Join me in my daily walk through the joys and struggles of parenthood. Share a word of encouragement or be encouraged. Cry a little, laugh a lot, but know it is all in divine order.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - January is National Thank You Month

Photo credit: nhimassage.com

January is National Thank You Month. As the month comes to an end, there is still time to spread a word of gratitude. I thank you my readers for tuning in regularly to check out my blog.
We know the saying, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are my photo expressions of thanks.

Photo credit: www.kaboodle.com

Photo credit: www.bluemountain.com

Do you have a special way of saying thank you?

Monday, January 28, 2013

What inspires you? – Lessons learned from visiting the Detroit Auto Show

Purple Jaguar at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show

This year in addition to featuring cars, the Detroit Auto Show featured Education Day. On the designated day, about 5000 students from across metro Detroit visited the auto show and learned how to make a career in the auto industry. Professionals talked to the students about “designing displays, choosing colors, building engines and testing concept cars (Detroit Free Press).
The Detroit News article said the kids were inspired by the things they learned at the auto show.  Here are a few things I learned at the auto show:
·         It’s fun to dream – The purple Jaguar was my favorite car on display, and not just because it was purple. There were also iPads built into the back seats with a keypad in the center.

·         There are many aspects that go into the design, development and production of an automobile.
This is the automobile I walked away with at the Auto Show (toy car). Thanks Hot Wheels.

My question of the day – What inspires you? Here are a few more things I find inspiring (not related to the auto show):

·         Hearing someone speak about their success

·         Reading inspirational stories

·         When something I have said or done motivates someone else.

Here’s a thought of the day:
“Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
By Oliver Goldsmith
Where do you find inspiration?



Friday, January 25, 2013

What do the contents of a woman’s purse say about her?

Contents of a woman's handbag- What do they mean?

I read a blog recently that talked about how the contents of a woman’s purse describe her personality. What’s in your purse or the purse of a woman you know? After reading the blog post, I rummaged through my purse to see exactly what was there.
Here are some of the items I found: chapstick, hand lotion, library card, small notebook, Tylenol and a sea of other stuff. So how can these items apply to my personality? If I analyze them according to an article at ehow.com (How to know a woman by the contents of her handbag) this is what I get:

Chapstick/hand lotion – shows concern for the skin and the fragrance hints at your personality. I would also add to this, may have extremely dry skin.
Library card (up to date) – likes to read. Well, I also have library cards for my boys because I want them to like to read.

Notebook (or little piece of paper with unintelligible words scribbled all over it) – “could indicate scattered thoughts.” I would say could be a creative writer who wants to get thoughts onto paper. Just my opinion.
Tylenol – over the counter pain relievers indicates being prepared. I just don’t like a nagging headache.

There were other items from the ehow list that may be of interest to you.
Wallet (stuffed with credit cards) – seldom carries cash or likes to shop.

Hand sanitizer – concerned about germs.
Lipstick, lip gloss and make up compact – want to look your best at all times.

What would you add to this list of items found in a woman’s purse and what they say about her personality?


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wordless Wednesday (less words than usual) – Chocolate Cake Day

Photo credit: allrecipes.com

It’s coming…Chocolate Cake Day! January 27th is National Chocolate Cake Day, get out your favorite recipe or try a new one. Check out the recipe for One Bowl Chocolate Cake III at the allrecipes link.
Have you ever tried making chocolate cake in a slow cooker? Here’s a video that walks through the steps for a slow cooker chocolate cake.

What will you stir up for Chocolate Cake Day?


Monday, January 21, 2013

The Presidential Inauguration 2013

Did you watch the Presidential Inauguration on TV or discuss this event with your child?

