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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Never Trust a Two Year Old to be Discreet

I suppose anybody reading the title would think that not trusting a two-year old to be discreet should be common knowledge, especially to somebody who raised four children and now has ten grandchildren and two great grandchildren. But sadly, that is not the case.

One day last week, late at night, my daughter asked me if I would mind watching my grandson for a while so she could put on a load of laundry. She placed my grandson on the couch next to me along with a pillow and blanket. Exhausted, he placed his head on the pillow and drank milk from a sippy cup while I turned on the TV to play a Dora Christmas program I had taped and gently rubbed his back.

And then I felt a rumbling in my tummy and knew that some trapped gas was just scrambling to get out. I couldn't jump up fast enough to run into the bathroom though, and within seconds my grandson asked, "What's that smell?" which actually sounded more like, "Wat dat fmao?"

So I whispered in his hear that I had just passed a little gas. And I followed with, "Shhhh…".

I don't know what it is about boys and their fascination with bodily functions, but this little two-year old, who was just getting ready to fall asleep, upon hearing those words, jumped up and shouted from the bottom of his lungs, "GRANDMA FARTED! GRANDMA FARTED!" very clearly. He can't pronounce the word smell, but he can clearly scream my name loud enough for neighbors ten blocks away to hear it.

So – words of caution – never be tempted to whisper a secret in a two-year old's ears if you truly want the secret to remain a secret.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

14 Top Coupon Sites to Help With Shopping

When my kids were little, I often clipped coupons from the newspaper, especially after I discovered that I was saving more by purchasing the paper and using the coupons than I was by not purchasing the newspaper. Week after week coupons for items I actually purchased appeared in that paper and saved me quite a bit of money each week, especially when I went to a store that offered double coupon bonuses.


These days, many online communities post coupons on their sites. They are easy to use. Just click and print. Sometimes you have to join a community to partake of their offerings, but not all of them expect you to join. Of the 14,500,000 coupon sites listed on Google, the ones listed below appear at the top of the list, and most of them don't require you to "join" them.


Especially now at Christmas, and even all year round, we can all use as much help as possible when it comes to making purchases.


Here is a list of 14 top coupon sites:


www.retailmenot.com gives discount-coded coupons that fall sometimes into the 25%-30% range


coupons.smartsource.com I probably shouldn't post this one, because though it offers a variety of grocery products it won't let you leave the page if you want to backtrack to another page you were on before that one. It may have been a glitch, but keep that in mind if you look through their coupons.


solutions.coupons.com tells you how many coupons it offers each day.


www.hotcouponworld.com boasts that it is the Internet's largest grocery community offering forums, blogs, and even chat rooms. You'll have to click the Online Coupons button to get to the coupons.


www.couponcabin.com offers online and print coupons for a variety of stores. According to CouponCabin, the average shopper saves $19 per order.


www.couponmom.com Also offers forums and blogs along with grocery and restaurant coupons. Also has a section for free samples.


www.couponmountain.com lists coupons by stores and also offers savings on laptops and a variety of name-brand stores.


www.coolsavings.com lists coupons by category Top grocery coupons are listed on the right hand side.


valpak You might still get these coupons in the mail, but now you can get them online for restaurants, groceries, auto care, and more.


mycoupons.com – lots of name-brand stores here. Popular categories are listed on the left hand side. Popular stores are listed at the top. Coupons are listed below the popular stores in your area. You can also browse by stores or categories.


slickdeals.net Deals on everything from name-brand stores to great deals on magazine subscriptions.


thecouponclippers.com Says you can "easily save 20-30% of your grocery bill each week." Also that they are "the nation's largest online Grocery Coupon clipping service."


ultimatecoupons.com offers Featured Coupons from the start and lists coupons by category along the left hand side.


www.coupons.com asks you to enter your zip code to get coupons for stores nearest you.


And now for my politically incorrect sign-off – Merry Christmas! Happy Shopping!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Does Your Teenager Work for a Pedophile?

With so much focus placed on preventing young children from becoming victims of sexual assault, we sometimes forget that older children and teenagers are at risk for becoming involved with pedophiles as well.

Pedophilia in the Workplace – Does Your Teenager Work for a Pedophile? discusses ways pedophiles entice teenagers to engage in activities they otherwise would never consider. It tells parents what types of behavior changes they should look for in their sons and daughters, and it offers resources to help parents and teenagers if children become victims of sexual misconduct at work or elsewhere.

Pedophilia in the Workplace also offers resources to help parents prevent the abuse from happening in the first place or to report the abuse if it's too late. And if the abuse has already occurred, it discusses ways parents can relate to their children once they discover that their teenagers have become victims of a pedophile.

For any parent interested in protecting their children and teenagers – whether now or in the future – from becoming involved with sexual predators, Pedophilia in the Workplace is a must read.

Resources listed at the end of the article offer help for children of any age who have been victims of sexual predators.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Early Childhood Educational Resources

For stay-at-home parents, early childhood educators, and day care providers, here are links to three early childhood educational resources.

The first one is through The U.S. Department of Education. It lists grant opportunities, initiatives, educational programs, resources for parents and educators, and provides the tools necessary for raising educationally sound children.

With links to college (federal student aid) and other resources, the site is in desperate need of some updating as many of the links don't work. But some of the more valuable links do work and they are worth checking out, especially if you want a heads-up on what to expect if you plan on sending your child to college.

