At Grandma's Place

...having fun, enjoying life, creating memories

At Grandma Place

Join me in creating new traditions with my grandkids.

At Grandma's Place

...making every moment special...

At Grandma's Place

...Having fun never goes out of style...

At Grandam's Place

..sharing fresh and creative ideas that combine the simplicity of the past with the energy of today...

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Create a mini greenhouse in an afternoon

It's wet and miserable today, with sudden downpours of rain that are too heavy for a fun walk in the rain and certainly too cold to take two small boys puddle jumping. But they will be here soon looking for an exciting afternoon adventure with grandma.

Fortunately, I've stocked up on indoor activities for just such a situation. Today's plan?... a wonderful mini vegetable garden.

 'Woolworths Fresh Food' store's latest shopping incentive for families and the latest in their range of collectible cards, is Jamie Oliver's Garden.

The collectible cards are very attractive with some textured, embossed and even heat sensitive that change if you hold your finger on the print. There are also some cards that are fragrant.

An optional journal can be purchased to store the cards and stickers or you could also buy a coordinated designer tin.

I noticed that, among other matching items that can be purchased, there were some small aprons, gardening trowels and watering cans. So I stocked up on those items for the boys. You have to look the part.. it's half the fun!

And... I bought the mini-greenhouse. It's really great. There is a shallow rectangular tray as the base ready to fill with the provided potting mix.

The rest of the greenhouse is pre-printed and cut clear plastic ready to be assembled. When finished, it rests on the tray and is easily removed to water the garden. Stickers are provided to decorate the greenhouse and herb seeds are included ready to sprinkle over the tray of potting mix.

It's very simple and lots of fun.
But if you can't obtain one of these little greenhouse kits, you can still create your own.

You will need:
* large clear plastic drinking glass (You can use any container but I used plastic for safety with small boys. A glass or plastic jar, bowl or container would look very attractive. Be imaginative.)
* small amount of gravel for drainage
*filtering charcoal if you have any but it's not essential
*potting mix
* herb seeds or seedlings (chives, cress, mint, oregano,parsley)
*colourful stickers
*herb labels are optional but look great to pop in amongst your herbs. You can find some to download here..

The instructions are simple: add some gravel in the base of your clear container, then some charcoal, if you have some.
Half-fill the container with potting mix and sprinkle with the herb seeds. If you have seedlings, gently plant these in the potting mix. Don't over-fill your container.

Then add some stickers to the outside of your container. (The boys wanted to add lots to their garden container.)

Don't forget to water your mini-garden; that's a big part of the fun for small boys. It might be better to use a spray bottle of water to avoid drowning the seedlings.

And, once the herbs begin to grow, they can be pinched off to use in cooking, added to butter for a herb spread or sprinkled over salads.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

A storybook app destined to become a family classic

C.S.Lewis once commented, "Though I get no more tired now than I did when I was younger, I take much longer to get un-tired afterwards."

I can relate. Today, I am struggling with the 'getting un-tired' part.

My grandsons stayed longer with me this week. I care for them a couple of days each week while their parents work. Business commitments and other factors this week meant that their parents worked later hours. So, they stayed with me until after dinner.

And that was fine... they are only little, although energetic bundles of fun. But by early evening, they were tired, and so was I, and I was running out of quieter activities to keep them occupied.

So, just for a bit of added interest, I quickly downloaded the app, 'Nighty Night'. I'd seen it reviewed a number of times and it seemed to gather a lot of positive comments. The cost of $3.99 was less expensive than a regular picture storybook,

I should say, first of all, that the graphics are beautiful. The colour is lovely. I wondered if it would appeal to the small boys.

Yep... they both wanted to be the one holding the iPad. It has a small lead-in, an intro, but you can skip it if you wish. None of us wanted to.

The story line is simple. It's night. Everyone is going to sleep. But, on the farm, the lights are still on. The animals need to go to sleep, too.

So, you need to touch a lighted window or area. It then opens to an animal's habitat/ pen/stall. The boys liked stroking and petting the animal and watching it jump around and make noises.

The animal will go to sleep when you click off the light.. which is great. The boys love switches of any sort so it's wonderful to be allowed to turn off the light!

There was one problem, although not exactly with the story app itself. One of my grandsons particularly liked the dog and he didn't want it to go to sleep.

So, although we frequently visited the page, he just wanted to pat and play with the dog, much to everyone else's frustration.

If you'd like to check out the app yourself, it's included below. I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as my grandsons and I have done.