Top 10 Parenting posts from 2018

Tomorrow marks the first day of the new year. I know it is a little early but let me say – Happy New Year!

I hope 2018 was good and that 2019 will be even better.

I want to end this year with a recap of some of my top posts from last year. Since Mondays are my days to write about parenting, today I am listing the Top 10 Parenting Posts of 2018. These are listed in no particular order…in other words, these aren’t ranked as to which ones are better than the others. If you missed any of these, simply click the link after the first few lines of each post.

Media Madness seminar – dealing with technology and kids

This past week, I brought in a speaker to talk to the parents about managing their kids use of electronics. The presentation was called “Media Madness,” and it was presented through Texas PTA’s Ready, Set, Achieve program. It was a good presentation. I had heard some of the information before, but it is always good to be reminded of these things. (To read more, click here.)

Getting my kids their own debit cards

When Jase was five we began giving him a small allowance to teach him about money. In the beginning, I would put cash in his wallet. When he went to store, he paid for his items. We did the same for Lexie when she turned five. Then in 2015, the kids received iPads for Christmas and with that came online purchases for apps and games. As online purchases became a norm and with Jase making money doing yard work, it became easier to keep track of their money on a spreadsheet. (To read about debit cards for kids, click here.)

Lightning strike causes havoc

It was a dark and stormy morning. The sounds of the thunderstorm woke me. A glance at the clock showed it was 5 a.m. Suddenly, a bright burst of light flashed, followed by a boom that shook the house. (To find out what happened next, click here.)

Being named Alexa in a world being taken over by Amazon’s Alexa

In the beginning of 2015, the Amazon Echo joined our family. The digital assistant for this smart home device is named Alexa. The same name as my daughter. So, of course, we changed the “wake word” (the word to activate the digital assistant) to ‘Echo’ on our device to avoid confusion. (To find out more, click here.)

Teaching my son to swallow pills

Some children learn to swallow pills early while some teenagers and even some adults can’t do it. Lexie learned almost two years ago when she was 8 but that was out of necessity. She takes daily medication for her allergies and for her attention deficit disorder (ADD). (To read about learning to swallow a pill, click here.)

Learning to deal with tween behavior

Last month my son became a teenager, but so far it my ten-year old daughter who seems to have the teenage attitude. With her I get the exasperated “I know” or the sigh and eye roll or her palm slapped to her forehead. And I am pretty over it. (To read more, click here.)

Finding out if my son is a late bloomer or has short stature

Ever since he was a toddler, Jase has always been on the smaller side. As he grew, he seemed to have found his growth curve for height in the mid to upper twenties on the standard growth percentile scale. And then about three years ago, his growth slowed down. And now at age 13, he is only in the fourth percentile for both weight and height. (To continue reading, click here.)

Knowing how to swim doesn’t stop 6-year-old from drowning

So many times, when you see a story about a child drowning, there will be comments such as “This is why my kids learned to swim” or something to that effect. People seem to think that knowing how to swim will safe guard their child from drowning. But sadly that isn’t the case as my neighbor found out. (To find out what happened, click here.)

Kids Not Feeling Well: Stay home or go to school?

School began three weeks ago. Three days in, Lexie complained her throat hurt. No fever but it was clear she had some congestion. The next morning came the familiar debate – do we send her to school because it is only a cold (or perhaps allergies) or do we keep her home? (The debate continues here.)

Cooking almost every night

Most evenings you can find me in the kitchen cooking dinner. My neighbor, a mother of three grown daughters, marveled over this since she doesn’t cook every night now and certainly didn’t when her girls were younger. But I don’t find this odd. (To find out more, click here.)

Books for Writers

As a writer, you can never stop learning about the craft of writing, composing a story or using your words more effectively. Originally, I had thought to write a post last week with gift suggestions for authors – that surely would have included books on writing – but then I decided that a post five days before Christmas was a little late. So now, I am hoping some of you might be looking for a way to spend their Barnes & Noble or Amazon gift cards they received for Christmas.

