Grape News-June 20, 2016: Summer Fun and Baking!

Summer is a grape time for family fun!  

Grape News LogoOn the menu this month: I have a grape recipe on tap for you via a YouTube video I found, Tips for summer fun from our brand new Family Fun on a Budget, and some links with further information and fun.



Recipe of the Month


An easy recipe for one of most family’s favorites, the fruit roll up.  This video is for applesauce, but you could substitute other pureed fruit.

If  you don’t have a silpat mat, you can use the Grape Grill Buddy which is also a wonderful baking mat.


Tip of the Month


Family Fun on a Budget CoverFamily Fun on a Budget:

Over 50 free and nearly free activities for your family to do together this summer (and winter too!) There’s something here for every family!

Click the picture of the book to download it directly or click the link above to read more about the collection of fun family activities.


Grape Links for June


Grape Grill Buddy 

Grape Stuff Fan Page

Communication Skills for your family

Inspiration for those struggling with chronic illness


Have a Grape Month!


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What Tolerance and Free Speech Means to Your Family Part 1

So many families are struggling these days with voicing their political opinions and ideas because times and changing and pleasant discourse where we agree to disagree is no longer in fashion.  Instead, many employ name calling and even changing the meaning of words to further their agenda rather than take the time to calmly share the reasons behind why they believe what they do.  Here is a bit of the article I wrote about this.  Its’ a three part series.  Click the link to read the rest of the article.


If you’re too tired to whine and don’t want to take the time, redefine!

Too often someone doesn’t have the facts on their side so they are reduced to whining in order to support their argument.  “It’s unfair!”  Unable to tell us why it’s unfair and unwilling to take the time to explain themselves, the political answer is often to redefine the words and terms in order to suit their slant on the topic.

This is a three part series on a topic that I’ve actually discussed in years past, but with the political climate climbing toward the November elections this year, the ideological machines are in full swing redefining words, terms and phrases in order to substantiate their political agenda.

Read the rest of this article here!

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Anyone in your family have brain fog?

If so, you’ll want to read this funny story over on my personal blog where I shared about some of the frustrations you have with chronic illness…


MadFrustration is one of the key components of chronic illness.  We are frustrated because we are tired and in pain. We are frustrated with doctors who don’t help. We are frustrated that our friends and family don’t understand.  And we are frustrated with the red tape of our health insurance.

So it’s bad enough to have to feel varying degrees of pain all over your body that NEVER goes away, but to have that pain and fatigue get tangled up in the red tape of health insurance is maddening and has used up the remaining few brain cells that hadn’t already run away from home.

It’s taken me months (and three changes to my primary care physician) to be assigned someone who I believe might help. GPs are useless. I’ve seen many of them in the 35+ yrs I’ve had these symptoms and NOT ONE of them has come close to making a dent in the symptom list. In fact, it grows daily. Last week, I woke up to pain in my biceps. Have I been lifting tall building in a single dream? A few weeks before that it was my elbows. You know, the part in between the pointy sticky out bone part and the inside less pointy and sticky out part. Just to gently touch it sends my pain level to defcon 1.

What was my point? Until I remember what it was, let me also point out how bad the brain fog is getting lately. I spent literally 3-5 minutes trying to remember my last name once. In my defense, I’ve only been married 29 yrs! The other day I was telling my son (you know, old what’s his name) about my niece. Her name escaped me at the time and it left no forwarding address. I said Heather, but I knew that was wrong. To my credit, her name does begin with the letter H. Or is it Q?  Read the rest of the article here

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Free: Family Fun On a Budget!

Family Fun on a Budget CoverWe had a newsletter a while back, but it was in its infancy and I was called to other activities so I have suspended our newsletter indefinitely.  However, we had a few really grape newsletters that, when put together, provided a large list of free and nearly free activities you can do with your family.

Summer is a grape time to be with family and a good time to begin finding activities you and your family love to do together.  The weather is good enough to do inside and outside activities.

However, this special gift for your family also gives you ideas for winter as well as everything in between.

It’s free!  So download your copy here today!

If you liked this post, please share it on social media!  The buttons are below.  And we’d love your feedback so please share your thoughts in a comment!

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Email Critique: Six Things You Should Know

We’ve had a tough couple of years while here in Indiana and my time here has suffered in the transition.  This included the year we inadvertently subscribed to the Catastrophe of the Month Club and this past year and a half where my husband was a casualty of the “Over Qualified” job hunting variety. Due to the fact that I only have two hands and fading brain foggery has set in, I took a month or two (I can’t remember…or count) hiatus from my blogs.

I’m reinstating them post haste, but at a slower interval.  Having to keep up with three blogs, three Facebook fan pages, a teenager who is in his final years of homeschooling, and my ever increasing owies, has given me pause to consider a more realistic approach.  Instead of writing three blogs every week, I’m going to write each blog once a month (on the 10th, 20th, and 30th of each month) and share a link back to that month’s article on each of the other blogs.  Each one of my blogs are related (communication, family issues, and chronic issues) so my readers will get better content that offers more for the families I serve.

This month, Art of Eloquence shared an in-depth article on the value of effective communication that hits home for all of my readers.  While some of you may not give speeches, suffer from shyness, need conflict resolution or debate on a regular basis, you DO communicate with people via email and text.  This article will help you do that with much better precision of language that yields a more positive result.

This month, I’m taking my purple feather quill and doing a critique of an email I just received.  Now, this is not a typical SPAM email from BuyMyStuff @ gmail .com that tells me they know why I’m fat.  This is a serious email from a real person (whose name has been changed for this critique) that made some mistakes I felt you all could learn from.

