10 Summer Serve and Learn Activities

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10 Summer Serve and Learn

Summer is the BEST time of the year, but sometimes it can be a challenge IF:

You are a parent

You are a caregiver

You are the older sibling babysitting younger brothers or sisters

I’m kidding…well kind of….

See, it’s about that time of the summer when ‘what are we going to do’? is heard about every 5 or 10 minutes.

And the ‘screen-time’ arguments have begun, such as: how long they get/want/deserve/need.

Have you gotten to the point yet when you think you will scream, or run far away, when you hear the words “I’m bored” one more time….

Guess what?  I have THE perfect solution!

It’s more than just keeping busy, though that is a good thing.

THIS teaches important life skills in such a fun and engaging way, they won’t even realize that they are learning and doing things that are useful and helpful!

WHAT is the key and answer here?  

It is my 10 Summer Time Serve and Learn Activities!


TELL me more!

My 10 Summer Time Serve and Learn is more than just keeping the kids out of trouble, busy and time fillers.  

These are activities that will teach them:

  • They will Learn and Practice life skills that will last their whole life.
  • How to be kind and compassionate to others.
  • Many of the activities are educational in a very entertaining way, and enjoyed so much, they will not guess at all of the lessons they are learning.
  • They will learn to interact with others, a HUGE skill that is needed today.
  • All of these activities are free or very inexpensive.
  • Provide great lasting memories of a wonderful and unique summer.
  • Help them become better for what they will accomplish as they do any or all of these Serve and Learn Activities.


HOW do you go about implementing this extraordinary much-more-than-a-boredom-buster-list-of-activities? 

1- If your children are young, you could take one activity a week, say on a given night as a planned family time, and do one idea in each of the 10 activities.

2- If your kids are older and you are trying to keep them busy so you can get some things done.  Or another concern of busy and working parents, is to find worthwhile activities that keep the older kids from so much screen time and video games.  This is a fantastic way to accomplish that purpose also.  You could have the kid(s) do everything listed in the 10 Summer Time Serve and Learn.

3- Here is where you have to decide how important this is to you, as a family and for your children/kids/teens.  I personally like a reward system that is modest and small.  We all work for something.  A paycheck, a thank you, something, until we reach the point of real charity.  But the kids are usually still growing into that.  So, may I suggest that either a vote is taken, or you give the value you are willing to pay when the designated number of Serve and Learn Activities are done. 

For example:  If you must leave older kids at home during the day, it could be very useful to consider that each day or every few days, one of the activities would be done.  Again, for example, on Tuesday, they made the Cherrio Bird Feeder together, cleaned it all up and had a good time as a family without arguments; maybe  donuts would be the reward.  

You could tell them that when all 10 Serve and Learn Activities were done, again without contention, having fun and leaving it clean, the reward could be a night of family bowling, swimming at the local pool (watch for coupons) or hiking with a picnic.  

Let us know how you chose to implement these 10 Summer Time Serve and Learn Activities by yourself, or as a family in the comments, in the Instagram feed or FB posts.  Pictures would be awesome!

I created an terrific checklist that you can download for free so you can easily keep track of each 10 Summer Time Serve and Learn Activity as it’s completed, click HERE



            10 Summer Time Serve and Learn Activities

1- It all about the BIRDS

Kids Can Serve & Care:


Kids Can Learn: We live in a beautiful and special world.  By keeping it clean we can appreciate miracles all around us even more. By feeding the birds, we can watch them close up and enjoy their amazing colors and how they fly.



2- Invite someone, or a family, over for a game night

  • Try choosing from the old fashioned games like these: 

Old Time Game of Kick The Can

How To Play Old Fashioned Hop Scotch

Make up a batch of THE BEST Homemade Bubbles

This game of 100 is AWESOME for ALL ages


Learn: Playing is important at any age and we need to make sure we take time to have some fun!

“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” -Mr. Rogers

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -George Bernard Shaw



3- Plant a garden or flowers 

  • With your family, or yourself, plant some vegetables or herbs to use in preparing your own food this summer.  See my post HERE for some ideas on gardening
  • Plant flowers to make your home look more attractive to you and others.  A planter or window box will make a big difference if you are limited in space or resources.

Learn:  It is incredibly empowering and therapeutic to actually plant, raise and harvest your own food and blooms.    The effort and energy put forth to teach your family this skill is some of the most well-spent and important you can do.  Again, see my post HERE




4- Visit or help someone

  • Weed the garden or flower beds, or do other yard work for someone who is unable.
  • If someone has recently had surgery, ask what you can do to help them.
  • Make posters for your local care center or facility to cheer them up. See this post HERE for ideas
  • Someone who might be overwhelmed with family or their life’s situation could use a hand. 
  • One of my amazing readers makes the baby bibs from my post to give to the new moms in her church.  You can see the easy to make tutorial HERE

Learn:  By visiting those who are elderly, have a young family, or unable to get out on their own, we are showing compassion and kindness.  Looking outside of our self to other’s needs and doing something to ease their burden are some of the most important skills we can learn, practice often to become a better person.




5- Welcome Someone To The Neighborhood, or Take A Treat to Those You Already Know

  • You will find lots of ideas of how to Welcome new neighbors to your neighborhood in THIS post.
  • THIS treat is always popular to take to anyone of any age:)
  • OR take a treat to a neighbor you want to get to know better.  This SWEET Tag HERE is one you might want to use. 


Learn: It’s hard to move to a new place and then meet people sometimes.  When we reach out to others we are making new friends as well as helping them feel comfortable in their new neighborhood.

By taking a treat to those you already know, but haven’t talked to in a while, makes your neighborhood and community stronger, you feel more included surprisingly and the friendships develop.



6- Serve At Home

  • Eat dinner together and have a conversation without technology. You’ll find the post HERE about dinner conversations, how to do them easily and with some FUN! 

Learn: Technology is a great thing, but too often it gets in the way and we don’t take the time to talk to each other, even in our own family.  This is a perfect way to learn new things about each other in a natural and creative approach.



