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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nurturing Creativity in Children

Audrey and Nolan frequently show Brittney and their grandma (me) their own "talents" as they dance and sing in front of the television while watching America's Got Talent, and previously, American Idol (shown in the background).

This afternoon at lunch, while Audrey, Nolan, and I were discussing jugglers, Audrey wanted to know if jugglers could juggle pizzas and then catch them in their mouths one at a time while juggling the other pizzas.

After some discussion, we decided it might be better if they juggled pieces of pizza rather than the whole pie, because the juggler might have difficulty eating an entire pizza while juggling. (But then, what do I know about juggling?)

As we continued eating, Audrey's eyes got their familiar gleam as she looked at her glass. "I got an idea! Why don't jugglers try to juggle glasses of water!"

Now, THAT would be phenomenal if jugglers could juggle glasses of water, I told her.

I love her ability to conceive of ideas and I strive to nurture her creativity by applauding her ideas and discussing them with her (though I have to admit that sometimes I have to laugh).

Creativity doesn't always magically manifest into tangible products. How many patents sit in the patent office, even the 1,093 belonging to Thomas Edison, that haven't materialized?

Creativity is the ability to take two concepts, related or not related, and put them together in a completely new way. Children have minds that are so open to possibilities that creativity is just waiting to be nurtured. Natural explorers who are adept at asking why, children often come up with some pretty creative ideas (some very funny) and will present some very convincing arguments for their ideas if parents would only ask.

The next time your child comes up to you with a new idea, listen for that seed of creativity and nurture it. You might be surprised – and you might find some genius ideas sprouting!

The photo of Audrey and Nolan was posted in another blog Who Wants a Poppochino?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

How To Entertain Your Family With Only A Can Of Bug Spray

 Last night, two of my daughters and two of my grandchildren and I found a simple form of entertainment that was so engaging, even the lightening and thunder outside could not rouse us from our positions on the floor.

Prior to this photo being taken, the room with the arrow was pitch black save for the glistening silk shining with each lightening flash.

Nolan noticed it from the hallway when he and his sister Audrey got out of their beds for the third time.

The arrow points to a spider that had built a web so large it was designed to capture humans. Hanging from the ceiling fan above, it had woven its world wide web so large, any one of us might have fallen into it the following morning.

Perhaps it thought it was starring in the new film, Attack of the Killer Spider. I was to be its intended victim.

Though you can't tell from the photo, the spider was quite large and threatening before Brittney drowned it in wasp spray (no time to look for the spider spray that was directly behind it) and the web was built so quickly, you would have thought the spider felt it was on a time limit!

Hours earlier I had been sitting in that room and walking around directly in line with where the spider was later found deceptively hanging in the dark. Perhaps it was then that the spider wove its trap, hoping to capture a giant meal (me).

I'm so glad my family returned before they found me wrapped in a spider sac hanging from the ceiling fan.

We hate bugs in my family, but we are fascinated by them. When Brittney was younger, she used to lift slabs of limestone just to watch all the bugs crawl around. Now we have an arsenal of products to kill them if they ever enter our home (they obviously have no sense of danger).

I know there will be those of you who will be horrified that I killed a spider, and I have to tell you honestly, that I usually grab a tissue and carry the little buggers outside. But when they are big enough to eat me, and I can't coerce them to leave the premises, I have to resort to death tactics. So I apologize to those of you who mourn the death of the magnificent spider who spun a web of gigantic proportions.

But the purpose of this blog is to explain to you how to captivate your children with only the cost of bug spray. If you're ever at a loss for entertainment, consider bug watching. The kids will love it.

(Photo left to right: Audrey, Nolan, Brittney, Lindsey)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Getting Your Kids To Eat Healthy Foods

If you're old enough to remember the following commercial, you're probably a grandmother or grandfather by now. And you have learned, with all the competition from McDonald's and other fast food restaurants, that getting kids to eat healthy foods can be (but doesn't have to be) a challenge.

Remember Mikey and the Life Cereal Commercial:

Brother One: What's this stuff?

Brother Two: Some cereal. S'posed to be good for you.

Brother One: You gonna try it?

Brother Two: I'm not gonna try it – you try it.

Brother One: Hey, let's get Mikey!

Brother Two: Yeah. He won't eat it – he hates everything.

But something mysterious happens.

Hey Mikey! He likes it!

Not all kids are fussy eaters, but in my experience, with four kids, ten grandkids, and two great-grandkids, I can attest to the fact that most children have finicky moments and some of them are very particular about their food ingestion habits.

One of my grandsons, for example, ate nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for months at a time. Another one of my grandsons currently ransacks the refrigerator for hot dogs, which he thinks are great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time.

