She even knew which direction the K should go depending if the strikeout was swinging or called.  Her younger brother really enjoyed knowing  about the K and backward K and would monitor the card to see if she had scored the play properly.

In the 5th inning her favorite player came to bat – Alfonso Soriano.  I suggested that maybe Sori would hit a homer for her.  And he did.  Much screaming and jumping and high fives to everyone.

The game had many great plays – Starlin Castro’s scooping up the ball, spinning and throwing  bullets to first  (yes, that is 6-3) and  Reed  Johnson’s diving catch in rightfield (a 9 on the scorecard).  There was also a fiasco when Reed Johnson was caught between home plate and 3rd base.  The run down required numerous throws to several players.  When he was finally tagged out, my granddaughter looked at me with a quizzical  expression.  ”Grandma, what do I write?”  There was no way I could keep track of the 2-5 and I think 1 and maybe even 6 got involved so I smiled and said, “Let’s just call it 2-5.”

We all stood for the 7th inning stretch to sing “Take me out  to the ballgame.”  More singing when the Marlins changed pitchers – “YMCA.”  And the best song after the final out – “Go, Cubs, go,” as the W flag was run up the flag pole.

The game was only 2 hours and 18 minutes long – a short game just right for short people.

After the game we resumed the search for the elusive Soriano tee shirt.  None to be found.  My granddaughter said, “Your favorite player is Castro, right, Grandma?”  I nodded yes so she took a Castro tee shirt off the rack and up to the counter.

Hm, I might just have to buy myself a Castro tee shirt, too.

It had been a really beautiful day.

Thank you for stopping by Grandma in the Mailbox.  I hope you stop by next week.  The 4th Wednesday is recipe day and I’ll share my recipe for Cuban bread.  I have been making it for my family for 30 years or so.


Do you have a pen pal?

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

I do.  I have three pen pals.

This is the age of email.  Far fewer people use “snail mail” to send greetings and news to friends.  However, I think we all agree that it is a pleasant surprise when we go to the mailbox and find an envelope (other than one of those window ones) bringing us news and greetings from friends.

I belong to an organization in town for senior citizens – RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program).  One of the activities of the group is to be pen pals to elementary school students in the 4th grade.  Some local schools participate, and some small towns nearby also participate.

In this program we senior volunteers are assigned one or two students in September.  The letter exchange begins with the students sending introductory letters to us.  We then respond telling the students about ourselves and asking them questions about their favorite things.

Each month the students write us and we write to them.  Rules of the program preclude our sending gifts to the students.  We do sometimes exchange photos.  It is fun to get their news about what is happening in school and what they want for Christmas.  One year I had a pen pal who would often start his letter with “I am grounded again.”

Near the end of the school year in May we have a get-together in their classroom so that we have a chance to meet and see each other in person.  We usually play games and have ice cream treats as part of our end of the year party.

This year at the end of the year party my pen pal asked if I would continue to be her pen pal this summer so we have been writing each other about our summer adventures.

Another pen pal is a kindergarten-age grandson.  The little fellow loves to get mail and postcards in the mail box.  He was talking to his daddy about the lack of mail for him as of late and decided that to get mail, you must send mail.  With the help of a parent he wrote me a letter about what a movie he had seen.  I was alerted that a letter was coming.

The afternoon it arrived I wrote a response and took it to the post office to mail.  Since that initial letter we have exchanged several letters.  My grandson is now “on his own” to compose the letters at home.  The phonetic spelling of some words brings a smile to my lips.  He always includes a joke.  It is usually a “why did the ____ cross the road” type of joke.  These are original jokes that he comes up with.

These letters are treasures that I keep and will tuck away to present to him years down the road.

Last year I saw an article in a magazine about the Senior Angel program.  It is a program that matches interested folks with elderly folks who perhaps are home bound or have limited interaction with others.  In this program participants become “angels” and write chatty letters and send occasional small gifts to their senior.  This program is a branch of the Chemo Angel program.

Angels receive information about their senior – a brief introduction to the person and information about special interests, hobbies, colors, TV programs, candy etc.  The senior does not write back; however, each month a family member of the senior sends a report to the Senior Angel program so Angels can check in on his/her senior.

When I write my senior, I might tell her about my garden, visits with grandchildren, cookies I have baked, or the latest happening of my squirrels outside.  Since we live in vastly different areas of the US, I also talk about the local weather and I check to see what it is like in her neighborhood.  I send a little box of her favorite things at holidays and on her birthday.  My goal is to add a little sparkle to her day.