7- Learn About Your Family 

  • I have a post on how how and why to do a Family Tree HERE
  • Get to know a family member better by visiting in person, or skype.

Learn: With your child learn who their family tree members are as they fill out one, or both of the styles of Family Tree’s in THIS POST. Fill one out yourself if you haven’t before and ask living family members in your Family Tree to share an inspiring experience they had, or one they learned a valuable lesson from that you may not have known. 

Knowing our family and their life is so important because it connects us to our past and helps us understand our self also.




8- Love the Animals

  • Shelters are in need of many supplies all the time, and have lots of animals to care for.  Did you know that some shelters have other animals besides just dogs and cats they need items for too?  See my post on Service to our local Animal Shelter HERE

Learn:  Compassion and kindness for all of God’s creatures




9- There Are Those In Need ALL year long

  • Have you ever thought of helping your local MEALS ON WHEELS?  In my area they are in need of general greeting cards all year long.  You can find our more HERE
  • Donate to a local food bank. It’s natural to think of those less fortunate at Christmas and other holidays, but the need is there all year long.  

Learn:  Serving others is how we learn about ourselves. 




10- Say Thank you!

  • We appreciate a ‘thank you’ and should express gratitude often.  But when do we actually sit down and write a note of thanks to someone?  
  • It also teaches our family members volumes we cannot speak as we act by doing.
  • See my post HERE for all the how’s, why’s, when’s and what to write in a thank you card.

Learn:  It only takes a couple of minutes to do this simple task, but the effects on us as the sender, and those who receive it are priceless.



I can’t wait to hear what you and your family are LEARNING, PRACTICING and BECOMING this summer!

Please share in the comments on in this post, on my FaceBook comments and Instagram feed, so we can learn from each other, be encouraged and get awesome ideas. 

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2019

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

Meals on Wheels

Cards To Help Meals On Wheels Recipients

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Meals on Wheels


Cards To Help the Recipients of The Meals On Wheels Program is an incredible way to spend a few minutes of your time!

Sometimes we want to help, but wonder what can we do?

We may not have a lot of money to help, but still want to do something, right?

Maybe we don’t have the freedom to go to places to serve, but still want to make an impact, is that possible?

YES to all of these with if you have a couple of minutes here and there, can color and have access to a printer, or have some cards that will work.



First, what is this Meals On Wheels Program? 

Meals on Wheels is a national (USA) organization that has the focus of:

  • Serving the rapidly growing elderly population
  • Relieving the threat of isolation, hunger and limited mobility to those in need. 

It works like this:  Cities or counties are assigned a local office, which arranges for meals to be delivered to the home bound, elderly, or anyone who may need assistance in this manner. 

In most areas, a hot meal is delivered for lunch, with a sack-lunch type of meal being left for dinner. 

As I said, my friends and their family’s were thrilled with this service due to the situation they were in.

After more research, I found that many of the recipients of these meals live alone, and far too often, the only contact with people they have, are the drivers or deliverers of these meals during the week!  That’s so sad!

What can be done to help these people who are alone and with no one?

To address the isolation and loneliness felt by the many who receive these meals, greeting cards are delivered with the meals in my area.


Why color or purchase a card?

Because a card would mean some form of contact from another person who took the time to care. It would show that another human being actually put pen to paper and made time in their day for them!

WE could bring a smile, some comfort and encourage another person with just a little bit of effort.

If you’d like to make a difference for good and help out with Cards for Meals on Wheels, here’s how to start.

First off, it’s really EASY to do this.


HOW can WE get involved?

I wanted to help us all have some fun with these Cards for Meals on Wheels, as well as make them special. 

1- I had some great cards created just for you, that I am offering for free.

2- You can easily download them, simply print them off and color-in the cards for this Meals on Wheels project.

3- Your kids can be involved in a way they would look forward to serving a total stranger. You could get some friends together and make or color in the cards. You can relax and color in a card or two while watching tv; the possibilities are endless.

4- The point is, print off as many of the Cards for Meals on Wheels I have provided for you at your local copy store as you’d like to use, or do it on your home printer, and have some FUN!


These are the Cards for Meals on Wheels I had made just for you, so you can easily participate in this very worthwhile project.

HELLO Birdie card is HERE


KEEP SMILING Hot Air Balloon card is  HERE

THINKING OF YOU Mandela style card is HERE 


Now, if you’d rather purchase cards to write in, I really LIKE THESE  and they’d be perfect for this purpose.



However, if you want to make your own cards, this is the information you will need:

  • Cards must be generic for a man or woman.
  • No need for envelope
  • Cards should be 6″x8″ or smaller
  • Cards can be simple or ornate
  • Cards are not to be holiday or special occasion oriented, making them usable all year long
  • Purchased ‘thinking of you’ cards would be perfect
  • Do NOT personalize it in any form, such as happy birthday or themed in any way – such as holiday, etc.



What do I write inside the Cards for Meals on Wheels?

Here are some ideas of what can be written inside the card after it is colored in, or in a purchased one:

  • Thinking of You
  • Have a nice day
  • Keep that Awesome Smile Showing
  • Stopping by with a friendly hello from me to you
  • Bringing a Smile by to share with you today
  • Hope it’s wonderful in your corner of the world

Do not sign it please.  



What do I do with the Cards for Meals on Wheels after I make them?

  • Send cards to me if you do not have a Meals on Wheels office close by, or it is not convenient, or they are not asking for cards. 
  • Send cards directly to the Davis County Meals on Wheels office – information below
  • Send them to your own Meals on  Wheels agency -you will want to contact them first to make sure they are also in need of these cards.



I hope you, your family, friends, neighbors, church group, youth group, will get together and color up some cards.   You can see how I put this together for a neighborhood get-together and it turned out great.  Stan and I also colored some at home, and also at an outdoor free concert in the park:)  It’s fun and relaxing to serve while enjoying a bit of childhood or hobby. 

It’s a great way to learn how to think of others.  Practice being kind to those you do not know.  and become a better person as nothing is expected in return, except the gratification of bringing happiness to another.  