How much do you know about Martin Luther King Jr.?– 7 questions to check your knowledge

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. giving a spech
Photo credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images via abcnews.go.com

Today is the day that honor’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., slain civil rights leader. Congressman John Conyers from Michigan was the first to introduce legislation for a commemorative holiday in 1968, four days after King’s assassination. It was 15 years later in 1983 that Congress passed the holiday legislation which was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan (www.factmonster.com/spot/mlkhistory1.html).
During homework hour at an afterschool program I work, youth were asked to write a paragraph on things they knew about Dr. King. Most of the children could identify at least two things about Dr. King and MLK Day. We turned the activity into a game of facts and trivia. Here are facts we found to share with the youth:

·         In 1973 Illinois was the first state to adopt MLK Day as a state holiday.

·         By 1989 44 states adopted MLK Day as a state holiday.

·         In 1991 the NFL made the decision to move the 1993 Super Bowl site from Phoenix, AZ to Pasadena, CA, because of a MLK Day boycott.

This photo is a first graders interpretation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - by Jalin W.

Below are trivia questions to test your knowledge:

      1.      In what city was Martin Luther King Jr. born?

A.      Atlanta

B.      Albany

C.      Austin

D.     Annapolis

2.      How old was King when he was assassinated?

A.      38

B.      39

C.      40

D.     42

3.      What year was King assassinated?

A.      1978

B.      1968

C.      1958

D.     1959

4.      In 1964 King won a prestigious prize. Which one was it?

A.      Pulitzer Prize

B.      Nobel Peace Prize

C.      The Pulitzer Prize

D.     The Congressional Medal of Honor

5.      Whose techniques did King usually follow?

A.      Mohandas K. Gandhi

B.      Malcolm X

C.      Martin Luther King Sr.

D.     Abraham Lincoln

6.      King led an important protest against what on April 3, 1968?

A.      Slavery

B.      Poverty

C.      Discrimination

D.     Starvation in India

7.      What was the first Civil Rights action King was involved in?

A.      March on Washington

B.      “I Have a Dream” speech

C.      Montgomery Bus Boycott

D.     Leading a March against discrimination

Are you ready to check your answers?

1.      A

2.      B

3.      B

4.      B

5.      A

6.      B

7.      C

Trivia questions were obtained from www.cyber/learning-world.com/nhhs/project/trivia1.html.
What facts or trivia would you add to this list?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Happily ever after – teaching kids about family history

Urban blight takes over a former family home.

The photo with this post is a photo of what’s left of the house I lived in during my elementary school years. My grandparents lived there just over 40 years and my mother, brother and I lived there during my early years. This was my once upon a time.
On a quest to show my children the area where I once lived, we discovered a neighborhood block taken over by urban blight. Although there was barely a shell of a house left standing, I could still share the memories. One structure left standing was the steps leading to the porch where I sat playing jacks with friends. Other structures present were a curved archway that separated the living room and dining room and a square archway leading to the kitchen.

In the background is the inside (living room archway) of the now dilapidated home above. The foreground is photo of a younger me.

Although my children visited the old neighborhood before it was in such disrepair they were really young. Our walk down memory lane led to other questions about our family history. I coined our discussion as our, “happily ever after” conversation. How do you teach your child about family history?
An article at ehow provided a few fun ways to teach kids about family history.

1.      Share family stories – the good, the bad, and the funny.

2.      Interview a relative – Your child could pretend to be a detective and create a list of questions to ask an older family member. The questions could include: “where were you born? what jobs did you have?; did you finish school?; what hobbies did you have as a child?”

Through past discussions my boys learned that my grandfather only had an eighth grade education and my grandmother played basketball in high school. Can you imagine what the uniforms looked like in the 1930’s? More history for a later time.

3.      Visit a cemetery and have your child act as a detective – your child could go prepared with a camera, pen and notebook. He could write down the cemetery name, location and decedent’s relationship to your family. Your child could “photograph the grave for his detective notebook.”
As part of our family reunion last year, a visit to a cemetery (Fort Campbell) was a part of the activities. Little did I know that we would discover such rich history. The boys also discovered that my grandparents are buried in a historical cemetery in Detroit – Elmwood Historical Cemetery where former founding fathers of the City lay to rest.
Photo taken near Fort Campbell, KY.
Sharing the past with our children helps them to build a foundation to their future. How will you start your “happily ever after” conversation with your child?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wordless Wednesday – Would you let a stranger hug you?