Continue reading here!

Check back on the 20th for a new article for Grape Stuff article and on the 30th for a new article on my JoJoisms blog!

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The Mom Song


This week’s a video funny I brought from my YouTube favorites.

As Spring has sprung and families are beginning to thaw out, our attention turns to the time of year when we can enjoy outdoor things more.  That usually brings some relief for children who have been cooped up in the house too long…and mom too who has uttered certain phrases ad nausium by this time.

Here is one of my very favorite YouTube videos of all time.  It’s The Mom Song which the comic says has all of the things a mom says in a day condensed into a few minutes sung to the William Tell Overture.  It has lyrics too so you can follow along.    Enjoy.

Feel free to list any she left out that you say on a daily basis.  😀

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What’s your idea of the perfect vacation?

ski mountainSome families love to go camping. Others love the beach.  Yet others love to spend time skiing or on a mountain retreat.

There are many ways to have fun as a family.  Some love to go all out.  That means going to a fancy restaurant and staying at a nice hotel while seeing the sights of a foreign country.  Others love the simple life and would be content in front of a roaring fire while watching movies and sipping hot cocoa.

Spending quality time with the ones you love is vital, especially in this fast-paced world of the Information Age.  When I was a kid (MANY decades ago), family time was much more commonplace.  Mom didn’t work so we kids had a much closer relationship with her.  Dad was home on the weekends and, even if we couldn’t afford to go on vacation, we spent time together.  I remember family dinners when my dad would ask us questions about the world and how it works. He would regale us with information for up to two hours.  I remember watching the original Star Trek series and having him critique the faulty science. lol  I remember long drives to Grandma’s house and weekends pulling weeds.  FYI: I hated the weeding chores, but at least we spent time as a family.

Today’s world is fleeting and even young families don’t spend as much time together as they used to.  Dad works, often far from home and longer hours.  Mom often works too.  Children are carted around from activity to activity as parents feel it’s their duty to enrich them and expose their children to new experiences.  It’s no wonder families don’t really know each other any more.

One of those original Star Trek shows centered around an alien world that was all about recreation.  Its premise was that the more advanced the society, the more the need for play.  I contend that the more advanced our society is the more families need to make time to spend together.

What’s your family’s idea of the perfect vacation? Would you go away for a weekend, a week, a month?  Would you stay home, go out of town, out of the country?  Would you need a goodly amount of money to fund it?  Could you afford your dream vacation right now?  Are you planning it now?  What would it look like?


GGB Main PixIf you like this post, please share using the buttons below.  And if your family is looking to spend time in the great outdoors this spring/summer, check out the Grape Grill Buddy BBQ Grill Mats for less clean up and more FUN!

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Men and Directions

One of my favorite GEICO commercials right now: Tarzan and Jane fight over directions.

Husbands and wives often argue over things like this.  It’s said that usually the man won’t ask for directions.  In my marriage, my dh never asks, but it’s usually because he can get pretty much anywhere without having to.  I, on the other hand, can’t back out of my own driveway without getting lost.  What about you?  How is it in your family?

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Dusting is Futile

2Last month I asked if you required your children to do chores.  Seems a recent survey said that only 28% of people actually require their children to do chores.  I wondered, if those families don’t require their children to help out, do they do the chores themselves or hire someone to do it?

Dusting is a chore I’d love to be able to pay someone to do FOR me, how about you?  Not only is it no fun, but while your laundry basket may appear endless; dusting seems futile.  No sooner do you finish than it seems you need to start again.  If you dust under a ray of sunshine, you can actually see the dust smiling at you as it settles back down on the table you just finished.

I’m all for things that make life easier!  I love those Swiffer Dusters because they are easy to use and the dust does seem to stick to it allowing you to get rid of more of the dust so less of it settles back down on your table.  What about you?


The Grape Grill Buddy Makes 

GGB Main Pix

Grilling Easier!  Check it out!


Has your family worked this chore out?  Do your kids dust?  Do you do it?  Are you fortunate enough to be able to hire someone to do it for you? Do you take turns?  Do you use anything that helps?

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Do you require your children to do chores?

shyness5I read an article that I posted on our fan page the other day. It shared a statistic about families I had a hard time believing.

A 2014 national survey, conducted by Braun Research, found that 82 percent of parents said they were asked to do chores as children. But when they were asked if they required their children to do chores, only 28 percent of them said yes…A generational shift in how families raise their kids, in other words, appears to be turning even the most mundane of responsibilities, like doing the dishes, into unthinkable nuisances.”

Twenty Eight Percent?!  I found that hard to believe.  That would mean that the vast majority of families, not too far from almost all families, do not require their children to do chores!

My dh and I grew up doing chores around the house and we have required our children to do them too.  We feel that each person living in our home should take some of the responsibility.  We require our children, even when they were young, to contribute age-appropriate chores and tasks to the family each week.  But we have found that, in doing so, our children have happily volunteered to help with even more than they were required to do.

We feel that requiring our children to do chores and contribute to the family helps ready them for life. It gives them life skills they’ll need as adults and an appreciation for others as well as a work ethic and a generous nature.

Did you grow up doing chores around the house?  Do you require your children to do chores around YOUR house?  How old are your children and what do you require them to do to help out around the house.  And if you don’t require your children to do chores, who does them?  Do you do them or do you hire someone to do them?  And how do you feel not requiring children to do chores impacts the family?

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