If your grandchildren are younger, chances are you get to spend some extra time with them.  Once they start school and activities, their free time is very limited.   This is the first summer I have not worked in 42 years, since I am now retired, so I am hoping for some extra time with my grandchildren.    I have some ideas of what I would like for us to do this summer.




I believe that everyone will agree the baby showers of today are nothing like what we had with our children.  They were hosted by a close friend or family member and consisted of serving cake, punch, and finger foods; playing games, and opening gifts.  Men did not attend the showers.

It is common now for the expectant parents to both attend a cook-out or dinner to celebrate the shower. 





Most people dread turning  “60” but this was a celebration I was happy to see.  Last week my husband Bob (alias Grandpa Bob or Papaw Bob) turned 60 and we celebrated with a 3 day party at a lake resort we love with 80 of our closest friends and family members. 

My son and his family flew in from Co; my daughter and her family came from NC;  my brother and sister-in-law came from KY.  

Two and a half years ago, Bob was going thru a serious illness  and we are so thankful that our prayers were answered and he beat this.  I wanted to give us something positive to hold onto, so at that time I started planning this party.  There were a lot of behind the scene details I had to work out and I felt like I had planned a wedding, but I am so happy with the results.





Retirement is a word I am happy to say.  I have been a Registered Nurse for over 42 years.  I now have a new status.  Retired.

When I became a nurse, we wore white dresses with white hose, white shoes and our caps.  Hair was pinned up, make-up was light and jewelry was only a  gold wedding band.  To people looking back at this, it may seem like the dark ages, but I remember how proud I felt.  It was a real honor to be recognized as a nurse.  We stood up at the desk when a doctor came on the floor and we carried the charts making rounds.  I think it was a real show of respect.     Continue reading RETIREMENT..TODAY WAS MY LAST DAY OF WORK


There are so many different kinds of love we experience in our life.  Being a grandparent has given us the opportunity to have been  through all of these.

We start with the love of our parents, our siblings, grandparents and  other extended family members.

Later in life we have our spouses or significant other, our children and  then the wonderful, extreme love of our grandchildren.  No two kinds  of love are alike but they are each so overwhelming and unforgettable.

This is a grandparent blog and to me the heart of it is the love of the grandparents for each other. Continue reading A GRANDPARENT’S LOVE….VALENTINE’S DAY



I LOVE to make decorated sugar cookies for my grandchildren.

My kitchen has been a busy place baking cookies and making these cute  little candy treat bags. The candies and cupcakes are lined up for the task.1

071Click here to see directions Easy Halloween Treat Bags

I mail a box to my grandsons in Colorado and North Carolina. I add some Valentine window clings and it is a fun, inexpensive treat from grandma and grandpa. The other children live nearby.

Decorated sugar cookies are always a sweet treat that make everyone happy.  Here is my recipe Decorated Sugar Cookies

Fix a little treat bag of cookies and deliver to a co-worker, a neighbor, the   mailman, or any special person in your life.                                     



120MERRY CHRISTMAS from our family. 

We had our family celebration on December 13th.

As usual, it was crazy, busy and so much fun.   We had lots of good food, talked and laughed, played some games, and opened gifts.

See some of our Christmas traditions in previous post.

 Christmas Traditions..Creating New Ones as Grandparents.

I always make cookie trays, candy bags and Chex Mix for everyone to take home.  I made double recipes of 10 different kinds of cookies and 30 dozen decorated sugar.015006 (2)012014 (2)

009My husband, Bob, helped me cook and we worked on it for 2 days.  Our menu was simple and had variety to satisfy the adults and children.

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Here are some random pictures.   

The first picture was the next morning when I was taking out trash.  I looked behind me and my 2 yr old grandson, Hudson,was saying “me help” and dragging bags of trash.  We are such a lucky family to have so many wonderful blessings.    128                                               049 091117106041064066081082087099112038


We all had family traditions for the holidays as we grew up and  were able to continue these when we started our own families. 

I think as grandparents we are now in a unique situation.

Many of the traditions can’t  be carried on for different reasons.  Some of our grown children have moved away and not able to get home for the holidays, and with so many blended families there are more schedules to try to accommodate.    A few grandparents  are lucky enough to have all of your children living in the same city.            Another issue is that once our children are married, they need to share the holidays with their in-laws also.  

I think the only solution is to try to incorporate some of your  most favorite traditions while being  flexible to make new ones.  I want to share with you some of the things our big family does that seems to work.

My husband and I have a blended family of 8 children along with their spouses/significant others, 13 grandchildren and a few more from their blended families.   Talk about difficulty in being able to coordinate schedules!!

Bob and I have our big family Christmas party the 2nd Saturday in December.  This allows the children to attend events with their in-laws and still have their own family time on Christmas.   I start all of  my holiday tasks the weekend after Thanksgiving. 

I  decorate my house with family in mind.  I  have a tree upstairs that is decorated with  Thomas Kinkade and handmade ornaments from my  friend, Linda Bibbo  @  L.B. Bear Christmas Ornaments, so this one is just for looking at.   The downstairs tree is kid friendly and full of things they like.  I add Christmas to every room in the house and outside.   I do lots of shopping and baking non stop for 2 weeks.  

We are very lucky because we have 2 big rooms downstairs that we can party in.  One has the tree, and is where we open presents.  The other is a big empty room that I am able to set tables up in to eat.  I also make 20 cookie trays for family/friends.  I line the trays up on these tables to fill them.2


I still do a stocking for each grandchild.  They are not stuffed full like the ones Santa does at their house but everyone enjoys this.  Here are mine for this year. I did 18 this time.

