LEGOs

This Sandwich Generation Granny Nanny was busy juggling more than just stormy weather this weekIt's definitely been one of THOSE weeks for me and my Sandwich Generation family! A two day heat wave (nice, at first) led to the discovery that our air conditioner didn't work (NOT nice but glad we found out now instead of in the middle of a hotter longer heat wave!). Our refrigerator handle broke off. Seriously! Who ever heard of a fridge handle breaking???? And weather watches and warnings up the wazoo. (Very grateful the brunt of the storms missed us and praying for those who were in harms way!). Major homework tests and term papers and deadlines have hit this week that I have been part of helping with (I'm so glad I'm just helping and don't have to do all the work my grandkids have to do! 🙂 ) And I won't even go into all the disconcerting news headlines that have me stop to pray plenty. Suffice it to say that all of this and more going on this week have kept me busier on things I didn't mean to deal with instead of working on various projects I meant to work on. Then again, isn't that pretty common for all of us in the Sandwich Generation as we juggle merrily away. 🙂 

I did have more time to surf than normal as that is something I can do while waiting (which I spent a LOT of time doing) and it doesn't require much in the way of brains (always good on extra busy weeks! 🙂 ). As a result, I came up with some awesome resources that I've saved into Evernote and wanted to share with you. (See all these clouds – virtual and real – DID have a silver lining! 🙂 ).

LEGO Loving Grandkids and Grandparents, like moi and my grandkids, will love Mary Prather's excellent website resources at Homegrown Learning, and her grand Pinterest board. It's got so many ideas for combining LEGO fun AND educational ideas! 

My grandkids and I are sloooooowly reading about Hudson Taylor, one on one, when they spend the night at my house individually. When we are all together at their house, I am reading to them all about Elisabeth and Jim Elliot using my Kindle app. I really like to encourage my grandkids in mission-minded thinking as I consider all of us to be missionaries for God – some at home and some away from home. So I was thrilled to read the post by Melody of And Here We Go as she has some terrific ideas and some awesome links including one I especially appreciated from Harvest Ministries – with a year's worth of ideas for teaching kids (and grandkids) about the world, interwoven with mission-minded lessons. What a wonderful gift to us all! 

I found the cutest drawing lessons by Rose Gauss that I'm definitely going to use when visiting my younger grandkids. They'll have fun learning and I bet I can even learn to draw finally, too. What do you think? Just click here, then click on each picture to find wonderfully simple directions for drawing each image.

My granddaughter discovered a definite silver lining in her cloud of homework when her computer did not crash from a power outage

And on a stormier note, my daughter's house lost power this week. If my granddaughter had been typing her big paper there, she might have lost it all. We were so grateful she was working on it at my house at the time since I didn't lose power. It reminded me to teach her about "back up, back up, BACK UP" often, often, often – and then we BOTH backed up because I was not practicing what I so frequently preach! Then I discovered that many power companies now offer wonderful apps which may include outage information.  I found ours by checking at their website though I could have typed the company name into the Apple iTunes store search too. And it works great – even better than the website itself for giving info including estimated time to get power restored. Very cool! 

So how about you? What's been keeping you extra busy while juggling the various Sandwich Generation issues of life? Found any silver linings in the midst of the clouds? We'd love to hear! 

Such fun for grandparents - in AND out of the Sandwich Generation - at Grandparents Say It Saturday Linky Party - Do Join in the fun

Beverly's Got tons of cute pink things each Saturday to put a smile on the face of the Sandwich Generation dealing with the issues of caring for the elderly parents and babysitting grandchildren

P.S. 

My grandkids and I think Minecraft is definitely fun but some simple how to help is always greatFor many grandparents, nowadays, Minecraft is a common word – though it may not be totally understood. For those who are unsure what it is or have never heard of it, don't feel bad. I hadn't either up until about four months ago. Then my grandsons discovered it and it often seems as though that's all I've heard about lately. 

Basically, it's a ginormous world(s) that they can build OR destroy which looks pretty much like LEGOs. When they play alone, they usually build and really enjoy it, peacefully. Here's a TALLLLL tower my grandson showed me how to build:

The fun Minecraft tower my grandchild created for me

When they play together, they often destroy – each others, as well as their own – and then seem to play less peacefully.