A hug shared between friends

Did you know that January 21st is National Hugging Day? Make plans to spread a little joy through a hug. BUT…use discretion if you plan to hug a stranger. Happy hugging!

Have you had a funny experience with shraing a hug?

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Golden Globe of Parenting

Photo credit: neontommy.com

It’s that time of year where Hollywood recognizes excellence in film and television. By the time this post publishes the awards will have just been televised. So let’s play pretend. What if there was a Golden Globe Award for Parenting? What would the categories look like?

Below are categories that I would suggest as part of the Golden Globes:

·         Best child actor in a drama

The guidelines for this category would be…a child who exhibits over dramatization when asked to do something. You many have never experienced this, but I’ve seen eyes bulge, shoulders slump, and mouths hanging open.

·         Best performance by a child actor with no prior acting experience

This nomination goes to the child who put on that puppy dog face and turns up the charm when he wants something.

·         Best performance by a supporting actor

A nominee in this category would be one who supports his sibling anytime it means teaming up against the parents (in the name of fun).

·         Best animated child performance

This is a catch all category, anything goes.

Here are a few awards that would actually go to parents:

·         Best facial expression when talking through your teeth

If you haven’t experienced this yet, it’s when you grit your teeth and talk in a firm voice. It usually occurs when disciplining a child in public.

·         Best performance in a drama.

The nominee in this category has remained calm while there is pandemonium all around him/her.

·         Best performance by a supporting actor.

This award goes to the supporting parent who backs up a directive you have just given your slow moving child –e.g. “Didn’t your mother just tell you no TV until you finish your homework?”
As for the Red Carpet, you would see smiling, poised parents, flanked by kids rolling their eyes and sighing or running in circles playing tag.

Are you ready for the Golden Globe of Parenting awards? You or your child has been nominated for an award what category would you fit under?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Football Frenzy – A mom’s spin on the Super Bowl

There was a lot of hype surrounding the recent college football game between Alabama State and Notre Dame. Then I found out that it’s almost time for early bird registration for my son’s little league football team. AND the Super Bowl is upon us.
All of this football talk started me thinking…what would a Super Bowl for moms look like? I would compare the game of football to assigning my kids a list of chores to complete. Here’s what I think it would look like at my house.

Kickoff – a list of chores written on a football or written on a piece of paper attached to a football.

Kick return – my boys receiving the list of chores. The only downfall to this is that they would probably fumble the ball just so they didn’t have to read the list of chores.

Flag on the play – the boys would receive a penalty every time I had to repeat myself when giving them a task to complete.
First Down – when the first task is completed.

Half Time – there would not be any cool commercials, but I would be sure to cheer and shout over accomplishments made during the first half of our faux football game.
Touchdown – A touchdown is scored when a task is completed by one of the kids.

Championship Ring – the winners would be presented with championship rings made of twist ties from a loaf of bread.

In reality my kids would look at me like I was from another planet if I told them, let’s turn your chore list into a game of football. So what do you really do with the kids during the Super Bowl? We create a small party with snacks.
An article titled Fun for the kids during the super bowl, listed ideas to do with the kids during the super bowl. Below are a few favorites:

·         Buy a green paper tablecloth and let the kids decorate it to look like a football field.

·         Serve football themed snacks – cupcakes, cookies, cake.

