Archives for July 2013

7 Unbreakable Laws of Grandparentings by Barbara Graham

For many parents used to being in charge, deferring to the rules and wishes of our adult children and their partners is humbling. Here are a few guidelines that — so far — have kept me out of hot water.

1. Seal your lips. Even if you’re an expert who has written 13 bestsellers on parenthood, your adult sons and daughters will assume you know nothing about childrearing. Your advice and opinions will not be welcome, unless directly solicited. (Even then, it’s iffy as to whether the new parents really want to hear your answer.) Tread lightly. As Anne Roiphe laments in Eye of My Heart, “Ah, my poor tongue is sore from being bitten.”

2. You may love thy grandchild as thine own — but never forget that he or she is not thine own. I was confused about this in the beginning. I was at the hospital when Isabelle was born and I thought we were all one big happy family. Not. I had to win over her parents. They loved me — I knew that — but did they trust me? In the early days I felt as if I were auditioning for the part of grandparent. Did I hold Isabelle properly? Didn’t I know that you never put a newborn down on her stomach? It took me a few blunders to secure their trust — which must be renewed every so often, like a driver’s license.

3. Abide by the rules of the new parents. The dos and don’ts of childrearing change with every generation. If I had listened to my mother, I would have held my son only while feeding him (every four hours) — and not one second longer, lest he turn into a “mama’s boy.” These days, with the crush of childrearing information online, most new parents are up to speed — and beyond — but we grandparents most definitely are not. Baby slings? The Mutsy Slider Stroller? Who knows what these things are, or how to operate them?


10 Steps To A Healthier, More Beautiful You by Rose Thayer

A Healthy Diet Means Healthy Beauty

We can get as creative as we like with our makeup, but there’s one thing it can never bring us: the glow of good health. A healthy dietkeeps your body in tip-top shape — and that means your skin, hair, and nails too! Diets rich in a variety of vitamins and nutrients have plenty of beauty benefits. Hair is about 90 percent protein, so to promote hair growth, try a diet rich in lean proteins. To slow the signs of aging, be sure to get plenty of vitamins C and E. And don’t forget about water! Staying hydrated is vital to maintaining a healthy glow. It can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and make skin look plump and healthy.

Not used to drinking up? Here are some simple tips for adding more water to your day:

  • Set a goal. Tell yourself you can’t have that soda/Frappuccino/whatever your liquid guilty pleasure is until you reach your water-intake goal. Aim for at least 4 cups of water a day.
  • Mix it up. Add fruit, sugar-free drink mix, or ice cubes made from fruit juice to your glass for a refreshing flavor.
  • Tea time. Instead of your afternoon cup of coffee, try tea. It’s more hydrating but still contains caffeine if you’re looking for a little boost.
    • Reveal Healthy Hands

      Your hands are one accessory you expose to the world daily, so why not dress them up, show them some love, and share something beautiful! But no cute, colorful polish can hide peeling, poorly cared for cuticles. “Cuticle oil is a miracle in a bottle,” says Elle, a New York City–based celebrity manicurist. “It’s key to softening up cuticles right away and making you feel put together — especially in those months when your skin is dry.” Cuticle oil is also great for fighting daily nail aggressors like hand washing, being in the pool, and salt water.

      Another great backup for cuticle oil is olive oil. That’s right, the kind you’d find in your kitchen cupboard. Elle describes it as “quick and amazing.” Read more nail care advice from Elle in our Essential Nail Care Kit.

10 Tips For Taking Time Out For Yourself This Summer by Gina Roberts Grey

The kids are out of school for the summer, and your home life is bound to get busier. Add to that work tasks that are piling up, a growing list of household chores, and the vacation you’re trying to plan — and you may be wondering how you can possibly capture some of the enticingly lazy feeling of hot summer days.

Taking time out of your hectic schedule just for yourself helps you live a healthier, happier life. “Relieving stress can lower blood pressure, help you sleep better, and even help you maintain a healthy weight,” says Berit Brogaard, a professor of psychology and philosophy at the University of Missouri in St. Louis.

Here are 10 ways to sneak some “me time” into a busy summer day.

  1. Just say no. It’s okay to push back from a few volunteer projects or to let the dishes sit for a few hours so you can take time out for yourself. “Don’t feel bad saying ‘no’ now and then,” says Bo Bradley, a life coach and the author of Achieving the Balance Dream. It’s important to free up time to take a walk, work a crossword puzzle, or watch your favorite TV show.
  2. Forage for finds. Lose yourself in a stroll around a flea market or neighborhood garage sale. The hunt for a one-of-a-kind treasure is a great way to snap out of your routine.
  3. Create a musical escape. Can’t leave the house? Turn everyday chores into relaxing moments. Play classical music, or some other type of music that you find soothing, while you’re folding laundry or preparing dinner. Instead of feeling rushed and annoyed that you’re searching for matching socks, you’ll find yourself relaxing.


