We hope you all had a great summer enjoying time with your loved ones. The ladies at Gigi Connection enjoyed our break relaxing and spending time with each of our grandkids. They are all growing up way too fast and we know the time we have with them all is limited. We've also missed sharing our grandparenting journey with all of you over the past few months; however, we're confident you'd agree that making all those precious memories are priceless!
Going forward, we have decided to structure our blog a little different as we know how very busy life can get - for you and for us. We are writing one blog per month and each of us will highlight something that stands out to us that month. Some months we may feature recipes, crafts, gifts, books or something that's on our hearts. Other months, our blog may contain all of the above.
We hope you enjoy the new format of our blog and we truly are very grateful that you read our blog posts and hope you will continue to read along with us in this journey called grandparenting.
My summer began and ended with family. For my 60th birthday, my husband flew all our kids, spouses and all the grandkids to Santa Maria, Florida. I am a Florida born gal and had never been up to the beaches in northern Florida. My, oh my, what a beautiful place to visit. We spent a week there soaking up the sun, playing in crystal clear water, splashing around in the pool every day and I can say it was hands-down the best vacation of my entire life!
Maybe it was because every morning, I had at least one or two of my grandchildren to wake me up (I'm an early riser but I stay in bed purposely when I am with them because they like to wake up their Gigi), maybe it was because I was surrounded by those I love or listening to my grandkids playing together or it could be having some great adult conversations with our children and spouses. Whatever the reason, it was absolutely perfect!
In between going to Florida at the end of June, we also were able to celebrate Carson's 4th birthday, Sophie's 2nd birthday & Thalia Pauline's 1st birthday all together! What an absolute blessing it was to be with all of my family and again I loved watching the memories being made amongst all the cousins. So precious!
Christmas Gift Idea For 3+ years of age
With Christmas officially being less than 100 days away now and with five grandchildren of my own, I have begun my Christmas shopping.
This is such a great gift that encourages imagination building and screen- free digital listening. It's called Tonies. This snuggable and durable box comes in different colors and when you put a different Tonie (character) on it, it will play stories, songs and more. When you want to listen to a different story, you just change the Tonie.
The Toniebox puts storytime in the hands of your little listener. Squeeze an ear to raise or lower the volume. Tap the sides to change chapters or tilt to fast forward or rewind. Even swapping stories is simple. Just place a different Tonie on the box to begin a new adventure. Don't worry parents, you can download the app and control the max volume on it and other settings.
Once the battery is charged, it has seven hours of battery life. Great for road trips, airplanes or if you have a long commute to your babysitter or Gigi's house, it's perfect for that. There is a headphone jack (headphones sold separately) to make it a great quiet time companion. After the Toniebox finishes a bedtime story, it automatically turns off and goes to sleep. This is perfect if you have multiple children to get to sleep.
Although the age says for 3+, I am actually gifting it to my 1 year old granddaughter for Christmas. I know she'll enjoy the stories and music when commuting to my home in the morning. They also sell adorable carrying cases to keep your box and your Tonies in so they don't get lost.
They have lots of different characters (Tonies) to choose from and if you're like me and don't want to see kids on screens but rather using their imaginations, this is the perfect gift for them.
I bought mine during a Labor Day sale; however, I would imagine they will be having more sales as Christmas gets closer. To view all their products, click here.
How to Take and Edit Live Photos on your iPhone
For parents and grandparents, this is a must to know how to do especially this time of year when our little goblins are getting ready to trick or treat or you're at their soccer games. Kids are constantly on the move. Take their photos and then go back to edit it & chances are you will get a photo with their eyes open or them sitting, etc.
With Live Photos, your iPhone records what happens 1.5 seconds before and after you take a picture. Then you can pick a different key photo, add a fun effect, edit your Live Photo, and share with your family and friends.
How to take a Live Photo (taken from apple support)
Open the Camera app.
Make sure that your camera is set to photo mode and that Live Photos is turned on. When it's on, you see the Live Photos button at the top of your camera.
Hold your device still.
Tap the shutter button.
Live Photos is on by default. You can turn Live Photos off temporarily or permanently.
How to find and play your Live Photos
Open the Photos app.
Tap the Albums tab.
Scroll down to Media Types and tap Live Photos.
4. Tap one of the photos to open it.
5. Press and hold the screen to play the Live Photo.
How to change the key photo
Open the Live Photo and tap Edit.
Tap the Live Photos button .
Move the slider to change the frame.
Release your finger, then tap Make Key Photo.
5. Tap Done.
You can also toggle the Live Photo effect between off and on. When you're editing a Live Photo, tap the LIVE button at the top of the screen to turn Live Photo off or back on.
Give this a try! I know you'll be glad you did!
The summer months for our family were filled with lots of fun memories. We spent a week in Carlsbad, CA. enjoying time at LegoLand and the beach! We also spent as much time as possible at our summer home in North Eastern Az, enjoying the cool pines, the lakes, fishing, bon fires, making s’mores, swinging on tire swings, riding quads and so much more! All the grandkids impressed Mimi and Papa with the swimming skills they learned during their summer swim lessons, and it was so rewarding watching them have fun jumping off the boat and swimming in the lake!! Oh it's true, that the tan lines may fade, but the memories last a lifetime!
