Dec 192016
 

fire safety

I was baking with my granddaughter, Ari, and had a candle with three wicks burning on the counter. Watching the flames made me think that  it would be a great time to give a little kitchen-fire safety talk.

I went over the basics:  if oil or grease is involved, never put water on it; put a lid on a pan that has caught fire; if there is no extinguisher; dump flour or sugar on the flames; stop, drop, and roll, etc.

Not more than two minutes after I finished, a napkin near the candle caught fire! I snatched it up to get it to the sink, but it burst into a fire-ball halfway there, and landed on the floor.

Ari yelled, “Dump flour on it!”

I did.

Do you have any idea how big of a mess that made? 😀

I still can’t get over how weird that all was, but please, go over fire safety with the kids, especially during this season when so many candles are burning.

Merry Christmas to you all!

🙂 Nealie

 

Nov 302016
 

Two scarecrows

Over Thanksgiving holiday the grandkids drew pictures, did crafts, and ran up and down the stairs a thousand times. Here are a couple highlights:

Tommy drew a picture. I wasn’t in the room at the time, but I overheard his mother ask him, “I see the car. Who are these people?”

“They are two scarecrows and their car.”

“That would be very scary driving, because their heads would be stuffed with straw,” she said.

I tried to picture it. Hey, that would be blonde drivers…

 

That same weekend, Tommy and Travis were here, in their p.j. bottoms and no shirts, running all over the house. They wanted to go to the Lego store to spend their money.

Tommy asked, “When are we going?”

I said, “I’m not taking two dirt-bags anywhere.”

Tommy started to laugh and said, “That’s funny!”

Travis stared at him. “She’s talking about us, Tommy.”

 

I can’t handle chaos everyday, but happy chaos can be wonderful.

For a limited time, lol!

Nealie

 

 

 

 

Here it is Again!

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Nov 232016
 

I know you’re busy, but take 60 seconds and laugh a little at these guys. I like the one who stuffs his cheeks with pieces of pie in this adorable video clip!

Love my readers, Nealie

Nov 202016
 

160211_0002I’ve always told any kids riding in my car that I have an eject button, and will use it if they act up. The belief that I actually have an eject button eventually comes to an end. That happened today for Travis.

I was driving grandsons Tommy and Travis, ages 7 & 8, to a birthday party, and they were not being the quiet little travelers that I needed. I gave them a few admonishments to settle down and knock it off, etc. Finally I said, “Travis, if you don’t settle down in my car, I’m pressing the eject button!”

Things became quiet  for a second, then he challenged, “You don’t really have an eject button.”

I shot back, “You’re right, but I can pull over, stop the car, and toss you in a ditch!”

So we’ve now moved on from the eject button, to threat of harm and desertion. For all of you that have me on a pedestal, I hope knowing this helps.

Have a great Thanksgiving! 😛 Nealie

15 Awesome Alternatives to Screen Time

 Children, General Information  Comments Off on 15 Awesome Alternatives to Screen Time
Nov 112016
 

too much screen timeTime is short for raising our kids to be productive and happy adults. I think there are four groups of parents when it comes to kids and screen time:

-One uses gadgets for a babysitter and to free up their own time.

-The other group begrudgingly allows screen time, because that’s what all kids want to do, and they don’t want their child left out.

-The third group is a combination of the the other two: a little babysitter and a little of wanting their kids to have what’s popular.

-The fourth group opts out in favor of other activities. Steve Jobs was a surprising example.

The kids want TV and electronics because they are entertaining. At what cost? And eye contact, what is that?

Awesome Alternatives:

Give your child have a blank page on the computer to write a story. Their story-telling creativity might surprise you. Or they could write a letter. You could teach them how to scan, email, and print – all practical skills a video game can’t teach.

Indoor or outdoor challenges, like how many times can you bounce a ball without losing control of it? Then try to break the record! We have done an indoor balloon game where a balloon gets tossed in the air between two people, back and forth while you count how many times it was batted before it eventually lands on the floor. If the hits total 50, then next time try to get past fifty and break the record.

Reading. I used to have the kids read and then be prepared for questions when they were done with the book. Read a book together if your reader is young, by alternating pages between you.

Legos and Lincoln Logs increase manual dexterity and require creative thinking. There are many building-type products out there.

Scouts (They do all kinds of things!)

Life skills. Do your kids know how to wash windows, set the table for dinner, do a load of clothes, change a vacuum bag or empty the vac receptacle? Are you preparing them to be on their own someday?

Exercising. Most homes have the possibility for somehow doing laps in the house if the weather is bad. Right now, one grandson is up to 54 laps indoors. He runs through the kitchen and does a loop through the living room, down the hall and back to the kitchen. On the way, he scoops up a small weight and carries it a lap before bending down to put the weight back on the floor for the next lap, and alternating.

Play Doh sculpting.

Teach how to make a homemade birthday card or a thank you note.

Service to others makes a person feel good and teaches empathy. Ask, “What could you do to help so-and-so?”

Cards and board games teach winning and losing gracefully, and not quitting.

Scrabble. An awesome game that allows breaks between plays if they are needed.

Classic Battleship. If you’ve never played it, you have no idea what fun it is out-maneuvering your opponent.

