Pets & Summer Care

Summer Pet Care

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Pet 1

Summer Pet Care

This is my son and daughter-in-law Ashley’s dog DARKO.  They love him and take the best of care for his safety and well-being, with an occasional treat, lol.

Ashley generously put together a list of ways to help keep our pets safe this summer, particularly with all the festivities including the fireworks and loud noises, heatstroke and the Yellow Dog Project.  Please click HERE to read this terrific post she wrote and thank you again Ashley for taking the time to help us all be more informed so our pets can be happy and healthy!




The reasons why we don't write birthday cards, but I have a post that tells you why we should.

Why Should I Write A Happy Birthday Card?

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The reasons why we don't write birthday cards, but I have a post that tells you why we should.

Do I CARE Enough to write YOU a Birthday Card?

 

Why Should I Write A Happy Birthday Card?

Why Should we Write A Happy Birthday Card?  Really, does it matter anymore? 

Seriously, we can text it out, or wish it to them on social media, isn’t that the same?

And if we send a card, then do we have to send a gift card, cash or a gift?

Because that adds up and what if we don’t have the extra budget for that?

Besides that, cards are so expensive now-days in the specialty shops, how can we afford them?

No worries! 

I have answers for all of these issues and more, as I explain why we SHOULD write Happy Birthday Cards and send them out.

 

 

SOLUTIONS!

First Issue Solved – WHY WRITE A BIRTHDAY CARD?

If you read my post on writing a Thank You Card, you read about my sister-in-law Ruthann and what a rock star she is about those.  Well, this is another one of her many strong talents.

She sends a card to every sister, brother, in-law, niece, nephew…I don’t believe she misses a relative and as a family we have talked many times about how much that means to us.  My grand kids know that she and her husband Brad care about them.  They know that they can go to them and talk.  Now, as they get older, that means the world, because we may not be here, or possibly they will open up to one of them about a situation that might come up while they are talking together at a family event.  It’s so important to build family relationships and bonds in anyway possible.  And a simple card, like Ruthann does, truly builds bridges that spans generations, any age and is an honorable legacy to set.

There are other reasons to write a card, including:

  • Strengthening and maintaining friendships
  • Being able to put into words a sentiment such as a handshake, embrace or heartfelt smile as you wish them a wonderful year
  • It is a tangible reminder that you care, that you took the time to sit down and write to them!
  • It gives the opportunity to connect again as life gets busy and rushed, oftentimes we don’t talk to communicate with family or friends for long periods of time
  • It brings a closeness and appreciation for each other
  • There are so many reasons that the list could go on and on and on……

 

 

Second Issue Solved – HOW DO I KNOW WHEN BIRTHDAYS ARE AND HOW DO I KEEP TRACK OF THEM?

I have a free chart made specially for YOU that is editable/fill-in so you can write in the names and birthdays of your family and friends along with anniversaries if you’d like. Now you won’t have to miss one!

1- click HERE to download the free file that is EDITABLE /FILL-IN, there is also a version to download the file if you prefer to WRITE in it and not have it editable

*The link will take you to WooCommerce, which is a FREE option

After you fill it in, which will take maybe a minute or two to gather the information, you will have it for years to come.

 

 

Third Issue Solved – WHERE DO I GET A NICE CARD THAT’S AFFORDABLE

This is easy-peasy!

  • I have free downloadable cards for birthdays and anniversariesfor you and the kids to use.  See them below at the end of this post to print off.
  • My friend Natalie makes the most gorgeous homemade cards. You can find Natalie HERE 
  • If you prefer to order some on-line to have on hand, HERE are some birthday cards you might like, THESE would work well for the kids, and THIS will be great for anniversaries
  • Looking for fun colorful pens for you and the family to use, try THESE
  • And for pens that dry quickly and don’t smear, won’t skip and write smooth, this looks to be a great ONE

 

 

 

Fourth Issue Solved – ARE THERE OPTIONS FOR EXPENSIVE GIFT CARDS OR CASH IF I WANT TO SEND SOMETHING WITH THE CARD?

I’ve thought long and hard about this one for you because I wanted to make sure the ‘gift’ was:

1- very affordable

2- useful or would be wanted

3- would go through the mail

Here are some ideas I came up with for men, women, teens and children; just send what THEY would like and use your imagination:)

Ideas of items that could send in a birthday card through the mail

Ideas for Birthday gifts

  • GUM is a treat for most kids, so if you put 2-3 sticks in the card, wrap them in a plastic bag like THIS, same as if you use unwrapped candy as shown, it will withstand any humidity or heat. Just make sure it lies flat and you don’t over fill it! 

 

 

  • Nail decal link below

 

  • Soft, flat individually wrapped candy is another idea; one option is  Swedish Fish

 

 

 

Ideas of items that could send in a birthday card through the mail

deas for Birthday gifts to send in a card

  • These Punch Balloons will be fun to send to kids and teens!  You can find them HERE

 

 

Ideas of items that could send in a birthday card through the mail

Ideas for Birthday gifts to send in a card

  • Hair ties made from Elastic Ribbon are fabulous for all ages as they are twisted to accommodate pretty much any amount of hair.  You can make them yourself and send, or you can purchase them and send 2-3 in the card without any trouble.  If you need a small amount you might want to look at THESE  if you have a lot  you are gifting, you might want to look at THIS

 

 

Ideas of items that could send in a birthday card through the mail

Ideas for Birthday gifts to send in a card

  • Nail decals/stickers are always popular with all ages.  These designs are for young and old, are individually packaged and thin enough to put in with your card and mail regularly.  You will find them HERE

 

 

Ideas of items that could send in a birthday card through the mail

Ideas for Birthday gifts to send in a card

  • Here’s a link for JAR GRIPPER PADS  These are wonderful to help with getting a grip on those tight fitting lids and taking the lids off, but also for setting your cups, utensils – anything on so they don’t slid around or scratch the surface.

