Family Tree (Limerick)

I’m just an old used to be. 
My memories will pass on with me. 
As time fades away, 
And memories decay, 
I’ll be a twig in the old family tree.

The Beauty of Children

If ever there was anything I was certain about, it’s that I’ve raised some pretty amazing kids. But, along the way I’ve also been tested. So testing in fact, that my kids may have thought I needed the professional advice of a psychiatrist or maybe just some medication to take the edge off my insane mood swings.

The good news is I and they, survived childhood, but not without some hilarious stories I intend on sharing with other brain frazzled parents.

The most recent melt down occurred this morning as I was getting ready to take a flight to see my sister in Arizona. I made my list days ago and packed everything neatly into a well organized suitcase. I prepared my wardrobe meticulously making sure I have an outfit for any occasion that might present itself. You know, dinner with the Queen, or cocktails with the Obama’s.

As I dried off from my shower, I reached into the medicine cabinet to retrieve deodorant, only to find that it had vanished into thin air. Perhaps my daughter ran out and forgot to tell me? Perhaps, she borrowed it with the full intention of giving it back and leaving me a note to pick up more? Now, instead of my usual pretty floral underarm scent, I smell something like a sailor with the pungent scent of Old Spice to ward of the nasties.

Now that I’m dried off and dressed, it’s time to perform the daily “hair” miracle. With hair nearly down to my butt, it takes a lot of product to tame my curly locks, so again I reach for my hair gel and discover that I’ve only got a pea sixed amount left. You see, my hair is not only long, but thicker than the ice sheets in Greenland. A pea sized amount of product on this head would tame about half dozen hairs give or take. So then I am forced to use the product I tried last month that is the consistency of sticky glue that never dries. How does my hair look you’re wondering? Well, aside from frizzing out like a 70’s afro, not bad.

Okay, body clean, dressed and hair tended to, I’m off to apply my make-up. You see, make-up is another very important aspect to my self-esteem which over the last ten years has plummeted to negative 100. Face make-up or foundation is necessary to cover up what Mother Nature calls “aging.” On my cheeks is the road map to route 66 in the form of small broken capillaries. They are equally spread across both cheeks and need several layers of make-up t hide them.

I open my make-up bag with all the necessary tools. It organized alphabetically for easy access. I reach in and pull my miracle face cream. It’s tinted in a lovely shade of ivory and matches my skin perfectly. It’s the best cover-up I’ve ever used. A light, but thick face mousse that looks flawless when applied with a make-up sponge. It works so well that nobody would ever guess that my skin isn’t perfect.

I twirl off the lid effortlessly and look down into the small jar and the shock of its contents sends me into a near nervous break-down. The jar is completely empty. Not just empty, but the glass of the car is so clean you’d be hard pressed to say if it ever actually contained make-up.

After deep breathing and a quick prayer to my maker, I calm down and face the truth. “I am going to look like white trash today!” This revelation you’d

Family Planning – How Many Children Should You Have?

Family planning is something my husband and I have talked about since we first got married in 1999. I always wanted to have a large family because I am the oldest of 8 children. I grew up with my sisters and cousins under one roof. I loved growing up in a big family. At one time I felt a tremendous urge to have as many babies as possible. Yet, I held myself back for quite a few years because I met my husband in the mid 90’s, while we were in high school. When we got married after high school we felt like we were just too young to start a family, and we wanted to enjoy each other for a few years first. We finally had our first son 7 years after we first got married, and we just recently had another baby in January. Now that we have 2 children our dream of having a large family is starting to fade for many reasons. For now we have decided to postpone making the final decision to have more children, for at least a few more years. To us this is such a hard choice to make, and perhaps it is for many people, which is why I decided to write this article.

Our decision is heavily influenced by so many things such as, our financial ability to care for more children, our ability to give our children quality time, and of course my age. I’m not so young any more and the clock is ticking as I will soon to be 30. I have a few short years left in order to be in the safe zone, and even then there are still risks. For instance, I labored with both of my boys, and yet I ended up having a C-section with both of them for two very different reasons.The surgeries were very hard on my body, and I’m not so sure that I want to endure more surgeries physically or emotionally. Surgery is also very risky. I had to search to even find a doctor that would allow me to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). I think if I am to become pregnant again, I will try for a VBAC one more time. If your also having a hard time deciding how large you want your family to be, here a few things to consider, which may help you make the choice that’s best for both you and your partner.


Do you have the time available to give each child quality one on one time? Are you working 2 jobs, and going to school to reach your goals? If you don’t have the time to give your child you may want to wait until things settle down in your life, or change your lifestyle in order to make more time.


