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Retirement

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Used with permission. Copyright: iriana88w / 123RF Stock Photo

My mom retired five years ago. Wow. It seems like yesterday. My dad did not get the chance to retire completely while here on earth but he is fully retired now and has been for over eight years. I do not know if my parents had dreams of what their retirement years would look like. I am sure it would include many car shows though! They loved going to car shows together and old cars was a passion of my dad’s. My dad was just 56 when he died. After my dad died my mom had my sister and her family move in with her for a while so she wouldn’t have to be alone and then gradually they all needed their own space. My mom offered our childhood home to my sister and they found mom a new place to live for a new chapter in her life. My mom’s idea of a retirement home is her little home in the woods away from people but still close enough to town that she can get what she needs. My sister shares the property but has her own little humble abode. I know my mom is not the norm but she is for my small hometown, which only has one golf course and I do not think there are any homes on it like there are on golf courses here in the U.S.

Golf course communities are appealing to many retirees. They opt to live on a golf course during their retirement because of the attractive views, ample time to tee off and watch others play your favorite game. Golf is a game of leisure, right?

Pool and community activities are another feature retirees are drawn towards when living at a golf course retirement community.

Golf course communities are usually 55+ so there are no screaming, meddling children 24 hours, seven days a week, unless they are visiting grandma and grandpa for the day.

My parents are not into golf so you wouldn’t see them at one of these retirement communities but perhaps your parents are gung-ho to live in one, like my aunt and uncle in British Columbia. If that is the case, you can find out more here.


Do you know anyone who lives in a golf course community?

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Welch’s Share What’s Good!

“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Welch’s. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.”

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Welch’s believes in the magic of “kitchen table” moments, and has been helping families enjoy them for generations. In the time it takes to drink a glass of juice or share a sandwich, a special moment can happen. That’s why Welch’s just launched a new movement called “Share what’s good™” It’s all about sharing those special moments that occur each day with family, friends and loved ones – whether it’s at home or on the go. At Sharewhatsgood.com you’ll find a variety of great content from fun family ideas to delicious recipes. You can share photos of your every-day moments and see how others are doing the same.

In our family we share every meal at the kitchen table. This allows us to have a bit of quality time just for the family and connect with each other for more than a few minutes each day. It is also a time of reflection and disconnection! By this I mean reflecting on the day/week and disconnecting from technology! Enjoying a meal and good conversation is so important in today’s fast paced technological world. It is so nice to sit down and just chat without a technological device “on”.

I hope that you can enjoy a meal once a day or even once a month with your family to connect! Thinking beyond the traditional family it is also nice to gather with friends to establish a relationship at the table of fellowship and friendship! I know we gather with some church friends and other people in some of the areas that we minister to in our church at least once a month. (We used to do this weekly after church; until we had children then it became too hard). Establishing fellowship with our community is very important to us…in our home this is just an extension of the family!

So whether you sit down daily, weekly, or monthly…and whether it is with immediate, extended, or community family …TAKE THE TIME to relax and enjoy some time to SHARE WHAT IS GOOD! …And make sure to take Welch’s along for the ride!

The “Share what’s good” Photo Contest Details:

As part of the Share what’s good campaign, Welch’s has launched the “Share Your Moments” photo contest! From 9/16 to 10/25 upload a photo of your favorite family moment for a chance to win $5,000! While there is only one grand prize, everyone who enters will get a $1.50 coupon for Welch’s 100% Grape Juice – or $2.00 if you share the news. Visit Sharewhatsgood.com to enter.

 

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Please Visit the following social media sites to learn more about Welch’s

Welch’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/welchsgrapes

Welch’s on Twitter: @Welchs

Welch’s on Instagram: @Welchs

 

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We Are Officially Homeless!

Now before you all start freaking out over my eye catching blog post title stating we are officially homeless….it is true…however, it’s only because we sold our townhouse and no longer own a home of our own. We closed on our house last Friday and are no longer homeowners. We are officially only renters. So yes, we have a place to live….it’s just not ours.

Homeless House Sold

We are beginning a new chapter in our lives. We know we are here for another year and eight months since we renewed a 2-year contract in February of this year. But whether or not we move on to find our forever home or stay here remains to be seen. It’s exciting and scary all rolled into one.

