Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
And so, the times have changed. Once your kids grow up and leave home, the dynamics are never quite the same again. They have their own lives and their own set of priorities, just as we did when we were that age. We can either feel sad and mourn the loss of that family togetherness, or we can recognize how very lucky we were to have had those times together and look forward to the future visits we will have. Me? I'm going to do the latter.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
I would like to make this site helpful for everyone who visits it. I would love to know what kinds of topics you would like to see addressed. Is school number one on your mind? How about social issues? Is your child struggling with any problems in particular? I will do my best to address them or find someone who can offer sound advice.
Just leave a comment or email me at TSchultz60@gmail.com. Thank you!
Monday, September 22, 2008
It's true that today's kids are busier than ever before. After school activities abound, coupled with the inevitable doctor's appointments and music, dance and or karate lessons. Add in a sport or two and you are busy every single day of the year.
When we do so much for our kids, we can fall into the trap of doing everything for them; before you kow it, the kids rule the roost. They decide what program gets watched, what music gets played and where dinner is eaten. It's easier to give in than to fight over every little thing, but what does that teach the kids - that whining wins the day?
It's good for children to make sacrifices too. Let them listen to your music for a change. You decide what program to watch and invite them to join you. (Here's where having only one TV in our house was a real gift. It taught the kids how to share and how to respect each other's rights and ours too.) Ask them to work on the crossword with you, instead of playing their video games. It's a two-way street. Learning to compromise and learning that they will not always get their way will serve them much better in life than always getting what they want.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Because there is already a lot of information out there about newborns, toddlers and younger children, I'm going to focus more on tweens, teens and young adults. It represents where I am in my life, with two in college and my youngest in high school. It's also a time when the kinds of problems you might encounter with your kids become more serious too.
Whether it's teaching your child to drive a car, helping your kids prepare for college entrance exams or going to bed while they're still out with friends, there are many adjustments we parents must make. As we shift from the caregivers of our young children to the advisors of our teens to the companions of our adult children, we go through many changes. I want you to come to this site to find help in making those necessary adjustments. That said, I will do my best to provide you with meaningful resources and I welcome any comments and suggestions on how to make this site better.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
A new school year often brings a big investment in new clothes. Last year's fashions simply will not do, and, chances are, your kids have outgrown them anyway. So how do you keep the costs down come September? Here are a few ideas.
1) Buy clothes that can be mixed and matched. If all your child's tops can go with all his/her jeans, shorts, skirts, etc., you're in business. Pick neutral jackets and shoes that will go with everything.
2) Go through your child's closet before you go shopping. Give away any items that are too small or have never been worn. Try to find clothes that are a perfect fit and that your child really likes, so they don't end up gathering dust in the closet.
3) Give your child a clothing allowance. It will help them decide between clothes they really want and stuff they'd just like to have, but don't really love. It's also good for them to learn to work within a budget.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Here are more tips for saving money on school supplies this year.
1) Stock up - If you find a great sale (either before school starts or as the year goes on), stock up. Sometimes you can get a great deal in the clearance section in late Sept. Keep your eyes open. You know you'll need these items throughout the school year and in years to come too.
2) Buy in bulk - Why not shop with a friend or two? If their children need the same items, you may be able to save a lot of money by buying items in bulk, then dividing them up. Plus, it can make the shopping trip way more fun.
3) Don't buy big ticket items until you know what is needed/allowed - Contact your child's school for a list of needed supplies before classes begin, and find out whether or not rolling backpacks are allowed. I know several classrooms where there is no room for backpacks that cannot be hung up on pegs on the wall. It would be a shame to waste money on something that expensive that cannot be used.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Yesterday I blogged about school supplies and how many things have changed since I was a kid. Parents today are asked to come up with all the supplies needed to get the school year started, and it can really add up fast. Here are some tips to help keep costs down.
1) Recycle - Check to see what you already have at home. If you're like us, you have assorted crayons, markers, colored pencils, etc. lying around the house. Put these together in a pencil box and that will save you a few bucks.
2) Re-use - Kids think that last year's backpack has to go, but a quick trip through the washing machine may give it new life.
3) Reduce - Does your child have a notebook from last year that has three pages of written material in it and 77 blank pages left? Did you find this notebook in the recycle bin - or worse - the trash? Now is a good time to discuss waste and keeping it to a minimum by getting the most use possible out of every item.
