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This #TBT piece by Lisa Carpenter originally published February 21, 2011 on Grandma's Briefs.

I love jams and jellies. Chokecherry, strawberry, pomegranate, cherry. Yum! I eat jam or jelly nearly every day. On peanut butter sandwiches. On crackers. On toast. On English muffins. On bagels. (Not all in the same day, of course.)

Recently though, as I toasted an English muffin, I noticed the honey in the cupboard and decided to travel that oft-ignored culinary road. So I put it on my toasted muffin instead of jelly or jam, took a big bite, and instantly thought, "Yum! Why don't I have honey more often?"

I always forget how much I love honey  until I experience it again. I do the very same thing with lots of things, especially the following.

10 things I forget I love ... until I remember

1. Feeding the ducks at the park.

2. Cucumber pickles. Ya know, the delicacy that's just sliced cucumbers, vinegar, salt, and pepper.

3. Riding a bike.

4. Wearing a dress. So much more comfy than pants.

5. Singing "Amazing Grace." Like this.

6. Stretching out on the living room floor in front of a blazing fire.

Brayden at two (he's now nine), back when I called him Bubby here on the blog. .

7. Wrapping a wet toddler in a towel and holding him like a swaddled baby.

8. Campfires at night. With marshmallows on sticks and stars up above.

9. Brach's Milk Maid Caramels. Unwrapped slowly. Savored even more slowly.

10. Getting on the scale and the number being much lower than expected.

Okay, No. 10 hasn't happened in a long, long time. Probably because of all those Milk Maids I've been savoring of late. But I have no doubt whatsoever that I will remember how much I love it, if/when I'm fortunate enough to experience it again.

Today's question:

What would be on your list of things you forget you love ... until you remember?

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“Sometimes the word ‘Grandmother’ conjures up the traditional image of an older, plump woman with a smile in her eyes wearing a housedress and apron. I think that version is warm and soothing, but I also think grandmothers come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities.”

~ Grilled Grandma Amy

There's a new grandma on the grill!

A Grilled Grandma is a grandmother on whom I've shone the spotlight, grilling her with some grandma-related questions and she's graciously responded with answers and photos.

Please click on over and give a warm welcome to Grilled Grandma: Grandma Amy.

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Snow at last

Though much of the country has had far more snow this winter than want and know what to do with, the Pikes Peak Region — the place I call home — has had nothing measurable nor magical.

Saturday we got measurable, we got magical, we got happy thanks to moisture-filled snow that fell most of the day.

Of course, as is typical for Colorado, snowy skies Saturday transformed into sunny skies Sunday. Temps rose little, though, so the blanket of white stuck around and created an enchanting winter wonderland Jim and I — and Mickey Dog, too — enjoyed viewing from indoors.

Outside critters didn't get such a thrill from the chill, I believe, based on the seemingly perturbed peeping Tom perched outside my living room window Sunday morning.

Winter sure took its time wending its way through Colorado Springs, yet I have no doubt we'll see more of it. Or more likely its psycho sister, spring, who historically brings my city to a blizzardy standstill at least once during March or April each year.

Considering the lack of help from Old Man Winter the past few months that left us teetering on an upcoming drought status, I'll welcome the wetness with open arms.

As long as my privileged status as an indoor critter versus an outdoor critter continues, that is. (Sorry Mr. Squirrel.)

GRAND Social No. 290 link party for grandparents

Welcome to this week's GRAND Social, the longest running link party exclusively for grandparents. Thank you for linking, thank you for reading! 

How it works:
  • All grandparent bloggers are invited to add a link. You don't have to blog about grandparenting, just be a grandparent who blogs.

  • Grandparents who do not blog (or want to share something other than their own post) are welcome to add links to other posts grandparent readers may be interested in.
  • To link up a post, copy the direct URL to the specific post — new or old — that you want to share, not the link to the blog or website home page. Then click the blue button below marked "Add your link" and follow the directions.
  • I reserve the right to remove posts I feel are inappropriate. (Which hasn't happened yet, but I feel obligated to note that, just in case.)
  • Those who add links to the GRAND Social link party will be sent a weekly reminder when the party goes live. If you prefer to be removed from that email list, feel free to do so (and you'll still be more than welcome to join the party any time).
  • If adding your own post, including a mention such as This post linked to the GRAND Social to your linked posts is appreciated. 
  • The GRAND Social linky accepts posts through Wednesday evening, so please come back to see those added after your first visit.
  • If you're not a linker, you have the pleasure of being a reader. Those sharing a link would be honored to have you visit, read and, if so moved, leave a comment, even if just "Hey, stopping by from the GRAND Social." Bloggers who link are encouraged to visit and comment on the links of other bloggers, as well.
An InLinkz Link-up
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This #TBT piece by Lisa Carpenter originally published February 3, 2015 on Grandma's Briefs.