Office Manager
North Davis Senior Activity Center
Wendy 801-525-5080
Davis County Health Department

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow 2019

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today

I'll Tell You Why You Want One

BEST Home Garden Ideas

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BEST Home Garden Ideas

Do You Have A Garden? I’ll give you ideas on how to plant one, as well as why It’s important


BEST Home Garden Ideas

Do you want the BEST Home Garden but are afraid to start?

Have you ever tried having a garden?  Maybe a small one, or a large one?  Never dared one at all?

Well, I have so many styles for you, that I’m sure you will find a perfect fit for your space and situation.  And with these tutorials, you CAN do it and be successful to!

10 Reasons why having a BEST HOME Garden is worth the effort:

1- Having fresh food and produce readily available makes eating a more healthy diet easier and more delicious with the fresh ingredients too.

2- Having the food just outside your door lowers your budget since you won’t be running to the grocery store for the staples of vegetables and herbs.

3- This is a way to teach kids to work and helping them become more independent as they grow older.

4- Growing own food helps us, and our family members, become more self reliant.

5- You get the nutrients and better nutrition from food produced at home.

6- Time spent outdoors gives the opportunity to think from the distractions of technology and the daily ‘grind’.  It also give the chance to talk to your kids or family members who are working with you and get to know them better, and share conversation. 

7- You get to try so many new varieties of foods, such as tomatoes for example, that you can’t purchase at the store or even local Farmer’s Market. 

8- Exercise is a huge benefit because you are naturally moving as you care for the plants.

9- You get to share!  Any extra’s you can give to neighbors and friends to enjoy and that’s a huge plus!!!

10- The new world of flavors and recipes are opened to you as you experiment with what you are growing in the garden!


Best Home Garden Ideas

>Do You Have A Garden? I’ll give you ideas on how to plant one, as well as why It’s important


This is our family garden one summer, but it changes from year to year. 


BEST Home Garden Ideas

Reasons to have a garden and the various types


This is a wonderful way to plant if you want to contain a variety that likes to spread, such as these strawberries so they don’t take over the garden area, or if you only have a small space to plant in.

BEST Home Garden Ideas

Do You Have A Garden? I’ll tell you the benefits of why you want one, small or large!

Prepare the soil by removing any rocks and any debris. 

Dig holes large enough to accommodate the plants you have.

I'll Tell You Why You Want One

Do You Have A Garden? I’ll give you ideas on how to plant one, as well as why It’s important

These particular plants were meant to cover the pot, as it had special disintegrating properties that nourished the plants as they diminished. Check the instructions of plants you purchase.

I'll Tell You Why You Want One

Do You Have A Garden? I’ll give you ideas on how to plant one, as well as why It’s important

Place the plants into the holes, and make sure they go down deep enough that it covers the roots.

I'll Tell You Why You Want One

Do You Have A Garden? I’ll give you ideas on how to plant one, as well as why It’s important


This method is good for:



Herbs- mint particularly

And so many other vegetables

Choose a pot that is large enough for the plant.

Make sure the post has drainage.


Let Me Tell Why You Want One

Do You Have A Garden? I’ll tell you the benefits of why you want one, small or large!

Pour a good potting soil into the pot, then dig out a space for the plant. 

Let Me Tell Why You Want One

Do You Have A Garden? I’ll tell you the benefits of why you want one, small or large!

Stan likes to add in a good soil moist granule to help hold moisture in the dirt and gives better results with watering the plant. 

Let Me Tell Why You Want One

Do You Have A Garden? I’ll tell you the benefits of why you want one, small or large!

Place the plant in the prepared hole and push the dirt over the top of the plant.  ***Make sure the plant is deep and covers up part way of the stem.

Let Me Tell Why You Want One

Do You Have A Garden? I’ll tell you the benefits of why you want one, small or large!

If planting tomatoes or another vegetable that would need bracing, place the cage, centering over the plant. 

Let Me Tell Why You Want One

Do You Have A Garden? I’ll tell you the benefits of why you want one, small or large!

Water the plant well, soaking deep into the soil. 

Let Me Tell Why You Want One

Do You Have A Garden? I’ll tell you the benefits of why you want one, small or large!



This is allows a large quantity of produce in a small amount of space.  My friend Jami Tolman has a beautiful garden that she is creating using this method.  Jami kindly allowed me to take pictures and then sent descriptions to identify so you can make your own!  

This is our deep box set-up.   Each tier is 6 inches tall for a total of 2 feet at its tallest.  We wanted a variety of depths and like this set up best.  We planted carrots and peanuts in the top tier.  Potatoes are the next tier down.  We planted asparagus in the 2 twelve inch boxes.  Marigolds and nasturtiums are in the 6 inch box at the bottom.   

Let Me Tell Why You Want One

Do You Have A G
arden? I’ll tell you the benefits of why you want one, small or large!

This is my pumpkin trellis.  The pumpkin vines grow up and over.  Since pumpkin vines grown so long,  I turn them around at the bottom and they grow up and over again.  The pumpkins fall throw the net and grow hanging down.  It makes it easier to pick and they don’t get misshapen or rotten bottoms from being on the ground. 

Let Me Tell Why You Want One

Do You Have A Garden? I’ll tell you the benefits of why you want one, small or large!

This box has beans on one side and kale, romaine lettuce and cucumbers on the other.  The cucumbers are right next to the center line and will climb up the trellis. 

Let Me Tell Why You Want One

Do You Have A Garden? I’ll tell you the benefits of why you want one, small or large!

Bush peas grow on one side of this box.  The lettuce on the other side came up from last year.  There was an empty space in the box so I planted a pepper plant there.   When the peas are done producing, I will plant either bush beans there or hold off and do a fall crop of peas.  

Let Me Tell Why You Want One

Do You Have A Garden? I’ll tell you the benefits of why you want one, small or large!