More tips tomorrow. In the meantime, check out Lisa Kirby's blog for more insight on kids and their need for new stuff at www.familyfunandfood.blogspot.com/.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Remember when going back to school meant buying a few notebooks, a new box of crayons, and new shoes? If you wore a uniform to school, you probably got one of those too; if not, you got one or two new outfits. That was it.
Well, times have changed. The supply list now contains items that used to be provided by the schools - like scissors, glue and tissues. Every child needs a new backpack, notebooks, paper, pens (red, blue and black), glusticks, ruler, tape, scissors, markers, folders and a calculator. If you have two children and you shop the sales, you can still end up paying out more than $100.00 in supplies alone. And that doesn't even count the new clothes your child "has to have" or the fees that are required for art projects, lab costs, etc.
Don't even get me started on the supplies, including furniture and appliances, your child needs for college. Does it ever end?
This week on the blog, read my ideas for keeping the costs down and bringing a bit of sanity back to the back-to-school craze.
Friday, August 8, 2008
In addition to this blog and my other freelance writing, I also have a blog at Prevention.com. Check out the following entry, then check back here in a few days for a progress report.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Our final morning, my husband and I hiked up to the nature center, a beautiful and somewhat challenging hike that ended at a big, flat-rocked vista point, which would have been a perfect spot for a picnic. On a Tuesday morning, we had the place all to ourselves. The only problem - we forgot to bring the camera!
Saturday, August 2, 2008
It's August, so the baseball camps are all done, and it's officially vacation time. We leave tomorrow for a camping adventure in Idyllwild. I've only been there once before. My friend Pam took us to her mom's house for the weekend when we were still in college, so it's been....a really long time!
It's always fun to check out a new camping spot. This one has "partial shade," so we're bringing a shade structure with just in case. We borrowed a dutch oven from friends, so we're going to try to bake cinnamom rolls at the campsite. Should be an adventure!
No time to camp this summer? Just set up that tent in the backyard, blow up those air mattresses, set out the sleeping bags and go for it. You don't have to go far from home to have a great time outdoors.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Corn dogs, cotton candy, turkey legs and deep-fried twinkies! Hawkers and clowns and the Peking acrobats! Does it get any better than that?
This was the first time in years that we went to the fair without the kids. That meant we missed certain parts of the fair, like the midway (sigh of relief), the wild rides (another sigh of relief) and the pig races (a really big sigh of relief.) Not that those things weren't fun, but this year I had all the time in the world to wander through the arts and crafts building and marvel at the talent displayed there. The paintings were stunning, the photos amazing, the table settings innovative and the collections lots of fun. It was a slower, more relaxed trip to the fair and I liked it. I guess there's plenty to embrace about this empty nest thing.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Well, my 18-yr.-old son left for Australia last night, so now the shoe is on the other foot. After all those years of little ones hanging onto my leg and not wanting to let go, it's my turn to worry about my son as he travels to a different continent - heck, even a different hemisphere!
I had a taste of adult separation anxiety two years ago when my daughter went away to college. I was okay up until the final goodbyes, then found I couldn't speak. I held back the tears until I got in the car, then let loose. This September, I get to say goodbye to my son as well, as he heads off to college too, so I guess I should be getting good at it by now. But it takes some courage to send your child so far away.
My one consolation is that I remember so well how much fun I had the summer I was nineteen. I got the opportunity to study in Heidelberg, Germany through my college, Pepperdine University. It was the best summer of my life, hands down, as I got to travel to many countries and experience different ways of life. I will never forget that summer, and I hope my son will have great memories of his time in Australia. My daughter is looking to study in Ireland, and I know my youngest will want to take some type of big trip as well.
It's all a part of growing up, going on these adventures. It's tough on the parents, but it's so educational and so meaningful to the kids, and I hope every young adult gets an opportunity to broaden his or her horizons and go explore the world!
Sunday, July 27, 2008
I came across a great site for kids today. It's called Writing with Writers. It's a Scholastic website where kids can get expert advice on writing in a variety of genres by successful, published authors. For example, mystery writer Joan Lowery Nixon presents a short mystery of hers for your child to read. She then provides some writing tips for your young author, before taking him through the writing and revision process step-by-step. He can then publish his story online. Why not check it out? Who knows, your child may be the next Agatha Christie or Erle Stanley Gardner!