This next link, while educational, is also fun for your young children. Enchanted Learning includes a printable picture dictionary, templates for tracing and coloring (including the alphabet), online books, games, crafts, and activities. They charge a $20 yearly fee, but I don't understand the fee, because I could access everything for free.

The subscription allows you to access everything without the interruption of banner ads. But banner ads don't bother me. Enchanted Learning also offer site licenses to educational facilities, including child care facilities, but again, I don't understand why they ask for the subscription fee when you can access everything for free. Maybe that will change in the future.

The Idea Box appears to be seasonally motivated with lists of holidays, crafts, and games geared toward whatever month you visit. As this is November, for instance, The Idea Box includes a Stuff the Turkey game and a Turkey Pokey song. It also includes kid friendly recipes along with crafts and other fun activities. The only things missing, as far as I'm concerned, are pictures of finished products. I like to see a project before beginning it. But, all in all, it's a fun site worth exploring.

And don't forget tsl books (which I discuss in a previous post), a great educational tool, because it provides worksheets for your child.

As I discover more learning tools that help the single (and not so single) parent, I will post them here.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

How to get children to stop sucking their thumbs


When my daughter, Lindsey, was a baby, she sucked her thumb almost from birth, possibly even before birth. She wanted nothing to do with pacifiers and would spit them out in favor of her thumb.

When she got older, though, she became embarrassed about her thumb sucking, so, except during nap time, she stopped sucking her thumb during the day.

She continued to suck her thumb at night, though – until she decided she was old enough to completely stop.

As a caring mother, I acknowledged the difficult choice she was making, admitting that habits were hard to break, so I offered to help her with the process by holding her thumbs as she fell asleep.

Kidding. I purchased ointments, but the taste never really bothered her much and my creative little thumb sucker was quick to teach herself how to suck her other thumb.

Ointments were our only option in the 80's – well, that and wearing gloves she knew how to remove. Short of removing the thumbs, parents were at a loss about how to prevent thumb sucking until the child decided on her own to quit her habit. Parents could encourage their children to quit their habits, but could not force them to quit.

Today, encouragement comes in the form of numerous treatment plans – plastic thumb-only gloves and other devices that are supposed to prevent children from getting their thumbs in or too close to their mouths.

But again, what's to stop them from removing those items if they really want to suck their thumbs? All it takes is a little finesse in pulling off plastic and ripping Velcro. And take it from me, those little "child proof" containers are easily manipulated by children who are adept at figuring out how things work.

None of those "remedies" would have worked with Lindsey anyway. She had to decide on her own to quit sucking her thumb.

And that's exactly how it happened. One day, when she was around 4 years old, she came up with a plan. I watched her run to the toy box and empty its contents – one item at a time as she scanned each item and put it down.

"What are you doing?" I asked her.

She was looking for something that looked like a thumb, she told me. I had to smile – she was showing that creative spirit I had grown to love.

She found a long cylindrical block to bring to bed with her. Though she tried, she couldn't find a comfortable way to suck it, so she tossed the block aside and continued sucking her thumb.

Then one day, when she was in grammar school, a girl she really liked asked her to spend the night. "What am I going to do?" She cried. She lamented about not going at all, but decided she really wanted to spend the night at the little girl's house.

So Lindsey decided, hard as it was, to confess to her friend that she sucked her thumb. It was a wise choice. She was so relieved to hear her friend say, "That's OK. I wet the bed."

And a great friendship was formed, built on trust.

Thumb sucking, while it is an embarrassing habit, hurts no one but the thumb sucker, because it shifts their teeth. I think it gives people character, but in all honesty if Lindsey's front teeth had jutted out at an unreasonable angle, I would have gotten her braces.

When I was discussing Lindsey's turmoil over her thumb sucking habit with a woman who was in her 30s, the woman confessed to me that she still sucked her thumb! Wow! I wasn't expecting that. Some habits are just too difficult for some people to break and she found a loving husband who accepted her for herself, habits and all.

Fortunately Lindsey stopped sucking her thumb long before she entered her teens and can now call herself a "former" thumb sucker. But it had to be HER choice, and I think that's how children learn how to stop sucking their thumbs. Parents can help to empower their children, but ultimately the decision and follow through of breaking a difficult habit is up to the child. Learning how to break their own habits teaches them how to strengthen their resolve and make healthy choices.

Until they become teenagers, but that's another blog.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ralph Nalph and Uncle Fert


One of my biggest joys in life is watching children develop into the people they were meant to be. From a very early age, their personalities emerge and their tastes become more refined.

Evidence surfaces in the most unusual places. The one I'm about to relate surfaces in prayer.

Every night before we went to sleep, my three youngest children and I said our evening prayers. In those prayers we asked God to bless Mommy and Daddy, all the grandparents (which we mentioned by name), siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and neighbors.

At the end of the prayer, I always asked each one of the kids if they wanted to say a special prayer for anybody else. "Yes," Lindsey said," I want to say a special prayer for Ralph Nalph." She was 3 years old at the time.

Having never heard of Ralph Nalph, I stifled a laugh and we all said a special prayer for Ralph. My grandmother had recently been dating (or was married to) a Ralph at the time. I thought Lindsey made up a last name for him and decided to say a prayer for the old man.

Uncle Fert was another deal altogether. I'd never heard of Uncle Fert and didn't want to ruin the mood by asking her.