 

 

 

Ideas of items that could send in a birthday card through the mail

Ideas for Birthday gifts to send in a card

  • These are the coolest things!  They are seed paper.  Which means it’s handmade eco-friendly paper with flower seeds pressed into the shape so when it is planted flowers grow!  There are SO many shapes and types to choose from.  HERE is a SMILEY FACE to get you started

 

For older kids and TEEN BOYS especially, here are TWO great ideas: 

  • Flying Sticky Animal Frogs.  Each frog is individually sealed in a bag. They are made to stretch from the front legs as well as the back as they are pulled, then let go to fly—and stick 🙂  You’ll see them HERE

 

  • Vinyl Glitter Stretchy Sticky Hands and Feet Stretchy are individually wrapped.  What to do with these?  Besides ‘slapping’ them on windows, try to pick up small objects!  Find these are HERE

 

 

For older teens and adults

  • A Credit Card Pocket Magnifier Ruler Emergency Solar Fire Starter would be great for anyone.   I would like the handy magnifier when I forget my reading glasses, and the teen guy and man in your life would really enjoy all the features of this little tool.  Check it out HERE

 

  • Or this type of Plastic Reading 300% Magnifier Lens Credit Card Size Fire starter looks great too.  See that one HERE

 

  • Another very useful idea is to give in your birthday card  RFID Blocking Sleeves Credit Card Holders or Passport Protectors. These are lined with an electromagnetically opaque shield to block signals from high-tech pickpockets and  unauthorized electronic scanning devices; you could give one or two to your birthday recipient. Those are HERE

As you start brainstorming, you will come up with some great ideas yourself, and please share them with us!

 

 

 

Fifth Issue Solved – WHAT DO I WRITE IN A BIRTHDAY CARD

1- Make it personal, think of whom you are writing to.

2- Are you going to be cute, funny or sincere in your message?

3- End with a quote if you’d like such as these (from https://www.americangreetings.com)

  • Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. –Sir James Barrie
  • And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. –Abraham Lincoln
  • A friend is, as it were, a second self. –Cicero
  • You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. –C.S. Lewis
  • We turn not older with years, but newer every day. –Emily Dickinson
  • Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! –Henry David Thoreau
  • A true friend is someone who knows all about you and likes you just the same. –Elbert Hubbard
  • Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together. –Woodrow Wilson

 

4- End with your choice of closing, here are some ideas (from https://ideas.hallmark.com)

  • Warmly,
  • Love,
  • With love,
  • Lots of love,
  • Love always,
  • Much love to you,
  • All my love,
  • Best wishes!
  • Best wishes on your birthday and always,
  • All life’s best to you,
  • Happy Birthday!
  • Wishing you happiness,
  • Warmest wishes,
  • Gratefully,
  • Blessings,
  • God bless,
  • Hugs and kisses,

 

 

5- SEND THE CARD!!!

 

I hope you will start, or keep on sending those BIRTHDAY and ANNIVERSARY cards because it is one of the most simple, yet gracious and connecting acts we can do.

 

FREE DOWNLOAD CARDS FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY – ENJOY!

Click HERE for all of these: Children’s Color-In Birthday Card, 2 Birthday Cards, 2 Anniversary Cards and a Birthday Card for a child

The reasons why we don't write birthday cards, but I have a post that tells you why we should.

Here are a few sites with more ideas of what to write in your card:

https://www.americangreetings.com/inspiration/what-to-write/birthday-messages

https://www.ftd.com/blog/celebrate/what-to-write-in-a-birthday-card

from https://ideas.hallmark.com

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today

Ways to cheer someone up with all yellow items

SunShine Gifts and Baskets

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SunShine Gifts and Baskets

Ways to cheer up others with a gift that has all yellow items

SunShine Gifts and Baskets

When a friend, co-worker, family member, a neighbor could use cheering up, a SunShine Gift or Basket is the solution.

If they have had a difficult trial to go through, a job loss, health struggles, family issues, financial reversals, or just had a very bad day, a SunShine Gift or Basket is the answer.

What is a SunShine Gift?

I’m glad you asked…

Why everything in it is yellow of course!

Just like the sun brightens the day, the treat, or gift is yellow to bring cheerful, happy feelings and thoughts to the person receiving the SunShine gift.

Really, you just have to smile when you are given an all yellow present!

I have a printable TAGS HERE for you to use to make your SunShine Gifts easier to put together and more personable.  *The link will take you to WooCommerce, which is a FREE option

Here’s a few idea’s to get you going on your own SunShine Gifts for anyone who might need a cheering up.  Many of these items can be kept on hand to be readily used when needed:)

 

SunShine Gifts and Baskets

Ways to cheer up others with a gift that has all yellow items

This is the collection of what I put together for you to use an an example

 

 

SunShine Gifts and Baskets

Ways to cheer up others with a gift that has all yellow items

  • Treat cups are a perfect way to give a little treat and let someone know you are thinking of them.  Depending on how many you want to do, and the size THIS and HERE are good options.

 

SunShine Gifts and Baskets

Ways to cheer up others with a gift that has all yellow items

 

 

  • Put either goodie in a cellophane bag with a yellow ribbon, the tag I linked above, and deliver or in the yellow box HERE and tie the tag with a ribbon on the outside with the cellophane bag of treats on the inside for a delicious surprise. 
SunShine Gifts and Baskets

Ways to cheer up others with a gift that has all yellow items

  • Kitchen items like these are always appreciated as well as useful too. 
SunShine Gifts and Baskets

Ways to cheer up others with a gift that has all yellow items

 

 

  • Definitely jump over to visit Dana at Wonder Forest for her great Lip Scrub Recipe that you can get HERE

 

  • HERE is the 4 ounce jar with lid that I used in the picture for the lotion and the bath salts. It’s the perfect size for stacking in a cellophane bag or the yellow box.

 

  • The lip Scrub is THIS little pot

 

  • The yellow box is HERE

The tag link is at the top and has labels for all of these.

