A Gram Blog

How to Make Grandmother’s Summer Recipes

Learn how our grandmothers’ vintage recipes can utilize your end of summer garden like theirs. “Waste not want not”! One of my family favorite vintage recipes, Green Tomato Picalilli,

How to make grandmothers summer recipes
Learn how our grandmothers vintage recipes can utilize your end of summer garden like theirs. “Waste not, want not”!

How to utilize your end of summer garden 

Do you recall watching your grandmother can?  For example, she may have canned green beans.  Possibly, Gram may have made jellies.  At any rate, my grandmother and yours knew how to use what they had on hand to the fullest.  The end of the summer, especially here in New England, specifically put their know how to the test!  Do you have a garden?

How grandmothers utilized end of summer garden
“Waste not, want not”

If you have tomato plants, you understand how quickly green tomatoes pile up as the season comes to a close.  Of course, you don’t want to waste food!  So, what to you do?  Simply learn how our grandmothers’ vintage recipes can utilize your end of summer garden like theirs.  “Waste not want not”!  One of my family favorite vintage recipes, Green Tomato Picalilli, utilizes green tomatoes to the fullest.  Once in canning jars the relish can be enjoyed year round.  It also makes great gifts for the holiday season!

how to Make Grandmothers summer recipes
Green Tomato Picalilly Relish

Grandmothers Vintage Garden Harvest Recipes

Celebrate end of summer with Green Tomato Picalilly Relish
How to make
Marme Nellie Milbury’s Picalilly relish recipe

Easy Summer Time Crafts to do with Children

Collect and seal your momentous ordinary moments for a life long memory

Seal Your Collection into a Life long Memento

Sand In a Bottle

Years ago, my daughter made me this bottle of seashore items.  It has traveled with me proving to be a tried and true keepsake.

Save your momentous moments in a bottle… add your mementos with sand and seal for a life long memory

I have done a couple of crafts base on this version.  Think outside the jar!  Don’t be nervous about your contents.  Your local craft stores have colored sands.  You can use beads, pebbles, buttons, or whatever you have around the house.  I put together a memory jar using a photo, salt, and some store bought rocks!

Use what you have around the house

Make your own memories in a bottle!  Do you go to the beach on vacation?  Where will you go camping?  Whether you are at the shore or in the woods, you can create your own.  Have the kids pick up pinecones or pine needles to collect with some river rocks.  Once you are home, purchase your desired vessels at your favorite craft store.  Fill your bottles with your collections and seal them for a lifetime long memento!

Enjoy the momentous ordinary moments of your everyday ordinary! Until next time 🙂


Man’s Best Friend?

Top Things to Think about When Searching for your Next Pet

Once upon a time, not all that long ago you went to the town humane society looking for your new pooch. Now days, you need to navigate the world-wide dog pound! Thinking of adding a furry friend to your family? What things do you need to know looking for a new dog?

As my family and I recently paddled our way through this bottomless pool of pet finding, let me clue you in on a few items of note. The first matter at hand, the initial decision to add a pet to the family. We asked ourselves, “Are you ready to take on the responsibility?” “Do we have enough room for a dog, and how big a dog can we fit?” “Can we financially budget another mouth to feed and care for?” “What costs are involved in care for a dog?” These questions should be tackled before you even venture out in your search. The sink or swim situation is not an option when it involves the lives of defenseless creatures.

After putting some more thought into our next move, I learned how to determine the best matched dogs for our family. Do you have kids? Are your kids young enough where pulling and tugging on the dog could cause tense moments? My grandkids are 8 years old and 12 years old now, showing a certain amount of courtesy for their new pal should be expected. However, there are breeds that are meant to mesh better with their humans than others. Categories of dog breeds consists of members from sporting/hunting, hound, working, toy, terrier, non-sporting, and herding groups. The (AKC) American Kennel Club also recognizes a miscellaneous class as well. Like their human counterparts, dogs are individuals, but certain categories may best suit one family better than another.

Where do you start?

Top Family Friendly Dog Breeds
1. Golden Retriever
2. Retrievers
3. Bull Dog
4. Great Dane
5. Bull Mastiff
6. German Shepard
7. Bull Terrier
8. American Pit
9. Bernese Mountain Dog
10. Boxer

From this list, I narrowed our choice with a few factors. As homeowners, it is important to us our Homeowners Insurance wouldn’t be in peril. Did you know there is such a thing as a “Restricted Dog List”? Construed as discrimination on the part of the insurance companies, it can be circled around if you are willing to jump the loop holes. You can acquire a “Good Citizenship” Certificate from the (AKC) American Kennel Club with the completion of their obedience class training. Another possibility is procuring pet insurance to cover any legal issues. I figure better safe than sorry and eliminated the breeds listed from our personal choices.