Age is always something to consider when you want to have more children. It is much harder going through a pregnancy when you’re in your 30’s as compared to your 20’s. There are also more risks associated with a pregnancy when you’re over 35.

Financial Situation

As the cost of living continues to increase you need to ask yourself what sacrifices you will need to make if you want to have a large family. If you’re financially stable and able to provide, there are less limitations on you when it comes to finances. However, some families are struggling to make ends meet as it is with 2-3 children. In some cases more children might mean giving up some things. Still I have

Family Bonding on a Budget

You’re stressed out from work and looking for a little family R and R but the wallet looks pretty slim these days. Beyond the normal freebies – going for a walk, picnic in the park, trip to the beach – what kind of fun can a family have on a limited budget? Plenty.

1. Our family has recently scored with bowling. On a Saturday afternoon, a couple of games at the local bowling alley can cost upwards of $50 for a family of four, but many locations offer special rates at off peak times like Sunday mornings and after 9pm on weekdays. One place near us charges just $1.50 a game on Sundays from 9am – 12pm, plus they have lightweight bowling balls and bumpers so kids of any age can join the fun.

2. Many museums offer a free day once a month and some are just plain free. You can check for free days in major cities or call local museums to see if they have a free day or offer any discounts on admission. Our favorite freebie in the LA area is Travel Town at Griffith Park. Chock full of massive steam engines from the glory days of railroading it is a train lover’s dream! See for details.

3. We are fortunate to live in a city with a large Park and Recreation department featuring an Activity Center and gymnasium for public use. The Activity Center features ping pong, pool, Wii, air hockey and various board games free for anyone to use. The gym charges a $2 fee for access to two indoor basketball courts. Check with your local Park and Recreation to see what’s available in your area and get your game on!

4. You can go green for cheap with a trip to a state park. Admission fees vary but are seldom more than $10 and get you a whole day of fun taking in the natural wonders your state has to offer. For not much more, you can enjoy an entire year of fun with an annual permit. National parks are also reasonably priced or even free. Many parks also offer special programs about the park, it’s inhabitants and it’s history. Visit for national park information and your state Department of Natural Resources website for state parks in your area.

Family bonding doesn’t have to break the bank. Sometimes the best memories don’t cost a dime.

Top 10 Family Outdoor Activities for Great Outdoors Month 2020

The summer solstice marks the astronomical beginning of Summer. With the changing of the season to warmer temperatures, the sizzling heat gives people a reason to escape the stale indoor air and enjoy healthy fresh air. Finding outdoor activities for the entire family that everyone will enjoy can be cumbersome. There are many outdoor activities that can be fun and fit for everyone.

1. Picnics have always been the traditional form of outdoor hobby. For those that would prefer a more laid back activity, a picnic might be your best choice. Picnics are generally centered around your food choice. To even make the picnic extra fun, try having a themed picnic. Choose your theme around your food choice. You can even incorporate entertaining lessons into the themed picnic. For example, if you chose to have Italian food, then come up with topics surrounding Italian lifestyle or history and have discussions or games centered around Italian. You could maybe even discover new words in that foreign language and use them while you talk about the topics. Also, not only can picnics be surrounded by food selection, but perhaps also by activity. For example, you can have a nature trail picnic. Select picnic areas that have natural trails. But make sure it is somewhere were you can leave your picnic items because it would not be enjoyable if you had to lug around your picnic basket.

2. Camping is a great outdoor activity. Camping usually demands a lot of preplanning. To go camping you would need to choose whether on sleeping in a tent or if you will be renting a cabin. Also, depending on the length of the camping trip, you will need to decide what things you will need to bring for food preparation. Building a camp fire can allow fun activities such as weenie roasts and smores. Camping can incorporate many other activities. One popular camping activity is fishing. So, don’t forget your fishing rods and worms.

3. If you don’t have a lot of time on your hand, but would like an outdoor activity that fits your time budget; visiting your local park might be your choice. Many towns and cities have a least one park. If you are fortunate enough to have a choice of parks, it is good to visit the park briefly to determine if it is the park for you. If you have children, you may want a park with lots of outdoor play equipment. If you are a pet owner and want to take your pet, it is important that you know what the pet policy is for that park. A popular park activity is Frisbee tossing. This is fun for both children and dogs. Also, kite flying is fun, but only if the park has a good open area with no trees or power lines.

4. Swimming is an activity that is generally popular with most kids. When the temperatures rise, cooling off in a big swimming pool can be ideal. There are many options when it comes to swimming. If you don’t mind spending money, you can visit a water theme park. Also, most cities have public pools that you can visit. If money is tight, you can always purchase above a ground pool and enjoy swimming all summer long.