Since I write to my pen pals frequently, I like to have an assortment of note cards.  I use note cards rather than sheet stationery since the small format offers me a chance to write a short bit of news.  On each trip to Michaels and Target I check out the $1.00 bins and buy new and fun cards to have on hand.

Hm, I think I just heard the mailman on the porch.  I’m going to check to see if I received a letter today from one of my pen pals.

Thank you for stopping by Grandma in the Mailbox.  It’s summer and vacation time.  I’m taking next week off for relaxation including a trip to Chicago to see my Chicago Cubs.  A visit to Wrigley Field is always special to me.  I’ll be back in two weeks with a recipe for Cuban bread.  Enjoy the good old summertime.



4th of July Postcards

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

The 4th of July is only a few weeks off.  I shall not be with my grandchildren that day so I am going to send to their mailboxes 4th of July postcards.

These postcards come from my favorite source of cards:

Fourth of July Facts

On each card I’ll include a historical fact about the 4th of July or the American flag.  I’ll pick something that will interest each child from these random bits of information.

On July 4, 1776, the United States was born.  We celebrate its birthday each year as the 4th of July with parades, picnic, speeches and fireworks.

In 1776 the new nation of the United States was comprised of 13 states or colonies.  The population of all 13 states put together was 2.5 million.  At the census in 2010 the population of the city of Chicago was about 2.5 million.  Imagine all the people living in Chicago spread out among the 13 states.  They weren’t very crowded.

The American flag has a star for every state.  The first flag sewn by Betsy Ross had 13 stars – one for each state.  When a state joined the union (the United States), another star was added and a new flag came into being.  Illinois became the 21st state in 1818.  In 1819 the new flags had 21 stars.  Missouri became the 24th state in 1821.  The United States needed another new flag – one that would have 24 stars.

Benjamin Franklin, one of the leaders of the new United States, wanted the wild turkey to be  named the national bird.  However, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams voted against the turkey.  They suggested the bald eagle.  The bald eagle became the national bird of the United States.

Fourth of July Riddles

Whenever my grandchildren receive a post card from me, they expect to see a riddle on it.  I have some riddles and will put one on each child’s post card.

Why did the duck say “bang?”  He was a firequacker.

What did one flag say to the other?  Nothing.  It just waved.

What’s red, white, blue and green?  A patriotic pickle.

Why did the British soldiers wear red coats?  To hide among the  tomato plants.

Thank you for stopping by Grandma in the Mailbox.  Next week is recipe day.  I decided that I wanted to bake some 4th of July cookies for my grandchildren.  Stop by to see how they turned out and get a copy of the recipe.  See you again soon.



I met Wrigley, the goat

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

I met the cutest goat this week – Wrigley.

Wrigley is no ordinary goat.  He is a goat who travels in good company – with 5 guys who have been walking from Arizona to Wrigley Field in Chicago to Crack the Curse against the Chicago Cubs (they have not been in a World Series since 1945 – see last post) and to help find a cure for cancer by collecting donations for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Fund.

And further Wrigley has his own TWITTER account.  He daily tweets his thoughts about the day’s journey.  On Tuesday evening at 6:55PM he tweeted, “I can see Illinois.  These guys can’t push my cart fast enough.”  (Due to all the St. Louis traffic and the act of going over the bridge Wrigley was confined to his cart for the day’s travels.

I had written last week about the arrival of the Crack the Curse crew + Wrigley in St. Louis.  Arrive they did.  On Monday they visited the Cardinals Kids Cancer Center.  The children enjoyed petting Wrigley and giving him treats.  Cheez-its seemed to be a hit with the goat.

Locker Dome, a sports social media website,  ( had offered the group including Wrigley a place to stay for the night.  Accompanied by my grandchildren, I stopped by the Locker Dome office, and we met Wrigley.

Here my grandson, granddaughter, two of the Crack the Curse crew and I are attempting to pose with Wrigley.  I think he was ready for another handful of Cheez-its and not for standing still and being petted.

The fellows + goat headed for the river front to visit the Arch and to visit with others at the Arch.  They all stopped by Busch Stadium and talked with a few Cub players and many Cub fans who had make the trip to St. Louis for the game.  The fellows had tickets for the evening game between the Cubs and the Cardinals.  Wrigley did not have a ticket.