We waited nearly 2 years for our house to sell. Longer if you count when we first put our house on the market in early 2007 just before the housing market crashed – it would have been a more profitable sale to have sold it then, but alas, it was not meant to be. We tried renting out our house, we tried selling it by owner and finally we got a realtor in March 2013. It took her less than 2 months to sell it. We were signing an agreement in late April. Then it took nearly a month for us to set up and complete the necessary repairs based on the home inspection.

We are extremely grateful for our buyers as they had looked at all the homes like ours and found our house was in the best condition, probably with the least amount of work/updates to be done. Our appraisal came in woefully low and based only on foreclosure sales in the area. Nevertheless, because of the condition of our home and our buyers extreme interest they were willing to pay above the appraisal price. We are very fortunate and knew we wouldn’t find another buyer willing to pay more than the appraisal.

So, while we are officially homeless in the sense we do not own a home, we are embarking on a new journey and possibly will begin a search for our own farm or continue to rent. Who knows? We are just glad to finally be done with the townhouse and all that went with getting it ready to sell and maintaining it from here to there. Yet a little apprehensive at the same time because we do not know what the future holds.

Have you ever been without a home?

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The Last Time We Were Sick…

We are pretty protective of exposing our children to illness if we can help it. With as many children as we have, it takes us a very long time to get over any sort of flu bug, cold or illness when it goes through all of them or us. You will probably be surprised to learn that the last time we were sick was probably 18-24 months ago. My husband was sick last fall but only because our landlord’s handyman discovered mold in the wall where the washer had leaked. Once that was taken care of my husband was well again. It’s weird to say but his body really is a mold detector. He’s the first one to experience any adverse affects of mold.

Last time we were sick

I am usually the most healthy and I chock that up to being a mom. Mom’s cannot get sick because we have to take care of everyone else! My last bout was with my tooth but it’s been behaving itself, thankfully.

Here are the reasons I believe we have gone so long since the last time we were sick:

1. We have managed to avoid large crowds during the winter by just staying at home. We live simply and most of our children are content just to be home bodies. Thus, we avoid any flu bugs going around.

2. We try really hard to eat healthy. We are not fanatics by any means but a healthy diet is a huge part in having a strong immune system. This means we try not to eat prepared foods or anything in the center of the grocery stores. We try to shop the perimeter of the store. We also cook and bake from scratch avoiding harmful sweeteners, artificial flavors and colorings and preservatives.

3. We avoid chemicals and pharmaceuticals as much as we can. We use natural cleaners and fertilizers.

4. We use essential oils on our bodies and even ingest them if we feel a cold or sore throat is beginning. We diffuse them in the air to purify it of germs and impurities.

5. We try to get enough rest. Sometimes that is harder to do during different seasons, but we are pretty adamant about our children getting to bed on time and getting enough sleep.

6. Our children spend the majority of their time outside since we have moved to the country. They are not cooped up in the house all the time and they are much more active than they were when we lived in the townhouse.

I don’t know for sure what has kept us healthy but these are the things I think have helped us. I am extremely grateful for this long run of good health. In the past we have been sick for weeks on end as it went through the whole family, so this has been a blessing to say the least.

What do you do to keep your family healthy?


P.S. This post was inspired by Mama Kat’s Writing Prompts.

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What You May Not Know About Newspaper Delivery

You may or may not remember I took on a newspaper route in late December 2012. It’s been interesting, but I am grateful for the weekly paycheck that helps out while waiting to be paid for my other “solo gigs”. I discovered a lot of things about people who deliver newspapers in the last five months and thought it made an interesting enough blog topic and a way to share a little more about my day between 2:30 and 5:30AM…..plus some of my winter frustrations.

Newspapers

What You May Not Know About Newspaper Delivery

We have to hand bag the papers.

We have to stuff the papers with the flyers and often a second insert.

We have to travel in all kinds of weather – winter is the worst.

We have to walk over icy areas with little or no ice melt.

We often get complaints from people who say they didn’t receive their paper, but the wind may have blown it a little to the left/right or in the street. So look a little harder before you file a complaint against your newspaper delivery person.

We do not get paid enough for having to drive hours in the snow, sleet and ice to deliver your paper. We are risking life and limb for a bundle of paper. Think about it.

We get up in the wee hours of the morning to deliver your paper on time.