SunShine Gifts and Baskets

Ways to cheer up others with a gift that has all yellow items

  • Of course a jar of any size you like will work.  Fill it with what the person you are giving it to would enjoy.  The adorable CARDS ARE BY NATALIE can be ordered through her. 
SunShine Gifts and Baskets

Ways to cheer up others with a gift that has all yellow items

  • A fun basket with bath gel, a loofah, good candy, and great cards would make any stormy day be sunny. 

 

  • The cards in the middle are also by NATALIE and can be ordered through her, as well as many other designs to match this and other occasions. 
SunShine Gifts and Baskets

Ways to cheer up others with a gift that has all yellow items

  • Think outside the box (heehee) and put your items in that!  Here I have some Werther’s Caramel’s, yellow hand sanitizer, yellow label hand lotion and more of NATALIE’s fabulous CARDS:)
SunShine Gifts and Baskets

Ways to cheer up others with a gift that has all yellow items

  • If you know the person well, you can personalize it like I have with this box.  In this box I have: yellow note cards with envelopes, yellow stickers, yellow and white tags, a fun stamp, yellow craft twine, gel pens, craft scissors, pens, yellow craft ribbon, yellow washi tape and I just might toss in some chocolate when I deliver it. 
Ways to cheer someone up with all yellow items

SunShine Gifts and Baskets

DON’T FORGET THE KIDS!!!!!

  • Kids have terrible, horrible, rotten, no-good, very bad days too.  Sometimes illness, surgeries, and regrettable, just hard things to deal with sometimes.  So take or send them a YELLOW SUNSHINE GIFT BOX too!

 

  • Here I have:  a glow stick, yellow punch balloon, bag of yellow balloons (kids can never have enough balloons – right?), yellow bubble wand, yellow taffy, yellow starburst candy, three presents,  AND… let me point out that one of the gifts is wrapped in tissue paper and the other two gifts are wrapped in fabric. That’s right!  I could not, in any local store find yellow wrapping paper!  So I went to the craft store selling fabric and purchased the most inexpensive yellow fabric that was on sale, along with a yellow remnant to give me two pieces of yellow fabric to use as wrapping paper.  Be creative and use whatever works.  Never forget that white is always a great choice.  Simply decorate it with yellow flowers, ribbon, bows and even toys.  Did you notice the yellow Parachute Man tied onto the top of the one package?
Ways to cheer someone up with all yellow items

SunShine Gifts and Baskets

These are some of the supplies that I used in making the SunShine Gifts and Baskets.

This is how the box turned out that I sent in the mail, and I KNOW you can do a much better job of decorating the inside of the box flaps, but- hey, it get’s the job done, lol.  Notice the white tissue with yellow ribbon wrapping as an option.  Remember the tags are HERE

 

Make sure to check out my post HELPING A SICK FRIEND AND COMFORTING IN HEARTBREAK for more information, resources and ideas. 

I hope you enjoy making up SunShine Gifts and please let us know what you made and send pictures!

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

Kids making posters

Posters For Local Assisted Living Or Care Center

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Kids making posters

Kids of all ages can easily make general or themed posters or decorations for your local Assisted Living or Care Center

Posters For Local Assisted Living Or Care Center

If we teach our family to be kind and to serve, it is one of the most important attributes we can give to them. 

It’s an investment of time and energy that’s never a waste, or unappreciated, even if things do not always go perfectly during the process. 

However, if we are persistent, we will see amazing results in how our family reaches out to each other with kindness.

 So how can we help them learn to  serve with all the demands on our busy schedules?

This project is super easy, quick to prepare and inexpensive.

And the best part is besides our family doing a worthwhile activity, those who benefit from our kind service with will appreciate our time and effort.

Another huge plus, this can be done by ALL AGES!!! 

 

PURPOSE: Did you know that many Care Centers and Assisted Living facilities do not have the funds for every day and holiday decorations? 

In fact, some who live there may not even have loved ones near by to visit, or bring them a little something to spruce up their room, or the central area where they gather to eat and visit.

By a simple act of making a general or themed decoration, it shows a huge amount of kindness, as well as teaching our family to look beyond them self and to others.

And don’t worry about how crafty you are, or aren’t, the residents will be thrilled with any type of decoration that you come up with.  

I have younger grand-kids right now; up to eight years old,  and this is how they can be creative, and it’s perfect!

It’s so simple!

Supplies-

poster board, markers, crayons and foam shapes.  You can certainly do anything your heart desires from painting simple foam table decorations to crafting extravagantly; all depending on your ability and the ages of course.  Everything will be appreciated!

Be sure to explain who the posters are for and why they were making them, then let the fun begin!!!

Working on general themed posters to take to the local Assisted Living/Care Center

Kids making posters

Kids of all ages can easily make general or themed posters or decorations for your local Assisted Living or Care Center

Kids making posters

Kids of all ages can easily make general or themed posters or decorations for your local Assisted Living or Care Center

 

Here are the themed posters we did for Halloween – 

Doing service as a family is easy and quick as I bring you ideas for quick, inexpensive, free and fast ideas for all ages. Children, teens, young adults, the entire family. Do you wonder where to find joy? How to be truly happy? Where to turn, what to fill your 'bucket' with that is lasting? How you can bring joy to your family and loved ones? I have ideas and resources for you!

Doing Service is easy as a family!

For this project, we had five posters to deliver when the kiddos were finished. 

Doing service as a family is easy and quick as I bring you ideas for quick, inexpensive, free and fast ideas for all ages. Children, teens, young adults, the entire family. Do you wonder where to find joy? How to be truly happy? Where to turn, what to fill your 'bucket' with that is lasting? How you can bring joy to your family and loved ones? I have ideas and resources for you!

Doing Service is easy as a family!

Due to schedules and school, only one of the grand kids could help deliver the posters on behalf of our family.

Doing service as a family is easy and quick as I bring you ideas for quick, inexpensive, free and fast ideas for all ages. Children, teens, young adults, the entire family. Do you wonder where to find joy? How to be truly happy? Where to turn, what to fill your 'bucket' with that is lasting? How you can bring joy to your family and loved ones? I have ideas and resources for you!