Oddly, we prayed for these two people for many nights in a row before they became a memory. Just recently I came across a Happy Days post about Ralph Malph who was played by Donny Most. Lindsey was 3 years old when that show ended. I always though Ralph Malph was Ralph Mouth, so I never put two and two together. Funny thing about him is that Lindsey has always had a thing for red-headed guys. Many of her guy friends have red hair.

And as far as Uncle Fert goes, I just did a google search on him. Three Uncle Ferts show up. So if any of you are reading this blog, know that in 1984, a little girl was praying for you.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What Methods Do You Use In Your Parenting Skills?

This morning the little boy I watch came over with a blanket the size of a wash rag. It reminded me of the story I'd heard about an ex-son-in-law who was so attached to his blanket, his father devised a way to rid him of the embarrassing (for dad) habit.

Every few nights, when little Wes went to sleep, his father snipped off around 2 inches of his blanket, first from one side, then from another. He left two satiny sides for his son to hold onto. Eventually little Wes dragged around a 2-inch-square rag of a blanket.

That story still cracks me up when I think of this poor little baby walking around with a tiny rag. And I can't help but wonder what went through that baby's mind as he saw his blanket disappearing inch by inch.

When my oldest daughter, Keeley refused to give up her pacifier, I tried to reason with my 2-year old. "Big girls don't use pacifiers."

We walked through the mall without the pacifier and she was perfectly fine UNTIL we came across a little boy who looked to be around 4 years old sucking away on a pacifier. I wondered if that was her first clue that boys were the preferred sex in our world, even when it came to the right to suck on a pacifier.

As my children grew, I watched how other people raised their children and tried to adopt methods I thought would work for me in my parenting. So many things factor into how a child responds to different parenting methods – what works for one child might not necessarily work for another. But when we see other children behaving well, we want to know what they are doing that is different from what we are doing.

One thing I know for certain that works is consistency. If a child knows what to expect, he or she acts according to expectations and consistent action. If mom or dad insists the child go to bed at 8:30 and the child continues to get up with excuse after excuse (getting water, going to the bathroom), parents should address those issues BEFORE bedtime.

While some children are relentless and will make requests, night after night – more water, more food, read another book – if parents consistently refuse to give in to the demanding child, and if parents provide the kind of consistent loving care in every other area of the child's life, eventually the child will give in.

Consistency is tiring work. And some children can so exhaust a parent that some parents cave.

So whatever you do, do it with love and do it consistently. And don't cave in. The rewards are amazing!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What Matters To Your Child

As my son-in-law was sorting socks with my nearly five-year-old granddaughter this morning, I remembered a time when my son was in kindergarten. He came home from school one day incensed that I had sent him to school with two different colored socks.

In my defense, I have never been good with dark colors. Unless I am sitting in direct sunlight, forest green, brown, black, navy blue, and purple look the same to me. So on the day my son came home in utter humiliation that I had embarrassed him by dressing him with two different colored socks (I wonder why he didn't notice them when I put them on him), I devised a plan.

On laundry days when I washed socks, we played the Sock Sort game where all socks got laid out on the couch and everybody pitched in to see how many matches we could find. It didn't take everybody too long a time to figure out that the Sock Sort game was actually work, so when they tired of "the game," I threw the socks in separate drawers and allowed everybody to find his or her own matching socks.

Appearance, even at an early age, is very important to children. I would find the girls draping themselves in necklaces, earrings, bracelets, hats, and crowns while my son labored over his hair cut. I loved is curly locks. He hated them. Though he was only 5 years old, I allowed him to choose his own hair style. Apparently even then he was grooming himself to be a Marine.

So while they sometimes choose mismatched clothes, or they sometimes look like Madonna in her early years, children define who they are by the choices they make. And if we allow them to pursue their own goals, we find unique individuals who discover who they are through their choices.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Positive Emotions of Children With Cancer

As I experience my own bout of breast cancer, I can't help but think back to a time when a little boy I watched had ALL (Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia). He was in kindergarten when his mother discovered bruises all over his body and took him to the doctor to find out what had caused them.

I can't remember if his condition required chemotherapy or radiation, but I do remember his mother calling me one Saturday morning and asking me to come to their home. She opened the door to his bedroom, and asked me what I smelled.

The odor of death was obvious, and she knew, because I had previously worked in a hospital, that I would recognize the smell. Because computers were not around back then, I called the hospital to ask why we would be smelling that odor. According to the emergency room nurse, when cancer cells die due to radiation or chemotherapy, healthy cells die as well. The dying cells emit an odor. His room smelled like a morgue.

I bought Bradley a child's Bible and read him the story of David and Goliath. I told him to imagine that he was David and that the cancer was Goliath. And every time he thought about it I wanted him to sling rocks at Goliath until the giant disappeared into little pebbles that could easily be pounded into powder and blown away. He loved the imagery and participated in killing his own cancer. Bradley eventually went into remission. And while I've lost touch with his family after all these years, I pray he is still well.

I believe prayers are positive energy forces that contribute to a person's well being, and I thank God for all the people praying for me. As hard as it is for my family and friends to watch me go through cancer, though, I am grateful for the health of my own children and grandchildren.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Is Asthma Related To Colic or Acid Reflux

After I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I started researching the relationships between asthma and my other problems. I recently came across something I want to relate to you. And the reason I want to relate it to you is that I know many parents deal with colic or acid reflux.