Saturday, July 26, 2008
One more idea on keeping the teens busy this summer. Let them plan a party for their friends and put the entire thing together. That means they should clean the house in preparation for the big day. They should pick a theme for the party, then plan and shop for the food and decorations. Make sure they stay within a given budget too. They will appreciate you so much more when they discover how much effort and energy went into all those birthday parties you gave them. And they will feel proud of themselves for planning and executing their own party all by themselves!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
As your teen gets older, she craves more independence from you. This can be tough for a parent to accept, but it's a natural part of growing up. Kids want to spend more and more time with their friends and less time with the family. That's especially true of their parents, although younger siblings may get short shrift too as the older kids distance themselves from childish pursuits.
Now is the time to start giving your teen more independence. Of course, you must take into consideration her level of maturity - not all teens are created equal - and let her have some opportunities to prove herself responsible. Summer is a great time for this. There are any number of fun activities, whether it's spending the day at an amusement park or going to the state fair. Maybe you could drop her off at the beach with her friends for a few hours or let them walk to the movies alone.
Bit by bit, you should be giving them more responsibility and judging how well they handle it. It will help them stay busy this summer and they'll grow up a lot too!
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
It was fun, wasn't it? Designing your child's bedroom, first as a nursery and later as a kid's room? Well, now it houses a teenager and it should reflect that fact.
As kids grow up, their personalities emerge and they should have their own private space that reflects that personality. What better time to re-do your teen's room than the summer, when he is bored and looking for something to do? That's right, now that he's a teen, he can wield a paint brush or assemble some new furniture all by himself (or at least with minimal supervision.) Even if the room isn't ready for a major remodel, your teen can make a few changes that make his or her space seem more grown up.
Of course, it's your house, so you still have veto power. You can nix the black walls or the disturbing poster your teen picked up at the swap meet. Negotiate, compromise, and give your teen something to do this summer!
Monday, July 21, 2008
As the long summer days press on, time at home with the kids can wear on your nerves a bit. While there are plenty of activites to keep young kids busy, it can be a lot harder finding things for your teenager to do - especially if that teenager is too young to work and drive a car. This week, we'll explore some of the unique challenges we parents of young teens face during the summer months.
If anyone has any helpful ideas, don't hesitate to leave a comment.
Tomorrow: Updating Your Teen's Room
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Whatever you do in terms of exercise, you must keep it fresh and interesting or you will soon give it up entirely. Have you seen those vita courses? You walk from one point to the next, then stop and perform the specified exercise. You may be asked to do some pull-ups or push-ups. You may be asked to stretch, or do a short step routine. This way you work different muscle groups and keep your walk interesting.
Don't live near a vita course? Make one of your own. Throw in a few toe touches or jumping jacks. Get creative. Have fun! Keep exercising!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Okay, no time for exercise today? But you found time to watch TV? Here are a number of things you can do while watching your favorite show.
Exercises to do sitting down.
- Head and neck stretches (Slowly move your head forward and back, left and right.)
- Shoulder shrugs (Move shoulders up, hold, release, repeat.)
- Arm stretches - (Get creative here - up, forward, to the sides, behind you...)
Exercises to do standing up
- Leg work (Lean against a wall; slide down until you can feel the burn and hold.)
- Calf exercises (Stand on your tip toes and hold. Release and come back onto your heels while leaning forward slightly. Feel that stretch.)
- Strength-building maneuvers - (Using a chair for support, try a number of balancing poses.)
- Crunches (Move slowly and carefully and hold each crunch for a few moments.)
- Leg lifts (There are several varieties of leg lifts. Try them all.)
- Push ups or planks (These are great to build your core strength.)_
Do you have more energy now? Did you still get to see your TV show? Try this at least three times a week and in no time you will feel stronger and firmer and less guilty about watching TV!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Apparently, living in a one-story house and not having to climb any nearby hills had taken its toll. My legs ached almost at once, and I was embarrassed at being in such poor shape. But I didn't give up. I decided at least it would be easy to improve on such a poor performance, so I set a goal to last 5 minutes the next time. I made it and increased my goal by two more minutes each time. I didn't always reach my goal, but I kept building up my strength until I was doing 35 minutes on the elliptical, as well as working out with weights.
Baby Steps! Don't give up!
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Some people still think of yoga as some strange mystical practice involving impossible flexibility and lots of chanting. In reality, yoga is a fun, relaxing method of getting in shape and letting go of your stress. In fact, I don't even realize how tense my body is until I come out of a yoga class feeling loose, refreshed and relaxed.