Even today, one commercial on TV shows a mom shushing a woman in a grocery store for mentioning the nutritional value of the food she's offering as a sample.

When did something "good for you" become so distasteful? And when did we resort to sneaking healthy foods into our kids' diets just to get them to eat more nutritionally?

Whatever the reason, I think it's genius. As far as I know Jessica Seinfeld was the first person who mastered the art of food deception. And I know it works, because my daughter-in-law sneaks healthy foods into her children's diets much the same way Jerry Seinfeld's wife does, and they love it.

If you haven't read Jessica Seinfeld's book, Deceptively Delicious, I highly recommend purchasing it, reading it, and using it. She has some great recipes in there.

While you are waiting for your book to arrive, how about reading an article I came across today entitled, Healthy Foods Your Kids Will Love To Eat by Cheri Majors. Cheri offers some great ideas and if you click on the link, you can read about how to sneak vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, and eggplant into your family foods.

Cheri also provides a recipe for a very healthy frozen ice cream (yogurt) bar the kids can make themselves.

Just last week one of my grandsons searched my pantry and refrigerator after my other grandchildren had eaten all the bananas, apples, oranges, and other nutritious snacks and complained, "Don't you have ANYTHING healthy to eat?"

Kaden is only 5 and already health conscious. Raising healthy children who desire a healthy lifestyle can be done!

Monday, July 5, 2010

How NOT to Get Out Stains & How TO Get Out Stains

Years ago, when my kids were young, I tried every conceivable method of removing stains that I could fathom. What usually worked for me was to take the item, place it in a sink with cold water, rub a bar of soap directly into the stain, and rub the soaped up item between my knuckles, repeating the process until the stain disappeared.

It didn't matter what type of bar soap I used; the method worked for almost every type of stain. Except one: baby formula. I breastfed my three youngest babies for the first eight months of their lives (doctor's orders and my desire – would have liked for it to have gone for a year, but that's another story), then fed them formula for the next four months.

Yes, my stain removal method worked for grass stains, for blood, for feces, and even for spaghetti sauce (sorry, didn't mean to put feces and spaghetti sauce in the same sentence – oops I did it twice). So when I discovered that baby formula didn't respond, I formulated another idea, which I KNEW would remove the stain – BLEACH!

I rubbed soap and bleach into the stain, washed it out and – nothing happened. I am not one to give up, though, and the baby formula stain was annoying me. It developed its own personality and taunted me relentlessly.


And so I did. I once again rubbed soap into the stain, scrubbed so hard I thought my knuckles would grow another set of knuckles, and placed the offending stain into a bowl filled with bleach.

Do you know what happens to cotton fabric when it's been left in a bowl of bleach overnight? It disintegrates.

I WON! I got rid of the stain! Of course the tiny t-shirt was only strands of fabric, but I WON! I removed the stain FOREVER!

I could end this blog there, but how irresponsible of me would it be if I didn't direct you toward an article about how to actually remove stains? Please read Janet Hunt's, Laundry Stain Removal Tips by clicking the link. At the end of her article, Janet refers you to list of various types of stains and their removal process (it even includes treatment for baby formula).


Friday, July 2, 2010

When a Baby is Born With Jaundice

I will never forget the day I drove for over an hour to get to the hospital where my daughter, Brittney, had just given birth to her first baby, Audrey. I was going to help out for a few days while her husband worked, and I was looking forward to spending time with my newest granddaughter.

I walked into the hospital room fully expecting to see my new granddaughter wrapped and ready to go. She had been born with jaundice and had already spent many hours beneath the bili-lights inside a plastic bubble. Because she spent so much time receiving treatment for jaundice, Brittney and Scott hadn't been able to spend much time with her.

On the day I drove down to help my daughter, I saw Brittney packing her bag, bent over the bed. When she saw me, she fell apart sobbing. The hospital wouldn't allow Audrey to leave without more exposure to the bili-lights.

A mother not allowed to walk out of the hospital with her baby is sad to watch. Brittney had no idea how jaundice would affect her new baby, how long Audrey would have to stay in the hospital, or how long she would be separated from the infant she carried inside her for nine months.

Recently, Associated Content sent notices to several writers asking them to write about How To Treat Jaundice In Newborns. I gladly accepted the assignment, and wish I had known more about jaundice when Audrey was born, because even going as far back as 1969 when my first daughter was born with jaundice, I never knew as much as I learned when I researched the article.

Doctors don't always explain treatment plans to parents. It helps to know ahead of time what to expect. If you are interested in knowing about How To Treat Jaundice In Newborns, click one of the links.

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