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Entries in grandma (3)


A tour of my old haunts in Ridgefield

Have you ever taken your kids back to visit your old haunts?

I grew up in a small town in New England that was most recently in the news for being 100% without power for days after Hurricane Irene blew through. As a teenager I remember complaining that there wasn't much to do there. There was no movie theater, no skate park, no bike paths, and the closest shopping mall was 30 minutes away. Yet I have only wonderful memories!

The House Where I Grew Up

The homes where I grew up vary from historical colonial homes, to ultra modern works of art. Ours fell somewhere closer to the contemporary side.

My 'neighborhood' did not have sidewalks. My closest friend lived almost a 1/4 mile away. But we had woods, and streams, and...a lake.

Mamanasco Lake

Unlike my kids, I did not have the luxury of learning to swim in a nice, clean, chlorinated pool. "Luxury?" you ask. Why yes. Because the lake thing is only glamorous when it's spring-fed and crystal clear - which our lake, was not. This was where I learned to swim.

It was also the place where every Wednesday in the summer all the families would bring something to grill, and other picnic necessities for a communal dinner. It probably wasn't meant to be communcal but as a kid I remember running from table to table getting handfuls of Doritos, Cheetos, and more from all of my friends' families.

This is the photo I posted on Facebook and said, "One guess where I am right now."

Because this was the view you had JUST before jumping and free-falling for 2 seconds then landing in what hopefully was not a belly-flop! You can still barely see an outline of the white paint that once said NO JUMPING.

Turtle Pond

One thing you do have growing up in New England is real, outdoor ice skating. The kind where you have to ask your mom 1000 times if the pond is frozen enough to go skating. The kind where it's bumpy, weedy, bubbly, and makes a CRACK then BOOM! sound every now and then just to give you a little extra jump in your step. Turtle Pond, named after the snapping turtles that lived there, is where I learned to skate.

Now overgrown with lilly pads and weeds and algae (I'm guessing), this pond once had real snapping turtles (it may still have them) that would come after you, albeit .135 miles an hour.

Natural Oddities - The Balanced Rock

We may not have had sidewalks, (heck - if you continued on our road about a mile past our house the road wasn't even paved!) but we had 10-speeds and we knew how to use them. Driving the narrow, windy roads of my town recently I was shocked that my parents took us on these REALLY LONG bike rides. I'm guessing the roads had less traffic and at least some kind of shoulder back then.

One of my favorite places to ride was to see The Balanced Rock.


A great formation left by the powerful glaciers as they receeded, this natural oddity sits, unassuming, just off the side of the road as you head past the many horse farms into North Salem, NY.

At first I thought it was my imagination that the girls were actually enjoying this little tour, and then detour around town. I was enjoying it so much, I couldn't imagine they were too! Then I realized, my face must have shown what was going through my head. All my childhood and teenage memories swirling about. These little bits and pieces I had completely forgotten until I was right there: at my house, at the lake, at the rock.

It's no wonder the last time I treated myself to this tour was right after my dad passed away. I was in charge of driving my mom's car back from the hospital and before I knew it I found myself going 'the back way' on auto-pilot, and straight to my old house.


Grandma turns gifts into a lesson on money, shopping, and saving with a mini yard sale

I cannot take credit for this idea.

Only a pair of grandmas (listen up Sugar and Rachel) could come up with something as exciting, fun, and best of all inexpensive as this!

Gift From Grandma

Each year we head to the Jersey Shore early in the season. My mom and my aunt get there before us and usually they arrive the weekend of the city-wide yard sale. Each year we get there and they have purchased a collection of gifts (knick-knacks) for each child.

The kids are thrilled. They love gifts, they love surprises, and, as anyone who's ever brought home birthday party goody bags can attest, they love gobs of platic and paper crap.

Grandma's Yard Sale

This year the grandmas did something different.

They laid out each item along the porch steps of the beach house. Items were marked with a price that varied from 1 cent to 8 cents, and each child was given $.20 in pennies.



We explained to the kids they can only purchase 4 items so they need to budget wisely and take their time to look over all the items before making a decision.



The simple exercise of laying out the items, pricing them, and allowing the kids to shop made them really appreciate the 'gifts'. I liked it because the Twofer were learning something about the value of money. The grandmas loved watching the kids' reaction ("Oh this plastic rose is soooo beautiful Grammy!") and everyone had a good laugh at how exciting a pile of junk and some pennies can be.

Crap is still crap but some crap is worth keeping

By the end of the week everyone's purchases were still just crap to me, but the kids seemed to keep them organized. They had spent money on them afterall! So it all came home with us...until our next yard sale.


For more posts on the Jersey Shore and the Beach see:

Jersey Shore Cast on The View

Beach Cover-Ups

Fashionista Friday: the Family that Bumpits Together


The perfect pair of flip flops for summer...

Last week at Blogher I stopped into the 1-800-Flowers booth and saw these:



I just had to take a picture for my mom.

She loves flowers.

She loves flip flops.

I may have to find a way to make these for her.