Review and Give Away Paint by Numbers Kit

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Let’s review

Before I explain the review and give away, I want to back up. Earlier I wrote “Scrapbooking for the Unimaginative”. It began because of my personal search to create momentous ordinary moments. However I didn’t have a clue where to start. For that reason I am always looking for new crafts with simple instructions or patterns. Similarly to https://agramblog.com/2019/06/06/scrapbooking-for-the-unimaginative/ , my intent today is to share resources and tips with you. In my opinion http://www.winniespicks.com brings the beauty of the ordinary to us artistically challenged!

Because of a Facebook group I follow “Blogging Grandmothers”my follow up project just kind of fell in place. We are participating in a review and give away as a group. Each Blogging Grandmother was given choice of a no cost kit in order to provide an honest review of the product. Through http://www.winniespicks.com we are all trying our hand at a Paint by Numbers for adults kit! Not only do I experience a new craft, I get to give one of you the chance too!

Remember when

Together with the Hula Hoop, Paint by Number kits was as big a fad in fifties and sixties. Before today, a resurgence occurred in the family friendly kits during the 1990’s. It seems more vintage items are making a revival. Just look at come backs from Polaroid Cameras, Slinky, and others. Kind of makes you think! Why is it we return to items of the past? Beyond the fact that Babyboomers, as the largest population drive marketing. Generally, don’t you think we long for the simpler things in life?

Painting by Numbers proven to relieve stress and anxiety

Compared to today’s estimated $20 billion Americans will spend on hobbies this year, paint by numbers boomed at 1960’s $12 million. Originally, Dan Robbins designed a way to pattern a canvas with coordinated numbered paints from his own creations. He partnered with a company to produce it for the public. Craft Master and Robbins promoting the promise “Every man a Rembrandt!” Robbins wanted everyone able to experience art, despite critics’ reviews of the product.

Dan Robbins paint by Numbers received poor reviews from art critics

With this in mind, think back. Do you remember a deer drinking from a winter stream landscape take form as your brush filled in each number? Maybe your memories feature later versions of black velvet paint by Number kits? As a kid, I remember at least one Paint by Number Kit Christmas gift each year!

Unboxing Painting for the unimaginative

Dan Robbins’ vision to introduce the experience of art to everyone is alive again today. You see it Online, in Apps, and in stores. Like it’s cousin “Coloring for Adults”, Paint by Numbers for Adults provides a pastime reducing stress. Furthermore, it’s proven to improve cognitive and coordination abilities.

My “Unboxing” http://www.winniespicks.com

More importantly, we all need a way to unplug for awhile. With that in mind, each “Blogging Grandmothers” taking part will provide their own opinion. Coincidentally, we all ended up picking different “Picks”! The paint by Number for adults kits “Blogging Grandmothers”are reviewing come from https://www.winniespicks.com.

Painting Grandpa’s Nap review

Overall, I am pleased with my paint by Numbers Kit. Based on prices I observed while surfing online, Winnie’s Picks do cost a few dollars more than most. But I would say paint by Number kits as a whole, obviously are a relatively inexpensive hobby.

As indicated in my “unboxing” video everything needed comes included. I received four brushes of different tips. Obviously a canvas is the main component. Completing out the kit is a numbered color chart. Right from my ordering and shipping process the experience is easy. The kit’s packaging is ideal for traveling through the postal system. The cylinder tube packaging protects your canvas and secures the pains and brushes perfectly.

My review by the numbers

Per the phrase “Paint by Numbers for Adults” the Picks are not childish. In fact, any one of the kits will be a pleasing addition to your home decor. Since all kits are for enjoyment, the only thing to consider may be how elaborate you want to go with it. The website https://www.winniespicks.com displays a variety of “pics” to pick. On one hand, you have “picks” like mine that may take longer to complete. However, if that’s not for you. In which case, I would suggest one of the “Easy Kits”. These paintings have larger areas per color.

Although you can expect extensive details within the prints, they are not complicated. Even my thirteen year old granddaughter is putting her hand to it with me. In fact, she earned money selling kool-aid and lemonade last weekend that she is ordering her own kit! She wants a change from her coloring for adults coloring books.