As a baby I was what my mother termed, "colicky" which accounted for lots of sleepless nights for her. The term most people use today is acid reflux and I can't begin to count the number of people whose babies have suffered from this problem. One in particular had a grandchild who suffered so severely from acid reflux that he had to be hospitalized on numerous occasions.

Because babies who suffer from reflux (also known as GER or Gastro Esophageal Reflux) experience a myriad problems which include respiratory, wheezing, or pneumonia, does the possibility exist that they may also develop asthma? My asthma didn't begin until I was five years old. I still have it. I also continue to have gastrointestinal problems. Coincidence?

During my research I came across a website that offers an all-natural product called Colic Calm. If you click the link you can read more about the product. While I no longer have babies of my own living in my home, I would probably order a caseload of it for people like my mother who had to endure my endless hour-upon-hour cry-fests. My personal preference for any medication is to use an all-natural product, and this one would have been my choice in dealing with reflux.

This natural acid reflux remedy appears on a site that offers information about the causes and treatment of acid reflux. So if this problem applies to you, please read more about infant reflux and GER in babies and newborns by clicking any of the links posted in this blog.

My own personal opinion about the relationship between colic (or acid reflux) and asthma is that they are related. Had Colic Calm been available when I was an infant, I wonder if I would have ever developed asthma. I wish somebody would do a study on it (I wonder if it works on adults).

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Recording Memories


This post actually applies to all parents, not just single parents.

My reason for writing it is because I felt an urgent need to respond to my granddaughter, Sarah, who is looking for friends and family members to post memories about her (from her facebook page). I decided to record one of my memories in this blog.

Anyway, Sarah...

Remember when we went to a Chinese buffet together? (You're already smiling, aren't you?) We sat across from each other, grandmother and granddaughter, and you looked into my eyes and said in your most considerate voice, "Grandma, do you have any mustache lightener?"

And I looked back at you, and – for a moment – thought, should I respond in a concerned grandmotherly way, or should I respond in a way that might bring a little smile to your face? And so I said it this way:

"Well, Sarah, no, I don't. But I do have something that darkens a mustache." (Every truly menopausal grandma has a dark mustache, right?)

OK, I didn't mention menopause, and menopausal grandmas do NOT always have mustaches, but WOW what an effect that statement had on you. Your eyelids popped open and jumped to your forehead. Your eyebrows crossed in confusion. Your Chinese food spurt out of your mouth like mini torpedoes as you gasped for air while you choked on it.

And when I saw your face, knowing you were wondering why the heck I would want to use mustache dye, we both burst out laughing and laughing and laughing and laughing until everybody in the restaurant thought we were both on something. Or crazy. Maybe both.

We couldn't stop laughing and the more we tried to stop, the harder we laughed. We were both wiping tears from our eyes from laughing so hard. We couldn't even look at each other without one of us laughing all over again. It was like one breath was all it took to start the whole process over again. I've never had so many people turn around to stare at me before you came along. You had me laughing so hard I couldn't tell you immediately that I used mustache dye to darken my eyebrows.

Ah, what a great fun memory. You know, I can even remember where we sat.

Love you, Sarah
G-ma

(By the way, that beautiful young woman is my granddaughter, Sarah. And, hey, if setting up a blog for recording memories is something you would like to attempt, I have a FREE e-book I can email to you if you want to give it a try – just post a comment below and I'll send it to you.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

HOME MADE STICKERS!

Just found another great link written by one of my AC (Associated Content) buddies.

While I was raising my children alone, I looked for anything and everything to make life more simple and less costly. Had I read this article years ago, I would have used this method for creating stickers, because some of those sticker books are very costly.

Kids enjoy making their own projects and to be able to create their own stickers will be even more fun for them.

Read How to Make Homemade Stickers by Crystal Ray to learn how to create them. Making items with your children gives you an opportunity to spend quality time with them and provides and added benefit – they will love being able to play with you.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Improve Your Child's Mind With These Two Sources

In our efforts to raise well-rounded children, one area we do not want to neglect in our children's development is their educational needs.

Today I offer two sources to help you provide more educational materials for your children.

The first source is a blog written by an author/educator. Who better to help increase your child's reading level than an author, a curriculum guide, and a teacher all wrapped up in one exceptional blogger? I just came across this blog written by Kate whose inaugural blog includes book recommendations that help children develop "Multiple Intelligences" -- spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and linguistic.

But Kate doesn't just provide lists of books for children to read; she also provides activities to help children develop those skills.

Expect more in the weeks to come from Kate Narita.

The next source I would like to recommend is a web site that offers various worksheets for children from preschool age to fifth grade. Print out math, English, and other pages for your children to work on every day as a supplement to what they're learning in school or as part of a home-school curriculum. My daughter-in-law uses this web site, and if you browse the site, you will agree that tlsbooks is a great help for parents and educators.
www.tlsbooks.com http://www.tlsbooks.com/

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Email Share

Maybe you've already read this email, but I always believe that laughter washes over the soul to replenish it. And single parents need lots of replenishing.

Borrowed from somebody (wish I knew who you were) or maybe compiled from a lot of somebodies, are the following fun sayings from some very funny grandchildren:

1. She was in the bathroom putting on her makeup under the watchful eyes of her young granddaughter, as she'd done many times before. After she applied her lipstick and started to leave, the little one said, "But Gramma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!" I will probably never put lipstick on again without thinking about kissing the toilet paper good-bye....

