Saturday, December 4, 2010

Easy Christmas Crafts

Here are 2 great activities you can do with your children or grandchildren to teach them about the gift of giving this Christmas season!

Candy Cane Bath Salts

12 tall jelly (12-ounce) canning jars with lid and rings (you can get jars or different shaped bottles at thrift stores. This is an empty Patron tequila bottle:)

2 Carton Epsom salts, 4 pound (approximately 16 cups)

4 Pound sea salt or kosher salt (approximately 6 cups)

1 Teaspoon glycerin, divided

12 Drop peppermint essential oil

12 Drop red food color

2 pieces card stock (for tags)
Isn't the red Santa bag adorable? I bought them last year for 90% off at the end of the season. At the time I didn't know what I would use them for but for 40cents a piece I knew they would get used for something. Watch for these kind of things at the end of Christmas when everything goes on clearance.


1. Wash, rinse and dry canning jars. Make sure they are dry.

2. Empty one carton Epsom Salts into large mixing bowl or batter bowl. Add 3 cups sea salt, stir well. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon glycerin and 6 to 8 drops essential oil. Mix well.

3. In second large mixing bowl, empty one carton Epsom Salts, and add 3 cups sea salt. Stir well. Add 1/4 teaspoon glycerin, 6 to 8 drops essential oil, and food color. Stir until completely blended. Color should be even.

CEO's tip: use a heavy-duty stand mixer (such as Kitchenaid-brand) to mix bath salts easily. Set mixer to lowest setting and mix until color is even--but don't try this with hand mixers or smaller stand mixers!

4. Holding canning jars at an angle, layer salts in jars, alternating white and colored mixtures. For narrow mouth jars like mine: I used a funnel and then tapped the bottle on the counter to get the salts to settle evenly.

Notes: You can download the gift tags at
Print two copies of the Candy Cane Bath Salts gift tag.

Cut gift tags apart and attach to jars. Tags may be trimmed and placed beneath canning jar rings, tied on with ribbon, or taped to gift jars.

CEO's Tip: decorative canning jar lids add presentation punch for a small price! Try red or green gingham lids for Candy Cane Bath Salts.

This recipe makes 12 12-ounce gift jars, plus a bonus of 3 to 4 cups extra bath salts. Package them in small plastic zipper craft bags for easy stocking stuffers! Or you can cut the recipe in half to make 6 jars. Give one to grandma, a co-worker, or friend! Merry Christmas!

Simple Pumpkin Spice Mini-Loaves

This recipe was taken off of the internet at She has a cute video of her and her toddler son making these mini loaves:)
1 box Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix 

2 egg whites
1 15 oz can of pumpkin
 1 tbsp quick oats (optional – used for decoration)
Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

Whisk the egg whites and pumpkin. Stir in the cake mix and blend until just moistened.

Spray 4 mini-loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray. Evenly distribute the cake batter into the pans, just about half way.

Sprinkle the tops with quick oats and bake for about 40 minutes.
Discount stores like Big Lots or the 99Cent store sells  great ways to package your breads. Let your children help pick them out and then deliver them to neighbors and friends!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Mother-In-Law Dance

Busy, busy, busy is the name of the season! I haven't even had time to blog!
I just returned home from Japan... well its actually been 3 weeks. My.. how time flys. My daughter-in-law is in Japan teaching English and I thought this would be a great opportunity to visit her and see a country I had never visited before.
Japan surprised me! It is beautiful. The people are extremely friendly and accommodating. There was so much to see and do in the short week I was there. My daughter-in-law surprised me too! First of all that she would even want me to come and spend the week with her and secondly that I ended up doing things I wouldn't probably have done with anyone else; we had fun. :)

Daughter-in-laws...I have 2 of them. I never had any daughters of my own and in my younger years that was just fine with me since I grew up in a household of 4 sisters and 5 step-sisters. Yep.. I wanted 4 boys when I was a little girl imagining the married princess life. I ended up giving birth to 2 male genders who have grown into handsome, caring men.  I have a great relationship with both of them but watching my sisters(all of which had daughters) and my friends interact with their grown adult daughters, I can see I have missed  something that goes on between a mother and her daughter that I will never experience.( this side of it, of course. I have a mother)

There's a saying that goes something like this...You lose a son when he takes a wife but a daughter is a daughter for life....