We’re now ready for the Fall season and we’re greatly anticipating the arrival of our 6th grandchild in late October! Our daughter and her husband will be welcoming into their sweet family their third child, a boy. Be still my heart! We’re also looking forward to cooler temps and enjoying all the yummy fall treats, so with that, I’ve decided to share a delicious gluten-free recipe below:
Gluten-Free Apple Cobbler
(recipe from Experience Life Magazine)
Makes 12 servings
Prep time 10 mins
Cook time 15 mins
6-8 medium apples (Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady or a mix),
cored and diced (about 6 cups)
1/4 cup Pure maple syrup
2 tsp. Ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground nutmeg
1/4 cup Water
3 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 Tbsp Lemon juice
1 cup Rolled oats
1 Cup Almond flour
2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Sea salt
6 tbs Cold Salted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
1/4 cup Milk of choice
2 Tbsp Raw cane sugar, plus more for topping
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 9x13 baking dish with butter.
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the apples, maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to a low boil and cook for about 5 mins., until the apples are slightly softened.
In a small bowl, whisk the water, cornstarch, and lemon juice until smooth. Pour into the boiling apples and stir, then cook until the moisture has thickened, about 2-3 additional minutes. Transfer the apple mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Prepare the biscuits. Add the oats to a food processor and blend into a powder. Transfer to a large bowl and add the almond flour, baking powder and salt. Add the butter to the bowl, and use your fingers to quickly rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is in pea-size pieces.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and sugar. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
Use your hands to divide the dough into roughly 1/3 cup portions, then distribute them evenly over the apples. Sprinkle the biscuits with additional raw cane sugar. Bake for
25-30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the biscuits are golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
It’s the little things right? Like every Mimi, I love giving little surprises to the grandkids for just about every big and small holiday and Halloween is of course one of those! I found these ADORABLE pumpkin candy dispensers at….wait for it…..the Dollar Store!! I filled them with Halloween M&M’s which happen to be the grandkids favorite candy! I know they'll each love taking ownership of their personal candy dispenser. These little dispensers would also make great inexpensive party favors if you're grandchildren are hosting a Halloween or Fall party for the friends.
I wish each of you a fun-filled October with your precious grandchildren as you continue to bond and make memories that are sure to last a lifetime.
Fall is the season for golden moments with grandchildren, where every leaf becomes a treasure and every day is a memory in the making! Enjoy your October, friends!
Welcome back friends of Gigi Connection. We have all had a great summer and are looking forward to reconnecting with all of you. The summer went fast for me. Many trips were made to California to see my kids and grandkids. It is a great way to also get out of the heat. We had a great trip to Las Vegas to celebrate my husband, Mark, turning 70, a wonderful 4th of July family reunion in Illinois and 2 weddings in Indiana. Love spending time with family whenever possible.
I love the Fall season and everything that it brings. The anticipation of cooler temperatures, the crisp morning air and everything pumpkin and apples. I can't wait to try Mimi Jackie's gluten free Apple Cobbler.
Speaking of pumpkin, I have 3 new items to add to my fall beauty regiment.
Trader Joe's Overnight Pumpkin Mask (bought at Trader Joe's)
Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil
A sure way to get your dry skin after a long hot summer back to fresh and glowing again.
My favorite holiday, other than Christmas is Halloween. I love decorating and watching the kids pick out their special "costume of the year" and the Trick or Treating event in their neighborhood that they love so much. It is just a fun celebration for all. Watching the kids going house to house puts a smile on my face and fills my heart. I also like to make Halloween inspired treats that the grandkids can take part in. We made these Ghost doughnuts last year and they loved them. It is an easy activity for most ages to participate in except for the dropping into the hot grease. That's where you come in. They can do the rest and they love seeing how they turn out. They taste good too!!
1 roll of canned biscuits
Separate biscuits. Let each child poke 3 holes and stretch the biscuit to create the ghoulish face. Drop into hot grease turning once when browned.
Drain and top with powdered sugar. ENJOY!!
I hope you all have a fun October and look forward to sharing more fun ideas for November.
I’m definitely not the most organized grandma out there and my spice cabinet was a complete disaster. I’m trying to eat out less and cook more, but I always had to dig through multiple bottles to find what I needed. After being in my house for 17 years, I finally decided to do something about it. I love the spice drawer organizers but I didn’t have a kitchen drawer big enough for all of my spices. I finally discovered the perfect solution at The Container Store. It’s the YouCopia Spice Stack Organizer. This unit holds 24 bottles of spices and is adjustable to accommodate different sizes. It is a metal box with three sliding adjustable shelves with each shelf holding up to 8 bottles. No installation is needed. The shelves pull out and drop down. It comes with preprinted labels and extras so you can make your own.
I liked this organizer so much, that I purchased a second one from Amazon. After checking out the YouCopia company website, I was delighted to find out that they are a woman-owned small business that gives back to the community. In fact, they give $3 back to the cause of your choice on every item you purchase through their website. Check it out here. They have all kinds of home organizers.
I wish I had taken a “before” picture but this organizer has made cooking and baking so much easier for me. I highly recommend it if you have limited space and numerous spices, like I do!