Real Food for Real Kids

 

Hello Recycled Moms. The topic of today’s post is one most moms have wept over. Most children in America are picky eaters and junk food addicts. The processed, chemical and preservative laden foods (and I use the term food loosely) are causing great damage to our children. The rise in childhood cancers, autism, diabetes and even heart disease is alarming. We, as moms and caregivers, must step up and take control of the health and future of our kids. It takes time and great effort but the payoff is beyond measure.

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portabella mushroom cap with squash mixture

The typical American diet has not introduced our children to fresh vegetables, homemade pickles, whole fruits and other God created foods. It is time to change that. It is best for a child to eat a large variety of foods from infancy but never too late to start. I realize this will be a shock to most kids and they will rebel. Persevere Recycled moms and you will see victory.

We cannot start by demanding a chicken nugget and French fry addict forsake those and start eating spinach, broccoli, carrots, sweet peppers and other healthful foods instantly. Make junk food portions smaller and add one spoonful of a new God created food. Be strong and encourage the child to “just taste it by eating one spoonful.” Many children will love the food and that one battle can be history.

There are many ways to add new foods to a child’s diet. The entire family should eat the same breakfast, lunch and dinner. In most countries, people do not have the great variety we do in America and have not developed the habit of picky eating. Indeed, when I was a child, we ate what Mama placed before us. It would never have entered my mind to whine about it or to proclaim that I hated a certain food. We can bring this attitude back to our own homes and dinner tables.

I will add the disclaimer that we all have foods we prefer not to eat and that is okay. My own grandson does not like coleslaw so I do not force him to eat it. I also do not plan meals around his or my own preferences. I do not consult him on what he would like for breakfast or any other meal. He eats what is placed on the table with the rare exception of not liking certain foods. Even then, he receives one spoonful and must eat that. A child’s taste buds are not well developed and he or she has no experience with food variety. What one does not like today may become a favorite soon but that can never happen unless the child is encouraged to branch out and taste foods.

Again, this is going to take time and a mountain of patience with most children who have been let eat what they want. These little diet dictators must be overthrown though so they can grow up to be healthy adults. We are the adults, we are the ones who pledged to care for them. That means making tough choices and sticking by them.

My own grandson just had fresh sweet pepper slices with his sandwich and proclaimed them wonderful. They were eye pleasing red, yellow and orange. Make it fun for the children as much as possible. Put your food down if necessary. Lead by example and eat fresh, whole healthful foods. Do not buy junk foods, cookies, candies and other processed items. If they are not in the home, temptation will not be there either.

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To Snitch Or Not To Snitch

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 NIV

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Hello Recycled Moms. Today, I am talking about a subject that recently affected my own grandson “S”. At some point, most children experience this. When one sees another child doing something wrong, he or she has to choose loyalty to the wrongdoer or confession to preserve safety.

My grandson chose to tell me that his friend “J” had done something very wrong, criminal in fact. He knew his friend would feel betrayed and would be angry but concern for his friend’s future overrode the demand for secrecy. His friend indeed was upset and in a rage. He called S. a snitch among other not so nice names.

S. felt awful about telling on his friend and I explained to both boys that being a snitch is simply to act as an informer and information is knowledge. Parents must have knowledge and information so we can protect the children in our care. I must confess that J. never grasped the concept and left very angry and feeling betrayed. The situation still allowed for a teaching moment that I hope will stay with both boys for a lifetime.

While my heart remains concerned for J., I know my main responsibility is to my own child and his training. I applauded S. for his courage. It took a lot to tell me when he knew J. would be angry and maybe not remain his friend.

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Recycled Moms, I tell you all this so you know you are not the only one going through these trials and your kids are not either. Encourage them to never have secrets from you. Secrets are dangerous and lead to disaster. Open hearts keep family members close to one another and increase the protective instinct. So encourage your children to tell you everything. I have taught S. that he can tell me anything. I do not promise there will not be consequences for actions that were wrong. I do promise I will not be angry, that I will support him and will do everything in my power to make it right again.

Let your children know that the child who told them not to snitch is being a bully and bullies are only concerned about their own welfare; they do not want to be found out and reported. As in our case, a child may be threatened if he or she tells, but again, secrets (silence) impede safety. Silence does not promote safety in any manner at all. Let the child know it is okay to feel scared and even feel badly about having to snitch.