Growing tomatoes up a trellis like this allows you to grow one plant per square foot.  Pinch all the suckers off so your plant doesn’t get too bushy and help weave it through as it grows.

Let Me Tell Why You Want One

Do You Have A Garden? I’ll tell you the benefits of why you want one, small or large!

Last year my corn was about 5 feet tall and not done growing when a fairly strong wind blew it over.  I had to build support system to help them stand back up again which was time consuming and not very effective.  This year, I thought I would try to save them before they blew over.  I put a net over the soil and planted a corn in each hole.  Then I raised the net about 3 feet high and will help the corn grow in between the holes.  I will then place another net about 5 feet high and have a double support.  I am going to add 2 poles on each side of the long side of the boxes to stretch the net out seeing as it’s hanging down in the center right now. 

Let Me Tell Why You Want One

Do You Have A Garden? I’ll tell you the benefits of why you want one, small or large!

Thank you Jami for sharing your garden with us!

I hope you will start a garden, or prepare to have one next year!  Enjoy:)

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today

Home DIY Pedicure and healthy toes

How to Give Yourself a Pedicure

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Home DIY Pedicure and healthy toes

How to give yourself a basic home pedicure

How to Give Yourself a Pedicure

Do you wonder How to Give Yourself a Pedicure?

My daughter-in-law Tawni is our lovely foot model  going through the steps with a licensed and very knowledgeable technician, while she gets a professional pedicure so you will know how to give yourself a pedicure. 

Now you can give yourself a DIY salon spa pedicure at a fraction of the cost that will look professional and done correctly too by following the step-by-step tutorial.*

After the pedicure, you might want to pamper your hair with this Homemade Hair Treatment that works wonders.

And don’t forget your skin care. This Homemade Facial is perfect for any season to brighten and cleanse the face. 

Tawni:  I didn’t enter the world of pedicures until after I was married, and then I realized what I had been missing for most of my life! I had always thought that a pedicure was just getting your toenails painted, but it is soooo much more than that. Of course, a good pedicure can really add up ($$$), so a real professional showed us how to do your own at home! Side-note: Pedicures aren’t just for women. It’s important for everyone to take care of their feet, including you men out there! You don’t have to paint your toenails, but doing everything else will help your skin and feet so much. And no, it’s NOT girly!  

For an at-home pedicure you will need the following supplies (click for easy access to Amazon links)


Foot spa or large bowl big enough for both feet to fit in comfortably


Epsom salt foot soak (recommended by our technician) or this ONE


Exfoliator (such as a foot paddle. Try to avoid using pumice stones.)

A good lotion 

Nail polish remover with acetone (if removing nail polish)

Cuticle oil this, or this

Nail buffer (optional)

Manicure Set, This, or This

Orangewood or birchwood sticks  

If you are also going to paint your toenails you will need: 


Base coat & top coat, here’s a combination

Nail polish in color of your choice

Toe separators- this or this

Speed spray

Stickers/decals (optional)  

I know this looks like a pretty big list, but everything is really inexpensive, and once you have it all you’re set for quite a few pedicures.


All right, here we go with our pedicure!

1 – First fill up the bowl or foot spa with water as hot as you can stand it (it will cool quickly).

Add about a half cup of Epsom salt foot soak and stick your feet in. You’ll want to soak them for about 20 minutes, so this is a good time to catch up on your TV shows!How to Give Yourself a Pedicure


2 – When you’re done soaking, take your feet out and dry them really well with a towel. 

You can use a blow dryer to make the feet as dry as possibleHow to Give Yourself a Pedicure


3 – Now it’s time to exfoliate! Do you have dry skin and little cracks on your heels and toes like this?How to Give Yourself a Pedicure

This is where you want to exfoliate. Using slight pressure and quick motions, rub the paddle, up and down along those little cracks and dry skin until you can see them disappearing.

If you see a little more moisture, dry it off with your towel.

After exfoliating there may still be some small wrinkles on your heel; How to Give Yourself a Pedicure

these are part of your skin, so please don’t rub them off!

How to Give Yourself a Pedicure4 – If you have nail polish on your toenails, remove it with nail polish remover and a cotton pad or cotton ball.

Remember to use nail polish remover that has acetone, as that has more of a drying quality and you want your nails to be dehydrated before painting so the polish stays on better.  Acetone also kills bacteria!  

5 – Using an cuticle pusher, push back cuticles. How to Give Yourself a Pedicure

It is important to make sure that the cuticle stays connected to the nail, so don’t shove the cuticle back. Just push gently.

How to Give Yourself a Pedicure

If there’s a piece of cuticle hanging off or if you have hangnails, use the cuticle nippers to cut it off.  Do not pull them or rip them.

How to Give Yourself a Pedicure

6 – After pushing the cuticles back, rub a little cuticle oil on them.

7 – Using the orangewood or birchwood stick, go under the sides and tops of the toenails a little bit to get out any dirt or gunk that might be stuck in them.How to Give Yourself a Pedicure8 – The next step is optional.

If you have little ridges on your toenails, you can use a buffer to smooth them out if you want your polish to lie more smoothly.How to Give Yourself a Pedicure9 – Next clip and/ or file your toenails.

Filing will give it a smoother look, but either way make sure you clip or file in a straight line. If you go too short on the sides of the nail, it could cause ingrown toenails.How to Give Yourself a Pedicure

10 – Now for the best part, the foot rub! You can do it yourself or bribe your significant other to do it for you.

Work a good amount of lotion into the foot first. Then starting at the heel, and working your way up, use long, smooth deep strokes upward to rub the foot. How to Give Yourself a Pedicure

You can use your thumbs, fist, and/or knuckles to do this. Make sure you really work out those knots in your arches! Also, stretch the foot back and forth. When you get to the toes, pretend like you’re “milking” them. 

How to Give Yourself a Pedicure

Pinch at the bottom of the toe and pull away.