Working class

Are you an active, outdoorsy type? Perhaps your choices should come from the sporting or hound breeds. Pointers, retrievers, setters, and spaniels are built for the outside. The more well-known headliner of this group as a “kid-friendly breed”, is the Golden Retriever. Easy trainability, loyal, and their social behavior are just a few reasons the breed earns a family favorite. Their coats even tend to be resilient to the elements including water. Naturally more alert and energetic they enjoy lots of exercise. Another member of the Sporting Class originating from Canada, is the Labrador Retriever. He is at home with a family. Known for his disposition and fondness for the water, Labrador Retrievers were bred as companions on fishing boats and hunting parties. Again, their natural love for activity and the outdoors is a factor to remember. So, be prepared to play lots of fetch with him!

The American Kennel Club’s Working Classification introduces us to a child friendly companion, the Boxer. These are playful pups take their job seriously as the family watchdog. Naturally alert and athletic but patient and protective motives prove their loyalty toward you. Medium to large and lean muscular physique, they resemble their name sake of an athletic boxer. Other members of the working-class dogs are Newfundlands, Mastiffs, St. Bernards, and Husky breeds.

Family Friendly Breeds

You probably can discern our pick of a pooch lies in their ability to thrive with children. Next, do we want a purebred or mixed breed? Since, we opted to adopt a rescue dog, the choices for a mix are more in our favor. I found statistics by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) “Pet Statistics.” Web Accessed February 26, 2015 that only approximately “25% of dogs that enter local shelters are purebred.” There are plenty of other considerations in this type of decision such as odds for health problems related to purebreds, cost, and steering clear of puppy mills. It made more sense to save a rescue dog from a shelter than purchase a puppy for us. “Only 1 out of 10 dogs born find permanent homes” stated in an article and “3.9 million dogs enter shelters nationwide each year.” Are you planning on breeding your pet? Do you hope to enter the world of dog shows? Why do you want a purebred versus a pound pet? Weigh your options as well as your heart to find what suits you best.

Our Pooch 1 year old

We set our search perimeters for the mixed breed, Boxadors. As its name suggest, it is a breed comprised of Labrador Retriever and the Boxer. In my head, this meant our new dog would possess the best of both breeds. Easy trainability, good with children, alert, loyal, and patient. All admirable traits! Are you ready for the next phase of our search? Where do we look? Don’t rush through these steps! Take your time and put some thought into this HUGE COMMITMENT. Upcoming A Gram Blog posts will continue looking for the perfect pooch for your family. Come on Inside A Gram Blog for hot off the press personal copies emailed directly to you before published for public viewing simply by subscribing on the forms below…

<3 Share the Love <3

<3 Enjoy the day because you’ll find momentous ordinary moments in the Everyday ordinary! <3

STOP! Forcing Your Finicky Eaters to Eat?

My grandchildren taste buds differ from day to day.

Is it Bad to make your kids eat the meals on their plate or not? :/ Do we let them eat whatever they desire? When I grew up, my parents and grandparents expected me to eat my dinner. I either ate their preparations or I didn’t. Of course, they expected me to devour at least an adequate amount to sustain myself rather than starve. The main point here, my parents did not pamper me by providing alternate sustenance. They certainly did not arrange the grocery list or menu according to my likes or dislikes.

we agree ways to encourage eating comes with cooperative menu planning and secondly, collaborative cooking sessions. Next, experiment with foods.

From a grown up point of view we doubt kids understand and honestly, even care, if choice is not always an option.  For us there are many variables that make up our meals. It may be a matter of finances, nutrition, special diets, and/or time availability. I believe there is a way to meet half way, a meeting in the middle of sorts. As parents we don’t want to be throwing away tons of food for no reason. Stories of starving children in foreign countries no longer scathe our modern children’s’ thick skin like our parents scared us into scarfing down that spinach!

My grandchildren taste buds differ from day to day. They tend to deny this fact when I tell them to try it again.  I attempt coercing them with ” you may like it this time.” One day, a ham and cheese sandwich on white bread with mayo and honey mustard is perfectly fine. Thinking I have lunch in the bag (no pun intended), my lovingly layered Dagwood is pushed away in disgust! Almost every meal meets rejection of some sort daily. Not by just one child, but both!

