Monday, April 25, 2016

How To Talk With Your Teen – Who Won't Talk With You


Ah, teenagers! You've got to love them, or else you'll kill them. My mild-mannered little boy who could chat up a storm hit puberty and his vocabulary began to dwindle, at least when it came to me. I get it. I'm his mother. I'm “annoying.” And as puberty has progressed, he's become a hot bed of embers, just waiting for something, or someone to inflame him.


Teens can be challenging to talk with!



So how can you talk to a teenager, whose hormones are raging and is under tremendous pressure from school, etc.?  It's not easy, and there's no guarantee you'll have a civil conversation, but here's what's working for me:


  1. Keep topics neutral. Talk about a movie or television show he likes, how his video games are going, if anything interesting happened at school today. Go on his school's website and discover what he's studying, then strike up a conversation about one of those topics.

  2. Take advantage of car time. At minimum, I drive my son to and from school. We talk about the weather, other drivers, interesting cars we see, houses we'd love to live in, the news, and, at night, what people might be doing in their houses. Yes, it's superficial, but it's conversation nonetheless.

  3. Invite them down for a snack and let them speak first. Your daughter might be more willing to talk if you're just sitting there reading or doing stuff in the kitchen. The point is to BE there just in case they need to talk. 

  4. Once they do start talking, don't interrupt.  Let them take control of the conversation. They're like butterflies; you don't want to scare them away.

  5. Just listen. Don't try to fix a problem unless asked. As parents, we want life to be easy for our kids and we offer unsolicited advice. Sometimes a kid just needs a sounding board. Lend an ear, not a tongue.



    Listen to your teen - let her do the talking.


When Junior was in the living room last night playing his clarinet, I complimented him on his playing. “Mom, I know you're just trying to be nice, but I find your comments ANNOYING. I know you like to hear me play. Leave it at that.” Message received. Lesson learned.  No offense taken.  


Tonight, as we drive to the Mall for something he needs, I'll surrender control of the stereo. He likes to plug his phone in and share his music with me. It's not my taste, but this is not about me. It's about him knowing that I'm there and being open to who he is. Hopefully, when the he wants to talk about the complicated stuff (girls, drinking, etc.), he'll remember that I'm here for him.


I know he needs me.  He knows he needs me.   All it takes is a little conversation – on teen terms.


Please note:  1)  I am not a health care professional.  I am a mother, trying to minimize the amount of therapy her kids will eventually need.  2)  The photos above are courtesy of Pixabay.com.  


 


 







Thursday, April 7, 2016

How To Help Your Teen Through A Cold


I remember when my elementary-aged son stayed home from school with a cold. I'd check his temperature every few hours, make him lots of tea, and we'd cuddle in my bed for hours watching TV.  He was all gooey, needed, and wanted mommy-loving. I was such a meticulous nurse that my husband would sleep in my child's room while I tended to my patient around the clock, even waking up to feel my child's forehead. I obsessed about how much he was eating, drinking, and peeing. Although at that point, I no longer needed to count pee-pee diapers, I did take copious notes just in case a doctor's visit was required.


Ahhh, those were the days!


Fast-forward as my now 15-year old recently complained of being hot and cold on and off, huddling under blankets in the den. Clearly, he had a virus. As I tried to baby him, it was outright rejected! In fact, he looked at me as if I was insane.



I get this look from my teen whether he's sick or not...



My nursing approach had to be modified from when he was little. But how? 


I took my cues from him. My patient basically hibernated in his room, where he spends most of his time anyway, whiling away the hours on his iPad, too sick to even sit at his computer to talk with his friends. The armpit I checked his temperature under is now a hairy mess and I was once again, cognizant of how he's a boy in an almost-man's body.  He needed me, but in a different way. 


 Here's what worked for me in getting this changling over his cold:


  1. Persuade, not order. Again, this is NOT your baby in the sense that you cannot order them to do something unless you have the strength to overpower a 100 pound plus teen. “Take this medicine” does not go over well with the members of this tribe. “You probably need to take...” or “this pill should make the pain go away” is a better approach.


