The Perfect Gift Book for Grandma

What’s a Grandma to Do? 20 Fun Activities with Young Grandchildren is a book that offers ideas that have proven to bring pleasure across the generations.

Very often parents are overly busy, and children miss the opportunity to interact and enjoy leisure-time enjoyment with them.  But then grandmas may have more time and can fill that gap.

There are few joys in life that can equal walking into a house and into the open arms of happily squealing grandchildren. Anyone can play Lego’s with them; that’s fun, but not memorable. The challenge is to make our time with them unique and keep the kids eager for our next visit.

This book was written from my experiences with my grandchildren for the purpose of sharing activities with other grandmas looking for new ideas.

The illustrator, Jaime Helbig, is my granddaughter, who enjoyed some of the activities included in the book in her early childhood days.

The Birth of a Book


Many years ago, I’d made a solo trip to Tennessee by Greyhound bus to visit my son Jim’s family. It took 16 hours to get there, and 26 hours to return, having detoured to Chicago. I had spent three weeks in my very young grandchildren’s home, being part of the family day by day. Leaving was sad, knowing it would be another half year before we were together again, but there was one big difference this time. I had a plan. I would write a book.

Once before I’d spent much of the return trip writing a cookbook. I’m by no means a great cook, and this had nothing to do with the visit. It just popped into my head after the goodbyes. I would write a book containing Polish recipes, which of course my Polish friends would gladly share with me. And it would include Polish festivals, weddings, holiday events.

Throughout the traveling hours, the book was fleshed out, including a plan to later go to a bookstore to see which publishers were likely to accept my ingenious work. Oh, I was so organized! This was, without a doubt, a winner. But when I checked it out later, there on the bookstore’s shelf, was the identical book. Let’s scrap that idea.

This trip, though, I had 26 hours to revisit the idea of writing a book. My mind was still churning around some of the events with the grandchildren. Jim had often set me up with the youngsters, encouraging interaction and activity. It brought out my creative streak, and in afterthought gave new purpose for those boring travel hours.

Ten years later, I tripped across those notes. Having stood the test of time, it still beckoned me to continue. And that, my friend, is where I’ve been for the past year, living, breathing, planning, writing, rewriting. In addition, my granddaughter, Jaime, a skilled artist, drew all of my grand- and great-grandchildren into the mix, illustrating each activity.


Today I’m pleased to announce the publication of our book, WHAT’S A GRANDMA TO DO? 20 Fun Things to do With Young Grandchildren. To order, click on tab at top of page.

The Next Generation

Two years after they married, my life was changed when Walt and Kathy gave birth to their first child, Jaime Lorraine. I was a grandmother now. Was my friend right, that this was the natural step after motherhood? Not exactly.

There had never been a grandmother in my own growing-up years. Then, as my own children grew, there had been no grandmother nearby. One lived five hours away in New Jersey, while the other was seven hours away in upstate New York. There were no frequent visits, no interaction at frivolous moments, no involvement in responsibility for the children. With that background, I hadn’t a clue just what a grandmother’s role should be.

Still, I knitted for my little grandkids, sewed dresses and made soft sculpture dolls when they were tots. Occasionally, I took each one to some special place. Mostly, though, we gathered together for dinners at our house, where I tried to engage them in meaningful conversation. At their young ages? Not a chance.

It was the second set of grandchildren that clarified the role. Since they live 700 miles away, I’m always in their home on much longer visits, and the family dynamics are entirely different being with them all day.

Maybe the relationships developed more with teaching moments. Always the instructor, I held “Beauty Shop” sessions, where the girls would perhaps become more concerned with their appearance. I took them on woodland hikes to show appreciation for nature, we wrote stories together, celebrated silly things. And more. These were the precious days of being with my young grandchildren. And ultimately, spawned the idea of a book to share these ideas with other grandmas who might be looking for fun activities with their own grandchildren.