I can't really say I have felt like I have lost my sons, but I do know and see that another woman has become #1 priority in their life.  This is the way it should be but sometimes it can be painful.
 The mother-in-law/ daughter-in-law relationship was never role modeled to me so I have had to find my way through these relationships on my own. I've realized now that my mother-in-law was an important person in my life. I regret not spending more time with her in a mother/daughter way but I really didn't know how or even why I needed to. When she passed away I realized how much I had grown to love her and how she had been such an important part of our family. I was never taught that when you marry someone you become a family with both sides and your husband's side is just as important as your own. But let's be honest...your side of the family is much easier to be around. You know their ins and outs and you all think similarly. It's so much more comfortable! I don't think men have this issue as much as us women but I know my boys and my husband love getting together with their family of origin too.
Since women are much more relational....enter.. one mother-in-law who can feel out of sinc with her new daughter-in-law and her family.Of course there are two sides to this story. One daughter-in-law who can feel out of sinc with her husband's mother and family.

A good book  called "The Mother-In-Law Dance".by Annie Chapman....subtitle "Can 2 Women Love the Same Man and Still Get Along?" was recommended to me by my grandma friend Marmee. It has helped me to see both sides and make some changes in my perspective of what I think should be going on in the relationship.
I love to dance! In fact, I'm pretty darn good at it and I'm sure it will be something I will be doing in eternity! But the Mother-In-Law dance has been one that I have needed some instruction. Deciding who is suppose to lead, not stepping on toes, dancing to the same beat when you hear a different one have been some of my challenges and Annie Chapman covers them all. Thank you, Annie! Besides knowing that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me ( Philip:4:13) this book has taught me some new moves!
My daughter-in-laws are two unique and wonderful women. They are both talented, full of life and determined to make the most of their lives. They have been gracious and inclusive. One has given us two beautiful grandchildren. I know I will never take the place of their mothers but I think I can dance a dance that will step less on toes with moves that are more synchronized and intuitive!
Mother-in-laws, there are daughters out there that are anxious to live out the dream of wife and mother that their mothers have so graciously reflected to them. Daughter-in-laws, there are mothers out there that once held your precious husbands in their arms, kissed their boo boos and made everything alright. Yes, we can both love the same man and still get along.

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all that we are thankful for. I thank the Lord for giving me two wonderful boys who have treated me with respect and love. I thank God for my husband who has done a beautiful job  role modeling for our sons how to a cherish a woman. And I thank the Lord for the 2 beautiful women that our sons have chosen to spend the rest of their lives with. O yes! and grandchildren...the most wonderful blessing that comes out of the fruit of our labor after raising our children. Amazing!
Thank you Lord! I am truly blessed!
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

your genuine talent will find its way to success-chinese proverb?

I recently heard a teaching on the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. One servant was given 5 talents from his master, one 3 talents and one was given one talent. The parable tells the story of what each one did with their talent or talents and whether or not they were able to multiply their talents by investing them in something. Of course the one with 5 did really well...the one with 3 did well also ...but the one with only one talent did nothing to increase the value of his talent. In fact, he hid it. He said he was afraid of the master and gave his master the one talent back hoping that would be sufficient.
A talent back then was about $1,000 but a talent doesn't have to be money to see the kingdom  "law of use" manifest.  Personal and corporate development come out of this principle. If we use the "talents" that were given to us to benefit others and ourselves there should be an increase.
It really makes you stop and think about what talents we have each received and whether or not we are using them to benefit the whole. Setting goals to increase in whatever we do can guarantee success to those who apply it in their physical, intellectual, relational and financial opportunities.

Take Grandma C. for instance. Now there's a woman with at least 5 talents! We met many moons ago at a boy scout meeting. We both home schooled our children and we both had rowdy little boys that liked all the things little boys like (snakes and snails and puppy dog tails) Our friendship grew as we engaged in home school co-ops, camping and friendship days. We now enjoy gorgeous grandma club and often times get together for grand boy outings!