  2. Provide them with lots of liquids, but don't nag them to drink. Reminding them that fluids are key to getting better saves your breath, since they tend to dig their heels in when you try to force them to do something they don't want to do. Remember: They know it all. We're idiots. Umpteenth reminder: the ordering ship has sailed.


  3. Take their temperature judiciously, preferably when they're sleeping. Advance with the caution you'd use with a wild animal.


  4. Take the team approach when trying to get them to go to the doctor. I said to Junior, “You're probably going to have to go to the doctor tomorrow;” this caused a MAJOR argument. “I won't go and you can't make me,” he yelled. He was right. WE needed to come to an agreement.  It ended with us agreeing that if his fever wasn't down, he'd go. I then knew that if he had the energy to argue, he wasn't as sick as I'd thought.


  5. Let them make mistakes. Mister Know-It-All went to school earlier than I advised and was sent home because he felt dizzy (nah nah nah nah nah). 



    Teenagers are moody as is.  They're worse when they're sick.


If the kid had been REALLY sick, he would have been more pliable and we'd have been to the doctor sooner, rather than later. I mean if they're suffering enough, they'll let you seek medical attention. And if I thought he was in any real danger, I'd have hauled his butt to the doctor, even if I had to take his iPod and have him chase after me to get it.  But this was a simple cold


Teenagers are precious. They're also hurricanes, changing moods every three seconds! Difficult as they are well, they can be even more trying when they're sick. Ditch the babying approach when they're sick, employ some of the strategies above, and, hopefully, your surly spawn will be back to their adolescent self in no time!


What works when your stubborn child is sick?   








Please note:  the images above are from Pixabay.com.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Naggings As Old As Time - Momisms

As I wandered the grocery store this morning, my eyes focused on a stunning woman accompanied by her preschool son. In passing, I caught snippets of their conversation, with the boy asking his mom for something and then her reply: 


“But Honey, every time I buy you something you think you'll like you never eat it.”


 “MY GOD,” I thought. “THAT'S MY LINE!”
 

Same basic mom, different day



I continued to listen as the mom listed what her son had asked for in the past (the list was LONG) and how the food had gone bad. She talked about how much food they waste and what a shame it was. I caught her eye. “Been there, done that. I completely understand.” She smiled back, validated.


I'm betting that for centuries, mothers have been giving the same lectures to their kids, with only minor variations. Can you identify with any of these “Momisms”?

  • “Honey, I asked you like five times before we left if you have to go. NOW you have to?!!!”

  • “I don't care if all the other parents in the neighborhood (tribe, school, temple, church, caravan, commune, etc.) let their kids do it. I'm your mom and I say NO.”

  • “Your sister (brother, pet, our furniture, rocks, our chariot, etc.) is not food. Don't bite it!”

  • “Try it (the new food). If you don't try it you'll never know if you like it.” (Sidebar: I had to coerce my kids to try pizza. PIZZA!)

  • “Stop yelling/screaming/talking so loudly. You're giving Mommy a headache.”


    Kids have probably been hearing the same stuff from their moms for centuries.


  • “Go to bed. NOW. Not in 5 minutes. NOW!”

  • “No, you cannot have a pet (cat, dog, rodent, yak, elephant, snake, etc.). Why? Because I'll wind up taking care of it!”

  • “Get back here and stop running around. NOW!”

  • “You kids are so spoiled! Back in my day....”

  • “Don't make me get up!”



    Kids have probably been ignoring Momisms just as long, too!




  • “I don't care who started it, YOU stop it!”

  • “Where do you think YOU'RE going?!”

  • “Someday I hope you have a kid exactly like you!”


These Momisms are much easier to take when you're not uttering them.  And kids are a lot easier to take when they're not yours (although other people's children aren't NEARLY as lovable as yours!).


I listen to moms with toddlers and think, “Been there, done that.” I talk with other mothers of teens and ask, “Is this normal?” And I seek the advice of mothers with older kids to get a handle on what's coming up. 

