September 2007


I have to admit it.  I am one of the crazy people who purchases gifts for next year the day after Christmas.  I do like to shop throughout the year and love a good deal.  The problem is I have forgotten where I have hid them or what I bought.  Then I end up spending too much because I bought too much.  I hope I am not the only one.  Please say I am not.

A couple of things I now try and do is:

  • I keep a little notebook in my purse that contains what I have bought and from whom.  You can section it with post-it notes and have spots for needed items for the house, sizes of the kids, grocery lists, etc
  • Have bins, hidden, where you can add the goods.  I keep one for each child, misc gifts in case I need one at the last minute including children’s birthday party gifts, and gifts to close friends and relatives.  This will only work if it’s something you think the person might like a couple of months from now.
  • Of course, keep a budget.  Set it ahead and really work toward it.  The holidays don’t have to keep us in the nicely furnished poor house.  This is still true even if you don’t purchase ahead of time.

I also believe home made gifts are a good way to go to.  They are many GOOD alternatives to a hand knit reindeer sweater. 

  • Decorate a picture frame with a rubber stamp (of something the person likes) and paint.
  • Homemade goodies are always a hit.  Try wrapping in nice tissue and a beautiful basket.  Make it as fancy as you want.  And give them the recipe too.
  • A gift basket can be done for a cook, gardener, pizza maker, baker, movie fan, etc.  I use to have a gift basket business out of my home so I will be giving more detail ideas later so stay tuned.
  • Candy Wreath.  Take a wreath and either tie or hot glue gun (glue – not for chocolates or thin wrappers) the candies that person likes.  Add a nice bow and they have a great treat.
  • There are a lot of homemade beauty products, food, and jewelery ideas on the web or at your library.

You don’t have to be a huge crafter to do this.  Invite a few friends over to make some together and remember how you present it is one of the best ways to let them know they are special.

According to Santa’s clock there is 87 days until Christmas.  It can really be one of the Most Wonderful Times of the Year!

OK, so have you seen the info on CNN from Real Simple regarding how to have a “sparking clean” house in 19 minutes?  So when I first heard about the story I am thinking this is just touch up, throw everything in a closet, clean.  Nope.  It appears we really can have a sparkly clean house in this amount of time silly me!  Hence why I have the blog.  What some people consider real simple and I don’t always match (esp. when they advertise expensive designers and write articles about $100 shoes).

So the first recommendation is to wipe down the counters in 1 minute.  Bing, your time is up.  I hope you didn’t have any spilled spaghetti sauce.

Next sweep floor in 2 min; in your 200 sq ft house I guess.  Do you know about pets and kids?

Now we go to the bathroom and we get 2 min here as well.  What will I do with the time.  If you have one bathroom, no boys, and soft water…maybe????

OK, so here is the BIG one – 6 min to clean the living room, family room, and foyer.  Grab a magazine because this should only take 4 minutes, right?  I think I just spent 6 minutes just picking up the pieces to a game from the other night.  Oh wait, here’s an animal gift.  There goes 2 minutes down the drain!

I don’t even think I could call a maid in 19 minutes.  First look up a phone # because I don’t even know a maid.  Next, hope it’s a reliable service and dial up the number.  Wait on hold for 6 minutes DARN!!!!!  Make an appointment…”Has anyone seen my day planner?”.  Well I guess my 19 minutes are up.  I will have to try again tomorrow.

I guess this house doesn’t have carpets (it takes me 19 min just to vaccum), rugs, pets, children, crafts, cooking, walls, sheets to wash or laundry in that case, and FUN!!!

19 minutes…..not in my REAL WORLD!  OK, which one of you boys left that on the wall?

Did you know the Sept. 28th is National Ask a Stupid Question?  I can do that.  Here are some more cool, bizarre, or unique holidays:

September, 2007 Bizarre and Unique Holidays

Month:

  • Classical Music Month
  • Hispanic Heritage Month
  • Fall Hat Month
  • International Square Dancing Month
  • National Blueberry Popsicle Month
  • National Courtesy Month
  • National Piano Month
  • Chicken Month
  • Baby Safety Month
  • Little League Month
  • Honey Month
  • Self Improvement Month
  • Better Breakfast Month

Pick one and celebrate it with your friends and/or family.