Doing Service is easy as a family!

Meeting many of the residents was the highlight!  They were finishing a program when we arrived, so this little cutie had the opportunity to meet some who lived at this particular care center.

After the shyness wore off, she visited and had a good time.

Those there, expressed their gratitude and happiness at having others care enough to take the time to make decorations for them and bring some ‘holiday fun’ to their doors.  They hoped for ‘every-day’ decorations too:) (Note: There was only one little decorated bowl in the entire place that my daughter and I could see, so this is a need everywhere, if you  are interested in this type of service, for any month of the year!)

Doing service as a family is easy and quick as I bring you ideas for quick, inexpensive, free and fast ideas for all ages. Children, teens, young adults, the entire family. Do you wonder where to find joy? How to be truly happy? Where to turn, what to fill your 'bucket' with that is lasting? How you can bring joy to your family and loved ones? I have ideas and resources for you!

Doing Service is easy as a family!

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2017, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today

Ways to help a person or family when tragedy, illness or hardship strikes their home. What to say, not to say, what to do and more

Helping A Sick Friend and Comforting In Heartbreak

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ways to help a person or family when tragedy, illness or hardship strikes their home. What to say, not to say, what to do and more

What do I say, or do when I want to help and give service?

Helping A Sick Friend and Comforting In Heartbreak

Have you ever been sick, or caring for someone and needed some some extra help? 

Or had someone close to you, who you knew could use a lending hand in some way, but you wondered what to do that would be comforting and useful?

Helping A Sick Friend and Comforting In Heartbreak is one of the most thoughtful and rewarding things we can do. 

However, too often we shy away and not do anything, because we may not know what to say, or what to do, or how to best give service.

So that we can bring relief to the weary who are physically drained from caring for their family and loved ones; and comfort those who’s heart is breaking from any type of tragic and adverse situation, I have put together some resources to guide us in being a true comfort, such as:

  • How can you help a friend who is overcoming a loss from suicide, infant death, pet loss, or any other situation of deep mourning. 
  • What do we say, or not say?
  • How can we actually help without saying the cliche: “Let me know what I can do”?  and then do nothing….
  • What can we do to show we care that is meaningful and helpful? 

As you read on, you will find there are several excellent ideas here; however, the secret is to act and reach out.  They will greatly appreciate your kindness and show of support, in often unspoken words. Just do the best you can and serve.

 

Mourn with those that mourn

Have you ever experienced a trial or hardship that was extremely difficult, though maybe not as recognized as a disease or accident?  I think we all have, and during those times, we still need an encouraging word of reassurance and friendship.

During a particularly difficult time, Natalie delivered this card to me shown just below, and it filled the heart with joy.   

To find beautiful cards like this, Natalie’s link is HERE 

You can also download a free THINKING OF YOU CARD  here

Being there to lift another’s burden by simply saying you are there as a friend is priceless. Remember, a ‘real’ card is never out of style. 

 

You will find many more ideas of how you can help in useful and creative ways, including a SUNSHINE GIFT for all ages at the end of this post.

Ways to help a person or family when tragedy, illness or hardship strikes their home. What to say, not to say, what to do and more

What do I say, or do when I want to help and give service?

 

In distressing circumstances what do you say– or not say?  

There are numerous conditions under which a person or a family could use help.

  • Severe handicap
  • Mental Illness
  • A loved one chose suicide
  • A death, whether old, young or newborn
  • Terminal illness
  • Hospitalization
  • Surgery
  • New baby (adopted and foster are just as much of an adjustment)
  • Job loss – long term, or repeated can be very disheartening

 

1- Now that we identified WHEN to help –

2- WHAT can we do if it’s not obvious?

3- Look hard and pray about HOW to help.  Here’s an example from my own experience.

Some years back, a family in our neighborhood had a very young son who was diagnosed with cancer. Needless to say, it was a scary and trying time for also their extended family and those of us in the neighborhood who knew and cared about them.

I wanted to somehow be a benefit, but I wasn’t sure what to do, so I included it in my prayers that I’d know how to help.

After prying a little one day, I found out that the mom did not have the extra means to buy food from the cafeteria while she was at hospital; which was daily while her young son had treatments.

That was my answer!

I packed a sturdy durable bag that closed tight with food that could be warmed in the microwave, or eaten as it was, but none that required refrigeration.

Mainly high protein foods and a few treats.   

Another time this same mom asked me to watch her other children because she had to take her son to his doctors appointment. While she was gone, I arranged with other women in our church to come in for a cleaning blitz who had wanted to help, but didn’t know what they could do.

While we cleaned, older kids of the women who had come to help clean, did crafts with the kids I was in charge of for the mom at the hospital, making them feel special and keeping them entertained.  This was a great gift and service to them, as their life now had to often revolve around all the hospital visits and that very sensitive situation of their brother being ill.

It’s a cherished memory of how to involve others.




What if I SAY or DO the wrong thing? 

How do I know THE BEST way to serve them?

It’s unfortunate, but a part of life that illness, tragedy or hardship will come to one of our loved ones,  a friend, or a neighbor at some time. 

And then –

  • What do we say?
  • What do we do?
  • How can we help?
  • What’s the best approach?
  • What about when the person or family has lost a loved one to suicide?

I have some tips and suggestions so that you will ALWAYS know how, when and the best ways to be of service and comfort.  Remember!  Just Do SOMETHING with the best intention of loving them and it will be alright.

 

————————————-

 

This was a situation for one of my dear neighbors and I didn’t know what to say, or what to do myself as I hadn’t encountered this situation before. So I researched a bit and I’m sharing with you the information I found.

Heartbreaking position for those grieving with the loss of a loved one to suicide

To read the helpful tips and ideas of what to do, click GRIEVING THE LOSS OF A LOVED ONE TO SUICIDE

 

————————————————-

 

WHAT DO YOU SAY WHEN A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER LOSES A BABY?

This is another delicate issue and so tender for everyone involved.  