The scoldings, the phrases are as old as mothering. But my favorite “momism”?


I will always love you - no matter what. 

 ---


Thanks for reading!






Please note:  Most of the photos above are courtesy of pixabay.com. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Claff's.com: Family Life Never Looked So Good



Disclosure: Products were provided to me for reviewing purposes. In fact, I asked for them. But the opinions expressed are my own. Positive reviews cannot be bought here, folks.





Claff's pieces are substantial, frame-worthy works of art!



Jennifer McLaimtaig is one talented photographer, so I was delighted when she offered to let me choose some of her products to review. Her website, Claffs.com provides “grace words and resources to encourage family life.” Perusing her site, her images of children and family are so poignant, they actually brought tears to this mom's eyes. Most of them are accompanied by quotes from the Bible and there, my friends, was where I was momentarily stumped: I am not a particularly religious person (no offense to those who are). Would this watered-down Unitarian find anything she liked? 



Fortunately for me, there is plenty of wisdom here that is not Scripture-based and it touched me.

I just CAN'T relegate these pieces to the fridge!


Claff's contains some lovely cards, photographs, magnets, and posters that are patriotic (quoting from the Star Spangled Banner), self-affirming, and comforting for even the most secular visitor. The
captions cue us to be present for our children (meaning, to me, that I should put down my blasted cellphone and pay attention to my kids). They admonish us to “eat well, move well.”



 

In other words, this website provides inspiration everyone can relate to.



My prints arrived wrapped beautifully tied with bow and even though they were meant to be hung on the refrigerator, I couldn't bear to do so! I don't stare at my refrigerator (IN, yes, AT, no), so I was determined to find other places for them. They deserved more than just a glance in the kitchen. This art is frame-worthy and flexible decor As I speak, one print adheres to the brass fireplace grill in my living room (I'll remove the item before I light a fire). The other is propped up on my dresser as a reminder that taking care of myself is not selfish. I look at that one when I first wake up and just before I retire for the night. 




A Claff's piece on my fireplace





Claff's products would make perfect Easter, Passover, Mother's Day, and just “I appreciate you” gifts. 


The images are lush, the words well-chosen. Whether you're religious or not, you'll find very special wisdom at Claffs.com.




Same Disclosure:  I was compensated with merchandise so I could write this review, but it is an honest assessment of the materials.  




Friday, March 4, 2016

It's The “Yeast” You Can Do: Truenature Cranberry Supplement


I am NOT an herbal-type of person. I take a daily multi-vitamin and THAT IS IT.  But recently, when I had a recurring yeast infection that defied three rounds of medication, I figured, “What the hell? Before I pay to go to the doctor for an exam (very expensive), let's go the cranberry route.” 


Cranberries have been known for years for their medicinal properties - photo courtesy of Pixabay


Native Americans in North America used extracts from cranberries for treating urinary conditions, bladder problems, to increase urine flow, kill germs, and reduce fever. I grew up with science verifying these cures, soI figured it couldn't hurt to try cranberry for a yeast infection. Forgoing the cranberry juice cocktail route (too much sugar), I started mixing unsweetened cranberry juice with water, bu that upsets my belly. So on one of my hunting-and-gathering forages into Costco, I perked up when I saw 


Truenature Cranberry Supplements


Truenature Cranberry Supplements



At a price point of about $18 for 250 capsules, I bit the bullet and bought it. The directions said take 1 caplet with water at each meal, but I was in a rush to get rid of the damn infection, so I took two caplets twice a day. Within 24 hours I felt better; the pain and itching was all gone AND the supplement did not affect my stomach. 


According to WebMD.com, “drinking cranberry juice regularly increases the amount of salicylic acid in the body. Salicylic acid can reduce swelling, prevent blood clots, and can have anti-tumor effects.” 


So even if the softgels didn't cure my yeast infection (maybe it was residual from the medication I was on?), I'm going to continue to take Truenature Cranberry Supplements. If it can help keep me from suffering from a UTI or yeast infection, plus render all the benefits WedMD says it can, it's worth taking. 