While I think it's best to take a class to learn the basic positions, there are a lot of good yoga videos for beginners. Just remember that you should work within your own comfort zone. Never push yourself to do something you are not ready to do. And yoga should never be painful.
Monday, July 14, 2008
I know some days it's harder than others to get yourself going. Plus, we all lead such busy lives. But just taking a few minutes to do something for your well-being can really make a difference in your life. I know whenever I drag myself to the gym I walk out feeling great - and I could swear I'm at least two inches taller. The benefit that exercise has on my posture is worth the effort alone!
So get moving today and have some fun.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Make some time this summer to go camping. If you don't have the gear or can't devote an entire weekend, pack a picnic lunch and get up to the mountains or over to that lake. Spend a day hiking or relaxing while you listen to that unique sound the wind makes when it blows through the trees.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Effective communication is one of the most important tools in your relationship with your child. It can help you avoid unnecessary conflicts and worries. But how do you communicate effectively? One way is to practice active listening.
Active listening requires not only that you listen to what the other person is saying, but you must also ask for clarification so you are certain you understand exactly what he is saying. You do this by repeating his message back to him in a question.
For example, "Do you mean that you don't want to go to the movie today or that you don't want to see that movie ever?"
Try active listening today. Ask a question to see if you really understand what's being said to you or if you're jumping to conclusions and not really listening at all. Remember, effective communication makes your life easier and less stressful, so work on perfecting this most important skill.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
After hearing the general presentations on how to help our child transition into adulthood and to watch out for the two most common causes of academic problems - stress and lack of sleep - the representative for the architecture program dropped a bombshell.
During the five year program, students are expected to work seven days a week (in order to complete group projects on the weekends) and they will frequently need to pull all-nighters to keep up with their work. When I asked her if these students had procrastinated, she said no. The workload is simply that difficult and demanding. They also have a dropout rate of 30-40% after the first year and 10-20% after the second.
Having always urged our children to find a balance in their lives, this was a bit hard to swallow. But I'll keep an open mind. We'll see how things go. Maybe she was exaggerating; maybe he'll rise to the challenge and thrive on the work. Only time will tell.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
At our house, we have a combination white board/bulletin board where we keep track of everyone's whereabouts. The bulletin board holds fliers, permission slips and anything else we need to keep track of. The white board has a line for every day of the week, Sunday through Saturday, listing all the events for that week. I use a different colored marker for each person, so one quick glance tells me where everyone is. Next to the white board I keep a calendar and the boys' sports schedules for a quick reference.
Some people use chalk boards, poster boards, monthly, weekly or daily schedules. Find a method that works for you and stick with it. That way you won't miss out on any important events, and your life will feel more organized and far less stressful.
Monday, July 7, 2008
On the other hand, if I wait too long to get started even thinking about dinner, only to find that I don't have all the ingredients I need or the recipe takes longer than I thought it would, then it's all too easy to give up and opt for fast food.
Try this. Next weekend, plan out a week's worth of meals and shop for everything you will need. Place the menu for the week on the fridge where everyone can see it. (Hint: The kids will complain less about Tuesday's dinner if they realize you're having their favorite on Wednesday.) Try out some slow cooker recipes that can be prepared in the morning. Try a few one-dish dinners as well. For some more ideas about healthy, easy-to-prepare meals, visit my friend Mary's sight at http://foodforbeginners.wordpress.com/.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Last year, my good friend bent down to try to calm her brother's dog. Normally sweet and gentle, he suddenly attacked her and she wound up in the emergency room receiving over 30 stitches in her face. She was lucky - a year later, you can hardly tell anything happened to her face. It was completely unexpected and in 12 years this dog had never exhibited any aggressive behavior. So be careful around animals tonight and watch your small children closely.
Have a safe and sane 4th!
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Television is a big one for most people. Have you ever watched someone walk through a room where a T.V. is on? Before you know it, that person has stopped and is drawn to the television, mesmorized by its content, even if it's a program they've seen a hundred times before. T.V. has a certain attraction for most of us (and our kids too) and it's easy to spend hours wasting time that could be used doing something productive.
You don't have to give up T.V. entirely, just schedule your favorite programs into your day and stick to your schedule. No channel surfing for two hours! Even better, get down on the floor and do some leg lifts and crunches while you watch T.V. Get your kids to join you. Burn those calories from dinner while you relax.
