Saturday, May 31, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
Family Night: Simple and Powerful
The Whys and Hows of Family Night
By Wayne Parker, About.com
Our family first heard about the concept at church: one night a week, set aside with no TV, no interruptions and no excuses–for our immediate family to be together. For about 20 years now, we have been practicing the concept of family night, and it has been powerful in our home. This article is designed to offer tips and tricks for implementing a weekly family night and for keeping it going.
Why Family Night?
A 1998 study by the University of Michigan found that children, on average, spend about 43 minutes per week in "household conversations" and about 12 hours per week watching TV. That sounds like a major imbalance, but look at your own situation. Maybe it's not television; it might be soccer or gymnastics or music lessons, but there are just a lot of distractions for families today. Are we investing the time where it best serves our needs or are we letting school, community, church and other demands pull our time and attention away from home?
How Does Family Night Work?
The general concept of a weekly family night is to spend an evening once a week where the family is together having a meaningful experience together. In other words, watching the latest installment of a favorite sitcom doesn't count! The basic principles include:
The time is set
Having a standard time each week allows better family planning. It is best if you can pick a given night each week (every Monday or every Thursday) and keep it there. At the outset, this might not be possible but should be a goal.
When a family decides to focus on family night, each member commits to making it work. That means we have to say "no" to conflicts. Teenage kids need to have the night off from work and school activities. Moms and dads say no to work projects, phone conversations, and athletic events. Athletic teams understand that practices would have to not conflict and if it means that someone doesn't make the team, then the choice is made for family. This is one of the hardest parts of a family night program, but it is essential.
Time is spent together
Ever been in a situation described by Stephen Covey as a "collective monologue?" This is where everyone speaks or does their activity but in the same room with others. Collective monologues are not acceptable for family night. Television, listening to music or everyone reading something different doesn't count. Family activities on family night involve everyone together. Activities such as walking or hiking, playing board games, working together in the yard, being involved in community service projects, visiting relatives together and the like are the model.
No heavy stuff
Family nights are not the time for discipline, for arguing, for forcing compliance. If you make it onerous, you will have a mutiny on your hands. Make them light, fun and engaging. And a little variety helps a lot.
So, you're sold on the idea of a family night each week. How does a dad get the ball rolling?
Hold a Family CouncilInvite the family together to discuss the need for more family time and introduce the concept. Make it fun and inviting. Talk about a variety of ideas that would appeal to all family members. Some might prefer a hike while others might think a cookie baking night is enticing. Mention both! Look for commonalities. Then ask for support.
Speaking of Treats
Children love treats! For many families, a special treat is a highlight of family night. For those without dietary restrictions, think root beer floats, ice cream sundaes or other decadent sweets. For families like ours, you might need to use watermelon, cheese and crackers or other healthier options. It sounds simple, but reserving your best dessert for family night can be a real motivator.
Practice Saying No
Invariably, as soon as you decide to set aside a weekly family night, you will be inundated with conflicts. Have some integrity and be willing to say no more often. It may be tempting to go to the big game with your friend, but be willing to say thanks, but no thanks. If the soccer team practices at the same time as family night, be willing to find another team or not play. It is important to make sure that your commitment is firm. Remember the feeling of the children in the movie Hook when their dad (Robin Williams) says, "My word is my bond"? Keep your word and put family first.
There are more options than you think for good family night activities. Here are some that have worked well for us.
Low Impact Outside Games
Our children are not great athletes, but they love the competition. We put a badminton net up in the backyard, and love to play a little badminton. Croquet is another favorite. And sometimes we have played basketball shooting games like Horse or Around the World that even the smaller children can enjoy (with a little help).
Last week for our family night, we all met in the kitchen to mix up and bake cookies to take to some neighbors we like. The kitchen was a bit of a disaster when we were done, but it was a lot of fun. After the cookies cooled, we got in the car and delivered them, spending a few minutes visiting at each home.
Hiking or Walking
We are fortunate to have a beautiful paved walking trail near our home, so we occasionally take a family night to walk and talk. We can stop along the way to check out trees, little animals and the like. Many areas have such trails; find one close by and head out with your comfortable walking shoes and your family.