---

Thank you for reading!  

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Allow Your Child THIS Teachable Moment – How To Deal With Not Being Invited


“Sydney is crying,” my friend told me. Sydney is not my friend's daughter, but one of her child's classmates. Sydney had not been invited to a sleepover and her mom was upset with my friend. “I just don't have enough room in my house for everyone we want to invite,” my friend explained. Still, Sydney's mom was pushing hard for her daughter to be invited even though lots of kids had not.



Not being invited conjures up lots of unpleasant emotions




Feeling left out is disappointing. It often brings up feelings of not being good enough, forcing someone to ask “What's wrong with me? Why was I left out?” Obviously, this is an experience no parent wants their child to endure and many, like Sydney's mom, intervene to spare their child's feelings. I've written in the past how I received an email from a mother basically saying, “I invited YOUR child to my kid's birthday party; you HAVE to invite mine to yours.” And while I understand that parents feel the need to advocate for their children: 


coddling like this prevents a kid from learning one of life's most basic lessons: 
you don't get invited to everything. 


So what can you do when your child doesn't get included in an event?  Explore the possible reasons why they were left out which probably have nothing to do with them.  These reasons may include issues such as:


  • Space - As with my friend above, her house simply isn't big enough to accommodate everyone they would love to invite.
  • Family – Some parents limit events to just family.
  • Budget – Parties are expensive resulting in guest lists being limited.
  • Social – These include your child simply not playing with a kid anymore or politics (if we invite Caitlyn, then we're obligated to invite her sister because that's Caitlyn's parents' rule).


Ironically, in my experience, the kids often handle these issues of non-inclusion better than the adults. Recently, someone handed out birthday party invitations in front of my daughter. She was not invited. I asked why she had not been and she shrugged, “She's having a video game party and knows I don't like them.” To her, it was no biggie. 


Kids often handle not being invited better than their parents do!



It's important to teach kids that “you can't always get what you want.” 


They need to be able to deal with this disappointment gracefully, without parental interference. My friend stuck to her guns and as sad as Sydney is, if her mom handles the situation right, the child will grow from this experience. 


For more guidance on how to help a child cope when they're not invited to something visit:

  • This CNN article entitled “When Your Kid Isn't Invited"
  • This article from Huffington Post entitled “Sorry, You Aren't Invited: A Practical Guide to Children's Birthday Party Guest Lists”



How do you handle it when your kids aren't invited to something?  



Friday, February 26, 2016

5 Ways To Celebrate Leap Day 2016 (It's THIS Monday)




 
This Monday is special – after all, it's only every four years that there's a February 29! Yes, 2016 is a leap year in which an extra day is “added” to keep us in sync with the solar calendar (aka the time it takes the earth to make a complete orbit around the sun). While we think of a year as being 365 days long, it's actually 365 and ¼ days long. Thus, to even it all out, an extra day is added with this Monday being The Big Day.



 Here are some suggestions on 
how to celebrate this Leap Day:
 

  • Try something different. This is an extraordinary day, so why not do something out of the ordinary? Nibble on a new food, bust a new move (in the gym or any place), speak to a new person, try your hair a different way, learn a new word, etc.


  • Make this Leap Year Cocktail.


  • Write a letter to yourself that you'll open in four years, outlining what you'd like to accomplish in that brief span of time. Better yet, write a letter to your kids that they can open in four years!


  • Check out this Leap Year Trivia. 


  • Do something that you probably should do every few years that can be accomplished in a day, like paint the front door, clear out the attic, or purge those old papers.  


    Jump into this Leap Day by doing something different!


Special days beg for something extraordinary. Deviate from the norm just a bit, for one day. You'll be happy you did!



Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Why Teens Should Be At Your House & How To Make It Teen-Friendly

The volume is deafening.  Think sporting-event loud. Nine teens are squeezed into my tiny den playing video games. They laugh, yell, and the occasional curse word invades the air. They're having a ball! Better yet, my son (somewhere in their midst) is beaming. This happens almost every Friday night – a gathering, dinner, late departures. My husband, getting tired of the cost to feed this pack, asked, “Why are they always HERE?” Answer:


We WANT The Teenagers At Our Place!
Here's Why


You WANT Your Teen At Your House!


  1. At this age, your kid is largely who his peers are. Without the intimacy of grammar school and the connections you make on the blacktop, you don't know who your teen is hanging with, who he's influenced by. Actually SEEING and meeting these people is invaluable. You can get a sense of what a kid is like, especially if you hang back and surreptitiously watch and listen to them interact.


  2. When friends' parents pick up, you get a chance to meet and chat them up. Getting a sense of someone's family values is important and will make you feel easier when your kid goes over their house.


  3. You can get a sense of how those friends treat others. Junior's little sister will sometimes hang with the teens for a bit (until I call her out). We've had boys make fun of Lily and treat her roughly (push her out of the way, etc.). I was not happy and made sure that my son stood up for his little sister in the future. Conversely, there have been friends of Junior's who have offered to play with Lily, helped her with homework, and been quite kind to her. I LOVE those kids!


  4. It gives your child a chance to act the role of Host which is important socially. Responsibilities include offering friends drinks, snacks, serving dinner, and seeing their friends out with the polite “thank you for coming.”


  5. It's rewarding. My kids have more friends than I ever had at this age. These are people he sees at school and chats with online. In some ways, they're an extension of our family.

There have to be rules for when Teens (or anyone) visits

Now, in order for these gatherings to happen, I've set some Ground Rules




  1. I have to know, in advance, approximately how many people are coming. This is a practical thing since I need to know how much food to have on hand. I've put out 5 bags of chips and found them gone in 10 minutes. These kids can eat!


  2. There has to be a set departure time. We've had kids come and leave way too late, to the point where either my husband or I had to stay up just to keep an eye on things. That doesn't happen anymore.


  3. Junior know he has to clean up as soon as his guests depart.   That means vacuuming the den, cleaning up errant plates, cups, etc., and taking out the kitchen garbage. 


  4. When my daughter is around, the boys CANNOT curse. Yeah, once in a while a forbidden word flies out, but most kids are immediately apologetic. 


So HOW can you make your house 
Teen Friendly? 


  1. Give them space. I wish we had a dedicated space for them, but we don't. So they gather in the den and I basically leave them alone. They don't want me in there except to deliver snacks and I respect that.


  2. Have LOTS of snacks and drinks on hand. Paper cups  and plates are a MUST and if you don't want to wash bowls for snacks, buy some disposable aluminum baking pans. 


  3. Make dinner simple. We go through frozen pizza like it's water. Other popular dishes include macaroni and cheese (CHEAP!!!), pasta, and tacos made in the crockpot.


  4. Keep your Wifi password handy. They're going to want to log into your Wifi – place it on a piece of paper so they can pass it around. It's easier than repeating it ad nauseum.


  5. Limit sibling interference. Lily can hang with them for about 5 minutes before I usher her from the room. 


There's nothing better than seeing my teen (this is not him) happy!



Having a group of teens over is loud, messy, and ultimately, a lot of fun. These gatherings create wonderful memories for my son and I cherish the smile on his face when I see him with his friends. Best of all, I know what he's up to when he's home. 



Our kids grow up in the blink of an eye. Cherish your time around them and BE the place they want to hang.


Thanks for reading!  


