January 25, 2010
Your kids coloring pages are here. Here are two Valentine card designs to choose from. The kids can color their own Valentines to surprise mom and dad, grandma and grandpa…. or their friends.
Of course, there is the back and white printable for coloring… or they can choose the pre-colored version. The small icon is on the back of the Valentine card. When the card is folded, the inside will be blank so the kids can sign their names, design their own art work or put stickers inside, etc.
Last year, some of you may remember the “Love Notes.” They were very popular. If you didn’t get your “Love Notes,” they’re still available. As long as your checking out “Love Notes” you can cash in on a making clever paper craft Valentine holders for your gifts. You’ll get raves!
Have a great day… and make sure you run off plenty of kids coloring pages so they can make their
Valentines cards in time for an early delivery.
P.S. For a little higher quality Valentine card, run the coloring pages on light weight photo paper.
January 14, 2010
“Stand by me world!,” is the plea we’re hearing from the people of Haiti…. and the people of the world are responding. Planes from the United States as well as China, France and Spain have responded to the call quickly and goods are at the airport, as we speak. Many church organizations are also sending relief. Now the challenge is, how to get the goods out to the people.
Earlier today, my friend Andy, posted two videos on his blog concerning a project called “Playing For Change.” In light of what’s happening in Haiti, I wanted to share one of the videos with you.
As the people of Haiti are pleading, “Stand By Me World,” each of us individually will decide how to answer that cry. Personally, I have my plan in mind and will execute it promptly.
P.S. Go to Andy’s site and read about, “Playing For Change.” It’s certainly is a worthwhile project.
P.P.S. If you’re looking for a way to contribute to the relief efforts, the Red Cross is pleading for donations. Many church organizations are also accepting donations for the cause.
January 6, 2010
The word “Challenge” is a verb as well as a noun.
The noun definition is: A call to take part in a contest, competition or project, esp. a duel. “He accepted the challenge.”
The verb definition is: Invite (someone) to do something that one thinks will be difficult or impossible, dare: “She challenged everyone to write a blog post every day.”
This past month I have participated in a Blog Challenge initiated by internet marketer, Connie Regan Green. She challenged everyone who wanted to participate in the project… to blog everyday for a month. (Verb)
More than 112 people accepted the “challenge” (Noun)….However, according to Connie, only 14 to 18 will make it to the finish line. (Verb)
I’m happy to announce that I crossed the 31 day finish line today.
I have experienced several emotions during the challenge of the last 31 days. They have ranged from excitement, to exasperation, to board-um, back to excitement and finally relief. Do I regret accepting the challenge? Absolutely not… and these are the reasons why.
1. It has forced me to post to my blog daily. Now I am motivated to take the same effort and put it toward consistent articles and blog posts.
2. It confirms to me that that I have the tenacity to stick to a project and complete a goal or cycle.
3. There’s been wonderful feeling of comradeship with those who have participated. The following terrific folks have been so supportive. They’ve either commented on my blog, twittered my posts or both. Sheila Atwood – Claus Jensen – Geoff Hoff – Andy Dolph – Suzie Cheel – Kelly Maria Clark - Crystal - Mike Shippey and of course Connie Green.
I will be tweeting and commenting on their blogs well into the future. You should check them out too!
The journey has been rewarding!
And, a special thanks to Connie Regan Green… for the Challenge… it was difficult at times (because of Christmas) … but not impossible.
P.S. Hey… don’t invite me to participate in another challenge anytime soon…I’m going to be pretty busy spreading myself between several blogs and writing articles…. everyday.
January 5, 2010
Teaching your child the art of listening will assist him, to not only listening to you but aid him in learning to communicating with others. Good Listening skills take practice. It’s never too early to enlist your kids in active listening exercises.
Be An Effective Listener Yourself
Be an effective listener yourself. It is the first key to teaching your kids the art of listening. Turn your full attention to your child while he’s talking to you. Look at him directly when you’re having a conversation. If you look out the window, or you’re visiting with someone else, it gives him the message you find what he has to say unimportant.
Give Simple Directions
Give age appropriate directions when you ask your child to do something. “Please, put on your shoes.” This is a simple and direct request that a young child can clearly understand and accomplish. Again, making eye contact with her is essential for getting your point across and helping her to be an active listener.
Mean What You Say And Stay Consistent
Following through with what you say is as important as what you’ve said. In other words, don’t say something you don’t mean. Relenting and giving in sends a message to your child that he doesn’t have to listen, nor believe what you have to say.