Do Joint Activities
One of our favorite memories as a family was when a family with children the same ages as ours called and invited us to a three-family softball game. It was a lot of fun and a time when we could have a little broader experience while still being together. Consider some occasions when you invite another family to share your family night with you.
Consider Craft Projects
We have had some great times making crafts together. We have made bird feeders out of 2 liter pop bottles. We have helped tie a quilt for a humanitarian project. Through projects like this, our children have learned some skills and developed an appreciation for nature, for the needs of others, and for the community.
A Family Production
Give some thoughts to skits, plays and readers' theaters. The children love the make-believe aspects and appreciate being able to role play and work together. Even consider video taping the production for posterity. Several years ago, we made our own "music video" with a CD of a favorite song, some props and costumes and a little creativity.
Family night sounds like a lot of work. Sometimes it is. It requires commitment, careful planning and a focus on building good memories. In a time when many families are feeling fractured and find themselves running in all sorts of directions, family night can make a big difference in building family unity and strengthening relationships.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
With some easy–to–learn tips , parents can get their young children to brush their teeth, pick up their toys, use the potty, or just about anything else. How?
I witnessed some clues, watching a three–year–old, picking up trash in a large auditorium. My audience had left for lunch. I stayed behind to marvel at this tiny dynamo. Toddling from isle to isle, he picked up empty coffee cups, gum wrappers, scraps of paper, and other refuse.
How could such a small child be motivated to work so hard?
The answer walked just a few steps ahead. There she was…his wonderful and wise grandma, smiling back at him as they worked together. Grandma volunteered in that auditorium almost every day, making it gleam for all to enjoy. Most days, little Cory came along to "help… for an hour or two.
Grandma learned long ago that little kids want to be big like their parents. She also learned that little kids who have fun doing …big people chores… with their parents and grandparents grow into teenagers and adults who don’t bicker and complain about helping around the house.
While Grandma never studied the research on modeling, she …knew… that kids are much more likely to copy adults who are:
Kids copy the people they love and respect.
When parents show impatience, anger, or frustration because their little children are moving too slow or making mistakes, they destroy the natural love of helping.
Kids copy people they view as caring yet strong. Parents who set firm–yet–loving limits have youngsters who become firm–yet–loving adults.
Seen by the child as being rewarded by the behavior performed
While no one was handing Grandma goodies for tidying the room, she was smiling and saying things like, "This is so much fun! I love cleaning. It makes me feel so proud!"
Grandma was rewarding herself, and her little grandson was soaking it up too.
Less than perfect but always improving
The key is to show your kids that you are always learning from your mistakes.
Never underestimate the power of modeling.by Dr. Charles Fay
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Well Tuesday is upon us again! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend with family and friends.
In case this is your first time here I have been under the weather so I have a doctor's appt. today, so my tidbits are a little sparse today. Please be sure and check out some of our previous tidbits.
There is also more tidbits over at Melinda Zook on Tuesdays.
If anyone has ever tasted the moo latte at Dairy Queen and loved it like me. You can make your own using Folger's Latte mix and vanilla ice cream. I can't tell any difference from the taste. Might can use it making ice coffee too.
To dust your lamp shades, just use a new paint brush. I pick a few of these up at the dollar store.
Zap garlic cloves in the microwave for 15 seconds and the skins will slip right off!
Know someone with a roach problem?
Several years ago I had a friend that became over run with roaches. Well she could not spray because it makes her sick. A friend of told her to go to the liquor store and buy and cheap bottle of red wine (it must be red) and pour it into plastic jar caps and put all around the house . Well she did, with 2 to3 weeks she came to see a decline in the roaches. They drink it and die. It took awhile but she did get rid of all the bugs with the red wine and a few combat roach motels.
Monday, May 26, 2008
It is the
not the preacher,
given us freedom of religion.
It is the
not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the
not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the
not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the
not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the
not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the
salutes the Flag,
It is the
who serves under the Flag,
REST GRANT THEM O LORD, AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON
Handmade Gift Bows
A few Mondays ago I posted how to reuse magazines to make a cute and very different envelope. Well the same person who came up with that has now added bows and they are very cute as well. Check this out she made 2 different kinds of bows. Now these would be such a great idea to match your bow to the present.
Cell phone photo tutorial...