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Just In Time For Presidents' Day: 10 Little-Known Facts About George Washington

Now that our chocolate has been eaten and Valentine’s Day cards read, it’s time to look forward to tomorrow – President’s Day.  As you enjoy your day off with the kids, think about


10 Facts You May Not Know

About The Father Of Our Country

 

 


  • Washington started school when he was six years old, but left when he was 15 to become a surveyor because his mother couldn’t afford to send him to college.
  • That’s not a wig he’s wearing in the portraits. It looks white because he powdered it, as was the fashion of the times.
  • On his deathbed, Washington instructed his secretary to wait two days before burying him, just to make sure he was really dead.  Apparently, he wanted to avoid being buried alive, a fate he believed had befallen a number of historical people.
  • He suffered from a variety of ailments including diptheria, tuberculosis, smallpox, dysentery, malaria, quinsy (tonsillitis), carbuncle, pneumonia, epiglottitis, and toothaches.
  • Mr. Washington wrote between 18,000 and 20,000 letters, more than any other president.

On his deathbed, Washington instructed his secretary to wait two days before burying him, just to make sure he was really dead. Apparently, he wanted to avoid being buried alive, a fate he believed had befallen a number of historical people.


  • Before fighting the British, he fought FOR the British. At 21, Washington was sent to lead a British colonial force against the French in Ohio. He subsequently lost and this aided in sparking the Seven Years War in North America.
  • Upon Benjamin Franklin’s death in 1790, Washington inherited his walking stick.
  • Greeting the President as “Mr. President” was his idea.
  • Among the many crops Washington grew was hemp, which was used to make rope, paper, and other products.
  • Washington introduced mules to America when he bred donkeys from the King of Spain and the Marquis de Lafayette with his own horses. He had 57 mules at Mount Vernon at the time of his death.

So let's raise a coffee cup (or something stronger when the kids get on your nerves) to the Father Of Our Country!


Please note:  this post also appears on www.thegeekparent.com.



Thanks for reading!! 

 


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

What To Do With The Tooth Fairy's Collection Of Teeth


With two kids, the Tooth Fairy has been at my house a lot over the last ten years. In fact, she came the other night after my 10-year old begged me to yank her latest loose tooth. I've been collecting these pearly whites in envelopes for years and it begs the question:



What does the Tooth Fairy do once she has all of a kid's teeth?


What will the tooth fairy do with this tooth?


I polled the 2,350 members of my Mothers' Loop and here's what they said:

  • Put them in envelopes with the kid's name; some people listed the date the kid lost the tooth.

  • Put them in a baby jar.

  • Hide them in a drawer.

  • Throw them out.

  • Put them in the Tooth Fairy Bank, a specially-made, showpiece-quality receptacle that has individual compartments for each tooth. You can even list the date the tooth was lost. Learn more about it here.

The Tooth Fairy is a'coming!

If they're “fresh” enough, you can save them to treat diseases later in life (like you would do with a child's umbilical chord). Learn more about procedure, which must be done pretty quickly after the tooth has come out, here.


For me, throwing the baby teeth out feels wrong. These pearls are a part of my kids' babyhood. I guess I could put one or two in their scrapbook. I may even put one from each kid in a locket.  In any case, I'm going to keep them, at least until the kids' grow up.   I want to show them how tiny their baby teeth were. These small relics are tangible evidence of the fleeting, magical time when my kids were (and one still is) little.





What are YOU going to do with your child's baby teeth?  


 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Bitmoji – The Avatar That Doesn't Make You Look Like A Kid

I've been playing around with emojis and avatars for quite some time and most are pretty lame. They make your look like children (probably because they're designed for kids and teens), but what if you're an adult and want an avatar that at least resembles a grown up? Meet my new favorite:


Bitmoji

My Bitmoji


THIS is your own, personal emoji which you can, obviously, customize to look like you. Choose your physical features (I love that they have different body types, including curvy), then dress yourself in designer clothes. 


Your Bitmoji will then be available in dozens of moods and stickers with updates coming in about once a week. And they're not just happy, “rainbows and lollipops” pictures. You can show a range of emotions including embarrassment, rage, impatience, etc. Now, the content rating is Teen because of “Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Language, Crude Humor”, but that's what makes it perfect for adults.  At the moment, the themes include Star Wars, Zoolander No. 2, Terminator, Inside Out (love Rage), and Game Of Thrones. 