I do have a few suggestions you may want to know.

  • The kit comes with a picture hanger rather than framed
  • the number 6 and number 9 paints don’t have distinguishing markers ie _6 vs 9 making it hard to tell which is which
  • Remember to stretch your canvas before starting (I have added a video below by Richard Robinson Studio)
  • keep a magnifying glass handy for tiny details

Final thoughts

So then to review my review, I give http://www.winniespicks.com Paint by Numbers for Adults 5 👍👍👍👍👍! As a mother of three herself, Winnie’s Picks, wanted to share her way of relaxing with others. It works👍. She set out to offer an outlet for those of us who are craft challenged. It works👍. Paint by Numbers for adults is a complete kit including tutorials available on the website. It works 👍. Considering www.winniespicks.com user friendly site for purchasing. It works 👍. Finally, she clinches it with her free shipping in 3 days! It works 👍.

Only Two Weeks

Review and Give A Way
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The Give A Way

THE GIVEAWAY

• This giveaway is open to everyone worldwide age 18+
• Three winners will be chosen
• Each winner will receive a $50 gift card to be redeemed at Winnie’s Picks
• Starts on August 3, 2019 at 9:00 PM Central
• Ends on August 17, 2019 at 9:00 PM Central
• You may enter once per day
• Winners will be randomly selected using Giveaway Tools
• Winners will be notified via email
• Winners will have 24 hours to respond or new winners will be chosen
• This giveaway is void where prohibited
• No purchase necessary

Disclosure: This giveaway is not endorsed by Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter.

WIN WIN

Before you leave, make sure you click on the Give A Way form below! 🎉🎉 Starting Saturday August 3rd you are able to enter one time each day during the TWO WEEK GIVE A WAY! 🎉🎉. Also, DON’T FORGET to visit the other BLOGGING GRANDMOTHERS for their reviews on http://www.winniespicks.com . In addition Winnie’s Picks is giving our readers $5 off! When you purchase your kit provide our unique discount code shown on Blogging Grandmothers image. For example, mine is (AGramBlog). There are 10 of us!

Recognize the beauty of the ordinary through Painting by Numbers 🤗 Good luck to all🍀

Game Day Timeless Touchdown Treats

For all you grid iron followers, playoffs are in their final brackets. Certainly one of the biggest party days in our household, the NFL’s contest between the AFC and NFC conferences is right up there with Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, and Thanksgiving! No matter which pair up of teams you are routing, NE Patriots vs New Orleans Saints or Kansas City Chiefs vs Los Angeles Rams, you are gearing up for the biggest game of the year. The NFL’s “Super Bowl” sums up the best of the best teams.

This year’s Super Bowl marks its 53rd kickoff! Los Angeles, CA hosted Super Bowl I where the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs faced off. Remarkably for its 1967 premiere, more fans, in fact 61,000 of them, viewed the game on television from home. Even more amazingly is that back in the day, when there were only THREE NETWORKS, the game aired on TWO of them!

Where will you be watching the game?

As one of the original Super Bowl teams, Kansas City Chiefs has a chance to battle Los Angeles Rams, the inaugural Super Bowl’s host city’s team. In contrast, 1967 our present day version of the Super Bowl will air on only ONE NETWORK. While CBS is this year’s chosen network, the game’s popularity has prompted multiple media to stream the contest live. Subsequently, whether you are at home, work, or anywhere else on Super Bowl LIII, you will be able to enjoy the game along with an estimated 112 million other viewers! On the other hand, Sunday February 3, 2019 Atlanta, Georgia’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium will host the game to at least an expected 70,000 fans.

So no matter where you end up entertaining, kickoff your game day with a game plan that your guests will score highly! Will you want a buffet style spread? Are finger foods your preference? Even “tailgating ideas” have become very inventive, ranging from the typical to elaborate endeavors.

Easy host game plan

But, for me, I like simple and easy! That is to say, I want something I can prepare largely ahead of time and set out for all to enjoy. As a result, I am able to watch and join my guests with the game rather than trying to catch the replay of a great play!