Simple kitchen tasks that help with meal preparation will go a long way toward the goal of independence one day. Meals don’t magically appear!

Take a walk, ride bikes….fight couch potato syndrome and childhood obesity.

Love my readers, Nealie

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 252016
 

If you are married and have a special needs child (or children), you know the unbelievable strain that parenting  puts on your marriage. You have extenuating circumstances that can destroy your relationship over time if you aren’t careful.

Child comes. Parents are ready and excited. The child has physical, behavioral, and/or emotional disabilities. Parents think they are prepared. The child’s care requires more than expected. For a longer period of time. The situation never seems to get better. The once-united front of the parents begins to crumble, because needs are not being met. One parent leaves the marriage -usually the father. What was a bad situation is now an impossible situation for the remaining parent, because, if two couldn’t do it, how can just one?

The politically correct way society often thinks (because they haven’t lived it), is that the parent who left is bad, and the one who remains must carry on regardless, for the sake of the child.

Carry on what was impossible before, with two people?

I must clarify a little here at this point, and say that I am talking about a child with more than a simple disability; one that is severely wounded, damaged, or physically incapacitated. If you lose the core family unit, then you lose. The child loses. Everything falls apart.

Taking care of the marriage must come before the child in this situation, because you can’t help that kiddo by yourself. Ouch. I know.

This is an explosive conversation, and most people won’t talk about it. Bruce and I put our relationship ahead of Lilly, and because we did, we were able to continue to be in her life, even to this day. Had we not taken care of our marriage, and if the stress and conflict involved in her care had torn us apart, then Lilly wouldn’t have us today as her parents.

I don’t know what might have happened to her.

-Nealie

 

 

Oct 042016
 

I ran into someone that I hadn’t seen in about fifteen years today. Long story short, she is really going through it with a child they adopted.

The girl is 14 or 15 now, and went back and forth between the birth mother and foster care from a young age. After a neglectful and turbulent early childhood, she was adopted by this friend, whose family had been respite providers during those years.

Good foster families play such an important part in anchoring and providing stability for children that have no stability in their lives. And usually there is no thank-you from the child, who may be unable to appreciate the safe haven that has been provided.

Helping a kid who doesn’t seem to want help, (and is often defiant and destructive to the family unit), is a hard burden to bear. I felt for my friend, because we have been there with Lilly. I feel like we’ve been to hell and back with Lilly.

Has it been worth it? Absolutely! What advice do I have for people in this situation? Here is a mini-list of tips:

1. Take care of your marriage. (I will talk more about this topic in two weeks, so stay tuned.)

2. Take care of your health. Eat nutrient rich foods and be active physically.

3. Have a list of people on your team, and their numbers. An actual list. After you put down the professionals, rack your brain to  add helpful people who are not professionals. When in crisis, if you don’t have a list, you may not be able to focus on who to call for help.

4. Know the signals that will tell you that your child is becoming dis-regulated or agitated. With Lilly, she would pace, suck her thumb, and hunch her shoulders. When these happened, I knew we were headed for trouble if there wasn’t an intervention.

5. Think about interventions. Make a list of things that could be used as interventions. More about this in weeks to follow.

6. Don’t hesitate to call for help! It’s when you try to do it all alone that either you get harmed, or something really bad may happen.

7. Document everything unusual and date it. Add names of anyone who heard or saw what you are documenting. I’m talking about unusual or bizarre behavior, harm to animals, self, or others; accusations, fire-starting, running off, breaking items, stealing, etc.

With the holidays coming, it is wise to be proactive if you don’t already have these things in place. Nothing is fool-proof, but you will fail if you don’t think about this seriously.

Love my readers, Nealie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 122016
 

Are You a PuristA Purist has strict or precise rules that do not vary, regardless of the situation.

I know God says that we aren’t supposed to lie, but  have to believe that He was okay with it when Corrie Ten Boom’s family hid the Jews from the Gestapo, and lied to do it.

A purist would have turned them over to the Gestapo, because it’s wrong to tell a lie.

What am I getting at? Someone had a special-needs child, and his fish died. It was a fish that could NOT have been identified by the child in a police line-up.

The purist insisted that the child be told the fish died, even though there was a high possibility of a melt-down and self-harming after the child was told the fish was deceased.

Someone else felt that it was fine to replace the fish and not say anything. Replace it as many times as needed, and make that the longest-living fish in the history of the world. Why? Because there have been too many crazy incidents in this child’s life, and he isn’t stable.

Personally, I don’t believe that one-size-fits-all when it comes to damaged children, and I’d vote for the fish that lives forever.

Comments either way are welcome. 🙂 Nealie

This post contains an affiliate link.

 

 

Aug 292016
 

When we moved to a new house, Lilly wanted to visit as soon as possible to check it out. She wanted to make sure certain things were still in place.

Things like Bruce and I. And where are the pets -Dunkin’, Noodles, and Moses? Never mind about one single piece of furniture or decoration. Lilly needed to know that all that lived and breathed were fine.

Then she was okay.

She had it right, you know. Sometimes we get the things that don’t live and breathe ahead of what matters.

Love my readers, Nealiecats