And when they play on one of the zillions (or so it seems) of online versions, they can run into anything from a group of Christians with positive rules, to a group of Minecraft zealots – often with positive rules  as well – mostly, to a group of, shall we say, not-so-nice zealots who may use bad language, horrific terror scenes and possibly even R or X rated material. In other words, like anything else on the Internet, careful supervision of our kids and grandkids is absolutely necessary. And that includes the zillions of YouTube videos they've found to help them learn how to do various things on this intriguing "game." 

Overall, I think it's Minecraft is a fun activity which requires cautious supervision, time limits, and definite rules about what they can watch, how they can play, and what they are allowed to do – just like anything else in life. 🙂 It is NOT, however, the kind of activity we busy parents and grandparents would love – you know, one we can just turn them over to so they can enjoy it for hours on end alone AND we can get a ton of work done. Sigh….Is there ever, really anything like that? 🙂

Because they were dying to play with each other but the easiest option for that was to play on other people's sites which required too much supervision, I decided to…GASP….figure out how to make my own server (hosted at at company that specializes in Minecraft servers), with our own personal Minecraft worlds. These multiplayer Minecraft worlds are just for them to use. And eventually, once the bugs are all out, maybe we'll be also be able to invite a few friends to join in our MInecraft fun. 

I did a ton of research, found some helpful articles from fellow parents and grandparents, as well as grand educational resources and suggestions from teachers using this in the classroom, like the Minecraft teacher and MinecraftEdu.

Since building a server of your own is primarily  geared for fellow geek-lovers, I'm not going to go into details here, but I will share some, bit by bit, at my Squidoo site – here.  However, for all of us grandparents there are some fun and easy ways to share our grandchildren's love of Minecraft and I'll be sharing some of those soon and periodically as we discover more fun and educational things of interest.

In the meantime, I'm curious. How many of your grandkids play Minecraft? What do you think about it? What do you like? Dislike? Have you never heard about it? I'd love to know…

Such fun for grandparents - in AND out of the Sandwich Generation - at Grandparents Say It Saturday Linky Party - Do Join in the fun

Hip Homeschool Hop has great resources for grandparents and grandchildren - especially if you help with their homeschooling

The Sandwich Generation caregiver can rarely take time off from multigenerational caregiving when illness strikes

Between "How to Solve the “I’m Bored-itis” When Babysitting the Grandchildren – Part 1" and Part 2, we've got lots of fun activities ideas for days when we are babysitting grandchildren and they are bored. But what about those times we are babysitting grandchildren and don't feel that great or, as in my case last week, you are babysitting with NO VOICE.

Yup, that laryngitis I had went on…and on – total silence for three days, then hoarse for the next week – all thanks to the wonderful greenery in our area all the great allergenic pollen. So, what's a grandma to do with no voice while babysitting very active grandkids? After all, like parents, we caregivers rarely take time off for colds, flus, or laryngitis. How DO we cope?  Why, with lots of help from senior mom and grandkids, of course, along with a few ideas, tips and solutions:

  1. As I wrote last week, one of my favorite helps was for them to play with cardboard boxes – big AND small
  2. Have the grandkids order any food in a drive-thru window while you whisper what to say (and yes, I just found out that whispering is bad for the throat. But sometimes, ya just gotta do what you gotta do!)
  3. Use the grandkids to call my senior mom to give her any messages. She does have a cell phone (the Jitterbug, which we still consider to be one of the best cell phones for elderly senior citizens) but she does NOT have texting – by choice. 
  4. Play lots of audio books in the car, like Encyclopedia Brown and Down Gilead Lane
  5. Do as much homework as possible via the computer and iphone
  6. Keep a shorthand notebook handy to jot down notes for the readers (the doc really doesn't want you to talk when you have laryngitis!)
  7. Hand signals help too – thumbs up and down, A-OK, etc. 
  8. Clapping helps too. Many teachers do a sharp -staccato- three claps to get students attention. I tried it with the grandkids and it worked great. I didn't have to try to talk over them. First I got their attention, and then I could quickly whisper.
  9. Legos legos legos
  10. Pray for and with me (in soft whispers)
  11. If you feel fine, like I did, play dodge ball – very quietly.
  12. Also, swinging ball kick – again quietly. If the grandkids didn't keep score, it didn't get done.

Hand signals were a big help for me to communicate with my Sandwich Generation multigenerational family

Well, that's what helped me. How about you? Have you ever dealt with no voice while babysitting grandchildren. Got any more tips or activities ideas for us? Just in case that pollen strikes me again!!! 🙂