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Archive for the ‘Learning Something New’ Category

Anyone watch Desperate Housewives?  I’m hooked again…this season, for some reason, has got me hooked.  Maybe it’s Dana Delaney’s new secretive character…I don’t know.  But, one of the storylines that has caught my interest is Lynette’s cancer.  My mom had cancer when I was a teenager, and it frankly scared the crap out of me.  You’re always afraid your parents are going to be taken away from you.  I am enjoying the Lynette storyline because of the open communication she is having with her entire family.  Cancer is hard enough for adults to deal with, but it is extremely difficult to explain to children. Kids usually can understand a lot more than we think.  It just has to be explained in a way that makes sense to them.  Whether it’s an adult in their life that has the cancer or the child themselves, honesty is the only way to deal with explaining it.

  1. Keep it simple, especially with younger children.  A good rule of thumb is to let them ask questions and simply answer what they ask.  Don’t give them more information than they need at the time.
  2. Practice what you want to say before you sit down with the child.  It won’t prepare you for all their possible questions, but it will help you to have a better idea of the direction and tone of your conversation.
  3. Reassure the child that the cancer is not catching.  When they hear it’s a disease and it makes people sick, they will want to know if they can get it.
  4. Talk to them in terms they will understand, such as the cancer cells are like the bad guys attacking the body and the doctors are like Superman or Batman, trying to fight the bad guys.
  5. Tell them it’s ok to be scared and mad.  Show them healthy ways to express and deal with those feelings.
  6. When treatments begin, explain the changes that will occur: the stomach problems, the hair loss, weakness and any other differences to what they are used to.
  7. Find a support group for the family because it helps them to know they aren’t the only ones going through this. Knowing someone else has been where they are can really help a child to feel like there is hope.
  8. Let them know that people can and do survive cancer, but it will be a tough fight and the family will have to work together to make the most of their time.
  9. Talk to the child about death, especially if they haven’t lost a loved one before.  It’s a tough concept, even for adults, but it will help even if just a little.  Remember to keep it in terms they can understand.
  10. Always take the time to make memories and tell them you love them.
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Where did Father’s Day Originate? While there are about seven renditions relating to the origin of Father’s Day, the most widely held version is this:

Father’s Day originated through a young girl named Sonora Louise Smart, who lived in Spokane, Washington. Apparently, after listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909, she wondered why fathers weren’t celebrated as well. At 16, Sonora lost her mother in childbirth and her dad, a civil war veteran, raised Sonora and her five siblings. Determined to have Father’s Day recognized as a special day, Sonora finally witnessed the first Father’s Day celebration on June 19, 1910. Subsequently, the idea gained popularity all over the US and thus Father’s Day became a national day of celebration.

In fact, President Woodrow Wilson, noticing the depth to which this day became so popular, approved the idea in 1916. Furthermore, it was President Calvin Coolidge, who also loved this idea, proclaimed Father’s Day as a national celebration in 1924. Interestingly enough, in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation stating the third Sunday in June would be officially declared Father’s Day. It didn’t end there! President Richard Nixon permanently established the observance of Father’s Day in 1972.

What happened to the young girl who started it all? You will be happy to hear that Sonora Smart Dodd was honored at the World’s Fair in Spokane in 1974 for her contribution in making Father’s Day a national day of recognition.

Today, Father’s Day is celebrated around the world; however, not all countries celebrate it on the same day. In fact, in Australia and New Zealand, for example, it is celebrated on the first Sunday of September.

Beginning with an idea and the determination to see it through, Sonora Louise Smart was the catalyst who brought recognition to make Father’s Day a day of celebration. It’s amazing what one person can do, isn’t it?

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This is pretty fun…you should check it out!

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Memorial Day was first celebrated on May 5, 1866 at Waterloo, New York. This was due to the fact that the town commemorated Memorial Day yearly with the entire community engaged in events, including decorating the graves of soldiers with flags and flowers.

Originally named Decoration Day in honor of the soldiers who died in the Civil War, it was John A. Logan, General of the Army of the Republic who, on May 5, 1868, declared that May 30th would be a day in which flowers who decorate the graves of those who died in defense of their country. In fact, at the first celebration of Decoration Day, then General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. honoring the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who fought and died. It is said that over 5000 people helped to decorate these graves with flags and flowers.

Since then, Memorial Day has since become a day of reflection and observance. All businesses are closed for the day, as well as government buildings. In addition, all members of the armed services, from World War I to today, have been so honored. Memorial Day spawned Veteran’s Day, which is observed on November 11th. Subsequently, Congress declared Memorial Day as a national holiday and is celebrated during a solemn ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. One of the most important events is the placing of the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, which is usually done by the President or the Vice-President.

The tomb contains the remains of unknown American soldiers from all of the wars American fought. Moreover, every solider was given the Medal of Honor at the time they were interred, and you can see these medals at the Memorial Amphitheater. In addition, the tomb is guarded every day of every year by special members of the Old Guard. It is a fitting tribute to these men, and every year thousands of people visit this site to pay homage to these great men.

Memorial Day has become especially significant, as we have our troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Honoring them and those who died before them is not only fitting, but reminds us that freedom comes at a price, and any soldier would tell you that fighting for their country is worth the sacrifice. Remember the men and women who are in far away lands protecting the freedom of others, as well as our own. Light a candle in their honor; send them a message of thanks or a care package of homemade cookies; let them know you are thinking and praying for them. It’s the least we can do to ensure our Memorial Day history is not merely read from a book, but practiced every day.

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I get a lot of reader email and comments on a weekly basis.