Grandma C. is one of the most creative women I know. Her talent for words and design makes for beautiful scrapbook photo albums, greeting cards which include personalized poems and encouragement to the recipient and just a beautiful eye for found items that usually turn into wow items! I secretly am afraid she will start blogging and take away any followers I might have. LOL! J/K She would be awesome at blogging.

At one of our gorgeous grandma club meetings, Grandma C(middle in the back row). brought all her amazing array of scrapbook materials from paper to grommets to stamps to tags and ribbons. I didn't know there could be so much to draw from. She encouraged and walked us through a small photo album that we made from card stock. (It was inspired by a tribute photo book of Barney Fife she did for my husband who is an avid Mayberry fan.) I was very intimidated by my lack of creativity in this area but Grandma C. made it easy and fun. In the end Nana N. (first in front row)and I went to the nearby hospital and prayed for people and gave them our humble home made photo book for them to put their own photos in. Would you believe some smiled and some cried and all were very grateful. (Do not try the hospital visitation. We quickly found out we were not allowed in the rooms and were asked to leave) But God is good. We gave away 4 before we got caught and had one left that we gave to a woman in the elevator who had just lost her brother.
In any case, our talents never seem very awesome to ourselves. We are our worse critics. The truth is most of us will never wow 10,000's with our talents but maybe 10 will be inspired by something we said or did. When you are the one receiving from talented people it can be life -changing, awe-inspiring or just make you feel happy. I think that's what our talents are for. To bring increase in love, comfort, encouragement or even challenge to our everyday lives and to keep us connected to one another. I can't go this way alone but I can go a long way with your creative talent nudging me through life. 
So don't hide your one talent. Use it! I need you to.

barney fife tribute

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

fun flip flops

you will need:
a pair of flip flops (flip flops go on sale at the end of the summer. We bought several for 50- 90% off for our charity outreach project))
coordinating material cut in approx 6 inch by 1 1/2 inch rectangles  (approx. 20 strips per shoe depending on size of shoe)

fold one strip of material horizontal and tie around the top of the flip flop like you are tying your shoe

tie again to make a knot
Continue alternating the pieces of material and ribbon until you have filled one shoe. Be sure and push each piece close and snug to the last piece.
you can be as creative as you like by adding beads, using pinking shears or adding a small ribbon in between.

This was a fun and easy project. I learned how to do this from my nana friend, Jerylyn, who sat on the floor with her daughters and they each made a matching pair. Another friend, Michelle, said this would be a great project for her daughter and friends to do at her daughters next birthday party! 
The ideas are endless! Have fun!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