2. My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday. He asked me how old I was and I told him 62. My grandson was quiet for a moment and then he asked, "Did you start at 1?"

3. After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left the room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice, "Who was THAT?"

4. A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood was like: "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods." The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said, "I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"

5. My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?" I mentally polished my halo and I said, "No, how are we alike?'' "You're both old," he replied.

6. A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's word processor. She told him she was writing a story. "What's it about?" he asked. "I don't know," she replied. "I can't read.."

7. I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it was. She would tell me and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I continued. At last, she headed for the door, saying, "Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of theseyourself!"

8. When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept the lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in. Noticing them before I did, Billy whispered, "It's no use, Grandpa. Now the mosquitoes are coming after us with flashlights."

9. When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, "I'm not sure." "Look in your underwear, Grandpa," he advised, "mine says I'm 4 to 6."

10. A second grader came home from school and said to her grandmother, "Grandma, guess what? We learned how to make babies today." The grandmother, more than a little surprised, tried to keep her cool. "That's interesting," she said, "how do you make babies?" "It's simple," replied the girl. "You just change 'y' to 'i' and add 'es'."

11. Children's Logic: "Give me a sentence about a public servant," said a teacher. The small boy wrote: "The fireman came down the ladder pregnant." The teacher took the lad aside to correct him.

"Don't you know what pregnant means?" she asked. "Sure," said the young boy confidently. 'It means carrying a child."

12. A grandfather was delivering his grandchildren to their home one day when a fire truck zoomed past . Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children started discussing the dog's duties. "They use him to keep crowds back," said one child. "No," said another. "He's just for good luck." A third child brought the argument to a close. "They use the dogs," she said firmly, "to find the fire hydrants."

13. A 6-year-old was asked where his grandma lived. "Oh," he said, "she lives at the airport, and when we want her, we just go get her. Then, when we're done having her visit, we take her back to the airport."

14. Grandpa is the smartest man on earth! He teaches me good things, but I don't get to see him enough to get as smart as him!

15. My Grandparents are funny, when they bend over, you hear gas leaks, and they blame their dog.


Enjoy! (And thank you Maryon, for sharing.)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Healthy Self Esteem or Conceited?

I believe that one of the most important tasks as a parent is raising children with HEALTHY self esteem. By that I mean children who respect themselves so much they would never consider risking their health or their spirits by engaging in activities that were sure to hurt them.

So when my oldest daughter was very young, I told her often how beautiful she was, inside and out, how smart she was, how this she was, how that she was, until I could come up with no more adjectives to accurately describe just how awesome I thought she was. I just kept repeating my compliments over and over and...

Then she went to kindergarten and discovered that other people didn't think she was as amazing as her mommy thought she was. As she told me decades later, she was "shocked" by how differently she was treated at school. And she wished I had never built her up to the point that she was let down so hard, she had to reconstruct her whole image of herself.

The reason I think I went so overboard was because my mother never complimented me. And my father didn't help my self image, because he tipped the scales so far into the opposite direction that I grew up believing I was stupid and ugly (children tend to pay more attention to negative input).

When I asked my mother years later why she never complimented me, she said it was because she didn't want me to get a big head. "You succeeded," I told her, "because now I feel like Beetlejuice at the end of the movie when the Indian sprinkled magic dust on his head and it shrunk to the size of an apple."

So does that mean we should endlessly compliment our children? No. We don't want cocky, conceited brats who think the world revolves around them. We want children who care, not only about themselves, but about others as well, children who are self-aware, but children who are also other-aware.

So what exactly is healthy self-esteem? When your child feels confident enough to speak in public without fear of getting pummeled, she has healthy self esteem. When your child can walk up to another child and offer to be a friend, he has healthy self esteem. When your child is able to express herself, she has healthy self esteem. If your child cares enough about himself to stay away from drugs and alcohol, or to engage in sex too young...well, you get the picture.

Years ago, in an attempt to raise my own self-esteem, I read numerous books on the subject and eventually developed a program to enable parents and teachers to work with their children in order to form healthy self esteem. I placed the program on Associated Content and I provide a link below.

Will this program guarantee that your child will grow up with healthy self esteem? No. You can guide your children to travel one path, but if the other parent insists on pushing them off that path by bashing, belittling, and degrading them, the best you can do is gently guide them back to the path of healthy self esteem and embrace them with warm hugs.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Do Children From Single Parents Stand a Chance?

Are our children doomed from the start because they're being raised by single parents? Are we doing everything humanly possible to raise responsible, loving adults? Do we feel inadequate as parents because we are single?

STOP WORRYING! And read this lovely story about a woman who raised her daughter alone and discovered that despite being a single parent, she managed to raise a beautiful, responsible, and loving daughter who let her mom know just how much she appreciated her.

Can a Single Parent Ever Do Enough? is a truly touching story. Please click on the link.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

How Much Help Do Parents Actually Need?

How much help do parents actually need to raise healthy, loving, happy, and productive children? LOTS.

Fortunately, lots of resources are available to help parents who have questions about raising their children. Here are a few of those resources (and at the end of this blog is a link to an article I came across that offers some great uses for coffee filters – just thought I'd throw that in the mix – after all don't we love hearing about ways to save money?) :

My Family is a web site that allows you to create a network of parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, children, grandchildren, and grandparents who share photos, stories, and news about their own families. You can invite family members of family members to join as well.