So, we all want our top line up for our game table. You will be able to find a wide field of ideas to feed your guests with the best of the best snacks out there.  While the most popular item for recent Super Bowl, chicken wings weren’t a game player for the first Super Bowl. But, why not look back at the beginning of the biggest game’s history itself for ideas?

Easily reach your first down with these 10 vintage food ideas!

  • Cold cut Loaf
  • Italian Meatball Grinders
  • Hot dogs/Pigs in Blankets
  • Grilled kabobs
  • Grape jelly meatballs
  • Fruit Salad/Ambrosia
  • Mac and cheese
  • Baked Beans
  • Stuffed Eggs
  • Simple salad

Super Bowl Vintage Recipes

Game Table Winning Entrée Lineup

Game Scoring Cold Cut Stromboli/ serves 9 to 18

Certainly one of my favorites, this recipe is open for adaptation. That is to say, get creative with it!  Your key players for this recipe can be found in your freezer section.  Frozen ready to make bread loaves layout the field for your favorite fillings.  For example, throw in your favorite deli meats or cheeses, or make a play with pizza influenced fillings, and it’s your decision to serve it hot or cold. As a result, you end up scoring touchdown for game day or an easy everyday dinner!

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg of 3 Rhodes Frozen bread loafs
  • 6×3 slices of Assortment of deli meats per loaf
  • 6×3 slices Choices of sliced cheese per loaf
  • Sliced onion
  • Sliced Roasted Red Peppers
  • Mustard or desired condiment

Spray counter lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Roll dough into a 12×15 inch rectangle. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest.

Remove wrap from dough and spread with mustard, avoiding 1-inch around all edges. Layer middle third of dough, vertically, with meat and cheese. Top with vegetable mixture. Fold one third of dough over fillings. Repeat with remaining side.

Place seam side down on a large sprayed baking sheet. Tuck ends under and cut some vents in the top using a sharp knife. Brush with egg and (optional) sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cover with sprayed plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes.

Remove wrap and bake at 350°F 25-30 minutes. NOTE: Servings will vary depending on stuffing choices and size of slices cut for serving.

Game Kicking Footlong Italian Meatball Grinders

Similarly, you maybe more familiar with its name as “sub” or “hoagie” because of your region. Here in New England, they are known as “grinders”! Unlike our previous form of game day sandwich, our grinders offer even more ease as hosts. For instance, picture a crockpot, frozen prepared meatballs, jarred tomato sauce, and bakery rolls. However, if you don’t mind putting in some time before the game, you can start off this way… <\p>


Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 3 lbs Hamburg
  • 1 1/2 lb Salt Pork
  • 3 cups Bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbs Grated Parmesan
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 tsp Pepper
  • Parsely
  • Oregano

Form into about 50 meatballs by rolling out a scoop of meat mixture in your handS. Fry out (render) salt pork. Remove salt pork scraps. Place meatballs into pan, cooking until browned on all sides. When well cooked, add tomato sauce (recipe below), and simmer 2 1/2 hours.

  • Tomato Sauce
  • 3 sm cans Crushed Tomatoes
  • 3 cans Tomato Paste
  • 3 cups Water
  • 3 cups Tomato Sauce
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Basil, Parsley, and Italian Seasonings
  • 1 Whole diced onion

Cook until thick. Combine with meatballs to simmer. Subsequently, this is where you can convert over to a crockpot setting up your table.

Now if you want a kicking appetizer rather than running with meatball sandwiches, there’s a simple play in our playbook for that too! Instead of using a marinara style sauce, a retro recipe from the Sixties is always a good offence for great taste. This “Blast” play is so easy with big results!

Spicy Grape Jelly Meatballs

A game day advantage for any host! Using your top player in your kitchen, the crockpot, these spicy grape jelly meatballs only need 3 ingredients.

  • Meatballs (recipe above)
  • sm jar Grape Jelly
  • 2 bottles Chili Sauce

If you need to switch it up a little, this is another versatile recipe. I use sliced Kielbasa, “Lil Smokey ” cocktail wieners, or even sliced hot dogs in place of the meatballs.