Sometimes Just Whisper
A fun listening activity is, changing your voice level. If you say, “Shhhh ….Listen,” then soften your voice to a whisper, it will grab his attention immediately. Whisper, “I love you.” Whisper directions and instructions. The change of your voice level will often cause a child to sit up and take notice because it’s out of the ordinary.
Play Fun Listening Skill Games
To improve listening habits, play listening skill games. A good time to play a “Listening Skill Game” is when you’re in the car. “What does the engine of our car sound like?” Let them vocalize what they hear. “Who can hear a ticking in our engine?” “The first person who can tell me the name of the song I’m singing, wins.” Also, let them ask the questions and you be on the listening end. This type of listening game will assist your child in listening for details.
Read A Book To Your Child
Reading to your child will improve listening. Reading directs focus from the outside world to the pages of a book. A young child’s attention span is not be very long, so make sure the book is short. Discussing and pointing out details in the pictures will hold her interest. If you’ve read the book before, noticed how she wants you to tell the story and talk about the details in the exact same way you did earlier? It shows you she’s been listening. Foster those listening skills by reading to your child often.
Compliment Good Listening
“Thank you for being such a good listener.” Praise is always welcome, and will reinforce your child’s desire to be a good listener. “Thank you for putting on your shoes the first time I asked you.” Small rewards, such as a hug, a kiss, a pat on the back, will reinforce your compliment.
Remember… your child is never too young to begin teaching the art of listening.
P.S. Active listening exercises will certainly help your kids develop the art of listening. Good listening habits are not only of value to you as a parent, but will be invaluable to your child as he grows and interacts with teachers and eventually, employers.
January 4, 2010
“Waste not want not,” as my Grandma Ella use to say. Well, here’s a clever cooking tip for reviving stale cookies so you don’t fall into the “wasteful” category.
I did a bit of early Christmas baking in December and placed my special Oatmeal Christmas cookies in a Tupperware container and forgot about them. When I remembered they were hidden in the laundry room, (to keep them from disappearing before the family party) they had become a bit stale.
(By the way, this Oatmeal Cookie recipe is to die for and it’s a “cooking for a crowd” size.)
Back to the cooking tip…. No worry! Simple put into practice a simple cooking trick I learned from my Grandma Ella. Cut a fresh apple into slices and place a few here and there in the container with the cookies and replaced the tight lid. After about 5 or 6 hours, removed the apple slices. The moisture from the apple slices will soften the cookies right up.
No one could tell that the oatmeal Christmas cookies were not baked that very day.
I’ve tried this cooking tip on other stale items such as cake, cake donuts and sweet loaf breads.
Try this cooking tip when you’re tempted to toss out stale cookies. Remember….. “waste not want not.”
P.S. Don’t forget the apples slices in your container. If you do… too much moisture from the apples will cause some of the cookies, that are in direct contact with the apples, to become a bit mushy.
January 3, 2010
Choosing paint color is a major decision in your interior decorating because you generally live with the results for a long time, so you’ll want to choose your paint color wisely.
Have you ever painted a room and the paint color on the walls didn’t appear to be the same as the chip you picked up from the paint store? However, when you put the chip next to the new paint job…sure enough you found that it was the same color. What happened! It’s called “Color Illusion.” Paint color changes, according to the light.
10 paint color decorating tips to avoid disappointment
1. Be aware that all paint will appear a bit darker on your walls than it does on the chip or in the paint can.
2. If you are in someone’s home, and you love the paint color scheme, ask them what paint color they’ve used. However, it may not appear the same in your home. It will depend upon room size, and the amount of light coming into the area.
3. If you are looking wall paint colors in a store, go to the window and look at the chips under natural as well as the store’s artificial light. Once you find the paint color you love, ask the dealer if they have a “Paint Sample Program.” Several paint companies mix a quart sample so you can take it home and try it out on your walls before you invest in several gallons.
4. Apply the paint directly to the walls you are going to cover with the new paint color. Paint a large area (3′x3′) in the darkest corner and in the lightest corner. Paint a large area on the darkest wall as well as the lightest wall. Don’t forget the ceiling.
5. Watch how the paint color scheme changes as you move from one area of the room to another. Also, observe the value of the color. Does it appear too dark or too light? You might be surprised to see how the color seems to change. One area may look completely different than another region of the room. Do you like what you see?