Parenting is an online magazine that offers articles on everything from how to get pregnant to how to choose the right preschool for your toddler.

Parenting (ivillage) is a community of parents with several areas devoted to all aspects of parenting and includes videos, customized calendars, mom-to-mom advice, and links to maternity information, as well as articles about your tween and teen.

Parenthood is another great web site that offers parents advice on the parenting process.

Though numerous parenting web sites exist, many of them include most of the information and resources as those found above. Even if they are the caliber of the sites posted above, this next one is worth mentioning. Family Education is a great parenting web site organized in such a way that you can quickly locate information geared to the specific age of your child(ren). It includes printable games and activities for children, games for mom, and a recipe database.

And now for the promised coffee filter article entitled, "20 Uses For Coffee Filters Around The House."

Friday, July 24, 2009

Single by Divorce?

We are single parents for a variety of reasons. Maybe we were never married. Maybe our spouse died. Maybe we made the choice to be single. Or maybe we're divorced.

As we know, the consequences of divorce affect not only us, but also, and sometimes especially, our children. We know first-hand the pain and the anguish divorce causes US, but, because we are so focused on our own grief, we sometimes neglect to pay attention to the devastating effects divorce has on OUR CHILDREN.

Maybe your husband drank too much. Maybe your wife was a crack addict. But no matter what the problem was that led to your divorce, whether it was gambling, affairs, whatever, YOUR CHILDREN BLAME THEMSELVES for the divorce and everything related to the divorce. Your children look upon the dissolution of your marriage as THEIR responsibility. And they blame themselves COMPLETELY.

While we focus on ourselves and our problems, our children have nowhere to go but inside themselves where the blame becomes compounded and the sadness absorbs into every fiber of their being. With one parent gone, the health and safety of our children sits precariously in our hands. Are we capable of handling the problems that arise as a result of our decision to divorce their father or mother?

Fortunately help comes in a variety of forms, and as I discover more help for single parents, I will post what I find here. Today I would like to link you to a new DIVORCE BLOG. Click the link, read the posts, leave comments, and heal yourself and your children.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Commercial You Won't Mind Watching


Take your mind off your troubles for one minute. Yes, that's right. One minute. If you don't find yourself at least smiling during this one minute, you are more stressed than anybody I know. Take a break – sit down, and drink some water. Evian, for instance, has suddenly become good for the soul.

If you haven't seen this video, here's your chance to watch something that is so refreshing and so cute, I can't stop myself from showing it to everybody. It will quench your thirst for funny. You're gonna love it.


Makes me wish I had stock in Evian.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Single Parents With Emotionally Challenged Kids

Over the past 45 years I have witnessed a number of children who were so emotionally damaged they were nearly crippled by their problems. Fortunately only 7 children (of the probably one hundred children I cared for over the years) qualify as being in that group. Sadly 7 is too many.

In my article,

Children in Distress - Depressed and Anxious


I talk about each of those children, discuss my interpretation of their problems, and offer help through a couple of online sources available to parents struggling with autism and with other emotional disorders. I invite your comments, your experiences, and your suggestions.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

AMBER ALERT- Reachelle Smith


While this post is intended for all parents, not just for single parents, I am doing my part in spreading the word about this precious little girl after reading about it from Donald Pennington's Article. She has been missing for 3 years.

I just joined a FaceBook group that promises to spread the word about finding Reachelle Smith. Like many people, I checked with snopes.com to verify the Amber Alert's validity. It is absolutely and sadly true.

What you are looking at is a photo of Reachelle Smith when she was only 3 years old. Please read about her at any of the links I've provided and, if you know of her whereabouts, contact your local police department.

As John Walsh always says, "You CAN make a difference."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cyber Highway Robbery


If you are a single parent struggling to make ends meet, pay attention to the information in the following article. Paying for shipping and handling fees when you expect to receive a FREE TRIAL can end up costing you thousands of dollars. When you answer ads, pay attention to the wording: "As seen on" means only what it says.

Ads that appear to be celebrity endorsed, usually ARE NOT. Unless you hear from the celebrity's own lips that he or she is endorsing a particular product, do not fall victim to the words, "As Seen On." Click here –

CONSUMER FRAUD ALERT: "As Seen on Oprah" is NOT Oprah Endorsed

to find out more.

Some of the worst offender ads: Resveratrol, Res V, Acai Berry

Thursday, June 11, 2009

If you HATE house cleaning, read on...


One of my least favorite tasks is cleaning house. Not only did I (and do I) despise the job, I find absolutely NO TIME to devote to it. Carving out time from an already busy schedule to do something I absolutely and unequivocally hate, hate, hate, caused me to create house cleaning games to make the job more appealing. 

I still hate the job. But now it's a little more enjoyable. And if my kids were still little, I would have them play these games with me. For my daycare kids, I occasionally use the five-minute timer approach (when they argue about cleaning up and the weather is uncooperative, so this doesn't work: "Let's hurry up and clean the play room, so we can go outside and play.").

I used to have my kids help me organize socks ("Let's play the Sock Match game!") when they were little – until they got to the age when they realized that sorting socks was work.

Eventually, everything once again becomes Mom's or Dad's job, but scheduling time to clean your home might sometimes be nearly impossible. Read these tips on HOW TO MAKE CLEANING HOUSE FUN.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Career Challenges


Every once in a while I come across other articles that relate to single parent issues, and, rather than discuss the articles, I have decided to place a link to them.