Pigs in Blankets

Icons to game day tables, pigs in blankets play big in the finger food category. Their ability to adjust to your guest list needs is a great ace in the hole. You can make regular sized hot dogs or substitute cocktail wieners for winning yields.

Tailgate Gameday Grilled Kabobs

If you are one of the thousands fortunate enough to go to the game, tailgating and grilling are certainly part of the experience. However, that does not mean for us at home we cannot serve up the same feel foods. Grilling and barbecuing became popular with 1960’s suburban families. Introduced during this time was the Shish Kebob. While fans of the first Super Bowls weren’t up to today’s tailgating standards, who’s to say grills weren’t geared up in backyards.

  • Chunks of chicken, beef, or shrimp
  • whole mushrooms
  • cut bell pepper
  • pearl onions

Soak wooden skewers in water at least 1 hour before using. Alternate meat chunks and veggie ingredients on skewers. Grill or for indoor option the oven will work.

Game Sideline Stars

Five Yard line Fruit Salad

Any referee won’t drop a flag with this dish. A side line sure to keep the play in motion is this fruit salad. Just huddle these ingredients together and its as easy as that!

  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 1 can Mandarine oranges (drained)
  • 1 can Pineapple (drained)
  • 1 cup Tiny Marshmallows
  • 1 cup Coconut
  • few Maraschino Cherries

Another sideline favorite, Macaroni and Cheese completes the pass! Again, there is a shortcut available in your grocery aisle and that’s fine. However, I am going to give you a recipe for a homemade style.

  • 1 lb box Elbow Macaroni
  • 2 Tbs Flour
  • 1 cup Cold Milk
  • 2 Tbs Butter
  • 2 Tbs Spicy Brown Mustard
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper

Start by cooking your macaroni and drain. Next, make your Rue. Melt butter in sauce pan and stir in the flour. Whisk until Rue becomes smooth and then add cold milk. Constantly stirring until boil and thickens. Add mustard, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to season. Stir in the cheese a little at a time until melted. Combine Cheese Sauce with cooked macaroni into a baking dish. Additionally, at this time you can add an assortment of crumble toppings you choose. Like bacon, crushed cheese crackers, crushed nacho cheese chips, or just buttered bread crumbs to bring a game changing bite!

Boston Baked Beans Blitz

A New England Game day star, even if the Patriots aren’t playing, Boston Baked Beans are sure to bring a smile to your guests’ face. However, my mother’s recipe most likely would not make you smile. It is very time consuming! But if you’re willing to go for it, you would score big for points.

  • 1 bag dry Navy Beans
  • 1/2 cup Molasses
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 12 oz. Salt Pork
  • 5 cups Water
  • 1 Lg. Onion
  • 1 1/3 Tbs Dry Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper

After reading the traditional recipe process, you will understand why I call this Boston Baked Beans Blitz. Unlike, my mother’s time, I have the convenience of many acceptable canned beans at hand. By pairing my canned beans and some added coaching from her vintage ingredients, I am able to simplify it.

Of course the original recipe would bake in the oven for hours. To clarify, its six hours of cooking time. But preparation time is another thing that comes into play.

You see, you start out by having to pick over the bag of dry beans. There could be small stones or other foreign objects in the bag. Then you wash them in a colander. Because these are dry beans, you need to soak them overnight.

On the morning of game day, you place all but the beans and Salt Pork into a 6 qt. Dutch oven. Bring to boil dissolving the sugar. Sear your scored Salt Pork and place into your baking dish (An Aluminum Foil Pan, crockpot, Dutch oven, or beanpot). Add your beans and then pour your liquid over covering them at least 1/2 inch. If you need more liquid, add water. Bake 6 hours at 350 degrees.

Stuffed Eggs

No party, game day or any other get together isn’t complete without a version of deviled eggs. These are clubhouse seats worthy stuffed eggs!

  • 12 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 cup crabmeat
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 Tbs chopped green pepper
  • 1 Tbs French Dressing
  • 1/3 cup Sour Cream

Cut eggs in half. Mash yokes and mix in remaining ingredients. Spoon mixture into eggs. Chill.