social justice

Thursday September 23 was SocialGood Day promoted by the RED campaign. Social good or social justice is kind of a buzz word these days. I guess I would define social good/justice as humanity impartially  distributing goods to those who are not able to get the basic necessities of life. Is that good or bad? Can it work? Will it change the world or make it a better place? The Bono Syndrome, the Oprahites and other celebrity influences say yes it can work and it is good.  Hmmm...I try to do good. The gorgeous grandma club met on Thurs also. We decorated the cutest flip flops and are planning on donating them to a domestic violence shelter. 
I try to imagine little girls eyes lighting up when they see a fun, colorful, cute pair of shoes they can pick out themselves and keep. Clearing some of the sorrow and confusion only for a moment, while they slip on the perfect pair for them.  Mothers feeling  relieved and almost trusting  for a moment. Someone cared about their child. The hurt and bruises of yesterday will subside in that instant. That's our goal. It sounds good.  I think it can be true, but I also know that a simple pair of flip flops is not going to change  iniquities that have probably been past down through the generations. 
Social justice is good. Jesus said in Matthew 25:34-46 in the Bible that when we do a good deed to our brother or sister even to the least of them we have done it to Him. He also says when we don't help we aren't helping Him. (my paraphrase)
The question is does it really change lives? I think it does change a feeling, bringing hope to a desperate situation or food to  an empty stomach, a sickness can be gotten under control or a person can be removed from a horrible situation. But change the world through kind gestures? I'm not sure about that.
There is a story in the Bible about a woman who took an expensive bottle of perfume and poured it over Jesus' head. Some who were watching this woman waste this bottle of perfume were dumbfounded and critical of her. "For this perfume might have been sold for over 300 denarii and the money given to the poor"(Mark 14:5) But Jesus said something we wouldn't expect of Him ...He said "For you always have the poor with you , and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me" (Mark 14:7) He was speaking in regard to the fact that He would soon die and the service and worship actions of this woman while He was there with them moved  His heart. She actually got it!
Jesus came to change the world! The good news is that through His death AND resurrection from the dead He is able to change the heart of man through the power of the Holy Spirit. Because I believe and received what Jesus did for me I am no longer a slave to sin. I can live my life knowing that there was One who overcame the sins of this world. Do I still sin? yes but it is not my desire any longer. I desire to love. Jesus is Love and His love is unconditional. He does not require anything of me only believe. Its simple.
For 2,000 years people have shared testimonies of being transformed and delivered from addictions, self-hatred, abuse, depression etc. Those women and children at the shelter will hear about the saving and transforming power of a Man who came to set them free from the god of this world. They will learn about the great Love Jesus and the Father has for them. Father and Jesus together devised a plan that would bring us back to the place they intended for us in the beginning. (Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him) Jesus would conquer the power of sin on the cross and it would no longer have power over us! .
Isaiah 53:3-5 He is despised and rejected by men. A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He bore our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed him stricken. Smitten by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the Chastisement for our peace was upon Him. and by his stripes we are healed.
Do you see anything in these passages that you suffer from? Jesus understands and overcame it on the cross. Surrender it to Him and let Him change and heal your heart by the same powerful Spirit that rose Him from the dead!
We may never see poverty eradicated or every pandemic disease vanish from life on this earth. Our circumstances my not change but we can have peace and be free from torment. The Bible promises that one day our Saviour will come back. Every knee will bow and those who have chosen the One who sacrificed His life for us will live forever with Him with no more sorrow.
I will continue to help or even endorse anyone who wants to help the less fortunate. I have seen first hand what a starving child looks like. If they are not preaching Christ at least they are keeping these ones alive to have an opportunity to make their own decision about who Jesus is.
The children at the shelter will not only get a fun pair of flip flops but they will hear about a loving Father who can change their lives for eternity! Now that can change a world!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sock Monkeys!

At the gorgeous grandma club we try to make items for charities that are reasonably easy to figure out. Some of us are good sewers and some of us ...well lets just say ...are not. Is sewers and sewers spelled the same???? Well I do know one thing and that is none of us, no not one, smells! I'm trying to say sew-er not sew-er! Well now..see.. I think I figured that one out! It was reasonably easy. Did you figure it out? Well come join us anyway.
I'm trying to talk about how reasonably easy it was to make sock monkeys! You can buy a kit right off the Internet. Try rockford red heel socks. They are 9.95 for 2 pair of socks with the pattern.. One of our talented grandmas actually teaches sewing in her home. She has a room with 8 or 10 sewing machines and a large table in the middle for pinning, cutting, stuffing and chatter. It's so perfect!
We had arms and legs and big smiley lips jutting out in all directions as we carefully and methodically put our monkeys together. We made one for our grandbaby and one for the Crisis Nursery here in our community.

In the end we had made some adorable little monkeys. Some sat at my house for a couple of weeks before I was able to get them to the crisis nursery. I had grown very attached to seeing their smiling faces each morning when I went to the kitchen for my cup of coffee. In fact they were becoming my friends....kind of scary, I know. My grandma friends had  put so much time and love into them and each monkey really did have their own little personality.