During high gas prices, our pay is probably used for a quarter to a third for gas, as gas allowance only covers barely an extra tank of gas for the month.

We are independent contractors and not employees of the paper – at least I am.

We have to double bag the newspapers on rainy days, which takes us longer to bag.

We do get use to the odd hours, sort of. At least I think I have, but I still take a nap! The joys of having three teen daughters in the house!

When I started I suffered from sore shoulders and hands from throwing and folding newspapers. That has since subsided except on days when the paper is really thick.

Rural routes can often be 100 miles and take a newspaper delivery person 3-4 hours to complete! That amazed me when one of my co-workers told me that.

In town routes are usually heavy on newspapers but shorter in miles. Like mine. I have 18-25 miles to travel and 80-275 papers to deliver on any given day. Wednesday, Friday and Sunday are my heaviest day. I have to admit Monday, Tuesday and Saturday are my favorite days to deliver on my own since I get home by 4:30pm. On Wednesdays and Sundays my older daughters are my helpers and I enjoy those days only because I have their company…and help! ;)

Overall, I am thankful for my little newspaper route and the fact that I have one in my town so my drive time is not as long as those with rural newspaper routes.

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My Perfect Spring Day

I love all the seasons and the fact that we live in an area where we get to experience all four season to their fullest. However, I must admit that I get tired of winter and the other three seasons never seem long enough.

My Perfect Spring Day

Tulips

My perfect spring day would be sunshine and weather in the 65-70 degree range, with a slight breeze. I would be able to smell the cherry blossoms or lilacs (if in bloom). There would be lots of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths in bloom; an the irises would be budding. It would be a day without any rushing around. All of our family would be home and we would be working together, with minimal fighting or disagreements. But hey, this is my perfect day so let’s just eliminate any fighting among the children and all disagreements!

We would also take a leisurely walk, enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. We would be thankful and enjoy being together for the day. We would eat dinner out and the house would remain neat and tidy – for once!

That’s what my perfect spring day would look like….I have to say that I have experienced all of this, just not always all in the same day.

What would your perfect spring day entail?


P.S. This post was inspired by Mama Kat’s Writing Prompts.

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Keep Children Healthy this Season ~ Avoid RSV in Young Children

RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) is a very scary thing for new parents…or any parents for that matter. Premature infants are at greatest risk! My first child was a month early and weighed in under 5 pounds. My sister had premature twins that were only 3 pounds each at birth. We both had our scares with RSV…but were very fortunate not to contract the virus.

The treat of RSV is one of the reasons I chose to stay home with my children and quit teaching in the traditional classroom. Daycare was very scary for many reasons to this protective mama…and RSV was one of those scary things!

When my daughter entered school she had pneumonia 3 times in kindergarten and I cannot help but think to imagine what she could have picked up had she been in a daycare setting.

We have had a few friends who have had to deal with this disease and it can be devastating to a family. But remember since almost 100% of babies will contract RSV…we may have had it and not even known it!

In fact the fact that my daughter had pneumonia 3 times in kindergarten could partially be because of the RSV virus. Luckily we were able to treat or and not have any further complications. However, sometimes if not treated or prevented RSV can be deadly.

I have 3 children and the only one who ever showed signs of RSV or its negative effects (pneumonia) was my oldest daughter. She was a preemie and I took all of the precautions of dealing with RSV and other sicknesses she could contract. I mean she had no other siblings, I did not work (so no daycare), we limited visitors to the house, we practice good hygiene and hand washing….yet somehow we still had our bout with illness.

My other 2 children were always relatively healthy and never showed signs of illness aside from the common cold. Even when having school age siblings…did I do anything different? NO, in fact I was probably more “loose” with the next two …taking them out more often, etc. But they STILL might have had the disease and been carriers and I would never know it.

PLEASE take the time to educate your self on RSV as it could have long term and devastating effects on your family or others with whom you come in contact.

RSV Infographic

Please read the information below to learn more about the threat of RSV

The Threat of RSV in Child Care and School Settings

It is estimated that 82% of U.S. children aged six weeks to six years old, spend some amount of time in child care. Whether it’s five or 50 hours a week, the risks of spending time in a daycare or pre-school setting are the same — increased exposure to contagious germs and viruses.