How to Give Yourself a Pedicure

If you’re not painting your nails, then you’re done! If you are, then follow these steps:  

1 – Dehydrate nails with acetone (or polish remover that has acetone in it) and a cotton ball or pad  

2 – Use toe separators to separate your toes. Either invest in a pair of sanitizable gel separators, or use disposable ones BUT make sure to throw them away when you’re done.How to Give Yourself a Pedicure3 – Apply a base coat first. This is like a primer and will make the polish stick better.How to Give Yourself a Pedicure4 – Apply the polish color. It’s important to not flood the cuticles or it will cause the polish to lift and chip as the cuticle grows.

Paint one coat on all toes and then paint another coat.

You can use any polish you’d like, but a higher end polish has more pigment in it, which means fewer coats to paint and faster drying time.

5 – Apply the topcoat. How to Give Yourself a Pedicure

6 – It is a good idea to invest in a speed spray. A speed spray has conditioning oil in it and keeps debris (lint, etc.) from sticking to the nail

7 – If you like stickers or decals you can put them on your nails after you apply the top coat, and then apply another top coat. And you’re done!

Some professional tips:

– Make sure you keep things very sanitary. After using the foot spa, clean it out well (such as Scrubbing Bubbles) and store it in a dry place (not under the sink). Then before you use it wipe it out with a Clorox wipe. Also clean your exfoliator when you’re done. Use rubbing alcohol and a little brush to scrub it off, then clean it with Scrubbing Bubbles. Even if it’s your germs that are on it, you don’t want other ‘things’ growing. Also make sure you sanitize the toe separators, cuticle nippers, everything you used.

– If you have acrylic nails and want to remove polish color, don’t use polish remover with acetone. Just use regular polish remover.

– Put a rubber band around the lid of the nail polish so if your hands are still greasy from the lotion, you can still get it off.

– If polish gets on the skin around your toes, it won’t stick very well because of the lotion you put on earlier. Use your fingers or an orangewood stick to get it off easily.

– If you start having problems with your feet, please go see a podiatrist!

I want to thank all who helped make this very informative post, it’s really helpful:) Carrie

*No medical doctor or physician of any kind was referenced for this post.  Giving yourself a pedicure is at your own risk, these are all tips and guidelines, but no one involved is in the position to give advice and cannot be held responsible for any injury, infection or damage that may result. 

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2013, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

The Reason For Memorial Weekend

Why Do We Have Memorial Day?

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The Reason For Memorial Weekend

The reason for Memorial Day Weekend

WHY do we have Memorial Day?

Is Memorial Day just a weekend to watch parades, get together to eat food, take the kids to play at parks, or simply have a vacation from work?

It is a national holiday, so there should to be a good reason behind it- right?

And while we are on the subject, is there much of a difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day?

If you have ever wondered about these questions and more, I have some other interesting information for you so you can understand the significance and magnitude this day represents.  Please teach and help others understand how precious our freedoms are, and how others have sacrificed for us to have them. That is how we maintain our liberty, otherwise it is easily lost.


Did you realize that there IS a marked difference in Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day?

Memorial Day is set aside to honor all in the military personal who sustained wounds while fighting for our country, and died as a result from injuries.

Veterans Day is a time to remember and honor everyone who has served honorably, at any time of our country’s history, whether it be war or peace time.

Now,  lets talk about the Flag.  Do you know HOW it’s supposed to be raised and lowered?  

Here is the correct way: 

Flag Observance

On Memorial Day, the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day.

The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country.

At noon, their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.

When did Memorial Day become a National Holiday?

Memorandum to the nation on May 2, 2000

As Memorial Day approaches, it is time to pause and consider the  true meaning of this holiday. Memorial Day represents one day of national awareness and reverence, honoring those Americans who died while defending our Nation and its values. While we should honor these heroes every day for the profound contribution they have made to securing our Nation’s freedom, we should honor them especially on Memorial Day. In this time of unprecedented success and prosperity throughout our land, I ask that all Americans come together to recognize how fortunate we are to live in freedom and to observe a universal “National Moment of Remembrance” on each Memorial Day.

This memorial observance represents a simple and unifying way to commemorate our history and honor the struggle to protect our freedoms.

A few ideas of how to celebrate this holiday’s true meaning:

Read a story of history about a battle for our freedom Watch a documentary about a leader, or a war, that was vital for our life today Visit graves of deceased soldiers Say a prayer for our soldiers and military serving us today Provide or organize a project for “Adopt A Soldier”. Click HERE for information.

At 3pm, your local time, is the official time to observe a moment of silence, or the playing of “Taps” We are incredibly blessed as a people, and nation, to live in a country of opportunities and independence.

Freedom always comes at a cost someone paid the price. As we celebrate this day, may we pause to recognize, appreciate and say a prayer of gratitude for those who have valiantly sacrificed, to allow us the liberties we enjoy today as citizens of this great nation. What a wonderful day to remember this great gift, and ponder ways we can live to improve life for all.  

For an beautiful and quick outdoor cemetery DIY grave decoration, that can also be a door wreath, click HERE.  

On this post there is also information on how to easily clean a grave marker. 

DIY Memorial Grave Decoration

DIY Memorial Grave Decoration










Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

Best Mother's Day Gift For ALL woment

The PERFECT Mother’s Day gift for EVERY Woman

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Best Mother's Day Gift For ALL woment














The PERFECT Mother’s Day gift for EVERY Woman

It’s that time to find the perfect gift for the woman, or women in your life – your wife, girlfriend, mom, mother-in-law, aunt, cousin, anyone!

  • You are probably waiting for me to tell you about cooking utensil, bake ware, or kitchen gadget, that’s a must have in my kitchen – but no.
  • Or link to foot and hand scrubs, or beauty products – nope.
  • Maybe it’s a recommendation on a few books I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading with my book-club – wrong again.
  • Something for relaxing like bath bombs? A new outfit? That to-die-for treat? Flowers? Jewelry? Oh the list could go on and on, but T.H.I.S IS the BEST gift you could give and I’ll explain.

First I’ll confess I don’t particularly like to exercise.  It’s not my favorite thing to do. And I’ll get to the Mother’s Day gift if you’ll indulge me a bit please.

