Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Preserving Memories

This is the time of year when the leaves change colors, the wind blows cooler, and the gardens are full of beautifully colored vegetables bursting with flavor. It’s the time of year when, like squirrels gathering nuts for the winter, homemakers are canning and freezing fruits and vegetables like crazy. They’re “squirreling away” goodies for those days when snow covers the ground in thick blankets and Old Man Winter paints icicles on the window panes.

Canning season is an ideal time to teach children. Yes, it takes longer when tiny hands help, but children enjoy filling jars, measuring and stirring ingredients and seeing the jars lined up on the cabinets, full of brightly-colored foods. Although they might not like salsa or green beans, they know they helped preserve those foods. It gives them a sense of pleasure to know they helped and you’ve created memories that will last a lifetime.

I spent yesterday morning canning salsa with family. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that, so I embraced the morning. My two-year old granddaughter and three-year old grandson were with me. It reminded me of some of my favorites times… canning season with my kids.

We skinned the ruby red tomatoes, diced them, and poured them into a huge pan. After dicing and adding other spices and vegetables such as onions, peppers, olives, and mushrooms, we boiled the mixture. We poured it into jars, covered them with lids, and placed them in the pressure cooker. Later, we placed the steaming jars on the cabinets to cool. What did we gain for our efforts? Aching feet and backs, tired hands, and jars and jars of mouth-watering salsa.

We shared memories, laughter, and companionship yesterday. I miss the days when my children surrounded me and their busy hands were in the middle of this pan or that jar … the days have flown. However, it was comforting having my grandchildren there. Even though they’re so very young, they’ll remember the glass jars filled with the ruby red mixture, and maybe one day they’ll be sharing the same memories with their own children. I sure hope so.

This is a good site for tips and recipes on canning:

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Teaching Children Not to Judge a Person by the Clothes They Wear

The beginning of a new school year can be an exciting time. There are new backpacks, new shoes, and new clothes. This is a time when kids compete. It’s also a good time for parents to share a valuable lesson with their children about judging others and compassion.

Kids often don’t know what’s involved in getting them ready for school. They don’t realize what a financial strain it can be on parents.

Children not only need clothes and shoes, but there’s the school supply list to consider. The money needed to get a child started for the school year adds up quickly. If there are two children in the household, the dollar amount doubles. With three children, triple that amount. A parent can become overwhelmed quickly.

Unfortunately, children learn to judge early on. They often judge other children by the brands and types of clothes they wear. Regardless of the saying, the clothes don’t make the man.

A child wearing a tattered pair of jeans and a faded t-shirt doesn’t make him any less important that the child wearing designer jeans and a logo t-shirt.

A health teacher once said, “It doesn’t matter if a person has only one pair of jeans. If that person bathes every day and washes that one pair of jeans every day, they’re just as clean as the person who has five pair of jeans.” I heard my teacher say that when I was in high school. That was a LONG time ago, but it made an impression. How can we pass that kind of thinking onto our children?

Here are a few tips:
  • Talk to your child. Help them understand what compassion is and that they shouldn’t judge other children by the clothes they wear.
  • Explain that some families struggle financially and that there are children whose family can’t afford to buy them new clothes for school.
  • Explain how it makes a person feel when they’re judged because of their clothes.
Teaching a child to be compassionate pays off. It’s easier to learn not to judge at a young age and it’s a lesson that is often carried throughout our lives.

Clip art courtesy of Original Country Clipart by Lisa

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Homework Trouble? Get Help with Your Homework

You’re having trouble with your homework and your grades are getting lower and lower. The trouble is, you’re too embarrassed to ask for help.

Everyone needs help with homework now and then. It’s all right if you have a problem, but don’t wait until that problem gets bigger. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to help. Here are a few things you can try:

1. Ask your teacher. Tell the teacher you’re confused about the homework and ask them to explain it to you. Sometimes a teacher can make it easier to understand than your textbook can.

2. Ask your friends. They’re doing the same homework you’re doing. Don’t be tempted to just copy, though. It may seem like the easy answer now, but when it comes time to take the test, you’ll find out it wasn’t such a good idea.

3. Ask your parents. Your parents can give you suggestions and help you try to figure out the problem. They can help you look on the computer for additional help, too.

4. Ask for a tutor. Explain to your parents that you’re still having trouble with your homework and ask them about a tutor. Schools usually have no-cost, after-school tutoring groups. There are also other places that offer tutors, but they do charge a fee.

Don’t put off getting help. The longer you wait, the more you’ll be behind. It’s easier to admit you need help and ask for it. By using the tips listed above, you’ll be able to get that homework out of the way and be able to spend some time with your friends!

Clip art courtesy of Original Country Clipart by Lisa