Along side the eggs, a nice and simple salad of greens adds another element for your guests to choose.

To conclude our vintage style Super Bowl Game Day Table, there are several dessert items to finish your game plan. For example, hand held Whoopie pies, Magical Layer Bars, and Individual Pineapple Upside Down Cakes. I hope you enjoy the game and the food!

Is your team one of the best of the best this year? Do you have favored team, if your team didn’t make it this time? Even being from New England, the Patriots don’t need another win yet. So, I think I’m leaning toward Kansas City, myself, since our team Green Bay Packers didn’t make the cut. Good Luck!

Recognize the beauty of the ordinary because our momentous moments are in our extraordinary everyday <3 Share the Love <3

A Small Town’s Biggest Thing is Gossip

Small town Neighbors help each other
Neighbors helping neighbors

Not too long ago, I answered a question asked on Quora.  For those of you not familiar with Quora, it is a social network “where you gain and share knowledge hoping to promote people to learn from each other.”  The subject of the question, “how do you deal with small town gossip?”, fell within my wheelhouse. My point of view about small town living shares with you a little insight I personally learned.

The idea of small town life appeals to me.  Norman Rockwell is my favorite artist. He and his art represent the epitome of small town life. Even he realized that gossip happens in small towns. His print of “Gossip” shows the humorous side of it but realistic. There is a nostalgic touch to everything I do, including watching old movies and preferring small town than city life. However, there is a downside to living in a small community. Namely everyone knows you, even if they may not know your name.

How gossip travels around town painting
Gossip by Norman Rockwell portrays the humorous epitome of small town life

Living in a town haunted by whispers of the past as well as its present for over eight years educated me on the subject of gossip. Today, Peyton Place is not as notorious a novel nowadays but back in the day, it certainly left its mark. Like myself, years earlier Grace Metalious resided in town with her husband.  Grace Metalious published one of mid-century America’s most controversial NY Times Best Sellers in 1956. As most authors, she wrote from her surroundings, background, and imagination.  The problem being her imagination was too close to reality.

She once stated “Even Tom Sawyer had a girlfriend, and to talk about adults without talking about their sex drives is like talking about a window without glass.”

The town of Peyton Place was a fictional collaboration of several New Hampshire towns: Gilmanton, the town where she lived with her husband (school principal). The town resented the insinuated notoriety causing gossip for years of its own. Laconia, and the neighboring towns of Alton and Belmont completed her backdrop. The village of Gilmanton Ironworks is where in December 1946, a daughter had murdered her sexually abusive father (upon who the book is partly based). The murder was investigated by the Sheriff of Belknap County, Homer Crockett, and members of the New Hampshire State Police.

Cover jacket for novel Peyton Place

Gossip, a rumor or report of an intimate nature, as defined by Merriam-Webster.    Mainly the side effects of gossip can cause catastrophic and lasting scars.  My children arrived in town as “flatlanders”, a term usually a label for Boston area commuters who invade the quiet hills and woods of New Hampshire towns.  So, they didn’t quite fit into the clique of native townie children because they entered the K thru 8 grade school as

“Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.

newcomers. They often received the butt end of criticism. Unfortunately, it traveled with them the entire time we lived there, except for my oldest.  He actually assimilated into a well liked transplant to the town.  Most often though you need to apply the old adage of “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me…”.  If you don’t take things in stride, nothing but suffering becomes of it.

Haunted by Whispers of its past and present

Small towns aren’t all gossip but I’m not going to lie, you may stumble across some whispers around town.  Sometimes, a sense of humor is the best way to deal with so-called scandals sifting around town. In one case, the news of my pending separation from my husband offered a touch of irony during a rough patch of my marriage.  The news of it happening actually got back to me before it officially happened.  LOL! There are other things found in small towns that make living there worth the occasional whisper. News travels fast in small towns but keep in mind that it is not necessarily accurate!

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<3 Make the most of your ordinary everyday because you will find all your momentous ordinary moments in them <3

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
reAD MORE

HOW TO NAVIGATE THE NEW WORLD OF PET ADOPTION

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…

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<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
Eggs
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