I have tried to gather information for us so we can be the most helpful in this situation. 

Click here on  What Do You Say When A Friend Or Family Member Loses A Baby?

 

 

————————————————–

Losing A Pet can be as devastating as losing a family member to those who love and care for their pets.

I have a tips and ideas you will find helpful here in How To Comfort When There Is A Pet-loss

 

 

—————————————–

 

Treat them the same

It’s important to remember and treat the person, or the family as you always did.  This new diagnosis, or difficulty they are having isn’t ‘them’.  It isn’t a way to identify them, or take over their personality, it’s just the new situation or ‘normal’ for the time being.  Remembering that will help you treat them the same as you always did, and it won’t be as awkward with the new circumstances because it helps them feel ‘in control’ and somewhat their usual self.

 

Try to do something ‘normal’, out of the ordinary and FUN

For example

The picture of the baby at the top of the post is one of my grand daughters.  Right after being born, she was in the NICU also known as the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Her brother had been in the hospital for several days which was terrifying.

Stan, my husband, spent much of his time after work at the hospital with the sick grandchildren.

But when he was home, he took the other kids to Sam’s Club (their favorite) for lunch, then to the store to let them pick out their own match-box car.

When they came back to the house,  I gave each of them a few washable markers and their own empty toilet paper roll to make a car ‘power station’. They had a blast and it filled the time with creativity and imagination.

It doesn’t have to be expensive, just out of the ordinary and something THEY will enjoy.





 

Another day does begin

I had some of the grand kids at my house, giving their mom a chance to recuperate with the sick baby.

I put on the musical ‘Bye Bye Birdie’, the one with Ann Margaret. They had the best time watching something they had never seen, and dancing with Birdie as the whole town swooned and fainted – they thought that was pretty funny; acting right along and falling to the ground with the character’s in the movie, as Birdie played his guitar.

Get them up and MOVING

Laughter is a wonderful release from the stress for ALL ages.
kids 1
Try to provide as much normality as possible in their day by keeping them busy, as appropriate of course.

This provides a way for even little ones to feel somewhat in control, despite the drastic changed schedules and even living circumstances. 

‘Helping’ Uncle Dallin clean.kids 2

——————-

Here is my son, daughter-in-law and grand daughter getting ready to come home from the hospital.

Our little NICU grandbaby was finally allowed to come home!baby 8After taking baby CPR classes at the hospital, learning how to run the oxygen machine, classes on how to use monitoring and other devices to help our little grand daughter stay alive, our son Derek remarked:

“Who said kids don’t come with instructions.”

Always try to keep a sense of humor, it goes a LONG way in putting these stressful situations in perspective and dealing with them in a healthy manner.

photo 6


It seems if we live long enough we will have family and friends who will face challenges of some sort that will require help.

I have complied a little list of ideas that might be useful if you are ever in the situation of wondering how to help and be most useful:

  • Keep in mind that when a person, or family are in a crisis, they may have much different priorities then before. Be sensitive to their ‘new situation’ and that ‘normal’ things may not be a current concern.  Just understand and be supportive.
  • LISTEN, do not judge or give unwanted advice. Sometimes the other person simply wants to talk and get it out in the open.  Realize it may not be how they really feel; actually, it probably isn’t. Be kind about not repeating or passing on anything that is best kept between trusted friends. Venting is part of grieving.
  • Offer to clean the house or gift a professional house cleaning service.  Do not just offer, be proactive and DO something. 
  • Sometimes when asking what you can do to help is almost more stressful because the person/family may not be able to process everything that does need to be done, such as  the real necessities. You could ask about arranging to pick up other children for school, sports, scouts, etc. That would be a great relief to the parents and family.
  •  It is critical that the family members have a way to recharge and have the energy to face the ordeal at hand. By arranging for the parents/care giver to have the opportunity to exercise, get sleep, have meals brought in and babysitting the other children would be such a relief.
  • Offering to stay with a child or family member for a few hours at the hospital to give the adult(s) time to leave for a bit, would allow them to take a moment for them self, while knowing that someone was there and their loved one wasn’t alone.  
  • A SunShine Gift or Basket would be perfect, click HERE

SunShine Gifts and Baskets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

More Suggestions on how to give comfort and relief:

  • A gift certificate for a massage, a facial, a haircut, a manicure, a pedicure, a movie, favorite meal, etc., would be so appreciated for them to use while a trusted friend or family member sat with the sick/hospitalized patient.
  • Provide rides to and from school,  or activities for other family members. Also, rides to the hospital so the children can visit the parent(s).
  • A personal planner to keep track of all the details if this is an extended situation.  THIS ONE would be a great one. 
  • Take, or send, a care package to the sick patient. Part of this could also be gift cards to local restaurants or even a way to purchase food at the hospital for the parents/adults.
  • If it is holiday time, offer to shop for them, or even arrange a ‘Secret Santa’ for the family to take the pressure off them financially, as well as the overwhelming time it can be.
  • A journal is incredibly healing.  HERE is a terrific choice. 
  • And ONE for kids
  • If it is another child’s birthday time, offering to hold the party would be a tremendous burden eased for the parent(s) so the child does not feel left out or ‘on-the-back-burner’ so to speak.
  • Grocery shop for family. If the funds are tight for them, you might want to purchase the necessities or even see if neighbors want to go in with you.
  •  Do, or arrange for, housecleaning or yard work to be done.  That’s a HUGE help.
  • If they have pets, help or provide a source to feed and walk them.
  • Take siblings out for a fun activity or babysit them.
  • If you know them well, books and CD’s that will inspire and make them laugh would be a great choice.
  • Provide THANK YOU cards and stamps for them to send out. THESE would be a fabulous choice.
  • If it is overwhelming to keep family and friends up to date of the patients treatment and circumstance. You could offer to keep up a blog or even Facebook page for them; with their approval of EVERY SINGLE post/entry
  • Help the other family members feel useful. It empowers them and takes their mind off the situation at hand.
  • A small decorated vase with a narrow opening is a great idea to take to your friends or neighbors if you are on a budget. If taking flowers, ask to be sure if they are allergic to any one type of flower.
  • Balloons are always fun.  
  • ***If you are taking flowers or balloons into a hospital check with the staff first o make sure it’s alright with the hospital policy and into the area you want to take them.