We must learn to make choices in life and there will be thousands of them. The best way to know in the future how to choose is to start today in positive ways. Choose right, reject wrong. Choose legal, refuse criminal. Choose morality, say no to immoral behavior.

Also, it is important, vital even, to not promise something you cannot maintain. Never promise any child that you will keep secret what he or she confesses. Let the child clearly know you must pass on the information so they can remain safe and the person they are telling about will be safer also. Let them be present if they wish but never push them to be confronted with a situation that makes them feel unsafe.

Will your child tell you everything and never keep a secret? Probably not. They are kids and will act like kids. That makes us feel betrayed, hurt, offended and perhaps angry. Remember there are degrees of lying. Lying by omission is only one and most children do not have the capability to understand that. Just encourage total honesty and pray for everyone involved. Remain watchful around certain children who might be bad influences on your own child but know we cannot place kids in a bubble. Let natural consequences play out and encourage the right kind of snitching.

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When Siblings Are Not Together

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Grandchildren are like fine chocolates. We always want just one more. The delicious filled centers of the chocolates are forever a surprise; part of the enjoyment is the fact we never know what we will get. The experiences our precious littles bring is the same. They each have a unique personality and come with surprises. Some of those unexpected circumstances are not pleasant and leave a bitter aftertaste.

Some of us Recycled Moms are raising only one grandchild while others have any number of blessings. But what happens when other grandchildren are living elsewhere? I know of grandmothers who grieve daily because they and the children in their care are deprived of siblings. Due to divorce, out of wedlock pregnancies, drug abuse, mental illnesses and a myriad of other issues, siblings are often split apart. How do we Recycled Moms deal with this?

Each family must decide based on the issues. Some of the grandchildren are not even aware they have siblings. If the possibility of them meeting and having a relationship is basically nonexistent, do not even mention the other child (or children). It simply has not value and causes even more pain especially if the other child is with the absent parent. Having stated this, I add a disclaimer. Never, ever lie to your grandchild. When asked a question you would rather not answer, be honest but with minimal information. My own grandson once asked if his birth mother is dead and I simply said, “I do not know. Let’s pray for her.”

There is no clear cut answer. Almost eight million children live in grandparent households (or with other relatives). Three million grandparents report they are totally responsible for their grandchildren including all needs. This astounding number certainly makes the breath catch and makes us aware there are eight million hurting hearts. The number of siblings living outside these homes are unknown. We do know it presents a unique problem in America and that will continue into adulthood unless our precious grandchildren are given the security they deserve and crave.

Think about this Recycled Moms and have an idea of how to handle the situation. It might occur and to all of us. Remember to always speak positively about the siblings and to love them also. This is important o our grandchildren know our love is unconditional and encompassing enough to include people outside of the home. We never know what the future holds; we might one day find ourselves caring for the siblings also!

You are doing a great job with your little ones and you can indeed handle this is it become a factor. I have faith in you and so does God. He provides all we need and has all the answers.

Children live in a world we scarcely remember. The hardships, disappointments, heartaches and pressures of life leave us with a heart-scar. Children do not have that and see the world through eyes of wonder and color. Let us foster that by including anyone important to them. Our heart has room; it expands to hold just one more and one more and one more…..DSC_1347 thermal

God Writes It All

 

I heard this beautiful song today for the first time and was saddened to learn the gorgeous singer, Joey, died yesterday. She had fought a valiant battle against cervical cancer which spread to her colon. She leaves her grieving husband and a baby girl who turned two years old last month.

The words of this song are powerful and a reminder that my own gift of writing is from God alone. He writes the songs, the poems, articles, stories and books. He gives me the inspiration and guides my hand. I simply hold the pen.

We Recycled Moms hold the pen that guides the lives of our grandchildren. It writes security, love, a future of promise or one of perpetual pain and sorrow. Write well Recycled Moms. The moments spent with our littles can never be relived. Allow God to guide you along this path and He will not steer you wrong.

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This very short post is important to me and I hope, to you. The knowledge of who writes the song and who simply holds the pen is life changing. Grab the Holy Bible and allow God, the loving Father, to write the story of your own life.