I received one today after I sent out an email “blast” to my newsletter list regarding a couple of new Freebies we have available for Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day. Here it is in it’s entirety:

Dear Tracy,thought I’d let you know that Cinco de Mayo IS NOT Mexican Independence Day. I am some what bothered that a web site that provides so much info wouldn’t research first their info. F.Y.I. Mexican Independence Day is the 16th of Sept.

In my email, I had indicated that Cinco de Mayo was, in fact, Mexican Independence Day. I stand corrected (thanks to Margaret Puente). She’s correct, Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day, but – according to Wikipedia “is a national, but not federal, holiday in Mexico which is also widely celebrated in the United States. It commemorates the victory of Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin over the French occupational forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.”

I like to keep my readers informed with CORRECT information and I appreciate when a mistake is brought to my attention. My sincere apologies if my error offended any of my readers.

Thank you, Margaret, for keeping me on my toes – I promise to be more diligent in my research and presentation 🙂

Since this has come about, I decided to begin a new policy. I’m calling it the “Take Your Foot Out of Your Mouth Tracy” award. I’m going to reward anyone who will bring to my attention an error in facts or research that has been published on this blog or the Mom’s Niche website.

Margaret will receive one of our Mom’s Niche prize packs filled with all kinds of goodies.

Thanks again Margaret for bringing this to my attention and congratulations for being our first award recipient!

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Pop Quiz:

  • Should you buy 150 count or 800 count sheets?
  • Is Pima cotton better than muslin?
  • What is the definition of Sateen?

How’d you do? Not very well? That’s okay – you will know the answers to those questions and more by the time you finish reading this article.

There are 3 main aspects of linens that make up the fibers you sleep on for 1/3 of your life:

  1. Thread Count
  2. Weave
  3. Types of Cotton

1. Thread Count
Definition: the number of threads, both vertical and horizontal in a one-inch square of fabric.

Thread counts range anywhere from 80 to 1000 or even more. The thread count can be affected by the ply and thickness of the yarn used to produce the fabric.

Ply is determined by how many threads are wrapped together into a single thread. Single-ply is a thread used upon itself. Double-ply indicates the yarns are twisted together and THEN woven.

The finer threads will give a higher thread count because more threads can fit in a 1-inch space. This will give the fabric a softer feel, but will also yield a less-durable fabric.

So, what is a good thread count to purchase? Experts say:

  • Greater than 100 is desirable
  • Greater than 180 is ideal
  • Greater than 400-500 is considered a farce due to the manufacturer’s using double-ply fabrics, which actually double the thread count

Read on for more information that will help you make your decision…

2. Weave

  • Standard – 1 stitch over, 1 stitch under – this is the basic weave
  • Pinpoint – 2 stitches over, 1 stitch under – this weave may not be as soft to the touch, but it is the most durable
  • Sateen – 4 stitches over, 1 stitch under – this has a very soft feel, but may not be as durable as other weaves

3. Types of Cotton

  • Combed Cotton – this is a cleaning process that eliminates the shorter, less desirable fibers
  • Muslin – the low end of the cotton spectrum; usually used in children’s themed bedding (thread count range: 128-140)
  • Percale – closely woven fibers; available in 100% cotton and 50/50 cotton/poly blends (thread count range: 140-200)
  • Pima or Supima – 100% cotton – very high quality grown in the Southwestern United States (thread count range: 200-300)
  • Egyptian – 100% cotton – very high quality grown next to the Nile River (thread count range: 200-400)

One last question for the Pop Quiz: True or False – the higher the thread count, the better quality the sheets.

What was your answer? If you answered “True”…go back and read #1 one more time.

Now that you have all of your bed linen facts straight, where are you going to find those sheets?

I’m always looking for great bargains and I’ve found that Overstock.com has great quality sheets at tremendous prices. You can find all thread counts, weaves and cotton types – it really just depends on your personal preference and budget.

Happy Shopping!

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Ever laughed so hard at a comedian on TV that you begin to cry? Or perhaps your friend gets you going with some old, funny memories and your laughter becomes uncontrollable for minutes on end. Do you feel the tension wash away from your body?

What you are experiencing is a release of the stress you’ve been carrying for days or even weeks. The old adage, “Laughter is the best medicine,” is very true.

Why is laughter your secret weapon to beating stress?

Laughter = 15 min. on an exercise bike

That’s incredible! Not only does laughter lower your blood pressure, but it also increases the endorphins in your body which contributes to a healthier immune system.

Life is hard; why make it harder? If you can determine what makes you laugh; whether it’s going to a comedy club; surrounding yourself with funny people; watching a comedy on TV, or simply reading a book of jokes, you will be amazed how laughter can improve your physical and emotional well-being. Laughter actually distracts you from the underlying stress, and brings you to a balanced and calm state. It is, as they say, infectious.

It is important to laugh as much and as often as you can. It is the cure-all for stress, frustration and, in some cases, depression. Perhaps you’ve used the expression, “One day we will remember this, and laugh our heads off.” By having a positive attitude, and using laughter as a mechanism to celebrate life, instead of stressing over it; you’ll become healthier and less stressed when confronting negative events.

This happened just the other evening while being bombarded all day long with the tragedy of the Virginia Tech shootings…I said to my husband, “Let’s just watch something funny for a half hour – we need a break.” It’s not that we needed to forget or ignore what’s going on, but we just needed to laugh and release that stress that had been building.

“Laugh and the world will laugh with you….” As you go through your daily routine, find something to laugh about. Look at the bright side; tell yourself the cup is half full; laugh until it hurts. You may not have control over certain aspects of life, but you can control the stress. Let laughter be that secret weapon to beating stress.

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