How many of you cater meal choices to your children? Do you make them eat what is on their plate? The “old school” bringing up of mine banners flags all over the place each time a plate is pushed away. Frustration and tempers flare on both sides as neither surrender. Forcing a child to eat when they have no intention of eating usually ends up forcing food to come back up. Then, who has “egg on their face”!

Egg on Your Face

So, what is the answer? I truly don’t know! However, some things that have helped us may help you. Involving the kids in menu planning allows them to make choices before it is staring up from the plate. They show more excitement toward the meal holding their picks. It gives them opportunity to practice nutritional information as well as becoming more aware of budgeting groceries. You’ll be surprised! They really listen and absorb all your parenting without even knowing it.

another idea to encourage your kids to eat comes by partnering up in the kitchen. Let them help cook dinner with you.

Aside menu planning, another idea to encourage your kids to eat comes by partnering up in the kitchen. Let them help cook dinner with you. I don’t do this as much as I should, guilty as charged ☹ My granddaughter is 12 yrs. old and can be quite helpful when she wants. Younger but not any less enthusiastic, my 7-yr. old grandson is ready to climb to the occasion. Usually, the real issue lies in I’m not comfortable allowing her to contribute the way she desires. However, confrontations and clashes don’t work toward a collaborative cooking experience. Whether she rather constantly flip the burgers, than let them sit and sizzle or perhaps, I cringe each time she cracks an egg can’t become an obstacle. It is hard letting someone else infringe upon your kitchen. If you think about it, a kitchen grows into a very personal room for us moms or grams! Over the years, 35 in my case, I shaped its efficiency to fit my needs. “There is a place for everything and everything has its place” loudly screams my OCD so when its violated I tend to scream LOL 😊

You don’t need to group cook every meal or even the whole meal for that matter. A little piece of participation goes a long way. A couple of great collaborative meal preparations you may want to try are chicken nuggets or pizza nights. Chicken nuggets are a quick and easy protein filled child favorite!

2 boneless chicken breasts, pounded and cut into 1-2-inch pieces
Crushed pork rinds (BBQ flavored or spicy buffalo are also options)
Grated parmesan Cheese
Spray oil

The kids enjoy pounding out the chicken. Hand them a rolling pin to crush the pork rinds into a powdered crumb and add parm to the mix. It makes a low carb crust the whole family will love.

Family favorite Pizza Night Collaborative Cooking Suggestion kids create their own with assorted topping options

Another family favorite to make and chow down is Pizza. Easy and kid friendly by choosing their own toppings. Offer a range of options from different cheeses, pepperoni, ham, bacon, pineapple, onions, sausage, spinach, peppers, mushrooms, olives, and even broccoli. Divide your pizza dough into portions instead of the typical twelve-inch size. The kids roll out their own dough and then create their unique dinner. Serve a small salad of tomatoes and cucumbers on the side to add more fiber and they’ll never think twice!

be creative and willing to experiment with food

So, so far, we agree ways to encourage eating comes with cooperative menu planning and secondly, collaborative cooking sessions. Next, experiment with foods. My grandson watches YouTube Videos called “Collin Keys Weird Food Combinations” constantly. Now, I’m not down with all that, but I do understand the premise. Take your tried and true recipes then tweak them with some of the kids’ favorable items. One simple example I can suggest is Macaroni and Cheese. My grandkids refuse to touch any thing but boxed brand scoffing at home made cheesier goodness :/

A compromise in ingredients comprised of
jarred cheddar cheese sauce,
grated yellow sharp cheddar cheese,
and grated extra sharp white cheddar
melted into half and half cream
stirred in with elbow macaroni.

They ate it up! Not a word about boxed names mentioned. I know macaroni and cheese is not the healthiest of food choices. How many kids do you know turn down mac n cheese? Mine don’t anymore!

Mac n Cheese Out of the Box

One meal, one day, one child at a time with acceptance, tolerance, and imagination creates children willing to explore and enjoy developed pallets. Just a note to keep in mind… Show by example your own willingness and confidence in trying new things.

Be careful the children don’t inherit your own dislikes. I despise bananas. I can’t stand the sight, smell, texture, or taste of them. Never ever have I been able to swallow more than a bite even as a baby. However, my kids and now my grandkids grew up eating them.

A kitchen should be bright and cheery warmed with food from the heart

I hope your kitchen becomes a hub for your family. It is a room we all start every new day. A kitchen should be bright and cheery warmed with food from the heart. A Gram Blog will continue suggestions for family kid friendly and grown up recipe ideas. Look for upcoming posts soon…

<3 Enjoy the day because you’ll find momentous ordinary moments in the Everyday ordinary! <3