If T.V. isn't your biggest time waster, then take a minute and think about what is. Maybe you like to read the paper cover-to-cover every day. That can take awhile. Try skimming it for the most pertinent articles and catch up on your reading on the weekends. What other habits are wasting your time? Do you chat on the phone more than you need to? Do you spend too much time planning projects rather than just jumping in and getting them done?
Whatever your biggest time waster is, try to identify it today and make the changes that will give you more free time to get to the important things in your life. Eliminate whatever is keeping you from accomplishing all that you wish to and soon you will see the difference it makes in your life.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Sometimes, the best way to get your kids to open up to you is to play a game with them or to sit down beside them and work on a puzzle together or color pictures together. Any activity that allows you to just chat with each other in a non-threatening way beats an interrogation any day. And when you're standing over them asking all kinds of questions about their day, it can seem like an interrogation to them. Instead, while you're playing catch, coloring, changing a doll's clothes, share something that happened in your day. Pretty soon they'll be chattering away, letting you know what's going on in their world, who's still friends with whom, who got a time out from the teacher, etc.
Even when there isn't much to tell, you can still work or play, side by side, enjoying a companionable silence. You're spending time together, and your child knows you're there, ready to listen to them if they need to talk.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
There's just something about being outdoors all day long that can't be beat. Mind you, we do it the old fashioned way, with just a tent and campstove. For us, the point of camping is to get away from the technology that dominates our lives. We want to rediscover the thrill of communing with nature, listening to the wind blowing through the trees, gazing up at the stars from a hammock. No TV, no radio, no newspapers. The X-Box is replaced with a friendly game of horseshoes, the gameboy with a game of cards.
When we arrive home, we are refreshed, relaxed and ready to plan the next trip.
Friday, June 27, 2008
As she grows she becomes more and more independent. It starts with little things. She learns to talk and walk and is soon getting into everything. She learns to feed herself and go to the bathroom by herself and she most definitely learns the meaning of the word no!
As time goes on, it may seem as though life is nothing but a continuous struggle with your child. She longs for her independence. You don’t want her to grow up so fast. She can’t wait to go to High School, to drive a car, to leave for college. You wish she could just stay this little forever.
Parenting is a tough job. While we start out in complete control of our children’s lives, gradually we must learn to relinquish that control, just as they must learn to take care of themselves. It’s easy to be saddened by this transition. We mourn the days of family outings and togetherness. We see this as an end, rather than a beginning. But that’s exactly what it is – a beginning!
It’s the beginning of your child’s life as an adult. It’s a celebration of all that you have taught your child and all the memories you have helped to create. If you’ve done your job as a parent correctly, your child will be completely independent and able to thrive without you. You can look forward to a new relationship with your adult child. You will have done your job well.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Kids are like sponges, soaking up new thoughts and ideas, absorbing all kinds of information. They see the world through fresh, unfiltered eyes and their curiosity is contagious. Yet somehow, as they grow older, they begin to grow leery of museums and art galleries, anything that might be – that dreaded word – educational. The child who once got so excited about a field trip to the post office in kindergarten wouldn’t be caught dead in a science museum or a concert hall.
“It’s too much like school mom. I want to have fun on my weekends off.”
So what is a parent to do? Simple. Keep talking to your kids. Keep those ever-important lines of communication open. And look for opportunities to inform and educate your children without turning the conversation into a lecture.
For example, a recent trip to a local beach provided me with multiple opportunities to discuss a wide range of important topics with my thirteen year old. As we parked next to the Civic Center we noticed a little garden out in front with a sign welcoming visitors. As we strolled along the path, we read about each drought resistant plant and talked about what we could do to save water.
As we turned around, we caught sight of a beautiful restaurant with a curved roof that resembled the thatched roofs we had seen on a trip to Ireland. My son was almost too young to remember that trip, so we talked about the dying art of roof thatching and other interesting things we’d encountered in the “old country.”
A stroll down the side streets led us to a thrift shop and we talked about the need to help others and the good feelings we gain from donating to a worthy cause.
Stopping at the ice cream shop on the corner for refreshment, a few more steps brought us to the beach, where we sat down and enjoyed our ice cream while we watched the waves. No lessons here, just the warmth of the sun on our faces and the feel of the sand between our toes. Just another memory of time spent together, sharing our thoughts and feelings, learning about the world around us and learning about each other.