My Daughter-in-law, My Best Friend by Carole Geckle

So how did two strangers, decades apart in age, become best friends as well as family? The most obvious answer to me is that the love we have for each other is a gift from God—the God who is love. Just as surely as God ordained a covenant relationship between Naomi and Ruth, the well-known mother and daughter-in-law of the Bible, I am sure He ordained a covenant relationship between Stephanie and me. In fact, I have come to the conclusion that God means all mothers and daughters-in-law to be in a covenant relationship, just as He means husbands and wives to be in their own covenant.

But beyond that lies some action—some covenant keeping on our part—and a willingness to explore what a relationship like this means. God put all of the ingredients together, but He leaves it up to us to make something of them. I want to try to capture this relationship recipe, seal it in writing, so that it will work in the future when our other son marries. I’m not sure I can. However, I have discovered over the past five years a few essential ingredients for having a strong and loving relationship with my daughter-in-law.

Three essentials in a loving in-law relationship

1. Spend time with her. Both Steph and I are introverts and love being alone. But from the first Starbuck’s date, we made a connection. We discovered that we both love books and writing, daring coffee concoctions … and, of course, we both love my son. Date by date, each outing became less an “ought to” and more a “want to.” Today, my daughter-in-law is the first person I think of when I want to explore a bookstore or go to lunch at a new restaurant.

Last Christmas Stephanie and I attended a matinee of The Nutcracker Ballet, complete with a fancy hotel tea beforehand. As we watched the other mothers and grandmothers with little girls in tow, we giggled about how outrageously ruffled and ribboned we would like to dress a girl in our family of all boys. These times spent together bond us, and give us important shared memories. It is not instant, or automatic, but month-by-month, year-by-year, time invested in each other creates a deep and abiding comfort and joy in each other’s presence.


5 Hardest Places To Clean In Your Home by Linda Cobb

1. The Shower

It goes without saying that the top of everyone’s list is the bathroom! As soon as you clean it, it’s dirty again. And the most frustrating area in the bathroom? The shower. Here is a never-fail homemade solution that works.

In a 2-cup measuring cup, heat 1 cup of white vinegar in the microwave. Heat until it’s nice and hot, but not boiling. Add this to 1 cup of Dawn Original Dish Washing Liquid or Dawn Ultra. (It must be one of these two, because they are concentrated.) Stir and carefully pour into a 2-cup or large spray bottle. Spray on the tub and shower walls and floor. Let sit for 15—20 minutes and then work it in with a gentle scrubbing sponge. Rinse well, paying special attention to the floor of the shower. The solution will remove soap scum, oily dirt and even that ring around the tub. (NOTE: If you have to stand in the shower or tub to do the walls, wait to spray the bottom of the tub/shower until you are done, so you don’t slip.)

2. The Stove

It’s so hard to clean that you hate to cook on it, and you especially hate to cook anything that will splatter. The other big complaint: Your stovetop never looks good after the first time you cook on it. Knowing how to clean it can remove that frustration and make it shine.

Buy Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser at the grocery, home store or big box store. It is a mild pumice cleanser that will not scratch. Always wet the cooktop surface before applying the cleanser. Work in with a mild scrubbing sponge (not a harsh pad that will scratch). Use a safety straight edge razor to gently scrape up any burned-on food. Wipe off with paper towels, rinse well, and buff. I love this because it works on burnt-on food, pasta water that has boiled over, and even grease from frying or browning meat.



8 Activities Kids Love To Do With Grandparents by Sally Stich

8 Activities Kids Love To Do With Grandparents

1. Go on a Scavenger Hunt

All kids love a good treasure hunt, and scavenger hunts turn ordinary walks into adventures. Make a list for your grandchild—a red leaf, a Y-shaped twig, a feather—and start walking and collecting. If kids are older and you have time, you can make rhyming clues that they need to figure out.  Or take a camera with you and have kids take a photo of something that begins with each letter of the alphabet. “A scavenger hunt not only teaches kids observational skills, “says Gina Kaurich, RN, a professional care manager for FirstLight HomeCare in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a grandmother of seven, “but also a sense of accomplishment with you as their team mate.”

2. Look at Baby Books

Grab the baby books—not your grandchild’s, but their parents. There is nothing children like better than seeing their parent as peer (rather than the person who tells them to clean up their room and it’s time for bed). Talk about their mom or dad’s first step, first word, anything he or she did that was naughty or funny. “My 16-year-old granddaughter still loves hearing about her mom,” says Elaine Hayutin, a grandmother of four in Denver, Colorado. “We always end up comparing her development to her mother’s. It’s amazing how similar they are.”