A fun and tasty activity and treat in one!

What you need:

20 large marshmallows

4 ounces or so vanilla candy coating, aka Almond Bark

festive decorative cookie sprinkles

20 lollipop sticks (popsicle sticks might work equally well)

What you do:

Have kiddos poke sticks into marshmallows, all the way in but not poking through tops.

Give each child a saucer filled with decorative sprinkles. Lay out waxed paper nearby.

In small bowl, melt candy coating in microwave, 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each 30 seconds. (Should only take about one minute; do not nuke too much or coating is ruined.)

Swirl marshmallow "pop" in melted candy coating, scraping excess on side of bowl. Immediately hand over each pop to a kiddo to roll sides in the decorative sprinkles. Note: Too much coating will result in sprinkles and coating sliding off the marshmallow so be sure to scrape off excess before passing pop along the production line.

Place pops on waxed paper to dry and harden.

Once all the pops are set on waxed paper to dry, give kids graham crackers to dip and eat the remaining candy coating, along with the extra sprinkles, if desired.

Be sure baby brothers get a taste of the vanilla coating, too.

Once coating on pops hardens — which takes about 15 minutes — allow taste tests.

Await thoughts on the treats.

Brace for the sugar high. There surely will be one — but it surely will be worth it.

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Time for another Grilled Grandma feature!

A Grilled Grandma is a grandmother on whom I've shone the spotlight, grilling her with some grandma-related questions and she's graciously responded with answers and photos.

This week, Grammy Dee is on the grill. Please click on over to meet her: Grilled Grandma: Grammy Dee.

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Final football photos!

With Sunday's (spectacular!) Super Bowl marking the end of football season, I figure I should go ahead and share my favorite football photos of the season. Photos I forgot to share soon after they were shot.

My favorite football photos of this past season are — surprise, surprise — of my three desert-dwelling grandsons. Photos not of them playing football, but watching football. Well, even better than watching football, my grandsons were attending their very first professional football game!

Tickets to see their beloved Arizona Cardinals live and in action were the highlight of their Christmas holiday, courtesy of Mom and Dad — a Christmas Eve surprise for the avid fans.

A surprise I forgot to share here (despite the freakin' cuteness of those kiddos!). 

Better late than never, though, and dandy photos to finish up the football season.

Professional football season, that is, as I can pretty much promise ya there will be some grandkiddo pee-wee players gearing up for flag — and possibly contact — football in the next few weeks. 

Grandma's goal for the upcoming games: To be more on the ball sharing the pics to come than I was with the ones above.

GRAND Social No. 289 link party for grandparents

Time to socialize! Thank you for participating!

How it works:
  • All grandparent bloggers are invited to add a link. You don't have to blog about grandparenting, just be a grandparent who blogs.

  • Grandparents who do not blog (or want to share something other than their own post) are welcome to add links to other posts grandparent readers may be interested in.
  • To link up a post, copy the direct URL to the specific post — new or old — that you want to share, not the link to the blog or website home page. Then click the blue button below marked "Add your link" and follow the directions.
  • I reserve the right to remove posts I feel are inappropriate. (Which hasn't happened yet, but I feel obligated to note that, just in case.)
  • Those who add links to the GRAND Social link party will be sent a weekly reminder when the party goes live. If you prefer to be removed from that email list, feel free to do so (and you'll still be more than welcome to join the party any time).
  • If adding your own post, including a mention such as This post linked to the GRAND Social to your linked posts is appreciated. 
  • The GRAND Social linky accepts posts through Wednesday evening, so please come back to see those added after your first visit.
  • If you're not a linker, you have the pleasure of being a reader. Those sharing a link would be honored to have you visit, read and, if so moved, leave a comment, even if just "Hey, stopping by from the GRAND Social." Bloggers who link are encouraged to visit and comment on the links of other bloggers, as well.
An InLinkz Link-up
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This #TBT Valentine's Day feature by Lisa Carpenter originally published February 14, 2013 on Grandma's Briefs.

