Homemade Christmas Cards That Warm The Heart

I learned a few years back that homemade Christmas cards can mean the most. My wife and I always buy enough Christmas cards for all of our family members and friends, and that includes our children's friends.

While our children are always welcome to use our cards, they rarely do, and my daughter in particular flat-out refuses...

...She makes all of her cards by hand! We have a daughter who likes to express her feelings toward the people that she loves and cares about by using her artistic talents.

She always buys a bunch of construction paper and little crafts to make her homemade Christmas cards each year, and a lot of work goes into making them. She goes into her room, and for about a week, we don't see much of her!

She tries to personalize each of her homemade Christmas cards for all of her family members and friends.

With me, for instance, she knows that I love football. She makes it a point to place different football-related items and stickers all over the card.

She also makes it a point to draw the logo of my favorite team on the card and write something very sweet and touching. It is amazing, and it means so much.

For my wife, my daughter always incorporates flowers into her homemade Christmas cards.

My wife has quite the green thumb, and my daughter works very diligently to replicate all of the flowers she grew in our garden from the previous spring.

I distinctly remember asking her one year if it would not be easier to buy a sticker with a bunch of flowers on it and save herself a lot of time. The look she gave me helped me to understand that my question was absurd and that I should drop the subject entirely!

My son has always liked to play video games, and my daughter made him a card this year that included several of his favorite characters from games. He was so touched by her effort that he actually gave her a hug.

My wife and I could not believe it! I have to say, one of the sweetest things to see is a 12-year old boy hugging his eight-year-old sister.

Homemade Christmas cards sometimes mean more than store-bought cards, especially if the type of thought and effort is put into it that my daughter does. It means so much for her to be able to do that for everyone, and I think that because it does, it means a lot to other people, as well.

The Key to Collecting Child Support

Collecting child support should be easy. After all, refusing to send payments is against the law if a judge has ordered you to pay. You would think that it wouldn't be hard to get someone to comply with the child support laws of the land.

Nonetheless, this isn't the case. Often, it can be very difficult to collect payments on your own. There are many different reasons for this. One of these is just the fact that the court system is so overburdened.

There just aren't the resources to collect from deadbeat dads and moms. Add to this the fact that delinquents parents often move to different cities or different states and you have a recipe for disaster.

Even so, collecting back child support is possible with the right lawyer. Many lawyers love child support cases because they are so open and shut.

Basically, it is a matter of logistics more than anything else. If someone has been ordered to pay, that is all there is to it.

The key is to track them down and get the courts to do something, which is something which a lawyer knows how to do.

As matter of fact, if you had trouble collecting child support, you really can't get the job done without a lawyer.

Excellent legal representation is not necessary, but you need someone who is confident and skilled in the laws of the land.

The good thing about collecting child support cases is that you can often find a lawyer who will take up your cause and defer payments until a judgment is rendered.

Lawyers know that they are likely to win these cases, so they are often willing to work with you to set up a realistic payment plan.

While you try to collect child support, however, things can be tough. It is very difficult to get the help you need if you're a single parent in a low-paying job. This is why it is so important not to procrastinate.

Collecting child support can take months or years in this legal system – particularly if the delinquent parent does not have the money.

Often, the judge will have to garnish his or her wages for the payments he or she owes, meaning that you won't get your back child support all in one lump sum.

There is no is easy solution to these problems, but they do all indicate one thing: there's no time to delay, particularly if you are in dire financial straits.

Guaranteed Fun Activities for Children

Before my wife and I had our son, we had few ideas about what types of activities for children were popular or what children liked to do for fun. Now that we have two children, we have become experts of sorts on fun activities for children that they will enjoy and that do not cost a whole lot, either.

One of the best activities for children is kickball. The reason that I say this is because kickball is a game that can be played by both boys and girls, has a very low risk for serious injury and is something that, in my experience, children really enjoy doing.

My daughter and son both love to play kickball, and it is never hard to get a group of youngsters from our neighborhood together to get a game going.

As a matter of fact, whenever we have a neighborhood get-together at one of our local parks, the adults all cook out and the kids invariably get a kickball game going.

I think one of my favorite activities for children involve board games, and Clue in particular.

When I was growing up, this was my favorite board game of all, and I am always amazed at how the children react whenever I get this game out.

