Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Prepare for Sick Days
by Shelly Burke

(Adapted from Home is Where the Mom Is; A Christian Mom’s Guide to Caring for Herself, Her Family, and Her Home.)

It’s that time of year sniffles, sneezes, and stomach aches will be sneaking up on you and your family. Developing a strategy for sick days—especially if your children are young—is essential for moms!

I have a friend whose young children became sick when her husband was out of town. Two-year-old Lila’s diarrhea was relentless, and by late afternoon Sindy realized she’d have to go out to get more diapers. She carefully made a list, anticipating what they would need for a few days. As soon as they got in the store, however, Brett, Lila’s 10 month old brother, began vomiting. Sindy sped through the store, getting just a few essentials; she would ask her husband to get the rest of the supplies on his way home from the airport the next morning. However, fate struck again when his plane was delayed…and Sindy herself felt stomach rumblings. Thankfully Bobby’s plane arrived just a few hours late and he quickly returned home and rescued Sindy and his family.

To Sindy this was a landmark event: she was determined never to be unprepared for sickness again.

Start YOUR preparation for sick days, today! Begin by making a comprehensive list of “sick day” supplies, for the kids and the adults in your family. Purchase the most important items ASAP; when other items are on sale, stock up. Your list should include:

  • Medications to treat fever, pain, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, cold/sinus symptoms, diaper rash, cough, and so on, in age-appropriate form (drops, liquid, chewable, tablets) for every member of your family. (Later this week I’ll post medication cautions and how to choose and when to give medications.)
  • Medications to treat chronic illnesses like asthma or diabetes. Sickness can change the amount or timing of medications that are taken to treat chronic conditions, so be sure to talk with your doctor if you have any questions about doing so.
  • If you or your child have frequent ear infections, ask the doctor to prescribe numbing drops that will decrease the pain. These can be a lifesaver, easing pain until you can get in to see the doctor. These drops do not treat the infection, so you’ll still have to make an appointment for you or your child to be seen and perhaps get antibiotics.
  • Electrolyte replacement fluid or popsicles for infants/toddlers who are vomiting and/or have diarrhea.
  • Soda/juice, etc. to sooth upset tummies and replace fluids.
  • Comfort foods—soup, mashed potatoes, rice, applesauce, pudding, jello, etc.
  • Thermometer and probe covers, humidifier and distilled water, and tissues.
  • Activities to keep kids occupied when they’re on the road to wellness but bored…or when you are sick and need some quiet time. When they’re on sale, purchase age-appropriate things like crayons or markers and paper, DVD’s, stickers, books, stickers, simple craft projects, etc. The secret—keep these things hidden until they’re needed!
  • When your “mother’s instinct” kicks in and you feel illness lurking, or if your kids come home reporting how many kids got sick at school and went home, check your supplies and stock up where necessary!
Start preparing for sick days, today! You’ll be glad you did.

(adapted from Home is Where the Mom Is; A Christian Mom's Guide to Caring for Herself, Her Family, and Her Home. Check out the complete Table Of Contents by clicking on the tab; purchase Home is Where the Mom Is by clicking on the button on the right hand side of the page.)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Start Planning for Christmas!
by Shelly Burke, Editor

[NFT] When you plan ahead for Christmas gifts you’ll be able to enjoy creating the gifts, decrease your stress in getting projects completed, and ease your budget by spreading out expenditures. Here are several ideas for gifts, along with ways to start planning now.

  1. Pesto, salsa and other garden treats. If you have an abundance of tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, herbs, or other garden products, consider making gifts of salsa, pickles, pickled veggies, pesto, and so on. These items can be frozen or preserved through canning. Collect recipes from the internet or cookbooks and prepare the treats now! Use fancy labels or fabric covers and you won’t even have to wrap your gifts.
  2. Baked items. Consider baking biscotti, truffles, candy, fancy cookies, and other baked goods as gifts. They’ll always fit and are never the wrong color. Start collecting recipes from the internet or cookbooks; your local library will have a large selection of specialty cookbooks if you don’t find the recipes you want in your cook books. If you enjoy baking, try some new recipes! Once you’ve collected the recipes, make a master list of ingredients. Purchase several every time you go to the grocery store, and watch for sales to spread out the cost of “fancy” ingredients.
  3. Make photos into lasting gifts. Collages, photo books, posters, mugs, coasters, mouse pads, ornaments, key chains and refrigerator magnets are just a few of the many things you can create with your favorite photos. Depending on your level of craftiness you can purchase supplies at a craft store or with just a few clicks, order online. Online photo stores and craft stores have weekly sales, so make your list and order or purchase supplies when they’re on sale.
  4. Theme baskets. Create a basket according to the recipient’s interests or hobbies or needs. A college student will love a selection of snacks. A busy mom might enjoy a “taking care of mom” basket with soft socks, a good book, and a selection of chocolate and bubble bath. A scrapbooker will enjoy scrapbook tools or supplies. Plan baskets now so you can purchase supplies when they’re on sale. Remember to check the clearance aisle in any store—I’ve bought fancy chocolate and scrapbooking tools on clearance in an office supply store!
This article appeared in the October issue of the Nebraska Family Times. For a FREE sample issue of the Nebraska Family Times e-mail me at shelly@shellyburke.net or call (402) 993-2467.

Monday, October 3, 2011

I love to read, and I love to write about books I read. I recently read She Makes it Look Easy and reviewed it for the Nebraska Family Times newspaper. I wanted to share the review with you. If you have books you'd like to suggest for review, or if you've written a review of a Christian book, please share it with me at shelly@shellyburke.net.
She Makes it Look Easy
     By Marybeth Whalen

Review by Shelly Burke, Editor and Publisher

She Makes it Look Easy is not a typical “everything-works-out-perfectly-in-the-end” Christian novel. The book delves into the lives of three families and the impacts of the choices husbands and wives make. You might find yourself shocked to find that some of the outwardly “perfect” Christian characters make very bad choices…and you might find yourself closely identifying with several of the characters as well.

I was immediately drawn into the lives of the characters in She Makes it Look Easy. The story is told from the alternating views of the central characters, Justine and Ariel. Justine Miller makes it all look “easy” with her perfectly clean home, perfectly groomed children, and perfectly organized life. Under the “perfect,” however, are dark motives and desires.

Ariel Baxter’s family is “moving on up” when they move into Essex Falls, an upscale neighborhood. Justine quickly introduces herself to her new neighbor Ariel and offers to help Ariel organize her life. Soon, however, Ariel suspects that Justine has motives beyond helping a new friend. When she delves deeper into Justine’s actions she discovers a secret that Justine has been keeping.

Justine and Ariel both face difficult choices, and you’ll be wondering until the final chapter if they’ll do the right thing.

She Makes it Look Easy reminded me of several things; first of all, when I find myself too eager to please someone who makes me feel bad about myself, that person is not a friend. Second, I was reminded not to judge people who seem to “have it all together;” they might be hiding a secret, or they might need a friend. And third, no matter how much I want to be a friend, there are times that doing the right thing is more important than a not-so-true friendship.

Even if you usually don’t enjoy fiction, I encourage you to read She Makes it Look Easy. To order go to Proverbs 31 Ministries. To read more by Marybeth Whalen go to http://www.marybethwhalen.com/.