When I finally was able to take them to their new home at the crisis nursery, I was shocked that the woman at the front desk told me to just throw them down on the ground near the chair and someone would take them to the back where the children were. I couldn't help myself...."But look...look at these cute monkeys! Aren't they adorable?" I just couldn't throw them on the ground. It was hard enough just parting with them. I swear those monkeys were all looking at me with pitiful eyes.
"Oh they are cute!" she proclaimed," Let me see one. The children will love these!" Awwww. thank you. Yes! I saw the monkeys eyes light up. They did. I think they did or maybe....I think its seamstress.. some of us are good seamstress's and some of us are not!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

friends that last a lifetime

 My grandma friend, Oma. She's one of the fab five!
Oma has been my friend for 30 years! We met when we were both pregnant with our second child. Man that was a long time ago...pause...She was interviewing me with another lady for a place in their babysitting
co-op. I'm not sure if anyone still does babysitting co-ops. They were the best. You exchanged babysitting by giving tokens instead of money. Everyone started out with the same amount of tokens. You lost some by giving them to someone who watched your children or gained some by watching their children. Simple.
Back to the interview...I can still see us three sitting in my Jack Daniels decorated living room. Yep I had Jack Daniels wall paper, signs and other paraphernalia decorating the shelves and tables. I wouldn't really say it was my favorite design but my husband absolutely loved it and it fit my rustic decor. My husband had accumulated all this stuff from working at the infamous Minder Binder bar and grill.
I'm not sure what those two ladies thought when they looked around. They didn't seem to be concerned about our drinking habits. I don't recall them asking any questions about that. Maybe they just thought there was hope for us. My husband and I had just recently gotten saved and probably in their great maturity and wisdom they figured they should let the Great One do the convicting. And they were right. My husband eventually sold all at a garage sale:) God is good!
We passed the big interview and Oma and I became friends. She eventually had 3 girls and I 2 boys. We camped, home schooled, and went to church together over the years. Yes, we've had our ups and downs, hard knocks and shoulders to cry on and even a time when we took a little break from each other. But today we enjoy watching our children grow into moms and dads with families of their own.( check out Omas daughter's blog-cultivating lives- on my blog list) Now enjoying the best part...GRANDCHILDREN.
There' nothing so special as a friend that lasts a life time. I am grateful for my once mom friend and now grandma girlfriend, Oma.

                                                                                  Tell me what makes your friendship special....

Monday, August 30, 2010

got rules?

well yes we do...This grandma club has rules you must abide by! do the grandmas actually abide by them? well... what can I say except.. they try:)

The rules are...

1. You must have grandchildren or at least one in the oven (not your oven of course!)to be a member of the club.

2. You must promise to allow your fellow granny's to each have enough time to share pics, googles, drooling and puffed out chests with out interruptions.

3. You must be willing to listen to all first's e.g. first smile, first words, first steps, first tooth, etc!

4. You must be good at but not a professional at oohs and awes, pats on the back, and way to gos!

(this is mostly in reference to but not restricted to those times you went a whole week without seeing your grandchildren or you gave the grandchildren back, etc.)

5. You must wait at least one to two days before sending a picture through email that might outdo the person who just sent out their picture to avoid a competitive spirit. (there will be a penalty for this)

6. You must never, never say anything that would insinuate that your grandbaby is "better than". Only use phrases such as "He is so cute" rather than "He is the cutest!"(There will be no penalty for this)

7. And last but not least, be there to support, encourage, pray for and minister to your fellow granny's.

Monday, August 23, 2010

let's make paper beads:)

you will need scissors or straight edge, a magazine, non washable glue, toothpicks or knitting needle and a jar lid

Next cut a long triangle shape out of the pages of your magazine. The size of your bead will be determined by the wider end of your triangle. Approximately 1/2 inch wide or larger on one end and the length of the magazine page. You will find that different prints create different looking beads. Even black and white words on the page are attractive.

Pour a small amount of glue into the jar lid and mix a little bit of water with it to make a modge podge.

Bend the wide end and then pinch between your thumb and pointer finger and start wrapping the paper kind of tightly around and around forming the bead. You can choose to wrap it around a toothpick or knitting needle but I found it simpler to use my fingers.

Toward the end I drag the paper through the glue to help keep it from unraveling.

Put the whole bead in the glue and roll it around to saturate it with glue, then lay it on a piece of wax paper to dry.

String beads on a fishing line or elastic. Remember, these beads cannot get wet because they are paper. Some people put a lacquer over them at the end to make them more durable. Beautiful! Great project for a class room project or just a fun craft to do with your older granchildren or kids! try it! you'll like it!