 

 

About Time To Say Goodbye

It’s About Time to Say Goodbye!
Hello to anyone left out there who might still follow this blog. The time has flown past. Life just overwhelmed me for a while but now I am determined to resurrect my Recycled Moms writings. Let’s catch up.
My grandson just turned thirteen. My heart and mind are stunned to comprehend such a thing but it is true nonetheless. He is tall and strong; trying to grow a mustache which I promise to shave while he sleeps if he is successful. He is now homeschooled and that presents unique challenges and opportunities.
I work part time which is wonderful and sad because I want to spend every moment with my young man. I see a door opening that is his future and all too soon, he will walk through it and out into this vast world where I cannot protect him.
How can we Recycled Moms prepare for the time when our little ones are not little and they are off living lives of their own? We must teach them diligently the way we would have them go, pray without ceasing and smile as we wave goodbye. We receive promises in God’s Word that allow us to know the future of our children. Isaiah 44:3-4 says, “For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring. They will spring up among the grass like willows by the watercourses”.
That surely is encouraging and lets us know God is always watching over them just as we did countless days and nights. Remember those long, dark times when our littles were sick? We sat beside the bed wiping brows, giving kisses, cleaning up vomit, changing diapers and praying endlessly. God, our Father, was right there beside us. He never left and never will leave. He follows our now grown up children into this new period and stand firm right by their side.
We are God’s children and He adopts us because of Jesus and our faith in Him. Isaiah 43:5-6says, “Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west; I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not keep them back!’ Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth—Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him” (Is. 43:5-7). Our sons and daughters (grandsons and granddaughters) are also His children.
The world cannot have them. The enemy (Satan) cannot have them. The canopy of protection is over them because we give them to God and trust in Him to forever care for them tenderly just as we have for years and years. The canopy of protection continues over our beloved grandchildren even as they leave home and go off to college, careers, marriage and parenthood.
I shall end this short post by stating that we grandmother’s, Recycled Moms, are a powerful influence on our children and that will not end. Recently my own precious young man came to me and said he is going to save money to buy a mortgage free home “because I am not going to be thirty years old and living with my grandmother.” But he is willing to be thirty and have his grandmother living with him. The power of that love, that seed I planted growing to fruition, is remarkable.
Great love to all of you Recycled Moms out there. I love you and God loves you and honors your sacrifices.

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Internet Safety for 2014

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Happy 2014 Recycled Moms and other visitors. As I gaze into the upcoming year, trying in vain to know where it will lead us, I do know some things remain the same. One of those is danger to our kids from the internet and wicked people who use it to touch our beautiful children. I have put together a guideline for us all to use as a tool in protecting our beloved little ones. Just last week I was made aware that a little boy I personally know has been accessing pornography. Therefore, it does happen and affects the hearts, minds and spirits of everyone who loves the children who have fallen into danger.

Toddlers are routinely given tablets to play with and to use. I see them almost daily with these expensive gadgets. With that fact in mind, I have included very young children in this list of rules and options to consider.

Children under Five

Parents or caregivers should always be present and active when children are using computers, tablets and phones. At this age, children accept anything and everything. They do not have the mental or emotional skills to consider both sides of an issue or image and may become frightened by something fictional that is very real to them. They will click on anything and can easily be exposed to inappropriate content.

Children Five to Seven

Kids are smart and today’s children have grown up with technology. They are used to using computers, manipulating screens and gadgets yet are very naïve and innocent. They are obedient toward adults and will willingly provide any information asked of them including home address, telephone numbers and personal names. They also become easily frightened by media images and content that is access by clicking on hyperlinks and opening new windows.

Parents should teach children this age about privacy, what to share and when to run away and get help. Access to email, social media, message boards and the like should be disabled with strict parental controls in place.

Eight to Ten

These kids love anything video related. They play video games, are greatly influenced by celebrities or other people considered cool or heroic. This leaves them vulnerable to predators that are adept at pretending to be a slightly older kid who seems to have it all and who befriends them. Parents should make sure all computers and online devices are only used in family rooms where activity can be monitored and visible to any observer. Parental control filters should be in place and parental supervision constant. Children this age should not have personal email addresses or any online presence. A parent’s email should be used to register for games, etc.

Eleven to Thirteen

Kids this age think they are wise in the ways of the world. They are usually into music, download videos and use the internet to help with schoolwork. They are beginning to get curious about the changes in their bodies, which leaves them vulnerable to predators and to pornographers. They love to be independent yet greatly rely on their friends and want to be doing what others are into since that seems to be cool and popular. This is also an age where bullying frequently occurs because kids desire to be accepted and become quite anxious about any perceptible differences.