So, if you are looking for some writing books to add to your library, I first suggest you check out my post on Resources for Writers. It contains many of the books I have in my own library though some of them are now out of print. However, between my birthday this fall and Christmas, I did add four new books to my collection.

These first two focus on ideas and word choice. I received them just two days ago so besides perusing them while trying to get over a cold I don’t have much knowledge about them or how helpful they will be but I am certainly intrigued by this first one.

Master Lists for Writers: Thesauruses, Plots, Character Traits, Names and More This book is a rich source of inspiration. There are lists for all types of topics that may inspire your writing or help you perfect a word choice.

The Writer’s Idea Thesaurus: An Interactive Guide for Developing Ideas for Novels and Short Stories – This is far more than a collection of simple writing prompts. It contains 2000 unique and dynamic story ideas perfect for novels and short stories of any genre or writing style.

These other two were birthday presents this past fall. I am always on the lookout for books to help add realism to my stories.

The Writer’s Guide to Weapons – Though a majority of the book covers guns which don’t work for me as a fantasy author, there is extensive information on knives. I just wish the book covered other weapons such as swords, clubs, and battle axes. But depending on the genre you write, this book may have invaluable information.

Body Trauma: A Writer’s Guide to Wounds and Injuries – This book covers what happens to body organs and bones maimed by an accident. Again, if you are writing a contemporary story where your characters have access to a hospital and paramedics, then this book has a lot of good information that can bring realism to your stories. As with the guide to weapons, I have found this one a little lacking on information for a fantasy novel but hope to glean a few tidbits I can use.

I hope these books prove helpful, and if you have any books that you turn to again and again, please leave the title in the comments below.

A Star Wars Christmas Tree

My husband and I have talked about it for a few years. Every year, we get more Star Wars Hallmark Christmas ornaments thanks to my mom. For many years, every Thanksgiving, she gives everyone in the family Hallmark ornaments – Star Wars for Jase and my husband, trains for my dad and whatever catches her eye for my brother, Lexie and me.

With more Star Wars ornaments coming in each year, I can’t even begin to tell you how many we have. I would say over 75, but I haven’t counted them recently.

So, each year, when we get the latest release of Hallmark Star Wars Christmas ornaments, we mention we have enough to decorate a Christmas tree with just the Star War ornaments. We already have a 9’ slim tree in our living room and a 7’ tree in our front office, which are decorated with many, many Hallmark ornaments – Star Wars and others – as well as handmade ornaments. We clearly have enough ornaments for another tree. For a while now, I suggested we add a third tree to the house and put it in our bedroom.

Well, this year my mom bought my husband the Hallmark Star Wars Christmas tree skirt. It is very cool. It lights up! But both of our trees already had tree skirts. Hmmm…must be a sign for us to finally buy a tree to dedicate to our Star Wars ornaments.

And that is what we did. We bought a 7 ½’ slim tree for our bedroom and put most of the Star Wars ornaments on it. We did keep a few for the other two trees.

Now what would a Star Wars tree be without a Star Wars Christmas tree topper. Hallmark does have one – a Death Star. I was able to find it on sale online. It too is awesome. It lights up and plays either “The Imperial March” or “The Star Wars Theme,” when first turned on or when activated by a remote that is concealed as an ornament.

So after years of talking about it, we now have a Star Wars Christmas tree.

15 writing memes to lighten your day

Well, this is a busy month. And I hate missing a week of posting so I thought I would post some writing memes to encourage you or maybe make you laugh. Whatever. Enjoy!

We all sometimes should be writing but other things (internet, children or whatever) pull us away from it. These ones are here to remind you of what you should be doing. Writing!

But even though we should be doing it…

And sometimes creativity isn’t all it is cracked up to be…

Ahh…the writer’s life…

And most of all you need to…