If you are looking for ideas on taking in a meal, I have GREAT information, lots of useful tips and recipes at: 

What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal They Will Want To Eat

I hope this post has given you tools and resources to empower you, so that you feel comfortable reaching out to anyone in need; whether you barely know them, or they are close family or a dear friend. 

We all have ordeals to go through some time in life – that’s just the way it is. 

Having a person, an angel, who cares enough about us, our comfort, our family, to ACT and DO something selfless, means more than words can express.

Copyright A Mother’s Shadow, 2014, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.




What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal They Will Want To Eat

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Taking in a Meal to a neighbor or family

What food to make and tips to make it easier on you and the person you are helping

 Have you been asked, or even offered to take in a meal to someone?

I’ve got you covered here in  What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal that They Will Want To Eat, and I can help you with this situation.

Even though you want to do this act of kindness, does the thought of taking in a meal, send panic running (or galloping) through your body?

Or do you get cold sweats worrying about what to take that they would want to eat?

And how in the world do you approach them in the first place?

Don’t worry, I’ve brought together valuable information just for you!

  • Everything from how to comfortably ask the day and time for bringing in the meal; making it convenient for all involved.
  • What type of food they would actually want to eat while keeping you in control of what the meal is, so you can stay in your budget.
  •  Ideas for you to know how to be approachable when wanting to help, so it’s not awkward for anyone.

 

So, if you’re looking for tips on taking in food when there is a new baby,  someone had surgery, there’s an illness in the family, unfortunately a death – or just because you know it would cheer them up—

I’ve got What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal They Will Want To Eat, along with recipes that are easy and varied for you to choose from.

These handy tips will  make your meal not only one that is enjoyed, but remembered as thoughtful and extremely appreciated.  




What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal they Will want to eat

A meal is always welcome and a VERY thoughtful gesture of friendship and kindness.

However, it can be a scary idea to think about feeding other people,  or their kids; especially if you don’t know them very well.

So, when do you take in a meal? What are the circumstances that says: FEED US PLEASE

Then, what do you say when contacting them about taking in a meal? 

Most importantly, how do you find out what they like, so they will enjoy it, meaning your time and resources are useful and not wasted?

I have it all covered, so you don’t need to worry.  

 

When should you take In A Meal?

There are so many opportunities, but here are the most common:

  • A new baby.
  • Someone is ill or had surgery.
  • There has been a death in the family.
  • A job loss.
  • They are getting ready to move and everything is packed away (*see special moving tips below in this post)
  • Moving in (*see moving tips, again below in this post)
  • You know they are struggling with something personal, a family member’s situation, or outside circumstances that are challenging.  A meal can make the world seem gentler and a more compassionate place to be.
  • A traumatic event of any type. I have a post you might like How Can I Help When Someone Is Sick And Show I Care?
  • Anytime you want to help out, be kind, and especially when you feel impressed to, that is the perfect reason to take in a meal.

 

The Appreciation Comes From The Details

Let’s be real, we all say ‘thank you’ to a meal and that we ‘like it’.

However, if we ask a few questions, we are going to be HERO’s as well as taking in a meal that will be REALLY enjoyed and EATEN.

Details such as:

  • Use disposable pans, bags and dishes to deliver the food in. I like to prepare as many of the items I am taking  in the same type of pan if possible. The reason for this, is that I only have to have one to purchase and store one type; saving money and space.  Something like THIS would be good for everything from salads, to jello, to rolls to a main dish. You could  use two of these pans  for the main dish if you are taking the meal to a large family.

 

       Using something disposable avoids situations such as: whose bowl does this belong to?                Which unmarked pan does the young boy at the door want returned while his mother                  waits outside, not wanting to ‘be a bother’, as you are frantically trying to find the right lid          to ‘her pan’ in the myriad of  dishes stacked on the kitchen counter….which makes you                want to scream/cry/wish you had ordered out pizza that night.  Disposable dishes all the            way baby. They make everyone happy!

       Or there’s the well-meaning neighbor stopping by to collect their dishes – when you’re not           feeling well as you recover, or finally just got the newborn to sleep… gggrrrr….So if that’s             you, neighbor….please do a favor and call ahead:) Actually, please just use disposable.

 

  • Ask if anyone in the family has food allergies, or if there is anything they simply will not eat.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
  • Of course you, kind person, need to stay in your budget and fix a meal that you are comfortable making.  However, if you take in something they cannot, or simply will not eat, it’s a waste for all involved.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For instance:  Some people really cannot force themselves to eat rice – it’s a texture thing. And some cannot tolerate the taste of spaghetti sauce.                                                      Despite your best effort in making a meal, and their gratitude in your gift, it will not be as useful as it could be. (For example, I will not, cannot – not in a boat, not with a goat, not in the rain, not on a train….I will NOT eat eggs as the major ingredient.  So a beautiful quiche would be devoured by my husband and family, while I would have to open a can of something or other.  I would still send a thank you note of course, but if the meal were to help me out—-hhhmmm—–you get the point)

 

  • If you know your neighborhood well, and others are also taking in a meal(s) to the same family, it would be a good idea to ask the family what food(s) they have already had brought in. You don’t want to be the third well intended person in a row to bring in, say…. chili. 

 

  • If you are dropping the meal off early, or a freezer meal, be sure to label the food with what it is, the date to use by, along with any special cooking or reheating instructions.

 

  • Ask if there is a certain night they would like a meal brought in. Or let them pick from two or three nights that are convenient for you. 

 

  • If you have the means, taking in a freezer meal, along with a meal for that night, would be very appreciated.  