Download your Bitmoji for use as a screensaver, with a photo editing tool, and/or share it to Facebook, Instagram, etc.  I've used on on all my social media and even texted my Bitmoji to my kids as a hint to show them how I'm feeling (the surprised one confuses them pretty well).


Confuses the crackers out of the kids!  "What do you mean, Mom?!!"


Best of all, this app is FREE and available from the Play Store or the App Store. 


Give Bitmoji a whirl! 
 This ain't your kids' avatar! 


Thanks for reading!!!




Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Must-Read For Children Touched By Cancer


Children's author, Patricia Polacco, is somewhat of a hero at my daughter's elementary school. Ms. Polacco has been to our school several times and her books have brought hours of pleasure to my usually-reluctant reader.



Patricia Polacco at our elementary school


So when when I heard Lily's dad reading Ms. Polacco's book, The Lemonade Club, to our princess, I didn't blink an eye...until I started to listen to the plot of the book
 

which is about the usually adult topic of cancer.


Traci and Marilyn are best friends. One day Marilyn is being bullied about her weight while Traci stands up for her pal. Shortly thereafter, Marilyn begins losing weight and is tired all the time. The diagnosis: leukemia. With the help of the girls' teacher, Miss Wichelman who believes that “when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade,” the young ladies learn about how Traci's disease will be treated.


The Lemonade Club is an AMAZING book 


because it doesn't just gloss over the topic of leukemia. There is genuine shock when Miss Wichelman's class first hears of Marilyn's diagnosis.  Similarly, readers feel the horror and experience grief when Traci loses her hair due to chemo. But there's joy here, as well, as Miss Wichelman and her class welcome Traci back to class and astonishment when someone unexpected divulges that she, too, has cancer.


The book is a MUST-READ book for any child touched by this topic. 


It will resonate with children who have cancer or know someone who does. Best of all: it's a true store written by someone who was a witness to it all.




Do you know of any other books which might help a child touched by cancer?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Fun, Unique Take On An Old Word Game: Meet Wordox

One of the few non-caloric obsessions I have is with word games. Most, however, fall into one of three categories:


1) Scrabble-like where you build words with others' words 
2) Boggle-like where you try to build words out of random letters
3) Word Search-like where, you know, you search for words. 


Whenever I look on Goggle's Play Store for something different, I'm usually disappointed. Until now. Introducing my newest word game obsession:



Wordox




It's a Scrabble-like like game, but with a twist: you can steal the other person's letters! When you make a word out of one of the other person's letters, you get the points for that letter and it comes OFF their score. That means you can flip the game in your favor!  


Here's the video showing how to play:   





Play with friends, through Facebook, and with random players. Participate regularly in the rankings with other players, and finish at the top to earn coins and jokers! 


One of the challenges I really like is that if you make a mistake and a word isn't valid, it's going to cost you either a turn or a joker. That means I really have to be up on my game and certain before I hit PLAY.


The free version comes without ads, but I love Wordox so much, I bought the ad-free version. Give it a try and let me know what you think. This app is available again, through the Play Store or the App Store. For more information, visit http://www.wordox.com.








As always, THANKS FOR READING!


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"It Works!" Greens On The Go Drink Powder – Is It Worth The Money?

Disclosure: This product was given to me (actually, I asked for it) for reviewing purposes, however, the thoughts expressed in this post are my own. 





I am not a veggie eater, but still, I need those nutrients. With my husband being a health nut, I have tried some of those all-inclusive-miracle-veggie drinks. Most tasted like swill, although one or two were good. Unfortunately, the ones in my grocery store and Whole Foods are sweetened with bananas, which I've recently become allergic to. So when I saw Debbie Arrington's posts on Instagram about the "It Works!" Greens On The Go Drink Powder and found out it does NOT contain bananas, I asked to try it. 


Greens On The Go is a single serving packet of “38 herbs and nutrient-rich superfoods” which is supposed to energize you and keep your digestive system regular and the toxins flowing out. In other words, it helps you poop. The powder contains some neat stuff including: broccoli, dandelion leaf, kale (ICK), spinach, slippery elm bark, tumeric root, watercress, white willow bark, and okra. 