Parents should insist that computers remain in common rooms and set parental controls on all devices. Check the browsing history; do not allow chat room use or profiles on social media sites.

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Up to Eighteen

These young teens seem so grownup yet are still emotionally and mentally young, incapable of living an unsupervised life. They should be taught safe online skills and all devices still should only be used in open, common areas of the home. They might stumble onto pornography or other adult content sites simply by exploring the internet for off color jokes or other seemingly safe places. They must be taught morals, ethics and financial responsibility. It does not come natural to most young people as their brains are still developing.

Parents must be very involved in the lives of teenagers. House rules, family guidelines and expectations should be clearly defined and adhered to by everyone so there are no surprises. Approve all email or telephone contacts and monitor texts daily. This is not invasion of privacy but parental protection.

When parents and caregivers set rules and those are enforced, it leaves less opportunity for kids to fall into moral or physical danger. An involved parent is one who loves his/her child enough to keep danger far, far away.

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Oh Boy-It’s a Girl!

Security and Love

 Hi Recycled Moms and other kinship caregivers. The Christmas season is only a few days away and we know it brings a lot of stress to some people and is an excuse for others to party their lives away. This time of year also brings upheaval in families. Many children are torn from the only environment most of them know and are placed in foster care or kinship care. Sadly, many suicides or attempts happen also at this supposedly cheerful time of year.

I myself took custody of my own grandson at Thanksgiving many years ago. I thought it might be helpful to compose a checklist that people can use to help the child settle and ensure their physical needs are taken care of. It will vary of course depending on each individual circumstance. Please feel free to share this information with anyone who is taking the giant leap of love and welcoming a child or children into their home.

  • Get some sort of custody order if the parents have simply left the child with you otherwise they could take the child at any time and nothing could be done to prevent it from happening. If DSS is involved, they will take care of that issue.
  •  Inform DSS that you have the child and request assistance.
  • If possible, get birth certificates, social security number, immunization records, medical information, etc.
  • Get the child’s insurance information if possible. If not, apply for Medicaid for the child or add him/her to your policy if resources allow.
  • Schedule a medical checkup with a pediatrician, dentist and optometrist.  Consider psychiatric counseling especially if the child has been abused in any manner.
  •   Enroll the child in school if they are old enough. If possible, keep him/her in the school they are already attending. The less upheaval the better so the child can adjust easier. A private school allows the child to receive attention that is more individual and some states offer vouchers to make it affordable
  • Seek resource assistance such as Food Stamps, Daycare vouchers, etc.
  • Join a support group. Many of these kids have lived in homes where alcohol or drug abuse was a daily, normal occurrence and they will have been neglected or abused. A support group with a good children’s program will help all of the new family dynamic to feel normal instead of different.

In The Home

All children need stability and security. Our precious Recycled Kids need these even more desperately and will thrive when they are provided along with gentle care and lots of love.

  • Set up a bedroom for the children if possible or designate part of an existing bedroom as their own personal space. Hang a curtain for privacy if they must share. Give them a dresser, bed, desk and any other furniture they need.
  • Take the child shopping and ask their opinion when purchasing clothing. This is critical for older children because it helps restore ownership and empowers them to make decisions for their life.
  • Set aside time to talk with the child privately every day. He may or may not confide in you, may even blame you for taking away the parents. Allow him or her to talk and take mental notes. Let him or her know you may have to follow up on some of these revelations but will not ever hold the child accountable for the actions of grownups.
  • Do not react outwardly to revelations of abuse and many of these kids have been abused emotionally, physically or sexually. Try to express acknowledgement without condemnation or horror. The child WILL think you feel that toward them.
  •  Never cast aspersions on the parents. These uprooted children tend to be very protective toward their absent parents and will not take kindly to any words of anger or blame.
  •   Answer questions honestly but briefly. A personal example as when my grandson asked if his “birth mom” was dead. I simple said, “I do not know Buddy. I hope not.” Then I redirected him to another subject. Kids require very little information and are content with a yes or no most of the time. Older children might ask for more details. Again, keep it simple.

There is so much more. I could write a book. (Actually, I am writing a book.) I hope this information is a foundation to get someone started on the path to being a Recycled Mom. I pray for all of you and wish I could meet every one of you and personally commend you for what you do.

Joyful Children Become Joyful Adults