Now my neighbor Ashley, gets up early (and likes it – WHAT????) to teach at a local gym.

Me, I’ll get up early, but not to excitedly workout….geez….

I realize that in order to stay functioning at an active level, I need to exercise.

HOWEVER, I have some challenges with this, and it’s not just my attitude about exercising, it’s real, I assure you.

See, I have terrible knees, and pretty much always have.

From totally dislocating my knees as a young teenager, to several surgeries trying to repair them, to my first complete total knee replacement on BOTH knees at forty-four years old due to arthritis (which I only did so I could walk down the block again), it has left me in a bind.

Because of all the surgeries, then after the first total knee replacement our health insurance at the time wouldn’t allow physical therapy (…I know what you’re thinking..I know, no therapy…unthinkable – right??!!!) to rehabilitate them, I had to do what I could to walk and strengthen them. I functioned.

Consequently I don’t run.  I simply can’t understand the mechanics of it and it’s impossible for me and sadly has been that way while raising five kids.

Then when I was fifty-three (a couple of years ago) I had to have both knees totally replaced again because the arthritis caused too many problems with the first set.  They are doing really well now, but the rehab (which I DID get this time:) was extremely difficult the second time around.

NOW to the perfect Mother’s Day gift.

I’m sure you’ve already guessed that it’s exercise related, however I’d like to tell you about two of my favorites and encourage you to look into them for yourself, and everyone on your list.

ONE CHOICE is a this incredible DVD I happened on and oohhhh how I wished I had found it years ago!

Now Do NOT let the ‘Seniors and Older Adults’ throw you.  Seriously this is one of the BEST resources I think there could be for strengthening after surgery or injury*, maintaining or regaining balance and strength for moms, grandma’s and great-grandma’s.

I am so impressed with Jane and her programs on this dvd, which really is for ALL ages and here’s why:

Balance & Strength Exercises for Seniors: 9 Practices, with Traditional Exercises, and Modified Tai Chi, Yoga & Dance Based Movements.

  • The exercises are broken into sections for all abilities and levels, from sitting to standing, from holding onto a chair to free-standing.
  • Jane designed this program to be done in sections, or all at once.
  • Even if you are a die-hard exerciser like my friend Ashley, you will stretch your body in ways you haven’t since you were a child out playing – it’s wonderful.
  • If you get tension knots in your neck and back like I do, it’s a rare occasion when they are not pretty tight.  I was amazed that after doing the Upper Body Strength & Mobility Exercises, which is only 12 minutes they released incredibly!
  • Did you realize the risk that those of us who sit for a couple of hours at a time working at a desk in an office or at home have of contracting blood clots?  I’ve encountered a few people who have had this issue and it’s awful.  After doing the Lower Body Stretches, only 13 minutes, it was apparent that making that a daily routine would be extremely helpful preventing this as it would keep the blood flowing and it felt SSOOO good too.
  • I’ve never tried Tai Chi before until this dvd and Jane’s modified Tai Chi and Yoga is so cool!  I really like the Full-Body 17 minute as a rotation in my routine.
  • The reasons are many and I could go on and on why this is for EVERY age and EVERY woman – and man:).  Jane did a fabulous job on this dvd.  It’s very approachable in style, worth the time to do her practices and beneficial in what you gain as you stretch, gain balance, maintain mobility and help prevent injury or a fall.*

You can easily find Jane Adams dvd BALANCE & STRENGTH here


ANOTHER GREAT CHOICE is one I’ve loved for years and years.  It’s Walking with Leslie Sansone and I am absolutely thrilled with her new ‘ MIRACLE MILES!’

Walk at Home Leslie Sansone's Miracle Miles!

I’ve really liked the WALK at HOME workouts over the years because you fantastic exercise, and so much more than just walking outside. With this new dvd there is a MIRACLE MILES BAND that provides resistance for a boosted work-out.

This dvd is also for ALL ages and here’s why:

  • If you can walk, you can do this dvd
  • Your ability and level is challenged by how much effort you put into the ‘walk’, so everyone can walk along and get a workout no matter your level of ability
  • No fancy footwork to learn – just walking and 4 basic steps
  • You can get healthy and body changing results in a short time
  • So many choices with this amazing set to fit any schedule for any day.
  • The band was surprisingly a great alternative to hand weights, with an easy adjustment of resistance, and does not smell of latex
  • Fun and motivating.  You can watch with voice coaching of Leslie or the music only option .

You can get the Walk AT Home Miracle Miles dvd here and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone!!!

The gift how to stay active, strong, able to interact with family, play with grand kids, do everyday activities, fulfill the goals and dreams still yet unfulfilled, as well as lessening the risk of injury, is a GREAT present we can give with these two dvds.

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2018

Recognize A Blessing And Be A Blessing Today

*Disclaimer – I am not a physician, or in any position of medical authority.  I am only giving my personal opinion and do not take responsibility for any injury, damage, etc that could, would, might happen if you exercise or even contemplate getting off the couch and moving.


Does The Past Really Affect Me?

You Learn More About Yourself By Doing This!

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Does The Past Really Affect Me?

What Can I Learn About myself from doing Family History?

Isn’t it amazing how popular those DNA tests are?!?

They definitely have a place and use, but what about the ‘real’ people in your background?

What are their stories? 

How do their experiences and choices affect you?

How can you learn about them?

Consider your parents, your grandparents, even your great-grandparents for a moment. 

Do you think their trials they endured, the hardships they went through, the joys that touched and sustained them; the life they lived, could possibly influence your behavior?

This ripple affect of ones choices and actions hadn’t occurred to me until I was in my late teenage years.

I then began to clearly see how absolutely critical it is that we look to the future as we make our significant and important decisions that will affect not only ourselves, but our immediate family, our future family and even our posterity. 

It really does matter what choices we make and what goals we strive for.

Later when my kids were a bit older and in school, I made a family history book that included pictures and each persons story in their own writing when possible. 