Now, I was nervous trying this stuff, especially when I poured the powder into my glass and it was green. Again, I am not a fan of green drinks. I poured water, mixed the concoction around, and got close to the sink in case I needed to spit it out....which I did not....because


THIS STUFF TASTES GREAT! 


I tried the berry flavor (it also comes in orange) and was amazed that not only is it delicious, but there's no funny aftertaste. And despite it containing plaintain leaf (I would assume, relative of my nemesis, the banana), I had no allergic reaction to Greens On The Go. Did it energize me? No. Coffee does that, but it certainly was not unpleasant and there were no unpleasant side-effects after drinking it.


So is "It Works!" Greens On The Go Drink Powder worth the money?


Well, online a 30 serving box retails for $59 not including shipping and handling (although lower-priced packages may be available from individual dealers), so figure it's about $2 per serving. If we assume the product literature is correct, and this mix contains “the nutrition of 8+ servings of fruits and vegetables”, and if you're NOT a fruit and veggie eater, then it may be worth the money to you. For me, in combination with a daily multivitamin, I'm confident that drinking Greens On The Go Drink Powder is a step in the right direction health-wise. 


I'll be purchasing this product in the future.


For more information, please visit Debbie Arrington's website: www.debswrapparty.myitworks.com or email her at debsbaskets@email.com.


Thanks for reading!  






Friday, January 15, 2016

A Quick, Easy Happy Family Casserole Your Family Will Adore




Recently, my son, once again, threw me under the bus with my husband. Here's how it played out:


My husband wants me to cook organic meals for the kids from scratch. Unfortunately, the kids don't want those meals – they want crap, like frozen pizza and microwaveable fried chicken. My daughter will settle for pasta (Kraft mac and cheese – as long as REAL cheese is not involved), but Junior is really picky. Half the stuff I make, he won't eat, yet, whenever Daddy's around, the kid becomes a martyr and wails, “Mom, I WANT nutritious food, Mom, but you never make it!!!” SUCH BULLSHIT!! So tonight, I came up with my easy:


Happy Family Casserole




Since it was made on the fly, measurements are approximate.  


Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds of ground meat (turkey, beef – whatever the family will eat); I used lean ground turkey
  • 2 cups of frozen or fresh veggies (again, whatever the hell they'll eat); I used chopped broccoli because I wanted there to be a lot of small pieces
  • ¼ c of Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 cup of diced frozen or fresh onions (if they'll eat them)
  • 2 cups of frozen hash brown potatoes
  • ¼ cup of butter or margarine
  • 1 package of shredded American cheese (again, if they like it)

Instructions:

  1. Brown the meat and onions in a skillet and add the Worcestershire sauce.
  2. Spray a lasagna pan (approximately 10x14) with non-stick spray.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the bottom of the pan; add salt and pepper if you want.
  4. Layer your vegetables over the meat and sprinkle with a handful or two of cheese.
  5. Spread the two cups of frozen hash browns.
  6. Using a teaspoon, drop teaspoons of the margarine over the hash browns and sprinkle the top liberally with the shredded cheese. 




What you have now looks like a pseudo-lasagna. Bake at 400 degrees until the potatoes are brown and the cheese on the top has melted.


That's it!


This dish was popular with the family for several reasons:

  1. My husband liked it because it was nutritious.
  2. The kids liked it because it involved meat and vegetables COVERED with cheese (always popular here).
  3. I LOVED it because of its versatility. 

You can easily use shredded chicken and whatever veggies your kids will eat (or whatever you can hide among the meat).  In the future, I'll use black beans and some salsa, for a Southwest flavor. If your family is vegetarian, use soy crumbles or tofu. Got fresh veggies from your garden? Throw them in! This dish also freezes really well. 


The Happy Family Casserole will be on my list of go-to dishes and it looks nice enough to even serve company.


Try it and let me know                                  
what YOUR variations are!


Thanks for reading!