Children’s inborn behavioral habits such as a need for close interpersonal
contact and lack of good personal hygiene, combined with an environment that promotes and rewards sharing, make daycare settings an environment for infection spreading. Because their immune systems are not yet fully developed, this is especially worrisome for very pre-term babies in daycare, or with school-aged siblings who bring germs into the home.

Premature infants are very susceptible to infection in the early weeks of their lives, so contracting something as small as the common cold can present danger. Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a common, seasonal virus that affects two-thirds of all infants by age one and almost 100% of babies by age two, because it’s highly contagious. RSV can live on surfaces (doorknobs, countertops, toys, bedding) for several hours and is often spread through touching, hugging and kissing.
Daycare increases this risk of RSV spreading as children are constantly sharing toys, tables and high chairs as well as eating and napping in close quarters.
RSV typically causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms, but in some babies it results in a serious respiratory infection.
Those most at risk for severe RSV include premature infants, as their lungs aren’t fully developed and they have fewer infection-fighting antibodies than full-term babies.
The RSV season typically runs from November through March, so during the winter months parents should be especially
careful to watch for signs of RSV.

Below are symptoms of severe RSV infection that require immediate medical care:
· Coughing or wheezing that does not stop
· Fast or troubled breathing
· Spread-out nostrils and/or a caved-in chest when trying to breathe
· Bluish color around the mouth or fingernails
· Fever (especially if it is over 100.4°F in infants under 3 months of age)

If a child has milder symptoms of RSV, the virus will likely run its course without any cause for parental alarm. It is important; however, for these parents to remember that even a mild case of RSV can be spread to other children, some of whom may be at high-risk for developing a serious infection from the virus. For this reason, it’s always best to keep a sick child home when possible, to prevent the spread of germs and viruses.
Once contracted, there is no treatment for RSV, so working together to prevent the risk of RSV is critical. All parents should take steps to prevent the spread of the virus, including always washing their hands and child’s hands, and asking others to do the same. It’s also important to remember to keep toys, clothes, blankets, and sheets clean and avoid crowds and other sick children during RSV season.
Prevention is especially important for babies at increased risk of becoming ill from RSV. Parents of preemies should be informed of the dangers of RSV, as well as the risks that certain child care settings can present. If possible, parents of highrisk babies may want to consider alternate options, such as nannies or in-home daycare centers, where exposure to dangerous germs can be minimized. Regardless of child care settings, it’s important for parents who believe their child may be at high-risk for RSV to speak with a doctor about prevention.

A few facts about RSV that all parents, caregivers and loved ones should know:
· Almost every baby will contract RSV by age 2, but only 1/3 of moms say they’ve heard of the virus.
· Serious RSV infection is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, responsible for more than 125,000
hospitalizations and up to 500 infant deaths each year.
· RSV occurs in epidemics each fall through spring. The CDC has defined “RSV season” as beginning in November
and lasting through March for most parts of North America.
· Certain babies are at an increased risk of developing serious RSV infection, so it’s important to speak with a
pediatrician to determine if a baby may be at high risk for RSV, and discuss preventive measures.
· Symptoms of serious RSV infection include: persistent coughing or wheezing; rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths;
blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails; high fever; extreme fatigue; and difficulty feeding. Parents
should contact a medical professional immediately upon signs of these symptoms.
· There is no treatment for RSV, so it’s important for parents to take preventive steps to help protect their child (wash
hands, toys, bedding frequently; avoid crowds and cigarette smoke).

Visit www.RSVProtection.com and follow #RSVProtection on Twitter for more information.

 

 

“I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

www.momcentralconsulting.com

 

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My Word of the Year #InspiringMoms

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to join a group called Inspiring Moms Network. One of the first emails from the network founder challenged me to participate in choosing a word of the year. The more I thought about it the more I wanted it to be a word that really defined my 2013 year.

I’ve been thinking that while I thought life was harder once I became an adult, compared to my teen years, my life since November 29, 2004 has been even harder still. In moments of weakness I pray, “Lord, when will it let up. It seems we have been on a downward spiral since 2004.” The downward spiral started with the loss of our son, Matthew in utero, accompanied by Robert’s long time boss selling the business, new boss, husband unhappy with job for the first time EVER, exhausting sixth pregnancy, loss of job, 19 months of unemployment, rough eighth pregnancy, and the seemingly awful struggle to survive financially.