5. Volunteer work is a very rewarding activity. Incorporating volunteer work into an outdoor activity is very simple. Cleaning up a park is a great outdoor volunteer activity. If there is not a volunteer group, you can either clean solo or you can form your very own volunteer clean up crew.

The Duggar Family of Arkansas Has 17 Children – Good Idea or Not?

I admit it; I’m a Duggar-a-holic. I am fascinated with this Arkansas family with 17 children. I first learned about Jim and Michelle Duggar through the TV specials about their family on the Discovery Channel, and I have read eagerly about them ever since. I have been impressed with their wholesomeness and the way they raise so many well-behaved children without government assistance.

But I was recently thinking that however much I admire the Duggars in many ways, I would not want to be one of their children. Why? I cannot imagine that any of the individual children are getting much of Michelle and Jim Bob’s attention. I have a downright puny family of just three children, who are now 10, 8 and 6. However, even these three have challenged me at times. There are many occasions where I feel that I am short-changing one or another of them because I need to give attention to another. When I taught school, I often had about 17 children in my entire classroom. While I tried to give the children somewhat individualized attention, there is no way I was giving the amount of attention a child would need from a parent.

From watching programs about the Duggars, I know that they use a “buddy system” where an older child is paired with a baby, usually when the baby is around 8 months old. The older child is then responsible for much of the baby’s caretaking and raising. I feel sad about this both from the baby’s perspective and also from the caretaker’s. Caring for a baby or a toddler is a lot of responsibility for a child of 10 or so.

Speaking of responsibility, I have been really impressed by the Duggar children’s maturity and behavior, at least as it appears on TV. Perhaps because there are so many of them and because there is an atmosphere of respect in the family, there seem to be no real troublemakers in the bunch. Again though, this makes me sad in a way because I wonder if the kids all have the opportunity to express themselves fully. I am a big believer in responsibility and maturity, but I think kids also need time to just be a kid and make childish mistakes that serve as great learning opportunities. I hope the Duggar children have that.

When I think of having 17 children, one of my first nightmare thoughts is the amount of work: cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. However, I know that the Duggars solve this dilemma by designating various children to tasks (known in the Duggar family as “jurisdictions”). For instance, one girl’s jurisdiction is laundry. As a mom, I love the thought that someone else in the family is doing the laundry. But again, it makes me a little sad to think of a girl, even if she is a teenager, being responsible for the laundry of 17 people.

For the Duggars and other large families, I believe “the proof will be in the pudding” so to speak. I’ll be interested to see how the children turn out in the years to come. Will they want large families themselves, or will they be so tired of children and work that they seek a totally different life? Will some of the Duggar children opt for the single life?

I would be interested in comments, especially from those who either grew up in a large family or who have a large family now. Do you see large families as an overall plus or minus?

Expectatins for Our Children: Childrens Goals Versus Parent’s Goals

When our children are born, we have high expectations for them. Parents have dreams, hopes and wishes for their future. As parents, we want what is best for our children, even at times it may not be what they want.

How do we as parents not push our hopes and dreams onto our children without suffocating them? Simple, do not push what you wanted onto them but rather help them achieve the goals they want for themselves.

Our children are our future and as such, we need to respect the goals they set will be met. As children, they grow and develop minds of their own and in doing so they want to decide their own future.

Children want to live their dreams not their parent’s dreams.

The big question is how do we accept what our children want even when we think it may be the wrong direction?

An example: John wants to go to college to learn more about music because he has a passion for it. His dream is to one day have his own band. John’s parents want him to attend college to get his degree in medicine.

Solution: John’s parents sit down and talk with John about his passion for music. Then John can allow his parents to speak as to why he should attend medical school. Once they have heard both sides. John can explain why he would prefer music to medicine.

Once John’s parents have listened, they can now understand and give the love and support their son needs to chase his dreams of being a musician.

Parents need to learn to listen and understand that children need and want their parent’s approval, but they also want your support in what they choose to do with their life. After all, it is ultimately their choice.

Trust in your child; even if he or she fails let them know as parents you will be there to catch them if they fall.

Another way to look at things is through your child’s eyes. Think back to when you were young and starting out on your own. Did you want to follow the path your parents had laid out for you? If you can say no to this question, then why should you expect your child to say yes?

Communication and understanding between parent and child will go along way in helping your son or daughter achieve their own goals in life.

Best Fall Movies for Children

It seems that the box office lineup this fall has one theme: to recycle old movies. This is a good thing though and it is better than you think. I say that because these movies are not just reproduced, they are beefed up.