I tell my grandsons I love you a lot. Returning the sentiment to those who say it to them was one of the first phrases they learned, though it did sound a bit like a foreign language at first, one only family members understood. Phonetic translation of Camden’s first utterance of it: Wuh woo!

Such I love yous in a language foreign to all but family members can become a shared sweetness, carried on through the years. But have you ever said I love you in Finnish? Swahili? Russian? Or even Spanish, for those of you who — like me — have not even the most basic of foreign language skills?

While I love you sounds the very same in some languages — think Malaysian and Maltese — there’s a whole world of ways it can be pronounced in other languages. The great thing is, you don’t need to know another language in order to learn how to say sweet somethings to your grandchildren (and others) in more ways than one, thanks to the Translate application from Google.

In the Google Translate app, simply type in a word or phrase you want to translate to another language, choose the language you’d like to convert it to, and hit enter. You then not only see how it is written, you have the ability (in most languages) to hear it pronounced.

Here are a few examples of I love you in various languages:

♥ Swahili — Nakupenda

♥ Dutch — Ik hou van je

♥ Afrikaans — Ek is lief vir jou

♥ Latin — Te amo

♥ Czech — Miluji tě

♥ Vietnamese — Tôi yêu các bạn

♥ French — Je t'aime

♥ German — Ich liebe dich

♥ Filipino — Mahal kita

♥ Irish — Is breá liom tú

Choose from one of those or perhaps one that’s part of your family heritage. Better yet, visit Google Translate with your grandchild to choose another. The phrase you choose and learn can then be your special love language, at least when it comes to saying I love you.

You also can type in a phrase you typically say to your grandchildren — such as the one I often say to my grandsons to make them giggle: Grandma loves you soooooo much! — and find another language in which to say it. It’s a great way to create a special code word or phrase just for you and your loved ones to share throughout the years.

My special phrase for my two grandsons in Swahili? Grandma anakupenda sana! And I do. Soooooo much!

Happy Valentine's Day! Or as they say in Azerbaijani: Müqəddəs Valentin günü!

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Come meet Grandma Teresa of Aging Like A Fine Wine, the most recent Grilled Grandma.

Read More

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Superhero Cam... again!

One evening earlier this month, during that atrocious period of sub-freezing temperatures, Jim texted Megan to ask how she and the family were doing with the chilly weather that had assaulted even their location in the desert.

Her response was a photo of Brayden, Declan, and Preston warding off the cold in the backyard hot tub.

"I'm sitting in front of the fireplace," she added. (Yes, they do have fireplaces in the desert... fireplaces that apparently do get used!)

"Where's Cam?" Jim asked.

Turned out Cam was indoors, too. Not in front of the fireplace, though. He was In front of the mirror. Practicing his superhero pose.

"Look at my muscles, Mom," Megan said he told her. "I look like a super hero when I flex!"

Oh, Cam!

My goofy grandson is bound and determined to become a superhero of some sort. Considering his persistence in flexing — and dressing — like one, the soon-to-be-seven-year-old just might surprise us all some day. 

Til then, he'll undoubtedly keep us chuckling... and exclaiming "Oh, Cam!" on a regular basis.

GRAND Social No. 288 link party for grandparents

Time again for linking and socializing! Thank you for participating!

How it works:
  • All grandparent bloggers are invited to add a link. You don't have to blog about grandparenting, just be a grandparent who blogs.