·         Have football themed word searches or crossword puzzles. Have the kids compete to see who will finish first.
What would a Mom’s Super Bowl look like at your house? Do you do anything special for Super Bowl Sunday?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Soup’s On – Celebrate January as National Soup Month

Photo credit: Bettycrocker.com - Chicken Noodle Soup

Have you heard? January is National Soup Month. While the temperature is dropping outside, it’s a good time to warm up with bowl of soup. Imagine a basket of warm buttermilk biscuits, or Texas toast and a bowl of your favorite soup.
I found several soup recipes at Bettycrocker.com that might be worth a try. Photos are below, but check out the link for recipe details

Southwest Potato Corn Chowder

Tortilla Soup

Tuscan Bean Soup

Do you have a favorite soup recipe?

Have a soup-er day!

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Invitation

A special invitation

When was the last time you received an invite somewhere? Was it an invitation to a holiday party, birthday party, maybe even a wedding? I recently received an unexpected invitation.
I studied the outer envelope wondering who had an even coming up. As I opened the envelope and read the contents, a smile crossed my face. It was an invitation to some kind of hearing screening.

My first thought was, did my kids sign me up for this? They’re always saying I can’t hear. This invite almost topped the one I received a couple of years ago asking me to join AARP(American Association of Retired Persons) . I’m not near retirement age yet, nor am I near, 50 years (not THAT close), yet I got the invite.

I chalk my “invitation” experience up to a great marketing team. The people at AARP and the hearing clinic were just working their marketing strategy. However, I’m not ready to take advantage of either of those opportunities just yet.

That surprise invitation I received started me thinking…how do people handle other types of unwanted invitations? Maybe you have received an invitation from someone on Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media whom you don’t know or don’t know too well. Do you accept the invite, respond to it, or just plain ignore it?

I came across an article titled LinnkedIn:Dealing with the unwanted invitation. It gave good reasons why people should not become an “invitation spammer” sending invitations to any and everyone. The article also gave suggestions on how to respond when someone asks you to endorse them.
If you’re not comfortable endorsing the person you could say, “We haven’t worked closely enough or for a long enough time for me to endorse you.” If you don’t know the person at all, etiquette dictates that it is ok to just ignore the request.

So, have you ever received an invitation that you had no interest in taking advantage of? What did you do?

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year’s Resolutions with the entire family in mind

Welcome to 2013! - What will you resolve to do differently this year?

We’re almost a week into the New Year, but it’s not too late to create New Year’s Resolutions. Have you thought about including the kids in setting resolutions? There’s no time like the present to get them started in a little goal setting.
I surveyed two teen boys (my own) about what they would include as part of their New Year’s Resolutions. My 13 year old said this, “I don’t know you come up with some for me.”
When I asked my 16 year old about his goals, he removed the headset to his game and said, “I can’t tell you.”
“Why not?”
“Then they won’t come true.”
As I smiled and left his room, I reminded him that goals are not like a secret wish made when blowing out your birthday candles.
Rule number one for talking with teens: don’t ask them anything important while they’re playing video games.
An article I read said that creating resolutions with kids teaches self-discipline and the value of goal setting. So how do you get started? Not the way that I did it.
The best way to get started is by sitting down with your child, when they’re not distracted by outside forces. Reflect on the past year; discuss what worked and what didn’t. Dr. Benjamin Siegel, professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine says to have kids “state things they would like to continue to do.” They should also “state things they would like to change that would make them feel better about themselves” (Making New Year’s Resolutions with Your Child).
An article by Pediatrics Now provides sample resolutions for kids by age. Below are a few of those samples.
·         I will clean up my toys
·         I will brush my teeth twice a day and wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating

5-12 years old
·         I will try to find a sport or activity that I like and do it at least three times a week (playing tag, jump rope, dancing, etc.)
·         I’ll be nice to other kids; I’ll be friendly to kids who need friends
13 years & up
·         I will eat at least one fruit and one vegetable every day, and I will limit the amount of soda I drink
·         I will choose non-violent TV shows and video games and I will spend only one to two hours each day on these activities
For the complete list of age appropriate resolutions view the article here - New Year’s Resolutions for the Entire Family.
What are your suggestions for helping kids set New Year’s Resolutions or family resolutions?