If I were to go back and choose a word for 2012 it would be TIRED. Yes it’s uninspiring, but it’s the truth. 2012 was tiring. Yet it had pockets of hope filled moments.

Words I considered for my Word of the Year:

BETTER.

CHANGE.

IMPROVEMENT.

RESTORE.

JOY.

CONTENTMENT.

GRATITUDE.

Motivated

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Then after all those things passed through the endless web of thoughts in my brain, I finally decided that MOTIVATED is my 2013 word of the year. MOTIVATED encompasses being motivated to be BETTER, to be MOTIVATED to CHANGE and IMPROVEMENT, to be MOTIVATED to restore what the locusts have eaten, to be MOTIVATED to be full of JOY, CONTENTMENT and GRATITUDE for what I have now, for what I will have and for what I have experienced in the past.

*MOTIVATED*

 


a motivating force, stimulus, or influence : incentive, drive
~ Merriam Webster Dictionary

How about you, are you MOTIVATED to choose a word of the year for 2013?

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Food Allergies Education – A Healthy Tuesday Tip

Food allergies education. How many of you educate yourselves about food allergies, especially if your children don’t even have them? How many of you think about keeping children with allergies safe?

We have friends whose son has extreme allergies. She has to carry an Epipen. I remember a story she told of her older daughter helping with dinner preparations – making tacos – her daughter neglected to wash her hands after touching the different ingredients. After dinner her son started to get a red, itchy face…a sign of an allergic reaction. They determined that when their daughter made the tacos the residue from the cheese on her fingers caused their son to react to his dairy allergy. Amazing. Our friends are not the only ones suffering through the challenges of extreme allergies. There are so many children with life threatening allergies now that there are Food Allergy Initiatives and Ministries to support and help families, especially in dealing with their child(ren) attending school.

Last year there was an article featured on Yahoo that I thought worthy of attention, even a year later, because I believe food allergies education is crucial to keeping children with allergies safe.

Nearly 6 million or 8% of children have food allergies with young children affected most.[1]

The prevalence of food allergies and associated anaphylaxis appears to be on the rise. [2]

According to a study released in 2008 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about an 18% increase in food allergy was seen between 1997 and 2007. [3]

Even though I homeschool I feel it is important for us as parents to educate not only ourselves but also our children about food allergies because we all either know someone with deadly allergies or will inevitably meet someone with them. It is important for the safety of children with food allergies that we are aware and alert to the fact that our children need to know how to safely offer treats to their friends because there isn’t always going to be an adult around to “save” an allergic child from a harmful ingredient.

Please share what you have done to increase yours and your children’s food allergies education.

[1][2][3] FoodAllergy.org Food Allergy Facts and Statistics for the U.S. http://www.foodallergy.org/page/facts-and-stats

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The High Calling Review

I recently had the opportunity to read The High Calling newsletter. It is a weekly newsletter centering around articles about “every day conversations about work, life and God.” Below you will find The High Calling review that I wrote. I chose to review the October 24, 2012 issue.



The High Calling Review

The articles in The High Calling newsletter are short and to the point, almost leaving me with a hunger for just a little bit more. I really liked these articles in particular:

Gratitude as a Business Strategy by Dena Dyer was enlightening and encouraging as I thought about our little business ventures and I especially liked this:

Proverbs seems to agree, according to chapter 16, verse 25 (New Life Version): “The man who gives much will have much, and he who helps others will be helped himself.”


Stop Waiting for God to Tell You What to Do With Your Life
by David Rupert was something I could relate to and testify as true because there have been many times my husband and I have just taken what we call a “leap of faith” and God has assuredly met us on the other side.

I believe God joins us only when we take that initial risk. If you have a tiny twinge of passion toward anything, you have to jump right through it on your own. It is there that God will meet you.

The High Calling newsletter covers many topics from work, community and culture to family, faith and attitude. These subjects are covered in the form of articles, videos and audio. I encourage you to check it out and see what nuggets you find to inspire and encourage you.

Faith and Family Reviews reviewed The High Calling in exchange for an Amazon Gift card. While we consider it a privilege to receive compensation for reviews, our thoughts and opinions are our own.

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