We are a special class of parents who "do it all" and are sometimes left emotionally drained at the end of the day. We face all kinds of challenges from the moment we wake up in the morning to long after we fall asleep – as we dream about how to solve our many problems.

Janet Hunt addresses one of our many challenges in her article: 


After you read her article, click on her profile. You'll find many articles that list various career-related articles.

The photo of Janet Hunt is taken from her profile at associatedcontent.com.

Until next time, I wish you Love, Peace, Joy, Harmony, Happiness, and Success 

Monday, June 1, 2009

Parents Helping Parents

As single parents, we are not unlike our married friends when it comes to seeking advice in dealing with our children. But because we are raising our children alone, we want as much help as possible and when we come upon somebody who offers to help us, we grab onto that help and share our findings with other single parents.

After I wrote my article, How Touch Affects Your Children, a woman by the name of Maggie Macauley, of Whole Hearted Parenting, contacted me to tell me she would be linking my article to her web site. She also authors a blog at http://wholeheartedparenting.blogspot.com/. I highly recommend her for parenting issues and I wanted to share my "find" with you. 

Her slogan: 

Joyfully Parenting with Your Whole Heart.

Her mission:

to provide parents with loving skills to build deeper


relationships with their children and to increase their effectiveness in raising children who grow into responsible, productive and happy adults

to provide teachers with the classroom management


skills that build a connected school family where children belong and can maximize their learning potential
 
Just wanted to share, and if you find anything helpful for single parents as you surf various sites, please share your "finds" with me.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Keeping a Straight Face When Kids are Too Funny


Sometimes we can't help ourselves. Our kids do something so funny, we HAVE to laugh. Often we try not to.

Case in point (from a baby's point of view):

OK, I'm getting up. I've almost got it. Balancing is hard, but I'm really working on it. Almost. Almost. I'm up! Take a step. Just one. I DID IT! Then BAM! Down to the floor I go. Look at them. All of them. Laughing at me. After I've worked so hard to be upright.

Yes, that's where it starts. Of course, some children are a little more sensitive than others, but we are the parents so we try to make ourselves aware of our children's sensitivities.

Except when we can't help ourselves. Our children bring home pictures of angels that look like something out of a horror film or they spell words in ways that would have Webster shrieking with pain. We bite our lips.

And then, every once in a while, maybe on a full moon, or maybe just because, we cannot help ourselves and cry from laughing so hard at something our children have done or said that when we see the look of confusion spread across their faces, we laugh all the more, because even THAT is funny.

Now the tears are flowing and we can't stop ourselves. The laughter seems to have an energy all its own, exploding out of us like lava.

Until we see the pained expression in our children's faces. We have to pull ourselves together and say something that lets them know we're not exactly laughing AT them, but BECAUSE of them, and NOT in a mean way, but in a LOVING way, so we say something like, "I am just so happy that you are my son (or daughter) that sometimes I have to laugh really hard, because I'm THAT happy!" We hug them tightly and tell them we love them soooooo much. And if we're lucky and they believe us, all is forgiven.

The picture above was drawn by my youngest daughter when she was in first grade. The Little Mermaid was my favorite cartoon movie, so she drew my fayfrit cortone just for me.

Monday, May 18, 2009

COUPONS & SHOPPING



WHY don't they make coupons like this one for people like me?

I HATE shopping. 

I know – you're thinking, WHAT!??? A woman who hates shopping?

Yes, it's true. I've always hated shopping – ALL kinds of shopping. My mother used to drag me to the store with her and find me sitting on a bench or on the floor somewhere begging to be let go.

Fortunately I have sisters who enjoy the circus attractions where crowds of bargain hunters spend massive amounts of money to look like the latest screen goddess. I, however, decided long ago, that when I had children of my own, I would NEVER take them shopping – I would let my husband do it. 

Two husbands later I realized I would forever be stuck with the task of shopping. Oh, how I would have loved to have had the Internet back then. Instead, I dragged myself to the store, memorized the contents of each aisle (so I would know exactly where everything was located), and told myself what a genius I was, because I had discovered a way to make my shopping experience a little more tolerable. But just when I was getting comfortable with product placement, the grocery store would switch its products. My experience became more like a job.

I made lists and I clipped coupons to expedite my shopping trips. That helped, until I realized I was spending more by using the coupons than I was by not using them. You see, if I saw a $1.00 off coupon, I thought only of savings. It didn't occur to me that I would never purchase this product without a coupon.

Ultimately, after I had amassed enough coupons to fill an encyclopedia, I learned to clip coupons ONLY for the products I used. But that became a problem, too, because then I had to sort through them to find all the ones that were expired.

So I bought a file folder with months labeled at the top, which only added to my problems, because when I forgot about them, I would find coupons that I should have used the year before.

Years later, I finally developed a system that worked. Coupons get placed in my wallet where they have only so much breathing room. Once the wallet becomes too thick, I sort through the few coupons left, and throw out the rest.

I HATE throwing anything away, though, so that last sentence was an absolute lie. I hoard everything. I recently found a coupon from 2003.

By now you're probably wondering HOW this helps the single parent. Here is my answer – don't you suddenly feel better about your organizational skills?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Preschool Boredom


Two words never make their way into my home: I'm bored. Why? Because we have so many things to do, so many games to play, and so many books to read. We don't have time to be bored. 