  • Grandparents who do not blog (or want to share something other than their own post) are welcome to add links to other posts grandparent readers may be interested in.
  • To link up a post, copy the direct URL to the specific post — new or old — that you want to share, not the link to the blog or website home page. Then click the blue button below marked "Add your link" and follow the directions.
  • I reserve the right to remove posts I feel are inappropriate. (Which hasn't happened yet, but I feel obligated to note that, just in case.)
  • Those who add links to the GRAND Social link party will be sent a weekly reminder when the party goes live. If you prefer to be removed from that email list, feel free to do so (and you'll still be more than welcome to join the party any time).
  • If adding your own post, including a mention such as This post linked to the GRAND Social to your linked posts is appreciated. 
  • The GRAND Social linky accepts posts through Wednesday evening, so please come back to see those added after your first visit.
  • If you're not a linker, you have the pleasure of being a reader. Those sharing a link would be honored to have you visit, read and, if so moved, leave a comment, even if just "Hey, stopping by from the GRAND Social." Bloggers who link are encouraged to visit and comment on the links of other bloggers, as well.
An InLinkz Link-up
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This #TBT piece by Lisa Carpenter originally published May 9, 2013 on Grandma's Briefs.

I've never been very good at growing houseplants. Because of that, I felt quite nervous and unduly obligated when the care of an elderly houseplant was informally included in the deal when we bought our current house nearly five years ago.

The sellers told us upon our agreement to buy the house that they were leaving the plant they had inherited when they bought the house, a plant started by the original homeowners when the house was built in 1975. Story was, according to the sellers — who had no information on what the plant was, only a stern warning to not let it die — that the plant bloomed only once a year and "thrived on neglect." I'm pretty good at neglecting plants, yet I still worried about my ability to make it thrive.

Soon after we moved into this house, Jim and I hosted an open house for our previous neighbors so they could see why we left them and the street where we thought we'd live forever. While explaining the plant story to one of the former neighbors, an older German woman who always had interesting stories to tell, informed us the plant was a hoya. She seemed rather excited about it, but not being much of a houseplant person — and definitely not knowing a darn thing about hoyas — I smiled, just happy that we finally knew what the plant was.

Our first couple years living here, the hoya never bloomed. It did stay alive, though, growing like mad. (I apparently neglected it correctly.) The darn thing stretched across our dining room window with tendrils offering nothing more than creepy fingers that reached farther and farther toward the far wall. I eventually had to cut back those wild fingers that had overtaken window and wall. I was fairly certain I had done the poor plant in.

Soon after my over-zealous trimming, the elderly wife of the now-deceased builder and original owner of our home arranged a visit with us. She, sensing her mortality, hoped to see one last time the one-of-a-kind home she (a concentration camp survivor) and her former husband had built after immigrating to the U.S. from Poland. When she visited us, she was escorted by a couple of her adult children and her 20-something granddaughter, all of whom had lived in our house for many years, all of whom had cherished memories of the home their family patriarch had built.

Two of the daughters, both older than I am, exclaimed upon seeing the flower-less but still very much loved (by them, not me) hoya in the dining room. They asked to please take clippings of it, and I, of course, encouraged them to. The granddaughter excitedly clipped a bit of her grandmother's hoya for herself, too.

Then, not long after they visited, the hoya bloomed for us for the very first time. It was just one lone bloom that I noticed one day while sitting in the dining room talking to Jim. We couldn't believe it. The flower was lovely, the scent intoxicating. Within a week, the bloom died.

A year later, the plant bloomed again, this time with a few flowers. Again, they soon died.

This year? Well, that photo above is our hoya right now. This year it has bloomed better than ever, bursting forth with not only incredible flowers, but literally dripping with a luscious scent that fills nearly all three levels of our house, especially come evening. (Look closely at the photo in the lower left of the collage and you'll see the sticky liquid scent oozing from the blooms.)

This plant is amazing. I'm now in love with it. I love its story, its blooms, its scent. I love that the previous owners took clippings of it for their homes, for their granddaughter's home, that it's tendrils have stretched far beyond this house.

On Sunday, when Brianna and Andrea will be here for Mother's Day, I plan to give them cuttings of the happy hoya for their home. Eventually Megan will get a piece of it, too.

The abundant blooms this year lead me to believe the hoya will continue to thrive, that one day I'll be able to share cuttings from it with my grandsons, just as the granddaughter of the original plant owner carefully clipped from Grandma's hoya to cherish in her own home.

I hope that granddaughter's hoya clipping has thrived, that it has bloomed and made her smile as she remembered her grandma, who had passed away less than a year after the visit to our house. Perhaps the cuttings I share with my grandsons from Grandma's hoya will one day do the same.

Long live Grandma's hoya!

Update January 2018: My happy hoya is still going strong, and we look forward to the sweet scent sure to drip and delight this spring.

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