As I researched and went further back on the generations, again with pictures or drawings and stories drawn from writings or letters, my Uncle Bud (Joseph) was indispensable in working with me to go back into the 1600’s in this style of a book.

I learned so much about my immediate family!

Details I never knew.

Such as suffering, troubles and burdens that were overcome.  I lean on this often when I face my own ordeals, remembering that others I am related to, have walked difficult paths.  I have learned much from their successes and failures, but look to their example and remember we are family.

You might not have the time for a family book such as that, but you can learn a lot about your self by getting to know something about your parents, grandparents or great-grandparents?


WHAT do I need to find out?

  • As you learn the names of these family members, you might find that one goes by a different name than their given name.
  • You find out the dates of birth years and death years if applicable.
  • You will learn the exact locations of where each came from—-meaning where you are really from.


HOW will it change me?

It’s the CULTURE you will discover that really helps you discover WHO you are.

I have a wonderful journal that you can download to print and practice learning more about yourself and those you are related to.

As you take the time to fill this simple journal out, you will be amazed at the person you will become.

HOW will it change you?

  • You will discover so much about yourself as you learn about your family!
  • It will help you immeasurably as you decide what paths to follow and traits take on and practice.
  • And as you learn more about your immediate and extended family, it will guide you as you become the best person you want to emulate.


WHY is it worth my time?

A wonderful article  Why We Need Family History Now More Than Ever  helps explain What Learning Your Family History Teaches YOU About Yourself says it “can be a powerful antidote against adverse life experiences that we face today” and addresses:

  • Knowing our cultural background and Core Identity helps in understanding who we are as a person.
  • The importance of Connecting with those in our present, our past and our future; as it fulfills an innate need we all have, as well as forming powerful relationships.
  • As we learn about our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents and the trials and struggles they faced, we become more Compassionate towards all people; which is a tremendous talent.
  • We can learn to be more Resilient when we learn about the hardships and disappointments they overcame, or succumbed to.  Important life lessons can be learned from their successes and failures.
  • Our Self Worth becomes more clear as we see God’s hand in our life and that of our family through the recent generations as we learn their stories and understand more how valuable each and every person is in His sight.


May I suggest that we are linked to our family members, those living, and those who are deceased, much as a thread. As we search through our family generations, we can see how they bring their own unique talents, skills, abilities and knowledge for us to learn from, adding in their threads.  Combining threads to make our tapestry exquisite and more valuable as it grows.

As one person, one beautiful thread, we are weak and can easily be unraveled.  However when woven together, with our relatives showing their colorful, distinctive and exceptional threads in their own right, our tapestry gains strength and cannot be unraveled.  We, our own thread, are now secure, have a place, and continue on as we learn and  understand our own special family and their history.



To explain how family history can give a loose thread, a person a place to belong and an understanding of life, my friend, whom I will call ‘L’ is allowing me to share her story:


Why I do family history by ‘L’

I came from a battered and broken family.

My father raised me in a very remote area away from most of civilization. My life was shattered when he died when I was only eleven years old. I never really felt like I fit in after that. I struggled socially and emotionally. I lived with a sister, and later friends, but something was always missing in my life.

One day when I was about fifteen I came across some records my father had kept.

It listed my aunts and uncles and grandparents. They were all deceased, my father had been the youngest, but that tiny bit of information started me looking for my family. 

It took years but with each bit of information I became more comfortable with myself and my family as I came to know them.

When life was rough I could immerse myself in my family history.

Through this I came to ‘know’ my grandmother and grandfather. I felt their suffering as I learned about the places they had lived, the work they had done and the deaths that struck the family. The big successes and tragedies were occasionally recorded in newspapers; most of the story is found in the small amount of information recorded on such things as marriage licenses, birth and death certificates, censuses and land deeds. Little things like who lived in the house, was the home rented or owned, what work they did, and where they lived. I put all the little pieces together and a story began to emerge. One that brought me understanding and peace.

Through the years I have grown to love a family I never met and I feel sure that they love me too.

I now know who I am and feel confident about my place in this world.

‘L’ concludes with this profound statement and warning to us all about what we leave, and why we need to search out our living and deceased relatives:

When a person dies a library of knowledge vanishes.






Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2017, 2019

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.


The reasons why we don't write birthday cards, but I have a post that tells you why we should.

Why Should I Write A Happy Birthday Card?

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The reasons why we don't write birthday cards, but I have a post that tells you why we should.

Do I CARE Enough to write YOU a Birthday Card?


Why Should I Write A Happy Birthday Card?

Why Should we Write A Happy Birthday Card?  Really, does it matter anymore? 

Seriously, we can text it out, or wish it to them on social media, isn’t that the same?

And if we send a card, then do we have to send a gift card, cash or a gift?

Because that adds up and what if we don’t have the extra budget for that?

Besides that, cards are so expensive now-days in the specialty shops, how can we afford them?

No worries! 

I have answers for all of these issues and more, as I explain why we SHOULD write Happy Birthday Cards and send them out.





If you read my post on writing a Thank You Card, you read about my sister-in-law Ruthann and what a rock star she is about those.  Well, this is another one of her many strong talents.

She sends a card to every sister, brother, in-law, niece, nephew…I don’t believe she misses a relative and as a family we have talked many times about how much that means to us.  My grand kids know that she and her husband Brad care about them.  They know that they can go to them and talk.  Now, as they get older, that means the world, because we may not be here, or possibly they will open up to one of them about a situation that might come up while they are talking together at a family event.  It’s so important to build family relationships and bonds in anyway possible.  And a simple card, like Ruthann does, truly builds bridges that spans generations, any age and is an honorable legacy to set.

There are other reasons to write a card, including:

  • Strengthening and maintaining friendships
  • Being able to put into words a sentiment such as a handshake, embrace or heartfelt smile as you wish them a wonderful year
  • It is a tangible reminder that you care, that you took the time to sit down and write to them!
  • It gives the opportunity to connect again as life gets busy and rushed, oftentimes we don’t talk to communicate with family or friends for long periods of time
  • It brings a closeness and appreciation for each other
  • There are so many reasons that the list could go on and on and on……




I have a free chart made specially for YOU that is editable/fill-in so you can write in the names and birthdays of your family and friends along with anniversaries if you’d like. Now you won’t have to miss one!

