Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Talking With Your Children

The other day my granddaughter and I had the opportunity to sit down and have a nice long conversation.  She was recuperating and her mom and dad were off at her sister's concert. Many of us would probably say, "Of course I talk with my children."  After reading Stephanie's blog at Stephanie's Corner, dated February 15th,  I decided to be a little more intentional about my conversations with my grandchildren.  I ask my grandchildren about school on the drive home, or when they walk in the door.  They are usually in a hurry to begin homework, play, or relax and watch TV so the conversation isn't as meaningful as it could be.  Or I'll will ask about something that they've done, what they did over the weekend, or lessons they've taken.  This time,  I took Stephanie's advise and decided to be more intentional.  I asked her what she wanted to do, since she was stuck in bed and I was on a couch nearby.  "What can I do?" she asked.  "Anything you want that will keep you resting here in the bedroom,"  I answered.  "You can read, you can watch a movie, we can play a game.  What would you like to do? "  "Let's play Barbie beauty shop," she said.  That hadn't even crossed my radar.  Even though I played Barbie as a child, I really do not enjoy "playing Barbie" with the girls.  I just don't think I'm creative enough, although I've attempted a few times and they've enjoyed it. 

We had the best time!  She brought in two Barbies with long hair and got all of the hair things that "were small enough for a Barbie," she explained, and we started brushing Barbie's hair.  She made several crazy pony tails sticking out all over her head.  I tried a french braid.  It was pretty crooked but she kept saying over and over again how much she loved the braid and what a good job I did.  I complimented her as well and we sat on the couch together talking about many different things that I would not share here.  I was really disappointed when I heard her parents come home.  We were together on the couch, the TV was off, it was just the two of us and the cell phone was far enough away that I couldn't even glance at it when it pinged that I had a message.   The minute she heard the garage door open she was off the couch to make pancakes with her mom and didn't give the Barbies or me a second thought.  That is how it should be, but I don't want to make that the last night we have to talk.   She has not mentioned our conversation since, but I know that she felt very special and so did I.

 With my sons it was always the trip to the store. I always wanted to take just one boy so we could talk when they were growing up.  With my oldest granddaughters it was going to a movie without her sister.  Now with my younger grandchildren it's playing a WII game or video game with just one, or spending time in the kitchen making something special for mom or dad.  With my newest granddaughter, we played a board game that didn't take much thought and allowed us to talk.  WII and video games are fun, but I need to make sure I have that intentional talk time while they are eager to share their lives. What are you doing to take aside your child to make them feel like they are special, while actually listening to what they have to say? 

We haven't done much traveling lately, with school during the week and Mom and Dad fun on the weekends.  I'm going to keep my posts to every Wednesday for a while, until we are able to do more traveling.  Join me every Wednesday for activities, new websites to review, or books to share with your grandchildren and children. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Another Special Friday Night

Another special Friday night at my house and this time it was Ritz cracker pizzas.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the Ritz Cracker pizza, it's pretty simple.  Put 1/2 a teaspoon pizza sauce on top of a Ritz Cracker and then put whatever topping you want.  We chose a simple cheese and pepperoni.  To make it easier for me to keep track,  each child had his or her own pie tin to put their individual pizzas on.  One chose just to add cheese; another cheese then pepperoni, then cheese; one chose to cover half of the crackers with cheese, the other half with pepperoni; one chose cheese and then pepperoni; and the last one chose pepperoni and then cheese.  The ideas were as varied as the children.  The most important part was that it was of their own making.  The only rule was to try not to get too much of the cheese on the bare pan since it just ended up burning before the cheese on the crackers was melted.  I just put them in the oven at 325degrees for 10 minutes and checked them from there until the cheese was melted. You can melt the cheese in the microwave too.  I chose the oven because a couple of the tins were metal.

The other fun part of making your own pizza was putting on the pepperoni, which is very precise as follows:  Put one piece on cracker, put one piece in your mouth, put one piece on cracker, put one piece in your mouth. If you follow these directions, you won't need to use as many crackers.  We ended up using all the crackers because I was eating as many Ritz crackers as I was making pizzas. Fortunately, we had enough pepperoni and crackers that everyone was able to get their fill.

One hour later, popcorn!  Since it was movie night there had to be popcorn.  Surprisingly, they each ate a good portion popcorn, too.  Do you ever put M&Ms on your popcorn?  My daughter-in-law taught me that trick when I moved to Iowa.  Best added while the popcorn is warm.  Cookies finished off the night.

We've tried French bread pizza, English muffin pizza, and the ever popular Ritz Cracker pizza when the boys were growing up.  Shrimp is another delicious topping.  I think I'm ready to make another pizza.

While I was looking through the Kids National Geographic for some games, I found a snow leopard jigsaw puzzle.  You can create your puzzle in 12 pieces or choose a higher number.  I ended up choosing 78.  I like jigsaw puzzles and had fun seeing how quickly I could complete the puzzle.  Took me 24 minutes 32 seconds.  So you might think, "That is 25 minutes she will never get back."  That's true, but sometimes we need to waste a few minutes and relax.  I could try it again with another puzzle to see if I can beat my time, but I don't think it is about the time.  It was watching the puzzle come together and the satisfaction of hearing the click each time a piece fit.  As soon as you grab a piece, it orientates so you know the direction it goes in.  That makes it easier then a paper puzzle you do on a table.   Next time the grandchildren come over, I'll introduce them to this site.  Looks like that will be tomorrow since there is no school.

I'm making the list for tomorrow.  I asked the girls what they would like to do.  I have two tomorrow.  My 9-year-old granddaughter said, "I just have to ask the question, grandma.  Is rock climbing out of the question?"  "Yes, rock climbing is out of the question."  She's been missing visits to Colorado now that I have moved to Iowa.  With a rainy day expected, we will have plenty to do without rock climbing.

Any other ideas for individual pizza?