Monday, August 16, 2010

paper beads

One of my gogo friends in Malawi Africa was a jewelry maker. She enjoyed making necklaces and bracelets and did a good job. Lack of finances and resources in Malawi made it difficult for her to pursue the hobby she loved, so before going back on one of my visits I thought about collecting as many beads and jewelry accessories as I could from my friends here. I was very successful. My friends were very willing to donate beads and money to the cause. I collected a suitcase full! It was heavy, weighing close to the weight limit. When my friend received it in Malawi she was thrilled! She told me she felt like she could fall on the ground and roll around on the floor like a playful puppy! But she didn't, whew!
The gratitude for the simplest things in Malawi made me want to do more. Why couldn't my friend make a living doing what she loved? There are those who can help to make that happen like my friends at . They are helping gogos sew quilts, make tye dye materials and do some bead work to earn their own income. I had a plan.
Beads are heavy to transport and somewhere along the way I heard about an organization who have helped women in Uganda make their beads and jewelry out of paper! They are beautiful and easy to make. I thought this was an easier method in helping the gogos in Malawi. Light weight, easy to transport and beautiful. At one point I did try to teach the gogos how to make paper beads. The problem? This nation is so poor there is no where in their remote villages for them to get scrap paper. They use everything.
Enter....gorgeous grandma club....come one, come all to roll paper beads for gogos in Africa!!
Next entry I'll show you how to make them yourselves.....can't wait?

Monday, August 9, 2010


At first my son didn't really go for the new grandma name I picked. "Mom, Patricks not going to want to say Go Go in front of all his friends when he's 16."
My daughter-in-law commented that we could cross that bridge when we got to it. She's always so diplomatic:)
O sigh....I just wanted something different. I wasn't ready to be called grandma. I didn't feel like a grandma and I certainly didn't look like my grandma did when she was my age: floral print cotton dress snugly fitted around a buxom top, dark black shoes that laced up with thick 2 inch high square heels, short, gray bobbypinned curled hair, a button nose and little wire-rimmed glasses, and a stern "you better not cause me any trouble" look on her face.
Soon after this discussion I was watching Your Life A-Z. There was a young lady,in her 30's, being interviewed. As I listened I heard her saying that every 20 seconds a baby boomer became a grandparent and this generation was not ready to take on the traditional name of grandma and grandpa. How do they graciously accept the role as grandparent without "feeling old". After all,these are the ones who have fought the aging process, with their array of ideas to stay looking younger and feeling better. They wanted to pioneer their way to a new avenue of grandparenting. She went on to say that this was the reason she wrote her book "You Can Call Me Hoppa".
Are you telling me there's a book out there that validates my inner most desires! I had to listen longer to hear what Lauren Charpio had written a book about.
"You Can Call Me Hoppa" is a book that Laruen compiled of all the different names men and women chose to be called for or by their grandchildren. Each name has a story behind it and why it was chosen. Its very cute.
"Hoppa" was the name that came out of her 16 month old baby when the child tried to say grandpa to Lauren's dad. It stuck! One man wanted to be called "chief" because he had once been an executive on wall street for years and just felt too tough to be called grandpa. Another lady played peek a boo with her granddaughter every time she visited. One day her grandbaby called her "boo" assuming that was her name.
There are so many more......
Well, when I told my son about Lauren Charpio and her book, he thought that was pretty cool. He even gave me permission to submit our story to Lauren.
Tell me your story of how you got your name.
Visit Lauren Charpio's website at
By the way, some of my dearest friends and family are called grandma and grandpa. Love it!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

behind every name is a story

o yes I loved the name Gogo. It was cute:) but more importantly I loved who it represented.

One evening when my son and his wife and their adorable, precious, cute as a bugs ear, darling, under a year old son were over for dinner, my son preceded to tell me that our adorable, cute as a bugs ear, precious grandson could say "go go". Now let me clarify that this was not in the same context as my new adopted grandmother name. I had not told my son and daughter-in-law that was the name I wanted to be called. Shawn(my son) said "Patrick, say go go". With a big smile on his face, loving to please his mommy and daddy, Patrick said "go go" Well of course I was excited not only because he shared his new vocabulary word but because ...well you know... he said it!