Observe the color through out the day as well as at night when you have artificial lights on. You will also notice the color will change depending on a sunny day or a cloudy day. Do you like what you see?
Your ceiling paint will always appear much darker if you are going to paint it the same color as your walls. To get the ceiling to appear the same as the wall color, lighten the ceiling paint at least half so it will appear the same as the wall color. Colors values caused by shadows can fool you.
6. If you don’t want to apply the interior paint directly to your walls and ceilings, spread your paint color on very large pieces of cardboard box so you can place them around the room.
7. Keep in mind that interior paint color applied to the walls of an empty room will appear different than in a room that has carpet on the floor and is filled with furniture. Remember, your paint will take a back seat when you add carpet and furnishings. So, don’t become too overwhelmed by paint color in an empty room.
8. Be aware, because all color will appear to change from one area to another, you will not be able to control every nook and cranny. Just consider whether you like the over all look and feel…then go for it.
9. Even if it takes you a couple of days, take your time to make a decision. You’re probably going to live with your paint decor for a long time. You want it to be right the first time.
10. You can ask for your friends’ advice, but the final choice must be yours. Make yourself happy first…after all, you and your family are the ones who are going to be surrounded with the paint color every day.
P.S. Hope these 10 paint decorating tips for choosing a paint color for your home will be helpful on your next interior paint adventure. I used the tips when picking paint for my home and I’ve been very happy with the results.
January 2, 2010
Caring for the elderly is still a family responsibility even amid the talk of long-term-care insurance. Eventually, decisions have to be made by the family concerning the care of aging parents.
Rest homes are expensive, so caring for aging parents often falls to family members. Caring for an aging parent in their own home, where their surroundings are familiar, is the most ideal… but not always possible. Therefore, moving an aging father or mother into a family members home is the next preferable alternative.
My mom will be 90 years old in March and up until about two years ago she had remarkable health. After a bout with the flu, her health declined immediately. She is fragile, and her mind is suffering with dementia. Fortunately, my sisters and I are able to care for Mom in her own home.
The New York Times reports that 67 percent of all caregivers are women and since women generally live longer than men, most of the care is given to elderly moms.
Often, daughters step forward for a number of reasons: because no other family member is willing to step forward or able to provide adequate care, or paid services are economically not possible.
“Our gender norms tend to assign women greater moral responsibility than men for family care,” states the New York Times.
This caregiving experiences has not been easy for us… or my mom. She has always been pretty independent and resents the fact we are in her home all the time.
Of course, we don’t know how much longer Mom will be with us, so we will continue to try and make her as comfortable as possible… after all, she’s our Mom.
P.S. It’s not too early to determine what you will do about caring for your aging parents. Because I’m an aging parent, I have long-term-care insurance…and it’s one of my better decisions.
January 1, 2010
Take Life Seriously is my motto. Seriousness comes from my roots. I came from a serious family. Not that we didn’t have our moments of frivolity, but it was on rare occasions… out in the mountains… or in a park.
Perhaps, it was because we lived in such close surroundings. For my parents, raising 5 girls in an approximately 1000, square feet home didn’t leave much room for “racing around or “tom foolery,” as my grandma Ella use to say. None the less, my folks were the “serious type.” We knew our places and what was what.
In seventh grade, I was invited to stay for dinner with a friend’s family. Oh my gosh… they told jokes the table. Suzette’s brother was caught off guard and sputtered food all over himself, laughing at a joke. I, wide eyed, looked around to see the reaction and everyone was doubled up with laughter. The mess was quickly cleaned up and we went on with the meal…. cheerfully. They didn’t take life too seriously! That experience gave me a lot to think about.
Seriousness is a hard habit for me to break but that’s my goal for 2010. While others may be trying to stay in control… manage themselves better, be more organized… I’m going to be looking at life a little less seriously…. laugh more… tell a few jokes, (if I can remember any) and start my day looking at life more carefree and less from a serious standpoint.
Perhaps, many of your have seen this video of a less than serious wedding. I wish I could I have been so brave! I’ve got to hand it to these two… they’ve got guts!
P.S. My friend Claus Jensen, shares jokes on his blog, once a week. Taking a page from his book… here’s a joke.
Sunday school teacher: Phil, who was the first woman?
Phil: I don’t know.
Sunday school teacher: I’ll give you a hint. It had something to do with an apple.
Phil: Oh, I know. Granny Smith!