For example, take the re-release of both Toy Story and Toy Story 2. This time around they are going to be shown as a double feature. And the best part is, it is re-rendered into a 3-D film, using only the best state-of-the-art technology. Imagine seeing one of the classics come to life on the screen, and out of the screen. Toy Story 3-D is a limited engagement that begins on October 2, 2020. Also to be made as a 3-D movie, Toy Story 3 will be released at the big screen on June 18, 2010. Can’t wait that long? Catch a sneak peak of the upcoming movie during the trailers at the Toy Story double feature. It will be the perfect time to introduce, or re-introduce your children to Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the gang. This heart-felt kid’s movie shows the meaning of friendship and how far a group of misfit toys will go to find and bring home their friend. Toy Story and Toy Story 2 feature the voice talents of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen.

Another remake isn’t that of a movie already made, but it is based on a famous book. Where the Wild Things Are was written in 1963, and is all about creativity and imagination of a child. The adventures are endless when time and travel aren’t an issue. This movie will captivate audiences of young and old alike and will bring the book to life right in front of the viewer’s eyes. This movie will encouragement those who haven’t read the book, to share it with their children. For those who have read the book, this will provide a chance to compare how correct the movie was in comparision to the book. Big names in this movie include James Gandolfini, Forest Whitaker, and Mark Ruffalo. Where the Wild Things Are has a scheduled opening date of October 16, 2020.

This fall promises to feature some new movies worth watching, and to experience some familiar movies in a new three dimensional fashion. These movies should provide you and your family with a pleasant entertainment experience and the notion that all things old can be made new again.

Get Fit This Fall with Outdoor Activities

Once the temperatures start to drop, nature extends an invitation for you to get out and get active. This year, try making some changes to your routine that are both healthy and fun.

Walk Through a Corn Maze

To quote a line from J.R.R. Tolkein, “Not all who wander are lost.” Navigating your way through a corn maze gives you a chance to exercise your body, and your brain benefits from the workout, too. Find mazes at farms or harvest festivals around the country once fall arrives. It’s a wonderful weekend activity, and worth taking the drive to experience. Reward yourself with some fresh apple cider after you’ve made it through.

Help Neighbors by Raking Their Leaves

It’s time to pick up those fall leaves and get your garden ready for cooler weather, which is always a great physical activity. This year, make time to help out a neighbor who might not be physically able to do this herself, or ask at your church or local senior citizens center if there are individuals in need of this service. You’ll be helping out your community, beautifying your neighborhood and getting a good workout at the same time.

Wash Your Windows

No one likes to wash their windows, but everyone has to do it sometime (my own are due for a good scrub, in fact). Why not make it now while the windows are open and you can smell the wonderful crisp fall air? You’ll appreciate the effort your arms have made once you look through your clean windows to catch the incredible view of the changing leaves. Enlist the help of a friend and do her windows next week.

Walk This Way to Better Birdwatching

Grab your camera, a notebook or sketch pad and start a new tradition: take note of the incredible variety of birds in your neck of the woods. While everyone’s busy getting ready for winter, our winged friends are doing the same, and there’s no better way for you to catch them at work than by taking a walk off the beaten path and keeping a sharp eye out. It might even inspire a new hobby!

Ride Your Bike

When was the last time you rode a bicycle? If you haven’t done it in a while, be assured that the adage holds true: you never forget how to ride a bike. Once you’re back in the saddle again, you’ll remember why you had so much fun doing it as a kid. My own red bike even has a wicker basket, perfect for carrying a bottle of water or collecting pretty little leaves and flowers along the way. It’s a great physical activity that also allows you to get to know your neighbors better and take in all the wonderful changes fall brings to your area.

Enjoy those changes, and let the season encourage healthy habits for you.

Think Safety when Spending Time Outdoors

Summer and fall are perfect times to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you enjoy camping, hiking, boating, or hunting, adequate preparations and a little common sense are key to ensuring that your outdoor experience is both safe and enjoyable. Keep the following in mind when planning any outdoor adventure.

• Travel with a companion and leave a copy of your itinerary with a responsible person.

• Learn basic first aid and carry a first aid kit.

• Wear appropriate clothing for weather conditions and the season. Always bring something warm, extra socks and rain gear.

• Keep an eye on current and predicted weather conditions.

• Check your equipment prior to your trip. Do not wait until you are at the trailhead or dock.

• Pack your own water or purify water from streams and lakes through chemical treatment, boiling or filtration before drinking.

• Bring sunscreen no matter the season. Wear sunglasses and a hat or visor to protect your eyes.

• Protect yourself from ticks, mosquitoes and diseases they carry. Wear insect repellant with DEET (on skin or clothing) or permethrin (on clothing) and wear light colored clothing so you can spot ticks more easily.

• Beware of poisonous plants by knowing what dangerous plants are common to the area and how to identify them.

• Practice good hygiene. Make sure to wash your hands, particularly after using the toilet and before handling food.

• When hunting, don’t forget to wear hearing protection.