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Grandma Spencer’s Cupboard

I have a red moleskin notebook that I keep in a spare drawer in my kitchen that is used to capture fun, original ideas for Willow for when she is older.  The notebook isn’t used to collect ideas from the internet or magazine.  Since I am now operating with 50% of my original brain, I have to write the ideas down so that I won’t forget.  So far my husband and I have logged The Elements of a Perfect Tree House, Pink Pig Tuesday Mail Mailbox, Silly Chili and more.  Today a new idea came up and I texted my mom about it.  She’s good to run things by to enhance ideas like this.  So I tell her the plan is to start buying awesome but completely random products, gift wrapping them and then storing them in a closet.  Then when Willow is older and is ready for training and reward systems, she would have this amazing closet of beautifully wrapped gifts to select from when she does something that exhibits good behaviors.  Anything from being patient, to sharing, to remembering to brush everyday, to getting a good comment from a teacher.  All moments where a special prize would be a good reinforcement to encourage repeat behaviors.  Well, it just so happened that my mom had this exact same thing when she was little!  Her’s was operated by her grandmother and whenever she did a specific thing, she got to select a toy from her grandmother’s cupboard as her reward.  So, we’ve decided to call Willow’s system “Grandma Spencer’s Cupboard”.  It’s not often that you can find a way to connect so directly a little girl to her great-great-grandmother.  It will be really special to tell her about this wonderful person and how important she was to my mom.  And hopefully, it will also make her have another reason to see what a special little girl she is by participating in a nearly 2/3 century old tradition :)  And for me, now I have an excuse to buy that 6-foot tall inflatable monkey online that looks just amazing that got me thinking of all of this in the first place!  Ooo-Ooo Eee-Eee yeah!


  1. Jackie

    I love that idea! As a teacher I’ve used reward boxes before. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to use them for Russell too.

  2. MeMaw

    I am the little girl who was the recipient of Grandma Spencer’s Cupboard presents. Some of my favorite were little games that we then played like “Go Fish” “Gin” “Chinese Checkers” and “Jacks”. Loved the Jacks. Looking back, I realize how special it was to have a grandma who was in her 70s and who could still get down on the floor and play Jacks. Her gift of her time was the best, yet underappreciated (at the time) gift.

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