What you need:
magazine page, brass paper fastener/brad, something sharp, scissors.
1.) Cut mag page into strips
2.) Loop a strip like so:
Then loop the other end like so:
3.) Poke a hole in the middle with the sharp thing and slide it onto the brad.
4.) Make another one and put it on the brad too.
And just keep going.
5.) Once you've got about nine strips looped on there just split the prongs on the brad.
And you're done!
WARNING: May cause serious addiction. Craft at your own risk.
Yeah, I could recycle magazines by putting them in my recycling bin, but this is way more fun...
(I also reused a pretty shoe box to put the gift in)
And two more...
They're super easy. You just need a magazine, scissors and those little brass paper fastener things (a stapler might work too).
1. Cut some different size strips from the mag.
2. Loop the strips and stick the paper fastener through the middle. (it might be easier to make holes in the strips with something sharp first and then slide them on the fastener. I used a seam ripper). Put the smaller strips on first and then the larger.
3. Pull the prongs apart when you're done and then stick it to your gift with some tape. Fluff it up a bit for flair and voila!
By Miss American Pie
Sunday, May 25, 2008
I am always looking for homemade cleaning recipes. They work well and are cheap to make. Here is a few I found from different sources.
Sprinkle salt on the surface to be cleaned, Then take your towel dipped in either lemon juice or distilled white vinegar.
Citrus Fruits Are All Purpose Cleaners
Lemons, oranges, and limes when freshly squeezed, make good cleaners. Simply mix juice with water for day to day regular cleaning. For stubborn stains use full strength.
Thyme Cleaner - Disinfectant
2 1/2 cups water
1 handful thyme (fresh or dried)
Liquid castille soap (squirt)
- Boil water, add thyme. Simmer for several hours over medium-low heat, covered. Cool, then strain. Pour the water into a spray bottle, top with white vinegar and squirt of soap. Use as needed.
Herb Disinfectant Cleaner
This spray cleaner disinfects surfaces, kills mold, and discourages its return. Eucaplyptus, lavender, and tea tree are all known for their antimicrobial properties.
1 tsp. sodium lauryl sulfate
1 tsp. borax
2 Tbs. white vinegar
2 cups hot water
1/4 tsp. eucalyptus essential oil
1/4 tsp. lavender essential oil
3 drops tea tree essential oil
- Mix all ingredients together and stir until dry ingredients dissolve. Pour into spray bottle. To use, spray as needed on any surface except glass. Scrub and rinse with clean, damp cloth.
*Source: The Herb Companion, September 1999
Herbal All Purpose Cleaner
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
2 tsp liquid castille soap
25 drops essential oil of thyme, eucalyptus, tea tree, lavendar, sandalwood, lemon, orange
- Add all ingredients to a large spray bottle (about 22 ounces) and shake before using. This formula disinfects and can be used on any washable surface in your home. Naturally antiviral and anti-fungal.
*Source: The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier
Lavender Soft Scrubber
3/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup powdered milk
1/8 cup (one-eighth) liquid castile soap
5 drops lavender Essential Oil
- Combine all ingredients in a squirt-top bottle and add enough water to make a smooth paste. Shake or stir to mix. Apply to surface, then wipe area clean with a damp sponge or cloth. Rinse well.
*Source: The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier
Saturday, May 24, 2008
One thing I hate to see is dry cracked feet in summer sandals. So here are some things very simple thing that can be done to keep feet looking fabulous for summer.
1. Got milk?
Soak your feet in a large bowl of warm whole milk. The lactic acid will slough off rough spots and make your skin feel extremely soft.
2. Lock in moisture
Slather your feet with a rich foot cream, then slip on a pair of cotton socks. Wear the socks for at least 20 minutes (you can even sleep with them on) to lock mega moisture into your skin. Need a good foot cream?
3. Buff daily
Keep a pumice stone or foot file in your shower so that every day you can tackle rough spots and cracked heels. This daily maintenance will prevent your feet from stepping into the scary sole zone.
If you missed Tidbit Tuesday another GREAT thing for summer feet is Soft Scrub w/bleach. You will not believe what wonders it can do.
Friday, May 23, 2008
As we head in into the summer vacations I found a few things that would be relatively cheap but would be a day packed with fun and memories. Sometime we forget that do not have to spend a lot to have some of the greatest memories and times with each other.