With summer around the corner, I decided to organize all of the boredom-prevention ideas I had into an article. Why? Because I sometimes forget – until one of the kids mentions it – that I've hidden certain toys and games in a closet – which I fully intend to bring out at a later date – but I forget I have them.

So I have listed HERE 17 boredom-fighting activities.

The photo, by the way, is of my beautiful granddaughter, Audrey.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I'll be honest...


I raised four children beneath the level of poverty. Yes, my parents helped. And thankfully, one of my sisters stepped in to help as well. We lived in a mobile home in a community that thought of mobile home dwellers as "trailer trash." My children learned about prejudice and hatred from a very early age.

They suffered constant taunts from children and adults alike – even, believe it or not, from adults who worked at the school they attended. They wore clothes from KMart when brand name clothing was popular, and they knew that Mom couldn't buy all the luxuries their friends parents' could afford. As a single parent, I was fully and sadly aware of what they were going through, but I didn't have the money to move them to a more affluent area. 

Trailers fall apart and what would be normal wear and tear for a house was devastating to our "home." I could barely afford the tape around the windows.

I was extremely depressed about our situation for the longest time, until I thought about THIS and it turned around my way of thinking.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Mother's Day Memory


Mother's Day reminds me not only of events I shared with my own mother; it reminds me also of times I shared (and continue to share) with my own children. 

If you are a mother reading this blog, I'll bet you share a memory similar to mine. Read about it HERE.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Letter Factory


If encouraging your preschoolers to love learning is high on your priority list in terms of preparing them for school, you will LOVE LEAPFROG! The Letter Factory teaches children not only how to recognize the letters in the alphabet, but also how to remember the sound each letter makes. 

After children learn their letters and sounds with the Letter Factory (and even while they are learning their letters and sounds), put on the Talking Words Factory to teach children how to put the letters together to make words. The kids in my daycare love these videos that are made in such a creative way, you will be impressed too.

If you want an innovative and fun way to teach your children how to learn their letters and sounds, LEAPFROG videos are a worthwhile purchase. Of everything I bought for my daycare, these two items sit at the top of my list of things I'm grateful I bought. Try them. You might even find yourself singing along with the songs!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

MOMs WILL LOVE THIS!

SHARE THIS link with your Mom or your mommy friends. Guaranteed they will love it.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Discipline That WORKS!

Consistency.

I could leave the whole blog right now with just that one word. Consistency.

"No matter what you do, be consistent." Those were the words of a therapist who told me that if I were to continue raising my daughter in the same manner I had been raising her, she would fumble through life, and I would be doing her (and me) no favors.

Many times I grounded her "for life" and then retracted the punishment the next day. I insisted that she could NOT go to the dance on Friday night, then drove her there myself because I either forgot what I said or I felt bad for telling her no in the first place.

I was the queen of "mixed messages." And my daughter learned very quickly that if she just quieted down a little, Mom would soon forget the punishment or change the punishment.

Inconsistency disrupted our lives. And I was responsible for that inconsistency. I had to learn how to be consistent in my behavior toward my daughter so that she would know what to expect from me and from herself. 

I've mentioned before that discipline is not punishment. I had to change my mindset from one of punishment to one of discipline. A benefit of being consistent was that it helped me learn how to discipline not only all of my children, but myself as well.

Being consistent and keeping my promises wasn't always easy. I sometimes forgot, but I worked at becoming a successful mom. I reminded myself to follow through with discipline. And it paid off. My children learned how to respect me, themselves, AND my rules and guidelines. 

Being consistent is sometimes difficult. But it's necessary, because children need to know what is expected of them.

Parents also need to teach their children how to respect boundaries. Children manipulate parents if parents allow their children to control them. What that does is teach children how to control others. 

By maintaining consistency in respect to raising our children, our own lives become more manageable. In a state of consistency, we teach our children how to moderate themselves and how to respect themselves and others. When children know what to expect from life, they are relieved of numerous stressors brought about by chaotic lives. 

Lives lived with inconsistency are chaotic. Consistency reassures children that what you expect from them today is what you expect from them tomorrow. 

When you remain consistent in your behavior, you are, in effect, telling your children that you love them, because you care enough to discipline them.

So I leave this blog with two words: consistency and love.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

An Amazingly Simple Snack Using Very Ripe Bananas

Every week, because I follow the guidelines of the food program to which I belong, I end up purchasing way more than four little mouths will eat, and I always end up with bananas that turn black.

I hate waste and decided to try an experiment with the kids. But I wouldn't tell them exactly what they were eating. Not that I would lie to them, but if I introduced the item as, "old bananas you wouldn't eat," I might as well just throw the whole thing in the garbage.

So I mashed one of the bananas until it was creamy in consistency, dipped a fork into peanut butter, and pulled out as much as would stick to the fork, creamed it into the mashed banana, and spread it onto crackers.

The kids LOVED it. I tried it on toast, and they ate that too. Next I will try it on bagels and English muffins.

WARNING! Never let the kids watch you make this spread. If they see you using OLD bananas they probably won't eat it, and if you call it peanut butter with banana, the probably won't try it, either, but if you call it "Banana Nut Spread," they will be curious. They might even like it as much as the kids in my daycare did. (Obviously not for children with peanut allergies.)

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