Everyone loves the idea of trying to figure out who the murderer is and in what room with which weapon. It gets their minds working and it inspires them to use their imaginations.

I know on one occasion following a Clue game, the kids decided to do their own version of in our house!

My wife always says that one of her favorite activities for children is hide and seek. I can certainly understand this, because it takes practically nothing to play the game besides an object to use as base, it gives young people the exercise they need and it also affords them the opportunity to try to outwit each other.

I have seen the children in our neighborhood get into some of the most interesting and imaginative hiding places one can think of and then run like their pants are on fire for the base, all the while laughing and having a good time.

Activities for children can be found all over the place if one is looking.

A lot of them are activities that we enjoyed as children and a lot of it comes down to listening to what they want. I have found that when I suggest something to my kids and their friends, they are almost always up for it and end up having a great time.

Is Moving Back in With Parents Such a Good Idea?

The newspapers report these days with some alarm on how there are quite a few adult children moving back in with parents today and how they aren't moving out. They blame it all on a terrible job market that makes it hard for these young people to find jobs that pay well enough that they can live on their own.

But this might be oversimplifying matters.

Moving back in with parents isn't just something young people do because they don't have a better choice. Often these days, they do this voluntarily.

The American way of having children be so independent that they are absolutely required to move out when they turn 18 is just that – it's the American way.

It isn't even the way they do things in Europe, a place that is culturally quite similar to America.

Perhaps, experts feel, the reason Americans have for long seen moving out as a sign of the arrival of adulthood is that traditionally, Americans haven't been close to their children.

These days, all the decades that we've been constantly told that closeness is good thing, may finally be paying off.

Parents and children are finally close enough that they aren't constantly looking forward to the day that they'll be free of one another. These days, children voluntarily live on with their parents even when they have achieved independence.

Research these days tells us that empty-nesters actually report being far happier with their children gone than they were with their children. But that's the thing with research – what you prove depends on what you want to prove.

For instance, there are 80 million Americans now who personally take care of a parent or another family member who is too old or infirm to be alone. Don't these parents enjoy having their children live with them?

Similarly, it's easy to find parents who are happy living on with their married children too.

It gives them access to their grandchildren, and in a time when one's retirement funds are inadequate for retirement, living together with one's children offers a good way of saving a bit on one's limited resources.

Nine of ten graduates these days move right back in with their parents as soon as they've finished college.

Only a part of that can be attributed to how it's hard for them to find well-paying jobs. For the most part, they go back because their parents have made such wonderful homes for them that they find themselves actually liking their parents enough to want to be close to them. Gasp!

The organization Network on Transitions to Adulthood has plenty of insight on this kind of thing to offer us.

As wonderful as all the closeness is, there is a lot to be said for independence too. Parents and adult children deciding to live together need to draw a few boundaries.

Parents need to make sure that they aren't offering more help than they can afford with safety, and young people need to make sure that they aren't leeching on their parents and losing their ability to survive on their own.

What are your thoughts on young adults moving back in with parents? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think.

Planning Fun Easter Egg Hunts For Your Family and Friends

Easter egg hunts are certainly a way to have a lot of fun with your family as you observe the holiday. This traditional game has been around for a long time. It is fun for the kids and gives the adults something to enjoy as well.

There are always community hunts to which you can take your kids. Of course, there is no reason why you can't have some fun and do one on your own.

Easter egg hunts are very easy to organize. You don't have to have a great spot that is perfect for a hunt. Just about any space will do.

First, think about the types of eggs you want to use. Some use real eggs, and then give out candy prizes afterward.

Some use the plastic eggs with numbers inside so that the kids can pick out a prize when they are done.

Others use chocolate eggs and feel the chocolate that they find is plenty, and they leave it at that, or give out non-candy baskets or prizes once the hunt is over.

Next, find the right spot. Again, this is not too hard. You can have Easter egg hunts almost anywhere. You can do it in a yard, in a park open to the public, or on a playground.

The places are just about limitless as long as the sun is shining and there is no rain falling. If you fear rain may fall, or it happens to be raining when you arise on Easter, have a backup plan in place for your egg hunt.

You can use any home, building, or even community center that is open to the public.  Eggs are small, so it is easy to hide them just about anywhere.

If you want to go larger and put on Easter egg hunts for your community, there are a number of things that you can do.