 

After delivering 5 cesarean babies,  several knee surgeries,  then total knee replacements on BOTH knees TWICE, adding in several other surgeries myself; not to mention all that has happened with 5 kids and a handsome hubby over upwards of 40 years of marriage; I have been a blessed recipient of numerous meals.  Truly they have been such a gift.

I have also taken in, or delivered more meals in my adult life now than I can begin to count. 

So, from receiving, and giving, so many meals, I’ve learned some tips that I’ll share with you about how to make it a win-win situation for everyone involved, as well as EASY too! 

 

Did you know there’s Etiquette to taking in a meal?

1 Ask what time they would like the meal brought in to avoid any embarrassing complications.

 

2- Should you take in a homemade or pre-made/frozen/purchased meal or dish? That’s up to you.

 

3- Make sure whatever the meal is, that it’s completely ready to serve to make it easy on the person you are helping. Meaning, they do not have to prepare it in any way, shape or form.

 

4- This is not the time to try to impress them with your amazing culinary skills of grandeur – imagined or real, lol.  Good old fashioned – comfort food is a winner every time.

 

5- Let the person know who you are bringing the meal into that you are:

A) just dropping off a meal (hot or one to be warmed up)

 

B) helping the kids have their dinner, cleaning up the dishes, getting the adults their dinner and tidying up afterwards – maybe you could even do a bit extra with the help of the kids:)

Only do what is comfortable for that person you are helping and best for you also.  You don’t want to put yourself in a situation that is awkward, anymore than you do the person you want to help.  It is very important to get the details clear before the meal is brought in.  Either way, let them know you have only the best intentions and can leave it with the kids at the door if that’s best.

 

6- Give a couple of choices that you are able to make or provide for the meal; meaning within your budget and ability.

For example, I have a grand daughter who at the age of four will eat Kim-chi and we are not Korean.  The girl will eat about anything and try everything that doesn’t run faster than her.

I have another grand daughter who likes……fast food pizza….oh and donuts:)

So ask the parents what ALL their kids will enjoy. Because you aren’t doing anyone a favor if they have to pull out the pans and make dinner after you leave to feed the kiddos. 

It’s not being picky in my opinion, it’s just life, and if we are there to support a friend in that situation, let’s be a help and not a hindrance. (Meaning no comments or judgments, that are not charitable in nature or nice in tone at this sensitive time for the family.)

 

7- Let the person know if you are bringing in the entire meal; meaning sides and dessert.  Or if you are just bringing in the main dish so they know what to plan on, and can make arrangements for the rest of the meal if needed.

 

8- Do all you can to NOT to be late or cancel.  Confirm the day or night before so it is clear that you are bringing in what you have discussed, as well verify the time.

If something does come up that is completely unavoidable and prevents you from taking in a meal, make sure to apologize and take in a meal soon as possible, along with one for the freezer due to the inconvenience.

 

9- If taking in meals for a new baby, I have special ideas in my post ALL THINGS BABY

 

10- Sometimes the situation is more complicated and you need to know how to handle the emotions and what is happening with the person or family that you are serving. It can be hard to know what’s appropriate when illness, tragedy, suicide or any other situation of deep mourning occurs.  What do you do? What do you say, or not say, is even more difficult. How can you help that is actually of benefit?  I have some great information at my post: How Can I Help When Someone Is Sick And Show I Care?

ways to help a person or family when tragedy, illness or hardship strikes their home. What to say, not to say, what to do and more

 

TIPS for taking in meals when someone is MOVING in or out

Take everything needed for the meal including:

  • ALL the paper products such as paper plates, cups, utensils, napkins

 

  • Drinks. Ask what they like and allow the kids to have; such as water bottles, type of perferred soda pop and kids punch pouches.

 

  • Ask if they will have access to the oven or stove to warm up the food.  If not, it would be considerate to take in (on a smaller scale of course) as I show in my post a COLD PASTA BAR or build-your own sandwiches with the ingredients and condiments in separate containers.  Or simply a variety of Sub Sandwiches for them to choose from. 

 

  • Find out if it would be more convenient to have the food transportable if they are moving from one location to another, and take the food in a disposable foam cooler.  THESE DISPOSABLE BOWLS  would be great to have on hand for this reason.  These recipes would work GREAT for this type of meal:

 

BEST CHICKEN PASTA SALAD

A cold pasta salad using rotini pasta that has grapes, celery, crisp apples, smokey Gouda cheese and toasted almonds. All topped with a creamy poppy seed mayonnaise dressing for a perfect dish

 

Asian Chicken and Orzo Pasta Salad

An oriental style bowl filled with a refreshing salad made with Orzo pasta, rotisserie chicken, fresh vegetables and a light refreshing dressing with a little spice from chili sauce and cool from Ranch dressing

 

The Easy Chicken Pot Pie and the Best Homemade Manicotti can be made and baked the same day or frozen for later use. 

Both come with printable baking instructions to include with the gifted dish

Click HERE for the Easy Chicken Pot Pie

This easy Chicken Pot Pie recipe tastes like homemade but it's with premade pie crusts, frozen vegetables and rotisserie chicken. The homemade savory sauce is gourmet and brings it all together. Freeze one for later

Best Chicken PotPie

 

 

 

 

 

Click HERE for Best Homemade Manicotti

A plate with green beans and manicotti stuffed pasta shells. The shells are filled with ground beef, cheeses and seasonings. They are topped with marinara sauce and more cheese then baked till warmed through

Easy Stuffed Manicotti Pasta

 

 

 

 

 

 

More ideas:

Best Chicken Fajitas

Delicious Chicken and fresh Vegetable Fajitas baked in the oven with green, red, orange and yellow bell peppers and onion. Seasoned with a wonderful homemade fajita seasoning. Serve with your choice of condiments.

 

Best Anytime Chicken Tacos

Two chicken tacos in hard shells with shredded rotisserie chicken. Chopped tomatoes, lettuce are on top of the tacos for a delicious meal that's quick, easy and delicious for a busy weeknight or lazy weekend meal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Vegetarian Fajitas also Gluten Free, and these are really

A beautiful plate of sauted peppers in several colors along with other vegetables all combined with the perfect spices to make this vegetarian fajita dish perfect for any meal.