*courtesy of http://www.holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/september.htm click on it for more days this month.

Bullies are difficult to deal with.  Even as an adult we can have “bullies” in our lives.  They may be even harder to deal with as adults if we haven’t had the skills to deal with them as a child. 

Research shows that being bullied can lead to extreme retaliation (as we have seen in the news).  3 out of 4 students say they have been bullied. 59% say they have bullied.

My oldest son has had some bullies cause him pain (more mentally than physically but hurtful none the less).  We have found three items very important in helping a child deal with bullies is:

  • Keep Communication Open (both at home and where it is occurring)
  • Teach and Live Confidence
  • Help Them Learn/Improve Social Skills

 In no way does a child deserve it, but it is a reality and this is what has helped us.

Keeping Communication OpenMake sure you go past the “How was your day?”  “Fine” answers.  It’s hard but be persistent especially if there has been changes to friends, happiness, aggressiveness, and/or any extreme changes.  Help your child learn the difference between teasing and bullying.  Questions like “Can you tell me what you think the child’s intentions were?” or “Does it stop when you get upset?” etc.  Also, keep the communication open at school (or any other location this is happening) is crucial.  You may need to volunteer on the playground, work with the school to bring in professionals that present Bully programs to school.  The school needs to take this serious and if they don’t you may need to ask if this is the best place for you child (Are they safe?).  Finally, make sure the child knows it’s ok to tell an adult what is happening.

Teach and Live Confidence – If we do not live out confidence it will be much harder for our children to learn it.  This is something you have to see to know.  If you don’t feel confident, work on yours as confidence is very attractive.  People gravitate toward people who know what they are doing.  I am always reminded of a boy I knew who wasn’t what some may call attractive, and he wore strange clothes, but people were drawn to him.  Some people might believe he was born with this, but I really believe he grew up learning and seeing confidence displayed, and boy did people want to be around him.  Have your child practice speaking up for themselves with opinions at home.  Encourage the activities they like and they feel successful at.  Do mock bullying at home and practice what they can do, say, stand, look, etc when they are in that situation.

Help Them Learn/Improve Social Skills – Children who have a close group of friends are less likely to get bullied.  The strength in numbers philosophy I guess.  Here again you can practice these skills at home, with a sibling, yourself, a stuffed animal, or whatever works) by introducing themselves, things to talk about, etc.  Have friends overor make play-dates!  After your child has done a sport or activity have them meet with the kids afterwards as they don’t socialize very much during the actual activity.  Teach them how to initiate a conversation, laugh at themselves, and notice things about other peopleTalk to them about what a true friend is and isn’t so they don’t just fall into the wanting to be with the cool kids group just because.  Encourage them to make new friends as the song goes “Make new friends but keep the old.  One is silver and the other gold”.  And get to know your child’s friend’s (and their parents).  Yes, they may need a parent to help them navigate around people that are good for them and people that are not!

 Some resources:

  • www.bullysafeusa.com/
  • The Friendship Factorby Kenneth Rubin Ph.D and Andrea Thompson
  • Raising Courageous Kids by Charles A. Smith
  • US Department of Education
  • King of the Playground by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

If your child is the culprit.  You will want to look at where the aggression is coming from, how often, what the school (coach, etc) can do, and help them with all the items above as a bully is not happy with who they are.  They also need social skills and confidence building.  You may also have to decide if counseling would be appropriate.

 Make no mistake bullying happens as a child and as an adult.  Learning the skills to deal with people with this aggression can be useful now and in the future.

Disclaimer- I have no training in counseling and this in no way should replace professional help.  This is just coming from one Mom to another.

Have a GREAT day!