"Oh! that's what I want to be called" I cried out in delight! My son then continued to tell the story of why Patrick said "go go" in the first place.

It all happened while daddy was doing something in the kitchen when he accidentally broke a glass. Patrick, being a curious little boy, came quickly to the scene. "No , Patrick! Stay away! Go! Go!" Shawn yelled out. Saying it several more times and picking up Patrick to get him away from the glass, Patrick figured out that was a pretty important word and was easy to mimic. He decided to add it to the other wonderful words he had accumulated that he obviously knew delighted his mommy and daddy when he said them.

Well there you have it! I started redirecting the action "go go" to the grandma "Gogo":)

Patrick is 4 now and someday I hope to share with him and my new granddaughter about the Gogos in Africa.

Did my son and daughter-in-law embrace the nontraditional name I chose? Hmmm... What do you think?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

its a long way to malawi

My first time to Malawi Africa was with my husband and 20 members from our church. I was apprehensive about going and yet full of an adventurous anticipation. Malawi did not dissappoint me. The smells, the sunsets, and the people of Africa are life giving. They are people who receive graciously and give what they have abundantly.

Our group was going to partner with a ministry called Somebody Cares (somebodycares malawi africa)

I've been to Malawi, Africa 3 times. Each time has been moving, memorable and mostly impacting. Meeting the people of Malawi, hearing and learning about their trying lives has made me more unsettled about my life and what kind of impact I am making in the world. The statistics of the rampant HIV epidemic in Africa as a whole and specifically Malawi is mind blowing. There are a million orphans in Malawi alone, some taken in by the widows, (young women and grandmothers), while others are left on their own(vulnerable children). Unfortunately being the 12th poorest nation in the world it is difficult to feed, clothe and educate all of these little ones. I admired the Gogos or grandmothers who took in sometimes 5 or 6 other children to take care of. These Gogos barely have enough for themselves but the Malawian people care very much about their tribal communities and have a desire for these orphans to grow in their own culture and environment. I admire these courageous women and I love their name! Gogo! and after going 3 times I have made some lasting Gogo friends. So hence, I adopted the name Gogo:)

Read more about Gogos and orphans and what you can do to help at and

Monday, July 12, 2010

what's with the name....?

Gorgeous Grandma Day....its actually a real day to celebrate. There's also a national chocolate day,a cheesecake day, a send your sibling a greeting day and just about anything else you want to celebrate "day". When I looked at my calendar in July of 2007 and saw July 23 was Gorgeous Grandma Day I thought... perfect and hey we're all pretty darn gorgeous. That will be the official day. So the 23rd of every month we try to come together. There are so many grandmas out there with busy schedules that meeting on the 23rd guarantees at least one day you will get to come. The 23rd lands on a different day each month,so if you have a commitment on a thurs you just might make it to the next month on a wed. O joy!
We got rules too...but well that's for later.
Let's talk about names..grandma names to be exact...go go, nana, oma, marmee, mi mi,be be and good old grandma.I know there are many more and all so endearing....each one picked with love. Some were handed down from generations while others were dubbed from the mouths of infants in their attempt to call out to their beloved grand-one!How did I choose Go Go? Well I'll tell ya next time.....

Monday, July 5, 2010

how it all got started

In June of 2007, I went to the wedding of one of my friend's daughters. Her daughter was one of my son's peers from our home schooling days and of course many more of that community would be attending this ceremony also. So as it always goes at these milestones you hear the latest of whose child is engaged, who's getting married and who's having a baby! At the end of the reception and standing out in front of the church waiting for our husbands, five of my girlfriends and I all started jabbering at the same time about our precious grandchild, grandchildren or the one in the oven. We were all first time grandmas and boy was it obvious! You could hardly tell, hear or exclaim for all the excitement and stories!
For anyone that has known me for long I am a schemer. I am forever putting some kind of fun together in my mind with a purpose. I want to do things with you and you and you, but we have to do it with purpose! After getting home that night I started thinking about a grandmas club.... A place where grandmas could share pictures, stories and resources without interruptions! Everyone would have their turn. Yep that's it! A place to show off our grandbabies!
And so on July 23, 2007 we had our first "Gorgeous Grandma" day with a purpose!