Find out about large areas designated for public use. You may have to reserve the area or file for some sort of permit to do this.

You can then fund it on your own, which can be very expensive, your can can ask local community groups and businesses if they would like to help with the hunt in return for free advertising and exposure to the community.

If your area already has one, there is no reason why you can not help if you wish either by being there to assist or with financial assistance of your own.

In any Easter egg hunts, you want things to be fair for children of all ages. It is not really about winning anything, but it is about finding an egg or two or ten for most kids.

You can mix things up with different areas for different age groups. As you can imagine, it can be easy for a baby of three to be run over by the ten year olds. You can also allow the younger age group to go first and then allow the older children to go afterward.

Elder Care Home Traps to Avoid

When I first started looking for a good quality elder care at home for my 85 year old mother, you could say I was optimistic.

My mother, as an aging parent, had a long-term care insurance policy.  It required that there should be a professional geriatric care manager who actively managed her case. He was supposed to look at what her needs for every month were, and build and maintain a plan for her.

But it didn't really work out well. The manager kept sending home health aides who were all quite unqualified. They were either unqualified or downright unwilling to work.

One would bring her phone with her, hook it to our Wi-Fi, and then get on Skype with her boyfriend for hours. She just wouldn't even look at my mother for hours!

Before there were geriatric or elder care managers that you had to go through, you only had to worry about finding good aides. These days, you have to worry about finding good geriatric care managers as well.

No state unit has any licensing requirements for geriatric care managers. Anyone who calls himself one can be one. And why wouldn't they call themselves one – it pays $100 an hour, at least.

But that's not at all that you need. A geriatric care manager really needs expertise. He's your go-between. He looks at your requirements and then talks on an equal footing with the medical, financial and legal professionals to get your parents the care they need.

But it isn't just incompetent care that you have to worry about. Not infrequently, these elder care home managers turn out to have criminal intent as well. You see, criminals everywhere know that elderly people are an easy target.

When you read about telemarketing fraud, often, you hear that these people call from other countries and they aim for the elderly.

They know that the elderly often live on their own, that they have their retirement funds, and that they're a bit anxious about how there isn't any income coming in anymore. They're completely open to anyone who says that they have a moneymaking scheme in mind.

Frauds and thieves are often attracted to any way they can get close to an elderly person and speak to him from a position of trust. They love the elderly care manager job because they get to speak to the elderly on a regular basis, win their trust and then get them to invest money in something or give the money for something.

Before you allow an elderly care manager in your home, make sure that they are members of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers. Also, do a background check. You can search Criminal Intel at Your Fingertips. Instant Records-Background Checks. 

What to Know About Parenting

When young couples are just starting out, it can be very daunting to think about the proper way to be a parent. There is so much about parenting to know, and I think that most young parents want to do the best job they possibly can. I think there are a few things to know about parenting that can really help those about to have children.

The first thing that I always try to tell people about to have children for the first time is to trust their instincts. This is one of the important things to remember about parenting because I truly believe that all of us as human beings have a nurturing instincts, that allow us to care for other living beings. If we trust these, we almost never go wrong.

The second thing I would say about parenting is to make sure you have a good pediatrician. The fact of the matter is that you will need the doctor on a semi-regular basis, and it is good to have one that you trust and feel that you can call when necessary.

Sometimes they can be quite comforting, and sometimes they can help you to understand that you don't need to worry so much are just being overprotective.

Another thing about parenting that I will always recommend for young parents is to start your children on vegetables when it comes to baby food. If babies are fed fruit first, invariably, they will not eat vegetables. Once they have the sweet stuff, they do not want vegetables, which is what helps them to grow into healthy children. This is one that my wife and I learned the hard way.

One thing that I also try to stress to new parents about parenting is the fact that children are going to have accidents. It is scary when it first happens, and we are always nervous that we have not done enough to make sure that they are safe.

They are our children, after all, and it is only natural to feel a little bit nervous about whether or not they are completely healthy all of the time. The reality is, however, that children are resilient and are a lot tougher than most of us parents think.

There are a lot of things young parents should try to understand about parenting, but most of it is something people have to figure out as they go. This may not be very comforting, but once you get the hang of it, it starts to go smoother and become easier. You are always going to worry about them, but try not to let it affect your well-being. They will survive!

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