Get to know your family better by creating an audio or visual family history. Interviewing immediate and extended family members provides insight into where you came from and how your family evolved, which can help you and your loved ones develop a stronger sense of self. Create a family tree online using PBS's American Family Interactive Tree.
Visit a planetarium, grab a field guide to astronomy, then plan an evening on your backs on a clear night identifying moon phases, looking for the Milky Way, spotting planets and heavenly bodies, or witnessing special events like a meteor shower or a lunar eclipse. Find an astronomy club or planetarium near you through SkyTonight.com.
Visit a science center
Science centers' exhibits are interactive and encourage visitors to get involved — and get curious about the world around them. Find a science center near you through the Association of Science-Technology Centers website.
Guided river tours put the stress of minding the details on the guide, and leave families free to enjoy the adventurous rush of rafting. Find a trip through a company like the Outdoor Adventure River Specialists.
Take a dude ranch vacation
Dress down, press pause on scheduled commitments, and learn new skills as a family — how to ride a horse, rope a cow or make decent campfire food. Find a ranch through the Guest Ranches of North America website.
Support a good cause
Join a "thon" — a walk-, run- or cycle-a-thon you can participate in as a group. Train together, then recover together. Find an event through the website Active.com.
You'll have uninterrupted time to focus on one another, so you can make family your number-one priority. Look to Trails.com for a campsite directory.
Redesign the yard
Let everyone weigh in on the new look, go shopping and pick out the new plants or lawn furniture. Delegate tasks according to strengths and interests, and transform your home together.
Schedule regular family meetings.
Group discussions give kids a chance to weigh in on decisions that affect the whole family. They're also ideal for talking about any family-related events, problems, or concerns.
Ideas from Revolution Health
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Just wanted post as to why there was not a post today. I am having a little health issue and have been hospitalized for viral pneumonia. I hope to be back to normal soon! Thanks so much for continuing to visit I will be back shortly.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
It's getting harder to find good, responsible employees. While a problem for employers, this provides a great opportunity for parents! If we can teach the following skills and attitudes, we can practically guarantee that our youngsters will become financially secure adults:
- The ability to complete tasks without reminders
- The desire to be proud of one's work
- Knowing how to cooperate and compromise
- The self-discipline to complete boring, tedious tasks
- Being able to creatively solve new and unique problems
- The ability to learn from one's mistakes
- Instead of saying, "Take out the trash, now!" try giving your child a deadline, "Just have the trash taken out by six o’clock."
- This deadline gives you plenty of time to think about what you will do if your child forgets or refuses to do the chore.
- Resist the urge to nag and remind.
- If your child forgets or refuses to do the chore, do it for them.
- With great empathy, provide a consequence. "This is so sad. I did your chores. How are you planning to pay me?"
- Your child can pay by doing extra chores, staying home instead of being driven somewhere they want to go, giving you a toy, etc.
Dr. Charles Fay
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Well you know what today is! That's right it is Tidbit Tuesday!
I hope you find some tidbits you can use!
If you have boys like I do I am sure you find them a hot mess when they come in from playing. I find in shorts it is there knees especially. No matter how much I tryed scrubbing with soap and water it never seem to totally go away.
Well I came across this when I was pregnant with my son. I wore flip flops all the time and my feet would get dirty dirty and would not seem to come off to easily. So I went on the web and found a foot doctor that suggested using Soft Scrub with bleach. They said it would not harm the skin and I would be surprised with the results.
This stuff works so good you will not believe it.
Put some water in a white dinner plate and add a couple drops of Lemon Fresh Joy dish detergent. Set the dish on your porch,patio, or other outdoor area. Not sure what attracts them, the lemon smell, the white plate, color, or what, but mosquitoes flock to it, and drop dead shortly after drinking the Lemon Fresh Joy/water mixture, and usually within about 10 feet of the plate.
Check this out--it works just super!
Put a little Scott's Liquid Gold on a rag, wipe it on your freshly cleaned stainless steel sink, fixtures, etc and they shine up like brand new! I used this method for years while cleaning newly built homes. You don't need much though. Just pour it on your rag, maybe a teaspoon worth, or spray it if that's what kind you have, wipe it on going with the grain of the metal, and voila! Brand new!