 

Best Homemade Meatballs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Pizza Pasta Bake

A hearty casserole full of pizza flavors from the hearty sauce, pepperoni, olives and cheese all mixed into pasta.

Easy Hot Cheese & Ham Sliders on Sweet Hawaiian Rolls

A Hawaiian sweet roll with ham and Swiss cheese in the middle along with a complimentary mustard sauce. Topped with the traditional Poppy Seed sauce all warmed up to melt the cheese and heat the ham.

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.




Tree with red and pink hearts as the leaves

You CAN Sweeten Up Valentine’s for Someone Else!

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Tree with red and pink hearts as the leaves

How to serve and help others at Valentines

 

Valentines Day is a fabulous time of year…..unless you don’t have a special someone to get chocolate, buy flowers for, or pick out the perfect card…then it can be a little uncomfortable possibly, or even frustrating?  There are a range of emotions tied up with this holiday. 

However,  it is a perfect time that you CAN Sweeten Up Valentine’s for Someone Else with service and helping.

We can all find ways to look outside our self and see who might need a little love.




 

The promotion of Valentines seems to be that everyone MUST have a sweetheart, or life is over, you have failed, and all is lost. 

WOW!

Marketing at its best. 

However, whether there is a sweetheart or not in our life, everyone could use a friend, an act of kindness, a small thoughtful gift; so let’s take this opportunity to spread the love! 

There are those who are feeling lonely at a loss this time of year, and even isolated. So let’s see how we can do some good!

Who do  you feel impressed that needs a kindness; and remember, age does not matter?

Someone came to your mind didn’t they??? 

I think so! 

Don’t ignore it, and if no one did, then think a bit longer…..

When you do have a name or two or three, here are some ideas that might help spread the enthusiasm of the holiday to last all year long. 

Such as:

  •  take them to lunch or take lunch to them if they are unable to get out easily
  • take them a plant or even small tree to put in their yard
  • have a gift certificate delivered for any number of a variety of services, click HERE for ideas
  • make a special meal for a neighbor to come over, or to drop off to them
  • have others over for a game night who might not have a spouse or a family to be with that day
  • volunteer at a shelter or a food kitchen/bank
  • find a way to serve in the neighborhood by doing yard work or shoveling snow
  • make Valentine cards to send to military or veterans, many do not have loved ones who write to them and would not mind one bit if they were late getting to them
  • put together a little treat bag for someone, it doesn’t have to be big or expensive
  • do not be a sore loser – meaning, if someone at work, or a friend does have a sweetie and you don’t, take the high-road and be happy for them!
  • volunteer at the animal shelter or take approved treats or needed supplies
  • visiting a widow(er) or shut-in

We truly are defined by how we handle difficult situations, and this may be a challenging holiday for us. 

If so, let’s put on a happy face, choose a way to serve (possibly different people or the same person) at least once this week, or maybe even every day if it’s a small act, such as anonymously dropping off a little treat.

You will be amazed at the difference you will feel, how your own burden will be lifted and how you will look forward to each day with excitement and joy.

For more see: Valentine Service and How YOU Can Spread the Love

and Valentine Service Project As A Family

Copy­right Car­rie Grone­man,  A Mother’s Shadow, 2015, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today




A printable is attached for download tags for giving to others that are Valentine specific. They can be put on a treat or a small gift to let a friend, family member or co-worker know that you are thinking of them at this holiday time.

Valentine Service and How YOU Can Spread The Love

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A printable is attached for download tags for giving to others that are Valentine specific. They can be put on a treat or a small gift to let a friend, family member or co-worker know that you are thinking of them at this holiday time.

Do you like Valentines?  Is it a holiday that makes you happy?

Valentine Service and How YOU Can Spread The Love will make it the BEST either way. 

HOW?

If it’s a long anticipated one, or one that isn’t so affectionately looked towards (pun intended), a Thoughtful Valentine Kindness Sweetens Our Day Too, making it a fabulous time no matter what.

WHY?

It’s easy to get caught up in our own day-to-day life, forgetting others have heavy burdens to carry also.  

Valentines gives us the opportunity to look outside ourselves and see who we can serve.

 

See, when we help others by thinking of them, it makes us better, which fills us with joy.

I have some ideas below of how you can use the download printable tags in easy ways, to drop off treats to friend, family, neighbors, or even better, stop by and pay a visit.

WHO?

Think of who might be alone, maybe a spouse isn’t here right now such as in the military, or  who could use cheering up, or a thinking-of-you. 

You will have a list in no time at all of who would love to receive one of these adorable little tags with a sweet treat or a small gift attached.  

I have found that when I am ever down, if I serve, I am much happier and my burden is lifted.  So try this Thoughtful Valentine Kindness and see if it doesn’t sweeten your day too!

The FREE Printable is HERE

 

Some delicious and easy ideas for homemade treats are:

Easy White Chocolate Popcorn and Valentine M&M’s

Yummy White Chocolate Bark

A printable is attached for download tags for giving to others that are Valentine specific. They can be put on a treat or a small gift to let a friend, family member or co-worker know that you are thinking of them at this holiday time.

Valentines Sweetheart Muddy Buddy Chex Mix

Easy Sweetheart French Palmier Cookies

A printable is attached for download tags for giving to others that are Valentine specific. They can be put on a treat or a small gift to let a friend, family member or co-worker know that you are thinking of them at this holiday time.

No Fail Easy Nut Clusters – however use Valentine Sprinkles on topA printable is attached for download tags for giving to others that are Valentine specific. They can be put on a treat or a small gift to let a friend, family member or co-worker know that you are thinking of them at this holiday time.

Fill with purchased candy, such as Valentine M&M’s

A printable is attached for download tags for giving to others that are Valentine specific. They can be put on a treat or a small gift to let a friend, family member or co-worker know that you are thinking of them at this holiday time.

 

More Kindness ideas for YOU HERE

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.