Here are some ideas on how to reduce, reuse, recycle.  Not only can it save money, but it protects our environment and/or helps others in need.

  • Go to www.greendimes.comto reduce you junk-mail
  • Recycle eyeglasses via www.lionsclubs.org
  • Use glass jars for pencil holders, flower vase, buttons, animal treats, spare change, arts and craft materials (You can cut a piece of decorative paper to line the inside to make it pretty.)
  • Reuse your plastic bags go to www.reusablebags.com to learn more or pick up a Cloth Bag to use for your groceries instead.
  • Purchase from local merchants
  • Purchase recycled content office supplies
  • Run plastic silverware through the dishwasher
  • Use reusable containers instead of plastic baggies
  • Use a refillable drinking bottle instead of a disposable one
  • Use paints with a low VOC
  • Use cosmetics that can be replenished without buying new containers
  • Put items up on www.freecycle.org 
  • Use shower body puffs for cleaning when it’s time to replace it
  • Check out “Recycled Crafts Box” by Laura C Martin
  • Save the wand from your mascara, when replacing, and use it for a brow brush (clean w/soap and water first)
  • For greener consumer products go to www.greenerchoices.org (Consumer Reports)
  • Old tires turned into swings at www.homestead.com/prosites-closetheloop
  • Donate old cell phones to a local cell phone store or a Staples  www.staples.com or www.collectivegood.com or www.calltoprotect.org 1-888-901-SAFE (help domestic violence victims)
  • Old soccer gear can be given to www.soccer.org 800-872-2976
  •  Old Computer www.cristina.org or www.sahretechnology.org
  • Donate jackets to www.onewarmcoat.org
  • Check out Earth 911’s website www.earth911.org
  • Printer Cartridges can be recycled at most office stores.
  • Switch to rechargeable batteries
  • Dispose of old batteries at Radio Shack
  • Donate old books to www.halfpricebooks.com (sick children) or www.prisonreader.org (inmates)
  • Good Housekeeping had a list of Planet-Friendly Products: Recycline Preserve Razor, Enviro-Log Firelog, Biodegradable Peat Pot, Lenox Platinum Towel (30% bamboo blended with cotton), Cocoon SeaCell Travel Pajamas, Teko Ecopoly Socks
  • Use old milk jugs, fabric softer bottles, water bottles, etc.  Use as a scoop, just cut it from the bottom at an angle.  Cut off the bottom and leave the lid on for a paint holder.  Or try as a funnel.
  • Fabric Softener sheets as a duster or clean old socks
  • Shower Caps can be used to protect shoes while you are traveling
  • Use the grated Parmesan container for a shaker (wash first).  Don’t forget to label what’s in there.  I.E. Baking Soda for cleaning.
  • www.nikereuseashoe.com to recycle old tennis shoes
  • Find local charities at www.citylinks.org
  • Keep butter wrappers in a container or bag in the fridge.  When it’s time to grease a dish pull out a wrapper or two to use.
  • Use cloth napkins
  • Use tissue boxes to hold your plastic grocery bags so you can reuse them or cotton balls
  • Take your Magazines to your local hospital for the waiting rooms.

These are just a few simple ideas to make a difference.  We can’t all be perfect but we can try a make a difference in the little things we do.  Try to take on just a couple of these.  I think you will feel good about it.

Psalm 24:1 says,
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it…”

Please share anything that has helped you with attachment disorders with children who have been adopted (prefer not as infants). We have a 6 year that we adopted at three.  I won’t go into detail, but we need input from other people who have adopted.   We have had counseling but the state stopped the contract were we are at and we are waiting for an opening again.  The issues are stealing, eating issues, lying, and manipulation.  Can you give your ideas?

I was listening to the Today show (while doing morning chores) and heard about fall fashions that were quoted as a bargain between $300-$700 for ONE outfit!!!  This is why I have this blog because I have never met anyone that can do that or would consider that a bargain.  I know they are comparing them to the designer clothes that run thousands, and I also know there are people that can afford that but most people???????

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