Wrigley went back to Locker  Dome, where an intern was waiting to goat-sit for the evening.

Tuesday meant back on the road and over the border into Illinois.  They are on their final leg of the 1900 mile trip.  On Tuesday, May 15 they camped out in Alton, IL.  Now the trek northward to the Friendly Confines with its ivy covered wall (and Wrigley the goat has been quoted as saying he would like to get a taste of that ivy) begins – 25 miles (or so) a day.

If you want to see the Crack the Curse entourage, they will be reaching the Springfield, IL area on Saturday, May 19; Bloomington, IL about Monday, May 21.  These are estimates based on a 25 mile a day.  They plan to continue sticking close to the old Route 66 (I-55) on roads that allow walkers.  If they will be near you, why not drive out to visit them.  They love snacks and Wrigley also does.  You can give them contributions to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Fund.  Donations can also be made at their website:

You can follow their progress by checking the blog: Their daily post typically goes up about 10:00PM.  They are also on Face Book at Crack the Curse.

I have so enjoyed following the daily updates from Matt and the fellows and now the tweets from Wrigley.

Thank you for stopping by Grandma in the Mailbox.  Next week I’ll publish a recipe from the past.  Hope you visit again.




Crack the Curse

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

I am a baseball fan; I am a Cub fan – the diehard kind of Cub fan.  The Cubs are always waiting for next year – maybe that will be a good year.  Is there a curse against the Cubs?

Back in 1945 the Cubs were playing the Detroit Tigers in the World Series in Wrigley Field.  William Sianis, a tavern owner, decided to go to the game – WITH his goat.  He even bought a ticket for the goat.  They got to their seats and were watching the game or at least Sianis was when it started to rain.  After the rain, came the sun.  After the sun’s warmth started shining on the goat, nearby fans complained of the odor of wet goat.  Sianis and the goat were asked to leave the ball park.  The Cubs lost the game, and they lost a fan.

Sianis stood outside Wrigley Field and invoked a curse, promising that the Cubs would not play in another World Series in Wrigley Field because his goat had been insulted.

The Cubs lost that World Series and as predicted the Cubs have not played another World Series in Wrigley Field.  In April 1969 just before his death, Sianis is said to have lifted the curse.  However, still no World Series.

From time to time fans come up with ideas for breaking the “curse.”  Last winter some fellows who had worked together at Denali National Park in Alaska came up with an idea.  They were baseball fans, and all but one was a Cub fan.  They would walk from Mesa, Arizona, the site of Cub spring training to Wrigley Field to break the “curse.”

Since all the men had been touched by cancer – a friend or a family member having suffered from cancer, they decided that as they walked,  they would try to raise money for cancer research. Money that is donated is given to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.  Hutchinson is a former baseball player who died from cancer.

They decided to take a friend with them – Wrigley, a goat that they purchased on Craigslist.

The fellows departed from Mesa, Arizona, on February 25, the birthday of the late Ron Santo, a Cub star who lost his life to cancer.  The fellows walk about 25 miles a day.  Wrigley walks about 4 or 5 miles a day.  Then he rides in a utility cart that the guys adapted for Wrigley.

They camp out at night and fix their own meals.  As they have journeyed closer and closer to Chicago, word has spread about their journey.  Well wishers bring them food and water and money for the cancer fund.  Some have provided lodging for them overnight.

They have walked through a dust storm in New Mexico and were near the outbreak of tornadoes that occurred in Oklahoma a few weeks ago.  They along with Wrigley huddled in a truck stop with other travelers until the storms passed by.

As I write, the guys and Wrigley have completed Day 74 of walking and spent last night in Cuba, Missouri.  They will arrive in St. Louis this weekend when the Cubs are there to play the Cardinals.  They hope to see the Monday night game.  Who will goat-sit, I wonder.  Then it will be up Route 66 (I-55) to Chicago.

Next Tuesday they will start the final leg of  their trip.  I’ll figure out when they will be nearby using the 25 miles a day formula and then journey over to see them.  I’ll take some treats for men and goat and a donation to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.  I hope to get my photo taken with Wrigley.

If you want to follow the Crack the Curse crew, you can “like” them on Face Book at Crack the Curse.  They also have a website: At the website is a link to donate to the Hutchinson fund or to buy a tee shirt or sun glasses.  Each night as they settle in, they post an account of their day on Face Book and on their blog:

Thank you for visiting Grandma in the Mailbox.  I hope you stop by to visit again sometime.