Little Boys.. hand held stroble light, LED flashlight,stickers017

  Little Girls018          


 Big Boys023

Big Girls022

 One of the most fun traditions we started with the grandchildren is a game we play.  Even the teenagers still laugh and enjoy this.  I originally started it to stretch the evening when they open their presents so quickly.


I have a tub that I fill up with small gifts, cash, and gift cards.  The prizes have evolved over the years and change to meet what I know they like.044

Here are the prizes in this year’s tub.037

To play this game, everyone picks out a Santa or Snowman, we set up a short track ,and the little wind up Santas  race each other 2 at a time.  The winner goes to the tub and gets a prize.. the loser plays the next person.  Everyone wins!  The poor little wind up Santa does not go too far and the kids are laughing hysterically at them.

These are a few of the traditions we do at our house.  I will share some more in another post.

Bob and I just want special memories to come from the holidays at our house.    


 pillsbury bake off, 47th, starwberry, tart, hazelnut spread

I have heard of the Pillsbury Bake-off since I was a little girl.  My mother always bought the books and we went through them,    admired each recipe, but never really thinking that average people made it to this contest.

In 2006 I became interested in entering  contests and truly have been very honored to be chosen as a finalist for the Pillsbury Bake-off  3 times.  According to the rules for this, a person may only attend 3 times. 

I attended in 2008  Mascarpone Filled Cranberry Walnut Rolls mascarone filled cranberry walnut rolls        

 I attended in 2010  Peanut Butter Toffee Cheesecake Brownies23430_1400047604040_1354572_n

This is  my final journey to the 47th Pillsbury Bake-off Contest. My recipe was Strawberry Mascarpone Hazelnut Chocolate Tartsmhct 2014

Early last year, the contest rules were posted on the Pillsbury web site.  There were 4 categories you could enter.  I did enter a                few recipes in each one.  In June, I received an email stating that I was a potential   finalist.  After a screening process that all finalists go through, I was confirmed as a finalist.

Bake-Off Finalist Cover Photo   

10303986_766158323450798_3426967293235146488_nThe following months were filled with completing forms, media events, a photo session, hotel and travel arrangements, getting the lists of ingredients and equipment completed and lots of practicing my recipe.  My husband was able to attend with me this time so there was also shopping for clothes for both of us.  A facebook  page was set up for those of us going to the bake-off, some that had been there previously, and ones who hope to get chosen in the future.  There is so much support and well wishes from everyone.                  The excitement just continued to build.

The bakeoff was being held at the Omni Hotel in Nashville Tn this time.  Pillsbury treats each and every finalist as royalty.  They were so helpful with questions or concerns.  Each finalist was given a Visa gift  card and a  new microwave before we even went.  When we      arrived, our hotel was beautiful and all of our lodging and meals were covered by Pillsbury.  We also received gift bags with gifts from each of the sponsors. 

This is a picture of the hotel as we drove up to it.

photo (1)Looking out our window in downtown Nashville

050When we arrived to register, the hallway was filled with excited people, the Doughboy, and a wall of the finalists recipes on a silk screen.


076We then attended an orientation and a sneak peek at the grand ballroom that had been transformed into the contest site with 100 mini kitchens.

BO_47_minikitchens1Group picture of the 100 Finalists

Finalists-at-the-Bake-Off Next came a reception with our sponsor grocery store. Mine was Kroger.  They gave each of us a card with a gift card enclosed.  Afterwards was a dinner in another room that had been transformed with different stations for foods, drinks, and a live band playing country music. This was so much fun and a great time to connect with old friends as well as meeting new ones.

The next morning was breakfast and the actual bakeoff!!

The finalists were led into the room by a girl playing the fiddle and the Doughboy!!!  A live band was playing country music inside. We danced our way around the room to our assigned kitchen units.  The hostess for the event was celebrity Chef Carla Hall from ‘THE CHEW’.   PLEASE NOTE THE FIRST FINALIST COMING IN….. she is a wonderful lady 89 years young!!  So this goes to show you are NEVER too old to pursue your dreams and as grandparents….you can do this too.  




   We cooked and baked our hearts out, sampled each others recipes and talked to media, sponsors, bloggers and other invited guests.  It was a whirlwind of fun and crazy activity.

131We had a few free hours that day so my husband and I walked around Nashville.  It was such a beautiful, clean town with so many   interesting things to see.

The evening concluded with a Blue Carpet walk and pictures with the Golden Statue of the Doughboy, another very fancy dinner, and then the awards. For the first time in the history of the bake-off, America is helping to chose the 1 million dollar winner.  The judges chose the 4 category winners and they were placed on the Pillsbury Facebook page for voting.  The winner was announced on The Chew on December 3, 2014.  I am so happy to say that one of my friends, Beth Royals won the million dollars!!  She is such an awesome lady and so deserving.

I was not one of the category winners but this whole experience was nothing but a win!! I have met so many people that are now a part of my life and true friends.                                                   


 This post was linked to Grand Social on Grandma’s Briefs.


As the seasons change, so do the activities our family gets involved in.It is  hard to believe that  2014 is going so fast.   Fall is one of our family’s favorite times of the year.   We are lucky enough to live in a part of the country where the  seasons change and we get to see the real beauty of what God has created around us.  

The grandchildren are very busy with their fall sports; football, volleyball,  basketball, and soccer.  Fall baking has been in full swing  in my kitchen.   The men are getting ready for hunting season.    There are the Halloween parties, campfires, and trips to the local pumpkin patches and farms.

aGrandpa Bob likes to get into the seasonal fun too.    


Working hard gathering just the right things to decorate with at Butchers Family Farm.

cHe always decorates the front of our house by himself. 

Some random fall pictures………

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Where Everything is Always Made with Love