1- click HERE to download the free file that is EDITABLE /FILL-IN, there is also a version to download the file if you prefer to WRITE in it and not have it editable

*The link will take you to WooCommerce, which is a FREE option

After you fill it in, which will take maybe a minute or two to gather the information, you will have it for years to come.




This is easy-peasy!

  • I have free downloadable cards for birthdays and anniversariesfor you and the kids to use.  See them below at the end of this post to print off.
  • My friend Natalie makes the most gorgeous homemade cards. You can find Natalie HERE 
  • If you prefer to order some on-line to have on hand, HERE are some birthday cards you might like, THESE would work well for the kids, and THIS will be great for anniversaries
  • Looking for fun colorful pens for you and the family to use, try THESE
  • And for pens that dry quickly and don’t smear, won’t skip and write smooth, this looks to be a great ONE





I’ve thought long and hard about this one for you because I wanted to make sure the ‘gift’ was:

1- very affordable

2- useful or would be wanted

3- would go through the mail

Here are some ideas I came up with for men, women, teens and children; just send what THEY would like and use your imagination:)

Ideas of items that could send in a birthday card through the mail

Ideas for Birthday gifts

  • GUM is a treat for most kids, so if you put 2-3 sticks in the card, wrap them in a plastic bag like THIS, same as if you use unwrapped candy as shown, it will withstand any humidity or heat. Just make sure it lies flat and you don’t over fill it! 



  • Nail decal link below


  • Soft, flat individually wrapped candy is another idea; one option is  Swedish Fish




Ideas of items that could send in a birthday card through the mail

deas for Birthday gifts to send in a card

  • These Punch Balloons will be fun to send to kids and teens!  You can find them HERE



Ideas of items that could send in a birthday card through the mail

Ideas for Birthday gifts to send in a card

  • Hair ties made from Elastic Ribbon are fabulous for all ages as they are twisted to accommodate pretty much any amount of hair.  You can make them yourself and send, or you can purchase them and send 2-3 in the card without any trouble.  If you need a small amount you might want to look at THESE  if you have a lot  you are gifting, you might want to look at THIS



Ideas of items that could send in a birthday card through the mail

Ideas for Birthday gifts to send in a card

  • Nail decals/stickers are always popular with all ages.  These designs are for young and old, are individually packaged and thin enough to put in with your card and mail regularly.  You will find them HERE



Ideas of items that could send in a birthday card through the mail

Ideas for Birthday gifts to send in a card

  • Here’s a link for JAR GRIPPER PADS  These are wonderful to help with getting a grip on those tight fitting lids and taking the lids off, but also for setting your cups, utensils – anything on so they don’t slid around or scratch the surface.




Ideas of items that could send in a birthday card through the mail

Ideas for Birthday gifts to send in a card

  • These are the coolest things!  They are seed paper.  Which means it’s handmade eco-friendly paper with flower seeds pressed into the shape so when it is planted flowers grow!  There are SO many shapes and types to choose from.  HERE is a SMILEY FACE to get you started


For older kids and TEEN BOYS especially, here are TWO great ideas: 

  • Flying Sticky Animal Frogs.  Each frog is individually sealed in a bag. They are made to stretch from the front legs as well as the back as they are pulled, then let go to fly—and stick 🙂  You’ll see them HERE


  • Vinyl Glitter Stretchy Sticky Hands and Feet Stretchy are individually wrapped.  What to do with these?  Besides ‘slapping’ them on windows, try to pick up small objects!  Find these are HERE



For older teens and adults

  • A Credit Card Pocket Magnifier Ruler Emergency Solar Fire Starter would be great for anyone.   I would like the handy magnifier when I forget my reading glasses, and the teen guy and man in your life would really enjoy all the features of this little tool.  Check it out HERE


  • Or this type of Plastic Reading 300% Magnifier Lens Credit Card Size Fire starter looks great too.  See that one HERE


  • Another very useful idea is to give in your birthday card  RFID Blocking Sleeves Credit Card Holders or Passport Protectors. These are lined with an electromagnetically opaque shield to block signals from high-tech pickpockets and  unauthorized electronic scanning devices; you could give one or two to your birthday recipient. Those are HERE

As you start brainstorming, you will come up with some great ideas yourself, and please share them with us!





1- Make it personal, think of whom you are writing to.

2- Are you going to be cute, funny or sincere in your message?

3- End with a quote if you’d like such as these (from https://www.americangreetings.com)

  • Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. –Sir James Barrie
  • And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. –Abraham Lincoln
  • A friend is, as it were, a second self. –Cicero
  • You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. –C.S. Lewis
  • We turn not older with years, but newer every day. –Emily Dickinson
  • Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! –Henry David Thoreau
  • A true friend is someone who knows all about you and likes you just the same. –Elbert Hubbard
  • Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together. –Woodrow Wilson


4- End with your choice of closing, here are some ideas (from https://ideas.hallmark.com)

  • Warmly,
  • Love,
  • With love,
  • Lots of love,
  • Love always,
  • Much love to you,
  • All my love,
  • Best wishes!
  • Best wishes on your birthday and always,
  • All life’s best to you,
  • Happy Birthday!
  • Wishing you happiness,
  • Warmest wishes,
  • Gratefully,
  • Blessings,
  • God bless,
  • Hugs and kisses,





I hope you will start, or keep on sending those BIRTHDAY and ANNIVERSARY cards because it is one of the most simple, yet gracious and connecting acts we can do.



Click HERE for all of these: Children’s Color-In Birthday Card, 2 Birthday Cards, 2 Anniversary Cards and a Birthday Card for a child

The reasons why we don't write birthday cards, but I have a post that tells you why we should.

Here are a few sites with more ideas of what to write in your card:



from https://ideas.hallmark.com

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today