This and That

A few things I have been thinking about -

Thank you postcards – If you have read a post or two in Grandma in the Mailbox, you might recall that I often send postcards to my grandchildren.  I have just mailed some off to thank them for my Christmas gifts.  I choose some of the colorful cards that I bought at For each child I selected his/her favorite animal – a card with kittens, a giraffe, a tiger, and, of course, a dinosaur. No riddles this time – simply thanks for the special gifts that they made for me for Christmas.

Birthday cake – I bake birthday cakes for grandchildren.  I also bake birthday cakes for my son who lives 20 minutes away. I have been doing this for – well, a lot of years.  His children like to consult with me about what Daddy’s cake should look like.  This year it was  between a Cub cake and a garden cake.  I actually wanted the Cub cake because it would have been so easy – “a piece of cake.”   The children opted for a garden cake since Daddy is a big time gardener.

The cake was topped with a variety of “plants” and even a rabbit barrier around some.  However, the rabbits seemed to be figuring out how to slip in for a munch of the plants.  The grandchildren thought it was just perfect, especially the peanuts M&Ms that were prominently featured.

Kitchen timer

I love my kitchen timer.  A most versatile and helpful apparatus.  Actually this is my replacement timer since I wore the first one out.

I naturally use it to time cookies and cakes as everyone else.  But I have a myriad of other uses for it.  I am not a fan of weeding the garden.  I tell myself that if I weed the garden for 30 minutes, then I can …..  The blank is always filled in with something much more fun.  Off I go to the garden to weed carrying my tools and my timer along.  The timer also helps me to clean the basement.  30 minutes of work in the basement means a big reward – a cookie maybe.

Sometimes in the afternoon I think a 15 minute nap is just what I need.  I fear that I might sleep too long and not be able to sleep at night so my trusty timer is set for 15 minutes.  Presto, I wake up ready to get busy again.

My timer is really handy when the grandchildren stop by for play dates.  Just the other day my grandson wanted to play with the Playmobile people.  My granddaughter wanted to play house.  Neither was willing to compromise and I could see a spat bubbling up.  Solution:  I said that we would play with the Playmobile people for 20 minutes; then we would play house for 20 minutes.

I set the timer.  When the beep, beep indicated Playmobile time was over,  no protest – no argument.  They were both ready to play house.  The beep of the timer is so much more effective than the voice of grandma saying, “time to stop.”

After we played house, the grandchildren wanted “free time.”  I said that we would have free time, and then we would make sundaes.  My granddaughter said, “Set the timer, Grandma.”  SO I did.

The book I am reading

When I last visited my grandchildren who live 3 hours away, I found myself awake while the household slept.  I spied a book that my 9 year old granddaughter had been reading.  The Shadow Thieves by Anne Ursu so I picked it up and read a few chapters.  Boy, it was good.

My granddaughter loves Greek mythology; as a former Latin teacher I favor Roman mythology.  She and I like to compare our gods and goddesses.  This book is a tale filled with Greek gods, sick and shadowless children and a plot to overthrow the Lord of the Dead.  Charlotte Mielswetzski (pronounced Meals. Wet. Ski.) and her cousin Zachary (nicknamed Zee) are trying to save the children.  The book is a long one for a 9 year to read, I thought, but it does go fast.  When I read it over lunch, Charlotte and Zee had just found the entry to Hades  down a nondescript corridor in the Mall of America.  They were about to enter the nondescript door with the nondescript sign NO ADMITTANCE.

If you know a child who likes mythology or the Rick Riordan books, this is a book that he/she would love.

Thank you for stopping by Grandma in the Mail Box.  I hope you stop back again.  I am going to be getting ready for Valentine’s Day soon.

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