I have a helpful tip for washing walls that will save you a lot of time and effort. You can buy a sponge mop at the local Dollar store pretty cheap. Because of the long handle you can reach the top of the walls. This saves you a lot of up and down on a stool and bending.
You also don't have to put your hands in the dirty water like you do with a cloth. Add a little lemon juice to your bucket when washing the kitchen walls it helps cut the grease. Shine your chrome bathroom fixtures with a little baby oil. It helps them look clean and shiny longer !
For fly's outside while sitting around, buy a big bottle of Listerine and pour it in a spray bottle. Spray it around your chair, the kids swing set, and any standing water. It will keep the bugs away.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Instructions For Making The Red-Heel Sock Monkey Toy
- One pair of Rockford Red Heel Socks� (see bottom of page)
- Stuffing - cut up old nylon stockings, cotton batting, kapok, shredded foam rubber or polyester fiber.
- Red knitting yarn.
TURN THE SOCKS INSIDE OUT Sew a seam (A) 1/2 inch on both sides of the center of sock starting three inches from the white heel and across the end of the top.� Cut the sock between the seams and to within 1-1/2 inches of white heel.� This leaves an opening in the crotch.
Then turn the sock so the seams are on the inside and use the crotch opening to stuff the head, body and legs.
Cut the upper part of the sock into two pieces.� Seam, rounding the ends and stuff the arms.
Cut the heel from the sock, leaving a brown edge around the white.� Fasten on lower part of the face, whip-stitching around the bottom; stuff and finish sewing around the top.� The mouth can be improved by a running stitch of either black or white across the middle of the lips.
Cut a one inch strip, taper to end of cuff on length of front of sock.� Seam and stuff.
Cut the ears from the remaining brown part of the sole of the sock.
Sew on moving eyes, buttons, felt, or embroider with black thread.� (For very small children embroider the eyes.)
CAP: (Optional) Cut off toe of another sock, leaving 1/2 inch of brown to roll for a brim.� Sometimes a fez is used for a cap. There are a number of places on the web where you can purchase the socks to make your own sock monkeys. I don't keep track of them anymore since my preferred source closed their doors. Do a Google search and I'm sure you won't have any problems finding a retailer.
TURN SOCK INSIDE OUT.
Cut 3-1/2 inches off rib of sock.� Starting 3 inches from the heel, sew a 1/8 inch seam on each side of the center line and across the end of the ribbing.� Cut the sock between the seams and about 1-1/2 inches farther to make an opening for the stuffing.� Turn sock right side out.
Head and Body:
To shape the head, stuff foot of sock nice and plump and tie off loosely at the neck with ribbon.� Insert 1-1/2 inch circles of cardboard in feet and stuff.� Finish stuffing, sew legs and slit in the crotch, making one seam on underside of the body and the other up toward the tail.
Cut the second sock as shown, about 5 inches long.� Turn inside out, seam along one side and across the foot.� Insert pieces of cardboard in fee, stuff, and attach near the front of the body.
Cut off complete heel from the second sock.� Stuff it lightly and sew it to the head.� Stitch across the center to shape the mouth.
Open flat strip of sock so it is about 1 inch wide at one end and 6 inches at the other.� Round the wide end.� Fold in half lengthwise, inside out, and seam along one edge and around the narrow end.� To bend and hold the trunk in various positions insert a piece of wire through the length of the trunk.� Insert pipe cleaner tusks.
For each ear, cut two pieces in the shape of the ears.� Seam and turn right-side out.� Sew on level with the highest point of the trunk.
Sew on moving eyes, buttons (my personal favorite), felt, or embroider with black thread.� (For very small children be safe and embroider the eyes.)
Make a short roll of the material and sew into place.
Trim is optional.� A fringed strip of bright material can be placed over the back, or tassels may be sewn on.� Rickrack, little bells ribbons or beads naturally give the toy a more festive, circus-like appearance.
The original Rockford Red Heel Socks are manufactured by Fox River Mills, Inc. of Osage, Iowa. You can visit their web site at www.foxsox.com. Be advised however, that they are not in the business of selling their products directly to retail customers. Their site has a very handy "store locater" feature to help you find a retailer in your area.